Verse 40. "But she is happier if she so abide" - If she continue in her widowhood because of the present distress; for this must always be taken in, that consistency in the apostle's reasoning may be preserved. If this were not understood, how could St. Paul tell the widow that it would be more happy for her to continue in her widowhood than to remarry? She who had tried both the state of celibacy and the state of marriage could certainly best tell which was most for her comfort; and he could not tell any thing but by an express revelation from heaven, relative to the future state of any widow: it is certain that he can never be understood as speaking in general, as there are multitudes of persons abundantly more happy in their married than in their single state; and there are many widows also much more happy in their second marriage than they have been in their first.
"After my judgment" - According to the view I have of the subject, which view I take by the light of the Divine Spirit, who shows me the tribulations which are coming on the Church. But, says he, 1 Cor. vii. x18: I spare you-I will not be more explicit concerning coming evils, as I wish to save you from all forebodings which bring torment.
"I think-I have the Spirit of God." - dokw de kagw pneuma qeou ecein might be translated, I am CERTAIN that I have the Spirit of God. This sense of dokein (which we translate to seem, to think, to appear, &c.) I have noticed in another part of this work. Ulpian, on Demosthen. Olynth. 1, says, to dokein ou pantwv epi amoibolou tattousin oi palaioi alla pollakiv kai epi tou alhqeuein? The word dokein is used by the ancients, not always to express what is DOUBTFUL, but often to express what is TRUE and CERTAIN. - See Bp. Pearce. The apostle cannot be understood as expressing any doubt of his being under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, as this would have defeated his object in giving the above advices; for-if they were not dictated by the Spirit of God, can it be supposed that, in the face of apparent self-interest, and the prevalence of strong passions, they could have been expected to have become rules of conduct to this people? They must have understood him as asserting that he had the direction of the Spirit of God in giving those opinions, else they could not be expected to obey.
1. IN the preceding chapter we have met with subjects both of difficulty and importance. As to the difficulties, it is hoped that they have been so generally considered in the notes that few or none of them remain; and on the subjects of peculiar importance much time has been spent, in order to impress them on the mind of the reader. The delicacy of some of them would not admit of greater plainness; and in a few instances I have been obliged to wrap the meaning in a foreign language.
2. On the important subject of marriage I have said what I believe to be true, and scruple not to say that it is the most useful state in which-the human being can be placed; and consequently that in which most honour may be brought to God. I have listened with much attention for the better part of half a century to the arguments against marriage and in favour of celibacy; and I have had the opportunity of being acquainted with many who endeavoured to exemplify their own doctrine. But I have seen an end of all their perfection: neither the world nor the Church are under any obligations to them: they either married when they could do it to their mind and convenience; or, continuing in their celibacy, they lived a comparatively useless life; and died as they should, unregretted. The doctrine is not only dangerous but anti- scriptural: and I hope I have sufficiently vindicated Paul from being its patron or supporter.
3. While I contend for the superior excellence of the marriage state, I hope I shall not be understood to be the apologist of indiscriminate marriages-no, many of them are blamable in a very high degree. Instead of consulting common sense and propriety, childish affections, brutish passions, or the love of money are the motives on which many of them have been contracted. Such marriages are miserable; must be so, and should not be otherwise; and superficial people looking at these form an estimate of the state itself, and then indulge themselves in exclaiming against an ordinance of God, either perverted by themselves or the equally foolish persons who are the subjects of their animadversion. That genuine Christians can never be so useful in any state as that of marriage I am fully convinced; but to be happy, the marriage must be in the Lord. When believers match with unbelievers, generally pars sincera trahitur; the good becomes perverted; and Satan has his triumph when he has got an immortal soul out of the Church of Christ into his own synagogue. But who among young people will lay this to heart? And how few among young men and young women will not sell their saviour and his people for a husband or a wife! 4. The doctrine of second marriages has been long a subject of controversy in the Church. The Scriptures, properly understood, have not only nothing against them, but much for them. And in this chapter St. Paul, in the most pointed manner, admits of them. A widow may marry again, only let it be in the Lord; and a widower has certainly the same privilege.
5. The conversion which the Scripture requires, though it makes a most essential change in our souls in reference to God, and in our works in reference both to God and man, makes none in our civil state: even if a man is called, i.e. converted in a state of slavery, he does not gain his manumission in consequence of his conversion; he stands in the same relation both to the state and to his fellows that he stood in before; and is not to assume any civil rights or privileges in consequence of the conversion of his soul to God. The apostle decides the matter in this chapter, and orders that every man should abide in the calling wherein he is called.
6. From the 20th to the 23rd verse the apostle refers to the state of slavery among the Greeks; and from what he says we find that even among the slaves there were Christian converts, to whom, though he recommends submission and contentment, yet he intimates that if they could get their freedom they should prefer it; and he strongly charges those that were free not to become again the slaves of men, ver. 23; from which we learn that a man might dispose of his own liberty, which, in a Christian, would be a disgrace to his redemption by Christ. The word eleuqerov, which we translate freeman, means properly freed-man, one who had been a slave but had regained his