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liis oath to feal and confirm fome truths: As I live, faith the Lord, every knee shall bow, &c.

V. That Christ Jefus fhall be still more and more exalted, till at length his very enemies fhall be made his footstool, Pfalm cx. 1. and all flefh fhall be forced, even fuch as are moft refractory, to fubject themselves unto this great Lord and Com mander, is a truth that flesh and blood can hardly digeft, and be fully perfuaded of, or at least will never heartily clofe with; and therefore the Lord hath thought good to confirm it with an oath: As 1 live, faith the Lord, every knee fhall bow to me, and every tongue fhall confefs to God.

VI. The Lord Jehovah, of whom all other creatures have their being and dependence, bath his being in and of himfelf, and therefore it is his prerogative only to fwear by his life: As I live, faith the Lord; He fweareth by himfelf, becaufe he hath not a greater, Heb. vi. 13.

VII. The Lord Jefus our Mediator, who is God and man in one perfon, is to be worshiped, adored, and fubjected unto by all; Every knee shall bow before him, and every tongue confefs him: And by this bowing of the knee is meant, fubjection, and reverent religious worship and adoration.

bow, fo every tongue should confess to him, or confefs him.

VIII. The Lord calleth not only (tho' mainly) for internal adoration, and fpiritual worship, by the gracious habits of grace put in exercife, fo as he shall be loved, feared, &c. above all; but alfo for the outward expreffion of this in figns and geftures of the body, fuitable unto and naturally flowing from the ftirings of thefe inward affections: Every knee fhall bow.

X. Tho' many prefs more for this external gefture and outward fign of fpiritual worship and adoration than for what is more inward, and fhould be the rife of that, and others lay more weight upon it, and are therefore more taken up therewith; yet it is no infallible fign of inward grace in the heart, for it is here told that it fhall be the gefture of both good and bad: Every knee fhall bow, and every tongue confefs; even all who shall be judged in the last day.

XI. Tho' oftentimes the enemies of Chrift be raised high up, and they have Chrift, in his followers and caufe, far under their feet, and think to be victorious ftill; yet Jefus Chrift fhall at length be great, and exalted very high above the neck of all his enemies, and all flesh fhall extol him; for this is a prophecy, and the laft accomplishment thereof will not be till the day of judgment; then every knee fhall bow; the godly fhall heartily then avow their fubjection unto him, and the wicked fhall be forced to adore and reverence him as their dreadful Judge: Every knee fhall bow, &c.

XII. Whatever civil honour, reverence and refpect may be given to men in high place, by bowing of the knee, yet there is nothing the proper object of fpiritual worship and divine adoration but God; fo that to worship any other thing with divine worship is rank idolatry, forbidden in the firft Command; and to worship this God any other way than he has commanded, is finful fuperftition forbidden in the fecond Command: And fo we ought not to kneel (as thereby we exprefs any religious worship,) at the name Jefus, for that is but fo many letters and fyllables, and not a Diety; nor worship God at the hearing of that name pronounced, and at no other name, for this is no where commanded; for that place, Phil. ii. 9. 10. adherence to him; for as every knee fhould---At the name of Jefus every knee should

IX. Tho' the Lord alloweth not his people to play the hypocrite, and fhew forth more than is inwardly in the heart, nor to be proud and conceited, or vain glorious; yet he alloweth his people, in time and place convenient, to make open delaration of their owning Chrift as their Lord, and to profefs their fubjection and

bow,

bow, &c. is parallel with this; and here, not the name of Jefus is made the object, either quod or quo, but himself; Every knee fhall bow to me; that is, him who lives in and of himself, and has fworn this; and in that fame place of the Philippians, himfelf is named alfo, as is clear from the parallel place of Ifa. xlv. 23. and because it is meant of him who was exalted with power and glory, or of his glory which he got by being exalted; for this is the name above every name, and it is that to which very devils bow, and that is his power: Every knee fhall bow to me.

VERSE 13. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occafion to fall in his brother's way.

