RPM, Volume 18, Number 17, April 17 to April 23, 2016

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical
Part 51

By Albert Barnes


THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 1

Verse 1.I say then. This expression is to be regarded as conveying the sense of an objection. Paul, in the previous chapters, had declared the doctrine that all the Jews were to be rejected. To this a Jew might naturally reply, Is it to be believed, that God would cast off his people whom he had once chosen; to whom pertained the adoption, and the promises, and the covenant, and the numer- ous blessings conferred on a favourite people? It was natural for a Jew to make such objections. And it was important for the apostle to show that his doctrine was consistent with all the promises which God had made to his people. The objection, as will be seen by the answer which Paul makes, is formed on the supposition that God had rejected all his people, or cast them off entirely. This objection he answers by showing,

(1.) that God had saved him, a Jew, and therefore that he could not mean that God had east off all Jews, (Ro 11:1)

(2.) that now, as in former times of great declension, God had reserved a remnant, (Ro 11:2-5)

(3.) that it accorded with the Scriptures, that a part should be hardened, (Ro 11:6-10)

(4.) that the design of the rejection was not final, but was to admit the Gentiles to the privileges of Christianity, (Ro 11:11-24;)

(5.) that the Jews should yet return to God, and be reinstated in his favour: so that it could not be objected that God had finally and totally cast off his people, or that he had violated his promises. At the same time, however, the doctrine which Paul had maintained was true, that God had taken away their exclusive and peculiar privileges, and had rejected a large part of the nation.

Cast away. Rejected, or put off. Has God so renounced them that they cannot be any longer his people?

His people. Those who have been long in the covenant relation to him; that is, the Jews.

God forbid. Literally, it may not, or cannot be. This is an expression strongly denying that this could take place; and means that Paul did not intend to advance such a doctrine, Lu 20:16; Ro 3:4,6,31; 6:2,15; 7:7,13.

For I also am an Israelite. To show them that he did not mean to affirm that all Jews must of necessity be cast off, he adduces his own case. He was a Jew; and yet he looked for the favour of God, and for eternal life. That favour he hoped now to obtain by being a Christian; and if he might obtain it, others might also. "If I should say that all Jews must be excluded from the favour of God, then I also must be without hope of salvation, for I am a Jew."

Of the seed of Abraham. Descended from Abraham. The apostle mentions this to show that he was a Jew in every respect; that he had a title to all the privileges of a Jew, and must be exposed to all their liabilities and dangers. If the seed of Abraham must of necessity be cut off, he must be himself rejected. The Jews valued themselves much on having been descended from so illustrious an ancestor as Abraham, (Mt 3:9) and Paul shows them that he was entitled to all the privileges of such a descent. Comp. Php 3:4,5.

Of the tribe of Benjamin. This tribe was one that was originally located near Jerusalem. The temple was built on the line that divided the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is not improbable that it was regarded as a peculiar honour to have belonged to one of those tribes. Paul mentions it here in accordance with their custom; for they regarded it as of great importance to preserve their genealogy, and to be able to state not only that they were Jews, but to designate the tribe and family to which they belonged.

{c} "Hath God cast away" 1 Sa 12:22; Ps 77:7,8; 89:31,37.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 2

Verse 2. God hath not cast away. This is an explicit denial of the objection.

Which he foreknew. The word foreknew is expressive not merely of foreseeing a thing, but implies in this place a previous purpose or plan. See Barnes "Ro 8:29".

The meaning of the passage is simply, God has not cast off those whom he had before purposed or designed to be his people. It is the declaration of a great principle of Divine government that God is not changeable; and that he would not reject those whom he had purposed should be his people. Though the mass of the nation, therefore, should be cast off, yet it would not follow that God had violated any promise or compact; or that he had rejected any whom he had foreknown as his true people. God makes no covenant of salvation with those who are in their sins; and if the unbelieving and the wicked, however many external privileges they may have enjoyed, are rejected, it does not follow that he has been unfaithful to one whom he had foreknown or designated as an heir of salvation. It follows from this, also, that it is one principle of the Divine government that God will not reject those who are foreknown or designated as his friends. It is a part of the plan, therefore, that those who are truly renewed shall persevere, and obtain eternal life.

Wot ye not. Know ye not.

What the Scripture saith. The passage here quoted is found in 1 Ki 19:10-18.

Of Elias. Of Elijah. Greek, "In Elijah (en hlia). This does not mean that it was said about Elijah, or concerning him; but the reference is to the usual manner of quoting the Scriptures among the Jews. The division into chapters and verses was to them unknown. (See the Introduction to the Notes on Matthew.) Hence the Old Testament was divided into portions designated by subjects. Thus Lu 20:37; Mr 12:26, "At the bush," means the passage which contains the account of the burning bush. See Barnes "Lu 20:37" See Barnes "Mr 12:26".

Here it means, in that passage or portion of Scripture which gives an account of Elijah.

He maketh intercession to God against Israel. The word translated maketh intercession (entugcanei) means, properly, to come to the aid of any one; to transact the business of any one; especially to discharge the office of an advocate, or to plead one's cause in a court of justice. In a sense similar to this it is applied to Christ in his office of making intercession for us in heaven, Heb 7:25; Isa 53:12. In the English language, the word is constantly used in a good sense, to plead for one; never to plead against one; but the Greek word may imply either. It expresses the office of one who manages the business of another; and hence one who manages the business of the state against a criminal; and when followed by the preposition for, means to intercede or plead for a person; when followed by against, (kata) it means to accuse or arraign. This is its meaning here. He accuses or arraigns the nation of the Jews before God; he charges them with crime; the crime is specified immediately.

{d} "Wot ye not" Ro 8:29

{1} "of Elias" or, "in Elias"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 3

Verse 3. Lord, they have killed, etc. This is taken from 1 Ki 19:10. The quotation is not literally made, but the sense is preserved. This was a charge which Elijah brought against the whole nation; and the act of killing the prophets he regarded as expressive of the character of the people, or that they were universally given to wickedness. The fact was true that they had killed the prophets, etc., (1 Ki 18:4,13) but the inference which Elijah seems to have drawn from it, that there were no pious men in the nation, was not well founded.

And digged down. Altars, by the law of Moses, were required to be made of earth or unhewn stones, Ex 20:24,25. Hence the expression, to dig them down, means completely to demolish or destroy them.

Thine altars. There was one great altar in the front of the tabernacle and the temple, on which the daily sacrifices of the Jews were to be made. But they were not forbidden to make altars also elsewhere, Ex 20:25. And hence they are mentioned as existing in other places, 1 Sa 7:17; 16:2,3; 1 Ki 18:30,32.

These were the altars of which Elijah complained as having been thrown down by the Jews; an act which was regarded as expressive of signal impiety.

I am left alone. I am the only prophet which is left alive. We are told that when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred of them and hid them in a cave, 1 Ki 18:4. But it is not improbable that they had been discovered and put to death by Ahab. The account which Obadiah gave Elijah when he met him, (1 Ki 18:13) seems to favour such a supposition.

Seek my life. That is, Ahab and Jezebel seek to kill me. This they did because he had overcome and slain the prophets of Baal, 1 Ki 19:1,2. There could scarcely be conceived a time of greater distress and declension in religion than this. It has not often happened that so many things that were disheartening have occurred to the church at the same period of time. The prophets of God were slam; but one lonely man appeared to have zeal for true religion; the nation was running to idolatry; the civil rulers were criminally wicked, and were the leaders in the universal apostasy; and all the influences of wealth and power were setting in against the true religion to destroy it. It was natural that the solitary man of God should feel disheartened and lonely in this universal guilt; and should realize that he had no power to resist this tide of crime and calamities.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 4

Verse 4. The answer of God, (o crhmatismov). This word is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, an oracle, a divine response. It does not indicate the manner in which it was done, but implies only that it was an oracle, or answer made to his complaint by God. Such an answer, at such a time, would be full of comfort, and silence every murmur. The way in which this answer was in fact given, was not in a storm, or an earth- quake, but in a still, small voice, 1 Ki 19:11,12.

I have reserved. The Hebrew is, "I have caused to remain," or to be reserved. This shows that it was of God that this was done. Amidst the general corruption and idolatry he had restrained a part, though it was a remnant. The honour of having done it he claims for himself, and does not trace it to any goodness or virtue in them. So in the case of all those who are saved from sin and pain, the honour belongs not to man, but to God.

To myself. For my own service and glory. I have kept them steadfast in my worship, and have not suffered them to become idolaters. Seven thousand men. Seven is often used in the Scriptures to denote an indefinite or round number. Perhaps it may be so here, to intimate that there was a considerable number remaining. This should lead us to hope that, even in the darkest times in the church, there may be many more friends of God than we suppose. Elijah supposed he was alone; and yet at that moment there were thousands who were the true friends of God: a small number, indeed, compared with the multitude of idolaters; but large when compared with what was supposed to be remaining by the dejected and disheartened prophet.

Who have not bowed the knee. To bow or bend the knee is an expression denoting worship, Php 2:10; Eph 3:14; Isa 45:23.

To Baal. The word Baal in Hebrew means lord, or master. This was the name of an idol of the Phenicians and Canaanites, and was worshipped also by the Assyrians and Babylonians under the name of Bel. (Comp. the Book of Bel in the Apocrypha.) This god was represented under the image of a bull, or a calf; the one denoting the sun, the other the moon. The prevalent worship in the time of Elijah was that of this idol.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 5

Verse 5. At this present time. In the time when the apostle wrote. Though the mass of the nation was to be rejected, yet it did not follow that all were to be excluded from the favour of God. As in the time of Elijah, when all appeared to be dark, and all the nation, except one, seemed to have become apostate, yet there was a considerable number of the true friends of God; so in the time of Paul, though the nation had rejected their Messiah,—though, as a consequence, they were to be rejected as a people; and though they were eminently wicked and corrupt,—yet it did not follow that all were cast off, or that any were excluded on whom God had purposed to bestow salvation.

A remnant. That which is left or reserved, Ro 9:27. He refers here, doubtless, to that part of the nation which was truly pious, or which had embraced the Messiah.

According to the election of grace. By a gracious or merciful choosing, or election; and not by any merit of their own. As in the time of Elijah, it was because God had reserved them unto himself that any were saved from idolatry, so now it was by the same gracious sovereignty that any were saved from the prevalent unbelief. The apostle here does not specify the number, but there can be no doubt that a multitude of Jews had been saved by becoming Christians, though compared with the nation—the multitude who rejected the Messiah—it was but a remnant.

The apostle thus shows that neither all the ancient people of God were east away, nor that any whom he foreknew were rejected. And though he had proved that a large part of the Jews were to be rejected, and though infidelity was prevalent, yet still there were some who had been Jews who were truly pious, and entitled to the favour of God. Nor should they deem this state of things remarkable, for a parallel case was recorded in their own Scriptures. We may learn from this narrative,

(1.) that it is no unparalleled thing for the love of many to wax cold, and for iniquity to abound.

(2.) The tendency of this is to produce deep feeling and solicitude among the true friends of God. Thus David says, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes because they keep not thy law," Ps 119:136. Comp. Jer 9:1; Lu 19:41.

(3.) That in these darkest tunes we should not be discouraged. There may be much more true piety in the world than, in our despondency, we may suppose. We should take courage in God, and believe that he will not forsake any that are his true friends, or on whom he has purposed to bestow eternal life.

(4.) It is of God that all are not corrupt and lost. It is owing only to the election of grace, to his merciful choosing, that any are saved. And as in the darkest times he has reserved a people to himself, so we should believe that he will still meet abounding evil, and save those whom he has chosen from eternal death.

{f} "then at this present time" Ro 9:27

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 6

Verse 6. And if by grace, etc. If the fact that any are reserved be by grace, or favour, then it cannot be as a reward of merit. Paul thus takes occasion incidently to combat a favourite notion of the Jews, that we are justified by obedience to the law. He reminds them, that in the time of Elijah it was because God had reserved them; that the same was the case now; and therefore their doctrine of merit could not be true. See Ro 4:4,5; Gal 5:4; Eph 2:8,9.

Otherwise grace, etc. If men are justified by their works, it could not be a matter of favour, but was a debt. If it could be that the doctrine of justification by grace could be held, and yet at the same time that the Jewish doctrine of merit was true, then it would follow that grace had changed its nature, or was a different thing from what the word properly signified. The idea of being saved by merit contradicts the very idea of grace. If a man owes me a debt, and pays it, it cannot be said to be done by favour, or by grace. I have a claim on him for it, and there is no favour in his paying his just dues.

But if it be of works, etc. Works here mean conformity to the law; and to be saved by works would be to be saved by such conformity as the meritorious cause. Of course there could be no grace or favour in giving what was due; if there was favour, or grace, then works would lose their essential characteristic, and cease to be the meritorious cause of procuring the blessings. What is paid as a debt is not conferred as a favour.

And from this it follows that salvation cannot be partly by grace and partly by works. It is not because men can advance any claims to the favour of God; but from his mere unmerited grace. He that is not willing to obtain eternal life in that way, cannot obtain it at all. The doctrines of election, and of salvation by mere grace, cannot be more explicitly stated than they are in this passage.

{g} "if by grace" Ro 4:5; Gal 5:4; Eph 2:8

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 7

Verse 7. What then? What is the proper conclusion from this argument?

Israel hath not obtained. That is, the Jews as a people have not obtained that which they sought. They sought the favour of God by their own merit; and as it was impossible to obtain it in that manner, they have, as a people, failed of obtaining his favour at all, and will be rejected.

That which he seeketh for. To wit, salvation by their own obedience to the law.

The election hath. The purpose of choosing, on the part of God, has obtained, or secured, that which the seeking on the part of the Jews could not secure. Or the abstract here may be put for the concrete, and the word "election" may mean the same as the elect. The elect, the reserved, the chosen part of the people, have obtained the favour of God.

Hath obtained it. That is, the favour or mercy of God.

The rest. The great mass of the people who remained in unbelief, and had rejected the Messiah.

Were blinded. The word in the original means, also, were hardened, (epwrwyhsan). It comes from a word which signifies, properly, to become hard, as bones do which are broken and are then united; or as the joints sometimes do when they become callous or stiff. "It was probably applied also to the formation of a hard substance in the eye, a, cataract; and then means the same as to be blinded. Hence, applied to the mind, it means that which is hard, obdurate, insensible, stupid. Thus it is applied to the Jews, and means that they were blind and obstinate. See Mr 6:52, "Their heart was hardened." Ro 8:17; Joh 12:40. The word does not occur in any other place in the New Testament. This verse affirms simply, that "the rest were hardened," but it does not affirm anything about the mode by which it was done. In regard to "the election," it is affirmed that it was of God, Ro 11:4. Of the remainder, the fact of their blindness is simply mentioned, without affirming anything of the cause. See Ro 11:8.

{h} "Israel hath not obtained" Ro 9:31

{1} "blinded" or, "hardened".

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 8

Verse 8. According as it is written. That is, they are blinded in accordance with what is written. The fact and the manner accord with the ancient declaration. This is recorded in Isa 29:10, and in De 29:4. The same sentiment is found also substantially in Isa 6:9,10. The principal place referred to here, however, is doubtless Isa 29:10, "For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers hath he covered."

The quotation is not, however, literally made either from the Hebrew or the Septuagint; but the sense is preserved. The phrase "according as" means, upon the same principle, or in the same manner.

God hath given. Expressions like this are common in the Scriptures, where God is represented as having an agency in producing the wickedness and stupidity of sinners. See Ro 9:17,18. See Barnes "Mt 13:16" See Barnes "Mr 4:11, See Barnes "Mr 4:12" also See Barnes "2 Th 2:11".

This quotation is not made literally. The Hebrew in Isaiah is, God has poured upon them the spirit of slumber. The sense, however, is retained.

The spirit of slumber. The spirit of slumber is not different from slumber itself. The word spirit is often used thus. The word slumber here is a literal translation of the Hebrew. The Greek word, however, (katanuxewv), implies also the notion of compunction; and hence in the margin is is rendered remorse. It means any emotion, or any influence whatever, that shall benumb the faculties, and make them insensible. Hence it here means simply insensibility.

Eyes that they should not see, etc. This expression is not taken literally from any single place in the Old Testament; but expresses the general sense of several passages, Isa 6:10; De 29:4. It denotes a state of mind not different from a spirit of slumber. When we sleep, the eyes are insensible to surrounding objects, and the ear to sounds. Though in themselves the organs may be perfect, yet the mind is as though they were not; and we have eves which then do not see, and ears which do not hear. Thus with the Jews. Though they had all the proper faculties for understanding and receiving the gospel, yet they rejected it. They were stupid, and insensible to its claims and its truths.

Unto this day. Until the day that Paul wrote. The characteristic of the Jews that existed in the time of Isaiah, existed also in the time of Paul. It was a trait of the people; and their insensibility to the demands of the gospel developed nothing new in them.

{1} "slumber" or, "remorse"

{i} "eyes" Isa 29:10

{k} "should not see" De 29:4

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 9

Verses 9,10. And David saith, etc. This quotation is made from Ps 69:22,23. This psalm is repeatedly quoted as having reference to the events recorded in the New Testament. See Barnes "Ac 1:20".

