Page images

TEXT. 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her

husband so long as he liveth: but if the husband be dead, she is

loosed from the law of her husband. 3 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 man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the

PARAPHRASE. 2 no longer. Ford a woman who hath an husband is bound by

the law to her living husband; but if her husband dieth, she is loosed from the law, which made her her husband's,

because the authority of the law, whereby he had a right to 3 her, ceased in respect of him, as soon as he died. Where

fore she shall be called an adulteress, if, while her husband liveth, she become another man's. But if her husband dies, the right he had to her by the law ceasing, she is freed from

the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she become 4 another man's. So that even ye, my brethren", by the body

NOTES. 24" For.” That which follows, in the 2d verse, is no proof of what is said in the

Ise verse, either as a reason, or an instance of it, unless xupocúer be taken in the sense I propose, and then the whole discourse is easy and oniform. I'ARO Tol vópou toữ áv&pós, “ From the law of her husband." This expression confirms the sense above-mentioned. For it can in no sense be termed, “ the law of her husband," but as it is the law whereby he has the right to his wife. But this law, as far as it is her husband's law, as far as he has any concern in it,

or privilege by it, dies with him, and so she is loosed from it. 4 Kad üpsis, “ Ye also;" xal, “ also," is not added here by chance, and without

any meaning, but shows plainly that the apostle had in his mind some person or persons before-mentioned, who were free from the law, and that must be either the woman mentioned in the two foregoing verses as free from the law of her husband, because he was dead; or else the Gentile converts mentioned chap. vi. 14, as free from the law, because they were never under it. If we think xal refers to the woman, then St. Paul's sense is this, “ Ye also are free from the law, as well as such a woman, and may without any imputation subject yourselves to the Gospel." If we take xal to refer to the Gentile converts, then his sense is this : “ even ye also, my brethren, are free from the law, as well as the Jewish converts, and as much at liberty to subject yourselves to the Gospel, as they.” I confess myself most inclined to this latter, both because St. Paul's main drift is to show, that both Jews and Gentiles are wholly free from the law; and because idaratúonto rópos, " ye have been made dead to the law,” the phrase here used to express that freedom, seems to refer rather to the 1st verse, where he says, “ the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth," implying, and no longer, rather than to the two intervening rerses, where he says,

not the death of the woman, but the death of the husbaud, seis the woman, free," of which more by and by.

TEXT. body of Christ ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

PARAPHRASE. of Christs, are become dead to the law, whereby the dominion of the law over you has ceased, that you should subject yourselves to the dominion of Christ in the Gospel, which you may do with as much freedom from blame, or the imputation of disloyalty', as a woman whose husband is dead, may, without the imputation of adultery, marry another man. And this making yourselves another's, even Christ's, who is risen from the dead, is that wek should bring forth fruit

NOTES. 8" By the body of Christ, in which you, as his members, died with him;" see Col. ii. 20, and so, by a like figure, believers are said to be circumcised with him, Col. ii. ll. h“ Are become dead to the law." There is a great deal of needless pains taken by some, to reconcile this saying of St. Paul to the two immediately preceding verses, which they suppose do require he should have said here what he does ver. 6, viz. that the law was dead, that so the persons, here spoken of, might rightly answer to the wife, who there represents them. But he that will take this passage together, will find that the first part of this 4th verse refers to ver. 1, and the latter part of it to ver. 2 and 3, and consequently that St. Paul had spoken improperly if he had said, what they would make him say here. To clear this, let us look into St. Paul's reasoning, which plainly stands thus: the dominion of the law over a man ceases, when he is dead, ver. 1, you are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ, ver. 4, and so the dominion of the law over you is ceased, then you are free to put yourselves under the domi. nion of another, which can bring ou you no charge of disloyalty to bim, who had before the dominion over yon, any more than a woman can be charged with adultery, when, the dominion of her former husband being ceased by his death, she marrieth herself to another man.” For the use of what he says, ver. 2 and 3, is to satisfy the Jews, that the dominion of the law over them being ceased, by their death to the law in Christ, they were no more guilty of disloyalty, by putting themselves wholly under the law of Christ, in the Gospel, than a woman was guilty of adultery, when the dominion of her husband ceasing, she gave her. self up wholly to another man in marriage. į“ Disloyalty.” One thing that made the Jews so tenacious of the law, was that they looked upon it as a revolt from God, and a disloyalty to him, their king, if they retained not the law that he bad given them. So that even those of them, who embraced the Gospel, thought it necessary to observe those parts of the law, which were pot continued, and as it were re-enacted by Christ, in the Gospel. Their mistake herein is what St. Paul, by the instance of a woman marrying a second husbaud, the former being dead, endeavours to convince them of. *“ We.” It may be worth our taking notice of, that St. Paul, having all along fron the beginning of the chapter, and even in this very sentence, said "ye," here, with neglect of grammar, on a sudden changes it into “ we," and says,

