#NOW, AND THEN
"For now we see through a glass, darkly. But then face to face."
- 1 Corinthians 13:12
IN this chapter the Apostle Paul has spoken in the highest terms of charity or love. He accounts it to be a grace far more excellent than any of the spiritual gifts of which he had just before been speaking. It is easy to see that there were good reasons for the preference he gave to it. Those gifts, you will observe, were distributed among godly men, to every man his portion, so that what one had another might have lacked; but this grace belongs to all who have passed from death unto life. The proof that they are disciples of Christ is found in their love to Him and to the brethren. Those gifts, again, were meant to fit them for service that each member of the body should be profitable to the other members of the body; but this divine grace is of personal account: it is a light in the heart and a star on the breast of every one who possesses it. Those gifts, moreover, were of temporary use: their value was limited to the sphere in which they were exercised; but this grace thrives at all times and in all places, and it is no less essential to our eternal future state than it is to our present welfare. By all means covet the best gifts, my dear brothers and sisters, as an artist would wish to be deft with all his limbs and quick with all his senses; but above all, cherish love, as that same artist would cultivate the pure taste which lives and breathes within him—the secret spring of all his motions, the faculty that prompts his skill. Learn to esteem this sacred instinct of love beyond all the choicest endowments. However poor you may be in talents let the love of Christ dwell in you richly. Such an exhortation as this is the more necessary because love has a powerful rival. Paul may have noticed that in the academies of Greece—as indeed in all our modern schools—knowledge was likely to take all the prizes. Who can tell how much of Dr. Arnold’s success as a schoolmaster was due to the honor in which he held a good boy in preference to a clever boy? Most certainly Paul could discern in the church many jealousies to which the superior abilities of those who could speak foreign tongues, and those who could prophesy or preach well, gave rise. So, then, while he extols the grace of love, he seems rather to disparage knowledge. At least he uses an illustration which tends to show that the kind of knowledge we pride ourselves in is not the most reliable thing in the world.
Paul remembered that he was once a child, a very good thing for any of us to bear in mind. If we forget it, our sympathies are soon dried up, our temper is apt to get vulgar, our opinions may be rather overbearing, and our selfishness very repulsive. The foremost man of his day in the Christian Church, and exerting the widest influence among the converts to Christ, Paul thought of the little while ago when he was a young child, and he thought of it very often. Though he might have hinted at the attainments he had made, or the high office he held, and laid claim to some degree of respect, he rather looks back at his humble beginnings; if there is wisdom in his reflection, there is to my mind a vein of pleasantry in his manner of expressing it. "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Thus he compares two stages of his natural life, and it serves him for a parable. In spiritual knowledge he felt himself to be then in his infancy; his maturity, his thorough manhood, lay before him in prospect. He could easily imagine a future in which he would look back on his present self as a mere amateur, groping his way amidst the shadows of his own fancy, "For now," he says, "we see through a glass, darkly. But then face to face: now I know in part. But then shall I know even as also I am known." Here he employs one or two fresh figures. leave that question for the critics to disagree about; it is enough for us that the meaning is obvious! There is all the difference between viewing an object through an obscure medium, and closely inspecting it with the naked eye; we must have the power of vision in either case, but in the latter case we can use it to more advantage. "Now we see through a glass, darkly." Darkly—in a riddle! So weak are our perceptions of mind that plain truths often puzzle us; the words that teach us are pictures which need explanation; the thoughts that stir us are visions which coat our brains and need rectifying. Oh, for clearer vision! Oh, for more perfect knowledge!
Mark, brothers and sisters, it is a matter of congratulation that we do see, though we have much cause for diffidence because we do but "see through a glass, darkly." Thank God we do know, but let it check our conceit—we only know in part. Beloved, the objects we look at are distant, and we are nearsighted; the Revelation of God is ample and profound, but our understanding is weak and shallow. There are some things which we count very precious now, which will soon be of no value to us whatever. There are some things that we know or think we know, and we pride ourselves a good deal upon our knowledge, but when we shall become men, we shall set no more value upon that knowledge than a child does upon his toys when he grows up to be a man. Our spiritual manhood in heaven will discard many things which we now count precious, as a full grown man discards the treasures of his childhood. And there are many things that we have been accustomed to see that, after this transient life has passed, we shall see no more. Though we delighted in them, and they pleased our eyes while sojourning on earth, they will pass away as a dream when one awakes; we shall never see them again, and never want to see them, for our eyes, in clearer light, anointed with eye-salve, shall see brighter visions, and we shall never regret what we have lost in the presence of fairer scenes we shall have found. Other things there are that we know now and shall never forget; we shall know them forever, only in a higher degree, because no longer with a partial knowledge! And there are some things that we see now that we shall see in eternity—only we shall see them there in a clearer light.
