CLXIX. The Body of Christ.

1 COR. xii. 12. “For
as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the mem-
bers of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is
Christ.”

THE restlessness of heathen Corinth communicated itself
to Christian Corinth. Even the Eucharist became the
scene of strife, and they fought for the gifts of the Spirit.
How was Paul to correct this evil? He could not say,
“Before all things no zeal.” He might have threatened,
but he rarely appealed to the fears of men. He set before
them the ideal of the Church. Their conduct, he tells
them, is as unreasonable as if the eye were quarrelling with
the ear, and the foot with the hand. They were limbs of
the body, which was nothing less than Christ Himself.
Thus when you make parties amongst yourselves, what
is this but to divide Christ, to dismember Him to His
infinite anguish? You are the body, you His limbs, all of
you. There is in the Church of Christ a force of gravita-
tion, and each small atom is acted upon and acts upon
every other small atom. It is a serious reflection that even
our secret thoughts influence those around us. Your self-
will, your carelessness, your vice, propagates itself by a
thousand channels, and will subtly steal like a throbbing
poison until the whole body is at the point of death.
J. B. Lightfoot, D.D.

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