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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Saint Paul, The Epistles of St. Paul, vol. 1 (Jowett trans.) 
The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians and Romans. Vol. 1 Translation and Commentary by the late Benjamin Jowett, M.A. (3rd edition, edited and condensed by Lewis Campbell) (London: John Murray, 1894).
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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
The Epistle to the Romans has ever been regarded as first in importance among the Epistles of St. Paul, the corner-stone of that Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles. Not only does it present more completely than other parts of Scripture the doctrine of righteousness by faith, but it connects this doctrine with the state of mankind in general, embracing Jew and Gentile at once in its view, alternating them with each other in the counsels of Providence. It looks into the world within, without losing sight of the world which is without. It is less than the other Epistles concerned with the disputes or wants of a particular Church, and more with the greater needs of human nature itself. It turns an eye backward on the times of past ignorance both in the individual and mankind, and again looks forward to the restoration of the Jews and to the manifestation of the sons of God. It speaks of the law itself in language which even now ‘that the law is dead to us and we to the law,’ still pierces to the dividing asunder of the flesh and spirit. No other portion of the New Testament gives a similarly connected view of the ways of God to man; no other is spread over truths so far from us and yet so near to us.
It is not, however, this higher and more universal aspect of the Epistle to the Romans with which we are at present immediately concerned. Our first question is a critical and historical one: What was the Roman Church, and in what relation did it stand to the Apostle? The difficulty in answering this question partly arises from the very universality of the subject of the Epistle. The great argument takes us out of the accidents of time and place. We cannot distinctly recognize what we but remotely see, the particular and individual features of which are lost in the width of the prospect. Could the Apostle himself have had, and therefore is it to be expected that he could communicate to us, the same vivid personal conception of the Church at Rome as of Churches whose members were individually known to him, whom, in his own language, he had himself begotten in the Gospel? In an Epistle written from a distance to converts unknown to him by face, it is not to be supposed that there will be found even the materials for conjecture which are supplied by the Epistles to the Galatians and Corinthians. Naturally the personality of the writer, and still more of those whom he is addressing, falls into the background. He writes upon general topics which are equally applicable to almost all Churches, which fail, therefore, to throw any light on the particular Church to which the Epistle is addressed. Nor can this dimness of the critical eye receive any assistance from external sources. With the exception of the well-known command of Claudius to the Jews to depart from Rome about fifteen years previously, to which we may add the faint traces of a Christian Church which was apparently distinct from the Jews, in Acts xxviii. 15, and the separate mention of Christians in Tacitus and Suetonius, nothing has come down to us which throws any light, however uncertain, on the beginnings of the Roman Church.
The old belief was, that the Roman Church consisted partly of Jews and partly of Gentiles, and that the Epistle was written with the intention of adjusting the disputes that had arisen between them. The latter part of this statement finds no support from the Epistle itself, and appears to be nothing more than an arbitrary assumption suggested by the analogy of the Corinthians and the Galatians. The former part need not be wholly denied: for in every Christian Church there were probably some Jews and some Gentiles. Yet it does not follow from this that the community was divided between them, or that both were numerous enough to form separate parties. The Epistle affords no intimation of such parties existing side by side, whether peaceably or otherwise, in the Roman communion. St. Paul never speaks of Jew and Gentile as in actual contact, disputing about circumcision, or purification, or meats and drinks, or sabbath days. The relation which he supposes between them is wholly ideal; that is, in the purposes of God, not in their assemblies or daily life. They divide the world and time; they have nothing to do with each other as individuals. Nor does the theory that the Roman Church was a half Jewish, half Gentile community agree with either of the facts stated above—the fact that the name Gentiles is applied to all, while the tone and style of the Epistle are wholly Jewish.
It is more reasonable, as well as far more in accordance with the indications of the Epistles, to regard the Churches planted by the Apostle, not as divided into two sections of Jew and Gentile, circumcision and uncircumcision, but as always in a state of transition between the two, dropping gradually their Jewish customs, and opening the door wider and wider to their Gentile brethren, slowly, but at length entirely, convinced that it was not ‘at this time the kingdom was to be restored to Israel.’ Such must, at any rate, have been the case with the Churches not founded by St. Paul. It was long ere the curtains of the tabernacle were drawn aside, or the veil rent in twain, or the earthly and visible temple exchanged for that building in the heavens, the house not made with hands. Disputes about the outward rite of circumcision would be succeeded by another stage of controversy respecting the inward obligation of the Law on the conscience, and the authority of St. Paul and the Twelve. There were cases, also, in which an idealized or Alexandrianized Judaism had been the soil in which the Gospel was originally planted. Here the transition would be more rapid; the faith of the earliest believers would linger less around the weak and beggarly elements; they would more easily harmonize the old and new; they would more readily comprehend the length and breadth of the purposes of God. The change required of them would be in their ways of thought rather than in their habits of life; and the latitude which such converts allowed themselves would react on the stricter Jewish communities.
Changes like these may be supposed to have been passing over the Roman Church. At the time St. Paul wrote to them, there was no question of circumcision; that, if it had ever been, was now left behind. But in a more general way the same difficulty still pressed upon them. What was the obligation of the Law? And, as they looked upon the passing scene, and saw the chosen race becoming a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men, they could not but ask also, ‘What God intended respecting it?’ Whether were they to melt away among the Gentiles, or to preserve their name and heritage? While men were pondering such thoughts in their hearts, of the Law and its sabbaths, and ceremonies, and sacrifices, of the consolation of Israel, and the restoration of the kingdom, we may conceive the Apostle to have written this Epistle with a view of meeting their doubts, and adjusting their thoughts, and vindicating the ways of God to man, and revealing the way of salvation. He gave them the full truth for the half-truth, the day for the twilight, and established their faith in Christ, not by drawing back, but by going further than they had imagined, and resting the Gospel on an immutable moral foundation (Rom. ii. 11; iii. 29).
Such we conceive to have been the state of feeling in the Roman Church, because such is the state of feeling to which the words of the Apostle are appropriate. Neither the earlier one, in which men said, ‘except ye be circumcised ye cannot be saved,’ and an Apostle himself withdrew and refused to eat with the Gentiles; nor the later one, in which it was clearly understood that all such differences were done away in Christ, are suitable to the argument of the Epistle to the Romans. The Apostle was still seeking to teach a Jewish Church the great lesson of the admission of the Gentiles more perfectly. So far the hypothesis of Baur affords a good key to the interpretation of the Epistle. But still the expression in the fifth verse of the first chapter has not been disposed of. In what sense could they be said to be Gentiles? For supposing the Roman Church to have consisted of Jews gradually passing into the state of Gentiles, we have an explanation of the frequent dwelling on the Law, and the relation of Jew and Gentile, but none of the term ‘other Gentiles,’ under which the Apostle comprehends them. No gradual change in their opinions and circumstances could have justified him in calling those Gentiles who were originally Jews. Nor, however much he might ‘magnify his office,’ would he have included the chosen people under the common name, which he everywhere opposed to them. The very meaning of the Apostle of the Gentiles would have been lost had the term ‘nations’ extended itself to them.
The attempt to solve this difficulty runs up into the general question of the state and circumstances of the early Church: our inquiry respecting which must, however, be restricted to the single point which bears upon the present subject; viz. how far the Gentile Churches were originally in feeling Jewish—whether to the Gentiles also the gate of the New Testament was through the Old? For if it could be shown that Jewish and Gentile Christianity were not so much opposed as successive—that the Gospel of the Jewish Apostles was the first, and that of St. Paul the subsequent, stage in the history of the Apostolic Church—then the difficulty of itself disappears, and the double aspect of the Epistle to the Romans is what we should expect.
Our conception of the Apostolical age is necessarily based on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul. It is in vain to search ecclesiastical writings for further information; the pages of Justin and Irenaeus supply only the evidence of their own deficiency. Confining ourselves, then, to the original sources, we cannot but be struck by the fact, that of the first eighteen years after the day of Pentecost, hardly any account is preserved to us in the Acts, and that to this scanty record no addition can be made from the Epistles of St. Paul. Isolated facts are narrated, but not events in their order and sequence: there is no general prospect of the Christian world. Churches are growing up everywhere: some the result of missions from Jerusalem, others of unknown origin; yet none of them standing in any definite relation to the Apostles of the circumcision. It seems as if we had already reached the second stage in the history of the Apostolic Church, without any precise knowledge of the first. That second period, if we terminate it with the supposed date of the Apostle’s death, extends over about fourteen or fifteen years—years full of life, and growth, and vicissitude. Could the preceding period have been less so, or does it only appear to be so from the silence of history? Is it according to the analogy of human things, or of the workings of Divine power in the soul of man, that during the first part of its existence, Christianity should have slumbered, and after fifteen years of inaction have suddenly gone forth to conquer the world? Or, are we falling under that common historical illusion, that little happened in a time of which we know little?
And yet how are we to supply this lost history out of the single verse of the Acts (xi. 19), ‘They which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.’ What reply is to be made to the inquiry respecting the origin of the Christian Church in the two cities which in after-ages were to exercise the greatest influence on its history, Alexandria and Rome? We cannot tell. Our slender materials only admit of being eked out by some general facts which do not fill up the void of details, but are of the greatest importance in illustrating the spirit and character of the earliest Christian communities. Foremost among these facts is the dispersion of the Jews. The remark has been often made that the universality of the Roman Empire was itself a preparation for the universality of the Gospel, its very organization throughout the world being the image, as it may have been the model, of the external form of the Christian Church. But not less striking as an image of the external state of the earliest Christian communion is the dispersion of the ten tribes throughout the world, and not less worthy of observation as it was an inward preparation for Christianity is the universal diffusion of that religion, the spirit of which seemed at the time to be most narrow and contracted within itself, and at first sight most hostile to the whole human race. Of all religions in the world it was probably the only one capable of making proselytes—which had the force, as it had the will, to draw men within its circle. Literally, and not only in idea, ‘the Law was a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ.’ The compassing sea and land ‘to make one proselyte’ was not without its results. Seneca, who did not know, or at least has not told anything of the Christians, says of the Jews, ‘Victoribus victi leges dederunt.’ The Roman satirists were aware of their festivals, and speak of them in a way which implies not only converts to Judaism, but a degree of regard for their opinions. They had passed into a proverb in Horace’s time for their zeal in bringing men over to their opinions. (1 Sat. iv. 143.) Philo mentions the suburb beyond the Tiber in which they were domiciled by Augustus, the greater number of the inhabitants of which are said to have been freedmen. (Leg. ad Caium, 23.) Tacitus’s account of their origin is perhaps an unique attempt in a Roman writer to investigate the religious antiquities of an Eastern people, implying of itself, what it also explicitly states, the tendency towards them. No other religion had been sustained for centuries by contributions from the most remote parts of the empire to a common centre; contributions the very magnitude of which is ascribed to the zeal of numerous converts. (Tacitus, Hist. v. 5; Cicero pro Flacco, c. 28.) According to Josephus, whole tribes in the neighbourhood of Judea had submitted to the rite of circumcision. (Ant. xiii. 9, 1; 11, 3; 15, 4.) The women of Damascus in particular are mentioned as not trusted by their husbands in a massacre of the Jews, because they were ‘favourable to the Jews’ religion.’ The Jews in Alexandria occupied two of the five quarters into which the city was divided: and the whole Jewish population of Egypt was rated by Philo at a million. Facts like these speak volumes for the importance and influence of the Jews.
In one sense it is true that the Jewish religion seemed already about to expire. To us, looking back from the vantage ground of the Gospel, nothing is clearer than that it contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction. ‘The Law and the Prophets were until John, and now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.’ Before Christ—after Christ—this is the great landmark that divides Judaism from Christianity, while for a few years longer the devoted nation, already within the coils of its own destiny, lingers about its ancient seat. It was otherwise to its contemporaries. To them the Jewish people were not declining, but growing. There seemed to be no end to its wealth and influence. The least of all peoples in itself, it was a nation within a nation in every city. In the wreck of the heathen religions, Judaism alone remained unchanged. Nor is there anything strange in its retaining undiminished this power over the human mind, when its own national glory had already departed. Its objects of faith were not lessened, but magnified by distance. It contained in itself that inward life which other religions were seeking for, and for the want of which they expired. It could not but communicate to others the belief in the unity of God, which had sunk for ages into the heart of the race;—to the educated Greek ‘one guess among many,’—to the Israelite a necessary truth. It formed a sort of meeting-point of East and West, which in the movement of either towards the other naturally exercised a singular influence. Many elements of Greek cultivation had insensibly passed into the mind of the Jewish people, as of other Asiatic nations, before the reaction of the Maccabean wars; cities with Greek names covered the land: even after that time the rugged Hebrew feeling was confined within narrow limits. The Gospel as it passed from the lips of our Lord and the Twelve had not far to go in Palestine itself before it came in contact with the Greek world. In other countries the diffusion of the Greek Version of the Old Testament is a proof that a Hellenized Judaism was growing up everywhere. The Alexandrian philosophy offered a link with heathen literature and mythology. Judaism was no longer isolated but wandering far and wide. Clinging to its belief in Jehovah and abating nothing of its national pride, it was nevertheless capable of assuming to itself new phases without losing its essential character, of dropping its more repulsive features and entering into and penetrating the better heathen mind both of East and West.
The heads of many subjects of inquiry are summed up in these reflections, which lead us round to the question from which we started, ‘Whether to the Gentiles also the gate of the New Testament was through the Old?’ And they suggest the answer to the question, that ‘so it was,’ not because the minds of the first teachers were unable to rise above the ‘rudiments of the Law,’ but because the soil for Christianity among the Gentiles was itself prepared in Judaism. It was the natural growth of the Gospel in the world as it then was. The better life of the Jewish people passed into the earliest Christian Church; the meaning of prophecy was lost to the Jew and found to the believer in Christ. And the facts recorded in the Acts of the Apostles represent the outward side of this inward tendency: it was the Jewish proselyte who commonly became the Christian convert. Such were Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch, and the deputy Sergius Paulus, who ‘of his own accord desired to hear the word of God.’ The teachers themselves wore the habit of Jews, and they came appealing to the authority of the Old Testament. That garb and form and manner which we insensibly drop in thinking of the early teachers of Christianity, could not have failed to impress its Jewish character on their first hearers. It would be their first conception of the Gospel, that it was a kind of Judaism to which they were predisposed by the same kind of feelings which led them towards Judaism itself.
Now if the history of Judaism in the Augustan age, no less than the indications of the New Testament itself, leads to the inference that the first disciples, even in Gentile cities, were commonly Jewish converts, or, at any rate, such as were acquainted with the Law and the Prophets, and were disposed to receive with reverence Jewish teachers, the difficulty in the Epistle to the Romans is solved, at the same time that the fact of its solution is an additional confirmation of the view which has been just taken. The Roman Church appeared to be at once Jewish and Gentile; Jewish in feeling, Gentile in origin. Jewish, because the Apostle everywhere argues with them as Jews; Gentile, because he expressly addresses them by name as such. In this double fact there is now seen to be nothing strange or anomalous: it typifies the general condition of Christian Churches, whether Jewish or Gentile; whether founded by St. Paul, or by the Apostles of the circumcision. It was not only in idea that the Old Testament prepared the way for the New, by holding up the truth of the unity of God; but the spread of that truth among the Gentiles, and the influence of the Jewish Scriptures, were themselves actual preparatives for the Gospel.
To those who were Gentiles by birth, but had received the Gospel originally from Jewish teachers, the subject of the Epistle to the Romans would have a peculiar interest. It expressed the truth on the verge of which they stood, which seemed to be peculiarly required by their own circumstances, which explained their position to themselves. It purged the film from their eyes, which prevented them from seeing the way of God perfectly. Hitherto they had acquiesced in the position which public opinion among the heathen assigned to them, that they were a Jewish sect: and they had implicitly followed the lives as well as the lessons of their first instructors in Christ. But a nobler truth was now to break upon them. God was not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also. And this wider range of vision involved a new principle, not the Law, but faith. If nations of every language and tongue were to be included in the Gospel dispensation—barbarian, Scythian, bond and free—the principle that was to unite them must be superior to the differences that separated them. In other words, it could not be an institution or a Church, but an inward principle, which might belong alike to all mankind. This principle was faith, the view of which in St. Paul’s mind is never separated from the redemption of mankind at large.
SUBJECT OF THE EPISTLE.
The Gentile origin and Jewish character of the Roman Church are a sufficient explanation of the style and subject of the Epistle to the Romans. The condemnation of the Jew first, and afterwards of the Gentile—the justification of the Jew first, and afterwards of the Gentile—the actual fact of the rejection of the Jews, and the hope of their restoration—are all of them topics appropriate to what we may conceive to have been the feeling of the Roman converts, in whom a Jewish education had not obliterated a Gentile origin, and whom a Gentile origin did not deprive of the hope of Jewish promises. The Apostle no longer appears to be speaking to the winds of heaven, what, after being borne to and fro upon the earth, might return to the profit of the Church after many days, but what had an immediate interest for it, and arose naturally out of its actual state.
Assuming the results of the preceding essay, we may consider the structure of the Epistle, with the view of tracing the relation of the parts to each other and to the whole. What was primary, what secondary, in the Apostle’s thoughts? Is the order of the composition the same as the order of ideas? Do we proceed from without inwards—that is, from the admission of the Gentiles to the justification of the individual believer? or from within outwards—that is, from the individual believer to the world at large? Is the episode of the restoration of the Jews subordinate or principal—a correction of the first part of the Epistle, or, as Baur supposes, the kernel of the whole? These are subtle and delicate inquiries, respecting which it is not possible to attain absolute certainty, and in the prosecution of which we are always in danger of attributing to the Apostle more of method and plan than he really had. Such inquiries can only be made by a comparison of other writings of the Apostle, and an accurate examination of the Epistle itself.
We may begin by asking, ‘Whether there is any subject which the Epistle to the Romans has in common with the other Epistles, which is specially identified with the life and working of the Apostle?’ There is. While the doctrine of righteousness by faith without the deeds of the Law is but slightly referred to in the other Epistles of St. Paul, and is but once mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, there is another truth, which is everywhere and at all times insisted upon by him, and everywhere connected with his name, which recurs in almost every one of his Epistles, and is everywhere dwelt upon in the Acts as the result of his Apostleship—the admission of the Gentiles. He speaks of himself, and is always spoken of, as the Apostle of the Gentiles; his conversion itself is bound up with this labour of universal love; in ‘the beginning of the Gospel’ he stands up for their rights, among ‘the Apostles that were before him;’ all through his life he is proclaiming in a more or less spiritual manner, ‘God hath made of one blood all nations of the earth.’ (Acts xvii. 26.) ‘Is he the God of the Jews only, is he not also of the Gentiles?’ (Rom. iii. 29.) All are one in Christ, in whom ‘neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avail anything, but a new creature’ (Gal. iii. 28; vi. 15); or, according to another form of expression, ‘in whose circumcision the Gentiles also are circumcised.’ (Col. ii. 11.) Compare 1 Cor. xii. 13: Eph. i. 10; iii. 3-6.
Such repeated reference to the same subject justifies our regarding it as the leading thought of the Apostle’s mind, the great truth which the power of God had inspired him to teach. Yet, itself had a twofold aspect, for the differences of Jew and Gentile were done away with, not on the ground of any abstract equality of the human race in the sight of God, but as they became one in Christ. It is a union with Christ which breaks through all other ties of race and language, and knits men together into a new body which is His Church. So while looking at the external world we seem almost at once to pass inward, and to blend the assertion of the general principle with the experience of the individual soul. The cord of love which encircles all men has its beginning too in the believer’s heart. ‘There is neither barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free,’ not on any speculative grounds of morality, but because his own spiritual instinct tells him that all these differences are done away in Christ.
But with this outward aspect of Christianity is connected also another thought, which follows it as the shadow does the light, ‘the times of that ignorance which God winked at,’ ‘the passing by of past sins’ (Rom. iii. 25), ‘which was kept secret since the world began’ (Rom. xvi. 25), ‘which in other ages was not made known . . . that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body’ (Eph. iii. 6). It was strange to look at the world around, and see the Gentiles also pressing into the Kingdom of Heaven. But it was not less, but perhaps even more strange, to think of the Gentiles in past times who seemed to have so little relation to the God who made them; in the world of darkness and silence, on which the eye could rest, but which it could not pierce. Nor was the same thought inapplicable to those who were under the Law. They too, though with many ‘advantages,’ were still subject to ordinances, shut up in prison until the time appointed. The prior states of Jew and Gentile were not wholly dissimilar: the Law was the glass which might be held up to both to convict them of sin; in which, world within world, mirror within mirror, the Jew was first seen, afterwards the Gentile. Jew and Gentile, the times before and the times after, are the outlines or divisions of the book in the volume of which are contained the purposes of God.
Such is the external aspect of the Apostle’s teaching so far as it can be separated from the inward life, which penetrates the individual and the Church alike. But there is a world within as well as a world without, nor can we view one except through the medium of the other. The knowledge which the Apostle himself has of the works of God, is transferred to the heathen; the consciousness which he feels of his own union with Christ is the living proof of the acceptance of all mankind; the remembrance of his struggle under the Law, is the image of the state of those under the Law. Though the thought comes upon him daily of his mission to the Gentiles everywhere, he does not look upon them as they appear in the pages of ancient authors, or on their modes of worship, as they present themselves to the student of mythology. He is not writing a philosophy of history, but a religion of history. He does not, in modern phraseology, put himself in the position of the heathen, or even of the Jew, but retains his own. Nor must we, in our interpretation of the Epistle, endeavour to force his words, from this simple and natural point of view, into one more in accordance with our tastes and feelings.
An illustration from heathen philosophy may serve to indicate the peculiar nature of this transition from the individual mind to the world at large. All modern commentators on Plato admit that in the Republic the individual and the state pass into one another. The virtues, duties, distinctions of one are also those of the other; the consideration of the one seems to lead the philosopher on to the deeper and more enlarged consideration of the other. Not altogether unlike this is the manner in which the individual conscience in the Epistles of St. Paul is the reflection not only of itself, but of the world at large; and in which the thought of the world at large, and the Church, of which he is a member, re-acts upon the inmost feelings of the believer. The kingdom of God is not yet separated into outward and visible, and inward and spiritual; nor election into that of nations and individuals.
As the Apostle looks upon the face of the world, he sees all men, by the light of revelation in himself, returning, through Christ, into union with the God who made them. There is no distinction of Jew or Gentile, circumcision or uncircumcision. Soon he passes over into another point of view, ‘setting the world in their hearts.’ Two dispensations are in the bosom of every man who comes to the knowledge of the truth; these are symbolized by two words, the Law and Faith. The one is slavery, the other freedom; the one death, the other life; the one strife, the other peace; the one alienation from God, the other reconciliation with Him. Not at once does the one dispensation take the place of the other. There is a period of natural life first; the Law enters and plants the seeds of mortal disease. Will and knowledge, the common sources of human action, begin to decompose, the will to evil struggling with the knowledge of good. The creature is made powerless to act by his consciousness of sin; the Law only terrifies—he dies at the very sight of it; it is a dry ‘eye’ turning every way upon his misery. The soul, hanging between good and evil, is in a state of paralysis, doing what it would not, and hating itself for what it does. But, again, the soul is persuaded by many arguments that ‘the Law is dead;’ it throws away the ‘worser’ half, and clings to its risen Lord. Faith is the hand by which it is united to Him—the instrument whereby it is accepted, renewed, sanctified—the sense through which it looks up to God, revealing Himself in man, and around on creation.
