1 Corinthians 12:20
As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Concerning Spiritual GiftsM. Doris, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Of Spiritual GiftsC. Hodge, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Spiritual GiftsCanon Liddon.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Spiritual GiftsK. Gerok, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Spiritual GiftsC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Spiritual Gifts and InspirationF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
The Christly AssemblyD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
The Unity of the Christian Church is its DiversityPastor Pfeiffer.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
The Work of the Spirit in Modern LifeC. Short, M.A.1 Corinthians 12:1-31
The Law of Order in the Human BodyR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
The Body of ChristE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Christians Ingrafting into ChristW. Fenner.1 Corinthians 12:13-20
Human ConnectionsW. H. H. Murray.1 Corinthians 12:13-20
Of Union with Christ1 Corinthians 12:13-20
The Sameness of ReligionS. Stennett, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:13-20
The True Unity of the ChurchJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:13-20
Unity in Christ the Secret of Man's LifeR. Paisley.1 Corinthians 12:13-20
A Living Unity RequiresJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
A Place for the Feeblest1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Every One Should Keep to His Own StationJ. Spencer.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Helpful Co-Operation1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Mutual DependenceJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Mutual Support1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Power of the FeebleA. Vinet, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
The Feeble are NecessaryD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
The Least of Service to the GreatestH. Melvill, B.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
The Members of the Body of ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
The Uses of the FeebleD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Working Men, HearT. De Witt Talmage, D.D.1 Corinthians 12:20-25

Where party spirit is rife, as it was in the Corinthian Church, there is always danger of hatred, envying, and jealousy. The rebuke to these dispositions, administered by the apostle, is founded upon the deepest principles of Christianity. The Church is not a club which each member joins for his own advantage and convenience, but a body in which each member is incorporated for mutual cooperation in common subjection to the Divine Head.

I. THERE MUST NEEDS BE, IN RELIGIOUS AS IN CIVIL SOCIETY, DIFFERENT POSITIONS CORRESPONDING TO VARYING GIFTS AND SERVICES. As the body needs all its members, they must occupy their appointed positions for which they are severally fitted and to which they are severally called. It is so in the Church of God; and, according to the office filled, the duties performed, will be the position occupied in the regard and esteem of men.

II. THOSE IN INFERIOR POSITIONS SHOULD REMEMBER THAT INFERIORITY IN THE VIEW OF MEN IS NOT NECESSARILY SUCH IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. That there is a scale of excellence cannot be questioned, but that God's graduation agrees with man's is not to be for a moment supposed. He judgeth not as man judgeth. Not always do those who fill most space in men's eyes stand first in the view of God.

III. AN ENVIOUS SPIRIT IS PRODUCTIVE OF THE UTMOST MISERY TO HIM WHO CHERISHES IT. All painters and poets who have dealt with the subject have agreed in depicting envy as consumed and tortured with wretchedness. The envious man cannot enjoy his own blessings or exercise his own powers, for the sight or thought of what he deems the choicer blessings or the rarer powers of his neighbour.

IV. ON THE OTHER HAND, A CONTENTED SPIRIT IS PRODUCTIVE OF TRUE HAPPINESS. When "the sun of sweet content" has risen in the eyes, the light is upon every feature. A holy and calm conviction that his lot is ordered by Divine wisdom gives a deep peace, an abiding cheerfulness, to a good man's life. If one were to have regard only to his own happiness, he would do well to beware of discontent.

V. IT IS TO BE REMEMBERED THAT AN APPARENTLY LOWLY SERVICE MAY BE IMPORTANT AND EVEN ESSENTIAL. The foot has not so complex a structure, has not the same adaptation to a varied service, as the hand; yet, with no power of locomotion, the man would be crippled and pitiable, notwithstanding the marvellous manual mechanism of which he is master. The ear does not afford the same range of knowledge, perhaps not the same gradation of pleasure, as the eye; but the man who loses hearing is shut out from many of the joys and very much of the information which this life affords. And in the Church of Christ, what work has been done by the lowly, the feeble, the illiterate! and in how many cases do they put to shame the gifted and the eminent!

VI. IF THE TRUST BE SMALLER, THE RESPONSIBILITY WILL BE LESS. Instead of looking up to the great, the learned, the eloquent, and sighing because we have not their gifts, let us be grateful that we have not their account to render. To whom much is given, of him will much be required. - T.

But now are they many members, yet but one body.
I.THEIR UNITY. "One body."

II.THEIR DIVERSITY. The eye, the hand, etc.




(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. The combination of many members.

2. The harmonious arrangement of parts.

3. The inspiration of one Spirit.

4. Co-operation for one common end.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

"I stood awhile ago and looked at a drinking-fountain. A marble angel, beautifully sculptured, stood pointing to heaven. Then came polished granite inscribed with gilt letters, and massive slabs of stone. But I noticed that the water came through a small brass pipe, and the people drank from an iron cup attached to an iron chain. And the marble angel pointing heavenwards would have done nobody any good but for the brass pipe and iron cup. Think if the pipe had said, 'If they do not make me of gold I will not belong to the thing'; or if the cup had said, 'I must be of silver, or I shall be ashamed to be there at all.' No, I thought I heard the music of the three — common water, common cup, common pipe — all co-operating to furnish the refreshing draught."

In the ringing of bells, whilst every one keeps his due time and order, what a sweet and harmonious sound they make! All the neighbour villages are cheered with the sound of them. But when once they jar and check each other, either jangling together or striking preposterously, how harsh and unpleasing is that noise! So that as we testify our public rejoicing by an orderly and well-tuned peal, so, when we would signify the town is on fire, we ring the bells backward in a confused manner. It is just thus in Church and commonwealth: when every one knows his station and keeps their due ranks, there is a melodious concert of comfort and contentment; but when either states or persons will be clashing with each other, the discord is grievous and extremely prejudicial.

(J. Spencer.)

"It was only the other day," says one, "I noticed a lofty hill, crowned with a sturdy and thick wood. 'How often,' I reflected, 'have the proud tops of those trees shaken off "the injuring tempest!" In many a storm they have battled nobly, and conquered. Had these trees been scattered over the surrounding hills, each separate and alone, these noble branches would long ere this have been broken and peeled by the pelting of many a storm. The rushing wind would have long ago twisted and split these exposed trunks, or would have carried them down into the valley beneath. At present they shelter and sustain each other, bidding defiance to the tempest.' I noted down the thought, as illustrative of the benefits of church-fellowship."

And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee
1. It is beautiful to observe what close links there are between the several classes in a community, and how the breaking of any one would go far towards dislocating the whole social system. "The king himself is served by the field"; the throne is connected with the sod; the illustrious occupant of the one depends on the tiller of the other. It is literally from the -field that all the arts and comforts of civilised life spring. When you look on a community; with its nobles, merchants, preachers, men of science, artificers, you may perhaps think little of the peasantry. Yet you have only to suppose the peasantry ceasing from their labours, and there would be an almost immediate arrest on the businesses and enjoyments of our stirring community. A land covered with palaces, but without cottages would be a land of costly sepulchres. Does not this effectually expose the preposterousness of that pride which would put a slight on the poor.

2. But let us consider this great fact under a somewhat more practical point of view. Suppose the case of a community from which was banished everything like want, so that, though gradations of rank might still exist, there should be everywhere sufficiency. This is a state of things for which many philanthropists ardently long, as the very perfection of the social system. But we know not how to join in this longing for universal affluence. The country in which it would be hardest to make progress in genuine piety would be that in whose habitations none were to be found requiring the succours of Christian benevolence. One of the most fatal tendencies in our nature is the tendency to selfishness. And who can fail to see that the having amongst us objects which continually appeal to our compassions is wonderfully adapted to the counteracting that tendency? Why, then, should we hesitate to pronounce the poor among the benefactors of a community? We can imagine such a revolution in the circumstances of this country, that many of its public structures might no longer be required for the purposes to which they were originally devoted. But it would not be the downfall of our warehouses, museums, or arsenals which could fill us with apprehension for the spiritual well-being of our people. Whilst you swept away buildings which belong to us as a rich, intelligent, and powerful people, we should feel that though there might be much in the removal that was humiliating, there might be much also that was profitable. But when you come to remove structures reared for the shelter of the miserable, we should feel the removal an indication that henceforward there would be little appeal to the sympathies of the heart, and we could therefore anticipate the rapid growth of selfishness. It may be perfectly true that the indigent cannot do without the benevolent, but it is equally true theft the benevolent cannot do without the indigent. Whensoever you give ear to a tale of distress, and you contribute according to your ability to the relief of the suppliant, you receive as well as confer benefit. The afflicted one keeps, by his appeal, the charities of your nature from growing stag, ant, and thus may be said to requite the obligation.

3. It were easy to enlarge on the utter uselessness of orders or individuals who may be likened to the more honourable members of the body, were there not other orders or individuals who may with equal fitness be likened to the less honourable. Of what avail, for example, would be the courage and skill of a general without troops to obey his commands? of what the ingenuity of the engineers, were there no labourers to employ his inventions? of what the wisdom of the legislator, without functionaries to carry his measures into force? If Christian ministers be likened to the eye or the head, they depend on the very lowest of the people as they prosecute their honourable and difficult employment. For if the presence of suffering be the great antagonist to selfishness, the poor of his flock must be a clergyman's best auxiliaries, seeing that they help to keep the rest from that moral hardness which would make them impervious to his most earnest remonstrance.

(H. Melvill, B.D.)


1. In nature.

2. In the world.

3. In the Church.


1. Individual imperfection.

2. Difference of position and function.


1. For the common benefit.

2. By promoting mutual —




(J. Lyth, D.D.)

So thoroughly is society balanced, that if you harm one part you harm all. The man who lives in a mansion and the man who breaks cobble stones affect each other's misfortune or prosperity. Dives cannot kick Lazarus without hurting his own foot. They who throw Shadrach into the furnace get their own faces scorched. What if the eye should say, "I am overseer of this physical anatomy; I despise those miserable fingers!" What if the hand should say, "I am a first-class workman; if there is anything I hate it is the eye, which does nothing but look!" Oh, silly eye! how soon you would die if you had not the hand to support and defend you! Oh, silly hand, you would be a mere fumbler in the darkness if it were not for the eye. Relief will come to the working classes of this country through —

I. A BETTER UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN CAPITAL AND LABOUR. Their interests are identical; what helps one helps both; what injures one injures both. Show me any point in the world's history where capital was prospered and labour oppressed, or where labour was prospered and capital oppressed. Show me any point in the last fifty years where capital was getting large accumulation, and I will show you the point at which labour was getting large wages. Show me a time when labour was getting large wages, and I will show you the point where capital was getting large profits. Every speech that capital makes against labour or that labour makes against capital is an adjournment of our national prosperity. When capital maligns labour it is the eye cursing the hand. When labour maligns capital, it is the hand cursing the eye. The distance between capital and labour is only a step, and the labourers there will cross over and become capitalists, and the capitalists will cross over and become labourers. Would to God they would shake hands while they are crossing. The combatants in the great war are chiefly men who have never been obliged to toil, and men who could get labour but will not have it. I want it understood that the labourers are the highest style of capitalists. Their investment is their muscles, nerves, bones, skill, health.

II. CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATION. That plan by which labourers become their own capitalists. Thomas Brassey declared, "Co-operation is the one and only solution of the labour question; it is the sole path, by which the labouring classes, as a whole, will ever get their share in the rewards and honours of our advanced civilisation." Thomas Hughes, Lord Derby, John Stuart Mill, men who gave half their lifetime to the study of this question, all favour co-operative association. Our working people will he wiser after a while, and the money they fling away on hurtful indulgences they will put into co-operative associations, and they will become capitalists.

III. MORE PROVIDENCE AND FORECAST. "Oh," you say, "you ought not to talk that way in the hard times." I tell you hard times are not always to stay. I know working men who are in a perfect fidget till they have got rid of their last dollar. A young man worked hard to earn his six or seven hundred dollars yearly. Marriage day came. The bride had inherited five hundred dollars, and spent every dollar on the wedding dress. Then the young man took extra evening employment, which almost extinguished his eyesight! Why? To lay up something for a rainy day? No; that he might get a hundred and fifty dollars to get his wife a sealskin mantle. A minister told me, in Iowa, that his church and the neighbourhood had been impoverished by the fact that they put mortgages on their farms in order to send their families to the Philadelphia Centennial. It was not respectable not to go to the Centennial. Now, between such fools and pauperism there is a very short step. Easy and hard times change. In times of peace prepare for war. I have no sympathy for skinflint saving, but I plead for Christian providence. Some people think it is mean to turn the gas low when they go out of the parlour. Saving is mean or magnificent according as it is for yourself or for others.

IV. MORE THOROUGH DISCOVERY ON THE PART OF EMPLOYERS THAT IT IS BEST FOR THEM TO LET THEIR EMPLOYEES KNOW JUST HOW MATTERS STAND. I knew a manufacturer who employed more than a thousand hands. I said to him, "Do you ever have any trouble with your workmen? Do you have any strikes?" "No. Every little while I call my employes together, and I say, 'What you turned out this year isn't as much as we got last year. I can't afford to pay you as much as I did. Now, you know I put all my means into this business. What do you think ought to be my percentage, and what wages ought I to pay you? Come, let us settle this.' And we are always unanimous. When we suffer, we all suffer together. When we advance, we all advance together, and my men would die for me." But when a man goes among his employes with a supercilious air, and drives up to his factory as though he were the autocrat of the universe, he will have strikes, and will see at the end that he has made an awful mistake.

