Page images

TEXT. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be

unto death.

PARAPHRASE. 9 hurt me; And there was a time once?, when I, being with

out the law, was in a state of life; but the commandment

coming, sin got life and strength again, and I found myself 10 a dead man; And that very law, which was given me for

NOTES. compatible enemies, the being and safety of the one consistiug in the death, or inability of the other to burt. Without carrying this in mind, it will be fery hard to understand this chapter. For instance, in this place St. Paul has declared, ver. 7, that the law was vot abolished, because it at all favoured or promoted sin, for it lays restraints upon our very desires, which men, without the law, did not take notice to be sinful; nevertheless sin, persisting in its design to destroy me, took the opportunity of my being under the law, to stir up concupiscence in me; for without the law, which apnexes death to transgression, sin is as good as dead, is not able to have its will on me, and bring death upon me. Conformable hereunto St. Paul says, 1 Cor. xv. 56, “the strength of sin is the law;" i. e. it is the law, that gives sin the strength and power to kill men. Laying aside the figure, which gives a lively representation of the hard state of a well-minded Jew, under the law, the plain meaning of St. Paul here is this: “ though the law lays a stricter restraint upon sin than neu have without it : yet it betters not my condition thereby, because it enables me not wholly to ex. tirpate sin, and subdue concupiscence, though it hath made every transgression a mortal crime. So that being no more totally secured frona offending, under the law, than I was before, I am, under law, exposed to certain death." This deplorable state could not be more feelingly expressed than it is here, by making sin (which still remained in man, under the law) a person who implacably aiming at his ruin, cunningly took the opportunity of exciting concupiscence in

those to whom the law had made it mortal. 9 · Tlozè, “ once.” St. Paul declares there was a time once, wheo he was in a

state of life. When this was, he himself tells us, viz. when he was without the law, which could only be, before the law was given. For he speaks here, in the person of one of the children of Israel, who never ceased to be under the law, since it was given. This wotè, therefore, must design the time between the covenant made with Abraham and the law. By that covenant, Abraham was made blessed, i.e. delivered from death. That this is so, see Gal. iii. 9, &c. And, under him, the Israelites claimed the blessing, as his posterity, comprehended in that covenant, and as many of them as were of the faith of their father, faithful Abraham, were blessed with him. But when the law came, and they put themselves wholly into the covenant of works, wherein each transgression of the law became mortal, then sin recovered life again, and a power to kill; and an Israelite, now under the law, found himself in a state of death, a dead man. Thus we see it corresponds with the design of the apostle's discourse here. In the six first verses of this chapter, he shows the Jews that they were at liberty from the law, and might put themselves solely under the terms of the Gospel. In the following part of this chapter, he shows them that it is necessary for them so to do; since the law was not able to deliver them from the power sin had to destroy them, but subjected them to it. This part of the chapter showing at large what he says, chap. viii, 3, and so may be looked on as an explication and proof of it.

TEXT. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by

it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy; and the commandment holy, and just,

and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid !

But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me, by that which

PARAPHRASE. the attaining of life", was found to produce death b to me. 11 For my mortal enemy, sin, taking the opportunity of my

being under the law, slew me by the law, which it inveigledd me to disobey, i. e. the frailty and vicious inclinations of nature remaining in me under the law, as they were before, able still to bring me into transgressions, each whereof

was mortal, sin had, by my being under the law, a sure 12 opportunity of bringing death upon me. So thate the law

is holy, just, and good, such as the eternal, immutable rule of 13 right and good required it to be. Was then the law, that in

itself was good, made death to me? No, by no means: but it was sin, that by the law was made death unto me, to the

NOTES. 10. That the commandments of the law were given to the Israelites, that they might have life by them; see Lev. xviii. 5. Matth. xix. 17.

