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1 Corinthians 5:6-8

6. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

6. Non est bona gloriatio vestra: an nescitis, quod exiguum fermentum totam massam fermentat?

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.

7. Expurgate ergo vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azymi: nam Pascha nostrum pro nobis immolatum est, Christus. 284284     “Nostre Pasque, assavoir Christ;” — “Our passover, namely, Christ.”

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.

8. Proinde epulemur non in fermento veteri, neque in fermento malitiae et pravitatis, sed in azymis sinceritatis veritatis. 285285     “Avec pains sans leuain, c’est a dire, de syncerite et de verite;” — “With unleavened bread, that is to say, of sincerity and truth.”


6. Your glorying is not good. He condemns their glorying, not simply because they extolled themselves beyond what is lawful for man, but because they delighted themselves in their faults. He had previously stripped mankind of all glory; for he had shown that, as they have nothing of their own, whatever excellence they may have, they owe the entire praise of it to God alone. (1 Corinthians 4:7.) What he treats of here, however, is not that, God is defrauded of his right, when mortals arrogate to themselves the praise of their excellences, but that the Corinthians are guilty of arrant folly in extolling themselves without any just ground. For they proudly gloried as if everything had been in a golden style among them, while in the meantime there was so much among them that was wicked and disgraceful.

Know ye not That they might not think that it was a matter of little or no importance that they gave encouragement to so great an evil, he shows the destructive tendency of indulgence and dissimulation in such a case. He makes use of a proverbial saying, by which he intimates that a whole multitude is infected by the contagion of a single individual. For this proverb has in this passage 286286     “Ha en ce passage un mesme sens comme ce qu’on dit communeement, Qu’ilne faut qu’vne brebis rongneuse pour gaster tout le troupeau;” — “Has in this passage the same meaning as what is commonly said: — There needs but one diseased sheep to infect a whole flock.” the same meaning as in those expressions of Juvenal: “A whole herd of swine falls down in the fields through disease in one of their number, and one discolored grape infects another.” 287287     —
   grex totus in agris
Unius scabie cadit, et porrigine porci:
Uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva

Juv. II. 79-81.
I have said in this passage, because Paul, as we shall see, makes use of it elsewhere (Galatians 5:9) in another sense.

7. Purge out therefore Having borrowed a similitude from leaven, he pursues it farther, though he makes a transition from a particular point to a general doctrine. For he is no longer speaking of the case of incest, but exhorts them generally to purity of life, on the ground that we cannot remain in Christ if we are not cleansed. He is accustomed to do this not infrequently. When he has made a particular statement, he takes occasion to pass on to general exhortations. He had made mention of leaven on another account, as we have seen. As this same metaphor suited the general doctrine which he now subjoins, he extends it farther.

Our Passover 288288     “Would any one,” asks Hervey, (in his Theroa and Aspasio, volume 1,) “venture to say — ‘Paul our passover is sacrificed for us?’ Yet this, I think, may be, or rather is in effect said, by the account which some persons give of Christ’s satisfaction. The very thought of such a blasphemous absurdity is too painful and offensive for the serious Christian to dwell upon. I would therefore direct his attention to a more pleasing object. Let him observe the exquisite skill which here and everywhere conducts the zeal of our inspired writer. The odes of Pindar are celebrated for their fine transitions, which, though bold and surprising, are perfectly natural. We have in this place,” (1 Corinthians 5:7) “a very masterly stroke of the same beautiful kind. The Apostle, speaking of the incestuous criminal, passes, by a most artful digression, to his daring topic — a crucified Savior. Who would have expected it on such an occasion? Yet, when thus admitted, who does not see and admire both the propriety of the subject and the delicacy of its introduction?” — Ed. Before coming to the subject-matter, I shall say a few words in reference to the words. Old leaven receives that name on the same principle as the old man, (Romans 6:6,) for the corruption of nature takes the precedence in us, previously to our being renewed in Christ. That, therefore, is said to be old which we bring with us from the womb, and must perish when we are renewed by the grace of the Spirit. 289289     Our Author gives a similar definition of the expression the old man, when commenting on Romans 6:6. “Totam antem naturam significat, quam afterlinus ex utero, quae adeo regni Dei capax non est, ut interire eatenus oporteat, quatenus in veram vitam instauramur;” — “It denotes the whole of that nature which we bring with us from the womb, and is so far from being fit for the kingdom of God, that it must perish, in so far as we are renewed to a true life.” — Ed. The verb ἐτύθη, which occurs between the name Christ and the term which denotes a sacrifice, 290290     “Assauoir, Pasque;” — “Namely, passover.” may refer to either. I have taken it as referring to the sacrifice, though this is of no great importance, as the meaning is not affected. The verb ἑορτάζωμεν, which Erasmus rendered “Let us celebrate the feast,” signifies also to partake of the solemn feast which was observed after the sacrifice had been offered up. This interpretation appeared to suit better with the passage before us. I have, accordingly, followed the Vulgate in preference to Erasmus, as this rendering is more in accordance with the mystery of which Paul treats.

