Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/218

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where Christ was named, lest he should build upon another man's foundation, (ibid. 20.). Each laid down for himself his own "measure," and would not stretch beyond it. (2 Cor. x. 14.) And this will perhaps help to explain the fact which early tradition hands down to us of the wide dispersion of the Apostolic Body. At all events, it is certain from History, that the different Churches claiming Apostolic Descent, were very careful to maintain the practices which they had each derived from their respective Founders. To the Church of Corinth accordingly St. Paul writes as its sole Founder and Father, claiming upon this ground Supreme Authority over it in the name of Jesus Christ. And with this Epistle before us, we cannot doubt of the conclusion which we have already seen may be clearly enough deduced from other Epistles of the New Testament, viz. that the Authority which the Apostles claim for themselves, they claim, not on the ground of high supernatural endowments, (for these were the possession of the Church at large,) but on the ground of "the Grace and Apostleship" which they had received from Christ, the Head of the Christian Church, "for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name." That is, they refer directly to their Commission as His Apostles, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; they refer to the Authority with which He invested them when He stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, "as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you;" and bade them receive the Holy Ghost, to be with them in the prosecution of their High and Holy Office. This point is very strikingly exhibited in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, because there the possession of extraordinary gifts, and the possession of Spiritual Authority, are brought into immediate contrast with each other. The Corinthians, proud of the gifts of other teachers, had raised parties in opposition to St. Paul, and questioned his authority. How then did he maintain it? not by claiming higher gifts and graces for himself, (though he spoke with tongues more than they all,) but by referring to his Office^, as a Minister and an Apostle of Christ, whose One Spirit governs the whole body of the Church, appointing divers orders, and dividing to every man severally as He will. That he was an Apostle he proved by the fact, that he had been equally favoured with the Twelve; that he had seen our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh; and had received the