These two, the Law and Faith, are so inseparable, that they seem each to derive their meaning from the other. Faith is not the Law; the Law is not Faith. Whatever is not Faith is the Law; whatever is not the Law is Faith. The Law, no less than Faith, is an inward feeling—a tablet of stone, yet written also on fleshly tables of the heart. Yet the Apostle’s manner of speaking of both is such as, at first sight, prevents our perception of this. Through a great portion of the Epistle he drops their subjective character, and represents them to us as powers, almost as persons—the symbols of the past and present—of the followers of Moses and Christ, arrayed against each other in the battlefield of the world and the human heart; blended in the example of Abraham; typified in the first and second Adam; the figures of two kinds of death, in sin and to sin.
In the course of the Epistle we pass more and more inward to the dividing asunder of the flesh and spirit, until darkness takes the place of light, and death of life. More than once the shadow of peace rests upon us in passing, but we must first enter into the depths of human nature, and take part in the struggle, ere we can attain finally to that rest which is in Christ Jesus. At length the body of death slips from us: the law of the spirit of life prevails over the law of sin. And yet the fleshly body, though dead to sin, still cleaves to us: it has ceased to strive against the spirit, but is not yet adopted into the fellowship of Christ. But, though groaning within ourselves, we have the inward witness of the Spirit; we know that all things are working together for good: we ask in triumph, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’
Thus far we have proceeded from without inwards—that is to say, from the relation of the Gospel to Jew and Gentile, and its place in the history of the world, to its influence on the heart and conscience. At this point the former aspect of the Epistle re-appears. The question of salvation is no longer personal, but national. All mankind have been included under sin; all mankind, even as Abraham, are righteous by faith: ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ Thence the Apostle digressed to guard against practical inferences; to describe the inward need of pardon as before the outward. But still there was one exception to the offer of universal salvation. All the world was included; but the favoured nation seemed by its own act to exclude itself from the gracious circle. As a nation the Jews had rejected the Gospel; and to them the Apostle returns, first, to justify their rejection, secondly, to prophesy their restoration.
The remainder of the Epistle is a practical exhortation to Christian graces and moral virtues; commencing with a general invitation to a holy life, or, as the Apostle expresses it in language borrowed from the Law, to present the body a living sacrifice. The ground of this invitation is the mercy of God, as set forth in the scheme of Providence:—‘So then God concluded all under sin that he might have mercy upon all;’ ‘I beseech you, therefore.’ Thence the Apostle passes onwards, as towards the conclusion of several Epistles, to a series of practical precepts, some of which have a peculiar reference to the state and circumstances of the early Church. Here the connexion with the main subject of the Epistle appears to drop, and the very want of connexion leads us to remark that the separate duties are not regarded by the Apostle as absorbed in the single truth of righteousness by faith, but are stated by him independently of it. Throughout the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters there is scarcely the least reference to the preceding portions of the Epistle. Thence the Apostle digresses still further to a personal narrative, in which, as towards the conclusion of the Epistle to the Galatians, in a few pregnant verses, the main subject of the Epistle is again introduced; whence he returns once more to himself and his intended visit, and his mission to Jerusalem, and concludes with salutations of the brethren.
TIME AND PLACE.
The time and place of writing the Epistle to the Romans are distinctly marked in the fifteenth chapter. The Apostle is on his way to Jerusalem, ‘ministering to the saints,’ xv. 25, in accordance with his half-expressed intention in 1 Cor. xvi. 4. He is carrying up the contributions of Macedonia and Achaia, for the poor at Jerusalem, ver. 26. Having completed his labours in Asia Minor and Greece, xv. 23 (compare 2 Cor. x. 13), when his mission to Jerusalem is accomplished, ver. 28, he hopes to visit the Roman converts on his way to Spain, ver. 22; a purpose which he has often entertained, xv. 22, but never fulfilled, i. 12. (Compare Acts xix. 21.) The mention of Cenchrea, the port of Corinth, in xvi. 1, agrees with the other circumstances, in indicating his second visit to Corinth as the time and place of writing the Epistle. In reference to these allusions it may be remarked:—(1) That the Apostle, though on his way to Rome, has no intention of making Rome the resting-place from his labours. He is the Apostle of the whole world, hastening onward, ere his sun sets, ‘to the extreme west’ of Clement. His preference of Spain above other countries might be suggested by the circumstance that the Gospel had not yet spread there, and that he went to plant it. Or, more probably, considering the definite manner in which he speaks of his intention, he was led to choose Spain rather than Africa or Italy, from some acquaintance with, or invitation from, Jews or Christians already settled there. As there is no reason to suppose that the journey was ever accomplished, it is useless to speculate further on the motive of it. (2) It is observable also that he wrote the Epistle to the Romans from Corinth, or its neighbourhood, and therefore after the second Epistle to the Corinthians, which already indicates that a reaction had taken place in the Corinthian Church in favour of the Apostle; a change of feeling which might probably be confirmed by the Apostle’s visit. Supposing this to have been the case, the Apostle, though in the midst of that city of factions, was writing the Epistle to the Romans at a time when their violence was abated. This agrees with the conciliatory tone of the Epistle, as pointed out in the two preceding essays, which also harmonizes with the immediate occasion of his journey to Jerusalem. For (3) at the very time of writing, the Gentile Apostle was engaged in carrying up alms to the Jewish Church at Jerusalem, much after the manner that other Jewish pilgrims brought gifts from distant parts of the Empire for the service of the Temple. He was fearful of the violence of his countrymen in Judea, and not without apprehension of the feeling with which the Church might regard him, xv. 31. Yet ‘his heart’s desire towards Israel’ was not dead within him, notwithstanding his fears and sufferings. He had been for a long time previously gathering the alms in Asia, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, as well as in Greece, according to an agreement which he had entered into with the Apostles at Jerusalem on a previous visit, Gal. ii. 10. Speaking after the manner of men, may we not say that no one could be long employed in such mission of charity, without feeling his soul melt towards those who were its objects? What had never been personal hostility to the Church at Jerusalem, must soon have given way, in a mind so sensitive as St. Paul’s, to the liveliest sympathy with them. In his own words to the Corinthians it might be said:—‘His heart is enlarged towards them; they are not straitened in him, but in themselves.’ Nor could this insensible change have occurred, without drawing his thoughts to their place in the scheme of Providence. The feelings of his own mind would inevitably cast a distant light and shade on the Jewish and Gentile world.
The Epistle to the Romans is naturally compared with the Epistle to the Galatians; the subjects are the same, or nearly so, the illustrations often similar, and minute resemblances of language surprisingly numerous. Yet the Epistle to the Galatians would have been in great measure unintelligible to us, but for the larger growth and fuller development of the same truths in the Epistle to the Romans. The first mentioned Epistle is personal and occasional; it has much of passion and sadness; it bears the impress everywhere of the struggle which agitated the Galatian converts, and could only have been written to a Church which was known by face to the Apostle. On the other hand, the Epistle to the Romans, except in one or two passages, has a tone of calmness and deliberation: it is spiritual and ideal; the distance at which the Apostle places himself from the strifes of the Church, enabling him to take a more extended survey of the purposes of God. The difference between the two Epistles is further analogous to the difference between proselytes of the gate, and the so-called proselytes of righteousness. The question in the one case is ‘circumcision,’ the outward symbol of the Jewish law, which affected the minds of the converts much, we may suppose, as that of caste would occupy the minds of the Hindoos at the present day, or as some ritual or legal question might prevail over the better religious feeling among ourselves. The other Epistle never touches on the subject of circumcision, as an obligation to be enforced, or not enforced; but only as the seal of God’s mercy to all mankind, in the instance of the Father of the faithful, Rom. iv. The mind of the writer is absorbed in the contemplation of the world as divided into Jew and Gentile, past and present, the Law and Faith. The beginnings of this contemplation are discernible in the Epistle to the Galatians; but more as a feeling or spiritual instinct, less as a system or scheme of Providence. ‘In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.’ But there is a height not yet attained to, at which every obstacle disappears, and the ways of God are justified finally, the circumcision accepted through faith, and the uncircumcision; the circumcision again returning to God in Christ, and the length and breadth of Divine love made manifest. This is only reached in the Epistle to the Romans.
No certain inference respecting the length of time by which the Epistle to the Romans is separated from the Epistle to the Galatians can be drawn from these considerations. It is of more importance to remark, that in reading the Epistle to the Romans, we have already advanced in the series of Epistles a step onward towards the Epistles of the Imprisonment.
The second chapter of the Romans has often been regarded as containing the exclusive condemnation of the Jew for hypocrisy, as the first chapter contains the condemnation of the Gentile for sins below nature. This statement, however, is not quite exact. That the Apostle intended to include both Jew and Gentile under sin, may be inferred from chap. iii. 9; the two heads of the proof do not, however, precisely correspond to the divisions of the chapters. The course of his thought may be traced as follows:—He has been speaking of the inhuman and unnatural vices of the Gentiles, and now passes on to another class of sins—hypocrisy and deceit—in which he loses sight of the Gentiles, and addresses man in the abstract. Assuming that all mankind are guilty before God, the judgement of others is a condemnation of self. But whence is this assumption? Not strictly deducible from the preceding chapter, in which the Apostle has been speaking only, or chiefly, of the Gentiles, yet in spirit agreeing with it; for the judgement of others is a higher degree of that knowledge of God which ‘hinders the truth in unrighteousness.’ Still there is a link wanting. We must allow the Apostle to make a silent transition from the Gentile to mankind in general, just as in chap. iii. 19 he has included the Gentile under the condemnation of the Jew. Full of the general idea of the universal sinfulness of man, he follows his own thought without looking back at the connexion. There would have been no difficulty had he spoken first of the sinfulness of the Gentile and then of the sinfulness of the Jew; and, thirdly, of the additional guilt incurred by either in hypocrisy and judgement of others. But the sinfulness of the Jew being greatly increased by or mainly consisting in this last, he has sunk the mention of other sins, leaving them to be inferred or suggested from the general description that preceded.
With the first verse of the second chapter the style changes; the contemplation of the heathen world is ended, and the Apostle proceeds to reason with an imaginary opponent, whom he draws within the circle of human evil and will not allow him to escape, under the pretence of judging others, which does but aggravate his guilt. Such a one is trying to deceive God, but only deceives himself. Gradually we approach the Jew. In the third verse there is a glimpse of the notion that God would judge the heathen but spare the sons of Abraham; in the fourth and fifth verses is presented to us a picture, like those in the Old Testament, of the rebellious spirit of the Jew, and the long-suffering of God towards him; in the tenth and eleventh verses occurs a declaration of God’s equal justice to all; in the twelfth and thirteenth the spirit of the law is opposed to the letter, and the believing Gentile to the unbelieving Jew; until at last, in ver. 17, the Apostle turns to make the direct attack on the Jew, for which, in the previous verses, he has been indirectly preparing: ‘But if thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law and gloriest in God.’
Throughout this paragraph, as elsewhere, the connexion is in a great measure formed by the repetition of words in the successive verses and clauses. Thus πράσσοντας and κρɩ̂μα connect verses 1 and 2; τοὺς τὰ τοιανˆτα πράσσοντας is taken up from ver. 2 in ver. 3; in the latter part of ver. 4 τὸ χρηστὸν τονˆ θεονˆ is a repetition of τονˆ πλούτου τη̂ς χρηστότητος in the former part of the verse; ὃς ἀποδώσει, κ.τ.λ., in ver. 6 is an expansion of the word δικαιοκρισίας in ver. 5; δόξα δὲ καὶ τιμή, in the tenth verse, is a resumption of the same words in the seventh.
The force of the Apostle’s argument in the first verses of the following chapter, may be illustrated by a parallel which comes home to ourselves. We may suppose a person enlarging, in a sermon or in conversation, on the comparative state of the heathen and Christian world, dwelling first of all on the enormities and unnatural vices of India or China, and then on the formalism and hypocrisy and conventionality of Christians throughout the world, until at last he concludes by saying that many heathen are better than most Christians, and that at the last day the heathen may judge us; and that as God is no respecter of persons, it matters little whether we are called Christians or not, if we follow Christ. Christian or heathen, ‘he can’t be wrong,’ it might be said, ‘whose life is in the right.’ Then would arise the question, What profit was there in being a Christian if, as with the Jews of old, many should come from the East and the West, and sit down with Christ and His Apostles in the kingdom of heaven, while those bearing the name of Christians were cast out? To which there would be many answers; first, that of St. Paul respecting the Jews, ‘because that unto us are committed the oracles of God;’ and above all, that we have a new truth and a new power imparted to us. Still difficulties would occur as we passed beyond the limits of the Christian world. Passages of Scripture would be quoted, which seemed to place the heathen also within the circle of God’s mercies; and again, other passages which seemed to exclude them. It might be doubted whether in any proper sense there was a Christian world; so little did there seem to be anything resembling the first company of believers; so faint was the bond of communion which the name of Christian made amongst men; so slender the line of demarcation which mere Christianity afforded, compared with civilization and other influences. Suppose, now, a person, struggling with these and similar difficulties, to carry the question a stage further back, and to urge that Christianity, failing of its end, this is of itself an impeachment of the truth and goodness of God. For if there were any who did not accept the Gospel, then it could not be said that an Omnipotent Being who had the power, and an Omniscient Being who knew the way, had also the will that all mankind should be saved. Why should the Unchangeable punish men for sins that could not affect Himself? Why should He execute a vengeance which He was incapable of feeling? And so he would lead us on to the origin of evil and the eternal decrees, and the everlasting penalty. Speaking as a philosopher, he might say, that we must change our notion of a Divine Being, in the face of such facts. Those who were arguing with him, might be unable or unwilling to discuss speculative difficulties, and might prefer to rest their belief on two simple foundations: first, the truth and justice and holiness of God; and, secondly, the moral consequences of the doctrine of their opponents. It makes no difference whether we suppose the argument carried on between disputants, or whether we suppose a religious sceptic arguing with himself on the opposite aspects of those great questions, which in every age, from that of Job and Ecclesiastes, have been more or less clearly seen in various forms, Jewish as well as Christian, as problems of natural or of revealed religion, common alike to the Greeks and to ourselves, and which have revived again and again in the course of human thought.
The train of reflection which has been thus briefly sketched, is not unlike that with which St. Paul opens the third chapter. The Jew and the Gentile have been reduced to a level by the requirements of the moral law. The circumcision of the heart and the uncircumcision of the letter take the place of the circumcision of the letter and uncircumcision of the heart. Such a revolution naturally leads the Jew to ask what his own position is in the dispensations of Providence. What profit is there in being sons of Abraham, if of these stones God was raising up children unto Abraham? To which the Apostle replies, first, that they had the Scriptures. But it might be said, ‘they believed not.’ Such an objection is suggested by the Apostle himself, who draws it out of the secret soul of the Jew, that he may answer it more fully. ‘Shall their unbelief make the promise of God of none effect.’ Such promises are ‘yea and amen;’ but they are also conditional. God forbid that they should be called in question, because man breaks their conditions. Imagine all men faithless, yet does God remain true.
Still the objector or the objection returns, in the fifth verse, from another point of view, which is suggested by the quotation which immediately precedes, ‘that thou mayest be justified in thy sayings, and mayest overcome when thou art judged.’ In any case then God is justified; why doth He yet punish? If we do no harm to Him, why does He do harm to us? We are speaking as one man does of another; but is not God unjust? To which the Apostle replies (according to different explanations of τὸν κόσμον), either, ‘shall not the Judge of all the earth do rightly?’ or, how can you, who are a Jew, suppose that the God whose attribute it is ‘to judge among the heathen’ is one who may be called unjust? In this question is contained the answer to those who say, ‘My unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, and therefore God has no right to take vengeance on me.’ Still the objection is repeated in a slightly altered form, not now, ‘If my unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God;’ but, ‘If my falsehood abounds to the glory of His truth, why am I still judged as a sinner?’ To which St. Paul replies, not by dwelling further on the truth or justice of God, but by ironically stating the consequence of the doctrine, ‘Let us do evil that good may come, let us sin to the glory of God, let us lie to prove his truth;’ and, then dropping the strain of irony, he adds seriously in his natural style, ‘whose damnation is just.’
The chief difference between this argument and the one which, for the sake of illustration, is prefixed to it, is that the great questions which are suggested in the first, are here narrowed to the Jewish point of view. The objector does not find any general difficulty in justifying the ways of God to man, but in harmonizing the rejection of the Jews with the privileges of the chosen race. What seemed to him injustice, was justice to all mankind. He is animated by a sort of moral indignation at being reduced to the same level as the rest of the world.
At the end of the second chapter the Apostle had almost declared that Jew and Gentile were both alike; of this he stopped short and spoke in a figure of the spiritual Israelite. In the same way in the fourth chapter, he answers the question which he himself raises, by putting the spiritual in the place of the fleshly Abraham. ‘What shall we say that Abraham found, our progenitor according to the flesh? or what shall we say, that Abraham our progenitor found according to the flesh?’ The intended answer according to either way of reading the question is ‘nothing;’ for what he found was not an advantage of that kind for which the Israelite hoped; it was an advantage not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. But St. Paul avoids the harshness of this inference by a digression in which he points out that the blessedness of Abraham was not of works, but of faith. In this digression he takes up a thread of the argument at the conclusion of the last chapter in which glorying is excluded. ‘If Abraham were justified by works, he would have whereof to glory:’ this, however, is impossible, and expressly contradicted by the words of Scripture, which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.’ This is the indirect answer to the question, ‘What shall we say that Abraham found, our progenitor according to the flesh?’
Subordinate to this assertion of the general principle in the person of Abraham, is the minor question respecting the time of which the words were spoken ‘not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision,’ in which little fact the Apostle read their universal import. Circumcision came afterwards; it had nothing to do with the faith or with the promise that had preceded; it only conveyed through Abraham the privileges of which it was the seal to the faithful everywhere. (Compare Gal. iii. 17.) The sign of circumcision was but the accident of that higher relation in which the Patriarch stood already to God and man. As in the last chapter the words, ‘a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’ (verse 28), were quickly followed by the declaration (verse 29), that ‘God was the God of the Gentiles also;’ so here the statement that Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,’ leads the Apostle instantly to think of him as the ‘heir of the world,’ a title with which the pride of the Israelite delighted to invest him. Is he the father of the Jews only, is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes; both aspects of the Gospel are seen in him. And the narrative of the birth of Isaac—the calling of the living out of the dead—is repeated by the Apostle with a kind of triumph as a lesson of new and universal interest.
Every pause in the Epistle may be made the occasion for taking a glance backward, and surveying the whole. In the construction of the work we observe that the same threads again and again reappear, tangling the web of discourse, and are never finished and worked off. Thus the commencement of the fifth chapter is but the anticipation of the eighth:—
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
Compare again the following:—
(1) ch. iii. 1. What advantage then hath the Jew?
9. What then are we better than they?
27. Where then is boasting?
iv. 1. What shall we say then that Abraham hath found, our progenitor according to the flesh?
(2) ch. vi. 1. What shall we say then? are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?
vii. 7. What shall we say then? is the law sin?
(3) Also the first verse of ch. ix, x, xi.
ix. 1. I say the truth in Christ, that I have great sorrow for Israel.
x. 1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
xi. 1. I say then, hath God cast aside his people?
where the Apostle thrice returns to the same point in his argument, and begins again with the same theme.
Similarities of form and repetitions of thought may also be noted in successive verses.
v. 8-10: ‘But God commended his love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For 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.’ These words are followed by the favourite ‘not only so,’ which has already occurred at the beginning of verse 3.
Compare also verses 15, 17, 18, 19, and i. 24, 26, 28; vii. 15, 19; 17, 22; as instances of a structure in which the same ideas are repeated rather than developed, and in some of which the form of the first sentence prescribes the form of the second.
Many slight inaccuracies appear on the surface when we look at the Epistle to the Romans through a microscope. It will be often found that the successive clauses are not logically connected, or that qualifications are introduced which are not duly subordinated to the principal thought; or the latter end of a sentence may seem to forget the beginning of it, or for an instant the Apostle may hesitate between two alternatives. But flaws of this kind disappear when we remove to a little distance; the irregularity of the details is lost in the general effect. It might be said of the Apostle in his own language, that he is not speaking with ‘the persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but with demonstration of the spirit and with power.’ It does not impair the force of what he says that he repeats a word, or that he uses a particle where it is not needed, or that he has so framed a particular clause that its bearing on the next clause is doubtful. It does not interfere with the unity of his writings that they have not the symmetrical character of a modern composition. We often speak of his style; according to modern notions he can hardly be said to have a style. He uses the rhetorical forms of his age because he cannot help doing so: they are his only way of expressing himself. He is not free to mould language with the hand of a master. Yet, in general, his meaning is perfectly clear. If, following Locke’s rule, we read the Epistle through at a single sitting, the broken thoughts come together, and a new kind of unity begins to arise; the unity not of a whole with many parts aptly disposed, but of a single idea, appearing and reappearing everywhere. The stream is one, though parting into two branches — the universality of salvation, and the doctrine of righteousness by faith. To the end of the eleventh chapter there is nothing irrelevant, nothing that does not bear on one or other of these two aspects of the great truth. Imagine the writer full of these two thoughts, yet incapable of mastering the language in which he wrote, encumbered with formulas and modes of speech; eager to declare the whole counsel of God, yet conscious of the way in which men might wrest it to their own destruction; seeking ‘to entwine the new with the old, and to make the old ever new;’ and you would expect a composition similar in texture to the Epistle to the Romans.
The Epistle is full of repetitions, yet the repetitions carry us onward. The revelation of righteousness by faith is first made in the seventeenth verse of the first chapter. Then, after the necessity for it has been shown from the self-condemnation of the world, it is repeated at the twenty-first verse of the third chapter. Here it might seem as if the Apostle’s task was over. But another link has yet to be wrought into the chain. Is it the Apostle only who is saying these things? Saith not the law the same also? Yes; the doctrine of justification and forgiveness is contained in the book of the law. Abraham as well as ourselves was justified by faith, and not by works. Then the Apostle states his doctrine once more in the form of a conclusion to an argument, and proceeds to display it as embodied in the type and antitype, the first and second Adam. Still he has to guard against inferences that might be deduced from it, such as the antinomianism at which he had before hinted, ‘Let us continue in sin that grace may abound, let us do evil that good may come.’ Then he returns to the same note which he had struck before, the confirmation of his doctrine from the book of the law. Lastly, he fights the battle over again; not now in the world at large, but in the narrower sphere of the individual soul; he describes the last state of paralysis and death, until at length the agony is at its height and the victory is won; and, having now turned to view the scheme of redemption in every aspect—in reference to the former state of the world, divided between Jew and Gentile, in reference to the patriarchs, in reference to human nature itself, in reference to possible consequences as well as the inward experience of the soul, — he repeats the conclusion which in chap. v had been already anticipated, chanting, as it were, the hymn of peace after victory, ‘There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.’
There are some errors in religion which are ever attendant on the truths connected with them. Not only have men blessed with the grace of God greater powers and responsibilities than others, but they have also dangers, if not greater, yet peculiar to them, and seeming from the very constitution of the human mind itself to be inseparable from their religious state. There are faults, delusions, prejudices, tendencies to evil, to which they are liable, and which religion itself seems to foster in the weakness of human nature. One of these tendencies is antinomianism, or the tendency to rest in feeling, without knowledge of action. It is a corruption not peculiar to Christianity, but common to all religions which have had anything of spiritual life or power; in the case of individuals often exercising a subtle influence among those who disavow it in words. It already existed among the Jews in the time of St. Paul, as we may gather from the Epistle of St. James, and are informed by Philo, De Migr. Abrah. (Mangey, i. 450).
