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The apostle proceeds to answer certain questions which the Corin

thians had put to him ; and first, what related to the marriage. state ; and in these introductory werses, he determines that in some circumstances it should be entered into,'and continued in, but in others, forborne ; and forbids wives to depart from their husbands. 1 Cor. VII.-1-11.

SECT. xii.

louch a woman.

1 COR. VII. 1.

1 CORINTHIANS VII. 1. NOW concerning the

things whereof ye I Noll proceed to give you my opinion conwrote unto me: It is

cerning those things about which you wrote to good for a man not to me. And I begin with that concerning the law- 1 Cor.

fulness or expedience of marriage. And here I VII, 1.
must first observe, that as to its expedience, [it
is ) in present circumstances good for a man,
where he is entirely master of himself, to have
nothing to do with a woman ; so many are the
conveniences which recommend a single life

to those who are proof against some of its most
2 Nevertheless, to obvious temptations. Nevertheless, as the 2
acord fornication, let God of nature has for certain wise reasons im-
every man have his
own wife, and let e-

planted in the sexes a mutual inclinatiotitɔ each very woman have her other, in order to prevent

fornicatior, and every own husband. other species of uncleanness, lei eperymen have

and retain his own proper wifeani let every
woman have and retair, her own proper hus-

band: for neither divorce ror poligamy are




1 Cor.



Marriage is necessary to present fornication ; SECT. by any means agreeable to the genius of the


Let the husband, where this relation is com- 3 Let the husband vii. 3. menced, render all due benevolence to the wife, due benevolence : and

render unto the wife and in like manner also the wise to the husband : likewise also the wife let them on all occasions be ready mutually toʻunto the husband. oblige, and consult the happiness of each other's life. And let them not imagine that there is

any perfection in living separate from each 4 other, as if they were in a state of celibacy. For 4 The wife hath not

the wife hath not in this respect power over her power of her own boown body, but hath by the marriage-covenant and likewise also the transferred it to the husband ; and in like man. husband hath not power ner also, the husband hath not power over his own

of his own body, but the body, but it is, as it were, the property of the wife; their engagemants being mutual,so that on every occasion conscience obliges them to remain appropriate to each other, and consult their mutual good. 5

Withdraw not therefore from the company of 5 Defraud ye not each other, unless (it be] by consent for a time; one the other, except that ye may be at leisure to devote yourselves a time, that ye may more intensly to fasting and prayer, and that give yourselves to lastye may come together again as usual ; lest Satan ing and prayer; and

together tempt you on account of your incontinence, and

gain, that Satan tempt
take occasion from the irregular sallies of you not for your in.
animal nature, to fill you with thoughts and continency.
passions, which marriage was in its original in-

stitution intended to remedy.
6 But you will observe, that I say this by per-

6 But I speak this
mission from Christ ; but not by any express by permission, and not
command", which he gave in person in the of commandment.
days of bis flesh, or gives by the inspiration and
suggestion of his Spirit now; by which inspira-
tion, you may conclude I am guided when I lay

in no such precautions as these.
7 But as for the main question we are now

7 For I would that upon,

I could wish that all men were, in this all men were even as respect, even as myself ; that all christians could I myself; but every

man hath his proper as easily bear the severities of a single life in

gift of God, one atter present circumstances, and exercise as resolute

this a command over their natural desires". But

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à By permission.] : I.cannot, with Mr. St. Paul's epistles, that they will rather Cradock, think, that the meaning of this strengthen the proof of it. Sce Essay on clause, is, % 1 permit marrike, but do not Inspiration in Vol. VIII. enjoin it," ano hac člšeư7xte observed, b That all men were even as myself. ] that this verses, and alters in this context, Common sense requires us to limit this nearly parallel to it, will be so far from expression as in the paraphrase ; for it offording, or any interprelation, an ob- would be a most fagrant absurdity to supjcction againsi the general nuspiration of pose that St. Paul wished marriage might

entirely IMPROVE


I Cor.

10 Aod

upto the

And it is better to marry, than to burn.

5 this manner, and ano- every man has his proper gift of God, one in this sect. ther after that.

kind, or manner, and another in that. So that
though I give the best advice and example I can
I would not exalt myself on account of this VII. 7.

attainment, nor despise those that have it not.
8 I say therefore to But as to unmarried men, who, like me, have s
the unmarried and wi- buried their wives, and to the widows, I
dows, it is good for


say, them (they abide even is good for them. (if they conveniently can,) to as I.

continue, as I do, in the widowed state. But 9 9 But if they cannot if they have not attained to such a degree of temry; for it is better to perance, as to be easy in it, let them by all means marty than to burn. marry. For though it be better to live calmly

and soberly in a state of widowhood, than to
marry, it is undoubtedly much better to marry
a second time, or a third than to burn, and to be
tormented with those restless passions which
some in such circumstances feel.

But as to those that are married, [it is not 10
married hommand; 1 (who] command but the Lord Jesus Christ
Let not the wife de himself, who enjoins, that the wife should not
part from her husband: withdraw herself from [her] husband : But if I!

11. But and if she she be withdrawn by her own rash and foolish
depart, let her remain
nomarried, or be re- act, let her not by any means contract another
conciled to her hus- marriage ; but remain unmarried, or rather, if
band: and let not the it may be accomplished by any submission on
husband pat away his

her side, let her be reconciled to her husband,
that they may, if possible, live in such an union
and harmony as the relation requires. And let

not the husband dismiss [his] wife on any light
, account, or indeed, for any thing short of adul-

tery. For whatever particular reasons Moses
might have, for permitting divorces on some
slighter occasions, Christ our great Legislator,
who may reasonably expect higher degrees of
purity and virtue in his followers, as their
assistances are so much greater, hath seen fit
expressly to prohibit such separation, and we,
his apostles, in our decisions upon this matter,
must guide ourselves by the authority of his de-

entirely cease. It shews therefore how un- c To those that are married.] The transtair and improper it is, in various cases, lation, published by the English Jesuits, to strain the apostle's words to the utmost at Bourdeaux, renders it, to those roho are rigour, as if he perpetually used the most united in the sacrament of marriuge ; which Critical exactness; but indeed chap. ix. 22. I mention as one instance, selecied from is so full an instance to the contrary, that a vast number, of the great dishonesty of it is not necessary to multiply remarks of that translation. this kind.