The law, which was just, and such as it ought to be, in having the penalty of death annexed to every transgression of it, Gal. iii. 10, came to produce death, by not being able so to remove the frailty of human nature, and subdue carnal appetites, as to keep men entirely free from all trespasses against it, the least

whereof, by the law, brought death. See chap. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 21. 11 e 'The sense wherein I understand 8à Toữ vóucu, “ by the law,” ver. 5, is very

much confirmed by &à tñs émoañs, in this and ver. 8, by which interpretatiou the whole discourse is made plain, easy, and consovant to the apostle's purpose. d“ Inveigled.” St. Paul seems here to allude to what Eve said in a like case, Gen. ii. 13, and uses the word “deceived," in the same sense she did, i.e. drew

me in.

[ocr errors]

12 '1256, so that." Ver. 7, he laid down this position, that the law was not

sin ; ver. 8, 9, 10, 11, he proves it, by showing that the law was very strict in forbidding of sin, so far as to reach the very mind and the internal acts of concupiscence, and that it was sin that remaining under the law (which annexed death to every transgression) brought death on the Israelites; he bere infers, that the law was not sinful, but righteous, just, and good, just such as by the eternal

rule of right it ought to be. 13 © "No." In the five foregoing verses the apostle had proved, that the law was

not sin. In this, and the ten following verses, he proves the law not to be made death; but that it was given to show the power of six, which remained in those, under the law, so strong, notwithstanding the law, that it could prevail on them to transgress the law, notwithstanding all its prohibitious, with the penalty of death annexed to every transgression. Of what use, this showing the power of sin, by the law, was, we may see, Gal. iii. 24.

TEXT. is good ; that sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding

sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under

sin. 15 For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not ;

but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law, that it

is good.

PARAPHRASE. end that the powers of sin might appear, by its being able to bring death upon me, by that very law, that was intended for my good, that so, by the commandment, the power of

sin and corruption in me might be shown to be exceeding 14 great; For we know that the law is spiritual, requiring

actions quite opposite i to our carnal affections. But I am so carnal, as to be enslaved to them, and forced against my will to do the drudgery of sin, as if I were a slave that had

been sold into the hands of that my domineering enemy. 15 For what I do, is not of my own contrivancek; for that

which I have a mind to, I do not; and what I have an aver16 sion to, that I do. If then my transgressing the law be what

NOTES. & That åpagría xal' inspecting duaplwaòs, “ sin exceeding sinful,” is put here to signify the great power of sin or lust, is evident from the following discourse, which only tends to show, that let a man under the law be right in his mind and purpose; yet the law in his members, i, e. his carnal appetites, would carry him to the committing of sin, though his judgment and endeavours were averse to it. He that remembers that sin, in this chapter, is all along represented as a person, whose very nature it was to seek and endeavour his ruin, will not find it hard to understand, that the apostle here, by “sin exceeding sinful," means sin strenuously exerting its sinful, i. e. destructive nature, with mighty force. h'lye yevýtau, “ that sin might become,” i. e. might appear to be. It is of appearance he speaks in the former part of this verse, and so it must be understood here, to conform to the sense of the words, not only to what immediately precedes in this verse, but to the apostle's design in this chapter, where he takes pains to prove, that the law was not intended any way to promote sin, and to understand, by these words, that it was, is an interpretation that neither holy Scripture nor good sense will allow : though the sacred Scripture should not, as it does, give many instances of putting “ being," for “ appearing,” Vid. ch.

jii. 19. 14 i Nyeupalexds,“ 'spiritual," is used here to signify the opposition of the law to

our carnal appetites. The antithesis in the following words makes it clear. 15 Où yircoxw, " I do not know," i. e. it is not from my own understanding, or

forecast of mind; the following words, which are a reason brought to prove this saying, give it this sense. But if ou yová oxw be interpreted, "I do not approve," what in the next words is brought for a reason will be but tautology.

TEXT. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 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 perform that which is

good I find not. 19 For the good, that I would, I do not: but the evil, which I would

not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin,

that dwelleth in me.

