Some classic Forsyth on the Church, its worship and its service

‘The greatest product of the Church is not brotherly love but divine worship. And we shall never worship right nor serve right till we are more engrossed with our God than even with our worship, with His reality than our piety, with His Cross than our service. It is well to dream and to talk much of brotherly love. But the brethren who love best and the love that loves longest are made by the Gospel. It is this they confess in loving, as they confess it in other ways also. Christian charity is not the sweet reasonableness of culture, nor is it natural kindliness of temper. To the lover of righteousness it does not come easy. It grows only on the stem of Christian faith, which is the tree of the Cross and its righteousness. The good live by faith and work by love. Never did Paul dream that his song of Christian love would be turned to belittle or to belabour the Christian faith on which alone it grows. The Church is the greatest product of history, and the greatest product of the Church is a holiness answering the holiness that made it, which is Holy Love. The first commandment of the Cross is “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Its call is for the confession, worship, and service of that divine Holiness of love which is the spring of our Redemption. The service of God is the root, the service of man is but the fruit. True, by their fruits shall we know them; but not produce them. The fruits are the evidence, not the principles. Love does more to show faith than to produce it. Grace produces it. We live by that faith in holy Love whose fruit is to be a love not only kind, but, still more, holy’. – Peter T. Forsyth, The Church and the Sacraments (London: Independent Press, 1947), 25–6.

Today is PT Forsyth’s birthday.


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