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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

1 Corinthians 4

Verse 7

'Distinguishing Grace' and 'Pride Catechized and Condemned'

Distinguishing Grace

A Sermon

(No. 262)

Delivered on Sabbath Evening, February 6th, 1859, by the

REV. C. H. Spurgeon

at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

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"For who maketh thee to differ from another?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 .

OR, AS IT IS in the Greek: "For who distinguisheth thee?" "Who giveth thee distinguishing and discriminating mercy?" "Who maketh thee to differ from another?" Pride is the inherent sin of man, and yet it is of all sins the most foolish. A thousand arguments might be used to show its absurdity; but none of these would be sufficient to quench its vitality. Alive it is in the heart, and there it will be, till we die to this world and rise again without spot or blemish. Yet many are the arrows which may be shot at the heart of our boasting. Take for instance the argument of creation; how strongly that thrusts at our pride. There is a vessel upon the potter's wheel, would it not be preposterous for that clay which the potter fashioneth to boast itself and say, "How well am I fashioned! how beautifully am I proportioned; I deserve much praise!" Why, O lump of clay, whateverthou art, the potter made thee; however elegant thy proportions, however matchless thy symmetry, the glory is due to him that made thee, not to thyself; thou art but the work of his hands. And so let us speak unto ourselves. We are the thing formed; shall we say of ourselves that we deserve honor because God hath formed us excellently and wondrously? No, the fact of our creation should extinguish the sparks of our pride. What are we, after all, but as grasshoppers in his sight, as drops of the bucket, as lumps of animated dust; we are but the infants of a day when we are most old; we are but the insects of an hour when we are most strong; we are but the wild ass's colt when we are most wise, we are but as folly and vanity when we are most excellent let that tend to humble us. But surely if these prevail not to clip the pinions of our high soaring pride, the Christian man may at least bind its wings with arguments derived from the distinguishing love and peculiar mercies of God. "Who maketh thee to differ from another?" This question should be like a dagger put to the throat of our boasting; "and what trust thou that thou didst not receive;" it would be like a sword thrust through the heart of our self-exaltation and pride.

We shall now for a moment or two endeavor to put down our pride by observing wherein God hath distinguished us and made us to differ, and then by noticing that all this cometh of him, and should be a reason for humiliation, and not for boasting.

1. Many of us differ from others in God's providential dealings towards us. Let us think a moment how many there are of God's precious and dearly beloved children, who at this moment are in the depths of poverty. They are not walking about in sheepskins and goatskins, persecuted, afflicted, and tormented; but still they are hungry, and no man gives them to eat; they are thirsty, and no man furnishes them with drink, their fires are wasted in poverty and their years in distress. Some there are of God's children who were once in affluence but have been suddenly plunged into the lowest depths of penury; they knew what it was to be respected among the sons of men, but now they are among the dogs of the flock, and no man careth for them. There are some of us who are here present who have all that heart can wish: God hath given us food and raiment, the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage. Let us gratefully ask "Who maketh us to differ? "Let us recollect that all we have is the gift of his providence. Not to you, O my hands, do I sacrifice because ye have toiled for bread; not to you, O ye brains, will I offer incense, because ye have thought for my daily livelihood; not to you, O my lips, will I offer my adulation, because ye have been the means of furnishing me with words. No; unto God, who giveth power to get, and to have, and to enjoy; unto him be all the praise for what he hath done for us. Never let our songs cease, for his goodness is an ever flowing stream. Perhaps none of us can ever know, until the great day shall reveal it, how much some of God's servants are tried. To this day they have "perils by land, and perils by sea, and perils by false brethren;" to this hour they are pinched by want, they are deserted by friends, they know what despondency means, and all the ill which dejection and disappointment can bring to them; they have dived into the lowest depths of the sea of trouble, and have walked for many a league over the hot sand of the desert of affliction. And if God hath delivered us from these things, and hath made our path more pleasant, and hath led us beside the still waters, and into the green pastures, if he hath distinguished us by the common gifts of his providence above many others of his children who are far better and far more holy than we, what shall we say? It is owing only to his grace towards us, and we will not exalt ourselves above our fellows, we will not be high-minded, but condescend to men of low estate; we will not lift our necks with the proud, but we will bow down our brows with the humble; every man shall be called our brother,not merely those who are arrayed in goodly raiment, but those who are clothed in the habiliments of toil, they shall be confessed to be our kindred, sprung from the same stock; for what have we that we have not received, and what maketh us to differ from another? I wish that some of the stiff-necked gentry of our churches would at times recollect this. Their condition is smooth as oil, and as soft as young down, but their hearts are as high as poplars, and their manners as stiff as hedge-stakes. There have been many who would do well if they would learn that they have nothing beyond what God has given them. And the more God has given them, the more they are in debt. Why should a man boast because he is deeper in debt than another? Do the debtors in the Queen's Bench say to one another, "You are only a hundred pounds in debt, and I a thousand, therefore I am a greater gentleman than you?" I think not. But, nevertheless, if they did so, they would be as wise as men who boast beyond their fellow-creatures because they happen to have more of rank, wealth, honor, and position, in this world. "Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?"

But the best way for you to feel this part of the discourse is, to go to-morrow into the hospital, and walk along the wards, and see how poor men's bodies suffer, and then go into the operating-room and see what flesh and blood may have to endure. Then when you have done, go round the neighborhood to see the sick who have lain for ten, or twelve, or fifteen years upon the same bed, and after that go and visit some of God's poverty-stricken children who just exist in this world, and it is but a bare existence, maintained on bread and butter and a little tea, and but too little of even such things as those. Go and see their poor, miserable, unfurnished rooms, their cellars and their attics, and that will be a better sermon to you than anything I can utter. You will come home and say, "Oh my God, I bless thee for thy kindness towards me. These temporal mercies which I once thought so little of, I must heartily blest thee for. I must thank thee for what thou hast given to me, and I will ascribe it all to thy love, for thou makest me to differ. I have nothing that I have not received."

