The gift to which this high characteristic is ascribed by the Apostle is Christian Wisdom, and the Giver is God the Holy Ghost. "We speak wisdom," he says, shortly before the text, "among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world ... but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom." And after making mention of the heavenly truths which Wisdom contemplates, he adds: "God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit ... we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God."

2. In a former verse St. Paul contrasts this divine Wisdom with Faith. "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect." Faith, then, and Wisdom, are distinct, or even opposite gifts. Wisdom belongs to the perfect, and more especially to preachers of the Gospel; and Faith is the elementary grace which is required of all, especially of hearers. The two are introduced again in a later chapter of the same Epistle: "To one is given by the Spirit the word of Wisdom, to another the word of Knowledge by the same Spirit, to another Faith by the same Spirit." Such are the two gifts which will be found to lie at the beginning and at the end of our new life, both intellectual in their nature, and both divinely imparted; Faith being an exercise of the Reason, so spontaneous, unconscious, and unargumentative, as to seem at first sight even to be a moral act, and Wisdom being that orderly and mature development of thought, which in earthly language goes by the name of science and philosophy.

Oxford University Sermons 14

Comment