1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed.
Love Never FailethJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 13:8
The Great Duty of Charity RecommendedGeorge Whitefield 1 Corinthians 13:8
What LastsAlexander Maclaren1 Corinthians 13:8
CharityF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
CharityA. F. Barfield.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
CharityJ. Garbett, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity Difficult of AttainmentDr. Duff.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Emblem Of1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Regard ForJ. Thomson.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Want Of, not Confined to Theological CirclesJ. Parker1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Charity, Worthlessness of Gifts WithoutJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian CharityJ. Parsons.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian Charity1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian LoveD. C. Hughes, A.M.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Christian LoveW. M. Blackburn, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Eloquence Without CharityD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Far, But not Far EnoughBp. Ryle.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love is God-LikeE. H. Bradby, M. A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, Charm OfW. Jay.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, Comprehensiveness OfJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, the Essence of Christianity1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love, the Essence of ReligionJohn Wesley.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Extent OfBaldwin Brown, B.A.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: from God the SourceJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Gifts Compared WithJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Growth and Power OfH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Importance OfJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Indispensableness OfU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: no Gift Like ItM. Dods, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: Power and Office OfPrincipal Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Gauge of True ManhoodH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Importance OfTryon Edwards, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Life of the SoulR. South, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Sum of All VirtueJonathan Edwards1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Love: the Test of ReligionJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Apostolic Doctrine of LoveDean Stanley.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Importance of CharityR. Watson.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Unreality of Religion Without LoveF. St. John Corbett.1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Censorious JudgmentJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Censorious Judgments -- Their Evil EffectsH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
CensoriousnessJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity BenignantJ. Angell James.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Disposes Us Meekly to Bear InjuriesJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Disposes Us to Do GoodJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Doth not Behave Itself UnseemlyA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Inconsistent with an Envious SpiritJ. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity is ConsiderateW. Baxendale.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not BoastfulA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not Easily ProvokedBp. Burnet.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not Easily Provoked1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not EnviousJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not EnviousA. Donnan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not ProudJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not UncourteousJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity not VainJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Opposed to CensoriousnessJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Opposed to Vanity and PrideJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Seeketh not Her OwnE. D. Griffin, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity the Opposite of a Selfish Spirit1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity the Opposite of an Angry SpiritJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilJ. A. James.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Thinketh no EvilD. J. Burrell, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Vaunteth not ItselfFamily Circle1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christ Sought not His OwnJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian LoveIsaac Taylor.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian LoveCanon D. J. Vaughan.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Christian Self-SacrificeW. W. Woodworth.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
DetractionJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Diffidence of LoveH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Disinterestedness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Features of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
IrritabilityJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Irritable Temper: Unrestrained, and Restrained by GraceDean Hook.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Longsuffering and Kindness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love as a RegulatorD. W. Pratt, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Doth not Behave Itself, UnseemlyJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is KindJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is not Easily ProvokedJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Seeketh not Her OwnJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Seeketh not Her OwnJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love SufferethJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Suffereth LongC. Garrett.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Thinketh no EvilH. J. W. Buxton.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love Vaunteth not Itself, is not Puffed UpJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love; Seeketh not Her Own1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On CandourH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On EnvyH. Blair, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
On the Government of the TemperA. R. Beard.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Pleasant BehaviourBrooke Herford.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Grace of CharityR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Kindness of Christian CharityJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Kindness of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Long-Suffering of ChastityJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Patience of Christ's Love1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Patience of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Seemliness of the Charity of ChristJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Spirit of Charity an Humble Spirit1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Thinketh no EvilThe Brooklet.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
UnseemlinessJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Unselfish PeopleT. L. Cuyler.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Unselfishness Makes Happiness1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Vaunting Inconsistent with LoveJ. B. Wilkinson, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity Abiding: Gifts TransientJ. H. Hinton.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Enduring: Gifts TransientJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Never FailethJ. T. Smith, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Never FailethJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Never FailethThornley Smith.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Never FailethJ. A. James.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Towards the DeadW. Baxendale.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity Unfailing and EverlastingJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Heaven, a World of LoveJ. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Knowledge in PartE. E. Hale, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Knowledge Vanisheth AwayProf. Henry Drummond.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Life: Partial and PerfectBenjamin Waugh.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Love Never FailsHom. Review1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Now I Know in PartC. A. Bartol.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Holy Spirit for EverJon. Edwards.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Immortality of LoveD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Imperishableness of LoveU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Limitations of KnowledgeBp. Westcott.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Vanishing GnosisA. Jessopp, M.A.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Transitiveness of GiftsJ. Cross, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
We Know in PartW. B. O. Peabody, D.D.1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Permanence of LoveC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Why is it that the numerous objects around us are transient? On every side they appeal to us, connect themselves with hope and fear, enter into our business, awaken enterprise and ambition, and even inspire ardent love; yet they are ever passing away. Now, there must be a discipline in all this, and Christianity assures us what it means. It is that we may be trained in the midst of evanescence for that which is permanent. And this presupposes that there is not only an immortal soul in man, but that, by reason of his present organization and its relations, certain of his functions and acquirements are purely temporary, while others are to live forever. In fact, there are functions and acquirements which do not wait for the death of the body. They fulfil their purpose and expire long before age overtakes us. Yet, says Wordsworth —

"Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe
Abundant recompense." It is in the spirit of a true and noble Christian philosophy that this great moral poet of the century sees no cause to "mourn nor murmur" because our nature has a rejecting instinct, which, as God ordains, throws off and leaves behind it tastes and habits that were once very useful as well as precious. Keeping in mind, then, that this rejecting instinct is an organic part of our constitution and has its allotted functions to discharge, we can appreciate all the more St. Paul's line of thought in the closing verses of this chapter. "Love never faileth." Its existence, activity, manifestation, will be perpetuated. The wonderful spiritual gifts of which he had said so much - prophecy, the ability to speak with tongues, knowledge - these should cease to exist. Although they proceeded from the Holy Ghost and were mightily instrumental for good in the incipient work of the Church, yet, nevertheless, they were to terminate. Scaffoldings were they all, useful as such, subserving most important ends, but mere scaffoldings, that could no longer remain when the edifice had been finished. What, then, is the ideal of the Church? it is not splendid endowments, for they are doomed to extinction, but the love "that never faileth." Whether the passing away of these gifts refers to the apostolic age or to "the age to come," matters nothing, since the idea of their discontinuation, rather than of the time it should occur, is foremost in St. Paul's mind. Imagine, then, his conception of love, when he could contemplate the Church as a vast body laying off these mighty accompaniments of its career, and yet, so far from being weakened, would be girded afresh with a power more resplendent and display it in a form infinitely more majestic. Disrobed of these habiliments, its contour would appear in the perfection of sublimity; its anatomy as an organism would be, as it were, transparent; the whole framework, the various parts, the ligaments binding them together, the circulating lifeblood, would disclose the single animating principle of love. Would it startle the Corinthians to learn that even knowledge should vanish away? "We know in part, and we prophesy in part." All knowledge cannot be meant, for love itself includes much knowledge, and, in its absence, would be simply emotional intensity. To possess the mere faculty of knowing would be worthless, if the mind could not retain the contents of knowledge and make them a portion integrally of itself. What the apostle teaches is that such knowledge as stands related to the present state and time, and grows directly out of imperfect human development, and shares the condition of all things earthly, is short lived and must terminate. Tongues shall cease, but the gift of speech shall not be lost. And he explains himself by saying that the gifts relating to prophecy and tongues were only partial, were exclusively adapted to a preliminary state of experience and activity, and completed their purpose in a temporary spiritual economy. We are here under specific, no less than general limitations, and, in certain directions, we are restrained more than in others. What the Spirit looks to is not knowledge alone, but to its moral aspects as well; to humility, meekness, self abasement, when the intellect is strongest, freest, and boldest; nor will he expand the understanding and its expressional force for their own sakes, but develop them only so far as subservient to an object higher than their immediate ends. Partial information, partial command of our mental faculties, partial uses of even the wisdom we possess - this is the law of limitation and restraint, under which the complex probation of intellect, sensibility, volition, aspiration, and outward activity, works out immeasurable results. Therefore, he argues, we now know and prophesy "in part;" at the best, we are fragmentary and incomplete; and yet this imperfection is connected with a perfect system and leads up to it. The perfection will come; the existing economy is its foreshadowing; nor could knowledge give any rational account of itself, nor could prophecy and tongues vindicate their worth, if the fuller splendours, of which these are faint escapes of light, were not absolute certainties of the future. Only when the "perfect is come" shall that which is "in part" be "done away." Institutions founded in providence and upheld by the Spirit are left to no chance or accident as to continuance, decay, extinction. God comes into them, abides, departs, according to the counsel of his will. If he numbers our days as living men, and keeps our times in his hand; if only his voice says, "Return, ye children of men;" - this is equally true of institutions. For the dead dust, man makes a grave; but the life of individuals, institutions, government, society, even the Church, is in God's keeping, and he alone says, "Return." How shall St. Paul set forth the relation of the partial to the perfect? A truth lacks something if it cannot be illustrated, and a teacher is very defective in ability when he cannot find a resemblance or an analogy to make his meaning more perspicuous and vivid. Truth and teacher have met in this magnificent chapter on ground reserved, we may venture to say, for their special occupancy and companionship. The great teacher sees the sublimest of truths in a glowing light, and most unlike Paul would he be if no illustration came to hand spontaneously. Is there something in the more hallowed moments of the soul that suddenly reinstates the sense of childhood? "When I was a child" in the heathen city of Tarsus, the capital of a Roman province; the mountains of Taurus and the luxuriant plain and the flowing Cydnus near by; the crowded streets and gay population and excited groups of talkers pressing on eye and ear; the festivals of paganism; the strange contrasts of these with the life in his Jewish home; his training under the parental roof; the daily reminders of the Law and the traditions of the Pharisees; what thoughts were they? Only those of a child, understood and spoken as a child. No ordinary child could he have been. Providence was shaping him then for an apostle, so that while the holy child Jesus was growing "in wisdom and stature" amid the hills of Nazareth and in the nursery of the virgin mother's heart, there was far away in Cilicia a boy not much younger, who was in rearing there, under very unlike circumstances, to be his chosen apostle to the Gentile world. Yet the boy Saul was but a child, and thought and spake "as a child." But is childhood disallowed and set off in sharp contrast with manhood? Nay; childhood is of God no less than manhood as to quality of being. What is contrasted is the childishness in the one case and the perfected manhood in the other. So that we suppose the apostle to mean that whatsoever is initial, immature, provisional, in the child, has been put away to make room for something better. The better implies the good, a childish good, indeed, and yet a good from the hand of God however mixed with earthly imperfections. Another movement occurs in the leading thought. Can one think of knowledge without an involuntary recurrence of the symbol of light? The symbol has quite supplanted the thing signified, and the enlightened man is more honoured than the knowing man. St. Paul proceeds to say, "Now we see through a glass, darkly;" the revealed Word of God is conveyed to us "in symbols and words which but imperfectly express them" (Hodge, Delitzsch); and yet, while there is a "glass" or mirror, and the knowledge or vision of Divine things is "darkly" given, there is a real knowledge, a true and blessed knowledge, for "we see." Enough is made intelligible for all the purposes of the spiritual mind, for all spiritual uses, in all spiritual relationships of comprehension, conscience, volition, affection, brotherhood; enough for probation, responsibility, culture, and lifetime growth. What in us is denied? Only curiosity, excessive appetencies of the faculties, habits of perception and judging superinduced in the intellect by the sensational portion of our nature, - these are denied their morbid gratification. A plethora of evidence is denied that faith may have its sphere. Over strength and over constraint of motive are denied that the will may be left free. Violent impulses of feeling are denied that the heart may be intense without wild and erratic enthusiasm, treasuring its life of peaceful blessedness in unfathomable depths like the ocean, that keeps its mass of waters in the vast hollows of the globe and uses the hills and mountains only to shape its shores. On the other hand, what is granted to the mind in the revelation of Divine truth? Such views of God in Christ as the soul can realize in its present condition and thereby form the one master habit of a probationary being, viz. How to see God in Christ. At present, we can only begin to see as by reflection in a mirror; and, as in the education of the senses to the finer work of earthly life the cultivation of the eye is the slowest and most exacting, the longest, the most difficult, and that too because the eye is the noblest of the special senses, so learn we, and not without much patient exertion, and oft repeated efforts to see God in Christ as made known in his gospel and providence and Holy Spirit. Yet the mirror trains the eye and prepares it to see God through no such intervening medium. The promised vision is open, full, immediate. We shall see him "face to face," says St. Paul. "We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is," declares St. John. And then partial knowledge shall expand into perfect knowledge, and we shall know after a new and Divine manner, for nothing less than this is the assurance: Know as we are known. "Glorious hymn to Christian love," as Dr. Farrar calls this chapter, what shall be its closing strain? "And now abideth" (remains or continues) - the same duration as compared with the evanescence of extraordinary gifts being ascribed to the three - "and now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love." Who can doubt it after reading this chapter? Here it stands beside the great gifts of the "tongues of men and of angels," and of the prophetic insight, and of miracle working, and of philanthropy and martyrdom, and, amid this splendid array, love is greatest. In what it does, it is greatest. In what it is, it is greatest. Here, finally, it is grouped with faith and hope, and yet the light that irradiates its form and features from the glory of God in the face or' Jesus Christ is a lustre beyond that of the other two, because the "greatest of these is love." - L.

Charity never faileth;... prophecies shall fail;... tongues shall cease;... knowledge shall vanish away.
I. AS THE LIVING PRINCIPLE IN THE HEART OF BELIEVERS. In its essence it is the love of God within a man. It may vary indeed in its apparent intensity. It may seem almost extinguished; but, like the fire on the altar of sacrifice, it still exists, and is soon fanned up again into a flame when Jesus smiles. "Of itself," says Poole, "it will never desert a man in this life, unless it be first deserted by him through deadly sin."


1. View it in any of its manifestations.(1) Beneficence and self-denying liberality — "the poor ye have always with you"; and a claim ever arises from these.(2) Forgiveness of injuries, while these abound — and so long as human nature is what it is they will abound — every day affords occasions in which it is called for.(3) Kindness and forbearance to the faults and failings of others: in the present imperfect state such must ever be expected.

2. Nor less than this is it adapted to all circumstances and situations of life: to the poor and the rich, etc. There is no position in which the believer can possibly be found in which charity will not be an ornament and a delight. It will add glory to, and preserve the soul from, the dangers of the day of prosperity; and it will equally cheer it in the day of adversity.

3. It is adapted to every period of time, to the hour of death, to the day of judgment, yea, to heaven itself.

4. And so, in a more extended sense, and as regards the condition of the Church, no less than in individual cases. It is adapted to times of persecution and to times of peace; when the world frowns or when the world smiles. Charity is the best preservative against, as it is the only cure for, those petty jealousies which equally disgrace the Church and dishonour God.

III. IN SUPPLYING MOTIVES TO EXERTION IN THE REDEEMER'S CAUSE. In its comprehensiveness, it takes in the entire race, and aims at no lower object than to "make known His ways upon earth; His saving health among all nations."

IV. AS TO THE DURABILITY OF ITS EXISTENCE. It will last for ever, and live in heaven, as the life of glory there. Death cannot annihilate it. "Love is heaven, and heaven is love." To have it, therefore, now is to possess the foretaste of eternal joys.

(J. T. Smith, M.A.)