Against this corruption the Apostle sets himself in the present chapter. There was nothing more natural if grace abounded, than that men should continue in sin, that it might yet more abound. Experience sadly proves that there is a faith without works, hope of forgiveness without repentance, final assurance without moral goodness. There are religious states in which the eye of the soul seems to lose its clear insight into right and truth, and even obscures with the consolations of the Gospel its sterner sense of the holiness of God. In the hour of death especially, nature herself seems to assist in the delusion. In the first ages, as in all other times of religious excitement, such a delusion was more than ordinarily likely to prevail. It was a charge made against the Apostle himself that he said: ‘Let us do evil that good may come.’
At this point, therefore, in his great argument, when the abundance of Divine grace has been already developed, the Apostle pauses to guard against the dangerous inference. His manner of doing so is characteristic of his view of the doctrine itself. He does not seek to test the Christian state by external acts, but to exalt our inward notion of it. He does not say, a true faith is that which brings forth good works, or that which is known like a tree by its fruits. To him, the very idea of Christian life is death to sin, and death with Christ. In the previous chapter no language seemed too strong to express the fullness and freedom of the grace of God. That might tempt us to continue in sin. But no, we are dead to sin. The state of grace itself is a state of union with Christ, in which we follow Him through the various stages of His life. When we think of it as death, sin dies within us; when we think of it as life, we are risen with Him.
According to the similitude which the Apostle here uses, the relation of the Jew to the law is likened to the case of a wife who has lost her husband. As a widow the law, of course, said that she might marry again; her husband had no claim on her. Even so the law itself was dead, and the Jew was free to marry again to Christ, who was not dead, but risen from the dead.
There is, however, a difficulty in the application of the similitude in verses 4, 5, 6. This arises from the believer being regarded in two points of view. In the figure he is compared to the wife, while in the application he seems to change places, and become identified with the husband, who, in a certain sense, as well as the wife, is freed from the law; for ‘he that is dead, has been freed from sin.’ For this change there seem to be two reasons:—First, In working out the figure, the resemblance of the Christian to the husband as well as to the wife, strikes the Apostle; for as the husband is dead, so also is the Christian dead to the law. Secondly, The change may be regarded as a sort of euphemism to Jewish ears. The Apostle avoids the harshness of saying that ‘the law is dead,’ by substituting ‘ye are dead to the law.’
In the previous chapter the believer had been described as dead unto sin, but alive unto righteousness. ‘Sin,’ said the Apostle, ‘shall have no more dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.’ This thought he carries out further in the present passage, illustrating it by the particular case of the woman and the husband, which, in the language of the Epistle to the Galatians, shows, in a figure, ‘that the law is dead to us, and we to the law.’ The only difference is that in the last chapter what the Apostle was speaking of was a ‘death unto sin;’ here rather of what in his view is so closely connected as to be almost identical with it, ‘a death unto the law.’ It is the close connexion between them that leads him to guard, in verse 7, against the possible inference that ‘the law is sin.’
Nothing but the exigencies of controversy would have induced Augustine, against his better mind and the authority of the earlier Fathers, to refer this passage to the condition of the regenerate man. He was led to this interpretation, as others have been, by the equal, if not greater, difficulty of referring the description of the Apostle to the unregenerate.
The latter interpretation is plainly repugnant to the spirit of the passage; for whom shall we conceive the Apostle to be describing? or, rather, which is the same thing, whom do we ourselves mean by the term unregenerate? Is it the Jew, or the heathen, or the hypocrite, or the sensualist? To none of these characters will such a description refer. They know of no struggle between the things they would and would not; they live in no twilight between good and evil; their state is a lower and less conscious one. Who would speak of the unregenerate heart of Caesar or of Achilles? Language itself teaches us the impropriety of such expressions. And the reason of the impropriety is, that we feel with the Apostle, though our point of view may be somewhat different, that the guilt of sin is inseparable from the knowledge of sin. Those who never heard the name of Christ, who never admit the thought of Christ, cannot be brought within the circle of Christian feelings and associations.
There have been few more frequent sources of difficulty in theology, than the common fallacy of summing up inquiries under two alternatives, neither of which corresponds to the true nature of the case. We may admit the logical proposition that all things are animal or not animal, vegetable or not vegetable, mineral or not mineral. But we cannot say that all men are civilized or uncivilized, Christian or unchristian, regenerate or unregenerate. Such a mode of division is essentially erroneous. It exercises a false influence on the mind, by tending to confuse fixed states and transitions, differences in degree with differences in kind. All things may be passing out of one class into another, and may therefore belong to both or neither. The very attempt to classify or divide them may itself be the source of an illusion.
Obvious as such a fallacy is, it is only by the light of experience that theology can be freed from it. From ‘the oppositions of knowledge falsely so called,’ we turn to the human heart itself. Reading this passage by what we know of ourselves and other men, we no longer ask the question:—‘Whether the Apostle is speaking of the regenerate or unregenerate man?’ That is an ‘after-thought,’ which has nothing to correspond to it in the world, and nothing to justify it in the language of the Apostle. Mankind are not divided into regenerate and unregenerate, but are in a state of transition from one to the other, or too dead and unconscious to be included in either. What we want to know is the meaning of the Apostle, not in the terms of a theological problem, but in the simpler manner in which it presented itself to his own mind.
He is speaking of a conflict in the soul of man, the course of which, notwithstanding its sudden and fitful character, is nevertheless marked by a certain progress. It commences in childish and unconscious ignorance (‘I was alive without the law once’), which is succeeded by the deep consciousness of sin, which the law awakens, and so hovering between death and life, passes on to the last agony and final deliverance. The stages of this contest are not exactly defined. In the earliest of them is an element of reason and of good; in the latest, we seem only to arrive at a more intense conviction of human misery. The progress is not a progress from works to faith, or from the law to grace, but a growing separation and division, in which the soul is cut in two—into the better and the worse mind, the inner and the outer man, the flesh and the Spirit. The law is the dividing principle, ‘sharper than any two-edged sword,’ which will not allow them to unite. On the one side remains the flesh, as it were, a decomposing body of death; on the other, the mind and spirit flutter in lawless aspirations after good which they have no means or instruments to attain. The extremity of the conflict is the moment of deliverance; when completely in the power of sin, we are already at the gate of heaven.
The use of the first person is not merely rhetorical. It seems as though the Apostle were speaking partly from recollections of his former state, partly from the emotions of sin, which he still perceived in his members, now indeed pacified and kept under control, yet sufficiently sensible to give a liveliness to the remembrance, and make him feel his dependence on Christ. So much of the struggle continued in him as he himself describes in such passages as 2 Cor. i. 9, 10, or xii. 7. He who says, ‘without were fightings, within fears’ (2 Cor. v. 7), who had ‘the sentence of death in himself,’ and ‘a messenger of Satan to buffet him,’ could not have lived always in an unbroken calm of mind, any more than we can imagine him to have been constantly repeating, ‘O wretched man that I am!’ Further, we may remark, that the combat, as it deepens, becomes more ideal—that is, removes further away from the actual consciousness of mankind; the Apostle is describing tendencies in the heart of man which go beyond the experience of individuals.
The struggle has passed away, and the conqueror and the conquered are side by side. The two laws mentioned in the last chapter have changed places, the one becoming mighty from being powerless, the other powerless from being mighty. The helplessness of the law has been done away in Christ, that its righteous requirement may be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. The Apostle returns upon his former track that he may contrast the two elements, not, as in the previous chapter, in conflict with each other, hopelessly entangled by ‘occasion of the commandment,’ but in entire separation and opposition. These two, the flesh and the spirit, stand over against one another, as life and death, as peace and enmity with God. Do what it will, the flesh can never be subjected to the law of God. And this antagonism is not an antagonism of ideas only, but of persons also. It is another mode of expressing the same thought, to say that they that are in the flesh cannot please God. ‘But ye,’ the Apostle adds, ‘are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, which is the Spirit of God and Christ, and have the body dead, and the Spirit that is in you life; and as God raised up Christ from the dead, he will raise you up, because you have his Spirit dwelling in you. Are we not debtors then to live according to the Spirit, which is the only source of life and immortality, under the guidance of which, too, we are no longer the servants but the sons of God?’
The chapters that have preceded have been connected with each other by a sort of network, some of the threads of which have never ceased or been intermitted. At this point we come to a break in the Epistle. What follows has no connexion with what immediately precedes. The sublime emotion with which chapter viii concludes is in another strain from that with which chapter ix opens. We might almost imagine that the Apostle had here made a pause, and only after a while resumed his work of dictating to ‘Tertius who wrote this Epistle.’ It is on a more extended survey of the whole that order begins to reappear, and we see that the subject now introduced, which was faintly anticipated at the commencement of the third chapter, has also an almost necessary place in the Apostle’s scheme.
The three chapters ix—xi have been regarded by an eminent critic as containing the true germ and first thought of the Epistle. Such a view may be supported by various arguments. It may be said that a letter must arise out of circumstances, and that this portion of the Epistle only has an appropriate subject; that we can imagine the Apostle, though unknown by face to the Church which was at Rome, writing to Jewish Christians on a topic in which they, as well as he, were so deeply interested as the restoration of their countrymen; but that we cannot imagine him sitting down to compose a treatise on justification by faith; that to explain the dealings of God with his people, it was necessary for him to go back to the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, and that this mode of overlaying and transposing what to us would seem the natural order of thought is quite in accordance with his usual manner. (Compare, e. g. the structure of 1 Cor. x.) It may be urged, that in several passages, as, for example, at the commencement of the third and fourth chapters, he has already hinted at the maintenance of the privileges of the Jews. All such arguments, ably as they have been stated by Baur, yet fail to convince us that what is apparently prominent and on the surface, and also occupies the greater part of the Epistle, is really subordinate, and that what is apparently subordinate and supplementary, held the first place in the Apostle’s thoughts. (See Introduction.)
The theory of Baur is, however, so far true, as it tends to bring into prominence, as a main subject of the Epistle, the admission of the Gentiles. To the Apostle himself and his contemporaries, this was half, or more than half, the whole truth, not less striking or absorbing than the other half, of ‘righteousness by faith only.’ It is with this aspect of the doctrine of St. Paul that the portion of the Epistle on which we are now entering is to be connected. ‘Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.’ But granting this, innumerable difficulties and perplexities arose in the mind of the Israelite or of the reader of the Old Testament. What is the meaning of a chosen people? What advantage hath the Jew? and above all, what is to be his final end? When the circle of God’s mercy is extended to the whole world, is he to be the only exception? Thrice the Apostle essays to answer this question; thrice he turns aside, rather to justify God’s present dealings in casting away His chosen, than to hold out the hope with which he concludes, that all Israel shall be saved.
We have seen elsewhere (chaps. iii. 1-8; v. 12-21; vii. 7-11) that in many passages the Apostle wavers between the opposite sides of a question, before he arrives at a final and permanent conclusion. The argument in such passages may be described as a sort of struggle in his own thoughts, an alternation of natural feelings, a momentary conflict of emotions. The stream of discourse flows onward in two channels, occasionally mingling or contending with each other, which meet at the last. There are particular instances of this peculiarity of style in the chapters which follow, ix. 19; x. 14. But the most striking illustration of it is the general character of the whole three chapters, in which the Apostle himself seems for a time in doubt between contending feelings, in which he first prays for the restoration of Israel, and then reasons for their rejection, and then finally shows that in a more extended view of the purposes of God their salvation is included. He hears the echo of many voices in the Old Testament, by which the Spirit spoke to the Fathers, and in all of them there is a kind of unity, though but half expressed, which is not less the unity of his own inmost feelings towards his kinsmen according to the flesh. He is like one of the old prophets himself, abating nothing of the rebellions of the house of Israel, yet still unable to forget that they are the people of God. As an Israelite and a believer in Christ, he is full of sorrow first, of consolation afterwards; two opposite feelings struggle together in his mind, both finally giving way to a clearer insight into the purposes of God towards the chosen nation.
When the first burst of his emotion has subsided, he proceeds to show that the rejection of Israel was not total, but partial, and that this partial rejection is in accordance with the analogy of God’s dealings with their fathers. The circle of God’s mercy to them had ever been narrowing. First, the seed of Abraham was chosen; then Isaac only; then Jacob before Esau, and this last quite irrespective of any good or evil that either of them had done. There was a preference in each case of the spiritual over the fleshly heir. Shall we say that here is any ground for imputing unrighteousness to God? He Himself had proclaimed this as His mode of dealing with mankind. The words of the law are an end of controversy. He does it, therefore it is just; He tells it us, therefore it is true. Who are we that we should call in question His justice, or challenge His ways? The clay might as well reason with the potter, as man argue against God. And, after all, this election of some to wrath, others to mercy, is but justice in mercy delayed, or an alternation of mercy and justice. The rejection of the Jews is the admission of the Gentiles. And to this truth the prophets themselves bear witness. They speak of ‘a remnant,’ of ‘another people,’ of ‘a cutting short upon the earth,’ of ‘a rock of offence.’ The work that God has done is nothing unjust or unexpected, but a work of justice and mercy upon the house of Israel, of which their own prophets witness; of which they are themselves the authors, as they sought to establish their own righteousness, and rejected the righteousness that is of faith.
But the subject of God’s dealings with the Jews is not yet finished; it is, indeed, scarcely begun. The first verses of the ninth chapter gave an intimation that this would not be the final course of the Apostle’s thought. Israel had sought to establish their own righteousness, and rejected the righteousness that was of faith. But this very rejection, which was their condemnation, was not without excuse, in that it arose from a mistaken zeal for God. That mistake consisted in their not perceiving the difference between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith; the one a straight and unbending rule; the other, ‘very nigh, even in thy mouth and thy heart,’ and extending to all mankind. ‘But,’ we expect the Apostle to say at the end of the contrast, ‘notwithstanding this, Israel may yet be saved.’ The time for this is not yet come. In what follows, to the end of the chapter, he digresses more and more; first, as at vers. 14-19 of the previous one, to state the objections of the Jew; secondly, to show that those objections are of no weight, and are disproved by the words of their own prophets.
Nowhere does the logical control over language, that is, the power of aptly disposing sentences so as to exhibit them in their precise relation to each other, so fail the Apostle as at the conclusion of the tenth chapter. We see his meaning, but his emotions prevent him from expressing it. At the commencement of the eleventh chapter, finding that he is so far away from his original subject, he makes an effort to regain it. ‘Hath God then cast away his people?’ The Apostle is himself a living proof that this is not so. Though Israel ‘hath not obtained it,’ the elect, who are part of Israel, who are the true Israel, have obtained it. The fall of the rest is but for a time, and is itself an argument for their final restoration. The rejection of the Jews is the admission of the Gentiles, and the admission of the Gentiles comes round in the end to be the restoration of the Jews. And besides, and beneath all this, amid these alternations of thought and vicissitudes of human things, there is an immutable foundation on which we rest in the promises of God to Israel. The friend of the patriarchs cannot forget their children; the Unchangeable cannot desert the work of His hands.
The commencement of this chapter, as well as of the one which follows, affords a remarkable instance of a sudden transition of feeling in the mind of the Apostle. At the end of the previous chapter, he had passed out of the sorrowful tone in which he began, to prove that very truth over which he sorrowed—the rejection of Israel. But at this point he drops the argument, and resumes the strain which he had laid aside. The character of the passage may be illustrated by the parallel passage in chap. iii. 1-8. There he had been arguing that the Gentiles were better than the Jews, or at least as good; because they, not having the law, were a law unto themselves. Then to correct the impression that might have arisen from what he had been saying, he goes on to point out that the Jew too had advantages. Now, a similar contrast is working in his mind. There was something that the Jew had, though not the righteousness of faith. He was not a sinner of the Gentiles, he had a zeal for God, he had the mark of distinction which it has been said made Jacob to be preferred to Esau; ‘he was a religious man.’ But almost before the thought of his heart is fully uttered, the Apostle returns to his former subject—‘the righteousness of faith, Christ the end of the law to every one that believeth;’ and gathers fresh proof from the prophecies that the rejection of Israel was but according to the will of God.
The whole of the three chapters viii, ix, x may be regarded as the passionate struggle of conflicting emotions in the Apostle’s mind—πότε μὲν νυνὶ δέ—of his present and former self. Are Israel saved, or not? They must be, for I also am one of them. At last, the purpose of God respecting them clears before his eyes. That they are rejected is a fact; but it is only for a time, that the Gentiles may be received. Hitherto he has been occupied with laying the broad foundation of a universal Gospel. Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes; of the Gentiles also; and of the Gentiles exclusively it seemed, but for the remnant who are saved. Such was the impression to which his own reception would naturally have led the Apostle, as he went from city to city, finding no hearers of the word, but Gentiles only. Of the two divisions of mankind, he seemed to lose one, and gain the other. The meditation of this fact had revealed to him a new page in God’s dealings with mankind. But now a further insight into the purposes of God breaks upon him. In the order of Providence came the Jew first, and afterwards the Gentile; and the Jew last returning to the inheritance of his fathers. The erring branch that has twined with the briars of the wilderness, is brought back to its own olive, and the tree covers the whole earth.
The last five chapters may be considered as a third section of the Epistle to the Romans, in which, as in the latter portion of the Galatians, Colossians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, exhortation takes the place of doctrinal statement, and the imperative mood becomes the prevailing form of sentence. There is less of plan than in what has preceded, and more that throws light on the state of the Church. At first sight, it seems as if the Apostle were dictating to an amanuensis unconnected precepts, which his experience, not of the Roman converts, to whom he was unknown by face, but of the Church and the world in general, led him to think useful or necessary.
Yet these fragments, including in them chaps. xii. 1—xv. 7, at which point the Apostle returns briefly to his main theme, and concludes with a personal narrative, are not wholly deficient in order, especially that recurring order which was remarked in the introduction to the fifth chapter, and which consists in the repetition, at certain intervals, of a particular subject. The great argument is now ended; what follows is its practical application: ‘For God concluded all under sin, that he might have mercy upon all;’ the inference from which is not ‘Let us continue in sin that grace may abound,’ but rather, ‘How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ which the Apostle expresses once more in language borrowed from the law: ‘I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice.’ Leaving this thought, he passes on at ver. 3 to another, which can hardly be said to be connected with it in any other than that general way in which all the different portions of Christian truth or practice are connected with each other, or in which the part may be always regarded as related to the whole. This new thought is Christian unity, which is introduced here much in the same manner as love of the brethren in the Epistle to the Thessalonians. The ground of this unity is humility, each one retiring into his own duties, that the whole may be harmonious, remembering that he is a member of the body of Christ, in which there are diversities of gifts, which the members of that body are severally to use. Thence the Apostle goes on to the mention of Christian graces, apparently unconnected with each other, among which, at ver. 16, the first thought of humility, which is the true source of sympathy, reappears, with which peace and forgiveness of injuries meet in one. At the commencement of chap. xii what may be termed the key-note of this portion of the Epistle returns—the order of the Church, not now considered in reference to the members of the same body, but to those that are without the Church—the heathen rulers with whom they came into contact, whom they were to obey as to the Lord and not to men. The remainder of this chapter stands in the same relation to the former part as the latter portion of chap. xii to the commencement; that is to say, it consists of precepts which arise out of the principal subject; here honesty in general, out of the duty of paying tribute, which leads, by a play of words, to the endless debt of love, which is the fulfilment of the law; all which is enforced by the near approach of the day of the Lord, corresponding to the argument of the preacher from the shortness of life among ourselves.
The remaining section of the Epistle, from chap. xiv to xv. 6, is taken up with a single subject—the treatment of weak brethren, who doubt about meats and drinks and the observance of days. This subject is distinct from what has preceded, and forms a whole by itself; yet, in the mode of handling it, vestiges of former topics reappear. It is a counsel of peace, to show consideration to the doubters; and for the doubters themselves, it is a proper humility not to judge others, chap. ii. 1: and in our conduct towards the weak brethren, it must be remembered how awful a thing is the conscience of sin, which is inseparable from doubt, ‘for whatever is not of faith, is sin.’ And here we come back once more to our original text, ‘Be of the same mind one with another.’
At this point, the Apostle returns from his digression to the main subject of the Epistle, which he briefly sums up under the figure of Jesus Christ a minister of the circumcision to the Gentiles, and once more clothes in the language of the prophets. Yet a certain degree of difference is discernible between his treatment of it in this and in the earlier portions of the Epistle. It is less abstract and more personal. He seems to think of the truths which he taught more in connexion with his own labours as Apostle of the Gentiles. A similar image to that of Christ the minister of the circumcision he applies to himself—the minister of Christ, the offerer up of the sacrifice of the Gentiles. Still, Apostle of the Gentiles as he is, he is careful not to intrude on another man’s labours. He has fulfilled his mission where he is, and does but follow the dictates of natural feeling in going first to Jerusalem, and then to the Christians of the West; for the success of which new mission he desires their prayers, that it may be acceptable to his friends and without danger from enemies, and may end in his coming to them with joy.
The last chapter consists almost entirely of salutations. Among these are interspersed a few of the former topics, some of which occur also at the end of other Epistles, such as peace and joy at the success of the Gospel. There are names of servants of God, among whom are Aquila and Priscilla, and others of whom no record has been elsewhere preserved. One expression raises without satisfying our curiosity, ‘distinguished among those who were Apostles before me.’ The Epistle, as it began with a summary of the Gospel, concludes with a thanksgiving—in which the subject of the Epistle is once more interwoven—to God the author of the Gospel, which was once hidden, but now revealed that the Gentiles also might be obedient to the faith.
In the previous chapter the Apostle had spoken of the unity of the Church, and of the offices of its members. He had gone on to scatter admonitions, following each other in order sometimes of sound, sometimes of meaning, which, like the precepts of the sermon on the Mount, went beyond the maxims of heathen virtue, or the sayings of ‘them of old time.’ Men were to think humbly of themselves, to return good for evil, to feed their enemies, to live peaceably with all. Continuing in the same spirit, he adds, ‘they are to be obedient to the powers that be.’ This is a part of the Christian’s duty, which he will more easily fulfil if he regards the magistrate as he truly is, as ‘the minister of God for good.’
The earnestness with which St. Paul dwells upon his theme, as well as the allusions to the same subject in other passages of the New Testament (Titus iii. 1: 1 Pet. ii. 13-18), are proofs that he is guarding against a tendency to which he knew the first believers to be subject. He is speaking to the Christians at Rome, as a bishop of the fourth or fifth century might have addressed the multitudes of Alexandria; preaching counsels of moderation to ‘the fifth monarchy men’ of that day. They were more in the eye of the Christian world than believers elsewhere, more likely to come into conflict with the imperial power, perhaps in greater danger of being led away with the dream of another kingdom. The spirit of rebellion, against which the Apostle is warning them, was not a mere misconception of the teaching of the Gospel; it lay deep in the circumstances of the age and in the temper of the Jewish people. It is impossible to forget, however slight may be their historical groundwork, the well-known words of Suetonius, Claud. c. 25, ‘Judaeos impulsore Chresto assiduè tumultuantes Româ expulit.’ (Acts xviii. 2.) The narrative of Scripture itself affords indications of similar agitations, so far as they can be expected to cross the peaceful path of our Saviour and His disciples. The words of the prophecy, as it is termed, of Caiaphas respecting our Lord, however unfounded, imply a political fear more than a religious enmity. The question of the Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?’ and the argument with which the Jews wrought on the fears of Pilate, are also not without significance. The account of Judas the Gaulonite, in Josephus, ‘who rose up about the time of the taxing,’ and whom Josephus terms ‘the founder of the fourth philosophy of the Jews’ (Ant. xviii. c. 1, §§ 1, 6), is a more explicit evidence of the spirit of insubordination. That ‘philosophy’ consisted in an inviolable attachment to liberty, and ‘in calling no man Lord’ but God Himself (§ 6), a principle which was maintained by its adherents with indescribable constancy. The author of the movement was no ordinary man, and the movement itself so far from being a transient one, that it continued through above half a century, and is regarded by Josephus, as ‘laying the foundation of the miseries’ of the Jewish war (xvii. c. 1, § 1).
