1 Corinthians 2:9

It may perhaps have been complained, though unreasonably enough, that Paul's compositions were lacking in logic, and his language in eloquence. There was in the substance of his teaching enough to compensate any deficiencies of such kinds. No sage communicated such wisdom, no poet such wonders, as he. Deep things, drawn by the Spirit from the ocean of God's unfathomable nature, were brought up, and were by him presented to the Church of Christ - to all who possess the spiritual capacity to recognize their meaning and to appreciate their worth.

I. CONSIDER WHAT THESE REVELATIONS WERE. In the original prophecy the reference was to marvellous and Divine deliverances wrought for Israel; the apostle "accommodates" the prophet's language to his own purpose, to express the display of Divine wisdom and power evinced in the gospel, in which Christ is made unto his people wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. The privileges of the Christian calling enjoyed in the present are an earnest of the higher joys of the eternal future. The gospel manifests the favour and fellowship of God, assures of sonship and of heirship. It reveals Divine truth, and it imparts Divine grace.

II. OBSERVE HOW INACCESSIBLE THESE BLESSINGS WERE TO THE ORDINARY POWERS OF MEN. The eye can range over the surface of this beautiful earth, and can explore the glories of the majestic firmament. The ear has receptivity for the manifold sounds of nature and for the intricacies and the charms of music. The heart speaks often and profoundly: "A man's mind is sometimes wont to tell him more than seven watchmen that sit in a tower." But the revelations here alluded to are not like the features of nature, which are recognizable by sense, or like the inspirations of practical sagacity. The eye can see the works of God, but not the Artificer; the ear can hear the voice of God, but knows not the Speaker; the heart can echo the appeals of God, but these appeals must reach it from above.

III. REMARK THAT THESE REVELATIONS ARE MADE BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD HIMSELF, We possess a spiritual nature susceptible of Divine impression and appeal, and with this nature, created after his own likeness, the Father of spirits is in direct communication. Not that truth is miraculously conveyed; the Spirit takes the revealed facts and applies them to the mind, quickening and illumining the powers so that they receive and rejoice in the truth of God.

IV. PONDER THE CONDITION OF RECEIVING THIS KNOWLEDGE. The revelations are for those who love God. Not the great, or the wise, or the outwardly righteous are the recipients of Heaven's best blessing; but those who possess this moral and spiritual qualification. They who "wait for God," as Isaiah puts it; they who "love God," as it is phrased by Paul, - are the enlightened and the enriched. The spirit that is filled with gratitude and with love is thereby prepared to understand and appreciate the mysteries of Divine grace. The true love, which puts on the form of obedience, is the path to spiritual perfection. Love grows, and with it knowledge; and heaven is attractive because it is at once the abode of perfect love and the sphere of perfect knowledge. - T.

Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
I. THE CAUSE OF IMMENSE EVIL. These princes of the world, through ignorance, "crucified the Lord of glory."

1. A greater crime than this was never perpetrated. It involved —(1) The grossest injustice. He was embodied virtue. His enemies and judges bore testimony to His innocence.(2) The basest ingratitude. He not only did no evil, but "went about doing good."(3) Most heartless cruelty. They put Him to a death the most ignominious and excruciating that infernal malignity could desire.(4) Most daring impiety. Whom did they thus treat? "The Lord of glory" (Psalm 24:8). It is impious to trifle with His laws and rebel against His throne, but how much more so to crucify the universal Lawgiver and King!

2. That this ignorance was the cause of this immense evil is evident.(1) Because it is itself an evil, and like will produce like. There are two things necessary to knowledge — mind and means. When either of these is absent, ignorance is a calamity, but when they are present it is a crime. These princes had both — they were not idiots, and riley had means by which they could know Christ; the Old Testament Scriptures, John the Baptist, Christ Himself. They need not have been ignorant. Their ignorance was a sin, and sin, like virtue, is propagated.(2) Had it not existed, such an evil could never have been perpetrated.

II. THE OCCASION OF IMMENSE GOOD. This crucifixion introduced things that "eye had never seen," &c., viz., God's love to the world and His method of saving it; Divine pardon, spiritual purity, immortal hopes. Conclusion: From this subject learn —

1. That the sinner is always engaged in accomplishing that which he never intended. These "princes—(1) Ruined themselves. It brought upon them and their country in this world tremendous judgments — and what in the world to come? Sinner, what are you doing? You are ruining yourself, but you do not intend it; but you are nevertheless doing it in the commission of every sin.(2) Executed the plan of the great God. "Him being delivered," &c. God overrules for good. So now, we have not to determine whether we shall serve God or not; we have to determine how — by our will or against it.

2. Whatever good a man may accomplish contrary to his intention is destitute of all praiseworthiness. What oceans of blessings come to our world through the crucifixion! Yet who can ever praise the crucifiers?

3. That no man should act without an intelligent conception of what he is doing. How many act from prejudice, custom, blind impulse! How few have a right conception of what they are doing!

(D. Thomas, D. D.)


1. It has abounded in all time.

2. Pervades all classes.


1. It occasions the worst crimes.

2. It led to the crucifixion of our Lord.

III. ITS FATAL ISSUE — destruction of both body and soul.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Consider —



1. He was the Lord of glory.

2. Came from glory.

3. Conducts to glory — dwells in glory.

III. ITS UNMITIGATED GUILT. A sin of ignorance.

1. Not therefore relieved, because the ignorance was wilful.

2. Not inevitable through the purpose of God, because had they known they would not have done it.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. THE ESSENTIAL GLORY OF CHRIST, which He hath as God from everlasting; which is unspeakable and inconceivable glory (Philippians 2:6). He has a peerage or equality with His Father in glory (John 10:30). And again, "All things that the Father hath are Mine(John 16:15), the same name, the same nature, the same essential properties, the same will, and the same glory.

II. THE MEDIATORIAL GLORY OF CHRIST is exceeding great. This is proper to Him as the Head of the Church, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Philippians 2:9, 10).

1. The fulness of grace inherent in Him. The humanity of Christ is filled with grace, as the sun with light (John 1:14), excelling all the saints in spiritual lustre and gracious excellencies.

2. The dignity and authority put upon Him. He is crowned King in Sion; all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him (Matthew 28:18), He is a Law-giver to the Church (James 4:12).

3. Jesus Christ shall have glory and honour ascribed to Him for evermore by angels and saints, upon the account of His mediatorial work; this some divines call His passive glory, the glory which He is said to receive from His redeemed ones (Revelation 5:8-10).Inferences;

1. How wonderful was the love of Christ, the Lord of Glory, to be so abased and humbled as He was for us vile and sinful dust!

2. How transcendently glorious is the advancement of believers by their union with the Lord of Glory!

3. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of Glory? Then, let no man count himself dishonoured by suffering the vilest indignities for His sake.

4. Is Christ the Lord of Glory? How glorious then shall the saints one day be, when they shall be made like this glorious Lord, and partake of His glory in heaven! (John 17:22.)

5. How hath the devil blindfolded and deluded them that are frightened off from Christ by the fears of being dishonoured by Him!

6. If Christ be the Lord of Glory, how careful should all be who profess Him that they do not dishonour Jesus Christ, whose name is called upon by them!

7. What delight should Christians take in their daily converse with Jesus Christ in the way of duty!

8. If Christ be so glorious, how should believers long to be with Him, and behold him in His glory above!

(John Flavel.)

Eye hath not seen... the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.

1. Not seen by the observation of nature, providence, grace.

2. Not heard by the report of the preacher, &c.

3. Not conceived by reason, speculation, inquiry.


1. Much depends on the heart.

2. The revelation is glorious.

3. Is effected by the Spirit.

4. Is completed in glory.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. Its discoveries and blessings far exceed all human knowledge or conception.(1) "Eye hath not seen." And yet by the eye we have surveyed many of the works of God; and if we look upon ourselves, we discover displays of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. All these are glorious discoveries; but they say not how, when, or why they were formed.(2) "Ear hath not heard." When sight is exhausted, we can still drink in knowledge. But we never heard how the spring of moral conduct might be purified, life and heart made holy, and man be fitted for the society of God. We never heard of such powerful motives as the love of Christ, or such rich blessings as the beatitudes on the mount.(3) "Nor hath entered the heart of man," i.e., man never imagined. Every man carries about with him an ideal world of his own. How often have we attempted to paint to ourselves a character just such as we should approve! But it never entered into the heart of man to conceive of true dignity of character, or of the sources of real happiness as suited to the nature of man.

2. The peculiar excellency of this gospel will appear from —(1) The sublime and interesting truth which it discovers. Briefly, the design of the gospel is to raise man from the ruin of the fall — to wash him from sin — to adorn him with righteousness — to inspire him with sublimity of thought and holiness of affection — to lead him in all the paths of obedience, and finally to exalt him to the society of angels and fellowship with God. But who could have barely thought of such a purpose? Who could have admitted the possibility of the fact? The Divine Being was under no obligations to redeem man. All the motive is revealed to us in the gospel, and is to be found in His own unfathomable love. "God so loved the world," &c. And who would ever have conceived of such a simple plan of communicating such blessings! "Believe on the Lord," &c.(2) The pure and intense happiness it imparts. Even the speculative knowledge of these truths raises man in the scale of intelligence. But the gospel does more. The gospel calms the tumult of passion, reconciles man to God, and makes him to be at peace with himself. Now, "eye hath not seen," &c. Some have had every advantage and opportunity of knowing this subject, but they are still natural men. They cannot conceive how a man can know his sins forgiven, nor of the joy and peace in believing. The natural man doth not comprehend these things; and even believers do not form conceptions sufficiently noble.(3) The happy and glorious prospects which it unfolds. Philosophy never found out a remedy for the fear of death. It points to a few instances of apparent calmness and confidence. But it never fully met the evil. Death, to it, has ever been dissembled. But Christianity reveals the immediate consequences of death, and then supplants the fear of death. Where will philosophy show anything like the death of Stephen? And how is this to be explained? (Acts 7:55.) And all in whom is the spirit of Stephen have the like glorious prospects. But what are they? Nay, "Eye hath not seen," &c. The grandest description is, that it is beyond all description. If we cannot know all that God has prepared for us here, how can we conceive of the joys of heaven? (John 3:12.) "We walk by faith, and not by sight!" We could not possibly understand it; we have no powers of perception suited to such knowledge. Eye hath not seen so glorious a body as that of the Transfiguration, the model of ours; or so glorious a city as "that great city, the holy Jerusalem," &c. Ear never heard strains so melting as those John heard — "the voice of harpers harping with their harps." It never entered into the heart of man, the pure and unsullied bliss of the redeemed (Revelation 7:15-17).

II. THE CHARACTERS FOR WHOM THESE BLESSINGS ARE PREPARED. For "them that love Him." Consider the love of God as —

1. A necessary principle. Mere admiration will not suffice. The infidel may admire the character of the Creator as impressed upon His works, and be without even a desire to enjoy these blessings. Nor will a mere transient impression of the passions be sufficient, such as is frequently felt whilst contemplating gospel truths, even as a matter of speculation. A consideration of the love of God, the sufferings of Christ, &c., produces no permanent effect, but is obliterated by the next consideration. Now this love of God is necessary. "Without holiness no man shall see Him." Holiness is the image of God, and "God is love." These things are prepared only for them that keep His commandments, &c. But the whole law is comprised in this, "Thou shalt love," &c. Hence, "this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." It is only the love of God that gives us the true knowledge of Him. "He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love." This love of God is essential to our enjoying God. No man can enjoy what he hates.

2. A Divine principle. No man loves God by nature. Nothing less than Divine love can conquer this enmity of the human heart. A manifested principle. The love of God is the love of holiness, for God is holy. And if we love God we shall keep His commandments. This love cannot possibly exist without influencing the practice, and thus manifesting itself.

(F. A. West.)

The "things" are the gospel in the wealth of its blessings, not only for another world, but also for this. The eye has seen much, the ear has heard much more than the eye has seen, the heart pictures creations more wonderful still; but such truths as the gospel declares belong to a higher world; they are the fruit of God's hidden wisdom, His deepest thought. They are thus of necessity a mystery to man. It never entered the heart of man that these things would come —

I. FROM THE SOURCE THEY DID — from God. Man's ideas of God, apart from revelation, sprang rather from his own heart than from the teaching of nature, and therefore to imagine our salvation would flow from the source it did was impossible. After man sinned he changed God into his own image and likeness. The gods of the heathen consequently were perfectly destitute of those properties from which the gospel blessings could flow. They were destitute of holiness — heathenism has its heroes, but it has no saints. They were destitute of love, and were notorious for their cruelty and their lack of tenderness.

II. IN THE WAY THEY DID. "As the heavens are higher than the earth," &c. The way God took to save the world — by the incarnation and death of Immanuel — was so strange, that no one could imagine or dared imagine it but Himself. Not only is it so great that man could not in his own strength discover it, but so great that, after being revealed, it baffles man to comprehend it. The gospel is so Divine a conception that it dazzles the wise of this world into blindness. God's smallest thoughts, His thoughts in nature, perplex man. What then about the thought He conceived in the silence and solitude of eternity?

