COMMENTARIES on the

EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE

TO THE ROMANS

BY JOHN CALVIN

Translated And Edited By The Rev. John Owen,

 


CHAPTER 10

<451001>Romans 10:1-4

1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

1. Fratres, benevolentia certe cordis mei, et deprecatio ad Deum super Israel, est in salutem.

2. For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

2. Testimonium enim reddo illis, quod zelum Dei habent, sed non secundum scientiam:

3. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

3. Ignorantes enim Dei justitiam, et propriam justitiam quaerentes statuere, justitiae Dei subjecti non fuerunt;

4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

4. Finis enim Legis Christus in justitiam omni credenti. f315

 

We here see with what solicitude the holy man obviated offenses; for in order to soften whatever sharpness there may have been in his manner of explaining the rejection of the Jews, he still testifies, as before, his goodwill towards them, and proves it by the effect; for their salvation was an object of concern to him before the Lord, and such a feeling arises only from genuine love. It may be at the same time that he was also induced by another reason to testify his love towards the nation from which he had sprung; for his doctrine would have never been received by the Jews had they thought that he was avowedly inimical to them; and his defection would have been also suspected by the Gentiles, for they would have thought, as we have said in the last chapter, that he became an apostate from the law through his hatred of men. f316

2. For I bear to them a testimony, etc. This was intended to secure credit to his love. There was indeed a just cause why he should regard them with compassion rather than hatred, since he perceived that they had fallen only through ignorance, and not through malignancy of mind, and especially as he saw that they were not led except by some regard for God to persecute the kingdom of Christ. Let us hence learn where our good intentions may guide us, if we yield to them. It is commonly thought a good and a very fit excuse, when he who is reproved pretends that he meant no harm. And this pretext is held good by many at this day, so that they apply not their minds to find out the truth of God, because they think that whatever they do amiss through ignorance, without any designed maliciousness, but with good intention, is excusable. But no one of us would excuse the Jews for having crucified Christ, for having cruelly raged against the Apostles, and for having attempted to destroy and extinguish the gospel; and yet they had the same defense as that in which we confidently glory. Away then with these vain evasions as to good intention; if we seek God sincerely, let us follow the way by which alone we can come to him. For it is better, as Augustine says, even to go limping in the right way than to run with all our might out of the way. If we would be really religious, let us remember that what Lactantius teaches is true, that true religion is alone that which is connected with the word of God. f317

And further, since we see that they perish, who with good intention wander in darkness, let us bear in mind, that we are worthy of thousand deaths, if after having been illuminated by God, we wander knowingly and willfully from the right way.

3. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, etc. See how they went astray through inconsiderate zeal! for they sought to set up a righteousness of their own; and this foolish confidence proceeded from their ignorance of God’s righteousness. Notice the contrast between the righteousness of God and that of men. We first see, that they are opposed to one another, as things wholly contrary, and cannot stand together. It hence follows, that God’s righteousness is subverted, as soon as men set up their own. And again, as there is a correspondence between the things contrasted, the righteousness of God is no doubt his gift; and in like manner, the righteousness of men is that which they derive from themselves, or believe that they bring before God. Then he who seeks to be justified through himself, submits not to God’s righteousness; for the first step towards obtaining the righteousness of God is to renounce our own righteousness: for why is it, that we seek righteousness from another, except that necessity constrains us?

We have already stated, in another place, how men put on the righteousness of God by faith, that is, when the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them. But Paul grievously dishonors the pride by which hypocrites are inflated, when they cover it with the specious mask of zeal; for he says, that all such, by shaking off as it were the yoke, are adverse to and rebel against the righteousness of God.

4. For the end of the law is Christ, etc. The word completion, f318 seems not to me unsuitable in this place; and Erasmus has rendered it perfection: but as the other reading is almost universally approved, and is not inappropriate, readers, for my part, may retain it.

The Apostle obviates here an objection which might have been made against him; for the Jews might have appeared to have kept the right way by depending on the righteousness of the law. It was necessary for him to disprove this false opinion; and this is what he does here. He shows that he is a false interpreter of the law, who seeks to be justified by his own works; because the law had been given for this end, — to lead us as by the hand to another righteousness: nay, whatever the law teaches, whatever it commands, whatever it promises, has always a reference to Christ as its main object; and hence all its parts ought to be applied to him. But this cannot be done, except we, being stripped of all righteousness, and confounded with the knowledge of our sin, seek gratuitous righteousness from him alone.

It hence follows, that the wicked abuse of the law was justly reprehended in the Jews, who absurdly made an obstacle of that which was to be their help: nay, it appears that they had shamefully mutilated the law of God; for they rejected its soul, and seized on the dead body of the letter. For though the law promises reward to those who observe its righteousness, it yet substitutes, after having proved all guilty, another righteousness in Christ, which is not attained by works, but is received by faith as a free gift. Thus the righteousness of faith, (as we have seen in the first chapter,) receives a testimony from the law. We have then here a remarkable passage, which proves that the law in all its parts had a reference to Christ; and hence no one can rightly understand it, who does not continually level at this mark.

<451005>Romans 10:5-10

5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

5. Moses enim describit justitiam quae est ex Lege, Quod qui fecerit ea homo rivet in ipsis.

6. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

6. Quae vero est ex fide justitia sic dicit, Ne dixeris in corde tuo, Quis ascendet in coelum? hoc est Christum deducere:

7. Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

7. Aut, Quis descendet in abyssum? hoc est Christum ex mortuis reducere:

8. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach;

8. Sed quid dicit? Prope est verbum, in ore tuo et in corde tuo; hoc est verbum fidei quod praedicamus,

9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

9. Quod si confessus fueris in ore tuo Dominum Iesum, et credideris in corde tuo quod Deus suscitavit illum ex mortuis, salvus eris:

10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

10. Corde enim creditur in justitiam, ore fit confessio in salutem.

 

5. For Moses, etc. To render it evident how much at variance is the righteousness of faith and that of works, he now compares them; for by comparison the opposition between contrary things appears more clear. But he refers not now to the oracles of the Prophets, but to the testimony of Moses, and for this reason, — that the Jews might understand that the law was not given by Moses in order to detain them in a dependence on works, but, on the contrary, to lead them to Christ. He might have indeed referred to the Prophets as witnesses; but still this doubt must have remained, “How was it that the law prescribed another rule of righteousness?” He then removes this, and in the best manner, when by the teaching of the law itself he confirms the righteousness of faith.

But we ought to understand the reason why Paul harmonizes the law with faith, and yet sets the righteousness of one in opposition to that of the other: — The law has a twofold meaning; it sometimes includes the whole of what has been taught by Moses, and sometimes that part only which was peculiar to his ministration, which consisted of precepts, rewards, and punishments. But Moses had this common office — to teach the people the true rule of religion. Since it was so, it behooved him to preach repentance and faith; but faith is not taught, except by propounding promises of divine mercy, and those gratuitous: and thus it behooved him to be a preacher of the gospel; which office he faithfully performed, as it appears from many passages. In order to instruct the people in the doctrine of repentance, it was necessary for him to teach what manner of life was acceptable to God; and this he included in the precepts of the law. That he might also instill into the minds of the people the love of righteousness, and implant in them the hatred of iniquity, promises and threatening were added; which proposed rewards to the just, and denounced dreadful punishments on sinners. It was now the duty of the people to consider in how many ways they drew curses on themselves, and how far they were from deserving anything at God’s hands by their works, that being thus led to despair as to their own righteousness, they might flee to the haven of divine goodness, and so to Christ himself. This was the end or design of the Mosaic dispensation.

But as evangelic promises are only found scattered in the writings of Moses, and these also somewhat obscure, and as the precepts and rewards, allotted to the observers of the law, frequently occur, it rightly appertained to Moses as his own and peculiar office, to teach what is the real righteousness of works, and then to show what remuneration awaits the observance of it, and what punishment awaits those who come short of it. For this reason Moses is by John compared with Christ, when it is said,

“That the law was given by Moses, but that grace
and truth came by Christ.” (<430117>John 1:17.)

And whenever the word law is thus strictly taken, Moses is by implication opposed to Christ: and then we must consider what the law contains, as separate from the gospel. Hence what is said here of the righteousness of the law, must be applied, not to the whole office of Moses, but to that part which was in a manner peculiarly committed to him. I come now to the words.

For Moses describes, etc. Paul has gra>fei writes; which is used for a verb which means to describe, by taking away a part of it [ejpigra>fei.] The passage is taken from <031805>Leviticus 18:5, where the Lord promises eternal life to those who would keep his law; for in this sense, as you see, Paul has taken the passage, and not only of temporal life, as some think. Paul indeed thus reasons, — “Since no man can attain the righteousness prescribed in the law, except he fulfills strictly every part of it, and since of this perfection all men have always come far short, it is in vain for any one to strive in this way for salvation: Israel then were very foolish, who expected to attain the righteousness of the law, from which we are all excluded.” See how from the promise itself he proves, that it can avail us nothing, and for this reason, because the condition is impossible. What a futile device it is then to allege legal promises, in order to establish the righteousness of the law! For with these an unavoidable curse comes to us; so far is it, that salvation should thence proceed. The more detestable on this account is the stupidity of the Papists, who think it enough to prove merits by adducing bare promises. “It is not in vain,” they say, “that God has promised life to his servants.” But at the same time they see not that it has been promised, in order that a consciousness of their own transgressions may strike all with the fear of death, and that being thus constrained by their own deficiency, they may learn to flee to Christ.

6. But the righteousness f319 which is by faith, etc. This passage is such as may not a little disturb the reader, and for two reasons — for it seems to be improperly applied by Paul — and the words are also turned to a different meaning. Of the words we shall hereafter see what may be said: we shall first notice the application. It is a passage taken from <053012>Deuteronomy 30:12, where, as in the former passage, Moses speaks of the doctrine of the law, and Paul applies it to evangelic promises. This knot may be thus untied: — Moses shows, that the way to life was made plain: for the will of God was not now hid from the Jews, nor set far off from them, but placed before their eyes. If he had spoken of the law only, his reasoning would have been frivolous, since the law of God being set before their eyes, it was not easier to do it, than if it was afar off. He then means not the law only, but generally the whole of God’s truth, which includes in it the gospel: for the word of the law by itself is never in our heart, no, not the least syllable of it, until it is implanted in us by the faith of the gospel. And then, even after regeneration, the word of the law cannot properly be said to be in our heart; for it demands perfection, from which even the faithful are far distant: but the word of the gospel has a seat in the heart, though it does not fill the heart; for it offers pardon for imperfection and defect. And Moses throughout that chapter, as also in the fourth, endeavors to commend to the people the remarkable kindness of God, because he had taken them under his own tuition and government, which commendation could not have belonged to the law only. It is no objection that Moses there speaks of forming the life according to the rule of the law; for the spirit of regeneration is connected with the gratuitous righteousness of faith. Nor is there a doubt but that this verse depends on that main truth, “the Lord shall circumcise thine heart,” which he had recorded shortly before in the same chapter. They may therefore be easily disproved, who say that Moses speaks only in that passage of good works. That he speaks of works I indeed allow; but I deny it to be unreasonable, that the keeping of the law should be traced from its own fountain, even from the righteousness of faith. The explanation of the words must now follow. f320

Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend? etc. Moses mentions heaven and the sea, as places remote and difficult of access to men. But Paul, as though there was some spiritual mystery concealed under these words, applies them to the death and resurrection of Christ. If any one thinks that this interpretation is too strained and too refined, let him understand that it was not the object of the Apostle strictly to explain this passage, but to apply it to the explanation of his present subject. He does not, therefore, repeat verbally what Moses has said, but makes alterations, by which he accommodates more suitably to his own purpose the testimony of Moses. He spoke of inaccessible places; Paul refers to those, which are indeed hid from the sight of us all, and may yet be seen by our faith. If then you take these things as spoken for illustration, or by way of improvement, you cannot say that Paul has violently or inaptly changed the words of Moses; but you will, on the contrary, allow, that without loss of meaning, he has, in a striking manner, alluded to the words heaven and the sea.

Let us now then simply explain the words of Paul: As the assurance of our salvation lies on two foundations, that is, when we understand, that life has been obtained for us, and death has been conquered for us, he teaches us that faith through the word of the gospel is sustained by both these; for Christ, by dying, destroyed death, and by rising again he obtained life in his own power. The benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection is now communicated to us by the gospel: there is then no reason for us to seek anything farther. That it may thus appear, that the righteousness of faith is abundantly sufficient for salvation, he teaches us, that included in it are these two things, which are alone necessary for salvation. The import then of the words, Who shall ascend into heaven? is the same, as though you should say, “Who knows whether the inheritance of eternal and celestial life remains for us?” And the words, Who shall descend into the deep? mean the same, as though you should say, “Who knows whether the everlasting destruction of the soul follows the death of the body?” He teaches us, that doubt on those two points is removed by the righteousness of faith; for the one would draw down Christ from heaven, and the other would bring him up again from death. Christ’s ascension into heaven ought indeed fully to confirm our faith as to eternal life; for he in a manner removes Christ himself from the possession of heaven, who doubts whether the inheritance of heaven is prepared for the faithful, in whose name, and on whose account he has entered thither. Since in like manner he underwent the horrors of hell to deliver us from them, to doubt whether the faithful are still exposed to this misery, is to render void, and, as it were, to deny his death.

8. What does it say? f321 For the purpose of removing the impediments of faith, he has hitherto spoken negatively: but now in order to show the way of obtaining righteousness, he adopts an affirmative mode of speaking. Though the whole might have been announced in one continuous sentence, yet a question is interposed for the sake of exciting attention: and his object at the same time was to show how great is the difference between the righteousness of the law and that of the gospel; for the one, showing itself at a distance, restrains all men from coming nigh; but the other, offering itself at hand, kindly invites us to a fruition of itself, Nigh thee is the word.

It must be further observed, that lest the minds of men, being led away by crafts, should wander from the way of salvation, the limits of the word are prescribed to them, within which they are to keep themselves: for it is the same as though he had bidden them to be satisfied with the word only, and reminded them, that in this mirror those secrets of heaven are to be seen, which would otherwise by their brightness dazzle their eyes, and would also stun their ears and overpower the mind itself.

Hence the faithful derive from this passage remarkable consolation with regard to the certainty of the word; for they may no less safely rest on it, than on what is actually present. It must also be noticed, that the word, by which we have a firm and calm trust as to our salvation, had been set forth even by Moses:

This is the word of faith. Rightly does Paul take this as granted; for the doctrine of the law does by no means render the conscience quiet and calm, nor supply it with what ought to satisfy it. He does not, however, exclude other parts of the word, no, not even the precepts of the law; but his design is, to show that remission of sins stands for righteousness, even apart from that strict obedience which the law demands. Sufficient then for pacifying minds, and for rendering certain our salvation, is the word of the gospel; in which we are not commanded to earn righteousness by works, but to embrace it, when offered gratuitously, by faith.

The word of faith is to be taken for the word of promise, that is, for the gospel itself, because it bears a relation to faith. f322 The contrast, by which the difference between the law and the gospel appears, is indeed to be understood: and from this distinction we learn, — that as the law demands works, so the gospel requires nothing else, but that men bring faith to receive the grace of God. The words, which we preach, are added, that no one might have the suspicion that Paul differed from Moses; for he testifies, that in the ministration of the gospel there was complete consent between him and Moses; inasmuch as even Moses placed our felicity in nothing else but in the gratuitous promise of divine favor.

9. That if thou wilt confess, etc. Here is also an allusion, rather than a proper and strict quotation: for it is very probable that Moses used the word mouth, by taking a part for the whole, instead of the word face, or sight. But it was not unsuitable for the Apostle to allude to the word mouth, in this manner: — “Since the Lord sets his word before our face, no doubt he calls upon us to confess it.” For wherever the word of the Lord is, it ought to bring forth fruit; and the fruit is the confession of the mouth.

By putting confession before faith, he changes the order, which is often the case in Scripture: for the order would have been more regular if the faith of the heart had preceded, and the confession of the mouth, which arises from it, had followed. f323 But he rightly confesses the Lord Jesus, who adorns him with his own power, acknowledging him to be such an one as he is given by the Father, and described in the gospel.

Express mention is made only of Christ’s resurrection; which must not be so taken, as though his death was of no moment, but because Christ, by rising again, completed the whole work of our salvation: for though redemption and satisfaction were effected by his death, through which we are reconciled to God; yet the victory over sin, death, and Satan was attained by his resurrection; and hence also came righteousness, newness of life, and the hope of a blessed immortality. And thus is resurrection alone often set before us as the assurance of our salvation, not to draw away our attention from his death, but because it bears witness to the efficacy and fruit of his death: in short, his resurrection includes his death. On this subject we have briefly touched in the sixth chapter.

It may be added, that Paul requires not merely an historical faith, but he makes the resurrection itself its end. For we must remember the purpose for which Christ rose again; — it was the Father’s design in raising him, to restore us all to life: for though Christ had power of himself to reassume his soul, yet this work is for the most part ascribed in Scripture to God the Father.

10. For with the heart we believe f324 unto righteousness, etc. This passage may help us to understand what justification by faith is; for it shows that righteousness then comes to us, when we embrace God’s goodness offered to us in the gospel. We are then for this reason just, because we believe that God is propitious to us in Christ. But let us observe this, — that the seat of faith is not in the head, (in cerebro — in the brain,) but in the heart. Yet I would not contend about the part of the body in which faith is located: but as the word heart is often taken for a serious and sincere feeling, I would say that faith is a firm and effectual confidence, (fiducia — trust, dependence,) and not a bare notion only.

With the mouth confession is made unto salvation. It may seem strange, that he ascribes no part of our salvation to faith, as he had before so often testified, that we are saved by faith alone. But we ought not on this account to conclude that confession is the cause of our salvation. His design was only to show how God completes our salvation, even when he makes faith, which he implants in our hearts, to show itself by confession: nay, his simple object was, to mark out true faith, as that from which this fruit proceeds, lest any one should otherwise lay claim to the empty name of faith alone: for it ought so to kindle the heart with zeal for God’s glory, as to force out its own flame. And surely, he who is justified has already obtained salvation: hence he no less believes with the heart unto salvation, than with the mouth makes a confession. You see that he has made this distinction, — that he refers the cause of justification to faith, — and that he then shows what is necessary to complete salvation; for no one can believe with the heart without confessing with the mouth: it is indeed a necessary consequence, but not that which assigns salvation to confession.

But let them see what answer they can give to Paul, who at this day proudly boast of some sort of imaginary faith, which, being content with the secrecy of the heart, neglect the confession of the mouth, as a matter superfluous and vain; for it is extremely puerile to say, that there is fire, when there is neither flame nor heat.

<451011>Romans 10:11-13

11. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

11. Dicit enim scriptura, onmis qui credit in eum non pudefiet:

12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

12. Non enim est distinctio Iudaei et Graeci; unus enim Dominus omnium, dives in omnes qui invocant eum;

13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

13. Quisquis enim invocaverit nomen Domini salvus erit.

 

11. For the Scripture saith, etc. Having stated the reasons why God had justly repudiated the Jews, he returns to prove the calling of the Gentiles, which is the other part of the question which he is discussing. As then he had explained the way by which men obtain salvation, and one that is common and opened to the Gentiles no less than to the Jews, he now, having first hoisted an universal banner, extends it expressly to the Gentiles, and then invites the Gentiles by name to it: and he repeats the testimony which he had before adduced from Isaiah, that what he said might have more authority, and that it might also be evident, how well the prophecies concerning Christ harmonize with the law. f325

12. For there is no distinction, etc. Since faith alone is required, wherever it is found, there the goodness of God manifests itself unto salvation: there is then in this case no difference between one people or nation and another. And he adds the strongest of reasons; for since he who is the Creator and Maker of the whole world is the God of all men, he will show himself kind to all who will acknowledge and call on him as their God: for as his mercy is infinite, it cannot be but that it will extend itself to all by whom it shall be sought.

Rich is to be taken here in an active sense, as meaning kind and bountiful. f326 And we may observe, that the wealth of our Father is not diminished by his liberality; and that therefore it is not made less for us, with whatever multiplied affluence of his grace he may enrich others. There is then no reason why some should envy the blessings of others, as though anything were thereby lost by them.

But though this reason is sufficiently strong, he yet strengthens it by the testimony of the Prophet Joel; which, according to the general term that is used, includes all alike. But readers can see much better by the context, that what Joel declares harmonizes with the present subject; for he prophesies in that passage of the kingdom of Christ: and further, after having said, that the wrath of God would burn in a dreadful manner, in the midst of his ardor, he promises salvation to all who would call on the name of the Lord. It hence follows, that the grace of God penetrates into the abyss of death, if only it be sought there; so that it is not by any means to be withheld from the Gentiles. f327

<451014>Romans 10:14-17

14. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

14. Quomodo ergo invocabunt eum in quem non crediderint? quomodo vero in eum credent de quo non audiverint? quomodo autem audient absque praedicante?

15. And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

15. Quomodo autem praedicabunt nisi mittantur? quemadmodum scriptum est, Quam pulchri pedes annuntiantium pacem, annuntiantium bona!

16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel: for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

16. Sed non omnes obedierunt evangelio; Iesaias enim dicit, Domine, quis credidit sermoni nostro?

17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God?

17. Ergo fides ex auditu, auditus autem per verbum Dei.

 

I shall not engage the reader long in reciting and disproving the opinions of others. Let every one have his own view; and let me be allowed to bring forward what I think. That you may then understand the design of this gradation, bear in mind first, that there was a mutual connection between the calling of the Gentiles and the ministry of Paul, which he exercised among them; so that on the evidence for the one depended the evidence for the other. It was now necessary for Paul to prove, beyond a doubt, the calling of the Gentiles, and, at the same time, to give a reason for his own ministry, lest he should seem to extend the favor of God without authority, to withhold from the children the bread intended for them by God, and to bestow it on dogs. But these things he therefore clears up at the same time.

But how he connects the thread of his discourse, will not be fully understood, until every part be in order explained. The import of what he advances is the same as though he had said, “Both Jews and Gentiles, by calling on the name of God, do thereby declare that they believe on him; for a true calling on God’s name cannot be except a right knowledge of him were first had. Moreover, faith is produced by the word of God, but the word of God is nowhere preached, except through God’s special providence and appointment. Where then there is a calling on God, there is faith; and where faith is, the seed of the word has preceded; where there is preaching there is the calling of God. Now where his calling is thus efficacious and fruitful, there is there a clear and indubitable proof of the divine goodness. It will hence at last appear, that the Gentiles are not to be excluded from the kingdom of God, for God has admitted them into a participation of his salvation. For as the cause of faith among them is the preaching of the gospel, so the cause of preaching is the mission of God, by which it had pleased him in this manner to provide for their salvation.” We shall now consider each portion by itself.

14. How shall they call? etc. Paul intends here to connect prayer with faith, as they are indeed things most closely connected, for he who calls on God betakes himself, as it were, to the only true haven of salvation, and to a most secure refuge; he acts like the son, who commits himself into the bosom of the best and the most loving of fathers, that he may be protected by his care, cherished by his kindness and love, relieved by his bounty, and supported by his power. This is what no man can do who has not previously entertained in his mind such a persuasion of God’s paternal kindness towards him, that he dares to expect everything from him.

He then who calls on God necessarily feels assured that there is protection laid up for him; for Paul speaks here of that calling which is approved by God. Hypocrites also pray, but not unto salvation; for it is with no conviction of faith. It hence appears how completely ignorant are all the schoolmen, who doubtingly present themselves before God, being sustained by no confidence. Paul thought far otherwise; for he assumes this as an acknowledged axiom, that we cannot rightly pray unless we are surely persuaded of success. For he does not refer here to hesitating faith, but to that certainty which our minds entertain respecting his paternal kindness, when by the gospel he reconciles us to himself, and adopts us for his children. By this confidence only we have access to him, as we are also taught in <490312>Ephesians 3:12.

But, on the other hand, learn that true faith is only that which brings forth prayer to God; for it cannot be but that he who has tasted the goodness of God will ever by prayer seek the enjoyment of it.

How shall they believe on him? etc. The meaning is, that we are in a manner mute until God’s promise opens our mouth to pray, and this is the order which he points out by the Prophet, when he says, “I will say to them, my people are ye;” and they shall say to me, “Thou art our God.” (<381309>Zechariah 13:9.) It belongs not indeed to us to imagine a God according to what we may fancy; we ought to possess a right knowledge of him, such as is set forth in his word. And when any one forms an idea of God as good, according to his own understanding, it is not a sure nor a solid faith which he has, but an uncertain and evanescent imagination; it is therefore necessary to have the word, that we may have a right knowledge of God. No other word has he mentioned here but that which is preached, because it is the ordinary mode which the Lord has appointed for conveying his word. But were any on this account to contend that God cannot transfer to men the knowledge of himself, except by the instrumentality of preaching, we deny that to teach this was the Apostle’s intention; for he had only in view the ordinary dispensation of God, and did not intend to prescribe a law for the distribution of his grace.

15. How shall they preach except they be sent? etc. He intimates that it is a proof and a pledge of divine love when any nation is favored with the preaching of the gospel; and that no one is a preacher of it, but he whom God has raised up in his special providence, and that hence there is no doubt but that he visits that nation to whom the gospel is proclaimed. But as Paul does not treat here of the lawful call of any one, it would be superfluous to speak at large on the subject. It is enough for us to bear this only in mind, that the gospel does not fall like rain from the clouds, but is brought by the hands of men wherever it is sent from above.

As it is written, How beautiful, etc. We are to apply this testimony to our present subject in this manner, The Lord, when he gave hope of deliverance to his people, commended the advent of those who brought the glad tidings of peace, by a remarkable eulogy; by this very circumstance he has made it evident that the apostolic ministry was to be held in no less esteem, by which the message of eternal life is brought to us. And it hence follows, that it is from God, since there is nothing in the world that is an object of desire and worthy of praise, which does not proceed from his hand. f328

But hence we also learn how much ought all good men to desire, and how much they ought to value the preaching of the gospel, which is thus commended to us by the mouth of the Lord himself. Nor is there indeed a doubt, but that God has thus highly spoken of the incomparable value of this treasure, for the purpose of awakening the minds of all, so that they may anxiously desire it. Take feet, by metonymy, for coming. f329

16. But all have not obeyed the gospel, etc. This belongs not to the argument, which Paul designed to follow in the gradation he lays down; nor does he refer to it in the conclusion which immediately follows. It was yet expedient for Paul to introduce the sentence here, in order to anticipate an objection, lest any one should build an argument on what he had said, — that the word in order always precedes faith, as the seed the corn, — and draw this inference, that faith everywhere follows the word: for Israel, who had never been without the word, might have made a boast of this kind. It was therefore necessary, that, in passing, he should give them this intimation, — that many are called, who are yet not chosen.

He also quotes a passage from <235301>Isaiah 53:1; where the Prophet, before he proceeds to announce a remarkable prediction respecting the death and the kingdom of Christ, speaks with astonishment of the few number of believers, who appeared to him in the Spirit to be so few, that he was constrained to exclaim, “O Lord, who has believed our report?” that is, the word which we preach. For though in Hebrew the term h[wm, shimuoe, means passively a word, f330 yet the Greeks have rendered it, ajkoh<nhearing, and the Latins, auditumhearing; incorrectly indeed, but with no ambiguity in the meaning.

We now see why this exception was by the way introduced; it was, that no one might suppose that faith necessarily follows where there is preaching. He however does afterwards point out the reason, by saying, “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” by which he intimates that there is no benefit from the word, except when God shines in us by the light of his Spirit; and thus the inward calling, which alone is efficacious and peculiar to the elect, is distinguished from the outward voice of men. It is hence evident, how foolishly some maintain, that all are indiscriminately the elect, because the doctrine of salvation is universal, and because God invites all indiscriminately to himself. But the generality of the promises does not alone and by itself make salvation common to all: on the contrary, the peculiar revelation, mentioned by the Prophet, confines it to the elect.

17. Faith then is by hearing, etc. We see by this conclusion what Paul had in view by the gradation which he formed; it was to show, that wherever faith is, God has there already given an evidence of his election; and then, that he, by pouring his blessing on the ministration of the gospel, to illuminate the minds of men by faith, and thereby to lead them to call on his name, had thus testified, that the Gentiles were admitted by him into a participation of the eternal inheritance.

And this is a remarkable passage with regard to the efficacy of preaching; for he testifies, that by it faith is produced. He had indeed before declared, that of itself it is of no avail; but that when it pleases the Lord to work, it becomes the instrument of his power. And indeed the voice of man can by no means penetrate into the soul; and mortal man would be too much exalted, were he said to have the power to regenerate us; the light also of faith is something sublimer than what can be conveyed by man: but all these things are no hindrances, that God should not work effectually through the voice of man, so as to create faith in us through his ministry.

It must be further noticed, that faith is grounded on nothing else but the truth of God; for Paul does not teach us that faith springs from any other kind of doctrine, but he expressly restricts it. to the word of God; and this restriction would have been improper if faith could rest on the decrees of men. Away then with all the devices of men when we speak of the certainty of faith. Hence also the Papal conceit respecting implicit faith falls to the ground, because it tears away faith from the word; and more detestable still is that blasphemy, that the truth of the word remains suspended until the authority of the Church establishes it.

<451018>Romans 10:18-21

18. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

18. Sed dico, Nunquid non audierunt? Quinimo, In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum, et in fines orbis verba eorum.

19. But I say, Did not Israel know? First, Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

19. Sed dico, Nunquid non cognovit Israel? Primus Moses dicit, Ego ad aemulationem provocabo vos in eo qui non est populus, et in gente stulta irritabo vos.

20. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

20. Iesaias autem audet et dicit, Inventus sum a non quaerentibus me, conspicuus factus sum iis qui me non interrogabant.

21. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

21. De Israele autem dicit, Quotidie expandi manus meas ad populum contumacem et contradicentem (vel, non credentem.)

 

18. But I say, have they not heard? etc. Since the minds of men are imbued, by preaching, with the knowledge of God, which leads them to call on God, it remained a question whether the truth of God had been proclaimed to the Gentiles; for that Paul had suddenly betaken himself to the Gentiles, there was by that novelty no small offense given. He then asks, whether God had ever before directed his voice to the Gentiles, and performed the office of a teacher towards the whole world. But in order that he might show that the school, into which God collects scholars to himself from any part, is open in common to all, he brings forward a Prophet’s testimony from <191904>Psalm 19:4; which yet seems to bear apparently but little on the subject: for the Prophet does not speak there of Apostles but of the material works of God; in which he says the glory of God shines forth so evidently, that they may be said to have a sort of tongue of their own to declare the perfections of God.

This passage of Paul gave occasion to the ancients to explain the whole Psalm allegorically, and posterity have followed them: so that, without doubt, the sun going forth as a bridegroom from his chamber, was Christ, and the heavens were the Apostles. They who had most piety, and showed a greater modesty in interpreting Scripture, thought that what was properly said of the celestial architecture, has been transferred by Paul to the Apostles by way of allusion. But as I find that the Lord’s servants have everywhere with great reverence explained Scripture, and have not turned them at pleasure in all directions, I cannot be persuaded, that Paul has in this manner misconstrued this passage. I then take his quotation according to the proper and genuine meaning of the Prophet; so that the argument will be something of this kind, — God has already from the beginning manifested his divinity to the Gentiles, though not by the preaching of men, yet by the testimony of his creatures; for though the gospel was then silent among them, yet the whole workmanship of heaven and earth did speak and make known its author by its preaching. It hence appears, that the Lord, even during the time in which he confined the favor of his covenant to Israel, did not yet so withdraw from the Gentiles the knowledge of himself, but that he ever kept alive some sparks of it among them. He indeed manifested himself then more particularly to his chosen people, so that the Jews might be justly compared to domestic hearers, whom he familiarly taught as it were by his own mouth; yet as he spoke to the Gentiles at a distance by the voice of the heavens, he showed by this prelude that he designed to make himself known at length to them also.

But I know not why the Greek interpreter rendered the word wq, kum, fqo>ggon aujtw~n, their sound; for it means a line, sometimes in building, and sometimes in writing. f331 As it is certain that the same thing is mentioned twice in this passage, it seems to me probable, that the heavens are introduced as declaring by what is written as it were on them, as well as by voice, the power of God; for by the word going forth the Prophet reminds us, that the doctrine, of which the heavens are the preachers, is not included within the narrow limits of one land, but is proclaimed to the utmost regions of the world.

19. But I say, has not Israel known? This objection of an opponent is taken from the comparison of the less with the greater. Paul had argued, that the Gentiles were not to be excluded from the knowledge of God, since he had from the beginning manifested himself to them, though only obscurely and through shadows, or had at least given them some knowledge of his truth. What then is to be said of Israel, who had been illuminated by a far different light of truth? for how comes it that aliens and the profane should run to the light manifested to them afar off, and that the holy race of Abraham should reject it when familiarly seen by them? For this distinction must be ever borne in mind, “What nation is so renowned, that it has gods coming nigh to it, as thy God at this day descends to thee?” It was not then without reason asked, why knowledge had not followed the doctrine of the law, with which Israel was favored.

First, Moses saith, etc. He proves by the testimony of Moses, that there was nothing inconsistent in God in preferring the Gentiles to the Jews. The passage is taken from that celebrated song, in which God, upbraiding the Jews with their perfidiousness, declares, that he would execute vengeance on them, and provoke them to jealousy by taking the Gentiles into covenant with himself, because they had departed to fictitious gods. “Ye have,” he says, “by despising and rejecting me, transferred my right and honor to idols: to avenge this wrong, I will also substitute the Gentiles in your place, and I will transfer to them what I have hitherto given to you.” Now this could not have been without repudiating the Jewish nation: for the emulation, which Moses mentions, arose from this, — that God formed for himself a nation from that which was not a nation, and raised up from nothing a new people, who were to occupy the place from which the Jews had been driven away, inasmuch as they had forsaken the true God and prostituted themselves to idols. For though, at the coming of Christ, the Jews were not gone astray to gross and external idolatry, they had yet no excuse, since they had profaned the whole worship of God by their inventions; yea, they at length denied God the Father, as revealed in Christ, his only-begotten Son, which was an extreme kind of impiety.

Observe, that a foolish nation, and no nation, are the same; for without the hope of eternal life men have properly no existence. Besides, the beginning or origin of life is from the light of faith: hence spiritual existence flows from the new creation; and in this sense Paul calls the faithful the work of God, as they are regenerated by his Spirit, and renewed after his image. Now from the word foolish, we learn that all the wisdom of men, apart from the word of God, is mere vanity. f332

20. But Isaiah is bold, and says, etc. As this prophecy is somewhat clearer, that he might excite greater attention he says that it was expressed with great confidence; as though he had said, — “The Prophet did not speak in a figurative language, or with hesitation, but had in plain and clear words declared the calling of the Gentiles.” But the things which Paul has here separated, by interposing a few words, are found connected together in the prophet <236501>Isaiah 65:1, where the Lord declares, that the time would come when he should turn his favor to the Gentiles; and he immediately subjoins this reason, — that he was wearied with the perverseness of Israel, which, through very long continuance, had become intolerable to him. He then speaks thus, — “They who inquired not of me before, and neglected my name, have now sought me, (the perfect tense for the future to denote the certainty of the f333

I know that this whole passage is changed by some Rabbins, as though God promised that he would cause that the Jews should repent of their defection: but nothing is more clear than that he speaks of aliens; for it follows in the same context, — “I have said, Behold I come to a people, on whom my name is not called.” Without doubt, then, the Prophet declares it as what would take place, that those who were before aliens would be received by a new adoption unto the family of God. It is then the calling of the Gentiles; and in which appears a general representation of the calling of all the faithful; for there is no one who anticipates the Lord; but we are all, without exception, delivered by his free mercy from the deepest abyss of death, when there is no knowledge of him, no desire of serving him, in a word, no conviction of his truth.

21. But of Israel, etc. A reason is subjoined why God passed over to the Gentiles; it was because he saw that his favor was become a mockery to the Jews. But that readers may more fully understand that the blindness of the people is pointed out in the second clause, Paul expressly reminds us that the elect people were charged with their own wickedness. Literally it is, “He says to Israel;” but Paul has imitated the Hebrew idiom; for l, lamed, is often put for ˆm, men. And he says, that to Israel he stretched forth his hands, whom he continually by his word invited to himself, and ceased not to allure by every sort of kindness; for these are the two ways which he adopts to call men, as he thus proves his goodwill towards them. However, he chiefly complains of the contempt shown to his truth; which is the more abominable, as the more remarkable is the manner by which God manifests his paternal solicitude in inviting men by his word to himself.

And very emphatical is the expression, that he stretches out his hands; for by seeking our salvation through the ministers of his word, he stretches forth to us his hands no otherwise than as a father who stretches forth his arms, ready to receive his son kindly into his bosom. And he says daily, that it might not seem strange to any one if he was wearied in showing kindness to them, inasmuch as he succeeded not by his assiduity. A similar representation we have in <240713>Jeremiah 7:13; and <241107>Jeremiah 11:7, where he says that he rose up early to warn them.

Their unfaithfulness is also set forth by two most suitable words. I have thought it right to render the participle ajpeiqou>nta, refractory, or rebellious, and yet the rendering of Erasmus and of the Old Translator, which I have placed in the margin, is not to be wholly disapproved. But since the Prophet accuses the people of perverseness, and then adds that they wandered through ways which were not good, I doubt not but that the Greek Translator meant to express the Hebrew word rrws, surer, by two words, calling them first disobedient or rebellious, and then gainsaying; for their contumacy showed itself in this, because the people, with untamable pride and bitterness, obstinately rejected the holy admonitions of the Prophets. f334


CHAPTER 11

<451101>Romans 11:1-6

1. I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

1. Dico igitur, Num abjecit Deus populum suum? absit: etenim ego Israelita sum, ex genere Abrahae, tribu Benjamin.

2. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

2. Non abjecit Deus populum suum quem praecognovit. An nescitis in Elia quid scriptura dicat? quomodo appellet Deum adversus Israel, dicens,

3. Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

3. Domine, Prophetas tuas occiderunt, et altaria tua diruerunt, et ego relictus sum solus, et quaerunt animam meam.

4. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

4. Sed quid dicit ei oraculum? f335 Reservavi mihi ipsi septem millia virorum, qui non flexerunt genu imagini Baal.

5. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

5. Sic ergo et hoc tempore, reliquiae secundum electionem gratiae supersunt:

6. And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.

6. Quod si per gratiam, jam non ex operibus; alioqui gratia, jam non est gratia: si vero ex operibus, jam non est gratia; alioqui opus, jam non est opus.

 

1. I say then, etc. What he has hitherto said of the blindness and obstinacy of the Jews, might seem to import that Christ at his coming had transferred elsewhere the promises of God, and deprived the Jews of every hope of salvation. This objection is what he anticipates in this passage, and he so modifies what he had previously said respecting the repudiation of the Jews, that no one might think that the covenant formerly made with Abraham is now abrogated, or that God had so forgotten it that the Jews were now so entirely alienated from his kingdom, as the Gentiles were before the coming of Christ. All this he denies, and he will presently show that it is altogether false. But the question is not whether God had justly or unjustly rejected the people; for it was proved in the last chapter that when the people, through false zeal, had rejected the righteousness of God, they suffered a just punishment for their presumption, were deservedly blinded, and were at last cut off from the covenant.

The reason then for their rejection is not now under consideration; but the dispute is concerning another thing, which is this, That though they deserved such a punishment from God, whether yet the covenant which God made formerly with the fathers was abolished. That it should fail through any perfidiousness of men, was wholly unreasonable; for Paul holds this as a fixed principle, that since adoption is gratuitous and based on God alone and not on men, it stands firm and inviolable, howsoever great the unfaithfulness of men may be, which may tend to abolish it. It was necessary that this knot should be untied, lest the truth and election of God should be thought to be dependent on the worthiness of men.

For I am also an Israelite, etc. Before he proceeds to the subject, he proves, in passing, by his own example, how unreasonable it was to think that the nation was utterly forsaken by God; for he himself was in his origin an Israelite, not a proselyte, or one lately introduced into the commonwealth of Israel. As then he was justly deemed to be one of God’s special servants, it was an evidence that God’s favor rested on Israel. He then assumes the conclusion as proved, which yet he will hereafter explain in a satisfactory manner.

That in addition to the title of an Israelite, he called himself the seed of Abraham, and mentioned also his own tribe; this he did that he might be counted a genuine Israelite, and he did the same in his Epistle to the Philippians, <500304>Philippians 3:4. But what some think, that it was done to commend God’s mercy, inasmuch as Paul sprung from that tribe which had been almost destroyed, seems forced and far-fetched.

2. God has not cast away, etc. This is a negative answer, accompanied with a qualifying clause; for had the Apostle unreservedly denied that the people were rejected, he would have been inconsistent with himself; but by adding a modification, he shows it to be such a rejection, as that God’s promise is not thereby made void. So the answer may be divided into two parts, — that God has by no means cast away the whole race of Abraham, contrary to the tenor of his own covenant, — and that yet the fruit of adoption does not exist in all the children of the flesh, for secret election precedes. Thus general rejection could not have caused that no seed should be saved; for the visible body of the people was in such a manner rejected, that no member of the spiritual body of Christ was cut off.

If any one asks, “Was not circumcision a common symbol of God’s favor to all the Jews, so that they ought to have been all counted his people?” To this the obvious answer is, — That as outward calling is of itself ineffectual without faith, the honor which the unbelieving refuse when offered, is justly taken from them. Thus a special people remain, in whom God exhibits an evidence of his faithfulness; and Paul derives the origin of constancy from secret election. For it is not said here that God regards faith, but that he stands to his own purpose, so as not to reject the people whom he has foreknown.

And here again must be noticed what I have before reminded you of, — that by the verb foreknow, is not to be understood a foresight, I know not what, by which God foresees what sort of being any one will be, but that good pleasure, according to which he has chosen those as sons to himself, who, being not yet born, could not have procured for themselves his favor. f336 So he says to the Galatians, that they had been known by God, (<480409>Galatians 4:9); for he had anticipated them with his favor, so as to call them to the knowledge of Christ. We now perceive, that though universal calling may not bring forth fruit, yet the faithfulness of God does not fail, inasmuch as he always preserves a Church, as long as there are elect remaining; for though God invites all people indiscriminately to himself, yet he does not inwardly draw any but those whom he knows to be his people, and whom he has given to his Son, and of whom also he will be the faithful keeper to the end.

Know ye not, etc. As there were so few of the Jews who had believed in Christ, hardly another conclusion could have been drawn from this small number, but that the whole race of Abraham had been rejected; and creep in might this thought, — that in so vast a ruin no sign of God’s favor appeared: for since adoption was the sacred bond by which the children of Abraham were kept collected under the protection of God, it was by no means probable, unless that had ceased, that the people should be miserably and wretchedly dispersed. To remove this offense, Paul adopts a most suitable example; for he relates, that in the time of Elias there was such a desolation, that there remained no appearance of a Church, and yet, that when no vestige of God’s favor appeared, the Church of God was, as it were, hid in the grave, and was thus wonderfully preserved.

It hence follows, that they egregiously mistake who form an opinion of the Church according to their own perceptions. And surely if that celebrated Prophet, who was endued with so enlightened a mind, was so deceived, when he attempted by his own judgment to form an estimate of God’s people, what shall be the case with us, whose highest perspicuity, when compared with his, is mere dullness? Let us not then determine any thing rashly on this point; but rather let this truth remain fixed in our hearts — that the Church, though it may not appear to our eyes, is sustained by the secret providence of God. Let it also be remembered by us, that they are foolish and presumptuous who calculate the number of the elect according to the extent of their own perception: for God has a way, easy to himself, hidden from us, by which he wonderfully preserves his elect, even when all things seem to us past all remedy.

And let readers observe this, — that Paul distinctly compares here, and elsewhere, the state of things in his time with the ancient condition of the Church, and that it serves in no small degree to confirm our faith, when we bear in mind, that nothing happens to us, at this day, which the holy Fathers had not formerly experienced: for novelty, we know, is a grievous engine to torment weak minds.

As to the words, In Elias, I have retained the expression of Paul; for it may mean either in the history or in the business of Elias; though it seems to me more probable, that Paul has followed the Hebrew mode of speaking; for b, beth, which is rendered in the Greek by ejn, in, is often taken in Hebrew for of.

How he appeals to God, etc. f337 It was certainly a proof how much Elias honored the Lord, that for the glory of his name he hesitated not to make himself an enemy to his own nation, and to pray for their utter ruin, because he thought that the religion and worship of God had perished among them: but he was mistaken in charging the whole nation, himself alone excepted, with that impiety, for which he wished them to be severely visited. There is however in this passage, which Paul quotes, no imprecation, but a complaint only: but as he complains in such a way as to despair of the whole people, there is no doubt but that he gave them up to destruction. Let us then especially notice what is said of Elias, which was this, — that when impiety had everywhere prevailed, and overspread almost the whole land, he thought, that he was left alone.

I have reserved for myself seven thousand, etc. Though you may take this finite for an indefinite number, it was yet the Lord’s design to specify a large multitude. Since then the grace of God prevails so much in an extreme state of things, let us not lightly give over to the devil all those whose piety does not openly appear to us. It also ought to be fully imprinted on our minds, — that however impiety may everywhere prevail, and dreadful confusion spread on every side, yet the salvation of many remains secured under the seal of God. f338 But that no one may under this error indulge his own sloth, as many seek hiding-places for their vices in the hidden providences of God, it is right to observe again, — that they only are said to be saved who continue sound and unpolluted in the faith of God. This circumstance in the case ought also to be noticed, — that those only remained safe who did not prostitute their body, no, not even by an external act of dissimulation, to the worship of idols; for he not only ascribes to them a purity of mind, but that they had also kept their body from being polluted by any filthiness of superstition. f339

So then also at this time, etc. He applies the example to his own age; and to make all things alike, he calls God’s people a remnant, that is, in comparison with the vast number in whom impiety prevailed: and alluding at the same time to the prophecy he had quoted from Isaiah, he shows, that in the midst of a miserable and confused desolation the faithfulness of God yet shone forth, for there was still some remnant: and in order more fully to confirm this, he expressly calls them a remnant that survived through the grace of God: and thus he bore witness that God’s election is unchangeable, according to what the Lord said to Elias, — that where the whole people had fallen away to idolatry, he had reserved for himself seven thousand: and hence we conclude, that through his kindness they were delivered from destruction. Nor does he simply speak of grace; but he now calls our attention also to election, that we may learn reverently to rely on the hidden purpose of God.

One thing then that is laid down is, — that few are saved in comparison with the vast number of those who assume the name of being God’s people; the other is, — that those are saved by God’s power whom he has chosen with no regard to any merit. The election of grace is a Hebrew idiom for gratuitous election.

