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straining us by his law, is warrant enough brother stumbleth; and this hath been for us to go the full length, fiumble or not cleared before, and will afterwards be more stumble who will; for we see the apostle cleared, both as to the streng, and as to preventing this objection, which he law weak; therefore, ár. Now he cleareih ihey would readily start, and under which | further, what it is to eat with offence, by they thought to hide themselves from the adding some words bo ftonymous; upon the challenge: All : bings indeed are pure; but matter, saying, It is god neither to eat fich, it is evil for that man who eateth with of nor to drink wire, nor by tling wherebytky fence.
brother stumbleth; that is, is made to trip and VII. Not only is there real matter of fall at the stumbling-block, laid in his way, scandal and offence given, when we do and so is drawn to fin; Rom. I. 32. pris that, which upon the matter is Yinful and offended, and made to go off the way he prohibited, or yet hath the appearance of was walking in, and so is retarded in his , evil, 1 Thesl
. v. 17. Pliil. iv. 8. 9. Gal. journey, or is made weak; that is, weight3. &c. but also when the matter is law-ed and made fad, and not so able to walk ful, and indifferent, and not necessary; tho' in his christian course, with such affurall meats are pure, yet one may cat with ance as formerly, but filled with doubts offence: All things indeed are pure; but and scruples, that makes him lialt in the it is evil for that man who eateth with of way, or step leisurely. fence. VII. Our very use of indifferent things
OBSERVATIONS. becometh sinful unto us, when thereby 1. Howbeit many think it a thing little our brother is offended, and the work of up or down, whether they do or leave unGod in his soul is mared, tho' otherwise done, things which are in their own rawe may lawfully use them or not, accord. ture indifferent, be the circumstances what ing to our own pleasure: All things indeed they will; yet, in case of scandal
, as it is are pure; but it is evil for that man who most hazardous and pernicious to act, so is eateth with offence.
it most useful and profitable, upon all
hands (whatever the loss may be oherVerse 21. It is good neither to eat flesh, ways) to forbear ačting: It is good neither
nor to drink wine, nor any thing where- to eat flesh nor drink wine, (tho' this mi bo by thy brother fi umbleth, or is effended, have its own advantage fometimes) vor any or is made weak.
thing whereby thy brother is offended, &c. See i Cor. viii. 13.
ll. It is sinful and offensive for us, to do. by also he further cleareth what he these things (tho' indifferent) whereby, had faid last, in answering of the objection. not only, our brother is drawn to sin aThe argument lieth thus, Since it is a gainst God, but also, when thereby he is thing useful and profitable, both for your- made to halt in the way, and made fad, selves and others, to abstain from the use and to go heavily, wanting that alacrity and of flesh and wine, which are not absolute- chearful christian confidence, which for: ly necessary for the life of man, or any c-merly he had; our eating is offentive, not ther thing indifferent, in case of scandal; only when our brother is offended and then should you abstain from the use of fumbleih, but also when he is inade weak; these meats, at which the weak do stumble. It is good neither to eat fejb, ror to drink This is clear enough in itself. But so it is, wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother that it is good neither to eat Alesh, nor to Joumbler ), or is offended, or is made weak. drink wise, nor any thing whereby thy III. T ho' the unreasonable use and prac
rice of indifferent things, may not have | lenge him and condem him for unseasonthat influence upou some, as to stir up and able doing thereof; and fo, in this case, it awaken their corruptions, and to draw is enough to keep the faith of his christian them aside actually to commit fin, and cause liberty to himself before God: Again, them actually to sumble and fall; yet it Happy is he that so practileth these things may have influence upon their judgments, which he alloweth of, as confonant to his and raise doubts and scruples; and upon christian liberty, as noi thereby stumbling their consciences, àrid so awaken chal- his brother, and so bringing guilt, and ha. lenges, fo that thereby they shall be weak- zard of condemnation, upon himself; and ened and more unable to advance resolute-lo, fince the practiting of things indiferent ly, and with christian courage and aftur. and allowable, in this cale of scandal, is ance; tho? they should not fuble or ie hazardous' unto your own salvation, it is offended, yet they may be made weak: or best to be forborn; and so he further conis made weak.
firmeth what he said, verse 21.
