BLTC Press Titles


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Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


Christian love

by Jonathan Edwards

Excerpt:

and have not charity, I am nothing."—1 Cob. xiii. 1, 2.

Having in the last lecture shown, that all the virtue in the saints which is distinguishing and saving, may be summed up in Christian love, I would now consider what things are compared with it in the text, and to which of the two the preference is given.

The things compared together, in the text, are of two kinds: on the one hand, the extraordinary and miraculous gifts of.the Spirit, such as the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy, &c., which were frequent in that age, and particularly in the church at Corinth,

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and on the other hand, the effect of the ordinary influences of the same Spirit, in true Christians, viz. charity, or divine love.

That was an age of miracles. It was u'.l then, as it had been of old among the Jews, when two or three, or at most a very few in the whole nation had the gift of prophecy: it rather seemed as if Moses' wish, recorded in Num. xi. 29, had become in a great measure fulfilled: "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets." Not only some certain persons of great eminence were endowed with such gifts, but they were common to all sorts, old and young, men and women ; according to the prophecy»of the prophet Joel, who, speaking of those days, foretold beforehand that great event: "And it shall come to pass in the last days (saith God), I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants, and on my hand maidens I will pour out, in those days, of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy." Especially the church of Corinth'was very eminent for such gifta. All sorts of miraculous gifts were, as is apparent from this Epistle, bestowed on that church, and the number who enjoyed these gifts was not small. "To one," says the Apostle, "is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom: to another the word of knowledge t y the same Spirit: to another faith by the same Spirit: to another"the gifts of healing by the same Spirit: to another the working of miracles : to another prophecy, &c." "But all these worketh that one, and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." And so some had one gift, and some another. "But," says the Apostle, "covet earnestly the best gifts ; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way," i. e., something more excellent than all these gifts put together, yea, something of so great importance, that all these gifts without it are nothing. For "though I speak with the tongues of men," as they did on the day of Pentecost, yea, "and of angels" too, "and have not charity, I am become" an empty worthless thing, "as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have" not only one, but all the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; and can not only speak with tongues, but " have the gift of all prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge," to see 'nto al1 the deep things of G ~,d by immediate inspiration; "and though I have all faith," to work all sorts of miracles, yea, even "so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Charity, then, which is the fruit of the ordinary sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, is preferred, as heing more excellent than any, yea, than all the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, even Christian love, which, as has been shown, is the sum of all saving grace. Yea, so very much is it preferred, that all the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, without it, are nothing, and can profit nothing. The doctrine taught, then, is: That The Ordinary Influence Of The Spirit Op God, Avorking The Grace Of Charity In The Heart, Is A More Excellent Blessing Than Any Of The Extraordinary Gifts Of The Spirit. Here I would endeavor to show, first, what is meant by the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; secondly, that the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are indeed great privileges; and yet, thirdly, that the ordinary influence of the Spirit working the grace of charity or love in the heart is a more excellent blessing. L / would briefly explain wliat is meant by ike ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit'; for the gifts and operations of the Spirit of God are by divines distinguished into comtiion and saving, and into ordinary and extraordinary.


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