6. If through grace, it is no more by works, etc. This amplification is derived from a comparison between things of an opposite character; for such is the case between God’s grace and the merit of works, that he who establishes the one overturns the other.

But if no regard to works can be admitted in election, without obscuring the gratuitous goodness of God, which he designed thereby to be so much commended to us, what answer can be given to Paul by those infatuated persons, (phreneticiinsane,) who make the cause of election to be that worthiness in us which God has foreseen? For whether you introduce works future or past, this declaration of Paul opposes you; for he says, that grace leaves nothing to works. Paul speaks not here of our reconciliation with God, nor of the means, nor of the proximate causes of our salvation; but he ascends higher, even to this, — why God, before the foundation of the world, chose only some and passed by others: and he declares, that God was led to make this difference by nothing else, but by his own good pleasure; for if any place is given to works, so much, he maintains, is taken away from grace.

It hence follows, that it is absurd to blend foreknowledge of works with election. For if God chooses some and rejects others, as he has foreseen them to be worthy or unworthy of salvation, then the grace of God, the reward of works being established, cannot reign alone, but must be only in part the cause of our election. For as Paul has reasoned before concerning the justification of Abraham, that where reward is paid, there grace is not freely bestowed; so now he draws his argument from the same fountain, — that if works come to the account, when God adopts a certain number of men unto salvation, reward is a matter of debt, and that therefore it is not a free gift. f340

Now, though he speaks here of election, yet as it is a general reasoning which Paul adopts, it ought to be applied to the whole of our salvation; so that we may understand, that whenever it is declared that there are no merits of works, our salvation is ascribed to the grace of God, or rather, that we may believe that the righteousness of works is annihilated, whenever grace is mentioned.

<451107>Romans 11:7-10

7. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

7. Quid ergo? Quod quaerit Israel, non est assequutus; f341 electio autem assequuta est, reliqui vero excaecati fuerunt;

8. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear) unto this day.

8. Quemadmodum scriptum est, Dedit illis Deus spiritum compunctionis, oculos ut non videant, et aures ut non audiant, usque ad hodiernum diem.

9. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them:

9. Et David dicit, Fiat mensa eorum in laqueum et in captionem et in offendiculum et in retributionem ipsis:

10. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

10. Obscurentur oculi eorum ne videant, et dorsum eorum semper incurva.

 

7. What then? What Israel seeks, etc. As he is here engaged on a difficult subject, he asks a question, as though he was in doubt. He intended, however, by expressing this doubt, to render the answer, which immediately follows, more evident; for he intimates, that no other can be given; and the answer is, — that Israel in vain labored to seek salvation, because his attempt was absurd. Though he mentions here no cause, yet as he had expressed it before, he certainly meant it to be understood in this place. For his words are the same, as though he had said, — that it ought not to seem strange, that Israel gained nothing in striving after righteousness. And hence is proved what he presently subjoins concerning election, — For if Israel has obtained nothing by merit, what have others obtained whose case or condition was not better? Whence has come so much difference between equals? Who does not here see that it is election alone which makes the difference?

Now the meaning of the word election here is doubtful; for to some it seems that it ought to be taken in a collective sense, for the elect themselves, that there may be a correspondence between the two clauses. Of this opinion I do not disapprove, provided it be allowed that there is something more in the word than if he had said, the elect, even this, that he intimates that there was no other reason for obtaining their election, as though he said, — “They are not those who strive by relying on merits, but those whose salvation depends on the gratuitous election of God.” For he distinctly compares with the whole of Israel, or body of the people, the remnant which was to be saved by God’s grace. It hence follows, that the cause of salvation exists not in men, but depends on the good pleasure of God alone.

And the rest have been blinded. f342 As the elect alone are delivered by God’s grace from destruction, so all who are not elected must necessarily remain blinded. For what Paul means with regard to the reprobate is, — that the beginning of their ruin and condemnation is from this — that they are forsaken by God.

The quotations which he adduces, collected from various parts of Scripture, and not taken from one passage, do seem, all of them, to be foreign to his purpose, when you closely examine them according to their contexts; for you will find that in every passage, blindness and hardening are mentioned as scourges, by which God punished crimes already committed by the ungodly; but Paul labors to prove here, that not those were blinded, who so deserved by their wickedness, but who were rejected by God before the foundation of the world.

You may thus briefly untie this knot, — that the origin of the impiety which provokes God’s displeasure, is the perversity of nature when forsaken by God. Paul therefore, while speaking of eternal reprobation, has not without reason referred to those things which proceed from it, as fruit from the tree or river from the fountain. The ungodly are indeed, for their sins, visited by God’s judgment with blindness; but if we seek for the source of their ruin, we must come to this, — that being accursed by God, they cannot by all their deeds, sayings, and purposes, get and obtain any thing but a curse. Yet the cause of eternal reprobation is so hidden from us, that nothing remains for us but to wonder at the incomprehensible purpose of God, as we shall at length see by the conclusion. But they reason absurdly who, whenever a word is said of the proximate causes, strive, by bringing forward these, to cover the first, which is hid from our view; as though God had not, before the fall of Adam, freely determined to do what seemed good to him with respect to the whole human race on this account, — because he condemns his corrupt and depraved seed, and also, because he repays to individuals the reward which their sins have deserved. f343

8. Given them has God, etc. There is no doubt, I think, but that the passage quoted here from Isaiah is that which Luke refers to in Acts, as quoted from him, only the words are somewhat altered. Nor does he record here what we find in the Prophet, but only collects from him this sentiment, — that they were imbued from above with the spirit of maliciousness, so that they continued dull in seeing and hearing. The Prophet was indeed bidden to harden the heart of the people: but Paul penetrates to the very fountain, — that brutal stupor seizes on all the senses of men, after they are given up to this madness, so that they excite themselves by virulent stimulants against the truth. For he does not call it the spirit of giddiness, but of compunction, when the bitterness of gall shows itself; yea, when there is also a fury in rejecting the truth. And he declares, that by the secret judgment of God the reprobate are so demented, that being stupified, they are incapable of forming a judgment; for when it is said, that by seeing they see nothing, the dullness of their senses is thereby intimated. f344

Then Paul himself adds, to this very day, lest any one should object and say, that this prophecy had been formerly fulfilled, and that it was therefore absurd to apply it to the time of the gospel: this objection he anticipates, by subjoining, that it was not only a blindness of one day, which is described, but that it had continued, together with the unhealable obstinacy of the people, to the coming of Christ. f345

9. And David says, etc. In this testimony of David there is also made some change in the words, but it is not what changes the meaning. For he thus speaks, “Let their table before them become a snare, and their peaceful things a trap;” there is no mention of retribution. As to the main point there is sufficient agreement. The Prophet prays, that whatever is desirable and happy in life might turn out to the ruin and destruction of the ungodly; and this is what he means by table and peaceful things. f346 He then gives them up to blindness of spirit and weakening of strength; the one of which he expresses by the darkening of the eyes, and the other by the incurvation of the back. But that this should be extended almost to the whole nation, is not to be wondered at; for we know, that not only the chief men were incensed against David, but that the common people were also opposed to him. It appears plain, that what is read in that passage was not applied to a few, but to a large number; yea, when we consider of whom David was a type, there appears to be a spiritual import in the opposite clause. f347

Seeing then that this imprecation remains for all the adversaries of Christ, — that their meat shall be converted into poison, (as we see that the gospel is to be the savor of death unto death,) let us embrace with humility and trembling the grace of God. We may add, that since David speaks of the Israelites, who descended according to the flesh from Abraham, Paul fitly applies his testimony to the subject in hand, that the blindness of the majority of the people might not appear new or unusual.

<451111>Romans 11:11-15

11. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

11. Dico igitur, Num impegerunt ut corruerent? Absit: sed eorum lapsu salus contigit gentibus in hoc, ut ipsi ad aemulationem provocarentur.

12. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?

12. Si vero eorum lapsus divitiae sunt mundi, et imminutio eorum divitiae gentium, quanto magis complementum ipsorum?

13. For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

13. Vobis enim dico gentibus, quatenus certe ego gentium sum Apostolus, ministerium meum illustror,

14. If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

14. Si quomodo ad aemulationem provocavero carnem meam, et aliquos ex ea salvos fecero:

15. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

15. Si enim rejectio eorum, reconciliatio est mundi, quid assumptio nisi vita ex mortius?

 

11. Have they stumbled, etc. You will be greatly hindered in understanding this argument, except you take notice, that the Apostle speaks sometimes of the whole nation of the Jews, and sometimes of single individuals; for hence arises the diversity, that onewhile he speaks of the Jews as being banished from the kingdom of God, cut off from the tree and precipitated by God’s judgment into destruction, and that at another he denies that they had fallen from grace, but that on the contrary they continued in the possession of the covenant, and had a place in the Church of God.

It is then in conformity with this difference that he now speaks; for since the Jews for the most part rejected Christ, so that perverseness had taken hold almost on the whole nation, and few among them seemed to be of a sane mind, he asks the question, whether the Jewish nation had so stumbled at Christ, that it was all over with them universally, and that no hope of repentance remained. Here he justly denies that the salvation of the Jews was to be despaired of, or that they were so rejected by God, that there was to be no future restoration, or that the covenant of grace, which he had once made with them, was entirely abolished, since there had ever remained in that nation the seed of blessing. That we are so to understand his meaning is evident from this, — that having before connected a sure ruin with blindness, he now gives a hope of rising again; which two things are wholly different. They then, who perversely stumbled at Christ, fell and fell into destruction; yet the nation itself had not fallen, so that he who is a Jew must necessarily perish or be alienated from God.

But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, etc. The Apostle asserts two things in this place, — that the fall of the Jews had turned out for salvation to the Gentiles; but to this end — that they might be kindled by a sort of jealousy, and be thus led to repentance. He no doubt had an eye to the testimony of Moses, which he had already quoted, where the Lord threatened Israel, — that as he had been provoked by them to emulation through their false gods; so he also, according to the law of retaliation, would provoke them by a foolish nation.

The word here used denotes the feeling of emulation or jealousy with which we are excited, when we see another preferred before us. Since then it was the Lord’s purpose that Israel should be provoked to emulation, they were not so fallen as to be precipitated into eternal ruin; but that God’s blessing, despised by them, might come to the Gentiles, in order that they might at length be also stirred up to seek the Lord, from whom they had fallen away.

But there is no reason for readers to weary themselves much as to the application of this testimony: for Paul does not dwell on the strict meaning of the word, but alludes only to a common and well-known practice. For as emulation stimulates a wife, who for her fault has been rejected by her husband, so that she strives to be reconciled again; so it may be now, he says, that the Jews, seeing the Gentiles introduced into their place, will be touched with grief for their divorce, and seek reconciliation.

12. And if their fall, etc. As he had taught us that after the Jews were repudiated, the Gentiles were introduced in their place, that he might not make the salvation of the Jews to be disliked by the Gentiles, as though their salvation depended on the ruin of the Jews, he anticipates this false notion, and lays down a sentiment of an opposite kind, that nothing would conduce more to advance the salvation of the Gentiles, than that the grace of God should flourish and abound among the Jews. To prove this, he derives an argument from the less, — “If their fall had raised the Gentiles, and their diminution had enriched them, how much more their fullness?” for the first was done contrary to nature, and the last will be done according to a natural order of things. And it is no objection to this reasoning, that the word of God had flowed to the Gentiles, after the Jews had rejected, and, as it were, cast it from them; for if they had received it, their faith would have brought forth much more fruit than their unbelief had occasioned; for the truth of God would have been thereby confirmed by being accomplished in them, and they also themselves would have led many by their teaching, whom they, on the contrary, by their perverseness, had turned aside.

Now he would have spoken more strictly correct, if, to the fall, he had opposed rising: f348 of this I remind you, that no one may expect here an adorned language, and may not be offended with this simple mode of speaking; for these things were written to mold the heart and not the tongue.

13. For to you Gentiles I speak, etc. He confirms by a strong reason, that nothing shall be lost by the Gentiles, were the Jews to return again to favor with God; for he shows, that the salvation of both is so connected, that it can by the same means be promoted. For he thus addresses the Gentiles, — “Though I am peculiarly destined to be your Apostle, and ought therefore with special care to seek your salvation, with which I am charged, and to omit as it were all other things, and to labor for that only, I shall yet be faithfully discharging my office, by gaining to Christ any of my own nation; and this will be for the glory of my ministry, and so for your good.” f349 For whatever served to render Paul’s ministry illustrious, was advantageous to the Gentiles, whose salvation was its object.

And here also he uses the verb parazhlw~sai, to provoke to emulation, and for this purpose, that the Gentiles might seek the accomplishment of Moses’ prophecy, such as he describes, when they understood that it would be for their benefit.

14. And save, etc. Observe here that the minister of the word is said in some way to save those whom he leads to the obedience of faith. So conducted indeed ought to be the ministry of our salvation, as that we may feel that the whole power and efficacy of it depends on God, and that we may give him his due praise: we ought at the same time to understand that preaching is an instrument for effecting the salvation of the faithful, and though it can do nothing without the Spirit of God, yet through his inward operation it produces the most powerful effects.

15. For if their rejections, etc. This passage, which many deem obscure, and some awfully pervert, ought, in my view, to be understood as another argument, derived from a comparison of the less with the greater, according to this import, “Since the rejection of the Jews has availed so much as to occasion the reconciling of the Gentiles, how much more effectual will be their resumption? Will it not be to raise them even from the dead?” For Paul ever insists on this, that the Gentiles have no cause for envy, as though the restoration of the Jews to favor were to render their condition worse. Since then God has wonderfully drawn forth life from death and light from darkness, how much more ought we to hope, he reasons, that the resurrection of a people, as it were, wholly dead, will bring life to the Gentiles. f350 It is no objection what stone allege, that reconciliation differs not from resurrection, as we do indeed understand resurrection in the present instance, that is, to be that by which we are translated from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of life, for though the thing is the same, yet there is more force in the expression, and this a sufficient answer.

<451116>Romans 11:16-21

16. For if the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

16. Quod si primitiae sanctae, etiam conspersio; et si radix sancta etiam rami:

17. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive-tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive-tree;

17. Si vero ex ramis quidam defracti sunt, tu vero oleaster quum esses, insitus es pro ipsis, et particeps factus es radicis et pinguedinis oleae;

18. Boast not against the branches: but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

18. Ne contra ramos glorieris: quod si gloriaris, non tu radicem portas; sed radix to.

19. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

19. Dices ergo, Defracti sunt rami, ut ego insererer.

20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken oft, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:

20. Bene; propter incredulitatem defracti sunt, tu vero fide stabilitus es; Ne animo efferaris, sed timeas.

21. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

21. Si enim Deus naturalibus ramis non perpercit, vide ne qua fit, ut et tibi non parcat.

 

16. For if the first-fruits, etc. By comparing the worthiness of the Jews and of the Gentiles, he now takes away pride from the one and pacifies the other, as far as he could; for he shows that the Gentiles, if they pretended any prerogative of honor of their own, did in no respect excel the Jews, nay, that if they came to a contest, they should be left far behind. Let us remember that in this comparison man is not compared with man, but nation with nation. If then a comparison be made between them, they shall be found equal in this respect, that they are both equally the children of Adam; the only difference is that the Jews had been separated from the Gentiles, that they might be a peculiar people to the Lord. f351

They were then sanctified by the holy covenant, and adorned with peculiar honor, with which God had not at that time favored the Gentiles; but as the efficacy of the covenant appeared then but small, he bids us to look back to Abraham and the patriarchs, in whom the blessing of God was not indeed either empty or void. He hence concludes, that from them an heredity holiness had passed to all their posterity. But this conclusion would not have been right had he spoken of persons, or rather had he not regarded the promise; for when the father is just, he cannot yet transmit his own uprightness to his son: but as the Lord had sanctified Abraham for himself for this end, that his seed might also be holy, and as he thus conferred holiness not only on his person but also on his whole race, the Apostle does not unsuitably draw this conclusion, that all the Jews were sanctified in their father Abraham. f352

Then to confirm this view, he adduces two similitudes: the one taken from the ceremonies of the law, and the other borrowed from nature. The first-fruits which were offered sanctified the whole lump, in like manner the goodness of the juice diffuses itself from the root to the branches; and posterity hold the same connection with their parents from whom they proceed as the lump has with the first-fruits, and the branches with the tree. It is not then a strange thing that the Jews were sanctified in their father. There is here no difficulty if you understand by holiness the spiritual nobility of the nation, and that indeed not belonging to nature, but what proceeded from the covenant. It may be truly said, I allow, that the Jews were naturally holy, for their adoption was hereditary; but I now speak of our first nature, according to which we are all, as we know, accursed in Adam. Therefore the dignity of an elect people, to speak correctly, is a supernatural privilege.

17. And if some of the branches, etc. He now refers to the present dignity of the Gentiles, which is no other than to be of the branches; which, being taken from another, are set in some noble tree: for the origin of the Gentiles was as it were from some wild and unfruitful olive, as nothing but a curse was to be found in their whole race. Whatever glory then they had was from their new insition, not from their old stock. There was then no reason for the Gentiles to glory in their own dignity in comparison with the Jews. We may also add, that Paul wisely mitigates the severity of the case, by not saying that the whole top of the tree was cut off, but that some of the branches were broken, and also that God took some here and there from among the Gentiles, whom he set in the holy and blessed trunk. f353

18. But if thou gloriest, thou bearest not the root, etc. The Gentiles could not contend with the Jews respecting the excellency of their race without contending with Abraham himself; which would have been extremely unbecoming, since he was like a root by which they were borne and nourished. As unreasonable as it would be for the branches to boast against the root, so unreasonable would it have been for the Gentiles to glory against the Jews, that is, with respect to the excellency of their race; for Paul would have them ever to consider whence was the origin of their salvation. And we know that after Christ by his coming has pulled down the partition-wall, the whole world partook of the favor which God had previously conferred on the chosen people. It hence follows, that the calling of the Gentiles was like an ingrafting, and that they did not otherwise grow up as God’s people than as they were grafted in the stock of Abraham.

19. Thou wilt then say, etc. In the person of the Gentiles he brings forward what they might have pleaded for themselves; but that was of such a nature as ought not to have filled them with pride, but, on the contrary, to have made them humble. For if the cutting off of the Jews was through unbelief, and if the ingrafting of the Gentiles was by faith, what was their duty but to acknowledge the favor of God, and also to cherish modesty and humbleness of mind? For it is the nature of faith, and what properly belongs to it, to generate humility and fear. f354 But by fear understand that which is in no way inconsistent with the assurance of faith; for Paul would not have our faith to vacillate or to alternate with doubt, much less would he have us to be frightened or to quake with fear. f355

Of what kind then is this fear? As the Lord bids us to take into our consideration two things, so two kinds of feeling must thereby be produced. For he would have us ever to bear in mind the miserable condition of our nature; and this can produce nothing but dread, weariness, anxiety, and despair; and it is indeed expedient that we should thus be thoroughly laid prostrate and broken down, that we may at length groan to him; but this dread, derived from the knowledge of ourselves, keeps not our minds while relying on his goodness, from continuing calm; this weariness hinders us not from enjoying full consolation in him; this anxiety, this despair, does not prevent us from obtaining in him real joy and hope. Hence the fear, of which he speaks, is set up as an antidote to proud contempt; for as every one claims for himself more than what is right, and becomes too secure and at length insolent towards others, we ought then so far to fear, that our heart may not swell with pride and elate itself.

But it seems that he throws in a doubt as to salvation, since he reminds them to beware lest they also should not be spared. To this I answer, — that as this exhortation refers to the subduing of the flesh, which is ever insolent even in the children of God, he derogates nothing from the certainty of faith. And we must especially notice and remember what I have before said, — that Paul’s address is not so much to individuals as to the whole body of the Gentiles, among whom there might have been many, who were vainly inflated, professing rather than having faith. On account of these Paul threatens the Gentiles, not without reason, with excision, as we shall hereafter find again.

21. For if God has not spared the natural branches, etc. This is a most powerful reason to beat down all self-confidence: for the rejection of the Jews should never come across our minds without striking and shaking us with dread. For what ruined them, but that through supine dependence on the dignity which they had obtained, they despised what God had appointed? They were not spared, though they were natural branches; what then shall be done to us, who are the wild olive and aliens, if we become beyond measure arrogant? But this thought, as it leads us to distrust ourselves, so it tends to make us to cleave more firmly and steadfastly to the goodness of God.

And here again it appears more evident, that the discourse is addressed generally to the body of the Gentiles, for the excision, of which he speaks, could not apply to individuals, whose election is unchangeable, based on the eternal purpose of God. Paul therefore declares to the Gentiles, that if they exulted over the Jews, a reward for their pride would be prepared for them; for God will again reconcile to himself the first people whom he has divorced.

<451122>Romans 11:22-24

22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

22. Vide igitur lenitatem f356 et severitatem Dei; in eos quidem qui ceciderunt, severitatem; f357 in te vero lenitatem, si permanseris in lenitate; alioqui tu quoque excideris:

23. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

23. Et illi, si non perstiterint in incredulitate, inserentur; potens enim est Deus rursum inserere ipsos.

24. For if thou were cut out of the olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive-tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive-tree?

24. Si enim tu ex oleastro, quae tibi nativa erat, exectus es, et printer naturam insitus es in veram oleam; multo magis hi secundum naturam propriae oleae inserentur.

 

22. See then, etc. By laying the case before their eyes he more clearly and fully confirms the fact, — that the Gentiles had no reason to be proud. They saw in the Jews an example of God’s severity, which ought to have terrified them; while in themselves they had an evidence of his grace and goodness, by which they ought to have been stimulated to thankfulness only, and to exalt the Lord and not themselves. The words import the same, as though he had said, — “If thou exultest over their calamity, think first what thou hast been; for the same severity of God would have impended over thee, hadst thou not been delivered by his gratuitous favor: then consider what thou art even now; for salvation shall not continue to thee, except thou humbly recognisest the mercy of God; for if thou forgettest thyself and arrogantly exultest, the ruin, into which they have fallen, awaits thee: it is not indeed enough for thee to have once embraced the favor of God, except thou followest his call through the whole course of thy life.” They indeed who have been illuminated by the Lord ought always to think of perseverance; for they continue not in the goodness of God, who having for a time responded to the call of God, do at length begin to loathe the kingdom of heaven, and thus by their ingratitude justly deserve to be blinded again.

But he addresses not each of the godly apart, as we have already said, but he makes a comparison between the Gentiles and the Jews. It is indeed true that each individual among the Jews received the reward due to his own unbelief, when they were banished from the kingdom of God, and that all who front among the Gentiles were called, were vessels of God’s mercy; but yet the particular design of Paul must be borne in mind. For he would have the Gentiles to depend on the eternal covenant of God, so as to connect their own with the salvation of the elect people, and then, lest the rejection of the Jews should produce offense, as though their ancient adoption were void, he would have them to be terrified by this example of punishment, so as reverently to regard the judgment of God. For whence comes so great licentiousness on curious questions, except that we almost neglect to consider those things which ought to have duly taught us humility?

But as he speaks not of the elect individually, but of the whole body, a condition is added, If they continued in his kindness. I indeed allow, that as soon as any one abuses God’s goodness, he deserves to be deprived of the offered favor; but it would be improper to say of any one of the godly particularly, that God had mercy on him, when he chose him, provided he would continue in his mercy; for the perseverance of faith, which completes in us the effect of God’s grace, flows from election itself. Paul then teaches us, that the Gentiles were admitted into the hope of eternal life on the condition, that they by their gratitude retained possession of it. And dreadful indeed was the defection of the whole world, which afterwards happened; and this dearly proves, that this exhortation was not superfluous; for when God had almost in a moment watered it with his grace, so that religion flourished everywhere, soon after the truth of the gospel vanished, and the treasure of salvation was taken away. And whence came so sudden a change, except that the Gentiles had fallen away from their calling?

Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off, etc. We now understand in what sense Paul threatens them with excision, whom he has already allowed to have been grafted into the hope of life through God’s election. For, first, though this cannot happen to the elect, they have yet need of such warning, in order to subdue the pride of the flesh; which being really opposed to their salvation, ought justly to be terrified with the dread of perdition. As far then as Christians are illuminated by faith, they hear, for their assurance, that the calling of God is without repentance; but as far as they carry about them the flesh, which wantonly resists the grace of God, they are taught humility by this warning, “Take heed lest thou be cut off.” Secondly, we must bear in mind the solution which I have before mentioned, — that Paul speaks not here of the special election of individuals, but sets the Gentiles and Jews in opposition the one to the other; and that therefore the elect are not so much addressed in these words, as those who falsely gloried that they had obtained the place of the Jews: nay, he speaks to the Gentiles generally, and addresses the whole body in common, among whom there were many who were faithful, and those who were members of Christ in name only.

But if it be asked respecting individuals, “How any one could be cut off from the grafting, and how, after excision, he could be grafted again,” — bear in mind, that there are three modes of insition, and two modes of excision. For instance, the children of the faithful are ingrafted, to whom the promise belongs according to the covenant made with the fathers; ingrafted are also they who indeed receive the seed of the gospel, but it strikes no root, or it is choked before it brings any fruit; and thirdly, the elect are ingrafted, who are illuminated unto eternal life according to the immutable purpose of God. The first are cut off, when they refuse the promise given to their fathers, or do not receive it on account of their ingratitude; the second are cut off, when the seed is withered and destroyed; and as the danger of this impends over all, with regard to their own nature, it must be allowed that this warning which Paul gives belongs in a certain way to the faithful, lest they indulge themselves in the sloth of the flesh. But with regard to the present passage, it is enough for us to know, that the vengeance which God had executed on the Jews, is pronounced on the Gentiles, in case they become like them.

23. For God is able, etc. Frigid would this argument be to the profane; for however they may concede power to God, yet as they view it at a distance, shut up as it were in heaven, they do for the most part rob it of its effect. But as the faithful, whenever they hear God’s power named, look on it as in present operation, he thought that this reason was sufficient to strike their minds. We may add, that he assumes this as an acknowledged axiom, — that God had so punished the unbelief of his people as not to forget his mercy; according to what he had done before, having often restored the Jews, after he had apparently banished them from his kingdom. And he shows at the same time by the comparison, how much more easy it would be to reverse the present state of things than to have introduced it; that is, how much easier it would be for the natural branches, if they were again put in the place from which they had been cut off, to draw substance from their own root, than for the wild and the unfruitful, from a foreign stock: for such is the comparison made between the Jews and the Gentiles.

<451125>Romans 11:25-27

25. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

25. Nolo euim vos ignorare, fratres ,mysterium hoc, ut ne apud vosmetipsos superbiatis, quod caecitas ex parte Israeli contigit, donec plenitudo gentium ingrediatur:

26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

26. Atque ita universus Israel salvus fiet; quemadmodum scriptum est, Veniet ex Sion is qui liberat, et avertet impietates a Iacob:

27. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

27. Et hoc illis a me testamentum, quum abstulero peccata eorum.

 

25. I would not, etc. Here he rouses his hearers to a greater attention, while he avows that he is going to declare something that was secret. Nor did he do this without reason; for he wished to conclude, by a brief or plain sentence, a very perplexed question; and yet he declares what no one could have expected. But the words, Lest ye should be proud in yourselves, f358 show what was his designed object; and that was, to check the arrogance of the Gentiles, lest they should exult over the Jews. This admonition was also necessary, lest the defection of that people should immoderately disturb the minds of the weak, as though the salvation of them all was to be for ever despaired of. The same is still not less useful to us at this day, so that we may know, that the salvation of the remnant, whom the Lord will at length gather to himself, is hid, sealed as it were by his signet. And whenever a long delay tempts us to despair, let us remember this word mystery; by which Paul clearly reminds us, that the mode of their conversion will neither be common nor usual; and hence they act absurdly who attempt to measure it by their own judgment; for what can be more unreasonable than to regard that as incredible which is far removed from our view? It is called a mystery, because it will be incomprehensible until the time of its revelation. f359 It is, however, made known to us, as it was to the Romans, that our faith may be content with the word, and support us with hope, until the event itself come to light.

That blindness in part, etc. “In part,” I think, refers not simply to time, nor to the number, but means, in a manner, or in a measure; by which expression he intended, as it seems to me, only to qualify a declaration which in itself was severe. Until does not specify the progress or order of time, but signifies the same thing, as though he had said, “That the fullness of the Gentiles,” etc. The meaning then is, — That God had in a manner so blinded Israel, that while they refused the light of the gospel, it might be transferred to the Gentiles, and that these might occupy, as it were, the vacated possession. And so this blindness served the providence of God in furthering the salvation of the Gentiles, which he had designed. And the fullness of the Gentiles is to be taken for a great number: for it was not to be, as before, when a few proselytes connected themselves with the Jews; but such was to be the change, that the Gentiles would form almost the entire body of the Church. f360

26. And so all Israel, etc. Many understand this of the Jewish people, as though Paul had said, that religion would again be restored among them as before: but I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning, — “When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God’s family.” This interpretation seems to me the most suitable, because Paul intended here to set forth the completion of the kingdom of Christ, which is by no means to be confined to the Jews, but is to include the whole world. The same manner of speaking we find in <480616>Galatians 6:16. The Israel of God is what he calls the Church, gathered alike from Jews and Gentiles; and he sets the people, thus collected from their dispersion, in opposition to the carnal children of Abraham, who had departed from his faith.

As it is written, etc. He does not confirm the whole passage by this testimony of Isaiah, (<235920>Isaiah 59:20,) but only one clause, — that the children of Abraham shall be partakers of redemption. But if one takes this view, — that Christ had been promised and offered to them, but that as they rejected him, they were deprived of his grace; yet the Prophet’s words express more, even this, — that there will be some remnant, who, having repented, shall enjoy the favor of deliverance.

Paul, however, does not quote what we read in Isaiah, word for word;

“come,” he says, “shall a Redeemer to Sion, and to those who shall repent of iniquity in Jacob, saith the Lord.” (<235920>Isaiah 59:20.)

But on this point we need not be very curious; only this is to be regarded, that the Apostles suitably apply to their purpose whatever proofs they adduce from the Old Testament; for their object was to point but passages, as it were by the finger, that readers might be directed to the fountain itself.

But though in this prophecy deliverance to the spiritual people of God is promised, among whom even Gentiles are included; yet as the Jews are the first-born, what the Prophet declares must be fulfilled, especially in them: for that Scripture calls all the people of God Israelites, is to be ascribed to the pre-eminence of that nation, whom God had preferred to all other nations. And then, from a regard to the ancient covenant, he says expressly, that a Redeemer shall come to Sion; and he adds, that he will redeem those in Jacob who shall return from their transgression. f361 By these words God distinctly claims for himself a certain seed, so that his redemption may be effectual in his elect and peculiar nation. And though fitter for his purpose would have been the expression used by the Prophet, “shall come to Sion;” yet Paul made no scruple to follow the commonly received translation, which reads, “The Redeemer shall come forth from Mount Sion.” And similar is the case as to the second part, “He shall turn away iniquities from Jacob:” for Paul thought it enough to regard this point only, — that as it is Christ’s peculiar office to reconcile to God an apostate and faithless people, some change was surely to be looked for, lest they should all perish together.

27. And, This is my covenant with them, etc. Though Paul, by the last prophecy of Isaiah, briefly touched on the office of the Messiah, in order to remind the Jews what was to be expected especially from him, he further adds these few words from Jeremiah, expressly for the same purpose; for what is added is not found in the former passage. f362 This also tends to confirm the subject in hand; for what he said of the conversion of a people who were so stubborn and obstinate, might have appeared incredible: he therefore removes this stumblingblock, by declaring that the covenant included a gratuitous remission of sins. For we may gather front the words of the Prophet, — that God would have no more to do with his apostate people, until he should remit the crime of perfidy, as well as their other sins.

<451128>Romans 11:28-32

28. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

28. Secundum Evangelium quidem inimici propter vos; secundum electionem vero dilecti propter Patres:

29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

29. Sine poenitentia enim sunt dona et vocatio Del.

30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief;

30. Quemadmodum enim vos quoque f363 increduli fuistis Deo, nunc autem misericordiam estis consequuti istorum incredulitate:

31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they have also may obtain mercy.

31. Sic et ii nunc increduli facti sunt, eo quod adepti estis misericordiam, ut ipsi quoque misericordiam consequantur. f364

32. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

32. Concludit enim Deus omnes sub incredulitate, ut omnium misereatur.

 

28. With regard indeed to the gospel, etc. He shows that the worst thing in the Jews ought not to subject them to the contempt of the Gentiles. Their chief crime was unbelief: but Paul teaches us, that they were thus blinded for a time by God’s providence, that a way to the gospel might be made for the Gentiles; f365 and that still they were not for ever excluded from the favor of God. He then admits, that they were for the present alienated from God on account of the gospel, that thus the salvation, which at first was deposited with them, might come to the Gentiles; and yet that God was not unmindful of the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and by which he testified that according to his eternal purpose he loved that nation: and this he confirms by this remarkable declaration, — that the grace of the divine calling cannot be made void; for this is the import of the words, —

29. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He has mentioned gifts and calling; which are to be understood, according to a figure in grammar, f366 as meaning the gift of calling: and this is not to be taken for any sort of calling but of that, by which God had adopted the posterity of Abraham into covenant; since this is especially the subject here, as he has previously, by the word, election, designated the secret purpose of God, by which he had formerly made a distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles. f367 For we must bear this in mind, — that he speaks not now of the election of individuals, but of the common adoption of the whole nation, which might seem for a time, according to the outward appearance, to have failed, but had not been cut up by the roots. As the Jews had fallen from their privilege and the salvation promised them, that some hope might remain to the remnant, Paul maintains that the purpose of God stands firm and immovable, by which he had once deigned to choose them for himself as a peculiar nation. Since then it cannot possibly be, that the Lord will depart from that covenant which he made with Abraham,

“I will be the God of thy seed,” (<011707>Genesis 17:7,)

it is evident that he has not wholly turned away his kindness from the Jewish nation.

He does not oppose the gospel to election, as though they were contrary the one to the other, for whom God has chosen he calls; but inasmuch as the gospel had been proclaimed to the Gentiles beyond the expectation of the world, he justly compares this favor with the ancient election of the Jews, which had been manifested so many ages before: and so election derives its name from antiquity; for God had in past ages of the world chosen one people for himself.

On account of the Fathers, he says not, because they gave any cause for love, but because God’s favor had descended from them to their posterity, according to the tenor of the covenant, “Thy God and the God of thy seed.” How the Gentiles had obtained mercy through the unbelief of the Jews, has been before stated, namely, that God, being angry with the Jews for their unbelief, turned his kindness to them. What immediately follows, that they became unbelievers through the mercy manifested to the Gentiles, seems rather strange; and yet there is in it nothing unreasonable; for Paul assigns not the cause of blindness, but only declares, that what God transferred to the Gentiles had been taken away from the Jews. But lest what. they had lost through unbelief, should be thought by the Gentiles to have been gained by them through the merit of faith, mention is made only of mercy. What is substantially said then is, — that as God purposed to show mercy to the Gentiles, the Jews were on this account deprived of the light of faith.

32. For God has shut up, etc. A remarkable conclusion, by which he shows that there is no reason why they who have a hope of salvation should despair of others; for whatever they may now be, they have been like all the rest. If they have emerged from unbelief through God’s mercy alone, they ought to leave place for it as to others also. For he makes the Jews equal in guilt with the Gentiles, that both might understand that the avenue to salvation is no less open to others than to them. For it is the mercy of God alone which saves; and this offers itself to both. This sentence then corresponds with the testimony of Hosea, which he had before quoted, “I will call those my people who were not my people.” But he does not mean, that God so blinds all men that their unbelief is to be imputed to him; but that he hath so arranged by his providence, that all should be guilty of unbelief, in order that he might have them subject to his judgment, and for this end, — that all merits being buried, salvation might proceed from his goodness alone. f368

Paul then intends here to teach two things — that there is nothing in any man why he should be preferred to others, apart from the mere favor of God; and that God in the dispensation of his grace, is under no restraint that he should not grant it to whom he pleases. There is an emphasis in the word mercy; for it intimates that God is bound to none, and that he therefore saves all freely, for they are all equally lost. But extremely gross is their folly who hence conclude that all shall be saved; for Paul simply means that both Jews and Gentiles do not otherwise obtain salvation than through the mercy of God, and thus he leaves to none any reason for complaint. It is indeed true that this mercy is without any difference offered to all, but every one must seek it by faith.

<451133>Romans 11:33-36

33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

33. O profunditatem divitiarum et sapientiae et cognitionis Dei! quam incomprehensibilia f369 sunt judicia ejus et impervestigabiles f370 viae ipsius!

34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?

34. Quis enim cognovit mentem Domini? aut quis illi a consiliis fuit?

35. Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

35. Aut quis prior dedit ei et retribuetur illi?

36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

36. Quoniam ex illo et per illum et in illum sunt omnia: Ipsi gloria in secula. Amen.

 

33. Oh! the depth, etc. Here first the Apostle bursts into an exclamation, which arose spontaneously from a devout consideration of God’s dealings with the faithful; then in passing he checks the boldness of impiety, which is wont to clamor against the judgments of God. When therefore we hear, Oh! the depth, this expression of wonder ought greatly to avail to the beating down of the presumption of our flesh; for after having spoken from the word and by the Spirit of the Lord, being at length overcome by the sublimity of so great a mystery, he could not do otherwise than wonder and exclaim, that, the riches of God’s wisdom are deeper than our reason can penetrate to. Whenever then we enter on a discourse respecting the eternal counsels of God, let, a bridle be always set on our thoughts and tongue, so that after having spoken soberly and within the limits of God’s word, our reasoning may at last end in admiration. Nor ought we to be ashamed, that if we are not wiser than he, who, having been taken into the third heaven, saw mysteries to man ineffable, and who yet could find in this instance no other end designed but that he should thus humble himself.

Some render the words of Paul thus, “Oh! the deep riches, and wisdom, and knowledge of God!” as though the word bu>qov was an adjective; and they take riches for abundance, but this seems to me strained, and I have therefore no doubt but that he extols God’s deep riches of wisdom and knowledge. f371

How incomprehensible, etc. By different words, according to a practice common in Hebrew, he expresses the sane thing. For he speaks of judgments, then he subjoins ways, which mean appointments or the mode of acting, or the manner of ruling. But he still continues his exclamation, and thus the more he elevates the height of the divine mystery, the more he deters us from the curiosity of investigating it. Let us then learn to make no searchings respecting the Lord, except as far as he has revealed himself in the Scriptures; for otherwise we shall enter a labyrinth, from which the retreat is not easy. It must however be noticed, that he speaks not here of all God’s mysteries, but of those which are hid with God himself, and ought to be only admired and adored by us.

34. Who has known the mind of the Lord? He begins here to extend as it were his hand to restrain the audacity of men, lest they should clamor against God’s judgments, and this he does by stating two reasons: the first is, that all mortals are too blind to take a view of God’s predestination by their own understanding, and to reason on a thing unknown is presumptuous and absurd; the other is, that we can have no cause of complaint against God, since no mortal can boast that God is a debtor to him; but that, on the contrary, all are under obligations to him for his bounty. f372

Within this limit then let every one remember to keep his own mind, lest he be carried beyond God’s oracles in investigating predestination, since we hear that man can distinguish nothing in this case, any more than a blind man in darkness. This caution, however, is not to be so applied as to weaken the certainty of faith, which proceeds not from the acumen of the human mind, but solely from the illumination of the Spirit; for Paul himself in another place, after having testified that all the mysteries of God far exceed the comprehension of our minds, immediately subjoins that the faithful understand the mind of the Lord, because they have not received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which has been given them by God, by whom they are instructed as to his goodness, which otherwise would be incomprehensible to them.

As then we cannot by our own faculties examine the secrets of God, so we are admitted into a certain and clear knowledge of them by the grace of the Holy Spirit: and if we ought to follow the guidance of the Spirit, where he leaves us, there we ought to stop and as it were to fix our standing. If any one will seek to know more than what God has revealed, he shall be overwhelmed with the immeasurable brightness of inaccessible light. But we must bear in mind the distinction, which I have before mentioned, between the secret counsel of God, and his will made known in Scripture; for though the whole doctrine of Scripture surpasses in its height the mind of man, yet an access to it is not closed against the faithful, who reverently and soberly follow the Spirit as their guide; but the case is different with regard to his hidden counsel, the depth and height of which cannot by any investigation be reached.

35. Who has first given to him, etc. Another reason, by which God’s righteousness is most effectually defended against all the accusations of the ungodly: for if no one retains him bound to himself by his own merits, no one can justly expostulate with him for not having received his reward; as he, who would constrain another to do him good, must necessarily adduce those deeds by which he has deserved a reward. The import then of Paul’s words is this — “God cannot be charged with unrighteousness, except it can be proved, that he renders not to every one his due: but it is evident, that no one is deprived by him of his right, since he is under obligation to none; for who can boast of any thing of his own, by which he has deserved his favor?” f373

Now this is a remarkable passage; for we are here taught, that it is not in our power to constrain God by our good works to bestow salvation on us, but that he anticipates the undeserving by his gratuitous goodness. But if we desire to make an honest examination, we shall not only find, that God is in no way a debtor to us, but that we are all subject to his judgment, — that we not only deserve no layout, but that we are worthy of eternal death. And Paul not only concludes, that God owes us nothing, on account of our corrupt and sinful nature; but he denies, that if man were perfect, he could bring anything before God, by which he could gain his favor; for as soon as he begins to exist, he is already by the right of creation so much indebted to his Maker, that he has nothing of his own. In vain then shall we try to take from him his own right, that he should not, as he pleases, freely determine respecting his own creatures, as though there was mutual debt and credit.

36. For from him and through him, etc. A confirmation of the last verse. He shows, that it is very far from being the case, that we can glory in any good thing of our own against God, since we have been created by him from nothing, and now exist through him. He hence infers, that our being should be employed for his glory: for how unreasonable would it be for creatures, whom he has formed and whom he sustains, to live for any other purpose than for making his glory known? It has not escaped my notice, that the phrase, eijv aujto<n, to him, is sometimes taken for ejn aujtw~|, in or by him, but improperly: and as its proper meaning is more suitable to the present subject, it is better to retain it, than to adopt that which is improper. The import of what is said is, — That the whole order of nature would be strangely subverted, were not God, who is the beginning of all things, the end also.

To him be glory, etc. The proposition being as it were proved, he now confidently assumes it as indubitable, — That the Lord’s own glory ought everywhere to continue to him unchangeably: for the sentence would be frigid were it taken generally; but its emphasis depends on the context, that. God justly claims for himself absolute supremacy, and that in the condition of mankind and of the whole world nothing is to be sought beyond his own glory. It hence follows, that absurd and contrary to reason, and even insane, are all those sentiments which tend to diminish his glory.


CHAPTER 12

<451201>Romans 12:1-2

1. I beseech 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.

1. Obsecro itaque vos fratres, per miserationes Dei, ut sistatis corpora vestra hostiam vivam, sanctam, acceptam Deo, rationabilem cultum vestrum.

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.

2. Et ne conformetis vos huic mundo, sed transfiguremini renovatione mentis vestrae, ut probetis quae sit voluntas Dei bona et placita et perfecta.

 

After having handled those things necessary for the erection of the kingdom of God, — that righteousness is to be sought from God alone, that salvation is to come to us alone from his mercy, that all blessings are laid up and daily offered to us in Christ only, — Paul now passes on, according to the best order, to show how the life is to be formed. If it be, that through the saving knowledge of God and of Christ, the soul is, as it were, regenerated into a celestial life, and that the life is in a manner formed and regulated by holy exhortations and precepts; it is then in vain that you show a desire to form the life aright, except you prove first, that the origin of all righteousness in men is in God and Christ; for this is to raise them from the dead.

And this is the main difference between the gospel and philosophy: for though the philosophers speak excellently and with great judgment on the subject of morals, yet whatever excellency shines forth in their precepts, it is, as it were, a beautiful superstructure without a foundation; for by omitting principles, they offer a mutilated doctrine, like a body without a head. Not very unlike this is the mode of teaching under the Papacy: for though they mention, by the way, faith in Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit, it yet appears quite evident, that they approach heathen philosophers far nearer than Christ and his Apostles.

But as philosophers, before they lay down laws respecting morals, discourse first of the end of what is good, and inquire into the sources of virtues, from which afterwards they draw and derive all duties; so Paul lays down here the principle from which all the duties of holiness flow, even this, — that we are redeemed by the Lord for this end — that we may consecrate to him ourselves and all our members. But it may be useful to examine every part.

1. I therefore beseech you by the mercies (miserationes — compassions) of God, etc. We know that unholy men, in order to gratify the flesh, anxiously lay hold on whatever is set forth in Scripture respecting the infinite goodness of God; and hypocrites also, as far as they can, maliciously darken the knowledge of it, as though the grace of God extinguished the desire for a godly life, and opened to audacity the door of sin. But this exhortation teaches us, that until men really apprehend how much they owe to the mercy of God, they will never with a right feeling worship him, nor be effectually stimulated to fear and obey him. It is enough for the Papists, if they can extort by terror some sort of forced obedience, I know not what. But Paul, that he might bind us to God, not by servile fear, but by the voluntary and cheerful love of righteousness, allures us by the sweetness of that favor, by which our salvation is effected; and at the same time he reproaches us with ingratitude, except we, after having found a Father so kind and bountiful, do strive in our turn to dedicate ourselves wholly to him. f374

And what Paul says, in thus exhorting us, ought to have more power over us, inasmuch as he excels all others in setting forth the grace of God. Iron indeed must be the heart which is not kindled by the doctrine which has been laid down into love towards God, whose kindness towards itself it finds to have been so abounding. Where then are they who think that all exhortations to a holy life are nullified, if the salvation of men depends on the grace of God alone, since by no precepts, by no sanctions, is a pious mind so framed to render obedience to God, as by a serious meditation on the Divine goodness towards it?

We may also observe here the benevolence of the Apostle’s spirit, — that he preferred to deal with the faithful by admonitions and friendly exhortations rather than by strict commands; for he knew that he could prevail more with the teachable in this way than in any other.

That ye present your bodies, etc. It is then the beginning of a right course in good works, when we understand that we are consecrated to the Lord; for it hence follows, that we must cease to live to ourselves, in order that we may devote all the actions of our life to his service.

There are then two things to be considered here, — the first, that we are the Lord’s, — and secondly, that we ought on this account to be holy, for it is an indignity to God’s holiness, that anything, not first consecrated, should be offered to him. These two things being admitted, it then follows that holiness is to be practiced through life, and that we are guilty of a kind of sacrilege when we relapse into uncleanness, as it is nothing else than to profane what is consecrated.

