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Subject of the Epistle .29 

Time and Place ... .36 


On the Connexion of Immorality and Idolatry .... 70 

On the State of the Heathen World 74 


On the Abstract Ideas of the New Testament, in connexion with 

Romans, I. 17 96 

On the Modes of Time and Place in Scripture . . . .110 



The Old Testament 156 


On the Imputation of the Sin of Adam 180 



On Conversion and Changes of Character ..... 222 



Contrasts of Prophecy 318 






Casuistry 384 

CHAPTER XV. ........ 403 


Natural Religion 43^ 

The Law as the Strength of Sin ..... .495 

On Righteousness by Faith 523 

On Atonement and Satisfaction 547 

On Predestination and Free-will 595 








THE Epistle to the Romans has ever been regarded as first in 
importance among the Epistles of St. Paul, the cornerstone of that 
Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles. Not only does it 
present more completely than other parts of Scripture the doctrine 
of righteousness by faith, but it connects this doctrine with the 
state of mankind in general, embracing Jew and Gentile at once in 
its view, alternating them with each other in the counsels of Pro 
vidence. It looks into the world within, without losing sight of the 
world which is without. It is less than the other Epistles concerned 
with the disputes or wants of a particular Church, and more with 
the greater needs of human nature itself. It turns an eye backward 
on the times of past ignorance both in the individual and mankind, 
and again looks forward to the restoration of the Jews and to the 
manifestation of the sons of God. It speaks of the law itself in 
language which even now " that the law is dead to us and we to the 
law," still pierces to the dividing asunder of the flesh and spirit. 
No other portion of the New Testament gives a similarly connected 
view of the ways of God to man ; no other is spread over truths so 
far from us and yet so near to us. 

It is not, however, this higher and more universal aspect of the 
Epistle to the Romans with which we are at present immediately con- 

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cerned. Our first question is a critical and historical one : What was 
the Roman Church, and in what relation did it stand to the Apostle ? 
The difficulty in answering this question partly arises from the very 
universality of the subject of the Epistle. The great argument takes us 
out of the accidents of time and place. We cannot distinctly recognise 
what we but remotely see, the particular and individual features of 
which are lost in the width of the prospect. Could the Apostle 
himself have had, and therefore is it to be expected that he could 
communicate to us, the same vivid personal conception of the Church 
at Rome as of Churches whose members were individually known 
to him, whom, in his own language, he had himself begotten in the 
Gospel? In an Epistle written from a distance to converts un 
known to him by face, it is not to be supposed that there will be 
found even the materials for conjecture which are supplied by the 
Epistles to the Galatians and Corinthians. Naturally the personality 
of the writer, and still more of those whom he is addressing, falls 
into the background. He writes upon general topics which are 
equally applicable to almost all Churches, which fail, therefore, to 
throw any light on the particular Church to which the Epistle is 
addressed. Nor can this dimness of the critical eye receive any 
assistance from external sources. With the exception of the well- 
known command of Claudius to the Jews to depart from Rome about 
fifteen years previously, to which we may add the faint traces of a 
Christian Church which was apparently distinct from the Jews, in 
Acts, xxviii. 15., and the separate mention of Christians in Tacitus 
and Suetonius, nothing has come down to us which throws any light, 
however uncertain, on the beginnings of the Roman Church. 

It is natural that this deficiency of real knowledge should produce 
many different theories respecting the general scope of the Epistle 
and the elements out of which the Roman Church was composed. 
That it was addressed to Jews, that it was addressed to Gentiles, 
that it was addressed to a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles, 
that it is a doctrinal treatise, that it arose out of the circumstances 
of the converts themselves, that it was written rather from the 


Apostle s own mind than adapted to the thoughts or state of those 
whom he is addressing, are all of them opinions which find some 
degree of support from passages in the Epistle itself. While to some 
the Epistle to the Romans appears like an enlarged edition of that 
to the Galatians, containing the same opposition of Jew and Gentile, 
there are other minds who think they find in it a nearer analogy 
and resemblance to the Epistle to the Hebrews, or even to the 
Corinthians. Nor is the inquiry on which we are entering really 
separable from the larger inquiry into the general state of the Apos 
tolical age. The manner in which the transition was effected from 
Judaism to Christianity, the steps by which men were led to reflect 
the light of the world upon the Law and the Prophets, the degree of 
opposition which existed between the old and new, are questions 
which, though far from being absolutely determined, must never 
theless be taken into consideration in any attempt to define the posi 
tion and character of the Roman Church. 

The interest that attaches to the origin of that great ecclesiastical 
dominion which was to cover the world, though connected by little 
more than a name with the earlier Greek community which is the 
subject of our investigation, and the yet stronger interest in 
" gathering up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost," 
respecting the great Epistle of the Gentile Apostle, will justify our 
lingering awhile around the probabilities and points of view which 
have been suggested by commentators, No pains can be too great 
to illustrate even the least words that bear upon the history of the 
Apostolical age. Small as the result may be, yet the inquiry will be 
fruitful. Nor need we be afraid of multiplying uncertainties. The 
light of theory seems to be needed to make us observe facts. The 
opinions of almost all have probably contributed something to the 
increasing clearness and distinctness with which we are able to 
determine the limits of our knowledge on this subject. 

The Epistle to the Romans has been regarded as a sort of theo 
logical treatise on the great question of Jewish and Gentile differ 
ences ; addressed, it has been sometimes said, to the metropolis of 

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the world, as the Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed to the Jewish 
nation generally. In support of such a view may be urged the 
continuity of the Epistle itself, in which a single theme is worked 
out at great length and in many points of view ; also, the com 
parative absence of personal allusions, which are confined to the 
first and the two last chapters. All the earlier Epistles of St. Paul 
overflow with expressions of feeling and interest ; they are full of 
himself andof his converts, abounding in hopes and fears, in joys and 
anxieties. He constantly refers in them to what he has been told, 
and has much to say in return to those to whom he is writing. It 
is otherwise with the Epistle to the Romans. We have only to cut 
off from the main body of the Epistle its commencement and con 
clusion, to be aware of its great difference from the Galatians and 
Corinthians. It is an Epistle of which the admiring readers might 
still say, " His letters are weighty and powerful," and in writing 
which the Apostle would become increasingly conscious of the new 
source of influence which had opened to him ; but it is also an 
Epistle unlike his earlier ones, more methodical in its arrange 
ment, arising out of no previous information conveyed to him from 
the Church itself, and referring to no circumstances that imply any 
precise knowledge of its actual state. 

Yet we have reason to hesitate before we ascribe to the Apostle a 
treatise on Justification by Faith, because the expression itself 
introduces associations inconsistent with the simplicity of the Apos 
tolical age. The Epistles of St. Paul were not to the first disciples 
what time has made them to us. They were a part of his ministry, 
in style oral rather than written, and very unlike a regular literary 
work. He who lived inwardly the life of all the churches did not 
sit down at a desk to compose a book. Even the change which has 
been alluded to was probably unobserved by himself. What he 
wrote was the accident of what he was ; the expansion of an 
ordinary letter into the only topics which had any interest for 
himself or the first believers, in which the common things of life 
had become absorbed and extinguished, that the hidden things 


might be revealed. There is no reason to suppose that he wrote to 
the Christians in Rome with any peculiar feeling of the dignity of 
the imperial city ; or that its greatness roused in him any new sense 
of his high calling as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Amid that vast 
multitude of all countries and nations, and in all that varied scene 
of power and magnificence, his only concern was with those few 
brethren, the report of whom had reached him in Greece and Asia, 
who were called by the name of Christ, with whom he desires to 
make acquaintance by letter, not without a hope that he may one 
day see them. 

But if the Epistle is not to be regarded as a treatise, if it be 
written as a man to his friends, not without reference to 
their feelings and circumstances, the question from which we digressed 
again arises, " What was the origin of the Roman Church, and what 
were the elements of which it was composed ? " Was it Jewish or 
Gentile, or made up equally of Jews and Gentiles ? or a Church of 
which the majority were one or the other, or one which, though of 
Jewish origin, was gradually opening the door wide to the Gentiles, 
or which, consisting originally of Gentiles, was Jewish in its prac 
tice and teaching, as being founded by the party of the circumcision, 
resting on " those who seemed to be pillars " (Gal. ii. 9.), the 
Apostles, as they are described by St. Paul, that " were in Christ 
before him " (Rom. xvi. 7.) ? The Gentile Apostle is often " fearful 
of building upon another man s foundation." Who are they whom 
he nevertheless addresses, and to whom he stands in a sort of per 
sonal relation, though not his own converts ? Only an imperfect 
answer can be given to these questions, the materials for which 
must be sought mainly in the character and tendency of the Epistle 
itself. An examination of some of the principal opinions on the 
subject will be a convenient way of bringing together the facts which 
bear upon it. 

1. Neander is of opinion that the Epistle to the Romans was 
addressed to a Church consisting mainly of Gentile Christians ; " to 
whom," he says, " the Gospel had been published by men of the 

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Pauline School, independently of the Mosaic Law, and to whom 
Paul, as the Apostle of the Gentiles, felt himself called upon to 
write." The Roman Church had grown up without him, but seemed 
to have a claim upon him to receive from his lips that Gospel which 
he preached among other Gentiles. Though at a distance from him, 
it was his proper field of labour. The Christians at Rome would 
not have been addressed by him had they been Jews. Least of all 
would he have included his own countrymen in the general term 
" other Gentiles " (i. 5.). But if so, we are compelled to admit that 
the Epistle could not have been addressed to a Church composed of 
Jewish Christians. 

Other subsidiary proofs may be urged on the same side of the 
argument : First, Tacitus brief notice of the Neroniau persecu 
tion, in which the Christians are spoken of as a distinct body and 
known by a separate name, which would not have been the case had 
they been of Jewish origin. Such a mention of them, at any rate, 
falls in with the supposition of a Gentile rather than a Jewish 
Church. To which may be added, secondly, the argument of 
Olshausen, that the discrepancy between the last chapter of the Acts 
and the Epistle to the Romans can be reconciled only by supposing 
that the Jews at Rome must have been widely separated from the 
Roman Church, the fame of which even before St. Paul s visit "is 
known throughout the world." (Rom. i. 8.) For in the narrative, at 
the end of the Acts, of St. Paul s visit to Rome, he appears as 
introducing himself to the Jews, who had heard nothing of the 
proceedings against him in Judea, and desired him " to instruct 
them concerning that way which was everywhere spoken against." 
Must they not have been strangers to the Christians at Rome, 
if they had not heard of these things ? and could that have been a 
Jewish Christian Church which was unknown to the Jews in the 
same city ? 

On the two latter of these arguments little stress can be laid. The 
mention of the Christians under their proper name in the Neronian 
persecution, by a writer who lived nearly fifty years afterwards, can 


hardly be taken as a proof that in the reign of Nero the Christians 
were already looked upon as a distinct body from the Jews ; still 
less can the further deduction be admitted that they could not have 
been so regarded at Kome, unless they had been of Gentile origin. 
In reference to the second argument from the comparison of the last 
chapter of the Acts, it may be observed, that to assume a fact in 
order to reconcile a discrepancy between two writers is an extremely 
precarious mode of reasoning " it must be so, not because either the 
Acts or the Epistle says so, but because otherwise there will be a dis 
agreement between them." These circuitous reconcilements do more 
than discrepancies to sap the historical foundations of Christianity. 
In the present instance, even after the assumption of Olshausen, 
the difficulty remains nearly where it was. It is singular, though 
not perhaps impossible, that the Jews should know nothing of the 
Christians residing in the same city ; whether the latter are Jews or 
Gentiles makes little difference. These arguments, however, are not 
the real strength of Neander s case. Their weakness cannot invali 
date the express statement of St. Paul, that he is writing to Gen 
tiles ; and by Gentiles he could never have meant Jews. When he 
says that he longed to see them, that he might have fruit among them, 
even as "among other Gentiles" (i. 13.), or that he "had received 
grace and Apostleship for obedience to the faith among all the Gen 
tiles for his name, among whom are ye also the called of Jesus 
Christ " (ver. 5, 6.), we are no longer resting on doubtful inferences, 
but on the express language of the Apostle himself. 

2. On the other hand, a strong case may be made out from the 
Epistle itself in proof of the position that it was written not for 
Gentiles, but for Jews. The critic by whom this view of the subject 
has been most ably maintained is Baur of Tubingen. The Epistle 
to the Romans, he argues, like all the other Epistles, must have 
arisen out of circumstances. There must have been something 
personal and occasional, which might naturally furnish the subject 
of a letter. But the whole Epistle would have the vaguest possible 
connexion with those to whom it was addressed, if it was written to 


a Gentile Church. How inappropriate, how discouraging, to be 
perpetually reminding them that the Jews were first called, after 
wards the Gentiles ; how unlike the manner of him who was " all 
things to all men ! " What interest could the question of the resto 
ration of the Jews have for Gentiles ? We do not naturally express 
passion to those who do not themselves feel it, nor would the 
Apostle have poured forth his " heart s desire for Israel," in a strain 
like that of the Psalmist, " if I forget thee, Jerusalem," to cold and 
uninterested listeners. 

The minute references throughout the Epistle to the Law and the 
Prophets may be taken as a further proof that the Apostle is speaking 
to Jews. We can scarcely imagine a Gentile Church so completely 
passing over into the Jewish point of view as to recognise in the 
Gospel a fulfilment of promises made to the Patriarchs, of whose very 
names a few years previous they had been ignorant. The argument 
of the seventh chapter of the Romans seems to presuppose not only a 
passing knowledge of the writers of the Old Testament, but a sort 
of traditional acquaintance with it, and experience of its practical 
influence. How could those who, a few years before, had not even 
heard of the Law, be now feeling it as a burden on the conscience ? 
Though, as Baur admits, the Apostle in addressing Gentiles does 
sometimes use illustrations from the Prophets; that is, speaks to them 
from what we should conceive to have been his point of view 
rather than theirs, this is very different from the use of the Law in 
the Epistle to the Romans, which carries us into another world, and 
presupposes states of mind and feelings common to the Apostle and 
those to whom he is writing, which are inconceivable in Gentiles. 
Unless he is using unmeaning words to them, they must be supposed 
to have had a minute verbal acquaintance with the Law and the 
Prophets ; and even with the text of the LXX. 

But if we can assume that we are addressing a Jewish community, 
we have only to invert the order of the Epistle to find an appropriate 
meaning and occasion for it. St. Paul has begun with the universal 
principle, righteousness by faith without the deeds of the Law ; ad- 


mission of Jew and Gentile alike to the communion and fellowship 
of Christ. But what in writing to the Jewish Roman Church was 
nearest his heart, was not the admission of the Gentiles, but the 
restoration of the Jews. The offer of salvation, through Christ, was 
made to the Jew first, and afterwards to the Gentile ; yet facts 
seemed, as it were, to disprove this, for the Jews were being rejected 
and the Gentiles received. With strange feelings the early Jewish 
Church must have watched the glory departing from their race, and 
the door of the tabernacle opening ever wider for the admission of 
the Gentiles. Some, perhaps, there were who acknowledged that the 
hand of God was against them ; others, possibly, like the author of 
the Hebrews, acquiesced in the spiritual meaning of the tabernacle 
and the sacrifices ; few, if any, like St. Paul, were ready to acknow 
ledge that God was the God of the Gentiles equally with the Jews. 
To minds in such a state as this, St. Paul seeks to justify the ways of 
God, not so much by an appeal to the eternal principles of truth and 
justice, as by the language of the Old Testament, and the analogy of 
God s dealings with the chosen people. 

The arguments that he uses to them are twofold. First, that the 
Jews are rejected by their own fault; and, secondly, that their re 
jection was just like the punishment of their fathers. It is singular, 
that throughout the Prophets we have the double consciousness ; 
first, that they are the chosen people of God, and also (as it has 
been expressed) that " they were never good for much at any time." 
The same double consciousness is traceable in the Epistle to the 
Romans, especially in the tenth and eleventh chapters. To make his 
view appear reasonable to them, the Apostle enters into the depth 
of the mystery, which aforetime had not been revealed. Without 
going into the whole scheme of Divine Providence, they could neither 
comprehend the reason for the rejection of their brethren nor the hope 
of their restoration. They must begin by acknowledging that God 
had superseded the Law, or they could not possibly understand how 
their brethren could be punished for holding fast to it. The latter 
had gone the wrong way, seeking to establish their own righteousness, 


and had missed salvation. It was a necessary consequence of a new 
revelation being given, that those who did not receive it were ex 
cluded from its benefits. And yet, when it was remembered that 
that revelation was a revelation of mercy; that the Jews were re 
jected not to narrow, but to widen, the way of salvation ; there 
might seem to be a good hope that mercy would yet rejoice against 
judgment, and the way be made wider still for Jew as well as 
Gentile to enter in. "And so God concluded all under sin that he 
might have mercy upon all." 

In such a view of the Epistle it may be remarked that there is an 
analogy between St. Paul s treatment of the case of the individual 
believer and that of the Jewish people. The believer must first be 
made conscious of his sin before he can receive the gift of grace ; so 
the Jewish nation must be rejected before it can be received ; and 
the believing Jew be made sensible that the Law has passed away 
before he can see the hope of his countrymen s restoration. He who 
has begun the good work will carry it on to the end. He who gave 
his Son to die for mankind, while yet sinners, how shall He not, 
when they are now reconciled, freely give them all things ? He 
who inverted his natural order, and placed the Gentile before the 
Jew, shall He not much more restore the Jew to his original pri 
vileges ? 

A few other points may be adduced in support of Baur s views. 
Such are the inculcation of obedience to the powers that be, in the 
xiiith chapter, which may be thought to be more appropriate to a 
Jewish than a Gentile Church. In a Jewish community only 
should we be likely to find the " fifth-monarchy " men of that day, 
whether zealots for the Law or expectants of a Messiah s kingdom. 
Gentile Christians we might expect rather to present the innocent, 
peaceful image which we gather of the believers from Pliny s 
letters, who could have needed no such warning. A further indica 
tion which may be thought to connect the Epistle in the same 
manner with a Jewish rather than a Gentile Church, is the allusion 


to the scruple respecting meats and drinks, and the opinions on the 
observance of days. 

When weighed in the scales of criticism, it must be admitted that 
much stress cannot be laid on the two last arguments. The utmost 
we can concede to them is, that the allusions referred to in the 
Epistle agree rather better with the hypothesis of a Jewish than of 
a Gentile community. Yet more shadowy seem the proofs derived 
from the Clementine Homilies and the Shepherd of Hernias ; which, 
even if it be granted that they were written by members of the 
Roman Church, yet, being the work of a century later and appearing 
in a time of transition, cannot be adduced to support the view that 
the first believers at Rome were Jews, still less that the earliest 
spirit of the Roman Church was of a Jewish Gnostic character. 

Omitting then, on either side, the weaker arguments, and confining 
ourselves to strong and simple grounds, we seem at first sight to come 
to two utterly irreconcilable and contradictory views : the Epistle 
was addressed to Gentiles, because St. Paul expressly says so ; the 
Epistle was addressed to Jews, because its contents are suited only 
to a Jewish habit of thought and education. Our object must now 
be to find some middle term which will reconcile the two opposing 
theories, which will admit of the Roman Church being partly 
Jewish and partly Gentile, or, in a certain sense, Jewish, in another, 

The old belief was, that the Roman Church consisted partly of 
Jews and partly of Gentiles, and that the Epistle was written with 
the intention of adjusting the disputes that had arisen between them. 
The latter part of this statement finds no support from the Epistle 
itself, and appears to be nothing more than an arbitrary assumption 
suggested by the analogy of the Corinthians and the Galatians. 
The former part need not be wholly denied : for in every 
Christian Church there were probably some Jews and some Gentiles. 
Yet it does not follow from this that the community was divided be 
tween them, or that both were numerous enough to form separate 


parties. The Epistle affords no intimation of such parties existing 
side by side, whether peaceably or otherwise, in the Roman commu 
nion. St. Paul never speaks of Jew and Gentile as in actual contact, 
disputing about circumcision, or purification, or meats and drinks, 
or sabbath days. The relation which he supposes between them is 
wholly ideal ; that is, in the purposes of God, not in their assemblies 
or daily life. They divide the world and time ; they have nothing 
to do with each other as individuals. Nor does the theory that the 
Roman Church was a half Jewish, half Gentile community agree 
with either of the facts stated above the fact that the name 
Gentiles is applied to all, while the tone and style of the Epistle are 
wholly Jewish. 

It is more reasonable, as well as far more in accordance with the 
indications of the Epistles, to regard the Churches planted by the 
Apostles, not as divided into two sections of Jew and Gentile, 
circumcision and uncircumcision, but as always in a state of trans 
ition between the two, dropping gradually their Jewish customs, 
and opening the door wider and wider to their Gentile brethren, 
slowly, but at length entirely, convinced that it was not "at 
this time the kingdom was to be restored to Israel." Such must, 
at any rate, have been the case with the Churches not founded 
by St. Paul. It was long ere the curtains of the tabernacle were 
drawn aside, or the veil rent in twain, or the earthly and visible 
temple exchanged for that building in the heavens, the house not 
made with hands. Disputes about the outward rite of circumcision 
would be succeeded by another stage of controversy respecting the 
inward obligation of the Law on the conscience, and the authority of 
St. Paul and the Twelve. There were cases, also, in which an 
idealised or Alexandrianised Judaism had been the soil in which the 
Gospel was originally planted. Here the transition would be more 
rapid ; the faith of the earliest believers would linger less around the 
weak and beggarly elements ; they would more easily harmonise the 
old and new ; they would more readily comprehend the length and 
breadth of the purposes of God. The change required of them 


would be in their ways of thought rather than in their habits of life ; 
and the latitude which such converts allowed themselves would 
react on the stricter Jewish communities. 

Changes like these may be supposed to have been passing over the 
Roman Church. At the time St. Paul wrote to them, there was no 
question of circumcision ; that, if it had ever been, was now left be 
hind. But in a more general way the same difficulty still pressed upon 
them. What was the obligation of the Law? And, as they looked 
upon the passing scene, and saw the chosen race becoming a spectacle 
to the world, to angels, and to men, they could not but ask also, 
" What God intended respecting it ? " Whether were they to melt 
away among the Gentiles, or to preserve their name and heritage ? 
While men were pondering such thoughts in their hearts, of the 
Law and its sabbaths, and ceremonies, and sacrifices, of the con 
solation of Israel, and the restoration of the kingdom, we may con 
ceive the Apostle to have written this Epistle with a view of meeting 
their doubts, and adjusting their thoughts, and vindicating the ways 
of God to man, and revealing the way of salvation. He gave them 
the full truth for the half-truth, the day for the twilight, and es 
tablished their faith in Christ, not by drawing back, but by going 
further than they had imagined, and resting the Gospel on an immu 
table moral foundation (Rom. ii. 11. ; iii. 29). 

Such we conceive to have been the state of feeling in the Roman 
Church, because such is the state of feeling to which the words of 
the Apostle are appropriate. Neither the earlier one, in which 
men said, " except ye be circumcised ye cannot be saved," and an 
Apostle himself withdrew and refused to eat with the Gentiles ; nor 
the later one, in r which it was clearly understood that all such 
differences were done away in Christ, are suitable to the argument 
of the Epistle to the Romans. The Apostle was still seeking to 
teach a Jewish Church the great lesson of the admission of the 
Gentiles more perfectly. So far the hypothesis of Baur affords a 
good key to the interpretation of the Epistle. But still the ex 
pression in the fifth verse of the first chapter has not been disposed 


of. In what sense could they be said to be Gentiles ? For sup 
posing the Roman Church to have consisted of Jews gradually passing 
into the state of Gentiles, we have an explanation of the frequent 
dwelling on the Law, and the relation of Jew and Gentile, but none 
of the term, " other Gentiles," under which the Apostle comprehends 
them. No gradual change in their opinions and circumstances could 
have justified him in calling those Gentiles who were originally Jews. 
Nor, however much he might " magnify his office," would he have 
included the chosen people under the common name, which he every 
where opposed to them. The very meaning of the Apostle of the 
Gentiles would have been lost had the term " nations " extended 
itself to them. 

The attempt to solve this difficulty runs up into the general 
question of the state and circumstances of the early Church : our 
inquiry respecting which must, however, be restricted to the single 
point which bears upon the present subject ; viz. how far the 
Gentile Churches were originally in feeling Jewish, -whether to the 
Gentiles also the gate of the New Testament was through the Old ? 
For if it could be shown that Jewish and Gentile Christianity were 
not so much opposed as successive that the Gospel of the 
Jewish Apostles was the first, and that of St. Paul the subsequent, 
stage in the history of the Apostolic Church, then the difficulty of 
itself disappears, and the double aspect of the Epistle to the 
Romans is what we should expect. . 

Our conception of the Apostolical age is necessarily based on the 
Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul. It is in vain to 
search ecclesiastical writings for further information ; the pages of 
Justin and Irenaeus supply only the evidence of their own defi 
ciency. Confining ourselves, then, to the original sources, we cannot 
but be struck by the fact, that of the first eighteen years after the 
day of Pentecost, hardly any account is preserved to us in the Acts, 
and that to this scanty record no addition can be made from the 
Epistles of St. Paul. Isolated facts are narrated, but not events in 
their order and sequence : there is no general prospect of the Chris- 


tian world. Churches are growing up every where : some the 
result of missions from Jerusalem, others of unknown origin ; yet 
none of them standing in any definite relation to the Apostles of the 
circumcision. It seems as if we had already reached the second 
stage in the history of the Apostolic Church, without any precise 
knowledge of the first. That second period, if we terminate it with 
the supposed date of the Apostle s death, extends over about fourteen 
or fifteen years, years full of life, and growth, and vicissitude. 
Could the preceding period have been less so, or does it only appear 
to be so from the silence of history ? Is it according to the analogy 
of human things, or of the workings of Divine power in the soul 
of man, that during the first part of its existence, Christianity 
should have slumbered, and after fifteen years of inaction have sud 
denly gone forth to conquer the world ? Or, are we falling under 
that common historical illusion, that little happened in a time of 
which we know little ? 

And yet how are we to supply this lost history out of the single 
verse of the Acts (xi. 19.), " They which were scattered abroad upon 
the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice 
and Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the 
Jews only." What reply is to be made to the inquiry respecting 
the origin of the Christian Church in the two cities which in after- 
ages were to exercise the greatest influence on its history, Alex 
andria and Rome? We cannot tell. Our slender materials only 
admit of being eked out by some general facts which do not fill up 
the void of details, but are of the greatest importance in illustrating 
the spirit and character of the earliest Christian communities. 
Foremost among these facts is the dispersion of the Jews. The 
remark has been often made that the universality of the Roman 
Empire was itself a preparation for the universality of the Gospel, 
its very organisation throughout the world being the image, as it 
may have been the model, of the external form of the Christian 
Church. But not less striking as an image of the external state of 
the earliest Christian communion is the dispersion of the ten tribes 


throughout the world, and not less worthy of observation as it was 
an inward preparation for Christianity is the universal diffusion 
of that religion, the spirit of which seemed at the time to be most 
narrow and contracted within itself, and at first sight most hostile 
to the whole human race. Of all religions in the world it was pro 
bably the only one capable of making proselytes, which had the force, 
as it had the will, to draw men within its circle. Literally, and not 
only in idea, " the Law was a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ." 
The compassing sea and land " to make one proselyte " was not 
without its results. Seneca, who did not know, or at least has not 
told anything of the Christians, says of the Jews, "Victoribus victi 
leges dederunt." The Roman satirists were aware of their festivals, 
and speak of them in a way which implies not only converts to 
Judaism, but a degree of regard for their opinions. They had 
passed into a proverb in Horace s time for their zeal in bringing men 
over to their opinions. (1 Sat. iv. 143.) Philo mentions the suburb 
beyond the Tiber in which they were domiciled by Augustus, the 
greater number of the inhabitants of which are said to have been 
freedmen : Leg. ad Caium, 23. Tacitus s account of their origin 
is perhaps an unique attempt in a Roman writer to investigate the 
religious antiquities of an Eastern people, implying of itself, what 
it also explicitly states, the tendency towards them. No other 
religion had been sustained for centuries by contributions from the 
most remote parts of the empire to a common centre ; contributions 
the very magnitude of which is ascribed to the zeal of numerous 
converts. (Tacitus, Hist. v. 5. ; Cicero pro Flacco, c. 28.) According 
to Josephus, whole tribes in the neighbourhood of Judea had sub 
mitted to the rite of circumcision. (Ant. xiii. 9. 1. ; 11. 3. ; 15. 4.) 
The women of Damascus in particular are mentioned as not trusted 
by their husbands in a massacre of the Jews, because they were 
favourable to the Jews religion." The Jews in Alexandria 
occupied two of the five quarters into which the city was divided : 
and the whole Jewish population of Egypt was rated by Philo at 
a million. Facts like these speak volumes for the importance and 
influence of the Jews. 


In one sense it is true that the Jewish religion seemed already 
about to expire. To us, looking back from the vantage ground of 
the Gospel, nothing is clearer than that it contained within itself 
the seeds of its own destruction. " The Law and the Prophets were 
until John, and now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and 
the violent take it by force." Before Christ after Christ this is 
the great landmark that divides Judaism from Christianity, while 
for a few years longer the devoted nation, already within the coils 
of its own destiny, lingers about its ancient seat. It was otherwise 
to its contemporaries. To them the Jewish people was not declining, 
but growing. There seemed to be no end to its wealth and influ 
ence. The least of all peoples in itself, it was a nation within a 
nation in every city. In the wreck of the heathen religions, 
Judaism alone remained unchanged. Nor is there anything strange 
in its retaining undiminished this power over the human mind, 
when its own national glory had already departed. Its objects 
of faith were not lessened, but magnified by distance. It contained 
in itself that inward life which other religions were seeking for, and 
for the want of which they expired. It could not but communicate 
to others the belief in the unity of God, which had sunk for ages 
into the heart of the race ; to the educated Greek " one guess 
among many," to the Israelite a necessary truth. It formed a sort 
of meeting point of East and West, which in the movement of 
either towards the other naturally exercised a singular influence. 
Many elements of Greek cultivation had insensibly passed into the 
mind of the Jewish people, as of other Asiatic nations, before the 
reaction of the Macc abean w"ars ; cities with Greek names covered 
the land : even after that time the rugged Hebrew feeling was 
confined within narrow limits. The Gospel as it passed from the 
lips of our Lord and the Twelve had not far to go in Palestine itself 
before it came in contact with the Greek world. In other countries 
the diffusion of the Greek Version of the Old Testament is a proof 
that a Hellenised Judaism was growing up everywhere. The 
Alexandrian philosophy offered a link with heathen literature and 

c 2 


mythology. Judaism was no longer isolated but wandering far 
and wide. Clinging to its belief in Jehovah and abating nothing 
of its national pride, it was nevertheless capable of assuming to 
itself new phases without losing its essential character, of dropping 
its more repulsive features and entering into and penetrating the 
better heathen mind both of East and West. 

The heads of many subjects of inquiry are summed up in these re 
flections, which lead us round to the question from which we started, 
" Whether to the Gentiles also the gate of the New Testament was 
through the Old?" And they suggest the answer to the question, 
that " so it was," not because the minds of the first teachers were 
unable to rise above the "rudiments of the Law," but because the 
soil for Christianity among the Gentiles was itself prepared in 
Judaism. It was the natural growth of the Gospel in the world 
as it then was. The better life of the Jewish people passed into the 
earliest Christian Church; the meaning of prophecy was lost to 
the Jew and found to the believer in Christ. And the facts re 
corded in the Acts of the Apostles represent the outward side of 
this inward tendency : it was the Jewish proselyte who commonly 
became the Christian convert. Such were Cornelius and the Ethi 
opian eunuch, and the deputy Sergius Paulus, who "of his own 
accord desired to hear the word of God." The teachers themselves 
wore the habit of Jews, and they came appealing to the authority 
of the Old Testament. That garb and form and manner which we 
insensibly drop in thinking of the early teachers of Christianity, 
could not have failed to impress its Jewish character on their first 
hearers. It would be their first conception of the Gospel, that it 
was a kind of Judaism to which they were predisposed by the 
same kind of feelings which led them towards Judaism itself. 

The question receives the same answer when reconsidered from 
another point of view, in connexion with the general narrative of 
the first propagation of the Gospel, in the Acts and the Epistles of 
St. Paul. Read them on any other hypothesis and they become 
unintelligible. For they imply that there was a time when the 


Gospel was preached to Jews only, when the disciples were not 
called Christians, if indeed they ever were so at Jerusalem, when 
the preaching of the truth was mainly in the hands of the Apostles 
of the circumcision. They imply further, that another Gospel 
was taught by the Apostle St. Paul, yet still taught through the 
Old Testament, to those who heard and desired to be under the Law ; 
often with doubtful success, so widely spread and deeply rooted 
were the doctrines of the circumcision, so strong the tendency to 
relapse into them. Only at Lystra in Lycaonia, and at Athens, the 
Apostle appears to have preached, with what result the narrative 
of the Acts does not clearly inform us, to pure heathens. And it 
is remarkable as falling in with these facts, that in some of the 
Epistles, as, for example, the Thessalonians and Galatians, we are in 
a degree of uncertainty whether the persons to whom the Apostle is 
writing are Jewish or Gentile converts. 

The earlier Jewish aspect of Christianity has passed away, now 
that we are dead to the Law. We can scarcely imagine a time when 
all the heathen converts were in the position of proselytes of the gate, 
the only question being, whether they were to proceed to the further 
stage of initiation into Judaism and become proselytes of righte 
ousness. We cannot conceive the feelings with which the Old 
Testament was regarded by those to whom it was not only half, but 
the whole of the word of God, to whom the danger was not that 
they would reject it, but that they would remain too exclusively 
within its circle. Numberless as are the indications of Judaising 
tendencies in the Epistles, no vestige is discernible of any repug 
nance to the Mosaical law, or any unwillingness to admit its 
Divine authority. Such feelings of antagonism to the Law as are 
observable in Marcion and some of the early heretics, do not belong 
to the Apostolical age. St. Paul does not hold the balance between 
those who gave it too much and too little honour ; he himself is the 
centre of the opposition to it ; few probably went as far in the same 
direction. The weight and sacredness of the Apostle s name were 
not to the rebellious Corinthians or Galatians what they are to us. 

c 3 


Nor must his influence on the Jewish Christian Church be measured 
by the proportion which his writings bear to the rest of the New 
Testament or their effect upon the world in after ages. Those are 
mournful words which he utters at the end of his life (2 Tim. i. 15.), 
Thou knowest that all they which are in Asia are turned away 
from me." 

But besides the constant tendency of the converts to relapse into 
Judaism, the manner in which the Apostle argues with them out of 
the Old Testament in four at least of his Epistles, as well as in the 
greater number of his discourses in the Acts, is a further 
evidence of the close historical connexion between Judaism 
and the Gospel. Such appeals, it will be readily acknowledged, 
imply a profound faith in the Apostle s mind, in the Divine 
origin of the religion of his fathers, which in another point of view 
he yet regards as the "weak and beggarly elements," nay, even 
as " the strength of sin." But more than this, they imply also the 
certainty that those to whom he was writing would understand the 
force of his appeals. For we cannot suppose that the Apostle, in 
quoting texts out of the Law, was uttering unmeaning sounds, was 
speaking from his own mind what was unintelligible to those whom 
he is addressing. Without one word of preface or explanation, he 
repeats again and again the language of the Old Testament, the very 
sacredness of which consisted in the familiarity of its sound, the 
point of which lay in the novelty and spirituality of the interpreta 
tion given to it. Must he not be speaking to those who lived in the 
same world with himself, who, like Timothy, had long known the 
Holy Scriptures, who were brought up in the same traditions, and in 
all points circumcision only excepted though Gentiles in name 
and origin, were really Jews. 

Now if the history of Judaism in the Augustan age, no less than 
the indications of the New Testament itself, leads to the inference 
that the first disciples, even in Gentile cities, were commonly Jewish 
converts, or, at any rate, such as were acquainted with the Law 
and the Prophets, and were disposed to receive with reverence 
Jewish teachers, the difficulty in the Epistle to the Romans is solved, 


at the same time that the fact of its solution is an additional confirm 
ation of the view which has been just taken. The Roman Church 
appeared to be at once Jewish and Gentile; Jewish in feeling, 
Gentile in origin. Jewish, because the Apostle everywhere argues 
with them as Jews ; Gentile, because he expressly addresses them 
by name as such. In this double fact there is now seen to be no 
thing strange or anomalous: it typifies the general condition of 
Christian Churches, whether Jewish or Gentile ; whether founded 
by St. Paul, or by the Apostles of the circumcision. It was not 
only in idea that the Old Testament prepared the way for the New, 
by holding up the truth of the unity of God ; but the spread of 
that truth among the Gentiles, and the influence of the Jewish 
Scriptures, were themselves actual preparatives for the Gospel. 

To those who were Gentiles by birth, but had received the Gospel 
originally from Jewish teachers, the subject of the Epistle to the 
Romans would have a peculiar interest. It expressed the truth on 
the verge of which they stood, which seemed to be peculiarly re 
quired by their own circumstances, which explained their position 
to themselves. It purged the film from their eyes, which prevented 
them from seeing the way of God perfectly. Hitherto they had 
acquiesced in the position which public opinion among the heathen 
assigned to them, that they were a Jewish sect : and they had 
implicitly followed the lives as well as the lessons of their first 
instructors in Christ. But a nobler truth was now to break upon 
them. God was not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles 
also. And this wider range of vision involved a new principle, not 
the Law, but faith. If nations of every language and tongue were 
to be included in the Gospel dispensation, barbarian, Scythian, 
bond and free, the principle that was to unite them must be supe 
rior to the differences that separated them. In other words, it 
could not be an institution or a Church, but an inward principle, 
which might belong alike to all mankind. This principle was faith, 
the view of which in St. Paul s mind is never separated from the 
redemption of mankind at large. 

c 4 


It may be remarked, as confirmatory of what lias been said, that 
no allusion occurs in the Epistle to the Romans to the question of 
circumcision. There could hardly have failed to have been such 
allusions had the Church been divided between two parties of Jew 
and Gentile, or had it been originally a Jewish Church ever open 
ing the door wider to the Gentiles. The absence of such allusions 
is, however, perfectly consistent with the fact that it was addressed 
to a community, the majority of whose members had not undergone 
the rite of circumcision. 

The reference to disputes respecting meats and drinks, and the 
whole aspect of the Law as a burden on the conscience, would have 
at least as much meaning to Gentiles against their nature brought 
up in its observance as to Jews themselves. The burden which 
neither the Jews of that day nor their fathers were able to bear, 
would be still heavier, more unmeaning, and more perplexing, when 
pressing upon the necks of Gentiles. They would at once under 
stand the Apostle s reasoning respecting it, and at the same time 
their own admission to the privileges of the Gospel would be the 
highest internal witness to the truth which he taught. What they 
knew and felt respecting themselves, they would know and feel also 
was the grace of God to all mankind. Christian humility, as well 
as Christian charity, was ready to assent to the universal redemption 
of all nations. And, as in the alternations of thought, they came 
round to the case of the Jew, they would sympathise with St. Paul s 
feelings, as, if not Israelites themselves, having received the Gospel 
from Israelites. 

As a test of the above argument, it is thought desirable to bring 
together before the reader, in one view, the passages in the Epistle 
which throw a light on the state of the Roman Church. 

Chap. i. 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for 
obedience to the faith among all Gentiles, for his name. Among whom 
are ye also the called of Jesus Christ. 

14. That I might have fruit among you also, as among other 


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 Gentile. 

The two first are the passages alluded to in the preceding Essay, 
which make it impossible for us to suppose that the Epistle to the 
Romans was addressed to a purely Jewish Church. 

The third may seem to warrant no inference. Yet it is improbable 
that a writer of such tact as St. Paul would have placed in the fore 
ground of his Epistle the announcement " to the Jew first, and also to 
the Gentile," had he been writing to a purely Gentile Church, or to 
one unable to enter into the privileges of the Jew. Comp. c. ii. 9, 10. ; 
also, ii. 14. " For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by 
nature the things contained in the Law, these, not having the Law, 
are a Law unto themselves." The Gentiles are here spoken of in the 
third person, as at c. iii. 1. the Jews. There was nothing in the 
doctrine here laid down, any more than in the words of our Saviour, 
" Many shall come from the east and west," which was new to the 
Jews, who, as appears from Philo, acknowledged that the sinful Jew 
would be condemned by the believing Gentile. 

Chap. ii. 1. 17. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever 
thou art," &c. " But if thou art called a Jew and restest in the Law 
and makest thy boast of God," &c. Among the slighter indications of 
the truth of the view urged above, may be mentioned the more covert 
way in which the Jew is attacked in comparison with the Gentile. 
In the latter part of the chapter, St. Paul is not immediately ad 
dressing the Roman Church, but speaking of Judaism in the 

Chap. iii. 1 17. This passage is so full of quotations from the 
Old Testament, and has a tone of thought so peculiar, that it is impos 
sible to suppose it would have been addressed to those who had not 
received a Jewish education. Is it likely that a Gentile convert 
would have understood that peculiar Jewish difficulty respecting the 
ways of God to man ? See notes and introduction to c. iii. 

19. " Whatsoever things the Law saith, it saith to them that are 


under the law." It has ever been a difficulty with commentators on 
this passage, how St. Paul could have brought Gentile as well as Jew 
under the imprecations of the Law. The true point of this difficulty 
seems to be, not that it is an unfair argument to apply passages of 
the Old Testament to a use for which they were not at first ap 
parently intended (for this we must grant to be the case with regard 
to many other of St. Paul s quotations), but that the Gentile should 
have been brought to admit that they were applicable to his case. 
But if we try to put ourselves in the position of a Gentile who had 
received the Gospel at the hands of Jews, who had been accustomed 
to appropriate to himself the words of the Law, the difficulty dis 
appears. The Law was a witness that the Gentile who had received 
a Jewish education would be no more disposed to reject than the 
Jew himself. 

21. But now the righteousness of God without the Law is mani 
fested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. 

Chap. iv. The argument from Abraham and David, familiar to 
the Jew, would be unintelligible to Gentile Christians. 

Chap. v. affords another instance of the intimate acquaintance 
with the Old Testament, presupposed in those whom the Apostle is 

Chap. vii. The same acquaintance with the Law is implied in 
the instance of the woman who has lost her husband ; as is also 
a practical experience of its influence on the human heart, in the 
latter part of the chapter. 

Chap. ix. xi. are almost entirely based on the words of the pro 
phets, and the analogy of God s dealings with the Jews. No Gentile 
Christian could have taken the warm interest in the subject of these 
chapters, which is evidently required by the interest St. Paul him 
self exhibits in them. St. Paul is at first earnest to prove that the 
Jews are rejected, and then, again, that they are restored. Neither 
the first nor the last would seem an appropriate theme if addressed 
to Gentiles. 

Chap. xi. 13. "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the 


Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office." St. Paul is not in 
these words addressing the Roman Church, but apostrophising the 
Gentile, as at ii. 17. the Jew. 

Chap. xiii. 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers 
For there is no power but of God : the powers that be are ordained 
of God. 

Chap, xiv. 1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to 
doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things 5 
another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 

5. One man esteemeth one day above another ; another esteemeth 
every day alike. 

14. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that there is 
nothing unclean of itself. 

Chap. xv. 8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the 
circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to 
the fathers. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; 
as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the 
Gentiles, and sing unto thy people. 

15. I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as 
putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given unto me. 

16. That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, 
ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles 
might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. 

20. Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ 
was named, lest I should build upon another man s foundation. 

Chap. xvi. Out of twenty-four names of persons who are sa 
luted, only one, Mary, is a Jewish name. 

3. 5. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, and the Church that is in their 

The above passages imply, that the persons addressed were 
Gentiles, on whom, as the Apostle of the Gentiles, St. Paul had 
a claim, who were, however, converted by others, and therefore 
occasioned the Apostle a delicacy in extending his sphere of 
labour to them. They were intimately acquainted with, and 


capable of being convinced by arguments from, the Law ; they were 
apparently, though Gentiles, ignorant of God s purposes to the 
Gentile world at large, and they were capable of feeling an interest 
in the future fortunes of the Jewish people. They were scrupulous 
about meats and drinks, and a lengthened admonition to obey the 
powers that were was not considered by the Apostle as inappro 
priate or superfluous. All these facts no other theory seems ade 
quate to explain, but the one here offered, that they were a Gentile 
Church but Jewish converts, a theory which is supported by the 
reason of the thing, as well as by the analogy of other Christian 



THE Gentile origin and Jewish character of the Roman Church are 
a sufficient explanation of the style and subject of the Epistle to the 
Romans. The condemnation of the Jew first, and afterwards of the 
Gentile, the justification of the Jew first, and afterwards of the 
Gentile, the actual fact of the rejection of the Jews, and the hope 
of their restoration, are all of them topics appropriate to what we 
may conceive to have been the feeling of the Roman converts, in 
whom a Jewish education had not obliterated a Gentile origin, and 
whom a Gentile origin did not deprive of the hope of Jewish pro 
mises. The Apostle no longer appears to be speaking to the winds 
of heaven, what, after being borne to and fro upon the earth,, might 
return to the profit of the Church after many days, but what had 
an immediate interest for it, and arose naturally out of its actual 

Assuming the results of the preceding essay, we may consider the 
structure of the Epistle, with the view of tracing the relation of the 
parts to each other and to the whole. What was primary, what 
secondary, in the Apostle s thoughts ? Is the order of the compo 
sition the same as the order of ideas ? Do we proceed from without 
inwards, that is, from the admission of the Gentiles to the justifica 
tion of the individual believer ? or from within outwards, that is, 
from the individual believer to the world at large ? Is the episode 
of the restoration of the Jews subordinate or principal, a correction 
of the first part of the Epistle, or, as Baur supposes, the kernel of 
the whole ? These are subtle and delicate inquiries, respecting which 
it is not possible to attain absolute certainty, and in the prosecution 
of which we are always in danger of attributing to the Apostle more 


of method and plan than he really had. Such inquiries can only be 
made by a comparison of other writings of the Apostle, and an 
accurate examination of the Epistle itself. 

We may begin by asking, " Whether there is any subject which 
the Epistle to the Romans has in common with the other Epistles, 
which is specially identified with the life and working of the 
Apostle ? " There is. While the doctrine of righteousness by faith 
without the deeds of the Law is but slightly referred to in the other 
Epistles of St. Paul, and is but once mentioned in the Acts of the 
Apostles, there is another truth, which is everywhere and at all 
times insisted upon by him, and everywhere connected with his 
name, which recurs in almost every one of his Epistles, and is 
everywhere dwelt upon in the Acts as the result of his Apostleship, 
the admission of the Gentiles. He speaks of himself, and is always 
spoken of, as the Apostle of the Gentiles ; his conversion itself is 
bound up with this labour of universal love ; in " the beginning of 
the Gospel " he stands up for their rights, among " the Apostles 
that were before him ; " all through his life he is proclaiming in 
a more or less spiritual manner, " God hath made of one blood 
all nations of the earth." (Acts, xvii. 26.) " Is he the God of the 
Jews only, is he not also of the Gentiles ? " (Rom. iii. 29.) All 
are one in Christ, in whom " neither circumcision nor uncircumcision 
avail anything, but a new creature" (Gal. iii. 28., vi. 15.); or, 
according to another form of expression, " in whose circumcision 
the Gentiles also are circumcised." (Col. ii. 11.) Compare 1 Cor. 
xii. 13. ; Eph. i. 10., iii. 36. 

Such repeated reference to the same subject justifies our regarding 
it as the leading thought of the Apostle s mind, the great truth 
which the power of God had inspired him to teach. Yet, itself 
had a twofold aspect, for the differences of Jew and Gentile were 
done away with, not on the ground of any abstract equality of the 
human race in the sight of God, but as they became one in Christ. 
It is union with Christ which breaks through all other ties of race 
and language, and knits men together into a new body which is His 


Church. So while looking at the external world we seem almost at 
once to pass inward, and to blend the assertion of the general prin 
ciple with the experience of the individual soul. The chord of 
love which encircles all men has its beginning too in the believer s 
heart. " There is neither barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free," 
not on any speculative grounds of morality, but because his own 
spiritual instinct tells him that all these differences are done away 
in Christ. 

But with this outward aspect of Christianity is connected also 
another thought, which follows it as the shadow does the light, " the 
times of that ignorance which God winked at," " the passing by of 
past sins " (Rom. iii. 25.), " which was kept secret since the world 
began " (Rom. xvi. 25.), "which in other ages was not made known 
that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body " 
(Eph. iii. 6.). It was strange to look at the world around, and see 
the Gentiles also pressing into the Kingdom of Heaven. But it was 
not less, but perhaps even more strange, to think of the Gentiles 
in past times who seemed to have so little relation to the God 
who made them ; in the world of darkness and silence, on which 
the eye could rest, but which it could not pierce. Nor was the same 
thought inapplicable to those who were under the Law. They too, 
though with many " advantages," were still subject to ordinances, 
shut up in prison until the time appointed. The prior states of 
Jew and Gentile were not wholly dissimilar : the Law was the glass 
which might be held up to both to convict them of sin ; in which, 
world within world, mirror within mirror, the Jew was first seen, 
afterwards the Gentile. Jew and Gentile, the times before and the 
times after, are the outlines or divisions of the book in the volume of 
which are contained the purposes of God. 

Such is the external aspect of the Apostle s teaching so far 
as it can be separated from the inward life, which penetrates 
the individual and the Church alike. But there is a world 
within as well as a world without, nor can we view one except 
through the medium of the other. The knowledge which the 


Apostle himself has of the works of God, is transferred to the 
heathen ; the consciousness which he feels of his own union with 
Christ is the living proof of the acceptance of all mankind; the re 
membrance of his struggle under the Law, is the image of the state 
of those under the Law. Though the thought comes upon him daily 
of his mission to the Gentiles everywhere, he does not look upon 
them as they appear in the pages of ancient authors, or on their 
modes of worship, as they present themselves to the student of 
mythology. He is not writing a philosophy of history, but a re 
ligion of history. He does not, in modern phraseology, put himself 
in the position of the heathen, or even of the Jew, but retains his 
own. Nor must we, in our interpretation of the Epistle, endeavour 
to force his words, from this simple and natural point of view, into 
one more in accordance with our tastes and feelings. 

An illustration from heathen philosophy may serve to indicate 
the peculiar nature of this transition from the individual mind to 
the world at large. All modern commentators on Plato admit that 
in the Republic the individual and the state pass into one another. 
The virtues, duties, distinctions of one are also those of the other ; 
the consideration of tlie one seems to lead the philosopher on to the 
deeper and more enlarged consideration of the other. Not alto 
gether unlike this is the manner in which the individual conscience 
in the Epistles of St. Paul is the reflection not only of itself, but of 
the world at large ; and in which the thought of the world at largo, 
and the Church, of which he is a member, re-acts upon the inmost 
feelings of the believer. The kingdom of God is not yet separated 
into outward and visible, and inward and spiritual ; nor election into 
that of nations and individuals. 

As the Apostle looks upon the face of the world, he sees all men ? 
by the light of revelation in himself, returning, through Christ, 
into union with the God who made them. There is no distinction 
of Jew or Gentile, circumcision or uncircumcision. Soon he passes 
over into another point of view, "setting the world in their hearts." 
Two dispensations are in the bosom of every man who comes to the 


knowledge of the truth ; these are symbolised by two words, the Law 
and Faith. The one is slavery, the other freedom ; the one death, 
the other life ; the one strife, the other peace ; the one alienation 
from God, the other reconciliation with him. Not at once does the 
one dispensation take the place of the other. There is a period of 
natural life first ; the Law enters and plants the seeds of mortal 
disease. Will and knowledge, the common sources of human 
action, begin to decompose, the will to evil struggling with 
the knowledge of good. The creature is made powerless to act by 
his consciousness of sin; the Law only terrifies he dies at the very 
sight of it ; it is a dry "eye" turning every way upon his misery. 
The soul, hanging between good and evil, is in a state of paralysis, 
doing what it would not, and hating itself for what it does. But, 
again, the soul is persuaded by many arguments that " the Law is 
dead ; " it throws away the worser half, and clings to its risen Lord. 
Faith is the hand by which it is united to Him the instrument 
whereby it is accepted, renewed, sanctified the sense through which 
it looks up to God, revealing Himself in man, and around on creation. 

These two, the Law and Faith, are so inseparable, that they seem 
each to derive their meaning from the other. Faith is not the Law ; 
the Law is not Faith. Whatever is not Faith is the Law ; whatever is 
not the Law is Faith. The Law, no less than Faith, is an inward 
feeling a tablet of stone, yet written also on fleshly tables of the 
heart. Yet the Apostle s manner of speaking of both is such as, at 
first sight, prevents our perception of this. Through a great portion 
of the Epistle he drops their subjective character, and represents 
them to us as powers, almost as persons the symbols of the past and 
present of the followers of Moses and Christ, arrayed against each 
other in the battlefield of the world and the human heart ; blended 
in the example of Abraham ; typified in the first and second Adam ; 
the figures of two kinds of death, in sin and to sin. 

In the course of the Epistle we pass more and more inward to the 
dividing asunder of the flesh and spirit, until darkness takes the 
place of light, and death of life. More than once the shadow of 



peace rests upon us in passing, but we must first enter into the 
depths of human nature, and take part in the struggle, ere we can 
attain finally to that rest which is in Christ Jesus. At length the 
body of death slips from us : the law of the spirit of life prevails 
over the law of sin. And yet the fleshly body, though dead to sin, 
still cleaves to us : it has ceased to strive against the spirit, but is 
not yet adopted into the fellowship of Christ. But, though groaning 
within ourselves, we have the inward witness of the Spirit ; we know 
that all things are working together for good : we ask in triumph, 
lt If God be for us, who can be against us ? " 

Thus far we have proceeded from without inwards, that is to say, 
from the relation of the Gospel to Jew and Gentile, and its place in 
the history of the world, to its influence on the heart and conscience. 
At this point the former aspect of the Epistle re-appears. The 
question of salvation is no longer personal, but national. All man 
kind have been included under sin ; all mankind, even as Abraham, 
are righteous by faith : "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall 
all be made alive." Thence the Apostle digressed to guard against 
practical inferences ; to describe the inward need of pardon as before 
the outward. But still there was one exception to the offer of 
universal salvation. All the world was included ; but the favoured 
nation seemed by its own act to exclude itself from the] gracious 
circle. As a nation the Jews had rejected the Gospel ; and to them 
the Apostle returns, first, to justify their rejection, secondly, to 
prophesy their restoration. 

It has been remarked above that Baur considers these chapters as 
the substance of the Epistle, and views the eight previous ones as a 
mere introduction. It is certainly true that St. Paul is writing on a 
subject of the deepest interest to himself, as we may gather from the 
very vehemence of his tone, and, as we should naturally infer, not 
less interesting to those whom he is addressing. The chapters which 
speak of the restoration of the Jews are not a mere digression from 
his previous subject ; without them the scheme of Providence would 
be incomplete, and the elder dispensation unmeaning and unex 
plained ; the hope of universal redemption, too, at variance with the 


fact. They are an integral portion of the Epistle, and connect with 
the early chapters, in which the same objections which are there met 
struggle vainly for utterance (c. iii.). But it disturbs the whole 
balance and proportion of the Epistle to maintain that all the great 
subjects that have preceded meet in one point, which is contained in 
a few verses of the eleventh chapter. For it must be observed that 
the greater part even of the three chapters themselves is taken up 
with the justification of the rejection of the Jews, and a small section 
only with their restoration. The restoration of the Jews themselves 
is not a mere isolated act of the grace of God, but an enlargement of 
the whole scheme, in which the Gentiles also are to have part. " So 
then God concluded all under sin that he might have mercy upon all." 
The remainder of the Epistle is a practical exhortation to Christian 
graces and moral virtues ; commencing with a general invitation to 
a holy life, or, as the Apostle expresses it in language borrowed from 
the Law, to present the body a living sacrifice. The ground of this 
invitation is the mercy of God, as set forth in the scheme of Provi 
dence: " So then God concluded all under sin that he might have 
mercy upon all ; " "I beseech you, therefore." Thence the Apostle 
passes onwards, as towards the conclusion of several Epistles, to a 
series of practical precepts, some of which have a peculiar reference 
to the state and circumstances of the early Church. Here the 
connexion with the main subject of the Epistle appears to drop, and 
tlie very want of connexion leads us to remark that the separate 
duties are not regarded by the Apostle as absorbed in the single 
truth of righteousness by faith, but are stated by him independently 
of it. Throughout the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters 
there is scarcely the least reference to the preceding portions of the 
Epistle. Thence the Apostle digresses still further to a personal 
narrative, in which, as towards the conclusion of the Epistle to the 
Galatians, in a few pregnant verses, the main subject of the Epistle 
is again introduced ; whence he returns once more to himself and 
his intended visit, and his mission to Jerusalem, and concludes with 
salutations of the brethren. 



THE time and place of writing the Epistle to the Romans are dis 
tinctly marked in the fifteenth chapter. The Apostle is on his way 
to Jerusalem, "ministering to the saints," xv. 25., in accordance 
with his half-expressed intention in 1 Cor. xvi. 4. He is carrying 
up the contributions of Macedonia and Achaia, for the poor at Jeru 
salem, ver. 26. Having completed his labours in Asia Minor and 
Greece, xv. 23. (compare 2 Cor. x. 13.), when his mission to Jeru 
salem is accomplished, ver. 28., he hopes to visit the Roman converts 
on his way to Spain, ver. 22. ; a purpose which he has often enter 
tained, xv. 22., but never fulfilled, i. 12. (Compare Acts, xix. 21.) 
The mention of Cenchrea, the port of Corinth, on the Saronic Gulf, 
in xvi. 1., agrees with the other circumstances, in indicating his 
second visit to Corinth as the time and place of writing the Epistle. 
In reference to these allusions it may be remarked : (1.) That the 
Apostle, though on his way to Rome, has no intention of making 
Rome the resting-place from his labours. He is the Apostle 
of the whole world, hastening onward, ere his sun sets, " to the 
extreme west " of Clement. His preference of Spain above other 
countries might be suggested by the circumstance that the Gospel 
had not yet spread there, and that he went to plant it. Or, 
more probably, considering the definite manner in which he 
speaks of his intention, he was led to choose Spain rather than 
Africa or Italy, from some acquaintance with, or invitation from, 
Jews or Christians already settled there. As there is no reason 
to suppose that the journey was ever accomplished, it is useless 
to speculate further on the motive of it. (2.) It is observable 
also that he wrote the Epistle to the Romans from Corinth, or 


its neighbourhood, and therefore after the second Epistle to the 
Corinthians, which already indicates that a reaction had taken place 
in the Corinthian Church in favour of the Apostle ; a change of 
feeling which might probably be confirmed by the Apostle s visit. 
Supposing this to have been the case, the Apostle, though in the 
midst of that city of factions, was writing the Epistle to the Romans 
at a time when their violence was abated. This agrees with the 
conciliatory tone of the Epistle, as pointed out in the two preceding 
essays, which also harmonizes with the immediate occasion of his 
journey to Jerusalem. For (3.) at the very time of writing, the 
Gentile Apostle was engaged in carrying up alms to the Jewish 
Church at Jerusalem, much after the manner that other Jewish pil 
grims brought gifts from distant parts of the Empire for the service 
of the Temple. He was fearful of the violence of his countrymen 
in Judea, and not without apprehension of the feeling with which 
the Church might regard him, xv. 31. Yet " his heart s desire to 
wards Israel " was not dead within him, notwithstanding his fears 
and sufferings. He had been for a long time previously gathering 
the alms in Asia, 1 Cor. xvi. I., as well as in Greece, according to an 
agreement which he had entered into with the Apostles at Jerusalem 
on a previous visit, Gal. ii. 10. Speaking after the manner of men. 
may we not say that no one could be long employed in such mission 
of charity, without feeling his soul melt towards those who were its 
objects ? What had never been personal hostility to the Church at 
Jerusalem, must soon have given way, in a mind so sensitive as St. 
Paul s, to the liveliest sympathy with them. In his own words to 
the Corinthians it might be said : " His heart is enlarged towards 
them; they are not straitened in him, but in themselves." Nor 
could this insensible change have occurred, without drawing 
his thoughts to their place in the scheme of Providence. The feel 
ings of his own mind would inevitably cast a distant light and shade 
on the Jewish and Gentile world. 

The Epistle to the Komans is naturally compared with the 

D 3 


Epistle to the Galatians ; the subjects are the same, or nearly so, the 
illustrations often similar, and minute resemblances of language sur 
prisingly numerous. Yet the Epistle to the Galatians would have 
been in great measure unintelligible to us, but for the larger growth 
and fuller development of the same truths in the Epistle to the 
Romans. The first mentioned Epistle is personal and occasional ; it 
has much of passion and sadness ; it bears the impress everywhere of 
the struggle which agitated the Galatian converts, and could only have 
been written to a Church which was known by face to the Apostle. 
On the other hand, the Epistle to the Romans, except in one or two 
passages, has a tone of calmness and deliberation : it is spiritual and 
ideal ; the distance at which the Apostle places himself from the 
strifes of the Church, enabling him to take a more extended 
survey of the purposes of God. The difference between the two 
Epistles is further analogous to the difference between proselytes of 
the gate, and the so-called proselytes of righteousness. The 
question in the one case is " circumcision," the outward symbol of 
the Jewish law, which affected the minds of the converts much, 
we may suppose, as that of caste would occupy the minds of the 
Hindoos at the present day, or as some ritual or legal question might 
prevail over the better religious feeling among ourselves. The other 
Epistle never touches on the subject of circumcision, as an obligation 
to be enforced, or not enforced ; but only as the seal of God s 
mercy to all mankind, in the instance of the Father of the faithful, 
Rom. iv. The mind of the writer is absorbed in the contemplation 
of the world as divided into Jew and Gentile, past and present, the 
Law and Faith. The beginnings of this contemplation are discernible 
in the Epistle to the Galatians ; but more as a feeling or spiritual 
instinct, less as a system or scheme of Providence. " In Christ 
Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, 
but a new creature." But there is a height not yet attained to, at 
which every obstacle disappears, and the ways of God are justified 
finally, the circumcision accepted through faith, and the uncircum 
cision j the circumcision again returning to God in Christ, and the 


length and breadth of Divine love made manifest. This is only 
reached in the Epistle to the Romans. 

No certain inference respecting the length of time by which the 
Epistle to the Romans is separated from the Epistle to the Galatians 
can be drawn from these considerations. It is of more importance 
to remark, that in reading the Epistle to the Romans, we have already 
advanced in the series of Epistles a step onward towards the 
Epistles of the Imprisonment. 

D 4 



[On. I. 


IIAYA02 ciovXos Irjcrov yjpia-rov, K\rjro<; aTrocrroXos d<f)(*)pL~ 1 
eis evayyeXioz; 0eov, o TT^oeTT^yyeiXaro Sia T0)^7rpo(f)ij 2 

T. 1 7. The introduction 
to the Epistle to the Romans is 
marked by two striking charac 
teristics of the Apostle: (1.) a 
rhetorical one, the aggregation 
of clauses, which seems to arise 
out of the inadequacy of the 
Apostle s language to master or 
contain his thought ; (2.) a con 
sciousness (which is character 
istic also of the whole Epistle, 
and of all St. Paul s writings) 
of the continuousness of the 
work of Providence, in the Old 
and the New dispensations, in 
Christ and in the Apostle him 

SovXoQ Irjaov xpiffrov, the ser 
vant."] The servant of Christ, 
" who is the Lord of all," as 
Moses and David, in the Old 
Testament, are called the ser 
vants of God ; and in a more 
spiritual sense, the servant of 
Christ, as expressing devotedness 
and humility ; as opposed to the 
pleaser of men (Gal. i. 10. : "For 
if I yet pleased men, I should 
not be the servant of Christ " ) ; 
and, lastly, with an allusion to 
his ministerial duty and labour 
of love in the Gospel, " your ser 
vant for Jesus sake " (2 Cor. iv. 
5.). The alteration in the mean 
ing of the word may remind us 
of the change through which the 
Greek language had itself passed, 
and of the still greater change 

which it was destined to pass 
through, as " the weak things of 
this world began to confound the 
strong." Compare John, xii. 15. ; 
1 Cor. vii. 22. 

K\r)TO ciTTooroAoc, called an 
apostle.] The two words are to 
be taken together, as below, fcArj- 
TOLQ ayioiQ. In such expressions 
the predicate does not necessarily 
define the subject (as though the 
Apostle had intended to contrast 
himself with other Apostles, who 
were not called), but only de 
scribes it, or draws out an idea 
already involved in it. The other 
mode of construing the phrase, 
according to which K\T]TOQ is 
made a substantive, as in v. 6., 
and separated from otTroVroXoc, 
does not suit either the rhythm 
or sense of 1 Cor. i. 1., 
K\r)TOQ aTToaroAoe Irjffov 
or the use of KXyrolg ayiotc, m 
mediately after r/yiao-jueVotc, in 
ver. 2. ; and cannot, therefore, 
be adopted here. 

d^WjOKr/ieVoc, separated."] In 
the same sense as in Gal. 1. 15. : 

o aopffag pe /c 
fjiov (where, however, the 
meaning is modified by the con 
text, because the Apostle is de 
scribing the separation as it 
existed from his very birth in 
the purposes of God), and as in 
Acts. xiii. 2., where the Holy 
Ghost says " Separate me " 

VER. 1, 2.] 




1 PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, called* an apostle, 

2 separated unto the gospel of God, which he had pro- 

(a<fiopiffare S// /zot) Barnabas and 
Saul for the work. 

etc evayyeXtov, to the Gospel.] 
Either to be a believer of the 
Gospel, or to be a preacher of 
the Gospel, or both. As the two 
ideas are inseparable in the Apo 
stle s mind, as in the earliest 
ages it was hardly possible to be 
a believer, and not a preacher of 
the Gospel, and as the word itself 
was not yet strictly defined in 
use, it is not necessary for us 
to attempt to distinguish them. 
evayyeXioj , in the sense of preach 
ing the Gospel, occurs also in 
2 Cor. ii. 12. : EXtfwv e tig TJJV 
etc TO evayyeXtov TOV 
v : and x. 14. &XP L T"l 
KO.I vfji&v ifydaffafj.Ev kv TV evayye- 


Seov, of God.~\ The meaning 
of the genitive case (whether in 
Greek or English makes no dif 
ference) is especially difficult to 
determine in the New Testament, 
where it refers to God or Christ : 
ewayye Xiov Seov may either mean 
the Gospel about God or the 
Divine Gospel, or the Gospel of 
which God is the author. The 
same difficulty occurs respecting 
the parallel expression evayyiXiov 
Xpiarov, in 2 Cor. xi. 7. In both 
places the genitive may be con 
sidered as implying all the rela 
tions in which God or Christ 
stands to the Gospel, whether as 

author, teacher, or subject. 
Compare Matt. iv. 23., evayyl- 
Xiov rfjg /3#<rtXe/ag TOV fteoUjEph. i. 
13., TO evayytXtov TIJQ cr(i)Tr]pia<; ; 
2 Cor. iv. 4,, TO evayyeXtov TJJC 
c)oj7e TOV xpiarov ; yet the word 
"of" is plainer than any ex 
planation can make it . 

The indefiniteness of the lan 
guage of the New Testament 
harmonises with the infinity of 
the subject. It has not the pre 
cision of Attic Greek ; but could 
the precision of Attic Greek 
have expressed the truths of the 
Gospel ? would it have correctly 
represented the imperfection of 
human knowledge respecting Di 
vine things ? We cannot imagine 
an individual separated from his 
age ; no more can we imagine 
the truths of Christianity sepa 
rated from the time at which 
they appeared, or from the stage 
of language in which they came 
to the birth. It may be truly 
said that, as the style of Plato 
corresponds to the bloom of 
Greek philosophy, so does the 
imperfection of the style of the 
New Testament correspond to 
our imperfect conception of 
what is above us. With "stam 
mering lips and another tongue " 
the Gospel spoke to the child 
and to the simple. 

6 TrpoeirrjyyEiXaTo, which he 
promised before.] The drift of 



[On, I. 

avrov Iv ypacfxus dyiais irepl rov vlov OLVTOV, rov ye- 
vopevov IK crTre/o/xaros davelS Kara o~dpKa, rov opicrOevros 
vlov OGOV tv 8iWju,ei Kara Trvevpa ayio^crvv^ e f d^acrra- 

this parenthetical allusion is not, 
as elsewhere, to call the prophets 
as witnesses of the Gospel, or 
even to show that God had pre 
pared the way for it long before, 
a thought which also occurs in 
Gal. iii. 8., and in several other 
passages, but simply to set forth 
the majesty of the Gospel. It is 
a part of its greatness that it was 
heralded by prophecy. 

$m rwv TTjOO^r/ruJv.] " The Pro 
phets " include Moses in Luke 
xxiv. 27., and Samuel in Acts 
iii. 24 ; xiii. 20. ? not only those 
to whose writings the term is 
commonly applied. 

kv ypct^aty ay/cuc.] For the 
use of ypa^rj without the article, 
compare Tim. iii. 16. ; with words 
like ypa^//, S eoe, Tr^eDjua, vcyLioe, 
the article is omitted or retained, 
without affecting the sense. Like 
proper names, they are sufficiently 
defined by themselves, as we say 
in English indifferently " Scrip 
ture " or " the Scripture." 

2 6. The marks of paren 
thesis in the English Version are 
better omitted. The series of re 
lative clauses which are inserted 
between them, delay the sense, 
rather than interrupt it. 

3. 7TjOl TOV V\OV CtVrOV, COnCCm- 

ing his Son.~\ These words may 
be connected, either with evayye- 
\wv Seov in the first verse, or 
with TrpoeTrrjyyeiXaTO in the 
second ; either the Gospel of 
which Christ the Son of God is 
the subject, or the Gospel which 
God by the prophets promised 
before respecting his Son. The 
last is the more natural order. 

The verses that follow are some 
of the most difficult in the Epi 
stles of St. Paul ; we cannot ex 
press their meaning adequately, 
we can only approach it. This 
difficulty arises partly from the 
dimness of the thought as it pre 
sents itself to our minds com 
pared with its intensity to St. 
Paul ; partly from the inversion 
of modes of thought, so that what 
is with us the effect is to the 
Apostle the cause, or conversely ; 
and also from the imperfect and 
fragmentary character of the anti 
thesis, which is begun, but not 
carried out fully, and in which 
it is vain to look for the corre 
spondence of the different mem 
bers, as it breaks off almost as 
soon as we observe it. 

Kara vapKa, according to the 
flesh>~\ opposed to the words in 
the following verse, "according 
to the spirit of holiness," as yevo- 
P.EVOV !K (77Tpjuaroc AavftS to 6pi~ 
aQivroQ vloi Seov. The nature of 
the opposition will be seen by 
a comparison of other passages. 
(rapt, is opposed to Tryti^ia, as the 
outward, human, perishable to the 
invisible and eternal. Thus in 
Gal. iv. 29., Ishmael, the type of 
the law, is /caret o-apjca ; Isaac, 
the child of promise, is Kara 
TrvtvfjLa. Abraham is spoken of 
in Rom. iv. 1. as a "progenitor 
according to the flesh," or as 
" having found benefits " accord 
ing to the flesh, and the Apostle 
speaks of himself as having once 
known "Christ according to 
the flesh," that is, probably, as 
a temporal Messiah (2 Cor. v. 

, 3, 4.] 



mised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 

3 concerning his Son, who * came of the seed of David 

4 according to the flesh ; appointed * to be the Son 
of God with power, according to the spirit of holi- 

16.). In the two latter passages 
is implied a latent allusion to 
circumcision, the sign of which 
was "outward in the flesh" 
(Eph. ii. 11.). By a further de 
velopment ffdp^ is used for the 
corruption of the flesh, as Trvev^a 
for the communion of the Spirit 
of God. It is difficult to cir 
cumscribe exactly the associa 
tions of the expression Kara o-a p- 
K a in this passage ; the clause 
may be paraphrased, "concern 
ing his Son, who by fleshly de 
scent in His outward human 
nature, and in relation to the 
Jewish dispensation, was of the 
seed of David." Compare ix. 3 
5 ; also, for the general meaning, 
John i. 14., 6 \6yoQ (rapE, 
Antithesis is a favourite figure 
in the writings of St. Paul ; almost 
(may we not say ? ) the very form 
in which he conceives the Gospel 
itself. There are times before 
and times after, a first Adam 
and a second Adam, the Law and 
Faith, the flesh and spirit, the 
old man and the new man, death, 
life, burial, resurrection, the 
identity and difference of the 
believer and his Lord: "All 
things are double one against the 
other." Even the same truths 
have two aspects ; what is death 
when looked at from one side is 
life from another. This opposi 
tion is traceable in the least 
things as well as in the greatest, 
not only in the essential anti 
theses of the Gospel, but also in 
turns of thought and forms of 

speech It is the dialectical 
frame in which the ideas of the 
Apostle are arranged ; it is the 
grammatical frame in which his 
sentences are cast. Comp. Rom. 
i. 32. ; iv. 25. ; x. 10. 

4. opivdevroQ vlov Seov. ] The 
translation of these words in the 
English version rather evades 
their difficulty ; the Greek bpi- 
(rOerTOQ meaning determined, ap 
pointed, and not " declared." But 
how could Christ have been made 
or appointed to be the Son of God 
by the resurrection from the 
dead, who was so, as St. Paul 
himself declares, eternally? (Col. 
i. 16.) We may answer in the 
Apostle s own words, "he is speak 
ing as a man" from a human 
point of view, as the truth ap 
peared to the disciples who fol 
lowed the successive stages of 
our Lord s ministry. 

Contrasted with this language 
of time, is another mode under 
which the Apostle sometimes 
describes the great facts of the 
Gospel, which may be termed in 
the language of philosophy " the 
contemplation of them under the 
form of eternity ; " that is, the 
conception of them as they are 
anticipated in the purposes of 
God. Examples of this opposite 
usage are such expressions as 
God choosing men before the 
foundation of the world, Eph. i. 4. ; 
also ver. 3. 5. ; Rev. xiii. 8. ; Mic. 
v. 2. But human language and 
thought do not easily sustain 
themselves at this height ; hence 



[Cn. I. 


yapw Kal aTTOCTTO\r]v els vTraKorjv Trio-Tews iv 

Si O? eXot- 

the Apostle sometimes mingles 
both modes of speech, some 
times falls into the opposite, as 
in this passage. 

kv cWa/^ft.] Opposed, together 
with Kara Trvevfia ayni)ffvvr}Q^ to 
Kara capita : and answering to e 
araffTuaeuQ reKputi , the symbol 
everywhere of the great power 
of God. 

Kara Trrev/jLa ayiuvvvYjc, accord 
ing to the spirit of holiness.^ 
The simple antithesis would have 
been Kara (rcipKa. and Kara Trvevpa : 
the latter member is expanded 
by St. Paul into Kara Trvevpa 
ayt(i)avvr]Q. What is irvevua ayiw- 
avi>f)Q ? and how is it connected 
with Christ being appointed to 
be the Son of God ? By irvEv^a 
ayuoavvriQ is not meant the Holy 
Spirit, in that more precise sense 
in which this term is used in 
other passages of Scripture, and 
still less in the yet more defined 
one of the creeds ; but that invi 
sible power or principle, whereby 
Christ holds communion with the 
Father and with His Church, as 
crap is the principle of frailty or 
humanity, by which lie is linked 
to human nature and to the Jew 
ish dispensation. So in 1 Peter, 
iii. 18. it is said : "Christ hath 
once suffered for our sins, being 
put to death in the flesh, but quick 
ened in the Spirit." So in 1 Tim. 
iii. 16.: "God was manifest in 
the flesh, justified in the Spirit;" 
and in Rom. vi. 10. the same 
double order of things is implied, 
though differently expressed 
"In that he died, he died unto 
sin once ; in that he liveth, he 
liveth unto God ; " as it is further 
extended in Rom. viii. 11, 12. to 
the Christian who is in the image 

of Christ, as well as to Christ 
himself "But if Christ be in 
you, the body is dead, because of 
sin ; but the spirit is life, because 
of righteousness;" and the re 
surrection, as in this passage, is 
connected with the indwelling 
Spirit of Christ "But if the 
Spirit of him that raised up Jesus 
from the dead dwelleth in you, 
he that raised up Christ from 
the dead shall also quicken your 
mortal bodies by his Spirit that 
dwelleth in you." 

The ideas of Christ, life, the 
Spirit, holiness, are essentially 
connected, and hardly separable 
in Scripture. So Acts, ii. 27. : 
" Thou wilt not suffer thy holy 
one to see corruption." Eternal 
life is also spiritual life, as phy 
sical death is nearly allied to 
spiritual death. But the parti 
cular order in which the links 
of the chain succeed each other, 
is accidental and uncertain. It 
might have been said of Christ, 
that He was Holy, because He 
was the Son of God, and there 
fore rose from the dead ; or that 
He was made the Son of God by 
the resurrection of the dead, be 
cause He was holy. The very ar 
bitrariness of relations of thought 
when applied to Divine things, 
is of itself a limit in the ex 
planation of this passage, which, 
as far as we can analyse it, ap 
pears to unite two thoughts. St. 
Paul speaks of Christ as raised 
up by holiness to His Divine 
estate, as he might also have 
spoken of Him as quickened by 
the Spirit. The two expressions 
meet in the words " Spirit of 
holiness," with which agrees 
(Kara) the fact that he was " ap- 

VER. 5.] 



ness, by resurrection* of the dead, Jesus Christ our 
Lord * ; by whom we * received grace and apostle- 

pointed to be the Son of God." 
Following the trains of thought 
which have been suggested by 
the previous remarks, we may 
paraphrase the passage thus : 
" Concerning Christ who be 
longed to two worlds, a former 
and a latter one : the first, earth 
ly, human, Jewish ; the other, 
spiritual and invisible : the Son 
of David appointed to be the 
Son of God, as He was holy, and 
had the Spirit of God dwelling 
in Him." All this is not fully or 
definitely expressed in this pas 
sage ; but is yet so closely con 
nected with it, that the attempt 
to explain the several words be 
comes almost unmeaning without 
such a prolongation of them. 

e araaraffelog vf/cpoij , by resur 
rection of the dead.~] Still another 
" cause," as it were, of Christ s di 
vinity. The English translation 
" by the resurrection from the 
dead," obliges us to understand EK 
before I CK-JDUJJ , which is said to be 
omitted, in consequence of the it: 
preceding with aruaraffeioQ. But 
the words araaraaiQ rexpuv occur 
fourteen times in the New Testa 
ment, and always in the ordinary 
sense of the resurrection of the 
dead ; we cannot therefore as 
sume a new one for them, in this 
passage. Christ is appointed to 
be the Son of God, not after or 
in consequence of His own resur 
rection, but by resurrection of 
the dead, in which He and man 
kind are thought of as united : 
" He is the firstfruits of them 
that sleep." Yet how can the re 
surrection, either of Himself or 
of mankind in general, be re 
garded as the cause of His eternal 
being ? We must admit that our 

order of thought would have been 
different. Often there are cases, 
as metaphysicians tell us, in 
which ideas of cause and effect 
seem to run up into one another, 
especially in the spiritual world 
to which the very notion of 
cause and effect is hardly ap 
plicable. So little consequence 
is it which comes first, that here 
language not only identifies, but 
transposes them. What are acts 
become attributes ; and the at 
tributes of Christ or God, causes 
or instruments. We should have 
begun with speaking of the di 
vinity of Christ, as witnessed by 
His resurrection ; and of our ris 
ing again because He had risen. 
Here the course of the thought 
is the very reverse. The resur 
rection is not a state which He 
passes through, but a power em 
bodied in Him, in the same way 
as life or the spirit might be 
described as embodied in Him, 
nearly as Christ Himself says 
(John, xi. 25.): "I am the re 
surrection and the life. 

e/,- denotes the cause, or, more 
precisely, the point of origin, not 
tne proof; as in Herod, ii. 63. : 
UTroOi ljffKovffir e/c rttjy rpw/ictrw? ; 
James ii. 18., ^e/sw /c rut tpyw 
pov TV/V TTtartr ; in which latter the 
idea of proof is not derived from 
the preposition, but from the verb. 
5. f)t ovAa/3o/jfj .] The Apostle 
uses the plural when speaking of 
himself alone, as IThess.ii. 17, 18. 
The aorist is not put for the 
perfect ; though here, as else 
where in the New Testament, it 
is employed in a way of which 
the English idiom hardly admits. 
The Apostle might equally well 
speak of his reception of the 



[On. I. 

TCHS Wvtarw vrrep TOV (W/xaros CLVTOV, iv ots ecrre KOI 
K\rjrol *Irjo~ov ^OICTTOT), TTOLCTW rois ovcrw iv Patfjir} ayaTrrj- 7 
rots Oeov K\7]Tol<s dyioi9. X^/ t 
KOL KvpLov Irjcrov 

ra> #( /xov Sia Irjcrov o 8 

Apostleship as aorist or perfect ; 
that is, with or without reference 
to his present state. Compare 
v. 13. 


Wvefftv. ] v-rraKoff is used abso 
lutely, for obedience or reception 
of the Gospel, in Rom. xv. 18. 
Here the addition of TTIOTCWC con 
trasts the obedience of the Gos 
pel with the obedience of the Law. 
The simplest way of taking the 
words iv iraaiv TOIQ idvEaiv is with 

\a/3o^U^ .... O.7TO(TTO\r]f. 

" Through whom we received 
grace and the office of an Apostle 
among the Gentiles, to the in 
tent that they might receive the 
faith." Compare xvi. 25. : 
fj.vcrrr)ptov elg vTrctKorfv TT KJTEI^Q 
tig Trarra ret eQvr) "yvupLaQirroQ. 

virep rov OVOJJLCITOG avrov^for his 
name. ] " For the setting forth of 
his name," may depend either on 
eXafiopev or on VTTO.KOYIV TT/CTCWC. 
For a similar ambiguity or double 
order of words, compare ver. 3. and 
5., and the preceding note. As 
in the Old Testament, in the name 
of God is implied the remem 
brance of what He had done for 
His people Israel; so in the name 
of Christ is summed up what 
He had done and was, what the 
Christian ever bore in mind, the 
seal which marked him, the name 
wherewith he was named. 

6. K\r)rol If/eroD xptaTOv. ] K\rj- 
TOQ is a substantive ; not called 
of Jesus Christ, but called ones 
who are Jesus Christ s, like K\rj-ol 
TOV Atiwriov in 3 Kings, 1. 47. 
Irjffov ^pifrrovy Phil. 1. 

The calling of men in Scripture, 
as the initiative act, is not at 
tributed to Christ, but to God, 
Rom. xi. 29.; Gal. i.6.; 2 Thess. 
iv. 7. 

7. ayaTrrjTolQ Seov K\rjTo1g ayi- 
ote? beloved of God, called saints. ] 
Could the Apostle, who was un 
known by face to the Christians 
of Rome, speak thus confidently 
of them ? It may be answered, 
that he uses the language of hope 
and charity; he conceives of them 
in idea, in reference to the new 
state into which they had passed, 
and the privileges of which they 
are made partakers. What is 
said of them would have been 
said by the Apostle of all Chris- 
tains, who had passed from death 
into life, by the very fact of their 
separating themselves from the 
Jewish or Gentile world. Yet 
stronger language of apparent 
commendation in the first Epistle 
to the Corinthians, is not incon 
sistent with the imputation of 
grave delinquency to the whole 
hurch. Like the chosen people 
of old, even amid sins and infir 
mities they are the elect of God. 

yapig .... KOI elprjvr].^ See 
1 Thess. i. 1. 

The preceding verses may be 
regarded as an amplification of 
IlaiiXoc Pwjua/oic xalpeiv. But in 
this simple form, the Apostle has 
inserted his own office and autho 
rity to preach the Gospel, the 
subject of the Gospel which is 
Christ, who is not only the Mes 
siah of the Jews, but the ap 
pointed Son of God, who made 

VEE. 68.] 


ship, for obedience to the faith among all the Gentiles 

6 for his name : among whom are ye also the called of 

7 Jesus Christ : to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, 
called * saints : Grace to you and peace from God our 
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

s First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you 

him an Apostle, and gave him 
the Gentiles for his field of la- 
bour, among whom they are in 
cluded who dwell at Rome, to 
whom, returning to his exordium, 
he wishes health and peace, " not 
as the world giveth " (John, xiv. 
27.), but as one believer would to 
another, from God the Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

8, 9. It is characteristic of the 
Apostle, that all his Epistles, with 
the exception of the Galatians, 
begin with language of concilia 
tion. As in ordinary life we 
first address one another with 
courteous salutation, so does the 
Apostle introduce himself to his 
readers, with the words of Chris 
tian charity. He lingers for an 
instant around that pleasant im 
pression of a Church without 
spot, such as it never will be 
in this world, before he passes 
onward to reprove and exhort 
those whom he is addressing. It 
is an ideal Church that he con 
templates, elect, spiritual, heaven 
ly, going on to perfection, the 
image of which seems ever to 
blend with, and to overshadow 
those who bear its glorious 

Trp&Tov p.ev } ~] as in iii. 2. and 
elsewhere, with no " secondly." 

rw 0cw /-tow.] Compare Acts, 
xxvii. 23.-" The angel of God, 
whose I am, and whom I serve." 

c>ia Irjaov XjOtoTou.] A general 
Christian formula. " I give 


thanks, as I do all things, through 
Christ." In the introductions to 
the Epistles the language of com 
mon life is idealised and spiri 
tualised. The manner is Eastern, 
a circumstance which, from our 
familiarity with the New Testa 
ment, we often fail to recognise ; 
it is also that of the Apostle and 
his time. Were we to translate 
verses 8 10. into common words, 
they might be expressed as fol 
lows : "I rejoice to hear of 
your faith everywhere, for I so 
lemnly declare that I never forget 
you ; it is one of my first prayers 
to come to you." But, partly 
from the intensity of his feelings, 
partly from the style of the age 
and country in which he wrote, 
most of all from the circumstance 
that the ordinary events of life 
come to him with a Divine power, 
and seem, as it were, to be oc 
curring in a spiritual world, his 
words fall into a different mould. 
He employs language, according 
to our sober colours of expression, 
too strong for the occasion ; as 
where he says that their faith is 
spoken of throughout the whole 
world ; or where he calls God to 
witness of his desire to come to 
them, though there was no reason 
for them to doubt this. So 
again in 1 Thess. i. 8. : " For 
from you sounded out the word 
of the Lord, not only in Mace 
donia and Achaia, but also in 
every place your faith to God- 



[Cn. I. 

, OTL T 

KaTayyeXXeTai ei> 6 Xw 9 
KocrfJLo.). fjidprvs ydp pov icrriv 6 Oeos, $ \arpeva) tv 

L [Jiov iv T( euayyeXiw rov vlov avrov, a)? doia- 10 

TraVroTe ejrl T&V 
Sed^ez>O9, ei TTWS 1787; TTOTC evoScoft^o-ojuai e^ rw ^eX^- n 
TOU ^eou eXOeiv TTpbs v/xa?. TTi7TO0co yap 
TL /xeraSa) ^aptcr/jta v)at^ Tr^eujutari/co^ ets TO 
, TOVTO 8e ecrTtz/ crvfJL7rapaK\7jOrji aL iv v\ 


" 12 


ward is spread abroad ; so that we 
need not speak any thing." Yet, 
at the time of writing these 
words, the Apostle could hardly 
have travelled beyond the limits 
of Macedonia and Achaia. 

Comp. Phil. i. 8. as an instance 
of the same affection towards 
those "unknown to him by face;" 
and, as an example of the same 
intensity of language, Gal. i. 20., 
where he calls God to witness that 
" he lies not " about the details 
of his visits to Jerusalem. 

OTL i] TriffTLQ vfji&t , that your 
faith.~\ No commentary could 
throw half as much light on the 
Epistle as a knowledge of the 
state of those whose faith is 
thus described. Had the Roman 
Church long ago or recently 
been converted to the Gospel ? 
May we suppose that the news 
of it was carried thither by 
the "strangers of Rome" who 
about twenty-five years previ 
ously had been present at the 
day of Pentecost ? Is it possible 
that the name of Christ himself 
had reached the metropolis of the 
world during his life- time ? Had 
Priscilla and Aquila any ac 
quaintance with the Gospel be 
fore they met with St. Paul at 
Corinth ? Who were those bre 
thren whom the prisoner Paul 

found at Puteoli, or who came 
to meet him at Appii forum ? No 
answer can be given to these 
questions, yet the statement of 
them is not without interest. 
There were many in the Roman 
Church whose names were known 
4o the Apostle ; some whom he 
describes as of note among the 
Apostles who were before him. 
Comp. Acts.xxviii. 15 31. Rom. 

w Xorpfvw, whom I serve."] 
" The God whom I serve " is an 
Old Testament expression, Dan. 
vi. 16. kv rut Trrevfj-ari pov, that 
is, in my inmost soul, which is 
also my spiritual being. 

o>c a^ia\i7rrwe[] The balance 
of the clauses is best preserved 
by taking these words with fjiveiav 
vf.Mi> 7Toiovfj,ai f and TravTore with 
CEO^EVOC: how unceasingly I make 
mention of you, ever praying for 

JO. EL TTU} tj^rj 7TOTE] EL Trwcj if as I hope ; 
now; TTore, at length; 
ffofj-ai, I shall prosper, or have 
a prosperous journey. The de 
rivation of Evodwdtiaopat, from 
6 oc, does not commonly enter 
into its meaning. (1 Cor. xvi. 2. ; 
3 John, 2. ; Jer. ii. 37.) Yet there is 
no reason why St.Paul, whose style 
is so full of plays of language, 

VER. 912.] 



9 all, that your faith is spoken of in * all the world. For 
God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the 
gospel of his Son ; how without ceasing I make mention 

10 of you, always in my prayers making request, if by 
any means now at length I may have a prosperous 

11 journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I 
long to see you, that I may impart unto you some 

12 spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established ; that is, 
that I may be together comforted in *you by the mutual 

should not have revived its ety 
mological sense, which occurs in 
Tobit, v. 18. 21. iv deXr^an : 
for the use of iv compare Thu- 
cydides, i.77. : IVTOIQ d^ioiotg I OJJLOIQ 
TO.Q Kpiaeig TToirivavreg. In such ex 
pressions the preposition, though 
conveniently translated " by," 
really expresses a closer relation, 
the action being regarded in a 
figure as inhering or consisting 
in the object. 

11. ^apio-fja v/juv TrvevfJictTLKoi .^ 
Not a miraculous gift, as ap 
pears from the following verse. 
Compare 2 Cor. i. 15. : "I was 
minded to come unto you, that 
ye might have a second benefit " 
(fievTepav X"P tJ/ ^X 7 ? 7 "* ) an( ^ Rom. 
xv. 29. 

12. TOVTO fie <7rii>.] Not wishing 
to " Lord it over their faith ; " 
but rather, to " be a helper of 
their joy ; " the Apostle corrects 
his former expressions. " My 
desire is to instruct you, and do 
you good ; that is, for us to in 
struct and do one another good. 
In giving I shall also receive." 
Compare, for the feeling, what 
may be termed the circle of 
Christian sympathy, in 2 Cor. i. 
4 8., and, for a similar correction 
of a word, with TOVTO eVrt, Rom. 
vii. 18. 


The English Version has a slight 
inaccuracy in the words " to 
gether with you ;" for which may 
be substituted, "that I may be 
together comforted in you." 
The meaning of the word irapa- 
KaXelv, as of Trapa/cXr/roe, wavers 
between consolation and exhor 
tation, or includes both. In the 
LXX., the former sense is the 
prevailing one ; here both are 
combined. What the progress 
of language and the analysis of 
Christian feelings have separated 
into two, was, in the age of the 
Apostles, one idea and one word, 
with a scarcely perceptible diver 
sity of meaning. The idea of 
" consolation " implied in it does 
not, however, refer to comfort or 
sympathy in any particular sor 
row, but rather to the conscious 
communion of Christians in this 
present evil world. Nor is there 
implied in the notion of exhorta 
tion the bringing forward of state 
ments or precepts respecting the 
Christian faith, but the imparting 
of a new spirit or temper of mind. 
If, allowing for the great difference 
between our own and the Apo 
stolic times, we could imagine a 
person who had listened to a 
preacher, or received the counsel 
of a friend^ who exactly touched 
the chords of his soul, such a 




[On. I. 

iv dXX^Xoi9 7TtcrT&J9, VJJLOJV T Kal e/xou. ov $eXco Se v/xd? is 
ayvociv, dSeX^oi, OTI 7roXXd/a9 7rpO.u.^v e\0ew 77^09 

* A % % v * y^| V ^ CV ^ V V \ ^ 

L/77^ fl YP* TOV ovpo, iva Tiva Kapirov o~X w 
t e^ v/^ Ka0a)<s Kal iv Toi9 XofTroig e0vecnv. ^EXX^criV 14 
T Acat /3ap/3dpOL<;, o~O(ot9 T fcal d^o^TOtg o(f>i\Tr)<$ et/xr 

TO /caT 5 e/xe irpoOvpov Kal V^JLLV Tot9 e^ Pw/xT; ev- is 
, ou yd^o e7rcuo~xwo/ia,6 TO evayyekiov ~, 16 
/dp $eou ecrrlv et9 crcaTrjpiav iravri, TO> TTicrTevo^Tt, 
Te [TrpwToz/] Km r E\\r)vi SiKaiocrvvr) yap 0tov 17 

1 Kapir6v rti/a. 2 ^4c?^ TOU 

one might express himself in one 
word as comforted and instructed ; 
that word would be TrapaKa\e~i- 
o-Qcu. For a similar connexion 
of xapcucaXtiv and a--r}pieii , com 
pare 1 Thess. iii. 2.; 2 Thess. ii. 

VjJL(i)V TE KCU jUOl),J is an Cp- 

exegesis of kv dX\//Xoic, that is, 
" I by your faith, and you by 

13. ov S cXf* ^ vf-idg ayrotT) .] 
"But I would not have you 
ignorant ; " " but I want to tell 
you ; " a common formula with 
St. Paul, 1 Cor. xii. 1. ; 2 Cor. i. 
8.; 1 Thess. iv. 13. 

KOI Kw\v0]v.] "I purposed 
to come and I could not ; " a more 
natural mode of expression would 
have been, " though I could not." 
As in many other places, the 
Apostle uses adversative parti 
cles where the English idiom re 
quires only the copulative con 
junction; so here he uses the 
copulative conjunction where the 
English prefers the adversative 
particle. It is not necessary on 
this ground to assume a paren 
thesis, which would spoil the em 
phasis ; for what the Apostle 
wishes the Romans to know, is 
not only that he was intending to 

come to them, but also that he was 
hindered. Compare Acts, xvi. 
6. ; Rom. xv. 24. ; 2 Cor. xiii. 1. ; 

1 Thess. ii. 18., as illustrating 
what may be termed the uncer 
tainty of times and seasons in the 
Apostle s journeys. He was hin 
dered, either " because Satan 
hindered him," 1 Thess. ii. 18. ; 
or because the spirit suffered him 
not, Acts, xvi. 6, 7. ; or because 
he had a feeling of delicacy, such 
as he speaks of in Rom. xv. 22., 

2 Cor. x. 15., in intruding on 
another s field of labour, or, for 
anything that appears to the con 
trary, because his time had been 
taken up with preaching the Gos 
pel in other places. Rom. xv. 

14. 6(f)ti\Tr]G dpi. ] "I owe it 
to all the world that I should 
preach the Gospel, to the civi 
lised as well as the uncivilised ; 
the wise as well as the foolish." 
We need not raise the ques 
tion which some interpreters 
have discussed, " in which half 
the Romans are to be placed." 
The world in which the Apo 
stle lived was not Roman, but 

It is not, in the Apostle s view, 
a matter of choice, or freewill, 

VJSJL 1317.] 



13 faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you 
ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come 
unto you,* and was let hitherto, that I might have some 

u fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I 
am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians ; 

is both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in 
me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are 

16 at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel 1 ; 
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one 
that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek ; 

17 for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from 

Add of Christ. 

whether he shall preach the Gos 
pel or not ; but a debt which he 
owes to himself, mankind, and 
God. Compare 1 Cor. ix. 16. : 
" Necessity is laid upon me, and 
woe is me, if I preach not the 
gospel." He will not allow him 
self to consider it as voluntary ; 
he delights to increase the obliga 
tion, claiming the Romans by a 
sort of right, as Apostle of the 
Gentiles, to be included in his 
labours, ver. 6. 

15. ovTdt TO /car e^ue 7rp60vfJor,So 
as much as in me is."] Either " So 
ready am I ; " or better and more 
in accordance with the Apostle s 
style with a pause after OUT-W, 
" Even so, I am ready," that is, as 
owing a debt to you as well as 
them. The two ways of taking 
the passage may be further modi 
fied by connecting or separating 
TO KUT (fjif and irp66v/jioi>, either 
" I am ready," or, " touching 
myself there is readiness." 

" I am ready to preach the 
Gospel in Rome, for I glory in it, 
for it is not weak, but mighty, a 
Divine power to save." The Apo 
stle exults in the greatness of his 

mission. He is to preach the 
Gospel at Rome, before the wise, 
in that great city. 

SvvafjitG Sfov, a Divine power, 
like StKaiocrvrtrj Seov below. 

17. Passing onward to the 
height of his great argument, the 
Apostle involves reason within 
reason, four times in three succes 
sive verses. Such is the over- 
logical form of Hellenistic Greek. 
" I preach the Gospel, for I glory 
in it; for it is not weak but 
strong, a power to save to him 
that has faith, for it is a revela 
tion of the righteousness of God 
through faith ; for the times of 
that ignorance God no longer 
winks at," &c. The repetition of 
-/up does but represent the dif 
ferent stages and aspects of the 
Apostle s thought. 

SiKcuoffvi r) yap 3eov."^ Viewing 
these words by the light of later 
controversy, interpreters have 
asked whether the righteousness 
here spoken of, is to be regarded 
as subjective or objective, in 
herent or imputed, as revealed 
by God or accepted by man. 
These are the "after-thoughts" 

E 3 



iv at>ra> a7TOKa\vTTreTaL I 

O e SIKCUOS IK moreo)? 

eig TTIOTIZ>, 

[On. I. 
ws ye - 

of theology, which have no real 
place in the interpretation of 
Scripture. We cannot define 
what is not defined by the Apo 
stle himself. But if, leaving later 
controversies, we try to gather 
from the connexion itself a more 
precise meaning, another uncer 
tainty remains. For the righte 
ousness of God may either mean 
that righteousness which existed 
always in the Divine nature, once 
hidden but now revealed; or may 
be regarded as consisting in the 
very revelation of the Gospel it 
self, in the world and in the heart 
of man. 

The first step to a right con 
sideration of the question, is to 
place ourselves within the circle 
of the Apostle s thoughts and 
language. The expression SIKUIO- 
crvvrj Seov was familiar to the 
Israelite, who, without any re 
ference to St. Paul s distinction 
of faith and works, used it in a 
double sense for an attribute of 
God and the fulfilment of the 
Divine law. Compare James, i. 
20. : opyi] yuparSpogSiKaiocrvrrjr 
Seov OVK KctTpy a^erat. Rom. X. 
3.: a.yvoovvTf.Q yap T)]v rov 
SEOV %iKaioavvTf}v } KO.I TYjv l^ iav 17- 
TOVVTEQ crrij(rai, rrj diKaioffvi r) TOV 
Seov oi>x vTrerdyYjffav. The law, 
the fulfilment of the law, and the 
Divine Author of the law, pass 
into each other; the mind is car 
ried on imperceptibly from one 
to the other. The language of 
all religion, consisting as it must 
in mediation between God and 
man, or in the manifestation of 
God in man, is full of these and 
similar ambiguities, which we 

should only gain a false clearness 
by attempting to remove. Such 
expressions in the phraseology 
of philosophy necessarily involve 
subject and object, a human soul 
in which they are made con 
scious, a Divine Being from whom 
they proceed, and to whom they 
have reference. It is generally 
confusing to ask to which of these 
they belong. Christianity is the 
communion of God and man in 
Christ, and, therefore, the words 
which are used to express its 
leading thoughts are neither here 
nor there, neither in the soul of 
man nor in the nature of God; 
nor yet are they mere abstract 
terms, denoting as they do the 
joint working of both. And 
so the expression "righteousness 
of God," instead of being con 
fined to one abstract point of 
view or meaning, seems to swell 
out into several: the attribute 
of God, embodied in Christ, ma 
nifested in the world, revealed 
in the Gospel, communicated to 
the individual soul ; the right 
eousness not of the law, but of 

cnroKaXvTTTETai, revealed.^ The 
idea of "revelation" is oppos 
ed in Scripture to pvrrrijpiov : it is 
the day that follows the night, the 
knowledge of God that supersedes 
"the times of that ignorance." 
Compare Rom. xvi. 25 26.: 
"Now to him that is of power 
to stablish you according to my 
gospel, and the preaching of 
Jesus Christ, according to the 
revelation of the mystery, which 
was kept secret, since the world 
began, but now is made manifest, 

VEB. 17.] 



faith to faith: as it is written, But * the just shall live 
by faith. 

and by the scriptures of the pro 
phets, according to the command 
ment of the everlasting God, 
made known to all nations for the 
obedience of the faith." For simi 
lar trains of thought, see also 
Acts, xiv. 15, 16. ;xvii. 30.; Col. 
i. 26, 27. To the first believers 
of Christianity, the thought of 
" revelation " was ever associated 
with the thought of the world 
that had preceded, and of the 
world that still surrounded them 
lying in darkness. It was con 
tinuous with another revelation, 
that of the sons of God, in com 
parison of which it was, as it 
were, darkness, as the night of 
ages had been darkness in com 
parison with the Gospel. Not 
that the outward face of man 
kind was changed; the light 
was within, the revelation in the 
soul itself. 

K 7rt(TT(t)Q IQ 7T0TIJ , 

faith to faith. ] Either : (1.) be 
ginning and ending in faith (like 
2 Cor.iii. 18., changed from glory 
to glory, CLTTO 3o?7 elc $6ap : 
or Psalm Ixxxiii. 7., going from 
strength to strength) ; springing 
from faith, and producing faith, 
going from one stage of faith to 
another ; whether that first faith 
be regarded as the faith of the 
Gentile who was a law to him 
self; or the faith of the Old Tes 
tament, such as Abraham s was, 
or such as is described in the 
passage from the prophet Ha- 
bakkuk ; or the faith of him who 
said, " Lord. I believe, help thou 
mine unbelief: " or, (2.) the 
words elg Triff-u , " to faith," may 
be considered as a repetition of 

t rw inaTEvovTi in the preced 
ing verse, to them that believe. 
" The righteousness of God is 
revealed by faith to those that 
have faith." Compare 2 Cor. ii. 
15, 16. : on xptffrov eviodia iff- 
f.iVT(t) S fw iv roig ffcj^opevotg /ecu ir 
role airoi\Xvfilvoi 9 OIQ JJLEV 6fffj.ii 
Savarov etg Sararov, O IQ 3e d<7//>) 
farjc els d)i]v. Compare also our 
Lord s words, "Whoso hath, to 
him shall be given." Or, (3.) 
lastly, the repetition of the word 
with elg (compare with this way 
of taking the words, also 2 Cor. 
ii. 16.) may denote a purpose, 
as in Rom. vi. 19. : uWep yap 
TO. pe\e vfjulov ov\a rrj 
KCU rrj avopiq. dg riiv 
, i. e. with the intent to 
work iniquity, to produce faith, 
an explanation of these pas 
sages, which, though it has less 
point, is more in accordance with 
the style of St. Paul than the 
preceding ones, and may be de 
fended by the quotation from 
Habakkuk, which shows that the 
real stress of the passage is not 
on eig TriffTtv, but on EK Tr/nrewf. 

KciOwg yeypuTrreu, as it is 
ivritten.~\ Scarcely any of the 
quotations from the Old Testa 
ment which occur in the New, 
are taken precisely in their ori 
ginal sense and connexion. They 
may be classed, in general, under 
three heads: (1.) Those which 
have an analogous meaning, like 
the words which follow from 
the prophet Habakkuk, in which 
a particular faith in God is 
identified with that faith in 
Christ which is the general con 
dition of the Gospel, or, as in 

E 4 



[CH. I. 

9 ATTOKa\v7Trerai yap opyrj Oeov OLTT ovpavov iiii Tracrav 18 
aSiKiav avOpdwcav ro>v TT)I> akridtiav iv dSi- 


the quotation respecting the faith 
of Abraham, in chap, iv., where 
every one will admit that " the 
New Testament lies hidden in 
the Old." (2.) Verbal allusions, 
such as Matth. i. 15. 17., " Out 
of Egypt have I called my son ;" 
"Rachel weeping for her chil 
dren." (3.) Passages from the Old 
Testament taken figuratively and 
typically, such as 1 Cor. ix. 9. : 
"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox 
that treadeth out the corn," or 
Gal. iv. 25., where Agar and 
Sinai are the image of the two 
covenants. In this class of in 
stances there is often a connected 
symbolical meaning, as in 1 Cor. 
x. 1 11., where the temptations 
of the Israelites in the wilder 
ness shadow forth the tempta 
tions of the Corinthian Church. 
The Epistle to the Hebrews fur 
nishes a system of such sym 
bols derived from the history 
and ceremonial of the Old Testa 

Most of the quotations in the 
Epistles of St. Paul belong to the 
first of these three classes, a few 
of them to the third. Like the 
other writers of the New Testa 
ment,, the Apostle detaches them 
from their context. He seems 
hardly to have thought of the 
connexion in which they ori 
ginally occurred. He quotes as 
persons in the present day might 
quote, who are unaccustomed to 
the critical study of Scripture. 
His aim is to seize the common 
spirit of the Old Testament and 
the New ; to bring forward that 
side of the Old Testament which 
is the anticipation of the New. 
Hence he rarely dwells on simi 

larity of words, but on passages 
which speak of forgiveness of 
sins, of the nearness of God to 
man, of faith counted for righ 

The age in which St. Paul 
wrote was remarkable for its 
fragmentary use of ancient writ 
ings. The Rabbis quoted single 
verses from the Old Testament, 
without regard to their connexion ; 
and a similar mystical use was 
made of Homer and Hesiod by the 
Alexandrian writers, who cited 
them in single lines as authorities. 
In modern times the force of a 
quotation is, in like manner, sup 
posed to consist in the authority 
that is adduced. It is an appeal 
to a revered name. 

But another notion of the force 
of a quotation must also be al 
lowed. A striking passage from 
Shakspeare appositely cited does 
not necessarily impress us with 
any weight of authority ; if the 
words themselves are appro 
priate, no matter in what con 
nexion they occur. So in quaint 
usages of Scripture in the writ 
ings of Bacon, Fuller, or any 
of our old divines, it may be 
often rather the dissimilitude 
than the resemblance of the ori 
ginal and adopted meaning that 
gives them their true force. One 
of the most striking uses of an 
cient sayings is their adaptation 
to express new thoughts ; and 
the more familiar the old sense, 
the more striking and, as it 
were, refreshing the new one. 

Something of this kind is true 
of modern no less than of ancient, 
of sacred as well as of profane 
writings. It is an element that 

VER. 18.] 



is For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against 
all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder 

must be allowed for in the inter 
pretation of Scripture. When 
men heard the truths of the 
Gospel drawn forth from the 
treasury of the Psalms and the 
Prophets, their feeling must have 
been one of surprise ; they would 
greet the familiar sound and 
marvel that they, for the first 
time, saw its meaning. The 
words which they had so often 
repeated, which, like the cere 
monies themselves, had been a 
mere ceremonial, had a new life 
breathed into them. The mode 
in which this new truth was 
drawn out and elicited was not 
analogous to any critical or 
intellectual process ; rather it 
might be compared to the manner 
in which the poor appropriate 
to themselves the warnings or 
promises of Scripture, led by 
some hidden law of association or 
spiritual influence which makes 
them wiser than the learned. 
The evidences or reasons by 
which men were induced to 
accept the truths veiled to them 
in " dark sayings of old," might 
be summed up in one the 
witness of their own spirit. For 
a fuller discussion of this subject, 
see "Essay on the Quotations in 
the Writings of St. Paul from 
the Old Testament." 

6 c)g $/<ccuoc *" TTIGTEWC, but the 
just. ] The LXX. have EK 7r<or6u>e 
juov. Hab. ii. 4. Heb. by his faith. 
The English Version translates, 
"The just shall live by faith," 
which is the natural mode of 
connecting the words in the ori 
ginal passage. It is not, how 
ever, quite certain, and not very 
important to determine whether 

here and in the parallel passage, 
Gal. iii. 11., the Apostle intends 
the words e/c Triffrewg to be taken 
with SixatoQ or with //o-erat, 
whether the just by faith shall 
live, or the just shall live by faith. 
Whether ^aerai would be used 
thus absolutely may be doubted. 
Compare Gal. iii. 12. 

The theme of the Epistle has 
been already stated in the quota 
tion from Habakkuk. In the 
eighteenth verse we enter on its 
first division, the subject of which 
is the world as it existed before 
the revelation of the righteousness 
which is of faith and also co 
exists with it. It is subdivided 
into two parts, the Gentile and 
Jewish world, which here as 
elsewhere (compare iii. 19.) are 
not precisely separated. Through 
out the first chapter the Apostle is 
speaking of the Gentiles ; but it 
is not until the seventeenth verse 
of the next chapter, that we are 
made clearly aware that he has 
been speaking of the Jews. To 
both he holds up the law as 
the mirror in which the human 
race should see itself, as he had 
himself learned to condemn him 
self by its dictates. 

The point of view in which 
the Apostle regards the heathen, 
is partly inward and partly out 
ward ; that is to say, based on 
the contemplation of the actual 
facts of human evil which he saw 
around, but at the same time 
blending with this, the sense 
and consciousness of sin which 
he felt within him. The Apostle 
himself had been awakened sud 
denly to the perception of his 
own state : in the language of 



[CH. I. 

KaTyovT(j)v, Sum TO ywcTTov Tov dcov (frcLvepov icrnv IP 19 
6 0eo$ yap aurots e<^a^e^wcre^. ra yap aopara 20 

this chapter," the wrath of God 
from heaven " had been revealed 
in him; "the righteousness of 
God, which is by faith " in Jesus 
Christ, had been also revealed 
in him. Alive without the law 
once, he had become conscious 
of sin and finally sensible of de 
liverance. And now transferring 
the thoughts of his own heart 
to an evil world, he tries it in 
like manner by the law of God 
and nature: it seems to him to 
be in the first stage of the great 
change, to have knowledge and 
to be self-condemned. The know 
ledge of God it always had latent 
in the works of creation ; and 
now it has fallen below itself 
and is convicted by itself. It is 
true that the Apostle, like all 
other teachers, supplies from 
within what did not consciously 
exist in the mind of man. What 
he sees before him, might have 
seemed to another as nothing 
more than a dead inert mass of 
heathenism and licentiousness. 
But there are two lights by 
which he regards it : first, the 
light of his own experience, which 
seems to stir and quicken it into 
life ; secondly, the light of God s 
law, by which, when brought 
near to it, it is condemned, and 
thus enters, as it were, on a new 
epoch, condemned and forgiven 
at once. 

18. yap, for. ] Either : (1.) as 
proving the whole by the part, 
for one aspect of the righteous 
ness of God, or of the prepara 
tion for the kingdom of heaven, 
is revealed in the anger of God 
and self-condemnation of men ; 
or, (2.) with stress on a 

iv. 16. 

t, for " God no longer suf 
fers every man to walk in his 
own way." 

air ov par ov, from heaven.] Ei 
ther, " because the Lord s house 
is in heaven," or with an allusion 
to the suddenness of lightning; or 
better, a figure of speech, partly 
taken from the Day of Judgment, 
" the Son of man coming in the 
clouds." Matth. xxiv. 29.; 1 Thess. 

Perhaps intended to 
comprehend both Jew and Gen 
tile, although in what immediately 
follows the Apostle is speaking of 
the Gentiles only. Compare the 
stress laid on irag in Rom. ii. 9., 
iii. 20., x. 11, 12. 

Ko.Teyj( )VT(i)v.~\ The word Kari- 
Xftv is used in the New Testa 
ment in two senses : (1.) in that 
of "keep, hold fast," as in 1 Cor. 
xi. 12.; 1 Thess. v. 21. ; or, (2.) 
in that of "hinder, restrain," as 
in Luke iv. 42. ; 2 Thess. ii. 6. 
So in this passage we might say, 
either upon all unrighteousness 
of men who hold the truth, or 
who hinder the truth, in unrigh 
teousness. The first explanation 
would seem to agree with the 
context, as the Apostle is speak 
ing of men sinning, not against, 
but with light and knowledge. 
But the word Karl^eir rather 
means to hold fast than merely 
passively to retain, and it would 
be unmeaning to say of the hea 
then that they "held fast the 
truth in unrighteousness." We 
might say, " hold fast that which 
is good," 1 Thess. v. 21.; "hold 
fast the traditions," 1 Cor. xi. 2. ; 
" hold fast the confession," Heb. 
x. 23. ; but not hold fast that 

VER. 19,20.] 



19 the truth in unrighteousness ; because that which * is 
known of God is manifest in them; for God* manifests 

20 it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the 

which was only held passively 
and uncertainly. The simpler 
interpretation is better, " of those 
who hinder the truth by unrigh 
teousness." The words thus be 
come an epexegesis merely of tnl 

19. diori TO yrujoTOJ , because 
that which is known ] Where 
there is no law, says the Apostle, 
there is no transgression. In like 
manner it might be said, that 
where there is no knowledge of 
God, there is excuse. But this 
is not the case of the heathen. 
What can be known of God is 
manifested in them, for God him 
self makes it manifest. E<f>aveptt)ffr 9 
Aorist in a general statement. 

The heathen knew the truth, 
and did not know it. They had 
the elements of knowledge, but 
not knowledge itself. As the 
laws of nature, though unknown 
to man, existed from the first ; so 
did the God of nature, though un 
known to man, exist before the 
worlds. Yet how can that be 
termed knowledge which was ig 
norance ? 

The Apostle is speaking, not 
from within the circle of the 
heathen world, but from with 
out. He is describing what he 
felt respecting them, not what 
the heathen felt respecting them 
selves. Yet the strain which he 
adopts, might have received con 
firmation from the writings of 
" their own prophets," and have 
found an echo in the better mind 
of the age itself. He brings them 
into the presence of nature, " the 
heavens declaring his glory, and 

the firmament shewing his han 
diwork," and condemns them be 
fore it. There was a witness in 
the world, that might have taught 
them, and seemed intended to 
teach them, which contrasted with 
the human idols of Greece, and 
with the winged and creeping 
things of Egypt and the East. It 
does not follow, that individuals 
among them could separate them 
selves from the ties of habit and 
education, and read the lesson 
spread before them. Yet even 
thus, it was a condemnation of the 
existing polytheism. 

20. rd yap aopaTCL aurov, K. r. \. } 
for the invisible things, &c.j 
may be taken in four different 
ways : either, (1.) his attributes, 
which, since the creation of the 
world, are invisible, are seen by 
his works ; a thought, however, 
contrary to the usual language of 
Scripture, in which the works of 
creation are regarded as the mani 
festation, not as the concealment 
of the Divine glory ; or, (2.) bet 
ter, like the expression in xvi. 
25.: pwrilptOV o eo-iyj^utVoj yjpovoiq 
aittvloiff the things unseen "from 
the beginning," without any ex 
press reference to the creation of 
the world having concealed them; 
or, (3, 4.) otTTo KriffewQ KOfffjLov may 
be taken, not with aopara, but 
with KaOoptirai, and balanced with 


marking either the time or the 
source whence the invisible 
things are seen either by or ever 
since the creation of the world. 
Compare Arist. de Mundo, ch. 
6. : 7ra.fffi Si rjry (pvae 



[OH. I. 

avrov O/JTO /cTLcrews KocrfJiov TOIS TTon^acru voovptva Ka~ 


avrovs avairoXoyiJTOVs, Sidn yz oVres TOP 6ebv ov^ a>s #0^ 21 


/caOoparat.] The things 
that are unseen are seen by know 
ledge of his creatures ; seen " in 
the mind s eye," by creation. 
Compare ii. 1. for a similar play 
of words. 

elg TO Civai CLVTOVQ 

.] They were without excuse, 
because they were confronted by 
this knowledge. Compare John, 
iii. 19. : " This is the condemna 
tion, that light is come into the 
world, and men loved darkness 
rather than light, because their 
deeds were evil." The knowledge 
which the Apostle attributes to 
the heathen in the following 
verse, is in some degree a figure 
of speech : without them were 
the means of knowledge, but 
within the eye was darkened, that 
seeing they should not see, and 
hearing they should not under 
stand. Knowledge and action, 
reason and will, are to ourselves 
fundamental distinctions which 
have permanently impressed 
themselves on human thought 
and speech. But there was a time 
in the earlier stage of Greek 
philosophy, in which virtue was 
said to be knowledge, and vice 
ignorance. A similar inversion 
of our ordinary modes of thought 
occurs also in Scripture. Know 
ledge and obedience, light and- 
life, are sometimes distinguish 
ed from each other, at other 
times identified. Hence it is 
not surprising that a degree of 
ambiguity should arise in the 
Scriptural use of the word know 

ledge, when employed to signify 
two ideas so different as know 
ledge, or the possibility of know 
ledge in the abstract, as in this 
passage, and knowledge unto 

The sense in which they knew 
and did not know, admits of 
another illustration from the 
workings of conscience, which 
may further remind the student 
of Aristotle s Ethics, of the dis 
cussion which is entered upon 
by the great master, of another 
form of the Socratic opinion. 
There are moral as well as spi 
ritual truths, which we know 
and we do not know ; know at 
one moment and forget the next ; 
know and do not know at the 
same instant ; for our ignorance 
of which we cannot help blam 
ing ourselves, even though it 
were impossible that we should 
know them ; and which, when 
presented to us, work conviction 
and sorrow for the past. And 
so if St. Paul be judging the 
heathen from his own point of 
view rather than theirs, he is 
also holding up before them a 
picture, the truth of which, as 
they became Christians, they 
would themselves recognise. 

It is natural to ask of whom 
St. Paul is speaking in this de 
scription ? What class among the 
heathen had he in his thoughts 
when he said, they knew God, 
and worshipped him not as God ? 
He is not speaking of the vulgar 
certainly, nor yet of the educated 
in the highest sense ; that is, not 
of the true wisdom of heathen 

VER. 21. J 



creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood 

by the things that are made, even his eternal power and 

21 Godhead ; so that they are without excuse : because that, 

antiquity, but of the sophist, the 
mystic, the Athenian ever desi 
rous to hear some new thing ; the 
Greek in the cities of Asia ; the 
Alexandrian Jew mingling all 
opinions, human and divine, in 
his system of knowledge, falsely 
so called ; the half-educated, on 
whom the speculations of Stoics 
or Epicureans exercised a kind 
of secondary influence ; the tra 
ditional lore of Egypt, enhanced, 
doubtless by the fame of its 
new learning, which seemed so 
strangely to contrast with the 
meanness and grotesqueness of 
its superstition. These were the 
forms of heathen life and philo 
sophy with which the Apostle 
must generally have come in con 
tact, which it is, therefore, rea 
sonable to suppose that he had in 
view in this description. 

It is a further question, how 
far St. Paul was acquainted with 
those master-pieces of heathen 
learning which have exerted so 
great power on the thoughts of 
men. Had he read Plato, or 
Aristotle, or the writings of the 
Stoics ? Can we suppose him to 
have heard of Seneca, with 
whom his name is connected by 
an ancient and widely received 
forgery ? Is it of these that he 
says : " affirming they were wise, 
they became fools ? " There is 
no reason to suppose that St. 
Paul was skilled in any Greek 
learning but the Alexandrian 
philosophy, and that rather as a 
current mode of thought of his 
time than as a system which he 
had especially cultivated. But 

as little reason is there to suppose 
that unless he had ceased to be 
himself, he would have viewed 
these great classical works in 
any other way than he regarded 
heathen literature in general, 
or have received them in the 
spirit of the later Fathers, as 
semi-inspired works, or have re 
cognised in them the simplicity 
or grand moral lesson which has 
preserved them to our time. Sa 
cred and profane literature fly 
from the touch of each other; 
they belong to two different 
worlds. Nor is it likely that 
the first teachers of Christianity 
would have sought to connect 
them, nor conceivable to us how 
the Gospel could have converted 
mankind, if, in its infancy, it 
had to come into collision with 
the dialectics of Plato, or the se 
vere self-control of the Stoic. It 
must gain a form and substance 
of its own, ere it could leaven 
the world. Afterwards it might 
gather into itself the elements 
of good in all things. Nor is 
there reason to think that it 
could have drawn to itself the 
nobler spirits of heathen anti 
quity, any more than it could 
have taken from them. Had 
Tacitus known ever so much 
of that "exitiabilis superstitio," 
is it natural, humanly speaking, 
to suppose that he would have 
bowed at the foot of the cross ? 

21 Biort yvovrts roy Sear, be 
cause when they knew God,~\ is a 
repetition in the concrete of 
what had been previously stated 
in the abstract in verse 19. The 



[CH. I. 

fj rjv^apio-rrjo-av, dXX 
Kap8ia. <j)dcrKOVT$ elvai crcx^oi e 
TT)Z> Sofcu> TOT) a(j)0dpTov 0ov iv 

TOV OLv6p(i)TTOV KO,l 7TTLV(*)V K 

Sto 1 77apeSa)/cez> avrovs 6 #eos e> rcus 

1 Add al. 

v rots 
rj dcrweros OLVTMV 

KOL T^fXXafaz 22 
ei/cd^o? <f)0ap- 23 




merely erred. 

Judith, vi. 8. 

same thought is heightened in 
ver. 23. 25. 28. 32. as the conse 
quences are also thrice repeated 
in ver. 24. 26. 27. 2931. A 
similar " antistrophic " structure 
is traceable in vii. 7 24. and 
viii. 1 11., and elsewhere. 

v^ were made fool 
or were made nought, not 
2 Sam. xxiv. 10. ; 
Comp. v. 22. 
] conceits, as com 
monly in the LXX. in a bad 
sense, Ps. xxiii. 11., cxxxvii. 19. 

iffKoriffdrj rj CLVVVETOQ aiiriZv Kap- 
c)m.] Either their heart was dark 
ened so that it became foolish, as 
in Sophocles, T&V GUV a.$epK-a)i> 
d/x/xarwv rrj-wfJitroQ ; or Matt. xii. 
13., diroKaTeffradr) (/ XP) i>yo;e 
we ij uX\rj : or better, their foolish 
heart was yet further dark 

The senselessness of the hea 
then religions and their worship 
pers, was an aspect of them far 
more striking to contemporary 
Jews or Christians than to our 
selves. We gaze upon the frag 
ments of Phidias and Praxiteles, 
and fancy human nature almost 
ennobled by the "form divine." 
Our first notions of patriotism 
are derived from Marathon and 
Thermopylae. The very anti 
quity of heathenism gives it a 
kind of sacredness to us. The 
charms of classical literature add 

a grace. It was otherwise with 
the Jews and first believers. 
They saw only "cities wholly 
given to idolatry," whose gods 
were but stocks and stones, de 
scribed in the sarcasm of the 
prophet, " The workman maketh 
a graven image." 

22. tyaaxovTeg elvai <ro0ot, pro 
fessing to be wise,"] is a con 
tinuation of the idea already im 
plied in $ia\oyicr[jio~ig. Comp. 
1 Cor. iii. 20. : Kvpiog yivuffKei 

TOVQ ^ lCL\OyiffjJiOVQ Ttol <700WJ , OTl 

Eial paraioi, which are quoted 
from Ps. xciv. 11., where, how 
ever, the two words ruv votyuv do 
not occur in the original. The 
Scripture is ever repeating to man 
the lesson that the wisdom of this 
world is foolishness with God. 
It is a part of the contrast which 
the Gospel presents to the ex 
perience of mankind. The rich 
are poor, the learned ignorant, 
the strong weak, the living dead, 
the things that are as though they 
were not in the sight of God. 
The more they assert their exist 
ence, the less have they a true 
existence before him. There is 
an irony in sacred as well as 
profane writings, which inverts 
the order of things, and, with 
drawing from the world around, 
places itself above human opi 
nions by placing itself below 



when they knew God ; they glorified him not as God, 
neither were thankful ; but became vain in their imagi- 

22 nations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Pro- 

23 fessing * to be wise, they became fools, and changed the 
glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made 
like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed 

24 beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore l God gave them 
up to uncleanness in* the lusts of their own hearts, to 

1 Add edso. 

a(j)dapTov Seou,] contrasted with 
(bdaprov av0joa7rov. 

23. kv o^uoiti^art.] So in Ps. 
CV. 20. ?/XAaajTO iv o^iotw^art. 
In such passages the use of the 
preposition eV may be explained 
by a confusion of rest and motion 
(; //\Xttaj &(TTt f/Vai kv o^uotw^uart) ; 
or better, the object may be re 
garded as that in which the 
change consists. Compare v. 25. 

<f)6apTov avdpuTTOv . . . KO.I tpiri- 
rwv.] The former words refer 
to the Greek anthropomorphism, 
such as we may imagine the 
Apostle gazing upon from Mars 
Hill ; the latter to the symbolism 
of Egypt and the East, the wor 
ship of the ibis, apis, serpents, 

24. <Hio TTt/pecWgy.] The same 
connexion between the blindness 
of the understanding, and fleshly 
sins, occurs in Eph. iv. 18, 19. 
Having the understanding dark 
ened, being alienated from the 
life of God through the ignorance 
that is in them, because of the 
blindness of their hearts : who, 
being past feeling, have given 
themselves over- unto lascivious- 
ness, to work all uncleanness with 

TrapiduKev, gave them up.~\ Ori- 
gen and several of the Fathers 

soften the meaning of the word, 
TrapedwKEr, by interpreting c merer, 
permitted to be given over, rather 
than delivered over. Such ex 
planations are not interpretations 
of Scripture, but only adaptations 
of it to an altered state of feeling 
and opinion. They are " after 
thoughts of theology," as much 
as the discussions and definitions 
alluded to above, designed, when 
the question has begun to occupy 
the mind of man, to guard against 
the faintest supposition of a con 
nexion between God and evil. 
So in modern times we say God 
is not the cause of evil : he only 
allows it ; it is a part of his 
moral government, incidental to 
his general laws. Without con 
sidering the intimate union of 
good and evil in the heart of man, 
or the manner in which moral 
evil itself connects with physical, 
we seek only to remove it, as far 
as possible, in our language and 
modes of conception, from the Au 
thor of good. The Gospel knows 
nothing of these modern philoso 
phical distinctions, though revolt 
ing, as impious, from the notion 
that God can tempt man. The 
mode of thought of the Apostle 
is still the same as that implied 
in the aphorism : " Quern Deus 


H. I. 

Siwv avTwv ei? aKaOapcriav TOV aTiju,de<T$ai ra 

avTOJV iv avTOig *, OITWC? //.er^XXaf ai> TT)^ d\TJ0iav TOV 0eov 25 

5 ^ I /O* \ 5 /"I / /I ^ *\ ^ ^ 

e^ TO yevoei KOLL ecrepacrurjcrav /cai \aTpevo~av TT? 

Trapd TOV KTiO~avTa, os io-Tiv euXoy^ros ets TOV? 

d/xi^. Sea TOVTO TrapeSajKev avTovs 6 0e6s et? 7701^7 26 

dri/xta? * ac re yap 0jj\iai CLVTCOV fjiTyjX\aav TTJV (frvcriKrjv 

ei5 TT)^ Trapa <$>vo-w, o^oidis e /cat 01 apcrei e? 27 
es TT)Z/ (frvcriKrjv -^prjcrLV TT^S ^Xeta? e^tKavOrjo-av iv 
opefet avTa>v ets dXX^Xov?, dpcreves iv apcrecriv Trjv 
rjfjioo~vvrjv KaTepya^ojjievoL Kal Trjv avTLfjao diav r^v eSei 
7r\dvrj<; avTcov iv eavTols aTroXapfidvovTts. Kal Kadcos 28 
ou/c l8oKLp.acrav TOV Oeov ^(LV iv iiriyvtoo-ei, T 
o Oeos els dSoKiov vovv, TTOitlv ra LL K 

vultperdere, prius dementat." To 
preserve this is essential, or we 
shall confuse what the Epistles do 
say, and what we suppose that 
they ought to have said ; the 
words used to express the opera 
tion of the Divine Being, and the 
general impression of Divine good 
ness which we gather from Scrip 
ture as a whole. 

kv TO.IQ !7Ti0uju/cue, in their state 
of lust; compare kv ry 6pt &t, v. 

etc aKadapcriav TOV artjuafco-flai.] 
Not to the uncleanness of disho 
nouring which would require TYJV 
before aKaSapyiav ; in the lan 
guage of the old grammarians, 
X|0i^, or ZvEKa, may be supplied 
or to speak more correctly the 
genitive is used to signify the 
remoter object which, at the same 
time, is an explanation of aKadap* 
oiav. For the word arijuci0 0cu, 
in this sense, compare the expres 
sion which occurs in 1 Thess. iv. 

4., KTcLffdctL ffKEVOQ kv TtfJ,rj. 

The general question, how far 

God is spoken of in Scripture as 
the Author of evil, will be dis 
cussed on Rom. ix. One remark 
may, however, be made by way 
of anticipation, that while we 
reject the distinction of God 
causing and permitting evil as 
unsuited to Scripture, a great dif 
ference must, nevertheless, be 
admitted between sin as the pe 
nalty of sin, or, as we should say, 
the natural consequence of sin, 
and sin in its first origin. In the 
latter sense the authorship of evil 
is no where attributed to God ; 
in the former, it is. God makes 
man to sin, in the language of 
Scripture, only when he has al 
ready sinned, when, to the eye of 
man, he is hopelessly hardened. 
In this point of view, the meta 
physical difficulty, which is not 
here entered upon, still remains ; 
but the practical one is in a great 
degree removed. 

21 28. are worth observing, 
as illustrative of the style of St. 
Paul, consisting as they do of a 

VER. 2528.] 



25 dishonour their own bodies between themselves : who 
changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped 
and served the creature rather* than the Creator, who 

26 is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave 
them up unto vile affections : for* their women did 
change the natural use into that which is against 

27 nature : and likewise also the men, leaving the natural 
use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward 
another ; men with men working that which is unseemly 
and receiving in themselves that recompence of their 

ss error which was meet. And* 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 con- 

thrice repeated statement of the 
sin of the heathen, and their pu 
nishment. 21 24. : They knew 
God, but worshipped idols, there 
fore God punished them with 
unnatural lusts. 25 27. : They 
turned the truth of God into a 
lie ; therefore men and women 
alike were given over to sensual 
abominations. 28. to the end : 
They would not know God; there 
fore God took away from them 
the sense of knowledge. Then 
follows the description of their 
state in its last aggravation. 

25. omvc /uerr;XXaav. J A new 
aspect of idolatry ; it changes the 
truth that God teaches about 
Himself (dX//fota Seov) into a 
lie. KTitravra^ and not the 
Creator. The preposition Trapa. 
is here used in the sense of 
"rather than," as frequently 
with comparative expressions, 
such as, ciXXog, tripos. So 1 
Cor. iii. 11., 6ejj.i\tov aXXov 

St. Paul to what has preceded. 
At the mention of such things, 
he utters a hymn of praise, lest 
the honour of God should seem 
impaired. Compare iii. 5., for a 
similar feeling ; also ix. 5. 

26. 6)i\eiat and apaeveQ rather 
than avdptQ and yvralKe^ be 
cause of the relation of sex in 
which the Apostle is speaking of 
them, etc; Tradrj artju/ac, to affec 
tions of dishonour, with an allu 
sion to aTtfJia^effdai which has 

27. 6yUO/WC C> KCti ol Uf)(TeVeQ.~\ 

These words may be connected, 
either with what follows or with 
what precedes ; either as in the 
English translation ; or, "And so 
the men ; leaving the natural use 
of the women, they burned in 
their lust," &c. 

OQ EffTtv i/Xoy//roc.] The doxo- 
logy expresses the antipathy of 


not a recompense of 
their sin with one another, but of 
their error respecting God. 

28. KciO&G OVK: ESoKtf.ia.ffai .^ The 
original meaning of the word 
SoKipaeiris : (1.) to try as metals, 
or, in a figurative sense of public 



[Cn. I. 

crr) dSi/aa, Ka/aa, Trowqpia, TrXeo^efia 1 JJLZ- 29 

6vov, <f)6vov, epiSos, SdXov, KaKorjdeias t//i6 lyHcrrdg* so 
/caraXdXovs, OeocrTvyels, vfipicrTas, V7rep7)(j)dvovs, dXaoVa?, 

Iffyevperas KCLKCOV, yovevcrw aTret^et?, dcrwerovs, do-viperous 31 

acrropyovs 2 , dz eXeT^u-oz ag, olrt^es TO SiKauojua rov #eoi) eVi- 32 
, on 01 ra rotavra Trpdcrcrovrts d^tot 9avdrov etcrt^, 

1 Add iropveia, and read Ka/ctoi after 

2 Add 

30. ^tflvpiorue,] secret, as op 
posed to KaraXaXovc, open slan 

Sfoorvyelc, hated of God.~\ The 
use of the word in classical Greek, 
as well of the analogous word 
fipoTOffTvyrjQ, requires the passive 
sense. To this it is objected, that 
it is unmeaning to single out a 
particular class as hateful to God, 
because all sinners are so. With 
the view of avoiding this dif 
ficulty, it has been proposed to 
render the word actively after 
the analogy of S-eo/ao^e in Arist. 
Aves, 15c5. 

/J.KTU 5 a-rravTas rovs beovs, us olffQa <rv. 
v^j r bv At &ei 5r? 

officers ; (2.) to approve on trial ; 
(3.) to determine, think fit, as in 
Thucyd. ii. 35., and more common 
ly, and with less idea of the ori 
ginal signification, in later Greek. 
In the present passage it may be 
translated, " Who did not think 
fit." There is also a Trapovopacria 
with a^ojajuoe, which in English 
is hardly translatable. Not ap 
proving to have God in their 
knowledge, they become repro 
bates ; or, because they did not 
discern to have God in know 
ledge, God gave them over to an 
undiscerning mind. Other in 
stances of TrapovofJLaffla in the 
Epistle are, ii. 1., iii. 27., and, 
above, v. 26. So Christ himself, 
Matt. viii. 22., xvi. 12. 

29. 7TE7r\Y)p<.OfJlErOVQ TTCLIT^ dfilKlfy 

. . . TTovr/p/a.] For similar lists of 
sins, compare Gal. v. 19. ; 2 Tim. 
iii. 3. ; the order in which they 
are placed, seems sometimes to 
follow associations of sound, 
sometimes of sense. 

Troj^jO/ci] may be distinguished 
from KaKiy 9 as the stronger and 
more exact expression from the 
weaker and more general one, as 
villany from evil and vice. 

TrXeovefr a,] perhaps here, as in 
Ephes. v. 3., Col. iii. 5., in the 
sense of lust. 

Kafcorjfa/ae, malignity, ] implies 
secret, inveterate evil in a man s 

Compare also the word 
in Arist. Vesp. 418. and 
in Philo, vol. ii. 642. ; also Rom. 
viii. 7. Notwithstanding this de 
parture from ordinary use, the 
word is still somewhat pointless. 
It is safer, with such a writer as 
St. Paul, or rather with all writers, 
to take language in its usual sense, 
of which we are much more cer 
tain, than we can ever be of the 
intention of a writer in a particular 
passage. Here, either the active 
or passive sense is deficient in 
point ; yet a fair meaning may 
be given to the passive usage. 
$eoaTvyf) does not signify hateful 
to God in the same degree that 
all sinners may be said to be so, 



29 venient ; being filled with all unrighteousness, evil, wick 
edness x , villany*, covetousness ; full of envy, murder, 

30 debate, deceit, malignity ; whisperers, backbiters, hated* 
of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil 

31 things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, 
covenant-breakers, without natural affection 2 , unmerciful : 

32 who knowing the judgment of God, that they which 

1 Add fornication. 

Add implacable. 

but more than this, " reprobate," 
" marked with the seal of the 
Divine wrath," in a special sense 
and pre-eminently above other 
men " hated of God." 

vptffrdg, brutal and injurious 
to others. 

V7rp770a ove, haughty. 

dXa^d^af, vain boasters, ] the 
Gnathos and Thrasos of the 
comic writers. 

30. etyevpcTag KaKwv, inventors 
of new forms of evil. Compare 
K cu-wj tvptrai in Philo, Lib. in 
Flac. 520. 

affvverovQ, without under 
standing,^ in the Hebrew sense 
implying moral degradation. Ps. 
xci. 6. 

arrropyovQ, without natural af- 
fection, ] e. g. mothers who ex 
posed their children, emperors 
or satraps who put to death their 

avvrdtrovc, perfidious.~\ Jer. 
iii. 8. 11. 

[ao-TTo^ove, in the Textus Re- 
ceptus, is probably spurious, per 
haps a gloss on aavv^irovq. ] 

32. The Apostle concludes the 
long catalogue of sins as he had 
begun it, with a reference to the 
fact that men committed them 
in the face of knowledge ; they 
could not otherwise have had the 
nature of sin. It has been some 

times thought that a higher de 
gree of guilt was intended to be 
intimated by ffwevdoKovaiv, " have 
pleasure in them," than by Trpacr- 
ffovcri, " do them." To encourage 
evil in others without the in 
centive of passion in a man s self, 
might seem to denote a higher 
degree of moral depravity than 
any mere licentiousness w r hich 
was the gratification of passion. 

It may be objected to the sug 
gested interpretation that the 
thought is too subtle, and also 
that a stronger meaning is as 
signed to the word avrEvdoxoixn 
than it will fairly bear. There 
is a considerable difference be 
tween passively assenting to or ap 
proving, and encouraging or tak 
ing delight in. The climax breaks 
down if we translate the words 
in their legitimate sense, " who 
not only do, but assent to those 
who do them." Nor is the climax 
appropriate at all in this place, 
nor can it be maintained, as a ge 
neral proposition, that it is worse 
to approve than to do evil. 

The difficulty has led some in 
terpreters to propose a change 
of reading, which has considerable 
manuscript authority. The va 
rious readings are as follow : 

TOV eov f<- 

r 2 



[Cn. I. 

ov JJLOVOV aura Trocovcrw, aXXct /cat crwevSo /cover iv roc? 

[Add OVK ivoriaav, AGfgv. Cypr. 


atot SCLVCLTOV elvir, 
TTOiovaiV, A.C&.G 

rec, Bfgv~\j aXXa KOI avvtvloicov- 
tnv AC&G [<rvvfu3o/coiT>/r6c] rolg 
7Tpaff(rovffiv. If we combine the 
alteration of B with the addi 
tion of A6r, the sense will be as 
follows : " Who, knowing the 
judgment of God, do not perceive 
that they who do such things are 
worthy of death, not only in that 
they do them themselves, but in 
that they consent to those who 
do them." The feebleness of the 

last clause, and the deficiency of 
MS. authority, are sufficient ob 
jections to such a mode of evad 
ing the difficulty. 

Another explanation has been 
offered of the original text, aw- 
fvdoKovffiv, it has been thought, 
is not intended to express any 
higher degree of guilt than TTOI- 
ovffiv, but merely that the Gen 
tiles do evil, and judge favourably 
of evil. This it is sought to 
connect with the first verse of 
the next chapter : " Therefore 
thou art inexcusable, O man, 
whosoever thou art that judgest, 

VEE. 32.] 



commit such things are worthy of death, not only do 
the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

and thy judgment of another 
is a condemnation of thyself ; 
for thou judgest and doest too." 
But the transition of meaning 
from ffvvtvloKiiv to Kpivetv is not 

It has been already remarked, 
that the form of St. Paul s writ 
ings is often more artificial and 
rhetorical than the thought. May 
not this be the explanation of 
the passage which we are con 
sidering ? The opposition is 
really one of particles, not of 
ideas. The Apostle does not 

mean to say " who do them, and, 
more than that, have pleasure in 
those that do them," but simply 
"who do them, and assent to 
those who do them." (Compare 
2 Cor. viii. 10., o mvce ov 
TO irotfjffai, a\\a icai TO 
irpoevrjpZaffde cnro irepwi, which 
is probably to be explained in 
the same way* and where the 
commentators have recourse to 
similar forced interpretations.) 
He is aggravating the picture by 
another, but not necessarily a 
deeper shade of guilt. 

F 3 




" AN idol is nothing in the world," says the Apostle ; " yet he 
that commits fornication sins against his own body." It is foolish 
ness to bow to an idol ; but immorality and licentiousness are real 
and essential evil. No mere outward act can make a man different 
from what he was before, while no inward act can leave him the 
same after as before its performance. A belief about Jupiter or 
Hades is not necessarily inconsistent with truth and purity of life. 
The evils, whether of a heathen or of a Christian country, are not 
always associated with the corruptions of religion. Whence, then, 
the connexion often spoken of by theologians, and not unfelt by the 
heathen themselves, between immorality and idolatry ? 

It is first to be sought for in their origin. As the Christian 
religion may be regarded as the great pillar and rock of morality, 
so the heathen religions sprang up in an age prior to morality. 
We see men in the dawn of human history just raised above 
the worship of stocks and stones, " making themselves gods to go 
before them." Like children they feed upon the creations of their 
own minds ; they live in a world of their own and are satisfied. 
No thought occurs to them of the higher laws of human life ; they 
have no sense of shame or its opposite ; the abstract terms for 
" right and wrong " have not yet been heard in their vocabulary. 
The Gods who have possession of the heart of man are half-physical, 
half-magical, and in part also human, beings, not purely evil any 
more than man himself, but leaning to the worse rather than to the 
better side of man s nature, of which they are the vacant and mag 
nified images. The deities of the Homeric poems are not better 
than men, but rather worse ; compared with heroes, they have a 
fainter sense of truth and justice, less certainly of moral greatness. 
After ages felt that the Homeric gods were unworthy of a civi- 


lised race. And yet it might have been fortunate for mankind 
had no deeper leaven of evil ingrained itself in the religions of 
the ancient world ; for mythology at a later, or in some nations 
at an earlier, stage, dived into a gulf below, out of which rose 
powers of evil furies pursuing the homicide, inevitable destiny, 
capricious vengeance, wild justice for imaginary crimes. Human 
nature grew and human beings spread over the earth ; but they 
carried with them, wherever they went, the traditional load of 
superstition, with which their separate existence as a nation seemed 
to be bound up. Far otherwise would it have been if the good of 
states, or the dictates of natural feeling and affection, had been made 
the standard to which religion was to conform. And accordingly it 
has everywhere happened, that as reflection has gained ground, or 
civilisation spread, mankind have risen up against the absurdities 
and barbarities of early mythology, either openly disowning them or 
secretly explaining them away ; and thus in either case bearing 
witness that idolatry is not on a level with man s reason, but below 
it. In the case of the Greeks, especially, many of the grosser forms 
of religion disappeared from the light of day into the seclusion of 
the mysteries. 

The whole civilised world in modern times are worshippers of an 
unseen God ; the whole civilised world in ancient times were idola 
ters. The vastness and uniformity of this latter fact lead us to look 
upon idolatry as rooted in a natural instinct. It is not an error 
into which men reason themselves, or a lesson propagated by false 
teachers, or the trick of priests imposing on the credulity of man 
kind ; a lower stage of human nature is implied in it. Its birth and 
origin we scarcely see ; most of the effects which are commonly 
attributed to it being an after-growth of civilised and historical 
times. And this of itself was an element of immorality ; it con 
tinued in a world which had lost its first meaning, whose convictions 
of right and truth gradually became opposed to it, whose very ideas 
of decency were inconsistent with its grosser forms. In old times 

r 4 


man had wondered at his own power of bringing into being a 
creature in his own image ; religious awe had blended with the 
sensual impulse ; at shrines and sacred places " the people had come 
together to eat and to drink, and risen up to play." And, ever 
after, sensual love remained as a pervading element of the Pagan 
religions, consecrated by antiquity, in later ages graced and half- 
concealed by art. The introduction of the Bacchanalia at a com 
paratively recent epoch in the history of Greece, and the attempted 
introduction of them at Rome, indicate the reawakening of the same 
religious passions when older modes of faith failed to satisfy them. 
Yet more monstrous forms of evil arose when in things not to be 
named men seemed to see a likeness to the operations and powers 
of nature. The civilised Greek and Roman knew well that there 
were frenzies of religious licentiousness unworthy of a rational 
being, improper and dangerous for a government to allow. As East 
and West met and mingled, the more did these strange rites spread 
themselves, passing from Egypt and Phoenicia to Greece, from the 
mountains of Phrygia to the streets and temples of Rome. 

But, besides this direct connexion between idolatry and forms 
of moral evil, there is also an indirect and general influence which it 
exercised, even in its better aspect, adverse to morality. Not from 
religion, but from philosophy, come the higher aspirations of the 
human soul in Greece and Rome. Idolatry detains men in the 
world of sight ; it offers an outward form to the eye and imagery 
to the fancy ; it draws the many-coloured veil of art over the cor 
ruption of human nature. It heals the strife of man with himself 
superficially. It takes away the conscious want of the higher life, but 
leaves the real need. But morality has to do with an unseen world: 
it has no form nor comeliness, when separated from the hope which 
the Gospel holds out ; it is severe and stoical in its demands. It tells 
men to look within ; it deepens the battle with self. It presents 
duty almost as an abstraction which in the face of death they must 
pursue, though there be no reward here, though their name perish 
for evermore. The spirit of all idolatry is the very opposite of this ; 


it bids men rest in this world, it pacifies them about another. The 
nature of God, who is the ideal and perfection of all morality, it 
lowers to the level of man ; the virtue which is above, the truth 
which is beyond us, it embodies in the likeness of the human form, 
or the wayward and grotesque fancies of the human mind. It bids 
us seek without for what can only be found within. 

There remains yet a further parallel to be drawn between immo 
rality and idolatry in the age in which St. Paul himself lived, when 
the ancient religions had already begun to be discredited and ex 
plained away. At this time they had become customs rather than 
beliefs maxims of state rather than opinions. It is, indeed, impos 
sible to determine how far in any minds they commanded respect, or 
how much of the reverence that was refused to established modes of 
worship was accorded to the claims of newly imported deities. They 
were in harmony with the outer world of the Roman Empire that is, 
with its laws, institutions, traditions, buildings ; but strangely out of 
harmony with its inner life. No one turned to the mythology of 
Greece and Rome to find a rule of life. Perhaps no one had ever 
done so, but now least of all. Their hold was going or gone ; there 
was a space in the mind of man which they could no longer fill up, 
in which Stoic and Epicurean philosophers were free to walk; the chill 
darkness of which might receive a ray of light and warmth from the 
Alexandrian mystic ; where, too, true voices of philosophy and ex 
perience might faintly make themselves heard, and the heart ask 
itself and find its own solution of the problem, "What is truth?" In 
all this latter period the relation of morality to religion might be said 
to be one of separation and antagonism. And, upon the whole, this 
very freedom was favourable to right and truth. It is difficult to 
determine how far the spectacle of a religion which has outlived its 
time may corrupt the moral sense, how far the necessary disbelief of 
an existing superstition tends to weaken and undermine the intellec 
tual faculties of mankind ; but there can be little doubt that it does 
so less than if it were still believed and still ministered to the sensu 
ality or ignorance of the world. 



NOT to dwell at length on a subject from which the Christian gladly 
turns away, it will not be without use, as an illustration of the pre 
ceding chapter, to sum up briefly a few of the leading features which 
distinguish the heathen from the Christian world; most of which 
have never existed in Christian times, and which we have no rea 
son to think ever will or can exist again as prevailing practices 
in a Christian or civilised society. 

1. TlaiSepaffTia and in general unnatural crimes. 

2. Exposure of offspring. 

3. Licentiousness of religious worship, as shown 

i. In the representations of the theatre, where the worst parts 
of the heathen mythology were publicly performed. 

ii. In the mysteries, especially those of Cybele and of Ceres 
and Bacchus, which consisted partly of a frantic licen 
tiousness, partly of a consecration of those things which 
are done in secret by mankind. 

iii. In the religious ceremonies of Egypt and the East, espe 
cially the worship of Cotytto, Astarte, Isis, and Mendes. 

4. Cruelty, as shown not merely in maxims or practices of war or 
the crimes of individuals, but in the offering of human sacrifices, 
which continued to the age of the Emperor Adrian. 

To which may be added, as less revolting characteristics of 
ancient times, 

1. Slavery ; 

2. Condition of women: both of which are gradually ameliorated 

by Christianity. 


