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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


and Esau I put so much behind him", as to lay his moun14 tains and his heritage waste." 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 9 him to prepare himself for it; nor the endeavours of Esau, who ran a 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, * “ 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 his 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 sons of Abraham) when Rebecca had couceived 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 pronrise. 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; and the third from his predictions of it to the Jews, and the warning he gave them of it

befor hand, ver. 25—29, which we shall consider in their places. 16 q“ 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.

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TEXT. have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that

my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom

he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who

hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, О man, who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall the

thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

PARAPHRASE. people of Egypt, to whom God saith", “ Even for this same purpose have I raised thee


that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be renowned through 18 all the earth." $ Therefore, that his name and power

may be made known, and taken notice of, in the world, he is kind and bountiful' to one nation, and lets another go on obstinately in their opposition to him, that his taking them off, by some signal calamity and ruin, brought on them by the visible hand of his providence, may be seen and acknowledged to be an effect of their standing-out against him, as in the case of Pharaoh. For this end, he is bountiful to whom he will be bountiful; and whom he will he permits to make such an use of his forbearance towards them,

as to persist obdurate in their provocation of him, and draw 19 on themselves exemplary destruction. To this, some may

be ready to say, Why then does he find fault? For who at 20

any time hath been able to resist his will ? Say you so, indeed ? But who art thou, O man, that repliest thus to God ? shall the nations W, that are made great or little, shall king

NOTES. 17 . Exod. ix. 16. 18 : “ Therefore.” That his name and power may be made known, and taken

notice of in all the earth, he is kind and bountiful to one nation, and lets another go on in their opposition and obstinacy against him, till their taking off, by some signal calamity and ruin brought on them, may be seen and acknowledged to be the effect of their standing out against God, as in the case of Pharaoh. t'Elei, “ hath njercy." That by this word is meant being bountiful, in his outward dispensations of power, greatvess, and protection, to one people above another, is plain from the three preceding verses. u “ Hardeneth.” That God's hardening, spoken of here, is what we have explained it, in the paraphrase, is plain, in the instance of Pharaoh, given ver. 17, as may be seen in that story: Exod. vii. xiv., which is worth the reading, for

the understanding of this place: See also ver. 22. 20 w Here St. Paul shows, that the nations of the world, who are by a better right

in the hands and disposal of God, than the clay in the power of the potter,

TEXT. 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make

one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power

known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction :

PARAPHRASE. doms, that are raised or depressed, say to him, in whose hands

they are, to dispose of them as he pleases, “Why hast thou 21 made us thus ?" Hath not the potter power over the clay, of

the same lump, to make this a vessel of honour, and that of 22 dishonour* ? But what hast thou to say, 0 man of Judea, if

God, willing to show his wrath, and have his power taken notice of, in the execution of it, did, with much long

NOTES. may, without any question of his justice, be made great and glorious, or be pulled down, and brought into contempt, as he pleases. That he here speaks of men nationally, and not personally, in reference to their eternal state, is evident not only from the beginning of this chapter, where he shows his concern for the nation of the Jews being cast off from beiog God's people, and the instances he brings of Isaac, of Jacob and Esau, and of Pharaoh; but it appears also, very clearly, in the verses immediately following, where, by “the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction,” he manifestly means the nation of the Jews, who were now grown ripe, and fit for the destructiou he was bringing upon them. And, by “ vessels of mercy," the Christian church, gathered out of a small collection of convert Jews, and the rest inade up of the Gentiles, who together were from thenceforwards to be the people of God, in the room of the Jewish nation, now cast off, as appears by ver. 24. The sense of which verse is this : “How darest thou, O man, to call God to account, and question his justice, in casting off his ancient people the Jews ? What if God, willing to punish that sinful people, and to do it so as to have his power known, and taken notice of, in the doing of it : (for why might he not raise them, to that purpose, as well as he did Pharaoh and his Egyptians ?) What, I say, if God bore with them a long time, even after they had deserved his wrath, as he did with Pharaoh, that his hand might be the more eminently visible iu their destruction; and that also, at the same time, he might, with the more glory, make known his goodness and mercy to the Gentiles, whom, according to his purpose, he was in readiness to receive into the glorious state of being his people, under

the Gospel ?" 21 * “ Vessel unto honour, and vessel unto dishonour," signifies a thing de

signed, by the maker, to an honourable or dishonourable use : now why it may not design nations, as well as persons, and honour and prosperity in this world, as well as eternal happiness and glory, or misery and punishment, in the world to come, I do not see. In common reason, this figurative expression ought to follow the sense of the context: and I see no peculiar privilege it hath to wrest and turn the visible meaning of the place to something remote from the subject in hand. I am sure, no such authority it has from such an appropriated sense, settled in sacred Scripture. This were enough to clear the apostle's sense in these words, were there nothing else; but Jer. xviii. 6, 7, , from whence this instance of a potter is taken, shows them to have a temporal sense, and to relate to the nation of the Jews.