The account of Josephus himself, unwilling as he is to do them justice, shows that in their first commencement the Zealots were animated by noble thoughts, their testimony to which they were ready to seal by tortures and death. Many of these ‘Galileans’ (for in this country they were chiefly found) were probably among the first converts. Like the Essenes, they stood in some relation that we are unable to trace to the followers of John the Baptist and of Christ. We cannot suppose that in all cases the temper of the Zealot had died away in the bosom of the Christian. A very slight misunderstanding of the manner in which ‘the kingdom was to be restored to Israel’ might suffice to rekindle the flame. If our Lord Himself had said, Peace I leave with you, He had also said, I come not to bring peace on earth, but a sword; if He had commanded Peter to put up his sword into the sheath, He had also commanded them each to sell his garment and buy one; if He had paid tribute, He had also declared that the children of the kingdom were free from the tribute. We could hardly wonder if those who heard His words sometimes mistook the result for the object, or confused the Jewish belief of the kingdom of heaven upon earth with the kingdom of God that is within. The after-history of the Church teaches how near such a confusion lay to the truth itself. Not once only, nor during our Lord’s lifetime only, there have been those who have ‘taken him by force to make him a king.’
The words ‘the powers that be are ordained of God’ have been made the foundation of many doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance. Out of the Apostle’s ‘counsels of moderation’ have developed themselves the Divine right of government, however exercised and under all circumstances, and even of particular forms of government. The party feelings of an age have been clothed in the language of Scripture, and established on the ground of antiquity. If the first Christians were to obey the heathen emperors, how can we ever be justified in shaking off the yoke of a Christian sovereign? If St. Paul said this under Nero, how much more is it true of the subjects of King Charles I?
Such arguments are two-edged? for as many passages may be quoted from Scripture which indirectly tend to the subversion, as can be adduced for the maintenance, of order or of property. The words of the psalmist, ‘to bind their kings in chains, their nobles in fetters of iron,’ are in the mouth of one class; ‘shall I lift up my hand to slay the Lord’s anointed?’ of another; and in peace and prosperity men turn to the one, in the hour of revolution to the other. Many are the texts which we either silently drop or insensibly modify, with which the spirit of modern society seems almost unavoidably to be at variance. The blessing on the poor, and the ‘hard sayings’ respecting rich men, are not absolutely in accordance even with the better mind of the present age. We cannot follow the simple precept, ‘Swear not at all,’ without making an exception for the custom of our courts of law. We dare not quote the words, ‘Go sell all thou hast and give to the poor,’ without adding the caution, ‘Beware, lest in making the copy thou break the pattern.’ We are not so often exhorted ‘to obey God rather than man,’ as warned against the misapplication of the words.
These instances are sufficient to teach us how moderate we should be in reasoning from particular precepts, even where they agree with our preconceived opinions. The truth seems to be that the Scripture lays down no rule applicable to individual cases, or separable from the circumstances under which it is given. Still less does it furnish a political or philosophical system—‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ which it scarcely seems to touch. No one can infer from the passage that we are considering that St. Paul believed it wrong to rise against wicked rulers in any case, because they were the appointment of God, any more than from his speaking of wrestling against principalities and powers we can conclude that he supposed, with some of the Ebionitish sects, that all power was of the devil. It never occurred to him that the hidden life which he thought of only as to be absorbed in the glory of the sons of God, was one day to be the governing principle of the civilized world. Though ‘he has written this in an epistle,’ he would not have us use it ‘altogether’ without regard to the state of this world. Only in reference to the time at which he is writing, looking at the infant community in relation to the heathen world, he exhorts them to suffer rather than oppose; and if ever the thought rises in their minds that those whom they obey are the oppressors of God and His Church, to remember that without His appointment they could not have been, and that, after all, it is for their own faults they themselves are most likely to endure evil even at the hands of Gentile magistrates.
It has been already stated, that we hardly know anything of the Roman Church. Hence the illustrations of the present chapter must rather consist in references to the floating opinions of the time than to precise facts. Even in regard to what we may seem to gather from the Epistle itself, it is not quite certain whether St. Paul is speaking from a knowledge of the circumstances of a Church which he had never visited, or from what he knew of the state of other Churches and of general tendencies in the mind of the first believers, or in the age generally. He may have had among his numerous acquaintances (xvi) some who, like the household of Chloe at Corinth, brought him news of what passed among the Christians at Rome. On the other hand, it may be remarked that a mention of similar observances to those here spoken of, recurs in the Epistle to the Colossians; and that a like scrupulosity of temper appears to have existed among the converts at Corinth.
The practices about which the first believers had scruples and on which the Apostle here touches, were—the use of animal food, and the observance of special days. The most probable guess at the nature of these scruples is that they were of half-Jewish, half-Oriental origin; similar practices existed among Jewish Essenes or Gentile Pythagoreans. Abstinence from animal food may be regarded as one among many indications of the ever-increasing influence of the East upon the West; unnatural as it seems to us, like circumcision it had become a second nature to a great portion of mankind. Fancy represented the eating of flesh as a species of cannibalism, and the Ebionites declared the practice to be an invention of evil demons (Clem. Hom. viii. 10-16). And with those who were far from superstitions of this kind, the fear of eating things offered to idols, or forbidden by the Mosaic law, operated so as to make them abstain where there was a danger of contact with Gentiles. Instances of such scruples occur in the book of Daniel and the Apocrypha. It was the glory of Daniel and the three holy children that they would ‘not defile themselves with the portion of the king’s food;’ Dan. i. 8. So Tobit ‘kept himself from eating the bread of the Gentiles;’ i. 10, 11. Judas Maccabeus and nine others, living ‘in the mountains after the manner of beasts, fed on herbs continually, lest they should become partakers of the pollution;’ 2 Macc. v. 27. Such examples show what the Jews had learned to practise or admire in the centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. So John the Baptist, in the narrative of the Gospels, ‘fed on locusts and wild honey.’ A later age delighted to attribute a similar abstinence to James the brother of the Lord (Heges. apud Euseb. H. E. ii. 23); and to Matthew (Clem. Alex. Paed. ii. 1, p. 174): heretical writers added Peter to the list of these encratites (Epiph. Her. xxx. 2; Clem. Hom. xii. 6). The Apostolical canons (li, liii) admit an ascetic abstinence, but denounce those who abstain from any sense of the impurity of matter. See passages quoted in Fritsche, vol. iii. pp. 151, 152.
Jewish, as well as Alexandrian and Oriental influences, combined to maintain the practice of abstinence from animal food in the first centuries. Long after it had ceased to be a Jewish scruple, it remained as a counsel of perfection. In earlier ages, it was the former more than the latter. Those for whom the Apostle is urging consideration are the weak, rather than the strong; not the ascetic, delighting to make physical purity the outward sign of holiness of life—against him it might have been necessary to contend for the freedom of the Gospel—but ‘the babe in Christ,’ feeble in heart and confused in head, who could not disengage himself from opinions or practices which he saw around him; for whom, nevertheless, Christ died.
Respecting the second point of the observance of days, we know no more than may be gathered from Gal. iv. 9, 10, 17, ‘How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye again desire to be in bondage? ye observe days, and months, and times, and years;’ where the Apostle is writing to a Church entangled in Judaism, which he therefore thinks it necessary to denounce: and Col. ii. 16, ‘Let no man therefore judge you in respect of an holyday or a new moon, or of the sabbath days:’ where the Apostle also reproves the same spirit as inconsistent with the close connexion or rather identity of the believer with his Lord. Whether in the Epistle to the Romans he is alluding to the Jewish observance of the Sabbath is uncertain; his main point is that the matter, whatever it was, should be left indifferent, and not determined by any decision of the Church. Superstitions of another kind may have also found their way among the Roman as well as the Colossian and Galatian converts. Astrology was practised both by Jew and Gentile; nor is it improbable that something of a heathen mingled with what was mainly of a Jewish character; the context of the two passages just quoted (Col. ii. 18, 20: Gal. iv. 9), would lead us to think so. It is true that the words, ὃς μὲν κρίνει ἡμέραν παρ’ ἡμέραν, ὃς δὲ κρίνει πα̂σαν ἡμέραν (ver. 5), probably mean only that ‘one man fasts on alternate days, another fasts every day.’ But the expression ὁ ϕρονωˆν τὴν ἡμέραν, in ver. 6, implies also the observance of particular days.
It has been already intimated, that this chapter furnishes no sure criterion that the Roman converts were either Jews or Gentiles. If it be admitted that it has any bearing at all on the state of the Roman converts, it tends to show that they were, not simply Gentiles converted from the ancient religion of Rome to Judaism or Christianity, but persons into whose minds Oriental notions had previously insinuated themselves, who with or before Christianity had received distinctions of days, and of meats and drinks, which in St. Paul’s view were the very opposite of it. If, on the other hand, we suppose St. Paul to have written without any precise knowledge of the state of the Roman Church, we may regard this chapter, and part of that which follows, as characteristic of the general feeling in the Churches to which the Apostle preached.
The subject recurs in the eighth and tenth chapters of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Here, as there, the Apostle knows but one way of treating these scruples and distinctions which were so alien to his own mind. It may be shortly described as absorbing the letter in the Spirit. When you see the weak brother doubting about his paltry observances, remember that the strength of God is sufficient for him; when you feel disposed to judge him, consider that he is another’s servant, and that God will judge both him and you; when you rejoice in your own liberty, do not forget that this liberty may be to him ‘an occasion of stumbling.’ Place yourself above his weaknesses by placing yourself below them, remembering that your very strength gives him a claim on you for support.
the EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, calleda-// an apostle, 1.2separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 1.3concerning his Son, bwho came// of the seed of David 1.4 according to the flesh; cappointed// to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by dresurrection of// the dead, eJesus Christ our Lord// ; 1.5by whom we f-// received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all the Gentiles for his 1.6name: among whom are ye also the called of Jesus 1.7Christ: to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called g-// saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1.8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of hin all the// world. 1.9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son; how without ceasing I make 1.10mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if by any means now at length I may have a prosperous 1.11journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some 1.12 spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be itogether comforted in// you by the 1.13mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, kand// was let hitherto, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other 1.14Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 1.15So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the 1.16gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospell-// ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the 1.17 Jew first, and also to the Greek; for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, mBut// the just shall live by faith.
1.18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, 1.19 who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which nis// known of God is manifest in them; 1.20 for God omanifests// it unto them. For 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 1.21 that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God; they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, 1.22and their foolish heart was darkened. Professingp-//1.23to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, 1.24 and creeping things. Wherefore Godq-// gave them up to uncleannessrin// the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 1.25who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creaturesrather// than the Creator, 1.26who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: fort-// their women did change the natural use into that which is against 1.27nature: and 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 1.28of their error which was meet. Andu-// as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those 1.29things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness,x-//yevil, wickedness, villany, covetousness// ; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, 1.30malignity; whisperers, backbiters,zhated// of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, 1.31disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection,a-// unmerciful: 1.32 who 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.
2Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that 2.2judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against 2.3 them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment 2.4of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to 2.5repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment 2.6of God; who will render to every man according to 2.7his deeds:bto those who patiently endure in a good work, seeking for eternal life, glory and honour and immortality//2.8 : but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, 2.9indignation, and wrath. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew 2.10first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
2.112.12For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many asc-// sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many asd-// sinned in the law 2.13shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the 2.14law shall be justified; for 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 2.15 themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and ethoughts accusing or else excusing them one with another//2.16 ; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 2.17fBut if// thou art called a Jew, and restest in the 2.18law, and gloriest in God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being 2.19instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which 2.20are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of 2.21 the truth in the law—thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest 2.22 a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost 2.23thougrob temples// ? thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou 2.24God? For the name of God is blasphemed among 2.25 the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is 2.26made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep thehjudgments// of the law, shall not his 2.27uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, whoiwith// the letter and 2.28circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that 2.29circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but 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.
3What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit 3.2is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, becausekthey were entrusted with// the oracles of God. 3.3 For what if some did not believe?1whether// shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 3.4God 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. 3.5But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who 3.6taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid, for 3.7then how shall God judge the world? 1 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; whymnotwithstanding// am I nstill// judged 3.8as a sinner? and 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.
3.9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and 3.10 Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, 3.11There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after 3.12God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that 3.13doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; 3.14the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth 3.15is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are 3.16swift to shed blood, oaffliction// and misery are in 3.17their ways, and the way of peace have they not 3.18 known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. 3.19 Now 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 come into judgment 3.20 before God. pBecause// by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law 3.21is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the lawqhas been// manifested, being 3.22witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith ofr-// Christ unto alls-// them that believe: for there is no 3.23difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the 3.24glory of God; being justified freely by his grace 3.25 through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith, tby// his blood, to declare his righteousness ubecause of the letting go// of sins that are past through the 3.26 forbearance of God, xfor the declaration of his righteousness at this time// : that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
3.27Where is boasting then? It yhas been// excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of 3.28faith. zFor// we conclude that a man is justified by 3.29faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? 3.30Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God,* which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision 3.31through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
4What shall we then say that Abraham a hath found1 , 4.2our progenitor according to the flesh?// For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; 4.3but not before God. For what saith the scripture? bBut// Abraham believed God, and it was counted 4.4unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of 4.5debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted 4.6for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth 4.7righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are 4.8covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will 4.9not impute sin. cThis declaration of blessing is it to the circumcision only that it is spoken, or to// the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was 4.10reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 4.11 And he received the dmark// of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had ein his uncircumcision// : that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, that fthe// righteousness might be imputed 4.12unto themg-// , and the father of circumcision hnot to them who are of the circumcision only, but to them also who// walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 4.13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through 4.14the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made 4.15 void, and the promise made of none effect: ifor// the law worketh wrath: kand// where no law is, there 4.16is no transgression. Therefore 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; 4.17who is the father of us all, (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. 4.18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that 4.19which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. lAnd not as one weak in faith he considered// his own body now dead when he was about an hundred years old, and 4.20the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong 4.21in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he mhas// promised, he nis// able 4.22also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to 4.23 him for righteousness. But it was not written for 4.24 his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, who believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 4.25who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.
5Therefore being justified by faith, 1 we have peace 5.2with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have ohad the// access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of 5.3 God. And not only so, but we prejoice// in tribulations 5.4also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and 5.5patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is 5.6given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, 1qyet// in due time Christ died for the 5.7 ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for rthe// good man some would 5.8even dare to die. But God sestablishes// his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ 5.9died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 5.10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being 5.11reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the treconciliation.//
5.12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon 5.13 all men, for that all have sinned—for until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where 5.14 there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is 5.15the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many udied,// much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, 5.16Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free 5.17gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by onex-// offence1 death reigned ythrough// one; much more they which receive zthe// abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life 5.18athrough// one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by bone offence judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by one act of righteousness// the free 5.19gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made 5.20righteous. cBut the law came in besides,// that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace 5.21 did much more abound: that as sin dreigned in// death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
6WHAT shall we say then? eAre we to// continue 6.2in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 6.3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into fChrist Jesus// were baptized into his death? 6.4 Therefore we gwere// 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 6.5should walk in newness of life. For if we have been hunited with him by// the likeness of his death, we shall be also iby// the likeness of his resurrection: 6.6knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth 6.7 forth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead 6.8khas been justified// from sin. lBut// if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with 6.9him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over 6.10 him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: 6.11but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves m-// dead indeed unto sin, 6.12but alive unto God through Jesus Christ. n-11 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye 6.13should obey o-// the lusts thereof. Neither 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 6.14 of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
6.15What then? pare we to sin,// because we are not 6.16under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know 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? 6.17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of 6.18doctrine qwhereto ye were delivered; and being// made free from sin, ye became the servants of 6.19righteousness. I 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 rsanctification.//6.20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye 6.21were free sas touching// righteousness. What fruit had ye then1 ? things whereof ye are now ashamed; 6.22for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto tsanctification,// and the end 6.23 everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life uin// Jesus Christ our Lord.
7 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over 7.2a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband xthat// liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is 7.3loosed from the law of her husband. So 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 7.4man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, to him who is raised from the 7.5dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring 7.6forth fruit unto death. But now, ybeing dead,// we are delivered from the lawz-// wherein we were held; aand so we// serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7.7 What 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, 7.8 Thou shalt not blust.// But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of clust.//7.9For without the law sin was dead, dand// I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment 7.10came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was to life, I found to be unto death. 7.11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived7.12 me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good; 7.13 was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death eto// me by that which is good; that sin by the 7.14 commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, 7.15sold under sin. fFor what I do I know not// : for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do 7.16I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent 7.17 unto the law that it is good: gand now// it is no more 7.18 I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to 7.19perform that which is good,h-// not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, 7.20that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no 7.21more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then ithe// law, that, when I would do good, evil is 7.22present with me. For I delight in the law of God 7.23 after the inward man: but 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 7.24in my members. O wretched man that I am! who 7.25shall deliver me from the body of this death? kThanks be to God// through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; howbeit with the flesh the law of sin.
8There is therefore now no condemnation to them 8.2 which are in Christ Jesus.l-// For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made 1 me free from 8.3 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, 8.4 and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who 8.5walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of 8.6 the Spirit. For mthe mind of the flesh// is death; 8.7but nthe mind of the Spirit// is life and peace. Because the omind of the flesh// is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can 8.8be; pand// they that are in the flesh cannot please 8.9 God. But 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 8.10his. qBut// if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of 8.11 righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ rJesus// from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 8.12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, 8.13to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify 8.14 the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 8.15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
8.16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, 8.17that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; ssince// we suffer with him, that we may be also 8.18 glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed tunto// us. 8.19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth 8.20 for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in 8.21hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the uliberty of the glory//8.22of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain 8.23 together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for 8.24the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: 1 for what a man seeth, why doth he x-// hope 8.25for? But if we hope for that we see not, we with patience wait for it.
8.26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our yinfirmity:// for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercessionz-//8.27with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, athat it// maketh intercession for the 8.28 saints according to the will of God. And we know that bin all things God works// together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called 8.29 according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn 8.30among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
8.31 What shall we then say to these things? If God 8.32be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all 8.33 things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of 8.34 God’s elect? 1cShall// God that justifieth? Who is he that dwill condemn?// Will Christ that died, e-// rather, that is risen again, who is also at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession 2 for us? 8.35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or 8.36nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are 8.37accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through 8.38 him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor 8.39things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 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.
9I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience 9.2 also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my 9.3heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according 9.4to the flesh: who are Israelites; fwhose is// the adoption, and the glory, and 1 the gcovenant,// and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the 9.5 promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom 2 as concerning the flesh Christ came. hGod, who is over 9.6all, is// blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath ifailed.// For they are not all 9.7Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In 9.8 Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted 9.9for ka// seed. For this is the word of promise, At this 9.10time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived 9.11by one, even by our father Isaac; 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: 9.12it was said unto her, lthat// the elder shall serve the 9.13 younger. As it is written, Jacob m-// I loved, but Esau n-// I hated.
9.14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness 9.15with God? God forbid. For 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. 9.16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 9.17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, othat// for this same purpose I have raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared 9.18 throughout all the earth. pSo then he hath mercy// on 9.19whom he will,q-// and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why rthen// doth he yet find 9.20fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay rather, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast 9.21thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto 9.22 honour, and another unto dishonour? sAnd// if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-sufferingt-// vessels of 9.23wrath fitted to destruction: 1 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, 9.24which he had afore prepared unto glory? Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of 9.25the Gentiles, as he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, 9.26which was 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 of the 9.27 living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of 9.28 the sea, a remnant shall be saved. uFor the Lord will accomplish his word finishing and cutting it short 9.29upon the earth.// And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
9.30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, xbut// the righteousness which is of 9.31faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law.y-//9.32 Wherefore? Because znot of// faith, but as it were of worksa-// they stumbled at bthe// stumblingstone; 9.33as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and che who// believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
10Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for 10.2dthem// is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not 10.3 according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, eare not subject// unto the righteousness 10.4 of God. For Christ is the end of the law 10.5for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall 10.6 live fin it.// But 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 10.7down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the 10.8dead). But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of 10.9faith, which we preach; that 1 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, 10.10thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth 10.11confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be 10.12ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord gis over all,//10.13rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall 10.14 call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then hare they to// call on him in whom they have not believed? and how hare they to// believe in himi-// whom they have not heard? and how kare they to//10.15hear without a preacher? and how kare they to// are they to// preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them thatl-// bring glad 10.16tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath 10.17believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, 10.18and hearing by the word of mChrist.// But I say, Have they not heard? nNay rather,// their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of 10.19 the world. But 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 10.20anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found1oin// them that sought me not; I was made 10.21 manifest oin// them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
11 I say then, Hath God cast away his people2 [pwhich he foreordained// ]? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of 11.2Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he qforeordained.// Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God 11.3against Israel,r-// Lord, they have killed thy prophets,s-// digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and 11.4they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand 11.5 men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant 11.6 according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no 11.7more grace. t-// What then? uhath not Israel// obtained that which he seeketh for? But the election hath 11.8obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of xtorpor,// eyes that they should not see, and ears that 11.9 they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and 11.10a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
11.11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall is salvation unto the Gentiles come, for to provoke them 11.12to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of 11.13the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? yBut// to you Gentiles I speak, znay rather,// inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine 11.14office: if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and amay// save some of 11.15 them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of 11.16 them be, but life from the dead? bAnd// if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the 11.17 root be holy, so are the branches. cBut// if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them dbecamest partaker// of the root and fatness of the 11.18olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root 11.19thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken 11.20off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by 11.21 faith. Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare 11.22 not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, ethe goodness of God// if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 11.23And they also, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 11.24For 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 11.25 olive tree? For 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. 11.26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer; fhe// shall turn 11.27away gungodlinesses// from Jacob: hand// this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their 11.28sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved 11.29for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling 11.30 of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have idisobeyed// God, yet have now obtained 11.31mercy through their kdisobedience:// even so have these also now not believed lthrough mercy to you, 11.32that// they also mnow// may obtain mercy. For God nshut up all together// in unbelief, that he omay// have mercy upon all.
11.33O the depth of the riches pand// the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, 11.34and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his 11.35counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall 11.36be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to qhim// be glory for ever. Amen.
12 I rexhort// you therefore, brethren, sthrough// the mercies of God, tto// present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your 12.2uworship in thought.// And xnot to be//1 conformed to this world: but yto be// transformed by the renewing of zthe// mind, that ye may prove what is that 12.3good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For 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 aunto sobriety,// according as God hath dealt to every man the measure 12.4 of faith. For as we have many members in one body, 12.5and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one 12.6 members one of another. bBut as we have// gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the 12.7 proportion of faith; or ministry, let us cuse our gift in//12.8 ministering: or he that teacheth, in teaching; or he that exhorteth, in exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 12.9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which 12.10 is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another din the love of the brethren// ; in honour eleading the way one to//12.11 another; not backward in diligence; fervent in spirit; 12.12serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; 12.13 continuing instant in prayer; distributing to 12.14 the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 12.15Rejoice with them that do rejoice;f-// weep with them 12.16 that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another: gminding// not high things, but hgoing along with the lowly.// Be not wise in your own conceits. 12.17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest1 [iin the sight of God and// ] in the sight ofk-//12.18men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, lbe at peace//12.19 with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the 12.20Lord. mRather// ‘if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for nit is by doing this that//12.21 thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.’ Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
13Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be 13.2are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they 13.3 that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to othe good work,// but to the evil. pAnd wilt thou// not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of 13.4 the same: for 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 13.5him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience 13.6sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually qfor//13.7this very thing. Renderr-// to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; 13.8 fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that 13.9 loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal,s-// Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in thist-// , namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 13.10thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore 13.11 love is the fulfilling of the law. And uthis,// knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than 13.12 when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, 13.13and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not 13.14 in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, xunto// the lusts thereof.
