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Let the prophets.- Note, ver. 1. Speak tuo or obvious meaning of the passage is, that the man three.-On the same days, or at the same meet- | that was speaking was to close his discourse, and ing. Note, ver. 27. And let the other judge.- be silent. It does not follow, however, that he The word “other” (oi al doi, the others) Bloom- was to be rudely interrupted. He might close field supposes refers to the other prophets; and his discourse deliberately, or perhaps by an intithat the meaning is, that they should decide | mation from the person to whom the revelatiou whether what was said was dictated by the Holy was made. At any rate, two were not to speak Spirit or not. But the more probable sense, I at the same time, but the one who was speaking think, is that which refers it to the rest of the was to conclude before the other addressed the congregation, and which supposes that they were assembly. to compare one doctrine with another, and deliberate on what was spoken, and determine whe- Ver. 31. For ye may all prophesy one by one, ther it had evidence of being in accordance with
that all may learn, and all may be comforted. the truth. It may be that the apostle here refers to those who had the gift of discerning spirits, For ye may all prophesy, &c.—There is time and that he meant to say that they were to de enough for all ; there is no need of speaking in termine by what spirit the prophets who spoke confusion and in disorder. Every person may were actuated. It was possible that those who have an opportunity of expressing his sentiments claimed to be prophets might err; and it was at the proper time. That ali may learn.- In soch the duty of all to examine whether that which a manner that there may be edification. This was uttered was in accordance with truth. And might be done, if they would speak one at a if this was a duty then, it is a duty now; if it time in their proper order. was proper even when the teachers claimed to be under divine inspiration, it is much more the
it is much more the VER. 32. And the spirits of the prophets are duty of the people now. No minister of religion subject to the prophets. has a right to demand that all that he speaks
e 1 John iv. I. shall be regarded as truth, unless he can give good reasons for it: no man is to be debarred And the spirits of the prophets.-See in rer. l, from the right of canvassing freely, and com- , for the meaning of the word prophets. The paring with the Bible, and with sound reason, all evident meaning of this is, that they were able that the minister of the gospel advances. No to control their inclination to speak; they were minister who has just views of his office, and a l not under a necessity of speaking, even though proper acquaintance with the truth, and confi- they might be inspired. There was no need of dence in it, would desire to prohibit the people disorder. This verse gives confirmation to the from the most full and free examination of all supposition, that the extraordinary endowments that he utters. It may be added, that the Scrip- of the Holy Spirit were subjected to substantially ture every where encourages the most full and the same laws as a man's natural endowments. free examination of all doctrines that are ad- | They were conferred by the Hol
They were conferred by the Holy Ghost; but i vanced ; and that true religion advances just in they were conferred on free agents, and did not proportion as this spirit of candid, and earnest, interfere with their free agency. And as a man, and prayerful examination prevails among a though of the most splendid talents and copeople. See Note, Acts xvii. 11. Comp. 1 manding eloquence, has control over his own Thess. v. 21.
mind, and is not compelled to speak, so it was
with those who are here called prophets. The VER. 30. If any thing be revealed to another that
immediate reference of the passage is to those sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
who are called prophets in the New Testament; d Job xxxii. 11.
and the interpretation should be confined to
them. It is not improbable, however, that the If any thing be revealed to another.-If, while | same thing was true of the prophets of the Old one is speaking, an important truth is revealed Testament; and that it is really true as a general to another, or is suggested to his mind by the declaration of all the prophets whom God has Holy Spirit, which he feels it to be important to inspired, that they had control over their own communicate. Let the first hold his peace.—That minds, and could speak or be silent at pleasure. is, let him that was speaking conclude his dis In this the spirit of true inspiration differed course, and let there not be the confusion arising essentially from the views of the heathen, who from two persons speaking at the same time. regarded themselves as driven on by a wild, i Doddridge understands this as meaning, that he controlling influence, that compelled them to 1 to whom the revelation was made should sit still, speak even when they were unconscious of what until the other was done speaking, and not rise they said. Universally, in the heathen word. and rudely interrupt him. But this is to do vio- | the priests and priestesses supposed or feigoed lence to the language. So Macknight under-that they were under an influence which was stands it, that the one who was speaking was uncontrollable ; which took away their powers first to finish his discourse, and be silent, before of self-command, and which made them the the other began to speak. But this is evidently mere organs or unconscious instruments of coma forced construction. Locke understands it as municating the will of the gods. The Scriture meaning, that if, while one was speaking, the account of inspiration is, however, a very uittura i meaning of what he said was revealed to an- ent thing. In whatever way the mind was inother, the first was to cease speaking until the fluenced, or whatever was the mode in which other had interpreted or explained it. But the the truth was conveyed, yet it was not such as
i to destroy the conscious powers of free agency, to keep silence, or were not to engage in them.
