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Verse 8

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation ,.... This is the other branch of prophesying or preaching, and which is more practical, and lies in giving a word of exhortation to the saints, as their particular cases call for; for as prophets were teachers, Acts 13:1 ; so also exhorters, Acts 15:32 ; and one considerable branch of the ministry, and which is more principally the pastor's work, as well as to teach, is to exhort all sorts of persons, young and old, rich and poor, high and low, bond and free, under his care, with all longsuffering and doctrine. The words will bear to be read, "he that comforteth, on consolation"; and so the Syriac version renders them, ואית דמביאנא הו בבויאה , "and another who is a comforter, in his consolation". Though all the ministers of the Gospel are to speak comfortably to the saints, by preaching the doctrines of free justification by Christ's righteousness, and remission of sins by his blood, by bringing the good news of salvation by him, and by opening the exceeding great and precious promises of the Gospel; yet some have a greater talent this way than others; some are "Boanergeses", sons of thunder, Mark 3:17 , and others "Barnabases", sons of consolation, Acts 4:36 ; and each should attend to that with all diligence and humility, he is best qualified for.

He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity . Here begins the subdivision of the deacon's office into its several branches, "giving", "ruling", and "showing mercy": by "giving" is meant, not giving of his own, or performing: acts of charity, which is common to all the members of the church, who ought liberally to contribute to the relief of the poor; but imparting or distributing the church's money to proper objects, which is to be done "with simplicity"; with all faithfulness and integrity, without fraud or embezzling the church's stock, with impartiality, and without respect of persons, and liberally and bountifully, as the word here used signifies; see 2 Corinthians 8:2 ;

he that ruleth, with diligence ; deacons are the "helps, governments", mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28 , who are assisting to the pastor in the government of the church; their business is, to observe the conversations of the members of the church, and to warn them that are unruly and walk disorderly, to compose differences, and prepare matters to lay before the church; a deacon is προισταμενος , "one that goes before"; and leads on others by way of example in his conduct and conversation; or as the Syriac renders it, דקאם ברישא , "that stands at the head" of affairs in the church; in the management of which he ought to use all study, thoughtfulness, care and diligence:

he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness ; which is not to be understood of showing compassion to miserable objects in common, or of giving alms to necessitous persons, and which ought to be done according to the Jewish F12 Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 10. sect. 4. 13. canons, בסבר פנים יפות , "with a cheerful countenance"; and is what is highly pleasing to God, who "loves a cheerful giver": but of a branch of the deacon's office, whose work, among other things, is to visit the sick and distressed, and communicate to them as their wants require; all which should be done, not in a morose and frowning manner, but with a pleasant look and cheerful countenance, which makes the visit and the gift more welcome, acceptable, and useful.

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