Page images

1'blindness in part is happened to Israel, 31 Even so have these also now not beuntil the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. lieved, that through your mercy they also 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as


mercy. it is written, 1? There shall come out of Sion 32 For God hath Sconcluded them all the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungod- in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon liness from Jacob:

all. 27 For this is my covenant unto them, 33 O the depth of the riches both of the when I shall take away their sins.

wisdom and knowledge of God! how un28 As concerning the Gospel, they are searchable are his judgments, and his ways enemies for your sakes : but as touching the past finding out! election, they are beloved for the fathers' 34 For who hath known the mind of the sakes.

Lord ? or who hath been his counsellor ? 29 For the gifts and calling of God are 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it without repentance.

shall be recompensed unto him again? 30 For as ye in times past have not be- 36 For of him, and through him, and to lieved God, yet have now obtained mercy him, are all things: to whom be glory for through their unbelief:


15 Or, shut them all up together.


11 Or, hardness.

12 Isa. 59. 20. 13 Or, obeyed. 14 Or, obeyed.

16 Isa, 40. 13. Wisd. 9. 13. I Cor. 2. 16.

Verse 9. Let their table be made a snare,", &c.—The “ table” of course implies that which is set upon it. Expressious like these may be interpreted in a very general or in a very restricted sense; and in this case it is perhaps unsafe to seek a definite fulfilment. The most definite which has been suggested, is, however, very striking in the way of coincidence, and claims to be at least mentioned. The “table” may be supposed the Passover ; and how that could become a trap and a snare to the Jews appeared a few years after this epistle was written, when, while they were assembled in great numbers at Jerusalem, to eat the Passover there, they were surrounded and shut up by the Roman forces, and finally taken or destroyed, like birds in a snare, or wild animals in a trap.

16. If the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy.”—The allusion here is, doubtless, to the offering of the first fruits-the two wave loaves—to the Lord (Lev. xxiii. 14, 17), whereby the whole lump was sanctified for after-use throughout the following year.

If the root be holy, so are the branches.”—This appears to be a similar allusion to trees set apart for sacred uses, and which were planted in fields appropriated to such trees. If they were sacred when their roots began to form in the ground, so were they when they grew up and extended their branches in the air.

17. If some of the branches be broken off.Having been broken off, as useless, by the husbandman.

" A wild olive tree.”—"The cotinus, notives, and the oleaster, ingusa.0105, are both called "wild olive trees." They are nevertheless of different kinds, though they are sometimes confounded even by the Greeks themselves. The fruit of the cotinus is used for no other purpose than colouring; but the oleaster, the Agrippa Eleagnus of Linnæus, is that species of wild olive, the branches of which (see Schulz, in Paulus's · Collection of Travels,' vi. 290) are grafted into barren olive-trees that are in a state of cultivation, in order that fruitfulness may be produced.” Jahn's · Archæologia Biblica,' sect. 71. The above fact appears to us an important contribution to the illustration of the present text; for the better-known operation being to graft the olea into the oleaster, commentators have only been able to account for the apostle's description of the oleaster as grafted into the olea, by supposing that he reversed the actual practice, in order to obtain or to accommodate his metaphor. Yet it is rather singular that rest should so long have been taken in this conclusion, since ancient authors so much read as Theophrastus aud Pliny, distinctly mention the practice of grafting the oleaster into the olea. The former takes nctice of both methods: and the latter mentions it as a thing frequently done in Africa. (“Nat. Hist. 1. xvii. c. 18. See also Columella de Re Rust. 5. 9.)


unto me, to every man that is among you, 1 God's mercies must move us to please God. 3 No

not to think of himself more highly than he man must think too well of himself

, 6 but attend ought to think; but to think soberly, acevery one on that calling wherein he is placed. cording as God hath dealt to every man 9 Love, and many other duties, are required of us.

the measure of faith. 19 Revenge is specially forbidden.

4 For 'as we have many members in one I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the body, and all members have not the same mercies of God, that ye present your bodies office: a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, 5 So we, being many, are one body in which is your reasonable service.

Christ, and every one members one of ano2 And be not conformed to this world : ther. but 'be ye transformed by the renewing of 6 °Having then gifts differing according your mind, that ye may 'prove what is that to the grace that is given to us, whether good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. prophecy, let us prophesy according to the 3 For I say, through the grace given proportion of faith; 1 Ephes. 4. 23. ? Ephes. 5. 17.

• Ephes. 4. 7. 5 1 Cor. 19. 12.

3 Gr. to so briet

Pet. 4, 10, 11.

Heb. 13. 1.

11 Matt. 5. 44. 13 Heb. 12. 14.

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our mi- 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and nistering: or he that teacheth, on teach weep with them that weep. ing;

16 Be of the same mind one toward ano8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation : ther. Mind not high things, but "condehe that 'giveth, let him do it with simpli- scend to men of low estate. 13Be not wise city; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that in your own conceits. sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

17 "Recompense to no man evil for eril. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Provide things honest in the sight of all Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that men. which is good.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in 10 'Be kindly affectioned one to another you, "live peaceably with all men. "' with brotherly love; in honour preferring 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, one another;

but rather give place unto wrath: for it is 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in written, "Vengeance is mine; I will repas, spirit; serving the Lord;

saith the Lord. 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribu- 20 ?Therefore if thine enemy hunger, lation; continuing instant in prayer; feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on given to hospitality.

his head. 14 "Bless them which persecute you:

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome bless, and curse not.

evil with good. 7 Or, imparteth. 8 Or, liberally. 10 Or, in the love of the brethren.

12 Or, be contented with meas this 13 Prov.3.7. Isa. 5. 21. 1* Prov. 20. 29. 1 Thess. 5. 15. 1 Pet. 3.9.

19 Deut. 32. 35. Heb. 10.30.

17 Prov. 25. 21. Verse 13. “Given to hospitality.—“It was the more proper for the apostles frequently to enforce this duty, as the cast of public inns rendered it difficult for strangers to get accommodations; and as many Christians might be banished from their native country for religion, and perhaps laid under a kind of excommunication, both among Jews and heathens, which would make it a high crime for any of their brethren to receive them into their houses." (Blackwali's *Sacred Classics,' vol. i. p. 232.) of hospitality, as anciently exercised, and as still observable in the East, we have already had several occasions to speak. As exhibited towards strangers, it is always most strongly manifested under those circumstances, or in those regions, where they are most dependent upon it, or have no resource without it, from the lack of public establishments for their accommodation. As such establishments increase, or, in other words, as a country becomes more settled and civilized, the exercise of this kind of hospitality naturally declines: for it is the result of a feeling drawn forth by the exigencies of those who are benefited by it, and ceasing with the occasions that induced its exercise.

20. “ Thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”—The sense of this passage has been very much contested. The most popular interpretation is, that the expression is here a metaphor derived from founding ; that is, an allusion to the melting of lead and other fusible metals: and that it is to be understood to mean, " Thou shalt there by melt down his enmity, and warm him to kindness and affection.” It will be observed that the text is a quotation from Prov. xxv. 21,2% to which the Jewish commentators give the same interpretation which is here suggested. Thus, R. Aben Ezra esplains it to mean that, “ When he remembers the food and drink thou hast given him, thou shalt burn him, as if thou hadst put coals of fire on his head; and he will be mindful to do thee no ill again.” So also R. Levi Ben Gersom. Among the Christian fathers, Jerome and Hilary, and a large number of moderns, concur in this interpretation.

There is only a slight shade of difference between this and the interpretation adopted by Hammond and others, which supposes it to mean that, by the conduct recommended, the person's conscience will be touched, so that he will repeat of the injuries he has committed.

The third opinion, which is supported by nearly all the ancient commentators, by a host of foreiga ones, and by many English, with Whitby at their head, is,-that the words are expressive of acute pain and severe punishment

, even that of the Divine wrath and vengeance, which shall be aggravated in consequence of the kind treatment which the person has received, without being mollified, from the party aggrieved by his conduct. The advocates of this interpretation, to soften its apparent severity, observe, that this consequence is not offered as a motive to the conduct recom• mended, but is declared to be its result, in case the injurious person is not softened by it.

