Page images

TEXT. his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

PARAPHRASE. forth to be the propitiatory, or mercy-seat' in his own blood', for the manifestation of his (God's] righteousness“, by passing over their trangressions, formerly

NOTES. justice, to have both the thing redeemed, and the price paid for its redemption. For it is to God we are redeemed, by the death of Christ, Rev. v. 9, “Thou “wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood."

25 • nasapor, signifies propitiatory, or mercy-seat, and not propitiation, as Mr. Mede has rightly observed upon this place, in his discourse on God's house, $ 1.

The Alexandrine copy omits the words dide airews, “ by faith ;" which seems conformable to the sense of the apostle here: he says, that God hath set forth Christ to be the propitiatory in his blood. The atonement, under the law, was made by blood, sprinkled on the propitiatory or mercy-seat, Lev. xvi. 14. Christ, says St. Paul here, is now set out, and shown by God, to be the real propitiatory, or mercy-seat, in his own blood; see Heb. ix. 25, 26, where the sacrifice of himself is opposed to the blood of others. God hath set him out to be so, to declare his righteousness; the mercy-seat being the place, wherein God spake and declared his pleasure, Exod. xxv. 22, Numb. xxvii. 8, 9. And it was there, where God always appeared, Lev. xvi. 2. It was the place of his presence, and therefore he is said to dwell between the cherubims, Psal. lxxx. 1, 2 Kings xix. 13. For between the cherubims was the mercy seat.

In all which respects our Saviour, who was the antitype, is properly called the propitiatory.

u Arxaracúvn, “righteousness,” seems to be used here, in the same sense it is ver. 5, for “ the righteousness of God," in keeping his word with the nation of the jews, notwithstanding their provocations. And indeed, with the follow. ing words of this verse, contains in it a farther answer to the jews insinuation, of God's being hard to their nation, by howing that God had been very favourable to them, in not casting them off, as they had deserved, till, according to his promise, he had sent them the Messias, and they had rejected himn.

w Auż thy acépeciv, “ by passing over." I do not remember any place where shprois signifies remission or forgiveness, but passing by, or passing over, as our translation has it in the margin, i.e.over-looking, or as it were, not minding; in which sense, it cannot be applied to the past sins of private persons, for God neither remits, nor passes them by, so as not to take notice or them. But this πάτεσις των προγεγονότων αμαρτημάτων, passing over past sins, is spoken nationally, in respect of the people of the jews; who, though they were a very sinful nation, as appears by the places here brought against them by St. Paul, yet God passed by all that, and would not be hindered by their past sinfulness froin being just, in keeping his oromise, in exhibiting to them Christ, the propitia ory. But, though he would not be provoked by their past sins, so as to cast th:m off from being his people, before he had sent them the promised Messias, to be their Saviour; yet after that, when, at the due time, he had manifested his righteo Ousness to them, “ that he might be just, ani the juistifier of those who believe " in Jesus,” he no longer bore with their siniai obstinacy; but, when they re. jected the Saviour (whom he had sent, according to his promise) from being their King, God rejected them from being his peo;le, ani tock the gentiles into his VOL. VIII.


TEXT. 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might

be just, and the justifier of bin which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then it is excluded. By what law? of works?

nay: but by the law of faith.

PARAPHRASE. committed, which he hath bore with hitherto, so as to

withhold his hand from casting off the nation of the 26 jews, as their past sins deserved. For the manifesting

of his righteousness* at this time', that he might be just, in keeping his promise, and be the justifier of every one,

not who is of the jewish nation, or extraction, but of the 27 faith in Jesus Christ. What reason, then, have you

jews to glory", and set yourselves so much above the

NOTES. church, and made them his people, jointly and equally with the few believing jews. This is plainly the sense of the apostle here, where he is discoursing of the nation of the jews, and their state, in comparison with the gentiles; not of the state of private persons. Let any one without prepossession attentively read the context, and he will find it to be so.

26 * Aircrosúrns attē,“ his righteousness," is here to be understood in both senses, in which St. Paul had used it before, in this chapter, viz. ver. 5 and 22, as it is manifested by St. Paul's explaining of it himselt, in these words immediately following: " that he might be just, and the justifier of him who « believeth in Jesus," which are the two senses, wherein the righteousness of God is used.

y “ At this time,” viz. The fulness of time, according to his promise.

z Toy éx disews ?Incē, if this phrase had been translated, him that is of the faith of Jesus, as it is chap. iv. 16, and Gal. iii. 7, rather than him which believeth in Jesus, it would better have expressed the apostle's meaning here, which was to distinguish oi éx disews, those who are of faith, from or in filouge, or oi lx vóue, those who are of the circumcision, or those who are of the law, speaking of them, as of two sorts, or races of men, of two different extractions.' To understand this place fully, let any one read chap. iv. 12—10, Gal. iii. 7—10, where he will find the apostle's sense more at large.

27 a The glorying here spoken of, is that of the jews, i.e. their judging of the gentiles, and their contempt of them, which St. Paul had before in several places taken notice of. And here, to take down their pride and vanity, he tells them, it is wholly excluded by the gospel, wherein God, who is the God of the gentiles, as well as of the jews, justifieth by faith alone the jews as well as the gentiles, since no man could be justified by the deeds of the law. This seems to be said to the converted jews, to stop their thinking that they had any advantage over the gentiles under the gospel. No, says he, the gospel, which is the law of faith, lays you equal with the gentiles, and you have no ground to assume any thing to yourselves, or set yourselves above them, now under the Messias. This, and all the rest, to this purpose in this epistie, is said to establish the converted Romans in their title to the favour of God, equally with the jews, in the gospel, and to fortify them against any disturbance that might be given them by the

TEXT. 28 Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without

the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the jew's only? Is he not also of the gentiles?

yes, of the gentiles also. 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by

faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea

we establish the law.

