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teaches that converts ought not to forsake their unconverted mates, insomuch as Christianity changes nothing in men's civil estate, but leaves them under the same obligations they were tied by before. And last of all, he gives directions about marrying, or not marrying, their daughters.


1 Now concerning the things, whereof ye wrote unto me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence and likewise, also, the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise, also, the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent, for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.



1 Concerning those things that ye have writ to me about, I answer, it is most convenient not to have to do with a woman. 2 But because every one cannot forbear, therefore, they that cannot contain should, both men and women, each have their own peculiar husband and wife, to avoid fornication. 3 And those that are married, for the same reason, are to regulate themselves by the disposition and exigency of their respective mates; and, therefore, let the husband render to the wife that benevolence 2, which is her due; and so, likewise, the wife to the husband, "vice versa." For the wife has not the power or dominion over her own body, to refuse the husband, when he desires: but this power and right to her body is in the husband. And, on the other side, the husband has not the power and dominion over his own body, to refuse his wife, when she shows an inclination; but this power and 5 right to his body, when she has occasion, is in the wife. Do not, in this matter, be wanting, one to another, unless it be by mutual consent, for a short time, that you may wholly attend


3 * Εὔνοια, σε Benevolence," signifies here that complaisance and compliance, which every married couple ought to have for each other, when either of them shows an inclination to conjugal enjoyments.

4 b The woman (who in all other rights is inferior) has here the same power given her over the man's body, that the man has over hers. The reason whereof is plain because if she had not her man, when she had need of him, as well as the man his woman, when he had need of her, marriage would be no remedy against fornication.





6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were, even as I myself: but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry

than to burn.

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But, and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord, If any brother hath a wife, that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman, which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.


to acts of devotion, when ye fast, upon some solemn occasion: and when this time of solemn devotion is over, return to your former freedom, and conjugal society, lest the devil, taking advantage of your inability to contain, should tempt you to a 6 violation of your marriage-bed. As to marrying in general, I wish that you were all unmarried, as I am; but this I say 7 to you, by way of advice, not of command. Every one has from God his own proper gift, some one way, and some ano8 ther, whereby he must govern himself. To the unmarried and widows, I say it as my opinion, that it is best for them 9 to remain unmarried, as I am. But if they have not the gift of continency, let them marry, for the inconveniencies 10 of marriage are to be preferred to the flames of lust. But to the married, I say not by way of counsel from myself, but of command from the Lord, that a woman should not leave 11 her husband: But, if she has separated herself from him, let her return, and be reconciled to him again; or, at least, let her remain unmarried: and let not the husband put away his 12 wife. But, as to others, it is my advice, not a commandment from the Lord, That, if a Christian man hath an heathen wife, that is content to live with him, let him not break 13 company with her, and dissolve the marriage. And, if a Christian woman hath an heathen husband, that is content to live with her, let her not break company with him, and



12 and 13 'Apiérw, the Greek word in the original, signifying "put away," being directed here, in these two verses, both to the man and the woman, seems to intimate the same power, and the same act of dismissing in both; and, therefore, ought in both places to be translated alike.


14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? 17 But, as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk: and so ordain I, in all churches.


14 dissolve the marriage. You need have no scruple concerning this matter, for the heathen husband or wife, in respect of conjugal duty, can be no more refused, than if they were Christian. For in this case the unbelieving husband is sanctified, or made a Christian, as to his issue, in his wife, and the wife sanctified in her husband. If it were not so, the children of such parents would be unclean, i. e. in the state of heathens; but now are they holy, i. e. born members of the 15 Christian church. But, if the unbelieving party will separate," let them separate. A Christian man, or woman, is not enslaved in such a case: only it is to be remembered, that it is incumbent on us, whom God, in the Gospel, has called to be Christians, to live peaceably with all men, as much as in us lieth; and, therefore, the Christian husband, or wife, is not to make a breach in the family, by leaving the unbelieving 16 party, who is content to stay. For what knowest thou, Ŏ woman, but thou mayest be the means of converting, and so saving thy unbelieving hnsband, if thou continuest peaceably, as a loving wife, with him? or what knowest thou, O man, 17 but, after the same manner, thou mayest save thy wife?


this occasion, let me give you this general rule: whatever condition God has allotted to any of you, let him continue, and go on contentedly in the same state, wherein he was called; not looking on himself as set free from it by his con



14 d Η Ηγιας", 66 sanctified, aya, holy, and άxábapla, unclean," are used here by the apostle, in the Jewish sense. The Jews called all that were Jews holy, and all others they called unclean. Thus, "proles genita extra sanctitatem," was a child begot by parents, whilst they were yet heathens; "genita intra sanctitatem," was a child begot by parents, after they were proselytes. This way of speaking St. Paul transfers from the Jewish into the Christian church, calling all, that are of the Christian church, saints, or holy; by which reason, all that were out of it were unclean. See note, chap. i. 2.


