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TEXT. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit, in the
gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you
always in my prayers; 10 Making request (if by any means, now at length, I might have a
prosperous journey, by the will of God) to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual
gift, to the end you may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mu
tual faith both of you and me.
PARAPHRASE. place, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for you
all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole. 9 world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with
the whole bent of my mind, in preaching the gospel
of his son, that without ceasing I constantly make 10 mention of you in my prayers. Requesting (if it be
God's will, that I may now at length, if possible, 11 have a good opportunity) to come unto you. For I
long to see you, that I may communicate to you
some spiritual gift *, for your establishment f in the 12 faith ; That is t, that, when I am among you, I may
be comforted together with you, both with your
NOTES. 11 * “ Spiritual gift.” If any one desire to know more particularly the spi. itual gifts, he may read I Cor. xii,
+ " 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 imparting 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 † “ That 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,
TEXT. 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.
PARAPHRASE. 13 faith and my own. This I think fit you should
know, brethren, that I often purposed to come unto
you, that I may have some fruit of my ministry, 14 among you also, even as 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 15 and ignorant: So that, as much as in me lies, I am
ready to preach the gospel to you also, who are at Rome.
NOTE. or, as it were, recals what he had said, that he might not seem to think them pot 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, whep he and they came to see and know one apotber.
CONTENTS. ST. PAUL, in this section, shows, that the jews exclude themselves from being the people of Gud, 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 of 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 and gentiles; and observes how, whạt 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 the 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 law.
Perhaps 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 gospel, 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 them 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 judgment 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 according to his deeds; to those that in meekness and patience continue in 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 them. If, therefore, thou transgressest, dost not thou more dishonour God and provoke him, than a poor heathen, that knows not God, nor that the things he doth, deserve death, which is their reward? Shall not he, if, by the light of nature, he do what is conormable 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 circum. cision of the heart.
TEXT. 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.
PARAPHRASE. 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 powerf, for the
salvation of those who believe, of the jews in the 17 first place f, and also of the gentiles. For therein
is the righteousness S, which is of the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, revealed to be wholly by faith ||, as it is written, The just shall live by
NOTES. 16 * Vid. ver. 22, and I Cor. i. 21. + Vid. Eph. i. 19.
I * First,” The jews had the first offers of the gospel, and were always considered as those, who were first regarded in it. Vid. Luke xxiv. 47, Matt. x. 6, and xv. 24, Acts xiii. 46, and xviii. 2.
17 $ Alxasovúin Oeg, “ the righteousness of God,” called só, because it is a righteousness of his contrivance and his bestowing. It is God that justifieth, chap. iii. 21-24, 26, 30, and viji. 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 por gentiles could, by works, attain to righteousness, i, é. 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 froin faith to faith, i. e. to be all through, from one end to the other, founded in faith. If this be not the seose 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 connexiou, viz. whoever are justified either before, without, or under the law of Moses, or under the gospel, are justified,