III. TO THE DEGREE THEY DID. Paul considered the fact that Christ was preached to the Gentiles a sufficiently great mystery to be put side by side with the Incarnation. Sin makes man selfish. The Romans deemed all others enemies, to be vanquished and made slaves; and once made slaves, they were of less value in their eyes than the beasts which perish. The Greeks judged all others barbarians, who ought to be robbed and slain. The Jews likewise were animated by the spirit of exclusiveness — they deemed all others unclean and worthless. Though our advantages are numerous and important, yet this truth is not properly understood by many in our day. All are not willing, even in this age, that the dew of God's blessing should fall outside their little garden. The old objections are being revived, that to attempt to evangelise the heathen is sheer waste. Such blind fatuity! The man who would try to stop the clouds to rain and the sun to shine outside the fences of his tiny farm would be looked upon as a lunatic. But his conduct were wisdom itself compared with that of those who in the vanity of their speculations would leave certain races outside the pale of civilisation and salvation. God's provision for the world is worthy of the high source whence it emanated, and the strange instrumentality whereby it was brought about, at once worthy of the infinite love and the precious sacrifice. To provide for only one nation would not be worthy of Him. Indeed, to provide sparingly for even the whole world would not be according to His custom — plenteousness characterises all His acts. With such fulness of grace in store, no one, be he who and where he may, need be lost.

(W. Morris.)

Note —


1. Eternal truth is not perceived through sensation or science. "Eye hath not seen."(1) There is a life of mere sensation.(a) The highest pleasure of sensation comes through the eye. The Corinthians could appreciate this. Theirs was the land of beauty. They read the apostle's letter, surrounded by the purest conceptions of Art. Let us not depreciate what God has given. There is a joy in contemplating the manifold forms in which the All Beautiful has concealed His essence. It is a pure delight to see.(b) But the eye can only reach the finite beautiful. It does not scan "the King in His beauty, nor the land that is very far off." And the visible is perishable beauty — not the eternal loveliness for which our spirits pant. Therefore Christ came not in the glory of form; "He had no form nor comeliness," &c.; "there was no beauty that they should desire Him." The eye did not behold, even in Christ, the things which God had prepared.(c) This is an eternal truth. This verse is quoted as if "the things prepared" meant heaven. But the world of which Paul speaks God hath revealed, only not to eye nor ear. In heaven this shall be as true as now. The pure in heart will see God, but never with the eye; only in the same way, but in a different degree, that they see Him now.(2) Again, no scientific analysis can discover the truths of God. Science proceeds upon observation. Experiment is the test of truth. Now, you cannot, by searching, find out the Almighty to perfection, nor a single one of the blessed truths He has to communicate.

1. It is in vain that we ransack the world for probable evidences of God, and idle to look into the materialism of man for the revelation of his immortality; or to examine the morbid anatomy of the body to find the rule of right. If a man go to the eternal world with convictions of eternity, the resurrection, God, already in his spirit, he will find abundant corroborations of that which he already believes. But if God's existence be not thrilling every fibre of his heart, if the immortal be not already in him as the proof of the resurrection, if the law of duty be not stamped upon his soul as an eternal truth, science will never reveal these, the physician comes away from the laboratory an infidel. Eye hath not seen the truths which are clear enough to love and to the spirit.

2. Eternal truth is not reached by hearsay — "Ear hath not heard."(1) No revelation can be adequately given by the address of man to man. For all such revelation must be made through words, the mere coins of intellectual exchange. There is as little resemblance between the coin and the bread it purchases, as between the word and the thing it stands for. Looking at the coin, the form of the loaf does not suggest itself. Listening to the word, you do not perceive the idea for which it stands, unless you are already in possession of it. Speak of ice to an inhabitant of the torrid zone, the word does not give him an idea, or if it does, it must be a false one. Talk of blueness to one who cannot distinguish colours, what can your most eloquent description present to him resembling the truth of your sensation? Similarly in matters spiritual, no verbal revelation can give a single simple idea. For instance, what means justice to the unjust, or purity to the licentious? What does infinitude mean to a being who has never stirred beyond a cell? Talk of God to a thousand ears, each has his own different conception. The sensual man hears of God, and understands one thing. The pure man hears and conceives another thing.(2) See what a hearsay religion is. There are men who believe on authority. Their minister believes all this Christianity true; therefore so do they. He calls this doctrine essential; they echo it. They have heard with the hearing of the ear that God is love, that the ways of holiness are ways of pleasantness. But the Corinthian philosophers heard Paul; the Pharisees heard Christ. How much did the ear convey? He alone believes truth who feels it. He alone has a religion whose soul knows by experience that to serve God and know Him is the richest treasure.

3. Truth is not discoverable by the heart — "neither have entered into the heart of man— the power of imagining, and the power of loving.(1) It is a grand thing when thought bursts into flame, or when a great law of the universe reveals itself to the mind of genius, or when the truths of human nature shape themselves forth in the creative fancies of the poet. But the most ethereal creations of fancy were shaped by a mind that could read the life of Christ, and then blaspheme the Adorable. Some of the truest and deepest utterances ever spoken came from one whose life was from first to last selfish. The highest astronomer of this age refused to recognise the Cause of causes. The mighty heart of genius had failed to reach the things which God imparts to a humble spirit.(2) The heart of man has the power of affection. The highest moment known on earth by the merely natural, is that in which the mysterious union of heart with heart is felt. Yet this attains not to the things prepared by God. Human love is but the faint type of that surpassing blessedness which belongs to those who love God.


1. Revelation is made by a Spirit to a spirit. Christ is the voice of God without the man — the Spirit is the voice of God within. The highest revelation is not made by Christ, for He said, "The Spirit shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you." And therefore it is written here — "The Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God." Now the Spirit of God lies touching, as it were, the soul of man. They mingle. The spiritual in man, by which he might become a recipient of God, may be dulled, deadened, by a life of sense, but in this world never lost. All that is wanted is to become conscious of the nearness of God. God has placed men here to feel after Him if haply they may find Him, albeit He be not far from any one of them.

2. The condition upon which this revelation is made to men is love. These things are "prepared for them that love Him," or revealed to those who have the mind of Christ.(1) Love to man may mean love to his person, or it may mean simply pity. Love to God can only mean love to His character: e.g., God is purity. And to be pure in thought and look is to love God. God is love — and to love men till private attachments have expanded into a philanthropy which embraces all, is to love God. God is truth. To be true — to hate every form of falsehood — to live a brave, true, real life — that is to love God. God is infinite — and to love the boundless, reaching on from grace to grace, and rising upwards ever to see the ideal still above us, aiming insatiably to be perfect even as the Father is perfect — that is love to God.(2) This love is manifested in obedience.(a) "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me," &c. We remember the Roman commander who forbade an engagement with the enemy, and the transgressor was his own son. He accepted the challenge of the leader of the other host, slew, spoiled him, and then in triumph carried the spoils to his father's tent. But the Roman father refused to recognise the instinct which prompted this as deserving of the name of love — disobedience contradicted it and deserved death: weak sentiment, what was it worth? So with God — strong feelings, warm expressions, varied internal experience coexisting with disobedience, God counts not as love.(b) To love, adoring and obedient, God reveals His truth. As in the natural, so in the spiritual world. By compliance with the laws of the universe we put ourselves in possession of its blessings. Obey the laws of health and you obtain health. Arm yourselves with the laws of nature, and you may call down the lightning from the sky. In the same way there are laws in the world of Spirit, by compliance with which God's Spirit comes into the soul with all its revelations. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." "No man hath seen God at any time." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine."(c) These laws are universal and invariable. There is no favourite child of nature who may hold the fire-ball in the hollow of his hand and trifle with it without being burnt; there is no selected child of grace who can live an irregular life without unrest; or be proud, and at the same time have peace; or indolent, and receive fresh inspiration; or remain unloving and cold, and yet see and hear and feel the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him. And if obedience were entire and love were perfect, then would the revelation of the Spirit to the soul of man be perfect too.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Every prophet who has stood upon the borders of a new dispensation might have uttered these words. Abraham might have looked forward to the Mosaic dispensation, &c., and have turned to his brethren who lived in the patriarchal age, and said, "Eye hath not seen," &c. At the close of the Levitical dispensation the prophets might have thus spoken of the coming glories. And now we stand on the borders of a new era. But persons are curious to know what kind of dispensation the millennial one is to be. Will the temple be erected in Jerusalem? Will the Jews be positively restored to their own land? &c. We cannot answer. "Eye hath not seen," &c. And this brings us to make the application of the subject to heaven itself.


1. It is not a heaven of the senses.(1) "Eye hath not seen it." What glorious things the eye hath seen! Have we not seen the gaudy pageantry of pomp crowding the gay streets? We hear of the magnificence of the old Persian princes, of palaces covered with gold and silver, and floors inlaid with jewels; but we cannot thence gather a thought of heaven, for "eye hath not seen" it. We have thought, however, when we have come to the works of God, surely we can get some glimpse of what heaven is here. By night we have turned our eye up to the stars, and we have said, "If this earth has such a glorious covering, what must that of heaven be?" At another time we have seen some glorious landscape, and said, "Surely these grandeurs must be something like heaven." It was all a mistake — "Eye hath not seen" it.(2) "The ear hath not heard" it. Have we not sometimes heard the sweet voice of the messenger of God when he has by the Spirit spoken to our souls! We knew something of heaven then, we thought. We have heard music, whether poured from the lungs of man — that noblest instrument in the world — or from some manufacture of harmony, and we have thought, "This is what John meant by the voice like many waters, and the voice of harpers harping with their harps." But we made a mistake. "Ear hath not heard" it.(3) Others look upon it as a place where they shall be free from bodily pain, and where they will eat to the full and be satisfied. What a mistake! We can get no conceptions of heaven through the senses; they must always come through the Spirit.

2. It is not a heaven of the imagination. Poets let their imaginations fly with loosened wings, or the preacher weaves the filigree work of fancy, and you say, "It is sweet to hear that man speak; he made me think I was there." But imagination, when it is most sublime, and freest from the dust of earth, and kept steady by the most extreme caution, cannot picture heaven. "It hath not entered the heart of man," &c. Your imaginary heaven you will find by and by to be all a mistake.

3. It is not a heaven of the intellect. Men describe heaven as a place where we shall know all things, and their grandest idea is that they shall discover all secrets there. But "It hath not entered into the heart of man."

II. "HE HATH REVEALED IT UNTO US BY HIS SPIRIT." This means that it was revealed unto the apostles by the Spirit, so that they wrote something of it in the Holy Word. We think also that it means that every believer has glimpses of heaven by the influence of the Spirit. A Christian gets a gaze of what heaven is —

1. When in the midst of trials and troubles he is able to cast all his care upon the Lord, because He careth for him. Heaven is something like that — a place of holy calm and trust.

2. In the season of quiet contemplation, for the joys of heaven are akin to the joys of contemplation.

3. At. the Lord's table. You get so near the Cross there that your sight becomes clearer, and the air brighter, and you see more of heaven there than anywhere else.

4. When we assemble in our meetings for prayer.

5. In extraordinary closet seasons.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The city of Corinth has been called the Paris of antiquity. Indeed, for splendour, the world holds no such wonder to-day. The commerce of all nations passed through her ports; the mirth of all people sported in her Isthmian games, and the beauty of all lands walked her porticos, and threw itself on the altar of her stupendous dissipations. Column and statue and temple bewildered the beholder. And the best music from the best instruments in the world resounded in her theatres. It was not to rustics who had never seen or heard anything grand that Paul uttered this text, and it was a bold thing for him to stand there amid all that and say, "All this is nothing; eye hath not seen," &c. We can in this world get no idea of —

I. THE HEALTH OF HEAVEN. When you were a child you had never felt sorrow or sickness. Perhaps later you felt a glow in your cheek, and a spring in your step, and an exuberance of spirits, and a clearness of eye, that made you thank God you were permitted to live. You thought that you knew what it was to be well, but the most elastic and robust health of earth, compared with that of heaven, is nothing but sickness and emaciation. Look at that soul standing before the throne. On earth she was a life-long invalid. See her step now, and hear her voice now. Health in all the pulses! Health of vision; health of spirits; immortal health. No racking cough, no consuming fevers, no exhausting pains, no hospitals of wounded men. That child that died in the agonies of croup, hear her voice now ringing in the anthem. That old man that went bowed down with the infirmities of age, see him walk now with the step of an immortal athlete — for ever young again. To have neither ache, nor pain, nor weakness, nor fatigue. "Eye hath not seen it — ear hath not heard it."

II. THE SPLENDOUR OF HEAVEN. John tries to describe it, and as we look through his telescope we see a blaze of jewellery, a mountain of light, a cataract of colour, a sea of glass, and a city like the sun. John bids us look again, and we see thrones; thrones of the prophets, patriarchs, angels, apostles, martyrs, throne of Jesus — throne of God. John bids us look again, and we see the great procession of the redeemed passing. "Eye hath not seen it, ear hath not heard it." Skim from the summer waters the brightest sparkles, and you will get no idea of the sheen of the everlasting sea. Pile up the splendours of earthly cities and they would not make a stepping-stone by which you might mount to the city of God. Every house is a palace. Every step a triumph. Every meal is a banquet. Every day is a jubilee, every hour a rapture, and every moment an ecstasy.

