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PARAPHRASE. religion, and take it upon its true principles a: but not the wisdom of this world , nor of the princess, or great men of
NOTES. 6. [Perfect) here is the same with spiritual, ver. 15; one, that is so perfectly well
apprized of the divine nature and original of the Christian religion, that he sees and acknowledges it to be all a pure revelation from God, and not, in the least, the product of human discovery, parts, or learning; and so, deriving it wholly from what God hath taught, by his Spirit, in the sacred Scriptures, allows not the least part of it to be ascribed to the skill or abilities of men, as authors of it, but received as a doctrine coming from God alone. And thus, Perfect, is opposed to, Carnal, ch. iii. 1, 3, i. e. such babes in Christianity, such weak and mistaken Christians, that they thought the Gospel was to be managed, as human arts and sciences amongst men of the world; and those were better instructed, and were more in the right, who followed this master or teacher, rather than another; and so glorying in being the scholars, one of Paul, and another of Apollos, fell into divisions and parties about it, and vaunted one over another : whereas, in the school of Christ, all was to be built on the authority of God alone, and the revelation of his Spirit in the sacred Scriptures.
“Wisdom of this world,” i. e. the knowledge, arts, and sciences attainable by man's natural parts and faculties; such as man's wit could find out, cultivate, and improve: “or 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. c Though by "Apxovies toő alôros toŰTOV, 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 rer. 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, ihat 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 ac. quaintance with, and had very little esteem for; 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, aud had there raised a faction against St. Paul. This pretended apostle, it is plain from 2 Cor. xi, 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 stiffily 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 Corin. thians, 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.
TEXT. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wis
dom, which God ordained, before the world, unto our glory.
ung this world', who will quickly be brought to nought °.
speak the wisdom of God', contained in the mysterious and the obscure prophecies of the Old Testament, which has been
NOTES. d Air cúros, which we translate “this world," seems to me to signify coni. monly, 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, Alcúv uénawr, or épzebuevos, “the world to come.” • Târ xalapyouuéywv, “ who are brought to nought," i. e. who are vanishing. If “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 contra. distinguished to the doctrine of the Gospel, then the words are added, to show what folly it is for them to glory, as they do, in their teachers, when all that 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 then 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 7" Wisdom of God," is used here for the doctrine of the Gospel, coming im
mediately 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, io 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 thought and did, when Jesus the Messiah, exactly answering what was foretold of him, came amongst them, yet by “the wisdom of God, in the mystery, wherein it was hid though purposed by God before the settling of the Jewish economy," St. Paul seems 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 bis 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, the apostle 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, bere, that St. Paul, speaking of God's calling the Gentiles, cannot, in mentioning it, forbear expressions of bis admiration of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of Gud thereiu. Sec Eph. jii. 8, 10. Rom. xi. 33.
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, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
therein concealed and hid: though it be what God predetermined, in his own purpose, before the Jewish constitution",
to the glory of us', who understand, receive, and preach it: 8 Which none of the rulers among the Jews understood; for,
if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord Christ, 9 who has in his hands the disposing of all true glory. But they
knew it not, as it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have the things, that God hath prepared for
NOTES. b nipo Tŵr aicvwe, 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 aids, or aiūros, should not be translated, “the 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, το μυστηριον το αποκεκρυμμένος από των αιώνων, thus rendered in the English translation, “which bath been hidden from ages;" but in Eph. iii. 9, a parallel place, the same words, του μυστηρίου του αποκεκρυμμένου από των αιώνων, are translated, “ The mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid.” Whereas it is plain from Col. i. 26, åtò tūr airwr does not signify the epoch, or commencement of the concealment, but those from whom it was concealed. It is plain, the apostle, in the verse immediately preceding, and that following this, which we have before us, speaks of the Jews; and therefore a pò Tür aiórwr here may be well understood to mean, “Before the ages of the Jews ;" and so ám' aiure, “ from the ages of the Jews,” in the other two mentioned texts. Why alüres in these, and other places, as Luke i. 70, and Acts iii. 21, and elsewhere, should be appropriated to the ages of the Jews, may be owing to their countiog by ages, or jubilees : vid. Dr. Burthogge in his judicious treatise, Christianity a revealed mystery, cap. 2. page 17. i St. Paul here opposes the true glory of a Christian, to the glorying, which was amongst the Corinthians, 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 ordained us Christian teachers and professors to, is to be expounders, preachers, 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 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-uninistration, see also 2 Cor. iii, 6-11.
TEXT. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us, by his Spirit ; for the Spirit
searcheth all things ; yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man,
whi 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; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
them that love him, entered into the heart or thoughts of 10 man.” But these things, which are not discoverable 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 11 to discover. 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 God, but only the Spirit of God. 12 But wek have received, not the spirit of the world', but the
Spirit, which is of God, that we might know what things are
in the purpose of God, out of his free bounty to bestow upon 13 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 part of the revelation m with an
NOTES. 12 k 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 justifyiug 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 him. self, 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.” 1 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. viji. 15. 13 . 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. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God :
for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them; be
cause 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 instruct
him ? but we have the mind of Christ.
PARAPHRASE. 14 other. "But a 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 knowledge of them. 15 But he, that lays his foundation in divine revelation, 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, with
out the help and study of revelation, cannot judge of such an 16 one, whether 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 himo [the spiritual man) in it? But I who, renouncing all human learning and knowledge in the case, take all, that I preach, from divine revelation alone, I am sure, that therein I have the mind of Christ; and, therefore, there is no reason why any of you should prefer other teachers to me; glory in them who oppose and vilify me; and count it an honour to go for their scholars, and be of their party.
NOTES. 14, 15," puxouds, “ the animal man," and crevu aloxòs, “ 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 his faith and religion on divine revelation. This is what appears to be meant by natural, or rather animal man, and spiritual as they stand opposed,
in these two verses. 16 • Autór him, refers here to spiritual man, 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 nobody, pretevding to be a Christian, could own : but that a man, by his bare natural parts, not knowing the mind of the Lord, could not instruct, could not judge, could not correct a preacher of the Gospel, who built upon revelation, as he did, and therefore it was sure he had the mind of Christ.