Page images

backward and unwilling to censure and when ye are sure of your warrant from condemn another for non-conformity with God, so that ye do not any thing in that them in such matters; for chis is the other matter doubtingly, or out of an intention argument, Yea, he shall be holden up. to dishonour and wrong God. And in this

XII. Howbeit we be ready enough to direction there is a new argument couched account it a matter near by impossible, chat up, whereby to press all of them to bear a foul should be streight and honest in the with, and to have a good estimation of, amain, and yet differ from us in the matters Dother, notwithstanding of a difference in of indifferency; yet the consideration of the practice of these indifferent things; the mighty power of God, which is en- for tho' there be not a full and complete gaged for all his own beloved ones, should conformity, yet it is not very material

, letile and rectify us as to these thoughts; providing each be persuaded in his own therefore to confirm this, that he shall be mind of the lawfulness and expediency of holden up, he addeth, for God is able to what he doth ; and seeing if this persua. make him ftand.

lion be, neither their conformity nor their

non-conformity will be dishonour unto God, Verse 5. One man esteemeth, one day above none should either judge or despise one anot ber : another esteemeth every day a

another. like. Let every man be fully persuaded

OBSERVATIONS. in his own mind.

I. In actions about matters indifferent, it

is no uncouth thing to see Christians walkN the next place, he sets down the o- ing after distinct ways, and each following

ther part of the debate among these their own light; for here one man esteemed young converes, viz. that which was anent one day above another, and another esteemed the keeping of days : One man, says he, each day alike. esteemeth one day above another; there is

II. When there is such divisions among some among you who carry some respect Christians, anent the practising of things uno such holy days as were enjoined by indifferent, it is not the latest course io the ceremonial law, such as the new moons, press them unto absolute and full conforpasch, pentecost, and the feast of taber- mity to one another, in the practice of eje nacles, and the like, and look upon them ther the one or the other; for the apostle still as holier than the rest : Others think never falleth upon this, to press all to a that that law is now in no force, and look conformity and complete uniformity, but upon all such days as being no more holy leaveth every man to his own liberty, exthan the rest; and therefore in their walk cept in the case of scandal, as we shall hear put no difference betwixt these and others. in the latter part of this chapter. And then he addeth an exhortation tending III. Tho' Chriftians ought rot to be to peace, Let every one be fully perfuaded pressed to an absolute uniformity in matters in his own mind; as-if he had said, You indifferent, yet ought they to labour after cannot all agree about the practice of those distinctness and clearners in what they things in themselves indifferent, but one do; and to know that they are allowed of keepeth some holy days, others keep God to do the thing (in itself indifferent) none; let every one of you so walk as ye which they do, and to forbear what they may be accepted of God, and may expect do forbear, and to do nothing contempruhis good-will and reward; and this ye will oufly, or out of disrespect, but out of a do when ye are persuaded in your own persuasion of the lawfulness and expediminds that ye may do or forbear what ye ency of what they do: Let every one be do or forbear, and not fin against God, fully persuaded in bis own mind,

IV. It is not enough that that which a , ferent things ; and every one of you man doth, be a thing either commanded ought to have such a charitable constructior indiffereni, and so lawful upon the mat- on of another, as to suppose that he doth ter; but it is requilte that he go about indeed walk so singly, for none of you the action in a right manner, upon the knows the heart and mind of another; and ground of a warrant from God, and a war so, for any thing you know, he doth inrant cleared to his own conscience, which deed intend the honour of God, both in ought to be often consulted : He should keeping and regarding a day, and in not be fully persieaded in his own mind; and so regarding a day; it is done unto the Lord. ought to consider ali circumstances, and Both the strong, who account each day thereby try whether their doing or for- alike, forbear to keep any other day as bearing such an indifferent thing will hic holy unto the Lord now under the gospel, et nunc be to God's glory, and the edific than such as he hath commanded, viz. the cation of others, or not; and so accordo sabbath or the Lord's day, knowing that ingly do or forbear.