III. THE RE-UNIONS OF HEAVEN. If you have ever been across the seas, and met a friend in some strange city, you remember how your blood thrilled, and how glad you were to see him. What then will be our joy to meet in the bright city of the sun those from whom we have long been separated. In this world we only meet to part. It is good-bye, good-bye. But not so in heaven. Welcomes in the air, at the gates, at the house of many mansions — but no good-bye.

IV. THE SONG OF HEAVEN. There is nothing more inspiriting to me than a whole congregation lifted up on the wave of holy melody. But, my friends, if music on earth is so sweet what will it be in heaven! They all know the tune there. All the best singers of all the ages will join it — choirs of white-robed children! choirs of patriarchs! choirs of apostles! Harpers with their harps. David of the harp will be there. Gabriel of the trumpet will be there.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)


1. The mysteries of the gospel salvation.

2. Extending into the eternal future.


1. Worthy of God.

2. Surpassing all human comprehension.

III. THEIR PARTICIPATION — depends on love to God.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. The Divine forethought, and the infinite fulness and carefulness of God's love for His children. Remember:(1) How the world was prepared before man came upon it.(2) How God prepared a body in which Christ should be one with us, die to be our Saviour, and ascend to hold the sceptre of the universe.(3) How Christ reminded His disciples that the dignities of the kingdom were only for those for whom it is prepared of the Father.(4) How He went to prepare a place for us, and sent the Spirit to prepare us for the place.

2. The Divine treasury. The figure suggests a vast building over whose portals we read, "Ask and it shall be given," &c. — a building divided into so many stores of Divine love. Let us open their doors.(1) One contains the "purposes" of the Divine love, delivering mercy, sustaining grace — purposes that no need can exhaust, no opposition thwart, no eternity unfold.(2) Another "promises" Divinely —

(a)Simple, little children can understand them.

(b)Profound, angels cannot fathom them.

(c)Certain, for "heaven and earth shall pass away," &c.

(d)Sweet and rich, "sweeter than a honeycomb," and "more precious than gold."(3) Divine "provisions— the mercy-seat where we obtain grace to help; the Cross, its cleansing fount, infinite ransom, Divine righteousness; the Lord's Table.(4) The "fulness" that is treasured up in Christ — fulness of grace to pardon, of merit to atone, of strength to sustain, of glory to reward.(5) Things prepared in the ministry of the Holy Spirit — regeneration, comfort, sanctification.(6) Glories that await us hereafter — the "crown" of triumph, the "harp" of praise, the "mansion" of repose and blessing, the "living fountain" of joy.


1. Striking thought! God takes men into His confidence about matters that human reason could never fathom. It was so with Abraham. "Shall I hide," &c. Amos declares that the Lord will hide nothing, but will reveal His secret unto His servants. In proportion to our intimacy with God the Divine purposes will be made plain to us. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." The disciples pleaded with John, who reclined on his Master's bosom, to ask Him a secret which they did not venture to ask themselves. He lived so much nearer to Christ, and therefore had more of His secret. We deprive ourselves of unspeakable blessings in regard to God's dealings in providence from our failure to recognise God's hand in every gift. And God's children should feel that in regard to the mysteries of the world around they shall have light resting on their path, and truth revealed by the indwelling Spirit which enables them to trust where others cannot. The man that is nearest the sun will have most of light, and the man who lives nearest the throne will have deeper draughts of the water of life that proceeds therefrom.

2. As to the revelation by the Spirit of Divine things, take the case of Simeon, unto whom it had been revealed by the Holy Ghost that he should not die until he had seen the Christ. How long he waited for the consolation of Israel! But at last it came. So God may have revealed to you in His Word and by His Spirit truths that have yet to come in their Divine significance and power. Wait patiently; God's time is always the best. Take the case of Peter who, when all were dumb before "Whom say ye that I am?" received at once a revelation that Jesus was the Christ, &c. You may say "We are not Simeons or Peters." No; but remember how Christ thanked God that the things withheld from the wise and prudent were revealed unto babes, i.e., babes in spiritual experience. But even to your children, who shall say at how early an age God, by His Spirit, shall reveal the truth? Remember Samuel.

III. THE CONDITION ESSENTIAL TO THE RECEPTION OF THE BLESSING. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us— there is the origin of all Christian love." The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost— that is the next step. Then we are the children of God, and the Spirit beareth witness with our spirits, &c. Then the circle is complete. And the Divine love thus enjoyed must manifest itself in self-sacrificing love to men.

(J. P. Chown.)

