1 Corinthians 11:16
The Bible is the book of paradoxes; and, if it were not, it would not correspond with the facts of human nature and history. Nowhere do we find such an exposure of human sin and such denunciations of human guilt as in the Scriptures. And, on the other hand, nowhere do we meet with such majestic representations of man's grandeur and dignity. There is a depth in this simple but inspiring language which we cannot fathom; but we may remark some particulars in which it is verified by facts.

I. MAN IS GOD'S IMAGE AND GLORY IN HIS FORM AND FEATURES. This seems to be asserted in this passage. Why must not man's head be veiled when in the sacred assembly he draws near to the Father of spirits, the Lord of the universe? Because "he is the image and glory of God." This does not imply that the Divine Being possesses a body as man does. No such anthropomorphism is suggested in the text. But so far as matter can be moulded into a form which shadows forth the Divine majesty, it has been so fashioned in the construction of the human frame and features. High thoughts, noble impulses, pure desires, tender sympathy, these - the glory of humanity - are written upon the countenance of man.

II. IN HIS INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL ENDOWMENTS. This is probably what is meant by the declaration in Genesis that God made man in his own image. In his capacity to apprehend truth, in his recognition of moral excellence, in his power of will, man resembles his Maker. And there is no way by which we can arrive at a knowledge of God in his higher attributes other than by the aid of the nature with which he has endowed us, and which he has declared to be akin to his own.

III. IN HIS POSITION OF SUBORDINATE RULE OVER THE CREATION. The psalmist asserts that God crowned man with glory and honour, and set him over the works of his hands, putting all things under his control. Thus did the Lord of all delegate to his vicegerent an authority resembling his own.

IV. IN THE BROTHERHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. The assumption of human nature by the eternal Word was only possible because man was originally made in the Divine image. It is wonderful to find language so similar used concerning man and concerning the Son of God, who is described as "the emanation from the Father's glory, and the very image of his substance." The Incarnation seems a necessity even to explain the nature of man; it casts a halo of glory and radiance around the human form, the human destiny. For the Incarnation was the condition, not only of a Divine manifestation, but of the redemption of humanity; and Christ's purpose was to bring many sons unto glory.

V. IN HIS FUTURE OF STERNAL BLESSEDNESS. All things which show forth God's glory are passing and perishing. Man alone of all that is earthly is appointed for immortality. The mirror that reflects so bright a light shall never be broken; the glory which man receives from heaven and returns to heaven shall never fade. - T.







Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman.
I. EQUAL PRIVILEGE IN CHRIST.

1. Alike redeemed.

2. In Him there is neither male nor female.

II. EQUAL SUBJECTION TO CHRIST — here the husband has no superiority.

III. EQUAL DEPENDENCE UPON CHRIST — for grace to discharge their reciprocal duties.

IV. INDISSOLUBLE UNION IN CHRIST — whose Spirit makes both one in Him.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman
I. A NATURAL LAW.

1. Woman was created out of man, and is therefore subordinate.

2. Man is born of woman, therefore dependent.

II. A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

III. A GRACIOUS PURPOSE. That each might love, succour, and comfort the other in the faithful discharge of their relations.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
I. ILLUSTRATE THIS BY THE EXAMPLE ADDUCED.

1. The use of a veil in Christian worship is in itself indifferent. Only the condition of the heart is of importance in the sight of God.

2. But in the times of the apostle it was not indifferent because it was required by established custom. Its disuse caused offence and contention, and might easily be interpreted as a sign of superstition or immorality.

3. Respect must therefore be paid to the alteration in public opinion and the circumstances of the times.

II. ENFORCE BY ARGUMENTS.

1. Of Christian prudence. Attention to externals —

(1)Is often of great importance.

(2)Cannot be ignored without disadvantage.

2. Of Christian faith. Neglect of externals may create offence, this love will avoid.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

The teachings of religion —

1. Harmonise in matters of propriety with those of reason and nature.

2. Condemn what is uncomely in woman and what is effeminate in man.

3. Require us in indifferent matters to avoid contention by complying with established custom.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God
Because —

1. In this case usage becomes law.

2. A wilful violation of it breeds contention.

3. Contention is utterly at variance with a Christian spirit.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

First, it should seem there were contentions in the apostle's times. Contentions about what? About matter of circumstance. So was this here, Whether men were to pray uncovered, and women veiled or no? Not to pass them in silence, and say nothing to them. But this to say, We have no such custom, nor the churches of God. And so oppose the Church's custom to contention. In which saying there are these heads — First, that the Church hath her customs. As she hath them, so she may and doth allege them. This I note first, that we may not think it strange if there be contentions in our times. As true it is of the last as of the first Church. There were contentions then. About what? For though peace be precious, yet of such moment may the matters be as they are to be contended for. For what then were these? For nothing but a matter of rite. Men praying whether they should be uncovered; women, whether veiled or no. For a hat and a veil was all this ado. It was not about any of the high mysteries, any of the vital parts of religion. And to pick a quarrel with a ceremony is easy. A plausible theme not to burden the Church with ceremonies — the Church to be free — which hath almost freed the Church of all decency. About such points as these were there that did not only contend but that grew contentious. Why should any love to be contentious? Why, it is the way to be somebody. Well, if any such should happen to be, what is to be done in such a case? What saith the apostle? Saith he thus? Seeing it is no greater matter, it skills not greatly whether they do it or no — sets it light, and lets it go. No, but calls them back to the custom of the Church. Why doth he so? For two reasons:

1. First, he likes not contention at all. Why? If it be not taken at first, within a while ye shall hear of a schism (ver. 18). And within a little after that (ver. 19) ye shall have a flat heresy of it. The one draws on the other.

2. Nor he likes not the matter, wherefore though it seems but small. St. Paul knew Satan's method well — he asks but some small trifle. Give him but that, he will be ready for greater points. If he win ground in the ceremonies, then have at the sacrament. For when they had sit covered at prayer awhile, they grew even as unreverent, as homely with the sacrament. Opposing then to these, what course takes he? Where it is plain the apostle is for the Church customs. And first, that she hath them. Every society, beside their laws in books, have their customs also in practice; and those not to be taken up, or laid down, at every man's pleasure. The civil law saith this of custom. A custom is susceptible of more and less — the further it goeth, the longer it runneth, the more strength it gathered; the more gray hairs it getteth, the more venerable it is — for, indeed, the more a custom it is. Now, then, as the Church hath them, so she stands upon them — fears not to allege them. And say not the prophets the same? "Stand upon the ways" (it is Jeremiah), "and there look for the good old way; and that way take, it is the only way to find rest for your souls." If it be but of some one Church, but at Corinth alone it is too narrow — not large, not general enough. If it be but taken up by some of our masters of late, it is too fresh — it is not ancient enough. But by these two we know our right custom. As neither is any particular Church bound to the private custom of another like particular as itself is. But if the other Church's custom have also been the general custom of the Church, then it binds, and may not be set light. But, if to this we add, or rather if before this we set, this the apostles had it too, that it is apostolic, we have then said as much as in this point can be sad, as much as may content any that is not contentious.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

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