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Greatest Thing In The World -by Henry Drummond
PAUL begins by contrasting
Love with other things that men in those days thought much
of. I shall not attempt to go over those things in detail.
Their inferiority is already obvious.
He contrasts it with eloquence.
And what a noble gift it is, the power of playing upon the
souls and wills of men, and rousing them to lofty purposes
and holy deeds. Paul says, "If I speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as
sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." And we all know
why. We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion,
the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness, of eloquence
behind which lies no Love.
He contrasts it with prophecy.
He contrasts it with mysteries. He contrasts it with faith.
He contrasts it with charity. Why is Love greater than faith?
Because the end is greater than the means. And why is it
greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than
the part. Love is greater than faith, because the end is
greater than the means. What is the use of having faith?
It is to connect the soul with God. And what is the object
of connecting man with God? That he may become like God.
But God is Love. Hence Faith, the means, is in order to
Love, the end. Love, therefore, obviously is greater than
faith. It is greater than charity, again, because the whole
is greater than a part. Charity is only a little bit of
Love, one of the innumerable avenues of Love, and there
may even be, and there is, a great deal of charity without
Love. It is a very easy thing to toss a copper to a beggar
on the street; it is generally an easier thing than not
to do it. Yet Love is just as often in the withholding.
We purchase relief from the sympathetic feelings roused
by the spectacle of misery, at the copper's cost. It is
too cheap--too cheap for us, and often too dear for the
beggar. If we really loved him we would either do more for
him, or less.
Then Paul contrasts it with
sacrifice and martyrdom. And I beg the little band of would-be
missionaries and I have the honour to call some of you by
this name for the first time--to remember that though you
give your bodies to be burned, and have not Love, it profits
nothing--nothing! You can take nothing greater to the heathen
world than the impress and reflection of the Love of God
upon your own character. That is the universal language.
It will take you years to speak in Chinese, or in the dialects
of India. From the day you land, that language of Love,
understood by all, will be pouring forth its unconscious
eloquence. It is the man who is the missionary, it is not
his words. His character is his message. In the heart of
Africa, among the great Lakes, I have come across black
men and women who remembered the only white man they ever
saw before--David Livingstone; and as you cross his footsteps
in that dark continent, men's faces light up as they speak
of the kind Doctor who passed there years ago. They could
not understand him; but they felt the Love that beat in
his heart. Take into your new sphere of labour, where you
also mean to lay down your life, that simple charm, and
your lifework must succeed. You can take nothing greater,
you need take nothing less. It is-not worth while going
if you take anything less. You may take every accomplishment;
you may be braced for every sacrifice; but if you give your
body to be burned, and have not Love, it will profit you
and the cause of Christ nothing.