Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1 Corinthians 7:7
The Severe and Social Virtues (for St. Philip and St. James's Day).
I. St. James, surnamed the Just, was remarkable for the severities of a mortified life, and a meek and austere sanctity, so that the violent death to which he was put by the Jews was looked upon even by their own countrymen as bringing down the Divine judgment on their nation. His Epistle is best understood when we bear this in mind. Hence its memorable precepts of the blessedness of patience, of wisdom sought from above, of faith and prayer; hence its sententious short proverbs of heavenly-minded wisdom, and the sayings of a man of God, interspersed with that sweetness which is ever found with self-sacrificing devotion. St. Philip, on the other hand, seems rather an example of social and brotherly charities, easy of access to all, seeking and sought for in Christian friendship; as when he goes to Nathanael, with St. Andrew, and when the Greeks, who would see Jesus at the last Passover, come to him. Great as is the blessing of such a temper both to itself and to others, yet its deficiency is apt to be in this, that it less realises those spiritual mysteries of God which are disclosed to the heart in secrecy and solitude of spirit. Hence that complaint in our Lord's words in the Gospel for today, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?"
II. Nevertheless it must be observed, that Christian grace so harmonises and fills the character, that such personal diversities are not to be pressed too far. St. James the Less was greatly beloved of all Christians for his singular meekness; and no doubt St. Philip, in the practices of mortification, came to understand the secrets of Divine wisdom; yet, nevertheless, under the same spirit some such diversities and differences of character do remain; and in the words of the text, "Every one hath his proper gift of God; one after this manner, and another after that."
I. Williams, The Epistles and Gospels, vol. ii., p. 373.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:10.—R. S. Candlish, Scripture Characters and Miscellanies, p. 156. 1 Corinthians 7:10-24.—F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Corinthians, p. 103. 1 Corinthians 7:14.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. x., p. 321. 1 Corinthians 7:16.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ix., p. 173. 1 Corinthians 7:17.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 53. 1 Corinthians 7:18-24.—F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 156.
1 Corinthians 7:19(with Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15)
Forms versus Character..
I. The emphatic proclamation of the nullity of outward rites.
II. Look at the threefold variety of the designation of the essentials. (1) The keeping of the commandments of God is everything (1 Corinthians 7:19). (2) "A new creature" (Galatians 6:15). The one thing needful is keeping the commandments of God, and the only way by which we can keep the commandments of God, is that we should be formed again into the likeness of Him, of whom alone it is true that He always did the things that pleased God. (3) "Faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). If we are to be made over again, we must have faith in Jesus Christ. We have got to the root now, so far as we are concerned. We must keep the commandments of God; if we are to keep the commandments we must be made over again, and if our hearts ask how can we receive that new creating power into our lives, the answer is, by "faith which worketh by love."
A. Maclaren, Christ in the Heart, p. 229.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:19-24.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 210. 1 Corinthians 7:22.—Parker, Hidden Springs, p. 366.
1 Corinthians 7:23I. St. Paul's words, "Be not ye the slaves of men," have an important bearing upon the exercise of the understanding. "Bought with a price" by one who claims, not one part, but the whole of you, not more the conduct than the will, not more the energies than the affections, not more the soul than the reason, it cannot be safe, it cannot be right, it cannot be honest to resign into another's keeping the exercise of the intellect upon matters of evidence or matters of doctrine; to make one man's view, or one man's thought, or one man's faith, serve for ten or twenty or a hundred others; to attach yourself to a school, or a party, or a system, in such sense that you yourself shall be absolved from the task of proving all things as a necessary preliminary to the other duty of holding fast that which not others but you yourself have found to be good.
II. That which is true of the understanding is true also of the conscience. There is a sanctuary within each one of us into which no minister and no brother can enter without presumption and without profanation. It is the conscience of the man in the sight of God—it is that spirit of the man which no one knoweth but the man—it is the secret shrine of motive and will, of memory and responsibility, and of the life's life. It may be instructed, it may be informed, it may be influenced, it may be moved; but in every aspect save one it is free—no dictation and no direction can intrude within its precincts, for One is its Master, even Christ, and all else, even the ministers of Jesus Christ, are here not lords, but brethren. To establish over the individual conscience a right of inspection, or a right of discipline—to lay down rules for its habitual or periodical self-disclosure—to say without this there is no safeguard for the life, and no security for the death,—this is to deny or to obscure the great characteristic of the gospel; this is to speak a word against the all-sufficiency of the Holy Ghost as the Light and the Guide, the Remembrancer and the Comforter, of Christ's people.
III. At common times, under usual circumstances, the Church's directory is the pulpit, and the Church's confessional the congregation. There, where the bow is drawn of necessity at a venture, the arrow flies to its mark the more felt because unseen. There, where the prayer of the preacher and the prayer of the hearer have jointly invoked the guidance which is omniscient wisdom, the voice behind will be heard saying again and again in each emergency of the spiritual being, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Independence of all save God is the prerogative of the conscience. Not in pride, but in deep self-knowledge of the difficulty of telling into any human ear the very thing itself—that is, knowledge of the perils of spiritual intimacy, alike on the one side and on the other—knowledge of the facility with which an indolent will may pass from seeking help to trusting in man—knowledge, finally, of the infinite strength which comes into us by being quite absolutely alone with God in our confidences and in our struggles—we shall feel, the weakest of us with the strongest, that on the whole, and with a view to the eternal future, we are best as we are, without confessor and without director save the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, one God blessed for ever—we shall come back to the text, and think that it has a voice for us in this thing, "Ye were bought, each and all, with a price; be not ye servants of men."
C. J. Vaughan, Oxford and Cambridge Journal, Oct. 18th, 1877
I. Look first at the assertion, "Ye are bought with a price." This is one of the ways in which, in Scripture, the great effect of Christ's death in the room of sinners is described. In the words of the text the Apostle seems to say, "Ye are not your own," you belong, by right of His purchase, to Christ: your intellects are His to be instructed by Him; your consciences are His to be regulated by Him; your lives are His to be ruled by Him; absolutely and entirely you are His. Now at first sight that looks like a consignment of us to the most abject slavery; for no human oppression can thoroughly enchain the spirit. But here it must be remembered that what on the Lord's side is a purchase, is on the believer's side a voluntary consecration, and that the Master is not a man, but the God-man, with whom oppression is impossible. Thus it comes about, that the Divine ownership of us by Jesus is the charter of our deliverance from our fellow-men, and the paradox that the service of Christ is perfect freedom is made good.
II. Paul does not mean to say here that all manner of service of men is inconsistent with our ownership by Christ; we have only to read his exhortations to servants in his various Epistles to be convinced of that. What he desires to allege is that Christ's property in us emancipates us from abject slavery to men in every form which is inconsistent with that property. No man can deprive us of that which already belongs to Christ; and it is through the assertion of that principle by Christians that all the victories of religious freedom have been won in the world. The most absolute devotion to Christ is the most complete declaration of individual independence, even as the defiant rejection of Christ on this score of liberty issues in the most degrading form of slavery. These things may seem to be contradictory, but they are true, and they have often been demonstrated to be so in the history alike of individuals and of the race. Therefore choose to be ransomed by Christ that you may be delivered from servitude to men.
W. M. Taylor, Contrary Winds, p. 65.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:23.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx., No. 1163; W. E. Collen, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 20; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 118; H. Stowell Brown, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 208.
1 Corinthians 7:24The Christian Life.
I. We are led from the words before us to the thought that our chief effort in life ought to be for union with God. "Abide with God," which, being put into other words, means, I think, mainly two things—constant communion, the occupation of all our nature with Him, and consequently the recognition of His will in all circumstances. Let us believe that every single soul has a place in the heart, and is taken into account in the purposes of Him who moves the tempest and makes His sun to shine on the unthankful and on the good. Let us try to anchor and rest our own souls fast and firm in God all the day long, that, grasping His hand, we may look out upon all the confused dance of fleeting circumstances and say, "Thy will is done in earth," if not yet "as it is done in heaven," still done in the issues and events of all things, and done with my cheerful obedience and thankful acceptance of its commands and allotments in my own life.
II. The second idea which comes out of these words is this: Such union with God will lead to contented continuance in our place, whatever it be. Calmness and central peace are ours, a true appreciation of all outward good and a charm against the bitterest sting of outward evils are ours, a patient continuance in the place where He has set us is ours, when by fellowship with Him we have learned to look upon our work as primarily doing His will, and upon all our possessions and conditions primarily as means for making us like Himself.
III. Such contented continuance in our place is the dictate of the truest wisdom. (1) After all, though you may change about as much as you like, there is a pretty substantial equipoise and identity in the amount of pain and pleasure in all external conditions. What is the use of such eager desires to change our condition, when every condition has disadvantages attending its advantages, as certainly as a shadow? (2) While the portion of external pain and pleasure summed up comes pretty much to the same in everybody's life, any condition may yield the fruit of devout fellowship with God. (3) Our text is a revolutionary one. But surely Christ is more than mammon, and a spirit nourished by calm desires and holy thoughts into growing virtues and increasing Christ-likeness is better than circumstances ordered to our will, in the whirl of which we have lost our God!
A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, 3rd series, p. 1.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:24.—M. Nicholson, Redeeming the Time, p. 91; A. K. H. B., Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson, 3rd series, p. 293.
1 Corinthians 7:29I. St. Paul tells us that the time is short. In one sense—not an unimportant one—time is very long. The great God who is working out His plan in the universe has no stint of time. What we see is but a point in an infinite line, of which we can see neither beginning nor end. It is thoughts like these which free us from besetting impatience, that strengthen faith. We may be in a hurry and restless, but God is in no hurry; the evolution of His purpose is certain, though to us it may seem slow. It is like the movement of the shadow on the sundial. But it is quite possible to dwell too much on this aspect of Him, and to let it paralyse our action and make us fatalists. And it is therefore the more necessary to think of St. Paul's view—that time is short; to learn how to be earnest without being impatient, to know that our time is short, and that we have much to do, and yet to be willing when we have done our best to leave the result in God's hands.
II. The time is very short for the work we have to do. There is: (1) the work of self-discipline, the discipline of the mind; (2) the opening of the mind in new directions; (3) the discipline of the flesh; (4) work for others and for God. God shows us His work to do in the world and bids us help, but our help must be genuinely our own; if we will not do our work, then it remains undone—undone for ever. Here lies the infinite pathos of wasted time; it is irrecoverably gone. If we do not do what we have to do, not we ourselves, nor any one else, not God Himself, can do the work. It is left undone. Do you remember a passage of George Eliot which ends "God cannot do Antonio Stradivari's work without Antonio"? Some two or three centuries ago, in a town in North Italy, lived Antonio Stradivari, a maker of violins. They are now world-famous and almost priceless. Some one once sneeringly told him that if God wanted violins He could certainly make them for Himself, and Antonio said, No, that this was Antonio Stradivari's work; not even God could do it without Antonio. This saying is daring, but true—true for him, and true for you and me. You and I have our work to do, our work for God and for one another, and God cannot do our work for us. We must do it ourselves, and our time is short
J. M. Wilson, Sermons in Clifton College Chapel, p. 79.
Suppose a man with more or less struggle, with what grace he can, has accepted the shortness of life as a conviction. What effect will that conviction have upon his life? What effect ought it to have? Evidently it ought to go deeper than his spirits. It ought to do something more than make him glad or sorry.
I. First of all, must it not make a man try to sift the things that offer themselves to him, and then to find out what his things are? The indiscriminateness of most men's lives impresses us more and more. Many men's souls are like omnibuses, stopping to take up every interest or taste that holds up its finger and beckons them from the side walk. Conscientiousness, self-knowledge, independence, and the toleration of other men's freedom which always goes with the most serious and deep assertion of our own freedom, are closely connected with the sense that life is short.
