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this manner, and another after that.

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

Contain, let them mar

9 But if they cannot ry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

And it is better to marry, than to burn.


I Cor.

every man has his proper gift of God, one in this SECT.
kind, or manner, and another in that. So that
though I give the best advice and example I can
I would not exalt myself on account of this VII. 7.
attainment, nor despise those that have it not.
But as to unmarried men, who, like me, have 8
buried their wives, and to the widows, I say, it
is good for them, (if they conveniently can,) to
continue, as I do, in the widowed state.
But 9
if they have not attained to such a degree of tem-
perance, as to be easy in it, let them by all means
marry. For though it be better to live calmly
and soberly in a state of widowhood, than to
marry, it is undoubtedly much better to marry
a second time, or a third, than to burn, and to be
tormented with those restless passions which
some in such circumstances feel.

10 Aud unto the

But as to those that are married, [it is] not 10 married 1 command, I [who] command but the Lord Jesus Christ Let not the wife de- himself, who enjoins, that the wife should not part from her husband: withdraw herself from [her] husband: But if lɩ

yet not I, but the Lord,

11 But and if she she be withdrawn by her own rash and foolish depart, let her remain nnmarried, or be re- act, let her not by any means contract another conciled to her hus- marriage; but remain unmarried, or rather, if band: and let not the it may be accomplished by any submission on husband put away his wife. her side, let her be reconciled to [her] husband, that they may, if possible, live in such an union and harmony as the relation requires. And let not the husband dismiss [his] wife on any light account, or indeed, for any thing short of adultery. For whatever particular reasons Moses might have, for permitting divorces on some slighter occasions, Christ our great Legislator, who may reasonably expect higher degrees of purity and virtue in his followers, as their assistances are so much greater, hath seen fit expressly to prohibit such separation, and we, his apostles, in our decisions upon this matter, must guide ourselves by the authority of his determination.

entirely cease. It shews therefore how untair and improper it is, in various cases, to strain the apostle's words to the utmost rigour, as if he perpetually used the most Critical exactness; but indeed chap. ix. 22. is so full an instance to the contrary, that it is not necessary to multiply remarks of this kind.


c To those that are married.] The translation, published by the English Jesuits, at Bourdeaux, renders it, to those who are united in the sacrament of marriage; which I mention as one instance, selected from a vast number, of the great dishonesty of that translation.


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Reflections on the Apostle's observations about marriage.


SECT. xiii.

THE decisions of the holy apostle are here given with such gravity, seriousness and purity, that one would hope, delicate as the subject of them is, they will be received without any of that unbecoming levity which the wantonness of some minds may be ready to excite on such an occasion.


It becomes us humbly to adore the Divine wisdom and goodness manifested in the formation of the first human pair, and in keeping up the different sexes through all succeeding ages, in so just a 4 proportion, that every man might have his own wife, and every woman her own husband: that the instinct of nature might, so far as it is necessary, be gratified without guilt, and an holy seed be sought, which being trained up under proper discipline and instruction, might supply the wastes that death is continually making, and be accounted to the Lord for a generation: that so virtue and religion, for the sake of which alone it is desirable that human creatures should subsist, may be transmitted through every age, and earth become a nursery for heaven.


With these views, let marriages be contracted, when it is proper they should be contracted at all. Let none imagine the state itself to be impure; and let it always be preserved undefiled. Let all occasion of irregular desire be prudently guarded against by those who have entered into it. And let all christians, in every relation, remember that the obligations of devotion are common to all; and that Christ and his apostles seem to take it for granted, that we shall be careful to secure proper seasons for fasting, as well as for prayer, so far as may be needful, in order that the superior authority of the mind over the body may be exercised, and maintained, and that our petitions to the throne of grace may be offered with. greater intenseness, copiousness and ardour.


The apostle exhorts Christians not to break marriage on account of difference in religion; and urges, in the general, contentment with the stations in which they were called, and a concern to serve God in their proper condition, whether married, or single, bound or free. 1 Cor. VII. 12-24.


I HAVE reminded you of the decision of Christ with respect to the affair of divorce: now as to the rest of the persons and cases to which I VII. 12. shall address myself, it is to be observed, that I



1 Cor. VII. 12.

BUT to the rest speak

I, not the Lord,

any brother bath a wife that believeth not



Marriage not dissolved by difference in religion.



dwell with him, let im not put her away.

1 Cor.

and she be pleased to speak, according to what duty or prudence SECT. seems on the whole to require; and it is not to be considered as if it were immediately spoken by the Lord. If any Christian brother hath an VII. 12. unbelieving wife, and she consent to dwell with him, notwithstanding the diversity of their religious persuasions, let him not dismiss her. And 13 on the other hand, if any Christian wife have an unbelieving husband, and he consent to dwell with her, let her not dismiss hima, nor separate herself from him, though the legal constitution of the country in which she lives may allow her to do it. For in such a case as this, the un- 14 believing husband is so sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is so sanctified by the husband, that their matrimonial converse is as lawful as if they were both of the same faith: otherwise your children, in these mixed cases, were unclean, and must be looked upon as unfit to be admitted to those peculiar ordinances by which the seed of God's people are distinguished; but now they are confessedly holy, and are as readily admitted to baptism in all our churches, as if both the parents were Christians; so that the case you see, is in effect decided by this prevailing practice. However, if the unbe-15 lieving party, in such circumstances as these, be absolutely determined, and will depart, let him, or her depart, and take the course they think best; and the consequence is, that a brother, or a sister, who hath been united to such a wife, or husband, in matrimonial bonds, is by such a conduct of a former partner, discharged from future

19 And the woman

which hath an husband that believed not, and

if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her

not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctifi

ed 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


a Let her not dismiss him.] I have else where observed, that in these countries, in the apostle's days the wives had a power of divorce as well as the husbands. b Is sanctified, &c.] Some think the meaning is, "the Christian may convert the infidel;" as appears, in that the children of such marriages are brought up Christians. But this cannot possibly be the sense; for that they were brought up so, was not to be sure always fact, and where it was, there was no need of proving from thence the conversion of the parent, which would in itself be much more apparent than the education of the child.

c Now are they holy.] On the ma turest and most impartial consideration of this text, I must judge it to refer to infuntbaptism. Nothing can be more apparent than that the word holy, signifies persons,

who might be admitted to partake of the
distinguishing rites of God's people.
Compare Exod. xix. 6; Deut. vii. 6;
chap. xiv. 2; chap. xxvi. 19; chap.
xxxiii. 9; Ezra ix. 2; with Isa. xxxv. 8;
chap. lii. 1; Acts x. 28. &c. And as
for the interpretation, which so many of
our brethren, the Baptists, have contend-
cd for, that holy signifies legitimate, and
unclean illegitimate; (not to urge that this
seems an unscriptural sense of the word,)
nothing can be more evident, than that
the argument will by no means bear it;
for it would be proving a thing by itself,
idem per idem, to argue that the converse
of the parents was lawful, because the
children were not bastards; whereas all
who thought the converse of the parents
unlawful, must of course think that the
children were illegitimate.
d As

The believing party may convert the unbelieving.

1 Cor.'

future obligation, and is not in bondage in such God hath called us to [cases.] But let it be always remembered, that peace. God hath by his gospel called us to peace; and VII. 15. therefore it ought to be our care, to behave in as inoffensive a manner as possible, in all the relations of life; that so, if there must be a breach, the blame may not be chargeable upon the Christian.





