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12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.
12 blishment in the faith; that is, that, when I am among
you, I may be comforted together with you, both with your 13 faith and my own. This I think fit you should know, bre
thren, that I often purposed to come unto you, that I may have some fruit of my ministry among you also, even as 14 among other Gentiles. I owe what service I can do to the Gentiles of all kinds, whether Greeks or barbarians, to both. the more knowing and civilized, and the uncultivated and ig15 norant; So that, as much as in me lies, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you also, who are at Rome.
"Establishment." The Jews were the worshippers of the true God, and had been, for many ages, his people; this could not be denied by the Christians. Whereupon they were very apt to persuade the convert Gentiles, that the Messias was promised, and sent, to the Jewish nation alone, and that the Gentiles could claim or have no benefit by him; or, if they were to receive any benefit by the Messias, they were yet bound to observe the law of Moses, which was the way of worship which God had prescribed to his people. This, in several places, very much shook the Gentile converts. St. Paul makes it (as we have already observed) his business, in this epistle, to prove, that the Messias was intended for the Gentiles as much as for the Jews; and that, to make any one partaker of the benefits and privileges of the Gospel, there was nothing more required, but to believe and obey it: And accordingly, here in the entrance of the epistle, he wishes to come to Rome, that, by impar ing some miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost to them, they might be established in the true notion of Christianity, against all attempts of the Jews, who would either exclude them from the privileges of it, or bring them under the law of Moses. So, where St. Paul expresses his care, that the Colossians should be established in the faith, Col. ii. 7, it is visible, by the context, that what he opposed was Judaism.
12 mThat is." St. Paul, in the former verse, had said that he desired to come amongst them, to establish them; in these words, "that is," he explains, or as it were recalls what he had said, that he might not seem to think them not sufficiently instructed or established in the faith, and therefore turns the end of his coming to them, to their mutual rejoicing in one another's faith, when he and they came to see and know one another.
CHAPTER I. 16.-II. 29.
ST. Paul, in this section, shows, that the Jews exclude themselves from being the people of God, under the Gospel, by the same reason that they would have the Gentiles excluded.
It cannot be sufficiently admired how skilfully, to avoid offending those of his own nation, St. Paul here enters into an argument, so unpleasing to the Jews, as this of persuading them that the Gentiles had as good a title to be taken in to be the people of God, under the Messias, as they themselves, which is the main design of this epistle.
In this latter part of the first chapter he gives a description o the Gentile world, in very black colours, but very adroitly interweaves such an apology for them, in respect of the Jews, as was sufficient to beat that assuming nation out of all their pretences to a right to continue to be alone the people of God, with an exclusion of the Gentiles. This may be seen, if one carefully attends to the particulars that he mentions relating to the Jews aud Gentiles; and observes how, what he says of the Jews, in the second chapter, answers to what he had charged on the Gentiles, in the first. For there is a secret comparison of them, one with another, runs through these two chapters, which, as soon as it comes to be minded, gives such a light and lustre to St. Paul's discourse, that one cannot but admire the skilful turn of it, and look on it as the most soft, the most beautiful, and most pressing argumentation that one shall any where meet with altogether; since it leaves the Jews nothing to say for themselves, why they should have the privilege continued to them, under the Gospel, of being alone the people of God. All things they stood upon, and boasted in, giving them no preference, in this respect, to the Gentiles, nor any ground to judge them to be incapable or unworthy to be their fellow-subjects, in the kingdom of the Messias. This is what he says, speaking of them nationally. But as to every one's personal concerns in a future state, he assures them, both Jews and Gentiles, that the unrighteous of both nations, whether admitted or not into the visible communion of the people of God, are liable to condemnation. Those who have sinned without law, shall perish without law; and those who have sinned in the law, shall be judged, [i. e. condemned by the
Perbaps some readers will not think it superfluous, if I give a short draught of St. Paul's management of himself here, for allaying the sourness of the Jews against the Gentiles, and their offence at the ospel, for allowing any of them place among the people of God, under the Messias.
After he had declared that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to those who believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile, and that the way of this salvation is revealed to be by the righteousness of God, which is by faith; he tells them, that the wrath of God is also now revealed against all atheism, polytheism, . idolatry, and vice whatsoever, of men holding the truth in unrighteousness, because they might come to the knowledge of the true God, by the visible works of the creation; so that the Gentiles were without excuse, for turning from the true God to idolatry, and the worship of false gods, whereby their hearts were darkened, so that they were without God in the world. Wherefore, God gave them up to vile affections, and all manner of vices, in which state, though, by the light of nature, they know what was right, yet understanding not that such things were worthy of death, they not only do themselves, but, abstaining from censure, live fairly and in fellowship with those that do them. Whereupon he tells the Jews that they are more inexcusable than the heathen, in that they judge, abhor, and have in aversion the Gentiles, for what they themselves do with greater provocation. Their censure and judgment in the case is unjust and wrong; but the judgmeut of God is always right and just, which will certainly overtake those who judge others for the same things they do themselves, and do not consider that God's forbearance to them ought to bring them to repentance. For God will render to every one accordinig to his deeds to those that in meekness and patience continue n well-doing, everlasting life; but to those who are censorious, proud, and contentious, and will not obey the Gospel, condemnation and wrath at the day of judgment, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; for God puts no difference between them. Thou, that art a Jew, boastest that God is thy God; that he has enlightened thee by the law that he himself gave thee from heaven, and hath, by that immediate revelation, taught thee what things are excellent, and tend to life, and what are evil, and have death annexed to hem. If, therefore, thou transgressest, doest not thou more dishonour God and provoke him, than a poor heathen, that knows not God, nor that the things he doeth deserve death, which is their reward? Shall not he, if, by the light of nature, he do what is conformable to the revealed law of God, judge thee, who hast received that law from God by revelation, and breakest it? Shall not this, rather than circumcision, make him an Israelite? For he is not a Jew, i. e. one of God's people, who is one outwardly, by circumcision of the flesh; but he that is one inwardly, by the circumcision of the heart.
