Monday, November 26, 2012

Watts: Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews

Monday, November 26, 2012
    Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748
    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    —1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nobler speech than angels use;
If love be absent, I am found,
Like tinkling brass, an empty sound.

Were I inspir’d to preach, and tell
All that is done in heaven and hell;
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still—I am nothing without love.

Should I distribute all my store,
To feed the hung’ry, clothe the poor;
Or give my body to the flame,
To gain a martyr’s glorious name;—

If love to God, and love to men,
Be absent—all my hopes are vain:
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,
The works of love can e’er fulfil.
    ... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, n. 134, p. 360 (see the book)
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, take away my excuses for failing in love.

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