Page images

Christ the only foundation.


The believer's treasure. ing, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, || be revealed with fire; and the fire will try 4 and walk as carnal men? For while one saith, "I am of Paul;" and another, "I am of Apollos;" are ye not carnal?

every man's work of what kind it is. If any 14 man's work remain which he hath built upon this foundation, he shall receive a reward. If 15 any man's work shall be burned, he will suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through the fire.

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the 6 Lord gave to each of us? I planted; Apollos 7 watered; but God gave the increase. So that neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that! giveth the in8 crease. Now he that planteth, and he that watereth, are one: and each will receive his 9 own reward, according to his own labour. For we are fellow-labourers, of God: ye are God's 10 field: ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which hath been given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth upon it. But let every man take heed how he buildeth upon 11 it. For no other foundation can any man lay 12 than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble; 13 Every man's work will be made manifest : for the great day will declare it, because it will

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, 16 and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any one corrupt this temple of God, him will 17 God corrupt; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no one deceive him- 18 self. If any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is 19 foolishness with God. For it is written, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” And 20 again, "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." Therefore let 21 none glory in men. For all things are your's; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Peter, or the 22 world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all things are your's; And 23 ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1.. We learn how much sin and depravity still exist in those who have believed, and in many instances how far they are from having attained or being already per

regarding it as if it owed its authority and importance to those who preach it, and not to God; and striving and falling into parties concerning different ministers of the word, &c.

5-8. Who then is Paul, &c. He mentions himself first, that he might confound the adherents of others. We are but ministers by whom, &c.Any thing. In and of himself. The planter and waterer is nothing compared with him who gives the increase.- Are one. One in design, interest, and affection; and each will receive his own reward, &c.

9. Fellow-labourers, &c. This gives, in my opinion, the real sense of the word, as expressing the union of christian ministers in the work of God; and no one minister ought to value himself above another, nor should hearers. -God's field. So the Septuagint use the word Prov. xxiv. 30.; xxxi. 16. The church is God's field, and ministers his labourers to cultivate it.- -God's building. His temple: verses 16, 17.

10. As a wise master-builder. Wise, because he made Christ the only foundation of this building. He laid this foundation in the doctrines which he had delivered to them.

[ocr errors]

11, 12. For no other, &c. No other firm and solid foundation of a sinner's hope and happiness can any man lay than this; and let every builder take heed what he builds upon it; let him aim to raise a temple adorned with "gold and silver, and precious stones," and not a mean hut, made of "wood" and covered with "hay and stubble." By these terms the apostle meant that every teacher should teach the pure doctrines of truth, unmixed with Jewish or heathen conceits and customs.

[ocr errors]

fect. How carnal is it to form parties and cherish divisions among the disciples of the same master; and to set one minister in opposition to another, when they are all united in the same spirit and design.

13-15. For the great day, &c. I refer this to the day of judgment, which will be, as it were, with fire, God trying every work and doctrine; and such as are approved will be rewarded, but such as are found to be only as hay, &c. will perish. He himself shall be, &c. Because he made Christ the foundation; but with difficulty, as one who escapes "through the fire." See Ps. lxvi. 12. Is. xliii. 2. Jude verse 23. Macknight applies "gold, silver, &c." to persons, and not doctrines, as some of the fathers did; but I prefer the usual


16, 17. The temple of God. As a church of Christ they had this honour. Corrupt, &c. By false doctrines, bad example, or contentious behaviour. Him will God corrupt. Unless such an one repent, God will give him up to his errors and sins, and finally punish him.

18. Seem to be wise, &c. Make pretence of being wise, as having received the doctrines taught by philosophers or rabbies, and knowing how to explain them in an eloquent manner. Become a fool, &c. Embrace the gospel, which men of the world deem foolishness, and he will then be in the true sense a wise man.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Stewards should be faithful.



[ocr errors]

A. D. 57. In what light ministers should be regarded; how they were exposed to trials and persecutions; yet they should be followed as our examples, &c.