nor such as to destroy the individuality of the These pertained solely to the male portion of the inspired person, or to annihilate what was pecu congregation. These things constituted the busiliar in his mode of thinking, his style, or his ness of the public teaching; and in this the fecustomary manner of expression.
| male part of the congregation were to be silent.
“ They were not to teach the people, nor were | VER. 33. For God is not the author of Sconfusion, they to interrupt those who were speaking.”— but of peace, as s in all churches of the saints. Rosenmüller. It is probable that, on pretence of
being inspired, the women had assumed the office fTumult, or unquietness. 9 Chap. xi. 16. of public teachers. In chap. xi. Paul had argued
against their doing this in a certain manner-| God is not the author of confusion.—Marg. Tu
without their veils (chap. xi. 4,) and he had shown mult, or unquietness. His religion cannot tend
that, on that account, and in that manner, it was to produce disorder. He is the God of peace;
improper for them to assume the office of public and his religion will tend to promote order. It
teachers, and to conduct the devotions of the 1 is calm, peaceful, thoughtful. It is not boisterous
church. The force of the argument in chap. xi. į and disorderly. As in all churches of the saints.
is, that what he there states would be a sufficient | As was every where apparent in the churches.
reason against the practice, even if there were Paul here appeals to them, and says that this was
no other. It was contrary to all decency and 1 the fact wherever the true religion was spread,
propriety that they should appear in that manner ļ that it tended to produce peace and order. This
in public. He here argues against the practice is as true now as it was then. And we may
on every ground; forbids it altogether; and shows learn, therefore, (1.) That where there is disorder
that on every consideration it was to be regarded there is littlt religion. Religion does not pro
as improper for them even so much as to ask a duce it; and the tendency of tumult and confu
question in time of public service. There is, sion is to drive religion away. (2.) True religion
therefore, no inconsistency between the arguwill not lead to tumult, to outcries, or to irregu
ment in chap. xi. and the statement here; and Ilarity. It will not prompt many to speak or pray
the force of the whole is, that on every conside· at once; nor will it justify tumultuous and noisy
ration it was improper, and to be expressly proassemblages. (3.) Christians should regard God
hibited, for women to conduct the devotions of as the author of peace. They should always in
the church. It does not refer to those only who the sanctuary demean themselves in a reverent
claimed to be inspired, but to all ; it does not remanner, and with such decorum as becomes men
fer merely to acts of public preaching, but to all when they are in the presence of a holy and pure
acts of speaking, or even asking questions, when God, and engaged in his worship. (4.) All those
the church is assembled for public worship. No pretended conversions, however sudden and strik
rule in the New Testament is more positive than ing they may be, which are attended with disor
this; and however plausible may be the reasons der, and confusion, and public outcries, are to be
which may be urged for disregarding it, and for suspected. Such excitement may be connected
suffering women to take part in conducting pubwith genuine piety, but it is no part of pure re
lic worship, yet the authority of the apostle Paul ligion. That is calm, serious, orderly, heavenly.
| is positive, and his meaning cannot be mistaken. No man who is under its influence is disposed to
Comp. 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. To be under obedience. engage in scenes of confusion and disorder.
