1 Corinthians 7* The apostle answers several questions about marriage. (1-9)Married Christians should not seek to part from theirunbelieving consorts. (10-16) Persons, in any fixed station,should usually abide in that. (17-24) It was most desirable, onaccount of the then perilous days, for people to sit loose tothis world. (25-35) Great prudence be used in marriage; itshould be only in the Lord. (36-40)1-9 The apostle tells the Corinthians that it was good, in thatjuncture of time, for Christians to keep themselves single. Yethe says that marriage, and the comforts of that state, aresettled by Divine wisdom. Though none may break the law of God,yet that perfect rule leaves men at liberty to serve him in theway most suited to their powers and circumstances, of whichothers often are very unfit judges. All must determine forthemselves, seeking counsel from God how they ought to act. 10-16 Man and wife must not separate for any other cause thanwhat Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common amongboth Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is aDivine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God'sappointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to livepeaceably with all men, #Ro 12:18|, therefore to promote thepeace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers.It should be the labour and study of those who are married, tomake each other as easy and happy as possible. Should aChristian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity togive the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily forthe conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation theLord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done topromote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit. 17-24 The rules of Christianity reach every condition; and inevery state a man may live so as to be a credit to it. It is theduty of every Christian to be content with his lot, and toconduct himself in his rank and place as becomes a Christian.Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, notwhat we are in the world. No man should think to make his faithor religion, an argument to break through any natural or civilobligations. He should quietly and contentedly abide in thecondition in which he is placed by Divine Providence. 25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarriedstate was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemnmarriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbidmany to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single,whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians toholy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they mustnot set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As toafflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: evenin sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments;here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those thatprosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold theirpossessions as though they held them not. As to all worldlyconcerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, thatthey may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. Allworldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quicklygone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to befull of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. Bythis maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisableto marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which isbest for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares andsnares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snaresof our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, andescape as far as possible all injury from the other. Andwhatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept forthe things of the Lord. 36-40 The apostle is thought to give advice here about thedisposal of children in marriage. In this view, the generalmeaning is plain. Children should seek and follow the directionsof their parents as to marriage. And parents should consulttheir children's wishes; and not reckon they have power to dowith them, and dictate just as they please, without reason. Thewhole is closed with advice to widows. Second marriages are notunlawful, so that it is kept in mind, to marry in the Lord. Inour choice of relations, and change of conditions, we shouldalways be guided by the fear of God, and the laws of God, andact in dependence on the providence of God. Change of conditionought only to be made after careful consideration, and onprobable grounds, that it will be to advantage in our spiritualconcerns.
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