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ther, as long as we be in this present life; and if we do not so, as Paul here did, we lack faith and charity, and be out of the favour of God; and they admonish us to do our duty.
Ver. 20-21. Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all, that we are or understand, according to the power that worketh in us, be praise. in the congregation which is in Christ Jesu at all times, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lest any man should think God not able to grant these things, that we desire of him in our faithful prayers, he saith, that God doth give to us above all things, that we ask of him; and more things he giveth to us than we ask of him, or yet can think to be desired of him : for his might is omnipotent, and his riches cannot be wasted or spent, for they be infinite, and ever do Aow and abound with plenty to all men.
He sheweth also that God worketh in all good men by his might and power, moving them to good works always : as in evil men the devil is not idle, but moveth and stirreth them to evil deeds and deadly works that bring death.
The Apostle giveth God thanks for his gifts given to him, and to all other faithful Christians. In the which, he moveth us all to give God thanks for his benefits that he giveth to us and to all men every day; and that we should not be unthankful or forgetful of the goodness of God, to whom be glory, praise, and commendation, for ever. Amen.
other many more, which be knit together with charity, the bond of peace, that coupleth and knitteth all virtues together and keepeth them, that one shrink not from another. Of discord come many great vices and sins, that bring to death ; as ire, ha red, envy, malice, fury, mad hastiness, cruelty, pride, despising of others, strife, contention, and debate; and many other vices more that bring death (Gal. v.). Therefore flee discord, seek for unity and it be to loss of your temporal goods and pleasure ; so doing, you shall win more heavenly riches that you lose temporal goods, seeking for unity and peace; and if you will have peace and other virtues, , see that you study first to get charity, and have her favour, whose favour if you lack, you shall lack peace, unity, and all other virtues ; and having her favour you shall have all virtues, and the spirit of God that moveth away to all goodness, to works of charity and mercy.
He sheweth the reasons why he hath exhorted them to concord, and unity of the spirit, and to keep that unity by charity, the bond of peace. One reason is this, it becometh them not to be at discord, to whom so many things be common: it becometh them not to be of divers minds and affections, at debate and strife, that be of one body, one spirit, one calling, oue hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father, which maketh all in all, as who should say, it is not meet that there should be variance amongst them, that be members of one body. All we be members of Christ's body, wherefore it is not meet that amongst Christian men should be discord and debate ; but unity, and concord, and every one to seek as well for the profit of another, as members in the body speak and labour one for another.
How deadly war amongst Christian men for
worldly honours and pleasures, do agree with St. Paul here in this place, I would learn of others; also, if we have the spirit of God, as I trust we have, or else we be not of Christ. (Rom. viii.) There should be no debate amongst us, for that spirit is not the spirit of contention, but of peace; we be called in one hope of that heavenly inheritance, where there shall be no discord or contention : for contentious men ohtain not the kingdom of God.
We be servants to one Lord; it becometh not servants to be at contention amongst themselves; there is one profession of all Christians, by the which they profess to be servants of God alone, to believe and trust in him, to be obedient to his will, alway to look for all necessary things, life, and salvation of him alone; and one baptism, by the which we be made his servants, receive name and livery, by the which we be known to be servants only to God, which is our Lord God and Father. It becometh not servants nor brethren to strive, but to have all love, peace, unity, and concord, and every one for his part to endeavour himself with all his power, might, and diligence, to do the will and pleasure of his Lord and Father, that he may receive the heavenly inheritance, promised to obedient children.
Ver. 7-10. Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. There. fore, saith he, he is gone up on high, and hath led away captivity captive, and hath given gifts 'unto men; that he went up, what is it, but he first came down into the lowest parts of the earth ? He that came down, is even the same which is gone up above all heavens to fulfil all.
Lest any man should think, or say that the divers gifts of the Spirit should hurt or hinder the unity of the spirit, and be a cause of debate, and stir up strife or contention for the diversity of the gifts of God,
the Apostle saith that these gifts, given freely, should rather be cause of concord, than of discord, seeing not all gifts be given to one, but every one after such a fashion and measure, that every one hath need of the help of another. Therefore it becometh every inan to be content with his gift, and not to contemn another that hath not so much given to him : he that hath much, much shall be required of him; and he that hath less, less shall be required of him ; and he that hath most, he hath not so much, but he hath need in some things of the help of others, that none should contemn another.
The distribution of the gifts of God is not at man's will, but at the will and pleasure of God, which giveth them as he pleaseth, to some more and some less, as he seeth it expedient for his glory and our salvation. Therefore, let none be despised because he hath little, nor no man proud because he hath much, or more than others; let every one exercise and use their gifts given them, to the glory of God, and to the profit of others, and so be thankful to God, the giver of all goodness, which gave them his gifts, not all to one man, lest he should contemn all other men, and abuse the gifts of God to lucre, to yain glory, to pride, and arrogance.
The Apostle proveth, by the testimony and record of David, the prophet (Psalın lxviii.), that Christ hath overcome his enemics, viz. sin, death, hell, and the devil, and hath ascended to heaven, and hath given gifts to men. Here he alludeth and followethi the manner of conquerors, which conquer and overcome their enemies, and get spoils and riches of their enemies, which they shew and blaze them abroad, that every man may see them, and then distribute them to the people in a triumph and praise of victory, So Christ, having victory over his enemies, sin, death, hell
, and the devil, and having robbed them of their
captives, he triumphed over them, and hath ascended to heaven, and given many gifts of the Holy Ghost to men, in laud and praise of his victory over his enemies.
In that he asketh, what is that ascended and descended into low parts of the earth ? he expoundeth it himself, saying, it is he which descended before, and ascended above all, to fulfil all; that is to say, it
: is Christ, which came from heaven into the earth, and took the nature of man upon him, and was be. come as man, and as an abject person, and suffered death, and ascended to heaven, and fulfilled all things, restored all things, and made all things perfect, by whom we have free passage to the Father, and be made heirs of the celestial inheritance,
Ver. 11-13. And the same hath set some to be apostles, some to le prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be shepherds and teachers, whereby the saints might le coupled together, through common service, to the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come unto one manner of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and become a perfect man into the measure of the perfect age of Christ.
Of this place we may learn, how God hath distributed his gifts, and set in his church, divers ministers for divers offices, and willeth, that every one should use himself in his office, according to his office, calling, and gift. Some he calleth apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some doctors, some teachers. Apostles they were called, which were not fixed to one place or to one people, but went from place to place, preaching the Gospel both to the Jews and the Gentiles. Prophets were they, that opened the mysteries of the Scriptures, and sometimes shewed things to come. Evangelists were they, that were deputed to teach the people the Gospel şimply and plainly. Doctors were they that taught