Theodoret, Commentary on Romans (1839) Part 1
COMMENTARY OF THEODORET, BISHOP OF CYRUS IN SYRIA, ON ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
|34Theodoret was born at Antioch, A.D. 386. His studies were pursued under Theodore of Mopsuista and Chrysostom, from the works of the latter of whom the present commentary is by many esteemed little more than an abridgement. This, however, on comparing the writings of both those Fathers, can hardly perhaps be admitted in its fullest sense, but rather in that in which Theodoret himself represents it, when in his preface to St. Paul's Epistles, speaking not of Chrysostom, or Theodore, who himself also had composed an exposition of those Epistles, but generally, he says, Τὰς ἀφορμὰς ἐκ τῶν μακαρίων συλλέξω πατέρων, συντομίας δὲ ὅτι μάλιστα φροντιῶ.
At the death of his parents he distributed his whole inheritance to the poor, reserving nothing for himself. About the year 420 he was, against his own will, appointed to the bishopric of Cyrus, to which diocese he became a great benefactor, both spiritually and temporally; extirpating heresy oftentimes at the risk of his life; in private charity and public improvements expending almost all his church revenues; neither receiving himself, nor permitting his domestics to receive any thing of any man to conciliate favour; but throughout fulfilling the part of a good and active shepherd in all his doings and conduct. Although in those troublous times of mutual accusation and recrimination, suffering awhile under suspicions in the matters of Nestorius, his innocence and orthodoxy were finally established at the council of Chalcedon, under the emperor Marcian, A. D. 451, from whence retiring to his diocese he passed the rest of his life in quiet, engaged in his labours on the holy Scriptures, and at length died A. D. 457.
"Of all the Fathers, who have composed works of different kinds, Theodoret is one of those," says Dupin (tom. iii. part 2,) "who has been very happy in every one of them. There are some who have been excellent writers in matters of controversy, but bad interpreters. Others have been good historians, but bad divines. Some have good success in morality, who have no skill in doctrinal points. And very rare is it for those who have addicted themselves to works of piety to be good critics. Theodoret had all these qualities, and it may be said, that he has equally deserved the name of a good interpreter, divine, historian, |35 writer of controversies, apologist for religion, and author of works of piety. But he has principally excelled in his compositions upon the holy Scripture, in which, according to the judgment of the learned Photius, be has outdone almost all other commentators. 'He passes over nothing,' says that writer, 'which needs explication, nor can we find any who unfolds all manner of difficulties better, and leaves fewer things obscure.'"
It may be remarked, in conclusion, that the points of divinity which he chiefly urges, and of which indeed he seems never to lose sight, are those connected with that leading mystery of our religion, the divinity and consubstantiality of our Lord, both because this was the specific point on which the heretics of his day chiefly erred, and against the denial of which consequently he directed his arguments: and that he distinctly maintained the procession of the Holy Spirit from the [Greek]. Rom. viii. 11. [Greek]. Answer to Cyril's Anathem. &c. Pearson on the Creed. Art. VIII.
Various and comprehensive is the doctrine which the holy apostle unfolds in the present epistle. Its general scope is this:—worthy of all awe and adoration to the sincere believer as is the mystery of the divine incarnation, clearly manifesting, as it does, the loving mercy of God; they nevertheless who are involved in the darkness of infidelity, and have not admitted the light of intellectual illumination, scorn that which not even the company of angels can worthily celebrate, as the inspired apostle distinctly says in his Epistle to the Corinthians (I Cor. i. 18). "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to them that are saved it is the power of God." In this Epistle to the Romans, therefore, he exhibits the indispensable necessity of this saving gospel, together with its utility and advantage to all mankind, Jews or Greeks. In order to which, in the first place he convicts the Greeks of having palpably corrupted the moral sense of good and evil, implanted in their constitution by their Maker, and transgressed the natural law; and secondly, the Jews of having, although in the enjoyment of the written instructions of the divine laws, yet rejected the benefit arising from them, and rendered themselves thereby obnoxious to the heavier retribution. After this, he shows that our God and Saviour came not for the condemnation and punishment of sinners, but to bring pardon for their offences, to promise victory over death, and proclaim eternal life.
Again, perceiving that the Jews clung but too much to the law, and those who savoured of the errors 1 of Marcion and Valentine, with the |36 Manichees, too much altogether undervalued and condemned it, as an expert general surrounded on all sides by his enemies strikes down first one, and then the other, so does the holy apostle break in pieces, by divine grace, the band of the heretics, and all the array of the Jews. For how does he conduct the argument? By neither elevating the law too high, because of the extravagance of the Jews, nor giving any occasion for reproach to the profane heretics, but demonstrating that it taught all that was needful, and brought in the doctrine of justification, although incompetent to convey justification itself by reason of the infirmity of those under it; and showing that faith brings to effect the design of the law, and what it fain would do, but cannot, it perfects through the grace of the thrice holy Spirit. By all which we learn, how continually regardful of mankind is God our Creator, in that not only did he implant in our nature the power of discriminating between good and evil, but also by the very works of his creation led such as were willing to piety and holiness, for although all were not thus willing to see the truth, they who were had full enjoyment of it, as they desired.
He next further instructs us, that the God of all turned not to this plan of our salvation, as though in a change of council from any of his former designs, but as having long ago foretold it in the ancient prophets; he sets forth the cause of the rejection of the Jews; and admonishes the believing Gentiles not to boast over them; exhorting them to lead the way in the gospel. With these doctrinal lessons he joins recommendations to practical virtue, at once displaying the truth, and reforming the morals. Such then is the general argument of the epistle, all the particulars in which the interpretation of the separate passages will now clearly make known to us.
1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an Apostle. Governors and generals superscribe their letters with the designations of their respective dignities, priding themselves thereon, and puffed up in fancied greatness by each fresh tide of honour; the holy apostle is content to call himself "one born out of due time,"2 and "the chief of sinners," and to pronounce himself " unworthy the apostleship;" while yet, for the benefit of such as should receive his epistles, he prefixes to them the appellations which by grace he had obtained, that so, by seeing the honours belonging to the writer, they might the more readily and zealously welcome them. And he begins by Paul, not as having been so named of old by his parents, but as preferred to it after his call, as was Simon to that of Peter, and the sons of Zebedee to those of Sons of Thunder, Jacob to that of Israel, and Abram to that of Abraham. Next, servant of Jesus Christ, whom infidels reviled as dead and crucified, and a mere carpenter's son, and yet whose service the apostle notwithstanding chose above any sovereignty.
Then he speaks of himself as called, alluding to his divine call, and |37 adds the name an apostle, teaching us that this also he had gained. For since our Lord gave this designation to the twelve, so the holy apostle here also places it, not as in a presumptuous self-assumption thereof, but as having had it bestowed upon him by his Master himself. "For depart," said he unto him, "because I will send thee for hence unto the Gentiles," (Acts xxii. 21;) and this be farther proves by what follows, namely; separated unto the gospel of God. I am not self-elected, exclaims he, but have been entrusted with the ministry of the word by God himself. Now it was the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who thus set him apart; for that the Father did so, he himself declares in his Epistle to the Galatians (i. 15, 16). " It pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me; that I might preach him among the heathen and that, again, the only- begotten Son did this likewise, is evident where the apostle tells us in the Acts (xxiii. 21) how the Lord was seen of him in the temple, commanding him to hasten and go out, because the Jews would not receive his preaching, adding, "Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."
And the very same thing he said to Ananias, when he was hesitating and drawing back, (Acts ix. 15;) "Go thy way, for this man is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." And so St Luke also tells us, (xiii. 2,) that "as the prophets were ministering unto the Lord, and fasting, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." Evident therefore from hence is the equality of the Trinity. And so also the gospel he now speaks of as the gospel of God, and a little onward as the gospel of the Son, saying, " for God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son." This I have not noted on idly, or to no purpose, but in order to point out how indifferently the teachers of the truth mention the same things, sometimes as those of the Father, and sometimes as those of the Son.
The doctrines also preached he designates as the gospel, because they promise the supply of so many blessings, announcing reconciliation with God, the overthrow of the devil, forgiveness of sins, conquest over death, the resurrection of the deceased, eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven. Having then thus stated that he had been separated to the gospel of God, the holy apostle next proceeds immediately to prove in the first place its antiquity, lest any should be foolish enough to except against it as a novelty, and so reject it; and says, 2. Which he has promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures, for the Old Testament is full of predictions concerning the Lord. Nor does he call them holy for no reason, but firstly to show that he acknowledged their inspiration; secondly, as excluding all other writings, for the inspired book alone contains all things we can need. And he adds the nature of the promise,— 3: Concerning his Son, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh. By all the prophets, says he, God has prophesied of the things relating to his Son, who, in his nature begotten of him before all eternity, yet made himself the son of David, inasmuch as he took his human nature, of the seed of David. Having then thus mentioned David, it was necessary that he should subjoin, according to the flesh, lest he should be considered as by nature the son of David, and by grace only |38 the Son of God; for the addition, according to the flesh, indicates that as to his divinity he is in truth the Son of God the Father. For indeed this phrase we can never find applied to those who simply are such as they appear; as St. Matthew the evangelist witnesses, when saying, Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judah, and so going through the whole genealogy in order, he never yet uses this expression, according to the flesh, seeing that it suited not them which were mere men; and so then the divine incarnate Word of God being not only man, but God also from eternity, the apostle, having mentioned David, necessarily adds according to the flesh, clearly to teach us how he was indeed the Son of God, and how yet made to be of David; 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Before his cross and passion, not only to the other Jews, but even to the apostles themselves, our Lord Christ did not seem to be God; for they were misled by his perfect humanity, when they saw him eating and drinking, and sleeping, and becoming fatigued; nor could even his miracles bring them to this conviction; and thus, for instance, when they beheld the miracle at the sea of Tiberias (Matt. viii. 27,) they cried out, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" In full accordance with which, our Lord said unto them, (John xvi. 12,) "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them yet. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth and again, (Luke xxiv. 49,) "Tarry ye here in this city, until ye shall be endued with power from on high, the holy Ghost coming upon you."
Before his passion, then, such were the ideas they entertained of him; but after his resurrection and ascension to heaven, and the illumination of the thrice holy Spirit, and the various miracles which by the invocation of his sacred name they performed, all the faithful knew that be is God, and the only-begotten Son of God. This then the holy apostle teaches here, that he, who according to the flesh was designated as the son of David, was proved and set forth as the Son of God, in the power exercised by the thrice holy Spirit, after the resurrection from the dead of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name. For he himself sent us forth as teachers, committing to us the salvation of all nations, and giving grace suitable to that preaching, that they who hear it may hearken unto us, and believe the word. 6. Among whom are ye also called of Jesus Christ. Of which nations, whose husbandry is thus entrusted to me, ye are part; for think not that I am appropriating what belongs to another, or seizing on fields allotted to some one else, for the Lord hath constituted me the minister of all the Gentiles; 7. To all that are beloved of God in Rome, called saints.
He at the same time honours them with such high and divine appellations, and represses every rising of arrogance. For, in the first place, instead of making any distinction between them as the masters of the world, and the other nations, he joins them with them; and, secondly, he writes to all, without respect of persons, addressing together, servants, beggars, and working-people; the wealthy, and the powerful; for that there were some of the latter who believed, he shows in the Epistle to |39 the Philippians, (iv. 22,) saying, "They that are of Caesar's household salute you." It is evident, indeed, that he writes not to the unbelieving, but to those already converted, wherefore he calls them both called, and saints, exalting them with such spiritual appellations, and inflaming thereby their love towards their great Benefactor. Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus then he completes the introduction to his letter, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, to all that in Rome are beloved of God, called saints; grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ;" the rest which intervenes he threw in between, in order to mark whose messenger be had been constituted, and what were the tidings wherewith he had been entrusted, and to whom he had been commissioned to bring them. And he invokes on them first God's grace, because by this it was that believers obtained salvation; and next peace, by which he indicates the full establishment of virtue, since he alone has peace with God who has embraced an evangelical course, seeking ever to serve him in all things. And of these gifts he shows that not the Father only, but the Son also is the giver, in saying, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ; by which expression he plainly teaches the equality of the Father and the Son. 8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
The apostle speaks not thus to flatter them, but in strict truth. For it was impossible that what happened at Rome should not be known throughout all the world; since there anciently the Roman emperors had their palaces, and from thence the monarchs proceeded, and the collectors of tribute throughout the different cities, and there resorted all who sought the favour of royalty, by all of whom it was spread abroad, that Rome bad received the doctrine of Christ; which was of the greatest benefit to those who heard it, on which account the holy apostle returns thanks to God for the same. |93
And now, since he had declared that he had been appointed the teacher of all the gentiles, and yet during so long a time had neither come himself unto them, nor instructed them in the truth by letters, he is constrained to speak in his own defence, and calls God to witness his affection towards them. 9. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 10. Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
There are many kinds of service; for he who prays to God is serving him, and he who fasts; and he who applies himself to the diving oracles; and indeed even he who busies himself in providing hospitality to strangers; and here then the holy apostle speaks of serving God in bringing the gospel of his Son to the gentiles, and serving in the spirit, that is, in the spiritual gift conferred on him;3 so pleasing to God did |94 he feel was the glory of his Son. And, expressing himself critically, he does not simply say that he begged for this entrance unto them, but according to the will of God, that is, if it so please the Ruler of all things. If then where the salvation of so many thousands was concerned, the apostle yet asked not any thing absolutely, but to his petition joined the Divine will, how inexcusable must ourselves be, if busied about, and praying for, the mere objects of sense, we rest not at once all things concerning us on the Divine good pleasure. 11. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift. What he says is full of humility; his words are not, that I may "give," but that I may "impart;" that is, of what I myself have received I may communicate unto you. Inasmuch, moreover, as the great Peter had already conveyed to them the doctrines of the gospel, he necessarily adds, to the end ye may be established; for I desire, says he, not to bring you some other doctrine, but to confirm that already preached among you, and to water trees already planted.4 And full of modesty again is what he adds, 12. That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me; for not only do I wish to give, but to receive also from you, for the zeal of the disciple comforts and invigorates the master. 13. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that often times I purposed to come unto you, but was prevented hitherto.
He shows what he had intended, and how Providence had overruled that intention; for Divine grace, says he, orders me even as he will; and having thus thrown in the "I have hitherto been prevented," he shows the more clearly on what account he had been anxious to come to them— that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other gentiles. 14. I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise; 15. So that as much as in me lies, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. I have been appointed the teacher of all nations, wherefore I owe the debt of an evangelist not to the Greeks only, but to the Barbarians also. For this was it that the grace of the Spirit conferred on us the gift of other tongues; and it behoves us to discharge our debt both to those who boast in their wisdom, and to those who are unlearned likewise. By wise he means those who prided themselves on their eloquence; by unwise, those who for their ignorance were so denominated by such as were called philosophers, or wise men. And, as not all would receive the preaching of the gospel, fitly has he added, as much as in me lies; for it is mine to preach, but the believing depends on the hearers. And as he frequently calls this preaching by the name of the gospel, and the gospel contains an account of our Lord's passion, cross, and death, all which to the unbeliever seemed full of dishonour, he seasonably adds, 16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. I look not, says he, to the apparent disgrace, but to the blessing arising therefrom, namely, that from it believers obtain salvation. |95
And thus of mere outward objects many have their own property bidden within them; as pepper, for instance, has a cold appearance, and to those that are unacquainted with it shows no sign of heat, while he that bites it with his teeth perceives its fiery nature; on which account physicians rank it among hot things as to its quality, as though not looking so, and yet capable of being proved to be such. And thus also corn may become the root, and the stock, and the ear, which yet it could never seem, until it has been sown in the furrows of the field. Justly then does the holy apostle call the saving gospel the power of God, as exhibiting its power, and bestowing salvation, only on believers. And this he says is offered to all, both Jews and Greeks; and the Jews he puts first, before the Greeks, inasmuch as our Lord Christ sent the holy apostles as preachers to them first; for thus God proclaims by the prophet (Is. xlii. 6,) "I have appointed thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the gentiles calling the Jews the people, since of them he sprung according to the flesh. 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; not to all is it revealed, but to those who have the eyes of faith.
The holy apostle here teaches us how from of old God has thus provided for us, and predicted the same by the prophets; and even before the prophets, had his own determination concerning these things secretly within himself, for this also he states in another place, (Eph. iii. 9,) saying, "The mystery which hath been hidden in God, who created all things; "and again, (1 Cor. ii. 7,) "We speak the wisdom hidden in a mystery, which God foreordained before the world, unto our glory." And here therefore he says not that righteousness is given, but revealed; for that which had been so long hidden is now made known to believers. From faith to faith, says he; for we ought to believe the prophets, and by them be brought to the faith of the gospel.
But this may bear another sense also; for he who believes in our Lord Christ, and has received the grace of the most holy baptism, and enjoys the free gift of adoption, is led on to believe in yet further coming blessings; the resurrection of the dead, I mean, eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven. By the righteousness of God, revealed in the gospel, he speaks not only of that which is hereby supplied to us, but that also which is so plainly set forth in the mysterious scheme of this his dispensation. For he effected not our salvation by mere power, nor destroyed the strength of death by his mere voice and command, but by combining pity with justice. For the very only-begotten Word of God, by putting on the nature of Adam, and keeping it free from all sin, obtained this for us, and paying the debt of nature, discharged the common forfeit of mankind.
But all this the holy apostle teaches more clearly below, and it were better for us to follow on our exposition passage by passage. Having then said that this salvation was offered to both Jews and Greeks, provided they were themselves duly disposed towards it, he confirms the assertion by the testimony of Scripture, saying, Even as it is written, The just shall live by faith. This he subjoins for the sake of the Jews, in order to teach them not to cling still to the dispensation of the law, but listen rather to their own prophets, who from of old set forth salvation |96 through faith. And here, quitting his first point—the censure of the Jews, he commences his charge against all the gentile nations, that they had recklessly violated the law implanted in their nature by their Maker. And this blame of them includes a vindication of the Creator; for when he formed them, he suffered them not to live like the irrational creation, but dignified them with reason, and gave them judgment, and established in them the power of discriminating between good and evil; which position is evidenced by such as, before the coming of the Mosaic law, were illustrious for holiness and virtue, as well as by such as followed the opposite course. For so Adam, the instant he had transgressed the commandment, and eaten the forbidden fruit, attempted to hide himself, under the stings of conscience; and when called to account, neither denied what had been done, nor pretended ignorance in his defence, but threw the blame of the accusation on the woman; which plainly shows that our nature possessed the power of discerning the true character of things. And thus again Cain, having privily slain his brother, when examined, "Where is thy brother Abel?" denied it, and attempted to conceal what had been done, but when convicted, confessed that his punishment was just, and owned the equity of his judge, acknowledging that he had sinned beyond pardon; and a thousand other similar instances are to be found in the holy Scriptures: wherefore the holy apostle adds, 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in ungodliness. For nature taught them both that God was the Maker of all things, and that they ought to avoid unrighteousness, and seek righteousness; but they used not the instructions which it gave as they ought to have done; wherefore he threatened them with future punishment.
He here puts the word revealed, in that disbelievers who hearkened not to those threats were the very persons who should experience the truth of what he said. And vengeance he calls the wrath of God; not that God punishes with any passion of mind, but that by giving it so awful a name he might alarm the gainsayer. And he says, is revealed from heaven, because our God and Saviour will appear from thence, as the Lord himself declares, (Mark xiii. 26,) "Then shall ye see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory." 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: who then gave them this knowledge? for God hath showed it unto them. 20. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. Creation, says he, and all things made in that creation, the succession of time, the change of seasons, the alternations of day and night, the labourings of the clouds, the blasts of the winds, the fruitfulness of plants and seeds, and the various other similar phenomena, plainly point out to us, that God is both the Maker of all things, and that He wisely holds the keys of the creation; for He who framed all things of His alone lovingkindness, can never leave neglected what He hath brought into being; wherefore the holy Apostle says not the invisible thing, but invisible things; that is, His creation, His providence, His just sentence on each person, and all His various dispensations; most unpardonable then are they who, enjoying such a multitude of teachers, yet have received no |97 improvement from so many lessons, for this he adds, so that they are without excuse, for the works of creation themselves almost cry out against them, that they have nothing to plead in arrest of the threatened evils. 21. Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful. For that they were aware of the existence of God, they themselves testify by their continual use of His adorable name, while yet rejecting all suitable sentiments concerning him. But became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, for they followed senseless notions, and welcomed in the darkness of infidelity. 22. Professing themselves wise, they became fools. He increases their reprobation by the very name they gave themselves, in that, while calling themselves wise, they proved by their works that they were void of understanding. 23. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man. For not choosing to perceive that the Maker of all things is superior to decay, and far above all that is seen, they called the likenesses of their own bodies, gods; for indeed it was not intelligences, which are invisible, (ch. i. 23-27,) that their statuaries, sculptors, and painters, endeavoured to convey representations of, but perishable mortal bodies; nor was this impiety enough, but they must needs, moreover, worship the images of birds, beasts, and creeping things; and while they should rather have considered that some of these men eat as food, some loathe as unclean, and some avoid as noxious, in their excess of madness and folly they made the likeness of these very things —which men thus ate, loathed, or killed—into gods. 24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. He puts gave them up for permitted; and he means, that, seeing them willing neither by the works of creation to be led up to the Creator, nor by the judgment of reason to choose the better and avoid the worse in practice, he deprived them of his special providence, and suffered them to be carried about like an unsteady vessel, no longer enduring to direct those, who had fallen into the grossest impiety, productive of a lawless life. 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Impiety, he says, was the foundation of their iniquities, and by both they became stripped of the Divine grace. The name "God" is what he here means by the truth of God, an idol made with hands by a lie; because that when they ought to have worshipped the true God, they offered the adoration belonging to Him to the creature instead. And to the same reproach do they lie open, who call the only-begotten Son of God a creature, and yet worship Him as God; for they ought either, admitting His divinity, to rank Him not with created things, but with God who begat Him; or else, pronouncing Him a created being, not to pay adoration to Him as divine.—But let us pursue the order of our exposition. 26. For this cause, God gave them up to infamous passions, for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. 27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another, men with men working that which is unseemly. Iniquity walks hand in hand with impiety, so that as they had changed the truth of God into a lie, so did they in like manner exchange the proper object and exercise of the |98 passions for that which was abominable. And receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. For infamy is the severest penalty of such affections. And thus, what not even a victorious enemy had ever attempted to inflict on them, they themselves willingly ran into; and punishment thereby, heavier than that which any judge would impose, do they voluntarily bring on themselves. And what then was the cause of all these evils? 28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. For if they had been willing to know Him, they would have followed the Divine laws; but now, choosing to deny their Maker, they were altogether stripped of his protecting care, whereby they wrecklessly ventured on every kind of wickedness. 29. Being filled with all unrighteousness. By unrighteousness he means that (disposition) which is diametrically opposed to righteousness, for from this springs every kind of reprehensible conduct. And he proceeds to detail its natural fruits. Fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31. Without understanding, covenant- breakers, without natural affection, faithless, unmerciful. By fornication he signifies intercourse independent of marriage. By wickedness, a savage disposition. By covetousness, the desire of getting more and more, and the carrying off of what does not belong to oneself. By maliciousness, the bent of the mind to evil, and the planning of injury to a neighbour. Full of envy. Bitter is the passion, and unable to bear the prosperity of a neighbour. It is the parent of murder, and conceives deceit. Wounded by envy, and calling in deceit as an helpmate, Cain led his brother forth into the field, and feared not to slay him. By malignant, he means such as exercise their thoughts in laying snares, and designing mischief to those around them. By whisperers, such as privily murmur into the ear abuse of others standing by. By backbiters, such as recklessly indulge in the scandal of the absent. By haters of God, such as are inimically disposed towards him. By despiteful, such as are given to petulance and insolence. By proud, such as are overmuch elevated by every superiority they possess. By boasters, such as are vainly puffed up, while haying no just cause for so exalted self- complacency. By inventors of evil things, such as not only fearlessly run through all existing ordinary evil, but devise yet further means of ill-doing in addition. Disobedient to parents; and baseness indeed is this, of the grossest kind, nature herself condemning it. Without understanding; for they who have fallen upon so lawless a life have lost all marks of reason. Covenant breakers; such as have embraced an unsocial and depraved state. Without natural affection; such as will not learn the laws of friendship. Faithless; such as fearlessly break through all engagements. Unmerciful; such as imitate the ferocity of the brute creation. 32. Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that do them. We have shown how nature teaches us to choose good, and avoid evil; but these, says he, nevertheless, think it not enough to commit such things, unless they also commend such as do so likewise: which is the last excess |99 of wickedness, seeing that they ought not only to hate the transgressions of others, but with loathing to reprobate even their own. |158
He proceeds now in another way to prove our possession of the power of discriminating between good and evil. 1. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself for thou that judgest doest the same things. But, although thus situated, if you had received authority from any one to pass sentence, you would punish the transgressors of the law as guilty, so perfect a distinguishment have you between good and its |159 opposite. It becomes you then to be aware, that in the very judgment you pronounce on others as sinners, you involve yourselves in the same condemnation, for you have not hesitated to fall into the same transgressions. 2. But we answer that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things: but it is evident to those who think rightly, that by the divine law all who transgress are obnoxious to punishment. 3. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4. Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering? We know indeed that in His own due time the righteous Judge will inflict vengeance on every sinner, but you, says he, who are so ready to punish others, and to shut your eyes to your own transgressions, imagine that you will escape the divine tribunal. Not so. God bears with you, and has long-suffering, because He yet waits your repentance, as he subjoins, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. 5. But after thine hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6. Who will render to every man according to his deeds. For since you have an obdurate spirit, and remain still in your iniquity, you are passing against yourself the sentence of punishment, which God in mercy indeed yet delays, but will in the last day set forth, allotting to each a recompense correspondent to their own works.
Well does he adopt the expression, treasurest up unto thyself in order to show, that nothing of ours, whether word or deed, is consigned to oblivion, but that they who love virtue are laying up for themselves a store of good, and the workers of evil-doing the same (of evil). 7. To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honour and immortality, eternal life. He teaches the difficulties of virtue, and displays its crown, for the patient continuance in welldoing is expressive of those difficulties, in that we must persevere in and carry through our virtue, and so expect its crown: but the labour is but for a time, the gain eternal; and this eternal he joins not to the life only, but to the glory, the honour and the immortality also, being desirous to illustrate the reward of our good deeds in as many ways as possible. 8. But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.
As with respect to the former party, it was not simply to any chance person, nor to such as follow virtue sluggishly, that he promised those blessings, but to those who are contented to undergo its difficulties and labours, in like manner does he now threaten the heavy denunciations upon sin not to such as are betrayed into it on some chance occasion, but such as determinately pursue it, as is evident from the are contentious, the obey not the truth, and the work evil. Jews and Gentiles equally, says he, he will punish if transgressors, and deem worthy of the crown if zealous after holiness and righteousness. By the Gentiles he means not such as had become converts to the divine preaching, but such as had lived antecedently to our Lord's incarnation; nor to those among them who were idol-worshippers; but those who, being beyond the Mosaic polity, yet had embraced true piety, and sought after |160 righteousness, does he promise eternal life. 10. But glory, honour, and peace to every man that doeth good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
He speaks thus, not without a distinct design, but with a view to what follows, where he enters upon the accusation of the Jews. 11. For there is no respect of persons with God. 12. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. God, says he, is the Maker of all, and therefore the Judge of all; and the Jews then will he take account of, and condemn, according to the Mosaic code, but those that have never received it, whom he means by the without law, and their sin, He will justly punish according to the knowledge of good and evil implanted in their nature. 13. For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For the law was not sent to us to gratify our ears, but to lead us to the practice of what is right. 14. For when the Gentiles which have not the law do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.
For that the divine law demands such a practical obedience they also testify, who, antecedently to the Mosaic code, exercised themselves in holy thoughts, and adorned their lives with virtuous deeds, and became their own lawgivers. 15. Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also being witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another. 16. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. He shows that the law of nature was written in their hearts, and that the self-condemnation or self-vindication of conscience was according to truth.
And I think it worth while to illustrate this by some example. When then the admirable Joseph was bringing his plot to bear concerning Benjamin, and attempting to take him for a slave, as if he had stolen the cup, in order to prove the temper of his brethren as it were in the fire, then was clearly manifested the strength of the testimony of conscience. For then they were least inclined to turn their minds to that tragedy, and yet could not but remember the sin themselves had committed two and twenty years before, so that they cried one to another, (Gen. xlii. 21, 22,) that the blood of our younger brother is required at our hands, while Reuben reminded them of his entreaties among them. Agreeably then to this instance may we describe the future judgment and conscience of those who lived beyond the polity of the law, now as pleading their defence, and alleging ignorance, and now again admitting the justice of the accusation, and confessing the equity of the sentence passed upon them. And thus, again, Abimelech, (Gen. xx. 4, 8,) having the testimony of his own conscience, cried to God, "Lord, wilt thou slay an unconscious and righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister, and she, even she herself said, He is my brother? with an innocent heart have I done this thing."
