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Weak believers should
A. D. 60. The apostle recommends mutual candour between the converted Jews and the converted Gentiles, as to their practices in respect to food, &c.
Now the weak in faith kindly receive, but 2 not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who 3 is weak, eateth herbs only. Let not him that Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him who eateth not judge him that eateth: 4 For God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own master he standeth or falleth: Yea, he shall be established: for God is able to esta5 blish him. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own 6 mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it from respect to the Lord: and he that regardeth not the day, from respect to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth from respect to the Lord, for he giveth God
constitution of the state, we ought to reverence and honour them as the ministers of God for good, and cheerfully pay the tributes and customs which are their due. This we should do, not only as an equitable return for their care, trouble, and expence in protecting us, our rights and our property; but as a duty enjoined by our Lord, and from motives of conscience.
2. We also learn what a powerful, constraining principle is true christian love. It inclines and effectually engages us to discharge the duties we owe to our neighbour; and restrains us from shedding blood, from adultery, theft, falsehood and lying. So far as it prevails, it secures the fulfilling the duties of the second table of the law. But
long, we should not sleep, but awake unto righteousness; and as the night of this dark state is nearly over, we should be expecting the day of our complete salvation, and put on "the attire of light," be clothed with the christian graces, that it may appear that we are children of light.But put ye on the, c. By adhering to his doctrine, and imitating his example. Chrysostom observes, that in his day it was usual to say, "such a one had put on such a one," to intimate that he had become his follower and imitator.
CHAP. XIV. 1. Now the weak in faith, &c. Receive, with brotherly love, the Jewish convert, who is doubtful about the lawfulness of eating all kinds of food, and particularly meats offered to idols. Respect his scruples, and do not irritate him by perverse disputes.
2. Eateth herbs only. He lived on vegetable produce only, because he could not find in a Gentile country, such animal food as he conceived to be clean.
3. God hath received him. God hath received the Gentile into his church and to his favour, as is evident by the spiritual gifts conferred on him. 4. That judgest the servant, &c. The Jews were prone to condemn the
not be condemned. thanks; and he that eateth not, from respect to the Lord he eateth not, and yet giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and 7 no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, 8 we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end 9 Christ both died, and lived again, that he ° might have dominion both over the dead and the living. But why dost thou judge thy bro- 10 ther? or why dost thou despise thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, "As I live, saith 11 the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then 12 every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.
Let us not therefore judge one another any 13 more: but judge ye this rather, not to put a stumbling-block before a brother, or an occasion of falling. I know, and am persuaded by 14 the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean
9. and rose. Griesb.
alas! how imperfect is the present state of things. Believers are but sanctified in part; and are men of like infirmities with others, which they sensibly feel and sincerely lament. It is however matter of consolation, that this state of darkness, this night of trouble, is passing away, and the day of deliverance is at hand. The time of complete salvation is advancing; and how should this arouse and animate us! Let us not sleep as others do, nor at any time yield to the temptations which assault us! Let us renounce all the works of darkness; revellings, wantonness, strife and envying; and let us walk as becometh the children of the light and of the day, as those that have put on the Lord Jesus.
Gentiles for the liberty they exercised in respect to food; and against this temper the apostle justly inveighs.
5. One day above, &c. The Jews esteemed many days as holy, because on them they had been accustomed to keep their festivals; but the Gentiles considered all days of this kind alike, and did not observe them as sacred.
6. He that eateth, &c. He that eateth animal food, &c. He that eateth not. Any animal food, but liveth on vegetable produce, acts from the same principle, and is thankful.
7-9. None of us liveth, &c. We have become the professed subjects and servants of Christ, and we ought to seek and pursue his honour and glory, both by our life and our death.Over the dead, &c. From this it appears that the saints who have died, as well as those who are alive, are under the dominion of Jesus, and consequently that the souls of the former enjoy a conscious existence: for if they did not, how could they be subject to Christ?
10-12. Why dost thou judge, &c. Both in this and verse 3rd, the Jew judges, and the Gentile despises, but the apostle reminds them that they must
of itself: but if any man esteem any thing to 15 be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved because of thy food, thou no longer walkest according to love. Destroy not by thy food, the peace of him for whom 16 Christ died. Let not then your good be evil 17 spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, 18 and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that in these things serveth Christ is well-pleasing to 19 God, and approved by men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, 20 and for the edifying of one another. On account of food destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil in that man who eateth so as to cause offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do any thing by which thy brother
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XIV. I. How amiable is the temper which the apostle so forcibly recommends to the disciples of Christ. They have their peculiar views and prejudices; and let them mutually bear with one another. Let not their little differences alienate their affection, or prevent their religious fellowship and commu nion. If we think a brother wrong in some scruple or practice, let us treat him with tenderness, as he may be acting from respect to the will of God; and if so, we should not reject him whom God accepts. Instead of proudly and rashly judging one another, let us remember, that we must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; and conscious of our own crimes and sins, let us show that compassion and mercy to others, which we expect the Lord Jesus to exercise towards us in that day. We should all unite in a concern, not to live or die to ourselves, but to Christ. His dying love, and his governing care, demand this; and how glad should we be that he is Lord both of life and death.
to promote peace.
stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? Have it with respect to thy- 22 self, in the sight of God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth himself to do. And he that doubteth 23 is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not from faith for whatsoever is not from faith is sin.
. Now unto him that is able to establish you, 25 according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, kept secret since the world began, But hath now been made manifest, and, by the 26 scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, hath been made known to all the Gentiles for the. obedience of faith: To God only wise, be 27 glory through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen."
25-27. from Ch. xvi.
2. We are admonished, not to give any offence, nor by any thing we say or do, to give an occasion to a weak christian brother, of stumbling and falling. To this end let us keep in mind that each of us must give an account of himself to God. Let us learn to exercise mutual moderation and candour, that our good may not be evil. spoken of; the weak believer should not judge and condemn the strong, nor the strong despise the weak. All should be concerned to act on the principles of faith and a good conscience, and endeavour to promote each others edification and peace; recollecting that the kingdom of God" does not consist in external things, or in the observance of outward rites; but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. And when we thus serve Christ, our service will be acceptable to God, and approved by all good men; nor shall we be self-condemned by doing that which we disallow, and blame others for doing. The apostle's conduct, who endeavoured to keep a conscience void of offence towards God and men, should be constantly followed.
all stand before the tribunal of Christ, whose sentence will be final. See is. xlv. 23. Confess to God. The Hebrew is, "Swear to God," but the Septuagint and the apostle have explained the prophet, if we understand by swearing, answering to God upou oath, with respect to our conduct.
13. But judge ye this, &c. Instead of mutually judging and condemna ing, exercise your judgment in what relates to your duty, and you will be convinced, that it is the duty of every one, not to put, &c.
14. And am persuaded, &c. Through that knowledge the Lord Jesus had given him, that "nothing" proper and suitable for food "is unclean of itself," but may be used for that purpose without sin; yet if a Jew esteem any kind of food unclean, as being so named under the law, to him it is unclean, and to use it, having such an opinion, would be to sin.
15. Be grieved, &c. Distressed by doubts and anxieties, occasioned by your eating what he deems unlawful; and by following your example is induced to offend God. Do you in such a case act on the principle of christiau love. —— Destroy not the peace, &c. I have supplied what the connexion evidently requires..
16. Let not then your, &c. Let not your just views of christian freedom in respect to different kinds of food, lead you so to act as to occasion any to speak evil thereof. For the kingdom of God, &c. the essence of religion, is not meat, &c.
20. Destroy not the, &c. The great design of the gospel is to promote love and harmony, and to unite the Jew and Gentile in the same faith and hope; destroy not this work which God is carrying on, by doing any thing which may separate brethren, and strengthen prejudice and opposition. The next verse explains this.
22. Hast thou faith? A right persuasion as to these things. Retain it as to thyself in the sight of God; but do not exercise it before men so as to give offence Happy is he, &c. Who does not act contrary to his own convictions and conscience.
23. Not from faith, &c. Because he does it, not from a full persuasion that it is right; and whatsoever is done without such a persuasion is sin. 25-27. Now unto him, &c. In the common Greek copies these verses conclude the epistle; but the evidence in favour of their being originally here 281
A. D. 60. The strong should bear with the weak, and all of them receive one another as brethren; the reason of Paul's writing this epistle, &c.
Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please our2 selves. Let every one of us please his neigh3 bour for his good, to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee 4 fell on me." For whatsoever things were formerly written were written for our instruction, that we, through the patience and comfort taught by the scriptures, might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and comfort grant you to be of the same mind among yourselves, 6 according to the will of Christ Jesus: That with one consent and with one mouth ye may glorify God, even the Father of our Lord 7 Jesus Christ. Wherefore kindly receive each other, as Christ hath received you to the glory of God.
Now I say that Jesus Christ became a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, "For this cause I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing 10 unto thy name." And again he saith, "Rejoice, ye Gentiles, together with his people." 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; 12 and celebrate him, all ye peoples." And again, Isaiah saith, "There shall be a root of Jesse,
is so strong that the best writers have here inserted them. See Griesbach. It is certain that all the other epistles end with the benediction.Kept secret since, &c. The calling of the Gentiles was not wholly kept secret, but it was only occasionally mentioned, and the nature of it was altogether unrevealed until it was made known by the gospel.
CHAP. XV. 3. The reproaches, &c. See Ps. Ixix. 9. The reproaches cast on God's law and government, by the sins of men, fell on Christ, as he had to suffer for them, and to maintain the honour of the divine law and government.
4-7. Were formerly written, &c. We should attend to the scriptures, as containing matter for our direction and comfort, and to inspire us with hope under all our difficulties.Now the God, &c. The devotional spirit of the apostle is manifest by such occasional petitions as these.As Christ hath received, &c. No motive could be more forcible with the pious than this, to live in peace and cherish brotherly affection.
8-13. Of the circumcision, &c. He was himself a Jew as man, and exercised his ministry among the Jews. Matt. xv. 24. On this account Gentile
should not be despised.
and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles hope." Now 13 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 Spirit.
And I myself also am persuaded concerning 14 you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another also. Nevertheless, breth- 15 ren, I have written more boldly to you in part, as putting you in mind, because of the grace which God hath bestowed on me, That I 16 should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I have therefore whereof I may glory through 17 Jesus Christ in things relating to God. For 18 I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, but of what he hath wrought to make the Gentiles obedient in word and deed, Through mighty 19 signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, I have earnestly 20 endeavoured to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, 21 "Those to whom he had not been spoken of, shall see and those that had not heard shall understand." On which account also I have 22 been often hindered from coming to you. But 23
believers should respect them; and as Jesus came to fulfil the promises made to the fathers in favour of the Gentiles, the Jews should not envy or persecute them, but join them in praise to God for his mercy. See Ps. xviii. 49. Deuter. xxxii. 43. Ps. cxvii. 1. and Is. xi. 10.—The God of hope, &c. Here we have an instance of the apostle's manner, in beginning a new sentence, by resuming the word with which he had concluded the preceding. Comp. verses 4, 5.
14. And I myself also, &c. As Locke observes, the apostle skilfully apologizes for writing unto them.—Full of goodness. Good and kind dispositions towards each other, as well as possessing, in a high degree, christian knowledge, able to admonish, &c.
15, 16. In part. Newcome thinks this qualifies the expression "the more boldly ;" while Macknight renders, partly, and supposes that "while the apostle insinuates that his design was partly to call things to their remembrance, it was also to instruct them in others which they did not know.