2. But this is not the most important point for us to observe. We are now going to look at, not matters of providence, but the things of God's grace. Here it is that we who are now assembled as a church have most reason to bless God, and to say, "Who maketh us to differ from others?" Take, my dear friends, in your mind's eye the cases of the careless, the hardened, and the thoughtless, of even this present congregation. Side-by-side with you, my brother, there may sit a man, a woman, who is dead in trespasses and sins. To such the music of the gospel is like singing to a dead ear, and the dropping of the word is as dew upon a rock. There are many in this congregation whose position in society, and whose moral character are extremely excellent, and yet before God their state is awful. They attend the house of God as regularly as we do. They sing as we sing, sit as we sit, and come and go as we do, and yet are they without God and without hope in the world strangers from the commonwealth of Israel, and aliens from the covenant of promise. Yet what maketh us to differ? Why is it that I this day am not sitting down a callous hearer, hardened under the gospel? Why am I not at this very hour hearing the Word with my outward ear but rejecting it in my inward heart? Why is it that I have not been suffered to reject the invitation of Christ to despise his grace to go on, Sunday after Sunday, hearing the Word and yet being like the deaf adder to it. Oh, have I made myself to differ? God forbid that such a proud, blaspheming thought should defile our hearts. No, beloved;

"'Twas the same love which spread the feast,

That sweetly forced us in;

Else we had still refused to taste,

And perished in our sin."

The only reason, my brother, why thou art at this time an heir of God, a joint-heir with Christ, a partaker of sweet fellowship with Jesus, an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, is because HE hath made thee to differ. Thou wast an heir of wrath, even as others, born in sin and shapen in iniquity. Therefore must thou give all the glory to his holy name, and cry "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be all the praise." Even this one thought when fully masticated and digested might feed up our gratitude and make us humbly bow before the footstool of God's throne with joyful thanksgiving.

3. Will you please, however, to think of other cases? Who maketh thee to differ from others of this assembly who are more hardened than those to whom we have alluded? There are some men and women of whose salvation, if it were to be wrought by man, we must indeed utterly despair; for their hearts are harder than the most stubborn steel. The hammer of the Word makes no impression on such souls. The thunders of the law roll over their heads, but they can sleep in the midst of the tumult the lightnings of Sinai flash against their hearts, but even those mighty flames seem as if they recoiled from the attack, Do you not know such? they are your own children, your husband, your wife, some of your own family, and as you look upon them, though you have longed, prayed, and wept, and sighed for their souls, you are compelled to say in your heart, "I half fear that I shall never see them converted." You say with sorrow, "Oh, if they are saved it will be a wonder of divine grace indeed. Surely they will never yield their souls to God. They seem as callous as if their conscience were seared with a hot iron; they appear to have the stamp of condemnation upon their brow, as if they were marked and sealed, and had the earnest of the pit upon their hearts before they came there. Ay,but stop "Who maketh thee to differ?" Why am I not at this day among the most hardened of men? How is it that my heart is melted so that I can weep at the recollection of the Redeemer's suffering? Why is it that my conscience is tender, and that I am led to self-examination by a searching sermon? How is it that I know how to pray and to groan before God on account of sin? What has brought the water from these eyes, but the selfsame power which brought the water from the rock? And whathath put life into my heart but the self-same Omnipotence which scattered manna in a hungry desert? Our hearts had still been like the wild beasts of the forest, if it had not been for Divine grace. Oh! I beseech you, my dear friend, every time you see a hardened sinner, just say within yourself,"There is the picture of what I should have been, what I must have been, if all-subduing, all-conquering love had not melted and sanctified my heart." Take these two cases then, and you have, heaven knows, reason enough to sing to the praise of sovereign grace.

4. But now another, the lowest class of sinners do not mingle with our congregations, but are to be seen in our back streets and lanes, and sometimes in our highways. How frightful is the sin of drunkenness, which degrades a man into a beast, which sinks him lower than the brutes themselves! How shameful is the iniquity of blasphemy, which without any object or any chance of profit brings a curse upon its own head! How awful are the ways of the lascivious wretch who ruins both body and soul at once, and not content with his own destruction ruins others with him. Cases that come under our observation in the daily newspapers, and that assail us in our daily observation and hearing are too vile to be told. How often is our blood chilled with the sound of an imprecation, and how frequently our heart is made to palpitate with the daring impieties of the blasphemous. Now let us stop; "Who maketh thee to differ?" Let us recollect that if we live very near to Christ, we should have lived quite as near to hell if it had not been for saving grace. Some of you here present are special witnesses of this grace, for you have yourself experienced redemption from these iniquities. Look back some four years with some of you and recollect how different were your surroundings then to what they are now. Mayhap four years ago you were in the tap-room singing the song of the drunkard as readily as any; but a little while ago you cursed that Saviour whom now you love. Only a few months have flitted over your head since you ran with the multitude to do evil; but now,"Who maketh thee to differ?" "Who hath brought this miracle of grace. Who has led you to the stool of the penitent and the table of communion, who hath done it? Beloved, you are not slow to answer, for the verdict of your heart is undivided; you do not give the glory in part to man and in part to God. No, you cry loudly in your hearts, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, and ye have been washed in the Redeemer's blood, and sanctified with the Spirit. Ye have been made to differ, and ye will confess it; ye have been made to differ by distinguishing grace, and distinguishing grace alone. And what upholds the rest of us from being what these my reclaimed brethren once were, and what they will become again unless saving grace keeps them? What preserves the preacher this day from being a lecturer to Infidels, dishonoring the grace of God which now he glories to magnify? What prevents the deacon from being an assistant in the courts of Satan? What forbids those who open the doors at the house of our God, and who serve him on the Sabbath-day, from being door-keepers in the tents of the sons of Belial? Why nothing; they had been there unless grace had prevented them. Grace hath done it, and nothing else. When we pass a prostitute in the street, we say, "O poor creature! I can pity you. I have not a harsh word for you, for I had been as you are had not God preserved me." And when you see the reeling drunkard, be not too hasty to condemn, recollect you had been as a beast before God unless the Lord had kept you, and when ye hear the oath and shudder at it, imagine not that you are superior in yourself to the man who curses God, for perhaps you once cursed him too; and certainly you would have done had not the Holy Spirit sanctified you and implanted in you a hatred of that which the wicked so greedily follow. Have you seen a man hanged for murder? Have you seen another transported for the most infamous of crimes? If you hear of one who sins against society so foully that mankind excommunicate him, pause, and say, "Oh! but I should have gone as low as that, I should have been as black as he, unless restraining grace had kept me back in my unregeneracy, and unless constraining grace had pushed me forward in the heavenly race, ever since I have known the will of Jesus."

