Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1–3
Words: Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book 1, 1707, number 134.
Religion vain without love.
Music: Bihar Lyman F. Brackett, in the Christian Science Hymnal (Boston, Massachusetts: Christian Science Publishing Society, 1909), number 14 (🔊 pdf nwc).
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 inspired to preach and tell
All that is done in Heav’n and hell,
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still I am nothing without love.
Should I distribute all my store
To feed the bowels of 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 work of love can e’er fulfill.