17 's signifies here, not the manner of his calling, but of the state and condition of life he was in when called; and therefore ourws must signify the same too, as the next verse shows.


18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not become circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called, being a servant? Care not for it; but, if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman likewise also he, that is called being free, is Christ's servant.


version to Christianity. And this is no more than what I 18 order in all the churches. For example, Was any one converted to Christianity, being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was any one called, being uncircumcised? 19 Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision or uncircumcision are nothing in the sight of God, but that which he has a re20 gard to, is an obedience to his commands. Christianity gives

not any one any new privilege to change the state, or put offf 21 the obligations of civil life, which he was in before. Wert thou called, being a slave? Think thyself not the less a Christian, for being a slave; but yet prefer freedom to slavery, if 22 thou canst obtain it. For he that is converted to Christianity, being a bondman, is Christ's freedman . And he that is converted, being a freeman, is Christ's bondman, under his


20 Mever, "Let him abide." It is plain, from what immediately follows, that this is not an absolute command; but only signifies, that a man should not think himself discharged, by the privilege of his Christian state, and the franchises of the kingdom of Christ, which he was entered into, from any ties or obligations he was in, as a member of the civil society. And, therefore, for the settling a true notion thereof, in the mind of the reader, it has been thought convenient to give that, which is the apostle's sense, to ver. 17, 20, and 24, of this chapter, in words somewhat different from the apostle's. The thinking themselves freed by Christianity, from the ties of civil society and government, was a fault, it seems, that those Christians were very apt to run into. For St. Paul, for the preventing their thoughts of any change, of any thing, of their civil state, upon their embracing Christianity, thinks it necessary to warn them against it three times, in the compass of seven verses; and that, in the form of a direct command, not to change their condition, or state of life. Whereby he intends, that they should not change upon a presumption that Christianity gave them a new or peculiar liberty so to do. For, notwithstanding the apostle's positively bidding them remain in the same condition, in which they were at their conversion; yet it is certain, it was lawful for them, as well as others, to change, where it was lawful for them to change, without being Christians.

22 'ATEλεúdερos, in Latin, "libertus," signifies not simply a freeman, but one who, having been a slave, has had his freedom given him by his master.


23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now, concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose, therefore, that this is good for the present distress; I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry,



23 command and dominion. Ye are bought with a price", and so belong to Christ: be not, if you can avoid it, slaves to any 24 body. In whatsoever state a man is called, in the same he is to remain, notwithstanding any privileges of the Gospel, which gives him no dispensation, or exemption, from any obligation he was in before, to the laws of his country. 25 Now concerning virgins I have no express command from Christ to give you: but I tell you my opinion, as one whom the Lord has been graciously pleased to make credible *, and 26 so you may trust and rely on, in this matter. I tell you, therefore, that I judge a single life to be convenient, because of the present straits of the church; and that it is best for a 27 man to be unmarried. Art thou in the bonds of wedlock? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek 28 not a wife. But if thou marriest, thou sinnest not; or,

if a


23 Slaves were bought and sold in the market, as cattle are; and so, by the price paid, there was a property acquired in them. This, therefore, here is a reason for what he advised, ver. 21, that they should not be slaves to men, because Christ had paid a price for them, and they belonged to him. The slavery he speaks of is civil slavery, which he makes use of here, to convince the Corinthians, that the civil ties of marriage were not dissolved by a man's becoming a Christian, since slavery itself was not; and, in general, in the next verse, he tells them, that nothing in any man's civil estate, or rights, is altered by his becoming a Christian.

25i By virgins, it is plain St. Paul here means those of both sexes, who are in a celibate state. It is probable he had formerly dissuaded them from marriage, in the present state of the church. This, it seems, they were uneasy under, ver. 28 and 35, and therefore sent some questions to St. Paul about it, and particularly, What, then, should men do with their daughters? Upon which occasion, ver. 25-37, he gives directions to the unmarried, about their marrying, or not marrying; and in the close, ver. 38, answers to the parents, about marrying their daughters; and then, ver. 39 and 40, he speaks of widows.

* In this sense he uses πιςός άνθρωπος, and πισὸς λόγος, 2 Tim. ii. 2,

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