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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 7 - Verse 40
Verse 40. If she so abide. If she remain a widow, even if she could be married to a Christian.
After my judgment. In my opinion, 1 Co 7:25.,
And I think also that I have the Spirit of God. Macknight and others suppose that this phrase implies entire certainty; and that Paul means to affirm that in this he was clear that he was under the influence of inspiration. He appeals for the use of the term (dokw) to Mr 10:42; Lu 8:18; 1 Co 4:9; 8:2; 11:16; Heb 4:1, etc. But the word does not usually express absolute certainty. It implies a doubt, though there may be a strong persuasion or conviction; or the best judgment which the mind can form in the case. See Mt 6:7; 26:53; Mr 6:49
Lu 8:18; 10:36; 12:51; 13:2,4; 22:24; Ac 17:18; 25:27; 1 Co 12:22, etc. It implies here a belief that Paul was under the influence of the infallible Spirit, and that his advice was such as accorded with the will of God. Perhaps he alludes to the fact that the teachers at Corinth deemed themselves to be under the influence of inspiration; and Paul said that he judged also of himself that he was divinely guided and directed in what he said.—Calvin. And as Paul in this could not be mistaken; as his impression that he was under the influence of that Spirit was, in fact, a claim to Divine inspiration, so this advice should be regarded as of Divine authority, and as binding on all. This interpretation is further demanded by the circumstances of the case. It was necessary that he should assert Divine authority to counteract the teaching of the false instructors in Corinth; and that he should interpose that authority in prescribing rules for the government of the church there, in view of the peculiar temptations to which they were exposed.
REMARKS On 1st Corinthians CHAPTER 7
We learn from this chapter,
(1.) The sacredness of the marriage union; and the nature of the feelings with which it should be entered, 1 Co 7:1-13. On a most delicate subject Paul has shown a seriousness and delicacy of expression which can be found in no other writings, and which demonstrate how pure his own mind was, and how much it was filled with the fear of God. In all things his aim is to promote purity, and to keep from the Christian church the innumerable evils which everywhere abounded in the pagan world. The marriage connexion should be formed in the fear of God. In all that union, the parties should seek the salvation of the soul; and so live as not to dishonour the religion which they profess.
(2.) The duty of labouring earnestly for the conversion of the party in the marriage connexion that may be a stranger to piety, 1 Co 7:16. This object should lie very near the heart; and it should be sought by all the means possible. By a pure and holy life; by exemplifying the nature of the gospel; by tenderness of conversation and of entreaty; and by fidelity in all the duties of life, we should seek the conversion and salvation of our partners in the marriage connexion. Even if both are Christians, this great object should be one of constant solicitude-to advance the piety and promote the usefulness of the partner in life.
(3.) The duty of contentment in the sphere of life in which we are placed, 1 Co 7:18, etc. It is no disgrace to be poor, for Jesus chose to be poor, It is no disgrace, though it is a calamity, to be a slave. It is no disgrace to be in an humble rank of life. It is disgraceful only to be a sinner, and to murmur and repine at our allotment. God orders the circumstances of our life; and they are well-ordered when under the direction of his hand. The great object should be to do right in the relation which we sustain in life. If poor, to be industrious, submissive, resigned, virtuous; if rich, to be grateful, benevolent, kind. If a slave or a servant, to be faithful, kind, and obedient; using liberty, if it can be lawfully obtained; resigned, and calm, and gentle, if by the providence of God such must continue to be the lot in life.
(4.) The duty of preserving the order and regularity of society, 1 Co 7:20-23. The design of the gospel is not to produce insubordination or irregularity. It would not break up society; does not dissolve the bonds of social life; but it cements and sanctifies the ties which connect us with those around us. It is designed to promote human happiness; and that is promoted, not by resolving society into its original elements; not by severing the marriage tie, as atheists would do; not by teaching children to disregard and despise their parents, or the common courtesies of life, but by teaching them to maintain inviolate all these relations. Religion promotes the interests of society; it does not, like infidelity, dissolve them. It advances the cause of social virtue; it does not, like atheism, retard and annihilate it. Every Christian becomes a better parent, a more affectionate child, a kinder friend, a more tender husband or wife, a more kind neighbour, a better member of the community.
