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TEXT. 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast : 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.
PARAPHRASE. 9 justice have left you in that forlorn state. That no
man might have any pretence of boasting of him. 10 self, or his own works, or merit. So that, in this
new state in the kingdom of God, we are (and ought to look upon ourselves, as not deriving any thing from ourselves, but as) the mere workmanship of God, created * in Christ Jesus, to the end we should do good . works, for which he had prepared and fitted us, to live in them f.
NOTES. 10 * " Workmanship of God created.” It is not by virtue of any works of the law, nor in consideration of our submitting to the mosaical institution, or having any alliance with the jewish nation, that we, gentiles, are brought into the kingdom of Christ; we are, in this, entirely the workmanship of God; and are, as it were, created therein, framed and fitted by him, to the performance of those good works, which we were from thence to live in; and so owe nothiug of this our new being, in this new state, to any preparation, or fitting, we received from the jewish church, or any relation we stood in thereunti). That this is the meaning of the new creation, under the gospel, is evideot from St. Paul's own explaining of it, bimself, 2 Cor. v, 16–18, viz. that being in Christ was all one, as if he were in a new creation; and, therefore, from henceforth, he knew no-body after the flesh, i.e. he pretended to no privilege, for being of a jewish race, or an observer of their rites; all these old things were done away; all things under the gospel are new and of God alone.
+ This is conformable to what he says, ver. 5, 6, that God quickened and raised the gentiles, that were dead in trespasses and sios, with Christ, being by faith united to him, and partaking of the same spirit of life, which raised him from the dead; whereby, as men brought to life, they were enabled (if they would not resist, nor quench that spirit) to live unto God, in righteousness and holiness, as before they were under the absolute dominion of Satan and their own lusts.
CONTENTS. FROM this doctrine of his, in the foregoing section, that God of his free grace, according to his purpose from the beginning, had quickened and raised the convert gentiles, together with Christ, and seated them with Christ, in his heavenly kingdom; St. Paul here, in this section, draws this inference, to keep them from judaizing, that, though they (as was the state of the heathen word) were heretofore, by being uncircumcised, shut out from the kingdom of God, strangers from the covenants of promise, without hope, and without God in the world; yet they were, by Christ, who had taken away the ceremonial law, that wall of partition, that kept them in that state of distance and opposition, now received, without any subjecting them to the law of Moses, to be the people of God, and had the same admittance into the kingdom of God, with the jews themselves, with whom they were now created into one new man, or body of men, so that they were no longer to look on themselves, any more, as aliens, or remoter from the kingdom of God, than the jews themselves.
TEXT. 11 Wherefore, remember that ye being, in time past, gentiles in the
flesh, who are called uncircumcision, by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh, made by hands;
PARAPHRASE. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye, who were heretoforegen
tiles, distinguished and separated from the jews, who are circumcised by a circumcision made with hands, in their flesh, by your not being circumcised in your flesh*, TEXT. 12 That, at that time, ye were without Christ, being aliens from the
NOTE. 11 % This separation was so great, that, to a jew, the uncircumcised gentiles were counted so polluted and unclean, that they were not shut out, barely from their holy places and service ; but from their tables and ordinary conversation. § It is in this sense, that the gentiles are called ő6801 ; for there were few of them alheists, in our sense of the word, i, e. denying superiour powers; and many of them acknowledged one supreme, eternal God; but as St. Paul says, Rom. i. 21, “ Wben they knew God, they glorified him not as God ;” they owned not bim alone, but turned away froin him, the invisible God, to the worship of images, and the false gods of their countries.
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of
promise, having no hope, and without God in the world : 13 But now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometimes were far off, are
made nigh, by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken
down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished, in his flesh, the enmity, even the law of com
PARAPHRASE. 12 Were, at that time, without all knowledge of the
Messiah, or any expectation of deliverance, or sal. vation, by him * ; aliens from the commonwealth of Israel t, and strangers to the covenants of promise t, not having any hope of any such thing, and living in
the world without having the true God for your 13 Gods, or your being his people. But now you, that
were formerly remote and at a distance, are, by Jesus 14 Christ, brought near by his death ll. For it is he,
that reconcileth us to the jews, and hath brought us and them, who were before at an irreconcileable, distance, into unity one with another, by removing
the middle wall of partition **, that kept us at a dis15 tance, Having taken away the cause of enmity † †, or
NOTES. 12 * That this is the meaning of being “ without Christ," here, is evident from this, that wbat St. Paul says here, is to shew the different state of the gen. tiles, from that of the jews, before the coming of our Saviour.
+ Who were alone, then, the people of God.
I “ Covenauts.” God, more than once, renewed bis promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the children of Israel, that upon the conditions proposed, he would be their God, and they should be his people.
13 || How this was done, the following words explain, and Col. ii, 14.
14 I 'Hucür “our," in this verse, must signify persons in the same condition with those he speaks to, under the pronoun vueīs, “ ve," ju the foregoing verse, or else the apostle's argument, here, would be wide, and uot conclusive; but “ye,” in the foregoing verse, incontestibly signifies the convert gentiles, and so therefore must nuôy in this verse.
** See Col, i. 20. 15 + + It was the ritual law of the jews, that kept them, and the gentiles, at
PARAPHRASE. distance, between us, by abolishing * that part
an irreconcileable distance ; so that they could come to no terms of a fair correspondence, the force whereof was so great, that even after Christ was come, and had put an end to the obligation of that law; yet it was almost impossible to bring them together ; and this was that which, in the beginning, most obstructed the progress of the gospel and disturbed the gentile converts.
*" By abolishing." I do not remember that the law of Moses, or any part of it, is, by an actual repeal, any where abrogated ; and yet we are told here, and in other places of the New Testament, that it is abolished. The want of a right understanding of what this abolishing was, and how it was brought about, has, I suspect, given occasion to the misunderstanding of several texts of sacred scripture ; I beg leave, therefore, to offer what the sacred scripture seems to me to suggest concerning this matter, till a more thorough inquiry, by some abler hand, shall be inade into it. After the general revolt and a postacy of mankind, from the acknowledgineut and worship of the one, only, irue, invisible Gud, their maker, the children of Israel, by a voluntary submission to him, aud acknowledgment of him to be their God and supreme Lord, came to be his people, and he, by a peculiar covenant, to be their King ; and thus erected to himself á kingdom in this world, out of that people, to whom he gave a law by Moses, which was to be the law of the israelites, his people, with a purpose at the same time, that he would, in due season, transfer this his kingdom, in this world, into the hands of the Messiah, whom he intended to send into the world, to be the prince and ruler of his people, as he had foretold and promised to the jews. Into which kingdom of his, under his Son, he purposed also, and foretold, that he would admit and incorporate the other nations of the earth, as well as those of the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were to come into this bis enlarged kingdom, upon new terms, that he should then propose: and that those, and those only, should from henceforth be his people. And thus it came to pass, that, though the law, which was given by Moses, to the israelites, was never repealed, and so ceased not to be the law of that nation; yet it ceased to be the law of the people and kingdom of God, in this world; because the jews, pot receiving him to be their King, whom God had sent, to be the King, and sole ruler of his kingdom for the future, ceased to be the people of God, and the subjects of God's kingdom. And thus Jesus Christ, by his death, entering into his kingdom, having then fulfilled all, that was required of him, for the obitaining of it, put an end to the law of Moses, opening another way to all people, both jews and gentiles, into the kingdom of God, quite different from the law of ordinances, given by Moses, viz. faith in Jesus Christ, by whicls, and which alone, every one, that would, had now admittance into the kingdom of God, by the one plain, easy, and simple ceremony of baptism. This was that which, though it was also foretold, the Jews understood not, having a very great opinion of themselves, because they were the chosen people of God; and of their Jaw, because God was the author of it; and so concluded, that both they were to remain the people of God for ever, and also, that they were to remain so, under that same law, which was never to be altered; and so never understood what was foretold them, of the kingdom of the Messiah, in respect of the ceasing of their law of ordinances, and the admittance of the gentiles, upon the same terms with them, into the kingdom of the Messiah ; which, therefore, St. Paul calls over and over again, a mystery, and a mystery hidden from ages.