But there is throughout a great suitableness in the expressions. He says first, that our body ought to be offered a sacrifice to God; by which he implies that we are not our own, but have entirely passed over so as to become the property of God; which cannot be, except we renounce ourselves and thus deny ourselves. Then, secondly, by adding two adjectives, he shows what sort of sacrifice this ought to be. By calling it living, he intimates, that we are sacrificed to the Lord for this end, — that our former life being destroyed in us, we may be raised up to a new life. By the term holy, he points out that which necessarily belongs to a sacrifice, already noticed; for a victim is then only approved, when it had been previously made holy. By the third word, acceptable, he reminds us, that our life is framed aright, when this sacrifice is so made as to be pleasing to God: he brings to us at the same time no common consolation; for he teaches us, that our work is pleasing and acceptable to God when we devote ourselves to purity and holiness.

By bodies he means not only our bones and skin, but the whole mass of which we are composed; and he adopted this word, that he might more fully designate all that we are: for the members of the body are the instruments by which we execute our purposes. f375 He indeed requires from us holiness, not only as to the body, but also as to the soul and spirit, as in <520523>1 Thessalonians 5:23. In bidding us to present our bodies, he alludes to the Mosaic sacrifices, which were presented at the altar, as it were in the presence of God. But he shows, at the same time, in a striking manner, how prompt we ought to be to receive the commands of God, that we may without delay obey them.

Hence we learn, that all mortals, whose object is not to worship God, do nothing but miserably wander and go astray. We now also find what sacrifices Paul recommends to the Christian Church: for being reconciled to God through the one only true sacrifice of Christ, we are all through his grace made priests, in order that we may dedicate ourselves and all we have to the glory of God. No sacrifice of expiation is wanted; and no one can be set up, without casting a manifest reproach on the cross of Christ.

Your reasonable service. This sentence, I think, was added, that he might more clearly apply and confirm the preceding exhortation, as though he had said, — “Offer yourselves a, sacrifice to God, if ye have it in your heart to serve God: for this is the right way of serving God; from which, if any depart, they are but false worshippers.” If then only God is rightly worshipped, when we observe all things according to what he has prescribed, away then with all those devised modes of worship, which he justly abominates, since he values obedience more than sacrifice. Men are indeed pleased with their own inventions, which have an empty show of wisdom, as Paul says in another place; but we learn here what the celestial Judge declares in opposition to this by the mouth of Paul; for by calling that a reasonable service which he commands, he repudiates as foolish, insipid, and presumptuous, whatever we attempt beyond the rule of his word. f376

2. And conform ye not to this world, etc. The term world has several significations, but here it means the sentiments and the morals of men; to which, not without cause, he forbids us to conform. For since the whole world lies in wickedness, it behooves us to put off whatever we have of the old man, if we would really put on Christ: and to remove all doubt, he explains what he means, by stating what is of a contrary nature; for he bids us to be transformed into a newness of mind. These kinds of contrast are common in Scripture; and thus a subject is more clearly set forth.

Now attend here, and see what kind of renovation is required from us: It is not that of the flesh only, or of the inferior part of the soul, as the Sorbonists explain this word; but of the mind, which is the most excellent part of us, and to which philosophers ascribe the supremacy; for they call it hJgemoniko<n, the leading power; and reason is imagined to be a most wise queen. But Paul pulls her down from her throne, and so reduces her to nothing by teaching us that we must be renewed in mind. For how much soever we may flatter ourselves, that declaration of Christ is still true, — that every man must be born again, who would enter into the kingdom of God; for in mind and heart we are altogether alienated from the righteousness of God.

That ye may prove, f377 etc. Here you have the purpose for which we must put on a new mind, — that bidding adieu to our own counsels and desires, and those of all men, we may be attentive to the only will of God, the knowledge of which is true wisdom. But if the renovation of our mind is necessary, in order that we may prove what is the will of God, it is hence evident how opposed it is to God.

The epithets which are added are intended for the purpose of recommending God’s will, that we may seek to know it with greater alacrity: and in order to constrain our perverseness, it is indeed necessary that the true glory of justice and perfection should be ascribed to the will of God. The world persuades itself that those works which it has devised are good; Paul exclaims, that what is good and right must be ascertained from God’s commandments. The world praises itself, and takes delight in its own inventions; but Paul affirms, that nothing pleases God except what he has commanded. The world, in order to find perfection, slides from the word of God into its own devices; Paul, by fixing perfection in the will of God, shows, that if any one passes over that mark he is deluded by a false imagination.

<451203>Romans 12:3

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.

3. Dico enim per gratiam, quae data est mihi, cuilibet vestrum, ne supra modum sapiat praeter id quod oportet sapere, sed sapiat ad sobrietatem, sicuti unicuique distribuit Deus mensuram fidei.

 

3. For I say, through the grace, etc. If you think not the causal particle superfluous, this verse will not be unsuitably connected with the former; for since he wished that our whole study should be employed in investigating the will of God, the next thing to this was, to draw us away from vain curiosity. As however the causal particle is often used redundantly by Paul, you may take the verse as containing a simple affirmation; for thus the sense would also be very appropriate.

But before he specifies his command, he reminds them of the authority which had been given to him, so that they might not otherwise attend to his voice than if it was the voice of God himself; for his words are the same, as though he had said, “I speak not of myself; but, as God’s ambassador, I bring to you the commands which he has entrusted to me.” By “grace” (as before) he means the Apostleship, with respect to which he exalts God’s kindness, and at the same time intimates, that he had not crept in through his own presumption, but, that he was chosen by the calling of God. Having then by this preface secured authority to himself, he laid the Romans under the necessity of obeying, unless they were prepared to despise God in the person of his minister.

Then the command follows, by which he draws us away from the investigation of those things which can bring nothing but harassment to the mind, and no edification; and he forbids every one to assume more than what his capacity and calling will allow; and at the same time he exhorts us to think and meditate on those things which may render us sober-minded and modest. For so I understand the words, rather than in the sense given by Erasmus, who thus renders them, “Let no one think proudly of himself;” for this sense is somewhat remote from the words, and the other is more accordant with the context. The clause, Beyond what it behooves him to be wise, shows what he meant by the former verb uJperfro>nein, to be above measure wise; that is, that we exceed the measure of wisdom, if we engage in those things concerning which it is not meet that we should be anxious. f378 To be wise unto sobriety is to attend to the study of those things by which you may find that you learn and gain moderation.

To every one as God has distributed, etc. (Unicuique ut divisit Deus.) There is here an inversion of words, instead of — As to every one God has distributed. f379 And here a reason is given for that sober-minded wisdom which he had mentioned; for as distribution of graces is various, so every one preserves himself within the due boundaries of wisdom, who keeps within the limits of that grace of faith bestowed on him by the Lord. Hence there is an immoderate affectation of wisdom, not only in empty things and in things useless to be known, but also in the knowledge of those things which are otherwise useful, when we regard not what has been given to us, but through rashness and presumption go beyond the measure of our knowledge; and such outrage God will not suffer to go unpunished. It is often to be seen, with what insane trifles they are led away, who, by foolish ambition, proceed beyond those bounds which are set for them. f380

The meaning is, that it is a part of our reasonable sacrifice to surrender ourselves, in a meek and teachable spirit, to be ruled and guided by God. And further, by setting up faith in opposition to human judgment, be restrains us from our own opinions, and at the same time specifies the due measure of it, that is, when the faithful humbly keep themselves within the limits allotted to them. f381

<451204>Romans 12:4-8

4. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office;

4. Quemadmodum enim in uno corpore membra multa habemus, membra vero omnia non eandem habent actionem;

5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

5. Sic multi unum sumus corpus in Christo membra mutuo alter alterius.

6. Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

6. Habentes autem dona secundum gratiam nobis datam differentia; sive prophetiam, secundum analogiam fidei;

7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;

7. Sive ministerium, in ministerio; sive qui docet, in doctrina;

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.

8. Sive qui exhortatur, in exhortatione; sive qui largitur, in simplicitate; sive qui praeest, in studio; sive qui miseretur, in hilaritate.

 

4. For as in one body, etc. The very thing which he had previously said of limiting the wisdom of each according to the measure of faith, he now confirms by a reference to the vocation of the faithful; for we are called for this end, that we may unite together in one body, since Christ has ordained a fellowship and connection between the faithful similar to that which exists between the members of the human body; and as men could not of themselves come together into such an union, he himself becomes the bond of this connection. As then the case is with the human body, so it ought to be with the society of the faithful. By applying this similitude he proves how necessary it is for each to consider what is suitable to his own nature, capacity, and vocation. But though this similitude has various parts, it is yet to be chiefly thus applied to our present subject, — that as the members of the same body have distinct offices, and all of them are distinct, for no member possesses all powers, nor does it appropriate to itself the offices of others; so God has distributed various gifts to us, by which diversity he has determined the order which he would have to be observed among us, so that every one is to conduct himself according to the measure of his capacity, and not to thrust himself into what peculiarly belongs to others; nor is any one to seek to have all things himself, but to be content with his lot, and willingly to abstain from usurping the offices of others. When, however, he points out in express words the communion which is between us, he at the same time intimates, how much diligence there ought to be in all, so that they may contribute to the common good of the body according to the faculties they possess. f382

6. Having gifts, etc. Paul speaks not now simply of cherishing among ourselves brotherly love, but commends humility, which is the best moderator of our whole life. Every one desires to have so much himself, so as not to need any help from others; but the bond of mutual communication is this, that no one has sufficient for himself, but is constrained to borrow from others. I admit, then that the society of the godly cannot exist, except when each one is content with his own measure, and imparts to others the gifts which he has received, and allows himself by turns to be assisted by the gifts of others.

But Paul especially intended to beat down the pride which he knew to be innate in men; and that no one might be dissatisfied that all things have not been bestowed on him, he reminds us that according to the wise counsel of God every one has his own portion given to him; for it is necessary to the common benefit of the body that no one should be furnished with fullness of gifts, lest he should heedlessly despise his brethren. Here then we have the main design which the Apostle had in view, that all things do not meet in all, but that the gifts of God are so distributed that each has a limited portion, and that each ought to be so attentive in imparting his own gifts to the edification of the Church, that no one, by leaving his own function, may trespass on that of another. By this most beautiful order, and as it were symmetry, is the safety of the Church indeed preserved; that is, when every one imparts to all in common what he has received from the Lord, in such a way as not to impede others. He who inverts this order fights with God, by whose ordinance it is appointed; for the difference of gifts proceeds not from the will of man, but because it has pleased the Lord to distribute his grace in this manner.

Whether prophecy, etc. By now bringing forward some examples, he shows how every one in his place, or as it were in occupying his station, ought to be engaged. For all gifts have their own defined limits, and to depart from them is to mar the gifts themselves. But the passage appears somewhat confused; we may yet arrange it in this manner, “Let him who has prophecy, test it by the analogy of faith; let him in the ministry discharge it in teaching,” f383 etc. They who will keep this end in view, will rightly preserve themselves within their own limits.

But this passage is variously understood. There are those who consider that by prophecy is meant the gift of predicting, which prevailed at the commencement of the gospel in the Church; as the Lord then designed in every way to commend the dignity and excellency of his Church; and they think that what is added, according to the analogy of faith, is to be applied to all the clauses. But I prefer to follow those who extend this word wider, even to the peculiar gift of revelation, by which any one skillfully and wisely performed the office of an interpreter in explaining the will of God. Hence prophecy at this day in the Christian Church is hardly anything else than the right understanding of the Scripture, and the peculiar faculty of explaining it, inasmuch as all the ancient prophecies and all the oracles of God have been completed in Christ and in his gospel. For in
this sense it is taken by Paul when he says,

“I wish that you spoke in tongues, but rather that ye prophesy,”
(<461405>1 Corinthians 14:5;)

“In part we know and in part we prophesy,”
(<461309>1 Corinthians 13:9.)

And it does not appear that Paul intended here to mention those miraculous graces by which Christ at first rendered illustrious his gospel; but, on the contrary, we find that he refers only to ordinary gifts, such as were to continue perpetually in the Church. f384

Nor does it seem to me a solid objection, that the Apostle to no purpose laid this injunction on those who, having the Spirit of God, could not call Christ an anathema; for he testifies in another place that the spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets; and he bids the first speaker to be silent, if anything were revealed to him who was sitting down, (<461432>1 Corinthians 14:32;) and it was for the same reason it may be that he gave this admonition to those who prophesied in the Church, that is, that they were to conform their prophecies to the rule of faith, lest in anything they should deviate from the right line. By faith he means the first principles of religion, and whatever doctrine is not found to correspond with these is here condemned as false. f385

As to the other clauses there is less difficulty. Let him who is ordained a minister, he says, execute his office in ministering; nor let him think, that he has been admitted into that degree for himself, but for others; as though he had said, “Let him fulfill his office by ministering faithfully, that he may answer to his name.” So also he immediately adds with regard to teachers; for by the word teaching, he recommends sound edification, according to this import, — “Let him who excels in teaching know that the end is, that the Church may be really instructed; and let him study this one thing, that he may render the Church more informed by his teaching:” for a teacher is he who forms and builds the Church by the word of truth. Let him also who excels in the gift of exhorting, have this in view, to render his exhortation effectual.

But these offices have much affinity and even connection; not however that they were not different. No one indeed could exhort, except by doctrine: yet he who teaches is not therefore endued with the qualification to exhort. But no one prophesies or teaches or exhorts, without at the same time ministering. But it is enough if we preserve that distinction which we find to be in God’s gifts, and which we know to be adapted to produce order in the Church. f386

8. Or he who gives, let him do so in simplicity, etc. From the former clauses we have clearly seen, that he teaches us here the legitimate use of God’s gifts. By the metadidou>ntoiv, the givers, of whom he speaks here, he did not understand those who gave of their own property, but the deacons, who presided in dispensing the public charities of the Church; and by the ejlou>ntoiv, those who showed mercy, he meant the widows, and other ministers, who were appointed to take care of the sick, according to the custom of the ancient Church: for there were two different offices, — to provide necessaries for the poor, and to attend to their condition. But to the first he recommends simplicity, so that without fraud or respect of persons they were faithfully to administer what was entrusted to them. He required the services of the other party to be rendered with cheerfulness, lest by their peevishness (which often happens) they marred the favor conferred by them. For as nothing gives more solace to the sick or to any one otherwise distressed, than to see men cheerful and prompt in assisting them; so to observe sadness in the countenance of those by whom assistance is given, makes them to feel themselves despised.

Though he rightly calls those proi`sta>menouv presidents, to whom was committed the government of the Church, (and they were the elders, who presided over and ruled others and exercised discipline;) yet what he says of these may be extended universally to all kinds of governors: for no small solicitude is required from those who provide for the safety of all, and no small diligence is needful for them who ought to watch day and night for the wellbeing of the whole community. Yet the state of things at that time proves that Paul does not speak of all kinds of rulers, for there were then no pious magistrates; but of the elders who were the correctors of morals.

<451209>Romans 12:9-13

9. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.

9. Dilectio sit non simulata; sitis aversantes malum, adherentes bono;

10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;

10. Fraterna charitate ad vos mutuo amandos propensi, alii alios honore paevenientes;

11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

11. Studio non pigri, spiritu ferventes, tempori servientes;

12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

12. Spe gaudientes, in tribulatione patientes, in oratione perseverantes;

13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

13. Necessitatibus sanctorum communicantes, hospitalitatem sectantes.

 

9. Let love be, etc. Proceeding now to speak of particular duties, he fitly begins with love, which is the bond of perfection. And respecting this he enjoins what is especially necessary, that all disguises are to be cast aside, and that love is to arise from pure sincerity of mind. It is indeed difficult to express how ingenious almost all men are to pretend a love which they really have not, for they not only deceive others, but impose also on themselves, while they persuade themselves that those are not loved amiss by them, whom they not only neglect, but really slight. Hence Paul declares here, that love is no other but that which is free from all dissimulation: and any one may easily be a witness to himself, whether he has anything in the recesses of his heart which is opposed to love. f387 The words good and evil, which immediately follow in the context, have not here a general meaning; but evil is to be taken for that malicious wickedness by which an injury is done to men; and good for that kindness, by which help is rendered to them; and there is here an antithesis usual in Scripture, when vices are first forbidden and then virtues enjoined.

As to the participle, ajpostugou>ntev, I have followed neither Erasmus nor the old translators, who have rendered it “hating, (odio habentes;) for in my judgment Paul intended to express something more; and the meaning of the term “turning away,” corresponds better with the opposite clause; for he not only bids us to exercise kindness, but even to cleave to it.

10. With brotherly love, etc. By no words could he satisfy himself in setting forth the ardor of that love, with which we ought to embrace one another: for he calls it brotherly, and its emotion storgh<n, affection, which, among the Latins, is the mutual affection which exists between relatives; and truly such ought to be that which we should have towards the children of God. f388 That this may be the case, he subjoins a precept very necessary for the preservation of benevolence, — that every one is to give honor to his brethren and not to himself; for there is no poison more effectual in alienating the minds of men than the thought, that one is despised. But if by honor you are disposed to understand every act of friendly kindness, I do not much object: I however approve more of the former interpretation. For as there is nothing more opposed to brotherly concord than contempt, arising from haughtiness, when each one, neglecting others, advances himself; so the best fomenter of love is humility, when every one honors others.

11. Not slothful in business, etc. This precept is given to us, not only because a Christian life ought to be an active life; but because it often becomes us to overlook our own benefit, and to spend our labors in behalf of our brethren. In a word, we ought in many things to forget ourselves; for except we be in earnest, and diligently strive to shake off all sloth, we shall never be rightly prepared for the service of Christ. f389

By adding fervent in spirit, he shows how we are to attain the former; for our flesh, like the ass, is always torpid, and has therefore need of goals; and it is only the fervency of the Spirit that can correct our slothfulness. Hence diligence in doing good requires that zeal which the Spirit of God kindles in our hearts. Why then, some one may say, does Paul exhort us to cultivate this fervency? To this I answer, — that though it be the gift of God, it is yet a duty enjoined the faithful to shake off sloth, and to cherish the flame kindled by heaven, as it for the most part happens, that the Spirit is suppressed and extinguished through our fault.

To the same purpose is the third particular, serving the time: for as the course of our life is short, the opportunity of doing good soon passes away; it hence becomes us to show more alacrity in the performance of our duty. So Paul bids us in another place to redeem the time, because the days are evil. The meaning may also be, that we ought to know how to accommodate ourselves to the time, which is a matter of great importance. But Paul seems to me to set in opposition to idleness what he commands as to the serving of time. But as kuri>w|, the Lord, is read in many old copies, though it may seem at first sight foreign to this passage, I yet dare not wholly to reject this reading. And if it be approved, Paul, I have no doubt, meant to refer the duties to be performed towards brethren, and whatever served to cherish love, to a service done to God, that he might add greater encouragement to the faithful. f390

12. Rejoicing in hope, etc. Three things are here connected together, and seem in a manner to belong to the clause “serving the time;” for the person who accommodates himself best to the time, and avails himself of the opportunity of actively renewing his course, is he who derives his joy from the hope of future life, and patiently bears tribulations. However this may be, (for it matters not much whether you regard them as connected or separated,) he first; forbids us to acquiesce in present blessings, and to ground our joy on earth and on earthly things, as though our happiness were based on them; and he bids us to raise our minds up to heaven, that we may possess solid and full joy. If our joy is derived from the hope of future life, then patience will grow up in adversities; for no kind of sorrow will be able to overwhelm this joy. Hence these two things are closely connected together, that is, joy derived from hope, and patience in adversities. No man will indeed calmly and quietly submit to bear the cross, but he who has learnt to seek his happiness beyond this world, so as to mitigate and allay the bitterness of the cross with the consolation of hope.

But as both these things are far above our strength, we must be instant in prayer, and continually call on God, that he may not suffer our hearts to faint and to be pressed down, or to be broken by adverse events. But Paul not only stimulates us to prayer, but expressly requires perseverance; for we have a continual warfare, and new conflicts daily arise, to sustain which, even the strongest are not equal, unless they frequently gather new rigor. That we may not then be wearied, the best remedy is diligence in prayer.

13. Communicating to the necessities, f391 etc. He returns to the duties of love; the chief of which is to do good to those from whom we expect the least recompense. As then it commonly happens, that they are especially despised who are more than others pressed down with want and stand in need of help, (for the benefits conferred on them are regarded as lost,) God recommends them to us in an especial manner. It is indeed then only that we prove our love to be genuine, when we relieve needy brethren, for no other reason but that of exercising our benevolence. Now hospitality is not one of the least acts of love; that is, that kindness and liberality which are shown towards strangers, for they are for the most part destitute of all things, being far away from their friends: he therefore distinctly recommends this to us. We hence see, that the more neglected any one commonly is by men, the more attentive we ought to be to his wants.

Observe also the suitableness of the expression, when he says, that we are to communicate to the necessities of the saints; by which he implies, that we ought so to relieve the wants of the brethren, as though we were relieving our own selves. And he commands us to assist especially the saints: for though our love ought to extend itself to the whole race of man, yet it ought with peculiar feeling to embrace the household of faith, who are by a closer bond united to us.

<451214>Romans 12:14-16

14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

14. Benedicite iis qui vos persequuntur; benedicite et ne malum imprecemini.

15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

15. Gaudete cum gaudentibus, flete cum fientibus;

16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

16. Mutuo alii in altos sensu affecti, non arroganter de vobis sentientes, sed humilibus vos accommodantes: ne sitis apud vos ipsos prudentes.

 

14. Bless them, etc. I wish, once for all, to remind the reader, that he is not scrupulously to seek a precise order as to the precepts here laid down, but must be content to have short precepts, unconnected, though suited to the formation of a holy life, and such as are deduced from the principle the Apostle laid down at the beginning of the chapter.

He will presently give direction respecting the retaliation of the injuries which we may suffer: but here he requires something even more difficult, — that we are not to imprecate evils on our enemies, but to wish and to pray God to render all things prosperous to them, how much soever they may harass and cruelly treat us: and this kindness, the more difficult it is to be practiced, so with the more intense desire we ought to strive for it; for the Lord commands nothing, with respect to which he does not require our obedience; nor is any excuse to be allowed, if we are destitute of that disposition, by which the Lord would have his people to differ from the ungodly and the children of this world.

Arduous is this, I admit, and wholly opposed to the nature of man; but there is nothing too arduous to be overcome by the power of God, which shall never be wanting to us, provided we neglect not to seek for it. And though you can hardly find one who has made such advances in the law of the Lord that he fulfills this precept, yet no one can claim to be the child of God or glory in the name of a Christian, who has not in part attained this mind, and who does not daily resist the opposite disposition.

I have said that this is more difficult than to let go revenge when any one is injured: for though some restrain their hands and are not led away by the passion of doing harm, they yet wish that some calamity or loss would in some way happen to their enemies; and even when they are so pacified that they wish no evil, there is yet hardly one in a hundred who wishes well to him from whom he has received an injury; nay, most men daringly burst forth into imprecations. But God by his word not only restrains our hands from doing evil, but also subdues the bitter feelings within; and not only so, but he would have us to be solicitous for the wellbeing of those who unjustly trouble us and seek our destruction.

Erasmus was mistaken in the meaning of the verb gei~n to bless; for he did not perceive that it stands opposed to curses and maledictions: for Paul would have God in both instances to be a witness of our patience, and to see that we not only bridle in our prayers the violence of our wrath, but also show by praying for pardon that we grieve at the lot of our enemies when they willfully ruin themselves.

15. Rejoice with those who rejoice, etc. A general truth is in the third place laid down, — that the faithful, regarding each other with mutual affection, are to consider the condition of others as their own. He first specifies two particular things, — That they were to “rejoice with the joyful, and to weep with the weeping.” For such is the nature of true love, that one prefers to weep with his brother, rather than to look at a distance on his grief, and to live in pleasure or ease. What is meant then is, — that we, as much as possible, ought to sympathize with one another, and that, whatever our lot may be, each should transfer to himself the feeling of another, whether of grief in adversity, or of joy in prosperity. And, doubtless, not to regard with joy the happiness of a brother is envy; and not to grieve for his misfortunes is inhumanity. Let there be such a sympathy among us as may at the same time adapt us to all kinds of feelings.

16. Not thinking arrogantly of yourselves, f392 etc. The Apostle employs words in Greek more significant, and more suitable to the antithesis, “Not thinking,” he says, “of high things:” by which he means, that it is not the part of a Christian ambitiously to aspire to those things by which he may excel others, nor to assume a lofty appearance, but on the contrary to exercise humility and meekness: for by these we excel before the Lord, and not by pride and contempt of the brethren. A precept is fitly added to the preceding; for nothing tends more to break that unity which has been mentioned, than when we elevate ourselves, and aspire to something higher, so that we may rise to a higher situation. I take the term humble in the neuter gender, to complete the antithesis.

Here then is condemned all ambition and that elation of mind which insinuates itself under the name of magnanimity; for the chief virtue of the faithful is moderation, or rather lowliness of mind, which ever prefers to give honor to others, rather than to take it away from them.

Closely allied to this is what is subjoined: for nothing swells the minds of men so much as a high notion of their own wisdom. His desire then was, that we should lay this aside, hear others, and regard their counsels. Erasmus has rendered froni>mouv, arrogantes — arrogant; but the rendering is strained and frigid; for Paul would in this case repeat the same word without any meaning. However, the most appropriate remedy for curing arrogance is, that man should not be over-wise in his own esteem.

<451217>Romans 12:17-19

17. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

17. Nemini malum pro malo rependentes, providentes bona coram omnibus hominibus.

18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

18. Si fieri potest, quantum est in vobis, cum omnibus hominibus pacem habentes;

19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

19. Non vosmetipsos ulciscentes, dilecti; sed date locum irae; scriptum est enim, Mihi vindictam, et ego rependam, dicit Dominus.

 

17. Repaying to no one, etc. This differs but little from what shortly after follows, except that revenge is more than the kind of repaying of which he speaks here; for we render evil for evil sometimes, even when we exact not the requiting of an injury, as when we treat unkindly those who do us no good. We are indeed wont to form an estimate of the deserts of each, or of what they merit at our hands, so that we may confer our benefits on those, by whom we have been already obliged, or from whom we expect something: and again, when any one denies help to us when we need it, we, by returning like for like, as they say, do not help him in time of need, any more than he assisted us. There are also other instances of the same kind, in which evil is rendered for evil, when there is no open revenge.

Providing good things, etc. I no not disapprove of the rendering of Erasmus, “Providently preparing,” (Provide parantes;) but I prefer a literal rendering. As every one is more than justly devoted to his own advantage, and provident in avoiding losses, Paul seems to require a care and an attention of another kind. What is meant is, that we ought diligently to labor, that all may be edified by our honest dealings. For as purity of conscience is necessary for us before God, so uprightness of character before men is not to be neglected: for since it is meet that God should be glorified by our good deeds, even so much is wanting to his glory, as there is a deficiency of what is praiseworthy in us; and not only the glory of God is thus obscured, but he is branded with reproach; for whatever sin we commit, the ignorant employ it for the purpose of calumniating the gospel.

But when we are bidden to prepare good things before men, f393 we must at the same time notice for what purpose: it is not indeed that men may admire and praise us, as this is a desire which Christ carefully forbids us to indulge, since he bids us to admit God alone as the witness of our good deeds, to the exclusion of all men; but that their minds being elevated to God, they may give praise to him, that by our example they may be stirred up to the practice of righteousness, that they may, in a word, perceive the good and the sweet odor of our life, by which they may be allured to the love of God. But if we are evil spoken of for the name of Christ, we are by no means to neglect to provide good things before men: for fulfilled then shall be that saying, that we are counted as false, and are yet true. (<470608>2 Corinthians 6:8.)

18. If it be possible, etc. Peaceableness and a life so ordered as to render us beloved by all, is no common gift in a Christian. If we desire to attain this, we must not only be endued with perfect uprightness, but also with very courteous and kind manners, which may not only conciliate the just and the good, but produce also a favorable impression on the hearts of the ungodly.

But here two cautions must be stated: We are not to seek to be in such esteem as to refuse to undergo the hatred of any for Christ, whenever it may be necessary. And indeed we see that there are some who, though they render themselves amicable to all by the sweetness of their manners and peaceableness of their minds, are yet hated even by their nearest connections on account of the gospel. The second caution is, — that courteousness should not degenerate into compliance, so as to lead us to flatter the vices of men for the sake of preserving peace. Since then it cannot always be, that we can have peace with all men, he has annexed two particulars by way of exception, If it be possible, and, as far as you can. But we are to conclude from what piety and love require, that we are not to violate peace, except when constrained by either of these two things. For we ought, for the sake of cherishing peace, to bear many things, to pardon offenses, and kindly to remit the full rigor of the law; and yet in such a way, that we may be prepared, whenever necessity requires, to fight courageously: for it is impossible that the soldiers of Christ should have perpetual peace with the world, whose prince is Satan.

19. Avenge not yourselves, etc. The evil which he corrects here, as we have reminded you, is more grievous than the preceding, which he has just stated; and yet both of them arise from the same fountain, even from an inordinate love of self and innate pride, which makes us very indulgent to our own faults and inexorable to those of others. As then this disease begets almost in all men a furious passion for revenge, whenever they are in the least degree touched, he commands here, that however grievously we may be injured, we are not to seek revenge, but to commit it to the Lord. And inasmuch as they do not easily admit the bridle, who are once seized with this wild passion, he lays, as it were, his hand upon us to restrain us, by kindly addressing us as beloved.

The precept; then is, — that we are not to revenge nor seek to revenge injuries done to us. The manner is added, a place is to be given to wrath. To give place to wrath, is to commit to the Lord the right of judging, which they take away from him who attempt revenge. Hence, as it is not lawful to usurp the office of God, it is not lawful to revenge; for we thus anticipate the judgment of God, who will have this office reserved for himself. He at the same time intimates, that they shall have God as their defender, who patiently wait for his help; but that those who anticipate him leave no place for the help of God. f394

But he prohibits here, not only that we are not to execute revenge with our own hands, but that our hearts also are not to be influenced by a desire of this kind: it is therefore superfluous to make a distinction here between public and private revenge; for he who, with a malevolent mind and desirous of revenge, seeks the help of a magistrate, has no more excuse than when he devises means for self-revenge. Nay, revenge, as we shall presently see, is not indeed at all times to be sought from God: for if our petitions arise from a private feeling, and not from pure zeal produced by the Spirit, we do not make God so much our judge as the executioner of our depraved passion.

Hence, we do not otherwise give place to wrath, than when with quiet minds we wait for the seasonable time of deliverance, praying at the same time, that they who are now our adversaries, may by repentance become our friends.

For it is written, etc. He brings proof, taken from the song of Moses, <053235>Deuteronomy 32:35, where the Lord declares that he will be the avenger of his enemies; and God’s enemies are all who without cause oppress his servants. “He who touches you,” he says, “touches the pupil of mine eye.” With this consolation then we ought to be content, — that they shall not escape unpunished who undeservedly oppress us, — and that we, by enduring, shall not make ourselves more subject or open to the injuries of the wicked, but, on the contrary, shall give place to the Lord, who is our only judge and deliverer, to bring us help.

Though it be not indeed lawful for us to pray to God for vengeance on our enemies, but to pray for their conversion, that they may become friends; yet if they proceed in their impiety, what is to happen to the despisers of God will happen to them. But Paul quoted not this testimony to show that it is right for us to be as it were on fire as soon as we are injured, and according to the impulse of our flesh, to ask in our prayers that God may become the avenger of our injuries; but he first teaches us that it belongs not to us to revenge, except we would assume to ourselves the office of God; and secondly, he intimates, that we are not to fear that the wicked will more furiously rage when they see us bearing patiently; for God does not in vain take upon himself the office of executing vengeance.

<451220>Romans 12:20-21

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.

20. Itaque si esurit inimicus tuus, pasce illum; si sitit, potum da illi: hoc enim faciens carbones ignis congeres in caput ipsius.

21. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

21. Ne vincaris a malo, sed vincas bono malum.

 

20. If therefore, etc. He now shows how we may really fulfill the precepts of not revenging and of not repaying evil, even when we not only abstain from doing injury but when we also do good to those who have done wrong to us; for it is a kind of an indirect retaliation when we turn aside our kindness from those by whom we have been injured. Understand as included under the words meat and drink, all acts of kindness. Whatsoever then may be thine ability, in whatever business thy enemy may want either thy wealth, or thy counsel, or thy efforts, thou oughtest to help him. But he calls him our enemy, not whom we regard with hatred, but him who entertains enmity towards us. And if they are to be helped according to the flesh, much less is their salvation to be opposed by imprecating vengeance on them.

Thou shalt heap coals of fire, etc. As we are not willing to lose our toil and labor, he shows what fruit will follow, when we treat our enemies with acts of kindness. But some by coals understand the destruction which returns on the head of our enemy, when we show kindness to one unworthy, and deal with him otherwise than he deserves; for in this manner his guilt is doubled. Others prefer to take this view, that when he sees himself so kindly treated, his mind is allured to love us in return. I take a simpler view, that his mind shall be turned to one side or another; for doubtless our enemy shall either be softened by our benefits, or if he be so savage that nothing can tame him, he shall yet be burnt and tormented by the testimony of his own conscience, on finding himself overwhelmed with our kindness. f395

21. Be not overcome by evil, etc. This sentence is laid down as a confirmation; for in this case our contest is altogether with perverseness, if we try to retaliate it, we confess that we are overcome by it; if, on the contrary, we return good for evil, by that very deed we show the invincible firmness of our mind. This is truly a most glorious kind of victory, the fruit of which is not only apprehended by the mind, but really perceived, while the Lord is giving success to their patience, than which they can wish nothing better. On the other hand, he who attempts to overcome evil with evil, may perhaps surpass his enemy in doing injury, but it is to his own ruin; for by acting thus he carries on war for the devil.


CHAPTER 13

<451301>Romans 13:1-2

1. 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.

1. Omnis anima potestatibus supereminentibus subdita sit: non enim est potestas, nisi a Deo; quae vero sunt potestates a Deo sunt ordinatae.

2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

2. Itaque qui resistit potestati, Dei ordinationi resistit; qui vero restiterint judicium sibi accersent.

 

1. Let every soul, f396 etc. Inasmuch as he so carefully handles this subject in connection with what forms the Christian life, it appears that he was constrained to do so by some great necessity which existed especially in that age, though the preaching of the gospel at all times renders this necessary. There are indeed always some tumultuous spirits who believe that the kingdom of Christ cannot be sufficiently elevated, unless all earthly powers be abolished, and that they cannot enjoy the liberty given by him, except they shake off every yoke of human subjection. This error, however, possessed the minds of the Jews above all others; for it seemed to them disgraceful that the offspring of Abraham, whose kingdom flourished before the Redeemer’s coming, should now, after his appearance, continue in submission to another power. There was also another thing which alienated the Jews no less than the Gentiles from their rulers, because they all not only hated piety, but also persecuted religion with the most hostile feelings. Hence it seemed unreasonable to acknowledge them for legitimate princes and rulers, who were attempting to take away the kingdom from Christ, the only Lord of heaven and earth.

By these reasons, as it is probable, Paul was induced to establish, with greater care than usual, the authority of magistrates, and first he lays down a general precept, which briefly includes what he afterwards says: secondly, he subjoins an exposition and a proof of his precept.

He calls them the higher powers, f397 not the supreme, who possess the chief authority, but such as excel other men. Magistrates are then thus called with regard to their subjects, and not as compared with each other. And it seems indeed to me, that the Apostle intended by this word to take away the frivolous curiosity of men, who are wont often to inquire by what right they who rule have obtained their authority; but it ought to be enough for us, that they do rule; for they have not ascended by their own power into this high station, but have been placed there by the Lord’s hand. And by mentioning every soul, he removes every exception, lest any one should claim an immunity from the common duty of obedience. f398

For there is no power, etc. The reason why we ought to be subject to magistrates is, because they are constituted by God’s ordination. For since it pleases God thus to govern the world, he who attempts to invert the order of God, and thus to resist God himself, despises his power; since to despise the providence of him who is the founder of civil power, is to carry on war with him. Understand further, that powers are from God, not as pestilence, and famine, and wars, and other visitations for sin, are said to be from him; but because he has appointed them for the legitimate and just government of the world. For though tyrannies and unjust exercise of power, as they are full of disorder, (ajtaxi>av) are not an ordained government; yet the right of government is ordained by God for the wellbeing of mankind. As it is lawful to repel wars and to seek remedies for other evils, hence the Apostle commands us willingly and cheerfully to respect and honor the right and authority of magistrates, as useful to men: for the punishment which God inflicts on men for their sins, we cannot properly call ordinations, but they are the means which he designedly appoints for the preservation of legitimate order.

2. And they who resist, etc. As no one can resist God but to his own ruin, he threatens, that they shall not be unpunished who in this respect oppose the providence of God. Let us then beware, lest we incur this denunciation. And by judgment, f399 I understand not only the punishment which is inflicted by the magistrate, as though he had only said, that they would be justly punished who resisted authority; but also the vengeance of God, however it may at length be executed: for he teaches us in general what end awaits those who contend with God.

<451303>Romans 13:3-4

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:

3. Principes enim non sunt terrori bonis operibus sed malis; vis ergo non timere potestatem? bene fac, et habebis laudem ab ea;

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.

4. Dei enim minister est tibi in bonum; si vero quid mali feceris, time; non enim frustra gladium gerit; Dei enim minister est, vindex in iram adversus eos qui male agunt. f400

 

3. For princes, etc. He now commends to us obedience to princes on the ground of utility; for the causative ga<r, for, is to be referred to the first proposition, and not to the last verse. Now, the utility is this, — that the Lord has designed in this way to provide for the tranquillity of the good, and to restrain the waywardness of the wicked; by which two things the safety of mankind is secured: for except the fury of the wicked be resisted, and the innocent be protected from their violence, all things would come to an entire confusion. Since then this is the only remedy by which mankind can be preserved from destruction, it ought to be carefully observed by us, unless we wish to avow ourselves as the public enemies of the human race.

And he adds, Wilt not thou then fear the power? Do good. By this he intimates, that there is no reason why we should dislike the magistrate, if indeed we are good; nay, that it is an implied proof of an evil conscience, and of one that is devising some mischief, when any one wishes to shake off or to remove from himself this yoke. But he speaks here of the true, and, as it were, of the native duty of the magistrate, from which however they who hold power often degenerate; yet the obedience due to princes ought to be rendered to them. For since a wicked prince is the Lord’s scourge to punish the sins of the people, let us remember, that it happens through our fault that this excellent blessing of God is turned into a curse.

Let us then continue to honor the good appointment of God, which may be easily done, provided we impute to ourselves whatever evil may accompany it. Hence he teaches us here the end for which magistrates are instituted by the Lord; the happy effects of which would always appear, were not so noble and salutary an institution marred through our fault. At the same time, princes do never so far abuse their power, by harassing the good and innocent, that they do not retain in their tyranny some kind of just government: there can then be no tyranny which does not in some respects assist in consolidating the society of men.

He has here noticed two things, which even philosophers have considered as making a part of a well-ordered administration of a commonwealth, that is, rewards for the good, and punishment for the wicked. The word praise has here, after the Hebrew manner, a wide meaning.

4. For he is God’s minister for good, etc. Magistrates may hence learn what their vocation is, for they are not to rule for their own interest, but for the public good; nor are they endued with unbridled power, but what is restricted to the wellbeing of their subjects; in short, they are responsible to God and to men in the exercise of their power. For as they are deputed by God and do his business, they must give an account to him: and then the ministration which God has committed to them has a regard to the subjects, they are therefore debtors also to them. And private men are reminded, that it is through the divine goodness that they are defended by the sword of princes against injuries done by the wicked.

For they bear not the sword in vain, etc. It is another part of the office of magistrates, that they ought forcibly to repress the waywardness of evil men, who do not willingly suffer themselves to be governed by laws, and to inflict such punishment on their offenses as God’s judgment requires; for he expressly declares, that they are armed with the sword, not for an empty show, but that they may smite evil-doers.

And then he says, An avenger, to execute wrath, f401 etc. This is the same as if it had been said, that he is an executioner of God’s wrath; and this he shows himself to be by having the sword, which the Lord has delivered into his hand. This is a remarkable passage for the purpose of proving the right of the sword; for if the Lord, by arming the magistrate, has also committed to him the use of the sword, whenever he visits the guilty with death, by executing God’s vengeance, he obeys his commands. Contend then do they with God who think it unlawful to shed the blood of wicked men.

<451305>Romans 13:5-7

5. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

5. Itaque necesse est subjici, non modo propter iram, sed etiam propter conscientiam.

6. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are Godministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

6. Propterea enim tributa quoque solutis; ministri f402 enim Dei sunt, in hoc incumbentes.

7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

7. Reddite ergo omnibus quod debetur; cui tributum, tributum; cui vectigal, vectigal; cui timorem, timorem; cui honorem, honorem.

 

5. It is therefore necessary, etc. What he had at first commanded as to the rendering of obedience to magistrates, he now briefly repeats, but with some addition, and that is, — that we ought to obey them, not only on the ground of necessity arising from man, but that we thereby obey God; for by wrath he means the punishment which the magistrates inflict for the contempt of their dignity; as though he had said, “We must not only obey, because we cannot with impunity resist the powerful and those armed with authority, as injuries are wont to be borne with which cannot be repelled; but we ought to obey willingly, as conscience through God’s word thus binds us.” Though then the magistrate were disarmed, so that we could with impunity provoke and despise him, yet such a thing ought to be no more attempted than if we were to see punishment suspended over us; for it belongs not to a private individual to take away authority from him whom the Lord has in power set over us. This whole discourse is concerning civil government; it is therefore to no purpose that they who would exercise dominion over consciences do hence attempt to establish their sacrilegious tyranny.

6. For this reason also, etc. He takes occasion to introduce the subject of tributes, the reason for which he deduces from the office of magistrates; for if it be their duty to defend and safely preserve the peace of the good, and to resist the mischievous attempts of the wicked, this they cannot do unless they are aided by sufficient force. Tributes then are justly paid to support such necessary expenses. f403 But respecting the proportion of taxes or tributes, this is not the place to discuss the subject; nor does it belong to us either to prescribe to princes how much they ought to expend in every affair, or to call them to an account. It yet behooves them to remember, that whatever they receive from the people, is as it were public property, and not to be spent in the gratification of private indulgence. For we see the use for which Paul appoints these tributes which are to be paid — even that kings may be furnished with means to defend their subjects.

7. Render then to all what is due, etc. The Apostle seems here summarily to include the particulars in which the duties of subjects towards magistrates consist, — that they are to hold them in esteem and honor, that they are to obey their edicts, laws, and judgments, — that they are to pay tributes and customs. By the word fear, he means obedience; by customs and tributes, not only imposts and taxes, but also other revenues. f404

Now this passage confirms what I have already said, — that we ought to obey kings and governors, whoever they may be, not because we are constrained, but because it is a service acceptable to God; for he will have them not only to be feared, but also honored by a voluntary respect.

<451308>Romans 13:8-10

8. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

8. Nemini quicquam debeatis, nisi ut invicem diligatis; qui enim diligit alterum Legem implevit.

9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

9. Illud enim, Non moechaberis, Non occides, Non falsum testimonium dices, Non concupisces, et si quod est aliud praeceptum, in hoc sermone comprehenditur, Diliges proximum sicut teipsum.

10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

10. Dilectio proximo malum non infert: plenitudo ergo legis est dilectio.

 

8. To no one owe ye, etc. There are those who think that this was not said without a taunt, as though Paul was answering the objection of those who contended that Christians were burdened in having other precepts than that of love enjoined them. And indeed I do not deny, but that it may be taken ironically, as though he conceded to those who allowed no other law but that of love, what they required, but in another sense. And yet I prefer to take the words simply as they are; for I think that Paul meant to refer the precept respecting the power of magistrates to the law of love, lest it should seem to any one too feeble; as though he had said, — “When I require you to obey princes, I require nothing more than what all the faithful ought to do, as demanded by the law of love: for if ye wish well to the good, (and not to wish this is inhuman,) ye ought to strive, that the laws and judgments may prevail, that the administrators of the laws may have an obedient people, so that through them peace may be secured to all.” He then who introduces anarchy, violates love; for what immediately follows anarchy, is the confusion of all things. f405

For he who loves another, etc. Paul’s design is to reduce all the precepts of the law to love, so that we may know that we then rightly obey the commandments, when we observe the law of love, and when we refuse to undergo no burden in order to keep it. He thus fully confirms what he has commanded respecting obedience to magistrates, in which consists no small portion of love.

But some are here impeded, and they cannot well extricate themselves from this difficulty, — that Paul teaches us that the law is fulfilled when we love our neighbor, for no mention is here made of what is due to God, which ought not by any means to have been omitted. But Paul refers not to the whole law, but speaks only of what the law requires from us as to our neighbor. And it is doubtless true, that the whole law is fulfilled when we love our neighbors; for true love towards man does not flow except from the love of God, and it is its evidence, and as it were its effects. But Paul records here only the precepts of the second table, and of these only he speaks, as though he had said, — “He who loves his neighbor as himself, performs his duty towards the whole world.” Puerile then is the gloss of the Sophists, who attempt to elicit from this passage what may favor justification by works: for Paul declares not what men do or do not, but he speaks hypothetically of that which you will find nowhere accomplished. And when we say, that men are not justified by works, we deny not that the keeping of the law is true righteousness: but as no one performs it, and never has performed it, we say, that all are excluded from it, and that hence the only refuge is in the grace of Christ.

9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, etc. It cannot be from this passage concluded what precepts are contained in the second table, for he subjoins at the end, and if there be any other precept. He indeed omits the command respecting the honoring of parents; and it may seem strange, that what especially belonged to his subject should have been passed by. But what if he had left it out, lest he should obscure his argument? Though I dare not to affirm this, yet I see here nothing wanting to answer the purpose he had in view, which was to show, — that since God intended nothing else by all his commandments than to teach us the duty of love, we ought by all means to strive to perform it. And yet the uncontentious reader will readily acknowledge, that Paul intended to prove, by things of a like nature, that the import of the whole law is, that love towards one another ought to be exercised by us, and that what he left to be implied is to be understood, and that is, — that obedience to magistrates is not the least thing which tends to nourish peace, to preserve brotherly love.

10. Love doeth no evil to a neighbor, etc. He demonstrates by the effect, that under the word love are contained those things which are taught us in all the commandments; for he who is endued with true love will never entertain the thought of injuring others. What else does the whole law forbid, but that we do no harm to our neighbor? This, however, ought to be applied to the present subject; for since magistrates are the guardians of peace and justice, he who desires that his own right should be secured to every one, and that all may live free from wrong, ought to defend, as far as he can, the power of magistrates. But the enemies of government show a disposition to do harm. And when he repeats that the fulfilling of the law is love, understand this, as before, of that part of the law which refers to mankind; for the first table of the law, which contains what we owe to God, is not here referred to at all.

<451311>Romans 13:11-14

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.

11. Hoc enim, quum noverimus tempus, quia hora est qua jam e somno expergiscamur (nunc enim propior est salus nostra quam quum credi-dimus,)

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 armor of light.

12. Nox progressa est, dies vero appropinquavit: abjiciamus ergo opera tenebrarum, et induamus arma lucis.

13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying:

13 Sicut in die decenter ambulemus; non comessationibus neque ebrietatibus, neque eubilibus neque lasciviis, neque contentione neque aemulatione:

14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

14. Sed induamini Dominum Iesum Christum, et carnis curam ne agatis ad concupiscentias.

 

11. Moreover, etc. He enters now on another subject of exhortation, that as the rays of celestial life had begun to shine on us as it were at the dawn, we ought to do what they are wont to do who are in public life and in the sight of men, who take diligent care lest they should commit anything that is base or unbecoming; for if they do anything amiss, they see that they are exposed to the view of many witnesses. But we, who always stand in the sight of God and of angels, and whom Christ, the true sun of righteousness, invites to his presence, we indeed ought to be much more careful to beware of every kind of pollution.

The import then of the words is this, “Since we know that the seasonable time has already come, in which we should awake from sleep, let us cast aside whatever belongs to the night, let us shake off all the works of darkness, since the darkness itself has been dissipated, and let us attend to the works of light, and walk as it becomes those who are enjoying the day.” The intervening words are to be read as in a parenthesis.

As, however, the words are metaphorical, it may be useful to consider their meaning: Ignorance of God is what he calls night; for all who are thus ignorant go astray and sleep as people do in the night. The unbelieving do indeed labor under these two evils, they are blind and they are insensible; but this insensibility he shortly after designated by sleep, which is, as one says, an image of death. By light he means the revelation of divine truth, by which Christ the sun of righteousness arises on us. f406 He mentions awake, by which he intimates that we are to be equipped and prepared to undertake the services which the Lord requires from us. The works of darkness are shameful and wicked works; for night, as some one says, is shameless. The armor of light represents good, and temperate, and holy actions, such as are suitable to the day; and armor is mentioned rather than works, because we are to carry on a warfare for the Lord.

But the particles at the beginning, And this, are to be read by themselves, for they are connected with what is gone before; as we say in Latin Adhoec — besides, or proeterea — moreover. The time, he says, was known to the faithful, for the calling of God and the day of visitation required a new life and new morals, and he immediately adds an explanation, and says, that it was the hour to awake: for it is not cro>nov but kairo<v which means a fit occasion or a seasonable time. f407

For nearer is now our salvation, etc. This passage is in various ways perverted by interpreters. Many refer the word believed to the time of the law, as though Paul had said, that the Jews believed before Christ came; which view I reject as unnatural and strained; and surely to confine a general truth to a small part of the Church, would have been wholly inconsistent. Of that whole assembly to which he wrote, how few were Jews? Then this declaration could not have been suitable to the Romans. Besides, the comparison between the night and the day does in my judgment dissipate every doubt on the point. The declaration then seems to me to be of the most simple kind, — “Nearer is salvation now to us than at that time when we began to believe:” so that a reference is made to the time which had preceded as to their faith. For as the adverb here used is in its import indefinite, this meaning is much the most suitable, as it is evident from what follows.

12. The night has advanced, and the day, etc. This is the season which he had just mentioned; for as the faithful are not as yet received into full light, he very fitly compares to the dawn the knowledge of future life, which shines on us through the gospel: for day is not put here, as in other places, for the light of faith, (otherwise he could not have said that it was only approaching, but that it was present, for it now shines as it were in the middle of its progress,) but for that glorious brightness of the celestial life, the beginnings of which are now seen through the gospel.

The sum of what he says is, — that as soon as God begins to call us, we ought to do the same, as when we conclude from the first dawn of the day that the full sun is at hand; we ought to look forward to the coming of Christ.

He says that the night had advanced, because we are not so overwhelmed with thick darkness as the unbelieving are, to whom no spark of life appears; but the hope of resurrection is placed by the gospel before our eyes; yea, the light of faith, by which we discover that the full brightness of celestial glory is nigh at hand, ought to stimulate us, so that we may not grow torpid on the earth. But afterwards, when he bids us to walk in the light, as it were during the day time, he does not continue the same metaphor; for he compares to the day our present state, while Christ shines on us. His purpose was in various ways to exhort us, — at one time to meditate on our future life; at another, to contemplate the present favor of God.

13. Not in reveling, etc. He mentions here three kinds of vices, and to each he has given two names, — intemperante and excess in living, — carnal lust and uncleanness, which is connected with it, — and envy and contention. If these have in them so much filthiness, that even carnal men are ashamed to commit them before the eyes of men, it behooves us, who are in the light of God, at all times to abstain from them; yea, even when we are withdrawn from the presence of men. As to the third vice, though contention is put before envying, there is yet. no doubt but that Paul intended to remind us, that strifes and contests arise from this fountain; for when any one seeks to excel, there is envying of one another; but ambition is the source of both evils. f408

14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, etc. This metaphor is commonly used in Scripture with respect to what tends to adorn or to deform man; both of which may be seen in his clothing: for a filthy and torn garment dis-honors a man; but what is becoming and clean recommends him. Now to put on Christ, means here to be on every side fortified by the power of his Spirit, and be thereby prepared to discharge all the duties of holiness; for thus is the image of God renewed in us, which is the only true ornament of the soul. For Paul had in view the end of our calling; inasmuch as God, by adopting us, unites us to the body of his only-begotten Son, and for this purpose, — that we, renouncing our former life, may become new men in him. f409 On this account he says also in another place, that we put on Christ in baptism. (<480327>Galatians 3:27.)

And have no care, etc. As long as we carry about us our flesh, we cannot cast away every care for it; for though our conversation is in heaven, we yet sojourn on earth. The things then which belong to the body must be taken care of, but not otherwise than as they are helps to us in our pilgrimage, and not that they may make us to forget our country. Even heathens have said, that a few things suffice nature, but that the appetites of men are insatiable. Every one then who wishes to satisfy the desires of the flesh, must necessarily not only fall into, but be immerged in a vast and deep gulf.

Paul, setting a bridle on our desires, reminds us, that the cause of all intemperance is, that no one is content with a moderate or lawful use of things: he has therefore laid down this rule, — that we are to provide for the wants of our flesh, but not to indulge its lusts. It is in this way that we shall use this world without abusing it.


CHAPTER 14

<451401>Romans 14:1-4

1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

1. Eum vero qui fide est imbecilla, suscipite, non ad disceptationes quaes-tionum.

2. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

2. Qui credit, vescatur quibusvis: qui autem infirmus est, olera edit.

3. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

3. Qui edit, non contemnat eum qui abstinet; et qui abstinet, eum non condemnet qui edit: Dominus enim illum suscepit.

4. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

4. Tu quis es qui judicas alienum servum? proprio Domino stat vel cadit. Stabit vero: potens est enim Dens efficere ut stet.

 

1. Him indeed, etc. He passes on now to lay down a precept especially necessary for the instruction of the Church, — that they who have made the most progress in Christian doctrine should accommodate themselves to the more ignorant, and employ their own strength to sustain their weakness; for among the people of God there are some weaker than others, and who, except they are treated with great tenderness and kindness, will be discouraged, and become at length alienated from religion. And it is very probable that this happened especially at that time; for the Churches were formed of both Jews and Gentiles; some of whom, having been long accustomed to the rites of the Mosaic law, having been brought up in them from childhood, were not easily drawn away from them; and there were others who, having never learnt such things, refused a yoke to which they had not been accustomed. f410

Now, as man’s disposition is to slide from a difference in opinion to quarrels and contentions, the Apostle shows how they who thus vary in their opinions may live together without any discord; and he prescribes this as the best mode, — that they who are strong should spend their labor in assisting the weak, and that they who have made the greatest advances should bear with the more ignorant. For God, by making us stronger than others, does not bestow strength that we may oppress the weak; nor is it the part of Christian wisdom to be above measure insolent, and to despise others. The import then of what he addresses to the more intelligent and the already confirmed, is this, — that the ampler the grace which they had received from the Lord, the more bound they were to help their neighbors.

Not for the debatings of questions. f411 This is a defective sentence, as the word which is necessary to complete the sense is wanting. It appears, however, evident, that he meant nothing else than that the weak should not be wearied with fruitless disputes. But we must remember the subject he now handles: for as many of the Jews still clave to the shadows of the law, he indeed admits, that this was a fault in them; he yet requires that they should be for a time excused; for to press the matter urgently on them might have shaken their faith. f412

He then calls those contentious questions which disturb a mind not yet sufficiently established, or which involve it in doubts. It may at the same time be proper to extend this farther, even to any thorny and difficult questions, by which weak consciences, without any edification, may be disquieted and disturbed. We ought then to consider what questions any one is able to bear, and to accommodate our teaching to the capacity of individuals.

2. Let him who believes, etc. What Erasmus has followed among the various readings I know not; but he has mutilated this sentence, which, in Paul’s words, is complete; and instead of the relative article he has improperly introduced alius — one, “One indeed believes,” etc. That I take the infinitive for an imperative, ought not to appear unnatural nor strained, for it is a mode of speaking very usual with Paul. f413 He then calls those believers who were endued with a conscience fully satisfied; to these he allowed the use of all things without any difference. In the mean time the weak did eat herbs, and abstained from those things, the use of which he thought was not lawful. If the common version be more approved, the meaning then will be, — that it is not right that he who freely eats all things, as he believes them to be lawful, should require those, who are yet tender and weak in faith, to walk by the same rule. But to render the word sick, as some have done, is absurd.

3. Let not him who eats, etc. He wisely and suitably meets the faults of both parties. They who were strong had this fault, — that they despised those as superstitious who were scrupulous about insignificant things, and also derided them: these, on the other hand, were hardly able to refrain from rash judgments, so as not to condemn what they did not follow; for whatever they perceived to be contrary to their own sentiments, they thought was evil. Hence he exhorts the former to refrain from contempt, and the latter from excessive moroseness. And the reason which he adds, as it belongs to both parties, ought to be applied to the two clauses, — “When you see,” he says, “a man illuminated with the knowledge of God, you have evidence enough that he is received by the Lord; if you either despise or condemn him, you reject him whom God has embraced.” f414

4. Who art thou who judgest, etc. “As you would act uncourteously, yea, and presumptuously among men, were you to bring another man’s servant, under your own rules, and try all his acts by the rule of your own will; so you assume too much, if you condemn anything in God’s servant, because it does not please you; for it belongs not to you to prescribe to him what to do and what not to do, nor is it necessary for him to live according to your law.”

Now, though the power of judging as to the person, and also as to the deed, is taken from us, there is yet much difference between the two; for we ought to leave the man, whatever he may be, to the judgment of God; but as to his deeds we may indeed form a decisive opinion, though not according to our own views, but according to the word of God; and the judgment, derived from his word, is neither human, nor another man’s judgment. Paul then intended here to restrain us from presumption in judging; into which they fall, who dare to pronounce anything respecting the actions of men without the warrant of God’s word.

To his own Lord he stands or falls, etc. As though he said, — “It belongs rightly to the Lord, either to disapprove, or to accept what his servant doeth: hence he robs the Lord, who attempts to take to himself this authority.” And he adds, he shall indeed stand: and by so saying, he not only bids us to abstain from condemning, but also exhorts us to mercy and kindness, so as ever to hope well of him, in whom we perceive anything of God; inasmuch as the Lord has given us a hope, that he will fully confirm, and lead to perfection, those in whom he has begun the work of grace.

But by referring to the power of God, he means not simply, as though he had said, that God can do this if he will; but, after the usual manner of Scripture, he connects God’s will with his power: and yet he speaks not here of perpetuity, as though they must stand to the end whom God has once raised up; but he only reminds us, that we are to entertain a good hope, and that our judgments should lean this way; as he also teaches us in another place,

“He who began in you a good work, will perform it to the end.” (<500106>Philippians 1:6.)

In short, Paul shows to what side their judgments incline, in whom love abounds.

<451405>Romans 14:5-6

5. One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

5. Hic quidem diem prae die aestimat; ille autem peraque aestimat omnem diem. Unusquisque sententiae suae certus sit.

6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

6. Qui curat diem, Domino curat; qui non curat diem, Domino non curat. Qui vescitur, Domino vescitur, gratias enim agit Deo; et qui abstinet, Domino abstinet, et gratias agit Deo.

 

5. One indeed, etc. He had spoken before of scruples in the choice of meats; he now adds another example of difference, that is, as to days; and both these arose from Judaism. For as the Lord in his law made a difference between meats and pronounced some to be unclean, the use of which he prohibited, and as he had also appointed festal and solemn days and commanded them to be observed, the Jews, who had been brought up from their childhood in the doctrine of the law, would not lay aside that reverence for days which they had entertained from the beginning, and to which through life they had been accustomed; nor could they have dared to touch these meats from which they had so long abstained. That they were imbued with these notions, was an evidence of their weakness; they would have thought otherwise, had they possessed a certain and a clear knowledge of Christian liberty. But in abstaining from what they thought to be unlawful, they evidenced piety, as it would have been a proof of presumption and contempt, had they done anything contrary to the dictates of conscience.

Here then the Apostle applies the best rule, when he bids every one to be fully assured as to his own mind; by which he intimates that there ought to be in Christians such a care for obedience, that they do nothing, except what they think, or rather feel assured, is pleasing to God. f415 And this ought to be thoroughly borne in mind, that it is the first principle of a right conduct, that men should be dependent on the will of God, and never allow themselves to move even a finger, while the mind is doubtful and vacillating; for it cannot be otherwise, but that rashness will soon pass over into obstinacy when we dare to proceed further than what we are persuaded is lawful for us. If any object and say, that infirmity is ever perplexing, and that hence such certainty as Paul requires cannot exist in the weak: to this the plain answer is, — That such are to be pardoned, if they keep themselves within their own limits. For Paul’s purpose was none other than to restrain undue liberty, by which it happens, that many thrust themselves, as it were, at random, into matters which are doubtful and undetermined. Hence Paul requires this to be adopted, — that the will of God is to preside over all our actions.

6. He who regards a day, etc. Since Paul well knew that a respect for days proceeded from ignorance of Christ, it is not probable that such a corruption was altogether defended by him; and yet his words seem to imply, that he who regarded days committed no sin; for nothing but good can be accepted by God. Hence, that you may understand his purpose, it is necessary to distinguish between the notion, which any one may have entertained as to the observance of days, and the observance itself to which he felt himself bound. The notion was indeed superstitious, nor does Paul deny this; for he has already condemned it by calling it infirmity, and he will again condemn it still more plainly. Now, that he who was held fast by this superstition, dared not to violate the solemnity of a particular day; this was approved by God, because he dared not to do any thing with a doubtful conscience. What indeed could the Jew do, who had not yet made such progress, as to be delivered from scruples about days? He had the word of God, in which the keeping of days was commended; there was a necessity laid on him by the law; and its abrogation was not clearly seen by him. Nothing then remained, but that he, waiting for a fuller revelation, should keep himself within the limits of his own knowledge, and not to avail himself of the benefit of liberty, before he embraced it by faith. f416

The same also must be thought of him who refrained from unclean meats: for if he ate in a doubtful state of mind, it would not have been to receive any benefit, from God’s hand, but to lay his own hand on forbidden things. Let him then use other things, which he thinks is allowed to him, and follow the measure of his knowledge: he will thus give thanks to God; which he could not do, except he was persuaded that he is fed by God’s kindness. He is not then to be despised, as though he offended the Lord by this his temperance and pious timidity: and there is nothing unreasonable in the matter, if we say, that the modesty of the weak is approved by God, not on the ground of merit, but through indulgence.

But as he had before required an assurance of mind, so that no one ought rashly of his own will to do this or that, we ought to consider whether he is here exhorting rather than affirming; for the text would better flow in this strain, — “Let a reason for what he does be dear to every one; as an account must be given before the celestial tribunal; for whether one eats meat or abstains, he ought in both instances to have regard to God.” And doubtless there is nothing more fitted to restrain licentiousness in judging and to correct superstitions, than to be summoned before the tribunal of God: and hence Paul wisely sets the judge before all, to whose will they are to refer whatever they do. It is no objection that the sentence is affirmative; for he immediately subjoins, that no one lives or dies for himself; where he declares, not what men do, but commands what they ought to do.

Observe also what he says, — that we then eat to the Lord, or abstain, when we give thanks. Hence, eating is impure, and abstinence is impure, without thanksgiving. It is only the name of God, when invoked, that sanctifies us and all we have.

<451407>Romans 14:7-9

7. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

7. Nemo enim nostrum sibi ipsi vivit, et nemo sibi moritur.

8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

8. Sive enim vivimus, Domino vivimus; sive morimur, Domino morimur: sive vivimus sive morimur, Domini sumus.

9. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, f417 that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

9. In hoc enim et mortuus est Christus, et resurrexit, et revixit, f417 ut vivis dominetur et mortuis.

 

7. For no one of us, etc. He now confirms the former verse by an argument derived from the whole to a part, — that it is no matter of wonder that particular acts of our life should be referred to the Lord’s will, since life itself ought to be wholly spent to his glory; for then only is the life of a Christian rightly formed, when it has for its object the will of God. But if thou oughtest to refer whatever thou doest to his good pleasure, it is then an act of impiety to undertake anything whatever, which thou thinkest will displease him; nay, which thou art not persuaded will please him.

8. To the Lord we live, etc. This does not mean the same as when it is said in <450611>Romans 6:11, that we are made alive unto God by his Spirit, but that we conform to his will and pleasure, and design all things to his glory. Nor are we only to live to the Lord, but also to die; that is, our death as well as our life is to be referred to his will. He adds the best of reasons, for whether we live or die, we are his: and it hence follows, that he has full authority over our life and our death.

The application of this doctrine opens into a wide field. God thus claims authority over life and death, that his own condition might be borne by every one as a yoke laid on him; for it is but just that he should assign to every one his station and his course of life. And thus we are not only forbidden rashly to attempt this or that without God’s command, but we are also commanded to be patient under all troubles and losses. If at any time the flesh draws back in adversities, let it come to our minds, that he who is not free nor has authority over himself, perverts right and order if he depends not on the will of his lord. Thus also is taught us the rule by which we are to live and to die, so that if he extends our life in continual sorrows and miseries, we are not yet to seek to depart before our time; but if he should suddenly call us hence in the flower of our age, we ought ever to be ready for our departure.

9. For to this end Christ also died, etc. This is a confirmation of the reason which has been last mentioned; for in order to prove that we ought to live and to die to the Lord, he had said, that whether we live or die we are under the power of Christ. He now shows how rightly Christ claims this power over us, since he has obtained it by so great a price; for by undergoing death for our salvation, he has acquired authority over us which cannot be destroyed by death, and by rising again, he has received our whole life as his peculiar property. He has then by his death and resurrection deserved that we should, in death as well as in life, advance the glory of his name. The words arose and lived again mean, that by resurrection he attained a new state of life; and that as the life which he now possesses is subject to no change, his dominion over us is to be eternal.

<451410>Romans 14:10-13

10. But why dost thou judge thy brother? f418 or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ:

10. Tu vero quid judicas fratrem tuum? aut etiam tu, quid contemnis fratrem tuum? Onmes enim sistemur ad tribunal Christi:

11. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

11. Scripture est enim, Vivo ego, dick Dominus, mihi flectetur omne genu, et omnis lingua confitebitur Deo.

12. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

12. Unusquisque igitur de se rationem redder Deo.

13. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock, or an occasion to fall, in his brother’s way.

13. Quare ne amplius judicemus alius alium: sed hoc judicate potius, ne lapsus occasio detur fratri aut offendiculum.

 

10. But thou, why dost thou, etc. As he had made the life and death of us all subject to Christ, he now proceeds to mention the authority to judge, which the Father has conferred on him, together with the dominion over heaven and earth. He hence concludes, that it is an unreasonable boldness in any one to assume the power to judge his brother, since by taking such a liberty he robs Christ the Lord of the power which he alone has received from the Father.

But first, by the term brother, he checks this lust for judging; for since the Lord has established among us the right of a fraternal alliance, an equality ought to be preserved; every one then who assumes the character of a judge acts unreasonably. Secondly, he calls us before the only true judge, from whom no one can take away his power, and whose tribunal none can escape. As then it would be absurd among men for a criminal, who ought to occupy a humble place in the court, to ascend the tribunal of the judge; so it is absurd for a Christian to take to himself the liberty of judging the conscience of his brother. A similar argument is mentioned by James, when he says, that “he who judges his brother, judges the law,” and that “he who judges the law, is not an observer of the law but a president ;” and, on the other hand, he says, that “there is but one lawgiver, who can save and destroy.” (<590412>James 4:12.) He has ascribed tribunal to Christ, which means his power to judge, as the voice of the archangel, by which we shall be summoned, is called, in another place, a trumpet; for it will pierce, as it were with its sound, into the minds and ears of all. f419

11. As I live, etc. He seems to me to have quoted this testimony of the Prophet, not so much to prove what he had said of the judgment-seat of Christ, which was not doubted among Christians, as to show that judgment ought to be looked for by all with the greatest humility and lowliness of mind; and this is what the words import. He had first then testified by his own words, that the power to judge all men is vested in Christ alone; he now demonstrates by the words of the Prophet, that all flesh ought to be humbled while expecting that judgment; and this is expressed by the bending of the knee. But though in this passage of the Prophet the Lord in general foreshows that his glory should be known among all nations, and that his majesty should everywhere shine forth, which was then hid among very few, and as it were in an obscure corner of the world; yet if we examine it more closely, it will be evident that its complete fulfillment is not now taking place, nor has it ever taken place, nor is it to be hoped for in future ages. God does not now rule otherwise in the world than by his gospel; nor is his majesty otherwise rightly honored but when it is adored as known from his word. But the word of God has ever had its enemies, who have been perversely resisting it, and its despisers, who have ever treated it with ridicule, as though it were absurd and fabulous. Even at this day there are many such, and ever will be. It hence appears, that this prophecy is indeed begun to be fulfilled in this life, but is far from being completed, and will not be so until the day of the last resurrection shall shine forth, when Christ’s enemies shall be laid prostrate, that they may become his footstool. But this cannot be except the Lord shall ascend his tribunal: he has therefore suitably applied this testimony to the judgment-seat of Christ.

This is also a remarkable passage for the purpose of confirming our faith in the eternal divinity of Christ: for it is God who speaks here, and the God who has once for all declared, that he will not give his glory to another. (<234208>Isaiah 42:8.) Now if what he claims here to himself alone is accomplished in Christ, then doubtless he in Christ manifests himself And unquestionably the truth of this prophecy then openly appeared, when Christ gathered a people to himself from the whole world, and restored them to the worship of his majesty and to the obedience of his gospel. To this purpose are the words of Paul, when he says that God gave a name to his Christ, at which every knee should bow, (<502910>Philippians 2:10:) and it shall then still more fully appear, when he shall ascend his tribunal to judge the living and the dead; for all judgment in heaven and on earth has been given to him by the Father.

The words of the Prophet. are, “Every tongue shall swear to me:” but as an oath is a kind of divine worship, the word which Paul uses, shall confess, does not vary in sense: f420 for the Lord intended simply to declare, that all men should not only acknowledge his majesty, but also make a confession of obedience, both by the mouth and by the external gesture of the body, which he has designated by the bowing of the knee.

12. Every one of us, etc. This conclusion invites us to humility and lowliness of mind: and hence he immediately draws this inference, — that we are not to judge one another; for it is not lawful for us to usurp the office of judging, who must ourselves submit to be judged and to give an account.

From the various significations of the word to judge, he has aptly drawn two different meanings. In the first place he forbids us to judge, that is, to condemn; in the second place he bids us to judge, that is, to exercise judgment, so as not to give offense. He indeed indirectly reproves those malignant censors, who employ all their acuteness in finding out something faulty in the life of their brethren: he therefore bids them to exercise wariness themselves; for by their neglect they often precipitate, or drive their brethren against some stumblingblock or another. f421

<451414>Romans 14:14-18

14. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, f422 that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

14. Novi et persuasus sum in Domino Iesu, nihil commune per se esse; nisi qui existimat aliquid esse commune, ei commune est.

15. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.

15. Verum si propter cibum frater tuus contristatur, jam non secundum charitatem ambulas; ne cibo tuo ilium perdas, pro quo Christus mortuus est.

16. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

16. Ne vestrum igitur bonum hominum maledicentiae sit obnoxium:

17. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

17. Non enim est regnum Dei esca et potus; sed justitia, et pax, et gaudium in Spiritu sancto.

18. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

18. Qui enim servit per haec Christo, acceptus est Deo, et probatus hominibus.

 

14. I know, etc. To anticipate their objection, who made such progress in the gospel of Christ as to make no distinction between meats, he first shows what must be thought of meats when viewed in themselves; and then he subjoins how sin is committed in the use of them. He then declares, that no meat is impure to a right and pure conscience, and that there is no hindrance to a pure use of meats, except ignorance and infirmity; for when any imagines an impurity in them, he is not at liberty to use them. But he afterwards adds, that we are not only to regard meats themselves, but also the brethren before whom we eat: for we ought not to view the use of God’s bounty with so much indifference as to disregard love. His words then have the same meaning as though he had said, — “I know that all meats are clean, and therefore I leave to thee the free use of them; I allow thy conscience to be freed from all scruples: in short, I do not simply restrain thee from meats; but laying aside all regard for them, I still wish thee not to neglect thy neighbor.”

By the word common, in this place, he means unclean, and what is taken indiscriminately by the ungodly; and it is opposed to those things which had been especially set apart for the use of the faithful people. He says that he knew, and was fully convinced, that all meats are pure, in order to remove all doubts. He adds, in the Lord Jesus; for by his favor and grace it is, that all the creatures which were accursed in Adam, are blessed to us by the Lord. f423 He intended, however, at the same time, to set the liberty given by Christ in opposition to the bondage of the law, lest they thought that they were bound to observe those rites from which Christ had made them free. By the exception which he has laid down, we learn that there is nothing so pure but what may be contaminated by a corrupt conscience: for it is faith alone and godliness which sanctify all things to us. The unbelieving, being polluted within, defile all things by their very touch. (<560115>Titus 1:15.)

15. But if through meat thy brother is grieved, etc. He now explains how the offending of our brethren may vitiate the use of good things. And the first thing is, — that love is violated, when our brother is made to grieve by what is so trifling; for it is contrary to love to occasion grief to any one. The next thing is, — that when the weak conscience is wounded, the price of Christ’s blood is wasted; for the most abject brother has been redeemed by the blood of Christ: it is then a heinous crime to destroy him by gratifying the stomach; and we must be basely given up to our own lusts, if we prefer meat, a worthless thing, to Christ. f424 The third reason is, — that since the liberty attained for us by Christ is a blessing, we ought to take care, lest it should be evil spoken of by men and justly blamed, which is the case, when we unseasonably use God’s gifts. These reasons then ought to influence us, lest by using our liberty, we thoughtlessly cause offenses. f425

17. For the kingdom of God, etc. He now, on the other hand, teaches us, that we can without loss abstain from the use of our liberty, because the kingdom of God does not consist in such things. Those things indeed, which are necessary either to build up or preserve the kingdom of God, are by no means to be neglected, whatever offenses may hence follow: but if for love’s sake it be lawful to abstain from meat, while God’s honor is uninjured, while Christ’s kingdom suffers no harm, while religion is not hindered, then they are not to be borne with, who for meat’s sake disturb the Church. He uses similar arguments in his first Epistle to the Corinthians:

“Meat,” he says, “for the stomach, and the stomach for meat; but God will destroy both,” (1 Corinthians 6 13:)

again,

“If we eat, we shall not abound,” (<460808>1 Corinthians 8:8.)

By these words he meant briefly to show, that meat and drink were things too worthless, that on their account the course of the gospel should be impeded.

But righteousness and peace, etc. He, in passing, has set these in opposition to meat and drink; not for the purpose of enumerating all the things which constitute the kingdom of Christ, but of showing, that it consists of spiritual things. He has at the same time no doubt included in few words a summary of what it is; namely, that we, being well assured, have peace with God, and possess real joy of heart through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. But as I have said, these few things he has accommodated to his present subject. He indeed who is become partaker of true righteousness, enjoys a great and an invaluable good, even a calm joy of conscience; and he who has peace with God, what can he desire more? f426

By connecting peace and joy together, he seems to me to express the character of this joy; for however torpid the reprobate may be, or however they may elevate themselves, yet the conscience is not rendered calm and joyful, except when it feels God to be pacified and propitious to it; and there is no solid joy but what proceeds from this peace. And though it was necessary, when mention was made of these things, that the Spirit should have been declared as the author; yet he meant in this place indirectly to oppose the Spirit to external things, that we might know, that the things which belong to the kingdom of God continue complete to us without the use of meats.

18. For he who in these things, etc. An argument drawn from the effect: for it is impossible, but that when any one is acceptable to God and approved by men, the kingdom of God fully prevails and flourishes in him: he, who with a quiet and peaceful conscience serves Christ in righteousness, renders himself approved by men as well as by God. Wherever then there is righteousness and peace and spiritual joy, there the kingdom of God is complete in all its parts: it does not then consist of material things. But he says, that man is acceptable to God, because he obeys his will; he testifies that he is approved by men, because they cannot do otherwise than bear testimony to that excellency which they see with their eyes: not that the ungodly always favor the children of God; nay, when there is no cause, they often pour forth against them many reproaches, and with forged calumnies defame the innocent, and in a word, turn into vices things rightly done, by putting on them a malignant construction. But Paul speaks here of honest judgment, blended with no moroseness, no hatred, no superstition.

<451419>Romans 14:19-21

19. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

19. Proinde quae pacis sunt, et aedificationis mutuae, sectemur.

20. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense.

20. Ne propter cibum destruas opus Dei. Omnia quidem pura, sed malum est homini qui per offensionem vescitur.

21. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

21. Bonum est non edere carnem, nec vinum bibere, f427 nec aliud facere in quo frater tuus concidat, vel offendatur, vel infirmetur.

 

19. Let us then follow, etc. He recalls us, as much as possible, from a mere regard to meats, to consider those greater things which ought to have the first place in all our actions, and so to have the precedence. We must indeed eat, that we may live; we ought to live, that we may serve the Lord; and he serves the Lord, who by benevolence and kindness edifies his neighbor; for in order to promote these two things, concord and edification, all the duties of love ought to be exercised. Lest this should be thought of little moment, he repeats the sentence he had before announced, — that corruptible meat is not of such consequence that for its sake the Lord’s building should be destroyed. For wherever there is even a spark of godliness, there the work of God is to be seen; which they demolish, who by their unfeeling conduct disturb the conscience of the weak.

But it must be noticed, that edification is joined to peace; because some, not unfrequently, too freely indulge one another, so that they do much harm by their compliances. Hence in endeavoring to serve one another, discretion ought to be exercised, and utility regarded, so that we may willingly grant to our brother whatever may be useful to further his salvation. So Paul reminds us in another place: “All things,” he says, “are lawful to me; but all things are not expedient;” and immediately he adds the reason, “Because all things do not edify.” (<461023>1 Corinthians 10:23.)

Nor is it also in vain that he repeats again, For meat destroy not, f428 etc., intimating, that he required no abstinence, by which there would be, according to what he had said before, any loss to piety: though we eat not anything we please, but abstain from the use of meats for the sake of our brethren; yet the kingdom of God continues entire and complete.

20. All things are indeed pure, etc. By saying, that all things are pure, he makes a general declaration; and by adding, that it is evil for man to eat with offense, he makes an exception; as though he had said, — “Meat is indeed good, but to give offense is bad.” Now meat has been given to us, that we may eat it, provided love be observed: he then pollutes the use of pure meat, who by it violates love. Hence he concludes, that it is good to abstain from all things which tend to give offense to our brethren.

He mentions three things in order, to fall, to stumble, to be weakened: the meaning seems to be this, — “Let no cause of falling, no, nor of stumbling, no, nor of weakening, be given to the brethren.” For to be weakened is less than to stumble, and to stumble is less than to fall. He may be said to be weakened whose conscience wavers with doubt, — to stumble when the conscience is disturbed by some greater perplexity, and to fall when the individual is in a manner alienated from his attention to religion. f429

<451422>Romans 14:22-23

22. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

22. Tu fidem habes? apud teipsum habe coram Deo. Beatus qui non judicat seipsum in eo quod examinat.

23. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

23. Qui verb dijudicat si comederit condemnatus est; quia non ex fide: quicquid vero non est ex fide, peccatum est.

 

22. Hast thou faith? In order to conclude, he shows in what consists the advantage of Christian liberty: it hence appears, that they boast, falsely of liberty who know not how to make a right use of it. He then says, that liberty really understood, as it is that of faith, has properly a regard to God; so that he who is endued with a conviction of this kind, ought to be satisfied with peace of conscience before God; nor is it needful for him to show before men that, he possesses it. It hence follows, that if we offend our weak brethren by eating meats, it is through a perverse opinion; for there is no necessity to constrain us.

It is also plainly evident how strangely perverted is this passage by some, who hence conclude, that it is not material how devoted any one may be to the observance of foolish and superstitious ceremonies, provided the conscience remains pure before God. Paul indeed intended nothing less, as the context clearly shows; for ceremonies are appointed for the worship of God, and they are also a part of our confession: they then who tear off faith from confession, take away from the sun its own heat. But Paul handles nothing of this kind in this place, but only speaks of our liberty in the use of meat and drink.

Happy is he who condemns not himself, etc. Here he means to teach us, first, how we may lawfully use the gifts of God; and, secondly, how great an impediment ignorance is; and he thus teaches us, lest we should urge the uninstructed beyond the limits of their infirmity. But he lays down a general truth, which extends to all actions, — “Happy,” he says, “is he who is not conscious of doing wrong, when he rightly examines his own deeds.” For it happens, that many commit the worst of crimes without any scruple of conscience; but this happens, because they rashly abandon themselves, with closed eyes, to any course to which the blind and violent intemperance of the flesh may lead them; for there is much difference between insensibility and a right judgment. He then who examines things is happy, provided he is not bitten by an accusing conscience, after having honestly considered and weighed matters; for this assurance alone can render our works pleasing to God. Thus is removed that vain excuse which many allege on the ground of ignorance; inasmuch as their error is connected with insensibility and sloth: for if what they call good intention is sufficient, their examination, according to which the Spirit of God estimates the deeds of men, is superfluous. f430

23. But he who is undecided, etc. He very fitly expresses in one word the character of that mind which vacillates and is uncertain as to what ought to be done; for he who is undecided undergoes alternate changes, and in the midst of his various deliberations is held suspended by uncertainty. As then the main thing in a good work is the persuasion of a mind conscious of being right before God, and as it were a calm assurance, nothing is more opposed to the acceptance of our works than vacillation. f431 And, oh! that this truth were fixed in the minds of men, that nothing ought to be attempted except what the mind feels assured is acceptable to God, men would not then make such an uproar, as they often do now, nor waver, nor blindly hurry onward wherever their own imagination may lead them. For if our way of living is to be confined to this moderation, that no one is to touch a morsel of meat with a doubting conscience, how much greater caution is to be exercised in the greatest things?

And whatever is not from faith, etc. The reason for this condemnation is, that every work, however splendid and excellent in appearance, is counted as sin, except it be founded on a right conscience; for God regards not the outward display, but the inward obedience of the heart, by this alone is an estimate made of our works. Besides, how can that be obedience, when any one undertakes what he is not persuaded is approved by God? Where then such a doubt; exists, the individual is justly charged with prevarication; for he proceeds in opposition to the testimony of his, own conscience.

The word faith is to be taken here for a fixed persuasion of the mind, or, so to speak, for a firm assurance, and not that of any kind, but what is derived from the truth of God. Hence doubt or uncertainty vitiates all our actions, however specious they may otherwise be. Now, since a pious mind can never acquiesce with certainty in anything but the word of God, all fictitious modes of worship do in this case vanish away, and whatever works there may be which originate in the brains of men; for while everything which is not from faith is condemned, rejected is whatever is not supported and approved by God’s word. It is at the same time by no means sufficient that what we do is approved by the word of God, except the mind, relying on this persuasion, prepares itself cheerfully to do its work. Hence the first thing in a right conduct, in order that our minds may at no time fluctuate, is this, that we, depending on God’s word, confidently proceed wherever it may call us.


CHAPTER 15 f432

<451501>Romans 15:1-3

1. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

1. Debemus autem nos qui potentes sumus, infirmitates impotentium portare, et non placere nobis ipsis:

2. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.

2. Unusquisque enim nostrum proximo placeat in bonum, ad aedifi-cationem.

3. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

3. Etenim Christus non placuit sibi ipsi; sed quemadmodum scriptum est, Opprobria exprobrantium tibi, ceciderunt super me.

 

1. We then who are strong, etc. Lest they who had made more advances than others in the knowledge of God should think it unreasonable, that more burden was to be laid on them than on others, he shows for what purpose this strength, by which they excelled others, was bestowed on them, even that they might so sustain the weak as to prevent them to fall. For as God has destined those to whom he has granted superior knowledge to convey instruction to the ignorant, so to those whom he makes strong he commits the duty of supporting the weak by their strength; thus ought all gifts to be communicated among all the members of Christ. The stronger then any one is in Christ, the more bound he is to bear with the weak. f433

By saying that a Christian ought not to please himself, he intimates, that he ought not to be bent on satisfying himself, as they are wont to be, who are content with their own judgment, and heedlessly neglect others: and this is indeed an admonition most suitable on the present subject; for nothing impedes and checks acts of kindness more than when any one is too much swallowed up with himself, so that he has no care for others, and follows only his own counsels and feelings.

2. Let indeed f434 every one of us, etc. He teaches us here, that we are under obligations to others, and that it is therefore our duty to please and to serve them, and that there is no exception in which we ought not to accommodate ourselves to our brethren when we can do so, according to God’s word, to their edification.

There are here two things laid down, — that we are not to be content with our own judgment, nor acquiesce in our own desires, but ought to strive and labor at all times to please our brethren, — and then, that in endeavoring to accommodate ourselves to our brethren, we ought to have regard to God, so that our object may be their edification; for the greater part cannot be pleased except you indulge their humor; so that if you wish to be in favor with most men, their salvation must not be so much regarded, but their folly must be flattered; nor must you look to what is expedient, but to what they seek to their own ruin. You must not then strive to please those to whom nothing is pleasing but evil.

3. For even Christ pleased not himself, etc. Since it is not right that a servant should refuse what his lord has himself undertaken, it would be very strange in us to wish an exemption from the duty of bearing the infirmities of others, to which Christ, in whom we glory as our Lord and King, submitted himself; for he having no regard for himself, gave up himself wholly to this service. For in him was really verified what the Prophet declares in <196910>Psalm 69:10: and among other things he mentions this, that “zeal for God’s house had eaten him up,” and that “the reproaches of those who reproached God fell on him.” By these words it is intimated, that he burned with so much fervor for God’s glory that he was possessed by such a desire to promote his kingdom, that he forgot himself, and was, as it were, absorbed with this one thought, and that he so devoted himself to the Lord that he was grieved in his soul whenever he perceived his holy name exposed to the slandering of the ungodly. f435

The second part, “the reproaches of God,” may indeed be understood in two ways, — either that he was not less affected by the contumelies which were heaped on God, than if he himself had endured them, — or, that he grieved not otherwise to see the wrong done to God, than if he himself had been the cause. But if Christ reigns in us, as he must necessarily reign in his people, this feeling is also vigorous in our hearts, so that whatever derogates from the glory of God does not otherwise grieve us than if it was done to ourselves. Away then with those whose highest wish is to gain honors from them who treat God’s name with all kinds of reproaches, tread Christ under foot, contumeliously rend, and with the sword and the flame persecute his gospel. It is not indeed safe to be so much honored by those by whom Christ is not only despised but also reproachfully treated.

<451504>Romans 15:4-6

4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

4. Quaecunque enim ante scripta sunt, in nostram doctrinam sunt scripta, ut per patientain et consolationem Scripturarum spem habeamus.

5. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like minded one toward another, according to Christ Jesus;

5. Deus autem patientiae et consolationis det vobis idem mutuo cogitare secundum Christum Iesum;

6. That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. Ut uno animo, uno ore, glorificetis Deum et Patrem Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

 

4. For whatsoever things, etc. This is an application of the example, lest any one should think, that to exhort us to imitate Christ was foreign to his purpose; “Nay,” he says, “there is nothing in Scripture which is not useful for your instruction, and for the direction of your life.” f436

This is an interesting passage, by which we understand that there is nothing vain and unprofitable contained in the oracles of God; and we are at the same time taught that it is by the reading of the Scripture that we make progress in piety and holiness of life. Whatever then is delivered in Scripture we ought to strive to learn; for it were a reproach offered to the Holy Spirit to think, that he has taught anything which it does not concern us to know; let us also know, that whatever is taught us conduces to the advancement of religion. And though he speaks of the Old Testament, the same thing is also true of the writings of the Apostles; for since the Spirit of Christ is everywhere like itself, there is no doubt but that he has adapted his teaching by the Apostles, as formerly by the Prophets, to the edification of his people. Moreover, we find here a most striking condemnation of those fanatics who vaunt that the Old Testament is abolished, and that it belongs not in any degree to Christians; for with what front can they turn away Christians from those things which, as Paul testifies, have been appointed by God for their salvation?

But when he adds, that through the patience and the consolation of the Scriptures we might have hope, f437 he does not include the whole of that benefit which is to be derived from God’s word; but he briefly points out the main end; for the Scriptures are especially serviceable for this purpose — to raise up those who are prepared by patience, and strengthened by consolations, to the hope of eternal life, and to keep them in the contemplation of it. f438 The word consolation some render exhortation; and of this I do not disapprove, only that consolation is more suitable to patience, for this arises from it; because then only we are prepared to bear adversities with patience, when God blends them with consolation. The patience of the faithful is not indeed that hardihood which philosophers recommend, but that meekness, by which we willingly submit to God, while a taste of his goodness and paternal love renders all things sweet to us: this nourishes and sustains hope in us, so that it fails not.

5. And the God of patience, etc. God is so called from what he produces; the same thing has been before very fitly ascribed to the Scriptures, but in a different sense: God alone is doubtless the author of patience and of consolation; for he conveys both to our hearts by his Spirit: yet he employs his word as the instrument; for he first teaches us what is true consolation, and what is true patience; and then he instills and plants this doctrine in our hearts.

But after having admonished and exhorted the Romans as to what they were to do, he turns to pray for them: for he fully understood, that to speak of duty was to no purpose, except God inwardly effected by his Spirit what he spoke by the mouth of man. The sum of his prayer is, — that he would bring their minds to real unanimity, and make them united among themselves: he also shows at the same time what is the bond of unity, for he wished them to agree together according to Christ Jesus. Miserable indeed is the union which is unconnected with God, and that is unconnected with him, which alienates us from his truth. f439

And that he might recommend to us an agreement in Christ, he teaches us how necessary it is: for God is not truly glorified by us, unless the hearts of all agree in giving him praise, and their tongues also join in harmony. There is then no reason for any to boast that he will give glory to God after his own manner; for the unity of his servants is so much esteemed by God, that he will not have his glory sounded forth amidst discords and contentions. This one thought ought to be sufficient to check the wanton rage for contention and quarreling, which at this day too much possesses the minds of many.

<451507>Romans 15:7-12

7. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

7. Itaque suscipite vos mutuo, quemadmodum Christus vos suscepit, in gloriam Dei.

8. Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

8. Dico autem Iesum Christum ministerium fuisse circumcisionis super veritate Dei ad promissiones Patrum confirmandas:

9. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

9. Gentes autem pro misericordia glorificare debent Deum; quemad-modum scriptum est, Propter hoc confitebor tibi inter Gentes et nomini tuo psallam:

10. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

10. Et rursum dicit, Exultate Gentes cum populo ejus;

11. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and land him, all ye people.

11. Et rursum, Laudate Dominum omnes Gentes, et collaudate eum omnes populi.

12. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

12. Et rursum Iesaias dicit, Erit radix Jesse, et qui exurget ad imperandum Gentibus; in ipso Gentes sperabunt.

 

7. Receive ye then, etc. He returns to exhortation; and to strengthen this he still retains the example of Christ. For he, having received, not one or two of us, but all together, has thus connected us, so that we ought to cherish one another, if we would indeed continue in his bosom. Only thus then shall we confirm our calling, that is, if we separate not ourselves from those whom the Lord has bound together.

The words, to the glory of God, may be applied to us only, or to Christ, or to him and us together: of the last I mostly approve, and according to this import, — “As Christ has made known the glory of the Father in receiving us into favor, when we stood in need of mercy; so it behooves us, in order to make known also the glory of the same God, to establish and confirm this union which we have in Christ.” f440

8. Now I say, that Jesus Christ, etc. He now shows that Christ has embraced us all, so that he leaves no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, except that in the first place he was promised to the Jewish nation, and was in a manner peculiarly destined for them, before he was revealed to the Gentiles. But he shows, that with respect to that which was the seed of all contentions, there was no difference between them; for he had gathered them both from a miserable dispersion, and brought them, when gathered, into the Father’s kingdom, that they might be one flock, in one sheepfold, under one shepherd. It is hence right, he declares, that they should continue united together, and not despise one another; for Christ despised neither of them. f441

He then speaks first of the Jews, and says, that Christ was sent to them, in order to accomplish the truth of God by performing the promises given to the Fathers: and it was no common honor, that Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, put on flesh, that he might procure salvation for them; for the more he humbled himself for their sake, the greater was the honor he conferred on them. But this point he evidently assumes as a thing indubitable. The more strange it is, that there is such effrontery in some fanatical heads, that they hesitate not to regard the promises of the Old Testament as temporal, and to confine them to the present world. And lest the Gentiles should claim any excellency above the Jews, Paul expressly declares, that the salvation which Christ has brought, belonged by covenant to the Jews; for by his coming he fulfilled what the Father had formerly promised to Abraham, and thus he became the minister of that people. It hence follows that the old covenant was in reality spiritual, though it was annexed to earthly types; for the fulfillment, of which Paul now speaks, must necessarily relate to eternal salvation. And further, lest any one should cavil, and say, that so great a salvation was promised to posterity, when the covenant was deposited in the hand of Abraham, he expressly declares that the promises were made to the Fathers. Either then the benefits of Christ must be confined to temporal things, or the covenant made with Abraham must be extended beyond the things of this world.

9. The Gentiles also, f442 etc. This is the second point, on proving which he dwells longer, because it was not so evident. The first testimony he quotes is taken from <191801>Psalm 18; which psalm is recorded also in <102201>2 Samuel 22, where no doubt a prophecy is mentioned concerning the kingdom of Christ; and from it Paul proves the calling of the Gentiles, because it is there promised, that a confession to the glory of God should be made among the Gentiles; for we cannot really make God known, except among those who hear his praises while they are sung by us. Hence that God’s name may be known among the Gentiles, they must be favored with the knowledge of him, and come into communion with his people: for you may observe this everywhere in Scripture, that God’s praises cannot be declared, except in the assembly of the faithful, who have ears capable of hearing his praise.

10. Exult, ye Gentiles, with his people. This verse is commonly considered as if it was taken from the song of Moses; but with this I cannot agree; for Moses’ design there was to terrify the adversaries of Israel by setting forth his greatness, rather than to invite them to a common joy. I hence think that this is quoted from <194705>Psalm 47:5, where it is written, “Exult and rejoice let the Gentiles, because thou judgest the nations in equity, and the Gentiles on the earth thou guidest.” And Paul adds, with his people, and he did this by way of explanation; for the Prophet in that psalm no doubt connects the Gentiles with Israel, and invites both alike to rejoice; and there is no joy without the knowledge of God. f443

11. Praise God, all ye Gentiles, etc. This passage is not inaptly applied; for how can they, who know not God’s greatness, praise him? They could no more do this than to call on his name, when unknown. It is then a prophecy most suitable to prove the calling of the Gentiles; and this appears still more evident from the reason which is there added; for he bids them to give thanks for God’s truth and mercy. (<19B701>Psalm 117:1.)

12. And again, Isaiah, etc., This prophecy is the most illustrious of them all: for in that passage, the Prophet, when things were almost past hope, comforted the small remnant of the faithful, even by this, — that there would arise a shoot from the dry and the dying trunk of David’s family, and that a branch would flourish from his despised root, which would restore to God’s people their pristine glory. It is clear from the account there given, that this shoot was Christ, the Redeemer of the world. And then, he added, that he would be raised for a sign to the Gentiles, that might be to them for salvation. The words do indeed differ a little from the Hebrew text; for we read here, arise, while in Hebrew it is stand for a sign, which is the same; for he was to appear conspicuous like a sign. What is here hope, is in Hebrew seek; but according to the most common usage of Scripture, to seek God is nothing else but to hope in him. f444

But twice in this prophecy is the calling of the Gentiles confirmed, — by the expression, that Christ was to be raised up as a sign, and he reigns among the faithful alone, — and by the declaration, that they shall hope in Christ, which cannot take place without the preaching of the word and illumination of the Spirit. With these things corresponds the song of Simeon. It may be further added, that hope in Christ is an evidence of his divinity.

<451513>Romans 15:13-16

13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

13. Deus autem spei impleat vos omni gaudio et pace in credendo, quo abundetis in spe per potentiam Spiritus sancti.

14. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

14. Persuasus autem sum, fratres mei, ipse quoque de vobis, quod et ipsi pleni sitis bonitate, referti omni cognitione, idonei ad vos mutuo ad-monendos.

15. Nevertheless, 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,

15. Audacius antera scripsi vobis, fratres, ex parte, veluti commonefaciens vos, propter gratiam mihi datam a Deo;

16. That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

16. Ut sim minister Christi erga Gentes, consecrans evangelium Christi, ut sit oblatio Gentium acceptabilis, sanctificata per Spiritum sanctum.

 

13. And may the God, etc. He now concludes the passage, as before, with prayer; in which he desires the Lord to give them whatever he had commanded. It hence appears, that the Lord does in no degree measure his precepts according to our strength or the power of free-will; and that he does not command what we ought to do, that we, relying on our own power, may gird up ourselves to render obedience; but that he commands those things which require the aid of his grace, that he may stimulate us in our attention to prayer.

In saying the God of hope, he had in view the last verse; as though he said, — “May then the God in whom we all hope fill you with joy, that is, with cheerfulness of heart, and also with unity and concord, and this by believing:” f445 for in order that our peace may be approved by God, we must be bound together by real and genuine faith. If any one prefers taking in believing, for, in order to believe, f446 the sense will be, — that they were to cultivate peace for the purpose of believing; for then only are we rightly prepared to believe, when we, being peaceable and unanimous, do willingly embrace what is taught us. It is however preferable, that faith should be connected with peace and joy; for it is the bond of holy and legitimate concord, and the support of godly joy. And though the peace which one has within with God may also be understood, yet the context leads us rather to the former explanation. f447

He further adds, that ye may abound in hope; for in this way also is hope confirmed and increased in us. The words, through the power of the Holy Spirit, intimate that all things are the gifts of the divine bounty: and the word power is intended emphatically to set forth that wonderful energy, by which the Spirit works in us faith, hope, joy, and peace.

14. But even I myself am persuaded, etc. This was said to anticipate an objection, or it may be deemed a kind of concession, made with the view of pacifying the Romans; in case they thought themselves reproved by so many and so urgent admonitions, and thus unjustly treated. He then makes an excuse for having ventured to assume towards them the character of a teacher and of an exhorter; and he says, that he had done so, not because he had any doubt as to their wisdom, or kindness, or perseverance; but because he was constrained by his office. Thus he removed every suspicion of presumption, which especially shows itself when any one thrusts himself into an office which does not belong to him, or speaks of those things which are unsuitable to him. We see in this instance the singular modesty of this holy man, to whom nothing was more acceptable than to be thought of no account, provided the doctrine he preached retained its authority.

There was much pride in the Romans; the name even of their city made the lowest of the people proud; so that they could hardly bear a teacher of another nation, much less a barbarian and a Jew. With this haughtiness Paul would not contend in his own private name: he however subdued it, as it were, by soothing means; for he testified that he undertook to address them on account of his Apostolic office.

Ye are full of goodness, being filled with knowledge, etc. Two qualifications are especially necessary for him who gives admonitions: the first is kindness, which disposes his mind to aid his brethren by his advice, and also tempers his countenance and his words with courtesy, — and the second is skill in advice or prudence, which secures authority to him, inasmuch as he is able to benefit the hearers whom he addresses. There is indeed nothing more opposed to brotherly admonitions than malignity and arrogance, which make us disdainfully to despise the erring, and to treat them with ridicule, rather than to set them right. Asperity also, whether it appears in words or in the countenance, deprives our admonitions of their fruit. But however you may excel in the feeling of kindness, as well as in courtesy, you are not yet fit to advise, except you possess wisdom and experience. Hence he ascribes both these qualifications to the Romans, bearing them a testimony, — that they were themselves sufficiently competent, without the help of another, to administer mutual exhortations: for he admits, that they abounded both in kindness and wisdom. It hence follows, that they were able to exhort.

15. The more boldly, however, have I written to you, etc. The excuse follows, and in adducing this, that he might more fully show his modesty, he says, by way of concession, that he acted boldly in interposing in a matter which they themselves were able to do; but he adds that he was led to be thus bold on account of his office, because he was the minister of the gospel to the Gentiles, and could not therefore pass by them who were also Gentiles. He however thus humbles himself, that he might exalt the excellency of his office; for by mentioning the favor of God, by which he was elevated to that high honor, he shows that he could not suffer what he did according to his apostolic office to be despised. Besides, he denies that he had assumed the part of a teacher, but that of an admonisher, f44817

16. Consecrating the gospel, etc. This rendering I prefer to that which Erasmus in the first place adopts, that is, “Administering;” for nothing is more certain than that Paul here alludes to the holy mysteries which were performed by the priest. He then makes himself a chief priest or a priest in the ministration of the gospel, to offer up as a sacrifice the people whom he gained for God, and in this manner he labored in the holy mysteries of the gospel. And doubtless this is the priesthood of the Christian pastor, that is, to sacrifice men, as it were, to God, by bringing them to obey the gospel, and not, as the Papists have hitherto haughtily vaunted, by offering up Christ to reconcile men to God. He does not, however, give here the name of priests to the pastors of the Church simply as a perpetual title, but intending to commend the honor and power of the ministry, Paul availed himself of the opportunity of using this metaphor. Let then the preachers of the gospel have this end in view while discharging their office, even to offer up to God souls purified by faith.

What Erasmus afterwards puts down as being more correct, “sacrificing the gospel,” is not only improper but obscures also the meaning; for the gospel is, on the contrary, like a sword, by which the minister sacrifices men as victims to God. f449

He adds that such sacrifices are acceptable to God; which is not only a commendation of the ministry, but also a singular consolation to those who surrender themselves to be thus consecrated. Now as the ancient victims were dedicated to God, having been externally sanctified and washed, so these victims are consecrated to the Lord by the Spirit of holiness, through whose power, inwardly working in them, they are separated from this world. For though the purity of the soul proceeds from faith in the word, yet as the voice of man is in itself inefficacious and lifeless, the work of cleansing really and properly belongs to the Spirit.

<451517>Romans 15:17-21

17. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

17. Habeo igitur quod glorier per Iesum Christum in iis quae ad Deum pertinent.

18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

18. Non enim ausim loqui quicquam de iis quae non effecit Christus per me, in obedientiam Gentium, sermone et opere;

19. Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

19. In potentia signorum et prodigiorum, in potentia Spiritus Dei, ut ab Ierusalem et in circuitu usque in Illyricum impleverim evangelium Christi:

20. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

20. Ira annitens praedicare evangelium, non ubi nominatus erat Christus, ne super alienum fundamentum aedificarem;

21. But, as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

21. Sed quemadmodum scripture est, Ii quibus non annuntiatum est de eo, videbunt, et qui non audierunt, intelligent.

 

17. I have then, etc. After having in general commended his own calling, that the Romans might know that he was a true and undoubted apostle of Christ, he now adds testimonies, by which he proved that he had not only taken upon him the apostolic office conferred on him by God’s appointment, but that he had also eminently adorned it. He at the same time records the fidelity which he had exhibited in discharging his office. It is indeed to little purpose that we are appointed, except we act agreeably to our calling and fulfill our office. He did not make this declaration from a desire to attain glow, but because nothing was to be omitted which might procure favor and authority to his doctrine among the Romans. In God then, not in himself, did he glory; for he had nothing else in view but that the whole praise should redound to God.

And that he speaks only negatively, it is indeed an evidence of his modesty, but it availed also to gain credit to what he was proceeding to announce, as though he said, “The truth itself affords me such cause for glowing, that I have no need to seek false praises, or those of another, I am content with such as are true.” It may be also that he intended to obviate the unfavorable reports which he knew were everywhere scattered by the malevolent, he therefore mentioned beforehand that he would not speak but of things well known.

18. In order to make the Gentiles obedient, etc. These words prove what his object was, even to render his ministry approved by the Romans, that his doctrine might not be without fruit. He proves then by evidences that God by the presence of his power had given a testimony to his preaching, and in a manner sealed his apostleship, so that no one ought to have doubted, but, that he was appointed and sent by the Lord. The evidences were word, work, and miracles. It hence appears that the term work includes more than miracles. He at last concludes with this expression, through the power of the Spirit; by which he intimates that these things could not have been done without the Spirit being the author. In short, he declares that with regard to his teaching as well as his doing, he had such strength and energy in preaching Christ, that it was evidently the wonderful power of God, and that miracles were also added, which were seals to render the evidence more certain.

He mentions word and work in the first place, and then he states one kind of work, even the power of performing miracles. The same order is observed by Luke, when he says that Christ was mighty in word and work, (<422419>Luke 24:19;) and John says that Christ referred the Jews to his own works for a testimony of his divinity. (<430536>John 5:36.) Nor does he simply mention miracles, but gives them two designations. But instead of what he says here, the power of signs and of wonders, Peter has “miracles and signs and wonders.” (<440222>Acts 2:22.) And doubtless they were testimonies of divine power to awaken men, that being struck with God’s power, they might admire and at the same time adore him; nor are they without an especial meaning, but intended to stimulate us, that we may understand what God is.

This is a striking passage respecting the benefit of miracles: they are designed to prepare men to reverence and to obey God. So you read in Mark, that the Lord confirmed the truth by the signs which followed. (<411620>Mark 16:20.) Luke declares in the Acts, that the Lord by miracles gave testimony to the word of his grace. (<441403>Acts 14:3.) It is then evident that those miracles which bring glory to creatures and not to God, which secure credit to lies and not to God’s word, are from the devil. The power of the Spirit, which he mentions in the third place, I apply to both the preceding clauses. f450

19. So that from Jerusalem, etc. He joins also a testimony from the effect; for the success which followed his preaching exceeded all the thoughts of men. For who could have gathered so many churches for Christ, without being aided by the power of God? “From Jerusalem,” he says, “I have propagated the gospel as far as Illyricum, and not by hastening to the end of my course by a straight way, but by going all around, and through the intervening countries.” But the verb peplhrwke>nai, which after others I have rendered filled up or completed, means both to perfect and to supply what is wanting. Hence plh>rwma in Greek means perfection as well as a supplement. I am disposed to explain it thus, — that he diffused, as it were by filling up, the preaching of the gospel; for others had before begun, but he spread it wider. f451

20. Thus striving to preach the gospel, etc. As it was necessary for Paul not only to prove himself to be the servant of Christ and a pastor of the Christian Church, but also to show his title to the character and office of an Apostle, that he might gain the attention of the Romans, he mentions here the proper and peculiar distinction of the apostle-ship; for the work of an Apostle is to propagate the gospel where it had not been preached, according to that command,

“Go ye, preach the gospel to every creature.” (<411615>Mark 16:15.)

And this is what we ought carefully to notice, lest we make a general rule of what specially belongs to the Apostolic order: nor ought we to consider it a fault, that a successor was substituted who built up the Church. The Apostles then were the founders as it were of the Church; the pastors who succeeded them, had to strengthen and amplify the building’ raised up by them. f452 He calls that another’s foundation, which had been laid by the hand of another: otherwise Christ is the only stone on which the Church is founded. See <460311>1 Corinthians 3:11; and <490220>Ephesians 2:20.

21. But as it is written, etc. He confirms by the testimony of Isaiah what he had said of the evidence of his apostleship; for in <235215>Isaiah 52:15, speaking of the kingdom of Messiah, among other things he predicts, that the knowledge of Christ would be spread among the Gentiles throughout the whole world, that his name would be declared to those by whom it had not been heard of before. It was meet that this should be done by the Apostles, to whom the command was specifically given. Hence the apostleship of Paul was made evident from this circumstance, — that this prophecy was fulfilled in him. f453

It is absurd for any one to attempt to apply what is here said to the pastoral office; for we know that in Churches rightly formed, where the truth of the gospel has been already received, Christ’s name must be constantly preached. Paul then was a preacher of Christ, yet unknown to foreign nations, for this end, — that after his departure the same doctrine should be daily proclaimed in every place by the mouth of the pastors; for it is certain that the Prophet speaks of the commencement of the kingdom of Christ.

<451522>Romans 15:22-24

22. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

22. Itaque impeditus etiam saepius fui quominus venirem ad vos:

23. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

23. Nunc vero nullum amplius locum habens in his regionibus, desiderium autem habens a multis annis veniendi ad vos;

24. Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thither-ward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

24. Si quando in Hispaniam proficiscar, veniam ad vos: f454 spero enim fore ut istac iter faciens videam vos, et illuc a vobis deducar, si tamen prius ex parte vestra consuetudine fuero expletus.

 

22. And on this account, etc. What he had said of his apostleship he applies now to another point, even for the purpose of excusing himself for not having come to them, though he was destined for them as well as for others. He, in passing, then intimates, that in propagating the gospel from Judea as far as to Illyricum, he performed, as it were, a certain course enjoined him by the Lord; which being accomplished, he purposed not to neglect them. And lest they should yet think that they had been neglected, he removes this suspicion by testifying, that there had been for a long time no want of desire. Hence, that he had not done this sooner was owing to a just impediment: he now gives them a hope, as soon as his calling allowed him.

From this passage is drawn a weak argument respecting his going to Spain. It does not indeed immediately follow that he performed this journey, because he intended it: for he speaks only of hope, in which he, as other faithful men, might have been sometimes frustrated. f455

24. For I hope, etc. He refers to the reason why he had for a long time wished to come to them, and now intended to do so, — even that he might see them, enjoy an interview and an intercourse with them, and make himself known to them in his official character; for by the coming of the Apostles the gospel also came.

By saying, to be brought on my way thither by you, he intimates how much he expected from their kindness; and this, as we have already observed, is the best way for conciliating favor; for the more confidence any one hears is reposed in him, the stronger are the obligations under which he feels himself; inasmuch as we deem it base and discourteous to disappoint the good opinion formed of us. And by adding, When I shall first be in part filled, etc., he bears witness to the benevolence of his mind towards them; and to convince them of this was very necessary for the interest of the gospel.

<451525>Romans 15:25-29

25. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

25. Nunc verb proficiscor Ierosolymam ad ministrandum sanctis.

26. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

26. Placuit enim Macedoniae et Achaiae communicationem facere in pauperes sanctos qui sunt Ierosolymis:

27. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto their in carnal things.

27. Placuit, inquam, et debitores sunt ipsorum; si enim spiritualibus ipsorum communicarunt Gentes, debent et in carnalibus f456 ministrare ipsis.

28. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

28. Hoc igitur quum perfecero, et obsignavero illis fructum hunc, pro-ficiscar per vos in Hispaniam.

29. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

29. Scio autem quod quum venero ad vos, in plenitudine benedictionis evangelii Christi venturus sum.

 

25. But I am going now, etc. Lest they should expect his immediate coming, and think themselves deceived, if he had not come according to their expectation, he declares to them what business he had then in hand, which prevented him from going soon to them, and that was, — that he was going to Jerusalem to bear the alms which had been gathered in Macedonia and Achaia. Availing himself at the same time of this opportunity, he proceeds to commend that contribution; by which, as by a kind of intimation, he stirs them up to follow this example: for though he does not openly ask them, yet, by saying that Macedonia and Achaia had done what they ought to have done, he intimates, that it was also the duty of the Romans, as they were under the same obligation; and that he had this view, he openly confesses to the Corinthians, —

“I boast,” he says, “of your promptitude to all the Churches, that they may be stirred up by your example.”
(<470902>2 Corinthians 9:2.)

It was indeed a rare instance of kindness, that the Grecians, having heard that their brethren at Jerusalem were laboring under want, considered not the distance at which they were separated from them; but esteeming those sufficiently nigh, to whom they were united by the bond of faith, they relieved their necessities from their own abundance. The word communication, which is here employed, ought to be noticed; for it well expresses the feeling, by which it behooves us to succor the wants of our brethren, even because there is to be a common and mutual regard on account of the unity of the body. I have not rendered the pronoun tina<, because it is often redundant in Greek, and seems to lessen the emphasis of this passage. f457 What we have rendered to minister, is in Greek a participle, ministering; but the former seems more fitted to convey the meaning of Paul: for he excuses himself, that by a lawful occupation he was prevented from going immediately to Rome.

27. And their debtors they are, etc. Every one perceives, that what is said here of obligation, is said not so much for the sake of the Corinthians as for the Romans themselves; for the Corinthians or the Macedonians were not more indebted to the Jews than the Romans. And he adds the ground of this obligation, — that they had received the gospel from them: and he takes his argument from the comparison of the less with the greater. He employs also the same in another place, that is, that it ought not to have appeared to them an unjust or a grievous compensation to exchange carnal things, which are immensely of less value, for things spiritual. (<470911>2 Corinthians 9:11.) And it shows the value of the gospel, when he declares, that they were indebted not only to its ministers, but also to the whole nation, from whom they had come forth.

And mark the verb leitourgh~sai, to minister; which means to discharge one’s office in the commonwealth, and to undergo the burden of one’s calling: it is also sometimes applied to sacred things. Nor do I doubt but that Paul meant that it is a kind of sacrifice, when the faithful gave of their own to relieve the wants of their brethren; for they thus perform that duty of love which they owe, and offer to God a sacrifice of an acceptable odor. But in this place what he had peculiarly in view was the mutual right of compensation.

28. And sealed to them this fruit, etc. I disapprove not of what some think, that there is here an allusion to a practice among the ancients, who closed up with their seals what they intended to lay up in safety. Thus Paul commends his own faithfulness and integrity; as though he had said, that he was an honest keeper of the money deposited in his hands, no otherwise than if he carried it sealed up. f458 — The word fruit seems to designate the produce, which he had before said returned to the Jews from the propagation of the gospel, in a way similar to the land, which by bringing forth fruit supports its cultivator.

29. And I know, that when I come, etc. These words may be explained in two ways: he first meaning is, — that he should find a plentiful fruit from the gospel at Rome; for the blessing of the gospel is, when it fructifies by good works: but to confine this to alms, as some do, is not what I approve. The second is, that in order to render his coming to them more an object of desire, he says, that he hopes that it would not be unfruitful, but that it would make a great accession to the gospel; and this he calls fullness of blessing, which signifies a full blessing; by which expression he means great success and increase. But this blessing depended partly on his ministry and partly on their faith. Hence he promises, that his coming to them would not be in vain, as he would not disappoint them of the grace given to him, but would bestow it with the same alacrity with which their minds were prepared to receive the gospel.

The former exposition has been most commonly received, and seems also to me the best; that is, that he hoped that at his coming he would find what he especially wished, even that the gospel flourished among them and prevailed with evident success, — that they were excelling in holiness and in all other virtues. For the reason he gives for his desire is, that he hoped for no common joy in seeing them, as he expected to see them abounding in all the spiritual riches of the gospel. f459

<451530>Romans 15:30-33

30. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

30. Obsecro autem vos fratres, per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum et per dilectionem Spiritus, ut concertetis mihi in precibus vestris pro me ad Deum;

31. That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service which have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

31. Ut liberer ab incredulis in Iudea, et ut ministerium meum quod suscipio erga Ierusalem acceptum sit sanctis;

32. That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed

32. Ut cum gaudio veniam ad vos per voluntatem Dei, unique vobiscum refociller. Dens autem pacts sit cure omnibus vobis. Amen. f460

33. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 

 

30. Now I beseech you, etc. It is well known from many passages how much ill-will prevailed against Paul in his own nation on account of false reports, as though he taught a departure from Moses. He knew how much calumnies might avail to oppress the innocent, especially among those who are carried away by inconsiderate zeal. Added also to this, was the testimony of the Spirit, recorded in <442023>Acts 20:23; by which he was forewarned, that bonds and afflictions awaited him at Jerusalem. The more danger then he perceived, the more he was moved: hence it was, that he was so solicitous to commend his safety to the Churches; nor let us wonder, that he was anxious about his life, in which he knew so much danger to the Church was involved.

He then shows how grieved his godly mind was, by the earnest protestation he makes, in which he adds to the name of the Lord, the love of the Spirit, by which the saints ought to embrace one another. But though in so great a fear, he yet continued to proceed; nor did he so dread danger, but that he was prepared willingly to meet it. At the same time he had recourse to the remedies given him by God; for he solicited the aid of the Church, so that being helped by its prayers, he might find comfort, according to the Lord’s promise, —

“Where two or three shall assemble in my name, there in the midst of them am I,” (<401820>Matthew 18:20;)

and,

“Whatsoever they agree in on earth, they shall obtain in heaven,” (<401819>Matthew 18:19.)

And lest no one should think it an unmeaning commendation, he besought them both by Christ and by the love of the Spirit. The love of the Spirit is that by which Christ joins us together; for it is not that of the flesh, nor of the world, but is from his Spirit, who is the bond of our unity.

Since then it is so great a favor from God to be helped by the prayers of the faithful, that even Paul, a most choice instrument of God, did not think it right to neglect this privilege, how great must be our stupidity, if we, who are abject and worthless creatures, disregard it? But to take a handle from such passages for the purpose of maintaining the intercessions of dead saints, is an instance of extreme effrontery.- f461

That ye strive together with me, f462 etc. Erasmus has not given an unsuitable rendering, “That ye help me laboring:” but, as the Greek word, used by Paul, has more force, I have preferred to give a literal rendering: for by the word strive, or contend, he alludes to the difficulties by which he was oppressed, and by bidding them to assist in this contest, he shows how the godly ought to pray for their brethren, that they are to assume their person, as though they were placed in the same difficulties; and he also intimates the effect which they have; for he who commends his brother to the Lord, by taking to himself a part of his distress, do so far relieve him. And indeed if our strength is derived from prayer to God, we can in no better way confirm our brethren, than by praying to God for them.

31. That my ministration, etc. Slanderers had so prevailed by their accusations, that he even feared that the present would hardly be acceptable, as coming from his hands, which otherwise, under such a distress, would have been very seasonable. And hence appears his wonderful meekness, for he ceased not to labor for those to whom he doubted whether he would be acceptable. This disposition of mind we ought to imitate, so that we may not cease to do good to those of whose gratitude we are by no means certain. We must also notice that he honors with the name of saints even those by whom he feared he would be suspected, and deemed unwelcome. He also knew that, saints may sometimes be led away by false slanders into unfavorable opinions, and though he knew that they wronged him, he yet ceased not to speak honorably of them.

By adding that I may come to you, he intimates that this prayer would be profitable also to them, and that it concerned them that he should not be killed in Judea. To the same purpose is the expression with joy; for it would be advantageous to the Romans for him to come to them in a cheerful state of mind and free from all grief, that he might in a more lively and strenuous manner labor among them. And by the word refreshed, f463 or satisfied, he again shows how fully persuaded he was of their brotherly love. The words by the will of God remind us how necessary it is to be diligent in prayer, for God alone directs all our ways by his providence.

And the God of peace, f464 etc. From the universal word all, I conclude that he did not simply pray that God would be present with and favor the Romans in a general sense, but that he would rule and guide every one of them. But the word peace refers, I think, to their circumstances at the time, that God, the author of peace, would keep them all united together.


CHAPTER 16

<451601>Romans 16:1-16

1. I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;

1. Commendo antera vobis Phoeben sororem nostram, quae est ministra ecclesiae Cenchreensis;

2. That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succored of many, and of myself also.

2. Ut eam suscipiatis in Domino, ut dignum est sanctis, et adsitis ei in quocunque vobis eguerit negotio; etenim ipsa cum multis affuit, tum etiam mihi ipsi.

3. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus;

3. Salutate Priscam et Acylam, cooperarios meos in Christo Iesu;

4. (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles:)

4. Qui pro anima mea suam ipsorum cervicem posuerunt, quibus non ego solus gratias ago, sed etiam omnes ecclesiae Gentium;

5. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ.

5. Et domesticam eorum ecclesiam. Salutate Epaenetum mihi dilectum qui est primitiae Achaiae in Domino.

6. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.

6. Salutate Mariam, quae multum laboravit erga vos.

7. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

7. Salutate Andronicum et Juniam, cognatos meos et cocaptivos meos, qui sunt insignes inter Apostolos, qui etiam ante me fuerunt in Christo.

8. Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.

8. Salutate Ampliam, dilectum meum in Domino.

9. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

9. Salutate Urbanurn, adjutorem nostrum in Christo et Stachyn dilectum meum.

10. Salute Apelies, approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

10. Salutate Apellen, probatum in Christo. Salutate eos qui sunt ex Aristobuli familiaribns.

11. Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

11. Salutate Herodionem, cognatum meum. Salutate eos qui sunt ex Narcissi familiaribus, hos qui sunt in Domino.

12. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.

12. Salutate Tryphsenam et Tryphosam, quae laborant in Domino. Salutate Persidem dilectam, quae multum laboravit in Domino.

13. Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

13. Salutate Rufum electum in Domino et matrem illius ac meam.

14. Salute Asyneritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

14. Salutate Asynchritum, Phlegontem, Hermam, Patrobam, Mercurium, et qui cum his sunt fratres.

15. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

15. Salutate Philologum et Iuluiam, Nereum et sororem ejus, et Olympam, et qui cum his sunt omnes sanctos.

16. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

16. Salutate vos invicem in osculo sancto. Salutant vos ecelesiae Christi.

 

1. I commend to you, etc. The greater part of this chapter is taken up with salutations; and as they contain no difficulties, it would be useless to dwell long on them. I shall only touch on those things which require some light by an explanation.

He first commends to them Phoebe, to whom he gave this Epistle to be brought to them; and, in the first place, he commends her on account of her office, for she performed a most honorable and a most holy function in the Church; and then he adduces another reason why they ought to receive her and to show her every kindness, for she had always been a helper to all the godly. As then she was an assistant f465 of the Cenchrean Church, he bids that on that account she should be received in the Lord; and by adding as it is meet for saints, he intimates that it would be unbecoming the servants of Christ not to show her honor and kindness. And since it behooves us to embrace in love all the members of Christ, we ought surely to regard and especially to love and honor those who perform a public office in the Church. And besides, as she had always been full of kindness to all, so he bids that help and assistance should now be given to her in all her concerns; for it is what courtesy requires, that he who is naturally disposed to kind-ness should not be forsaken when in need of aid, and to incline their minds the more, he numbers himself among those whom she had assisted.

But this service, of which he speaks as to what it was, he teaches us in another place, in <540509>1 Timothy 5:9, for as the poor were supported from the public treasury of the Church, so they were taken care of by those in public offices, and for this charge widows were chosen, who being free from domestic concerns, and cumbered by no children, wished to consecrate themselves wholly to God by religious duties, they were therefore received into this office as those who had wholly given up themselves, and became bound to their charge in a manner like him, who having hired out his own labors, ceases to be free and to be his own master. Hence the Apostle accuses them of having violated their faith, who renounced the office which they had once undertaken, and as it behooved them to live in widowhood, he forbade them to be chosen under sixty years of age, (<540509>1 Timothy 5:9,11,) because he foresaw that under that age the vow of perpetual celibacy was dangerous, yea, liable to prove ruinous. This most sacred function, and very useful to the Church, when the state of things had become worse, degenerated into the idle order of Nuns; which, though corrupt at its beginning, and contrary to the word of God, has yet so fallen away from what it was at its commencement, that there is no difference between some of the sanctuaries of chastity and a common brothel.

3. Salute Prisca f466 and Aquila. The testimonies which he brings here in favor of some individuals, were partly intended for this end, that by honoring those who were faithful and worthy, faithfulness itself might be honored, and that they who could and would do more good than others, might have authority; and partly that they themselves might study to act in a manner corresponding to their past life, and not fail in their religious course, nor ever grow languid in their pious ardor.

It is a singular honor which he ascribes here to Prisca and Aquila, especially with regard to a woman. The modesty of the holy man does on this account more clearly shine forth; for he disdained not to have a woman as his associate in the work of the Lord; nor was he ashamed to confess this. She was the wife of Aquila, and Luke calls her Priscilla. (<441802>Acts 18:2.) f467

4. To whom not only I, etc. As Prisca and Aquila had not spared their life for preserving the life of Paul, he testifies that he himself was individually thankful to them: he however adds, that thanks were given them by all the Churches of Christ; and he added this that he might, by such an example, influence the Romans. And deservedly dear and precious to all the Gentiles was the life of such a man, as it was an incomparable treasure: it was therefore no wonder that all the Churches of the Gentiles thought themselves to be under obligations to his preservers. f468

What he adds respecting the Church in their house is worthy of being observed; for he could not have more splendidly adorned their household than by giving it the title of a Church. The word congregation, which Erasmus has adopted, I do not approve; for it is plainly evident, that Paul, by way of honor, had used the sacred name of Church. f469

5. Who is the first-fruit, etc. This is an allusion to the rites of the law; for as men are sanctified to God by faith, they who first offer themselves are fitly called the first-fruit. Whosoever then is called first in time to the faith, Paul allows him the prerogative of honor: yet he retains this eminence only when the end corresponds with the beginning. And doubtless it is no common honor when God chooses some for first-fruits: and there is in addition a greater and an ampler trial of faith, through a longer space of time, provided they who have first begun are not wearied in their course. f470

6. He again testifies his gratitude, in recording the kindness of Mary to him. Nor is there any doubt but that he commemorates these praises, in order to recommend those whom he praised to the Romans. f471

7. Salute Andronicus. Though Paul is not wont to make much of kindred, and of other things belonging to the flesh, yet as the relationship which Junia and Andronicus bore to him, might avail somewhat to make them more fully known, he neglected not this commendation. There is more weight in the second eulogy, when he calls them his fellow-prisoners; f472 for among the honors belonging to the warfare of Christ, bonds are not to be counted the least. In the third place, he calls them Apostles: he uses not this word in its proper and common meaning, but extends it wider, even to all those who not only teach in one Church, but also spend their labor in promulgating the gospel everywhere. He then, in a general way, calls those in this place Apostles, who planted Churches by carrying here and there the doctrine of salvation; for elsewhere he confines this title to that first order which Christ at the beginning established, when he appointed the twelve disciples. It would have been otherwise strange, that this dignity should be only ascribed to them, and to a few others. But as they had embraced the gospel by faith before Paul, he hesitates not to set them on this account before himself. f473

11. Who are of the family of Narcissus. It would have been unbecoming to have passed by Peter in so long a catalogue, if he was then at Rome: yet he must have been there, if we believe the Romanists. But since in doubtful things nothing is better than to follow probable conjecture, no one, who judges impartially, will be persuaded that what they affirm is true; for he could not surely have been omitted by Paul.

It is further to be noticed, that we hear nothing here of splendid and magnificent titles, by which we might conclude that men high in rank were Christians; for all those whom Paul mentions were the obscure and the ignoble at Rome. Narcissus, whom he here names, was, I think, the freeman of Claudius, a man notorious for many crimes and vices. The more wonderful was the goodness of God, which penetrated into that impure house, abounding in all kinds of wickedness; not that Narcissus himself had been converted to Christ, but it was a great thing that a house, which was like hell, should be visited by the grace of Christ. And as they, who lived under a foul pander, the most voracious robber, and the most corrupt of men, worshipped Christ in purity, there is no reason that servants should wait for their masters, but every one ought to follow Christ for himself. Yea, the exception added by Paul shows that the family was divided, so that the faithful were only a few.

16. Salute one another with a holy kiss. It is clear from many parts of Scripture, that a kiss was a usual and common symbol of friendship among the Jews; it was perhaps less used by the Romans, though not unfrequent, only it was not lawful to kiss women, except those only who were relatives. It became however a custom among the ancients for Christians to kiss one another before partaking of the Supper, to testify by that sign their friendship; and then they bestowed their alms, that they might in reality and by the effect confirm what they had represented by the kiss: all this appears evident from one of the homilies of Chrysostom. f474 Hence has arisen that practice among the Papists at this day, of kissing the paten, and of bestowing an offering: the former of which is nothing but superstition without any benefit, the other serves no other purpose but to satisfy the avariciousness of the priests, if indeed it can be satisfied.

Paul however seems not here positively to have enjoined a ceremony, but only exhorts them to cherish brotherly love; and he distinguishes it from the profane friendships of the world, which, for the most part, are either disguised or attained by vices, or retained by wicked arts, and never tend to any good. By sending salutations from the Churches, f475 he was endeavoring, as much as he could, to bind all the members of Christ by the mutual bond of love.

<451617>Romans 16:17-20

17. Now, I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

17. Obsecro autem vos fratres, ut observetis eos qui dissidia et offensiones contra doctrinam, quam vos didicistis, excitant; et ut declinetis ab illis.

18. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

18. Qui enim tales sunt, Christo Domino non serviunt, sed suo ventri; ac per blandiloquentiam et assentationem decipiunt corda simplicium.

19. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

19. Vestra quidem obedientia ad omnes permanavit: gaudeo igitur de vobis; sed volo vos sapientes esse ad bonum, simplices verb ad malum.

20. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

20. Deus autem pacis conteret brevi Satanam sub pedibus vestris. Gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi sit vobiscum. Amen.

 

17. And I beseech you, etc. He now adds an exhortation, by which all Churches have often need of being stirred up; for the ministers of Satan are ever ready to take occasion to disturb the kingdom of Christ: and they attempt to make disturbances in two ways; for they either sow discord, by which the minds of men are drawn away from the unity of truth, or they occasion offenses, by which men are alienated from the love of the gospel. f476 The former evil is done when the truth of God is mixed with new dogmas devised by men; and the latter takes place, when by various arts it is made odious and contemptible. He therefore bids all, who did either of these two things, to be observed, lest they should deceive and catch the unwary; and also to be shunned, for they were injurious. Nor was it without reason that he required this attention from the faithful; for it often happens through our neglect or want of care, that such wicked men do great harm to the Church, before they are opposed; and they also creep in, with astonishing subtlety, for the purpose of doing mischief, except they be carefully watched.

But observe, that he speaks of those who had been taught the pure truth of God. It is indeed an impious and sacrilegious attempt to divide those who agree in the truth of Christ: but yet it is a shameful sophistry to defend, under the pretext of peace and unity, a union in lies and impious doctrines. There is therefore no ground for the Papists to seek countenance from this passage, in order to raise ill-will against us; for we do not impugn and tear asunder the gospel of Christ, but the falsehoods of the devil, by which it has been hitherto obscured: nay, Paul clearly shows, that he did not condemn all kinds of discords, but those which destroyed consent in the orthodox faith; for the force of the passage is in the words, which ye have learnt; for it was the duty of the Romans, before they were rightly taught, to depart from the habits of their fathers and the institutions of their ancestors.

18. For they who are such, etc. He mentions an unvarying mark, by which false prophets are to be distinguished from the servants of Christ; for they have no care for the glory of Christ, but seek the benefit of their stomach. As, however, they deceitfully crept in, and by assuming another character, concealed their own wickedness, he at the same time pointed out, in order that no one might be deceived, the arts which they adopted — that they ingratiated themselves by a bland address. The preachers of the gospel have also their courtesy and their pleasing manner, but joined with honesty, so that they neither soothe men with vain praises, nor flatter their vices: but impostors allure men by flattery, and spare and indulge their vices, that they may keep them attached to themselves. He calls those simple who are not cautious enough to avoid deceptions.

19. Your obedience, f477 etc. This is said to anticipate an objection; for he shows that he did not warn them, as though he thought unfavorably of them, but because a fall in their case was such as might have easily happened; as if he had said, — “Your obedience is indeed commended everywhere, and for this reason I rejoice on your account: yet since it often happens, that a fall occurs through simplicity, I would have you to be harmless and simple as to the doing of evil; but in doing good, to be most prudent, whenever it may be necessary, so that you may preserve your integrity.”

We here see what that simplicity is which is commended in Christians; so that they have no reason to claim this distinction, who at this day count as a high virtue their stupid ignorance of the word of God. For though he approves in the Romans, that they were obedient and teachable, yet he would have them to exercise wisdom and judgment, lest their readiness to believe exposed them to impositions. So then he congratulates them, because they were free from a wicked disposition; he yet wished them to be wise, so as to exercise caution. f478

20. What follows, God shall bruise Satan, etc., is a promise to confirm them, rather than a prayer. He indeed exhorts them to fight manfully against Satan, and promises that they should shortly be victorious. He was indeed once conquered by Christ, but not in such a way but that he renews the war continually. He then promises ultimate defeat, which does not appear in the midst of the contest. At the same time he does not speak only of the last day, when Satan shall be completely bruised; but as Satan was then confounding all things, raging, as it were, with loose or broken reins, he promises that the Lord would shortly subdue him, and cause him to be trodden, as it were, under foot. Immediately a prayer follows, — that the grace of Christ would be with them, that is, that they might enjoy all the blessings which had been procured for them by Christ.

<451621>Romans 16:21-27

21. Timotheus my work-fellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

21. Salutant vos Timotheus, co-operarins meus, et Lucius et lason et Sosipater, cognati mei.

22. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

22. Saluto ego vos Tertius, qui scripsi epistolam, in Domino.

23. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

23. Salutat vos Gaius, hospes meus et Ecclesiae totius. Salutat vos Erastus, quaestor aerarius urbis, et Quartus frater.

24. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

24. Gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi sit cure omnibus vobis. Amen.

25. 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,

25. Ei vero qui potens est vos confirmare secundum evangelium meum, et praeconium scilicet Iesu Christi, secundum revelationem mys-terii, quod temporibus secularibus taciturn,

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 for the obedience of faith :)

26. Manifestatum nunc fuit, et per scripturas propheticas, secundum aeterni Dei ordinationem, in obedientiam fidel ad omnes gentes promul-gatum, —

27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe, servant of the church at Cen-chrea.

27. Soli sapienti Deo per Iesum Christum gloria in secula. Amen.

Ad Romanos missa fuit a Corin-the per Phoeben, ministram Cenchreensis ecclesiae.

 

21. Timothy, etc. The salutations which he records, served in part to foster union between those who were far asunder, and in part to make the Romans know that their brethren subscribed to the Epistle; not that Paul had need of the testimony of others, but because the consent of the godly is not of small importance.

The Epistle closes, as we see, with praise and thanksgiving to God. It indeed records the remarkable kindness of God in favoring the Gentiles with the light of the gospel, by which his infinite and unspeakable goodness has been made evident. The conclusion has, at the same time, this to recommend it, — that it serves to raise up and strengthen the confidence of the godly, so that with hearts lifted up to God they may fully expect all those things which are here as.-cribed to him, and may also confirm their hope as to what is to come by considering his former benefits. f479 But as he has made a long period, by collecting many things into one passage, the different clauses, implicated by being transposed, must be considered apart.

He ascribes first all the glory to God alone; and then, in order to show that it is rightly due to him, he by the way mentions some of his attributes; whence it appears that he alone is worthy of all praise. He says that he only is wise; which praise, being claimed for him alone, is taken away from all creatures. Paul, at the same time, after having spoken of the secret counsel of God, seems to have designedly annexed this eulogy, in order that he might draw all men to reverence and adore the wisdom of God: for we know how inclined men are to raise a clamor, when they can find out no reason for the works of God.

By adding, that God was able to confirm the Romans, he made them more certain of their final perseverance. And that they might acquiesce more fully in his power, he adds, that a testimony is borne to it in the gospel. Here you see, that the gospel not only promises to us present grace, but also brings to us an assurance of that grace which is to endure for ever; for God declares in it that he is our Father, not only at present, but that he will be so to the end: nay, his adoption extends beyond death, for it will conduct us to an eternal inheritance.

The other things are mentioned to commend the power and dignity of the gospel. He calls the gospel the preaching of Jesus Christ; inasmuch as the whole sum and substance of it is no doubt included in the knowledge of Christ. Its doctrine is the revelation of the mystery; and this its character ought not only to make us more attentive to hear it, but also to impress on our minds the highest veneration for it: and he intimates how sublime a secret it is, by adding that it was hid for many ages, from the beginning of the world. f480

It does not indeed contain a turgid and proud wisdom, such as the children of this world seek; and by whom it is held on this account in contempt: but it unfolds the ineffable treasures of celestial wisdom, much higher than all human learning; and since the very angels regard them with wonder, surely none of us can sufficiently admire them. But this wisdom ought not to be less esteemed, because it is conveyed in an humble, plain, and simple style; for thus it has pleased the Lord to bring down the arrogance of the flesh.

And as it might have created some doubt how this mystery, concealed for so many ages, could have so suddenly emerged, he teaches us, that this has not happened through the hasty doings of men, or through chance, but through the eternal ordination of God. Here, also, he doses up the door against all those curious questions which the waywardness of the human mind is wont to raise; for whatever happens suddenly and unexpectedly, they think, happens at random; and hence they absurdly conclude, that the works of God are unreasonable; or at least they entangle themselves in many perplexing doubts. Paul therefore reminds us, that what appeared then suddenly had been decreed by God before the foundation of the world.

But that no one might raise a dispute on the subject, and charge the gospel with being a new thing, and thus defame it, he refers to the prophetic Scriptures, in which we now see, that what is fulfilled had been foretold; for all the Prophets have rendered to the gospel so clear a testimony, that it can in no other way be so fully confirmed. And God thus duly prepared the minds of his people, lest the novelty of what they were not accustomed to should too much astonish them. F481

If any one objects and. says, that there is an inconsistency in the words of Paul, because he says that the mystery, of which God had testified by his Prophets, was hid throughout all the ages;—the solution of this knot is plainly given by Peter,—that the Prophets, when they sedulously inquired of the salvation made known to us, ministered, not to themselves, but to us. (<600112>1 Peter 1:12.) God then was at that time silent, though he spoke; for he held in suspense the revelation of those things concerning which he designed that his servants should prophesy.

Though it is not agreed among the learned in what sense he calls the gospel a hidden mystery in this place, and in <490309>Ephesians 3:9, and in <510126>Colossians 1:26; yet their opinion has most in its favor, who apply it to the calling of the Gentiles, to which Paul himself expressly refers in his Epistle to the Colossians. [Now, though I allow this to be one reason, I yet cannot be brought to believe that it is the only reason. It seems to me more probable that Paul had also a regard to some other differences between the Old and the [New Testament. For though the Prophets formerly taught all those things which have been explained by Christ and his Apostles, yet they taught them with so much obscurity, that in comparison with the clear brightness of gospel light, it is no wonder that those things are said to have been hidden which are now made manifest. [Nor was it indeed to no purpose that Malachi declared that the Sun of righteousness would arise, (<390402>Malachi 4:2 ;) or that Isaiah had beforehand so highly eulogized the embassy of the Messiah. And lastly, it is not without reason that the gospel is called the kingdom of God: but we may’ conclude from the event itself, that then only were opened the treasures of celestial wisdom, when God appeared to his ancient people through his only-begotten Son, as it were face to face, all shadows having been done away. He again refers to the end, mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter, for which the gospel is to be preached,—that God may lead all nations to the obedience of faith.

PRAISE FOR EVER TO

THE ONLY WISE GOD:

AMEN.


A TRANSLATION OF

CALVIN’S VERSION OF

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.

CHAPTER 1

1       Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called Apostle, chosen for the gospel of God,

2       Which he had before promised by his Prophets in the holy Scriptures,

3       Concerning his Son, who came from the seed of David according to the flesh;

4       Declared the Son of’ God in power, through the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord;

5       Through whom we have received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all nations, for his name’s sake;

6       Among whom ye are also the called of Jesus Christ;

7               To all of you who are at Rome, beloved by God, called saints: grace to you, and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

8               First indeed I give thanks to my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, because your faith is proclaimed through the whole world.

9               For my witness is God, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that I continually make mention of you, in all my prayers,

10       Requesting that by some means a prosperous journey may some time be given me, through God’s will, to come to you:

11             For I desire to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to confirm you;

12             That is, that we may mutually partake of encouragement through mutual faith, even yours and mine.

13             And I would not that you should not know, brethren, that I have often proposed to come to you, (and have been hitherto hindered,) that I might have some fruit among you as also among other nations.

14             Both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish, am I a debtor;

15             So that, as far as I can, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also who are at Rome;

16             For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, since it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first, then to the Greek;

17             For the righteousness of God is in it revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The just by his faith shall live.”