Reflections on the Apostle's observations about marriage.



The decisions of the holy apostle are here given with such gravity, seriousness and purity, that one would hope, delicate as the subject of them is, they will be received without any of that unbecoming levity which the wantonness of some minds may be ready to excite on such an occasion.

It becomes us humbly to adore the Divine wisdom and goodness

manifested in the formation of the first human pair, and in keeping Ver.


the different sexes through all succeeding ages, in so just a A proportion, that every man might have his own wife, and every

woman her own husband : that the instinct of nature might, so far as it is necessary, be gratified without guilt, and an holy seed be sought, which being trained up under proper discipline and instruction, might supply the wastes that death is continually making, and be accounted to the Lord for a generation : that so virtue and religion, for the sake of which alone it is desirable that buman creatures should subsist, may be transmitted through every age, and earth become a nursery for heaven.

With these views, let marriages be contracted, when it is proper they should be contracted at all. Let none imagine the state itself to be impure ; and let it always be preserved undefiled. Let all

occasion of irregular desire be prudently guarded against by those 5 who have entered into it. And let all christians, in every relation,

remeinber that the obligations of devotion are common to all; and that Christ and his apostles seem to take it for granted, that we shall be careful to secure proper seasons for fasting, as well as for prayer, so far as may be needful, in order that the superior authority of the mind over the body may be exercised, and maintained, and that our petitions to the throne of grace may be offered with greater intenseness, copiousness and ardour.


The apostle exhorts Christiuns not to break marriage on account of

difference in religion ; and urges, in the general, contentment with the stations in which they were called, and a concern to serve God in their proper condition, whether married, or single, bound or free. I Cor. VII. 12—24.



1 Cor. VII. 12. I!

HAVE reminded you of the decision of Christ BÝT to the rest speak xiii. with respect to the affair of divorce: now as If any brother hath a to the rest of the persons and cases to which I wite ihat believeth not

and VII. 12. shall address myself, it is to be observed, that I




1 Cor.

Marriage not dissolved by difference in religion.

7 and she be pleased to speak, according to wbat duty or prudence sect: dwell with bim, let kim not put her away. be considered as if it were immediately spoken

seeins on the whole to require ; and it is not to
by the Lord. If any Christian brother hath an VII. 12.
unbelieving wife, and she consent to dwell with

him, not withstanding the diversity of their reli-
13 And the woman gious persuasions, let him not disiniss her. And 13
which hath an husband

on the other hand, if any Christian wife have that believed not, and if he be pleasca to an unbelieving husband, and he consent to dwell dwell with lier, let her with her, let her not dismiss hima, nor separate not leave him.

herself from him, though the legal constitution

of the country in wbich she lives may allow 14 For the unbeliev- her to do it. For in such a case as this, the un-14 ing husband is sanctifi. ed by the wife, and the believing husband is so sanctified by the wife, and unbelieving wife is the unbelieving wife is so sanctified by the hussanctified by the hus. band", that their matrimonial converse is as band: else were your lawful as if they were both of the same faith : children unclean; but now are they holy. otherwise your children, in these mixed cases,

were unclean, and must be looked upon as unfit
to be admitted to those peculiar ordinances
by which the seed of God's people are distin-
guished; but now they are confessedly holy,
and are as readily admitted to baptism in all our
churches, as if both the parents were Christians;

so that the case you see, is in effect decided by 15 Lut if the unbe. this prevailing practice. However, if the unbé- 15 lieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a

lieving party, in such circumstances as these, be sister is not under bond- absolutely determined, and will depart, let him, aye in such cases : but or ber depart, and take the course they think

best; and the consequence is, that a brother, or
a sister, who hath been united to such a wife,
or busband, in matrimonial bonds, is by such a
conduct of a former partner, discharged from



a Let her not dismiss him.] I have else. who might be admitted to partake of the where observed, that in these countries, distinguishing rites of God's people. in the apostle's days the wire's had a Compare Exod. xix. 6; Deut. vii. 6; power of divorce as well as the husbands. chap. xiv. 2; chap. xxvi. 19; chap.

b Is sanctified, &c.] Some think the xxxiii. 3; Ezra ix. 2 ; with Isa. xxxv. 8; meaning is, “ the Christian may con- chap. lii. l; Acis X. 28. &C. And as vert the infidel;" as appears, in that the for the interpretation, which so many of children of such marriages are brought our brethren, the Baptists, have contendup Christians. But this cannot possibly cd for, that holy signifies legitimate, and be the sense ; for that they were brought unclean ilirgitimate ; (not to urge that this up so, was not to be sure alcays fact, and seems an unscriptural sense of the word,) where it was, there was no need of prove nothing can be more evident, than that ing from thence the conversion of the pa- the argument will by no means bear it; rent, which would in itself be much more for it would be proving a thing by itself, apparent than the education of the child.

idem per idlem, to argue that the converse c Noco are they holy.] On the ma- of the parents was lawful, because the tarest and most impartial consideration of children were vot bastards ; whereas all this text, I must judge it to refer to infunt- who thought the converse of the parents baptism. Nothing can be more apparent unlawful, must of course think that the tban that the word holy, signifies persons, children were illegitimate.

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