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30 But of him are ye, in Christ Jesus, who, of God, is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption : 31 That, according as it is written, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
30 or pretence for any one to glory in his presence. Natural, human abilities, parts or wisdom, could never have reached this way to happiness: it is to his wisdom alone that ye owe the contrivance of it; to his revealing of it, that ye owe the knowledge of it; and it is from him alone, that you are in Christ Jesus, whom God has made to us Christians, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, which is all the dignity and pre-eminence, all that is of any value 31 amongst us Christians: That, as it is written, He that glorieth, should glory only in the Lord.
SECTION II. NO. 3.
CHAPTER II. 1-5.
FARTHER to keep them from glorying in their leaders, he tells them, that as the preachers of the Gospel, of God's choosing, were mean and illiterate men, so the Gospel was not to be propagated, nor men to be established in the faith, by human learning and eloquence, but by the evidence it had, from the revelation contained in the Old Testament, and from the power of God accompanying and confirming it with miracles.
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God."
1 And I, brethren, when I came and preached the Gospel to you, I did not endeavour to set it off with any ornaments of rhetoric, or the mixture of human learning or philosophy; but plainly declared it to you, as a doctrine coming from
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
1 To μaρTúpion TOO, "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 speculations, or ornaments of human learning, 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 μaplúρion To Decũ, "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 vorpion, mystery, for aplópio, 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 hidden, 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, puorpion, mystery. See particularly Rom. xvi. 25, 26. 2 b 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 nor 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.
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
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 foundation, not in the wisdom and endowments of men, but in the power of God.
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
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.
6 Howbeit, that which we preach is wisdom, and known to be so, among those who are thoroughly instructed in the Christian
religion, and take it upon its true principles: but not the wisdom of this world", nor of the princes, or great men of
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 acknowledges it to be all a pure revelation from God, and not, in the least, the product of human discovery, 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 "Apxorles Toũ alwvos Toûtov, 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 and 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, valued 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 dignity consists solely in this, that God had reconciled him to himself, not imputing his former trespasses to him.
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
Al ouros, 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 ερχόμενος, “ the world to come.”
• Tŵr nalapyovμévwv, "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 contradistinguished 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.
7f" 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, 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, cannot, in mentioning it, forbear expressions of his admiration of the great and incomprehensible wisdom of God therein. Sec Eph. iii. 8, 10. Rom. xi. 33.