- To be subject to their husbands; to acknowGratefal he may be, and he may and will express
ledge the superior authority of the man. Note, his gratitude ; prayerful he will be, and he wili
chap. xi. 3. As also saith the lau'.—Gen. iii. 16, pray; anxious for others he will be, and he will
“ And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he express that anxiety; but it will be with serious
shall rule over thee.” ness, tenderness, love; with a desire for the order of God's house, and not with a desire to break in
Ver. 35. And if they will learn any thing, let upon and disturb all the solemnities of public worship.
them ask their husbands at home: for it is a
shame for women to speak in the church. V'ER. 34. Let "your women keep silence in the
And if they will learn any thing. If any thing churches; for it is not permitted unto them to
has been spoken which they do not understand ; speak; but they are commanded to be i under or if on any particular subject they desire more obedience, as also saith ; the law.
full information, let them inquire of their hus
bands in their own dwelling. They may there Timn. ii. ' 1. 12. i Eph. v. 22. Tit. ii. 5. 1 Pet. iii. 1 T j Gen. iii. 16. Num. XXX. 3-12. Esth. i. 20.
converse freely; and their inquiries will not be
attended with the irregularity and disorder which Let your women keep silence, &c.—This rule is would occur should they interrupt the order and positive, explicit, and universal. There is no solemnity of public worship. For it is a shame.-ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be It is disreputable and shameful ; it is a breach of | no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in propriety. Their station in life demands moregard to their meaning. The sense evidently desty, humility, and they should be free from the is, that in all those things which he had specified, ostentation of appearing so much in public as to the women were to keep silence; they were to take part in the public services of teaching and take no part. He had discoursed of speaking fo- praying. It does not become their rank in life: reign languages, and of prophecy; and the evi- it is not fulfilling the object which God evidently dept sense is, that in regard to all these they were intended them to fill. He has appointed men to
rule; to hold offices; to instruct and govern the thirgs that I write unto you are the command- ! church; and it is improper that women should ments of the Lord. assume that office upon themselves. This evidently and obviously refers to the church assem-) If any man think himself to be a prophet-Note, bled for public worship, in the ordinary and re- ver. 1. If any man claim to be divinely endor. gular acts of devotion. There the assembly is ed. Macknight renders it, “ be really a prophet." made up of males and females, of old and young, But the more correct meaning here is, doubtless, and there it is improper for them to take part in * If any man profess to be a prophet; or is ree conducting the exercises. But this cannot be in puted to be a prophet.” – Bloomfield. The proterpreted as meaning that it is improper for fe- per meaning of the word Coréw is to seem to one's i males to speak or to pray in meetings of their own self; to be of opinion, to suppose, believe, &c.; sex, assembled for prayer or for benevolence; nor and the reference here is to one who should rethat it is improper for a female to speak or to pray gard himself, or who should believe and profess in a sabbath-school. Neither of these come un to be thus endowed. Or spiritual.- Regarding der the apostle's idea of a church. And in such himself as under the extraordinary influence of meetings, no rule of propriety or of the Scrip the Spirit. Let him acknowledge, &c. -- He will tures is violated in their speaking for the edifica- show that he is truly under the influence of the tion of each other, or in leading in social prayer. Holy Spirit, by acknowledging my authority, It may be added here, that on this subject the and by yielding obedience to the commands which Jews were very strenuous, and their laws were I utter in the name and by the authority of the very strict. The Rabbins taught that a woman Lord. All would probably be disposed to acknow. should know nothing but the use of the distaff ; ledge the right of Paul to speak to them; a'! and they were specially prohibited from asking would regard him as an apostle ; and all would questions in the synagogue, or even from reading. show that God had influenced their hearts, if See Lightfoot. The same rule is still observed they listened to his commands, and obeyed his by the Jews in the synagogues.
injunctions. I do not speak by my own autho
rity, or in my own name, savs Paul. I speak in VER. 36. What! came the word of God out from
the name of the Lord ; and to obey the com
mands of the Lord is a proof of being influenced you? or 'came it unto you only ?
by his Spirit. True religion every where, and the I Chap. iv. 7.
most ardent and enthusiastic zeal that is prompied
by true religion, will show their genuineness and What! came the word of God out from you ?-
purity, by a sacred and constant regard for the The meaning of this is, “ Is the church at Corinth
commands of the Lord. And that zeal which the mother church? Was it first established; or | aisregards those commands, and which tramples has it been alone in sending forth the word of | down the authority of the Scriptures and the God? You have adopted customs which are un
peace and order of the church, gives demonstrausual. You have permitted women to speak in a l iion that it is not genuine. It is false zeal, and, manner unknown to other churches. See chap.
