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IV. As there is a scandal only taken upon the contrary, may intend their edi. when one carpeth at, and is offended with fication and growth in knowledge, as Marche another's doing of what is necessary, as, xvi. 22. 23. : For here, notwithstanding Matth. xv. 12.; so there is a scandal only that the eater might intend the edification given by laying that before another which of the weak, by instructing them in their is apt to cause or occasion the fall of an-. christian liberty, and no way intend their other, tho' that other doth not actually hurt, yet their eating in this case is scanfall thereby, as Marth. xvi. 23. and there dalous, and called a stumbling-block, and is a scandal both given and taken, when an occasion to fall. this is laid before one, which is not only VIII. That, among other things, which apt to occasion another's stumbling, but maketh the use of indifferent things beat which the other doth actually, through come fcandalous is, when thereby occasion his corruption, stumble and fall, Gal. ii. is given to others to speak or think evil of 13. and both these last may be here meant, them or their profession, and to account and boil, even the very scandal given on or judge them profane; and when oly, are to be shuned; the very puting of thers are thereby induced to act contrary a stumbling-block before our brother is to to their own light, and to think that lawbe guarded against: Judge this rather, ful which they think unlawful; at least that no man put a stumbling block, &c. to wrong the peace and quietness of their
V. As there are some scandals in matter consciences; for upon these and such like of opinion, when either an untruth is de scores, is the earing of the strong here callfended, whereby others are taught to err, ed a stumbling-block, &c. because thereby Matth. v. 19. or a sinful practice and deed the weak were made to judge them as unis pleaded for, Rev. ii. 14. 15.; so is there tender, verse 10. and to doubt of their own scandal given by external practice which acting, or to act contrary to their own is inductive uoto sin; such was this here, light, ó'c. à scandal given by eating such and such IX. There is so much corruption remeats : That no man put a stumbling-block, maining in God's own children, as makes or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way. them too ready fo to stumble at what
VI. Not only is this offence and scandal others do, as that they shall be all put given, by doing that which is simply finful in confusion, the light of their judgments and unlawful, or only by that which hath darkened with doubts and scruples, the sesome appearance of evil, i Theff. v. 17. renity and calmness of conscience banishPhil. iv. 8.9. Gal. ii. 3. but also by doing ed with cross sentences and peremptory dethat which is otherways lawful and indif crees, the fedate condition of the affecferent; as was this eating of meats fortions disturbed with grief, or the like; bidden by the ceremonial law, which at and thus to stumble not only at what is other times and in other places had been finful, or at least hath appearance of evil lawful enough, yet, hic et nunc, when the with it, but even at what is in itself inweak were in hazard of stumbling thereat, different: for thus the weak, tho' graci. even the practice of this indifferent thing pus, were in hazard of stumbling, and of is called a puting a stumbling-block, or an being offended. occafion to fall, in his brother's way. See X. So hateful, detestable and dangerous 1 Cor. viii. and x.
a thing is it for one to be guilty of scanVII. The practice of a thing indiffe-dalizing his neighbour, Matth. xviii. 7. that rent may be inductive unto fin, and so scan. The consideration thereof should be a strong dalous, notwithstanding the praétiser hath motive to stir all up to guard against the no intention to scandalize, but rather, I fame, and for this cause to forbear, Dot
Quly what is sinful or needless, but even Efore he proceeds to other arguments, what is lawful or indifferent, and in some he takes away an objection in this relpect useful and profitable: tho’ they verse: It might be said by tlie strong, ought not for fear of this to shup or for- We know that now since Christ is come, bear any necessary duty, yet ought they the commodness or uncleanness of meals to forbear the use of things in themselves is taken away, and there is now no such indifferent, tho’ otherways lawful : there. difference as was made by the ceremonial fore to dissuade the strong from eating of law; and were it not better then, that such meats, he calleth it a puting of a stum- we should walk conforın to our cbriftian bling-block, or an occasion to fall in our bro-liberty, and that they should endeavour to thers way. See 1 Cor. ix. 19. 20. &c. win up to us, than that we should quit 2 Cor. vi. 3.
our liberty for them? To this the apoitle XI. Were we fostering brotherly af. answereth, granting the antecedent, viz. fection in our hearts towards others, whe. that now the difference is removed, I ther within or without the church, we know,-fays he, and am persuaded of it, would be careful to abstain from what is and that by the illumination of the Spirit not absolutely necessary, and would be loth of Jesus, that there is no meat now unclean to lay traps, or spread gins, before any, of itlelf, and that the ceremonial uncleanby our carriage: therefore he useth this ness is now removed; but he denieth the argument to dissuade them from the use consequence, and faith, Norwithstanding of thele indifferent things, viz. that it was hereof it is better for you to condescend a puting of a stumbling-block before their to them, than that they should come up brother. See 1 Cor. x. 32.
to you, for it will be no fin for you to conXII. So hard a matter is it, to take up descend and cede from your liberty, but it aright the nature of the action, to ponder will be fin in them; for to him that esteem. aright all the circumstances which may eth any thing to be unclean, to him it is une have weight to vary the case, to under-clean: If.he, in his -erroneous conscience, Atand thoroughly all the doubts, questions shall esteem those meats prohibited, he and scruples which might be raised in and may not meddle with them, for in this about the practice of indifferent things, case even his erroneous conscience binds and what our carriage should be in a time up his hands. when offences abound, that it would take up a man's whole study to learn how to
OBSERVATIONS. walk evenly and straightly among such dif- I. Thoʻit seemed good in the Lord's ficulties, and to guard against scandalizing, eyes to hedge in the people of the Jews and puting an occasion of falling in our with rails, and deny them the free use brother's way: for he says, judge this ra- of his good. creatures, for diverse ends, ther; that is, try and examine yourself and and so bind up their hands froin several actions, and so level them that they may of them, the more to inure thein to obedinot give offence; Judge this rather, that ence, in a way suitable to their non-age; no man put a stumbling-block, &c.
yet God hath thought good to enlarge ihe
border of qur christian liberty, and to VERSE 14. I know, and am persuaded by grant now to his church under the gospel,
the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing greater freedom, as to a church come to unclean of itself: but to him that esteem- age, and now there is nothing unclean of eth any thing to be unclean, to him it is itself, (tho’ to the unbelieving every thing 'unclean.
be unclean, Tic. i. 15.) but cf every gooi
creature we may now eat freely : I know, ritably. Deltroy not him with thy meat, and am persuaded, that there is nothing un- for whom Christ died. clean of itself. See Acts x. 15. 1 Tim.iv. 4. 5.
II. Tho' men by pains and industry may HE apoftie proceedeth to press the wio a great length in the knowledge of some points of truth, yet the cleareit up- those meats, which otherways, when his taking and discovery of truths, and the brother would not be scandalized, offend. fullest perfuation is by the Spirit of God; ed, or grieved, he might lawfully eat, and when the Spirit of the Lord Jesus en- and maketh use of three or her arguments lighteneth a soul, then all doubis and fcru- here; as, 1. If thy brother be grieved with ples are banished, and the man wins up to thy ineat, now wakket thou not charitably; a full persuasion: I know, and am perfuaded that is, If thy eating of meats, sometime by the Lord Jesus.
