The Present Life the Infant State of Man
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man…

Note the truth of this.

I. IN REGARD TO MANKIND IN GENERAL. Man is a more noble being than he appears, and was designed for nobler ends than he attains.

1. If God expended so much labour in creating men and the world they live in, that they might be happy and illustrate His glory, their present existence, unconnected with a future state, shows neither His wisdom, goodness, nor justice, but casts obscurity over them all. Men do not here receive the punishment due to their sins nor arrive at the perfection either of their powers or happiness.

2. The Author of our being, who designed us for immortality, placed us in this infant state to ripen as for a glorious and eternal manhood. Our greatest growth here, compared with our future dimensions, does not transcend the size of children. This world is only the nursery, or the cradle in which souls yet in swaddling bands are rocked for immortality.

3. How miserably do they overlook the dignity of man who contemplate him only in the present life. What wretched miscalculation to consume all their cares in making provisions for this infant state, and neglect to provide for the happiness of a vigorous and eternal manhood.

II. IN REGARD TO WORLDLY MEN. Their views, tastes, knowledge, pleasures, etc., all bespeak them children. Compared with the high and noble end for which they were made, what trifles they are pleased with and they pursue! Compared with the dimensions and dignity of a glorified saint, the wealth of Croesus and the honours of Caesar are mere playthings. Are they not children? Mark how they pursue their little pleasures without any dignified and manly aim — what want of foresight for their future well-being. Subject to disappointments and sorrows, the children often fret and cry. They speak as a child, understand as a child, etc. Ah! when will they become men and put away childish things? Cast aside your toys and raise your thoughts to objects worthy of men — to the kingdom and glory of God — to infinite interests and immortal concerns. Many deem it manly to neglect religion, and account it childish to yield to piety. But they appear to angels as one would appear to us who at the age of fifty should busy himself in making houses in the sand. And it would have been better for them always to have remained children. A child is satisfied with his baubles: but they, possessed of capacities which nothing but God can fill, remain restless and uneasy with all their toys about them.


1. They speak of Divine things as a child, using expressions which no more reach the extent of the subject than the prattling of children about the moon conveys a full idea of that luminary. They had no other language for these subjects than that of Scripture, which, being adapted to the weakness of our apprehensions, is little more than an association of images borrowed from sensible objects. But when they arrive at manhood they will use a language expressive of things as they are — a language no longer darkened with the shadow of figures, but taken from the very light of the subjects themselves, and as luminous as truth.

2. Here their conceptions of heavenly things are extremely crude. All are largely mingled with ideas borrowed from sensible objects. But when they arrive at manhood their conceptions will be correct.

3. In this life their understandings are feeble and contracted, are darkened by ignorance, are perverted by prejudice, are liable to errors and misconstructions of the Word of God. But in heaven they will all see eye to eye, and be united in the most sublime and delightful views of Divine truth. Here they are limited to a very imperfect knowledge of God's will, and are often pressed with doubts respecting their duty; but there all duty will be made plain. Here their views are confined to a small circle; "there they will take in the universe, Here, with all the helps they enjoy, they know but little of God; there they will see as they are seen and know as they are known. No longer limited to the hopes and anticipations of childhood, they will have arrived at the full attainment of their supreme good. No longer confined to the company of children, they will enjoy the society of the glorious army of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, etc. No longer limited to the low pursuits of this infant state, all their faculties will be employed in the most noble, parts of the Divine service. How vastly their powers will be enlarged cannot now be told. Was Newton a child? Was Solomon a child? What then is a man?

(E. D. Griffin, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

WEB: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.

The Diversity of Character Belonging to Different Periods of Life
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