Now 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 That worketh all in all.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
A test read at this feast, of the Church's own choice, who I will ever presume best knoweth what text will best fit every feast; and so this. It begins, you see, and it ends in 'the Spirit,' Whose proper feast this is. 'The Spirit' is in the first verse, and again 'the Spirit' is in the last; first and last here we find Him.
[377/378] And if we will look well into it, we shall in effect find that which happened this day, though in other terms. Here have you in this text 'gifts,' as it might be the tongues, which came down from heaven this day; for what were those tongues but 'gifts?' And here have you again 'divisions,' as it might be clefts, in the tongues; for what is to cleave, but to divide? And if you lack fire, here have you in the last verse, 'manifestation,' which is by light. For the use of light is to make manifest. So have you the Holy Spirit 'in cloven tongues of fire,' in some more general terms: the 'gifts,' the tongues; the 'division,' the cleft; the 'manifestation,' the fire. Those gifts, first divided, then made manifest, and that by the Spirit, amounting to the substance of the feast; that there can be no question but the text suits to the time, fully.
The use we have of the whole text is, that in all humble thankfulness we are to acknowledge the great goodness of the whole Deity entire, and of every Person in it; so seriously taking to heart the Church's, that is all our good, as we see they do in a sort meet here, and assemble Themselves, all Three, each for His part to contribute: one, gifts; another, callings; a third, works. And then commit over 'the manifestation' of all to the Spirit, ad utilatem, 'to the profit,' that is, to the general good of the Church, in whose good is the good of us all.
Now albeit to authorize and to countenance the feast the more, the whole three Persons do here present Themselves in a joint concurrence to this work of distribution; yet you see the Holy Spirit has here a double part, and in that respect a prerogative above the other Twain. For the Spirit is in, at both. In, at the division; and so are the rest. And again, in at 'the manifestation;'--so are none of the rest. But He there, and He alone. For the tongues are His, and they are to manifest; so to Him alone we owe the manifesting. So His, and so His the honour of the day, which is festum linguarum, 'the feast of tongues,' or if you will so call it, the feast of manifestation. In very deed, the Holy Ghost's Epiphany, allowing, as Christ one, so Him another.
The sum of all is, that Christ's errand being done, and He gone up on high, the Spirit this day visibly came down, for Him and in His name and stead, to take the charge, and to [378/379] establish an order in the Church; which order or establishment is here set down. And think not it holds in the Church alone, but that in it is represented unto us a true pattern or mould of every other well-composed government. For happy is the government where the Holy Ghost bestoweth the gifts, Christ appoints the places, and God effecteth the works, works in all.
And as rectum is index sui et obliqui, 'a strait rule will discover as well what is crooked as what is straight,' both; so under one have we here, as the lively image of a well-ordered society, (for the preserving of these three aright makes all well) so withal the manifold obliquities and exorbitances in the Church, in the commonwealth everywhere; which arise from the errors about these three: 1. the gifts not regarded, 2. the places not well filled, 3. the works not work-man-like performed. The not looking to of which three hath brought, and is like more and more to bring, all out of course.
The text, if ever any, is truly tripartite, as standing evidently of three parts, every one of the three being a kind of trinity. A trinity, 1. personal, 2. real, and 3. actual.
I. Personal, these three: 1. 'the same Spirit,' 2. 'the same Lord,' 3. 'the same God.' II. Real, these three: 1. 'gifts,' 2. 'administrations,' or offices, 3. 'operations,' or works. III. Actual, these three: 1. dividing, 2. manifesting, 3. and profiting. Three divisions from three, for three. The three real, they be the ground of all; the 1. gift, 2. offices, and 3. works. The three personal, 1. 'the Spirit,' 2. 'Lord,' and 3. 'God,' are but from whence those come. The three actual are but whither they will: 1. divided; 2. so divided, as made manifest; 3. so made manifest, as not only 1. to make a show, but prÕj to some end; 2. that end to be, not ssumfor_, 'the hurt or trouble,' but summf_rou, 'the good;' 3. the good, not private, of ourselves, but common, of all the whole body of the Church.
First, and before all things, we find here, and finding we adore the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity; the Spirit in plain terms, the other Two in no less plain, if we look to but the sixth verse of the eighth chapter before, where the Apostle saith, 'To us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are [379/380] all things, and we of Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him' So by 'God' is intended the Father, the first Person; by 'Lord' the Son, the second; by 'the Spirit' the third, the usual term or title of the Holy Ghost, all the Bible through. These three as in Trinity of persons here distinct. so in Unity of essence one and the same. For though to each of these Three there is allowed a 'the same;' yet come to the Deity, and they are not three 'the same;' yet come to the Deity, and they are not three 'the sames' but one the 'the same;' one and the same Godhead, to be blessed for ever.
1. Once before, are these Three known thus solemnly to have met; at the creating of the world. Once again, at the Baptism of Christ, the new creating it. And here now the third time, at the Baptism of the Church with the Holy Ghost. Where, as the manner is all baptism, each bestowed a several gift or largess on the party baptized, that is, on the Church; for whom and for whose good all this dividing and all this manifesting is. No, for whom and for whose good the world itself was created, Christ Himself baptized, and the Holy Ghost this day visibly sent down.
The Trinity personal I deal with first, that we may know where and from whom all the rest issue and proceed. All errors are tolerable save two, about Alpha, the first letter, and Omega, the last, about primum principium, and ultimus finis; 'the first beginning,' whence all flow, and 'the last end,' whereto all tend. We err against the first when we derive things amiss: divide them right, and refer them right, and all is right. And the right dividing is, as here, to bring all from the blessed Trinity.