TEXT. . 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sivs, which were by

the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

PARAPHRASE. 5 unto God'. For when we were after so fleshly m a manner,

under the law, as not to comprehend the spiritual meaning of it that directed us to Christ, the spiritual end of the law, our sinful lust" that remained in us under the law', or in

NOTES. " that we should," &c. I suppose to press the argument the stronger, by showiug himself to be in the same circumstances and concern with them, he being a Jew, as well as those he spoke to. 1« Fruit unto God." In these words St. Paul visibly refers to chap. vi. 10, where he saith, that “ Christ, in that he liveth, he liveth unto God," and therefore he mentions here his being raised from the dead as a reason for their bringing forth fruit unto God, i. e. living to the service of God, obeying his will, to the

utmost of their power, which is the same that he says, chap. viii. 11. 3 m “ When we were in the flesh." The understanding and observance of

the law, in a bare literal sense, without looking any farther, for a more spiritual intention in it, St. Paul calls“ being in the flesh.” That the law had besides a literal and carnal sense, a spiritual and evangelical meaning, see 2 Cor. iii. 6 and 17 compared. Read also ver. 14, 15, 16, where the Jews in the flesh are described, and what he says of the ritual part of the law, see Heb. ix. 9, 11, which whilst they lived in the observance of, they were in the fesh. That part of the Mosaical law was wholly about fleshly things, Col. ij. 14-23, was sealed in the flesh, and proposed no other but temporal, fleshly rewards. • Nabhpata tür & papriūv, literally “ passions of sin," in the Scripture Greek (wherein the genitive case of the substantive is often put for the adjective) “ sinful passions, or lusts." • Tà 8sà toữ vópov, “ which were by the law," is a very true literal translation of the words, but leads the reader quite away from the apostle's sense, and is fain to be supported (by interpreters, that so understand it) by saying, that the law excited men to sin, by forbidding it. A strange imputation on the law of God, such as, if it be true, must make the Jews more defiled, with the pollutions set down in St. Paul's black list, ch. i. than the heathen themselves. But herein they will not find St. Paul of their mind, who, besides the visible distinction wherewith he speaks of the Gentiles all through his epistles, in this respect, doth here, ver. 7, declare quite the contrary; see also 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4. If St. Paul's use of the preposition, 8tà, a little backwards in this very epistle, were remembered, this and a like passage or two more, in this chapter, would not have so harsh and hard a sense put on them as they have. Tūv miçabortus Bi' áxpobuslas, our translation renders, ch. iv. 11, “ that believe, though they be not circumcised," where they make &' &xpobusias to signify, “ during the state, or during their being under uncircumcision.” If they had given the same sense to Svà vóuou here, which plainly signifies their being in a contrary state, i. e. under the law, and repdered it, “ siuful affections," which they had, though they were under the law, the apostle's sense here would have been easy, clear, and conformable to the design he was upon. This use of the word 8sà, I think we may find in other epistles of St. Paul; rà dsà ToToMpatos, 2 Cor. v.

30, may

TEXT. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein

we were held ; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

PARAPHRASE. the state under the law wrought in our members, i, e. set

our members and faculties P on work in doing that, whose 6 end was death. But now the law, under which we were

heretofore held in subjection, being dead, we are set free from the dominion of the law, that we should perform our obedience as under the new' and spiritual covenant of the Gospel, wherein there is a remission of frailties, and not as still under the old rigour of the letter of the law, which condemns every one, who does not perform exact obedience to

