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therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning; if that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father: and this is the promise which he hath promised us, even eternal life." Christian progress essentially differs from the progress of the world, the leading of the Spirit of God from that of the spirit of the age. As the world runs its course, luxuries are turned into necessaries, new wants are created, and inventions multiplied to satisfy them. The spirit of the age so eminently utilitarian, turns science itself to the account of profit and comfort. It is truly said that you cannot arrest progress; success emboldens enterprise, and nothing seems to be withholden from the daring genius

What a contrast to this is Christian progress: “The father in Christ knows Him that is from the beginning." He centralises everything in one object, even in Christ. The Spirit of God glorifies Christ; and taking of his things and showing them to the soul of the believer satisfies him, “ All my springs are in thee." The world leaves the established Christian to himself as one behind the age; but he is in reality before it, having his soul occupied, not with the result of human progress, but with the certain accomplishment of the divine counsel: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world, and the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.The Christian will best serve his own generation by maintaining his own proper ground, and asserting the blessedness of the knowledge of Christ at the very moment when man is magnifying himself. It is well, indeed, to be able truthfully to say of Christ, He is “all my salvation"; but how blessed to add, He is "all my desire," and this too in the face of all appearances, " although he maketh not to grow.”

of man.


PSALM XXXII. 8, 9. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto tree.

No. XII.


1 Corinthians xüi.

THE connexion in which love is introduced in the thirteenth chapter of Corinthians, must, I suppose, have struck most who study God's word. It bears the same impress of power and of suitability which ever characterises His word. May we, therefore, led by the Spirit, the

inditer, dwell upon it for a little.

The cause of all the mischief in the Corinthian Church was a remarkable one-one which testifies surely of the great goodness of God. It was the abundant grace and goodness of God acting upon unsubdued flesh. The testimony of Christ was confirmed among them (i.6): they were in every thing enriched by (or, perhaps, in, as it is in the fourth verse) Him, in all utterance and all knowledge. But though there was much gift, grace was not in the same proportion. The seed had been cast abroad richly, but the earth had not been deeply ploughed up; consequently, it much mixed its own productions with the gift of God. The testimony which had been brought among them was estimated by some external characteristic, rather than as the testimony of God, as with the happy Thessalonians (1 Thess. ii. 13). And consequently, one was for Paul, another for Apollos, and another for Christ, shewing that in a sectarian, independent spirit we may stand even for Christ, or appa-, rently for him.

Their moral standing too, shewed that there was not much depth of earth. In chap. iv. " they were full, they were rich, they reigned as kings" without the more faithful saints; they found themselves comparatively at ease in the world, a state which rendered them an easy prey to a doctrine which, in chap. xv., assured them that there is no resurrection of the dead; a doctrine which could not so readily suit one who had to say, “I die

daily.” Even when terrible evil came in, it did not disturb the light complacency of the flesh. Chap. v.

they were puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he which had done the deed might be taken away from among them.” The same lightness of work, too, made them bad judges about Christian liberty; for Christian liberty does not consider so much what we may do, as what will be for the glory of God, and the welfare of the brethren.

The same state of mind made them also but badly prepared for the use of the spiritual gifts which were so richly amongst them. Chap. xiv. 26. “every one of them had a psalm, had a doctrine, had a revelation,” etc., a thing which he does not check, but regulates: therefore he says, “Let all things be done unto edifying.' It is only in the Spirit that we can handle rightly the things of the Spirit.

It is, therefore, to meet this state of things that the Apostle introduces this digression in the midst of his discussion about gifts; for without it, gifts—I might say, even graces—would just split up the Church of God. He proposes it'as the tempered mortar. Though I speak,”

“ with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not love, I am a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” It is that which gives fulness to the sound, like the High Priest's bells of old, the bells of the sanctuary " And though I have prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge [a thing by the way which pretty clearly defines the gift of prophecy, so often mentioned in the New Testament], and though there be all power, too, so as to remove mountains;" yea, and even though apparent grace and devotedness comes in, so that we either crumble our property into bits (see Greek) to bestow it on the poor, or give even our body to be burned, and yet have not love, we are profited nothing. What a declaration at the hands of God, that nothing external-power, devotedness, whatsoever it be-is of value before God without that love which makes it of savour to Him, and of real refreshment to others. “Love,” he says, “beareth long, and is kind. Love envieth not: love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;

he says,

doth not behave itself unseemly [and this love teaches us our place, Ephesians v.21]: seeketh not her own fand, therefore, of all things most of Christ, Philippians ii. 21]: is not easily provoked: thinketh no evil.” * It is remarkable that the quieter fruits of the Spirit indicate more of his power. Galatians v., “ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness

, temperance.”

Love is holy in its tastes and feelings, “ It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth,” in kindredness of spirit;:“ beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” How fully, then, does he let us into the real and noble nature of Love. It is the highest of all; those things which we are so apt to glory in, as setting us forth, tongues and prophecy, are only arguments of our imperfection. They are only to supply our mutual need, and are in us imperfect; "we know in part, and prophesy in part, " until we obtain the perfect state of things. But when all need is satisfied, all imperfection is done away: love will still find its full element, as it will for ever have to do with the God of love.

I have dwelt upon this, because it may be particularly suitable to us in present circumstances. Contention against evil has been, I believe, the great thing to which God has called us latterly. This has broken through, in some ineasure, that false love or charity, which is, perhaps, the great sin of this professing age, and which is just a counterfeit of the true. That false charity lets anything become of God's truth, rather than speak out faithfully, and disturb the robber in his prey. But it is required of stewards that they be found faithful: a man may dispose as he will of his own property, but if he dispose, in the same ready way, of another's, we remind him, that he must be just before he is generous. And so the truth is God's property, of which we cannot dispose, save as He guides us by His spirit; and He would have us careful of the trust. We are all in this sense stewards of the mysteries of God.

Paul, we find in Galatians ii., approached his elder Jewish brethren with something of trembling, lèst, through his own weakness, he, by any means, should run, or had run, in vain. But when God's truth was really in question, he gave place by subjection not for an hour, but " withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

As I have said, thus it has been, and very very much there is all around that will call to contend. Yet, meanwhile, let us seek to be careful, that, whilst contending against evil, we love fervently and cherish all that is, and all that are, of the truth. The Apostle John, after telling them in the fourth chapter of his first Epistle, not to believe every spirit, “but try the spirits, etc., then returns to his more pleasing, and still most incumbent, occupation; ver. 7. “Beloved, let us love one another: or love is of God.” It is the “bond of perfe ctness," Paul tells us, in Colossians iii. 14, which throws its golden charm around all. We are so apt in securing one truth, to let go another kindred

• Him that is weak in the faith receive ye,” etc., does not conflict with “ Beloved, follow not that which is evil” (3 John 11).

I add no further. To see these two things combined, steady faithfulness against evil, on the one hand, and yet frank, confiding, upright, and hearty love, where it is fairly warranted, surely this were happy for us. It would lead one to say,


of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.Our Lord himself is coming; happy indeed to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless!



1 CORINTHIANS, XIII. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

rejoiceth not iniquity, but rejoiceth in th truth; peareth things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 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: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 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. For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

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