So we shall speak upon some things that we do see now, which we are to see more fully and more distinctly hereafter; then we shall inquire how it is we shall see them more clearly; and we shall finish up by considering what this fact teaches us.
I. Among the things that we see now, as many of us as have had our eyes enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is OURSELVES.
To see ourselves is one of the first steps in true religion. The mass of men have never seen themselves; they have seen the flattering image of themselves, and they fancy that to be their own facsimile, but it is not. You and I have been taught of God’s Holy Spirit to see our ruin in the fall; we have bemoaned ourselves on account of that fall; we have been made conscious of our own natural depravity; we have been ground to the very dust by the discovery; we have been shown our actual sinfulness, and how we have transgressed against the Most High. We have repented for this, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before us in the gospel. Day by day we see a little more of ourselves—nothing very pleasing, I grant you, but something very profitable, for it is a great thing for us to know our emptiness; it is a step towards receiving His fullness. It is something to discover our weakness; it is an essential step towards our participation in divine strength. I suppose the longer we live, the more we shall see ourselves, and we shall probably come to this conclusion: "Vanity of vanities. All is vanity," and cry out with Job, "I am vile." The more we shall discover of ourselves, the more we shall be sick of ourselves. But in heaven, I doubt not, we shall realize that we never saw ourselves even in the clearest light, but only as "through a glass, darkly," only as an unriddled thing, as a deep enigma, for we shall understand more about ourselves in heaven than we do now. There we shall see, as we have not yet seen, how desperate a mischief was the fall, into what a horrible pit we fell, and how fast we were stuck in the miry clay; there shall we see the blackness of sin as we have never seen it here, and understand its hell desert as we could not till we shall look down from yonder starry height where infinite mercy shall bring us. When we shall be singing "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," we shall look at the robes that we have washed in His blood, and see how white they are; we shall better understand, then, than now, how much we needed washing—how crimson were the stains, and how precious was that blood that washed those scarlet spots.
There too, shall we know ourselves on the bright side better than we do now; we know today that we are saved, and there is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, but that robe of righteousness which covers us now, as it shall cover us then, will be better seen by us, and we shall discern how lustrous it is, with its needlework and worked gold: how much better than the pearls and gems that have decked the robes of monarchs are the blood and righteousness of Jehovah Jesus, who has given Himself for us! Here we know that we are adopted; we feel the spirit of sonship. "We cry, Abba, Father." But there we shall know better what it means to be the sons of God, for here it does not yet appear what we shall be. But when we shall be there, and when Christ shall appear, we shall be like He, for we shall see Him as He is; and then we shall understand to the full what sonship means. So too I know today that I am a joint-heir with Christ, but I have a very poor idea of what it is I am heir to; but there shall I see the estates that belong to me; not only see them, but actually enjoy them! Every Christian shall have a part in the undefiled inheritance that fades not away, that is reserved in heaven for him, because he is in Christ Jesus: one with Christ; one by eternal union. But I am afraid that is very much more a riddle to us than a matter of understanding; we see it as an riddle now, but there our oneness with Christ will be as conspicuous to us and as plain as the letters of the alphabet; there shall we know what it is to be a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones; there shall I understand the mystical marriage bond that knits the believer’s soul to Christ; there shall I see how, as the branch springs from the stem, my soul stands in union, vital union, with her blessed Lord Jesus Christ! Thus, one thing that we see now which we shall see in a much clearer light hereafter is "ourselves."
Here, too, we see the CHURCH, BUT WE SHALL SEE THE CHURCH MUCH MORE CLEARLY BY-AND-BY.