NOTES. possibly, with better sense, be understood of things done during the body, or during the bodily state, than by the body; and so 1 Tim. ii. 15, Sià Temoyorias, “ during the state of child-bearing." Nor is this barely an Hellenistical use of 8à, for the Greeks themselves say si sipépàs, " during the day;" and @sa yuxtòs, “ during the night.” And so I think Esà tou svayyorlov, Eph. iii, 6, should be understood to signify,“ in the time of the Gospel, under the Gospel dispensation." p" Members,” here doth not signify barely the fileshly parts of the body, in a restrained sense, but the animal faculties and powers, all in us that is employed as an instrument in the works of the flesh, which are reckoned up, Gal. v. 1921, some of which do not require the members of our body, taken in a strict sense for the outward gross parts, but only the faculties of our minds, for their performance. 9 Kaptopopicai tu farbro, “ Bringing forth fruit unto death,” here is opposed to “ bringing forth fruit unto God," in the end of the foregoing verse. Death here being considered as a master whom men serve by sin, as God in the other place is considered as a master, who gives life to them who serve him, in per

forming obedience to his law. 67" In newness of spirit," i. e. spirit of the law, as appears by the antithesis,

oldness of the letter, i.e. letter of the law. He speaks in the former part of the verse of the law, as being dead; here he speaks of its being revived again, with a new spirit. Christ by his death abolished the Mosaical law, but rerived as much of it again as was serviceable to the use of his spiritual kingdomn, under the Gospel, but left all the ceremonial and purely typical part dead, Col. ii. 14—18; the Jews were held before Christ in an obedience to the whole letter of the law, without minding the spiritual meaning, which pointed at Christ. This the apostle calls here serving in the oldness of the letter, and this he tells them they should now leave, as being freed from it by the death of Christ, who was the end of the law for the attaining of righteousness, chap. x. 4, i. e, in the spiritual sense of it, which 2 Cor. iii. 6, he calls spirit, which spirit, rer. 17, he explains to be Christ. That chapter and this verse here give light to one another. Serving in the spirit then is obeying the law, as far as it is revived, and as it is explained by our Saviour, in the Gospel, for the attaining of evangelical righteousness.

TEXT. 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, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all

manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law, once: but when the commandment

came, sin revived, and I died.

PARAPHRASE. 7 every tittles. What shall we then think that the law, be

cause it is set aside, was unrighteous, or gave any allowance, or contributed any thing to sin'? By no means; for the law, on the contrary, tied men stricter up from sin, forbidding concupiscence, which they did not know to be sin, but by

the law. For I u had not known concupiscence to be sin, 8 unless the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Nevertheless

sin, taking opportunity during the law”, or whilst I was under the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence: for without the law sin is dead y, not able to

NOTES. • That this sense is also comprehended, in not serving in “ the oldness of the letter,” is plain from what St. Paul says 2 Cor. iii. 6. “ The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” From this killing letter of the law, whereby it pronounced death for every the least transgression, they were also delivered, and therefore St. Paul tells them here, chap. viii. 15, that they have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear," i.e. to live in perpetual bondage and dread under the inflexible rigour of the law, under which it was impossible for them

to expect aught but death. 7 cóc sin." That sin here comprehends both these meanings expressed in the

paraphrase, appears from this verse, where the strictness of the law against sin is asserted, in its prohibiting of desires, and froin ver. 12, where its rectitude is asserted. U“ I.” The skill St. Paul uses, in dexterously avoiding, as much as possible, the giving offence to the Jews, is very visible in the word I, in this place. In the beginning of this chapter, where he mentions their knowledge in the law,

ye.” In the 4th verse he joins himself with them, and says But here, and so to the end of this chapter, where he represents the power of sin, and the inability of the law to subdue it wholly, he leaves them out, and speaks altogether in the first person, he means all those who were under the

law. 8 - St. Paul here, and all along this chapter, speaks of sio as a person endea

vouring to compass his death; and the sense of this verse amounts to no more but this, that, in matter of fact, that concupiscence, which the law declared to be sin, remained and exerted itself in him, notwithstanding the law. For if sio, from St. Paul's prosopopeia, or making it a person, shall be taken to be a real agent, the carrying this figure too far will give a very odd sense to St. Paul's words, and, contrary to his meaning, make sin to be the cause of itself, and of concupiscence, from which it has its rise. » See note m ver. 5. y“ Dead.” It is to be remenbered not only that St. Paul, all along this chapter, makes sin a person, but speaks of that persou and himself, as two in

he says,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »