Page images


And the] shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is be that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

[triumph of faith.

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (N)


we shall find St. Paul, in our next chapter (verse 11), expressly arguing to the contrary. Besides, as Dr. Macknight remarks (who was far enough from being a Calvinist), as the foreknowledge here mentioned is connected with sanctification, justification, and glorification, it must be a foreknowledge of individuals, as heirs of eternal life." We are therefore compelled to believe, that this predestination refers to God's unmerited love to sinners, whom he "predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son," as is here said, and not in any foreseen resemblance which could occasion God's decree. We shall only here add, that, with the venerable Fathers of the Church of England, we consider that" the godly consideration of predestination, and of our election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things; as well as because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their hope towards God." But for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have

continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation." (Art. of Church of Eng. No. xvii.)

(N) Ver. 31-39. The Christian triumph. -It should seem that the apostle Paul did not consider the Scripture doctrine of predestination in that alarming view that some modern divines have done; for no sooner has he stated it, than he bursts into the language of triumph and exultation, in "thoughts that breathe and words that burn."-"What, then, shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" The energy and rapidity with which he proceeds to the close of the chapter defies analysis, and would be injured by the tameness of paraphrase or exposition; we shall, therefore, only offer two or three cursory observations on particular passages.

1. The argument which our apostle derives from the love of the Father, and the incarnation and sufferings of the Son, to satisfy the believing Romans that they should be suffered to want nothing really necessary and good for them, is most


Ver. 33. Who shall lay any thing, &c. Doddr. "Who shall lodge any accusation against," &c.It is God.-Dr. S. Harris (who is followed by Doddridge, Newcome, Boothroyd, &c.) renders the whole of this and the following verse interrogatively, as follows-"Who shall lodge any accusation against the elect of God? Shall God who justifieth? Who is he that condemneth? Shall Christ who died? &c. Ver. 36. As it is written.-See Ps. xliv. 22. See Note on John xvi. 2.

Ver. 37. More than conquerors-i. e, we enjoy a

triumph, with which none but conquerors of the first class were honoured. The following passage has been quoted from Demosthenes (De Corona, 292), as somewhat parallel with this of St. Paul, ver. 38, "As for me (says Demosthenes), neither tempting opportunity, nor insinuating speech, nor great promises, nor hope, nor fear, nor favour, nor any other thing, has ever induced me to betray my country, or to forbear doing what I thought would contribute to its advancement and honour."

[blocks in formation]

forcible and conclusive. "Can he deny you any thing who has given his own Son for your redemption?" Can God, who justifies, become your accuser? Or shall the Judge condemn you that died for your redemption, and lives to intercede on your behalf? The very idea is infinitely absurd.

2. They are not only assured that they shall not be descrted by their heavenly Father, or their elder brother; but also that none of the evils of the present life, nor even the world of spirits, shall be able to separate them from God, or happiness, or heaven. On the contrary, we are assured that, in all these things, they shall be conquerors, and more than conquerors-they shall triumph over all their foes.

On this last expression we give the beautiful comment of an excellent practical writer. "In our patient bearing of the trials allotted to us (says Dr. Evans), we are not only conquerors, but more than conquerors, that is, triumphers. Those are more than conquerors that conquer with

little loss. Many conquests are dear bonght; but what do the suffering saints lose? That which the gold loses in the furnace-nothing but the dross.-They are more than conquerors whose rewards are exceedingly rich glory, honour, and peace, a crown of righteousness that fadeth not away. In this the suffering saints have triumphed. .... As afflictions abound, consolations much more abound.


[ocr errors]

"There was one more than a conqueror when pressed above measure.' He that embraced the stake, and said, 'Welcome, the cross of Christ; welcome, everlasting life he that dated his letter' from the delectable orchard of the Leontine prison:" he that said, 'In these flames I feel no more pain than if I was on a bed of down:' she that, a little before her martyrdom, being asked how she did, said, 'Well and merry, and going to heaven :' those who have gone smiling to the stake, and stood singing in the flames-these were more than conquerors."


CHAP. IX. Ver. 1. I say the truth in Christi. e. I speak as a Christian, and as an apostle of Christ. But Dr. Smith explains this as an appeal to Christ in the nature of an oath. Messiah il. 637.

Ver. 3. I could wish-i. e." If it were lawful and consistent," says Dr. Jn. Edwards, supposing the indicative to be here used for the optative, of which there are some examples. Dr. Waterland, who is followed by Doddridge, approves this; but instead of rendering the Greek preposition (apo)" from," renders it,after the example of Christ;" for which however, we think 1 Tim. i. 3 (the only text cited) very insufficient authority. Taking the words in the indicative, we may remark, that the verb (euchomai) is used for to wish, desire, pray, vow, and even glory (see Jones's Lex.); all which apply to St. Paul's state of enmity to Christ prior to his conversion, when he gloried in his opposition to our Saviour. See an elaborate article in defence of this interpretation in the Edinburgh Christian Instructor

for April, 1815, p. 287, &c.

Ver. 4. To whom pertaineth.-Doddr. "Whore (is) the adoption;" that is, the privilege of being reckoned the children of Abraham and of God.The glory, i. e. the shechinah, or pillar of light and fire, which resided first on the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple.-The covenants.-Marg. "testaments."-The service of God-Doddr. "the (temple) service."

Ver. 5. As concerning the flesh.-Greek," According to the flesh." See chap. i. 3. For a full and able defence of this passage against the Unitarians, see Dr. Smith's Messiah, vol. ii. p. 68-690.

Ver. 6. Not as though, &c.-That is, "I speak not as though," &c. Mackn." Now it is not possible that the promise of God hath fallen." It is a metaphor taken frora ships missing their port, &c.

Ver. 7. Neither because they are the seed of Abra ham; &c. Compare chap. iv. 12, 16,——But in Isaac, -Gen, xxi. 12.

[blocks in formation]

of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac ;

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God ac

[children of the promise.

cording to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth ;)

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

[ocr errors]

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (0)



(0) Ver. 1-16. Paul's deep concern for the salvation of his countrymen :-believers Abraham's true seed.-In the opening of this chapter all commentators are agreed that the apostle meant to express, in the strongest terms, his attachment to his Jewish brethren, though they are much divided in their interpretations of his phraseology. We shall mention here only two or three of them, which we consider as the most probable.

Dr. John Edwards, taking the words as they lie in our translation, thus paraphrases them: "For such is, my affection, that, if it were lawful and consistent, I COULD wish that I myself were anathema, that is, separuted from Christ (so Marg.); or (after his example) subjected to all temporal miseries, or even eternal, for the salvation of my brethren." This, however, must be considered as a strong hyperbole; for surely nothing could reconcile Paul to the idea of eternal separation from his Lord and Master. (See on Exod. xxxii. 33.) Others, therefore, confine the anathema to temporal calamities united with ecclesiastical excommunication, a punishment which the Jews considered in a light so serious, that their relations fasted and went into mourning for them. (Orient. Lit. No. 1464.) Many, however, render the words more literally, and, by inclosing part of them in a parenthesis, read the passage thus

"I have .... continual sorrow in my heart (for I once did wish myself anathema from Christ) for my brethren, my kinsmen," &c. thus making the recollection of his past state before conversion, when he gloried in his opposition to Christ, and probably imprecated on himself the most dreadful curses if ever he should believe in him, the ground both of his distress and of his supplications on their behalf.

St. Paul now enumerates the peculiar privileges of the Hebrews (more fully than in chap. iii.), among which he reckons the shechinah, or the glory which attended the tabernacle and temple in ancient time, but of which they had long since been deprived by their sins; and crowns the climax by a reference to the Messiah, as descended from their fathers: "Of (or from) whom Christ came (or descended), who is over all, God blessed for ever: Amen." In this his object appears to be, to turn their attention from the crucified Nazarene, whom they despised, to the exalted Saviour whom he adored, and recommended to their faith.

[ocr errors][merged small]


Ver. 9. This is the word.-See Gen. xviii. 10. Ver. 12. It was said unto her-Gen. xxv. 23.—— The elder shall serve the younger. Marg. "The

greater shall serve the lesser," or less.

Ver. 15. I will have mercy.-See Exod. xxxiii. 19. "I will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy."

God's dealings]



[with Pharaoh. 17 For the Scripture saith unto fering the vessels of wrath fitted to dePharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suf

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory;

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

28 For he will finish the work, and

EXPOSITION-Chap. IX. Continued.

posterity of Jacob; nor "because they are the seed of Abraham, are they therefore all children" of the promise, for the promise was limited to the seed of Isaac, saying, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called." And, again, when Isaac had two children, the younger was preferred: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." We have, however, before had occasion to observe, on Luke xiv. 26, that the term hate is not always to be taken absolutely, for no man is bound to hate his own flesh;" but the text before us is quoted from Mal. i. 3, where it evidently means that God loved Jacob in a sense in which he did not love Esau; and gave to his posterity the land of Canaan, with many privileges that were given to no other nation. And this preference of Jacob to Esau, was declared before the birth of either, that it might not be supposed dependant on the conduct of the indi

vidual; but the result of mere favour. This instance of the divine conduct is here given to show, that neither the blessings of providence nor grace are given in consideration of human merit; but, according to his own words, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." So God bestows or withholds his favours as he thinks proper; and salvation is "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth;" by analogy, those of grace also, depend that is, the blessings of providence, and, not on man, but on God only. To apply this doctrine to the argument before us, the dispensation of the Gospel was given neither to Jews nor Gentiles under any consideration of their merits or deservings; but merely because such was the good pleasure of God, who claims the right to confer his blessings as he pleases.

NOTES-Chap. IX. Con.

[blocks in formation]

Ver. 22. Fitted.-Marg. "Made up." The original, being in the middle voice, implies, that they

fitted themselves. Mackn.

Ver. 25. In Osee.-i. e." in Hosea," chap. ii. 23.
Ver. 26. Ye are not, &c.-Hosea i. 10.
Ver. 27. Though the number.-Isa. x. 22. 23.
This is quoted, with a slight variation, from the IX,
Ver. 28. Finish the work-Marg. "the account.
Doddr. cutting short his account," &c.--Upon the
earth-or “land;" namely, of Israel.

[blocks in formation]

(P) Ver. 17-33. God's judgments on Pharaoh and the unbelieving Jews, and his mercy to the Gentiles.-Another case, of a nature somewhat different, is now brought forward in the person of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. There were possibly other kings as wicked as Pharaoh, and equally meriting the divine displeasure; but as Jehovah had selected Jacob to display his gratuitous mercy to himself and his posterity, so Pharaoh was raised up by the Almighty, in order to display in him the divine power as superior to the highest throne on earth, and the divine wisdom as confounding even that of Egypt: that thus the name of Jehovah might be "declared throughout all the (then known habitable) earth." And comparing this instance with that of Jacob above mentioned, in the one (Jacob), the God of Israel exhibited his sovereignty in showing mercy to whom he pleased, and preparing him as a vessel of mercy for his glory; and in the other (Pharaoh), by making his power known, after much long-suffering, in executing his wrath on those who had previously fitted themselves for destruction, as was the case with Pharaoh.

It is indeed said of the Lord, in ver. 18, that "whom he will he hardeneth ;" and, in the history of Pharaoh, it is repeatedly remarked (in Exodus ch. ix. 12; x. 1, &c.), that the Lord "hardened Pharaoh's heart." In addition to what we have there remarked on this event, we now add the following observation from the late judicious Mr. Fuller. "God is said to do that which is done upon the minds of men by the

ordinary influence of second causes, which causes would not have been productive of such effects but for their depravity. The hardness of clay, no less than the softness of wax, is ascribed to the sun; yet the sun's producing either of these effects is entirely owing to the qualities of the object on which it shines. God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, by so ordering things in his providence, that certain considerations should present themselves to his mind when under certain circumstances, and which (he being righteously given up of God) would be certain to provoke his pride and resentment, and to determine him to run all risks, for the sake of having his will. In other words, God led him into temptation, and there, in just judgment, left him to its influence." (Fuller's Harm. of Script. p. 25.)

But here arises an objection-If God hardens the hearts of sinners, "Why doth he yet find fault?"-"The apostle had justly concluded (says Mr. Cox) that God might bestow his favours on whom and according to what terms he judged fit, and permit those who rejected such terms to be hardened. A caviller might, however, object that the continuance of the Jews in a state of disobedience, was the consequence of the determination of God to leave them to themselves; and hence might arrogantly demand, How God could still find fault with them? To such an objector the apostle indignantly rejoins, Nay, but, O man, who art thou,' with all thy imagined wisdom and discernment, 'who enterest into a debate with God?'


Ver. 29. Esaias said before-Isa. i. 9.—Lord of Sabaoth-i. e. " of hosts." Sodoma, or Sodom. Ver. 30. Which followed not after. The terms here used are agonistical. To" follow after," or pursue, was to engage in the races-to attain, was to gain

the prize, which was righteousness, or justification; which the unbelieving Jews lost by stumbling, verse 32.

Ver. 33. As it is written.-Isa. xxviii. 16.Ashamed.-Marg. "confounded.”

« PreviousContinue »