תמונות בעמוד

revelation) but to be in subjection; as the law also saith (Gen. iii. 35 16.) and if they have a mind to learn any thing, let them ask their

own husbands at home; for it is indecent for a woman to speak in

the church. Some of you I know will oppose these regulations. 36 But let me ask, What [authority you have for so doing ?) Did the

word of God come out from you? Or did it reach to you alone ?

Are you the first, and the only church in the world, that you should 37 toke upon you thus to act? If any of you appear to be a prophet,

or spiritual person, endowed with extraordinary gifis, let him as a

proof of it acknowledge that the things which I write unto you, 38 are the commandments of the Lord. But if any one is ignorant 39 of this, let him be ignorant: I shall not debate it with him. There

fore, my brethren, to conclude this discourse, desire chiefly to proph

esy, yet forbid not to speak with tongues. Brit always reinember 40 this grand rule; Let all things be done decently, and according to order.

REFLECTIONS. How fondly do men flatter themselves with empty appearances ! And often, how justly do those deserve the imputation of childish folly, the height of whose temper will least allow tiem to bear it. Let us dare to examine ourselves impartially, and be concerned that we inay not be children in understanding : but forming our minds on the maxims of scripture, and our lives on the example of Christ, may we grow up in him to the measure of the stature of a perfect man. But let us be children in malice : let us endeavour to be as free from cvery gloomy, malignant, selfish passion, as newborn infants are. Who can say lie has fully attained this happy and amiable character ? Yet let us follow after it; remembering, that there is a sense, in which (proud and interested, envious and malignant, as alas ! we too much are) we must become as little children, or we cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Those extraordinary gifis, which suited the first planting of Christianity in the world, are now ceased; but let us bless God, they were ever given ; and that wc have such an incontestable evidence of the truth of the gospel as this chapter affords. Such endowments must certainly argue a divine power, setting its scal to the gospel ; and the reality of such endowments can never be questioned, when we reflect on the manner in which the apostle here reproves the abuse of them : and that in a society where so many were alienated from him and his ministry ; and consequently, where such appeals, if not founded on the strictest and most apparent truth, must have exposed him to a contempt never to have been removed - These miraculous gifts, having abundantly answered their end, are wisely withdrawn; yet still the divine presence is with the church ; of which we have this happy proof, that there are those, who find the secrets of their heart made manifest, by the faithful and skilful administration of Christian ordinances : so that if they do not publicly fall down upon their faces, in such ex

women's speaking in public, and he thinks that the apostle in this passage, though he only exposed the indecent manner of doing it, did not allow of the thing itself.

traordinary transports, they inwardly adore the Lord God in their hearts, and acknowledge that he is with his church of a truth. May instances of this kind be more frequent, and may the spirituality and fervour with which divine ordinances shall be administered, be such as may afford more reason to expect them!

Let us regard God as the author, not of confusion, but of peace ; making it our concern to behave in his sanctuary, in a manner agreeable to this view ; with such solemn decorum, and with such a tender regard to the edification and comfort of each other, as he may approve. May the God of peace deliver Christians, of every sect and rank, from that spiritual pride which has thrown many religious societies into great disorder. And, to advance to a state so happy, as that of humility and love must necessarily be, may what the apostles have written, be acknowledged as the commandments of the Lord ; and Christian worship and practice, be more regulated by their truly authentic canons ; which would render many that have been since devised, relating to indifferent matters, as unnecessary as some others are burdensome, superstitious, and absurd.


The apostle begins his discourse on the resurrection of the dead, with remark

ing the certainty and importance of Christ's resurrection. Ch. xv.1-11.

I DUT now as to the other topic on which you wrote to me: I make

known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I first preached 2 to you ; which ye have also received, and in which ye stand ; by

which also ye are saved, if ye retain those joyful tidings, which I 3 delivered unto you, unless indeed ye have believed in vain. For

I delivered to you among the first principles, what I have also re

ceived by inspiration, that Christ died for our sins according to 4 the scriptures': and that he was buried ; and that he was raised, 5 the third day, according to the scriptures : and he was seen first of

Cephas (i.e. Peter) afterwards by [most of the twelve apostles.

Aftcrwards he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of 6 whom the greater part continue alive, but some are fallen asleer. 7 After this he was seen of James, and r them by all the apostles 8 But last of all he also appeared to me, as to an embryo, one born out 9 of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not wor

thy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of 10 God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am. And his grace

manifested towards me, was not in vain ; but I laboured more abun

dantly than they all ; yet not I, but the grace of God that was with 11 me. Whether therefore I or they laboured most, so we all preach,

and so ye believed. We all agree in our testimony to the death and , resurrection of Christ, and ye with all other Christians have agreed to receive it. Vol. II.

REFLECTIONS. Let it be the daily joy of our hearts to think, how firm that foundation stands, and what various and convincing evidence we have, that as Christ became incarnate, visited this wretched world, and died for our sins, according to the scriptures ; that as he condescended to go down into the caverns of the grave, and lie there in the cold and silent tomb, humbled in the dust of death ; so also according to the same scriptures, he was raised again on the third day. Let us be very thankful that such convincing proof was given of his resurrection, demonstrated by such infallible tokens, and repeated appearances, to all the apostles ; who had every opportunity the most scrupulous doubt could demand, of examining at leisure into its certainty. More than five hundred persons were witnesses to it at one time ; and witnesses who survived to many future years to attest this important fact, that our faith and hope might be in God : in God who quickeneth the dead, and who by this resurrection of Jesus his Son, hath begotten us again to a lively hope of an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. As we have received, so let us stand fast in this doctrine ; and remember, that our salvation depends on our stedfastly retaining it; and that we óclieve in vain, and worse than in vain, if we ever, on any considerations, make shipwreck of faith, and of a good conscience.

It is matter of joy and thankfulness, that St. Paul was added to this cloud of witnesses, who attested the resurrection of Jesus ; that great apostle, in whom the grace of God was so richly magnified; magnified particularly in that humility which he here expresses in so amiable a manner; calling himself the least of the apostles, and declaring that he was unworthy of the name of an apostle : and amidst all the labours and glories of this eminent station in the church, still keeping in his eyes that madness with which, in the days of his infidelity, he had wasted it. Shall we not all learn of him to say, By the grace of God I am what I am? Let us be solicitous that his grace bestowed upon us be not in vain ; and ever bearing in mind the many sins of our unconverted state, and our great unprofitableness since we have known God, or rather been known of him, let us labour in our Lord's service with proportionable zeal ; and when we have laboured to the utmost, and exerted ourselves with the greatest fidelity and resolution, let us ascribe it to that divine agency which strengthened us for all, and say again, though sonie should esteem it a disagreeable tautology, Not , but the grace of God that was with me.


The necessary connertion between the resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead : the importance of retaining that great fundamental of Christianity : Christ's final surrender of the mediatorial kingdom. Ch. xv. 12-34.

12 DUT if Christ is preached, that he was raised from the dead,

D how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of 13 the dead ? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither is

14 Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, then our preaching is 15 vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false wit

nesses of God; because we bare testimony concerning God, that

he raised up Christ ; whom he did not raise up, if the dead rise not 16 at all. For if the dead are not raised, neither is Christ raised : 17 and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain : ye are still in your 18 sins, under the pressure of their unexpiated guilt*. Then also

they who sleep in Christ, are perished. This would be a terrible 19 docirine to us apostles, for if it were in this life only that we have

hope in Christ, we who are exposed to such calamities for his sake,

were of all men the most pitiablet. 20 But now Christ is indeed risen from the dead, and become the 21 first fruits of them that slept. For as death came by man, so like22 wise by man cometh the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam 23 all are dead, so in Christ all shall also be made alive. But every

one in his own order : Christ the first-fruits, and they who are 24 Christ's, afterwards at his coming. Then shall the end be, when

he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father ; when

he shall have abolished all principality, and all authority, and 25 power. For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemics under 26 his feet. And the very last enemy, even dcath, shall be destroy27 ed. For (as it is said, P. viii. 6.) he hath put all things under

his feet. But it is evident, that when he saith that all things were

subjected to him, it is with the exception of him by whom all 28 things were subjected to him. But when all things shall be sub

jected to him, then shall the Son also himself give up his mediatorial kingdom, and be subject to him that subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all, in that world where there shall be

no longer the need of a mediator : such are our views and hopes as 29 Christians. Else what should they do, who are baptized into

the Christian faith in the room of the dead who are just fallen in the cause of Christ? If the dead are not raised at all, why are

they nevertheless baptized in the room of the dead to fill up their 30 ranks? And why are we every hour exposed to danger ? I protest si to you by our rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, 32 I daily die. If, humanly speakins, I have fought with beasts (the

savage multitude at Ephesus, what advantage have I gained if the

dead rise not? In this case, the Epicurean marint might be justified, 33 Let us eat and drink, since we die to-morrow. Be not deceived,

for (as a certain heathen poet || hath expressed it) Good manners

* The doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, and that of the efficacy of his atonement, are inseparably connected.

† It is foreign to the purpose to argue from this text, that if there were no future state, true Christians are inore miserable than others. (Nor is the sentiment true]. See the author's Ten Sermons, No. 9. p. 259–262.

# So some copies, and it seems more natural and easy than your.

l| Menander. The original words are an Iambic verse.-Verse 34, “ Awake (oiralws) as is fit.The word rendered awake is used for a person's becoming sober after being drunk. M.

34 are debauched by talk profane.” Awake therefore as becometh

righteous men, and sin not, by maintaining doctrine so subversive of Christianity, for some of you are still ignorant of God: I say this to your shame.

REFLECTIONS. Well may we rejoice, to see the doctrine of our own resurrection so closely connected in the sacred writings, and especially in this excellent discourse of St. Paul, with that of our blessed Redeemer, as that they should be declared to stand or to fall together. For Christ is assuredly risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that sleep. He hath repaired, to all his spiritual seed, the damage that Adam brought upon his descendants ; yea, he is become to them the author of a far nobler life, than the posterity of Adam lost by him.-Let us ineditate, with unutterable joy, on the exaltation of our glorified Head, of our gracious Sovereign, who has conquered death himself, and will make us partakers of his victory. He hath received from his Father, glory, honour, and dominion : and he shall reign till his conquest be universal and complete, and till death be not only stripped of its trophies, but rendered subservient to his triumphs ; shail reign, till all his purposes for his Father's glory, and his own, be finally accomplished.

But (), who can express the joy and glory of that day! when Christ shall give up the kingdom to the Father, and present unto him all its faithful subjects, transformed into his own image ; a beautiful and splendid church indeed, for ever to be the object of the divine complacence, for ever to dwell in the divine presence, in a state of the grcatest nearness to God, who shall then be all in all. Well may the expectation of this illustrious period cheer the Christian under his greatest extremities, and make him of all men the most happy, when otherwise, on account of his sufferings in the flesh, he might seem of all men the most miserable. Well may this his rejoicing in Christ Jesus (that sacred oath, which this persecuted and distressed apostle, with so sublime a spirit, here uses) encourage him to go on, though he be daily dying ; though he were daily to encounter the most savage of mankind, and death itself in its nost dreadful forms. Well may this knowledge of God, of his gracious purposes, and of his exalted Son, awaken us to righteousne88 ; well may it deliver us from the bondage of sin.

Let us retain these noble principles of doctrine and action, and guard against those evil communications, those sceptical and licentious notions, which would corrupt our spirits, which would enervate every generous spark which the gospel kindles up into a flame, and by bounding our views within the narrow circle of mortal life, would degrade us from the anticipations of angelical felicity, to the pursuits of brutal gratifications.

« הקודםהמשך »