PARAPHRASE. I, in my mind, am against, it is plain the consent of my 17 mind goes with the law, that it is good. If so, then it is not

I, a willing agent of my own free purpose, that do what is contrary to the law, but as a poor slave in captivity, not able to follow my own understanding and choice, forced by the

prevalency of my own sinful affections, and sin that remains 18 still in me, notwithstanding the law. For I know, by woeful

experience, that in me, viz. in my flesh', that part, which is the seat of carnal appetites, there inhabits no good. For, in the judgment and purpose of my mind, I am readily carried into a conformity and obedience to the law: but, the strength of my carnal affections not being abated by the law,

I am not able to execute what I judged to be right, and in19 tend to perform. For the good, that is my purpose and aim,

that I do not; but the evil, that is contrary to my intention,

that in my practice takes place, i. e. I purpose and aim at 20 universal obedience, but cannot in fact attain it. Now if I

do that, which is against the full bent and intention of me m myself, it is, as I said before, not I, my true self, who do it, but the true author of it is my old enemy, sin, which still remains and dwells in me, and I would fain get rid of.

NOTES. 18 'St. Paul considers himself, and in himself other men, as consisting of two

parts, which he calls flesh and mind, see ver. 25, meaning, by the one, the judgment and purpose of his mind, guided by the law, or right reason ; by the other, his natural inclination, pushing him to the satisfaction of his irregular, sinful desires. These he also calls, the one the law of bis members, and the other the law of his mind, ver. 23, and Gal. v. 16, 17, a place parallel to the ten last verses of this chapter, he calls the one flesh, and the other spirit. These two are the subject of his discourse, in all this part of the chapter, explaining particularly how, by the power and prevalency of the fleshly inclinations, not abated by the law, it comes to pass, which he says, chap. viii. 2, 3, that the law being weak, by reason of the flesh, could not set a man free from the power

and dominion of sin and death. 20 m ou siawiyw, “ I would not.” 1, in the Greek, is very emphatical, as is ob

vious, and denotes the man, in that part which is chiefly to be counted himself, and therefore with the like emphasis, ver, 25, is called autógéyò, “I my own self."

TEXT, 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with


22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 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

in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of

this death?

PARAPHRASE. 21 I find it, therefore, as by a law settled in me, that when my

intentions aim at good, evil is ready at hand, to make my 22 actions wrong and faulty. For that which my inward man

is delighted with, that, which with satisfaction my mind 23 would make its rule, is the law of God. But I see in my

members” another principle of action, equivalent to a law", directly waging war against that law, which my mind would follow, leading me captive into an unwilling subjection to the constant inclination and impulse of my carnal appetite,

which, as steadily as if it were a law, carries me to sin. 24 O miserable man that I am! who shall deliver me P from this

NOTES. 23 St. Paul, here and in the former chapter, uses the word members, for the lower

faculties and affections of the animal man, which are as it were the instruments of actions. • He having, in the foregoing verse, spoken of the law of God, as a principle of action, but yet such as had not a power to rule and influence the whole man, so as to keep him quite clear from sin, he here speaks of uatural inclination, as of a law also, a law in the members, and a law of sin in the members, to show that it is a principle of operation in men, eren under the law, as steady and constane in its direction and impulse to sin, as the law is to obedience, and failed

not, through the frailty of the Aesh, often to prevail. 24 P What is it, that St. Paul so pathetically desires to be delivered from? The

state he had been describing was that of human weakness, wherein, notwithstanding the law, even those, who were under it, and sincerely endeavoured to obey it, were frequently carried, by their carpal appetites, into the breach of it. The state of frailty, he knew men, in this world, could not be delivered from. And therefore, if we mind him, it is not that, but the consequence of it, death, or so much of it that brings death, that he inquires after a deliverer from. “Who shall deliver me," says he, “from this body?" He does not say of frailty, but of death : what shall hinder that my carnal appetites, that so often make me fall into sin, shall not bring death upon me, which is awarded ine by the law ? And to this he answers, “the grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." It is the favour of God alone, through Jesus Christ, that delivers frail men from death. Those under grace obtain life, upon sincere intentions and endeavours after obedience, and those endeavours a man may attain to, in this state of frailty. But good intentions and sincere endeavours are of no behoof against death, to those under the law, which requires complete and puoc. tual obedience, but gives po ability to attain it. And so it is grace alone,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »