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shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'j not neighbours; or that he shall keep but one
servant, because it is said, Rom. xiv. 4. Who art thou that judgejl another mans
servant, in the singular number, not servants, in the plural: or to argue for polygamy, because it is said, \ Cor. vii. 29. they that have wives, and not every one that has a wife. All such literal or verbal criticism is mere word-rcatching, far below the dignity of fair argument, and deserves nothing but contempt.
Those who represent the apojlle as addressing himself to single persons, and advising them to marry, to avoid fornication, make him guilty of evident tautology—for the eighth verse is expressly addressed to the unmarried and widows* After wishing that all, like himself, could live unmarried (that they might have less distraction in their attendance on the service of God, ver. 35.) he adds —but if they cannot contain let them marry, for it is better to marry than burn— Trvpcvtr&xt, to be fired, to be on fire— (comp. Cant. viii. 6. Hof. vii. 4.) that is, with he/I, or unchaste desires, by which they might be driven into the commission of fornication, and all manner of uncleanness;*—which is, in effect, saying the same thing pver again, as some would have him to say at the second verse, the very terms of which shew it to be addressed to married ■persons j for how could the apostle fay to a Jingle man—let him have—e'^eTU, retain—yivxmx ixuru, his wife j or to a Jingle woman—let her have, i. e. keep to— rov IlSiov xvtipx, her own husband? The immediate connection of this verse with the three following, which can belong to married people only, is another strong argument for the truth of this observation. Besides, if we understand the Hxgci, every man, and the eKX<ft> every woman, to relate here to any but the married people, it may seem to make the apostle command every one to marry, whether they chuse it or not, contrary to ver. 7, 8. The word wxsot is certainly relative, and must agree with some masculine substantive understood: this can be, (agreeably to the rest of the verse) nothing but camp, which, in the last clause, must signify husband—Tov t<$iov xvtipx, her own husband, and so in the four times it is used in the two following verses. The word sxxgvj is also relative, and must agree with some feminine substantive un-r derstood; this can be no other than yvwi, which, in this verse, is rendered wife; and so the four times it is used in the following verses. If the Ccwj/j and yywj which
#re understood, had been rendered as they are uniformly in the rest of the contexts all difficulty in understanding, and all disputes about, the apostles meaning had been saved, and the evil alluded to reprobated in as plain terms as the apostle intended it shouldfor the verse would have stood thus—Let every husband (of married man) have his wife—yvvxtnx iavra, the wife that belongs to him—and every •wife (or married woman) have her own husband.
When he addresses himself to Jingle persons, and advises them to marry to avoid fornication (which is certainly the meaning of ver. 9.) he does not use a doubtful periphrasis, but speaks the matter in the common usual phrase-—ymfivicXTaexv —let them marry. There is something remarkable also at the tenth and eleventh verses, where, in answer to some question put to him in the Corinthians letter, probably about married persons, who were in a state of separation, he says — Let not the wife depart from her husband, but if Jhe depart—ixeutra ayxfioc—let her remain unmarried. Comp. Rom. vii. 3. and 1 Cor. vii. 39. This is said to be the command of God, ver. 10; how is it that it is not extended to the husband? It is only said—Let not the husband put
away away his wife. Had he construed Matt, xix. 9. by the found instead of the fense, he most probably would have said of the husband also, neihu a.yo>.(xo(, let him remain unmarried, in case of her departure, or of his putting her away.
But as those false apojlles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 13. had, by their erroneous and monstrous doctrines, saying, '* that all marriage was of the Devil" (for such was the doctrine of the Gnostics) sadly distressed the consciences of weak people, and led them to think, that, as marriage was a fnful thing, therefore all conjugal intercourse between married people must be fnful too, we find the apostle proceeding, ver. 3, to answer that part of the letter which related to their distress on this account. But, so far from deeming the intercourse of married persons wrong, he fays—" Let the hulhand "render unto the wife due benevolence, "'OQefocfmw ivmxv (which answers to ** the njy of Moses, Exod. xxi. 10. and ** which we decently render duty of mar"riage) and likewise the wife unto the ** husband. The wife has not power over "her own body, so as to withdraw herself "entirely from the conjugal debtx but "the husband may, as a matter of right,
'* have •
have access to her at all proper times and seasons. Likewise the husband has not the power («it elucic&Zei) of his own body% so as to withdraw from the conjugal intercourse with his wife, but the wife, as a debt due from the contract which the man is under to her, by the very terms of their union, has a right to his society.
"Therefore, defraud ye not one the other, fjivj XTroqeptns Clmwjc, do not deprive or wrong each other in these respects, under a false notion of its being sinful to come together as man and wife. There may be times, indeed, when both may find it expedient, and therefore both consent to separate for a while; as on occasion of particular abstinence and devotion: but let not even this exceed the bounds of prudence, lest, if it should, Satan mould take the advantage of you, and tempt you to gratify, in an unlawful way, those desires which may lawfully be satisfied between married persons. However, I do not insist upon the matter of your parting, even for a season, by way of commandment, Kilt' s^trxyvfv, but by way of permijjion, narx cvyyvunvp." §ee 2 Cor, via. to.