TEXT. 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the

vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

PARAPHRASE. suffering, bear with the sinful nation of the Jews, even when

they were proper objects of that wrath, fit to have it poured 23 out upon them in their destruction ; That a he might make

NOTES. 22 y “ Endured with much long-suffering.” Immediately after the instance

of Pharaoh, whom God said, “he raised up to show his power in him," ver. 17, it is subjoined, ver. 18, “and whom he will he hardeneth," plainly with reference to the story of Pharaoh, who is said to harden himself, and whom God is said to harden, as may be seen Exod. vii. 3, 22, 23, and viii. 15, 32, and ix. 7, 12, 34, and x. 1, 20, 27, and xi. 9, 10, and xiv. 5. What God's part in hardening is, is contained in these words, “ endured with much long-suffering.” God sends Moses to Pharaoh with sigus; Pharaoh's magicians do the like, and so he is not prevailed with. God sends plagues; whilst the plague is upon him, he is mollified, and promises to let the people go: but, as soon as God takes off the plague, he returns to his obstinacy, and refuses, and thus over and over again; God's being entreated by him to withdraw the severity of his hand, his gracious compliance with Pharaoh's desire to have the punishment removed, was what God did in the case, and this was all goodness and bounty: but Pharaoh and his people made that ill use of his forbearance and long-suffering, as still to harden themselves the more, for God's mercy and gentleness to them, till they bring on themselves exemplary destruction, from the visible power and hand of God, employed in it. This carriage of theirs God foresaw, and so made use of their obstinate, perverse temper, for his own glory, as he himself declares, Exod. vii. 3-5, and viii. 1–8, and ix. 14, 16. The apostle, by the instance of a potter's power over his clay, having demonstrated, that God, by his dominion and sovereignty, had a right to set up, or pull down, what nation he pleased ; and might, without any injustice, take one race into his particular favour, to be his peculiar people, or reject them, as he thought fit; does, in this verse, apply it to the subject in hand, viz. the casting off the Jewish nation, whereof he speaks here in terms that plainly make a parallel between this and his dealing with the Egyptians, mentioned ver. 17, and, therefore, that story will best explain this verse, that thence will receive its full light. For it seems a somewhat strar.ge sort of reasoning, to say, God, to show his wrath, endured with much long-suffering those who deserved his wrath, and were fit for destruction. But he that will read in Exodus God's dealing with Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and how God passed over provocation upon provocation, and patiently endured those who, by their first refusal, nay by their former cruelty and oppression of the Israelites, deserved his wrath, and were fitted for destruction, that, in a more signal vengeance on the Egyptians, and glorious deliverance of the Israelites, he might show his power, and make himself be taken notice of, will easily see the strong and easy

sense of this and the following verse. 23 . Kai va, “And that;" the Vulgate has not “and :" there are Greek mss.

that justify that omission, as well as the sense of the place, which is disturbed by the conjunction “and.” For with that reading it runs thus: “and God, that he might make known the riches of his glory,” &c. A learned paraphrast, both against the grammar and sense of the place, by his own authority adds, “showed mercy," where the sacred Scripture is silent, and says no such thing, by which we may make it say any thing. If a verb were to be inserted here, it is evident


24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the

Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were

not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto

them, Ye are not my people ; there shall they be called the children

of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the chil

dren of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:


known the riches of his glory', on those whom, being ob24 jects of his mercy, he had before prepared to glory, Even us

Christians, whom he hath also called, not only of the Jews, 25 but also of the Gentiles? As he hath declared in Osee: “İ

will call them my people who were not my people; and 26 her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to

pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye

are not my people; there shall they be called the children 27 of the living God.” Isaiah crieth also, concerning Israel,

6. Though the number of the children of Israel be as the

NOTES. it must, some way or other, answer to “endured,” in the foregoing verse : but such an one will not be easy to be found, that will suit here. And, indeed, there is no need of it, for, "and" being left out, the sense, suitably to St. Paul's argument here, runs plainly and smoothly thus : “ What have you, Jews, to complain of, for God's rejecting you from being any longer his people and giving you up, to be over-run and subjected by the Gentiles? and his taking then in, to be his people, in your room ? He has as much power over the nations of the earth, to make some of them mighty and flourishing, and others mean and weak, as a potter has over his clay, to make what sort of vessels he pleases of any part of it. This you cannot deny. God might, from the beginning, have made you a small, neglected people: but he did not. He made you the posterity of Jacob, a greater and mightier people than the posterity of his elder brother Esau, and made you also his own people, plentifully provided for in the land of promise. Nay, when your frequent revolts and repeated provocations had made you fit for destruction, he with long-suffering forbore you, that now, under the Gospel, executing his wrath on you, he might manifest his glory on us, whom he hath called to be his people, consisting of a small remnant of Jews, and of converts out of the Gentiles, whom he had prepared for this glory, as he had foretold by the prophets Hosea and Isaiah.” This is plainly St. Paul's meaning, that God dealt, as is described, ver. 22, with the Jews, that he might manifest his glory on the Gentiles; for so he declares over and over again, chap. xin ver. 11, 12, 15, 19, 20, 28, 30.

“Make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.” St. Paul in a parallel place, Col. i. has 80 fully explained these words, that he that will read ver. 27 of that chapter, with the context there, can be in no manner of doubt what St. Paul means here.

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