Α'

Fter a transition from the former purpofe, by a conclufion drawn from his foregoing arguments, viz. Let us not therefore judge one another any more, the apostle fets down an exhortation, and ufeth a notable antanaclafis, faying, But judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block, &c. which exhortation is mainly directed unto the stronger, whom he would have forbearing the ufe of thefe meats (for of this part of the difpute he mainly infifteth on here,) in this particular cafe, wherein the weak were thereby fcandalized. This being the hypothefis, the apoftle profecureth the point in way of a general thefis viz. That in cafe of fcandal the ufe of indifferent things fhould be for born; and for this caufe he ufeth feveral arguments, unto the end of this chapter. In this verfe there are two argments touched upon; 1. From the nature of the deed, for which he ufeth two expreffions much to the fame purpofe, in calling it, . a tumbling-block; and, 2. an occafion to fall, (which expreffions ufually go-together, i Pet. ii. 8. 1 Cor viii. 5. compared with ver. 13. Rom. ix. 33 Ifa. viii. 4) the one importing or fignifyiny properly a ftoned

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lying in ones way, whereupon he may or doth dash his feet; the other properly, the bridge in a trap, which, when touched,, occafioneth the hurt or taking of the rat or mouse; and so both helding forth that poffible or actual ftumbling, halting, or hurting of the weak through the practice of the ftrong; and feeing it is fo dangerous to our neighbour in this cafe to ufe fuch indifferent things, it were far better to forbear them. The 2d argument is in the word brethren; he or she, how weak foever in grace and knowledge, is and ought to be looked on as thy brother, and fo it were unnatural for thee to do any thing tending to his hurt.

OBSERVATIONS.

I. Such weight fhould be laid upon light and inftruction received, that we fhould therefore forbear these practices which we have been accustomed with formerly, after fight and difcovery of their finfulness, least afterward our fin become greater, John ix. 41. James iv. 17. and our judgment more grievous, Prov. i. 26. Luke xii. 47. therefore he concludes, Let' us not therefore judge one another any more.

II. There is fuch an evil too rife often-times amongst Chriftians, as fcandalizing, or occafioning the hurt, fin, ftumbling, and retarding of others in the way of Chriftianity: Judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occafion to fall in his brother's way. See Cor. viii. 7.

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III. This fin of fcandalizing, or giving offence, is when any thing is done, fpoken or omited unduely, whereby our neigh bour is induced, or an occafion is laid for him, to halt, fumble, or fall, in his way; for it is called a ftumbling block, or any thing in ones way against which he is ready to ftumble, and an occafion to fall, or offence, a fcandal, or that which is inductive usto fio; and fo it is t that which may mar the fpiritual edifica ion of our brother: For this much doth these bor-rowed axor fons point forth

IV. As there is a fcandal only taken when one carpeth at, and is offended with another's doing of what is neceffary, as, Matth. xv. 12.; fo there is a fcandal only given by laying that before another which is apt to caufe or occafion the fall of another, tho' that other doth not actually fall thereby, as Matth. xvi. 23. and there is a fcandal both given and taken, when this is laid before one, which is not only apt to occafion another's ftumbling, but at which the other doth actually, through his corruption, ftumble and fall, Gal. ii. 13. and both thefe laft may be here meant, and both, even the very fcandal given only, are to be shuned; the very puting of a ftumbling-block before our brother is to be guarded against: Judge this rather, that no man put a ftumbling block, &c.

V. As there are some fcandals in matter of opinion, when either an untruth is defended, whereby others are taught to err, Matth. v. 19. or a finful practice and deed is pleaded for, Rev. ii. 14. 15.; fo is there fcandal given by external practice which is inductive unto fin; fuch was this here, a fcandal given by eating fuch and fuch meats: That no man put a stumbling-block, or an occafion to fall, in his brother's way.

VI. Not only is this offence and fcandal given, by doing that which is fimply finful and unlawful, or only by that which hath fome appearance of evil, 1 Theff. v. 17. Phil. iv. 8. 9. Gal. ii. 3. but alfo by doing that which is otherways lawful and indifferent; as was this eating of meats forbidden by the ceremonial law, which at other times and in other places had been lawful enough, yet, hic et nunc, when the weak were in hazard of ftumbling thereat, even the practice of this indifferent thing is called a puting a stumbling-block, or an occafion to fall, in his brother's way. 1 Cor. viii. and x.

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VII. The practice of a thing indifferent may be inductive unto fin, and fo fcandalous, notwithstanding the practiser hath no intention to fcandalize, but rather,

upon the contrary, may intend their edi fication and growth in knowledge, as Matth. xvi. 22. 23. For here, notwithstanding that the eater might intend the edification of the weak, by inftructing them in their christian liberty, and no way intend their hurt, yet their eating in this cafe is scandalous, and called a stumbling-block, and an occafion to fall.

VIII. That, among other things, which maketh the use of indifferent things become fcandalous is, when thereby occafion is given to others to speak or think evil of them or their profeffion, and to account or judge them profane; and when o thers are thereby induced to act contrary to their own light, and to think that lawful which they think unlawful; at least to wrong the peace and quietness of their confciences: for upon these and fuch like fcores, is the eating of the strong here called a stumbling-block, &c. because thereby the weak were made to judge them as untender, verse 10. and to doubt of their own acting, or to act contrary to their own light, &c.

IX. There is fo much corruption remaining in God's own children, as makes them too ready fo to ftumble at what others do, as that they fhall be all put in confufion, the light of their judgments darkened with doubts and fcruples, the ferenity and calmnefs of confcience banished with crofs fentences and peremptory decrees, the fedate condition of the affections disturbed with grief, or the like; and thus to stumble not only at what is finful, or at least hath appearance of evil with it, but even at what is in itself indifferent: for thus the weak, tho' gracious, were in hazard of ftumbling, and of being offended.

X. So hateful, deteftable and dangerous a thing is it for one to be guilty of scandalizing his neighbour, Matth. xviii. 7. that the confideration thereof fhould be a strong motive to ftir all up to guard against the fame, and for this caufe to forbear, not only

only what is finful or needlefs, but even what is lawful or indifferent, and in fome respect useful and profitable: tho' they ought not for fear of this to fhun or for bear any neceffary duty, yet ought they to forbear the ufe of things in themfelves indifferent, tho' other ways lawful: therefore to diffuade the ftrong from eating of fuch meats, he calleth it a puting of a (tumbling-block, or an occafion to fall in our brothers way. See 1 Cor. ix. 19. 20. 2 Cor. vi. 3.

c.

XI. Were we fostering brotherly affection in our hearts towards others, whether within or without the church, we would be careful to abstain from what is not abfolutely neceffary, and would be loth to lay traps, or spread gins, before any, by our carriage: therefore he ufeth this argument to diffuade them from the ufe of these indifferent things, viz. that it was a puting of a stumbling-block before their brother. See 1 Cor. x. 32.

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XII. So hard a matter is it, to take up aright the nature of the action, to ponder aright all the circumstances which may have weight to vary the cafe, to underftand thoroughly all the doubts, questions and fcruples which might be raised in and about the practice of indifferent things, and what our carriage fhould be in a time when offences abound, that it would take up a man's whole ftudy to learn how to walk evenly and straightly among fuch dif ficulties, and to guard against fcandalizing, and puting an occafion of falling in our brother's way: for he fays, judge this rather; that is, try and examine yourfelf and actions, and fo level them that they may not give offence; Judge this rather, that no man put a ftumbling block, &c.

VERSE 14. I know, and am perfuaded by the Lord Jefus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that e/teemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is

unclean.

B

Efore he proceeds to other arguments, he takes away an objection in this verfe: It might be faid by the strong, We know that now fince Chrift is come, the commonnefs or uncleanness of meats is taken away, and there is now no fuch difference as was made by the ceremonial law; and were it not better then, that we fhould walk conform to our christian liberty, and that they should endeavour to win up to us, than that we should quit our liberty for them? To this the apoftle anfwereth, granting the antecedent, viz. that now the difference is removed, I know, fays he, and am perfuaded of it, and that by the illumination of the Spirit of Jesus, that there is no meat now unclean of itfelf, and that the ceremonial uncleannefs is now removed; but he denieth the confequence, and faith, Notwithstanding hereof it is better for you to condefcend to them, than that they should come up to you, for it will be no fin for you to condefcend and cede from your liberty, but will be fin in them; for to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean: If he, in his erroneous confcience, fhall efteem thofe meats prohibited, he may not meddle with them, for in this cafe even his erroneous confcience binds up his hands.