5. And now we will pause again, and think over another evil which stares us in the face in connection with every church. There are most melancholy cases of backsliding in so large a church as this. We are compelled often to discover the character of men and women who once seemed fair for heaven, but who manifested that they never had the root of the matter in them. Oh! well did the poet say,

"When any turn from Zion's way,

Alas! what numbers do!"

No trial is greater to the true minister than the apostacy of his flock. All the rage of men is quite unable to bring tears to our eyes, but this has done it. Alas! when those whom I have loved have turned aside from the way of God, when those who have sat with us at the same table, and have joined with us in church communion, have gone out from us, and have brought dishonor upon the Church, and upon the name of Christ, there has been woe in my inmost spirit. Sometimes there are cases as glaring as they are painful, and as vile as they are grievous. Some of those, who were once in the midst of God's sanctuary, have become drunkards and whoremongers and God in heaven only knows what. They have sinned against everything that is seemly, as well as everything that is holy. At the recollection of these our eyes are filled with tears. "Oh that our head were waters, and our eyes fountains of tears, that we might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of our people." No mischief-makers are so powerful as deserters. None cause so much agony as those who have nestled beneath our wings, and then have flown away to feed with carrion vultures on the putrid carcases of lust and sin.

But now let us pause. How is it that the minister has not forsaken his profession, and gone back like a dog to his vomit, and like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire? How is it that the deacons of this church have not turned aside unto crooked ways, and denied the faith, and become worse than infidels? How is it that so many members of this church have been kept so that the wicked one toucheth them not? O beloved! I can say for myself, I am a continual miracle of divine grace. If thou leave me, Lord, for a moment, I am utterly undone.

"Leave, O leave me not alone!

Still support and comfort me"

Let Abraham be deserted by his God, he equivocates and denies his wife. Let Noah be deserted, he becomes a drunkard, and is naked to his shame. Let Lot be left awhile, and, filled with wine, he revels in incestuous embraces, and the fruit of his body becomes a testimony to his disgrace. Nay, let David, the man after God's own heart, be left, and Uriah's wife shall soon show the world that the man after God's own heart hath still an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. Oh! well doth the poet put it

"Methinks I hear the Saviour say,

Wilt thou forsake me too?"

And now let our conscience answer:

"Ah, Lord! with such a heart as mine,

Unless thou hold me fast,

I feel I must, I shall decline

And prove like them at last."

Oh be not rashly self-confident, Christian man. Be as confident as you can in your God, but be distrustful of yourself. Ye may yet become all that is vile and vicious, unless sovereign grace prevent and keep you to the end. But remember if you have been preserved, the crown of your keeping belongs to the Shepherd of lsrael, and ye know who that is. For he hath said "I the Lord do keep it. I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." "Ye know who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before his presence with exceeding great joy." Then give all glory to the King immortal, invisible, the only wise God your Saviour, who has kept you thus.

6. Allow me one more contrast; once again let your gratitude go with me since you and I have joined the church how many who were once our companions have been damned whilst we have been saved, how many who were no worse than we were by nature have sunk into the lowest pit of hell. Conceive their unutterable torments; imagine their inconceivable woes; depict before the eye of your fancy their indescribable agonies. Descend in spirit for a moment to the gates of fire; enter into the abode of despair where justice reigns supreme on her iron throne; pass by the dreary cell of those who are everlastingly damned. Behold the twisting of that worm that never dies, and the bleeding hearts that are crushed within its coils. Look ye at that flame unquenchable and behold the souls that are sweltering there in torments to us unknown, and look if ye can look, but ye cannot look, for your eyes would be stricken with blindness if ye could see their torments. Your hair should be blanched withbut a moment of that horrible exhibition. Ah! while you stand then and think on that region of death, despair, and damnation, recollect that you would have been there if it had not been for sovereign grace. You have a harp prepared for you in heaven, a crown laid up for you when you have finished your course. You have a mansion, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Oh, why is it you are not already a fiend; who is it that has given you a good hope through grace that you shall never come into that place of torment. Oh! tell it the wide world over. Tell it in time and in eternity, free grace hath done it. Free grace hath done it from the first to the last. I was a brand in the fire, but he plucked me from the burning, quenched me in his blood, and now he declares I shall be with him for ever in heaven. But oh! pause brethren and think that some of your former pot-companions, some of the companions of your revere and debaucheries are now in hell, and you are not there, and by the grace of God never will be there. Oh! why this, why this? Blessed be the Lord my God from this time forth and for ever. Praise ye his name. Grace has done it. Grace has done it all.

No, I never shall wear the chain, I ne'er shall be stretched upon that rack, nor feel that fire

"But I shall see his face,

And never, never sin,

But from the rivers of his grace

Drink endless pleasures in."

But I most confidently proclaim that the reason why I shall escape and shall be glorified, is not to be found in me, but in him. He hath made me to differ. I have nothing but what I have received.

Now what shall we say to these things. If God has made you to differ, the first prayer we should now utter should be, "Lord, humble us. Take away pride out of us. O God forgive us, that such beasts as we are should ever be proud." We might have been with our father the devil at this very hour, if it had not been for Divine love. And if we are now in the house of our Father which is in heaven shall we be proud? Avaunt thou monster! Go and dwell with the Pharisee. Pride agreeth well enough with the man who has in his own esteem been always virtuous. Go thou away and live with him who has had good works from the first day until now; but away from me.

"I the chief of sinners am,"

and saved by sovereign grace shall I be proud. It is not fit that thou shouldest live in my heart, thou monster! Begone! Begonel Find a fitter habitation than my soul. Should I be proud after such mercy, after such ill-deserving, but such God-receiving. Begone, pride! Begone!

Another lesson: if God alone hath made us to differ, why may he not make others to differ too? "After the Lord saved me," said one, "I never despaired of anybody;" and let us each say so too. If you were brought in why not another? Will you ever give up praying for anybody now that you are saved? I once heard one say concerning his child, "I think I must give her up, I can scarcely think she ever will be converted." Why you have been pardoned yourself; and if the Lord can do that, he can do anything. I am sure if the Lord has brought me to his feet there does not remain in the world a case that can ever equal mine; if he has brought me to receive his free grace, his sovereign love, his precious blood, and hath made me to love him, then there can be nothing too hard for him. O Lord, if thou hast melted this metal heart, and dissolved this stony soul, thou canst break anything. If thou hast broken the northern iron and the steel, then what remains beyond thy power? Go back then, Christian, armed with this fact, that God who hath made thee to differ can make anybody to differ. There can be no case beyond his strength; if he brought you in he can bring all in. If he doth but stretch out his hand, no man need despair. Therefore, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whither shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."

Again, who hath made me to differ? Hath my Lord done it? then let me serve him more than others. There was a question asked once by our Saviour, "What do ye more than others?" That question might well be put to each child of God here present. My dear friends, we must not be content with doing as much as other people do; in fact, we must never be contented with our doings at all, but always be trying to do more for him who hath done so much for us. Should I give my body to be burned, my flesh piecemeal to the knife, my nerves to the rack, and my heart to the spear, yet should I not give him all that he deserveth. No, if I should pass through the horrors of martyrdom, it were but a poor tribute to love so amazing, so divine. What are you doing my friends, what are you doing my brothers and sisters for Christ? But I will not name you, I censure myself if I censure you; but I will confess my own iniquities and leave you to confess yours. I do try to serve my Master, but I do not serve him as I would. Each act that I perform is marred, either by want of prayer for a blessing upon it, by want of faith in my Lord, or by pride in looking back upon it. I find too continually a tendency to serve myself instead of serving Christ, a constant longing rather to get through the work than to do it accceptably. And oh! when I think upon all, I must say I am an unprofitable servant. Have mercy O gracious Lord on my good works as well as on my bad ones, for my good works are but bad in the best and cannot be acceptable in themselves. I am certain some of you have a little more need to say that than I have. Let us cease boasting any more. I know there are some here who are not serving Christ; some members in this church are doing nothing. You have not thought of doing anything for Christ, have you? You pay your regular subscriptions, you do what you are told to do, but do you give to Christ secretly? do you devote your substance unto him when no one knows it? do you spend your time for him? have you chosen a sphere, and have you said, "This is my work, and by the grace of God I will do it." Oh! ye cannot tell how much there is to do, and how few, there are to do it. I would I could have a church all alive, all active, so that there never could be a want but those who have would be ready to supply, and never a work but those who are qualified would be ready to fulfll. Never fear but we should find too many rather than too few to aid its accomplishment. Oh that we had the good spirit of the ancient church, the spirit to propagate our Christianity everywhere. There needs to be in many of the suburbs of London fresh gospel churches springing up. I can point to many places in my own vicinity, seven or eight, nine or ten in a row, where there is a chapel needed. In each place there are believers living, who do not think about uniting to establish a fresh cause; but as long as their peculiar wants are satisfied, by journeying a long way off perhaps, they forget the hundreds and thousands who are pressing around them. Oh! there is much to be done, and very little time to do it in. A very few weeks, and those of us who have been loved more than others, those of us who have thought we could wash Christ's feet with our tears, and wipe them with the hair of our heads, will hare no more opportunities for spreading the name and fame of our glorious Redeemer. Let us give of our substance to his cause, give of our time to his service and have our hearts in his love, and so shall we be blessed, for in returning Christ's love we shall feel that his love is shed abroad more fully in our hearts and more fully in our understandings.

May the Holy Spirit add his blessing upon these broken words they have been broken because they have broken my heart, and therefore I could not help their coming out in a broken way. God accept them; and dear brothers and sisters, may he bless them to you by helping you to love him more, who is my hope, my joy, my consolation, and my all.

Pride Catechized and Condemned

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A Sermon

(No. 1271)

Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, January 2nd, 1876, by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

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"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 .

PRIDE GROWS APACE like other ill weeds. It will live on any soil. In the natural heart it flourishes, springing up without sowing, and growing without watering; and even in the renewed heart it all too readily takes root when Satan casts abroad a handful of its seed. Of all creatures in the world the Christian is the last man who ought to be proud; and yet, alas, we have had mournful evidence both in past history and in our own observation, and worst of all in our own personal experience, that Christian men may become lifted up, to their own shame. Paul set himself very earnestly to deal with this disease when he saw it raging among the Corinthians. He felt it needful to do so, for it was leading to other mischiefs of the most disgraceful kind. Pride and self-conceit had led the members of the church in Corinth to choose for themselves distinct leaders, and to arrange them selves under separate banners: the followers of this man thinking themselves better than the followers of that. Thus the body of Christ was divided, and all sorts of ill feeling, jealousy, emulation and envy sprang up in the church of God where all ought to have been mutual helpfulness and loving unity. Paul therefore earnestly, and with great wisdom, assailed the spirit of pride.

Paul was well aware of one fact, namely, that pride is shallow and superficial. It cannot endure honest questioning, and so Paul tried it by the Socratic method, and put it through a catechism. He puts three questions to it in this verse, and these three all called upon his friends to go a little lower in their contemplation of themselves than their pride had before allowed them to go. Pride said, "I have such and such gifts"; but Paul replied, "what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" Thus he digged deeper and undermined pride. The receipt of those gifts from God it had forgotten altogether; therefore, by bringing that fact to mind the apostle took pride right under the root, and that is always the best way to destroyer a weed. To cut off the green top, and leave the crown of the root so that it may spring up in the next shower, or the next sunshine, is of no avail; but to go deep down and tear up the root is effectual: this Paul did with pride by reminding the vainglorious Corinthians that the gifts which they possessed were no ground of glory, because they had received them as alms from the charity of God.

Another truth is also illustrated by Paul's procedure, namely, that pride is always inconsistent with the true doctrine of the gospel. You may use this test concerning any preaching, or teaching that you meet with: if it legitimately and logically leads a man to boast of himself, it is not true. Our chemists use litmus to discover the presence of acid in any liquid submitted to them, for the paper then takes a reddish tint; and you may use this as your test, that when a doctrine makes you red with pride it contains the acid of falsehood. That which puffs up is not of God, but that which lays the man low, and exalts Jesus Christ, has at least two of the tokens of truth. That which glorifies man cannot have been revealed by God, for he has said that no flesh shall glory in his presence. Such teaching may appear very lustrous with affected holiness, and very fascinating, with pretended spirituality, and there may be much in your fondest desires which inclines your heart towards it, as there always is in the novelties of the present day, but try it whether it be of God by the test which is here suggested. If with a sleek hand it brushes your feathers the right way, and makes you feel "What a fine fellow I am," you ought at once to flee from it. The very fact that it flatters you should be to you like a fog horn to warn you of danger. Say to every doctrine which fosters pride, "Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savourest not the things that be of God and of truth, or thou wouldst not speak so well of me."

