« السابقةمتابعة »
PARAPHRASE. from him all things have their being and original ; by him they are all ordered and disposed of, and for him and his glory they are all made and regulated, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
NOTE. the justice of God in the case, and does here, in this question, expose and silence the folly of any such pretence.
CHAPTER XII. 1-21.
St. Paul, in the end of the foregoing chapter, with a very solemn epiphonema, closes that admirable, evangelical discourse, to the church at Rome, which had taken up the eleven foregoing chapters. It was addressed to the two sorts of converts, viz. Gentiles and Jews, into which, as into two distinct bodies, he all along, through this epistle, divides all mankind, and considers them, as so divided, into two separate corporations,
1. As to the Gentiles, he endeavours to satisfy them that though they, for their apostasy from God to idolatry, and the worship of false gods, had been abandoned by God, and lived in sin and blindness, without God in the world, strangers from the knowledge and acknowledgment of him; yet that the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, was extended to them, whereby there was a way now open to them, to become the people of God. For since no man could be saved by his own righteousness, no, not the Jews themselves, by the deeds of the law; the only way to salvation, both for Jews and Gentiles, was by faith in Jesus Christ. Nor had the Jews any other way now to continue themselves the people of God, than by receiving the Gospel; which way was opened also to the Gentiles, and they as freely admitted into the kingdom of God, now erected under Jesus Christ, as the Jews, and upon the sole terms of believing. So that there was no need at all for the Gentiles to be circumcised, to become Jews, that they might be partakers of the benefits of the Gospel.
2. As to the Jews, the apostle's other great aim, in the foregoing discourse, is to remove the offence the Jews took at the Gospel, because the Gentiles were received into the church, as the people of God, and were allowed to be subjects of the kingdom of the Messiah. To bring them to a better temper, he shows them, from the sacred Scripture, that they could not be saved by the deeds of the law, and iherefore the doctrine of righteousness, by faith, ought not to be so strange a thing to them. And as to their being, for their unbelief, rejected from being the people of God, and the Gentiles taken in in their room, he shows plainly, that this was foretold them in the Old Testament; and that herein God did them no injustice. He was Sovereign over all mankind, and might choose whom he would, to be his people, with the same freedom that he chose the posterity of Abraham, among all the nations of the earth, and of that race chose the descendants of Jacob, before those of his elder brother Esau, and that before they had a being, or were capable of doing good or evil. In all which discourse of his it is plain the election spoken of has for its object only nations, or collective bodies politic, in this world, and not particular persons, in reference to their eternal state in the world to come.
Having thus finished the principal design of his writing, he here, in this, as is usual with him in all his epistles, concludes with practical and moral exhortations, whereof there are several in this chapter, which we shall take in their order.
TEXT. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is
PARAPHRASE. 1 It being so then, that you are become the people of God, in
the room of the Jews, do not ye fail to offer him that sacrifice, that it is reasonable for you to do; I mean your bodiesą, not to be slain, but the lusts thereof being mortified, and the body cleansed from the spots and blemishes of sin, will be an acceptable offering to him, and such a way of worship as becomes a rational creature, which therefore I beseech you, by the mercies of God to you, who has made you his people,
NOTE. 1." Your bodies,” There seem to be two reasons, why St. Paul's exhorta
tion to them is, to present their bodies undefiled to God: 1. Because he had before, especially chap. vii. so much insisted on this, that the body was the great source from whence sin arose. 2. Because the heathen world, and particularly the Romans, were guilty of those vile affections, which he mentions chap. i. 24—27.
TEXT. 2 And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is
among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
PARAPHRASE. 2 to present to him. And be not conformed to the fashion of
this world b: but be ye transformed, in the renewing of your minds; that you may, upon examination, find out what is the good, the acceptable, and perfect will of God, which now, under the Gospel, has shown itself to be in purity and holiness of life: the ritual observances, which he once instituted, not being that, his good, acceptable, and perfect will, which he always intended; they were made only the
types and preparatory way to this more perfect state under 3 the Gospel". For by virtue of that commission, to be the
apostle of the Gentiles, which, by the favour of God, is bestowed on me, I bid every one of you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to have sober and modest thoughts of himself, according to that measure of
NOTES. 26" To the fashion of this world;" or, as St. Peter expresses it, “ not fashion
ing yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of ignorance.” 1 Pet. i. 14. €“ Transformed in the renewing of your minds." The state of the Gentiles is thus described, Eph. iv. 17-19, As walking in the vanity of their minds, having the understanding darkened, “ being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleapness with greediness, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, and of the mind.” And Col. i. 21, “ Alienated and enemies in their minds by wicked works." “ The renewing,” therefore, “ of their minds,” or, as he speaks, Eph. iv. “ in the spirit of their minds," was the getting into an estate contrary to what they were in before, viz. to take it in the apostle's own words, " that the eyes of their understandings might be enlightened," and that they“ might put on the new man, that is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him; that ye walk as children of the light, proviog what is acceptable to the Lord, having no fellowship with the works of darkness :" that they “ be not unwise, but uuderstanding what is the will of the Lord : for this is the will of God, even your sauctification. That you should abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification honour, not in the last of concupiscence, even as the Geot that know vot God." • In these two first verses, of this chapter, is shown the preference of the Go. pel to the Gentile state and the Jewish institution.
TEXT. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have
not the same office ; 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members
one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to
4 spiritual gifts e which God has bestowed upon him. For as
there are many members in one and the same body, but all 5 the members are not appointed to the same work; So we,
who are many, make all but one body in Christ, and are alí 6 fellow-members one of another'. But having, according to
the respective favour that is bestowed upon us, every one of us different gifts; whether it be prophecy 5, let us prophesy, according to the proportion of faith b; or gift of interpreta
NOTES. 3 • Mérpov alsaws, “ Measure of faith :” some copies read xápilos, “ of favour:"
either of them expresses the same thing, i. e. gifts of the Spirit. 5 * The same simile to the same purpose, see 1 Cor. xii. 6 8“ Prophecy” is enumerated, in the New Testament, among the gifts of the
Spirit, and means either the interpretation of sacred Scripture, and explaining of prophecies already delivered, or foretelling things to come. b“ According to the proportion of faith.” The context, in this and the preceding verses, leads us, without any difficulty, into the meaning of the apostle, in this expression : 1 Cor. xii. and xiv. show us how apt the new converts were to be puffed up with the several gifts that were bestowed on them; and every one, as in like cases is usual, forward to magnify his own, and to carry it farther than in reality it extended. That it is St. Paul's design, here, to prevent, or regulate such disorder, and to keep every one, in the exercising of his particular gift, within its due bounds, is evident, in that exhorting them, ver. 3, to a sober use of their gifts (for it is in reference to their spiritual gifts he speaks in that verse) he makes the measure of that sobriety to be that measure of faith, or spiritual gift which every one in particular enjoyed by the favour of God, i. e. That no one should go beyond that which was given him, and he really had. But besides this, which is very obvions, there is another passage in that verse, which, rightly considered, strongly inclines this way: “ I say through the grace that is given unto me," says St. Paul. He was going to restrain them, in the exercise of their distinct spiritual gifts, and he could not introduce what he was going to say in the case with a more persuasive argument than his own example: “ I exhort,” says he, “ that every one of you, in the exercise and use of his spiritual gift, keep within the bounds and measure of that gift which is given him. I myself, in giving you this exhortation, do it by the grace given unto me; I do it by the commission and power given me by God, and beyond that I do not go." In one, that had before declared himself an apostle, such an ex. pression as this here (if there were not some particular reason for it) might seem superfluous, and to some idle; but, in this view, it has a great grace and energy in it. There wants nothing but the study of St. Paul's writings to give us a just admiration of his great address, and the skill wherewith all that he says is adapted to the argument he has in hand: “1." says he, “ according to the grace given me, direct you every one, in the use of your gifts, which, according
TEXT. us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion
of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on
teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation : he that giveth, let him do it
with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence ; he that showeth
mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave
to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour
preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business ; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord ; 12 Rejoicing in hope ; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in
PARAPHRASE. tion which is given us, i. e. as far forth as we are enabled by
revelation and an extraordinary illumination to understand 17 and expound it, and no farther: Or, if it be ministry, let us
wait on our ministering; he that is a teacher, let him take 8 care to teach. He, whose gift is exhortation, let him be dili
gent in exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it liberally, and without the mixture of any self-interest: he that presideth,
let him do it with diligence: he that showeth mercy, let him 9 do it with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. 10 Abhor that which is evil; stick to that which is good. Be
kindly affectioned one towards another, with brotherly love; 11 in honour preferring one another. Not slothful in business;
but active and vigorous in mind, directing all to the service of 12 Christ and the Gospel ; Rejoicing in the hope you have of
heaven and happiness; patient in tribulation ; frequent and
NOTES. to the grace given you, are different, whether it be the gift of prophecy, to prophesy according to the proportion or measure of that gift, or revelation, that he hath. And let him not think that, because some things are,
therefore every thing is revealed to him.” The same rule, concerning the same matter, St. Paul gives, Eph. iv, 16, that every member should act according to the measure of its own strength, power, and energy; 1 Cor. xiv. 29—32, may also give light to this place. This, therefore, is far from signifying that a man, in interpreting sacred Scripture, should explain the sense, according to the system of his particular sect, which each party is pleased to call the analogy of faith. For this would be to make the apostle to set that, for a rule of interpretation, which had not its being till long after, and is the product of fallible men. The measure of faith,” ver. 3, and “ proportion of faith,” in this verse, signify the same thing, viz. so much of that particular gift, which God was pleased
to bestow on any one. 81'o w pozsáuevos. “He that ruleth,” says our translation ; the context iuclines
to the sense I have taken it in; see Vitringa de Synagog. 1. ji. c. 3.