We have stated these alternatives, leaving the reader to choose that which he thinks most accordant to the general spirit of the Gospel; for that is the principle by which we must be guided in every attempt to determine the sense of a text of disputed interpretation.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


powers. 'For there is no power but of God:

the 1 Subjection, and many other duties, we owe to the


that be are *ordained of God. mugistrates. 8 Love is the fulfilling of the law.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the 11 Gluttony and drunkenness, and the works of power,

resisteth the ordinance of God: and darkness, are out of season in the time of the they that resist shall receive to themselves Gospel.

damnation. Let every soul 'be subject unto the higher 3 For rulers are not a terror to good

1 Tit. 3. 1, 1 Pet. 2. 13. 2 Wisd, 6. 3. 8 Or, ordered.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be tery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt no

. afraid of the power? do that which is good, steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, and thou shalt have praise of the same: Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any

4 For he is the minister of God to thee other commandment, it is briefly comprefor good. But if thou do that which is evil, hended in this saying, namely, “Thou shalt be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in love thy neighbour as thyself. vain : for he is the minister of God, a re- 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: venger to execute wrath upon him that doeth therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. evil.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, it is high time to awake out of sleep: for not only for wrath, but also for conscience now is our salvation nearer than when we sake.

believed. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: 12 The night is far spent, the day is at for they are God's ministers, attending con- hand: let us therefore cast off the works of tinually upon this very thing.

darkness, and let us put on the armour of 7 'Render therefore to all their dues : light. tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to 13 Let us walk 'honestly, as in the day; whom custom ; fear to whom fear ; honour not in rioting and drunkenness, not in to whom honour.

chambering and wantonness, not in strife 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one and envying. another: for he that loveth another hath 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfilled the law.

and 'make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil 9 For this, sThou shalt not commit adul. | the lusts thereof.

8 Lev. 19. 18. Matt. 22. 39. Gal. 5. 14. James 2. 8. 7 Or, decently. Verse 1. Be subject unto the higher powers.”—“Whoever is conversant with Roman history, will be able to illustrate many single passages in this chapter. The city of Rome contained within itself the seeds of insurrection and civil war, and was frequently involved in troubles, when even the provinces were at peace. The senate was secretly jealous of

5 Exod. 20. Deut. 5,

8 Luke 21. 34.

4 Matt. 29. 21.

. Gal. 5. 16. Pet. 2. 11.

the emperor, and the emperor in his turn suspected the senate. The life of the emperor was seldom free from canza: Caligula had died a violent death, Claudius had been poisoned, and Nero, who was on the throne when St. Paul winde this Epistle, did not meet with a more fortunate end. The inferior magistrates aspired to the supremacy: and as the Romans then believed in astrology, which they had learned from the Chaldees, an astrologer had ouly to predict sacess to the aspiring party, or to foretel the day on which the emperor would die, and the consequence was a certas assassination. The imperial life-guard, which consisted of foreigners, especially of Germans, and therefore was * interested in the prosperity of the empire, was not only an object of disgust to the Roman citizens, but because it powerful, after the time of Claudius, that the emperors were obliged to purchase its favour by considerable presenti And, in fact, they had no other right to their sovereignty over the Romans than that which they derived either frem force or intrigue.” (Michaelis's • Introduction, vol. iv. p. 101.) This account of the condition of the Roman goverment suggests the obvious propriety of these instructions to the Christians residing at its capital seat, against brings a reproach upon the doctrine of Christ, and grievous calamities upon themselves, by refusing obedience to the cia power which they found established, or joining in any plots for its subversion. This may have been the more Decis sary, lest what Paul had himself said concerning Christian liberty, together with some vague ideas with respect to the temporal sovereignty of the Messiah--which long-cherished persuasion might not be easily eradicated from the minds of those who had been Jews-might lead the Christian converts to fancy that they were, as a body, subeda tu Christ, in a peculiarly privileged condition, and exempt from the civil sovereignty of any earthly lord. When we see that such opinions have been received and acted upon in modern times, by persons who had this chapter before the it will not seem wonderful if some such notions were afloat in the church at Rome, composed, as that church was : persons who, as Jews, had from infancy been brought up in the expectation of a Messiah who should subvert ihrones and dominions, and reign as sole conqueror and king; and of Gentiles, who had always been quite weiter prised of the expectations which the Jews entertained. These views had always rendered the Jews the most troue sume subjects the Romans ever had-at all times prone to raise disturbances and to revolt. Thus, and from the other considerations stated, there was ample cause why the apostle was led to inculcate on the Christians at Rume the duty & submission to the higher powers." The time for instilling this doctrine was highly favourable ; for Nen was a excellent sovereign during the early years of his reign: he was hy no means unfriendly to the Jews; and the Cat tians were not yet, as such, subject to any authorised persecution. No doubt the same exhortatious wuld have tea delivered at any tiine, and under any circumstances; but in the present time and present circumstances, they were more likely to be received with calm and reverent attention. Implanted now, they could gain, and did gain, tái against the time when the storm of oppression and persecution came.

