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preling arguments, to the middle of verse 13. And, 2. He speaks more particularly ud:o the strong, and presseth them unto a forbearance of the practice of their liberty, in such and such particulars as mared their christian, comfortable and edifying way of living together, and tended to nothing but the stumbling of these weak ones, and to gendering of strife and contention. Now, the ground whereupon the apostle goes is this : After the death of Christ, tho’ by his death the ceremonial law got its death's Wounds, yet was it not instanıly taken away : it being so folemnly instituted of God, and observed for such noble ends so long a time, it was to be buried honourably, and so to be carried to its grave leisurely: So that tho'after the death of Christ, who was the substance of all these shadows, the cere,nonial law had no obligation upon the consciences of people, that tye was broken; yet it was no fin to practise the same for a time, until the gospel was more fully cleared, and universally published; and therefore during that interval of time, viz. betwixt the death of Christ and the full publishing of the gospel, they became morally indifferent, and mighe either have been practised or not practised, and nothing either urged the practiting or not practising of them, but the avoiding of scandal: Hence we see that when Paul is among the Jews, who would have taken offence and exception at him, if he had altogether forborn the practice chereof, he circumciferh Timothy; Acts xvi. 3. and kept some other ceremonial rites, Acts xxi. 21. 22. 23. dc. At another time, when he is among the Gentiles, and fees that his practising these ceremonies would indeed prove scandalous, he forbeareth, and will nor circumcise, Gal.ii. 3. And though the Gentiles were never allowed to take on that yoke, Acts xxi. 25. and xv. 1. to 30. yet as that council, Acts xv. did resolve that Gentiles should only forbear the use of their christian liberty in some few particulars, that thereby they might prevent the stumbling of the Jews; so the same doth Paul here; he will have the strong forbear the eating of some meats which the ceremonial law had discharged, to prevent the stumbling of their weak brethren, and so presseth only a ceding in some things for peace's fake, and a forbearance of some acts (which otherways they might have done.) for the good of the weak; and therefore in the last part of the chapter, he speaks only of the meats, and nothing of the other ground, their holy days, because in this they were to act, and in the other only to forbear acting.
VERSE 1. Him that is weak in the faith ; importeth, take them near them in inti
, but not to doubtful disputa. mate fellowship, as Acts xvii. 5. "take. tions,
them in great love and affection with ten
derness, as Philem. 12. 17. Acts xxviii. 2, IN N this verse the apostle fets down a and deal with them, for their instruction,
general direction to the strong, how to with great kindness, and hearty good-will, carry themselves toward the weak; that is, as Mark viii. 32. Aets xviii. 26. fo he will how such as had attained to more light have the strong lovingly and tenderly dealand persuasion of the right bounds of ing with the weak, keeping them in their their christian liberry, should carry them bosom, and gently binding up their wounds, selves to such as bad not as yet win their and helping their weakness. But not to length, but were filled with doubts and doubtful disputations ; that is, not to perscruples apent the liberty which they plex and trouble them with vain, useless ought to make use of; Him that is weak and jangling intricacies, and needless dein the faith; such an one he would have bates, that will be so far from edifying the strong receive, that is, as the word and instructing them, that it will rather
Acts xx. 35.
tend to entangle them in their doubtings, , as are weak; yet tenderness and love and fomert their scruples.
fhould cause them forbear to entangle them
with needless and unprofitable doubtful OBSERVATIONS.
