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which are too profound for man's faculties to reach, God may reveal. No one knows what is passing in the thoughts of his friend or his companion, till they are disclosed. No man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him. The Spirit of God is, in this respect, like the spirit or soul of man; is one with him, and searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. And the Spirit of God has come, according to the promise; has “guided us into all truth;” has “made known to us the mystery of God's will;” has opened to us the depth of his counsels. Just as the secrets of a man's heart, though they cannot be discovered, may be freely revealed to his friend.
12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
There are two methods by which the apostles might communicate the things given to them of God. They might dress them up in fine language, and follow the example of philosophers and orators, speaking in the words which man's wisdom teacheth: or they might “use all plainness of speech,” commending themselves to the consciences of men, and depending on the Holy Ghost to convey their words to the heart. This latter method, he says, is ours: comparing spiritual things with spiritual. When, for instance, we desire to persuade men that the dead shall
rise again; we do not argue on the nature of the soul, that it shall never die: but we show that Christ has risen, and so proved that the dead may rise.” Further, we prove that Christ should rise again, not by arguing that he was God, and therefore death could not have dominion over him; but by alleging David's prophecy, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither shalt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” These are the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth. Again, when we assure the Jews that God will have the Gentiles “to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth;” we do not argue how all nations of the earth are “of one blood,” sprung alike from Adam: but we show how the prophets have said in old times, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.” “There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust.” These are the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth; and thus we compare spiritual things with spiritual, knowing that the faith of Christ must be established, “not by the wisdom of men, but by the power of God.”
For, as the things of God do not enter into the heart of man, that he can naturally comprehend them; so likewise there must be a preparation of the heart, that it may receive them.
14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The natural man, is one in whom no such change is made as the Spirit makes: that change spoken of by our Lord, where he says, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”" Such an one receiveth not the things of the Spirit: his mind is not in a state to admit them: he has not the necessary faculties; for they are spiritual, and he has not the Spirit. Just as one ignorant of a language, cannot receive the things contained in that language. Just as one whose organs of sight are defective, cannot form an idea of colours. Let the eye be cleared from its film; let the key of the language be given; and all will become plain, which before was obscure and unintelligible. And so let the Spirit “take of the things of Christ, and show them to the soul;” the language is made clear, which before was as a sealed book: the prospect is open, as to one whose sight has been restored. For example. The coming of the Son of God in the flesh, is as foolishness to the natural man: whilst the spiritual man discerns in it the mercy and goodness of God, thus bringing back to himself a lost and rebellious world in the manner best suited to his own nature, and to the nature of mankind. And again, in the death of Christ, “even the death of the cross,” the natural man sees nothing but reproach, and weakness, and failure of purpose: whilst the spiritual man discerns in it the extent and guilt of sin which required so vast a sacrifice, and for which so vast a sacrifice was made. And these things he sees, which others fail to see, because they are spiritually discerned, and he is spi6 John iii. 5. 7 John xvi. 13–15.
* Acts xviii. 31. Ch. xv. 12–20. * Acts ii. 27. * See Rom. xv. 9–12.
ritual: he possesses the sense by which they are conveyed to the mind; he has learnt the language in which they are disclosed.
15. But he that is spiritual judgeth (or discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged (or discerned)” of no man.
16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him 29 But we have the mind of Christ.
No one could instruct the spiritual man, unless he were acquainted with the divine counsels, the mind of the Lord. The apostle had that mind, the mind of Christ, revealed to him, and therefore was capable of
teaching all things, yea, the deep things of God.
What St. Paul states in this chapter, agrees with all experience. When the things of God are declared, he that is spiritual judgeth or discerns them: whilst to others they are foolishness. “Some believe the things which are spoken, and some believe not.” When they are received, it is because “the Lord opens the heart.” No man cometh unto Christ, unless he be “drawn of the Father.” As many as “receive him, and believe in his name, are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” “
But whilst we have this assurance, that the natural man receiveth not the things of God: we have also the gracious words, “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him "*
* As in the margin of our translation. No man can judge of him, because they are ignorant of the principles by which he is governed.
9 Instruct the spiritual man.
1 Acts xxviii. 24. * Acts xvi. 14.
• John vi. 44. * John i. 12, 13.
SUCCESS IN THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY DEPENDENT ON THE GRACE OF GOD.
1 CoR. iii. 1–9.
1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4. For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos ; are ye not carnal 2
These Corinthians ought to have been spiritually minded: renewed and changed by the Spirit of God. It is the character of Christians generally, that they “are not in the flesh, but in the spirit:” that “the Spirit of God dwelleth in them.” The promise is given to them that believe: “Repent, and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” But of
* Luke xi. 13. * Rom. viii. 9. * Acts i. 38.