From this Trinity personal comes there here another, as I may call it, a trinity real, of 1. 'Gifts,' 2. 'Administrations,' and 3. 'Operations.' I will tell you what is meant by each. 1. By 'Gifts' is meant the inward endowing, enabling, qualifying, whereby one' for his skill, is meet and sufficient for aught. A particular whereof to the number of nine is set down at the eighth, ninth and tenth verses after. 2. By 'Administrations' is meant the outward calling, place function, or office, whereby one is authorized lawfully to deal with aught. Of these likewise you have a list to the number of [380/381] eight, at the twenty-eighth verse after. 3. By 'Operations' is meant the effect or work done, wrought, or executed by the former two, the skill of the gift and the power of the calling; but these are infinite works, no setting down of them, only so to be ranged as every calling to know his own proper work, and so to deal with it.
So have you three quotients from three divisors. 1. 'Gifts,' 2. Offices, 3. Works, from the 1. Father, 2. Son, and 3. Holy Ghost, referendo singula singulis. 1. 'Gifts'--they from 'the Spirit;' 2. Offices--they from Christ 'the Lord;' 3. Works--they from 'God the Father.' The Spirit, He gives wherewith; Christ, He appoints wherein; the Father, He works whereabout. The Spirit gives all to all; Christ, He appoints all for all; God the Father works all in all.
You are not here to think these three so limited as that all and every one of them, every of the Three, come not from all and every Person of the Trinity. They come, all from all. Our rule is, the works of the Trinity, all save those that reflect upon and between Themselves inwardly, all outward, to any without them are never divided. What one does, all do.
To make it plain in these. Gifts are here described to the 'Spirit;' but St. James saith, 'Every one of them comes from above, from the Father;' and St. Paul, saith, 'Christ, when He ascended up on high, He gave gifts unto men.' So the 'gifts' come from the other two Persons, no less than from 'the Spirit.' Offices are here assigned unto 'the Lord,' that is, Christ; yet, by and by, at the twenty-eighth verse, it is said of God the Father that He ordained Apostles, and so goes on there with other offices of the Church. And in Acts the twentieth chapter and twenty-eighth verse, of the Holy Ghost it is said, posuit vos Episcopos, that 'He placed them bishops,' and they are chief offices. So that offices are from the [381/382] other Two, as well as from Christ. Works, they are her appropriate to God, that is the Father; yet in John the fifth, with one breath Christ saith, 'My Father worketh hitherto, and so do I work as well as He;' and in this chapter, straight after, at the eleventh verse following, thus we read, 'All these things work one and the same Spirit.' So works, as they are from the Father, so are they from the other Two. And so all and every of the Three Persons equally interested, in all and every of the three.
How is it then? How come they thus to be sorted? Sure, rather in a kind of apt congruity than otherwise; only in a fit and convenient reference to the peculiar, and, if I may so call it, the personal attributes, which most properly suits with each Person whence they flows, as thus. The Spirit is the essential love of the Father and the Son. Love then is His personal property, and love is bounteous; and from bounty comes 'gifts.' So the 'gifts,' they from the Spirit. Christ, He is the essential `Wisdom' of the Father; and sapientis est ordinare--that is wisdom's office, saith the philosopher. So the ordering of places or offices falls to Him. God, we call Him the Father, Almighty, which shows might or power is His proper attribute, and power it is that works, so the work is His peculiar. And thus come they, thus sorted. And so well we may repair to each severally for his several, yet with no exclusive to the rest; but to all for all jointly, for all that. This needs not trouble any.
No more needs their order in standing--the Holy Ghost first, and the Father last--otherwise than in Baptism or in the Doxology. The works appropriate to the Father, though they be in execution last, yet are they in intention first. It is, as in a solemn train, novissimi primit, 'the last go first,' and primi novissimi, 'the first come last;' and yet are first in order, though last in place. It is sure, the work is the end of both the rest, and of all. Unumquodquw propeter operationem suam; 'Every thing, be it what it will, gift or place, is and hath his being for the work it hath to do.' So the work is the chief of the three, and He the chief Whose the work is, let His standing be where it will.
To the doing whereof there be required three things. And where there be more than one required, our books teach us, ever to consider them, first conjunctim, 'jointly altogether;' then seriatim, 'each in order' as they stand; and lastly, seorsim, every one assunder by itself.
Jointly then. To the doing of aught there is requisite, 1. Ability of the party, 2. Authority for the party, 3. And diligence in the party. 1. Meet and sufficient men; 2. They, orderly called and placed; 3. Diligent and painful at their [382/383] business. To supply these here are 1. a gift wherewith, 2. a place wherein, 3. a work whereabout to employ both; and none to take on him the work except first in a calling, nor to take on him a calling except he first have a gift meet for it. The Spirit is free of His gifts, by which ability; Christ He invites us to some calling, wherein authority; God He calls upon us to be at work, wherein diligence is to be shewed.
Our duty it shall be to come, to be at these three doles or divisions, to have our share in them. Out of the first; every one to get himself furnished with some gift. Out of the second; to see himself bestowed in some calling. Out of the third; having both these to apply himself to some work; and namely, that work belongs to his calling. In a word, every one to find himself with a gift, in a calling, about a work. Not having the gift, not to affect to enter the calling, not to venture upon the work.
