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The Gift of Love


If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

5. Doth not behave itself unseemly Erasmus renders it “Is not disdainful;” but as he quotes no author in support of this interpretation, I have preferred to retain its proper and usual signification. I explain it, however, in this way — that love does not exult in a foolish ostentation, or does not bluster, but observes moderation and propriety. And in this manner, he again reproves the Corinthians indirectly, because they shamefully set at naught all propriety by an unseemly haughtiness. 786786     The proper meaning of the verb ασχήμονειν, is to offend against decorum See Eurip. Hec 407. — Ed

Seeketh not its own. From this we may infer, how very far we are from having love implanted in us by nature; for we are naturally prone to have love and care for ourselves, and aim at our own advantage. Nay, to speak more correctly, we rush headlong into it. 787787     “Nons sommes transportez-la, et nous-nous y iettons sans moderation aucune;” — “We are hurried into it, and rush into it without any restraint. For so perverse an inclination the remedy 788788     “Le remede unique,” — “The only remedy.” is love, which leads us to leave off caring for ourselves, and feel concerned for our neighbors, so as to love them and be concerned for their welfare. Farther, to seek one’s own things, 789789     “Car il y a ainsi a le traduire mot a mot;” — “For that is the literal meaning.” is to be devoted to self, and to be wholly taken up with concern for one’s own advantage. This definition solves the question, whether it is lawful for a Christian to be concerned for his own advantage? for Paul does not here reprove every kind of care or concern for ourselves, but the excess of it, which proceeds from an immoderate and blind attachment to ourselves. Now the excess lies in this — if we think of ourselves so as to neglect others, or if the desire of our own advantage calls us off from that concern, which God commands us to have as to our neighbors. 790790     Granville Penn translates the clause as follows: “Seeketh not what is not its own,” — in accordance with the reading of the Vat. MS. Οὐ ζητεῖ τὰ μὴ εαυτὢς (Seeketh not the things that are not its own.) He supposes the μὢ (not) to have “lapsed, or been erroneously rejected from all the later copies.” — Ed He adds, that love is also a bridle to repress quarrels, and this follows from the first two statements. For where there is gentleness and forbearance, persons in that case do not, on a sudden, become angry, and are not easily stirred up to disputes and contests. 791791     The last clause of the verse, which is in our translation, thinketh no evil, is rendered by Bishop Pearce, “meditateth no mischief” — a sense in which the expression (p.424) λογιζεσθαι κακον occurs in the Septuagint, in Psalm 35:4, and 41:7. It is beautifully rendered by Bloomfield, “does not enter it into a note-book, for future revenge. — Ed

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