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begun in the fifth. That this is so, is evident from the latter end as well as beginning of the sixth chapter. And, therefore, what St. Paul says of lawful, chap. vi. 12, may, without any violence, be supposed to be said in answer to some who might have alleged in favour of the fornicator, that what he had done was lawful, and might be justified by the laws of the country which he was under: why else should St. Paul subjoin so many arguments (wherewith he concludes this sixth chapter, and this subject,) to prove the fornication in question to be, by the law of the Gospel, a great sin, and consequently fit for a Christian church to censure in one of its members, however it might pass for lawful in the esteem and by the laws of Gentiles?
There is one objection, which at first sight seems to be a strong argument against this supposition ; that the fornication, here spoken of, was held lawful by the Gentiles of Corinth, and that, possibly, this very case had been brought before the magistrate there, and not condemned. The objection seems to lie in these words, ch. v. 1: “There is fornication heard of amongst you, and such fornication as is not heard of amongst the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.” But yet I conceive the words, duly considered, have nothing in them contrary to my supposition.
To clear this, I take liberty to say, it cannot be thought that this man had his father's wife, whilst, by the laws of the place, she actually was his father's wife; for then it had been posreia and adultery, and so the apostle would have called it, which was a crime in Greece ; nor could it be tolerated in any civil society, that one man should have the use of a woman whilst she was another man's wife, i. e. another man's right and possession.
The case, therefore, here seems to be this: the woman had parted from her husband, which it is plain, from chap: vii. 10, 11, 13, at Corinth,
women could do. For if, by the law of that country, a woman could not divorce herself from her husband, the apostle had there in vain bid her not leave her husband.
But, however known and allowed a practice it might be amongst the Corinthians for a woman to part from her husband, yet this was the first time it was ever known that her husband's own son should marry her. This is that, which the apostle takes notice of in these words, “Such a fornication, as is not named amongst the Gentiles.” Such a fornication this was, so little known in practice amongst them, that it was not so much as heard, named, or spoken of by any of them. But whether they held it unlawful that a woman so separated should marry her husband's son, when she was looked upon to be at liberty from her former husband, and free to marry whom she pleased, that the apostle says not. This, indeed, he declares, that, by the law of Christ, a woman's leaving her husband, and marrying another, is unlawful, ch. vii. 11; and this woman's marrying her husband's son he declares, ch. v. 1,
(the place before us) to be fornication, a peculiar sort of fornication, whatever the Corinthians or their law might determine in the case; and, therefore, a Christian church might and ought to have censured it within themselves, it being an offence against the rule of the Gospel, which is the law of their society: and they might and should have expelled this fornicator out of their society, for not submitting to the laws of it, notwithstanding that the civil laws of the country, and the judgment of the heathen magistrate, might acquit him. Suitably hereunto, it is very remarkable that the arguments that St. Paul uses in the close of this discourse, chap. vi. 13–20, to prove fornication unlawful, are all drawn solely from the Christian institution, ver. 9. That our bodies are made for the Lord, ver. 13. That our bodies are members of Christ, ver. 15. That our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, ver. 19. That we are not our own, but bought with a price, ver. 20. All which arguments concern Christians only; and there is not, in all this discourse against fornication, one word to declare it to be unlawful by the law of nature, to mankind in general. That was altogether needless, and beside the apostle's purpose here, where he was teaching and exhorting Christians what they were to do, as Christians within their own society, by the law of Christ, which was to be their rule, and was sufficient to oblige them, whatever other laws the rest of mankind observed or were under. Those he professes, chap. v. 12, 13, not to meddle with nor to judge : for, having no authority amongst them, he leaves them to the judgment of God, under whose government they are.
These considerations afford ground to conjecture, that the faction which opposed St. Paul had hindered the church of Corinth from censuring the fornicator, and that St. Paul, showing them their miscarriage herein, aims thereby to lessen the credit of their leader, by whose influence they were drawn into it. For, as soon as they had unanimously shown their obedience to St. Paul in this matter, we see his severity ceases, and he is all softness and gentleness to the offender, 2 Cor. ii. 5-8. And he tells them in express words, ver. 9, that his end in writing to them of it, was to try their obedience: to which let me add, that this supposition, though it had not all the evidence for it which it has, yet being suited to St. Paul's principal design in this epistle, and helping us the better to understand these two chapters, may deserve to be melitioned.
TEXT. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you, with a rod, or in love, and in
the spirit of meekness? V. 1. It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and
such fornication as is not so much as named amongst the Gentiles,
that one should have bis father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that
hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged
already, as though I were present, concerning him, that hath so done
this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together,
and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
PARAPHRASE. 21 I purposed to come unto you: But what would you have me
do? Shall I come to you, with a rod, to chastise you ? Or 1 with kindness, and a peaceable disposition of mind a ? In
short, it is commonly reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not known ordinarily
among the heathen, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And yet ye remain puffed up, though it would better have
become you to have been dejected, for this scandalous fact
amongst you, and, in a mournful sense of it, to have removed 3 the offender out of the church. For I truly, though absent
in body, yet as present in spirit, have thus already judged, as
if I were personally with you, him that committed this fact; 4 When, in the name of the Lord Jesus, ye are assembled, and
NOTES. 21 - He that shall carefully read 2 Cor. i. 20.-ji. 11, will easily perceive that this
last verse here, of this 4th chapter, is an introduction to the severe act of discipline which St. Paul was going to exercise amongst them, though absent, as if he had been present. And, therefore, this verse ought not to have been separated
froni the following chapter, as if it belonged uot to hat disc se. 1 b Vid. chap. iv. 8, 10. The writers of the New Testament seem to use the
Greek word woprsia, which we translate fornication, in the same sense that the Hebrews used muj, which we also translate fornication; though it be certain both these words, in sacred Scripture, have a larger sense than the word fornication has in our language; for hii, amongst the Hebrews, signified, “Turpitudinem,” or “Rem turpem," uncleanness, or any flagitious, scandalous crime, but more especially the uncleanness of unlawful copulation and idolatry; and not precisely fornication, in our sense of the word, i.e. the unlawful mixture of an unmarried couple. • (Not known] That the inarrying of a son-in-law and a mother-in-law was pot prohibited by the laws of the Roman empire, may be seen in Tully; but yet it was looked on as so scandalons and infamous, that it never had any countenance from practice. His words in his oration pro Cluentio, $ 4, are so agreeable to the present case, that it may not be amiss to set them down : “Nubit gcnero socrus, nullis auspiciis, vullis auctoribus. O scelus incredibile, ct præter hanc anam, iu omni vita inauditum !”
TEXT. 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good : know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth
the whole lump? 7 Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as
ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with
the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread
of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you, in an epistle, not to company with fornicators. 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the
covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters : for then must ye needs go out of the world,
my spirit, i, e. my vote, as if I were present, making one, 5 by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, Deliver the offender
up to Satan, that, being put thus into the hands and power of the devil, his body may be afflicted and brought down, that
his soul may be saved, when the Lord Jesus comes to judge 6 the world. Your glorying", as you do, in a leader who
drew you into this scandalous indulgence in this case, is a
fault in you: ye that are knowing, know you not that a little 7 leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Therefore, laying by
that deference and veneration ye had for those leaders you gloried in, turn out from among you that fornicator, that the church inay receive no taint from him, that you may be a pure, new lump, or society, free from such a dangerous mix
ture, which may corrupt you. For Christ, our passover, is 8 slain for us. Therefore let us, in commemoration of his
death, and our deliverance by him, be a holy people to him. 9 I wrote to you before, that you should not keep company 10 with fornicators. You are not to understand by it, as if I
meant that you are to avoid all unconverted heathens that are fornicators, or covetous, or rapacious, or idolaters, for
NOTES. 6 4 Glorying is all along, in the beginning of this epistle, spoken of the preference
they gave to their new leader, in opposition to St. Paul. * If their leader had not been guilty of this miscarriage, it had been out of St. Paul's way here to have reproved them for their glorying in him. But St. Paul is a close writer, and uses not to mention things where they are impertinent to his subject. ( What reason he had to say this, vid. 2 Cor. xii. 21:
“ Grex totus in agris
Unius scabic cadit, et porrigine porci." 7 and 8 & In these two verscs he alludes to the Jews cleansing their bouses, at the
feast of the passover, from all leaveù, the symbol of corruption and wickedness.
TEXT. 11 But now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man
that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one, no,
not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do
not ye judge them that are within ? 13 But' them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away
from among yourselves that wicked person. VI. I Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law
before the unjust, and not before the saints ? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? and, if the
world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest
matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? how much more things
that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
PARAPHRASE. 11 then you must go out of the world. But that which I now
write unto you is, that you should not keep company, no,
nor eat with a Christian by profession, who is lascivious, 12 covetous, idolatrous, a railer, drunkard, or rapacious. For
what have I to do to judge those who are out of the church?
Have ye not a power to judge those who are members of 13 your church? But as for those who are out of the church,
leave them to God; to judge them belongs to him. There
fore do ye what is your part; remove that wicked one, the 1 fornicator, out of the church. Dare any of you, having a
controversy with another, bring it before an heathen judge 2 to be tried, and not let it be decided by Christians"? Know
ye not that Christians shall judge the world? And if the world
shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge ordinary 3 small matters? Know ye not that we Christians have power
over evil spirits ? how much more over the little things re4 lating to this animal life? If, then, ye have at any time con
troversies amongst you, concerning things pertaining to this life, let the parties contending choose arbitrators, in the church,
NOTES. Th"Ayoos, saints, is put for Christians: @@xos, unjust, for heathens. 4 i'Escudernuévous, "judices non authenticos." Among the Jews there was “cou,
sessus triumviralis, authenticus,” who had authority, and could hear and determine causes, “ ex officio;" there was another “consessus triumviralis," which were chosen by the parties; these, though they were not authentic, yet could judge and determine the causes referred to them; these were those wbom St. Paul calls here, loubavnuévous, "judices non authenticos, i. e. referees chosen by the parties. See de Dieu. That St. Paul does not mean by loudernuévous, “those who are least estecined,” as our English translation reads it, is plain from the next verse.