questions or distinctions: be would have 1. All the members of Christ's church the strong forbearing to receive the weak are pot of one and the same size, but as to doubtful disputations. fome are babes in Chrift, some old men, V. The strong should not think they .!d fome young, 1 John ii. 12. 13. 14 have discharged their duty fufficierlly to1 Tim. iii, 6. Matth. xx. 12. Heb. v. 11. wards the weak, when they have cleared
and vi. 1. some more eminent in faith the ground of their own actings, as they and other graces, Eph iji. 17. Rom. iv. 20. thiok fufficiently, though afterward they to føme are of greater knowledge and in should deal unbrotherly with them for not fight in the matters of God, and things conforming with them in their practice; but concerning their christian liberty, and o- love in the strong Ikould make them forthers more weak and short-sighted : there bear to trouble the weak with questions are some here who are weak in the faith, beyond their capacity, or questions intriHim that is weak in the faith. See i Cor. cate, and not very edifying; and cho' the viii. 7. 10. 11. and ix, 22. i Thefl. v. 14. weak cannot win up to the height of their
light, yet to be bearing with them, and II. It is the duty of such as are strong, sweetly and lovingly entertaining them: and better acquainted with the nature and Him that is weak receive ye, but not to extent of their christian liberty than others, daubtful disputations. not only to forbear to cast them out of their company who cannot win up to con- Verses 2. 3. For one believeth that be formity with them, and other ways to vex, may eat all things; another who is weak, grieve, and disquiet them; but they ought eateth berbs. to have bowels of compasion towards them, Let not bim that eateth, despise him that and in love and tenderness to bind up their eatetb not; and let not him wbicb eatetb lores, and to receive them into their fel
not, judge him that eateth---lowship with kindness and brotherly love: Him that is weak, receive ye. See Gal. vi. 1. N this second verse the apostle Ceteth
III. Tho' it be commendable for Chri. down one branch of the controversy stians to be much in the study of necessary then in hand, viz. that about meats. By points
of truth, for their edification in the the ceremonial law there were several knowledge of God, aod in all other ques. meats prohibited to the Jews as uoclean, tions there lies still a tru:h on one side; see Lev.xi. throughout; now, among these yet it is safest for young begioners, or such Christians there were fome weak, who as are, weak in the faith, to forbear to could not at the first be drawn from their meddle with such questions as are little to former practices in abstaining from these edification, ard wiihal are full of intrica unclean meats, and induced to lay afide a cies and unclearness, which usually are law which tood in force so long; and most about matters indiferent, and that at therefore they would be so far from going a time wherein offences do most abound : against that law, that they would abstain he would not have the weak troubled with altogether from fleth, and would eat nodoubtful disputations. See 1 Tim. i. 4. thing but herbs, that fo they might be 2. Tim. ii. 14. 6. 23.
sure not to transgrels that law which only IV. Tho' the stronger be bound to in prohibited the use of fome kinds of fieth, struct, with ail meekoess and love, such and yot of all. There were others again,
who knew better their freedom, and ab- unto them, tho' in matters trivial, and in. stained from no sort of flesh, but believed different, they stand not to occasion divi. and were persuaded that they might eat fions, jarrs, and unchristian debates, for so all things.
was it here at Rome, and all about the ule In the third verse the apostle speaks a of indifferent things. word to both these persons, and gives IV, Tho' the more knowledge we have, each an exhortation to their duty, that we should be the more humble, knowing (trife and unchristian-like contention might how small a portion of knowledge we have, be avoided; And, 1. he speaks to the and how all that we have is freely beitowstrong, who eateth all things, and he says ed upon us of free grace; yet so much to him, Despise not him that eateth not ; are we puffed up with it, if there be not such were ready to undervalue and con- much grace to ballast us, 1 Cor. viji. 1. that temn the weaker, as unworthy to be taken we are ready to undervalue and lightly enotice of or regarded; and this he speak. steem such as are inferior to us in knowech against. 2. To the weak he says, ledge, tho' poflibly beyond us in tenderLet not him who eateth not, judge bim who ness and grace : He that was strong here, eateth: The weak are too ready to pass fen- and believed that he might eat all things, tence upon the stronger, as profane and was despising him that cated not. careless, and are often rash in their judg- V. So confident are we ordinarily of our ment; and upon this the debate and heat own perfection in judgment and practice, of contention is keeped up upon their part. that if any go beyond us, and practise that
which we have not clearness to do, we are OBSERVATIONS.
