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not done good. He had lived a careless, thoughtless, selfish, self-indulgent life, wrapping himself up in earthly comforts, pleasing his appetite, not bridling his tongue. And for this reason—not, as far as we know, for any very great and dreadful sins—his tongue was hot, and all his body was “tormented in this flame." And if this is what he suffers now when only expecting punishment, what shall he suffer byand-by? What will his anguish be when thrown into “ the lake of fire ?” Be warned in time, and be allured by the joys of Lazarus and Abraham. Cross the great gulf which really separates good and evil now, that you may be upon the right side of the gulf hereafter. There is no change in death. Purgatory is a dream of man, not a revelation of God. That which you are when death finds you you shall continue to be for ever.
As the tree falls so must it lie. Get upon the right side now. Turn from sin. Repent of all evil. Trust in Christ and copy His example. Love God. Love man. Do all the good you can
Run no risks. Leave nothing to chance. Make all safe and secure. Send your treasure before you to Heaven, that your heart may be there also. Then you shall have that deep comfort, that solace from all misery, that peace and satisfaction which Lazarus now enjoys. Then Angels shall hover in the air around you
the bed of earth; and when your soul departs from your worn and wearied body, it shall be carried upon wings of light to that happy region where saints sleep upon their Lord's bosom, and from whence it shall hereafter pass into the chamber which Christ has made ready for it, and into the peace which dwells around the throne of God.
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
1 CORINTHIANS xii, 11. “ All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to
every man severally as He will." E are now living under what is called the dispensation of the Spirit. That is to say,
. the Holy Spirit dwelling upon earth is, as it were, the hidden President of the Church, living in the members of the Church severally, and working in the whole body generally, so that His influence is felt everywhere as the source of all good and all life.
And thus working at once in each member and in all the body, He so works in each as to contribute to the good of all. He shows His presence in each by the gifts which He bestows on individual men. He shows His presence in the whole body by the result of all these separate gifts combining together, and working out as their issue the common good.
This is what St. Paul teaches us in this tenth chapter, which is on the subject of spiritual gifts. He shows that as in the body there are many members, each having its own office, distinct and peculiar to itself, but with a clear reference to the general good, so in the Church there are different gifts belonging to different persons for the good of all, and worked in them by the same Spirit, who divides “to every man severally as He will.”
The subject is an important one, and I shall proceed without further preface to set before you certain principles which St. Paul lays down, and certain reflections which naturally arise from them.
1. First,-every good thing which a man has is a gift. Nothing good which a man has is his own. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights;" that is, every good is a gift, and a gift from God above. We owe it not to ourselves, but to God. It has not its origin in us, but in Him. We are not creators. God made us, and God is the author of everything good within us, or without us. Goods of the mind, goods of the body, goods in our character, or goods in our circumstances; anything and everything to which the term 'good' can rightly be applied, comes to us, comes from above, comes down upon us, comes from God. This is true of all men, even of those who are living only by the light of nature, and who are gifted only with natural advantages; but it is especially true of those who are not only men but Christians, members of Christ; and it is true, above all, of
, spiritual gifts.
Christians have all those other gifts which are given in various measures and degrees even to heathen persons, but they have also that greatest gift of the Holy Spirit, which not only brings with it certain spiritual gifts as its immediate consequence, but changes all natural talents and advantages into a higher character and turns them to nobler uses. If, therefore, these natural talents were gifts at any rate, they are gifts more truly than ever by reason of that transcendant gift of the Holy Ghost, Who takes them for His own purposes and uses them for His own ends.
All our goods, then, are gifts,-talents given by our Master and our Lord to those who but for Him would have nothing. They are our own now, for use, for enjoyment, for the profit of the body; but they would never have been ours except for Him Who gave them to us out of His own fulness and according to His own will.
II. I would observe, next, that every man has some gift. Every Christian, as a Christian, has the gift of the Spirit. “By one Spirit are we all baptized,” " " and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” And therefore all have received some gift. Some have more than others, some have less. Some have many gifts, some have but a few. To one He gives “five talents, to another two, and to another one;" but to all He gives at least one. without some small measure of good gifts which can be used for high and useful purposes. There is no single Christian who has not some talent or other which
may be turned to good account. I speak not now of such a presence of the Holy Spirit as is needful to enable a man to turn from sin and live to holiness. In respect of these all are equal, but there are other gifts having reference to a man's influence upon others, and to the work which he may do in the world, and the like; and of these I say that no man is without some one or more of these. Every man has at least one talent.
Some are greatly gifted. Some, for instance, are born of good parents who train them wisely, have all that can be done for them by careful education, are endowed with great powers of intellect, are placed where they can exercise a vast influence, are possessed of power and wealth and all natural advantages, are
thrown in the way of great opportunities; and, further, may be gifted with special powers, or knowledge, or dispositions, fitting them for some particular work which is marked out for them to do. These are men of many gifts. Others have fewer of the same talents or many of them in a lesser degree, men destined for some good work, but on a smaller scale than that which is marked out for those of whom I spoke before and who are the most highly gifted among men. Others—perhaps the greater number of menhave but few gifts, little knowledge, moderate abilities, small advantages, and so on.
But I repeat it: There is no man to whom God has not given some gift. It may not have been used ; the talent may have been hidden in a napkin ; it may even have been abused; but there it is. There is the power, the capacity, the possibility. The money has been given. It may not have been traded with; it may not even have been put out to interest; but it is there. The man had the talent, the faculty, the opportunity, if he had not resisted grace. There has been a gift.
III. Moreover, every gift is from the Holy Spirit, “Who divides to every man severally as He will.” The Holy Spirit is the efficient cause of all good gifts. It is His work to carry on the affairs of the Church on earth, as it is the work of the Son of God to order its affairs from Heaven. The Son is present upon earth by means of the Spirit. The Spirit, therefore, portions out among the several members of the Church the various gifts which are needed, dividing, as it were, the sum total among the whole. A certain work is to be done in the world by the uniting and co-operating action of the whole Christian society, and the Holy