Having thus then laid down these matters, the holy apostle now turns his discourse to the Jews, and says, 17. Behold, thou art entitled a Jew, for this title was from of old a general and honourable one, wherefore he says not merely named, but entitled; and restest in the law, for thou weariest not thyself, like him who is a stranger to the law, in searching after what is right and fitting in practice, but hast the law itself teaching thee all things plainly; and makest thy boast of God, as of one, who has honoured thee above all the |161 nations on the earth, dignified thee with his especial providence, bestowed on thee the law, and led thee by the prophets. 18. And knowest the will, that is, the will of God: and discernest the differences, that is, between things which are opposite to each other, righteousness and unrighteousness, justice and injustice, temperance and excess, piety and impiety; Being instructed out of the law, for this it is, which was thy teacher in these matters; 19. And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them in darkness, 20. An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes. He here points out their arrogant self- opinion, and lays bare the superciliousness they exhibited towards proselytes; which hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law, for the divine law has furnished thee with the characters of all these things. 21. Thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22. Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idolst dost thou commit sacrilege? 23. Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? He shows that they had drawn no benefit from the establishment of the law among them, but being content to pride themselves on its mere letter, and endeavouring to teach others, while by their deeds contradicting their words, so boasted in the law in vain; and he adds a proof to confirm the accusation, 24. For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written; not only art thou not the cause of glory being given to God, but through thee many tongues are excited to speak evil of his name, in that when they witness thy wicked life, they openly reproach the God who hath chosen thee for his own.
Having, thus shown that they had taken no advantage from the Mosaic legislation, he turns his discourse to circumcision, and proves that it also is deprived of its object, when separated from the other works belonging, thereto; 25. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. The holy apostle follows in the train of the ancient prophecies, the God of all says by the prophet Jeremiah, (ix. 26;iv, 4.) "All the Gentiles are uncircumcised in the flesh, but the house of Israel are uncircumcised in their hearts;" and again, "Circumcise yourselves to God;" adding, in order to show what is the circumcision which he speaks of as pleasing to God, "take away the hardened foreskin of your hearts."
Starting from this point, the holy apostle shows that circumcision is idle, if the circumcision of the heart be wanting, for it was instituted in order to that, which if absent the other is of no avail, since it bears but the part of a sign. For where we put gold, or silver, or precious stones, or valuable raiment, we are in the habit of affixing a mark, but, when none of these is within, the inscription of such a mark is idle. 26. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? The law, says he, demands practice; when then thou who art circumcised hast not this, but the uncircumcised has, oughtest not thou justly to be, called a sinner, and he receive thine honourable name instead; no longer, acceding to your reproaches, being named uncircumcised, but rather |162 circumcised, as having cut off the evil of his heart. 27. And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? Worthy of all admiration is the exceeding greatness of the apostle's wisdom, in that it is not the natural, which he opposes to the written, law, but the despised name to the honoured, uncircumcision to circumcision. And this he says is free from blame, for no one is born so of his own choice, but so the Creator formed his nature, wherefore neither can any injury arise from thence to such as love virtue; while thou hast received from thine ancestors the sign of circumcision, and hast the law teaching thee what thou shouldest do, and yet in thy works actest contrary to all that the law points at.
Having thus demonstrated that circumcision was given for a sign, and had afterwards become idle, he then proves that neither has the name a Jew any advantage, 28. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; 29. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God. He falls back here upon the testimony of the prophetic writings, which we have above quoted, for "Circumcise" says he, "the hardened foreskin of your hearts." |231
Having thus checked the pride of the Jew, and shown that he boasted in vain in circumcision, and in the law, and in the name of a Jew; lest any one should suppose that he spoke thus from an angry or hostile |232 feeling, he continues, 1. What more then had the Jew, or what profit was there in circumcision? If then, says he, some among heathen and alien nations, who were adorned with piety and virtue, share in the divine favour, to what good did God separate Israel from the Gentiles, and give them the rite of circumcision? for by the more of the Jew he means advantage above the Gentiles. 2. Much in every way. For He chose their ancestors, He freed them from the dominion of the Egyptians, He made them the wonder of nations by miracles of all kinds, He gave the law for their assistance, and set over them His prophets; for this is what he means by much in every way: while yet omitting the specific enumeration of all these, he is content to mention the institution of the law alone—Chiefly that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For this was the highest honour: while the other nations possessed only that knowledge which nature gives, themselves to have received the gift of the law in addition. 3. For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid. Well knew the God of all, says be, from of old, both who would keep His law, and who would break it. They, therefore, who did not believe, by no means invalidated5 the divine mercies; nay, for even though all mankind should prove ungrateful towards Him, this their ingratitude could not diminish the glory of God; as he explains in what follows, 4. Yea, let God be true, but every man false. For granting, says he, for argument's sake, that no one soul of man offered to Him the praise and honour due, but all were infected with ingratitude, which is what he means by every man being false, what diminution would God's glory suffer from hence?
And the same thing has the blessed Apostle observed in another place, "For if we believe not," says he, (2 Tim. ii. 13,) "yet He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself." And here he subjoins the testimony of scripture, as it is written, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou judgest. The word that here denotes not the reason, but the result; for we do not therefore sin in order that we may set forth the loving-kindness of God, but Himself supplies the streams of His mercies to bring salvation to all; while men being free agents,6 some prefer the service of God, and some walk in the contrary direction; and so each find their end correspondent with the path they have chosen. But still God's mercies having been extended to them (the latter) also, thus is He fully justified in afterwards judging them, by His previous care bestowed on them. And thus He Himself speaks to Israel, (Micah vi. 3,) "O My people, what have I done unto thee, or how have I grieved thee, or wherein have I wearied thee, testify against Me?" and then enumerates His blessings one by one in order. And thus again in Jeremiah (ii. 5,) does He cry out, "What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, |233 and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?" and again subjoins a list of His past kindnesses. And here the holy apostle introduces a conclusion in the person of his adversary: 5. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say, is not God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance? I speak as a man. 6. God forbid.
It was necessary that he should bring forward the objection raised by others, and he shows its absurdity by his disavowal of it; for not I, says he, speak thus, but have only stated the position of others, which is what he means by as a man. For then how shall God judge the world? 7. For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my falseness unto His glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner? It is one of the most absurd things thus to speak; for the sentence of God is just. Nor can my own unworthiness advance at all the glory arising to God for His kindness, for it were the extremest injustice that they who advanced His glory should yet suffer vengeance from Him, and expect eternal punishment; this indeed is what not even the most unjust of men would do, how far less then He, from whom flow the very fountains of righteousness! 8. And not also, as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil that good may come? whose damnation is just. None of these things, says he, we ourselves maintain, but are calumniously reported so to speak by others, who will suffer the due reward of their calumny. For we must know that, as the holy apostles had declared that where sin abounded, grace did yet more abound, some who themselves were zealous in piety, yet uttering false accusations against them, had published, that they had said, Let us do evil that good may come. But not such indeed was the object of the apostolic doctrine, for they laid down exactly contrary rules, that all should abstain from every iniquity, while only exhorting such as came to their thrice-holy instructions to be of good cheer, in the pardon vouchsafed by God for past offences. And here, ceasing from our exposition awhile, and resting our mind, let us laud and magnify Him, from whose gift it cometh, that man hath a mouth to speak withal, or remaineth mute and dumb; and pray to Him that we may fully comprehend the mind of the apostolic doctrines. For He assuredly will grant it, who hath said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." With whom, to the Father, together with the thrice-holy Spirit, belong glory and majesty, now and for ever, unto endless ages. Amen.
We have already said, that the holy apostle was desirous of showing the necessity of the incarnation of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ; on which account he began by speaking of those, who were strangers to, as well as those also who were under, the law, and convicted the former of having transgressed the natural, and the latter the Mosaic, law, and become worthy of the deepest punishment. Herein does he imitate a skilful physician, who first points out to his patients the virulent nature of their disorder, and then so offers the assistance of his healing remedies. For this he also does; having exhibited the sin of both parties, |234 and proved them deserving of, and obnoxious to, punishment, he next produces his medicine of faith, and sets forth the loving-kindness of the divine dispensation, and says, 9. In what then are we better than they? for we have proved before both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin: 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16. Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17. And the way of peace have they not known: 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
In the part above explained, where he was comparing the case of the circumcision with that of the uncircumcision, he subjoined, "What more then had the Jew?" and here, wishing to show the pre-eminence of the grace of the gospel, he says, In what then are we better than they? for we have demonstrated that those without the law, and those within it, have both gone astray, and he adds the testimony of David as exactly adapted to the matter in hand; and he does so, as being particularly studious of brevity, since otherwise he might have called in all the prophets to the condemnation of the Jews, who allege the same, and even worse, things against them; whence he goes on, 19. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law. He words this with the greatest accuracy of expression, in that he puts it not "concerning" those who are under the law, but to those who are under the law; for it speaks much concerning the Babylonians, and Persians, and Medes, and Egyptians, and many other nations, but, nevertheless, even these predictions concerning them it addresses to the Jews. That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. And again, he employs the word that according to his favourite idiom, (or use of it,) for the God of all did not therefore bestow laws, and send forth His exhortations among men, in order that He might render them obnoxious to punishment, but consulting for their salvation has He done this; themselves it is who, by pursuing an opposite course, have drawn this vengeance on themselves.
Being now about to enter on the privileges of faith, he first demonstrates that all have need of it, and especially, above others, those who boasted in the law: 20. Because that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight. Some of the injunctions of the Mosaic law agreed with the knowledge of nature, such as, "Thou shalt not commit adultery;" "Thou shalt do no murder;" "Thou shalt not steal;" "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour;" "Honour thy father and mother and others of this kind: for they who had never received that law, were yet fully aware that each of these was deserving not only of condemnation, but of punishment likewise. And some, again, the Lawgiver imposed on the Jews as suitable to them for that present time only; such, I mean, as circumcision, and the sabbath, and sacrifices, and sprinklings, and the rites respecting the leper, and the seminally unclean, and such-like; which are the symbols of other things, and when fulfilled, are not in themselves sufficient to make the doer just. |235 Wherefore the holy apostle says, therefore by the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; and then, lest any one should suppose that he was passing a censure on the law, he adds, For by the law is the knowledge of sin. The law, says he, has given to man a more accurate discrimination of sin, and made the condemnation lying on it the heavier; but for the establishment of virtue it is not competent to be sufficient for men.
Having thus shown that the law was only the teacher of good, he proceeds to exhibit the power of grace: 21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Who can sufficiently admire the power of the apostle's wisdom, who shows at once that the law had come to an end, and that it consented to (the covenant of 7) grace. And aptly does he say manifested, for it has now laid clearly before all the hidden mystery of the dispensation; while in this comparison between grace and the law, by proving that both the law and the prophets were witnesses to the former, he exhibits the greatness of its conquest over the latter: 22. Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe. What had been before put down is here repeated, that what was wanting might be added; for having said the righteousness of God is manifested, and then interrupted the sentence to speak of its character, it was necessary that he should resume the phrase again, and show that it was by faith in the Lord Christ that all who desired to do so enjoyed it, whether Jews or Greeks; the unto all refers to the Jews, the upon all to the other nations; and this he goes on to set forth more clearly—For there is no difference: 23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. He briefly shows that all are guilty, and need (the covenant of) grace: 24. Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. For by bringing faith alone,8 we have received remission of our sins, in that the Lord Christ has offered up His own body for us, to be, as it were, the price of redemption.
25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiatory, through faith in His blood. The propitiatory was a golden plate, which lay over the ark, having at either end the figure of a cherub, (Exod. xxv.) and from thence the mercy of God was manifested to the high priest in his ministrations. The holy apostle here then teaches, that the Lord Christ was the true propitiatory, for that ancient one was but a type of this. This name, however, is applied to Him as man, and not as God; for as God He Himself speaks from the propitiatory; while as man He receives this appellation even as others, such as "sheep" and "lamb," and |236 "sin" and "curse," and the like. (See John i. 29, 36. Acts viii. 32. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13.) And the ancient propitiatory was bloodless in itself, inasmuch as it was also inanimate, and received only the sprinklings of the blood of the victims; but the Lord is God, and propitiatory, and high priest, and lamb, arid in His own blood hath worked out our salvation, demanding faith only from us.—To declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past: 25. Through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness. God has both exhibited His own mercy in so long bearing with sinners, and has made manifest His righteousness to all men; for that it was not without any further view that He thus bore with sinners, but as preparing for them this mean of salvation, the next sentence shows—that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. For both these things should we learn from hence, that the God of all has ordered His dispensations concerning ourselves with justice equally as with mercy; and that whosoever believes in the Lord Christ is made partaker of the righteousness which is by faith.
Thus briefly having stated the free gifts conferred by (the covenant of) grace, he returns to his discourse respecting the law, and shows that it yielded the victory to grace. 27. Where is boasting then? This must be read interrogatively, and then comes the answer, It is excluded. He says not destroyed, but excluded; that is, has no longer any place.9 By boasting he means the haughty self-esteem of the Jews, who exalted themselves as the only possessors of God's favour; while now, divine grace having appeared abroad, and been shed among all nations, this arrogance had been put out of the question, in that God had given to man a short and easy mean of salvation in faith; for this the apostle continues to show forth in the following sentences also, By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. He calls faith here a law, not from inconsideration, but as recollecting the prophecy of Jeremiah (xxxi. 31, 32,) "For in those days, saith the Lord, and at that time, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers."
