Essex Congregational Remembrancer
1 Corinthians 14:1-24
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.…
By gifts we understand those natural or acquired endowments which may be used for the interest and edification of others: by graces those internal emotions which result from a Divine influence upon the heart. Gifts are valuable, but graces are essential. View Christian character as an edifice; gifts constitute its ornamental and useful parts, but graces are the foundation, without which it would soon crumble to the dust. They are not always found in close or corresponding connection. Graces may exist where there are scarcely any gifts, and vice versa. Note —
I. A FEW OF THOSE GIFTS WINCH FORM APPROPRIATE OBJECTS OF THE CHRISTIAN'S DESIRE AND PURSUIT.
1. An ability for the edifying and acceptable discharge of ministerial duty.
2. A facility of acceptably engaging in social and public prayer.
3. A readiness for joining, or, if necessary, of leading the exercise of social and public praise.
4. An aptness in turning to some profitable account the ordinary and social intercourse of life.
5. A readiness in administering to others appropriate admonition, advice, or encouragement.
II. THE NATURE AND APPROPRIATE EXERCISE OF THE DESIRE RECOMMENDED IN THE TEXT.
1. It should be operative and practical in its character. We are not to sit down and be satisfied in wishing these gifts were possessed, but to make an effort to attain them.
2. This desire should be regulated, not by personal inclination, but by an anxiety for usefulness.
III. SUGGESTIONS TO EXCITE AND DIRECT IN PURSUING THE ATTAINMENT OF THESE GIFTS. "We should —
1. Cherish a deeper sense of the privilege and honour of being in any way serviceable to the Church of Christ.
2. Diligently and conscientiously use the gifts we already possess. They, like our bodily or mental faculties, are ever improved by appropriate exercise.
3. More assiduously cultivate the graces of religion in the soul. These, by inflaming the heart more with a Saviour's love, would constrain us to attempt honouring and serving Him in every possible way.
(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.