Front Page Titles (by Subject) A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS. - The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles)
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles) 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 7.
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS.
THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS;
Before we take into consideration the epistle to the Romans in particular, it may not be amiss to premise, that the miraculous birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, were all events, that came to pass within the confines of Judea; and that the ancient writings of the jewish nation, allowed by the christians to be of divine original, were appealed to, as witnessing the truth of his mission and doctrine; whereby it was manifest, that the jews were the depositaries of the proofs of the christian religion. This could not choose but give the jews, who were owned to be the people of God, even in the days of our Saviour, a great authority among the convert gentiles, who knew nothing of the Messiah, they were to believe in, but what they derived from that nation, out of which he and his doctrine sprung. Nor did the jews fail to make use of this advantage, several ways to the disturbance of the gentiles, that embraced christianity. The jews, even those of them that received the gospel, were for the most part, so devoted to the law of Moses and their ancient rites, that they could by no means, bring themselves to think, that they were to be laid aside. They were, every-where, stiff and zealous for them, and contended that they were necessary to be observed, even by christians, by all that pretended to be the people of God, and hoped to be accepted by him. This gave no small trouble to the newly-converted gentiles, and was a great prejudice to the gospel, and therefore we find it complained of, in more places than one; vid. Acts xv. 1; 2 Cor. xi. 3; Gal. ii. 4, and v. 1, 10, 12; Phil. iii. 2; Col. ii. 4, 8, 16; Tit. i. 10, 11, 14, &c. This remark may serve to give light, not only to this epistle to the romans, but to several other of St. Paul’s epistles, written to the churches of converted gentiles.
As to this epistle to the romans, the apostle’s principal aim in it seems to be, to persuade them to a steady perseverance in the profession of christianity, by convincing them, that God is the God of the gentiles, as well as of the jews; and that now, under the gospel, there is no difference between jew and gentile. This he does several ways:
1. By showing, that, though the gentiles were very sinful, yet the jews, who had the law, kept it not, and so could not, upon account of their having the law (which being broken aggravated their faults, and made them as far from righteous, as the gentiles themselves) have a title to exclude the gentiles, from being the people of God, under the gospel.
2. That Abraham was a father of all that believe, as well uncircumcised, as circumcised; so that those, that walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham, though uncircumcised, are the seed, to which the promise is made, and shall receive the blessing.
3. That it was the purpose of God, from the beginning, to take the gentiles to be his people under the Messias, in the place of the jews, who had been so, till that time, but were then nationally rejected, because they nationally rejected the Messias, whom he sent to them to be their King and Deliverer, but was received by but a very small number of them, which remnant was received into the kingdom of Christ, and so continued to be his people, with the converted gentiles, who all together made now the church and people of God.
4. That the jewish nation had no reason to complain of any unrighteousness in God, or hardship from him, in their being cast off, for their unbelief, since they had been warned of it, and they might find it threatened in their ancient prophets. Besides, the raising or depressing of any nation is the prerogative of God’s sovereignty. Preservation in the land, that God has given them, being not the right of any one race of men, above another. And God might, when he thought fit, reject the nation of the jews, by the same sovereignty, whereby he at first chose the posterity of Jacob to be his people, passing by other nations, even such as descended from Abraham and Isaac: but yet he tells them, that at last they shall be restored again.
Besides the assurance he labours to give the romans, that they are, by faith in Jesus Christ, the people of God, without circumcision, or other observances of the jews, whatever they may say, (which is the main drift of this epistle,) it is farther remarkable, that this epistle being writ to a church of gentiles, in the metropolis of the roman empire, but not planted by St. Paul himself; he, as apostle of the gentiles, out of care that they should rightly understand the gospel, has woven into his discourse the chief doctrines of it, and given them a comprehensive view of God’s dealing with mankind, from first to last, in reference to eternal life. The principal heads whereof are these:
That, by Adam’s transgression, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death reigned over all men, from Adam to Moses.
That, by Moses, God gave the children of Israel (who were his people, i. e. owned him for their God, and kept themselves free from the idolatry and revolt of the heathen world) a law, which if they obeyed they should have life thereby, i. e. attain to immortal life, which had been lost by Adam’s transgression.
That though this law, which was righteous, just, and good, were ordained to life, yet, not being able to give strength to perform what it could not but require, it failed, by reason of the weakness of human nature, to help men to life. So that, though the israelites had statutes, which if a man did, he should live in them; yet they all transgressed, and attained not to righteousness and life, by the deeds of the law.
That, therefore, there was no way to life left to those under the law, but by the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ, by which faith alone they were that seed of Abraham, to whom the blessing was promised.
This was the state of the israelites.
As to the gentile world, he tells them,
That, though God made himself known to them, by legible characters of his being and power, visible in the works of the creation; yet they glorified him not, nor were thankful to him; they did not own nor worship the one, only, true, invisible God, the creator of all things, but revolted from him, to gods set up by themselves, in their own vain imaginations, and worshipped stocks and stones, the corruptible images of corruptible things.
That, they having thus cast off their allegiance to him, their proper Lord, and revolted to other gods, God, therefore cast them off, and gave them up to vile affections, and to the conduct of their own darkened hearts, which led them into all sorts of vices.
That both jews and gentiles, being thus all under sin, and coming short of the glory of God; God, by sending his Son Jesus Christ, shows himself to be the God both of the jews and gentiles; since he justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith, so that all, that believe, are freely justified by his grace.
That though justification unto eternal life be only by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ; yet we are, to the utmost of our power, sincerely to endeavour after righteousness, and from our hearts obey the precepts of the gospel, whereby we become the servants of God; for his servants we are whom we obey, whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness.
These are but some of the more general and comprehensive heads of the christian doctrine, to be found in this epistle. The design of a synopsis will not permit me to descend more minutely to particulars. But this let me say, that he, that would have an enlarged view of true christianity, will do well to study this epistle.
Several exhortations, suited to the state that the christians of Rome were then in, make up the latter part of the epistle.
This epistle was writ from Corinth, the year of our Lord, according to the common account, 57, the third year of Nero, a little after the second epistle to the corinthians.
CHAP. I. 1—15.
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2(Which he had promised afore, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures)
3Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, (which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh;
4And declared to be the son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name;
6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.)
7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8First, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, that your faith is spoken of, throughout the whole world.
9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit, in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
10Making request (if by any means, now at length, I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God) to come unto you.
11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;
12That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other gentiles.
14I am debtor both to the greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.
15So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called* to be an apostle, separated† to the preaching of the gospel of2 God (Which he had heretofore promised, by his prophets,3 in the holy scriptures) Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, (who according to the flesh, i. e. as to the body, which he took in the womb of the blessed virgin, his mother, was of the posterity4 and lineage of David‡ ; According to the spirit of holiness* , i. e. as to that more pure and spiritual part, which in him over-ruled all, and kept even his frail flesh holy and spotless from the least taint of sin† , and was of another extraction, with most mighty power‡ declared§ to be the son of God, by his resurrection5 from the dead; By whom I have received favour, and the office of an apostle, for the bringing of the gentiles, every where, to the obedience of faith,6 which I preach in his name; Of which number∥ , i. e. gentiles, that I am sent to preach to, are ye who7 are already called¶ , and become christians.) To all the beloved of God¶ , and called to be saints, who are in Rome, favour and peace be to you from God8 our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. In the first place, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole9 world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with the whole bent of my mind, in preaching the gospel of his son, that without ceasing I constantly make10 mention of you in my prayers. Requesting (if it be God’s will, that I may now at length, if possible,11 have a good opportunity) to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may communicate to you some spiritual gift* , for your establishment† in the12 faith; That is‡ , that, when I am among you, I may be comforted together with you, both with your 13 faith and my own. This I think fit you should know, brethren, that I often purposed to come unto you, that I may have some fruit of my ministry,14 among you also, even as among other gentiles. I owe, what service I can do, to the gentiles of all kinds, whether greeks or barbarians, to both the more knowing and civilized, and the uncultivated15 and ignorant: So that, as much as in me lies, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also, who are at Rome.
CHAP. I. 16.—II. 29.
St. Paul, in this section, shows, that the jews exclude themselves from being the people of God, under the gospel, by the same reason that they would have the gentiles excluded.
It cannot be sufficiently admired how skilfully, to avoid offending those of his own nation, St. Paul here enters into an argument, so unpleasing to the jews, as this of persuading them, that the gentiles had as good a title to be taken in, to be the people of God, under the Messias, as they themselves, which is the main design of this epistle.
In this latter part of the first chapter, he gives a description of the gentile world in very black colours, but very adroitly interweaves such an apology for them, in respect of the jews, as was sufficient to beat that assuming nation out of all their pretences to a right to continue to be alone the people of God, with an exclusion of the gentiles. This may be seen, if one carefully attends to the particulars, that he mentions, relating to the jews and gentiles; and observes how, what he says of the jews, in the second chapter, answers to what he had charged on the gentiles, in the first. For there is a secret comparison of them, one with another, runs through these two chapters, which, as soon as it comes to be minded, gives such a light and lustre to St. Paul’s discourse, that one cannot but admire the skilful turn of it: and look on it as the most soft, the most beautiful, and most pressing argumentation, that one shall any where meet with, altogether: since it leaves the jews nothing to say for themselves, why they should have the privilege continued to them, under the gospel, of being alone the people of God. All the things they stood upon, and boasted in, giving them no preference, in this respect, to the gentiles; nor any ground to judge them to be incapable, or unworthy to be their fellow-subjects, in the kingdom of the Messias. This is what he says, speaking of them nationally. But as to every one’s personal concerns in a future state, he assures them, both jews and gentiles, that the unrighteous of both nations, whether admitted, or not, into the visible communion of the people of God, are liable to condemnation. Those, who have sinned without law, shall perish without law; and those, who have sinned in the law, shall be judged, i. e. condemned by the law.
Perhaps some readers will not think it superfluous, if I give a short draught of St. Paul’s management of himself here for allaying the sourness of the jews, against the gentiles, and their offence at the gospel, for allowing any of them place among the people of God, under the Messias.
After he had declared that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to those who believe; to the jew first, and also to the gentile; and that the way of this salvation is revealed to be, by the righteousness of God, which is by faith; he tells them, that the wrath of God is also now revealed against all atheism, polytheism, idolatry, and vice whatsoever, of men holding the truth in unrighteousness, because they might come to the knowledge of the true God, by the visible works of the creation; so that the gentiles were without excuse, for turning from the true God to idolatry, and the worship of false gods, whereby their hearts were darkened; so that they were without God in the world. Wherefore, God gave them up to vile affections, and all manner of vices, in which state, though, by the light of nature, they know what was right, yet understanding not that such things were worthy of death, they not only do them themselves, but abstaining from censure, live fairly and in fellowship with those that do them. Whereupon he tells the jews, that they are more inexcusable than the heathen, in that they judge, abhor, and have in aversion, the gentiles, for what they themselves do with greater provocation. Their censure and judgment in the case is unjust and wrong: but the judgment of God is always right and just, which will certainly overtake those who judge others, for the same things they do themselves; and do not consider, that God’s forbearance to them ought to bring them to repentance. For God will render to every one according to his deeds; to those that in meekness and patience continue in well-doing, everlasting life; but to those who are censorious, proud and contentious, and will not obey the gospel, condemnation and wrath, at the day of judgment, whether they be jews or gentiles: for God puts no difference between them. Thou, that art a jew, boastest that God is thy God; that he has enlightened thee by the law that he himself gave thee from heaven, and hath, by that immediate revelation, taught thee what things are excellent and tend to life, and what are evil and have death annexed to them. If, therefore, thou transgressest, dost not thou more dishonour God and provoke him, than a poor heathen, that knows not God, nor that the things he doth, deserve death, which is their reward? Shall not he, if, by the light of nature, he do what is conormable to the revealed law of God, judge thee, who hast received that law from God, by revelation, and breakest it? Shall not this, rather than circumcision, make him an israelite? For he is not a jew, i. e. one of God’s people, who is one outwardly, by circumcision of the flesh; but he that is one inwardly, by the circumcision of the flesh; but he that is one inwardly, by the circumcision of the heart.
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the jew first, and also to the greek.
17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
19Because that, which may be known of God, is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse.
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools:
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image, made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25Who changed the truth of God into a lye, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust, one toward another, men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their errour, which was meet.
28And, even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient:
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful;
32Who knowing the judgment of God (that they which commit such things are worthy of death) not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
II. 1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou, that judgest, dost the same thing.
2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth, against them which commit such things.
3And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and dost the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5But, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7To them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality; eternal life:
8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath;
9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil, of the jew first, and also of the gentile.
10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the jew first, and also to the gentile.
11For there is no respect of persons with God.
12For, as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law;
13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14For when the gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.
15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts, the mean while, accusing, or else excusing one another)
16In the day, when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
17Behold, thou art called a jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God:
18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.
19And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law.
21Thou, therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22Thou, that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou, that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23Thou, that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonourest thou God?
24For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles, through you, as it is written.
25For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26Therefore, if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27And shall not uncircumcision, which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28For he is not a jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29But he is a jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.
16For I am not ashamed to preach the gospel of Christ, even at Rome itself, that mistress of the world: for, whatever it may be thought of there* , by that vain and haughty people, it is that, wherein God exerts himself, and shows his power† , for the salvation of those who believe, of the jews in the17 first place‡ , and also of the gentiles. For therein is the righteousness§ , which is of the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, revealed to be wholly by faith∥ , as it is written, The just shall live by 18 faith. And it is no more than need, that the gospel, wherein the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, is revealed, should be preached to you gentiles, since the wrath of God is now revealed* from heaven, by Jesus Christ, against all ungodliness† and unrighteousness of men‡ , who live not19 up to the light that God has given them§ . Because God, in a clear manifestation of himself amongst them, has laid before them, ever since the creation of the world, his divine nature and eternal20 power; So that what is to be known, of his invisible being, might be clearly discovered and understood, from the visible beauty, order, and operations, observable in the constitution and parts of the universe, by all those, that would cast their regards, and apply their minds* that way: insomuch that21 they are utterly without excuse: For that, when the Deity was so plainly discovered to them, yet they glorified him not, as was suitable to the excellency of his divine nature: nor did they, with due thankfulness, acknowledge him as the author of their being, and the giver of all the good they enjoyed: but, following the vain fancies of their own vain† minds, set up to themselves fictitious no-gods, and22 their foolish understandings were darkened. Assuming to themselves the opinion and name‡ of23 being wise, they became fools; And, quitting the incomprehensible majesty and glory of the eternal, incorruptible Deity, set up to themselves the images of corruptible men, birds, beasts, and insects, as fit24 objects of their adoration and worship. Wherefore, they having forsaken God, he also left them to the lusts of their own hearts, and that uncleanness their darkened hearts led them into, to dishonour25 their bodies among themselves: Who so much debased themselves, as to change the true God, who made them, for a lye* of their own making, worshipping and serving the creature, and things even of a lower rank than themselves, more than the Creator, who is God over all, blessed for evermore. Amen.26 (For this cause God gave them up to shameful and infamous lusts and passions, for even their women did change their natural use, into that which is27 against nature: And likewise, their men, leaving also the natural use of the women, burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men practising that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves a fit reward of their errour, i. e. idolatry† .) 28 And.* , as they did not search out† God, whom they had in the world, so as to have him with a due acknowledgment‡ of him, God gave them up to an unsearching and unjudicious§ mind, to do things29 incongruous, and not meet∥ to be done; Being filled with all manner of iniquity, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malice, full of envy, contention,30 deceit, malignity even to murder, Backbiters, haters of God, insulters of men, proud, boasters, inventors of new arts of debauchery, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without32 natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who, though they acknowledge the rule of right* prescribed them by God, and discovered by the light of nature, did not yet understand† that those, who did such things, were worthy of death, do‡ not only do them themselves, but live well together, without any mark of disesteem, or censure, with them that do them.II. 1 Therefore* , thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art† , that judgest‡ or censurest another: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself: for thou, that judgest, art alike guilty, in doing2 the same things. But this we are sure of, that the judgment, that God passes upon any offenders, is according3 to* truth, right and just. Canst thou, who dost those things which thou condemnest in another, think that thou shalt escape the condemning sentence4 of God? Or slightest thou the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing, nor considering, that the goodness of God ought to lead thee5 to repentance? But layest up to thyself wrath and punishment, which thou wilt meet with, at the day of judgment, and that just retribution, which shall be awarded thee by God, in proportion to thy impenitency,6 and the hardness of thy heart; Who will retribute to every one according to his works, viz.7 Eternal life to all those who by patience* and gentleness in well-doing seek glory and honour, and a8 state of immortality: But to them who are contentiousa and forward, and will not obey the truth† , but subject themselves to unrighteousness;9 indignation and wrath; Tribulation and anguish shall be poured out upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the jew first‡ , and also of the gentile.10 But glory, honour, and peace, shall be bestowed on every man, that worketh good, on the jew first‡ , 11 and also on the gentile. For with God there is no12 respect of persons. For all, that have sinned without having the positive law of God, which was given the israelites, shall perish* without the law; and all, who have sinned, being under the law, shall be13 judged by the law, (For the bare hearers of the law are not thereby just, or righteous, in the sight of God, but the doers of the law; they, who exactly perform14 all that is commanded in it, shall be justified. For, when the gentiles, who have no positive law given them by God† , do, by the direction of the light of nature, observe, or keep to the moral rectitude, contained in the positive law, given by God to the israelites, they being without any positive law given them, have nevertheless a law within themselves.15 And show the rule of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness to that law, they amongst themselves, in the reasoning of their own minds, accusing, or excusing one16 another) At the day of judgment, when, as I make known in my preaching the gospel* , God shall17 judge all the actions of men, by Jesus Christ. Behold, thou art named† a jew; and thou, with satisfaction, restest in the privilege of having the law, as a mark of God’s peculiar favour‡ , whom thou gloriest in, as being thy God, and thou one of his people; a people, who alone know and worship the 18 true God; And thou knowest his will, and hast the touch-stone of things excellent* , having been educated19 in the law, And takest upon thee as one, who art a guide to the blind† , a light to the ignorant20 gentiles, who are in darkness† , An instructor of the foolish† , a teacher of babes† , having an exact draught, and a complete system‡ of knowledge and21 truth in the law. Thou, therefore, who art a master in this knowledge, and teachest others, teachest thou not thyself? Thou, that preachest that a man should22 not steal, dost thou steal? Thou, that declarest adultery to be unlawful, dost thou commit it? Thou, that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?23 Thou, who gloriest in the law, dost thou, by breaking of the law, dishonour God? For the name of God is blasphemed amongst the gentiles, by reason25 of your miscarriages, as it is written* , Circumcision† indeed, and thy being a jew, profiteth‡ , if thou keep the law: but, if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision;26 thou art no way better than an heathen. If, therefore, an uncircumcised gentile keep the moral rectitudes§ of the law, shall he not be reckoned and accounted of, as if he were circumcised, and every27 way a jew? And shall not a gentile, who, in his natural state of uncircumcision, fulfils the law, condemn* thee, who, notwithstanding the advantage of having the law and circumcision† , art a transgressor28 of the law? For he is not a jew, who is one in outward appearance and conformity‡ , nor is that the circumcision, which renders a man acceptable to29 God, which is outwardly in the flesh. But he is a jew, and one of the people of God, who is one in an inward conformity to the law: and that is the circumcision which avails a man, which is of the heart§ , according to the spiritual sense of the law, which is the purging our hearts from iniquity, by faith in Jesus Christ, and not in an external observance of the letter* , by which a man cannot attain life; such true israelites as these, though they are judged, condemned, and rejected by men of the jewish nation, are nevertheless honoured and accepted by God.
CHAP. III. 1—31.
In this third chapter, St. Paul goes on to show, that the national privileges the jews had over the gentiles, in being the people of God, gave them no peculiar right, or better title to the kingdom of the Messias, than what the gentiles had. Because they, as well as the gentiles, all sinned, and, not being able to attain righteousness by the deeds of the law, more than the gentiles, justification was to be had, only by the free grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ; so that, upon their believing, God, who is the God not of the jews alone, but also of the gentiles, accepted the gentiles, as well as the jews; and now admits all, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, to be equally his people.
To clear his way to this, he begins, with removing an objection of the jews, ready to say: “if it be so, as ye have told us in the foregoing section, that it is the circumcision of the heart alone that availeth, what advantage have the jews, who keep to the circumcision of the flesh, and the other observances of the law, by being the people of God?” To which he answers, that the jews had many advantages above the gentiles; but yet that, in respect of their acceptance with God under the gospel, they had none at all. He declares that both jews and gentiles are sinners, both equally uncapable of being justified by their own performances: that God was equally the God, both of jews and gentiles, and out of his free grace justified those, and only those, who believed, whether jews, or gentiles.
1What advantage then hath the jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4God forbid! yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
5But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
6God forbid! for then, how shall God judge the world?
7For, if the truth of God hath more abounded, through my lye, unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
8And not rather (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say) “Let us do evil, that good may come?” whose damnation is just.
9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both jews and gentiles, that they are all under sin:
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no not one.
13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips;
14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
15Their feet are swift to shed blood.
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known.
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21But now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference:
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ:
25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27Where is boasting then? it is excluded. By what law? of works? nay: but by the law of faith.
28Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.
29Is he the God of the jews only? Is he not also of the gentiles? yes, of the gentiles also.
30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish the law.
1If it be thus, that circumcision, by a failure of obedience to the law, becomes uncircumcision; and that the gentiles, who keep the righteousness, or moral part of the law, shall judge the jews, that transgress the law, what advantage have the jews? or what2 profit is there of circumcision? I answer, Much every way* ; chiefly, that God, particularly present amongst them, revealed his mind and will, and engaged himself in promises to them, by Moses and other his prophets, which oracles they had, and kept amongst them, whilst the rest of mankind had no such communication with the Deity, had no revelation of his purposes of mercy to mankind, but were3 as it were, without God in the world. For, though some of the jews, who had the promises of the Messias, did not believe in him, when he came, and so did not receive the righteousness, which is by faith in Jesus Christ: yet their unbelief cannot render the faithfulness and truth of God of no effect, who had promised to be a God to Abraham and his seed after4 him, and bless them to all generations† . No, by no means, God forbid that any one should entertain such a thought: yea, let God be acknowledged to be true, and every man a liar, as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings,5 and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But you will say farther, if it be so, that our sinfulness commendeth the righteousness of God, shown in keeping his word given* to our forefathers, what shall I say, is it not injustice in God to punish us for it, and cast us off? (I must be understood to say this, in the person of a carnal man, pleading for himself)6 God forbid! For if God be unrighteous, how7 shall he judge the world† ? For‡ , if the truth and veracity of God hath the more appeared to his glory, by reason of my lye* , i. e. my sin, why yet am I condemned8 for a sinner, and punished for it? Why rather should not this be thought a right consequence, and a just excuse? Let us do evil that good may come of it, that glory may come to God by it. This† some maliciously and slanderously report us christians to say, for which they deserve, and will from God receive, punishment, as they deserve.9 Are we jews, then, in any whit a better condition than the gentiles‡ ? Not at all. For I have already§ brought a charge of guilt and sin, both against jews and gentiles, and urged that there is not one of them clear, which I shall prove now against you10 jews; For it is written, There is none righteous, no11 not one: There is none that understandeth, there12 is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doth good, no, not one.13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps14 is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing15 and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood:16 17 Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the18 way of peace have they not known. There is no19 fear of God before their eyes. This is all said in the sacred book of our law* ; and what is said there, we know is said to the jews, who are under the law, that the mouth of every jew, that would justify himself, might be stopped, and all the world, jews as well as gentiles, may be forced to acknowledge20 themselves guilty before God. From whence it is evident, that by his own performances, in obedience a law* , no† man can attain to an exact conformity to the rule of right, so as to be righteous in the sight of God. For by law, which is the publishing the rule with a penalty, we are not delivered from the power of sin, nor can it help men to righteousness‡ , but by law we come experimentally to know sin, in the force and power of it, since we find it prevail upon us, notwithstanding the punishment of21 death is, by the law, annexed to it§ . But the righteousness of God, that righteousness which he intended, and will accept, and is a righteousness not within the rule and rigour of law, is now made manifest, and confirmed by the testimony of the law and the prophets, which bear witness of this truth, that Jesus is the Messias, and that it is according 22 to his purpose and promise, That the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus the Messias, is extended to, and bestowed on all who believe in him* ,23 (for there is no difference between them. They have all, both jews and gentiles, sinned, and fail of attaining that glory† which God hath appointed24 for the righteous,) Being made righteous gratis, by the favour of God, through the redemption‡25 which is by Jesus Christ; Whom God hath set forth to be the propitiatory, or mercy-seat* in his own blood† , for the manifestation of his [God’s] righteousness‡ , by passing over§ their transgressions, formerly committed, which he hath borne with hitherto, so as to withhold his hand from casting off the nation of the jews, as their past sins deserved.26 For the manifesting of his righteousness* at this time† , that he might be just, in keeping his promise, and be the justifier of every one, not who is of the jewish nation, or extraction, but of the faith‡27 in Jesus Christ. What reason, then, have you jews to glory§ , and set yourselves so much above the gentiles, in judging them, as you do? None at all: boasting is totally excluded. By what law? By the28 law of works? No, but by the law of faith. I conclude therefore* , that a man is justified by faith,29 and not by the works of the law† . Is God the God of the jews only, and not of the gentiles also?30 Yea, certainly of the gentiles also. Since the time is come that God is no longer one to the jews, and another to the gentiles, but he is now become one and the same‡ God to them all, and will justify the jews by faith, and the gentiles also through faith, who, by the law of Moses, were heretofore shut out§31 from being the people of God. Do we then make the law∥ insignificant, or useless, by our doctrine of faith? By no means: but, on the contrary, we establish* and confirm the law.
CHAP. IV. 1—25.
St. Paul having, in the foregoing section, cut off all glorying from the jews upon the account of their having the law, and shown, that that gave them no manner of title or pretence to be the people of God, more than the gentiles under the Messias, and so they had no reason to judge, or exclude the gentiles, as they did; he comes here to prove that their lineal extraction from their father Abraham gave them no better a pretence of glorying, or of setting themselves upon that account above the gentiles, now, in the time of the gospel.
1. Because Abraham himself was justified by faith, and so had not whereof to glory; for as much as he that receiveth righteousness, as a boon, has no reason to glory: but he that attains it by works.
2. Because neither they, who had circumcision derived down to them, as the posterity of Abraham, nor they who had the law; but they only, who had faith, were the seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made. And therefore the blessing of justification was intended for the gentiles, and bestowed on them as well as on the jews, and upon the same ground.
1What shall we say then, that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2For, if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.
3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him, that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.
7Saying, Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man, to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9Cometh this blessedness, then, upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10How was it, then, reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of righteousness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12And the father of circumcision to them, who are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14For if they, which are of the law, be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.
15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only, which is of the law, but to that also, which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
17(As it is written, “I have made thee a father of many nations”) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things, which be not, as though they were;
18Who, against hope, believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, “So shall thy seed be.”
19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
20He staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God:
21And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22And, therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1What then shall we say of Abraham our father, according to the flesh* , what has he obtained? has2 not he found matter of glorying? Yes; if he were justified by works, he had matter of glorying† , he might then have gloried over the rest of the gentile world, in having God for his God, and he and his family being God’s people; but he had no subject of3 glorying before God. As it is evident from sacred scripture, which telleth us, that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.4 Now there had been no need of any such counting, any such allowance, if he had attained righteousness by works of obedience, exactly conformable, and coming up, to the rule of righteousness. For what reward a man has made himself a title to, by the performances, that he receives as a debt that is due, 5 and not as a gift of favour. But to him, that by his works attains not righteousness, but only believeth on God, who justifieth him, being ungodly* , to him justification is a favour of grace: because his believing is accounted to him for righteousness, or6 perfect obedience. Even as David speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God reckoneth†7 righteousness without works, Saying, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins8 are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the9 Lord will not reckon sin.” Is this blessedness then upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? for we say that faith was reckoned to10 Abraham for righteousness. When, therefore, was it reckoned to him? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision,11 but in uncircumcision. For he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised* , that he might be the father of all those who believed, being uncircumcised, that righteousness might be12 reckoned to them also; And the father of the circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned, not to those who were barely of the circumcision, but to such of the circumcision as did also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham,13 which he had, being uncircumcised† . For the promise* , that he should be possessor of the world, was not that Abraham, and those of his seed, who were under the law, should, by virtue of their having and owning the law, be possessed of it; but by the righteousness of faith, whereby those who were, without the law, scattered all over the world, beyond the borders of Canaan, became his posterity, and had him for their father† , and inherited the14 blessing of justification by faith. For, if they only who had the law of Moses given them, were heirs of Abraham, faith is made void and useless‡ , it receiving no benefit of the promise, which was made to the heirs of Abraham’s faith, and so the promise15 becomes of no effect. Because the law procures them not justification§ , but renders them liable to the wrath and punishment of God∥ , who, by the law, has made known to them what is sin, and what punishment he has annexed to it. For there is no incurring wrath, or punishment, where there is no16 law that says any thing of it* : Therefore the inheritance† is of faith, that it might be merely of favour, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed of Abraham; not to that part of it only, which has faith, being under the law; but to that part also, who without the law, inherit the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all who believe,17 whether jews or gentiles, (As it is written‡ , “I have made thee a father of many nations.”) I say the father of us all (in the account of God, whom he believed, and who accordingly quickened the dead, i. e. Abraham and Sarah, whose bodies were dead: and called things that are not, as if they were§ ;)18 Who without any hope, which the natural course of things could afford, did in hope believe, that he should become the father of many nations, according to what God had spoken, by God’s showing him the stars of heaven, saying, So shall thy seed be.19 And being firm and unshaken in his faith, he regarded not his own body, now dead, he being about an hundred years old; nor the deadness of Sarah’s20 womb; He staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief, but was strong in faith, thereby21 giving glory to God; By the full persuasion he had, that God was able to perform what he had promised:22 And therefore it was accounted to him for23 righteousness. Now this, of its being reckoned to24 him, was not written for his sake alone, But for ours also, to whom faith also will be reckoned for righteousness, viz. to as many as believe in him, who25 raised Jesus our Lord from the dead* , Who was delivered to death for our offences† , and was raised again for our justification‡ .
CHAP. V. 1—11
St. Paul, in the foregoing chapters, has examined the glorying of the jews, and their valuing themselves so highly above the gentiles, and shown the vanity of their boasting in circumcision and the law, since neither they, nor their father Abraham, were justified, or found acceptance with God, by circumcision, or the deeds of the law: and therefore they had no reason so as they did to press circumcision and the law on the gentiles, or exclude those who had them not, from being the people of God, and unfit for their communion, in and under the gospel. In this section, he comes to show what the convert gentiles, by faith, without circumcision, or the law, had to glory in, viz. the hope of glory, ver. 2, their sufferings for the gospel, ver. 3. And God as their God, ver. 11. In these three it is easy to observe the thread and coherence of St. Paul’s discourse here, the intermediate verses, (according to that abounding with matter and overflowing of thought, he was filled with) being taken up with an accidental train of considerations, to show the reason they had to glory in tribulations.
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2By whom also we have access, by faith, into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4And patience, experience; and experience, hope;
5And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.
6For, when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure, for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
1Therefore, being justified by faith, we* have peace2 with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, By whom we have had admittance, through faith, into that favour, in which we have stood, and glory† in the hope3 of the glory, which God has in store for us. And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also, knowing4 that tribulation worketh patience; And patience giveth us a proof of ourselves, which furnishes us with5 hope; And our hope maketh not ashamed, will not deceive us, because‡ the sense of the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is6 given unto us (a). For, when the gentiles were yet without strength (b), void of all help, or ability to deliver ourselves, Christ, in the time that God had appointed and foretold, died for us, who lived without the acknowledgment and worship of the7 true God (b). Scarce is it to be found that any one will die for a just man, if peradventure one should8 dare to die for a good man; But God recommends, and herein shows the greatness of his love* towards us, in that, whilst we gentiles were a mass of9 profligate sinners† , Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, now being justified by his death, shall we through him be delivered from condemnation*10 at the day of judgment. For if, when we were enemies† , we were reconciled to God, by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be11 saved by his life. And not only‡ do we glory in tribulation, but also in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom now§ we have received reconciliation.
CHAP. V. 12.—VII. 25.
The apostle here goes on with his design, of showing that the gentiles, under the gospel, have as good a title to the favour of God, as the jews; there being no other way for either jew or gentile, to find acceptance with God, but by faith in Jesus Christ. In the foregoing section he reckoned up several subjects of glorying, which the convert gentiles had without the law, and concludes them with this chief and principal matter of glorying, even God himself, whom, now that they were, by Jesus Christ their Lord, reconciled to him, they could glory in as their God.
To give them a more full and satisfactory comprehension of this, he leads them back to the times before the giving of the law, and the very being of the jewish nation; and lays before them, in short, the whole scene of God’s œconomy, and his dealing with mankind, from the beginning, in reference to life and death.
1. He teaches them, that by Adam’s lapse all men were brought into a state of death, and by Christ’s death all are restored to life. By Christ also, as many as believe are instated in eternal life.
2. That the law, when it came, laid the israelites faster under death, by enlarging the offence, which had death annexed to it. For, by the law, every transgression that any one under the law committed, had death for its punishment, notwithstanding which, by Christ, those under the law, who believe, receive life.
3. That, though the gentiles, who believe, come not under the rigour of the law, yet the covenant of grace, which they are under, requires that they should not be servants and vassals to sin, to obey it in the lusts of it, but sincerely endeavour after righteousness, the end whereof would be everlasting life.