The picture suggested by these features is not equally true of the 
heathen world in all ages, nor of Greece and the East, nor of Rome 
and Greece, nor of Rome itself in the earlier years of the republic 
and under the emperors. In the Iliad and Odyssey the fouler 
Greek vices are found, if anywhere, only among the Gods : while the 
Greek Lyric and Elegiac poets are deeply infected with them. Old 
Italian life was simpler and better. It could hardly have been the 
mere fond recollection of the past that made the Roman tell of the 
Sabine morals of his ancestors, or of the dignity of Roman matrons, 
or of the lessons of truth and virtue to be gathered from the examples 
of consuls and dictators. It is probable that Rome was long preserved 
from the impurities of Greece and the East, yet, as it seems, only 
reserved for a deeper contamination and pollution. To see the old 
world in its worst estate we turn to the age of the satirists and of 
Tacitus, when all the different streams of evil coming from east, 
west, north, south, the vices of barbarism and the vices of civili 
sation, remnants of ancient cults and the latest refinements of luxury 
and impurity, met and mingled on the banks of the Tiber. What 
could have been the state of society when Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, 
Domitian, Heliogabalus were the rulers of the world ? To a good 
man we should imagine that death itself would be more tolerable 
than the sight of such things coming upon the earth. 

Strange it seems, at first sight, that anything of good, or patriotism 
or noble feeling, anything of purity in women or manliness in men, 
should have subsisted side by side with shameless indecency and 
impurity. Living, mingling, acting in this world below nature, were 
men like Seneca, Tacitus, or Agricola, of whom it might be truly 
said, " these not having the law are a law unto themselves." The 
explanation of this anomaly is, perhaps, to be sought in the fact, that 
in the worst of times good men are better and more entirely separated 
from the vices of their age. At the same time it can hardly be 
supposed that they could have regarded the sins which the Apostle 
describes with that natural horror that they would awaken among 
ourselves. The feeling which makes the perpetrator of such sins an, 


outcast and an exile upon the earth had as yet no existence: shameful 
as they were admitted to be, they could still be made the subject of a 
jest or of a poetical allusion. Nor must the extreme confusion be 
overlooked which religion had introduced into the natural sense of 
mankind respecting them, consecrating them by the example of gods 
and heroes, and representing even the worst of them as religious 
mysteries. Least of all would the increase of refinement tend to their 
diminution. It was not to the elegant and luxurious senator such 
abominations were peculiarly odious, but to the antique Roman, rude 
in speech and knowledge, hating the contamination of foreign 
manners, lingering in thought around the liberties of the republic. 

Two reflections naturally append themselves on this subject. The 
first, that as St. Paul tells us that the Gentiles knew or might have 
known the truth of God, so there never was a time at least in the 
history of Greece and Rome, with which we are best acquainted 
in which nature and reason did not bear witness against these im 
purities. Plato and Socrates in their way, and Aristophanes in his, 
alike protested against the degrading vices of their age ; the first by 
endeavouring to give a nobler and more spiritual character to that 
which to Christian ideas is absolutely incapable of being associated 
with anything true or spiritual ; the latter, while admitting the uni 
versality of such vices, by making them subjects of ridicule and 
satire, and also to a certain extent claiming for himself the praise 
of greater decency than his contemporary comic writers. In the 
times of the emperors the lash of the satirist gave no quarter to the 
depravity of the age ; while the historian, and better men generally, 
remembered the tradition of a time when purity and decency of 
manners had not yet been lost, and the Stoic philosopher, if his 
stoicism were not a mere mask, stood apart, naturally compelled 
to an austere virtue by the vices of all mankind. 

The other is a sad reflection, which we would feign conceal from 
ourselves, and yet cannot avoid making, when contemplating the 
glorious Athens, its marvels of art and beauty, its deeds of patriotism, 
its speculations of wisdom and philosophy ; not, perhaps, without the 


thought flashing across our minds that there was a phase of human 
life in that old Paganism which in Christianity has never been deve 
loped in equal perfection, and from which truly Christianity may be 
said to have borrowed something which it has incorporated with 
itself. The reflection is this : That if the inner life had been pre 
sented to us of that period which in political greatness and in art is 
the most brilliant epoch of humanity, we should have turned away 
from the sight with loathing and detestation. The greatest admirer 
of old heathen virtues, the man endowed with the finest sensibilities 
for beauty and form, would feel at once that there was a great gulf 
fixed between us and them, which no willingness to make allowance 
for the difference of ages or countries would enable us to pass. There 
are vices which have existed in modern times to afar greater extent 
than in ancient ; there were virtues in ancient times which have 
never been exceeded ; but there were vices also which are not even 
named among us. It is a sad but useful lesson, that the noblest 
simplicity in art may go along with 

" Hank corruption mining all within." 

Neither is it untrue to say, that there was a thread by which they 
were linked together. 



THE second chapter of the Romans has often been regarded as con 
taining the exclusive condemnation of the Jew for hypocrisy, as the 
first chapter contains the condemnation of the Gentile for sins below 
nature. This statement, however, is not quite exact. That the 
Apostle intended to include both Jew and Gentile under sin, may 
be inferred from chap. iii. 9. ; the two heads of the proof do not, 
however, precisely correspond to the divisions of the chapters. The 
course of his thought may be traced as follows : He has been speak 
ing of the inhuman and unnatural vices of the Gentiles, and now 
passes on to another class of sins hypocrisy and deceit, in which 
he loses sight of the Gentiles, and addresses man in the abstract. 
Assuming that all mankind are guilty before God, the judgment of 
others is a condemnation of self. But whence is this assumption ? 
Not strictly deducible from the preceding chapter, in which the 
Apostle has been speaking only, or chiefly, of the Gentiles, yet in 
spirit agreeing with it ; for the judgment of others is a higher 
degree of that knowledge of God which " hinders the truth in un 
righteousness." Still there is a link wanting. We must allow the 
Apostle to make a silent transition from the Gentile to mankind in 
general, just as in chap. iii. 19. he has included the Gentile under 
the condemnation of the Jew. Full of the general idea of the univer 
sal sinfulness of man, he follows his own thought without looking 
back at the connexion. There would have been no difficulty had he 
spoken first of the sinfulness of the Gentile and then of the sinful- 
ness of the Jew ; and, thirdly, of the additional guilt incurred by 
either in hypocrisy and judgment of others. But the sinfulness of 


the Jew being greatly increased by or mainly consisting in this last, 
he has sunk the mention of other sins, leaving them to be inferred or 
suggested from the general description that preceded. 

With the first verse of the second chapter the style changes ; the 
contemplation of the heathen world is ended, and the Apostle pro 
ceeds to reason with an imaginary opponent, whom he draws within 
the circle of human evil and will not allow him to escape, under the 
pretence of judging others, which does but aggravate his guilt. Such 
a one is trying to deceive God, but only deceives himself. Gradually 
we approach the Jew. In the third verse there is a glimpse of the 
notion that God would judge the heathen but spare the sons of 
Abraham ; in the fourth and fifth verses is presented to us a picture, 
like those in the Old Testament, of the rebellious spirit of the Jew, 
and the long-suffering of God towards him ; in the tenth and eleventh 
verses occurs a declaration of God s equal justice to all ; in the 
twelfth and thirteenth the spirit of the law is opposed to the letter, 
and the believing Gentile to the unbelieving Jew ; until at last, in 
v. 17., the Apostle turns to make the direct attack on the Jew, for 
which, in the previous verses, he has been indirectly preparing : 
" But if thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law and glories t 
in God." 

Throughout this paragraph, as elsewhere, the connexion is in a 
great measure formed by the repetition of words in the successive 
verses and clauses. Thus Trpao-owrae and Kplpa connect verses 1. 
and 2. ; TOVQ TCI rotavTa trpaaffovrag is taken up from v. 2. in v. 3. ; 
in the latter part of v. 4. TO *xpn (JT v T v $ v * s a repetition of rov 
TT\OVTOV rijg xprjffTOTrjToe in the former part of the verse; ug cnroSwffei, 
K.T.X.J in v. 6. is an expansion of the word SiKatoKpicriaQ in v. 5. ; 
Soa e <cat njuj), in the tenth verse, is a resumption of the same words 
in the seventh. 



[On. II. 

ALO d^aTToXoy^ro? el, <3 avOpcoTre Trag 6 Kpiva>v eV (5 2 
yap Kpivzis TOV erepov, (reavrbv AcaTaKpu>is ra yap avra 
Trpacrcreig 6 Kpivatv. oiSajJiev ort TO Kptp,a TOV Oeov 2 
/cara a\rj0iav eVi rov? ra rotavra Trpacrcro^ras 
Se TOUTO, e5 avOpame 6 Kpivuv rov ra rotavra 3 

ical iroi&v aura, ort crv K(j>evr) TO /cpi/xa TOV 
rov TT\OVTOV TTJS xpyo-TOT^TOS auToO /cat TT?S a^o- 4 
rrjs lAaKpodvfjiias Kara^po^ets, ayvo&v on TO 


Aio] appears to have a double 
reference in the context: first, 
to what has preceded, " Because 
of this revelation of wrath and 
mercy, because of this universal 
sinfulness, because of this just 
judgment of God;" secondly, to 
what follows, " therefore thou art 
without excuse, because in con 
demning others you are con 
demning yourself." A conclusion 
which is bound up by a further 
link: "For thou that judgest 
doest the same things." For a 
similar use of 10 . . . i, as here, 
CLO . . . iv $ yap, comp. Heb. 
xiii. 12.: Sio KOL l^^ovc "tra. 
ay taffy fiia rov ith ou afyiaroe rov 
Xaoj , e w rj/c TrvXyg kiraQev. 
Comp. i. 20. for ava^o\6yr]TOQ ; 
for the play on Kpivus and 
c. V. 16. Kplua e 

2. ota/iv 5e.] But although 
you judge others and deceive 
yourself, God will judge you as 
you really are. e implies an 
antithesis to the general idea of 
the preceding verse, " You are a 
hypocrite, but you cannot deceive 

Kara d\7/0fta^,] not according 
to their judgment of themselves, 
but according to truth. 

3. c) again adversative to the 
preceding verse : " But do you 
think this, O man, that your 

judging others will give you a 
claim of exemption from the Di 
vine judgments ? That would 
not be according to truth. Do 
you suppose that you will be 
judged by anything but what 
you are ? " 

Hypocrisy is almost always 
unconscious ; it draws the veil 
over its own evil deeds, while it 
condemns its neighbours ; it de 
ceives others, but begins by de 
ceiving the hypocrite himself. 
It is popularly described as " pre 
tending to be one thing, and do 
ing, thinking, or feeling another ; " 
in fact, it is very different. No 
body really leads this sort of unna 
tural and divided existence. A 
man does wrong, but he forgets 
it again ; he sees the same fault in 
another, and condemns it; but no 
arrow of conscience reaches him, 
no law of association suggests to 
him that he has sinned too. Hu 
man character is weak and plastic, 
and soon reforms itself into a de 
ceitful whole. Indignation may be 
honestly felt at others by men who 
do the same things themselves ; 
they may often be said to relieve 
their own conscience, perhaps, 
even to strengthen the moral sen 
timents of mankind by their ex 
pression of it. The worst hypo 
crites are bad as we can imagine, 
but they are not such as we 

VEB. 1-4.] 



2 Therefore thou art inexcusable, man, whosoever 
thou art that judgest : for wherein thou judgest another, 
thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest 

2 the same things. But we are sure that the judgment 
of God is according to truth against them which commit 

3 such things. And thinkest thou this, man, that 
judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, 

4 that thou shalt escape the judgment of God ? Or de- 
spisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance 
and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of 

imagine. The Scribes and Phari 
sees, "hypocrites," were unlike 
what they seem to us ; much more 
would they have regarded their 
own lives in another light from 
that in which our Lord has pic 
tured them. Their hypocrisy, too, 
might be described as weakness 
and self-deception, only height 
ened and made more intense by 
the time and country in which 
they lived. It was the hypocrisy 
of an age and of a state of so 
ciety blinder, perhaps, and more 
fatal for this very reason, but 
less culpable in the individuals 
who were guilty of it. Those 
who said, " we have a law, and by 
our law he ought to die," were not 
without "a zeal for God," though 
seeking to take away him in 
whom only the law was fulfilled. 
But although experience of our 
selves and others seems to show 
that hypocrisy is almost always 
unconscious, such is not the idea 
that we ordinarily attach to the 
word "hypocrite." This sin 
gular psychological phenomenon 
is worth our observing. The 
reason is, first, that the strong 
contrast we observe between 
the seeming and the reality, 
between the acts and words of 
the hypocrite, leads us to speak 


as though the contrast was pre 
sent and conscious to himself. 
We cannot follow the subtle 
mazes through which he leads 
himself; we see only the palpable 
outward effect. Secondly, the 
notion that hypocrisy is self- 
deception or weakness, is inade 
quate to express our abhorrence 
of it. Thirdly, our use of lan 
guage is adapted to the common 
opinions of mankind, and often 
fails of expressing the finer 
shades of human nature. 

4. rj rov TrXovrov.] Or is it that 
you openly defy God ? The con 
nexion with the previous verse 
may be traced as follows: What 
account do you give of yourself, 
O man ? Do you expect to es 
cape ? or is it that his mercy 
hardens your heart? It is this 
mercy in delaying to punish, that 
gives you the opportunity of self- 
deception. How different are 
your feelings to Him from His to 
you ! Comp. Eom. ix. 22. : " What, 
if God, willing to shew his wrath, 
and make his power known, en 
dured with much longsuffering 
the vessels of wrath fitted for 
destruction!" The thought of 
Divine vengeance in both pas 
sages, shades off into that of mer 
cy. In the Apostle s view, it is not 



[Cn. II. 

rov Oeov ets /x,ercu>oiai> ere ayei ; Kara Se TTJV 5 
o"K\rjporr)Toi crov KOLL d/xera^d^TO^ Kapiav Orjcravpi^eLS 
opyrjv eV r}p,epa opyrjs KOL a7TOKaXvi//ea)s otfcaio- 
TOV 0eov ; 09 aTroSwcret eAcacrrft) Kara ra ejpya 6 
avrov, rots ^tv KaO* vTropovfy epyov ayaOov S6av KO! 7 
Kal d<j)0apo~iav fyjTovo-iv faty aivviov rois Se e 8 

they are almost an exact 
quotation from Psalm Ixii. 12., 
Prov. xxiv. 12., and are repeated 
in the New Testament in Matt. 
xvi. 27., xxv. 31. 

It has been asked, what does 
the Apostle mean by saying that 
we shall be judged by our works, 
when the whole tenor of the 
Epistle goes to prove that we are 
to be justified by faith ? 

Many answers may be given 
to this question : First, the 
Apostle has not yet taught the 
doctrine of righteousness by 
faith, and therefore cannot pro 
perly adopt what in modern times 
might be termed the language of 
Pauline theology. He is speak 
ing exoterically, it might be said. 
in words borrowed from the 
Old Testament, on the level of 
Jews, or heathens, not of Chris 
tians, from the same point of 
view as in 9, 10. Secondly, 
the words ra c pya in this pas 
sage are not opposed to faith, but 
to pretensions, self-deceptions, 
and may be paraphrased in the 
expression that follows vTro/noy^v 
tjoyov dyaQov. But thirdly, the 
Apostle needs these excuses to 
make him consistent, not with 
himself, but with some of his in 
terpreters. He says, indeed : 
" We are justified by faith with 
out the deeds of the law." But 
he uses other language also : 
" Now abideth faith, hope, love ; 
and the greatest of these is love." 
Nor does the expression " righte- 

God s severity that punishes, but 
his goodness that for a time puts 
off the punishment. Comp. for 
the language, Phil. Leg. Alleg. p. 
46., ri]v vTrep&oXjjv TOV TT\OVTOV 
KOI rfJQ dyadoTYfTOQ avrov. 

5. Once more, de is adversative, 
though the opposition is too faint 
to be exactly expressed by any 
corresponding particle in English. 
The impenitence and hardness of 
man s heart is contrasted with 
the goodness and gentleness of 
God. The contrast may be car 
ried out, either with or without 
a question. " And as thou art 
hardened and unrepenting, thou 
treasurest up for thyself (or dost 
thou treasure up for thyself?) 
wrath in the day of wrath." The 
present is used for the future 
(comp. below, ver. 16.); or rather 
the day of judgment is thought 
of as already present. The idiom 
is similar in the words of our 
Saviour, Matt. vi. 20.: Srr)<rav- 
pi%T* t vfuv Srjffavpovg EV ovpavw. 
The word $r)<ravpiere in the pas 
sage we are considering, contains 
an allusion to TOV TT\OVTOV rr/e 


wrath of God and the righteous 
ness of God are already revealed, 
i. 16, 17., iv. 25. ; but there is 
yet a further stage of revelation 
in which the sons of God are to be 
manifested, Rom.viii. 19., and the 
justice of God finally vindicated. 
oe aTro^wo ei e/caoTw, K. T. \. These 

words are an epexegesis of I 

YEB. 58.] 



God leadeth thee to repentance ? But after thy hard 
ness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself 
wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the 

righteous judgment of God ; who will render to every 
man according to his deeds : to those who patiently * 
endure in a good work, seeking for * eternal life, glory 
and honour and immortality : but unto them that are 

ousness by faith" occur at all 
in several of his Epistles. We 
may not " straiten " the Apostle 
where he is not " straitened " in 
his own writings. There are oc 
casions on which we can conceive 
him using the language of St. 
James as a corrective to the abuse 
of his own. A subject so vast 
and various as the salvation of 
man, cannot be bound within the 
withs of logic. As with our Lord, 
so with his Apostles the mes 
sage is, first " Believe, and thou 
mayesfc be saved ; " but secondly, 
" The hour is coming, and now 
is, when they that are in the 
graves shall hear his voice." 

It is the strongest presumption 
that the difficulty is not a real 
one, that the Apostle himself is 
wholly unconscious of it : we 
cannot imagine him discussing 
whether faith in Christ, or 
the love of Christ, or the in 
ward life of Christ, are the 
sources of justification. Is it 
irreverent to say, that disputes 
of this kind would hardly have 
been intelligible to him? No 
more can we conceive him re 
garding the case of the heathen, 
after, as well as before, Chris 
tianity, in any other spirit than, 
" God is no respecter of persons." 

7. There are three possible 
ways of construing this passage : 

(1.) As in the English transla 

tion, " To those who by patient 
continuance in well doing, seek 
for glory and honour and im 
mortality, he will render eternal 
life." This is favoured by the 
order of the Greek, but seems 
open to the objection of an an 
ticlimax. It is hardly good 
sense to say "God will give 
eternal life to those who ask him 
for the greatest conceivable bless 
ings;" but rather "God will 
give the greatest conceivable 
blessings to them that ask for 
eternal life." The stronger ex 
pression has a false emphasis, un 
less it refers, not to what man 
asks, but to what God gives. 

Or (2.) the order of the words 
may be varied by taking epyov 
dyadov either with viroporij^ or 
c)oav. It is better, however, to 
take it with V7ro^ow}v, as the 
expression oav epyov dyadov 
is singular, and the words ep 
yov dyadov cannot be connected 
equally with rtprj^ /ecu dtydapcriar. 

(3.) To those who by patient 
endurance in a good work seek 
for eternal life, he will render 
glory and honour and immortality. 
This mode of taking the passage, 
notwithstanding the inversion of 
the order, is on the whole pre 
ferable, and is favoured by the re 
petition of 3oa /cat ri^i], in ver. 10. 

8. Tolg Se e eptfc/ae.] The 
word epideia is derived, not from 

a 2 



[On. II. 


rfj dXyOeia, Tret^o/xeVots Se rfj 
aSi/aa, opyrj KOI 0v/xo9. 2 #Aii//is Kal crTtvoyupia Irrl Tracrav 9 
^fv^f]v dvOptoirov TOV Karepyatfl^vov TO KOLKOV, lovSatov 
re TTpuTov Kal EXkrjvos Soa Se Kal TI/X//) /cai elprjvyj 10 
l r<w epyao/xeV<w TO dyaOov, JovSatw re TrpuTOV 

Ov yap Icrrw Trpo<TtoTTO\ f r)i\fia irapa 


pis but from epi0oc, and its ori 
ginal meaning signifies labour for 
hire. A secondary signification 
is hence obtained of "intrigue 
for hire ; " and in Aristotle s 
Politics, v. 2. 6., the word has ac 
quired a further sense of " party," 
" faction." This last has been 
probably modified in the New 
Testament by the supposition of 
a second derivation from epic, as 
we should be inclined to infer 
from the juxta-position in which 
the word occurs in Gal. v. 20. 
tpeic;, rj\oi 9 S vjuot, epidelai, 2 
Cor. xii. 20., James iii. 16. 

aTTetOovffL rjjf cc XrjQe/a.J By tho 
truth is meant the law of right, 
and the will of God generally. 
The ideas of truth and right are 
not separated in Scripture, as they 
are in our way of speaking, or in 
the forms of thought of the Greek 
Philosophy. There is no " divi 
sion of the soul," in Aristotle s 
language, into moral and intel 
lectual. Hence, knowledge in 
Scripture is often spoken of as 
a moral quality, and with the 
word " truth " are associated ex 
pressions denoting acts and states 
of the will rather than of the in 
tellect. See i. 20. 

The construction is changed, 
perhaps, because the words opyri 
and ^vjj,o did not suit the previ 
ous verb. This change occasions 

Kal opyf]. 

the Apostle to repeat another 
parallel clause in the tenth verse. 
^V/JLOQ is distinguished from opyi) 
by some of the lexicographers, as 
the more transient from the more 
permanent feeling. But the last 
thing that the Apostle thought 
of when accumulating words, is 
the precise shade of meaning by 
which one may be distinguished 
from the other. The second is 
really a rhetorical strengthening 
of the first, as two words, even if 
synonymous, always mean more 
than one. 

fTEidojJLe^OLQ e Tft ddiKiq.,"] who 
disobey the law of God and make 
unrighteousness their law. Com 
pare 1 Cor. xiii. 6. for a similar 
contrast of clauses. 

9. $\1\l>i KCU crrero^WjOta.J Com 
pare 2 Corinth, iv. 8. SAio- 


where the words are opposed, 
as a less degree of tribulation 
to a greater. 

The parallelism of the clauses 
is best preserved by arranging 
them with Lachmann in four 
members, with a full stop af 
ter SVJJIOG. Here, as elsewhere, 
repetition adds emphasis; the 
thought which is first conceived 
in ver. 7, 8., is fully and dis 
tinctly enunciated in 9, 10. 

^ V X ) V ] maybe used here, either 
as the seat of the feelings, as in 

VEB. 912.] 



contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey un- 
9 righteousness, indignation, and wrath. Tribulation and 

anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the 
10 Jew first, and also of the Gentile ; but glory, honour, 

and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew 

first, and also to the Gentile. 
12 For there is no respect of persons with God. For 

our Lord s words "My soul is 
exceeding sorrowful even unto 
death," Mark, xiv. 34. ; or simply 
for "person " as in Rom. xiii. 1. 
" Let every soul be subject to the 
higher powers." 

lovSaiov TE Trpwrov Kal "E\- 
XT/ roe.] The Jew as the type 
of the world, is the first recipient 
of God s mercies and of his judg 

11 15. In the verses which 
follow, the Apostle involves reason 
within reason, as at ver. 17. of ch. i. 
All men shall have their reward, 
(1.) for God is no respecter of 
persons ; (2.) for with or without 
law the wicked shall alike perish ; 
(3.) for not the hearers, but the 
doers of the law shall be righte 
ous with God ; (4.) for the Gen 
tiles, if they be doers of the law, 
shall be approved in the day of 
the Lord. (1.) is a general truth 
which is the foundation of what 
has preceded, and of which (2.) 
may be regarded as the conse 
quence in fact, and the proof to 
us ; (3.) is a negative statement 
of it and a proof of so much of 
(2.) as relates to the Jew, and (4.) 
a further proof by contrast of so 
much of (2.) as relates to the 
Gentile, and a strengthening of 
the general principle by a parti 
cular instance. 

11. ov yap effTiv TrpoffuTToX^ia.^ 
Compare Acts, x. 34., where, in 
reference to the admission of the 

Gentiles, Peter says : " Of a truth 
I perceive God is no respecter of 
persons. But in every nation 
he that feareth him and work 
eth righteousness, is accepted of 
him, " Eph. vi. 9. ; Col. iii. 25., 
where the same truth is applied 
to the relative duties of masters 
and slaves. 

It was one of the first ideas 
that the Israelite had of God, that 
he was no respecter of persons : 
Deut. x. 17. ; 2 Chron. xix. 7. ; 
Job, xxxiv. 19. But this dis 
regard of persons was only in his 
dealings with individuals of the 
chosen people. St. Paul used the 
expression in the wider sense of 
not making a difference of per 
sons between Jew and Gentile, 
circumcision or uncircumcision, 
bond or free, just as he adapted 
the words " there is one God " to 
the meaning of God one and the 
same to all mankind, in iii. 30. 
and elsewhere. Nothing could be 
less like the spirit of his country 
men than this sense of the uni 
versal justice of God. Still it 
might be asked of the Apostle 
himself, how the fact of their ever 
having been a privileged people, 
was consistent with the belief of 
this equal justice to all mankind. 
Like many other difficulties, we 
can answer this by parallel diffi 
culties among ourselves. Though 
living in the full light of the Gos 
pel, there are many things which 

G 3 



[On. II. 

Kai ocroi 

yap dv6jJLa)$ rjfjiapTov, avo^ais Kal o/TroXoiWai 

iv vofjito ruJLaprov, Sea VOJJLOV KpiOrjcrovTai* ov yap ol 13 

aKpoaral i>o/xov l Si/caioi Trapa [ra>] #ea> aXX 01 Troirjral 

^ S(,Kma>#77croi>Tai (6Vaz> yap 0vrj ra pf) vo^ov lcira 14 

<f)v<Ti, ra TOV vopov iroLtocrw 3 , OVTOL vopov 

eavrois eicriz/ 

omi es e^eiK^v^rai TO epyov TOV 15 
ypanTov lv Ta?s KapSiais avT&v, 
Trjs crv^ei87jcrea)9 Kal /xera^u dXX^ 

rj Kal aTroXoyov/xeVa)^) e^ rjpea 7 4 Kwti 6 16 

2 TOV v6fAOV. 


to us also "God hath put in his 
own power," and which we believe 
rather than know to be recon 
cilable with his justice. What to 
us the heathen are still, standing 
apparently on the outskirts of 
God s moral government, that to 
St. Paul and the believers of the 
first age were " the times of that 
ignorance that God winked at." 
Are we not brought by time to a 
later stage of the same difficulty ? 

12. ay 01 yap dvojuwc fi/JLapTor.^ 
For God will deal alike with all ; 
He will punish without law those 
that sinned without law, and 
judge by the law those that sin 
ned under the law. Not "he 
that knew not his Lord s will, 
shall be beaten with few stripes : " 
this though true is not to the 
point here, but " the soul that 
sinneth it shall die." 

eV vo/zw.] The preposition 
may be equally well rendered in 
English, "in," "with," " under ; " 
none of these, however, precisely 
give its meaning*, which is rather 
"in the state or sphere of the law " 
a metaphorical use of kv derived 
from the original local one. 

13. For not every one who 
says Lord, Lord, the hearer of 
the law, boasting his descent from 

3 iroifj. * Sre. 

Abraham, is just before God, but 
the doers of the law shall be jus 
tified. The future, here and in 
ver. 12., is used like the present 
in a general statement, as in Matt. 
IV. 4. oiiK CTT ctjorw juovw //<7rcu b 
avdpuTToc ; as in English, "he who 
does so will suffer punishment ;" 
or, perhaps, as expressing the in 
tention of Providence or nature. 

The Apostle here speaks of 
the doers of the law as to be jus 
tified, and yet a few verses after 
wards, he himself intimates that 
by the deeds of the law no flesh 
shall be justified. Again, this 
contradiction may be illustrated 
by an analogous way of speaking 
among ourselves. The heathen, 
we say, are without the pale of 
salvation, and yet we acknow 
ledge that individual heathens 
are nevertheless saved. 

14 16. are commonly inclu 
ded, as by Lachmann, in a paren 
thesis, which, for reasons that will 
be stated at ver. 16., is not here 
admissible ; ver. 14. is closely 
connected with ver. 13., of which 
it forms an indirect proof. " It 
is not the hearers, but the doers 
of the law who are justified, for 
the Gentiles are sometimes jus 
tified who know not the law." 

VEB. 1316.] 



as many as sinned* without law shall also perish 
without law: and as many as sinned* in the law 

13 shall be judged by the law ; for not the hearers 
of the law are just before God, but the doers of 

H the law shall be justified ; for when the Gentiles, 
which have not the law, do by nature the things con 
tained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law 

15 unto themselves : which shew the work of the law 
written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing 
witness, and thoughts accusing or else excusing them 

IG one with another *; in the day when God shall judge 

may either be taken 
with TTOLwtTLv as in the English 
Version, or with vopov (.yovra. 
" When the Gentiles who have 
not the law by nature or origi 
nally." The latter mode of con 
struing the passage is in some 
degree confirmed by Gal. ii. 15. 
ijfielQ fyvffti lov^atoi : Eph. ii. 3. 
TeKva fyvffet. opyfJQ : and v. 27. 
ii ix fyvffewQ afcpov<m o. fe 0vr/, not 
" Gentiles," but " the Gentiles," 
as in ch. xi. 12, 13., and else 

iavroiQ Eialv r6jjioq.~\ Compare 
Arist. Eth. iv. 14. : 6 tie 

HOQ v avrw. 

15. O ITIVEQ, which show.~\ Who 
manifest the reality of the law ; 
or who manifest the law not in 
word, but in act ; which, un 
written though it be, is written 
on their hearts. Compare 2 Cor. 
iii. 2. " Ye are our epistle written 
in our hearts, known and read of 
all men." OITLVEQ = quippe qui. 

avpfj.aprvpovffrjg, ] sc. rw ro/zw,{](TEWQ. The act rather than 
the faculty of conscience in the 
sense in which the term is used 
by moral philosophers. 

u.] Not as in the Eng 

lish Version, " meanwhile," but 
with a\\n\(i)i 9 " one with an 
other," as in Matt, xviii. 15. : 
^v ffov KIU avrov JUGVOV. aXA.//- 
refers, not to Xoy 107*0)1 , which 
would be too violent a personifi 
cation, but to avrwj . 

?) ecu] is well translated in the 
English Version " or else ; " it 
merely expresses the connexion 
of the two alternatives. 

The 14th and 15th verses con 
tain an analysis of the natural 
feeling of right and wrong, in 
three states or stages. First, 
the unconscious stage, in which 
the Gentiles not having the law, 
show its real though latent ex 
istence in their own hearts ; of 
which, secondly, they have a 
faint though instinctive percep 
tion in the witness of conscience ; 
which, thirdly, grows by reflec 
tion into distinct approval or 
disapproval of their own acts and 
those of others. 

"Blessed are they, who fall 
into the hands of this accuser," 
say the Rabbis ; " blessed also 
are they, who fall not into his 
hands," quoted from Sohar, Exo 
dus, fol. 67. col. 266., by Schrett- 
gen, vol. i. p. 496. 

a 4 


[CH. II. 

o$ ra KpvTTTa TUV OLv9p(!)TTtov Kara TO evayye XioV /xov Sid 
Irjcrov xpicrrov. ei Se l cri) lovSaios eTro^ojLta^ Kal eTrcwa- 17 
u?7 vo^a) 2 Kal /cav^acrat > 0e< /cat ywwcrKets TO fleX^/xa 18 
i SoKi/x,aeis ra Sta^epoz/ra, Kar^ov/xej/os IK rov popov, 
TToi^ag re creavTov o8rjybv el^at Tu^>Xa>^, <^>ws ra>i> ez 19 
cr/coret, TraiSeimyz a<f)p6va)v 9 SiSaovcaXo* vrpiluv, eovTa 20 

16. A difficulty occurs in the 
construction of this verse, the 
future ?/ /CjOtyfl being joined 
with the present IvSa /cwn-cu, or 
as some interpreters think with 

KCLTr)yOpOVVT(*)V and CtTToXoyOV fJ.- 

vwv. The English Version has 
inclosed ver. 13 15. in a par 
enthesis, to escape the difficul 
ty; an expedient which it has 
frequently adopted, as at ch. v. 
1318.; Eph. iv. 9, 10., but 
which is peculiarly unsuited to 
the unravelling of the tangle of 
discourse, in such a writer as 
St. Paul. The thread of any 
broken construction may in this 
way be resumed ; yet unless the 
parenthesis really had a place in 
the author s mind, our supposed 
explanation will be a mere gram 
matical figment like the " word 
understood," in explanation of 
a difficult construction. A real 
parenthesis is the insertion of a 
clause, or of a thought, between 
two points of a sentence, the 
meaning of which should be 
clearly broken off at its begin 
ning, and clearly resumed at its 
conclusion. The parenthetical 
thought, as it is hurried over in 
discourse, should be really an 
afterthought, yet necessary to the 
comprehension of the sentence. 
The present passage does not 
come within this rule, and there 
fore a parenthesis has no place 
here. It is far more probable 

that, as elsewhere, St. Paul wrote 
without perfect sequence, than 
that he suspended his meaning 
through several verses, and re 
sumed it unimpaired. 

We will take the words, there 
fore, in their plain but ungram- 
matical construction with tv%d- 
KwvTai, " which shew the work of 
the law ... in the day which is 
to come." The day which is to 
come is not only future, but pre 
sent ; anticipated in the heart 
and conscience of every man, as 
well as in the history of the 
world. It is "the day that is 
coming and now is," John, v. 25., 
the presence (Trapovffia) of Christ. 
And the Apostle passes from one 
tense to the other, unconscious of 
the solecism. 

For a parallel union of dis 
similar times compare above &*?- 
cravpi^eig GECLVTM opyriv kv ij^ipq. 
2 Cor. i. 14. : Kad^g Kcti 
ctTro jufpove, OTL 
ffpev KaOairep Kal 
vfjieiQ i][j,u>v iv Trj fiplpq. rov Kvpiov 
Irjcrov. Eph. i. 3. : EvXoyrjroe 6 
Seoe Kal Trarijp TOV Kvpiov rj/jiuiy 
Irjtrov xptarov, 6 evXoyijffag r/^ac 
kv Traffrj evXoyiy TrvevpctTiKr] kv 
role 7rovpa.vioi iv ^purro). See 
note at the end of the chapter 
on the modes of time and place 
in Scripture. 

Kara TO evayyeXtuv p-ov, accord 
ing to my Gospel.^ The Apostle 
means to express that the fact of a 

VER. 1720.] 



the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gos- 
n pel. But if 1 thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, 
is and gloriest in God, and knowest his will, and approvest 

the things that are more excellent, being instructed 

19 out of the law ; and art confident that thou thyself art 
a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in dark- 

20 ness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, 

1 Behold. 

judgment of the world by Christ 
(Rom. xiv. 10.) was in accord 
ance with his Gospel, not that 
his Gospel would be the rule of 
judgment. It is a fancy of several 
of the Fathers that he is appeal 
ing in these words to a written 
Gospel of his own or to St. Luke s. 

1729. From this point to 
the end of the chapter, the Apo 
stle exerts all the force of his elo 
quence to unmask the Jew. All 
the imaginations with which he 
flatters himself, all the titles that 
he delights to heap upon himself, 
are suggestive of the contrast be 
tween what he is and what he 
seems, which is further height 
ened by the previous mention of 
the Gentile who knew not the 
law and did by nature the things 
contained in the law, and pointed 
at the conclusion by a verse from 
the Old Testament. At ver. 26. 
the Gentile reappears and the 
order is finally inverted, uncir- 
cumcision which fulfils the law 
taking the place of circumcision 
which transgresses the law, and 
the idea of the Jew in spirit form 
ing a middle term between Jew 
and Gentile. 

17. ei SE, A.B.D.E.K] IK is a 
correction, the object of which is 
to avoid the anacoluthon. The 
English translation should there 
fore run : " But if thou art 
called a Jew." The apodosis of 

the thought is sufficiently express 
ed in ver. 21., though the length 
of the sentence and the rheto 
rical accumulation of clauses have 
prevented the Apostle from resu 
ming the thread of the grammar. 

e indicates a subdued con 
trast with what has preceded : 
"There are Gentiles who fulfil 
the law ; and [but] dost thou, 
who hast all the feelings of a Jew 
and all the pride of thy race, 
break it ? " The latter thought 
the Apostle expands into six 
verses, from 17. to 23. 

Kavyaaai kv Sew, gloriest in 
God.~\ For the feeling expressed 
in these words comp. Deut.iv. 7. : 
"For what nation is there so 
great, who hath God so nigh unto 
them, as the Lord our God is in 
all things that we call upon him 
for?" and Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20.: 
" He sheweth his word unto 
Jacob, his statutes and his judg 
ments unto Israel. He hath not 
dealt so with any nation." 

18. yivuffKeiG TO &\tyta.] Comp. 
Rom. xii. 2. ; etc TO 

Not " discernest the differences of 
things," but approvest, or knowest 
by proof, the things that are more 
excellent. Compare Philip, i. 10. 
elg TO loKLp.a^Eiv vp.a.Q TO. ta0- 
OOVTO. ; Rom. xii. 2., where the 
word SoKijiafciv occurs in the 



[On. II. 


6 ovv 

v TO) 

tTtpov creavTov ov SiSacrjceis ; 6 KTjpvcrcro)^ 21 

/cXeTrreis ; 6 \eya)v JU,T) /xoi^euet^ /xoi^eveis ; o 22 

/3SeXvcra-d/xej>os ra eiSaAa lepoo-vXeis ; os ez^ ^o/xw Kavyacrai, 23 

Sia TTj? 7rapa/3acrea>9 rou vo^ov rov Otbv cm/^aets ; TO yap 24 
oz o/m rot) #eou Si v/xag ySXacr^/^eirat e*> rois lOvecrw, 

/ca#a>s yeypaTTTai. TrepiTopr) ph yap ax^eXe?, eai j dxoz 25 

same sense ; and Wisd. ii. 19., 
where it is used as here, inter 
changeably with yivuffKELv. 

20. tyovTO. Ti]V jUOj00w(riv.]] In 
that thou hast rrjv popQtoanr, not 
as in 2 Tim. iii. 5., the form as 
opposed to the substance, but the 
substance itself in an outward 
form, the visible presence of 
knowledge and truth in the law. 

21. At length the Apostle turns 
to strike : the thought for which 
throughout the chapter he had 
been preparing, is now uttered 
with its full force. He cuts 
short the apodosis with a ques 
tion, which is also an inference : 
Is the result of all this that 
thou who judgest doest the same 
thing ? " Dost thou," we might 
repeat in the language of the 
Gospels, " who art paying tithe of 
mint, of rue, and of cumin, devour 
widows houses ? Art thou, who 
castest stones at others, free from 
the sin of adultery thyself?" 

6 (3c)\vffa6^et OQ t thou who ab- 
horrest.~] But " how could a 
Jew commit sacrilege ? " And 
what opposition is there between 
" committing sacrilege" and il ab 
horring idols ? " The last diffi 
culty might be removed by con 
sidering the words "Dost thou 
who abhorrest idols ? " as equiva 
lent to "Dost thou who art zeal 
ous for God ? " (Compare the de 
scription in Joseph. Ant. xviii. 
3. 1., of the horror of the Jews 

at Pilate commanding the Roman 
standards to be brought into Je 
rusalem, and upon his refusal to 
remove them, their laying their 
necks bare to his soldiers ; the 
passionate detestation of idols 
shown on this and similar occa 
sions might fairly be considered as 
zeal for God.) But the other in 
quiry is still unanswered: How 
could a Jew rob a temple ? Va 
rious instances are brought for 
ward of alleged sacrilege, such as 
the dedication of property by say 
ing Corban, to evade the duty of 
supporting parents ; or the buy 
ing and selling in the Temple, 
which made the Lord s house a 
house of merchandise ; or, lastly, 
embezzlement of the Temple re 
venues, as in the case of Fulvia, 
mentioned in Josephus, Antiqq. 
xviii. 3. 5. But these offences, 
though in a metaphorical sense 
they might be termed sacrilege, 
give a feeble and inadequate op 
position in the present passage. 

The most literal mode of taking 
the words is also the freest from 
objections : " Dost thou who 
abhorrest idols, rob the idol s tem 
ple ? " Such an offence might 
be very possibly committed by a 
Jew, whom no "religio loci" 
would restrain ; and it would oc 
cur to St. Paul, as an inhabitant 
of a Gentile city, to mention it. 
This explanation is confirmed by 
the use of the word iepovvXovs in 



which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in 

>i the law thou therefore which teachest another, teachest 

thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should 

22 not steal, dost thou steal ? thou that sayest a man 
should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery ? 

23 thou that abhorrest idols, dost * thou rob temples ? thou 
that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the 

24 law dishonourest thou God ? For the name of God is 
blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is 

25 written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep 

Acts, xix. 37., curiously trans 
lated in the English Version 
"robbers of churches" (compare 
2 Mac. iv. 42., where it is simi 
larly translated, though referring 
to the Jewish temple), and by the 
remarkable interpretation of Exo 
dus, xxii. 28., in Joseph. Ant. iv. 
8. 10. " Let no one blaspheme 
those gods whom other cities 
esteem such, nor any one steal 
what belongs to strange temples ; 
nor take away the gifts that are 
dedicated to any God." 

23. The sum of all these ques 
tions is : " Are you who are 
glorying in the law, dishonour 
ing God by the transgression of 
the law ? " For the language 
compare Eccles. xxxix. 8., iv 
vopo) 3iaO//fC7/e Kvplov Kay^f] VETCH. 

24. It is not only I who say 
this ; you are described in the 
Old Testament. With the ex 
ception of the connecting particle 
yap, the words of the quotation 
correspond exactly with Isaiah 
lii. 5., according to the version of 
the LXX., which has received a 
different impress from the origi 
nal. The words, however, both of 
the LXX. and the Hebrew refer 
alike to the dishonour done to 
God, by the oppression of the 
Israelites under their enemies. 

The spirit of the passage, accord 
ing to either version, is different 
therefore from the spirit in which 
it is here quoted. The thought 
which the Apostle has elicited 
from it " The name of God is 
blasphemed, because of the wick 
edness of his worshippers" is 
expressed elsewhere, though not 
with so near a correspondence 
of language, 2 Samuel, xii. 14. ; 
Nehem. v. 9. ; Ezek. xxxvi. 23. 
It is a sarcasm on the chosen race 
that they who are glorying in the 
law are themselves the cause of 
God s name being evil spoken of. 

25. TrepiTOprj [lev yap wfyeXel, 
for circumcision profiteth.~\ I do 
not say that circumcision is vain, 
if you have also " the other circum 
cision of the heart." Comp. iii. 
1 1 . (As we might argue, the sacra 
ment is a means of grace to those 
that receive it faithfully.) But 
to you, and such as you, it is vain. 

This is one of that class of 
questions which, in ancient as 
well as modern times, is seldom 
brought to the distinct issue of 
the Apostle. The Rabbi would 
have hesitated to say that a 
wicked Jew had a part in Mes 
siah s kingdom, or that the vir 
tuous heathen was necessarily 
excluded from it. The Christian, 



[Cn. II. 

TTpdo-crys lav Se 7rapa/3aTr]s VOJJLOV $9, 17 TrepiTOptf crov 
aKpo/3vcrTia yeyovev. lav ovv rj aKpofivo-Tia ra StAcatw/jtara 26 
TOV vojjiov <f>v\dcro"rjj ou^ 07 aKpo/3vo~TLa avTov 19 TTepLTOp^rjv 

erai, Kal Kpuvtl rj IK <ucre<w9 aKpofivo-Tia TOV 27 
reXovcra ere TOZ> Sia ypdfJLfJiaTOs Kal Trepiro/XTJs 
7rapa/3dTr)V VOJJLOV ; ov yap 6 Iv TW (fravepa) lovSalos 28 
lorTiVy ovSe 17 e^ TW (fravepto Iv crapKL Treptro/xT), clXXa 6 29 
eV ra> KpvTTTO) lovSalos, Kal 

in modern times at least, would 
shrink from affirming that an 
unbaptized infant is " a child of 
wrath," or that the baptized could 
hardly, if in any case, fail of sal 
vation at the last. But many 
even among Christians would 
gladly, if possible, turn away 
from the inquiry : they would 
wish to be allowed to hold pre 
mises without pushing them to 
their conclusions ; to take issue 
upon a word, and not to deter 
mine the point of morality or 

This is what the Apostle has 
not done. With him circumci 
sion becomes uncircumcision, if 
it transgress the law. Uncir 
cumcision becomes circumcision, 
if it keep the law. 

It is true that the spiritual 
meaning of circumcision was im 
plied in the law itself, and oc 
casionally taught by the doctors of 
the law. (Deut. x. 16.; Philo, ii. 
258.) But the habitual feeling of 
the Jew was the other way. To 
him circumcision was the seal of 
the covenant ; the charm which 
protected him from the wrath of 
God ; the sign which had once 
been characteristic of the nation, 
and was still appropriated to the 
individuals who composed it. Like 
the old prophets in spirit, though 
in form logical and antithetical, 
the Apostle answers him by assert- 

ing the superiority of the moral to 
the ceremonial law; he repeats 
the universal lesson which the 
whole current of Jewish history 
tended to obliterate, the same 
which was once heard in other 
words from the Saviour s lips, 
" Think not to say with your 
selves we have Abraham to our 

The following passage, quoted 
from Schoettgen s Horae He- 
braicse, vol. i. 499., is a singular 
instance of an attempt to recon 
cile the privileges of circumci 
sion with the moral law : Dixit 
R. Berechias, " Ne haeretici et 
apostatse et impii ex Israelitis 
dicant, quandoquidem circumcisi 
sumus in inferiora non descendi- 
mus." The Rabbi answers the 
difficulty in a different spirit from 
St. Paul: "Quid agit Deus, 
sanctus, benedictus ? Mittit an- 
gelum et praeputia ipsorum at- 
trahit ita ut ipsi in infernum 

26. ta.v ovr, if then,"] is a co 
rollary of the preceding verse : 
" If the transgressor of the law 
passes into the state of uncir 
cumcision, it follows by an easy 
transition that the fulfiller of the 
law passes into the state of cir 

27. KOU KptVEl f] tK (j)Vfflt)Q CLKpO- 

vffTia.~\ And shall not uncir 
cumcision, which is by nature, 

VEB. 2629.] 



the law : but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy cir- 

26 cumcision is made un circumcision. Therefore if the 
uncircumcision keep the* judgments of the law, shall not 

27 his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision ? And 
shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil 
the law, judge thee, who with* the letter and circum- 

>8 cision dost transgress the law ? For he is not a Jew, 
which is one outwardly ; neither is that circumcision, 

29 which is outward in the flesh : but he is a Jew, which 
is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that of the heart, 

if it fulfil the law, judge you? a 
further step in the inversion of 
the order of the world ; not only 
shall the Gentile take the place of 
the Jew, but shall condemn him. 

Compare Ezekiel, v. 7, 8. for 
an approach to the same thought : 
" Because ye multiplied more 
than the nations that are round 
about you, and have not walked 
in my statutes, neither have kept 
my judgments, neither have done 
according to the judgments of 
the nations that are round about 
you ; Therefore, thus saith the 
Lord God, Behold, I, even I, am 
against thee, and will execute 
judgments in the midst of thee 
in the sight of the nations." 

EK (J)V(T(JJG, like tyvffei in ver. 14., 
admits of two constructions : ei 
ther "the uncircumcision which 
is by nature fulfilling the law," 
like rjiJ-eiQ <J)Vffi lovdaiot, Gal. ii. 
15. ; or the uncircumcision which 
by nature, and without the law, 
fulfils the law. 

<re TOV c)ia jpa^LfJictTOQ KCL\ Trtpiro- 
firJQ 7rapadr?7v vofjiov ;] ia the 
state, or better, the instrument : 
" You whom the letter and circum 
cision only make a transgressor of 
the law ;" "you who with all your 
advantages do but transgress the 

28. This verse may be regarded 
as the reason of what has pre 
ceded : " The Jew shall be con 
demned by the Gentile ; for such 
a Jew as I have been describing 
is not the true Jew." Or equally 
as an inference from what has 
preceded, or a repetition of it in 
a slightly altered form. The 
simplest way of construing the 
passage is to make lov^aloe and 
TrepiTo^)) predicates of the sen 
tence " For not he that is one 
outwardly is a Jew." ev vapid is 
an explanation of lv TU> fyavepw. 

29. The Apostle uses in a new 
sense the expression familiar to 
all. Compare our Lord s words 
" an Israelite indeed ; " and St. 
Paul in the Epistle to the Gal. vi. 
16. : "Peace be upon them, and 
mercy, and upon the Israel of 
God." Such expressions are used 
not merely because the Jewish 
Church was the type of the Chris 
tian, but because to the first 
believers they were the natural 
mode of describing the new elect 
people of God. 

The expression Trepiropri Kap- 
c)/a occurs in Deut. x. 16., xxx. 
6. ; Jer. iv. 4. 

i v TT vf.vp.a.Ti^\ in the inward man, 
not in the written letter. Comp. 
2 Cor. iii. 6. : " Who hath made 


pan ov ypafji^ar^ ov 6 7Tai^os ovK l av6p<!)TT(AV dXX IK 

us able ministers of the New ceding chapters to bring Jew and 

Testament, not of the letter, but Gentile under the same condem- 

of the spirit ; for the letter killeth, nation. It has been also the object 

but the Spirit giveth life." of the Apostle to contrast the Jew 

It is the object of the two pre- with the Gentile, and to bring 


in the spirit, and not in the letter ; whose praise is not 
of men, but of God. 

him to a perception of the moral the Jew does not, fulfil the law, 

law by the supposition of its what profit is there m circum- 

fulnlmentinthepersonofaGen- cision ? That is the question, 

tile. But if the Gentile can, and See Introduction to Chap. 111. 



MANS, I. 17. 

