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the beginning of this chapter-Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have not love, I am nothing." It means an inspired knowledge of the types, predictions, and mysteries, of the Old Testament, and of their accomplishment by the facts of the Christian economy. This, also, was among the signs and wonders which were to vanish away; which, having been granted as attestations to the divinė authority of the word of God, and for the edification of the church, were discontinued when the canon of Scripture was completed and settled.
Some extend the Apostle's reasoning so far, as to include every kind of our present knowledge; which, as to its imperfect attainments, and inadequate mediums, and present modes of communication, shall be removed, and give place to a more easy and perfect method of acquiring truth, and a more entire comprehension of its nature and relations.
As to the knowledge of the arts of the practical sciences and of literature, this shall be lost and forgotten, as utterly useless, and as bearing no relation whatever to the celestial state. Ye master spirits, ye commanding geniuses, ye lordly minds, who exhaust the force of your intellect, and lavish its treasures upon themes of mere earthly interest,—see here the termination of all your labours. Scholars, poets, painters, sculptors, warriors, ye who assemble in the temple of fame, amidst the mightiest productions of human skill, to pay homage to each other, to receive the admiration of the world, and to immortalize your names,-giving to your mighty works the full measure of their value, in reference to earth and to time,―admitting that, in this view, they are bright
scenes in the history of man; yet still, in reference to heaven and its eternity, they are nothing-less than nothing-and vanity. Not an angel would turn to gaze upon the noblest production of human imagination, nor will a plea be put in by a single inhabitant of heaven, to exempt from the destruction of the last fire the sublimest specimens of human skill. Myriads of volumes have been already lost and forgotten; myriads more are on their way to oblivion; myriads still shall rise, but only to vanish;-and of all the accumulations that shall have been made by the time of the Millennium, and which shall have been going on through the longest and the purest age of reason--not one shall be saved from the general conflagration, as worthy to be borne to the heavenly world. "Knowledge shall vanish away."
But not only shall the knowledge contained in the scientific, and literary, and imaginative, productions of men vanish, together with the volumes by which it was circulated; but all theological works,-our creeds, our catechisms, our articles of faith, our bodies of divinity, our works of biblical criticism, our valued, and justly valued, commentaries,-our sermons, and our treatises,—all shall vanish. The knowledge we gain from these sources is not that which will attend us to the skies, and be sufficient for us when we have arrived at the region of cloudless splendour, the element of wisdom, the native land, and dwelling-place of truth.
The introduction of this idea, by the Apostle, has given occasion for one of the most striking digressions from his tract of thought which he ever made, His argument only required him to state that love
is better than the gift of knowledge, because the latter shall cease; but he proceeds to show why it shall cease, and ascribes its continuance to its imperfection: he then takes an opportunity to draw one of the most sublime contrasts to be found in the Word of God, between our knowledge in the present world, and our more perfect comprehension of truth in the world that is to come.
And why shall knowledge vanish away? because
"We know in part, and we prophesy in part."
A part only of truth is made known, and, therefore, a part only is received by us. This may imply that there are many things we do not know at all. Who can doubt this? Upon the supposition that we were perfectly acquainted with all that is proper to be known, all that could be acquired by the aid of reason and the discoveries of revelation, still we should hear a voice, saying to us, "Lo, these are a part of his ways, but the thunder of his power who can understand?" There are, doubtless, truths of vast importance and of deep interest, which have never yet approached, and, in the present world, never will approach, the horizon of the human understanding. There are paths in the region of truth which the vulture's eye has not seen, and which are hid from the view of all living.
When, on his death-bed, the great NEWTON was congratulated upon the discoveries he had made, he replied, with the modesty usually attendant on vast attainments, "I have been only walking on the shores of truth, and have, perhaps, picked up a gem or two, of greater value than others; but the vast
ocean itself lies all before me." This is strictly correct in reference to the material universe, to which the remark was intended to apply. Of natural truth, the ocean, with its depths, its islands, and the continents and kingdoms to which it leads, is all before us. We have only looked upon the surface, and seen some of the objects passing upon it: we have only seen a few land-marks, on one part of one of its shores; but the infinitude of its ample space, and the innumerable objects which that space contains, are yet to be explored. And with respect to the spiritual world, although we possess, in the volume of inspiration, a revelation of the most sublime, important, and interesting objects of knowledge; yet, probably, there are truths of which, after all that divines and philosophers have written, we can form no more conception, than we can of the objects of a sixth sense, or than a blind man can of colours. "We know only in part."
It is implied also, that what we do know, we know but imperfectly. In some cases, our knowledge is uncertainty, and amounts only to opinion: faith is weak, and mixed with many doubts. We cannot exultingly exclaim, "I know;" we can scarcely say, "I believe." The object sometimes presents itself to our mind, like the sun seen dimly through a mist,now appearing, and then lost again, in the density of the fog. Now a truth comes upon us, in a thin and shadowy form; we think we see it, but it is again obscured. We only see glimmerings. We perceive appearances, rather than demonstrations; dark outlines, not perfect pictures.
And where no doubt undermines the certainty
of our knowledge, what narrow limits bound its extent! We walk, as through a valley shut in on each side by lofty mountains, whose tops are lost amidst the clouds, whose shadows add to the obscurity of our situation, and whose mighty masses stand between us and the prospect which lies beyond. How imperfect and limited is our knowledge of the great God-of the spirituality of his nature of his necessary self-existence from eternity-of his tri-une essence! How feeble are our concep tions of the complex person of Christ, the God-man Mediator; of the scheme of providence, embracing the history of our world, and of all other worlds; and of the connexion between providence and redemption! How have divines and philosophers been perplexed on the subject of the entrance of moral evil; on the agreement between divine prescience, and the freedom of the human will; between moral inability, and human accountability! How much obscurity hangs, in our view, over many of the operations of nature! how soon do we arrive at ultimate laws, which, for aught we can tell, may be only effects of causes that are hidden from our observation! In what ignorance do we live, of many of the most common occurrences around us. Who has perfect ideas of the essences of things, separate / and apart from their qualities-of matter, for instance, or spirit? Who can perfectly conceive how the idea of motion results from that of body, or how the idea of sensation results from that of spirit? On what theme shall we meditate, and not be mortified to find how little progress we can make before we are arrested by insurmountable difficulties? On what