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ful, to employ that body in the practice of sin, which he has redeemed from eternal death, that it might be devoted to his glory !
15. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot 2 God forbid. 16. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body ? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” 17. But he that isjoined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and we are not your own 2 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
The idea of being bought with a price would be very familiar among a people, whose household services were chiefly carried on by slaves. They knew that one is purchased as a slave, or redeemed from slavery, for a purpose: the purpose which the purchaser intends. Jesus Christ, who has “bought us with his own blood,” “ has a purpose in our ransom : “even our sanctification.” And to this end he gives his Holy Spirit to dwell in his people; to be in them : according to the first promise of St. Peter to his countrymen, “Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Paul therefore here uses what might well be the strongest argument to deter the disciples from those sins which defile a man, which degrade his body, whilst they pollute his soul; when he asks, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God 2 The Corinthians would readily understand his figure—the temple. Their city was full of temples in which the statue of the deity worshipped there was conspicuously placed. Like that mentioned at Ephesus (Acts xix. 27–35) raised in “honour of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter.” In the same manner, then, as among these idolaters a temple was built, and in it a statue erected, and it was called the temple of Jupiter or the temple of Diana: in the same manner their bodies, as Christians, were chosen and set apart, and rendered the temples of the Holy Ghost, which they had of God. The purpose of the real temple was to contain the statue. The Christian is designed to be the tabernacle of the Holy Ghost, which is in him, and makes him a sacred, peculiar person, dedicated to God and his glory. Therefore they were not their own, to use their body as they pleased: they could only use it in the way which God permitted, and to the purpose for which he redeemed and consecrated it: they must glorify God in their body, and in their spirit, which were God's. God is glorified, when the members which he has framed, when the spirit which he has breathed, are employed to perform the duties for which they were designed; the purposes of his will. He is glorified, when those appetites are kept within the bounds prescribed them, which he has implanted in us not that they may rule and command, but be subject and obey. He is glorified, when a temptation to sin is resisted by the thought, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” He is glorified, when a lawful indulgence is refused, lest evil should result; as by Paul when he said, “If meat cause my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth, lest I cause my brother to offend:”8 or by Daniel, when in the court of Babylon he purposed in his heart not to eat of the meat or drink of the wine which was set before him by order of the heathen king, lest he should be defiled.” These and such like things glorify God, because in them he is recognised as Lord and King: as the “God in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways.” And the glory thus given to him by one party, might extend beyond. Other Corinthians, seeing the christian church thus acting, might be brought to repentance and the knowledge of the truth. They might have long witnessed the return of seasons and the wonderful works of creation without concern,” and yet be struck by the spectacle of a righteous, sober, and godly Christian. For though “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work;” the argument touches men more forcibly when they see one of like passions with themselves, keeping them in subjection, and bringing them into obedience to Him that is invisible.” They see something done, of which they know the difficulty, and of which they understand the cost: and that may in God's providence ensue of which the Lord speaks to his disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
* Gen. ii. 24. ‘Acts xx. 28. 5 1 Thess. iv. 3. * Acts ii. 38.
7 Gen. xxxix. 9. 8 Ch. viii. 13. 9 Dan. i. 8. 1 Dan. v. 23. 2 See Rom. i. 20. * Ps. xix. 1. * See Chrysos. in loco.
INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING MARRIAGE.
1 CoR. vii. 1–17.
1. Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
The union of man and woman is the ordinance of God, instituted by him in the time of man's innocency. (Gen. ii. 18, 24.) “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Paul could never intend to disparage or prohibit this union; for so the purpose of God in creating man would be defeated, and mankind cease to be.
Still there may be times and there may be circumstances which make a single life desirable: and, having these in view, the apostle answers a question proposed to him by the church at Corinth, saying, It is good for a man to abstain from marriage. He may act wisely and piously in doing so. If a man
5 Matt. v. 16. 1 Matt. xix. 4–6.
be so disposed, let him so determine. But this is an exception to the usual laws which
govern mankind. The general rule is marriage.
2. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Very beautiful is the thought represented here; the husband and wife joining to promote one another's eternal welfare, and rendering their earthly union subservient to heavenly purposes. Lest they should be brought under the power of even lawful things, lest the natural inclinations should gain undue dominion over them, they give themselves for a time to fasting and prayer: they have their proper seasons, when human affections must be restrained rather than indulged, and nothing be suffered to distract the mind from “the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” This would be to exemplify what was before spoken of: this would be “to glorify God in their body and their spirit, which are his.” But they must always bear in mind that they “ have an adversary, the devil,” who will take advantage of every state to destroy the soul. He suits his snares to every condition of life, as well as to every character