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7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained, before the world, unto our glory.


7 this world, who will quickly be brought to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God, contained in the mysterious and the obscure prophecies of the Old Testament, which has been


Air outos, which we translate "this-world," seems to me to signify commonly, 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, Αἰών μέλλων, οι ἐρχόμενος, “ the world to come.”

• Twv xalapyouμévwv, "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 them 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 f "Wisdom of God," is used here for the doctrine of the Gospel, coming immediately 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, aud 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, in 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 his 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, aud iv. 3, 4, will give light to this. To which give me leave to observe, upon the use of the word Wisdom, here, that St. Paul, speaking of God's calling the Gentiles, cannot, in mentioning it, forbear expressions of his admiration of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of God therein. See Eph. iii. 8, 10. Rom. xi. 33.


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


hПpò тŵy alwvwv, 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 aiùv, or alvas, 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 τὸ ἀποκεκρυμμένον ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων, thus rendered in the English translation, "which hath been hidden from ages;" but in Eph. iii. 9, a parallel place, the same words, τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων, are translated, "The mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid." Whereas it is plain from Col. i. 26, άnò Tv αiúvwv 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 рò τ αiúш here may be well understood to mean, "Before the ages of the Jews;" and so ά' aiwvwv," from the ages of the Jews," in the other two mentioned texts. Why alves 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 counting 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-ministration, see also 2 Cor. iii. 6-11.


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, which 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 we 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 with an


12 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 justifying 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 himself, 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."

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. viii. 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."


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; because 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.



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, without 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 him [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.


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14, 15, η ψυχικός, “ the animal man,” and πνευματικὸς, "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 Aurdy him, refers here to spiritual man, in the former verse, and not to Loril, in this. For St. Paul is showing here, not that a natural man, and a mere philosopher, cannot instruct Christ; this nobody, pretending 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.




THE next matter of boasting, which the faction made use of, to give the pre-eminence and preference to their leader, above St. Paul, seems to have been this; that their new teacher had led them farther, and given them a deeper insight into the mysteries of the Gospel, than St. Paul had done. To take away their glorying on this account, St. Paul tells them, that they were carnal, and not capable of those more advanced truths, or any thing, beyond the first principles of Christianity, which he had taught them; and, though another had come and watered what he had planted, yet neither planter, nor waterer, could assume to himself any glory from hence, because it was God alone, that gave the increase. But, whatever new doctrines they might pretend to receive, from their magnified, new apostle, yet no man could lay any other foundation, in a Christian church, but what he, St. Paul, had laid, viz. that "Jesus is the Christ;" and, therefore, there was no reason to glory in their teachers: because, upon this foundation, they, possibly, might build false or unsound doctrines, for which they should receive no thanks from God; though, continuing in the faith, they might be saved. Some of the particular hay and stubble, which this leader brought into the church at Corinth, he seems particularly to point at, chap. iii. 16, 17, viz. their defiling the church, by retaining, and, as it may be supposed, patronizing the fornicator, who should have been turned out, chap. v. 7-13. He further adds, that these extolled heads of their party were, at best, but men; and none of the church ought to glory in men; for even Paul, and Apollos, and Peter, and all the other preachers of the Gospel, were for the use and benefit, and glory of the church, as the church was for the glory of Christ.

Moreover, he shows them, that they ought not to be puffed up, upon the account of these their new teachers, to the undervaluing of him, though it should be true, that they had learned more from them, than from himself, for these reasons:

1. Because all the preachers of the Gospel are but stewards of the mysteries of God; and, whether they have been faithful in their stewardship, cannot be now known; and therefore, they ought not to be some of them magnified and extolled, and others depressed and blamed, by their hearers here, until Christ their Lord come; and then he, knowing how they have behaved them

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