4. That the jews also, who receive the gospel, are delivered from the law; not that the law is sin; but because, though the law forbid the obeying of sin, as well as the gospel; yet not enabling them to resist their sinful lusts, but making each compliance with any sinful lust deadly, it settles upon them the dominion of sin, by death, from which they are delivered by the grace of God alone, which frees them from the condemnation of the law, for every actual transgression, and requires no more, but that they should, with the whole bent of their mind, serve the law of God, and not their carnal lusts. In all which cases the salvation of the gentiles is wholly by grace, without their being at all under the law. And the salvation of the jews is wholly by grace also, without any aid, or help from the law: from which also, by Christ, they are delivered.
Thus lies the thread of St. Paul’s argument, wherein we may see how he pursues his design, of satisfying of gentile converts at Rome, that they were not required to submit to the law of Moses; and of fortifying them against the jews, who troubled them about it.
For the more distinct and easy apprehension of St. Paul’s discoursing on these four heads, I shall divide this section into the four following numbers, taking them up, as they lie in the order of the text.
SECT. VI. No. I.
CHAP. V. 12—19.
Here he instructs them in the state of mankind in general, before the law, and before the separation that was made thereby of the israelites from all the other nations of the earth. And here he shows, that Adam, transgressing the law, which forbad him the eating of the tree of knowledge, upon pain of death, forfeited immortality, and becoming thereby mortal, all his posterity, descending from the loins of a mortal man, were mortal too, and all died, though none of them broke that law, but Adam himself: but, by Christ, they are all restored to life again. And, God justifying those who believe in Christ, they are restored to their primitive state of righteousness and immortality; so that the gentiles, being the descendants of Adam, as well as the jews, stand as fair for all the advantages, that accrue to the posterity of Adam, by Christ, as the jews themselves, it being all wholly and solely from grace.
12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
13For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned, after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if, through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one, to condemnation; but the free gift is of many offences, unto justification.
17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
18Therefore as, by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men, unto justification of life.
19For, as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners: so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.
12Wherefore, to give you a state of the whole matter, from the beginning you must know, that, as by the act of one man, Adam, the father of us all, sin entered into the world, and death, which was the punishment annexed to the offence of eating the forbidden fruit, entered by that sin, for that all13 Adam’s posterity thereby became mortal* . It is true, indeed, sin was universally committed in the world by all men, all the time before the positive law of God delivered by Moses: but it is as true* that there is no certain, determined punishment affixed14 to sin, without a positive law† declaring it. Nevertheless, we see that, in all that space of time, which was before the positive law of God by Moses, men from the beginning of the world, died, all as well as their father Adam; though none of them, but he alone, had eaten of the forbidden fruit* ; and thereby, as he had committed that sin, to which sin alone the punishment of death was annexed, by the positive sanction of God, denounced to Adam, who was the figure and type of Christ, who was to15 come. But yet though he were the type of Christ, yet the gift, or benefit, received by Christ, is not exactly conformed and confined to the dimensions of the damage, received by Adam’s fall. For if, by the lapse of one man, the multitude† , i. e. all men died† , much more did the favour of God; and the free gift by the bounty or good-will which is in Jesus Christ, exceed to the multitude† , i. e. to all men. 16 Furthermore, neither is the gift, as was the lapse, by one sin* . For the judgment or sentence was for one* offence, to condemnation: but the gift of favour reaches, notwithstanding many* sins, to 17 justification of life* . For if, by one lapse, death reigned, by reason of one offence, much more shall they who receiving the surplusage† of favour, and of the gift of righteousness, reign in life by one, even18 Jesus Christ. Therefore‡ as, by one§ offence, (viz.) Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit, all men fell under the condemnation of death: so, by one act of righteousness, viz. Christ’s obedience to death upon the19 cross* , all men are restored to life† . For as, by one man’s disobedience, many were brought into a state of mortality, which is the state of sinners‡ ; so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous, i. e. be restored to life again, as if they were not sinners.
SECT. VI. No. 2.
CHAP. V. 20, 21.
St. Paul, pursuing his design in this epistle, of satisfying the gentiles, that there was no need of their submitting to the law, in order to their partaking of the benefits of the gospel, having, in the foregoing eight verses taught them, that Adam’s one sin had brought death upon them all, from which they were all restored by Christ’s death, with addition of eternal bliss and glory, to all those who believe in him; all which being the effect of God’s free grace and favour, to those who were never under the law, excludes the law from having any part in it, and so fully makes out the title of the gentiles to God’s favour, through Jesus Christ, under the gospel, without the intervention of the law. Here, for the farther satisfaction of the gentile converts, he shows them, in these two verses, that the nation of the hebrews, who had the law, were not delivered from the state of death by it, but rather plunged deeper under it, by the law, and so stood more in need of favour, and indeed had a greater abundance of grace afforded them, for their recovery to life by Jesus Christ, than the gentiles themselves. Thus the jews themselves, not being saved by the law, but by an excess of grace, this is a farther proof of the point St. Paul was upon, viz. that the gentiles had no need of the law, for the obtaining of life, under the gospel.
20Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound: but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound;
21That, as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ, our Lord.
20This was the state of all* mankind, before the law, they all died for the one παράπτωμα, lapse, or offence, of one man which was the only irregularity, that had death annexed to it: but the law entered, and took place over a small part of mankind* , that this παράπτωμα, lapse, or offence, to which death was annexed, might abound, i. e. the multiplied transgressions of many men, viz. all that were under the law of Moses, might have death annexed to them, by the positive sanction of that law, whereby the offence* , to which death was annexed, did abound, i. e. sins that had death for their punishment, were increased. But, by the goodness of God, where sin† , with death annexed to it, did abound, grace21 did much more abound‡ . That as sin had reigned, or showed its mastery, in the death of the israelites, who were under the law; so grace, in its turn, might reign, or show its mastery, by justifying them, from all those many sins, which they had committed, each whereof, by the law, brought death with it; and so bestowing on them the righteousness of faith, instate them in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SECT. VI. No. 3.
CHAP. VI. 1—23.
St. Paul having, in the foregoing chapter, very much magnified free grace, by showing that all men, having lost their lives by Adam’s sin, were, by grace, through Christ, restored to life again; and also, as many of them as believed in Christ, were re-established in immortality by grace; and that even the jews, who, by their own trespasses against the law, had forfeited their lives, over and over again, were also, by grace, restored to life, grace super-abounding, where sin abounded; he here obviates a wrong inference, which might be apt to mislead the convert gentiles, viz. “therefore, let us continue in sin, that grace may abound.” The contrary whereof he shows their very taking upon them the profession of christianity required of them, by the very initiating ceremony of baptism, wherein they were typically buried with Christ, to teach them that they, as he did, ought to die to sin; and, as he rose to live to God, they should rise to a new life of obedience to God, and be no more slaves to sin, in an obedience and resignation of themselves to its commands. For, if their obedience were to sin, they were vassals of sin, and would certainly receive the wages of that master, which was nothing but death: but, if they obeyed righteousness, i. e. sincerely endeavoured after righteousness, though they did not attain it, sin should not have dominion over them, by death, i. e. should not bring death upon them. Because they were not under the law, which condemned them to death for every transgression; but under grace, which, by faith in Jesus Christ, justified them to eternal life, from their many transgressions. And thus he shows the gentiles not only the no necessity, but the advantage of their not being under the law.
1What shall we say then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2God forbid: how shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death?
4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism, into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5For, if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7For he that is dead, is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
9Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin; but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it, in the lusts thereof.
13Neither yield ye your members, as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead; and your members, as instruments of righteousness, unto God.
14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!
16Know ye not, that, to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are, to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.
17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin: but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine, which was delivered you.
18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness, unto holiness.
20For, when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21What fruit had ye then, in those things, whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin,2 that grace may abound? God forbid: how can it be that we* , who, by our embracing christianity, have renounced our former sinful courses, and have professed a death to sin, should live any longer in it? 3 For this I hope you are not ignorant of, that we christians, who by baptism were admitted into the kingdom and church of Christ, were baptized into a4 similitude of his death: We did own some kind of death, by being buried under water, which, being buried with him, i. e. in conformity to his burial, as a confession of our being dead, was to signify, that as Christ was raised up from the dead, into* a glorious life with his Father, even so we, being raised from our typical death and burial in baptism, should lead a new sort of life, wholly different from our former, in some approaches towards that heavenly life that5 Christ is risen to. For, if we have been ingrafted into him, in the similitude of his death, we shall be also in a conformity to the life, which he is entered6 into, by his resurrection: Knowing this, that we are to live so, as if our old man, our wicked and corrupt fleshly self† which we were before, were crucified with him, that the prevalency of our carnal sinful propensities, which are from our bodies, might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin‡ , 7 as vassals to it. For he, that is dead, is set free from the vassalage* of sin, as a slave is from the vassalage8 of his master. Now, if we understand by our being buried in baptism, that we died with Christ, we cannot but think and believe, that9 we should live a life conformable to his; Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, returns no more to a mortal life, death hath no more dominion10 over him, he is no more subject to death. For in that he died, he died unto sin, i. e. upon the account of sin, once† for all: but his life, now after his resurrection, is a life wholly appropriated to God, with which sin, or death, shall never have any more to do, or come in reach of.11 In like manner, do you also make your reckoning, account yourselves dead to sin* , freed from that master; so as not to suffer yourselves, any more, to be commanded, or employed by it, as if it were still your master; but alive to God, i. e. that it is your business now to live wholly for his service, and to12 his glory† , through Jesus Christ our Lord. Permit not, therefore, sin to reign over you, by your mortal bodies‡ , which you will do, if you obey13 your carnal lusts: Neither deliver up your members§ to sin, to be employed by sin, as instruments of iniquity, but deliver up yourselves unto God, as those who have got to a new life from among the dead∥ , and choosing him for your Lord and Master, yield your members to him, as instruments of14 righteousness. For if you do so, sin shall not have dominion over you* , you shall not be as its slaves, in its power, to be by it delivered over to death. For† you are not under the law, in the legal state; but you are under grace, in the gospel-state of the15 covenant of grace. What then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under the covenant16 of grace‡ ? God forbid! Know ye not that, to whom you subject yourselves* as vassals, to be at his beck, his vassals you are whom you thus obey, whether it be of sin, which vassalage ends in death; or of Christ, in obeying the gospel, to the obtaining of17 righteousness and life. But God be thanked, that you who were the vassals of sin, have sincerely, and from your heart, obeyed, so as to receive the form, or be cast into the mould of that doctrine, under whose direction or regulation* you were put, that18 you might conform yourselves to it. Being therefore set free from the vassalage of sin, you became19 the servants or vassals of righteousness† . (I make use of this metaphor, of the passing of slaves from one master to another‡ , well known to you romans, the better to let my meaning into your understandings, that are yet weak in these matters, being more accustomed to fleshly than spiritual things.) For as you yielded your natural§ faculties obedient, slavish instruments to uncleanness, to be wholly employed in all manner of iniquity∥ ; so now ye ought to yield up your natural faculties to a perfect20 and ready obedience to righteousness. For, when you were the vassals of sin, you were not at all subject to, nor paid any obedience to righteousness: therefore, by a parity of reason, now righteousness is your master, you ought to pay no obedience to 21 sin. What fruit, or benefit, had you then in those things, in that course of things, whereof you are now ashamed? For the end of those things, which22 are done in obedience to sin, is death. But now, being set free from sin, being no longer vassals to that master, but having God now for your lord and master, to whom you are become subjects or vassals, your course of life tends to holiness, and will end in23 everlasting life. For the wages* that sin pays, is death: but that which God’s servants receive, from his bounty, is the gift of eternal life† , through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SECT. VI. No. 4.
CHAP. VII. 1—25.
St. Paul, in the foregoing chapter, addressing himself to the convert gentiles, shows them, that, not being under the law, they were obliged only to keep themselves free from the vassalage of sin, by a sincere endeavour after righteousness, forasmuch as God gave eternal life to all those who, being under grace, i. e. being converted to christianity, did so.
In this chapter, addressing himself to those of his own nation in the roman church, he tells them, that, the death of Christ having put an end to the obligation of the law, they were at their liberty to quit the observances of the law, and were guilty of no disloyalty, in putting themselves under the gospel. And here St. Paul shows the deficiency of the law, which rendered it necessary to be laid aside, by the coming and reception of the gospel. Not that it allowed any sin, but, on the contrary, forbad even concupiscence, which was not known to be sin, without the law. Nor was it the law that brought death upon those who were under it, but sin, that herein it might show the extreme malignant influence it had, upon our weak fleshly natures, in that it could prevail on us to transgress the law, (which we could not but acknowledge to be holy, just and good) though death was the declared penalty of every transgression: but herein lay the deficiency of the law, as spiritual and opposite to sin as it was, that it could not master and root it out, but sin remained and dwelt in men, as before, and by the strength of their carnal appetites, which were not subdued by the law, carried them to transgressions, that they approved not. Nor did it avail them to disapprove, or struggle, since, though the bent of their minds were the other way, yet their endeavours after obedience delivered them not from that death, which their bodies, or carnal appetites, running them into transgressions, brought upon them. That deliverance was to be had from grace, by which those who, putting themselves from under the law into the gospel-state, were accepted, if with the bent of their minds they sincerely endeavoured to serve and obey the law of God, though sometimes, through the frailty of their flesh, they fell into sin.
This is a farther demonstration to the converted gentiles of Rome, that they are under no obligation of submitting themselves to the law, in order to be the people of God, or partake of the advantages of the gospel, since it was necessary, even to the jews themselves, to quit the terms of the law, that they might be delivered from death, by the gospel. And thus we see how steadily and skilfully he pursues his design, and with what evidence and strength he fortifies the gentile converts, against all attempts of the jews, who went about to bring them under the observances of the law of Moses.
1Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law) how that the law hath dominion over a man, as long as he liveth.
2For the woman, which hath an husband, is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he liveth: but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but, if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him, who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death.
6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead, wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9For I was alive without the law, once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12Wherefore the law is holy; and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13Was then that, which is good, made death unto me? God forbid! but sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me, by that which is good; that sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful.
14For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15For that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.
16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law, that it is good.
17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not.
19For the good, that I would, I do not: but the evil, which I would not, that I do.
20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I, that do it; but sin, that dwelleth in me.
21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man.
23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.
24O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.
1I have let those of you, who were formerly gentiles, see, that they are not under the law, but under grace* : I now apply myself to you, my brethren, of my own nation† , who know the law. You cannot be ignorant that the authority of the law reaches, or concerns a2 man‡ , so long as he liveth, and no longer. For§ a woman who hath an husband, is bound by the law* to her living husband; but if her husband dieth, she is loosed from the law, which made her her husband’s, because the authority of the law, whereby he had a right to her, ceased in respect of him, as soon as he died.3 Wherefore she shall be called an adulteress, if while her husband liveth, she become another man’s. But if her husband dies, the right he had to her by the law ceasing, she is freed from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she become another man’s.4 So that even ye, my brethren† , by the body of Christ* , are become dead† to the law, whereby the dominion of the law over you has ceased, that you should subject yourselves to the dominion of Christ, in the gospel, which you may do with as much freedom from blame, or the imputation of disloyalty‡ , as a woman whose husband is dead, may, without the imputation of adultery, marry another man. And this making yourselves another’s, even Christ’s, who is risen from the dead, is, that we§5 should bring forth fruit unto God* . For when we were after so fleshly† a manner, under the law, as not to comprehend the spiritual meaning of it, that directed us to Christ, the spiritual end of the law, our sinful lust‡ , that remained in us under the law§ , or in the state under the law, wrought in our members, i. e. set our members and faculties* on work, in6 doing that, whose end was death† . But now the law, under which we were heretofore held in subjection, being dead, we are set free from the dominion of the law, that we should perform our obedience, as under the new‡ and spiritual covenant of the gospel, wherein there is a remission of frailties, and not as still under the old rigour of the letter of the law, which condemns every one, who does not perform exact obedience 7 to every tittle* . What shall we then think, that the law, because it is set aside, was unrighteous, or gave any allowance, or contributed any thing to sin† ? By no means: for the law, on the contrary, tied men stricter up from sin, forbidding concupiscence, which they did not know to be sin, but by the law. For I‡ had not known concupiscence to be sin, unless the law8 had said, Thou shalt not covet. Nevertheless sin, taking opportunity§ , during the law∥ , or whilst I was under the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence: for without the law, sin is9 dead* , not able to hurt me; And there was a time once† , when I being without the law, was in a state of life; but the commandment coming, sin got life and strength again, and I found myself a dead man; 10 And that very law, which was given me for the attaining of life* , was found to produce death† to11 me. For my mortal enemy, sin, taking the opportunity of my being under‡ the law, slew me by the law, which it inveigled§ me to disobey, i. e. the frailty and vicious inclinations of nature remaining in me under the law, as they were before, able still to bring me into transgressions, each whereof was mortal, sin had, by my being under the law, a sure12 opportunity of bringing death upon me. So that∥ the law is holy, just, and good, such as the eternal, immutable rule of right and good required it to be. 13 Was then the law, that in itself was good, made death to me? No* , by no means: but it was sin, that by the law was made death unto me, to the end that the power† of sin might appear, by its being able to bring death upon me, by that very law, that was intended for my good, that so, by the commandment, the power‡ of sin and corruption in me might14 be shown to be exceeding great; For we know that the law is spiritual, requiring actions quite opposite§ to our carnal affections. But I am so carnal, as to be enslaved to them, and forced against my will to do the drudgery of sin, as if I were a slave, that had been sold into the hands of that my domineering15 enemy. For what I do, is not of my own contrivance* ; for that which I have a mind to, I do not;16 and what I have an aversion to, that I do. If then my transgressing the law be what I, in my mind, am against, it is plain, the consent of my mind goes17 with the law that it is good. If so, then it is not I, a willing agent of my own free purpose, that do what is contrary to the law, but as a poor slave in captivity, not able to follow my own understanding and choice, forced by the prevalency of my own sinful affections, and sin that remains still in me notwithstanding18 the law. For I know, by woeful experience, that in me, viz. in my flesh† , that part, which is the seat of carnal appetites, there inhabits no good. For, in the judgment and purpose of my mind, I am readily carried into a conformity and obedience to the law: but, the strength of my carnal affections not being abated by the law, I am not able to execute what I judge to be right, and19 intend to perform. For the good, that is my purpose and aim, that I do not: but the evil, that is contrary to my intention, that in my practice takes place, i. e. I purpose and aim at universal obedience,20 but cannot in fact attain it. Now if I do that, which is against the full bent and intention of me* myself, it is, as I said before, not I, my true self, who do it, but the true author of it is my old enemy, sin, which still remains and dwells in me, and I would fain get21 rid of. I find it, therefore, as by a law settled in me, that when my intentions aim at good, evil is ready at22 hand, to make my actions wrong and faulty. For that which my inward man is delighted with, that, which with satisfaction my mind would make its rule, is23 the law of God. But I see in my members† another principle of action, equivalent to a law‡ , directly waging war against that law, which my mind would follow, leading me captive into an unwilling subjection to the constant inclination and impulse of my carnal appetite, which, as steadily as if it were a24 law, carries me to sin. O miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me* from this body of death?25 The grace of God† , through Jesus Christ our Lord. To comfort myself, therefore, as that state requires, for my deliverance from death, I myself* , with full purpose and sincere endeavours of mind, give up myself to obey† the law of God; though my carnal inclinations are enslaved, and have a constant tendency to sin. This is all I can do, and this is all, I being under grace, that is required of me, and through Christ will be accepted.
CHAP. VIII. 1—39.
St. Paul having, chap. vi. shown that the gentiles, who were not under the law, were saved only by grace, which required that they should not indulge themselves in sin, but steadily and sincerely endeavour after perfect obedience: having also, ch. vii. shown, that the jews who were under the law, were also saved by grace only, because the law could not enable them wholly to avoid sin, which, by the law, was in every the least slip made death; he in this chapter shows, that both jews and gentiles, who are under grace, i. e. converts to christianity, are free from condemnation, if they perform what is required of them; and thereupon he sets forth the terms of the covenant of grace, and presses their observance, viz. not to live after the flesh, but after the spirit, mortifying the deeds of the body; forasmuch as those, that do so, are the sons of God. This being laid down, he makes use of it to arm them with patience against afflictions, assuring them, that, whilst they remain in this state, nothing can separate them from the love of God, nor shut them out from the inheritance of eternal life with Christ, in glory, to which all the sufferings of this life bear not any the least proportion.
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
2For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh:
4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
5For they, that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit.
6For to be carnally minded, is death; but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace:
7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God.
9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin, but the spirit is life, because of righteousness.
11But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you: he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in you.
12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh.
13For, if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope:
21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, until now.
23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen, is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for, as we ought: but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings, which cannot be uttered.
27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.
28And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them, who are the called according to his purpose.
29For whom he did fore-know, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.
30Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth:
34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36(As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter).
37Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1There is, therefore* , now† , no condemnation‡ to, i. e. no sentence of death shall pass upon, those who are christians* , if so be they obey† not the sinful lusts of the flesh, but follow, with sincerity of heart,2 the dictates of the ‡ spirit, § in the gospel. For the ∥ grace of God, which is effectual to life, has set me free from the law in my members, which cannot now produce sin in me, unto death¶ . 3 For this (viz. the delivering us from sin) being beyond the power of the law, which was too weak* to master the propensities of the flesh, God, sending his son in flesh, that in all things, except sin, was like unto our frail, sinful flesh† , and sending‡ him also to be an offering§ for sin, he put to death, or extinguished, or suppressed sin* in the flesh, i. e. sending his son into the world, with the body, wherein the flesh could4 never prevail, to the producing of any one sin; To the end that, under this example of the flesh, wherein sin was perfectly mastered and excluded from any life, the moral rectitude of the law† might be conformed to‡ by us, who, abandoning the lusts of the flesh, follow the guidance of the spirit, in the law of our minds, and make it our business to live, not after5 the flesh, but after the spirit. For as for those who § are still under the direction of the flesh, and its sinful appetites, who are under obedience to the law in their members, they have the thoughts and bent of their minds set upon the things of the flesh, to obey it in the lusts of it: but they, who are under the spiritual law of their minds, the thoughts and bent of their hearts is to follow the dictates of the spirit, in that6 law. For* to have our minds set upon the satisfaction of the lusts of the flesh, in a slavish obedience to them, does certainly produce and bring death upon us; but our setting ourselves, seriously and sincerely, to obey the dictates and direction of the spirit, produces life† and peace, which are not to be had in the contrary,7 carnal state: Because to be carnally minded‡ is direct enmity and opposition against God, for such a temper of mind, given up to the lusts of the flesh, is in no subjection to the law of God, nor indeed can be§ , it 8 having a quite contrary tendency. So then* they that are in the flesh, i. e. under the fleshly dispensation of the law† , without regarding Christ,9 the spirit of it, in it cannot please God. But ye are not in that state, of having all your expectation from the law, and the benefits, that are to be obtained barely by that; but are in the spiritual state of the law, i. e. the gospel‡ , which is the end of the law, and to which the law leads you. And so, having received the gospel, you have therewith received the spirit of God: for, as many as receive Christ, he gives power to become the § sons of God: and to10 those that are his sons, God gives his spirit∥ . And if Christ be in you, by his spirit, the body is dead as to all activity to sin* , sin no longer reigns in it† , but your sinful, carnal lusts are mortified. But the spirit of your mind liveth, i. e. is enlivened, in order to righteousness, or living righteously.11 But, if the spirit of God, who had power able to raise Jesus Christ from the dead, dwell in you, as certainly it does, he, that raised Christ from the dead, is certainly able, and will, by his spirit that dwells in you, enliven even your‡ mortal bodies* , that sin shall not have the sole power and rule there, but your members may be made living12 instruments of righteousness. Therefore, brethren, we are not under any obligation to the flesh, to obey13 the lusts of it. For, if ye live after the flesh, that mortal part shall lead you to death irrecoverable; but if by the spirit, whereby Christ totally suppressed and hindered sin from having any life in his flesh, you mortify the deeds of the body* , ye shall have14 eternal life. For, as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God, of an immortal race, and consequently like their Father immortal† .15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage‡ again§ , to fear; but ye have received the spirit∥ of God, (which is given to those who, having received adoption, are sons) whereby we are all enabled16 to call God our Father¶ . The spirit of God himself beareth witness** with our spirits that we are17 the children of God, And if children, then heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, if so be we suffer†† with him, that we may also be glorified with him.18 For I count that the sufferings of this transitory life bear no proportion to that glorious state, that shall be hereafter * revealed, and set before the eyes19 of the whole world, at our admittance into it. For the whole race of mankind† , in an earnest expectation of this inconceivable, glorious ‡ immortality that20 shall be bestowed on the sons§ of God (For mankind, created in a better state, was made subject to the ∥ vanity of this calamitous fleeting life, not of its own choice, but by the guile of the devil¶ , who brought mankind into this mortal state) waiteth in 21 hope* , That even they also shall be delivered from this subjection to corruption† , and shall be brought into that glorious freedom from death, which is the22 proper inheritance of the children of God. For we know that mankind, all‡ of them, groan together, and unto this day are in pain, as a woman in labour, to be delivered out of the uneasiness of this mortal23 state. And not only they, but even those, who have the first fruits of the spirit, and therein the earnest§ of eternal life, we ourselves groan∥ within ourselves, waiting for the fruit of our adoption, which is, that, as we are by adoption made sons and co-heirs with Jesus Christ, so we may have bodies like unto his24 most glorious body, spiritual and immortal. But we must wait with patience, for we have hitherto been saved but in hope and expectation: but hope is of things not in present possession, or enjoyment. For what a man hath, and seeth in his own hands, he no25 longer hopes for. But if we hope for what is out of sight, and yet to come, then do we with26 patience wait for it* . Such, therefore, are our groans, which the spirit, in aid to our infirmity, makes use of. For we know not what prayers to make as we ought, but the spirit itself layeth for us our requests before God, in groans that cannot be expressed27 in words. And God, the searcher of hearts, who understandeth this language of the spirit, knoweth what the spirit would have, because the spirit is wont to make intercession for the28 saints† , acceptably to God. Bear, therefore, your sufferings with patience and constancy, for we certainly know that all things work together for good, to those that love God, who are the called, according29 to his purpose of calling the gentiles‡ . In which purpose the gentiles, whom he fore-knew, as he did the jews* , with an intention of his kindness, and of making them his people, he pre-ordained to be conformable to the image of his son, that he might be the first-born, the chief amongst many30 brethren† . Moreover, whom he did thus preordain to be his people, them he also called, by sending preachers of the gospel to them: and whom he called, if they obeyed the truth‡ , those he also justified, by counting their faith for righteousness: and whom he justified, them he also glorified, viz. in31 his purpose. What shall we say, then, to these things? If God be for us, as, by what he has already done for us, it appears he is, who can be32 against us? He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up to death for us all, gentiles as well as jews, how shall he not with him also give us all33 things? Who shall be the prosecutor of those, whom God hath chosen? Shall God, who justifieth34 them§ ? Who, as judge, shall condemn them? Christ, that died for us, yea rather that is risen again for our justification, and is at the right hand of God,35 making intercession for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,36 or sword? For this is our lot, as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted37 as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things, we are already more than conquerors, by the grace and assistance of him that loved us.38 For I am stedfastly persuaded, that neither the terrours of death, nor the allurements of life, nor angels, nor the princes and powers of this world;39 nor things present; nor any thing future; Nor the height of prosperity; nor the depth of misery; nor any thing else whatsoever; shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
CHAP. IX. 1.—X. 21.
There was nothing more grating and offensive to the jews, than the thoughts of having the gentiles joined with them, and partaking equally in the privileges and advantages of the kingdom of the Messiah: and, which was yet worse, to be told that those aliens should be admitted, and they, who presumed themselves children of that kingdom, to be shut out. St. Paul, who had insisted much on this doctrine, in all the foregoing chapters of this epistle, to show that he had not done it out of any aversion, or unkindness, to his nation and brethren, the jews, does here express his great affection to them, and declares an extreme concern for their salvation. But withal he shows, that whatever privileges they had received from God, above other nations, whatever expectation the promises, made to their forefathers, might raise in them, they had yet no just reason of complaining of God’s dealing with them, now under the gospel, since it was according to his promise to Abraham, and his frequent declarations in sacred scripture. Nor was it any injustice to the jewish nation, if God now acted by the same sovereign power, wherewith he preferred Jacob (the younger brother, without any merit of his) and his posterity, to be his people, before Esau and his posterity, whom he rejected. The earth is all his; nor have the nations, that possess it, any title of their own, but what he gives them, to the countries they inhabit, nor the good things they enjoy; and he may dispossess, or exterminate them, when he pleaseth. And as he destroyed the egyptians, for the glory of his name, in the deliverance of the israelites; so he may, according to his good pleasure, raise or depress, take into favour, or reject, the several nations of this world. And particularly, as to the nation of the jews, all, but a small remnant, were rejected, and the gentiles taken in, in their room, to be the people and church of God; because they were a gainsaying and disobedient people, that would not receive the Messiah, whom he had promised, and, in the appointed time, sent to them. He that will, with moderate attention and indifferency of mind, read this ninth chapter, will see that what is said, of God’s exercising of an absolute power, according to the good pleasure of his will, relates only to nations, or bodies politick, of men, incorporated in civil societies, which feel the effects of it only in the prosperity, or calamity, they meet with, in this world, but extends not to their eternal state, in another world, considered as particular persons, wherein they stand each man by himself, upon his own bottom, and shall so answer separately, at the day of judgment. They may be punished here, with their fellow-citizens, as part of a sinful nation, and that be but temporal chastisement for their good, and yet be advanced to eternal life and bliss, in the world to come.
1I say the truth in Christ, I lye not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow at my heart.
3For I could wish, that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4Who are israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.
7Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
9For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac,
11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good, or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth)
12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18Therefore, hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth.
19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why do he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? shall the thing formed, say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22What, if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction:
23And that he might make known the riches of his glory, on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?
24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the jews only, but also of the gentiles.
25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
27Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.
28For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabbaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodome, and been made like unto Gomorrah.
30What shall we say then? That the gentiles, which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32Wherefore? Because they sought it, not by faith, but (as it were) by the works of the law: for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone.
33As it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone, and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed.
X. 1Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4For Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness, to every one that believeth.
5For Moses describeth the righteousness, which is of the law, That the man, which doth these things, shall live by them.
6But the righteousness which is of faith, speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
7Or who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again, from the dead)
8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach,
9That, if thou shalt confess, with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the jew and the greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.
14How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things?
16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21But to Israel he saith, All day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
1I as a christian speak truth, and my conscience, guided and enlightened by the Holy Ghost, bears me2 witness, that I lye not, In my profession of great3 heaviness and continual sorrow of heart; I could even wish that* the destruction and extermination, to which my brethren the jews are devoted by Christ, might, if it could save them from ruin, be executed on me, in the stead of those my kinsmen after the4 flesh; Who are israelites, a nation dignified with these privileges, which were peculiar to them; adoption, whereby they were in a particular manner the sons of God* ; the glory† of the divine presence amongst them; covenants‡ , made between them and the great God of heaven and the earth; the moral law§ , a constitution of civil government, and a form of divine worship prescribed by God himself; and all5 the promises of the Old Testament; Had the patriarchs, to whom the promises were made, for their fore-fathers∥ ; and of them, as to his fleshly extraction, Christ is come, he who is over all, God be6 blessed for ever, Amen. I commiserate my nation for not receiving the promised Messiah, now he is come; and I speak of the great prerogatives, they had from God, above other nations; but I say not this, as if it were possible, that the promise of God should fail of performance, and not have its effect¶ . But it is to be observed, for a right understanding of the promise, that the sole descendants of Jacob, or Israel, do not make up the whole nation of Israel** , or the people of God, comprehended 7 in the promise; Nor are they, who are the race of Abraham, all children, but only his posterity by Isaac, as it is said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be8 “called.” That is, the children of the flesh, descended out of Abraham’s loins, are not thereby the children of God* , and to be esteemed his people: but the children of the promise, as Isaac was, are9 alone to be accounted his seed. For thus runs the word of promise, “At this time I will come, and10 Sarah shall have a son.” Nor was this the only limitation of the seed of Abraham, to whom the promise belonged; but also, when Rebecca had conceived by that one of Abraham’s issue, to whom the promise was made, viz. our father Isaac, and there11 were twins in her womb, of that one father, Before the children were born, or had done any good, or evil* , to show that his making any stock, or race, of men his peculiar people, depended solely on his own purpose and good pleasure, in choosing and calling them, and not on any works or deserts of theirs, he, acting here in the case of Jacob and Esau, according12 to the predetermination of his own choice, It was declared unto her, that there were two nations† in her womb, and that the descendants of the elder13 brother should serve those of the younger, As it is written, “Jacob have I loved‡ , so as to make his posterity my chosen people; and Esau I put so much behind him§ , as to lay his mountains and14 his heritage waste∥ .” What shall we say then, is there any injustice with God, in choosing one people to himself before another, according to his good15 pleasure? By no means. My brethren, the jews themselves cannot charge any such thing on what I say; since they have it from Moses himself* , that God declared to him, that he would be gracious, to whom he would be gracious; and show mercy, on16 whom he would show mercy. So then, neither the purpose of Isaac, who designed it for Esau, and willed† him to prepare himself for it; nor the endeavours of Esau, who ran a hunting for venison to come and receive it, could place on him the blessing; but the favour of being made, in his posterity, a great and prosperous nation, the peculiar people of God, preferred to that which should descend from his brother, was bestowed on Jacob, by the mere17 bounty and good pleasure of God himself. The like hath Moses left us upon record, of God’s dealing with Pharaoh and his subjects, the people of Egypt, to whom God saith‡ , “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be 18 renowned through all the earth.” Therefore* , that his name and power may be made known, and taken notice of, in the world, he is kind and bountiful† to one nation, and lets another go on obstinately, in their opposition to him, that his taking them off, by some signal calamity and ruin, brought on them by the visible hand of his providence, may be seen, and acknowledged to be an effect of their standing out against him, as in the case of Pharaoh: for this end he is bountiful, to whom he will be bountiful; and whom he will, he permits to make such an use of his forbearance towards them, as to persist obdurate in their provocation of him, and draw on themselves19 exemplary destruction‡ . To this, some may be ready to say, why then does he find fault? For who, at any time, hath been able to resist his20 will? Say you so, indeed? But who art thou, O man, that repliest thus to God? shall the nations§ , that are made great or little, shall kingdoms, that are raised or depressed, say to him, in whose hands they are, to dispose of them as he pleases, “Why21 hast thou made us thus?” Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make this22 a vessel of honour, and that of dishonour* ? But what hast thou to say, O man of Judea, if God, willing to show his wrath, and have his power taken notice of, in the execution of it, did, with much long-suffering* , bear with the sinful nation of the jews, even when they were proper objects of that wrath, fit to have it poured out upon them, in their destruction;23 That† he might make known the riches of his glory* , on those whom, being objects of his24 mercy, he had before prepared to glory? Even us christians, whom he hath also called, not only of25 the jews, but also of the gentiles; As he hath declared in Osee; “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was26 not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place, where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children 27 “of the living God.” Isaiah crieth also, concerning Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet it is but* a remnant28 that shall be saved. For the Lord, finishing and contracting the account in righteousness, shall make a29 short, or small remainder† in the earth.” And, as Isaiah said before, “Unless the Lord of hosts had left us a seed‡ , we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah;” we had utterly30 been extirpated. What then remains to be said, but this? That the gentiles who sought not after righteousness, have obtained the righteousness, which is by faith, and thereby are become the people of31 God; But the children of Israel, who followed the law, which contained the rule of righteousness, have not attained to that law, whereby righteousness is to be attained, i. e. have not received the gospel§ , 32 and so are not the people of God. How came they to miss it? Because they sought not to attain it by faith; but as if it were to be obtained by the works of the law. A crucified Messiah was a stumblingblock to them* ; and at that they stumbled, As it33 is written, “Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone, and a rock of offence: and whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed.”
X. 1Brethren, my hearty desire and prayer to God for2 Israel is, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they are zealous† , and as they think for God and his law; but their zeal is not guided by3 true knowledge; For they, being ignorant of the righteousness that is of God, viz. That righteousness which he graciously bestows and accepts of; and going about to establish a righteousness of their own, which they seek for, in their own performances; have not brought themselves to submit to the law of the gospel, wherein the righteousness of God,4 i. e. righteousness by faith is offered. For the end of the law* was to bring men to Christ, that, by believing in him, every one, that did so, might be justified5 by faith; For Moses describeth the righteousness, that was to be had by the law, thus: “That the man, which doth the things required in the law, shall6 have life thereby.” But the righteousness, which is of faith, speaketh after this manner: “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven;” that is, to bring down the Messiah from thence, whom we7 expect personally here on earth to deliver us? “Or who shall descend into the deep?” i. e. to bring up Christ again from the dead, to be our Saviour? you mistake the deliverance, you expect by the Messiah, there needs not the fetching him from the other8 world, to be present with you: The deliverance, by him, is a deliverance from sin, that you may be made righteous by faith in him, and that speaks thus: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart;” that is, the word of faith, or the doctrine9 of the gospel, which we preach† , viz. If thou shalt confess with “thy mouth* ,” i. e. openly own Jesus the Lord, i. e. Jesus to be the Messiah, thy Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart, that God hath raised him from the dead† , otherwise he cannot be believed to be the Messiah; thou shalt be saved.10 It was not for nothing that Moses, in the place above-cited, mentioned both heart and mouth; there is use of both in the case. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the11 mouth confession* is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, “Whosoever believe on him, shall not be ashamed:” shall not repent his having believed,12 and owning it. The scripture saith, Whosoever, for in this case there is no distinction of jew and gentile. For it is he, the same who is Lord of them all, and is abundantly bountiful to all that call13 upon him. For whosoever shall† call upon his14 name, shall be saved. But how shall they call upon him, on whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a15 preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent* ? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things?”16 But, though there be messengers sent from God, to preach the gospel; yet it is not to be expected, that all should receive and obey it† . For Isaiah hath foretold that they should not, saying, “Lord, who17 hath believed our report?” That which we may learn from thence is, that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the word of God, i. e. the revelation of the gospel, in the writings of the sacred scriptures, communicated by those, whom God sends as preachers thereof, to those who are ignorant of it; and there is no need, that Christ should be brought down from heaven, to be personally with 18 you, to be your Saviour. It is enough, that both jews and gentiles have heard of him, by messengers, whose voice is gone out into the whole earth, and words unto the ends of the world, far beyond the19 bounds of Judea. But I ask, Did not Israel know* this, that the gentiles were to be taken in, and made the people of God? First Moses tells it them, from God, who says, “I will provoke you to jealousy, by them who are no people; and by a20 foolish nation I will anger you.” But Isaiah declares it yet much plainer, in these words: “I was found of them that sought me not; I was made21 manifest to them that asked not after me.” And to Israel, to show their refusal, he saith: “All day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
CHAP. XI. 1—36.
The apostle, in this chapter, goes on to show the future state of the jews and gentiles, in respect of christianity; viz. that, though the nation of the jews were, for their unbelief, rejected, and the gentiles taken, in their room, to be the people of God; yet there were a few of the jews, that believed in Christ, and so a small remnant of them continued to be God’s people, being incorporated, with the converted gentiles, into the christian church. But they shall, the whole nation of them, when the fulness of the gentiles is come in, be converted to the gospel, and again be restored to be the people of God.
The apostle takes occasion also, from God’s having rejected the jews, to warn the gentile converts, that they take heed: since, if God cast off his ancient people, the jews, for their unbelief, the gentiles could not expect to be preserved, if they apostatized from the faith, and kept not firm in their obedience to the gospel.
1I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith, of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
3Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
4But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
5Even so, then, at this present time also, there is a remnant, according to the election of grace.
6And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
7What then? Israel hath not obtained that, which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded:
8According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day.
9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompence unto them:
10Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
11I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the gentiles for to provoke them to jealousy.
12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the gentiles: how much more their fulness?
13For I speak to you gentiles, in as much as I am the apostle of the gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them, which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15For, if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive-tree, were graffed in amongst them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive-tree;
18Boast not against the branches: but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear.
21For, if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
24For, if thou wert cut out of the olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and wert graffed, contrary to nature, into a good olive-tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive-tree?
25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the gentiles be come in.
26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30For as ye, in times past, have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy, through their unbelief:
31Even so have these also now not believed, that, through your mercy, they also may obtain mercy.
32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?
35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
1I say then, “Has * God wholly cast away his people, the jews, from being his people?” By no means, for I myself am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham,2 of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not utterly cast off his people, whom he formerly owned† , with so peculiar a respect. Know ye not what the scripture saith, concerning Elijah? How he complained to3 the God of Israel, in these words: “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and have digged down thine altars, and of all that worshipped thee, I4 alone am left, and they seek my life also.” But what saith the answer of God to him? “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal* ,” i.e. have not been5 guilty of idolatry. Even so at this time also, there is a remnant reserved and segregated, by the favour6 and free choice of God. Which reservation of a remnant, if it be by grace and favour, it is not of works† , for then grace would not be grace. But if it were of works, then is it not grace. For then work would not be work, i. e. work gives a right, grace bestows the favour, where there is no right to it; so that what is conferred by the one, cannot be ascribed7 to the other. How is it then? Even thus, Israel, or the nation of the jews, obtained not what it seeks* , but the election† , or that part, which was to remain God’s elect, chosen people, obtained it, but8 the rest of them were blinded‡ : According as it is written§ , “God hath given them the spirit of slumber; eyes that they should not see, and ears that9 they should not hear, unto this day.” And David saith∥ , “Let their table be made a snare and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompence unto10 them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.”11 What then do I say, that they have so stumbled, as to be fallen past recovery? By no means: but this I say, that by their fall, by their rejection for refusing the* gospel, the privilege of becoming the people of God, by receiving the doctrine of salvation, is come to the gentiles, to provoke the jews to12 jealousy. Now, if the fall of the jews hath been to the enriching of the rest of the world, and their damage an advantage to the gentiles, by letting them into the church, how much more shall their completion be so, when their whole nation shall13 be restored? This I say to you gentiles, forasmuch as being apostle of the gentiles, I magnify†14 mine office: If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation the jews, who are my own flesh and blood, and bring some of them into the way of15 salvation. For, if the casting them off be a means of reconciling the world, what shall their restoration be, when they are taken again into favour, but as it were life from the dead, which is to16 all mankind of all nations? For if the first fruits* be holy† and accepted, the whole product of the year is holy, and will be accepted. And if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, from whom the jewish nation had their original, were holy, the branches also, that17 sprang from this root, are holy. If then some of the natural branches were broken off: if some of the natural jews, of the stock of Israel, were broken off and rejected, and thou a heathen, of the wild gentile race, wert taken in, and ingrafted into the church of God, in their room; and there partakest of the blessings,18 promised to Abraham and his seed; Be not so conceited of thyself, as to show any disrespect‡ to the jews. If any such vanity possesses thee, remember that the privilege thou hast, in being a christian, is derived to thee from the promise made to Abraham, and his seed, but nothing accrues to Abraham, or his 19 race, by any thing derived from thee. Thou wilt perhaps say, “The jews were rejected to make way20 for me.” Well, let it be so; but remember that it was because of unbelief, that they were broken off, and that it is by faith alone, that thou hast obtained, and must keep thy present station. This ought to be a warning to thee, not to have any haughty conceit21 of thyself, but with modesty to fear. For if God spared not the seed of Abraham, but cast off even the children of Israel, for their unbelief he will certainly not spare thee, if thou art guilty of the like22 miscarriage. Mind, therefore, the benignity and rigour of God; rigour to them that stumbled at the gospel and fell, but benignity to thee, if thou continue within the sphere of his benignity, i. e. in the faith, by which thou partakest of the privilege of being one of his people; otherwise even thou also23 shalt be cut off. And the jews also, if they continue not in unbelief, shall be again grafted into the stock of Abraham, and be re-established the people of God. For, however they are now scattered, and under subjection to strangers, God is able to collect them again into one body, make them his people, and set them24 in a flourishing condition, in their own land* . For if you, who are heathens by birth, and not of the promised seed, were, when you had neither claim, nor inclination to it, brought into the church, and made the people of God; how much more shall those, who are the posterity and descendants of him to whom the promise was made, be restored to the state,25 which the promise vested in that family? For to prevent your being conceited of yourselves, my brethren, let me make known to you, which has yet been undiscovered to the world, viz. That the blindness, which has fallen upon part of Israel, shall remain upon them, but till the time be come, wherein the whole* gentile world shall enter into the church,26 and make profession of christianity. And so all Israel shall be converted† to the christian faith, and the whole nation become the people of God: as it is written, “There shall come out of Sion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.27 For this is my covenant to them, when I28 shall take away* their sins.” They are, indeed, at present, strangers to the gospel, and so are in the state of enemies† ; but this is for your sakes: their fall and loss is your enriching, you having obtained admittance, through their being cast out: but yet they, being within the election, that God made, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their posterity, to be his people, are still his beloved people, for Abraham, Isaac, and29 Jacob’s sake, from whom they are descended. For the favours, that God showed those their fathers, in calling them and their posterity to be his people, he doth not repent of; but his promise, that they30 shall be his people, shall stand good‡ . For as you, the gentiles, formerly stood out, and were not the people of God, but yet have now obtained mercy, so as to be taken in, through the standing out of the31 jews, who submit not to the gospel* : Even so they, now, have stood out, by reason of your being in mercy admitted, that they also, through the mercy you have received, may again hereafter be admitted.32 For God hath put up together, in a state of revolt from their allegiance† to him, as it were in one fold, all men, both jews and gentiles, that, through his mercy, they might all, both jews and gentiles, come to be his people, i. e. he hath suffered both jews and gentiles, in their turns, not to be his people, that he might bring the whole body both of jews and gentiles,33 to be his people. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God* ! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways not to be34 traced! For who hath known the mind of the Lord;35 or who hath sat in counsel with him? Or who hath been before-hand with him, in bestowing any thing upon him, that God may repay it to him again† ?36 The thought of any such thing is absurd. For from him all things have their being and original; by him they are all ordered and disposed of, and, for him and his glory, they are all made and regulated, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
CHAP. XII. 1—21.
St. Paul, in the end of the foregoing chapter, with a very solemn epiphonema, closes that admirable, evangelical discourse, to the church at Rome, which had taken up the eleven foregoing chapters. It was addressed to the two sorts of converts, viz. gentiles and jews, into which, as into two distinct bodies, he all along, through this epistle, divides all mankind, and considers them, as so divided, into two separate corporations.
1. As to the gentiles, he endeavours to satisfy them, that though they, for their apostacy from God to idolatry, and the worship of false gods, had been abandoned by God, and lived in sin and blindness, without God in the world, strangers from the knowledge and acknowledgment of him; yet that the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, was extended to them, whereby there was a way now open to them, to become the people of God. For since no man could be saved, by his own righteousness, no not the jews themselves, by the deeds of the law; the only way to salvation, both for jews and gentiles, was by faith in Jesus Christ. Nor had the jews any other way, now, to continue themselves the people of God, than by receiving the gospel; which way was opened also to the gentiles, and they as freely admitted into the kingdom of God, now erected under Jesus Christ, as the jews, and upon the sole terms of believing. So that there was no need at all for the gentiles to be circumcised, to become jews, that they might be partakers of the benefits of the gospel.
2. As to the jews, the apostle’s other great aim, in the foregoing discourse, is to remove the offence the jews took at the gospel, because the gentiles were received into the church, as the people of God, and were allowed to be subjects of the kingdom of the Messiah. To bring them to a better temper, he shows them, from the sacred scripture, that they could not be saved by the deeds of the law, and therefore the doctrine of righteousness, by faith, ought not to be so strange a thing to them. And, as to their being, for their unbelief, rejected from being the people of God, and the gentiles taken in their room, he shows plainly, that this was foretold them in the Old Testament; and that herein God did them no injustice. He was sovereign over all mankind, and might choose whom he would, to be his people, with the same freedom that he chose the posterity of Abraham, among all the nations of the earth, and of that race chose the descendants of Jacob, before those of his elder brother Esau, and that, before they had a being, or were capable of doing good or evil. In all which discourse of his it is plain, the election spoken of has for its object only nations, or collective bodies politic, in this world, and not particular persons, in reference to their eternal state in the world to come.
Having thus finished the principal design of his writing, he here, in this, as is usual with him in all his epistles, concludes with practical and moral exhortations, whereof there are several in this chapter, which we shall take in their order.
1I Beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4For, as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office;
5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity: he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with chearfulness.
9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.
10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
11Not slothful in business: fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
12Rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer:
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not.
15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink, for, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
1It being so then, that you are become the people of God, in the room of the jews, do not ye fail to offer him that sacrifice, that it is reasonable for you to do, I mean your bodies* , not to be slain, but the lusts thereof being mortified, and the body cleansed from the spots and blemishes of sin, will be an acceptable offering to him, and such a way of worship, as becomes a rational creature, which therefore I beseech you, by the mercies of God to you, who has made you his2 people to present to him. And be not conformed to the fashion of this world* : but be ye transformed, in the renewing of your minds† ; that you may, upon examination, find out what is the good, the acceptable and perfect will of God, which now, under the gospel, has shown itself to be in purity and holiness of life: the ritual observances, which he once instituted, not being that, his good, acceptable, and perfect will, which he always intended, they were made only the types and preparatory way to this more perfect 3 state under the gospel* . For by virtue of that commission, to be the apostle of the gentiles, which, by the favour of God, is bestowed on me, I bid every one of you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to have sober and modest thoughts of himself, according to that measure of spiritual gifts† , which God has bestowed upon him.4 For, as there are many members in one and the same body, but all the members are not appointed to the5 same work; So we, who are many, make all but one body in Christ, and are all fellow members one6 of another‡ . But having, according to the respective favour that is bestowed upon us, every one of us different gifts; whether it be prophecy§ , let us prophesy, according to the proportion of faith∥ ; or gift of interpretation, which is given us, i. e. as far forth as we are enabled by revelation and an extraordinary illumination to understand and expound7 it, and no farther: Or, if it be ministry, let us wait on our ministering; he that is a teacher, let him8 take care to teach. He, whose gift is exhortation, let him be diligent in exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it liberally, and without the mixture of any self-interest: he that presideth* , let him do it with diligence: he that showeth mercy, let him do9 it with chearfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, stick to that10 which is good. Be kindly affectioned one towards another, with brotherly love: in honour preferring11 one another. Not slothful in business; but active and vigorous in mind, directing all the service of12 Christ and the gospel, Rejoicing in the hope you have of heaven and happiness; patient in tribulation;13 frequent and instant in prayer: Forward to help christians in want, according to their necessities;14 given to hospitality. Bless them who persecute15 you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them16 that rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one towards another. Do not mind only high things; but suit yourselves to the mean condition and low concerns of persons beneath you.17 Be not wise in your own conceits. Render to no man evil for evil; but take care that your carriage 18 be such as may be approved by all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with19 all men. Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather leave that to God. For it is written, “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it, saith the20 Lord.” Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; if this prevail on him, thou subduest an enemy, and gainest a friend; if he persists still in his enmity, in so doing, thou heapest coals of fire on his head, i. e. exposest him21 to the wrath of God, who will be thy avenger. Be not overcome and prevailed on, by the evil thou receivest, to retaliate; but endeavour to master the malice of an enemy in injuring thee, by a return of kindness and good offices to him.
CHAP. XIII. 1—7.
This section contains the duty of christians to the civil magistrate: for the understanding this right, we must consider these two things:
1. That these rules are given to christians, that were members of a heathen commonwealth, to show them that, by being made christians and subjects of Christ’s kingdom, they were not, by the freedom of the gospel, exempt from any ties of duty, or subjection, which by the laws of their country, they were in, and ought to observe, to the government and magistrates of it, though heathens, any more than any of their heathen subjects. But, on the other side, these rules did not tie them up, any more than any of their fellow-citizens, who were not christians, from any of those due rights, which, by the law of nature, or the constitutions of their country, belonged to them. Whatsoever any other of their fellow-subjects, being in a like station with them, might do without sinning, that they were not abridged of, but might do still, being christians. The rule here being the same with that given by St. Paul, 1 Cor. vii. 17, “As God has called every one, so let him walk.” The rules of civil right and wrong, that he is to walk by, are to him the same they were before.
2. That St. Paul, in this direction to the romans, does not so much describe the magistrates that then were in Rome, as tells whence they, and all magistrates, everywhere, have their authority; and for what end they have it, and should use it. And this he does, as becomes his prudence, to avoid bringing any imputation on christians, from heathen magistrates, especially those insolent and vicious ones of Rome, who could not brook any thing to be told them as their duty, and so might be apt to interpret such plain truths, laid down in a dogmatical way, into sauciness, sedition, or treason, a scandal cautiously to be kept off from the christian doctrine! nor does he, in what he says, in the least flatter the roman emperor, let it be either Claudius, as some think, or Nero, as others, who then was in possession of that empire. For he here speaks of the higher powers, i. e. the supreme, civil power, which is, in every commonwealth, derived from God, and is of the same extent everywhere, i. e. is absolute and unlimited by any thing, but the end for which God gave it, viz. the good of the people, sincerely pursued, according to the best of the skill of those who share that power, and so not to be resisted. But, how men come by a rightful title to this power, or who has that title, he is wholly silent, and says nothing of it. To have meddled with that, would have been to decide of civil rights, contrary to the design and business of the gospel, and the example of our Saviour, who refused meddling in such cases with this decisive question, “Who made me a judge, or divider, over you?” Luke xii. 14.
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power, but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation.
3For rulers are not a terrour to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.
4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.
5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6For, for this cause, pay you tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.
1Let every one of you, none excepted* , be subject to the over-ruling powers† of the government he lives in. 2 There is no power but what is from God: The powers that are in being, are ordained by God: so that he, who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, will be punished by those3 powers that they resist. What should you be afraid of? Rulers are no terrour to those that do well, but to those that do ill. Wilt thou then not live in dread of the civil power? Do that which is good and right, and then praise only is thy due from the magistrate.4 For he is the officer and minister of God, appointed only for thy good. But, if thou doest amiss, then thou hast reason to be afraid. For he bears not the sword in vain. For he is the minister of God, and executioner of wrath and punishment upon him that5 doth ill. This being the end of government, and the business of the magistrate, to cherish the good, and punish ill men, it is necessary for you to submit to government, not only in apprehension of the punishment, which disobedience will draw on you, but out of conscience, as a duty required of you by God.6 This is the reason why also you pay tribute, which is due to the magistrates, because they employ their care, time and pains, for the publick weal, in punishing and restraining the wicked and vicious; and in countenancing and supporting the virtuous7 and good. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, and honour to whom honour.
CHAP. XIII. 8—14.
He exhorts them to love, which is, in effect, the fulfilling of the whole law.
8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he, that loveth another, hath fulfilled the law.
9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and, if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
8Owe nothing to any body, but affection and good will, mutually to one another: for he, that loves others sincerely, as he does himself, has fulfilled the law.9 For this precept, Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and whatever other command there be, concerning social duties, it in short is comprehended in this, “Thou10 shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Love permits us to do no harm to our neighbour, and therefore is the fulfilling of the whole law of the second 11 table. And all this do, considering that it is now high time that we rouse ourselves up, shake off sleep, and betake ourselves, with vigilancy and vigour, to the duties of a christian life. For the time of your removal, out of this place of exercise and probationership, is nearer than when you first entered12 into the profession of christianity* . The night, the dark state of this world, wherein the good and the bad can scarce be distinguished, is far spent. The day, that will show every one in his own dress and colours, is at hand. Let us, therefore, put away the works, that we should be ashamed of, but in the dark; and let us put on the dress† and ornaments, that we should be willing to appear in, in the light.13 Let our behaviour be decent, and our carriage such, as fears not the light, nor the eyes of men; not in disorderly feastings and drunkenness; nor in dalliance and wantonness‡ : nor in strife and envy§ .14 But walk in newness of life, in obedience to the precepts of the gospel, as becomes those who are baptized into the faith of Christ, and let not the great employment of your thoughts and cares be wholly in making provision for the body, that you may have wherewithal to satisfy your carnal lusts.
CHAP. XIV. 1.—XV. 13.
St. Paul instructs both the strong and the weak in their mutual duties one to another, in respect of things indifferent, teaching them, that the strong should not use their liberty, where it might offend a weak brother: nor the weak censure the strong, for using their liberty.
1Him that is weak in the faith receive you, but not to doubtful disputations.
2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3Let not him, that eateth, despise him that eateth not: and let not him, which eateth not, judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4Who art thou, that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth: yea, he shall be holden up; for God is able to make him stand.
5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13Let us not, therefore, judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother’s way.
14I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ did.
16Let not then your good be evil spoken of.
17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18For he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
22Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself, in that thing which he alloweth.
23And he that doubteth, is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.
XV. 1.We then that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3For even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me.
4For whatsoever things were written, aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.
5Now the God of patience and consolation, grant you to be likeminded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus:
6That ye may, with one mind and one mouth, glorify God, even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Wherefore, receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
8Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
9And that the gentiles might glorify God, for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
10And again he saith, Rejoice, ye gentiles, with his people.
11And again, Praise the Lord, all ye gentiles, and laud him, all ye people.
12And again Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the gentiles, in him shall the gentiles trust.
13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
1Him, that is weak in the faith, i. e. not fully persuaded of his christian liberty, in the use of some indifferent thing, receive you into your friendship and conversation* , without any coldness, or distinction, but do not engage him in disputes and controversies2 about it. For such variety is there in men’s persuasions, about their christian liberty, that one believeth that he may, without restraint, eat all things; another is so scrupulous, that he eateth nothing but3 herbs. Let not him, that is persuaded of his liberty, and eateth, despise him that, through scruple, eateth not: and let not him, that is more doubtful, and eateth not, judge, or censure, him that eateth, for God hath received* him into his church and family:4 And who art thou, that takest upon thee to judge the domestic of another, whether he be of his family, or no? It is his own master alone, who is to judge, whether he be, or shall continue, his domestic, or no: what hast thou to do, to meddle in the case? But trouble not thyself, he shall stand and stay in the family. For God is able to confirm and establish him5 there† . One man judgeth one† day to be set apart to God, more than another: another man judgeth every day to be God’s alike. Let every one take care to be satisfied in his own mind, touching the6 matter. But let him not censure* another in what he doth. He that observeth a day, observeth it as the Lord’s servant, in obedience to him: and he that observeth it not, passes by that observance, as the Lord’s servant, in obedience also to the Lord. He that eateth what another out of scruple forbears, eateth it as the Lord’s servant: for he giveth God thanks. And he that, out of scruple, forbeareth to eat, does it also as the Lord’s servant: for he giveth God thanks, even for that which he doth,7 and thinks he may not eat. For no one of us christians liveth, as if he were his own man, perfectly at his own disposal: and no one† of us dies8 so. For, whether we live, our life is appropriated to the Lord: or, whether we die, to him we die, as his servants. For whether we live, or die, we are his, in his family, his domestics‡ , appropriated to him. 9 For to this end Christ died, and rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord and proprietor of us* , both10 dead and living. What hast thou then to do, to judge thy brother, who is none of thy servant, but thy equal? Or how darest thou to think contemptibly of him? For we shall, thou, and he, and all of us, be brought before the judgment-seat of Christ, and there we shall answer, every one for himself, to11 our Lord and master. For it is written, “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and12 every tongue shall confess to God.” So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to13 God. Let us not, therefore, take upon us to judge one another; but rather come to this judgment, or determination of mind, that no man put† a tsumbling-block, or an occasion of falling, in his brother’s 14 way. I know and am fully assured by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean or unlawful to be eaten, of itself. But to him, that accounts any15 thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved* with thy meat, thy carriage is uncharitable to him. Destroy not him with thy16 meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your liberty, which is a good† you enjoy, under the gospel,17 be evil spoken of. For the privileges and advantages of the kingdom of God do not consist in the enjoyment of greater variety of meats and drinks, but in uprightness of life, peace of all kinds, and joy in the gifts and benefits of the Holy Ghost,18 under the gospel. For he that, in these things, pays his allegiance and service to Jesus Christ, as a dutiful subject of his kingdom, is acceptable to God,19 and approved of men. The things, therefore, that we set our hearts upon, to pursue and promote, let them be such as tend to peace and good-will, and 20 the mutual edification of one another. Do not, for a little meat, destroy a man, that is the work* of God, and no ordinary piece of workmanship. It is true, all sort of wholesome food is pure, and defileth not a man’s conscience; but yet it is evil to him, who21 eateth any thing so as to offend his brother. It is better to forbear flesh, and wine, and any thing, rather than in the use of thy liberty, in any indifferent things, to do that, whereby thy brother22 stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak† . Thou art fully persuaded of the lawfulness of eating the meat which thou eatest: it is well. Happy is he, that is not self-condemned, in the thing that he practises. But have a care to keep this faith or persuasion, to thyself; let it be between God and thy own conscience: raise no dispute about it; neither make23 ostentation of it‡ , by thy practice before others. But he that is in doubt, and balanceth§ , is self-condemned, if he eat; because he doth it, without a full persuasion of the lawfulness of it. For whatever a man doth, which he is not fully persuaded in his own XV. 1. mind to be lawful, is sin. We, then, that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to indulge our own appetites, or inclinations, in such an use of indifferent things, as may offend the2 weak. But let every one of us please his neighbour, comply with his infirmities for his good, and to edification.3 For even Christ, our Lord, pleased not himself: but as it is written, “The reproaches of them4 that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.” For whatsoever was heretofore written, i. e. in the Old Testament, was written for our learning, that we through patience, and the comfort which the scriptures give5 us, might have hope. Now God, who is the giver of patience and consolation, make you to be at unity one with another, according to the will of Christ Jesus;6 That you may, with one mind and one mouth, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Wherefore, admit and receive one another* into fellowship and familiarity, without shyness, or distance, upon occasion of differences about things indifferent,8 even as Christ received us jews to glorify* God, (For† I must tell you, ye converted romans, that Christ was sent to the jews, and employed all his ministry‡ on those of the circumcision) for his truth, in making good his promise made to the fathers, i. e. Abraham,9 Isaac, and Jacob; And received you, the gentiles, to glorify God for his mercy to you, as it is written, “For this cause I will confess to thee among the gentiles, and sing unto thy name.”10 And again, he saith, “Rejoice, ye gentiles, with11 his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all ye12 gentiles, and laud him, all ye nations.” And again, Isaiah saith, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the gentiles,13 in him shall the gentiles trust* .” Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost† .
CHAP. XV. 14—33.
In the remaining part of this chapter, St. Paul makes a very kind and skilful apology to them, for this epistle: expresses an earnest desire of coming to them: touches upon the reasons, that hitherto had hindered him: desires their prayers for his deliverance from the jews, in his journey to Jerusalem, whither he was going; and promises that, from thence, he will make them a visit in his way to Spain.
14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you, in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace, that is given to me of God.
16That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17I have therefore whereof I may glory, through Jesus Christ, in those things which pertain unto God.
18For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the gentiles obedient, by word and deed.
19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.
21But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard, shall understand.
22For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
23But now, having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire, these many years, to come unto you,
24Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thither-ward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
25But now I go unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints.
26For it hath pleased them of Macedonia, and Achaia, to make a certain contribution for the poor saints, which are at Jerusalem.
27It hath pleased them verily, and their debtors they are. For, if the gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
28When, therefore, I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come, by you, into Spain.
29And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the gospel of Christ.
30Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the spirit, that ye strive, together with me, in your prayers to God for me.
31That I may be delivered from them that do not believe, in Judea; and that my service, which I have for Jerusalem, may be accepted of the saints;
32That I may come unto you with joy, by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
14As to my own thoughts concerning you, my brethren, I am persuaded that you also, as well as others, are full of goodness, abounding in all knowledge, and15 able to instruct one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written to you, in some things, pretty freely, as your remembrancer, which I have been emboldened to do, by the commission, which God has been16 graciously pleased to bestow on me, Whom he hath made to be the minister of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, in the gospel of God, in which holy ministration I officiate, that the gentiles may be made an acceptable offering* to God, sanctified by the pouring 17 out of the Holy Ghost upon them. I have, therefore, matter of glorying, through Jesus Christ,18 as to those things that pertain* to God. For I shall not venture to trouble you with any concerning myself, but only what Christ hath wrought by me, for the bringing of the gentiles to christianity, both19 in profession and practice. Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Ghost, so that, from Jerusalem and the neighbouring countries, all along, quite to Illyricum, I have effectually20 preached the gospel of Christ; But so as studiously to avoid the carrying of it to those places, where it was already planted, and where the people were already christians, lest I should build upon another21 man’s foundation† . But as it is written‡ , “To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they,22 that have not heard, shall understand.” This has 23 often hindered me from coming to you: But now, having in these parts no place, where Christ hath not been heard of, to preach the gospel in; and having had, for these many years, a desire to come to24 you; I will, when I take my journey to Spain, take you in my way: for I hope, then, to see you, and to be brought on my way thither-ward by you, when I have, for some time, enjoyed your company, and pretty well satisfied my longing, on that account.25 But, at present, I am setting out for Jerusalem,26 going to minister to the saints there. For it hath pleased those of Macedonia and Achaia to make a contribution for the poor, among the saints at Jerusalem.27 It hath pleased them to do so, and they are, indeed, their debtors. For, if the gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they are bound, on their side, to minister to them, for the28 support of this temporal life. When, therefore, I have dispatched this business, and put this fruit of my labours into their hands, I will come to you in29 my way to Spain. And I know that, when I come unto you, I shall bring with me to your full satisfaction, concerning the blessedness, which you receive 30 by the gospel* of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love which comes from the spirit of God, to join31 with me in earnest prayers to God for me, That I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea; and that the service I am doing the saints there,32 may be acceptable to them: That, if it be the will of God, I may come to you with joy, and may be33 refreshed together with you. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
CHAP. XVI. 1—27.
The foregoing epistle furnishes us with reasons to conclude, that the divisions and offences, that were in the roman church, were between the jewish and gentile converts, whilst the one, over-zealous for the rituals of the law, endeavoured to impose circumcision and other mosaical rites, as necessary to be observed, by all that professed christianity; and the other, without due regard to the weakness of the jews, showed a too open neglect of those their observances, which were of so great account with them. St. Paul was so sensible, how much the churches of Christ suffered, on this occasion, and so careful to prevent this, which was a disturbance almost every where (as may be seen in the history of the Acts, and collected out of the epistles) that, after he had finished his discourse to them, (which we may observe solemnly closed, in the end of the foregoing chapter) he here, in the middle of his salutations, cannot forbear to caution them against the authors and fomenters of these divisions, and that very pathetically, ver. 17—20. All the rest of this chapter is spent, almost wholly, in salutations. Only the four last verses contain a conclusion, after St. Paul’s manner.
1I commend unto you Phœbe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Kenchrea:
2That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her, in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and myself also.
3Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4(Who have, for my life, laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the gentiles.)
5Likewise greet the church that is in their house, Salute my well-beloved Epænetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.
6Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
7Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
9Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.
10Salute Apelles, approved in Christ. Salute them, which are of Aristobulus’ houshold.
11Salute Herodian, my kinsman. Greet them that be of the houshold of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
12Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
13Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
15Salute Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18For they, that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple.
19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad, therefore, on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good; and simple concerning evil.
20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21Timotheus, my work-fellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
22I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
23Gaius mine host, and of the whole church saluteth you. Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, saluteth you, and Quartus, a brother.
24The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25Now to him, that is of power to stablish you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret, since the world began;
26But now is made manifest, and, by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations, for the obedience of faith.)
27To God, only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.
1I commend to you Phœbe, our sister, who is a servant2 of the church, which is at Kenchrea* , That you receive her, for Christ’s sake, as becomes christians, and that you assist her, in whatever business she has need of you, for she has assisted† many, and3 me in particular. Salute Priscilla and Aquila, my4 fellow-labourers in the gospel, (Who have, for my life, exposed their own to danger, unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the5 gentiles.) Greet also the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epænetus, who is6 the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ. Greet Mary,7 who took a great deal of pains for our sakes. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk and fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who8 also were christians before me. Greet Amplias, my9 beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in10 Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute those who are of the11 houshold of Aristobulus. Salute Herodian, my kinsman. Salute all those of the houshold of Narcissus,12 who have embraced the gospel. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who take pains in the gospel. Salute the beloved Persis, who laboured much in the13 Lord. Salute Rufus, chosen, or selected to be a14 disciple of the Lord; and his mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes,15 and the brethren who are with them. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas,16 and all the saints who are with them. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark those who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine, which18 you have learned, and avoid them. For they serve* not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, and by good words and fair speeches, insinuating themselves,19 deceive well-meaning, simple men. Your conversion and ready compliance with the doctrine of the gospel, when it was brought to you, is known in the world† , and generally talked of: I am glad, for your sakes, that you so forwardly obeyed the gospel. But give me leave to advise you to be wise and cautious in preserving yourselves steady in what is wise and good‡ ; but employ no thought, or skill, how to circumvent, or injure another: be in this regard20 very plain and simple. For God, who is the giver and lover of peace, will soon rid you of these ministers of Satan§ , the disturbers of your peace, who make divisions amongst you* . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21Timothy, my work-fellow, and Lucius and Jason,22 and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, saluteth24 you; and Quartus, a brother. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25Now, to him that is able to settle and establish you in an adherence to my† gospel, and to that which I deliver, concerning Jesus Christ, in my preaching, conformable to the revelation of the mystery* ,26 which lay unexplained in the† secular times; But now is laid open, and, by the writings of the prophets, made known (according to the commandment of the everlasting God) to the gentiles of all nations, for the bringing them in, to the obedience of the law27 of faith. To the only wise God be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.
[* ]1 “Called.” The manner of his being called, see Acts ix. 1—22.
[† ]Separated, vid. Acts xiii. 2.
[‡ ]3 “Of David,” and so would have been registered of the house and lineage of David, as both his mother and reputed father were, if there had been another tax in his days. Vid. Luke ii. 4, Matt. xiii. 55.
[* ]4 “According to the spirit of holiness,” is here manifestly opposed to, “according to the flesh,” in the foregoing verse, and so must mean that more pure and spiritual part in him, which, by divine extraction, he had immediately from God: unless this be so understood, the antithesis is lost.
[† ]See paraphrase, chap. viii. 3.
[‡ ]Ἐν δυνάμει, with power: he that will read in the original what St. Paul says, Eph. i. 19, 20, of the power, which God exerted, in raising Christ from the dead, will hardly avoid thinking that he there sees St. Paul labouring for words to express the greatness of it.
[§ ]“Declared” does not exactly answer the word in the original, nor is it, perhaps, easy to find a word in English, that perfectly answers ὁρισθέντος, in the sense the apostle uses it here; ὁρζειν signifies properly to bound, terminate, or circumscribe; by which termination the figure of things sensible is made, and they are known to be of this, or that race, and are distinguished from others. Thus St. Paul takes Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and his entering into immortality, to be the most eminent and characteristical mark, whereby Christ is certainly known, and as it were determined to be the Son of God.
[∥ ]6 To take the thread of St. Paul’s words here right, all from the word Lord, in the middle of ver, 3, to the beginning of this 7th, must be read as a parenthesis.
[¶ ]6 and 7 “Called of Jesus Christ; called to be saints; beloved of God;” are but different expressions for professors of christianity.
[* ]11 “Spiritual gift.” If any one desire to know more particularly the spiitual gifts, he may read 1 Cor. xii.
[† ]“Establishment.” The jews were the worshippers of the true God, and had been, for many ages, his people; this could not be denied by the christians. Whereupon they were very apt to persuade the convert gentiles, that the Messias was promised, and sent, to the jewish nation alone, and that the gentiles could claim, or have no benefit by him; or, if they were to receive any benefit by the Messias, they were yet bound to observe the law of Moses, which was the way of worship, which God had prescribed to his people. This, in several places, very much shook the gentile converts, St. Paul makes it (as we have already observed,) his business, in this epistle, to prove, that the Messias was intended for the gentiles, as much as for the jews; and that to make any one partaker of the benefits and privileges of the gospel, there was nothing more required, but to believe and obey it: and accordingly, here in the entrance of the epistle, he wishes to come to Rome, that, by imparting some miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost to them, they might be established in the true notion of christianity, against all attempts of the jews, who would either exclude them from the privileges of it, or bring them under the law of Moses. So, where St. Paul expresses his care, that the colossians should be established in the faith, Col. ii. 7, it is visible, by the context, that what he opposed was judaism.
[‡ ]12 “That is.” St. Paul, in the former verse, had said that he desired to come amongst them, to establish them; in these words, “that is,” he explains, or, as it were, recals what he had said, that he might not seem to think them not sufficiently instructed, or established in the faith, and therefore turns the end of his coming to them, to their mutual rejoicing in one another’s faith, when he and they came to see and know one another.
[* ]16 Vid. ver. 22, and 1 Cor. i. 21.
[† ]Vid. Eph. i. 19.
[‡ ]“First.” The jews had the first offers of the gospel, and were always considered as those, who were first regarded in it. Vid. Luke xxiv. 47, Matt. x. 6, and xv. 24, Acts xiii. 46, and xviii. 2.
[§ ]17 Διϰαιοσύνη Θεȣ͂, “the righteousness of God,” called so, because it is a righteousness of his contrivance and his bestowing. It is God that justifieth, chap. iii. 21—24, 26, 30, and viii. 33. Of which St. Paul speaks thus, Phil. iii. 9, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
[∥ ]“From faith to faith.” The design of St. Paul here, being to show, that neither jews nor gentiles could, by works, attain to righteousness, i. e. such a perfect and complete obedience, whereby they could be justified, which he calls, “their own righteousness,” ch. x. 3. He here tells them, that in the gospel the righteousness of God, i. e. the righteousness, of which he is the author, and which he accepts, in the way of his own appointment, is revealed from faith to faith, i. e. to be all through, from one end to the other, founded in faith. If this be not the sense of this phrase here, it will be hard to make the following words, as it is written, The just shall live by faith, cohere: but thus they have an easy and natural connexiou, viz. whoever are justified either before, without, or under the law of Moses, or under the gospel, are justified, not by works, but by faith alone. Vid. Gal. iii. 11, which clears this interpretation. The same figure of speaking St. Paul uses, in other places, to the same purpose; ch. vi. 19, “Servants to iniquity unto iniquity;” i. e. wholly to iniquity; 2 Cor. iii. 18, “From glory to glory,” i. e. wholly glorious.
[* ]18 “Now revealed.” Vid. Acts xvii. 30, 31, “God now commandeth all men, every where, to repent, because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained.” These words of St. Paul to the athenians, give light to these here to the romans. A life again after death, and a day of judgment, wherein men should be all brought to receive sentence, according to what they had done, and be punished for their misdeeds, was what was before unknown, and was brought to light, by the revelation of the gospel from heaven, 2 Tim. i. 10, Matt. xiii. 40, &c. Luke xiii. 27, and, Rom. ii. 5, he calls the day of judgment the day of wrath, consonant to his saying here, the wrath of God is revealed.
[† ]Ἀσέϐειαν, “ungodliness,” seems to comprehend the atheism, polytheism, and idolatry of the heathen world, as ἀδιϰίαν, “unrighteousness,” their other miscarriages and vicious lives, according to which, they are distinctly threatened by St. Paul, in the following verses. The same appropriation of these words, I think, may be observed in other parts of this epistle.
[‡ ]“Of men,” i. e. of all men, or as in the xviith of Acts, before cited, “all men, every where,” i. e. all men of all nations: before it was only to the children of Israel, that obedience and transgression were declared and proposed, as terms of life and death.
[§ ]“Who hold the truth in unrighteousness, i. e. who are not wholly without the truth, but yet do not follow what they have of it, but live contrary to that truth they do know, or neglect to know what they might. This is evident from the next words, and for the same reason of God’s wrath, given, chap. ii. 8, in these words, “who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness.”
[* ]20 St. Paul says, νοȣ́μενα ϰαθορᾶται, if they are minded they are seen: the invisible things of God lie within the reach and discovery of men’s reason and understandings, but yet they must exercise their faculties and employ their minds about them.
[† ]21 Ἐμααιώθησαν εν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν, “became vain in their imaginations,” or reasonings. What it is to become vain in the scripture language, one may see in these words, “and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen, and made to themselves molten images, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal,” 2 Kings xvii. 15, 16. And accordingly the forsaking of idolatry, and the worship of false gods, is called by St. Paul, “turning from vanity to the living God,” Acts xiv. 15.
[‡ ]22 Φάσϰοντες εἷναι σοφοὶ, “professing themselves to be wise;” though the nations of the heathen generally thought themselves wise, in the religion they embraced; yet the apostle here, having all along in this and the following chapters used greeks for gentiles, he may be thought to have an eye to the greeks, among whom the men of study and enquiry had assumed to themselves the name of σοφοὶ, wise.
[* ]25 The false and fictitious gods of the heathen are very fitly called, in the scripture, “lyes,” Amos ii. 4, Jer. xvi. 19, 20.
[† ]27 “Errour,” so idolatry is called, 2 Pet. ii. 18. As they, against the light of nature, debased and dishonoured God, by their idolatry, it was a just and fit recompence they received, in being left to debase and dishonour themselves by unnatural lusts.
[* ]28 “And.” This copulative joins this verse to the 25th, so that the apostle will be better understood, if all between be looked on as a parenthesis, this being a continuation of what he was there saying, or rather a repetition of it in short, which led him into the thread of his discourse.
[† ]Ὀυϰ ἐδοϰίμασαν, “did not like,” rather did not try, or search; for the Greek word signifies to search, and find out by searching; so St. Paul often uses it, chap. ii. 18, and xii. 2, compared, and xiv. 22, Eph. v. 10.
[‡ ]Ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, with acknowledgment. That the gentiles were not wholly without the knowledge of God in the world, St. Paul tells us, in this very chapter, but they did not acknowledge him, as they ought, ver. 21. They had God εἶχον Θεὸν, but ȣ̓ϰ ἐδοϰίμασαν ἔχειν ἀυτὸν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, did not so improve that knowledge, as to acknowledge, or honour him as they ought. This verse seems, in other words, to express the same that is said, ver. 21.
[§ ]Εἰς ἀδόϰιμον νȣ͂ν, “to a reprobate mind,” rather to an unsearching mind, in the sense of St. Paul, who often uses compounds and derivatives in the sense, wherein, a little before, he used the primitive words, though a little varying from the precise Greek idiom: an example whereof we have, in this very word ἀδόϰιμος, 2 Cor. xiii. where having, ver. 3, used δοϰιμὴ for a proof of his mission by supernatural gifts, he uses ἀδόϰιμος for one that was destitute of such proofs. So here he tells the romans, that, the gentiles not exercising their minds to search out the truth, and form their judgments right, God left them to an unsearching, unjudicious mind.
[∥ ]A discourse like this of St. Paul here, wherein idolatry is made the cause of the enormous crimes and profligate lives, men run into, may be read, Wisdom, xiv. 11, &c.
[* ]32 Τὸ διϰαίωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, “the judgment of God;” might it not be translated, the rectitude of God, i. e. that rule of rectitude which God had given to mankind, in giving them reason? as that righteousness, which God requires, for salvation, in the gospel, is called “the righteousness of God,” ver. 17. Rectitude, in the translation, being used in this appropriated sense, as διϰαίωμα is in the original. Vid. note, chap. ii. 26.
[† ]Οὐϰ ἐνόησαν ὄτι did not understand that they who commit, &c. This reading is justified by the Clermont, and another ancient ms, as well as by that, which the old Latin version followed, as well as Clement, Isidore, and Occumenius? and will, probably, be thought the more genuine by those who can hardly suppose that St. Paul should affirm, that the gentile world did know, that he, who offended against any of the directions of this natural rule of rectitude, taught, or discoverable by the light of reason, was worthy of death, especially if we remember what he says, chap. v. 13, “That sin is not imputed when there is no positive law,” and chap. vii. 9, “I was alive without the law, once:” both which places signifying, that men did not know death to be the wages of sin, in general, but by the declaration of a positive law.
[‡ ]Συνευδοϰοῦσι τοῖς ϖράσσȣσι, “have pleasure in those that do them.” He that considers, that the design of the apostle here, manifest in the immediately following words, is to combat the animosity of the jews against the gentiles; and that there could not be a more effectual way to shame them into a more modest and mild temper, than by showing them that the gentiles, in all the darkness that blinded them, and the extravagancies they ran into, were never guilty of such an absurdity as this, to censure and separate from others, and show an implacable aversion to them, for what they themselves were equally guilty of. He, I say, that considers this, will be easily persuaded to understand συνευδοϰȣ͂σι here as I do, for a complacency, that avoided censuring or breaking with them, who were in the same state and course of life with themselves, that did nothing amiss, but what they themselves were equally guilty of. There can be nothing clearer than that συνευδοϰȣ͂σι, have pleasure, in this verse, is opposed to ϰρίνεις, judgest, in the next verse, without which I do not see how it is possible to make out the inference, which the apostle draws here.
[* ]1 “Therefore.” This is a term of illation, and shows the consequence here, drawn from the foregoing words. Therefore the jew is inexcusable in judging, because the gentiles, with all the darkness that was on their minds, was never guilty of such a folly, as to judge those, who were no more faulty than themselves. For the better understanding of this place, it may not, perhaps, be amiss to set the whole argumentation of the apostle here in its due light: it stands thus: “the gentiles acknowledged the rectitude of the law of nature, but know not that those, who break any of its rules, incurred death, by their transgression: but, as much in the dark as they were, they are not guilty of any such absurdity, as to condemn others, or refuse communication with them, as unworthy of their society, who are no worse than themselves, nor do any thing, but what they themselves do equally with them, but live in complacency, on fair terms, with them, without censure or separation, thinking as well of their condition as of their own: therefore, if the blinded heathen do so, thou, O jew, art inexcusable, who having the light of the revealed law of God, and knowing by it, that the breaches of the law merit death, dost judge others to perdition, and shut them out from salvation, for that, which thou thyself art equally guilty of, viz. disobedience to the law. Thou, a poor, ignorant, conceited, fallible man, sittest in judgment upon others, and commit test the same things thou condemnest them for: but this thou mayst be sure, that the judgment and condemnation of God is right and firm, and will certainly be executed upon those who do such things. For thou, who adjudgest the heathen to condemnation, for the same things which thou dost thyself, canst thou imagine that thou thyself shalt escape the same judgment of God? God, whatever thou mayst think, is no respecter of persons: both jews as well as gentiles, that are perversely contentious against others, and do not themselves obey the gospel, shall meet with wrath and indignation from God: and gentiles, as well as jews, whom the goodness and forbearance of God bringeth to repentance, and an humble, submissive acceptance of the gospel, shall find acceptance with God, and eternal life, in the kingdom of the Messias; from which, if thou art contentious to shut out the gentiles, thou manifestly shuttest out thyself.”
[† ]“O man, whosoever thou art.” It is plain from ver. 17, and 27, and the whole tenour of this chapter, that St. Paul, by these words, means the jews; but there are two visible reasons, why he speaks in these terms: 1st, he makes his conclusion general, as having the more force, but less offence, than if he had bluntly named the jews, whom he is very careful, in all this epistle, to treat in the softest manner imaginable. 2dly, He uses the term, man, emphatically, in opposition to God, in the next verse.
[‡ ]“Judgest.” There will need nothing to be said to those, who read this epistle with the least attention, to prove, that the judging, which St. Paul here speaks of, was, that aversion, which the jews generally had to the gentiles; so that the unconverted jews could not bear with the thoughts of a Messias, that admitted the heathen, equally with them, into his kingdom; nor could the converted jews be brought to admit them into their communion, as the people of God, now equally with themselves: so that they generally, both one and the other, judged them unworthy the favour of God, and out of a capacity to become his people, any other way, but by circumcision and an observance of the ritual parts of the law, the inexcusableness and absurdity whereof St. Paul shows in this chapter.
[* ]2 “According to truth,” doth, I suppose, signify not barely a true judgment, which will stand in opposition to an erroneous, and that will not take effect, but something more, i. e. according to the truth of his predictions and threats. As if he had said, “But if God in judgment cast off the jews, from being any longer his people, we know this to be according to his truth, who hath forewarned them of it. Ye jews judge the gentiles not to be received into the people of God, and refuse them admittance into the kingdom of the Messias, though you break the law, as well as they; you judge as prejudiced, passionate men. But the judgment of God against you will stand firm.” The reason why he does it so covertly, may be that, which I have before mentioned, his great care not to shock the jews, especially here in the beginning, till he had got fast hold upon them. And hence possibly it is, that he calls obeying the gospel, obeying the truth, ver. 8, and uses other the like soft expressions in this chapter.
[* ]7 Patience, in this verse, is opposed to contentiousa in the next, and seems principally to regard the jews, who had no patience for any consideration of the gentiles, but with a strange peevishness and contention, opposed the freedom of the gospel, in admitting the believing gentiles to the franchises of the kingdom of the Messias, upon equal terms with themselves.
[† ]8 Though by “truth,” the gospel be here meant, yet I doubt not but St. Paul used the term, truth, with an eye to the jews, who though some few of them received the gospel, yet even a great part of those few joined with the rest of their nation, in opposing this great truth of the gospel, that under the Messias, the gentiles, who believed, were the people of God, as well as the jews, and as such were to be received by them.
[‡ ]9, 10 “The jew first, and also the gentile.” We see, by these two verses, and chap. i. 16, that St. Paul carefully lays it down, that there was now, under the gospel, no other national distinction between the jews and the gentiles, but only a priority in the offer of the gospel, and in the design of rewards and punishments, according as the jews obeyed, or not. Which may farther satisfy us, that the distinction, which St. Paul insists on so much here, and all through the first part of this epistle, is national; the comparison being between the jews, as nationally the people of God; and the gentiles, as not the people of God, before the Messias: and that, under the Messias, the professors of christianity, consisting most of converted gentiles, were the people of God, owned and acknowledged as such by him, the unbelieving jews being rejected, and the unbelieving gentiles never received; but that yet personally both jews and gentiles, every single person, shall be punished for his own particular sin, as appears by the two next verses.
[* ]12 Ἀπολȣ͂νται, “shall perish;” ϰριθήσονται, “shall be judged.” Those under the law, St. Paul says, “shall be judged by the law:” and this is easy to conceive, because they were under a positive law, wherein life and death were annexed, as the reward and punishment of obedience and disobedience; but of the gentiles, who were not under the positive law, he says barely, that “they shall perish.” St. Paul does not use these so eminently differing expressions for nothing; they will, I think, give some light to chap. v. 13, and my interpretation of it, if they lead us no farther.
[† ]14 Μὴ νόμον ἕϰονες, “having not the law,” or not having a law. The apostle by the word law, generally, in this epistle, signifying a positive law, given by God, and promulgated by a revelation from heaven, with the sanction of declared rewards and punishments annexed to it, it is not improbable, that in this verse, (where, by the Greek particle, he so plainly points out the law of Moses,) by νόμος, without the article, may intend law, in general, in his sense of a law, and so this verse may be translated thus: “for when the gentiles, who have not a law, do by nature the things contained in the law: these, not having a law, are a law to themselves.” And so, ver. 12, “As many as have sinned, being under a law, shall be judged by a law.” For though, from Adam to Christ, there was no revealed, positive law, but that given to the israelites; yet it is certain that, by Jesus Christ, a positive law from heaven is given to all mankind, and that those, to whom this has been promulgated, by the preaching of the gospel, are all under it, and shall be judged by it.
[* ]16 “According to my gospel,” i. e. as I make known in my preaching the gospel. That this is the meaning of this phrase, may be seen, 2 Tim. ii. 8. And of St. Paul’s declaring of it, in his preaching, we have an instance left upon record, Acts xvii. 31.
[† ]17 Ἐπονομάζη, thou art named, emphatically said by St. Paul; for he, that was such a jew, as he describes in the following verses, he insists on it, was a jew only by name, not in reality, for so he concludes, ver. 28 and 29, he is not, in the esteem of God, a jew, who is so outwardly only.
[‡ ]17—20 In these four verses St. Paul makes use of the titles the jews assumed to themselves, from the advantages they had, of light and knowledge, above the gentiles, to show them how inexcusable they were, in judging the gentiles, who were even in their own account so much beneath them in knowledge, for doing those things, which they themselves were also guilty of.
[* ]18 Τὰ διαϕέρονα, signifies things excellent, convenient, controverted, or differing. In either of these senses it may be understood here, though the last, viz. their difference in respect of lawful and unlawful, I think may be pitched on, as most suited to the apostle’s design here, and that which the jews much stood upon, as giving them one great pre-eminence above the defiled gentiles.
[† ]19, 20 “Blind, in darkness, foolish babes,” were appellations which the jews gave to the gentiles, signifying how much inferior to themselves they thought them in knowledge.
[‡ ]20 Μόρϕωσις, “form,” seems here to be the same with τύπος, “form,” chap. vi. 17, i. e. “such a draught, as contained and represented the parts and lineaments of the whole.” For it is to be remembered, that the apostle uses these expressions and terms here, in the same sense the jews spoke of themselves, vauntingly, over the gentiles, he thereby aggravating their fault, in judging the gentiles as they did.
[* ]24 See 2 Sam. xii. 14, Ezek. xxxvi. 23.
[† ]25 Circumcision is here put for “being a jew,” as being one of the chief and most discriminating rites of that people.
[‡ ]“Profiteth, if thou keep the law;” because a jew, that kept the law, was to have life therein, Lev. xviii. 5.
[§ ]26 Τὰ διϰαιώμαα τȣ͂ νόμȣ, the righteousness of the law.” I have taken the liberty to render it, the rectitude of the law, in an appropriated sense of the word, rectitude, in imitation of St. Paul, who uses διϰαιώμαα here for all those precepts of the law, which contain in them any part of the natural and eternal rule of rectitude, which is made known to men, by the light of reason. This rule of their actions all mankind, uncircumcised as well as circumcised, had, and is that which St. Paul calls διϰαίωμα τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, ch. i. 32. Because it came from God, and was made by him; the moral rule to all mankind being laid within the discovery of their reason, which if they kept to, it was διϰαίωμα, righteousness to them, or they were justified. And this rule of morality, St. Paul says, the gentile world did acknowledge. So that διϰαίωμα τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, ch. i. 32, signifies that rule of right, taken in general; and διϰαιώμαα τȣ͂ νόμȣ here signifies the particular branches of it contained in the law of Moses. For no other part of the law of Moses could an heathen be supposed to observe, or be concerned in: and, therefore, those only can be the διϰαιώμαα τȣ́ νόμȣ here meant. If we consider the various senses, that translators and expositors have given to this term διϰαίωμα, in the several places of St. Paul’s epistles, where it occurs, we shall have occasion to think that the apostle used this word with great latitude and variety of significations; whereas I imagine, that, if we carefully read those passages, we shall find, that he used it every where in the same sense, i. e. for that rule, which, if complied with, justified, or rendered perfect, the person, or thing, it referred to. For Example:
[* ]27 “Judge thee.” This he saith, prosecuting the design he began with, ver. 1, of showing the folly and unreasonableness of the jews, in judging the gentiles, and denying them admittance and fellowship with themselves, in the kingdom of the Messias.
[† ]It is plain that “by nature,” and “by the letter and circumcision,” are there opposed to one another, and mean the one, a man, in his natural state, wholly a stranger to the law of God revealed by Moses; and the other, a jew, observing the external rites contained in the letter of the law.
[‡ ]21 Vid. chap. ix. 6, 7, Gal. vi. 15, 16.
[§ ]29 St. Paul’s exposition of this, see Phil. iii. 3, Col. ii. 11.
[* ]“Letter,” vid. ch. vii. 6, 2 Cor. iii. 6, 7, compared with 17.
[* ]2 A list of the advantages, the jews had over the gentiles, he gives, chap. ix. 4, 5; but here mentions only one of them, that was the most proper to his present purpose.
[† ]3 How this was made good, St. Paul explains more at large in the following chapter, and chap. ix. 6—13.
[* ]5 That, by “the righteousness of God,” St. Paul here intends God’s faithfulness, in keeping his promise of saving believers, gentiles as well as jews, by righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, is plain, ver. 4, 7, 26. St. Paul’s great design here, and all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle, being to convince the Romans, that God purposed, and in the Old Testament declared, that he would receive and save the gentiles, by faith in the Messias, which was the only way, whereby jews, or gentiles (they being all sinners, and equally destitute of righteousness by works) were to be saved.
[† ]6 This, which is an argument in the mouth of Abraham, Gen. xviii. 25, St. Paul very appositely makes use of, to stop the mouths of the blasphemous jews.
[‡ ]7 “For.” This particle plainly joins what follows, in this and the next verse, to “vengeance,” in the fifth verse, and shows it to be, as it is, a continuation of the objection begun in that verse; why St. Paul broke it into pieces, by intruding the 6th verse into the middle of it, there is a very plain reason. In the objection there were two things to be corrected; first, the charging God with unrighteousness, which as soon as mentioned, it was a becoming interruption of St. Paul, to quash immediately, and to stop the jews mouths, with the words of Abraham. 2dly, The other thing, in the objection, was a false calumny upon the christians, as if they, preaching justification by free grace, said, “Let us do evil that good may come of it” To which the apostle’s answer was the more distinct, being subjoined to that branch, separated from the other.
[* ]“Lye.” The sense of the place makes it plain, that St. Paul, by lye, here means sin in general, but seems to have used the word lye, as having a more forcible and graceful antithesis to the truth of God, which the objection pretends to be thereby illustrated.
[† ]8 “Some.” It is past doubt that these were the jews. But St. Paul, always tender towards his own nation, forbears to name them, when he pronounces this sentence, that their casting-off and destruction now at hand, for this scandal and other opposition to the christian religion, was just.
[‡ ]9 Having, in the six foregoing verses, justified the truth of God, notwithstanding his casting off the jews, and vindicated the doctrine of grace, against the cavils of the jews, which two objections of theirs came naturally in his way, the apostle takes up here again, the jews question proposed, ver. 1, and argues it home to the case in hand. Τί ȣ̓ν ϖροεχόμεθα; being but the same with Τί ȣ̓ν τὸ ϖερισσὸν τȣ͂ Ἰȣδαίȣ; ver. 1. “Have jews, then, any preference in the kingdom of the Messias?” To which he answers, “No, not at all.” That this is the meaning, is visible from the whole chapter, where he lays both jews and gentiles in an equal state, in reference to justification.
[§ ]“Already,” viz. chap. ii. 3, where St. Paul, under the gentler compellation of, “O man,” charges the jews to be sinners, as well as the gentiles: and ver. 17—24, shows, that, by having the law, they were no more kept from being sinners, than the gentiles were, without the law. And this charge against them, that they were sinners, he here proves against them, from the testimony of their own sacred books, contained in the Old Testament.
[* ]19 The law here signifies the whole Old Testament, which containing revelations from God, in the time of the law, and being, to those under the law, of divine authority, and a rule, as well as the law itself, it is sometimes in the New Testament called the law: and so our Saviour himself uses the term law, John x. 34. The meaning of St. Paul here is, that the declarations of God, which he had cited out of the Old Testament, were spoken of the jews, who were under the dispensation of the Old Testament, and were, by the word of God to them, all of them pronounced sinners.
[* ]20 Ἐξ ἔργων νόμȣ, I should render, “by deeds of law,” i. e. by actions of conformity to a law requiring the performance of the διϰαίωμα Θεȣ͂, the right rule of God (mentioned, chap. i. 32) with a penalty annexed, “no flesh can be justified:” but every one, failing of an exact conformity of his actions to the immutable rectitude of that eternal rule of right, will be found unrighteous, and so incur the penalty of the law. That this is the meaning of ἴργα νόμȣ, is evident, because the apostle’s declaration here is concerning all men, ϖᾶσα σάρξ. But we know the heathen world were not under the law of Moses: and accordingly St. Paul does not say, ἐξ ἔργων τȣ͂ νόμȣ, “by the deeds of the law,” but ἐξ ἔργων νόμȣ, “by deeds of law.” Though in the foregoing and following verse, where he would specify the law of Moses, he uses the article with νόμος three times.
[† ]“No man.” St. Paul uses here the word flesh, for man, emphatically, as that wherein the force of sin is seated. Vid. chap. vii. 14, 18, and viii. 13.
[‡ ]The law cannot help men to righteousness. This, which is but implied here, he is large and express in, chap. vii. and is said expressly, chap. viii. 3, Gal. iii. 21.
[§ ]Chap. vii. 13.
[* ]22 Vid. chap. x. 12, Gal. iii. 22—28.
[† ]23 Here the glory, that comes from God, or by his appointment, is called, “the glory of God,” as the righteousness, which comes from him, or by his appointment, is called, “the righteousness of God,” chap. i. 17, and the rule of moral rectitude, which has God for its author, or is appointed by him, is called διϰοίωμα Θεȣ͂, chap. i. 32. That this is the glory here meant, vid. chap. ii. 7, 10. In the same sense the glory of God is used, chap. v. 2.
[‡ ]24 Redemption signifies deliverance, but not deliverance from every thing, but deliverance from that, to which a man is in subjection, or bondage. Nor does redemption by Jesus Christ import, there was any compensation made to God, by paying what was of equal value, in consideration whereof they were delivered: for that is inconsistent with what St. Paul expressly says here, viz. that sinners are justified by God gratis, and of his free bounty. What this redemption is, St. Paul tells us, Eph. i. 7, Col. i. 14, even the forgiveness of sins. But if St. Paul had not been so express in defining what he means by redemption, they yet would be thought to lay too much stress upon the criticism of a word, in the translation, who would thereby force from the word, in the original, a necessary sense, which it is plain it hath not. That redeeming, in the sacred scripture language, signifies not precisly paying an equivalent, is so clear, that nothing can be more. I shall refer my reader to three or four places amongst a great number, Exod. vi. 6, Deut. vii. 8, and xv. 12, and xxiv. 18. But if any one will, from the literal signification of the word in English, persist in it, against St. Paul’s declarations, that it necessarily implies an equivalent price paid, I desire him to consider to whom: and that, if we will strictly adhere to the metaphor, it must be to those, whom the redeemed are in bondage to, andfrom whom we are redeemed, viz. sin and Satan. If he will not believe his own system for this, let him believe St. Paul’s words, Tit. ii. 14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” Nor could the price be paid to God, in strictness of justice (for that is made the argument here;) unless the same person ought, by that strict justice, to have both the thing redeemed, and the price paid for its redemption. For it is to God we are redeemed, by the death of Christ, Rev. v. 9, “Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.”
[* ]25 Ἱλαϛήριον, signifies propitiatory, or mercy-seat, and not propitiation, as Mr. Mede has rightly observed upon this place, in his discourse on God’s house, § 1.
[† ]The Alexandrine copy omits the words διὰ ϖίϛεως, “by faith:” which seems conformable to the sense of the aposle here: he says, that God hath set forth Christ to be the propitiatory in his blood. The atonement, under the law, was made by blood, sprinkled on the propitiatory or mercy-seat, Lev. xvi. 14. Christ, says St. Paul here, is now set out, and shown by God, to be the real propitiatory, or mercy-seat, in his own blood; see Heb. ix. 25, 26, where the sacrifice of himself is opposed to the blood of others. God hath set him out to be so, to declare his righteousness; the mercy-seat being the place, wherein God spake and declared his pleasure, Exod. xxv. 22, Numb. xxvii. 8, 9. And it was there, where God always appeared, Lev. xvi. 2. It was the place of his presence, and therefore he is said to dwell between the cherubims, Psal. lxxx. 1, 2 Kings xix. 15. For between the cherubims was the mercy-seat. In all which respects our Saviour, who was the antitype, is properly called the propitiatory.
[‡ ]Διϰαιοσύνη, “righteousness,” seems to be used here, in the same sense it is ver. 5, for “the righteousness of God,” in keeping his word with the nation of the jews, notwithstanding their provocations. And indeed, with the following words of this verse, contains in it a farther answer to the jews insinuation of God’s being hard to their nation, by showing that God had been very favourable to them, in not casting them off, as they had deserved, till, according to his promise, he had sent them the Messias, and they had rejected him.
[§ ]Διὰ τὴν ϖάρεσιν, “by passing over.” I do not remember any place where ϖάρεσις signifies remission or forgiveness, but passing by, or passing over, as our translation has it in the margin, i. e. over-looking, or as it were, not minding; in which sense, it cannot be applied to the past sins of private persons, for God neither remits, nor passes them by, so as not to take notice of them. But this ϖάρεσις τῶν ϖρογεγονότων ἁμαρημάτων, passing over past sins, is spoken nationally, in respect of the people of the jews; who, though they were a very sinful nation, as appears by the places here brought against them by St. Paul, yet God passed by all that, and would not be hindered by their past sinfulness from being just, in keeping his promise, in exhibiting to them Christ, the propitiatory. But, though he would not be provoked by their past sins, so as to cast them off from being his people, before he had sent them the promised Messias, to be their Saviour; yet after that, when, at the due time, he had manifested his righteousness to them, “that he might be just, and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus,” he no longer bore with their sinful obstinacy; but, when they rejected the Saviour (whom he had sent, according to his promise) from being their King, God rejected them from being his people, and took the gentiles into his church, and made them his people, jointly and equally with the few believing jews. This is plainly the sense of the apostle here, where he is discoursing of the nation of the jews, and their state, in comparison with the gentiles; not of the state of private persons. Let any one without prepossession attentively read the context, and he will find it to be so.
[* ]26 Διϰαιοσύνης αὐτȣ͂, “his righteousness,” is here to be understood in both senses, in which St. Paul had used it before, in this chapter, viz. ver. 5 and 22, as it is manifested by St. Paul’s explaining of it himself, in these words immediately following: “that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus,” which are the two senses, wherein the righteousness of God is used.
[† ]“At this time,” viz. The fulness of time, according to his promise.
[‡ ]Τὸν ἐϰ ϖίϛεως Ἰησȣ͂, if this phrase had been translated, him that is of the faith of Jesus, as it is chap. iv. 16, and Gal. iii. 7, rather than him which believeth in Jesus, it would better have expressed the apostle’s meaning here, which was to distinguish οἱ ἐϰ ϖίϛεως, those who are of faith, from οἱ ἐϰ ϖεριομῆς, or οἱ ἐϰ νόμȣ, those who are of the circumcision, or those who are of the law, speaking of them, as of two sorts, or races of men, of two different extractions. To understand this place fully, let any one read chap. iv. 12—16, Gal. iii. 7—10, where he will find the apostle’s sense more at large.
[§ ]27 The glorying here spoken of, is that of the jews, i. e. their judging of the gentiles, and their contempt of them, which St. Paul had before in several places taken notice of. And here, to take down their pride and vanity, he tells them, it is wholly excluded by the gospel, wherein God, who is the God of the gentiles, as well as of the jews, justifieth by faith alone the jews as well as the gentiles, since no man could be justified by the deeds of the law. This seems to be said to the converted jews, to stop their thinking that they had any advantage over the gentiles under the gospel. No, says he, the gospel, which is the law of faith, lays you equal with the gentiles, and you have no ground to assume any thing to yourselves, or set yourselves above them, now under the Messias. This, and all the rest, to this purpose in this epistle, is said to establish the converted Romans in their title to the favour of God, equally with the jews, in the gospel, and to fortify them against any disturbance that might be given them by the pretending jews, which is the principal design of this epistle, as we have already observed.
[* ]28 “Therefore.” This inference is drawn from what he had taught, ver. 23.
[† ]Vid. Acts xiii. 39, chap. viii. 3, Gal. ii. 16.
[‡ ]30 Ἐπείπεϱ εἷς ὁ Θεὸς, “since God is one.” He that will see the force of St. Paul’s reasoning here, must look to Zachary xiv. 9, from whence these words are taken, where the prophet speaking of the time, when the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and not barely over the little people, shut up in the land of Canaan, he says, “in that day there shall be one Lord,” i. e. God shall not be, as he is now, the God of the jews alone, whom only he hath known, of all the people of the earth: but he shall be the God of the gentiles also, the same merciful, reconciled God to the people of all nations. This prophecy the jews understood of the times of the Messias, and St. Paul here presses them with it.
[§ ]It was impossible for remote nations to keep the law of Moses, a great part of the worship, required by it, being local, and confined to the temple at Jerusalem.
[∥ ]31 Νόμον, “law,” is here repeated twice, without the article, and it is plain that by it St. Paul does not mean precisely the Mosaical law, but so much of it as is contained in the natural and eternal rule of right, mentioned ch. i. 33, and xi. 26, and is again by a positive command re-enacted and continued as a law under the Messias, vid. Mat. xxviii. 20.
[* ]“Establish.” The doctrine of justification by faith necessarily supposeth a rule of righteousness, which those, who are justified by faith, come short of; and also a punishment incurred, from which they are set free, by being justified: and so this doctrine establishes a law; and accordingly the moral part of the law of Moses, that διϰαίωμα τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, as the apostle calls it in the place above quoted, chap. i. 32, is enforced again, by our Saviour and the apostles, in the gospel, with penalties annexed to the breach of it.
[* ]1 “Our father, according to the flesh.” St. Paul speaks here, as lineally descended from Abraham, and joins himself therein, with the rest of his nation; of whom he calls Abraham the father, according to the flesh, to distinguish the jews by birth, from those, who were Abraham’s seed according to the promise, viz. those who were of the faith of Abraham, whether jews or gentiles, a distinction, which he insists on, all through this chapter.
[† ]2 Κάυχημα, translated here, “glorying,” I take to signify the same with ϰαυχᾶσαι, translated “boasting,” chap. ii. 17, 23, in which places it is used to signify the jews valuing themselves, upon some national privileges, above the rest of the world, as if they had thereby some peculiar right to the favour of God, above other men. This the jewish nation, thinking themselves, alone, to have a title to be the people of God, expressed, in their judging the gentiles, whom they despised, and looked on as unworthy and uncapable to be received into the kingdom of the Messias, and admitted into fellowship with their nation, under the gospel. This conceit of theirs St. Paul opposes here, and makes it his business to show the falsehood and groundlessness of it, all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle. I ask, whether it would not help the English reader the better to find and pursue the sense of St. Paul, if the Greek term were every-where rendered by the same English word? whether “boasting,” or “glorying,” I think of no great consequence, so one of them be kept to.
[* ]5 Τὸν ἀσεϐῆ, “him being ungodly.” By these words St. Paul plainly points out Abraham, who was ἀσεϐὴς, “ungodly,” i. e. a gentile, not a worshipper of the true God, when God called him. Vid. note, ch. i. 18.
[† ]6 Λογίσεται, “reckoneth.” What this imputing or reckoning of righteousness is, may be seen in ver. 8, viz. the not reckoning of sin to any one, the not putting sin to his account: the apostle, in these two verses, using these two expressions, as equivalent. From hence the expression, of blotting out of iniquity, so frequently used in sacred scripture, may be understood, i. e. striking it out of the account. Λογίσεσθαι signifies to reckon, or account, and, with a dative case, to put to any one’s account; and accordingly, ver. 3, 4, 5, it is translated, counted, or reckoned; which word, for the sake of English readers, I have kept to in this, and ver. 9, 10, and 11.
[* ]11 See Gen. xvii. 11.
[† ]11, 12 What righteousness reckoned to any one, or as it is usually called, imputed righteousness, is, St. Paul explains, ver. 6—9. Whom this blessing belongs to, he inquires, ver. 9, and here, ver. 11, and 12, he declares, who are the children of Abraham, that from him inherit this blessing; ver. 11, he speaks of the gentiles, and there shows that Abraham, who was justified by faith, before he was circumcised, (the want whereof, the jews looked on as a distinguishing mark of a gentile) was the father of all those, among the gentiles, who should believe, without being circumcised. And here, ver. 12, he speaksof the jews, and says, that Abraham was their father; but not that all should be justified, who were only circumcised: but those, who, to their circumcision, added the faith of Abraham, which he had, before he was circumcised. That which misled those who mistook the sense of St. Paul here, seems to be, their not observing that τοῖς ȣ̓ϰ ἐϰ ϖεριτομῆς, is referred to, and governed by εἰς τὸ λογισθῆναι, which must be supposed repeated here, after ϖατέρα ϖερτομῦς. Or else the apostle’s sense and argument will not stand in its full force, but the antithesis will be lost, by preserving of which the sense runs thus: and the father of the circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to those who, &c. Another thing, very apt to mislead them, was the joining of μόνον only, to ȣϰ not, as if it were ȣ̓ μόνον τοῖς, not only those who are of the circumcision; whereas it should be understood, as it stands joined to ϖεριτομῆς, and so ϖεριτομῆς μόνον are best translated barely circumcision, and the apostle’s sense runs thus: “that he might be the father of the gentiles that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also: and the father of the jews, that righteousness might be imputed, not to them who have circumcision only, but to them who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had being uncircumcised.” In which way of understanding this passage, not only the apostle’s meaning is very plain, easy, and coherent; but the construction of the Greek exactly corresponds to that of ver. 11, and is genuine, easy, and natural, which any other way will be very perplexed.
[* ]13 The promise, here meant, is that which he speaks of, ver. 11, whereby Abraham was made the father of all that should believe, all the world over; and for that reason he is called ϰληρόνομος ϰόσμȣ, “heir, or lord of the world.” For the believers, of all nations of the world, being given to him for a posterity, he becomes, thereby, lord and possessor (for so heir amongst the Hebrews signified) of the world. For it is plain the apostle, in this verse, pursues the argument he was upon, in the two former. And it is also plain, that St. Paul makes circumcision to be the seal of the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii. as well as of that made to him, Gen. xvii. and so both these to be but one covenant, and that of ch. xvii. to be but a repetition and farther explication of the former, as is evident from this chapter, compared with Gal. iii. In both which the apostle argues, that the gentiles were intended to be justified, as well as the jews: and that both jews and gentiles, who are justified, are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.
[† ]Gal. iii. 7.
[‡ ]14 See Gal. iii. 18.
[§ ]15 Ch. viii. 3, Gal. iii. 21.
[∥ ]See ch. iii. 19, 20, and v. 10, 13, 20, and vii. 7, 8, 10, 1 Cor. xv. 56, Gal. iii. 19, John ix. 41, and xv. 22.
[* ]Οδ οὐϰ ἔϛιν νόμος, ȣ̓δὲ ϖαράϐασις, of that, concerning which there is no law, with the sanction of a punishment annexed, there can be no transgression, incurring wrath or punishment. Thus it may be rendered, if we read ου with an aspiration, as some do. But whether it be taken to signify where, or whereof, the sense will be the same. Παράϐασις here, to make St. Paul’s argument of punishment, by the force and sanction of a law. And so the apostle’s proposition is made good, that it is the law alone, that exposes us to wrath, and that is all the law can do, for it gives us no power to perform.
[† ]16 The grammatical construction does not seem much to favour “inheritance,” as the word to be supplied here, because it does not occur in the preceding verses. But he, that observes St. Paul’s way of writing, who more regards things, than forms of speaking, will be satisfied, that it is enough that he mentioned “heirs,” ver. 13 and 14, and that he does mean inheritance here, Gal. iii. 13, puts it past doubt.
[‡ ]17 See Gen. xvii. 16.
[§ ]Gen. xvi. 5.
[* ]24 St. Paul seems to mention this here, in particular, to show the analogy between Abraham’s faith, and that of believers, under the gospel: see ver. 17.
[† ]25 See Rom. iii. 25, and v. 6, 10, Eph. i. 7, 11, 14, and v. 2, Col. i. 14, 20—22, 1 Tim. ii. 6, Tit. ii. 14.
[‡ ]1 Cor. xv. 17. I have set down all these texts out of St. Paul, that in them might be seen his own explication of what he says here, viz. that our Saviour, by his death, atoned for our sins, and so we were innocent, and thereby freed from the punishment due to sin. But he rose again, to ascertain to us eternal life, the consequence of justification; for the reward of righteousness is eternal life, which inheritance we have a title to, by adoption in Jesus Christ. But, if he himself had not that inheritance, if he had not rose into the possession of eternal life, we who hold by and under him, could not have risen from the dead, and so could never have come to be pronounced righteous, and to have received the reward of it, everlasting life. Hence St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 17, that “if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins,” i. e. as to the attainment of eternal life, it is all one as if our sins were not forgiven. And thus he rose for our justification, i. e. to assure to us eternal life, the consequence of justification. And this I think is confirmed by our Saviour in these words, “because I live, ye shall live also,” John xiv. 19.
[* ]1 “We,” i. e. we gentiles that are not under the law. It is in their names, that St. Paul speaks, in the three last verses of the foregoing chapter, and all through this section, as is evident from the illation here, “therefore being justified by faith, we.” It being an inference, drawn from his having proved, in the former chapter, that the promise was not to the jews alone, but to the gentiles also: and that justification was, not by the law, but by faith, and consequently designed for the gentiles, as well as the jews.
[† ]2 Καυχώμεθα, “we glory.” The same word here for the convert gentiles, that he had used before, for the boasting of the jews, and the same word he used, where he examined what Abraham had found. The taking notice whereof, as we have already observed, may help to lead us into the apostle’s sense: and plainly shows us here, that St. Paul, in this section, opposes the advantages the gentile converts to christianity have, by faith, to those the jews gloried in, with so much haughtiness and contempt of the gentiles,
[‡ ]5 “Because.” (a) The force of this inference seems to stand thus: the hope of eternal happiness, which we glory in, cannot deceive us, because the gifts of the Holy Ghost, bestowed upon us, assure us of the love of God towards us, the jews themselves acknowledging that the Holy Ghost is given to none, but those who are God’s own people.
[* ]8 Another evidence St. Paul gives them here, of the love of God towards them, and the ground they had to glory in the hopes of eternal salvation, is the death of Christ for them, whilst they were yet in their gentile state, which he describes by calling them,
[† ]6, 8 (b) Ἀσθενεῖς, “without strength;” Ἀσεϐεῖς, “ungodly;” Ἁμαρωλοὶ, “sinners;” Ἐχθροὶ, “enemies:” these four epithets are given to them as gentiles, they being used by St. Paul, as the proper attributes of the heathen world, as considered in contra-distinction to the jewish nation. What St. Paul says of the gentiles, in other places, will clear this. The helpless condition of the gentile world in the state of gentilism, signified by ἀσθενεῖς, without strength, he terms, Col. ii. 13, dead in sin, a state, if any, of weakness. And hence he says to the Romans, converted to Jesus Christ, “yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and yourselves as instruments of righteousness unto God,” chap. vi. 13. How he describes ἀσέϐειαν, ungodliness, mentioned chap. i. 18, as the proper state of the gentiles, we may see, ver. 21, 23. That he thought the title ἁμαρτωλοὶ, “sinners,” belonged peculiarly to the gentiles, in contra-distinction to the jews, he puts it past doubt, in these words: “we who are jews by nature, and not sinners of the gentiles,” Gal. ii. 15. See also chap. vi. 17—22. And as for ἐχθροὶ, “enemies,” you have the gentiles before their conversion to christianity so called, Col. i. 21. St. Paul, Eph. ii. 1—13, describes the heathen a little more at large, but yet the parts of the character he there gives them we may find comprized in these four epithets: the ἀσθενεῖς, “weak,” ver. 1, 5, the ἀσεϐεῖς, “ungodly,” and ἁμαρωλοὶ, “sinners,” ver. 2, 3, and the ἐχθροὶ, “enemies,” ver. 11, 12.
[* ]9 What St. Paul here calls “wrath,” he calls “the wrath to come,” 1 Thess. i. 10, and generally, in the New Testament, “wrath,” is put for the punishment of the wicked at the last day.
[† ]See note (b) page 317.
[‡ ]11 Οό μόνον δὲ, “and not only so.” I think nobody can with the least attention read this section, without perceiving that these words joins this verse to the 3d. The apostle in the 2d verse says, “we the gentiles, who believe, glory in the hopes of an eternal, splendid state of bliss.” In the third verse he adds ȣ̓ μόνον δὲ, “and not only so, but our afflictions are to us matter of glorying,” which he proves in the seven following verses, and then, ver. 11, adds ȣ̓ μόνον δὲ, “and not only so; but we glory in God also, as our God, being reconciled to him in Jesus Christ.” And thus he shows, that the convert gentiles had whereof to glory, as well as the jews, and were not inferiour to them, though they had not circumcision and the law, wherein the jews gloried so much, but with no ground, in comparison of what the gentiles had to glory in, by faith in Jesus Christ, now under the gospel.
[§ ]It is true, we gentiles could not formerly glory in God, as our God; that was the privilege of the jews, who alone of all the nations owned him for their King and God; and were his people, in covenant with him. All the rest of the kingdoms of the earth had taken other lords, and given themselves up to false gods, to serve and worship them, and so were in a state of war with the true God, the God of Israel. But now we being reconciled by Jesus Christ, whom we have received, and own for our Lord, and thereby being returned into his kingdom, and to our ancient allegiance, we can truly glory in God, as our God, which the jews cannot do, who have refused to receive Jesus for their Lord, whom God hath appointed Lord over all things.
[* ]12 “Having sinned,” I have rendered became mortal, following the rule I think very necessary for the understanding St. Paul’s epistles, viz. the making him, as much as is possible, his own interpreter, 1 Cor. xv. 22, cannot be denied to be parallel to this place. This and the following verses here being, as one may say, a comment on that verse in the Corinthians, St. Paul treating here of the same matter, but more at large. There he says, “as in Adam all die,” which words cannot be taken literally, but thus, that in Adam all became mortal. The same he says here, but in other words, putting, by a no very unusual metonymy, the cause for the effect, viz. the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, for the effect of it on Adam, viz. mortality, and, in him, on all his posterity: a mortal father, infected now with death, being able to produce no better than a mortal race. Why St. Paul differs in his phrase, here, from that which we find he used to the corinthians, and prefers here, that which is harder and more figurative, may perhaps be easily accounted for, if we consider his style and usual way of writing, wherein is shown a great liking of the beauty and force of antithesis, as serving much to illustration and impression. In the xvth chapter of 1 Cor. he is speaking of life restored by Jesus Christ, and, to illustrate and fix that in their minds, the death of mankind best served: here, to the romans, he is discoursing of righteousness restored to men by Christ, and therefore, here, the term sin is the most natural and properest to set that off. But that neither actual or imputed sin is meant here, or ver. 19, where the same way of expression is used, he, that has need of it, may see proved in Dr. Whithy upon the place. If there can be any need of any other proof, when it is evidently contrary to St. Paul’s design here, which is to show, that all men, from Adam to Moses, died solely, in consequence of Adam’s transgressions, see ver. 17.
[* ]3 Οὐϰ ἐλλογεῖται, “is not imputed,” so our translation, but possibly not exactly to the sense of the apostle; Ἐλλογεῖν signifies to reckon, but cannot be interpreted reckon to, which is the meaning of impute, without a person assigned, to whom it is imputed. And so we see, when the word is used in that sense, the dative case of the person is subjoined. And therefore it is well translated, Philem. 18. If he owes thee any thing, ἐμοὶ ἐλλόγει, put it to my account, reckon, or impute it to me. Besides St. Paul here tells us, the sin, here spoken of, as not reckoned, was in the world, and had actually existence, during the time between Adam and Moses; but the sin, which is supposed to be imputed, is Adam’s sin, which he committed in paradise, and was not in the world, during the time from Adam till Moses, and therefore ἐλλογεῖται cannot here signify imputed. Sins in sacred scripture are called debts, but nothing can be brought to account, as a debt, till a value be set upon it. Now sins can no way be taxed, or a rate set upon them, but by the positive declaration and sanction of the law-maker. Mankind, without the positive law of God, knew, by the light of nature, that they transgressed the rule of their nature, reason, which dictated to them what they ought to do. But, without a positive declaration of God, their sovereign, they could not tell at what rate God taxed their trespasses against this rule; till he pronounced that life should be the price of sin, that could not be ascertained, and consequently sin could not be brought to account: and, therefore, we see that where there was no positive law, affixing death to sin, men did not look on death as the wages, or retribution for their sin; they did not account, that they paid their lives as a debt and forfeit for their transgression. This is the more to be considered, because St. Paul, in this epistle, treats of sin, punishment, and forgiveness, by way of an account, as it were, of debtor and creditor.
[† ]Νόμȣ, “law.” Whether St. Paul by νόμος here means law in general, as for the most part he does, where he omits the article; or whether he means the law of Moses in particular, in which sense he commonly joins the article to νόμος; this is plain, that St. Paul’s notion of a law was conformable to that given by Moses, and so he uses the word νόμος, in English, law, for the positive command of God, with a sanction of a penalty annexed to it; of which kind there never having been any one given to any people, but that by Moses to the children of Israel, till the revelation of the will of God by Jesus Christ to all mankind, which, for several reasons, is always called the gospel, in contradistinction to the law of Moses; when St. Paul speaks of law, in general, it reduces itself, in matter of fact, to the law of Moses.
[* ]14 In this verse St. Paul proves, that all men became mortal, by Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit, and by that alone, because no man can incur a penalty, without the sanction of a positive law, declaring and establishing that penalty; but death was annexed, by no positive law, to any sin, but the eating the forbidden fruit: and therefore men’s dying, before the law of Moses, was purely in consequence of Adam’s sin, in eating the forbidden fruit; and the positive sanction of death annexed to it, an evident proof of man’s mortality coming from thence.
[† ]15 Οἱ ϖολλοὶ, and τȣ̀;ς ϖολλȣ̀;ς, I suppose may be understood to stand here for the multitude, or collective body of mankind. For the apostle, in express words, assures us, 1 Cor. xv. 22, “That in Adam all died, and in Christ all are made alive:” and so here, ver. 18, All men fell under the condemnation of death, and all men were restored unto justification of life, which all men, in the very next words, ver. 19, are called οἱ ϖολλοὶ, the many. So that the many in the former part of this verse, and the many at the end of it, comprehending all mankind, must be equal. The comparison, therefore, and the inequality of the things compared, lies not, here, between the numbers of those that died, and the numbers of those that shall be restored to life; but the comparison lies between the persons by whom this general death, and this general restoration to life came, Adam the type, and Jesus Christ the antitype; and it seems to lie in this, that Adam’s lapse came barely for the satisfaction of his own appetite, and desire of good to himself; but the restoration was from the exuberant bounty and good-will of Christ towards men, who at the cost of his own painful death, purchased life for them. The want of taking the comparison here right, and the placing it amiss, in a greater number restored to life by Jesus Christ, than those brought into death by Adam’s sin, hath led some men so far out of the way, as to allege, that men, in the deluge, died for their own sins. It is true they did so, and so did the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the philistines cut off by the israelites, and multitudes of others: but it is as true, that, by their own sins, they were not made mortal: they were so before, by their father Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit; so that, what they paid for their own sins, was not immortality, which they had not, but a few years of their own finite lives, which having been let alone, would every one of them in a short time have come to an end. It cannot be denied, therefore, but that it is as true of these as any of the rest of mankind, before Moses, that they died solely in Adam, as St. Paul has proved in the three preceding verses. And it is as true of them, as if any of the rest of mankind in general, that they died in Adam. For this St. Paul expressly asserts of all, “that in Adam all died,” 1 Cor. xv. 22, and in this very chapter, ver. 18, in other words. It is then a flat contradiction to St. Paul to say, that those, whom the flood swept away, did not die in Adam.
[* ]16 Δἰ ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήματος, “by one sin,” so the Alexandrine copy reads it, more conformable to the apostle’s sense. For if ἑνὸς, “one,” in this verse, be to he taken for the person of Adam, and not for his own sin, of eating the forbidden fruit, there will be nothing to answer ϖολλῶν παραπτωμάτων, “many offences” here, and so the comparison, St. Paul is upon, will be lost; whereas, it is plain, that in this verse he shows another disproportion in the case, wherein Adam, the type, comes short of Christ, the antitype; and that is, that it was but for one only transgression, that death came upon all men: but Christ restores life unto all, notwithstanding multitudes of sins. These two excesses both of the good-will of the donor, and the greatness of the gift, are both reckoned up together, in the following verse, and are there plainly expressed in περισσείαν τῆς χάριτος ϰαὶ τῆς δωρεᾶς; the excess of the favour, in the greater good-will and cost of the donor; and the inequality of the gift itself, which exceeds, as many exceeds one; or the deliverance from the guilt of many sins, does exceed the deliverance from the guilt of one.
[* ]Ζωῆς, “of life,” is found in the Alexandrine copy. And he that read ver. 18, will scarce incline to the leaving of it out here.
[† ]17 “Surplusage,” so ϖερισσεία signifies. The surplusage of χάριτος, favour, was the painful death of Christ, whereas the fall cost Adam no more pains, but eating the fruit. The surplusage of δωρεᾶς, the gift, or benefit received, was a justification to life from a multitude of sins, whereas the loss of life came upon all men, only for one sin; but all men, how guilty soever of many sins, are restored to life.
[‡ ]18 “Therefore,” here, is not used as an illative, introducing an inference from the immediately preceding verses, but is the same “therefore,” which began, ver. 12, repeated here again, with part of the inference, that was there begun and left incomplete, the continuation of it being interrupted, by the intervention of the proofs of the first part of it. The particle, “as,” immediately following “therefore,” ver. 12, is a convincing proof of this having there, or in the following verses, nothing to answer it, and so leaves the sense imperfect and suspended, till you come to this verse, where the same reasoning is taken up again, and the same protasis, or the first part of the comparison repeated: and then the apodosis, or latter part, is added to it; and the whole sentence made complete: which, to take right, one must read thus, ver. 12, “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, &c.” ver. 18, I say, therefore, “as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men, to justification of life.” A like interruption of what he began to say, may be seen, 2 Cor. xii. 14, and the same discourse, after the interposition of eight verses, began again chap. xiii. 1, not to mention others, that I think may be found in St. Paul’s epistles.
[§ ]That ἑνὸς ϖαραπτώματος ought to be rendered “one offence;” and not the “offence of one man:” and so ἑνὸς διϰαιώματος, “one act of righteousness,” and not the “righteousness of one;” is reasonable to think: because, in the next verse, St. Paul compares one man to one man, and therefore it is fit to understand him here (the construction also favouring it) of one fact, compared with one fact, unless we will make him here (where he seems to study conciseness) guilty of a tautology. But taken as I think they should be understood, one may see a harmony, beauty, and fullness in this discourse, which at first sight seems somewhat obscure and perplexed. For thus, in these two verses, 18, 19, he shows the correspondence of Adam the type, with Christ the antitype, as we may see, ver. 14, he designed, as he had shown the disparity between them, ver. 15, 16, 17.
[* ]That this is the meaning of δἰ ἑνὸς διϰαιώματος, is plain by the following verse. St. Paul every one may observe to be a lover of antithesis. In this verse it is ἑνὸς ϖαραπτώματος, “one perverse act of transgression,” and ἐνὸς διϰαιώματος, “one right act of submission:” in the next verse, it is παραϰοὴ, “disobedience,” and ὑπαϰοὴ, “obedience,” the same thing being meant in both verses. And that this διϰαίωμα, this act of obedience, whereby he procured life to all mankind, was his death upon the cross, I think no-body questions, see ver. 7—9, Heb. ii. 10, 14, Phil. ii. 8, and that διϰαιώματα, when applied to men, signifies actions conformable to the will of God, see Rev. xix. 8.
[† ]By διϰαίωσις ζωῆς, “justification of life,” which are the words of the text, is not meant that righteousness by faith, which is to eternal life. For eternal life is no-where, in sacred scripture, mentioned, as the portion of all men, but only of the saints. But the “justification of life,” here spoken of, is what all men partake in, by the benefit of Christ’s death, by which they are justified from all that was brought upon them by Adam’s sin, i. e. they are discharged from death, the consequence of Adam’s transgression; and restored to life to stand, or fall by that plea of righteousness, which they can make, either of their own by works, or of the righteousness of God by faith.
[‡ ]19 “Sinners.” Here St. Paul uses the same metonymy as above, ver. 12, putting sinners for mortal, whereby the antithesis to righteous is the more lively.
[* ]20 There can be nothing plainer, than that St. Paul here, in these two verses, makes a comparison between the state of the jews, and the state of the gentiles, as it stands described in the eight preceding verses, to show wherein they differed, or agreed, so far as was necessary to his present purpose, of satisfying the convert romans, that, in reference to their interest in the gospel, the jews had no advantage over them, by the law. With what reference to those eight verses, St. Paul writ these two, appears by the very choice of his words. He tells them, ver. 12, “that death by sin εἰσῆλθε entered into the “world,” and here he tells them that the law (for sin and death were entered already) ϖαρεισῆλθεν, entered a little, a word that set, in opposition to εἰσῆλθε, gives a distinguishing idea of the extent of the law, such as it really was, little and narrow, as was the people of Israel (whom alone it reached) in respect of all the other nations of the earth, with whom it had nothing to do. For the law of Moses was given to Israel alone, and not to all mankind. The vulgate, therefore, translates this word right, subintravit, it entered, but not far, i. e. the death which followed, upon the account of the mosaical law, reigned over but a small part of mankind, viz. the children of Israel, who alone were under that law: whereas, by Adam’s transgression of the positive law given him in paradise, death passed upon all men.
[* ]Ἵνα, “that.” Some would have this signify barely the event, and not the intention of the law-giver, and so understand by these words, “that the offence might abound,” the increase of sin, or the aggravations of it, as a consequence of the law. But it is to be remembered, that St. Paul here sets forth the difference, which God intended to put, by the law which he gave them, between the children of Israel and the gentile world, in respect of life and death; life and death being the subject St. Paul was upon. And, therefore, to mention barely accidental consequences of the law, that made the difference, had come short of St. Paul’s purpose.
[* ]Παράπτωμα is another word, showing St. Paul’s having an eye, in what he says here, to what he said in the foregoing verses. Our bibles translate it “offence:” it properly signifies “fall,” and is used in the foregoing verses, for that transgression, which, by the positive law of God, had death annexed to it, and in that sense the apostle continues to use it here also. There was but one such sin, before the law, given by Moses, viz. Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit. But the positive law of God, given to the israelites, made all their sins such, by annexing the penalty of death to each transgression, and thus the offence abounded, or was increased by the law.
[† ]“Sin.” That by “sin,” St. Paul here means such failure, as, by the sanction of a positive law, had death annexed to it, the beginning of the next verse shows, where it is declared to be such sin, as reigned in, or by death, which all sin doth not, all sin is not taxed at that rate, as appears by ver. 13, see the note. The article joined here both to ϖαράπτωμα and ἁμαρτία, for it is τὸ παράπτωμα, and ἡ ἁμαϱτία, the offence and the sin, limiting the general signification of those words to some particular sort, seems to point out this sense. And that this is not a mere groundless criticism, may appear from ver. 12 and 13, where St. Paul uses ἁμαϱτία, in these two different verses, with the distinction of the article and no article.
[‡ ]“Grace might much more abound.” The rest of mankind were in a state of death, only for one sin of one man. This the apostle is express in, not only in the foregoing verses, but elsewhere. But those who were under the law (which made each transgression they were guilty of mortal) were under the condemnation of death, not only for that one sin of another, but also for every one of their own sins. Now to make any one righteous to life, from many, and those his own sins, besides that one, that lay on him before, is greater grace, than to bestow on him justification to life, only from one sin, and that of another man. To forgive the penalty of many sins, is a greater grace, than to remit the penalty of one.
[* ]2 “We,” i. e. I and all converts to christianity. St. Paul, in this chapter, shows it to he the profession and obligation of all christians, even by their baptism, and the typical signification of it, to be “dead to sin, and alive to God,” i. e. as he explains it, not to be any longer vassals to sin, in obeying our lusts, but to be servants to God, in a sincere purpose and endeavour of obeying him. For, whether under the law, or under grace, whoever is a vassal to sin, i. e. indulges himself in a compliance with his sinful lusts, will receive the wages which sin pays, i. e. death. This he strongly represents here, to the gentile converts of Rome (for it is to them he speaks in this chapter) that they might not mistake the state they were in, by being, not under the law, but under grace, of which, and the freedom and largeness of it, he had spoken so much, and so highly in the foregoing chapter, to let them see, that to be under grace, was not a state of licence, but of exact obedience, in the intention and endeavour of every one under grace, though in the performance they came short of it. This strict obedience, to the utmost reach of every one’s aim and endeavours, he urges as necessary, because obedience to sin unavoidably produces death, and he urges as reasonable, for this very reason, that they were not under the law, but under grace. For as much as all the endeavours after righteousness, of those who were under the law, were lost labour, since any one slip forfeited life: but the sincere endeavours after righteousness of those, who were under grace, were sure to succeed, to the attaining the gift of eternal life.
[* ]4 Διὰ, in the hellenistic Greek, sometimes signifies into, and so our translation renders it, 2 Pet. i. 3. And, if it be not so taken here, the force of St. Paul’s argument is lost, which is to show into what state of life we ought to be raised out of baptism, in similitude and conformity to that state of life Christ was raised into, from the grave.
[† ]6 See Gal. v. 24, Eph. iv. 22, Col. ii. 11, 1 Pet. iv. 1.
[‡ ]It will conduce much to the understanding of St. Paul, in this and the two following chapters, if it be minded that these phrases, “to serve sin, to be servants of sin, sin to reign in our mortal bodies, to obey sin in the lusts of our bodies, to yield our members instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, or servants of uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity, to be freed from righteousness, to walk, live, or be after the flesh, to be carnally minded,” all signify one and the same thing, viz. the giving ourselves up to the conduct of our sinful, carnal appetites, to allow any of them the command over us, and the conduct and prevalency in determining us. On the contrary, “that walking after the spirit, or in newness of life, the crucifixion of the old man, the destruction of the body of sin, the deliverance from the body of death, to be freed from sin, to be dead to sin, alive unto God, to yield yourselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead, yield your members servants of righteousness unto holiness, or instruments of righteousness unto God, to be servants of obedience unto righteousness, made free from sin, servants of righteousness, to be after the spirit, to be spiritually minded, to mortify the deeds of the body,” do all signify a constant and steady purpose, and sincere endeavour to obey the law and will of God, in every thing, these several expressions being used in several places, as best serves the occasion, and illustrates the sense.
[* ]7 The tenour of St. Paul’s discourse here, shows this to be the sense of this verse; and to be assured that it is so, we need go no farther than ver. 11, 12, 13. He makes it his business in this chapter, not to tell them what they certainly and unchangeably are, but to exhort them to be what they ought and are engaged to be, by becoming christians, viz. that they ought to emancipate themselves from the vassalage of sin; not that they were so emancipated, without any danger of return, for then he could not have said what he does, ver. 11, 12, 13, which supposes it in their power to continue in their obedience to sin, or return to that vassalage, if they would.
[† ]10 See Heb. ix. 26—28, 1 Pet. iv. 1, 2.
[* ]11 “Sin” is here spoken of as a person, a prosopœia made use of, all through this and the following chapter, which must be minded, if we will understand them right. The like exhortation upon the same ground, see 1 Pet. iv. 1—3.
[† ]See Gal. ii. 19, 2 Cor. v. 15, Rom. v. 4. The force of St. Paul’s argument here seems to be this: in your baptism you are engaged into a likeness of Christ’s death and resurrection. He once died to sin, so do you count yourselves dead to sin. He rose to life, wherein he lives wholly to God: so must your new life, after your resurrection from your typical burial in the water, be under the vassalage of sin no more, but you must live intirely to the service of God, to whom you are devoted, in obedience to his will in all things.
[‡ ]12 “In your mortal bodies;” ἐν, in the apostle’s writings, often signifies, by. And he here, as also in the following chapters, ver. 18 and 24, and elsewhere, placing the root of sin in the body, his sense seems to be, let not sin reign over you, by the lusts of your mortal bodies.
[§ ]13 “Sinful lusts,” at least those, to which the gentiles were most eminently enslaved, seem so much placed in the body and the members, that they are called, “the members,” Col. iii. 5.
[∥ ]Ἐϰ νεϰρῶν, “from among the dead.” The gentile world were dead in sins, Eph. ii. 1, 5, Col. ii. 13, those, who were converted to the gospel, were raised to life, from among those dead.
[* ]14 “Sin shall not have dominion over you,” i. e. sin shall not be your absolute master, to dispose of your members and faculties, in its drudgery and service, as it pleases; you shall not be under its control, in absolute subjection to it, but your own men, that are alive, and at your own disposal, unless, by your own free choice, you inthral yourselves to it, and by a voluntary obedience, give it the command over you, and are willing to have it your master. It must be remembered, that St. Paul here, and in the following chapter, personates sin, as striving with men for mastery, to destroy them.
[† ]“For.” The force of St. Paul’s reasoning here stands thus: you are obliged, by your taking on you the profession of the gospel, not to be any longer slaves and vassals to sin, nor to be under the sway of your carnal lusts, but to yield yourselves up to God, to be his servants, in a constant and sincere purpose and endeavour of obeying him in all things: this if you do, sin shall not be able to procure you death, for you gentiles are not under the law, which condemns to death for every the least transgression, though it be but a slip of infirmity; but, by your baptism, are entered into the covenant of grace, and, being under grace, God will accept of your sincere endeavours in the place of exact obedience; and give you eternal life, through Jesus Christ; but if you, by a willing obedience to your lusts, make yourselves vassals to sin, sin, as the lord and master to whom you belong, will pay you with death, the only wages that sin pays.
[‡ ]15 What is meant by being “under grace,” is easily understood, by the undoubted and obvious meaning of the parallel phrase, “under the law.” They, it is unquestioned, were under the law, who having by circumcision, the ceremony of admittance, been received into the commonwealth of the jews, owned the God of the jews for their God and King, professing subjection to the law he gave by Moses. And so, in like manner, he is under grace, who, having by baptism, the ceremony of admittance, been received into the kingdom of Christ, or the society of christians, called by a peculiar name, the christian church, owns Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messias, his King, professing subjection to his law, delivered in the gospel. By which it is plain, that being under grace, is spoken here, as being under the law is, in a political and national sense. For whoever was circumcised, and owned God for his king, and the authority of his law, ceased not to be a jew or member of that society, by every or any transgression of the precepts of that law, so long as he owned God for his Lord, and his subjection to that law; so likewise, he who, by baptism, is incorporated into the kingdom of Christ, and owns him for his sovereign, and himself under the law and rule of the gospel, ceases not to be a christian, though he offend against the precepts of the gospel, till he denies Christ to be his king and lord, and renounces his subjection to his law in the gospel. But God, in taking a people to himself to be his, not doing it barely as a temporal prince, or head of a politic society in this world, but in order to his having as many, as in obeying him perform the conditions necessary, his subjects for ever, in the state of immortality restored to him in another world; has, since the fall, erected two kingdoms in this world, the one of the jews, immediately under himself; another of christians under his son Jesus Christ, for that farther and more glorious end, of attaining eternal life, which prerogative and privilege, of eternal life, does not belong to the society in general, nor is the benefit granted nationally, to the whole body of the people of either of these kingdoms of God; but personally, to such of them, who perform the conditions required in the terms of each covenant. To those who are jews, or under the law, the terms are perfect and complete obedience to every tittle of the law, “do this and live:” to those who are christians, or under grace, the terms are sincere endeavours after perfect obedience, though not attaining it, as is manifest, in the remaining part of this chapter, where St. Paul acquaints those, who ask whether they shall sin, because they are not under the law, but under grace? that, though they are under grace, yet they, who obey sin, are the vassals of sin; and those, who are the vassals of sin, shall receive death, the wages of sin.
[* ]16 Ὑπαϰοὴν, “obedience.” That which he calls here simply ὑπαϰοὴ, “obedience,” he in other places calls ὑπαϰοὴ ϖὶϛεως, “obedience of faith,” and ὑπαϰοὴ τȣ͂ Χριϛȣ͂, “obedience of Christ,” meaning a reception of the gospel of Christ.
[* ]17 Εἰς ὄν ϖαρεδόθητε, “unto which you were delivered;” no harsh, but an elegant expression, if we observe that St. Paul here speaks of sin and the gospel, as of two masters, and that those, he writes to, were taken out of the hands of the one, and delivered over to the other, which they having from their hearts obeyed, were no longer the slaves of sin, he whom they obeyed being, by the rule of the foregoing verse, truly their master.
[† ]18 Ἐδȣλώθητε τῆ διϰαιοσύνη, “ye became the slaves of righteousness.” This will seem an harsh expression, unless we remember that St. Paul, going on still with the metaphor of master and servant, makes sin and righteousness here two persons, two distinct masters, and men passing from the dominion of the one into the dominion of the other.
[‡ ]19 Ἀνθρώπινον λέγω, “I speak after the manner of men.” He had some reason to make some little kind of an apology, for a figure of speech, which he dwells upon, quite down to the end of this chapter.
[§ ]“Members,” see chap. vii. 5. Note.
[∥ ]“To iniquity unto iniquity,” see Note, chap. i. 17.
[* ]23 The wages of sin,” does not signify here the wages, that are paid for sinning, but the wages, that sin pays. This is evident, not only by the opposition that is put, here in this verse, between “the wages of sin, and the gift of God,” viz. that sin rewards men with death for their obedience; but that which God gives to those, who, believing in Jesus Christ, labour sincerely after righteousness, is life eternal. But it farther appears, by the whole tenour of St. Paul’s discourse, wherein he speaks of sin, as a person and a master, who hath servants, and is served and obeyed, and so the wages of sin, being the wages of a person here, must be what it pays.
[† ]“The gift of God.” Sin pays death to those, who are its obedient vassals: but God rewards the obedience of those, to whom he is lord and master, by the gift of eternal life. Their utmost endeavours and highest performances can never entitle them to it of right; and so it is to them not wages, but a free gift. See ch. iv. 4.
[* ]1 See chap. vi. 14.
[† ]That his discourse here, is addressed to those converts of this church, who were of the jewish nation, is so evident, from the whole tenour of this chapter, that there needs no more, but to read it with a little attention, to be convinced of it, especially ver. 1, 4, 6.
[‡ ]Κυριεύει τȣ͂ ἀνθρώπȣ, “hath dominion over a man.” So we render it rightly: but I imagine we understand it in too narrow a sense, taking it to mean only that dominion, or force, which the law has to compel, or restrain us in things, which we have otherwise no mind to; whereas it seems to me to be used in the conjugation hiphil, and to comprehend, here, that right and privilege also of doing, or enjoying, which a man has, by virtue and authority of the law, which all ceases, as soon as he is dead. To this large sense of these words St. Paul’s expressions, in the two next verses, seem suited; and so understood, have a clear and easy meaning, as may be seen in the paraphrase.
[§ ]2 “For.” That which follows in the 2d verse, is no proof of what is said in the 1st verse, either as a reason, or an instance of it, unless ϰυριεύει be taken in the sense I propose, and then the whole discourse is easy and uniform.
[* ]Ἀπὸ τȣ͂ νόμȣ τȣ͂ ἀνδρός, “From the law of her husband.” This expression confirms the sense above-mentioned. For it can in no sense be termed, “the law of her husband,” but as it is the law, whereby he has the right to his wife. But this law, as far as it is her husband’s law, as far as he has any concern in it, or privilege by it, dies with him, and so she is loosed from it.
[† ]4 Καὶ ὑμεῖς, “ye also;” ϰαὶ “also,” is not added here by chance, and without any meaning, but shows plainly that the apostle had in his mind some person, or persons before-mentioned, who were free from the law, and that must be either the woman, mentioned in the two foregoing verses, as free from the law of her husband, because he was dead; or else the gentile converts mentioned chap. vi. 14, as free from the law, because they were never under it. If we think ϰαὶ refers to the woman, then St. Paul’s sense is this, “ye also are free from the law, as well as such a woman, and may without any imputation subject yourselves to the gospel. If we take ϰαὶ to refer to the gentile converts, then his sense is this: “even ye also, my brethren, are free from the law, as well as the jewish converts, and as much at liberty to subject yourselves to the gospel, as they.” I confess myself most inclined to this latter, both because St. Paul’s main drift is to show, that both jews and gentiles are wholly free from the law: and because ἐθανατώθητε τῷ νόμῳ, “ye have been made dead to the law,” the phrase here used to express that freedom, seems to refer rather to the 1st verse, where he says, “the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth,” implying, and no longer, rather than to the two intervening verses, where he says, “not the death of the woman, but the death of the husband sets the woman free,” of which more by and by.
[* ]“By the body of Christ, in which you, as his members, died with him;” see Col. ii. 20, and so, by a like figure, believers are said to be circumcised with him, Col. ii. 11.
[† ]“Are become dead to the law.” There is a great deal of needless pains taken by some, to reconcile this saying of St. Paul to the two immediately preceding verses, which they suppose do require he should have said here what he does ver. 6, viz. that the law was dead, that so the persons, here spoken of, might rightly answer to the wife, who there represents them. But he, that will take this passage together, will find that the first part of this 4th verse refers to ver. 1, and the latter part of it to ver. 2 and 3, and consequently that St. Paul had spoken improperly, if he had said, what they would make him say here. To clear this, let us look into St. Paul’s reasoning, which plainly stands thus: “the dominion of the law over a man ceases, when he is dead, ver. 1, you are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ, ver. 4, and so the dominion of the law over you is ceased, then you are free to put yourselves under the dominion of another, which can bring on you no charge of disloyalty to him, who had before the dominion over you, any more than a woman can be charged with adultery, when, the dominion of her former husband being ceased by his death, she marrieth herself to another man.” For the use of what he says, ver. 2 and 3, is to satisfy the jews, that the dominion of the law over them being ceased, by their death to the law, in Christ, they were no more guilty of disloyalty, by putting themselves wholly under the law of Christ, in the gospel, than a woman was guilty of adultery, when, the dominion of her husband ceasing, she gave herself up wholly to another man in marriage.
[‡ ]“Disloyalty.” One thing that made the jews so tenacious of the law, was, that they looked upon it as a revolt from God, and a disloyalty to him, their king, if they retained not the law that he had given them. So that even those of them, who embraced the gospel, thought it necessary to observe those parts of the law, which were not continued, and as it were re-enacted by Christ, in the gospel. Their mistake herein is what St. Paul, by the instance of a woman marrying a second husband, the former being dead, endeavours to convince them of.
[§ ]“We.” It may be worth our taking notice of, that St. Paul, having all along from the beginning of the chapter, and even in this very sentence, said “ye,” here, with neglect of grammar, on a sudden changes it into “we,” and says, “that we should, &c.” I suppose to press the argument the stronger, by showing himself to be in the same circumstances and concern with them, he being a jew, as well as those he spoke to.
[* ]“Fruit unto God.” In these words St. Paul visibly refers to chap. vi. 10, where he saith, that “Christ, in that he liveth, he liveth unto God,” and therefore he mentions here, his being raised from the dead, as a reason, for their bringing forth fruit unto God, i. e. living to the service of God, obeying his will, to the utmost of their power, which is the same that he says, chap. viii. 11.
[† ]5 “When we were in the flesh.” The understanding and observance of the law, in a bare, literal sense, without looking any farther, for a more spiritual intention in it, St. Paul calls “being in the flesh.” That the law had, besides a literal and carnal sense, a spiritual and evangelical meaning, see 2 Cor. iii. 6 and 17, compared. Read also ver. 14, 15, 16, where the jews in the flesh are described; and what he says of the ritual part of the law, see Heb. ix. 9, 11, which whilst they lived in the observance of, they were in the flesh. That part of the mosaical law was wholly about fleshly things, Col. ii. 14—23, was sealed in the flesh, and proposed no other, but temporal, fleshly rewards.
[‡ ]Παθήματα τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, literally “passions of sin,” in the scripture Greek (wherein the genitive case of the substantive is often put for the adjective) “sinful passions, or lusts.”
[§ ]Τὰ διὰ τȣ͂ νόμȣ, “which were by the law,” is a very true literal translation of the words, but leads the reader quite away from the apostle’s sense, and is fain to be supported (by interpreters, that so understand it) by saying, that the law excited men to sin, by forbidding it. A strange imputation on the law of God, such as, if it be true, must make the jews more defiled, with the pollutions set down in St. Paul’s black list, ch. i. than the heathen themselves. But herein they will not find St. Paul of their mind, who, besides the visible distinction wherewith he speaks of the gentiles all through his epistles, in this respect doth, here, ver. 7, declare quite the contrary; see also 1 Peter iv. 3, 4. If St. Paul’s use of the preposition, διὰ, a little backwards in this very epistle, were remembered, this and a like passage or two more, in this chapter, would not have so harsh and hard a sense put on them as they have. Τῶν ϖιϛεύοντων δἰ ἀϰροϐυϛίας, our translation renders, ch. iv. 11, “that believe, though they be not circumcised,” where they make δἰ ἀϰροϐυϛίας, to signify, “during the state, or during their being under uncircumcision.” If they had given the same sense to διὰ νόμȣ here, which plainly signifies their being in a contrary state, i. e. under the law, and rendered it, “sinful affections,” which they had, though they were under the law, the apostle’s sense here would have been easy, clear, and conformable to the design he was upon. This use of the word διὰ, I think we may find in other epistles of St. Paul; τὰ διὰ τȣ͂ σώματος, 2 Cor. v. 10, may possibly, with better sense, be understood of things done during the body, or during the bodily state, than by the body; and so 1 Tim. ii. 15, διὰ τεϰνογονίας, “during the state of child-bearing.” Nor is this barely an hellenistical use of διὰ, for the greeks themselves say, δἰ ἡμέρὰς, “during the day;” and διὰ, νυϰτὸς, “during the night.” And so I think διὰ τȣ͂ εὐαγελίȣ, Eph. iii. 6, should be understood to signify, “in the time of the gospel, under the gospel dispensation.”
[* ]“Members,” here, doth not signify barely the fleshy parts of the body, in a restrained sense, but the animal faculties and powers, all in us that is employed as an instrument in the works of the flesh, which are reckoned up, Gal. v. 19—21, some of which do not require the members of our body, taken in a strict sense for the outward gross parts, but only the faculties of our minds, for their performance.
[† ]Καρποϕορῆσαι τῷ ϑανάτῳ, “Bringing forth fruit unto death,” here, is opposed to “bringing forth fruit unto God,” in the end of the foregoing verse. Death here being considered as a master, whom men serve by sin, as God in the other place is considered as a master, who gives life to them, who serve him, in performing obedience to his law.
[‡ ]6 “In newness of spirit,” i. e. spirit of the law, as appears by the antithesis, oldness of the letter, i. e. letter of the law. He speaks in the former part of the verse of the law, as being dead; here he speaks of its being revived again, with a new spirit. Christ, by his death, abolished the mosaical law, but revived as much of it again, as was serviceable to the use of his spiritual kingdom, under the gospel, but left all the ceremonial and purely typical part dead, Col. ii. 14—18, the jews were held, before Christ, in an obedience to the whole letter of the law, without minding the spiritual meaning, which pointed at Christ. This the apostle calls here serving in the oldness of the letter, and this he tells them they should now leave, as being freed from it, by the death of Christ, who was the end of the law for the attaining of righteousness, chap. x. 4, i. e. in the spiritual sense of it, which 2 Cor. iii. 6, he calls spirit, which spirit, ver. 17, he explains to be Christ. That chapter and this verse here give light to one another. Serving in the spirit, then, is obeying the law, as far as it is revived, and as it is explained by our Saviour, in the gospel, for the attaining of evangelical righteousness.
[* ]That this sense is also comprehended, in not serving in “the oldness of the letter,” is plain from what St. Paul says, 2 Cor. iii. 6. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” From this killing letter of the law, whereby it pronounced death, for every the least transgression, they were also delivered, and therefore St. Paul tells them here, chap. viii. 15, that they “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear,” i. e. to live in perpetual bondage and dread under the inflexible rigour of the law, under which it was impossible for them to expect aught but death.
[† ]7 “Sin.” That sin here comprehends both these meanings expressed in the paraphrase, appears from this verse, where the strictness of the law against sin, is asserted, in its prohibiting of desires, and from ver. 12, where its rectitude is asserted.
[‡ ]“I.” The skill St. Paul uses, in dexterously avoiding, as much as possible, the giving offence to the jews, is very visible in the word I, in this place. In the beginning of this chapter, where he mentions their knowledge in the law, he says, “ye.” In the 4th verse he joins himself with them and says, “we.” But here, and so to the end of this chapter, where he represents the power of sin, and the inability of the law to subdue it wholly, he leaves them out, and speaks altogether in the first person, he means all those, who were under the law.
[§ ]8 St. Paul here, and all along this chapter, speaks of sin as a person, endeavouring to compass his death; and the sense of this verse amounts to no more but this, that, in matter of fact, that concupiscence, which the law declared to be sin, remained and exerted itself in him, notwithstanding the law. For if sin, from St. Paul’s prosopopœia, or making it a person, shall be taken to be a real agent, the carrying this figure too far will give a very odd sense to St. Paul’s words, and, contrary to his meaning, make sin to be the cause of itself, and of concupiscence, from which it has its rise.
[∥ ]See note †, ver. 5, p. 345.
[* ]“Dead.” It is to be remembered not only that St. Paul, all along this chapter, makes sin a person, but speaks of that person and himself, as two incompatible enemies, the being and safety of the one consisting in the death, or inability of the other to hurt. Without carrying this in mind, it will be very hard to understand this chapter. For instance, in this place St. Paul has declared, ver. 7, that the law was not abolished, because it at all favoured, or promoted sin, for it lays restraints upon our very desires, which men, without the law, did not take notice to be sinful; nevertheless sin, persisting in its design, to destroy me, took the opportunity of my being under the law, to stir up concupiscence in me; for without the law, which annexes death to transgression, sin is as good as dead, is not able to have its will on me, and bring death upon me. Conformable hereunto, St. Paul says, 1 Cor. xv. 56, “the strength of sin is the law;” i. e. it is the law, that gives sin the strength and power to kill men. Laying aside the figure, which gives a lively representation of the hard state of a well-minded jew, under the law, the plain meaning of St. Paul here is this: “Though the law lays a stricter restraint upon sin, than men have without it: yet it betters not my condition thereby, because it enables me not wholly to extirpate sin, and subdue concupiscence, though it hath made every transgression a mortal crime. So that being no more totally secured from offending, under the law, than I was before, I am, under the law, exposed to certain death.” This deplorable state could not be more feelingly expressed than it is here, by making sin (which still remained in man, under the law) a person who implacably aiming at his ruin, cunningly took the opportunity of exciting concupiscence, in those, to whom the law had made it mortal.
[† ]9 Ποτὲ, “once.” St. Paul declares there was a time once, when he was in a state of life. When this was, he himself tells us, viz. when he was without the law, which could only be, before the law was given. For he speaks here, in the person of one of the children of Israel, who never ceased to be under the law, since it was given. This ϖοτὲ therefore must design the time between the covenant made with Abraham, and the law. By that covenant, Abraham was made blessed, i. e. delivered from death. That this is so, see Gal. iii. 9, &c. And, under him, the israelites claimed the blessing, as his posterity, comprehended in that covenant, and as many of them, as were of the faith of their father, faithful Abraham, were blessed with him. But when the law came, and they put themselves wholly into the covenant of works, wherein each transgression of the law became mortal, then sin recovered life again, and a power to kill; and an israelite, now under the law, found himself in a state of death, a dead man. Thus we see it corresponds with the design of the apostle’s discourse here. In the six first verses of this chapter, he shows the jews that they were at liberty from the law, and might put themselves solely under the terms of the gospel. In the following part of this chapter, he shows them, that it is necessary for them so to do; since the law was not able to deliver them from the power, sin had to destroy them, but subjected them to it. This part of the chapter showing at large what he says, ch. viii. 3, and so may be looked on as an explication and proof of it.
[* ]10 That the commandments of the law were given to the israelites, that they might have life by them; see Lev. xviii. 5, Matt. xix. 17.
[† ]The law, which was just, and such as it ought to be, in having the penalty of death annexed to every transgression of it, Gal. iii. 10, came to produce death, by not being able so to remove the frailty of human nature, and subdue carnal appetites, as to keep men entirely free from all trespasses against it, the least whereof, by the law, brought death. See chap. viii. 3, Gal. iii. 21.
[‡ ]11 The sense wherein I understand διὰ τȣ͂ νόμȣ, “by the law,” ver. 5, is very much confirmed by διὰ τῆς ἐνολῆς, in this and ver. 8, by which interpretation the whole discourse is made plain, easy, and consonant to the apostle’s purpose.
[§ ]“Inveigled.” St. Paul seems here to allude to what Eve said in a like case, Gen. iii. 13, and uses the word “deceived,” in the same sense she did, i. e. drew me in.
[∥ ]12 Ὥϛε, “so that.” Ver. 7, he laid down this position, that the law was not sin; ver. 8, 9, 10, 11, he proves it, by showing, that the law was very strict in forbidding of sin, so far as to reach the very mind and the internal acts of concupiscence, and that it was sin, that remaining under the law (which annexed death to every transgression) brought death on the israelites; he here infers, that the law was not sinful, but righteous, just, and good, just such as by the eternal rule of right it ought to be.
[* ]13 “No.” In the five foregoing verses the apostle had proved, that the law was not sin. In this, and the ten following verses, he proves the law not to be made death; but that it was given to show the power of sin, which remained in those, under the law, so strong, notwithstanding the law, that it could prevail on them to trangress the law, notwithstanding all its prohibitions, with the penalty of death annexed to every transgression. Of what use, this showing the power of sin, by the law, was, we may see, Gal. iii. 24.
[† ]That ἁμαρτία ϰαθ’ ὑπερϐολὴν ἁμαρωλὸς, “sin exceeding sinful,” is put here to signify; the great power of sin, or lust, is evident from the following discourse, which only tends to show, that let a man under the law he right in his mind and purpose; yet the law in his members, i. e. his carnal appetites, would carry him to the committing of sin, though his judgment and endeavours were averse to it. He that remembers that sin, in this chapter, is all along represented as a person, whose very nature it was to seek and endeavour his ruin, will not find it hard to understand, that the apostle here, by “sin exceeding sinful,”means sin strenuously exerting its sinful, i. e. destructive nature, with mighty force.
[‡ ]Ἵνα γενήται, “that sin might become,” i. e. might appear to be. It is of appearance he speaks in the former part of this verse, and so it must be understood here, to conform to the sense of the words, not only to what immediately precedes in this verse, but to the apostle’s design in this chapter, where he takes pains to prove, that the law was not intended any way to promote sin; and to understand, by these words, that it was, is an interpretation that neither holy scripture nor good sense will allow: though the sacred scripture should not, as it does, give many instances of putting “being,” for “appearing.” Vid. ch. iii. 19.
[§ ]14 Πνευμαιϰὸς, “spiritual,” is used here to signify the opposition of the law to our carnal appetites. The antithesis in the following words makes it clear.
[* ]15 Οὐ γινώσϰω, “I do not know,” i. e. it is not from my own understanding, or forecast of mind; the following words, which are a reason brought to prove this saying, give it this sense. But if ȣ̓ γινώσϰω, be interpreted, “I do not approve,” what in the next words is brought for a reason, will be but tautology.
[† ]18 St. Paul considers himself, and in himself other men, as consisting of two parts, which he calls flesh and mind, see ver. 25, meaning, by the one, the judgment and purpose of his mind, guided by the law, or right reason; by the other, his natural inclination, pushing him to the satisfaction of his irregular sinful desires. These he also calls, the one the law of his members, and the other the law of his mind, ver. 23, and Gal. v. 16, 17, a place parallel to the ten last verses of this chapter, he calls the one flesh, and the other spirit. These two are the subject of his discourse, in all this part of the chapter, explaining particularly how, by the power and prevalency of the fleshly inclinations, not abated by the law, it comes to pass, which he says, chap. viii. 2, 3, that the law being weak, by reason of the flesh, could not set a man free from the power and dominion of sin and death.
[* ]20 Οὐ ϑέλω ἐγὼ, “I would not.” I, in the Greek, is very emphatical, as is obvious, and denotes the man, in that part which is chiefly to be counted himself, and therefore with the like emphasis, ver. 25, is called αὐτὸς ἑγὼ, “I my own self.”
[† ]23 St. Paul, here and in the former chapter, uses the word members, for the lower faculties and affections of the animal man, which are as it were the instruments of actions.
[‡ ]He having, in the foregoing verse, spoken of the law of God, as a principle of action, but yet such as had not a power to rule and influence the whole man, so as to keep him quite clear from sin, he here speaks of natural inclinations, as of a law also, a law in the members, and a law of sin in the members, to show that it is a principle of operation in men, even under the law, as steady and constant in its direction and impulse to sin, as the law is to obedience, and failed not, through the frailty of the flesh, often to prevail.
[* ]24 What is it, that St. Paul so pathetically desires to be delivered from? The state, he had been describing, was that of human weakness, wherein, notwithstanding the law, even those, who were under it, and sincerely endeavoured to obey it, were frequently carried, by their carnal appetites, into the breach of it. The state of frailty, he knew men, in this world, could not be delivered from. And therefore, if we mind him, it is not that, but the consequence of it, death, or so much of it that brings death, that he inquires after a deliverer from. “Who shall deliver me,” says he, “from this body?” He does not say of frailty, but of death: what shall hinder that my carnal appetites, that so often make me fall into sin, shall not bring death upon me, which is awarded me by the law? And to this he answers, “the grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is the favour of God alone, through Jesus Christ, that delivers frail men from death. Those under grace obtain life, upon sincere intentions and endeavours after obedience, and those endeavours a man may attain to, in this state of frailty. But good intentions and sincere endeavours are of no behoof against death, to those under the law, which requires complete and punctual obedience, but gives no ability to attain it. And so it is grace alone, through Jesus Christ, that, accepting of what a frail man can do, delivers from the body of death. And thereupon, he concludes with joy, “so then I, being now a christian, not any longer under the law, but under grace, this is the state I am in, whereby I shall be delivered from death; I, with my whole bent and intention, devote myself to the law of God, in sincere endeavours after obedience, though my carnal appetites are enslaved to, and have their natural propensity towards sin.”
[† ]25 Our translators read ἐυχαριϛῶ τῷ Θεῷ, “I thank God:” the author of the vulgate, χάρις τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, “the grace or favour of God,” which is the reading of the Clermont, and other Greek manuscripts. Nor can it be doubted, which of these two readings should be followed, by one who considers, not only that the apostle makes it his business to show, that the jews stood in need of grace, for salvation, as much as the gentiles: but also, that the grace of God is a direct and apposite answer to, “who shall deliver me?” which, if we read it, I thank God, has no answer at all; an omission, the like whereof, I do not remember any where in St. Paul’s way of writing. This I am sure, it renders the passage obscure and imperfect in itself. But much more disturbs the sense, if we observe the illative, therefore, which begins the next verse, and introduces a conclusion easy and natural, if the question, “who shall deliver me?” has for answer, “the grace of God.” Otherwise it will be heard to find premises, from whence it can be drawn. For thus stands the argument plain and easy. The law cannot deliver from the body of death, i. e. from those carnal appetites, which produce sin, and so bring death; but the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, which pardons lapses, where there is sincere endeavour after righteousness, delivers us from this body, that it doth not destroy us. From whence naturally results this conclusion, “there is, therefore now, no condemnation, &c.” But where it is grounded on, in the other reading, I confess I do not see.
[* ]Αὐτὸς ἐγὼ, “I myself,” i. e. I the man, with all my full resolution of mind. Αὐτὸς ἐγὼ might have both of them been spared, if nothing more had been meant here, than the nominative case to δȣλεύω. See note, ver. 20.
[† ]Δȣλεύω, “I serve,” or I make myself a vassal, i. e. I intend and devote my whole obedience. The terms of life, to those under grace, St. Paul tells us at large, chap. vi. are δȣλωθῆναι τῇ διϰαιοσύνῃ, and τῷ Θεῷ, to become vassals to righteousness, and to God; consonantly he says here αὐτὸς ἐγὼ, “I myself,” I the man, being now a christian, and so no longer under the law, but under grace, do what is required of me in that state; δȣλεύω, “I become a vassal to the law of God,” i. e. dedicate myself to the service of it, in sincere endeavours of obedience: and so αὐτὸς ἐγὼ, “I the man, shall be delivered from death;” for he that, being under grace, makes himself a vassal to God, in a steady purpose of sincere obedience, shall from him receive the gift of eternal life, though his carnal appetite, which he cannot get rid of, having its bent towards sin, makes him sometimes transgress, which would be certain death to him, if we were still under the law.
[* ]1 “Therefore.” This is an inference, drawn from the last verse of the foregoing chapter, where he saith, that it is grace that delivers from death, as we have already observed.
[† ]“Now.” Now that, under the gospel, the law is abolished to those, who entertain the gospel.
[‡ ]The “condemnation” here spoken of, refers to the penalty of death annexed to every transgression, by the law, whereof he had discoursed in the foregoing chapter.
[* ]“In Christ Jesus,” expressed chap. vi. 14, by “under grace,” and Gal. iii. 27, by “having put on Christ;” all which expressions plainly signify, to any one that reads and considers the places, the professing the religion, and owning a subjection to the law of Christ, contained in the gospel, which is, in short, the profession of christianity.
[† ]Περιπαȣ͂σι, “walking,” or “who walk,” does not mean, that all, who are in Christ Jesus, do walk, not after the flesh, but after the spirit; but all who, being in Christ Jesus, omit not to walk so. This, if the tenour of St. Paul’s discourse, here, can suffer any one to doubt of, he may be satisfied is so, from ver. 13, “If ye live after the flesh.” The “ye,” he there speaks to, are no less than those that, chap. i. 6, 7, he calls, “the called of Jesus Christ, and the beloved of God,” terms equivalent to, “being in Jesus Christ,” see chap. vi. 12—14, Gal. v. 16—18, which places compared together, show that, by Christ we are delivered from the dominion of sin and lust; so that it shall not reign over us, unto death, if we will set ourselves against it, and sincerely endeavour to be free; a voluntary slave, who inthrals himself by a willing obedience, who can set free?
[‡ ]“Flesh and spirit,” seem here plainly to refer to flesh, wherewith he says he serves sin; and “mind,” wherewith he serves the law of God, in the immediately preceding words.
[§ ]“Walking after the spirit,” is, ver. 13, explained by “mortifying the deeds of the body, through the spirit.”
[∥ ]2 That it is grace, that delivers from the law in the members, which is the law of death, is evident from chap. vii. 23—25; why it is called a law, may be found in the antithesis to the law of sin and death, grace being as certain a law, to give life to christians, that live not after the flesh, as the influence of sinful appetites is, to bring death on those, who are not under grace. In the next place, why it is called the law of the spirit of life, has a reason, in that the gospel, which contains this doctrine of grace, is dictated by the same spirit, that raised Christ from the dead, and that quickens us to newness of life, and has, for its end, the conferring of eternal life.
[¶ ]“The law of sin and death.” Hereby is meant that, which he calls “the law in his members,” ch. vii. 23, where it is called, “the law of sin;” and ver. 24, it is called, “the body of death,” from which grace delivers. This is certain, that no-body, who considers what St. Paul has said, ver. 7 and 13, of the foregoing chapter, can think, that he can call the law of Moses, “the law of sin, or the law of death.” And that the law of Moses is not meant, is plain from his reasoning in the very next words. For the law of Moses could not be complained of, as being weak, for not delivering those under it from itself; yet its weakness might, and is all along, chap. vii. as well as ver. 3, complained of, as not being able to deliver those under it, from their carnal, sinful appetites, and the prevalence of them.
[* ]3 “Weak;” the weakness, and as he there also calls it, “the unprofitableness of the law,” is again taken notice of by the apostle, Heb. vii. 18, 19. There were two defects in the law, whereby it became unprofitable, as the author to the hebrews says, so as to make nothing perfect. The one was its inflexible rigour, against which it provided no allay, or mitigation; it left no place for atonement: the least slip was mortal: death was the inevitable punishment of transgression, by the sentence of the law, which had no temperament: death the offender must suffer, there was no remedy. This St. Paul’s epistles are full of, and how we are delivered from it, by the body of Christ, he shows, Heb. x. 5—10. The other weakness, or defect, of the law was, that it could not enable those who were under it, to get a mastery over the flesh, or fleshly propensities, so as to perform the obedience required. The law exacted complete obedience, but afforded men no help against their frailty, or vicious inclinations. And this reigning of sin in their mortal bodies, St. Paul shows here, how they are delivered from, by the spirit of Christ enabling them, upon their sincere endeavours after righteousness, to keep sin under, in their mortal bodies, in conformity to Christ, in whose flesh it was condemned, executed, and perfectly extinet, having never had there any life or heing, as we shall see, in the following note. The provision, that is made in the new covenant, against both these defects of the law, is in the epistle to the Hebrews expressed thus: “God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, wherein he will do these two things; he will write his law in their hearts, and he will be merciful to their iniquities.” See Heb. viii. 7—12.
[† ]See Heb. iv. 15.
[‡ ]Καὶ, “and,” joins here, “in the likeness,” &c. with “to be an offering;” whereas, if “and” be made to copulate, “sending” and “condemned,” neither grammar, nor sense, would permit it. Nor can it be imagined the apostle should speak thus: God sending his son, and condemned sin: but “God sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh,” and sending him to be an offering for sin, with very good sense, joins the manner and end of his sending.
[§ ]Περὶ ἁμαρίας, which in the text is translated, “for sin,” signifies an offering for sin, as the margin of our bibles takes notice: see 2 Cor. v. 21, Heb. x. 5—10. So that the plain sense is, God sent his son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and sent him an offering for sin.
[* ]Καέϰρινε, “condemned.” The prosopopœia, whereby sin was considered as a person, all the foregoing chapter, being continued here, the condemning of sin here, cannot mean, as some would have it, that Christ was condemned for sin, or in the place of sin, for that would be to save sin, and leave that person alive, which Christ came to destroy. But the plain meaning is, that sin itself was condemned, or put to death, in his flesh, i. e. was suffered to have no life, nor being, in the flesh of our Saviour; he was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, Heb. iv. 15. By the spirit of God, the motions of the flesh were suppressed in him, sin was crushed in the egg, and could never fasten, in the least, upon him. This farther appears to be the sense, by the following words. This antithesis between ϰαάϰριμα, ver. 1, and ϰαέϰρινε, here, will also show, why that word is used, here, to express the death, or no being, of sin in our Saviour, 2 Cor. v. 2, 1 Peter ii. 22. That St. Paul sometimes uses condemnation, for putting to death, see chap. v. 16 and 18.
[† ]4 Τὸ διϰαίωμα τȣ͂ νόμȣ, “the righteousness of the law.” See note, chap. ii. 26.
[‡ ]“Fulfilled,” does not here signify a complete, exact obedience, but such an unblameable life, by sincere endeavours after righteousness, as shows us to be the faithful subjects of Christ, exempt from the dominion of sin, see chap. xiii. 8, Gal. vi. 2. A description of such, who thus fulfilled “the righteousness of the law,” we have Luke i. 6. As Christ in the flesh was wholly exempt from all taint of sin; so we, by that spirit which was in him, shall be exempt from the dominion of our carnal lusts, if we make it our choice and endeavour to live after the spirit, ver. 9, 10, 11. For that, which we are to perform by that spirit, is the mortification of the deeds of the body, ver. 13.
[§ ]5 Οἱ ϰαὰ σάρϰα ὄνες, “those that are after the flesh,” and “those that are after the spirit,” are the same with those that walk after the flesh, and after the spirit. A description of these two different sorts of christians, see Gal. v. 16—26.
[* ]6 “For” joins what follows here to ver. 1, as the reason of what is here laid down, viz. deliverance from condemnation is to such christian converts only, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For,” &c.
[† ]See Gal. vi. 8.
[‡ ]7 Φρόνημα τῆς σαρϰὸς should have been translated here, “to be carnally minded,” as it is in the foregoing verse, which is justified by φρονȣ͂σι τὰ τῆς σαρϰὸς, “do mind the things of the flesh,” ver. 5, which signifies the employing the bent of their minds, or subjecting the mind intirely, to the fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
[§ ]Here the apostle gives the reason, why even those, that are in Christ Jesus, have received the gospel, and are christians (for to such he is here speaking), are not saved, unless they cease to walk after the flesh, because that runs directly counter to the law of God, and can never be brought into conformity and subjection to his commands. Such a settled contravention to his precepts cannot be suffered, by the supreme Lord and Governor of the world, in any of his creatures, without foregoing his sovereignty, and giving up the eternal, immutable rule of right, to the overturning the very foundations of all order and moral rectitude, in the intellectual world. This, even in the judgment of men themselves, will be always thought a necessary piece of justice, for the keeping out of anarchy, disorder and confusion, that those refractory subjects, who set up their own inclinations for their rule, against the law, which was made to restrain those very inclinations, should feel the severity of the law, without which the authority of the law, and law-maker, cannot be preserved.
[* ]8 This is a conclusion drawn from what went before. The whole argumentation stands thus: “They that are under the dominion of their carnal lusts, cannot please God; therefore they who are under the carnal, or literal dispensation of the law, cannot please God; because they have not the spirit of God: now it is the spirit of God alone, that enlivens men so, as to enable them to cast off the dominion of their lusts.” See Gal. iv. 3—6.
[† ]Οἱ ἐν σαρϰὶ ὄνες, “They that are in the flesh.” He that shall consider, that this phrase is applied, chap. vii. 5, to the jews, as resting in the bare, literal, or carnal sense and observance of the law, will not be averse to the understanding the same phrase, in the same sense, here; which I think is the only place besides in the New Testament, where ἐν σαρϰι εἶναι is used in a moral sense. This I dare say, it is hard to produce any one text, wherein εἶναι ἐν σαρϰὶ is used to signify a man’s being under the power of his losts, which is the sense wherein it is, and must be taken here, if what I propose be rejected. Let it he also remembered, that St. Paul makes it the chief business of this epistle (and he seldom forgets the design he is upon) to persuade both jew and gentile from a subjection to the law, and that the argument, he is upon here, is the weakness and insufficiency of the law to deliver men from the power of sin, and then, perhaps, it will not be judged that the interpretation I have given of these words, is altogether remote from the apostle’s sense.
[‡ ]9 See 2 Cor. iii. 6—18, particularly ver. 6, 13, 16.
[§ ]See John i. 12.
[∥ ]See Gal. iv. 6.
[* ]10 See chap. vi. 1—14, which explains this place, particularly ver. 2, 6, 11, 12, Gal. ii. 20, Eph. iv. 22, 23, Col. ii. 11, and iii. 8—10.
[† ]See Eph. iv. 23.
[‡ ]11 To lead us into the true sense of this verse, we need only observe, that St. Paul, having in the four first chapters of this epistle, shown that neither jew nor gentile could be justified by the law, and in the 5th chapter how sin entered into the world by Adam, and reigned by death, from which it was grace and not the law that delivered men: in the 6th chapter, he showeth the convert gentiles, that though they were not under the law, but under grace; yet they could not be saved, unless they cast off the dominion of sin, and became the devoted servants of righteousness, which was what their very baptism taught and required of them: and in chap. vii. he declares to the jews the weakness of the law, which they so much stood upon; and shows that the law could not deliver them from the dominion of sin; that deliverance was only by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ; from whence he draws the consequence, which begins this 8th chapter, and so goes on with it, here, in two branches relating to his discourse in the foregoing chapter, that complete it in this. The one is to show, “that the law of the spirit of life,” i. e. the new covenant in the gospel, required that those, that are in Christ Jesus, “should not live after the flesh, but after the spirit.” The other is to show how, and by whom, since the law was weak, and could not enable those, under the law, to do it, they are enabled to keep sin from reigning in their “mortal bodies,” which is the sanctification required. And here he shows, that christians are delivered from the dominion of their carnal, sinful lusts, by the spirit of God, that is given to them, and dwells in them, as a new quickening principle and power, by which they are put into the state of a spiritual life, wherein their members are made capable of being made the instruments of righteousness, if they please, as living men, alive now to righteousness, so to employ them. If this be not the sense of this chapter to ver. 14, I desire to know how ἄρα νῦν in the 1st verse comes in, and what coherence there is in what is here said? Besides the connexion of this to the former chapter, contained in the illative, “therefore,” the very antithesis of the expressions, in one and the other, shows that St. Paul, in writing this very verse, had an eye to the foregoing chapter. There it was, “sin that dwelleth in me,” that was the acting and over-ruling principle: here it is, “the spirit of God that dwelleth in you,” that is the principle of your spiritual life. There it was, “who shall deliver me from this body of death?” here it is, “God, by his spirit, shall quicken your mortal bodies,” i. e. bodies which, as the seat and harbour of sinful lusts, that possess it, are indisposed and dead to the actions of a spiritual life, and have a natural tendency to death. In the same sense, and upon the same account, he calls the bodies of the gentiles, “their mortal bodies,” chap. vi. 12, where his subject is, as here, “freedom from the reign of sin,” upon which account they are styled, ver. 13, “alive from the dead.” To make it yet clearer, that it is deliverance from the reign of sin, in our bodies, that St. Paul speaks of here, I desire any one to read what he says, chap. vi. 1—14, to the gentiles on the same subject, and compare it with the thirteen first verses of this chapter; and then tell me, whether they have not a mutual correspondence, and do not give a great light one to another? If this be too much pains, let him at least read the two next verses, and see how they could possibly be, as they are, an inference from this 11th verse, if the “quickening of your moral bodies,” in it, mean any thing, hut a “quickening to a newness of life, or to a spiritual “life of righteousness.” This being so, I cannot but wonder to see a late learned commentator and paraphrast positive, that ζωοποιήσει τὰ ϑνητὰ σώμαα ύμῶν, “shall quicken your mortal bodies,” does here signify, “shall raise your dead bodies out of the grave,” as he contends in his preface to his paraphrase on the epistles to the corinthians, ζωοποιεῖν, “quicken,” he says imports the same with ἐγείρειν, “raise.” His way of proving it is very remarkable; his words are “ζωοποιεῖν and ἐγείρειν are as to this matter [viz. the resurrection] words of the same import, i. e. where in discoursing of the resurrection, ζωοποιεῖν, quicken,” is used, it is of the same import with ἐγείρειν, “raise.” But what if St. Paul, which is the question, be not here speaking of the resurrection? why then, according to our author’s own confession, ζωοποιεῖν, “quicken,” does not necessarily import the same with ἐγείρειν “raise.” So that this argument, to prove that St. Paul here, by the words in question, means the raising of their dead bodies out of the grave, is but a fair begging of the question, which is enough I think, for a commentator, that hunts out of his way for controversy. He might, therefore, have spared the ζωοποιεῖν, “quicken,” which he produces out of St. John v. 21, as of no force to his purpose, till he had proved that St. Paul here in Romans viii. 11, was speaking of the resurrection of men’s bodies out of the grave, which he will never do, till he can prove that ϑνηὰ, “mortal,” here signifies the same with νεϰρὰ, “dead.” And I demand of him to show ϑνηὸν, “mortal,” any where in the New Testament, attributed to any thing void of life; ϑνηὸν, “mortal,” always signifies the thing it is joined to,to be living; so that ζωοποιήσει ϰαὶ τὰ ϑνηὰ σώμαα ὑμῶν, “shall quicken even your mortal bodies,” in that learned author’s interpretation of these words of St. Paul, here signify, “God shall raise to life your living, dead bodies,” which no one can think, in the softest terms can be given to it, a very proper way of speaking; though it be very good sense and very emphatical to say, God shall by his spirit, put into even your mortal bodies, a principle of immortality, or spiritual life, which is the sense of the apostle here; see Gal. vi. 8. And so he may find ζωοποιῆσαι used, Gal. iii. 21, to the same purpose it is here. I next desire to know, of this learned writer, how he will bring in the resurrection of the dend into this place, and to show what coherence it has with St. Paul’s discourse here, and how he can join this verse with the immediately preceding and following, when the words under consideration are rendered, “shall raise your dead bodies out of their graves, at the last day?” It seems as if he himself found this would make but an aukward sense, standing in this place, with the rest of St. Paul’s words here, and so never attempted it by any sort of paraphrase, but has barely given us the english translation to help us, as it can, to so uncouth a meaning, as he would put upon this passage, which must make St. Paul, in the midst of a very serious, strong, and coherent discourse, concerning “walking not after the flesh, but after the spirit,” skip on a sudden into the mention of “the resurrection of the dead;” and having just mentioned it, skip back again into his former argument. But I take the liberty to assure him, that St. Paul has no such starts, from the matter he has in hand, to what gives no light or strength to his present argument. I think there is not any where to be found a more pertinent, close arguer, who has his eye always on the mark he drives at. This men would find, if they would study him, as they ought, with more regard to the divine authority, than to hypotheses of their own, or to opinions of the season. I do not say that he is every-where clear in his expressions, to us now; but I do say he is every-where a coherent, pertinent writer; and wherever, in his commentators and interpreters, any sense is given to his words, that disjoints his discourse, or deviates from his argument, and looks like a wandering thought, it is easy to know whose it is, and whose the impertinence is, his, or theirs that father it on him. One thing more the text suggests, concerning this matter; and that is, if by “quickening your mortal bodies, &c.” be meant, here, the raising them into life after death, how can this be mentioned as a peculiar favour to those, who have the spirit of God? for God will also raise the bodies of the wicked, and as certainly as those of believers. But that, which is promised here, is promised to those only who have the spirit of God: and therefore it must be something peculiar to them, viz. that “God shall so enliven their mortal bodies, by his spirit, which is the principle and pledge of immortal life, that they may be able to yield up themselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and their members servants to righteousness unto holiness,” as he expresses himself, chap. vi. 13 and 19. If any one can yet doubt, whether this be the meaning of St. Paul here, I refer him for farther satisfaction to St. Paul himself in Eph. ii. 4—6, where, he will find the same notion of St. Paul, expressed in the same terms, but so that it is impossible to understand by ζωοποιεῖν, or ἐγείρειν (which are both used there, as well as here) “the resurrection of the dead, out of their graves.” The full explication of this verse may be seen Eph. i. 19, and ii. 10. See also Col. ii. 12, 13, to the same purpose; and Rom. vii. 4.
[* ]Ζωοποιήσει ϰαὶ, “shall quicken even your mortal bodies,” seems more agreeable to the original than “shall also quicken your mortal bodies;” for the ϰαὶ doth not copulate ζωοποιήσει with ὁ ἔγειρας, for then it must have been ϰαὶ ζωοποιήσει; for the place of the copulative is between the two words that it joins, and so must necessarily go before thelatter of them.
[* ]13 “Deeds of the body:” what they are may be seen, Gal. v. 19, &c. as we have already remarked.
[† ]14 In that lies the force of his proof, that they shall live. The sons of mortal men are mortal, the sons of God are like their Father, partakers of the divine nature, and are immortal. See 2 Pet. i. 4, Heb. ii. 13—15.
[‡ ]15 What “the spirit of bondage” is, the apostle hath plainly declared, Heb. ii. 15. See note, ver. 21.
[§ ]“Again,” i. e. now again under Christ, as the jews did from Moses, under the law.
[∥ ]See Gal. iv. 5, 6.
[¶ ]“Abba, Father.” The apostle here expresses this filial assurance, in the same words, that our Saviour applies himself to God, Mark xiv. 36.
[** ]16 See the same thing taught, 2 Cor. i. 21, 22, and v. 5, Eph. i. 11—14, and Gal. iv. 6.
[†† ]17 The full sense of this you may take, in St. Paul’s own words, 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12.
[* ]18 “Revealed.” St. Paul speaks of this glory here, as what needs to be revealed, to give us a right conception of it. It is impossible to have a clear and full comprehension of it till we taste it. See how he labours for words to express it, 2 Cor. iv. 17, &c. a place to the same purpose with this here.
[† ]19 Κτίσις, “creature,” in the language of St. Paul and of the New Testament, signifies “mankind;” especially the gentile world, as the far greater part of the creation. See Col. i. 23, Mark xvi. 15, compared with Matt. xxviii. 19.
[‡ ]“Immortality.” That the thing here expected was immortal life, is plain from the context, and from that parallel place, 2 Cor. iv. 17, and v. 5, the glory whereof was so great, that it could not be comprehended, till it was by an actual exhibiting of it revealed. When this revelation is to be, St. Peter tells us, 1 Pet. i. 4—7.
[§ ]ἈποϰάλυΨιν τῶν υίῶν, “Revelation of the sons,” i. e. revelation to the sons. The genitive case often, in the New Testament, denotes the object. So Rom. i. 5, ὑπαϰοὴ ϖίϛεως signifies obedience to faith, chap. iii. 22, διϰαιοσύνη Θεȣ͂ διὰ ϖίϛεως Χριϛȣ͂, “the righteousness that God accepts, by faith in Christ:” chap. iv. 11, διϰαιοσύνη ϖίϛεως, “righteousness by faith.” If ἀποϰαλύψις here be rendered “revelation,” as ἀποϰαλυφθῆναι in the foregoing verse is rendered “revealed,” (and it will be hard to find a reason why it should not) the sense in the paraphrase will be very natural and easy. For the revelation in the foregoing verse is not “of,” but “to,” the sons of God. The words are ἀποϰαλυφθῆναι εἰς ἡμᾶς.
[∥ ]20 The state of man, in this frail, short life, subject to inconveniencies, sufferings, and death, may very well be called “vanity,” compared to the impassible estate of eternal life, the inheritance of the sons of God.
[¶ ]“Devil.” That, by he that subjected it, is meant the Devil, is probably from the history, Gen. iii. and from Heb. ii. 14, 15, Col. ii. 15.
[* ]Ἀπεϰδέχεαι ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ὅτι, “Waiteth in hope;” that the not joining, “in hope,” to “waiteth,” by placing it in the beginning of the 21st verse, as it stands in the greek, but joining it to “subjected the same,” by placing it at the end of the 20th verse, has mightily obscured the meaning of this passage, which, taking all the words between, “of God and in hope,” for a parenthesis, is as easy and clear as any thing can be, and then the next word ὅτι will have its proper signification, “that,” and not “because.”
[† ]21 Δȣλεία τῆς φθορᾶς, “Bondage of corruption,” i. e. the fear of death, see yer. 15, and Heb. ii. 15. Corruption signifies “death,” or “destruction,” in opposition to “life everlasting.” See Gal. vi. 8.
[‡ ]22 How David “groaned” under the vanity and shortness of this life, may be seen, Psal. lxxxix. 47, 48, which complaint may be met with, in every man’s mouth; so that even those, who have not the first fruits of the spirit, whereby they are assured of a future happy life in glory, do also desire to be freed from a subjection to corruption, and have uneasy longings after immortality.
[§ ]23 See 2 Cor. v. 2, 5, Eph. i. 13, 14.
[∥ ]Read the parallel place, 2 Cor. iv. 17, and v. 5.
[* ]25 What he says here of hope, is to show them, that the groaning, in the children of God, before spoken of, was not the groaning of impatience, but such, wherewith the Spirit of God makes intercession for us, better than if we expressed ourselves in words, ver. 19—23.
[† ]27 “The spirit,” promised in the time of the gospel, is called the “spirit of supplications.” Zech. xii. 10.
[‡ ]28 Which “purpose” was declared to Abraham, Gen. xviii. 18, and is largely insisted on by St Paul, Eph. iii. 1—11. This, and the remainder of this chapter, seem said to confirm the gentile converts, in the assurance of the favour and love of God to them, through Christ, though they were not under the law.
[* ]29 See chap. xi. 2, Amos iii. 2.
[† ]See Eph. i. 3—7.
[‡ ]30 “Many are called, and few are chosen,” says our Saviour, Matt. xx. 16. Many, both jews and gentiles, were called, that did not obey the call. And therefore, ver. 32, it is those, who are chosen who (he saith) are “justified,” i. e. such as were called, and obeyed, and consequently were chosen.
[§ ]33 Reading this with an interrogation, makes it needless to add any words to the text, to make out the sense, and is more conformable to the scheme of his argumentation here, as appears by ver. 35, where the interrogation cannot be avoided; and is, as it were, an appeal to them themselves to be judges, whether any of those things he mentions to them (reckoning up these, which had most power to hurt them) could give them just cause of apprehension: “Who shall accuse you? Shall God who justifies you? Who shall condemn you? Christ that died for you?” What can be more absurd, than such an imagination?
[* ]3 Ἀνάθεμα, “accursed;” םרח, which the septuagint render anathema, signifies persons, or things, devoted to destruction and extermination. The jewish nation were an anathema, destined to destruction. St. Paul, to express his affection to them, says, he could wish, to save them from it, to become an anathema, and be destroyed himself.
[* ]4 “Adoption,” Exod. iv. 22, Jer. xxi. 9.
[† ]“Glory,” which was present with the israelites, and appeared to them, in a great shining brightness, out of a cloud. Some of the places, which mention it, are the following; Exod. xiii. 21, Lev. ix. 6, and 23, 24, Numb. xvi. 42. 2 Chron. vii. 1—3, Ezek. x. 4, and xliii. 2, 3, compared with chap. i. 4, 28.
[‡ ]“Covenants.” See Gen. xvii. 4, Exod. xxxiv. 27.
[§ ]Νομοθεσία, “the giving of the law,” whether it signifies the extraordinary giving of the law, by God himself, or the exact constitution of their government, in the moral and judicial part of it (for the next word λαρεία, “service of God,” seems to comprehend the religious worship) this is certain that, in either of these senses, it was the peculiar privilege of the jews, and what no other nation could pretend to.
[∥ ]5 “Fathers,” who they were, see Exod. iii. 6, 16, Acts vii. 32.
[¶ ]6 See chap. iii. 3, “Word of God,” i. e. promise, see ver. 9.
[** ]See chap. iv. 16. St. Paul uses this as a reason, to prove that the promise of God failed not to have its effect, though the body of the jewish nation rejected Jesus Christ, and were, therefore, nationally rejected by God, from being any longer his people. The reason, he gives for it, is this, that the posterity of Jacob, or Israel, were not those alone, who were to make that Israel, or that chosen people of God, which were intended, in the promise made to Abraham; others, besides the descendants of Jacob, were to be taken into this Israel, to constitute the people of God, under the gospel: and, therefore, the calling, and coming in, of the gentiles was a fulfilling of that promise. And then he adds, in the next verse, that neither were all the posterity of Abraham comprehended in that promise, so that those, who were taken in, in the time of the Messiah, to make the Israel of God, were not taken in, because they were the natural descendants from Abraham, nor did the jews claim it for all his race. And this he proves, by the limitation of the promise to Abraham’s seed, by Isaac only. All this he does, to show the right of the gentiles to that promise, if they believed: since that promise concerned not only the natural descendants, either of Abraham, or Jacob, but also those, who were of the faith of their father Abraham, of whomsoever descended, see chap. iv. 11—17.
[* ]8 “Children of God,” i. e. people of God, see ver. 26.
[* ]11 “Neither having done good, nor evil.” These words may, possibly, have been added, by St. Paul, to the foregoing (which may, perhaps, seem full enough of themselves) the more expressly to obviate an objection of the jews, who might be ready to say, “that Esau was rejected, because he was wicked,” as they did of Ishmael, that he was rejected, because he was the son of a bondwoman.
[† ]12 “See Gen. xxv. 23. And it was only, in a national sense, that it is there said, “the elder shall serve the younger;” and not personally, for in that sense it is not true, which makes it plain that these words of verse.
[‡ ]13 “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,” are to be taken in a national sense, for the preference God gave to the posterity of one of them to be his people, and possess the promised land, before the other. What this love of God was, see Deut. vii. 6—8.
[§ ]“Hated.” When it is used in sacred scripture, as it is often comparatively, it signifies only to postpone in our esteem or kindness; for this I need only give that one example, Luke xiv. 26. See Mal. i. 2, 3.
[∥ ]From the 7th to this 13th verse proves to the jews, that, though the promise was made to Abraham and his seed, yet it was not to all Abraham’s posterity, but God first chose Isaac and his issue: and then again, of Isaac (who was but one of the sons of Abraham) when Rebecca had conceived twins by him, God, of his sole good pleasure, chose Jacob the younger, and his posterity, to be his peculiar people, and to enjoy the land of promise.
[* ]15 See Exod. xxxiii. 19. It is observable that the apostle, arguing here with the jews, to vindicate the justice of God, in casting them off from being his people, uses three sorts of arguments; the first is the testimony of Moses, of God’s asserting this to himself, by the right of his sovereignty: and this was enough to stop the mouths of the jews. The second, from reason, ver. 19—24, and the third, from his predictions of it to the jews, and the warning he gave them of it beforehand, ver. 25—29, which we shall consider in their places.
[† ]16 “Willeth and runneth,” considered with the context, plainly direct us to the story, Gen. xxvii. where, ver. 3—5, we read Isaac’s purpose, and Esau’s going a hunting, and ver. 28, 29, we find what the blessing was.
[‡ ]17 Exod. ix. 16.
[* ]18 “Therefore.” That his name and power may be made known, and taken notice of, in all the earth, he is kind and bountiful to one nation, and lets another go on, in their opposition and obstinacy against him, till their taking off, by some signal calamity and ruin brought on them, may be seen and acknowledged to be the effect of their standing out against God, as in the case of Pharaoh.
[† ]Ἐλεεῖ, “hath mercy.” That by this word is meant being bountiful, in his outward dispensations of power, greatness, and protection, to one people above another, is plain from the three preceding verses.
[‡ ]“Hardeneth.” That God’s hardening, spoken of here, is what we have explained it, in the paraphrase, is plain, in the instance of Pharaoh, given ver. 17, as may be seen in that story: Exod. vii.—xiv. which is worth the reading, for the understanding of this place: see also ver. 22.
[§ ]20 Here St. Paul shows, that the nations of the world, who are, by a better right, in the hands and disposal of God, than the clay in the power of the potter, may, without any question of his justice, be made great and glorious, or be pulled down, and brought into contempt, as he pleases. That he here speaks of men, nationally, and not personally, in reference to their eternal state, is evident not only from the beginning of this chapter, where he shows his concern for the nation of the jews being cast off from being God’s people, and the instances he brings of Isaac, of Jacob, and Esau, and of Pharaoh; but it appears also very clearly, in the verses immediately following, where, “by the vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction,” he manifestly means, the nation of the jews, who were now grown ripe, and fit for the destruction he was bringing upon them. And, by “vessels of mercy,” the christian church gathered out of a small collection of convert-jews, and the rest made up of the gentiles, who, together, were from thenceforwards to be the people of God, in the room of the jewish nation, now cast off, as appears by ver. 24. The sense of which verse is this: “How darest thou, O man, to call God to account, and question his justice, in casting off his ancient people the jews? What, if God willing to punish that sinful people, and to do it so, as to have his power known, and taken notice of, in the doing of it: (for why might he not raise them, to that purpose, as well as he did Pharaoh and his egyptians?) What, I say, if God bore with them, a long time, even after they had deserved his wrath, as he did with Pharaoh, that his hand might be the more eminently visible in their destruction: and that also, at the same time, he might, with the more glory, make known his goodness and mercy to the gentiles, whom, according to his purpose, he was in a readiness to receive, into the glorious state of being his people, under the gospel?”
[* ]21 “Vessel unto honour, and vessel unto dishonour,” signifies a thing designed, by the maker, to an honourable, or dishonourable use: now why it may not design nations, as well as persons, and honour and prosperity, in this world, as well as eternal happiness and glory, or misery and punishment, in the world to come, I do not see. In common reason, this figurative expression ought to follow the sense of the context: and I see no peculiar privilege it hath, to wrest and turn the visible meaning of the place, to something remote from the subject in hand. I am sure, no such authority it has from such an appropriated sense, settled in sacred scripture. This were enough to clear the apostle’s sense in these words, were there nothing else; but Jer. xviii. 6, 7, from whence this instance of a potter is taken, shows them to have a temporal sense, and to relate to the nation of the jews.
[* ]22 “Endured with much long-suffering.” Immediately after the instance of Pharaoh, whom God said, “he raised up to show his power in him,” ver. 17, it is subjoined, ver. 18, “and whom he will he hardeneth,” plainly with reference to the story of Pharoah, who is said to harden himself, and whom God is said to harden, as may be seen Exod. vii. 3, 22, 23, and viii. 15, 32, and ix. 7, 12, 34, and x. 1, 20, 27, and xi. 9, 10, and xiv. 5. What God’s part in hardening is, is contained in these words, “endured with much long-suffering.” God sends Moses to Pharaoh with signs, Pharaoh’s magicians do the like, and so he is not prevailed with. God sends plagues; whilst the plague is upon him, he is mollified, and promises to let the people go: but, as soon as God takes off the plague, he returns to his obstinacy, and refuses, and thus over and over again; God’s being intreated by him to withdraw the severity of his hand, his gracious compliance with Pharaoh’s desire to have the punishment removed, was what God did in the case, and this was all goodness and bounty: but Pharaoh and his people made that ill use of his forbearance and long-suffering, as still to harden themselves the more, for God’s mercy and gentleness to them, till they bring on themselves exemplary destruction, from the visible power and hand of God, employed in it. This carriage of their’s God foresaw, and so made use of their obstinate, perverse temper, for his own glory, as he himself declares, Exod. vii. 3—5, and viii. 1—8, and ix. 14, 16. The apostle, by the instance of a potter’s power over his clay, having demonstrated, that God, by his dominion and sovereignty, had a right to set up, or pull down, what nation he pleased; and might, without any injustice, take one race into his particular favour, to be his peculiar people, or reject them, as he thought fit; does, in this verse, apply it to the subject in hand, viz. the casting off the jewish nation, whereof he speaks here, in terms that plainly make a parallel between this and his dealing with the egyptians, mentioned ver. 17, and, therefore, that story will best explain this verse, that thence will receive its full light. For it seems a somewhat strange sort of reasoning, to say, God, to show his wrath, endured with much long-suffering, those, who deserved his wrath, and were fit for destruction. But he that will read in Exodus, God’s dealing with Pharaoh and the egyptians, and how God passed over provocation upon provocation, and patiently endured those who, by their first refusal, nay by their former cruelty and oppression of the israelies, deserved his wrath, and were fitted for destruction, that, in a more signal vengeance on the egyptians, and glorious deliverance of the israelites, he might show his power, and make himself be taken notice of, will easily see the strong and easy sense of this and the following verse.
[† ]23 Καὶ ἵνα, “And that;” the vulgate has net “and;” there are greek mss. that justify that omission, as well as the sense of the place, which is disturbed by the conjunction “and.” For with that reading it runs thus: “and God, that he might make known the riches of his glory, &c.” A learned paraphrast, both against the grammar and sense of the place, by his own authority adds, “showed mercy,” where the sacred scripture is silent, and says no such thing, by which we may make it say any thing. If a verb were to be inserted here, it is evident, it must, some way or other, answer to “endured,” in the foregoing verse: but such an one will not be easy to be found, that will suit here. And, indeed, there is no need of it, for, “and” being left out, the sense, suitably to St. Paul’s argument here, runs plainly and smoothly thus: “What have you jews, to complain of, for God’s rejecting you, from being any longer his people? and giving you up, to be over-run and subjected by the gentiles? and his taking them in, to be his people in your room? he has as much power over the nations of the earth, to make some of them mighty and flourishing, and others mean and weak, as a potter has over his clay, to make what sort of vessels he pleases, of any part of it. This you cannot deny. God might, from the beginning, have made you a small, neglected people: but he did not. He made you, the posterity of Jacob, a greater and mightier people, than the posterity of his elder brother Esau, and made you also his own people, plentifully provided for, in the land of promise. Nay, when your frequent revolts and repeated provocations had made you fit for destruction, he with long-suffering forbore you, that now, under the gospel, executing his wrath on you, he might manifest his glory, on us, whom he hath called to be his people, consisting of a small remnant of jews, and of converts out of the gentiles, whom he had prepared for this glory, as he had foretold by the prophets Hosea and Isaiah.” This is plainly St. Paul’s meaning, that God dealt, as is described, ver. 22, with the jews, that he might manifest his glory on the gentiles; for so he declares over and over again, chap. xi. ver. 11, 12, 15, 19, 20, 28, 30.
[* ]“Make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.” St. Paul in a parallel place, Col. i. has so fully explained these words, that he that will read ver. 27, of that chapter, with the context there, can be in no manner of doubt what St. Paul means here.
[* ]27 “But a remnant.” There needs no more but to read the text, to see this to be the meaning.
[† ]28 Λόγον συνείμημένον ϖοιήσει; “Shall make a contracted, or little account, or overplus,” a metaphor, taken from an account, wherein the matter is so ordered, that the overplus, or remainder, standing still upon the account, is very little.
[‡ ]29 “A seed,” Isaiah i. 9. The words are, “a very small remnant.”
[§ ]31 See chap. x. 3, and xi. 6, 7. The apostle’s design in this and the following chapter, is to show the reason, why the jews were cast off from being the people of God, and the gentiles admitted. From whence it follows, that by “attaining to righteousness, and to the law of righteousness,” here, is meant not attaining to the righteousness, which puts particular persons into the state of justification and salvation; but the acceptance of that law, the profession of that religion, wherein that righteousness is exhibited; which profession of that, which is now the only true religion, and owning ourselves under that law, which is now solely the law of God, puts any collective body of men into the state of being the people of God. For every one of the jews and gentiles, that “attained to the law of righteousness, or to righteousness,” in the sense St. Paul speaks here, i. e. became a professor of the christian religion, did not attain to eternal salvation. In the same sense must chap. x. 3, and xi. 7, 8, be understood.
[* ]32 See 1 Cor. i. 23.
[† ]2 This their zeal for God, see described, Acts xxi. 27—31, and xxii. 3.
[* ]4 See Gal. iii. 24.
[† ]8 St. Paul had told them, ver. 4, that the end of the law was to bring them to life, by faith in Christ, that they might be justified, and so be saved. To convince them of this, he brings three verses out of the book of the law itself, declaring that the way to life was by hearkening to that word, which was ready, in the mouth and in their heart, and that, therefore, they had no reason to reject Jesus the Christ, because he died and was now removed into heaven, and was remote from them; their very law proposed life to them, by something nigh them, that might lead them to their deliverer: by words and doctrines, that might be always at hand, in their mouths and in their hearts, and so lead them to Christ, i. e. to that faith in him, which the apostle preached to them: I submit to the attentive reader, whether this be not the meaning of this place.
[* ]9 The expectation of the jews was, that the Messiah, who was promised them, was to be their deliverer, and so far were they in the right. But that, which they expected to be delivered from, at his appearing, was the power and dominion of strangers. When our Saviour came, their reckoning was up; and the miracles, which Jesus did, concurred to persunde them, that it was he: but his obscure birth, and mean appearance, suited not with that power and splendour, they had fancied to themselves he should come in. This, with his denouncing to them the ruin of their temple and state at hand, set the rulers against him, and held the body of the jews in suspense till his crucifixion, and that gave a full turn of their minds from him. They had figured him a mighty prince, at the head of their nation, setting them free from all foreign power, and themselves at ease, and happy under his glorious reign. But when at the passover the whole people were witnesses of his death, they gave up all thought of deliverance by him. He was gone, they saw him no more, and it was past doubt, a dead man could not be the Messiah, or deliverer, even of those who believed him. It is against these prejudices, that what St. Paul says, in this and the three preceding verses, seems directed, wherein he teaches them, that there was no need to fetch the Messiah out of heaven, or out of the grave, and bring him personally among them. For the deliverance he was to work for them, the salvation by him, was salvation from sin, and condemnation for that: and that was to be had, by barely believing and owning him to be the Messiah, their King, and that he was raised from the dead; by this they would be saved, without his personal presence amongst them.
[† ]“Raised him from the dead.” The doctrine of the Lord Jesus being raised from the dead, is certainly one of the most fundamental articles of the christian religion; but yet there seems another reason why St. Paul here annexes salvation to the belief of it, which may be found ver. 7, where he teaches, that it was not necessary for their salvation, that they should have Christ out of his grave, personally present amongst them; and here he gives them the reason, because, if they did but own him for their Lord, and believe that he was raised, that sufficed, they should be saved.
[* ]10 Believing, and an open avowed profession of the gospel, are required by our Saviour, Mark xvi. 16.
[† ]13 Whosoever hath, with care, looked into St. Paul’s writings, must own him to be a close reasoner, that argues to the point; and therefore, if, in the three preceding verses, he requires an open profession of the gospel, I cannot but think that “all that call upon him,” ver. 12, signifies all that are open, professed christians; and if this be the meaning “of calling upon him,” ver. 12, it is plain it must be the meaning “of calling upon his name,” ver. 13, a phrase not very remote from “naming his name,” which is used by St. Paul for professing christianity, 2 Tim. ii. 19. If the meaning of the prophet Joel, from whom these words are taken, be urged, I shall only say, that it will be an ill rule for interpreting St. Paul, to tie up his use of any text, he brings out of the Old Testament, to that, which is taken to be the meaning of it there. We need go no farther for an example than the 6, 7, and 8th verses of this chapter, which I desire any one to read as they stand, Deut. xxx. 11—14, and see whether St. Paul uses them here, in the same sense.
[* ]15 St. Paul is careful, every-where, to keep himself, as well as possibly he can, in the minds and fair esteem of his brethren, the jews; may not therefore this, with the two foregoing verses, be understood as an apology to them, for professing himself an apostle of the gentiles, as he does, by the tenour of this epistle, and in the next chapter, in words at length, ver. 13? In this chapter, ver. 12, he had showed that both jews and greeks, or gentiles, were to be saved, only by receiving the gospel of Christ; and if so, it was necessary that somebody should be sent to teach it them, and therefore the jews had no reason to be angry with any that was sent on that employment.
[† ]16 “But they have not all obeyed.” This seems an objection of the jews, to what St. Paul had said, which he answers, in this and the following verse. The objection and answer seem to stand thus: You tell us, that you are sent from God to preach the gospel; if it be so, how comes it that all that have heard, have not received and obeyed; and since, according to what you would insinuate, the messengers of good tidings (which is the import of evangelion, in greek, and gospel, in English) were so welcome to them? To this he answers out of Isaiah, that the messengers, sent from God, were not believed by all. But from those words of Isaiah he draws an inference, to confirm the argument he was upon, viz. that salvation cometh by hearing and believing the word of God. He had laid it down, ver. 8, that it was by their having ῥήμα ϖίϛεως, “the word of faith,” nigh them, or present with them, and not by the bodily presence of their deliverer amongst them, that they were to be saved. This ῥήμα, “word, he tells them, ver. 17, is, by preaching, brought to be actually present with them and the gentiles; so that it was their own fault if they believed it not to salvation.
[* ]10 “Did not Israel know?” In this, and the next verses, St. Paul seems to suppose a reasoning of the jews, to this purpose, viz. that they did not deserve to be cast off, because they did not know, that the gentiles were to be admitted, and so might be excused, if they did not embrace a religion, wherein they were to mix with the gentiles; and to this he answers, in the following verses.
[* ]1 This is a question in the person of a jew, who made the objections in the foregoing chapter, and continues on to object here.
[† ]2 See chap. viii. 29.
[* ]4 “Baal,” and Baalim, were the names, whereby the false gods and idols, which the heathens worshipped, weresignified in sacred scripture; see Judges ii. 11—13, Hos. xi. 2.
[† ]6 “It is not of works.” This exclusion of works, seems to be mistaken by those, who extend it to all manner of difference in the person chosen, from those that were rejected; for such a choice as that excludes not grace in the chooser, but merit in the chosen. For it is plain, that by works here, St. Paul means merit, as is evident also from ch. iv. 2—4. The law required complete, perfect obedience: he, that performed that, had a right to the reward; but he, that failed and came short of that, had by the law no right to any thing but death. And so the jews, being all sinners, God might, without injustice, have cast them all off; none of them could plead a right to his favour. If, therefore, he chose out and reserved any, it was of mere grace, though in his choice he preferred those who were the best disposed and most inclined to his service. A whole province revolts from their prince, and takes arms against him; he resolvesto pardon some of them. This is a purpose of grace. He reduces them under his power, and then chooses out of them, as vessels of mercy, those that he finds least infected with malice, obstinacy, and rebellion. This choice neither voids, nor abates his purpose of grace; that stands firm; but only executes it so, as may best comport with his wisdom and goodness. And, indeed, without some regard to a difference, in the things taken, from those that are left, I do not see how it can be called choice. A handful of pebbles, for example, may be taken out of a heap; they are taken and separated, indeed, from the rest, but if it be without any regard to any difference in them, from others rejected, I doubt whether any body can call them chosen.
[* ]7 “What it seeks,” i. e. that righteousness, whereby it was to continue the people of God; see chap. ix. 31. It may be observed, that St. Paul’sdiscourse being of the national privilege, of continuing the people of God, he speaks here, and all along of the jews, in the collective term Israel. And so likewise the remnant, which were to remain his people, and incorporate with the convert gentiles, into one body of christians owning the dominion of the one true God, in the kingdom he had set up under his son, and owned by God for his people, he calls the election.
[† ]“Election,” a collective appellation of the part elected, which in other places he calls remnant. This remnant, or election, call it by which name you please, were those who sought righteousness by faith in Christ, and not by the deeds of the law, and so became the people of God,that people which he had chosen to be his.
[‡ ]“Blinded,” see 2 Cor. iii. 13—16.
[§ ]8 “Written,” Isai. xxix. 10, and vi. 9, 10.
[∥ ]9 “Saith,” Psal. lxix. 22, 23.
[* ]11 That this is the meaning of “fall” here, see Acts xiii. 46.
[† ]13 St. Paul magnified his office, of apostle of the gentiles, not only by preaching the gospel to the gentiles; but in assuring them farther, as he does, ver. 12, that, when the nation of the jews shall be restored, the fulness of the gentiles shall also come in.
[* ]16 These allusions, the apostle makes use of here, to show that the patriarchs, the root of the jewish nation, being accepted by God; and the few jewish converts, which at first entered into the christian church, being also accepted by God; are, as it were, first fruits, or pledges, that God will, in due time, admit the whole nation of the jews into his visible church, to be his peculiar people again.
[† ]“Holy:” by holy is here meant that relative holiness, whereby any thing hath an appropriation to God.
[‡ ]18 “Boast not against the branches.” Thoughthe great fault that most disordered the church, and principally exercised the apostle’s care, in this epistle, was from the jews pressing the necessity of legal observances, and not brooking that the gentiles, though converts to christianity, should be admitted into their communion, without being circumcised; yet it is plain from this verse, as also chap. xiv. 3, 10, that the convert gentiles were not wholly without fault, on their side, in treating the jews with disesteem and contempt. To this also, as it comes in his way, he applies fit remedies, particularly in this chapter, and chap. xiv.
[* ]23 This grafting in again, seems to import, that the jews shall be a flourishing nation again, professing christianity, in the land of promise, for that is to be re-instated again, in the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This St. Paulmight, for good reasons, be withheld from speaking out here: but, in the prophets, there are very plain intimations of it.
[* ]25 Πλȣ́;ρωμα, “the fulness of the jews,” ver. 12, is the whole body of the jewish nation professing christianity, and therefore here ϖλήρωμα τῶν [Editor: illegible character]θνῶν, “the fulness of the gentiles,” must be the whole body of the gentiles professing christianity. And this ver. 15, seems to teach. For the resurrection is of all.
[† ]26 Σωθήσεαι, “shall be saved.” It is plain that the salvation, that St. Paul, in this discourse concerning the nation of the jews, and the gentile world, in gross, speaks of, is not eternal happiness in heaven, but he means by it the profession of the true religion, here on earth. Whether it he, that that is as far as corporations, or bodies politic can go, towards the attainment of eternal salvation, I will not enquire. But this is evident, that being saved, is used by the apostle here, in this sense. That all the jewish nation may become the people of God again, by taking up the christian profession, may be easily conceived. But that every person of such a christian nation, shall attain eternal salvation in heaven, I think no body can imagine to be here intended.
[* ]27 “Take away,” i. e. forgive their sins, and take away the punishment they lie under for them.
[† ]28 Ἐχθροὶ, “enemies,” signifies strangers, or aliens, i. e. such as are no longer the people of God. For they are called “enemies,” in opposition to “beloved,” in this very verse. And the reason given, why they are enemies, makes it plain, that this is the sense, viz. for the gentiles sake, i. e. they are rejected from being the people of God, that you gentiles may be taken in, to be the people of God in their room, ver. 30. The same signification has εχθροι, “enemies,” chap. v. 10, ϰατ’ εὐαγέλιον ἐχθροὶ, “as concerning the gospel enemies,” i. e. all those, who not embracing the gospel, not receiving Christ for their king and lord, are aliens from the kingdom of God, and all such aliens are called ἐχθροὶ, “enemies.” And so indeed were the jews now: but yet they were ϰατ’ ἐϰλογὴν ἀγαπηοὶ, “as touching the election beloved,” i. e. were not actually within the kingdom of God, his people, but were within the election, which God had made of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their posterity to be his people, and so God had still intentions of kindness to them, for their fathers sake, to make them again his people.
[‡ ]29 So God’s not repenting is explained, Numb. xxiii. 19—24.
[* ]30 See Acts xiii. 46.
[† ]32 Εἰς ἀπείθειαν, “in unbelief.” The unbelief here charged nationally, on jews and gentiles, in their turns, in this and the two preceding verses whereby they ceased to be the people of God, was evidently the disowning of his dominion, whereby they put themselves out of the kingdom, which he had, and ought to have in the world, and so were no longer in the state of subjects, but aliens and rehels. A general view of mankind will lead us into an easier conception of St. Paul’s doctrine, who, all through this epistle, considers the gentiles, jews, and christians, as three distinct bodies of men.
[* ]33 This emphatical conclusion seems, in a special manner, to regard the jews, whom the apostle would hereby teach modesty and submission to the overruling hand of the all-wise God, whom they are very unfit to call to account, for his dealing so favourably with the gentiles. His wisdom and ways are infinitely above their comprehension, and will they take upon them to advise him what to do? Or is God in their debt? Let them say for what, and he shall repay it to them. This is a very strong rebuke to the jews, but delivered, as we see, in a way very gentle and inoffensive. A method, which the apostle endeavours every where to observe, towards his nation.
[† ]35 This has a manifest respect to the jews, who claimed a right to be the people of God so far, that St. Paul, chap. ix. 14, finds it necessary to vindicate the justice of God in the case, and does here, in this question, expose and silence the folly of any such pretence.
[* ]1 “Your bodies.” There seem to be two reasons, why St. Paul’s exhortations to them is, to present their bodies undefiled to God: 1. Because he had before, especially chap. vii. so much insisted on this, that the body was the great source from whence sin arose. 2. Because the heathen world, and particularly the Romans, were guilty of those vile affections, which he mentions, chap. i. 24—27.
[* ]2 “To the fashion of this world;” or, as St. Peter expresses it, “not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the times of ignorance,” 1 Peter i. 14.
[† ]“Transformed in the renewing of your minds.” The state of the gentiles is thus described, Eph. iv. 17—19. As walking in the vanity of their minds, having the understanding darkened, “being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, and of the mind.” And Col. i. 21, “Alienated and enemies in their minds by wicked works.” “The renewing,” therefore, “of their minds,” or, as he speaks, Eph. iv. “in the spirit of their minds,” was the getting into an estate, contrary to what they were in before, viz. to take it in the apostle’s own words, “that the eyes of their understandings might be enlightened;” and that they “might put on the new man, that is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him; that ye walk as children of the light, proving what is acceptable to the Lord, having no fellowship with the works of darkness:” that they “be not unwise, but understanding what is the will of the Lord: for this is the will of God, even your sanctification. That you should abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the gentiles that know not God.”
[* ]In these two first verses of this chapter, is shown the preference of the gospel to the gentile state and the jewish institution.
[† ]3 Μέτρον ϖίϛεως, “Measure of faith;” some copies read χάριος, “of favour,” either of them expresses the same thing, i. e. gifts of the spirit.
[‡ ]5 The same simile to the same purpose; see 1 Cor. xii.
[§ ]6 “Prophecy,” is enumerated in the New Testament, among the gifts of the spirit, and means either the interpretation of sacred scripture, and explaining of prophecies already delivered, or foretelling things to come.
[∥ ]“According to the proportion of faith.” The context in this and the preceding verses, leads us, without any difficulty, into the meaning of the apostle, in this expression: 1 Cor. xii. and xiv. show us how apt the new converts were to be puft up with the several gifts that were bestowed on them; and every one, as in like cases is usual, forward to magnify his own, and to carry it farther, than in reality it extended. That it is St. Paul’s design here, to prevent, or regulate such disorder, and to keep every one, in the exercising of his particular gift, within its due bounds, is evident, in that exhorting them, ver. 3, to a sober use of their gifts (for it is in reference to their spiritual gifts, he speaks in that verse) he makes the measure of that sobriety, to be that measure of faith, or spiritual gift which every one in particular enjoyed by the favour of God, i. e. that no one should go beyond that which was given him, and he really had. But besides this, which is very obvious, there is another passage in that verse, which, rightly considered, strongly inclines this way: “I say through the grace that is given unto me,” says St. Paul. He was going to restrain them, in the exercise of their distinct spiritual gifts, and he could not introduce what he was going to say in the case with a more persuasive argument than his own example: “I exhort,” says he, “that every one of you, in the exercise and use of his spiritual gift, keep within the bounds and measure of that gift which is given him. I myself, in giving you this exhortation, do it by the grace given unto me; I do it by the commission and power given me by God, and beyond that I do not go.” In one, that had before declared himself an apostle, such an expression as this here (if there were not some particular reason for it) might seem superfluous, and to some idle; but, in this view, it has a great grace and energy in it. There wants nothing but the study of St. Paul’s writings to give us a just admiration of his great address, and the skill wherewith all that he says is adapted to the argument he has in hand: “I,” says he, “according to the grace given me, direct you every one, in the use of your gifts, which, according to the grace given you, are different, whether it be the gift of prophecy, to prophesy according to the proportion, or measure of that gift, or revelation that he hath. And let him not think that, because some things are, therefore every thing is revealed to him.” The same rule, concerning the same matter, St. Paul gives, Eph. iv. 16, that every member should act according to the measure of its own strength, power, and energy; 1 Cor. xiv. 29—32, may also give light to this place. This, therefore, is far from signifying that a man, in interpreting sacred scripture, should explain the sense, according to the system of his particular sect, which each party is pleased to call the analogy of faith. For this would be to make the apostle to set that, for a rule of interpretation, which had not its being till long after, and is the product of fallible men.
[* ]8 Ὁ ϖροϊϛάμενος. “He that ruleth,” says our translation; the context inclines to the sense I have taken it in; see Vitringa de Synagog. l. ii. c. 3.
[* ]1 “Every one,” however endowed with miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, or advanced to any dignity in the church of Christ. For that these things were apt to make men overvalue themselves, is obvious, from what St. Paul says to the corinthians, 1 Cor. xii. and here to the romans, chap. xii. 3—5. But, above all others, the jews were apt to have an inward reluctancy and indignation, against the power of any heathen over them, taking it to be an unjust and tyrannical usurpation upon them, who were the people of God, and their betters. These the apostle thought it necessary to restrain, and, therefore, says, in the language of the jews, “every soul,” i. e. every person among you, whether jew or gentile, must live in subjection to the civil magistrate. We see, by what St. Peter says on the like occasion, that there was a great need that christians should have this duty inculcated to them, “lest any among them should use their liberty, for a cloak of maliciousness or misbehaviour,” 1 Pet. ii. 13—16. The doctrine of christianity was a doctrine of liberty. And St. Paul in this epistle, had taught them, that all christians were free from the mosaical law. Hence corrupt and mistaken men, especially jewish converts, impatient, as we have observed, of any heathen dominion, might be ready to infer, that christians were exempt from subjection to the laws of heathen governments. This he obviates, by telling them, that all other governments derived the power they had from God, as well as that of the jews, though they had not the whole frame of their government immediately from him, as the jews had.
[† ]Whether we take “powers,” here, in the abstract, for political authority, or in the concrete, for the persons de facto exercising political power and jurisdiction, the sense will be the same, viz, that christians, by virtue of being christians, are not any way exempt from obedience to the civil magistrates, nor ought, by any means, to resist them, though by what is said ver. 3, it seems that St. Paul meant here magistrates having and exercising a lawful power. But, whether the magistrates in being were, or were not, such, and consequently were, or were not, to be obeyed, that christianity gave them no peculiar power to examine. They had the common right of others, their fellow-citizens, but had no distinct privilege, as christians. And, therefore, we see, ver. 7, where he enjoins the paying of tribute and custom, &c. it is in these words: “Render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, honour to whom honour, &c.” But who it was, to whom any of these, or any other dues of right belonged, he decides not, for that he leaves them to be determined by the laws and constitutions of their country.
[* ]11, 12 It seems, by these two verses, as if St. Paul looked upon Christ’s coming as not far off, to which there are several other concurrent passages in his epistles: see 1 Cor. i. 7.
[† ]12 Ὅπλα, “armour.” The word in the Greek is often used for the apparel, cloathing, and accoutrements of the body.
[‡ ]13 These he seems to name, with reference to the night, which he had mentioned, these being the disorders, to which the night is usually set apart.
[§ ]These, probably, were set down, with regard to universal love and good-will, which he was principally here pressing them to.
[* ]1 That the reception, here spoken of, is the receiving into familiar and ordinary conversation, is evident from chap. xv. 7, where he, directing them to receive one another mutually, uses the same word ϖροσλαμϐάνεσθε, i. e. live together in a free and friendly manner, the weak with the strong, and the strong with the weak, without any regard to the differences among you, about the lawfulness of any indifferent things. Let those, that agree, or differ, concerning the use of any indifferent thing, live together all alike.
[* ]3, 4 “By him that eateth,” ver. 3, St. Paul seems to mean the gentiles, who were less scrupulous, in the use of indifferent things; and, by “him that eateth not,” the jews, who made a great distinction of meats and drinks and days, and placed in them a great, and, as they thought, necessary part of the worship of the true God. To the gentiles the apostle gives this caution, that they should not contemn the jews as weak narrow minded men, that laid so much stress on matters of so small moment, and thought religion so much concerned in those indifferent things. On the other side, he exhorts the jews, not to judge that those, who neglected the jewish observances of meats and days, were still heathens, or would soon apostatize to heathenism again: no, says he; God has received them, and they are of his family: and thou hast nothing to do to judge, whether they are, or will continue, of his family, or no; that belongs only to him, the master of the family, to judge, whether they shall stay, or leave his family, or no. But, notwithstanding thy censure, or hard thoughts, of them, they shall not fall off, or apostatize; for God is able to continue them in his family, in his church, notwithstanding thou suspectest, from their free use of things indifferent, they incline too much, or approach too near to gentilism.
[† ]5 The apostle having, in the foregoing verse used ϰρίνειν αλλότριον οἰϰέτην for judging any one, to be, or not to be, another man’s servant, or domestic, he seems here to continue the use of the word ϰρίνειν, in the same signification, i. e. for judging a day to be more peculiarly God’s.
[* ]This may be concluded to be the apostle’s sense, because the thing, he is upon here, is to keep them from censuring one another, in the use of things indifferent; particularly the jews, from judging the gentiles, in their neglect of the observance of days, or meats. This judging being what St. Paul principally endeavoured here to restrain, as being opposite to the liberty of the gospel, which favoured a neglect of these rituals of the law, which were now antiquated. See Gal. iv. 9—11, and v. 1, 2.
[† ]7 Οὐδεὶς should, I suppose, be taken here with the same limitation it hath in the former part of the verse, with the pronoun ἡμῶν: and so should here, as there, be rendered in english, “no one of us,” and not, “no man,” St. Paul speaking here only of christians: this sense of ȣ̓δεὶς the next verse seems to confirm.
[‡ ]8 These words, “we are the Lord’s,” give an easy interpretation to these phrases of “eating and living, &c. to the Lord;” for they make them plainly refer to what he had said at the letter end of ver. 3, “For God hath received him;” signifying, that God had received all those, who profess the gospel, and had given their names up to Jesus Christ, into his family, and had made them his domestics. And therefore, we should not judge, or censure, one another, for that every christian was the Lord’s domestic, appropriated to him, as his menial servant: and therefore, all that he did, in that state, was to be looked on, as done to the Lord, and not to be accounted for to any body else.
[* ]9 Κυριεύση, “might be Lord;” must be taken so, here, as to make this agree with the foregoing verse. There it was “we,” i. e. we christians, whether we live or die, are the Lord’s property: for the Lord died and rose again, that we, whether living or dying, should be his.
[† ]13 He had, before, reproved the weak, that censured the strong, in the use of their liberty. He comes, now, to restrain the strong, from offending their weak brethren, by a too free use of their liberty, in not forbearing the use of it, where it might give offence to the weak.
[* ]15 “Grieved” does not here signify simply made sorrowful for what thou doest; but brought into trouble and discomposure, or receives an hurt, or wound, as every one does, who, by another’s example, does what he supposes to be unlawful. This sense is confirmed in the words, “destroy not him with thy meat;” and also by what he says, 1 Cor. viii. 9—13, in the like case.
[† ]16 See 1 Cor. x. 30.
[* ]20 The force of this argument, see Matt. vi. 25, “The life is more than meat.”
[† ]21 “Offended and made weak;” i. e. drawn to the doing of any thing, of whose lawfulness not being fully persuaded, it becomes a sin to him.
[‡ ]22 These two, viz. not disputing about it, which he forbad, v. 1, and not using his liberty, before any one whom possibly it may offend, may be supposed to be contained in these words, “have it to thyself.”
[§ ]23 Διαϰρινόμενος, translated here “doubteth,” is, Rom. iv. 20, translated “staggered;” and is there opposed to ἐνεδυναμώθη τῇ ϖιϛει, “strong in the faith;” or to ϖληροφορηθεὶς, “fully persuaded,” as it follows in the next verse.
[* ]7 Προσλαμϐάνεσθε, “receive one another,” cannot mean receive one another into church communion: for there is no appearance, that the convert jews and gentiles separated communion in Rome, upon account of differences about meats and drinks, and days. We should have heard of more of it, from St. Paul, if there had been two separate congregations, i. e. two churches of christians in Rome, divided about these indifferent things. Besides, directions cannot be given to private christians to receive one another, in that sense. The receiving, therefore, here, must be understood of receiving, as a man doth another, into his company, converse, and familiarity, i. e. he would have them, jews and gentiles, lay by all distinction, coldness, and reservedness, in their conversation, one with another; and, as domestics of the same family, live friendly and familiar, notwithstanding their different judgments, about those ritual observances. Hence, v. 5, he exhorts them to be united in friendship one to another, that with one heart and one voice they might conjointly glorify God, and receive one another with the same good-will that Christ hath received us the jews, εἰς δόξαν τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, to the glorifying of God for his truth, in fulfilling the promises he made to the patriarchs, and received the gentiles, to glorify God for his mercy to them. So that we have reason, both jews and gentiles, laying aside these little differences about things indifferent, to join together heartily, in glorifying God.
[* ]Εἰς δόξαν τȣ͂ Θεȣ͂, “to the glory of God;” i. e. to glorify God, by the same figure of speech that he uses ϖίϛις Ἰησȣ͂, “the faith of Jesus,” for “believing in Jesus,” Rom. iii. 22 and 26. The thing, that St. Paul is exhorting them to here, is, to the glorifying God with one accord; as is evident, from the immediately preceding words, ver. 6, and that which follows, ver. 9, 10, 11, is to the same purpose: so that there is no room to doubt that his meaning, in these words is this, viz. Christ received, or took us, believing jews, to himself, that they might magnify the truth of God; and took the gentiles that believed to himself, that they might magnify God’s mercy. This stands easy in the construction of his words, and sense of his mind.
[† ]8 “Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision.” These words are plainly a parenthesis, and spoken with some emphasis, to restrain the gentile converts of Rome; who, as it is plain from chap. xiv. 3, were apt ἐξȣθενεῖσθαι, to set at nought, and despise the converted jews, for sticking to their ritual observances of meats and drinks, &c.
[‡ ]Διάϰονον ϖεοιομῆς, “a minister of, or to the circumcision.” What it was, that Christ ministered to the jews, we may see, by the like expression of St. Paul, applied to himself, ver. 16, where he calls himself, “a minister of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, ministering the gospel of God.”
[* ]12 Ἐπ’ αὐτῷ ἔθνη ἐλπιȣ͂σι, “in him shall the gentiles trust,” rather hope; not that there is nay material difference in the signification of trust and hope, but the better to express and answer St. Paul’s way of writing, with whom it is familiar, when he hath been speaking of any virtue or grace, whereof God is the author, to call God, thereupon, the God of that virtue, or favour. An eminent example whereof we have a few verses backwards, ver. 4; να διὰ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ϰαὶ τῆς ϖαραϰλήσεως τῶν γραϕῶν τὴν ἐλπίδα ἔχωμεν, “that we through patience and comfort,” rather consolation, “of the scriptures, might have hope;” and then subjoins, ὁ δὲ Θεὸς τῆς ὑπομονῆς ϰαὶ τῆς ϖαραϰλήσȣως, “now the God of patience and consolation.” And so here ἔθνη ἐλπιȣ͂σι, ὁ δὲ Θεὸς ἐλπίδος, “the gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope.”
[† ]13 The gifts of the Holy Ghost, bestowed upon the gentiles, were a foundation of hope to them, that they were, by believing, the children, or people of God, as well as the jews.
[* ]16 “Offering.” See Isai. lxvi. 29.
[* ]17 Τὰ ϖρὸς Θεὸν, “Things that pertain to God.” The same phrase we have, Heb. v. 1, where it signifies the things, that were offered to God, in the temple-ministration. St. Paul, by way of allusion, speaks of the gentiles in the foregoing verse, as an offering to be made to God, and of himself, as the priest, by whom the sacrifice, or offering, was to be prepared and offered; and then here he tells them, that he had matter of glorying, in this offering, i. e. that he had had success, in converting the gentiles, and bringing them to be a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice to God; an account whereof he gives them, in the four following verses.
[† ]20 See 1 Cor. iii. 10, 2 Cor. x. 16.
[‡ ]21 Isaiah lii. 15.
[* ]29 He may be understood to mean here, that he should be able to satisfy them, that, by the gospel, the forgiveness of sins was to be obtained. For that he shows, chap. iv. 6—9. And they had as much title to it, by the gospel, as the jews themselves; which was the thing he had been making out to them in this epistle.
[* ]Kenchrea was the port to Corinth.
[† ]2 Προϛάτις, “succourer,” seems here to signify hostess, not in a common inn, for there was no such thing as our inns, in that country; but one, whose house was the place of lodging and entertainment of those, who were received by the church, as their guests, and these she took care of. And to that ϖροϛάτις may be very well applied. But, whether St. Paulwas induced to make use of it here, as somewhat corresponding to ϖαραϛῆτȣ;, which he used in her behalf just before, in this verse, I leave to those, who nicely observe St. Paul’s style.
[* ]18 Such as these we have a description of, Tit. i. 10. 11.
[† ]19 See chap. i. 8.
[‡ ]A direction much like this you have, 1 Cor. xiv. 20, and Eph. iv. 13—15.
[§ ]20 So those who made divisions in the church of Corinth are called, 2 Cor. xi. 14, 15.
[* ]“Shall bruise Satan,” i. e. shall break the force and attempts of Satan, upon your peace, by these his instruments, who would engage you in quarrels and discords.
[† ]25 “My gospel.” St. Paul cannot be supposed to have used such an expression as this, unless he knew that what he preached had something in it, that distinguished it from what was preached by others; which was plainly the mystery, as he every-where calls it, of God’s purpose, of taking in the gentiles to be his people, under the Messiah, and that without subjecting them to circumcision, or the law of Moses. This is that which he here calls τὸ ϰήρυμα Ἰησȣ͂ Χριϛȣ͂, “the preaching of Jesus Christ;” for, without this, he did not think that Christ was preached to the gentiles; as he ought to be: and, therefore, in several places of his epistle to the galatians he call it “the truth,” and “the truth of the gospel;” and uses the like expressions to the ephesians and colossians. This is that mystery, which he is so much concerned, that the ephesians should understand and stick firm to, which was revealed to him, according to that gospel, whereof he was made the minister; as may be seen at large, in that epistle, particularly chap. iii. 6. 7. The same thing he declares to the colossians, in his epistle to them, particularly chap. i. 22—27, and ii. 6—8. For that he in a peculiar manner, preached this doctrine, so as none of the other apostles did, may be seen Acts xxi, 18—25, Acts xv. 6, 7. For though the other apostles and elders of the church of Jerusalem had determined, that the gentiles should only keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; yet it is plain enough from what they say, Acts xxi. 20—24, that they taught not, nay, probably did not think, what St. Paul openly declares to the ephesians, that the law of Moses was abolished by the death of Christ, Eph. ii. 15. Which, if St. Peter and St. James had been as clear in as was St. Paul, St. Peter would not have incurred his reproof, as he did by his carriage, mentioned Gal. ii. 12, &c. But in all this may be seen the wisdom and goodness of God, to both jews and gentiles. See note, Eph. ii. 15.
[* ]That the mystery, he here speaks of, is the calling of the gentiles, may be seen in the following words; which is that which, in many of his epistles, he calls mystery. See Eph. i. 9, and iii. 3—9, Col. i. 25—27.
[† ]Χρόνοις αἰωνίοις “in the secular times,” or in the times under the law. Why the times, under the law, were called χρόνοι αἰώνιοι, we may find reason in their jubilees, which were αἰῶνες, “secula,” or “ages,” by which all the time, under the law, was measured; and so χρόνοι αἰώνιοι is used 2 Tim. i. 9, Tit. i. 2. And so αἰῶνες are put for the times of the law, or the jubilees. Luke i. 70, Acts iii. 21, 1 Cor. ii. 7, and x. 11, Eph. iii. 9, Col. i. 26, Heb. ix. 26. And so God is called the rock, םימלוע, αἰώνων, of ages, Isa. xxvi. 4, in the same sense that he is called the rock of Israel, Isa. xxx. 29, i. e. the strength and support of the jewish state: for it is of the jews the prophet here speaks. So Exod. xxi. 6, םללוע, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, signifies not, as we translate it, “for ever,” but “to the jubilee;” which will appear, if we compare Lev. xxv. 39—41, and Exod. xxi. 2, see “Burthogg’s christianity, a revealed mystery,” p. 17, 18. Now, that the times of the law, were the times spoken of here, by St. Paul, seems plain, from that which he declares to have continued a mystery, during all those times; to wit, God’s purpose of taking in the gentiles to be his people, under the Messiah: for this could not be said to be a mystery, at any other time, but during the time that the jews were the peculiar people of God, separated to him, from among the nations of the earth. Before that time, there was no such name, or notion of distinction, as gentiles. Before the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the calling of the israelites to be God’s peculiar people, was as much a mystery, as the calling of others, out of other nations, was a mystery afterwards. All, that St. Paul insists on here, and in all the places where he mentions this mystery, is to show, that though God has declared this his purpose to the jews, by the predictions of his prophets amongst them; yet it lay concealed from their knowledge, it was a mystery to them; they understood no such thing: there was not any where the least suspicion, or thought of it, till the Messiah being come, it was openly declared, by St. Paul, to the jews and gentiles, and made out by the writings of the prophets, which were now understood.