Could I command with voice or pen
The tongues of Angels and of men,
A tinkling cymbal, sounding brass
My speech and preaching would surpass;
Vain were such eloquence to me
Without the grace of Charity.
Could I the martyr's flame endure,
Give all my goods to feed the poor;
Had I the faith from Alpine steep
To hurl the mountain to the deep,
What were such zeal, such power to me
Without the grace of Charity?
Could I behold with prescient eye
Things future as the things gone by;
Could all earthly knowledge scan,
And mete out heaven with a span,
Poor were the chief of gifts to me
Without the chiefest--Charity.
Charity suffers long, is kind,
Charity bears a humble mind,
Rejoices not when ills befall,
But glories in the weal of all;
She hopes, believes, and envies not,
Nor vaunts, nor murmurs o'er her lot.
The tongues of teachers shall be dumb,
Prophets discern not things to come,
Knowledge shall vanish out of thought,
And miracles no more be wrought,
But Charity shall never fail,
Her anchor is within the veil.
James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >