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10. Warnings From Israel's History

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

14Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 18Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 23All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. 25Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. 27If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: 29Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 30For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

6. Now these things were types to us. He warns us in still more explicit terms, that we have to do with the punishment that was inflicted upon them, so that they are a lesson to us, that we may not provoke the anger of God as they did. “God,” says he, “in punishing them has set before us, as in a picture, his severity, that, instructed by their example, we may learn to fear.” Of the term type I shall speak presently. Only for the present I should wish my readers to know, that it is not without consideration that I have given a different rendering from that of the old translation, 540540     The rendering of the Vulgate isin figura — (in figure.) Wiclif (1380) reads the clause thus: “But these thingis ben don in figure of us.” — Ed. and of Erasmus. For they obscure Paul’s meaning, or at least they do not bring out with sufficient clearness this idea — that God has in that people presented a picture for our instruction.

That we might not lust after evil things. He now enumerates particular instances, or certain examples, that he may take occasion from this to reprove some vices, as to which it was proper that the Corinthians should be admonished. I am of opinion, that the history that is here referred to is what is recorded in Numbers 11:4, etc., though others refer it to what is recorded in Numbers 26:64. The people, after having been for some time fed with manna, at length took a dislike to it, and began to desire other kinds of food, which they had been accustomed to partake of in Egypt. Now they sinned in two ways, for they despised the peculiar gift of God, and they eagerly longed after a variety of meats and delicacies, contrary to the will of God. The Lord, provoked by this lawless appetite, inflicted upon the people a grievous blow. Hence the place was called the

graves of lust, 541541     Our Author gives here the literal meaning of Kibroth-hatta-avah. — Ed. because there they buried those whom
the Lord had smitten. (Numbers 11:34.)

The Lord by this example testified how much he hates those lusts that arise from dislike of his gifts, and from our lawless appetite, for whatever goes beyond the measure that God has prescribed is justly reckoned evil and unlawful.


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