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But there are two stages through which we pass : through Temptation, and through Sorrow.
1. It was through temptation that the first Adam fell from a state of nature. It was through temptation, too, that the second Adam redeemed Humanity into a state of grace. To the first Adam this world was as a garden is to a child, in which he has nothing to do but to taste and enjoy. Duty came with its infinite demands : it came into collision with the finite appetites, and he fell. The first state is simply that of untempted innocence. In the temptation of the second Adam infinite Duty consecrated certain principles of action without reference to consequences : “Man shall not live by bread alone : “ Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God : ” “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." We passed into the spiritual state when we fell. It is not better to do right: you must do right. It is not merely worse for you to do wrong—the law is, Thou shalt not !
2. Through Sorrow. Note here the difference between Adam and Christ. Adam's was a state of satisfied happiness, Christ's was one of noble aspiration : His was a Divine Sorrow : there was a secret sadness in the heart of the Son of Man. There is a difference between Childhood and Age, between Christian and un-Christian motives. Out of contemplations such as these we collect a presumption of immortality.
HE whole of this Epistle is fragmentary in its character.
It is not purely argumentative, like that to the Romans, nor was it written to meet any one cardinal error, like the Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews; but it arose in the settlement of a multitude of questions which agitated the Corinthian Church. The way in which St. Paul in this chapter enters on new ground is very characteristic of the abrupt style of the Epistle. The solemn topic of the Resurrection is closed, and now a subject of merely local interest is introduced. The Apostle gives directions, in the first four verses, respecting a certain charitable collection to be made by the Corinthians, in conjunction with other Gentile Churches, for the poor at Jerusalem and in Judæa.
We have here an illustration of one peculiar use of Scripture. The event recorded here has long since passed : the interest which hung around it was merely local : the actors in it have been buried for many centuries : the temporary distress spoken of here was long since relieved : even the Apostle himself has written simply and entirely for his own time. And yet the whole account is as living, and fresh, and pregnant with instruction to us to-day, as it was to the Corinthians of that age.
Reflections crowd upon us while pondering on the history We understand something of what is meant by inspiration. We watch the principles which are involved in the apostolic mode of meeting the dilemma, and we find that that which was written for a church at Corinth contains lessons for the Church of all ages. The particular occasion is past, but the principles and the truths remain.
To-day then, we investigate two points :
I. The call for charity.
I. The call for charity. We learn from the 15th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, at the 26th verse, the occasion of this collection. It seems that the Jewish converts in Jerusalem, being excommunicated - and persecuted, were in great distress, and that St. Paul summoned the Gentile converts in Achaia, Galatia, and at Rome to alleviate their difficulties. Now observe, first, how all distinctions of race had melted away before Christianity. This was not the first time that collections had been made for Jerusalem. Josephus tells us that they had been sent by foreign Jews to keep up the Temple at Jerusalem, that is, money had been contributed by Jews for a Jewish object. But here was a Jewish object supported by Gentile subscriptions. This was a new thing in the world.
The hard lines of demarcation were fading away for ever. Christ lived no longer as the Jew, He had risen as the Man, the Saviour, not of one people, but of the world, and in Him all were one. Henceforth there was neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female : but Christ was All.
Observe again : Galatia and Corinth were now interested in the same object. It was not merely Corinth united to Jerusalem, or Galatia to Jerusalem, but Jerusalem, Corinth, and Galatia were linked by a common object to each other. You have seen a magnet applied to a mass of iron filings, and watched the multitude of delicate points all adhering to each other, through the invisible influence which, sent throughout them all, makes each in its turn a magnet. To scattered races and divided peoples, to separate castes and ancient enmities, Christ was the Magnet which united all. His Spirit gave to
all a common interest, and that is the closest bond of union. As suggested here, the different parts of Christendom were made to feel together. Benumbed and paralyzed till then, the frame of Humanity was suddenly made to throb with a common life.
Now this had been done before by other means which were less sacred. Two hitherto have principally been employed, War and Trade. In earlier times the different tribes of the Roman Republic, even those who were opposing parties in the city, were united on the field of battle ; they felt they were warring for the same cause, and they struck as one man for their altars and their homes. Later in history we find that Trade united men by mutual interest. We will not injure others, said men, because, by so doing, we shall injure ourselves. And on this principle the great gathering of the nations last year was a pledge of union. It was a good and great effort in its way, but still it was only an appeal to self-interest.
In a far higher, nobler, and finer way Christianity unites, first to Christ, and then, through Christ, each to the other. We are bound up each in each, not through a common hatred, not through a common interest even, but through a common love. So it was that Galatia and Corinth worked together for Jerusalem, inspired with a common sympathy, a common affection, and therefore the Galatians loved the Corinthians and the Corinthians the Galatians.
Here, however, a remark suggests itself. This has not been realized since, in any degree adequate to the first promise of its youth. This binding together of Corinth, Rome, and Galatia—what has there been like it in after ages ? One gleam of sunshine, the prophecy of a glorious noon to come, struck upon the world. But the promise of the day was soon overclouded. So also there has been nothing equal to the outpouring at Pentecost; nor has a similar self-forgetfulness ever characterized the church since, as in that day when all things were common; nor has anything like the early miracles arisen since among the messengers of Christ. It would seem as if God gave at the outset, in that large flood of Love poured upon the Church, a specimen and foretaste of that which is to be hereafter. Just as on the Transfiguration Mount we catch a glimpse of glory, not to be repeated or realized for ages, which we feel was given to sustain a travailing world through days and years of sickness and of suffering.
Remark how in God's counsels sorrow draws out good. The Jewish Christians suffered from poverty and persecution. Well: kindly feelings awoke to life at Corinth and at Rome; these were the result of the misery at Jerusalem. Pain and Sorrow are mysteries. Inexplicable often is it in our life, why we are afflicted; but sometimes the veil is drawn aside, and we see the reason clearly. And here to the Church of Jerusalem, was not all this rich result of beauty and spiritual goodness cheaply purchased ? Remember, the sufferers at Jerusalem could not see the meaning of their sorrow. They did not know how many a Greek and Roman was weekly laying up his store for them : they did not know that an Apostle was writing and contriving in their behalf. They could not see how, through their pain, Galatia, and Corinth, and Rome were drawn by cords of love together. They saw only their own distress, they felt only their own forlornness.
Just in the same way we often suffer, and see no good result from it. But assuredly, we are not suffering in vain : some lesson has been taught; some sympathies have been aroused; some consolation has been given. That mysterious connection which links the universe together has brought, or will bring, good to others out of our suffering. Now here is a new aspect of consolation. That is a common and trite view, though deep in its truth, which reminds us that suffering works out for us a weight of glory-which tells how our characters are perfected through suffering. There is a higher Christian