LET a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Now it is required in stewards, that a man be 3 found faithful. But with me it is a very small ': thing that I should be judged by you, or by human judgment: yea I do not even judge 4 myself. For I am not conscious to myself of any evil; yet ani. I not hereby justified: but 5 he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time: until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts of men and then shall every man have praise from God.

They are fellow-workers, appointed, and if faithful, approved of God; and by their instrumentality he is pleased to display the riches of his grace. However enlarged and enlightened the understanding; however powerful the reasoning; however affectionate the appeals made to the judgments and eonsciences of sinners; and with whatever beauty of language or eloquence in delivery, it is God only that can reach the heart and give increase to the seed sown.

2. We should learn to improve our opportunities for instruction, and especially in the cultivation of a christian spirit. How ought believers to be united to each other, since they are parts of the same building, of the same holy temple! And with what care should they guard against corrupt doctrines and sinful practices, invariably adhering to Christ as the only foundation of a sinner's hope and happiness. Men have attempted to lay other foundations; the merit of repentance, charity, and what they call good works; but alas, any or all of these will be found but sand in the great day of trial. Christ, and Christ alone, as the great mediator and Redeemer, is the sure foundation;

playing your faith and patience, and leading to glory; "things present, &c.” the trials and occurrences of this present time, or which may come hereafter : "And ye are Christ's" servants, as Christ was the Father's servant in the great work of salvation.

CHAP. IV. 1,2. So account of us, &c. Let none glory in us; but think of us in a proper manner, as "ministers of Christ.". Mysteries of God. Formerly so; but now revealed to us, and by us made known. Now stewards, &c. should be faithful to the trust reposed in them.

3. Judyed by you, &c. Or by any others. Yea, I do not judge myself, so as to condemn myself.

4. For I am not conscious, &c. Of having, in my ministry, done any thing to excite your prejudices against me, or to justify those charges which some teachers have brought against me; yet am I, &c. The apostle appeals to the decision of Christ at the last day.

Who make us to differ.

Now these things, brethren, I have trans- 6 ferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up in behalf of one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? 7: and what hast thou which thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Are ye now, full? are ye now rich? have ye 8 reigned as kings without us? I even wish that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath brought us 9 apostles last on the stage, as devoted to death : for we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for the 10 sake of Christ, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable;


5. Of the hearts. This is similar to Revel. ii. 23.; and as it is applied to our Lord, must imply such knowledge as belongs only to God.

6. Transferred to myself, &c. That ye should not make us the heads of 0 0 3

and sure because God has laid it. None ever did, none ever will build on this and be ashamed. Here may our souls rest with unshaken confidence.

3. Let both ministers and believers learn their duty and privileges. The former should not only preach Christ as the foundation, but build all other religious doctrines and duties answerable to it. What if they employ their time and labours in that which will be of no account; in discussing unimportant points, and wrangling about words? These things will be but as wood, grass, and stubble, and will all perish. Let believers receive no doctrine but what is according to godliness; and never over value the wisdom of this world, which God esteems mere foolishness. Let them regard all the talents of ministers as given for their comfort and edification. With what holy pleasure may they look on things present, or on things to come; and count not only life, but even death itself among their treasures! All things are for their advantage, improvement and happiness; and as they are under the direction of unerring wisdom and love, they will assuredly attain this end.


parties, and set us in opposition to one another; and much less should you rank yourselves under others as leaders.


7. Maketh thee to differ, &c,? This is addressed to any proud factious leader, who boasted of his knowledge and gifts,

8. Are ye now full, c. 2 With Pearce, I render interrogatively, that St. Paul may not affirm and deny the same thing. This rendering implies, that some of them thought themselves full and rich, and that they had an authority like kings.-That ye did reign, &c. In a proper manner in the church, for then our authority would be regarded, and we should reign with you; and I may well form such a wish, considering our sufferings

9. For I think that God, &c. The apostle alludes to those last exposed to fight with wild beasts or with one another, and who were devoted to certain destruction. A spectacle. While we are suffering persecutions, we are exposed to the notice of good and evil angels, as well as of men. See Heb.

x. 33.

