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7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden
wisdom, which God ordained, before the world, unto our glory.
the princes *, or great men of this world t, who will y quickly be brought to nought *. But we speak the
able by man's natural parts and faculties; such as man's wit could find out, cultivate and improve: “ ar of the princes of this world," i, e. such doctrines, arts and sciences, as the princes of the world approve, encourage, and endeavour to propagate.
* Though by "Apzoules tõ aiuvos Tóto, may here be understood the princes, or great men, of this world, in the ordinary sense of these words; yet he that well considers ver. 28. of the foregoing chapter, and ver. 8. of this chapter, may find reason to think, that the apostle here principally designs the rulers and great men of the jewish nation. If it be objected, that there is little ground to think that St. Paul, by the wisdom he disowns, should mean that of his own nation, which the greeks of Corinth (whom he was writing to) had little acquaintance with, and had very little esteem fur; I reply, that to understand this right, and the pertinency of it, we must remember, that the great design of St. Paul, in writing to the corinthians, was, to take them off from the respect and esteem that many of them had for a false apostle, that was got in among them, and had there raised a faction against St. Paul. This pretended apostle, it is plain, from 2 Cor. 11, 22, was a jew, and as it seems, 2 Cor. v, 16, 17, valued himself upon that account, and possibly boasted himself to be a man of note, either by birth, or alliance, or place, or learning, among that people, who counted themselves the holy and illuminated people of God; and therefore, to have a right to sway among these new heathen converts. To obviate this claim of his to any authority, St. Paul here tells the corinthians, that the wisdom and learning of the jewish nation led them not into the knowledge of the wisdom of God, i. e. the gospel revealed in the Old Testament, evident in this, that it was their rulers and rabbies, who, stiffly adhering to the notions and prejudices of their nation, had crucified Jesus, the Lord of glory, and were now themselves, with their state and religion, upon the point to be swept away and abolished. It is to the same purpose, that 2 Cor. v. 16-19, he tells the corinthians, That, “ he knows no man after the flesh,” i. e. that he acknowledges no dignity of birth, or descent, or outward national privileges. The old things of the jewish constitution are past and gone; whoever is in Christ, and entereth into his kingdom, is in a new creation, wherein all things are new, all things are from God: no right, no claim, or preference, derived to any one, from any former institution ; but every one's dignity consists solely in this, that God had reconciled him to himself, not imputing his former trespasses to him.
+ Aiur Tos, which we translate “ this world," seems to me to signify commonly, if not constantly, in the New Testament, that state which, during the mosaical constitution, men, either jews or gentiles, were in, as contradistinguished to the evangelical state, or constitution, which is commonly called, Aicór uénawr, or spxóueros, “ the world to come.”
Two malapyouévwv, “ who are brought to neugbt," i. e. who are vanishing. If is the wisdom of this world, and of the princes of this world,” be to be understood, of the wisdom and learning of the world, in general, as contradistinguished to the doctrine of the gospel, then the words are added, to show what folly it is for thein to glory, as they do, in their teachers, when all that
PARAPHRASE. wisdom of God *, contained in the mysterious and the obscure prophecies of the Old Testament t, which has been therein concealed and hid : though it be what God predetermined, in his own purpose, before the jewish constitution *, to the glory of
worldly wisdom and learning, and the great men, the supporters of it, would quickly be gone; whereas all true and lasting glory came only from Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. But if these words are to be understood of the jews, as seems most consonant, both to the main design of the epistle, and to St. Paul's expressions here; then his telling them, that the princes of the jewish nation are brought to nought, is to take them off from glorying in their judaizing, false apostle; since the authority of the rulers of that nation, in matters of religion, was now at an end, and they, with all their pretences, and their very constitution itself, were upon the point of being abolished and swept away, for having rejected and crucified the Lord of glory.
7* " Wisdom of God,” is used here for the doctrine of the gospel, coming immediately from God, by the revelation of his Spirit; and, in this chapter, is set in opposition to all knowledge, discoveries and improvements whatsoever, attainable by human industry, parts and study; all which he calls, “ the “ wisdom of the world, and man's wisdom.” Thus distinguishing the knowledge of the gospel, which was derived wholly from revelation, and could be had no other way, from all other knowledge whatsoever.