The apostle here is quoting from Isaiah 64:4, and only intends to give the general sense of the passage. Both passages are .generally used as referring to the heavenly state, but we can only apply them thus by accommodation. Yet this is a legitimate application. For if the text is true of our imperfect condition of privilege in this life, much more will it be true as applied to that perfection of bliss that awaits us in the life to come. You cannot judge of the real merits of a story till you see how it ends. You cannot decide about the value of a casket till it is opened and you see the jewels which it enshrines. You cannot pronounce on a campaign till you see what fruits result from its hard-fought battlefields. And so, in estimating the real worth of redemption, we can only form an approximate judgment of it in this life. There are three points of view from which we may contemplate our portion for the future, as set before us in the text.

I. THE PLAIN AND POSITIVE VIEW. "Things prepared."

1. "Things" plural — not one element of joy, but many. It is a caricature of heaven when psalm-singing is represented as its chief occupation. A wonderful variety marks the imagery of the Bible as to the heavenly state — "a city that hath foundations," "the marriage supper of the Lamb," being "present with Christ, and beholding His glory," is being made "like Him," &c. These varied expressions suggest that our heaven will be a condition of being in which the mind, with its large desires, its deathless cravings, and the soul, with all the warmth of its affections and sympathies, will find the fullest scope for their development. As the vine puts forth its tendrils, and finds something to cling to for its support and growth; so, doubtless, will all the innocent tastes and longings of our renewed nature find in the heavenly state that which answers to their wants, "prepared," as a trellis, to which they may cling, and in clinging to which they will find their delight.

2. And these are not things thrown together at haphazard. They are "prepared things." How eloquent all nature is as to the teachings of this word! Note the wonderful care with which God has "prepared" for the wants of every tree, animal, bird, and fish; yea, for every worm; just that which will best meet its wants and minister to its comfort. Then, when we think of the souls God has redeemed at the price of His Son's death, to whom His love has flowed out in a deeper channel than to any other of His creatures, whom He deigns to say that they are to be His portion; when we think of "the things prepared" for them in their final home, what shall we say? How shall we put limits to the extent to which His power, wisdom, and goodness will go in seeking to promote their happiness?

II. A NEGATIVE OR COMPARATIVE VIEW. Heaven's happiness is such as "eye hath not seen," &c., or to which all the eye hath seen, &c., bears no proportion.

1. It is clearly the inferential teaching of the text, that "the things prepared" exceed in glory all that we are familiar with in this outer creation.(1) And the eye sees wondrous beauty as it ranges through the world of nature. But there is no comparison between what the eye sees here and "the things prepared" for God's people in the future.(2) And then the ear opens an avenue to another world of enjoyment peculiarly its own. Yet the highest rapture of the most gifted musician through the organ of hearing bears no comparison to the joy the redeemed will experience in "the things which God has prepared for them."(3) And then the imagination has a wondrous power to call into existence worlds of beauty and loveliness all its own. But when you put these things together — all that the eye can see, &c., of that which is beautiful or grand — they will be infinitely surpassed by "the things prepared" by God as the future portion of His people.

2. And there is something very sweet in the thought of this instituted connection, between these glories spread over the face of nature and that blessed home which Jesus is preparing for us. It shows how God means that the one should remind us of the other. The Jewish Rabbis inform us "that when Joseph had gathered much corn in Egypt he threw the chaff into the Nile, that so flowing down to the neighbouring cities, and nations more remote, it might bear witness to them of the store of good things garnered up in the treasure cities of Egypt." And so God, to make us know what glory there is in heaven, has thrown some husks to us here, that we might draw out our inferences. If we find so much of glory spread over earthly things, what may we expect to find in those that are heavenly? If He give us so much in the land of our pilgrimage, what will He not give us in our own country? If He can lavish so much on His enemies what will He not reserve for His friends?

III. THE PERSONAL VIEW. "For them that love Him." These things are designed for a "prepared" people. The preparation on the one side is just as necessary as that on the other. What is the use of preparing a feast unless you know that the guests those who are to be admitted to it can see; of preparing a grand concert unless will have appetites; of arranging the paintings of a splendid gallery unless the audience can hear? The glorious things of the future are prepared for a people who love God. The planting of this love in the heart is the great personal preparation for heaven that we need. The necessity for this is absolute. "Except a man be born again, He., he cannot see the kingdom of God." These two things — love to God, and a new birth — always go together.

(Richard Newton, D. D.)

is the eye that sees, the ear that hears, the heart that realises the things of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8, 12; Ephesians 3:18).

(Principal Edwards.)

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