By all means we are to avoid to frustrate this meeting of the Trinity. To do them this honour, to think all the three absolutely needful, and not any of the three more than needs. The wisdom of God, as it is never wanting in anything that needs, so neither it is lavish in any thing more than needs. And indeed, to hold any of the three superfluous, is in effect to call in question, whether some Person in the Trinity be not superfluous; namely, that Person Whose division we seem to set so light by. All three then are to be had, we cannot miss any of them. If we miss the gift, all will be done unskilfully; if the calling, all disorderly; if the work, all unprofitably, and to no purpose. Then, not to leave out, or to leap over the gift--that is a contempt of the Spirit; or the calling--that is a trespass against Christ; or the work--that is an affront to God Himself. So much for conjunctim: now for seriatim.
All to be had, and in this order to be had, as here they stand marshalled. The gift first; then the calling, to authorize; then the work, to make up all. But the gift before the calling, and the calling after the gift; the gift and calling both, before we be allowed to take any work in hand. The number not abated, the order not inverted. Neither the [383/384] calling before the gift, nor the work before the calling and gift both he had. But every and each, in his order and turn. This order kept, the Church will flourish, the commonwealth prosper, and all the world be the better. We have done with conjunctim and seriatim; and now we fall to seorsim, to the several divisions. And first, to the Spirit's, that is, the 'gifts,' and the nature of them.
The word is carsmata. It is a word of the Christian style; you shall not read it in any heathen author. We turn it, 'gifts.' 'Gifts' is somewhat too short, c£risma is more than a gift. But first, a gift it is. It is not enough with us Christians, that a thing be had; with the heathen man it is, he cares for no more, he calls it xij. Sure he is he hath it, and that is all he looks after. The Christian adds further, how hath it not of himself, spins not his thread as the spider does, out of himself, but hath it of another, and hath it of gift. It is given him. Unicuique datur, it is the eleventh verse. 'To every one is given.' So instead of Aristotle's word, xij,, habit, he puts St. James' word sÒsij or sèrrhma--it is 'a gift' with him.
And how a gift? Not, do ut des; give him as good a thing for it, and so was well worthy of it. No, but of free gift. And so to St. James' word dèrhma, which is no more but a gift, he adds St. Paul's here, c£risma, wherein there is c£rij, that is, 'grace,' and so a grace-gift, or gift of grace. This word the pride of our nature digests not well, fÚsij and fuswsij touch near; nature is easily puffed or blown up; but c£riissma hath a prick in it for the bladder of our pride, as if either of ourselves we had it and received it not, or received it but it was because we earned it. No, it is gratis accepistis on our part, and gratis data on His; freely given of Him, freely received by us; and that is c£risma right.
Freely given by Him; who is that? 'The Spirit.' The natural man feels he hath a soul, and that is all the spirit he takes notice of, and is therefore called animalis homo, that is, nothing but soul; that is all his spirit. The Christian takes notice of another Spirit That is not his own, that is, God's Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and that he is beholden to Him, who is 'one and the same Spirit.' Else, so many men, so many Spirits. But this is but 'one and the same Spirit.'
[384/385] Which 'one and the same Spirit' makes also against Paganism. For they had nine muses and three graces, and I wot not how many gods and goddesses besides. We go but to one. All ours come from one, from 'the same Spirit.' All our multitude is from unity. All our diversity is from identity. All our divisions from integrity; from 'one and the same' entire 'Spirit.' A free gift, from the free Spirit; a gift of grace from the Spirit of grace. So from God, not from ourselves; for Christ, not for ourselves; by the Spirit, not by either our nature or industry--not alone. For without the Spirit, all our nature and industry will vanish, and nought come of them.
Thus it stands. The heathen man thanks his own wit and study for his learning, and we secluded them not; but this we say, when all is done with all our parts natural, and all our acts habitual, if the Holy Spirit come not with His graces spiritual, no good will come of them. Therefore, we to seek after spiritual gifts, and zhloàsqai,--it is the Apostle's word 'zealously to seek them.' For though the Spirit give, yet we must sue and pray for them. Zachary makes by one 'Spirit' of these two, 1. 'grace,' and 2. 'prayer.' 'Prayer.' as the breathing out; 'grace,' as the drawing in; both make but one breathing. To pray then, and more than to pray, 'to stir them up,' the word is ¢uaazwpreu, 'to blow them' and make them burn, as is used to be done to fire; and as is to be done to the fiery tongues of this day: else you will have but a blaze of them; and all else, but cinders, cold and comfortless gear, God knows. But so all are to be suitors, and to labour to have a part in this dealing.
From the Spirit then they come, but by way of division. Not so, as some, all; some, never a whit, but by way of division. The nature whereof is, neither all gifts to one, nor one gift to all; but, as it follows, 'to each' some: neither donum hominibus, 'one gift to all men;' nor dona homini, 'all gifts to one man;' but dona hominibus, 'gifts to men;' every one his part of the dividend, for such is the law of dividing.
Which division is of two sort: 1. either of the thing itself in kind, 2. or of the measure. 1. the kind: which the Apostle speaks of in the seventh chapter, and seventh verse. 'To every one is given his special and proper gift;' to one in [385/386] this kind, to another in that. God so tempering, as the natural body, that in it the eye should not have the gift to go but to see, and the foot not to see but to go; and as the great body of the world--in it, Hiram's country should yield excellent timber and stone, and Solomon's country good wheat and oil, which is the ground of all commerce: so the spiritual body; that in it Paul should be deep learned, Apollos should be of better speech--one need another, one supply the need of another, one's abundance the other's want.
But division is not of the kind only, but of the measure also. Divers measures there be in one and the same kind. Every one, saith the Apostle, 'according,' not to the gift, but 'to the measure of the gift of Christ.' For to some gave He 'talents,' saith St. Matthew; to some but 'pounds,' saith St. Luke:--great odds. And of either, 'to one gave He five, to another three, to a third but one;' in a different degree sensibly. To each, his portion in a proportion: his homer, the Law calls it; the Gospel, his dimesnsum. And remember this well. For not only the kind will come to be considered, but the measure too, when we come to see who be in, and who be out, at the Spirit's division. And so much for the Spirit.
