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having heap'd up Treasures by Oppression and Wrong, they only heap up to themselves Wrath
against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God. And so do all they that misuse and pervert the Blessings of God to bad purposes, mispending their Substance in Riot and Luxury, making it the Fuel of their Lusts, or the Instru. ments of their Pride and Vanity : All such, instead of making Friends of the unrighteous Mammon, to receive them into everlasting Habitations, only make Enemies of it to receive them into everlasting Damnation. Wherefore,
Lastly, Let us labour fo to get, and so to use the good things of this Life, that they may befriend us at last, and bring us to the true Riches of Heaven ; and that must be by using them aright to the Glory of God, and to the Benefit and Comfort both of our felves and others. By thus dispensing them in A&ts of Piety, Charity, and Mercy, they will
speak for us, and procure for us the Favour and Friendship both of God and Man. In a word, they will tend to our present Comfort and Welfare here, and promote our eternal Joy and Happiness hereafter : Which God
The EPISTLE for the Tenth Sunday after
1 Cor. xii. IConcerning spiritual Gifts, Brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carry'd away unto these dumb Idols, even as je were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no Man, Speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed; and that no Man can say, that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghoft, &c.
HE Collect for this Day beseeches the Lord, to let his merciful Ears be open to the Prayers of his
humble Servants, and that they may obtain their Petitions, to make them ask such things as shall please him, And that we may be the better enabled to ask such things,
The Epistle for the Day treats concerning spiritual Gifts, which the Apostle here declares to be so useful and so neceffary a piece of Knowledg, that he would by no means have us ignorant of it. And to the end that the Christian Church might be rightly instructed in fo divine and excellent a Subject, he here treats at large of the Nature, the Author, the Number, and the Use of these spiritual Gifts. But before he begins, he puts these Corinthians in mind of their former Heathen State, and how they were acted and mifled by evil Spirits, before they receiv'd the Gospel. Te know (faith he) that ye were Gentiles, carry'd away, unto these aumb Idols, even as ye were led : meaning, that before they became Christians, they were led altogether by the Heathen Oracles, who pretended to foretel things to come: and their Desire of knowing such things feduc'd them into Idolatry ; where all the Answers and Account they had in those Matters, came not from the Idols or the Priests, but from the Devil in them; and therefore that they might
know those that are taught by the Spirit of God, from those that are acted by the Devil, he gives us two Marks of Dif tinction to discern between them: The first is, that no Man that is led or mov'd by the Spirit of God, will ever speak evil of Jesus; Wherefore (faith he) I give you to underft and, that no Man, Speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Fesus accursed : for that takes Men off from all the Heathen Blasphemies, and leads to the knowledg of the Truth, as it is in Jesus. The second is, that all that truly own and give up themselves to Jesus Christ, are acted by that Divine Spirit ; for the evil Spirits do all they can to hinder the Doctrine and Designs of Christ's Kingdom : and therefore the Apostle adds, that no Man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Where we have the Author of these spiritual Gifts, which the Apostle here tells us is the Holy Ghost, the third Person in the ever-blessed Trinity, whose peculiar Office, in the Business of Man's Salvation, is to edify and instruct the Church of Christ, by which' he enlightens our Minds, and instils his Gifts and Graces into our Hearts, which are therefore called spiritual Gifts, not because they are seated in the spiritual Part or Soul of Man, but because they proceed from the Holy Spirit of God : which we must not so understand, as to exclude the Father and the Son from having any hand in these Gifts, or the bestowing of them ; for St. James tells us, that every good and perfect Gift is from above, and cometh down from the Fixther of Lights; Jam. 1. 17. And St. Paul, that when Christ ascended up on high, he gave Gifts unto Mén; Eph. 4. 8. So that these Gifts come from the other two Persons no less than from the third, according to that known Rule, Opera Trinitatis ad extra funt indivisa; The outward Works of the Trinity, relating to any without them, are never divided, but what one doth they all do, But yet these Gifts are more particularly attri. buted to the Holy Spirit, rather by way of Congruity than otherwise, as referring to some particular or personal Attribute of his from whence they How : for there are some Properties and Perfections of the Deity, which tho common to all the three Persons, yet the Effects of them are more especially and severally ascrib'd to each distinct Person; as Creation to the Father, Redemption to the Son, and Sanctification to the Holy Ghost. And hence it is, that these spiritual Gifts, which tend to the instructing and fanctifying the People of God, are more peculiarly attributed
to the Holy Ghost, whose Office it is. This for the Author of these spiritual Gifts.
