« AnteriorContinuar »
Glory, will in the end surely redound to our own. God esteems himself honour'd by this means, and those that honour him, he will honour. 'Tis recorded, to the Glory of Solomon, that Solomon built him a Temple, and that fo glo. rious and magnificent a one too, that both that and himself became the Praise of the whole Earth.
(2.) We make Friends of the unrighteous Mammon, by Works of Mercy and Charity ; such as helping, counselling and relieving the Poor. By this too we make God our Debtor, for he that giveth to the Poor, lendeth to the Lord; who will, in his due time, return it with unspeakable Advantage. The Friends we are here advis'd to make, are not such as are able to repay what they receive from us, for that is but Traffick or Merchandize : Give not to the Rich (faith our Saviour) left he repay thee again. If ye do good to them that do good to you, what Reward have ye? Do not the Publicans and Sinners do the same? This is but quid pro quo, one thing for another, and carries no Obligation or Reward with it. But the Friends we are bid to make, are such as cannot repay us again ; for by so doing we make God our Friend, who is the Patron and Preserver of the Poor : the Kindness fhew'd to then is reckon'd as done to God; and because they cannot recompense thee, thou shalt be recompens'd at the Resurrection of the Fuft. But how are they faid to receive us into everlasting Habitations? Why, this may be by their Prayers and Interceflions to God for us ; for God heareth the Prayers of the Poor, and fheweth Favour to those that shew Kindness to them. Their Prayers and their Alms (like those of Cornelius) ascend up to Heaven, and come there as a Memorial before God, who, for receiving the Poor into their Houses, will reward theni, with receiving them into his heavenly Habitations.
This is the Sense and Scope of this Day's Gospel, which I shall close up, first with a Caution against making Enemies of the Mammon of Unrighteousness, and next an Exhortation to make our felves Friends of it.
1. I say, Let us learn from hence to beware of making Enemies of the Mammon of Unrighteousness; and that may be done either by the ill-getting or the ill-using of this World's Goods, or both, Ill-gotten Goods, instead of befriending, will appear as an Enemy and Witness against the Poffeffors. Their Silver is cankered (faith St. James) and the Rust of it will rise up in judgment against them ; and
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 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 so 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 dumb 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 Prielts, 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 understand, 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 Fesus 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 Father 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 sunt 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 fome Properties and Perfections of the Deity, which tho common to all the three Persons, yet the Effects of them are more especially and severally afcrib'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, Now there are Diversities of Gifts, but the same Spirit ; and there are Differences of Adminiftrations, 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, Adminiftrations, 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 Same 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 Administrations are meant the outward Calling, Function, 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 Same 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 mianifest 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,