VERSE 22. H.; thou faith? have it to
OBSERVATIONS. thyself before God. Happy is he that con- I. It is co ealy matier to get folks who demneth not himself in that thing which are orice engaged in a debate, brought to be alloweth,
a willingness to cede and pass from some
things which they have been accustomed IN the first part of this verse, the apostle to practise, for the good and advantage of
; , the latter part proposeth a thirteenth argu- for we fee the strong here, were ready to ment. The objection is this, might the move and start one objection upon the back strong say, How doth this you press me to, of another, against Paul's pressing them to agree with my christian liberiy? I believe abstinence in case of scandal: Here is anthat now the restraint that was put upon other objection, H.ift thou faith? the Jews by the ceremonial law, is now II. Many are ready to justify and apremoved; and if I practise not according prove of their pra&tising of things indisfeto this liberty which Christ hath purchased, rent, to the scandal and offence of their how shall I possess the faith of this liberty. brethren, if they can say that they are He answereth, Hast thou faith? bave it to persuaded of the lawfulness thereof, and thyself before God; keep still thy faith of that it was consonant to their christian lithy christian liberiy, and walk in thy berty; this was their objection here, they christian liberty so as thou give not of knew it was a piece of their christian lifence. It is enough in this case that God berty, and they were persuaded of it; they knoweth thy heart, and that tho’ thou had faith : Hast thou faith? wilt not eat of such meats as may give of- III. Tho' the practisers of indifferent fence, yet thou believelt thou mayft law things should look upon themselves as fully eat of them in another case, and so some way necessitated and constrained to keepest the faith of thy liberty: Then he practise such things as are lawful and indifaddeth a new argument, Happy is he that ferent, tha’ not always, (least they should condemneth not himself in that thing which belooked on as accounting them absolutely he alloweth; whereby also he cleareth the necessary;) yet sometimes at least, that their answer he made unto the objection, Hap- practice might be conform to their prinpy is he who doth not act every thing ciples and persuasions, who were persuadwhich he alloweth as lawful, when his ed that these things were indifferent, and conscience may, in the mean time, chal- | not things in themselves linful, yet notwith
3 2 2
fanding of this persuasion, so long as the their passing a sentence against us, for docale of scandal lafteth, these indifferent ing that which stumbleth our brother, things ought rever to be practised: Hal and when we thereby h-zard our own wel. thou faith? have it to thyself before God. fare and salvation, should press forbea:
IV. Persuasion of the lawfulness of what ance; for this is his argument, Happy is le we do in matters indifferent, will not juf- who condemneth not himself in that thing tify our practice in the case of scandal; and which he alloweth; and so to do that which not practising of things indifferent in this we allow, and yet so as thereby to hazard case, may well consist with a full persua- our own condemnation, is to mar cur own fion of the lawfulness of such practice, happiness, and therefore Ghould be forbore. when the scandal ceaseth, during which case of scandal we are not bound to declare | VERSE 23. And he that doubteth, is damnour persuasion by such practice; but it is ed if be eat, because he esteth not of faith: sufficient if we keep that persuasion within, for whatsoever is not of faith, is fin. and make our own use thereof, tho' we trouble pot others therewith : Hast thou THe last argument is taken from the faith? have it to the felf.
inevitable hazard which the poor, V. Not only should we fabour to ap- weak brother is in thereby : Would be say, prove our external actions before the Lord, Thou by thy eating casts a copy upto, and but also thould look how our inward heart so constraineth thy brother to eat also; now persuasions are before him; for he would he has not clearness to eat, but he doubihave the strong keep still their persuasion eth, and if he eat in that case, he hazards before God: Hast thou faith? have it to his falvation, and fins grievously against thyself before God.
God: He that doubteth, is damned if he eat; VI. That which we do, may be lawful, and the reafon is, because he eateth not of and yet so gone about as may awaken faith; he is not perfuaded of the lawsulchallenges in our conscience, and make ourness of what he doth, and so has not faith own consciences pass a sentence against us, grounded upon the word. And this reaespecially when we see that our doing there son is confirmed by a general assertion, For of giveth offence voto our brethren: Hap wbatsoever is not of faith, is fin; whatfo. py is he who condemneth not bimself in that ever we do without a warrant, and without thing which he alloweth.
a warrant known to us, and upon the score VII. It is a happy and desirable thing, of that warrant, is sin to us. so to carry ourselves in all our actions, both as to matter and manner, that not only the
OBSERVATIONS. matter be lawful, about which we are ex. I. Folks may be doing that which is crcised, but alfo that the way of our going lawful in itself, and yet in the doing thereabout that work be christian, and edifying, of hazard their own salvation, in not beedand no way ftumbling unto our brethren, ing the right manner of going about the so as we keep and carry along with us the same; they may eat, (which is a thing intestimony of a good conscience : Happy is he different, and so lawful in itself.) and yet who condemneth not himself in that which be damoed: He that doubteth, is damned if be alloweth.
be cat. VIII. The consideration of the evil II. It is a most dangerous thing to de which we may procure to ourselves by do- fpise and trample under foot the authority ing of what is indifferent, when thereby of conscience, which is God's deputy withour brother is offended, or made weak, in in us, and go over its belly to do any awakening our consciences, and occasioning thing, tho' in itself not linful, and tha'
cur conscience be not positively and direct., nent the lawfulness or unlawfulness of ly againit it, but only wavering, doubting, what we do, is not brought from the comand not thoroughly clear; for it is an ad. mand and authority of superiors, or from ven uring upon thie which we dare not con- the practice of others whom we conceive fidently deny to be tin, and so most hazard- to be better killed and versed in these ous; even be who doubteth, is damned if matters than we are, but allenarly comerla be eat.
