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Burkitt's Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the NT Burkitt's Expository Notes
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". Burkitt's Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the NT. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ wbc/ 1-corinthians-10.html. 1700-1703.
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10". Burkitt's Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the NT. https://studylight.org/
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Amongst other arguments which the apostle produces to dissuade the Corinthians from eating things offered to idols in the idol temples, and to prove it absolutely unlawful for Christians to have communion with the Gentiles in their idolatrous banquets, the first is drawn from the danger of such sinful communion; it would endanger their falling into such kinds of sins as the Israelites on that occasion fell into, and consequently expose them to such punishments as they suffered.
But first of all, in the beginning of this chapter, he acquaints the Corinthians with the great favours and privileges which Almighty God vouchsafed to, and conferred upon, the Israelites, who came out of Egypt with Moses into the wilderness, who had a pillar of cloud to guide and protect them, the manna from heaven to sustain and uphold them, and water out of a rock to refresh and satisfy them.
All our fathers were under the cloud; that is, under the conduct and protection of the cloud; and all passed through the Red sea, as upon dry ground.
This cloud, which accompanied the Israelites in their journeyings, had a threefold use:
1. In respect of God; it was a sign and symbol of the presence of God with them, and of his care and protection over them, for it encompassed their camp as a wall doth a city. Hence is that of the Psalmist, He spread out a cloud for a covering to them, and fire to give light in the night season, Psalms 105:39.
2. In respect of the Israelites, the cloud did guide and direct them in their journeying: In the day he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. Psalms 78:14. And as the cloud did guide and direct Israel, so did it cool and refresh them in the wilderness, preserving them from the heat of the sun: it was a covering canopy over them in a scorching desert.
3. In respect of their enemies; it was darkness to the Egyptians, and consequently protected the Israelites from their enemies, that they could not assault or fall upon them. It had a bright side to the Israelites, and a dark side to the Egyptians.
Lord! how easily canst thou make the same creature a comfort to thy children, and a terror to thine enemies. Every outward blessing is that, and no more, which thou art pleased to make it to us. A cloud shall guide, a cloud shall cover, a cloud shall comfort Israel; and the same cloud shall be darkness, yea, at thy command, shall be death, unto the Egyptians.
Observe, 1. The Israelites are here said to be baptized in the cloud and in the sea; that is, the cloud which overshadowed them, did sometimes bedew and sprinkle them; and the Red sea, through which they passed, and its waters gathered into two heaps, one on the right hand, and the left, betwixt which the Israelites passed, and in their passage seem to be buried in the waters, as persons in that age were put under the water when they were baptized: and thus were Israel baptized in the cloud and in the sea.
Observe, 2. They are said to be baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea: Unto Moses, that is, into the doctrine taught by Moses. They believed him and followed his conduct through the sea, and were confirmed in their belief of Moses, (the typical mediator) as a person employed by God; and were obliged under the ministry and guidance of Moses, to follow God whithersoever he led them.
Observe, 3. That all this was a figure to which our baptism answers: both the cloud and the sea had some resemblance to our being covered with water in baptism, by which we are confirmed in the faith of Christ, and obliged to profess and own him, and to trust in and depend upon him, to serve and obey him, and this to the death.
Behold how much of Christ and his gospel was shadowed and held forth to the Jews under the dispensation of the ceremonial law; they had Christ in their sacrifices, and we have all their sacrifices in Christ. The cloud, the sea, the manna, the rock, all typified Christ, and were resemblances and representations of him. Christ was as truly represented to the Jews as unto us; as truly, though not so clearly.
They, that is, the fathers in the wilderness, did all eat of the manna which came down from heaven, which is here called spiritual meat; either because it came down from heaven, which is the habitation of spiritual beings; or because it was food given out by the ministry of angels, those spiritual agents; or else it is called spiritual, that is, sacramental, meat, because it typified Christ, who is the bread of life, the true bread which came down from heaven.
That manna was a type of Christ, thus appears: "Was manna provided by God for the Israelites without their labour and industry? so is Christ given unto men without any merit or work of theirs, but of the free gift and goodness of God.
Did manna come down from heaven beside the ordinary course of nature?
so was Christ's birth wonderful, and not as the birth of other men; being not begotten of mortal seed, but by the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Was manna distributed to all alike, one not having more, and another less, but all an equal share?
in like manner Christ communicates himself unto all alike, without acceptance of persons.
A beggar may have as great a part in Christ as a prince.
Again, as manna was food, plentiful food, sweet and pleasant food; so is Christ the food of life, very sweet to such a soul as can truly relish him.
Farther, must the manna, before fit for food, be beaten in a mortar, or broken in a mill, and baked in an oven?
so Christ, our heavenly manna, was broken on the cross, scorched in the fire of his Father's wrath, that he might become the spiritual food wherewith our souls are nourished unto everlasting life.
Finally, as manna was given only in the wilderness, and ceased when the Israelites came into Canaan; so is Christ our spiritual meat, our sacramental food, whilst we are in the wilderness of this world; but when we shall come to the heavenly Canaan, we shall have no more any need of sacramental supports, but shall behold him face to face, and be satisfied with his likeness."
And they did all drink of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock Christ. Here the water out of the rock is also called spiritual drink, it being typically and sacramentally so.
That rock was Christ; that is, it typified Christ. The word is doth import as much as signifies or represents; so the rock is Christ; that is, it signified, represented, and typified Jesus Christ.
For as the rock gave no water before it was smitten with the rod of Moses; so was Christ smitten upon the cross, and out of his side came forth water; and it was the rod in Moses's hand that smote and broke the rock; so was Christ smitten with the curse of the law, in the day when his soul was made an offering for sin.
In a word, as the rock yielded water, not only to them that were first present at the proaching of it, but followed them with its streams, in their stations through the wilderness; in like manner the water which gushed out from our smitten Saviour, the sweet fruits and benefits of his death, did not only belong to them who were present at the time and place of his suffering, but it doth and will accompany all believers to the end of this world. The virtue and efficacy of Christ's blood is now as great, as efficacious and effectual, as it was the first hour it was shed; the divinity of his person adds an eternal efficacy to his passion.
Although the Israelites were made partakers of the before-mentioned privileges and spiritual favours; though they were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did eat sacramental meat, and drink sacramental drink; yet it did not set them out of danger of God's displeasure, for they were overthrown, their carcasses fell in the wilderness.
Learn hence, That no external privileges or prerogatives whatsoever can exempt persons from God's judgments, if they return not suitably to him for the favours and benefits received from him.
The bare outward receiving of a sacrament is not saving to the soul of a person: and the unworthy receiving of sacraments, and unsuitable walking after them, do enkindle God's anger and provoke his heavy displeasure against persons, even to the cutting them off by untimely death here in this world: With many of them God was displeased, and they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Observe here, 1. The sin charged upon the Israelites in the wilderness: They lusted; that is, after the flesh-pots of Egypt, and to return thither again. They had manna for forty years together; but being tied to it, (though angels' food, that is, most excellent food,) they grew weary of it.
Lord! how exceedingly indebted are we to thy liberality and bounty, in that plenty and variety of creature refreshments which thou affordest us! The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes in the sea, are freely given us, not barely for necessity, but delight, and do all administer to our support and comfort.
Observe, 2. How the apostle calls upon us to improve examples that we may not be made examples. These things, that is, their sufferings, were our examples; they were for our caution to receive warning by them, not to walk in those soul-defiling ways in which they have walked, fallen, and perished.
A wise Christian may receive much good by observing the dealings of God with them that are evil; for God is unchangeable, just, and holy, and will not favour that in one person which he punishes in another: These things were our examples.
As if the apostle had said, O ye Corinthians, look upon the dead bodies of the Israelites which are cast upon the shore of the scriptures for a warning to you; follow not the same course, lest you meet with the same curse; if you tread the same path, expect the same punishment, for God is as righteous now as he was then; he hates, and will punish sin in you, as much as he did in them: These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they lusted.
Our apostle being still dissuading the Corinthians from eating of things offered unto idols, and thereby from holding communion with the Gentiles in their idolatrous banquets in their idol-temples, he sets before them the idolatry of the Jews, who sat down to eat and to drink of the sacrifices offered to the golden calf, and rose up to play: that is, to dance before the golden calf, after the manner of the heathen, this being one of their rites by which they honoured their gods.