We know there is a Church of God. We know that the Lord has a people whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world; we believe that these are scattered up and down throughout our land and many other lands. There are many of them we do not know; many who we would not particularly like, I daresay, if we did know them, on account of their outward characteristics. There are persons of very strange views, and very odd habits, perhaps, and yet for all that they are the people of the living God! Now we know this church; we know its glory—moved with one life, quickened with one Spirit, redeemed with one blood. We believe in this church, and we feel attachment to it for the sake of Jesus Christ, who has married the church as the bride. But, oh, when we shall get to heaven, how much more we shall know of the church, and how we shall see her face to face, and not "through a glass, darkly"! There we shall know something more of the numbers of the chosen than we do now, and it may be to our intense surprise! There we shall find some among the company of God’s elect whom we, in our bitterness of spirit had condemned; and there we shall miss some who in our charity we have conceived to be perfectly secure. We shall know better then who are the Lord’s, and who are not than we can ever know here. Here all our processes of discernment fail us. Judas comes in with the apostles, and Demas takes his part among the saints, but there we shall know the righteous, for we shall see them; there will be one flock and one Shepherd, and He that on the throne does reign forevermore shall be glorified. We shall understand then what the history of the church has been in all the past, and why it has become so strange a history of conflict and conquest; probably we will know more of the history of the church in the future. From that higher elevation, and brighter atmosphere we shall understand better what are the Lord’s designs concerning His people in the latter day, and what glory shall redound to His own name from His redeemed ones, when He shall have gathered together all who are called and chosen, and faithful from among the sons of men. This is one of the joys we are looking for—that we shall come to the general assembly and church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven, and have fellowship with those who have fellowship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Thirdly, is it not possible; no, is it not certain, that in the next state WE SHALL KNOW MORE OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD THAN WE DO NOW?
Here we see the providence of God, but it is in a glass, darkly. The apostle says "through" a glass. There was glass in the apostles’ days, not a substance such as our windows are now made of, but thick, dull colored glass; it was not much more transparent than that which is used in the manufacture of common bottles, so that looking through a piece of that glass you could not see much. That is like what we now see of divine providence; we believe all things work together for good to them who love God; we have seen how they work together for good, in some cases, and experimentally proved it to be so, but still it is rather a matter of faith than a matter of sight with us. We cannot tell how "every dark and bending line meets in the center of His love." We do not yet perceive how He will make those dark dispensations of trials and afflictions that come upon His people really to promote His glory, and their lasting happiness. But up there we shall see providence as it were, face to face; and I suppose it will be among our greatest surprises—the discovery of how the Lord dealt with us! "Why," some of us will say, "We prayed against those very circumstances which were the best that could have been appointed for us." "Ah," another will say, "I have fretted and troubled myself over what was after all the richest mercy the Lord ever sent." Sometimes I have known persons refuse a letter at the door, and it has happened, in some cases, that there has been something very valuable in it, and the postman has said afterwards, "You did not know the contents, or else you would not have refused it." And often God has sent us in the black envelope of trial, such a precious mass of His mercy that if we had known what was in it, we would have taken it in, and been glad to pay for it, glad to give it room to entertain it, but because it looked black, we were prone to shut our door against it.
Now, up there we shall know not only more of ourselves, but perceive the reasons of many of God’s dealings with us on a larger scale, and we shall there, perhaps, discover that wars that devastated nations, and pestilences that filled graves, and earthquakes that make cities tremble, were necessary cogs in the great wheel of the divine machinery, and He who sits upon the throne at this moment, and rules supremely every creature that is either in heaven, or earth, or hell, will there make it manifest to us that His government was right. It is good to think in these times whenever thing seems loosening, that "the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." It must come out right in the long run; it must be well—every part and portion must work together with a unity of design to promote God’s glory and the saint’s good! We shall see it there, and we shall lift up our song with new zeal and joy as fresh displays of the wisdom and goodness of God, whose ways are past finding out, unfolded to our admiring view!