14 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, ynot to judge his doubtful thoughts.//14.2 For one zhas faith to// eat all things: abut he that// is weak, eateth herbs. 14.3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that 14.4 eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another’s servant? to his own bLord// he standeth or falleth. cAnd holden up he shall be: 14.5for the Lord// is able to make him stand. dOne man approves every other day: another approves every day.// Let every man be fully persuaded in his 14.6 own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord. e-// He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to 14.7the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to 14.8himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether 14.9 we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and flived,// that he might 14.10be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the 14.11judgment seat of gGod.// For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every 14.12tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us 14.13shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an 14.14 occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded hin// the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth 14.15 any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. iFor// if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, 14.16 for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be 14.17 evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in 14.18the Holy Ghost. For he that in kthis// serveth Christ 14.19is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, 14.20 and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with 14.21 offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother1 stumbleth, 14.22 or is offended, or is made weak. lThe faith which thou hast have// to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he 14.23alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
15mNow we// that are strong ought to bear the infirmities 15.2of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to 15.3 edification. For nChrist too// pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that 15.4reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and othrough// comfort of 15.5the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded 15.6one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify pthe 15.7God and// Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received qus//15.8 to the glory of God. rFor// I say thats-// Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to 15.9 confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among 15.10the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again 15.11tit// saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, uit saith,// Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; 15.12 and x let all the people laud him.’ And again, Esaias saith, ‘There shall be ythe// root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the 15.13Gentiles zhope.// 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.
15.14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, 15.15 able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the 15.16 grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, adoing the work of a priest of// the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being 15.17 sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore bmy glorying// through Jesus Christ in those things which 15.18pertain to God. For 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, 15.19 through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the cHoly Spirit// ; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel 15.20of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon 15.21another man’s foundation: but as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they 15.22that have not heard shall understand. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming 15.23 to you. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to 15.24 come unto you; whensoever I take my journey into Spaind-// —(for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first 15.25I be somewhat filled with your company). But now 15.26I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor eamong the//15.27saints which are at Jerusalem. It 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 15.28 carnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you 15.29 into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessingf-// of 15.30Christ. Now 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 15.31 me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judæa; and thatg the offering of my gift 15.32at// Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; 1 that I may come unto you with joy by the will of hthe Lord Jesus.// Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
16 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is 16.2a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye isuccour// her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she ktoo// hath been a succourer of 16.3many, and ofl-//my own self. Greet mPrisca// and 16.4Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 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. 16.5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epenetus, who is the firstfruits 16.6of nAsia// unto Christ. Greet Mary, who bestowed 16.7 much labour on us. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ 16.8before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. 16.9Salute Urbane, our helper 1 in othe Lord,// and Stachys 16.10my beloved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household. 16.11Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. 16.12Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. [Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured 16.13much in the Lord.] Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, 16.14and his mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brethren which 16.15are with them. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which 16.16 are with them. Salute one another with an holy kiss. pAll// the churches of Christ salute you.
16.17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine 16.18which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lordq-// Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches 16.19 deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that 16.20which is good, and pure concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
16.21Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, 16.22 and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. I Tertius, 16.23who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.r-//
16.25 Now 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 16.26kept secret since the world began, but 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: 16.27to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever sand ever.// Amen.t-//
[a]add to be
[b]Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made
[d]the resurrection from
[e]omit Jesus Christ our Lord
[g]add to be
[h]throughout the whole
[i]comforted together with
[l]add of Christ
[y]wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness
[b]to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life
[e]their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another
[k]that unto them were committed
[1 ]Reading εἰ γάρ
[s]add and upon all
[u]for the remission
[x]to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness
[* ]εἱ̑ς ὁ θεὸς ὃς δικαιώσει, iii. 30.—Let us turn aside for a moment to consider how great this thought was in that age and country; a thought which the wisest of men had never before uttered, which at the present hour we imperfectly realize, which is still leavening the world, and shall do so until the whole is leavened, and the differences of races, of nations, of castes, of religions, of languages, are finally done away. Nothing could seem a less natural or obvious lesson in the then state of the world, nothing could be more at variance with experience, or more difficult to carry out into practice. Even to us it is hard to imagine that the islander of the South Seas, the pariah of India, the African in his worst estate, is equally with ourselves God’s creature. But in the age of St. Paul how great must have been the difficulty of conceiving barbarian and Scythian, bond and free, all colours, forms, races, and languages alike and equal in the presence of God who made them! The origin of the human race was veiled in a deeper mystery to the ancient world, and the lines which separated mankind were harder and stronger; yet the ‘love of Christ constraining’ bound together in its cords, those most separated by time or distance, those who were the types of the most extreme differences of which the human form is capable.
[a ]our father as pertaining to the flesh hath found
[1 ]Reading τί οἠ̂ν ἐρονˆμεν εὑρηκέναι
[c]Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon
[e]yet being uncircumcised
[h]to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also
[l]And being not weak in faith he considered not
[1 ]Reading ἔχομεν
[o]omit had the
[1 ]Reading ἔτι γὰρ χριστός
[1 ]Reading [ἐν τῳ̑] ἑνὶ παραπτώματι
[b]the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one
[c]Moreover the law entered
[d]hath reigned unto
[h]planted together in
[m]add to be
[n]add our Lord
[o]add it in
[p]shall we sin
[q]which was delivered you; being then
[1 ]Placing the point of interrogation after εἴχετε τότε
[x]so long as he
[y]omit being dead
[z]add that being dead
[a]that we should
[f]For that which I do I allow not
[h]add I find
[k]I thank God
[l]add who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit
[1 ]Reading με
[m]to be carnally minded
[n]to be spiritually minded
[s]if so be that
[1 ]Reading δ γὰρ βλέπει τις, τί ἐλπίζει;
[z]add for us.
[b]all things work
[1 ]Reading θεὸς ὁ δικαιωˆν;
[2 ]Reading ὑπὲρ ἡμωˆν;
[f]to whom pertaineth
[1 ]Reading ἡ διαθήκη
[2 ]Reading τὸ κατὰ σάρκα. ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεός
[h]who is over all, God
[i]taken none effect.
[p]Therefore hath he mercy
[q]add have mercy
[1 ]Reading καὶ ἵνα γνωρίσῃ
[u]For he is finishing the work, and cutting it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
[y]add of righteousness
[z]they sought it not by
[a]add of the law. For
[e]have not submitted themselves
[1 ]Reading ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῳ̑ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησονˆν
[g]over all is
[l]add preach the gospel of peace and
[1 ]Reading [ἐν] τοɩ̂ς
[2 ]Reading [δν προέγνω]
[p]omit which he foreordained
[t]add But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
[u]Israel hath not
[z]omit nay rather
[e]omit the goodness of God
[l]that through your mercy
[n]hath concluded them all
[x]be ye not
[1 ]Reading συσχηματίζεσθαι . . . μεταμορϕονˆσθαι
[c]wait on our
[d]with brotherly love
[h]condescend to men of low estate
[1 ]Reading [ἐνώπιον τονˆ θεονˆ καὶ] ἐνώπιον τωˆν ἀνθρώπων·
[i]omit in the sight of God and
[n]in so doing
[p]Wilt thou then
[s]add thou shalt not bear false witness,
[y]but not to doubtful disputations
[z]believeth that he may
[c]Yea, he shall be holden up: for God
[d]One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.
[e]add and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.
[f]rose, and revived
[1 ]Reading προσκόπτει ἢ σκανδαλίζεται ἢ ἀσθενεɩ̂.
[l]Hast thou faith? Have it
[p]God, even the
[u]omit it saith
[x ]laud him all ye people
[b]whereof I may glory
[c]Spirit of God
[d]add I will come to you
[e]omit among the
[f]add of the Gospel
[g]my service which I have for
[1 ]Reading ἵνα ἐν χαρᾳ̑ ἔλθω πρὸς ὑμα̂ς διὰ θελήματος κυρίου Ἰησονˆ.
[h]God, and may with you be refreshed
[1 ]Reading ἐν κυρίῳ
[r]add 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
[s]omit and ever
[t]add Written to the Romans from Corinth, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.
[1. 4.]We may paraphrase the passage thus:—‘Concerning Christ who belonged to two worlds, a former and a latter one: the first, earthly, human, Jewish; the other, spiritual and invisible: the Son of David appointed to be the Son of God, as He was holy, and had the Spirit of God dwelling in Him.’ All this is not fully or definitely expressed in this passage; but is yet so closely connected with it, that the attempt to explain the several words becomes almost unmeaning without such a prolongation of them.
[8, 9.]It is characteristic of the Apostle, that all his Epistles, with the exception of the Galatians, begin with language of conciliation. As in ordinary life we first address one another with courteous salutation, so does the Apostle introduce himself to his readers, with the words of Christian charity. He lingers for an instant around that pleasant impression of a Church without spot, such as it never will be in this world, before he passes onward to reprove and exhort those whom he is addressing. It is an ideal Church that he contemplates, elect, spiritual, heavenly, going on to perfection, the image of which seems ever to blend with, and to overshadow those who bear its glorious titles.
[12.]The meaning of the word παρακαλεɩ̂ν, as of παράκλητος, wavers between consolation and exhortation, or includes both. In the LXX the former sense is the prevailing one; here both are combined. What the progress of language and the analysis of Christian feelings have separated into two, was, in the age of the Apostles, one idea and one word, with a scarcely perceptible diversity of meaning. The idea of ‘consolation’ implied in it does not, however, refer to comfort or sympathy in any particular sorrow, but rather to the conscious communion of Christians in this present evil world. Nor is there implied in the notion of exhortation the bringing forward of statements or precepts respecting the Christian faith, but the imparting of a new spirit or temper of mind. If, allowing for the great difference between our own and the Apostolic times, we could imagine a person who had listened to a preacher, or received the counsel of a friend, who exactly touched the chords of his soul, such a one might express himself in one word as comforted and instructed; that word would be παρακαλεɩ̂σθαι. For a similar connexion of παρακαλεɩ̂ν and στηρίζειν, compare 1 Thess. iii. 2: 2 Thess. ii. 17.
[17.]Passing onward to the height of his great argument, the Apostle involves reason within reason, four times in three successive verses. Such is the overlogical form of Hellenistic Greek. ‘I preach the Gospel, for I glory in it; for it is not weak but strong, a power to save to him that has faith, for it is a revelation of the righteousness of God through faith; for the times of that ignorance God no longer winks at,’ &c. The repetition of γάρ does but represent the different stages and aspects of the Apostle’s thought.
[19.]The heathen knew the truth, and did not know it. They had the elements of knowledge, but not knowledge itself. As the laws of nature, though unknown to man, existed from the first; so did the God of nature, though unknown to man, exist before the worlds. Yet how can that be termed knowledge which was ignorance?
[20.]The sense in which they knew and did not know, admits of another illustration from the workings of conscience, which may further remind the student of Aristotle’s Ethics, of the discussion which is entered upon by the great master, of another form of the Socratic opinion. There are moral as well as spiritual truths, which we know and we do not know; know at one moment and forget the next; know and do not know at the same instant; for our ignorance of which we cannot help blaming ourselves, even though it were impossible that we should know them; and which, when presented to us, work conviction and sorrow for the past. And so if St. Paul be judging the heathen from his own point of view rather than theirs, he is also holding up before them a picture, the truth of which, as they became Christians, they would themselves recognize.
[21.]The senselessness of the heathen religions and their worshippers, was an aspect of them far more striking to contemporary Jews or Christians than to ourselves. We gaze upon the fragments of Phidias and Praxiteles, and fancy human nature almost ennobled by the ‘form divine.’ Our first notions of patriotism are derived from Marathon and Thermopylae. The very antiquity of heathenism gives it a kind of sacredness to us. The charms of classical literature add a grace. It was otherwise with the Jews and first believers. They saw only ‘cities wholly given to idolatry,’ whose gods were but stocks and stones, described in the sarcasm of the prophet, ‘The workman maketh a graven image.’
[24.]παρέδωκεν, gave them up.] Origen and several of the Fathers soften the meaning of the word, παρέδωκεν, by interpreting εἴασεν, permitted to be given over, rather than delivered over. Such explanations are not interpretations of Scripture, but only adaptations of it to an altered state of feeling and opinion. They are ‘afterthoughts of theology,’ as much as the discussions and definitions alluded to above, designed, when the question has begun to occupy the mind of man, to guard against the faintest supposition of a connexion between God and evil. So in modern times we say God is not the cause of evil: He only allows it; it is a part of His moral government, incidental to His general laws. Without considering the intimate union of good and evil in the heart of man, or the manner in which moral evil itself connects with physical, we seek only to remove it, as far as possible, in our language and modes of conception, from the Author of good. The Gospel knows nothing of these modern philosophical distinctions, though revolting, as impious, from the notion that God can tempt man. The mode of thought of the Apostle is still the same as that implied in the aphorism: ‘Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.’ To preserve this is essential, or we shall confuse what the Epistles do say, and what we suppose that they ought to have said; the words used to express the operation of the Divine Being, and the general impression of Divine goodness which we gather from Scripture as a whole.
[32.]It has been already remarked, that the form of St. Paul’s writings is often more artificial and rhetorical than the thought. May not this be the explanation of the passage which we are considering? The opposition is really one of particles, not of ideas. The Apostle does not mean to say ‘who do them, and, more than that, have pleasure in those that do them,’ but simply ‘who do them, and assent to those who do them.’ (Compare 2 Cor. viii. 10 οἵτινες οὐ μόνον τὸ ποιη̂σαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ θέλειν προενήρξασθε ἀπὸ πέρυσι, which is probably to be explained in the same way, and where the commentators have recourse to similar forced interpretations.) He is aggravating the picture by another, but not necessarily a deeper shade of guilt.
[2. 3.]Hypocrisy is almost always unconscious; it draws the veil over its own evil deeds, while it condemns its neighbours; it deceives others, but begins by deceiving the hypocrite himself. It is popularly described as ‘pretending to be one thing, and doing, thinking, or feeling another;’ in fact, it is very different. Nobody really leads this sort of unnatural and divided existence. A man does wrong, but he forgets it again; he sees the same fault in another, and condemns it; but no arrow of conscience reaches him, no law of association suggests to him that he has sinned too. Human character is weak and plastic, and soon reforms itself into a deceitful whole. Indignation may be honestly felt at others by men who do the same things themselves; they may often be said to relieve their own conscience, perhaps, even to strengthen the moral sentiments of mankind by their expression of it. The worst hypocrites are bad as we can imagine, but they are not such as we imagine. The Scribes and Pharisees, ‘hypocrites,’ were unlike what they seem to us; much more would they have regarded their own lives in another light from that in which our Lord has pictured them. Their hypocrisy, too, might be described as weakness and self-deception, only heightened and made more intense by the time and country in which they lived. It was the hypocrisy of an age and of a state of society blinder, perhaps, and more fatal for this very reason, but less culpable in the individuals who were guilty of it. Those who said, ‘we have a law, and by our law he ought to die,’ were not without ‘a zeal for God,’ though seeking to take away Him in whom only the law was fulfilled.
[8.]ἀπειθονˆσι τῃ̂ ἀληθείᾳ.] By the truth is meant the law of right, and the will of God generally. The ideas of truth and right are not separated in Scripture, as they are in our way of speaking, or in the forms of thought of the Greek Philosophy. There is no ‘division of the soul,’ in Aristotle’s language, into moral and intellectual. Hence, knowledge in Scripture is often spoken of as a moral quality, and with the word ‘truth’ are associated expressions denoting acts and states of the will rather than of the intellect. See chap. i. 20.
[11.]It was one of the first ideas that the Israelite had of God, that He was no respecter of persons; Deut. x. 17: 2 Chron. xix. 7: Job xxxiv. 19. But this disregard of persons was only in His dealings with individuals of the chosen people. St. Paul used the expression in the wider sense of not making a difference of persons between Jew and Gentile, circumcision or uncircumcision, bond or free, just as he adapted the words ‘there is one God’ to the meaning of God one and the same to all mankind, in iii. 30 and elsewhere. Nothing could be less like the spirit of his countrymen than this sense of the universal justice of God. Still it might be asked of the Apostle himself, how the fact of their ever having been a privileged people, was consistent with the belief of this equal justice to all mankind. Like many other difficulties, we can answer this by parallel difficulties among ourselves. Though living in the full light of the Gospel, there are many things which to us also ‘God hath put in his own power,’ and which we believe rather than know to be reconcilable with His justice. What to us the heathen are still, standing apparently on the outskirts of God’s moral government, that to St. Paul and the believers of the first age were ‘the times of that ignorance that God winked at.’ Are we not brought by time to a later stage of the same difficulty?
[15.]The 14th and 15th verses contain an analysis of the natural feeling of right and wrong, in three states or stages. First, the unconscious stage, in which the Gentiles not having the law, show its real though latent existence in their own hearts; of which, secondly, they have a faint though instinctive perception in the witness of conscience; which, thirdly, grows by reflection into distinct approval or disapproval of their own acts and those of others.
[16.]A difficulty occurs in the construction of this verse, the future ῃ̑ κρινεɩ̂ being joined with the present ἐνδείκνυνται, or as some interpreters think with κατηγορούντων and ἀπολογουμένων. The English version has enclosed vers. 13-15 in a parenthesis, to escape the difficulty; an expedient which it has frequently adopted, as at ch. v. 13-18: Eph. iv. 9, 10, but which is peculiarly unsuited to the unravelling of the tangle of discourse, in such a writer as St. Paul. The thread of any broken construction may in this way be resumed; yet unless the parenthesis really had a place in the author’s mind, our supposed explanation will be a mere grammatical figment like the ‘word understood,’ in explanation of a difficult construction. A real parenthesis is the insertion of a clause, or of a thought, between two points of a sentence, the meaning of which should be clearly broken off at its beginning, and clearly resumed at its conclusion. The parenthetical thought, as it is hurried over in discourse, should be really an afterthought, yet necessary to the comprehension of the sentence. The present passage does not come within this rule, and therefore a parenthesis has no place here. It is far more probable that, as elsewhere, St. Paul wrote without perfect sequence, than that he suspended his meaning through several verses, and resumed it unimpaired.
[17–29.]From this point to the end of the chapter, the Apostle exerts all the force of his eloquence to unmask the Jew. All the imaginations with which he flatters himself, all the titles that he delights to heap upon himself, are suggestive of the contrast between what he is and what he seems, which is further heightened by the previous mention of the Gentile who knew not the law and did by nature the things contained in the law, and pointed at the conclusion by a verse from the Old Testament. At ver. 26 the Gentile reappears and the order is finally inverted, uncircumcision which fulfils the law taking the place of circumcision which transgresses the law, and the idea of the Jew in spirit forming a middle term between Jew and Gentile.
[21.]At length the Apostle turns to strike: the thought for which throughout the chapter he had been preparing, is now uttered with its full force. He cuts short the apodosis with a question, which is also an inference: Is the result of all this that thou who judgest doest the same thing? ‘Dost thou,’ we might repeat in the language of the Gospels, ‘who art paying tithe of mint, of rue, and of cumin, devour widows’ houses? Art thou, who castest stones at others, free from the sin of adultery thyself?’
[22.]ὁ βδελυσσόμενος, thou who abhorrest.] The most literal mode of taking the words is also the freest from objections: ‘Dost thou who abhorrest idols, rob the idol’s temple?’ Such an offence might be very possibly committed by a Jew, whom no ‘religio loci’ would restrain; and it would occur to St. Paul, as an inhabitant of a Gentile city, to mention it. This explanation is confirmed by the use of the word ἱεροσύλους in Acts xix. 37, curiously translated in the English Version ‘robbers of churches’ (compare 2 Macc. iv. 42, where it is similarly translated, though referring to the Jewish temple), and by the remarkable interpretation of Exod. xxii. 28, in Josephus, Ant. iv. 8, § 10 ‘Let no one blaspheme those gods whom other cities esteem such, nor any one steal what belongs to strange temples; nor take away the gifts that are dedicated to any God.’
[25.]περιτομὴ μὲν γὰρ ὠϕελεɩ̂, for circumcision profiteth.] This is one of that class of questions which, in ancient as well as modern times, is seldom brought to the distinct issue of the Apostle. The Rabbi would have hesitated to say that a wicked Jew had a part in Messiah’s kingdom, or that the virtuous heathen was necessarily excluded from it. The Christian, in modern times at least, would shrink from affirming that an unbaptized infant is ‘a child of wrath,’ or that the baptized could hardly, if in any case, fail of salvation at the last. But many even among Christians would gladly, if possible, turn away from the inquiry: they would wish to be allowed to hold premises without pushing them to their conclusions; to take issue upon a word, and not to determine the point of morality or justice.
[3. 3.]τὴν πίστιν τονˆ θεονˆ, the faith of God,] like δικαιοσύνη θεονˆ above. The play of words is hardly translatable in English. ‘Shall their want of faith make of none effect the good faith of God.’ From the sense of ‘the faith’ which men have in God, πίστις passes into the meaning of the faith which God exercises towards men. (Compare ἀγάπη θεονˆ.)
[9–27.]At this point the Apostle leaves the digression into which he had been drawn, and returns to the main subject; describing, in the language of the Old Testament, the evil of those who are under the law, that is, of the whole former world; and revealing the new world in which God manifests forth His righteousness in Christ Jesus. In the previous chapter, he had not distinctly denied the privileges of the Jew; or had, at least, veiled the purely moral principle for which he was contending, under the figure of ‘the Jew inwardly,’ and ‘circumcision of the heart.’ At the commencement of the third chapter, he brought forward the other side of the argument, from which he is driven by the extravagance of the Jew. At length, dropping his imperfect enumeration of the advantages of the Jew, he boldly affirms the result, that the Jew is no better than the Gentile, and that all need the salvation, which all may have.
[9.]are we better than they?] The Apostle had previously spoken of the Jews in the third person. Now he is about to utter an unpalatable truth. Is it an overrefinement to suppose that he changes the person to soften the expression by identifying himself with them? Compare 1 Cor. iv. 6 ‘These things I have transferred in a figure to myself and Apollos, for your sakes.’
[18.]From the LXX of Psalm xxxvi. 1. What does the Apostle intend to prove by these quotations? That at various times mankind have gone astray, and done evil; that in particular cases the prophets and psalmists energetically denounced the wickedness of the Jews, or of their enemies. This is all that can be strictly gathered from them, and yet not enough to support what is termed the Apostle’s argument. From the fact that the enemies of David were perfidious and deceitful, that the children of Israel, in the time of the prophet Isaiah, were swift to shed blood, we can draw no conclusions respecting mankind in general. Because Englishmen were cruel in the times of the civil wars, or because Charles the First had bitter and crafty enemies, we could not argue that the present generation, not to say the whole world, fell under the charge of the same sin. Not wholly unlike this, however, is the adaptation which the Apostle makes of the texts which he has quoted from the Old Testament. He brings them together from various places to express the thought which is passing through his mind; and he quotes them with a kind of authority, as we might use better language than our own to enforce our meaning. In modern phraseology, they are not arguments, but illustrations. The use of them is exactly similar to our own use of Scripture in sermons, where the universal is often inferred from the particular, and precepts or events divested of the particular circumstances which accompany them, or the occasions on which they arose, are made to teach a general lesson. It was after the manner of the Apostle’s age, and hardly less after the manner of our own.
[19.]οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι, but we know.] Either (1) we may suppose that the Apostle, having already concluded the Gentiles under sin in the first chapter, is using these texts against the Jews, to complete the proof against men in general. ‘We know that whomsoever these words out of the law touch, they must touch the Jew, who is under the law, so that he forms no exception, and the whole world, including the Jew, come under the judgment of God.’ Or, (2) The Jew is regarded by him as the type of the Gentile; and having convicted the one, he assumes, à fortiori, the conviction of the other. The Apostle has found words in the law which describe the sinfulness of man, who, from this very circumstance, may be said to be under or in the law. He does not mean to say that the law speaks to those who are under the law, but that those to whom the law speaks are under the law. All those who are thus described are drawn within the law, and belong to the prior dispensation. Or, more simply: The law in saying these things speaks to persons over whom it has authority (comp. vii. 1 ὁ νόμος κυριεύει τονˆ ἀνθρώπου); it is not a mere abstraction.
[20.]The object of Arminian and Romanist divines has ever been to confine the ‘works of the law’ to the ceremonial law, thereby gaining a supposed immunity for the doctrine of justification by works in another sense. Calvinists and Lutherans, with a truer perception of the Apostle’s purpose, have affirmed that the moral law could, as little as the ceremonial, be made the groundwork of acceptance with God. They have truly urged, that there is no indication in the writings of St. Paul of the existence of such a distinction. The law is to him one law, the whole law, the figure, indeed, of many things, but never separated into the portion that relates to ceremonies, and the portion that relates to moral precepts.
[25.]ἱλαστήριον] has three senses given it by commentators on this passage: First, as in Heb. ix. 5, ‘mercy-seat,’ a meaning of the word supposed to have arisen from a misconception of the LXX respecting the Hebrew ת[UNK][UNK][UNK], the covering of the ark, which they wrongly connected with ר[UNK][UNK], to expiate or cover sin. This interpretation is too obscure and peculiar for the present passage: (1) it would require the article; (2) it is inappropriate, because St. Paul is not here speaking of the mercy, but of the righteousness of God; (3) the image, if used, should be assisted by the surrounding phraseology. Two other explanations offer themselves: either (1) ἱλαστήριον may be a masculine adjective in apposition with ὅν, ‘whom God set forth as propitiatory,’ or better, (2) a neuter adjective, which has passed into a substantive—whom God has set forth as a ‘propitiation,’ like σωτήριον Exod. xx. 24; cf. xxix. 28.
[26.]πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τη̂ς δικαιοσύνης αὐτονˆ, for declaration of his righteousness.] Not, as in the English Version, a mere resumption of the previous εἰς ἔνδειξιν, ‘for the manifestation, I say, of his righteousness at this time.’ The words πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τη̂ς δικαιοσύνης are in juxtaposition with ἐν τῃ̂ ἀνοχῃ̂ τονˆ θεονˆ, and closely connected with διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν, as ἐν τῳ̑ ννˆν καιρῳ̑ corresponds to προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων. It was partly owing to the long suffering of God, that He ‘winked at’ past sins; but there was likewise a further object, that He should set forth His righteousness at the time appointed. He hid Himself that He might be revealed. The manifestation of His righteousness was the counterpart of His neglect and long suffering. When the ἔνδειξις was first mentioned this point of view was not touched upon; it is now indicated by the article. Comp. for a similar mode of connecting the two halves of the dispensation, ver. 20 ‘The law came in that sin might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’
[4. 11, 12.]And circumcision came afterwards, as the effect not the cause, the seal not the instrument, of the faith which Abraham had had in a previous state. The object of this was that he might be the spiritual parent of all those who like him have faith, yet being uncircumcised, that the righteousness that was sealed in him might be counted to them. There was a further object, that he might link together in one circumcision and uncircumcision, and be a father of circumcision to those who walk in the footsteps of the faith, which he had in his prior state. σημεɩ̂ον, like σϕραγίς, refers to the outward mark of circumcision, which is also a sign of the promise. εἰς τὸ εἰ̂ναι . . . εἰς τὸ λογισ., not in the thoughts of Abraham, but in the purpose of God.
[13.]the heir of the world.] The Apostle is alluding to Gen. xv. 7 ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἐξαγαγών σε ἐκ χώρας χαλδαίων, ὥστε δονˆναί σοι τὴν γη̂ν ταύτην κληρονομη̂σαι. Compare also Gen. xvii. 5 πατέρα πολλωˆν ἐθνωˆν τέθεικά σε; and xiii. 15 ὅτι πα̂σαν τὴν γη̂ν ἣν σὺ ὁρᾳ̑ς σοὶ δώσω αὐτὴν καὶ τῳ̑ σπέρματί σου ἕως αἰωˆνος. The Rabbis extended this promise to the whole earth. So Mechilta, upon Exod. xiv. 31, quoted by Tholuck, ‘Our father Abraham possesses the world that now is, and that which is to come, not by inheritance, but by faith.’ In this passage the Apostle has similarly enlarged it. The expression may be regarded either: (1) as a hyperbole, as Jerusalem is said in the Psalms to be ‘the joy of the whole earth,’ or as darkness is said to have ‘come over the whole earth’ at the Crucifixion; or (2) the promised land may be taken as the type of the world. On the one hand, it must not be forgotten, in the explanation of this and similar expressions, that the world did not present to the ancients the same distinct idea and conception as to ourselves; nor, on the other hand, that the thought of the promised land was inseparable to the true Israelite from the thought of a world to come. The words of the book of Genesis themselves might seem to the Apostle to promise more than had been or could be fulfilled in this world. He was fixing his mind on something higher than the occupation of the promised land by the Israelites. It was this which gave the promise to Abraham a new meaning.
[15.]For the law is the very opposite of grace and faith and the promise; it works wrath not mercy; it takes men away from God instead of drawing them to Him; it makes transgressions where they were not before.
[23.]not written for his sake alone.] Cp. Midrash Bereshit Rabba, chap. 40, ad fin. (on Genesis xii.16), ‘what is written of Abraham is written also of his children.’
[24.]A difficulty arises in reference to this verse, from the division of the clauses. There would be nothing to require explanation in such a form of expression as ‘Who died and rose again for our sins and our justification.’ But why ‘died for our sins and rose again for our justification?’ May not our justification equally with our sins be regarded as the object or cause of Christ’s death?
[5. 3.]In the life of Christ, as well as of His followers, is traceable the double character of sorrow and joy, humiliation and exaltation, not divided from each other by time, but existing together, and drawn out alternately by the external circumstances of their lives. Christ Himself said, ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men after me.’ And just before He suffered, ‘The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.’ So He told His disciples, Matt. v. 12 ‘In the day of persecution rejoice and be exceeding glad.’ And St. Paul, at the commencement of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, speaks as if sorrow brought its own joy and consolation with it; you can hardly tell whether he is sorrowful or joyful, so quickly is his sorrow turned into joy. There is the same mixed feeling of triumph in affliction in the remarkable words, 1 Cor. iv. 9 ‘I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed unto death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.’ And even where external afflictions are wanting, the mere consciousness of this ‘present evil world,’ ‘the whole creation groaning together until now,’ the remembrance of having once felt the sentence of death in himself, will make the believer rejoice with trembling for what he feels within or witnesses in others. Compare the aphorism of Lord Bacon, ‘Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity of the New.’
[7.]This verse has been taken in four ways:—
The distinctions between δίκαιος, good, and ἀγαθός, just, which are required by the first two modes of explanation, are really assumed to avoid the difficulty. It is singular that the word ἀγαθός used of a person occurs nowhere else in the writings of St. Paul. To the third explanation there are many objections: (1) the Apostle could hardly have used δικαίου of a person, and τονˆ ἀγαθονˆ of a thing; (2) it is doubtful whether the neuter τὸ ἀγαθόν would have been used in the sense of moral good; (3) the notion of dying for an abstract idea is entirely unlike the language of the New Testament, or of the age in which the New Testament was written, nor does it give the opposition which the Apostle requires.
[10.]‘We are reconciled to God’ (here and 2 Cor. v. 20), or (2 Cor. v. 18) ‘God reconciling us to himself through Jesus Christ,’ or ‘God in Christ reconciling the world to himself’ (2 Cor. v. 19), are the modes of expression in Scripture used to describe the work of redemption. God is unchangeable; it is we who are reconciled to Him, not He to us. (Compare the use of καταλλάσσεσθαι, applied to the woman who is reconciled to her husband in 1 Cor. vii. 11.) But, on the other hand, the first spring and motive of redemption comes not from ourselves but from Him.
[12.]καὶ διὰ τη̂ς ἁμαρτίας ὁ θάνατος, and death by sin.] That the sin of Adam was the cause of the death of Adam was the common belief of the Jews in St. Paul’s time. The oldest trace of this belief is found in the Book of Wisdom, ii. 24: ‘For God created man without corruption, and made him after the image of his own likeness. Nevertheless, through envy of the devil, came death into the world, and they that hold of his side prove it.’ The death of Adam, and of all mankind in him, is again referred to by the Apostle in 1 Cor. xv. 21; respecting which latter passage two things are observable: first, that the Apostle makes no allusion to the sin of Adam as the cause of his death—rather this is a consequence of his and of other men’s earthly nature, 1 Cor. xv. 48, 50; and, secondly, that the death spoken of is plainly, from the contrast, not spiritual, but physical.
[13.]ἄχρι γὰρ νόμου, for until the law.] But sin is inseparable from the law, as has been repeated above, ‘where there is no law there is no transgression.’ How was it, then, that in the interval between Adam and Moses men could have sinned? We answer this difficulty by changing the form of our expression without materially altering its meaning; not, ‘where there is no law there is no transgression,’ but, ‘sin is not imputed where there is no law.’ Sin, in other words, was not exceeding sinful; it did not abound or show itself in its true nature, yet it existed still. Comp. ver. 20.
[14.]ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντας, over them that had not sinned,] is commonly interpreted, according as what may be termed the Augustinian or Pelagian view of the passage is preferred, either, who did not commit actual sin like Adam, but only inherited Adam’s imputed sin; or, who did commit actual sin, but not like Adam against a positive law or commandment.
[21.]The leading thought of the preceding section has been, ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ But there is a great difference between the act of sin and the act of justification. If many died through the first, much more shall they be redeemed by the second; if there was one offence to condemn, there are many offences to be forgiven: where death and condemnation are, much more there are life and grace; as one comes to all men through one, so likewise the other. The five verses from 15-19 consist almost wholly of a repetition of the same thought, in the form either of a parallel between the act of Adam and of Christ, or of a climax in which the grace of Christ is contrasted in its effects with Adam’s sin. The law came to increase the sum of transgressions, but grace still exceeded. The law came in with this very object, that as sin had triumphed, grace might triumph also.
[6. 3.]To be baptized into Christ is to be baptized so as to be one with Christ, or to become a member of Christ by baptism. Compare 1 Cor. xii. 13 εἰς ἓν σωˆμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, between which and the present passage a connecting-link is formed by Rom. vii. 4 ἐθανατώθητε τῳ̑ νόμῳ διὰ τονˆ σώματος τονˆ χριστονˆ. So the Apostle says: ‘By being baptized into Christ we were baptized into a common death.’
[4.]The meaning of this verse will be more clearly brought out if we recall the picture of Baptism in the apostolic age, when the rite was performed by immersion, and Christians might be said to be buried with Christ; and the passing of the Israelites through the cloud and the sea (1 Cor. x. 1, 2), and even the Deluge itself (1 Pet. iii. 21), seemed no inappropriate types of its waters. Imagine not infants, but crowds of grown-up persons already changed in heart and feelings; their ‘life hidden with Christ and God,’ losing their personal consciousness in the laver of regeneration; rising again from its depths into the light of heaven, in communion with God and nature; met as they rose from the bath with the white raiment, which is ‘the righteousness of the saints,’ and ever after looking back on that moment as the instant of their new birth, of the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of Christ. Baptism was to them the figure of death, burial, and resurrection all in one, the most apt expression of the greatest change that can pass upon man, like the sudden change into another life when we leave the body.
[7.]It is not quite clear whether these words refer only to Christ, or to the believer who is in His image also. The latter is most agreeable to the context. The nerve of the Apostle’s argument was: ‘How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?’ Continuing this thought, he says: ‘We are dead and buried with Christ, and therefore should rise with him to newness of life. We have left the old man on the cross with Him, that the body of sin may be done away. For death is the quittance of sin.’ ‘How then shall we any longer live in it?’—is still the Apostle’s inference; not only ‘how shall we who are dead to sin,’ but, ‘how shall we who are justified by death.’
[10.]Throughout this passage the Apostle is identifying Christ and the believers; and conceptions, primarily applicable or more intelligible in reference to the one, are transferred to the other. We shall better apprehend his meaning, by beginning in a different order. ‘For in that we die, we die unto sin; in that we live, we live unto God.’ Our death with Christ is the renunciation of sin once for all, and the opening of a new life unto God. Under this figure of what the believer feels in himself, the Apostle describes the work of Christ. Death and life are one but yet two in the individual soul—the negative and positive side of the change which the Gospel makes in him—so they are also in Christ.
[14.]It might seem, at first sight, tautology to say, ‘Let not sin reign over you, for sin shall not reign over you.’ A slightly different turn restores the meaning. Do it, as we might say, for you are able to do it. Present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead; who were dead once, but now alive; under the law once, but under grace now. Instead of the outward and positive rule, you have the inward union with Christ; for the strength of sin, the consciousness of forgiveness; for fear, love; for bondage, freedom; for slavery, sonship; for weakness, power. Such an enlargement of the words of the Apostle may be gathered from other places. The γάρ expresses the ground of motive and encouragement.
[23.]The evil that we receive at the hand of God is deserved, but the good undeserved. Sin has its wages, and yet eternal life is a free gift. How can we maintain this paradox, which is, moreover, a form of expression natural to us?
[7. 4.]ὥστεὑμεɩ̂ς ἐθανατώθητε.] The Apostle changes the figure. The words ἐθανατώθητε and ἀποθανόντες are too strong to allow us to suppose that he is still describing the death of the believer to the law under the image of the wife; who is not dead, but only freed by death. This latter image, however, reappears in the next words, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι ὑμα̂ς ἑτέρῳ. For a similar change, comp. ch. vi. 5, 6, 7: 1 Thess. v. 2, 4.
[7.]Τί οἠ̂ν ἐρονˆμεν; What shall we say then?] If the law was the instrument whereby the motions of sins worked in our members (ver. 5), if we are freed from sin by being dead to the law (ver. 6), what shall we say? ‘Is the law sin?’ It has been nearly identified in what precedes, it is all but sin in what follows. There is reason for us to pause before going further.
[8.]It may be asked, How can the law increase the temptation to sin? It may not make men better; how does it make them worse? Human nature errs from passion and desire; (1) By sin the Apostle means the consciousness of sin, not any mere external act. (2) The state which he describes is partly imaginary. It begins with absolute ignorance (I was alive without the law once) and ends with the utter disruption of the soul between will and knowledge.
[12.]After balancing the two sides of this question, the conclusion at which the Apostle arrives is, that the law is ‘holy, just, and good.’ It was the law that made sin to be what it was, and it is true that this comes very near to the law being itself sin. But the other side has also to be put forward. Sin is the active cause, the law only the occasion, the deceiver being human nature itself, and the law forbidding sin at the moment it seems to create it. So that the law, in itself, is no more polluted than the sun in the heavens by the corruption on which it looks. The obscurity in this, as in many other passages, arises from the Apostle, in the alternation of thought, dwelling too long on that side of the argument, which, for the sake of clearness, should have been subordinate. In this instance, he has said so much of the commandment being found unto death and the occasion of sin, that he is obliged to make a violent resumption of the thought with which he commenced.
[13.]We can imagine a state of mind in an individual, or a condition in society, in which vice loses ‘half its grossness,’ and some of its real evil, either by the veil of refinement beneath which it is concealed, or by the very naturalness to the human mind of vice itself. Suppose the person or society here spoken of, to wake up on a sudden to a consciousness of the holiness of God and the requirements of His law; suppose further, they were made aware of the contrast between their own life and the Divine rule, yet were powerless to change, knowing everything, yet able to accomplish nothing, sensitive to the pangs of conscience, yet ‘unequal to the performance of any duty;’ of such it might be said, in a figure—‘Sin became death that it might appear sin, working death to us through that which is good, that sin might become exceeding sinful.’
[14.]The language of the New Testament does not conform to any received views of psychology. It is the language partly of the Old Testament, but still more of the Alexandrian philosophy, which is defined neither by popular nor by scientific use. In modern times we do not divide the soul into its better and worse half, but into will, reason, consciousness, and other faculties which, for the most part, belong equally to good and bad. Such is, however, the fundamental division of the Apostle. There is a heavenly and earthly, a higher and a lower principle; the first, whereby we hold communion with God Himself, the Spirit; the second, the flesh, or corrupt soil of sin, scarcely distinguishable from sin itself. These two do not correspond to mind and body, which are only the figures under which they are expressed.
[17.]In this passage, between vers. 14 and 25, the Apostle may be said three times to change his identity: First of all, he is one with his worse nature, which, as having the power to turn the balance of his actions, claims to be the whole man; secondly, with his better nature, which makes a perceptible though ineffectual struggle against the power of evil; and, thirdly, he separates himself from both, and overlooks the strife between them, vers. 21-23.
[18.]Here is a further change in the personality of the speaker: ‘I know that in me,’ which is explained to mean ‘in my flesh,’ there is, as it were standing by my side, the wish for the good, but not the accomplishment of the good. οὐχ εὑρίσκω, the reading of the Text. Recep. and of Δ. G. f. g. v, if genuine, is a continuation of the figure of παράκειται; cp. ver. 21.
[23.]In the short space between the twenty-first and the twenty-third verses there occur five modifications of the word νόμος: (1) The play of words alluded to above, ‘the law that evil is present with him.’ (2) The law of God, that is, the law of Moses ‘in the Spirit,’ not ‘in the letter;’ or, as we might express it, ‘idealized.’ (3) The same law presented under a different aspect, as νόμος τονˆ νοός, or conscience. (4) νόμος ἐν τοɩ̂ς μέλεσιν. (5) νόμος τη̂ς ἁμαρτίας. Borrowing the language of philosophical distinctions, we may arrange them as follows:—
The 23rd verse describes a further progress in the conflict. At first the two ‘laws’ are opposed to each other; but at length the worse ‘law’ gets the better, and the soul passes on to consider evil as a sort of internal necessity to which it is by nature liable. The ἕτερος νόμος is only distinguished from the νόμος τη̂ς ἁμαρτίας, as the wavering emotion of the will from the settled inward principle. The first is the temptation of the natural desires; the second, the law of despair.
[8. 2.]The Gospel has been sometimes represented as a law, sometimes as a spirit; as a rule to which we must conform, and also as a power with which we are endowed. Both aspects are united in the expression, ‘the law of the Spirit of life,’ which is a kind of paradox, and may be compared with ‘the law of faith,’ at the end of the third chapter. Strictly speaking, in the language of St. Paul, sin stands on the one side, and the Spirit of God on the other; they answer respectively to the worse and the better element of human nature; while, between the two is placed the straight and unbending rule of the law. But the law is used in two other senses also, first, for the rule of sin to which man has subjected himself, and, secondly, for the growth of the higher life, the spirit which becomes a law, the habit which strengthens into a second and better nature. Law, in the first of these two senses, is but a figure to express the strength and uniformity of the power of evil; in the second, it is the harmony of human things in communion with God and Christ: the first is the law under which the first Adam fell: the second, the law, by the fulfilment of which the second Adam redeemed mankind.
[3.]κατέκρινε τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῃ̂ σαρκί, condemned sin in the flesh.] The meaning of the clause derives some light from the words that follow. In Scripture Christ is often said to be in all points like ourselves; and all that we are, and are not, and might have been, is transferred to Him, either to be done away with in us, or imparted to us. Thus, in the language of St. Paul, He died that we might be saved from death; He became a curse to free us from the curse of the law; He condemned sin in the flesh that to us there might be no condemnation. Also He condemned sin that we might condemn it too; or in other words that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
[4.]ἵνα τὸ δικαίωμα τονˆ νόμου.] ‘That the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.’ These words have received three interpretations. They may be supposed to refer: (1) to Christ’s fulfilment of the law, which is transferred to us; or, (2) to our participation in His fulfilment of the law by union with Him; or, (3) to our fulfilment of the law by the holiness which He imparts to us. In other words, they may relate: (1) to an external righteousness; or, (2) to a righteousness, external, but imparted; or, (3) to inherent righteousness. Instead of selecting one of these interpretations, the meaning of any of which is defined by its antagonism to the other two, we must go back to the predoctrinal age of the Apostle himself, ere such distinctions existed. The whole Christian life flows with him from union with Christ. Whether this union is conscious or unconscious, whether it gives or merely imputes the righteousness of Christ, is a question which he does not analyse. But in thinking of it, he perceives a sort of balance and contrast between the humiliation of Christ and the exaltation of the Christian. The believer seems to gain what his master has lost. He throws on Christ the worse half of self, that the better half may be endued with the spirit of life.
[6.]ϕρόνημα τη̂ς σαρκός.] ‘Which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh.’ Art. ix.
[9.]εἴ περ . . . ὑμɩ̂ν.] The spirit is spoken of in Scripture indifferently as the Spirit of God or of Christ, Phil. i. 19; or of the Son, Gal. iv. 6; sometimes under the more general term of the Spirit of the Lord, as in 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. Here the Apostle makes a sudden transition from the Spirit of God to that of Christ, and returns again in the eleventh verse to speak of ‘the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead.’
[11.]The spiritual resurrection suggests the thought of the actual resurrection, as in John v. 25. In this world the quickening Spirit and the mortal body exist separate from each other; but hereafter the Spirit shall reanimate the body, as it is the Spirit of Him who raised up Christ from the dead; who will do as much for us as he did for Christ. τὰ θνητὰ σώματα, your bodies that would die were it not for His quickening Spirit. Compare vi. 12.
[14.]This new relation between God and man is introduced by the Gospel. It is not literally true that, in the Old Testament, the children of Israel are not spoken of as the sons of God, but only as His subjects and servants; but it is true that in their essential character the law and the Gospel are thus opposed, as the spirit of bondage again to fear, and the Spirit of adoption, whereby we acknowledge God as a father.
[18.]λογίζομαι γάρ, for I reckon.] In Scripture, the glory of the saints is sometimes spoken of as future, sometimes as present; sometimes as at a distance, at other times upon the earth; sometimes as an external state or condition; at other times as an inward and spiritual change, to be revealed in them as they are transformed from glory to glory. In the writings of St. Paul it is the spiritual sense of a future life which chiefly prevails, as in this passage. He does not paint scenes of the world to come: he is lost in it; ‘whether in the body or out of the body he cannot tell.’
[19.]ἀποκαραδοκία, expectation.] As we turn from ourselves to the world around us, the prospect on which we cast our eyes seems to reflect the colours of our own minds, and to share our joy and sorrow. To the religious mind it seems also to reflect our sins. We cannot, indeed, speak of the misery of the brute creation, of whose constitution we know so little; nor do we pretend to discover in the loveliest spots of earth, indications of a fallen world. But when we look at the vices and diseases of mankind, at their life of labour in which the animals are our partners, at the aspect in modern times of our large towns, as in ancient of a world given to idolatry, we see enough to give a meaning to the words of the Apostle. The evil in the world bears witness with the evil and sorrow in our own hearts. And the hope of another life springs up unbidden in our thoughts, for the sake of ourselves and of our fellow-creatures.
[20.]The Apostle is speaking here, as elsewhere, of the double character of the scheme of Providence, consisting, as it did, of two parts, one of which had a reference to the other. As afterwards he says (xi. 32): ‘God concluded all under sin that he might have mercy upon all;’ so here—The creature was made subject to evil against its will, and with the hope of restoration, because of him who subjected the same; or the creature was made subject because of him who subjected the same, in hope that, &c. Connecting ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι with the following clause, ‘the creature,’ we might paraphrase, ‘had no love for this helpless state. He was subjected to it because of Him that subjected him, in the hope that grace might yet more abound.’ But who is ‘he who subjected?’ First, Christ, on account of whose special work the creature was made subject to vanity. (The preposition διά has no proper meaning, if the word ὑποτάξας is referred exclusively to God.) He subjected the creature as He condemned sin in the flesh in His own person, by subjecting Himself. And yet though the work of redemption be attributed to Him, it seems inappropriate to regard Him also as the author of the fallen condition of man. There is the same impropriety in such a mode of expression as there would be in saying, ‘Christ concluded all under sin that he might have mercy upon all.’ In the language of St. Paul, He is the instrument of our redemption, not its first author. More truly, in the word ὑποτάξαντα God and Christ seem to meet. ‘God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself:’ as the Creator considered as the Author and Appointer of all His creatures; as the Redeemer, the final cause and end of their sinful state. In defence of this twofold meaning of ὑποτάξας, compare the transition from God to Christ in vers. 9, 11; also Col. i. 15.
[23–30.]The connexion of these verses may be traced as follows:—
[26.]Ὡσαύτως, likewise.] ‘We are saved by hope, not by sight, and with this our imperfect condition it agrees well that we have the Spirit for our help.’ For in our very prayers we know not what to ask as we ought; but when language fails, the Spirit utters for us a cry inexpressible: comp. Eph. vi. 18: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit;’ and 1 Cor. ii. 11 quoted above.
[28.]Not only have we hope, and patience, and the gift of the Spirit; but we know that in all things God works together for good with them that love Him; or, according to the reading of the Textus Receptus (the authority for which is nearly evenly balanced), ‘but we know that all things work together for good to them that love God;’ who moreover are chosen according to His purpose. In these latter words the Apostle indicates a further ground of hope and comfort.
[29.]ὅτι οὓς προέγνω καὶ προώρισεν, whom he did foreknow.] In most passages of the New Testament where προγινώσκειν and cognate words occur, as Rom. xi. 2: 1 Pet. i. 2, 20: Acts ii. 23, the meaning of ‘predetermined, fore-appointed,’ is the more natural. ‘God hath not cast off his people whom he fore-appointed’ (οὓς προέγνω). ‘By the determinate counsel and fore-appointment of God’ (τῃ̂ ὡρισμένῃ βουλῃ̂ καὶ προγνώσει). Yet, on the other hand, Acts xxvi. 5: 2 Pet. iii. 17, admit only of the meaning of ‘know beforehand,’ but not in reference to the Divine or prophetic fore-knowledge, and have, therefore, no bearing on the present passage. The idea of fore-knowledge, it may be observed, as distinct from predestination, is scarcely discernible in Scripture, unless, perhaps, a trace of it be found in Acts xv. 18 ‘Known unto God are all his works from the beginning.’ The Israelite believed that all things were according to the counsel and appointment of God. Whether this was dependent on his previous knowledge of the intentions of man, was a question which, in that stage of human thought, would hardly have occurred to him. The theories of predestination, which have been built upon the words in the Latin or English version of them, ‘whom he did fore-know, them he did predestinate,’ are an afterthought of later criticism.
[31–39.]All creation is groaning together; but the Spirit helps us, and God has chosen us according to His purpose, and in all things God is working with us for good. The Lord is on our side; and as He has given us His Son, will give us all else as well. Is it God that justifies who will accuse? Is it Christ who intercedes that will condemn? On the one side are ranged persecution, and famine, and sword, and nakedness; on the other, the love of Christ, from which nothing in heaven or earth, or the changes of life or death, can us part.
[33.]Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Is God who justifies, their accuser? Does He justify and accuse at once? It were a contradiction to suppose this.
[34.]Who is he that condemneth? Is the condemner Christ who ever lives to intercede for us? Comp. Heb. vii. 25 ‘Who ever liveth to make intercession for us;’ and 1 John ii. 1 ‘We have an advocate with the Father.’
[38.]To ask the exact meaning of each of these words, would be like asking the precise meaning of single expressions in the line of Milton:—
[9. 1.]συμμαρτυρούσης μοι τη̂ς συνειδήσεως, my conscience witnesses that I speak the truth.] It may be asked why should St. Paul asseverate with such warmth what no one would doubt or deny. Such is his manner in other passages, as in Gal. i. 20 ‘Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not;’ although the things that he wrote merely related to his journeys to Jerusalem. But there was a matter behind, which was of vital importance to himself and the Church, viz. his claim to independence of the other Apostles. Hence the strong feeling which he shows. Compare also 2 Cor. xi. 31 ‘The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ knoweth that I lie not;’ viz. in the narrative of his sufferings. So here the intensity of his language expresses only the strength of his feelings, not the suspicion that any one would doubt his words. In the first part of the Epistle it might perhaps have been argued that he had lost sight of his own people; he returns to them with a burst of affection.
[2.]No such ties ever bound together any other nation of the world, as united the Jews. Patriotism is a word too weak to express the feeling with which they clung to their country, to their law and their God. And St. Paul himself, although, to use his own words, ‘his bowels had been enlarged’ to include the Gentiles, comes back to the feelings of his youth, as with the vehemence of a first love. He sorrows over his people, like the prophets of old, not without an example in the Saviour Himself, Luke xix. 42 ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.’
[5.]ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, who is over all.] It is a question to which we can hardly expect to get an answer unbiassed by the interests of controversy, whether the clause, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰωˆνας, is to be referred to Christ, ‘of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all blessed for ever;’ or, as in Lachmann, to be separated from the preceding words and regarded as a doxology to God the Father, uttered by the Apostle, on a review of God’s mercy to the Jewish people.
[8.]τουτέστιν, that is.] In the passage which follows the Apostle is speaking, according to the Calvinist interpreter, of absolute, according to his opponents, of conditional predestination. The first urges that he is referring to individuals; the second, to nations; the first dwells on the case of Pharaoh, as stated by the Apostle; the second returns to the language of the Old Testament, which says not only ‘the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,’ but ‘Pharaoh hardened his own heart.’
[13.]These words are exactly quoted from the LXX, with a very slight alteration in their order. Their meaning must be gathered from the connexion of the Apostle’s argument, not from any preconceived notion of the attributes of God. In the prophet (Mal. i. 2, 3) God is introduced as reproaching Israel for their ingratitude to Him, though He had ‘loved Jacob and hated Esau.’ Here no stress is to be laid on the words ‘loved’ and ‘hated,’ which are poetical figures, the thought expressed by them being subordinate to the prophet’s main purpose. It is otherwise in the quotation; there the point is that God preferred one, and rejected another of His own free will. As of old, He preferred Jacob, so now He may reject him. Any further inference from the unconditional predestination of nations to that of individuals, does not come within the Apostle’s range of view.
[18.]Can we avoid the fatal consequence that God is here regarded as the author of evil? It may be replied that throughout the passage St. Paul is speaking, not of himself, but in the language of the Old Testament, the line drawn in which is not precisely the same with that of the New, though we cannot separate them with philosophical exactness. It was not always a proverb in the house of Israel, that ‘God tempted no man.’ In the overpowering sense of the Creator’s being, the free agency of the creature was lost, and it seemed to the external spectator as if the evil that men did, was but the just punishment that He inflicted on them for their sins. Comp. Ezek. xiv. 9.
[22.]The construction of this passage involves an anacoluthon. As in ii. 17 εἰ δὲ σὺ Ἰουδαɩ̂σς ἐπονομάζῃ̂, there is no apodosis to εἰ δέ. The thread of the sentence is lost in the digression of verses 23, 24, 25. The corresponding clause should have been, What is that to thee? or, Who art thou who hast an answer to God? There is, however, a further complexity in the passage. The simple thought would have been as follows: But if God shows forth His righteous vengeance on men, what is that to thee? But side by side with this creeps in another feeling, that even in justice He remembers mercy. ‘He punishes, and you have no right to find fault with Him for anything which He does.’ Still it is implied that He only punishes those who ought to have been punished long before. There would have been no difficulty in the passage had the Apostle said: ‘He punishes some and spares others.’ But he has given a different turn to the thought, ‘He spares those whom He punishes.’ ‘May not God,’ he would say, ‘be like the potter dashing in pieces one vessel, and showing his mercy to another; merciful even in the first, which he puts off as long as he can, and only executes with a further purpose of mercy to others.’
[27, 28.]It was not only in accordance with the prophecies of the Old Testament that Israel should be rejected. They spoke yet more precisely of a remnant being saved. If any one marvelled at the small number of believers of Jewish race, it was ‘written for their instruction’ that ‘a remnant should be saved.’
[28.]The passage of Isaiah taken in the sense in which it was understood by the Apostle, may be paraphrased as follows: Isaiah lifts up his voice in regard to Israel, and says, ‘Though the house of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant only shall be saved. For God is accomplishing and cutting short his work, for a short work will God make upon the earth,’ or (according to Lachmann’s reading), ‘For God will perform his work, accomplishing and cutting it short upon the earth.’ The application of this to the present circumstances of the house of Israel is, that few out of many Israelites should be saved, for that God was judging them as of old He had judged their fathers. They were living in the latter days, and the time was short.
[30.]What then is the conclusion? That the Gentile who sought not after righteousness, attained righteousness, but the righteousness that is of faith. But Israel, who did seek after it, attained not to it. What was the reason of this? because they sought it not of faith, but ὡς ἐξ ἔργων, under the idea that it might be gained by works of the law they stumbled at the rock of offence. We are again upon the track of chap. iii.
[32.]The expression λίθῳ προσκόμματος is taken from Isa. viii. 14 (in the LXX λίθου προσκόμματι). The remainder of the passage is from Isa. xxviii. 16, the words of which are as follows: ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐμβάλλω εἰς τὰ θεμέλια Σιὼν λίθον πολυτελη̂, ἐκλεκτόν, ἀκρογωνιαɩ̂ον, ἔντιμον εἰς τὰ θεμέλια αὐτη̂ς, καὶ ὁ πιστεύων οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῃ̂.
[10. 3.]Three questions arise on this verse: (1) What is meant by the righteousness of God? The righteousness of God plainly means the righteousness of faith, the new revelation of which the Apostle spoke, Rom. i. 17, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. (2) What is meant by their own righteousness? Either the word ἴδιος may simply indicate opposition to θεονˆ, ‘their own’ as opposed to God’s; or it may have a further meaning of private individual righteousness, consisting only in a selfish isolated obedience to the law, not in communion with God or their fellow-creatures. But, (3) what is meant by οὐχ ὑπετάγησαν? Not something entirely different from ἀγνοονˆντες in the first clause; only as that expressed their wilful blindness in not recognizing the Gospel, this indicates the effect on their life and conduct. The expression is analogous to ὑπακοὴ πίστεως, χριστονˆ, ἀληθείας.
[4.]It was Christ to whom the law pointed, or seemed to point, who was its fulfilment and also its destruction. It was of Him ‘Moses in the law, and the prophets spoke;’ it was He who was the body of those things of which the law was the shadow. It was He who was to ‘destroy this temple, and raise up another temple, not made with hands.’ It was He who came to fulfil the law, in all the senses in which it could be fulfilled.
[6–8.]The language of Deut. xxx. 13 (the book which has been regarded almost as an evangelization of the law, and as standing in the same relation to the other books of Moses as the Gospel of St. John to the first three Gospels), is far different. There our duty to God is not spoken of, as outward obedience or laborious service. There the word is described as ‘very nigh to us, even in our mouth and in our heart.’ Surely this is the righteousness that is of faith.
[14–21.]The passage which follows is, in style, one of the most obscure portions of the Epistle. The obscurity arises from the argument being founded on passages of the Old Testament. The structure becomes disjointed and unmanageable from the number of the quotations. Some trains of thought are carried on too far for the Apostle’s purpose, while others are so briefly hinted at as to be hardly intelligible. Yet if, instead of entangling ourselves in the meshes of the successive clauses, we place ourselves at a distance and survey the whole at a glance, there is no difficulty in understanding the general meaning. No one can doubt that the Apostle intends to say that the prophets had already foretold the rejection of the Jews and the acceptance of the Gentiles. But the texts by which he seeks to prove or to express this, are interspersed, partly with difficulties which he himself felt; partly, also, with general statements about the mode in which the Gospel was given.
[19.]But I say (to put the case more precisely), Did not Israel know? Did not know, what?—the Gospel, or the word of God in general, or the rejection of the Jews in particular? The latter agrees best with the words which follow: ‘First, Moses prophesies of the Jews being provoked to anger by the Gentiles.’ But, on the other hand, what the previous context requires is, not the rejection of the Jews, but the Gospel or the Word of God in general; nor would the laws of language allow us to anticipate what follows as the subject of ἔγνω. ‘But I say, did not Israel know of the rejection of the Jews, of which I am about to speak?’ The truth seems to be, that what was to be supplied after ἔγνω, was not precisely in the Apostle’s mind. He was thinking of the Gospel; but with the Gospel the rejection of the Jews was so closely connected, that he easily makes the transition from one to the other.
[21.]Such is the mode in which the Apostle clothes his thoughts. The language of the Old Testament is not the proof of the doctrine which he is teaching, but the expression of it. He sees the great fact before him of the acceptance of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews, and reads the prophecies by the light of that fact. The page of the Old Testament sparkles before his eyes with intimations of the purposes of God. There is an analogy between the circumstances of Israel, now and formerly, dimly visible. To the mind of the Apostle this analogy does not present itself as to the mind of the author of the Hebrews, as embodied in the whole constitution and history of the Jewish people, but in particular events or separate expressions. Hence, when passing from the law to the Gospel, he is like one declaring dark sayings of old. And his language appears to us fragmentary and unconnected, because he takes his citations in unusual senses, and places them in a new connexion.
[11. 1.]καὶ γὰρ ἐγώ, For I also.] The Apostle feels that the future of his countrymen is bound up with his own; as if he said, ‘They cannot be cast off, for then I should be rejected; and they will be accepted, because I am accepted.’ He recoils from the one consequence, and is assured of the other. He whom God chose to be the Apostle to the Gentiles could not be a castaway. This is one way of drawing out his thought. More simply, and perhaps truly, it may be said, that he is expressing the feeling as of a parent over a prodigal son, that ‘he cannot be lost,’ the true ground of which is the affection which will not bear to be separated from him.
[5.]So now, at the present time, God has chosen a remnant. In the days of Elias there were more worshippers of the true God than any one could have imagined, in Israel. Even so now, from the Jews themselves, there are a great company of believers.
[6.]As in many other passages, the Apostle is led back by the association of words to the great antithesis. Compare chap. iv. 4 τῳ̑ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν, κ. τ. λ.; Eph. ii. 9 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται. ‘But if of grace, not as the Jews suppose by obedience to the law; for grace ceases to be grace, when we bring in works.’ In these words the Apostle is already taking up the other side of the argument, that is, he is showing why Israel was rejected, not why a remnant was spared.
[9, 10.]And David (in Ps. lxix. 23) uses the same language: ‘Let their table be made a snare unto them, and a gin and an offence and a retribution. Let them have the evils of old age, blindness and bent limbs.’
[11.]Language like this would seem to imply that Israel has fallen. The cup of God’s wrath must be full against those of whom such things are said. But the Apostle has not forgotten the other side of his argument, from which he digressed for a moment. Is their stumble a fall? he asks (the very word ἔπταισαν prepares the way for the conclusion at which he is aiming); or (if we take the words ἔπταισαν and πέσωσιν in a metaphorical sense), have they erred so as utterly to fall away from grace? The Apostle, with the words of Moses, which he had quoted in the previous chapter, still in his mind, replies: ‘Not so;’ their fall was but a Divine economy, in which the Gentiles alternated with the Jews. The temporary precedence of the Gentiles was intended to have, and may have, the effect of arousing them to jealousy. As in other passages, the Apostle recovers the lost theme by repeating the same formula with which he commenced—Λέγω οἠ̂ν.
[15.]Neither is it a merely visionary hope that some of them shall be saved. ‘For as I said above, so say I now again; if the casting away of them be the reconcilement of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead.’ In more senses than one, it might be said, that the casting away of the Jews was the reconciliation of the world, (1) as they were simultaneous; (2) as without the doing away of the law of Moses, the Gentiles could not have been admitted.
[16.]Ἀπαρχή = the firstfruits of the Gospel; ϕύραμα, the mass from which the firstfruits are taken, and which is consecrated by their oblation (Num. xv. 21). The image is a favourite one with St. Paul, occurring in 1 Cor. v. 6: Gal. v. 9, as well as here. Stripped of its figure, the meaning of the clause will be: As some Jews are believers, all Jews shall one day become so; the ‘firstfruits’ of the Gospel consecrate the nation to God. The word ῥίζα, on the other hand, may have several associations. It may either mean the patriarchs (cf. below, verse 28: ‘beloved for the fathers’ sakes’); or the Jewish dispensation generally; the ideal Israel of the prophets; the stock from which the branches had been broken off. This last interpretation best preserves the parallelism of the clauses, and is most in keeping with verse 18.
[17.]The olive tree, like the vine, is used in the Old Testament (Jer. xi. 16) as a figure of the house of Israel. No image could be more natural to an inhabitant of Palestine. The relative dignity rather than the fruitfulness of the cultivated and wild olive is here the point of similarity.
[21.]Let us cast a look over the connexion of the last ten verses. At ver. 12 the Apostle had spoken of the ‘diminishing of the Israelite’ being the ‘enrichment of the Gentile.’ This led to the thought of the still greater gain which was to accrue to the Gentile from the restoration of the Israelite. Therefore also the restoration of Israel naturally formed a part of that Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles. And that Gospel he would make much of and thrust forward, if only that it might react upon his countrymen. For that Israel would be restored was as true as that the firstfruits consecrated the lump, or that the root implied the tree. And the Gentile should remember that he was not the original stock, but the branch which was afterwards grafted in. Still the Apostle observes a loophole in the argument through which Gentile pretensions may creep in. He may say, Granted; I am not the root, only the branch, but it was they who gave place to me; they were cut off that I might be grafted in. Good, says the Apostle, learn of them but another lesson. Not ‘they were cut off that I might be grafted in;’ but ‘I may be cut off too.’
[22.]Behold, a twofold lesson: mercy and severity; mercy to you, severity to them. And yet this lesson is one that may make you rejoice with trembling; for you may yet change places.
[25.]μυστήριον, in reference to the heathen mysteries, is a revealed secret, a secret into which a person is admitted, not one from which they are excluded. Analogous to this is the use of μυστήριον in the New Testament. It is applied to a secret which God has revealed, known to some and not to others, manifested in the latter days, but hidden previously. Thus the Gospel is spoken of in Matt. xiii. 11 as the mystery of the kingdom of God. So Rom. xvi. 25: ‘Now to him that is able to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which hath been kept silent through endless ages.’ In Eph. v. 2 the rite of marriage is spoken of as a great mystery, typifying Christ and the Church. So ‘the mystery of godliness,’ 1 Tim. iii. 16; the mystery of iniquity, 2 Thess. ii. 7; ‘the mystery of the seven stars,’ Rev. i. 20; ‘Mystery, Babylon the great,’ xvii. 5. In all these passages reference is made: (1) to what is wonderful; or, (2) to what is veiled under a figure; or, (3) to what has been long concealed or is so still to the multitude of mankind; and in all there is the correlative idea of revelation. The use of the word μυστήριον in Scripture, affords no grounds for the popular application of the term ‘mystery’ to the truths of the Christian religion. It means not what is, but what was a secret, into which, if we may use heathen language, the believer has become initiated, which there is no purpose to conceal from mankind; rather which he ‘would not have other men ignorant of:’ so far as it remains a secret it is so because it is spiritually discerned, and some Christians, or those who are not Christians, have not the power of discernment.
[26.]all Israel.] It is evident, by the opposition to the Gentiles that St. Paul is here speaking, not of the spiritual, but of the literal Israel. His words should not, however, be so pressed as to imply universal salvation, which was not in his thoughts. The language of prophecy, and the feelings of his own heart, alike told him that Israel should be saved. But he is thinking of the nation which is to be accepted as a whole, not of the individuals who composed it. It may be said that even in this modified sense the words of the prophecy or aspiration have not been fulfilled. We must answer, no more has the Apostle’s belief in the immediate coming of Christ; it was the near wish and prayer of his heart, but in its accomplishment far off, and to be realized only in the final victory of good over evil.
[29.]the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.] In the same spirit in which the Apostle says, ‘He that hath begun a good work in you, will continue it to the end;’ he says, also, in reference not to individuals, but to nations, ‘God is unchangeable, what He has once given, He cannot take back; those whom He has once called, He will not cast out.’ We know what the Apostle teaches elsewhere, that the gifts and calling of God are not irrespective of our acceptance and obedience. But in this passage he makes abstraction of the condition; he thinks only of the purpose of God, who is not a man that He should change His will arbitrarily, and be one thing one day, and another thing another, to the objects of His favour. He feels that God cannot desert the work of His hands. Neither need we stop to reason whether or in what way this is reconcilable with the Divine justice. The whole relations of man to God and nature can never be perceived at once: we see them ‘in part’ ‘through a glass,’ under many aspects, of which this is one.
[12. 1.]The last chapter ended with a doxology. All the world was reconciled to God, and Jew as well as Gentile included in the circle of His grace. Therefore the Apostle did not refrain himself from uttering a song of triumph at the end ‘of his great argument.’ Now he proceeds to draw the cords of divine love closer about the hearts and consciences of individual men.
[2.]τῳ̑ αἰωˆνι τούτῳ, this world,] contains an allusion to the Jewish distinction between ὁ αἰὼν οὑ̑τος and ὁ αἰὼν ἐρχόμενος, μέλλων, &c., as the times before and the times after the Messiah; expressions which are continued, for the most part in the same sense, in the New Testament, or with only such a modification of meaning as necessarily arises from the new nature of Messiah’s kingdom. That kingdom was not merely future; it was opposed to the present state which the believer saw around him, as good to evil, as the world of those who rejected Christ to the world of those who accepted Him. This present world (ὁ ννˆν αἰών 2 Tim. i. 10) was to the first disciples emphatically an αἰὼν πονηρός (Gal. i. 4), which had a god of its own, and children of its own (2 Cor. iv. 4), and was full of invisible powers fighting against the truth. Hence it is in a stronger sense than we speak of the world, which in the language of modern times has become a sort of neutral power of evil, that the Apostle exhorts his converts not to be conformed to this world, which is the kingdom, not of God, but of Satan. Comp. note on Gal i. 4.
[4.]The connexion of this verse with what has preceded is as follows. Let us not be highminded, but all keep our proper place, according to the measure which God has given us. For we are like the body, in which there are many members with different offices. Compare 1 Cor. xii. 14, 31, also Phil. ii. 3, 4: ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.’ Where there is the same connexion between thinking of others and not thinking of ourselves, a connexion which we may trace in our own lives and characters as well as in the words of Scripture. For ‘egotism’ is the element secretly working in the world, which is the most hostile to the union of men with one another, which destroys friendly and Christian relations.
[6.]ἔχοντες δὲ χαρίσματα, but having gifts.] Philosophy, as well as religion, Plato and Aristotle, as well as St. Paul, speak of ‘a measure in all things; of one in many, and many in one;’ of ‘not going beyond another;’ of ϕρόνησις and σωϕροσύνη; of a society of another kind, ‘fitly joined together,’ in which there are divers orders, and no man is to call anything his own, and all are one. As the shadow to the substance, as words to things, as the idea to the spirit, so is that form of a state of which philosophy speaks, to the communion of the body of Christ.
[7.]ministry may either (1) relate to the general duty of a minister of Christ; just as faith occurs in 1 Cor. xii among special gifts; it is not necessary here any more than there, or in Eph. iv. 11, 12, that the meaning of each word should be precisely distinguished: or (2) may refer to the office of a deacon in its narrower sense, of which we know nothing, and cannot be certain even that it was confined to the object of its first appointment mentioned in Acts vi. 1, viz. the care of the poor, and the administration of the goods of the Church. ἐν τῃ̂ διακονίᾳ. Compare 1 Tim. iv. 15 ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι.
[8.]ὁ ἐλεωˆν, ἐν ἱλαρότητι, he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.] Let a man find pleasure in doing good to the unfortunate. There should be a contrast between the cheerfulness of his deportment and the sadness of his errand.
[10.]τῃ̂ ϕιλαδελϕίᾳ.] Not, as in the English version, with brotherly love, but (as in 1 Thess. iv. 9) ‘in your love to the brethren, affectionate one toward another.’ ϕιλόστοργοι, as of parents to children or of children to parents.
[11.]τῳ̑ κυρίῳ δουλεύοντες, serving the Lord.] Considerable weight of MS. authority attaches to the reading καιρῳ̑ δουλεύοντες (Δ. G.f.g.); either, ‘adapting yourselves to the necessities of the time,’ which comes in strangely among precepts to simplicity and zeal, though, if a good meaning be put upon the words, not unlike the spirit of the Apostle in other places, Acts xvi. 3: 1 Cor ix. 20; or (2) in a higher sense, ‘serving the time;’ because the time is short, and the day of the Lord is at hand: an interpretation which, like the former one, connects better with what follows, than with what precedes. Later editors, however, agree with the Textus Receptus in reading τῳ̑ κυρίῳ δουλεύοντες, which, on the whole, has the greater weight of external evidence (A. B. v.) in its favour. Nor can any objection be urged on internal grounds, except that of an apparent want of point, the slightest of all objections to a reading or interpretation in the writings of St. Paul. And even this is really groundless, if we regard St. Paul as summing up in these words what had gone before: ‘Be diligent, zealous, doing all things unto the Lord, and not unto men. Remembering in all things that you are the servants of Christ.’ The difficulty is, in any case, no greater than that a χάρισμα πίστεως should occur among other special graces in Cor. xii, or that the word θεοστυγεɩ̂ς should be found in a long catalogue of particular sins. (Rom. i. 30.)
[13.]τὴν ϕιλοξενίαν διώκοντες, given to hospitality.] In the same strain as in the preceding clause, the Apostle continues: ‘Relieving the wants of the saints, and given to receiving them hospitably.’ The connexion leads us to suppose that the Apostle is speaking of hospitality specially to Christians, perhaps pilgrims at Rome, and not to men in general.
[14.]εὐλογεɩ̂τε τοὺς διώκοντας ὑμα̂ς, bless them that persecute you,] remind us of our Lord’s words recorded in Matt. v. 44: ‘Bless them that curse you.’ The similarity is, however, not close enough to be urged as a proof that St. Paul was acquainted with our Gospels. The word διώκοντες in the preceding verse, appears to have suggested the thought which the Apostle, as his manner is, expresses first positively and then negatively.
[16.]τὸ αὐτό.] Either with εἰς ἀλλήλους, (1) Thinking of yourselves as you would have others think of you — the reverse of placing yourselves above one another (μὴ τὰ ὑψηλὰ ϕρονονˆντες); or with ϕρονεɩ̂ν preserving the ordinary sense of τὸ αὐτὸ ϕρονεɩ̂ν in other passages (cf. τὸ αὐτὸ ϕρονεɩ̂ν ἐν ἀλλήλοις). (2) ‘Be of the same mind one with another,’ a counsel not of humility, but of unity, of which humility is also a part. Compare ver. 4.
[17.]προνοούμενοι καλά.] It is a favourite thought of the Apostle that the believer should walk seemly to those that are without, careful of the sight of man no less than of God. Comp. 2 Cor. viii. 21, where, speaking of the collection to be made for the poor saints, the Apostle says that he had one chosen to go up with him to Jerusalem with the alms: προνοονˆμεν γὰρ καλὰ οὐ μόνον ἐνώπιον κυρίου, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρώπων: as in this passage. Cf. Prov. iii. 4 καὶ προνοονˆ καλὰ ἐνώπιον κυρίου καὶ ἀνθρώπων.
[19.]δότε τόπον τῃ̂ ὀργῃ̂, give place to wrath.] These words have received three explanations: (1) Make room for the wrath of your enemy, i.e. let the wrath of your enemy have its way; or, (2) Make room for your anger to cool, ‘date spatium irae,’ give your anger a respite; or, (3) Make way for the wrath of God. The second of these explanations is equally indefensible on grounds of language and sense. It is only as a translation of a Latinism we can suppose the phrase to have any meaning at all, and the meaning thus obtained, ‘defer your wrath,’ is poor and weak. According to the first and third explanations the words δότε τόπον are taken in the same sense (which also occurs in Eph. iv. 27 μηδὲ δίδοτε τόπον τῳ̑ διαβόλῳ), the doubt being whether the word ὀργῃ̂ refers to the wrath of our enemy or of God. The latter is supposed to be required by the context, ‘Give place to the wrath of God, who has said, Vengeance is mine.’ The last clause, however, may be equally well connected with the words, avenge not yourself; nor is it easy to conceive that if the Apostle had intended the wrath of God, he would have expressed himself so concisely and obscurely as in the words τῃ̂ ὀργῃ̂. The first explanation is, therefore, the true one. ‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourself, but let your enemy have his way.’ It has been objected that common prudence requires that we should defend ourselves against our enemies. This is true, and yet the fact, that the same objection applies equally to the words of our Saviour in the Gospel (Matt. v. 34-48), is a sufficient answer—ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεɩ̂ν χωρείτω.
[21.]The explanation just given is further confirmed by the verse which follows. He has just said, ‘Destroy your enemy with deeds of mercy.’ Following out the same thought he adds, ‘Do not be carried away by his evil, but carry him away by your good.’
[13. 3.]οἱ γὰρ ἄρχοντες, for rulers.] The dative (τῳ̑ ἔργῳ), which is supported by a great preponderance of MS. authority, is the true reading. The Apostle goes on to give another reason why it is our duty to obey magistrates, besides their being divinely appointed, because they are a terror, not to the good work, but to the evil. And would you be without fear of the magistrate? Do well, and he shall praise you as a good citizen.
[4.]Is the Apostle speaking of rulers of this world as they are, or as they ought to be? Of neither, but of the feeling with which the Christian is to regard them. In general, he will be slow to think evil of others; in particular, of rulers. His temper will be that of submission and moderation. He will acknowledge that almost any government is tolerable to the man who walks innocently, and that the governments of mankind in general have more of right and justice in them than the generality of men are apt to suppose. And lastly, he will feel that, whatever they do, they are in the hands of God, who rules among the children of men; and, in general, that his relations to them, like all the other relations of Christian life, are to God also.
[8.]The precept of the previous verse is repeated in a stronger negative form: ‘Owe no man any thing.’ To which the Apostle adds, but ‘to love one another.’
[9.]The Apostle, quoting apparently from Exod. xx. 13: Deut. v. 18, 19, not according to the Hebrew, but according to copies of the LXX, which Philo must have had (De Decalogo, § 12, 24, 32), like him, places the seventh commandment before the sixth. The same order is observed in the quotation of the Evangelists, Luke xviii. 20: Mark x. 19; the places of the seventh and eighth being also transposed in the Vatican MS. of the LXX.
[11.]καὶ τονˆτο, and this too.] 1 Cor. vi. 6-8: Eph. ii. 8.
[12.]ἡ νὺξ προέκοψεν, the night is far spent.] The idea of a garment is contained in ἀποθώμεθα, which is opposed to ἐνδυσώμεθα in what follows. ‘And let us put on the armour of light;’ compare Eph. vi. The Greek Fathers give several reasons why in the first clause the Apostle should have used the word ἔργα, and in the second ὅπλα. If any reason is necessary, it may be said to arise from the latter word being more appropriate to express the position of the Christian in this world, arrayed for the conflict against evil.
[14.]ἐνδύσασθε, put on.] Compare Gal. iii. 27, where the word occurs, as perhaps also here, with an allusion to the garment in which the baptized person was clothed after coming up out of the water—‘For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.’ Compare notes on 1 Thess. v. 1-10.
[14. 1.]τὸν δὲ ἀσθενονˆντα τῃ̂ πίστει, him that is weak in the faith.] These words do not mean him that has a half-belief in Christianity, but him that doubteth, him that has not an enlightened belief, who has not ‘knowledge,’ whose ‘conscience being weak,’ is liable ‘to be defiled.’ Comp. 1 Cor. viii. 1, 7.
[2.]ὃς μὲν πιστεύει, one man believeth.] Not as in the English Version, one man believeth that he may eat all things, but in the same sense as πίστις of the preceding verse, ‘one man has faith so that he eats all things.’ The play of words in πίστις and πιστεύει is confirmed by numberless similar instances in St. Paul’s writings. Compare ver. 22 σὺ πίστιν ἔχεις.
[4.]The Apostle speaks generally, intending to include both the cases mentioned in the previous verse. As he argued in the last chapter, ‘You ought to pay tribute, for it is a debt to God;’ so here he urges, that to judge our brother in matters indifferent, is taking a liberty with another man’s servant. ‘Who art thou who judgest the servant of another man? It is no concern of yours; not to you but to his own Master is he accountable, whether he stand or fall.’ And then, as if it were a word of ill omen even to suggest that he should fall, he adds, but he shall stand, as we may in faith believe, for God is able to make him stand. He is a weak brother, I speak as a man, therefore he is likely to fall. But, believing in the omnipotence of God, I say he is so much more likely to stand also, for ‘my strength is perfected in weakness.’ Compare Jas. iv. 12 ‘There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy; who art thou that judgest another?’ and Rom. ix. 20.
[6.]As our Lord answers the difficulties put to Him by the Pharisees by stirring higher and deeper questions, as St. Paul himself concludes the discussion on marriage, by carrying it into another world, ‘It remaineth, that they that have wives be as though they had none,’ 1 Cor. vii. 29; as touching meats offered to idols he allows the rule of Christian charity to weaker brethren to be superseded by the wider and more general principle. ‘Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God,’ 1 Cor. x. 31: as the possibility of the Christian ‘living in sin that grace may abound,’ is dispelled by the thought of union with Christ; so too, scruples respecting meats and drinks are lost in the sense of our relation to Christ and God, which furnishes the practical rule for our treatment of them. The remembrance of this common relation is also an assurance both to the lax and the strict, that the brethren whom they judge or despise are believers equally with themselves.
[9.]It is argued that we cannot suppose the Apostle to have meant that Christ died that He might rule the dead, and rose again that He might rule the living; but that the two clauses must be taken as one; ‘Christ died and rose again that he might be the ruler over all.’ The remarks made on iv. 24 are applicable here. The distribution of the clauses in the present instance is to our mode of thought unnatural, but it was natural to St. Paul, who divides and subdivides Christ’s life analogously to the life of the believer.
[14.]The Apostle goes on to explain the feeling under which he says all this; not that he disagrees with the stronger brethren who suppose that all these things are indifferent. Indeed as a Christian (ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησονˆ) he knows as well as they do, that the distinction of clean and unclean meats is a mere superstition. ‘Not that which goeth into a man defileth a man.’ He says so broadly and generally, but his object is to show that this makes no difference in the case of another. ‘Your conscience cannot judge for him, your knowledge will not pluck the scruple from his soul.’ Therefore, however much he knows all this, he will not act upon it; the right use of his strength is to support his brother’s weakness.
[15.]The Gospel is the law of freedom, and cannot by any possibility admit scruples respecting meats and drinks. But when we have not our own case to consider, but that of our brethren, when (to bring the precept home to ourselves) the difference between us is the question of a sabbath day, the very same principle of freedom leads us to avoid giving offence by our freedom. Our brother sees strongly the sin and guilt of what we nevertheless know to be our Christian liberty, and love must induce us to abridge our rights for his sake. We must not take him by force, and compel him to witness what he supposes to be our evil; still less must we induce him to follow our example and defile his conscience. Yet we cannot say that we must give up everything that offends our brother. Such a rule would be impracticable, and if not impracticable, often full of evil. It was not the rule which St. Paul himself adopted with the Judaizers, ‘to whom he gave way, no, not for an hour.’ It is not the rule which he enjoins when matters of importance are at stake; and the most indifferent things cease to be indifferent the moment an attempt is made to impose them upon others. Only in reference to the particular circumstances of the Church, and to the passions of men ever prone to exaggerate their party differences, the rule of consideration for others is the safer side.
[16.]It is a good thing, we might say, to know that Christ does not require of us the observance of the Jewish sabbath; it is a good thing to know that, without form of prayer or set times and places, ‘neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain,’ we can worship the Father; to know that there is no rite or ceremony or ordinance that God cannot dispense with; or rather, that there is none which we are required to observe, except so far as they tend to a moral end. It is a good thing to know that Revelation can be interpreted by no other light than that of reason; it is a good thing to know that God is not extreme to mark human infirmities in our lives and conduct. But all this may serve for a cloak of licentiousness, may be a scandal among men, and humanly speaking, the destruction of those for whom Christ died.
[17.]χαρά, joy.] The Christian character naturally suggests ideas of sorrow, peace and consolation; not so naturally to ourselves the thought of joy and glorying which constantly recurs in the writings of the Apostle. These seem to belong to that circle of Christian graces, of which hope is the centre, which have almost vanished in the phraseology of modern times. ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, a holy joy, like all the other feelings of the Christian, seeking for its ground in some power beyond him, that is to say, in communion with the Spirit of God.
[20.]As in ver. 14 the Apostle admitted the objections which he himself put into the mouth of those who held meats and drinks to be indifferent, and replied to them, so here, he again expresses his agreement in principle with the stronger party, only to state with more force his precepts about the weaker brethren. ‘It is true that all things are pure, but woe to him who eateth with offence.’
[21.]It is good not to eat meat, nor to drink wine, nor (to eat or drink) anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is entangled, or made weak.
[22.]Of the two readings, σὺ πίστιν ἔχεις, with an interrogative, σὺ πίστιν ἣν ἔχεις, without an interrogative, the latter has the greater MS. authority, the former is more like St. Paul. Hast thou faith, keep it to thyself. ‘Blessed is he who judgeth not himself in that which he alloweth.’ It is a happy thing not to have a scrupulous conscience. I admit your superiority, I am not saying that you are not better than he. Only keep it to yourself and the presence of God. Compare 1 Cor. xiv. 28 ἑαυτῳ̑ δὲ λαλείτω καὶ τῳ̑ θεῳ̑.
[15. 1.]The commencement of this chapter is closely connected with the preceding. ‘He who doubts if he eats, is condemned.’ But we who are strong and do not doubt, ought to bear the weaknesses of others. As Christ pleased not Himself, so neither ought we to please ourselves. The words of the prophets, which speak of the reproaches that fell on Him, may still instruct us. They were written beforehand, to teach us to be of one mind, that we should receive others, even as Christ received us. At ver. 8 the argument takes a new turn. While exhorting the Roman Church to unity, the other subject of discord arises in the Apostle’s mind, not the disputes of strong and weak about meats and drinks, but the greater and more general dispute about Jew and Gentile, the old and the new, the law and the Gospel. He returns upon the former theme, and repeats language of reconciliation, which he had used before. Christ came not to destroy the prophets, but to fulfil; the minister of the circumcision to the uncircumcision; the performer of the promises made to the patriarchs—to all mankind. The Gentiles and the Jews rejoice together; the root of Jesse is the hope of both. The Apostle then passes on to matters personal: an apology for writing so boldly; his intended journeys to Rome, Spain, and Jerusalem; the contribution for the poor saints; with the allusions to which, however, he blends religious thoughts and feelings.
[3.]We may ask, ‘But did the Apostle suppose that words like these were intended to bear this and no other meaning? and that they were understood in this sense by their original authors?’ The answer to these questions is that the Apostle never asked them. The last thought that would have entered into his mind, would have been what in modern language we should term the reproduction to himself of the life and circumstances of the writers. He read the Old Testament, seeing ‘Christ in all things, and all things in Christ.’
[8.]to confirm.] It is not certain whether, in these words, St. Paul is referring to the fulfilment of the promises to the Jews (see ch. xi), or to the transfer of them which he had made in the fourth chapter to the Gentiles. Either would in his view have been a true performance of them.
[9.]Διὰ τονˆτο ἐξομολογήσομαι, Therefore I will give thanks.] These words, which are exactly quoted from the LXX, Ps. xviii. 49, are in their original meaning an expression of triumph after a victory, for which the victor says he will give thanks among the subject people. In the application made of them by St. Paul, they are supposed to be uttered by a Gentile, and the word ἔθνη receives, as elsewhere, a new sense.
[12.]‘There shall be,’ &c.] The quotation is from the LXX, which reads: ἔσται ἐν τῃ̂ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἡ ῥίζα τονˆ Ἰεσσαὶ καὶ ὁ ἀνιστάμενος ἄρχειν ἐθνωˆν, ἐπ’ αὐτῳ̑ ἔθνη ἐλπιονˆσιν. (Isa. xi. 10.) These words are not, however, an exact translation of the Hebrew, which is as follows: ‘And in that day shall the shoot of Jesse, which is set up for a banner, be sought of the Gentiles.’
[15.]For the feeling, compare 1 Cor. vii. 25 γνώμην δὲ δίδωμι ὡς ἠλεημένος ὑπὸ κυρίου πιστὸς εἰ̂ναι: and Rom. i. 5. Such withdrawing of self reminds us of the quaint expression of Coleridge, ‘St. Paul was a man of the finest manners ever known.’
[16.]The whole passage, from ὡς ἐπαναμιμνήσκων ὑμα̂ς down to πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, may be summed up in two words, ‘as the Apostle of the Gentiles.’ The simple thought is ‘transfigured’ into the language of sacrifice, in which the Apostle describes himself and his office. Elsewhere he loves to identify the believer and his Lord; here he applies the same imagery to his own work, which is elsewhere applied to the work of Christ, partly because the use of such figures was natural to him, and partly, also, because such language was intelligible and expressive to those whom he is addressing.
[17, 18.]The train of thought in the Apostle’s mind seems rather to carry him back to his opponents at Corinth, where he was then staying, than to be directed to those whom he is addressing. The delicate alternations of feeling in the verses which follow, and the transition from hesitation to boldness, remind us of several passages in the Epistles to the Corinthians. 2 Cor. x. 15, 16. There, too, he had been careful to guard against appearing to intrude in another’s vineyard. Here his object is to assert in the gentlest manner possible, as in the Epistle to the Galatians in the strongest, his Apostleship of the Gentiles; at the same time making a similar disclaimer.
[19.]The tone is changed, and the construction of the preceding verse forgotten. The Apostle is speaking, not of what Christ did not do, but of what He did, and by his means; ‘I will only speak of what Christ did, and what he did was,’ &c. Comp. 2 Cor. xii. 12 ‘Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds.’
[23.]If the Apostle fulfilled this last-mentioned intention, no trace of his journey has been preserved. His long imprisonment at Rome and Cesarea may have hindered its accomplishment; or the stream of tradition, setting in another direction, has obliterated the memory of it. Could it be established that by the words, ἐπὶ τὸ τέρμα τη̂ς δὑσεως ἐλθών, in the famous passage of Clement, 1 Ep. ad Cor. v, the Pillars of Hercules were meant, we might suppose that the true and more ancient tradition had disappeared before the later one. If we could recover a Chronicon of the end of the first century, there would be no reason for surprise in our finding mention of the martyrdom of St. Paul in Spain. So slender is the authority by which any other tradition of his death is supported, so inextricably blended in the very earliest accounts with fables respecting himself and St. Peter. Dionys. Cor. apud Euseb. H. E. ii. 25.
[24.]ἐὰν ὑμωˆν πρωˆτον ἀπὸ μέρους ἐμπλησθωˆ.] ‘If I be first of all filled with you in my love, in some degree;’ i. e. not so much as I wish, yet as long as I am able. The rhetoric of Chrysostom adds a fine touch, which is hardly, however, contained in the original words, οὐδεὶς γάρ με χρόνος ἐμπλη̂σαι δύναται, οὐδ’ ἐμποιη̂σαί μοι κόρον τη̂ς συνουσίας ὑμωˆν.
[28.]σϕραγισάμενος.] ‘Having set my seal upon;’ i. e. having given the seal of my Apostolical authority to this fruit they have borne; or, having completed and put the finishing stroke to the fruit which they offer. For the use of the word καρπός comp. Phil. iv. 17 οὐχ ὅτι ἐπιζητωˆ τὸ δόμα, ἀλλ’ ἐπιζητωˆ τὸν καρπὸν τὸν πλεονάζοντα εἰς λόγον ὑμωˆν.
[29.]ἐν πληρώματι εὐλογίας χριστονˆ.] I know that coming to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
[31.]The Apostle seems to fear not only the violence of those who did not believe, but also the unwillingness of the brethren to receive offerings at his hands. The words, ἵνα ἡ δωροϕορία μου . . . εὐπρόσδεκτος τοɩ̂ς ἁγίοις, imply a difference between himself and the Church of Jerusalem, such as made it possible that they might not receive the offerings that he brought. Why else should he doubt, or even pray, that the collection of alms which he had undertaken at the request of Apostles ‘who seemed to be pillars’ might be acceptable? Compare the account in Acts xxi, in which a slender line of demarcation appears to be drawn between the multitude of Jews that believe, all zealous for the law, and the rest of the nation.
[16. 1.]Phebe, probably the bearer of the Epistle.
[5.]Epenetus the firstfruits. So in 1 Cor. xvi. 15, Stephanas is mentioned as the firstfruits of Achaia, whence the very ancient various reading Ἀχαΐας has probably crept into this passage.
[7.]Salute Andronicus and Junia, my fellowprisoners. The latter (Ἰουνίαν) is the name of a woman. Priscilla, Junia, the household of Chloe, the sisters who accompanied Paul and the brethren of the Lord and Cephas, the Athenian woman named Damaris, Phebe, Dorcas, the women who followed Christ and ministered to Him of their substance, besides others who are mere names to us, show the part which women took in the first preaching of the Gospel.
[16.]ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ϕιλήματι ἁγίῳ,] with the mystic kiss, the kiss that is the seal of brotherly love as in 1 Pet. v. 14; or merely the kiss usual in the assembly of the saints.
[19.]‘Avoid these deceivers, for otherwise you will mar that good fame which is gone out respecting you into all the world.’
[22.]That St. Paul dictated his Epistles appears from this passage, which may be compared with 1 Cor. xvi. 21, where he adds, ‘The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.’ Gal. iv. 11 ‘Ye see in what large letters I have written to you with mine own hand.’ Col. iv. 18 ‘The salutation by the hand of me Paul.’ 2 Thess. iii. 17 ‘The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.’
[25.]τῳ̑ δὲ δυναμένῳ.] The construction may be supplied by some such word as εὐχαριστωˆμεν; or, more probably, was intended to terminate with ἡ δόξα. Owing to the length of the sentence, the latter end has forgotten the beginning; and consequently, ἡ δόξα is inserted in a relative clause.