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Verse 8

Or he that exhorteth - Ὁ παρακαλων , The person who admonished and reprehended the unruly or disorderly; and who supported the weak and comforted the penitents, and those who were under heaviness through manifold temptations.

He that giveth - He who distributeth the alms of the Church, with simplicity - being influenced by no partiality, but dividing to each according to the necessity of his case.

He that ruleth - Ὁ προΐσταμενος , He that presides over a particular business; but as the verb προΐσταμαι also signifies to defend or patronize, it is probably used here to signify receiving and providing for strangers, and especially the persecuted who were obliged to leave their own homes, and were destitute, afflicted, and tormented. It might also imply the persons whose business it was to receive and entertain the apostolical teachers who traveled from place to place, establishing and confirming the Churches. In this sense the word προστατις is applied to Phoebe, Romans 16:2 ; : She hath been a Succorer of many, and of myself also. The apostle directs that this office should be executed with diligence, that such destitute persons should have their necessities as promptly and as amply supplied as possible.

He that showeth mercy - Let the person who is called to perform any act of compassion or mercy to the wretched do it, not grudgingly nor of necessity, but from a spirit of pure benevolence and sympathy. The poor are often both wicked and worthless: and, if those who are called to minister to them as stewards, overseers, etc., do not take care, they will get their hearts hardened with the frequent proofs they will have of deception, lying, idleness, etc. And on this account it is that so many of those who have been called to minister to the poor in parishes, workhouses, and religious societies, when they come to relinquish their employment find that many of their moral feelings have been considerably blunted; and perhaps the only reward they get for their services is the character of being hard-hearted. If whatever is done in this way be not done unto the Lord, it can never be done with cheerfulness.

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