Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 13\\

This chapter is taken up in the commendation of the grace of charity,
or love, which is preferred to all gifts whatsoever; is described by
its properties and effects, and particularly its duration; on which
account it is represented as more excellent than other principal
graces. The apostle prefers it to gifts, by which it appears to be the
more excellent way, he speaks of in the latter part of the preceding
chapter: he begins with the gift of tongues, which without charity
makes a man noisy, but not spiritual, \\#1Co 13:1\\ he next mentions
the gifts of knowledge of the mysteries of the Gospel, and of preaching
them; and also the gift of working miracles, on the account of which a
man thinks himself something, and yet with all these, not having the
grace of love, he is nothing, \\#1Co 13:2\\ to which he adds alms deeds
and martyrdom, and observes, that a man may do the one in the most
extensive manner, and suffer the other in the most dreadful shape; and
yet if love be wanting, from whence, as a principle, all actions and
sufferings should flow, these will be of no avail, \\#1Co 13:3\\ and
then the apostle proceeds to describe and commend this grace, by its
effects and properties, and that in sixteen particulars; by which it
appears to be exceeding useful, and what adorns and recommends the
person possessed of it, \\#1Co 13:4-8\\ and enlarges upon the last,
namely, the duration and perpetuity of it; showing that the gifts of
knowledge, speaking with tongues, and preaching, shall fail, but this
will not, \\#1Co 13:8\\ the failure of these gifts he proves from the
imperfection of them, which therefore must be removed in a perfect
state of things, \\#1Co 13:9,10\\ this he illustrates, by comparing the
present imperfect state to childhood, and the future one to manhood,
which he exemplifies in himself, \\#1Co 13:11\\ the imperfect knowledge
of the one he compares to looking at objects through a glass, and to an
enigma, riddle, or dark saying; and the perfect knowledge of the other,
to seeing face to face, without any artificial help, \\#1Co 13:12\\ and
he concludes this excellent commendation of charity by observing, that
it is not only preferable to gifts, but even to graces, and these the
more eminent, and which are abiding graces too, as faith and hope; and
yet charity exceeds these, both as to its duration and use, \\#1Co 13:13\\.