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One Spirit, Many Gifts.

One Spirit, Many Gifts.

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1 Cor. xii. 11.

" But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every
man severally as He will."

1 Cor. xii. 11.

" But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every
man severally as He will."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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 1 Cor. xii. 11. " But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." On the first Whit-Sunday, that is, about one thousand eight hun- dred years ago, that great wonder of God's mercy began to take place, of which the Apostle in these words, as every where else in his writings, declares the continuance. The twelve Apostles, with the holy and blessed Virgin Mother, and with the other devout women from Galilee, in short, all the followers of our Lord, being " with one accord in one place," in the upper room, no doubt, where they had ever since His Ascension continued to meet in prayer and supplication, " suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting ;" it seemed to be on all sides of them at once : " and there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." One and the same Spirit filled them all, and all began to speak with other languages ; not all alike, but as the Spirit gave them power to speak. Thus was fulfilled for the first time, to the very eye and ear, that of which the Apostle in the text speaks, as a law of God's kingdom to be continued for ever. There were " diver- sities of gifts, but the same Spirit." It was one fire, but separated no ONE SPIRIT, MANY GIFTS. into many tongues : one sound, as of a rushing mighty wind, but different in tone, when they spake, according to each man's voice. One man spake one language, another another, but it was the same Holt Ghost that put words in the mouths of all. And all spake the same thing, — " the wonderful works of God," — His marvellous mercies by Jesus Christ, His Son, made Man, crucified, risen, and glorified, for the salvation of the world. As it was thus in the beginning of the Church, so it continued to be afterwards. The Holy Comforter came down, as Christ had promised, upon one Christian after another, uniting every one to Jesus Christ, and giving every one such gifts as He knew to be best for him : as it is said in a verse a little before the text, " The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man
to profit withal." But now these best gifts of God, as well as all His other gifts, are in danger of being profaned by men. And it seems that the Corinthians did profane them. They employed the power of speaking new languages, as well as other spiritual gifts, to their own glory, and not to God's glory alone. Those who had the higher and more abundant gifts, were tempted to think lightly of those who had less ; and these again to be discontented and slothful, and think they had no occasion to try their best for God's sake. Just as rich men are in danger of permitting them- selves to look down upon the poor, and poor men to envy the rich. To correct this, St. Paul would have all Christians remem- ber these two things : first, that all Christians are one in Christ ; secondly, that each one has his own work, his own place, his own character. Much in the same way " as the body " of a man " is one, and hath many members :" it is not one member, but many ; " and all those members, being many, are but one body : so also," he saith, " is Christ." His mystical Body, the Church, is like His natural Body, or any of our bodies, in respect that although it is made up of many members, each having its own office, yet it is truly, strictly, mysteriously One. What makes it one, and binds it together, is the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in each person's soul and body, to unite him truly to Jksus Christ: just as what unites the hands, feet, and other limbs, into one living and moving body, is the life which was breathed into them bv Almighty God. " Bv one Spirit," ONE SPIRIT, MANY GIFTS. Ill the Apostle tells us, " we are all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." Thus are Christians put in mind of the one Church, to which all alike belong' ; and they are also put in mind of the diver- sity of gifts, whereby each member is made different from an- other. As in the epistle to the Ephesians, " There is one Body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling ;" " but to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the Gift of Christ." The eye, the ear, the hand, the foot, have their several offices in the body ; so have different Christians in the Church. Each is to be pleased and content with his own, yet without looking down upon any other. Each is to do his own work, without either despising or coveting the other's work. This is what St. Paul goes on to teach at large.
First, to the weaker and less honourable members he says. You are not to be cast down nor discontented, as if no one cared for you, because others have higher places than you. " If the foot shall say. Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body ? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eve, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body ?" The meaning of which is. Suppose you are a poor per- son, of little understanding or instruction, and altogether in a low place among Christians ; you will be apt sometimes to say to yourself, " What signifies what the like of me says or does ? Who minds me ? If I were a scholar, and had abundance of leisure to acquaint myself with it all ; if I were a rich person, and had many others depending upon me ; then it would be of more consequence how I went on : but what difference can it make now?" In this way, or something like it, I imagine, people are not seldom tempted to make themselves easy, neglecting divine worship, the Church and the Scriptures, the thought of God and another world, because they are poor and needy, and much taken up with some hard work. This is just what St. Paul describes. For the poor or the ignorant person to give himself up, as though it were use- less for him to try to serve God, is as if the foot should say, " Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body ;" or as if the ear should say, " Because I am not the eye, I am not of the bodv." 112 ONE SPIRIT, MANY GIFTS. " Nay," it might be said, " you surely have in you the same life, the same blood, that any other limbs of the body have. The pulse ¦which beats in you comes from the heart, the power and will ¦which guides you from the head ; you are as much a member of the Man as any of the limbs ¦which are most precious. If you hear instead of speaking, if you move instead of ruling, if you act in- stead of ordering, you are not therefore the less parts of the body." So, should any weaker Christian, giving way to discontent, become careless about his duty, because he has but a low place in the Church, and imagines himself to be thought little of, the Scripture seems to say to such an one, Know yourself better, think more worthily of God's great mercies towards you. Remem- ber the very first lesson you learned in your Catechism, that you were made in ycur christening a member of Christ, a partaker, by His Spirit, of the heavenly hfe ; do not for a moment believe that He can despise or neglect any of His Members. We feel it all over, if any the smallest portion of our bodies is but for a little while in sharp pain : and can it be that He who came down

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