He farther advises them to take heed how they mix with idolaters in their feasts, lest they be given up to fornication, as the Israelites were in the wilderness with the daughters of Moab, Numbers 25 of whom there fell in one day three and twenty thousand by the immediate hand of God.
Learn hence, That Almighty God has left many instances upon record, in his holy ward, of the severity of his justice upon persons guilty of idolatry and fornication, and all other sins, on purpose to warn all of their sin and danger in the perpetration and commission of them. To sin against example is an aggravation of sin.
Observe here a double sin, which the Corinthians are warned against: tempting and murmuring. Neither tempt ye Christ, by trying how long his patience will last, as the Israelites did, when (as the angel of the covenant) he went before them in the wilderness, Numbers 21:5-6
Here note, The object or person whom the Israelites are said to tempt, Christ: which proves,
1. His pre-existence before his incarnation: the Israelites could not have then tempted him, had he not been then existent.
2. His divinity; he who is here called Christ, is by the Psalmist called God, Psalms 106:14
They tempted God in the desert. Christ had not a human nature then to be tempted in, they tempted him therefore as he was God: a good argument to prove the divinity of our Saviour, made use of by the ancients.
The other sin warned against is, murmuring: Neither murmur ye: that is, do not repine, because ye are forbidden to be present at the idolatrous feasts of the Gentiles in the idol-temples; neither do ye murmur, by reason of the persecutions which you do or may endure for the sake of Christianity, and the cause of Christ.
Learn hence, That to murmur at, or be impatient under, any of the providential dispensations of God, is both great sin and folly. 'Tis as high presumption and wickedness to be dissatisfied with God's works of providence, as with his work of creation; to quarrel at what God doth, is as unchristian-like, yea, as uncreature-like, as to quarrel at what God has made. Therefore murmur not, as the Israelites murmured.
Observe, secondly, A double punishment inflicted on the Israelites for this double sin committed; such as tempted were destroyed of fiery serpents, Numbers 21:6-7. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people: the sting and venom of those serpents was inflaming, spreading, and killing: much people of Israel died. And such as murmured, were destroyed of the destroyer: that is, by the destroying angel, in that plague mentioned, Numbers 14:37. Such variety of judgments has Almighty God, with which to punish and plague an incorrigible and unreclaimable people.
That is, the history of the Israelites' sins and punishments was written and recorded by God in the holy scriptures, for the use and benefit of all succeeding generations, and particularly for us, who live in the last ages of the world, to warn us to avoid the like sin, that we may escape the like punishments.
Learn hence, That the fall of others, whether into sin, or under judgment for sin, should be caution and warning to us to take heed of sinning.
Here the apostle sums up the most remarkable judgments which fell upon the Jews in their passage from Egypt to Canaan, and closes with this application to Christians: These things happened to them for ensamples.
In the original it is as types: they befell them typically, that in them we may see how God will deal with us if we take their course; those calamities which destroy some, should instruct others.
Many will never see sin in itself, some will see it in the type and ensample, that is, in the judgment of God upon others, and those that will not see sin in the lashes of severity upon others, shall certainly feel it upon their own backs. Such as will not improve examples, shall undoubtedly be made examples.
These words are an inference which our apostle draws from the foregoing discourse. Seeing that so many who enjoyed great privileges among the Jews, were yet punished greatly for their sins; seeing that sacraments are no privileges either from sin, or from plagues; therefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, &c.
Where note, 1. A great mutability to which human nature is subject: he that thinketh he standeth, may fall.
Man's condition is according to his place and station: this is threefold.
The first place is heaven: this is fixed and confirmed, a kingdom that cannot be shaken: the saints there are standing pillars, free from all possibility of falling.
The second place is hell, where sinners are bound hand and foot; and being fallen, are without any possibility of rising.
The third place is this earth on which we live, where men both stand and fall; and the best are subject to failing, being sons of Adam as well as sons of God; partly flesh and partly spirit.
Note, 2. The vigilancy required in order to our standing, Take heed. How many thousands have fallen by a presumptuous confidence of their own strength in standing! they fell by thinking it impossible to fall.
A Christian's motto is Cavendo Tutus; never safe, but when wary and watchful. Let a Christian always keep a jealous eye upon the weakness and inconstancy of his nature, and with a believing eye look up to the promise and power of God, and he shall be both preserved from falling, and also be presented faultless and unblamable in the day of Christ: if ever we stand in the day of trial, 'tis fear and faith must enable us to stand.
Here the apostle answers a plea which the Corinthians might probably make for their compliance with their fellow-citizens, in eating things offered unto idols in their temples with them; namely, that thereby they should avoid persecution.
Fear not that, says the apostle, you have hitherto been preserved, and no temptation has taken you, but such as is common unto man; that is, you have not yet been exercised with any trial, but what is human, what the ordinary strength and resolution of human nature is able to bear: but in case you should be tried with extremity of suffering, and that you must either comply with the heathen idolatry, or endure suffering to extremity, yet you have the promise of a faithful God for your support in that case: God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted at any time above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way so far to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Learn hence, 1. That it is a great addition to an affliction not to see or discern a way to escape, and get out of affliction: God is exceeding gracious in our afflictions, in that he doth not hedge us in on every side, and hinder all possibility of escape out of our troubles.
Learn, 2. That the consideration of God's strength to support us in and under our sufferings, is a mighty encouragement to us to grapple with them resolutely, and to bear them patiently and submissively: if our sufferings were intolerable, and human nature were not divinely assisted to stand under them, we should be forced to consult our present ease and deliverance, and choose sin rather than affliction; but the assistance of God makes suffering work easy.
Here our apostle resumes his exhortation to the Corinthians, not to meddle with the mysteries of paganism, nor to eat of things offered unto idols; assuring them it was no less than idolatry, in the account of God, to eat of those things which were taken from their execrable altars, as a part and remnant of those sacrifices to idols, which were performed in the city of Corinth with all the pomp of an abominable superstition. This participation of things offered to idols, in the idol-temples, our apostle calls idolatry: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, flee from idolatry.
Here note, That the nature of man is extremely prone to idolatry, and very ready to comply with men in their idolatrous practices.
Note, 2. That the idolatry of the Jews of old, and of Christians since, who know and owned the true God, and gloried in him, was and is far worse than the idolatry of pagans, who knew him not, nor ever gloried in him.
Observe farther, How our apostle appeals to themselves, and leaves it to them to judge whether they did not do very ill, to be present at the feasts upon the heathen sacrifices, and eat of things offered unto idols: he leaves it to themselves to judge, Judge ye what I say.
There is a judgment of discretion which persons ought to use in matters of religion, and not to deliver up themselves blindfold to the conduct of their teachers. The church of Rome by denying the people this liberty, make them slaves; they put out the people's eyes, to make them fit for a blind obedience. Our apostle was far from this practice. Let wise men, says he, judge what I say.
These words are a special argument, made use of by the apostle to dissuade the Christians from joining with the heathens in their impure feasts in the old temples--the Gentiles have fellowship with the idols in those feasts, as Christians have communion with Christ at his holy table.
So that the argument runs thus: "If believers by communicating with Christ at his holy table have real communion with him; then also those that do comminicate with idolaters do become partakers of communion with them in their impure feasts. But believers do the first, namely, at the Lord's table they communicate with Christ." This he proves form the words before us, The cup of blessing, &c.
Where observe, 1. A description of the Lord's supper in both the parts of it, namely, The external and visible part, bread and wine; the internal and spiritual part, the body and blood of Christ.
Observe, 2. The ministerial actions performed in this solemn ordinance, and they are the blessing of the cup, and the breaking of the bread.
3. Here is the great end and design of God in the institution of this ordinance, namely, that believers might thereby enjoy a spiritual fellowship and comminion with Christ their head: Is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Learn hence, That one great end and design of Christ in the institution of his supper was this, that believers might enjoy a sweet fellowship and communion with himself therein.
The apostles argument lies thus: As Christians, though many, yet by virtue of their society in the same worship, are compacted together as it were into one loaf or lump, that is, into one mystical body, in that they partake of one and the same sacramental bread; so those that communicate with idolaters, in eating things offered unto idols, are compacted together as it were into one body, forasmuch as they communicate in one and the same sacrifice: as many grains of corn moulded together make one loaf, and the juice of many grapes make one cup; so Christians, though many, yet are one visible church, one mystical body, and declare themselves so to be by their fellowship together at the Lord's table.
