1 Corinthians 10

CHAPTER X.

Peculiar circumstances in the Jewish history were typical of

the greatest mysteries of the Gospel; particularly their

passing through the Red Sea, and being overshadowed with the

miraculous cloud, 1, 2.

The manna with which they were fed, 3.

And rock out of which they drank, 4.

The punishments inflicted on them for their disobedience are

warnings to us, 5.

We should not lust as they did, 6.

Nor commit idolatry, 7.

Nor fornication as they did; in consequence of which

twenty-three thousand of them were destroyed, 8.

Nor tempt Christ as they did, 9.

Nor murmur, 10.

All these transgressions and their punishments are recorded

as warnings to us, that we may not fall away from the grace

of God, 11, 12.

God never suffers any to be tempted above their strength, 13.

Idolatry must be detested, 14.

And the sacrament of the Lord's Supper properly considered

and taken, that God may not be provoked to punish us, 15-22.

There are some things which may be legally done which are not

expedient; and we should endeavour so to act as to edify each

other, 23, 24.

The question concerning eating things offered to idols

considered, and finally settled, 25-30.

We should do all things to the glory of God, avoid whatsoever

might be the means of stumbling another, and seek the profit

of others in spiritual matters rather than our own

gratification, 31-33.

NOTES ON CHAP. X.

Verse 1. I would not that ye should be ignorant] It seems as

if the Corinthians had supposed that their being made partakers of

the ordinances of the Gospel, such as baptism and the Lord's

Supper, would secure their salvation, notwithstanding they might

be found partaking of idolatrous feasts; as long, at least, as

they considered an idol to be nothing in the world. To remove

this destructive supposition, which would have led them to endless

errors both in principle and practice, the apostle shows that the

Jews had sacramental ordinances in the wilderness, similar to

those of the Christians; and that, notwithstanding they had the

typical baptism from the cloud, and the typical eucharist from the

paschal lamb, and the manna that came down from heaven, yet, when

they joined with idolaters and partook of idolatrous feasts, God

was not only displeased with them, but signified this displeasure

by pouring out his judgments upon them, so that in one day 23,000

of them were destroyed.

Under the cloud] It is manifest from Scripture that the

miraculous cloud in the wilderness performed a three-fold office

to the Israelites. 1. It was a cloud in the form of a pillar to

direct their journeyings by day. 2. It was a pillar of fire to

give light to the camp by night. 3. It was a covering for them

during the day, and preserved them from the scorching rays of the

sun; and supplied them with a sufficiency of aqueous particles,

not only to cool that burning atmosphere, but to give refreshment

to themselves and their cattle; and its humidity was so abundant

that the apostle here represents the people as thoroughly

sprinkled and enveloped in its aqueous vapour.

See Clarke on Ex 13:21.

Verse 2. And were all baptized unto Moses] Rather INTO

Moses-into the covenant of which Moses was the mediator; and by

this typical baptism they were brought under the obligation of

acting according to the Mosaic precepts, as Christians receiving

Christian baptism are said to be baptized INTO Christ, and are

thereby brought under obligation to keep the precepts of the

Gospel.

Verse 3. Spiritual meat] The manna which is here called

spiritual. 1. Because it was provided supernaturally; and,

2. Because it was a type of Christ Jesus, who speaking of it,

Joh 6:31, &c.,

tells us that it was a type of that true bread which came down

from heaven, which gives life to the world, Joh 6:33,

and that himself was the bread of life, Joh 6:48.

Verse 4. Spiritual drink] By the βρωμαπνευματικον spiritual

meat, and πομαπνευματικον, spiritual drink, the apostle

certainly means both meat and drink, which were furnished to the

Israelitish assembly miraculously, as well as typically: and he

appears to borrow his expression from the Jews themselves, who

expressly say hallechem hallaz ruchani, that bread

was spiritual, and meyim ruchainiyim haiu, the

waters were spiritual. Alschech in legem. fol. 238, to which

opinion the apostle seems particularly to refer. See Schoettgen.

The spiritual rock that followed them] There is some

difficulty in this verse. How could the rock follow them? It

does not appear that the rock ever moved from the place where

Moses struck it. But to solve this difficulty, it is said that

rock here is put, by metonymy, for the water of the rock; and that

this water did follow them through the wilderness. This is more

likely; but we have not direct proof of it. The ancient Jews,

however, were of this opinion, and state that the streams followed

them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys,

&c., &c.; and that when they came to encamp, the waters formed

themselves into cisterns and pools; and that the rulers of the

people guided them, by their staves, in rivulets to the different

tribes and families. And this is the sense they give to

Nu 21:17:

Spring up, O well, &c. See the places in Schoettgen.

Others contend, that by the rock following them we are to

understand their having carried of its waters with them on their

journeyings. This we know is a common custom in these deserts to

the present day; and that the Greek verb ακολουθεω, to follow, has

this sense, Bishop Pearce has amply proved in his note on this

place. The Jews suppose that the rock itself went with the

Israelites, and was present with them in their thirty-eight

stations, for only so many are mentioned. See Alschech in legem.

fol. 236. And see Schoettgen.

Now, though of all the senses already given that of Bishop

Pearce is the best, yet it does appear that the apostle does not

speak about the rock itself, but of Him whom it represented;

namely, Christ: this was the Rock that followed them, and

ministered to them; and this view of the subject is rendered more

probable by what is said 1Co 10:9,

that they tempted Christ, and were destroyed by serpents. The

same rock is in the vale of Rephidim to the present day; and it

bears aboriginal marks of the water that flowed from it in the

fissures that appear on its sides. It is one block of fine

granite, about seven yards long, five broad, and - high. A

fragment of this typical rock now lies before me, brought by a

relative of my own, who broke it off, and did not let it pass

into any hand till he placed it in mine.

See Clarke on Ex 17:6.

Verse 5. They were overthrown in the wilderness.] And yet ALL

these persons were under the cloud-ALL passed through the sea-ALL

were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea-ALL ate the

same spiritual meat-ALL drank the same spiritual drink, for they

were made partakers of the spiritual Rock, CHRIST. Nothing can be

a more decisive proof than this that people, who have every

outward ordinance, and are made partakers of the grace of our Lord

Jesus, may so abuse their privileges and grieve the Spirit of God

as to fall from their state of grace, and perish ever lastingly.

Let those who are continually asserting that this is impossible,

beware lest they themselves, if in a state of grace, become,

through their overmuch security, proofs in point of the

possibility of ending in the flesh, though they began in the

Spirit. Reader, remember who said, Ye shall not surely die; and

remember the mischiefs produced by a belief of his doctrine.

Verse 6. These things were our examples] The punishments

which God inflicted on them furnish us with evidences of what God

will inflict upon us, if we sin after the similitude of those

transgressors.

We should not lust after evil things] It is most evident that

the apostle refers here to the history in Nu 11:4, &c.:

And the mixed multitude fell a lusting, and said, Who shall give

us flesh to eat? Into the same spirit the Corinthians had most

evidently fallen; they lusted after the flesh in the idol feasts,

and therefore frequented them to the great scandal of Christianity.

The apostle shows them that their sin was of the same nature as

that of the murmuring rebellious Israelites whom God so severely

punished; and if he did not spare the natural branches, there was

no likelihood that he should spare them.

Verse 7. Neither be ye idolaters] The apostle considers

partaking of the idolatrous feasts as being real acts of idolatry;

because those who offered the flesh to their gods considered them

as feeding invisibly with them on the flesh thus offered, and that

every one that partook of the feast was a real participator with

the god to whom the flesh or animal had been offered in sacrifice.

See 1Co 10:21.

Rose up to play.] See Clarke on Ex 32:6. The Jews

generally explain this word as implying idolatrous acts only: I

have considered it as implying acts of impurity, with which

idolatrous acts were often accompanied. It also means those

dances which were practised in honour of their gods. That this is

one meaning of the verb παιζειν, Kypke has largely proved. The

whole idolatrous process was as follows: 1. The proper victim was

prepared and set apart. 2. It was slain, and its blood poured out

at the altar of the deity. 3. The flesh was dressed, and the

priests and offerers feasted on it, and thus endeavoured to

establish a communion between themselves and the object of their

worship. 4. After eating, they had idolatrous dances in honour of

their god; and, 5. as might be expected, impure mixtures, in

consequence of those dances. The people sat down to eat and to

drink, and rose up to play; and it is in reference to this issue

of idolatrous feasts and dancings that the apostle immediately

subjoins: Neither let us commit FORNICATION, &c.

Verse 8. Fell in one day three and twenty thousand.] In

Nu 25:9, the number is 24,000; and, allowing this to be the

genuine reading, (and none of the Hebrew MSS. exhibit any various

reading in the place,) Moses and the apostle may be thus

reconciled: in Nu 25:4,

God commands Moses to take all the heads (the rulers) of the

people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun; these

possibly amounted to 1000, and those who fell by the plague were

23,000, so that the whole amounted to 24,000. Instead of

εικοσιτρειςχιλιαδες, 23,000, two MSS., with the later Syriac and

the Armenian, have εικοσιτεσσαρεςχιλιαδες, 24,000; but this

authority is too slender to establish a various reading, which

recedes so much from the received text. I think the discordance

may be best accounted for by supposing, as above, that Phineas and

his companions might have slain 1000 men, who were heads of the

people, and chief in this idolatry; and that the plague sent from

the Lord destroyed 23,000 more; so an equal number to the whole

tribe of Levi perished in one day, who were just 23,000.

See Nu 26:62; and see Lightfoot.

Verse 9. Neither let us tempt Christ] I have already

supposed, in Clarke's note on "1Co 10:4", that Christ is intended by

the spiritual rock that followed them: and that it was he, not the

rock, that did follow or accompany the Israelites in the

wilderness. This was the angel of God's presence who was with the

Church in the wilderness, to whom our fathers would not obey, as

St. Stephen says, Ac 7:38, 39.

Instead of χριστον, Christ, several MSS. and a few versions have

κυριον, the Lord, and some few θεον, God. But though some

respectable MSS. have the Lord instead of Christ, yet this latter

has the greatest proportion of authority on its side. And this

affords no mean proof that the person who is called Yehovah

in the Old Testament, is called Christ in the New. By tempting

Christ is meant disbelieving the providence and goodness of God;

and presuming to prescribe to him how he should send them the

necessary supplies, and of what kind they should be, &c.

Verse 10. Neither murmur ye] How the Israelites murmured

because of the manna, which their souls despised as a light

bread-something incapable of affording them nourishment, &c., and

because they had been brought out of Egypt into the wilderness,

and pretended that the promises of God had failed; and how they

were destroyed by serpents, and by the destroyer or plague; may be

seen at large in the texts referred to in the margin on this and

the preceding verses. It appears from what the apostle says here,

that the Corinthians were murmuring against God and his apostle

for prohibiting them from partaking of the idolatrous feasts, just

as the Israelites did in the wilderness in reference to a similar

subject. See the history of Phineas, with Zimri and Cosbi, and

the rebellion of Corah and his company, &c., &c.

Destroyed of the destroyer.] The Jews suppose that God

employed destroying angels to punish those rebellious Israelites;

they were five in number, and one of them they call

Meshachith, the destroyer; which appears to be another name for

Samael, the angel of death, to whose influence they attribute all

deaths which are not uncommon or violent. Those who die violent

deaths, or deaths that are not in the common manner of men, are

considered as perishing by immediate judgments from God.

Verse 11. Upon whom the ends of the world are come.] τατελη

τωναιωνων. The end of the times included within the whole

duration of the Mosaic economy. For although the word αιων means,

in its primary sense, endless being, or duration; yet, in its

accommodated sense, it is applied to any round or duration that is

complete in itself: and here it evidently means the whole duration

of the Mosaic economy. "Thus, therefore," says Dr. Lightfoot,

"the apostle speaks in this place that those things, which were

transacted in the beginning of the Jewish ages, are written for an

example to you upon whom the ends of those ages are come; and the

beginning is like to the end, and the end to the beginning. Both

were forty years; both consisted of temptation and unbelief; and

both ended in the destruction of the unbelievers-that, in the

destruction of those who perished in the wilderness; this, in the

destruction of those that believed not: viz. the destruction of

their city and nation." The phrase soph yomaiya, the

end of days, says the Targum of Jerusalem, Ge 3:15, means

beyomoi demalca Meshicha, in the days of the

King Messiah. We are to consider the apostle's words as referring

to the end of the Jewish dispensation and the commencement of the

Christian, which is the last dispensation which God will vouchsafe

to man in the state of probation.

Verse 12. Let him that thinketh he standeth] οδοκων

εσταναι. Let him who most confidently standeth-him who has the

fullest conviction in his own conscience that his heart is right

with God, and that his mind is right in the truth, take heed lest

he fall from his faith, and from the state of holiness in which

the grace of God has placed him. I have already shown that the

verb δοκειν, which we render to seem, to think, to suppose,

is used by the best Greek writers, not to lessen or weaken the

sense, but to render it stronger and more emphatic.

See Clarke on Lu 8:18.

In a state of probation every thing may change; while we are in

this life we may stand or fall: our standing in the faith depends

on our union with God; and that depends on our watching unto

prayer, and continuing to possess that faith that worketh by love.

The highest saint under heaven can stand no longer than he depends

upon God and continues in the obedience of faith. He that ceases

to do so will fall into sin, and get a darkened understanding and

a hardened heart: and he may continue in this state till God come

to take away his soul. Therefore, let him who most assuredly

standeth, take heed lest he fall; not only partially, but finally.

Verse 13. But such as is common to man] ανθρωπινος. Chrysostom

has properly translated this word ανθρωπινοςτουτεστιμικρος

βραχυςσυμμετρος; that is, small, short, moderate. Your

temptations or trials have been but trifling in comparison of

those endured by the Israelites; they might have been easily

resisted and overcome. Besides, God will not suffer you to be

tried above the strength he gives you; but as the trial comes, he

will provide you with sufficient strength to resist it; as the

trial comes in, he will make your way out. The words are very

remarkable, ποιησεισυντωπειρασμωκαιτηνεκβασιν, "He will,

with the temptation, make the deliverance, or way out." Satan is

never permitted to block up our way, without the providence of God

making a way through the wall. God ever makes a breach in his

otherwise impregnable fortification. Should an upright soul get

into difficulties and straits, he may rest assured that there is a

way out, as there was a way in; and that the trial shall never be

above the strength that God shall give him to bear it.

Verse 14. Therefore-flee from idolatry.] This is a trial of

no great magnitude; to escape from so gross a temptation requires

but a moderate portion of grace and circumspection.

Verse 15. I speak as to wise men] The Corinthians valued

themselves not a little on their wisdom and various gifts; the

apostle admits this, and draws an argument from it against

themselves. As ye are so wise, surely ye can see the propriety of

abominating idolatry of every kind: for an idol is nothing in the

world, and can do nothing for you and nothing against you.

Verse 16. The cup of blessing] The apostle speaks here of the

Eucharist, which he illustrates by the cos habberacah,

cup of blessing, over which thanks were expressed at the

conclusion of the passover. See this largely explained at the

conclusion of Clarke's notes on "Mt 26:75",

and in my Discourse upon the Eucharist, 8vo. 2d edit. 1814.