We come now to the subject-matter. Paul, having it in view to exhort the Corinthians to holiness, shows that what was of old figuratively represented in the passover, ought to be at this day accomplished in us, and explains the correspondence which exists between the figure and the reality. In the first place, as the passover consisted of two parts — a sacrifice and a sacred feast — he makes mention of both. For although some do not reckon the paschal lamb to have been a sacrifice, yet reason shows that it was properly a sacrifice, for in that rite the people were reconciled to God by the sprinkling of blood. Now there is no reconciliation without a sacrifice; and, besides, the Apostle now expressly confirms if, for he makes use of the word θύεσθαι, which is applicable to sacrifices, and in other respects, too, the context would not correspond. The lamb, then, was sacrificed yearly; then followed a feast, the celebration of which lasted for seven successive days. Christ, says Paul, is our Passover 291291     Charnock makes the following pointed observations on the form of expression here employed: — “Christ the Passoveri e the paschal lamb. The lamb was called the passover. The sign for the thing signified by it. 2 Chronicles 35:11. And they killed the passover, i e the lamb; for the passover was properly the angel’s passing over Israel, when he was sent as an executioner of God’s wrath upon the Egyptians So Matthew 26:17. Where shall we prepare for thee to eat the passover? i e the paschal lamb. Our passover, i e our paschal lamb. He is called God’s lamb, John 1:29 Gods in regard of the author, ours in regard of the end: Gods lamb in regard of designation, ours in regard of acceptation Our passover, i e not only of the Jews, but of the Gentiles. That was restrained to the Israelitish nation, this extends, in the offers of it, to all, and belongs to all that are under the new administration of the covenant of grace. For us, (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν,) i e not only for our good, but in our stead, to free us from eternal death — to purchase for us eternal life.” — Charnocks Works, volume 2. — Ed He was sacrificed once, and on this condition, that the efficacy of that one oblation should be everlasting. What remains now is, that we eat, 292292     “I1 ne reste plus sinon que nous en soyons nourris;” — “Nothing remains, but that we be nourished by it.” not once a-year, but continually.

8. Now, in the solemnity of this sacred feast we must abstain from leaven, as God commanded the fathers to abstain. But from what leaven? As the outward passover was to them a figure of the true passover, so its appendages were figures of the reality which we at this day possess. If, therefore, we would wish to feed on Christ’s flesh and blood, let us bring to this feast sincerity and truth Let these be our loaves of unleavened bread Away with all malice and wickedness, for it is unlawful to mix up leaven with the passover In fine, he declares that we shall be members of Christ only when we shall have renounced malice and deceit. In the meantime we must carefully observe this passage, as showing that the ancient passover was not merely μνημοσυνον, 293293     Our author most probably alludes to Exodus 12:14, “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial,” etc. The term used in the Septuagint is μνημοσυνον, answering to the Hebrew term זכרון. — Ed a memorial of a past benefit, but also a sacrament, representing Christ who was to come, from whom we have this privilege, that we pass from death to life. Otherwise, it would not hold good, that in Christ is the body of the legal shadows. (Colossians 2:17.) This passage will also be of service for setting aside the sacrilege of the Papal mass. For Paul does not teach that Christ is offered daily, but that the sacrifice having been offered up once for all, it remains that the spiritual feast be celebrated during our whole life.

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