16 For what knowest

thou, O wife, whether
thou shalt save thy
Or how

knowest thou, O man,


17 But as God hatla distributed to every

And as it is worth your while, to be very careful in your behaviour to those who thus make, as it were, a part of yourselves, that you may adorn the gospel you profess, by the most ami able and engaging conduct; for it is possible, whether thou shalt save the unbeliever may be thereby gained to Chris- thy wife? tianity. Let each therefore reflect on his own concern in this observation. For how knowest thou, O wife, but thou mayest save thine husband? Or how knowest thou, O husband, but thou mayest save [thy] wife? And surely the everlasting happiness of the person, now the companion of your life, will be more than an equivalent for all the self-denial to which you may be required at present to submit. But if this should not be the effect, it still becomes you to do your man, as the Lord hath duty; and therefore since the providence of God called every one, so let is concerned in all these relations, and in the him walk and so orsteps by which they were contracted, as God dain I in all churches. hath distributed to every one, and as it were, cast the parts of life, let every one so walk, even as the Lord hath called him d This is the lesson I would inculcate on you Corinthians, and thus I command in all the churches, and charge it upon the consciences of men, as a lesson of the highest importance. 18 Is any one, for instance, called, being circum- 18 Is any man calcised, let him not become, so far as in him lies, let him not become led being circumcised? uncircumcised; nor act, as if he were desirous, uncircumcised; is any as far as possible, to undo what was done by his man called in uncirJewish parents, or masters, in his infancy. Is cumcision? Let him any one called to the fellowship of gospel-bles- cised. ings in uncircumcision let him not be solicitous to be circumcised, as if that rite were necessary to

not become circum


d As the Lord hath called him.] This is a very pertinent digression, as it so directly contradicts the notion which prevailed among the Jews, that embracing the true religion dissolved all the relations which had before been contracted. Where as the apostle here declares, that the gospel left them in this respect, just as it found them; increasing, instead of lessen

ing, the obligations they were under to a faithful and affectionate discharge of their correspondent duties.

e Become uncircumcised] The word Iowacw, has an evident relation to attempts, like those referred to, 1 Mac. i. 15, which it is not necessary more particularly to illustrate. f You

In general, as God hath called every man, so let him walk.


cumcision is nothing,

1 Cor.

but the keeping of the commandments of God

his salvation, as the Jews, and some zealots SECT. 19 Circumcision is amongst ourselves, have taught. For to speak nothing, and uneir- the important truth in a few plain words, Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is no- VII. 19. thing; the observation, or non-observation, of the Mosaic law, will neither secure nor obstruct our salvation; but all depends upon keeping the commandments of God. An obediential faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, produced by the sanctifying influences of his Spirit on the heart, and bringing forth the genuine fruits of holiness in our temper and life, is the great concern: and whether we be Jews, or Gentiles, circumcised, or uncircumcised, we shall be happy, or miserable for ever, as we are careful or negligent with 20 Let every man regard to this. As for other matters, be not 20 excessively concerned about them; but in whatever calling, that is, profession and circumstance, any one of you was called, in that let him continue; affect not to change without the clear and evident leadings of Providence, as there is generally greater reason to expect comfort and usefulness in such a calling than another. 21 Art thou called And I may apply this, not only to the different 21 not for it; but if thou employments, but relations in life, as well as mayest be made free, diversity in religious professions. Art thou, for instance, called into the church of Christ, [being] in the low rank, not only of an hired servant, but a slave? Do not so much regard it, as, upon that account, to make thy life uneasy; but if thou canst, without any sinful method of obtaining it, be made free, choose it rather; as what is no doubt in itself eligible, yet not absolutely necessary to the happiness of a good man.

abide in the same calling wherein he was called,

being a servant? care

use it rather.

being a servant, is the

22 For he that is For he that is called by the Lord to the Christian 22 called in the Lord, faith, [being] a servant or slave, is the Lord's Lord's freeman: like- freeman. Christ has made him free indeed, in wise also he that is making him partaker of the glorious liberties of called, being free, is the children of God; (John viii. 36 ;) and on the other hand, he also that is called, [being] free from the authority of any human master, is still the servant, the property of Christ, and owes him a most implicit and universal obedience. 23 Ye are bought But upon this head, remember, that as Chris-23 with a price; be not

Christ's servant.

ye the servants of men. tians, you were all bought with a most invaluable

price: Christ hath redeemed you at the expence


f You were bought with a price. &c.] Dr. Whitby would render it, "Are ye bought with a price, that is, redeemed from

servitude? Become not servants of men; do not sell yourselves for slaves again." It is indeed probable, that the apostle does



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