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Paul, Apollos and Cephas, all preached the same gospel; but each had his own peculiar manner of preaching, Paul was a strong reasoner; Apollos was an eloquent orator ; Peter was a warm and affectionate speaker. They all had their admirers in Corinth. One said, I am of Paul ; another, I am of Apollos ; and another, I am of Peter. Paul reproved this party attachment, as an indication, that they were carnal ; that they were, as children, governed more by natural húmor, than by spiritual understanding. “ While one saith, I am of Paul ; and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal ? Who is Paul, or Apollos, but ministers by • whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? Paul planted, and Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
As Christians have been called of God to the fellow. ship of his Son, they should all speak the same thing; they should be joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment; and there should be no divi. sions among them.
Since Christ has appointed the gospel ministry for the edification of hịs body, let us meekly, humbly and prayerfully attend upon it, as his institution; keeping in view its important end, endeavoring to grow thereby, and desiring to come in the unity of faith and knowledge, unto the stature of perfect men.
Finally, beloved brethren, build yourselves up on - your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Ghost, keep · yourselves in the love of God, and wait for the mer.
cy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
Christians to be distinguished from the World.
EPHESIANS iv. 17, 18, 19.
This I say therefore and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth
walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, hav. ing the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blind ness of their heart, who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncieanne88 with greediness.
THESE Ephesians, you will remember, had lately been called out of a state of Heathenism to the knowledge and profession of the religion of Jesus. In the verses immediately preceding the text, the apostle observes to them, that God had brought them within his church, and had admitted them to the privilege of the gospel ministry, which was given by Jesus Christ
, at the time of his ascension, for the edifying of his church, till all should come to full maturity in relig. ion, that they might no more be children, tossed about by the artifice of deceivers'; but might be men grown up in all things to the resemblance of Christ; and, being united to him by faith, and joined one to another by love, might derive spiritual influence from him, and charitable assistance from their brethren, and so make continual increase in every virtue and good work.
Now since they had experienced so great a change in their condition, and were placed under such superior advantages, the apostle earnestly exhorts them, that, in all their conversation, they would distinguish themselves from other Gentiles, and would walk worthy of their high character and calling,
The manner in which other Gentiles still walked, and in which they themselves had once walked, he describes in the words which have been read. They lived in the vanity of their mind—were darkened in their understanding-alienated from the life of God through their ignorance and hardness of heart-and, being past feeling, had given themselves over to work all uncleanness with greediness.
While we contemplate the manner in which these Gentiles walked, we shall see how converts ought to walk; for the apostle here holds, up to view the conversation of the former, for a warning to the latter. “I testify in the Lord, that henceforth ye walk not as other Gentiles walk."
1. These Gentiles walked in the vanity of their mind. The apostle Peter, describing the corruptions of the Heathens, says, “They walked in abominable idolatries."
The false deities, which the Gentiles worshiped, are often called vanities. The apostles preached, “that they should turn from these vanities to the living God, who made heaven and earth.” On account of their Worshipping these vanities, the apostle says, “They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts and creeping things; wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts--and to vile affections and a reprobate mind, to do things which were
The prevalence of idolatry in the world is a melan. choly proof of the depravity of human nature. The apostle says, “The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being under. stood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.”—That which may be known of God was manifest even to the Heathens, for God had shewed it to them, so that they were without excuse.” The reason why they changed the truth of God into a lie was not because God had left himself without wit. ness; but because they did not like to retain him'in their knowledge. Displeased with the idea of one God in whom all perfections met, and on whom all things depended, they invented gods many, and lords many, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, ascribing to each deity properties suited to their own vain imaginations. The Psalmist resolves the atheism of the world into the same cause. " The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt; they have done abominable works; there is none that doeth good.”
Atheism and idolatry proceed not from the want of sufficient evidence, that there is one eternal, all perfect Being ; but from that corruption of heart which blinds the understanding and perverts the judgment.
We, who have enjoyed the light of revelation, easily see the absurdity of worshipping the sun and moon, the ghosts of departed heroes, or images formed by art and man's device. There is, however, a species of idolatry, less gross indeed in appearance, but equally fatal in its consequences, which still prevails even among the enlightened part of mankind.' The love of this world, and the serving of divers lusts and pleasures the gospel condemns as idolatry, warning us, that for these things' sake cometh the wrath of God on the chil. dren of disobedience.
We then, who enjoy the light, are not only to acknowledge one all perfect Deity, in opposition to
the Heathen idolatry ; but to love him with all our heart,
to serve him with a willing mind, to seek his favor with 7: supreme desire, and to resign ourselves to his will robe without reserve, in opposition to spiritual idolatry. If
we transfer to earthly objects the regards, which are due w only to him, we are as really guilty of idolatry, as they w who worship an image.
2. The Heathens were darkened in their under: standing
The understanding is that faculty, by which we view and compare things, discern truth from error, and distinguish between moral good and evil. It is to the mind, what the eye is to the body. The eye is that organ, which, receiving the light of the sun, beholds, through this medium, surrounding objects, and distinguishes one from another. The understanding is that faculty, which receives the knowledge of moral things, and discerns their relations and differences.
In these Heathens the understanding was darkened --not in respect of natural things; for, in useful arts and liberal sciences, many of them greatly excelled but in respect of moral truth and obligation. Here, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
Their darkness was owing, not solely to the want of revelation, but also to the want of an honest and good heart. The apostle says, “ They knew not what might have been known of God."-" They understood not what God had shewed them."
There are those under the gospel, who, through carelessness and inattention, live criminally ignorant of the plain and important doctrines of religion. The apostle says to the Corinthians,“ Some have not the knowledge of God : I speak this to your shame.” He. reproves the Hebrews, because “ they were dull of hearing ; and when, for the time, they ought to have been teachers of others, they still had need, that one shuuld teach them again, what were the first principles of the oracles of God.”