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28. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29. Are all apostles ? Are all prophets ? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30. Have all the gifts of healing ? Do all speak with tongues ? Do all interpret ?
Which I would not have set down at large, but that there be some so careless, (especially in matters they like not) that they will scarce be at the pains seriously to read over a citation only named; and that also this being presented before the reader, in the current of the discourse, will fix the nature of my application the more in his understanding. For the apostle shews here the variety of the operations of the divers members of the body of Christ, working to one and the same end; as the divers members of a man's body towards the maintaining and upholding of the whole.
Now these are not placed in contrary workings, for so they would destroy one another; and so the apostle in the ordering of them in three seve. ral kinds proves this. First, diversities of gifts. Secondly, differences of administrations. Third. ly, diversities of operations: and that which is the bond that keeps the oneness, here he also mentions, to wit, The same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God; the apostle names nothing of contrariety or opposition. But lest
should be so critical, as to bring in here the school-distinction of contrarium oppositum, and contradictorium, I shall not deny, but contrariety or oppo.
sition, in the sense it is sometimes taken, may be found in the body without schism : as the comely parts may be said to be opposite or con. trary to the uncomely, or the left-hand contrary to the right, or the foot opposite to the head, as the uppermost part to the undermost; or the doing a thing is contrary to the forbearing of it; but as for that which is acknowledged to be propositions, or termini contradictorii, that is, contradictory propositions, which are in the::selves irreconcileable, whereof one must be still wrong, and that still destroy one another, and work contrary effects, they are not at all admitted, nor supposed to be in the body of Christ; as I shall give in one instance, verse 8. To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit. First, here are two different gifts, but not contrary. Secondly, There may something like contrariety, in the sense aforementioned, be here supposed ; as, some may want this gift of wisdom and knowledge, and so to have is contrary to want, (though as to these two, none may be absolutely said to want them ; yet all have them not in the same degree, as a special gift; though as to some gifts there may be an absolute want, as that of miracles, and interpretation of tongues.) But should I suppose such a contrariety, or more properly a contradiction, as to wisdom, to oppose folly, and to knowledge, utter ignorance ; this were an opposition not to be admitted of in the body, because it were false to suppose that to proceed from the same spirit. And such contrarieties or diversities, as cannot justly be supposed to
ceed from the same Spirit of God, which is the bond that links together, cannot be mutually entertained in the body; so the differences and diversities, which the apostle admits of; while he speaks largely in this matter, are, That none ought to be offended at his brother, that he hath not the same work and office in the body that he hath; but that every one keep in his own place, as God hath appointed them; that neither them that are set in a higher place, despise them that are set in a lower; nor them that are set in a lower, grudge and repine at such as are set higher; but all work in their proper. place, towards the edification of the whole. And that the apostle intends this, is manifest, where he draws to a conclusion, verse 27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular, and God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, &c. and then he subsumes, Are all apos. tles, &c.
Which the same Paul again confirms, Ephes. 4. 8. 11. to the 17th, which was the second place I intended; and shall only mention, for brevity's sake, leaving the reader to consider of it at his leisure.
This is also held forth by the beloved disciple John in his three-fold distinction, 1 John 2. 12. 13. Of fathers, young men and little children :and by Peter, 1. Pet. 5. 1. 5. in that of elders and younger. The true liberty then in the Church of Christ is exercised when as one judgeth not another in these different places; but live in love together, all minding the unity and general good of the body, and to work their own work in their
own place. Also the forbearance of the saints is exercised, when as they judge not one another for being found in the different appearance, either of doing or forbearing ; which may
pe. culiar to their several places and stations in the body : for that there is, and may be diversities of works there, is excellently well expressed by the apostles, viz.
Rom. 12. 3. For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Verse 4. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office :
Verse 5. So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Verse 6. Having then gifts differing, according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith :
Verse 7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministring; or he that teacheth, on teaching :
Verse 8. Or he that exhorteth, on exhorta. tion : he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity ; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
If any then should quarrel with his brother, for exercising that which belongeth to the office of the body Christ hath called him to, and would force him to exercise the same office he doth, though he be not called to it; here is a
breach of Christian Liberty, and an imposing up
Now all schisms and jars fall out in this twofold respect : either when any person or persons assume another, or an higher place in the body, than God will have them to be in, and so exerçise an office, or go about to perform that, which they ought not to do; or when, as any truly exercising in their place, which God hath given them, others rise up and judge them, and would draw them from it; both of which cases have been, and may be supposed to fall out in the Church of Christ. As i Cor. 4. 3. 4. where some judged Paul wrongously; 3 John 9. where one exalting himself above his place, judged whom he ought not. We see then, what diver. sities be most usually in the Church of God, consisting in the difference of the gift proceeding from the same Spirit; and in the divers places, that the several members have in the same body for the edification of it; and every one being here in his own station, his standing therein is his strength and perfection; and to be in another, though higher and more eminent, would but weaken and hurt him: and so in this there ought to be a mutual forbearance, that there may neither be a coveting nor aspiring on the one hand, nor yet a despising or condemning on the other. But besides the forbearance of this nature, which is most ordinary and universal (and for the exercise whereof there is, and will still be a need, so long as there is any gathering or Church of Christ upon the earth) there is a certain liberty and for, bearance also, that is more particular, and has a