The Greatest Thing In The World: The Analysis

Posted in Books, Faith, Greatest Thing, Religion on  | 3 minutes | 2 Comments →

*The following is reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond, p.22-24, Spire Books, ISBN unknown

After contrasting Love with these things, Paul, in three verses, very short, gives us an amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is. I ask you to look at it. It is a compound thing, he tells us. It is like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colours–red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colours of the rainbow–so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?

The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:

  • Patience . . . . . . “Love suffereth long.”
  • Kindness . . . . . . “And is kind.”
  • Generosity . . . . “Love envieth not.”
  • Humility . . . . . . “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
  • Courtesy . . . . . . “Doth not behave itself unseemly.”
  • Unselfishness . . “Seeketh not her own.”
  • Good Temper . . “Is not easily provoked.”
  • Guilelessness . . “Thinketh no evil.”
  • Sincerity . . . . . . “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

Patience; kindness; generosity; humility; courtesy; unselfishness; good temper; guilelessness; sincerity—these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man. You will observe that all are in relation to men, in relation to life, in relation to the known today and the near tomorrow, and not to the unknown eternity. We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth. Religion is not a strange or added thing, but the inspiration of the secular life, the breathing of an eternal spirit through this temporal world. The supreme thing, in short, is not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.

There is no time to do more than make a passing note upon each of these ingredients. Love is Patience. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things. For Love understands, and therefore waits.


  1. Ronin


    cl wrote:

    …We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth.

    That is an interesting observation cl. I think the problem with [some] Christians (including myself) is that we don’t live life as read in Acts.* We think of heaven as something to look forward to, but we forget or do not live out as if the kingdom is here and now.

    Love is certainly a big task for the Christian, and it is something that every Christian should reflect on. I have found it hard to be patient, which leads me to being “easily provoked” at certain times.

    This is an interesting topic, but I do have to get back to work. I’ll try to comment later as time permits. Thanks for your thoughts and the references to the book.

    * A Christian’s life should stand out in a positive manner to everyone around them, since they are being empowered by God.

  2. cl



    I have found it hard to be patient, which leads me to being “easily provoked” at certain times.

    Me too. Tomorrow’s post is for us…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *