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of the church in general. We see all their external privileges, though many and great, were ineffectual for their security, when they behaved as unworthy of them. Alas! how affecting is the thought, that some who were under the miraculous cloud, who passed through the waters of the divided sea, who eat of the bread that came down from heaven, and drank of that living stream which omnipotent mercy had opened from the flinty rock, and made it to follow them in the windings of their journey, should yet become, instead of being on the whole the objects of divine favour and complacency, the monuments of wrath. Let us not ourselves therefore be high-minded but fear. Let us mark the rocks on which they suffered this fatal shipwreck, if possible to keep clear of them ; and pray that divine grace may direct our course. Let us avoid not only those superstitious and idolatrous rites of worship, by which, as Protestants, we are in little danger of being ensnared : but also those lusts of the flesh, which must, considering our superiour advantage, be highly displeasing to God; even though they should not rise to a degree of equal enormity and scandal. Let us especially take heed that we tempt not Christ, who has graciously been pleased to take us under his conduct, and to honour his church with so many demonstrative tokens of his presence. Nor let us murmur, if while we are in this wilderness state, we sometimes meet with difficulties in our way. Still let us make it familiar to our minds, that God adjusts the circumstances of every trial; even that God who stands engaged by the promises of his word, as well as the equity and goodness of his nature, not to permit us to be tempted above what we are able to bear. If we see not an immediate way of escape, let us calmly and attentively look around us, and humbly look up to him, that he may pluck our feet out of the net.
Christians cautioned against all approaches to idolatry: communion with
Christ at his table being inconsistent with having communion with dæmons. Ch. x. 1422.
14 W H EREFORE, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as 16 VV unto wise men ; judge you what I say. The cup of
blessing which we bless (at the table of the Lord], is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we there break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ? the token
of our [jointly) sharing in the privileges procured by his suffering.' IY For we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all 18 partakers of one bread, and one cup*.-Consider Israel according
to the flesh : Are not they who eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar of God? and is not this esteemed an act of communion with
him ? So they who eat of sacrifices offered to Idols hold a kind of 19 communion with them. What then, do I say that an idol is any
thing? or that the thing which is sacrificed to idols is any thing?
So many valuable MSS. have it.
20 But that what the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to dæmons*,
and not to God. Now I would not that you should have communion 21 with dæmons. Ye cannot [with any consistency) drink of the
cup of the Lord, and of the cup of dæmons : ye cannot be par22 takers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of dæmons. Do
we mean by such conduct 10 provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he ? so as to resist the effects of his displeasure ?
REFLECTIONS. Let us hear and fear: for it is the tendency of every wilful sin, to pirovoke the Lord to jealousy ; it is a challenge to him, as it were, to let loose the fierceness of his wrath And alas, how can such feeble creatures as we, endure its terrors ! Let the consideration urged by the apostle, to deter men from partaking in idolatrous sacrifices, bo weighed by us, as extending to every thing whereby God may be dishonoured, and Christ affronted. They who are Christians indeed, and partake of that feast which the blessed Jesus hath instituted in commemoration of his dying love, do herein partake of the body and the blood of Christ : Let it be remembered as a pledge of everlasting obedience, since it is a memorial of infinite obligation : it shews that we belong to him, as his willing and peculiar people ; that we renounce all his rivals, particularly Satan, and his kingdom, and what. ever favours and supports his accursed cause. Let us be faithful to our allegiance, and have no more to do with any of these abomina. tions.-Let us also remember this as a pledge of everlasting peace and love ; we are all one bread, and one body : Let us not envy and proroke, grieve and revile one another; but study mutual comfort and edification. And when little jealousies arise, and our secular interests seem to interfere, which may often be the case ; let us open our minds to thosc exalted sentiments which our common relation to Christ tends to inspire; and let the sweet remembrance of the communion we have had with him, and each other, in that holy ordinance, blot out of our minds the memory of every difference which might tend to promote disgust and alienation.