from the word of truth, to which faith III. Our practice of things indifferent must go for counsel: Because he eateth not becometh sinful and unlawful unto us, and of faith; that is, because he has not clear- . matter of stumbling unto our brother, Dess from the word, for that is only the when thereby our weak brother, who is ground that faith walks on, and from which not so clear anert the indifferency of the it receiveth light. thing as we are, is induced by our example VII. To make an action acceptable beto do that which he is not fuily persuaded fore God, beside the lawfulneis thereof to be lawful, but at leait doubterh there. upon the matter, as it is requisite that the of: this is the ground of the reason, that man be in the faith, reconciled to Gol by the eating of the stronger, he who thro’ Christ, fetching influence thro' faith doubted was constrained or induced to eat from Christ the store-house of strength, by the other's example: He who doubteth; Heb. xi. 6.; so it is requisite that the man is damned if he eat.
have the nature of the action cleared to IV. Tho' there were no more to press him out of the word, so that he be distinct us to forbear the practice of indifferent therein, and persuaded thereof, and that things, in the case of scandal, the confi- he act upon that ground, otherways this deration of this should move us, viz. the action, how lawful foever upon the matinevitable hazard we bring the soul of our ter, is fin to him : For whatsoever is not brother into thereby, in moving him, by of faith, is fin.. our example, to do as we do, tho’ in con- VIII. Tho' all-sins be not alike heinous science he be not so clear of the indiffe- in the fight of God, but some more, some rency thereof as we are ; for this is the less; yet all and every sin, even the least, apostle's argument, He who doubteth, is delerveth no lefs than the everlasting curse damned if he eat.
and wrath of God, and sentence of conV. The want of a distinct and clear ap- dempation; for the reason why those who prehenfion of the lawfulness of what we eated doubtingly were damned already, do, at least of so much as will banith away was, because it was sin: Whatsoever is not doubting, casts us in great danger, even of faith, is fin. And so the very eating of tho' the thing we do be lawful in itself: indifferent meats, though lawful in itself, He that doubteth, is damned if he eat, and deserveth damnation, when done with a that because he eateth not of faith. doubting conscience, and that because it
VI. That light which can only dispel is fin; and so every ln, even the least, the clouds of doubting and hesitation, a. deferveth that.
С НА Р.
CH A P T E R XV.
HIS chapter harh two parts ; in the first part, which continuerli to rerse 14.
the apo:tle is following forth the purpose he was upon in the lait chapter ; in
the next part there is the conclusion of the whole epiltle. In the firit part he doth these two things; 1. He pressech a duty upon the strong Christians in reference to the weak, who were ready to stumble and take offence at their carriage in the use of these indifferent things, to verse 5. And, 2. from thence, he presseih a duty upon both weak and strong in reference to one another; closing with a word of prayer,
VERSES 1. 2. We then that are prong, and this will be a notable mean to help us
ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, to condescend so far as to bear the infirmiand not to please ourselves,
ties of the weak. 3. Let every one of us Let every one of us please his neighbour for please his neighbour for his good to edification; his good to edification.
We ought so to carry ourselves, as to pro
pose the good and advantage of others as Aving in the latter part of the for. our end; we should labour what we can to
mer chapter, pressed the stronger please others, and yet so to please them, Christians to forbear the scandalizing and as not to further them in any finful course, Ntumbling of the weak, and shown the but to their good, and their best good, fad inconveniencies that would follow up their edification. Now, the main thing on their practising of indifferent things in which he is driving at here, is, that the the case of scandal, in the end of that chap-strong would condescend unto the weak, ter; he now infereth, as it were, a conclu- and bear with them; and to press this he fion, holding forth the duties which he useth several arguments; and in these two would have them making conscience of at verses there are four couched up: (1.) We such a time when offences did abound; We ought; that is, we are bound thereunto now therefore that are strong, &c. The both by the law of nature, and by the exduty is pressed in these three words; press command of God. (2.) We that arz 1. To bear the infirmities of the weak; that trong ought, &c. I lay no other duty up. is, to take a heartlome lift of them for on you than I take to myself; I put myself the ease of the weak; to sympathize with under the same yoke with you; I look up; and pity them who are weak of under on myself as bound to this dury no less than standing, and to bear with them in those you. (3.) And not to please ourselves; If things that flow from weakness of under we mind not this duty we shall be guilty ftanding. 2. And not to please ourselves; of this fin of pleasing ourselves, and doing not to propose ourselves and our own pro- all for ourselves, as if we had goten all fit and advantage as our only end in all that we have for ourselves alone. (4.) Let that we do, and to have respect to nothing every one of us please his neighbour, &c. All but what makech for our own advantage ; of us are bound before God to mind the