1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,…
These features are —
I. MANIFOLD. There are some landscapes that are almost tame; some faces not featureless, but not marked and vivid. Not so with love. It is the landscape of Devonshire rather than Lincolnshire; of Switzerland rather than Holland. Read this description — there is no monotony, eye bright, brow clear, lips strong and definite.
1. There is the presence of all that could complete character. Patience, kindness, joy, fortitude. "Strength and beauty are in the sanctuary"; the full diapason of the music of morals.
2. There is the absence of any element that could be disfigurement or discord. "Envieth not, is not puffed up," etc.
III. BEAUTIFUL. There is not one virtue in this description that is not like a splendid Corinthian column. Nothing deforms the landscape, nothing disfigures the face. Rather every element heightens the loveliness. There is not only a wealth, but a wealth of the beauties of love.
IV. PERMANENT. "The grass withers, the flowers fade"; even "the human face Divine" grows old, the brow wrinkled, the eye dim, the mouth weak. The beauty of love is imperishable. "Love never faileth." The word "faileth" pictures either a flower whose petals never fall off, or an actor "who is never hissed off the stage, has its part to play on the stage of eternity."
(U. R. Thomas.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,