CCI. Grace and Gifts.

EPH. iv. 7. “‘Unto every one of
us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

ST. PAUL is contrasting the unity of the faith and Church
of Christ with the different gifts bestowed upon its mem-
bers; and he traces the bestowal of these gifts to our
Lord’s ascension into heaven. The descent of the Spirit
was the first fruit of our Lord’s session in heaven. “When
He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and
gave gifts unto men.” And among these gifts St. Paul
names evangelists. The evangelist of the early apostolic
age was a connecting-link between the founders of Churches
and those who had the care of them when founded—a
kind of travelling missionary. Towards the close of the
apostolic age the Gospels were written,—two by apostles,
two under apostolic direction, by simple evangelists. St.
Mark has more in common with St. Matthew than with
any other evangelist. Like St. Matthew, he seems to think
in Hebrew though he writes in Greek. Each evangelist
had a separate set of readers in view, although dealing
with the same great subject, and their common motto
might well have been, “Unto every one of us is given
grace for our several lines of work, according to the mea-
sure of the gift of Christ.”
I. We depend for our religious, as well as for our mental
and physical life, upon the Source of all good. Unto every
one is given whatever we have. The grace which was
needed was given to each evangelist—partly consisting
in certain opportunities of becoming acquainted with the
facts, and partly in an inward guidance as to selecting and
arranging materials. St. Mark had this great advantage,
that, although he had never been an actual disciple of our
Lord, he was in later life in the position of secretary to the
first apostle. He is remarkable for his great attention to
details, and for the absence of a clearly discernible purpose
in his Gospel over and above the simple narrative of our
Lord’s life on earth.
II. No two souls are endowed in an exactly similar
way. And for the difference of endowment there is a
reason in the Divine mind, for each soul in its generation
has its appointed work to do, and is endowed with suitable
grace for its performance.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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