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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
Paul, originally named Saul, was of the tribe of Benjamin, a native of Tarsus, in Cilicia, and of the sect of the Pharisees. He was first a persecutor of the Church, afterwards a disciple of Jesus Christ, and apostle of the Gentiles. Bishop Pearce conjectures that he changed his Hebrew name Saul to the Roman name Paul, from respect to his first Roman convert, Sergius Paulus (Acts, xiii. 7). He was a Roman citizen (Acts, xxii. 27, 28), because Augustus had given the freedom of Rome to all the freemen of Tarsus, in consideration of their firm adherence to his interests. It is probable that he laid the foundation of those literary attainments, for which he was so eminent in the future part of his life, at his native city of Tarsus; and he afterwards studied the law of Moses, and the traditions of the elders, at Jerusalem, under Gamaliel, a celebrated Rabbi.
Paul imbibed a most violent hatred against the Christians ; and, when Stephen was stoned, he held the raiment of his murderers, and afterwards set out for Damascus to imprison the disciples ; but a supernatural vision converted his rancour into żeal for the faith. After this he became a distinguished preacher of Christianity. His eloquence was so great that it made Felix tremble, converted Dionysius the areopagite at Athens, and drew from Longinus expressions of admiration. The Epistles of St. Paul are models of pathetic remonstrance and close reasoning. He endured great labours and sufferings in the cause of Christ, and was at last put to death, by Nero the emperor, probably in the year 65. Dr. Paley observes, “ that in Paul we have a man of liberal attainments, and in other respects of sound judgment, who had devoted his life to the service of the Gospel. We see him, in the prosecution of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magistrates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for dead; expecting, wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment and the same dangers ;
yet, when driven from one city, preaching in the next; spending his whole time in the employment; sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety; persisting in this course to his old age; unaltered by the experience of perverseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion; unsubdued by anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long confinement; undismayed by the prospect of death. Such was St. Paul."
This Epistle to the Romans was placed before the other Epistles of St. Paul, not because it was first in order of time, but because of the dignity of the imperial city, to which it is directed, or because of the excellence of the matter which it contains.
This Epistle was written from Corinth, the capital city of Achaia in Greece, A. D. 58, being the fourth year of the emperor Nero, just before St. Paul set out for Jerusalem with the contributions which the Christians of Macedonia and Achaia had made for the relief of their poor brethren in Judea (Rom. xv. 25, 26, Acts, xx. 1). It was transcribed, or written as St. Paul dictated it, by Tertius (Rom. xvi. 22); and the person who conveyed it to Rome was Phæbe (Rom. xvi. 1), a deaconess of the Church at Cenchrea. St. Paul, when he wrote this Epistle, had not been at Rome (Rom. i. 13, xv. 23); but he had heard an account of the state of the Church in that city from Aquila and Priscilla, two Christians, who were banished from thence by the edict of Claudius, and with whom he resided during his first visit to Corinth.
St. Paul's design in this Epistle was to heal certain disputes which then prevailed among the Christians at Rome, and divided the converted Jews and Gentiles, The Jews claimed a superiority over the Gentiles, on account of their birthright, and the promises made to their fathers ; while the Gentiles contended for the merit of their philosophers and legislators, and bitterly reproached the Jews with their infidelity towards God, and a violation of his laws.
To settle these contentions, St. Paul applies himself to restrain the presumption of both parties. He shows that neither of them could pretend to any merit, or had any reason to glory, or boast of their vocation, which proceeded purely from the grace
of God. He asserts there is but one God, who is the God and Father of all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles; and that under the Gospel there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. . The argumentative part of the Epistle reaches to the twelfth chapter, from which, to the end, the apostle proceeds to enforce that disposition and those duties which are suitable to the Christian profession.
CHAP. I. i Paul commendeth his calling to the Romans, 9 and his desire to
come to them : 16 what his Gospel is, and the righteousness which it showeth : 18 God is angry with all manner of sin: 21 what were the sins of the Gentiles.
A. D. 60. PAUL, a 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 Scriptures,)
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, 8 according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead :
CHAP. I. a 1 Cor. i. 1: Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother. 1 Tim. i. 11. According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. See on Acts, ix. 15.
b See on LUKE, xxiv. 27, and on John, i. 45.
• Rom. iii. 21 : The righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. do. xvi. 26 : But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations. GAL. iii. 8: The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 1 Pet. i. 10: Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.
See on Acts, ii. 30. e See on John, i. 14.
fActs, ii. 22: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.
8 Acts, xiii. 32–34: We declarè unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised
5 By whom we have received h
grace and apostleship, for i obedience to the faith 3
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, 'call
3 to the obedience of faith. A. V. up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Heb. ix. 14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 1 Pet. iii. 18: Christbeing put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. Rev. 1. 18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen ; and have the keys of hell and of death.
* Rom. xii. 3 : I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. do. xv. 15: Brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God. 1 Cor. iii. 10: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation. do. xv. 10: By the grace of God I am what I am : and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all : yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Gal. i. 15: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace. do. ii. 9: When James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship ; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Eph. iii. 2,7,8: If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
See on Acts, vi. 7. * See on Acts, ix. 16. Rom. ix. 24: Even us, whom he hath called, not of the
ed to be saints : m Grace to you and
m "peace o from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I P thank my God a through Jesus Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. 1 Cor. i. 2: To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. Phi. iii. 14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes, iv. 9 : God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 2 do. i. 11: We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling. 2 Tim. i. 9: Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling. Heb. iii. 1: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.
m In the following places is the same salutation, expressed almost in the same words : 1 Cor.i.3; 2 Cor. i. 2 ; Gal. i.3; Eph. i. 2; Phil. i. 2; Col. i. 2; 1 Thes. i. 1; 2 Thes, i. 2; 1 Tim. i. 2; 2 Tin.i. 2; Tit. i. 4. 1 Pet.i. 2: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 2 do.i. 2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. 2 John, 3: Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. JUDE, 2: Mercy unto you, and
peace, and love, be multiplied. LUKE,
5: Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. JOHN, xiv. 27 : Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. do. xx. 19 : The first day of the week-came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
• 1 Pet. v. 10: The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.
P Lev. vii. 12: If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil. Ps. xxxiv. 1:1 will bless the LORD at all times : his praise shall continually be in my mouth. do. 1. 14, 33 : Offer unto God thanksgiving:--Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me. do. Ixix. 30, 31: I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. do. cvii. 22 : Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. do. cxvi. 17: I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. Isa. lxiii. 7: I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us. 1 Cor. i. 4: I thank my God always on your behalf. Eph. i. 16 : [I Paul] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in myp rayers.
PHI. 1. 3, 4: