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TEXT. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus
Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech, and my preaching, was not with enticing words of
man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.
2 God, revealed and attested a by him. For I resolved to
own or show no other knowledge among you, but the know3 ledge b or doctrine of Jesus Christ, and of him crucified. All
my carriage among you had nothing in it but the appearance 4 of weakness and humility, and fear of offending you °. Neither
did I, in my discourses or preaching, make use of any human art of persuasion to inveigle you. But the doctrine of the Gospel which I proposed, I confirmed and enforced by what
1 a to raptúpsov Toữ Oecữ, “ The testimony of God," i. e. what God hath revealed
and testified in the Old Testament; the apostle here declares to the Corinthians, that, when he brought the Gospel to them, he made no use of any human science, improvement, or skill; no insinuations of eloquence, no philosophical specula. tions, or ornaments of human learving, appeared in any thing he said to persuade them: all his arguments were, as he tells them, ver. 4, from the revelation of the Spirit of God, in the predictions of the Old Testament, and the miracles which he (Paul) did among them, that their faith might be built wholly upon the Spirit of God, and not upon the abilities and wisdom of man ; though Maplópoor toữ De , “ The testimony of God” agrees very well with so much of St. Paul's meaning as relates to his founding his preaching on the testimony of God, yet those copies which read moothpov, mystery, for useçiúpoov, testimony, seem more perfectly to correspond with St. Paul's sense, in the whole latitude of it. For though he owns the doctrine of the Gospel, dictated by the Spirit of God, to be contained in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and builds upon revelation, yet he everywhere teaches that it remained a secret there, not understood, till they were led into the bidden, evangelical meaning of those passages, by the coming of Jesus Christ, and by the assistance of the Spirit, in the times of the Messiah, and then published to the world by the preachers of the Gospel ; and therefore he calls it, especially that part of it which relates to the Gentiles,
almost everywhere, puosýpov, mystery. See particularly Rom, svi. 25, 26. 2 - St. Paul, who was himself a learned man, especially in the Jewish knowledge,
having, in the foregoing chapter, told them, that neither the Jewish learning por Grecian sciences give a man any advantage, as a minister of the Gospel, he here reminds them that he made no show or use of either when he planted the Gospel among them ; intimating thereby, that those were not things for which
their teachers were to be valued or followed. 3 St. Paul, by thus setting forth his own modest and humble behaviour amongst
them, reflects on the contrary carriage of their false apostle, which he describes in words at length, 2 Cor. xi. 20.
TEXT. 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power
PARAPHRASE. the Spirit" had revealed and demonstrated of it, in the Old
Testament, and by the power of God, accompanying it with 5 miraculous operations: That your faith might have its founda
tion, not in the wisdom and endowments of men, but in the power of God
NOTES. 4 There were two sorts of arguments, wherewith the apostle confirmed the
Gospel; the one was the revelations made concerning our Saviour, by types and figures, and prophecies of him, under the law; the other, miracles and miraculous gifts accompanying the first preachers of the Gospel, in the publishing and propagating of it. The latter of these St. Paul here calls Power; the former, in this chapter, he terms Spirit; so ver. 12, 14. “Things of the Spirit of God, and spiritual things,” are things which are revealed by the Spirit of God, and
not discoverable by our natural faculties. 5 • Their faith being built wholly on Divine revelation and miracles, whereby all
human abilities were shut out, there could be no reason for any of them to boast themselves of their teachers, or value themselves upon their being the followers of this or that preacher, which St. Paul hereby obviates.
SECTION II. NO. 4.
CHAPTER II. 6-16.
The next argument the apostle uses to show them, that they had no reason to glory in their teachers, is, that the knowledge of the Gospel was not attainable by our natural parts, however they were improved by arts and philosophy, but was wholly owing to revelation.
TEXT. 6 Howbeit we speak wisdom amongst them that are perfect : yet not
the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.
PARAPHRASE. 6 Howbeit, that which we preach is wisdom, and known to be
so, among those who are thoroughly instructed in the Christian
PARAPHRASE. religion, and take it upon its true principles a: but not the wisdom of this world b, 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 ackuowledges it to be all a pure revelation from God, and not, in the least, the product of human discoyery, 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. • Though by "Apxovles toữ aiños 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 ver. 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, that 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 acquaintance 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 aud esteem that many of them had for a false apostle, that was got in among them, and 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, valueil 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 stiffly 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 Corinthians, 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 diguity 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.
in this worldd, 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 Testaments, which has been
NOTES. d siuv otros, 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, Αιών μέλλων, or ερχόμενος,
" the world to come.” • Τών καθαργουμένων, “ 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 learving 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 yought, 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 p« 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 ivdustry, 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, 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 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, here, that St. Paul, speaking of God's calling the Gentiles, camot, in inentioning it, forbear expressions of his admiration of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of God therein. See Eph. iii. 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. bnpò Tŵr airwr, 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 aiùy, or aíñves, 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 αποκεκρυμμένον από των αιώνων, thus rendered in the English translation, “ which hath 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 beeu hid.” Whereas it is plain frorn Col. i. 26, &tò Tây aie'vw» 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 Apė Tür aicvwy here may be well understood to mean, “Before the ages of the Jews ;” and so år' aicvwv, “ from the ages of the Jews,” in the other two inentioned texts. Why ažūves 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.