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TEXT. conscience of the idol, unto this hour, eat it as a thing offered unto
an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God : for neither, if we eat, are
we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed, lest, by any means, this liberty of yours become a
stumbling-block to them that are weak. 10 For, if any man see thee, which hast knowledge, sit at meat in the
idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him, which is weak, be
emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols ? 11 And, through thy knowledge, shall the weak brother perish, for
whom Christ died? 12 But, when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak
conscience, ye sin against Christ.
knowledge, that are amongst you, every one doth not know, that the gods of the heathens are but imaginations of the fancy, mere nothing. Some to this day, conscious to themselves that they think those idols to be real deities, eat things sacrificed to them, as sacrificed to real deities; whereby doing that which they, in their consciences, not yet suffici
ently enlightened, think to be unlawful, are guilty of sin. 8 Food, of what kind soever, makes not God regard us. For
neither, if in knowledge, and full persuasion, that an idol is nothing, we eat things offered to idols, do we thereby add any thing to Christianity: or if, not being so well informed,
we are scrupulous, and forbear, are we the worse Christians, 9 or are lessened by it. But this you knowing men ought to
take especial care of: that the power of freedom you have to eat, be not made such an use of, as to become a stumbling
block to weaker Christians, who are not convinced of that 10 liberty. For if such an one shall see thee, who hast this
knowledge of thy liberty, sit feasting in an idol-temple, shall not his weak conscience, not thoroughly instructed in the matter of idols, be drawn in by thy example to eat what
is offered to idols, though he, in his conscience, doubt of 11 its lawfulness? And thus thy weak brother, for whom Christ
died, is destroyed by thy knowledge, wherewith thou justifiest 12 thy eating. But when you sin thus against your brethren,
and wound their weak consciences, you sin against Christ.
NOTES. 8. Oj wagis non, sets us not before God, i. e. to be taken notice of by him.
e It cannot be supposed, that St. Paul, in answer to a letter of the Corinthians, should tell them, that, if they eat things offered to idols, they were pot the better; or, if they eat not, were uot the worse, unless they had expressed some opinion of good in caling.
TEXT. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat vo flesh,
while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother offend, I will never more
eat flesh, to avoid making my brother offend,
CHAPTER IX. 1-27.
CONTENTS, St. Paul had preached the Gospel at Corinth about two years, in all which time he had taken nothing of them, 2 Cor. xi. 7–9. This by some of the opposite faction, and particularly, as we may suppose, by their leader, was made use of to call in question his apostleship, 2 Cor. xi. 5,6. For why, if he were an apostle, should he not use the power of an apostle, to demand maintenance where he preached ? 'In this section, St. Paul vindicates his apostleship, and, in answer to these inquirers, gives the reason why, though he had a right to maintenance, yet he preached gratis to the Corinthians. My answer, says he to these inquisitors, is, that though, as being an apostle, I know that I have a right to maintenance as well as Peter, or any other of the apostles, who all have a right, as is evident from reason and from Scripture; yet I never have, nor shall make use of my privilege amongst you, for fear that, if it cost you any thing, that should hinder the effect of my preaching: I would neglect nothing that might promote the Gospel
. For I do not content myself with doing barely what is my duty; for, by my extraordinary call and commission, it is now incumbent on me to preach the Gospel; but I endeavour to excel in my ministry, and not to execute my commission covertly, and just enough to serve the turn. For if those, who, in the Agonistic games, aiming at victory, to obtain only a corruptible crown, deny themselves in eating and drinking and other pleasures, how much more does the eternal crown of glory deserve that we should do our utmost to obtain it? To be as careful in not indulging our bodies, in denying our pleasures, in doing every thing we could in order to get it, as if there were but one that should have it? Wonder not, therefore, if I, having this in view, neglect my
body, and those outward conveniencies, that I, as an apostle sent to preach the Gospel, might claim and make use of: wonder not that I prefer the propagating of the Gospel, and making of converts, to all care and regard of myself. This seems the design of the apostle, and will give light to the following discourse, which we shall now take in the order St. Paul writ it.
TEXT. I Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus
Christ, our Lord ? Are not you my work in the Lord ? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for
the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this : 4 Have we not power to eat and to drink ? 5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife,
as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas ? 6 Or I only, and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? 7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges ? Who planteth
a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth the flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
PARAPHRASE. 1 Am I not an apostle? And am I not at liberty, as much as
any other of the apostles, to make use of the privilege due to that office? Have I not had the favour to see Jesus Christ, our Lord, after an extraordinary manner? And are not
you yourselves, whom I have converted, an evidence of the 2 success of my employment in the Gospel ? If others should
question my being an apostle, you at least cannot doubt of it:
your conversion to Christianity is, as it were, a seal set to it, 3 to make good the truth of my apostleship. This, then, is my 4 answer to those who set up an inquisition upon me: Have 5 not I a right to meat and drink where I preach? Have not I
and Barnabas a power to take along with us, in our travelling to propagate the Gospel, a Christian woman", to provide our
conveniences, and be serviceable to us, as well as Peter and 6 the brethren of the Lord, and the rest of the apostles? Or is
it I only, and Barnabas, who are excluded from the privilege ng of being maintained without working? Who goes to the war
NOTES. 1. It was a law amongst the Jews not to receive alms from the Gentiles. 5 b There were not in those parts, as among us, inns, where travellers might have
their conveniences; and strangers could not be accommodated with vecessaries, unless they had somebody with them to take that care, and provide for them. They, who would make it their business to preach, and neglect this, must needs suffer great hardships.
TEXT. 8 Say I these things as a man? Or saith not the law the same also ? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “ Thou shalt not muzzle the
mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn,” Doth God take care
for oxen? 10 Or saith he it alt ether for our sales ? For our sakes, no doubt,
this is written : that he that plougheth should plough in hope ; and
that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we
shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather ?
Nevertheless, we have not used this power, but suffer all things, lest
we should hinder the Gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things, live
of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar ?
PARAPHRASE. any where, and serves as a soldier, at his own charges ? Who
planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Who 8 feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk? This is allowed
to be reason, that those who are so employed should be maintained by their employments; and so likewise a preacher of the Gospel. But I say not this barely upon the principles
of human reason ; revelation teaches the same thing in the 9 law of Moses: Where it is said, “ Thou shalt muzzle not
the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.” Doth God 10 take care to provide so particularly for oxen by a law? No,
certainly; it is said particularly for our sakes, and not for oxen: that he who sows may sow in hope of enjoying the
fruits of his labour at harvest, and may then thrash out, and 11 eat the corn he hoped for. If we have sowed to you spiritual
things, in preaching the Gospel to you, is it unreasonable that
we should expect a little meat and drink from you, a little 12 share of your carnal things? If any partake of this power
over you", why not we much rather ? But I made no use of
it, but bear with any thing, that I may avoid all hinderance 13 to the progress of the Gospel. Do ye not know that they,
who in the temple serve about holy things, live upon those
NOTE. 12 . For tñs é boucías, I should incline to read, tñs ovolas, if there be, as Vossius says,
any mss. to authorise it ; and then the words will run thus: “If any partake of your substance." This better suits the foregoing words, and needs not the addition of the word, this, to be inserted in the translation, which, with difficulty enough, makes it refer to a power which he was not here speaking of, but stands eight verses off : besides, in these words, St. Paul seems to glance at what they suffered from the false apostie, who did not only pretend to power of maintenance, but did actually devour them: vid. 2 Cor. xi. 20.
TEXT. 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel
should live of the Gospel. 15 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 void. 16 For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of ; for
necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the
Gospel. 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward ; but if against my
will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me. 18 What is my reward then ? Verily, that when I preach the Gospel,
I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not
my power in the Gospel. 19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews ;
to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain
them that are under the law ; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without
law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without law.
PARAPHRASE. holy things ? and they, who wait at the altar, are partakers 14 with the altar? So has the Lord ordained, that they, who 15 preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel
. But though, as an apostle and preacher of the Gospel, I have, as you see, a right to maintenance, yet I have not taken it: neither have I written this to demand it. For I had rather perish for want
than be deprived of what I glory in, viz. preaching the Gospel 16 freely. For if I preach the Gospel, I do barely my duty, but
have nothing to glory in : for I am under an obligation and
command to preach ; and woe be to me if I preach not the 17 Gospel. Which, if I do willingly, I shall have a reward: if
unwillingly, the dispensation is nevertheless intrusted to me, 18 and ye ought to hear me as an apostle. How, therefore, do
I make it turn to account to myself? Even thus; if I preach
the Gospel of Christ of free cost, so that I exact not the 19 maintenance I have a right to by the Gospel. For being
under no obligation to any man, I yet subject myself to every
one, to the end that I may make the more converts to Christ. 20 To the Jews, and those under the law of Moses, I became
as a Jew, and one under that law, that I might gain the Jews, 21 and those under the law; To those without the law of Moses,