+ What the Spirit of God had revealed of the gospel, during the times of the law, was so little understood by the jews, in whose sacred writings it was contained, that it might well be called the “ wisdom of God in a mystery," i.e. declared in obscure prophecies, and mysterious expressions, and types. Though this be undoubtedly so, as appears by what the jews both thoughi and did, when Jesus the Messiah, exacily answering what was foretold of him, came amongst them, yet hy “the wisdom of God, in the mystery, wherein it “ was hid though purposed by God, before the settling of the jewish economy,” St. Paul sceins more peculiarly to mean, what the gentiles, and consequently the corinthians, were more peculiarly concerned in, viz. God's purpose of calling the gentiles to be his people under the Messiah ; which, though revealed in the Old Testament, yet was not in the least understood, until the times of the gospel, and the preaching of St. Paul, thc : postle of the gentiles; which, therefore, he so frequently calls a mystery. The reading and comparing Rom. xvi. 25, 26. Eph. iii. 3–9. ch. vi. 19, 20, Col, i. 26, 27. and ii. 1,8. and iv. 3, 4. will give light to this. To which give me leave to observe, upon the use of the word Wisdom, here, that St. Paul, speaking of God's calling the gentiles, capvot, in mentioning it, forbear expressions of his admiratiou of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of God therein. See Eph. iii. 8, 10. Rom. xi. 33.
I npo truk aicvwy, signifies properly “ before the ages," and I think it may be doubted, whether these words, before the world,” do exactly render the sense of the place. That qiw, or alwves, should not be translated, “ the 66 world,” as in many places they are, I shall give one convincing instance, among many, that may be brought, viz. Eph. iii. 9. compared with Col. i. 26. The words in Colossians are, to uusinprov rò arroxex fupepévov anò TWY dccrwy, thus rendered in the English translation, “ which haih been hidden from ages;” but in Eph. iii. 9, a parallel place, the same words, tō rusnpár tő ároxex puppéve
TÒ TW aiww, are translated, “ The mystery which, from the beginning of the “ world, hath been hid.” Whereas it is plain from Col, i. 26, ŠTÒ Twm aicvwr does not signify the epoch, or commenceinent of the concealment, but those from whom it was concealed. It is plain, the apostle, in the verse inme. TEXT. 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they
known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, 9 But, as it is written, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nei
“ther have entered into the heart of man, the things which
« God hath prepared for them that love him." 10 But God hath revealed them unto us, by his Spirit; for the
Spirit searcheth all things: yea, the deep things of God,
PARAPHRASE. 8 us *, who understand, receive, and preach it: Which
none of the rulers among the jews understood; for, if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord
Christ, who has in his hands the disposing of all 9 true glory. But they knew 'it not, as it is written,
“ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have the 6 things, that God hath prepared for them that
“ love him, entered into the heart or thoughts of 10 “ man." But these things, which are not disco
verable by man's natural faculties and powers, God hath revealed to us, by his Spirit, which searcheth out all things, even the deep counsels of God, which are beyond the reach of our abilities to dis
NOTES. diately preceding, and that following this, which we have before us, speaks of the jews ;” and therefore προ των αιώνων here may be well understood to mean, “ Before the ages of the jews ;” and so år' aiurwe, “ from the ages ~ of the jews," in the other two-mentioned texts. Why aiwves in these, and other places, as Luke i. 70, and Acts iii. 21, and elsewhere, should be appro. priated to the ages of the jews, may be owing to their counting by ages, or jubilees, vid. Dr. Burthogge in his judicious treatise, “ Christianity a revealed is mystery," cap. 2, page 17.
* St. Paul here opposes the true glory of a christian, to the glorying, which was amongst the corintbians, in the eloquence, learning, or any other quality of their factious leaders; for St. Paul, in all his expressions, has an eye on his main purpose; as if he should have said, “ Why do you make divisions, by “ glorying, as you do, in your distinct teachers; the glory that God has or“ dained us christian teachers and professors to, is to be expounders, preachers, 6 and believers of those revealed truths and purposes of God, which, though
contained in the sacred scriptures of the Old Testament, were not understood « in former ages. This is all the glory that belongs to us, the disciples of of Christ, who is the Lord of all power and glory, and herein has given us, “ what far excels all, that either jews, or gentiles, had any expectation of, * from what they gloried in : " vid. ver. 9. Thus St. Paul takes away all matter of glorying from the false apostle, and his factious followers among the corinthians. The excellency of the gospel-administration, see also 2 Cor. iii. 6_11.
TEXT. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of
a man, which is in him ? even so, the things of God knoweth
no man, but the Spirit of God." 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things, that
are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words, which man's
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; com
paring spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of
PARAPHRASE. 11 cover. For, as no man knoweth what is in the
mind of another man, but only the spirit of the man himself that is in him: so, much less doth any man
know, or can discover, the thoughts and counsels of 12 God, but only the Spirit of God. But we * have
received, not the spirit of the world t, but the Spirit, which is of God, that we might know what things
are in the purpose of God, out of his free bounty 13 to bestow upon us. Which things we not only
know, but declare also; not in the language and learning, taught by human eloquence and philosophy, but in the language and expressions, which the Holy Ghost teacheth, in the revelations
contained in the holy scriptures, comparing one 14 part of the revelation with another. But a
NOTES. 12 We, the true apostles, or rather I; for though he speaks in the plural number, to avoid ostentation, as it might be interpreted; yet he is here justi. fying himself, and showing the corinthians, that none of them had reason to forsake and slight him, to follow and cry up their false apostle. And that he speaks of himself, is plain from the next verse, where he saith, “ We speak « not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth,” the same which he says of himself, ch. i. ver. 17, “ I was sent to preach, not with wisdom of words.” And chap. ii. ver. 1, " I came to you, not with excellency of speech, or of “ wisdom.”
+ As he puts princes of the world, ver. 6, 8, for the rulers of the jews, so here he puts“ Spirit of the world” for the notions of the jews : that worldly spirit, wherewith they interpreted the Old Testament, and the prophecies of the Messiah and his kingdom; which spirit, in contradistinction to the Spirit of God, which the Roman converts had received, he calls the spirit of bondage, Rom. iii. 15.
13 f It is plain the spiritual things,” he here speaks of, are the unsearchable counsels of God, revealed by the Spirit of God, which therefore he calls « spiritual things."
TEXT. God : for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know
them; because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he, that is spiritual, judgeth all things, yet he himself is
judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may in.
struct him ? but we have the mind of Christ.
PARAPHRASE. man *, who hath no other help but his own natural faculties, how much soever improved by human arts and sciences, cannot receive the truths of the gospel, which are made known by another principle only, viz. the Spirit of God revealing them; and therefore seem foolish and absurd to such a man: nor can he, by the bare use of his natural faculties, and the principles of human reason, ever come to the knowledge of them; because it is, by the studying
of divine revelation alone, that we can attain the 15 knowledge of them. But he that lays his founda
tion in divine revelation t, can judge what is, and what is not, the doctrine of the gospel, and of salvation; he can judge who is, and who is not, a good minister and preacher of the word of God: but others, who are bare animal men *, that go not beyond the discoveries made by the natural faculties of human understanding, without the help and study
of revelation, cannot judge of such an one, whether 16 he preacheth right and well, or not. For who, by
the bare use of his natural parts, can come to know the mind of the Lord, in the design of the gospel, so as to be able to instruct himt (the spiritual man] in
NOTES. 14, 15. * Yuxexos, “ the animal man," and wrevpalovo's, “ the spiritual man,” are opposed by St. Paul, in ver. 14, 15, the one signifying a man, that has no higher principles to build on, than those of natural reason; the other, a man, that founds bis faith and religion on divine revelation. This is what appears to be meant by natural, or rather animal man, and spiritual, as they stand op. posed, in these two verses.
16 + Acro', him, refers here to spiritual man, in the former verse, and not to Lord, in this. For St. Paul is showing here, not that a natural man, and a mere philosopher, cannot instruct Christ; this no-body, pretending to be a christian, could own: but that a man, by his bare natural parts, not knowing