For tho' I should speak with the eloquence of men, and of angels, and not have social affection, I should be like sounding brass, or a noisy cymbal.
now if your brother be endanger'd by your eating, you violate the obligations of love: for such a matter as eating, will you risk his life, for whom Christ died?
Now as to things offered to idols, 'tis certain that the knowledge you all pretend to have, swells you with pride, but 'tis charity that edifieth.
for to one the spirit gives the knowledge of the prophetical writings; to another the same spirit gives the knowledge of the doctrines of religion;
and if the ear should say, "because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;" is it therefore not of the body?
are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
and tho' I should have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and tho' I had all the faith necessary to remove mountains, and had no benevolence, it would signify nothing.
Social affection will never fail: but as for prophecies, they shall be out of use; as for languages, they shall cease; as for knowledge, it shall vanish away.
for instance, brethren, if I deliver myself to you in an unknown tongue, what good shall I do you, except I deliver to you the meaning of what is said, whether it relate to revelation, to mystical knowledge, to prophecy, or to doctrine.
this I know, that he was snatch'd up into paradise, and heard such secrets as it is not lawful for a man to reveal.
for in the christian-dispensation, neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but an active benevolent faith.
but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, sweetness of disposition, beneficence, faithfulness, meekness, temperance:
such a charge will produce that charity, which arises from purity, from a good conscience, and a sincere belief:
but above all, let your mutual benevolence be intense, for benevolence cancels a multitude of offences.
when their language swells with vanity, by applying to the sensual passions of the licentious, they allure those who were escap'd for a while, from such deceivers:
to this he will reply, I declare unto you, your not doing this for one of the least of these, is the same thing as not doing it for me.