Observe —


1. Prophecy must be accomplished.

2. Tongues superseded.

3. Knowledge vanish before a brighter manifestation.


1. Its work is never done.

2. Its necessity can never be superseded.

3. Its expression may be perfected, but in heaven as on earth its nature is the same.


1. Love is better than gifts.

2. Should be more earnestly desired.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)


1. The apostle had been speaking of temporary gifts. Supernatural endowments were granted to the Church for a season only. The apostle intimates that there is a gift of richer value, and that the time would come when these would be bestowed no longer, and when that only would remain.

2. What a catastrophe would it be were it to become extinct! But it cannot fail. So wide a channel was made for it by the mission of the Son of God, that to stop its onward flow were as impossible as to prevent the rolling of the ocean's waves. Love as it dwells in the believer's breast is only a reflection of the love of the Creator. Hence it is a gift which never fails.

3. The gift of charity will never fail on earth, how then is it possible that it should fail in heaven? The period will arrive when not only miracles will cease, but even the ordinary means for the edification of the Church. But love will even then abide. Upon the blessed inhabitant of the upper sanctuary it will stream in richest plenitude, direct from the eternal throne.


1. It is a gift, but it is a gift to be employed, and on its exercise depends its value. Nor does it ever fail in this respect. It is ever seeking to do good, and to pour its gifts and blessings on the hapless sons of man.(1) Its pity never fails. Wherever it beholds an object of distress, its efforts are put forth to give relief.(2) Its liberality never fails. It is like an angel of mercy, which is never wearied with conferring favours, and never says you ask too much.(3) Its ingenuities never fail. It is ever occupied in forming schemes to carry out its generous designs. Spurious or defective charity may fail, but true charity will never fail.

2. Look again into the eternal world. How active is the principle of love among the hosts of heaven! On earth, love is more or less mixed up with other things; in heaven it will be free from all defect. The family will be one. They will have one common interest. Each will contribute to the happiness of all. Jealousies will not be there. No envious feelings can be there indulged.

III. A SOURCE OF PURE AND ELEVATED ENJOYMENT. What is so constant as the joy that springs from the activities of benevolence? Man's happiness will ever be increased in proportion to the largeness of his soul. When other springs of pleasure are dried up, this will continue to flow in copious and refreshing streams. In heaven, our Father's house, love will be more pure, more elevated, and more fervent; and hence it will be there, as it is on earth, but in a far higher measure, the source of never-ending satisfaction and delight.

(Thornley Smith.)

It is a noble plant, full of vigorous life, that allows insects and reptiles to feed upon its bark and leaves, but grows on in silence and rears its head in beauty and majesty, and throws out its branches on all sides to the wind and the light, bright and fragrant with bloom and bending with abundant fruit.

(J. A. James.)

Hom. Review.
I. AS AN EVIDENCE OF PARDON (Luke 7:47). The woman who was a sinner loved much because she had much forgiven. To whom little is forgiven the same loveth little.

II. AS AN ELEMENT OF ACCEPTABLE OBEDIENCE (ver. 3). The acts of the unconverted are not considered by God. There is but meagre satisfaction in this passage for the moralist. Without love to Jesus our best deeds do not avail before God (Matthew 25:40). Doing for the brethren is doing for Jesus. An act of kindness or deed of love done for a child, far away from home and in need of sympathy and care, is regarded by the parent as a favour done to him. The mother is better pleased than if the deed of love had been done unto her.

III. AS AN ELEMENT OF ACCEPTABLE SERVICE (Revelation 2:4, 5). The Church at Ephesus had left her first love; therefore the service she rendered was not pleasing to God. She must do her first works, which were seasoned with love, and cease to perform her duties mechanically in order that her efforts might be acceptable to God (vers. 1, 2). Love is also the power-element of service.

IV. AS A SIN RESISTING POWER (John 14:15). Love to Jesus produces righteousness. It enables us to keep the commandments, and is therefore a sin-resisting power (John 14:21).

V. AS AN AGGRESSIVE POWER (2 Corinthians 5:14). The constraining love of Jesus made Paul the aggressive man he was.

VI. AS A SUSTAINING POWER (John 21:17). Peter repented, because he had in him the germ of true love for Jesus, and was sustained. Judas repented from remorse, and ultimately destroyed himself. Love to Jesus sustained , , Latimer, Ridley, the martyrs, and the persecuted in all ages.

VII. IN PRODUCING CONFESSION (John 12:42, 43). When men love position and power and the praise of men more than Christ they will not confess Him. When men love Jesus supremely they are swift to confess Him as Lord and Saviour (Romans 10:10).

VIII. AS A PREPARATION FOR HEAVEN (1 Corinthians 16:22). Without love to Christ no one is meet for heaven, but is devoted to destruction. The wrath of God abideth on him.

(Hom. Review.)

It will never fail as —

I. AN ELEMENT OF MORAL POWER. It is the strongest —

1. Sustaining power.

2. Resisting power. Love builds around the soul a rampart, invulnerable.

3. Aggressive power. We have not only to bear up under trials, and to resist temptations, but we have battles to fight. There is nothing so aggressive in the moral world as love. Man can stand before anything sooner than love.

II. A PRINCIPLE OF SOCIAL UNITY. Deep in the heart of man is the desire for union with his fellow, isolation and division are naturally repugnant to his social nature. His ingenuity has been taxed for ages in the invention of schemes for union. As the result we have confederations based on political sympathy, material interests, theological dogmas, mere carnal affinities; but we are only one with those we love. But we can only love the lovable.


1. It expels from the mind all the elements unfavourable to happiness.

2. It generates in the mind all the elements of spiritual joy.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

Either of the two explanations of this word "faileth," viz., "falls down," or is "hissed off the stage," conveys the same impression concerning love, namely, that it is permanent, it will never "fall down" from inanition, nor be "hissed off" because superseded. All the beauties of love, unlike those of face or landscape, are permanent. The imperishableness of love —


1. This is the conclusion from the previous assertions of this passage.

2. This is the result of our observation of every-day life. True levels equal to any exigency. It survives all else.


1. This is the declaration of the passage following our text. All else "ceases," "vanishes," is "done away."

2. This is confirmed by human experience. Love is the great protest of our immortality.

III. IS EXPLAINED BY ITS BEING DIVINE NOT ONLY IN ITS ORIGIN AND SUSTENANCE, BUT IN ITS NATURE. Love is of God, and God's love never faileth, "His mercy endureth for ever." Ours is not an imitation of His, but an inspiration from it. His love is the life of ours. Hence ours is deathless.

(U. R. Thomas.)

Immortality is the crown of virtue. Riches perish, laurels wither, beauty fades, the fires of genius burn out, and the proudest monuments crumble. Even in Christianity there are many things which are only of temporary utility. Already all that splendid array of miraculous powers that distinguished the Apostolic Church is numbered with the things that were. For these were only the instruments and auxiliaries of that Divine system of which charity is the vital principle. These were only the temporary scaffolds of that spiritual temple of which charity is the precious material. We may change many of our opinions and practicers, and yet be Christians. But this great central principle of our religion cannot be sacrificed, without the subversion of Christ's throne on earth. It was proverbially the spirit of the first believers, and will be equally the temper of the last.

(J. Cross, D.D.)

The Duke of Marlborough and Lord Bolingbroke were in opposite political interests, and on most occasions ranged against each other. Some gentleman, after the death of the great commander, speaking of his character and avarice, appealed to Bolingbroke for confirmation. To his honor, he replied, "The Duke of Marlborough was so great a man that I quite forget his failings."

(W. Baxendale.)



1. Extraordinary gifts, miracles, inspiration, etc.

2. Ordinary gifts. These, in all ages, have more or less been bestowed on many unconverted men, in common convictions of sin, common illuminations, and religious affections.

III. ALL THESE OTHER FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT ARE BUT FOR A SEASON, AND EITHER HAVE ALREADY CEASED, OR AT SOME TIME WILL CEASE. As to the miraculous gifts, they are but of a temporary use, and cannot be continued in heaven. And as to the common fruits of the Spirit, with respect to the persons that have them, they will cease when they come to die; and with respect to the Church, they wil1 cease after the day of judgment.


1. With respect to its members, as —(1) It never fails in this world (Romans 8:38, 39).(2) And it ceases not when the saints come to die. When the apostles went to heaven, they left all their miraculous gifts behind. But they carried love with them to heaven, where it was perfected.

2. As a body. Though other fruits of the Spirit fail in it, this shall never fail. Of old, when there were interruptions of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit there never was any interruption of this. And at the end of the world when the Church shall be settled in its eternal state, and all common and miraculous gifts shall be at an end, love shall be brought to its most glorious perfection in every individual member of the ransomed Church above.

V. THIS REASON FOR THE TRUTH OF THE DOCTRINE WHICH HAS THUS BEEN PRESENTED, viz., that love is the great end of all the other fruits and gifts of the Spirit. It is the end to which all the miraculous gifts that ever were in the world, are but the means. They were only means of grace, but love is grace itself; and not only so, but the sum of all grace. Application:

1. There seems to be no reason to think that the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are to be restored to the Church in the times of her latter-day prosperity and blessedness. Prophecy and miracles argue the imperfection of the state of the Church, rather than its perfection. For they are designed as a support, or as a leading-string, to the Church in its infancy, rather than as means adapted to it in its full growth. And then again that state will not be more glorious than the heavenly state; and yet the apostle teaches, that in the heavenly state all these gifts shall be at an end, and the influence of the Spirit in producing Divine love only shall remain.

2. The subject should make persons exceedingly cautious how they give heed to anything that may look like a new revelation, or that may claim to be any extraordinary gift of the Spirit.

3. The subject teaches how greatly we should value those influences and fruits of the Spirit which are evidences of true grace in the soul, and which are all summarily included in love.

(Jon. Edwards.)

I. THE CAUSE AND FOUNTAIN OF LOVE IN HEAVEN. — The God of love Himself dwells there, and this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light.


1. There are none but lovely objects in heaven (Revelation 21:27). All the persons that belong to the blessed society of heaven are lovely. The Father of the family is lovely, and so are all His children. There are no false professors or hypocrites there.

2. They shall be perfectly lovely. There are many things in this world that in the general are lovely, but yet are not perfectly free from that which is the contrary.

3. All those objects that the saints have loved above all things here while in this world shall be in heaven.

III. THE SUBJECTS OF LOVE IN HEAVEN. And these are the hearts in which it dwells. In every heart in heaven love dwells and reigns. The heart of God is the original seat or subject of love. The love of God the Father flows out toward Christ the head, and to all the members through Him. And the light of their love is reflected in the first place, and chiefly back to its great source. There is no enemy of God in heaven; but all, as His children, love Him as their Father.


1. As to its nature. It is altogether holy and Divine.

2. As to its degree. It is perfect. The love that dwells in the heart of God is absolutely perfect. The love of angels and saints to God and Christ is perfect in its kind, or with such a perfection as is proper to their nature. It is perfect with a sinless perfection, and perfect in that it is commensurate to the capacities of their nature.


1. It is always mutual. It is always met with answerable returns of love — with returns proportioned to its exercise.

2. Its joy shall never be interrupted or damped by jealousy.

3. There shall be nothing within themselves to clog or hinder it in the saints. In this world they find much to hinder them in this respect.

4. It will be expressed with perfect decency and wisdom.

5. There shall be nothing to keep us at a distance from each other, or to hinder our most perfect enjoyment of each other's love.

6. We shall all he united in very near and dear relations.

7. All shall have property and ownership in each other. Love seeks to have the beloved its own; and Divine love rejoices in saying, "My beloved is mine, and I am his."

8. We shall enjoy each other's love in perfect and uninterrupted prosperity.

9. All things shall conspire to promote our love, and give advantage for mutual enjoyment.

10. We shall know that we shall for ever be continued in the perfect enjoyment of each other's love.


1. The most excellent and perfect behaviour of all the inhabitants of heaven toward God and each other.

2. Perfect tranquillity and joy.Conclusion:

1. If heaven be such a world as has been described, then we may see reason why contention and strife tend to darken our evidence of fitness for its possession.

2. How happy those are who are entitled to heaven! But here some may be ready to say, "Without doubt; but who are these persons? By what marks may they be distinguished?"(1) They are those that have had the principle or seed of the same love that reigns in heaven implanted in their hearts in regeneration.(2). They are those who have freely chosen the happiness that flows from the exercise and enjoyment of such love as is in heaven, above all other conceivable happiness.(3) They are those who, from the love that is in them, are, in heart and life, in principle and practice, struggling after holiness.

3. What has been said on this subject may well awaken and alarm the impenitent.(1) By putting them in mind of their misery, in that they have no portion or right in this world of love (Revelation 22:15).(2) By showing that they are in danger of hell, which is a world of hatred.

(J. Edwards.)

All our present knowledge is limited in its range, defective in its evidence, incomplete in its nomenclature, and inadequate in its current media of communication; and these must be exchanged for clearer conceptions, ampler comprehensions, fuller demonstrations, better forms of expression, and easier methods of acquisition; and that which we value ourselves so much for possessing will vanish away in the superior revelations of eternity, as vanish the stars in the light of the rising sun. The practical sciences, the mechanic and aesthetic arts, and the teeming literature of the world — what will be their utility in the glorious life to come? If they were not necessary to man in the innocence of Eden, how can they be necessary to him in his "paradise regained"? What need of your agricultural, horticultural, and botanical systems, when the earth is restored to its original fertility, adorned with flowers that never fade, and fruits that never fail, among which wander all animals in the perfection of their strength and beauty? What demand for your theories of political economy, and the science of government, when God shall set His own King upon His holy hill of Zion? What call for architectural skill, and the arts of the sculptor and the painter — of the lapidary, the jeweller, and the chemist — amid the perfect forms and faultless hues of the New Jerusalem? How shall your lame and limping poetry and your feeble and faltering music presume to lift a note or strike a string amid the joyous minstrelsy of the redeemed and the unfallen, rolling forth as the sound of many waters and mighty thunderings? And what work shall be found for the legal profession where all: obey the royal law of love? and what service for the medical faculty where the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick? And what use will there be for their geographical and astronomical books — your maps of the earth and charts of the sky — when men shall be as angels, with glorious spiritual bodies, quick as the light and discursive as thought? And how shall the historian and the philologist employ their ample lore, when the confluent streams of history are lost in the ocean of eternity, and all the languages and dialects of the babbling earth have given place to the one tongue of the universal kingdom? And the author and the orator — what will they do when there is no more error to be corrected nor vice to overcome — when truth requires no farther apology and virtue no further vindication? And the statesman and the warrior — where shall their vocation be when all power and authority are given to the glorified Son of man — when nation shall never again lift up sword against nation, but "the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever"? And the preacher, the theologian, and the critical commentator — what shall become of their functions when "the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and He shall dwell among them" — when "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the world as the waters cover the sea" — when "all shall know Him from the least even unto the greatest"? And all your schools, colleges, universities, what place will be found for these in the original fatherland and everlasting dwelling of truth? Yea, and the very Bible; what is it but a primer for children, an elementary treatise for those who have just entered their novitiate and begun their studies for eternity, to be laid aside when we graduate into the higher spheres of intellectual and moral perfection?

(J. Cross, D.D.)

Observe —


1. Imperfect in their nature.

2. Adapted to an imperfect state.

3. Must consequently pass away.


1. In its own nature.

2. Is the end of all gifts.

3. Must endure in a perfect state of being.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

When Eliot the missionary to the Indians was an old man, his energy never sustained the slightest abatement, but, on the contrary, evinced a steady and vigorous increase. As his bodily strength decayed, the energy of his being seemed to retreat into his soul, and at length all his faculties seemed absorbed in holy love. Being asked shortly before his departure how he did, he replied, "I have lost everything; my understanding leaves me, my utterance fails me, my memory fails me; but I thank God my charity holds out still; and I find that it rather grows than fails."