If we have done with the gifts, we come to the places; for where the Spirit ends, Christ begins. So as, if no gift stay here and go no further; never meddle with the calling or work. But what, if we have a gift, may we not fall to work straight? No, but a calling is first to be had, ere we put forth our hand to it. Which nemo sibi sumit, nisi qui vocatus, 'no man to take on him, unless he be called.' Though a gift then, though a good gift, not eo ipso to think of himself sufficiently warranted to fall a-working. There goes more to it than so. We must pass Christ's hands too, and not leap over His head. For after the Holy Ghost hath done with us, Christ will appoint every one of us his calling.
Of which division the ground is, that every man is not, hand over head, confusedly to meddle with every matter; but all is to be done kat_ t£xiu, 'orderly.' Each to know his own. The very word 'division' implieth order. Where we read 'divisions,' some read 'diversities.' But it is not so well that. Things that are diverse may lie together confusedly on pp.386/387 heaps, but each must be sorted to his several rank and place, else are they not divided. So as 'division' is the better reading; and 'division' is for order.
And order is a thing so highly pleasing to God, as the three Persons in Trinity, we see, have put themselves in order, to shew how well they love it. And order is a thing so nearly concerning us, as break order once, and break both your 'staves,' saith God in Zachary; both that of 'beauty,' and that of 'bands.' The 'staff of beauty,' for no manner of 'decency or comeliness' without it, but all out of fashion. The 'staff of bands;' for no kind of 'steadiness or constancy,' but all loose without it. All falls back to the first tohu, and bohu. For all is tohu, empty and void, if the Spirit fill not with His gifts; and all is bohu, a disordered rude chaos of confusion, if Christ order it not by His places and callings. Every body falls to be doing with every thing, and so nothing done; nothing well done, I am sure. Every man therefore, whatever his gifts be, to stay till he have his place and standing by Christ assigned to him. It is judged needful, this, even in secular matters. Write one never so fair a hand, if he have not the calling of a public notary, his writing is not authentical. Be one never so deep a lawyer, if he have not the place of a judge, he can give no definitive sentence. No remedy then, there must be division of places; of 'administration,' no less than of 'gifts.'
Will you know what those places be? Eight of them are reckoned up at the twenty-eighth verse. Not to trouble you with those that were erected, as needful at first, but were not to endure but for a time; those that were to endure are reduced to three, and stand together, 1. 'teachers,' 2. 'helpers,' 3. 'governors.' A threefold division, taught even the heathen by the light of nature, in their religion. They had them all three in their 1. 'Ierof£utaj, their 'teachers;' 2. 'IerosoÚlouj, their 'helpers;' 3. `Ieromu»mouaj, their 'governors.' The very same prescribed by God to His people: 1. their 'teachers,' the Priests; 2. their 'helpers,' the Levites; 3. their 'governors,' the sons of Aaron, called nesiim, as true and proper Hebrew for the prelates as prælati is Latin. The same is known in the Church of Christ through all antiquity: [387/388] 1. Prebyteri, to teach; 2. Diaconi, to help; 3. Episcopi, to govern. And never any other.
All these three here go under the name of Diakouai, the proper term of the lowest of the three. We turn it 'administration'--it is indeed ministry or service; and that on foot, and through the dust; for so is the nature of the word. An ill word for pride, who had rather hear of words sounding of dominion than of service, specially this service; for it but the order of deaconship, and pride would be at least more than a Deacon. Yet so we are all styled here, and no other name for any. The very highest are but so. The king himself twice made 'a Deacon,' God's Deacon; no other title. The best king that was, David, is said but to have 'served' his time. 'Served,' that was all. The glorious lights of heaven are said to be created in ministerium, but 'for our service.' The Angels of heaven are 'but ministering spirits,' no, Christ Himself is styled no otherwise, but that 'He was a Minister of the circumcision.' He That is Lord of all, and gives all the offices, calls His own but so.
These places, we said before, are divided for order. Now I add further, they are divided, not scattered, or let fall; for that is casual. Dividing is not so; but, as it is in the eleventh verse, prout vult, a voluntary act. He that distributes, knows what, and to whom he doth it. Places therefore are to be divided by knowledge; not scattered or scrambled for, by hap and hazard. The wind is to blow no man to preferment. It is the Lord That is to dispose of them.
And how to dispose or divide them? According to the former divisions of the Spirit. That these should first take place; the second depend upon those first; none taken to the second, till he have past the first. For Christ's places are for the Holy Ghost's gifts. Without inspiring with the grace, no aspiring to the place there should be. The Holy Spirit is by His gifts to point out those who should be taken in these 'administrations.' And where Christ placeth so it is. For He placeth none, but whom the Holy Ghost commends. Christ is 'the door;' of which door the Holy Ghost is 'the porter.' No man passeth through the door, but whom the porter openeth to. No man to Christ, but by and through [388/389] the Holy Ghost; nor to the calling, but by and through the gift. They that come not that way, by the door, get in by some other back way, per pseudothyrum, 'by some false postern,' that mars all. This is the true order, Vocavit servos, et talenta dedit--so is the Gospel; whom He calls, He gives talents to. If he have none given him, he came uncalled, at least by Christ--He called him not; he came unsent, at least by God--He sent him not. Though he answer, 'Here I am,' Christ spoke not to him. Though he came running never so fast, God sent him not. Esay asketh two questions, Quis tu hic? or Quasi quis tu hic? Quis, if by Christ; Quasi quis, if otherwise. And many a Quasi quis, God wot, have we among us.
