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Verse 17. But he that glorieth, he that boasts. Whatever may be the occasion of his boasting, whether in planting churches or in watering them; whether in his purposes, plans, toils, or success. Paul himself did not deem it improper on some occasions to boast, 2 Co 11:16; 12:5, but it was not of his own power, attainments, or righteousness, he was disposed to trace all to the Lord, and to regard him as the Source of all blessing and all success.

Let him glory in the Lord. In this serious and weighty admonition, Paul designs, doubtless, to express the manner in which he was accustomed to glory, and to furnish an admonition to the Corinthians. In the previous part of the chapter there had been some severe irony. He closes the chapter with the utmost seriousness and solemnity of manner, in order to show on his part that he was not disposed to glory in his own attainments, and to admonish them not to boast of theirs. If they had anything valuable, they should regard the Lord as the Author of it. In this admonition it is probable that Paul had in his eye the passage in Jer 9:23,24, though he has not expressly quoted it: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth." The sentiment is a favourite one with Paul, as it should be with all Christians. See Barnes "1 Co 1:31".

On this verse we may here remark,

I. That nothing is more common than for men to boast or glory. Little as they really have in which to glory, yet there is no one probably who has not something of which he is proud, and of which he is disposed to boast. It would be difficult or impossible to find a person who had not something on which he prided himself; something in which he esteemed himself superior to others.

II. The things of which they boast are very various.

(1.) Many are proud of their personal beauty—many, too, who would be unwilling to be thought proud of it.

(2.) Many glory in their accomplishments; or, what is more likely, in the accomplishments of their children.

(3.) Many glory in their talents; talents for anything, valuable or not, in. which they suppose they surpass others. They glory in their talent for eloquence, or science, or gaining knowledge; or in their talent for gaining property or keeping it; for their skill in their professions or callings; for their ability to run, to leap, or to practise even any trick or sleight of hand. There is nothing so worthless that it does not constitute a subject of glorying, provided it be ours.

If it belong to others, it may be valueless.

(4.) Many glory in their property; in fine houses, extended plantations, or in the reputation of being rich; or in gorgeous dress, equipage, and furniture. In short, there is nothing which men possess in which they are not prone to glory. Forgetful of God the giver; forgetful that all may be soon taken from them, or that they soon must leave all; forgetful that none of these things can constitute a distinction in the grave or beyond, they boast as if these things were to remain for ever, and as if they had been acquired independently of God. How prone is the man of talents to forget that God has given him his intellect, and that for its proper use he must give account! How prone is the rich man to forget that he must die! How prone the gay and the beautiful to forget that they will lie undistinguished in the grave; and that death will consume them as soon as the most vile and worthless of the species!

III. If we glory, it should be in the Lord. We should ascribe our talents, wealth, health, strength, salvation to him. We should rejoice

(1.) that we have such a Lord—so glorious, so full of mercy, so powerful, so worthy of confidence and love.

(2.) We should rejoice in our endowments and possessions as his gift. We should rejoice that we may come and lay everything at his feet; and whatever may be our rank, or talents, or learning, we should rejoice that we may come with the humblest child of poverty, and sorrow, and want, and say, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake," Ps 115:1. See Barnes "1 Co 1:31".


{a} "he that glorieth" Jer 9:24

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