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1 Corinthians 13

13
The way of perfection — love
1-11And the way I will show you is the way of perfection. I may have knowledge, but it is still fragmentary, I read as it were on a mirror the reflections which I cannot yet quite make out. I prophesy partially, not fully and perfectly, and so is it with other gifts of the kind, tongues and healing and so on. These are, as it were, but the infancy of the Spirit, its first faint babblings and lispings, but love is full, complete, perfect. Here and now it is the all-inclusive, towards which all these other gifts point, and when love is fully come, there will be an end of these partial utterances of the Spirit. Therefore love is above all things necessary. What are all these other gifts without it? What is the speaking with tongues, the utterances of men or angels, without it? Merely a repetition of the old religions with the clashing of cymbals and beating of gongs. And what does it avail to prophesy, to have an intellect which can grapple with all mysteries and knowledge, and to have so powerful a faith as to be able to work miracles with it, if love is not the crown, the aim, the end of it all? It is all worthless. And to give away all your possessions without love, and to embrace martyrdom and the stake without love — how empty, how vain and worthless! For love includes all that is good — all patience, kindness, tolerance, forbearance, faith and hope; and love is antidote to all evil, all jealousy, and boasting, all ugliness, selfishness, ill-temper, evil thinking. Love can never take any pleasure in these things, the joy of love comes from truth. And so it shall come to pass that all other things will change, pass, and be no more, but love will remain. All that is partial, imperfect, incomplete must have an end, but love will never fail. 12In that perfect day of love we shall see face to face, we shall know then as now we are known, 13and though now we see faith, hope and love, these three, abiding with us, the greatest of them is love.

1 Corinthians 13

13
SONG 49
8,6,8,6
tune: Howard, 70; St. Andrew, 93.
1 Cor 13
1-13 Though perfect eloquence adorn’d
my sweet persuading tongue,
Though I could speak in higher strains
than ever angel sung;
2 Though prophecy my soul inspir’d,
and made all myst’ries plain:
Yet, were I void of Christian love,
these gifts were all in vain.
3 Nay, though my faith with boundless pow’r
ev’n mountains could remove,
I still am nothing, if I’m void
of charity and love.
4 Although with lib’ral hand I gave
my goods the poor to feed,
Nay, gave my body to the flames,
still fruitless were the deed.
5 Love suffers long; love envies not;
but love is ever kind;
She never boasteth of herself,
nor proudly lifts the mind.
6 Love harbours no suspicious thought,
is patient to the bad;
Griev’d when she hears of sins and crimes,
and in the truth is glad.
7 Love no unseemly carriage shows,
nor selfishly confin’d;
She glows with social tenderness,
and feels for all mankind.
8 Love beareth much, much she believes,
and still she hopes the best;
Love meekly suffers many a wrong,
though sore with hardship press’d.
9 Love still shall hold an endless reign
in earth and heav’n above,
When tongues shall cease, and prophets fail,
and ev’ry gift but love.
10 Here all our gifts imperfect are;
but better days draw nigh,
When perfect light shall pour its rays,
and all those shadows fly.
11 Like children here we speak and think,
amus’d with childish toys;
But when our pow’rs their manhood reach,
we’ll scorn our present joys.
12 Now dark and dim, as through a glass,
are God and truth beheld;
Then shall we see as face to face,
and God shall be unvail’d.
13 Faith, Hope, and Love, now dwell on earth,
and earth by them is blest;
But Faith and Hope must yield to Love,
of all the graces best.
14 Hope shall to full fruition rise,
and Faith be sight above:
These are the means, but this the end;
for saints for ever love.