« PreviousContinue »
I forth into all the earth, and their words unto 19 the ends of the world." But I say, Did not Israel know this? First Moses saith, "I will move you to jealousy by an abject people; and by a profligate nation I will provoke you 20 to anger." But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, "I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest to them that asked not 21 after me." But to Israel he saith, "All the day long I have stretched forth my hands, unto a disobedient and gain-saying people."
CHAP. XI. 6. But if it be of works, then it is no REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER X. 1. How ought our hearts to overflow with love and compassion to our brethren; and how earnestly should we intercede with God for their salvation! When we behold any zeal displayed in the cause of God, we should be ready to commend it, while we lament the ignorance with which it may be accompanied. It is the cause of unfeigned grief to every Christian, to find men, through ignorance and pride, reject the way of acceptance revealed in the gospel, and endeavouring to establish their own imperfect righteousness as the ground of their hope and happiness. How irrational such conduct! for how can transgressors be justified by the law which they have transgressed! The law is given to teach us our need of Christ, by showing us our sins and offences; and thanks be to God, that Christ is the end of the law, of every law which God has given, for righteousness to the believer. Nor should it be forgotten that God has revealed this in his word clearly and fully. The word is nigh us, even in our mouth and in our hearts! O that we may believe with the heart, to the possession of the Saviour's perfect righteousness, and finally enjoy all the consequences of it.
the people he foreknew.
foreknew. Know ye not what the scripture saith by Elijah? how he addresseth God concerning Israel, saying, "Lord, they have 3 killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life." But what saith the answer of God to 4 him? "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal." In like manner then, 5 at this present time also there is a remnant, according to the election of grace. And if by 6. grace, then it is no more from works: otherwise grace is no more grace. °
What then? Israel hath not obtained that 7 which he seeketh for; but those elected have; obtained it, and the rest have been blinded: According as it is written, "God hath given, 8 them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day. And David saith, 9
more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Griesb... 2. How encouraging is it to be assured that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." And men are invited by the gospel to the discharge of this duty; men of every nation; for now there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile. But how can they, how is it possible for any to call on him in whom they have not believed, or of whom they have not heard? What matter of joy is it, that the sound of the gospel is heard, and the glad tidings are spread abroad! How beautiful are the feet of those who publish them! For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. This is his ordinance for bringing men to the obedience of the faith; and ministers ought to preach the whole counsel of God, with fidelity, plainness, and courage, in order to this desirable end. What if some reject and despise the heavenly message? If God should put out his hand all the day long, to a disobedient and gain-saying people? Yet will he be found of them that sought him not; and will glorify the riches of his own free grace. His word shall not return to him void, but accomplish that which he pleaseth, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto he hath sent it.
what David said on another subject may be applied to the gospel. Yes, verily, their sound, &c. Ps. xix. 4.
19, 20. Did not israel know this? Know that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles? Moses and the prophets had foretold this, as well as their own unbelief. See Deuter. xxxii. 21. Is. lxv. 1, 2.
CHAP. XI. 1. Cast off his people? That is, wholly rejected them, so as to have mercy on none of them. By no means. "For I also am an Israelite, &c."
2. Whom he foreknew. Here God's fore-knowledge must denote his choice and his approbation. At all times there have been some chosen and called to faith and obedience.
4. I have reserved, &c. At that time, when the prophet thought himself the only pious worshipper of Jehovah, there were seven thousand scattered through Israel, who had persevered in the good old way.
5, 6. A remnant according, &c. This remnant, or the part left, was honoured and distinguished as the objects of divine favour and choice; and it was through this choice and favour that they had been made to differ from others, Nor were they chosen for their past works, or for any that they would perform; for on either of these suppositions the very nature of grace would be destroyed. I omit the latter clause, as an early interpretation of the former, but which is wanting in a number of the best manuscripts.
7-10. Israel hath not, &c. Israel hath not obtained that righteousness
The fall of the Jews.
"Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompence unto 10 them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always." I say then, Have they stumbled so as to fall for ever? By no means: but rather by their falling off salvation is come unto the Gentiles, 12 to provoke them to jealousy. Now if their falling off be the riches of the world, and their failure the riches of the Gentiles; how much 13 more their fulness? (For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am the apostle of the 14 Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to jealousy those that are my own flesh, and may save some of them.) 15 For if the rejecting of them be the reconciling of the world, what will the receiving of them 16 be, but life from the dead? Now if the firstfruits be holy, so likewise is the lump: and 17 if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches have been broken off, and thou, being a branch of a wild olive tree, have been grafted in upon them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the 18 olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root,
for justification and life which he sought by works; but those elected and called to believe, have obtained it.- -And the rest have been, &c. That is, by their own prejudices and crimes; so that in them may be said to be fulfilled what Isaiah predicted, (Ch. iv. 4.; vi. 9.) and what David had said of Judas (Ps. Ixix. 22, &c.) was applicable to them who now rejected the gospel.
11. So as to fall for ever? So as to fall from all their privileges, and to be for ever as a nation rejected of God? By no means. Had the Jews generally received the gospel, their church-state would have been first settled ; but as they did not, the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, to awaken their jealousy.
12. The riches of the world, &c. The next clause explains this. As the rejection of the gospel by the Jews occasioned it to be immediately preached to the Gentiles; this became the means of making them rich.-——Their fulness. Their general conversion.
13, 14. (For I speak to, &c. Paul was particularly sent to labour among the Gentiles, (Acts xxvi. 17, 18, &c.) and he had a right to speak honourably of his ministry, as tending to their riches; and also with a design of exciting the jealousy of his own brethren according to the flesh. From the 12th verse to the end of the chapter, the apostle treats of the rejection of the Jews for their unbelief, so that they will be no more considered as belonging to the church of God, until their conversion to the faith.
15. For if the rejecting, &c. Be the means of bringing the Gentile world into a state of reconciliation; what may we expect to occur when they are received again to favour? It will occasion the greatest joy, joy like that which would be excited by receiving a beloved friend raised from the dead. This I take to be the sense; but some think that the apostle supposed that event would be attended by a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit, and that vast bodies of Gentiles will then be converted also.
Gentiles stand by faith.
but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The 19 branches have been broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief 20 they have been broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. For 21 if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee also: Behold 22 therefore the kindness and severity of God: on them who have fallen, severity: but towards thee, kindness, if thou continue in his kindness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they continue not in un- 23 belief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out 24 of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and contrary to nature wert grafted into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, 25 that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits,) that blindness hath happened in part to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And then all Israel will be saved: as it is writ- 26 ten, "A deliverer shall come out of Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: "
16. Now if the first-fruits, &c. The apostle states the ground of his expectation, that the Jews will be received again. As the first of the dough offered to God sanctifies the whole bread of the land (Numb. xv. 20, 21.); or to use another image, "if the root be holy, &c." The plain meaning is, that as a nation they are separated and honoured, and will be so for the sake of their illustrious ancestors, with whom God entered into covenant.
17, 18. And if some, &c. The branches broken off were the unbelievers among the Jews; and the branches of the wild olive grafted in are the believing Gentiles. How proper the caution to the Gentile not to boast. He ought to reflect that from the covenant made with Abraham, and to the fulfilment of its promises, in and by the Jewish Church, were derived all the bles sings and privileges of the gospel.
19–22. Thou wilt say then, &c. The apostle probably discovered in some converts a hatred of the Jews, especially on account of their unbelief and persecuting spirit; and he labours to eradicate it, and to inspire them with humility, caution, and holy fear.
23, 24. If they continue not, &c. The apostle grounded his hope of the final calling of the Jews as a nation, on the power of God, and on their churchrelation.
25. Fulness of the Gentiles, &c. See verse 12. The mystery Paul makes known, clearly means a truth which had not been before revealed. 1 Cor. xv. 51. God, for wise and holy reasons, had suffered the Israelites to follow their own vain opinions, and to reject the gospel until his purpose respecting the Gentiles should be accomplished.
26. Then all Israel, &c. As the fulness of the Gentiles signifies their general conversion to the Christian faith; so the apostle must mean by all Israel being saved, their being saved as a nation from their avowed unbelief;
God's ways unsearchable.