17-21. I may glory, &c. In having been made the instrument of so much good in preaching the gospel to the Gentiles; and which has been attended with mighty signs and wonders, &c.--From Jerusalem, &c. How unwearied had the apostle been in travels and labours of love, appears from
Intreats the prayers, &c.
with the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
now having no longer place for preaching in these parts, and having a great desire for these 21 many years to come unto you; Whensoever Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Lord 30 I go into Spain, I hope to see you as I pass on, Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that and to be conducted by you on my way thither-ye strive together with me in your prayers to ward, when I have been in some measure 25 satisfied with your company. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased those of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the 27 poor saints who are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them indeed; and their debtors they For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, the Gentiles ought also to minister to them in worldly 28 things... When therefore I have performed
this, and have consigned to them this fruit, 29 I will come by you into Spain. And I know that, when I come unto you, I shall come
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XV. 1. How benevolent and kind is the spirit of the gospel, teaching us not to please ourselves, but our neighbour to his edification. This holy, generous concern for the comfort and establishment of others, is enforced by the example of our blessed Lord and Saviour. He denied himself and sustained reproaches for his Father's honour, and the good of his church. He condescended to act the part of a servant and minister, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, that the Gentiles might glorify and praise God, for making them equal heirs of all privileges and blessings with the Jews. What a rich and invaluable treasure have we in the holy scriptures, which were written for our instruction, patience, comfort and hope. Let us unite in the prayer of the apostle, "That the God of hope may fill us with all joy and peace in believing; that we may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."
2. In the account the apostle gives of his journeys and labours, and of his purposes and designs, we see the ardour of his mind, his love to souls, and his willingness to be spent in the service of the Lord. He was not content to abide long in one place, or natión; but when he considered the lost, perishing condition of men in distant countries, he was ready to brave all dangers, and to preach to them also the unsearchable riches of Christ. In his spirit and conduct he was and
God for me; That I may be delivered from 31
A. D. 60. Paul commends Phebe, and greets a number of the brethren; cautions them against such as fomented divisions, &c.
Now I commend unto you Phebe our sister, I' who is a deaconess of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, 2
did what Jesus said of him: "He is a chosen instrument to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Is rael." What a pattern is this holy man, to all that engage in the ministry! What self-denial, patience, love, and zeal should they constantly exercise! And what a blessing to the church are such ministers. May God raise up and send out such labourers into his vineyard.
3. What gratitude do we owe to God for visiting us and blessing us with the gospel. By it we are brought under the reign of Christ ; and he is exhibited to us as the object of our faith and trust. By it all saving blessings are communicated through the power of the Spirit. How honourable is the ministry of it; and with what zeal did Paul and others, after they had felt its power, spread it abroad. And how great was their success! Satan fell like lightning from heaven. On every hand the kingdom of sin and darkness was invaded, and some of its strong-holds forced. Still may the ministration of the gospel thus triumph; and may all the plans of ministers, for the salvation of sinners be rendered successful. To this end they request the prayers of their christian brethren; and they pour out the desires of their own hearts, that their labours may be acceptable, and that love, peace, and unity may abound.
30-33. And by the love, &c. Some understand the love of the Spirit to signify the love which he had to the saints, and which was at that time expressed by his miraculous gifts; while others think that it denotes that christian love which is the fruit of the Spirit.In your prayers, &c. Paul was desirous of the prayers of the brethren, fully convinced how much God regarded them, and what favours he conferred in answer to them.
CHAP. XVI. 1. A deaconess, &c. The habits of the people of Asia and Greece rendered it necessary for well-instructed females to be allowed, and even appointed to visit, teach, and comfort those of their own sex. These deaconesses were generally widows. See Tim. v. 3-9. Phil. iv 2. Pliny describes them as existing in his time.- -Cenchrea. This was the eastern 283
Christian brethren saluted.
as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a helper of many, and of myself 3 also. Salute Priscilla and Aquilla my fellow4 labourers in Christ Jesus: Who have laid down their own necks for my life: unto whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of 5 the Gentiles also. Salute likewise the church in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first-fruits of Asia" to Christ. 6 Salute Mary, who hath laboured much for you. 7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before 8 me. Salute Amplias my beloved in the Lord. 9 Salute Urbanus, my fellow-labourer in Christ, 10 and Stachys my beloved. Salute Apelles who is approved in Christ. Salute those that are 11 of the household of Aristobulus. Salute Herodian my kinsman. Salute those that are of the household of Narcissus, that are in the 12 Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who who are labouring in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, who hath laboured much in the Lord. 13 Salute Rufus, who is chosen in the Lord; and 14 his mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the 15 brethren that are with them. Salute Philolo
Contention's to be avoided.
gus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints that are with them. Salute one another with a holy kiss. the churches of Christ salute you.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark those 17 who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For those that are such, serve not our 18 Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the innocent. For your obedience 19 hath come abroad unto all. I rejoice therefore on your account: but yet I would have you wise concerning that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will 20 quickly bruise Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Timothy my fellow-labourer, and Lucius, and 21 Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
Tertius the scribe of this epistle, salute you 22 in the Lord. Gaius my host, and the host of 23 the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city, and Quartus a brother, salute you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 24 be with you all. Amen.
Written to the Romans from Corinth, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.
CHAP. XVI. 5. Achaia. Mss. REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XVI.
16. Mss. version.
1. We hence learn that
the christian religion is of the greatest advantage to friendship and good manners. It teaches us to pay civil respect to all ranks and
Verses 25-27. transposed to latter end Ch. xiv.
degrees of men; and to adress them in the manner deemed most proper and becoming. It obliges us to be grateful for benefits, and to make the best returns of which we are capable. It inspires us with the
sea-port of the city of Corinth, eight or nine miles distant from it.
2. In the Lord. Receive her as a believer in the Lord; and assist her, &c. What business might bring her to Rome we are not told; but the Christians there would doubtless regard her as a sister, and do her every service in their power.
3-5. Salute Priscilla, &c. See Acts xviii. 2, 26. They appear to have been zealous and well-instructed disciples, who for the sake of the gospel had suffered much.--The church in their house. As the first Christians had no buildings erected for public worship, they assembled in private houses; and such an assembly is called a church. Aquilla had opened his house in Rome for this purpose, which showed no little courage, as persecution' then raged. -Asia. All the best mss. support this reading, in preference to the common one, Achaia; and from 1 Cor. xvi. 15, we learn that the family of Stephanus, and not Epinetus, were the first-fruits of Achaia.
6. Much for you. For this reading, see Griesbach. Who this Mary was we know not; nor how she had laboured for the brethren at Rome, unless as a zealous christian or deaconess.
7. My kinsmen. The apostle, Ch. ix. 3, styles all the Jews his kinsmen.
It is therefore uncertain whether these persons were relations in blood, or only of the same nation. Who were in Christ, &c. These persous had somewhere been imprisoned with Paul, and were much regarded by the Apostle for their fortitude, and as being early called to the faith.
8-16. Salute Amplias, &c. The names of the Roman brethren bere mentioned, are not noticed elsewhere, and we know nothing more of them than that they were believers.—With a holy kiss. The Jews considered the kiss as an expression of friendship. See 2 Sam. xx. 9. Luke vii. 43. Christians adopted it from the Jews, and Justin Martyr informs us, "that prayers being ended, they saluted one another with a kiss, and that then the bread and cup were brought to him who presided." They expressed their affection for each other before they celebrated the Lord's supper; but this salute was only given to those of their own sex, men saluted men, and women one another.——— The churches, &c. There was one at Corinth, and another at Cenchrea, and perhaps many other christian assemblies in Achaia, who all joined in this salutation.
17, 18. Mark those who, &c. Jewish zealots, who pretended by their ceremonious rites, to add perfection to the christian system; and hence sought