Page images
PDF
EPUB

SECTION VIII.

CHAPTER IX. 1.-X. 21,

CONTENTS.

There was nothing more grating and offensive to the Jews, than the thoughts of having the Gentiles joined with them, and partaking equally in the privileges and advantages of the kingdom of the Messiah : and, which was yet worse, to be told that those aliens should be admitted, and they who presumed themselves children of that kingdom, to be shut out. St. Paul, who had insisted much on this doctrine, in all the foregoing chapters of this epistle, to show that he had not done it out of any aversion or unkindness to his nation and brethren, the Jews, does here express his great affection to them, and declares an extreme concern for their salvation. But withal he shows, that whatever privileges they had received from God, above other nations, whatever expectation the promises, made to their forefathers, might raise in them, they had yet no just reason of complaining of God's dealing with them, now under the Gospel, since it was according to his promise to Abraham, and his frequent declarations in sacred Scripture. Nor was it any injustice to the Jewish nation, if God now acted by the same sovereign power wherewith he preferred Jacob (the younger brother, without any merit of his) and his posterity, to be his people, before Esau and his posterity, whom he rejected. The earth is all his; nor have the nations, that possess it, any title of their own, but what he gives them, to the countries they inhabit, nor the good things they enjoy; and he may dispossess, or exterminate them, when he pleaseth. And as he destroyed the Egyptians, for the glory of his name, in the deliverance of the Israelites; so he may, according to his good pleasure, raise or depress, take into favour or reject, the several nations of this world. And particularly as to the nation of the Jews, all but a small remnant were rejected, and the Gentiles taken in, in their room, to be the people and church of God; because they were a gainsaying and disobedient people, that would not receive the Messiah, whom he had promised, and in the appointed time sent to them. He that will with moderate attention and indifferency of mind read this ninth chapter, will see that what is said, of God's exercising of an absolute power, according to the good pleasure of his will, relates only to nations, or bodies politic of men, incorporated in

1

civil societies, which feel the effects of it only in the prosperity or calamity they meet with in this world, but extends not to their eternal state, in another world, considered as particular persons, wherein they stand each man by himself, upon his own bottom, and shall so answer separately, at the day of judgment. They may be punished here, with their fellow-citizens, as part of a sinful nation, and that be but temporal chastisement for their good, and yet be advanced to eternal life and bliss, in the world

to come.

TEXT. 1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me

witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my

brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh : 4. 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;

PARAPHRASE. 1 I as a Christian speak truth, and my conscience, guided and

enlightened by the Holy Ghost, bears me witness, that I lie 2 not, In my profession of great heaviness and continual sor3 row of heart; I could even wish that a the destruction and

extermination, to which my brethren the Jews are devoted by Christ, might, if it could save them from ruin, be executed

on me, in the stead of those my kinsmen after the flesh ; 4 Who are Israelites, a nation dignified with these privileges,

which were peculiar to them ; adoption, whereby they were in a particular manner the sons of God"; the glory of the divine presence amongst them; covenantsd made between them and the great God of heaven and the earth; the moral law, a constitution of civil government, and a form of divine

NOTES. 3 • 'Aybbeya, “ accursed;" on, which the Septuagint render anathema, signifies

persons, or things, devoted to destruction and extermination. The Jewish nation were an anathema, destined to destruction, St. Paul, to express his affection to them, says he could wish to save them from it, to become an anathema,

and be destroyed himself. 4.6“ Adoption,'' Exod. iv. 22. Jer. xxxi. 9.

C“ Glory," which was present with the Israelites, and appeared to them in a great shining brightness, out of a cloud. Some of the places, which mention it, are the following; Exod. xiii. 21. Lev. ix. 6, and 23, 21. Nurnb, xvi. 42. 2 Chron. vii. 1-3. Ezek. s. 4, and xliii. 2, 3, compared with chap. i. 4, 28. d“ Covenants." See Gen. xvii. 4. Esod. xxxiv. 27. Nouabesia, “ the giving of the law," whether it signifies the extraordinary giving of the law, by God himself, or the exact constitutiou of their government, VOL. VIII.

Z

TEXT. 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ

came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.

For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. 7 Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:

but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

PARAPHRASE. worship prescribed by God himself; and all the promises of 5 the Old Testament; Had the patriarchs, to whom the pro

mises were made, for their forefathers'; and of them, as to

his fleshly extraction, Christ is come, he who is over all, God 6 be blessed for ever, Amen. I commiserate my

nation for not receiving the promised Messiah, now he is come; and I speak of the great prerogatives they had from God, above other nations, but I say not this as if it were possible that the promise of God should fail of performance, and not have its effects. But it is to be observed, for a right understanding of the promise, that the sole descendants of Jacob, or Israel, do

not make up the whole nation of Israel ", or the people of 7 God, comprehended in the promise; Nor are they, who are

the race of Abraham, all children, but only his posterity by Isaac, as it is said, " In Isaac shall thy seed be called."