forbidden by the ceremonial law, trouble, III. Tho' when an erroneous conscience vex and grieve the conscience of thy weak takes that to be sinful which is a neceffary brother, thou oughtft to forbear, otherways duty, or that to be a duty which is sinful, thou tranfgresseit the laws of charity, and it only binds the man from acting contrary walkest most uncharitably. 2. Thou art to the light of his conscience, and this a foul-murderer, a destroyer with thy it doth because that conscience is God's de. meat, and one that strikes in with the devil, puty, and when it is contraveened the au- whose work it is to destroy fouls, and thority of God is contraveened, for what therefore has the name of a destroyer, Rev. it holdeth forth, it holdeth forth as God's xix. 11. 3. Thou counterworkert Chrift, mind, and in God's name and authority; and labouret to undermine his work; he and for any thing the man knows it may be caine to fave fouls, yea, aud laid down fo,) but doth nor lay on an obligation to act his life to save fouls, he bought these, (for accordingly; yet when it takes that to be any thing chou knowest to the contrary.) sinful, which is but lawful or indifferent, it with his precious blood, and thou by thy not only binds but obligeth the man to act carriage doft what in thee lieth to rob him accordingly; so that he must not do that of them: Destroy not him with thy meat, which, tho' lawful in itself, yet is repre. for whom Christ died. sented to him as finful, but must abitain from it as linful: To him that esteemeth any
OBSERVATIONS. thing to be unclean, to him it is unclear ; 1. It is a scandalizing and giving of it not being in itself finful to forbear the offence unto our brother, to do any thing practice of what is lawful, but not necessary, whereby ground or occasion is given of or only indifferent.
marring his spiritual joy and rejoicing, IV. Because the weak may not cross fadening his heart, and makiog him go their own conscience, and do that which softly and walk heavily, and to be grieved in conscience they judge sinful and unlaw- at us and our carriage; for what before, ver. ful, and the strong may well forbear the 13. he called a puting of a stumbling-block, practice of what is but indifferent, there and occasion of offence in our brother's way, fore it is most agreeable to christian equi he here calleth a grieving of our brother ; ty and reason, that the stronger Thould But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat. condescend unto the weak : this is the sub- II. So rath and uptender are many stance of the apostle's answer.
Christians in their walk, that they care
little to mar the spiritual good of their Verse 15. But if thy brother be grieved brethren, and to put them to much per:
with tly meat, now walkest thou not cha- plexity, disquietness of mind, and grief of
spirit, by their use of such things as are by doing that which is inductive unto sin, not very necessary, but at most indifferent, and so that which may lead, provoke and if they can have any cloke of liberty and itir him up to fin, which, if mercy pre. seen advantage thereby ; and so ready vent not, will certainly procure ruin and are Christians to halt in their race of spiri- death to him: Destroy not him with thy tual joy and gladness, and to be mared in meat for whom Christ died. See 1 Cor. viii. their peace and tranquillity, that some"times the fight of another's use of what is VI. This sin of scandalizing the weak, in itself lawful, will be enough to do it : draweth deeper than many are aware; it If thy brother be grieved with thy meat. is no less than a counterworking of Christ, The Itrong cared little to put the weak to a labouring to rob him of his purchase, this grief of mind by their very meats, seeing even of his dear purchase of blood; and it was something for their advantage, and to spoil him of those for whom he has laid conform to their christian liberty, and the down his life ; it is a destroying of him for weak were too soon shaken by this practice whom Christ died, even tho he who is which was in itself lawful.
scandalized be none of those for whom III. It is a most unchristian, uncharitable Christ hath laid down his life; for he may thing for Christians, to be so little affected be so for any thing we know, and we should towards the spiritual emolument and com- account so in charity of all professors. See fortable walking of their brethren, and so 2 Cor. viii. 12. little moved with what discourageth their VII. Were we studying the rules of spirits, lesseneth their joy, and mareth charity more, and considering the nature of their chearful walk in the way of godli. this deed of scandalizing our brother, and ness, as not to forbear the use of indiffe particularly how it were foul-murder, even rent things, when the peace, calmness, joy a murdering of souls purchased by Christ and gladness of their brethren stands upon at the dearest rate, the rate of his blood, it; but if thy brother be grieved with thy we durft not adventure to be so addicted to meat, now walkest thou not charitably. our own pleasures, wills, advantage or ease,
IV. How beit many think little of stum- under pretext of authority, or Thelter of bling others, and scandalizing them, or of that kind, as to adhere to the practice of their use of indifferent things, whereby things not absolutely neceffary, but at best others are so scandalized; yet, in God's ac- only indifferent, when the edification of our count, the doing of that whereby. our bro- neighbour is endangered thereby; for these ther is but grieved in his own mind, for are the arguments the apostle useth here; thinking us not so tender in our walk as Now walkest thou: not charitably; destroy he could with, or fome such way, is soul- not him with thy meat for whom Christ murder; as being a doing, so far as lieth died. See 1 Cor. viii. 11. in our power, what may sadden his heart, so as to make him go back in the way of VERSE 16. Let not then your good be evil godliness, tho' it should never actually fall Spoken of. our so; the grieving of our brother with our meat, is a destroying of him, Destroy Sixth argument is, By your walking not him with thy meat. See 1 Cor. viii. 1 í. ihe length of your christian liberty
V. Tho' it be imposible that ever any in the use of these indifferent things, when such as Christ laid down his lite for, and your weak brethren are offended therewith, by the price of blood redeemed from hell you give occasion to them to think and and death, should actually perilh ; yet we speak evil of your christian profeffion and may be guilty of soul-murder before God, | liberty, and to account it no liberty grant
3 Y 2
ed of Christ, but a licentiousness authorized , believers, so as it should go near their by Satan, and so to blafpheme the same, heart to hear the same reproached, and which should be guarded against by all should therefore by all means prevent the means posible, and so far as as liech in fame: therefore their profession and chri: your power.
ftian liberty is called here, their good; Leto
not your good be evil spoken of. OBSERVATIONS. 1. Our carriage becometh scandalous and Verses 17. 18. For the kingdom of God offensive unto our peighbour, when he is is not ineat and drink, but righteou
refs, thereby induced to have finifter thoughts of and peace, and joy in the Holy Gholt. Christianity, and of our profession, and to For be that in these things ferveth Chrift, vent his ill thoughts thereof, to the disho. is acceptable to God, and approved of nour of God; that is, when our good is evil Spoken of
II. Such is our corruption, that when Here is a seventh argument here laid any who are of a contrary judgment unto down, to this purpose: You take it us, walk otherways than we think doch ill to have your liberty abridged in these become Christians, we will not impute indifferent things, and are fo stiff and violent that unto their persons, and account it a for the practice of them as if they were of personal escape, but are ready to impute more concern to your everlasting interest; it unto their
principles, and cry out against but this is your mistake, these indifferent their profession, and blafpheme even that things are not so absolutely neceffary unto whereof God is author; so did the weak falvation as you imagine; and fince they here blaspheme that which was good, and are not of such necessity, why lay you lo that upon this score: Let not your good be much weight upon them? why are you so evil spoken of, or blasphemed.
fo loth to forbear the use of them, even III. Tho' Christians ought not to be seek- when your brother is offended thereat? ing a name in a world, and proposing that For illustration of this argument, he tells as a main thing; yet so tender ought they them, ilt, That the kingdom of God is not to be of their name and profession, where meat and drink; that is, that the practice in God's glory is so much concerned, that of these indifferent things is not the by all means they should labour to walk so hinge upon which our everlasting wellcircumfpectly as pone may have any occa- being turneth; they are not of absolu'e fion given of thinking or speaking reproach- necessity for a state of grace, to bring us fully and disgracefully of Christianity; and or keep us in favour with God, i Cor. viii. in particular, should not lay the profit or 8. nor yet for a state of glory, as if there advantage they can have by the practising were no enjoyment of the favour of God of things indifferent, in the ballance with during eternity, without the practice of that : For this is the sum of the apostle's indifferent things. 2dly, He theweth what argument, Let not your good be evil Spoken things are far more necessary, and far more of.
to be looked to, and nameth three partiIV. The profession of Christianity, and culars, k. Righteousness; that is, to be the liberty which Christ hath purchased clothed with the righteousness of Christ unto his followers, however enemies and for justification, Rom. iv. 13. and ix. 30. ftrangers thereto account little of it, yea, and to have the grace of God's Spirit do despise and fpeak evil thereof; yet it sanctifying us, whereby we may be enabled ought to be precious in the account and to walk in all our duties, of holiness toestimation of, and most acceptable unto. I wards-God, Rom. vi. 18. and towards our