4. Brareth not the sword in vain.”—“ Bearing the sword” appears to denote the power of life and death, which wa. with the Roman magistrates, denoted by their being either girded with a sword, or by its being borne before there (Suet. in Vitâ Galbæ), a custom still in some degree retained in Europe as well as in the East. The sword proba became this symbol, because decapitation was the primary capital punishment, and that was usually inflicted with a sword in ancient times, as it still is in the East.

14. Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ."- Meaning, “ Assimilate yourselves to him; follow his example." The remarkable phrase of putting on any one, occurs in the same sense in the Greek writers; the metaphor being probab taken from the theatre, where the actors assume the name and attire of the person they represent. Chrysostum notis that, “Such a one has put on such a one' (o duva tov dsove svsduraro), was, in his time, a phrase in common use. Thus also Dion. Hal. lib. xi. 5, speaking of Appius and the other decemviri, says, " They were no longer the servants of Ta: quin, but they clothed themselves with him.” And, in like manner, Eusebius, speaking of the sons of Constantine, says that they put on their father. Perhaps a ray of illustration is also found in the faet mentioned by Pautarch a Vit. Artax.), that the kings of Persia, on the day of their coronation, put on a robe which the first Cyrus had was before he was king, to remind them of imitating his exemplary temper and conduct. See also our note (1 Kings II. 19) on the mantle of Elijah. CHAPTER XIV.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth 3 Men may not contemn nor condemn one the other it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth

for things indifferent : 13 but take heed that they not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard give no offence in them: 15 for that the apostle it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for proveth unlawful by many reasons.

he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not, to the Lord he eateth not, and gireth 'not to doubtful disputations.

God thanks. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no things : another, who is weak, eateth herbs. man dieth to himself.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him 8 For whether we live, we live unto the that eateth not; and let not him which eat- Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the eth not judge him that eateth: for God hath Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we received him.

are the Lord's. 4 Who art thou that judgest another 9 For to this end Christ both died, and mau's servant ? to his own master he stand- rose, and revived, that he might be Lord eth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: both of the dead and living: for God is able to make him stand.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother 5 One man esteemeth one day above or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? another : another esteemeth every day alike. for we shall all stand before the judgment Let

every man be 'fully persuaded in his seat of Christ. own mind.

[ocr errors][merged small]

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the 1 Or, not to judge his doubtful thoughts. * Or, fully assured. • Or, observeth. 52 Cor. 5. 10.

& Isa, 45, 23. Phil. de

* James 4' 12,

[ocr errors]

Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every 18 For he that in these things serveth tongue shall confess to God.

Christ is acceptable to God, and approved 12 So then every one of us shall give ac

of men. count of himself to God.