If then the Mosaic law is thus styled a covenant, and the new covenant again bears also the same name, and faith in Christ be the law it enacts, in strict accordance with the phraseology of the prophet does the holy apostle here apply the name of the law to faith. And then he subjoins the conclusion concerning faith: 28. We conclude therefore that a man is justified by faith, without the works of the law. By law here he means that of Moses; but at the same time he says not, we conclude that by faith a Jew is justified, but a man, the common name of the whole human race; as he goes on to reason, 29. Is He the God of the Jews only; is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. And then, as a position which cannot be disputed, he confirms it by the assertion, 30. Seeing that it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. It is one God, who is the God of all; one, who is the Maker of all; nor is it possible that He should be careful for some, and leave others uncared for; wherefore |237 He extends His salvation to all that believe. By circumcision he means the Jews, by uncircumcision the Gentiles. And he next resolves the objection which might be raised, 31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law. For of old both the law and the prophets prophesied of the things concerning the faith, and in receiving therefore the faith we confirm the law. He then brings forward evidences of all this, and, while having it in his power to adduce a vast variety of testimonies from the prophets, prefers going at once to the very root of the Jews, and demonstrates that the righteousness of the patriarch Abraham himself was that which is of faith. |291
1. What shall we then say that Abraham our father hath found, as pertaining to the flesh? What righteousness, says he, before he believed in God, have we heard that Abraham our father had as his own by works? for as pertaining to the flesh means that which is of works, inasmuch as it is by our fleshly bodies that works are done. 2. For if Abraham were justified by works he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.10 The full performance of good works crowns the doers with the prize, but does not exhibit the loving-kindness of God; while faith sets forth both the disposition of the believer towards God, and the loving-kindness of God, who by accepting such faith proclaims him who has acquired it, victorious. And this he confirms by the testimony of Scripture, 3. For what saith Scripture? Abraham believed in God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. For the blessed Abraham obtained not the divine attestation by living according to the law, but enjoyed the riches of justification by believing on Him that called him. 4. Now to him that earneth it by his works the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt. For the doer of righteousness demands his reward, while the righteousness which is of faith is the free gift of the God of all, as is further exhibited in what follows, 5. But to him that earneth it not by his works, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.11
Having thus, in the instance of the patriarch Abraham, demonstrated that faith was older than the law, he now again calls in another trustworthy witness of this,—David the prophet and king, to whom the God of all renewed the promises made to Abraham. For as he had promised to Abraham, (Gen. xxii. 18,) that "in his seed He would bless all nations," in like manner did He proclaim to the most excellent David, (Ps. lxxxix. 35, 38,) "Once have I sworn in my holiness that I will not fail David. His seed remaineth for ever, and His throne as the sun before Me, and as the moon established for ever, and faithful is the witness in heaven:" and again, (v. 25,) "I will set His hand also in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers:" and again, (Ps. lxxii. 11,) "Yea all kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him:" and such like.
And since then he had shown that the blessed Abraham had obtained justification by faith, but then Abraham lived before the establishment of the law, it was necessary that he should now show that David, who |292 lived under the law, himself also bore witness to (the covenant of) grace; and accordingly he says, 6. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7. Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8. Blessed is the man, to whom the Lord will not impute sin. The law, says he, brought punishment on such as sinned, but the prophet speaks of the blessedness of those, who have received forgiveness of their sins. It is evident, therefore, that he is speaking of the blessedness of our own condition, and foretelling the free gifts of grace; and this grace be shows is open to all, saying interrogatively, 9. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? And then again he establishes his position by the case of the patriarch Abraham, For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. He proves that faith is older not merely than the law, but than circumcision itself, and that while circumcision was yet unestablished, the patriarch received the testimony of his righteousness, the righteousness which is of faith. How then could he need circumcision, while having already obtained the righteousness which is of faith? This he clearly explains, 11. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised. Circumcision itself, says he, is not righteousness, but a testimony of righteousness, and a seal and sign of that faith, which he bad exhibited before he was circumcised. That he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also. 12. And the father of circumcision. Here we must make a full stop. For herein he shows that the patriarch first was the father of such as believed, being uncircumcised, inasmuch as he himself, while uncircumcised, offered to God the tribute of faith; and then of the Jews also, as of those who were sharers with him in the circumcision; and this he lays down again, yet more clearly, in what follows, Not to them only who are of the circumcision, but to them also who walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had while yet uncircumcised. For if any one sprung from the Gentiles, and not having received circumcision, should follow in the footsteps of that faith of the patriarch, which he had before his own circumcision, he would not fail of relationship to him; in that the God of all, foreseeing, as God, that He would hereafter gather together one people of the Gentiles, and the Jews, and extend to them salvation through faith, represented both of old in the patriarch Abraham. And thus then he calls him the father of the Gentiles, in having shown that he had acquired, before his circumcision, the righteousness which is of faith, and after his circumcision, had not walked under the Mosaic law, but continued under the guidance of the same faith; in order that both Jews and Greeks, looking to him, might in common aim at his faith, neither the one anxious for his circumcision, nor the other his uncircumcision, for it is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but faith which the holy Scripture speaks of as (the mean of v. 3, 5, 9, &c.) righteousness.
Having thus shown that faith was both older and more excellent than the law, he now also shows that the law was subsequent to the promise |293 given to Abraham, in order thereby to make it manifest that (the covenant of) grace was itself also anterior to the law, seeing that of this it was, that the promises were given to Abraham; for the promise was, that "in his seed all the nations should be blessed," which promise received its accomplishment in Christ. 13. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith: for it was by believing in God, and not by walking according to the Mosaic law, that he received the promise of the blessing of the nations. 14. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect; for if they who live according to the law obtain the promised blessings, in vain did Abraham believe in God, and false and not true were the promises made to him by God. 15. Because the law worketh wrath; for it is the character of the law to punish the transgressors thereof; by wrath he means punishment; for where no law is there is no transgression, for the law punishes the violators of it, for with the law are connected observance and violation; some through zeal for virtue preferring to keep it, and some through love of ease carelessly suffering themselves to violate it.
16. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. He puts down the arrogance of the Jews by applying the name, seed of Abraham, to such as imitated the faith of Abraham, however aliens in blood. But if then, while the law punishes transgressors, (the covenant of) grace gives forgiveness of sins, it confirms thereby the promise made by God, in bringing that blessing on the nations. And as He had called Abraham, the father both of the nations, and of the Jews, he supports the expression by testimony from Scripture, 17. As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, and then he strengthens this testimony by an evidence, Before Him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. For as, says he, God is the Maker of all, and the God, and carer for, all, so did He constitute Abraham, the father of all, not of the Jews only, but of all who believe.
And he (next) exhibits the greatness of Abraham's faith, 18. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, "So shall thy seed be." 19. And not being weak in faith so as to consider his own body now dead, being about an hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah's womb; for while he saw that his wife was barren, that the impotency of old age lay upon both, and that there appeared not, according to human calculation, the smallest hope of child-bearing, and was unable to produce a single similar instance from earlier times for his encouragement, he yet welcomed the divine promise with confidence; for against hope means hope from nature; in hope, confidence in the divine promise. 20. But he staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God: 21. And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. For he looked not to the impotence of nature, but trusted, without doubting, in the Creator of that nature. 22. Wherefore also it was imputed unto him for righteousness; that is, faith was. |294
Having thus shown that faith flourished among those, who were under the law, and those also who lived before it, he turns his discourse to the object proposed. 23. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that faith was reckoned unto him for righteousness, 24. But for us also, to whom it shall be reckoned, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Thus then the patriarch, while he saw the womb of his wife dead, yet believed that it was easy for God to fulfil his promise; and thus then we, while we hear the Jews declaring that our Lord Christ is dead, believe that He is risen again; wherefore we, in our turn, gather the fruits of faith, and enjoy the righteousness springing therefrom. For not for nothing were recorded the things which the Lord God did regarding the patriarch Abraham, but that we, beholding them, might exhibit the like faith ourselves. He that raised up our Lord Christ is spoken of His humanity, for, in the nature in which He suffered, in that it was that He arose, and the suffering was of the flesh, and not of the impassible Godhead. 25. Who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised again for our justification; for for our offences He underwent His passion, that He might pay off our debt, and that His resurrection might work out the common resurrection of all; for by it we both gain the means of our own justification, and, being buried with Him in baptism, receive remission of sins.
Having thus shown the power of faith, and displayed the gifts of (the covenant of) grace, he now turns his discourse to exhortation, bidding us also take heed to the practice of virtue; for having said that, when (the covenant of) faith was revealed, the law became superseded, and that the patriarch had attained the righteousness which is of faith, it was necessary that he should add moral counsels, lest such as lived at ease should take occasion from hence to neglect practical virtue, under the plea that faith alone was sufficient12 for justification. |349
1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. By whom now we have access, by faith, into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Faith then has given us remission of sins, and made us blameless and just by the regeneration of the baptismal font, and it is incumbent on you to preserve the peace thus effected. For the only-begotten by His incarnation has reconciled you, while you were in hostility with Him, and sin it was that produced this hostility, righteousness therefore it must be which will maintain the peace commenced; and this then we are in every way bound to pursue by the consideration of the hopes held out, and the glory promised by God to be given to us. For the recompense of our labours he calls not payment, but glory, to show the excess of our reward. And as they had at that time to endure many troubles, being beaten, tortured, and subjected to a thousand kinds of death, he most fitly brings forward the sources of consolation connected with these things, 3. And not only so, but we even glory in tribulations. He has displayed brightly his own insuperable magnanimity, for it is not, we patiently endure afflictions, which he says, but we even rejoice in afflictions; we are exalted, he exclaims, and take pride to ourselves, as fellow-sharers with the Lord of sufferings; but this he says not openly, because they alone could so feel, who with himself had arrived at completeness13 in the faith; the rest he encourages by what should come hereafter. 4. Knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience proof,14 and proof hope. 5. And hope maketh not ashamed. When misfortunes surround a man, and he bears their attack nobly, he is thereby shown to stand his proof, 15 and leans on the hope of the future; and this is not a fallacious hope, but one based on truth; which is what he means by maketh not ashamed, they who hope, and then are disappointed, being confounded and ashamed. |350
Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For the grace of the thrice holy Spirit, which we received through baptism, has kindled the love of God within us. And he then sets forth the causes of this love. 6. For when we were yet without strength, in time Christ died for the ungodly. 7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. For we reflect, that when we were yet transgressors, and suffering under the infection of impiety, the Lord Christ endured that death, which was inflicted on our behalf; and hence we learn the depth of His loving-mercy, for for a just man it might be, that some might face death, but He, through the excess of His love, welcomed the death which was in behalf of sinners; as he also goes on to say, 8. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God then makes manifest the greatness of His love towards us, in the death of Christ having been undergone, not for such as had been just, but for such as were yet transgressors. For we now have been justified by faith in Him, but, when He undertook that death for us, we were still subject to every kind of sin; the words, in time, mean, at the fit time, in due time, and this he says also in his epistle to the Galatians, (iv. 4, 5.) "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." 9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. Having encountered that accursed (see Gal. iii. 13) death for the ungodly and transgressors, it is evident that He will free from the future punishment those, that believe in Him; for that future (eternal) punishment is what he here calls wrath. 10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved in His life. If while we were antagonists, and enemies, He thought fit to treat us with so great consideration, as to give up His Son to die for us, how is it possible, now that reconciliation has been effected, that we should not share in everlasting life? And here again he calls the Lord Christ, the Son, who, the same, is both God and man; it must be evident therefore, I apprehend, even to the most determined heretics, as to which nature His passion took place.
11. And not only so, but we joy also in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation. For not only do we expect immortal life, but even as to the present existence, glory in having been brought near unto God, while we reflect upon the things concerning the Lord Christ, who, being our mediator, has effected peace.
From hence he proceeds to explain the mystery of the dispensation, and show the reasons of the incarnation, 12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, in that all have sinned. The Lord God having formed Adam, and dignified him with reason, imposed on him one single law for the exercise of those rational faculties; for indeed it was not meet that one who had received reason, and possessed the power of discriminating between good and its opposite, should live without any law at all. He, having been beguiled, transgressed the command. But, from the first, the lawgiver had to the command affixed the threat of retribution, and thus, |351 falling under the sentence of death, he so begot Cain, Seth, and the rest. All therefore, as having sprung from him, inherited a mortal nature. Now such a nature has need of many things, food, and drink, and clothing, and houses, and various arts, and the use of these oftentimes excites the passions into excess, and excess begets sin; and therefore the holy apostle says, that Adam having sinned, and become mortal through that sin, both descended to his race, for death came upon all men, in that all have sinned, for not on account of our first father's transgression, but for his own, each receives the sentence of death.16 13. For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not reckoned (such) where there is no law. He accuses not, as some suppose, those who lived before the law, but all alike; for the until the law means, not until the commencement of, but until the end of, the law; that is, while the law reigned sin had power, for where there is no law, neither can there be transgression.
14. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the type of Him that would come after. By Moses he means the law, as we also find in the Gospels (Luke xvi. 29,) "They have Moses and the prophets;" |352 and so also the holy apostle speaks in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (iii. 15,) " But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their hearts," that is, the law. Death then, says he, reigned from Adam until the manifestation of the Saviour, for then the law received its end, "for the law," says he, "and the prophets, prophesied until John; but from the days of John the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt. xi. 12, 13.) And death, moreover, reigned over those also, who had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, for although they had not transgressed that particular commandment, they had nevertheless ventured on other sins. And he calls Adam the type of Christ, for the latter he designates as Him that would come after, on this account, that as Adam first, by his sin, became subject to the sentence of death, and thus the whole race followed their first parent, so the Lord Christ, having fulfilled the most perfect righteousness, destroyed the power of death, and first rising from the dead shall restore the whole race of man to life. And as he had called Adam the type of Christ, he shows the pre-eminence (of the latter.) 15. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. And how then is this? For if through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. As regards punishment, says he, the Lord God preserved the strict law of justice, and Adam, having sinned, and been given over to death, the whole race followed him; how much more right then that, as regards God's loving-mercy, justice should also be preserved, and all men share in the resurrection of our Lord Christ! He here calls the Lord Christ a man, to show clearly the type in Adam, that as there by one man (came) death, so here by one man the dissolution of death. 16. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. The munificence of grace, says he, goes beyond the limits of justice, for then, one having sinned, the whole race received punishment, but now, all mankind having been unholy, and transgressors, it has brought, not punishment but, the free gift of life.
17. For if by one man's offences death reigned by one; much more they which receive the fulness of grace, and of the gift, and of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. If the transgression of one man established the dominion of death, it is evident that they, which enjoy the plenteous gifts of God, shall be conquerors over death, and share with Christ in the imperishable kingdom and life eternal.18. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Doubt not, says he, concerning what I have said, while looking to Adam; for if those things be true, as indeed they are true, and when he had sinned the whole race received the sentence of death; it is plain, that the righteousness of the Saviour gains life to all men. And again he puts the same thing in another form, varying his phrase, and again and again re-stating it, in order the more clearly to open the mystery of the dispensation. 19. For as by one man s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. With great nicety does he here, in the case of those under Adam, and that of those under grace, adopt the word |353 many, for indeed among the former we find some, who were superior to the grosser sins, as Abe1, and Enoch, and Noah, and Melchisedek, and the patriarchs, and even those who became illustrious under the law; and after (the covenant of) grace there are many who embrace a sinful life.
Having thus shewn us, from what took place through Adam, the reasons for the divine incarnation, he brings forward the objection17 which might arise, and offers a solution. The objection is with regard to the law, which was given in the interim between Adam and the appearance of the Saviour; wherefore the holy apostle says, 20. But the law came in between, that the offence might abound. He means not, by that it might, that such was its object; but uses the words according to his familiar mode of expression.18 But what he is shewing is, that neither in time past did God leave men neglected, but gave the law to the Jews, and by their means showed forth the light of religion on the rest of the nations also. And aptly has he put intervened, in that Christ was the end of the promise made to the patriarch; for "in thy seed," says He, "shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," and the law intervened between Abraham and Christ. And it taught the more clearly how evil a thing sin was, while yet it was incompetent to put a stop thereto, but only the more increased it, seeing that, in proportion as more commandments were given, so many the more became the violations of them. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. It invalidated not, says he, the mercy of God, but rather displayed the vastness of His loving-kindness. 21. That as sin had reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Here he finishes the argument, shewing that as sin, begetting death, had reigned in our mortal bodies, exciting the passions to excess; so grace, conveying to believers the justification which is of faith, has her dominion also, one not coeval with that of sin, but eternal and endless; for the former reigns over our bodies, but at their death ceases from her power, "for he who is dead," according to the holy apostle, "is freed from sin;" while, after the resurrection, our bodies having become imperishable, and immortal, grace will reign in them, sin having no longer any place; for when the passions have ceased, there will be no room for sin. And then again he proposes another objection arising from the subject, and with ease resolves it. |407
1. What shall we say then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. By the reprobation of this, he shows its inconsistency, but the question itself be put down, because of what had been just before said, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Nor is he contented with this bare condemnatory disavowal, but proceeds to treat the subject in another way also:—2. How shall we, that have died to sin, live any longer therein? And how have we died thereto? 3. Know you not, brethren, that as many of us as have been baptized into Jesus Christ have been baptized into His death? Thou hast renounced sin, and hast become dead to it, and buried with Christ; how is it possible then that thou shouldst admit this same sin? 4. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. The very sacrament19 of baptism has taught thee to fly from sin, for baptism carries in it the representation of our Lord's death, for in that thou hast communicated both in the death and in the resurrection of Christ. It becomes thee therefore to lead a new life, as it were, and one suited to Him in whose resurrection thou hast partaken. The divinity of Christ is what he here calls the glory of the Father, for thus also in another epistle he speaks, (Eph. i. 17,)20 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory . . . . ." and the Lord in the gospels (John ii. 19,) "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." Nay, and if heretics will not receive this interpretation, neither so can they injure the glory of the Only-begotten, for, even granting that it was the Father who raised Him up, as man it was that He raised Him, for as man it was that He also endured the passion. 5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Since he had called baptism, which places us in a state of salvation, a type of death, by this change of name He plainly points out the resurrection, for whatever is distinctly planted springs up again. 6. Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body might be rendered inoperative as regards sin, so as that we should no longer serve sin. Not our |408 nature, but our evil inclination, is what He here calls the old man, and this he says has been put to death in baptism, that the body may be idle as regards sin, for this it is which He means by that the body might be made to cease from sin, so that it should in no wise serve sin. And this He shows more plainly by another similitude:—7. For he that is dead is freed from sin. For who ever yet saw one that was dead either invading the marriage-bed of another, or imbruing his hands in bloodshed, or committing any other of the catalogue of iniquities? 8. For if we have died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him. It becomes us, therefore, also, having been buried with Christ, to be dead indeed unto sin, but to await the resurrection. 9. Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him. 10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Amply, by these words, has he proved his wish to make believers abstain from sin. Once, says he, Christ died; and that He should a second time die were impossible, for He now possesses an immortal body. On this account, therefore, we all also enjoy one baptism; expect not then any second forgiveness by (means of any second) baptism. He has indeed well said that He died unto sin, for He was not subject to death, inasmuch as He had done no sin, but received death for our sin. 11. And thus indeed reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ. And do you, therefore, display your bodies dead to the inworking of sin, but embrace the life which is after Christ, by which you shall obtain the life eternal. To this advice it behoves us all to take heed, flying from the snares of sin, and calling to our aid Christ who has saved us; for, if called, He will appear, and extend to us His own strength: in conjunction with whom, to the Father, with the thrice-holy Spirit, belong glory and majesty, now and for ever, unto endless ages. Amen.
12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. A reign differs from a tyranny in this, that a tyranny is exercised over those who unwillingly submit to it; a reign, over subjects who are consenting thereto. He exhorts us therefore no longer to agree to the government of sin, for the Lord in His incarnation has overthrown its reign; and as one legislating for mere mortals, and such as possess a body liable to passions, he enjoins things consistent with their infirmities, and says, not Let not sin tyrannize, but, let it not reign; for the former is its own property, the latter rests on our will; the motions and tumult of the passions being engendered in us by nature, while the performance of what are forbidden depends on our own volition. And he shows, moreover, the short duration of the warfare by denominating the body mortal, in that when it has undergone the termination of death the attack of the passions ceases likewise. He exhorts us then, not to put a stop to the tyranny of sin, but, not to obey it when intemperately inflaming the desires of the body. 13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. Having spoken of a reign, in strict keeping herewith, he mentions its artillery also, and teaches us the way of victory, for the weapons which |409 sin uses against us are our own members. But yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. And, indeed, just before he had said the very same thing— "And so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ;" that is, ye have been buried with Christ, and have risen again with Him, wherefore ye are dead to sin, and aspire to another life. And your members, as instruments of righteousness, unto God. He shows that the body is not evil, but the work of a God of goodness, for it is competent to serve God, if well and properly governed by the soul; wherefore it is the inclination of our own free will to the worse that offers the members for weapons, as it were, to sin; and again the love arising from our knowledge of good, which prepares the members to obey the divine laws. For thus the tongue of the musician, when he is in the right mind, offers up fitting melody to the God of all, but when he is drunken and disordered, madly sends forth the horrid sounds of impiety; and thus also it is both adorned by the words of truth, and disgraced by falsehoods; and thus the eye likewise can look abroad both modestly and lasciviously, both savagely and benevolently; and thus also the hand both kills and pities; and, in short, all the members of the body become the instruments of holiness when the Spirit is so minded, and of sin, on the reverse, when it has embraced the governance of sin. But in another way also does the holy apostle demonstrate the easiness of the victory: 14. For sin shall no longer have dominion over you, says he. For nature no longer fights singly, but has for her assistant the grace of the Spirit; for this he adds, for ye are not under the law, but under grace. He shows that before the coming of (the covenant of) grace, the law taught only what was to be done, but afforded no help to those under it, while (the covenant of) grace, in addition to the imposition of duties, extends assistance also, on which account the legislative constitution of grace is also more complete than the law, as removing the impediments by this succour. And here again he answers an objection arising. 15. What then, shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? He notes this objection because of the gainsayers, and first reprobates it, pointing out its absurdity, and says, God forbid, and then more at length demonstrates the contrary. 16. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Whomsoever ye choose to submit yourselves unto, his commands you are bound to comply with, for it is not possible at the same time to obey two lords, but righteousness and sin are diametrically opposed to each other; and this also the Lord says in the holy gospels, (Matt. vi. 24,) "No man can serve two masters." 17. But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. He both points out the change in themselves, and exhibits the joy arising therefrom, giving praise to God; for ye were, says he, the servants of sin, but by your own voluntary choice you have shaken off its sovereignty, and embraced the divine polity.21 18. Having then been freed from sin, ye were made servants of righteousness. Ye have cast away the slavery of sin, and taken upon |410 you the yoke of righteousness; it is not possible therefore that bearing the latter you should yield to the commands of the former. 19. I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh. I suit my exhortations to your nature, for I am well aware of the passions which contend in a mortal body. For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness, unto holiness. By this also be shows that it is not the (natural, see ver. 13,) body that deserves reprobation, but the disposition that leads it astray. And he demands indeed from us nothing impossible, but that what we did give to sin, the same we should afford to righteousness; and to the former we subjected ourselves while it enjoined iniquity, the latter, if we obey it, will bring us to holiness. 20. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness, for ye fulfilled its precepts only, while as to the laws of righteousness ye received not them at all. And then again, in another way, he exhibits the difference. 21. What fruit had ye then from those things? Tell me yourselves the gains of sin; or rather it were idle to ask, for in silence you confess its injury, for ye are covered with shame, as he adds, whereof ye are now ashamed; for although any one be barefaced indeed, he yet cannot but experience shame, when his enjoyment is over. And he subjoins, in addition to this, the greater and more bitter fruit of sin —for the end of those things is death. Death, he means not the present, which is merely temporal, but that which is eternal. 22. But now having been freed from sin, and made servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. In these words he opposes God to sin, holiness to shame, and life everlasting to everlasting death. 23. For the wages of sin is death. As (according to the metaphor throughout adopted, be had said that) it formerly reigned, and now tyrannizes, and he had called its weapons our own badly-disposed members, consistently also does he denominate the reward wages, for so he was in the habit of naming the pay of soldiers; as in the epistle to the Corinthians, he says, (1 Cor. ix. 7,) "Who goeth a warfare at any time on his own wages?" But the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here he says, not reward, but free gift, for eternal life is the gift of God; for though any one should carry through the highest virtue, still those eternal blessings could not justly be weighed as a requital for such present labours. Having said these things to them that lived under (the covenant of) grace, respecting the obligation lying on them to avoid sin, he again turns his discourse to the comparison between the (covenant of) law and grace, and shows the strength of the latter and the weakness of the former, and teaches that on the entrance of the one, the other ceased. |480
1. Know you not brethren (for I speak to them that know the law) how that the law hath dominion over a man, as long as he liveth? You well know, says he, you I mean who have been brought up in the law, that the law has its authority over those who are yet alive; and he adduces an example also in accordance with this proposition. 2. For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is made to cease from the law of her husband. And then he shows this yet more clearly: 3. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she is called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. The law, says he, calls her an adulteress, not who after the death of her husband is united to another, but, who while her husband is yet alive, joins herself to any one else, for such an one it orders to be punished as insolently rebelling against the law of matrimony; it is evident, therefore, that when her husband has brought his life to an end, the widow not illegally, but with the distinct permission of the law, may marry another. Nor indeed was the holy apostle ignorant, that the law gave permission to the living also to dissolve a marriage when it should be no longer agreeable, but he was mindful of our Lord's assertion, which declared that Moses gave them that law on account of the hardness of the heart of the Jews, but that the law of nature had added no such terms, for one man, says he, and one woman did God make, establishing the law concerning marriage in their very creation: wherefore leaving this unnoticed, he passed on to the law as regarded the dead, and subjoins, 4. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead. It would have been indeed in strict consistency with the example adduced, to have said, "the law is dead," that is, has ceased, but in consideration of |481 the spiritual weakness of the Jews, for they greatly exalted the law, and from a desire not to afford an opportunity of finding fault with it to the heretics who denounced the Old Testament, he avoids saying that the law had ceased, but declares that we have become dead to the law by baptism which saveth us, and then rising again have been united, to Him who hath Himself risen from the dead, that is Christ. And as he had called the faith which is in the Lord a marriage and union, in strict keeping herewith does be show the fruits also arising from marriage, that we should bring forth fruit unto God, says he. What then is this fruit-bearing? That our members become the instruments of righteousness. And most aptly does he show that the law itself leads us to be joined to Christ, for it forbade not, says he, a woman to be married to a second husband after the death of the first. And then he goes on to point out the difference. 5. For when we were in the flesh, that is, under the polity of the law, for the legislative ordinances concerning the flesh, as of foods and drinks, of leprosy, and such like, are what he here calls the flesh; the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members. He says not "in" the law but by the law, for it does not itself bring about sin, but it condemns sin, while that, which was good, sin uses for evil; neither indeed do our members themselves bring about sin, but only by our members has the inclination of the soul to the worse brought its operations to effect. And what then springs from hence? To bring forth fruit unto death.
In these words he has taught us that before the coming of (the covenant of) grace, while we were living under the polity of the law, the attacks of sin to which we were subjected were the more powerful, in that the law showed indeed what ought to be done, but offered no help to do it. 6. But now we are made to cease from the law. He still continues in the same cautious mode of expression, and says not, "the law is made to cease," but we are made to cease from the law, that is, it is inoperative as regards ourselves, we are no longer under its polity. And how are we made to cease from it? Being dead to that wherewith we had been held. For when we were subjects of the law we came to baptism, and dying with Christ, and with Him rising again, we were united to our Lawgiver, and no longer need the polity of the law, for we have received the very grace itself of the Spirit, as what follows proves, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. He here puts the spirit in opposition to letter, and the new against the old, that by the word letter he might point out the law, and by the old its having come to a conclusion. For indeed by Jeremiah (xxxi. 31, 32) God says, "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt so that the difference was shown even by the prophet; and on the appearance of the new covenant, the old must yield. Having thus spoken, and foreseeing as one honoured with the gifts of the Spirit, that some of the heretics would understand this in derogation of the old covenant, and conceive that the old law came from some other than the one same God, the holy apostle necessarily states the objections and subjoins the answers to them. 7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? |482
He had in the former parts of this epistle laid down many positions, which might have given an opportunity of finding fault with the law, to such as were desirous of speaking evil of it, unless he had offered the present solution of such questions, (as) "the law entered in between that the offence might abound;" and "the law worketh wrath;" and "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight;" and the like; wherefore, for the resolution of these very things he proposes the objection. And first he shows that the interrogation is profane, and adds the expression of disavowal, God forbid, and then he teaches the utility of the law. Nay but I should not have been aware of what was sin, but by the law. Not only, says he, is the law not the teacher of sin, God forbid, but on the contrary it is the condemner of sin, for I should not have known what was evil, unless it had shown me. For I should not have known that lust was, except the law had said Thou shall not lust. The words I should not have been aware, and I should not have known, are not here indicative of a total ignorance, but mean this, that I received from the law a knowledge more complete than the mere discrimination of nature. 8. But sin taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. In every way he endeavours to show that it was free from blame, for having said that by the imposition of the law sins had been increased, lest any one should suppose that the law had been the cause, he most seasonably sets forth its way, that sin making use of the imposition of the law as a mean for battle, beat down the weaker powers of judgment. For without the law sin were dead, for where there is no law pointing out what should be done, and forbidding What should not be done, sin has no place. And he makes this evident by an example; 9. For I was alive without the law once, for Adam before his transgression had no fear of death, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. For when God had imposed the commandment respecting the trees, immediately the devil came to the woman in the serpent, and uttered those deceitful speeches, and she being enticed, and beholding the beauty of the fruit, was overcome by desire and broke the commandment. And with Adam she immediately received the sentence, for he also had shared in that food.
