Christian Love,
or the Influence of Religion upon Temper

By John Angell James, 1828


A work which the Author published a few years since, on the Duties of Church Members, concludes with the following sentence—"Let us remember that HUMILITY and LOVE are the necessary fruits of our doctrines, the highest beauty of our character, and the guardian angels of our churches." To prove and elucidate this sentiment, and to state at greater length than it was possible for him to do in that treatise, the nature, operations, and importance of Love--he was induced to enter upon a series of sermons on the chapter which is the subject of this volume. These Discourses, although, of course, very practical, were heard with much attention and apparent interest. Before they were finished, many requests were presented for their publication; a promise was given to that effect, and the intention announced to the public. On a further inspection of his notes, the Author saw so little that was either novel, or on any account worthy to meet the public eye, that he had for two years quite abandoned his intention of printing. Circumstances which need not be mentioned, together with frequent inquiries from his friends after the forthcoming treatise, drew his attention again to the subject a few months since, and revived the original purpose of sending from the press the substance of these plain and practical discourses. That intention is now executed; with what results the sovereign grace of Jehovah, to whom it is humbly commended, must determine.

The Author can easily suppose, that among many other faults which the scrutinizing eye of criticism will discover in his work, and which its stern voice will condemn, one is the repetitions, of which in some places, it appears to be guilty. In answer to this, he can only remark, that in the discussion of such a subject, where the parts are divided by almost imperceptible lines, and softened down so much into each other, he found it very difficult to avoid this repetition, which after all, is perhaps not always a fault—at least not a capital one.

"Truth and love are two of the most powerful things in the world—and when they both go together, they cannot easily be withstood. The golden beams of Truth, and the silken cords of Love, twisted together, will draw men with a sweet violence—whether they will or not." Cudworth

"If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever. There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13