II. The sense of the shortness of life brings a power of freedom in dealing with the things which we do take to be our own. He who knows he is in the world for a very little while, who knows it and feels it, is not like a man who is to live here for ever. He strikes for the centre of living. He cares for the principles and not for the forms of life. He is like a climber on a rocky pathway, who sets his foot upon each projecting point of stone, but who treads on each, not for its own sake, but for the. sake of the one above it.
III. In the shortness of life the great emotions and experiences by which the human character is ruled and shaped assume their largest power and act with their most ennobling influence.
IV. All men who have believed that there was another life have held in some way that this life was critical, and man is made so that some sense of criticalness is necessary to the most vigorous and best life always.
V. When your time of intercourse is short with any man, your relations with that man grow true and deep. Cannot the men and women whom we live with now be sacred to us by the knowledge of what wonderful mysterious ground it is that we are walking on together, here in this narrow human life, close on the borders of eternity?
Phillips Brooks, Sermons, p. 313.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:29.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vii., p. 338; J. S. Howson, Penny Pulpit, No. 3961.
1 Corinthians 7:29-31I. Let us contrast the world's treatment of sorrow with that of Christ. Here we use the word world in the widest sense—the world of which the Apostle John speaks—as including all that is not under the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has no law but its own interest, or passion or caprice, no aims beyond those which begin and end in the present life, no understanding or care for things which are unseen but eternal. What has it to say to the crushed spirit in its hours of desolation? The contact with deep sorrow awakens real sympathy even in men of the world. From heaven surely come the instincts which teach us to take thought for those who are ever represented as being specially the objects of the Divine compassion—the widow and the fatherless, the orphaned and the lonely. The world, at least as we know it in Christian lands, extends to them its pity, is willing to minister to their material needs, recognises an obligation on society to care for these its helpless members. But beyond this the world does not and cannot go. It has no medicine which it can minister to a heart diseased. Troubles must come, but they are so painful, they interfere so sadly with the ordinary course of life, interrupting its duties and engagements, throwing their dark shadow over scenes of gladness and rejoicing, disturbing the current of thought by introducing into it elements which it is desirable to exclude, that the less men dwell upon them, and the sooner they can dismiss them, the better. The world would fain have the mourner weep as those who wept not, for the less they see and hear of his tears the better; but they say nothing as to how this self-conquest is to be effected. The strain which the world adopts is repeated, though in an entirely different strain and with quite other accompaniments by the gospel. It blesses the mourners, but it does not mean them to go on mourning for ever, and give up struggle and work, in order that they may have leisure to mourn, but it comforts them. It says, "Weep, as though ye wept not"—that is, it inculcates sobriety even in our sorrow, forbids the extravagant lamentation which would suggest that we had lost everything, inculcates not only self-restraint, but the exercise of the simple trust and heavenly wisdom by which our sorrow may be turned into joy. But in giving the exhortation it sets in action the influences which may help the soul to obey it.
II. Note the considerations which may enable sorrowing hearts to accept this view of the gospel, and to obey this exhortation. "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," is a maxim which men might well accept, if there be not the hope which Christianity awakens in the heart. The eternal life and the hope which glows with its brightness, the everliving and unchanging Christ, the infallible words of His love—these are the portion in the possession of which the heart finds a consolation, and even a fulness of joy with which nothing can interfere. Every other fountain of comfort may be dried up, but this is ever fresh and abundant in its flow. Every other friend may fail, but here is One who remains the same yesterday, today, and for ever. All other joys may fade and die, but here are pleasures in which is the bloom and beauty of eternal youth.
J. Guinness Rogers, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 65.
The Waiting of the Visible Church.
Most men are just what they are in this life, and never rise above it or look out beyond it. No purpose of their heart is controlled and checked by the thought of the day of Christ. Who dares to tell us when that day shall not be? Uncertainty is the very condition of waiting and the spur of expectation. All we know is that Christ has not told us when He will come; but He has said, "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Let us then draw some rules by which to bring this truth to bear on our own conduct.