The communion of the blood of Christ?] We who partake of this

sacred cup, in commemoration of the death of Christ, are made

partakers of his body and blood, and thus have fellowship with

him; as those who partake of an idol feast, thereby, as much as

they can, participate with the idol, to whom the sacrifice was

offered. This I have proved at large in the above tract, to which

I must refer the reader, as the subject is too voluminous to be

inserted here.

Verse 17. For we, being many, are one bread] The original

would be better translated thus: Because there is one bread, or

loaf; we, who are many, are one body. As only one loaf was used

at the passover, and those who partook of it were considered to be

one religious body; so we who partake of the eucharistical bread

and wine, in commemoration of the sacrificial death of Christ, are

one spiritual society, because we are all made partakers of that

one Christ whose blood was shed for us to make an atonement for

our sins; as the blood of the paschal lamb was shed and sprinkled

in reference to this of which it was the type.

Verse 18. Behold Israel after the flesh] The Jews not yet

converted to Christianity: the latter being Israel after the

Spirit. As the design of the apostle was to withdraw his converts

at Corinth from all temptations to idolatry, he produces two

examples to show the propriety of his endeavours. 1. All who join

together in celebrating the Lord's Supper, and are partakers of

that one bread, give proof by this that they are Christians, and

have fellowship with Christ. 2. All the Israelites who offer

sacrifice, and partake of those sacrifices, give proof thereby

that they are Jews, and are in fellowship with the object of their

worship: so they who join in idol festivals, and eat things which

have been offered to idols, give proof that they are in communion

with those idolaters, and that they have fellowship with the

demons they worship.

Verse 19. What say I then?] A Jewish phrase for, I conclude;

and this is his conclusion: that although an idol is nothing, has

neither power nor influence, nor are things offered to idols any

thing the worse for being thus offered; yet, as the things

sacrificed by the Gentiles are sacrificed to demons and not to

God, those who partake of them have fellowship with demons: those

who profess Christianity cannot have fellowship both with Christ

and the devil.

Verse 21. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord] It is in vain

that you who frequent these idol festivals profess the religion of

Christ, and commemorate his death and passion in the holy

eucharist; for you can not have that fellowship with Christ which

this ordinance implies, while you are partakers of the table of

demons. That the Gentiles, in their sacrifices, fed on the slain

beasts, and ate bread and drank wine in honour of their gods, is

sufficiently clear from various accounts. See my Discourse on the

Holy Eucharist, where many examples are produced. The following

from Virgil, AEn. viii, verse 179-273, is proof in point:-

Tum lecti juvenes certatim araeque sacerdos

Viscera tosta ferunt taurorum, onerantque canistris

Dona laboratae Cereris, Bacchumque ministrant.

Vescitur AEneas simul et Trojana juventus

Perpetui tergo bovis et lustralibus extis.-----

Quare agite, O juvenes, tantarum in munere laudum,

Cingite fronde comas, et pocula porgite dextris,

Communemque vocate Deum, et date vina volentes.

The loaves were served in canisters; the wine

In bowls; the priests renewed the rites divine:

Broiled entrails are their food, and beef's continued chine

Ye warlike youths, your heads with garlands crown,

Fill high the goblets with a sparkling flood,

And with deep draughts invoke our common god.

Verse 22. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?] All idolatry

is represented as a sort of spiritual adultery; it is giving that

heart to Satan that should be devoted to God; and he is

represented as being jealous, because of the infidelity of those

who have covenanted to give their hearts to him.

Are we stronger than he?] As he has threatened to punish such

transgressors, and will infallibly do it, can we resist his

omnipotence? A sinner should consider, while he is in rebellion

against God, whether he be able to resist that power whereby God

will inflict vengeance.

Verse 23. All things are lawful for me] I may lawfully eat

all kinds of food, but all are not expedient; ουπαντασυμφερει.

It would not be becoming in me to eat of all, because I should by

this offend and grieve many weak minds.

See Clarke on 1Co 6:12, &c.

Verse 24. Let no man seek his own, &c.] Let none, for his

private gratification or emolument, disturb the peace or injure

the soul of another. Let every man live, not for himself, but for

every part of the great human family with which he is surrounded.

Verse 25. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat] The

case to which the apostle refers is simply this; it was customary

to bring the flesh of the animal to market, the blood of which had

been poured out in sacrifice to an idol; or, taken more

particularly, the case was this; one part of the sacrifice was

consumed on the altar of the idol: a second part was dressed and

eaten by the sacrificer; and a third belonged to the priest, and

was often sold in the shambles. To partake of the second share,

or to feast upon the sacrifice, St. Paul absolutely forbids,

because this was one part of the religious worship which was paid

to the idol; it was sitting down as guests at his table, in token

that they were in fellowship with him. This was utterly

incompatible with receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper,

which was the communion of the body and blood of Christ. But as

to the third share, the apostle leaves them at liberty either to

eat of it or forbear; except that, by eating, their weak brethren

should be offended; in that case, though the thing was lawful, it

was their duty to abstain. See Clarke on 1Co 8:1, &c.

Hindoos eagerly embrace whatever has been offered to an idol:

hence it is common to see the flowers that have been thus offered

placed in the hair of a Hindoo. Water that has been thus made

sacred is preserved in Hindoo houses, and with it they rub their

bodies, and occasionally sip a drop, regarding it as the water of

life.-See Ward.

Asking no questions for consciences sake] Dr. Lightfoot

observes, that "the Jews were vexed with innumerable scruples in

their feasts, as to the eating of the thing, as well as to the

company with which they ate; and even the manner of their eating.

Of fruits and herbs brought to the table, they were to inquire

whether they were tithed according to custom; whether they were

consecrated by the Truma, or whether they were profane; whether

they were clean, or touched with some pollution, &c. And

concerning flesh set on the table, they were to inquire whether it

was of that which had been offered to idols; whether it were the

flesh of an animal that had been torn by wild beasts; or of that

which had been strangled, or not killed according to the canons;

&c., &c. All which doubts the liberty of the Gospel abolished as

to one's own conscience, with this proviso, that no scandal or

offence be cast before another man's weak or scrupulous conscience."

From this it is evident that the apostle had the case of the

Jewish converts in view, and not the Gentiles. The latter were

not troubled with such extraordinary scrupulousness.

Verse 26. For the earth is the Lord's] And because God made

the earth and its fulness, all animals, plants, and vegetables,

there can be nothing in it or them impure or unholy; because all

are the creatures of God.

Verse 27. If any-bid you to a feast] The apostle means any

common meal, not an idol festival; for to such no Christian could

lawfully go.

Whatsoever is set before you, eat] Do not act as the Jews

generally do, torturing both themselves and others with questions,

such as those mentioned in 1Co 10:26.

Verse 28. This is offered in sacrifice unto idols] While they

were not apprized of this circumstance they might lawfully eat;

but when told that the flesh set before them had been offered to

an idol, then they were not to eat, for the sake of his weak

conscience who pointed out the circumstance. For the apostle

still takes it for granted that even the flesh offered in

sacrifice to an idol might be eaten innocently at any private

table, as in that case they were no longer in danger of being

partakers with devils, as this was no idol festival.

For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof] This

whole clause, which appears also in 1Co 10:26, is wanting here in

ABCDEFGH, several others, the Syriac, Erpen, Coptic, Sahidic,

AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala; and in several of the

fathers. Griesbach has left it out of the text: and Professor

White says, "Certissime delendum;" it should most undoubtedly be

erased. It has scarcely any authority to support it.

