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(S) Ver. 16-36. Gentiles cautioned against insulting the Jews; and both called upon to admire and adore the mysteries of grace and providence.-If the branches of Abraham's generous olive-tree be broken off, and Gentile nations, who were like the boughs of the wild olive, grafted in, then ought the latter to be doubly careful lest they should provoke the Almighty, by their infidelity, in like manner to reject them. Indeed, the calamities which, but a few years since, had nearly overwhelmed the French nation, ought to be a warning to others against imbibing their infidel principles, which are now rapidly spreading in the countries round them; but to which there is happily a great counteraction in the erection of Bible, Missionary, and other Religious Societies on the Continent; and it is to such Institutions that we look, in God's good time, for the introduction of the glorious period of the Millennium, of which we shall have to treat hereafter. In the mean time, let us pray that God may not give to those nations "the spirit of slumber, lest they dream away the opportunities of mercy thus afforded them.
But, to return to the text before us, we find the apostle concludes all the great doctrinal truths which he had advanced, with this solemn warning to us Gentile Christians-" Boast not against the [original] branches" of God's church, namely, the Jews: "but, if thou dost boast [remember], thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." And if "Thou wilt say, The [natural] branches were broken off
[namely, the Jews], that I might be grafted in, Well! [remember] because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not, therefore, high minded, but fear, lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore [and at once consider], the goodness and severity of God!"
The apostle then compares the calling of the Gentiles, as founded on the rejection of the Jews, to the grafting of the branches of the wild olive into a good and fruitful olive-tree: a practice contrary to Nature, and what is never done by man, though the opposite is not uncommon. But "God's ways are not our ways:" He can control Nature, and command fertility. apostle concludes this interesting discourse with observing, that Jews and Gentiles, in their turn, having been disobedient to God, he hath locked them all up as condemned criminals, that he might, in one and the same manner, have mercy on all, by making them his people, and bestowing on them, from mere favour, the blessings promised in the covenant with Abraham, ver. 30-32. And being deeply affected with the survey which he had taken of God's dealings with mankind, he cried out, as ravished with the grandeur of the view, O the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unscarchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ver. 33, 34, 35.
"In this sublime manner hath the apostle finished his discourse concerning the dispensations of religion which have taken place in the different ages of the world.
Ver. 29. Without repentance-i. e. God never repents of the grace and favour which he bestows. See John xiii. 1.
Ver. 30 and 31. Believed.-Marg." obeyed." Ver. 32. Hath concluded all in unbelief.-Marg. "Hath shut them up together," &c.—that is, hath
considered Jews and Gentiles as alike guilty, that he might on both display the same mercy. See chap. iii. 9.
Ver. 31. Who hath known, &c.-See Isa. xl. 13. Ver. 36. To whom.-Marg. "to him."
The preceding topics]
IBESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For 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; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to
us, whether prophecy, let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil: cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one other;
11 Not slothful in business; in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one to
EXPOSITION-Chap. XI. Continued.
And from his account it appears that these dispensations were adapted to the then circumstances of mankind; that they are parts of a grand design, formed by God, for delivering the human race from the evil consequences of sin, and for exalting them to the highest perfection of which
their nature is capable: and that, both in its progress and its accomplishment, the scheme of man's salvation contributes to the establishment of God's moral govern ment, and to the displaying of his perfections in all their lustre to the whole intelli gent creation." (Macknight.)
CHAP. XII. Ver. 1. A living sacrifice.-This implies that the body was not to be presented without the soul.
Ver. 2. That ye may prove.--Doddr. "experimentally know."
Ver. 3. The measure of faith.-This refers, perhaps, to the faith by which they were enabled to work miracles.
Ver. 6. Prophecy-Preaching by inspiration, whether in the way of prediction, or otherwise.According to the proportion of faith." If we suppose the prophetic gift to be given in proportion to the exercise of faith, i. e. dependance on God.... we have, I think, the clearest explication the phrase will admit." Doddr.
Ver. 7. Ministry-Literally," deaconship." The sense appears to us to be, that all the servants of Christ were to exert themselves to the utmost, in their different lines of duty, whether in public or in private whether as inspired or uninspired teachers, catechisers, or Scripture readers-all were to do their best. So Mr. Cox.
Ver. 8. With simplicity.-Margin," with liberality." So Boothr-He that ruleth-or "presideth," as Doddr. renders it after Lord Barrington; but as the same word is in the last chapter (verse 2} applied to Phebe, it probably means a person taking the lead in any department, either of ministerial duty or Christian charity. But see ch. xvi. 1.
