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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 felves, 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 then. To this bad use many of the Corinthians put their spiritual Gifts, by which means they fell into divers Sects and Parties, some faying, I am of Paul, others I am of Apollo; a third fort, I am of Cephas; and a fourth, I am of Christ : which made the Apostle ask the Question, Is Chrif divided ? Hath he not stil'd his Church one Body, and willid 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 Worthip 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 Divifions, or introduce Strife and Confusion, which lead to its Ruin and Destruction.
All then that have any share in these Gifts and Endowi ments of the Spirit, are to lay them out according to the Degree and Measure they have receiv’d, for the publick Good: As every one hath receiv'd the Gift (faith the Apoftle) even so minister the same one to another, as good Stewards of the manifold Grace of God; 1 Pet. 4. 10. Where we are bid to look upon our selves, not so much as Owners, but as Stewards of what we have. Now the Office of a Steward, you know, is not to hide or embezel his Master's Goods, but to employ them for his benefit, and to give to every one of the Houshold his Portion of Meat in due seafon. This is the End and Use of all our Gifts, natural and temporal, as well as spiritual ; which the Will of the Donor, and the Nature and Quality of the Gifts require and call for at our hands : and that because our own Insufficiency of our selves puts us in niutual need of the Gifts and Affistance of one another. If a Man could come to that All-sufficiency in himself, as to be able to say to his Brethren, I have no need of you, then might he keep his Gifts to himself: till then let him remember, he is to employ, his Talent to the profit of his Master, and to the benefit of his Brother'; for the Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every one to profit withal.
For the better clearing and confirming hereof, the ApoItle proceeds to the Distribution of these spiritual Gifts; Thewing that they are not all given to one, nor are the same given to all, but they are scatter'd with an admirable variety, and in different measures on the Sons of Men, that like the various Members of the natural Body, they might be all helpful and serviceable to one another. There is none so mean, but may be useful to the greatest ; and there is none so great, but may sometimes stand in need of the Service of the meanest.
For to one is given by the Spirit (faith the Apostle) the Word of Wisdcm. By which we may understand the Revelation of the Gospel, which is in Scripture often callid the Wisdom of God in Christ. St. Paul stiles the Evangelical Doctrine and Mysteries by the name of Wisdom, and distinguishes it too from the Philosophy of the Heathens, and the Wisdom of this World; i Cor. 2, 6, 7, Howbeit (faith he) we speak Wisdom, yet not the Wisdom of this World, but we speak the Wisdom of God in a Mystery, even the hidden Wisdom, the Revelation whereof God ordain'd before the World unto our glory. This Word of Wisdom, or
Revelation of the Mysteries of the Gospel, was first given to the Apostles, who were the first Preachers and Discoverers of it unto the World. And this is here faid to be given by the Spirit, the Holy Ghost inspiring them with those Abilities, as enabled them to understand those Mysteries themselves, and likewise to publish and unfold theni unto others. Again," words
To another is given the Word of Knowledg: by the fame-Spirit.. Where by the Word of Knowledg is meant the Knowledg of things paft, present, and to come; the Knowledg of things secret, such as the Will of God, and the Thoughts of Men ; of remote things, as of what was done in other places, of future things, as of what would come to pass hereafter : all which are reveald by the fame Spirit, which alone can communicate to any the Knowledg of these things. By this it was, that St. Peter knew that Ananias and Saphira lyed to the Holy Ghost, Acts 5: 3. that Agabus foretold the Famine in the days of Claudius Cæfar, Acts 11. 28. By this it was, that Ananias knew the Conversion of St. Paul, Acts 9. 10. and that St. Paul, told the Centurion before the shipwreck, that not a Man in the Ship should be loft, Acts 27. 23, 24.' The Knowledg of which things could not be attain'd in any ordinary way, but was reveald to them by the Holy Spirit. Again,” ? . .'.'*?*** • To another is given Faith by the Same Spirit. Where by Faith we are to understand not the common and ordinary Gift or Grace of Faith, but a miraculous Faith, by which he that had it was able to work divers kind of Miracles. Of this our Saviour speaks, Mat. 17. 20. that he who hath it shall say unto this Mountain, Remove 'hence to yonder place, and it Mall remove ; and nothing mall be impollible to you. To which the Apostle refers, in saying, if I bad all Faith, so that I could move Mountains, 1 Cor. 13.2. Others take Faith here for that supernatural Courage and Confidence, with which the Apoftles were endow'd for withstanding all the Opposition they met with from Men or Devils ; for we read in the Acts of the Apostles, with what undaunted Boldness and Courage they appear'd before the Jewish and Heathen Tribunals, still owning and adhering to the Name of Jesus, notwithstanding all the Threats and Terrors, denounc'd against them. This extraordinary Confidence and Resolution proceeded likewife from the Spirit of God, which infpir'd them with a Courage suitable to their Cause, and carry'd them on above and . Vol. IV. Part 2
Others Tarth, so that in the Apostle norbing
beyond all Opposition. So we read of St. Stephen and others, that all their Adversaries could not gainsay or resist the Wisdom and Spirit with which they fpake; Acts 6. 10.
