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that bleffed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jefus Chrift.
To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghoft, be all glory and honour now and for ever.
Of doing all to the glory of God.
1 COR. X. 31.
Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Hefe words are a general conclufion inferred from a particular cafe, which the Apoftle had been difcourfing of before; and that we may the better understand the meaning of this general rule, it will not be amifs to look back a little upon the particular cafe the Apostle was fpeaking of; and that was concerning the partaking of things offered to idols, and that in two cafes; either by partaking of the idol-feafts in their temples, after the facrifices; or by partaking of things offered to idols, whether they were bought by Christians in the market, or fet before them at a private entertainment, to which by fome Heathens they were invited.
The first he condemns as abfolutely unlawful: the other not as unlawful in itfelf, but in fome circumftances upon the account of scandal.
The fift cafe he fpeaks of from ver. 14. to the 23. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, flee from idolatry. I fpeak to wife men: judge ye what I fay. As if he had faid, you may easily apprehend what it is I am going to caution you against. And firft he tells them in general, that they who communicated in the worship of any deity, or in any kind of facrifice offered to him, did, in fo do
ing, own and acknowledge that for a deity. To this purpofe he inftanceth in communicating in the Chriftian facrament, and in the Jewish facrifices, ver. 16. 17. 18. The cup of the blefing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Chrift? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Chrift? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Ifrael after the fefb: that is, the Jews, are not they which eat of the facrifices, partakers of the altar? Thus it is in the Chriftian and the Jewish worship. And the cafe is the fame, if any man partake of the idol-feafts in their temples. This he does not exprefs, but takes it for granted they underftood what this difcourfe aimed at.
And then he answers an argument, which it feems was made ufe of by fome, particularly the Gnofticks, of whom the Apostle speaks, chap. viii. and that was this. If an idol be nothing, and confequently things facrificed to idols were not to be confidered as facrifices, then it was lawful to partake of the idol-feafts, which were celebrated in their temples. And that the Apoftle fpeaks of thefe, is plain from his difcourfe against the Gnofticks, who made ufe of this argument for the lawfulness of communicating at the idol-feasts, chap. viii. 4. As concerning therefore the eating of things which are offered in facrifice unto idols; we know that an idol is nothing in the world, &c. And ver. 10. If any man fee thee which haft knowledge, alluding to the very name of Gnofticks, if any man fee thee which haft knowledge, fit at meat in an idol temple.
This then is that partaking of idol-feafts, which the Apoftle here fpeaks of, which they pretended to be lawful, becaufe an idol is nothing. This, fays the Apostle, I know as well as you, that an idol is no real deity, but for all that, the devil is really worshipped and ferved by this means, ver. 20. But I fay that the things which the Gentiles facrifice, they facrifice to devils, and not to God, and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Te cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils.
Having declared this way of partaking of things offered to idols, to be unlawful in itfelf, and a virtual renouncing of Chriftianity; then he proceeds to the confideration of the other cafe, of eating of things offered to idols out of their temples, which might happen feveral ways. Sometimes being fold by the Priefts, they were expofed to fale in the market. Sometimes the Heathens carried fome remainders of the facrifices to their houfes, and inviting the Chriftians to a feast, might fet these meats before them; what fhould Chriftians do in either of thefe cafes?
First, He determines in general, that out of the temples it was lawful to eat these things, because in fo doing they communicated in no act of worship with the Heathens it is lawful, he fays, in itself; but because it might be harmful to others, and give fcandal, in fuch circumstances, it became unlawful by accident. Ver. 23. All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Things which are lawful in themfelves, may in fome cafes be very dangerous and deftructive to others, and we should not only confider ourselves, but others alfo. Let no man feek his own: but every man another's welfare. And then he comes to the particular cafes. Whatever is fold in the fhambles, that eat, asking no question for confcience fake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. We may take thefe things from God's hand, who is the true Lord of them and of all creatures. For this reafon we may without fcrupulous enquiry use those meats which are publickly expofed to fale.