18       Revealed also is the wrath of God from heaven, against all the impiety and injustice of men, who unjustly suppress the truth of God;

19       Because what may be known of God, is manifest in them, for God has manifested it to them;

20       Since his invisible things are seen from the creation of the world, being understood by his works, even his eternal power and divinity, so that they are inexcusable;

21       inasmuch as when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, nor were thankful; but became vain in their thoughts, and darkened was their foolish heart:

22       When they thought themselves wise, they became fools,

23             And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image, into that of a corruptible man and of birds and of quadrupeds anti of reptiles.

24       Therefore God gave them up to the lusts of their own hearts for uncleanness, that they might degrade their bodies among themselves,

25       Who had transformed the truth respecting God into falsehood, and worshipped and adored the creature above the Creator; who is blessed for ever; Amen

26       Therefore, I say, God gave them up to disgraceful passions; for their women turned the natural habit into that which is contrary to nature;

27             And in like manner the men also, having left. off the natural use of the woman, burned with mutual lust, one towards another, males working filthiness with males, and receiving in themselves the reward due to them for their going astray.

28             And as they chose not to retain the knowledge of God, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do things not becoming;

29             That they might be full of all unrighteousness, wickedness, lust, avarice, malignity, being filled with envy, murder, strife, guile, perversity, being whisperers,

30       Calumniators, haters of God, villaneus, disdainful, haughty, inventors of evils, disobedient to parents,

31       Without understanding, insociable, void of natural affections, truce-breakers, merciless;

32       Who, when they knew the judgment of God, that they who do such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but approve of those who do them.

CHAPTER 2

1       Therefore inexcusable art thou, O man, who judgest; for in what thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for the same things doest thou who judgest.

2       Now we know that God’s judgment is according to truth on those who do such things.

3               And thinkest thou, O man, who judgest those who do such things and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

4               Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and gentleness, not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?

5               But according to thy hardness and a heart that cannot repent, thou treasurest for thyself wrath for the day of wrath and of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6       Who will render to every one according to his works, —

7               To those indeed, who by perseverance in doing good, seek glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

8               But to those who are contentious and disobedient to the truth and obey unrighteousness, there shall be indignation and wrath,

9       Tribulation and anguish shall be on every soul of man who doeth evil, the Jew first, then the Greek;

10             But glory and honor and peace shall be to every one who works good, to the Jew first, then to the Greek;

11       Since there is no respect of persons with God.

12             For whosoever have without the law sinned, shall also without the law perish; but whosoever have under the law sinned, shall by the law be judged,

13             For not the hearers of the law are just before God; but they who do the law shall be justified.

14       When indeed the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things of the law, they, having not the law, are a law to themselves;

15       Who show the work of the law written on their hearts, their conscience at the same time attesting, and their thoughts accusing or excusing each other,

16             In the day in which God will judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, through Jesus Christ.

17       Behold, thou art named a Jew, and restest in the law and gloriest in God,

18             And knowest his will and approvest of things excellent, being instructed from the law,

19             And art confident that thou thyself art a leader to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

20             An instructor to the foolish, a teacher to the ignorant, because thou hast the form of knowledge and of’ the truth according to the law:

21             Yet thou who teachest another, dost not teach thyself; thou who preachest “steal not,” stealest;

22       Thou who sayest, “commit no adultery,” committest adultery; thou who hatest idols, committest sacrilege;

23       Thou who gloriest in the law, by transgressing the law dishonorest God; for the name of God,

24             As it is written, is reproached on your account among the nations.

25             For circumcision indeed profits, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is turned into uncircumcision.

26             If then the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

27             And shall not he who is by nature uncircumcision judge thee, (if he keep the law,) who by the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law?

28             For not he who is a Jew openly, is a Jew; nor is that circumcision which is openly in the flesh:

29             But he who is one in secret is a Jew; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; the praise of whom is not from men, but from God.

CHAPTER 3

1       What then is the privilege of the Jew, or what is the benefit of circumcision?

2       Much in every way; and first indeed, because to them have been intrusted the oracles of God.

3       What indeed if some have not believed? Shall their unbelief render void the faithfulness of God?

4               By no means; but let God be true, and every man false, as it is written, “That thou mightest be justified in thy words, and overcome when thou art judged.”

5               But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who executes wrath? (according to man I speak:)

6               By no means; for how then shall God judge the world?

7               If indeed the truth of God has through my falsehood redounded to his glory, why still am even I judged as a sinner, —

8               And why not (as we are reproached, and as some declare that we say) “Let us do evils, that good things may come?” the judgment of whom is just.

9       What then? do we excel? Not at all; for we have before brought a charge against both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin;

10             As it is written, “There is none righteous, not indeed one;

11       There is none who understands, There is none who seeks God;

12             All have turned aside; they have become together unprofitable; there is none who doeth kindness, no, not even one:

13             An open grave is their throat; with their tongues have they dealt deceitfully: The poison of asps is under their lips:

14       Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15       Swift are their feet to shed blood;

16             Ruin and misery are in their ways;

17             And the way of peace have they not known:

18       There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19       Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may become guilty before God:

20       Because no flesh shall by the works of the law be justified before him, since by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21             But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being approved by the law and the Prophets, —

22       Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, which is to all and upon all who believe: there is indeed no difference;

23             For all have sinned, and are become destitute of the glory of God;

24             And they are justified gratuitously by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25       Whom God has set forth as a propitiatory through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness on account of the remission of sins, which before existed through the forbearance of God, —

26             For a demonstration of his righteousness, at this time, that he might be just. and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.

27       Where then is glorying? It is excluded: by what law? Of works? no; but by the law of faith.

28             We then conclude, that by faith is man justified without the works of the law.

29             Is he the God of the Jews only? and not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also;

30       Since one is God, who will justify the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith.

31             Do we then make void the law by faith? By no means; but we confirm the law.

CHAPTER 4

1       What shall we then say, that Abraham, our father according to the flesh, had obtained?

2               For if Abraham was by works justified, he has what he may glory in, but not before God.

3               But what saith the Scripture? “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.”

4               To him indeed who works the reward is not imputed as a grace, but as a debt:

5               But to him who works not, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, imputed is his faith for righteousness.

6               As David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works,

7       “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

8       Blessed is the man to whom God has not imputed sin.”

9               Was then this blessedness on the circumcision only, or also on the uncircumcision? for we say, that imputed to Abraham was faith for righteousness:

10       How then was it imputed? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision;

11             And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all who believe while in uncircumcision, in order that to them also righteousness might be imputed, —

12             And the father of the circumcision, not to those who are in circumcision only, but who walk in the footsteps of that faith which our father Abraham had in uncircumcision.

13             It was not indeed by the law that the promise was to Abraham and to his seed, that he should be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith.

14             For if they who are of the law are heirs, then made void is faith, and abolished is the promise.

15             For the law causeth wrath: but where no law is, there is also no transgression.

16             It is therefore by faith, that it might be through grace, in order that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but which also is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

17             (As it is written, “The father of many nations have I made thee,”) before God whom he believed, who quickens the dead, and calls things which are not, as though they were:

18       Who against hope believed through hope, that he would be the father of many nations, according to what had been said, “So shall thy seed be.”

19             And being not in faith weak, he considered not his own body, now dead, when he was nearly an hundred years old, nor the dead womb of Sarah;

20             Nor did he indeed search into the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened by faith, giving glory to God;

21             And being assuredly persuaded, that what he had promised he was also able to perform:

22             And it was therefore imputed to him for righteousness.

23       Now it was not written on his account only, that it was imputed to him

24             But also on our account, to whom it shall be imputed, even to us who believe on him, who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25       Who was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification.

CHAPTER 5

1       Being then justified, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;

2       Through whom we have had access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and glory in the hope of the glory of God:

3               And not only so, but we glory also in tribulations; knowing that tribulation produces patience;

4               And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5       Moreover, hope makes us not ashamed, because the love of God is diffused in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

6               For Christ, when we were as yet as to time weak, died for the ungodly.

7       Hardly indeed for the just will any one die; but for the good perhaps some one may even venture to die:

8               But God confirms his love towards us, because when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9       Much more then, having been now justified by his blood, shall we be saved by him from wrath.

10             If indeed when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life:

11             And not only so, but we also glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

12       Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death; and so over all men has death spread, since all have sinned;

13             (For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14             Yet reign did sin from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is the figure of him that was to come.

15             But not as the offense, so also the gift: for if through the offense of one many died, much more has the grace of God, and the gift of God through grace, abounded unto many.

16             And not as through one who had sinned, so the gift; for judgment was from one offense to condemnation, but the gift is from many offenses unto justification.

17             For if by the offense of one death reigned through one, much more shall they who have received abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, reign in life through one, Jesus Christ.)

18       Therefore as through the offense of one judgment came on all men to condemnation, so also through the justification of one, the gift comes to all men to the justification of life:

19             For as through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one many shall be made righteous.

20             But the law intervened, that the offense might abound: but where sin abounded, grace has superabounded;

21             That as sin has reigned through death, so grace also might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

CHAPTER 6

1       What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound

2               By no means: we who have died to sin, how shall we still live in it?

3       Know ye not, that we all, who have been baptized into Jesus Christ, have been baptized into his death?

4       Buried then have we been with him through baptism unto death, that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life:

5               For if we have been ingrafted in the likeness of his death, doubtless we shall also be partakers of his resurrection;

6       Knowing this, that our old man was crucified, together with him, that abolished might be the body of sin, so that we may no longer serve sin:

7               For he who has died, has been freed from sin.

8       Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;

9       Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more, death no more reigns over him:

10             For that he died, he once for sin died; and that he lives, he lives to God.

11             So also regard ye yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12             Let not sin then reign in your mortal body, so as to obey it. in its lusts.

13       Neither present your members, as weapons of unrighteousness, to sin; but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members, as weapons of righteousness, to God:

14             For sin shall not rule over you, since ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15       What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? By no means:

16       Know ye not that to whom ye present yourselves servants for obedience, ye are the servants of him whom ye Obey, whether of sin for death, or of obedience for righteousness?

17             But thanks to God; for ye have been the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine into which you were delivered;

18             And having been freed from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19             I speak what is human on account of the infirmity of your flesh: As ye have presented your members to uncleanness and to iniquity for iniquity, so also now present your members servants to righteousness for holiness:

20             For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21       What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which ye are now ashamed? for their end is death;

22             But now, having been freed from sin and made servants to God, ye have your fruit, holiness, and your end, eternal life:

23             For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

CHAPTER 7

1       Know ye not, brethren, (for to those who know the law I speak,) that the law rules over a man as long as he lives.

2               For a woman, subject to a husband, is bound by the law to a living husband: but if the husband die, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3       While then the husband is living, she shall be called an adulteress, if she be united to another man: but if the husband be dead, she is freed from his law, so that she is not an adulteress by marrying another man.

4               And thus, my brethren, are ye also dead to the law through the body of Christ, that hereafter ye should be united to another, even to him who has been raised from the dead, that ye might bring forth fruit to God.

5               For when ye were in the flesh, the emotions of sin which are through the law wrought in your members to bring forth fruit to death:

6               But now ye are loosed from the law, having died to that by which we were held, that we might serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

7       What then shall we say? Is the law sin? By no means: yet sin I knew not except through the law; for concupiscence I had not known, had not the law said, “Thou shalt not lust.”

8               And the occasion being taken, sin through the commandment wrought in me every concupiscence. Sin indeed without the law is dead:

9               And I lived some time without the law; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;

10             And the commandment, which was for life, was found by me to be unto death:

11             For sin taking occasion through the commandment, led me astray, and through it slew me.

12             So then the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

13             Did then what is good become death to me? By no means: but sin, that it might appear to be sin, wrought death in me through that which is good, in order that sin through the commandment might become above measure sinful.

14             We indeed know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin:

15             For what I work I know not; since what I would, this I do not, but what I hate, this I do.

16             If then, what I would not, this I do, I consent to the law of God, that it is good:

17             And now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin which dwells in me. f482

18             I indeed know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for to will is present with me, but to perform what is good I find not;

19       Since the good I would I do not; but the evil . I would not, that I do.

20             But if what I would not, that I do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin which dwells in me.

21             I find then a law that while I am willing to do good, evil lies in wait for me.

22             I consent then to the law of God according to the inner-man:

23             But I see another law in my members, resisting the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which is in my members.

24       Miserable man am I! who shall rescue me from this body of death?

25             I give thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord: so then with the mind I serve myself the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

CHAPTER 8

1       There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2               For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and of death:

3               For it being impossible for the law, because it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, even by a sin-offering condemned sin in the flesh;

4               That the justification of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5               For they who are after the flesh, think of the things of the flesh; but they who are after the Spirit, of the things of the Spirit.

6       Doubtless the thinking of the flesh is death; but the thinking of the Spirit is life and peace:

7       Because the thinking of the flesh is enmity against God; for to the law of God it is not subject, nor can it be;

8       They therefore who are in the flesh, cannot please God.

9               But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you; but if any one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.

10             But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead with respect to sin, but the spirit is life with regard  to righteousness.

11             If then the Spirit of him, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will quicken your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12             So then, brethren, debtors we are, not to the flesh, that we may live after the flesh;

13             For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if by the Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live:

14             For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

15             Ye have not indeed received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, Abba, Father:

16             The very Spirit itself testifies together with our spirit, that we are the sons of God:

17             And if sons, then heirs; the heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.

18             I indeed judge, that the afflictions of this time are not to be compared to the future glory which shall be revealed to us.

19             For the intent expectation of the creation waits for the revelation of the sons of God;

20             For to vanity has the creation been subjected, not willingly, but on account of him who has subjected it in hope;

21       Because the creation itself shall also be reclaimed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God;

22             For we know that the whole creation groans and labors in pain to this day:

23             And not only so, but we ourselves also, who have the beginnings of the Spirit, even we ourselves do groan in ourselves, waiting for our adoption, the redemption of our body;

24             For by hope are we saved but hope that is seen is not. hope; for what one sees, how can he hope for it?

25             If then for what we see not we hope, we wait for it in patience. f483

26             And in like manner the Spirit also assists our infirmities; for what to pray for as we ought we know not; but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings unutterable:

27             And he who searches the hearts knows the mind of the Spirit; because he intercedes according to God’s will for the saints.

28             We further know, that to those who love God all things co-operate for good, even to those who are called according to his purpose:

29             For whom he has foreknown, he has also predetermined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren;

30             And whom he has predetermined, them has he also called; and whom he has called, them has he also justified; and whom he has justified, them has he also glorified.

31       What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32             He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33       Who shall bring an accusation against the elect of God? God is he who justifies

34       Who is he who condemns? Christ is he who died; nay, rather who has been raised, who also is at the right hand of the Father, and who intercedes for us.

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

36             As it is written, “For thee we die daily, we are counted as sheep destined for the slaughter:”

37             But in all these things we do more than overcome through him who has loved us.

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

39       Neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.

CHAPTER 9

1               The truth I say in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me a testimony together with the Holy Spirit,

2               That I have a great grief and a continual sorrow in my heart;

3               For I myself could wish to be an anathema from Christ for my brethren, my kindred according to the flesh;

4       Who are Israelites, whose are the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the lawgiving and the worship and the promises;

5       Whose are the fathers, and from whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is above all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

6               Not however as though God’s word has failed; for not all who are from Israel are Israelites;

7               Nor are they who are the seed of Abraham, on this account all sons; but, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called;”

8               That is, They who are the sons of the flesh, are not the sons of God; but they who are the sons of the promise shall be counted for a seed.

9               For the word of promise is this, “According to this time shall I come, and there shall be a son to Sarah.”

10             And not only he, but Rebecca also, who had conceived by one, our father Isaac;

11             For when the children were not yet born, and had done neither good nor evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not by works, but through him who calls,

12             It was said to her, “The elder shall serve the younger;”

13       According to what is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

14       What then shall we say? Is there unrighteousness with God? By no means:

15             For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

16             It is not then of him who wills, nor of him who runs; but of God who shows mercy.

17             For the Scripture saith to Pharaoh, “For this have I raised thee, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be proclaimed through the whole earth.”

18             So then on whom he wills he has mercy, and whom he wills he hardens.

19       Thou wilt then say to me, Why does he still blame? His will, who has resisted it?

20             But, O man, who art thou who contendest in judgment with God? Does the earthen vessel say to the potter, Why hast thou thus made me?

21             Has not the former of the clay power, from the same mass, to make one vessel to honor, another to dishonor?

22             And what if God, willing to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction;

23             That he might also make known the riches of his grace towards the vessels of mercy, which he has foreprepared for glory?

24       Whom he has also called, even us, not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles;

25             As he says in Hosea, “I will call them my people, who is not a people, and her beloved, who is not beloved:

26             And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, ‘Blot my people are ye;’ there shall they be called the sons of the living God:”

27             And Isaiah exclaims respecting Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel should be as the sand of the sea, yet only a remnant shall be saved;

28             For the work he will finish and shorten, because a shortened work will the Lord do on the earth;”

29             As Isaiah had also said before, “Except the Lord of hosts had left us a seed, we should have been as Sodom and made like to Gomorrha.”

30       What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not follow after righteousness, have obtained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith:

31             But Israel, by following after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

32       Why? Because [they followed after it] not by faith, but as it were by works; for they have stumbled at the stone of stumbling,

33       According to what is written, “Behold, I lay in Sion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense :” and, “Every one who believes in him shall not be ashamed.”

CHAPTER 10

1       Brethren, the kind desire of my heart, and prayer to God for Israel, is for their salvation.

2               For I bear to them a testimony, that they have a zeal for God; but not according to knowledge,

3               For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to the righteousness of God;

4               For the end of the law is Christ for righteousness to every one who believes.

5               For Moses describes the righteousness which is by the law, “The man who shall do these things shall live by them:”

6               But the righteousness, which is by faith, saith thus, “Say not in thine heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?’ this is to bring, down Christ;

7               Or, ‘Who shall descend into the deep?’ that is to bring up Christ again from the dead:” but what does it say?

8       “Nigh thee is the word, in thy mouth and in thy heart:” this is the word of’ faith which we preach, —

9               That if thou wilt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved;

10             For with the heart we believe to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation; for the Scripture says,

11       “Every one who believes in him shall not be ashamed:”

12             For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same is the Lord of all, being rich to all who call on him;

13             For, “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

14       How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15             And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim peace, who proclaim good things!”

16             But all have not obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, “Who has believed our report?”

17       Faith then is by hearing, and hearing through the word of God.

18             But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, “Into all the earth has gone forth their sound, and into the ends of the world their words.”

19             But I say, Has not Israel known? First, Moses says, “I will provoke them to jealousy by them who are not a people, and by a foolish nation will I irritate them:”

20       Then Isaiah is bold and says, “I have been found by those who sought me not, I have been made manifest to those, who inquired not for me;

21             But of Israel he says, “Daily have I stretched forth my hands to a people disobedient and gain saying.”

CHAPTER 11

1               I say then, Hath God cast away his people? By no means; for I also am an Israelite, from the seed of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

2               God has not cast away his people whom he has foreknown. Know ye not what the Scripture saith as to Elias? how he appeals to God against Israel, saying,

3       “Lord, thy prophets have they killed, and thy altars have they pulled down, and I am left alone, and they seek my life?”

4               But what says the answer of God to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”

5               So now, even at this time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace’

6               And if through grace, then no longer by works, otherwise grace is no longer grace; but if by works, then no longer by grace, otherwise work is no longer work.

7       What then? That which Israel seeks, he has not obtained; but election has obtained it, and the rest have been blinded,

8               As it is written, “God has given them the spirit of compunction, eyes so as not to see, and ears so as not to hear,” even to this day;

9               And David says, “Be their table for a snare and for a trap, and for a stumbling, and for a recompense to them;

10       Darkened be their eyes so as not to see, and their back ever bow thou down.”

11             I say then, Have they stumbled so as wholly to fall? By no means; but by their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles in order to provoke them to jealousy.

12             But if their fall be the riches of the world, and their diminution the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their falness?

13       Even to you Gentiles do I speak, — As far, doubtless, as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I make illustrious my office,

14             If by any means I shall provoke to emulation my flesh, and shall save some of them.

15             If indeed their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will be their resumption but life from the dead?

16       Now if the first-fruits be holy, even so the lump; and if the root be holy, so also the branches.

17             If indeed some of the branches have been broken off, and thou, a wild olive, hast been ingrafted instead of them, and hast become a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive,

18       Glory not against the branches; but if thou gloriest, it is not thou who bearest the root, but the root thee.

19       Thou wilt then say, “Broken off have been the branches, that I might be ingrafted.”

20             Be it so: for unbelief have they been broken off, and thou by faith standest; be not high-minded, but fear:

21             For if God spared not the natural branches, beware lest he should not spare thee.

22             See then the kindness and the severity of God; towards those indeed who have fallen, severity; but towards thee kindness, if thou continuest in his kindness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off:

23             And they, if they remain not in unbelief, shall be ingrafted; for God is able to ingraft them again.

24             For if thou hast been cut off from the wild olive, which is so by nature, and hast contrary to nature been ingrafted in the true olive, much more shall they, according to nature, be ingrafted in their own olive.

25             I would not indeed, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be proud among yourselves, that blindness has in part happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in:

26             And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, “Come from Sion shall the Deliverer, and shall turn away impieties from Jacob;

27             And this shall be my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.”

28             As to the gospel they are indeed enemies on your account; but as to election they are beloved on account of the fathers;

29             For without repentance are the gifts and the calling of God.

30             As indeed ye also formerly believed not God, but have now obtained mercy through their unbelief;

31             So also they have not now believed, because ye have obtained mercy, that they may also obtain mercy:

32             For God has shut up all under unbelief, that he might show mercy to all.

33             O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! how incomprehensible are his judgments and unsearchable his ways!

34       Who indeed has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been to him a counselor?

35             Or, who has first given to him, and it shall be rendered to him again?

36             For from him and through him and for him are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.

CHAPTER 12

1               I beseech you then, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, as your rational service.

2               And conform not yourselves to this world, but be ye transformed by the renovation of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3               I indeed say, through the grace which has been given to me, to every one of you, that he be not above measure wise, beyond what he ought to be wise; but that he be wise unto sobriety, as God has to each distributed the measure of faith.

4               For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office;

5               So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and severally members of one another.

6       Now having gifts differing according to the grace given to us, whether prophecy, let us use it according to the analogy of faith;

7               Or ministry, in ministering; or the teacher, in teaching;

8               Or the exhorter, in exhortation; or the giver, in simplicity; or the president, with care; or he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

9               Let love be undissembled: turn away from evil, cleave to what is good.

10             Be ready with brotherly love to love one another, anticipating each other with honor.

11             In business be not slothful, in spirit fervent, serving the time;

12       Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer,

13       Distributing to the necessities of the saints, following hospitality.

14       Bless those who persecute you; bless and pray for no evil.

15       Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep,

16       Having the same feeling towards one another, not thinking arrogantly of yourselves, but accommodating yourselves to humble things: be not wise in your own esteem.

17             To no man render evil for evil, providing honest things before all men

18             If it be possible, as far as you can, cultivate peace with all men.

19       Avenge not yourselves, beloved; but give place to wrath; for it is written, “Mine is vengeance, and I will repay, saith the Lord.”

20             If then thine enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for by so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21             Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

CHAPTER 13

1               Let every soul be subject to the supreme powers; for there is no power but from God; and the powers that be have been ordained by God.

2               He therefore who resists the power, resists the ordination of God; and they who resist, shall for themselves receive judgment.

3               For princes are not for terror to good but to evil works: wouldest thou then not fear the power? Do good, and from it thou shalt have praise;

4               For he is God’s minister to thee for good: but if thou doest any evil, fear; for not in vain does he bear the sword, since he is God’s minister, an avenger for wrath against those who do evil.

5               It is therefore necessary to be subject, not only on account of wrath, but also on account of conscience.

6               For this reason also pay tributes, since they are God’s ministers, constantly attending to this very thing.

7       Render then to all what is due; to whom tribute is due, tribute; to whom custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honor, honor.

8               To no one owe ye anything, except to love one another; for he who loves another, has fulfilled the law;

9               For this, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false testimony, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other precept, it is comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

10       Love works no evil to a neighbor; the fulfilling then of the law is love.

11       Moreover, as ye know the time, that the hour is, when we ought to have awakened already from sleep, (for nearer is now our salvation than when we believed,)

12             The night is far advanced, and the day has approached; let us then cast away the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light:

13             Let us walk decently as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chamberings and lasciviousness, not in contention and envy;

14             But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and have no care for the flesh for the sake of its lusts.

CHAPTER 14

1       Now him who is weak in faith receiver not for the debatings of questions.

2               Let him indeed who believes eat everything; but he who is weak, eats herbs.

3               Let not him who eats, despise him who abstains; and let not him who abstains, condemn him who eats, since God has received him.

4       Who art thou who judgest the servant of another? to his own Lord he stands or falls: he shall indeed stand, for God is able to make him stand.

5               One indeed esteems a day above a day; but another esteems every day alike: let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6               He who regards a day, regards it for the Lord; and he who regards not a day, regards it not for the Lord: he who eats, eats for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, abstains for the Lord, and gives thanks to God;

7               For no one of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself;

8               For whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord; whether then we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

9               For to this end Christ both died, and rose and lived again, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10             But thou, f484 why dost thou judge thy brother? or also thou f485 why dost thou despise thy brother? for we must all stand bell fore the tribunal of Christ;

11             For it is written, “Live do I, saith the Lord; to me shall bow every knee, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12       Every one of us then shall give an account of himself to God.

13             Let us therefore no more judge one another; but rather judge this, that no occasion of falling or an offense be given to a brother.

14             I know and am persuaded, that in the Lord Jesus nothing is in itself unclean: but he who regards anything uncleany to him it is unclean.

15             But if on account of meat thy brother is grieved, thou no longer walkest consistently with love: by thy meat destroy not him for whom Christ died.

16             Let not then your good be subject to the evil-speaking of men.

17             For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy through the Holy Spirit.

18             For he who in these things serves Christ, is acceptable to God and approved by men.

19             Let us then follow the things of peace and of mutual edification:

20             On account of meat destroy not the work of God. All things are indeed pure; but evil it is for man to eat with offense.

21             It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything, by which thy brother may fall, or be offended, or be weakened.

22             Hast thou faith? Have it for thyself before God: happy is he who condemns not himself in that which he examines

23             But he who is undecided, if he eat, is condemned; for he eats not in faith: and whatsoever is not from faith is sin.

CHAPTER 15

1       Now we who are able ought to bear the infirmities of the unable, and not to please ourselves:

2               Let indeed each of us please his neighbor for good, to his edification.

3               For even Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee, fell upon me.”

4               For whatsoever things have been before written, have been written for our instruction, that through the patience and consolation of the Scriptures we might have hope:

5               And may the God of patience and of consolation grant you to have the same mind towards one another, according to Christ Jesus,

6               That ye may unanimously, with one mouth, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7       Receive ye then one another, as Christ has received us, to the glory of God.

8       Now I say, that Jesus Christ became the minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,

9               The Gentiles also ought to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, “On this account will I confess to thee among the Gentiles, and to thy name will I sing ”

10             And again he says, “Exult, ye Gentiles, with his people;”

11             And further, “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and praise him together, all ye nations:”

12             And again Isaiah says, “There shall be the root; of’ Jesse, and he who shall rise up to reign over the

13       Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

14             But I am persuaded, my brethren, even I myself, concerning you, that ye are also yourselves full of’ goodness, having been filled with all knowledge, being able to admonish one another.

15             The more boldly, however, have I written to you, my brethren, in part, as putting you in mind, on account of the grace given to me by God,

16             That I should be the minister of Christ to the Gentiles, consecrating the gospel of Christ, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

17             I have therefore reason for glorying, through Jesus Christ, in the things of God.

18             I will not indeed dare to speak anything of those things which Christ has not done through me, as to the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and work,

19       Through the power of signs and of wonders, through the power of the Holy Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and round about to Illyricum,

20             I have spread more fully f486 the gospel of Christ; thus endeavoring to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, that I might not build on another’s foundation;

21             But, as it is written, “They to whom it has not been declared concerning him, shall see; and they who have not heard, shall understand.”

22             I have on this account also been often hindered from coming to you,

23             But now, having a place no longer in these regions, and having a desire for many years to come to you,

24       When I go to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope that when I go there I shall see you, and that I shall be brought on my way thither by you, if however I shall first be in part filled by a converse with you.

25             But I am now going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.

26             For it has pleased Macedonia and Achaia to make a contribution to the saints who are at Jerusalem:

27             It has pleased them, I say, and their debtors they are; for if the Gentiles have partaken of their spiritual things, they ought also to minister to them in temporal things.

28       When therefore I shall have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by you to Spain:

29             And I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

30       Now I beseech you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, that ye strive with me in your prayers for me to God,

31             That I may be delivered from the unbelieving in Judea, and that my service, undertaken for Jerusalem, may be acceptable to the saints;

32             That with joy I may come to you by the will of God, and may, together with you, be refreshed.

33             And the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

CHAPTER 16

1       Now I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, who is a deaconess of the Cenchrean Church;

2               That ye receive her in the Lord, as it becomes saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever matter she may have need of’ you; for she has been a helper to many, and to me also.

3       Salute Prisca and Aquila, [my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus,

4       Who for my life laid down their own necks, to whom not I alone give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles,

5               And the Church in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved, who is the first-fruit of Achaia in the Lord

6       Salute Mary, who has labored much with us.

7       Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow-captives, who are celebrated among the Apostles, and who were before me in Christ.

8       Salute Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.

9       Salute Urban, our helper in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.

10       Salute Apelles, approved in Christ. Salute those who are of the family of Aristobulus.

11       Salute Herodion, my kinsman. Salute those of the family of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.

12       Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored much in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, who has labored much in the Lord.

13       Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

14       Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.

15       Salute Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

16       Salute one another with an holy kiss. The Churches of Christ salute you.

17             But I beseech you, brethren, to observe those who stir up divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learnt, and to avoid them:

18             For they, who are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but, their own belly; and by courteous language and flattery deceive the hearts of the simple.

19       Your obedience indeed has been published to all: I am therefore glad on your account; but I wish you to be wise for good,

20             And simple for evil. And the God of peace shall shortly bruise Satan under your feet,. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

21       Salute you do Timothy, my fellow-worker, and Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

22       Salute you do I Terrius, who have written this Epistle, in the Lord.

23       Salute you does Gaius, my host and of the whole Church. Salute you does Erastus, the treasurer of the city, and Quartus a brother.

24             The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

25       Now to him who is able to confirm you according to my gospel, even the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was hid in former ages,

26             But has been now made known, and through the prophetic Scriptures proclaimed, according to the appointment of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith among all nations

27             To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ,, be glory for ever. Amen.

Sent to the Romans, from Corinth, by Phoebe,
a deaconess of the Cenchrean Church.

END OF THE NEW TRANSLATION


Footnotes

Chapter 10

ft315 The ga<r, “for,” at the beginning of <451004>Romans 10:4, connects it with the latter part of the preceding, as the ga<r, “for,” in the preceding connects it with the latter part of <451002>Romans 10:2; and ga<r also in <451005>Romans 10:5 expresses a reason for what <451004>Romans 10:4 contains. So that we have a regular chain; the following sentence gives a reason for the one immediately preceding in four instances. — Ed.

ft316 Calvin’s Latin for this verse is: “Fratres, benevolentia certe cordis mei et deprecatio ad Deum super Israel est in salutem — Brethren, the goodwill indeed of my heart and prayer to God for Israel is for their salvation.” The word for “goodwill,” eujdoki>a, means a kind disposition towards another, it means here a benevolent or a sincere desire, or, according to Theophylact, an earnest desire. Doddridge renders it “affectionate desire;” Beza, “propensa voluntas — propense wish;” and Stuart, “kind desire.”

At the beginning of the last chapter the Apostle expressed his great grief for his brethren the Jews, he now expresses his great love towards them, and his strong desire for their highest good — their salvation. — Ed.

ft317 “A zeal of God,” zh>lon Qeou~, is a zeal for God, a genitive case of the object. Some regard “God” here as meaning something great, as it is sometimes used in Hebrew, and render the phrase, as Macknight does, “a great zeal;” but this is not required by the context. The Jews had professedly “a zeal for God,” but not accompanied with knowledge. The necessity of knowledge as the guide of zeal is noted by Turettin in four particulars: 1. That we may distinguish truth from falsehood, as there may be zeal for error and false doctrine as well as for that which is true; 2. That we may understand the comparative importance of things, so as not to make much of what is little, and make little account of what is great; 3. That we may prosecute and defend the truth in the right way, with prudence, firmness, fidelity, and meekness; 4. That our zeal may have the right object, not our own interest and reputation, but the glory of God and the salvation of men. — Ed.

ft318 “Complementum — the complement,” the filling up, the completion. The word te>lov, “end,” is used in various ways, as signifying — 1. The terminations of any thing, either of evils, or of life, etc., <401022>Matthew 10:22; <431301>John 13:1; — 2. Completion or fulfillment, <422237>Luke 22:37; <540109>1 Timothy 1:9; — 3. The issue, the effect, the consequence, the result, <450621>Romans 6:21; <600109>1 Peter 1:9; <471115>2 Corinthians 11:15; — 4. Tribute or custom, <451307>Romans 13:7; — 5. The chief thing, summary or substance, <600308>1 Peter 3:8.

The meaning of the word depend on what is connected with it. The end of evils, or of life, is their termination; the end of a promise is its fulfillment; the end of a command, its performance or obedience; the end of faith is salvation. In such instances, the general idea is the result, or the effect, or the consequence. Now the law may be viewed as an economy, comprising the whole Jewish law, not perfect, but introductory; in this view Christ may be said to be its end — its perfection or “its landing place.” But we may also regard the law in its moral character, as the rule and condition of life; then the end of the law is its fulfillment, the performance of what it requires to attain life: and Christ in this respect is its end, having rendered to it perfect obedience. This last meaning is most consistent with the words which follow, and with the Apostle’s argument. The first view is taken by Chrysostom, Beza, Turrettin, as well as Calvin; the second, by Mede, Stuart, and Chalmers. There is really not much difference in the two views; only the sequel of the verse, “for righteousness to every one who believes,” and the opposite sentiment in the next verse, “the man who doeth these shall live in (or through) them,” seem to favor the latter view. — Ed.

ft319 Righteousness is here personified, according to the usual manner of the Apostle: law and sin had before been represented in the same way. — Ed.

ft320 It seems not necessary to have recourse to the distinctions made in the foregoing section. The character of the quotation given is correctly described in the words of Chrysostom, as quoted by Poole, “Paulus ea transtulit et aptavit ad jusitiam fidei — Paul transferred and accommodated these things to the righteousness of faith.” He evidently borrowed the words of Moses, not literally, but substantially, for the purpose of setting forth the truth he was handling. The speaker is not Moses, but “the righteousness of faith,” represented as a person. Luther, as quoted by Wolfius, says, that “Paul, under the influence of the Spirit, took from Moses the occasion to form, as it were, a new and a suitable text against the justiciaries.” It appears to be an application, by way of analogy, of the words of Moses to the gospel; but Pareus, Wolfius, Turrettin, and Doddridge, consider the words as applied by way of accommodation. — Ed.

ft321 “The righteousness of faith” is evidently the “it” in this question: See <451006>Romans 10:6. — Ed.

ft322 It is “the word” which requires “faith,” and is received by faith; or it is the word entitled to faith, worthy of being believed; or it is the word which generates and supports faith. — Ed.

ft323 “He puts ‘mouth’ before ‘heart,’” says Pareus, “for he follows the order in which they are given by Moses, and for this reason, because we know not faith otherwise than by profession.”

This is one of the many instances both in the New and Old Testament, in which the most apparent act is mentioned first, and then the most hidden, or in which the deed is stated first, and then the principle from which it proceeds. See <451313>Romans 13:13; Romans15:13. And we have here another instance of the Apostle’s style; he reverses the order in <451010>Romans 10:10, mentioning faith first, and confession last. The two verses may be thus rendered, —

9. That if thou wilt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
And believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead,
Thou shalt be saved.

10. For with the heart we believe unto righteousness,
And with the mouth we confess unto salvation.

He begins and ends with confession, and in the middle clauses he mentions faith. — Ed.

ft324 “Creditur;” pisteu>etai, “it is believed.” It is an impersonal verb, and so is the verb in the next clause. The introduction of a person is necessary in a version, and we may say, “We believe;” or, as “thou” is used in the preceding verse, it may be adopted here, — “For by the heart thou believest unto righteousness,” i.e., in order to attain righteousness; “and with the mouth thou confessest unto salvation,” i.e., in order to attain salvation. “God knows our faith,” as Pareus observes, “but it is made known to man by confession.” Turrettin’s remarks on this verse are much to the purpose. He says, that Paul loved antitheses, and that we are not to understand faith and confession as separated and applied only to the two things here mentioned, but ought to be viewed as connected, and that a similar instance is found in <450925>Romans 9:25, where Christ is said to have been delivered for our offenses, and to have risen again for our justification; which means, that by his death and resurrection our offenses are blotted out, and justification is obtained. In the same manner the import of what is here said is, that by sincere faith and open confession we obtain justification and salvation. — Ed.

ft325 As in <451133>Romans 11:33, the Apostle quotes from the Septuagint; for to “make haste,” as the Hebrew is, conveys the same idea as “to be ashamed:” for he who hastens, acts for the most part foolishly and brings himself to shame, as Saul did, when he did not wait for Samuel, but hastened to sacrifice, and thereby brought shame on himself. — Ed.

ft326 “Pro benigno et benefico:” the word “rich,” is rather to be taken as meaning one who possesses abundance, or an exuberance of things, and here, of gifts and blessings, of mercy and grace to pardon, to cleanse, and to endow with spiritual privileges. — Ed.

ft327 The passage referred to is in <290232>Joel 2:32. It is taken verbatim from the Septuagint; and it is literally according to the Hebrew, except that the last verb flm, in that language, means to be set free, rescued, or delivered, rather than to be saved; but the idea is nearly the same. — Ed.

ft328 “This prophecy,” say Gomarus, “has not two meanings — the proper and the allegorical, as the Papists foolishly assert, but two fulfillments; the first wen heralds announced the return of the people from Babylon to their own country; and the second, (shadowed forth by the first as its destined type,) when the heralds of the gospel announced and proclaimed its tidings to the world.” — Ed.

ft329 This passage is taken from <235207>Isaiah 52:7. This is a striking instance that the Apostle quotes not from the Septuagint, when that version materially departs from the Hebrew, as is the case here. Though it appears to be a version of his own, he yet gives not the original literally, but accommodates it to his own purpose: he leaves out “on the mountains,” and adopts the plural number instead of the singular, both as to the participle “announcing” or evangelizing, and as to the word “good.” The words peace, good, and salvation, in Hebrew, seem to refer to the same thing, according to the usual style of the Prophets.

The words of Paul, as rendered by Calvin, coincide more with the Hebrew, than as the are rendered in our common version. The verb eujaggeli>zw, is often used simply in the sense of announcing, publishing, declaring or preaching, as in <420318>Luke 3:18; 4:43; <440542>Acts 5:42, etc.; and in this sense it exactly Corresponds with rb, which means the same, though the other idea of the Greek verb, that of evangelizing, has been wrongly given to it; for it is applied to the announcing of bad as well as of good news. — Ed.

ft330 Or, what is heard; it being a noun from [m, to hear, in its passive sense, it signifies a report, a message, or any tidings conveyed to the hearing of men. The Greek word ajkoh> is used in various senses, as signifying the act of hearing, <401314>Matthew 13:14, — the faculty of hearing, <461217>1 Corinthians 12:17, — the organ of hearing, the ear, <410735>Mark 7:35, — and what is heard, a word, a report, as here and in <431238>John 12:38. Schleusner refers to instances in the classics in which the word is used in all these meanings. It is not necessary, nor is it in accordance with the usual manner of the Apostle, to give the word the same meaning in the next verse as in this. It is the practice of the Apostle to use the same words in different senses in the same passage. See <450418>Romans 4:18; <450824>Romans 8:24. Here it means what is heard, report; and in the following verse, the act, that is, hearing. — Ed.

ft331 Intepreters have been very much at a loss to account for this difference. The Apostle adopts the rendering of the Septuagint, as though the Hebrew word had been lwq. Though there is no copy, yet consulted, that favors this reading, it is yet the probable one; not only because the Apostle sanctions it, but it is what the context demands, and especially the parallelism which prevails in Hebrew poetry. In the next line “words” are mentioned, and “voice” here would be the most suitable corresponding term. But we may go back to the preceding distich, and find not only a confirmation of this, but also an instance of terms being used in the same passage in different senses, while yet the meaning is obvious to a common reader, and at the same time intricate and puzzling to a critic. The two distichs may be thus rendered, —

4. Without speech, and without words!
Not heard is their voice! —

5. Through all the earth goes forth their voice,
And through the extremity of the world their words.

They have no words, and yet they have words; they have no voice, and yet they have a voice. Here the first and the last line Correspond, and the second and the third. There is indeed a different term used for “words” in the last line from that which is adopted in the first, but in the first there are two, “speech,” rma, and “words,” yrbd, which are expressed by one, ylm, in the last. It seems then most probable, that the true reading has been retained by the Septuagint.

The “sound,” or voice, as applied in this passage, means the report, the news, respecting the gospel; and the “words,” the actual preaching of it. — Ed.

ft332 The quotation is from <053221>Deuteronomy 32:21, and it is literally the Hebrew as well as the Septuagint, except that “you” is put for “them.” The contrast in Hebrew is very striking; the whole verse is this, —

21. They have made me jealous by a no-God,
They have provoked me by their foolish idols;
And I will make them jealous by a no-people,
By a foolish nation will I provoke them. — Ed.

ft333 <236501>Isaiah 65:1. The two sentences are reversed; the Septuagint and the Hebrew are the same. The reason for changing the order does not appear; but it may be observed, that it is an instance common in Hebrew, where essentially the same idea is expressed in two successive lines, so that it is immaterial which of them is put first. — Ed.

ft334 The passage is taken from <236502>Isaiah 65:2. The Septuagint is followed, except that the order of the words in the first part of the sentence is changed, thought the Septuagint has preserved the order of the original. The version is according to the Hebrew, with the exception of the last word, which from its form, the last radical letter being doubled, can hardly be expressed in another language by a single term, and so the Septuagint has employed two. It means “revolting again and again,” or willfully revolting. The simple verb rs, signifies to turn aside, to revolt, to apostatize: and in a reduplicate form, as here, it means either a repeated or an obstinate revolt. Indeed the revolt or the apostasy of the Jews was both reiterated and perverse, as their history abundantly testifies. — Ed.

Chapter 11

ft335 “Oraculum,” oJ crhmatismo>v, the oracle, the divine response. The answer is put for him who gave the answer, for it is “Jehovah” in the passage that is quoted; as “Scripture” in <451102>Romans 11:2, and in other places, means him who speaks in the Scriptures. — Ed.

ft336 That foreknowledge here includes election or predestination, as Augustine maintains, is evident from what follows in verse 5, where “the remnant” is said to be reserved “according to the election of grace,” or gratuitous election. If it be gratuitous, then it cannot be according to any foreseen works: and works are expressly excluded in <451106>Romans 11:6. Were it otherwise, were foreseen works the ground of election, there would be no suitableness nor congruity in such terms as foreknowledge and election on the subject. It would have been much more appropriate in this case for the Apostle to say, “God will receive every Jew who will render himself worthy by his works.” On this supposition there was no necessity for him to go back to election to remove the objection which he had stated; he had only to refer to the terms of the gospel, which regard Jews and Gentiles without any difference. But instead of doing this, which seems adequate to the purpose, he gives an answer by referring to the foreknowledge and free election of God. There is no way to account for this, except by admitting, that election is an efficacious purpose which secures the salvation of those who are its objects, who have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. — Ed.

ft337 “Quomodo appellet Deum adversus Israel — how he appeals to or calls on God against Israel;” wJv eJntugca>nei tw|~ Qew|~ kata< tou~ Israh<l; “how he solicits (interpellet) God against Israel,” Beza; “when he pleadeth with God against Israel,” Doddridge; “when he complaineth to God against Israel,” Macknight. To “complain to God against, or, with respect to, Israel,” would probably be the most suitable rendering. See <442524>Acts 25:24.

The quotation in the following verse is from <111910>1 Kings 19:10, and is not taken literally, either from the Hebrew, or from the Septuagint. The order of the two first clauses is changed; “prophets,” and not “altars,” are mentioned first; in these he has adopted the words of the Septuagint, but in this clause which follows he has changed the terms; instead of kai< uJpole>leimmai ejgw< monw>tatov, the Apostle has kajgw< uJpelei>fqhn mo>nov; and he has left out the words, “to take it away” after life. The case is similar with the quotation in <451104>Romans 11:4, from <111918>1 Kings 19:18. The sense is given, but not exactly the words, either from the Hebrew or the Septuagint. — Ed.

ft338 Pareus observes, that these seven thousand had no public ministry, for that was idolatrous; and that yet they were preserved by such instruction as they derived from the written word. — Ed.

ft339 Calvin, as some others, has supplied “image” before “Baal,” as the feminine article th~| is by Paul prefixed to it. In the Septuagint it is tw~|, and a masculine pronoun is found at the end of the verse in <111918>1 Kings 19:18, so that it could not have been a female deity, as some have supposed. It is indeed evident, especially from a passage in Tobit, chapter 1:5, that there was a female deity of this name, but the text in Kings will not allow us to regard this goddess to be intended. — Ed.

ft340 The last half of this verse is considered spurious by Griesbach, being not found in the greatest number of MSS., nor in the Vulgate, nor in the Latin Fathers; but it is found in some of the Greek Fathers, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Photius, and in the text, though not in the comment of Chrysostom, and in Theophylact, with the exception of the last clause, “Otherwise work,” etc. The Syriac and Arabic versions also contain the whole verse. The argument is complete without the last portion, which is, in fact, a repetition of the first in another form. But this kind of statement is wholly in unison with the character of the Apostle’s mode of writing. He often states a thing positively and negatively, or in two different ways. See <450404>Romans 4:4,5; <450901>Romans 9:1; <490208>Ephesians 2:8,9. Then an omission more probable than an addition. Beza, Pareus, Wolfius, etc., regard it as genuine, and Doddridge and Macknight have retained it in their versions. Every reason, except the number of MSS., is in favor of its genuineness. — Ed.

ft341 Literally it is, “what Israel seeks, this he has not obtained.” The pronoun for “this,” tou>tou Griesbach has displaced, and introduced tou~to in its stead, as the most approved reading. — Ed.

ft342 “Excaecati fuerunt,” ejpwrw>qhsan; it means hardened, stupified, rendered callous or obdurate. Occalluerunt — “were hardened,” Beza; both Macknight and Doddridge render it, “blinded.” It is applied to the heart in <410652>Mark 6:52; 8:17; <431240>John 12:40, — to the mind in <470314>2 Corinthians 3:14. — Ed.

ft343 The foregoing reasoning is not satisfactory: it goes beyond the evident meaning of the Apostle. He no doubt quoted the texts according to their original design, and to say he did not is to assert what is incapable of being proved, and what is even contrary to the Apostle’s reasoning throughout. The hardening or blinding spoken of by the Prophets, is stated uniformly as a punishment for previous unbelief and impenitence, as admitted by our author himself, and the obvious fact as to the Jews in the Apostle’s days, was an evidence of the same, and though he states not this fact here, he states it in the sequel of this Epistle. But why some were hardened, and others were softened, is what must be resolved altogether to the will of God. This, and no more than this, is what the Apostle evidently teaches here: and it is neither wise nor right to go beyond what is expressly taught, especially on a subject of a nature so mysterious and incomprehensible. — Ed.

ft344 The quotation in this verse is taken from two passages: the first clause is from <232910>Isaiah 29:10, and the rest from <230609>Isaiah 6:9, or <052904>Deuteronomy 29:4. The first clause is not exactly according to the Hebrew or the Septuagint; instead of “God gave them,” etc., it is in the Septuagint, “the Lord hath made you drink,” etc., and in Hebrew, “Jehovah has poured upon you,” etc. It is the “spirit of slumber” in both, or rather, “of deep sleep” — hmdrt, a dead or an overwhelming sleep; and katanu>xiv, though not as to its primary sense the same, is yet used according to this meaning. The verb means to puncture, to prick, either with grief or remorse, and also to affect with stupor. The latter idea the noun must have in this place, for the Hebrew does not admit of the other. The latter part is found in substance, though not in the same form of words in the two places referred to. — Ed.

ft345 Some consider this passage as taken from <052904>Deuteronomy 29:4, and regard the last words as part of the quotation. — Ed.

ft346 Grotius understands by “table” guests, or friends, who partake of the provisions spread on the table. The wish is, that these should be a snare, etc. “Table,” according to Pareus, means luxury or festivity: and he adds, that there are here three metaphors, — the ensnaring of birds — the entrapping of wild beasts — and the stumbling in the dark, or that of blind men. Then the recompense or retaliation implies, that this evil of being ensnared and entrapped, and of stumbling, are only just retaliations for similar acts on their part; as they had ensnared, entrapped, and caused others to stumble, it was but just that they should be treated in the same way. And if we take “table” as a metonymy for friends or guests, the meaning would be very striking. And we know that the very friends and confederates of the Jews became their enemies and effected their ruin. See <243822>Jeremiah 38:22.