19 Let us therefore follow after the things 13 Let us not therefore judge one ano- which make for peace, and things wherewith ther any more: but judge this rather, that

one may edify another. no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion 20 for meat destroy not the work of to fall in his brother's way.

God. All things indeed are pure; but 14 I know, and am persuaded by the it is evil for that man who eateth with Lord Jesus, that there is nothing 'unclean of offence. itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made meat, now walkest thou not 'charitably. weak. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself Christ died.

before God. Happy is he that condemn16 Let not then your good be evil spoken eth not himself in that thing which he of:

alloweth. 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat 23 And he that "doubteth is damned if he and drink ; but righteousness, and peace, eat, because he eateth not of faith: for what. and joy in the Holy Ghost.

soever is not of faith is sin.
9 Gr. according to charity.
13 Or, discerneth and pulleth a difference between meats.

7 Gr. common.

8 Gr. common.

101 Cor. 8. 11.

11 Tit. 1. 15.

12 1 Cor. 8. 13.

Verse 2. Another, who is weak, ealelh herbs.”—There was a sect among the Jews (the Essenes) who abstained from all kinds of animal food, contenting themselves with a vegetable diet. Some think that converts from this sect, continuing this practice, are here alluded to: and they may be included, although we cannot think that they are specially intended. It is also certain that the Jews counted all meat sold in the heathen shambles as unclean, as well because they could not be sure it had not been offered to idols, as because it was probably not slaughtered in such a way as they considered lawful. Whitby mentions the former reason, and thence concludes that the Jews at Rome entirely abstained from animal food on this account, and for the same reason continued to do so, after their conversion. This seems to us an astounding conjecture. Is it likely that the great body of Jews living at Rume went entirely without meat, merely because they could not use that which was sold in the heathen shambles? Doubtless they had their own butchers at Rome, as they have now in London, although their only objection to the meat of our butchers is that they consider it improperly slaughtered. For these reasons the explanation given by Theophylact seems to us far preferable. He says, “ Many of the Jewish converts, even after having embraced the Christian faith, still adhered to the

observance with respect to meats, abstaining from the flesh of swine, since they as yet dared not entirely abandon the - law. Then, that it might not be said, that they abstained only from swine's flesh, they abstained from every kind of

flesh, and lived entirely upon herbs. Others, again, there were, further advanced, who holding themselves bound by none of these observances, taunted those who practised them. The Apostle therefore was apprehensive lest the more advanced, by unseasonably and injudiciously attacking the notions of the less advanced, should cause them to fall from the faith. He then wisely steers a middle course. He does not venture to reprove the assailants, lest he should encourage the less advanced in their rigid adherence to ritual observances; nor, on the other hand, could he commend them, since he would thereby bave rendered them the more vehement in their opposition: but he addresses an exhortition accommodated to both parties."

14. “ Nothing unclean of itseif."— The Jewish writers themselves allow that all food which had been forbidden as unclean, should be allowed as clean in the time of the Messiah.

" To him that esteemelh," &c.-Capellus cites in this place a very apposite rule of the Jewish writers:—“This is the great general rule in the law, That every thing, of which thou dost not know whether it be lawful or unlawful-to thee it is unlawful, until thou hast asked a wise man concerning it, and he teaches thee that it is lawful.”


2 Let every one of us please his neigh

bour for his good to edification. 1 The strong must bear with the creak. 2 We may not please ourselves, 3 for Christ did not so, 7 but

3 For even Christ pleased not himself; receive one the other, as Christ did us all, 8 both but, as it is written, 'The reproaches of them Jeus 9 and Gentiles. 15 Paul excuseth his writ- | that reproached thee fell on me. ing, 28 and promiseth to see them, 30 and request- 4 For whatsoever things were written

aforetime were written for our learning, that We then that are strong ought to bear the through patience and comfort of the infirmities of the weak, and not to please Scriptures might have hope. ourselves.

5 *Now the God of patience and consola

eth their prayers.

1 Psal. 69. 9.

? 1 Cor. 1. 10.

« PreviousContinue »