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should have life thereby, i. e. attain to immortal life, which had been lost by Adam's transgression.
That though this law, which was righteous, just, and good, were ordained to life, yet, not being able to give strength to perform what it could not but require, it failed, by reason of the weakness of human nature, to help men to life. So that, though the Israelites had statutes, which if a man did, he should live in them ; yet they all transgressed, and attained not to righteousness and life, by the deeds of the law.
That, therefore, there was no way to life left to those under the law, but by the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ, by which faith alone they were that seed of Abraham, to whom the blessing was promised.
This was the state of the Israelites.
As to the Gentile world, he tells them, That, though God made himself known to them, by legible characters of his being and power, visible in the works of the creation, yet they glorified him not, nor were thankful to him; they did not own nor worship the one, only, true, invisible God, the Creator of all things, but revolted from him, to gods set up by themselves, in their own vain imaginations, and worshipped stocks and stones, the corruptible images of corruptible things.
That, they having thus cast off their allegiance to him, their proper Lord, and revolted to other gods, God, therefore, cast them off, and gave them up to vile affections, and to the conduct of their own darkened hearts, which led them into all sorts of vices.
That both Jews and Gentiles, being thus all under sin, and coming short of the glory of God, God, by sending his Son Jesus Christ, shows himself to be the God both of the Jews and Gentiles, since he justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith, so that all that believe are freely justified by his grace.
That though justification unto eternal life be only by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, yet we are, to the
utmost of our power, sincerely to endeavour after righteousness, and from our hearts obey the precepts of the Gospel, whereby we become the servants of God; for his servants we are whom we obey, whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness.
These are but some of the more general and comprehensive heads of the Christian doctrine, to be found in this epistle. The design of a Synopsis will not permit me to descend more ininutely to particulars. But this let me say, that he, that would have an enlarged view of true Christianity, will do well to study this epistle.
Several exhortations, suited to the state that the Christians of Rome were then in, make up the latter part of the epistle.
This epistle was writ from Corinth, the year of our
Lord, according to the common account, 57, the third year of Nero, a little after the Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
CHAPTER I. 1-15.
CONTENTS. INTRODUCTION, with his profession of a desire to see them.
TEXT. i Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated
unto the Gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore, by his prophets, in the Holy Scrip
tures), 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, (which was made of the
seed of David, according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the
spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead :
PARAPHRASE. 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called a to be an apostle, sepa2 rated to the preaching of the Gospel of God (Which he had
heretofore promised, by his prophets, (in the Holy Scriptures) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; (who according
to the flesh, i. e. as to the body, which he took in the womb of
the Blessed Virgin, his mother, was of the posterity and lineage 4 of Davido; According to the spirit of holiness , i. e. as to that more pure and spiritual part, which in him over-ruled all, and kept even his frail flesh holy and spotless from the least taint of sin®, and was of another extraction, with most mighty powerf, declared to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the
b Separated, vid. Acts xiii. 2. 3 c“ Of David,” and so would have been registered of the house and lineage of
David, as both his mother and reputed father were, if there had been another
tax in his days. Vid. Luke ii. 4. Matth. xiii. 55. 42“ According to the spirit of holiness," is here manifestly opposed to, “ ac
cording to the flesh,” in the foregoing verse, and so must mean that more pure and spiritual part in him, which, by divine extraction, he had immediately from God : unless this be so understood, the antithesis is lost. • See paraphrase, chap. viii. 3. f'Ev eurójes, with power: he that will read in the original what St. Paul says, Eph. i. 19, 20, of the power, which God exerted, in raising Christ from the dead, will hardly avoid thinking that he there sees St. Paul labouring for words to express the greatnëss of it. 5“ Declared” does not exactly answer the word in the original, nor is it, perhaps, easy to find a word in English, that perfectly answers ópolévtos in the
TEXT. 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to
the faith among all nations, for his name; 6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.) 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace
to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your
faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit, in the Gospel
of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my
prayers; 10 Making request (if by any means now at length I might have a
prosperous journey, by the will of God) to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual
gift, to the end you may be established;
PARAPHRASE. 5 dead; By whom I have received favour, and the office of an
apostle, for the bringing of the Gentiles, every where, to the 6 obedience of faith, which I preach in his name; Of which
number 5, i. e. Gentiles, that I am sent to preach to, are ye hy who are already called ', and become Christians.) To all the
beloved of God, and called to be saints, who are in Rome,
favour and peace be to you from God our Father, and the 8 Lord Jesus Christ. In the first place, I thank my God
through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken 9 of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness,
whom I serve with the whole bent of my mind, in preaching
the Gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I constantly make 10 mention of you in my prayers. Requesting (if it be God's
will, that I may now at length, if possible, have a good op11 portunity) to come unto you. For I long to see you, that
I may communicate to you some spiritual gift", for your estaTEXT. 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual
NOTES. sense the apostle uses it here ; ópicon signifies properly to bound, terminate, or circumscribe; by which termination the figure of things sensible is made, and they are known to be of this, or that race, and are distinguished from others. Thus St. Paul takes Christ's resurrection from the dead, and his entering into immortality, to be the most eminent and characteristical mark, whereby Christ
is certainly known, and as it were deterniined to be the Son of God. 6 h To take the thread of St. Paul's words here right, all from the word Lord in
the middle of ver. 3, to the beginning of this 7th, must be read as a parenthesis. 6 and 7 i “ Called of Jesus Christ; called to be saints; beloved of God;" are but
different expressions for professors of Christianity. 11 * “ Spiritual gift." If any one desire to know more particularly the spiritual
gifts, he may read I Cor. xii.
faith both of you and me. 13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I
purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto) that I might have
some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the
wise and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you
that are at Rome also.
PARAPHRASE. 12 blishment in the faith ; That is m, that, when I am among
you, I may be comforted together with you, both with your 13 faith and my own. This I think fit you should know, bre
thren, that I often purposed to come unto you, that I may
have some fruit of my ministry among you also, even as 14 among other Gentiles. I owe what service I can do to the
Gentiles of all kinds, whether Greeks or barbarians, to both
the more knowing and civilized, and the uncultivated and ig15 norant; So that, as much as in me lies, I am ready to preach
the Gospel to you also, who are at Rome.
NOTES. 1• Establishment." The Jews were the worshippers of the true God, and had been, for many ages, his people; this could not be denied by the Christians. Whereupon they were very apt to persuade the convert Gentiles, that the Messias was promised, and sent, to the Jewish nation alone, and that the Gentiles could claim or have no benefit by him; or, if they were to receive any benefit by the Messias, they were yet bound to observe the law of Moses, which was the way of worship which God had prescribed to his people. This, in several places, very much shook the Gentile converts. St. Paul makes it (as we have already observed) his business, in this epistle, to prove, that the Messias was intended for the Gentiles as much as for the Jews; and that, to make any ove partaker of the benefits and privileges of the Gospel, there was nothing more required, but to believe and obey it: And accordingly, here in the entrance of the epistle, he wishes to come to Rome, that, by imparting some miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost to them, they might be established in the true notion of Christianity, against all attempts of the Jews, who would either exclude them from the privileges of it, or bring them under the law of Moses. So, where St. Paul expresses his care, that the Colossians should be established in the faith,
Col. ii. 7, it is visible, by the context, that what he opposed was Judaism. 12 m “ That is." St. Paul, in the former verse, had said that he desired to come
amongst them, to establish them; in these words, “ that is," he explains, or as it were recalls what he had said, that he might not seem to think them not sufficiently instructed or established in the faith, and therefore turns the end of his coming to them, to their mutual rejoicing in one another's faith, when he and they came to see and know one another.