10. We are fools, &c., So accounted for the plainness of our preaching ; but "ye are wise," because ye follow those who study eloquence and philos‹ 291


Persecutions endured.

11 but we are despised. To this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and 12 are beaten, and have no certain abode ; And labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted we bear it : 13 Being evil-spoken of, we exhort: we are made

as the vilest of the world, as the offscouring of 14 all things, until now. I write not these things

[ocr errors]

to shame you; but I admonish you as my belo15 ved children. For if ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus 16 through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech 17 you, be ye imitators of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved, and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would 19 not come to you. But I will come to you


[ocr errors]

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER IV. 1. We learn what ministers should be. They are not lords of God's household and heritage, but ministers of Christ, and stewards of divine mysteries, which they ought both faithfully to keep and dispense to others. From their Master let them take all their instructions, and to him and his glory refer all their ministrations. And while they do this, what various judgments will be passed upon them! Some will blame, censure, and condemn; and others approve, encourage, and commend. Let them learn to be above the judgment of men, and to keep the judgment of their Lord in view, who is the witness of their sincerity, and whose judgment will be according to truth! How pleasing is the thought to every faithful servant of Christ, under the mistakes, and even censures of brethren, that he knows the hearts! He knows that they love and honour him, and will reward them accordingly.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The incestuous person.

shortly, if the Lord be willing, and will know, not the speech of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in 20 speech, but in power.

18-20. Now, some are, &c. He refers to their factious leaders and teachers, who pretended that Paul would not, or durst not, visit Corinth again; but I will come, &c.- Not the speech, however eloquent, but "the power" of inflicting punishment on offenders, as well as working miracles. For the kingdom of God, the gospel dispensation, does not consist in, or is promoted

2. We see the power of grace in supporting Paul and others under all their trials and sufferings. What trials had they from professed brethren! Having been endowed with gifts, some were puffed From their Mas-up, and considered themselves rich, and wished to reign as kings in the church! Such forget that they have nothing but what they receive; and that as grace makes the difference, they should give to grace all the praise. How gentle, yet how wise the reproofs the apostle gives to such persons! By stating his own sufferings, be aimed to shame and humble these proud boasters. Let us be thankful for the sufferings of this great apostle, as they assure us of the truth of his doctrine, and of his testimony to the Saviour; and may we ever remember that the kingdom of God, consists not în speech, in talking on the great subjects of religion; but in power, in the power of truth on the heart, melting and humbling it, and producing and cherishing peace, kindness and love.


A. D. 57. The scandalous conduct of one member of the church; directions

respecting him.

WHAT will ye? that I come to you with a 21 rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness? It is generally reported that there is impurity I among you, and such impurity as is not committed among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And are ye puffed up? 2 And have ye not rather mourned? So that he who hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I truly, as absent 3 in body, but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, him that hath so done this deed; That in the name of 4

by eloquence, so much as by the power of working miracles, and occasionally inflicting vengeance.

CHAP. V. 1. Have his father's wife. The son might have married his father's divorced wife, who was only his mother-in-law, not his own mother. From 2 Cor. vii. 12, the father appears to have been living. This was most heinous and shameful.

2. Are ye puffed up? With an opinion of your purity and perfection as a church? Might be taken away, &c. If they had mourned for this deed, they would have cut off from their communion such an unworthy member.

3-5. For I truly, as absent, &c. Paul, by virtue of his authority as an apostle, proceeds to pass sentence on this offender.And my spirit. The church being assembled, and the apostle being present "in spirit or mind," armed as he was with miraculous power, they were to pass the sentence "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.". -Such an one to Satan, &c. Some bodily disease was to be inflicted, which should gradually consume the offender, unless God should, on his repentanee, remove it. Comp. Luke' xiii. 16.; 2 Cor. xii. 7. and 1 Tim. i. 20. This mode of punishment was confined to the age of miracles. Ch. xi. 30.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]



I write to you in this epistle not to keep 10 company with the impure: Yet not wholly with the impure, or the covetous, or oppressors, or idolaters of this world; for then indeed ye 11 must go out of the world. But now I write to you not to keep company with him, if any man