NOTES. in the moral and judicial part of it (for the vext word aa7peia,“ service of God," seems to comprehend the religious worship) this is certain, that, in either of these senses, it was the peculiar privilege of the Jews, and what no other nation conld

pretend to. 5 “ Fathers," who they were, see Exod. iii. 6, 16. Acts vii. 32. 68 See chap. iii. 3, “ Word of God," i. e, promise, see ver. 9.

b See chap. iv. 16. St. Paul uses this as a reason, to prove that the promise of God failed not to have its effect, though the body of the Jewish nation rejected Jesus Christ, and were, therefore, nationally rejected by God, from being any longer his people. The reason he gives for it is this, that the posterity of Jacob, or Israel, were not those alone who were to make that Israel, or that chosen people of God, which were intended in the promise made to Abraham ; others, besides the descendants of Jacob, were to be taken into this Israel, to constitute the people of God, under the Gospel: and, therefore, the calling, and coming in, of the Gentiles was a fulfilling of that promise. And then he adds, in the next verse, that neither were all the posterity of Abraham comprehended in that promise, so that those who were taken in, in the time of the Messiah, to make the Israel of God, were not taken in because they were the natural descend. apts from Abraham, nor did the Jews claim it for all his race. And this he proves by the limitation of the promise to Abrahan's seed by Isaac only. All this he does to show the right of the Gentiles to that promise, if they believed : since that promise concerned not only the natural descendants, either of Abraham or Jacob, but also those who were of the faith of their father Abraham, of whomsoever descended: see chap. iv, 11-17.

2

TEXT. 8 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. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah

shall have a son. 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one,

even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good

or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,

not of works, but of him that calleth) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the

younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

PARAPHRASE. 8 That is, the children of the flesh, descended out of Abraham's

loins, are not thereby the children of God, and to be esteemed

his people; but the children of the promise, as Isaac was, 9 are alone to be accounted his seed. For thus runs the word

of promise, “ At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have 10 a son.” Nor was this the only limitation of the seed of

Abraham, to whom the promise belonged; but also, when Rebecca had conceived by that one of Abraham's issue, to

whom the promise was made, viz. our father Isaac, and there 11 were twins in her womb, of that one father, Before the chil

dren were born, or had done any good or evil, to show that his making any stock, or race, of men his peculiar people, depended solely on his own purpose and good pleasure, in choosing and calling them, and not on any works, or deserts of theirs, he, acting here in the case of Jacob and

Esau, according to the predetermination of his own choice, 12 It was declared unto her, that there were two nations ' in her

womb, and that the descendants of the elder brother should 13 serve those of the younger, As it is written, “ Jacob have

I loved", so as to make his posterity my chosen people ;

NOTES. 8 i“ Children of God," i. e. people of God : see ver. 26. 11 * “ Neither having done good por evil.” These words may possibly have been

added by St. Paul to the foregoing (which may perhaps seem full enough of themselves) the more expressly to obviate an objection of the Jews, who might be ready to say, " that Esau was rejected because he was wicked," as they did

of Ishmael, that he was rejected because he was the son of a bond-woman. 12 See Gen. xxv. 23. And it was only in a national sense, that it is there said,

the elder shall serve the younger;" and not personally, for in that sense it is

not true, which make it plain that these words of verse 13 m“ Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,' are to be taken in a national

sense, for the preference God gave to the posterity of one of them to be his. people, and possess the promised land, before the other. What this love of God was, see Deut. vii. 6—8.

TEXT. . 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God

forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,

and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but

of God that showeth mercy. 17 For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose

PARAPHRASE.

and Esau I put so much behind him", as to lay his moun14 tains and his heritage waste o.” What shall we say then? Is

there any injustice with God, in choosing one people to him

self before another, according to his good pleasure ? By no 15 means. My brethren, the Jews themselves cannot charge

any such thing on what I say; since they have it from Moses himself”, that God declared to him, that he would be gra

cious to whom he would be gracious, and show mercy on 16 whom he would show mercy. So then, neither the purpose

of Isaac, who designed it for Esau, and willed him to prepare himself for it; nor the endeavours of Esau, who ran à hunting for venison to come and receive it; could place on him the blessing; but the favour of being made, in his posterity, a great and prosperous nation, the peculiar people of God, preferred to that which should descend from his

brother, was bestowed on Jacob by the mere bounty and good 17 pleasure of God himself. The like hath · Moses left us upon

record, of God's dealing with Pharaoh and his subjects, the

NOTES. A“ Hated." When it is used in sacred Scripture, as it is often comparatively, it signifies only to postpone in our esteem or kindness; for this I need only give that one example, Luke xiv. 26. See Mal. i. 2, 3. • From the 7th to this 13th verse proves to the Jews, that though the promise was made to Abraham and bis seed, yet it was not to all Abraham's posterity, but God first chose Isaac and his issue: and then again of Isaac (who was but one of the sous of Abraham) when Rebecca had conceived twins by him, God, of his sole good pleasure, chose Jacob the younger, and his posterity, to be his pe

culiar people, and to enjoy the land of promise. 15 p See Exod. xxxiii. 19. It is observable that the apostle, arguing here with the

Jews, to vindicate the justice of God, in casting them off from being his people, uses three sorts of arguments; the first is the testimony of Moses, of God's asserting this to himself, by the right of his sovereignty; and this was enough to stop the mouths of the Jews. The second, from reason, ver. 19--24; avd the third from his predictions of it to the Jews, and the warning he gave them of it

beforehand, ver. 25—29, which we shall consider in their places. 16.9" Willeth and runneth,” considered with the context, plainly direct us to the

story, Gen. xxvii. where, ver. 3–5, we read Isaac's purpose, and Esau's going a hunting, and ver. 28, 29, we find what the blessing was.

« PreviousContinue »