1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease…
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.