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i COR. X. 31. Whether therefore ye eat or drink,

or whatsoever ye do, do all to the

Glory of God.

I.

HE Design of the Apostle in SerM

this chapter, is to press upon T

Christians the great Obliga

tion they are under, to walk worthy of their boly vocation ; to walk worthy of God, as he elsewhere exprefses it, (1 Th. ii. 12.) to live as becometh the Gospel of Christ; to behave them selves in such a manner, as may do honour to their religion, may give Credit VOL. II.

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and

Ser M.and Reputation to their Profession ; In a I.

word, that they be follicitous above all things to promote the Glory. of God; and the Salvation of Men; to bring over Unben, lievers to the acknowledgment of the Truth ; and to prevent, as far as possible, those who Do believe, from being in any manner offended and discouraged in their Duty, or by any means tempted and seduced into Sin..

The Great Temptation in the Apostles days, was that of relapsing into the Heathen Idolatry; either direčtly, into the gross Acts of this Sin, through Fear of Persecution ; or consequentially, into the Snare of a defiled Conscience, by presumptuously misunderstanding the true Bounds of what was lawful and innocent. Against Both these, St Paul gives diligent Caution in This chapter. Against falling into direet Idolatry through fear of Persecution, he exhorts the Corinthians by the following Argument, ver. 13. There has no Temptation, fays he, iaken you, but sich as is coinmon to Man: But God is Faithful; who will not suffer you to be tempted above what

ye are able ; but will with the Temptation also inake a way to escape, that ye

may

may be able to bear it : Wherefore, my dear. SERM.

I. ly beloved, flee from Idolatry. To strengthen which Argument, he proceeds in the next Verses, to represent to them the Greatness of the Sin; by showing them distinctly, under a plain and obvious Similitude, what Idolatry was. Ver. 15. I Speak, faith he, as to Wise men; judge ye what I say. He does not inlist merely upon his own Authority, though it was no less than Apostolical, as Others, who have no such Claim, are frequently too apt to do: He does not require of them to submit implicitly to what he says, without first considering whether it was right or no : But he exhorts them to make use of their own Reason and Understanding : I speak, says he, as to Wise, (that is,) to Sensible and Reasonable Men; Judge ye what I say : Consider, if what I now propose to you, be not a reasonable and conclusive Argument. The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? that is, is it not a profefsing ourselves to be Disciples of Christ ? to be Members of his Body? ver. I 6. For we, says he, being Many, are one Bread and one Boa dy. In like manner, he speaks of Israel af

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ter

SER M.ter the flesh, Are not they whish eat of the I.

Sacrifices partakers of the Altar ? that is, is not This a declaring themselves to be Disciples of Moses ? ver. 18. By the same Argument therefore ; being partakers, faith he, of the Table of Devils, by eating of the Sacrifices in the Idol-Temple, ver. 21; is, in reality, to communicate in the Guilt of the Heathen-Idolatry.

AGAINST the next danger,, viz. that of falling confequentially into the Snare of a defiled Conscience, by presumptuoufly misunderstanding the true Bounds of what was lawful and innocent; Against This, he cautions them in the remaining part of the chapter. An Idol, every well instructed Christian knew to be Nothing in the World: As to Meats therefore offered in facrifice to Idols; the good Creatures of God could not be defiled by the imaginary Superstitions of vain Men. And therefore Christians, provided They themselves bore no part in the Heathenworship, were not obliged to make any Inquiry, whether Meats fold in the Markets, or set before them at any Friend's house, had by Others been dedicated to Superstitious Use, ver. 25, 27.

Nevertheless, theless, though as to Those who had this SERM.

I. Understanding, the Matter

the Matter was clear ; yet, if any scrupulous and weaker Brother was dissatisfied as to the Lawfulness of This Practice, in fuch case they were bound to abftain : Bound, not by any obligation upon their own Conscience, but out of Tenderness and Regard to His, ver. 28, 29. lest by Their needlessly doing what was innocent to Themselves, He should be incouraged to do the same thing which was not innocent to Him : In which case, it was much more material, and of greater importance to the Honour of Religion, that they should avoid offending his Conscience, than that they should unseasonably assert their own Liberty. Ver. 23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient ; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. The Meaning is; All things that are lawful for a man to do, 'tis not consequently for the Interest of Religion that he should do them, if it so happens that other Mens Consciences be not therein satisfied as well as his own. For That is moft for the True interest of Religion, which tends most towards making all men act with a good

conscience.

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