This quotation is introduced immediately after one that undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus. Ro 11:21, "They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." The passage here quoted immediately follows as an imprecation of vengeance for their sins. "Let their table," etc. The quotation is not made, however, either literally from the Hebrew or from the Septuagint, but the sense only is retained. The Hebrew is, "Let their table before them be for a snare, and for those at peace let it be for a gin." The Septuagint is, "Let their table before them be for a snare, and for a stumbling-block, and for an offence." The ancient Targum is, "Let their table which they had prepared before me be for a snare, and their sacrifices be for an offence." The meaning is this: The word table denotes food, In this they expected pleasure and support. David prays that even this, where they expected joy and refreshment, might prove to them the means of punishment and righteous retribution, A snare is that by which birds or wild beasts were taken. They are decoyed into it, or walk or fly carelessly into it, and it is sprung suddenly on them. So of the Jews. The petition is, that while they were seeking refreshment and joy, and anticipating at their table no danger, it might be made the means of their ruin. The only way in which this could be done would be, that their temporal enjoyments would lead them away from God, and produce stupidity and indifference to their spiritual interests. This is often the result of the pleasures of the table, or of seeking sensual gratifications. The apostle does not say whether this prayer was right or wrong. The use which he seems to make of it is this, that David's imprecation was to be regarded in the light of a prophecy; that what he prayed for would come to pass; and that this had actually occurred in the time of the apostle: that their very enjoyments, their national and private privileges, had been the means of alienating them from God, had been a snare to them, and was the cause of their blindness and infidelity. This also is introduced in the psalm as a punishment for giving him vinegar to drink; and their treatment of the Messiah was the immediate cause why all this blindness had come upon the Jews.

A trap. This properly means anything by which wild beasts are taken in hunting. The word snare more properly refers to birds.

And a stumblingblock. Anything over which one stumbles or falls. Hence anything which occasions us to sin, or to ruin ourselves.

And a recompence. The Hebrew word translated "that which should have been for their welfare," is capable of this meaning, and may denote their recompense, or that which is appropriately rendered to them. It means, here, that their ordinary comforts and enjoyments, instead of promoting their permanent welfare, may be the occasion of their guilt and ruin. This is often the effect of earthly comforts. They might lead us to God, and should excite our gratitude and praise; but they are often abused to our spiritual slumber and guilt, and made the occasion of our ruin. The rich are thus often most forgetful of God; and the very abundance of their blessings made the means of darkness of mind, ingratitude, prayerlessness, and ruin. Satisfied with them, they forget the Giver; and while they enjoy many earthly blessings, God sends barrenness into their souls. This was the guilt of Sodom, "pride, and fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness," (Eze 16:49) and against this Moses solemnly warned the Jews, De 6:11,12; 8:10-12.

This same caution might be extended to the people of this land, and especially to those who are rich, and are blessed with all that their hearts have wished. From the use which the apostle makes of this passage in the Psalms, it is clear that he regarded it rather as a prophetic denunciation for their sins —a prediction of what would be— than as a prayer. In his time it had been fulfilled; and the very national privileges of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, and which might have been so great blessings, were the occasion of their greater sin in rejecting the Messiah, and of their greater condemnation. Thus their table was made a trap, etc.

{l} "Let their table" Ps 69:22,23

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Let their eyes be darkened. This is taken literally from the psalm, and was evidently the main part of the passage which the apostle had in his eye. This was fulfilled in the insensibility and blindness of the Jews. And the apostle shows them that it was long ago predicted, or invoked, as a punishment on them for giving the Messiah vinegar to drink, Ps 69:21,23.

And bow down their back always. The Hebrew (Ps 69:23) is, "Let their loins totter or shake;" that is, as one does when he has on him a heavy burden. The apostle has retained this sense. It means, let them be called to bear heavy and oppressive burdens; let them be subjected to toil or servitude, as a reward for their sins. That this had come upon the Jews in the time of Paul is clear; and it is further clear that it came upon them, as it was implied in the psalm, in consequence of their treatment of the Messiah. Much difficulty has been felt in reconciling the petitions in the Psalms for calamities on enemies, with the Spirit of the New Testament. Perhaps they cannot all be thus reconciled; and it is not at all improbable that many of those imprecations were wrong. David was not a perfect man; and the Spirit of inspiration is not responsible for his imperfections. Every doctrine delivered by the sacred writers is true; every fact recorded is recorded as it was. But it does not follow that all the men who wrote, or about whom a narrative was given, were perfect. The reverse is the fact. And it does not militate against the inspiration of the Scriptures that we have a record of the failings and imperfections of those men. When they uttered improper sentiments; when they manifested improper feelings; when they performed wicked actions, it is no argument against the inspiration of the Scriptures that they were recorded. All that is done in such a case, and all that inspiration demands, is that they be recorded as they are. We wish to see human nature as it is; and one design of making the record of such failings is to show what man is, even under the influence of religion; not as a perfect being, for that would not be true; but as he actually exists, mingled with imperfection. Thus many of the wishes of the ancient saints, imperfect as they were, are condemned as sinful by the spirit of the Christian religion. They were never commended or approved, but they are recorded just to show us what was in fact the character of man, even partially under the influence of religion. Of this nature, probably, were many of the petitions in the Psalms; and the Spirit of God is no more answerable for the feeling because it is recorded, than he is for the feelings of the Edomites when they said, "Rase it, rase it to the foundation," Ps 137:7. Many of those prayers, however, were imprecations on his enemies as a public man, as the magistrate of the land. As it is right and desirable that the robber and the pirate should be detected and punished; as all good men seek it, and it is indispensable for the welfare of the community, where is the impropriety of praying that it may be done? Is it not right to pray that the laws may be executed; that justice may be. maintained; and that restraint should be imposed on the guilty? Assuredly this may be done with a very different spirit from that of revenge. It may be the prayer of the magistrate that God will help him in that which he is appointed to do, and in what ought to be done. Besides, many of these imprecations were regarded as simply predictions of what would be the effect of sin; or of what God would do to the guilty. Such was the case we are now considering, as understood by the apostle. But in a prediction there can be nothing wrong.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Have they stumbled that they should fall? This is to be regarded as an objection, which the apostle proceeds to answer. The meaning is, Is it the design of God that the Jews should totally and irrecoverably be cast off? Even admitting that they are now unbelieving, that they have rejected the Messiah, that they have stumbled, is it the purpose of God finally to exclude them from mercy? The expression to stumble is introduced because he had just mentioned a stumbling-stone. It does not mean to fall down to the ground, or to fall so that a man may not recover himself; but to strike the foot against an obstacle, to be arrested in going, and to be in danger of falling. Hence it means to err, to sin, to be in danger. To fall expresses the state when a man pitches over an obstacle so that he cannot recover himself, but falls to the ground. Hence to err, to sin, or to be cast off irrecoverably. The apostle shows that this last was not the way in which the Jews had fallen, that they were not to be cast off for ever, but that occasion was taken by their fall to introduce the Gentiles to the privileges of the gospel, and then they should be restored.

God forbid. By no means. Ro 11:1.

But rather through their fall. By means of their fall. The word fall here refers to all their conduct and doom at the coming of the Messiah, and in the breaking up of their establishment as a nation. Their rejection of the Messiah; the destruction of their city and temple; the ceasing of their ceremonial rites; and the rejection and dispersion of their nation by the Romans, all enter into the meaning of the word fall here, and were all the occasion of introducing salvation to the Gentiles.

Salvation. The Christian religion, with all its saving benefits. It does not mean that all the Gentiles were to be saved, but that the way was open; they might have access to God, and obtain his favour through the Messiah.

The Gentiles. All the world that were not Jews. The rejection and fall of the Jews contributed to the introduction of the Gentiles in the following manner:

(1.) It broke down the barrier which had long subsisted between them.

(2.) It made it consistent and proper, as they had rejected the Messiah, to send the knowledge of him to others.

(3.) It was connected with the destruction of the temple: and the rites of the Mosaic law; and taught them, and all others, that the worship of God was not to be confined to any single place.

(4.) The calamities that came upon the Jewish nation scattered the inhabitants of Judea, and with the Jews also those who had become Christians, and thus the gospel was carried to other lands.

(5.) These calamities, and the conduct of the Jews, and the close of the Jewish economy, were the means of giving to apostles, and other Christians, right views of the true design of the Mosaic institutions. If the temple had remained; if the nation had continued to flourish, it would have been long before they would have been effectually detached from those rites. Experience showed, even as it was, that they were slow in learning that the Jewish ceremonies were to cease. Some of the most agitating questions in the early church pertained to this; and if the temple had not been destroyed, the contest would have been much longer and more difficult.

For to provoke them to jealousy. According to the prediction of Moses, De 32:21. See Ro 10:19.

{m} "Gentiles" Ac 13:46; 28:24-28; Ro 10:19

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 12

Verse 12. If the fall of them. If their lapse, or falling. If their temporal rejection, and being cast off for a time, has already accomplished so much.

Be the riches of the world. The word riches means wealth, abundance of property; more than is necessary to the supply of our wants. Hence it means, also, anything that may promote our comfort or happiness, as wealth is the means of securing our welfare. The gospel is called riches, as it is the means of our highest enjoyment and eternal welfare. It is the means of conferring numberless spiritual blessings on the Gentile world; and as this was done by the fall of the Jews, so it could be said that their fall was the riches of the world. It was the occasion or means without which the blessings of the gospel could not be conferred on the world.

The diminishing of them. Margin, Decay. Loss (htthma). This word means diminution, defect, that which is lacked or wanting. Hence also judgment, condemnation. Here it means their degradation; the withdrawing of their special privileges; their rejection. It stands opposed to "their fulness."

The riches of the Gentiles. The means of conferring important blessings on the Gentiles.

How much more their fulness. The word fulness (plhrwma) means that which fills up, or completes anything. Thus it is applied to that which fills a vessel or cup; also to the piece of cloth which is put in to fill up the rent in a garment, Mt 9:16. To the fragments which were left when Christ had fed the five thousand, Mr 8:20; Ro 13:10, "Love is the fulfilling of the law," i.e., it is the filling up of the law, or that which renders the obedience complete. See Ga 5:14. Here it stands opposed to their fall, and their diminution, and evidently means their complete restoration to the favour of God; their recovery from unbelief and apostasy. That there will be such a recovery the apostle proceeds to show. The sentiment is, If their rejection and punishment—their being cut off from the favour of God—an event apparently so unlikely to promote the spread of true religion; if their being withdrawn from all active influence in spreading the true knowledge of God, be yet the occasion of so many blessings to mankind as have attended the spread of the gospel in consequence of it, how much more shall we expect when they shall be restored—when the energy and zeal of the Jewish nation shall unite with the efforts of others in spreading the knowledge of the true Messiah?" In what way, or when this shall be, we know not. But it is easy to see, that if the Jewish people should be converted to the Christian faith, they would have facilities for spreading the truth which the church has never had without them.

(1.) They are scattered in all nations, and have access to all people.

(2.) Their conversion, after so long unbelief, would have all the power and influence of a miracle performed in view of all nations. It would be seen why they had been preserved, and their conversion would be a most striking fulfillment of the prophecies.

(3.) They are familiar with the languages of the world, and their conversion would at once establish many Christian missionaries in the heart of all the kingdoms of the world. It would be kindling at once a thousand lights fix all the dark parts of the earth.

(4.) The Jews have shown that they are eminently fitted to spread the true religion. It was by Jews, converted to Christianity, that the gospel was first spread. Each of the apostles was a Jew; and they have lost none of the ardour, enterprise, and zeal, that always characterized their nation. Their conversion would be, therefore, to give to the Christian church a host of missionaries prepared for their work, familiar with all customs, languages, and climes, and already in the heart of all kingdoms, and with facilities for their work in advance, which others must gain only by the slow toil of many years.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 13

Verse 13. For I speak to you Gentiles. What I am saying respecting the Jews, I say with reference to you who are Gentiles, to show you in what manner you have been admitted to the privileges of the people of God; to excite your gratitude; to warn you against abusing those mercies, etc. As Paul also was appointed to preach to them, he had a right to speak to them with authority.

I am the apostle of the Gentiles. The apostle of the Gentiles, not because other apostles did not preach to Gentiles, for they all did, except perhaps James; nor because Paul did not himself preach occasionally among the Jews; but because he was especially called to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, and that this was his original commission, (Ac 9:15) because he was principally employed in collecting and organizing churches in heathen lands; and because the charge of the Gentile churches was especially entrusted to him, while that of the Jewish churches was especially entrusted to Peter. See Ga 1:16; Eph 3:8; Ga 2:7,8.

As Paul was especially appointed to this office, he claimed special authority to address, those who were gathered into the Christian church from heathen lands.

I magnify mine office. I honour (doxazw) my ministry; I esteem it of great importance; and by thus showing that the gospel is to be preached to the Gentiles, that the barrier between them and the Jews is to be broken down, that the gospel may be preached to all men, I show that the office which proclaims this is one of signal honour. A minister may not magnify himself, but he may magnify his office. He may esteem himself as less than the least of all saints, and unworthy to be called a servant of God, (Eph 3:8) yet he may feel that he is an ambassador of Christ, entrusted with a message of salvation, entitled to the respect due to an ambassador, and to the honour which is appropriate to a messenger of God. To unite these two things constitutes the dignity of the Christian ministry.

{n} "apostle of the Gentiles" Ac 9:15; Ga 1:16; Eph 3:8

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 14

Verse 14. If by any means. If even by stating unpleasant truths, if by bringing out all the counsel of God, even that which threatens their destruction, I may arrest theft attention, and save them.

I may provoke to emulation. I may awaken up to zeal, or to an earnest desire to obtain the like blessings. This was in accordance with the prediction of Moses, that the calling in of the Gentiles would excite their attention, and provoke them to deep feeling. See Barnes "Ro 10:19".

The apostle expected to do this by calling their attention to the ancient prophecies; by alarming their fears about their own danger; and by showing them the great privileges which Gentiles might enjoy under the gospel; thus appealing to them by every principle of benevolence, by all their regard for God and man, to excite them to seek the same blessings.

My flesh. My countrymen. My kinsmen. Those belonging to the same family or nation, Ro 9:3; Ge 29:14; Jud 9:2; 2 Sa 5:1; Isa 58:7.

And save some of them. This desire the apostle often expressed. (See Ro 9:2,3; 10:1,2.) We may see here,

(1.) that it is the earnest wish of the ministry to save the souls of men.

(2.) That they should urge every argument and appeal with reference to this.

(3.) That even the most awful and humbling truths may have this tendency. No truth could be more likely to irritate and offend than that the Jews would be cast off; and yet the apostle used this so faithfully, and yet so tenderly, that he expected and desired it might be the means of saving the souls of his countrymen. Truth often irritates, enrages, and thus excites the attention. Thought or inquiry, however it may be excited, may result in conversion. And thus, even restlessness, and vexation, and anger, may be the means of leading a sinner to Jesus Christ. It should be no part of a minister's object, however, to produce anger. It is a bad emotion; in itself it is evil; and if men can be won to embrace the Saviour without anger, it is better. No wise man would excite a storm and tempest that might require infinite power to subdue, when the same object could be gained with comparative peace, and under the mild influence of love.

(4.) It is right to use all the means in our power, not absolutely wicked, to save men. Paul was full of devices; and much of the success of the ministry will depend on a wise use of plans that may, by the Divine blessing, arrest and save the souls of men.

{o} "save some of them" 1 Co 7:16

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 15

Verse 15. For if the casting away of them. If their rejection as the peculiar people of God—their exclusion from their national privileges, on account of their unbelief. It is the same as "the fall of them," Ro 11:12.

Be the reconciling of the world. The word reconciliation (katallagh) denotes, commonly, a pacification of contending parties; a removing the occasion of difference, so as again to be united. 1 Co 7:11, "Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband." It is commonly applied to the reconciliation, or pacification, produced between man and God by the gospel. They are brought to union, to friendship, to peace, by the intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:10; 2 Co 5:18,19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." Hence the ministry is called the "ministry of reconciliation," 2 Co 5:18. And hence this word is used to express the atonement. Ro 5:11, "By whom we have now received the atonement," (the reconciliation.) In this place it means, that many of the Gentiles—the world —had become reconciled to God as the result of the casting off of the Jews. By their unbelief, the way had been opened to preach the gospel to the Gentiles; it was the occasion by which God sent it to the nations of the earth. Comp. Ac 13:46.

The receiving of them. The same as was denoted (Ro 11:12) by their fulness. If the casting them off—an event so little likely, apparently, to produce any good effect—was nevertheless overruled so as to produce important benefits in the spread of the gospel, how much more may we expect will be accomplished by their conversion and return—an event fitted in itself to produce an important influence on mankind. One would have supposed that their rejection of the Messiah would have been an important obstacle in the way of the gospel. It was overruled, however, to promote its increase. Their return will have a direct tendency to spread it. How much more, therefore, may we expect to be accomplished by that?

But life from the dead. This is an instance of the peculiar, glowing, and vigorous manner of the apostle Paul. His mind catches at the thought of what may be produced by the recovery of the Jews, and no ordinary language would convey his idea. He had already exhausted the usual forms of speech by saying that even their rejection had reconciled the world, and that it was the riches of the Gentiles. To say that their recovery—a striking and momentous event; an event so much better fitted to produce important results —would be attended by the conversion of the world, would be insipid and tame. He uses, therefore, a most bold and striking figure. The resurrection of the dead was an image of the most vast and wonderful event that could take place. This image, therefore, in the apostle's mind, was a striking illustration of the great change and reformation which should take place when the Jews should be restored, and the effect should be felt in the conversion also of the Gentile world. Some have supposed that the apostle here refers to a literal resurrection of the dead, as the conversion of the Jews. But there is not the slightest evidence of this. He refers to the recovery of the nations from the death of sin, which shall take place when the Jews shah be converted to the Christian faith. The prophet Ezekiel (Eze 37:1-14) has also used the same image of the resurrection of the dead to denote a great moral change among a people. It is clear here, that the apostle fixed his eye on a future conversion of the Yews to the gospel, and expected that their conversion would precede the universal conversion of the Gentiles to the Christian faith. There could be no event that would make so immediate and decided an impression on the pagan world as the conversion of the Jews. They are scattered everywhere; they have access to all people; they understand all languages; and their conversion would be like kindling up thousands of lights at once in the darkness of the pagan world.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 16

Verse 16. For if the firstfruit be holy. The word firstfruit (aparch) used here denotes the firstling of fruit or grain which was separated from the mass, and presented as an offering to God. The Jews were required to present such a portion of theft harvest to God, as an expression of gratitude, and of their sense of dependence, Nu 15:19-21. Till this was done, it was not lawful to partake of the harvest. The offering of this was regarded as rendering the mass holy, i.e., it was lawful then to partake of it. The firstfruits were regarded as among the best portions of the harvest; and it was their duty to devote to God that which would be the best expression of their thanksgiving. This was the general practice in relation to all that the land produced. The expression here, however, has reference to the small portion of dough or kneaded meal that was offered to God; and then the mass or lump (furama) was left for the use of him who made the offering, Nu 15:20.

Be holy. Be set apart, or consecrated to God, as he commanded.

The lump. The mass. It refers here, properly, to the dough of which a part had been offered. The same was true also in relation to the harvest, after the waive-sheaf had been offered; of the flock, after the first male had been offered, etc.

Is also holy. It is lawful then for the owner to partake of it. The offering of a part has consecrated the whole. By this illustration Paul doubtless means to say that the Jewish nation, as a people, were set apart to the service of God, and were so regarded by him. Some have supposed, that by the firstfruit here the apostle intends to refer to the early converts made to the Christian faith in the first preaching of the gospel. But it is more probable that he refers to the patriarchs, the pious men of old, as the firstfruits of the Jewish nation. See Ro 11:28. By their piety the nation was in a manner sanctified, or set apart to the service of God; implying that yet tile great mass of them would be reclaimed and saved.

If the root be holy. This figure expresses the same thing as is denoted in the first part of the verse. The root of a tree is the source of nutritious juices necessary for its growth, and gives its character to the tree. If that be sound, pure, vigorous, we expect the same of the branches. A root bears a similar relation to the tree that the firstfruit does to the mass of bread. Perhaps there is allusion here to Jer 11:16, where the Jewish nation is represented under the image of "a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit." In this place the reference is doubtless to Abraham and the patriarchs, as the root or founders of the Jewish nation. If they were holy, it is to be expected that the distant branches, or descendants, would also be so regarded. The mention of the root and branches of a tree gives the apostle occasion for an illustration of the relation at that time of the Jews and Gentiles to the church of Christ.

{p} "the firstfruit" Le 23:10; Nu 15:18-21

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 17

Verse 17. If some of the branches. The illustration here is taken from the practice of those who ingraft trees. The useless branches, or those which bear poor fruit, are cut off, and a better kind inserted. "If some of the natural descendants of Abraham, the holy root, are cast off because they are unfruitful, that is, because of unbelief and sin."

And thou. The word thou here is used to denote the Gentile, whom Paul was then particularly addressing.

Being a wild olive tree. From this passage it would seem that the olive tree was sometimes cultivated, and that cultivation was necessary in order to render it fruitful. The cultivated olive tree is

of a moderate height, its trunk knotty, its bark smooth
and ash-coloured, its wood is solid and yellowish, the
leaves are oblong, and almost like those of the willow,
of a green colour, etc. The wild olive is smaller in all
its parts, (Calmet.)

The wild olive was unfruitful, or its fruit very imperfect and useless. The ancient writers explain this word by "unfruitful, barren" (Schleusner.) This was used, therefore, as the emblem of unfruitfulness and barrenness, while the cultivated olive produced much fruit. The meaning here is, that the Gentiles had been like the wild olive, unfruitful in holiness; that they had been uncultivated by the institutions of the true religion, and consequently had grown up in the wildness and sin of nature. The Jews had been like a cultivated olive, long under the training and blessing of God.

Wert grafted in. The process of grafting consists in inserting a scion or a young shoot into another tree. To do this, a useless limb is removed; and the ingrafted limb produces fruit according to its new nature or kind, and not according to the tree in which it is inserted. In this way a tree which bears no fruit, or whose branches are decaying, may be recovered, and become valuable. The figure of the apostle is a very vivid and beautiful one. The ancient root or stock, that of Abraham, etc., was good. The branches—the Jews in the time of the apostle—had become decayed and unfruitful, and broken off. The Gentiles had been grafted into this stock, and had restored the decayed rigour of the ancient people of God; and a fruitless church had become vigorous and flourishing. But the apostle soon proceeds to keep the Gentiles from exaltation on account of this.

Among them. Among the branches, so as to partake with them of the juices of the root.

Partakest of the root. The ingrafted limb would derive nourishment from the root as much as though it were a natural branch of the tree. The Gentiles derived now the benefit of Abraham's faith and holy labours, and of the promises made to him and to his seed.

Fatness of the olive tree. The word fatness here means fertility, fruitfulness—the rich juices of the olive producing fruit. See Jud 9:9.

{q} "be broken off" Jer 11:16

{r} "being a wild olive" Eph 2:12,13

{1} "in" or, "for"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 18

Verse 18. Boast not, etc. The tendency of man is to triumph over one that is fallen and rejected. The danger of pride and boasting on account of privileges is not less in the church than elsewhere. Paul saw that some of the Gentiles might be in danger of exaltation over the fallen Jews, and therefore cautions them against it. The ingrafted shoot, deriving all its vigour and fruitfulness from the stock of another tree, ought not to boast against the branches.

But if thou boast. If thou art so inconsiderate and Wicked, so devoid of humility, and lifted up with pride, as to boast, yet know that there is no occasion for it. If there were occasion for boasting, it would rather be in the root or stock which sustains the branches; least of all can it be in those which were grafted in, having been before wholly unfruitful.

Thou bearest not the root. The source of all your blessings is in the ancient stock. It is clear from this, that the apostle regarded the church as one; and that the Christian economy was only a prolongation of the ancient dispensation. The tree, even with a part of the branches removed, and others ingrafted, retains its identity, and is never regarded as a different tree.

{s} "Boast not against" 1 Co 10:12

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Thou wilt say then. Thou who art a Gentile.

The branches were broken off, etc. The Jews were rejected in order that the gospel might be preached to the Gentiles. This would seem to follow from what the apostle had said in Ro 11:11,12. Perhaps it might be said that there was some ground of exultation from the fact that God had rejected his ancient people for the sake of making a way open to admit the Gentiles to the church. The objection is, that the branches were broken off in order that others might be grafted in. To this Paul replies in the next verse, that this was not the reason why they were rejected, but their unbelief was the cause.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Well. True. It is true they were broken off; but in order to show that there was no occasion for boasting, he adds that they were not rejected in order to admit others, but because of their unbelief, and that their fate should have a salutary impression on those who had no occasion for boasting, but who might be rejected for the same cause. This is an instance of remarkable tact and delicacy in an argument, admitting the main force of the remark, but giving it a slight change in accordance with the truth, so as to parry its force, and give it a practical bearing on the very point which he wished to enforce.

Thou standest by faith. The continuance of these mercies to you depends on your fidelity. If you are faithful, they will be preserved; if, like the Jews, you become unbelieving and unfruitful, like them you will be also rejected. This fact should repress boasting, and excite to anxiety and caution.

Be not highminded. Do not be elated in the conception of your privileges, so as to produce vain self-confidence and boasting.

But fear. This fear stands opposed to the spirit of boasting and self-confidence, against which he was exhorting them. It does not mean terror or horror, but it denotes humility, watchfulness, and solicitude to abide in the faith. Do not be haughty and high-minded against the Jew, who has been east off, but "demean yourself as a humble believer, and one who has need to be continually on his guard, and to fear lest he may fall through unbelief, and be cast off." (Stuart.) We may here learn,

(1.) that there is danger lest those who are raised to eminent privileges should become unduly exalted in their own estimation, and despise others.

(2.) The tendency of faith is to promote humility, and a sense of our dependence on God.

(3.) The system of salvation by faith produces that solicitude, and careful guarding and watchfulness, which is necessary to preserve us from apostasy and ruin.

{f} "Fear" Php 2:12

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 21

Verse 21. For if God, etc. If God did not refrain from rejecting the Jews Who became unbelievers, assuredly he will not refrain from rejecting you in the same circumstances. It may be supposed that he will be quite as ready to reject the ingrafted branches, as to east off those which belonged to the parent stock. The situation of the Gentiles is not such as to give them any security over the condition of the rejected Jew. ,/p>

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Behold therefore, etc. Regard, or contemplate, for purposes of your own improvement and benefit, the dealings of God. We should look on all his dispensations of judgment or of mercy, and derive lessons from all to promote our own steadfast adherence to the faith of the gospel.

The goodness. The benevolence or mercy of God towards you in admitting you to his favour. This calls for gratitude, love, confidence. It demands expressions of thanksgiving. It should be highly prized, in order that it may excite to diligence to secure its continuance.

The severity of God. That is, towards the Jews. The word severity now suggests sometimes the idea of harshness, or even of cruelty. (Webster.) But nothing of this kind is conveyed in the original word here. It properly denotes cutting off— (apotomian)—from (apotemnw), to cut off; and is commonly applied to the act of the gardener or vine dresser in trimming trees or vines, and cutting off the decayed or useless branches. Here it refers to the act of God in cutting off or rejecting the Jews as useless branches; and conveys no idea of injustice, cruelty, or harshness. It was a just act, and consistent with all the perfections of God. It indicated a purpose to do that which was right, though the inflictions might seem to be severe, and though they must involve them in many heavy calamities.

On them which fell, severity. On the Jews, who had been rejected because of their unbelief.

But towards thee, goodness. Towards the Gentile world, benevolence. The word goodness properly denotes benignity, or benevolence. Here it signifies the kindness of God in bestowing these favours on the Gentiles.

If thou continue in his goodness. The word "his" is not in the original. And the word goodness may denote integrity, probity, uprightness, as well as favour. Ro 3:12, "There is none that doeth good." The Septuagint often thus uses the word, Ps 14:1,3, etc. This is probably the meaning here; though it may mean, "if thou dost continue in a state of favour;" that is, if your faith and good conduct shall be such as to make God continue his kindness towards you. Christians do not merit the favour of God by their faith and good works; but their obedience is an indispensable condition on which that favour is to be continued. It is thus that the grace of God is magnified, at the same time that the highest good is done to man himself.

Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Comp. Joh 15:2. The word thou refers here to the Gentile churches. In relation to them the favour of God was dependent on their fidelity. If they became disobedient and unbelieving, then the same principle which led him to withdraw his mercy from the Jewish people would lead also to their rejection and excision. And on this principle God has acted in numberless cases. Thus his favour was withdrawn from the seven churches of Asia, Revelation chapters 1-3, from Corinth, from Antioch, from Philippi, and even from Rome itself.

{u} "thou continue" Heb 3:6,14; 10:23,38

{v} "also shalt be cut off" Joh 15:2

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 23

Verse 23. And they also. The Jews.

If they bide not, etc. If they do not continue in wilful obstinacy and rejection of the Messiah. As their unbelief was the sole cause of their rejection, so, if that be removed, they may be again restored to the Divine favour.

For God is able, etc. He has

(1.) power to restore them; to bring them back, and replace them in his favour.

(2.) He has not bound himself utterly to reject them, and for ever to exclude them. In this way the apostle reaches his purpose, which was to show them that God had not cast away his people, or finally rejected the Jewish nation, Ro 11:1,2. That God has this power, the apostle proceeds to show in the next verse.

{w} "if they bide" 2 Co 3:16

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 24

Verse 24. For if thou. If you who are Gentiles.

Wert cut out of. Or, if thou wert of the cutting of the wild olive tree.

Which is wild by nature. Which is uncultivated and unfruitful. That is, if you were introduced into a state of favour with God from a condition which was one of enmity and hostility to him. The argument here is, that it was in itself as difficult a thing to reclaim them, and change them from opposition to God to friendship, as it would seem difficult or impossible to reclaim and make fruitful the wild olive tree.

And wert grafted contrary to nature. Contrary to your natural habits, thoughts, and practices. There was, among the Gentiles, no inclination or tendency towards God. This does not mean that they were physically depraved, or that their disposition was literally like the wild olive; but it is used, for the sake of illustration, to show that their moral character and habits were unlike those of the friends of God.

How much more, etc. The meaning of this whole verse may be thus expressed: "If God had mercy on the Gentiles, who were outcasts from his favour, shall he not much rather on those who were so long his people, to whom had been given the promises, and the covenants, and the law, whose ancestors had been so many of them his friends and among whom the Messiah was born?" In some respects there are facilities among the Jews for their conversion, which had not existed among the Gentiles. They worship one God; they admit the authority of revelation; they have the Scriptures of the Old Testament; they expect a Messiah; and they have a habit of professed reverence for the will of God.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Ignorant of this mystery. The word mystery means, properly, that which is concealed, hidden, or unknown. And it especially refers, in the New Testament, to the truths or doctrines which God had reserved to himself, or had not before communicated. It does not mean, as with us often, that there was anything unintelligible or inscrutable in the nature of the doctrine itself, for it was commonly perfectly plain when it was made known. Thus the doctrine, that the division between the Jews and the Gentiles was to be broken down, is called a mystery, because it had been, to the times of the apostles, concealed, and was then revealed fully for the first time, Ro 16:25; Col 1:26,27.

Comp. 1 Co 15:51; Mr 4:11; Eph 1:9; 3:3.

Thus the doctrine which the apostle was stating was one that until then had been concealed, or had not been made known. It does not mean that there was anything unintelligible or incomprehensive in it, but until then it had not been made known.

Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits. Paul communicated the truth in regard to this, lest they should attempt to inquire into it; should speculate about the reason why God had rejected the Jews; and should be elated with the belief that they had, by their own skill and genius, ascertained the cause. Rather than leave them to vain speculations and self-gratification, he chose to cut short all inquiry, by stating the truth about their present and future state.

Blindness. Or hardness. Ro 11:7.

In part. Not totally, or entirely. They are not absolutely or completely blinded. This is a qualifying expression; but it does not denote what part or portion, or for what time it is to continue. It means, that the blindness in respect to the whole nation was only partial. Some were then enlightened, and had become Christians; and many more would be.

To Israel. To the Jews.

Until the fulness of the Gentiles, etc. The word fulness, in relation to the Jews, is used in Ro 11:12. It means, until the abundance or the great multitude of the Gentiles shall be converted. The word is not elsewhere used in respect to the Gentiles; and it is difficult to fix its meaning definitely. It doubtless refers to the future spread of the gospel among the nations; to the time when it may be said that the great mass, the abundance of the nations, shall be converted to God. At present they are, as they were in the times of the apostle, idolaters, so that the mass of mankind are far from God. But the Scriptures have spoken of a time when the gospel shall spread and prevail among the nations of the earth; and to this the apostle refers, he does not say, however, that the Jews may not be converted until all the Gentiles become Christians; for he expressly supposes (Ro 11:12-15) that the conversion of the Jews will have an important influence in extending the gospel among the Gentiles. Probably the meaning is, that this blindness is to continue until great numbers of the Gentiles shall be converted; until the gospel shall be extensively spread; and then the conversion of the Jews will be a part of the rapid spread of the gospel, and will be among the most efficient and important aids in completing the work. If this is the ease, then Christians may labour still for their conversion. They may seek that in connexion with the effort to convert the heathen; and they may toil with the expectation that the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles will not be separate, independent, and distinct events; but will be intermingled, and will be perhaps simultaneous. The word fulness may denote such a general turning to God, without affirming that each individual shall be thus converted to the Christian faith.

{1} "blindness" or, "hardness"

{x} "is happened" Ro 11:7; 2 Co 3:14

{y} "of the Gentiles" Lu 21:24

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 26

And so. That is, in this manner; or when the great abundance of the Gentiles shall be converted, then all Israel shall be saved.

All Israel. All the Jews. It was a maxim among the Jews, that "every Israelite should have part in the future age." (Grotius.) The apostle applies that maxim to his own purpose; and declares the sense in which it would be true. He does not mean to say that every Jew of every age would be saved; for he had proved that a large portion of them would be, in his time, rejected and lost. But the time would come when, as a people, they would be recovered; when the nation would turn to God; and when it could be said of them, that, as a nation, they were restored to the Divine favour. It is not clear that he means that even then every individual of them would be saved, but the body of them; the great mass of the nation would be. Nor is it said when this would be. This is one of the things which "the Father hath put in his own power," Ac 1:7. He has given us the assurance that it shall be done to encourage us in our efforts to save them; and he has concealed the time when it shall be, lest we should relax our efforts, or feel that no exertions were needed to accomplish what must take place at a fixed time.

Shall be saved. Shall be recovered from their rejection; be restored to the Divine favour; become followers of the Messiah, and thus be saved as all other Christians are.

As it is written. Isa 59:20. The quotation is not literally made, but the sense of the passage is preserved. The Hebrew is, "There shall come to Zion a Redeemer, and for those who turn from ungodliness in Jacob." There can be no doubt that Isaiah refers here to the times of the gospel.

Out of Zion. Zion was one of the hills of Jerusalem. On this was built the city of David. It came thus to denote, in general, the church, or people of God. And when it is said that the Redeemer should come out of Zion, it means that he should arise among that people, be descended from themselves, or should not be a foreigner. The Seventy, however, render it, "the Redeemer shall come on a mount of Zion." So the Chaldee paraphrase, and the Latin Vulgate.

And shall turn away, etc. The Hebrew is, "to those forsaking ungodliness in Jacob." The Septuagint has rendered it in the same manner as the apostle.

{x} "There shall come" Isa 59:20

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 27

Verse 27. For this is my covenant, etc. This expression is found immediately following the other in Isa 59:21. But the apostle connects with it a part of another promise taken from Jer 31:33,34; or rather heabridges that promise, and expresses its substance, by adding, "when I shall take away their sins." It is clear that he intended to express the general sense of the promises, as they were well known to the Jews, and it was a point concerning which he did not need to argue or reason with them, that God had made a covenant with them, and intended to restore them if they were cast off, and should then repent and turn to him. The time and manner in which this shah be, is not revealed. It may be remarked, however, that that passage does not mean that the Redeemer shall come personally and preach to them, or reappear for the purpose of recalling them to himself; nor does it mean that they will be restored to the land of their fathers. Neither of these ideas is contained in the passage. God will doubtless convert the Jews, as he does the Gentiles, by human means, and in connexion with the prayers of his people; so that the Gentiles shall yet repay the toil and care of the ancient Jews in preserving the Scriptures, and preparing the way for the Messiah; and both shall rejoice that they were made helps in spreading the knowledge of the Messiah.

{a} "this is my covenant" Jer 31:31; Heb 10:16

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 28

Verse 28. As concerning the Gospel. So far as the gospel is concerned; or, in order to promote its extension and spread through the earth.

They are enemies. The word enemies here stands opposed to "beloved;" and as in one respect, to wit, on account of" election," they were still beloved, i.e. beloved by God; so in another respect they were his enemies, i.e. opposed to him, or cast off from him. The enemies of God denote all who are not his true friends, Col 1:21; Ro 5:10, comp. Ro 11:8. The word here is applied to the Jews because they had rejected the Messiah; had become opposed to God; and were therefore rejected by him.

For your sakes. For your advantage. Their rejection has become the occasion by which the gospel has been preached to you. Comp. Ro 11:11,19,20.

As touching the election. So far as the purpose of election is concerned. That is, the election of their fathers and of the nation to be the peculiar people of God.

They are beloved. God still regards them with interest; has purposes approved of their conduct or character, or that he had for them the same kind of affection which he would have had if they had been obedient. God does not love a sinful character; but he may have still purposes of mercy, and regard men with deep interest on whom he intends yet to bestow mercy.

For the fathers' sakes. Comp. De 10:15. He had chosen their fathers to be his peculiar people. He had made many promises to Abraham respecting his seed, and extended these promises to his remotest posterity. Though salvation is by grace, and not from human merit, yet God has respect to his covenant made with the fathers, and will not forget his promises. It is not on account of any merit of the fathers or of ancient saints, but solely because God had made a covenant with them; and this purpose of election would be manifest to their children in the latest times. As those contemplated in the covenant made with Abraham, God retained for them feelings of peculiar interest; and designed their recovery to himself. It is clear here that the word election does not refer to external privileges; for Paul is not teaching the doctrine that they shall be restored to the external privileges of Jews, but that they shall be truly converted to God. Yet this should not be abused by others to lead them to security in sin. No man has any security of happiness, and of the favour of God, but he who complies with the terms of his mercy. His commands are explicit to repent and believe, nor can there be safety except in entire compliance with the terms on which he is willing to bestow eternal life.

{b} "for the father's sakes" De 10:15

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 29

Verse 29. For the gifts. The favours or benefits which God bestows on men. The word (carisma) properly denotes any benefit which is conferred on another as a mere matter of favour, and not of reward. See Ro 5:15,10; 6:23.

Such are all the favours which God bestows on sinners, including pardon, peace, joy, sanctification, and eternal life.

And calling of God. The word calling (klhsiv) here denotes that act of God by which he extends an invitation to men to come and partake of his favours, whether it be by a personal revelation as to the patriarchs, Or by the promises of the gospel, or by the influences of his Spirit. All such invitations or callings imply a pledge that he will bestow the favour, and will not repent, or turn from it. God never draws or invites sinners to himself without being willing to bestow pardon and eternal life. The word calling here, therefore, has not respect to external privileges, but to that choosing of a sinner, and influencing him to come to God, which is connected with eternal life.

Without repentance. This does not refer to man, but to God. It does not mean that God confers his favours on man without his exercising repentance, but that God does not repent, or change, in his purposes of bestowing his gifts on man. What he promises he will fulfil; what he purposes to do, he will not change from or repent of. As he made promises to the fathers, he will not repent of them, and will not depart from them; they shall all be fulfilled; and thus it was certain that the ancient people of God, though many of them had become rebellious, and had been cast off, should not be forgotten and abandoned. This is a general proposition respecting God, and one repeatedly made of him in the Scriptures. See Nu 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he not said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Eze 24:14; 1 Sa 15:29; Ps 89:35,36; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18; Jas 1:17.

It follows from this,

(1.) that all the promises made to the people of God shall be fulfilled.

(2.) That his people need not be discouraged or desponding in times of persecution and trial.

(3.) That none who become his true friends will be forsaken, or cast off. God does not bestow the gift of repentance and faith, of pardon and peace, on men, for a temporary purpose; nor does he capriciously withdraw them, and leave the soul to ruin. When he renews a soul, it is with reference to his own glory; and to withdraw those favours, and leave such a soul once renewed to go down to hell, would be as much a violation of all the principles of his nature as it would be to all the promises of the Scripture.

(4.) For God to forsake such a soul, and leave it to ruin, would imply that he did repent. It would suppose a change of purpose and of feeling. It would be the character of a capricious being, with no settled plan or principles of action; no confidence could be reposed in him, and his government would be unworthy the affections and trust of his intelligent creation.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 30

Verse 30. For as ye. You who were Gentiles.

In times past. Before the gospel was preached. This refers to the former idolatrous and sinful state of the heathen world. Comp. Eph 2:2; Ac 14:16.

Have not believed God. Or have not obeyed God. This was the character of all the heathen nations.

Yet have now obtained mercy. Have been pardoned and admitted to the favour of God.

Through their unbelief. By means of the unbelief and rejection of the Jews. See Barnes "Ro 11:11.

{d} "Times past have not" Eph 2:2

{1} "believed" or, "obeyed"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Even so have these, etc. That is, the Jews.

That through your mercy, etc. The immediate effect of the unbelief of the Jews was to confer salvation on the Gentiles or to open the way for the preaching of the gospel to them. But its remote effect would be to secure the preaching of the gospel again to the Jews. Through the mercy, that is, the compassion or deep feeling of the converted Gentiles; through the deep and tender pity which they would feel for the blinded and degraded Jews, the gospel should be again carried to them, and they should be recalled to the long-lost favour of God. Each party should thus cause salvation to come to the other—the Jews to the Gentiles by their unbelief; but the Gentiles, in their turn, to the Jews by their belief. We may here learn,

(1.) that the Jews are to be converted by the instrumentality of the Gentiles. It is not to be by miracle, but by the regular and common way in which God blesses men.

(2.) That this is to be done by the mercy or compassion of the Gentiles; by their taking pity on the lost and 'wretched condition of the Jewish people.

(3.) It is to be when the abundance of the Gentiles—that is, when great numbers of the Gentiles—shall be called in. It may be asked here, whether the time is not approaching for the Gentiles to make efforts to being the Jews to the knowledge of the Messiah. Hitherto those efforts have been unsuccessful; but it will not always be so; the time is coming when the promises of God in regard to them shall be fulfilled. Christians shall be moved with deep compassion for the degraded and forsaken Jews, and they shall be called into the kingdom of God, and made efficient agents in extending the gospel through the whole world. May the time soon come when they shall feel as they should for the rejected and forsaken children of Abraham, and when their labours for their conversion shall be attended with success.

{1} "believed" or, "obeyed"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 32

Verse 32. For God hath concluded, etc. The word here translated "concluded" (sunekleise), is rendered in the margin, "shut them all up together." It is properly used in reference to those who are shut up in prison, or to those in a city who are shut up by a besieging army, 1 Mac. v. 5; vi. 18; xi. 65; xv. 25; Jos 6:1 Isa 45:1. It is used in the New Testament of fish taken in a net. Lu 5:6, "They enclosed a great multitude of fishes." Ga 3:22, "But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise," etc. In this place the Scripture is declared to have shut them up under sin, that is, declared them to be sinners; gave no hope of rescue by any works of their own; and thus kept them (Ro 11:23) "shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." All are represented, therefore, as in prison, enclosed or confined by God, and to be liberated only in his own way and time. In regard to the agency of God in this, we may remark,

(1.) that the word does not mean that God compelled them to disbelieve the gospel. When, in Ga 3:22, the Scripture is said to have included all under sin, it is not meant that the Scripture compelled them not to believe.

(2.) The word does not imply that the sin and unbelief for which they were shut up were not voluntary. Even when a man is committed to prison, the crime which brought him there is voluntary, and for it he is responsible.

(3.) The keeper of a prison does no wrong in confining a criminal; or the judge in condemning him; or the executioner in fulfilling the sentence of the law. So of God. What he does is not to compel men to remain under unbelief, but to declare that they are so; so to encompass them with the proof of it that they shall realize that there is no escape from the evidence of it, and thus to press on them the evidence of their need of a Saviour. This he does in relation to all sinners who ever become converted.

(4.) Yet God permitted this; suffered Jews and Gentiles to fall into unbelief, and to be concluded under it, because he had a special purpose to answer in leaving man to the power of sin and Unbelief. One of those purposes was, doubtless, to manifest the power of his grace and mercy in the plan of redemption.

(5.) In all this, and in all other sin, man is voluntary. He chooses his course of evil, and God is under no obligation to compel him to do otherwise. Being under unbelief, God declares the fact, and avails himself of it, in the plan of salvation by grace.

Them all. Both Jews and Gentiles.

In unbelief. (eiv) Unto unbelief. He has delivered them over unto unbelief, as a man is delivered over into prison. This is the literal meaning of the expression.

That he might have mercy upon all. Mercy is favour shown to the undeserving. It could not have been shown to the Jews and the Gentiles unless it was before proved that they were guilty, for this purpose proof was furnished that they were all in unbelief. It was clear, therefore, that if favour was shown to either, it must be on the same ground, that of mere undeserved mercy. Thus all men were on a level; and thus all might be admitted to heaven without any invidious distinctions, or any dealings that were not in accordance with mercy and love. "The emphasis in this verse is on the word MERCY. It signifies that God is under obligation to no one, and therefore that all are saved by grace, because all are equally ruined." Calvin. It does not prove that all men will be saved; but that those who are saved shall be alike saved by the mercy of God; and that he intends to confer salvation on Jews and Gentiles on the same terms. This is properly the close of the argument of this epistle. By several independent trains of reasoning, the apostle had come to the same conclusion, that the Jews had no peculiar privileges in regard to religion, that all men were on a level, and that there was no hope of salvation for any but in the mercy of a sovereign God. This conclusion, and the wonderful train of events which had led to this state of things, give rise to the exclamations and ascriptions of praise with which the chapter closes.

{e} "God hath concluded" Ro 3:9; Ga 3:22

{1} "concluded" or "shut them all up together"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 33

Verse 33. O the depth; etc. This passage should have been translated, "O the depth of the riches, and of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God." The apostle has three subjects of admiration. Our translation, by the word "both" introduced here, confines it to two. The apostle wishes to express his admiration of the riches, and the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. So the Syriac, Arabic, etc. Our translation has followed the Latin Vulgate. The word depth is applied in the Scriptures to anything vast and incomprehensible. As the abyss or the ocean is unfathomable, so the word comes to denote that which words cannot express, or that which we cannot comprehend. Ps 36:6, "Thy judgments are a great deep." 1 Co 2:10, "The Spirit searcheth—the deep things of God." Re 2:24, "The depths of Satan"—the deep, profound, cunning, and wicked plans of Satan.

Riches. See Barnes "Ro 11:12".

The word denotes the abundant blessings and mercies which had been conferred on sinful men by the gospel. These were vast and wonderful. The pardon of sin; the atonement; the hope of heaven; the peace of the gospel; all bestowed on the sinful, the poor, the wretched, and the dying, all bespeak the great mercy and rich grace of God. So every pardoned sinner may still exclaim. The grace of God which pardons him is felt to be indeed wonderful, and past comprehension. It is beyond the power of language to express; and all that the Christian can do, is to follow the example of the apostle, and sit down in profound admiration of the rich grace of God. The expression "the depth of the riches" is a Hebraism, meaning the deep or profound riches.

The wisdom. Wisdom is the choice of the best means to accomplish the best ends. The end or design which God had in view was to bestow mercy on all; i.e., to save men by grace, and not by their own works, Ro 11:32. He intended to establish a glorious system that should present his mercy as the prominent attribute, standing out in living colours in all the scheme of salvation. This was to be alike shown in relation to Jews and Gentiles. The wonderful wisdom with which this was done is the object of the apostle's profound admiration. This wisdom was seen,

(1.)in adapting the plan to the condition of man. All were sinners. The apostle in this epistle has fully shown that all had come short of the glory of God. Man had no power to save himself by his own wisdom. The Jews and Gentiles in different ways had sought to justify themselves, and had both failed. God had suffered both to make the experiment in the most favourable circumstances. He had left the world for four thousand years to make the trial, and then introduced the plan of Divine wisdom, just so as to meet the manifest wants and woes of men.

(2.) This was shown in his making the Jews the occasion of spreading the system among the Gentiles. They were cast off, and rejected; but the God of wisdom had made even this an occasion of spreading his truth.

(3.) The same wisdom was yet to be seen in his appointing the Gentiles to carry the gospel back to the Jews. Thus they were to be mutual aids; until all their interests should be blended, and the entire race should be united in the love of the same gospel, and the service of the same God and Saviour. When, therefore, this profound and wonderful plan is contemplated, and its history traced from the commencement to the end of time, no wonder that the apostle was fixed in admiration at the amazing wisdom of him who devised it, and who has made all events subservient to its establishment and spread among men.

And knowledge. That is, foreknowledge, or omniscience. This knowledge was manifest,

(1.) in the profound view of man, and acquaintance with all his wants and woes.

(2.) In a view of the precise scheme that would be fitted to recover and save.

(3.) In a view of the time and circumstances in which it would be best to introduce the scheme.

(4.) In a discernment of the effect of the rejection of the Jews, and of the preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles. Who but God could see that such effects would follow the rejection of the Jews? Who but he could know that the gospel should yet prevail among all the nations? We have only to think of the changes in human affairs; the obstacles to the gospel; the difficulties to be surmounted; and the vast work yet to be done, to be amazed at the knowledge which can adapt such a scheme to men, and which can certainly predict its complete and final spread among all the families of man.

How unsearchable. The word unsearchable means that which cannot be investigated or fully understood.

His judgments. This word, in this place, evidently means his arrangement, his plan, or proceeding. It sometimes refers to laws; at other times to the decision or determination of God; at others to the inflictions of his justice. In this last sense it is now commonly used. But in the case before us, it means his arrangements for conferring the gospel on men. Comp. Ps 36:6, "His judgments are a great deep."

His ways. The word rendered ways properly denotes a path, or road on which one travels. Hence it comes also to denote the course or manner of life in which one moves; or his principles, or morals; his doctrine or teaching, etc. Applied to God, it denotes his mode or manner of doing things; the order, etc., of his Divine providence; his movements, in his great plans, through the universe. Ac 13:10, "Wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" to oppose, or to render vain, his plan of guiding and saving man. Heb 3:10, "They have not known my ways." Ps 77:19, "Thy way is in the sea, thy footsteps are not known." Here it refers particularly to his way or plan of bringing all nations within the reach of his mercy in the gospel.

Past finding out. Literally, which cannot be tracked or traced out. The footsteps cannot be followed. As if his path were in the sea, (Ps 77:19) and the waves closed immediately, leaving no track, it cannot be followed or sought out. It is known that he has passed, but there is no way of tracing his goings. This is a beautiful and striking figure. It denotes that God's plans are deep, and beyond our comprehension. We can see the proofs that he is everywhere; but how it is, we cannot comprehend. We are permitted to see the vast movements around us; but the invisible hand we cannot see, nor trace the footsteps of that mighty God who performs his wonders on the ocean and on the land.

{g} "unsearchable" Job 11:7; Ps 92:5

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 34

Verse 34. For who hath known, etc. This verse is a quotation, with a slight change, from Isa 40:13, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?" It is designed to express the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God, by affirming that no being could teach him, or counsel him. Earthly monarchs have counsellors of state, whom they may consult in times of perplexity or danger. But God has no such council. He sits alone; nor does he call in any or all of his creatures to advise him. All created beings are not qualified to contribute any thing to enlighten or to direct him. It is also designed to silence all opposition to his plans, and to hush all murmurings. The apostle had proved that this was the plan of God. However mysterious and inscrutable it might appear to the Jew or the Gentile, yet it was his duty to submit to God, and to confide in his wisdom, though he was not able to trace the reason of his doings.

{h} "who hath known" Isa 40:13; Jer 23:18

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 35

Verse 35. Or who hath, etc. The sentiment in this verse is found substantially in Job 41:11, "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him?" The Hebrew word "prevented" means to anticipate, to go before; and God asks, "Who has anticipated me; who has conferred favours on me before I have on him; who has thus laid me under oblation to him? This is the sense in which the apostle uses the word here. Who has, by his services, laid God under obligation to recompense or pay him again? It is added in Job, "Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." Thus Paul, contrary to the prevailing doctrine of the Jews, shows that no one could plead his own merits, or advance with a claim on God. All the favours of salvation must be bestowed by mercy or grace; God owned them all; and he had a right to bestow them when and where he pleased. The same claim to all things is repeatedly made by God, Ex 19:5; De 10:14; Ps 24:1; Ps 50:12.

Shall be recompensed. Repaid as a matter of debt. None of God's mercies can be conferred in that way; If they could, man could bring God under obligation, and destroy the freeness and benevolence of his favours.

{i} "who hath first given to him" Job 41:11

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 36

Verse 36. For of him, (ex autou) Comp. 1 Co 1:30; 8:6. This expression doubtless means, that he is the original Source and Fountain of all blessings. He is the Creator of all, the rich "Fountain from which all streams of existence take their rise." The design of this verse is to show that no creature has any claim on God. Jews and Gentiles must alike receive salvation on the ground of his mercy. So far from having a claim on God, the apostle here affirms that all things have come from him, and therefore all must be derived to us. Nothing has been produced by chance, or haphazard; nothing by created skill or might. All has been formed by God; and therefore he has a right to dispose of all.

And through him, (di autou). That is, by his immediate operating agency. The former expression, "of him," affirmed that he was the original Source of all things; this declares that all are by him, or through him, as their immediate cause. It is not merely by his plan or purpose; it is by his agency, by the direct exertion of his power in their creation and bestowment. By his power they are still directed and controlled. Human agency, therefore, could not lay him under any obligation. He does not need the aid of man; and he did not call in that aid in the creation and government of the world. He is the independent Creator and Lord, and on him none can have a claim.

To him, (eiv auton). This expression denotes the final cause, the reason or end for which all things were formed. It is to promote his honour and glory. It is to manifest his praise, or to give a proper putting forth of the glorious attributes of God; that the exceeding greatness, and goodness, and grandeur of his character might be evinced. It is not to promote his happiness, for he was eternally happy; not to add anything to him, for he is infinite; but that he might act as God, and have the honour and praise that is due to God. As this was the design of all things, so it followed that the bestowment of his favours must be in accordance with this—in such a way as to promote his glory; and not so as to consult the feelings or views of either Jews or Gentiles.

All things. The universe; the creation; or, still more particularly, the things of which the apostle is discoursing. He does not affirm that he is the author of sin, or of sinful thoughts; not that he creates evil, or that evil is designed to promote his glory. The apostle is not discoursing of these, but of his method of bestowing his favours; and he says that these are to be conferred in such a way as to promote his honour, and to declare the praise of him who is the original Source, the Creator and the Proprietor of all things.

To whom be glory. This ascription of praise is the appropriate close of the argumentative part of the epistle, as well as appropriate to the train of remarks into which the apostle had fallen. It expresses his hearty amen in concurrence with this view; the deep desire, of a pious man that all might be to God's glory and honour. He had not merely come to it by reasoning, but it was the sincere desire of his soul that it might be so. The Christian does not merely admit this doctrine; he is not merely driven to it by argument, but it finds a hearty response in his bosom. He rejoices in it; and sincerely desires that all may be to the honour of God. Sinners are often compelled by argument to admit it, but they do not love it. They would rejoice were it otherwise, and be glad if they were permitted rather to seek their own glory than that of the living God.

Glory. Praise, honour.

For ever. Not merely amid transitory events now, but ever onward to eternity. This will be the case. There never will be a time when the affairs of the universe shall not be conducted with reference to the glory of God. That honour and glory shall shine brighter and brighter, and all worlds shall be perfectly adapted to show his praise, and to evince his greatness, goodness, power, and love, for ever and ever. Thus let it be, is the language of every one that truly loves him.

{k} "of him" 1 Co 8:6; Col 1:16

{1} "whom" "Him"

This closes the argumentative part of the epistle. From the close of this chapter we may make the following observations:—

1. God is infinitely wise, and just, and good. This is seen in all his plans and doings, and especially in the glorious plan of saving men.

2. It becomes man to be humble, he can see but few of the reasons of the doings of an infinite God. He is not qualified to sit in judgment on his plans. He is not fitted to arraign him. There is nothing more absurd than for a man to contend with God, or to find fault with his plans; and yet there is nothing more common. Man speaks, and thinks, and reasons on the great things pertaining to the Divine mind and plan, as if he were qualified to counsel the Being of infinite wisdom, and to arraign at the bar of his own reason the Being of infinite goodness.

3. It is our duty to be submissive to God. His plans may often require him to cross the path of our pleasures, or to remove some of our enjoyments. He tries us by requiring us to put confidence in him where we cannot see the reason of his doings, and to believe that he is qualified for universal empire. In all such cases it is our duty to submit to his will. H is seeking a grander and nobler object than our private good. He is seeking the welfare of a vast universe; and he best knows in what way that can be promoted.

4. God is the Creator and Proprietor of all things. It would be possible to prove this from his works. But his word unequivocally asserts it. He has formed, and he upholds, and he directs all things for his glory. He who formed all has a right to all. He who is the Source of life has the right to direct it, or to withdraw the gift. He on whom all depend has a right to homage and praise.

5. He has formed a universe that is eminently adapted to declare his glory. It evinces infinite power in its creation; and it is fitted to fill the mind with evergrowing wonder and gladness in its contemplation. The sacred writers were filled with rapture when they contemplated it; and all the discoveries of astronomy, and geology, and science in general, in modern times, are fitted to carry forward the wonder, and fill the lips with new expressions of praise. The universe is vast and grand enough to occupy the thoughts for ever. How little do we know of the wonders of his creation, even pertaining to this little world; to our own bodies and souls; to the earth, the ocean, the beast and the reptile, the bird and the insect; how much less of that amazing view of worlds and systems which modern astronomy has opened to our view— the vast starry frame which the eye can penetrate for millions and millions of miles, and where it finds world piled on world, and system rising above system, in wonderful order and grandeur, and where the utmost power of the telescope can as yet find no bounds!

6. Equally true is this in his moral government. The system is such as to excite our wonder and praise. The creation and control of free, and active, and mighty minds, is as wonderful as the creation and control of matter, even the vast masses of the planetary systems. Creation is filled with minds. God has peopled the worlds with conscious, free, and active intelligences. The wonderful wisdom by which he controls them; the amazing moral power by which he guards and binds them to himself, by which he restrains and awes the rebellious; and the complete subjection by which he will bring all yet at his feet, is as much replete with wonder as the wisdom and skill by which he framed the heavens. To govern mind requires more wisdom and skill than to govern matter. To control angels and men evinces more glory than to roll the streams or the ocean, or than to propel and guide the planets. And especially is this true of the plan of salvation. That wondrous scheme is adapted to call forth eternal praise, and to show for ever the wisdom and mercy of God. Without such a plan, we cannot see how the Divinity could be fully manifested; with that, we see God as God, vast, grand, mighty, infinite; but still seeking to do good, and having power to enter any vast mass of iniquity, and to diffuse purity and peace over the face of an alienated and dying world.

7. The salvation of sinners is not to promote their own glory primarily, but that of God. "He is first, and he last; he is midst, and without end," in their salvation. God seeks his own honour, and seeks it by their return and their obedience. But if they will not promote his glory in that way, they must be made to promote it in their ruin.

8. It is the duty of men to seek the honour of this infinitely wise and holy God. It commends itself to every man's conscience. God has formed us all; and man can have no higher destiny and honour than to be permitted to promote and spread abroad through all the universe the knowledge of a Being whose character is infinitely lovely, whose government is right, and whose presence and favour will diffuse blessings of salvation and eternal peace on all the wide creation that will be obedient to his will.


THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 1

ROMANS Chapters 12

Verse 1. I beseech you. The apostle, having finished the argument of this epistle, proceeds now to close it with a practical or hortatory application, showing its bearing on the duties of life, and the practical influence of religion. None of the doctrines of the gospel are designed to be cold and barren speculations. They bear on the hearts and lives of men; and the apostle therefore calls on those to whom he wrote to dedicate themselves without reserve unto God.

Therefore. As the effect or result of the argument or doctrine. In other words, the whole argument of the eleven first chapters is fitted to show the obligation on us to devote ourselves to God. From expressions like these, it is clear that the apostle never supposed that the tendency of the doctrines of grace was to lead to licentiousness. Many have affirmed that such was the tendency of the doctrines of justification by faith, of election and decrees, and of the perseverance of the saints. But it is plain that Paul had no such apprehensions. After having fully stated and established those doctrines, he concludes that we ought therefore to lead holy lives; and on the ground of them he exhorts men to do it.

By the mercies of God. The word by—(dia)—denotes here the reason why they should do it, or the ground of appeal. So great had been the mercy of God, that this constituted a reason why they should present their bodies, etc. See 1 Co 1:10; Ro 15:30. The word mercies here denotes favour shown to the undeserving, or kindness, compassion, etc. The plural is used in imitation of the Hebrew word for mercy, which has no singular. The word is not often used in the New Testament. See 2 Co 1:3, where God is called "the Father of mercies." Php 2:1; Col 3:12; Heb 10:28.

The particular mercy to which the apostle here refers, is that shown to those whom he was addressing. He had proved that all were by nature under sin; that they had no claim on God; and that he had showed great compassion in giving his Son to die for them in this state, and in pardoning their sins. This was a ground or reason why they should devote themselves to God.

That ye present. The word used here commonly denotes the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar. It implies that the action was a free and voluntary offering. Religion is free; and the act of devoting ourselves to God is one of the most free that we ever perform.

Your bodies. The bodies of animals were offered in sacrifice. The apostle specifies their bodies particularly in reference to that fact. Still the entire animal was devoted; and Paul evidently meant here the same as to say, present YOURSELVES, your entire person, to the service of God. Comp. 1 Co 6:16; Jas 3:6. It was not customary or proper to speak of a sacrifice as art offering of a soul or spirit, in the common language of the Jews; and hence the apostle applied their which Christians were to make of themselves to God.

A living sacrifice. A sacrifice is an offering made to God as an atonement for sin; or any offering made to him and his service as an expression of thanksgiving or homage. It implies, that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honour of God. In the case of an animal, it was slain, and the blood offered; in the case of any other offering, as the firstfruits, etc., it was set apart to the service of God; and he who offered it released all claim on it, and submitted it to God, to be disposed of at his will. This is the offering which the apostle entreats the Romans to make; to devote themselves to God, as if they had no longer any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by him; to suffer and bear all that he might appoint; and to promote his honour in any way which he might command. This is the nature of true religion.

Living. (zwsan). The expression probably means, that they were to devote the vigorous, active powers of their bodies and souls to the service of God. The Jew offered his victim, slew it, and presented it dead. It could not be presented again. In opposition to this, we are to present ourselves with all our living, vital energies. Christianity does not require a service of death or inactivity. It demands vigorous and active powers in the service of God the Saviour. There is something very affecting in the view of such a sacrifice; in regarding life, with all its energies, its intellectual, and moral, and physical powers, as one long sacrifice—one continued offering unto God. An immortal being presented to him; presented voluntarily, with all his energies, from day to day, until life shall close, so that it may be said that he has lived and died an offering made freely unto God. This is religion.

Holy. This means, properly, without blemish or defect. No other sacrifice could be made to God. The Jews were expressly forbid to offer that which was lame, or blind, or in any way deformed, De 15:21; Le 1:3,10; 3:1; 22:20; De 17:1.

Comp. Mal 1:8. If offered without any of these defects, it was regarded as holy, i.e., appropriately set apart, or consecrated to God. In like manner we are to consecrate to God our best faculties; the rigour of our minds, and talents, and time. Not the feebleness of sickness merely; not old age alone; not time which we cannot otherwise employ; but the first rigour and energies of the mind and body—our youth, and health, and strength. Our sacrifice to God is to be not divided, separate; but it is to be entire and complete. Many are expecting to be Christians in sickness; many in old age; thus purposing to offer unto him the blind and the lame. The sacrifice is to be free from sin. It is not to be a divided, and broken, and polluted service. It is to be with the best affections of our hearts and lives.

Acceptable unto God. They are exhorted to offer such a sacrifice as will be acceptable to God; that is, such an one as he had just specified, one that was living and holy. No sacrifice should be made which is not acceptable to God. The offerings of the heathen' the pilgrimages of Mohammedans; the self-inflicted penalties of the Roman Catholics, uncommanded by God, cannot be acceptable to him. Those services will be acceptable to God, and those only, which he appoints. Comp. Col 2:20-23. Men are not to invent services; or to make crosses; or to seek persecutions and trials; or to provoke opposition. They are to do just what God requires of them, and that will be acceptable to God. And this fact, that what we do is acceptable to God, is the highest recompense we can have. It matters little what men think of us, if God approves what we do. To please him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please him is our highest reward.

Which is your reasonable service. The word rendered service— (latreian)—properly denotes worship, or the homage rendered to God. The word reasonable, with us, means that which is "governed by reason; thinking, speaking, or acting conformably to the dictates of reason," (Webster) or that which can be shown to be rational or proper. This does not express the meaning of the original. That word (logikhn) denotes that which pertains to the mind, and a reasonable service means that which is mental, or pertaining to reason. It stands opposed not to that which is foolish or unreasonable, but to the external service of the Jews, and such as they relied on for salvation. The worship of the Christian is that which pertains to the mind, or is spiritual; that of the Jew was external. Chrysostom renders this phrase, "your spiritual ministry." The Syriac, "that ye present your bodies, etc., by a rational ministry."

We may learn from this verse,

(1.)that the proper worship of God is the free homage of the mind. It is not forced or constrained. The offering of ourselves should be voluntary. No other can be a true offering, and none other can be acceptable.

(2.) We are to offer our entire selves, all that we have and are, to God. No other offering can be such as he will approve.

(3.) The character of God is such as should lead us to that. It is a character of mercy—of long-continued and patient forbearance—and it should influence us to devote ourselves to him.

(4.) It should be done without delay. God is as worthy of such service now as he ever will or can be. He has every possible claim on our affections and our hearts.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 2

Verse 2. And be not conformed, etc. The word rendered conformed properly means, to put on the form, fashion, or appearance of another. It may refer to anything pertaining to the habit, manner, dress, style of living, etc., of others.

To this world. (tw aiwni toutw). The word which is commonly rendered world, when applied to the material universe, is (kosmov), cosmos. The word used here properly denotes an age, or generation of men. It may denote a particular generation, or it may be applied to the race. It is sometimes used in each of these senses. Thus here it may mean, that Christians should not conform to the maxims, habits, feelings, etc., of a wicked, luxurious, and idolatrous age, but should be conformed solely to the precepts and laws of the gospel; or the same principle may be extended to every age, and the direction may be, that Christians should not conform to the prevailing habits, style, and manners of the world—the people who know not God. They are to be governed by the laws of the Bible; to fashion their lives after the example of Christ; and to form themselves by principles different from those which prevail in the world. In the application of this rule there is much difficulty. Many may think that they are not conformed to the world, while they can easily perceive that their neighbour is. They indulge in many things which others may think to be conformity to the world, and are opposed to many things which others think innocent. The design of this passage is doubtless to produce a spirit that should not find pleasure in the pomp and vanity of the world; and which will regard all vain amusements and gaieties with disgust, and lead the mind to find pleasure in better things.

Be ye transformed. The word from which the expression here is derived means form, habit, (morfh). The direction is, "put on another form, change the form of the world for that of Christianity." This word would properly refer to the external appearance, but the expression which the apostle immediately uses, "renewing of the mind," shows that he did not intend to use it with reference to that only, but to the change of the whole man. The meaning is, do not cherish a spirit devoid to the world, following its vain fashions and pleasures, but cultivate a spirit attached to God, and his kingdom and cause.

By the renewing. By the making new; the changing into new views and feelings. The Christian is often represented as a new creature, 2 Co 5:17; Ga 6:15; Eph 4:24; 1 Pe 2:2.

Your mind. The word translated mind properly denotes intellect, as distinguished from the will and affections. But here it seems to be used as applicable to the whole spirit as distinguished from the body, including the understanding, will, and affections. As if he had said, let not this change appertain to the body only, but to the soul. Let it not be a mere external conformity, but let it have its seat in the spirit. All external changes, if the mind was not changed, would be useless, or would be hypocrisy. Christianity seeks to reign in the soul; and having its seat there, the external conduct and habits will be regulated accordingly.

That ye may prove

. The word used here (dokimazein) is commonly applied to metals, to the operation of testing, or trying them by the severity of fire, etc. Hence it also means to explore, investigate, ascertain. This is its meaning here. The sense is, that such a renewed mind is essential to a successful inquiry after the will of God. Having a disposition to obey him, the mind will be prepared to understand his precepts. There will be a correspondence between the feelings of the heart and his will; a nice tact or taste, which will admit his laws, and see the propriety and beauty of his commands. A renewed heart is the best preparation for studying Christianity; as a man who is temperate is the best fitted to understand the ance; the man who is chaste has most clearly and forcibly the arguments for chastity, etc. A heart in love with the fashions and follies of the world is ill-fitted to appreciate the arguments for humility, prayer, etc. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God," Joh 7:17. The reason why the heart is renewed is, that we may do the will of God; the heart that is renewed is best fitted to appreciate and understand his will.

That good, etc. This part of the verse might be rendered, that ye may investigate the will of God, or ascertain the will of God—that which is good, and perfect, and acceptable. The will of God relates to his commands in regard to our conduct, his doctrines in regard to our belief, his providential dealings in relation to our external circumstances. It means what God demands of us, in whatever way it may be made known. They do not err from his ways who seek his guidance, and who, not confiding in their own wisdom, but in God, commit their way to him. "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way," Ps 25:9. The word good here is not an adjective agreeing with "will," but a noun. "That ye may find the will of God, that which is good and acceptable." It implies that that thing which is good is his will; or that we may find his will by finding that which is good and perfect. That is good which promotes the honour of God, and the interests of his universe.

Perfect. Free from defect, stain, or injury. That which has all its parts complete, or which is not disproportionate. Applied to religion, it means that which is consistent, which is carried out; which is evinced in all the circumstances and relations of life.

Acceptable. That which will be pleasing to God, or which he will approve. There is scarcely a more difficult text in the Bible than this, or one that is more full of meaning. It involves the main duty of religion to be separated from the world; and expresses the way in which that duty may be performed, and in which we may live so as to ascertain and do the will of God. If all Christians would obey this, religion would be everywhere honoured. If all would separate from the vices and follies, the amusements and gaieties of the world, Christ would be glorified. If all were truly renewed in their minds, they would lose their relish for such things; and seeking only to do the will of God, they would not be slow to find it.

{m} "be not conformed" 1 Jo 2:15

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 3

Verse 3. For I say. The word "for" shows that the apostle is about to introduce some additional considerations to enforce what he had just said; or to show how we may evince a mind that is not conformed to the world.

Through the grace. Through the favour, or in virtue of the favour of the apostolic of[ice. By the authority that is conferred on me to declare the will of God as an apostle. See Barnes "Ro 1:5".

See also Ga 1:6,15; 2:9; Eph 3:8; 1 Ti 1:14.

Not to think, etc. Not to over-estimate himself, or to think more of himself than he ought to. What is the true standard by which we ought to estimate ourselves he immediately adds. This is a caution against pride; and an exhortation not to judge of ourselves by our talents, wealth, or office, but to form another standard of judging of ourselves, by our Christian character. The Romans would probably be in much danger from this quarter. The prevailing habit of judging among them was according to rank, or wealth, or eloquence, or office. While this habit of judging prevailed in the world around them, there was danger that it might also prevail in the church. And the exhortation was, that they should not judge of their own characters by the usual modes among men, but by their Christian attainments. There is no sin to which men are more prone than an inordinate self-valuation and pride. Instead of judging by that which constitutes true excellence of character, they pride themselves on that which is of no intrinsic value—on rank, and titles, and external accomplishments; or on talents, learning, or wealth. The only true standard of character pertains to the principles of action, or to that which constitutes the moral nature of the man; and to that the apostle calls the Roman people.

But to think soberly. Literally, "to think so as to act soberly or wisely." So to estimate ourselves as to act or demean ourselves wisely, prudently, modestly. Those who over-estimate themselves are proud, haughty, foolish in their deportment. Those who think of themselves as they ought, are modest, sober, prudent. There is no way to maintain a wise and proper conduct so certain, as to form a humble and modest estimate of our own character.

According as God hath dealt. As God has measured to each one, or apportioned to each one. In this place, the faith which Christians have is traced to God as its Giver. This fact, that God has given it, will be itself one of the most effectual promoters of humility and right feeling. Men commonly regard the objects on which they pride themselves as things of their own creation, or as depending on themselves. But let an object be regarded as the gift of God, and it ceases to excite pride, and the feeling is at once changed into gratitude. He therefore who regards God as the Source of all blessings, and he only, will be a humble man.

The measure of faith. The word faith here is evidently put for religion, or Christianity. Faith is a main thing in religion. It constitutes its first demand; and the Christian religion, therefore, is characterized by its faith, or its confidence in God. See Mr 16:16. Comp. Heb 11; Ro 4.

We are not therefore to be elated in our view of ourselves; we are not to judge of our own characters by wealth, or talent, or learning; but by our attachment to God, and by the influence of faith on our minds. The meaning is, judge yourselves, or estimate yourselves, by your piety. The propriety of this rule is apparent,

(1.) because no other standard is a correct one, or one of value. Our talent, learning, rank, or wealth, is a very improper rule by which to estimate ourselves. All may be wholly unconnected with moral worth; and the worst as well as the best men may possess them.

(2.) God will judge us in the day of judgment by our attachment to Christ and his cause, (Mt 25) and that is the true standard by which to estimate ourselves here.

(3.) Nothing else will secure and promote humility but this. All other things may produce or promote pride, but this will effectually secure humility. The fact that God has given all that we have; the fact that the poor and obscure may have as true an elevation of character as ourselves; the consciousness of our own imperfections and short-comings in the Christian faith; and the certainty that we are soon to be arraigned to try this great question, whether we have evidence that we are the friends of God, will all tend to promote humbleness of mind, and to bring down our usual inordinate self-estimation. If all Christians judged themselves in this way, it would remove at once no small part of the pride of station and of life from the world, and would produce deep attachment for those who are blessed with the faith of the gospel, though they may be unadorned by any of the wealth or trappings which now promote pride and distinctions among men.

{o} "more highly" Ro 11:20

{1} "to think soberly" "to sobriety"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 4

Verse 4. For. This word here denotes a further illustration or proof of what he had just before said. The duty to which he was exhorting the Romans was, not to be unduly exalted or elevated in their own estimation. In order to produce proper humility, he shows them that God has appointed certain orders or grades in the church; that all are useful in their proper place; that we should seek to discharge our duty in our appropriate sphere; and thus that due subordination and order would be observed. To show this, he introduces a beautiful comparison drawn from the human body. There are various members in the human frame; all useful and honourable in their proper place; and all designed to promote the order, and beauty, and harmony of the whole. So the church is one body, consisting of many members, and each is fitted to be useful and comely in its proper place. The same comparison he uses with great beauty and force in 1 Co 12:4-31; also Eph 4:25 Eph 5:30. In that chapter the comparison is carried out to much greater length, and its influence shown with great force.

Many members. Limbs, or parts; feet, hands, eyes, ears, etc., 1 Co 12:14,15.

In one body. Constituting one body; or united in one, and making one person. Essential to the existence, beauty, and happiness of the one body or person.

The same office. The same use or design; not all appointed for the same thing; one is to see, another to hear, a third to walk with, etc., 1 Co 12:14-23.

{q} "many members" 1 Co 12:4,12

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 5

Verse 5. So we, being many. We who are Christians, and who are numerous as individuals.

Are one body. Are united together, constituting one society or one people, mutually dependent, and having the same great interests at heart, though to be prompted by us according to our peculiar talents and opportunities. As the welfare of the same body is to be promoted in one manner by the feet, in another by the eye, etc., so the welfare of the body of Christ is to be promoted by discharging our duties in our appropriate sphere, as God has appointed us.

In Christ. One body, joined to Christ, or connected with him as the head. Eph 1:22,23, "And gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body." Comp. Joh 15:1-7. This does not mean that there is any physical or literal union, or any destruction of personal identity, or anything particularly mysterious or unintelligible. Christians acknowledge him as their head, i. e. their Lawgiver; their Counsellor, Guide, and Redeemer. They are bound to him by peculiarly tender ties of affection, gratitude, and friendship; they are united in him, i.e. in acknowledging him as their common Lord and Saviour. Any other union than this is impossible; and the sacred writers never intended that expressions like these should be explained literally. The union of Christians to Christ is the most tender and interesting of any in this world, but no more mysterious than that which binds friend to friend, children to parents, or husbands to their wives. Comp. Eph 5:23-33.

And every one members one of another. Comp. 1 Co 12:25,26. That is, we are so fitted as to be mutually dependent; each one is of service to the other; and the existence and office of the one is necessary to the usefulness of the other. Thus the members of the body may be said to be members one of another; as the feet could not, for example, perform their functions, or be of use, if it were not for the eye; the ear, the hand, the teeth, etc., would be useless if it were not for the other members, which go to make up the entire person. Thus in the church, every individual is not only necessary in his place as an individual, but is needful to the proper symmetry and action of the whole. And we may learn here,

(1.) that no member of the church of Christ should esteem himself to be of no importance. In his own place he may be of as much consequence as the man of learning, wealth, and talent may be in his.

(2.) God designed that there should be differences of endowments of nature and of grace in the church; just as it was needful that there should be differences in the members of the human body.

(3.) No one should despise or lightly esteem another. All are necessary. We can no more spare the foot or the hand than we can the eye; though the latter may be much more curious and striking as a proof of Divine skill. We do not despise the hand or the foot any more than we do the eye; and in all we should acknowledge the goodness and wisdom of God. See these thoughts carried out in 1 Co 12:21-25.

{r} "one body in Christ" Eph 1:23.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 6

Verse 6. Having then gifts. All the endowments which Christians have are regarded by the apostle as gifts. God has conferred them; and this fact, when properly felt, tends much to prevent our thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, Ro 12:3. For the use of the word rendered gifts, see Ro 1:11; 5:15,16; 6:23; 11:29; 1 Co 7:7; 12:4,9,28, etc. It may refer to natural endowments, as well as to the favours of grace; though in this place it refers doubtless to the distinctions conferred on Christians in the churches.

Differing. It was never designed that all Christians should be equal. God designed that men should have different endowments. The very nature of society supposes this. There never was a state of perfect equality in anything; and it would be impossible that there should be, and yet preserve society. In this, God exercises a sovereignty, and bestows his favours as he pleases, injuring no one by conferring favours on others; and holding me responsible for the right use of what I have, and not for what may be conferred on my neighbour.

According to the grace. That is, the favour, the mercy that is bestowed on us. As all that we have is a matter of grace, it should keep us from pride; and it should make us willing to occupy our appropriate place in the church. True honour consists not in splendid endowments, or great wealth and office. It consists in rightly discharging the duties which God requires of us in our appropriate sphere. If all men held their talents as the gift of God; if all would find and occupy in society the place for which God designed them, it would prevent no small part of the uneasiness, the restlessness, the ambition, and misery of the world.

Whether prophecy. The apostle now proceeds to specify the different classes of gifts or endowments which Christians have, and to exhort them to discharge aright the duty which results from the rank or office which they held in the church. The first is prophecy. This word properly means, to predict future events; but it also means, to declare the Divine will; to interpret the purposes of God; or to make known in any way the truth of God, which is designed to influence men. Its first meaning is to predict or foretell future events; but as those who did this were messengers of God, and as they commonly connected with such predictions instructions and exhortations in regard to the sins, and dangers, and duties of men, the word came to denote any who warned, or threatened, or in any way communicated the will of God; and even those who uttered devotional sentiments or praise. The name in the New Testament is commonly connected with teachers. Ac 13:1, "There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers, as Barnabas," etc.; Ac 15:32, "And Judas and Silas, being prophets themselves," etc.; Ac 21:10, "A certain prophet named Agabus." In 1 Co 12:28,29, prophets are mentioned as a class of teachers immediately after apostles. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," etc. The same class of persons is again mentioned in 1 Co 14:29-32,39. In this place they are spoken of as being under the influence of revelation: "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge, if anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." 1 Co 14:39, "Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." In this place endowments are mentioned under the name of prophecy, evidently in advance even of the power of speaking with tongues. Yet all these were to be subject to the authority of the apostle, 1 Co 14:37. In Eph 4:11, they are mentioned again in the same order: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers," etc. From these passages the following things seem clear in relation to this class of persons:

(1.) They were an order of teachers distinct from the apostles, and next to them in authority and rank.

(2.) They were under the influence of revelation, or inspiration, in a certain sense.

(3.) They had power of controlling themselves, and of speaking or keeping silence as they chose. They had the power of using their prophetic gifts as we have the ordinary faculties of our minds; and of course of abusing them also. This abuse was apparent also in the case of those who had the power of speaking with tongues, 1 Co 14:2,4,6,11, etc.

(4.) They were subject to the apostles.

(5.) They were superior to the other teachers and pastors in the church.

(6.) The office or the endowment was temporary, designed for the settlement and establishment of the church; and then, like the apostolic office, having accomplished its purpose, to be disused, and to cease, from these remarks, also, will be seen the propriety of regulating this office by apostolic authority; or stating, as the apostle does here, the manner or rule by which this gift was to be exercised.

According to the proportion. This word (analogian) is nowhere else used in the New Testament. The word properly applies to mathematics, (Schleusner,) and means the ratio or proportion which results from comparison of one number or magnitude with another. In a large sense, therefore, as applied to other subjects, it denotes the measure of anything. With us it means analogy, or the congruity or resemblance discovered between one thing and another, as we say there is an analogy or resemblance between the truths taught by reason and revelation. (See Butler's Analogy.) But this is not its meaning here, It means the measure, the amount of faith bestowed on them; for he was exhorting them to Ro 12:3 "think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." The word faith here means, evidently, not the truths of the Bible elsewhere revealed; nor their confidence in God; nor their personal piety; but the extraordinary endowment bestowed on them by the gifts of prophecy. They were to confine themselves strictly to that; they were not to usurp the apostolic authority, or to attempt to exercise their peculiar office; but they were to confine themselves strictly to the functions of their office according to the measure of their faith, i.e. the extraordinary endowment conferred on them. The word faith is thus used often to denote that extraordinary confidence in God which attended the working of miracles, etc., Mt 17:20; 21:21; Lu 17:6.

If this be the fair interpretation of the passage, then it is clear that the interpretation, which applies it to systems of theology, and which demands that we should interpret the Bible so as to accord with the system, is one that is wholly unwarranted. It is to be referred solely to this class of religious teachers, without reference to any system of doctrine, or to anything which had been revealed to any other class of men; or without affirming that there is any resemblance between one truth and another. All that may be true, but it is not the truth taught in this passage. And it is equally clear that the passage is not to be applied to teachers now, except as an illustration of the general principle that even those endowed with great and splendid talents are not to over-estimate them, but to regard them as the gift of God; to exercise them in subordination to his appointment; and to seek to employ them in the manner, the place, and to the purpose that shall be according to his will. They are to employ them in the purpose for which God gave them; AND FOR NO OTHER.

{s} "according to the grace" 1 Pe 4:10,11

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 7

Verse 7. Or ministry, (diakonian). This word properly means service of any kind, Lu 10:40. It is used in religion to denote the service which is rendered to Christ as the Master. It is applied to all classes of ministers in the New Testament, as denoting their being the servants of Christ; and it is used particularly to denote that class who, from this word, were called deacons, i.e. those who had the care of the poor, who provided for the sick, and who watched over the external matters of the church. In the following places it is used to denote the ministry, or service, which Paul and the other apostles rendered in their public work, Ac 1:17,25; Ac 6:4; 12:25; 20:24; 21:19; Ro 11:13; 15:31; 2 Co 5:18; 6:3; Eph 4:12; 1 Ti 1:12. In a few places this word is used to denote the office which the deacons fulfilled, Ac 6:1; 11:29; 1 Co 16:15; 2 Co 11:8.

In this sense the word deacon (diakonov) is most commonly used, as denoting the office which was performed in providing for the poor, and administering the alms of the church. It is not easy to say in what sense it is used here. I am inclined to the opinion that he did not refer to those who were appropriately called deacons, but to those engaged in the office of the ministry of the word; whose business it was to preach, and thus to serve the churches. In this sense the word is often used in the New Testament, and the connexion seems to demand the same interpretation here.

On our ministering. Let us be wholly and diligently occupied in this. Let this be our great business, and let us give entire attention to it. Particularly the connexion requires us to understand this as directing those who ministered not to aspire to the office and honours of those who prophesied. Let them not think of themselves more highly than they ought, but be engaged entirely in their own appropriate work.

He that teacheth. This word denotes those who instruct, or communicate knowledge. It is clear that it is used to denote a class of persons different, in some respects, from those who prophesied and from those who exhorted. But in what this difference consisted is not clear. Teachers are mentioned in the New Testament in the grade next to the prophets, Ac 13:1; 1 Co 12:28,29; Eph 4:11.

Perhaps the difference between the prophets, the ministers, the teachers, and the exhorters, was this—that the first spake by inspiration; the second engaged in all the functions of the ministry, properly so called, including the administration of the sacraments; the teachers were employed in communicating instruction simply, teaching the doctrines of religion, but without assuming the office of ministers; and the fourth exhorted, or entreated Christians to lead a holy life, without making it a particular subject to teach, and without pretending to administer the ordinances of religion. The fact that teachers, are so often mentioned in the New Testament, shows that they were a class by themselves. It may be worthy of remark, that the churches in New England had, at first, a class of men who were called teachers. One was appointed to this office in every church, distinct from the pastor, whose proper business it was to instruct the congregation in the doctrines of religion. The same thing exists substantially now in most churches, in the appointment of Sunday-school teachers, whose main business it is to instruct the children in the doctrines of the Christian religion. It is an office of great importance to the church; and the exhortation of the apostle may be applied to them: that they should be assiduous, constant, diligent in their teaching; that they should confine themselves to their appropriate place; and should feel that their office is of great importance in the church of God; and remember that this is his arrangement, designed to promote the edification of his people.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 8

Verse 8. He that exhorteth. This word properly denotes one who urges to the practical duties, of religion, in distinction from one who teaches its doctrines. One who presents the warnings and the promises of God, to excite men to the discharge of their duty. It is clear that there were persons who were recognised as engaging especially in this duty, and who were known by this appellation, as distinguished from prophets and teachers. How long this was continued there is no means of ascertaining; but it cannot be doubted that it may still be expedient, in many times and places, to have persons designated to this work. In most churches this duty is now blended with the other offices of the ministry.

He that giveth. Margin, "imparteth." The word denotes the person whose office it was to distribute; and probably, designates him who distributed the alms of the church, or him who was the deacon of the congregation. The connexion requires that this meaning should be given to the passage; and the word rendered giveth may denote one who imparts or distributes that which has been committed to him for that purpose, as well as one who gives out of his private property. As the apostle is speaking here of offices in the church, the former is evidently that which is intended. It was deemed an important matter among the early Christians to impart liberally of their substance to support the poor, and provide for the needy, Ac 2:44-47; 4:34-37; 5:1-11; Ga 2:10; Ro 15:26; 2 Co 8:8; 9:2,12.

Hence it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, who should be especially charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed, Ac 6:1-6. These were the persons who were denominated deacons, Php 1:1; 1 Ti 3:8,12.

Hence it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, who should be especially charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed, Ac 6:1-6. These were the persons who were denominated deacons, Php 1:1; 1 Ti 3:8,12

With simplicity. See Mt 6:22, "If thine eye be single," etc.; Lu 11:34. The word simplicity (aplothv)is used in a similar sense to denote singleness, honesty of aim, purity, integrity, without any mixture of a base, selfish, or sinister end. It requires the bestowment of a favour without seeking any personal or selfish ends; without partiality; but actuated only by the desire to bestow them in the best possible maimer to promote the object for which they were given, 2 Co 8:2; 9:11,13; 1:12; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22.

