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The way of perfection — love
1-11And the way I will show you is the way of perfection. I may have knowledge, but it is still fragmentary, I read as it were on a mirror the reflections which I cannot yet quite make out. I prophesy partially, not fully and perfectly, and so is it with other gifts of the kind, tongues and healing and so on. These are, as it were, but the infancy of the Spirit, its first faint babblings and lispings, but love is full, complete, perfect. Here and now it is the all-inclusive, towards which all these other gifts point, and when love is fully come, there will be an end of these partial utterances of the Spirit. Therefore love is above all things necessary. What are all these other gifts without it? What is the speaking with tongues, the utterances of men or angels, without it? Merely a repetition of the old religions with the clashing of cymbals and beating of gongs. And what does it avail to prophesy, to have an intellect which can grapple with all mysteries and knowledge, and to have so powerful a faith as to be able to work miracles with it, if love is not the crown, the aim, the end of it all? It is all worthless. And to give away all your possessions without love, and to embrace martyrdom and the stake without love — how empty, how vain and worthless! For love includes all that is good — all patience, kindness, tolerance, forbearance, faith and hope; and love is antidote to all evil, all jealousy, and boasting, all ugliness, selfishness, ill-temper, evil thinking. Love can never take any pleasure in these things, the joy of love comes from truth. And so it shall come to pass that all other things will change, pass, and be no more, but love will remain. All that is partial, imperfect, incomplete must have an end, but love will never fail. 12In that perfect day of love we shall see face to face, we shall know then as now we are known, 13and though now we see faith, hope and love, these three, abiding with us, the greatest of them is love.
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