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analogy drawn from the constitution of the human body. He intimates that every limb and organ
of the body has its separate and peculiar office, assigned to it for the good of the whole; that to each member also God, in his unerring wisdom, has given those powers which enable it to perform its functions beneficially and usefully; and that, so long as they continue each in their department to exercise the powers respectively given them, in the work for which they were intended, the whole body will thrive and prosper; and in the welfare of the body, the welfare of every member is involved. But, if every member were to neglect its own office, and aspire to that of another, it is self-evident that nothing else could result but confusion and destruction.
“ There should be no schism in the body, but the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with ith.” The Apostle then proceeds to tell them, that they are collectively the body of Christ, and individually members of the body; forcibly appeals to them whether they can all be possessed of every gift, and exercise every
1 Cor. xii. 25.
function ; and finally enforces his arguments by his beautiful and sublime recommendation of charity, that “
and of all virtues," that sure and sole remedy for all their foolish bickerings and jealousies; that which will, indeed, induce them to apply their gifts to profit withal ; to profit the church by promoting the general welfare and edification; to profit themselves, by being enabled to give an account of the talents committed to them; and thus to obtain the blessed salutation “Well done! good and faithful servant! enter thou into the joy of thy Lord !”
Now, having pointed out what is meant by the manifestation of the Spirit, and also the purpose for which it was evidently granted, it remains to be considered, whether in and in what degree, the manifestation of the Spirit is permitted to us. In the consideration of these points, it appears to me a safe and necessary rule, to bear continually in mind the test here given to us by St. Paul; that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, to PROFIT WITHAL; that is, given on such occasions, and in such a measure, as will conduce to the general welfare, and is adapted to the general necessities of the Church. The
ordinary rule appears to be, that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, for our own individual direction and comfort, but that the manifestation of the Spirit, the power of de-` monstrating the Spirit to others, is conferred principally for the edification and welfare of the whole body.
Keeping this criterion in view, we will first cursorily notice the examples of manifestation of the Spirit, which the Apostle, in the chapter before us, has specially enumerated; and will secondly enquire in whom, and in what manner, the manifestation of the Spirit may be expected to take place in the present day.
Upon the accurate interpretation of the phrases, “word of wisdom, and word of knowledge," by which the Apostle here designates two manifestations of the Spirit, many conjectures have been advanced; and it is admitted on all hands that, though the precise import of these expressions was perfectly well understood at the time, and by the persons to whom they were addressed, yet at present it very doubtful.
The word "wisdom" is unquestionably used in Scripture in several different senses; but, after an attentive examination of several solutions given by commentators, I am disposed to offer an interpretation, which does not en
appears to me to refer to, and harmonize exactly with, the statement of the Apostle in the 29th verse of this chapter. It will be found there that St. Paul mentions, “ first, APOSTLES ; secondarily, PROPHETS ; thirdly, TEACHERS.' But here he mentions, first, WISDOM ; secondly, KNOWLEDGE; thirdly, FAITH.
The word of wisdom" then, refers to the APOSTLES, the rulers and the founders of the several churches; and denotes that skill, judgment, and discernment, which were indispensibly requisite to enable them to discharge their arduous and episcopal functions with success, whether these regarded the conduct and discipline of the churches or the refutation of their adversaries. By the word of knowledge', the gift of the second class, the higher“ order of PROPHETS, I understand a knowledge of the ancient Scriptures and of God's dealings, infused by the Spirit, enabling them to comprehend and explain all the mysterious dispensations of the Old Testament, and their connection with the present and future designs of the Almighty, in the dispensations of the New Testament.
* Lopia, implying judgment and skill.
Tvwois, denoting information. * See Macknight on this text.
This power is different from that which is referred to in the tenth verse, and which consisted merely in the prediction of future events.
By “ faith," the gift of the third class, the TEACHERS, we may understand an extraordinary degree of faith, exciting diligence and zeal, animating them to efforts of courage and
perseverance, and enabling them to continue teaching, notwithstanding all the opposition and persecution which the prejudices, the interests, and the passions of mankind could raise against the Gospel. This was a faith which could "remove mountains.”
These qualifications, if possessed in a minor degree, would not be manifestations of the Spirit, such as the Apostle evidently has in view, when he classes them with those gifts which he subsequently enumerates. The gifts of healing, of miracles, of prophecy, of discérning spirits, of divers kinds of tongues, of the interpretation of tongues; these all are obviously extraordinary and miraculous manifestations of the Spirit; and consequently the three first, of which we have been treating, being classed with these, were also extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; not indeed in themselves, but in the measure and manner in which they were dispensed.