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Present and Future Knowledge.

Present and Future Knowledge.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
By Rev. James Vaughan


** 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." — I
Corinthians xiii. 12.
By Rev. James Vaughan


** 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." — I
Corinthians xiii. 12.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 24, 2013
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Present and Future Knowledge.
By Rev. James Vaughan
** For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face : nowI know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known." — ICorinthians xiii. 12.WE are entering upon a season, which, by commonconsent, is set apart for especial self-humiliation-And God knows that we have reasons enough to said usall very low down into the dust.But in the order of our Liturgy, we are taught every yearto read the thirteenth chapter of the first of Corinthians, onthe Sunday before Lent, — partly to give the right key-note toall its exercises, />., to teach us that while we are judgingourselves, we should have the kindest feelings to otherpeople, — but still more to remind us that all our fastings,and all our observances, and all our doings, are nothingworth ; but that though we should give our alms, even tothe bestowing all our goods, and to the making ourselvespoor, and though we should mortify the flesh even to theburning, — and though we should know everything, even tothe understanding of all mysteries, still it is all valuelessand nothing, unless it springs from love.The comparison which the apostle, in the course of hisargument, is led to institute between knowledge and loveis a very remarkable one. " Knowledge," he says, " shallvanish away," but love abides. But is not knowledge aIcisting thing, cis well as love ? Shall there not be know-Present and Future Knowledge. 205ledg-e in heaven ? Is not the earthly knowledge continuallyreaching- on to the heavenly, even as the present love isexpanding to the eternal love ?The text is to give the answer to that question. Ourpresent love is exactly the same with our future love ; it
 
differs only in degree. But our knowledge here is alto-gether of a different nature to that which we are to haveby-and-by. For now, we know nothing. We knowthings only by their reflections; there is no directacquaintance with anything ; we are not capable of it yet.It is like the seeing the image of an object in a mirror.And remember, the ancients, having no glass, had onlymetal, and therefore indistinct mirrors. We see, notrealities, but reflections, — and those reflections throughthe medium in which we look at them, confused, — or, asit is in the original, riddled. " For now we see througha glass," />., in a mirror, enigmatically " but then face toface."How literally true this is, a moment's consideration, if.you will give it me, will show. Trace the way in whichwe arrive at any fact of knowledge. An object, seenthrough the eye, makes an impression upon the brain ;that impression on the brain becomes an idea ; the manclothes that idea in a word; he speaks the word, andmakes a vibration in the air ; the vibration in the air, fallsupon another man's ezir, and by that vibration, he impartshis own idea to that other man's mind. All through,it is a succession of reflections. The image is a reflectionof the object, — the idea is a reflection of the image, — theword is a reflection of the idea, — suid the thought in themind of the one man is only a reflection of the thought inthe mind of the other man.2o6 Present and Future Knowledge.■ Or follow this in the spiritual knowledge. God makesa representation of Himself in the person of His Son. TheSon, again, is discerned by the Holy Ghost. The Spirit,again, casts Himself into the written word. The writtenword, by the power of the Spirit, mirrors itself upon ahuman mind. In each stage, the process, indeed, may bein itself, perfect. The heaven-taught mind is intended tobe the counterpart of God's word, — even as the word isthe counterpart of God's Spirit, — even as the Spirit is thecounterpart of Christ, — even as Christ is the counterpart of the Father. But, through the infirmity and weakness of our human faculties, at every stage the original is dimmed.We do not see, as perhaps we might, all the Father in theSon, — neither do we see all the Saviour in the Spirit's
 
teaching, — because we do not see all the Spirit's teachingin the Bible. But that which the apostle describes comesto pass, — there is indistinctness at each single step; — theFather is imperfectly known to us in the Son, — the Son isimperfectly known to us in the Spirit, — the Spirit is imper-fectly known to us in the Bible. With but a part, at thebest, we become acquainted in each case, — and that partfull of perplexities ; — questions we cannot answer, problemswe cannot solve, start up in the midst at every turn, — thatwhich is in itself most real comes shadowy to our minds,while shadows take a fearful reality. In that mist andfilm of the man's understanding, the proportions of thingsare disturbed. " ow we see through a glass, darkly ; butthen face to face : now I know in part ; but then shall Iknow, even as also I am known."Doubtless, brethren, some minds have more shadowsthan others, and to some, their own shadows are morepainful and distressing than they are to other men.Present and Future Knowledge. 207Generally, those whose intellect is the highest, and whoseperception is the keenest, cire the most conscious of theirown darkenings. St. Paul's was a mind of extraordinarycompass and attainment. Brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, — learned in the Hebrew lore and in classicalliterature, — disciplined to close thought and severe argu-ment, — taught by the Holy Ghost, — caught up into thethird heaven, — few could tell of power and acquisitionslike PauFs. In the same proportion was the deep sensehe felt of his infirmity, and the obscurity which attachedto everything he knew. He counted himself but a manlooking at imperfect likenesses in a sullied reflector,— " Isee through a glass darkly."From the shadows which they find in their own minds,some men fly despairingly into the total darkness of infidelity. Others acquiesce in the confusion, and sitdown content with ignorance. Happy those, who, seeingin these things the signs of a present dispensation of faith,taking them as the humiliations of intellect, and theexercises of trust, — reach on to brighter scenes, where thediscipline shall be ended, and the shadows shall fleeaway. " ow we see through a glass, darkly ; but then

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