10. And the commandment which was ordained to life I found to be unto death. In every way he vindicates the law, and the commandment, but proves the evil of sin; for the commandment, says he, was the minister of life, but the turning aside to evil begot death, wherefore he most properly says, found, to show that the intention of the law, and the end brought about by sin, were widely different things. 11. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. The same thing he had said before, only in different words. 12. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good. It is the Mosaic which he here speaks of as the law, and that given to Adam as the commandment. And the reason why he honours the latter with the greater praises, is that it commonly meets with the greater censures. For they who live in idle ease, and will not undergo the labours of virtue, cry out even against God Himself, for imposing this commandment. For if He were ignorant, say they, of what would happen, how can He be God who foreknows not the future? but if while foreseeing the transgression, He yet imposed the commandment, Himself is the cause of the |483 transgression! But such should be aware, that the power of discriminating between good and its opposite is the property of those that are gifted with reason, for the nature of the irrational creatures possesses no such faculty of distinguishment of these things; for the wolf is ravenous, and the lion feasts on its prey while scarce dead, and bears and leopards follow in the same train; and they have no sense of sin,22 nor a conscience to be pricked at what has been done; while men, though no one be present at their actions, are ashamed and afraid on account of what they have dared to commit, for conscience supplies the accusation. How then were it possible that they who possess such a nature, should yet live without any law at all? Wherefore God enjoined the commandment, that man might thereby learn to understand his own nature, and to fear his Lawgiver. And well indeed may we perceive the loving-kindness of that Lawgiver, for He enjoined, not some law which was difficult of observation, but one which could have been easily kept. He allowed to him the enjoyment of all the trees, of one alone He forbade him the use; not that He grudged him that one, for how could He do so, who had already given him power over all? but in order to teach him the terms of submission, and to render him well-affected towards his Creator, and afford a mean for the exercise of his rational faculties. And if then, by not keeping the commandment he came under sentence of death, this can be no cause for blame to the Lawgiver, but to him who transgressed the law. For so neither, when a physician orders his patient to abstain from cold drinks, does he do this because he invidiously grudges them to him, but in order to bring about his health; and if he not observing the injunction will take water, he draws the injury on himself, but the physician is free from blame altogether. But indeed the Lord God has treated with every possible consideration and kindness, both Adam himself and all his race, and, to pass by all other, and come at once to the noblest instance, for him, and his race, the only-begotten Word became incarnate, and put an end to the power of death, which from him had received its beginning, and promised the resurrection, and prepared the kingdom of heaven: so that He both foreknew his transgression, and made ready before-hand the mean of remedy to follow; wherefore the holy apostle calls the commandment holy, just, and good; holy, as teaching what we ought to do; just, as rightly pronouncing judgment on the transgressors; good, as appointing life to such as observed it. And then again he states the objection that might arise, 13. Did then that which is good become death unto me? and again according to his wont he denies it, God forbid, and shows us the cause of these evils, but sin, that it might appear to be (indeed) sin, in its working death to me by that which is good. There is an obscurity here, arising from the extreme brevity made use of; what he means is this, that by that which is good, to wit the law and commandment, sin is made apparent to me, namely, as being bad and evil; and how is it so made apparent? by its working unto death, for from the fruit I know the tree, and seeing death I hate its parent; but of all this is the law the teacher; it is not then the |484 law, which thus instructs, that is evil, but sin, which brings death; and it is the inclination of our own free will to the worse, that is the author of sin. That sin might by the commandment become exceeding sinful. For though nature points out sin, its excessive turpitude the law has more clearly manifested. The expression that it might become is incomplete, the word "apparent" being understood, for so also we explained it in the preceding sentence, "but sin, that it might be seen to be sin indeed by its working out death to me by that which is good, that sin might by the commandment become exceeding sinful," that is, that it might become by the commandment " apparent" that sin is exceeding sinful, that is evil. And then, like some skilful painter, he portrays the contest between nature and sin. 14. For we know that the law is spiritual. Again be crowns the law with praise, for what can be more holy than this designation? for it was written, says he, by divine inspiration, being a partaker of this grace the blessed Moses indited the law. But I am carnal, sold under sin. He brings before us the man who lived before the coming (of the covenant) of grace, beset by his passions, for by carnal he means one who had not yet received the spiritual help (offered in that new covenant, see verse 5 ad fin. and ch. vi. 14 ad fin. &c.); but the sold under sin we shall understand by comparing it with that passage of the prophet, (Isaiah 1. 1,) "For your iniquities have you sold yourselves." And the same thing does he here say, I have delivered myself up to sin, and sold myself to it. |608
15. For that which I do I know not: for he who is overcome by pleasure, and indeed he also who is intoxicated by the passion of anger, has no clear perception of sin, but after such passion has subsided receives a knowledge of the evil. For what I would that I do not, but what I hate that I do. This is the perfection of the law, to point out what is evil and implant a hatred of it in the soul. The words what I would not and what I hate do not denote compulsion, but weakness; for we sin not because driven thereto by some necessity or force, but being beguiled by pleasure we fall into those things which yet we cannot but hate and denounce as wicked. 16. If then I do that which I would not, I content unto the law that it is good. For the very hatred I have for sin, I have received from the law, wherefore I bear testimony to the law, and acknowledge its excellence. 17. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. This needs elucidation somewhat more at length. The body then after the transgression of the commandment becoming mortal received passions and appetites, since by these it is that our present state of existence is carried on. For thus it needs desire, not only for the provision thereby of food, but for the procreation of children also, and for agriculture's sake, and the various other arts, none of which could exist were desire altogether wanting. Thus it also contributes to our perseverance in well-doing, for nothing but such an affection for and desire of virtue could qualify us to bear its attendant difficulties. And so also does it work within us the Divine love.
The proper measure of desire then is an auxiliary to good, but its disorder brings forth intemperance, in that it leads us to lay snares against the marriage-bed of others, and to covet what does not belong to us, and to steal, and to break open tombs (in order to spoil the dead), and to commit manslaughter, and become guilty of other the like crimes; wherefore has the God of all added side by side to it (an uncalculating) impetuosity,23 that the latter might repress the extravagance of the others, |609 while itself also needing a check on its own excesses. As then we dilate with what is too cold, that which is hot, and again correct what is too cold by what is hot, even so has God our Creator, by implanting in us these two passions directly opposed to each other, taught us to check each reciprocally by the other. For over them He has placed the mind, like a charioteer over his horses, and imposed the yoke of submission on them, enjoining both to bear it evenly together;24 if then it happen that desire springs forward beyond the line, He bids her goad up impetuosity, that this rushing onward may again bring the yoke straight; and, if that admit the overworkings of its own temper, again in its turn He orders desire to be pressed forward, that it may correct the excess of impetuosity. The mind then, if watchful and prudent, thus keeps under and directs them, while if negligent, and letting the reins go, she becomes the means of her horses breaking away, and is herself dragged onward, and with them falls into pits and down precipices. This then is what the holy apostle means by now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me, by sin intending the enslavement of the mind, and the usurpation of the passions; and he then doeth it not, for he hates what is done, but this usurpation of the passions is the author of the action.18. For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. He speaks of the dominion of the passions, which the mortality of the body introduced, and the indolence of the mind has strengthened. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not, for, as regards a willingness towards that which is good, this I have received from the teaching of the law, but at the same time, as regards action I am impotent from want of further help. 19. For the good that I would I do not, but the evil that I would not, that I do. 20. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
He makes the same assertion, only in a clearer manner. 21. I find then the law with me in wishing to do what is right,—here we must put a stop,— (and yet) that evil is present to me. Again he has stated this obscurely through brevity: what he means is, that the law appears to me to be good, for I approve all that it recommends, as being right and excellent; and in unison with it I also love all good, and hate its opposite; but nevertheless evil is ever at hand with me, that is, sin, by reason of my possessing a mortal body, one subject to passions and appetites, as well as through the indolence and weakness of the soul. And thence he proceeds to describe more clearly the conflict between the mind and the passions. 22. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. By the inward man he means the mind. 23. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. By the law of sin he means sin itself, and this works within me by the passions of the body leaping about at pleasure, while the soul is unable to restrain them, in consequence of the sluggishness fallen into at first by her; she having cast off her own freedom, and allowed herself to be subjected to them; |610 while yet not the less does she, even though thus obeying them, hate that servitude, and approve that (the law) which condemns it. Having thus laid down all this, in order to show us what we were before receiving grace (through the new covenant), and what we have become since that grace; and personating, as it were, the character of those besieged by sin before grace appeared; he now, as one in the midst of his enemies, taken captive and compelled to obey, while perceiving help from no other quarter, groans bitterly, and cries out, proving that the law could not succour him, and says, 24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank my God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He calls it a body of death, as being bom subject to death; that is, mortal, for the soul is immortal. Christ alone, says he, has freed us from this bitter bondage, by putting an end to death, and promising us immortality, and that life which is without either labour or pain, and apart from warfare and sin; the full enjoyment whereof we shall receive in the existence to come; while in the present we are blessed with the grace of the thrice holy Spirit, and thereby not only do we set ourselves against the passions, but by the possession of such an Helper are enabled to triumph over them. And then he brings forward the resolution of all that had been said, So then I myself, the same person, with the mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. 25
1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit: for our passions can no longer get the mastery over us without our own consent, now that we have received the grace of the Spirit of God. 2. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. As he had just before called sin "the law of sin," so now does be call the life-giving Spirit, the law of the spirit of life. His grace, says he, by faith in Christ has bestowed on you a double freedom; for not only has it overthrown the power of sin, but put an end also to the tyranny of death, and he shows how He has thus overthrown it 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. The law then was not evil, but good, though impotent; and that weakness arose from its injunctions being given to those encumbered with a mortal nature, for now by the thrice-holy baptism we have received the pledge of immortality. God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful fleshy and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. He says not in the likeness of flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh, for He received actually the human nature, but human sin he received not; wherefore that which He thus assumed, he calls not the likeness of flesh, but the likeness of sinful flesh, because though He had the same nature with ourselves, He yet had not the same character or disposition. He means, then, that the law having been unable to bring to effect its own design, by reason of the weakness of those beneath its covenant, possessing as they did a mortal nature, and one obnoxious to infirmities and passions; the only-begotten |611 Word of God, becoming incarnate, by that human flesh overthrew sin, in having fulfilled all righteousness, and admitted no taint of sin; and by enduring the death of sinners, as though Himself a sinner, manifested the injustice of sin, in that it delivered up to death a body over which death had no just claim. And this then both overthrew it and put an end to death; for in thus submitting to death through the unjust sentence of sin, while not at all obnoxious to it, in that He never committed sin, did He become the price of redemption of those justly subjected unto death, as one free among the dead: for so he also teaches in what follows, 4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For He has paid, says he, our debt, and fulfilled that which the law aimed at: and what then was this? to render them righteous that had received that law. If then the dispensation of Christ Jesus has brought to effect the intention of the law, the law deserves not blame, but praise.
And having thus touched upon the subject of righteousness, he goes on to an exhortation to it, and having said, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, adds, 5. For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; and in like manner in another place, (Gal. v. 25,) "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit," meaning here by the Spirit, the grace of the Spirit, and teaching that he who follows it, both thinks and does the things agreeable thereto, and he that is enslaved to the flesh, that is, to the passions of the body, has deprived himself of his freedom. 6. For the inclination of the flesh is death. He says not the flesh, but the inclination of the flesh, that is, the breaking forth of the passions, for the recompense of sinners is death; but the inclination of the Spirit is life and peace, for he who lives after the Spirit gains peace with God; 7. Because the inclination of the flesh is enmity against God. Again he condemns the inclination of the flesh, that is, the tyranny of the passions which he declares are at variance with God. For they are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; for how is it possible that he who has admitted the tyranny of the passions, should embrace the service of God, while yet choosing to serve sin? 8. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. He does not bid us go out of the body, but be freed from the inclination of the flesh, as is shown by what follows: 9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. For it is evident that they who received these his instructions were not devoid of the body itself, but what he means is, that they were conquerors over the fleshly passions, and enjoyed the grace of the thrice-holy Spirit resident within them; and so in a similar sense does our Lord say that His disciples are "not of the world," (John xv. 19,) not that they came from elsewhere, but that they were dead to the world. |671
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. As he had said if so be that, which implies an alternative, he aptly subjoins that he who is wanting in this grace, has no fellowship with Christ And as this was enough to warn and alarm them that received this Epistle, he proceeds again to re-assure them, 10. And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, with regard to sin, but the spirit is life, as regards righteousness. He makes clear what had been ambiguous, and shows that it was not the mere flesh itself that he is condemning, but sin; for he bids the body be dead to sin, that is not to commit sin; and the soul is what he here speaks of as the spirit, in its having become already spiritual; here he enjoins to follow after righteousness, whose |672 exceedingly desirable fruit is life. 11. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. He invigorates them by hope of the future, and inspires them with willing readiness, sufficient for present contests; for ere long, says be, your bodies will be immortal, and superior to the passions that now molest them; and this will He do, the same, the (rod of all, who now so liberally bestows on us the earnest of the Spirit. And He has given us also a pledge of this resurrection, in the resurrection of Christ. And he teaches by all this, the unity of nature in the Godhead, for he calls the thrice-holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son; not that, as the infamous heretics say, He was created of the Father by the Son,26 but that He is of one substance with the Father and the Son, and proceeds from the Father,27 according to the teaching of the gospels. His grace it is, that is extended by Christ to such as are worthy. And he continues showing how we ought to triumph over the fleshly passions. 12. Therefore we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh, for having received salvation of Christ Jesus, and been made partakers of the grace of the Spirit, to Him we owe the debt of service. 13. For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; after the flesh, that is, following the passions of the flesh: the death he means is that which is eternal; but if ye through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. This superiority has (the covenant of) grace over (that of) the law, that the latter points out what is right; the former has the grace of the Spirit in addition, as an helpmate. And here indeed the holy apostle, foreseeing the corruptions of Marcion,28 Valentine, and Manes, uses the greatest accuracy of expression in his instructions, saying not, put to death the body, but the deeds of the body, that is, the desires of the flesh, the burstings forth of the passions, for ye have for an assistant the grace of the Spirit, and the fruit of victory is life. 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, for they who live under the Spirit obtain the privilege of adoption; and here he strikes at the Jews, teaching them not to think too highly of themselves, forasmuch as that they also had been called sons, for they are wanting in the glory of the thrice-holy Spirit, being aliens from grace.
