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For as we have muny Members in one Bo
dy, and all Members have not the same
HE Epistles in the New Serm. I.
Teftament have all of them m
a particular Reference to
the Time they were written. Therefore as they cannot be thoroughly understood, unless that Condition and those Ulages are known and attended to : B
Serm. I. so further, though they be known, yet if
they be discontinued or changed ; Exhortations, Precepts, and Illustrations of things, which refer to such Circumstances now ceafed or altered, cannot at this Time be urged in that Manner, and with that Force which they were to the Primitive Christians. Thus the Text now before us, in its first Intent and Design, relates to the decent Management of those extraordinary Gifts which were then in the Church *, but which are now totally ceased. And even as to the Allusion that we are one Body in Christ, though what the Apostle here intends is equally true of Christians in all Circumstances, and the Consideration of it is plainly still an additional Motive over and above moral Considerations, to the Discharge of the several Duties and Offices of a Christian : Yet it is manifest this Allusion must have appeared with much greater Force to those, who by the many Difficulties they went through for the sake of their Religion, were led to keep always in View the Relation they stood in to their Saviour, who had undergone the same; to those, who from the Idola
tries * I Cor. xii,
tries of all around them, and their ill Treat-Serm. I.
Hence the Relation of a
Serm. I. These Observations show the original par
ticular Reference of the Text, and the peculiar Force with which the Thing intended by the Allusion in it must have been felt by the primitive Christian World. They likewise afford a Reason for treating it at this Time in a more general Way.
The Relation which the several Parts or Members of the natural Body have to each other and to thewhole Body,is here compared to the Relation which each particular Person in Society has to other particular Persons, to the whole Society; and the latter is intended to be illustrated by the former. And if there be a Likeness between these two Relations, the Consequence is obvious : that the latter shows us it is our Duty to do good to others, as the former shows us that we are to take Care of our own private Interest, But as there is scarce any Ground for a Comparison between Society and the mere material Body, this without the Mind being a dead unactive Thing;, much less can the Comparison be carried to any length. And since the Apostle speaks of the several Members as having distinct Offices, which implies the Mind; It cannot be thought an unallow
able Liberty, instead of the Body and its Serm. I.
From this Review and Comparison of the