OBSERVATIONS.

I. Tho' it feemed good in the Lord's eyes to hedge in the people of the Jews with rails, and deny them the free use of his good creatures, for diverfe ends, and fo bind up their hands from feveral of them, the more to inure them to obedience, in a way fuitable to their non-age; yet God hath thought good to enlarge the border of our chriftian liberty, and to grant now to his church under the gofpel, greater freedom, as to a church come to age, and now there is nothing unclean of itself, (tho' to the unbelieving every thing be unclean, Tit. i. 15.) but of every good 3 Y

crea.ure

creature we may now eat freely: I know, and am perfuaded, that there is nothing unclean of itself. See Acts x. 15. 1 Tim. iv. 4. 5.

II. Tho' men by pains and induftry may win a great length in the knowledge of fome points of truth, yet the clearest uptaking and discovery of truths, and the fulleft perfuation is by the Spirit of God; and when the Spirit of the Lord Jefus enlighteneth a foul, then all doubts and feruples are banished, and the man wins up to a full perfuafion: I know, and am perfuaded by the Lord Jefus.

III. Tho' when an erroneous confcience takes that to be finful which is a neceffary duty, or that to be a duty which is finful, it only binds the man from acting contrary to the light of his confcience, (and this it doth because that confcience is God's deputy, and when it, is contraveened the authority of God is contraveened, for what it holdeth forth, it holdeth forth as God's mind, and in God's name and authority; and for any thing the man knows it may be fo,) but doth not lay on an obligation to act accordingly; yet when it takes that to be finful, which is but lawful or indifferent, it not only binds but obligeth the man to act accordingly; fo that he must not do that which, tho' lawful in itfelf, yet is reprefented to him as finful, but muft abftain from it as finful: To him that efteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean; it not being in itself finful to forbear the practice of what is lawful, but not neceffary, or only indifferent.

IV. Because the weak may not crofs their own confcience, and do that which in confcience they judge finful and unlaw-at ful, and the strong may well forbear the practice of what is but indifferent, therefore it is most agreeable to chriftian equi ty and reason, that the ftronger fhould condefcend unto the weak: this is the fubftance of the apoftle's aufwer.

ritably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Chrift died.

TH

HE apoftie proceedeth to prefs the ftronger to abitain from the ufe of thofe meats, which otherways, when his brother would not be fcandalized, offended, or grieved, he might lawfully cat, and maketh ufe of three other arguments here; as, 1. If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably; that is, If thy eating of meats, fometime forbidden by the ceremonial law, trouble, vex and grieve the confcience of thy weak brother, thou oughtft to forbear, otherways thou tranfgreffeit the laws of charity, and walkeft most uncharitably. 2. Thou art a foul-murderer, a destroyer with thy meat, and one that ftrikes in with the devil, whofe work it is to destroy fouls, and therefore has the name of a destroyer, Rev. xix. 11. 3. Thou counterworkest Christ, and labouret to undermine his work; he came to fave fouls, yea, and laid down his life to fave fouls, he bought thefe, (for any thing thou knoweft to the contrary.) with his precious blood, and thou by thy carriage doft what in thee lieth to rob him of them: Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Chrift died.

OBSERVATIONS.

I. It is a fcandalizing and giving of offence unto our brother, to do any thing whereby ground or occafion is given of marring his fpiritual joy and rejoicing, fadening his heart, and making him go foftly and walk heavily, and to be grieved

us and our carriage; for what before, ver. 13. he called a puting of a stumbling-block, and occafion of offence in our brother's way, he here calleth a grieving of our brother; But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat.

II. So rath and untender are many Christians in their walk, that they care little to mar the fpiritual good of their brethren, and to put them to much per

VERSE 15. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkeft thou not cha-plexity, difquietnefs of mind, and grief of

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