My object this morning shall be to attempt to do with our own pride what Paul sought to do with that of the Corinthians, namely, to go a little deeper than we generally go when measuring our own abilities; and then I shall try to use the silver spade of the doctrines of grace, so that this hemlock of pride may be taken up by the roots. Looking at the text I notice, first, a question to be answered with ease "Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" secondly, a question to be answered with shame "Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" and then, thirdly, I shall occupy your attention a few minutes with other questions which these questions suggest. May the Holy Spirit graciously bless the word.

I. In a two-fold form the apostle gives us A QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED WITH EASE. There may be some who would be puzzled with these questions, but I do not suppose there are any such people present; at any rate, there are no such members of our church. When we are asked, "Who maketh thee to differ from another?" our answer is immediately, "God by his grace has made us to differ" and if we are asked, "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" we reply, "We have nothing but our sin; for every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights."

We are the more glad to hear Paul say this, because he was what is nowadays styled a "self-made" man. It very frequently happens that a man who makes himself has very great respect for his maker. Is it not natural that he should worship his creator? Paul was a man who, as far as the Christian church is concerned, at any rate, had forced his way up without aid from others. He began in that church with no respect, but under very much suspicion. The brethren had heard that he persecuted the saints, so that at first they would scarce receive him; his name was a terror rather than a pleasure, but Paul, with that high spirit, that consecrated ardor, that indefatigable industry, that wondrous courage of his, backed, of course, by the grace of God, came to the front until he could honestly claim, without egotism, that he was "not a whit behind the very chief of the apostles, though," said he, "I be nothing." Paul was a man who had not been borne upon the crest of the wave into an eminent position, he did not wake up one morning and find himself famous, but he had put forth all his powers in the struggle of life, and labored with persistent energy year after year. When he persecuted the saints of God he did it ignorantly, in unbelief, and thought he did God service; and all his life long for him to know a thing to be right was to strive after it. He had been kept from self-seeking and deceit, he had been an intensely active, strong-minded, high-souled man, and he had done a grand life-work by which the church is still affected; and yet Paul himself had nothing whereof to glory. His testimony to his own indebtedness to God's grace is so plain, and given so many times over, that we cannot mistake it. He says distinctly, "By the grace of God I am what I am." He counted his own righteousness as worthless, and only desired that he might be found in Christ, arrayed in the righteousness which is of God by faith. Do we address to-day any self-made man, as the world calls men who have risen from the ranks? Have you taken credit to yourself, dear friend, for your success in life? Do you plume yourself upon your having risen by your own exertions"? Then cease from such boasting, and in the spirit of the apostle ask yourself the question, "Who maketh thee to differ, and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?"

Our question is easy to answer, whether it be applied to natural gifts or to spiritual ones. There is a tendency to boast in natural gifts, but if questioned concerning them we must give the self-evident answer that any natural gifts we possess are not to be set to our credit, but were bestowed on us by God. Some gifts come to us as the result of birth, and of course in that matter we had no hand. It may be we were born of Christian parents, and that pedigree is one for which we shall always be thankful: we had sooner number our parents with the saints of God than with the peers of the realm: but truly, brethren, we should be foolish to boast of godly ancestors, for we had not the choosing of them Children of pious parents, you cannot look with disdain even upon those who are basely born, for you did not cause yourselves to be born any more than they did.

From their birth some derive physical strength. It always seems to me to be a very insane thing for a man to glory in his animal force, for there can be no merit in it; yet there are some who do so. In the strength of those brawny limbs of theirs, and those powerful muscles, some vaunt themselves abundantly. Though the Lord taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man, yet some count it a very wonderful thing that they can outleap or outrun their fellows. O athlete, though thou be strong as Samson, or swift as Asahel, what hast thou that thou hast not received? Hadst thou been born with a tendency to consumption, or with some other hereditary weakness, couldst thou have prevented it? And now that thou art strong, art thou to be praised for that any more than a horse or a steam engine?

The same is true of beauty of person, which too frequently is the cause of vanity. Beauty is often a snare on this account. What if thy features be delicately chiselled, what if thine eyes are bright as the morning, and thy countenance fair as the lily, what if there be a charm in thine every glance; what hast thou in all these for which to praise thyself? Jezebel also was fair to look upon, and is she to be praised? Is not thy beauty the gift of God? Bless thy Creator for it, but do not despise those who are less comely, for in so doing thou wilt despise their Maker. How often do we hear a laugh raised behind their backs against persons who are somewhat grotesque, or it may be deformed, but God made them, and who is he that shall dare to taunt the Maker with what he has done? What hast thou, O thou fairest among women; what hast thou, O thou comeliest among the sons of men, but what thou hast received? Cease, then, those mincing airs and tossings of the head.

The same is true with regard to the rank which comes of birth. Some men are born according to heraldic arrangements noble. In what way is a new-born babe noble? Can true nobility arise out of anything but personal character? They are, however, born with the repute of nobility, and are at once regarded with respect. Are they not our future rulers? Through no deed or desert, or talent or heroism of their own, some are as it were by accident, or rather by the sovereign ordinance of providence, placed above others, wherefore then should they glory in what is so purely a matter of gift? O thou who art great and honorable amongst men, what hast thou but what thou hast received? Walk in lowly gentleness, and live with true nobility of character, and so make thy rank a blessing.

Brethren and sisters, how much all of us owe in the matter of birth for which we sometimes take to ourselves credit. We have never fallen, perhaps, into the grosser immoralities, but should we not readily have done so if we had been huddled together in chambers where decency struggles for existence, or been compelled to take our walks abroad where blasphemy and vice contend with law and order, and are not to be subdued? If the worst of examples had been before us instead of the best, what might we not have become? We have sinned enough as it is, but very much of the fact that we have not sinned more must be laid rather to the account of our having commenced life under favorable circumstances than to any meritorious conduct of our own. In this respect, what have we that we did not receive? You have been honest, thank God for it: but you might have been a thief if your father had been so. You have been chaste and modest, be glad of it: you might not have been so had you been encompassed with other surroundings. You are at this time respected and reputable, and you carry on business in an upright manner; had you been as poor as some, you might have been tempted to as dirty transactions as they are chargeable with. In these common matters of morality we cannot tell how much we owe to birth, and how little to ourselves. Certainly self-applause ceases as we hear the question, "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?"