To another is given the Gifts of Hedling by the Same Spirit. By these are meant the Power of curing all Diseafes both of Body and Mind without the help of Physick, by the sole mentioning the Name of Jesus. Thus we find the Apoftles curing the Blind and the Lame with a word's speaking, healing Lunaticks and Demoniacks, and cafting out Devils only by calling over them the Name of Jefus : which made the Disciples acquaint our Saviour, not only of their healing all manner of Diseases, but that even the Devils Tere subject to them through his Name, Luke 10. 17. This Power likewise proceeded from the fame Spirit of God, who over-rules all evil Spirits, and hath all Principalities and Powers subject to him. Moreover; sies.
To another is given the morking of Miracles. This being mention'd as distinct from the fornter, must be nieant of the Power of working Signs and Wonders in the Heavens, and more especially of raising the Dead, the greatest of all Miracles. So we read of the Apostles, that they reftor' many from Death to Life, which is afcrib'd here and else. where to the Divine Power of the Holy Ghost. Again,
To another is given the Gift of Prophecy : that is, either the Faculty of expounding the Holy Scripture, or the Power of foretelling things to come; both which come also from the Spirit of God. , . iii . . .
Furthermore, To another. is given the discerning of Spirits: that is, a Gift of knowing true Prophets from falfe, and discerning the divine Inspirations of God's Holy Spirit, from the evil. Suggestions of the Devil', and thereby a Fab *culty of distinguishing Impostors and false Teachers from the true Ministers of Chrift. I .-:,000.
To another is given (as our Apostle goes on the Gift of divers kind of Tongues : that is, an Ability of speaking fe. veral Languages which they had never learnt, receiving them not by any previous Art or Education, but by the sudden Infusion and Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which Gift of Tongues ferv'd as a miraculous Act, both to confirm the Truth of the Gospel, and to reveal it to Men of all Nations and Languages. . Sin 193?" .. .. < Lastly, 'tis added, To another the Interpretation of Tongues : which thews this to be a diftin&t Gift from the Gift of
1.12 the diftinguilty of Chis our Apan abil
Tongues; for some had the one, that had not the other, not being able to interpret that in the vulgar Tongue, Which themselves utter'd in a strange Language and therefore certain Persons were enabled to speak that to the Una derstanding of ithe People, which they understood not in the Language in which the Apostles spoke. And this was the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues : Do all Speak with Tongues? Do all interpret faith the Apostle, ver. 30. Iniplying these to be different Gifts, and that the one might be without the other.
But all these (faith he) worketh that one and the self-Same Spirit, dividing to every one severally as he will : meaning, that they all come from the same Holy Spirit of God, who bestows them in various measures and proportions, ac. cording to his Good-pleafure, for the Benefit and Edification of his Church.
AL This is briefly the Substance of this Day's Epistle, which may teach us several Lessons ; As, :5 1. From the Apostle's stiling all these by the Name of -Gifts, we maytlearn not to boast or be lifted sup, on the account of any of them : for what halt thou (faith the Apoitle) which thou hast not receiv'd ? And if thou hast receivd it, tohy boast ejt thou thy felf, as if thou receiv’djt not? If thou hast a double Portion of the Spirit, or a larger fhare of these fpiritual Gifts than others, remember they are but given to thee, and ask thy self who made thee to differ: 'twas not thy own Worth or Industry, but the fole Goodness and Bounty of Heaven ; which may check all Pride,' and teach thee to think soberly of thy felf.... 30:52. If these be all the Gifts of God, then we may learn hence whom to thank, and where to seek for 'theni. All ethe Praise and Glory of them is due to God only; and therefore a scribe nothing to thy self, but thy Weaknesses and Imperfections. And 'tis Prayer to him that is the beft means of attaining theni : If any Man lack Wisdom (faith St. James) let him ask it of God, who giveth to all Men liberally, and upbraideth not, James 1. gi . . Od Lastly, If the Manifestation of the Spirit be given to profit withal, then let us learn to use the Gifts and Graces beltow'd upon us to that end ; let'us diligently eniploy them in the Calling wherein God hath fet us, for the Good of our selves and one another ; beware of abufing then to wrong Ends, to the dishonour of God; or the detriment of