The subject of imprecations is attended with some difficulty. To imprecate, or to pronounce a curse on others, or to wish others accursed, was forbidden even under the law, and it is expressly forbidden under the gospel, <400545>Matthew 5:45; Romans 12;14; we have the example of our Savior praying for his enemies even on the cross; and yet we find that God pronounced a curse on all the transgressors of the law, <052726>Deuteronomy 27:26, — that Christ pronounced a curse on Chorazin and Bethsaida, — that the Psalmist often imprecated vengeance on his enemies, <190510>Psalm 5:10; <19A907>Psalm 109:7-15, — that the Apostle cursed Alexander the coppersmith, <550414>2 Timothy 4:14, — and that John bids us not to pray for him who sins the sin unto death, <620516>1 John 5:16.

The truth is, that circumstances make the difference; what is forbidden in one respect is allowed in another. The rule to man is, not to curse, but to bless, except to pronounce on God’s enemies as such the judgment which God has already denounced on them. But to curse individuals is what no one is allowed to do, except he be inspired so as to know who those are who are given up by God to final judgment; which may be supposed to have been the case with the Psalmist and with St. Paul. — Ed.

ft347 <196922>Psalm 69:22,23. The passage is given as in the Septuagint, except that kai< eijv qh>ran is added, and the two following words are transposed, with aujtoi~v put after them, and ajntapo>doma is put for ajntapo>dosin. <451110>Romans 11:10 is given without any variation from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is in words considerably different, and more so in our version than it really is. The word, ymwl, is improperly rendered “welfare,” while it ought to be “recompenses,” or, according to Tremelius and Bp. Horseley, “retributions,” or “retribution.” See <233408>Isaiah 34:8. The last clause of <451110>Romans 11:10, though in meaning the same, is yet wholly different in words from the Hebrew, which is thus correctly rendered in our version, “and make their loins continually to shake.” The idea in both instances is the taking away of vigor and strength. — Ed.

ft348 This is not quite correct: the first part is a mere announcement of a fact — the fall of the Jews; and then in what follows, according to the usual style of Scripture, the same thing is stated in other words, and a corresponding clause is added; and the antithesis is found to be suitable — the diminution and the completion. The reason for the restatement of the first clause seems to be this, — that the fall might not be deemed as total, but in part; it was h{tthma, a less part, a diminution, a lessening of their number in God’s kingdom. A contrast to this is the plh>rwma, the full or complete portion, that is, their complete restoration, as it is said in <451126>Romans 11:26. To preserve the antithesis, the first word must have its literal meaning, a diminution or lessening, that is, as to the number saved. Hammond renders the phrase, “their paucity.” — Ed.

ft349 The meaning attached here to the words th<n diakoni>an mou doxa>zw, is somewhat different from what is commonly understood. Its classical sense, “highly to estimate,” is what is generally given here to the verb: but Calvin takes it in a sense in which it is mostly taken in Scripture, as meaning, “to render illustrious,” or eminent, “to render glorious.” The construction of the two <451113>Romans 11:13 and 14, is somewhat difficult, and the meaning is not very clear. To include the words, “as I am indeed the Apostle of the Gentiles,” in a parenthesis, as it is done by some, would render the sense more evident, and to add “this” after “say,” and “that” before “I render.” The version then would be as follows, —

13. For I say this to you Gentiles (as I am indeed the Apostle of the Gentiles,) that I render my ministry glorious,

14. If I shall by any means excite to emulation my own flesh and save some of them.

The sentiment in the last clause is the same as that at the end of <451111>Romans 11:11. The Vulgate, and some of the Latin Fathers, and also Luther, read doxa>sw in the future tense; which would make the passage read better, — “that I shall render,” etc. These two verses are not necessarily connected with the Apostle’s argument; for in the following verse he resumes the subject of <451112>Romans 11:12, or rather, as his usual manner is, he states the same thing in other words and in more explicit and stronger terms. So that the ga<r in the next verse may very properly be rendered “yea,” or as an illative, “then.” — Ed.

ft350 Some view the last words, “life from the dead,” as understood of the Jews and not of the Gentiles. But the antithesis seems to require the latter meaning. The rejection or casting away, ajpobolh< of the Jews was the occasion of reconciliation to the world, that is, the Gentiles; then the reception, pro>slhyiv, of the Jews will be “life from the dead” to the Gentiles or to the world. He expresses by stronger terms the sentiment in <451112>Romans 11:12, “the riches of the world,” only intimating, as it appears, the decayed state of religion among the Gentiles; for to be dead sometimes means a religious declension, <660301>Revelation 3:1,2; or a state of oppression and wretchedness, as the case was with the Israelites when in captivity, <263701>Ezekiel 37:1-14; <232619>Isaiah 26:19. The phrase is evidently figurative, and signifies a wonderful revival, such as the coming to life of those in a condition resembling that of death. The restoration of the Jews unto God’s favor will occasion the revival and spread of true religion through the whole Gentile world. This is clearly the meaning.

Some of the fathers, such as Chrysostom and Theodoret, regarded the words as referring to the last resurrection: but this is wholly at variance with the context. — Ed.

ft351 There were two kinds of first-fruits: the sheaf, being the first ripe fruit, <032310>Leviticus 23:10; and the dough, the first kneaded cake, <041520>Numbers 15:20. It is to the last that the reference is here made.

The first-fruits are considered by some, such as Mede and Chalmers, to have been the first Jewish converts to Christianity — the apostles and disciples; but this is not consistent with the usual manner of the Apostle, which is to express the same thing in two ways, or by two metaphors. Besides, the whole context refers to the first adoption of the Jewish nation, or to the covenant made with Abraham and confirmed to the patriarchs. — Ed.

ft352 That the holiness here mentioned is external and relative, and not personal and inward, is evident from the whole context. The children of Israel were denominated holy in all their wickedness and disobedience, because they had been consecrated to God, adopted as his people, and set apart for his service, and they enjoyed all the external privileges of the covenant which God had made with their fathers.

Pareus makes a distinction between what passes from progenitors to their offspring and what does not pass. In the present case the rights and privileges of the covenant were transmitted, but not faith and inward holiness. “Often,” he says, “the worst descend from the best, and the best from the worst; from wicked Ahaz sprang good Hezekiah, from Hezekiah descended impious Manasse, from Manasse again came good Josiah, and from Josiah sprang wicked sons, Shallum and Jehoiakim.” But all were alike holy in the sense intended here by the Apostle, as they were circumcised, and inherited the transmissible rights and privileges of the covenant.

“The holiness,” says Turrettin, “of the first-fruits and of the root was no other than an external, federal, and national consecration, such as could be transferred from parents to their children.”

“The attentive reader,” says Scott, “will readily perceive that relative holiness, or consecration to God, is here exclusively meant. . . . Abraham was as it were the root of the visible Church. Ishmael was broken off, and the tree grew up in Isaac; and when Esau was broken off, it grew up in Jacob and his sons. . . . When the nation rejected the Messiah, their relation to Abraham and to God was as it were suspended. They no longer retained even the outward seal of the covenant; for circumcision lost its validity and baptism became the sign of regeneration: they were thenceforth deprived of the ordinances of God.” — Ed.

ft353 There is a difference of opinion as to the precise meaning of the words ejnekentri>sqhv ejn aujtoiv Calvin’s version is, “insitus es pro ipsis — thou hast been ingrafted for them,” or in their stead; that of Beza and Pareus is the same, and also that of Macknight; but Grotius has “inter illos — between them,” that is, the remaining branches; and Doddridge renders the words “among them,” according to our version. What is most consonant with the first part of the verse, is the rendering of Calvin; what is stated is the cutting off of some of the branches, and the most obvious meaning is, that others were put in for them, or in their stead. It has been said, that it was not the practice to graft a wild olive in a good olive, except when the latter was decaying. such may have been the case; but the Apostle’s object was no so much to refer to what was usual, as to form a comparison suitable to his purpose; and this is what our Savior in his parables had sometimes done. Contrary to what the case is in nature, the Apostle makes the stock good and the graft bad, and makes the stock to communicate its goodness to the graft and to improve the quality of its fruit. But his main object is to show the fact of incision, without any regard to the character of the stock and of the graft in natural things; for both his stock and his graft are of a different character.–Ed.

ft354 “Be not elated in mind — ne animo efferaris;” mh< uJyhlofro>nei; “be not high-minded,” as in our version, is the literal rendering. — Ed.

ft355 Some have deduced from what Paul says here the uncertainty of faith, and its possible failure. This has been done through an entire misapprehension of the subject handled by the Apostle. He speaks not of individuals, but of the Gentile world, not of living faith but of professed faith, not the inward change, but of outward privileges, not of the union of the soul to Christ, but of union with his Church. The two things are wholly different; and to draw an argument from the one to the other is altogether illegitimate; that is to say, that as professed faith may be lost, therefore living faith may be lost.

Augustine, in commenting on <243240>Jeremiah 32:40, says, “God promised perseverance when he said, ‘I will put fear in their heart, that they may not depart from me.’ What else does it mean but this, ‘such and so great will my fear be, which I shall put in their heart, that they shall perseveringly cleave to me.’”

“As those,” says Pareus, “who believe for a time never had true faith, though they seem to have had it, and hence fall away and do not persevere: so they who possess true faith never fail, but continue steadfast, for God infallibly sustains them and secures their perseverance.” — Ed.

ft356 “Lenitatem;” crhsto>thta; “indulgentiam — indulgence,” Jerome; “benignitatem — benignity,” Beza. Its most literal meaning is “beneficence,” as chsto<v is useful or beneficial: but “goodness,” as in our version, expresses its sense here perhaps better than any other word. It is rendered “kindness” in <470606>2 Corinthians 6:6; <490207>Ephesians 2:7; <510312>Colossians 3:12; <560304>Titus 3:4; — “gentleness” in <480522>Galatians 5:22, — and “good” in <450312>Romans 3:12. It is nowhere else found and has a similar meaning in the Septuagint, and stands often for bwf, which signifies good, goodness, benevolence. — Ed.

ft357 “Severitatem;” ajpotomi>an; “rigorem — rigor,” Erasmus, “praecisam severitatem — a cut-off severity,” Beza. It means literally excision, cutting off, amputation, and metaphorically, rigor, severity; and it is taken, says Schleusner, not from the amputation of infected limbs, but from the cutting off of barren and useless branches of trees. It occurs here only, and is not found in the Septuagint. Apotmi>a tw~n no>mwn — rigor of the laws, Diod. Sic. It is used adverbially in two places, <471310>2 Corinthians 13:10, and <560113>Titus 1:13; where it means rigidly, sharply, severely. The adjective, ajpo>tomov, is found in Wisdom of Solomon 5:20, and Solomon 6:6, connected with “wrath” and “judgment,” and means rigid or severe. — Ed.

ft358 “Ne apud vos superbiatis;” i[na mh< h~te par eJautoi~v fro>nimoi; “ut ne sitis apud vosmetipsos sapientes — lest ye should be wise in yourselves,” — Beza and Piscator. The meaning, as given by Grotius, is, “Lest ye think yourselves so wise as to suppose that ye can by your own understanding know what it is to come.” But the object of the Apostle seems to have been, to keep down self-elevation on account of the privileges they had attained. The phrase seems to have been taken from <200307>Proverbs 3:7; where the Septuagint render, “in thine own eyes,” ˚yny[b, para< seautw~|, “in thyself,” that is, in thine own esteem. And it appears to be its meaning here, “Lest ye should be wise in your own esteem,” which signifies, “Lest ye should be proud,” or elated, that is, on account of your now superior privileges and advantages. Doddridge’s version expresses the idea, “Lest you should have too high an opinion of yourselves.” — Ed.

ft359 The mystery is accounted for in rather a singular way. The most obvious meaning is, that the mystery was the fact of the restoration, and not the manner of it. No doubt the word sometimes means what is obscure, sublime, or profound, as “great is the mystery of godliness,” <540316>1 Timothy 3:16: but here the mystery is made known, in the same manner as Paul mentions a fact respecting the resurrection, <461551>1 Corinthians 15:51, and also the call of the Gentiles, <451625>Romans 16:25. — Ed.

ft360 The explanation of this verse is by no means satisfactory. It does not Correspond at all with what the Apostle has already declared in <451111>Romans 11:11,12, and 15; where the restoration of the Jews to the faith is most clearly set forth. Besides, by making Israel, in the next verse, to mean generally the people of God, the contrast, observable through the whole argument, is completely destroyed.

The word for “blindness” is pw>rwsiv, hardness, callousness, and hence contumacy. “In part,” is generally regarded as having reference both to extent and duration: the hardness did not extend to all the Jews, and it was not to endure, but to continue for a time; and the time is mentioned, “until the fullness of the Gentiles come in.” This is obviously the meaning, and confirmed by the whole context. The attempt of Grotius and Hammond, and of some of the Fathers, to confine what is said to the Apostolic times, is wholly irreconcilable with the drift of the whole passage and with facts.

Much as been written on the words, a]criv ou+ to< plh>rwma tw~n ejqnw~n eijse>lqh|. That the event was future in the Apostle’s time, (and future still as history proves) is evident, especially from the following verse, “and so all Israel shall be saved.” The plain construction of the passage is, “until the fullness of the Gentiles shall come.” What this “fullness” is to be has been much controverted. But by taking a view of the whole context, without regard to any hypothesis, we shall, with no great difficulty, ascertain its meaning. The “fullness” of the Jews in <451112>Romans 11:12, is determined by <451126>Romans 11:26; it includes the whole nation. Then the “fullness of the Gentiles” must mean the same thing, the introduction of all nations into the Church. The grafting more particularly signifies profession. It then follows that all nations shall be brought publicly to profess the gospel prior to the removal of the hardness from the whole nation of the Jews. There may be isolated cases of conversion before this event, for “in part” as to extent the hardness is to be: but all shall not be brought to the faith, until the faith spread through the whole world: and the effect of their restoration will be a great revival of vital religion among the professing Gentiles, according to what is said in <451115>Romans 11:15. This is clearly the view presented to us in this extraordinary passage, when all its parts are compared with each other.

Hammond tells us, that many of the Fathers wholly denied the future restoration of the Jews, and we are told by Pareus, who mentions some of the same Fathers, that they maintained it. But it appears from the quotations made by the first, that the restoration disallowed was that to their own land, and that the restoration referred to by the latter was restoration to the faith; two things wholly distinct. That “Israel” means exclusively the Jewish nation, was almost the unanimous opinion of the Fathers, according to Estius; and that their future restoration to the faith is here foretold was the sentiment held by Beza, Pareus, Willet, Mede, and others, and is generally held by modern divines. — Ed.

ft361 There is more discrepancy in this reference than any we have met with. The Apostle follows not literally either the Hebrew or the Septuagint, though the latter more than the former. In the Hebrew, it is, “to Sion,” ˆwyxl, and in the Septuagint, “for the sake of Sion,” e[neken Siw>n. Then the following clause is given verbatim from the Septuagint, and differs materially from the Hebrew, at least as translated in our version. The Syriac and Chaldee give the verb a causative meaning, so as to make the sense the same as here. But it may be regarded as an infinitive with a pargogic y, and in a transitive sense, which it sometimes has. See <110216>1 Kings 2:16; <19D210>Psalm 132:10. If so, the verse will agree with the Apostle’s words, and may be thus rendered, —

Come to Sion shall a deliverer,
And to turn away the ungodliness that is in Jacob.

He shall come to Sion, and shall come “to turn away,” etc.; or the w may be rendered even, “Even to turn away,” etc. This rendering Corresponds more than that of our version with the substance of the verse which follows. — Ed.

ft362 The former part of it is, “This is my covenant,” but not the latter, “when I shall take away their sins.” Some suppose that this is taken from <232709>Isaiah 27:9, where we find this phrase in the Septuagint, “When I shall take away his sins,” th<n aJmarti>an aujtou: but the Hebrew is somewhat different and farther from the form of the sentence here. We must therefore consider it as an abridgment of what is contained in <243133>Jeremiah 31:33, and quoted in <580810>Hebrews 8:10. — Ed.

ft363 Pote — formerly, left out.

ft364 Our common version departs here from the original by connecting “your mercy” with the last clause. Calvin keeps the proper order of the words, though he paraphrases them, tw|~ uJmete>rw| ejle>ei, “eo quod adepti estis misericordiam.” They might have been rendered, “through your mercy,” that is, the mercy shown to you, or the mercy of which you are the objects. — Ed.

ft365 They were “enemies” to Paul and the Church, say Grotius and Luther, — to the gospel, says Pareus, — to God, says Mede and Stuart. The parallel in the next clause, “beloved,” favors the last sentiment. They were become God’s enemies, and alienated through their rejection of the gospel; but they were still regarded as descendants of the Fathers and in some sense on their account “beloved,” as those for whom God entertained love, inasmuch as his “gifts and calling” made in their behalf, were still in force and never to be changed. — Ed.

ft366 Hypallage — transposition, a change in the arrangement of a sentence.

ft367 It is not desirable to amalgamate words in this manner; nor is it necessary. The Apostle ascends; he mentions first the “gifts,” the free promises which God made to the Jews; and then he refers to the origin of them, the calling or the election of God, and says that both are irreversible, or, as Castellio well explains the word ajmetame>lhta, irrevocable. See a similar instance in <451313>Romans 13:13.

Calvin seems to regard “the gifts and calling” as having reference to the adoption of the Jewish nation, and their adoption to certain privileges included in the Abrahamic covenant, probably those mentioned in <450904>Romans 9:4. But Pareus, Mede, and others, extend the meaning farther, and consider “the gifts” as including those of “faith, remission of sins, sanctification, perseverance and salvation;” and they understand by “calling,” not the external, which often fails, but the internal, made by the Spirit, and every efficacious, of which the Apostle had spoken, when he said, “Those whom he has predestinated, he has called, justified, and glorified.” according to this view the Apostle must be considered to mean, that according to what is said in <451105>Romans 11:5, the gifts and callings of God shall be effectual towards some of the Jews throughout all ages, and towards the whole nation, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in; or, that though they may be suspended, they shall yet be made evident at the appointed time; so that what secures and renders certain the restoration of the Jews is the covenant of free grace which God made with their fathers.

Some, as Pareus informs us, have concluded from what is here said, that no Gentile nation, once favored with “the gifts and calling of God,” shall be wholly forsaken; and that though religion may for a long season be in a degenerated state, God will yet, in his own appointed time, renew his gifts and his calling, and restore true religion. The ground of hope is the irrevocability of his gifts and calling. — Ed.

ft368 The verb which Calvin renders conclusi, sune>kleise means to shut up together. The paraphrase of Chrysostom is, that “God has proved (h]legxen) all to be unbelieving.” Wolfius considers the meaning the same with <450309>Romans 3:9, and with <480322>Galatians 3:22. God has in his providence, as well as in his word, proved and demonstrated, that all mankind are by nature in a state of unbelief and of sin and of condemnation.

God has shut up together, etc., “how?” asks Pareus; then he answer, “by manifesting, accusing, and condemning unbelief, but not by effecting or approving it.” — Ed.

ft369 “Incomprehensibilia,” so the Vulgate; “ajnexereu>nhta — inscrutabilia — inscrutable,” Beza. It means what cannot be found out by searching. Our version conveys the correct idea — “unsearchable.” — Ed.

ft370 “Impervestigabiles,” so Beza; “ajnexicni>astoi — investigabiles — ininvestigable,” Vulgate; what cannot be investigated, and of which there are no footsteps — untraceable; “cannot be traced out” is the version of Doddridge. — Ed.

ft371 It has indeed been thought by many that plou>tou, riches, is a noun belonging to wisdom and knowledge, used, after the Hebrew manner, instead of an adjective. It means abundance or exuberance. The sentence, according to our idiom, would then be, “O the profundity of the abounding wisdom and knowledge of God!” The Apostle, as in the words, “the gifts and calling of God,” adopts an ascending scale, and mentions wisdom first, and then knowledge, which in point of order precedes it. Then in the following clause, according to his usual practice, he retrogrades, and states first what belongs to knowledge — “judgments,” decisions, divine decrees, such as knowledge determines; and then “ways,” actual proceedings, for the guiding of which wisdom is necessary. Thus we see that his style is thoroughly Hebraistic.

It appears from Poole’s Syn., that Origen, Chrysostom, and Theodoret connected “riches” with “depth,” “O the abounding depth,” etc.; but that Ambrose and Augustine connected it with “wisdom,” etc. The use of the term in <490107>Ephesians 1:7, favors the last; for “the riches of his grace” mean clearly “his abounding grace.”

But some, with Stuart, suppose that by “riches” here is meant God’s goodness or mercy, according to <451112>Romans 11:12, and <490308>Ephesians 3:8. And Stuart gives this version, “O the boundless goodness, and wisdom, and knowledge of God!” But this destroys the evident Correspondence that is to be found in the latter clause of the verse, except we take in the remaining portion of the chapter, and this perhaps is what ought to be done. But if we do this, then plou>tou means “treasures, or blessings,” or copia beneficiorum,” as Schleusner expresses it. “Riches of Christ” mean the abounding blessings laid up in him, <490308>Ephesians 3:8. God may be viewed as set forth here as the source of all things, and as infinite in wisdom and knowledge; and these three things are the subjects to the end of the chapter, the two last verses referring to the first, and the end of the thirty-third and the thirty-fourth to the two others, and in an inverted order. The depth or vastness of his wealth or bounty is such, that he has nothing but his own, no one having given him anything, (<451135>Romans 11:35,) and from him, and through him, and to him are all things, (<451136>Romans 11:36.) Then as to the vastness of his wisdom and of his knowledge; what his knowledge has decided cannot be searched out, and what his wisdom has devised, as to the manner of executing his purposes, cannot be investigated; and no one can measure the extent of his knowledge, and no one has been his counselor, so as to add to the stores of his wisdom, (<451134>Romans 11:34.) That we may see the whole passage in lines —

33. Oh the depth of God’s bounty and wisdom and knowledge!
How inscrutable his judgments
And untraceable his ways!

34. Who indeed hath known the Lord’s mind,
Or who has become his counselor?

35. Or who has first given to him?
And it shall be repayed to him:

36. For from him and through him and to him are all things:
To him the glory for everse — Amen. — Ed.

ft372 The words of this verse seem to have been taken literally from <234013>Isaiah 40:13, as given in the Septuagint. The Hebrew is in some measure different, but the words will admit of a rendering approaching nearer to the meaning here than what is presented in our version, as follows —

Who has weighed the spirit of Jehovah,
And, being a man of his counsel, has taught him?

To “weigh the spirit” is to know it thoroughly: the same verb, ˆkt, is used in this sense in <201602>Proverbs 16:2; <202412>Proverbs 24:12. It indeed means to compute by measure or by weight; so that it may be rendered “measure” as well as “weigh,” and if we adopt “measure,” it will then appear that to “know the mind of the Lord,” is to know the extent of his understanding or knowledge; an idea which remarkably Corresponds with the passage. — Ed.

ft373 There is a passage in <184111>Job 41:11, (2, in the Hebrew Bible,) of which this verse seems to be a translation, made by the Apostle himself, as totally another meaning is given in the Septuagint. The person is alone changed. The Hebrew is literally this,

Who has anticipated me,
And I will repay?

To “anticipate” means here with favor or gift; for the remainder of the verse is the following, —

Everything under the whole heaven, mind it is. — Ed.

Chapter 12

ft374 By “mercies,” the Apostle refers, as some think, to the various sects of God’s mercy, such as election, vocation, justification, and final salvation. Grotius considers that God’s attributes are referred to, such as are described in <023406>Exodus 34:6,7. Erasmus, quoting Origen, says, that the plural is used for amplification, in order to show the greatness of God’s mercy, as though the Apostle had said, “by God’s great mercy.” Schleusner renders the clause, “per summam Dei benignitatem — by God’s great kindness,” that is, in bringing you to the knowledge of the gospel. So “Father of mercies,” in <470103>2 Corinthians 1:3, may mean “most merciful Father,” or the meaning may be, “the Father of all blessings,” as mercy signifies sometimes what mercy bestows, (<500201>Philippians 2:1,) as grace or favor often means the gift which flows from it. according to this view, “mercies” here are the blessings which God bestows, even the blessings of redemption. — Ed.

ft375 The word sw>mata, “bodies,” he seems to have used, because of the similitude he adopts respecting sacrifices; for the bodies of beasts we are to consecrate our own bodies. As he meant before by “members,” chapter 6:13, the whole man, so he means here by “bodies,” that is, themselves.

They were to be living sacrifices, not killed as the legal sacrifices, they were to be holy, not maimed or defective, but whole and perfect as to all the members, and free from disease. See <032219>Leviticus 22:19-22. They were to be acceptable, euja>reston; “placentem — pleasing,” Beza; “well-pleasing,” Doddridge. It was not sufficient under the law for the sacrifices themselves to be holy, blameless, such as God required; but a right motive and a right feeling on the part of the offerer were necessary, in order that they might be accepted or approved by God. Without faith and repentance, and a reformed life, they were not accepted, but regarded as abominations. See <195119>Psalm 51:19; <230111>Isaiah 1:11-19.

It is said by Wolfius, that all the terms here are derived from the sacrificial rites of the law, and that Christians are represented both as the priests who offered, and as the sacrifices which were offered by them. — Ed.

ft376 The word logikh<n, “reasonable,” was considered by Origen, and by many after him, as designating Christian service consonant with reason, in opposition to the sacrifices under the law, which were not agreeable to reason. But Chrysostom, whom also many have followed, viewed the word as meaning what is spiritual, or what belongs to the mind, in contradistinction to the ritual and external service of the law; but there is no example of the word having such a meaning, except it be <600202>1 Peter 2:2, which is by no means decisive. Rational, or reasonable, is its meaning, or, what agrees with the word, as Phavorinus explains it. There is no need here to suppose any contrast: the expression only designates the act or the service which the Apostle prescribes; as though he said, “What I exhort you to do is nothing but a reasonable service, consistent with the dictates of reason. God has done great things for you, and it is nothing but right and just that you should dedicate yourselves wholly to him.” This seems to be the obvious meaning. To draw this expression to another subject, in order to set up reason as an umpire in matters of faith, is wholly a perversion: and to say, that as it seems to refer to the word in <600202>1 Peter 2:2, it must be so considered here, is what does no necessarily follow; for as lo>gov sometimes means “word,” and sometimes “reason,” so its derivative may have a similar variety. — Ed.

ft377 Ut probetis, eijv to< dokima>zein uJma~v; “ut noscatis — that ye may know,” Theophylact; “ut diligenter scrutemini — that ye may carefully search,” Jerome, “That ye may experimentally know,” Doddridge; “that ye may learn,” Stuart. The verb mans chiefly three things, — to test, i.e., metals by fire, to try, to prove, to examine, <600107>1 Peter 1:7; <421419>Luke 14:19; <471305>2 Corinthians 13:5, — to approve what is proved, <451422>Romans 14:22; <461603>1 Corinthians 16:3, — and also to prove a thing so as to make a proper distinction, to discern, to understand, to distinguish, <421256>Luke 12:56; <450218>Romans 2:18. The last idea is the most suitable here, “in order that ye may understand what the will of God is, even that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

What Stuart says on the last clause seems just, that it is to be taken by itself, and that the words do not agree with “will,” but stand by themselves, being in the neuter gender. Otherwise we cannot affix any idea to “acceptable;” for it would be unsuitable to say that God’s will is “acceptable” to him, that being self-evident.

“Good,” ajgaqo<n, is useful, advantageous, beneficial; “acceptable,” eujareston, is what is pleasing to and accepted by God; and “perfect,” te>leion, is complete, entire, without any defect, or just and right.

It ought to be borne in mind, as Pareus observes, that in order to discern, and rightly to understand God’s will, the Apostle teaches us, that “the renewing of the mind” is necessary; otherwise, as he adds, “our corrupt nature will fascinate our eyes that they may not see, or if they see, will turn our hearts and wills, that they may not approve, or if they approve, will hinder us to follow what is approved.” — Ed.

ft378 “Ne supra modum sapiat,” so the Vulgate and Beza; mh< uJperqro>nein, “ne supra modum de se sentiat — let him not think immoderately of himself,” Mede; “not to arrogate to himself,” Doddridge; “not to overestimate himself,” Stuart. This and the following clause may be thus rendered, “not to think highly above what it behooves him to think,” that is, of himself. Then what follows may admit of this rendering, “but to think so as to think rightly,” or modestly, (eijv to< swfro>nein.) The last verb occurs elsewhere five times; thrice it means “to be of a sane mind,” <410715>Mark 7:15; <420835>Luke 8:35; <470513>2 Corinthians 5:13; and twice it means “to act prudently,” <560206>Titus 2:6; <600407>1 Peter 4:7; or, it may be, in the last passage, “to live temperately.” As it refers here to the mind, it must mean such an estimate of one’s self as is sound, just, and right, such as becomes on who is sound and sane in his mind. Pride is a species of insanity; but humility betokens a return to a sane mind: and an humble estimate of ourselves, as Professor Hodge observes, is the only sound, sane, and right estimate. — Ed.

ft379 We find a similar transposition in <460305>1 Corinthians 3:5. — Ed.

ft380 “It is better,” says Augustine, “to doubt respecting hidden things, than to contend about things uncertain.” — Ed.

ft381 The expression “the measures of faith,” me>tron pi>stewv, is differently explained. Some, as Beza and Pareus, consider “faith” here as including religion or Christian truth, because faith is the main principle, “as God has divided to each the measure of Christian truth or knowledge.” Others suppose with Mede, that “faith” here is to be taken for those various gifts and endowments which God bestowed on those who believed or professed the faith of the gospel; “as God has divided to each the measure of those gifts which come by faith, or which are given to those who believe.” The last view is most suitable to the context. We may, however, take, “faith” here for grace, and consider the meaning the same as in <490407>Ephesians 4:7. The subject there is the same as here, for the Apostle proceeds there to mention the different offices which Christ had appointed in his Church. — Ed.

ft382 The Apostle pursues this likeness of the human body much more at large in <461212>1 Corinthians 12:12-31. There are two bonds of union; one, which is between the believer and Christ by true faith; and the other, which is between the individual member of a church or a congregation and the rest of the members by a professed faith. It is the latter that is handled by the Apostle, both here and in the Epistle to the Corinthians. — Ed.

ft383 The ellipsis to be supplied here is commonly done as in our version, adopted from Beza. The supplement proposed by Pareus is perhaps more in unison with the passage; he repeats after “prophecy” the words in verse 3, changing the person, “let us think soberly,” or “let us be modestly wise.” — Ed.

ft384 It is somewhat difficult exactly to ascertain what this “prophecy” was. The word “prophet,” aybn, means evidently two things in the Old Testament and also in the New — a foreteller and a teacher, or rather an interpreter of the word. Prophecy in the New Testament sometimes signifies prediction, its primary meaning. <441202>Acts 12:27; <610121>2 Peter 1:21; <660103>Revelation 1:3; but most commonly, as it is generally thought, the interpretation of prophecy, that is, of prophecies contained in the Old Testament, and for this work there were some in the primitive Church, as it is supposed, who were inspired, and thus peculiarly qualified. It is probable that this kind of prophecy is what is meant here. See <461210>1 Corinthians 12:10; <461302>1 Corinthians 13:2,8; <461403>1 Corinthians 14:3,6,22; <520520>1 Thessalonians 5:20.

That is was a distinct function from that of apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, is evident from <490411>Ephesians 4:11; and from the interpretation of tongues, as it appears from <461210>1 Corinthians 12:10; and from revelation, knowledge, and doctrine, as we find from <461406>1 Corinthians 14:6. It also appears that it was more useful than other extraordinary gifts, as it tended more to promote edification and comfort, <461401>1 Corinthians 14:1,3. It is hence most probable that it was the gift already stated, that of interpreting the Scriptures, especially the prophecies of the Old Testament, and applying them for the edification of the Church. “Prophets” are put next to “apostles” in <490411>Ephesians 4:11. — Ed.

ft385 “Secundum analogiam fidei,” so Pareus; kata< th<n ajnalogi>an thv pi>stewv; “pro proportione fidei — according to the proportions of faith,” Beza, Piscator; that is, as the former explains the phrase, “according to the measure or extent of the individual’s faith;” he was not to go beyond what he knew or what had been communicated to him by the Spirit. But the view which Calvin takes is the most obvious and consistent with the passage; and this is the view which Hammond gives, “according to that form of faith or wholesome doctrine by which every one who is sent out to preach the gospel is appointed to regulate his preaching, according to those heads or principles of faith and good life which are known among you.” The word ajnalogi>a means properly congruity, conformity, or proportion, not in the sense of measure or extent, but of equality, as when one thing is equal or comformable to another; hence the analogy of faith must mean what is conformable to the faith. And faith here evidently signifies divine truth, the object of faith, or what faith receives. See <451008>Romans 10:8; <480323>Galatians 3:23; <560104>Titus 1:4; <650103>Jude 1:3. — Ed.

ft386 Critics have found it difficult to distinguish between these offices. The word diakoni>a, ministry is taken sometimes in a restricted sense, as meaning deaconship, an office appointed to mange the temporal affairs of the Church, <440601>Acts 6:1-3; <540308>1 Timothy 3:8-13; and sometimes in a general sense, as signifying the ministerial office, <470603>2 Corinthians 6:3; <490307>Ephesians 3:7; <510123>Colossians 1:23. As the “teacher” and “exhorter” are mentioned, some think that the deaconship is to be understood here, and that the Apostle first mentioned the highest office, next to the apostleship — prophecy, and the lowest — the deaconship, and afterwards named the intervening offices — those of teachers and exhorters.

But what are we to think of those mentioned in the following clauses? Stuart thinks that they were not public officers, but private individuals, and he has sustained this opinion by some very cogent reasons. The form of the sentence is here changed; and the Apostle, having mentioned the deaconship, cannot be supposed to have referred to the same again. The word that seems to stand in the way of this view is what is commonly rendered “ruler,” or, “he who rules:” but oJ proi`sta>menov, as our author shows, means a helper, an assistant, (see <451602>Romans 16:2,) as well as a ruler; it means to stand over, either for the purpose of taking care of, assisting, protecting others, or of presiding over, ruling, guiding them. Then ejn spoudh~|, with promptness or diligence, will better agree with the former than with the latter idea. The other two clauses correspond also more with this view than with the other. It has been said, that if a distributor of alms had been intended, the word would have been diadidou<v and not metadidou<v. See <490428>Ephesians 4:28. The expression aJplo>thti, means “with liberality, or liberally.” See <470802>2 Corinthians 8:2; <470911>2 Corinthians 9:11,13; <590105>James 1:5. — Ed.

ft387 “Love,” says an old author, “is the sum and substance of all virtues. Philosophers make justice the queen of virtues; but love is the mother of justice, for it renders to God and to our neighbor what is justly due to them.” — Ed.

ft388 It is difficult to render this clause: Calvin’s words are, “Fraterna charitate ad vos mutuo amandos propensi;” so Beza. The Apostle joins two things — mutual love of brethren, with the natural love of parents and children, as though he said, “Let your brotherly love have in it the affectionate feelings which exists between parents and children.” “In brotherly love, be mutually full of tender affection,” Doddridge. “In brotherly love, be kindly disposed toward each other,” Macknight. It may be thus rendered, “In brotherly love, be tenderly affectionate to one another.”

Calvin’s version of the next clause is, “Alii alios honore praevenientes;” so Erasmus; th~| timh~| ajllh>louv prohgou>menoi; “honore alii aliis praeuntes — in honor (that is, in conceding honor) going before one another,” Beza, Piscator, Macknight. It is thus explained by Mede, “Wait not for honor from others, but be the first to concede it.” The participle means to take the lead of, or outrunning, one another.” See <500803>Philippians 2:3 — Ed.

ft389 “Studio non pigri,” th~| spoudh~| mh< ojknhroi; “Be not slothful in haste,” that is, in a matter requiring haste. “We must strive,” says Theophylact, “to assist with promptness those whose circumstances require immediate help and relief.” — Ed.

ft390 The balance of evidence, according to Griesbach, is in favor, of tw~| kairw~|, “time,” though there is much, too, which countenances the other reading. Luther, Erasmus, and Hammond prefer the former, while Beza, Piscator, Pareus, and most of the moderns, the latter. The most suitable to the context is the former. — Ed.

ft391 There is here an instance of the depravation of the text by some of the fathers, such as Ambrose, Hilary, Pelagius, Optatus, etc., who substituted mnei>av, monuments, for crei>av, necessities, or wants: but though there are a few copies which have this reading, yet it has been discarded by most; it is not found in the Vulgate, nor approved by Erasmus nor Grotius. The word was introduced evidently , as Whitby intimates, to countenance the superstition of the early Church respecting the monuments or sepulchres of martyrs and confessors. The fact, that there were no monuments of martyrs at this time in Rome, was wholly overlooked. — Ed.

ft392 The first clause is omitted. The text of Calvin is, “Mutuo alii in alios sensu affecti;” to< aujto< eijv allh>louv fronou~ntev; “Itidem alii in alios affecti — Feel alike towards on another,” Beza; “Be entirely united in your regards for each other,” Doddridge; “Be of the same disposition towards one another,” Macknight. The verb means to think, or to feel, or to mind, in the sense of attending to, or aspiring after a thing. It is used also in the next clause, evidently in the last sense, minding. There is no reason why its meaning should be different here; it would then be, “Mind the same things towards one another,” that is, Do to others what you expect others to do to you. It is to reduce to an axiom what is contained in the former verse. We may indeed give this version, “Feel the same, or alike towards one another,” that is, sympathize with one another: and this would still be coincident in meaning with the former verse; and it would be in accordance with the Apostle’s mode of writing.

But another construction has been given, “Think the same of one another,” that is, Regard one another alike in dignity and privilege as Christians, without elevating yourselves, and viewing yourselves better than others. This would well agree with the sentence which follows.

The two following clauses are thus given by Doddridge, “Affect not high things, but condescend to men of low rank,” — and by Macknight, “Do not care for high things; but associate with lowly men.” The word tapeinoi~v, is not found in the New Testament to be applied to things, but to persons. “Associate” is perhaps the best rendering of sunapago>menoi, which literally means to withdraw from one party in order to walk with another: they were to withdraw from those who minded high things, and walk or associate with the humble and lowly. “And cleave to the humble,” is the Syriac version. — Ed.

ft393 “Providentes bona;” pronoou>menoi kala<; “procurantes honesta — providing honest things,” Beza, providing thins reputable,” Doddridge; “premeditating things comely,” Macknight. The participle means to mind beforehand, to prepare, to provide, and also to take care of or to attend to a thing. “Attending to things honorable” may be the rendering here. The adjective kalo<v, means fair, good; and good in conduct as here is not “comely,” but just, right, or reputable, as Doddridge renders it. The word “honest” does not now retain its original idea or honorable. — Ed.

ft394 Many have been the advocates of this exposition, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, Beza, Hammond, Macknight, Stuart, etc. But there is no instance of the expression, “to give place,” having this meaning. In the two places where it occurs, it means to give way, to yield. See <421409>Luke 14:9; <490427>Ephesians 4:27. Then to give place to wrath, is to yield to and patiently to endure the wrath of the man who does the wrong. Some have maintained that the meaning is, that the injured man is to give place to his own wrath, that is, allow it time to cool: but this view comports not with the passage. The subject is, that a Christian is not to retaliate, or to return wrath for wrath, but to endure the wrath of his enemy, and to leave the matter in the hand of God. With this sense the quotation accords as much as with that given by Calvin. Not a few have taken this view, Basil, Ambrose, Drusius, Mede, Doddridge, Scott, etc. — Ed.

ft395 Calvin has in this exposition followed Chrysostom and Theodoret. The former part no doubt contains the right view; the following verse proves it, “Overcome evil with good.” The idea of “heaping coals of fire” is said to have been derived from the practice of heaping coals on the fire to melt hard metals; but as “the coals of fire” must mean “burning coals,” as indeed the word in <202522>Proverbs 25:22, whence the passage is taken, clearly means, this notion cannot be entertained. It seems to be a sort of proverbial saying, signifying something intolerable, which cannot be borne without producing strong effects. such is represented to be kindness to any enemy, to feed him when hungry and to give him drink when thirsty, has commonly such a power over him that he cannot resist its influence, no more than he can withstand the scorching heat of burning coals. Of course the natural tendency of such a conduct is all that is intended, and not that it invariably produces such an effect; for in Scripture things are often stated in this way; but human nature is such a strange thing, that it often resists what is right, just, and reasonable, and reverses, as it were, the very nature of things.

It is not true what Whitby and others have held, that “coals of fire” always mean judgments or punishments. The word indeed in certain connections, as in <191813>Psalm 18:13; <19E011>Psalm 140:11, has this meaning, but in <202522>Proverbs 25:22, it cannot be taken in this sense, as the preceding verse most clearly proves. There is no canon of interpretation more erroneous than to make words or phrases to bear the same meaning in every place. — Ed.

Chapter 13

ft396 “Anima,” yuch<, not only the Hebrews, (see <011421>Genesis 14:21; 46:27,) but the Greeks also designate man by this word. Man is sometimes designated by his immaterial part, soul, and sometimes by his material part, flesh, or body, as in <451201>Romans 12:1. One author says that the word soul is used here in order to show that the obedience enforced should be from the soul, not feigned, but sincere and genuine. Let every soul, that is “every one,” says Grotius, “even apostles, prophets, and bishops.” — Ed.

ft397 “Potestates supereminentes — pre-eminent powers.” Hammond renders the words ejxousi>aiv uJperecou>saiv, supreme powers, meaning kings, and refers to a]rcontev in <451303>Romans 13:3, as a proof; but this word means magistrates as well as kings. See <441709>Acts 17:98. The ruling power as exercised by those in authority is evidently what is meant here, without any reference to any form of government. Of course obedience to kings, or to emperors, or to any exercising a ruling power, whatever name they may bear, is included. — Ed

ft398 Grotius qualifies this obedience by saying, that it should not extend to what is contrary to the will of God. But it is remarkable, that often in Scripture things are stated broadly and without any qualifying terms, and yet they have limits, as it is clear from other portions. This peculiarity is worthy of notice. Power is from God, the abuse of power is from what is evil in men. The Apostle throughout refers only to power justly exercised. He does not enter into the subject of tyranny and oppression. And this is probably the reason why he does not set limits to the obedience required: he contemplated no other than the proper and legitimate use of power. — Ed.

ft399 “Judicium,” kri>ma; some render it “punishment;” Beza, “condemnation.” The word is used in both senses: but according to the tenor of the former part of the verse, it seems that the Apostle means that which is inflicted by God. — Ed.

ft400 The words, “Vindex in iram adversus eos qui male agunt,” can hardly be translated; and the latter part is improperly put in the plural. — Ed.

ft401 Vindex in iram, e]kdikov eijv ojrgh<n; “ a revenger to execute wrath,” Com. Ver., Doddridge; “a revenger for wrath,” Hammond. Wrath is here taken to mean punishment, by Luther, Beza, Grotius, Mede, etc. see <450205>Romans 2:5; <450305>Romans 3:5; <450415>Romans 4:15. The phrase then might be rendered, “condemning to punishment the doer of evil.” There is a contrast between “for wrath” and “for good” at the beginning of the verse. — Ed.

ft402 “Ministri,” leitourgoi<, administrators, functionaries, the performers of public service, or public ministers, according to Macknight. Rulers were called before, in <451304>Romans 13:4, dia>konoi, servants, deacons, ministers. The same titles are given to them as to the Apostles and ministers of the gospel, and even to Christ himself: and they are said to be the ministers and functionaries of God, being so in civil matters, as those are in spiritual things who preach the gospel. — Ed.

ft403 The words “to this very thing,” eijv aujto< tou>to, seem to be an instance of Hebraism, as taz, “this,” in that language is both singular and plural, and means “this,” or “those,” according to the context. “To these very things,” before mentioned as to the works and duties of magistrates, appears to be the meaning here: and so the words are rendered in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions. A singular instance is found at the beginning of <451309>Romans 13:9, “For this,” to< ga<r, and then several commandments are mentioned; “for this” is the law, says Stuart; but the word for “law” is of a different gender. What we would say in English is, “for these,” etc. It is a Hebrew idiom transferred into Greek. — Ed.

ft404 The distinction commonly made between the two words is this, — fo>rov, “tribute,” is a tax on the person or on lands, and te>lov, “custom,” is what is levied on merchandise. — Ed.

ft405 The debt of love is to be always paid, and is always due: for love is ever to be exercised. We are to pay other debts, and we may pay them fully and finally: but the debt of love ever continues, and is to be daily discharged. — Ed.

ft406 The preceding explanation of night and day, as here to be understood, does not comport with what is afterwards said on <451312>Romans 13:12. The distinction between night and day of a Christian, ought to be clearly kept in view. The first is what is here described, but the latter is what the passage refers to. And the sleep mentioned here is not the sleep of ignorance and unbelief, but the sleep, the torpor, or inactivity of Christians.