(J. H. Hinton.)

In my time in the University of Edinburgh, the greatest figure in the faculty was Sir James Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform. The other day, just before I left Scotland, his successor and nephew, Professor Simpson, was asked by the librarian of the University to go to the library and pick out the books on his subject (midwifery) that were no longer needed. And his reply to the librarian was this: "Take every book that is more than ten years old and put it down in the cellar." Knowledge has vanished away. Sir James Simpson was a great authority ten years ago — twelve years ago; men came from all parts of the earth to consult him; and the whole knowledge of that day, within that short period, is now consigned by the science of to-day to the cellar. How true are the words of Paul: "We know in part, and we prophesy in part"!

(Prof. Henry Drummond.)

How can knowledge ever vanish away? As long as there are sentient beings in the universe, so long must there needs remain the objects of the emotional faculty; as long as there are intelligent beings, so long must the objects of the intellectual faculties survive. The imperfect knowledge of yesterday may become less imperfect to-day, and may approximate to fulness of knowledge to-morrow. Unless we can conceive of a life — the higher life — without consciousness and intelligence, we cannot conceive how there should ever come a time, or ever exist conditions, when (for personal beings whose personality is not annihilated) knowledge should ever vanish away. Of all men that ever lived the apostle was the last man who would have put forth so dreary a view of the future state as his words at first sight seem to indicate. To him the blessedness of the life beyond the veil was supremely desirable, because in the spiritual world darkness and error would vanish, not light and knowledge. Who is content with the utmost range of knowledge attainable by creatures such as we? Who would care for a life where the yearning to know would find itself without an object? But how if this word γνῶσις, which our translators have rendered by the word knowledge, connote an idea which its English representative fails to convey? How if the γνῶσις of the apostle has proved untranslateable because we have never seriously studied its history, and so have failed to grasp its meaning? What then? Then may not a more careful scrutiny get rid of the difficulty which the passage as it stands represents? Nay! May not that passage contain the enunciation of a great law which the Church of Christ, by losing sight of, would be sure to suffer serious damage? Now it would be unadvisable to attempt anything like an exhaustive examination of the use of this word by St, Paul, or of the meaning it may be found to bear in the several passages in which it occurs. This much, however, is apparent to any careful reader of the Epistles, that the word γνῶσις was a term which was very familiar to St. Paul's readers, and that it was an ambiguous term of whose ambiguity the apostle on occasion did not disdain to avail himself. He speaks of a γνῶσις which is none other than the beatific vision which the saints of God have dreamt of, and which is the object of their loftiest hopes. But he speaks of a γνῶσις, too, which does not deserve to be called such. He speaks of a γνῶσις which will admit of no addition and no imperfection in its fruition, and of a γνῶσις which is by no means inseparable from the notion of childish dependence, of defective methods in arriving at it, even of a certain measure of empiricism. Nor is this all; it becomes evident on further examination that this ambiguous term was used at times to connote not merely intellectual apprehension, but a formulated summary of conclusions arrived at, the result of speculations which, when thus formulated, the intellectual faculty was required to accept as an authoritative setting forth of truth. In other words, this γνῶσις was a summary of dogmatic teaching which might be imperfect in its statements and yet serve a worthy purpose, though essentially limited in its view, and intended only as a step in the right road; or it might be not only imperfect but dangerous, delusive and mischievous, because it expressed conclusions arrived at from assumptions which were mere dreams, and so would necessarily be a γνῶσις falsely so called. In the one case it might be a Christian γνῶσις, which was good as far as it went. In the other case it was a competitive γνῶσις which its supporters set up as antagonistic to any expression of Christian belief, a summary of theosophic or mystical dogma with no real basis of truth on which to stand. Yet of both one and the other, the first being partial and so inadequate, the second being erroneous and so having no real vitality, the apostle says — "As for knowledge it shall vanish away." But is not this the great law abundantly observable in the history of all science in its various branches? Is it not the fact that in the department of pure mathematics the science of algebra slumbered for centuries, and when the awakened intellect of men resumed inquiries which for ages had been laid aside, the new discoveries or the new methods compelled the new thinkers to use new formulae, such new formlae being necessitated by established facts on the one hand and becoming the very conditions of progress in the apprehension of truth on the other? The dogma of yesterday had served its purpose, it expressed elementary truths which the childhood of the human mind had arrived at, but that which seemed final yesterday became antiquated or rudimentary to-day. When men are brought face to face with new truths, or with new aspects of truth, or compelled to investigate truth from a new standpoint, that moment they are compelled to resort to new expressions, to adopt new formulae, that is, to enunciate new dogmas, the old knowledge is in process of vanishing away. But truth is one thing, dogma is another. The formulae may suffer change, but the truth formulated changes not. But here it may be suggested that a distinction must be made between such truths as are formulated in theological dogmas, and those which are arrived at by the methods employed in the exact sciences. In fact so loose is our language and so vague is our vocabulary when we approach the discussion of questions in which our religious convictions and sentiments are supposed to be concerned, that nothing is more common than the assumption expressed or implied that scientific truth and what people call Divine truth are in some mysterious way moving as it were in different orbits, in different planes, and that what holds good of the one does not at all hold good of the other. What! Is not all truth Divine — all or none? Yes, and is not all truth a truth of science — all or none? — truth, that is, which is once formulated with sufficient precision for the logical faculty to exercise itself upon, however much or however little the higher reason may have helped us to embrace it before we had learnt to express it in scientific terms? It is in vain to attempt to evade the question which is being more and more rudely forced upon us. The question, Is there such a science as theology? science based upon axioms which are indisputable, requiring postulates which are reasonable, pursuing its inquiries according to strictly logical methods, engaged upon the investigation of facts and their correlation, weighing the significance of conflicting testimony, and fearlessly hailing the discovery of any new law? Is it a science whereby our race may hope to advance to the apprehension of some eternal truths? a science not one whit the less a science because it has a domain of its own? If not, it is hardly worth our while to trouble ourselves about it. Though even then observe, that the facts of the spiritual life remain. On the other hand, if it be a science, no matter in what stage it may at any moment be said to be, then assuredly it is only what we should expect, that this same story which history has to tell of other sciences should be found to be true of this one also. And that is exactly what we do find. Take whatever science you please, music, medicine, astronomy, and what is more certain than that that science has arrived at a certain point and then has ceased to be studied by competent students, and its further advance been arrested for centuries; the dogmas of such science, formulated a thousand years ago, being accepted as absolutely true, and assumed to have something like finality. For ages astronomers assumed that the sun moved round the earth — that was at any rate a dogma about which there could not conceivably be any dispute — a dogma above all others which could claim for itself catholicity, and stood alone as answering the most rigid conditions of catholicity. For ages the formulated science of architecture helped men to raise up to heaven those stupendous structures which are likely to last as the wonder and envy of mankind as long as the race lasts. And yet into that formulated science the very conception of the properties of the arch never entered. What appear to us the elementary truths of the science had no place in the early dogmas of architecture. In all these instances we are met by the historic fact that every science which deserves to be called such has had, must have, its periods of growth and rapid development, and its periods of torpor and repose. Men have grown weary or despairing of solving certain great problems, and have thrown them aside to deal with others. Then the tide has turned, and they have gone back with fresh enthusiasm and reawakened curiosity to the old difficulties, prepared themselves to attack them, perhaps from new points of view, perhaps according to new methods. And then new discoveries have been made, sometimes the results of patient years of research, sometimes by a flash of what we call genius, and sometimes they had been forced upon those who, by earnest toil and seriousness of aim and greatness of purpose, have put themselves into the attitude or receiving new truths and qualified themselves for expressing those truths in formulae which were necessary expansions of the development from previous dogmas. The time had come for the old γνῶσις to vanish away! And now another question comes to us. Granted that theology too is a science. In what stage may we venture to say that we find it now? The more we reflect upon it the more do we find ourselves compelled to acknowledge that theology, as a science, is, and has been for long, in a condition of torpor; it is, as it were, taking its repose, it has gone to sleep. But if theology as a science may be said to be asleep, even though it be exhibiting no signs or evidence of awakening activity, slumber is not death, it need not even imply exhaustion; it may be only heathful repose before the dawning of a new day. Even though they would persuade you that the old theology has received its quietus and the old dogmas are moribund or dead, be not afraid. It is the great law that every γνῶσις when it has served its purpose must vanish away, but only to be replaced by another γνῶσις which shall be grander and larger and more profound than that which we possess. Be not afraid to say the theology of the fourth century may not have been the theology of the second, nor the theology of the sixteenth century the theology of the twelfth, and peradventure the theology of the twentieth century may be very, very different in its dogmas and its formulae from anything that we can conceive of now. This science, too, may find another Copernicus to whom God may grant strange revelations, revelations, or if you dislike the word, discoveries, such as come to the holy and humble men of heart, guileless and true, such revelations as may perforce necessitate revolutions in our methods of investigation, in the terminology we employ, in the calculus which may be placed at our disposal. At least assure yourselves that imperfect light is better than darkness, and cloudland a better region to live in than chaos.