Here another argument against eating things offered to idols is produced by our apostle, and it runs thus: "As in the Jewish church all persons that did eat of the peace-offerings which were laid upon God's altar, did by that act declare themselves members of the Jewish church, and that they owned the God of the Jews to whom these sacrifices were offered: in like manner the converted Corinthians, by eating part of those beasts which were sacrificed in the idol's temple, did by that act declare their owning of that idol, and that idolatrous worship which had been there performed, and were really partakers of that idolatrous altar; not that an idol is any thing, or that which is offered to the idol any thing, that can of its own nature pollute and defile; but the plain truth was, the heathens were seduced by the devils to offer these sacrifices, and they were devils whom they worshipped; though not in their own intention, yet in God's estimation: and consequently those that did eat of those feasts are supposed to join in those feasts are supposed to join in those sacrifices, and thereby to hold communion with devils.
That is, "Ye cannot have communion with Christ and with idolaters too: your comminicating with Christ in the Lord's supper is utterly inconsistent with communicating with devils in the idol's feasts, for this were to do homage to two contrary lords, God and Satan, and to profess service to both."
Here observe, 1. A sacramental table described: it is the table of the Lord; so called, because he that is Lord of lords did institute it for the remembrance of his own death.
Observe, 2. An impossibility declared, that none can be worthy partakers at the Lord's table that hold communion with sin: true, idolatry is the sin here specified, or sacrificing unto devils; but it holds true of all sin in general, and of having fellowship with Satan in any of the unfruitful works of darkness.
Learn hence, That no person can really enjoy any fellowship and communion with Christ at his holy table, who maintains correspondence with sin, and holds communion with Satan.
Observe here, 1. That the worship of God is that which he is very tender and jealous of: never was husband so jealous of the chastity of his suspected wife, as God is jealous in point of worship; idolatry is a provoking God to jealousy.
Observe, 2. That such as worship idols, or are guilty of idolatrous worship in any kind or degree, must expect God a jealous revenger, and will find themselves not strong enough to contend with him. "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy, by joining devils in competition with him? Are we stronger than he? Who knows the power of his anger? The strength of God should make sinners tremble."
Our apostle having in the former part of this chapter resolved the case concerning public eating things offered unto idols in the idol-temples, and by several arguments proved it to be absolutely unlawful; he comes now to resolve another case, concerning private buying and private eating of things offered unto idols; for it seems to have been a custom to set to sale in the market, flesh that was sacrificed, (the gain whereof went to the priests,) as well as other flesh; but first he answers an objection.
Some might be ready to say, all things are lawful for me; that is, all meats may be lawfully eaten by me. If so, says the apostle, yet all lawful things are not expedient to be done in respect of our weak brother; plainly intimating, that there are many things lawful in themselves, which, considered under such and such circumstances, are very inexpedient: so far are they unlawful.
These words may be understood two ways:
1. Let no man seek his own, that is, only his own wealth.
2. Let no man seek his own wealth: that is, to the prejudice of others, though never so much to his own advantage;
teaching us, that it is the duty of every Christian not merely to look at his own profit and pleasure, but at the benefit and advantage of others, as that which edifies, or tends to promote holiness in others; and that in the use of our Christian liberty we must regard rather the edification and salvation of others, than the gratification of ourselves.
Here the apostle resolves the case, whether it were lawful to buy that meat in the market which had been offered to an idol in the temple.
He determines, 1. That it was; if it be sold in the shambles, it is to be looked upon as common food, and they may freely buy it without any scruple of conscience.
But how came meat to be sold in the shambles, which was offered and sacrificed in the temples of the Gentiles?
Answer, It is probable that the priests, who had a share in the beasts that were offered unto idols, or the people, who had also a share returned them out of their own offerings, did bring such meat to be sold in the market: in this case, says the apostle, ask no questions about it.
Observe, 2. He assigns the reason for it: because the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. That is, those things that are sold for food in the market, are to be looked upon as the creatures of God, made for, and sanctified to, the use of man; and therefore you may eat of any creature which the Lord provideth for your food, without scruple of conscience, when others are not scandalized at it. 1 Timothy 4:4. Every creature of God is good, if received with thanksgiving.
Our apostle here puts another case: "Suppose an unbeliever, an infidel or heathen, did invite a believer, a Christian, to a feast of civil friendship in his private house, (not to a feast upon a sacrifice in the idol-temple, which was absolutely unlawful,) what was to be done in this case?" He declares they may warrantably go and eat whatever is set before them without scruple, but would have them ask no questions about the lawfulness of it; nevertheless, if the master of the feast, or any present at the feast, shall suggest that some part of the meat has been offered to an idol, in that case he would have them forbear, lest they should encourage any man to idolatry; adding his reason as before, For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: that is, there is plenty and variety of other meat to be had, which God, the Creator of all things, the Lord of the whole earth, has allowed us the free use of; so that we may well let the idol sacrifices alone.
Here we see, that an action lawful in itself becomes sinful, and is condemned as such, when there is a breach of charity in the doing of it.
Here the apostle tells them that they ought to abstain from that which is lawful and indifferent in itself, for the sake of another man's conscience. This meat had not been unlawful to them, though offered to idols, had they not been told that it was so offered; but being made acquainted therewith, for the sake of him that showed thee it was offered to idols, forbear eating; for why should our liberty be so used by us as to be judged of and condemned by another man's conscience? It is not enough that we do what is just and right in our own sight, but we must provide things honest in the sight of all men. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; these we must practise, and none but these.
And observable is the apostle's reason, why we should, for the sake of another, abstain from eating that meat which was lawful in itself, 1 Corinthians 10:30: namely, to prevent being evil spoken of: Why am I evil spoken of? That is, why should I cause another to speak evil of me, for eating that meat which I might without any prejudice forbear? For in so doing I shall certainly abuse my liberty, grieve God, and offend the weak.
Our apostle concludes his whole discourse with three excellent rules, to direct all Christians how they should govern themselves in the use of their lawful liberty, as to things that are of indifferent nature; that is, neither commanded nor forbidden in the word of God.
The first is this, to refer all our actions in general, both natural, civil, and religious, to the glory of God; to make that our supreme aim, our ultimate end, in all we do, in all we design, in all we desire.
A Christian is to perform his natural actions to spiritual purposes; and whilst he is feeling and refreshing his body at his own table, must have an eye at his serving God both with soul and body.
Farther, not only in our natural actions, but in our civil employments, in our lawful recreations; but especially, and above all, in our religious duties, must we propound the glory of God as our principal aim, our chief scope, our supreme end.
This injunction, Do all to the glory of God, is applicable to all the actions of human life.
Here we have the second rule for ordering all the affairs of human life: Give no offence to any, neither to the unbelieving Jew, nor to the unconverted Gentile, nor to the weak members of the church of God; particularly, give no offence to these, by eating things offered to idols at any time, or in any place, where any may be scandalized; for the Jew will consider that you are enemies to the law and the prophets.
The Gentiles will believe that your abhorrence to idols is not real, when they see you eat things offered unto idols before their faces; and the weak Christian will be tempted by your example to revolt from the Christian faith.
Therefore do nothing that may tend to the hurt, or just offence, either of Jew, Gentile, or Christian.
The last rule which the apostle lays down, is his own practice and example, who in indifferent things accommodated himself to all men. I please all men; that is, I seek and endeavour to please all men, and in all things: that is, in all lawful things, and in all other things wherein the law of God has left me at liberty; for neither in the omission of any thing which God commanded, nor in the commission of aught which he had forbidden, would St. Paul please any man in the world.
And when he did please all men, it was for their profit and advantage, not his own: to promote their eternal salvation, not his own temporal interest: I please all men, that they may be saved.
Learn hence, 1. That no men must be pleased by sin, nor pleasured in their sins. The smallest duty must be preferred before the pleasing of all the men in the world.
Learn, 2. We may and ought to seek the pleasing of men, with subserviency and in subordination to the pleasing of Almighty God.
Learn, 3. That inordinate man-pleasing is fruitless, needless, and endless: when you have endeavoured to please most, how many will be displeased when you have done your best? God himself, Jesus Christ, his holy prophets, apostles, saints, and servants, could never please the world; and can any of us expect to do it? St. Paul, though he became all things to all men, yet could save but some.
The world hates godliness, and godly persons, and will never be pleased with that which they hate: let pleasing of God be our great business, and, in subordination to him, endeavour to please all men for their profit, that they may be saved.