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The Wisdom of Men and the Power of God

The Wisdom of Men and the Power of God

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. J. LLEWELYN DAVIES

" My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of
wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power ; that
your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the
power of God." i CORINTHIANS ii. 4, 5.

BY REV. J. LLEWELYN DAVIES

" My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of
wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power ; that
your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the
power of God." i CORINTHIANS ii. 4, 5.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 15, 2014
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THE WISDOM OF ME AD THE POWER OF GOD BY REV. J. LLEWELY DAVIES " My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power ; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." i CORITHIAS ii. 4, 5. IT is a matter of course that in addressing you this morning, my Christian brethren, I should keep in view what is in all our minds that gathering of Churchmen which is to take place this week in your town. The purpose of the Church Congress is to give Churchmen an opportunity of consulting to- gether upon dangers and openings and duties that are of interest to us at the present moment as members of the Church. We are led to consider how the Faith by which we live is now standing with reference to the ways of thinking and the demands of our time. ow as I reflect from this point of view upon what is most modern and characteristic in our age, it seems to me that we are being emphatically warned 1 Preached at St. Mary's, ottingham, on the Sunday before the meeting of the Church Congress, 1897. B 2 The Wisdom of Men \ to fall back upon the old position taken up by St. Paul as a preacher of the Gospel. The method to which he firmly adhered was to proclaim the good news of the crucified and risen Son of God, without regard to any wisdom of men. The wisdom of men, he perceived, was against him : so much the worse,
 
he held, for the wisdom of men. He paid no timid deference to that wisdom, made no attempt to con- ciliate it ; his business was to deliver the message from heaven with which he was charged, whatever might be his hearers' opinions about it. In our day there is a very earnest desire amongst Christians, more general, I am inclined to think, than ever before, to reconcile our Christianity with the wisdom of men. There is so much that is manifestly good in this desire that we can hardly refuse to regard it as a Divine inspiration. But the desire, if it has a high Christian motive, and some good appointed end, may yet be a dangerous one. o such recon- ciliation is at present possible none that is more than partial Or superficial : Christianity cannot be brought into a really satisfying agreement with science. And if we were induced to adhere to Christianity because of its being rational, that might not be in accordance with the intention of God, who would have us hang on the Divine will revealed in Christ, and surrender ourselves to it in thankfulness and trust, and walk as children, not of this world, but of that which is above and to come. The scientific investigation of ature which has had such triumphs in our time finds before it two infinities, those of Space and Time. Our whole solar system is a very small thing amongst the i and the Power of God 3 bodies which science can see and measure in the space which is immeasurable : how infinitesimal man is in the universe of which no bound is known, words and numbers fail to make perceptible to the mind. As the men of science look back to the past of things on this speck of a planet, its present state is seen to have grown out of millions of years of ante-
 
cedents. Everywhere growth, gradual and natural growth, is increasingly recognised. The world as it is, including the human race, has grown by degrees from elements of which no beginning can be touched, through the constant pressure of a force which in the animated and organised departments of existence shows itself as a struggle for self-preservation and self- gratification. Sometimes science asserts the altogether non-moral character of this evolution ; at other times it seeks to explain how a working morality, involving a certain control of self, has been naturally produced by care for self. In the universe thus surveyed by science all kinds of grandeur and wonderfulness awe the imagination and stimulate the ardour of inquiry. But it has been increasingly felt in recent years that the universe thus regarded affords no ground of duty, and exhibits men as atoms casually produced by the general creative force. Mr. Herbert Spencer has confessed that "contemplation of a universe which is without conceivable beginning or end, and without intelligible purpose, yields no satis- faction." 1 Mr. Huxley, who had argued triumphantly that man is an automaton moved by the natural forces, in his later years declared his conviction that 1 Quoted by Mr. F. Harrison in The Positivist Review for August 1895, p. 140. 4 The Wisdom of Men \ men were bound to fight against nature, in order to save morality. More recently, a striking protest has come from the.small body of men who call themselves Positivists. The Positivists, as some of you will know, are followers of a French man of science, Auguste Comte, who not only co-ordinated the sciences, but also founded a religion. The deity of this religion is Humanity, and the social duties are prescribed by

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