That the present state of believers, their condition in this world, is meant here by “night,” and their state of future glory is meant by “day,” appears evident from the words which follow, “for nearer now is our salvation than when we believed.” Salvation here, as in <450824>Romans 8:24, and in <600109>1 Peter 1:9, means salvation made complete and perfect, the full employment of all its blessings. Indeed in no other sense can what is said here of night and day be appropriate. The night of heathen ignorance as to Christians had already passed, and the day of gospel light was not approaching, but had appeared. — Ed.

ft407 The words kai< tou>to, according to Beza, Grotius, Mede, etc., connect what follows with the preceding exhortation to love, “And this do, or let us do, as we know,” etc. But the whole tenor of what follows by no means favors this view. The subject is wholly different. It is evidently a new subject of exhortation, as Calvin says, and the words must be rendered as he proposes, or be viewed as elliptical; the word “I say,” or “I command,” according to Macknight, being understood, “This also I say, since we know the time,” etc. If we adopt “I command,” or “moreover,” as Calvin does, it would be better to regard the participle eijdo>tev, as having the meaning of an imperative, este being understood, several instances of which we have in the preceding chapter, <451209>Romans 12:9,16,17. The whole passage would then read better in this manner, —

11. Moreover, know the time, that it is even now the very time for us to awake from sleep; for nearer now is our salvation than when we

12. believed: the night has advanced, and the day has approached; let us then cast away the works of darkness, and let us put on the

13. armor of light; let us, as in the day, walk in a becoming manner, etc. — Ed.

ft408 The case is the same with the two preceding instances; the vice which seems to follow is placed first. Revelling is first mentioned, though drunkenness goes before it; and “chambering,” or concubinage, or indulgence in unlawful lusts is first stated, though lasciviousness or wantonness is the source from which it proceeds. It is an example of the Apostle’s mode of writing similar to what we find in <451129>Romans 11:29, as to “the gifts and calling of God,” and in verse 33, as to “the wisdom and knowledge of God.” — Ed.

ft409 Many have explained “the putting on” here in a manner wholly inconsistent with the passage, as though the putting on of Christ’s righteousness was intended. Calvin keeps to what accords with the context, the putting on of Christ as to his holy image. Sanctification, and not justification, is the subject of the passage. To put on Christ, then, is to put on his virtues and graces, to put on or be endued with his spirit, to imitate his conduct and to copy his example. This is in addition to the putting him on as our righteousness, and not as a substitute for it. Both are necessary: for Christ is our sanctification, the author, worker, and example of it, as well as our righteousness. — Ed.

Chapter 14

ft410 Some, as Haldane, have found fault with this classification, as there is nothing in the chapter which countenances it. But as the Apostle’s object throughout the epistle was to reconcile the Jews and Gentiles, there is reason sufficient to regard them as the two parties here intended: and, as Chalmers justly observes, it is more probable that the Gentiles were the despisers, inasmuch as the Jews, who, like Paul, had got over their prejudices, were no doubt disposed to sympathize with their brethren, who were still held fast by them. — Ed.

ft411 Non ad disceptationes quaestionum, mh< eijv diakri>seiv dialogismw~n; “non ad altercationes disceptationum — not for the altercations of disputings” or debatings, Beza; “not to debates about matter in doubt,” Doddridge; “not in order to the strifes of disputations,” Macknight. Both words are in the plural number; therefore to give the first the sense of “judging,” as Hodge does, cannot be right; for in that case it would have been in the singular number. The words may be rendered, “no for the solutions of doubts.” One of the meanings of the first word, according to Hesychius, is dia>lusiv — untying, loosening, dissolving; and for the latter, see <422438>Luke 24:38, and <540208>1 Timothy 2:8. according to the frequent import of the preposition eijv, the sentence may be thus paraphrased, “Him who is weak in the faith receive, but not that ye may solve his doubts,” or, “debate in reasonings,” or, “contend in disputations.” — Ed.

ft412 Scott’s remarks on this verse are striking and appropriate, — “Notwithstanding,” he says, “the authority vested by Christ in his Apostles, and their infallibility in delivering his doctrine to mankind, differences of opinion prevailed even among real Christians; nor did St. Paul, by an express decision and command, attempt to put a final termination to them. A proposition indeed may be certain and important truth; yet a man cannot receive it without due preparation of mind and heart; — so that a compelled assent to any doctrine, or conformity to any outward observances, without conviction, would in general be hypocrisy, and entirely unavailing. So essential are the rights and existence of private judgment, in all possible cases, to the exercise of true religion! and so useless an encumbrance would an infallible judge be, for deciding controversies, and producing unanimity among Christians!”

ft413 This is true, but the passage here seems not to require such a construction. Both sentences are declarative, announcing a fact respecting two parties: the one believed he might eat everything; the other did eat only herbs. The relative o{v, when repeated, often means “one,” as in <451305>Romans 13:5, and in <461121>1 Corinthians 11:21: and the article oJ stands here for that repetition; an example of which Raphelius adduces from the Greek classics.

Some think that this abstinence from meat was not peculiar to the Jews; but that some Gentiles also had scruples on the subject. It is true that heathens, who held the transmigration of souls, did not eat flesh: but it is not likely that abstinence, arising from such an absurd notion, would have been thus treated by the Apostle. It indeed appears evident, that the abstinence here referred to did arise from what was regarded to be the will of God: and though abstinence from all animal food was not enjoined on the Jews, yet it appears from history that Jews, living among heathens, wholly abstained, owing to the fear they had of being in any way contaminated. This was the case with Daniel and his companions, <270108>Daniel 1:8-16. Professor Hodge says, in a note on this passage, “Josephus states in his life (chapter 23) that certain Jewish priests, while at Rome, lived entirely upon fruit, from the dread of eating anything unclean.” We may also suppose that some of the Essenes, who abstained from meat and from wine, were among the early converts. — Ed.

ft414 The last clause is by Haldane confined to the strong, and he object to this extension of it; and certainly the following verse is in favor of his view, for the weak, the condemner, is the person reproved, and therefore the strong is he who to his own master stands or falls. The condemner throughout is the weak, and the despiser is the strong. — Ed

ft415 “Unusquisque sententiae suae certus sit;” e[kastov ejn tw~| ijdi>w| noi< plhroforei>sqw; “unusquisque in animo suo plene certus esto — let every one be fully sure in his own mind,” Beza, Pareus; “let every one be convinced in his mind,” Macknight; “let every one freely enjoy his own sentiment,” Doddridge. This last is by no means the sense: Our own version is the best and the most literal, “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind;” and with which Calvin’s exposition perfectly agrees. For the meaning of the verb here see <450421>Romans 4:21. “The Greek word is a metaphor borrowed from ships, which are carried with full sail, and signifieth a most certain persuasion of the truth.” — Leigh. The certain persuasion here refers to both parties — the eater and the abstainer: both were to do what they were fully convinced was agreeable to the will of God. — Ed.

ft416 It has been suggested as a question by some, whether the Christian Sabbath is included here? The very subject in hand proves that it is not. The subject discussed is the observance of Jewish days, as in <480410>Galatians 4:10, and <510216>Colossians 2:16, and not what belonged to Christians in common. — Ed.

ft417 The words, kai ajne>sth, are dismissed by Griesbach as spurious, and he substitutes e]zhsen for ajne>xhsen. The difference in meaning is none; only it comports with the style of the Apostle to add words of similar import for the sake of greater emphasis, as the case often is in the Prophets. — Ed.

ft418 It appears from the order of the words su< de> ti> — , and h{ kai< su< ti> — , that the address was made to two parties. “But thou, the weak, why condemnest thou thy brother? and thou also, the strong, why dost thou despise thy brother?” — Ed.

ft419 The words “We shall all stand,” etc., may be rendered, “We must all stand,” etc. It is indeed the future tense, but this is according to what is often the case in Hebrew, for in that language the future has frequently this meaning. <451312>Romans 13:12 may be rendered in the same manner, “So then every one of us must give account of himself to God.” — Ed.

ft420 The passage is from <234523>Isaiah 45:23. In two instances the Apostle gives the sense, and not the words. Instead of “by myself have I sworn,” he give the form of the oath, “As I live.” This is the manner in which God swears by himself, it is by his life — his eternal existence. Then the conclusion of the verse in Hebrew is, “every tongue shall swear,” that is, “unto me.” To swear to God or by his name is to avow allegiance to him, to profess or to confess his name. See <194301>Psalm 43:11; <236301>Isaiah 63:1; <360105>Zephaniah 1:5. The Apostle therefore does no more than interpret the Hebrew idiom when he says, “every tongue shall confess to God.” — Ed.

ft421 The two words, pro>skomma and ska>ndalon, mean nearly the same thing, but with this difference, that the first seems to be an hindrance or an obstacle which occasions stumbling or falling, and the other is an obstacle which stops or impedes progress in the way. See <401623>Matthew 16:23. The two parties, the strong and the weak, are here evidently addressed; the former was not, by eating, to put a stumblingblock in the way of the weak brother; nor was the weak, by condemning, to be a hindrance or impediment in the way of the strong so as to prevent him to advance in his course. Thus we see that forbearance is enjoined on both parties, though the Apostle afterwards dwells more on what the strong was to do.

The clause might be thus rendered, —

“But rather judge it right to do this, —
not to lay before a brother a stumbling-stone, or an impediment.” — Ed.

ft422 “At the very time of giving forth the sentence, and on the highest of all authority, that there was nothing unclean of itself, he yet leaves others at liberty to esteem anything unclean. We are not sure if anywhere else in Scripture, the divine authority of toleration is so clearly manifested.” — Chalmers.

ft423 To elicit this meaning, which is in itself true, Calvin must have construed the sentence thus, “I know, and I am persuaded, that through the Lord Jesus nothing is of itself unclean:” but this is not the meaning. What the Apostle says is, that he knew, and was fully assured by the Lord Jesus, that is, by the teaching of his word Spirit, that nothing was in itself unclean, all ceremonial distinctions having been now removed and abolished. — Ed.

ft424 From the words “destroy not,” etc., some have deduced the sentiment, that those for whom Christ died may perish for everse It is neither wise nor just to draw a conclusion of this kind; for it is one that is negatived by many positive declarations of Scripture. Man’s inference, when contrary to God’s word, cannot be right. Besides, the Apostle’s object in this passage is clearly this, — to exhibit the sin of those who disregarded without saying that it actually effected that evil. Some have very unwisely attempted to obviate the inference above mentioned, by suggesting, that the destruction meant was that of comfort and edification. But no doubt the Apostle meant the ruin of the soul; hence the urgency of his exhortation, — “Do not act in such a way as tends to endanger the safety of a soul for whom Christ has shed his blood;” or, “Destroy not,” that is, as far as you can do so. Apostles and ministers are said to “save” men; some are exhorted here not to “destroy” them. Neither of these effects can follow, except in the first instance, God grants his blessing, and in the second his permission; and his permission as to his people he will never grant, as he has expressly told us. See <431027>John 10:27-29. — Ed.

ft425 “Vestrum bonum,” uJmw~n to< ajgaqo>n. Some, such as Grotius and Hammond, Scott, Chalmers, etc., agree with Calvin, and view this “good,” or privilege, to be Christian liberty, or freedom from ceremonial observances, (see <461029>1 Corinthians 10:29;) but Origen, Ambrose, Theodoret, Mede, etc., consider that the gospel is meant. The first opinion is the most suitable to the passage. — Ed

ft426 What is here said is no doubt true of the kingdom of God; but by considering what is afterwards said in the two following verses, we cannot well accede to this exposition. Righteousness, peace, and joy, mentioned here, are things acceptable to God and approved by men: they must then be things apparent and visible, which men see and observe; and to follow “the things of peace,” refers to the conduct. “Righteousness” then must mean here the doing of what is right and just towards one another; “peace,” concordand unanimity, as opposed to discord and contentions; “joy,” the fruit of this peaceable state, a cheering delight, a mutual rejoicing, instead of the sorrow and grief occasioned by discord; and these come “through the Holy Spirit” and are produced by him; and they are not the semblances of such virtues and graces, presented in some instances by false religions. See <480522>Galatians 5:22,23. Doddridge, Stuart, and Chalmers have viewed the passage in this light, though the latter, as well as Scott, seemed inclined to combine the two views: but this is to mix up thing together unnecessarily, and to destroy the harmony of the context. — Ed.

ft427 Jerome often employed the former part of this verse for the purpose of encouraging nomasticism; and by thus disconnecting it from the context, he got a passage quite suitable to his purpose. Even Erasmus condemned this shameful perversion. — Ed.

ft428 This is a similar, but not the same sentence as in <451301>Romans 13:15. The verb is different, kata>lue; which means to undo, to loosen, to pull down; and as “work” follows, which, as Calvin and others think, is to be understood of God’s building, the work of edifying or building up his people, the verb may in this sense be rendered here, “Pull not down the work of God.” But here, as in <451301>Romans 13:15, it is the tendency of the deed that is to be considered, and the effect as far as man’s doing was concerned. The Apostle says nothing of what God would do. — Ed.

ft429 What is said here proves what is stated in a note on <451313>Romans 13:13; that is, that ska>ndalon is a less evil than pro>skomma, only that the idea of stumbling, instead of hindrance or impediment, is given here to the former word. The Apostle still adopts, as it were, the ascending scale. He first mentions the most obvious effect, the actual fall, the extreme evil, and then the next to it, the obstacle in the way; and, in the third place, the weakening of the faith of the individual. The real order of the process is the reverse, — the weakening, then the impediment, and, lastly, the stumblingblock which occasions the fall. — Ed.

ft430 The version of Calvin is, “Beatus qui non judicat seipsum in eo quod examinat,” mokka>riov o[ mh< kri>nwn eJauto<n ejn w|+ dokima>zei; the latter part is rendered by Beza, and Piscator, “in eo quod approbat — in that which he approves;” by Doddridge, “in the thing which he alloweth;” by Macknight, “by what he approveth.” The reference is no doubt to the strong, who had “faith,” who believed all meats lawful. The verb means to try, to examine, as well as to approve; but the latter seems to be its meaning here. To approve and to have faith appears in this case to be the same: then to have faith and not to abuse it by giving offense to a brother was to be a happy man, who did not condemn himself. The meaning then most suitable to the passage is this, “Happy the man! who condemns not himself by what he approves,” that is, by eating meat to the annoyance and stumbling of the weak. — Ed.

ft431 The Greek is oJ diakrino>menov, “he who discerns,” that is, a difference as to meats; so Doddridge, Macknight, and Chalmers regard its meaning. Beza has “qui dubitat — who doubts,” and so our version. The word used by Calvin is dijudicat, which properly means to judge between things, to discern, but according to his explanation it means to judge in two ways, to be undecided.

The verb no doubt admits of these two meanings; it is used evidently in the sense of making or putting a difference, but only, as some say, in the active voice. There are indeed two places where it seems to have this meaning in its passive or middle form, <590204>James 2:4, and <650122>Jude  22. But as Paul has before used it in this Epistle, <450420>Romans 4:20, in the sense of hesitating, staggering, or doubting, we may reasonably suppose that it has this meaning here, and especially as in every place where he expresses the other idea, he has employed the active form. See <460407>1 Corinthians 4:7; <461129>1 Corinthians 11:29,31; etc. — Ed.

Chapter 15

ft432 Introduced here, as the conclusion of the last chapter, by Griesbach and other collators of MSS., are the three last verses of the Epistle, 25-27. It appears that the largest number of copies is in favor of this arrangement, countenanced by the Greek fathers, and the Syriac and Arabic versions. In favor of the present order, as in our version, there are some good MSS., the Latin fathers, and the Vulgate, etc. What strongly favors and decidedly confirms the order which we have, is the evident connection as to matter between this and the last chapter, which shows the impropriety of having those verses intervening between them. — Ed.

ft433 The word for “strong” is dunatoi<, “able,” which Calvin renders potentes, powerful, or able. They were the more advanced in knowledge and in piety. They were to “bear,” basta>zein, in the sense of carrying or sustaining the infirmities of the weak, impotentium, “the unable,” ajduna>twn, such as were unable to carry their own burdens. The duty is not merely to bear with or tolerate weaknesses, (for this is not the meaning of the verb,) but to help and assist the weak and the feeble to carry them. The most literal rendering is —

“We then who are able ought to bear (or carry)
the infirmities of the unable.” — Ed.

ft434 The ga<r in this verse is considered by Griesbach as wholly spurious; and Beza has left it out. — Ed.

ft435 The intention of producing Christ’s example here is to enjoin disinterestedness. He denies himself for the sake of glorifying God in the salvation of men: so his followers ought to show the same spirit; they ought to inconvenience themselves, and undergo toil, trouble, suffering, and reproaches, if necessary, in order to help and assist their fellow-Christians. — Ed.

ft436 “The object of this verse is not so much to show the propriety of applying the passage quoted from the Psalms to Christ, as to show that the facts recorded in the Scriptures are designed for our instruction.” — Hodge.

ft437 Or, That we might possess, enjoy, or retain hope. He does not describe this hope, it being sufficiently evident — the hope of the gospel. — Ed.

ft438 Some take “patience” apart from “consolation,” — “through patience, and the consolation of the Scriptures;” but what is evidently meant is the patience and consolation which the Scriptures teach and administer, or are the means of supplying; for it is the special object of the passage to show the benefits derived from the Scriptures. Then it is no doubt “consolation,” and not exhortation, though the word has also that meaning; for in the next verse it clearly means consolation. It is thus rendered, and in connection with “patience,” by Beza, Pareus, Doddridge, Macknight, etc.

In our version it is “comfort” in <451504>Romans 15:4, and “consolation” in <451505>Romans 15:5; but it would have been better to have retained the same word. — Ed.

ft439 There is a difference of opinion as to the unity contemplated here, whether it be that of sentiment or of feeling. The phrase, to< aujto< fronei~n, occurs in the following places, <451216>Romans 12:16; <451505>Romans 15:5; <471311>2 Corinthians 13:11; <500502>Philippians 2:2; <500316>Philippians 3:16; <500402>Philippians 4:2. Leigh says, that the phrase signifies to be of one mind, of one judgment, of one affection, towards one another. But though the verb fronei~n may admit of these three significations, yet the Apostle no doubt had in view a specific idea; and when we consider that he had been inculcating the principle of toleration as to unity of sentiment with regard to the eating of meats and of observing of days, and that he has been enforcing the duty of forbearance, and of sympathy, and of love towards each other, it appears probable that unity of feeling and of concern for each other’s welfare is what is intended here. Beza, Scott, and Chalmers take this view, while Pareus, Mede, and Stuart take the other, that is, that unity of sentiment is what is meant.

What confirms the former, in addition to the general import of the context, is the clause which follows, “according to Christ Jesus,” which evidently means, “according to his example,” as mentioned in verse 3.

Then in the next verse, the word oJmoqumado<n refers to the unity of feeling and of action, rather than to that of sentiment. It occurs, besides here, in these places, <440114>Acts 1:14, <440201>Acts 2:1,46; <440424>Acts 4:24; <440512>Acts 5:12; <440757>Acts 7:57; <440806>Acts 8:6; <441220>Acts 12:20; <441525>Acts 15:25; <441812>Acts 18:12; <441929>Acts 19:29. It is used by the Septuagint for djy, which means “together.” It is rendered “unanimiter — unanimously,” Beza; “with one mind,” by Doddridge; and “unanimously,” by Macknight. It is thus paraphrased by Grotius, “with a mind full of mutual love, free from contempt, free from hatred.” — Ed.

ft440 In gloriam Dei, eijv do>xan Qeou~, i.e., in order to set forth the glory of God, or, in other words, that God might be glorified. So Erasmus, Chalmers, and Stuart. Others regard this “glory” as that which God bestows, even eternal happiness, according to this meaning, — “Receive ye one another into communion and fellowship, as Christ has received you into the glory of God,” that is, into that glorious state which God has provided and promised. See <431724>John 17:24. For “you,” our version has “us;” but Griesbach considers “you” as the true reading. — Ed.

ft441 The beginning of this verse, “Now I say,” Dico autem, Le>gw de<, is read by Beza and Grotius, Le>gw ga<r, “For I say,” and Griesbach regards it of nearly equal authority. If we retain de<, it may be rendered “moreover,” or “further;” and to render the clause more distinct, the word “this,” as proposed by Beza and Pagninus, may be added, — “I further say this,” etc. The two verses may be thus rendered, —

8. I further say this, that Christ became a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises made to

9. the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, “I will therefore confess thee among the nations, and to thy name will I sing.”

The reasons for this rendering are given in the next note. — Ed.

ft442 The construction of this first sentence is differently viewed. Grotius and Stuart connect it with “I say” at the beginning of the former verse; but Beza and Pareus connect it with the last clause, and consider eijv to< as being here understood: and this seems to be the best construction. Christ became the minister of the circumcision, a minister under the Abrahamic economy, for two objects, — that he might confirm the promises made to the Fathers, — and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. Mercy was destined to come to the Gentiles through the covenant made with Abraham, of which circumcision was the sign and seal. The promise, “In thee shall the nations of the earth be blessed,” was made to Abraham, and not to the Gentiles. Hence it is called “mercy” to them, there being to previous promise made distinctly to them, while the same mercy as to the Jews is called “truth,” because it was the fulfillment of a promise. A remarkable instance of this difference, noticed by Haldane, is found in <330720>Micah 7:20. What is said to be “mercy” to Abraham, to whom the promise was first made, is said to be “truth” to Jacob, to whom it was confirmed. It may also, by the way, be observed, that this verse in Micah affords an example of what we often find in Paul’s style; for in mentioning two or more things, he often reverses the regular order. What Micah mentions first is “truth” to Jacob, and then he goes back to God’s “mercy” to Abraham.

The quotation from <191849>Psalm 18:49, is verbatim from the Septuagint. The Hebrew verb with its postfix, ˚dwa, in our version, “I will give thanks to thee,” may more properly be rendered, “I will confess thee.” — Ed.

ft443 This passage is evidently taken from <053243>Deuteronomy 32:43, given literally as it is found in the Septuagint, and literally too from the Hebrew, if the reading of two copies, referred to by Kennicalt, be adopted, in which ta, “with,” is placed before w[, “his people.” It is no objection that “adversaries” are mentioned in the context. There have ever been adversaries to God’s people; and God even now denounces his judgments on his adversaries, though the Gentiles as a people, as a separate class from the Jews, have been long ago admitted to the privilege of rejoicing with his people. — Ed.

ft444 <231110>Isaiah 11:10. The whole of this quotation is given as it is found in the Septuagint. The difference, as noticed by Calvin, between the words as given in Hebrew, is considerable. The language of the Prophet is metaphorical, the Septuagint interpreted it, and this interpretation the Apostle approved and adopted. The Messiah is represented by the Prophet as a general or a leader of an army, raising his banner for the nations, (ym[, not “people,” as in our version:) and the Gentiles repair or resort to this banner for protection; and so Lowth renders the verb wrdy, only he does not preserve the metaphor, by rendering wyla, “unto him,” instead of “to it,” as in our version. It hence appears evident, that the passage is substantially the same; and indeed the verb a]rcein, retains in some measure the idea of the original, for it strictly means to be a leader, to rule as a chief. — Ed.

ft445 The God of hope may mean one of two things, — the giver or author of hope, as in <600103>1 Peter 1:3, — or the object of hope, he in whom hope is placed, as in <540617>1 Timothy 6:17.

Why does he mention joy before peace? It is in accordance with his usual manner, — the most visible, the stream first, then the most hidden, the spring. — Ed.

ft446 That is eijv to<, instead of ejn tw~|. — Ed.

ft447 This is the view approved by Theopylact, Beza, Grotius, Mede, and Hammond: but Doddridge, Scott, Stuart, and Chalmers consider “peace” here to be that with God, and “joy” as its accompaniment; while Pareus and Hodge view both as included, especially the latter. If we consider the subject in hand, that the Apostle was attempting to produce union and concord between the Jews and the Gentiles, we shall see reason to accede to Calvin’s explanations. This joy and peace seem to be the same as in <451417>Romans 14:17. Concord, union, and mutual enjoyment, are graces which come by believing, or by faith, as well as concord or peace with God, and its accompanying joy; and these graces have no doubt an influence on hope, so as to make it brighter and stronger, when they are produced by the Holy Spirit. There are three things which distinguish these graces from such as are fictitious, — they proceed from faith, — they increase hope, — they are produced by the Spirit. — Ed.

ft448 It does not clearly appear what meaning Calvin attached to the words ajpo me>rouv, which he renders ex parte. Some, like Origen, connect the expression with the verb, “I have written to you in part,” that is, not fully, which seems to have no meaning consistently with the evident tenor of the passage. Others, as Chrrsystom, Erasmus, and Pareus, connect the words with the adjective, “I have in part (or somewhat) more boldly (or more freely, or more confidently) written to you.” Macknight connects them with the following clause, “partly as calling things to your remembrance.” Doddridge and Stuart render them “in this part of the Epistle.” The most suitable view is to consider them as qualifying the adjective. — Ed.

ft449 “Consecrans evangelium, so Augustine; iJerourgou~nta to< eujagge>lion, “operans evangelio — being employed in the gospel,” Beza and Pareus; “docens sacrum evangelium — teaching the holy gospel,” Vatablus. The verb means to “perform sacred rites,” or to officiate in holy things. It has no connection, as some think, with a sacrificing priest; indeed iJereu<v itself, that is a priest, is a holy person, who did sacrifice no doubt among other things, but the word does not import a sacrificer any more than ˆhk in Hebrew. The word here does not mean to consecrate, or to sanctify, or to sacrifice, but to discharge a holy function. Perhaps the most literal rendering would be “performing a holy office as to the gospel,” but dispensing, administering, or preaching the gospel would be the best version. The Apostle had previously called himself leitourgo<n, a public functionary, a public minister of Jesus Christ; he now designates his work as such, being a sacred administrator of the gospel, and then he states the object, that the offering of the Gentiles, that is, that the Gentiles being offered, might be an acceptable sacrifice to God, sanctified by the Spirit. See <451201>Romans 12:1. — Ed.

ft450 Some, as Beza and Grotius, understand by the last clause, “through the power of the Spirit of God,” the internal power of speaking with tongues, etc., and by “signs and wonders,” the external work of healing the sick, etc. But this passage is evidently an instance of the Apostle’s usual mode of stating things. “Word” means preaching; and “work,” the doing of miracles. He first specifies the last, the work was that of “signs and wonders;” and then he mentions what belongs to the first, and shows how it became effectual, that is, through the power of the Spirit. See a similar arrangement in <460611>1 Corinthians 6:11; where he mentions washed, sanctified and justified; and then he mentions first what belongs to the last, “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” and afterwards what appertains to the first words, “and by the Spirit of our God.” “Signs and wonders” are often mentioned together: they designate the same things by different names: miracles were called “signs,” because they were evidences of divine power, and they were called “wonders,” or prodigies, because they were not according to the course of nature, but were extraordinary things. By these words their design and character are set forth. — Ed.

ft451 The clause is rendered by Beza and Grotius, “Impleverim praedicandi evangelii Christi munus — I have fulfilled the office of preaching the gospel of Christ.” The gospel is put for preaching the gospel. See <441225>Acts 12:25; <510125>Colossians 1:25. Vatables renders the verb “plene annunciaverim — I have fully announced;” and Mede, “propagaverim — I have propagated.” Some, as Wolfius and Vitringa, think the verb is used in a sense borrowed from Hebrew: the verb rmg, which in its common meaning is to fill or to finish, is used in the sense of teaching, not indeed in the Hebrew bible, but in the Talmud. That the idea of teaching, or propagating, or preaching, belongs to it here, and in <510125>Colossians 1:25, is evident. The notion of filling up, which Calvin gives to it, is hardly consistent with what the Apostle says in <451520>Romans 15:20. The full preaching is referred by Erasmus, not to its extent, but to its fidelity, “omitting nothing which a faithful evangelist ought to have proclaimed.” — Ed.

ft452 The participle, “striving,” rendered annitens by Calvin and by Erasmus, is filotimou>menov, which means to strive honorably: it is to seek a thing as an object of honor or ambition. It may be rendered here, “honorably striving;” Doddridge has, “It hath been the object of my ambition;” Stuart, “I was strongly desirous;” and Wolfius, “honori mihi ducentem — esteeming it an honor to me.” It is used to express both an honorable and an earnest or diligent pursuit. It is found in two other places, teeming it an honor,” or, “Being ambitious.” — Ed.

ft453 <235215>Isaiah 52:15. The quotation is literally from the Septuagint, and is nearly according to the Hebrew, only the tense is altered, it being the past in that language, as prophecies are often found to be, in order to show their certainty. The Hebrew is as follows, —

For what had not been told them, have they seen,
And what they had not heard, have they understood.

To render the last verb “consider,” as in our version, is not proper; it means to distinguish between things, to discern, to understand. It bears strictly the same meaning with the Greek verb here used. — Ed.

ft454 This clause, and ga<r in the next, Griesbach dismisses as being spurious: then the verse would be, —

24. “Whenever I go into Spain, I hope, in passing through, to see you, and to be by you sent there, when I shall first be in a measure refreshed by you;” or, literally, “filled with you;” or it may be rendered, “satisfied with you.”

The Vulgate renders the words, “Si vobis primum ex parte fruitus fuero — when I shall first in part enjoy you, i.e., your society. Stuart’s version is, “When I am in part first satisfied with your company.” The expression, “in part,” seems to imply that his stay would not be long. — Ed.

ft455 On this subject Wolfius says, “Paul’s journey to Spain we unknown to Origen and Eusebius; nor does it comport with the records connected with him. The Apostle, when freed from the chains of Nero, did not go to Spain, but to Asia; and there is no vestige of a Church founded by Paul in Spain. Basnage has carefully examined this subject as well as W. Wall in his critical Notes in English on the New Testament.” As is common in many things connected with antiquity, fathers later than Origen and Eusebius came to know of this journey, but how, it is not easy to know: and in process of time various particulars were discovered, or rather invented, in connection with this journey. It is something similar to the story of Peter being the founder of the Church of Rome. — Ed.

ft456 “In carnalibus;” ejn toi~v sarkikoi~v. The word “carnal” in our language does not convey the meaning. The Apostle uses it here in opposition to what is “spiritual,” and therefore “temporal” expresses its meaning. See <460911>1 Corinthians 9:11. It sometimes means “human,” as in <470112>2 Corinthians 1:12, where man’s wisdom is set in contrast with God’s wisdom. In <471004>2 Corinthians 10:4, it means “weak,” or feeble, or powerless, being opposed to the “mighty” weapons of God. It has its own proper meaning in <450714>Romans 7:14, and in <600211>1 Peter 2:11, “carnal,” that is, wicked, sinful, corrupt, depraved. In <460301>1 Corinthians 3:1, it signifies weak, ignorant, imperfect in knowledge, as opposed to spiritual and enlightened persons. And in <580716>Hebrews 7:16, it expresses what is fleeting and transitory. In no language is there one word which can convey all the meanings of a similar word in another: hence the necessity of changing a word sometimes in a translation. — Ed.

ft457 The words are, koinwni>an tina< poih>sasqai, “to make a certain contribution,” or, “some contribution,” or, as Doddridge has it, “a certain collection.” There seems to be no necessity for leaving out the word tina<. — Ed.

ft458 More satisfactory is the explanation of Stuart: he says, that the word “sealed” means that the instrument to which a seal is applied is authenticated, made valid, i.e., “sure to answer the purpose intended. So here the Apostle would not stop short in the performance of his duty, as the almoner of the Churches, until he had seen the actual distribution of their charity.” It seems then that “sealed” here means “secured,” or safely conveyed. “Delivered to them safely,” is the paraphrase of Hammond. — Ed.

ft459 This explanation is that of Chrysostom; but how to make the words to give such a meaning is a matter of some difficulty. The obvious import of the passage corresponds with <450111>Romans 1:11. All the authors quoted by Poole, except Estius, take the other view, such as Grotius, Beza, Mede, etc. The last gives the following as the sentiments of Origen and Anselm — “My preaching and conversation shall impart to you an abundant knowledge of the gospel mysteries, love, comfort, grace, and spiritual fruit.” The word “blessing,” eujlogi>a, is said by Grotius to mean everything that is freely bestowed on us. See <480314>Galatians 3:14; <490103>Ephesians 1:3. The words tou~ eujaggeli>ou tou~, are not considered genuine by Griesbach and by most critics. This makes no difference in the meaning: the clause then would be, — “With the fullness of the blessings of Christ,” or, with the abounding blessings of Christ; or, as Beza renders it, “with the full blessing of Christ.” — Ed.

ft460 The word “Amen,” is regarded as spurious: Griesbach and other have left it out. — Ed.

ft461 Scott quotes the following from Whitby, — “If Paul, saith Estius, might desire the prayers of the Romans, why might not the Romans desire the prayers of Paul? I answer, they might desire his prayers, as he did theirs, by a letter directed to him to pray for them. He adds, If they might desire his prayers for them when living, why not when dead and reigning with Christ? I answer, Because they could direct no epistle to him, or in any other way acquaint him with their mind.” — Ed.

ft462 “Ut concertetis mihi,” sunagwni>sasqai> moi; “ut mecum certetis — that ye strive with me,” — Beza; “ut mecum laboretis — that ye labor with me,” — Tremelius, from the Syriac. Literally it is, “that ye agonize with me.” It is an allusion, says Grotius, to Jacob’s wrestling with the angel. <013224>Genesis 32:24. A strenuous and earnest supplication is intended. Pareus says, that it is a metaphor taken from warfare, when a soldier comes to the help of another: but rather from the games, when there is a striving for the prize. He would have the Romans to make a similar strenuous effort for him in prayer to God. The word ajgw<n, is an agonistic and not a military term. — Ed.

ft463 It was a mutual refreshment, according to <450112>Romans 1:12. The verb here used, says Grotius, means to give and to receive comfort. The verb without its compound su<n, is found in <461618>1 Corinthians 16:18; <470713>2 Corinthians 7:13; <570107>Philemon 1:7, etc. — Ed.

ft464 Lover, author, or bestower of peace. This intimates that there were strifes and contentions among them. Paul often speaks of God as the God of peace, especially when referring to the discords which prevailed among Christians. See <461433>1 Corinthians 14:33; <471311>2 Corinthians 13:11; <500409>Philippians 4:9; <520523>1 Thessalonians 5:23; <530316>2 Thessalonians 3:16; <581320>Hebrews 13:20. — Ed.

Chapter 16

ft465 “Ministra,” dia>konov — minister, or servant, or deaconess, one who ministers. Origen and Chrysostom considered her to be a deaconess, but the word does not necessarily prove this; for it is used often to designate generally one who does service and contributes to the help and assistance of others. She was evidently a person of wealth and influence, and was no doubt a great support and help to the Cenchrean Church. Those spoken of by Paul in <540510>1 Timothy 5:10, and <560203>Titus 2:3, were widows and aged, and they are not called aiJ dia<konoi, deaconesses. There arose, as it appears, an order of this kind in the early Church, and Grotius says that they were ordained by imposition of hands before the Laodicean Council, which forbade the practice. Their office was, according to Bingham and Suicer, referred to by Schleusner, to baptize women, to teach female catechumens, to visit the sick, and to perform other inferior offices in the Church. But this was the state of things after the apostolic times, and there is no reason to believe that Phoebe was of this order. She was evidently a great helper of the Christian cause, as some other women also are mentioned in this chapter, and she had been the helper of many, (<451602>Romans 16:2,) and not of one Church, and also of Paul himself; and from what is said in <451602>Romans 16:2, it appears probable that she was a woman carrying on some business or traffic, and that she went to Rome partly at least on this account. — Ed.

ft466 So reads Griesbach; it is the same with Priscilla. See <441802>Acts 18:2,26, and <550419>2 Timothy 4:19, where she is also called Prisca. Names in former times, as well as now, were sometimes used in a abbreviated form. — Ed.

ft467 Whether Aquila was a laymen or not, the Apostle connects his wife with him in the work of cooperation with him in his ministerial work; and we see by <441826>Acts 18:26, that they both taught Apollos. It is somewhat singular, that the wife, not only here but in several other instances, though not in all, is mentioned before the husband. — Ed.

ft468 The occasion is not mentioned. It was probably at Corinth, according to the account given in <441801>Acts 18.

ft469 Some of the Fathers considered that the family, being all religious, was the Church; but this is wholly inconsistent with the mode of expression that is used, and with the state of things at that time. They had no churches or temples to meet in; private houses were their churches. Superstitious ideas as to places of worship no doubt led men to seek such following, if he meant only the family, — “Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with (su<n — together with) the Church that is in their house,” <461619>1 Corinthians 16:19. — Ed.

ft470 Epenetus, who is here called the first-fruit of Achaia, may have been off the family of Stephanas, who is said to have been the first-fruit in <461615>1 Corinthians 16:15. But the majority of copies has Asia, Asi>av, here, instead of Achaia, Acai>av. By Asia is often meant Asia Minor, and so here, no doubt, if it be the right reading. — Ed.

ft471 It is said of Mary, that she “labored much,” eijv hJma~v, towards us, or among us; “inter nos — among us,” Beza; “pro nobis — for us,” Grotius. The reading eijv uJma~v, towards you, has many MSS. in its favor, and also ejn uJmi~n, among you. — Ed.

ft472 It is not certain to what the Apostles refers; for we have no particular account of him hitherto as a prisoner, except for a short time at Philippi, <441623>Acts 16:23-40; and it is probable, that it was on that occasion that they had been his fellow-prisoners; for it appears from the narrative, that there were more prisoners than Paul and Silas, as it is said that the “prisoners” heard them singing, <451625>Romans 16:25; and Paul’s saying to the jailer, in <451602>Romans 16:28, “we are all here,” clearly implies that he had some with him besides Silas. — Ed.

ft473 The words ejpi>shmoi ejn toi~v ajposto>loiv, noted among the Apostles, can hardly admit of a meaning different from what is here given, though some have explained the sense to be, that they were much esteemed by Apostles, or that they were “distinguished in the Apostles’ judgment,” or that they were well known to the Apostles. But as “Apostles” in some other instances mean teachers, as Barnabas was, (<441414>Acts 14:14,) the explanation here given is most to be approved. — Ed.

ft474 It appears from Justin Martyr and Tertullian, that the early Christians kissed one another always after prayers, or at the end of the service. They did so, says Grotius, to “show that they were all equal; for the Persians and the orientals kissed the mouth of those only of the same rank, and gave their hands to be kissed by their inferiors.” It was evidently a custom among the Jews. See <102009>2 Samuel 20:9; <420745>Luke 7:45; <402649>Matthew 26:49. This “holy kiss” is mentioned in <461620>1 Corinthians 16:20; <471312>2 Corinthians 13:12; <520526>1 Thessalonians 5:26. It is called the kiss of love, or charity, by Peter, <600514>1 Peter 5:14. It was one of those things which arose from peculiar habits, and is not be considered as binding on all nations, any more than the washing of feet. The Apostle’s object seems to have been, not to enjoin a rite, but to regulate a practice, already existing, and to preserve it from abuse: it was to be a holy kiss. — Ed.

ft475 Griesbach approves of ta>sai, “all,” after Churches: then it would be “all the Churches;” that is, of Greece, says Grotius, but of Corinth, says Wolfius, even those which assembled at different private houses: and this is a more likely supposition, than that Paul, according to Origen and others, took it as granted that all the Churches which he had founded wished well to the Church of Rome. That they wished well to it there can be no doubt; but it is not probable that Paul acted on such a supposition. — Ed.

ft476 The two words are dicostasi>ai and ska>ndala, divisions and offenses, or hindrances. He had, no doubt, in view, what he noticed in chapter 14, about eating and observing of days; and according to his usual manner he mentions first the effect — “divisions,” and then the cause — “offenses.” The Gentile Christians, by eating, gave offense to the believing Jews, and this offense led to a division or separation. The evils which he had previously attempted to correct were doubtless those referred to here. “Serving their own belly,” in the next verse, has in this respect an emphatic meaning. Instead of denying themselves in the use of meats for the sake of Christ, and for the pace of his Church, they preferred to gratify their own appetites. And being led away by their lust, they covered their real motive by kindly or plausibly addressing (eujlogi>a) and eulogizing (crhstologi>a) those who joined them, imitating in this respect the arts of all false professors and zealots, whatever be the false principle by which they may be guided. — Ed.

ft477 This he calls “faith” in <450108>Romans 1:8: so that obedience to the gospel is faith in what it declares. To believe is the special command of the gospel: hence to believe is the special act of obedience that is required; and he who believes is he who shall be saved. But this faith is that of the heart, and not of the lips; and a faith which works by love and overcomes the world, the mighty power of which we learn from Hebrew 11. — Ed.

ft478 “Good” and “evil” in this clause, is beneficence and mischief. To be wise as to good, is to be wise in acts of kindness, in promoting good, as Beza seems to take it; and to be harmless or guileless, or simple as to evil, is to exercise no arts, by plausible speeches and flatteries, as was done by those referred to in <451617>Romans 16:17, in order to do mischief, to create divisions. The Apostle’s object throughout seems to have been to produce unanimity between the Jews and Gentiles. Hence in the next verse he speaks of God as “the God of peace,” the author of peace among his people; and he says that this God of peace would soon tread down Satan, the author of discord, the promoter of divisions and offenses; or, as most consider the passage, he prays that God would do this; for the future, after the manner of the Hebrew, is sometimes used by the Apostle as an optative. And indeed the verb is found in some copies in this mood (suntri>yai) and in the Syriac, Ethiopic, and Vulgate versions. — Ed.

ft479 This conclusion bears an evident reference to the point the Apostle had especially in view — the reconciling of the Jews and Gentiles. He connects the gospel with the ancient Scriptures, and mentions the gospel as being in unison with them. Then the Jews had no reason to complain. As in <451617>Romans 16:17 to 20 inclusive, he reproved the Gentiles who caused divisions; so in these verses his special object is to put an end to the objections of the Jews. — Ed.

ft480 The words are cro>noiv aijwni>oiv, rendered improperly by Hammond and others, from the eternal ages, or eternity. We find them preceded by pro< before, in <550109>2 Timothy 1:9, and in <560102>Titus 1:2: “before the eternal ages,” could not be right rendering; nor is “before the world began,” as in our version, correct; for a reference in Titus is made to God’s promise. “In the times of the ages” is the rendering of Deza and of Macknight; and, in “ancient times,” is that of Doddridge and Stuart. The same subject is handled in two other places, <490305>Ephesians 3:5, and <510126>Colossians 1:26: and the words used by him are “in other ages,” eJteraiv geneai~v, and, “from ages and generations,” ajpo< tw~n aijw>nwn kai< ajpo< tw~n genew~n. Theodoret explained the terms by a]nwqen —-in past times; and Theophylact by pa>lai—formerly; and Schleusner by a similar word, olim.—Ed.

ft481 This clause is differently construed: some connect “prophetic Scriptures” with “manifested,” or made manifest. So Doddridqe and Stuart; but Beza, Pareus, and Macknight agree with Calvin, and connect the words with “made known” or proclaimed. The conjunetive te after dia< favors this construction; and dia< means here “by the means,” or by the aid and sanction, “of the prophetic Scriptures.” Then the meaning is—”that the mystery, hid for ages, is now manifest, that is, by the gospel, and by means of the prophetic Scriptures, and consistently with the decree (ejpitagh<n) or ordination of the eternal God, is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” According to this view is the exposition of Calvin, which is no doubt correct.

But it is more consistent with the tenor of the latter part of this epistle, and with the other passages, such as <490304>Ephesians 3:4-6, and <510126>Colossians 1:26, 27, where he mentions the same mystery, to consider the reference here to be exclusively to the union of Jeers and Gentiles, and not generally to the gospel, as Calvin and others have thought.

There is a grammatical difficulty in the last verse: the relative w+| is found before “glory.” Beza and others considered it redundant. The verse is literally as follows,—

27. To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.

It is omitted in a few copies; several copies have aujtw~|, which would read better: but its genuineness is rejected by Griesbach and others. The ascription of praise is evidently given to God, as one who has contrived and arranged his dispensation of grace and mercy: and his wisdom here refers to the same thing, as in <451133>Romans 11:33. However mysterious may his dispensation appear to us with regard to the Jews and Gentiles, in leaving the latter for so long a time in ignorance, in favoring the former only in the first instance with a revelation of himself, and then in showing favor to the Gentiles, and in rejecting the Jews for a time, and afterwards restoring them — however mysterious all these things may appear, the Apostle assures us that they are the arrangements of the only wise God. — Ed.

Translation

ft482 Here is repeated in a different way what had been before stated, only the reference before was to the weakness of good, but here to the power of evil.

ft483 To exhibit the meaning of this passage according to what is advanced in a note in pp. 306, 307, it shall be presented here in lines, —

19. Truly the intent expectation of the creature Waits for the revelation of the sons of God;

20. For to vanity has the creature been subjected, not willingly, But on his account who has subjected it in hope;

21. For even the creature itself shall be freed from the bondage of corruption, Into the glorious liberty of the sons of God;

22. For we know that every creature groans together, And together travails in pain to this day:‑

23. And not only they, but we also ourselves, Who possess the first-fruit of the Spirit, Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, Anxiously waiting for our adoption, The redemption of our body;

24. For in hope are we saved, But hope seen is not hope; For what one sees, why does he yet hope for it?

25. But if what we see not, we hope for, We wait for it in patience.

We may indeed consider “every creature” in verse 22 as referring to every renewed creature then living, (except the Apostles and those endowed with the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit,) and all such from the beginning of the world. In this case, “to this day” has a striking import. All God’s servants from the beginning had been groaning under the body of sin, and not only they, but even?hose who had enjoyed the first outpouring of the Spirit, and had been endued with extraordinary gifts. The gifts of the Spirit, however abundant, did not free any from the bondage of corruption, from the body of sin; but this was an object of hope, for which they were to wait. The context, before and after, clearly shows that the present condition of God’s people is the subject. — Ed.

ft484The Jewish convert.

ft485 The Gentile believer.

ft486 “I have supplemented,” is what Calvin approves: the gospel had already been partially preached, but Paul had filled up or supplied what was deficient.

 


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