Fourthly, it is surely no straining of the text to say that though here we know something of THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL, AND THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH, by-and-by, in a few months or years at the longest, we shall know a great deal more than we do now! There are some grand doctrines, brothers and sisters, we dearly love, but though we love them, our understanding is too feeble to grasp them fully. We account them to be mysteries; we reverently acknowledge them, yet we dare not attempt to explain them; they are matters of faith to us. It may be that in heaven there shall be counsels of eternal wisdom into which no saints or angels can peer; it is the glory of God to conceal a matter. Surely, no creature will ever be able, even when exalted to heaven, to comprehend all the thoughts of the Creator; we shall never be omniscient—we cannot be! God alone knows everything, and understands everything, but how much more of authentic truth shall we discern when the mists and shadows have dissolved! And how much more shall we understand when raised to that higher sphere and endowed with brighter faculties, none of us can tell. Probably things that puzzle us here will be as plain as possible there; we shall perhaps smile at our own ignorance. I have fancied sometimes that the elucidations of learned doctors of divinity, if they could be submitted to the very least in the kingdom of heaven, would only cause them to smile at the learned ignorance of the sons of earth. Oh, how little we know, but how much we shall know! I am sure we shall know, for it is written, "Then shall I know even as also I have known." We now see things in a mist—"men as trees, walking"—a doctrine here, and a doctrine there, and we are often at a loss to even guess how one part harmonizes with another part of the same system, or to make out how all these doctrines are consistent. This knot cannot be untied, that gnarl cannot be unraveled, but—
"Then shall I see, and hear and know
All I desired or wished below.
And every power find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy."
But, my dear brothers and sisters, having kept you thus far in the outer courts, I would gladly lead you into the temple! Or, to change the figure, if in the beginning I have set forth good wine, certainly I am not going to bring out that which is worse; rather would I have you say, as the ruler of the feast did to the bridegroom, "You have kept the good wine until now." HERE WE SEE JESUS CHRIST, BUT WE DO NOT SEE HIM AS WE SHALL SEE HIM SOON. We have seen Him by faith in such a way that we have beheld our burdens laid on Him, and our iniquities carried by Him into the wilderness, where, if they are sought, they shall not be found. We have seen enough of Jesus to know that "He is altogether lovely." We can say of Him, "He is all my salvation, and all my desire." Sometimes, when He throws up the lattice, and shows Himself through those windows of agate and gates of carbuncle, in the ordinances of His house—at the Lord’s Supper especially, the King’s beauty has entranced us even to our heart’s ravishment! Yet all we have ever seen is somewhat like the report which the Queen of Sheba had of Solomon’s wisdom; when we once get to the court of the great King, we shall declare that the half has not been told us! We shall say, "My eyes shall behold, and not another." Beloved, is not this the very cream of heaven? There have been many suggestions of what we shall do in heaven, and what we shall enjoy, but they all seem to me to be wide of the mark compared with this one—that we shall be with Jesus; be like He is, and shall behold His glory! Oh, to see the feet that were nailed, and to touch the hands that were pierced, and to look upon the head that wore the thorns, and to bow before Him who is ineffable love, unspeakable condescension, and infinite tenderness! Oh, to bow before Him, and to kiss that blessed face! Jesus, what better do we want than to see You by Your own light; to see You, and speak with You as when a man speaks with his friend? It is pleasant to talk about this, but what will it be there when the gates of pearl open? The streets of gold will have small attraction to us, and the harps of angels will but slightly enchant us, compared with the King in the midst of the throne! He it is who shall rivet our gaze, absorb our thoughts, chain our affection, and move all our sacred passions to their highest pitch of celestial ardor! We shall see Jesus!
Once again (and here we come into the deep things), beyond a doubt WE SHALL ALSO SEE GOD. It is written that the pure in heart shall see God; God is seen now in His Works, and in His word. Little, indeed, could these eyes bear the beatific vision, yet we have reason to expect that as far as creatures can bear the sight of the infinite Creator, we shall be permitted to see God. We read that Aaron and certain chosen ones saw the throne of God, and the brightness, as it were, of sapphire stone—light, pure as jasper. In heaven it is the presence of God that is the light thereof; God’s more immediately dwelling in the midst of the New Jerusalem is its peerless glory and peculiar bliss. We shall then understand more of God than we do now; we shall come nearer to Him, be more familiar with Him, be more filled with Him. The love of God shall be shed abroad in our hearts; we shall know our Father as we yet know Him not; we shall know the Son to a fuller degree than He has yet revealed Himself to us, and we shall know the Holy Spirit in His love and tenderness towards us. Beyond all those influences and operations which have soothed us in our sorrows, and guided us in our perplexities here below, we shall know the Trinity. I leave your thoughts and your desires to follow the teaching of the Spirit. As for me, I cower before the thought while I revel in it; I, who have strained my eyes while gazing at nature, where the things that are made show the handiwork of God; I, whose conscience has been awe-struck as I listened to the voice of God proclaiming His holy law; I, whose heart has been melted while there broke on my ears the tender accents of His blessed gospel in those snatches of sacred melody that relieve the burden of prophecy; I, who have recognized in the Babe of Bethlehem, the hope of Israel; in the Man of Nazareth, the Messiah that should come; in the victim of Calvary, the one Mediator; in the risen Jesus, the well-beloved Son— to me, verily, God Incarnate has been so palpably revealed, that I have almost seen God, for I have, as it were, seen Him in whom all the fullness of the Godhead bodily does dwell! Still, I "see through a glass, darkly." Illumine these dark senses, waken this drowsy conscience, purify my heart, give me fellowship with Christ, and you bear me up, translate me to the third heavens—so I may, so I can, so I shall see God! But what that means, or what it is; ah me, I cannot tell!
II. We proposed to inquire, in the second place, HOW THIS VERY REMARKABLE CHANGE SHALL BE EFFECTED? WHY IS IT THAT WE SHALL SEE MORE CLEARLY THEN, THAN NOW? We cannot altogether answer the question, but one or two suggestions may help us. No doubt many of these things will be more clearly revealed in the next state; here the light is like the dawn, it is dim twilight. In heaven it will be the blaze of noon! God has declared some things of Himself by the mouth of His holy prophets and apostles. He has been pleased, through the lips of His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, to speak to us more plainly, to show us more openly the thoughts of His heart, and the counsel of His will. These are the first steps to knowledge, but there the light will be as the light of seven days, and there the manifestation of all the treasures of wisdom shall be brighter and clearer than it is now, for God, the only-wise God, shall unveil to us the mysteries, and exhibit to us the glories of His everlasting kingdom. The Revelation we now have suits us as men clad in our poor mortal bodies; the Revelation then will suit us as immortal spirits! When we have been raised from the dead it will be suitable to our immortal spiritual bodies. Here too we are at a distance from many of the things we long to know something of, but there we shall be nearer to them; we shall then be on a vantage ground, with the entire horizon spread out before us. Our Lord Jesus is, as to His presence, far away from us; we see Him through the telescope of faith, but there we shall see Him face to face; His literal and bodily presence is in heaven, since He was taken up, and we need to be taken up, likewise, to be with Him where He is that we may literally behold Him. Get to the fountain-head, and you understand more; stand in the center, and things seem regular and orderly. If you could stand in the sun, and see the orbits in which the planets revolve round that central luminary, it would become clear enough, but for many an age astronomers were unable to discover anything of order and spoke of the planets as progressive, retrograde, and standing still. Let us get to God, the center, and we shall see how providence in order revolves round His sapphire throne!
When we get to heaven, we shall be better qualified to see than we are now. It would be an inconvenience for us to know here as much as we shall know in heaven. No doubt we have sometimes thought that if we had better ears it would be a great blessing; we have wished we could hear ten miles off, but probably we should be no better off, for we might hear too much, and the sounds might drown each other. Probably our sight is not as good as we wish it were, but a large increase of ocular power might not be of any use to us. Our natural organs are fitted for our present sphere of being, and our mental faculties are, in the case of most of us, properly adapted to our moral requirements. If we knew more of our own sinfulness, we might be driven to despair; if we knew more of God’s glory, we might die of terror; if we had more understanding, unless we had equivalent capacity to employ it, we might be filled with conceit and tormented with ambition. But up there we shall have our minds and our systems strengthened to receive more, without the damage that would come to us here from overleaping the boundaries of order, supremely appointed and divinely regulated. We cannot here drink the wine of the kingdom—it is too strong for us; but up there we shall drink it new in our heavenly Father’s kingdom, without fear of the intoxications of pride, or the staggering of passions! We shall know even as we are known. Besides, dear friends, the atmosphere of heaven is so much clearer than this, that I do not wonder we can see better there; here is the smoke of daily care; the constant dust of toil; the fog of trouble perpetually rising. We cannot be expected to see much in such a smoky atmosphere as this. But when we shall pass beyond, we shall find no clouds ever gather round the sun to hide its everlasting brightness. There all is clear; the daylight is serene as the noonday; we shall be in a clearer atmosphere and brighter light.