What is then to be done that Christ be not neglected, and His call? That every one betake Himself to some calling or other. In the Ministry, all: all ministers; ministers, either of the Church, or of the state and commonwealth; but all Ministers. Those who are not, that dispose not themselves so to be, to be holden for superfluous creatures, for inutilia terræ pondera, 'that cumber but the ground,' and keep it barren; with whom the earth is burthened, and even groans under them. 'Deaf adders' they are, at Christ's call 'they stop their ears,' Who calls every one to a calling, to do some service some way.
To be in some calling; but withal, to have a gift meet for that calling. But if not at the first dole, the Spirit's, not at the second, Christ's; no gift there, no place here. Can any man devise to speak with more reason, than doth the Apostle in the fourteenth chapter following? 'If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant;' that is, hold himself for such, and not take on him the place, or work of the skilful. It is against God's will, if he do. ''Have you refused to gain knowledge? then have I refused you for being any Priest of mine.' It is God Himself, in Osee the fourth. Have you not used the means? Have you misspent the time when you should have laboured for the gift? Christ hath no place for you. Whom the Spirit furnished with gifts, for them it is Christ provideth places; for them and none else.
1. And yet, not every place for every gift neither; but to have a calling proper to his gift. Proper to it for the kind, [389/390] not to be missorted into a place no ways meet; his gift lying one way, his place another. But put the right gift in the right place.
2. Proper for the kind, and proper for the measure also; for as there be measures in gifts, so there be degrees in places to answer them. And one is not to thrust himself into a place disproportioned to the portion of his gifts--the Apostle calls it Úpeerrteu. 'Ekteueiu,. is 'to extend,' to stretch himself to the full of his measure; Úperektueiu, is 'to stretch himself beyond it,' to tenter himself far beyond his scantling. But if a mean gift, a mean calling to content him. Durus sermo, for there is none so mean in gift, that he undervalues his gift for any place, yes, even of the best worth. You may see these two, the kind and the degree: The kind in Uzziah: he had no calling to his work of 'incense,' of burning incense--not at all. What became of him? You may read in his forehead. The degree in Uzziah: he had a calling, was of the tribe, went only beyond his degree, pressed to touch the Ark, which was more than a Levite might do, and was struck dead for it by God. God no less angry with him who went beyond the degree of his calling, than with Uzziah that had no kind of calling at all. None that is in therefore, to overreach or presume above his degree, but to keep him within compass.
Now the gifts be dealt and the places filled, the Spirit's gifts put into Christ's, that is, into right places. Now fall we to the third, to God's division, to set them to work. Every thing, we said, hath his being for the work it is to do. Gifts, calling, and all for the work. For if the work follow not, the gift is idle, you may cast it away; the calling is idle, you may cast if off. A vocation it might be, a vocation it is not. The gift and calling both are for work.
And you will observe the proceeding here of the Spirit first? The Spirit is nearest resembled the breath; spiro, whence it comes, is to breathe. Breath, you know, is in the nostrils: they be two; through and from them both, the Spirit proceeds. To answer these, God the Father, Christ the Lord, are two; from them both, by way of spiration, comes the Spirit, the sacred breath of them both.
[390/391] Now then secondly, as the Father doth beget the Son, and from them both proceeds the Holy Spirit; so the gift to beget the calling, (of right so it should) and they both to produce the work. And as no man comes to Christ but by the Holy Ghost, so no man to the calling but by the gift. And as no man comes to the Father but by Christ, so no man to the work but by the calling.
Now to the work. The very word work, rgou, at once condemns three, ¢ergÕu, p£reergov, perrergou. `AergÕu first. Such as are idle-bodies do no work at all, spend their days in vanity, consume whole years in doing just nothing. This of works, is God's division; Who is not Himself, would not have us idle. Usque operatur, 'still He works,' still He would have us so to do. Not as Jonah, get us 'a gourd,' and sit under it, and see what will become of Nineveh, but stir not a foot to help it. Not to lie soaking in the broth, as Ezekiel said of the great men in his days; the city is the cauldron, the wealth is the broth, and in the broth they lie soaking, and all is well. St. Paul calls them the lolligoes of the land. His word is katteu£rkhsa. The six days, and the seventh, to them both alike; holyday Christians. The poet said, 'Aerrgoj aiev eeorrt_, 'every day is holyday with idle people.' Out of this division, out of operations, they.
The next sort, they will not be idle, but it were as good they were. They will be doing, but it is p£rergou all they do, nothing to any purpose; from and beside it quite. Opus quo nihil opus, some needless work; quæ nihil attinet, as good let alone; leaving undone, that they should and are to do, and catching at somewhat else, and mightily busying themselves about that, and all to no end. Anni eorum meditati sunt sicut aranea, saith the psalm: very busy they be, but it is about weaving cobwebs; nobody will wear them, or be the warmer for them; to no profit in the world.
And as these deal with quæ nihil attinet, so the last, with those quæ nihil ad eos attinet, 'that concern not them at all.' That will be doing, but it is with that they have nothing to do. There are divisions of works, and they work out their division; love to be busy, to be dealing with any body's work save their own. Which is lightly the busy-body's occupation, condemned by the Apostle, not in men only, but in the other [391/392] sex too. For they also will be meddling; poluprr£gmwu is of both genders.