ready to pass a talh sentence upon them, I. As the members of Christ's church as untender, unchristian, uncircumspect, if have not all the same degree of know. not profane in their carriage; for so did ledge and understanding, but some have the weak here; He who did not eat, judge more light than others, so upon this divered him who eated. fity of degrees of knowledge there is di VI. Where there is not mutual hearty versity of practices, and so this should seem love and christian charity, to sympathize po strange thing in the church; for here with one another, and to construe well of there were some who as he believed be what another doth, and to suspect what might eat all forts of meats, so he fcrupled we do ourselves, rather than what others at none; and others who as they believed do, there cannot be such amity, peace and they might eat but of some of the crea- 1 concord, as there ought to be among the tures, so they did eat only herbs.
members of the same body; for this was 11. The more christian knowledge people the ground of their division, the strong. have attained, the greater liberty have contemned the weak, and the weak suspectthey in their walk; and the less they have ed and rafhly judged the strong. win to, the more are they filled with VII. As it can never be imagined that scruples, doubts and fears, and the less ever all the members of the church of freedom they have: One believeth that he Christ fall atrain unto the same degree of may eat all things, another who is weak, understanding and clearness, and unto the eateth herbs.
same uniformity in practice, in all things; Ilí. So great is the strength of cor. so it is the duty of Christians to be joinruption even in believers, and such as seeming together, and walking with other in to have greatest knowledge and greatest love, each prefering others to themselves, tenderness, and thereby are so wedded on and more highly esteeming of them, that to their own opinions, that by sticking I fo neither the one may despise, contemn,
3 U 2
VERSES 3. 4.
nor lightly eleem the other, nor the other, make bim pand: Thou thinkest it hard, if be ralh in censuring and condemning them, not imposible, for him to be keeped on especially in the practice of indifferent, his feet, that is either so weak or so prothings; for ihis is Paul's exhortation, Let fane as thou imagineth ; but tho' there be not him that eateth, despise him that eat- po strength in thy neighbour, yet there eth not; and let not him which eateth not, is power in God for that effect; and firce judge him who eatct').
he be one whom God has received, we
may be sure God will let forth his ftrength For God hath received and power for his supporting : God's abilim.
lity here takes in his good will. W10 art thou that judgest another man's
OBSERVATIONS. fervant ? to his own master he sandet' or falleth: yea, be shall be bolden up :
I. Tho' there be as many and as strong for God is able to make him siand.
bonds betwixt Chriftians as can be; where
upon they might be induced to a sweet, IN these words the apostle is giving
three loving and fympathizing fellowship, one arguments whereby to press the former with another; yet so mighty is corruption exhortations: And, 1. For God bath re- in all, and so busy is Satan to blow at the ceived him: It is not lawful nor handsome coals of diffention; that it is no small and for you who are strong, to contemn or de- ealy matter to get Christians brought to a spise him who is weak; for as weak as he christian and brotherly carriage towards ois, God hath not contemned him, but re-thers, when their judgments and practices ceived him in his arms, and made him a are different, even tho' but in matters inmember of his church; nor for you who different; for we find here the apoftle sees are weak, to judge him that is strong, to cause to press a christian disposition upon be profane, or untender in his walk, fee. both weak and strong, with many arguing God has accepted of him. 2. To his own master he standeth or fallith : What II. As a Christian's bearing with others halt thou to do to pass a rash and unwar- in different practices, about matters indifrantable sentence upon another's servant, ferent, is most neceffary and comely; so either as unchristian or contemptible; he thould minifters by all means endeavour to is not thy servant, and in his standing or procure this among Chriftians: both these falling he is not accountable to thee, but tolloweih upon the apostle's using so many 10 his own master. 3. L'ea, he shall be
