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the blame of all their evil,—this was what they could not endure. Even worse remained behind : the liberty of Christianity freed the spiritual Christian from the yoke of the law; he was no more subject to the old restraints upon the free affections of the heart: fornication and incest were but names to describe phantoms of evil, in which there was no evil in reality. Hence the one and the other of these sins were practised among them, as appears from the first Epistle, and were not only practised, but uncensured, and even defended.

To a people then of this sort, there was more need of that which might humble them than of any thing to encourage them more. They needed not to be told of the excellence of knowledge, but rather to be warned of its insufficiency when not accompanied by humility and charity; to be reminded, when they talked of their knowledge, that knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth; that if they allowed themselves to dwell on the satisfaction which Christianity had given to their intellects, on the clear views which it had afforded them of the divine nature, whilst others were sunk in the folly of heathenism, they should remember, that if any man think that he knoweth any thing in such matters, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to do; but if any man love God, the same is known of Him. As much as to say, that to know God here intellectually is impossible: if we love

Him, God will know and acknowledge us, and raise us to a state in which we may know Him even as we are known by Him. Again, when speaking of that reasoning by which they had persuaded themselves that sensual indulgences were no sin, the Apostle writes to them, “If any among you seemeth to be wise, let him become a fool that he may be wise; for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God : for it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."

Many more instances might be given in both the Epistles to the Corinthians, serving to set forth their peculiar character, and the peculiar addresses which it required from the Apostle. And the same thing might be done for others of the epistles; showing how there is in them severally a separate character in the persons addressed, and, therefore, a separate tone and character in the addresses to them: that thus they afford instances of divine remedies applied to a particular class of spiritual disorders; we may see the disposition, and the way in which that disposition is treated, and if we feel that ours is such an one, then this is a part of the Scripture which suits us particularly: we should read it over and over again, for here is the wisdom of God for the curing of our own special infirmities. But this cannot be done within the limits of one single sermon; it would rather be matter for a volume.

Only in conclusion now,—if any of us have

powerful understandings; if we love truth heartily, and follow it vigorously; if we have no sympathy with superstition and little respect for authority, but require a reason for every thing and are willing to be bound with the fewest possible ties ;—then the Epistles to the Corinthians are a part of Scripture which we shall find especially profitable. There will be in it enough of what is truly liberal and wise and manly; there will be enough to gratify the loftiest hopes, the highest aspirations for an exalted hereafter. But there is preached withal, to the very extent of its power, the doctrine of Christ crucified: that doctrine which is of all others the most humbling and the most softening; which is indeed the power of God and the wisdom of God; but which speaks even more strongly of His holiness and of His love; that the thought of the one may lead us to an intense self humiliation, the thought of the other may enkindle in us the most fervent and most affectionate love towards God and towards each other.


Sept. 23rd, 1832.

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If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one

unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

“ To prophesy,” in the language of the Scripture, is “to speak the words of God,” as opposed to speaking our own words from our own devices. It is manifest, therefore, that it admits of very great degrees, being applicable in a low sense to the uttering of any word of wisdom or goodness, inasmuch as all such words are the words of God; while in its highest sense it applies to Him only to whom the Spirit was given without measure, and whose words were in a perfect sense the words of God. Between this highest sense of the term and


the lowest, there are other gradations, according to the fulness and clearness of the knowledge of God's will which is enjoyed in each particular case; but certainly, any minister of Christ speaking out of the Scriptures, and declaring to his brethren God's will concerning them, may truly be said to prophesy: the lessons which he delivers are not his own, but those of God.

Whatever especial revelations then may have been given to those called prophets in the early Christian Church, what is said of them and of their prophesying, is, in the main, applicable to us and to ours.

The differences between them and us are not of so much consequence as the resemblance. Nor are we concerned now with another difference, although in itself of considerable importance, that whereas in the church to which St. Paul was writing, there were many in each congregation who prophesied; now with us there is only one. What we have to consider is the nature and effects of Christian prophecy; whether speaking from an immediate and particular revelation, or from a general one already existing and known; whether it be confined to one, or imparted to many. We are to consider its nature and effects, such as the apostle has described them, at once so truly and so beautifully,—that it convinces,—that it judges,

that it makes manifest the secrets of the heart; and that it at last urges the hearer of it to give

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