howerer ardent, will not ultimately do good to xi. 16. You have admitted irregularity and confu- |
the cause. sion unknown in all the others. You have allowed many to speak at the same time, and have
Ver. 38. But if any be ignorant, let him be is. tolerated confusion and disorder. Have you any right thus to differ from others? Have you any
norant. authority, as it were, to dictate to them, to teach But if any be ignorant, &c.-If any one affects them, contrary to their uniform custom, to allow to be ignorant of my authority, or whether I have these disorders ? Should you not rather be con- a right to command. If he affects to doubt whe formed to them, and observe the rules of the ther I am inspired, and whether what I utter is churches which are older than yours?" The ar- in accordance with the will of God. Let him bi gument here is, that the church at Corinth was ignorant.--At his own peril, let him remain so! not the first that was established ; that it was one | and abide the consequences, I shall not take any of the last that had been founded; and that it | further trouble to debate with him. I have stated could, therefore, claim no right to differ from my authority. I have delivered the commaras others, or to prescribe to them. The same argu of God. And now, if he disregards them, and ment is employed in chap. xi. 16. See Note. still doubts whether all this is said by divine auOr came it unto you only ?- As you are not the thority, let him abide the consequences of reject. first of those who believed, neither are you the ing the law of God. I have given full proof of 1 only ones. God has sent the same gospel to my divine commission. I have nothing more to others, and it is travelling over the world. Others, say on that head. And now, if he chooses to the therefore, have the same right as you to originate |
ave the same right as you to originate | main iu ignorance or incredulity, the last 13 customs and peculiar habits; and as this would own, and he must answer for it to God. be attended with confusion and disorder, you should all follow the same rule, and the customs
VER. 39. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, which do not prevail in other churches should
and forbid not to speak with tongues. not be allowed in yours. VER. 37. If 'n any man think himself to be a pro
Covet to prophesy.-Note. ver. 1. This is the same
ming up of all that he had said. It was desirable phet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the
that a man should wish to be able to speak, uudet m 2 Cor. x. 7. 1 John iv. 6.
the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in such a mata
ner as to edify the church. And forbid not, &c.-- | mage of the heart. Assuredly, God does not Do not suppose that the power of speaking fo- | require the offering of unmeading words. Yet, reign languages is useless, or is to be despised, or this has been a grand device of the great enemy that it is to be prohibited. In its own place it is of man. It has contributed to keep the people in a valuable endowment; and on proper occasions | ignorance and superstition; it has prevented the the talent should be exercised. See on ver. 22. mass of the people from seeing how utterly unlike
the New Testament are the sentiments of the V'ER. 40. Let * all things be done decently and | papists; and it has, in connexion with the kinin order.
dred doctrine that the Scripture should be with
held froni the people, contributed to perpetuate * Ver. 26, 33.
