Monday, May 23, 2016

.....The apostle Paul did willingly forego those things that were in themselves lawful, for the furtherance of the interests of religion and the good of men..... So it was lawful for the apostle to take the other course of life, as in eating and drinking, and freely using all kinds of wholesome food.....But he forbore those things, because he supposed that in his circumstances, and in the circumstances of the Church of Christ in that day, he could more advance the interests of religion and the good of men without them.  For the gospel's sake, and for the good of men, he was willing to forego all the outward advantages he could derive from them.  1 Cor. 8:13. "Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."  He would not only avoid those things that were useless in themselves, but those also that gave any occasion to sin, or which led or exposed either himself or others to sin.  Then it follows in the next chapter....”Have we not power to eat and to drink?”.....Let this induce such persons to consider themselves, whether they act altogether as become Christians, who look upon it as a sufficient excuse for all the liberties they take, that the things in which they allow themselves, are in themselves lawful, that they are nowhere forbidden, though they cannot deny but that considered in their circumstances, they are of ill tendency, and expose them to temptation, and really tend to wound the credit and interest of religion, and to be a stumbling block to others, or as the apostle expresses it, tend to cause others to offend.  But they uphold themselves with this, that the things which they practice are not absolutely unlawful in themselves, and therefore they will not hearken to any counsels to avoid them.  They think with themselves that it is unreasonable they should be tied up so strictly; that they may not take one and another liberty, and must be so stiff and precise above others.  But why did not the apostle talk after their manner?  Why did not he
say within himself, it is unreasonable that I should deny myself lawful meat and drink merely to comply with the consciences of a few weak persons, that are unreasonable in their scruples?.....But the apostle was of another spirit.  What he aimed at was by any means to promote the interest of religion, and the good of the church.  And he had rather forego all the common comforts and enjoyments of life, than that religion should suffer.
                                                                                                                                    Jonathan Edwards 

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