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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.

7. Neither be ye idolaters He touches upon the history that is recorded in Exodus 32:7, etc. For when Moses made a longer stay upon the mountain than the unseemly fickleness of the people could endure, Aaron was constrained to make a calf, and set it up as an object of worship. Not that the people wished to change their God, but rather to have some visible token of God’s presence, in accordance with their carnal apprehension. God, in punishing at that time this idolatry with the greatest severity, showed by that example how much he abhors idolatry.

As it is written, The people sat down This passage is rightly interpreted by few, for they understand intemperance among the people to have been the occasion of wantonness, 542542     “Et esgayement desborde;” — “And unbridled excess.” in accordance with the common proverb, “Dancing comes after a full diet.” 543543     “Apres la panse vient la danse;” — “After dinner comes the dance.” But Moses speaks of a sacred feast, or in other words, what they celebrated in honor of the idol. Hence feasting and play were two appendages of idolatry. For it was customary, both among the people of Israel and among the rotaries of superstition, to have a feast in connection with a sacrifice, as a part of divine worship, at which no profane or unclean persons were allowed to be present. The Gentiles, in addition to this, appointed sacred games in honor of their idols, in conformity with which the Israelites doubtless on that occasion worshipped their calf, 544544     “Et ne faut point douter que les Israelites n’ayent pour lots adore leur veau auec telle ceremonie et obseruation que les Gentils faisoyent leurs idoles;” — “And we cannot doubt, that the Israelites on that occasion adored their calf with the same ceremony and care as the Gentiles did their idols. for such is the presumption of the human mind, that it ascribes to God whatever pleases itself. Hence the Gentiles have fallen into such a depth of infatuation as to believe, that their gods are delighted with the basest spectacles, immodest dances, impurity of speech, and every kind of obscenity. Hence in imitation of them the Israelitish people, having observed their sacred banquet, rose up to celebrate the games, that nothing might be wanting in honor of the idol. This is the true and simple meaning.

But here it is asked, why the Apostle makes mention of the feast and the games, rather than of adoration, for this is the chief thing in idolatry, while the other two things were merely appendages. The reason is, that he has selected what best suited the case of the Corinthians. For it is not likely, that they frequented the assemblies of the wicked, for the purpose of prostrating themselves before the idols, but partook of their feasts, held in honor of their deities, and did not keep at a distance from those base ceremonies, which were tokens of idolatry. It is not therefore without good reason that the Apostle declares, that their particular form of offense is expressly condemned by God. He intimates, in short, that no part of idolatry 545545     “Tant petite soit elle;” — “Be it ever so little.” can be touched without contracting pollution, and that those will not escape punishment from the hand of God, who defile themselves with the outward tokens of idolatry.


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