that dark system, and to bind the human mird in 1 Let all things be done decently and in order. | chains. Well do the Roman Catholics know,
Let all things be done in an appropriate and be that if the Bible were given to the people, and coming manner; decorously, as becomes the wor- | public worship conducted in a language which ship of God. Let all be done in order, regularly, they could understand, the system would soon without confusion, discord, tumult. The word | fall. It could not live in the midst of light. It used here (carà táčiv) is properly a military is a system which lives and thrives only in darkterm, and denotes the order and regularity with | ness. which an army is drawn up. This is a general (2.) Preaching should be simple and intellirule, which was to guide them. It was simple, gible. There is a great deal of preaching which and easily applied. There might be a thousand might as well be in a foreign tongue, as in the questions started about the modes and forms of language which is actually employed. It is dry,
worship, and the customs in the churches, and abstruse, metaphysical, remote from the common I much difficulty might occur in many of these manner of expression, and the common habits
questions; but here was a simple and plain rule, of thought among men. It may be suited to
which might be easily applied. Their good sense schools of philosophy, but it cannot be suited to ! would tell them what became the worship of God; the pulpit. The preaching of the Lord Jesus
and their pious feelings would restrain them from was simple, and intelligible even to a child. excesses and disorders. This rule is still appli- | And nothing can be a greater error, than for cable, and is safe in guiding us in many things in | the ministers of the gospel to adopt a dry and regard to the worship of God. There are many metaphysical manner of preaching. The most things which cannot be subjected to rule, or ex- successful preachers have been those who have actly prescribed ; there are many things which been most remarkable for their simplicity and may and must be left to pious feeling, to good clearness. Nor is simplicity and intelligibleness sense, and to the views of Christians themselves, of manner inconsistent with bright thought and about what will promote their edification and the profound sentiments. A diamond is the most conversion of sinners. The rule in such ques | pure of all minerals ; a river may be deep, and tions is plain. Let all be done decorously, as be- | yet its water so pure that the bottom may be seen comes the worship of the great and holy God; let at a great depth; and glass in the window is all be without confusion, noise, and disorder. most valuable the clearer and purer it is, when it
In view of this chapter, we may remark : is itself least seen, and when it gives no obstruc(1.) That public worship should be in a lan- | tion to the light. If the purpose is, that the glass guage understood by the people ; the language may be itself an ornament, it may be well to stain which they commonly employ. Nothing can be ) it; if to give light, it should be pure. A very clearer than the sentiments of Paul on this. The shallow stream may be very muddy; and because whole strain of the chapter is to demonstrate this, the bottom cannot be seen, it is no evidence that in opposition to making use of a foreign and un- it is deep. So it is with style. If the purpose is intelligible language in any part of public wor to convey thought, to enlighten and save the soul, ship. Paul specifies in the course of the discus the style should be plain, simple, pure. If it be sion every part of public worship; public preach to bewilder and confound, or to be admired as ing, (ver. 2, 3, 5, 13, 19 ;) prayer, (ver. 14, 15;) unintelligible, or perhaps as profound, then an singing, (ver. 15;) and insists that all should be abstruse and metaphysical, or a flowery manner, in a language that should be understood by the may be adopted in the pulpit. people. It would almost seem that he had anti (3.) We should learn to value useful talent cipated the sentiments and practice of the Ro more than that which is splendid and showy. man Catholic denomination. It is remarkable (Ver. 3.) The whole scope of this chapter goes that a practice should have grown up, and have to demonstrate that we should more highly prize been defended, in a church professedly Christian, and desire that talent which may be useful to the so directly in opposition to the explicit meaning church, or which may be useful in convincing of the New Testament. Perhaps there is not, unbelievers, (ver. 24, 25,) than that which merely even in the Roman Catholic denomination, a more dazzles or excites admiration. Ministers of the striking instance of a custom or doctrine in direct gospel who preach as they should do, engage in contradiction to the Bible. If any thing is plain their work to win souls to Christ, not to induce and obvious, it is that worship, in order to be them to admire eloquence; they come to teach edilying, should be in a language that is under- men to adore the great and dreadful God, not to stood by the people; nor can that service be ac- be loud in their praises of a mortal man. ceptable to God which is not understood by those (4.) Ministers of the gospel should not aim to who offer it, which conveys no idea to their be admired. They should seek to be useful. minds, and which cannot. therefore be the ho- Their aim should not be to excite admiration of
