1 Corinthians 16

CHAPTER XVI.

The apostle exhorts the Corinthians to make a contribution for

the relief of the poor Christians at Jerusalem; and directs to

the best mode of doing it, 1-4.

Promises to pay them a visit after pentecost, 5-9.

Gives directions about the treatment of Timothy and Apollos,

10-12.

And concerning watchfulness, &c., 13, 14.

Commends the house of Stephanas, and expresses his satisfaction

at the visit paid him by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus,

15-18.

Sends the salutations of different persons, 19, 21.

Shows the awful state of those who were enemies to Christ, 22.

And concludes the epistle with the apostolical benediction,

23, 24.

NOTES ON CHAP. XVI.

Verse 1. The collection for the saints] περιτηςλογιας, from

λεγω, to gather, or collect; translated by the Vulgate, de

collectis, a contribution made by the rich for the relief of the

poor. The Christians living at Jerusalem, we may naturally

suppose, were greatly straitened; as the enmity of their

countrymen to the Gospel of Christ led them to treat those who

professed it with cruelty, and spoil them of their goods; (see

Heb 10:34; and Ro 15:26; and See Clarke on Ro 15:27;)

and the apostle hereby teaches that it was the duty of one Christian

congregation to help another when in distress.

Verse 2. Upon the first day of the week] The apostle

prescribes the most convenient and proper method of making this

contribution. 1. Every man was to feel it his duty to succour his

brethren in distress. 2. He was to do this according to the

ability which God gave him. 3. He was to do this at the

conclusion of the week, when he had cast up his weekly earnings,

and had seen how much God had prospered his labour. 4. He was

then to bring it on the first day of the week, as is most likely,

to the church or assembly, that it might be put in the common

treasury. 5. We learn from this that the weekly contribution

could not be always the same, as each man was to lay by as God had

prospered him: now, some weeks he would gain more; others, less.

6. It appears from the whole that the first day of the week, which

is the Christian Sabbath, was the day on which their principal

religious meetings were held in Corinth and the Churches of

Galatia; and, consequently, in all other places where Christianity

had prevailed. This is a strong argument for the keeping of the

Christian Sabbath. 7. We may observe that the apostle follows

here the rule of the synagogue; it was a regular custom among the

Jews to make their collections for the poor on the Sabbath day,

that they might not be without the necessaries of life, and might

not be prevented from coming to the synagogue. 8. For the purpose

of making this provision, they had a purse, which was called

Arneki shel tsedakah, "The purse of the alms," or

what we would term, the poor's box. This is what the apostle

seems to mean when he says, Let him lay by him in store-let him

put it in the alms' purse, or in the poor's box. 9. It was a

maxim also with them that, if they found any money, they were not

to put it in their private purse, but in that which belonged to

the poor. 10. The pious Jews believed that as salt seasoned food,

so did alms, riches; and that he who did not give alms of what he

had, his riches should be dispersed. The moth would corrupt the

bags, and the canker corrode the money, unless the mass was

sanctified by giving a part to the poor.

Verse 3. Whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters] Why

should Paul require letters of approbation in behalf of certain

persons, when he himself should be among them, and could have

their characters viva voce? It is probable that he refers here to

letters of recommendation which they had sent to him while he was

away; and he now promises that when he should come to Corinth, he

would appoint these persons, whom they had recommended, to carry

the alms to Jerusalem. If δοκιμασητε, be read ye shall have

approved, as Bishop Pearce does, the difficulty will vanish.

Some MSS. and several versions join διεπιστολων, by letters,

to the following words, and read the verse thus: When I come,

those whom ye shall approve I will send with letters to bring your

liberality to Jerusalem. This seems most natural.

Verse 4. And if it be meet, &c.] If it be a business that

requires my attendance, and it be judged proper for me to go to

Jerusalem, I will take those persons for my companions. On the

delicacy with which St. Paul managed the business of a collection

for the poor, Archdeacon Paley makes the following appropriate

remarks:-

"The following observations will satisfy us concerning the

purity of our apostle's conduct in the suspicious business of a

pecuniary contribution.

"1st. He disclaims the having received any inspired authority

for the directions which he is giving: 'I speak not by

commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to

prove the sincerity of your love.' (2Co 8:8.) Who, that had a

sinister purpose to answer by the recommending of subscriptions,

would thus distinguish, and thus lower the credit of his own

recommendation?

"2d. Although he asserts the general right of Christian

ministers to a maintenance from their ministry, yet he protests

against the making use of this right in his own person: 'Even so

hath the Lord ordained, that they who preach the Gospel should

live of the Gospel; but I have used none of these things; neither

have I written these things that it should be so done unto me; for

it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my

glorying, i.e. my professions of disinterestedness, void.'

(1Co 9:14, 15.)

"3d. He repeatedly proposes that there should be associates

with himself in the management of the public bounty; not

colleagues of his own appointment, but persons elected for that

purpose by the contributors themselves. 'And when I come,

whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to

bring your liberality unto Jerusalem; and if it be meet that I go

also, they shall go with me.' (1Co 16:3, 4.) And in the second

epistle, what is here proposed we find actually done, and done for

the very purpose of guarding his character against any imputation

that might be brought upon it in the discharge of a pecuniary

trust: 'And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in

the Gospel throughout all the Churches; and not that only, but who

was also chosen of the Churches to travel with us with this grace,

(gift,) which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord,

and the declaration of your ready mind: avoiding this, that no man

should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us;

providing for things honest, not only in the sight of the Lord,

but also in the sight of men:' i.e. not resting in the

consciousness of our own integrity, but, in such a subject,

careful also to approve our integrity to the public judgment.

(2Co 8:18-21.")

Horae Paulinae, page 95.

Verse 5. I will come unto you, when I shall pass through

Macedonia] St. Paul was now at Ephesus; for almost all allow, in

opposition to the subscription at the end of this epistle that

states it to have been written from Philippi, that it was written

from Ephesus: and this is supported by many strong arguments; and

the 8th verse here seems to put it past all question: I will tarry

at Ephesus; i.e. I am in Ephesus, and here I purpose to remain

until pentecost. Though Macedonia was not in the direct way from

Ephesus to Corinth, yet the apostle intended to make it in his

way. And it was because it was not in the direct road, but lay at

the upper end of the AEgean Sea, and very far out of his direct

line, that he says, I do pass through Macedonia-I have purposed to

go thither before I go to Corinth.

Verse 6. Yea, and winter with you] He purposed to stay till

pentecost at Ephesus; after that to go to Macedonia, and probably

to spend the summer there; and come in the autumn to Corinth, and

there spend the winter.

That ye may bring me on my journey] That ye may furnish me

with the means of travelling. It appears that, in most cases, the

different Churches paid his expenses to other Churches; where this

was not done, then he laboured at his business to acquire the

means of travelling.

Verse 7. I will not see you now by the way] From Ephesus to

Corinth was merely across the AEgean Sea, and comparatively a

short passage.

Verse 8. I will tarry at Ephesus] And it is very probable

that he did so; and that all these journeys were taken as he

himself had projected. See Clarke on 1Co 16:5.

Verse 9. A great door and effectual is opened] θυοαγαρμοι

ανεωγεμεγαληκαιενεργης. A great and energetic door is opened

to me; that is, God has made a grand opening to me in those parts,

which I perceive will require much labour; and besides, I shall

have many adversaries to oppose me. So Bp. Pearce understands the

words ενεργης, not as signifying effectual, but as implying full

of labour. Door often signifies occasion or opportunity; but

here, the apostle may allude to the throwing open of the great

doors of the Circus Maximus before the chariot races began; and

the many adversaries may refer to the numerous competitors in

those races.

God gave him a grand opportunity to preach the Gospel; but he

was not to expect that either Satan or wicked men would leave him

unmolested.

Verse 10. Now, if Timotheus come] Of Timothy we have heard

before, 1Co 4:17. And we learn, from Ac 19:22, that Paul sent

him with Erastus from Ephesus to Macedonia. It is evident,

therefore, in opposition to the very exceptionable subscription at

the end of this epistle, that the epistle itself was not sent by

Timothy, as there stated.

That he may be with you without fear] That he may be treated

well, and not perplexed and harassed with your divisions and

jealousies; for he worketh the work of the Lord-he is Divinely

appointed, as I also am.

Verse 11. Let no man-despise him] Let none pretend to say

that he has not full authority from God to do the work of an

evangelist.

But conduct him forth in peace] I believe, with Bp. Pearce,

that this clause should be translated and pointed thus: accompany

him upon his journey, that he may come unto me in peace, (εν

ειρηνη, in safety,) as the word is used in Mr 5:34; and

Lu 7:50.

For I look for him with the brethren.] εκδεχομαιαυτονμετα

τωναδελφων. This clause should not be understood as if Paul was

expecting certain brethren with Timothy; but it was the brethren

that were with Paul that were looking for him; I, with the

brethren, am looking for him.

Verse 12. As touching our brother Apollos] It appears from

this that the brethren, of whom the apostle speaks in the

preceding verse, were then with him at Ephesus; I, with the

brethren, greatly desired to come.

But his will was not at all to come] As there had been a

faction set up in the name of Apollos at Corinth, he probably

thought it not prudent to go thither at this time, lest his

presence might be the means of giving it either strength or

countenance.

Verse 13. Watch ye] You have many enemies; be continually on

your guard; be always circumspect:-1. Watch against evil; 2. Watch

for opportunities to receive good; 3. Watch for opportunities to

do good; 4. Watch over each other in love; 5. Watch, that none may

draw you aside from the belief and unity of the Gospel.

Stand fast in the faith] Hold in conscientious credence what

you have already received as the truth of God; for it is the

Gospel by which ye shall be saved, and by which ye are now put

into a state of salvation: see 1Co 15:1, 2.

Quit you like men] Be not like children tossed to and fro with

every wind of doctrine; let your understanding receive the truth;

let your judgment determine on the absolute necessity of retaining

it; and give up life rather than give up the testimony of God.

Be strong.] Put forth all the vigour and energy which God has

given you in maintaining and propagating the truth, and your

spiritual strength will increase by usage. The terms in this

verse are all military: Watch ye, γρηγορειτε, watch, and be

continually on your guard, lest you be surprised by your enemies;

keep your scouts out, and all your sentinels at their posts, lest

your enemies steal a march upon you. See that the place you are

in be properly defended; and that each be alert to perform his

duty.

Stand fast in the faith-στηκετεεντηπιστει. Keep in your

ranks; do not be disorderly; be determined to keep your ranks

unbroken; keep close together. On your unity your preservation

depends; if the enemy succeed in breaking your ranks, and dividing

one part of this sacred army from another, your rout will be

inevitable.

Quit yourselves like men-ανδριζεσθε. When you are attacked, do

not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike

home; keep compact; conquer.

Be strong-κραταιουαθε. If one company or division be opposed

by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and

maintain your position; if an attack is to be made on any part or

intrenchment of the foe, summon up all your courage, sustain each

other; fear not, for fear will enervate you. Your cause is good;

it is the faith, the religion of Jesus; he is your Captain in the

field; and, should you even die in the contest, the victory is

yours.

Verse 14. Let all your things be done with charity.] Let love

to God, to man, and to one another, be the motive of all your

conduct.

Verse 15. Ye know the house of Stephanas] Ye know that

Stephanas and his family have addicted them to the help of the

followers of Christ; they have been the chief instruments of

supporting the work of God in Achaia, of which work they

themselves have been the first fruits.

See Clarke on Ro 16:5.

Verse 16. That ye submit yourselves unto such] That ye have

due regard to them, and consider them as especial instruments in

the hand of God for countenancing and carrying on his great work.

