Images de page

Directions to men married


to heathen women, &c.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother | thy husband; or a how knowest thou, O man, whether thou hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell shalt save thy wife? with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, P let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else a were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt t save o Ver. 6-1 Pet. 3. 1, 2-q Mal. 2. 15-r Rom. 12. 18. & 14. 19. Ch. 14. 33. Heb 12 14. Gr. in peace.- 1 Pet. 3. 1. u Gr. what.

Divorces were easily obtained among them, and they considered them the dissolving of the marriage bond: and, in consequence of these, the parties might re-marry with others. This was contrary to the original institution of marriage; and is opposed both by our Lord and the apostle.

11. But, and if she depart] He puts the case as probable, because it was frequent; but lays it under restrictions.

Let her remain unmarried] She departs at her own peril; but she must not marry another: she must either continue uninarried, or be reconciled to her husband.

And let not the husband put away his wife] Divorces cannot be allowed, but in the case of fornication; an act of this kind dissolves the marriage vow; but nothing else can. It is a fact, that, among the Jews, the wife had just as much right to put away her husband, as the husband had to put away his wile. As divorces were granted, it was right that each should have an equal power; for this served as a mutual check.

12. But to the rest speak I. not the Lord] As if he had said, for what I have already spoken, I have the testimony of the Lord by Moses; and of my own Lord and Master Christ. But for the directions which I am now about to give, there is no written testimony; and I deliver them now for the first time. These words do not intimate, that the apostle was not now under the influence of the Divine Spirit; but, that there was nothing in the sacred writings which bore directly on this point.

If any brother] A Christian man, have a wife that be. lieveth not, i. e. who is a heathen; not yet converted to the Christian faith; and she be pleased to dwell with him, notwithstanding his turning Christian since their marriage; let kim not put her away, because she still continues in her hea then superstition.

13. And the woman] Converted from heathenism to the Christian faith: Which hath a husband, who still abides in heathenisin; if he be pleased to dwell with her, notwithstanding she has become a Christian since their marriage, let her not leave him because he still continues a heathen.

14. The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife] Or, rather, is to be reputed as sanctified, on account of his wife: she being a Christian woman, and he, though a heathen, being, by marriage, one flesh with her; her sanctity, as far as it refers to outward things, may be considered as imputed to him, so as to render their connexion not unlawful. The case is the same when the wife is a heathen, and the husband a Christian. The word sanctification, here, is to be applied much more to the Christian state than to any moral change in the persons: for, Aytot, saints, is a common term for Christians, those who were baptized into the faith of Christ; and, as its corresponding term, wip kedushim, signified all the Jews, who were in the covenant of God by circumcision. The heathens in question were considered to be in this holy state by means of their connexion with those who were by their Christian profession saints.

Else were your children unclean] If this kind of relative sanctification were not allowed, the children of these persons could not be received into the Christian church, nor enjoy any rights or privileges as Christians; but the church of God never scrupled to admit such children as members, just as well as she did those who had sprung from parents, both of whom were Christians.

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him w not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? x let him not be circumcised.

19 y Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

▾ Ch. 4. 17. 2 Cor. 11. 28-w 1 Mac. 1. 15-x Acts 15. 1, 5, 19, 24, 28. Gal 5. 2-y Gal. 5. 6. & 6. 15.-z John 15 14. 1 John 2 3. & 3. 24. last day, certain persons were called together to mark the moment on which the parca or fates had fixed its destiny. The first step the child set on the earth, was consecrated to the goddess Statina; and, finally, some of the hair was cut off, or the whole head shaven, and the hair offered to some god, or goddess, through some public or private motive of de. votion." He adds, that "no child among the heathens was born in a state of purity; and it is not to be wondered at " says he, "that demons possess them from their youth, seeing they were thus early dedicated to their service." In reference to this, he thinks St. Paul speaks in the verse before us, "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife-else were your children unclean; but now are they holy; i. e. "As the pa rents were converted to the Christian faith, the child comes into the world without these impure and unhallowed rites; and is, from its infancy, consecrated to the true God."

15. But if the unbelieving depart] Whether husband or wife: if such obstinately depart and utterly refuse all cohabitation; a brother or a sister, a Christian man or woman is not under bondage to any particular laws, so as to be prevented from remarrying; such, probably, the law stood then; but it is not so now for the marriage can only be dissolved by death, or by the ecclesiastical court. Even fornication, or adultery, does not dissolve the marriage contract; nor will the obstinate separation of any of the parties, however long continued, give the party abandoned, authority to remarry. If the person have been beyond sea, and not heard of for seven years, it is presumed he may be dead, and marriage has been connived at in such cases. If there be no person to complain, it may be presumed that there is none injured. But I have known instances where even a marriage after seven years' absence, has been very unfortunate; to a husband, returning at the end of ten or twelve years, and, to his utter distress, finding his wife married to another man, and with issue of that marriage! There can be no safety in this case, unless there be absolute certainty of the death of the party in question. God hath called us to peace] The refractory and disagree. ing party should not be compelled to fulfil such matrimoni l eng gemens, as would produce continual jarring and discord. At the same time, each should take care that he give no cause for disagreements and separation for the author of the Christian religion, is the author of peace, and has called

us to it.

16. For what knowest thou, O wife] You that are Christians, and who have heathen partners, do not give them up because they are such; for you may become the means of saving them unto eternal life. Bear your cross, and look up to God, and he may give your unbelieving husband, or wife, to your prayers.

17. But as God hath distributed to every man, &c.] Let every man fulfil the duties of the state to which God, in the course of his providence, has called him.

So ordain I in all churches] I do not lay on you a burthen which others are not called to bear: this is the general rule which, by the authority of God, I impose on every Christian society.

18. Is any man called, being circumcised?] Is any man, who was formerly a Jew, converted to Christianity.

The Jews considered a child as born out of holiness, whose parents were not proselytes at the time of the birth, though afterward they became proselytes. On the other hand, they considered the children of heathens born in holiness, provided the parents became proselytes before the birth. All the child-Latin Fathers. It is a fact, that it was possible, by the assist ren of the heathens were reputed unclean by the Jews; and all their own children holy.-See Dr. Lightfoot. This shows clearly what the apostle's meaning is.

If we consider the apostle as speaking of the children of heathens, we shall get a remarkable comment on this passage from Tertullian, who, in his treatise De Carne Christi, chaps. 37, 39. gives us a melancholy account of the height to which superstition and idolatry had arrived in his time, among the Romans. "A child," says he, "from its very conception, was dedicated to the idols and dæmons they worshipped. While pregnant, the mother had her body swathed round with bandages, prepared with idolatrous rites. The embryo they conceived to be under the inspection of the goddess Alemona, who nourished it in the womb. Nona and Decima took care that it should be born in the ninth or tenth month. Purtula adjusted every thing relative to the labour; and Lucina ushered it into the light. During the week prečeding the birth, a table was spread for Juño; and, on the

Let him not become uncircumcised] Let him not endeavour to abolish the sign of the old covenant, which he bears in his flesh. The Greek words, un εionаnow, let him not draw over, is evidently an elliptical expression; the word rny po ẞvartav, the foreskin, being understood; which, indeed, is added by the Armenian and the Itala; and several of the ance of art, to do this; and Celsus, himself, prescribes the mode, De Medic. vii. 25, by frequent stretching, the circuncised skin could be again so drawn over, as to prevent the ancient sign of circumcision from appearing. Some, in their zeal against Judaism, endeavoured to abolish this sign of it in their flesh: It is most evidently against this, that the apos tle speaks. Many false Jews made use of this practice, that they might pass through heathen countries unobserved; otherwise, in frequenting the baths, they would have been detected.

Let him not be circumcised] Let no man, who, being a Gentile, has been converted to the Christian faith, submit to circumcision, as something necessary to his salvation.

19. Circumcision is nothing] Circumcision itself, though commanded of God, is nothing of itself, it being only a sign of the justification, which should be afterward received by faith. At present, neither it, nor its opposite, either hinder or fur ther the work of grace: and, keeping the commandments of

Questions concerning the


21 Art thou called being a servant 1 care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's b freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord h to be faithful.

26 I suppose, therefore, that this is good for the present i distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.


a John 8.36. Rom.6.18, 22 Philem, 16.-b Gr.made free-c Chap 9.21. Gal.5.13. Ept 6.6. Pet. 2. 16.-d Chap. 6.2). 1 Pet. 1.18, 19. See Lev. 25.42.-e Verso 20.— Verse 6, 10, 40. 2 Cor.5.8, 10.

God, from his love shed abroad in a believing heart, is the sum and substance of religion.

20. Let every man abide in the same calling] As both the circumcised and uncircumcised, in Christ have the same advantages, and to their believing, the same facilities; so any situation of life is equally friendly to the salvation of the soul, if a man be faithful to the grace he has received. Therefore, in all situations, a Christian should be content: for all things work together for good to him who loves God.

21. Art thou called being a servant?] AovλUS EKλnons; art thou converted to Christ, while thou art a slave? the property of another person, and bought with his money: care not for it: this will not injure thy Christian condition: but if thou canst obtain thy liberty, use it rather; prefer this state for the sake of freedom, and the temporal advantages connected with it. 22. For he that is called] The man who, being a slave, is converted to the Christian faith, is the Lord's freeman; his condition as a slave does not vitiate any of the privileges to which he is entitled as a Christian: on the other hand, all free men, who receive the grace of Christ, must consider themselves the slaves of the Lord, i. e. his real property, to be employed and disposed of according to his godly wisdom; who, notwithstanding his state of subjection, will find the service of his Master to be perfect freedom.

23. Ye are bought with a price] As truly as your bodies have become the property of your masters, in consequence of his paying down a price for you; so sure you are now the Lord's property in consequence of your being purchased by the blood of Christ.

Some render this verse interrogatively, Are ye bought with a price from your slavery? Do not again become slaves of men. Never sell yourselves: prefer and retain your liberty, now that ye have acquired it.

In these verses the apostle shows that the Christian religion does not abolish our civil connexions:-in reference to them, where it finds us, there it leaves us. In whatever relation we stood before our embracing Christianity, there we stand still: our secular condition being no farther changed, than as it may be effected by the amelioration of our moral character. 24. Let every man-abide with God.] Let him live to God in whatsoever station he is placed by Providence. If he be a slave. God will be with him even in his slavery; if he be faithful to the grace which he has received. It is very likely that some of the slaves at Corinth, who had been converted to Christianity, had been led to think that their Christian privileges absolved them from the necessity of continuing slaves; or, at least, brought them on a level with their Christian mas. ters. A spirit of this kind might have soon led to confusion and insubordination, and brought scandals into the church. It was therefore a very proper subject for the apostle to interfere in; and to his authority, the persons concerned would, doubt. less, respectfully bow.

25. Now concerning virgins] This was another subject on which the church at Corinth had asked the advice of the apostle. The word rapßevos, virgin, we take to signify a pure, unmarried young woman; but it is evident that the word, in this place, means young unmarried persons of either sex, as appears from verses 26, 27, 32-34. and from Rev. xiv. 4. The word rapievos, virgin, is frequently applied to men as well as to women. See Suidas under the word Aẞeλ avros παρθενος και δικαιος υπήρχε, He, (Abel) was a virgin, and a righteous man. In ver. 36. the word is supposed to mean the state of virginity or celibacy-and very probable reasons are assigned for it; and it is evident that persons of either sex in a state of celibacy are the persons intended.

I have no commandment of the Lord] There is nothing in the Sacred Writings that directly touches this point.

Yet I give my judgment] As every way equal to such commandments, had there been any; seeing I have received the teaching of his own Spirit, and have obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful to this heavenly gift, so that it abides with me to lead me into all truth. In this way I think the apostle's words may be safely understood.

26. This is good for the present distress] There was no period in the heathen times, when the church was not under persecutions and afflictions; on some occasions, these were more oppressive than at others.

The word avayen signifies necessity, distress, tribulation, and calamity, as it does in Luke xxi. 23. 2 Cor. vi. 4. and xii. 10. In such times when the people of God had no certain dwelling-place; when they were lying at the mercy of their

state of celibacy considered.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife 1 seek not to be lccsed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But, and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh; but I spare you.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not fashion of this world passeth away.

abusing it; for the

32 But I would have you without carefulness.

He that is

g1 Tim. 1.16h Chap 4.2. 1 Tăra. 1. 12.—i Or, necessity-k Verse 1, 8-1 Rom 13.11. 1 Pet 4.7. 2 Pet.3.8, 9-m Chap. 9. 1S.-n Psa,39.6. James 1.10. & 4. 14. 1 Pet. 1.21. & 4.7. 1 John 2. 17-0 1 Tim 5 J.

enemies, without any protection from the state; the state itself often among the persecutors; he who had a family to care for, would find himself in very embarrassed circumstances, as it would be much more easy to provide for his personal safety, than to have the care of a wife and children. On this account it was much better for unmarried persons to continue, for the present, in their celibacy.

27. Art thou bound unto a wife?] i. e. married; for the marriage contract was considered in the light of a bond.

Seek not to be loosed] Neither regret your circumstances, notwithstanding the present distress; nor seek, on this account, for a dissolution of the marriage contract. But if thou art under no matrimonial engagements, do not, for the present, enter into any.

23. But, and if thou marry] As there is no law against this, even in the present distress, thou hast not sinned, because there is no law against this; and it is only on account of prudential reasons, that I give this advice.

And, if a virgin marry] Both the man and the woman have equal privileges in this case; either of them may marry without sin. It is probable, as there were many sects and parties in Corinth, that there were among them those who forbad to marry, 1 Tim. iv. 3. and who might have maintain. ed other doctrines of devils besides. These persons, or such doctrines, the apostle had in view when he says, they may marry, and yet not sin.

Trouble in the flesh] From the simple circumstance of the encumbrance of a family, while under persecution; because of the difficulty of providing for its comfort and safety, while flying before the face of persecution.

But I spare you] The evil is coming: but I will not press upon you the observance of a prudential caution, which you might deem too heavy a cross.

29. The time is short] These persecutions and distresses are at the door, and life itself will soon be run out. Even then, Nero was plotting those grievous persecutions with which he not only afflicted, but devastated the church of Christ. They that have wives] Let none begin to think of any comfortable settlement for his family; let him sit loose to all earthly concerns, and stand ready prepared to escape for his life, or meet death, as the Providence of God may permit. The husband will be dragged from the side of his wife, to appear before the magistrates, and be required either to abjure Christ or die.

Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens
Uxor; neque harum, quas colis, arborum
Te, præter invisas cupressos,
Ulla brevem dominum sequetur.

HOR. Odar. Lib. II. Od. xiv. ver. 22
Your pleasing consort must be left,
And you of house and lands bereft,
Must to the shades descend:
The Cypress only, hated tree!
Of all thy much-loved groves, shall thee
Its short-lived lord, attend.
Poor Heathenism! thou couldest give but cold comfort in
such circumstances as these: and infidelity, thy younger
brother, is no better provided than thon.


30. They that weep, &c.] There will shortly be such a complete system of distress and confusion, that private sor rows and private joys will be absorbed in the weightier and more oppressive public evils--yet, let every man still continue in his calling; let him buy, and sell, and traffic, as usual; though in a short time, either by the coming persecution, or the levelling hand of death, he that had earthly property, will be brought into the same circumstances with him who had none.

31. And they that use this world] Let them who have earthly property or employments, discharge conscientiously their du ties from a conviction of the instability of earthly things. Make a right use of every thing, and pervert nothing from its use. To use a thing, is to employ it properly, in order to accomplish the end to which it refers. To abuse a thing, sig. nifies to pervert it from that use. Pass through things temporal, so as not to lose those which are eternal.

For the fashion of this world] Το σχήμα του κόσμου τούτου, signifies properly the present state or constitution of things: the frame of the world; that is, the world itself. But often the term Koopos, world, is taken to signify the Jewish state and polity; the destruction of this was then at hand, and this the Holy Spirit might then signify to the apostle


On this verse there is a profusion of various readings in MSS., Versions, and Fathers, for which I must refer to Gries bach, as it would be impossible to introduce them here, so as to make them look like sense.

35. This I speak for your own profit] The advices belong to yourselves alone, because of the peculiar circumstances in which you are placed. Nothing spoken here was ever designed to be of general application; it concerned the church at Corinth alone; or churches in similar circumstances.

Not that I may cast a snare upon you] Ovx wa Bpoxov υμιν επιβαλώ-Here is a manifest allusion to the Retiarius among the Romans, who carried a small casting net, which he endeavoured to throw over the head of his adversary, and thus entangle him. Or to a similar custom among the Persians, who made use of a noose called the i camand, which they employed in the same way.-One of these lies before me; it is a strong silken cord, one end of which is a 100p to be held in the hand; and the rest is in the form of a common snare or noose, which, catching hold of any thing, tightens in proportion as it is pulled by the hand that holds the loop.

The apostle therefore intimates, that what he says was not intended absolutely to bind them, but to show them the propriety of following an advice which, in the present case, would be helpful to them in their religious connexions, that they might attend upon the Lord without distraction, which they could not do in times of persecution, when, in addition to their own personal safety, they had a wife and children to care for. For that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.] The original alla pos To evoxnNOV, Kаι EURρосεOроv To Kupio areрionas ws, of which our ver

[ocr errors]

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast
may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
of the married and single.
a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye

towards his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need
so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them
36 But if any man nink that he behaveth himself uncomely
37 Nevertheless he that standeth steadfast in his heart, hav.
ing no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath
q Luke 10.40, &c.-r Deu.7.3.

sion is only a paraphrase, is thus translated by Bishop Pear
son, But for the sake of decency, and of attending more ea
sily upon the Lord without distraction.
literal than ours.
This is much mor.

been assigned to this verse. I shall mention three of the prin
36. Uncomely towards his virgin] Different meanings have
cipal. 1. "In those early times, both among the Hebrews
and Christians, the daughters were wholly in the power of
the father, so that he might give or not give them in mar-
the father had devoted his daughter to perpetual virginity; and
he afterward found that she had fixed her affections upon a n
riage as he chose; and might bind them to perpetual celibacy v
person whom she was strongly inclined to marry, and was
if he thought proper; and to this case the apostle alludes. If
ter's circumstances, that it would be wrong to force her to
continue in her state of celibacy; though he had determined
before to keep her single, yet he might, in this case, alter his
now getting past the prime of life, he, seeing from his daugh-
purpose without sin, and let her, and her suitor, marry."
men dedicated to the service of God, who were called raposvot,
virgins, in the primitive church. And a case is put here,
2. "The whole verse and its context speaks of young wo-
that circumstances might occur to render the breach of even
a vow of this kind necessary, and so no sin be committed.""
the state of virginity, or celibacy, whether in man or woman."
Both Mr. Locke and Dr. Whitby are of this opinion, and the
latter reasons on it thus:
3. "The apostle by rap@evos, does not mean a virgin, but

gins under the power of parents and guardians, and the usual
inference is, that children are to be disposed of in marriage by
It is generally supposed that these three verses relate to vir-
the parents, guardians, &c. Now this may be true, but it has
no foundation in the text, for Tape TηV EаUTOV Tapбevov, is not
to keep his daughter's, but his own virginity, or rather his
purpose of virginity; for, as Phavorinus says, He is called a
virgin, who freely gives himself up to the Lord, renouncing
matrimony, and preferring a life spent in continency. And,
that this must be the true import of these words, appears from
this consideration: that this depends upon the purpose of his
own heart, and the power he has over his own will, and the
no necessity arising from himself to change this purpose.
Whereas the keeping a daughter unmarried depends not on
these conditions on her father's part, but on her own: for,
let her have a necessity, surely the apostle would not advise
to do; nor could there be any doubt whether the father had
power over his own will or not, when no necessity lay upon
the father to keep her a virgin, because he had determined so
he had stood already firm in his heart, finding no necessity,
him to betroth his virgin. The Greek runs to this sense: if
viz. to change his purpose; and hath power over his own will,
not to marry: finding himself able to persist in the resolution
he had made to keep his virginity; he does well to continue a
virgin: and then the phrase, if any man thinks he behaves
himself unseemly towards his virgin, if it be over-aged, and
nions both of Jews and Gentiles that all ought to marry. The
Jews say, that the time of marriage is from 16 or 17 to 20;
thinks he ought rather to join in marriage; refers to the opi-
while some of the Gentiles specify from 30 to 35. If any
not let them marry. And then he concludes with those
words applied to both cases: so then, both he that marries,
think thus, says the apostle, let them do what they will, they sin
doeth well; and he that marries not, doeth better.

these verses, summing up what has been said.
This last opinion seems to be the true sense of the apostle.
It may be necessary to make a few general observations on

virgin, but the state of virginity or celibacy.
1. Iaptevos here, should be considered as implying not a

time in which both the laws and customs of Jews and Gen-
tiles required men to marry. See above, and see the note on
ver. 6.
2. YEраxpos, over-aged: must refer to the passing of that

there appear to be a necessity; is to be understood of any par-
ticular change in his circumstances, or in his feelings; or, that
3. Kaι OUTWS OPELλet yiveobat, and need so require; or if.
he finds, from the law and custom in the case, that it is a scan-
dal for him not to marry; then let him do what he wills or

let HIM marry, is the true reading, and agrees best with the
context. This reading is supported by D'EFG., Syriac, all
4. Instead of yapεLTwσav, let THEM marry, I think yauɛirw,
the Arabic, Sclavonic, one of the Itala; and St. Augustin.
Si nubat, if he marry, is the reading of the Vulgate, several
copies of the Itala, Ambrose, Jerom, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius,
and Bede. This reading is nearly of the same import with the
other; let him do what he willeth, he sinneth not, let him
marry; or he sinneth not, if he murry.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

5. The whole of the 37th verse relates to the purpose that the man has formed; and the strength that he has to keep his purpose of perpetual celibacy, being under no necessity to change that purpose.

6. Instead of εxyapigov, he who giveth her in marriage, I propose to read byauitwv, he who marrieth, which is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209. and of some others: with Clemens, Methodius, and Basil. Thy cavrov napßevov, his own virgin, is added after the above by several very ancient and reputable MSS. as also by the Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, Ethiopic, Clement, Basil, Optatus, and others; but it seems so much like a gloss, that Griesbach has not made it even a candidate for a place in the text. He then who marrieth, though previously intending perpetual virginity, doeth well; as this is agreeable to laws both divine and human; and he who marrieth not, doeth better; because of the present distress: see ver. 26.

it must be in the Lord liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be mar. ried to whom she will; " only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she so abide, v after my judgment. and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

v Ver.25.-w1 Thesis 4.8.

3. While I contend for the superior excellence of the mar riage state, I hope I shall not be understood to be the apologis of indiscriminate marriages-No, many of them are blaine. able in a very high degree. Instead of consulting common sense and propriety; childish affections, brutish passions, or the love of money, are the motives on which many of them have been contracted. Such marriages are miserable, must be so, and should not be otherwise and superficial people, looking at these, form an estimate of the state itself; and then indulge themselves in exclaiming against an ordinance of God; either perverted by themselves, or the equally foolish persons who are the subjects of their animadversion. That genuine Christians can never be so useful in anystate as that of marriage, I am fully convinced; but, to be happy, the marriage must be in the Lord. When believers match with unbelievers, gene rally pars sincera trahitur, the good becomes perverted; and Satan has his triumph when he has got an immortal soul out of the church of Christ into his own synagogue. But who, among young people, will lay this to heart! And how few, among young men and young women, will not sell their Saviour and his people, for a husband or a wife!

39. The wife is bound by the law] This seems to be spoken in answer to some other question of the Corinthians to this effect: "May a woman remarry whose husband is dead, or who has abandoned her?" To which he replies, in general, That as long as her husband is living, the law binds her to him alone; but, if the husband die, she is free to remarry; but only in the Lord: that is, she must not marry a heathen, nor an irreligious man: and she should not only marry a genuine Christian, but one of her own religious sentiments; for, in re-admits of them. A widow may marry again; only, let it be in the ference to domestic peace, much depends on this.

40. But she is happier if she so abide] If she continue in her widowhood, because of the present distress, for this must always be taken in, that consistency in the apostle's reasoning may be preserved. If this were not understood, how could St. Paul tell the widow that it would be more happy for her to continue in her widowhood than to remarry? She who had tried both the state of celibacy and the state of marriage, could certainly best tell which was most for her comfort: and he could not tell any thing but by an express revelation from heaven, relative to the future state of any widow; it is certain that he can never be understood as speaking in general; as there are multitudes of persons abundantly more happy in their married than in their single state: and there are many widows also much more happy in their second marriage than they have been in their first.

After my judgment] According to the view I have of the subject, which view I take by the light of the Divine Spirit, who shows me the tribulations which are coming on the church. But, says he, ver. 28. I spare you, I will not be more explicit concerning coming evils, as I wish to save you from all forebodings which bring torment.

I think I have the Spirit of God.] Aokw dε ka' yw Пvevμа Ocov EXE, might be translated Iam CERTAIN that I have the Spirit of God. This sense of doxɛiv, (which we translate to seem, to think, to appear, &c.) I have noticed in another part of this work. Ulpian on Demosthen. Olynth. 1. says, To do κειν ου παντως επι αμφιβόλου τατουσιν οι παλαιοι, αλλά πολλαKIG KAι ɛTI TOV Aλnoevεiv. The word dokɛiv is used by the ancients, not always to express what is DOUBTFUL, but often to express what is TRUE and CERTAIN.-See Bp. Pearce. The apostle cannot be understood as expressing any doubt of his being under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit; as this would have defeated his object, in giving the above advices; for, if they were not dictated by the Spirit of God, can it be suppos. ed that, in the face of apparent self-interest, and the prevalence of strong passions, they could have been expected to have become rules of conduct to this people? They must have understood him as asserting that he had the direction of the Spirit of God in giving those opinions, else they could not be expected to obey.

1. In the preceding chapter, we have met with subjects both of difficulty and importance. As to the difficulties, it is hoped that they have been so generally considered in the notes, that few or none of them remain: and, on the subject of peculiar importance, much time has been spent, in order to impress them on the mind of the reader. The delicacy of some of them would not admit of greater plainness; and in a few instances I have been obliged to wrap the meaning in a foreign language. 2. On the important subject of marriage, I have said what I believe to be true; and scruple not to say, that it is the most useful state in which the human being can be placed; and consequently, that in which most honour may be brought to God. I have listened with much attention, for the better part of half a century, to the arguments against marriage, and in favour of celibacy: and I have had the opportunity of being acquainted with many who endeavoured to exemplify their own doctrine: but, I have seen an end of all their perfection; neither the world nor the church, are under any obligations to them: they either married when they could do it to their mind and convenience, or, continuing in their celibacy, they lived a comparatively useless life; and died, as they should, unregretted. The doctrine is not only dangerous, but antiscriptural; and, I hope, I have sufficiently vindicated Paul from being its patron or supporter.

4. The doctrine of second marriages has been long a subject of controversy in the church. The Scriptures, properly understood, have not only nothing against them, but inuch for them. And, in this chapter St. Paul, in the most pointed manner, Lord. And a widower has certainly the same privilege. 5. The conversion which the Scripture requires, though it makes a most essential change in our souls, in reference to God; and in our works, in reference both to God and man; makes none in our civil state: even if a man is called, i. e. converted in a state of slavery, he does not gain his manumission in consequence of his conversion; he stands in the same relation both to the state and to his fellows, that he stood in before: and is not to assume any civil rights or privileges in consequence of the conversion of his soul to God. The apos. the decides the matter in this chapter, and orders that every man should abide in the calling wherein he is called.

6. From the 20th to the 23d verse, the apostle refers to the state of slavery among the Greeks: and, from what he says, we find that even among the slaves there were Christian converts; to whom, though he recommends submission and contentment, yet he intimates that if they could get their freedom, that they should prefer it; and he strongly charges those that were free, not to become again the slaves of men, ver. 23. from which we learn, that a man might dispose of his own liberty, which, in a Christian, would be a disgrace to his redemption by Christ. The word eλev0ɛpos, which we translate freeman, means properly freedman; one who had been a slave, but had regained his liberty. It is the same as liberfus among the Romans, one who was manumitted. The manumission was performed three several ways-1. The consent of the master, that the slave should have his name entered in the census, or public register of the citizens-2. The slave was led before the prætor, and the magistrate laid his wand, called vindicta, on his head, and declared him free-3. By testament or will, the master bequeathing to the slave his freedom. The manner in which the second mode of manumission was performed is curious. The prætor, having laid the rod vindicta upon the slave's head, pronounced these words, Dico eum liberum esse more Quiritum, "I pronounce him free, according to the custom of the Romans." This done, he gave the rod to the lictor, or serjeant, who struck the slave with it upon the head, and afterward, with the hand, upon the face and back. The head also of the slave was shaven, and a cup given him by his master, as a token of freedom; and the notary entered the name of the new freedman in the public register, with the reasons of his manumission: it was customa ry also to give him another surname.

