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21. Thou hast no part. Some do frame this sentence otherwise, that Simon is not partaker of grace, because he setteth a price thereof. But the other reading which we have followed is more usual, to wit, that that reason be joined to the former member. And surely it is better to knit the two sentences together, thus, Thy money perish with thee, because thou thinkest that the inestimable gift of the Spirit can be bought with money. Whereas the old interpreter had put, in this word; Erasmus translated it more fitly, in this business; for Peter’s meaning is, that that sacrilegious person hath nothing to do in all that administration, who doth wickedly profane the same.
Furthermore both the Papists, and also the old divines, have disputed much concerning simony; but that which the Papists call simony doth not agree with Simon’s fact. Simon would have bought the grace of the Spirit with money; the Papists apply the crime of simony unto their idle revenues; and yet I speak not this that I may extenuate those horrible sins which reign at this day in Popery, in buying and selling spiritual promotions. Now, this wickedness is filthy enough of itself, in that they hold such a mart in the Church of God. And in the mean season, we must note the true definition of simony, to wit, that it is a wicked buying and selling of the gifts of the Spirit, or some other such like thing, whilst that a man abuseth them unto ambition or other corruptions. Though I confess that all those imitate Simon who strive to attain unto the government of the Church by unlawful means; which thing we see committed at this day without shame, as if it were lawful; and we can scarce find one priest in all Popery which is not manifestly a simoniacal person in this respect; because none can put up his head amongst them, 522522 “Quando nullus illuc emergere potest,” since no man can rise there. but he must creep in by indirect means. Although we must confess, (which thing even children see, to our great shame,) that this vice is too common even amongst the false professors of the gospel.
But let us remember, first, to the end we may be free from the infection of Simon, that the gifts of the Spirit are not gotten with money, but that they are given of the free and mere goodness of God, and that for the edifying of the Church; that is, that every man may study to help his brethren according to the measure of his ability; that every man may bestow 523523 “Modeste conferat,” may modesty bestow. that about the common good of the Church which he hath received; and that the excellency of no man may hinder, but that Christ may excel all. Notwithstanding, it may seem a marvelous matter, that Peter excludeth Simon from being a partaker of the Spirit, as concerning special gifts; because his heart is not right before God. For the wickedness of Judas did not let him from having the gifts of the Spirit in great measure; neither had the gifts of the Spirit been so corrupted amongst the Corinthians, if their heart had been right in the sight of God. Therefore that reason which Peter allegeth seemeth insufficient; because many men excel oftentimes in the gifts of the Spirit, who have an unclean heart. But, first of all, there followeth no absurdity, if God give such graces to men which are unworthy thereof. Secondly, Peter prescribeth no general rule in this place, but because the Church alone is for the most part made partaker of the gifts of the Spirit, he pronounceth that Simon, who is a stranger to Christ, is unworthy to have the same graces given him, (which are bestowed upon the faithful,) as if he were one of God’s household. Moreover, he had blasphemed those gifts whereof he is deprived.