« PreviousContinue »
(6) This last is the word of faith preached by the Apostle,
the Gospel of Christ, who is the end, or consummation, of all law for righteousness unto every believer (ver. 4); confessing whom with the mouth from faith in the heart
is righteousness, is salvation (vers. 8-10). (c) Yet of this-called, by distinction, the righteousness of
God--the Jews are ignorant, and go about to establish their own righteousness (ver. 3). (d) Which ignorance is wholly without excuse; as not only
Moses (vers. 5–8), but Isaiah, and Joel, and David, and all the Scripture (vers. 11–18), had abundantly declared to them the character and freeness of the Gospel of Christ; and also repeatedly and expressly warned them of their approaching apostasy, and of the calling of the
Gentiles (vers. 19-21): (e) So that their condition is that of most aggravated unbelief and wilful neglect, and gainsaying of the plainest
promises and warnings of God (vers. 3, 16, &c.) XXI. Notwithstanding of this fearful condition in which His people are, God hath not utterly cast them away; which the Apostle shews by reference to his own case (xi. 1), the answer of God to Elias (2-4), the mystery of election (5--8), and a quotation from the Psalms (9, 10) while, in the mean time, " through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (ver. 11); and in the end,“ when the Deliverer shall come out of Zion, all Israel shall be saved" (26).
XXII. Turning, then, the whole force of the argument to the Gentiles, the Apostle, as peculiarly the Apostle of the Gentiles, in hope of thereby provoking to jealousy, and so saving, some of his kinsmen, declares the character and duration of the mystery of God's dealing by the Gentiles; opening in mercy, and continuing while faith endures, but certainly closing in apostasy and excision; and thus making way for Israel's restoration, and the establishment of the new covenant with them (Jer. xxxi. 31, &c.) But of this part of the Epistle, so fraught with fearful interest to the Gentile churches, a more rigid analysis or contrast may be profitable to many. 1. The Jews were in times past the people of God (ver. 1): The Gentiles in times past were not his people (ver. 30;
chap. ix. 25, ốc.) 2. The Jews were branches of the good olive tree (vers.
16, 24): The Gentiles were branches of a wild olive (ver. 17, 24). 3. The Jews, because of unbelief, have been broken off, and
cast away for a time (vers. 15, 20): The Gentiles have been graffed in in their stead, and stand
by faith (ver. 20).
4. The Jews, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be graffed in
again (vers. 23, 24): The Gentiles, if they abide not in goodness, shall be cut off
(vers. 21, 22). 5. The Jews, even in darkness and dispersion, are still beloved,
for the fathers' sakes (vers. 28, 16): The Gentiles, when they shall be cut off, have no such
standing or promise at all (ver. 22).
certain time, called here “the fulness of the Gentiles"
the Gentiles" (Luke xxi. 24).
lest they be wise in their own conceits (ver. 25); but to
fear (ver. 20), and boast not (ver. 18). 7. The Jews shall certainly be, in the end, received back (ver.
15), graffed in again (23), and so saved (26); as it is
written in the lixth of Isaiah, and in all the Prophets. The Gentiles shall as certainly be, in the end, not spared
(ver. 21), but cut off (ver. 22), and utterly made an end
of (Jer. xxx. 11, xlvi, 28, &c.) XXIII. Another rapturous doxology closes this vast survey of the dealings of God alternately by Jews and Gentiles, "shutting them all up together in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon them all” (ver. 32): “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” &c. (vers. 33–36).
[Here ends what may be termed the argumentative portion of the Epistle ;
what follows being chiefly preceptive, but so closely interwoven with the entire strain of the preceding revelation, that any disjunction of it must lead, and has in faci led, to the most fearful perversion of the plainest
words of God.] XXIV.“Therefore”—because all these things are so—such the condition of the creature; such the name of the Lord ; such the redemption in Christ; such the high calling ; such the new life; such the glorious mystery of the calling of the Gentiles, and the glory to be revealed—because these things are all “ of Him, and through Him, and to Him; to whom be glory for ever :". “therefore" the Apostle, “by the mercies of God," beseeches them (and us, and all men) to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable service; and to be not conformed to this world, but transformed, by the renewing of their mind, that they might prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (chap. xii. 1, 2). This is salvation; this is the mind of Christ; this is living in the Spirit; this is following the foot-prints of Jesus : and nothing less can be “acceptable unto God;" for the body of Christ is one, and the Spirit of Christ is one, though the
members of the body be various, and the gifts of the Spirit diverse-see and compare 1 Cor. xii. 4–31 (vers. 3–5).
XXV. Those who have received distinct gifts of the Holy Ghost, for the edifying of the body of Christ, are first required to use them aright-see and compare Eph. iv. 4-16 (vers. 6–8). All are called to love and holiness, in every detail of circumstance and relation of life; for thus did Jesus ever: and this is the detail of the precept in ver. 1, and also in chap. vi. 13 (vers. 9—21);to subjection to the powers that be, as the ordinance of God (xiii. 1-5);-to payment of tribute, and all duty and courtesy (vers. 6,7);—to owe no man any thing, but to love one another ; for love is the spirit of all commandments, and the fulfilling of the law (vers. 8—10);—and to watchfulness, from knowing the hour of the night;-and the putting off of the works of darkness, and putting on the armour of light : in a word, “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ;"—which is being wholly “dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (vi. 11), and
making no provision for the flesh;” which is being filled with the Spirit (vers. 11-14).
XXVI. Next follow directions, how to receive and to bear with those who are weak in the faith, regarding meats, and days (chap. x. iv. 1-6); all springing from the principle of our oneness with Christ, whose we are (vers. 7-9), and before whose judgment-seat we must all stand (vers. 10–12); to avoid judging one another, and to be at pains to put away causes of stumbling to a brother; knowing our liberty, yet restraining it for his sake; because the kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (vers. 14–17);which things are the service of Christ, acceptable to God and approved of men : wherefore we are called to follow peace and mutual edification (vers. 18—23); thus bearing the infirmities of the weak, and not pleasing ourselves ;- which, again, is the following of Christ in all patience and endurance of reproach ; to keep us in whose footsteps all Scripture is given (chap. xv. 1-4). And for the perfecting of the saints the Apostle prays, that they might be like-minded with Christ, and so “ with one mind and one mouth glorify God the Father” (vers. 5, 6): wherefore they should “ receive one another, as Christ also received them all, to the glory of God” (ver. 7).
XXVII. The Apostle then points the Gentiles again to the height of their holy calling; declaring that Jesus was born and lived under the Law as a Jew, "to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and that the Gentiles might glorify God for mercy (the mercy referred to in chap. xi. 30, 31), as it is written in Psal. xviii. 47; and again Deut. xxxii. 43; and again Psal. cxvii. 1; and again Isa. xi. 1, 10: every one of which quotations refers to the glory of Messiah's kingdom, and contains a
VOL. VI.NO. II.
call to give praise to God with gladness. Another prayer for their being " filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost," closes the catholic part of the Epistle (vers. 8-13).
XXVIII. Finally, the Apostle returns to discourse of the estate and circumstances of the saints at Rome, which he had left off at chap. i. 15; commending their goodness and knowledge; though he had written so boldly to them, because of his office, in which he glories; and declares the power and success with which God had honoured bim among the darkest of the Gentiles (14—21); and again he declares his great desire to visit them at Rome; his purpose to do so when he should take his journey into Spain, being now bound for Jerusalem with the contribution for the poor saints, made in the churches of Macedonia and Achaia : states his confidence of coming to them “in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ” (vers. 22—29); beseeching them, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, to strive together with him in prayers to God for his deliverance from the unbelievers in Judea, and the acceptance of his service by the saints; that he might come unto them with joy, by the will of God, and might with them be refreshed (vers. 30-32).
And, after blessing them in the name of the God of peace, and commending to them Phebe, and saluting various individuals in much tenderness of love, and warning them all against schismatics, and again and again giving them his benediction, and sending them salutations from several brethren then beside him at Corinth, he gathers into one point the leading features of the whole discourse ; and thus, in a third and most comprehensive and instructive doxology, concludes this general Epistle to the Gentiles : “ Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 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 for the obedience of faith : to God only wise be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.”
W. R. CAIRD.
Albury Park, Nov. 1832.
ADVICE TO PASTORS.
There are, at the present moment, several pastors, both in the High Church and in the Evangelical parties, and also a few among the Dissenters, who believe God's word; and who, therefore, confess that His Spirit was promised to abide in the church during the whole of this dispensation, as another and distinct
witness from the men in whom he dwells (see John xv. 26, and several other passages). These pastors, however, are subdivided into two classes: one, which admits it in theory, and quarrels with every particular application of it; and the other, who in honest sincerity of heart long that it may be so, and hail with joy every intimation of such a state of things. This last class do, in a measure, pray for the restoration of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as proof positive of that foreign indwelling power; but a misgiving crosses their minds respecting their own duty, supposing God were to hear their prayers, and open the mouths of any of his people to speak in their congregations: wherefore their prayers are wavering (observe James i. 6); they get not what they ask; and they hang in doubt, like the body of Mahomet, midway between heaven and earth. It is to this latter class that we would address a few words of loving counsel.
In the first and foremost place, we would beseech them to stand fast, under all circumstances, in their post of pastors ; to reverence very highly the office they have been called to fulfil; to hold it as deputies of their King; to beware how they use it as a stage on which to exhibit themselves; to see how, of all creatures, the most disgusting and odious in the eyes of the Father must be the man who would make Jesus a steppingstone to his own fame, preach Christ out of love of self-display, and convert the pulpit into a theatre for the exhibition of his eloquence, learning, or even piety. These things, horrible as they appear when drawn out in their true colours, may all coexist with some love of Jesus, and zeal for his kingdom and the conversion of men's souls; but, unless confessed and departed from, are sure in the long run to deliver over their possessor to a blinded conscience, a deceived heart, and, ultimately, to hell torments; notwithstanding a most orthodox creed, and an outwardly moral life.
To descend, however, into more details, let us take an example: let us suppose the case of a clergyman, in an advowson or chapel, who is honest in praying for the gifts of the Spirit to be restored to the church and amongst his own peculiar flock-(no man can be honest in the desire of this, who has not established, and joined with the households of his flock in, divers prayermeetings among them for that object);--and let us suppose, further, that God, in reward of the desire of their hearts, which under such circumstances will have been borne there continually before him, has opened the mouth of some poor man, some child, or some servant-maid ; and that they speak in the church during, and interrupting, the service. What, under these circumstances, is the minister to do?
The first thing that he ought to do is, to return thanks to God