Page images
PDF
EPUB

epistle doth more efpecially press upon the several S ERM.

ССІХ. conditions and relations of men. Those who are

teachers and instructors of others, that they would - not only be careful « to preach found doctrine, but 6 in all things to thew themselves patterns of good works." Those who are subject to others, and under their government, that they would pay all duty and obedience to their superiors, as children to their parents, fervants to their masters, that they may " adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all " things," as the apostle speaks, chap. ii. ver. 10. And so likewise those who are subjects, that they live in all peaceable and humble obedience to princes and magiftrates. This our apostle speaks of as a great duty of christian religion, and reckons it among good works, chap. iii. 1. “Put them in mind to be fubject “to principalities and powers, and to obey magie “ strates, and to be ready to every good work.”

And then those who are of an inferior condition, that they labour and be diligent in the work of an þoneft calling, for this is privately good and profitable unto men, and to their families; and those who are above this neceflity, and are in a better capacity, to maintain good works properly fo called, works of piety, and charity, and justice; that they be careful to promote and advance them, according to their power and opportunity, because these things are pubļickly good and beneficial to mankind. And besides this,'(as St. Peter exhorts, 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, &c.) " And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your “ faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to s knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, pa“ tience, and to patience, godliness; and to godli“ness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and

« abound,

SER M. “.abound, they make you that you shall neither be

,“ barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our
“ LORD JESUS CHRIST. But he that lacketh these
“ things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath
« forgotten that he was purged from his old fins ;'!
that is, doth not consider that the design of chris-
tianity is to renew and reform the hearts and lives
of men.“ Wherefore the rather, brethren," as he
goes on, “give diligence to make your calling and
“ election sure ; for if ye do these things, ye shall
“ never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministred
“ unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom
“ of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
· I will conclude all with that excellent saying of St.
Paul in his epistle to Titus, which so fully declares
to us the great design, and the proper efficacy of the
christian doctrine upon the minds and manners of
men; chap. ii. 11, 12, 13. “ For the grace of
« God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all
” men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and
“ worldly lufts, we should live soberly, righteously,
scand godly in this present world: looking for that
“ blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the
“ great God and our Saviour Jesus CHRIST.

“ To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, “ be all glory and honour now and for ever." Amen.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Of doing all to the glory of God.'

I COR. X. 31.
Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do,

do all to the glory of God.

T HESE words are a general conclusion in-S ER M.

1. CCX. 1 ferred from a particular case, which the apostle had been discoursing of before, and that we may the better understand the meaning of this general rule, it will not be amiss to look back a little upon the particular case the apostle was speaking of; and that was concerning the partaking of things offered to idols ; and that in two cases ; either by partaking of the idol-feasts in their temples, after the facrifices ;. or by partaking of things offered to idols, whether they were bought by Christians in the market, or set before them at a private entertainment, to which by some heathens they were invited..

The first he condems as absolutely unlawful : the other not as unlawful in itself, but in some circumstances, upon the account of fcandal.

The first cafe he speaks of from ver. 14. to the 23. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, fee from “ idolatry. I speak to wife men: judge ye what I “ fay.” As if he had said, you may easily apprehend what it is I am going to caution you against. And first he tells them in general, that they who communicated in the worship of any deity, or in any kind of sacrifice offered to him, did, in so doing, own and acknowledge that for a deity. To this pur

pose

SER M. pofe he instanceth in communicating in the christian ССХ.

facrament, and in the jewish sacrifices, ver. 16, 17, 18. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not « the communion of the blood of CHRIST? The 6 bread which we break, is it not the communion of " the body of Christ? For we being many are "one bread, and one body : for we are all partakers 6 of that one bread. Behold Israel after the Aesh;" (that is, the Jews) " are not they which eat of the 6 sacrifices, partakers of the altar?” Thus it is in the christian, and the jewish worship. And the case is the same, if any man partake of the idol-feasts in their temples. This he does not express, but takes it for granted they understood what this discourse aimed at:

And then he answers an argument, which it seems was made use of by some, particularly the Gnosticks, * of whom the apostle speaks, chap. viii. and that was

this. If an idol be nothing, and consequently things facrificed to idols were not to be considered as facrifices, then it was lawful to partake of the idol-feafts, which were celebrated in their temples. And that the apostle speaks of these, is plain from his discourfe against the Gnosticks, who made use of this argument for the lawfulness of communicating at the idol

feasts, chap. viii. ver. 4. “ as concerning therefore ... the eating of things which are offered in facrifice :,66 unto idols; we know that an idol is nothing in

" the world, &c.” And ver, 10. “ if any man fee « thee which haft knowledge” (alluding to the very name of Gnosticks) “ if any man see thee which halt “ knowledge, fit at meat in an idol temple."

This then is that partaking of idol-feasts, which the apostle here speaks of, which they pretended to be lawful, because an idol is nothing. This, says the

apostle, apoftle, I know as well as you, that an idol is no SBRM.

CCX. real deity, but for all that the devil is really worshiped and served by this means, ver. 20. “ But I « fay, that the things which the Gentiles facrifice, “ they facrifice to devils, and not to God, and I « would not that ye should have fellowship with “ devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the LORD, “ and the cup of devils : ye cannot be partakers of " the Lord's table, and the table of devils.”

Having declared this way of partaking of things offered to idols to be unlawful in itself, and a virtual renouncing of christianity; then he proceeds to the consideration of the other case, of eating of things offered to idols out of their temples, which might happen several ways. Sometimes being sold by the priests, they were exposed to sale in the market. Sometimes the heathens carried some remainders of the sacrifices to their houses, and inviting the Chriftians to a feast, might fet these mears before them; what should Christians do in either of these cases?

First, he determines in general, that out of the temples it was lawful to eat these things, because in fo doing they communicated in no act of worship with the heathens ; it is lawful, he says, in itself ; but because it might be harmful to others, and give fcandal, in such circumstances it became unlawful by accident. Ver. 23. “ All things are lawful to me, “ but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful “ for me, but all things edify not.” Things which are lawful in themselves, inay in some cases be very dangerous and destructive to others, and we should not only consider our selves, but others also. " Let no “ man seek his own : but every man another's wel“ fare." And then he comes to the particular cafes. 6 Whatever is fold in the shambles, that eat, afk

« EelmineJätka »