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pletely, all the available sources of evidence on the Arminian side of the question; and we are glad that he has done so. In examining any set of opinions, we like to know all that can be said for or against them. On this ground, we have to thank the author for his labours. We now know the worst that can be said against the Calvinistic interpretation of this celebrated chapter, and also the best that can be advanced in favour of the Arminian view. The author has certainly brought to bear on the subject, a great mass of learning and research; but, in our apprehension, its effect in many cases, has been to darken and obscure what is otherwise plain and obvious. In reading over the pages of his exposition, we have been frequently beclouded; and we had just to wait till the clouds of learned dust had passed away, when the clear and unmistakeable meaning of the apostle began to shine forth in majestic and silvery brightness.
As intimated above, the object of the writer is to harmonise the statements of this important portion of holy writ with the tenets of Arminianism. In the prosecution of this object, he examines with commendable minuteness and particularity, every word and phrase in the chapter. It would be inconsistent with our design, and perhaps tedious, to follow the author through the whole of his exposition: nor is it necessary, as we concur in many of his interpretations. We propose therefore, to confine
our attention chiefly to those points and passages with regard to which we consider the author guilty of wresting the language of inspiration for sectarian purposes. But that we may carry our readers intelligently along with us, it will be necessary that we take a glance at the general bearing and import of the chapter. With this view, let us read over together the first, or introductory section of it, Verses ] to 5:
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart: For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen."
In these verses, the apostle expresses the deepest anxiety for the spiritual welfare of his countrymen, his “kinsmen according to the flesh:” he even avows his willingness, were such a thing right or proper, to be “accursed," or separated “from Christ for them."* He thus announced, in a manner peculiarly delicate, but sufficiently distinct, his conviction, that they were about to be cut off from their high position, and peculiar privileges, as the covenant people of God, and were in consequence hovering on the brink of everlasting destruction. To them had “pertained the adoption, and the covenants, and the promises,” &c.; but now, as a nation, they were to be denuded of these privileges, though there were still among tbem"a remnant according to the election of grace," (xi. 5.) To this announcement the apostle antici. pates an objection, that such a casting away of the Jews would be inconsistent with the word of God, and with those covenants and promises to which he had referred, and which they had long enjoyed as their peculiar inheritance. To this objection, the apostle replies in the subsequent verses of the chapter.
* The author, following some ancient expositors, gives a ditferent interpretation of the above passage. He proposes to read it thus :—“I have great grief and increasing agony of heart (for I myself used to wish to be accursed from the Messiah)—for my brethren,” &c. But though favourably disposed to this interpretation, we have not been able to bring our minds to adopt it. It does not harmonise with the train of the apostle's thoughts. As is remarked by Willet, in his “ Hexapla,” it is to suppose the apostle to have made a “ vain oath,” for “none doubted of his hatred to the name of Christ before his calling."
It is in the course of replying to this objection, that the apostle takes occasion to announce those truths, and make those important statements, regarding which Calvinists and Arminians are divided. It is of importance, therefore, that we give “good heed” to the reasonings and averments of the apostle on this point. It is obvious that the objection might have been met in various ways. The apostle might have replied to it by simply reminding his readers that the holy scriptures contained threatenings as well as promises; and as his countrymen had, by their unbelief and rejection of the Messiah, justly exposed themselves to the infliction of these threatenings, the word of God, so far from failing, would be fulfilled in their rejection and overthrow. This, it is plain, would have been, so far as it goes, a just and valid reply to the objection; and had the apostle been an Arminian or a Morisonian, he would probably have contented himself with such a reply. But he goes much deeper into the matter. Under the guidance of inspiration, his far-seeing eye takes a wider gaze, a bolder sweep:
he takes occasion to discourse of va. rious dispensations of God-of his sovereignty-of his purposes--and of his special, distinguishing, and electing love. In short, the apostle gives what may fairly, for want of a better term, be called a Calvinistic reply to the objection. This, of course, is only our opinion of the matter; but we hope to be able to show that it is the correct one.
Let us now read over the next section of the chapter, verses 6 to 9:—"Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In
Isaac shall thy seed be called: that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.''
In the first of these verses, the apostle begins his reply by a statement that the announcement which he had made regarding the impending doom of the Jews, did not imply that “the word of God hath taken none effect," or had “failed.” “For,” says he, “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.” Here the apostle points out a twofold distinction that had always subsisted among the descendants of Abraham-those who were merely “of Israel," but not “Israelites indeed”-those who were the "seed of Abraham" by birth merely, but not his “children” in the sense indicated by our Lord, when he said to the Jews,
“If Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham," John viii. 39. The establishment of this distinction has an obvious bearing on the ar. gument of the apostle, implying as it does, that all who were not true Israelites, were not merely "children of the flesh,” but “children of wrath," and thus in the condition of those for whom Paul expresses so much solicitude.
In proof and illustration of this distinction be