V. THE RELIGIOUS RECTIFICATION OF THE COUNTRY. Labour is appreciated and rewarded just in proportion as a country is Christianised. Why is our smallest coin a Benny, while in China it takes six or a dozen pieces to make one penny? Show me a community that is infidel, and I will show you a community where wages are small. Show me a community that is thoroughly Christianised, and I will show you a community where wages are comparatively large. Our religion is a democratic religion. It makes the owner of the mill understand he is a brother to all the operatives in that mill. I do not care how much money you have, you have not enough money to buy your way through the gate to heaven. I do not care how poor you are, if you have the grace of God in your heart no one can keep you out. The religion of Christ came to rectify all the wrongs of the world, and it will yet settle this question between labour and capital. The hard hand of the wheel and the soft hand of the counting.room will clasp each ether in congratulation yet. The hard hand will say, "I ploughed the desert into a garden"; the soft hand will reply, "I furnished the seed." the one hand will say, "I thrashed the mountains"; the other will say, "I paid for the flail." The one hand will say, "I hammered the spear into a pruning-hook"; the other hand will answer, "I signed the treaty of peace that made that possible." Then capital and labour will lie down together, and there will be nothing to hurt or destroy in all God's holy mount, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it!

(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)

Nay, much more are those members of the body which seem to be more feeble necessary
I. THE GIFTS OF THE FIRST RANK. They are of two kinds.

1. Supernatural — such as, speaking in unknown tongues, curing diseases, prophesying.

2. Natural, relating to —

(1)The heart;

(2)The Intellect.


1. Humility.

2. Fidelity.

3. Purity of manners and of thought.

4. Truth.

5. Contentment.

6. Activity in God's cause.

7. Charity — that is, true love.


1. The individual who possesses them.

2. The Church.

(A. Vinet, D.D.)


1. There are those who are destitute of that to which the world attaches the idea of power.(1) Great wealth is power in the world's estimation, and he that is without it is feeble. But the most perfect excellence appeared in the form of worldly destitution; hence Christ seemed a root out of a dry ground, without form or comeliness. High officialism is power in the estimation of the world. It sees power in the general marshalling his armies, in the statesman guiding the destinies of his country, etc. But one long life of goodness down in the region of obscurity, where many Christians live, passes away unnoticed.(2) Great mental endowments are power in the estimation of the world. But the majority of Christians are not often blessed with such endowments, and therefore, however good, they seem feeble.

2. There are those who work out their mission in a quiet and unostentatious spirit. All who have most of the spirit of their Master thus work. The most powerful things are the most silent. Gravitation wheels suns and systems about immensity without noise.

II. THE SEEMINGLY FEEBLE MEMBERS ARE VITALLY NECESSARY. It is important to have men of great endowments in the Church. Such men have often rendered signal service in the cause of truth. But the Church may get on without great endowments, but dies without piety. Great piety is more "necessary" than great endowments —

1. To the individual. The latter not only often exist apart from the former, but often militate against it by fostering pride. Genius often lights a torch that leads the soul astray.

2. To the Church. It is not the reasonings of the philosopher, the eloquence of the orator, that have done most for the Church, but the holy lives, the earnest prayers, of humble saints.

3. To the world. What does society require most at the present moment? More science, laws, inventions, openings for trade? No; but more embodied piety. This is the salt which can alone prevent its corruption, the light that can reveal to all the path of peace.Conclusion: Our subject —

1. Shows that the conditions of our highest interests are available to all. If our well-being and influence for good depended upon great talents, the case of the millions would be hopeless, but consisting as it does in simple goodness, all can attain the happiness they seek.

2. Urges us to recognise and reverence goodness wherever seen. See it in the humblest cottage, and in a frame worn and wan with poverty; and, seeing it, honour it as a ray from "The Father of Lights."

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

At the outbreak of the American Civil War there were many sturdy men who were thoroughly heart and soul with the movement for the liberation of the slaves. Many of them were small farmers who could hardly be spared from their farms; but still, where there's a will there's a way. One day about this time a gentleman was going along the highway, and he saw a small boy at the plough. He asked how it was that he was obliged to do work that was not the work of a lad at all, but of a grown man. "Well, you see, sir'," said the lad, "father's fighting, and mother's praying, and I'm working. We're all doing what we can!"

Feeble souls are like those tracks of land which have neither depth nor richness of soil, yet, however arid, produce something to serve the world. The sandy and stormy deserts of the Cape are covered with heath of every line and form, to beautify the scene and to charm the traveller's eye. Even so the feeblest soul can display some phase of feeling and character that shall add a beauty to its sphere. The world wants the heath as well as the oak, and the genial heavens shine alike on both. "Even the most feeble are necessary."

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

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