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CHAPTER XI.: THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION MOST PRUDENTLY ESTABLISHES THE TWO PRECEPTS OF CHARITY, AS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR WHOLE MORAL LIFE. - Girolamo Savonarola, The Triumph of the Cross 
The Triumph of the Cross, trans. from the Italian, edited, with an Introduction by the Very Rev. Father John Procter, S.T.L. With a frontispiece portrait of the author (London: Sands & Co., 1901).
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THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION MOST PRUDENTLY ESTABLISHES THE TWO PRECEPTS OF CHARITY, AS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR WHOLE MORAL LIFE.
We have already shown, that the Christian religion teaches nothing concerning faith which is either impossible or irrational. We shall now proceed to prove that this is likewise the case in those matters which regard morals. And, although we have already given sufficient proofs of this fact, when we pointed out that the Christian life is the best life possible; nevertheless, as things are better understood in particular than in general, we will descend to some details.
The first principle and foundation of our moral doctrine is the commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Deut. vi. 5; Matt. xxii. 37; Mark xii. 30; Luke x. 27). And the second commandment is, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev. xix. 18; Matt. xxii. 39; Mark xii. 31; Luke x. 37). We must not understand these commandments as meaning that it is sufficient for salvation to love God and our neighbour from natural virtue or inclination. Our love must proceed from supernatural grace, for the reception of which we must diligently prepare ourselves. Thus, the first principle and foundation of the Christian moral life, is the obligation to love God, by means of supernatural charity, more than ourselves; and to order ourselves and all things else to His glory, as to our end. St. Paul expresses this precept in the following words, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. x. 31).
But since the rebelliousness of the flesh withdraws men greatly from the love of God, the precept adds, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart,” which signifies, thou shalt love Him in such a way that thou shalt subjugate thy sensitive affections to thy will. For by the heart, is here meant, those sensibilities of our nature which are the fount and source of desires which separate us from Divine love. And since the will goes astray, if it be not conformed to reason, the commandment adds the words, “and with thy whole soul,” whereby we understand the will. For, since the soul is in animals the principle of life and motion, whereby we distinguish animate from inanimate beings, so, likewise, does the will move all the powers of the rational soul. Therefore, God commands us to love Him with our whole will; so that all our activities may be directed to Him; our love, desire, joy, fear, and hope, may all be centred on Him; and our whole soul may turn, in horror, from all that is contrary to His will, or derogatory to His honour. The inclination of the will depends entirely on reason; for we cannot desire what we do not know. This is expressed by the words in the commandment, “with thy whole mind,” by which is meant our understanding and our reason. These must be turned to God, who must, either habitually or actually, be the chief object of our contemplation. But we are bound to honour God, not only with our souls, but with our bodies, working our external works to His glory. Therefore, the commandment concludes with the words, “all thy strength”. Observe the word all, remembering that an end, being loved for itself, is not loved according to measure; but the means, being ordained to an end, are loved in proportion to the end to which they are ordered. Since, then, God is our End, we are commanded to love Him with our whole heart, with our whole soul, with all our mind, and all our strength. That is to say, that, both interiorly and exteriorly, we must be wholly directed to God, and lead perfect lives; so that in us God may be glorified, as the Cause is honoured by the perfection of its effect. This commandment teaches us, further, in what manner man is bound to love himself. For self-love must be directed to God, who must be glorified in man, as in His own work.
But, as the love of others is not so natural to man as is self-love, we are taught how we must love our neighbour by the words, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. That is, thy love of others shall be governed by the same motive as that which directs thy love of thyself; and thou must desire for thy neighbour that same perfection of life, and the other blessings, which thou dost desire for thyself; so that in him, God may be honoured and glorified, as in His most perfect work. Nothing, surely, can be conceived more reasonable, than these two commandments, on which depend all other laws, both human and Divine. Therefore all that is included in them, or results from them, is by Christians esteemed holy and inviolable; and whatever impugns them, is reputed impious and diabolical.