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37 Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have spiritual powers, must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.


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37. If any one thinks himself. Mark here the judgment, which he had previously assigned to the Prophets — that they should receive what they recognised as being from God. He does not, however, desire them to inquire as to his doctrine, as though it were a doubtful matter, but to receive it as the sure word of God, inasmuch as they will recognize it as the word of God, if they judge rightly. Farther, it is in virtue of apostolical authority, that he takes it upon himself to prescribe to them the sentence which they ought to pronounce. 888888     “En cest endroit;” — “In this case.”

There is still greater confidence in what he immediately adds — He that is ignorant, let him be ignorant. This, it is true, was allowable for Paul, who was fully assured as to the revelation that he had received from God, and he ought also to have been well known to the Corinthians, so that they should have looked upon him in no other light, than as an Apostle of the Lord. It is not, however, for every one to advance such a claim for himself, or if he does, he will, by his boasting, throw himself open to merited derision, for then only is there ground for such confidence, when what is affirmed with the mouth shows itself in reality. It was with truth that Paul affirmed, that his precepts were those of the Lord. Many will be prepared to pretend the same thing on false grounds. His great object is this — that it may be clearly perceived, that he who does not allow himself to be under control, speaks as from the Holy Spirit, not from his own brain. That man, therefore, who is no other than a pure organ of the Holy Spirit, will have the courage to declare fearlessly with Paul, that those who shall reject his doctrine, are not Prophets or spiritual persons; and this he will do in virtue of a right that belongs to him, in accordance with what we had in the beginning of the Epistle — he that is spiritual, judgeth all things. (1 Corinthians 2:15.)

But it may be asked here, how it is that Paul declares those things to be commandments of the Lord, as to which no statement is to be found in the Scriptures? Besides this, there is also another difficulty that presents itself — that if they are the commandments of the Lord, they are necessary to be observed, and they bind the conscience, and yet they are rites connected with polity, as to the observance of which no such necessity exists. Paul, however, merely says, that he enjoins nothing, but what is in accordance with the will of God. Now God endowed him with wisdom, that he might recommend this order in external things at Corinth, and in other places — not that it might be an inviolable law, like those that relate to the spiritual worship of God, but that it might be a useful directory to all the sons of God, and not by any means to be despised.




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