I told you before, the callings were founded upon order, and to keep them so, have their _rroqesi/as, limits or bounds. And they do all ¢t£ktws peripateu, 'walk out of order,' disorderly break the pales and over they go; that leaving their own, become, as St. Peter's word is ¢lotrioepi/skopoi, 'Bishops of other men's dioceses;' do no good in their own, spend their time in finding fault with others. A thing not to be endured in anybody. Take the natural body for example, wherein the spirit, blood choler, and other humours are to keep and contain themselves, to hold every one in his own keep and contain themselves, to hold every one in his own proper vessel; as blood in the veins, choler in the gall. And if once they be out of them, the blood out of the vein makes an apostume; the choler out of the gall makes a jaundice all over the body. Believe it, this is an evil sickness under the sun, that the division of works is not kept more strictly. They are divided according to the callings; every work is not for every calling. For then what needs any dividing? But as the calling is, so are the works to be; every one to intend his own, wherein it is presumed his skill lies, and not to busy himself with others; for that is perergou. And these are the three errors about 'operations.'
It will not be amiss if we look yet a little further into this word. For it is eu_rghma, which is more than rgou. For ev_rghma, is not every work; it is an in-wrought work. A work wrought by us so, as in us also. And both it may be. For eu_rgeia and sun_rgeia take not away, one the other. So then by ourselves, as by some other beside ourselves; and that is God, Who is said here to 'work all in all.'
'All in all.' If we take it at the uttermost extent it will reach, then we must be well aware to sever the defect or deformity of the work from the work itself; as well we may. Moving is the work, halting is the deformity. Moving, that comes from the soul, whence the moving comes, but that is caused by the crookedness of the leg. So is the evil of the work; the defect from us, the work from God, and that His.
But, of all good, all our well-wrought works, of them, we say not only, Sine Me nihil potestis facere, 'We can do none [392/393] of them without Him;' but further, we say with the Prophet, Domine, omnia opera nostra operatus es in nobis. In them He doth not only co-operate with us from without, but even from within; as I may say, in-operate them in us; poiîn eu Ømn, 'a working in you.' Then, if there go another workman to them besides ourselves, we are not to take them wholly to ourselves. But if that other workman be God, we shall allow Him for the principal workman at the least. That, upon the whole matter, if our ability be but of gift; if our calling be but a service; if our very work but en_rghua, 'a thing wrought in us;' cecidit Babylon, pride falls to the ground: these three have laid it flat.
But besides this, there are three more points in en_rgghua. I will touch them first. 1. 'In us' they are said to be 'wrought,' to shew our works should not be screwed from us, wound out of us with some wrench from without, without which nothing would come from us by our will, if we could otherwise choose:--exerg»uata, these properly. But from within; has the principium motus there, and thence; and so are natural and kindly works.
2. Next from within; to show they are not taken-on works, done in hypocrisy; so the outside fair, what is within it skills not. But that there be 'truth in the inward parts,' that there it be wrought, and that thence it come.
3. And last, if it be an ene/rghua, it hath an energy, that is, a workmanship, such as that the gift appears in it. For energy implies it is not done utcunque, but workman-like done. Else there is an aërgy, but no energy in it. And even the very word 'of division' comes to as much. Dividing implies skill to hit the joint right; for that is to divide. To cut at venture, quite beside the joint, it skills not where, through skin and bones and all; that is to chop and mangle, and not to divide. Division hath art ever. And this for God's division, the division of works. And so now you have all three.
We have set down the order. Will you now reflect upon it a little, and see the variation of the compass, and see how these divisions are all put out of order; and who be in, and who be out at every one of them? First, whereas the gift and the calling are, and so are to be, relatives, neither without [393/394] the other; there are men of no gifts to speak of that may seem to have come too late, or to have been away quite, at the first of the Spirit's dealing--no share they have of it; yet what do they? Fairly stride over the gifts, never care for them, and step into the calling over the gifts, and so over the Holy Ghost's head. Where they should begin with the gift, the first thing they begin with, is to get them a good place. Let the gift come after, if it will; or if it do not, it skills not greatly. They are well, they lie soaking in the broth in the meantime. This neglect of the gift, in effect, is a plain contempt of the Spirit, as if there were no need of the Holy Ghost.
Thus it should be. As one speeds at the first division, so he should at the second. If no grace from the Spirit, no place with Christ. If some one, but a mean one, let his place be according. He with two mites, not in the place of him with the 'five talents' or as one well expressed it, not little-learned Aurelius, Bishop of great Carthage, and great-learned St. Augustine, Bishop of little Hippo. This is a trespass sure against the first division, which respecteth not only the gifts in specie, but in measure too. Proportion the places to the proportion of the gifts; which proportion we know is both ways broken, whether a low gift have a high place, or a rich gift be let lie in a poor place; contrary to the mind of Christ, who would have the degree of the place as near as could be to the measure of the gift.
There should be but one God. In the text there is no more. But here is another. The Apostle calls him 'the god of this world;' who hath his energoum_nouj who works too; and his works tend to deface and damnify the Church all he may.
Nor, there is but one Lord here, to divide places. But by a jure patronatûs, other Lords there are, that make divisions and subdivisions of them; of whom the poor subdivided places may say, with Esay, 'O lord, other Lords besides Thee' have had the disposing of us.
So there is but 'one spirit.' But another spirit there is abroad in the world. He that carried Christ up to the top of the mountain, and talked of Tibi dabo, as if he had gifts too.
I shall be sorry to make any other division of gifts than [394/395] those of the Holy Ghost. But made it must be, which the world hath made, and makes daily; and makes more account of them than of these here in the text. And indeed such account, as the Holy Ghost may sit still, and keep his gifts undivided well enough. The other spirit divides other manner gifts than the Holy Ghost hath any. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are dona pectoris, come out of the breast too, but they come but out of the bosom. And in speculation we say, The Holy Ghost's gifts are far above these; but in practice they are daily found to be far above them in power. For the Wise Man saith, Dilatant viam hominis, these gifts have a power to make a way through never so thick a press; power to make any door fly open before them. They speak of graces; they make any that come with them more gracious than these of St. Paul. Nay, they will disgrace them, and mar their fashion quite.
But then those gifts hold not of this feast, not of Pentecost; but hold of the feast of Simon and Jude, they. The Church hath joined those two Saints in one feast; and the devil, in many things else God's ape, hath made a like joining of his too, in imitation of the true. His Simon is Simon Magus, not Simon Zelotes; and Jude, Judas Iscariot, not Judas the brother of James--no kin to him. Simon, he came off roundly pros»egke cr»mata, offered frankly, would come to the price. And Judas, he would know what they would give, how thankful they would be; and it was done, and there goeth a bargain. These two are like enough to agree. And thus is the Holy Ghost defeated; bought out, He and His gifts, by Simon still. And thus is Christ betrayed in His places, and that by Judas still. This wicked fraternity of Simon and Jude are the bane of the Church unto this day. Judas that sold Christ, like enough to make sale of Christ's places. Simon that would buy the Holy Ghost, had He been to be sold, as like to buy out the Holy Ghost's gifts, as the Holy Ghost Himself. And this fault in the first concoction, is never after amended in the second. For with such as these God will never co-operate; never comes there any fruit of such. Enough, if anything were enough. But thus Christ's places go against Christ's will.
[395/396] Thus have ye a calling without a gift. What say you now to a gift without a calling? Those are not for the Holy Ghost; these care as little for Christ. Some such there are, no man must say but gifts they have, such as they be; but they care not greatly for troubling themselves with any calling. They are even as well without. Hop up and down as grasshoppers, hither and thither, but place they will have none; yet their fingers itch, and they cannot hold them, doing they must be; and if they have got but the fag end of a gift, have at the work; be doing they will of their own heads, uncalled by any so that have right to call; and for default of others even make no more ado, but call themselves, lay their own hands upon their own heads, utterly against Christ's mind and rule. And so over Christ's head they come, from the gift to the work, without any calling at all.
Well in these two they have somewhat yet; either a calling without a gift, or a gift without a calling. What say you to them who have neither, but fetch their run for all that, and leap quite over gift and calling, Christ and the Holy Ghost both, and chop into the work at the first dash. That puts them into business, which they have neither fitness for, nor calling to? Yet no man can keep them, but meddle they will, and in Church matters specially--there soonest of all; and print us Catechisms and compose us treatises, set out prayers and new psalms, as if every foreigner were free, and might set up with us. Good Lord what the poor Church suffers in this kind!
Yet have you a fourth, no less ill than any of these. And these be such as have gifts and callings both, it cannot be denied, yet fall short at the work; work not at all. Wrap up their talent, fold it up fairly in a napkin, and lay it by them. Let their calling lie fallow, get them into Jonas' gourd, and sit gazing there; or into Ezekiel's cauldron, and lie soaking there. Work who will, and work God in whom He will, in them He will work nothing; nothing so to any public good. These have great account to make to God, for thus treading under their foot His division. No, to all Three; to Christ also for the contempt of His calling, and to the Holy Ghost too for burying His gifts.
So have you 1. a calling and no gift; 2. a gift and no pp.396/397 calling; 3. neither gift nor calling. but work for all that; 4. both gift and calling, and no work, not for all that. All awry, all in obliquity, for want of observing the order here established. These obliquities to avoid.
It is the will of God that this trinity real should meet, and grow into unity, as the personal itself does; that so this here on earth beneath may grow and be conformed to that there in Heaven above. The former three divisions in the former three verses meet in the unity, and manifestation, in this fourth verse; which is the Spirit's unity. And so come we now about to the Spirit again. For all this dividing is not enough; but when the doles and divisions of all three is done, then begins the Spirit anew. For these must not be concealed, but be all manifested. And that must be by the tongues of this day. Which is it that giveth the Holy Ghost a more special interest than the rest, and makes the feast to be His. For hitherto they had as good a part as He.
If you mark it, dividing and giving is a kind of inspiring, or breathing in; uttering and manifesting a kind of breathing out again of that was inspired. And these two are two natural and kindly acts of the Spirit in us: by breathing in, to receive; by breathing out, to utter it out or manifest it.
And it hath good coherence, and follows upon the work well, this 'manifestation.' For every man's work is to make him manifest. No better way to take true notice of any than by it. It is not loquere, it is operare ut te videam. Christ saith not, auribus or sermonibus: but operibus credite, that is, oculis credite, For works be manifest, and may be seen.
It follows well likewise upon division. For 1. first, division doth make manifest. Things that are propounded in gross, eo ipso are obscure; and are therefore divided, that they may more distinctly and plainly appear. 2. And second, 'manifestation' itself is nothing but dividing. For what is divided unto us by the three Persons, it is required that we should divide unto others; and our dividing it among others is that which here is called manifesting. That which we receive when we make manifest, we are said to divide, and to distribute that which came unto us from the former three divisions.
But this is sure, without manifesting, all divisions avail [397/398] nothing, all the polnpokiloj c£rij, all 'the manifold variety of the graces' are to no purpose, no more than a treasure divided into never so many bags, if it be hidden and not manifest, is to any profit, or any the better for it. No it holds in all three. 1. In the gifts. We are not to rake them up, but to stir them up and make them burn. 2. In the calling. We are not to be ashamed of it, but to profess it manifestly, as he did, Non me pudet Evangelii. 3. In the work. We are not to work inward, in a back room, but to open our shop, set out our wares and utter them. Divided and not manifested--that is, the tongues are cloven, but they have no fire, nothing to give light by. And light it is that makes manifest. Which light is not to be hid 'under a bushel,' but to be set upon 'a candlestick;' or, as this feast gives, not to be kept in the shadow, but brought out into the sun, the bright and white sun of this day.
