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A general introduction prevail against us, and no temptations or extremities separate us from his love. (ver. 31, to the end.)
As the blessings so affectionately displayed above had been spoken of as the peculiar privileges of those who believed in the gospel, this evidently implied, that as all believing Gen. tiles had a full share in them, so all unbelieving Jews must necessarily be excluded from them. But as the calling of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews was a topic of great importance, the apostle employs the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters in the discussion of it, and so concludes the argu. mentative part of this epistle.
He introduces what he had to say on this interesting subject, by declaring, that he thought most honourably and affectionately of the Jewish nation ; (chap. ix. 1-5;) and then shows,
1st, That the rejection of a considerable part of the seed of Abraham, and even of the posterity of Isaac too, was an incontestible fact, which the Jews themselves could not but grant to have happened, that is, with respect to the descendants of Ishmael and of Esau. (ver. 6-13.)
2dly, That the sovereign choice of some individuals to pe. culiar privileges, to which none had any claim; and the sovereign appointment of some, from among many criminals, to peculiar and exemplary punishment; was perfectly consistent both with reason and scripture. (ver. 14—24.)
3dly, That the taking the Gentiles to be God's peculiar people, when Israel should be rejected, had been accurately foretold, both by Hosea and Isaiah. (ver. 25, to the end.)
4thly, That God hath graciously offered the gospel salvation to Jews and Gentiles, on the same equitable and easy terms; though Israel, by a bigotted attachment to their own law, had rejected it. (chap. x. throughout.)
5thly, That, nevertheless, the rejection of Israel, though according to their own prophecies it be general, and attended with astonishing blindness and obstinacy, yet is not total, there
to the epistle to the Romans.
5 still being a number of happy believers among them. (chap. si, 1-10.)
6thly, That the rejection of the rest is not final, but that the time shall come, when to the unspeakable joy of the whole Christian world, the Jews shall in a body be brought into the church of Christ. (ver. 11-31.)
And lastly, That in the mean time their obstinacy and rejection is overruled to such happy purposes, as serve, through the whole various scene, to display, in a glorious manner,
the unsearchable wisdom of God. (ver. 32, to the end.)
The remainder of the epistle is taken up in a variety of practical instructions and exhortations, which hardly admit, and indeed do not need so particular an analysis. The grand design of them all is, “ to engage Christians to act in a manner worthy of that gospel, the excellency of which he had been illustrating.” He more particularly urges, an entire conse- . cration to God, and a care to glorify him, in their respective stations, by a faithful improvement of their different talents ; (chap. xii.1-11;) devotion, patience, hospitality, mutualsympathy, humility, peace, and meekness; (ver. 12, to the end ;) and in the whole thirteenth chapter, obedience to magistrates, justice in all its branches, love as the fulfilling of the law, and an universal sanctity of manners, correspondent to the purity of those religious principles which they professed.
In the fourteenth, and part of the fifteenth chapter, he dilates more largely on mutual candour, especially between those Christians who did, and those who did not think themselves obliged in conscience to observe the ceremonies enjoined by Moses; and pleads a variety of most pertinent and affecting considerationsin this view ; (chap xvi. 1, to chap. xv. 17;) in prosecuting some of which, he is led to mention the extent of his own labours, and his purpose of visiting the Romans; in the mean time recommending himself to their prayers. (ver. 18, to the end.) And after many salutations, (chap. xvi. 1-16,) and a necessary caution against those that would divide the church, he
A general introduction, &c. concludes with a benediction and a doxology, suited to the general purport of what he had been writing. (ver. 17, to the end.)
From the sketch here given, the reader might form some conjecture of the rich entertainment provided for him in this epistle, were he yet a stranger to its more particular contents; but, blessed be God, they are already familiar to almost all who have any regard for the Bible, and take any delight in perusing any part of it. I shall not therefore detain such from Paul's invaluable periods, any longer than whilst I observe, that whereas the interpretation of several phrases which occur here, has very much divided commentators, and laid the foundation for many unhappy contentions, which have been more efficacious to alier.ate the affections of Christians, than all the apostle's arguments, powerful as they are, have been to unite them; I am very solicitous to handle this epistle in as pacific a manner as possible. I shall therefore, as plainly as I can, give that sense of the disputed phrases which appears to me most natural, and briefly suggest, in the Notes, the reasons which induce me to understand them in the sense I have preferred. And I hope my readers will be content with this; for were I to produce what interpreters of different opinions have alleged, and canvass the reasons by which they have endeavoured to support their explications and criticisms, I must turn my work into a Treatise of Polemical Divinity ; and so quite change that original plan, which I hope will be found much more entertaining and useful : nor should I, if the scheme were thus changed, be able to comprehend, in this whole volume, what I might easily find to offer on this episile alone,
PARAPHRASE AND NOTES
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO
The apostle begins his letter with a general salutation to the
Christians at Rome ; in which he transiently touches on some very important doctrines of that gospel, which it was his great design to illustrate and enforce. Rom. I. 1--7.
Romans I. 1.
ROMANS I. 1.
Y dear Christian brethren, you receive szct. of Jesus Christ, this epistle from Paul, who, though once called to be an apos. a bitter persecutor, hath now the honour to
Rom. style himself a servant of Jesus Christ, whose property he humbly professes himself to be, and glories in it, as his highest happiness, to be absolutely at the command and disposal of such a Master. And he is the more sensible of his great obligation to this, as he hath been, in so wonderful a manner, called, not only to the fel. lowship of that holy faith which we all profess, or to the common services of the ministerial office, but even [to be] invested with the distin,
Paul, inscribing this epistle to the Romans, sect. guished character of an apostlea in the church. tle, separated unto i.
He once indeed boasted that he was of the the gospel of God.
Pharisaic sect, separated from the rest of the Rom.
Jews by ceremonial observances, in which they i. 2
place so peculiar a sanctity ; but he now rejoic-
tined and devoted to its sacred interests ; even
his prophets in the
which such bright lustre is now thrown by com-
3 Concerning his
concerned in the constitution of his nature : 4 [But] who is also to be regarded by us in a much higher view, as having been determin
4. And declared to
be the Son of God
a Called to be an apostle.) As the judaiz. will be given for the like reflections on a ing teachers disputed Paul's claim to the thousand other'occasions, though the limapostolicol office, it is with great propriety its of such a work as ours will not allow us that he asserts it in the very entrance of an so particularly to trace them. epistle, in which their principles were to be entirely overthrown. And the atten- is the exact signification of ogluverlos, Else
6 Determinately marked out. What this tive reader will observe, with great pleas. ure, what a variety of other most proper xvii. 31.
ner has learnedly proved. Compare Acts and important thoughts are suggested in other clauses of this short introduction : c The spirit of holiness.] It seems to me particularly the views which the Jewish so little agreeable to the stvle of scrip. prophets had given of the gospel, the de- ture in general to call the Divine nature scent of Christ from David, the great doc. of Christ the Spirit of holiness, or the Holy trine of his resurrection, and Deity, the Spirit, that highly as I esteem the many sending the gospel to the Gentiles, the learned and accurate commentators who privileges of Christians as the called and have given it this turn, I rather refer it beloved of God, and the faith, obedience, to the operation of the Spirit of God in and sanctity to which they were obliged, the production of Christ's body, by which in virtue of their profession. Occasion means the opposition between xala ragus.