“HATH not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” - 1 Cor. i. 20.
THE entire connection, but especially the third chapter and ninth verse, gives an affirmative answer to the above question. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” It therefore becomes us who profess to be governed in our faith and practice by the revealed mind of God, to mark the line which he with unerring precision has drawn in the scriptures between that wisdom which cometh down from above and that which is of this world. The former, the apostle says, “God hath revealed unto us by his Spirit;” but the latter is common to all intelligent beings, whether christians or infidels. The wisdom of God can only be received by the spiritual family of God; “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 wisdom of this world may be discerned by natural minds; it may be attained by dint of study; it may be acquired mechanically in schools, colleges or otherwise, and when confined to its proper sphere, is an excellent qualification for the pursuits of this world; but it is ever looked upon with abhorence by God when confounded with divine revelation. God certainly would not have made it foolish if it had been, or could possibly be, compatible with his will that it should ever be incorporated with the things of his Spirit. Since, therefore, God has thus stained the pride of the wise and great men of this world,the apostle declares that he had laid it aside, and that his speech and preaching was not with enticing (or persuasive, as it reads in the margin,) words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; that the faith of his brethren should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Can there be any difficulty in determining the proper bearing of this subject on the various religious bodies who figure at the present day? We think not. The New School Baptists, with all their brotherhood of the several denominations,. boast of their erudition, literary attainments, and worldly greatness; they have their colleges, Theological, Infant and Sabbath Schools, for the purpose of teaching their religion as a mere science. Indeed it would be folly for us to deny that their religion may be taught as a science; for it certainly cannot be taught in any other way. Actual experiments which they have made clearly demonstrate that it is as practicable for them to teach the principles of their religion by schools, tracts, commentaries, &c., as it is for them to get up religious revivals, and make thousands of converts without one spark of grace,
The New School Baptists profess to have called to their aid the arts and sciences of the world; they profess to have adopted these as a handmaid to religion; but remove from their religion all that may properly be denominated worldly wisdom, and what will remain perandi A blank. How frequently do they meet in large conventions, to consult the best means for the accomplishment of their religious designs, and when in ecclesiastical councils assembled, compare notes, and strain every nerve, like the ancient Greeks in the context, to find out wisdom; and the description of wisdom which they seek after is not that which cometh from God; such as God giveth by his Spirit would ruin them; it would make foolish all their schemes and plans; it would not make them popular in the eyes of the world; it would not point out to them the best modus operandi for collecting funds, or for acquiring worldly celebrity and fame. They seek that wisdom which shall entitle them to the distinction of A. M. and D. D., and that will qualify them to figure well before their worldly congregations, command large salaries, conspicuous posts, write premium tracts, compose flowery sermons, and deliver them with eloquence and applause.
There is, however, a small company of the disciples of him who was meek and lowly yet on the earth, who, in the absence of that wisdom which puffeth up, are now bearing their sneers and reproach of the New School as ignorant, illiterate, few and contemptible; yea, who see their calling, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; this people enjoy the inestimable privilege, when they lack wisdom, to ask of God, who giveth it to them liberally, and who upbraideth not. Such a people are the genuine Old School Baptists; those to whom this distinctive name belongs have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, and cunning craftiness of such as lie in wait to deceive; they are not heard inquiring after a best way, or the most efficient means, &c.; they know the right way is the best, and no way but God’s is right; and while all those who would be initiated into the arts of worldly religion have to obtain it, as Simon Magus thought to obtain apostolic gifts, with money, these rejoice that “Of God are they in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
October 1, 1839.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 531 – 534