In the matter of talent there are very great differences. One man will very soon make his way in the world where others fail. Put him where we will, he will make his fortune; and his friends laughingly say that if he were transported to the desert of Sahara he would sell the sand at a profit. But who gave him that talent? What has he that he has not received? Another can study an art or a science and become proficient in it in a short time; as a boy he is a leader at school, and as a man he is eminent in his sphere; still, are not his wisdom and insight gifts from heaven? Another man has the gift of eloquence, and can speak well, while his fellow has the pen of a ready writer. In either of these gifts a man may take so much content as by-and-by to become vainglorious, but the truth taught in our text ought always to prevent that folly. "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" That which God gave to thee he might have withheld, and the man whom thou despisest might have had thy gifts: he would have been foolish to despise thee if thou hadst been without them, and thou art foolish now to despise him.

What differences there are, too, as to what men are helped to make of themselves by education. Now-a-day there is a better opportunity of education for all ranks and conditions of men, for which I am earnestly thankful, and hope that true religion will be connected with the advantage; but all boys trained in the same school do not leave it equally educated. One is quick, and another dull; one manages to place himself foremost, and another is doomed to be in the rear. Whether the difference be in the original conformation of the man, or be the result of different teaching, the result must alike be subject for thankfulness to God, for whether it be natural talent or excellent education, both are received.

Equally so is it with wealth. I may address some one to whom God has given large substance; but, my dear friend, in the course of the accumulation of that substance you have had plenty of evidence that "it is God that giveth thee power to get wealth." There was a time when you had little enough, and it was a singular providence which put you in the way of rising. There have been times, too, when a little turn of the scale would have sent you into bankruptcy, but the markets went the other way, and you were made. You have seen others who were ahead of you in the race of prosperity left far behind, and though God has prospered you I know there have been anxious moments when you have had to lift up your eyes to the Most High, and beseech him by his tenderness and mercy to help and deliver you. Well, inasmuch as this wealth is a blessing if you know how to use it rightly, ascribe the possession of it to God, who has made you his steward. Do you tell me that you have had a keener eye and exercised more industry than others, as well as a better judgment? True, but who gave you the judgment, and who gave you the health with which to be industrious? Many another man has been as industrious, and yet has failed; many another has been as willing to work, but he has been disabled by sickness; many another man has had as keen an eye, but alas, his judgment has been baffled by misfortune; another man began life with as clear a brain as you, but now he is confined in the asylum and you still are in possession of all your faculties. O sirs, never sacrifice to your own net and drag, and say, "We brought up these treasures from the deep"; but bless God who gave you all that you have of earthly things, for what have you that you have not received? I would that you felt more than you do that you are only stewards, that your possessions are lent to you to be used for God's glory and the good of others, and neither to be squandered nor hoarded for yourselves.

But now, brothers and sisters, this is very emphatically true as to our spiritual gifts, and I invite you to consider this truth "What hast thou that didst not receive?" There has long been a great doctrinal discussion between the Calvinists and the Arminians upon many important points. I am myself persuaded that the Calvinist alone is right upon some points, and the Arminian alone is right upon others. There is a great deal of truth in the positive side of both systems, and a great deal of error in the negative side of both. If I was asked, "Why is a man damned?" I should answer as an Arminian answers, "He destroys himself." I should not dare to lay man's ruin at the door of divine sovereignty. On the other hand, if I were asked, "Why is a man saved?" I could only give the Calvinistic answer, "He is saved through the sovereign grace of God, and not at all of himself." I should not dream of ascribing the man's salvation in any measure to himself. I have not found, as a matter of fact, that any Christian people care seriously to quarrel with a ministry which contains these two truths in fair proportions. I find them kicking at the inferences which are supposed to follow from one or the other of them, and sometimes needlessly crying to have them "reconciled;" but the two truths together, as a rule, commend themselves to the conscience, and I feel sure that if I could bring them both forward this morning with equal clearness I should win the assent of most Christian men. At this time, however I have to confine myself to the statement that all the grace we have is the gift of God to us, and I trust none will, therefore, suppose that I deny the other side of the question. I believe assuredly that we have nothing good in us but what we have received. For instance, we were dead in trespasses and sin, and we were quickened into spiritual life: my brethren, did that life spring out of the ribs of death? Did the worm of our corruption beget the living seed of regeneration? It were absurd to think so. God be praised for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, which led him to quicken us by his grace. We have been forgiven our great sins wholly forgiven; through the precious blood of Christ we have been made clean. Did we deserve it? Does any man who professes to be a Christian say for a single moment that he deserved the ransom paid by Christ, and deserved the pardon of his sin? It would be monstrous blasphemy even to imagine such a thing. Oh no; "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." God forgave us freely; there could not possibly have been any quality in sin which could have called forth forgiving love. He had mercy upon us because he would have mercy upon us; not because we could claim anything at his hand.

Everything, dear friend, that makes you to differ from the common sinner is the gift of God's grace to you. You know it is. You have faith in Christ: yes, but did not the Holy Spirit work it in you? Do you not cheerfully subscribe to the doctrine that faith is of the operation of God? You have repentance of sin, but was the repentance natural to you? Did you not receive it from him who is exalted on high to give repentance? Is not your repentance his gift? "Truly," one will say, "but then the same gospel was preached to others as to us." Precisely so. Perhaps the very sermon which was the means of your conversion left others as they were. What made the difference then? Do you reply, "We willed to believe in Jesus." That is true; an unwilling faith would be no faith: but then who influenced your will? Was your will influenced by some betterness of nature in you so that you can claim credit for it? I for one reject with abhorrence any such an idea. Do you reply, "Our will was influenced by our understanding, and we chose what we knew to be best." But then, who enlightened your understanding? Who gave you the light which illuminated your mind, so that you chose the way of life? "Oh," say you, "but our hearts were set towards salvation, and the hearts of others were not." That also is true, but then who set your heart that way, who was the prime mover? Were you or God? There is the question, and if, my dear brother, you dare affirm that in the matter of your own salvation you were the prime mover I am at a loss to understand you, and I hope there are few of your creed. Jesus is not Alpha to you. You do not love him because he first loved you. You were evidently not converted, or turned at all, but you turned yourself. You are not a new creature, but are your own new-creator. Do you look to see the same thing in others? Why, then, do you act as you do? Why do you pray the Lord to turn others if you believe that he did not turn you? Do you pray the Lord to convert your children? Why do you do it? If it is left entirely to them to be the prime movers, why pray to God about them? "Ah," says one, "God must treat all alike." I ask again, why do you pray for your children? You ask God to do a wrong thing in blessing your children in preference to other people, if it be true that he is bound to treat all alike. When you go practically to work these sentiments do not hold water. The man who knows that the Holy Spirit was first in his operations upon the mind, and who calls Christ Jesus the Alpha and the Omega of his salvation, is the man who can fairly go to the Lord, and pray for the conversion of this man or that; and he too is sure to give God all the glory of his salvation, and magnify and bless the grace of the Most High.

Perhaps, my dear brother, there is a difference between you and other saints. I am sure there is reason for some saints to eclipse others, for some professors are very poor things indeed. Well, brother, you have a great deal more faith than others; where did you get it? If you received it from anywhere but from God, you had better get rid of it. Dear brother, you have more joy than some, and possibly you feel ashamed of your fellow Christians who are so doubting and sad: beware that you do not become vain of your joy, and remember, that if your joy is true joy you received it of the Lord. Are you more useful than others? You cannot help looking at certain professors who are idle, and wishing that you could stir them up. I know I do; I would put a sharp pin into their downy cushions if I could: but for all that who gives us activity, who gives us usefulness, who gives us zeal, who gives us courage, who gives us everything? If you, dear friend, get into such a condition that you begin to whisper to yourself, "I have improved my gifts and graces at a very noble rate, and am getting on exceedingly well in spiritual things," you will soon have to come down from your high places. If you register yourself A 1 at Lloyd's I will not sail with you, brother, for I fear your proud barque will tempt the tempest. I would rather sail with some poor Christian man whose weather-beaten vessel would go to the bottom if Jesus were not on board, for I am persuaded he is safe. "Blessed is the man that feareth always." Blessed is the man who lies low at the foot of the cross, and who, concerning everything that he has, whether temporal or spiritual, ascribes all to the Giver of all Good.

Now we must pass on briefly to think of the second point.

II. HERE IS A QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED WITH SHAME. "If thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" If any of us have fallen into vain glory, and we all have more or less done so, let us answer this question with confusion of face. Brother, sister, have you gloried in anything you have received? Then bethink you how wrongly you have acted, for you have robbed God of his honor. To glory in man is altogether inconsistent with glorying in God. Depend upon it every particle of praise we take to ourselves is so much stolen out of the revenues of the King of kings. Will a man rob God? Will a redeemed man rob God? Will a poor sinner snatched from between the jaws of death and hell by undeserved mercy, rob God? Lord have mercy upon us.

When we boast we also leave our truthful position, and every Christian ought to be ashamed to stand anywhere but in the truth. When I confess myself to be weak, helpless, and ascribe all I have to grace, then I stand in the truth; but if I take even the remotest praise to myself, I stand in a lie. The Lord have mercy upon us if we have dared to act falsehood in his presence.

Let us remember, too, that whensoever we prize ourselves highly we are sure to esteem our Lord less. Do you see any spiritual beauty in yourself? Then it is because you do not know what true beauty is? Do you say, "I am rich and increased in goods"? Then you know nothing, or very little, of what true wealth is. You have mistaken gilt for gold, and rags for raiment. I counsel thee buy of Jesus gold tried in the fire, and fine linen wherewith thou mayest be clothed. Depend upon it our judgment is very much like a pair of scales: if Christ goes up self goes down; and if self rises Jesus falls in our esteem. No man ever sets a high price upon self and Christ at the same time.

"The more thy glories strike mine eyes

The humbler I shall be,"

is a rule without exception.

Besides, if you and I have gloried in what we possess we have undervalued our fellow Christians, and that is a great sin. They are very dear to Jesus, and he accounts even their deaths precious. "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones that believe in me"; but if we over-estimate ourselves the natural consequence is that we under-estimate others. Have I ever thought, "I am a rich man; and these poor people, though good Christians, are nobodies compared to me: I am of far more consequence to the church"? Have I conceived, because I have a measure of talent, that those holy men and women who cannot speak for Christ are of no great account? Or have I, because I happened to be an old, experienced Christian, snuffed out the young ones, and said "They are only a pack of boys and girls"? Is this the way to speak of those who were bought with the blood of Christ, and are members of Christ's body? It will not do for us to despise the meanest saint. I believe there are many who are now pushed into the background and shoved into any hole and corner whom Christ looks upon with special delight, and will place first when he comes. Verily I say unto you, "There are first that shall be last, and there are last that shall be first."

Besides, all this honoring of ourselves generally puts us off from the right course as to our gifts, and makes us forget that these things are only lent us, to be used for our Master. It is required of stewards that they be found faithful, not that they vaunt themselves and deck themselves in their Master's goods. We have too much to do to afford to boast. Look at yonder young soldier who has just received his armor and his helmet. He has just entered the service. Look with what pleasure he sees his comely face reflected in his breastplate; how much he admires his plume, he thinks how grand he shall look in such gear. My dear fellow, all this while you have forgotten that to wear these things in the thick of the battle, where they will bear the dint of the sword, is what awaits you, and you do not consider that, not your gallant appearance, but your velour is what we want to see. When a man exalts himself because of what he possesses he does not act as a soldier of the cross should do.

Here we will insert an illustration or two. There is a tendency in some to exalt themselves because God has placed them in office. They are ministers, deacons, elders, superintendents, or something. What mighty airs they give themselves! "Honour to whom honor is due" they seem to have learned the text by heart, and to have seen a personal reference in it. Have you never seen the footmen of princes when they are playing the great man? What wonders of nature and art they often are. I was admiring one of them the other day, with all the reverence due. The vision of his pomp quite staggered me, for he was so gorgeous to look upon. I feel sure that his royal master was nothing like so striking, and certainly could not have been more pompous or aristocratic. While I was looking on with due wonder and reverence, somebody cruelly remarked, "What a flunkey!" a most irreverent observation, and yet very natural. My brothers, whenever you and I, because we have our best clothes on, and are ministers, or deacons, or elders, act as if we were very great men, somebody or another is sure to call us flunkeys too; not perhaps exactly in so many words, but in language to the same effect. Do not let us expose ourselves to such contempt, and if ever we have done so, let us be rebuked at once by the thought of what we have seen in others.

Some persist in boasting about their experience. This also is vanity. Suppose a man here, who is a great pedestrian, has been over the Alps and traversed Europe; here is his walking stick, and it boasts, "I am the most traveled walking stick in creation, I have smitten the craggy brows of the Alps and bathed myself in the Nile." "Well," says one, "but wherever you have gone you have been carried by a power beyond yourself." So let the man who boasts in experience remember that in the paths of peace he has gone nowhere except as the Lord's hand has borne him onward; he has been nothing but a staff in God's hands, and while he should be grateful he should never be proud.

I was in a beautiful garden the other day, upon the rocks, where the choicest of flowers and tropical plants are growing: while all around the rocks are bare, with scarce a trace of vegetable life Now, suppose that garden were proud, and boasted of its fruitfulness. The answer would be, "Every basketful of earth had to be carried up to you, and you would not bear fruit now if it was not for the stream of water that is turned on, and tracked through many little mazes, and brought to the root of each plant you bear; you would be a rock again in a few months if you were left to yourself; therefore let the former of the garden rejoice in his work, but the garden itself may not glory." That is what the most fruitful believer would be if God let him alone a barren rock, a wilderness.

Suppose I address some Christian who is happy, and joyous, and cheerful, and has such dainty bits sent home to him out of the promises, such precious words from Scripture applied to his heart. Dear friend, are you apt to think that there is something specially good about you because you get all these remarkable enjoyments? Then let me disabuse your mind. It is your weakness which gets you these favors. When you are living in a hotel you will remark that certain persons have their dinners sent upstairs. What for? Oh, that is because they are ill. If you are well you must go down to the table d'hote with the rest; but if you are ill they will send it upstairs, and pay you extra attention. These very comforts that God gives you ought to make you enquire whether there is not something amiss with you, and instead of thinking you are strong and well you should search and see if there is not some weakness which the Lord in his mercy intends to remove by the double comforts which he gives to you. Nothing in the world ought to be a cause of self-exaltation; nothing that our God gives us ought to make us think highly of ourselves. Lower down, brother, lower down, and so you will rise. The way to heaven is downhill, not uphill. As Christ went down to the grave that he might come up again and fill all things, so must you go to the cross, and down to the grave of self and be buried with Christ, and learn the meaning of your baptism, and make it true that you are buried with him to all the world, and to yourself also, for so only can you rise into the fullness of the new life.

III. OTHER QUESTIONS WHICH THESE QUESTIONS SUGGEST shall now, in the third place, occupy our attention. What are they?

The first is this. Have I ever given to God his due place in the matter of my salvation? a question that I may very well put, for I recollect when I was converted to God, and truly converted too, but I did not know that it was the work of the Spirit in my heart; I did not understand that it was the result of special grace. I had heard the gospel generally preached, but I had not learned the peculiar doctrines of grace; and I recollect very well sitting down and thinking to myself, "I am renewed in my mind, I am forgiven, I am saved: how came that about?" and I traced it to this, that I had heard the gospel, but as I knew that many never had an opportunity of hearing it, I saw special grace in my having had the opportunity to hear it. But then I said, "There are others who have heard it, but it was not blessed to them: how came it to be blessed to me?" and I cogitated for awhile whether it could be something good in me that made the gospel useful to me, for if so I deserved to have the credit of it. Somehow the grace which God had given me made me fling that theory to the winds, and I came to this conclusion, "It must be God that made the difference," and having got that one thought into my mind, the doctrines of grace followed as a matter of course. Only by experimentally knowing that there has been a special work of grace in your own soul, will you be likely to place the Lord where he should be in your creed, for some provide a very inferior place for the Lord in the matter of their salvation. With them man is very great, and God is made little of; but true theology makes God the very sun of the system, the center, the head, the first, and chief. Have you done so? If not, correct your views, and get a clearer view of the gospel of grace. May the Holy Spirit help you therein. To know the doctrines of grace will be much to your comfort, will tend to your stability, and will also lead you to seek the glory of God.

The next question is this, Have I this morning the spirit of humble gratitude? How do I feel? Do I take God's mercy as a matter of course, and view my own gifts without thankfulness? Then I act like the brutes that perish, but let me pray this morning that humble, lowly gratitude may daily rule my spirit. Such gratitude will make you cheerful, it will make you earnest, it will in fact be an atmosphere in which all Christian graces will grow by the blessing of God's Spirit.

Next, seeing I have been a receiver, what have I done towards giving out again? It cannot have been intended that I should receive and never give out, for if that be the case there is a sad lot for me. You know they used to make, and do still make, in the North of England, earthenware saving boxes for the children. You can put what you like in, but you cannot get it out any more until you break the box; and there are persons of that sort among us. Some have died lately, and their estates have been reported in the Probate Court. There was plenty put in to them, but you could never get anything out, and consequently they had to be broken up. I only hope when they were broken up the gold and silver went the right way. What a pity to be like money boxes, to be of no good until you are broken up. One would like to get and give at the same time. We ought not to be as a stagnant pond, a Dead Sea, which receives from rivers all the year round, but gives forth no stream in return, and so becomes a stagnant, putrid lake. Let us be like the great lakes of America, which receive the mighty rivers and pour them out again, and consequently keep fresh and clear.

The next question is Since what I have had I have received by God's grace, might I not receive more? Come; brothers and sisters, with regard to gracious things I want you to be covetous. Covet earnestly the best gifts. If you have had faith, why should you not have more? If God gave you hope, joy, experience, why not more? You are not straitened in him, you can be only straitened in yourself. Try to remove those hindrances, and ask the Lord to give you more grace.

One other question If all that Christians have they have received, sinner, why should not you receive as well as they? If it were true that Christians got these good things out of themselves, then you, poor sinner, might despair, for you know you have no good thing in you; but if the best of saints, the best Christian in heaven, has not anything but what he received, why should not you receive? To receive, you know, is never a difficult thing. I warrant you that out of all the people in London there is not a man but what could receive. Try it on the present occasion. Let it be a thousand pounds, and see how many among us would be unable to receive. If there be a person about who would not receive, I tell you who it is it is the man who thinks himself so rich that he does not care to have any more. Even so the proud, self-righteous Pharisee cannot receive; but you poor, good-for-nothing, empty sinners can receive; and here is the mercy "to as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name." Open that empty hand, open that empty heart: God grant they may be opened now by his own divine Spirit, and may you receive, and then I know you will join with us in saying, "Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."

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PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON Psalms 103:1-22 and 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 .

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HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK" 103 (Vers. 1.), 233, 235.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/1-corinthians-4.html. 2011.