Abandonment to Ignorance
1 Corinthians 14:38
But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

Paul was a man who humbled himself but magnified his office. For himself, he was less than the least of all saints; but officially and in apostolic influence and authority, he was not behind the chiefest of the apostles. Of course there were in the primitive Churches men who acknowledged neither his authority nor the authority of any other than themselves. And when the apostle gave utterance to his judgment, it was with the knowledge that his judgment would not pass unchallenged. There is something of indignation and something of sarcasm in his reference to those who resisted his opinions and decisions. And there is wisdom as well as an admirable display of just impatience in his language: "If any man is ignorant, let him be ignorant."

I. OPINIONATEDNESS AND IGNORANCE OFTEN GO TOGETHER. A little experience convinces us that those who cling the most tenaciously to their own opinions, their own habits, are not always men of the soundest judgment. To resist evidence and authority is no sign of soundness of mind and power of intellect. Some are obstinate because they are blind to all testimony and evidence but that which is acceptable to their own prejudices.

II. THERE ARE THOSE WHOM NO EVIDENCE CAN CONVINCE AND NO AUTHORITY OVERAWE. If all men were candid and dispassionate, and habituated to follow the clear white light of reason, human life and human society would be very different from what they actually are. Our Lord Jesus was forbearing and patient with those who opposed themselves to him; but even he confessed that there were those who loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Young and sanguine ministers of religion often begin their work with an inward persuasion that they have only to place the truth fairly and fully before men, in order to their conviction and conversion. But experience teaches them that it is not so; that there is a moral obduracy which is proof against all efforts.

III. IT MAY BE WISE TO ABANDON TO THEIR LOVED IGNORANCE THOSE WHO WILL NOT BE ENLIGHTENED. An affectionate and benevolent mind will be very slow to adopt such a course. And it cannot be adopted without the hope and prayer that, when ordinary and human methods have failed, it may please God to employ some methods unknown to finite wisdom, to secure the wished for result. Even the Creator himself seems to act upon the principle here exemplified, at all events for a season and a purpose: "Ephraim is joined unto idols: let him alone."

IV. THERE IS BETTER EMPLOYMENT FOR THE TIME OF CHRISTIAN LABOURERS THAN THE ENDEAVOURS TO ENLIGHTEN THE INVINCIBLY IGNORANT. There are the young, the ardent inquirers for truth, the candid and open minded, the earnest and prayerful, all anxious for more light, for lessons of truth, counsels of wisdom, encouragement, and admonition. In such directions there is abundant scope for effort, with the confidence that labour will not be in vain. Why spend years in tilling the rock or sowing the iceberg, when virgin soil awaits the plough and promises to reward the toil of the spiritual husbandman?

V. THERE IS A PROBATION AND A JUDGMENT APPOINTED BY GOD, TO WHICH SUCH CHARACTERS MUST NEEDS BE LEFT. It must be remembered by the Christian labourer that he is not one of the governors of the world. This reflection will not harden his heart against the unbelieving; he will leave such in the hands of One who is far more wise and far more merciful than the wisest and the most merciful of men. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

WEB: But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

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