Ver. 10. Be kindly affectioned.-The original term, philostorgos, Mr. Cox observes, "is exceed. ingly expressive; philos, signifying delight in a thing, and storge, that tender affection which mothers naturally bear to their own offspring."
Ver. 13. Given to hospitality-This was a virtue of primary importance in the East, where there are few public inns; and at this time, as Doddridge observes, it was peculiarly important, as Christians were persecuted both by Jews and heathens.
Ver. 16. Be of the same mind.-Cox, "be united in affection to each other."-Condescend to mea of low estate.--Marg. Be content with mean things:" but we prefer the text,
selves, but rather give place unto wrath for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (T)
(T) Ver. 1-21. A practical exhortation to devotedness to God." The nature and excellency of the Gospel having been fully developed (says Mr. Cox), the apostle labours to persuade all professing Christjans [and especially true believers] to act in a manner suitable to their high vocation. For this purpose he commences by urging upon them the necessity of an entire consecration of themselves to God, and an earnest endeavour to glorify him in their respective stations. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy [and] acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. The terms here used are sacrificial, and forcibly intimate that, as under the Old Testament dispensation, the burnt offerings were wholly the Lord's property, so Christians are required to give up them selves entirely to the service of God." And this service is most reasonable, both in itself and as compared with other forms of worship. It is reasonable in itself, because thereby we render nothing to God but what we have received from him, "our life, our soul, our all:" and because we are gainers by the surrender; for, in giving up ourselves to him as a faithful Creator and as a merciful Redeemer, we know that he will preserve us to that great day, when he will receive his chosen into everlasting felicity. (2 Tim. i. 12.)-Viewed comparatively, it is also not only infinitely more reasonable than any of the Pagan superstitions, but also far preferable to the carnal services of the Jews, which, indeed, owed all their excellency to a prospective reference to Christianity.
The first thing here recommended is Devotion-and "Devotion (as Mr. Law justly observes) signifies a life given, or devoted to God. He, therefore, is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in every thing, who serves God in every thing, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety, by doing every thing in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to his glory." (Serious Call, ch. i.)
The first instance required of devotedness to God, is nonconformity to the world -its pleasures, its hopes, and its pursuits: and it is only by a "transformation”—not conforming to the world, but unto the temper and spirit of Christ Jesus, that we can possibly prove by our own experience what really is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. And so far is this devotedness of heart from implying a neglect or contempt of moral duties, that it is, in fact, the only source from which they can arise, so as to be acceptable to God: for when moral, or even religious duties are performed from motives of ostentation, to excite the praise of men; or from views of merit in them, and with the mercenary hope of reward, they are so far from being acceptable to God, that they are abhorred by him. Such good works as these consti tuted the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees; and except our righteousness be of a nature far superior to theirs, our Lord himself assures us there is no hope of our acceptance-we "shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v. 20.)
Ver. 17. Provide things honest-Kala, good, usefal, profitable. Parkhurst.
Ver. 19. It is written.-Deut. xxxii. 35.-Give place unto wrath-i. e. submit, and do not return it. Leave that to him who hath said-Vengeance is mine.-Vengeance here means retributive justice, as chap. iii. 5.
Ver. 20. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed
him.-Prov. xxv. 21, 22.-Thou shalt heap coals of fire, &c.-The expression here quoted from Solomon refers to the method adopted in melting and purifying certain metals; and is generally explained to imply, that the enemy shall by such means be melted down; but Dr. Whitby explains it to import, rather, that by such means the Almighty will be en gaged to take the sufferer's part. See Ps. cxl. 9, 10,
The duty of subjection]
LET every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves danination.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For, for this cause pay ye tribute also for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandthis saying, namely, Thou shalt love ment, it is briefly comprehended in thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
EXPOSITION-Chap. XII. Continued.
The duties principally here enjoined are humility, and especially a low and modest estimation of our spiritual gifts and graces (ver. 3-8): sincere and intense affection to the brethren: vigour, and activity, and fervent zeal in the service of Christ: Christian sympathy and charity to the afflicted and necessitous: and that duty
which is the peculiar glory of Christianity, however despicable it may appear to carnal men, the rendering good for evil.
"Tender and kind be all our thoughts;
CHAP. XIII. Ver. 1. The higher powers-i. e. "the supreme authority," whether it be vested in the people, or the nobles, or the sovereign, or be shared among these three orders, or whatever form of government may be established. Mackn. "No power but of God-i. e. derived from him, and ordained by him. Marg. "appointed by him."
Ver. 2. They that resist-Namely, the lawful exercise of authority, of whatever nature the government may be.-Shall receive .... damnation. (Gr. krima.) Doddr. and Cox," Condemnation." Mackn." Punishment." Boothr. "Judgment."
