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Spiritual Culture.

Spiritual Culture.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. OCTAYIUS PERINCHIEF



1 COR. 12: 31.- But covet earnestly the best gifts — and yet show
I unto you a more excellent way.
BY REV. OCTAYIUS PERINCHIEF



1 COR. 12: 31.- But covet earnestly the best gifts — and yet show
I unto you a more excellent way.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 29, 2013
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SPIRITUAL CULTURE.
BY REV. OCTAYIUS PERICHIEF
1 COR. 12: 31.- But covet earnestly the best gifts — and yet showI unto you a more excellent way.There were many things among these Corinthians of which the Apostle had to complain. They were fondof what they supposed to be philosophic speculation.Theories ran into disputes^-disputes into all unprofit-ableness and evil. They neglected to cultivate thegraces and virtues of the Gospel. Though nominallyChristians, they were no better that other Gentiles.They had changed their name, but not their practice.They saw the folly of the past, but not the glory of theSPIRITUAL CULTURE. 131future. They perceived something of the emptiness of the world, but very little of the fullness of God. Theydid not live, they only talked about living. They didnot covet life, but only the signs of life.They looked abroad lipon the brotherhood and observedthere a diversity of " gifts," the strange development of what appeared to them mysterious forces. These giftsendowed those who possessed them with extraordinarypower and influence. These gifts had their degrees andtheir relative values ; and some were therefore preferred.The misfortune was, too many coveted one or other of these offices. They desired not to find whereunto Godhad called them, so that they might do God's will insubmission and humility, but their carnal ambition setthem to desiring office as a means to their earthly eleva-tion. They thought Christianity was only a new vehicleon the old road. The spirit in them was that of SimonMagus. It was simple worldliness. It was opposed toGod. And there are some passages which indicate thatthis spirit pervaded those who possessed the gifts asmuch as those who only desired them. Thus the giftsthemselves were often not only neutralized, but sourcesof temptation and misfortune.
 
The Apostle has been showing them that these develop-ments, endowments or gifbs, are not strange-^not antago-nistic, one to another — ^not in reality preferable. Thespirit that appoints one appoints all, and pervades all.Diversity is a necessity. One is as important and valuableas another. The body could not be the human body if it were all head, or all foot, or all eye, or all ear. Allits members are co-equal and mutually dependent.With any one part wanting, the body would be imperfect — every other part would sufier. By means of the132 SERMOS.diversify there is completeness. There is a question of deeper interest than that of being a member; the questionas to the health of the member, the spirit that animatesit, its usefulness in its place according to its degree.othing existed for itself. The' value of any one partwas its service to the whole — ^that which was retiredand obscure, if in its place, as important as th^t whichwas seen and prominent.This idea is one which is prevalent in Paul's Epistles.The spirit of that old world was a spirit of worldliness — the idea of form, not of essence. Law, spirit, life,was really unknown in any general degree, till Christmade it incarnate. It was the one thing supremelydifficult to impress upon the heathen mind. It is stillthe thing supremely difficult to impress upon i;he humanmind. To give life is to find it. To humble oneself isto be exalted. It is hard to make that believed. Yetit is an idea fundamental to a wise conception of theOospel, of the work the Gospel has to do. WhateverGod's plans for man — ^for the future might be, He willwork only as He works by means, however slow theymight be. If Christ is to efiect salvation for a race^He will not enthrone Himself upon a star and come tous on a cataract of glory. He will come to Bethlehem,to mortal infancy, to human vicissitude, to earthlyprovidences. He will trust to the slow years to work in nature's channels, to make known His person and Hismission. He will thread the track of mortal footsteps^and manifest God in the maze of common vicissitude.If the kingdom of grace is to be a fact upon earth, it is
 
to be — ^not by arbitrary action in God, not by mere wishingin man, but by slow development in the race itself If God s kingdom is to be set up here, it is to be only asSPIRITUAL CULTUR*. 183Ood's will is done upon jearth as it i9 in heaven. It isa kingdom to be built — to grow. All expectations of itotherwise than as it is iiit us are risionary and void.Whatever the raptures of the prophets proclaim, are butresults — facts standing in ultimate completion, viewedin the distance. But there is a road to them, long andmeandering as to all things else. The manifestion of Christ to this world, is to be a mamfestatian of all thatwas in Christ pervading human action, because it \Aenthroned in the human heart. Your heart and minefilled with Christian greatness, overflowing in Christianwork, broad and deep in Christian life, is the proclama-tion of Christ. Without it, my pulpit is vain, yourgifts are useless.This would appear to be the very cQuception itself our church would convey to us in this season of theEpiphany — ^the conception of what a true manifestationof Christ is to be. If you examine, you will find sheselects as a special Scripture for our instruction, the 12thchapter of Romans, one of the most practical containedin the Bible ; all of it hanging upon this idea of graceand virtue, by means of the exercise of the gifts andopportunities providence bestows. " Present your bodiesa living sacrifice." Salvation is for time and earth aswell as for heaven and eternity. " Ye are members oneof another." The grace of one is somewhat limited bythat of another, and the glory of Christ is delayed if His image is wanting to the church. Each has a ministry.Paul is addressing the people, not the clergy. Therewere no clergy in one sense of the word. Whatever itbe, let each widt upon his ministering. There cannotbe one soul too many, unless that soul be off the track where God put it. The providence which directs the134 SERMOS.

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