But, and if thou marry - As there is no law against this, even in the present distress, thou hast not sinned, because there is no law against this; and it is only on account of prudential reasons that I give this advice.
And if a virgin marry - Both the man and the woman have equal privileges in this case; either of them may marry without sin. It is probable, as there were many sects and parties in Corinth, that there were among them those who forbade to marry, 1 Timothy 4:3, and who might have maintained other doctrines of devils besides. These persons, or such doctrines, the apostle has in view when he says, They may marry and yet not sin.
Trouble in the flesh - From the simple circumstance of the incumbrance of a family while under persecution; because of the difficulty of providing for its comfort and safety while flying before the face of persecution.
But I spare you - The evil is coming; but I will not press upon you the observance of a prudential caution, which you might deem too heavy a cross.
Thou hast not sinned - There is no express command of God on this subject. The counsel which I give is mere advice, and it may be observed or not as you shall judge best. Marriage is honorable and lawful; and though there may be circumstances where it is advisable not to enter into this relation, yet there is no law which prohibits it. The same advice would be proper now, if it were a time of persecution; or if a man is poor, and cannot support a family; or if he has already a dependent mother and sisters to be supported by him, it would be well to follow the advice of Paul. So also when the cares of a family would take up a man‘s time and efforts; when but for this he might give himself to a missionary life, the voice of wisdom may be in accordance with that of Paul; that a man may be free from these cares, and may give himself with more undivided interest and more successful toil to the salvation of man.
Such shall have trouble in the flesh - They shall have anxiety, care; solicitude, trials. Days of persecution are coming on, and you may be led to the stake, and in those fiery trials your families may be torn asunder, and a part be put to death. Or you may be poor, and oppressed, and driven from your homes, and made wanderers and exiles, for the sake of your religion.
But I spare you - I will not dwell on the melancholy theme. I will not pain your hearts by describing the woes that shall ensue. I will not do anything to deter you from acting as you deem right. If you choose to marry, it is lawful; and I will not imbitter your joys and harrow up your feelings by the description of your future difficulties and trials. The word “flesh” here denotes outward circumstances in contradistinction from the mind. They might have peace of mind, for religion would furnish that; but they would be exposed to poverty, persecution, and calamity.
“She sometimes referred to the teaching of Paul, who having reached a certain point in his experience, said, ‘But I spare you.’ He knew there were existing conditions that people were living in relations resulting from sin. He also knew that Christ would accept their genuine repentance, and that in many cases it would make matters worse if existing relations were torn up to prepare a way for a reunion with the parties who were incompanionable, so Sister White used to say, ‘But I spare you.’ TSB 224.1Read in context »