In his epistle, James explains the necessity of both faith and works for salvation. He encourages us to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22) and says, “for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). These works include charity and service to our fellow men. James declares “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27)”.
In this painting from 2012, Jonathan Linton visualizes the way faith, hope and charity work together. The virtues are personified by three female figures, posed in the style of classical muses. Drawing on Alma’s preaching about these virtues in Alma 32, Linton shows the three figures caring for a tender plant growing from a seed.
The artist explained, “The kneeling figure of Faith actively beckons to all with her right hand as she carefully nurtures a young plant that she has planted. Hope, the figure on the right, waits patiently and expectantly for the fruit the plant will one day produce as she looks toward the standing figure of Charity. Charity, the ‘pure love of Christ,’ which ‘never faileth, stands above the other figures, representing the transcendence of Charity as Paul so eloquently describes in 1 Corinthians 13. Charity holds the light which gives life to the growing plant so that it ‘swelleth, and sprouteth,’ and eventually flourishes and bears fruit. The figures reside in a dark and barren landscape, which represents mortal cares and strife — yet the eventual triumph of good, represented by the light on the distant horizon, will disperse the clouds and allow the light of God’s love to flood the earth and make the desert blossom.”-Jennifer Champoux, Director