Ver. 3. Rulers are not a terror-i, e. such is not the design for which they are appointed. Ver.4. A revenger.-Doddr. "An avenger."
Ver. 6. Upon this very thing.-Doddr." to this one affair." Ver. 7. Fear to whom fear.-Doddr." Reverence to whom reverence."
Ver. 9. For this, Thou shalt not, &c.-Compare Matt, xix. 18, 19; xxii. 39, 40.
Ver. 11. It is high time-Mackn. "It is already the hour."Our saivation is nearer-i. e. the completion of it-than when we believed-i, e, thea when we [first] believed. So Doddridge, Cox, &c.
Ver. 13. Let us walk honestly.-Marg. "decently." Doddr. "honourably."Not in rioting. Mackn." revelling." The Greek (komois) denotes feasting, with lascivious songs and dances in honoar
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (U)
(U) Ver. 1-14. St. Paul enforces obedience to civil authorities, and to all their just dues.-We agree with the venerable and pious Mrs. Hannah More, that "the Gospel was never intended to dissolve the ancient ties between sovereign and subject, master and servant, parent and child; but rather to draw them closer, to strengthen a natural by a lawful and moral obligation. As the charge of disaffection was from the first most injurious to the religion of Jesus, it is obvious why the apostle [Paul] was so frequent and so earnest in vindicating it from this calumny. It is apparent from every part of the New Testament, that our Lord never intended to introduce any change into the civil government of Judea, where he preached, nor into any part of the world to which his religion might extend. As his object was of a nature specifically different, his discourses were always directed to that other object. His politics were uniformly conversaut about his own kingdom, which was not of this world. If he spake of human governments at all, it was only incidentally, as circumstauces occurred, and as it gave him occasion to display or enforce some act of obedience. He discreetly entangled the Pharisees in the insidious net which they had spread for him, by directing, in answer to their ensuaring question, that the things which belonged even to the sovereign whom they detested [the Roman Empero] should be rendered to him.
"St. Paul exhibited at once a striking proof of the soundness of his own principles and of the peaceable character of Christianity, in his full and explicit exposition of the allegiance due to the ruling powers. It is observable, that in the very short period from the origin of Christianity, under Augustus, to the time at which St. Paul wrote, there were four successive Roman Emperors, each of whom was worse than the preceding, as if it had been providentially so determined, as a test of the meek and quiet spirit of Christianity, whose followers never manifested resistance to any of these oppressive masters. St. Paul knew how to unite a respect for the government with a just abhorrence of the vices of the governor." In this instance Mrs. More further remarks, no governor is named; and as the Roman emperor and senate did not always act in concurrence, with his usual exquisite prudence, in ad
dressing the people of Rome, Paul makes choice of an ambiguous expression, "the higher powers, without specifically deter mining what those powers were." (Essay on the Character of St. Paul, vol. 11. chap. 16.)
In citing these remarks from Mrs. More, we would add with her, that "we are not advocating the cause of passive obedience ;" for it would be quite as inconsistent with the mild and peaceable spirit of Christianity, to advocate the cause of arbitrary power in a land of liberty, as ours happily is, as it would have been for Paul to have advocated the cause of Republicanism under the Roman empire. Our readers, as Britons, may justly admire and commend the happy Constitution under which we live; but it is no part of our duty, as Christians, to recommend it to France or Spain. As Paul claimed the privileges of a Roman citizen, so may we those of Britons; and, in a country like this, loyalty is a cheap virtue, as we have less temptation to the contrary than any other nation under heaven. Our obedience, therefore, while nothing contrary to our consciences is enforced, ought to be voluntary, cheerful, and uniform; and as St. Paul, as well as his Divine Master, enjoins the paying tribute to Cesar, we should scorn to avoid, by any mean evasion, our just proportion to the expenses of the State; or to defraud the public revenue, by encouraging smuggling or any illicit commerce. Such practices, however lightly they may be thought of by some professors, are equally contrary to the gospel and to the law and how those who practice them can attempt to claim the protection of the government to their persons and their property, is utterly unaccountable.
Next to obedience to governors, St. Paul enforces the principles of equity between man aud man, comprehending the precepts of the second table, all of which the apostle comprehends, as his Master had before doue, in one word, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
The conclusion of the chapter is particularly animated and beautiful. Considering mankind, and even in a great measure professing Christians, as sleeping in ignorance and sin, the apostle admonishes them that their night is nearly ended, and the hour is come to awake to the service of God, and cast off the works of darkness (as the rising sun dissipates the shades of