PARAPHRASE. gentiles, in judging theni, as you do? None at all:

boasting is totally excluded. By what law? By the 28 law of works ? No, but by the law of faith. I con

clude therefore, that a man is justified by faith, and not 29 by the works of the lawo. Is God the God of the jews

only, and not of the gentiles also ? Yea, certainly of 30 the gentiles also? Since the time is come that God is

no longer one to the jews, and another to the gentiles, but he is now become one and the same. God to them all, and will justify the jew's by faith, and the gentiles

also through faith, who, by the law of Moses, were here31 tofore shut out from being the people of God. Do

we then make the law' insignificant, or useless, by our

NOTES. pretending jews, which is the principal design of this epistle, as we bave already observed.

28 b « Therefore.” This inference is drawn from what he had taughty ver. 23.

c Vid. Acts xiii. 39, chap. viii. 3, Gal. ii. 16.

30 d 'Etsimepris ó Oids, " since God is one." He that will see the force of St. Paul's reasoning here, must look to Zachary xiv. 9, from whence these words are taken, where the prophet speaking of the time, when the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and not barely over the little people, shut up in the land of Canaan, he says, “ in that day there shall be one Lord," i.e. God shall not be, as he is now, the God of the jews alone, whom only he hath known, of all the people of the earth: but he shall be the God of the gentiles also, the same merciful, reconciled God to the people of all nations. This prophecy the jews understood of the times of the Messias, and St. Paul here presses them with it.

e It was impossible for remote nations to keep the law of Moses, a great part of the worship, required by it, being local, and confined to the temple at Jerusalem.

31 f Nókur, " law,” is here repeated twice, without the article ; and it is plain that by it St. Paul does not mean precisely the Mosaical law, but so much of it as is contained in the natural and eternal rule of right, mentioned chap. i. 33, and xi. 26, and is again by a positive command re-enacted and continued as a law under the Messias, vid. Mat, xxviii. 20.

PARAPHRASE. doctrine of faith? By no means: but, on the contrary, we establish and confirm the law.

NOTE. 8 « Establish.” The doctrine of justification by faith necessarily supposeth a rule of righteousness, which those, who are justified by faith, come short of; and also a punishment incurred, from which they are set free, by being justified: and so this doctrine establishes a law; and accordingly the moral part of the law of Moses, that Orxciww.ce tš Osē, as the apostle calls it in the place above quoted, chap. i. 32, is enforced again, by our Saviour and the apostles, in the gospel, with penalties annexed to the breach of it.


CHAP. IV. 1-25.


St. Paul having, in the foregoing section, cut off all glorying from the jews upon the account of their having the law, and shown, that that gave them no manner of title or pretence to be the people of God, more than the gentiles under the Messias, and so they had no reason to judge, or exclude the gentiles, as they did; he comes here to prove that their. lineal extraction from their father Abraham gave them no better a pretence of glorying, or of setting themselves upon that account above the gentiles, now, in the time of the gospel.

i. Because Abraham himself was justified by faith, and so had not whereof to glory; for as much as he that receiveth righteousness, as a boon, has no reason to glory: but he that attains it by works.

2. Because neither they, who had circumcision derived down to them, as the posterity of Abraham, nor they who had the law; but they only, who had faith, were the seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made. And therefore the blessing of justification was intended for the gentiles, and bestowed on them as well as on the jews, and upon the same ground.

TEXT. 1 WHAT shall we say then, that Abraham our father, as pertain

ing to the flesh, hath found? 2 For, if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to

glory, but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it

was counted unto him for righteousness. 4. Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

PARAPHRASE. 1 WHAT then shall we say of Abraham our father, ac

cording to the flesh“, what has he obtained ? has not he 2 found matter of glorying? Yes; if he were justified by

works, he had matter of glorying", he might then have gloried over the rest of the gentile world, in having God

for his God, and he and his family being God's people; 3 but he had no subject of glorying before God. As it is

evident from sacred scripture, which telleth us, that Abra

ham believed God, and it was counted to him for righte4 ousness. Now there had been no need of any such count

ing, any such allowance, if he had attained righteousness by works of obedience, exactly conformable, and coming up, to the rule of righteousness. For what reward a man has made himself a title to, by the performances, that he

NOTES. 1 a “ Our father, according to the flesh.”. St. Paul speaks here, as lineally descended from Abraham, and joins hiinself therein, with the rest of his nation, of whom he calls Abraham the father, according to the fiesh, to distinguish the jews by birth, from those, who were Abraham's seed according to the promise, viz. those, who were of the faith of Abraham, whether jews or gentiles, a distinction, which he insists on, all through this chapter.

2 b Kávxrpce, translated here, “ glorying,” I take to signify the same with καυχάσαι, translated “ boasting," chap. ii. 17, 23, in which places it is used to signify the jews valuing themselves, upon some national privileges, above the rest of the world, as if they had thereby some peculiar right to the favour of God, above other men. This the jewish nation, thinking themselves, alone, to have a title to be the people of God, expressed, in their judging the gentiles, whom they despised, and looked on as unworthy and uncapable to be received into the kingdom of the Messias, and admitted into tellowship with their nation, under the gospel. This conceit of theirs St. Paul opposes here, and makes it his business to show the falsehood and groundlessness of it, all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle. I ask, whether it would not help the English reader the better to find and pursue the sense of St. Paul, if the Greek term were every-where rendered by the same English word? whether ! boasting," or "glorying," I think of na great consequence, so one of them be kept to.

« PreviousContinue »