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TEXT. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and
mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the
marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
PARAPHRASE. ences in the flesh, avail any thing, but the new creation,
wherein by a thorough change a man is disposed to righteous 16 ness, and true holiness, in good works'. And on all those,
who walk by this rule, viz. that it is the new creation alone, and not circumcision, that availeth under the Gospel, peace
and mercy shall be on them, they being that Israel, which are 17 truly the people of God'. From henceforth, let no man give
me trouble by questions, or doubt whether I preach circumcision or no. It is true, I am circumcised. But yet the marks I now bear in my body are the marks of Jesus Christ, that I am his. The marks of the stripes, which I have received from the Jews, and which I still bear in my body for preaching
Jesus Christ, are an evidence that I am not for circumcision. 18 “ Brethren, the favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your
15 See Eph. ii. 10, and iv. 24. 16 'St. Paul having, in the foregoing verse, asserted, that it is the new creation
alone, that puts men into the kingdom of Christ, and into the possession of the privileges thereof, this verse may be understood also, as assertory, rather than as a prayer, unless there were a verb, that expressed it; especially considering, that he writes his epistle to encourage them to refuse circumcision. To which end, the assuring them, that those, who do so, shall have peace and mercy from God, is of more force than to tell them, that he prays that they may have peace and mercy. And, for the same reason, I understand “ the Israel of God" to be the same with “ those, who walk by this rule," though joined with them, by the copulative xal, and; no very unusual way of speaking.
FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
WRIT IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 57, of Nero 3.
SYNOPSIS. Saint Paul's first coming to Corinth was anno Christi 52, where he first applied himself to the synagogue, Acts xviii. 4. But finding them obstinate in their opposition to the Gospel, he turned to the Gentiles, ver. 6, out of whom this church at Corinth seems chiefly to be gathered, as appears Acts xviii. and 1 Cor. xii. 2.
His stay here was about two years, as appears from Acts xviii. 11, 18, compared : in which time it may be concluded he made many converts ; for he was not idle there, nor did he use to stay long in a place, where he was not encouraged by the success of his ministry. Besides what his so long abode in this one city, and his indefatigable labour every where, might induce one to presume, of the number of converts he made in that city; the Scripture itself, Acts xviii. 10, gives sufficient evidence of a numerous church gathered there.
Corinth itself was a rich merchant-town, the inhabitants Greeks, a people of quick parts, and inquisitive, 1 Cor. i. 22, but naturally vain and conceited of themselves.
These things considered may help us, in some measure, the better to understand St. Paul's epistles to this church, which seems to be in greater disorder than any other of the churches which he writ to.
This epistle was writ to the Corinthians, anno Christi 57, between two and three years after St. Paul had left them. In this interval, there was got in amongst them a new instructor, a Jew by nation, who had raised a faction against St. Paul. With this party, whereof he was the leader, this false apostle had gained great authority, so that they admired and gloried in him, with an apparent disesteem and diminishing of St. Paul.
Why I suppose the opposition to be made to St. Paul, in this church, by one party, under one leader, I shall give the reasons, that make it probable to me, as they come in my way, going through these two epistles; which I shall leave to the reader to judge, without positively determining on either side; and therefore shall, as it happens, speak of these opposers of St. Paul, sometimes in the singular, and sometimes in the plural number.
This at least is evident, that the main design of St. Paul, in this epistle, is to support his own authority, dignity, and credit, with that part of the church which stuck to him ; to vindicate himself from the aspersions and calumnies of the opposite party; to lessen the credit of the chief and leading men in it, by intimating their miscarriages, and showing their no cause of glorying, or being gloried in : that so withdrawing their party from the admiration and esteem of those their leaders, he might break the faction; and, putting an end to the division, might re-unite them with the uncorrupted part of the church, that they might all unanimously submit to the authority of his divine mission, and, with one accord, receive and keep the doctrine and directions he had delivered to them.