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"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."-1 Cor. i. 18-24.

Paul's words in the opening of Corinthians look like an indiscriminate defiance of all intellectual excellencies; for he sums up, under three titles, the significant names of intellectual development. "Where are the wise?" Or, in our phrase, Where is Grecian philosophy? Where is that wisdom which developed itself in the schools of Greece?— it was to Corinth that he was writing. "Where is the scribe?" The scribe represented the Hebrew scholar-the man who was cultured in all civil and religious knowledge among the Jews. "Where is the disputer of this world?” By this, doubtless, is meant the dialecticians, whether among the Jews or among the Greeks-the sophists-the men who instituted disputations along the streets, and everywhere throughout the cities. Those men that live by the development of intellectual truth, whether among the Jews or among the Greeks, in regular forms of schools and philosophy, or in

SUNDAY MORNING. March 29, 1874; immediately following the adjournment of the Congregational Council, convened at the call of the Church of the Pilgrims and the Clinton Avenue Congregational Church, for discussion of the forms of order and discipline in the Plymouth Church. LESSON: 1 Cor, xiii. HYMNS (Plymouth Collection) Nos. 247, 1,261, 1,225,

irregular and peripatetic forms-where are they? God has made them seem foolish by the presentation of Jesus Christ, who is the power of God in the world.

Now, I am far from understanding this as meaning the degradation of reason or of reasoning, on the part of the apostle; for he uses reason and reasoning himself preeminently. It does not deny nor undervalue the uses of the intellect, in the promotion either of science, of philosophy, or of knowledge more generally. It does not undertake to say that these things are of no validity. It does not touch that question. It is not a declaration that the grand Christianizing processes of the world can take place without the use of the human intellect. It is this: the assertion that in the work of regenerating the world mere intellectual forces are secondary, subsidiary, auxiliary; and that the power by which the human heart is to be transformed, and by which the race is to be carried up until it is in the likeness of God, is the power of the heart.


I understand, then, in a large interpretation of this passage, that it is a declaration of the primacy of disposition, or heart-power, in the great work of elevating the human race. Not, however, to the derogation of the intellect, but to the derogation of its arrogant sense of superiority. will not be changed from their lower flesh-nature into their higher spirit-nature by any amount of intellectual reasoning. When men are transformed, it will be because there has been breathed into them a disposition which will change everything in them.

It is not, then, that we are called, in this declaration of Paul, to choose between intellect on the one side, and misty feelings of emotion and tender impulses on the other. We want them both. The question is as to their rank. Which is the superior? Which serves the other? Are we to use the disposition for the sake of glorifying the intellect, and making men knowledgeable creatures; or are we to use the intellect as an instrument and a servant for making men good, pure, just, loving, true? In which is man's manhood-in his intellectual force, or in his moral nature? As to that, there can be no question; for Christ declares that

the fruit of the Spirit is the foundation of the Law, and that it is love to God and love to man. He says that on this stands the whole Scripture. He says, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another." The fruit

of the Spirit, as he represents it, consists in joy, and love, and faith, and peace-not knowledge.

In that matchless thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians which I read in the opening service (and one can scarcely tell whether it be a sonnet or a discourse, yet, whatever we think of its form, its spirit is the Charter of the Christian Church)-in that matchless chapter Paul himself brings the question to terms, and says that all knowledge, all prophecy, all power of teaching and discerning, all faith (that kind of operative faith by which mountains might be removed; that kind of faith which consists in the strengthening of the human will as a means of exerting immense force), all self-sacrifice in the way of zeal, all fidelity to a man's side or party-that all these things are relative. Knowledge is relative. When you know all possible things, you only know them in spots and particulars. It is not given to man to understand either the nature of the world in which he dwells, or all its relations to the universe. And when we rise out of the childhood of this life into the manhood of the great life above, we shall find that all the particles of knowledge over which we swelled with pride here were but parts and fragments, and that we knew as little of the whole system of creation as the wandering Bedouin knows about the old Assyrian civilization.

"Now we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part [the partialisms or relativities of this mortal life] shall be done away."

In this universal scattering, death shall take all things which the intellect has cognizance of, because they are partial, the scope of the intellect being partial. There is a sphere of our existence, a great treasury of truths, which is far beyond our reach; and when we rise out of this nascent state; when we leave this school on earth, and go into that other life, we shall find that the things which men most pride themselves about have disappeared. Those things which the

scribe and philosopher in this world think to be so important are things of which, as we stand looking at them in the world to come, we shall say, "When I was a child, I did think as a child; but now that I have become a man, I have put away these childish things."

You might just as well attempt to persuade Newton to go back into the nursery and play with a string and a top, as attempt to persuade any wise soul that has escaped from this life into the heavenly sphere to go back to the questions and arguments which made him so proud in this world. They have gone down to nothing there.

And yet, in the decadence of convictions, in the waste of imperfect faiths, in the destruction of these proud schemes of philosophy, there are some things which are not going to pass away. Love abideth-yea more, faith and hope, as well as love. When the auxiliary and all-helping understanding shall in the other life be convicted of its fatuous follies, there will rise up the reality of our manhood-its dispositionthat which we mean by "the heart." That is going through life and through death, and will emerge in the other life. It will not be relative to the constitution which belongs to us here. It will not be shredded away, but will go through the processes of translation. That which remains of us steadfast after death is the heart, and that which changes at death is the understanding and its knowledges.

The end to be sought in this life, then, is the suppression of the passional man, of the animal dispositions, and the development of the germs of heart-life which are planted in the soul. We are to unfold in this mortal sphere Christ-like dispositions.

Now, what was Christ as our Exemplar? I am not asking what were the relations which flowed from his appearance in time. Neither am I asking what his relations had been to the anterior and invisible. I am not asking what were his relations to that with which arrogant men think themselves to be so familiar-the universal nature and government of God. I am not asking these things, because we are ignorant of them. I do not know, nor does any man know, what these relations are; and no man should be audacious enough

to profess to know. There are other relations in the death and sufferings of Christ than those which we can interpret. But we can understand those which are obvious--those which are clear to our powers of comprehension. Christ appeared

in order to call man from his lower life of the flesh to his higher life in God. His appearance was a manifestation of that higher life in himself, showing men how the great new spirit-life was wrought out, and how that life centered itself in love; and he declared to them a new commandment.

In words, the commandment "Thou shalt love" was not new; and yet, it was a "new commandment." It was new, not in mere externals, but in the scope, in the function and in the primacy then for the first time given to it.

Love is the central power. It is that which subjugates the passions, and opens the soul's sensibility to God. And this is to predominate; this is to suffer; this is to inspire and work out truth, justice, purity, and liberty in itself. And so, being made the great architect of the work that God has to perform in the human soul, the disposition, centering on love, and representing it, and being inspired by it, is to be the architectural force by which the world is to be reconstructed in wisdom, in doctrines, in rules, in regulations. It is to develop in the souls of men the greater divine element of love until its force is such that out of it shall be evolved all elements of truth, of justice and of liberty.

We want to know what to steer toward. If it be true that men must steer toward earth first, if it be true that they must steer toward exact right-believing first, we ought to know that. If, on the other hand, men are to steer first for those grand dispositions which are manifest in Jesus Christ, the gift of God to the world, teaching that the central force of the universe is love, and that by love he is to re-create this lower sphere, then let us know that. Some men stand saying, "First pure, and then peaceable." As if that were the order of development in time! As if a man had no right to be peaceable until he was pure! As if the world would not be like a vast squabbling menagerie of animals let loose, if they could not be peaceable until they were first pure! As if

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