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Julian Pe

riod, 4770. Vulgar Æra, 57.



sent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting Ephesus.
and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt
you not for your incontinency.

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of command-

* It has been said, by many very respectable divines, that St. Paul did not consider himself to have been always inspired, but that he has distinguished between those parts of his epistles which were dictated by the Spirit of God, and those that were not. This is the only chapter in any of his epistles where this may at first sight appear to be so; a little attention, however, will shew that the notion is founded on a total misconception of the meaning of the apostle; who, so far from denying his plenary inspiration, vindicates its existence to the very utmost.

The Corinthians, it appears, had written to the apostle to know his opinion, first, concerning marriage and the duties of the marriage state, with reference perhaps to the peculiar circumstances of the Church under its impending troubles. To this inquiry the apostle in substance replies, that a state of celibacy was good, but that as the power of continency was not universal, it was better for those who felt so disposed, to enter into the marriage state, and for those who were already married to live together. "But," says he, "I speak this by permission, and not of commandment," ver: 6. The sense of which words is clearly this, that the Gospel gave no command either with respect to marriage, or to an abstinence from it-but that it permitted every man to act as from his own self-experience he might think to be best. The commandment then, and the permission, have reference not to the writing of the apostle, but to the conduct of the Corinthians.

The next point on which the Corinthians had consulted him, related to the preservation of the marriage bond among those Christians who were already married. "Unto the married I command, yet not I but the Lord; Let not the wife depart from her husband," &c. ver. 10. Here, then, there was no latitude of permission, but a positive command from Christ himself, in whose code of morality this preservation of the marriage bond formed a very new and striking feature. To Christ himself therefore he refers, who, Matt. v. 32. had most decisively forbidden all divorces, excepting in the case of adultery. The Corinthians knew the command of the Lord too well to need that it should be either reiterated or reinforced by himself; nor was it any disparagement of his apostolical power to appeal to the words of his heavenly Master.

The third point on which they had consulted him was thiswhether the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever ought to be dissolved. This being a new case, he writes upon it at some length. "To the rest speak I, not the Lord, if any brother hath a wife that believeth not," &c. ver. 12. As therefore this was an extraordinary circumstance, respecting which Christ had not left any command, St. Paul proceeds to supply the deficiency, and gives a very decisive opinion, that no separation ought to take place on the part of the believer. So far indeed is he from undervaluing bis power, that in the full persuasion and consciousness of his inspired authority, he concludes, "And so ordain I in all the Churches," ver. 17.

The fourth point upon which they had consulted him, respect those who had never yet been married. Upon this point he thus commences his decision. "Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one

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7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But Ephesus. every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

that hath obtained mercy to be faithful," ver. 25. As then Christ
had left no command upon the point, the apostle proceeds to
decide the matter upon his own authority. But how does he
decide it? Not as an ordinary man,-but as " one who had ob-
tained mercy to be faithful." The word, which is translated
faithful, signifies in this, as in various other places, "worthy
of confidence or credit." The same term, both in the original
and in the translation, is applied to God himself, 1 Cor. i. 9.
"God is faithful." Again we find, Tit. i. 19. "The faithful
word," i. e. the Gospel. In 1 Tim. i. 12. we find the word pe-
culiarly applied to the inspired ministry, "I thank Jesus Christ
our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful,
putting me into the ministry." When, therefore, St. Paul
speaks of his having obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful,
he asserts the grace and authority of an inspired minister and
apostle, and as such he pronounces his solemn determination
and judgment.

Such a judgment was not his own private opinion and decree,
but it was the determination of a mind divinely assisted and in-
spired. This the apostle again asserts, in the words with which
the subject is concluded. She is happier, if she so abide, after
my judgment, and I think also that I have the Spirit of God."
These latter words, which many have imagined to imply a doubt
or hesitation in the mind of St. Paul respecting his inspiration,
are, if rightly understood, the strongest affirmation of it.
Some have considered the doubt as an ironical expression, with
a view to put his adversaries to shame. But in reality he has
expressed no doubt or hesitation at all. The misconception has
arisen from the double meaning of the English word “think ;”
which ordinarily expresses a degree of uncertainty in the mind
of the speaker, with respect to the fact in question. Whereas
the word, in the original, signifies "I am of opinion,” or “I
profess," implying thereby a very high degree of confidence and
self-persuasion. This language, therefore, so far from impeach-
ing his inspiration, is even stronger than if it were only a
simple affirmation of the fact. It is an asseveration upon the
credit of his own personal knowledge and assurance.

Before we dismiss this chapter from our consideration, we may remark two other circumstances, which are both of import. ance with respect to our present inquiry. First, that when St. Paul says, "To the rest speak I, not the Lord," he refers to Christ personally, and to his ministry upon earth. The influence of the Holy Spirit is in these words neither mentioned nor alluded to. There is no distinction, therefore, drawn between Paul when inspired, and Paul when uninspired; nor is it asserted that in the one case he spoke with the Spirit, and in the other without it. The distinction is this-that in the one case there existed a direct command of Christ, but that in the other there did not. The inspiration of the apostle, then, is not the point in question. We may remark, secondly, that in this chapter, as indeed in other places, the term "I speak," is applied by St. Paul to his writing. This is a strong argument, if any indeed were wanting, for considering his preaching and his writings as armed with the same authority, and as dictated by the same Spirit.

From this chapter, therefore, we may conclude that St. Paul unequivocally asserts his plenary and perpetual inspiration,

Julian Pe



8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is Ephesus. riod, 4770. good for them if they abide even as I.

Vulgar Æra, 57.

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean: but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

§ 18. 1 COR. vii. 18—24.

St. Paul teaches that Christianity makes no change in the
common Relations and natural Obligations of Life.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not
become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision?
let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let very man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant,
is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called,
being free, is Christ's servant.

that he entertains no doubt, nor admits any qualification,
cither as to its influence or its extent. He claims it every where,
and that claim, as Christians, we must admit (a).

(a) See Mr. Rennell's tract on Inspiration, and his references at the

Julian Pe

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants Ephesus. riod, 4770. of men. Vulgar Era,


24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

19. 1 COR. vii. 25, to the end.

St. Paul recommends both Virgins and Widows to continue
unmarried in times of Persecution; and to make them less
solicitous about the present Cares and Pleasures of Life,
he reminds them of its Shortness and Insignificance.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of
the Lord, yet I give my judgment, as one that hath ob-
tained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress; I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

Julian Pe

riod, 4770. Vulgar Æra,




38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well: Ephesus. but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will only in the Lord.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

§ 20. 1 COR. viii. 1. to the end.

St. Paul, in Reply to the Converts, instructs them that
though the eating of things offered to Idols was indiffer-
ent in itself, the Custom was to be avoided, as their Ex-
ample might lead the weaker Brethren into Sin, by en-
couraging them in the Idea that their Idol is a real God.
1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know
that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but
charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he
knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him 9.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some, with conscience of the idol unto this hour, eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

8. But meat commendeth us not to God: but neither,

9 This passage has frequently been considered as one principal support of the Socinian opinions. This mistake has arisen solely from not observing the cause of St. Paul's reasoning. He is speaking of the many non-entities whom the Heathen worship, and then adds, in contradiction, To us there is but one God, the Father, (or producing generating cause) of whom are all things. Here he contrasts their theism with the Gentile polytheism-but many of the wiser Heathens had attained so far towards the truth, and therefore he adds, (to distinguish between the Christian and philosophic theist,)" and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things ;" that is, (" by whom God made the worlds, or by whom he gave the ministry of reconciliation,") and we by him; that is, by him we are that in which we differ from other men, purified and sanctified. The passage has not the least reference, one way or another, with the question of Unitarianism, and is only tantamount to the commencement of the creed, I believe in God the Father, &c. and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.

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