16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as
it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
16 For I am not ashamed to preach the Gospel of Christ, even at Rome itself, that mistress of the world: for, whatever it may be thought of there", by that vain and haughty people, it is that wherein God exerts himself, and shows his power, for the salvation of those who believe, of the Jews in the 17 first place, and also of the Gentiles. For therein is the
righteousness, which is of the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, revealed to be wholly by faith, as it is written, 18 The just shall live by faith. And it is no more than need, that the Gospel, wherein the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, is revealed, should be preached to you Gentiles, since the wrath of God is now revealed from heaven, by
16 Vid. ver. 22, and 1 Cor. i. 21.
b Vid. Eph. 1. 19.
"First." The Jews had the first offers of the Gospel, and were always con. sidered as those, who were first regarded in it. Vid. Luke xxiv. 47. Matth. x. 6, and xv. 24. Acts xiii. 46, and xvii. 2.
17 Aidioturn Oru," the righteousness of God," called so, because it is a righte ousness of his contrivance, and his bestowing. It is God that justifieth, chap. iii. 21-24, 26, 30, and viii. 33. Of which St. Paul speaks thus, Phil. iii. 9, "Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
"From faith to faith." The design of St. Paul here being to show, that neither Jews nor Gentiles could, by works, attain to righteousness, i. e. such a perfect and complete obedience, whereby they could be justified, which he calls, "their own righteousness," ch. x. 3. He here tells them, that in the Gospel the righteousness of God, i. e. the righteousness, of which he is the author, and which he accepts, in the way of his own appointment, is revealed from faith to faith, i. e. to be all through, from one end to the other, founded in faith. If this be not the sense of this phrase here, it will be hard to make the following words, as it is written, The just shall live by faith, cohere: but thus they have an easy and natural connexion, viz. whoever are justified either before, without,or under the law of Moses, or under the Gospel, are justified, not by works, but by faith alone. Yid. Gal. iii. 11, which clears this interpretation. The same figure of speaking St. Paul uses in other places, to the same purpose; ch. vi. 19, Servants to iniquity unto iniquity;" i. e. wholly to ini. quity; 2 Cor. iii. 18, "From glory to glory," i. e. wholly glorious. 18" Now revealed." Vid. Acts xvii. 30, 31, "God now commandeth all men, every where, to repent, because he hath appointed a day, in which he will
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God
hath showed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
Jesus Christ, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who live not up to the light that God has given 19 them. Because God, in a clear manisfestation of himself
amongst them, has laid before them, ever since the Creation of 20 the world, his divine nature and eternal power; So that what is to be known, of his invisible being, might be clearly discovered and understood from the visible beauty, order, and operations, observable in the constitution and parts of the universe, by all those that would cast their regards, and apply their minds that way; insomuch that they are utterly without ex21 cuse: For that, when the Deity was so plainly discovered to them, yet they glorified him not, as was suitable to the excellency of hisdivine nature: nor did they, with due thankful
judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained." These words of St. Paul to the Athenians, give light to these here to the Romans. A life again after death, and a day of judgment, wherein men should be all brought to receive sentence, according to what they had done, and be punished for their misdeeds, was what was before unknown, and was brought to light by the revelation of the Gospel from heaven, 2 Tim. i. 10. Matth. xiii. 40, &c. Luke xiii. 27, and Rom. ii. 5, he calls the day of judgment the day of wrath, consonant to his saying here, the wrath of God is revealed.
'Aav," ungodliness," seems to comprehend the atheism, polytheism, and idolatry of the heathen world, as aditav," unrighteousness," their other miscarriages and vicious lives, according to which they are distinctly threatened by St. Paul, in the following verses. The same appropriation of these words, I I think, may be observed in other parts of this epistle.
h"Of men," i. e. all men, or as in the xviith of Acts, before cited, "all men, every where," i. e. all men of all nations: before it was only to the children of Israel, that obedience and transgression were declared and proposed, as terms of life and death.
"Who hold the truth in unrighteousness," i. e. who are not wholly without the truth, but yet do not follow what they have of it, but live contrary to that truth they do know, or neglect to know what they might. This is evident from the next words, and for the same reason of God's wrath, given, chap. ii. 8, in these words," who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness." 20 St. Paul says, vcovμera nabopata, if they are minded, they are seen the invisible things of God lie within the reach and discovery of men's reason and understandings, but yet they must exercise their faculties and employ their minds about them.