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276

The Apostle advises them not to marry &t #haz Seoton

SEĆ T.

XII.
The Apostle proceeds to answer certain Questions, wbich the
Corinthians bad put to him ; and first what related to the
Marriage-state; and in these introductory Verlesz

. be deteri mines that in fome Circumstances it fhould be entered into, and continued in, but in others, forbarn; and forbids Wives to depart from their Husbands. 1 Cor. VII. 1 --- 1:1.

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I CORINTHIANS VII. i.

r. CORINTHIANS: VII. .. Sect. 12. Now proceed to give you my Opinion concern- Nothing on rest

ye: I Cor. VII.

wrote unto me: It is good: And I begin with that, concerning the Lawful- for a Man not to touch a ness or Expedience of Marriage. And here I Woman. 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 theConveniencies, which recommend a single Life:

to those, who are Proof against some of its most. 2 obvious Temptations. Nevertheless, as the 2 Nevertheless, to avoid God of Nature has for certain wise Reasons im- have his own Wife, and két

Fomication, let every. Man planted in the Sexes a mutual Inclination to each every Woman have her own. other, in order to prevent Fornication, and every

Husband.
other Species of Uncleanness, let every. Man have,
and retain, his own proper Wife; and let every.
Woman have, and retain, her own proper Huf-
band: For neither Divorce, nor Polygamy, are
by any Means agreeable to the Genius of the

Gospel.
3. Let the Husband, where this Relation is com 3 Let the Husband render

menced, render all due Benevolence to the Wife, unto the Wife due Benevo-
and in like Manner also the Wife, to the Husband : Wife unto the Husband.
Let them on all Occasions be ready mútually to
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 other, as if
4 they were in a State of Celibacy. For the Wife

bath. 3.

4 The Wife hath not

Power

4

Tet Marriage is necessary to prevent Fornication.

277 Power of her own Body, hath not in this Respect Power over her own Body, Sect. 12. but the Husband: And like but hath by the Marriage-covenant transferred it wife also the Husband hath not Power of his own Bo- to the Husband; and in like Manner also, the Huf- 1 Cor

. VII

. dy, but, the Wife. band bath not Power over his own Body, but it is,

as it were, the Property of the Wife; their En-
gagements being mutual, so that on every Occa-
lion Conscience obliges them to remain appro-
priate to each other, and consult their mutual

Good.
5. Defraud
you not one

Withdraw not therefore from the Company of 5
the other, except it be with each other, unless [it be] by Consent for a Time ;.
ye may, give yourselves to that ye may be at Leisure to devote yourselves
Fasting and Prayer; and more intensely to Fasting and Prayer, and that y'e
Satan tempt you not for may come together again as usual, lejt Satan tempt
your Incontinency. you on Account of your Incontinence, and take. Oc-

casion from the irregular Sallies of animal Na-
ture, to fill you with Thoughts and Passions,
which Marriage was in its original Institution

intended to remedy.. 6 But I speak this by

But you will observe, that I say this by Per-6
Permiflion, and not of Com-

miffion from Chrift; but not by any express Com-
mand (a), which he gave in Person in the Days
of his Flesh, or gives by the Inspiration and Sug-
gestion of his Spirit now : by which Inspiration,
you may conclude, I am guided, when I lay in

-luch Precautions as these.
7. For I would that all But as for the main Question we are now up-
Men were even as I myself:
But every Man hath his on, I could wish that all Men were in this Ren
proper. Gift of God, one spect, even as myself ; that all Christians could as

after easily bear the Severities of a single Life in pre

sent Circumstances, and exercise as resolute a
Command over their natural Desires (6). But
every: Man bas bis proper Gift of GOD, one in

this

mandment.

no.

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(a) By Permision.] I cannot with Mr. Cradock, think, that the Meaning of this Clause, is, " I permit Marriage, but do not enjoin it; and have elsewhere observed, that this Verse, and others in this context, nearly parallel to it

, will be so far from affording, on any Interpretation, an Objection against the general Inspiration of St. Paul's Epiftles, that they will rather strengthen the Proof of it. See Esay on Inspiration in Vol. iii. (b)

' That all Men were even as myself.] Common Sense requires us to limit this Expression, as in the Paraphrase ; for. it would be a most flagrant Absurdity to suppose that St. Paul: wished Marriage might entirely cease. It Thews therefore how unfair and improper it is, in various Cases, to ftrain the Apostle's Words to the utmost Rigour, as if he perpetually used the most critical Exactness ; but indeed Chap. ix. 22. is so full an Instance to the contrary,. that it is not necessary to multiply Remarks of this Kind.

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And it is to marry, than to biern.
Sect. 12. this Kind, or Marner, and another in that. So after this Manner, ändaño-

ther after that.
that though I give the best Advice and Example
1 Cor. VII. I can, I would not exalt myself on Account of
7.

this Attainment, nor despise those that have it:
8
But as to unmarried Men, who, like

8 I say therefore to the
me, have buried their Wives, and to the Wi- It is good for them if they

Unmarried and Widows, dows, I say, it is good for them, (if they conve- abide even as I.

niently can,) to continue, as I do, in the widowed 9 State. But if they have not attained to such

9 But if they cannot
a Degree of Temperance, as to be easy in it, let contain, let them. márcy:

For it is better to marry,
them by all Means marry. For tho' it be better than to burn.
to live calmly and soberly in a State of Widow-
hood, than to marry, it is undoubtedly much:
better to marry a second, or a third Time, than
to burn, and to be tormented with those restless
Paffions, which fome in such Circumstances
feel.
But as to those, that are married (c), [it is) not I

10 And unto the Mar-
[who] command, but the Lord Jesus Christ himself

, ried I command, yet not I, who enjoins, that the Wife should not withdraw Wife depart from her Husu berself from [ber] Husband; But if Ase be with=: band: drawn by her own rash and foolish Act, let her

11 But and if the depart,

let her reniain unmarried,
not by any Means contract another Marriage; or be reconciled to her Huf-
but remain unmarried, or rather, if it may be band : And let not the Huf-
accomplished by any Submission on her Side, let band put away his Wife.
her be reconciled to [her] Husband, that they may,
if possible, live in such a Union and Harmony
as the Relation requires. And let not the Huf-
band dismiss [his] Wife on any light Account, or
indeed, for any Thing short of Adultery. 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 Affistances are so much
greater, hath seen fit expressly to prohibit fuch
Separation, and we his Apostles, in our Deci-
fions upon this Matter, must guide ourselves by
the Authority of his Determinations.

(c) To those that are married.] The Translation published by the English Jesuits at Bourdeaux, renders it, to those, who are united in the Sacrament of Marriage ; which I mention, as one Instance, selected from a vast Number, of the great Dishonesty of that Translation.

IMPROVE

Reflections on the Apostle's Observations about Marriage.

279

IMPROVE M E N T.

HE Decisions of the holy Apostle are here given with such Gra- Sect. 12.

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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 huinbly to adore the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, manifested in the Formation of the first human Pair, and in keeping up the different Sexes thro' all succeeding Ages, in so just a Proportion, that

every Man might have his own Wife, and every Woman her own Huf. Ver. 2. band : That the Instinct of Nature might, so as far it is necessary, be Ver. 4. gratified without Guilt, and an boly: 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 human Creatures Should - fubsist, may be transmitted thro' every Age, and Earth may become a Nursery for Heaven.

With these Views, let Marriages he contracted, when it is proper they should be contracted at all. Lét none imagine the State itself to be impure ; and let it always be preserved undefiled. Let all Occasion of irre- Ver. 5. gula- Desire be prudently guarded against, by those who have entered into

And let all Chriftians, in every Relation, remember that the Obligations of Devotion are common to all; and thạt Cbrift 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 Ardor.

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The Apostle exhorts Christians not to breák Marriage an t

count of Difference in Religion; and urges, in the generali Contentment with the Stations in which they were called, and a Concern to serve GOD in their proper Condition, whether inarried or single, bound or free. I Cor. VII. 12,---24...

Sect. 13

I

I 2.

1 CORINTHIANS "VII. 12.

I CORINTHIANS VII. 12 HAVE reminded you of the Decision of BYT to the Reft speak I Cor. VII.

Christ with Respect to the Affair of Divorce: Brother hath a Wife" that Now as to the Rest of the Persons and Cases to believeth not, and the be which I shall address myself, it is to be observed, pleased tą dwell with him,

let him not put her away. that I speak according to what Duty or Prudence seems on the whole to require ; and it is not to be considered, as if it were immediately spoken by the Lord. If any Chriftian Brotber bath an

unbelieving Wife, and the consent to dwell with
-13

bim, notwithstanding the Diversity of their reli-
gious Persuasions, det him not dismiss her. And 13 And the Womah
on the other Hand, if any Christian Wife have believeth not, and if he be

which hath an Husband that an unbelieving Husband, and he consent to dwell pleased to dwell with her, with her, let her not dismiss him (a), nor separate let her not leave him.

herself from him, tho' the legal Constitution of -14 the Country, in which she lives, may allow her to do it. For in such a Cafe as this, the unbe

14. For the unbelieving lieving Husband is fo fanétified to the Wife, and Husband is fanctified by the the unbelieving Wife is fo sanctified to the Huf- Wife is fanctified by the band (6), that their matrimonial Converse is as

Hur. law

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(a) Let her not dismiss him.] I have elsewhere observed, that in these Countries, in the Apostles Days, the Wives had a Power of Divorce, as well as the Hufhands. See Vol. ii.' pag. 227. Note (8).

(b) is fanctified, &c.]. Some think the Meaning is, “The Chrißian may convert the « Infidel";" as appears, in that the Children of such Marriages are brought up Christians. But this cannot possibly be the Sense; for that they were brought up so, was not to be sure always Fact, and where it was, there was no Need of proving from thence the Conversion of the Parent, which would in itself be much more apparent, than the Education of the Child

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