III. The practical lessons we may learn from this subject demand your attention before I close. I think there is an appeal to our gratitude. Let us be very thankful for all we do see; those who do not see now, ah, not even "through a glass, darkly"—shall never see face to face. The eyes that never see Christ by faith shall never see Him with joy in heaven. If you have never seen yourself a leper defiled with sin, and abashed with penitence, you shall never see yourself redeemed from sin, renewed by grace, a whiterobed spirit! If you have no sense of God’s presence here, compelling you to worship and love Him, you shall have no sight of His glory hereafter introducing you to the fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore! Oh, be glad for the sight you have, dear brothers and sisters; it is God who gave it to you! You are one born blind, and, "Since the world began, was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind?" This miracle has been worked on you; you can see, and you can say—"One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see."
Our text teaches us that this feeble vision is very hopeful. You shall see better by-and-by. Oh, you know not how soon—it may be in a day or two that we shall be in glory! God may so have ordained it that between us and heaven there may be but a step. Another lesson is that of forbearance one with another. Let the matters we have spoken of soften the harshness of our debates; let us feel, when we are disputing about points of difficulty, that we need not get cross about them because, after all, there are limits to our present capacity as well as to our actual knowledge. Our disputes are often childish; we might as well leave some questions in abeyance for a little while. Two persons in the dark have differed about a color, and they are wrangling about it; if we brought candles in, and held them to the color, the candles would not show what it was, but if we look at it tomorrow morning, when the sun shines, we shall be able to tell! How many difficulties in the Word of God are like this; not yet can they be justly discriminated—till the day dawns, the apocalyptic symbols will not be all transparent to our understanding. Besides, we have no time to waste while there is so much work to do; much time is already spent; sailing is dangerous; the winds are high; the sea is rough. Trim the ship, keep the sails in good order, manage her, and keep her off quicksands. As to certain other matters, we must wait till we get into the fair haven, and are able to talk with some of the bright spirits now before the throne. When some of the things they know shall be opened unto us, we shall confess the mistakes we made, and rejoice in the light we shall receive!
Should not this happy prospect excite our aspiration, and make us very desirous to be there? It is natural for us to want to know, but we shall not know as we are known till we are present with the Lord. We are at school now; children at school. We shall go to the college soon; the great University of heaven, and take our degree there. Yet some of us, instead of being anxious to go, are shuddering at the thought of death—the gate of endless joy we dread to enter! There are many persons who die suddenly; some die in their sleep, and many have passed out of time into eternity when it has scarcely been known by those who have been sitting at their bedsides. Depend upon it, there is no pain in dying; the pain is in living! When they leave off living here, they have done with pain; do not blame death for what it does not deserve; it is life that lingers on in pain—death is the end of it! The man who is afraid of dying ought to be afraid of living; be content to die whenever the Master’s will shall bid you; commit your spirit to His keeping. Who that has seen but the glimpses of His beaming countenance does not long to see His face that is as the sun shining in its strength? O Lord! Your will be done! Let us speedily behold You if so it may be; only this one word: if so it may be! Do we now see, and do we expect to see better? Let us bless the name of the Lord, who has chosen us in His mercy and loving-kindness. On the other hand, let it cause us great anxiety if we have not believed in Jesus, for He who has not believed in Him, dying as he is, will never see the face of God with joy. Oh, unbeliever, be concerned about your soul and seek after Him! Oh, that God would open your eyes right now in this very house of prayer! Blessed for you to know in part; thrice blessed, I say, for as surely as you know in part now, you shall fully know hereafter! Be it your happy lot to know Him, whom to know is life eternal. God grant it, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—2 CORINTHIANS 5.