RELIGION and philosophy have often been contrasted as moving in 
different planes, in which they can never come into contact with 
each other. Yet there are many meeting points at which either 
passes into the circle of the other. One of these meeting points is 
language, which loses nothing of its original imperfection by being 
employed in the service of religion. Its plastic nature is an element 
of uncertainty in the interpretation of Scripture ; its logical structure 
is a necessary limit on human faculties in the conception of truths 
above them ; whatever growth it is capable of, must affect also the 
growth of our religious ideas ; the analysis we are able to make of 
it, we must be able also to extend to the theological use of it. Religion 
cannot place itself above the instrument through which alone it 
speaks to man ; our true wisdom is, therefore, to be aware of their 

One of the points in which theology and philosophy are brought 
into connexion by language, is their common usage of abstract words, 
and of what in the phraseology of some philosophers are termed 
" mixed modes," or ideas not yet freed from associations of time or 
sense. Logicians speak of the abstract and concrete, and of the for 
mation of our abstract ideas : Are the abstractions of Scripture the 
same in kind with those of philosophy ? May we venture to analyse 
their growth, to ask after their origin, to compare their meaning in 
one age of the world and in another ? The same words in different 
languages have not precisely the same meaning. May not this be 
the case also with abstract terms which have passed from the Old 
Testament into the New, which have come down to us from the 


times of the Apostles, hardened by controversy, worn by the use of 
two thousand years ? These questions do not admit of a short and 
easy answer. Even to make them intelligible, we have to begin some 
way off, to enter on our inquiry as a speculation rather of logic 
than of theology, and hereafter to return to its bearing on the inter 
pretation of Scripture. 

It is remarked by a great metaphysician, that abstract ideas are, in 
one point of view, the highest and most philosophical of all our ideas, 
while in another they are the shallowest and most meagre. They have 
the advantage of clearness and definiteness ; they enable us to con 
ceive and, in a manner, to span the infinity of things ; they arrange, 
as it were, in the frames of a window the many-coloured world of 
phenomena. And yet they are " mere " abstractions removed from 
sense, removed from experience, and detached from the mind in 
which they arose. Their perfection consists, as their very name im 
plies, in their idealism : that is, in their negative nature. 

For example : the idea of " happiness " has come down from the 
Greek philosophy. To us it is more entirely freed from etymological 
associations than it was to Aristotle, and further removed from any 
particular state of life, or, in other words, it is more of an abs 
traction. It is what everybody knows, but what nobody can tell. 
It is not pleasure, nor wealth, nor power, nor virtue, nor contempla 
tion. Could we define it, we seem at first as if we should have found 
out the secret of the world. But our next thought is that we should 
only be defining a word, that it consists rather in a thousand unde- 
fi nable things which, partly because mankind are not agreed about 
them, partly because they are too numerous to conceive under any 
single idea, are dropt by the instinct of language. It means what 
each person s fancy or experience may lead him to connect with it ; 
it is a vague conception to his own mind, which nevertheless may be 
used without vagueness as a middle term in conversing with others. 

It is the uniformity in the use of such words that constitutes their 
true value. Like all other words, they represent in their origin 
things of sense, facts of experience. But they are no longer pictured 


by the sense, or tinged by the affections ; they are beyond the circle 
of associations in which they arose. When we use the word happi 
ness, no thought of chance now intrudes itself ; when we use the 
word righteousness, no thought of law or courts ; when the word 
virtue is used, the image no longer presents itself of manly strength 
or beauty. 

The growth of abstract ideas is an after-growth of language itself, 
which may be compared to the growth of the mind when the body 
is already at its full stature. All language has been originally the 
reflection of a world of sense ; the words which describe the faculties 
have once referred to the parts of the body ; the name of God him 
self has been derived in most languages from the sun or the powers 
of nature. It is indeed impossible for us to say how far, under these 
earthly and sensual images, there lurked among the primitive peoples 
of mankind a latent consciousness of the spiritual and invisible ; 
whether the thought or only the word was of the earth earthy. From 
this garment of the truth it is impossible for us to separate the truth 
itself. In this form awhile it appears to grow ; even the writers of 
the Old Testament, in its earlier portion, finding in the winds or the 
light of heaven the natural expression of the power or holiness of 
Jehovah. But in process of time another world of thought and ex 
pression seems to create itself. The words for courage, strength, 
beauty, and the like, begin to denote mental and moral qualities ; 
things which were only spoken of as actions, become abstract ideas, 
the name of God loses all sensual and outward associations ; until at 
the end of the first period of Greek philosophy, the world of abstrac 
tions, and the words by which they are expressed, have almost as 
much definiteness and preciseness of meaning as among ourselves. 

This process of forming abstractions is ever going on the mixed 
modes of one language are the pure ideas of another ; indeed, the 
adoption of words from dead languages into English has, above all 
other causes, tended to increase the number of our simple ideas, 
because the associations of such words, being lost in the transfer, 
they are at once refined from all alloy of sense and experience. 


Different languages, or the same at different periods of their history, 
are at different stages of the process. We can imagine a language, 
such as language was, as far as the vestiges of it allow us to go back, 
in its first beginnings, in which every operation of the mind, every 
idea, every relation, was expressed by a sensible image ; a language 
which we may describe as purely sensual and material, the words of 
which, like the first written characters, were mental pictures : we 
can imagine a language in a state which none has ever yet reached, 
in which the" worlds of mind and matter are perfectly separated from 
each other, and no clog or taint of the one is allowed to enter into 
the other. But all languages which exist are in reality between these 
two extremes, and are passing from one to the other. The Greek 
of Homer is at a different stage from that of the Greek tragedians ; 
the Greek of the early Ionic philosophers, at a different stage from 
that of Plato ; so, though in a different way (for here there was 
no advancement), the Greek of Plato as compared with the Neo- 
Platonist philosophy. The same remark is applicable to the Old 
Testament, the earlier and later books of which may be, in a similar 
way, contrasted with each other ; almost the whole of which (though 
here a new language also comes in) exhibits a marked difference from 
the Apocrypha. The structure of thought insensibly changes. This 
is the case with all languages which have a literature they are ever 
becoming more and more abstract modern languages, more than 
ancient ; the later stages of either, more than the earlier. It by no 
means follows that as Greek, Latin, and English have words that 
correspond in a dictionary, they are real equivalents in meaning, 
because words, the same, perhaps, etymologically, may be used with 
different degrees of abstraction, which no accuracy or periphrasis of 
translation will suffice to express, belonging, as they do generally, 
to the great underlying differences of a whole language. 

Another illustration of degrees of abstraction may be found in the 
language of poetry, or of common life, and the language of philo 
sophy. Poetry, we know, will scarcely endure abstract terms, while 
they form the stock and staple of morals and metaphysics. They arc 

H 2 


the language of books, rather than of conversation. Theology, on 
the other hand, though its problems may seem akin to those of the 
moralist and metaphysician, yet tends to reject them in the same 
way that English tends to reject French words, or poetry to reject 
prose. He who in paraphrasing Scripture spoke of essence, matter, 
vice, crime, would be thought guilty of a want of taste ; the reason 
of which is, that these abstract terms are not within the circle of 
our Scripture associations. They carry us into another age or 
country or school of thought to the ear of the uneducated they 
have an unusual sound, while to the educated they appear to involve 
an anachronism or to be out of place. Vice, they say, is the moral, 
sin the theological term ; nature and law are the proper words in a 
treatise on physiology, while the actions of which they are the ima 
ginary causes would in a prayer or sermon be suitably ascribed to 
the Divine Being. 

Our subject admits of another illustration from the language of the 
Fathers as compared with that of Scripture. Those who have ob 
served the circumstance naturally ask why it is that Scriptural ex 
pressions when they reappear in the early patristic literature slightly 
change their signification ? that a greater degree of personality is 
given to one word, more definiteness to another, while a third has 
been singled out to be the centre of a scheme of doctrine ? The 
reason is, that use, and reflection, and controversy do not allow 
language to remain where it was. Time itself is the great innovator 
in the sense of words. No one supposes that the meaning of con 
science or imagination exactly corresponds to the Latin "conscientia" 
or " imaginatio." Even within the limits of our own language the 
terms of the scholastic philosophy have acquired and lost a tech 
nical signification. And several changes have taken place in the 
language of creeds and articles, which, by their very attempt to define 
and systematize, have slightly though imperceptibly departed from 
the use of words in Scripture. 

The principle of which all these instances are illustrations leads to 
important results in the interpretation of Scripture. It tends to show, 


that in using the same words with St. Paul we may not be using them 
in precisely the same sense. Nay, that the very exactness with which 
we apply them, the result of the definitions, oppositions, associations, 
of ages of controversy, is of itself a difference of meaning. The mere 
lapse of time tends to make the similarity deceitful. For if the 
language of Scripture (to use an expression which will have been 
made intelligible by the preceding remarks) be really at a different 
stage of abstraction, great differences in the use of language will 
occur, such as in each particular word escape and perplex us, and 
yet, on a survey of the whole, are palpable and evident. 

A well known difficulty in the interpretation of the Epistles is the 
seemingly uncertain use of ciKaioavvrj, aXrjdeia, ayairr), iritrriQ, e)oa, &c., 
words apparently the most simple, and yet taking sometimes in the 
same passage different shades and colours of meaning. Sometimes 
they are attributes of God, in other passages qualities in man; 
here realities, there mere ideas, sometimes active, sometimes 
passive. Some of them, as a^apria, TT/OTIC, have a sort of personality 
assigned to them, while others, as irvtvua, with which we associate 
the idea of a person, seem to lose their personality. They are used 
with genitive cases after them, which we are compelled to explain in 
various senses. In the technical language of German philosophy, 
they are objective and subjective at once. For example : in the first 
chapter of the Romans, ver. 17., it is asked by commentators, "Whether 
the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel," is the 
original righteousness of God from the beginning, or the righteous 
ness which he imparts to man, the righteousness of God in himself 
or in man. So again, in ch, v. ver. 5., it is doubted whether the words 
on i] aycnrr) TOV Seov eKxiyvrai iv ralg Kccjoclmte, refer to the love of 
God in man, or the love of God to man. So -n-vevfj-a Seov wavers 
in meaning between a separate existence, or the spirit of God, as we 
should say the " mind of man," and the manifestation of that spirit 
in the soul of the believer. Similar apparent ambiguities occur in 
such expressions as TrivriQ Irjffov ^pioTou, viropovrj xptorov, a\i]Qeta 
v, ()6a Sfov, aofyia. Seov, and several others. 

H 3 


A difficulty akin to tliis arises from the apparently numerous senses 
in which another class of words, such as ropoe, wj), SavaroQ are used 
in the Epistles of St. Paul. That VO^OQ should sometimes signify the 
law of Moses, at other times the law of the conscience, and that it 
should be often uncertain whether w?) referred to a life spiritual or 
natural, is inconceivable, if these words had had the same precise and 
defined sense that the corresponding English words have amongst 
ourselves. The class of expressions before mentioned seems to 
widen and extend in meaning as they are brought into contact with 
God and the human soul, or transferred from things earthly and 
temporal to things heavenly and spiritual. The subtle transformation 
which these latter words undergo, may be best described as a meta 
phorical or analogous use of them : not, to take a single instance, that 
the meaning of the word " law " is so widened as to include all " law," 
but that the law of Moses becomes the figure or type of the law 
written on the heart, or of the law of sin and death, and W/, the 
natural life, the figure of the spiritual. Each word is a reflector of 
many thoughts, and we pass from one reflection of it to another in 
successive verses. 

That such verbal difficulties occur much more often in Scripture 
than in any other book, will be generally admitted. In Plato and 
Aristotle, for example, they can be hardly said to exist at all. What 
they meant by tllog or ovaia is hard to conceive, but their use of the 
words does not waver in successive sentences. The language of the 
Greek philosophy is, on the whole, precise and definite. A much 
nearer parallel to what may be termed the infinity of Scripture is to 
be found in the Jewish Alexandrian writings. There is the same 
transition from the personal to the impersonal, the same figurative 
use of language, the same tendency to realise and speak of all things 
in reference to God and the human soul. The mind existed prior 
to the ideas which are therefore conceived of as its qualities or at 
tributes, and naturally coalesced with it in the Alexandrian phraseo 

The difficulty of which we have been speaking, when considered in 


its whole extent, is its own solution. It does but force upon us the 
fact, that the use of language and the mode of thought are different in 
the writings of the Apostle from what they are amongst ourselves. 
It is the difficulty of a person who should set himself to explain the 
structure of a language which he did not know, by one which he 
did, and at last, in despair, begin to learn the new idiom. Or the 
difficulty that a person would have in understanding poetry, who 
imagined it to be prose. It is the difficulty that Aristotle or Cicero 
found in understanding the philosophers that were before them. 
They were familiar with the meaning of the words used by them, but 
not with the mode of thought. Logic itself had increased the diffi 
culty to them of understanding the times before logic. 

This is our own difficulty in the interpretation of Scripture. Our 
use of language is more definite, our abstractions more abstract, our 
structure more regular and logical. But the moment we perceive and 
allow for this diiference in the use of language in Scripture and among 
ourselves, the difficulty vanishes. We conceive ideas in a process of 
formation, failing from inspired lips, growing in the minds of men. 
We throw ourselves into the world of " mixed modes," and seek to 
recall the associations which the technical terms of theology no longer 
suggest. We observe what may be termed the difference of level 
in our own ideas and those of the first Christians, without disturb 
ing the meaning of one word in relation to another. 

The difficulty while it is increased, is also explained by the personi 
fying character of the age. Ideas in the New Testament are relative 
to the mind of God or man, in which they seem naturally to inhere 
so as scarcely, in the usage of language, to have an independent exist 
ence. There is ever the tendency to speak of good and virtue and 
righteousness as inseparable from the Divine nature, while in evil 
of every sort a reflection of conscience seems to be included. The 
words 3tfcatoowi7, aXr/dem, ayavr^, are not merely equivalent to 
righteousness, truth, love, but connect imperceptibly with " the 
Author and Father of lights." There is no other righteousness or 
truth but that of God, just as there is no sin without the consciousness 

H 4 


of sin in man. Consequently, the two thoughts coalesce in one, and 
what are to us ideas, which we can imagine existing even without 
God, are to the Israelite attributes of God himself. Still, in our 
" mixed modes " we must make a further step ; for as these ideas 
cannot be separated from God, so neither can they be conceived of, 
except as revealed in the Gospel, and working in the heart of man. 
Man who is righteous has no righteousness of his own, his righteous 
ness is the righteousness of God in him. Hence, when considering 
the righteousness of God, we must go on to conceive of it as the revela 
tion of his righteousness, without which it would be unknown and 
unmeaning to us. The abstract must become concrete, and must 
involve at once the attribute of God and the quality in man. This 
" concrete " notion of the word righteousness is different from the 
abstract one with which we are familiar. Righteousness is the 
righteousness of God ; it is also the communion of that righteousness 
with man. It is used almost with the same double meaning as we 
attribute to the will of God, which we speak of actively, as intending, 
doing, and passively, as done, fulfilled by ourselves. 

A part of this embarrassment in the interpretation of Scripture 
arises out of the unconscious influence of English words and ideas 
on our minds, in translating from Hellenistic Greek. The difficulty 
is still more apparent, when the attempt is made to render the Scrip 
tures into a language which has not been framed or moulded on 
Christianity. It is a curious question, the consideration of which is 
not without practical use, how far the nicer shades either of Scrip 
tural expression or of later theology are capable of being made 
intelligible in the languages of India or China. 

Yet, on the other hand, it must be remembered, that neither 
this nor any of the other peculiarities here spoken of, is a mere 
form of speech, but enters deeply into the nature of the Gospel. 
For the Gospel has necessarily its mixed modes, not merely be 
cause it is preached to the poor, and therefore adopts the ex 
pressions of ordinary life ; nor because its language is incrusted 
with the phraseology of the Alexandrian writers ; but because its. 


subject is mixed, and, as it were, intermediate between God and 
man. Natural theology speaks clearly, but it is of God only ; moral 
philosophy speaks clearly, but it is of man only : but the Gospel is, 
as it were, the communion of God and man, and its ideas are in a 
state of transition or oscillation, having two aspects towards God 
and towards man, which it is hard to keep in view at once. Thus, 
to quote once more the example just given, the righteousness of God 
is an idea not difficult to us to comprehend, human justice and good 
ness are also intelligible ; but to conceive justice or righteousness as 
passing from heaven to earth, from God to man, actu et potentia at 
once, as a sort of life, or stream, or motion, is perplexing. And yet 
this notion of the communion of the righteousness of God being 
what constitutes righteousness, is of the very essence of the Gospel. 
It was what the Apostle and the first believers meant and felt, 
and what, if we could get the simple unlettered Christian, receiving 
the Gospel as a little child, to describe to us his feelings, he would 

Scripture language may thus be truly said to belong to an inter 
mediate world, different at once both from the visible and invisible 
world, yet partaking of the nature of both. It does not represent 
the things that the eye sees merely, nor the things that are within 
the veil of which those are the images, but rather the world that is 
in our hearts ; the things that we feel, but nobody can express in 
words. His body is the communion of His body ; His spirit is the 
communion of His spirit ; the love of God is " loving as we are 
loved ; " the knowledge of God is " knowing as we are known ; " the 
righteousness of faith is Divine as well as human. Hence language 
seems to burst its bounds in the attempt to express the different 
aspects of these truths, and from its very inadequacy wavers and 
becomes uncertain in its meaning. The more intensely we feel and 
believe, and the less we are able to define our feelings, the more shall 
we appear to use words at random ; employing sometimes one mode 
of expression, sometimes another ; passing from one thought to 
another, by slender threads of association ; " going off upon a word," 


as it has been called ; because in our own minds all is connected, 
and, as it were, fulfilled with itself, and from the abundance of the 
heart the mouth speaks. To understand the language of St. Paul 
it is necessary, not only to compare the uses of words with one 
another, or to be versed in Alexandrian modes of thought, but to 
lead the life of St. Paul, to have the mind of St. Paul, to be one 
with Christ, to be dead to sin. Otherwise the world within becomes 
unmeaning to us. The inversion of all human things of which he 
speaks, is attributed to the manner of his time, or the peculiarity 
of his individual character ; and at the very moment when we seem 
to have attained most accurately the Apostle s meaning, it vanishes 
away like a shadow. 

No human eye can pierce the cloud which overhangs another 
life ; no faculty cf man can " by understanding find out " or express 
in words the Divine nature. Yet it does not follow that our ideas 
of spiritual things are wholly indefinite. There are many symbols 
and images of them in the world without and below. There is a 
communion of thoughts, feelings, and affections, even on earth, quite 
sufficient to be an image of the communion with God and Christ, of 
which the Epistles speak to us. There are emotions, and transitions, 
and passings out of ourselves, and states of undefined consciousness, 
which language is equally unable to express as it is to describe 
justification, or the work of grace, or the relation of the believer to 
his Lord. All these are rather intimated than described or defined 
by words. The sigh of sorrow, the cry of joy or despair, are but 
inarticulate sounds, yet expressive, beyond the power of writing, or 
speech. There are many such " still small voices " of warning or 
of consolation in Scripture, beyond the power of philosophy to 
analyse, yet full of meaning to him who catches them aright. The 
life and force of such expressions do not depend on the clearness 
with which they state a logical proposition, or the vividness with 
which they picture to the imagination a spiritual world. They gain 
for themselves a truth in the individual soul. Even logic itself 
affords negative helps to the feebleness of man in the conception of 


things above him. It limits us by our own faculties ; it guards us 
against identifying the images of things unseen with the " very 
things themselves ; " it bars remote inferences about terms which 
are really metaphorical. Lastly, it helps us to define by opposition. 
Though we do not know what spirit is, we know what body is, and 
we conceive of spirit as what body is not. " There is a spiritual 
body, and there is a natural body." We imagine it at once both 
like and unlike. We do not know what heaven, or the glory of 
God, or his wisdom, is ; but we imagine them unlike this world, or 
the wisdom of this world, or the glory of the princes of this world, 
and yet, in a certain way, like them, imaged and symbolised by what 
we see around us. We do not know what eternity is, except as the 
negative of time ; but believing in its real existence, in a way 
beyond our faculties to comprehend, we do not confine it within the 
limits of past, present, or future. We are unable to reconcile the 
power of God and the freedom of man, or the contrast of this world 
and another, or even the opposite feelings of our own minds about 
the truths of religion. But we can describe them as the Apostle has 
done, in a paradox : 2 Cor. iv. 12., vi. 8 10. 

There is yet a further way in which the ideas of Scripture may 
be defined, that is, by use. It has been already observed that the 
progress of language is from the concrete to the abstract. Not the 
least striking instance of this is the language of theology. Embodied 
in creeds, it gradually becomes developed and precise. The words 
are no longer " living creatures with hands and feet," as it were, 
feeling after the hearts of men ; but they have one distinct, un 
changing meaning. When we speak of justification or truth, no 
question arises whether by this is meant the attribute of God, or the 
quality in man. Time and usage have sufficiently circumscribed the 
diversities of their signification. This is not to be regarded as a 
misfortune to Scriptural truth, but as natural and necessary. Part 
of what is lost in power and life is regained in certainty and definite- 
ness. The usage of language itself would forbid us, in a discourse 
or sermon, to give as many senses to the word " law " as are attri- 


buted to it by St. Paul. Only in the interpretation of Scripture, if 
we would feel as St. Paul felt, or think as he thought, it is necessary 
to go back to that age before creeds, in which the water of life was 
still a running stream. 

The course of speculation which has been adopted in this essay, 
may seem to introduce into Scripture an element of uncertainty. It 
may seem to cloud truth with metaphysics, and rob the poor and 
uneducated of the simplicity of the Gospel. But perhaps this is 
not so. Whether it be the case that such speculations introduce 
an element of uncertainty or difficulty into Scripture or not, they 
introduce a new element of truth. For without the consideration 
of such questions as that of which a brief sketch has been here 
attempted, there is no basis for Scriptural interpretation. We are 
ever liable to draw the meaning of words this way or that, ac 
cording to the theological system of which we are the advocates ; to 
fall under the slavery of an illogical logic, which first narrows the 
mind by definitions, and then wearies it with far-fetched inferences. 
Metaphysics must enter into the interpretation of Scripture, not for 
the sake of intruding upon it a new set of words or ideas, but with 
the view of getting rid of metaphysics and restoring to Scripture its 
natural sense. 

But the Gospel is still preached to the poor as before, in the same 
sacred yet familiar language. They could not understand questions 
of grammar before ; they do not understand modes of thought now. 
It is the peculiar nature of our religious ideas that we are able to 
apply them, and to receive comfort from them, without being able to 
analyse or explain them. All the metaphysical and logical specula 
tions in the world will not rob the poor, the sick, or the dying of the 
truths of the Gospel. Yet the subject which we have been con 
sidering is not without a practical result. It warns us to restore the 
Gospel to its simplicity, to turn from the letter to the spirit, to with 
draw from the number of the essentials of Christianity points almost 
too subtle for the naked eye, which depend on modes of thought or 
Alexandrian usages, to require no more of preciseness or definition 


than is necessary to give form and substance to our teaching. Not 
only the feebleness of human faculties, but the imperfection of lan 
guage itself will often make silence our truest wisdom. The saying 
of Scaliger, taken not seriously but in irony, is full of meaning : 
"Many a man has missed of his salvation from ignorance of 

To the poor and uneducated, at times to all, no better advice can 
be given for the understanding of Scripture than to read the Bible 
humbly with prayer. The critical and metaphysical student requires 
another sort of rule for which this can never be made a substitute. 
His duty is to throw himself back into the times, the modes of thought, 
the language of the Apostolic age. He must pass from the abstract 
to the concrete, from the ideal and intellectual to the spiritual, from 
later statements of faith or doctrine to the words of inspiration which 
fell from the lips of the first believers. He must seek to conceive 
the religion of Christ in its relation to the religions of other ages 
and distant countries, to the philosophy of our own or other times ; 
and if in this effort his mind seems to fail or waver, he must win 
back in life and practice the hold on the truths of the Gospel which 
he is beginning to lose in the mazes of speculation. 



& epyov rov v6p.ov ypairrbv tv rats KapSiais avruv, 
povarjs avTwv TTJS <ruz/et8?7fTea>s /ecu |U6Ta|u ctAA.TfAcci ruv hoyta pui KaTTiyopovvToov ^ Kal 
airoXoyov^ixav^ eV J]fJ.pq. rj Kpivel 6 &ebs TO KpvTna TWV dvQpuirwv /card rb 
fj.ov 5ia Ir?<rou -xficrrov. Rom. ii. 15, 16. 

THE change in the tense of Kpivti causes a difficulty in the explana 
tion of this passage, which some have endeavoured to remove by a 
parenthesis, extending from ov yap or $<*atftft/<romu to a-rroXoyovperwr, 
and carrying back the sense of the 16th verse to the end of 
the 12th or 13th (either as many as sinned in the law shall be 
judged by the law in the day, &c. ; or the doers of the law shall be 
justified in the day). Such a parenthesis is a fiction. Nor does the 
attempt succeed better to separate avpnaprvpovtrriG from Ei%EiKvvvTa.i 
and connect it with tV fipepy, as thus : " Who shew the word of the 
law written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing them 
witness in the day of judgment." 

The only other way of taking the passage is, as the order of the 
words suggests, to connect tv fiplpq. with IvSeiKrvvrai. Nothing ap 
parently can get over the grammatical solecism, involved in the change 
from the present to the future. For the doing and manifesting forth 
the works of the law is in this present life ; but the day in which 
God shall judge is future the day of judgment. 

Can we say that the Apostle, in the same way that he sometimes 
adopts one meaning of the law, sometimes another, so also glances from 
past to present, from earth to heaven ? This assumed confusion of 
times and places can only be justified, if at all, by the production of 
parallel passages, and the general consideration of the modes of time 
and place in Scripture, 


How there can be more than one mode of conceiving time and 
place may be illustrated as follows : 

A child is perfectly well aware that to-day is different from yester 
day, evening from morning. It has an idea also of duration of time. 
But it does not follow from this that it has an idea of past time, 
such as has elapsed from the time of William the Conqueror to the 
present day, or from the Flood to the Christian era. Nor again of 
future time, even of the threescore years of its own future life, or of 
another person s, still less of time in history, or of a continuation of 
time to the end of the world. Its ideas of time are almost exclusively 

So with respect to place. It is not wholly ignorant of place and 
distance, but it has no idea of the immensity of the world ; it is 
rooted on its own little spot, and conceives of other places as much 
nearer to its home than they really are. If it speaks of the world, it 
has not the vaguest conception what is implied in this ; the world 
is to it a sort of round infinity. 

So the ancients may be said to have a very different idea of time 
and space from the moderns, barbarous people from civilised, Hindoos 
from Englishmen. 

So we can conceive a state in which the past was unknown, " a 
mystery " kept secret, thought of only in some relation to the present, 
in which the future too seemed to blend with and touch the present, 
and this world and the next met in the inward consciousness of the 
believer. To us, it is true, there is a broad line of demarcation 
between them. But we can imagine, however unlike the fact, that 
we too, like children, might be living under the influence of pre 
sent impressions, scarcely ever permitting ourselves to dwell on the 
distant and indistinct horizon of the past or future. 

Something like what has been described was really the case with 
the first believers. Their modes of time differed in several respects 
from our own. 

First : In the very idea of the latter days. The world seemed to 
be closing in upon them : 1 Cor. x. 11. They had no conception 


of posterity, or of new kingdoms, or of a vista of futurity : 6 
trvytffraXfilvof Now was the day of salvation ; now was their sal 
vation nearer than when they believed. Rom. xiii. 11. 

Secondly : In the conception of the duration of time. Living, as 
they did, in the daily expectation of the coming of Christ, seeing the 
face of the world change in the few years of their own life, time to 
them was crowded with events. A moment was sufficient for the 
greatest act of life ; another moment would be sufficient for the act 
of judgment. There is no idea of gradually growing up from 
heathenism to the Gospel, but always of sudden conversion, in an 
instant, in the twinkling of an eye. This is why even the shortest 
periods of time seem so filled with changes and experiences ; why a 
few short months are sufficient for the conversion and the lapse of 
whole Churches. Time was to them at once short and long ; short, 
absolutely ; long, in reference to the events that hurried by. 

Thirdly : In relation to this life and a future, which to ourselves 
are set one against the other, divided by the gate of death. To them 
another life was one with, and the continuation of this. Both were 
alike embraced in the expression " eternal life." They were " wait 
ing for the revelation of the Lord " (1 Cor. i. 7.) ; and yet the things 
" that eye had not seen, nor ear heard," had already been revealed 
to them through the Spirit (1 Cor. ii. 4.). So in reference to a 
future judgment. It was at once present and future. So far as it 
resembled the judgments of Sinai, it was future ; so far as it was 
inward and spiritual, it was present. Compare John, v. 24, 25. : 
" He that believeth on me hath everlasting life, and cometh not into 
condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Yerily, verily, I 
say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall 
hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." 

Fourthly : In reference to past time, a difference is observable in 
its being less vivid and distinct than to ourselves. This seems to 
be the reason why in many passages of Scripture the divinity of 
Christ dates from his manifestation on earth. The first believers 
did not uniformly think of Christ as existing from all eternity. 


They conceived Him as they had seen Him on earth at last entering 
into His glory, " ordained to be the Son of God with power." It 
was not settled by the language of any creed that He was the only- 
begotten of the Father, begotten before the worlds. The question 
had not been asked, the doubt had not arisen. So little did the idea 
of time enter into their conception of His existence, that they could 
speak of Him at once as " ordained to be the Son of God with power," 
and also as " the firstborn of every creature," as " speaking by the 
prophets," and yet also as contrasted with them and following them. 
Heb. i. 2. 

The general result of our inquiry thus far is, that the modes of 
time in the New Testament converge towards the present moment. 
Not, of course, that there is no past or no future ; but that they meet 
in the TtXrj rwv cuo/rajy, which are at once the revelation of both. 

Hence, however great the grammatical irregularity, the passage 
from the present to the future, which, like the unseen, was present 
and realised by faith. The transition was natural from the judgment 
of conscience here to the day of the Lord hereafter. 

Compare the following : 

$r)cra.vpieig (reavry opyrjv iv fi/Jitpq. opyijg KCU aTTOKaXv^ewg fiiKaio- 
Kpiffiag TOV S foy. Rom. ii. 5. 

6 evXoyriffag jj^ag iv iraffy evXoyiq. TTVEV^CLTIK^ kv role eTrovpaviotg 
iv xpicrTw. Eph. i. 3. 

In the first of these passages, there is nearly the same confusion of 
times as in Rom. ii. 16. : " You are treasuring up for yourself 
something future in the day of judgment." 

In the second, the confusion seems to be precisely parallel, if it be 
not rather one of place than of time : " Who hath blessed us here 
present upon earth with all future and heavenly blessings." 

So 1 Thess. ii. 19. : TLQ yap r]fj.HJv eXirlg r} X a l^ ^ aTtfyavog KO.V%{]- 
?} OV^L KOL vfj,~ig, tfjiTrpoffdev TOV Kvpiov r]>v Iqarov iv rrj avrov 
; 1 Cor. i. 8. : oe KCU /3/3cuwo-t vpag tug reXovc aveyKXrjrovg 
kv rrj r//^(occ TOV xvpiov i]^,(SJv Irjffov Xpurrov ; 2 Cor. i. 14. : /ca0wf fcal 
f.Triyvu)T f]{Jiag airo pepovg, on Kav^j.ia V^LMV ka^lv Kadcurep cai vfjielg 


kv rr\ /)/jf|Oct rov Kvplov [fyuwy] Irjaov ; Col. iii. 6., for a weaker 
expression of the same. 

These latter passages are sufficiently parallel with the one which 
we are considering, to justify the grammatical irregularity of con 
necting erdeiKwvTai with kv rjpepa TOV Kvpiov. We say, the sen 
tence of conscience anticipates a higher tribunal. To the Apostle 
the testimony of conscience enters within the vail, and is already in 
the presence of God. His thoughts are so transferred to the day of 
judgment, that in that, and through that only, he measures all things. 

Parallel to the modes of time, though less important, are what may 
be termed the modes of place in the New Testament. 

First : In reference to the word aiwv, which is at once a period of 
time, and also the world which is to subsist in that period, aluv 
OVTOQ and aiwv o peXXwv originally mean the times before and after 
Messiah s coming ; but are also opposed, not merely as we should 
oppose this life and a future, but as this world and another. 

Secondly : In the indistinctness of the idea of heaven, which is at 
once a different place from the earth, and co-existing with it in the 
same sense that the stars and the sky co-exist with it ; and also the 
kingdom of God within the spiritual dwelling-place in which ideas 
of time and place are no more. Thus it is said, "I beheld Satan 
as lightning fall from heaven," Luke, x. 18. : and again, " The 
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon 
the Son of man," John, i. 51., in which a sort of pictorial image is 
presented to the mind. So 2 Cor. xii. 2. : "I knew a man in Christ 
above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body or out of the body I 
cannot tell,) such an one caught up into the third heaven." But, on 
the other hand: "We have our conversation in heaven," or, "who 
hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly (places)," 
kv TOIQ iTTovpavloLG, Eph. i. 3., where heaven cannot be thought of as a 
distinct place from earth. 

Thirdly : There is a certain degree of indistinctness in the ideas of 
place as applied only to the earth. As the ends of the world seem 
to meet in the present moment in the consciousness of the believer, 


so also the idea of the earth itself is narrowed to that spot in which 
the struggle is going on, which is all the world to him. A vivid 
consciousness of past time was, we saw, different from that general 
and undefined conception of the " ages of ages " which we find in 
Scripture. So also a geographical idea of all the countries of the 
earth, with their peoples, climates, languages, is quite different from that, 
shall we say, spiritual notion of place which occurs in the Epistles. 
Here, where the Apostle himself is, is the scene of the great struggle ; 
the places which he has visited, are the whole world, in which the 
powers of good and evil are arrayed against one another ; a small spot 
of ground, like a small period of time, is fraught with the fortunes of 
mankind ; the more earthly measure of place and distance is lost. 
This spiritual notion of time and place is not possible to ourselves, 
but only to an age which has an imperfect conception of past history, 
and an indistinct knowledge of the countries of the world. To the 
Apostle it was natural. In this way, allowing also something for 
Oriental modes of speech, we are to account for such expressions as 
the following : "I thank my God that your faith is made known in 
the whole world," Romans, i. 8. ; or, the salutation of 1 Cor. i. 2., 
" Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, sanctified in Christ 
Jesus, chosen saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, in every place both their s and our s ; " where " in every 
place " is probably to be interpreted by the first chapter of the second 
epistle, kv 0X77 ry A^a/g. Compare also, 1 Thess. i. 8. : "For from you 
hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and 
Achaia, but in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad, 
so that we have no need to say any thing." And yet the Apostle, at 
the time of writing this, could hardly have been anywhere but in 
Macedonia and Achaia. 

These mixed modes of time and place are no longer mixed to us, 
but clear and distinct. We live in the light of history and of nature, 
and can never mingle together what is inward and what is without 
us. We cannot but imagine everywhere, and at all times, heaven to 
be different from earth, the past from the future and present. No 

I 2 


inward conscience can ever efface the limits that separate them. No 
" contemplation of things under the form of eternity " will take us 
from the realities of life. We sometimes repeat the familiar language 
of Scripture, but always in a metaphorical sense. If we desire to 
understand, and not merely to explain it away, we must throw our 
selves back to the age of the Apostle, and gather his meaning from 
his own words." 



THE force of the Apostle s argument in the first verses of the 
following chapter, may be illustrated by a parallel which comes home 
to ourselves. We may suppose a person enlarging, in a sermon or 
in conversation, on the comparative state of the heathen and 
Christian world, dwelling first of all on the enormities and unnatural 
vices of India or China, and then on the formalism and hypocrisy 
and conventionality of Christians throughout the world, until at last 
he concludes by saying that many heathen are better than most 
Christians, and that at the last day the heathen may judge us ; and 
that as God is no respecter of persons, it matters little whether we 
are called Christians or not, if we follow Christ. Christian or 
heathen, " he can t be wrong," it might be said, " whose life is in the 
right." Then would arise the question, What profit was there in 
being a Christian if, as with the Jews of old, many should come 
from the East and the West, and sit down with Christ and his 
Apostles in the kingdom of heaven, while those bearing the name of 
Christians were cast out ? To which there would be many answers ; 
first, that of St. Paul respecting the Jews, " because that unto us 
are committed the oracles of God ; " and above all, that we have a 
new truth and a new power imparted to us. Still difficulties would 
occur as we passed beyond the limits of the Christian world. 
Passages of Scripture would be quoted, which seemed to place the 
heathen also within the circle of God s mercies ; and again, other 
passages which seemed to exclude them. It might be doubted 
whether in any proper sense there was a Christian world ; so little 
did there seem to be anything resembling the first company of 
believers ; so faint was the bond of communion which the name of 
Christian made amongst men ; so slender the line of demarcation 

i 3 


which mere Christianity afforded, compared with civilisation and 
other influences. Suppose, now, a person, struggling with these and 
similar difficulties, to carry the question a stage further back, and 
to urge that Christianity, failing of its end, this is of itself an im 
peachment of the truth and goodness of God. For if there were any 
who did not accept the Gospel, then it could not be said that an 
Omnipotent Being who had the power, and an Omniscient Being who 
knew the way, had also the will that all mankind should be saved. 
Why should the Unchangeable punish men for sins that could not 
affect Himself? Why should He execute a vengeance which He was 
incapable of feeling ? And so he would lead us on to the origin of 
evil and the eternal decrees, and the everlasting penalty. Speaking 
as a philosopher, he might say, that we must change our notion of a 
Divine Being, in the face of such facts. Those who were arguing 
with him, might be unable or unwilling to discuss speculative diffi 
culties, and might prefer to rest their belief on two simple founda 
tions: first, the truth and justice and holiness of God; and, secondly, 
the moral consequences of the doctrine of their opponents. It makes 
no difference whether we suppose the argument carried on between 
disputants, or whether we suppose a religious sceptic arguing with 
himself on the opposite aspects of those great questions, which in 
every age, from that of Job and Ecclesiastes, have been more or less 
clearly seen in various forms, Jewish as well as Christian, as pro 
blems of natural or of revealed religion, common alike to the Greeks 
and to ourselves, and which have revived again and again in the course 
of human thought. 

The train of reflection which has been thus briefly sketched, is not 
unlike that with which St. Paul opens the third chapter. The Jew 
and the Gentile have been reduced to a level by the requirements of 
the moral law. The circumcision of the heart and the imcircum- 
cision of the letter take the place of the circumcision of the letter 
and uncircumcision of the heart. Such a revolution naturally leads 
the Jew to ask what his own position is in the dispensations of Pro 
vidence. What profit is there in being sons of Abraham, if of these 


stones God was raising up children unto Abraham ? To which the 
Apostle replies, first, that they had the Scriptures. But it might be 
said, "they believed not." Such an objection is suggested by the 
Apostle himself, who draws it out of the secret soul of the Jew, that 
he may answer it more fully. " Shall their unbelief make the pro 
mise of God of none effect." Such promises are " yea and amen ; " 
but they are also conditional. God forbid that they should be called 
in question, because man breaks their conditions. Imagine all men 
faithless, yet does God remain true. 

Still the objector or the objection returns, in the fifth verse, from 
another point of view, which is suggested by the quotation which 
immediately precedes, " that thou mayest be justified in thy sayings, 
and mayest overcome when thou art judged." In any case then God 
is justified ; why doth He yet punish ? If we do no harm to Him, 
why does He do harm to us ? We are speaking as one man does of 
another ; but is not God unjust ? To which the Apostle replies 
(according to different explanations of rov /coWov), either, " shall not 
the Judge of all the earth do rightly ? " or, how can you, who are a 
Jew, suppose that the God whose attribute it is "to judge among 
the heathen " is one who may be called unjust ? In this question is 
contained the answer to those who say, " My unrighteousness com 
mends the righteousness of God, and therefore God has no right to 
take vengeance on me." Still the objection is repeated in a slightly 
altered form, not now, " If my unrighteousness commends the righ 
teousness of God ; " but, " If my falsehood abounds to the glory of 
His truth, why am I still judged as a sinner ? " To which St. Paul 
replies, not by dwelling further on the truth or justice of God, but 
by ironically stating the consequence of the doctrine, " Let us do evil 
that good may come, let us sin to the glory of God, let us lie to 
prove his truth ;" and, then dropping the strain of irony, he adds 
seriously in his natural style, "whose damnation is just." 

The chief difference between this argument and the one which, for 
the sake of illustration, is prefixed to it, is that the great questions 
which are suggested in the first, are here narrowed to the Jewish 

i 4 


point of view. The objector does not find any general difficulty in 
justifying the ways of God to man, but in harmonising the rejection 
of the Jews with the privileges of the chosen race. What seemed to 
him injustice, was justice to all mankind. He is animated by a sort 
of moral indignation at being reduced to the same level as the rest of 
the world. 

The substance of the Apostle s argument is the same as that of 
chap. ix. 19, 20., in which he again assumes the person of an objector : 
" Thou wilt then say unto me, Why does He yet find fault, for who 
hath resisted His will ? Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest 
against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, 
why hast thou made me thus ? " It is an anticipation of the subject 
of chapters ix., x., xi., the passing thought of which is intimated in 
the word ox^eXfT, in ver. 25. of the preceding chapter (compare 
ver. 1. rig i] ttye Xem), which stands in the same relation to chap. iii. 
ver. 1 8., as the conclusion of the second chapter to what follows 
in the third. 



[Off. III. 

rt ovv rb 7Tpi(Torov TOV lovSaiov, r) rig 17 fex^eXeia TT)? % 


ra Xoyia TOV 0ov. ri yap el rjiricrTTjcrdv 3 
yeVoiro ywecrOa) Se 6 6eos aX^^g, Tras Se avdpanros 4 

yeypaTTTcu, Ows av Si/ccucoftjs eV rot? 
Xdyoig crou Acal viKijcrys iv ra> KpLv.<r9aL ere. et Se 17 dStACta 5 

2. /caret Trai^ra rpo?ro^, z w every 
way.~\ The Apostle mentions one 
way, and is entangled in a new 
series of thoughts. 

Trpwrov pel , first.~\ There is no 
"secondly;" not that St. Paul 
breaks off, as Olshausen suggests, 
because he felt that, in the single 
point of the knowledge of the 
Scriptures, he had included all. 
The irregularity is a matter of 
style. Compare i. 8., irp&rov pev 
eTriffTevdrjarav, SC. oi lov- 
t, as in 1 Cor. ix. 17., OLKOVO- 

ra Xo ym TOV S eoi;, the oracles 
of God,~\ applied in Numbers, 
xxiv. 15. ( CLKOVWV \oyia 0eoi)) to 
the prophecy of Balaam ; in Acts, 
xviii. 38. to the ten command 
ments and to the law; here, rather 
to the Scriptures generally. 

In what follows, " Is the Apo 
stle speaking of himself, or in the 
person of some other man ? " 
Both, or neither ; in one sense 
he is, in another he is not. That 
is to say ; partly from defect in 
power of expression, partly also 
from the imaginative cast of his 
mind, which leads him to place 
vividly before himself the oppo 
site view to his own, he seems 
to desert his original standing 
ground, and to alternate between 
the two sides of his own mind. 
Especially is this the case where 

the very elements of his former 
and present life are in conflict. 
He almost goes over into the 
enemy s camp, and then revolts 
from it. Though not really 
objecting, he assumes the person 
of an objector, and repeats what 
he would have said himself and 
what he had heard others say. 
Comp. vii. 725., ix. 1422.; 
1 Cor. x. 2832. 

3. ri yap el r]TriffTr](Tnr TLVCQ ; 
for what if some did not believe ?~\ 
Not the objection, but the answer 
to the objection. You will per 
haps say, " they did not believe;" 
that makes no difference. But 
the objection is not yet crushed ; 
it reappears in the next clause, 
suggested by the word //TriVr^o-av 
itself. The very question I mean 
to ask is, whether " their unbelief 
will make the grace of God of 
none effect." 

//j) is used in the New Testa 
ment indifferently, either in ques 
tions intended to have an affirm 
ative answer, or implying an 
inclination to the opposite (Luke, 
vi. 39.), or in mere doubts 
(John, viii. 22.). That in this 
passage the answer would have 
been an affirmative, follows from 
p) yivoLTo in the next verse, which 
deprecates the intended assent. 
Though the two questions follow 
one another, the tone of them is 

VEK. 24.] 



3 What advantage then hath the Jew ? or what profit 
2 is there of circumcision ? Much every way : chiefly, 

because* they were entrusted with the oracles of 

s God. For what if some did not believe ? whether * shall 

their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 

4 God forbid : yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; 
as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy 
sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 

different. The first, ri yap el Tinier., 
is intended to have a negative 
answer. " It makes no difference ; 
if some did not believe what of 
that ? " But the second conveys 
an objection to the first, to which 
the Apostle for a moment gives 
way, which is followed up and 
finally answered by ju>) yivoiro in 
the following verse. 

r/ cnriffria, unbelief.^ The un 
belief here referred to might con 
sist, either in the rebellion of 
the Jews in the wilderness, or 
in their rejection of Christ ; or 
better, the former may be a figure 
of the latter, as in Rom. ix. ; and 
1 Cor. x. 710. 

TTfV TTlffTLV TOV $OV, the faith 

of God,~\ like ^iKcuovvvr) $eoi> 
above. The play of words is 
hardly translateable in English. 
" Shall their want of faith make 
of none effect the good faith of 
God." From the sense of " the 
faith " which men have in God, 
Trt rmc passes into the meaning of 
the faith which God exercises 
towards men. (Comp. aya-trr} 
-&foi>, ver. 5.) 

Thus we leave the first stage 
of the objection. May not the 
unbelief of man mar the faithful 
ness of God ? The second being 
But if their unbelief es 
tablished the righteousness of 
God, ver. 5. The third But 

if their untruth reflected the 
glory of God. 

4. p) yevoLTO. God forbid.~\ 
That be far from us. Be it ours 
rather to affirm that God is true, 
though every man be a liar. 
The paronomasia on yivoiro and 
yivevdcj was probably intentional. 
Comp. above, 2, 3. emffTevdijvav 
and iiTriffTrffav ; also UTrtorta and 

To argue against this mode of 
explaining the passage that the 
Apostle could not have meant 
seriously to wish that every man 
should be a liar, is the error of 
" rhetoric turned logic." See in 
chap. ix. 3. It is needless, with 
the view of avoiding this objec 
tion, to translate ytvladio, "let it 
be according to the saying," let 
the words of Scripture be ful 
filled, " God is true, though 
all men are liars," a sense 
which is not sufficiently sup 
ported by 1 Cor. xv. 34., where 
the position of the word is dif 

kv TU> KptveffQat ere, when thouart 
judged.^ Kpiveadai is used in a 
passive as well as active or 
middle sense, both in the Old 
Testament and in the New. For 
the first compare Lam. iii. 36., 
1 Cor. vi. 2. ; for the second 
Judges, xxi. 22., 1 Cor. vi. 1. ; in 
the latter use with the meaning 



[OH. III. 

6eov SiKaLoo"uyy}v arvvicrTTjcn, rl e{ 

6 #eos 6 iTTitfrepcov TT)Z> opyrjv ; Kara avOpomov Xeyo>. 

yeVoiro * evret TTWS Kpwel 6 $eos rov KOCTUOV ; ei yap * 

x rov Oeov iv T< e/xw i//evo~/>LaTt eTreptcrcrevcref et< 
^ Sd^ai avrou, rt ert Acdya> a>s d/xaprajXos Kpivopai ; /cat s 

Xeyeiz^ on TroiTjo w/xet rd /ca/cd IVa eX^ rd ay add ; )v TO 
KpljJia i 

not precisely of judging but 
rather of going to law, or enter 
ing into judgment. 

If we translate "that thou 
mightest overcome when thou 
art judged," the sentence gains 
a new point. The word KpivevOat 
refers to the previous objection : 
" that thou mightest overcome 
when (as had just been done) 
thou art judged." The parallel 
ism of the clauses, on the other 
hand, is better preserved by the 
active " when thou enterest 
into judgment." 

It is a favourite figure of the 
Old Testament Scriptures to re 
present impiety rising up against 
God and challenging His ways. 
The wicked are allowed to assert 
themselves against Him that they 
may be crushed by His might. 
There is a terrible irony in the 
way in which Almighty power 
is described, as playing with them 
for a while, and then launching 
upon them its vengeance. 

5. Notwithstanding the recoil 
of the Apostle, the objector re 
turns to the charge, finding ma 
terials for a new objection in the 
answer to the previous one. But 
if, as you say, nothing can impair 
the truth or holiness of God, if 
our unrighteousness does but es 
tablish it, if in any case God is 
justified, is He not unjust for 

bringing wrath upon us ? if He 
cannot be harmed of any, why 
should He harm us ? 

p) a^t/coe.] See note on ver. 3. 
Here /i>) implies in the answer the 
belief that this is so, and the pre 
tended wish that it were not so. 

Kara avdpwTrov Xeyw.] I use a 
human figure of speech. I do 
but speak as I can imagine men 
speaking. The Apostle apologises 
for the mere hypothesis which he 
has put into the mouth of an 
other, of injustice in God. 

6. fJ-i) ylvoiTo,forbidit. ] "For 
how shall God, if he be unjust, 
judge the heathen ? " (rov Koapov). 
The Jews drew a distinction be 
tween the judgment of themselves 
and the heathen, which has been 
sometimes thought to have a 
place in this passage. It was 
founded upon such passages as 
" He shall judge among the hea 
then ; " whence it was inferred, 
that the heathen were to be 
judged, but not the chosen people : 
just as it is sometimes said among 
Christians, the wicked are to be 
judged, the elect not. It agrees 
better, however, with the spirit 
of St. Paul to take rov Koapov for 
the whole world, without dis 
tinction of Jew or Gentile ; as in 
Rom. iii. 19. the whole world is 
spoken of as becoming subject to 
the just judgment of God. The 

VEE. 58.] 