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER V. 1. How distressing to the pious and consistent follower of Christ, that any one professing his name should act in a manner so unbecoming, and so as to bring reproach on the gospel cause! Doubtless many in the church at Corinth felt the gross impropriety of his conduct to whom the apostle refers; but how blameable was the apathy of the leaders in suffering such an one to continue in their communion. As a christian society they had the power of admonishing and of excluding, in case of continued obduracy, any offender from the church; and they could not surely be ignorant of the direction of Christ in such a case. Let it not surprise us that offences should come; and in some instances such crimes should be committed as are not commonly heard of among heathens. In such instances we have fresh proof of the deceitfulness of sin, and the prevalence of depravity; and the admonition comes with force, "Let him that thinketh that he standeth, take heed lest he fall."

6-8. Your glorying in, &c. In your eloquent and boasting leaders, “is not good," when they can suffer such an offence, without any regret, or even censure. A little leaven, &c. The apostle refers to Exod. xii. 15.; xiii. 7. -Old leaven, &c. The wickedness and sins in which you once lived; that ye may be a new unleavened mass, keeping the christian feast. Since Christ our passover, &c. The beauty of this application of the Jewish passover, and the circumstances of it, every reader must perceive.

9. I write to you in, &c. For the propriety of this rendering, see Whitby, and Middleton in loc. Comp. Rom. xv. 15. Philem. xix. 21, &c. I suppose the apostle refers to what he had just written respecting the incestuous person; but lest he should be misunderstood he adds,

Saints will judge angels.

that is called a brother be impure, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an oppressor; not even to eat with such an one. For what have I to do to judge those also that 12 are without? Should not ye judge those that are within? But those that are without God 13 will judge. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

10. Yet not wholly with, &c. The world, or the unconverted, were too commonly guilty of such impure and wicked deeds; and a man must go out of it before he could altogether avoid the company of such persons.

11. Called a brother, &c. This was an usual name among professed be


A. D. 57. Paul blames them for going to law; mentions who shall not inherit God's kingdom, and the obligations of believers to holiness and purity.

Doth any of you, having a matter against I another, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Know ye not that 2 the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is to be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest causes? Know ye not 3 that we shall judge angels? how much more things which belong to this life? If then yẹ 4 have judgments of causes belonging to this life,

2. We learn from the apostle's directions, that it is the duty of Christians to exclude from their holy communion every flagrant offender; but the manner of doing it should display the spirit and charity of the gospel. Even in going to the utmost extremity, and casting out an offending brother, they should aim to convince him of his sin, and to bring him to repentance; and should not exercise any severity beyond what the case justly requires, but even pity, pray for, and endeavour to save him from the hand of the enemy. And should be discover a hardened and an impenitent frame of mind, shun all intercourse, and intimacy with him. "But now I write toyounot to keep company with him, if any man that is called a brother be impure, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an oppressor; not even to eat with such an one." While proper discipline should be maintained in the church, we have no right or power over those without. These God will judge in his own time.

[ocr errors]

lievers; and if any such should act so unworthy his christian calling, others ought not to countenance him, but after proper admonition, to regard him as a heathen or publican. Matt. xviii. 17.

12. What have I to do, &c. It does not belong to me to judge those who are without the pale of the church; but is it not your duty to judge those within it'

13. But those that are without,&c. We leave to the just and equitable judgment of God, &c.

CHAP. VI. 1. Before the unrighteous. Heathen magistrates or arbitrators, who were often unrighteous in their decisions; but in a religious sense were so as to their characters.- -Before the saints. The Romans allowed the Jews to decide and judge any differences which arose among themselves; and it is probable that the first Christians being considered as a Jewish sect, had the same privilege. See Campbell's ninth Lect. on Eccles. Hist.

2-4. Saints shall judge, &c. Will attend Christ, when he appears as

What grace effects,

set those to judge who are least esteemed in the 5 church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not even one wise man among you, .6 who can decide between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that 7 before unbelievers? Now therefore it is certainly a defect among you, that ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves 8 to be defrauded? Whereas, ye wrong, and Whereas, ye wrong, and defraud; and that your brethren.


Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor pathicks, nor abusers of themselves with 10 mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor oppressors, shall 11 inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been accounted righteous through the name of the Lord Jesus, and through the Spirit of our God.

All things are lawful to me, but all things



REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER VI. 1. How reproachful is an immoderate attachment to our worldly interests, to our christian profession! When one christian brother is induced by this to go to law with another, a spirit of strife, animosity, if not hatred, will be produced. Let us then remember our dignity and honour; and if we are to sit in the judgment with Christ, and thus judge wicked men and fallen angels, let usadjust our own differences, by referring them to the decision of 'some impartial christian brother; and even suffer wrong rather than give the least occasion to unbelievers to reproach us. How unworthy are they of the name of christian brethren who are guilty of deceiving, cheating, and injuring others! Surely such are deceived as to the pro

judge. See Matt. xix. 28, and 1 Thess. iii. 13.-Judge angels. The fallen ones, in the same manner, as the world.Least esteemed, &c. Make these judges of any differences rather than heathens.

5-8. I speak to your, &c. That you should act in the manner you do ; and thus expose the cause of Christ to contempt by your quarrels and treatment of one another.

Fornication to be avoided.

are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any thing. Meats are for the belly, and the 13 belly for meats: yet God will destroy both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will 14 raise up us also by his power. Know ye not 15 that your bodies are members of Christ? shall, I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? By no means. Know ye not that he who is joined to a harlot 16 is one body? (for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.) But he that is joined unto the Lord 17 is one spirits Flee fornication. Most sins which 18 a man committeth are without the body; but. he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Know ye not that your body is 19 the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God. Nor are ye your own? For ye were bought with a price: there- 20 fore glorify God with your body, [and with your spirit, which are God's.]

9-11. Know ye not, &c. The following list of offenders shows the prevailing vices of the heathens, from which the Corinthians had been, in some measure, saved by the gospel.-Pathicks. Such as suffered themselves to be abused by men. -Washed from such gross pollutions, in allusion to Jewish ablutions as well as to their baptism.—Sanctified by their separation · from the world, and being devoted to God; and justified as believers in Christ. — Through the name. That is, through the Lord Jesus, they were justified; and through the work of the Spirit they were sanctified.

12. All things are lawful, &c. Christians are not restrained by the ceremonial law. Many things are lawful to them, which were not to the Jews. But some of these things are "not expedient," because they may offend a

fession which they make. They may have the form, but they are wholly destitute of the power of godliness; and unless changed and renewed, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

2. How astonishing is the difference which grace makes in the temper, character, and conduct of men! Some of the most vile and infamous, thieves, covetous, fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, and various other classes of sinners are, by grace, changed and sanctified. Such had been its sovereign influence among the Corinthians. And who can refrain from adoring the riches, freeness, and efficacy of the grace of God. With what holy pleasure should we contemplate these glorious effects of grace. They are washed, sanctified, justified through


weak brother; and a consistent Christian should not so indulge his natural appetites as to be enslaved by any thing.

13. Meats are, yc. It is not necessary to abstain from certain kinds of food, forbidden by the law, or offered to idols, see Ch. viii.; but it is necessary to use moderation, and act in a charitable manner.- ·But the body, &c. It was not made for impurity, but for glorifying the Lord, who will raise it incorruptible.

15. Members of Christ, &c. As being members of his church, which is his body. Shall I take then one of these and join it to a harlot? By no meant 17. Is one spirit. Hath one mind and spirit with him, as partaking of the grace and influence of the Holy Spirit.

18-20. Most sins, &c. Leave their defilement on the mind; but the fornicator humbles and debases his own body; and as the body is the "temple of the Spirit," impurity is an act of sacrilege.Nor are ye your, &c. This is another argument for purity. They were his property who had bought them, by the blood of his own Son. The last words are omitted by Mill, Wet

« PreviousContinue »