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Of the various Callings in Life: And the Inferences from thence. That Christianity makes no Change in Human Callings, or in the Civil Relations of Life: And the Inferences from thence. Of the Requifites of a lawful Calling, and bow it is to be diftinguifh'd from one that is unlawful. Of Gaming.
[Deliver'd in Two Sermons.]
I COR. vii. 17.
But as God hath diftributed to every Man, as the Lord hath called every one, fo let him walk: And fo ordain I in all the Churches.
T the first reading of thefe Words one would think that God's Dif tribution to every Man, here spoken of, was meant of the Charifmata, or thofe Spiritual Gifts which
were in the Times of the Apoftles plentifully bestowed upon all Sorts of Chriftians in an extraordinary and miraculous Way, for the Edification of the Church, as indeed the Phrase is sometimes used in these Epistles. But the Relation which this Text hath to what goes before doth neceffarily determine us to understand the Words, as God hath diftributed to every Man, in another Way. The Apostle, in this Epiftle, has frequent Occafion to difcourfe about the Notion and Limits of Chriftian Liberty; and in this Chapter he refolves a Cafe or two ex professo which were put to him about one great Point, wherein it was pretended Chriftian Liberty was mightily concerned, and that was in the Bufinefs of Matrimony. The Cafe was this, whether a Chriftian who was married to an Unbeliever, (that is, either to an Infidel, Jew, or Heathen) might not, by virtue of his Chriftian Liberty, depart from the unbelieving Party, and dispose of himself as he thought fit. Of this, St. Paul's Refolution is, that if any, who hath taken V. 12. upon him Chrift's Religion, have an unbelieving Woman to his Wife, and she is willing to dwell with him, notwithstanding his new Religion, he should not put her away: And, V. 13. on the contrary, if a Chriftian Woman had an Infidel for her Husband, fhe fhould not depart from him fo long as he was willing to cohabit with her. This is the Effect of what he has faid in the Verfes immediately
before my Text.
Churches. And having laid down this general Advice, he dilates upon it in an Inftance or two more in the following Words; v. 18. Is any Man called being circumcifed? Let him not become uncircumcifed. Is any called in uncircumcifion? Let him not become circumcifed: That is to fay, Is any Jew converted to Chriftianity? Let him not, after his Converfion, ufe any Art to make himfelf appear as if he had never been circumcifed. And fo, on the contrary, let no Gentile when he comes over to Chrift's Religion, put on the Badge of Judaifm, which is Circumcifion, but let him remain as he is. And fo again, in the 21ft Verfe; Art thou called being a Servant? Care not for it; but if thou may't be made free, ufe it rather: That is, Art thou in a Condition of a Slave or Bondman when thou receiveft Chriftianity? Do not think that the Liberty which thou obtaineft by thy Chriftianity will allow thee to go away from thy Master; No, If thy Mafter will fet thee free, it is well for thee, and thou art to thank him for it: But if he will not, thou must keep as thou art; for thy Religion doth not alter the civil State or Condition of thy Life; only there is this for thy Comfort, when thou art once a Christian, tho' as to thy civil Condition thou art a Bondman, yet thou art Christ's Freeman. Thou shalt enjoy all the Privileges which he purchased for thee; which indeed are glorious and great, for
thou shalt be fet free from the Power of Sin, and from the Confequence of it, eternal Death. Which is a far greater Privilege than any Manumiffion from thy earthly Mafter can inftate thee in.
This is the plain Meaning of St. Paul's Inftances; which having laid down, he concludes this Point with a Repetition of the general Exhortation that went before in my Text: Brethren, let every Man abide in the fame Calling, wherein he is called, viz. let him continue in the fame civil State of Life wherein he was when he firft became a Christian.
Having thus given an Account of the Text, I obferve these three Points from it, which I fhall make the Heads of my Difcourse :
I. God hath made various Distributions to Mankind; or, the Distribution of Mankind into various Conditions and Functions is from God.
II. The Chriftian Religion hath made no Change or Alteration as to Matters of civil Degrees or Callings; but hath left all Men, as to these things, in the fame Pofture and Station in which it found them.
III. Since the various Circumftances and Callings into which Men are difpofed, are from God, no Man can be juftified who