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GOD'S GREATEST TREASURE IN MAN'S WORST
1 CORINTHIANS XII. 24, 25.
" For our comely parts have vo need : but God hath tempered
the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked : that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."
The apostle, in this chapter, is comparing the church of Christ to a human body, and the different members of the body as representing so many particular members of the church. And as there is an union, both in flesh and spirit, between Christ and his people, first, by his incarnation, and, secondly, by our regeneration, (for by the former he took our flesh, and by the latter we are made one spirit with him, and the Saviour and his church being husband and wife;) so they are for ever one, as man and his wife are one. Hence she bears his name, and is expressly called Christ: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ.” Now, as Christ signifies anointed, the unctuous Spirit of God being upon all believers, the church bears this name, for we are anointed with the same Spirit; as it is written: “ Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.” “ For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” This spiritual baptism that Christ came to administer, to which John himself gave testimony, when he said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire,” is what the Saviour promised just before his being apprehended; “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.” And, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit was most plentifully poured forth upon
the apostles, which made them ministers of the Spirit, not of the letter. They all drank into one Spirit, according to the Lord's promise. Their poor, dry, barren, lifeless, and thirsty souls came to him, and drank freely of the well-spring of life; "and, in their ministry, out of their bellies flowed rivers of living water. “This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive.” To be baptized with the Holy Ghost is to be regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God; and to be baptized with fire is to have the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us, Rom. v. 5. And this most holy Spirit being one in them all, made them all one in themselves, and members one of another.
" For the body is not one member, but many." The human
body consists of various parts, and each member is assigned to its own proper use and office in the body; and though their offices may differ, yet they are intended for the mutual use, aid, and assistance, of
every member. Now, as the different members of the body are of different uses, so are the different members of Christ's mystical body. « If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” The foot most certainly is the greatest slave in the human body, because it bears the greatest weight, and is the lowest member in the whole frame; and perhaps may mean one in the lowest stage of grace, with some life, faith, hope, and expectation, and yet not a little burdened with corruption, temptation, doubts, and fears, as some are all, their lifetime in bondage through the fear of death, and misgivings of heart; and so, like the foot, are the lowest and meanest.
And such are often least and last of all in their own eyes, and, like the feet, much pressed down to the earth, and sel-dom joyful, or heavenly-minded; and yet, like the foot, diligent in the means of God's appointment; though often staggering, halting, limping, and meeting with so much opposition, they are often discouraged because of the way. However, the feet belong to the body; and if these be out of order, all the members are in a concern about them, for the whole is confined from travelling. And so the foot, in the body mystical, serves to excite the pity, compassion, yea, and the patience too,
of those members that are more strong; for they are often lain with a weight upon the minds of others; hence we read of some who are borne upon the sides, and dandled upon the knees, of Zion; which would not be the case, if they had but good use of their own feet. “I was feet to the lame,” says Job.“ Confirm the feeble knees,” says Paul. The feet seem to want the most attention of any; for they are the same in the body as the ewe great with young is in the flock.
is in the flock. And the devil often bruises this heel of Christ, as Amalek did in the wilderness, who could not reach the front, but fell
upon the rear, and cut off all that were faint, and feeble; and God swore that he would have war with him for ever for so doing, Exod. xvii. 16.
“ Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body.” The hand, to me, appears to be one whose faith is come to some degree of maturity, who hath laid hold on eternal life, and who holds fast and abides close by the covenant head. He holds fast the form of sound words, and continues stedfast in the apostles' doctrine, and is able at times to hold forth in private the word of life, a word of reproof, instruction, counsel, admonition, exhortation, comfort, or encouragement, to others. And he may be called a hand, because of his ability to assist, and willingness to communicate, to the necessitous; as wisdom describes the church as reaching out her hand to the poor and needy. The foot at times may be provoked to jealousy,
and be led by Satan to envy the happiness of such who seem to excel, and to draw conclusions from thence that, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; “ Butös it therefore not of the body?”
“And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the
eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?" i Cor. xii. 16. The ear appears to be an attentive hearer. And how delightful is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear; an ear that is circumcised to hear and understand the Shepherd's voice; an ear that can try the word as the mouth tasteth its meat; which can discover and disrelish perverse things, such as the allurements of designing men, who lie in wait to deceive; and who, knowing the joyful sound, is able to detect the Lo here, and Lo there, of the minister of Satan. The ear is not to say,
“Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body.” The eye appears to me to be a real minister of the gospel, or a cherubim, one of John's living creatures, full of eyes before and behind, who have the first views and discoveries made to them of the mysteries of the kingdon, and whose work is to call others to come and see. Hence John is called a burning and a shining light, because he let his light shine before men. And if thine eye be single, saith the Lord, liberal and bountiful, seeking Christ's honour, and the good of his chosen (for it is a bountiful eye that will pity the poor, , Prov. xxii. 9,) and deal out truly, freely, and bountifully, the truths, promises, and blessings, of