The Greatest Thing in the World review

Looking at the last three books I’ve posted, one might reasonably assume that I’ve been on a Soviet kick lately. That’s true in both the short term and long term, considering I’ve been interested in Russian literature for over half of my life. Yet it is not the only kick I’ve been on this year. Take the 19th century Scottish kick, for example. In the past year I have read Thomas Carlyle, Sir James George Frazer, George MacDonald, and now Henry Drummond. I’ve read these authors more for their subjects than for their common background, but I do find that to be noteworthy as well. I read MacDonald because he was admired by an author whom I admire, C.S. Lewis. I read this book by Drummond because it impressed another man I admire, John D. Clemens, my grandfather. A few years ago my grandfather felt compelled to record some of the influences that helped him curb his temper. He put his recollections into a letter that he sent out to his extended family. I read this letter recently and discovered that this book by Henry Drummond had so impressed him that he intended to acquire enough copies to provide one to each of his descendants. Unfortunately he passed away before he could accomplish this goal. As a book buyer I found myself in the unique position of being able to carry out this wish of my late grandfather.

Simply buying the books isn’t enough to honor his legacy, however. His desire was that we read it and allow it to have a positive influence in our lives, as it did his. This book is a meditation on 1 Corinthians chapter 13, which is the apostle Paul’s teachings regarding charity. Drummond asserts that love is greater than charity, as a whole is greater than one of its parts. Those who define charity as being the pure love of Christ will not need to make that distinction; Paul’s charity and Drummond’s love are interchangeable. Love is the greatest thing in the world according to them both. The book expounds on all of the aspects of love as defined by Paul. In regard to temper, Drummond says that it is the denial of love, and is therefore one of the most harmful sins, one that afflicts even the most noble characters. “The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous.” This book helped my grandfather rid himself of the vice of temper, and I intend to follow his example.

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One Response to “The Greatest Thing in the World review”

  1. Steve Doan Says:

    I have just finished a few of Drummond’s essays. I find them deeply stirring. He makes a strong case for taking love as the Way, or maybe the Tao(Lewis?) Anyway his argument that sanctified human ambition must be the love of our fellow man is a compelling vision.

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