If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
charisms of language seem to have had an especial charm and value. It might be supposed that those possessions here mentioned - prophecy, unravelling of mysteries, and knowledge, especially of spiritual things - would have a deeper interest for such a one as Paul. And that he did prize these is not to be questioned. Yet such was his appreciation of love, that in this eulogium of it he sets it above those half intellectual, half spiritual gifts.
I. THESE GIFTS ARE IN THEMSELVES VALUABLE. There is nothing here said to disparage the gifts. On the contrary, they are introduced in a way which witnesses to their excellence. Prophecy is the speaking forth of the mind of God - a function the most honourable the mind can conceive. To understand and reveal mysteries would universally be acknowledged to be a high distinction. Knowledge ranks high in connection with a religion which addresses man's intelligence. All these are, so to speak, aspects of religion peculiarly congenial to a thoughtful Christian, and peculiarly advantageous to a Christian community.
II. BUT IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THESE GIFTS MAY BE OF NO VALUE TO THE POSSESSOR. That is, in case they be unaccompanied by love. The purely intellectual character is the unlovely character. The man may be the vehicle of truth, and yet the truth may pass through him without affecting his character, his spiritual position. Who does not know such men - men of Biblical scholarship, sound theology, great teaching power, yet loveless, and because loveless unlovely? To themselves they may be great men, and in the view of the Church; but in reality, and before God, they are nothing!
III. IT IS LOVE WHICH MAKES THESE GIFTS VALUABLE TO THEIR POSSESSOR. How needful love is to impart a spiritual flavour and quality to these great endowments, is clear enough, i.e. to every enlightened mind.
1. Love infuses the spirit in which they are to be used. How differently the man of intellect or of learning uses his powers when his soul is pervaded by the spirit of brotherly love, every observer must have noticed. "Let all your things be done in charity" is an admonition appropriate to all, but especially so to the man of genius or of ability.
2. Love controls the purpose to which they are to be applied. Not for self exaltation, not for the advancement of a great cause, but for the general welfare, will love inspire the great to consecrate their talents, according to the mind and method of the great Master himself. - T.
And though I have the gift of prophecy... and have not charity, I am nothing.
I. WHY SHOULD LOVE RANK THUS HIGH?
1. "God is love." God has knowledge, and wisdom, and power infinite; but He is never said to be knowledge, etc. Love is His essence, the rest are His attributes: and whatever comes nearest to the image of God is the finest condition of man.
2. The greatest deed ever done was the result of "love."
3. The first-fruit of the Holy Ghost is love. So we have a Trinity of love.
4. What brings salvation? Say that I believe every truth in the Bible. That is all nothing. "The devils believe and tremble." But when I believe and feel it is all for me, it is mine immediately I love. I cannot help loving when it is so personal to myself, and that moment I am saved.
5. And what moves to good actions and makes them continuous? Love. There are plenty of things which will give impulse and start, but there is only love which will give continuance. "Love," and only love, therefore, "is the fulfilling of the law"
6. What will be the subject of the great Judgment Day? Love. "Inasmuch as ye have done," etc.
7. And what will heaven be? Perfect love.
8. And what is the whole summary of the law by which we try ourselves? "Thou shalt love." That is the great subject of self-examination this Lent.
9. And why are we to be sorry for our sins, and so humble? From sorrow for having been so very ungrateful to so good a God. This is the true spirit of all Lenten exercises, without which it would not be acceptable to God, nor do us any good.
II. HOW IS THIS PREREQUISITE FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND PLEASING TO GOD, AND ALL THAT SHALL MAKE OUR VERY BEING IN HIS SIGHT TO BE OBTAINED?
1. Take clearer and loving views of God, always waiting and yearning to receive back His prodigal.
2. Take grand views of the power of the Cross. And as you see it, feel "That is all for me."
3. Cherish every good emotion of the Holy Ghost. Especially look to Him as the love-maker, and ask Him to create love in that heart of yours.
4. And then, as working with Him, who is working in you, do stronger battle with your temper, pride, selfishness.
5. Then go and do some acts of love. Acts make motives, as well as motives make acts. Do acts of love, that you may get the spirit of love.
6. But remember above all that all life, which is life indeed, is the result of union with Him, who is the life. The life of love depends upon that union; without it, love will soon die. Having Christ, you will have love; but the more you have of Christ, the more you will always say, "I am nothing, because Christ is everything."