3. I'ea, he shall be and fo ftrong arguments here. kolden up: Tho' thou who art strong con- III. It is the duty of every Christian to temn the weak, and look upon him as a be keeping charitable thoughts towards efeckless weak one that cannot bold his very member of the visible church, who feet, but stumblerh at every thing, and are not openly declaring their enmity to fo cannot but fall; yet fince God hath Christ, by their scardalous and profane taken bim by the hand, he shall not fall; life: and to be looking upon them, as realand therefore thou thouldīt not carry thy- ly that which they protefs to be; for his self so towards him : Ayain, thou who art arguments here uled, speak out this truch, weak, judgeth the stronger one, who is that we ought to Icok on cur Christian alıeady decliving ; bur know that he shall profifling neighbour, as received of God, fiand ico; and therefore fortear to judge and as a Servant of his, rot only ly prorally. Ard this la!? argument he con- feffion, tut really, and as one u hom God firmeih with a reason taken from'the al. will take care of. mighty piwer of God; for God is able to IV. Were Christians banishing away un
charitable thoughts of others from thein- | rath and groundless judgment concerning felves, and labouring to entertain the best their statě; or condemn thein for their thoughts of each member of the church walking contrary to us, in the use of of Chriit, there would not be so much un- things indifferent : W10 art thou that · christian-like censuring, judging and de judgest another man's servant? See Matth. Spiling of others, even iho of different vii. 1. judgments and practices in marters indiffe- IX. Altho’ Christians ought not to be alrent, as is clear from the general scope of together regardless of their brethren, so as all his arguments here.
not to be affected with any thing they do ; . V. Whatever the ignorant, foolish but ought to rejoice to see them doing well, wicked world think of the godly, yet the and be laddened to fee the n finding against great God of heaven and earth, hath high. God; yet they ought not be lo inuch ly honoured them, and doch highly esteem troubled with the carriage of their neighthem, and hath received them into his in- bours, as if they had no o: her to be actimate favour and friendship: God hath countable unto but them; but they ihould received them.
look upon them as fellow-servants with VI. Were Christians considering how themselves, and as accountable only to God had taken even such as could.not con- their master in heaven: To his own master form with them in practice; into his favour; he Jlandeth or fulleth, they would be loath, either to despise, or yet X. Were Christians considering how to be rash in censuring and judging them; their brethren are not accountable unto" but, on the contrary, this would make them, for their carriage, they would not them look on them with another eye; and be so rash in their judging and cenfuring that which makes many so untender of, and of them, for pon-conformity with them in disrespectful towards their neighbours, who the use of indifferent things; and whosocatnoi conform with them, is, an 'unchri- ever take upon them to judge their brestran apprehension they have of their want thren in those practices put themselves in of grace, and so of interest in God, as God's room, and challenge to themselves theirs; for to press them to another chri. God's prerogative of being sole master and ftian carriage to one another than was a judge of people: To bis: own majler. be: mong them, he useth this argument; For tandeth or falleth, is another argument.': God hath received him.
XI. However, some cannot reach the VII. As believers have given up them- length that others win to, in the matter of selves to God, and devoted themselves, and practice in things indifferent, and all Chritheir service to him: so the Lord dothitians cannot win up to a conformity in look upon them as his servants, and own thele matters; yet notwithstanding of this eth them as standing in such a relation to discrepancy. and difference both in judghim; they are another's servant, and have ment and practice, anent the use of things their own master. See Cor. vi. 20. indifferent, both such as are accounted by
VIII. The confideration of this relation fome to be unequal in their carriage, and which is betwixt God and believers, viz. going the full length of their liberty, and that he is their master, and they his ser-luch as are despised as weak, despicable vants, should make all others forbear to persons, may be keeped straight in the call them before the bar of their private main business, and such of thein as are ejudgmens, for their acting in things indif- lected of God and received into his specifererit; fo that tho' we ought to be care al favour, thall certainly he keeped from ful of one another, and affected with what fumbling to their souls ruin; a::d the conanother doth; yet we may not pass any l lideration of this, bould make each more