(A. Jessopp, M.A.)

The illuminated page of nature, on which God has written so many disclosures of His power and love — how small a portion of its wonders is man yet able to understand! Look at the tree which rises before your window, and shields you from the summer sun. You are familiar with its form, its foliage, and its flowers. But can you tell what is going on within it? Can you explain how it is, that, when the winds of autumn are singing their vesper hymn, the tree listens to their warning — how it forms and folds its leaves and blossoms, to have them ready for another spring? No. In the history of the simplest things in the vegetable and animal world there is much that man does not and cannot understand. Come, then, to our knowledge of human nature itself — how imperfect it is! how many new pages are opened from time to time which fill us with wonder and dismay! Perhaps you are able to tell how men will feel and act under the common circumstances of life; but who can tell the measure of the soul, or how deep and far man's powers and passions, in their wild energy, can go? We can understand benevolence in its common measure, when it gives what it does not want to others; but can we comprehend that love which warms and fills the martyr's heart? Passing finally to the knowledge of the Most High — are not clouds and darkness round about Him as of old? "Canst thou by searching find out God?" Let those who have tried it reply. A short time before his death, Newton said, "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." Here, then, we shall be told to reflect on human imperfection and be humble; for we see how little way the sight of man extends, how little man is able to know. But let us read our own nature aright. That "we know in part" is not humiliating; it is the ground and necessary condition of man's chief prerogative, and of the only perfection of which he is capable. Consider the difference between human and Divine perfection, and this will be plain to every eye. Divine perfection consists in attributes, each and all of them unbounded, except by the impossibility of being greater. Divine power extends to all things that power can do; Divine wisdom embraces everything that exists, or will exist, or ever has existed; Divine holiness is holiness which cannot be enlarged nor exceeded. The perfection of these attributes is, that they can be no greater than they are. To God nothing can be added. But human perfection, by which I mean the greatest height to which humanity can aspire, consists in continual progress — in continually advancing towards perfection. It is plain, then, that to "know in part" is not humiliating; it is not even an imperfection; it is a happy and honourable condition of our existence, for which we should be grateful to Him who made us. Had we been differently created, it must have been like the animals. What they know, they know in full; to them there is nothing "in part." What they know, they know as well in the first years of their existence as the last. And if man had not been created as he is, to "know in part," it must have been so with him; he must have had the instinct of an animal, the perfection of animals, for he could not have the perfection of God. Seeing, then, that improvement is the perfection to which human nature must aspire, let us next observe how this limited knowledge tends to induce and encourage it in every field of thought. Look again at the world of nature. Its wonders do not manifest themselves at once; if they did, the mind could not embrace them, or if it could, a heavy satiety, a lethargic self-satisfaction, would take the place of that restless energy which makes man labour and suffer to extend his knowledge. Everything opens gradually, as the sun rises, not full-orbed and fiery red, but gently heralded by the grey light and the kindling clouds. When you first point out to an intelligent child the wonders of nature, he fixes upon you his soft, dark, earnest eyes. The world seems enchanted. He asks where these things were hidden, that he never saw them before. He enjoys a deep delight, he finds a luxury in this gradual illumination of mind, to which he would have been a stranger had not God created him to know but in part. And so in maturer years, if the mind is kept from stagnation, into which it too readily subsides. Let a man give his attention to any department of knowledge, and he soon gives it his heart. He will leave all man loves at home, and encounter all man dreads abroad. The least new discovery fills him with rapturous joy. The glad energy, the intense devotion, with which he engages in the chase of knowledge, gives an idea of the manner in which the souls of the just will study the works and ways of God, and find everything radiant with happiness and eloquent with praise. It is the same with moral truth; by which I mean all truth which relates to God and to the nature and destiny of men. Our knowing but in part inspires that earnest desire to know more, which is compared to hunger and thirst for wisdom — a desire of truth which always burns in the breasts of those who are enlightened by the Word of God. With respect to mankind, also, it is true that partial knowledge inspires a desire to know more. I mean a real knowledge, for I would not give this name to that meaner sagacity which teaches us to distrust mankind. Who are they that complain most of men? They are those who dwell apart, who have none but selfish interests and pleasures, who never lift a hand to do good for others — these are they who talk of the fraud and falsehood of their race, while the lovers of mankind are those who go about doing good. The young always have this desire to know more of others. Alas, that rids generous affection should be driven back to their hearts, disappointed and dismayed, by what they see and hear! They find their parents talking with cold severity of others — of all others — of any others — even their nearest friends; and they listen with wonder and pain. Mankind are thrown apart and kept so; those cords of humanity, which untied would have been strong as the sheet-anchor's cable, become singly as weak as the silk-worm's thread, and the purpose of Christianity is not answered, which is to reconcile them to each other and make the divided one. So our knowing God but in part inspires an earnest desire to know more. It leads us on in religious improvement, and it makes that improvement a succession of bright revelations, in which man is continually learning what he thirsted to know. There are many things in the dispensations of Heaven which the thoughtful long to know, as the prophets and kings of ages past desired to look into the mysteries of God. "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." This hope of knowing hereafter is an anchor to the soul; it saves it from being wrecked in its own doubts and fears; it keeps it true to itself and its destiny, till it reaches the world where the wonders of Providence are unfolded to its astonished view, and it can read and understand them all. Above all, I would say that we cannot complain of the limitation of our knowledge till we make a better improvement of what we already know. Enough is already known to make us wise unto salvation. It remains that we apply it to our hearts and lives.

(W. B. O. Peabody, D.D.)