Exhortation to duty.
or who hath been his counsellor? Or who 35 hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of him, and by 36 him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
27 And "this is my covenant with them, when I || For who hath known the mind of the Lord? 34 28 shall take away their sins." As concerning the gospel, they are enemies because of you: but as touching the election, they are beloved 29 because of the fathers. For the free-gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past believed not in God, yet have now obtained mercy through their 31 unbelief: Even so have these also now believed not, through the mercy shown you, that 32 they may also obtain mercy. For God hath included them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XI. 1. We learn that men may enjoy great religious privileges, and yet be finally cast off and rejected; but in such a case God has a remnant reserved, as the monuments of his mercy and the trophies of his grace.. In times of great degeneracy, these may be hidden and unknown to one another; but they are known to God as the objects of his electing love and providential care. Thus it was in the days of Elijah. He thought himself the only true worshipper of God in the land of Israel; but was informed that God had reserved "seven thousand who had not apostatized from him, nor worshipped Baal." Let us hope that there are many more known to God and accepted of him, than we may apprehend. And let us never forget, that they and we are indebted wholly to grace, free, distinguishing grace, if we are not given up to blindness, impenitence, and sin.
2. We ought seriously to reflect on the conduct of God towards the Jews and towards us Gentiles. They had most awfully sinned, and by their rejection of Christ, they filled up the measure of their iniquities; and now they were rejected as God's church and peculiar people. Their civil and religious polity were soon to terminate never more to be restored. How great the severity which fell on them! And though it was deserved, yet were not the Gentiles as sinful and depraved. What free, unmerited goodness then has been exercised
and doubtless great numbers, both of Jews and Gentiles, will then believe to the saving of the soul. See Is. lix. 20, 21.
28. Enemies because of you. Because of your admission into the gospelchurch. As touching the election, &c. Of their fathers and posterity to be God's visible church. They are so far "beloved because of their fathers,” as to be the objects of many promises, and which will, in the end, be fulfilled. "For the free-gifts and the calling, &c." The blessings of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the calling of their posterity originally, or at any subsequent period, are all sure.
30-32. Believed not in God, &c. In the one only true and living God; but were grossly ignorant of him, and worshipped idols of wood, stone, &c. -Included all, &c. It is necessary to observe that what the apostle asserts, refers to different times. God had once suffered the Gentiles to revolt and walk after their own hearts, while he took the seed of Abraham as his own
A. D. 60. Men should dedicate themselves to God, and be humble, attending to their peculiar callings; love and other duties enjoined.
I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the I mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well-pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not 2 conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may
towards us! That we should be taken from that wretched condition in which we were, and grafted into the true olive tree, and made the happy partakers of those privileges and hopes with which the seed of Abraham had been so long honoured and enriched! We derive influence from the good olive tree; may we ever bring forth fruit to the honour of God. Let us remember that we stand by faith; and never be high-minded, but live in holy fear; and let us constantly ascribe to God the glory due for his amazing goodness and love.
3. What a glorious state of the church does the apostle set before us! A day will assuredly come, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, and all Israel shall be saved. As we have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, it should be our earnest prayer that they may be excited to a holy emulation, by means of our faith. They have been, and are, wonderfully preserved as a nation; and we have solid ground to hope, that in due time God will remember them, and fulfil his promises. While investigating God's purposes and dispensations of providence and grace, we should learn from the apostle, to do it with modesty and reverence; and should acquiesce in what surpasses our comprehension, exclaiming, "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" We should learn to bow to his sovereign will, and to confess that of him, and by him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
peculiar people ; but now he had permitted them to fall, by their unbelief, and had taken the Gentiles, on their believing the gospel, to be his people; and his design in showing mercy to them, was finally to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and bring them to believe, by that which at one time occasioned their unbelief, and again to show merey to them.
33-36. O the depth of, &c. Here the apostle confesses that the reasons of the divine conduct were all together incomprehensible; and we ought rather to adore the riches of his wisdom and judgments, than unprofitably endeavour to fathom them.
CHAP. XII. 1. A living sacrifice, &c. Every animal was presented to God alive, and then slain and offered. In allusion to this custom, the Christian is to consider himself a living sacrifice, wholly devoted to God; and this is a reasonable service or worship. Some render, a spiritual service.