7. Among our Saron ancestors, and also after the conquest, there was a species of slavery all the villani were slaves to their respective lords; and each was bound to serve him in a great variety of ways. There is a profusion of curious exam. ples of this in that ancient record, preserved in the bishop's auditors' office in the cathedral of Durhamn, commonly known by the name of the Boldon Book. This record is now printing, under the direction of his Majesty's commissioners on the public records of the kingdom.

8. Among our Saxon ancestors, manumissions were grant ed on various accounts-1. A person might, if able, purchase his own freedom-2. One man might purchase the freedom of another-3. Manumissions were granted to procure, by their merit, the salvation of departed souls-4. Persons were mannmitted also, in order to be consecrated to the service of God. These manumissions were usually recorded in some holy book, especially in copies of the four Evangelists, which being preserved in the libraries of abbies, &c. were a continual record; and might, at all convenient times, be consulted. Several entries of these manumissions exist in a MS. of the four Evangelists, s. 4. 14. in the liorary of Corpus Christi, or Bennet college, Cambridge.

[blocks in formation]

I shall produce a specimen of one of the several kinds mentioned above, giving the original only of the first; and, of the others, verbal translations.

1. The certificate of a man's having purchased his own freedom. ben rputelað on dissere Eristes bec dat Elrpig re ned hæro geboht hine reifne ut at Elfrize abb. And eallon hinede. mid anon púnde dar is to gepitner eall re hined on Badan.

Enirt hine ablende.
be dir geprit apende.
Here is witnessed, in this book of Christ, that Elfwig the
Red, hath redeemed himself from abbot Elfsig, and the
whole convent, with one pound. And this is witnessed by the
whole convent of Bath.

May Christ strike him blind,
Who this writing perverts."
This is a usual execration at the end of these forms: and is
in rhyme in the original.

2 Certificate of one having purchased the liberty of another. "Here is witnessed in this book of Christ, that Edric Atford has redeemed Sagyfa, his daughter, from the Abbot Elfsig and from the convent of Bath, to be for ever free, and all her posterity."

3. Certificate of redemption, in behalf of one departed. "Here is witnessed in this book of Christ, that Elfric Scot, and Egelric Scot, are manumitted for the soul of Abbot Elfsig, to perpetual liberty. This was done with the testimony of the whole convent."

4. Certificate of persons manumitted to be devoted to the service of God."Here is witnessed in this book of Christ, that John bought Gunnilda, the daughter of Thurkill, from Goda, widow of Leafenath, with half a pound. With the testimony of the whole convent.

May Christ strike him blind,
Who this writing perverts.
And he has dedicated her to Christ and St. Peter, in behalf of

his mother's soul."

9. When a man was made free, it was either in the church, or at some public meeting; the sheriff of the county took him by the right hand, and proclaimed him a freeman; and showed him the open door, and the public highway; intimating that he was free to go withersoever he pleased, and then gave him the arms of a freeman, viz. a spear and a sword. In some cases the man was to pay thirty pence to his master, of hide money: intimating that he was no longer under restraint, chastisement, or correction. From which it appears, that our ancestors were in the habit of flogging their slaves. See the laws of Ina, c. 24. 39. of Wm. the Conqueror, c. 65. and of Hen. I. c. 78.

10. Among the Gentoos, the manumission of a slave was as follows:-The slave took a pitcher, filled it with water, and put therein berenge-àrook, (rice that had been cleansed with out boiling,) and flowers of doob, (a kind of a small salad,) and taking the pitcher on his shoulder, he stands near his master; the master then puts the pitcher on the slave's head, breaks it so that the water, rice, flowers, and doob, that were in the picher, may fall on the slave's body: when this is done, the master thrice pronounces, I have made thee free: then the slave steps forward a few paces towards the east, and then the manumission is complete. See Code of Gentoo Laws, chap.

offered to idols.

| viii. sec. 2. pag. 160. It is evident that the whole of this ceremony is emblematical.-1. The pitcher represents the confined servile state of the slave-2. The articles contained in it, his exclusion while in a state of slavery, from the grand benefits and comforts of life-3. The water contained in the pitcher, his exclusion from the refreshing influences of heaven; for slaves were not permitted to take part in the ordinances of religion-4. The clean unboiled rice; his incapacity to have secular possessions; for slaves were not permitted to possess lands either by inheritance or purchase: a slave could sow no seed for himself, and consequently have no legal claim on support from this staff of life-5. The doob or salad shut up, his be ing without relish for that state of being, which was rendered insupportable to him by his thraldom-6. The breaking of the pitcher, his manumission and enjoyment of liberty: being as free to go whithersoever he would, as the water was to run, be. ing now disengaged from the pitcher-7. The shedding of the water, rice, flowers, &c. over his body, his privilege of enjoy. ing and possessing every heavenly and earthly good-8. His stepping towards the east, his acknowledgment to the Su preme Being, the fountain of light and life, (of whom the sun was the emblem,) for his enlargement; and his eagerness to possess the light and comfort of that new state of happiness into which he was now brought, in consequence of his manumission.

11. The description that Dr. John Taylor gives, in his Elements of Civil Law, of the state of slaves among the ancients, will nearly suit with their state among our ancestors; though scarcely as bad as their state in the West Indies. "They were held among the Romans-pro nullis-pro mortuis-pro quadrupedibus-for no men-for dead men--for beasts: nay, were in a much worse state than any cattle whatever. They had no head in the state, no name, no tribe or register. They were not capable of being injured; nor could they take by purchase or descent: had no heirs, and could make no will. Exclusive of what was called their peculium, whatever they acquired was their master's: they could neither plead nor be pleaded; but were entirely excluded from all civil concerns: were not entitled to the rights of matrimony, and therefore had no relief in case of adultery: nor were they proper objects of cognition nor affinity. They might be sold, transfer. red, or pawned, like other goods or personal estate; for goods they were, and such were they esteemed. They might be tortured for evidence, punished at the discretion of their lord, and even put to death by his authority. They were laid under several other civil incapacities, too tedious to mention."

When all this is considered, we may at once see the horrible evil of slavery; and wonder at the grace which could render them happy and contented in this situation: see the preceding chapter, verses 20, 21, and 22. And yet we need not be surprised that the apostle should say to those who were free or freed, Ye are bought with a price; do not become slaves of


12. I have entered the more particularly into this subject, because it, or allusions to it, are frequently occurring in the New Testament; and I speak of it here once for all. And to conclude, I here register my testimony against the unprincipled, inhuman, anti-christian, and diabolic Slave Trade, with all its authors, promoters, abettors, and sacrilegious gains; as well as against the Great Devil, the father of it and them. CHAPTER VIII.

The question of the Corinthians concerning meats offered to idols, and the apostle's preface to his instructions on that head, 1-3. The nature of idolatry, 4, 5. Of genuine worship, 6. Some ate of the animals that had been offered to idols, knowingly, and so defiled their conscience, 7. Neither eating nor abstinence in themselves, recommend us to God, 8. But no man should use his Christian liberty so as to put a stumbling-block before a brother, 9, 10. If he act otherwise, he may be the means of a brother's destruction, 11. Those who act so as to wound the tender conscience of a brother, sin against Christ, 12. The apostle's resolution on this head, 13. [A. M. 4060. A. D. 56. A. U. C. 809. An. Imp. Neronis Cæs. 3.] TOW, as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.


a Acts 15.20,29. Ch. 10.19.-b Rom. 14. 14,22.- Rom. 14.3,10.-d Ch. 13.8, 9, 12. NOTES.-Verse 1. As touching things offered unto idols] This was another subject on which the Corinthians had asked the apostle's advice: and we shall understand the whole of this chapter the better, when we consider one fact, viz. That there had long subsisted a controversy between the Karaïtes and the Traditionists, how far it was lawful to derive any benefit or advantage from things used by the Gentiles. The Karaîtes were a sect of the Jews who scrupulously held to the letter of the Sacred Writings; taking this alone for their directory. The Traditionists were those who followed the voice of the elders; interpreting the Divine Testimonies by their decisions. From a work of the Karaïtes, entitled Addereth Eliyahu, Triglandus has extracted the following decisions, which will throw light upon this subject. "It is unlawful to receive any benefit from any kind of heathen wor. ship; or from any thing that has been offered to an idol.""It is unlawful to buy or sell an idol; and if, by accident, any such thing shall come into thy power, thou shalt derive no emolument from it."-"The animals that are destined and prepared for the worship of idols, are universally prohibited; and particularly those which bear the mark of the idol. This should be maintained against the opinion of the Traditionists, who think they may lawfully use these kinds of animals, proVOL. VI. Q

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.


3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him. Gal. 6.3. 1 Tim.6.4.-e Exod.33, 12, 17. Nah.1.7. Matt.7.23. Gal.4.9. 2 Tim.2.19 vided they be not marked with the sign of the idols." Thus far the Karuïtes; and here we see one strong point of difference between these two sects. The Karaïtes totally objected to every thing used in idolatrous services: the Traditionists, as the Talmud shows, did generally the same; but it appears that they scrupled not to use any animal employed in idolatrous worship, provided they did not see the sign of the idol on it. Now, the sign of the idol must be that placed on the animal previously to its being sacrificed; such as gilded horns and hoofs, consecrated fillets, garlands, &c. And, as after it had been sacrificed, and its flesh exposed for sale in the shambles, it could bear none of these signs, we may take it for granted that the Jews might think it lawful to buy and eat this flesh; this the Karaïte would most solemnly scruple. It may be just necessary to state here, that it was customary after the blood and life of an animal had been offered in sacrifice to an idol, to sell the flesh in the market indiscriminately, with that of other animals, which had not been sacrificed: but merely killed for common use. Even the less scrupulous Jews, knowing that any particular flesh had been thus offered. would abhor the use of it: and as those who lived among the Gentiles, as the Jews at Corinth, must know that this was a common case; hence they would be generally scrupulous;


« PrécédentContinuer »