More particular directions as to the cases in which things sacrificed to idols
might, or might not, lawfully be eaten: self-denial to be practised for the glory of God, and the good of their brethren. Ch. x. 23. xi. 1.
TT may be replied, that things indifferent in themselves, may be 23 I used (innocenily.) Granting it then, that All things are lawful
for me; nevertheless all things are not expedient. All things are 24 lawful for me, yet all things edify not. Let no one therefore seek 25 his own, but every one another's welfare. Whatever flesh is sold ,
in the shambles, that eat, asking no questions for conscience26 sake, whether it have been part of an Idol-sacrifice or not. For
* Infernal spirits, represented by, and supposed to inhabit, those Idols, or to be present at their feasts. En.
27 the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. And if any of
the unbelievers invite you to his house, and you are disposed to go,
eat whatsoever is set before you, not asking any questions for con28 science-sake. But if any one say to you, This hath been sacri
ficed to an idol, eat it not; both out of regard to him that shewed
thee, and out of regard to conscience : For the earth is the Lord's 29 and the fulness thereof*. I say for the sake of conscience:
not thine own, but that of another. † For why is my liberty 30 judged at the bar of another man's conscience? For if I by graco
(or favour] am made a partaker of the common gifts of providence,
why am I reviled for the free use of that for which I give thanks ? 31 Therefore, whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all 32 to the glory of God. In every respect be inoffensive both to the 33 Jews, and to the Greeks, and to the church of God: As I in all xi. things please all men, not seeking mine own interest, but that of i many, that they may be saved. Be ye imitators of me, as I also
am of Christ.
REFLECTIONS. What exalted and generous sentiments are these! Well do they become every minister, yea every disciple of Christ. What a glorious society would his church soon be, if each of its members was actuated by them! not seeking his own things, but those of others ; not pursuing his own interest, but that of many, that they may be saved. Yea, how happy would each particular person be, in such a wise and tender care of the whole, beyond what the most eager and successful pursuit of a separate interest can render him!-Let us endeavour to steer in the due medium, between the opposite extremes of an excessive scrupulosity, and a presumptuous rashness; and attend to the various distinguishing circumstances which will demand a correspondent difference of conduct, in things which may seem to an inattentive eye much the samc: not thinking that attention and caution needless, by which the glory of our God, and the edification of our brethren may be promoted. We may expose ourselves, in consequence of this tenderness of conscience, to inconveniencies, straits, and contempt ; but let us commit all our concerns to that divine providence which extends itself to all its works; and rejoice to think, that the earth is the Lord's, and all its fulness; out of which he will not fail to furnish ne. cessary supplies to those who fear him, and are thus solicitous to preserve a conscience void of offence before him. But while we are strictly cautious ourselves, let us not be rash and severe in our censures of others, who stand or fall, to their own master, and who may in some instances have reasons, to us unknown, for a conduct most different from ours.
* q.d. And he can provide for thee some other way: [you do not depend on such entertainments for a subsistence.] But some good copies omit these words.
+“ But, perhaps thou wilt REPLY,” Why is my, &c.-M. (This seems to make the sense easy. The apostle's answer begins v. 31.}
( ! that divine grace may teach us all to govern our whole lives by this extensive important maxim ; that whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, we pursue the glory of God! Let us dignify and sanctify all the common actions of life, by performing them from these high and holy motives ; and so turning them into sacrifices of devotion and love. Then shall we not only avoid giving offence to others, but shall conduct ourselves in such a manner, as shall make us burning and shining lights in the world, and extend our sphere of usefulness far beyond that of our personal converse, and perhaps beyond the date of our precarious abode in this transitory world. Thus glorifying our heavenly Father on earth, and finishing ihe work he hath given us to do, we may hope, through his grace in Christ, to be glorified with him above, and to be brought to a brighter image of that Saviour, who has set us so perfect an example of the temper and conduct here recommended, which even the blessed apostle Paul followed only with uncqual steps.
The apostle sets himself to reform some indecencies which had crept into the church, particularly that of women prophesying with the head uncovered. Cli. xi. 2–16.
2 A ND Now, my brethren, I must praise yon, [as far as it ap
11 pears in your letter] that in all things you are mindful of 3 me, and retain the charges, as I committed them to you. But as
to your inquiry concerning the manner in which women should deliver any thing in public, when under a divine impulse, I would have you
to know, that Christ is the head of every man, and the head of 4 the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Now eve
ry man praying or prophesying with his head covered, dishonour5 eth Christ his head ; and every woman praying or prophesying
with her head unveiled, dishonoureth her head, that is the man, by 6 a great indecency, for it is the same as if she were shaved*. There
fore if a woman will not be veiled, let her even be shorn ; but if
it be shameful for a woman to have her hair shorn, or shaved off, ✓ let her have a veilt. For a man indeed ought not to have his
head covered, as being the image and glory of God: but the wo8 man is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, 9 but the woman of the man, being at first taken out of him. Nei.
ther was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the 10 man. On this account the woman ought to have upon her head
power, that is, a veil, (a token of modesty and subjection because 11 of the angelst. Nevertheless the man is not without the woman,
* Which was a thing esteemed highly reproachful, being inflicted as a punishment on women of abandoned characters.
+ It is to be remembered that the apostle is all along speaking according to the prevailing ideas and customs of that time and place. ED.
# Who are present in religious assemblies, and before whom nothing indecent ought to pass. Some translate it SPIES ; who came to remark the beha
nor the woman without the man in the Lord, they being mutually 12 dependent on each other ; for as the woman was from the man, so
also the man is by the woman ; born, nourished, and at first educa13 ted by her. But all things are of God.-Judge now of yourselves,
whether it be decent for a woman to pray to God (in public with 14 that masculine air which she has when uncovered ? Doth not nature
itself teach you, that for a man to have long hair, is a disgrace to 15 him as being a mark of effeminacy? Whereas if a woman hath
long hair, it is a glory to her ; for her hair was given her instead 16 of a veil. But if any one appeareth to be contentious, and will
dispute this matter, I shall only say further, We have no such custom for women to appear uncovered, neither have any other of the churches of God.
REFLECTIONS. Let Christians frequently remember the honourable relation in which they stand to Christ as their Head; and as beyond all dispute, he is, under his mediatorial character, most willingly and joyfully subject to God, let us learn to imitate him in that cheerful and entire subjection, out of love and reverence to him, guarding against whatever is unbecoming, lest he should be dishonoured thereby.By the passage before us, we see the force of custom, for determining in many respects, what is decent, and what is otherwise. Let us maintain a proper regard to this ; lest even our good should be, through our imprudence, evil spoken of, and all our infirmities magnified into crimes. Let us often recollect the original dignity of our nature, by which we are the image and glory of God ; that, so far as by sin and folly this honour is lost, we may endeavour to regain it ; and where it is not, may think and act more suitably to so high a relation.
When in any act of divine worship, we have the honour to approach the blessed God, let us reverence his awful presence, and even that of his holy angels, who attend the assemblies of the saints. We pray, that the will of God may be done upon earth, as it is done in heaven: let us be careful to worship God in such a manner, that these celestial spirits, who ever appear before him with sacred awe, may not be offended at the rudeness and folly of sinful mortals, whom they may well wonder to see admitted, in their best estate, to this divine privilege which they have forfeited by repeated provocations.
As for what St. Paul observes of the mutual dependence which the sexes have on each other, let it dispose them to mutual candour and respect; avoiding the cruel tyranny, or the vain affectation, which often arms them, on either side, with ungenerous reflections. And as all things are of God, let it be our concern, that all things be to him; that all things be faithfully employed for his glory; and whatever comforts we receive in relative life, which are indeed many and important, let us adore the wisdom of the divine constitution in the original forma
viour of Christians, and would blaze abroad any indecencies observed among them. Others understand it of the bishops, who are called the angels of the church, to whom such indecent conduct would be particularly disrespectful and offensive].