(5.) Change in a man's calling should not be made from a slight cause. A Christian should not make it unless his former calling were wrong, or unless he can by it extend his own usefulness, But when that can be done, he should do it, and do it without delay. If the course is wrong, it should be forthwith abandoned. No consideration can make it right to continue it for a day or an hour; no matter what may be the sacrifice of property, it should be done. If a man is engaged in the slave-trade, or in smuggling goods, or in piracy, or in highway robbery, or in the manufacture and sale of poison, it should be at once and for ever abandoned. And in like manner, if a young man who is converted can increase his usefulness by changing his plan of life, it should be done as soon as practicable. If by becoming a minister of the gospel he can be a more useful man, every consideration demands that he should leave any other profession, however lucrative or pleasant, and submit to the self-denials, the cares, the trials, and the toils which attend a life devoted to Christ in the ministry, in Christian or pagan lands. Though it should be attended with poverty, want, tears, toil, or shame, yet the single question is, "Can I be more useful to my Master there than in my present vocation? " If he can be, that is an indication of the will of God which he cannot disregard with impunity.
(6.) We should live above this world, 1 Co 7:29,30. We should partake of all our pleasures, and endure all our sufferings, with the deep feeling that we have here no continuing city, and no abiding place. Soon all our earthly pleasures will fade away; soon all our earthly sorrows will be ended. A conviction of the shortness of life will tend much to regulate our desires for earthly comforts, and will keep us from being improperly attached to them; and it will diminish our sorrows by the prospect that they will soon end.
(7.) We should not be immoderately affected with grief, 1 Co 7:30. It will all soon end, in regard to Christians. Whether our tears arise from the consciousness of our sins, or the sins of others; whether from persecution, or contempt of the world; or whether from the loss of health, property, or friends, we should bear it all patiently, for it will soon end; a few days, and all will be over; and the last tear shall fall on our cheeks, and the last sigh be heaved from our bosom.
(8.) We should not be immoderate in our joy, 1 Co 7:30. Our highest earthly joys will soon cease. Mirth, and the sound of the harp and the viol, the loud laugh and the song, will soon close. What a change should this thought make in a world of gaiety, and mirth, and song. It should not rage men gloomy and morose; but it should make them serious, calm, thoughtful. Oh, did all feel that death was near, that the solemn realities of eternity were approaching, what a change would it make in a gay and thoughtless world! How would it close the theatre and the ball-room; how would it silence the jest, the jeer, and the loud laugh; and how would it diffuse seriousness and calmness over a now gay and thoughtless world! "Laughter is mad," says Solomon; and in a world of sin, and sorrow, and death, assuredly seriousness and calm contemplation are demanded by every consideration.
(9.) What an effect would the thought that "time is short," and that "the fashion of this world passeth away," have on the lovers of wealth! It would,
1st, teach them that property is of little value.
2nd. That the possession of it can constitute no distinction beyond the grave; the rich man is just as soon reduced to dust, and is just as offensive in his splendid mausoleum, as the poor beggar.
and Lu 16:2-9.
This single thought, that the fashion of this world is soon to pass away—an idea which no man can doubt or deny, if allowed to take firm hold of the mind—would change the entire aspect of the world.
(10.) We should endeavour so to live in all things, as that our minds should not be oppressed with undue anxiety and care, 1 Co 7:32. In all our arrangements and plans, and in all the relations of life, our grand object should be to have the mind free for the duties and privileges of religion. We should seek not to be encumbered with care; not to be borne down with anxiety; not to be unduly attached to the things of this life.
(11.) We should enter into the relations of life so as not to interfere with our personal piety or usefulness, but so as to promote both, 1 Co 7:32-35. All our arrangements should be so formed as that we may discharge our religious duties, and promote our usefulness to our fellow-men. But alas! how many enter into the marriage relation with unchristian companions, whose active zeal is for ever quenched by such a connexion! How many form commercial connexions or partnerships in business with those who are not Christians, where the result is to diminish their zeal for God, and to render their whole lives useless to the church! And how much do the cares of life, in all its relations, interfere with simple-hearted piety, and with the faithful discharge of the duties which we owe to God and to a dying world! May God of his mercy enable us so to live in all the relations of life, as that our usefulness shall not be retarded, but augmented; and so to live that we can see, without one sigh of regret, the "fashion of this world pass away;" our property or our friends removed; or even the magnificence of the entire world, with all its palaces, and temples, and "cloud-capped towers," passing away amidst the fires that shall attend the consummation of all things!
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