(J. Vaughan, M.A.)I. IN ITS NATURE.
1. Noble as were these gifts, they were simply intellectual or executive, not moral. So distinct is charity, the moral product of the Spirit's regenerating power, from these extraordinary gifts, that Paul in this discourse could eliminate it, and represent the highest endowments as existing without it. Look on the prophet of Midian. You can almost feel the thrill of his inspiration. And yet the name of Balaam is a synonym of the wickedness of all who love the wages of unrighteousness. Who can read the story of Jonah without admiration of his message and of contempt for the man? Our Lord gave to His twelve disciples power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease, and Judas Iscariot was amongst them. The apostles had power to heal the sick, but not grace enough to prevent them from striving which should be the greatest. They had faith to cast out devils, but they all forsook Him and fled, and one denied Him. In this Corinthian Church, which seems to have been distinguished above all others in miraculous force, these gifts were accompanied with glaring inconsistencies.
2. Charity, on the other hand, is moral. It is the product of the Spirit in the moral nature. It is the single element of holy character; and all moral excellence must be traced back to love, even as under the searching analysis of the spectroscope it has been suggested that all material substances may be traced to a single element.(1) God is love; but that love differs in its forms of expression with the different relations of its exercise. In relation to right and wrong, justice; in relation to need and suffering, mercy; in relation to pardon, grace.(2) And so all human goodness is resolved into love.(a) Love, in relation to God's majesty, is adoration, worship; in relation to His will, submission; in relation to His command, obedience; to His superiority, humility; to His grace in Christ and to His declarations, faith; to His bestowals, gratitude.(b) So love, in relation to human need, is beneficence; in relation to injury, meekness; in relation to trials, patience; and in relation to the want and the woe of a lost world for which Christ died, it is the pity and the love and the longing which find expression in intercession and in service.
3. Thus, in its very nature, is charity superior to all gifts. Gifts were a power conferred, charity is the Divine requirement; in gifts, God's natural attributes are represented; in holy love, His moral perfection. Miraculous gifts are super-imposed by the Spirit. In love the Spirit communicates Himself to us in His own true nature. Love unites the soul in fellowship and sympathy with God, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God.
II. IN THE FACT THAT IT WAS THE END FOR WHICH ALL, SUPERNATURAL ENDOWMENTS WERE GIVEN. They were the scaffolding of that temple whose shrine is love. And so gifts of miraculous power would be withdrawn, but love would be eternal. There is no more need of miracles. But the Spirit's distinctive work continues, and we receive not the power of Christ, but the Spirit of Christ; not the arm or the lips of Christ, but fellowship with the heart of Christ. No miracle so much declares the excellence and the might of the Spirit as the conversion of such a man as Bunyan, the production of such a character as that of John Howard, or such triumphant resignation as that of the dairyman's daughter. Thus secondary are gifts, and thus pre-eminent is charity, intrinsically good, god-like, enduring. For this let the Church long rather than for the return of miracle, that thus, "ye being rooted and grounded in love," etc. Conclusion:
1. There is entering into the religious thinking and experience of our time an element which greatly needs the antidote of this discussion. Men are eagerly gazing for prodigies of the Spirit, miracles of healing, etc.
2. So also what claims and aims to be a superior type of piety, places emphasis on what relates to intellect and power, rather than on character. Natural gifts now, like those that were supernatural, are desirable. Consecrated in love, they shall be sources of a princely Christian power; but gifts do not indicate the genuineness or the degree of holy devotion. Jesus has said that in the great day "many will say unto Me, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name," etc.
(A. H. Coolidge.)I. PROPHECY — i.e., preaching. Great power of setting forth the truths of the gospel often co-exists with a bitter, exclusive, uncharitable spirit. Has not the hatred of theologians become a byword? Look at the language of so-called religious publications, and judge by it of that which is current where they circulate. What is our religious influence upon the world without, with all our preaching, religious meetings, reports, pleadings for good and for God? Are not our hospitals, reformatories, missions, church-buildings, struggling or languishing — striving to exist by continually strained artificial appeals from the pulpit and from the platform? Is it not true that, having this gift of utterance in abundance, yet as to any worthy effect on the vast mass of wealth and talent about us we are next to nothing? And this because of our want of love.
II. THE UNDERSTANDING OF MYSTERIES AND ALL KNOWLEDGE.
1. What St. Paul intended we may gather from his own expressions, viz., the mystery of God's purpose in revealing the gospel to the Gentiles; "in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He refers, therefore, to sacred things, and the knowledge of the truths of salvation.
2. There is such a thing as a very accurate and thorough knowledge of Christian doctrine; nay, more, a power of reasoning able to enter thoroughly into, and carry further, speculations on the deep things of God; and yet all this taken up and carried on in a cold and selfish and unloving spirit. Some of the soundest theologians have been some of the keenest haters. It is perhaps one of the commonest temptations of those who are much versed in theology to forget the necessity of allowing for those who differ from them. And what have been the consequences?(1) A considerable portion of the knowledge of Divine things has remained shut up as the possession of one or other of the Churches.(2) A proficient in doctrinal distinctions has almost always been a person dreaded and shunned as exclusive and narrow-minded.
III. FAITH AND POWER TO WORK MIRACLES.
1. Faith is realising belief in the truth of God. The faithful man not only yields assent to, but believes and lives in, God's revelation concerning His Son. And that no less than this is meant is evident; for Paul's supposition is dealt with also by our Lord, when He says, "No man that can do a miracle in My name can speak lightly of Me."
2. I suppose, if we are to translate what is said into the language of our own day, we have a man working by means of faith great victories over himself and others, mighty in word and deed; and yet such an one is nothing. Why? Because these spiritual endowments are held and exercised in an unloving spirit. Thus even Divine truth loses its power for good: with such an one, even the birth of the Spirit is cut off in mid-youth, and comes to an untimely end: beneath such an one, even the Rock of Ages crumbles away like the shifting sand.(1) We uphold essentials in a wrong spirit. Is our usual behaviour to, and method of speaking of, the so-called Unitarian such as to induce him to re-examine the grounds of a faith which can bring forth such fruits?(2) We put that first which should be second. The first and indispensable care for every Christian and every Christian body is the spirit of love. No difference of belief can be truly conscientious unless it be subordinated to the spirit of love. If you are a Christian, you must love me before you can conscientiously differ from me.
(Dean Alford.)1. Ours is an age of great intellectual activity. In former times, first physical strength, then birth or hereditary rank, then and almost till now, wealth, have successively been the measures of greatness. But now the aristocracy of the world is an aristocracy of intellect. But there is danger that, while we rejoice in having found something better than men used to seek and strive for, we may not recognise that which alone is supremely good. Religion is the life of the affections; and in the reverence now paid to intellect there is danger that religion be undervalued, and that the affections, which are its throne, receive much less than their due regard and cultivation.
2. By the religious life I mean a life, not of mere proprieties, but of love. It includes, first, the thankful recognition of a present God, and the exercise of the affections in worship and obedience; then and thence, the cherishing of sincere brotherly love towards our fellow-men.
I. THE LIFE OF THE AFFECTIONS IS ESSENTIAL TO THE FULL DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTHY WORKING OF THE INTELLECT. The affections are our highest faculties. They have the nearest view of truth, and the strongest hold upon it. Of the men who have essentially connected their names with the progress of the race, there has been hardly one whose mind was not trained by religious faith. There exists an essential connection of cause and effect between the life of the heart and that of the mind, and the highest walks of intellectual greatness cannot be reached without the keenness, breadth, and loftiness of vision which religion alone can supply. There are many men who exert no intellectual influence, simply because they have no moral power. They are shrewd, well-informed, and of admirable executive capacity; and yet you cannot render them confidence, because their views are all sordid, narrow, and selfish.
II. COMPARE THE LIFE OF THE AFFECTIONS AND THAT OF THE INTELLECT AS TO THE PROMISE OF SUCCESS AND ATTAINMENT. In every path of intellectual effort the prizes are but for few. But the high places of moral excellence are within the reach of all. How much nearer absolute perfection can we approach in the moral than in the intellectual life! Our growth in knowledge is growth in conscious ignorance. But of the life of the affections, of that love which mounts to the throne of God, and excludes none of His children from its embrace, the Divine Teacher has said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." The wisest men have always been outgrown in a few generations. We look down on all ancient wisdom as men used to look up to it; and future generations will learn in their infant schools truths that have but just dawned upon the greatest minds of the present day. But a good man the world never outgrows, never looks down upon.
III. COMPARE THE LIFE OF MERE INTELLECT WITH THAT OF THE AFFFCTIONS AS TO THE POWER OF RESISTING TEMPTATION. It is a common idea that a clear mind and an accurate perception of the qualities and tendencies of actions are enough to save one from moral degradation. But I have known men, second to none of our day in mental power and culture, ensnared in palpable and gross meanness, and many of the highest mental endowments sleep in early graves dug by their own profligacy. But the affections, fixed on a present God, and filling the life with charity, have power over every meaner propensity of our nature. The soul that prays has ever at hand a name in which it can bid the tempter depart.
IV. THE LIFE OF INTELLECT HAS ITS MERIDIAN AND THEN ITS DECLINE. One must expect to see more recent wisdom preferred to his own. And he who is thus set aside, if possessed of no moral resources, grows almost uniformly unhappy and misanthropic. But moral qualities fade not with declining years. The plants of our Heavenly Father's planting are all evergreens. Nor yet is the good man, in his old age, thrust aside, or willingly spared from his post of duty. Veneration and love for him only grow the more intense and tender as his steps tremble on the margin of eternity.
V. IT BECOMES EVERY PRUDENT MAN to take some account of that only event, death, which is sure to all. Did you know death to be close at hand, as it may be, is there anything in mere attainments which would nerve you to meet the last hour with serenity, confidence, and hope?
(A. Peabody, D.D.)
1. Is not the gregarious sentiment which links us to, and gives us an interest in, our species. All sentient creatures have this. It is a blessing, but not a virture. Man is no more to be praised or blamed for its existence than he is for the colour of his skin.
2. Nor is it theological love; that affection which one has for those of his faith and sect, but which will look coldly upon all besides — which reduces the gospel to a dogma, and man to a bigot.
3. Nor is it sacerdotal love — that love which speaks from ecclesiastical chairs about the cure of souls and Church extension, but whispers no accents of sympathy for the woes of the race.
4. But it is a generous moral sympathy for the race springing from love to the Creator. "If a man love God, he will love his brother also." Jesus was the incarnation of this love, the love which alone can confer real worth on humanity. Man, without this love, is nothing —
I. IN RELATION TO NATURE. As nature would be nothing to a man whose senses were sealed up, or whose reflective faculty was paralysed, so it is nothing to a man who has not a loving heart. To such a man the world is merely a larder to feed him, a wardrobe to clothe him, a market to enrich him, or, at most, a riddle to amuse his intellect. Love entering the heart of a selfish man touches all nature into a new form. To the sensual, nature is gratification; to the thinker, it is theory; to the loving, it is heaven.
II. IN RELATION TO PROVIDENCE. If I have not love, Providence ministers no real good to me. I am amidst its influences, not like the healthy man, feeling "the buoyant throbbing of new life flowing from salubrious wind and quickening scenes, but like one whose system is the subject of a mortal disease, having no power to appropriate the healthy elements. As the mortally diseased must say, I am nothing to the health-giving economy of nature, so the unloving must say, I am nothing in relation to the spiritual blessings of Providence. But love in the heart makes Providence a minister for good — and for good only. Like the bee, it transmutes the bitterest fruit into honey; like the AEolian harp, it turns the wildest wind into music. "Tribulation worketh patience,... because the love of God is shed abroad, in the heart."
III. IN RELATION TO CHRISTIANITY.
1. Christianity is a revelation of love, and none but the loving can rise to its meaning. Mind destitute of this generous element, however powerful in philosophy, etc., will be as incapable of understanding it as the wayward boy the workings of a mother's heart, or the frozen-souled miser Howard's philanthropy.
2. Still more, that "which renders us incapable of entering into its meaning, unfits at the same time from applying its overtures. It is a system of "great and precious promises," "which offer God's strength in weakness, His guidance in perplexity, etc. But is there one who, uninspired with love, dares apply a single promise?
IV. IN RELATION TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE GOOD. Wherever they exist they have the same bond of union, the same principle of inspiration, and the same standard of worth. What is that? Wealth, learning, talent, birth? Such is the corrupt state of society here, that if a man have any of these, especially the first, he is recognised as a respectable member, however cold and callous his heart. But in the great community of the good love is everything.
(D. Thomas, D.D.)I. HOW MUCH CAN IT ACHIEVE?
1. It is capable of inspiration.
2. Can penetrate to mysteries.
3. Acquire all knowledge.
II. HOW LITTLE IS IT WORTH? It cannot —
1. Change its heart.
2. Conquer sin.
3. Please God.
4. Secure heaven.
(J. Lyth, D.D.)
(Canon Liddon.)1. What is charity? St. Paul answers by giving a great number of properties of it. Which of all these is it, for if it is all at once, surely it is a name for all virtues? And what makes this conclusion still more plausible is that St. Paul calls charity "the fulfilling of the law": and our Saviour makes our whole duty consist in loving God and our neighbour. And St. James calls it "the royal law": and St. John says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."
2. It is well, by way of contrast, to consider the description of faith in Hebrews 11, which starts with a definition of it, and is then illustrated in a series of instances. How then is it that faith is of so definite a character, and love so large and comprehensive?
3. Now the reason is what at first sight is the difficulty. The difficulty is whether, if love be such as here described, it is not all virtues at once. In one sense it is, and therefore St. Paul cannot describe it more definitely. It is the root of all holy dispositions, and grows and blossoms into them: they are its parts; and when it is described, they of necessity are mentioned. Love is the material out of which all graces are made, and. as being such, it will last for ever. "Charity." or love, "never faileth." Faith and hope are graces of an imperfect state, and they cease with that state; but love is greater, because it is perfection. Faith will be lost in sight, and hope in enjoyment; but love will increase more and more to all eternity. Faith and hope are means by which we express our love: we believe God's Word, because we love it; we hope after heaven, because we love it. Faith, then, and hope are but instruments or expressions of love; but as to love itself, we do not love because we believe, for the devils believe, yet do not love; nor do we love because we hope, for hypocrites hope, who do not love. Balaam had faith and hope, but not love. "May I die the death of the righteous"! is an act of hope. "The word that the Lord putteth into my mouth, that will I speak," is an act of faith; but his conduct showed that neither his faith nor his hope was loving. The servant in the parable, who fell down at his lord's feet, and begged to be excused his debt, had both faith and hope. He believed his lord able, and he hoped him willing, to forgive him. But he had neither love of God nor of his brother. There are then two kinds of faith in God, a good and a worthless; and two kinds of hope, good and worthless: but there are not two kinds of love of God. In the text it is said, "Though I had all faith, yet without love I am nothing": it is nowhere said, "Though I have all love, without faith I am nothing." Love, then, is the seed of holiness, and grows into all excellences, not indeed destroying their peculiarities, but making them what they are.
4. But here it may be asked, whether Scripture does not make faith, not love, the root, and all graces its fruits. I think not. In our Lord's parable of the Sower we read of persons who, "when they hear, receive the word with joy," yet having no "root," fall away. Now, receiving the word with joy, surely implies faith; faith, then, is certainly distinct from the root. However, it is allowable to call faith the root, because, in a certain sense at least, works do proceed from it. And hence Scripture speaks of "faith working by love." And in this chapter we read of "faith, hope, and charity," which seems to imply that faith precedes charity (see also 1 Timothy 1:5). In what sense, then, is faith the beginning of love, and love of faith? I observe faith is the first element of religion, and love, of holiness; and as holiness and religion are distinct, yet united, so are love and faith. Faith is to love as religion to holiness; for religion is the Divine law as coming to us from without, as holiness is the acquiescence in the same law as written within. Love is meditative, tranquil, gentle, abounding in all offices of goodness and truth; and faith is strenuous and energetic, formed for this world, combating it, training the mind towards love, fortifying it in obedience, and overcoming sense and reason by representations more urgent than their own. Moreover, it is plain that, while love is the root out of which faith grows, faith by receiving the wonderful tidings of the gospel, and presenting before the soul its sacred objects, expands our love, and raises it to a perfection which otherwise it could never reach. And thus our duty lies in faith working by love; love is the sacrifice we offer to God, and faith is the sacrificer. Yet they are not distinct from each other except in our way of viewing them. Priest and sacrifice are one; the loving faith and the believing love. Faith at most only makes a hero, but love makes a saint; faith can but put us above the world, but love brings us under God's throne; faith can but make us sober, but love makes us happy.
(J. H. Newman, D.D.)etc. In fact, St. Paul balances this statement as Christ Himself would have done, and we shall follow him to-day, and balance the glory of faith by the glory of charity. The phrase is strange on the lips of the apostle who, more than all the others dwelt on faith; but for that very reason it has additional force. Note —
I. THE NEED OF THIS BALANCE.
1. There have been times when faith has been insisted on, and love put in the background. Men had faith — they did remove mountains — but they grew to be nothing because they lost love, and the mountains were only removed to be rebuilt. Wherever we look in the history of religion we find that faith without love does nothing for the progress of man.
