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The Qualities of Love (2 of 5)
I Corinthians 13:4
In the opening sermon in this brief series of expositions of Paul's great hymn in praise of love, I called attention to the fact that the practical problem which was confronting the apostle at this point was the problem of the divisions and factions and jealousies which prevailed in the church at Corinth. Even in this chapter in which the thought of the glory of love in itself seems to absorb and possess his soul, the distracted condition of the church at Corinth is never out of his mind. It is love as the cure for strife, love as the one sure way to unity that he is thinking of all the time. And all that reveals itself with special clearness in those qualities of love which are to engage our attention this morning. What was the real root from which the divisions in the church at Corinth sprang? They sprang from jealousy and envy. The man who spoke with tongues was jealous of the man who prophesied; the man who prophesied was jealous of the man who spoke with tongues. There was only one effectual cure for that condition of things and that was love. As the apostle says, love envieth not, love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Once the envy was vanished, the longed-for unity would return.
Love and Envy
'Love envieth not'! The apostle could not have said a more wonderful thing about love than that. For envy, according to the old Book, was the direct cause of the first crime in the story of the race, and envy is the last vice to be eradicated out of the breast of the regenerated saint. 'Of all other affections,' says Bacon, 'envy is the most importune and continual. For of other affections there is occasion given but now and then, but envy never takes a holiday, for it is ever working upon some or other. It is also the vilest affection and the most depraved: for which cause it is the proper attribute of the Devil, who is called 'The Envious Man that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night.'' T ...
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