I. First, let us learn not to go out of our lot and character in life, but to live above it. What and where we are is God's appointment. We have a work to do for Him, and it is just that work which lies before us in our daily life. To affect contempt for all natural states and actions of life, with the plea that we live for God, is mere affectation and contempt of God's own ordinance; to live without habitual thought of God and of the day of Christ's appearing, with the plea that we are controlled by the outward accidents of life, is mere self-deceit and abandonment of God Himself.
II. To check these two extremes, let us strive to live as we would desire to be found by Him at His coming. Who is there that would not dread to be found in that day with a buried talent and an unlit lamp, with a sleepy conscience and a double mind, with a shallow repentance or a half converted heart? By the discipline of self is the Christian man so prepared that the day of Christ can neither come too late nor too soon for him.
III. Surely, then, we have need to lose no time, for "the time is short." To a man that looks for Christ's coming, how utterly worthless are all things that can perish! how awful is that which is alone imperishable! Therefore let us make sure our standing in God's sight, and all things shall fall into their place; all parts of a Christian's life are in harmony—time with eternity, his own soul with God.
H. E. Manning, Sermons, vol. i., p. 349.
Only a Little While.
Nowhere does St. Paul or any other inspired writer use the fact of the shortness of life to encourage a sense of indifference to life's duties. The teaching of Christ and of His apostles is clear and sharp, that life, however short, is a time of work, of duty, of ministry. If the world is not to be abused, it is none the less to be used. Short as the time is, it is long enough for much weeping and rejoicing; and because it is short, we are not to cultivate indifference to the joy and sorrow of our brethren, but rather to rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep. Note the details of the Apostle's application of the text.
I. If our earthly homes crowd out the attractions of our heavenly home, if we use them to foster our worldliness, our pride and vanity and self-indulgence, we are misusing them, and we need the Apostle's caution. His injunction is met when the home is treated as a means to holy and useful living here, and as a preparation for a better home hereafter.
II. Note the bearing of this fact on the joy and sorrow of this world—"the time is short." There are people who have gone on brooding over the misery and inequality and cruelty of this life until they are literally filled with cursing. The world will not take them at their own value, therefore they hate the world. This is really the essence of this part of our text, They that weep; they that feel keenly the world's cruelty and sorrow—as if they wept not—not acting as though all of life consisted in the world's being just and kindly to them, as if to live were only not to weep, but on the contrary feeling that it is far more important to be right than to be thought right; far more important to be sweet and loving and tolerant, and cheerfully busy about God's work, than that the world should give them their due. And so of our joys. Not that we are to pass this life in gloom and sullenness because it is short and another life is coming. But if there is grander, richer, more enduring joy in the life beyond this, it is not the part of wisdom to be too much absorbed in earthly joy. Does it not become us to hold this world lightly in view of these two truths—so little time left and eternity approaching?
M. R. Vincent, God and Bread, p. 363.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 481; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 42; F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 169; Ibid., Lectures on Corinthians, p. 114. 1 Corinthians 7:29-32.—C. Short, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 344.
1 Corinthians 7:31Note:—
I. The reason why we should not abuse this world: "For the fashion of this world passeth away." Literally, the scene changes. The surface of the world is always shifting. The moral instability of the earth, in the history of its inhabitants, is like the physical instability of the water. That man is in a pitiable plight whose soul cleaves to the fashion of this world; for it is continually moving, and every movement rends him. The redeemed of the Lord, even in the present world, obtain a firmer footing and enjoy a brighter hope. If your heart be in heaven, and the weight of your hope habitually leaning there, the world cannot hurt you although it should slip from beneath your feet.
II. The abuse of this world which the text forbids. The "world" which should be used and not abused is this earth with all that the Creator has spread around it or stored within it for the benefit of man. When the gifts are turned aside from their wise and kind intent the Giver takes it ill. To consume more than we need or use, whether it be done by rich or poor, is to abuse the world which God has kindly framed and fitted for the use of men. In actual experience the abuse of the world runs down into the minutest transactions of individual life.
III. The use of this world which the text permits and enjoins. Christians both may and must use the world. (1) They may use it. Practical religion does not consist in denying ourselves the use of temporal good, or in tasting it with terror. Every creature of God is good, and should be received, not rejected. When we become new creatures in Christ we are not thereby debarred from the fulness of the earth and sea; then we possess them by a better title, and therefore enjoy them more. (2) They must use it. Do not permit the riches, for example, to lie so long still that they shall rust. The rust will hurt your flesh at the time, and witness against you in the judgment. Whatever God has given you of personal qualification, or social position, or material means, take the use of it yourself, and let your neighbour participate in the benefit.
W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits, p. 102.
The Use and Abuse of the World.
I. The use of the world. There is something very significant in the phrase "they that use the world." On the lips of the Apostle Paul it implies that the world may be religiously employed; that we may properly avail ourselves of its advantages, and lay it under tribute for worthy ends. (1) The first thought suggested by the phrase "using the world" is this: we ourselves are more and greater than the world, as the workman is more and greater than his tools. Here is one principle to guide you in the use of the world—Be its master, not its slave; use it, be not used by it. (2) The true value of the world lies in the ends we make it serve. What should we think of a workman who used his tools simply for the sake of using them, or who turned out articles not worth the cost of the materials and the labour? He is a waster and not a user of the world who simply lives in it, leaving no achievements behind him. The world is for more than self-discipline. He only uses the world aright who accomplishes in it and by it something worth achieving. (3) The world is God's. The Father who has placed us here for our own education, and for the exercise of a blessed human fellowship, comes in again and again to see what progress we are making; and the ability to recognise His presence and rejoice in it is a certain test as to the use we are making of His world.
II. The peril of abusing the world. The world has this danger just because of all that is valuable in it; its power to stir the deepest passion, to awaken high impulses, to lay its hand on large purposes, and attract strong and eager thought. A worthless world would only have dangers to the base; we are most in peril when worthy possibilites are within our reach. Since the master-passion of life is sure to become its solitary passion, see that yours is the passion for God. So will you use the world as not abusing it. And all things will be yours; in the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all will be yours, since ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
A. Mackennal, The Life of Christian Consecration, p. 115.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:31.—T. Binney, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 129; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 94; G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons and Addresses in Marlborough College, p. 438; T. De Witt Talmage, Old Wells dug Out, p. 169; Church of England Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 341; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 9th series, p. 199; S. Martin, Sermons, p. 98; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 209.
1 Corinthians 7:32I. If you look at the context of this passage, you will perceive that St. Paul's words refer to a particular case, or take their rise from circumstances peculiar to the times. The times were those of persecution, when men who avouched the Christian faith exposed themselves to the loss of substance and of life. It was undesirable, in times such as these, that men should add to the causes of disquietude and anxiety; and therefore the Apostle advised their not contracting marriages, inasmuch as single men were less encumbered, and more at liberty to devote themselves without let or hindrance to the service of God. It is obvious that what the Apostle designates by carefulness is not prudent attention, but anxious care.
II. It is not so much the actual trial of today as the anticipated trial of tomorrow which generates that carefulness from which Christians should be free. Consider the expression "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," for it helps to show you, according to the whole drift of our discourse, where there ought to be carefulness and where there ought not. There is in some Christians a fear that exemption from trial proves deficiency in godliness. Such careful Christians should be told that "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." If they suffer not much evil, they may be sure, on the testimony of Christ, that they have enough. It is future good, and not future evil, on which we should have our hearts fixed—heaven with its magnificent abundance of good. Let the image of this crowd your tomorrow, and tomorrow cannot occupy too much of today.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2201.
References: 1 Corinthians 7:32.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1692. 1Cor 7—Expositor, 1st series, vol. i., p. 237. 1 Corinthians 8:1.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 89; W. C. Magee, Three Hundred Outlines, p. 144; J. R. Gardner, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 393.
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
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.
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.
But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.
So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.