And fo likewife in the other cafe, if we be invited to the table of an Heathen, we may eat what is fet before us, without enquiring whether it be part of an idol-facrifice. But if any man tell us, that this meat was of fered in facrifice to idols, in that cafe we ought to abftain from eating of it, for his fake that fhewed it, and for confcience fake; that is, out of regard to the opinion of thofe, who think thefe meats unlawful: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. Alfo in another fenfe, God hath made fuch abundant provifion for us, that we may abstain from this or that meat without any great
great inconvenience. Confcience, I fay, not thine own but another's. He had faid before, we should eat of what was fet before us, asking no question for confcience fake; that is, not making it a matter of confcience to ourfelves now he fays, if we be told it was offered to an idol, we should not eat for confcience fake; that is, not as making a matter of confcience of it to ourselves, but out of regard to the confcience of another, to whom it might be a scandal. For why is my liberty judged of another man's confcience? and if I with thanksgiving be a partaker, why am I evil (poken of for that for which I give thanks? that is, why fhould another man's confcience be a prejudice to my liberty? if another makes confcience of it as unlawful, why fhould his confcience govern mine, and make me think fo too; or why fhould I be evil spoken of, for thinking it lawful to eat any thing fet before me for which I give thanks? This is a little obfcure; but the plain meaning of the Apostle's reasoning feems to be this; though I have that regard to another man's weak confcience, as to abftain from eating what he thinks unlawful; yet am I not therefore bound to be of his opinion, and think it unlawful in itfelf: I will confider his weakness so far as to forbear that which I am perfuaded is lawful to do, but yet I will ftill preferve the liberty of my own judgment; and as I am content to give no fcandal to him, fo I expect that he should not cenfure and condemn me for thinking that lawful, which he believes not to be fo: and then from all this difcourfe, the Apostle establisheth this general rule in the text, Wherefore whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God. To which is parallel that other text, 1 Pet. iv. 11. That God in all things may be glorified. So that this general rule lays a duty upon all Chriftians of defigning the glory of God in all their actions; all the difficulty is, what is here meant by this, of doing all things to the glory of God. The Jews have a common faying, which feems to be parallel with this phrafe of the Apoftle, That all things fhould be done in the name of God. And this they make fo effential to every good action, that it was a received principle among them, that he who obeys any command of God, and not in his name, fhall receive no reward.
ward. Now that to do things in the name of God, and to do them to his glory, are but feveral phrafes fignifying the fame thing, is evident from that precept of the Apoftle, Col. iii. 17. And what foever ye do in word, or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jefus Chrift; that is, to his glory. Now for our clear understanding of the fenfe of this phrafe of glorifying God,or doing things toGod's glory; we will confider the various ufe of it in fcripture, and fo defcend to the proper and particular fenfe of it here in the text.
The glory of God is nothing elfe but the honour which is given to him by his creatures; and confequently, the general notion of glorifying God, or doing any thing to his glory, is to defign to honour God by fuch and fuch actions; and this phrafe is in fcripture more efpecially applyed to thefe following particulars.
1. We are faid in fcripture to glorify God by a folemn acknowledgment of him and his perfections, of his goodness and mercy, of his power and wifdom, of his truth and faithfulness, of his fovereign dominion and authority over us. Hence it is that all folemn actions of religion are called the worship of God, which fignifies that honour and glory which is given to him by his creatures, fignified by fome outward expreffion of reverence and refpect. Thus we are faid to worship God, when we fall down before him, and pray to him for mercy and bleffings, or praife him for favours and benefits received from him, or perform any other folemn act of religion, Pfal. lxxxvi. 9. All nations whom thou haft made, fhall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and hall glorify thy name.
But efpecially the duty of praife and thanksgiving is moft frequently in fcripture called glorifying of God, or giving glory to him. Pfa. lxxxvi. 12. Iwill praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify thy name. Matth. v. 16. Let your light fo shine before men, that they may fee your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven; that is, praife him upon that account. v. 25. it is faid of the man fick of the pally, that when he was healed, He departed to his own houfe, glorifying God; that is, praifing God for his great mercy to him. And Luke xvii. 18. our Saviour fpeaking of the ten le