Manifested then. And why? for mhhden eiikÁ, 'nothing is to be done in vain:' but in vain, if to no end To some end then. For p£nta prÒj ti, andprÕj is here in the text. It falls not into a wise man, much less into the only wise God, to keep all this dividing and manifesting, and all to no end. To know that end then, that we run not in vain, labour not in vain, have not the gifts, take not on us the calling, do not the works in vain, 'receive not the grace of God in vain,' no, receive not our own souls in vain. Else, we fall upon the other capital error about Omega, about our ultimus finis. To know our part then. For, ignoranti quem portum petat nullus secundus est ventus, He that knows not whither he is bound, no wind in the sky is good for him.' To know our end then, whither to refer all. The gift is for the calling, and they both for the work, and they all three are for 'manifestation.'
But then take heed of making 'manifestation' the end of itself, and go no further. There are who make that their end, that do it faiiÙoproswpn, the Apostle's word, 'to make a fair show;' to spread their feathers, is all the use some have of their division. Christ's kindred would have made it Christ's end, and shouldered Him forward to it. If you can do, as they say you can do, then get up to Jerusalem, seek to manifest yourself there, that you may be known for such; win credit, and [398/399] become famous. But Christ came to another end. And the Christian's rule is, 'nothing for vain glory, either by provoking, or by emulation. It is but Omicron this, it is not Omega.
Wherefore then are we to manifest? IpÕj tÕ ssummq_ron. Here is out part, this is our end, 'to profit withal.' Whether Paul, Apollos or Cephas; whether gifts, places or works; all are for this. This is the end of all.
Far they are from this end, that have use of all three. But prÕj sumqor_n, not sumq_ron, that is not to do good, but to do a shrewd turn withal, now and then. Nay that will not stick to boast (one there was that did so; of whom the Psalm, Quid glorias? was made) how they are able to do one a displeasure by their place, and pay him home, if need be. As if officum came of officiendo, of standing in another man's light, of doing other men hurt by their offices. But take this for a rule, the Apostle gives it two several times: There is no power given to any 'to destruction,' or to do harm; 'for edification' it is, all that is; to do good with, and therein to be made manifest. We may not 'hatch cockatrice' eggs' to do mischief unto any, as they do to such as eat them.
But all prÕj summq_on. It is a compound word, and we will take it in pieces. First q_ron,. which is to 1. bring, to 2. bring in, to 3. bring forth, to 4. bring with. To bring in what? 'What profit is there,' saith the Psalm? to bring in some profit. To bring forth what? 'What fruit had you,' saith the Apostle? to bring forth some fruit. To bring with it what? 'that I may receive mine own with advantage,' saith he that gave the talents. To bring with it some advantage. A way withal, saith Elihu in Job, of which it may be said, 'it did me no good, no good came of it.' These same vana et non profutura,--away with them, saith Samuel, never look after them. But what saith God by His Prophet? Ego sum Deus tuus docens te utilia: He teacheth us nothing, but that which will do us good. And what by the Apostle? 'These things are good and profitable for men,' when he was in the theme of good works. For, as we are forbidden to 'hatch cockatrice' eggs,' things that will do harm; so are also in the same place, to weave spiders' web, things very [399/400] finely spun, but for nobody's wearing; none the better for them. Our energ»mata must be. 'works tending to profit with,' else are they not the right works.
But f_ron is not enough, to bring in. 'Bring in, bring in, cries the horse-leech's two daughters, till their skin crack; but it is only for themselves, and that is not the right. For it is not singulare commodum, 'this profit our own private gain.' Here is yet another part. Here is sÙn, that is, con, which ever argues a community; a profit redounding to more than ourselves. For, snmq_ron properly is collatitium, where there be a great many; bring every one his stock, and lay them together, and make them a common bank for them all, just as do the members in the natural body. Every one confers his several gift, offices, and work, to the general benefit of the whole. Even as they did in the Law. Some offered gold, others silk, others linen, and some goats' hair, and all to furniture of the Tabernacle. And semblably we to lay together all the graces, places, works, that we have, and to employ them to the advancement of the common faith, and to the setting forward of the common salvation.
For the common salvation is the 'profit' here meant. The Apostle himself saith it plainly, 'Not seeking mine own profit or benefit, but the profit of many.' And how? that they may have lands or leases? No, but 'that they may be saved.' Which is the true profit, redounding of all these, and which in the end will prove the best profit; which if any attain not, 'what will it profit him, if he win the whole world?' To which port we be all bound; to which port God send us!
And into this, as into the main cistern, do all these 'divisions,' 'manifestations' and all, run and empty themselves. All gifts, offices, works, are for this. Yes, the blessed Trinity itself, in their dividing, do all aim at this. And this attained, all will be to Pax in terris, the quiet and peaceable ordering of things here on earth; and to Gloria in excelsis, the high pleasure of Almighty God.
So come we about, and return again, to the first point we began with, that is, to the blessed Trinity. From Them are these; and if from Them, for Them: if from Their grace, for Their glory, the glory of Them who gave, ordered and [400/401] wrought; gave the gifts to us, ordered the places for us, wrought the works in us. If we the profit, They the praise: the rather, for that even that praise will redound to our profit also, the highest profit of all, the gaining of our souls, and the gaining of them a rest in the Heavenly kingdom with all Three Persons.