It is plain that when property was entrusted to them, there would be danger that they might be tempted to employ it for selfish and sinister ends, to promote their influence and prosperity; and hence the apostle exhorted them to do it with a single aim to the object for which it was given. Well did he know that there was nothing more tempting than the possession of wealth, though given to be appropriated to others. And this exhortation is applicable not only to the deacons of the churches, but to all who in this day of Christian benevolence are entrusted with money to advance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He that ruleth. This word properly designates one who is set over others, or who presides or rules, or one who attends with diligence and care to a thing. In 1 Th 5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord." 1 Ti 3:4,5,12, it is applied to the head of a family, or one who diligently and faithfully performs the duty of a father: "One that ruleth well his own house." 1 Ti 5:17, it is applied to "elders" in the church: "Let the elders that rule well," etc. It is not elsewhere used except in Tit 3:8,14, in a different sense, where it is translated "to maintain good works." The prevailing sense of the word, therefore, is to rule, to preside over, or to have the management of. But to what class of persons reference is had here, and what was precisely their duty, has been made a matter of controversy, and it is not easy to determine. Whether this refers to a permanent office in the church, or to an occasional presiding in their assemblies convened for business, etc., is not settled by the use of the word. It has the idea of ruling, as in a family, or of presiding, as in a deliberative assembly; and either of these ideas would convey all that is implied in the original word. Comp. 1 Co 12:28.

With diligence. This word properly means haste, (Mr 6:25; Lu 1:39) but it also denotes industry, attention, care. 2 Co 7:11, "What carefulness it wrought in you;" 2 Co 7:12, "That our care for you in the sight of God," etc.; Ro 8:7,8, (Gr.) Heb 6:11. It means here, that they should be attentive to the duties of their vocation, mid engage with ardour in that which was committed to them to do.

He that sheweth mercy. It is probable, says Calvin, that this refers to those who had the care of the sick and infirm, the aged and the needy; not so much to provide for them by charity, as to attend on them in their affliction, and to take care of them. To the deacons was committed the duty of distributing alms, but to others that of personal attendance This can hardly be called an office, in the technical sense; and yet it is not improbable that they were designated to this by the church, and requested to perform it. There were no hospitals and no almshouses. Christians felt it their duty to show personal attention to the infirm and the sick; and so important was their office, that it was deemed worthy of notice in a general direction to the church.

With cheerfulness. The direction given to those who distributed alms was to do it with simplicity, with an honest aim to meet the purpose for which it was entrusted to them. The direction here varies according to the duty to be performed. It is to be done with cheerfulness, pleasantness, joy; with a kind, benign, and happy temper. The importance of this direction to those in this situation is apparent. Nothing tends so much to enhance the value of personal attendance on the sick and afflicted, as a kind and cheerful temper. If anywhere a mild, amiable, cheerful, and patient disposition is needed, it is near a sick bed and when administering to the wants of those who are in affection. And whenever we may be called to such a service, we should remember that this is indispensable. If moroseness, or impatience, or fretfulness is discovered in us, it will pain those whom we seek to benefit, embitter their feelings, and render our services of comparatively little value. The needy and infirm, the feeble and the aged, have enough to bear without the impatience and harshness of professed friends. It may be added, that the example of the Lord Jesus Christ is the brightest which the world has furnished of this temper. Though constantly encompassed by the infirm and the afflicted, yet he was always kind, and gentle, and mild, and has left before us exactly what the apostle meant when he said, "he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." The example of the good Samaritan is also another instance of what is intended by this direction. Comp. 2 Co 9:7. This direction is particularly applicable to a physician.

We have here an account of the establishment, the order, and the duties of the different members of the Christian church. The amount of it all is, that we should discharge with fidelity the duties which belong to us in the sphere of life in which we are placed; and not despise the rank which God has assigned us; not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought; but to act well our part, according to the station where we are placed, and the talents with which we are endowed. If this were done, it would put an end to discontent, ambition, and strife, and would produce the blessings of universal peace and order.

{1} "giveth" or, "imparteth"

{2} "simplicity" or, "liberally"

{t} "that ruleth" Ps 111

{u} "cheerfulness" 2 Co 9:7

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 9

Verse 9. Let love. The apostle proceeds to specify the duties of Christians in general, that they might secure the beauty and order of the church. The first which he specifies is love. This word here evidently refers to benevolence, or to good-will toward all mankind. In Ro 12:10, he specifies the duty of brotherly love; and there can be no doubt that he here refers to the benevolence which we ought to cherish towards all men, A similar distinction is found in 2 Pe 1:7, "And to brotherly kindness add charity," i.e., benevolence, or good will, and kind feelings to others.

Without dissimulation. Without hypocrisy. Let it be sincere and unfeigned. Let it not consist in words or professions only, but let it be manifested in acts of kindness and in deeds of charity, 1 Jo 3:18, Comp. 1 Pe 1:22. Genuine benevolence is not that which merely professes attachment, but which is evinced by acts of kindness and affection.

Abhor that which is evil. The word abhor means, to hate; to turn from; to avoid. The word evil here has reference to malice, or unkindness, rather than to evil in general. The apostle is exhorting to love, or kindness; and between the direction to love all men, and the particular direction about brotherly love, he places this general direction to abhor that which is evil—that which is evil in relation to the subject under discussion, that is, malice or unkindness. The word evil is not unfrequently used, in this limited sense, to denote some particular or special evil, Mt 5:37,39, etc. Comp. Ps 34:14; 2 Ti 2:19; Ps 97:10; 1 Th 5:22.

Cleave to that which is good. The word rendered cleave to denotes, properly, the act of gluing, or uniting firmly by glue. It is then used to denote a very firm adherence to an object; to be firmly fitted to it. There it means, that Christians should be firmly attached to that which is good, and not separate or part from it. The good here referred to is particularly that which pertains to benevolence —to all men, and especially to Christians. It should not be occasional only, or irregular; but it should be constant, active, decided.

{v} "dissimulation" 1 Pe 1:22

{w} "that which is evil" Ps 34:14

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Be kindly affectioned. The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly denotes tender affection, such as that which subsists between parents and children; and it means, that Christians should have similar feelings towards each other, as belonging to the same family, and as united in the same principles and interests. The Syriac renders this, "Love your brethren, and love one another." Comp. 1 Pe 2:17.

With brotherly love. Or, in love to the brethren. The word denotes the affection which subsists between brethren. The duty is one which is often presented in the New Testament, and which our Saviour intended should be regarded as a badge of discipleship. See Barnes "Joh 13:34,35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another;" Joh 15:12,17; Eph 5:2; 1 Th 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jo 2:7,8; 3:11,23; 4:20,21.

The apostle Paul in this place manifests his peculiar manner of writing, he does not simply enjoin brotherly love, but he adds that it should be kindly affectioned. It should be with the tenderness which characterizes the most endearing natural relationship. This he expresses by a word which is made for the occasion, (filostorgoi) blending love with natural affection, and suffering it to be manifest in your intercourse with one another.

In honour. In showing or manifesting respect or honour. Not in seeking honour, or striving after respect, but in showing it to one another.

Preferring one another. The word preferring means going before, leading, setting an example. Thus in showing mutual respect and honour, they were to strive to excel; not to see which could obtain most honour, but which could confer most, or manifest most respect. Comp. 1 Pe 5:5; Eph 5:21. Thus they were to be studious to show to each other all the respect which was due in the various relations of life; children to show proper respect to parents, parents to children, servants to their masters, etc.; and all to strive, by mutual kindness, to promote the happiness of the Christian community. How different this from the spirit of the world; the spirit which seeks not to confer honour, but to obtain it; which aims not to diffuse respect, but to attract all others to give honour to us. If this single direction were to be obeyed in society, it would put an end at once to no small part of the envy, and ambition, and heart-burning, and dissatisfaction of the world. It would produce contentment, harmony, love, and order in the community; and stay the progress of crime, and annihilate the evils of strife, and discord, and malice. And especially, it would give order and beauty to the church. It would humble the ambition of those who, like Diotrephes, love to have the preeminence, (3 Jo 1:9) and make every man willing to occupy the place for which God has designed him, and rejoice that his brethren may be exalted to higher posts of responsibility and honour.

{x} "affectioned" 1 Pe 2:17

{1} "brotherly love" or, "in the love of the brethren"

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Not slothful. The word rendered slothful refers to those who are slow, idle, destitute of promptness of mind and activity. Comp. Mt 25:26.

In business, (th spoudh). This is the same word which, in Ro 12:88, is rendered diligence. It properly denotes haste intensity, ardour of mind; and hence it also denotes industry, labour. The direction means, that we should be diligently occupied in our proper employment. It does not refer to any particular occupation, but is used, in a general sense, to denote all the labour which we may have to do; or is a direction to be faithful and industrious in the discharge of all our appropriate duties. Comp. Ec 9:10. The tendency of the Christian religion is to promote industry.

(1.) It teaches the value of time.

(2.) Presents numerous and important things to be done.

(3.) It inclines men to be conscientious in the improvement of each moment.

(4.) And it takes away the mind from those pleasures and pursuits which generate and promote indolence. The Lord Jesus was constantly employed in filling up the great duties of his life; and the effect of his religion has been to promote industry wherever it has spread, both among nations and individuals. An idle man and a Christian are names which do not harmonize. Every Christian has enough to do to occupy all his time; and he whose life is spent in ease, and in doing nothing, should doubt altogether his religion. God has assigned us much to accomplish; and he will hold us answerable for the faithful performance of it. Comp. Joh 5:17; 9:14; 1 Th 4:11; 2 Th 3:10,12.

All that would be needful to transform the idle, and vicious, and wretched, into sober and useful men, would be to give to them the spirit of the Christian religion. See the example of Paul, Ac 20:34,35.

Fervent. This word is usually applied to water, or to metals so heated as to bubble, or boil. It hence is used to denote ardour, intensity, or, as we express it, a glow—meaning intense zeal, Ac 18:25.

In spirit. In your mind or heart. The expression is used to denote a mind filled with intense ardour in whatever it is engaged. It is supposed that Christians would first find appropriate objects for their labour, and then engage in them with intense ardour and zeal.

Serving. Regarding yourselves as the servants of the Lord. This direction is to be understood as connected with the preceding, and as growing out of it. They were to be diligent and fervid, and in doing so were to regard themselves as serving the Lord, or to do it inobedience to the command of God, and to promote his glory. The propriety of this caution may easily be seen.

(1.) The tendency of worldly employments is to take off the affections from God.

(2.) Men are prone to forget God when deeply engaged in their worldly employments. It is proper to recall their attention to him.

(3.) The right discharge of our duties in the various employments of life is to be regarded as serving God. He has arranged the order of things in this life to promote employment. He has made industry essential to happiness and success; and hence to be industrious, from proper motives, is to be regarded as acceptable service of God.

(4.) He has required that all such employments should be conducted with reference to his will and to his honour, 1 Co 10:31; Eph 6:5; Col 3:17,22-24; 1 Pe 4:11.

The meaning of the whole verse is, that Christians should be industrious, should be ardently engaged in some lawful employment, and that they should pursue it with reference to the will of God, in obedience to his commands, and to his glory.

{z} "fervent" Ac 20:34,35

{a} "in spirit" Col 4:12

{b} "serving the Lord" Heb 12:22

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Rejoicing in hope. That is, in the hope of eternal life and glory which the gospel produces. See Barnes "Ro 5:2,3".

Patient in tribulation. In affliction, patiently enduring all that may be appointed. Christians may be enabled to do this by the sustaining influence of their hope of future glory; of being admitted to that world where there shall be no more death, and where all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, Re 21:4; 7:17. Comp. Jas 1:4. See the influence of hope in sustaining us ia affliction more fully considered in the Notes on Ro 8:18-28.

Continuing instant in prayer. That is, be persevering in prayer. See Col 4:2. See Barnes "Lu 18:1".

The meaning of this direction is, that in order to discharge aright the duties of the Christian life, and especially to maintain a joyful hope, and to be sustained in the midst of afflictions, it is necessary to cherish a spirit of prayer, and to live near to God. How often a Christian should pray, the Scriptures do not inform us. Of David. we are told that he prayed seven times a day, (Ps 119:164) of Daniel, that he was accustomed to pray three times a day, (Da 6:10) of our Saviour we have repeated instances of his praying mentioned; and the same of the apostles, The following rules, perhaps, may guide us in this:

(1.) Every Christian should have some time, allotted for this service, and some place where he may be alone with God.

(2.) It is not easy, perhaps not possible, to maintain a life of piety without regular habits of secret devotion.

(3.) The morning, when we have experienced God's protecting care, when the mind is fresh, and the thoughts are as yet clear and unoccupied with the world, when we go forth to the duties, trials, and temptations of the day; and the evening, when we have again experienced his goodness, and are about to commit ourselves to his protecting care, and when we need his pardoning mercy for the errors and follies of the day, seem to be times which commend themselves to all as appropriate seasons for private devotion.

(4.) Every person will also find other times when private prayer will be needful, and when he will be inclined to it. In affliction, in perplexity, in moments of despondency, in danger, and want, in disappointment, and in the loss of friends, we shall feel the propriety of drawing near to God, and of pouring out the heart before him.

(5.) Besides this, every Christian is probably conscious of times when he feels peculiarly inclined to pray; he feels just like praying; he has a spirit of supplication; and nothing but prayer will meet the instinctive desires of his bosom. We are often conscious of an earnest desire to see and converse with an absent friend, to have communion with those we love; and we value such fellowship as among the happiest moments of life. So with the Christian. He may have an earnest desire to have communion with God; his heart pants for it; and he cannot resist the propensity to seek him, and pour out his desires before him. Compare the feelings expressed by David in Ps 42:1,2,

"As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

Comp. Ps 63:1. Such seasons should be improved; they are the "spring-times" of our piety; and we should expand every sail, that we may be "filled with all the fulness of God." They are happy, blessed moments of our life; and then devotion is sweetest and most pure; and then the soul knows what it is to have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, 1 Jo 1:3.

(6.) In addition to all this, Christians may be in the habit of praying to God without the formality of retirement. God looks upon the heart; and the heart may pour forth its secret desires to Him even when in business, when conversing with a friend, when walking, when alone, and when in society. Thus the Christian may live a life of prayer; and it shall be one of the characteristics of his life that he prays! By this he shall be known; and in this he shall learn the way to possess peace in religion.

In every joy that crowns my days,
In every pain I bear,
My heart shall find delight in praise,
Or seek relief in prayer.

When gladness wings my favour'd hour,
Thy love my thoughts shall fill;

Resigned when storms of sorrow lower,
My soul shall meet thy will.

My lifted eye, without a tear,
The gathering storm shall see;
My steadfast heart shall know no fear:
That heart shall rest on thee.

{c} "in hope" Ro 5:2,3

{d} "in tribulation" Jas 1:4

{e} "instant in prayer" Lu 18:1

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Distributing. The word used here denotes having things in common, (koinwnountev). It means, that they should be communicative, or should regard their property as so far common as to supply the wants of others. In the earliest times of the church, Christians had all things in common, See Barnes "Ac 2:44"

and felt themselves bound to meet all the wants of their brethren. One of the most striking effects of Christianity was to loosen their grasp on property, and dispose them to impart liberally to those who had need. The direction here does not mean that they should literally have all things in common; that is, to go back to a state of savage barbarity; but that they should be liberal, should partake of their good things with those who were needy. Comp. Ga 6:6; Ro 15:27; Php 4:15; 1 Ti 6:18.

To the necessity. To the wants. That is, distribute to them such things as they need—food, raiment, etc. This command, of course, has reference to the poor.

Of saints. Of Christians, or the friends of God. They are called saints as being holy, (agioi) or consecrated to God. This duty of rendering aid to Christians especially, does not interfere with the general love of mankind. The law of the New Testament is, (Ga 6:10) "As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith." The Christian is indeed to love all mankind, and to do them good as far as may be in his power, Mt 5:43,44; Tit 3:8; 1 Ti 6:18; Heb 13:16.

But he is to show particular interest in the welfare of his brethren, and to see that the poor members of the church are provided for; for (1.) they are our brethren; they are of the same family; they are attached to the same Lord; and to do good to them is to evince love to Christ, Mt 25:40; Mr 9:41.

(2.) They are left especially to the care of the church; and if the church neglects them, we may be sure the world will also, Mt 26:11. Christians, especially in the time of the apostles, had reason to expect little compassion from the men of the world. They were persecuted and oppressed; they would be embarrassed in their business, perhaps thrown out of occupation, by the opposition of their enemies: and it was therefore peculiarly incumbent on their brethren to aid them. To a certain extent it is always true, that the world is reluctant to aid the friends of God; and hence the poor followers of Christ are in a peculiar manner thrown on the benefactions of the church,

(3.) It is not improbable that there might be a peculiar reason at that time for enjoining this on the attention of the Romans. It was a time of persecution, and perhaps of extensive distress. In the days of Claudius, (about A.D. 50,) there was a famine in Judea which produced great distress, and many of the poor and oppressed might flee to the capital for aid. We know, from other parts of the New Testament, that at that time the apostle was deeply interested in procuring aid for the poor brethren in Judea, Ro 15:25,26. Comp. Ac 19:21; 2 Co 8:1-7; 2 Co 9:2-4. But the same reasons for aiding the poor followers of Christ will exist substantially in every age; and one of the most precious privileges conferred on men, is to be permitted to assist those who are the friends of God, Ps 41:1-3; Pr 14:21.

Given to hospitality. This expression means that they should readily and cheerfully entertain strangers. This is a duty which is frequently enjoined in the Scriptures. Heb 13:2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." 1 Pe 4:9, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging." Paul makes this especially the duty of a Christian bishop: 1 Ti 3:2, "A bishop then must—be given to hospitality;" Tit 1:8. Hospitality is especially enjoined by the Saviour, and its exercise commanded: Mt 10:40,42, "He that receiveth you receiveth me," etc. The want of hospitality is one of the charges which the Judge of mankind will allege against the wicked, and on which he will condemn them: Mt 25:43, "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in." It is especially commended to us by the example of Abraham, (Ge 18:1-8,) and of Lot, (Ge 19:1,2,) who thus received angels unawares. It was one of the virtues on which Job particularly commended himself, and which he had not failed to practise. Job 31:16,17, "If I have withheld the poor from theft desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof," etc. In the time of our Saviour it was, evidently practised in the most open and frank manner. Lu 10:7, "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give." A remarkable instance is also mentioned in Lu 11:5. This virtue is no less common in eastern nations at present than it was in the time of Christ. It is eminently the virtue of oriental nations, of their ardent and open temperament. It springs up naturally in countries thinly settled, where the sight of a stranger would be therefore peculiarly pleasant; in countries, too, where the occupation was chiefly to attend flocks, and where there was much leisure for conversation; and where the population was too sparse, and the travellers too infrequent, to justify inn-keeping as a business. From all these causes, it has happened that there are, properly speaking, no inns or taverns in the regions around Palestine. It was customary, indeed, to erect places for lodging and shelter at suitable distances, or by the side of springs or watering-places, for travellers to lodge in. But they are built at the public expense, and are unfurnished. Each traveller carries his own bed and clothes and cooking utensils, and such places are merely designed as a shelter for caravans. (See Robinson's Calmet, Art. Caravanserai.) It is still so; and hence it becomes, in their view, a virtue of high order to entertain, at their own tables, and in their families, such strangers as may be travelling. Niebuhr says, that "the hospitality of the Arabs has always been the subject of promise; and I believe that those of the present day exercise this virtue no less than the ancients did. There are, in the villages of Tehama, houses which are public, where travellers may lodge and be entertained some days gratis, if they will be content with the fare; and they are much frequented. When the Arabs are at table, they invite those who happen to come to eat with them, whether they be Christians or Mohammedans, gentle or simple." "The primitive Christians," says Calmet, "considered one principle part of their duty to consist in showing hospitality to strangers. They were, in fact, so ready in discharging this duty, that the very heathen admired them for it. They were hospitable to all strangers, but especially to those who were of the household of faith. Believers scarcely ever travelled without letters of communion, which testified the purity of their faith, and procured for them a favourable reception wherever the name of Jesus Christ was known." (Calmet, Dict.) Calmet is also of opinion that the two minor epistles of John may be such letters of recommendation and communion. Comp. 2 Jo 1:10. It may be added, that it would be particularly expected of Christians that they should show hospitality to the ministers of religion. They were commonly poor; they received no fixed salary; they travelled from place to place; and they would be dependent for support on the kindness of those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ. This was particularly intended by our Saviour's instructions on the subject, Mt 10:11-13,40-42.

The duty of hospitality is still binding on Christians and all men. The law of Christ is not repealed. The customs of society are indeed changed; and one evidence of advancement in commerce and in security is furnished in the fact that inns are now provided and patronized for the traveller in all Christian lands. Still this does not lessen the obligations to show hospitality. It is demanded by the very genius of the Christian religion; it evinces proper love towards mankind; it shows that there is a feeling of brotherhood and kindness towards others, when such hospitality is shown. It unites society, creates new bonds of interest and affection, to show kindness to the stranger and to the poor. To what extent this is to be done, is one of those questions which are to be left to every man's conscience and views of duty. No rule can be given on the subject. Many men have not the means to be extensively hospitable; and many are not placed in situations that require it. No rules could be given that should be applicable to all cases; and hence the Bible has left the general direction, has furnished examples where it was exercised, has recommended it to mankind, and then has left every man to act on the rule, as he will answer it to God. See Mt 25:34-46.

{f} "to the necessity of saints" Ps 41; Heb 13:16

{g} "to hospitality" Heb 13:2; 1 Pe 4:9

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Bless them, etc. See Barnes "Mt 5:44".

Comp. Lu 6:28.

Bless, and curse not. Bless only; or continue to bless, however long or aggravated may be the injury. Do not be provoked to anger, or to cursing, by any injury, persecution, or reviling. This is one of the most severe and difficult duties of the Christian religion; and it is a duty which nothing else but religion will enable men to perform. To curse denotes, properly, to devote to destruction. Where there is power to do it, it implies the destruction of the object. Thus the fig-tree that was cursed by the Saviour soon withered away, Mr 11:21. Thus those whom God curses will be certainly destroyed, Mt 25:41. Where there is not power to do it, to curse implies the invoking of the aid of God to devote to destruction. Hence it means, to imprecate; to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express one's self in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner. In this passage it seems to have especial reference to this.

{h} "Bless them which persecute you" Mt 5:44

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Rejoice with them, etc. This command grows out of the doctrine stated in Ro 12:4,5 that the church is one; that it has one interest; and therefore that there should be common sympathy in its joys and sorrows. Or, enter into the welfare of your fellow- Christians, and show your attachment to them by rejoicing that they are made happy. Comp. 1 Co 12:26. "And whether— one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." In this way happiness diffuses and multiplies itself. It becomes expanded over the face of the whole society; and the union of the Christian body tends to enlarge the sphere of happiness, and to prolong the joy conferred by religion. God has bound the family of man together by these sympathies, and it is one of the happiest of all devices to perpetuate and extend human enjoyments.

Weep, etc. See Barnes "Joh 11:35".

At the grave of Lazarus our Saviour evinced this in a most tender and affecting manner. The design of this direction is to produce mutual kindness and affection, and to divide our sorrows by the sympathies of friends. Nothing is so well fitted to do this as the sympathy of those we love. All who are afflicted know how much it diminishes theft sorrow to see others sympathizing with them, and especially those who evince in theft sympathies the Christian spirit, How sad would be a suffering world if there were none who regarded our griefs with interest or with tears! if every sufferer were left to bear his sorrows unpitied and alone! and if all the ties of human sympathy were rudely cut at once, and men were left to suffer in solitude, and unbefriended! It may be added, that it is the special duty of Christians to sympathize in each other's griefs,

(1.) because their Saviour set them the example;

(2) because they belong to the same family;

(3) because they are subject to similar trials and afflictions; and

(4) because they cannot expect the sympathy of a cold and unfeeling world.

{i} "Rejoice with them" 1 Co 12:26.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Be of the same mind, etc. This passage has been variously interpreted. "Enter into each other's circumstances, in order to see how you would yourself feel." Chrysostom. "Be agreed in your opinions and views." Stuart. "Be united or agreed with each other." Flatt. Comp. .

A literal translation of the Greek will give somewhat a different sense, but one evidently correct. "Think of, that is, regard, or seek after the same thing for each other; that is, what you regard or seek for yourself, seek also for your brethren. Do not have divided interests; do not be pursuing different ends and aims; do not indulge counter plans and purposes; and do not seek honours, offices, for yourself, which you do not seek for your brethren; so that you may still regard yourselves as brethren on a level, and aim at the same object." The Syriac has well rendered the passage: "And what you think concerning yourselves, the same also think concerning your brethren; neither think with an elevated or ambitious mind, but accommodate yourselves to those who are of humbler condition." Comp. 1 Pe 3:8.

Mind not high things. Greek, Not thinking of high things. That is, not seeking them, or aspiring after them. The connexion shows that the apostle had in view those things which pertained to worldly offices and honours—wealth, and state, and grandeur. They were not to seek them for themselves; nor were they to court the society or the honours of the men in an elevated rank in life. Christians were commonly of the poorer ranks, and they were to seek their companions and joys there, and not to aspire to the society of the great and the rich. Comp. Jer 45:5, "And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not." Lu 12:15.

Condescend. (sunapagomenoi). Literally, "being led away by, or beingconducted by." It does not properly mean to condescend, but denotes a yielding, or being guided and led in the thoughts, feelings, plans, by humble objects. Margin, "Be contented with mean things."

To men of low estate. In the Greek the word here is an adjective, (tapeinoiv) and may refer either to men or to things, either in the masculine or neuter gender. The sentiment is not materially changed, whichever interpretation is adopted. It means, that Christians should seek the objects of interest and companionship not among the great, the rich, and the noble, but among the humble and the obscure. They should do it because their Master did it before them; because his friends are most commonly found among those in humble life; because Christianity prompts to benevolence, rather than to a fondness for pride and display; and because of the influence on the mind produced by an attempt to imitate the great, to seek the society of the rich, and to mingle with the scenes of gaiety, folly, and ambition.

Be not wise, etc. Comp. Isa 5:21, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." See Barnes "Ro 11:25".

The meaning is, Do not trust in the conceit of your own superior skill and understanding, and refuse to hearken to the counsel of others.

In your own conceits. Greek, Among yourselves. Syriac, "In your own opinion." The direction here accords with that just given; and means, that they should not be elated with pride above theft brethren, or be headstrong and self-confident. The tendency of religion is to produce a low estimate of our own importance and attainments.

{k} "Be of the same mind" 1 Pe 3:8

{l} "not high things" 2 Co 8:21.

{1} "condescend" or, "be contented with mean things"

{m} "Be not wise" Isa 5:21

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Recompense. Render, give, or return. See Barnes "Mt 5:39".

This is probably one of the most difficult precepts of Christianity; but the law of Christ on the subject is unyielding. It is a solemn demand made on all his followers, and it must be obeyed.

Provide. The word rendered provide means, properly, to think or mediate beforehand. Make it a matter of previous thought, of settled plan, of design. This direction would make it a matter of principle and fixed purpose to do that which is right; and not to leave it to the fluctuations of feeling, or to the influence of excitement. The same direction is given in 2 Co 8:21.

Things honest. Literally, things beautiful, or comely. The expression here does not refer to property, or to provision made for a family, etc. The connexion requires us to understand it respecting conduct, and especially our conduct towards those who injure us. It requires us to evince a spirit and to manifest a deportment, in such cases, that shall be lovely and comely in the view of others; such as all men will approve and admire. And the apostle wisely cautions us to provide for this, i.e. to think of it beforehand, to make it a matter of fixed principle and purpose, so that we shall not be overtaken and excited by passion. If left to the time when the offence shall be given, we may be excited and off our guard, and may therefore evince an improper temper. All persons who have ever been provoked by injury (and who has not been?) will see the profound wisdom of this caution to discipline and guard the temper by previous purpose, that we may not evince an improper spirit.

In the sight of all men. Such as all must approve; such that no man can blame; and, therefore, such as shall do no discredit to religion. This expression is taken from Pr 3:4. The passage shows that men may be expected to approve a mild, kind, and patient temper in the reception of injuries; and facts show that this is the case. The Christian spirit is one that the world must approve, however little it is disposed to act on it.

{n} "Recompense to man evil" Mt 5:39; 1 Pe 3:9

{o} "Provide things honest" 2 Co 8:21

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 18

Verse 18. If it be possible. If it can be done. This expression implies that it could not always be done. Still it should be an object of desire; and we should endeavour to obtain it.

As much as lieth in you. This implies two things:

(1.)We are to do our utmost endeavours to preserve peace, and to appease the anger and malice of others.

(2.) We are not to begin or to originate a quarrel. So far as we are concerned, we are to seek peace. But then it does not always depend on us. Others may oppose and persecute us; they will hate religion, and may slander, revile, and otherwise injure us; or they may commence an assault on our persons or property. For their assaults we are not answerable; but we are answerable for our conduct towards them; and on no occasion are we to commence a warfare with them. It may not be possible to prevent their injuring and opposing us; but it is possible not to begin a contention with them; and when they

If all Christians would follow this command, if they would never provoke to controversy, if they would injure no man by slander or by unfair dealing, if they would compel none to prosecute them in law by want of punctuality in payment of debts or honesty in business, if they would do nothing to irritate, or to prolong a controversy when it is commenced, it would put an end to no small part of the strife that exists in the world.

{p} "live peaceably" Ps 34:14

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Dearly beloved. This expression of tenderness was peculiarly appropriate in an exhortation to peace. It reminded them of the affection and friendship which ought to subsist among them as brethren.

Avenge not yourselves. To avenge is to take satisfaction for an injury by inflicting punishment on the offender. To take such satisfaction for injuries done to society is lawful and proper for a magistrate, Ro 13:4; and to take satisfaction for injuries done by sin to the universe is the province of God. But the apostle here is addressing private individual Christians. And the command is, to avoid a spirit and purpose of revenge. But this command is not to be so understood that we may not seek for justice, in a regular and proper way, before civil tribunals. If our character is assaulted, if we are robbed and plundered, if we are oppressed contrary to the law of the land, religion does not require us to submit to such oppression and injury without seeking our rights in an orderly and regular manner. If it did, it would be to give a premium to iniquity, to countenance wickedness, and require a man, by becoming a Christian, to abandon his rights. Besides, the magistrate is appointed for the praise of those who do well, and to punish evil-doers, 1 Pe 2:14. Further, our Lord Jesus did not surrender his rights, (Joh 18:23;) and Paul demanded that he himself should be treated according to the rights and privileges of a Roman citizen, Ac 16:37. The command here not to avenge ourselves means, that we are not to take it out of the hands of God, or the hands of the law, and to inflict it ourselves. It is well known that where there are no laws, the business of vengeance is pursued by individuals in a barbarous and unrelenting manner. In a state of savage society, vengeance is immediately taken, if possible, or it is pursued for years, and the offended man is never satisfied until he has imbrued his hands in the blood of the offender. Such was eminently the case among the Indians of this country. But Christianity seeks the ascendency of the laws; and in cases which do not admit or require the interference of the laws, in private assaults and quarrels, it demands that we bear injury with patience, and commit our cause unto God. See Le 19:18.

But rather give place unto wrath. This expression has been interpreted in a great variety of ways. Its obvious design is to induce us not to attempt to avenge ourselves, but to leave it with God. To give place, then, is to leave it for God to come in and execute wrath or vengeance on the enemy. Do not execute wrath; leave it to God; commit all to him; leave yourself and your enemy in his hands, assured that he will vindicate you and punish him.

For it is written. De 32:35.

Vengeance is mine. That is, it belongs to me to inflict revenge. This expression implies that it is improper for men to interfere with that which properly belongs to God. When we are angry, and attempt to avenge ourselves, we should remember, therefore, that we are infringing on the prerogatives of the Almighty.

I will repay, etc. This is said in substance, though not in so many words, in De 32:35,36. Its design is to assure us, that those who deserve to be punished, shall be; and that, therefore, the business of revenge may be safely left in the hands of God. Though we should not do it, yet, if it ought to be done, it will be done. This assurance will sustain us, not in the desire that our enemy shall be punished, but in the belief that God will take the matter in his own hands; that he call administer it better than we can; and that if our enemy ought to be punished, he will be. We, therefore, should leave it all with God. That God will vindicate his people, is clearly and abundantly proved in 2 Th 1:6-10; Re 6:9-11; De 32:40-43.

{q} "avenge not yourselves" Le 19:18

{r} "Vengeance is mine" De 32:35

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, etc. This verse is taken almost literally from Pr 25:21,22. Hunger and thirst here are put for want in general. If thine enemy is needy in any way, do him good, and supply his wants. This is, in spirit, the same as the command of the Lord Jesus, (Mt 5:44,) "Do good to them that hate you," etc.

In so doing. It does not mean that we are to do this for the sake of heaping coals of fire on him, but that this will be the result.

Thou shalt heap, etc. Coals of fire are doubtless emblematical of pain. But the idea here is not that in so doing we shall call down Divine vengeance on the man; but the apostle is speaking of the natural effect or result of showing him kindness. Burning coals heaped on a man's head would be expressive of intense agony. So the apostle says that the effect of doing good to an enemy would be to produce pain. But the pain will result from shame, remorse of conscience, a conviction of the evil of his conduct, and an apprehension of Divine displeasure that may lead to repentance. To do this, is not only perfectly right, but it is desirable. If a man can be brought to reflection and true repentance, it should be done. In regard to this passage we may remark,

(1.) that the way to promote peace is to do good even to enemies.

(2.) The way to bring a man to repentance is to do him good. On this principle God is acting continually. He does good to all, even to the rebellious; and he designs that his goodness should lead men to repentance, Ro 2:4. Men will resist wrath, anger, and power; but goodness they cannot resist; it finds its way to the heart; and the conscience does its work, and the sinner is overwhelmed at the remembrance of his crimes.

(3.) If men would act on the principles of the gospel, the world would soon be at peace. No man would suffer himself many times to be overwhelmed in this way with coals of fire. It is not human nature, bad as it is; and if Christians would meet all unkindness with kindness, all malice with benevolence, and all wrong with right, peace would soon pervade the community, and even opposition to the gospel might soon die away.

{g} "If thine enemy hunger" Pr 25:21,22; Mt 5:44

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Be not overcome of evil. Be not vanquished or subdued by injury received from others. Do not suffer your temper to be excited; your Christian principles to be abandoned; your mild, amiable, kind, and benevolent temper to be ruffled by any opposition or injury which you may experience. Maintain your Christian principles amidst all opposition, and thus show the power of the gospel. They are overcome by evil who suffer theft temper to be excited, who become enraged and revengeful, and who engage in contention with those who injure them, Pr 16:32.

But overcome evil with good. That is, subdue or vanquish evil by doing good to others. Show them the loveliness of a better spirit; the power of kindness and benevolence; the value of an amiable, Christian deportment. So doing, you may disarm them of their rage, and be the means of bringing them to better minds.

This is the noble and grand sentiment of the Christian religion. Nothing like this is to be found in the heathen classics; and nothing like it ever existed among pagan nations. Christianity alone has brought forth this lovely and mighty principle; and one design of it is to advance the welfare of man by promoting peace, harmony, and love. The idea of overcoming evil with good never occurred to men until the gospel was preached. It never has been acted on except under the influences of the gospel. On this principle God shows kindness; on this principle the Saviour came, and bled, and died; and on this principle all Christians should act in treating theft enemies, and in bringing a world to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. If Christians will show benevolence, if they will send forth proofs of love to the ends of the earth, the evils of the world will be overcome. Nor can the nations be converted until Christians act on this great and most important principle of their religion, on the largest scale possible, TO "OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD."

{g} "Be not overcome of evil" Pr 16:32

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