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3. On Division in the Church

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

13. For the day will declare it In the old translation it is the day of the Lord, 179179     It is so in two of the old English versions. In Wiclif’s version (1380) the rendering is as follows: For the dai of the Lord schal declare. The Rheims version (1582) reads thus: For the day of our Lord will declare. — Ed. but it is probable that the words of the Lord were added by some one by way of explanation. The meaning unquestionably is complete without that addition. For with propriety we give the name of day to the time when darkness and obscurity are dispelled, and the truth is brought to light. Hence the Apostle forewarns us, that it cannot always remain a secret who have acted fraudulently in the work of the Lord, or who have conducted themselves with fidelity, as though he had said: “The darkness will not always remain: the light will one day break forth; which will make all things manifest.” That day, I own, is God’s — not man’s, but the metaphor is more elegant if you read simply — the day, because Paul in this way conveys the idea, that the Lord’s true servants cannot always be accurately distinguished from false workmen, inasmuch as virtues and vices are concealed by the darkness of the night. That night, however, will not always continue. For ambition is blind — man’s favor is blind — the world’s applause is blind, but this darkness God afterwards dispels in his own time. Take notice, that he always discovers the assurance of a good conscience, and with an unconquerable magnanimity despises perverse judgments; first, in order that he may call back the Corinthians from popular applause to a right rule of judgment; and secondly, for the purpose of confirming the authority of his ministry.

Because it will be revealed by fire. Paul having spoken of doctrine metaphorically, now also applies metaphorically the name of fire to the very touchstone of doctrine, that the corresponding parts of the comparison may harmonize with each other. The fire, then, here meant is the Spirit of the Lord, who tries by his touchstone what doctrine resembles gold and what resembles stubble The nearer the doctrine of God is brought to this fire, so much the brighter will be its luster. On the other hand, what has had its origin in man’s head will quickly vanish, 180180     “Celle, qui aura este forgee au cerveau des hommes s’esuanouira tout incontinent, et s’en ira en fumee;” — “That which has been forged in man’s brain, will quickly vanish, and go off in smoke.” as stubble is consumed in the fire. There seems also to be an allusion to the day of which he makes mention: “Not only will those things which vain ambition, like a dark night, concealed among the Corinthians, be brought to light by the brightness of the sun, but there will also be a strength of heat, not merely for drying up and cleansing away the refuse, but also for burning up everything wrong.” For however men may look upon themselves, as forming acute judgments, their discernment, notwithstanding, reaches no farther than appearance, which, for the most part, has no solidity. There is nothing but that day to which the Apostle appeals, that tests everything to the quick, not merely by its brightness, but also by its fiery flame.


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