Verse 29. & 30. For why is my liberty judged of another man's

conscience? &c.] Though in the case of flesh offered to idols,

and other matters connected with idolatry, (on which it appears

there was much of a tender conscience among some of the

Corinthians,) it was necessary to sacrifice something to an

over-scrupulous conscience, yet the Gospel of Christ did not lay

any man under this general burthen, that he must do nothing at

which any weak brother might feel hurt or be stumbled; for the

liberty of the Gospel must not take for its rule the scrupulosity

of any conscience; for if a man, by grace-by the allowance or

authority of the Gospel, partake of any thing that God's bounty

has sent, and which the Gospel has not forbidden, and give thanks

to God for the blessing, no man has right or authority to condemn

such a person. This seems to be the meaning of these two verses;

and they read a lesson of caution to rash judges, and to those who

are apt to take offence.

Verse 30. See Clarke on 1Co 10:29

Verse 31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink] As no general

rule can be laid down in reference to the above particulars, there

is one maxim of which no Christian must lose sight-that whether he

eats or drinks of this or the other kind of aliments, or whatever

else he may do, he must do it so as to bring glory to God. This

is a sufficient rule to regulate every man's conscience and

practice in all indifferent things, where there are no express

commands or prohibitions.

Verse 32. Give none offence, &c.] Scrupulously avoid giving

any cause of offence either to the unconverted Jews or the

unconverted Gentiles, so as to prejudice them against

Christianity: nor to the Church of God, made up of converts from

the above parties.

Verse 33. Even as I please all men] Act as I do: forgetting

myself, my own interests, convenience, ease, and comfort, I labour

for the welfare of others; and particularly that they may be

saved. How blessed and amiable was the spirit and conduct of this

holy man!

THIS chapter has already presented the serious reader with a

variety of maxims for his regulation.-- 1. As to his own private

walk; 2. His domestic duties; and 3. His connection with the

Church of God. Let us review some of the principal parts.

1. We should be on our guard against what are called little

sins, and all occasions and excitements to sin. Take heed what

company you frequent. One thing, apparently harmless, may lead by

almost imperceptible links to sins of the deepest dye. See the

example in this chapter: 1. The people sat down to eat and to

drink. 2. They rose up to play, dance, and sing: and 3. They

committed fornication, and brought upon themselves swift

destruction.

2. However conscious we may be of our own sincerity and

uprightness, we should ever distrust ourselves. God has made

nothing independent of himself; the soul has no principle of

self-dependence either in itself or its attainments: it is wise,

powerful, and happy, only while it is depending on infinite

wisdom, unlimited power, and endless mercy.

3. The Gentiles were in communion with demons by their

idolatrous services. In what communion are those who feed

themselves without fear, who eat with the glutton and drink with

the drunkard? So they partake of the Lord Jesus who are under the

influence of pride, self-will, hatred, censoriousness, &c., and

who carry their self-importance and worldly spirit even into the

house and worship of God?

4. A spirit of curiosity too much indulged may, in an

irreligious man, lead to covetousness and theft: in a godly man,

to a troublesome and unscriptural scrupulosity of conscience,

productive of nothing but uneasiness to itself, and disturbance to

others. Simplicity of heart saves from this, and is an excellent

gift.

5. In many actions we have a twofold rule-the testimony of God

and charity: and in many things charity is the best interpreter of

the testimony. The testimony often permits what charity forbids,

because circumstances in time, place, &c., may render a thing

improper on one occasion that might be proper on another.

6. Pious Quesnel has well said: Every thing honours God when it

is done for his sake; every thing dishonours him when any ultimate

end is proposed beside his glory. It is an unchangeable principle

of the Christian morality that all comes from God by his love, and

all should be returned to him by ours. This rule we should keep

inviolate.

7. Though many of the advices given in this chapter appear to

respect the Corinthians alone, yet there is none of them that is

not applicable to Christians in general in certain circumstances.

God has given no portion of his word to any people or age

exclusively; the whole is given to the Church universal in all

ages of the world. In reading this epistle let us seriously

consider what parts of it apply to ourselves; and if we are

disposed to appropriate its promises, let us act conscientiously,

and inquire how many of its reprehensions we may fairly

appropriate also.

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