Now he, that will look a little farther into this kingdom of God, under these two different dispensations, of the law and the gospel, will find, that it was erected by God, and men were recalled into it, out of the general apostacy from
their Lord and maker, for the unspeakable good and benefit of those who, by entering into it, returned to their allegiance, that thereby they might be brought into a way and capacity of heing restored to that happy state of eternal life, which they had all lost in Adam: which it was impossible they could ever recover, whilst they remained worshippers and vassals of the devil and so out-laws and enemies to God, in the kingdom, and under the dominion of Satan ; since the most biassed and partial inclination of an intelligent being could never expect that God should reward rebellion and apostacy with eternal happiness, and take men, that were actually vassals and adorers of his arch-eneiny the devil, and inimediately give them eternal bliss, with the enjoyment of pleasures in his presence, and at his right hand for evermore. The kingdom of God, therefore, in this world, was, as it were, the entrance of the kingdom of God in the other world, and the receptacle and place of preparation of those, who aimed at a share in that eterpal inheritance. And hence the people of the jews were called holy, chosen, aud song of God; as were afterwards the christians, called saints, elect, beloved, and children of God, &c. But there is this remarkable difference to be observed, in what is said of the subjects of this kingdom, under the two different dispensations of the law and the gospel, that the converts to christianity, and professors of the gospel, are often termed and spoken of, as saved, which I do not remember that the jews, or proselytes, members of the commonwealth, any where are : the reason whereof is, that the conditions of that covenant, whereby they were made the people of God, under that constitution of God's kingdom, in this world, was, “ do this, and live;” but “he, that continues not “ in all these things to do them, shall die.” But the condition of the covenant, whereby they became the people of God, in the constitution of his kingdom, under the Messiah, is, “ believe, and repent, and thou shalt be saved, i. e. take “ Christ for thy Lord, and do sincerely but what thou canst to keep his law, and “ thou shalt be saved ;” in the one of wbich, which is, therefore, called the covenant of works, those, who are actually in that kingdom, could not altain the everlasting inheritance: and in the other, called the covenant of grace, those, who, if they would but continue as they began, i. e, in the state of faith and repentance, i.e. in a submission to, and owning of Christ, and a steady, unrelenting resolution of not offending against his law, would not miss it, and so might truly be said to be saved, they being in an unerring way to salvation. And thus we see, how the law of Moses is, by Christ, abolished, under the gospel, not by any actual repeal of it: but is set aside, by ceasing to be the law of ihe kingdom of God, translated into the hands of the Messial, and set up under him; which kingdom so erected contains all that God now does, or will own to be his people, in this world. This way of abolishing of the law, did not make those obseryances unlawful to those who, before their conversion to the gospel, were cir. cumcised, and under the law; they were indifferent things, which tlie converted jews might, or might not observe, as they found convevient: that which was unlawful, and contrary to the gospel, was the making those ritual observances necessary to be joined with faith, in believers, for justification, as we see they did, who, Acis xv. taught the brethren that, unless they were circumcised, after the manner of Moses, they could not be saved; so that the pailing of it to Christ's cross, Col. ii. 14, was the taking away, from thenceforth, all obligation for any one to be circumcised, and to put himself under the observances of the law, to become one of the people of God; but was no prohibition to any one, who was circuincised before couversion, to observe them. And accordingly we sce, Gal. ii. Il, that what St. Paul blames in St. Peter, was “ compelling the gentiles to "live as the jews do :" had not that been the case, he would no more have blamed his carriage at Antioch, than he did his observing the law at Jeru. salem.
The apostle here tells us, what part of the mosaical law it was, that Christ put an end to, by his death, viz. tòy vóuou twy év loncū šv 86 Sucos, “ the law of com