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of grace, are beneficial, but under that of depravity, baleful in their effects.
SOME pride themselves in the powers which they poffefs, and despise those of inferior abilitiesfome mistake gifts for graces, or the fure evidences of them. But the day is at hand which will cor. rect mistakes, and exhibit every thing in its proper light. Then the humble followers of the Lamb, who pass through life unnoticed, or unknown, will be found written in heaven, and will be owred and honored, as the redeemed of the Lord. But those who neglect the grace offered in Chrift, though they may poffefs the greatest powers-may speak with tongues of men and angels, and have all faith to the removing of mountains, will be denied of the eternal Judge, and fent away into everlafting punishment. Wherefore, rejoice not, though the fpirits may be fubject unto you; but rather, baraufe vnum memes are written in heaven.
Human Characters determined only by Divine decifion.
1 CORINTHIANS iv. 3, 4.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment; yea I judge not mine own Self. For I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby juftified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. CORINTH was one of the principal cities of Greece. Enjoying every advantage of fituation, it became rich and populous. Most cities in fimilar circumstances have become vicious. This be came exceedingly fo.
THE religion of Corinth was paganism, which naturally led to fundry vices. Bacchus and Venus had there their temples and their votaries; and luxury, the child of affluence, led to vice generally. From such a combination of circumftances, the inhabitants, like the men of Sodom, "were finners before the Lord exceedingly." It might be juftly ftiled, like Pergamos, "the place where Sa tan's feat was."
YET God had much people in that city, which was revealed to the apoftle, as an inducement to continue and labor in it, which he did for more than eighteen months. Nor did he labor in vain. He gathered there a large and flourishing church; which appears to have been enriched with a great. er effufion of miraculous gifts, than any other of the primitive churches. The ftate of Corinth, where God had been unknown, and where fuperftition had reigned, might render this neceffary in order to give fuccefs to the gofpel. Miracles are adapted to arreft the attention of those who would be deaf to the voice of reafon and regardless of proofs drawn from it.
BUT those gifts were abused. They were made the occafion of pride, and of divifions: Which shews that there is nothing in the nature of miraculous gifts, which fecures the proper use of them; that they are no evidence of renovation.
THOUGH the apostle labored to great and happy effect in that city of the Gentiles, after his departure, deceitful workers went among them, and availed themselves of his abfence to make divifions, and alienate their affections from him. This feems to have occafioned his writing the epiftles addreffed to them, which conftitute a valuable part of the facred volume.
THE calumnies of his enemies, and the effect which they had on the Corinthians, are alluded to in the text; which contains an expreffion of his feelings on the occafion.
In difcuffing the fubject, we fhall just glance at thefe matters, and add a brief improvement.
ST. PAUL'S character, both as a Minister and as a Chriftian, was impeached by thofe enemies.They reprefented him as an unfaithful, or unskilful laborer in the gospel, and as one who was not fubject of divine grace.
THIS appears from his ftatement in the beginning of the context, and from the text. "Let a man fo account of us as of the minifters of Christ, and stewards of the myfleries of God. Moreover it is required in ftewards that a man be found faith. ful. "But with me it is a very fmall thing, that I fhould be judged of you, or of man's judgment, yea, I judge not mine own felf. For I know nothing by my. felf, yet am I not hereby juftified: But he that judgeth me is the Lord."
THE apoftle here profeffeth himself "a minifter of Chrift and steward of the mysteries of God," and directs the Corinthians to confider him in that light; or as one put in truft with the gofpel, to teach its myfteries, inculcate its truths, urge its du. ties, and tender its supports.
THE term myflery is used in Scripture, to exprefs things not discoverable by the light of reason, but knowable by revelation. It is alfo ufed to exprefs incomprehenfibles; which may be objects of faith on the credit of divine truth. The former is the more common sense of the term in the gospel, particularly in the paffage before us, and generally in St. Paul's epiftles. "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery-the hidden wisdom, which
God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath pre. pared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit."
THE gofpel plan of falvation was a myflery, a hidden mystery, till the gospel day. It was hidden from the prophets who foretold it; and from the apostles, till after Chrift's fufferings and refurrection. They understood very little of it; knew almost nothing about it till after the ascension, when the comforter was fent down" to teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance." To them it was then matter of wonder. They had not been made to understand that Chrift was to bear the fins of men-" that he was to fuffer and enter into his glory:" And when he did fuffer," they knew not the Scripture, that he must rife again from the dead."
ANOTHER gospel mystery was the calling of the Gentiles-that falvation was intended for them, and to be offered to them, in Chrift, equally as to the natural feed of Jacob. "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you ward; how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery-which in other ages was not made known unto the fons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apoftles and prophets by the Spirit: That the Gentiles fhould be