Verses 39–40

The whole is here closed up with advice to widows: As long as the husband liveth the wife is bound by the law, confined to one husband, and bound to continue and cohabit with him. Note, The marriage-contract is for life; death only can annul the bond. But, the husband being dead, she is at liberty to marry whom she will. There is no limitation by God’s law to be married only for such a number of times. It is certain, from this passage, that second marriages are not unlawful; for then the widow could not be at liberty to marry whom she pleased, nor to marry a second time at all. But the apostle asserts she has such a liberty, when her husband is dead, only with a limitation that she marry in the Lord. In our choice of relations, and change of conditions, we should always have an eye to God. Note, Marriages are likely to have God’s blessing only when they are made in the Lord, when persons are guided by the fear of God, and the laws of God, and act in dependence on the providence of God, in the change and choice of a mate—when they can look up to God, and sincerely seek his direction, and humbly hope for his blessing upon their conduct. But she is happier, says the apostle, if she so abide (that is, continue a widow) in my judgment; and I think I have the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 7:40. At this juncture, at least, if not ordinarily, it will be much more for the peace and quiet of such, and give them less hindrance in the service of God, to continue unmarried. And this, he tells them, was by inspiration of the Spirit. “Whatever your false apostles may think of me, I think, and have reason to know, that I have the Spirit of God.” Note, Change of condition in marriage is so important a matter that it ought not to be made but upon due deliberation, after careful consideration of circumstances, and upon very probable grounds, at least, that it will be a change to advantage in our spiritual concerns.