2. To this world. To the corrupt and sinful practices of the world, as
prove what is the good, and well-pleasing ther;
3 and perfect will of God.
What they should be.
love; in honour preferring one anoNot slothful in business; fervent in 11 spirit: serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; 12 patient in affliction; persevering in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given 13 to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you: 14 bless, and curse not. Rejoice with those that 15 rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Be 16 of the same mind one towards another, Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Return to no one evil for evil. Provide what 17 is good in the sight of all men.
For, through the grace bestowed on ine, I charge every one that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every 4 man his measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all the mem5 bers have not the same office; So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one 6 members one of another. Having then freegifts differing according to the grace bestowed on us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy accor7 ding to the proportion of our faith; Or minis-ble, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably try, let us attend on our ministry; or he that 8 teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation. He that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that presideth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is 10 good. Be kindly disposed one to another in
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XII. 1. We hence learn that the foundation of all religion is a principle of piety towards God, presenting to him our bodies as living sacrifices. That we may be engaged to do this, let us often think of his great mercies; and especially of that greatest of all mercies, our redemption by the blood of his own dear Son. What service can be more reasonable than to be devoted to our God, our Redeemer and sanctifier. Let the men of the world neglect him and pursue their gains and pleasures; but let it be our desire that divine grace may so transform us, that we may do the holy will of God. And what can be more honourable, than to be
If it be possi- 18
with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not 19 yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." If therefore thine 20 enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by 21 evil, but overcome evil with good.
governed, wholly governed, by what is so good and perfect in itself, and so well-pleasing to God and all virtuous beings! Ever let us remember, That to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of rams;" and let all our gifts and graces be improved so as to advance the general interests of piety, harmony and love.
2. We are also taught, that the doctrines of free grace, are not only in theory, but in the experience and practice of all believers, inseparably connected with a train of the most lovely virtues. They are called to exercise the sincerest love one towards another; to detest every thing sinful, and to cleave to what is good; to be active in their
the Jews were. Ch. ii; and the Gentiles, Ch. i.— -Prove what is, &c. Prove by trial and experience, what is the good, &c. will of God, revealed in the gospel.
3. Not to think of himself, &c. Show that you are renewed in your minds, by not being elated with your spiritual gifts.
4,5. Many members, &c." This comparison of the church to the human body, is made more fully, 1 Cor. xii. 12, &c. Eph. iv. 16, &c.
6. Having then free-gifts, &c. Macknight renders, spiritual gifts, which, though true, is not the literal sense of the term.. Prophesy, &c. This was vouchsafed to some, and implies either foretelling particular events, or explaining the Old Testament prophecies. They were to prophecy" according to the proportion of their faith;" arising from the revelation communicated, from which they were not to depart.
7. Or ministry. As that of deacons, to whom Paul gives particular directions as to their ministration. 1 Tim. iii. 8, &c.- -He that teacheth, &c. Any person of competent gifts, who taught the ignorant, or such as were called catechumens.
8. He that exhorteth. This I think was the office of the bishop or pastor, and implics, not only enforcing christian duties, but applying the doctrines of
christianity, for the comfort, hope, and joy of the faithful.He that giveth, &c. Some were then remarkable for their charity; and the exigencies of the ́times required it. 2 Cor. viii. 2.; ix. 13.—Presideth over distributions to the poor; and he who has the care of such as are imprisoned for the faith, let him visit them, and show them mercy with all readiness.
10. In brotherly love. Let your christian love resemble in strength and constancy your love to your own kindred.
11. In business. In any important concern, which either respects yourselves, or your duty to others.-—— Fervent in spirit. Guard against a lukewarm state of mind. This accomplishes nothing excellent. I adhere to the common reading in the next clause.
12-18. Rejoicing in hope. These precepts are honourable to christianity, and were, in a good degree, observed by the primitive Christians. Their patience in suffering, their meckuess in bearing reproach, their mutual kindness and sympathy, their hospitality and humility, contributed to spread the faith, and to establish the rising church of Christ.
19-21, Avenge not, &c. See Matt. v. 44.- Give place unto wrath. Leave the injury done you to the wrath of God, who has said vengeance, &c.' Deuter. xxxii. 35. See Prov. xxv. 21, and note.
A D. 60. The duties we owe to magistrates; love the great end of the law ; works of sin and darkness to be avoided.
Love to our neighbour.
tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Owe to no man any thing, but love to one 8 another: for he that loveth another fulfilleth LET every person be subject to the supreme the law. For the commandments, "Thou shalt 9 powers. For there is no power but from God; not commit adultery, Thou shalt not commit and the powers that exist are appointed of murder, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not 2 God. Whosoever therefore opposeth the pow-bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; " and er, resisteth the appointment of God: and if there be any other commandment, it is sumthose who resist will bring judgment upon med up in these words, namely, "Thou shalt 3 themselves. For rulers are not a terror to love thy neighbour as thyself." Love worketh 10 good works, but to evil. Wouldst thou then no ill to our neighbour: love therefore is the not be afraid of the power? do that which is fulfilling of the law. 4 good, and thou shalt have praise from it. For the ruler is a 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, an avenger to execute 5 punishment upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only because of punishment, but also because of conscience. 6 For on this account ye pay tribute also; because they are Got's ministers, Got's ministers, attending 7 continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom
civil calling and business, and fervent in the duties of religion. While they are tried and persecuted, they are to submit with patience, and rejoice in the hope of final deliverance and of eternal life. Love, evange lical love, is the principle of their morals, and it is without dissimulation. It is liberal to the poor, especially to the saints in necessity; and it is hospitable to those driven from their homes by persecution. It is humble and condescending to men in the lowest situation, and kind ́even to enemies. It implores blessings on the heads of those who abuse and curse us. It refers all the injuries done to the judgment of God, rather than render evil for evil. It takes pleasure in peace, and in giving food and drink to poor necessitous enemies; in melting them
And we should do this, knowing the time, 11 that now is the hour to awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed: The night is far spent, the day is at 12 hand; let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and let us put on the attire of light. Let us walk decently, as in the day; not in 13 revellings and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 14 make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil its evil desires.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XIII. 1. We learn that civil government is the appointment of God, and what are the proper ends of it, and why we should be in subjection to it. It is for the good of mankind: for a terror to evil-doers, and for a praise to them that do well; and if those who administer it pervert it to oppression and to acts of injustice, they can no longer equitably claim the love, and submission of the people. But while rulers seek the public good, and fulfil the high trust reposed in them, ruling according to the laws and
CHAP. XIII. 1. To the supreme powers. A general expression, denoting those who have the power of government in their hands, of whatever kind or form that government may be.- —Are appointed of God. Magistracy and government are agreeable to the will of God, and are appointed by him in the general course of his providence.
2. Resisteth the appointment of God. As the apostle is speaking of government in general, as being the appointment of God, he must mean by resisting it, an attempt to set it aside; and such an attempt would in fact be to resist the appointment of God. But to seek to improve the government of a state, or to alter its form to a better; or to oppose unjust and oppressive laws, or to seek to remove corrupt magistrates, or those who abuse the power with which they have been entrusted, is so far from resisting the appointment of God, that it is the strongest proof of a wise and steady attachment to government, and the lawful end of it, as the appointment of God. For rulers, &c.
3-7. Are not a terror, &c. In these verses the apostle states what should be the end of the laws and of their administration; and so far as they afford security to persons, property, and the acknowledged rights of individuals, we should be subject to them, not only because of punishment, but because of conscience. It is well known that the Jews thought it wrong to be subject to the Romans, and to pay tribute; and it is probable that the Christians were reproached with holding the same opinions. If so, nothing could be more wise than this statement of duty to the civil magistrate.- -Tribute denotes a fixed tax; and custom what was levied on merchandize.
8-10. But love to one, &c. While Christians should endeavour to discharge every obligation, the apostle allows them to be in one respect always debto:s. Owe love to one, &c.—————Is summed up, &c All the other precepts of the second table, are included in this, and are but different branches of it, 11-14. Knowing the time. Knowing that our time on earth cannot be