1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
Ver. 1. I would not that ye should] Historiae fidae monitrices, saith Bucholcer. There is very good use to be made of other men’s examples. Historia hath its name, saith Plato, from stopping the flux of errors and evil manners. ( παρα το ισταναι τον ρουν, in Crat.). For mutate nomine de te fabula narratur. What bitter effects sin hath produced in some men, it may in any man. Lege igitur historiam, ne fias historia.
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
Ver. 2. And were all baptized] And yet were rooted out and rejected. Baptism sayeth; not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, &c., 1 Peter 3:21. By this text it appears that infants also were baptized unto Moses, who was a typical mediator; therefore they ought to be into Christ, the true. It is here objected that those infants did also eat manna and drink of the rock; therefore by a like reason, they should also now receive the Lord’s supper. For answer, 1. How doth it appear that they did eat manna, &c.? 2. Though they did, yet they may not communicate at the Lord’s table, because they cannot "examine themselves, nor discern the Lord’s body," and are therefore flatly forbidden to come there, 1 Corinthians 11:28-29.
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
Ver. 3. And did all eat] They fed upon sacraments, and yet died in God’s displeasure. The carcase of the sacrament cannot give life, but the soul of it, which is the thing represented. It is well observed that sacraments do not work as physic, whether men sleep or wake, ex opere operate, by virtue inherent in them; but ex opere operantis, according to the disposition and qualification of the party that partaketh.
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Ver. 4. The same spiritual drink] Here was no dry communion.
That spiritual rock that followed them] The waters of the rock, the virtue and benefit, went along with them. See Psalms 105:41; Deuteronomy 9:21. So should the efficacy of the Lord’s supper with us. We should walk in the strength of it, as Elijah did of his cake.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Ver. 5. They were overthrown] They died with the sacramental meat in their mouths. Our privileges excuse us not, but aggravate our enormities.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Ver. 6. Were our examples] Worthily are they made examples, that will not take them. Alterius perditio tua sit cautio. The destruction of others should be a terror to us, that we may wash our feet in the blood of the wicked, Psalms 52:6. It is a just presage and desert of ruin, not to be warned.
As they also lusted] As at Kibroth Hattaavah, where by a hasty testament they bequeathed a new name to the place of their burial.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Ver. 7. And rose up to play] Now if they were so cheered and strengthened by these murdering morsels, should not we be made active and abundant in God’s word by the dainties of God’s table?
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Ver. 8. And fell in one day] The apostle, instead of the cloak of heat of youth, puts upon fornication a bloody cloak, bathed in the blood of twenty-three thousand. (Knewstub. on Com. 7.)
Three and twenty thousand] Moses mentions 24,000, whereof one thousand were the chief princes, the others inferiors, provoked to sin by their example. But why doth the apostle insist in the special punishment of the people? To show (saith learned Junius) how frigid and insufficient their excuse is, that pretend for their sins the examples of their superiors.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Ver. 9. Neither let us tempt] By provoking him to jealousy, as 1 Corinthians 10:22, especially by idolatry, that land desolating sin.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Ver. 10. As some of them also] viz. Numbers 14:1-5 And God said Amen to it, 1 Corinthians 10:28. May he not justly say the same to our detestable God-damn-me’s? "As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you."
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Ver. 11. For our admonition] God hangs up some, as it were, in gibbets, for public example. See 1 Corinthians 10:6. Let us therefore set a memorandum upon God’s punishments; and mark his spits with our stars. Let us be wise by other men’s woes; take a pearl out of the serpent, a good stone out of the toad’s head, suck sweet honey out of bitterest weeds, &c.
Upon whom the ends, &c.] These then are the last and worst days, the very lees and dregs of time. Now the worse the times are, the better we should be; and the rather, because an end of all things is at hand.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Ver. 12. That thinks he stands] If he do but think so, if he be no more than a seemer, he will fall at length into hell’s mouth. A man may live by a form, but he cannot die by a form. Therefore rather seek to be good than seem to be so.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Ver. 13. But such as is common] Such as is human, παν πρασδοκαν δει ανθρωπον οντα. (Xenophon.) Either such as is incident to men as men, Job 5:6; or such as men may well bear without buckling under it; or such as come from men, not from devils; "Ye wrestle against flesh and blood," &c. Or you are yet only allured to idolatry, not forced by persecution. You gratify your idolatrous acquaintance with your presence at their idol feasts; you are tempted and soon taken.
But God is faithfid] When Mr Latimer stood at the stake, and the tormentors about to set fire to him and Ridley, he lifted up his eyes toward heaven with an amiable and comfortable countenance, saying these words, Fidelis est Deus, &c. God is faithful, Ridley also at the stake, with a wondrous cheerful look, ran to Latimer, embraced and kissed, and, as they that stood near reported, comforted him, saying, Be of good heart, brother, God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else will strengthen us to abide it. (Acts and Mon.)
But will with the temptation] He proportioneth the burden to the back, and the stroke to the strength of him that beareth it. I thank God, said Mr Bradford, my common disease (which was a rheum, with a feebleness of stomach) doth less trouble me than when I was out of prison, which doth teach me the merciful providence of God toward me.
14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
Ver. 14. Flee from idolatry] He calleth their sitting at the idol’s feasts, though without intent of honouring the idol, by the name of idolatry; because, 1. Hereby they yielded a tacit consent to that sin. 2. Petty matters pave a causey for the greater.
15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
Ver. 15. I speak as to wise men] i.e. Well skilled in the doctrine of the sacraments, from one of which I am about to argue. Piscator, after he had read some of the Fathers, gave over for this reason, because scarce any of them did rightly understand the use and efficacy of baptism.
Judege ye what I say] Jovianus the emperor was wont to wish that he might govern wise men, and that wise men might govern him.
16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Ver. 16. The cup of blessing] Not the chalice, but the common cup. Calvin chose rather to leave Geneva than to use unleavened bread or wafer cakes at the Lord’s supper. ( Diest. de ratione studii Theol.) We may not symbolize with idolaters.
Is it not the communion] Doth it not signify and set forth, yea, as an instrument, effect and exhibit this communion?
17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Ver. 17. And one body] By the force of faith and love. Song of Solomon 6:9; "My dove is but one; the daughters saw her, and blessed her." No such oneness, entireness, anywhere as among the saints. Other societies are but as the clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, they may cleave together, but not incorporate one into another.
18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
Ver. 18. Are not they which eat, &c.] See Leviticus 7:15; hence he infers that these Corinthians also eating of the idol’s sacrifices, were defiled with idolatry; a pari, from the like.
19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
Ver. 19. What say I then] He prevents a mistake. See 1 Corinthians 8:4. Ministers must in their discourses meet with all objections as much as may be.
20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
Ver. 20. They sacrifice to devils] A good intention then excuseth not. The Gentiles thought they had sacrificed to God. So do the Papists, who yet worship devils, while they worship idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, Revelation 9:20. The devil is ειδωλοχαρης, saith Synesius, an idol lover.
21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
Ver. 21. Partakers of the Lord’s table] Name and thing. The Popish opinion of mass was, that it might not be celebrated but upon an altar, or at least upon a superaltare, which must have its prints and carects, or else the thing was not thought to be lawfully done. Our communion table they call an oyster board. (Acts and Mon.)
And the table of devils] Redwald, king of East Saxons, had in the same church one altar for Christian religion, and another for sacrifice to devils. (Camden.)
22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
Ver. 22. Do we provoke the Lord] As Caligula that dared his Jove to a duel; as the raging Turk at the last assault of Scodra most horribly blaspheming God. But who knoweth the power of his anger? Psalms 90:11. It is such as none can avert or avoid, avoid or abide. To such therefore as will needs provoke the Lord, we may well say, as Ulysses’ companions said to him, when he would needs provoke Polydamas;
" σχετλιε τιπτ εθελεις ερεθιζεμεν αγριον ανδρα.
What mean’st thou, wretch, to enrage this cruel man?"
23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
Ver. 23. All things are not expedient] An liceat, an deceat, an expediat, Is it permitted, is it proper, is it expedient, are three most needful questions. (Bernard.) Things lawful in themselves may be unseemly for our state and calling; unbehoveful also to the benefit of others. Think unlawful for thee whatsoever implies either inexpediency or indecency.
24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.
Ver. 24. Let no man seek his own] Self miscarries us all, and makes us eccentric in our motions, nothing more.
25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
Ver. 25. Whatsoever is sold, &c.] A portion of the consecrated flesh was usually sold by the priests, who make their markets of it, as Augustine upon the Romans testifieth.
26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
Ver. 26. For the earth is the Lord’s] God, of his bounty, spreads a table for all; make no scruple therefore, eat freely.
27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
Ver. 27. And ye be disposed to go] Our Saviour, when he saw that John’s austerity was censured, took his liberty in the use of creatures, and convenient company keeping, Luke 7:33-34. I do not find where ever he was bidden to any table and refused. Not for a pleasure of the dishes, but for the benefit of so winning a conversation.
28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
Ver. 28. The earth is the Lord’s] Therefore in case of scandal abstain. Why shouldest thou use this creature, as if there were no more but this? suspend thy liberty; hast not thou all the world before thee?
29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
Ver. 29. Why is my liberty judged] As a profane licence. We should be shy of the very shows and shadows of sin, Quicquid fuerit male coloratum, as Bernard hath it; if a thing look but ill-favoured, abstain from it.
30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
Ver. 30. For if I by grace] Or, by thanksgiving. The same Greek word, χαρις, signifies both; to teach us, that a grateful man is a gracious man. The unthankful and the evil are set together as the same, Luke 6:35. God is "kind to the unthankful, and to the evil."
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Ver. 31. Whether therefore ye eat, &c.] Of a reverend Scotch divine it is said, that "he did even eat and drink and sleep eternal life." These common actions also are steps in our Christian walking, despise them not, therefore, but refer them to that supreme scope. Socrates, even in his recreations, profited his companions no less than if he had been reading lectures to them. παιζων ουδεν ηττον ελυσιτελει τοις συνδιατριβουσιν αυτω. (Xenoph.) Plato and Xenophon thought it fit and profitable that men’s speeches at meals should be written. Quicquid agas propter Deum agas, saith one. Propter te, Domine, propter te, saith another. (Drus. Apophth.) The glory of God ought to eat up all other ends, as Moses’ serpent did the sorcerers’ serpents; or as the sun puts out the light of the fire. Jovinian the emperor’s motto was, Scopus vitae Christus.
32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
Ver. 32. Give none offence] This is another end we should aim at, the edification of others. Finibus non officiis a vitiis discernuntur virtutes. (Augustine.) Two things make a good Christian: good actions and good aims.
33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Ver. 33. Not seeking mine own profit] This, saith Chrysostom, is the most perfect canon of Christianity, the top gallant of true religion.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Easter