2. There have been times when love has been so insisted on as to put the necessity for a clearly conceived statement of faith into the background.(1) Such teaching made religious life first too sentimental, and then often hysterical. The idea of God lost the sternness necessary to check sin, and the result was a widespread immorality.(2) Another form of the same thing is found in those who maintain that love to man is enough, without faith in God; and the result is that while the body is helped and the mind strengthened, the soul, left untouched, grows hard. The history of philanthropy without faith in God is written in loss of the culture of the highest feelings, in despondency, and often in revolutionary excess. Mazzini saw that with regard to the French Revolution. Faith in God, in his view and in that of all great prophets, was necessary as the balance of love of man.
II. FAITH IN GOD IS NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE OF MAN, AND NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE OF GOD.
1. It is nothing without love of man.(1) There is a faith without love which takes scorn for its companion. It arises chiefly in those who have become one-sided from having been brought up in a closed circle of opinions. They despise then those who contradict them, just as the one-sided scientist despises those who deny theories which seem proved to him, or as the extremely cultured person has scorn of him whom he calls a Philistine. The religious man suffers more than the rest, for the very life of his religion is love to man, and he ceases, in proportion as he loses love, to be religious at all. With scorn, how can you befit all things for men, believe and hope all things for them, endure all things that they may advance? The faith in God which has in it any scorn of others is without charity, and is nothing, and you who have, or seem to have it, are also nothing.(2) Another kind of faith which has a tendency to lose love — the impetuous faith. It is full of love to man, of longings for his progress. It believes and hopes all things for all men, and in idea it does not fail in love. But in practical life it sometimes sins against love for the very sake of love. Suppose that a man who feels that faith in God, as a Father of men, and in immortality as the destiny of man, are the very pillars of the universe, meet those who quietly deny these truths, he will feel this denial, not as a personal insult, as the man who scorns others does, but as an injury done to the whole human race he loves. But the intensity of his feeling will lead him into violence of his words; and forgetting that the question is for God, the advocate of charity forgets that charity doth not behave itself unseemly, and does not seek her own. The result is, his faith and he are for the time nothing. He has done harm to God's cause, and to his own influence. What should be his guard?(a) He should remember that the questions he supports do not stand by his support, but by God's. He should have truer faith; for in losing love he has also in reality lost faith. If his faith were firm, he would not think that a few doubts or many sceptics could shake the pillars of heaven.(b) And he should recall in society the words, "Love beareth all things." Make love the ceaseless companion of faith, and then faith will not fail. Make faith intense enough, and then love will not fail.
2. There is a faith in God without love of God, which is also nothing.(1) Faith in a creed only, and not in a Divine Spirit that dwells within us. Such a faith leaves you a nothing, and in itself it is nothing also — the mere froth of the wave. But love of God in marriage with faith in a creed about Him are living powers. It is all the difference between saying, "I believe that the seamen of England in some small ships destroyed the great Armada, and it is an interesting story," and saying, "I believe it, and I love my nation for it; I rejoice to belong to a people capable of such great doing, and every drop of my blood thrills when I hear the tale." That is faith and love together, and it produces results in thought and action. So mere faith in God's fatherhood is only assent to a statement; but when we feel Him as our Father, our whole heart, brimming over with love, grows passionate with desire to be like Him, and do His will.(2) Faith in God without love of Him may be faith in an abstract idea to which we give His name. We may confess Him as the Thought that makes the universe, or as the Order that keeps it in harmony, or as the Movement that builds or unbuilds it. And it is wise and right to so believe. But, first, it is not a belief which will do for the whole of life. It is not human; it may do for rocks and stones and trees, but not for men, women, and children. It may do to explain the earthquake and the outburst of the morning, but not the shattered heart or the rapture of the soul. It may satisfy us as we see the building of the crystal, but it will not satisfy us as we watch the building up of our child's character. Nor will it satisfy us as we consider through ages past the upbuilding of the human race, for into that upbuilding an almost infinite disorder seems to enter — sin and sorrow, and it would seem aimless sacrifice. Oh, then, in order to be at rest, to be able to work and worship with hope and joy, to have the heart to be something and not nothing, we must add love of God to faith in God. For only when we love Him do we understand and feel that He loves us, and that His love will make clear and right at last, not only the tangle of our child's character, but the tangled web of the whole world of men.
(Stopford A. Brooke, M.A.)
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