« PreviousContinue »
man according to his deeds: But if they be according to the law to them who by patient con
of the Gospel-viz, repentance, faith,
and obedience in Christ Jesus—then tinuance in well doing seek
are they of that stamp, having the for glory and honour and im- impress of Christ, which God by mortality, eternal life : but grace will recompense. unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the 10 What a powerful encouragement Gentile : 1'but glory, honour, to us all to lead good and holy lives ! and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile :
11 Rich or poor, high or low, Jew there is no respect of persons or Gentile-God receives all who with God. For as many as come unto him by Jesus Christ his have sinned without law shall Son; and that, without respect of peralso perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be
14 Thus, when our Church asserts justified. 14 For when the the necessity of a Christian faith as Gentiles, which have not the generally necessary to salvation, she law, do by nature the things then, to whom Christ is unknown.
does not thereby condemn the heacontained in the law, these, She confines her address to the fahaving not the law, are a law mily of Christ : the “Gentiles are a unto themselves: which shew law unto themselves.” the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one 16 It is wise to confess to God those another;) 16 in the day when secret sins now, when they may be God shall judge the secrets pardoned ; not to wait till the door
of mercy be shut. of men by Jesus Christ ac
17 How full of danger then for us cording to my Gospel. "Be- also to “rest” in our Gospel-covehold, thou art called a Jew, nant, and not do the will of Him to and restest in the law, and
whom that covenant doth bind us ! makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal ? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege ? thou
that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For
24 The Apostle is indignant at the the name of God is blas- scandal thus cast upon religion by phemed among the Gentiles the unholy lives of its professors. through you, as it is written. They injure man by their evil ex25 For circumcision verily a defiance of His law.
ample, and they dishonour God by profiteth, if thou keep the 25 So it is with us, who are called law: but if thou be a breaker Christians. Outward profession sarof the law, thy circumcision eth no man, neither Jew nor Gentile. is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not bis uncircumcision be counted for circumcision ? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law ? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly ; neither is that circumdsion, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter ; whose praise is not of men, bat of God.
What strength, what courage, what patience, what comfort is there in the heart of him who, amidst sickness and sorrow, contempt and perse cution, goeth on his Christian course, and remains unmoved, because be looks to “ the praise, not of men, but of God !"
JAN. 4, MAY 4, SEPT. 2. " What advantage then hath 1 Paul supposes a Jew thus to argue the Jew? or what profit is with him. there of circumcision ? ? Much 2 These “ oracles of God” were the every way: chiefly, because Scriptures of the Old Testament, that unto them were
which declared the will of God. mitted the oracles of God. For what if some did not beliere? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect *?
* This reflection involves a very important principle. As no mere profession of faith justifies the unrighteous, so no falling off from it in others weakens its justifying efficacy upon the righteous. If there be, who professing the Gospel, are yet sabbath-breakers, intemperate, unholy, and unjust ; nay, even if among those who attend the holy sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, some there be neither more holy in their hearts, nor
more upright in their lives; neither of a less worldly spirit before God, nor of a more upright disposition before men ; the Sabbath is not less blessed, the word not less quickening, the ordinances not less nourishing to the soul ; the Spirit neither less searching, nor less comforting. They severally still do their office, bringing salvation. God, who promises
God forbid : yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou 3 Reason itself must allow, that the art judged. “But if our un- punishment of the wicked is accordrighteousness commend the ing to righteous judgment. righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man) God forbid : for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 8 St. Paul neither taught this doc* and not rather, (as we be trine, nor held it. The charge was slanderously reported, and as
a slander. Hence his indignation. some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come ? whose damnation is just. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin ;
10 All men, whether Jew or Genas it is written, tile, are by nature unrighteous ; There is none righteous, no, therefore all who look for salvation, not one; there is none that must be saved by the righteousunderstandeth, there is none
ness of another, even Jesus Christ that seeketh after God. They
“the Lord, our righteousness." are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips : whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood : destruction and misery 17 Wicked men rejoice in unquiet, are in their ways;
17 and the as their proper element. Peace is peace have they not
their aversion. known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his şight: for by the law is the 21 The law and the prophets were knowledge of sin. 21 But fulfilled in Jesus Christ *. now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, blessing, must be true. If there be failure of blessing, the failure is not in Him who offers it, but in those to whom the offer is made in vain. Rejoice, then, o Christian soul. This God of truth is thy God !
* In the memorable scene of the transfiguration, Moses and Elias, representing the law and the prophets, became witnesses to “ the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ ;" and transferred their authority to Jesus. So bade the voice from heaven “ This is my beloved Son- Hear Him !"
being witnessed by the law and the prophets ; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference : for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus : whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness : that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then ? 27 The Jew is no longer to beast It is excluded. By what himself over the Gentile. The Goslaw ? of works? Nay: but pel is termed the law of faith, in by the law of faith. 28 There- contradistinction to the law of works.
28 The law is nothing, if considered fore we conclude that a man is exclusive of the Gospel, though the justified by faith without the Gospel confirms and enlarges the deeds of the law. Is he the moral law. God of the Jews only ? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also : seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith ? God forbid : yea, we establish the law.
Christianity establishes the law by means of the righteousness of Christ, who fulfilled it for us, and who by his Spirit enables us, however humbly, to obey it.
JAN. 5. May 5, Sept. 3. What shall we then say i St. Paul instances Abraham, the that Abraham, our father, as father of the faithful, in proof of pertaining to the flesh, hath justification by faith, not by lepind found?
works. For if Abraham
2 Between man and man let virtue were justified by works, have its just meed of praise. But he hath whereof to glory; before God, no man living is thereby but not before God. For justified. what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned 5 Jesus justifieth the ungodly, not in of grace,
but of debt. 5 But their sins, but from them. to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not imCometh this blessedness then
the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also ? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham 10 Abraham was blessed of God for righteousness. How before the rite of circumcision was was it then reckoned ? when instituted. he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 It is clear that as the blessing 11 And he received the sign was to Abraham and his seed before of circumcision, a seal of the circumcision, so it was impossible to
confine the blessing then given to righteousness of the faith
those who are circumcised. The which he had yet being un- blessing includes the circumcision, circumcised: that he might but does not exclude the uncircumbe the father of all them that cision. believe, though they be not circumcised ; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also : and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect : because the law worketh wrath : for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham ; who is the father of us all, ? (as it is
17 Since God, as the creator of all written, I have made thee a
things, and Lord of life and of death, father of many nations,) be- can quicken-or give life-to the fore him whom he believed, dead, so do I hope to rise again to eren 'God, who quickeneth a glorious immortality. the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they 18 Who against hope 18 Any expectation
children was believed in hope, that he naturally dead in the aged Abraham might become the father of and Sarah. many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that,