The Scriptures abound in reflections upon the weakness and short-sightedness of the human mind. Now, it is observable that the atheist and sceptic have taken up the strain of Scripture, and striven to turn,, its weapons against itself and its friends. "How blind and weak, how poor and miserable," they repeat, "the creature to whom you yet assign so splendid a destiny! "I accept the issue which atheism and infidelity thus present. I will reason for the magnificent prospects of man on the very ground here taken, of his weaknesses and diseases, his griefs and fears. I will show that there is no incongruity in Holy Writ, when in one breath it tells of man's miseries and vanities, and in the next of his unending life and glories. For, "I know in part": what does this mean, but that I have an idea of more knowledge than I actually possess, believe myself capable of greater acquisitions, and see the domain of wisdom stretching out beyond my present reach, and inviting my further pursuit? Why be straitened in my limits, but that my true element is the unbounded? Could we glorify man's present spiritual advances, and celebrate the complete beauty of his intellectual furniture, the argument for immortality would not be so strong. We might think the mind had drunk its fill here, and accomplished its destiny. The same argument might be pushed as to all the limitations, sadnesses, and defects of our nature. With what a wreck of plans and hopes, enterprises and calculations, is the shore of eternity strewn! If the soul's measure be in this weaver's shuttle of time, with no threads woven to reach across the span of earth, death is untimely and the tomb premature. Look out upon all nature, and see the exquisite perfection of every object there. From the blade of grass to the everlasting stars, there is no deviation from the law of order or the line of beauty. Everything seems to accomplish its work, and fulfil its design. There is nothing more to be wished or expected. The astronomer detects no lawless course, no really, however for a time apparently, irregular or straying motion. So perfect is nature, from the fine dust of the balance to the revolutions of the sky. But the human mind rises up the vast, lonely exception to this hair-breadth completeness of the world. Recogniser of the perfection of all things else, itself alone is imperfect. It conceives of a knowledge transcendent. It conceives of a purity shaming its pollution. It conceives of a blessedness to which earth's joys are but glimpses of light and breakings in a stormy sky. Now God, the perfect One, deals not in fragments, like some weak human artist who may overlay the walls of his chamber with attempts at an entire beauty. But if this human soul, in the very beginning of its aspirings, is to cease at death, then there is a fragment indeed, one colossal frustration and stupendous anomaly. Man, whom He made the lord of the universe, is the broken column, while everything beside is whole! Were there any sign of the soul's filling out its defects and putting away its limitations, the argument would be less strong. But its growth, marked at any point, followed in any direction, requires still a lengthened being. A late traveller observed in the city of Jerusalem the fragment of an arch on the wall of the temple; and, tracing it according to the principles of its construction, concluded it must have been designed to spring as a bridge across the adjoining valley. So, if this little arc of the human mind, which we can here trace, be constructed upon true principles, it must mount over the dark valley of the shadow of death, the stream of time must flow away beneath it. while the course of an immortal destination opens before it. Else, denying this, we charge the Supreme Architect with fault. I would, then, found an argument for immortality on the apostle's declaration, "Now I know in part." Even did I adopt Hume's philosophy of universal scepticism, I should still say the intellect is made for truth, and must have time for its inquiry and doubt to end in the satisfactions of knowledge. I know this is the commonly accepted mode of reasoning. I know it is usual to draw religious arguments from man's positive abilities; but I would draw them from his vast defects. It is usual to draw them from his great triumphs; I would draw them from his signal failures. The train of reflections to which our text has led, accords with the old tenor of Scripture. The gospel of Christ speaks no flattering words to our vanity; it paints in no high colours our powers and acquirements. It rather digs beneath the highblown pride, fond fancy, and blind self-complacency of the human soul, to lay the foundation of that structure, which shall reach to heaven, in its feeling of weakness, in its confession of ignorance, in its sense of unworthiness, in its pangs of grief, and prayers for Divine aid.

(C. A. Bartol.)

The Christian's experience of Christ is in this life only partial: partial love is followed by partial knowledge.

1. He knows something of the welcome of Jesus.

2. He knows something of communion with Jesus.

3. He knows, too, in part, the spirit of service to Jesus.

4. A Christian knows also, in part, likeness to Christ.But all these brightest moments, these deepest joys, these noblest moods, are to be eclipsed, forgotten, counted as nothing, "when that which is perfect is come." To the Christian this is coming. All else is going. What, then, can compare with the claims and the charms of the spiritual life? Suppose there were on earth a country where, in health, that which is perfect had come; where, in purity of character, that which is perfect had come; where, in all the tender relations of domestic life, that which was perfect had come; where, in society and in government, in cottage and in palace, that which is perfect had come; where, in man, and field, and air and sky, that which was perfect had come; — how ships would groan with human cargoes destined for its shores! In comparison, fields of gold and seas of pearl would cease to draw. Yet the brightest conception of such a state falls immeasurably below what the dying Christian finds in heaven.

(Benjamin Waugh.)

The familiar context in which these words occur gives a peculiar colour to them. St. Paul in his estimate of the most conspicuous endowments of a Christian, places knowledge — the progressive knowledge of observation and reflection — in contrast with love. He sets the intellectual over against the moral. He implies that the knowledge of which he speaks belongs to the present in its essence, while love belongs to the present only in its form. But in doing this he does not disparage knowledge; on the contrary he reveals it in its true nobility. Christ declared (John 17:17) truth to be the medium of man's consecration. Under the necessary conditions of life knowledge is the minister of love. I wish to consider the limitation of knowledge and not the destination of knowledge. "We know in part." The fact itself is one which we shall do well to realise more distinctly than by a general acknowledgment. When this is done I hope that we shall see sufficient reasons for holding that this necessary incompleteness of our knowledge, which is at first sight disappointing, is, when duly weighed, fitted to bring stability to the results of labour, that it satisfies the conditions of progress, that it offers hope in the face of the dark problems of the present age.

1. We know in part. This limitation is imposed upon us triply. Of all that is, of all that even we with our present faculties feel must be, we can know but a small fraction. Our knowledge is limited in range. And, again, our knowledge of that small fraction of being which is in any way accessible to us is bounded and conditioned by our human powers. Our knowledge is limited in form. And, yet once more, of theft which man could know, being what he is, if the personal powers and the personal experience of the race were concentrated in a single representative, what an infinitely small portion is embraced by one mind! Our knowledge is limited by the circumstances of life. So far the fact itself that we know in part is unquestionable and unquestioned. No one who ever presumptuously maintained that "man is the measure of all things," ventured also to assert that "all things" which he measures owe their being to him. No one who has considered the slow development of the powers which man now enjoys in what appears to us to be his maturity would be willing to admit that his faculties exhaust in kind or in degree the possible action of being. Our knowledge, I repeat, is inevitably partial in regard of the object, and of the subject, and of the conditions of its acquisition. In each respect an infinite mystery enwraps a little spot of light. But while upon reflection we admit that our knowledge is thus limited, we do not, I think, commonly take account of the momentous significance of the fact. Many of us who are ceaselessly busy with our daily occupations do not habitually feel it. Many who have distinctly realised it, deliberately put it out of sight. That which we cannot know in the way of earthly knowledge is for us, they say, as if it were not. St. Paul follows a better way. He teaches us to see that these mysteries, and the full sense of limitation which they bring with them, are an important factor in our lives. He rounds life off on this side and that, not with a sleep, but with the glory of the invisible. And is it not true that we are made stronger as well as humbler by lifting up our eyes to the sky which opens with measurable depths above the earth on which we are set to work?

2. We know in part. the fullest recognition of this fact is not only helpful but essential for the fulfilment of our several tasks. The practical or deliberate disregard of this relation of all our knowledge to the unknown brings with it urgent dangers. On the one hand we are tempted to make our own knowledge, our own thoughts, our own experience, an absolute standard. On the other hand we are tempted to apply a dominant method to subjects which do not admit it. There is no one, I suppose, who has not been sorely tried by both temptations. It requires a serious effort to enter with a living sympathy into the character of another man, or of another class, or of another nation, or of another course of thought: to feel, not with a sense of gracious superiority but of devout thankfulness, that here and there that is supplied which we could not have provided: to acknowledge how peculiar gifts or a peculiar environment, how long discipline or an intense struggle, have conferred upon others the power of seeing that which we cannot see. But it is to breadth of hope, to self-denial, to patience that we are called, as those who believe and seek to live as believing that we know in part. The immediate circumstances in which we are placed need, as we must feel, the exercise of such graces. There is on all sides an overpowering passion for clearness, for decision, for results which can be measured on demand. Art and history are trammeled by realism. A restless anxiety for fulness and superficial accuracy of detail diverts the forces which should be given to an interpretation of the life. We begin to think that when we can picture to ourselves the outside of things we have mastered them. So it is also in many respects with opinion. We are told that we must make our choice definitely between this extreme and that; that there can be no mean; that a logical necessity demands one precise conclusion or the other. In this way we lose insensibly the present consciousness of the great deeps of life. Portraiture becomes photography, and faith is represented by a phrase. The reflections from the mirror, the shadows on the wall of the cave, are taken for the realities which these fleeting signs should move us to seek. There is no outline in nature, however convenient or even necessary we may find it to draw one. A closer view of this one-sided and dominant realism, which is characteristic of our generation, shows what is at once its final issue and its remedy. For it is not fanciful, I think, to connect it with the great successes of the method of physical inquiry. We try, perhaps even without knowing of what spirit we are, to make the same method supreme over all knowledge. Meanwhile we are neglecting a different lesson which physics have to teach us and which we have not yet learnt. However paradoxical the statement may appear, physical study more than any other brings the invisible vividly before us. The world of the man of science is not the scene of conflict and disorder which we look upon with our untrained eyes, but an order of absolute law which he finds by the interpretation of a larger experience. He pierces beneath the seen to that which it indicates. So far he has read the thought of God. His partial knowledge is a sign for the moralist and for the theologian.

3. We know in part. We have seen that acceptance of this fact enables us to meet and to use the dangers and the lessons of limited views. The same words describe the process by which our efforts are made effective. We advance towards the limits of our attainable knowledge by the help of every fragmentary movement. We look upon the fullest vision of the truth in the combination of parts held separately. This is the Divine law of spiritual progress and of spiritual apprehension. It is not that any one mind or any one race can evolve the last deductions from the primal facts. The manifold endowments of the nations are made contributory in due order to the unfolding of the universal gospel. The history of Judaism and the history of Christianity prove the truth beyond doubt. Spiritual knowledge and with it spiritual life is furthered by the introduction into it of new elements from without. The seed which has the principle of life gathers from all around that by which the life is manifested in the fulness of its beauty. It has often been pointed out how every critical stage in the progress of earlier revelation was marked by the action of new races upon the people of God. Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, quickened fresh thoughts in Israel, and brought to light fresh mysteries in the Law. The Son of Man entered on the patrimony of the race made ready for His use. The course of Christianity up to the present time exhibits the accomplishment of the same law on a larger scale and with a more pervading application. Judaism was limited and preparatory. The Divine Presence was symbolised for the fathers by a cloud or by a glory. But Christianity is absolute and final. For us the Divine Presence is "the Word made flesh," "the man Christ Jesus." It is no longer any part of man, or any part of mankind to which the message of God is addressed or entrusted. The experience of our own lives offers an illustration of this growth through assimilation and loss. The unfolding of our separate powers is able to bring home to us what is fulfilled on a colossal scale in the broad history of human progress. One faculty after another is called into dominant activity, and yields in its turn to some fresh claimant. And here comes the trial of faith. We are tempted, as it may be, to linger with a vain regret round that which is ready to vanish away or to hasten prematurely the advent of that which is not yet mature. But the faith deals with all in a process of life. The conviction that every result, every triumph, every prize is given us to use and not to keep, saves us from the peril of stationariness and from the peril of innovation. He cannot rest who knows that the counsel of God is not yet accomplished.

4. And surely this paradox is the very joy of life. We know all: and we have still much to learn. Our strength is to feel that the end which is given to us is not yet gained. As long as there is movement there is hope. Because the central fact of our faith reaches to the utmost bounds of our being: because to the last our knowledge is limited, we bring together with loving reverence all that has been accumulated in the past, and we stand ready to welcome the new light which shall reveal the old treasures in fresh glory. It is not strange then that there should at all times be difficulties. Difficulties guide men to new regions of work for Christ's sake. We can feel, I repeat, in these different directions, in the spheres of personal life, of human fellowship, of cosmical dependence, how our partial knowledge witnesses to the existence of regions of vital energy not essentially unattainable but hitherto necessarily unexplored: we can feel that the darkest riddles of life lose their final gloom when we refuse to acknowledge that their solution must be found in the facts which we have been so far able to grasp: we can feel that the gospel of Christ incarnate and ascended deals with these latest questionings not by accident or by accommodation, but in its inmost nature: we can feel as the problems rise before us that our historic creed contains the answer to them, though it has not yet been drawn out, that our needs have not been left uncared for by eternal love, that it is through the sternest searchings of heart that the growing fulness of the truth is realised. The sorest trial of very many now is the sad suspicion that Christianity does not cover all which we know to be. Perhaps we have given colour to the fear by our own narrowness of sympathy. But from the first it was not so. And it is true still, true always, that our faith conquers not by the suppression or by the dissimulation of difficulties, but by interpreting them or by placing them in their right relation to what we see of the whole constitution and circumstances of the world. We do not then appeal to ignorance, but to the conditions of a partial knowledge: we do not transfer our hope to an imaginary scene, but find the pledge of its fulfilment in a completer revelation of this in which we toil and suffer: we do not offer any intellectual formulas as exhaustive and absolute, but we claim that now and at all times the faith should be regarded in connection with every human interest; we do not affirm the limitation of knowledge as a bar to inquiry, but as a bar to finality.We know in part.

1. The words are a consolation. No one has ever set before himself a high ideal of work for the truth's sake without sadly noting at the close of his labour the scantiness of his achievements. His difficulties, perhaps, have grown clearer, but they have not grown less. At last he finds himself left face to face with mysteries, which appear in the form of irreconcilable opposites. The fundamental mystery of his finite being responsible to the Infinite repeats itself in many forms. There is no escape from conditions of thought which he feels to be inapplicable to spiritual existences. Happy is he only when he knows that what he sees, what he can see, is but a fragment of that glory which all the powers of all the ages will not exhaust in its fulness. We inherit and we transmit our inheritance to others, with the slender accessions we have made. So it is that we are bound one to another, and while we contend to the uttermost for the truth which is given to us, we find a place opened for other labourers.

2. They are a promise. The knowledge is partial, but the object is not illusory. We may not he able to see much, but the appearances which we observe answer to something which is eternal. This conviction is sufficient to inspire us with hope. We are so constituted that we cannot but group together the scattered facts which come before us, and interpret them in some fashion. Looking to them we can cherish the signs of a wider order in the moral world which has not yet been realised.

3. They are a prophecy. Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. The mode of knowledge will be changed, but He who is revealed in many parts and in many ways is Himself unchangeable. Perfect knowledge now would be the sentence of spiritual death: "the whole can increase no more, is dwarfed and dies." But, let us thank God, we know in part; and we know Him that is true. We do not rest in what we are, or in what we can attain to, but in what God is, in whose imago we are made.

(Bp. Westcott.)

In guarding our talk thus, we are helped by the analogies of those who know less than we do, and who cannot know as much as we do. A blind man, for instance, does not know as much about colour as people who see. Nor does a man who is colour-blind. They may imagine what colour is, and they can talk about their imaginations. But they must not prophesy. That is, they must not proclaim the truth about colour. They do not know what the truth is, and they do not even know the meaning of the words they use. The analogy with our ignorance is precise. For such people sometimes think they know. In the same direction is the advance which mankind has made since those prehistoric days of the cave-dweller. If to the poor savage of the limited experience of that early time I said, "Your God can give at the same instant His present command to you who are here and to other men on the other side of the world," he would hardly understand my language; and, so far as he did understand it, he would tell me I lied. In the first place, he would not know what I meant by the other side of the world. In the second place, he would say that one God could not be in two places. But, with the steady progress of the world, all this changes. Any telegraph boy sees one will acting in a dozen places, and his imagination and conception carry him into a much wider range than that which he sees. On a thousand lines the world understands that it has advanced from that feeble knowledge of that savage life. Just so far as it understands this, does the same world make out that it knows only in part now, and looks forward, with a confidence akin to certainty, to a coming time and a larger life, in which it shall know more. All such instances from history help us in our lives of to-day, and in looking forward for to-morrow. History, indeed, is always useless, unless we extort from it such lessons. If the cave-dweller or the Eskimo of to-day knew only in part what seems wholly necessary to your life and mine, in just the same fashion is it probable — it is well-nigh certain — that where I know only in part there is more knowledge which my successors will have — nay, which I myself may have, in a life not cumbered by this body.

(E. E. Hale, D.D.)

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