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UPON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
of tongues : but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will,” 1 Cor. xii. 4-11. And to one is given ten talents, to another five, and to another one, according to the place and employment each is set in, and the work God requires at their hands. And as the divers smell of flowers comes from the same influence, and the divers sounds in the
organ from the same breath, so these divers operations from one Spirit, and all for the good of the whole. He that is not fit to serve the body is not fit to be of the body. God gives to every man according to his place and station, and will require an account of what he gives. Some are deeply skilled in the original tongues, and other languages : others excel in philosophical pursuits and inquiries; they search nature's garden from end to end, and become excellent artists there : others again are eminent in the practical sciences, in the law, or in medicine, or divinity, or geometry, while others are noted for ingenious inventions, etc. Thus, among Christians too, some excel in one grace, and some in another; some are deep in humiliation, some have a great measure of self-denial, some excel in faith, some in patience, etc. Among ministers, each has his peculiar gift; some are good textuaries, and some critics; some are skilled in casuistry, some in controversies; some are best at explicacation, and some at application; some are fitted for conviction, and others for comforting afflicted consciences ; and all for the common good. “ And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors
FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES.
and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Eph. iv. 11, 12.
O my soul, hast thou any one of these gifts ? Has God lent thee any talent; why hast thou not improved it? How comes it to pass in all this time that thou hast not increased it? God will require it at thy hand ere long; and it is a wonder it has not been taken away ere now. Hadst thou been diligent, thou mightest, as others, with the good servant have said, “ Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds,” Luke xix. 16; when, alas ! it is to be feared, thou canst not say, it has gained two. Though God will not blame thee that thou hast received no more, yet will_he blame thee for improving that no better. The time is coming God will call his servants to an account, as well as his enemies, and reckon with them. Take heed of receiving any grace in vain, nor envy those that have received more; perhaps they received at first no more, but have better employed what they had. Let this put thee on to diligence, not to murmuring; covet grace rather than gifts, and to pray fervently, rather than rhetorically; stammering Moses shall be heard as soon as eloquent Aaron. The Lord often takes away his talents from some, and gives them to others that will better improve them : he lays aside the slothful as broken vessels, and ere long they become as dead men out of mind, whilst the diligent are had in everlasting remembrance. O my God, lay not to my charge my
former folly, my sloth and negligence; take not away
FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES
thy talent from me, but give me a heart better to improve it. Let me double my diligence, and amend my pace, that thou mayest never say to me, as to that unfaithful and unprofitable servant,
“ Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," Matt. xxv. 30.
Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace, John i. 16.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation : he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness, Rom. xii. 6–8.
Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, Eph. iv. 7.
In him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, Col. ii. 9, 10.
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if
any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth : that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. iv. 10, 11.
XX-UPON WITHERING HERBS AND FLOWERS.
Upon the sight of some herbs and flowers withered, which a little before were fresh and flourishing, and made a beautiful show in the hand and bosom; I began to consider-Thus it is with many of the professors of our age; many who have made a fair show, and held out a large profession in the sight of the sun, are already dead and withered, and many more begin to hang the head, and all for want of root : the sun of persecution shining upon them has killed many; and if it should rise higher, many more would wither. They had a name to live, says the Redeemer, but they were dead, Rev. iii. 1. God knows his own sheep, and of those given to Christ he will not
But these, saith the apostle, are gone from among us, because “ they were not of us,' 1 John ii. 19. They, with the Jews, cry, temple of the Lord,” Jer. vii. 4, when they regard not the Lord of the temple; they were never better than meteors, and so they end; they are constant in nothing but inconstancy; like empty clouds, they promise refreshing showers, but yield none.
Perhaps with Demas, these men choose the world before Christ; yea, perhaps, with Judas, they will betray him for money. And why is all this? but because they received not the truth in the love of it, 2 Thess. ii. 10.
U PON WITHERING
When they turned professors, they took not Christ's counsel, to sit down first and reckon the charges; and therefore, like the foolish builder, began to lay the foundation, and were not able to finish; they took up religion upon trust, and considered not what it would cost them, or what God required at their hands : in consequence, when reproaches or crosses come, they soon give it up, and will not be of so expensive a profession. Some take it up for wrong ends, and intend it but as a cloak to cover their designs, and when the design is brought about, or they disappointed, the cloak is cast aside as useless. Many pursue some carnal design under such a disguise, and use religion as a workman does his tools : as long as one will serve, he uses it; and when it will not, he lays by that, and takes another. If persecution will fit the design better than profession, he takes up that. It is no strange thing to see men persecute what they have professed. Those that follow Christ for loaves, not for love, will cry “Hosanna," to-day; and “Crucify,' to-morrow. They are resolved rather to wrong their consciences, than that their consciences should wrong
them. O my soul, do so many flowers fade, and does so much corn wither for want of root? Are so many cedars blown down by the wind, and do so many forward professors turn apostates at the apprehension of danger ? Look to thyself, “make straight paths for thy feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way,” Heb. xii. 13. Take heed, lest if the sun of persecution arise, thou also be offended and wither, for want of root.