their acute and profound talent for reasoning ; of duce a condensed and connected statement of the their clear and striking power of observation; of inain argument for the truth of Christianity. their graceful manner; of their glowing and fer- | The Corinthians had been perplexed with subtle vid eloquence; of the beauty of their words, or questions, and torn by sects and parties, and it the eloquence of their well-turned periods. They was possible that in their zeal for sect and party, should seek to build up the people of God in holy they would lose their hold on this great and vital faith, and so to present truth as that it shall make argument for the truth of religion itself. It might a deep impression on mankind. No work is so be further apprehended, that the enemies of the important, and so serious in its nature and re- gospel, from seeing the divisions and strifes sults, as the ministry of the gospel ; and in no which existed thert, would take advantage of work on earth should there be more seriousness, these contentions, and say that a religion which simplicity, exactness, and correctness of state produced such fruits could not be from God Ii ment, and invincible and un varying adherence was important, therefore, that they should have to simple and unvarnished truth. Of all places, | access to an argument plain, clear, and unanswer. the pulpit is the last, in which to seek to excite able, for the truth of Christianity; and that thos admiration, or where to display profound learn the evil effects of their divisions and strifes ing, or the powers of an abstract and subtle argu might be counteracted. Secondly, It is evident mentation, for the sake of securing a reputation. from ver. 12, that the important doctrine of the Cowper has drawn the character of what a min resurrection of the dead had been denied at Coister of the gospel should be, in the well-known rinth, and that this error had obtained a footing ! and most beautiful passage in the “ Task.” in the church itself. On what grounds, or by
what portion or party it was denied, is unknow.. ! “ Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
It may have been that the influence of some Set. Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own, ducean teacher may have led to the rejection of Paul should himself direct me. I would trace
the doctrine; or it may have been the effect of His master-strokes, and draw from his design. I would express him simple, grave, sincere,
philosophy. From Acts xvii. 32, we know that In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain;
among some of the Greeks, the doctrine of the And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
resurrection was regarded as ridiculous; and And natural in gesture; much impressed Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
from 2 Tim. ii. 18, we learn that it was held by And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
some that the resurrection was passed already, May feel it too; affectionate in look,
and consequently that there was nothing but a And tender in address, as well becomes
spiritual resurrection. To counteract these errors. A messenger of grace to guilty men.
and to put the doctrine of the resurrection of the He stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
dead on a firm foundation, and thus to furnish a Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart, And, armed himself in panoply complete
demonstration of the truth of Christianity, was Of heavenly temper, furnishes with arms,
the design of this chapter. Bright as his own, and trains, by every rule
The chapter may be regarded as divided into Of holy discipline, to glorious war, The sacramental host of God's elect."
four parts, and four questions in regard to the resurrection are solved. 1. Whether there is any resurrection of the dead? (Ver. 1-34)
2. With what body will the dead rise? (Ver. CHAPTER XV.
35-51.) 3. What will become of those wbo
shall be alive when the Lord Jesus shall come to VER. 1. Moreover, brethren, I a declare unto you judge the world ? (Ver. 51-54.) 4. What are
who the practical bearings of this doctrine? (Ver. the gospel which I preached unto you, which
55-58.) also ye have received, and wherein ye stand :
I I. The dead will be raised. (Ver. 1-31) a Gal. i. 11. 6 Chap. i. 4-8. c 1 Pet. v. 12. This Paul proves by the following argumenis,
| and illustrates in the following manner. This important and deeply interesting chapter, (1.) By adducing reasons to show that Chris: I have spoken of as the third part of the epistle. | rose from the dead. (Ver. 1-11.) See the Introduction. It is more important than (a) From the Scripture. (Ver. 1 --4.) any other portion of the epistle, as it contains (6) From the testimony of eyewitnesses. (Ver. a connected, and laboured, and unanswerable ar- 5–11.) gument for the main truth of Christianity, and, (2.) By showing the absurdity of the contrary consequently, of Christianity itself; and it is doctrine. (Ver. 12-34.) more interesting to us as mortal beings, and as (a) If the dead do not rise, it would follor ; having an instinctive dread of death, than any | that Christ has not risen. (Ver. 13.) other portion of the epistle. It has always, there-l (6) It Christ is not risen, he is preached in fore, been regarded with deep interest by expo- | vain, and faith is reposed in him for Dougbi.! sitors, and it is worthy of the deepest attention (Ver. 14.) of all. If the argument in this chapter is solid, (c) It would follow that the apostles would be then Christianity is true; and if true, then this | false witnesses and wicked men; whereas the chapter unfolds to us the most elevated and glo Corinthians had abundant reason to know the rious prospect which can be exhibited to dying, contrary. (Ver. 15.) yet immortal man.
(d) 'The faith of the Corinthians must be rain There were, probably, two reasons why the if he was not risen, and they must regard themapostle introduced here this discussion about the selves as still unpardoned sinners, since all their resurrection. First, It was desirable to intro- | hope of pardon must arise from the fact that his