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in the former passage; and fixes its meaning to the Calling of the Gentiles. Therefore, in whatever degree it shall seem probable, from the argument of language, that the Purpose of God in the first-cited passage, is the same with the Purpose mentioned in the text; in the same degree will it be probable, that this also relates to the adoption of the Gentiles to be the people of God through Christ.-But,
2. WE shall be effectually convinced, that the Purpose of God here spoken of, is his Purpose to call the Gentiles; and by no means the Purpose of Absolute Predestination according to Calvin's system; if we attend carefully to the general Design of the Epistle, and especially to the drift of the argument in the passage of the text.
I must beg leave to take it for granted, as a thing already proved elsewhere.*, That the general subject of the Epistle to the Romans is, The perfect efficacy of the Gospel to salvation, in opposition to the Law; and the Right of the Gen
See the Synopsis of the Argument of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans.
tiles to a share in this salvation, in opposition to the exclusive claims of the Jews.--This subject the Apostle prosecutes through the seven first Chapters, and to the middle of the Eighth ; and advances, and establishes his Proposition by several steps and degrees.
The first is Justification, or the remission of all sins past; which is indispensably necessary, in order to the Convert's admission to a state of grace, or favour with God. And since it cannot be by any merit of works, but is conferred freely by the mercy of God, upon the sole qualification of faith in Christ; it is clear that this door to all the benefits and privileges of the Gospel, is every whit as open to the Gentile as to the Jew.
The consequence of Justification is Peace with God, or Reconciliation; and admission to the state of Sonship, and the hope of the heavenly inheritance.
The next great step is Sanctification, or renewed holiness of heart and life. This is the Condition of the Covenant on our part; and to this end, the Law was altogether inefficacious, but
the Gospel is perfectly efficacious, through the dispensation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, upon the fulfilment of this condition, by a faithful use of the means of grace, there ensues a grounded hope, and joyful expectation, of the happiness and glory to be conferred upon the saints at the resurrection. This is the highest pitch of the Gospel-grace in the present life; and to this point the Apostle has brought his argument in the middle of the Eighth Chapter ; “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the Children of God: and if Children, then Heirs ; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ.” (Ver. 16, 17.)
The Gospel, therefore, is fully proved, to be “ the power of God unto salvation;" and the right of the Gentiles to a share in that salvation, fully established : and the Apostle is now ready to pass to another part of his subject, intimately connected with the Calling of the Gentiles, viz. the Rejection of the Jews; but first he lays hold of the opportunity, when he has placed the highest hopes of the Gospel full in the view of the Roman Converts, to introduce a subject, harsh
indeed and difficult; but, in the plans of Divine Wisdom, of close connection with the future glory of Christians; the subject, I mean, of Sufferings ; or of that trial of persecutions, which the Church was then undergoing, chiefly from the rage and malice of the Jews.
This then is the point where we must conceive ourselves to be placed, in the Apostle's argument, if we wish to discover the exact bearing of the passage of the text :-“if Children, then Heirs; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ :” he adds, “ if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together:" ειπερ συμπασχομεν, ίνα και συνδοξασθωμεν.---Severe, no doubt, was the pressure; deep the groans for deliverance: and although it was a lesson, effectually learned by those early Christians,
" that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God;" (Acts xiv. 22.) yet was this a fiery trial, and hazardous to men compassed with infirmity; and they had need of patience, that after having done the will of God, they might receive the promise. (Heb. x. 36.)
What now has the Apostle, to place in the opposite scale of patience and consolation ?However heavy the load of their affliction, yet it was lightness itself, when compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory : “ for I reckon, he says, that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us:" (Ver. 18.) He reminds them, that they have numerous companions in their aspirations after a happier state; the Apostles themselves, nay all mankind : that their salvation is as yet in hope only, not in fruition : that the Holy Spirit himself would be a Spirit of prayer and supplication in their hearts, to obtain of God what was best for them : finally, that “all things (even suffer ings) work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Ver. 28.)