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to him that bonds and afflictions awaited him. Yet neither the prospect of his varied tribulations, nor the full weight of them, made him for a monent think of relinquishing his benevolent exertions for the welfare of mankind. His was the love that "endu
reth all things."
And a greater, far greater than even the great Apostle of the Gentiles, might be also introduced, as affording, by his conduct, a most striking illustration of this property of Christian charity. Who but himself can conceive of what the Son of God endured while he sojourned in this world? Who can imagine the magnitude of his sufferings, and the extent of that opposition, ingratitude, and hard usage, amidst which those sufferings were sustained, and by which they were so greatly increased? Never was so much mercy treated with so much cruelty; the constant labour he sustained, and the many privations to which he submitted, were little, compared with the malignant contradiction, resistance, and persecution, he received from those who were the objects of his mercy. The work of man's redemption was not accomplished, as was the work of creation, by a mere fiat delivered from the throne, on which Omnipotence reigned in the calm repose of infinite majesty: no-the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, as a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. The wrath of God, the fury of devils, the rage of man, the malignity of enemies, the wayward follies and fickleness of friends, the baseness of treachery, the scorn of official rank, and the many stings of ingratitude, calumny, and inconstancy,-all poured their venom into that heart
which glowed with affection to the children of men. Nothing turned him from his purpose-nothing abated his ardour in the work of our salvation. His, too, and above all others, was indeed a love which "endureth all things."
Such is the model we are to copy. In doing good we must prepare ourselves for opposition, and all its attendant train of evils. Whether our object be the conversion of souls, or the well-being of man's corporeal nature-whether we are seeking to build up the temporal, or to establish the eternal, interests of mankind,- -we must remember that we have undertaken a task which will call for patient, self-denying, and persevering effort. In the midst of difficulties, we must not utter the vain and cowardly wish, that we had not set our hand to the plough; but press onward in humble dependance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, and animated by the hope of either being rewarded by success, or by the consciousness that we did every thing to obtain it: and we shall do this, if we possess much of the power of love; for its ardour is such, that many waters cannot quench it. Its energies increase with the difficulty that requires them, and, like a well-constructed arch, it becomes more firm and consolidated by the weight it has to sustain. In short, it is "stedfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as it knows that its labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."
THE PERMANENCE OF LOVE.
"Charity never faileth."
PERMANENCE is the climax of excellence. How often has the sigh been heaved, and the tear been shed, over the perishable nature of earthly possessions. Their transient duration presented a painful contrast to their great worth, and extorted the sorrowful exclamation, Alas! that such excellence should be mortal! The charm of beauty soon fades, the force of genius is at length exhausted, the monuments of art decay; an incurable taint of corruption has infected every thing earthly, and even religion itself does not confer immortality upon every thing that belongs to its sacred economy. One thing there is, which shall remain for ever, for " charity never faileth;" and its permanence is the crown and glory of all its other noble qualities. It is a truly immortal disposition,-bearing no exclusive relation to earth or to time, but destined to pass away from the world with the souls in which it exists, to dwell in heaven, and flourish through eternity.
When it is said that it never faileth, we are not merely to understand, that being once planted in the
soul, it remains there as the centre and support of all the other practical virtues: that it will so remain, . is unquestionable, for its continuance is essential to the existence of personal and social religion. A man may change his opinions on some subjects—he may give up some sentiments once believed by him to be truth; but he cannot give up love, without ceasing to be a Christian.
Nor does the Apostle mean that it remains as the spirit of Christianity till the end of time, amidst every change of external administration: that it shall so abide is unquestionable. The genius of piety is unchangeable. This was the temper obligatory upon the primitive Christian; it is obligatory upon us; and it will be no less so upon every future generation. A holier and happier age is in reserve for the Church of Christ; "compared with which, invisible though it be at present, and hid behind the clouds which envelope this dark and troubled scene, the brightest day that has yet shone upon the world is midnight, and the highest splendours that have invested it the shadow of death :" but this glory shall consist in a more perfect and conspicuous manifestation of the grace of love. It is in this, combined with a clearer perception of the truth, that the Christians of the Millennium will surpass those of every preceding age.
But the Apostle's reference is evidently to another world his eye was upon heaven, and he was looking at things unseen and eternal, when he said that "charity never faileth." He was then soaring on the wing of faith, and exploring the scenes of eternity, among which he saw this celestial plant,
surviving the dissolution of the universe, outliving the earthly state of the church, transplanted to the paradise of God, and flourishing in the spirits of just men made perfect near the fountain of light and love.
To give still greater emphasis to what he says of its continuance, he contrasts it with some things, which, however highly valued by the Corinthian believers, were of a transient duration, and, therefore, of greatly inferior value to this.
"Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail." By prophecies here, we are to understand inspired interpretation of the Scriptures; all new revelations from God, by oral or written communication, for the instruction and edification of the saints. These, so far from belonging to the heavenly state of the church, did not survive its primitive ages. The gift of inspiration was soon withdrawn, the oracle of prophecy was hushed, and all further responses from heaven were denied.
"Whether there be tongues, they shall cease." This, of course, refers to the miraculous power of speaking any language without previous study. This gift also ceased with the other extraordinary endowments of the primitive ages, and bears no relation to the heavenly world. Whether the communication of ideas in the celestial state will be carried on by speech, is, at present, unknown to us; if it be so, what the language will be is beyond conjecture.
"Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." This expression most probably refers to what is called, in the preceding chapter, "the word of knowledge;" and of which the Apostle speaks in