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The Tenth Sunday after Trinity.
by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels.
A Devotional Exposition of the Continuous Teaching of the Church Throughout the Year,
S.P.C.K., London, 1902.

As the first of these two Sundays deals with our general responsibility as Christians for our position of covenant grace and favour, so the second deals with our responsibility for special gifts of the Holy Ghost. These two Sundays correspond respectively to the parable of the pounds, in which the same sum was given to all the servants, and the parable of the talents, in which one received more and another less. 


The opening of this Epistle is very similar to that of the previous Sunday, both beginning with the words, “I would not have you ignorant.” Much misuse of stewardship is due to mere ignorance and faulty teaching, for how can anyone be expected to make full use of position and endowments of which he has never been taught that he is possessed? There can be no excuse for such teaching in the case of those who have to expound the Church Catechism, which so clearly lays down the primary fact of baptismal stewardship, and its consequent duties of renunciation, faith, and obedience. A complete exposition of the subject of spiritual gifts is, of course, beyond our present scope, and it must be sufficient to treat the Epistle in outline. 

     A.   The Universal Gift. 

There is one gift of the Holy Ghost common to all Christian people, “for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” The highest gift of grace is grace, and the highest endowment of Christians is their Christianity. This is at once the highest and widest Christian grace—viz., that a man should really obey Christ as Lord, and is a direct gift of the Holy Ghost. If we can point to no other gift of mind or position we can still feel that we have not been left destitute, so long as we retain firm faith in Christ. 

     B.   Particular Gifts. 

These are made necessary by the needs of the Church, and their variety must not lead us to forget that they have one source. 
   We have different endowments—” diversities of gifts.” 
   We have different tasks—” differences of administrations.” 
   We have different ways of working—” diversities of operation.” 
But in the midst of all these differences there is one Spirit who is the source of grace, one Master Whom we serve, one God Who fulfils Himself in many ways. 

     C.   Particular Gifts in Detail. 

     (1)  Some are of the Head. 

“Wisdom and knowledge.” Some approach Christianity as the noblest study of the intellect, and as the final philosophy. Such are not to be thought “no Christians” if they seem to lack practical force or to manifest little enthusiasm. There is room for the patient student in the Church of Christ who can appeal to wise men to judge his message, and his audience, if select, will be influential. Let it be enough if he can teach the teachers. 

     (2)  Some are of the Hands. 

These are given to practical workers whose faith removes mountains of difficulty. They have at heart the sacred work of philanthropy and care for the sick, though they have not, and need not, the aid of miracles. They are not men of deep knowledge or great preachers, but they are great workers, and we need more of these hands of tenderness and of power. 

     (3)  Some are of the Heart. 

These belong to the prophets, the true guides of souls, the enthusiasts, the evangelists, who have the holiest power of God in their possession. They know the deep things of the human spirit and of the Spirit of God. Such gifts are not given to all, and a man may be truly loyal to his Lord, and may be highly gifted in knowledge and practice, and yet lack this supreme gift. 
Each gift of the Holy Ghost is to the Church, and to the individual only as a member of the Church. Each is entrusted for a special object, and is to be used “to profit withal,” and the less showy gifts are not the least useful. We must reverence God’s gifts in others, and jealousy is out of place where all are working for the same Lord, Who will reward us, not for doing better than others, but for doing our best. 


This Gospel sums up the teaching of the five Sundays of Duty and Obligation, as well as that of the two special Sundays of Stewardship. As baptized members of the Church, as servants, and as sons, we are stewards of God, and must render strict and solemn account to Him Who visits the Jerusalem of His Church. 

It will be noticed that this Gospel is, in substance, the same as that for the first Sunday in Advent, and that thus we have an Advent in Trinity. We may not wait for the final judgment, but must be ever “judging ourselves that we be not judged.” 

We learn from this Gospel :— 

     A.   National Responsibility. 

How great this was we see in the tears of Christ, the strong emotion of a strong nature. The tears of Christ were— 

     (1)  Tears of Insight. 

Christ was not deceived by the marble and gold of Jerusalem, but saw only spiritual poverty and hopeless ignorance of the things that really matter. He saw beneath the peaceful view of the Holy City the seeds of confusion. There was no peace in the City of Peace. 

     (2)  Tears of Foresight. 

He saw the coming doom—the future retribution in the present of godlessness. He saw the loss of stewardship, and the curse of twenty centuries. When Christ weeps, be sure there is something to weep for. He sees nations and individuals as they are and as they will be. He knows the limits of our probation, and if we are exhausting the Divine patience. 

     B.   Church Responsibility. 

There were no tears here, for there was no excuse of ignorance. The temple was the very witness of the national stewardship. Here was the House of God, and the seat of the covenant. Here were offered the sacrifices in which the nation drew nigh to God and received absolution. The Church is ever the witness of stewardship, and when the Church is sunk in selfishness and love of greed Christ will not weep. He will be too angry to weep, but will use the scourge, and drive out the sin. His judgment will begin at the House of God. 


As is so frequently the case, this Collect, so simple in itself, gains deep significance when viewed in connection with the Scriptures of the day, and especially with the Epistle. We are taught that if we would gain gifts of stewardship, as described by S. Paul, and our prayers are to be answered, we must be :— 

     A.   Acceptable in Our Persons. 

God’s ears are open only to the prayers of humility and obedience. He will not listen if we ask in order to increase our pride, but only if we ask for what we need in order to serve Him better. Only those who ask His mercy may expect His grace. 

     B.   Acceptable in Our Petitions. 

Our persons are accepted if we ask in the right spirit, our petitions if we ask for the right things. We pray, therefore, that we may ask such things as please God. We may covet earnestly the best gifts and be refused, but there is no refusal for those who covet the best graces.