But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness 
of God, what shall we say ? Is not * God unrighteous 

6 who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man) God forbid, 

7 for then how shall God judge the world ? For if the 
truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto 

s his glory; why notwithstanding* am I still judged as a 
sinner ? and not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, 
and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that 
good may come ? whose damnation is just. 

general meaning will be the same 
as that expressed in Gen. xviii. 
25.: "Shall not the judge of 
all the earth do right?" 

7. Still unsatisfied, the ob 
jector, or St. Paul in the person 
of the objector, repeats the ob 
jection of ver. 5. in a slightly 
altered form ; not " if my un 
righteousness establishes the 
righteousness of God," but "if my 
untruth abounds to the glory of 
His truth, why am I still judged 
as a sinner ; " KOI, not " why am I 
as well as the Gentile?" or, "why 
am I, even though I be a sinner ? " 
but simply, " why am I still ? " 
In such expressions icai is a soft 
ened way of saying, " in spite of 
that fact ; " why am I, over and 
above contributing to the glory 
of God, which should be set down 
to my credit, to be punished too ? 
Comp. the use of K<U in 1 Cor. xv. 
29., ei O\(I)Q reKpol OVK eyeipovrai, 
TI Kal /3a7rr/ovrcu virep avrwv ; 

8. And why not draw the 
wicked and absurd conclusion, 
"Let us do evil that good may 
come, pecca, fortiter pecca, to 
the glory of God?" 

KaQwQ /3Xa<70i7juovju9a. We can 
only conjecture who they were, 
who charged the Apostle with 
doing evil that good may come. 

From the Epistle of St. James 
it may be inferred, that there 
were among the Jews those 
whom we should term anti- 
nomians ; who preached faith 
without works ; who, as Philo 
informs us, held it sufficient to 
keep the spirit of the law with 
out conforming to its ceremonies 
or other requirements, (De Migr. 
Abrah. Mangey, i. 450.) In the 
teaching of St. Paul, there was 
sufficient to form the groundwork 
of such an accusation. That he 
was sensitive to the charge, and 
apprehensive of the abuse of his 
doctrine, is evident from chap, 
vi. I. 

The construction seems to 
arise out of a confusion of ri p} 
TroriiffwjjLEv, why should we not do? 
and 7rot/7<rwju^, let us do, the word 
6Vt, which has slipped in from the 
attraction of Xe yetv, being the 
cause of a wavering between the 
oratio recta and obliqua. 

9 27. At this point the Apo 
stle leaves the digression into 
which he had been drawn, and 
returns to the main subject ; de 
scribing, in the language of the 
Old Testament, the evil of those 
who are under the law, that is, 
of the whole former world ; and 
revealing the new worl^ in which 



[OH. III. 

Tu ovv ; Trpoe^ofJieda ; ov 7rdvT(t)<$ * TrpoyTiacrdfJieOa yap 9 
re /cat "EXXrjvas TrdVras vfi a^apriav etz ai, 

/ v j-v c / jo>\^ > v in 

yeypcLTTTOLL <m ov/c OT> OIKCUOS ouoe eis, ou/c COTH/ J" 

1 , ov/c ecrnz [6] eK&jT&v TOV deov TrdVres et;eK\ivav, 12 
a/xa tfxpeiuOrjcrav OVK term; TTOLWV ^p^crror^ra, OUK ecmv 

eiw? ez os. rectos dVeary/^eVos 6 \dpvyt; OLVTMV, rais yXcoor- 13 
crat? avTwv iSoXiovcrav, 105 dcrTTiSo)^ VTTO ra X 6 ^ 7 ? CLVTM^ . 

wt TO crrd/xa [avra>^] dpa? /cai iriKpias yepa. ofet? ot {J 

TroSes avTO)V IfC^fOU at/xa, crtW /oijUjna Acal Ta\ai7ra>pia iv is 

OVK eywcrav. OVK. J 

rats oSotg avTaiv, KOL 6$ov 


God manifests forth his righ 
teousness in Christ Jesus. In 
the previous chapter, he had not 
distinctly denied the privileges 
of the Jew ; or had, at least, 
veiled the purely moral principle 
for which he was contending, 
under the figure of " the Jew 
inwardly," and " circumcision of 
the heart." At the commence 
ment of the third chapter, he 
brought forward the other side 
of the argument, from which he 
is driven by the extravagance of 
the Jew. At length, dropping 
his imperfect enumeration of the 
advantages of the Jew, he boldly 
affirms the result, that the Jew is 
no better than the Gentile, and 
that all need the salvation, which 
all may have. 

9. Tt ovv ; 7r,ooxo^0a ;] Like T L 
ovv; apapTtiffUfjiEV", vi. 15. "What 
then ? are we better than they ? 
No, by no means." This way of 
taking the passage gives the best 
sense, and does the least violence 
to the language. The objection 
to it is that the middle, which 
would ordinarily have the signi 
fication of "to hold before," 
"put forward as a pretext," is 
here used like the active in the 

sense of " surpass," "excel." The 
mode of taking the passage which 
connects ri ovv with 

either in the sense of what pre 
text do we allege? or what ad 
vantage have we ? furnishes no 
proper sense for ov Travrwe, and is 
open to the further objection that 
no other instance occurs of ri 
ovv being used where ri is the 
remote object of a verb, in the 
writings of St. Paul. The em 
phatic use of Trpoe^o^eda in the 
sense of " have we a pretext ? " 
is still more contrary to analogy 
than the confusion of the middle 
and active voice. 

The Apostle had previously 
spoken of the Jews in the third 
person. Now he is about to utter 
an unpalatable truth. Is it an 
over refinement to suppose that 
he changes the person to soften 
the expression by identifying 
himself with them ? Compare 
1 Cor. iv. 6. "These things I 
have transferred in a figure to 
myself and Apollos, for your 

ov TTCIITWC, no surely."^ Comp. 
the use of TTO.VTMQ in 1 Cor. v. 10., 
ix. 10. The Apostle is not think 
ing of TroAv Kara iravra rporrov, 

VEK. 9 18. J 



9 What then ? are we better than they ? No, in no 
wise : for we have before proved both Jews and Gen- 

10 tiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There 

11 is none righteous, no, not one : 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, 

is no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with 
their tongues they have used deceit ; the poison of asps 
H is under their lips : whose mouth is full of cursing and 
\l bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, afflic- 
17 tion* and misery are in their ways, and the way of 
is peace have they not known. There is no fear of God 

which has preceded in ver. 1., 
but of the general condemnation 
which is to follow. 

Trarrac,] not a mere hyperbole, 
or put, as Grotius supposes, for 
"most," but as in ver. 12. 19. 

10. /oaSwc ytypciTrrcu, as it is 
written.] In what follows the 
Apostle quotes different passages 
of Scripture ; descriptive either 
of the enemies of the psalmist, 
or containing denunciations of 
the prophets against the iniqui 
ties of Israel at particular times 
to illustrate the sinfulness of men 
in general. 

The words ori OVK ttrriv $titatoc 
ovBe tie may be either an intro 
duction of the Apostle s own, in 
which he gives the substance of 
the following quotations, or an 
imperfect recollection of the first 
verse of Psalm liii., OVK tern 
ctya0oV, or of Ps. xiv., OVK: 

lf el tffTi G\)vid)v 1} Ic^ 

The eleventh verse is slightly 
altered in sense from the second 
verse of Psalm xiv. in the LXX. : 

- KVplOQ K TOV OVpaVOV $ttn//CV 
CTTt TOVg ViOVQ T&V a.v8p<Jt)K(t)V TOV 

12 17. have been inserted 
from this passage in the Alexan 
drian MS. of the LXX. at Ps. 
xiv. 3. 

13. quoted from the LXX. Ps. 
v. 9. down to (.^oXiovaav. The 
meaning is, that men fall into their 
snares as into open graves among 
the rocks. Comp. Ps. vii. 15. 

toe CIVTWV. Ps. cxl. 3. 

14. slightly altered from the 
LXX. Ps. x. 7. 

15 17. quoted, not after the 
LXX., from Isaiah, lix. 7., where 
the prophet is describing the de 
praved state of Israel. 

18. From the LXX. of Psalm 
xxxvi. 1. What does the Apo 
stle intend to prove by these 
quotations ? That at various 
times mankind have gone astray, 
and done evil ; that in particular 
cases the prophets and psalm 
ists energetically denounced the 
wickedness of the Jews, or of 
their enemies. This is all that 
can be strictly gathered from 
them, and yet not enough to sup- 



[On. III. 

ecrnv <d/3o9 Oeov OLTTZVCLVTI ra>v o^OaXptov avT&v* olSaptv 
Se on ocra 6 ^0/^09 Xeyei rots o> TOJ vo^o* XaXel, IVa 
crTOju-a (frpayf) Kal viroSiKos yevrjraL TTOL? 6 /cocr/xos r< 
Store e .pya>v vopov ov Si/catco^crerat Tracra era/of IVMTTIOV 20 

port what is termed the Apo 
stle s argument. From the fact 
that the enemies of David were 
perfidious and deceitful, that the 
children of Israel, in the time of 
the prophet Isaiah, were swift to 
shed blood, we can draw no con 
clusions respecting mankind in 
general. Because Englishmen 
were cruel in the times of the 
civil wars, or because Charles 
the First had bitter and crafty 
enemies, we could not argue that 
the present generation, not to 
say the whole world, fell under 
the charge of the same sin. Not 
wholly unlike this, however, is 
the adaptation which the Apo 
stle makes of the texts which he 
has quoted from the Old Testa 
ment. He brings them together 
from various places to express 
the thought which is passing 
through his mind ; and he quotes 
them with a kind of authority, as 
we might use better language 
than our own to enforce our 
meaning. In modern phraseo 
logy, they are not arguments, but 
illustrations. The use of them 
is exactly similar to our own 
use of Scripture in sermons, 
where the universal is often in 
ferred from the particular, and 
precepts or events divested of 
the particular circumstances 
which accompany them, or the 
occasions on which they arose, 
are made to teach a general les 
son. It was after the manner 
of the Apostle s age, and hard 
ly less after the manner of our 

19. otctajuci/ Se on, butweknow.~] 
Is St. Paul referring here to the 
Jews or to mankind in general ? 
If the former, there arises a diffi 
culty respecting the meaning of 
the words, " every mouth," " all 
the world," which seem coex 
tensive with " those under the 

(1.) We may suppose that the 
Apostle, having already con eluded 
the Gentiles under sin in the first 
chapter, is using these texts 
against the Jews, to complete the 
proof against men in general. 
" We know that whomsoever 
these words out of the law touch, 
they must touch the Jew, who is 
under the law, so that he forms 
no exception, and the whole world 
including the Jew, come under 
the judgment of God." Or, (2.) 
The Jew is regarded by him as 
the type of the Gentile ; and 
having convicted the one, he as 
sumes, a fortiori, the conviction of 
the other. 

It cannot be denied, that either 
of the two explanations is far 
fetched, and also ill-suited to the 
connexion. For in the 9th verse 
which introduced these passages, 
nothing was said of their special 
application to the Jews. " For 
we before proved all both Jews 
and Gentiles to be under sin, as 
it is written." But (3.) if the 
words TOLQ kv ru> vojjiu) cannot be 
confined to the Jew, their mean 
ing must extend to mankind in 
general. The law of Moses, it 
may be said, is with the Apostle 
the image of law in general, and 

VER. 19, 20.] 



19 before their eyes. Now we know that what things 
soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the 
law : that every mouth may be stopped, and all the 

20 world come into judgment before God. Because* by 
the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in 

mankind have been already spo 
ken of as having a law written on 
the heart. According to this 
view, the meaning of the pas 
sage might be : " We know 
that whatsoever things the law 
or the prophets say, they say to 
those who in any sense are under 
the law." 

Considering the numerous tran 
sitions of meaning which occur 
in the use of the word ro^os 
(comp, Rom. vii. 21., viii. 1 4. ; 
and the use of irvev^a, in 1 Cor. 
ii. 10.), it cannot be held a fatal 
objection to this interpretation 
that it explains the word VO/JIOQ 
in different senses in successive 
lines. There is nothing incon 
sistent in this with the style of 
St. Paul. But still those " who 
are under the law " would be an 
abrupt and obscure expression, 
for "those who have the law 
written on their hearts." And in 
this instance there is an absolute 
unmeaningness and want of point 
in saying " we know that what 
soever things the written law 
saith, it saith to them who have 
not the written law." 

Another (4.) and more pro 
bable point of view, in which the 
explanation that applies ro~ig kv 
TV ropy to all mankind, may be 
regarded, is the following : The 
Apostle has found words in the 
law which describe the sinfulness 
of man, who, from this very cir 
cumstance, may be said to be 


under or in the law. He does 
not mean to say that the law 
speaks to those who are under 
the law, but that those to whom 
the law speaks are under the 
law. All those who are thus 
described, are drawn within the 
law, and belong to the prior dis 
pensation. Or, more simply : 
The law in saying these things 
speaks to persons over whom it 
has authority (comp. vii. 1., 6 
ro/j.OQ Kvpievei rov ctvflpwTrov) ; it is 
not a mere abstraction. 

This interpretation, though dif 
ficult, is in accordance with the 
style and spirit of the Apostle. 
As, in the first chapter, he spoke 
of the Gentiles as knowing God, 
and condemned by their know 
ledge, so in this passage, he re 
gards all mankind as under the 
sentence of the law of Moses. It 
is further rendered necessary and 
confirmed by the following verse, 
as well as by what has preceded. 
For not only in the verse which 
precedes the citation from the 
Old Testament, has the Apostle 
made no distinction between Jew 
and Gentile, but in ver. 20. he 
expressly speaks of Gentile as 
well as Jew, as incapable of jus 
tification by the deeds of the 

20. e)(dri f t pywv VOJJLOV, be 
cause by the deeds of the law.~\ 
Is this to be understood of the 
ceremonial or of the moral law ? 
It would be arbitrary to narrow 



. III. 

avrov Sia yap vofjiov liriyvcocrLS a/zaprias. vvvl Se ^CO/DIS 
Otov TreffravepaiTaL, jnapTvpovjnez>7? VTTO 

the meaning of these words to 
the ceremonial law, even if we 
were not prevented from doing 
so by the universality of the ex 
pression Travel ffapZ, which in 
cludes the Gentiles, who had 
nothing to do with the cere 
monial law. 

The object of Arminian and 
Romanist divines has ever been 
to confine the "works of the 
law" to the ceremonial law, 
thereby gaining a supposed im 
munity for the doctrine of justi 
fication by works in another 
sense. Calvinists and Lutherans, 
with a truer perception of the 
Apostle s purpose, have affirmed 
that the moral law could, as 
little as the ceremonial, be made 
the groundwork of acceptance 
with God. They have truly 
urged, that there is no indication 
in the writings of St. Paul of the 
existence of such a distinction. 
The law is to him one law, the 
whole law, the figure, indeed, of 
many things, but never sepa 
rated into the portion that re 
lates to ceremonies, and the 
portion that relates to moral pre 

It may be further maintained, 
not only that there is no such 
distinction in the mind of the 
Apostle, but that, consistently 
with the modes of thought of his 
age, there could not have been 
such. It is what has been termed 
before an afterthought of theo 
logy, which would naturally 
arise when the ceremonial law 
had died away a sort of sepa 
ration of body and soul when life 
is extinct. Not that to St. Paul, 
or the Jews who were his con 

temporaries, all the precepts of 
the law seemed of equal im 
portance. The prophets had 
constantly opposed the blood of 
bulls and goats "to the doing 
justice, and loving mercy, and 
walking humbly with God." But 
it does not follow from this, that 
the moral and ceremonial law 
were separated from each other 
in such a sense, that the Scribes 
and Pharisees placed some pre 
cepts under the one head and 
others under the other. Rather, 
they were blended together in 
one, like Ethics and Politics in 
the early Greek philosophy. 
When a Jew spoke of the law, 
it never occurred to him to ask 
whether he meant the moral or 
ceremonial law ; or when he 
spoke of sin, to distinguish whe 
ther he intended moral evil or 
ceremonial impurity. 

ov diKauodijfferai Trdffa ffdp^.~^ No 
flesh shall be justified : ov . . wag 
with a verb interposed has the 
force of a universal negative, the 
ov adhering to the verb ; as in 
Luke i. 37. ; 1 Cor. xv. 29. The 
two words when following one 
another are usually (but not 
always) taken in the sense of a 
particular "not all." Compare, 
however, Apoc. ix. 4., and above, 

The expression ov . . TTO.Q in the 
first sense is not altogether 
strange to classical Greek. Comp. 
Plat. Phsed. 91. E.: Trorepov l$t], 
TOVQ euTrpoader Xoyovg OVK 
ffQe ij TOVQ JJLEV TOVQ o ov ; 
It is fuller and more direct than 
ovc)(e, and therefore more em- 
phatic. The passages in which 
TTCLQ or ele comes first, such as 

VEB. 21.J 



21 his sight ; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But 
now the righteousness of God without the law has been* 

Apoc. xxii. 3. : irav KaruQefJia OVK 
ecr-ai en ; or Matt. x. 29. : ev e 
avTwv ov 7T<7trai, are the best il 
lustrations of the nature of the 

The whole clause is taken from 
Ps. cxliii. 2. : on ov SiKaiuOiifferai 
erwTTiov CFOV TTO.C; o)) , for which 
latter words the Apostle substi 
tutes Traaa aap, not without an 
allusion to the weakness of the 
flesh in the presence of God. 
Comp. Matt. xxiv. 22. : OVK ar 
eawdr) /rdo-a <rap. 

$ia yap v6pov )t for by the lawJ^ 
We naturally ask why "for?" 
What connexion is there between 
the inference and the reason as 
signed to it ? To us the know 
ledge of sin would seem like the 
first step to justification, not op 
posed to it. 

For the answer to this question 
see Essays on "Justification," 
and on the " Law as the Strength 
of Sin," in which the antagonism 
is pointed out between the law 
as the knowledge of sin, and the 
after sense of acceptance and 
forgiveness. Comp. Rom. vii. 7., 
8. : "I had not known sin, but 
by the law : for I had not known 
lust, except the law had said, 
Thou shalt not covet. But sin, 
taking occasion by the command 
ment, wrought in me all manner 
of concupiscence. For without 
the law sin was dead." 

" Without the law there is no 
transgression;" or, as we might 
say "Without conscience there 
is no sin." No man, therefore, 
can be justified by the law or con 
science ; for this is what makes 
sin to be what it is. The nature 
of sin arises out of the knowledge 

of sin, which is derived from the 

21 23. But now, independent 
of the law, yet not without wit 
ness from the law, the righteous 
ness of God has been manifested 
forth a righteousness of God 
unlike that of the law, through 
faith in Jesus Christ, unto all 
who have faith ; for there is no 
difference, for all have the same 
need, all alike are freely justified. 

21. vwl Se .] It has been argued 
that vwl does not here refer to 
time, because in what has pre 
ceded there is no express mention 
of past time. Yet what the 
Apostle has been saying pre 
viously does refer to the prior 

Although it is true that vvv 
and vwl are frequently used by 
St. Paul to express the conclusion 
of an argument or the summary 
of a previous statement, yet it is 
more probable that in this passage 
he is referring to time. It is a 
thought ever present to his mind, 
that now is the age of the Gospel, 
the time of fulfilment, not of an 
ticipation ; the latter days which 
all former times pointed to, in 
which the truth is living, present, 
and mighty among men. He 
loves to oppose Trore per vvvlle, 
as they had followed in his own 
life, and as they seemed to follow 
in the dispensations of God to 
man. And where, as in this 
passage, the contrast of nore pev 
is omitted, still the thought of 
the Gospel as neither past nor 
future, but present and immediate, 
remains. Compare below, ver. 26. 

iv TW VVV KCLlpto) . V. 11. $1 OV VVV 

rffv KctraXkayriv e\aofj.ev : xvi. 

K 2 



[OH. III. 

, SiKaiOCTVVr) Se 0OV Slot 22 


TTtcrrews ypicrrou 1 , eis Tra^ra? 2 TOV? TncrTevo^Ta?. ov yap 

/\i I I 

eorriv 8iacrTo\TJ Tra^Te? yap rjfJiapTOV KGLL vcrTepovi/Tat T^? 23 
80^779 TOU ^eov, SiKdiovfJievoi Scopeav Trj CLVTOV -^apiTi Sia 24 

TO 6 #eo5 i\a(rTTJpiov Sta moTea>5 

re avrou a/xa- 

2 Add /cal 7rl Travray. 

26., juLVffrrjpiov yjpovoiQ aiwvioiQ ve- 
fie vvv. 


fested.^ This righteousness no 
longer resides only in the bosom 
of God, " a mystery since the 
world began ; " it has been called 
forth into light and may be seen 
of men ; cf. chap. xvi. 25. ; Eph. 
iii. 8, 9. The perfect marks the 
continuance of the manifestation: 
it is not only a point in past time, 
but living and present. 

jjLaprvpovfjiivr), witnessed.^ Comp. 
chap. i. 2. 17. ; Acts, x. 43. 

The Gospel is independent of 
the law, and yet the law and the 
prophets bear it witness. They 
speak of justification by faith, 
Gen. xv. 5, 6., of the just who 
live by faith, Hab. ii. 4., of for 
giveness of sins, Ps. xxxiii. 1, 2., 
of the nearness of God to man, 
Deut. xxx. 14., of the remnant 
who were to be saved, Isai. x. 23., 
of the deliverer out of Sion, Isai. 
lix. 20. ; but these scattered rays 
are very different from the truth 
of Christ, taught by St. Paul. 

VTTO TOV vopov,^ forms a verbal 
antithesis to x w i vo/dov. 

22. diKatoavvr) Se.] But a 
righteousness of another kind, 
of God through faith in Christ, 
unto all that believe. 

Triorfvovrae] answers to ta 
Triorewe, as Tra^rac to TTUQ o Koalas, 
in ver. 19. The latter is further 

emphasised by the clause ov -yap 
effnv diaffToXi] (Comp. chap, x, 11, 
12.), the reason of which universal 
need of salvation is, in ver. 23., 
laid in the universal sinfulness 
of the prior dispensation, the 
statement of which again serves 
as a kind of support of the truth 
with which it alternates, in ver. 
24., the free gift of the grace of 

Travrac Kct ir 
Though the addition KCII tTrl 
TO.Q of the Tex. Rec. is supported 
by insufficient MS. authority 
(A. C.f.g. v.\ and may have arisen 
from a double reading of etc and 
?rt noted in the margin (ait inl 
Travrae), the repetition is not 
unlike the manner of St. Paul. 
Of the two prepositions, etc re 
presents the more internal and 
spiritual relation of the Gospel 
to the individual soul, as ITH, its 
outward connexion with man 
kind collectively.] 

23. fipapTov, have sinned."] In 
classical Greek, and still more 
often in the Greek of the New 
Testament, the aorist is used with 
out any precise notion of time, 
where in English the perfect 
would be employed to mark the 
connexion of a past event with 
present time, or the present to 
express a general statement. 
Compare TrpoeOEro, v. 25. ; *e- 
KXeiadr), V. 27. 



manifested, being witnessed by the law and the pro- 

22 phets ; even the righteousness of God which is by faith 
of 1 Christ unto all them 2 that believe : for there is no 

23 difference : for all have sinned, and come short of the 

24 glory of God ; being justified freely by his grace 

25 through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith*, 

Add Jesus. 

Not the 

image of God in which man was 
created, an interpretation which 
is supported in some degree by 
1 Cor. xi. 7. avijp . . . ft/cwv 
KCU 56a Seov : nor the praise or 
approval of God, for which latter 
sense comp. John, v. 44., xii. 
43. ; but rather a higher spi 
ritual state, an ideal which shall 
one day be realised, the king 
dom of heaven, the manifestation 
of the sons of God, presented 
under another aspect. Comp. 2 
Cor. iii. 18.: "But we all, 
with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are 
changed into the same image 
from glory to glory ; also, Rom. 
v. 2. " This grace wherein we 
stand and rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God." For vcrrepovvTai 
comp. Heb. xii. 15.: p-rj TIG 
airo TTJQ 

24. SiKcttovpEvot ^ojpeav."] Some 
regard this as the principal 
clause, expressed by a participle, 
instead of a verb : " Having 
fallen short of the glory of God, 
they are justified freely." It is 
better to lay the emphasis on 
Supeav, and take cJi/ocuoujuei oi with 
an allusion to ^i/caioo-i;^, in ver. 
22. : There is no difference, 
for all are sinners, and fall short 
of the kingdom of heaven, and 

2 Add and upon all. 

in that they are justified they are 
so freely by the grace of God." 

a7ro\u7-|0(u0-W, redemption,"] as 
of a captive from slavery. Comp. 
Gal. iii. 15.: xjotoroe vjude 
iZYiyoparrev, and our Lord s own 
words, Matt. xx. 28. : " The Son 
of Man came not to be minis 
tered to, but to minister and to 
give his soul a ransom for many." 

25. ov 7TjOO0ro,3 = exhibited, 
set forth to view, as in Ps. liii. 
3., and Thuc. ii. 34., ra /ueV oa- 
TO. TrpOTidevrai rdv uTroyevoperiov. 
Comp. i iv^t&iv and Trefyavepu)- 
TCLL : also Gal. iii. : dig KCIT 
\r}aovQ ^jOtoroG Trpoe- 

iXaffTi ipiov~\ has three senses 
given it by commentators on this 
passage : First, as in Heb. ix. 
5., " mercy-seat," a meaning 
of the word supposed to have 
arisen from a misconception of 
the LXX. respecting the Hebrew 
rp23, the covering of the ark, 
which they wrongly connected 
with "123, to expiate or cover 
sin. This interpretation is too 
obscure and peculiar for the pre 
sent passage : (1.) it would re 
quire the article ; (2.) it is in 
appropriate, because St. Paul is 
not here speaking of the mercy, 
but of the righteousness of God ; 
(3.) the image, if used, should 
be assisted by the surrounding 

K 3 



. III. 

n, el? eVSeifw Trjs SiK<uocrw7?s CLVTOV, Sia TT)I> Trdpecriv 
TTpoyeyovoTw a^aprrnjidriov eV rfj avo^y TOV Oeov, 


CLVTOV iv rw vvv 

Om. ri\v. 

phraseology. Two other expla 
nations offer themselves : either 
(1.) l\a.ffTi]pLov may be a mascu 
line adjective in apposition with 
6V, " whom God set forth as pro 
pitiatory," or better, (2.) a neuter 
adjective, which has passed into 
a substantive, whom God has 
set forth as a " propitiation," like 
crwr/yptoj jEx. xx. 24. ; cf.xxix.28. 
$ta Tr/crewe tv T<*> avrov a /juart.j] 
No such expression occurs in 
Scripture as faith in the blood, 
or even in the death of Christ. 
Nor is tr iff Tie followed by ii> 
in the New Testament, though 
faith, like all other Christian 
states, is often spoken of as ex 
isting in Christ. ( Gal. iii. 26.) 
The two clauses should there 
fore be separated, " through faith 
by his blood." 

<C V%eiiv rijc diKatoffvvrje av- 
rov. ] There are three ways in 
which this manifestation may be 
conceived: (1.) as the life and 
death of Christ are an example 
to all mankind ; (2.) as His 
death was the penalty for sin ; 
(3.) as He is the sum of that 
revelation which the Apostle 
terms " the righteousness of God 
through faith by his blood ; " the 
latter words being an explana 
tion from the objective side of 
what Sta 7r/oTW expresses from 
the subjective, and connecting 
with iXaffrrjptov as c>ia TriaretoQ 
with ^iKaiovfjievoi. Comp. v. 9. : 
EiKaiov/jiEvoi iv TV a tfjiari. 

Sid ri]v TrapEffiv r&v irpoyEyo- 
VQTUV a/zajorj^uaVw) , because of 
the letting go of sins that are 
These words are trans 

lated in the English Version 
" for the remission of sins that 
are past." To this it may na 
turally be objected : " Why of 
sins that are past, rather than 
of sins in general." Sins are 
past to the individual when they 
are forgiven ; but St. Paul is not 
here speaking of individuals, but 
of the world, in which they are 
ever going on. The words of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, ix. 

15. flC a.7TO\VTp(i)fflV T(t)V ETTl TT) 

TTpwTrj SiaOfiKri TrapaScto ewr, offer 
an apparent rather than a real 
parallel. Nor is there any trace 
of the word ndpEffie (which is 
not found in the New Testa 
ment except in this passage) oc 
curring elsewhere in the sense 
of " forgiveness." 

The natural translation of the 
words is : " Because of the let 
ting go or omission of past sins." 
That is the reason why God 
manifests forth his righteous 
ness, because formerly he had 
hidden himself, and seemed not 
to observe sin. "The times of 
that ignorance God winked at, 
but now commands all men 
everywhere to repent." There 
was a moral necessity which 
made the old dispensation the 
cause of the new one. God was 
not willing that men should be for 
ever ignorant of his true nature. 
On the other side it has been 
argued, that when past sins are 
spoken of, it is not necessary to 
think of them as the sins of a 
past world, or a prior dispensa 
tion. The Apostle is laying 
stress on the fact that " at this 

VER. 26.] 



by his blood, to declare his righteousness because of the 

letting go* of sins that are past through the forbearance 

26 of God, for the declaration of his righteousness* at 

very time a new revelation was 
made to man. * Those who re 
ceived this new revelation re 
garded their sins as past in refer 
ence to it ; and so the Apostle 
himself regards them. According 
to this view, the sense of the 
passage could be brought out 
more clearly if the clause Sid rrfv 
rd)v TrpoytyovoTW apap- 
were translated " for 
the remission of their past sins," 
the article referring back to the 
23rd and 24th verses. The word 
irapeffts is rendered a^co-ic by He- 
sychius, and occurs in the Epis 
tles of Phalaris in the sense of 
remission of a debt. 

Once more, to resume the other 
side of the argument, it may be 
truly urged that the words iv rfj 
avoxrj rov deov, v. 26., agree better 
with the thought that God had 
passed over the former sins of 
the world "in his long-suffer 
ing," than to his having forgiven 
them. Long-suffering is not the 
word to apply to the forgive 
ness of sins, but rather to the 
period before they were forgiven, 
or to the delay in taking ven 
geance for them. And on the 
whole it seems better to sup 
pose that St. Paul refers, though 
obscurely, to that "mystery 
which was kept secret since the 
world began," Rom. xvi. 26., of 
which he elsewhere speaks, than 
that he uses words without point 
or in doubtful significations. 

26. (.v rfj avo^y TOV Seov, by 
the long suffering of God. ] These 
words are closely connected with 
what precedes; "the overlooking 

of sin " was an act of mercy. 
Comp. ix. 22., where the delay 
of appointed vengeance is also 
spoken of as mercy : " But if 
God, willing to manifest forth 
his wrath, and to make his 
power known, endured with 
much long suffering the vessels 
of wrath appointed unto destruc 

rrjv ei eiiv rrc 
avrov, for declaration of His 
righteousness. ,] Not, as in the 
English Version, a mere resump 
tion of the previous etc tvdeiZtv, 
" for the manifestation, I say, of 
his righteousness at this time." 
The words rrpbg TTIV eVeiiv rfjg 
SiKatoffvvrjs are in juxtaposition 
with kv ry dvo-%TJ rov Seov, and 
closely connected with Sid rrjv 
TrdpEffiv, as kv TM vvv Kcupu cor 
responds to TtpoytyovoTUV a^uajO- 
T-qparuv. It was partly owing 
to the long suffering of God, that 
he " winked at " past sins ; but 
there was likewise a further ob 
ject, that he should set forth 
His righteousness at the time 
appointed. He hid himself that 
He might be revealed. The ma 
nifestation of His righteousness 
was the counterpart of His 
neglect and long suffering. 
When the eVSti&e was first men 
tioned this point of view was 
not touched upon ; it is now in 
dicated by the article. Comp. 
for a similar mode of connecting 
the two halves of the dispensa 
tion, ver. 20. : " The law came 
in that sin might abound, but 
where sin abounded, grace did 
much more abound." 

K 4 



[OH. III. 

eis TO eu>cu OLVTOV Succuoz> Kal SiKcuowra rov IK 

IIov ovv rj /cav^cris ; e^e/cXetcr^. Sia TTOLOV vopov ; 27 
rail epya)v ; OV^L, a\\a Sta VOJJLOV mcrrea)?. Xoyidju,e#a 28 
yap Si/ccuoucrftu TTtcrret avdpomov 1 ^wpls epyw vopov. if] 29 
9 IovSaia>z> 6 0os \LQVQV, ou^l 2 Acal iOv&v ; val Kal iOvwv, 
tl Trep 3 els 6 #eos os St/caiwcret Tcepiro^v IK Trtcrrew? /cat so 

a o5i>, TTicrrei Si/catoDaflat 


That he may vindicate his 
ways, and be the justifier of him 
that believes, an epexegesis of 
TTJOOC Ttjv eV2aiv, " that his own 
righteousness may be clear, and, 
as a further step, that he may 
clear the believer in Christ." 

27. Hoy ovv rj itai%i}<r<, where 
then is boasting ?"] Comp. 1 Cor. 
i. 31.: "He that glorieth, let 
him glory in the Lord." The 
boasting of the Jew has no room 
left for it; it has been excluded 
by faith. 

E^K\iff9r), it has been excluded."] 
Such is the result of the argu 
ment which preceded. " Upon 
what principle ? " the Apostle 
further asks, applying the word 
vofjLOQ in a new sense to TTIOTIC as 
well as epya. The " law of 
faith " is another name for the 
Gospel, as the " Jew inwardly " 
for the believer, and the " Israel 
of God " for the church. For the 
paronomasia compare vii. 21., 
Kb) apa TOV VOJJLOV TV i\ovri 
Trotelv TO K(i\6i f , on tfjioi TO 
TrapuKEiTai : ii. 14.^ OTCLV 
.... yap edvr) TO. TOV vopov TTOIW- 
fftv, OVTOL fdfjov fjiri e^oi TEG eav- 
TO~IQ dalv vofj-og : and viii. 2., 6 
yap vofjog TOVTrvevparoQ TfJQ ^i}fJQ. 

28. \oyi6pQa ovv, we consider 
then."] Let us hear once more 
the conclusion of the whole 

Add 5e . 

matter : " We consider that 
man is justified by faith, with 
out the deeds of the law." 

When the expression "without 
the deeds of the law " is used, 
does this mean without the deeds 
of the ceremonial or the moral 
law, or without the fruits of faith, 
or without love, or without holi 
ness ? or, when the Apostle says 
"justified," does he mean thereby 
to distinguish "justified" from 
" sanctified," or a first from a se 
cond justification, or to identify 
justification with baptism or with 
conversion? On such questions, 
in past times, have hung the fates 
of nations and of Churches. May 
we venture to supply the Apo 
stle s answer to them ? He might 
have replied, that he meant 
only that men were justified from 
within, not from without ; from 
above, not from below ; by the 
grace of God, and not of them 
selves ; by Christ, not by the 
law ; not by the burden of ordi 
nances ; but by the power of an 
endless life. Comp. "Essay on 
Righteousness by Faith." 

29. Ji lov^aiwv o SEOQ novov ; 
Is he the God of the Jews only ?] 
As in chap, iv., where the fact of 
Abraham s being j ustified by faith 
is immediately coupled with the 
other fact, that he was justified 
in uncircumcision, that he might 

VER. 2730.] 



this time : that he might be just, and the justifier of him 
which believeth in Jesus. 

27 Where is boasting then ? It has* been excluded. 

28 By what law ? of works ? Nay : but by the law of 
faith. For 1 we conclude that a man is justified by faith 

29 without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews 
only ? is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the 

30 Gentiles also : seeing it is one God, which shall justify 
the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through 

1 Therefore. 

be the father of all them that have 
faith ; as in Gal. iii. 25 28. ; 
when faith comes, all mankind 
are one in Christ Jesus ; as in 
the discourse on Mars hill, Acts, 
xvii. 26., the unity of God in 
sensibly leads on the Apostle to 
speak of the unity from man ; so 
in the present passage, the other 
aspect of the great theme flashes 
suddenly upon the Apostle s 
mind. He had already said, that 
the righteousness of God was 
revealed unto all them that be 
lieve. Now, he expressly in 
cludes the Gentile in the circle 
of the faithful. 

30. el TTEP els o ede.] For 
God, as the law said, is one 
God (Deut. vi.4.); one in another 
sense too, knowing no distinction 
of circumcision or uncircumci 
sion, barbarian, Scythian, bond 
or free. 

OQ (UKouwflTft, who will justify."] 
The future is used with reference 
to the day of judgment ; or better, 
more generally with a view to 
the completion of a work, which 
in this world was but beginning, 
whether in each individual or in 
mankind generally. 

EK TTIOTEIOQ and CUtt T7/ TTlffTE W.l 

What distinction can be made 

between the uses Of these two 
prepositions ? We can hardly 
believe that the Apostle uses them 
ironically, as some have sup 
posed ; as though he said, the 
difference between the gift of 
salvation to Jew and Gentile is 
about as great as the difference 
between the prepositions EK and 
oia. It may be suggested, that 
EK iriaTEti)Q be taken with the 
substantive, and eta r% TT/OTCWC 
with the verb, " There is one God 
who will justify the circumcision 
that is of faith (i. e. not that cir 
cumcision which is outward in 
the flesh), and the uncircumcision 
through faith ; " or, in other 
words, "Who will justify faithful 
Israel and the Gentiles equally 
through faith." The expression, 
TTEpiTopiv EK TTtorewc, is thus made 
a sort of paronomasia, like v6p.os 
TTiorewe. Comp. Col. ii. 11.: 
Treptrofj.)) TOV y^ptarov. Conjectures 
may also be hazarded that the 
Apostle has employed EK TTIOTCWC 
to denote the natural inward 
connexion of faith and circum 
cision, which did not equally 
exist in the case of uncircumci 
sion ; or as a better antithesis to 
e epywi/, which (and not Si tpyw> ) 
would have expressed the tenet 



[CH. III. 

iav SLOL TT)S 7ricrre&>9. vopov ovv Karapyou/xei SLOL 31 
rfjs TTicrreo)? ; JLIT) yeVotro, dXXa VOJJLOV i<TTaz>Oju,ez>. 

against which he is contending 
(cf. iv. 2.), and which he may be 
supposed to have in his mind. 

It is perhaps safer to discard 
such refinements and say only 
that we have a similar awkward 
ness of expression to that which 
occurs in chap. v. ver. 7., where, 
as here, different words appear 
to be used where we should ex 
pect the same (vTrep Stco/ov, vnep 
rov ayaQov). Compare, as in 
some degree parallel, Gal. ii. 16. : 
ov fitKatovrai avOpcj- 
popov, idv JJLTI 3ta 


31. Do we then make void the 
law through faith ? That be far 
from us. Nay: we establish the 
law. But how so ? We might 
reply, in the same sense that our 
Saviour said, " I do not come to 
destroy the law, but to fulfil ; " 
to establish the law by requiring 
obedience to a higher law, and 
making obedience to the law in 
any degree possible. The con 
text, however, requires us to 
narrow our interpretation : either 
(1.) with reference to vop.oQ rijQ 
Tr/orewe in ver. 27., we establish 
the law, in that we have a new 

VER. 31.] 



31 faith. Do we then make void the law through faith ? 

God forbid : yea, we establish the law. 

law instead of an old one, a law 
of faith instead of a law of 
works; or, as it is further de 
veloped hereafter, " Christ, the 
end of the law to every one that 
believes." Or, (2.) with reference 
to what follows: "We establish 
the law, in that the law says, 
that Abraham our father was 
justified by faith and not by 
works." Neither of these para 
phrases suits the connexion. The 
first lays too much stress on the 
words vopog rfjg Tr/crrewc, which 
are but a passing expression, too 
far off to explain the allusion in 

iffTaropev. The second is 
inconsistent with the adversative 
ri ovv, of the next Chapter. Most 
probably, the Apostle is either 
referring to the commencement 
of the chapter, in which he had 
proved all men to be under sin 
from the law, or following a 
similar train of thought. In 
this sense we establish the law, 
because we appeal to it to con 
vict men of sin; and this con 
viction of sin is an integral part 
of the dispensation of mercy, 
both in the individual and in the 
world. Comp. ver. 21. 


els & $ebs os 5iKCUc<ret. iii. 30. 

LET us turn aside for a moment to consider how great this thought 
was in that age and country; a thought which the wisest of men had 
never before uttered, which at the present hour we imperfectly 
realise, which is still leavening the world, and shall do so until the 
whole is leavened, and the differences of races, of nations, of castes, of 
religions, of languages, are finally done away. No thing could seem a less 
natural or obvious lesson in the then state of the world, nothing could 
be more at variance with experience, or more difficult to carry out 
into practice. Even to us it is hard to imagine that the islander of 
the South Seas, the pariah of India, the African in his worst estate, 
is equally with ourselves God s creature. But in the age of St. Paul 
how great must have been the difficulty of conceiving barbarian 
and Scythian, bond and free, all colours, forms, races, and languages 
alike and equal in the presence of God who made them ! The origin 
of the human race was veiled in a deeper mystery to the ancient 
world, and the lines which separated mankind were harder and 
stronger ; yet the " love of Christ constraining " bound together in 
its cords, those most separated by time or distance, those who were 
the types of the most extreme differences of which the iiuman form 
is capable. 

The idea of this brotherhood of all mankind, the great family on 
earth, implies that all men have certain ties with us, and certain 
rights at our hands. The truest way in which we can regard them 
is as they appear in the sight of God, from Whom they can never 
suffer wrong ; nor from us, while we think of them as His creatures 
equally with ourselves. There is yet a closer bond with them as our 


brethren in the Gospel. No one can interpose impediments of rank 
or fortune, or colour or religious opinion, between those who are one 
in Christ. Beyond and above such transitory differences is the work 
of Christ, " making all things kin." Moreover, the remembrance of 
this brotherhood is a rest to us when our " light is low," and the 
world and its distinctions are passing from our sight, and our thoughts 
are of the dark valley and the solitary way. For it leads us to trust 
in God, not as selecting us, because He had a favour unto us, but as 
infinitely just to all mankind. It links our fortunes with those of 
men in general, and gives us the same support in reference to our 
eternal destiny, that we receive from each other in a narrow sphere 
in the concerns of daily life. To think of ourselves, or our church, 
or our country, or our age, as the particular exceptions which a 
Divine mercy makes, whether in this life or another, is not a thought 
of comfort, but of perplexity. Lastly : It relieves us from anxiety 
about the condition of other men, of friends departed, of those 
ignorant of the Gospel, of those of a different form of faith from 
our own ; knowing that God who has thus far lifted up the veil, 
" will justify the circumcision through faith, and the uncircumeision 
by faith ; " the Jew who fulfils the law, and the Gentile who does by 
nature the things contained in the law. 



AGAIN the Apostle appears as at the commencement of the third 
chapter, either in the person of an objector, or as ready to answer the 
objections of others, and puts a question which has, however, no 
direct answer. He had asked above, " What advantage, then, had the 
Jew, if Jew and Gentile are alike concluded under sin ? " This ques 
tion in the previous chapter was shortly disposed of, as the Apostle 
was hurrying on to enforce his main thesis, " that all mankind were 
under sin." Now it returns upon us again in an altered form, no 
longer asked in reference to the Jew whose prerogative is admitted 
to have passed away, but to Abraham the father of the Jewish race. 
It might be that the Jew had no advantage, but that Abraham had 
what shall we say then ? 

At the end of the second chapter the Apostle had almost declared 
that Jew and Gentile were both alike ; of this he stopt short and 
spoke in a figure of the spiritual Israelite. In the same way in the 
fourth chapter, he answers the question which he himself raises, by 
putting the spiritual in the place of the fleshly Abraham. " What 
shall we say that Abraham found, our progenitor according to the 
flesh ? or what shall we say, that Abraham our progenitor found 
according to the flesh ? " The intended answer according to either 
way of reading the question is " nothing ; " for what he found was not 
an advantage of that kind for which the Israelite hoped ; it was an 
advantage not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. 
But St. Paul avoids the harshness of this inference by a digression 
in which he points out that the blessedness of Abraham was not of 
works, but of faith. In this digression he takes up a thread of the 


argument at the conclusion of the last chapter in which glorying is 
excluded. " If Abraham were justified by works, he would have 
whereof to glory : " this, however, is impossible, and expressly con 
tradicted by the words of Scripture, which says, " Abraham believed 
God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." This is the in 
direct answer to the question, " What shall we say that Abraham 
found, our progenitor according to the flesh ? " 

Subordinate to this assertion of the general principle in the person 
of Abraham, is the minor question respecting the time of which the 
words were spoken " not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision," in 
which little fact the Apostle read their universal import. Circum 
cision came afterwards ; it had nothing to do with the faith or with 
the promise that had preceded ; it only conveyed through Abraham 
the privileges of which it was the seal to the faithful everywhere. 
(Compare Gal. iii. 17.) The sign of circumcision was but the 
accident of that higher relation in which the Patriarch stood already 
to God and man. As in the last chapter the words, " a man is jus 
tified by faith without the deeds of the law " (ver. 28.), were quickly 
followed by the declaration (ver. 29.), that " God was the God of the 
Gentiles also ; " so here the statement that Abraham " believed God, 
and it was counted to him for righteousness," leads the Apostle in 
stantly to think of him as the " heir of the world," a title with which 
the pride of the Israelite delighted to invest him. Is he the father 
of the Jews only, is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yes ; both aspects 
of the Gospel are seen in him. And the narrative of the birth of 
Isaac the calling of the living out of the dead is repeated by 
the Apostle with a kind of triumph as a lesson of new and universal 



[On. IV. 

TL ovv epovfJiev evprjKtvai A/Spaa^ TOP TrpoTrdropa rj^wv 4 
/caret crap/ca 1 ; ei yap A/BpaafJi ef epywv eSiKmw^fy, e^et 2 
.a } dXX ov Trpos deov? TL yap rj ypa^r) Xeyei ; 3 
Se ^A/Bpaafj. rw #ea>, KOL eXoyicr^ aurw eis 
rw Se epya^o/xeVw 6 /ucr^o? ou Xoyierai 4 

1 epov/ Af3paafj. rbv Trare pa ^u&>v 

IV. How then do we meet the 
case of Abraham ? The Apo 
stle replies by giving a spiritual 
meaning to the narrative in Ge 
nesis and to other passages of the 
Old Testament. 

TI ovv is adversative, not " what 
then if the case be so with the 
law, shall we say that Abraham 
hath found," but a resumption of 
the train of thought with which 
the third chapter commenced, TI 
OVVTO Tripirrvov TOV lovcWoy, which 
was suppressed in what followed, 
and again resumed at v. 9. and 
suppressed. The Apostle once 
more takes up the same point, but 
in a softened tone, and is about 
to show that Abraham the father 
of the faithful is a middle term 
between the old and new, as " the 
Israelite indeed " was at the end 
of chap. ii. 

KO.TO. ffapKa, ] by some opposed 
to Kara Trrevjua, comp. i. 3. 4.; what 
then shall we say that Abraham 
found, not according to the spirit 
but according to the flesh ? comp. 
Gal. iv. 29. Without introduc 
ing the idea of this opposition, 
the meaning will be nearly the 
same, " What then shall we say 
that Abraham found, as the por 
tion of his fleshly inheritance," 
or " as receiving the sign out 
ward, in the flesh," comp. Eph. 
ii. 11. fcara trapxa may be also 
taken with TOV TrpoTraTopa fj i 
comp. 2 Cor. v. 16., 



: which of the two con 

structions we adopt depends 
partly upon the order of words 
in the manuscripts, which is it 
self doubtful. 

2. el yap A^paajj, i tpyw t^t- 
Kcuu)0rj, e-^ei Kav^na, for if Abra 
ham were justified by ivorks, he 
hath whereof to glory. ~\ These 
words refer to the 27th verse of 
the previous chapter, in which 
glorying is excluded, not by the 
law of works, but of faith: as if 
the Apostle had said " What 
shall we say that Abraham found, 
our progenitor according to the 
flesh ? For we are in danger of 
contradicting ourselves if we 
maintain that Abraham was 
justified by works ; he would then 
have whereof to glory. But in his 
relation to God this is impossible, 
for the Scripture expressly says, 
* he was justified by faith. " Here 
are two arguments to show that 
Abraham was not justified by 
works: (1.) from what pre 
cedes, because he would have had 
whereof to glory ; which is con 
firmed (2.) by the statement of 
Genesis which is to follow. 

a\X ov TrpoQ S eo* , but not 
before God.~] This clause may 
be taken in three ways: (1.) 
We may place a stop after K-av- 
Xnna, and suppose what follows to 
be an ejaculation, the very 
abruptness of which gives em 
phasis to the denial of the Apo 
stle. " For if Abraham was jus 
tified by works, he bath some- 

VER. 14.] 



4 What shall we then say that Abraham hath found, 

2 our progenitor according to the flesh ? l For if Abraham 
were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory ; but 

3 not before God. For what saith the scripture ? But * 
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him 

4 for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the 

1 Our father as pertaining to the flesh hath found. 

thing according to the flesh, he 
hath whereof to glory." Nay, 
says the Apostle, half forgetful 
that the impossibility is already 
implied ; before God this is im 
possible. Comp. tyw Kav^fTiv 
ev yjiiGTU) Irjcrov TCI 7rpO TOV -&OJ , 
Eom. xv. 17. Or (2.) The words 
ou Trpog Seov may be taken with 
ec>u-cud>0f?. But no, it was only 
an external justification that 
Abraham or any man could have ; 
not a justification KpoQ $eov if it 
was by works. Compare the 
opposition of Ifiia dLKatoavvr) and r/ 
TOV Oeov (SuKctLoavvr), in x. 3. Or, 
(3.) the last two clauses of ver. 2. 
may be taken as one, and the ad 
versative aXXct regarded as an 
abrupt and imperfect expression 
for "although." The Apostle 
would say : " For if Abraham 
was justified by works he had 
whereof to glory in himself, al 
though it is admitted not before 
God." The latter words thus 
become a qualification of the ob 
jection rather than an answer to 
it. For a similar wavering be 
tween two opposite statements, 
comp. chap. iii. 3. 5., v. 13. (which 
also contains an attempt to meet 
an objection arising out of a pre 
vious train of thought), vii. 25. 
The chief difficulty according to 
this mode of taking the passage 
is the failure of connexion with the 
words that follow, which must 
then be referred back to ver. 1. 