The submission here recommended does not imply obedience, but kind

and courteous demeanour. Kypke vindicates this sense of the word

from Eph 5:21; 1Pe 5:5.

Verse 17. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas, &c.] It was

by these that the Corinthians had sent that letter to the apostle,

to answer which was a main part of the design of St. Paul in this

epistle.

Fortunatus] This man is supposed to have survived St. Paul;

and to be the same mentioned by Clement in his epistle to the

Corinthians, sec. 59, as the bearer of that epistle from Clement

at Rome to the Christians at Corinth.

For that which was lacking on your part] This may either refer

to additional communications besides those contained in the letter

which the Corinthians sent to the apostle-which additional

circumstances were furnished by the persons above; and from them

St. Paul had a fuller account of their spiritual state than was

contained in the letter-or to some contributions on their part for

the support of the apostle in his peregrinations and labours.

Verse 18. They have refreshed my spirit and yours] They have

been a means of contributing greatly to my comfort; and what

contributes to my comfort must increase yours. This is probably

the meaning of the apostle.

Therefore acknowledge ye them] Pay them particular respect,

and let all be held in esteem in proportion to their work and

usefulness. When this is made the rule of respect and esteem,

then foolish and capricious attachments will have no place. A man

will then be honoured in proportion to his merit; and his merit

will be estimated by his usefulness among men.

Verse 19. The Churches of Asia salute you.] i.e. The

Churches in Asia Minor. Ephesus was in this Asia, and it is clear

from this that the apostle was not at Philippi; had he been at

Philippi, as the subscription states, he would have said, The

Churches of MACEDONIA, not the Churches of ASIA, salute you. How

these places lay, in reference to each other, the reader will at

once perceive by consulting the map in Acts.

Aquila and Priscilla] Of these eminent persons we have heard

before: see Ac 18:2, 18, 26; and Ro 16:3.

With the Church that is in their house.] That is, the company

of believers who generally worshipped there. There were no

churches or chapels at that time built; and the assemblies of

Christians were necessarily held in private houses. It appears

that Aquila and Priscilla devoted their house to this purpose.

The house of Philemon was of the same kind; Phm 1:2. So was

likewise the house of Nymphas, Col 4:15.

See Clarke on Ro 16:5.

Verse 20. With a holy kiss.] The ancient patriarchs, and the

Jews in general, were accustomed to kiss each other whenever they

met; and this was a token of friendship and peace with them, as

shaking of hands is with us. The primitive Christians naturally

followed this example of the Jews. See Clarke on Ro 16:16.

Verse 21. The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.] This

should be rendered: "The salutation is written by the hand of me

Paul;" γεγραπται, is written, being understood. It is very likely

that the apostle wrote this and the following verses with his own

hand. The rest, though dictated by him, was written by an

amanuensis.

Verse 22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus] This is

directed immediately against the Jews. From 1Co 12:3, we find

that the Jews, who pretended to be under the Spirit and teaching

of God, called Jesus αναθεμα, or accursed; i.e. a person who

should be devoted to destruction: see the note there. In this

place the apostle retorts the whole upon themselves, and says: If

any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let HIM be αναθεμα,

accursed, and devoted to destruction. This is not said in the way

of a wish or imprecation, but as a prediction of what would

certainly come upon them if they did not repent, and of what did

come on them because they did not repent; but continued to hate

and execrate the Lord Jesus; and of what still lies upon them,

because they continue to hate and execrate the Redeemer of the

world.

It is generally allowed that the apostle refers here to some of

the modes of excommunication among the Jews, of which there were

three, viz.:-

1. Niddui , which signifies a simple separation or

exclusion of a man from the synagogue, and from his wife and

family, for THIRTY days.

2. Cherem which was inflicted on him who had borne the

niddui, and who had not, in the thirty days, made proper

compensation, in order to be reconciled to the synagogue. This

was inflicted with dire execrations, which he was informed must

all come upon him if he did not repent; but the cherem always

supposed place for repentance.

3. Shammatha : this was the direst of all, and cut off all

hope of reconciliation and repentance; after which the man was

neither reconcilable to the synagogue, nor acknowledged as

belonging even to the Jewish nation. See these different forms in

Buxtorf's Rabbinical and Talmudical Lexicon, under their

respective words.

In the Lexicon just now quoted, Buxtorf gives a form of the

cherem, which he says he copied from an ancient Hebrew MS. Of

this awful piece I shall lay a translation before the reader.

"By the sentence of the Lord of lords, let P. the son of P. be

anathematized in both houses of judgment; the superior and

inferior. Let him be anathematized among the highest saints; let

him be anathematized among the seraphim and ophanim; and finally,

let him be anathematized by all the congregations of the great and

the small! Let great and continued plagues rest upon him; with

great and horrible diseases! Let his house be the habitation of

dragons! and let his constellation be darkened in the clouds! Let

him be for indignation, and wrath, and burning! Let his carcass

be thrown to the wild beasts and serpents! Let his enemies and

his adversaries triumph over him! Let his silver and gold be

given to others! And let all his children be exposed at the doors

of their enemies! And let posterity be astonished at his day!

Let him be accursed by the mouth of Addiriron and Achtariel; by

the mouth of Sandalphon and Hadraniel; by the mouth of Ansisiel

and Patchiel; by the mouth of Seraphiel and Sagansael; by the

mouth of Michael and Gabriel; by the mouth of Raphael and

Mesharetiel! Let him be anathematized by the mouth of Zaafzavif,

and by the mouth of Hafhavif, who is the great God; and by the

mouth of the seventy names of the supreme King; and lastly, by the

mouth of Tsortak the great chancellor.

"Let him he swallowed up like Korah and his companions! Let

his soul depart with fear and terror! Let the chiding of the Lord

slay him! Let him be confounded as Achitophel was in his counsel!

Let the leprosy of Gehazi be his leprosy! and let there be no

resurrection of his ruins! In the sepulchres of the children of

Israel let him not be buried! Let his wife be given to another,

and let others bow themselves upon her in his death! In this

anathema, let P. the son of P. be; and let this be his

inheritance! But upon me and upon all Israel may God extend his

peace and blessing, Amen." To this is added the 18th, 19th, and

20th verses of De 29, De 29:18-20 which the reader may read at

his leisure. There are many things in this cherem which require a

comment, but this is not the place.

Anathema, maran-atha.] "Let him be accursed; our Lord cometh."

I cannot see the reason why these words were left untranslated.

The former is Greek, and has been already explained; the latter is

Syriac [Syriac] maran-atha, our Lord is coming: i.e. to execute

the judgment denounced. Does not the apostle refer to the last

verse in the Bible? Lest I come and smite the land ( cherem)

with a curse? And does he not intimate that the Lord was coming

to smite the Jewish land with that curse? Which took place a very

few years after, and continues on that gainsaying and rebellious

people to the present day. What the apostle has said was

prophetic, and indicative of what was about to happen to that

people. God was then coming to inflict punishment upon them: he

came, and they were broken and dispersed.

Verse 23. The grace of our Lord Jesus] May the favour,

influence, mercy, and salvation procured by Jesus Christ, be with

you-prevail among you, rule in you, and be exhibited by you, in

your life and conversation! Amen.

Verse 24. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.] It

appears exceedingly strange that the apostle should say, My love

be with you; as he said, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be

with you. We can easily conceive what the latter means: the grace

of Christ is an active, powerful, saving principle; it is

essential to the existence of the Christian Church that this grace

should be ever with it: and without this grace no individual can

be saved. But what could the love of the apostle do with them?

Has it any meaning? I confess I can see none, unless it be

intended to say, I love you; or, I continue to love you. The

pronoun μου, my, is wanting in the Codex Alexandrinus, and in 73,

an excellent MS. in the Vatican, written about the eleventh

century. This will help us to a better sense, for it either says,

May love prevail among you! or supplying the word θεου GOD, as in

2Co 13:14,

The love of God be with you! This gives a sound sense; for the

love of God is as much a principle of light, life, and

salvation, as the grace of Christ. And probably μου, my, is

a corruption for θεου, of GOD. And this is the more likely,

because he uses this very form in the conclusion of his second

epistle to this Church, as we have seen above. I conclude,

therefore, that the reading of the two MSS. above is the true

reading; or else that μου is a corruption for θεου, and that the

verse should be read thus: The love of GOD be with you all, in

(or by) Christ Jesus.

Amen.] So be it: but this word is wanting in most MSS. of

repute, and certainly was not written by the apostle.

1. THE subscription to this epistle in our common English

Bibles, and in the common editions of the Greek text, is palpably

absurd. That it was not written from Philippi, but from Ephesus,

see the notes on 1Co 16:5, 8, 10, 19; and that it could not be

written by Silvanus, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, and Timotheus,"

needs no proof. But this subscription is wanting in all the best

MSS. and versions, either in whole or in part. In some it is

simply said, The first to the Corinthians; in others, The first to

the Corinthians is finished; written from Ephesus-from Asia-from

Ephesus of Asia-from Philippi of Macedonia-from Philippi of

Macedonia, and sent by the hands of Timothy; so the SYRIAC.

Written from Ephesus, by Stephanas and Fortunatus; COPTIC.

Written from Philippi by Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus;

SLAVONIC. Written, &c., by Paul and Sosthenes. Written from the

city of Philippi, and sent by Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and

Achaicus, and Timotheus; ARABIC. There are other variations,

which need not be set down. Those only appear to be correct that

state the epistle to have been sent from Ephesus, of which there

can be no reasonable doubt.

2. In closing my observations on this epistle, I feel it

necessary once more to call the reader's attention to the many

difficulties contained in it as an excuse for any thing he may

find handled in an unsatisfactory manner. Perhaps it will be of

little consequence for him to know that this epistle has cost me

more labour and difficulty than any portion of the same quantity

which I have yet passed over either in the Old or New Testament.

3. It has been already noticed that the Church at Corinth had

written to the apostle for advice, direction, and information on a

variety of points; and that this epistle is, in the main, an

answer to the epistle from Corinth. Had we that epistle, all

difficulty would vanish in this; but, as the apostle only refers

to their questions by mere catch words from their letter, it is

impossible to know, in all cases, what the questions contained.

To them the answers would be clear, because they knew on what they

had consulted him; to us the answers must be, as they really are

in some cases, necessarily obscure, because we know not the whole

bearing and circumstances of the questions. Indeed the epistle

contains more local matter, and more matter of private

application, than any other in the New Testament; and there is in

it, on the whole, less matter for general use than in most other

parts of the sacred writings. Yet it is both very curious and

useful; it gives insight into several customs, and not a few forms

of speech, and matters relative to the discipline of the primitive

Church, which we can find nowhere else: and it reads a very awful

lesson to those who disturb the peace of society, make schisms in

the Church of Christ, and endeavour to set up one preacher at the

expense of another.

4. It shows us also how many improper things may, in a state of

ignorance or Christian infancy, be consistent with a sincere

belief in the Gospel of Christ, and a conscientious and zealous

attachment to it.

5. In different parts of the epistle we find the apostle

speaking very highly of the knowledge of this Church; and its

various gifts and endowments. How then can we say that its

blemishes arose from ignorance? I answer, that certainly only a

few of the people at Corinth could possess those eminent spiritual

qualifications; because the things that are attributed to this

Church in other places are utterly inconsistent with that state of

grace for which the apostle, in other places, appears to give them

credit. The solution of the difficulty is this: There were in the

Church at Corinth many highly gifted and very gracious people;

there were also there many more, who, though they might have been

partakers of some extraordinary gifts, had very little of that

religion which the apostle describes in the thirteenth chapter of

this epistle.

6. Besides, we must not suppose that eminent endowments

necessarily imply gracious dispositions. A man may have much

light and little love; he may be very wise in secular matters, and

know but little of himself, and less of his God. There is as

truly a learned ignorance, as there is a refined and useful

learning. One of our old writers said, "Knowledge that is not

applying, is only like a candle which a man holds to light himself

to hell." The Corinthians abounded in knowledge, and science, and

eloquence, and various extraordinary gifts; but in many cases,

distinctly enough marked in this epistle, they were grossly

ignorant of the genius and design of the Gospel. Many, since

their time, have put words and observances in place of the

weightier matters of the LAW, and the spirit of the GOSPEL. The

apostle has taken great pains to correct these abuses among the

Corinthians, and to insist on that great, unchangeable, and

eternal truth, that love to God and man, filling the heart,

hallowing the passions, regulating the affections, and producing

universal benevolence and beneficence, is the fulfilling of all

law; and that all professions, knowledge, gifts, &c., without

this, are absolutely useless. And did this epistle contain no

more than what is found in the 13th chapter, yet that would be an

unparalleled monument of the apostle's deep acquaintance with God;

and an invaluable record of the sum and substance of the Gospel,

left by God's mercy to the Church, as a touchstone for the trial

of creeds, confessions of faith, and ritual observances, to the

end of the world.

7. I have often had occasion to note that the whole epistle

refers so much to Jewish affairs, customs, forms of speech,

ceremonies, &c., that it necessarily supposes the people to have

been well acquainted with them: from this I infer that a great

majority of the Christian Church at Corinth was composed of

converted JEWS; and it is likely that this was the case in all

the Churches of Asia Minor and Greece. Many Gentiles were

undoubtedly brought to the knowledge of the truth; but the chief

converts were from among the Hellenistic Jews. In many respects

Jewish phraseology prevails more in this epistle than even in that

to the Romans. Without attention to this it would be impossible

to make any consistent sense out of the 15th chapter, where the

apostle treats so largely on the doctrine of the resurrection, as

almost every form and turn of expression is JEWISH; and we must

know what ideas they attached to such words and forms of speech,

in order to enter into the spirit of the apostle's meaning. His

ignorance of this caused a late eminent writer and philosopher to

charge the apostle with "inconsistent reasoning." Had he

understood the apostle's language, he would not have said so; and

as he did not understand it, he should have said nothing. A man

may be qualified to make great and useful discoveries in the

doctrine of gases or factitious airs, who may be ill qualified to

elucidate the meaning of the Holy Spirit.

8. Before I finish my concluding observations on this epistle,

I must beg leave to call the reader's attention once more to the

concluding words of the apostle: If any man love not the Lord

Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maran-atha. These words have

been as often misunderstood, and perhaps as dangerously applied,

as another passage in this epistle, He that eateth and drinketh

unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, &c. Though

I am ready to grant that the bad Christian, i.e. the man who

professes Christianity, and yet lives under the power of sin, is

in a very dangerous state; and that he who, while he credits

Christianity, is undecided as to the public part he should take in

its profession and practice, is putting his eternal interests to

the most awful hazard; yet I must also grant that the meaning

generally put on the words in question is not correct. The words

apply to the gainsaying and blasphemous Jews; to those who were

calling Christ anathema, or accursed; and cannot be applied to any

person who respects his name, or confides in him for his

salvation; much less do they apply to him who finds through the

yet prevalence of evil in his heart, and the power of temptation,

that he has little, and, to his own apprehension, no love to the

Lord Jesus. The anathema of the apostle is denounced against him

only who gives the anathema to Christ: of this, not one of my

readers is capable. It is the duty of all to love him with an

undivided heart: if any be not yet able to do it, let him not be

discouraged: if the Lord cometh to execute judgment on him who

calleth Jesus accursed, he cometh also to fulfil the desire of

them who fear him; to make them partake of the Divine nature, and

so cleanse their hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit,

that they shall perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name.

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