1 Corinthians 11* The apostle, after an exhortation to follow him, (1) correctssome abuses. (2-16) Also contentions, divisions, and disorderlycelebrations of the Lord's supper. (17-22) He reminds them ofthe nature and design of its institution. (23-26) And directshow to attend upon it in a due manner. (27-34)1 The first verse of this chapter seems properly to be theclose to the last. The apostle not only preached such doctrineas they ought to believe, but led such a life as they ought tolive. Yet Christ being our perfect example, the actions andconduct of men, as related in the Scriptures, should be followedonly so far as they are like to his. 2-16 Here begin particulars respecting the public assemblies,ch. #1Co 14|. In the abundance of spiritual gifts bestowed onthe Corinthians, some abuses had crept in; but as Christ did thewill, and sought the honour of God, so the Christian should avowhis subjection to Christ, doing his will and seeking his glory.We should, even in our dress and habit, avoid every thing thatmay dishonour Christ. The woman was made subject to man, becausemade for his help and comfort. And she should do nothing, inChristian assemblies, which looked like a claim of being equal.She ought to have "power," that is, a veil, on her head, becauseof the angels. Their presence should keep Christians from allthat is wrong while in the worship of God. Nevertheless, the manand the woman were made for one another. They were to be mutualcomforts and blessings, not one a slave, and the other a tyrant.God has so settled matters, both in the kingdom of providenceand that of grace, that the authority and subjection of eachparty should be for mutual help and benefit. It was the commonusage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies,and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that theyshould do so. The Christian religion sanctions national customswherever these are not against the great principles of truth andholiness; affected singularities receive no countenance from anything in the Bible. 17-22 The apostle rebukes the disorders in their partaking ofthe Lord's supper. The ordinances of Christ, if they do not makeus better, will be apt to make us worse. If the use of them doesnot mend, it will harden. Upon coming together, they fell intodivisions, schisms. Christians may separate from each other'scommunion, yet be charitable one towards another; they maycontinue in the same communion, yet be uncharitable. This lastis schism, rather than the former. There is a careless andirregular eating of the Lord's supper, which adds to guilt. Manyrich Corinthians seem to have acted very wrong at the Lord'stable, or at the love-feasts, which took place at the same timeas the supper. The rich despised the poor, and ate and drank upthe provisions they brought, before the poor were allowed topartake; thus some wanted, while others had more than enough.What should have been a bond of mutual love and affection, wasmade an instrument of discord and disunion. We should be carefulthat nothing in our behaviour at the Lord's table, appears tomake light of that sacred institution. The Lord's supper is notnow made an occasion for gluttony or revelling, but is it notoften made the support of self-righteous pride, or a cloak forhypocrisy? Let us never rest in the outward forms of worship;but look to our hearts. 23-34 The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which hehad the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visiblesigns, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is calledbread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of theLord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that thebread was changed into flesh. St. Matthew tells us, our Lord bidthem all drink of the cup, ch. #Mt 26:27|, as if he would, bythis expression, provide against any believer being deprived ofthe cup. The things signified by these outward signs, areChrist's body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed,together with all the benefits which flow from his death andsacrifice. Our Saviour's actions were, taking the bread and cup,giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one andthe other. The actions of the communicants were, to take thebread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both inremembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole,or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holyordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as theirLord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him.Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to bedone in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds hisdying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, invirtue of his death, at God's right hand. It is not merely inremembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but tocelebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death tobe our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And weglory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and pleadit as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord's supper isnot an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to becontinued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger ofreceiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping upthe covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew andconfirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt,and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. Butfearful believers should not be discouraged from attending atthis holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scriptureto be written to deter serious Christians from their duty,though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle wasaddressing Christians, and warning them to beware of thetemporal judgements with which God chastised his offendingservants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: hemany times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to beartrouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. Theapostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord'stable. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at thisholy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, tocondemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divinejudgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against theirregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at theLord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come togetherto God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeanceon themselves.
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