Scripture Verse

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

Introduction

portrait
Isaac Watts
(1674–1748)

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).

Alternate Tune:

  • Hogarth, in Wor­ship in the School Room, ed­it­ed by Will­iam T. Wy­lie (New York: Scher­mer­horn, Ban­croft, 1865), page 252 (🔊 pdf nwc)

Lyrics

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.