the yoke of the ceremonial law is now V. Seeing our acting or not acting in loosed, and so forbear in obedience to God, things indifferent, may tend to the glory and in forbearing do level at the glory of of God, if it be so and so circumstantiated; God: So doth he eat all sort of meats and when we fingly aim at the honour of without difference, and therein also aimGod, and the good of others, and for this eth at the honour of God, in giving him cause seriously ponder and exactly coufi. thanks, both for the benefit, and the lider all circumstances, our doing or not berty to use the fame. And, upon the doing will be accepted of God; therefore other hand, the weak, who had not win it is ihe duty of each Christiaa to be con- that lengih as to esteem all days alike, ftruing well of what another doth, and not thought that yet he was bound to keep to undervalue or rahly condemn them, those days appointed by the law, and in tho' differing from them in practice; for so doing he singly aimech at the glory of this may be looked on as a new argument God: So in his not eating these mears to press the weak to forbear to judge the prohibited by the law, he had an eye tostrong, and the strong to forbear to con- wards the Lord, for the giveth God thanks temn the weak, that every one should be even for the small portion he hath from fully persuaded in his own mind.

him: and therefore seeing every Christian,

be he weak or be he strong, do le, or do VERSE 6. He that regardeth the day, re: he not, is (for any thing thou who art his

gardeth it unto the Lord; and be that neighbour knoweth to the contrary,) fingly regardeth nit the day, to the Lord he aiming at God's glory, or at least ought to doth not regard it. He that eateth, eat- to do, no body ought to judge him who eth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; observeth not a day, and eateth of every and be that eateth not, to i he Lurd be meat; nor despise him who observeth a cateth not, and giveth God thanks. day, and cannot have liberty to eat as the

other. His verfe holds forth a fifth argument to press both the weak and

OBSERVATIONS. the strong to a sober, christian, respective 1. Tho' before the death of Christ, who Carriage to one another, which may be was the substance of all the ceremonial taken up thus, Christians ought to have law, and the butt towards which it painta single eye unto the glory and bozour of ! ed, there was a necessity of observing the God in their carriage, even abcur indif. í same by reafun of a communid; yer now



after the death of Christ until the full pro- born the use of some prohibited by the mulgation of the gospel of peace, it be ceremonial law, and even the Gentiles came morally indifferent, and might have were prohibited the use of some mears, in been observed or not observed by the Jews the case of scandal, Acts xv. 20. yet now during that interval, as, considering all after the gospel is clearly held forth, Chrilt circumstances, was found to be most con. the end of the law, clearly preached, and venient; for both he that did observe it, the temple destroyed; it is utterly unlawand he that did not observe it, might have ful now, to rob Christians of their liberty done it to the Lord, which could not be, which Christ has purchased for them, and unless the keeping thereof during that enjoin the abstainance from meats, upon time had been morally indifferent : He any religious score, seeing that would be that observeth a day, abferveth it to the accounted will-worship and superstition, Lord; and he who observeth not a day, to Col. ii. 20. 21. 22. 23. and is accounted by the Lord he doth not regard it.

the apostle a doctrine of devils, i Tim. ir. II. Tho' chere be many actions in their 1. 3. and blamed even in an apostle, Gal. specific paiure left indifferent, so that in ii

. 14. it was but during this time that the respect of their specific nature they be nei apostle spoke this, He that eateth not, to ther commanded nor forbidden, in which the Lord be eateth not. the kingdom of heaven doth not confift, V. Tho' then it was true that he who verse 17. and which commendeth us not regarded

regarded a day, did regard it unto the Lord, unto God, so that neither if we do are and so it was morally indifferent, whether we the better, .nor if we forbear are we to keep, wiih a religious intention as a the worse, 2 Cor. viii. 8.; yet there is no piece of worship, the days set apart by God action of a Christian, but, if all circum- in the ceremonial law, or not, until the stances be noticed, and the same consider- full time when they should have been bucd in its individual nature, as so and so ried; yet it is utterly unlawful now to keep circumstantiated, is either prohibited or any day holy (except the Lord's day, which allowed of God, and so lawful or anlaw- is now become our Christian Sabbath) as ful; for tho' the observing of days, or holy in itself, by virtue of any dedication, forbearing of some sorts of meat, was ar or sequestration, whether to Christ's natithis time indifferent, as to their specific viry, ascension and the like, or to saines; as nature, yet when these actions came to be a passing from that liberty wherewith Chrit individuated, there was necessary a respect has set us free, Gal. v. 1. and contrary to to God's glory, and this made the observe an express command, Gal. iv. 9. 10. But ing or not observing (together with other now after that ye have known God, or racircumstances,) approven of God, and this ther are kno-vn of God, howe turn ye again (all other things being alike,) was enough to the weak and beggarly elements, whereto cast the ballance : He that regardeth a unto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye day, regardeth it unto the Lord, &c. observe days, and months, and times, and

H. A Christian should be so taken years. See Col. ii. 16. It was but during up with the glory of God, that, in all his ihat time that this was true, that be that actions, even about matters indifferent, he regardeth a day, regardeth it unto the fhould aim and level at that with Gingle Lord, &c. ness of heart : He that regardeth' a day, VI. It is a piece of that honour which regardeth it unto the Lurd, &c. See 1 Cor. we owe to God, and should aim at in the x. 31. Col. iii. 17.

use of his good creatures, have we them IV. Tho' at that time it was indifferent allowed to us in great abundance, or in to have used all meats, or to have for more scarcity, to be acknowledging bim


gave God thanks.

the giver, and asking his blessing with himself; none of us believers, be we weak them, and heartily to be rendering him or itrong, do (or ought to) propose ourthe calves of our lips, and expressing our Telves as our ultimate end in life or death; thankfulness to him for them; for as and again this is cleared and confirmed by thankfulness is called for always, Col. iii. the contrary, ver. 8. For whether we live, 17. and iv. 2. 1 Thefl. v. 18. fo then we live unto the Lord, &c. and so we be. when we are receiving of his good crea- ing his, should eye him only, and protures, 1 Tim. iv. 4. 5. The apostle prov- pose him as our end in all we do, whether eth that both be who eateth, and he who in prosperity or adversity, and in life and cateth not, did it to the Lord, because they death we are his; and this is proven in

ver. 9. For to this end Christ both died, and VII. Tho'weak Christians cannot reach roje, and revived, that he might be Lord the length of others in many duties or both of the dead and living : Chiis has puractions; yet they may win to as much ho chased this dominion at a great rate; hę nesty, sincerity, and singleness of heart in died and rose again that he might have an aiming at the glory of God; for he who absolute dominion over believers; he died respected a day, and did not eat, did it to to purchase this dominion; he role as a the Lord, as well as he who respected not a victor over death, and took possession of day, and did eat.

his dominion; and he revived, and liveth VIII. The charitable construction that for ever, that he might exerce this domieach Christian should have of the fincere

on over them. and christian intentions of another, in actions wherein they differ from them (being

OBSERVATIONS. but indifferent) should move and provoke 1. Tho' the Lord alloweth his people a each to forbear the censuring, or vilipend moderate care for the body, and what coning of another; for this is the force of the cerneth its welfare, in subordination to apostle's argument.

what should be their main end; yet no

thing concerning their welfare in a world VERSES 7. 8. 9. For none of us liveth to should be the ultimate end at which they

himself, and no man dieth to himself. should mainly aim; and in subordination For whether we live, we live unto the Lord;

and whether we die, we die unto the worldly affairs: None of us liveth to himLord: whether we live therefore or die, self; they should wholly deny themselves we are the Lord's.

in pleasures, profits and honours, Luke For to this end Christ both died, and rose, ix. 23._ See Phil. ii, 21.

and revived, that he might be Lord both II. Tho' there be much inordinate selfof the dead and living.

love, and too eager desire after the things

of a world, even in the best; yet there is a N these verses the apostle is further il-great change wrought in believers; that

lustrating and confirming the former whereas before their conversion they were argument, and shewing how believers, be wholly sold to the world, and devoted to they weak or be they strong do (or at least seek their own things therein, now it is ought to) eye God and his glory in all not so with them; they have a more noble their actions, and to eat or to forbear eat- and high end proposed, and have postponing unto the Lord; to regard or not re- ed that which before was the chief thing gard a day unto the Lord; and so he be of their aim and desire: tho' now and then gineth this with a for, faying, For none of temptation prevails to the contrary, yet us liveth to himself, and none of us dieth to I themselves are not their end, when they


, go

3 X

are at themselves: None of us liveth to him-him: Whether we live or die, we are the felj; that is, None of us believers are so

Lord's. taken up with ourselves, as if we had no VIII. This relation that is betwixt other end to level at.

Christ and believers, is a fixed, standing, III. As believers are not their own permanent relation; no ups and downs in while living, so neither are they masterless believers can alter it, no changes of difwhen in afliction and dying: No man diet ho pensations, yea nor death itself, which puis to himself

an end to all other relations, and loolerá IV. Believers being now changed from all other ob'igations, as husband and wife, nature to grace, and so having, as it were, Rom. vij. 2. master and lervant, &'c. This changed countries, they have changed al- conjunction and relation abides frefh even so masters, and now they have their Lord after death: W bei her we live or die, we are Redeemer for their Lord and Master, and the Lord's. See Marth. xxii. 32. their life and all their actions are now re- IX. The Lord Jesus Christ, the second gulated by his laws, and carried on in sub- person in the Trinity, took on our nature, ordination to his honour and glory: W be- and not the nature of angels, Heb. ii. 16. ther we live, it is unto the Lord.

and was made a little lower than the anV. Whosoever are proposing them gels, Heb. ii 7. 9. and tho' he thought it selves, and their own welfare, as their ulti- no robbery to be equal with God, yet he mate end, such are not living unto the humbled himself, and became obedient unLord; for none can serve two contrary to the death, Phil. ii. 6. 8. Christ died. masters, fuch as Self, and the Lord are; X. As Christ having by his death fatisand the main thing which keeps folks from fied justice, so as the Father could call for proposing the Lord and his glory, as their no more at his hands, was therefore let go end and scope, is their inordinate self-love, out of prison, yea and taken out by the and driving at that mainly; for these two Father, Phil. ii. 9. '0. so being God as are opposed here; and there is no mids be- well as man, he, by his own power, brake twixt living to ourselves, and living to the thro' the bonds of death, and raised himLord; so that whoever is not living to the self up to life; as he died, fo be rose and Lord, is certainly eyeing himself as his revived. end: Whether we live, we live unto the XI. Though Jesus Christ as God had Lord.

power and dominion over all creatures, be VI. So fingle-hearted, felf-denyed and ing the work of his own hands, Col. i. 16. dead to themselves should believers be, that John i. 3. and that from the beginning; as they should not act for themselves. but yet he bath moreover a peculiar dominion give themselves whoily to the service of over the elect and believers, as Mediator their Lord and Master; fo, in his service, and their Head and Husband; he is now they should not stand to hazard all they in a peculiar manner Lord and Commandhave; and, when he calleth, to lay down er of his church and chosen people, giving their very life, when it may tend to ihe them laws, ruling them by his Spirit, glory of his name : Whether we die, we die quiekening and defending them: I har he unto the Lord.

might be Lord both of the dead and lizing. VII. As believers are wholly devosed XII. This Lordfhip and dominion is unto the lervice of the Lord, and our hi brought about and acquired by the means to eye his honour and advantage mainly; of God's work of Mediato flip and me. fo the Lord ownerh !hein as his; there is diarion, purchased by his death, for by it a standing relation betwixr him and them. she bought a people to himieli; and put in and this is the ground of their service to ] exercise by his glorificacion: To this end

« PreviousContinue »