From whence the Apostle proceeds, in the next Verse, to the Number and Variety of them ; saying, Nove there are Diversities of Gifts, but the same Spirit ; and there are Differences of Administrations, but the same Lord; and there are Diversities of Operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all : where the Apostle distinguisheth between Gifts, Administrations, and Operations, observing a Difference and Diversity between them, and yet ascribing them all to the fame Author, under the Titles of the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the fame God, who worketh all in all; that is, who worketh all these things in all that have them.
As for the Diversity of Gifts, Administrations, and Operations, they are generally thus distinguish'd.' By Gifts here, are meant those inward Endowments or Qualifications, whereby Men are enabled to do or perform any thing ; these are set down in the 8th, 9th and 10th Verses of this Chapter, which shall be consider'd in their Place, By AdminiÄrations are meant the outward Calling, Fanction, or Office, whereby they are lawfully callid and authoris'd to do it. These are set down in the 28th Verse of this Chapter. By Operations are meant the Effects or Works wrought or executed by the two former: These are too many to be set down ; only care must be taken, that as every Calling hath its own proper Work, so every one should know and keep to it. Now all these are here faid to proceed from the fame Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God; meaning such a Spirit as is both Lord and God, and that is only the Holy Ghost.
But what was the End or Use of these fpiritual Gifts? Why, that the next Verse will tell us; The Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Man to profit withal : where by the Manifestation of the Spirit, is nieant the Exercise of the Gifts and Graces confer'd on any by the Holy Spirit, which manifest his Power and Goodness to the Church of Christ ; and where any of these Gifts appear’d in any Perfon, especially in any eminent fort or degree, it was a manifest Sign that the Spirit of God wrought in him : and therefore these spiritual Gifts are truly call’d the Manifestation of the Spirit, as any other fensible Effect is a Manifestation of its proper Cause. And this is here said to be given to every Man, not to be merited or purchas'd by any,
but confer'd by a free Donation, and convey'd merely by a Deed of Gift.
But the End for which they were given, is what the Apostle here chiefly aims at. The Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Man; but for what? Why, to profit withal. 'Tis not to please or pride our selves, and fo to use them for Vanity and Oftentation; to set forth our selves, or to raise Admiration in others by our Eloquence or elaborate Arts of Speech, as some of these Corinthians did, and too many in our days still do : much less were they given to raise Schisms and Factions in the Church, by instilling the Poison of Errors and Divisions into the Minds of the People, and sowing the Seeds of Discord and Dissension among them. To this bad use many of the Corinthians put their spiritual Gifts, by which means they fell into divers Sects and Parties, some saying, I am of Paul, others I am of Apollo; a third fort, I am of Cephas; and a fourth, I am of Chrift: which made the Apostle ask the Question, Is Chrift divided ? Hath he not stil'd his Church one Body, and will’d that there be no Schism or Separation in it? How then can he like the tearing or reuding one Member from another in his Body ? Hath he not told us of one Baptism that leads into his Church, and of one Communion to confirm and unite us together in it? How then can he approve of different Communions, or divided Ways of Worship? Did not Christ press his Disciples to Unity ? and likewise pray to his father, that they all might be one, even as he and his Father are one that is, with the most intire Unity of Heart and Mind. This was the last Prayer he made for them, and the last Legacy he bequeath'd to them : And how opposite to this are all Discord and Dissension in the Worship of God ?. They who use their Parts to these bad purposes, grolly abuse the Gifts of God, and will have a heavy Account to make for it at the last Day. For the Manifestation of the Spirit was given not to do harm, but to profit withal; that is, not only to procure some private Profit to themselves, tho that be not altogether excluded, but for the publick Good and Benefit of others. They were given for the Edification of the Church, not for the Destruction of it ; and consequently are to be employ'd for the Advancement of Peace, Unity, and Order in the Church, which tend to the Welfare and Settlement of it; not to foment and propagate Divisions, or introduce Strife and Confusion, which lead to its Ruin and Destruction