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WE KNOW IN PART.

WE KNOW IN PART.

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Published by glennpease
BY WILLIAM B. 0. PEABODY, D. D.


WE KNOW IN PART, AND WE PROPHESY IN PART. —

1 Corinthians xiii. 9.
BY WILLIAM B. 0. PEABODY, D. D.


WE KNOW IN PART, AND WE PROPHESY IN PART. —

1 Corinthians xiii. 9.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 26, 2014
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WE KOW I PART. BY WILLIAM B. 0. PEABODY, D. D. WE KOW I PART, AD WE PROPHESY I PART. — 1 Corinthians xiii. 9. To "prophesy" means, in this place, to make known religious truth to men ; and the Apostles, it seems, could do this but imperfectly, because they knew but in part. Even their inspiration did not give them a view of all the great subject which was intrusted to their hands. They could teach all that God thought proper to reveal, all that man needed to know. But the full extent, the utmost bounds, of Christian truth are not to be traced and meas- ured by the human eye. It fills the mind of the re- ligious child ; it fills the soul of the adoring angel. All, save the Author and Finisher of our faith, know but in part. Indeed, our knowledge of every thing is imperfect.  — even of the things that stand nearest to the eye. The illuminated page of nature, on which God has written so many disclosures of his power and love, — how small a portion of its wonders is man yet able to understand ! Look at the tree which rises before WE KOW I PART. 357
 
your window, and shields you from the summer sun. You are familiar with its form, its foliage, and its flowers. But can you tell what is going on with- in it ? Can you explain how it is, that, when the winds of autumn are singing their vesper hymn, the tree listens to their warning, — how it forms and folds its leaves and blossoms, to have them ready for another spring ? Can you tell by what prophetic anticipation it casts off its yellow drapery, contracts its fibres, collects its might, and stands like a gallant vessel with its sails taken in and all made fast in preparation for the storm? Can you tell how it is that the small bird that found shelter in it, the mo- ment the red leaf appeared, took its flight to regions where the flowers do not wither nor the verdure fade ? o. In the history of the simplest things in the vegetable and animal world, there is much that man does not and cannot understand. Come, then, to our knowledge of human nature itself, — how imperfect it is ! how many new pages are opened from time to time which fill us with wonder and dismay ! Perhaps you are able to tell how men will feel and act under the common cir- cumstances of life ; but who can tell the measure of the soul, or how deep and far man's powers and pas- sions, in their wild energy, can go ? We see the evil spark of anger kindling into a flame, and we won- der that it is not trodden out before it rises and spreads. But can we understand how it burns and rages, till it makes man stab his brother to the heart, though he knows that when he murders another he 358 WE KOW I PART.
 
is a suicide of his own soul ? We can understand the passion of avarice in its common aspect, — the gathering of treasure that death shall take away. But can we understand how it grows and gains upon the heart, till it turns it to stone, — till it makes an Apostle, for a few pieces of silver, sell the blood of his Master ? We can understand benevolence in its common measure, when it gives what it does not want to others ; but can we comprehend that love which warms and fills the martyr's heart ? Passing finally to the knowledge of the Most High, — are not clouds and darkness round about him as of old ? " Canst thou by searching find out God ? " Let those who have tried reply. Let the answer come from one who looked through the mysterious enginery of the universe, and saw the clear firmament and the glory of the heavens as it were with an archangel's eye. A short time before his death, ewton said, — "I do not know what I may appear to the world ; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea- shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." And such has been the testimony of all the sons of light. The more they were impressed by the Divine majesty, the higher rose their devo- tion ; as they grew sensible of their weakness, their love grew as pure and their praise as eloquent as ever flowed from a seraph's tongue. Here, then, we shall be told to reflect on human WE KOW I PART,

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