"The Law of Love"

Later. Text added below.

I may be preaching occasionally for a small local Swedenborgian church in the future, so I figured the liturgy should match their tradition, no? Well, like the Unitarian and Universalist liturgical traditions, it seems to be remembered more than practiced. A shame: some of the more distinctive features have “great bones” and would clean up nicely. Time to show them off.

The following liturgical element (“The Law of Love”) is excerpted from a morning service from the Liturgy, or Book of Worship for Use of the New Church Signified by the New Jerusalem. (Tenth edition. 1873.) The chants, of course, may be read, which is how I expect they’d convey.


Images of a text without transcription is very bad form, so I’ll be tacking it on as I have time.

Then the Minister will read the Law of Love, the Poeple standing, and chanting or speaking the responses.

The Law of Love.

Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you: Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.

Forever, | O Je-|hovah,
Thy Word is es-|tablished | in the | heavens:
Thy faithfulness is unto all | gene-|rations.
Thou hath established the | earth, and it | standeth | firm.

I.

And Jesus said: The first of all the commandments is. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.

With my whole heart have I | sought | Thee.
O let me not | wander from | Thy com-|mandments.
Thy Word have I | hid in mine | heart:
That I might not | sin a-|gainst | Thee.

II.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Blessed are the perfect | in the | way,
Who | walk in the law of Je-|hovah.
Blessed are they that keep His | testi-|monies:
That seek | Him with | all the | heart.

III.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this will all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Search me, O God, and | know my | heart:
Try | me, and | know my | thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked | way in | me:
And lead me in the | way | ever-| lasting.

IV.

Therefore all things whatsover ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The law was | given by | Moses:
Grace and truth | came by | Jesus | Christ.
And of His fullness have we | all re-|ceived:
And | grace for | grace: A-|men.

2 Replies to “"The Law of Love"”

  1. Fascinating. I’ve been told that Swedenborgian liturgical practice has its roots in Anglican liturgical formats. In the 20th century, the influences grew to be more Congregationalist. For a small congregation with a spoken liturgy and very little music, this portion you presented seems to read very well.

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