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of sin, that ye are ready to pass severe censures and judgments upon other men for those very sins, whereof, themselves, are secretly guilty ; but, О man, whosoever thou art, that judgest another for any offence, know, that thou makest thyself utterly inexcusable, and passest therein sentence against thyself: thine own mouth hath condemned thee, in the person of another.
II. 2. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
It is not a verbal profession of thine innocence, or any secret evasion of witty excuse, that can serve the turn: we know assuredly, whatsoever men may pretend, that the judgment of God is according to the truth of men's actions, and estates; and, therefore, that he will surely punish the doers of wickedness, what colour soever is set upon them and their condition.
II. 4, 5. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering ; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
Or, dost thou make an ill use of the rich mercy and patient long-suffering of God, as if he noted not, or regarded not, or would not punish thy misdoings; not considering that his forbearance, all this while, was for thy good, that hereupon thou mightest be moved to repentance ? But thou, contrarily, takest occasion, by this means, to harden thyself so much more in thy sins, and becomest obstinately impenitent; and hereby dost aggravate thine own judgment, and addest every day something to that heap of God's wrath and vengeance, which is laid up for thee, and shall be fearfully executed upon thee in that day, which he bath set for the just revelation and infliction thereof.
Il. 11. For there is no respect of persons with God.
For God regardeth not the person of any man, for these outward things; not accepting of any man the more, for his parentage, or country, or wealth, or honour; nor disrespecting any, on the contrary, for meanness of birth, or poverty, or personal infirmity.
II. 12. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law,
For as many as have sinned without the knowledge of a written law, shall receive notwithstanding a just judgment for their sin, as being therein convinced by a law of nature; and as many as have sinned, against the written Law of God, shall, according to that Law, receive judgment for their sins :
II. 13, 14, 15. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves : Which shew 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 another;)
(For it is the full and perfect obedience to that Law, which shall present a man just before God: it is not a formal profession or an outward hearing of the Law, that can do it. Do this and live, is the voice of the Law; not, Hear this and live. For, when the Gentiles, which have not the written Law of God given unto them, do, by the light of nature, those moral actions, which are contained in the Law written, these, having not that written Law, yet have in their own breasts those rules of equity, which are a law to themselves: Which give good testimony that they have an inward rule, in very nature of their judgment, both of good and evil, agreeing with the written Law; their consciences also telling them secretly, in their own bosoms, whether they have done well or ill; and their thoughts, either excusing and acquitting them in doing good, or accusing and condemning them in doing evil.)
II. 16. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
I say, so many as have sinned against the light of the Law written shall be judged by that Law, in that great Day of Assize, when God shall judge the secrets of all hearts by his Son Jesus Christ; according as I have declared unto you, in that holy and infallible message, which I have received from God, and delivered unto you.
II. 17. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God.
Behold, thou hast the honour and privilege to be called a Jew, one of God's anciently chosen people; and restest in this prerogative, which thou hast above other nations, that thou hast the Law given to thee; and thereupon makest thy boasts of a more peculiar interest in God.
II. 20. An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Thou takest upon thee to be a teacher of the simple; as conceiting, that thou hast all the points of the Law laid up in thy breast, and hast full knowledge of all the secrets thereof.
II. 22. Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege ?
Thou, that abhorrest idols and erecting of false gods, dost thou profane the Name of the true God, by robbing him of his due ?
II. 24. For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
For the name of God is ill spoken of among the Gentiles, by occasion of your lewd life and wicked behaviour; as it is written by the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, concerning your forefathers.
II. 25. For circumcision rerily profiteth, if thou keep the law : but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
But ye say, We are circumcised, and have the seal of God's covenant in our flesh. Deceive not yourselves: this is but an idle vaunt: in vain shall ye stand upon the outward ceremony of circumcision, while ye do not regard the truth and substance of that which is signified by it: did ye live answerably to the Law of God, ye might seem to have some reason to boast of your circumcision; but, if ye be willing transgressors and violators of the Law, your circumcision gives you no privilege above the uncircumcised.
II. 26. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
If he, that is uncircumcised, do carefully endeavour to do those things which are required in the Law, and shall accordingly do the moral duties there specified, shall not that man be all one in account with God, as if he were circumcised ?
II. 27. 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 ?
And shall not that man, which is uncircumcised, if, being only guided by the light of nature, he perform those outward acts of morality which the Law requireth, rise up in judgment against thee, who, being circumcised and having the letter of the written Law to direct thee, yet livest contrary to the Law?
II. 28, 29. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision 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, but of God.
If there be a privilege in Judaism, certainly it is in the truth and sincerity of that profession; and a man, that is truly and spiritually a Jew or Israelite, must not be esteemed so by the outward mark of circumcision in the flesh; neither is that circumcision worth accounting of, which is only a cutting off an outward skin : But he, that would be a true Israelite, or Jew indeed, must be such inwardly; being cleansed from all corrupt affections, and freed from all superfluity of maliciousness: and that circumcision must be inwardly, in the heart and soul and spirit, in cutting off the unclean foreskin thereof, and not a literal and outward circumcision of the flesh, which shall ever carry acceptance from God: it may be, this bodily circumcision may, amongst men, be deemed a mark of honour; but, with God, no circumcision can look to receive allowance, but the spiritual.
III. 1. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision ?
What privilege then hath the Jew above the Gentile ? or what profit is there of circumcision, more than of uncircumcision ; if all the praise and advantage thereof be inward, which may be as well incident into a Gentile as into a Jew?
III. 2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the Oracles of God.
Yes, doubtless, there are great privileges, in many respects; but chiefly in this, That unto that nation and people were the Oracles of God committed, with them was the Covenant made, to them was the Law delivered, and unto their trust and custody were the Holy Scriptures deposited.
III. 3. For what if some did not believe ? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
But, Alas! you will say, What are they the better for these Oracles of God, if they have rejected them carelessly through their unbelief, and have made themselves unworthy of these favours ? But, I say again, Grant that many of them did not believe ; shall their infidelity be any hinderance to the performance of the faithful promises of God? Shall not he make his word good to his chosen ones, because some of the nation have failed of their duty to him?
III. 4. 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 art judged.
God forbid: yea, whatsoever become of men, who are all falsehood and vanity, let the truth of God and all his words and promises stand firm and inviolable for ever; according to that of the Psalmist, That thou mayest be declared to be most true and just in all thy savings; and, whensoever any of thine actions are scanned, mayest go away with the glory of a perfect and irreprehensible justice.
III. 5. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man.)
But, if this be all, that God looks to be glorified by mèn ; and, as he pleases to order matters, he turns the wickedness of men to the praise of his justice, since his justice doth most appear in punishing the wickedness of men; what shall we say? Is God unrighteous, in punishing men, for that, by which his justice is glorified? (I speak after the carnal manner of men's reasoning.)
III. 6. God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
God forbid, that the judge of all the World should be unrighteous: No; far be that from the least of our thoughts; for how should he order and compose all the affairs of the earth and heaven, if he himself were not absolutely righteous ?
III. 7. For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
For, saith the wicked man, if the truth of God be more magnified and made more conspicuous, and so more glory accrues to his Name, by my lie, in that my falsehood and injustice is the matter for his justice to work revenge upon, what reason is there, that I should be punished, who have occasioned this further glory to God, and should be proceeded against as an offender?
III. 8. And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do eril, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
And why should we not rather take up that resolution, which some have slanderously cast upon us, by lewd and false reports; affirming that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come of it: so that the event be good, it matters not what our actions be? Such wicked calumnies are cast upon us, by the depraving tongues of false accusers, who shall receive just damnation for this slander of the Gospel.
III. 9. What then? are we better than they ? No, in no wise : for we hare before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.
What then, if there be prerogatives that we Jews have above the Gentiles, are we better than they? or have we cause to pride ourselves, as being in a happier condition ? No; in no wise; for we have before proved, that all, both Jews and Gentiles, are in the state of sin, and thereby liable to the wrath of God and everlasting damnation.
III. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre. See Psalm v. 9.
III. Ibid. The poison of asps is under their lips. See Psalm cxl. S.
III. 19. Now we know that what things soerer the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law : that every mouth may be stopped, and all the word may become guilty before God.
But ye are now ready to say, that these accusations and reproofs are not meant to you Jews, but to other profane and wicked nations. Be not deceived: whatsoever the Spirit of God saith in the Scriptures, it speaketh to them unto whom that word of God was given; and therefore more especially to the people of the Jews; intending, that, by these general taxations of man's wickedness, every mouth should be stopped, and that all the world should be convinced as guilty before God.
III. 20. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no