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The necessity of love is shown, (1Co 13:1-3).
The nature and properties, (1Co 13:4-7).
The duration of it, (1Co 13:8-13)
1: Though I speak with all the tongues - Which are upon
earth, and with the eloquence of an angel. And have not
love - The love of God, and of all mankind for his sake, I am no
better before God than the sounding instruments of brass, used
in the worship of some of the heathen gods. Or a tinkling
cymbal - This was made of two pieces of hollow brass, which,
being struck together, made a tinkling, but very little
variety of sound.
2: And though I have the gift of prophecy - Of foretelling
future events. And understand all the mysteries - Both of God's
word and providence. And all knowledge - Of things divine and
human, that ever any mortal attained to. And though I have
the highest degree of miracle working faith, and have not this
love, I am nothing.
3: And though I - Deliberately, piece by piece. Give all
my goods to feed the poor, yea, though I deliver up my body to
be burned - Rather than I would renounce my religion. And have
not the love - Hereafter described. It profiteth me nothing
- Without this, whatever I speak, whatever I have, whatever I
know, whatever I do, whatever I suffer, is nothing.
4: The love of God, and of our neighbour for God's sake,
is patient toward, all men. It, suffers all the weakness,
ignorance, errors, and infirmities of the children of God;
all the malice and wickedness of the children of the world:
and all this, not only for a time, but to the end. And in
every step toward overcoming evil with good, it is kind, soft,
mild, benign. It inspires the sufferer at once with the most
amiable sweetness, and the most fervent and tender affection.
Love acteth not rashly - Does not hastily condemn any one; never
passes a severe sentence on a slight or sudden view of things.
Nor does it ever act or behave in a violent, headstrong, or
precipitate manner. Is not puffed up - Yea, humbles the soul to
5: It doth not behave indecently - Is not rude, or
willingly offensive, to any. It renders to all their due
- Suitable to time, person, and all other circumstances.
Seeketh not her own - Ease, pleasure, honour, or temporal
advantage. Nay, sometimes the lover of mankind seeketh not,
in some sense, even his own spiritual advantage; does not
think of himself, so long as a zeal for the glory of God and
the souls of men swallows him up. But, though he is all
on fire for these ends, yet he is not provoked to sharpness
or unkindness toward any one. Outward provocations indeed will
frequently occur; but he triumphs over all. Love thinketh no
evil - Indeed it cannot but see and hear evil things, and know
that they are so; but it does not willingly think evil of any;
neither infer evil where it does not appear. It tears up, root
and branch, all imagining of what we have not proof. It casts
out all jealousies, all evil surmises, all readiness to
6: Rejoiceth not in iniquity - Yea, weeps at either the
sin or folly of even an enemy; takes no pleasure in hearing or
in repeating it, but desires it may be forgotten for ever. But
rejoiceth in the truth - Bringing forth its proper fruit,
holiness of heart and life. Good in general is its glory and
joy, wherever diffused in all the world.
7: Love covereth all things - Whatever evil the lover of
mankind sees, hears, or knows of any one, he mentions it to
none; it never goes out of his lips, unless where absolute
duty constrains to speak. Believeth all things - Puts the most
favourable construction on everything, and is ever ready to
believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one
character. And when it can no longer believe well, it hopes
whatever may excuse or extenuate the fault which cannot be
denied. Where it cannot even excuse, it hopes God will at
length give repentance unto life. Meantime it endureth all
things - Whatever the injustice, the malice, the cruelty of men
can inflict. He can not only do, but likewise suffer, all
things, through Christ who strengtheneth him.
8: Love never faileth - It accompanies to, and adorns us
in, eternity; it prepares us for, and constitutes, heaven. But
whether there be prophecies, they shall fail - When all things
are fulfilled, and God is all in all. Whether there be
tongues, they shall cease - One language shall prevail among all
the inhabitants of heaven, and the low and imperfect languages
of earth be forgotten. The knowledge likewise which we now so
eagerly pursue, shall then vanish away - As starlight is lost in
that of the midday sun, so our present knowledge in the light
9: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part - The
wisest of men have here but short, narrow, imperfect
conceptions, even of the things round about them, and much
more of the deep things of God. And even the prophecies
which men deliver from God are far from taking in the whole
of future events, or of that wisdom and knowledge of God
which is treasured up in the scripture revelation.
10: But when that which is perfect is come - At death and
in the last day. That which is in part shall vanish away - Both
that poor, low, imperfect, glimmering light, which is all the
knowledge we now can attain to; and these slow and unsatisfactory
methods of attaining, as well as of imparting it to others.
11: In our present state we are mere infants in point of
knowledge, compared to what we shall be hereafter. I put away
childish things - Of my own accord, willingly, without trouble.
12: Now we see - Even the things that surround us. But
by means of a glass - Or mirror, which reflects only their
imperfect forms, in a dim, faint, obscure manner; so that
our thoughts about them are puzzling and intricate, and
everything is a kind of riddle to us. But then - We shall see,
not a faint reflection, but the objects themselves. Face to
face - Distinctly. Now I know in part - Even when God himself
reveals things to me, great part of them is still kept under
the veil. But then I shall know even as also I am known - In a
clear, full, comprehensive manner; in some measure like God,
who penetrates the centre of every object, and sees at one
glance through my soul and all things.
13: Faith, hope, love - Are the sum of perfection on
earth; love alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.