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scrupulosity in others. Let us endeavour to bear in mind the principles of Christian love, on which the Apostle founds his judgment in these matters. Let us neither offend, nor be offended; censure, or despise.
There are very many things, in which Christians in general-ministers of the gospel more especially are bound to regard, not only their own views of Christian duty, but the feelings and sentiments, nay, even the prejudices of those around them. The effect of a Christian ministry is not rarely impeded by matters of external demeanour, by such points respecting conversation, dress, and amusements, as are judged indifferent by the parties themselves. Let us learn in these things, without censuring those whose views differ from our own, still to lean in our own conduct to the safer, the stricter side: in no case to let our liberty be a stumbling-block to others: to bear in mind. the sentence of the Apostle. "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
Again, as to the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit-long as these miraculous powers have ceased in the church, we may still take home to our own bosoms the lesson which they called forth, and learn, that all differences of powers, all diversities
1 Cor. viii. 13.
of operations, all varieties of means of good, are the gifts of "that one and self-same Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will." It is not only such extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit, as were vouchsafed in the infant church, that are the gift of God; but from his power it is that each of us has received all he has, and rejoices in the ordinary blessings of this mortal state. Our life, our health, oùr bodily powers, and the faculties of our minds are bestowed by Him. By his will it is, that every one of us has been placed in a situation to do him service, according to the measure of the talents bestowed upon each-that power has been placed within the reach of onethat riches have been committed to another, as a precious deposit of which he must one day give account that the powers of the mind, capacity for knowledge, genius, memory, judgment, taste, have in a fuller measure been bestowed upon a third. These all are the gifts of God, and as such the language of the Apostle embraces and includes them all. Whoever enjoys any of these natural talents, as they are called, or advantages of worldly condition, may learn from St. Paul that no one should glory in such things: for "who maketh thee to differ from another? Is it not God alone?" Again, that such gifts, be they what
7 1 Cor. iv. 7.
they may, are "given to every man to profit withal." They are to be diligently used in the service of God, and to his glory. Again-that each, even though he be esteemed less honourable among men, is equally necessary in that situation in which God has placed him—that the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee-nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of thee-that all are but parts of one body, and should, therefore, work together for the good of the whole 9; not exalted by their supposed superiority, but seeking that, which is a more excellent gift than all, viz., charity and brotherly love 1.
Let us then, my brethren, take to ourselves this lesson at least, and, as St. Paul enjoined his church at Corinth of old, "Follow after charity"-charity the universal rule; the great commandment, the fulfilling of the law-charity which embraces within its comprehensive grasp the whole sphere of our obligations to our fellow men; which "suffereth long and is kind; envieth not; vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things; endureth all things."
8 1 Cor. xii. 7.
9 1 Cor. xii. 12. 27.
1 1 Cor. xiii.
Thus shall we turn to our own profit words spoken, in the first instance, for the instruction of others. Thus shall we use scripture as not abusing it, not seeking in it "the letter which killeth, but the spirit which giveth life." Thus shall we practically experience that it is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;" and shall learn at last, that it "is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus "."
THE WRITINGS OF THE APOSTLES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR CHARACTERS.
[PREACHED ON THE FESTIVAL OF ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES.]
JAMES i. 1.
JAMES, A SERVANT OF GOD, AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES, WHICH ARE SCATTERED ABROAD, GREETING.
It is an interesting line of observation, to remark the influence of age or country, situation or circumstances, upon literary productions of whatever kind. We please ourselves with tracing, how any thing we may know of the character or mode of life of the authors shows itself in their works. We observe how circumstances operate upon the feelings-how situation modifies the sentimentshow the habits re-act upon the character: and all, or any, of these accidents to the individual, if we may so term them, give a tone to their writings; and influence alike their choice of subjects, and mode of treating them.
Thus, though we know nothing of the individual, we mark in Homer, in the simplicity of idea, and the unrefined vigour of style, the poet of an early age. The manners, sentiments, and charac