15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption. Again, he compares (the covenants of) grace and the law, and calls the institutions of the latter, bondage, while at the same time showing that it was written by the grace of the Spirit. Not, therefore, the thrice-holy Spirit itself does he here call the spirit of bondage, but the imposition of the law as effected by that holy Spirit; for had be by the spirit of bondage meant the thrice- holy Spirit itself, then truly must there have been another Spirit, of adoption; but not so is it, for the thrice-holy Spirit is One, while different and varying are His gifts; "for to one is given by the Spirit |673 the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit and so forth. And having shown that in truth we have received the privilege of adoption, he subjoins, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. For when we offer up to the Lord the prayer of the initiated,29 we are bidden to address Him as our Father, and we say, "Our Father which art in heaven and he has added the word, Abba, to point out the confidence wherewith we call upon Him, for so little children, using the greater boldness towards their parents, in that they have not as yet a clear knowledge of the difference between them and themselves, the oftener and oftener go on lisping out the same word towards them; and so in like manner we, by reason of His unspeakable kindness, and immeasurable goodness, call the Maker of all our Father, as we are commanded, while yet we are unconscious how great is the difference between Him and ourselves, not understanding our own selves clearly, and of His nature being altogether ignorant.30 16. For the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. By the Spirit he means the Holy Ghost himself, by our spirit, the grace (or spirit of adoption) given to us, for both are here expressed by the same common word, and what he means is, that we put forth this prayer, (thus claiming sonship therein) as led by the teaching of the Spirit, and in so doing then we cannot be blameworthy, in that we do it according to the divine law. 17. And if children, then heirs. Nor was it enough that we should have been freed from bondage and enjoyed the grace of liberty, but moreover have we been blessed with the privilege of the adoption; nay, and not only are we called sons, but heirs also of God, and joint heirs with Christ, for so he subjoins, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Since not every son becomes the heir of his father, well has the holy apostle joined the heirship with the sonship; and since frequently even a servant receives some portion from his master, and yet is not left an equal partner with the child itself, it was necessary, in order to point out the ineffable magnitude of the divine love, that he should subjoin, joint heirs with Christ,—if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For not all who have been blessed by baptism, which places us in a state of salvation, will enjoy these good things, but they, who in addition thereto, have undergone their share of suffering with their Saviour.31 And this he subjoins not without a distinct object, but for the support of those to whom his letters were addressed; for they were subjected to the attacks of temptations of all sorts, being beaten, tortured, and |674 imprisoned, and exposed to a thousand kinds of death; wherefore he sends them comforting words, supporting them by the future, and exhorting them to bear the present with fortitude. 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to he compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. The crowns exceed the contests; the reward cannot be put in the same scale with the afflictions; small is the affliction, but vast the looked for gain; wherefore he calls the things thus hoped for, not payment, but glory. 19. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Perceive ye not, says he, the heaven, the earth, the sea, the air, the sun, the moon, the whole visible creation, and besides these, such as are invisible—angels, archangels, powers, dominions, principalities? all these are waiting for your full perfection. 20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Corruption is what he here speaks of as vanity, for so he teaches presently, "because that the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." And he declares that the whole visible creation had obtained a mortal nature, because the Maker of all had foreseen Adam's transgression, and the sentence of death, which would be passed on him. For neither was it fit nor right, that what was created for him should possess an incorruption, and yet himself, for whose sake all these were made, be mortal, and a prey to passions and sufferings; but the rather, by the resurrection receiving immortality, they in like manner inherit incorruption. Wherefore he says that the visible creation waits for such a change of things, for it was made changeable not of its own accord, but in submission to the decree of the Creator, and beholding the care exhibited in our behalf has a hope of such change, that itself also, the creation, shall be freed from the slavery of corruption; to which mutability of the universe the holy David also witnesses, when, mentioning the heaven and the earth he adds, (Ps. cii. 26,) "they shall perish, but Thou remain." 21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For when these latter appear such as now they are called, and in their immortality are manifested to be the sons of God, the former also will obtain a total release from corruption. And all this he says, not meaning that the visible creation really was gifted with reason, but by a prosopopoeia, as was common with the prophets, so that one represents the pines as groaning, and another the woods as rejoicing, and the mountains leaping, and the rivers exulting.
22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Here he includes the invisible creation also, for the whole creation, says he. But for the clearer understanding of the passage, I must bring to remembrance what the gospels state, for there the Lord declared, (Luke xv. 10.) that "even the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repenteth;" if then they joy over penitent sinners, then must they also of a truth be cast down on beholding our transgressions. 23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first- fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves. And what wonder if creation is so affected on our account? for even ourselves who have already received many pledges of the future, and above all others |675 the grace of the Spirit, groan in our longings after freedom; as what follows shows that he means, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. He had said, indeed, that we have received the spirit of adoption; but without infringement thereof, he here shows us more precisely that now we have obtained the name, but then shall be made partakers of the full reality, when our bodies shall have been released from corruption, and have put on immortality; while by the word first- fruits, he points out that in the future life, we shall receive a far larger measure of the grace of the Spirit; since if what is now offered is called first-fruits, and earnest, manifest is it that that shall far exceed it in greatness. 24. For we are saved by hope, for not yet have we attained unto the resurrection, but having received the promise are comforted by our hopes; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, how doth he yet hope for? 25. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Be not cast down, says he, while looking on (present) distresses, for we have brought you no false promises, in that we said you must yet awhile wait, ere you should enjoy these good things, but good things thus expected are not seen with the bodily eyes, since if seen they would cease to be expected, while if expected, we should be content in confidence to wait for them, and never throw away the anchor of hope. And he shows that in addition to all this, there is also another source of help given, 26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, we have a sufficient assistance in the grace of the Spirit, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. Ask not, says he, to be delivered from affliction, for ye know not what is profitable to you, as does God your Governor. Resign yourselves into His hands, who holds the helm of all things; for He, though you should ask nothing, but groan only as moved by the Spirit dwelling in you, wisely orders every thing relating to you, and will grant that which shall prove to your advantage; as he subjoins, 27. For He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because it maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. By the Spirit here he means not the Holy Ghost himself, but the grace given to the faithful: for stirred up by this we pray the more earnestly, and with sighings inexpressible by words implore God our Saviour. And this the holy apostle writes from what himself had experienced, for he himself not once only or twice, but even thrice, had besought release from his own trials, and beseeching had failed of obtaining his prayer; for he heard in reply, (2 Con xii. 8, 9,) " My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness," and having learned this, he welcomed what he had before sought to be delivered from, and says, " most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." |734
28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called in accordance with (their own) disposition.32 They work not together with all, but with those that love Him, nor simply work with them, but work with them for good, for if any ask for what would not be profitable to him, he fails of his petition, because it is to his advantage not to gain it. And with the fittest accuracy of expression does he join the disposition with the call, for the call is not irrespective,33 but to those who possess this disposition; wherefore He |735 said to the apostle in Corinth, (Acts xviii. 9,10,) "speak and hold not thy peace, for I have much people in this city and forbade him to preach the word in Mysia (ch. xvi. 6, 7); and as to Asia, at first restrained, and afterwards commanded him to do it; wherefore he also said to him in Jerusalem, (ch. xxii. 18,) "make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony;" and wherefore he here also says, to those that are called in accordance with (their own) disposition, agreeably to what follows. 39. For whom He had foreknown, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; for He did not irrespectively34 predestine, but predestined in his foreknowledge of them. And speaking with the strictest accuracy of expression, he says not conformed to His Son, but to the image of His Son; and this he has even more plainly put in the Epistle to the Philippians (ch. iii. 20), where, having said that "our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ," he adds, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body." For our body will not be made to resemble His divinity, but His glorified body,—and so here also he calls those who now obtained the privilege35 of the call conformed to the image of His Son, that is, to the body of His Son; for the divine nature being invisible, and the body visible, by the body as an image (or shadow) is He adored; that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and this the truth of the doctrine testifies, for it is as man that He is called the first-born, as God being the Only-begotten, seeing that as God He has not brethren, but as man designates as brethren them which believe. Of these He is the firstborn, being yet no other than the Only-begotten; but He, the same, both Only-begotten and firstborn. 30. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. Those whose (suitable) disposition he had foreknown, those in the beginning He predestinated; and predestinating, also called; and calling, justified by baptism; and justifying, glorified by designating them sons, and endowing them with the grace of the Holy Spirit. But let no one say that such foreknowledge is the cause of these things; for foreknowledge made them not |736 such as they are, but God as God, foresaw from of old all that would be. For so neither if seeing a violent horse seizing the bit in its teeth, and not heeding its rider, I should predict that nearing a precipice it would fall over it, and the event were to happen as I said, should I have cast the horse down that precipice, but merely have foretold what was itself about to take place, while using the evidence of the fierceness of the horse himself as my guide. But (and so likewise) the God of all, from of old knows all things as God, not that He imposes on any one a necessity for his establishment in virtue, or on another for his performance of vice; for if He exercised force towards either, He could not with justice praise and reward the former, or adjudge punishment to the latter. If then God be just, as indeed He is just, He exhorts indeed to what is right, and denounces its opposite; He approves the doers of good, and avenges Himself on those who from their own will embrace wickedness. 31. What shall we then say to these things? If God he for us, who can be against us? Having God as our ally, shall we be afraid of men? He comprehends all things at once under the word who; whether kings, or generals, or people, or their leaders; the whole world at once. And then he brings forward the crowning blessing of blessings. 32. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? He has given us the greater, and shall He not give also the less? His own Son has He bestowed, and will He deprive us of what we have gained? But here we must remember, that the Person of the Son is (but) one; for the human nature was delivered up in our behalf by the divinity; for (so) "the bread," says He, (John vi. 31,) "that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world;" and (ch. x. 18,) "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again." 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he (then) that condemneth?36 Having said that while God helps, who can injure us? he adds, that God, having rendered us justified, who can condemn? Christ it is that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is ever at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. What more than all this seek ye? in our behalf the Lord Christ died, and having risen again sits by the Father; nor even thus has He ceased His care for us, but pointing to the first-fruits which He took from us,37 and showing its immaculate purity to the Father, by it He asks for salvation to ourselves. And this indeed he says as regards the humanity, for as God He asks not, but (Himself) grants. Nay, and even if the heretics should declare, that so the Son does as regards His divinity, neither so could they prove His glory to be the less. For let us suppose two kings to be equal in honour, and to have the same authority, and when some deputy or general has offended against both, the one of these having earliest received the prayer of the culprit to beg of the partner of his kingdom to admit him to reconciliation, does this at all diminish the dignity, of him that makes this request? By no means. But in the present case we cannot grant even so much as this, |737 for whatsoever seems good to the Son, pleases the Father also, and the will of both is the same. The passage therefore is figuratively expressed by the apostle, through his desire to set forth the greatness of (Christ's) zeal and watchfulness for us. 35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 36. As it is written (Ps. xliv. 22,) For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. The witness adduced is exactly correspondent to the subject in hand, for it was spoken in the persons of those who had the same object,38 for the thrice-holy Spirit wrote this psalm by the inspired David, concerning the admirable Maccabees. 37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Opposing the love which God bears us to all these things, we rise superior to afflictions; for we reckon that it were most absurd for our Lord Christ to have undergone death for sinners, and yet ourselves not most readily to embrace martyrdom for Him. 38. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other such creation, could be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Having weighed the whole creation at once against the love of God, and added to such as are visible, such as are perceptible only by the mind—angels, and powers, and dominions; and to the present, hoped for, blessings; as well as threatened punishments also; for by depth, as I apprehend, he signifies hell, and by height the kingdom (of heaven); and moreover everlasting life and eternal death; and seeing that even then this scale is lightest in the reckoning, he seeks for somewhat else to be cast in; and finding nothing, he frames into his account another such and as varied an universe; and neither so does he find all these together fit to be weighed against the love of God. For it behoves us, says he, not to love Him on account of His promises of blessings, but to desire them on His. For (so) neither if a man be sincerely well affected towards one who is rich, does he love him for the abundance of his wealth; but from his very affection towards him, loves also the possessions belonging to him; and in like manner the holy apostle declares, I would not choose to inherit the kingdom of heaven, and all visible and invisible creation, and as many such again twice or thrice multiplied, apart from the love of God; but rather were any one to lay before me present and future distresses, present and eternal death, and the most protracted punishment in hell, together with the love of Him, readily and welcomely would I choose these in preference to the former splendid and glorious and unspeakable objects, devoid of love to Him. Which therefore that ourselves may also possess, let us both pray and strive, so that following in the footsteps of the apostles, we may be made sharers thereby in the (eternal) habitations of the apostles, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ; with whom, to the Father, together with the thrice-holy Spirit, belong glory and majesty, now and ever, unto endless ages. Amen. |738
That the incarnation of our God and Saviour both was necessary, and was productive of unspeakable blessings to believers, the holy apostle has clearly shown. For he has proved the Jews to be obnoxious to the greater condemnation by reason of the imposition of the law, and all others to be transgressors of the law of nature; and having set forth the threat of punishment, he has subjoined the gifts of the grace in the gospel (covenant), and pointed out the salvation offered through faith; while, at the same time, lest the Jews should be offended, imagining the law censured; or the heretics, hostile to the ancient covenant, gain an opportunity of accusation against the law by the comparison thus instituted, he has necessarily exhibited the usefulness of the law, and honoured it with many praises. And as, again, the Jews, bringing forward the patriarch Abraham, and the promises made by God to him, endeavoured to prove that the preaching of the apostles, being extended to the Gentiles beyond the divine promise, was contrary to these, he is constrained to treat of these objections also; and most wisely does he answer them, by adducing scripture testimonies, and ancient examples, applicable to the case, and demonstrating plainly the truth of the divine promises. Being about then to denounce the infidelity of the Jews, he first displays the love he bore them, and says,
1. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. He proves that what he was about to say should be free from all falsehood, and dignified with perfect truth, for be calls the grace of the Holy Spirit to witness with his conscience; in every way persuading them not to disbelieve his account. 2. That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. The composition of the sentence is incomplete, for it should have been added that the continual sorrow was caused by the rejection, or infidelity of the Jews; but through caution he omits these distinct words, and is content to teach in the sequel that he so meant. For thus he speaks: 3. For I could pray to be myself anathema from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. The word anathema39 has two significations, for that which is consecrated to God is called an anathema, and that which is separated from Him has the same name, and this second meaning the holy apostle has taught us in the Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xvi. 22), "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema"—the first being explained even by common custom, for so we designate whatever is offered to God an anathema—and the God of all things Himself, in commanding the town of Jericho to be made an anathema (Joshua vi. 17). Here then the blessed apostle uses it in its second meaning, to manifest the feelings he entertained towards his brother Jews, and he says not I could desire, but I could pray to be separated from Christ, provided that they who are my kindred in the flesh, being united to Him, should reap salvation; and most aptly does he introduce the "even I myself" recalling to their recollection what he |739 had just before stated of his love to Christ, and as it were saying, that I, whom "neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other such creation, could separate from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus," would gladly be alienated from Him, for the sake of the salvation of the Jews. But it is evident that he speaks not this as preferring them to the Saviour, but as indicating his love and anxiety for them, being most desirous that all should submit themselves, and joyfully receive the saving gospel. And to persuade them of the truth of what he says, he points out both their former high descent and eminence, and the riches of the divine gifts conferred on them, and says, 4. Who are Israelites? For most celebrated was this name, imposed by God Himself on their forefather, (Gen. xxxv. 10) and transmitted as an heirloom to his descendants; To whom pertaineth the adoption. And this name also they had obtained, for "Israel," says he, "is My son, my firstborn" (Exod iv. 22); And the glory, for they had been illustrious through miracles; And the covenants, not the old only, but the new also had He promised to bestow on them, "for I will make," says He, "a new covenant with the house of Israel, not according to the covenant I made with their fathers" (Jer. xxxi. 31, 32), but this they themselves were not willing to accept; And the giving of the law, for to them had He given the Mosaic law; And the service of God, for, honouring them above other nations, to them He had taught the ritual ministrations of the law; And the promises, both those made by God to their fathers and those promulged by the prophets.
(To be continued.)
1. * Resembled those heretics of later times in their denial of the authority and inspiration of the Old Testament—E. B.
2. * An abortion. 1 Cor. xv. 8. " Wishing to call himself meaner than all men, leaving those perfected in the womb of their mother, who afterwards are born according to the common custom of nature, he likens himself to an abortive embryo, which is not numbered in the list of men." Theod. in loco.
3. * The grace of or for the ministry ἐν τῷ διδομένῳ χαρίσματι. See Theod. in ch. viii. 16; and compare 1 Cor. i. 7; xii. 4,9; 1 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Tim. i. 6; and 1 Pet. iv. 10.
4. * As I Cor. iii. 6.
5. * The argument, according to our author, seems to be, that the means and opportunities of salvation offered in the oracles of God, (the Bible, which he calls the eu0ergesi/aj; or mercies) and His glory arising therefrom, must remain sure, whether men accept or reject them, being neither weakened, nor promoted, by their conduct thereunder.
6. + Αὐτεξούσιος, masters of themselves, in their own power, free as to choice and action, sui juris.
7. * Literally, "to grace." The word "grace," and sometimes "faith" also, being used to express shortly "the new gospel covenant of grace through faith."
8. + See on chap. v. 1; and so on Eph. ii. 9, 10. "For we believed not of our own power, but when called came, and he required not from such as came, purity of life, but, accepting faith alone, gave remission of sins." Ver. 10, the "created" he here means of our regeneration. "For He hath called us," says he, "of His ineffable goodness, and we obeyed, and believing, obtained salvation. But He required not at our hands the practice of virtue before our baptism, but after it commanded us to hold to it also." In other words, in order to be admitted into the covenant of salvation, not past virtue, but present faith, was demanded; as see the former verses of the same chapter to the Ephesians, and Romans v. 8, &c. &c.
9. * For however out of place, and cut off by this new covenant, the Jews yet had not relinquished it—E. B.
10. * The exposition would seem to interpret, "he indeed might boast, but it would refer not at all to God." ἀλλ̕ οὐ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν.
11. + See note on chapter iii. v. 24. Our author of course is, with St. Paul, reprobating works as a meritorious cause, but not as indispensable conditions; Mosaic, and not evangelical. See exp. end of this chapter.
12. * Rather perhaps "as though faith alone were sufficient," &c.
13. * Τέλειος—who having been admitted by baptism, and communicated in Christ in the Eucharist, or τὸ τέλειον, had fully imbibed the spirit, and known the depth of the mysteries, of their holy calling; and so were perfect and consummate Christians.— See Bingham, I, iv. 3; & conf. 1 Cor.iii. 1, 2. Heb. v. 13, 14. Eph. iv. 13. Phil iii. 15, &c.
14. + Δοκιμὴ, as see 2 Cor. ii. 9. Phil. ii. 22.
15. ++ Δόκιμος ἀποδείκνυται, tried and proved by test to be not wanting.—See ch. xvi. 10.
16. * "Ortho. And bow then does it appear just to you, that, when Adam had transgressed the commandment, the race should follow the progenitor?
"Eran. Although the race shared not in that particular transgression, they committed nevertheless other sins, and on that account have been made sharers in the death.
"Ortho. But then, not sinners only, but the just also, and patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, and such as signalized themselves by various kinds of virtue, have fallen under the bondage of death !
"Eran. For how was it possible, that they should remain immortal, who sprang from mortal parents? For it was after his sin, and the divine sentence, when he was under the power of death, that Adam knew his wife, and became a father. Having become then, himself; mortal, it was of mortals that he was the parent; justly then do all follow their progenitor in having received a mortal nature.
"Ortho. Excellently well have you pointed out the cause of our sharing in the death; and the same must you grant of the resurrection; for the remedy must be suitable to the disease; for as, the founder of the race having been condemned, the whole race itself became condemned also, so, the Saviour having broken the curse, the race thus enjoyed freedom. And as, Adam having descended to Hades, all who partook of his nature followed him, so, Christ the Lord having risen, the whole race of man shall share in that resurrection …. Behold then the case of Christ, compared with that of Adam, the remedy with the disease, the antidote with the wound, the riches of righteousness with sin, the blessing with the curse, remission with condemnation, the observance with the transgression, life with death, the Kingdom with Hades, Christ with Adam, Man with man." —Dialogues. Ἀπαθὴς. vol. iv. p. 198, &c. And compare the ἥμρτον here with the ἁμαρτωλοὶ κατεστάθησαν of v. 19, the ἀπέθανον of v. 15, the "condemned" above, and with 3 Kings i. 21. 2 Kings xii. 13. LXX.; and Matt. ix. 2, 6, sin for its punishment. "How then did death enter in and reign? By the sin of one. And what means the 'in that all have sinned?' He having fallen, all, though they ate not of the tree, in him became mortal."—Chrysostom. Hom. in loco.
By comparison of these passages, as well as of what is said in v. 21 respecting sin and excess, the general view of our author would seem to be, "As on the one hand, by the entrance through Adam of sin bringing death in its train, and as its consequence, all men became subject to both these evils; though some in a greater and some in a lesser degree to the former, which indeed act and react on one another, so that not only by the primary fall have we become heirs of mortality, but through our own individual sins justify that sentence; even so, on the other, by our Lord have all been gifted with a renewed power and spirit of righteousness, and life hereafter, though all do not duly or equally take advantage thereof."—E. B.
17. * Namely, as it would seem, "if then we need the incarnation of Christ for our justification, of what use was the law, was it not given for that very purpose? Nay, it has its uses indeed, in affording instruction; but the end therefrom resulting was, that your sins, as committed against it, were the greater and more numerous."
18. + As see ch. iii. 4, 19.
19. * Μυστήριον. Exhort at celebration of Communion, Angl. Rit.
20. + See the exposition of this verse. "The expression, 'The God of our Lord Jesus Christ,' he has here used with a distinction, calling Him on the one hand the God, and on the other, the Father of the same Saviour; His God as regards His manhood, His Father as regards His godhead; for it is His divine nature that He here speaks of as glory. And thus also in the Epistle to the Hebrews (i. 3,) who having the brightness of His glory ..... that is, of His divine nature. And thus also the holy Ezekiel (i. 26) says, " This was the likeness of the glory of the Lord.' For since it is altogether impossible for men to know the divine nature, they represent it as glory, giving that name thereto, from the worship and glory due to it."
21. * Τὴν πνευματικὴν διδασκαλίαν, the institutions or teaching of the Spirit.
22. * [Greek omitted].—Aristotle's Ethics, Book vii. ch. 6. ad fin.
23. * The contrast seems to be between desire or interest in its healthy state, though liable to degenerate into over-worldliness, carnality, &c. that is, unbridled love of the creature in any way: and the warm and sudden impulses of a generous nature, whose vicious extreme is fierceness and rage. Ἐπιθυμία and Θυμὸς. See on Psalm lxviiL 25, (lxix. 24, Engl. Trans.) "Pour out Thine anger upon them, and let the θυμὸς of Thine anger lay hold on them." By θυμὸς he sets forth that which is sudden, for of such a kind is θυμὸς: but by anger that which is lasting, for this is the nature of anger: for θυμὸς is sharp and short-lived: anger slower, but more enduring: by the θυμὸς of anger therefore he means, sharp and abiding vengeance. "So" we call that bravery which is the due excitement τοῦ θυμοειδοῦς, "and justice the proper government of the soul and order of the subjected passions, the due agreement with reason τοῦ ἐπιθυμητικοῦ καὶ θυμοειδοῦς and harmony between each other." Περὶ Πρόνοιας, 4th Book, vol. iv. p. 566,567. This same account is repeated in the Dissertation on the Philosophy of the Greeks, vol. iv. pp. 827, 843, 844. Ed. Halae, 1769—1774.—E. B.
24. * The ancient yoke, be it remembered, went over the necks of both horses, somewhat as the modern cross-bar of a curricle does over their backs, only that it was curved for that purpose; to carry it even and straight, therefore, they must move pari passu.—E. B.
25. * Either simply, as describing the state of man under the law; or in my mind thus strengthened now am enabled to serve God, who formerly, by the domination of passion, could only serve sin.—E. B.
26. * Arians, Macedonians, and Eunomians, Haeret. Fab. Comp. lib. v. ch. 3, p. 389, vol. iv. 7: ed. and Pearson on the Creed, Art. 8, notes 17, 19, 3 and 6.—E. B.
27. + See Pearson on Creed, Article 8, text and notes, 29,32, 33, 34, m. p. g. r. —E. B.
28. ++ To whose doctrines of condemnation of the body itself, as the formation of the prince of darkness, allusion has been so often before made; and see Col. ii. 20 to end.—E. B.
29. * Τὴν μυστικὴν εὐχὴν, alluding perhaps to the μυστηριον of baptism, wherein we were constituted and adopted as God's children, as see on Gal. xxvi. 27.—E. B.
30. + Abba. The term familiarly in the mouths of infants, see Is. viii. 4, but not allowed to be used by servants, see Calmet. Showing that as infants, ignorant of the real nature of the connexion with their parents, boldly call them habitually by that name, even so we, as unacquainted with our Heavenly Parent, address Him. The whole explanation is, however, differently given in another MS. of our author's. "It belongs to little children to call their parents by this same word, Abba, and they who had been blessed with the adoption of sons in baptism, were little children in this present life, waiting for the more complete and true sonship in the world to come; wherefore he subjoins, Abba, Father, both as pointing out the expected perfection, and as indicating their present state, in which, like infants, they had not yet received their full enjoyment of all good things."—E. B.
31. ++ Literally, their share of the sufferings of the Lord, see Col. i. 24.—E. B.
32. * Τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν. Compare Acts xiii. 46, 48. Τεταγμένοι, disposed, while the Jews were not, as explained by the ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς of 1 Cor. xvi. 15, and the διατεταγμένος of Acts xx. 13, Luke ix. 62, and Matt xiii. 3—17. Verbally " disposition," as [Greek] . . . k. t. l. Hist Eccl. lib. i. ch. 3, ad init; and again, [Greek] On Ps. ix. 17. Again, [Greek] Euther. Serm. ii.; and as see the explanation below, and on ch. ix. ver, 11, and compare Acts xi. 23, and 2 Tim. iii. 10.—E. B.
33. + [Greek]
34. * Αξιωθέντας. Having heretofore so translated this word, it has so been rendered here, however the more literal version of Luke xx. 35, received Engl. Transl. would have been in stricter accordance with the κατὰ προθέσιν and the ους προέγνω above, and so at end of ch. "we may be found worthy of the mansions of the apostles;" i. e. the same that themselves are, &c.—E.B.
35. + All the verbs and participles being in the same tense, Aor. 1st, except the "had foreknown," Aor. 2d, both here and in the original text of the Romans, v. 29, 30, and therefore to be rendered rather synchronistically than successively,— (and here by the way may be mentioned, once for all, a liberty throughout taken in this translation, for greater plainness of sense sake, at variance with the general attempt verbum reddere verbo, and that is the substitution of the present, where our author frequently speaks in the past tense, of what St. Paul is saying, e. g. as in next verse, literally, ''has comprehended." 34. Literally, "having said" . . . "he has added," &c.; the advantage, and almost necessity, of which alteration, will be seen plainly in those passages, where, having already laid down such and such, the apostle is represented still in the past tense as proceeding to enforce it, and yet as meaning this or that in the present; while our author himself sanctions it by frequently so expressing it himself.)—E.B.
36. * Who can rise up in judgment against those whom God has thus chosen, and when He has justified, who condemn them for what He has pardoned!—E.B.
37. + The human body of our nature, now become the first-fruits from the dead. 1 Cor. xv. 20, 23, &c.—E.B.
38. * The preservation of their own fidelity to God's glory, in spite of suffering.—E.B.
39. * Ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα. The latter in the text of the Epistle.—E.B.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2013. This file and all material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely. From: "The Christian Remembrancer, or, The churchman's biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany", 21 (1839) p.34 &c. The text appears in sections throughout the volume.
Greek text is rendered using unicode.
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