« ZurückWeiter »
additional “indignation and wrath” upon those who enjoyed them, when obedience was withheld.
5. But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7. Neither 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. 8. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
What, then, were the different sins into which the Israelites had fallen, and left an example to others?
First, they had been dissatisfied with what God permitted them. They said, “Who shall give us flesh to eat, as we did eat in Egypt freely? but now our soul is dried away : there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”* Let the Corinthians beware of their idol-feasts, and the meats they lusted after: if by partaking of them they wounded the conscience and injured the soul of a weak brother, they too might displease the Lord, and kindle his anger against them. Even innocent desires and things indifferent become eril things, when they are sought in despite of the will of God. Further, the Israelites became idolaters: gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, “Up, make us gods which shall go before us:—and they offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play:” joined in the revelry which made a part of idolatrous worship. Could, then, the Corinthians safely “sit at meat in the idol's temple?” Would not the Lord visit them also, as he had visited the Israelites for their sins?” Other evils had found a place in their church, which they must carefully put away from them.” The Israelites joined themselves to Baal-Peor: and the daughters of the Moabites and of the Midianites were a snare to them:” and there was a plague in the congregation, by which fell in one day three and twenty thousand, besides a thousand slain by the sword. The Israelites, again, complained of their tedious journeyings, their wants and privations: so murmured, as to provoke the Lord to jealousy: tempted Christ, as doubting his power to save: and were destroyed of the destroyer: “the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and much people of Israel died.” Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples ; have left a proof to the people of God in all ages, that God, whilst he shows “mercy unto is yet “a jealous God,” and will not give his glory to another: is a “consuming fire” to presumptuous offenders. Murmuring, discontent, licentiousness, the setting up idols in the place of God, are the sins of one age as much as of another: and we, upon whom the ends of the world are come," read these histories for our admonition, “lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” We may justly be thankful for the privileges granted us. To be devoted to God from our earliest days: to be baptized, not unto Moses, but unto one greater than Moses: to have the offer of spiritual meat and spiritual drink for the strengthening and refreshing of our souls: all these are grounds of rejoicing. But the purpose of all religious privilege, is obedience; what God requires, is “the keeping the commandments:” and this is what the heart is least inclined to, and will struggle hard to escape from ; so as to make its very privileges a pretext for exemption. It will be satisfied with an ordinance or a name: and examine itself not by the inward grace but the outward sign. Therefore, what has happened in former times, must be our example of what will also happen in time to come. If the idolaters, and murmurers, and licentious revellers “that despised Moses' law, died without mercy;” were destroyed of the destroyer : “of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of
* Numb. xi. 4–6.
thousands in them that love his commandments;”—
9 Exod. xxxii. 1–7. * See chap. viii. 10. * Exod. xxxii. 34. * Refer to chapter v. * Numb xxv. 1–6. * Numb. xxi. 5
grace?” Wherefore let him “that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
1 CoR. x. 12, 13.
12. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
This was said to the Corinthians. From the warnings and reproofs which they incurred, we have seen that it was a needful caution: for they were full of presumption and confidence.
The caution may be as justly given to all who inherit our fallen nature. Confidence is not made for man. The Lord allowed Peter to learn this by experience of his weakness." In his ardour, he had desired to come unto him on the water: “ but when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and began to sink.” And yet his was a laudable exercise of faith. How much greater the danger, if we depend upon ourselves, and think we stand ' If we ever dare to “say that we are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing:” the Lord will soon leave us to perceive that we are “miserable, and blind, and poor, and naked:” and that those only are preserved unto the end, who feel their weakness, and seek their sufficiency from him who is alone able to “keep them from falling,” and supply the strength they need.
8 Heb. x. 28. 1 Matt. xiv. 28–31. * Rev. iii. 17.
13. There 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.
St. Paul allows here, that temptation is common to man : i.e. that man is born to it, and must expect it. He does not tell the Corinthians that they were free from temptation, but that they lay under no unusual temptation. The Lord Jesus had given this notice from the first. “He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Things are not so ordered, that no temptation shall assail the Christian; but rather, that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” “
We further collect from these words, that to some of God's people are assigned temptations greater and more serious than common. Such temptations might have befallen the Corinthians; but had not. The temptation of Abraham was of this kind. It is represented as something unusual. The history says, “It came to pass that God did tempt Abraham:” tried his faith by a most unexpected demand; no less than that he should take the “child of promise,” his only
* Luke ix. 23. * Acts xiv. 22. * Gen. xxii. J.