TL yap r/ ypafyi] \lyei ; for what 

saith the scripture ?] Gen. xv. 
6. from the LXX. li a part of 
the quotation, but also adversa 
tive, as in Rom. i. 17. 

The faith of Abraham was not 
first adduced by St. Paul. It is 
enlarged upon by Philo, and was 
familiar to the Jews. Though 
not the same with a faith in 
Christ, it was analogous to it : 
(1.) as it was a faith in unseen 
things, Heb. xi. 1719. ; (2.) as 
it was prior to and independent 
of the law, Gal. iii. 1719.; 
and, (3.) as it related to the pro 
mised seed in whom Christ was 
dimly seen, Gal. iii. 8. 

4. rw <) ipya^opiva), now to him 
that worketh.^ A play upon the 
word e joywy in ver. 2. ; " but it is 
otherwise with him that works," 
&c. ce is adversative to the pre 
vious verse. The Apostle is pre 
paring to show that Abraham 
did not " work." He lays down 
an axiom drawn from common 
life : " The worker has his 
hire, of debt not of favour." 
But this was not the case with 
Abraham ; he belonged to the 
other class, of those who have 
faith without works. 

That the stress of the Apostle s 
argument falls partly upon \oyi- 
treu seems to follow from the 
threefold recurrence of the word, 
as also from its signification of 
"counted," "reckoned." Faith 



[On. IV. 

Kara ydpiv, aXXa /caret ocpeiX^/m 1< ra Se /XT) epyao/, 5 

Se CTTI To^ Si/caioiWa TOJ> acreflrj, Xoyierai 7) 
avrov eis St/caiocrwTiz . KaOdirep KOI JauelS Xeyet, 6 
KapLcrfJiov rov dvOpMTTOV a* 6 #eos Xoyierai St/caio- 
crvvrjv ^copis tpyw, MaKapioi >v d^eOTjcrav al dvopiai KO! 7 
cS*> 7TKa\v<fi0rjo-av al a/xa/mai* jua/capios dvrjp GJ ou /XT) 8 
XoyuTTirai Kvpios dpapriav. 6 /xa/ca/xcr/xos ow ouro? CTTL 9 
TT)Z^ TrepiTOfJLTJv, T) Km CTTI TT)^ aKpofivo-Tiav ; Xeyo/x,ei> yap 
[ort] eXoyicrOrj rat *A/3padp, rj Trtcrrts eis St/catocrw^^. 
77a>s ow IXoyicrOrj ; iv TrepLTOp^fj OVTL, rj iv aKpofivcrTia ; K 
ov/c e^ TrepirofJifj, aXX e^ aKpo/Bvcrria, Kal crrjfjielov eXa- r 
/Se^ TrepiTOfJirj^, cr^ayiSa TT;? St/caiocrw^s TT}S 
TT}S e^ TT^ aKpopvcrTLa, ets TO el^at OLVTQV Trarepa 

was counted, reckoned, to Abra 
ham for righteousness. But it 
cannot be said that reward is 
" counted " of grace to him that 
doeth works ; it is his due. A 
slight obscurity arises from the 
inaccurate use of the same word 
in both cases, the real meaning 
being, OVK tXoyiaQr) Kara X"P tv ? 
a\\a ecrrt /car o0a \r?/za. The ex 
pression is a Hebraism ; it occurs 
also in Ps. cvi. 31 (said of Phine- 
has, e\oyiffd>i avrweie %LKO.Loavvr}v\ 
and elsewhere. 

5. The case of Abraham is lost 
sight of in the case of mankind 
generally. As elsewhere, faith 
and works are diametrically op 
posed to each other. The Apo 
stle does not mean to say that it 
is to him who partly or imper 
fectly works that faith is imputed. 
But he conceives the state of 
faith and of works as antithetical 
and mutually exclusive of each 
other. Comp. xi. 6.: el SE 
XapiTi, ovKtri k 6, epywv, eirei f) xPC 
ou/cfc ri yiverai ^aptQ. 

6 8. Similar to this is the 
language which David uses of 

the blessedness of him to whom 
God imputes righteousness with 
out works, of the forgiveness of 
sins, the covering of sins, the 
non-imputation of sins, Psalm 
xxxii. 1, 2. The similarity is 
not in the words, but in the 
thought; justification and for 
giveness of sins being two dif 
ferent aspects of the same idea. 
This is the true harmony of the 
Old Testament and the New, 
consisting not in minute coinci 
dences of words or events, but in 
communion of spirit ; David and 
Isaiah saying at one time : 
"Blessed is the man to whom 
the Lord will not impute sin ; " 
and, " Though your sins were as 
scarlet, they shall be white as 
snow." Arid our Saviour and 
St. Paul at another time : 
" Believe, and thy sins shall be 
forgiven thee ; " and, " Being jus 
tified freely by his grace, through 
the redemption of Jesus Christ." 
9. 6 fjiaKapLcrpor;^ not this 
blessedness, but this declaration of 
blessedness ; this word blessed, is 
it applied to the circumcised only 

VER. 511.] 



5 reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. Bat to 
him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justi- 
fieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the 
man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without 

7 works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are 
s forgiven, and whose sins are covered ; blessed is the 
o man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. This de 
claration* of blessing is it to the circumcision only that 
it is spoken, or to the uncircuincision also? 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 un- 

[i circumcision. And he received the* mark of circumci 
sion, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he 
had in his * uncircumcision 

or to the uncircumcised also ? 
cf. Gal. iv. 15. The Apostle 
"goes off upon a word," which 
he makes a stepping-stone to his 
former subject. He might have 
said, " All this applies to all 
mankind, Jew as well as Gen 
tile." But he prefers to reason 
out his argument from the case 
of Abraham in the Old Testa 
ment. What more shall we say 
of this blessedness ? does it be 
long to the uncircumcision or to 
the circumcision only ? For, not 
to lose sight of our former in 
stance, we assert that faith was 
reckoned to Abraham for righ 
teousness. Let us ask the fur 
ther question: "How was it 
reckoned to him ? " The answer 
is, not in circumcision, but uncir 

The argument may seem slight 
to us ; it was forcible to the Jew. 
The state which was odious and 
almost loathsome to him, was the 

that he might be the father 

state in which the father of the 
faithful found favour of God. 
Abraham, too was once uncir 

11, 12. And circumcision came 
afterwards, as the effect not tho 
cause, the seal not the instru 
ment, of the faith which Abra 
ham had had in a previous state. 
The object of this was that he 
might be the spiritual parent of 
all those who like him have faith, 
yet being uncircumcised, that the 
righteousness that was sealed in 
him might be counted to them. 
There was a further object, that 
he might link together in one 
circumcision and uncircumcision, 
and be a father of circumcision 
to those who walk in the foot 
steps of the faith, which he had 
in his prior state. o-r/^eToj/, like 
o-^pay/f, refers to the outward 
mark of circumcision, which is 
also a sign of the promise. KIQ 
TO elvai ... etc ro \oyia. t not in the 

L 2 



[Cn. IV. 


crdrjvaL aurots 1 TTJV SiKaioo vv qv, Kal warepa TrepiTOfjirjs, rot? 12 


TT?S tv aKpo/BvcTTLa 2 mareajs TOU Trarpos TI^V 

ov yap Sta vo^ov rj eTrayyeXia TO> AfipadfJi TJ T&> 13 
avrov, TO K\rjpoi^6p,oi avrov cum Kocrfjiov 3 , dXXa 

e*> TT; 

1 /cai 

thoughts of Abraham, but in the 
purpose of God. 

Tr\v %iKcnoavvr]v is a resumption 
of ff(f)pay~i^a TYJQ ()ii:aio(rvvr}Q at the 
commencement of the verse, as 
T&V Triffrevoj Twv Sio. a.Kpov(TTia., 
and rijs iv cLKpo^varia TriffreioQ in 
ver. 12. of the words r>/c Tr/crrew^ 
77/c tv 7"^ uKpo^vffTia, which pre- 
cede. 3i aKpo^variaq is not mate 
rially different from y uKpoSvcrria. 
The notion of the mean or in 
strument passes into that of the 
state or circumstance. 

Trare joa Trepiro^rjg,^ i. e. a father 
conveying the benefits of circum 
cision. Comp. the nearly pa 
rallel expressions, Eph. i. 17. : 6 
7rar/)p Tfjg &4&fj 2 Cor. i. 3. : 6 
Trarfjp r&v oiKTipfjitity, and the pa 
rallel thought in Rom. xv. 8, 9. : 
"Now I say that Jesus Christ 
was a minister of the circumci 
sion for the truth of God, to con 
firm the promises made to the 
fathers; and that the Gentiles 
might glorify God for his mercy." 

It is not quite clear whether 
the words aX\a /cat TOIQ arot^oiJ- 
aiv refer to believing Jews, or to 
believers in general, whether 
Jew or Gentile. If the first, 
they are a limitation on the pre 
ceding clause : "A father of 
circumcision to those who are 
not only circumcised but be 
lieving, who, like Abraham, have 
the sign in the flesh, and also 
walk in the footsteps of the faith 
which he had when uncircum- 

8 TOU Kocrpov. 

cised." This mode of taking 
the passage has the advantage of 
retaining the words rote OVK in 
their natural order. A want of 
point, however, is felt in the 
clause "which he had when uncir- 
curncised." For although the faith 
of Abraham might be generally 
regarded as a source of blessing 
equally to Jew or Gentile, " the 
faith which he had when uncir- 
cumcised " had no peculiar signi 
ficance for the Jew. The rote be 
fore aroi^ovaiv is also against this 
way of explaining the clause. 
And, notwithstanding the inac 
curacy of expression, the form of 
the first clause, ro7c OVK EK irepiro- 
pijg jjioi ov, is so similar as to lead to 
the inference that it must have 
the same meaning with ov TV IK 
TOV t 6fj.ov poror, in ver. 16. 

It is simpler and better to re 
fer aXXti KO.I TO~IQ aTOt^ovaiv to the 
Gentiles. The meaning of the 
latter part of ver. 11, 12. will 
then be as follows : That he 
might as he had faith himself 
be the father of those who had 
faith ; and as he was circumcised 
himself, be a father conveying 
the benefits of circumcision to 
those who walk in the footsteps 
of the faith which he had when 
uncircumcised. Or, in other 
words, that he might be the father 
of the faithful, whether Jew or 
Gentile, and convey to them the 
privileges of Jews. 

It does not follow that the 



of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, 

12 that the* righteousness might be imputed unto them 1 , 
and the father of circumcision* riot to them who are of 
the circumcision only, but to them also who walk in the 
steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he 

13 had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, 
that he should be the heir of the world, was not 
to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but 

Add also. 

class represented in the first 
member of the division (TU~IQ OVK 
in; TTfpLTOfj.fjc novov} are excluded 
from the second ; any more than 
in Gal. vi. 16., "As many as 
shall walk according to this rule, 
peace be on them, and mercy, 
and upon the Israel of God," it 
follows that the Israel of God 
can be distinguished from those 
mentioned in the first part of the 
sentence. The division of the 
Apostle is not logical, but spiri 
tual ; that is, it is a division, not 
of persons, but of the aspects 
under which they may be re 
garded. In the present passage 
the importance of the second 
clause has obscured the first. 
Comp. for a similar imperfect 
division the passage quoted above, 
Rom. xv. 8, 9., and below, ver. 16. 
13. The Apostle had been ar 
guing that Abraham received 
the gift of righteousness, not in 
circumcision, but in uncircumci- 
sion. He proceeds to gene 
ralise his previous statement. 
The words that follow, that it 
was not " through the law, that 
the promise was made to Abra 
ham that he should be the heir 
of the world," we may regard 
either as the ground of what has 
preceded, or a deduction from it. 
That would be inconsistent with 

the universality of the promise, 
and with the express words of 
Scripture, that " Abraham was 
justified by faith." The reason 
is partly gathered from what 
precedes, partly repeated in what 
follows ; the purport of which is 
to show the diametrical opposi 
tion of faith and the law, in their 
nature and in their effects. 

TraTtpa ro tQ 7riorvoi;<7t.] As in 
Apocal. xxi. 7. : eo-o^ucu avrw Oeo. 
, dat. of place. 

avrov f.lva.1 TOV 
The Apostle is alluding 
to Gen. xv. 7. : eyw 6 $(.OQ 6 ea- 
yaywj ore ec ^a jpac Xa\c!cuwv &are 
^ovvai ffot TYJV y7]v ravrrjv K\rjpoyo- 
pf] ff at. Compare also Gen. xvii. 
5. : Trarepa TroXXwv idvtiv TedetKo. 
&e; and xiii. 15.: on Traaav TI)V 

Ka T (TTreppaTi ffov ewe 
The Rabbis extended this pro 
mise to the whole earth. So 
Mechilta, upon Exodus, xiv. 31., 
quoted by Tholuck, " Our father 
Abraham possesses the world 
that now is, and that which is to 
come, not by inheritance, but by 
faith." In this passage the 
Apostle has similarly enlarged 
it. The expression may be re 
garded either: (1.) as a hyper 
bole, as Jerusalem is said in the 
Psalms to be " the joy of the 



[CH. IV. 

TTLcrreco?. e yap o K VOJJLOV Kr^povopoi, u 
/ce/ceVa)T(u rj TTICTTIS KCLL KaTTjpyrjTaL rj InayyeXia 6 yap 15 
Z OJLCO? opyj]v Karepydt^rai. ov 8e ou/c * ecrrl^ vopos, ouSe 
7rapd/BacrLS. Sia rouro CK Trurrecos, tVa /caret ydpiv, 19 TO 15 
eivai fizfiaiav rrjv lirayyeXiav TTOVTI T> crTrep/x-art, ou ra> CAC 
TOL> VQ^LQV ^LQVQV, dXXa Kal TO) e/c TTtcTTews AfipadjJL, os i<JTiv 

1 ov 7&/> ow/c. 

wliole earth," or as darkness is 
said to have "come over the 
whole earth " at the Crucifixion ; 
or (2.) the promised land may be 
taken as the type of the world. 
On the one hand, it must not be 
forgotten, in the explanation of 
this and similar expressions, that 
the world did not present to the 
ancients the same distinct idea 
and conception as to ourselves ; 
nor, on the other hand, that the 
thought of the promised land 
was inseparable to the true Is 
raelite from the thought of a 
world to come. The words of 
the book of Genesis themselves 
might seem to the Apostle to 
promise more than had been or 
could be fulfilled in this world. 
He was fixing his mind on some 
thing higher than the occupation 
of the promised land by the Is 
raelites. It was this which gave 
the promise to Abraham a new 

14. el yctjo ol IK vopov KXqpoyo- 
yuot, for if they of the law be 
heirs.^ When it is said that 
Abraham is the heir of the 
world, is it his descendants under 
the law, who are to be regarded 
as heirs with him ? That cannot 
be, as faith would then be no 
longer faith, and the promise no 
longer a promise. What may be 
termed the substratum of the 
Apostle s argument, is the mutu 
ally exclusive character of faith 

and the law, separated as they 
were by time, belonging to two 
orders of ideas and opposed in 
their effects on the heart of man ? 
In the third chapter of the 
Epistle to the Galatians, a simi 
lar opposition is drawn out be 
tween the promise, as a blessing, 
and the law, as a curse ; and the 
promise is, in like manner, iden 
tified with the Gospel. The ar 
gument from time is again used, 
as showing the priority of faith. 

15. For the law is the very 
opposite of grace and faith and 
the promise ; it works wrath not 
mercy ; it takes men away from 
God instead of drawing them 
to him ; it makes transgressions 
where they were not before. 

ov t)e OVK tarlv I ojjoc, and where 
there is no law.~\ Comp. ver. 20. 
of the preceding chapter : " There 
fore, by the deeds of the law shall 
no flesh be justified in his sight, 
for by the law is the knowledge 
of sin." So here: "The law 
worketh wrath, and where there 
is no law there is no transgres 

o35eovjcc0r<> ,] seems like a gloss 
at first sight. It is not really so, 
however, its apparent want of 
point only arising from the form 
of the sentence, which is more 
adversative than its meaning. 
Comp. Rom. xiii. 1. It may be 
paraphrased, "and makes trans 



H through the righteousness of faith. For if they which 
are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the 

15 promise made of none effect: for* the law worketh 
wrath : and l where no law is, there is no transgression. 

is 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, 

1 For. 

For a fuller explanation of 
these passages, the reader is re 
ferred to the Essay on the 
Strength of Sin is the Law. 
The real difficulty respecting 
them arises from the state with 
out law being an imaginary one. 
We readily admit that, if any 
where there is no knowledge and 
no conscience, as in the case of 
a child, a savage, or a madman, 
there it is impossible there can 
be transgression. Of such we 
should say that they were not to 
be judged by our standard ; that 
what to our moral notions was 
an offence was no offence to 
them ; that in their case the 
laws of civilised countries did 
not apply. Our difficulty is to 
conceive the same absence of re 
sponsibility in rational being*. 
The truth is, that there is no 
absence of responsibility, except 
in that imaginary state of which 
the Apostle is speaking ; a state 
without knowledge and without 
law, and, therefore, conceived of, 
as without evil and without 
crime. This the Apostle de 
scribes in the words " Where 
there is no law there is no trans 
gression ; " or, " sin is not im 
puted where there is no law." 
Only the law of which he is 

speaking is not a mere external 
rule, but within and without at 
once, piercing "even to the di 
viding asunder of the soul and 
spirit." Hence it works wrath, 
not merely in inflicting penalties 
for sin, but as itself the punish 
ment of the poor human creature 
who falls under its influence. 

16. Again the Apostle gathers 
up in a conclusion the links of 
his argument, not without allu 
sion to his former statements 
in ver. 4. 11. 12.: therefore, 
that is, because it was not and 
could not be of the law, the 
promise was of faith, that it 
might be according to grace, and 
stand firm to all his spiritual 
children, circumcised as well as 
uncircumcised ; to all, that is, 
who have the faith of Abraham, 
who is the father, not of the Jew 
only, but of us all. 

in: 7Tt0Ta>r.^] Either >/ K\rjpo- 
vofjiia. may be supplied from what 
precedes, or r\ tTrayyeXta from 
what follows, or, better still, the 
ambiguity may remain, as in E. 
V. u-a and EIQ TO waver in 
meaning between "result" and 
" object." Kara -^npir : eirj is omit 
ted on account of the following 
ctrat. TrcuTt r&> tnrep^iart, that is, to 
the children of the faith of Abra- 

L 4 



[CH. IV. 

TTCLTrjp 7rdvT(t)V THJLO>V (/ox$(i>s ylypoLTTTai on Trarepa 7TO\\a>v 17 
T@u<d ere) KarevavTL ov eVicrrevcrez 6eov, rov 


ovra. 09 Trap eA/TuSa e^> 5 eXTuSi eTrtcrreucre^, eis TO ye^e crftu 18 
avTov TTCLTepa TroXXwz Idvojv Kara TO tipruJLevov Ourco? eo~rat 
TO cnrepfAa crov. KCU /XT) dcrdevrjcras rfj Tricrrei /ca/rez o^crez 1 19 
TO eauTou orojfjia [17877] veveKpoifJievov, eKaTovTaeTTjs TTOV 

Kal Trjv vtKptocrw rrjs [JLTJrpas 5appa?, et? e TT^ 20 
^ TOU ^eoi) ou SieKpiGrj rfj amcrTia, dXX e 

ham as well as to the children of 
circumcision, the whole seed spo 
ken of in verse twelve (comp. Gal. 
iii. 16., where r&> o-Tr^uan is appli 
ed not to believers, but to Christ). 
rut EK TT/orcwr: either rut a-nippon 
rov AfipaapEK TT/OTCWC, or rw GTrip- 
{JLari EK itLcrrewQ rov Afipaap. 

17. Even as the Scripture im 
plies that Abraham was not the 
father of one nation only, but of 
many, Gen. xvii. 5. quoted lite 
rally from the LXX. 

KarEvavn ov ETrio-rEvtrEi S eoi/, be 
fore God whom he believed. ] KCL- 
Tivavn has been sometimes taken 
in the sense of like " God whom 
he believed, as though Abraham 
the father of the Jewish race, 
were to be regarded as the type 
of " the God and Father of us 
all." But such a parallel be 
tween the creature and the Cre 
ator is unlike the language of 
Scripture, and the word Kari- 
vavri) in six other passages where 
it occurs, has always the mean 
ing of "over against," "opposite 
to." It is the genuine reading 
in 2 Cor. ii. 17. (Ka.riva.rri 3^oi)), 
where it can only have the sense 
of "before," "in the presence 
of," which must therefore be its 
meaning in the present passage. 
Either we may suppose that a 
particular reference is intended 

to the fact that these nations had 
as yet no existence but in the 
presence of God, who calleth 
" the things that are not as 
though they were ; " or the ex 
pression may be merely designed 
to set forth the solemnity of the 
occasion and the reality of the 
promise, as the angels of children 
are said ever " to behold his 
face," Matt, xviii. 10. ; or as in 
Eph. i. 4., the Church is said to 
be holy and blameless in his pre 
sence. As if to realise it, St. 
Paul transfers the scene of the 
promise to the presence of God. 

ov ETriarEvaEi .^ Attraction com 
monly takes place only when the 
relative would otherwise be in 
the accusative case : here, and in 
other comparatively rare in 
stances, for the dative. 

rov ^woiroiovvroQ rovg VEKpovg, 
who quicheneth the dead,~\ con 
tains a threefold allusion, (1.) to 
the resurrection of Christ, cf. 
ver. 24. ; (2.) to the quickening 
of Sarah s womb ; (3.) to the 
new birth of the Gentiles. 

Ka,\ovvTOQ ra. pi) OVTCL WQ OJTCJ.J 
Not " God calls things that are 
not into being ; " the expression 
is stronger God calls things 
that are not, as though they 
were indiiferently things that 
are not, and things that are. 



17 (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many 
nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, 
who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things 

is which be not as though they were. Who against 
hope believed in hope, that he might become the 
father of many nations, according to that which was 

19 spoken, So shall thy seed be. And not as one weak in 
faith 1 he considered his own body now dead when he 
was about an hundred years old, and the deadness of 

20 Sarah s womb : he staggered not at the promise of God 
through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory 

1 And being not weak in faith he considered not. 

The words refer primarily to the 
creation, which is a figure of the 
admission of the Gentiles. The 
same God who called the world 
out of nothing, made Abraham 
the father of a spiritual Israel, 
when as yet there was none of 
them. Comp. 1 Cor. i. 28. : 
s\aro 6 -9"oc TU p.rj OVTCI, iva TO. 
orra K 

18. OQ Trap eA7r/a </> 
<mvo-j , who against hope believed 
in hope.~\ Who believed in hope 
beyond or against hope, whose 
faith supplied hope when there 
was no hope. Abraham consi 
dered not the grounds of hope or 
of despair, but simply believed. 

ftg TO yEj fVOcu avrov, that he 
might become.~\ This was, strictly 
speaking, the result (" and the 
consequence was that he be 
came"), but in the language of 
the New Testament it is de 
scribed as the object. Comp. v.l 6. 

ovrwc form.] Compare Gen. 
xv. 4. : "And he brought him 
forth abroad and said, Look now 
toward heaven and tell the stars 
if thou be able to number them. 
And he said unto him, So shall 
thy seed be." 

19. Kal prj aaQer. ryrr/fTTei Kc 

A. B. C. ; OV KO.Ttv6r}(TV, &. G. f. g. 

The first reading has far greater 
manuscript authority ; it is urged, 
however, that it is a correction 
taken from Gen. xvii. 7. It 
may be replied that the remem 
brance of this passage ( A/3pac <ju 
i7ref kv rr\ Ziavoia, avrov, Ae ywr, Ei 

TtJ {.KCLTOVTaETti l yei f)(JTUl HOQj 

Koi el r] 2appa ivvevYiKovTO. fYwV 
re Eereu ;) is as likely to have been 
in the Apostle s mind as in the 
corrector s. For the general 
meaning, compare Heb. xi. 12. : 
" Therefore sprang there even 
of one, and him as good as dead, 
so many as the stars of the sky 
in multitude, and as the sand 
which is by the sea shore innu 
merable." And ver. 19.: "Ac 
counting that God was able to 
raise him up, even from the 
dead ; from whence also he re 
ceived him in a figure." The 
strangeness of the birth of the 
Gentiles is parallel with the im 
probability of the birth of Isaac. 
20. ?c Se TYIV eTrayyeXtar rov 
Seov, but at the promise of God.~\ 
These words are best taken after 
fVfcWajuwftij Trj 7r/0Tt, or rather 
after the one idea presented by 
the contrast of ov cutKpidr) ry 



[Cri. IV. 

ovf oa^ rw t&, gvng 
to God,~] as though the blessin 
were already received. 

22. Therefore his faith was 
counted to him for righteousness. 
The stream of the Apostle s dis 
course ends as it began. 

23. And this passage in the 
history of Abraham is intended 
to be a lesson for us, who, like 
him, are justified by faith. For 
the meaning compare 2 Peter i. 
20. : 7racra Trpofyrjreia ypatyiJQ IciaQ 
ETrtXvffeiog ov yivtrai : that is, all 
Scripture has a universal and 
spiritual meaning ; and 1 Cor. ix. 
9, 10. : "Doth God take care for 
oxen ? Or saith he it altogether 
for our sakes?" Compare the 
Rabbinical Commentary Beres- 
chit Rabba, quoted by Tholuck: 
" What is written of Abraham, 
is written also of his children ; " 
also the expression in Gal. iv. 
24., ciTtva kanv a\\r}yopoi)^ 
St. Paul drew no distinction 
such as is familiar among our 
selves, between the application 
of Scripture and its original 
meaning. To him its first and 
original meaning was the great 
truth of the Gospel. 

24. vote TrLffrf.vova/u j iii the 
English version, " if we believe." 
Rather, who do believe, the be 
lievers in God who raised up 
Christ from the dead. The pa 
rable of Abraham "receiving 
Isaac from the dead in a figure," 
is slightly alluded to. 

ry TTLcrTeL, Soi>9 $6av ra dew KOL TrXvjpocjioprjOels STL o 21 
i S wares ICTTIV KOL Trourjcrai. Sio [KCU] eXoyicr^ 22 
19 SiKcuocrvwjV. OVK eypdffrrj 8e Si OLVTOV JJLOVOV, STL 23 
crOTj OLVTOJ, dXXa KOLL SL 77^0,9, ols /x,e XXet Xoyiecr#ai, 24 
Toi9 TTicrreuovcrcz err! TOJ> lytipavTa lycrovv TOV Kvpiov 
rjfjLwv IK v&cp&v, 09 TTapeSodr) Sia ra TrapaTTTc^uara r^^v 25 
/cat rjyepOr] Sia r^ Si/cauocrw rjfJLWV. 

24. For the use of the word 
TraptSodr)., compare 1 Cor. xiii 3., 
Rom. viii. 30., Gal. ii. 20., Eph. 
v. 2. 

A difficulty arises in reference 
to this verse, from the division 
of the clauses. There would be 
nothing to require explanation in 
such a form of expression as 
" Who died and rose again for 
our sins and our justification." 
But why " died for our sins and 
rose again for our justification?" 
May not our justification equally 
with our sins be regarded as the 
object or cause of Christ s death? 

We might answer that St. 
Paul often employs an antithesis 
of words, where there is no anti 
thesis of meaning. Compare, for 
example, Rom. x. 9, 10. : "If 
thou shalt confess with thy 
mouth the Lord Jesus, and be 
lieve in thy heart that God 
raised him from the dead, thou 
shalt be saved. For with the 
heart it is believed unto righ 
teousness, and with the mouth 
confession is made unto salva 
tion." In this passage, were we 
to transpose the words righteous 
ness and salvation, the meaning 
would be unaltered. There is 
no real opposition between them, 
any more than there appears to 
be here between " dying for our 
sins, and rising for our justifica 

Yet there is a certain analogy 
on which the Apostle proceeds 
in the last-mentioned expression. 



21 to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he has* 

22 promised, he is* able also to perform. And therefore 

23 it was imputed to him for righteousness. But it was 
not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to 

24 him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, who 
believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the 

25 dead ; who was delivered for our offences and was raised 
again for our justification. 

The Christian is one with his 
Lord, and his life, like that of 
Christ, falls asunder into two di 
visions, death and life, condem 
nation and justification. Comp. 
Rom. vi. 5, 6.: "For if we 
have been planted in the like 
ness of his death, we shall be 
also in the likeness of his resur 
rection : knowing this, that our 
old man is crucified with him, 
that the body of sin might be 
done away." So in ver. 10, 11. : 
" For in that he died, he died 
unto sin once: but in that he 
liveth, he liveth unto God. 
Likewise reckon ye also your 
selves to be dead indeed unto 
sin, but alive unto God through 
Jesus Christ our Lord." A still 
nearer parallel is afforded by 
viii. 10. : "But if Christ be in 
you, the body is dead because of 
sin ; but the spirit is life because 
of righteousness. But if the 
spirit of him that raised up 
Christ from the dead dwell in 
you," etc. Comp. also a more 
subtle trace of the same thought, 
in Rom. viii. 34., where KUTai^pit dJv 
is opposed to tyepdeic. It would 
not be in accordance with St. 
Paul s usual language to invert 
the order of these terms, or to 
say, "who died for our justifica 
tion and rose again for our sins." 
Sin and death, justification and 
renewal or resurrection, whether 

in the believer or Christ, are 
the parallel or cognate ideas. 

Had the Apostle said, " Who 
by his death was one with us in 
our sins, by his resurrection one 
with us in our renewal," in such 
a mode of expression there would 
have been nothing contrary to 
his usual language. But, as has 
been already remarked, in de 
scribing the work of salvation, 
forms of thought are fluctuating, 
because they are inadequate ; 
that which is sometimes the 
cause being equally, from another 
point of view, the effect, as in 
the present instance, the cause is 
not a cause, but a mode of ex 
pressing a more general con 
nexion between two ideas. (See 
note on i. 4.) t We should err in 
defining exactly that which is in 
its nature inexact; better to lose 
sight of the precise terms in the 
general meaning. It is a slight 
transition in the language of St. 
Paul from the form "who ^ose 
again for our justification," to the 
other form, " who was one with 
us in his resurrection." This 
slight change is the source of 
our difficulty. 

25. <)ia ra TrctjOaTrra^uara //yuwr.J 
(1.) as he bore our sins, (2.) as 
he died by the hand of sinners, 
(3.) as he died to do away the 
law which was the strength of 
sin, and death its penalty. 



5 &i/ eTTKTTpfyr) irpbs Kvpiov, TTepiaipfirai rb /cctAi^a. 2 Cor. iii. 16. 

THUS we have reached another stage in the development of the 
great theme. The new commandment has become old ; faith is 
taught in the Book of the Law. " Abraham had faith in God, and 
it was counted to him for righteousness." David spoke of the for 
giveness of sins in the very spirit of the Gospel. The Old Testa 
ment is not dead, but alive again. It refers not to the past, but to 
the present. The truths which we daily feel, are written in its 
pages. There are the consciousness of sin and the sense of accept 
ance. There is the veiled remembrance of a former world, which is 
also the veiled image of a future one. 

To us the Old and New Testaments are two books, or two parts 
of the same book, which fit into one another, and can never be 
separated or torn asunder. They are double one against the other, 
and the New Testament is the revelation of the Old. To the first 
believers it was otherwise : as yet there was no New Testament ; nor 
is there any trace that the authors of the New Testament ever ex 
pected their own writings to be placed on a level with the Old. We 
can scarcely imagine what would have been the feeling of St. Paul, 
could he have foreseen that later ages would look not to the faith of 
Abraham in the law, but to the Epistle to the Romans, as the highest 
authority on the doctrine of justification by faith; or that they 
would have regarded the allegory of Hagar and Sarah, in the Epistle 
to the Galatians, as a difficulty to be resolved by the inspiration of 
the Apostle. Neither he who wrote, nor those to whom he wrote 


could ever have thought, that words which were meant for a parti 
cular Church, were to give life also to all mankind ; and that the 
Epistles in which they occurred were one day to be placed on a 
level with the Books of Moses themselves. 

But if the writings of the New Testament were regarded by the 
contemporaries of the Apostle in a manner different from that of later 
ages, there was a difference, which it is far more difficult for us to 
appreciate, in their manner of reading the Old Testament. To them 
it was not half, but the whole, needing nothing to be added to it or 
to counteract it, but containing everything in itself. It seemed to come 
home to them ; to be meant specially for their age ; to be understood 
by them, as its words had never been understood before. " Did not 
their hearts burn within them ? " as the Apostles expounded to them 
the Psalms and Prophets. The manner of this exposition was that of 
the age in which they lived. They brought to the understanding of it, 
not a knowledge of the volume of the New Testament, but the mind 
of Christ. Sometimes they found the lesson which they sought in the 
plain language of Scripture ; at other times, coming round to the 
same lesson by the paths of allegory, or seeming even in the sound 
of a word to catch an echo of the Redeemer s name. Various as are 
the writings of the Old Testament, composed by such numerous au 
thors, at so many different times, so diverse in style and subject, in them 
all they read only the truth of Christ. They read without distinctions 
of moral and ceremonial, type and antitype, history and prophecy, 
without inquiries into the original meaning or connexion of passages, 
without theories of the relation of the Old and New Testaments. 
Whatever contrast existed was of another kind, not of the parts of a 
book, but of the law and faith ; of the earlier and later dispensations. 
The words of the book were all equally for their instruction ; ^ie 
whole volume lighted up with new meaning. 

What was then joined cannot now be divided or put asunder. 
The New Testament will never be unclothed of the Old. No one 
in later ages can place himself in the position of the heathen con 
vert who learnt the name of Christ first, afterwards the law and the 


prophets. Such instances were probably rare even in the first days 
of the Christian Church. No one can easily imagine the manner in 
which St. Paul himself sets the Law over against the Gospel, and at 
the same time translates one into the language of the other. Time 
has closed up the rent which the law made in the heart of man ; 
and the superficial resemblances on which the Apostle sometimes 
dwells, have not the same force to us which they had to his contem 
poraries. But a real unity remains to ourselves as well as to the 
Apostle, the unity not of the letter, but of the spirit, like the unity 
of life or of a human soul, which lasts on amid the changes of our 
being. The Old Testament and the New do not dovetail into one 
another like the parts of an indenture ; it is a higher figure than this, 
which is needed to describe the continuity of the Divine work. Or 
rather, the simple fact is above all figures, and can receive no addition 
from philosophical notions of design, or the observation of minute 
coincidences. What we term the Old and New dispensation is the 
increasing revelation of God, amid the accidents of human history : 
first, in Himself; secondly, in His Son, gathering not one nation 
only, but all mankind into His family. It is the vision of God Him 
self, true and just, and remembering mercy in one age of the world; 
not ceasing to be true and just, but softening also into human gen 
tleness, and love, and forgiveness, and making his dwelling in the 
human heart in another. The wind, and the earthquake, and the 
fire pass by first, and after that " the still small voice." This is the 
great fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets in the Gospel. No 
other religion has anything like it. And the use of language, and 
systems of theology, and the necessity of " giving ideas through 
something," and the prayers and thoughts of eighteen hundred years, 
h^ve formed another connexion between the Old and New Testament, 
more accidental and outward, and also more intricate and complex, 
which is incapable of being accurately drawn out, and ought not to 
be imposed as an article of faith ; which yet seems to many to supply 
a want in human nature, and gives expression to feelings which 
would otherwise be unuttered. 


It is not natural, nor perhaps possible, to us to cease to use the 
figures in which "holy men of old" spoke of that which 
belonged to their peace. But it is well that we should sometimes 
remind ourselves, that " all these things are a shadow, but the body is 
of Christ." Framed as our minds are, we are ever tending to confuse 
that which is accidental with that which is essential, to substitute 
the language of imagery for the severity of our moral ideas, to 
entangle Divine truths in the state of society in which they came 
into the world or in the ways of thought of a particular age. " All 
these things are a shadow;" that is to say, not only the temple and 
tabernacle, and the victim laid on the altar, and the atonement 
offered once a year for the sins of the nation ; but the conceptions 
which later ages express by these words, so far as anything human 
or outward or figurative mingles with them, so far as they cloud the 
Divine nature with human passions, so far as they imply, or seem to 
imply, anything at variance with our notions of truth and right, are 
as much, or even more a shadow than that outward image which 
belonged to the elder dispensation. The same Lord who compared 
the scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven to a householder who 
brought forth out of his treasure things new and old, said also in a 
figure, that " new cloth must not be put on an old garment " or " new 
wine into old bottles." 



EVERY pause in the Epistle may be made the occasion for taking a 
glance backward, and surveying the whole. In the construction of 
the work we observe that the same threads again and again reappear, 
tangling the web of discourse, and are never finished and worked 
off. Thus the commencement of the fifth chapter is but the antici 
pation of the eighth : 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in 
Christ Jesus. 

Compare again the following : 
(1.) ch. iii. 1. What advantage then hath the Jew ? 
9. What then are we better than they ? 
27. Where then is boasting ? 
iv. 1. What shall we say then that Abraham hath found, our 

progenitor according to the flesh ? 
(2.) ch. vi. 1. What shall we say then ? are we to continue in sin that 

grace may abound ? 
15. What then shall we sin, because we are not under the 

law, but under grace ? 

vii. 7. What shall we say then ? is the law sin. 
(3.) Also the first verse of ch. ix., x., xi. 

ix. 1. I say the truth in Christ in that I have great sorrow 

for Israel. 
x. 1. Brethren, my heart s desire and prayer to God for Israel 

is, that they might be saved, 
xi. I.I say then, hath God cast aside his people ? 
where the Apostle thrice returns to the same point in his argu 
ment, and begins again with the same theme. 


Similarities of form and repetitions of thought may also be noted 
in successive verses. 
Compare : 

v. 8 10. : " But God commended his love to us in that, while we 

were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Much 
more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be 
saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were 
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his 
Son ; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by 
his life." These words are followed by the favourite 
" not only so," which has already occurred at the begin 
ning of ver. 3. 

Compare also verses 15., 17, 18, 19., and i. 24., 26., 28. ; vii. 15., 19. ; 
17., 22.; as instances of a structure in which the same ideas are re 
peated rather than developed, and in some of which the form of the 
first sentence prescribes the form of the second. 

Many slight inaccuracies appear on the surface when we look at 
the Epistle to the Romans through a microscope. It will be often 
found that the successive clauses are not logically connected, or that 
qualifications are introduced which are not duly subordinated to the 
principal thought ; or the latter end of a sentence may seem to forget 
the beginning of it, or for an instant the Apostle may hesitate 
between two alternatives. But flaws of this kind disappear when 
we remove to a little distance ; the irregularity of the details is 
lost in the general effect. It might be said of the Apostle in his 
own language that he is not speaking with " the persuasive words of 
man s wisdom, but with demonstration of the spirit and with power." 
It does not impair the force of what he says that he repeats a word, 
or that he uses a particle where it is not needed, or that lie has so 
framed a particular clause that its bearing on the next clause is doubtful. 
It does not interfere with the unity of his writings that they have 
not the symmetrical character of a modern composition. We often 
speak of his style ; according to modern notions he can hardly be 
said to have a style. He uses the rhetorical forms of his age because 


he cannot help doing so : they are his only way of expressing him 
self. He is not free to mould language with the hand of a master. 
Yet, in general, his meaning is perfectly clear. If, following 
Locke s rule, we read the Epistle through at a single sitting, the 
broken thoughts come together, and a new kind of unity begins 
to arise; the unity not of a whole with many parts aptly dis 
posed, but of a single idea, appearing and reappearing every 
where. The stream is one, though parting into two branches the 
universality of salvation, and the doctrine of righteousness by faith. 
To the end of the eleventh chapter there is nothing irrelevant, 
nothing that does not bear on one or other of these two aspects of 
the great truth. Imagine the writer full of these two thoughts, yet 
incapable of mastering the language in which he wrote, incumbered 
with formulas and modes of speech ; eager to declare the whole coun 
sel of God, yet conscious of the way in which men might wrest it 
to their own destruction ; seeking " to entwine the new with the old, 
and to make the old ever new ; " and you would expect a composition 
similar in texture to the Epistle to the Romans. 

The Epistle is full of repetitions, yet the repetitions carry us 
onward. The revelation of righteousness by faith is first made in the 
seventeenth verse of the first chapter. Then, after the necessity for 
it has been shown from the self-condemnation of the world, it is 
repeated at the twenty-first verse of the third chapter. Here it 
might seem as if the Apostle s task was over. But another link has 
yet to be wrought into the chain. Is it the Apostle only who is 
saying these things ? Saith not the law also ? Yes ; the doctrine 
of justification and forgiveness of sins is contained in the book of the 
law. Abraham as well as ourselves was justified by faith, and not by 
works. Then the Apostle states his doctrine once more in the form 
of a conclusion to an argument, and proceeds to display it as 
embodied in the type and antitype, the first and second Adam. Still 
he has to guard against inferences that might be deduced from 
it, such as the antinomianism at which he had before hinted, " Let us 
continue in sin that grace may abound, let us do evil that good may 


come." Then he returns to the same note which he had struck 
before, the confirmation of his doctrine from the book of the law. 
Lastly, he fights the battle over again ; not now in the world at 
large, but in the narrower sphere of the individual soul ; he describes 
the last state of paralysis and death, until at length the agony is at 
its height and the victory is won ; and, having now turned to view 
the scheme of redemption in every aspect in reference to the 
former state of the world, divided between Jew and Gentile, in refer 
ence to the patriarchs, in reference to human nature itself, in refer 
ence to possible consequences as well as the inward experience of 
the soul, he repeats the conclusion which in chap. v. had been 
already anticipated, chanting, as it were, the hymn of peace after 
victory, " There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which 
are in Christ Jesus." 



[CH. V. 


ia TOV Kvpiov 

K TTicrrews elprfvrjv e^o/Ae^ Trpos rov Oeov 5 
V Irjcrov ^ptcrrov, SL ov Kal rrjv irpocra- 2 
[TT; mcrrei] 19 TT)Z> -^apiv ravTrjv iv 77 
, Kal Kav^ojp.e6a ITT eXTTiSi rrjs 80^775 TOV deov. 
ov p,6vov Se, a\\a Kal Kav^oj^eOa iv rais #Xu//ecrii>, etSdres 3 


, Therefore, being justified 
by faith."] Therefore, i. e., as an 
inference from what has been 
said of the sinfulness of Jew and 
Gentile, of the revelation of 
Christ, of the witness of Abra 
ham, and the Old Testament. 

eiprivqv e^oficvj B. G. we have 
peace ; t ^wjUEv, let us have peace, 
A.C.&.f.g.v. Neither the MS. 
nor the sense offers a sufficient 
criterion to enable us to decide 
between the two. We may say 
with equal propriety, "Therefore 
being justified by faith we have 
peace with God," as though peace 
were already involved in justi 
fication (compare chap. viii. 1.): 
or peace may be regarded as a 
further stage in the consciousness 
of what God has done for us. 
" Therefore being justified, let 
us go on to be at peace." eip-fivriv, 
peace after strife, the opposite of 
the state described in Romans, 
vii. 7 25., 7rpoc rov 0toj , with 
God. So in classical Greek, elpt it ijv 
ayeiv, Troielffdai Trpog rira > Plat. 
Rep. 465. B. ; Alcib. I. 107. D. 

TTjooo-aywy//.] Cf. 1 Peter, iii. 18.: 
7ra /jude Trpoaayayr) ra> fcw, not 
with any idea of admission at a 
court. eo^Ka/ifv, not we have, 
but we have had. cor^ca/iev, in 
which we stand, i. e. not merely 
in which we are, but in which we 
stand fast, as in Rom. xi. 20., and 
commonly in the Epistles to de 
scribe the perseverance of the 

2 13. In the verses that 
follow, the truth of justifi 
cation by faith is brought home 
to the feelings of the individual 
believer. It is the source of all 
that varied experience of joy 
and sorrow, hope and love, which 
each one is conscious of, which 
arises out of the thought that 
Christ died for us in our weak 
estate, which is accompanied by 
a yet stronger assurance, that He 
who has begun the good work 
in us will continue it unto the 
end. At ver. 13. the external 
and universal aspect of the work 
of redemption is resumed, and 
.displayed, as it were, on the 
theatre of the world in the 
persons of the first and second 

2. <)i ov Kal Ti]v Trpoflraywyj/reV- 
^///,-a^f i>, by whom also we have 
had the access.^ This clause may 
be explained in two ways : (1.) 
by connecting TI]V Trpoo-aywy^ 
and elg ri]v xapiv Tavrrjv, " by 
whom we have (or rather have 
had) access [by faith] unto this 
grace wherein we stand," as in 
the English version ; or (2.) the 
word Trpooraywy/}, as in Ephesians 
iii. 12., may be taken absolutely 
and explained by 7TjOoo-aywy/)v 
TTjOoc TOV Trarfjoa, which occurs in 
ii. 18. of the same Epistle: 
" Through whom we have had the 
access by faith," the words etc rrjy 
X&P iV Tavrrjv kv y eaT^KafjiEv being 
regarded as the result or effect of 
what has preceded, (so as to at- 

2, 3.] 



5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with 
2 God through our Lord Jesus Christ : by whom also we 

have had the * access by faith into this grace wherein 
s we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And 

not only so, but we rejoice* in tribulations also: know- 

tain) "unto this grace wherein 
we stand. 

fccu Kav%u}peda, and rejoice,~\ 
or glory, not " of work," iv. 2., 
nor in ourselves, but in God. 
Compare 2 Cor. xi. 30., xii. 1. 
These words may be connected 
either with e^o^v or with ^C ov 
or better with iv 

in hope of the glory of 
Compare iii. 23. : vorepovirai rfJQ 
c>or? TOV 3eou, and Romans vii. 
19. : " For the earnest expecta 
tion of the creature waiteth for 
the manifestation of the sons of 
God ; " and ver. 24., " For we are 
saved by hope, but hope that is 
seen is not hope/ Aa TOV Seov 
is the fuller revelation of God, 
exceeding not merely the glory 
of the old covenant, but the pre 
sent manifestation of the Gospel. 
Compare 2 Cor. iii. 8. : Trwg 

t paXXov rj StaKovla TOV TTVEV- 
corcu kv os>?< 

3. And not only so, but the 
element of sorrow which is in this 
present life cannot countervail 
our joy. Kav^peda iv, we re 
joice not " among," but " in," as 
in Gal. vi. 14., answering to IV 

In the life of Christ, as well as 
of his followers, is traceable the 
double character of sorrow and 
joy, humiliation and exaltation, 
not divided from each other by 
time, but existing together, and 

drawn out alternately by the ex 
ternal circumstances of their 
lives. Christ himself said, " I, 
if I be lifted up from the earth, 
shall draw all men after me." 
And just before he suffered, "The 
hour is come that the Son of man 
should be glorified." So he told 
his disciples, Matt. v. 12.: "In 
the day of persecution rejoice 
and be exceeding glad." And 
St. Paul, at the commencement of 
the second Epistle to the Corin 
thians, speaks as if sorrow brought 
its own joy and consolation with 
it ; you can hardly tell whether he 
is sorrowful or joyful, so quickly 
is his sorrow turned into joy. 
There is the same mixed feeling 
of triumph in affliction in the 
remarkable words, 1 Cor. iv. 9. : 
" I think that God hath set forth 
us the apostles last, as it were 
appointed unto death : for we are 
made a spectacle to the world, to 
angels, and to men." And even 
where external afflictions are 
wanting, the mere conscious* 
ness of this "present evil world," 
" the whole creation groaning 
together until now," the remem 
brance of having once felt the 
sentence of death in himself, will 
make the believer rejoice with 
trembling for what he feels within 
or witnesses in others. Compare 
the aphorism of Lord Bacon, 
"Prosperity is the blessing of the 
Old Testament, adversity of the 

M 3 



[On. V. 

OTL rj #Xii//i9 vTrofJLOvrjv KaTepyd^tTo.i, rj Se VTTO^OVTI So/a/xi^, 4 

07 e SoKifJir) \7TLoa 17 Se eX/Tris ou Karaicr^yv^i, OTL rj aydirrj 5 
TOV Oeov GKK^vTaL iv rats /capStcu? rjfJLaiv OLOL rrvevfJiaTos 

dyiov TOV So^eVros T;/^^. en yap ^yotcrro? OVTOJV TH^W acrOe- 6 

z O)* ert 1 Kara Kaipov vrrep acre/3ft>i> aTTtOavtv (/x,dXtg yap uTrep 7 
iov rts OLTrodavtlTai virep yap TOV dyadov Taya rt? 

1 Om. ert. 

4. The circle of Christian 
graces comes round at last, from 
hope, through the chastening of 
sorrow, to hope again. 

Tribulation, patience, expe 
rience, hope never failing be 
cause it is absorbed in love, are 
the grades and stages of Christian 
life. Or, in other word?, we suf 
fer and are patient, and this very 
patience assures us of our faith, 
and this assurance changes the 
attitude of our mind from patience 
to hope. 

cio/a/zj?,] passively for proved- 
ness, confidence in self after trial. 
Comp. 2 Cor. ii.9. : iVa yva) rr\v lo- 
KI\L)\V vputr; andJames i. 3., where 
the same words are used in a dif 
ferent order: TO $oiclfjuov v 

For a " golden chain " of the 
same kind, compare the following 
quotation from Schrettgen, i. 511. 
"R. Pinchas filius Jair dixit, 
1 Alacritas nos perducit ad inno- 
centiam, innocentia ad pietatem, 
pietas ad Spiritum Sanctum, Spi- 
ritus Sanctus ad resurrectionem 
mortuorum, resurrectio mortuo- 
rum ad Eliam prophetam. " 

5. ou^arat<T^vj/et,]literally,"doe9 
not put to the blush," a Hebraism 
for " fail." Compare Wis. ii. 10. 
and Ps. cxix. 116.: pfj Karaicr^vyrjQ 

fJLE O.7TO TTJQ TrpOff^OKiuQ fJiOV. 

OTL ii a.ya.7rr).~] These words 
follow Ko.Taiay(i)Vi. Hope never 

faileth, because it has so strong 
and ever diffused a motive in 
love. Compare 1 John, ii. 5., 
1 Cor. xiii. 8. : "// ayairr} ovtteVore 
TTtTrrtt." r/ otyaTrjy TOV Seov may 
either mean the love of God 
towards us, or our love towards 
God; or rather both "because 
we love him, and he loves us." 
Compare Essay on the Abstract 
Ideas of Scripture. 

It may be asked, why should 
hope never fail, because the love 
of God is diffused in our hearts, 
any more than because the 
righteousness of God, or the 
belief in God, is shed abroad in 
us? The only answer to this 
question is that love expressed 
the feeling of the Apostle at the 
time ; because dwelling on the 
love of God, which showed itself 
in the death of Christ (v. 8.), he 
found a never failing support. 
It may be truly said, in the in 
terpretation of the New Testa 
ment, that those "who ask a 
reason for all things destroy 
reason." The same association of 
love and the Spirit occurs, though 
in a different order, in 1 John, 
iv. 12, 13.: "If we love one 
another, God dwelleth in us, and 
his love is perfected in us. 
Hereby know we that we dwell 
in him, and he in us, because he 
hath given us of his Spirit." 

6. There is great variation of 

VER. 47.] 



4 ing that tribulation worketh patience ; and patience, 

5 experience ; and experience, hope : and hope maketh 
not ashamed ; because the love of God is shed abroad in 
our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 

6 For when we were yet without strength, yet 1 in due 

7 time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a 
righteous man will one die : yet peradventure for the * 

1 Omit yet. 

reading in the first word of this 
verse. All the principal MSS. 
and versions agree in the second 
ert, which is omitted in the Tex- 
tus Receptus : while the first is 
supported by A. C. D ; el yap, v. ; 
elq TI yap, G. f. g. v. Iren. 207. ; el 
ye, B. It may be argued that the 
occurrence of the second 2 is 
against the genuineness of the 
first, or, on the other hand, that 
it has been the cause of the other 

It is not improbable that el yap, 
ei ye, or el fie may be the true 
reading, which, as in c. ii. 17., 
may have been altered to avoid 
the anacoluthon, the real apodosis 
being v. 9., as the apodosis of 
v. 12. is v. 19. The word ITI 
can hardly have been repeated 
twice in the same clause. 

en yap xp^roc.] Compare 1 
John, iv. 10.: "Herein is love, 
not that we loved God, but that 
he loved us." 

yap.] For this is the proof 
of the love of God ; or this is 
the reason why we should love 

ovrwi fi/jiojvaffdeviov en, when we 
were yet without strength.^ The 
point of these words is, not that 
while we were yet sinners Christ 
died for us, but rather that the 
love of God, like that of a parent 
to a child, was called forth by 
our helplessness. 

Kara Kaipbv, in due time. ] The 
time of Christ s coming into the 
world is everywhere spoken of as 
" the appointed time." It is the 
fulness of time, the meeting point 
of the ends of the world. 

7. This verse has been taken 
in four ways : 
(1.) Christ died for the ungodly: 
this was a great instance of 
love; for hardly for a just 
man will one die ; yet per 
adventure, for that exalted 
character, the good man, 
some one may even dare to 
die ; or, 

(2.) Yet, peradventure, for the 
beneficent man, some would 
even dare to die ; or, 
(3.) Yet, peradventure, for the 
good in the abstract, some 
would even dare to die. 
The distinctions between 3t- 
/,-cuof and ayadog, which are re 
quired by the first two modes of 
explanation, are really assumed 
to avoid the difficulty of the pas 
sage. It is singular that the 
word dyadog used of a person 
occurs nowhere else in the writ 
ings of St. Paul. To the third 
explanation there are many ob 
jections : (1.) the Apostle could 
hardly have used duca/ov of a 
person, and TOV a yadov of a 
thing ; (2.) it is doubtful whether 
the neuter TO ayadov would have 
been used in the sense of moral 

M 4 



[On. V. 


avTov ayirrjv 8 


Kal roX/xa airoOavelv) 

15 77jU,a? 6 #05, OTL TL d/ 

virep rip&v OLTTtOavtV TroXXa) ovv i*aX\ov SiKcuaj^eVres vvv 9 
IP TO) alfJiaTL avrov orajdrjo-o^eOa Si avrov airo rrjs opyrjs. 
el yap e^Opol oVres KaTrjXXdyrjjJLev rw #w Sia TOV Oavdrov 10 
TOV wov auTou, TroXXa) juaXXoz /caTaXXa/yeWes crtoOrjcrofJieOa 
^ T 2? ^f? avTov, ov \LQVQV 8e, dXXa /cal /cav^co/x,e^ot e^ TO) 11 


good ; (3.) the notion of dying 
for an abstract idea is entirely 
unlike the language of the New 
Testament, or of the age in which 
the New Testament was written, 
nor does it give the opposition 
which the Apostle requires. 

(4.) The remaining explanation 
of dtjcctiov and TOV dyaOov makes 
them synonymous. The Apo 
stle corrects his former expres 
sion, " For Christ died, when 
we had no power to help our 
selves, for the ungodly." But 
this is unlike what men do for one 
another ; for hardly will one die 
for a righteous man. Admitting 
that this statement requires cor 
rection (which the word judXtc 
already seems to imply), say, that 
for the good man some one may 
even dare to die, still the case is 
different, for it was while we 
were yet sinners that Christ died 
for us. It is not necessary to 
suppose any opposition between 
SIKCILOV and TOV ayadov; the clause 
vTrep ydp TOV ayaflov may be re 
garded, not as subordinate to the 
previous clause, but as parallel 
with it, and dependent on the 
preceding verse. The use of a 
different word, though without a 
distinction in meaning, may arise 
either from a slight sense of the 
awkwardness of retracting what 
had just gone before, or from the 
wish to avoid tautology. Com 

pare John xvi. 21. : f] ywrj 

OVK Tl fJLVT^jJiOVf.jei TlQ 

for a similar repetition, 
and for the thought, Rom. ix. 3., 
where the Apostle offers himself 
to be accursed from Christ for 
his brethren s sake. 

8. But the case is otherwise 
with the love of God to man ; 
while we were yet sinners Christ 
died for us. 

A singular various reading 
occurs in ver. 8, 9. ; on el en, in 
ver. 8. G. f. Cyp. Hil., with which 
is connected the omission of 
ovr, in v. 9 A. G. f. g. v. Iren. 
Cyp. Hil. The present a-uvior^ai 
and the sense would be much a- 
gainst this reading even were the 
weight of MS. authority in its 

9, If God took the first step, 
much more will he complete the 
good work in us. We could 
hardly have expected that Christ 
would have died for us ; but now 
that he has died we may feel as 
sured that he will save us from 
the future penalty. The Apostle 
is not distinguishing between jus 
tification and sanctification ; but 
passing onward in thought from 
this world to the next. He is 
expressing the natural feeling of 
the believer, which admits of no 
separation between the present 
consciousness of the grace of 

VER. 811.] 



8 good man some would even dare to die. But God* 
establishes his love toward us, in that, while we were 

9 yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being 
now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath 

10 through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were 
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, 

11 being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not 

God and the assurance of final 

iv TV afytan,] not by the sprink 
ling of his blood, nor by his 
death, but by the shedding of his 

UTTO rfjc Ojoy^e.] Cf. 1 Thess. i. 
10. : TOV pvopevov r//me CLTTO TTJQ 
opyfjg rfJQ Epxpnevrji, : the punish 
ment in the world to come opy//, 
(1.) the wrath of God; (2.) its 
effect; that is, the punishment 
which it inflicts (as in Rom. iii. 8.). 
8 11. Here is another and 
another instance of the Apostle s 
tendency to reduplication of his 
thoughts. The 10th verse is a 
repetition of the 9th, the 8th of 
the 6th, the llth is a composi 
tion of the 2nd and the 10th. 

10. "We are reconciled to 
God " (here and 2 Cor. v. 20.), or 
(2 Cor. v. 18.) "God reconcil 
ing us to himself through Jesus 
Christ," or "God in Christ re 
conciling the world to himself" 
(2 Cor. v. 19.), are the modes of 
expression in Scripture used to 
describe the work of redemption. 
God is unchangeable ; it is we 
who are reconciled to Him, not 
He to us. (Compare the use of 
KaraXXaaffeaOai, applied to the 
woman who is reconciled to her 
husband in 1 Cor. vii. 11.) But, 
on the other hand, the first spring 
and motive of redemption comes 
not from ourselves but from 

Much stress, it is true, cannot 
be laid on the precise use of 
language ; for the Apostle might 
have spoken in a figure of God 
being angry with us and of us 
as hated by Him. And this may 
seem to be implied in the word 
XP in the present passage. 
But the comparison of Coloss. i. 
21. : a.7rr)\\OTpt(*)pevovQ KCU e-^dpovg 
TTJ c)tavotct . . . 7rapa.ffTijffai, shows 
that ex,QpovQ may have an active, 
as well as passive meaning. 

fiia TOV Savarov . . . ev rrj fay- ] 
Here, again, as at iv. 24., the 
state of the Christian parts 
asunder into two heads, corre 
sponding to the death and life of 
Christ. There it was said, " He 
died for our sins arid rose again 
for our justification." Here the 
partition of Christian life is 
somewhat different, " We were 
reconciled by his death and shall 
be saved by his life." It is un 
necessary to suppose that the 
Apostle meant further to say, "If 
he was mighty in his death much 
more will he be so in his life." 

11. OV JJiOI OV C, CtAAci KCll KUV^tjJ- 

juej ot, and not only so, but we also 
joy-] One way of taking these 
words is to supply ka^iv : or 
KavyunEvoi may be regarded as a 
more advanced stage of mmAAa- 
yivTEQ, "we shall be saved, not 
only reconciled but rejoicing." 
These explanations save the gram 
mar at the expense of the sense. 


Sid rov Kvpiov rjiJitov I^crov ^jpicrrov, SL ov vvv TTJV 

A \ * V OV /) ee ^ V 

Aia TOVTO wcnrep OL e^os avuptoirov rj a/xapria ets TOV 12 

For the Apostle s meaning is, " not 
only shall we be saved, but we 
shall rejoice in our salvation." 
An exactly similar failure of con 
struction occurs in 2 Cor* viii. 
18, 19. : avvETTE^u^ev IE per 
avrov 70> dfieX^ov, ov 6 KTTCUVOC 
kv TV EvayyeXia) $ia iraffOov 7u)v 
eKK\rj(Tiu)V ov jUoVov ^e, aXXa fcai 
VTTO rStv 

, where no verb 
follows. Compare also 2 Cor. v. 
12. ; in neither place can the pre 
ceding verb be appropriately re 

For the thought comp. ver. 3., 
of which it is an echo, ov povov 
<), aXXct Kal Kav^wpeOa kv role 
$Xi\f/ffiv. rr\v KaraXXay//v, re 
ferring to fcaraXXayeVrfe, in ver. 
11. vvv, opposed to the future 

12 21. As a preface to the 
following passage, every verse and 
almost every particle of which 
bears the traces of theological 
warfare in the pages of commenta 
tors, it will be convenient to state 
very briefly the chief points in dis 
pute in the Pelagian controversy. 
Other controversies, it may be 
truly said, pass away with the age 
that gave birth to them. This, as 
involving the first question of the 
relation of God to man, must in 
some form or other last as long 
as the world itself. 

The hinge of the Pelagian con 
troversy is the free agency of 
man. Is human nature, of itself, 
capable of refusing evil and choos 
ing good ? Can the will, by its 
unaided power, accept and appro 
priate the work of salvation? Ke- 

specting what God and Christ 
have done for man, there is, be 
tween Pelagian and Augustinian, 
Protestant and Catholic, no dif 
ference of opinion. The question 
is, at what point man himself is 
to be introduced as a party : whe 
ther, in the chain let down from 
heaven to earth, he is a separate 
link, or whether, to continue the 
same figure, he is not a link in 
the chain at all, but a weight 
attached to it, ever sinking to 
wards his native element. 

Pelagius would have said that 
man was free, independent, iso 
lated, needing nothing for his 
salvation but his own free will 
and better mind, requiring nei 
ther grace preventive nor grace 
co-operative, but relying on him 
self for acceptance with God, 
according to the terms of the 

The Calvinist, on the other 
hand, consistently denies the free 
agency of man. Grace is with 
him the beginning, middle, and 
end of the work of salvation. Man 
is as far as possible gone from 
original righteousness, without 
power even to lay hold on the gift 
of God. 

Two modifications of these 
views may be further mentioned: 
(1.) The view according to 
which human nature is not re 
garded as absolutely and neces 
sarily evil ; but yet, even in the 
state of childhood and innocency, 
as guilty before God because of 
the sin of Adam, which is im 
puted to it. This imputation of 
the sin of Adam, the Protestant 

VDK. 12.] 



only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus 

Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.* 

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, 

theologian considers as done away 
by the imputation of the merits 
of Christ, which are apprehend 
ed and appropriated by faith, 
while, according to Catholic theo 
logians, it is purged away, with 
the other consequences of original 
sin, by the waters of baptism. 

(2.) Another view, while agree 
ing with the former in maintain 
ing the partial corruption of 
human nature, denies the doctrine 
of imputation. Human nature 
is sinful : this we know as a fact, 
nor can we imagine how it could 
be otherwise. But the fact which 
we feel to be deep-seated within 
us we have no sufficient reason 
to connect with any single act of 
an individual man. 

It is between these two last- 
mentioned views of doctrine that 
the interpretations of this portion 
of the Epistle to the Romans 
chiefly oscillate ; the main point 
of difference being whether the 
sin and the righteousness spoken 
of as flowing from the person of 
Adam and of Christ, are to be 
regarded as imputed or inherent. 
When the Apostle said " Death 
came upon all men for that all 
sinned," did he mean sinned in 
Adam or sinned in themselves ? 
When he spoke of those "who did 
not sin after the similitude of 
Adam s transgression," does he 
mean who did not, like Adam, 
violate an express command, or 
who were unlike Adam, in not 
committing actual sin ? 

Prior to the inquiry, which of 
these two modes of interpretation 
is the true one, is another, "Were 

either of them in the Apostle s 
mind ? " Did he not conceive the 
subject in a more general way, 
in which the distinctions of Cal- 
vinist and Arminian, Pelagian 
and Catholic, were not yet drawn 
out ? The threads of later con 
troversy are too fine for the Apo 
stolical age; theybelong to another 
stage of human thought and cul 
ture. To entangle ourselves with 
them in the interpretation of 
Scripture can never help us to 
enter into the true meaning 
of the Apostle, the living ele 
ments of whose thoughts can 
only be traced in the writings of 
himself and his contemporaries. 

12. Atd rovro.~] The principal 
meaning of this latter portion of 
the chapter may be summed up 
in the words of 1 Cor. xv. 22., 
" As in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive." 
The latter clause, however, is not 
regularly expressed. After the 
words, " As by one man sin en 
tered into the world," we expect 
that there will follow, " even so 
by one man righteousness entered 
into the world." Instead, how 
ever, of this regular parallel 
ism between Adam and Christ, 
the Apostle, in the 13th verse, 
turns aside to answer a difficulty 
arising from his previous state 
ment, that "where there is no law 
there is no transgression ;" and, 
while stopping to meet the sup 
posed inconsistency, loses sight 
of the construction required by 
the preceding sentence. 

Various expedients have been 
proposed for completing the con- 



elo-rj\0v, Kal Sid rrjs d^apria^ 6 6dvaTo<$ y Kal 
15 Trdvras dvOpMTrovs 6 6dvaro$ SirjXOev, <^ oj 

d^jpi yap Popov dpapTia rjv iv Kocrp,oj, 13 

struction : First, The device of 
a parenthesis extending from 
ver. 13. to ver. 18. : the last expe 
dient which should be resorted 
to in a writer so irregular in his 
syntax as the Apostle. Secondly, 
The missing apodosis has been 
sought for in ver. 12. itself, either 
in the words c)ta rr\c, aynapr/ag 6 
^ai aroc, or in the clause which 
follows, either : 

" As by one man sin entered 
into the world ; " 

" Death also came by sin : " 

" As by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by 
sin ; " 

" Even so death came upon all 

Both these explanations, how 
ever, do violence to the language 
in the meaning which they give 
to Kal KOI ovrwc, and are also 
inconsistentwith thegeneral drift 
of the passage, which is not to 
show that " as sin came into the 
world," death followed in its 
train, but that " as in Adam all 
died, even so in Christ shall all 
be made alive." 

If, disregarding the grammar, 
we look only to the sense, the 
missing apodosis is easily sup 
plied both from what has pre 
ceded, and from what follows : 
"Therefore we receive reconci 
liation by Jesus Christ, as by 
one man sin entered into the 
world." Comp. Si ov and Si li dc 
avdpwTrov, in the llth and 12th 
verses. It is further hinted at 
in the words o c iortv TVTTOQ rov 
at the end of the 14th 

verse ; it is indirectly supplied 
in ver. 15. and involved in the 
whole remainder of the chap 

Admitting the irregularity of 
the construction, let us dismiss the 
grammar to follow the thought. 
The Apostle is about to speak of 
Adam, the type of sin, as Christ 
is the type of righteousness. The 
sin of Adam is the sin of man, 
as the righteousness of Christ is 
the righteousness of man. But 
how is the fact of sin reconcile- 
able with the previous statements 
of the Apostle : " Where there 
is no law there is no transgres 
sion"? Such is the doubt which 
seems to cross the Apostle s 
mind, which he answers ; first, 
by saying, that there " was sin in 
the world before the giving of 
the law " (though he had said be 
fore, "where there is no law there 
is no transgression"), and then, as 
if aware of his apparent inconsis 
tency, he softens his former ex 
pression into " sin is not im 
puted where there is no law." 
An- indirect answer is also sup 
plied by the verse that follows : 
" Howbeit death reigned from 
Adam to Moses," i. e. men died 
before the time of Moses, and 
therefore they must have sinned. 

The difficulty of this as of some 
other passages (Rom. iii. 1 8., 
ix. 19 23.) arises out of the con 
flict of opposite thoughts in the 
Apostle s mind. Suppose him to 
have said, " As by one man sin 
entered into the world and death 
by sin (for this is possible 
though there was no law when 

VER. 13.] 



and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for 
is that all have sinned * for until the law sin was in the 

I said, ov $e OVK tan vopng ovde 
Trojoa/Bao-ic, I only meant that 
sin is not imputed, but that it 
exists is proved by the fact of 
death reigning over all before 
the time of Moses). But long 
before we have arrived at this 
point the thread of the main sen 
tence has been lost. The Apostle 
makes an attempt to recover it in 
the words OQ tan TVTTOQ TOV pek- 
XOVTOQ, and more regularly repeats 
the parallel in ver. 15. 17. 

fj apapTia elfffjXde.^ Comp. Gal. 
iii. 23. : TTQO TOV fie IXdelv TIIV 
7riffTty, for a similar personifica 
tion. In Rom. vii. 9.: >/ dpap- 
In 2 Cor. xi. 3. 

the Apostle speaks of Eve being 
deceived by the serpent. An 
inconsistency is alleged between 
these words, and still more be 
tween 1 Timothy ii. 14. (" And 
Adam was not deceived, but the 
woman, being deceived, trans 
gressed,") and the present passage. 
It is hardly worth while meeting 
the supposed inconsistency with 
the answer that the Jews reck 
oned their genealogies by men, 
or that the female sex was so 
looked down upon in ancient 
times as to be thought unworthy 
to bring sin into the world. It 
was natural for the Apostle to 
oppose Adam and Christ, but not 
Eve and Christ. 

a/mjrm a,] neither original sin 
nor actual, nor the guilt of sin 
as distinguished from sin itself 
(for such differences had no ex 
istence in the Apostle s age), nor, 
like a/iajorr/jua, confined to the act 
of sin. Though not absolutely 
excluding this last meaning ; as 
its plural use shows, a/japria de 

scribes sin rather as a mental 
state or in relation to the mind 
(compare aoiKia, a/o?^a). It is 
often the power of sin, or sin col 
lectively, sometimes, as here, the 
personification of it. 

Kal %ia Tijg apapTictQ o Savaroc, 
and death by sin. ] The Apostle 
plainly states that " Sin brought 
death into the world ; " but what 
death, spiritual or physical, or 
whether he has always distin 
guished the two, is a question not 
so easily determined. 

That the sin of Adam was 
the cause of the death of Adam 
was the common belief of the 
Jews in St. Paul s time. The 
oldest trace of this belief is found 
in the Book of Wisdom, ii. 24. : 
" For God created man without 
corruption, and made him after 
the image of his own likeness. 
Nevertheless, through envy of the 
devil, came death into the world, 
and they that hold of his side 
prove it." The death of Adam, 
and of all mankind in him, is 
again referred to by the Apostle 
in 1 Cor. xv. 21. ; respecting 
which latter passage two things 
are observable : first, that the 
Apostle makes no allusion to the 
sin of Adam as the cause of his 
death rather this is a conse 
quence of his and of other men s 
earthly nature, 1 Cor. xv. 48. 0. ; 
and, secondly, that the death 
spoken of is plainly, from the 
contrast, not spiritual, but phy 

And such it is commonly sup 
posed to be in the present passage. 
Such an interpretation is clear 
and definite, and one with which 
most readers will be satisfied. 



[On. V. 

ia Se OVK eXXoyetrai fir] 6Wo? vopov, aXX IpacriXevcrev u 

Yet it may be doubted whether, 
from the mere difference of modes 
of thought in his time and our 
OAvn, we do not give it a greater 
degree of definiteness than it 
possessed to the Apostle himself. 
To us sin and death have no 
natural connexion. So far as 
they are united, we regard them 
as united by an act of God. But 
the Apostle joins them together 
in the same way that we might 
join together disease and death, 
or life and health. The flesh and 
the body are to him the natural 
seats both of physical and moral 

It must be allowed that in 
other passages St. Paul as dis 
tinctly speaks of death for spiri 
tual death, as he is here supposed 
to do for physical death. Com 
pare vii. 9, 10. " Sin revived, 
and I died ; " andver. 13. "Was 
it then that which was good that 
became death unto me." In other 
passages, again, Savaroc has an 
equally distinct meaning of spi 
ritual and physical death at once. 
For example, in Rom. vi. 21., the 
word appears, at first sight, to 
refer only to spiritual evil; but the 
parallel of eternal life in the next 
clause, shows that physical death 
is not excluded. In like manner 
it may be fairly argued that St. 
Paul does not connect sin and 
death in this chapter in any other 
sense than he connects life and 
righteousness. But as he could 
not have meant that the continu 
ance of existence after death de 
pended on the righteousness of 
Christ, so neither can he mean 
that temporal death depended on 
Adam s sin. 

Nor can it be left out of sight 
that in the 15th chapter of the 
1 Cor. the Apostle makes no refer 
ence to a prior state of innocence 
from which Adam fell. " The first 
man is of the earth, earthy : the 
second man is the Lord from 
heaven. As is the earthy so are 
they that are earthy ; as is the 
heavenly so are they also that 
are heavenly." Adam and Christ 
are here contrasted, not in refer 
ence to any act performed by 
Adam, but to their own nature. 
It would surely be an error to lay 
stress on the precise points of 
view taken by the Apostle in this 
chapter, considering that a differ 
ent view occurs in the parallel 

These considerations lead us 
to doubt how far St. Paul dis 
tinctly recognised the interpreta 
tions which later ages have given 
to his words. Could the conse 
quences which have been drawn 
from them have been present to 
his mind, he might have told us 
that "these things are an alle 
gory," like the bondwoman and 
the freewoman, or the baptism of 
the Fathers unto Moses in the 
cloud and in the sea. 

The two clauses that follow are 
parallel to the two preceding ones, 
though the order is inverted : 

"As by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin," 

" And in like manner, as all 
men sinned, so all men died." 

tq? &j Trarrec ilijapTor, because 
all have sinned. ] Does this 
mean that all men sinned in 
Adam s sin ? (Compare ver. 19., 
c)ia rrJQ TrapaKorjg rov I roe avdpw- 
TTOU cijjLapTioXoi. KaTEffTaOyjarav ol 

VER. 14.] 



world : but sin is not imputed where there is no law. 
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even 

TroXXoi), in the same way that 
" Levi paid tithes in Abraham ; " 
and as it is said in 2 Cor. v. 
15., " If one died for all then all 
died ; " or that death was the 
penalty of actual sin, as in the 
case of Adam, so of all mankind. 
The last way of taking the pas 
sage gives the most point to the 
following verse. For if St. Paul 
had been speaking of "sinning 
in Adam," it would have been 
hardly necessary to guard against 
the inconsistency of sinning with 
out law ; and throughout the 
epistle he has spoken not of im 
puted, but of actual sin. Com 
pare iii. 9. 23. <p M has been 
translated " under the idea that," 
a meaning of the words, which 
somewhat softens the harshness 
of the first of the interpretations 
given above, " All men died 
under the idea that all sinned in 
Adam." This explanation is in 
sufficiently confirmed by the pas 
sages adduced in support, such 
as 2 Cor. v. 4. ; Phil. iii. 12. 
Again we must ask, had so subtle 
a difference any existence in the 
mind of the Apostle ? 

13. axi 04 7**p vojuov, for until 
the lawJ\ But sin is inseparable 
from the law, as has been re 
peated above, "where there is 
no law there is no transgression." 
How was it, then, that in the in 
terval between Adam and Moses 
men could have sinned? We 
answer this difficulty by chang 
ing the form of our expression 
without materially altering its 
meaning ; not, " where there is 
no law there is no transgression," 
but, " sin is not imputed where 

there is no law." Sin, in other 
words, was not exceeding sinful ; 
it did not abound or show itself 
in its true nature, yet it existed 
still. Comp. ver. 20. 

It is true in the abstract to say 
that, without knowledge or con 
sciousness there is no transgres 
sion ; or, in other words, that an 
irrational being is incapable of 
sin ; but, in proportion as the idea 
of rojuioQ is narrowed to the Jew 
ish law or even the commandment 
of God in general, the statement 
must be qualified. 

The words a^apTia e OVK cXXo- 
yelrai yur) ovrog vo^ov are con 
nected both with what follows 
and what precedes. On the one 
hand, they are the answer to the 
objection, that without law there 
could be no sin. On the other 
hand, the adversative aXXa, in the 
next verse, implies that they are 
opposed to what follows, " sin is 
not imputed where there is no 
law ; but [that it really exists is 
proved by the fact that] death 
reigned from Adam to Moses." 
Or the three clauses together may 
be connected as follows : " I say 
all men died because all men sin 
ned. For there was sin before 
the law, but unimputed. But 
this non-imputation of sin is no 
proof of its non-existence. As 
there was death during the in 
terval, there was also sin." Or, 
once more, the argument may be 
expressed in the form of a syllo 
gism as follows : 

v. 1. All who died sinned. 
But those to whom sin 
is not imputed died. 

. . They sinned. 



[CH. V. 


to? TO TTapOLTTTaJfJia 15 

el yap ra> TOV ^09 


ITTL TO) 6//,oiajjuaTi rrjs trapafido-eus 


Ka TO ^dpLcrfJi 
01 TroXXoi aireOavov, T 
So)ped iv yapiTi Trj TOV epos dvOpuTrov I^crou -\picrTOv ets 
vs TroXXou? 7TpLcro-Vo-ev. Kal ov^ a)? Si ej os afJLapTrj- ir, 
TO Suprjfjia TO [JLCV yap Kplpa ef e^os et? /cara- 
TO Se ^aptcTjita CK: 7ro\\cov TrapaTTTcojjLaTOJV ets 
a. ei yap [ez^ 1 rw] ez4 7rapa7TTa>p,aTL 6 Oavaros ir 

1 Om. eV. 

For similar instances of ambi 
guous clauses, comp. Gal. ii. 4., 
Kom. iii. 3. 

For the general meaning of 
the passage, comp. Acts xvii. 30. : 
" The times of that ignorance 
God winked at." Rom. iii. 25. : 
(Hia TIJV TTupeffiv rwv TrpoytyovoTWV 
a/j.aprr)fj,a.Tit)V. John, XV. 22. : If 
I had not come and spoken to 
them they had not had sin." 

cixpt is used in its ordinary sense 
of duration of time up to a point, 
"until," "up to the time of." 
Yet the expression is inaccurate, 
because the point of time here 
mentioned, the giving of the law, 
is not the limit of the continu 
ance of sin. That the idea of 
" after " cannot be excluded is 
also shown by plxpiQ, in the next 
verse, in the use of which there is 
a similar inaccuracy. 

14. ITTI JJLYJ rove OjuapT-j/o-avT-ae, 
over them that had not sinned,~\ is 
commonly interpreted, according 
as what may be termed the Augus- 
tinian or Pelagian view of the pas 
sage is preferred, either, who did 
not commit actual sin like Adam, 
but only inherited Adam s im 
puted sin ; or, who did commit 
actual sin, but not like Adam 

against a positive law or com 

A third way of explaining the 
words, though it necessitates what 
may be termed the Augustinian 
interpretation, is worthy of atten 
tion. ?ri TV ojuoiw^uun may be 
connected with i&affi\ev(m>, as 
a further explanation of eVi rove 
prj ajjiapTriffarrag. "But death 
reigned from Adam to Moses 
upon those who had not sinned, 
because of the likeness of the sin 
of Adam" the "likeness" only, 
if, where no law is, there is no 
direct imputation of sin. Comp. 
ch. vi. 5.: el ycip ffvjj,(j)VToi 
ru> ojuotw/zan TOV 
avrov, aXXa KOI TTJQ ava- 
iaropeda. All men are 
thus identified with the sin of 
Adam, as they are to be identi 
fied with the righteousness of Plim 
that was to come. Better than 
any of these subtle modes it is to 
take the passage in a more gene 
ral sense : " But death reigned 
from Adam to Moses even upon 
those who had not sinned ex 
pressly and consciously, to whom 
sin therefore could not be im 
puted in the same sense as it was 
to Adam." Compare verse 13. 



over them that had not sinned after the similitude of 
Adam s transgression, who is the figure of him that was 
is to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. 
For if through the offence of one many died *, much 
more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is 
by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 

16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift : 
for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the 

17 free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if 
by one* offence death reigned through* one; much more 

OQ tCTlV 7V7TOC,] wllO IS the figUFG 

or image of the second Adam ; or 
of whom Christ is the antitype. 
Compare for the use of TVTTOC, Acts, 
vii. 44.: /caret TOV TVTTOV oV ewpd/cet, 
and the corresponding word av- 
Tirvrrog, which occurs in 1 Pet. iii. 
21. : u 

15. "But the case is different 
with the offence and with the 
free gift." These words are 
the theme of what follows in the 
four next verses. 

The common antithesis in 
St. Paul s Epistles is between 
the law and the promise, faith 
and works. Here the same oppo 
sition is stated more objectively 
and universally between Adam 
and Christ. The law is for the 
present lost sight of in the more 
general point of view now taken. 

of Ti-oAXo/, not many as opposed 
to all, but a number of men as 
opposed to one. 

TroXXw juaXXoy, muck more. ] If 
God is just, much more is he 
merciful. Comp. above ver. 10.: 
" If while we were enemies we 
were reconciled, much more being 
reconciled shall we be saved." 
xi 24. : If the Gentile is grafted 
on the good olive, how much 


more the Jew on the olive that 
is his own. 

?/ %api Kal i] $wpco, the grace 
of God and the gift which goes 
with it. eTrepiffan ffev : abounded 
unto many, or abounded in that 
it came to many. 

16. The Apostle goes on to 
show that the balance is yet 
further on the side of mercy. He 
has already said that many died 
through the act of one man, and 
much more that the grace of God 
by one man abounded unto many. 
He has now to contrast the effect 
of the offence and the effect of 
the free gift condemnation in 
the one case, justification in the 
other. He also draws out fur 
ther the opposition of the one 
and many. One man s offence 
brought condemnation on many, 
but many offences return to one 
act of pardon. From one to many, 
from many to one, is the reckon 
ing of the justice and mercy of 

17. is a heightening of v. 15. : 
"If by the offence of one man 
many died, if by one offence 
death reigned much more shall 
grace abound unto many much 
more shall they, which partake 
of grace, reign in life through 


/3acri\V(TV Sia rov o ds, TroXXe? jjia\\ov ol ryv Trepicroreiav 
TTjs xapiros /cat [7179 Scopeas] r^s St/catocrw^s Xafi/3dVoz Tes 
ez> a>?7 ySacriXevcroucrt^ Sia roO e^os Irjcrov xpicrrou. apa is 
>s Si* e>o9 TrapaTTTtojJiaTOS eis TrdVrag av9p(*movs eis 
a, OVTCOS Acal Si ews StKatw/^aros eis TrdVras az/- 
ets St/caiwcrt^ 0)775 oxrTrep yap Sia r^s Trapa- 19 
/co^s rov ews avOpomov a^aprajKol KarecrrdO^crav ol TroXXot, 
OVTWS /cat Sta Ti75 VTra/corJs TOU ez^os St/catoi /caracrra- 
OrjcrovTai, ol TroXXoi. ^d/x,os 8e Trapetcr^X^e^, iVa TrXeo^acr^ 20 
TO TrapaTTTco/x-a oS 8e IrrXeovacrev fj apapTia, vTrepeTreptcr- 21 
crevcrev rj ^apis, ^ a vcnrep eySacrtXeucre^ 07 d/x-apria e^ r<y 
KOLL TI ^apts /Bacrikevcrrj 8ia SIKCUO 0-1^779 eis 
Sia I^crov ^ptcrrov roC Kvpiov r 

one." Compare, for a similar 20. From the more universal 

repetition, ch. vii. 16, 17. 19, point of view the Apostle re- 

20. turns to the more particular. He 

18. fte t)iKcuw<nv w>jfe, to ,/ws- repeats what he had before 

tification of life. ] Compare Jw)v touched upon at ver. 13. It was 

alwviov, below, and W; and imi- not that there was, strictly speak- 

ocrvvr), in the previous verse. Out ing, no sin where there was no 

of the two latter the expression is law ; there was sin, but it was 

constructed, in accordance with not imputed. Now, the law-came 

that analogy by which St. Paul in that the offence might abound ; 

speaks of justification as a resur- or, as we might express it, that 

rection with Christ (ch. vi. 4 men might awaken to their real 

8.). The whole verse may be re- state. The same thought is ex- 

garded as a repetition of v. 16., pressed in Gal. iii. 19. "Where- 

into which a new thought has fore then serveth the law?" it 

found its way from the words iv was added because of transgres- 

w?? fiaffiXevffo uffir, which have sions : and below, Rom. vii. 13. 

preceded ; it also contains a sum- " Sin, that it might appear sin, 

ming up of the whole argument. working death unto me through 



they which receive the* abundance of grace and of the gift 
of righteousness shall reign in life through * one, Jesus 

18 Christ. Therefore as by one* offence judgment came 
upon all rnen to condemnation ; even so by one act of 
righteousness the free gift came upon all men unto justi- 

19 fication of life. For as by one man s disobedience man}- 
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall 

20 many be made righteous. But * the law came in be 
sides, that the offence might abound. But where sin 

21 abounded, grace did much more abound : that as sin * 
reigned in* death, even so might grace reign through 
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 

that which is good, that sin might 
become exceeding sinful." 

ov SE 7rAoVao > .] But here, 
too, mercy overbalanced justice. 

21. There was yet, however, 
a higher purpose for which the 
law came in, as the other half of 
a scheme of mercy, in which the 
reign of sin and evil was first to 
be made manifest, that the reign 
of grace and righteousness might 
also begin. 

The leading thought of the 
preceding section has been, " As 
in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive." 
But there is a great difference 
between the act of sin and the 
act of justification. If many 
died through the first, much more 

shall they be redeemed by the 
second ; if there was one offence 
to condemn, there are many 
offences to be forgiven : where 
death and condemnation are,much 
more there are life and grace ; as 
one comes to all men through 
one, so likewise the other. The 
five verses from 15 19. consist 
almost wholly of -a repetition of 
the same thought, in the form 
either of a parallel between the 
act of Adam and of Christ, or of 
a climax in which the grace of 
Christ is contrasted in its effects 
with Adam s sin. The law came 
to increase the sum of trans 
gressions, but grace still exceeded. 
The law came in with this very 
object, that as sin had triumphed, 
grace might triumph also. 

N 2 



THAT so many opposite systems of Theology seek their authority in 
Scripture is a fair proof that Scripture is different from them all. 
That is to say, Scripture often contains in germ, what is capable of 
being drawn to either side; it is indistinct, where they are distinct ; 
it presents two lights, where they present only one ; it speaks in 
wardly, while they clothe themselves in the forms of human know 
ledge. That indistinct, intermediate, inward point of view at which 
the truth exists but in germ, they have on both sides tended to ex 
tinguish and suppress. Passing allusions, figures of speech, rhetorical 
oppositions, have been made the foundation of doctrinal statements, 
which are like a part of the human mind itself, and seem as if they 
could never be uprooted, without uprooting the very sentiment of 
religion. Systems of this kind exercise a constraining power, which 
makes it difficult for us to see anything in Scripture but themselves. 
For example, how slender is the foundation in the New Testament 
for the doctrine of Adam s sin being imputed to his posterity two 
passages in St. Paul at most, and these of uncertain interpretation. 
The little cloud, no bigger than a man s hand, has covered the 
heavens. To reduce such subjects to their proper proportions, we 
should consider : First, what space they occupy in Scripture ; Se 
condly, how far the language used respecting them is literal or figu 
rative ; Thirdly, whether they agree with the more general truths of 
Scripture and our moral sense, or are not " rather repugnant there 
to ; " Fourthly, whether their origin may not be prior to Christianity, or 
traceable in the after history of the Church ; Fifthly, whether the words 
of Scripture may not be confused with logical inferences which are 


appended to them ; Sixthly, in the case of this and of some other 
doctrines, whether even poetry has not lent its aid to stamp them in 
our minds in a more definite and therefore different form from that 
in which the Apostles taught them ; Lastly, how far in our own day 
they are anything more than words. 

The two passages alluded to are Rom. v. 12 21., 1 Corinthians, 
xv. 21 ? 22. 45 49., in both of which parallels are drawn between 
Adam and Christ. In both the sin of Adam is spoken of, or seems to 
be spoken of, as the source of death to man : " As by one man s trans 
gression sin entered into the world, and death by sin," and " As in 
Adam all die." Such words appear plain at first sight ; that is to say, 
we find in them what we bring to them : let us see what considera 
tions modify their meaning. If we accept the Pelagian view of the 
passage, which refers the death of each man to actual sin, there is an 
end of the controversy. But it does not equally follow that, if what 
is termed the received interpretation is given to the words, the 
doctrine which it has been attempted to ground upon them would 
have any real foundation. 

We will suppose, then, that no reference is contained in either pas 
sage to "actual sin." In some other sense than this mankind are 
identified with Adam s transgression. But the question still remains, 
whether Adam s sin and death are merely the type of the sin and 
death of his posterity, or, more than this, the cause. The first expla 
nation quite satisfies the meaning of the words " As in Adam all die ;" 
the second seems to be required by the parallel passage in the Romans : 
" As by one man sin came into the world," and " As by one man many 
were made sinners," if taken literally. 

The question involves the more general one, whether the use of 
language by St. Paul makes it necessary that we should take his 
words literally in this passage. Is he speaking of Adam s sin being the 
cause of sin and death to his posterity, in any other sense than he 
spoke of Abraham being a father of circumcision to the uncircumcised? 
(chap, iv.) Yet no one has ever thought of basing a doctrine on 
these words. Or is he speaking of all men dying in Adam, in any 

N 3 


other sense than he says in 2 Cor. v. 15., that if one died for all, then 
all died. Yet in this latter passage, while Christ died literally, it 
was only in a figure that all died. May he be arguing in the same 
way as when he infers from the word " seed " being used in the sin 
gular, that " thy seed is Christ " ? Or, if we confine ourselves to the 
passage under consideration : Is the righteousness of Christ there 
imputed to believers, independently of their own inward holiness ? 
and if so, should the sin of Adam be imputed independently of the 
actual sins of men ? 

I. A very slight difference in the mode of expression would make 
it impossible for us to attribute to St. Paul the doctrine of the 
imputation of the sin of Adam. But we have seen before how varied, 
and how different from our own, are his modes of thought and 
language. Compare i. 4., iv. 25. To him, it was but a slight trans 
ition, from the identification of Adam with the sins of all mankind, 
to the representation of the sin of Adam as the cause of those sins. 
To us, there is the greatest difference between the two statements. 
To him, it was one among many figures of the same kind, to oppose 
the first and second Adam, as elsewhere he opposes the old and new 
man. With us, this figure has been singled out to be made the 
foundation of a most exact statement of doctrine. We do not remark 
that there is not even the appearance of attributing Adam s sin to 
his posterity, in any part of the Apostle s writings in which he is not 
drawing a parallel between Adam and Christ. 

II. The Apostle is not speaking of Adam as fallen from a state of 
innocence. He could scarcely have said, " The first man is of the 
earth, earthy," if he had had in his mind that Adam had previously 
existed in a pure and perfect state. He is only drawing a parallel 
between Adam and Christ. The moment we leave this parallel, all 
is uncertain and undetermined. What was the nature of that 
innocent life ? or of the act of Adam which forfeited it ? and how 
was the effect of that act communicated to his posterity ? The minds 
of men in different ages of the world have strayed into these and 
similar inquiries. Difficulties about " fate, predestination, and free- 


will " (not food for angels thoughts), cross our path in the garden 
of Eden itself. But neither the Old or New Testament give any 
answer to them. Imagination has possessed itself of the vacant spot, 
and been busy, as it often is, in proportion to the slenderness of 

III. There are other elements of St. Paul s teaching, which are 
either inconsistent with the imputation of Adam s sin to his posterity, 
or at any rate are so prominent as to make such a doctrine if held 
by him comparatively unimportant. According to St. Paul, it is not 
the act of Adam, but the law that 

" Brought sin into the world and all our woe." 

And the law is almost equivalent to "the knowledge of sin." But 
original sin is, or may be, wholly unconscious the fault of nature in 
the infant equally with the man. Not so the sin of which St. Paul 
speaks, which is inseparable from consciousness, as he says himself: 
" I was alive without the law once," that is, before I came to the 
consciousness of sin. 

IV. It will be admitted that we ought to feel still greater re 
luctance to press the statement of the Apostle to its strict logical 
consequences, if we find that the language which he here uses is that 
of his age and country. From the circumstance of our first reading 
the doctrine of the imputation of Adam s sin to his posterity in the 
Epistles of St. Paul, we can hardly persuade ourselves that this is not 
its original source. The incidental manner in which it is alluded to, 
might indeed lead us to suppose that it would scarcely have been 
intelligible, had it not been also an opinion of his time. But if this 
inference should seem doubtful, there is direct evidence to show that 
the Jews connected sin and death, and the sins and death of man 
kind, with the sin of Adam, in the same way as the Apostle. The 
earliest trace of such a doctrine is found in the apocryphal Book 
of Wisdom, ii. 24. : " But God created man to be immortal, and made 
him to be an image of his own eternity. Nevertheless, through envy 
of the devil came death into the world ; and they that do hold of 

N 4 


his side do find it." And Eccles. xxv. 24. : " Of the woman came the 
beginning of sin, and through her we all die." It was a further re 
finement of some of their teachers, that when Adam sinned the whole 
world sinned ; because, at that time, Adam was the whole world, or 
because the soul of Adam comprehended the souls of all, so that 
Adam s sin conveyed a hereditary taint to his posterity. It was a 
confusion of a half physical, half logical or metaphysical notion, 
arising in the minds of men who had not yet learnt the lesson of our 
Saviour "That which is from without defileth not a man." 
That human nature or philosophy sometimes rose up against such 
inventions is certainly true ; but it seems to be on the whole ad 
mitted, that the doctrine of Augustin is in substance generally 
agreed to by the Kabbis, and that there is no trace of their having 
derived it from the writings of St. Paul. Compare the passages 
quoted in Fritzsche, vol. i. pp. 293 296. and Schoettgen. 

But not only is the connexion of sin and death with each other, 
and with the sin of Adam, found in the Rabbinical writings ; the 
type and antitype of the first and second Adam are also contained 
in them. In reading the first chapters of Genesis, the Jews made 
a distinction between the higher Adam, who was the light of the 
world, and had control over all things, who was mystically referred 
to where it is said, they two shall be one flesh ; and the inferior 
Adam, who was Lord only of the creation ; who had " the breath 
of life," but not "the living soul." Schoettgen, i. 512514., 
670 673. By some, indeed, the latter seems to have been iden 
tified with the Messiah. By Philo, on the other hand, the Xoyog is 
identified with the irp&roQ Aaju, who is without sex, while the 
ayflpwTroe x ^e is created afterwards by the help of the angels. 
De Great. Mund. p. 30. It is not the object of this statement to 
reconcile these variations, but merely to indicate, first, that the idea 
of a first and second Adam was familiar to the Jews in the time of 
St. Paul, and that one or other of them was regarded by them as the 
Word and the Messiah. 

V. A slighter, though not less real foundation of the doctrine has 


been what may be termed the logical symmetry of the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ and of the sin of Adam. The latter half 
is the correlative of the former ; they mutually support each other. 
We place the first and second Adam in juxtaposition, and seem to 
see a fitness or reason in the one standing in the same relation to the 
fallen as the other to the saved. 

VI. It is hardly necessary to ask the further question, what mean 
ing we can attach to the imputation of sin and guilt which are not our 
own, and of which we are unconscious. God can never see us other 
than we really are, or judge us without reference to all our circum 
stances and antecedents. If we can hardly suppose that He would 
allow a fiction of mercy to be interposed between ourselves and Him, 
still less can we imagine that He would interpose a fiction of ven 
geance. If He requires holiness before He will save, much more, may 
we say in the Apostle s form of speech, will He require sin before He 
dooms us to perdition. Nor can anything be in spirit more contrary 
to the living consciousness of sin of which the Apostle everywhere 
speaks, than the conception of sin as dead unconscious evil, originating 
in the act of an individual man, in the world before the flood. 

VII. A small part of the train of consequences which have been 
drawn out by divines can be made to hang even upon the letter of 
the Apostle s words, though we should not take into account the 
general temper and spirit of his writings. Logical inferences often 
help to fill up the aching void in our knowledge of the Spiritual 
world. They seem necessary ; in time they receive a new support 
from habit and tradition. They hide away and conceal the nature 
of the original premisses. They may be likened to the superstruc 
ture of a building which the foundation has not strength to bear ; 
or, rather, perhaps, when compared to the serious efforts of human 
thought, to the plaything of the child who places one brick upon 
another in wondering suspense, until the whole totters and falls, or 
his childish fancy pleases itself with throwing it down. So, to apply 
these remarks to our present subject, we are contented to repeat the 
simple words of the Apostle, " As in Adam all die, even so in Christ 


shall all be made alive." Perhaps we may not be able to recall all the 
associations which they conveyed to his mind. But neither are we 
willing to affirm his meaning to be that the sin of one man was the 
cause of other men s sins, or that God condemned one part of the 
human race for a fault not their own, because He was going to save 
another part ; or that original sin, as some say, or the guilt of original 
sin, as is the opinion of others, is washed away in baptism. There 
is a terrible explicitness in such language touching the realities of a 
future life which makes us shrink from trusting our own faculties 
amid far-off deductions like these. We feel that we are undermining, 
not strengthening, the foundations of the Gospel. We fear to take 
upon ourselves a burden which neither " we nor our fathers are able 
to bear." Instead of receiving such statements only to explain them 
away, or keep them out of sight, it is better to answer boldly in the 
words of the Apostle, "God forbid! for how shall God judge the 

On the whole, then, we are led to infer that in the Augustinian 
interpretation of this passage, even if it agree with the letter of the 
text, too little regard has been paid to the extent to which St. Paul 
uses figurative language, and to the manner of his age in interpre 
tations of the Old Testament. The difficulty of supposing him to be 
allegorising the narrative of Genesis is slight, in comparison with the 
difficulty of supposing him to countenance a doctrine at variance 
with our first notions of the moral nature of God. 

But when the figure is dropped, and allowance is made for the 
manner of the age, the question once more returns upon us 
" What is the Apostle s meaning ? " He is arguing, we see, KO.T 
avdpwTToi , and taking his stand on the received opinions of his time. 
Do we imagine that his object is no other than to set the seal of his 
authority on these traditional beliefs? The whole analogy, not 
merely of the writings of St. Paul, but of the entire New Testament, 
would lead us to suppose that his object was not to reassert them, 
but to teach, through them, a new and nobler lesson. The Jewish 
Eabbis would have spoken of the first and second Adam ; but which 


of them would have made the application of the figure to all man 
kind ? Which of them would have breathed the quickening Spirit 
into the dry bones ? The figure of the Apostle bears the impress of 
his own age and country; the interpretation of the figure is for 
every age, and for the whole world. A figure of speech it remains 
still, an allegory after the manner of that age and country, but 
yet with no uncertain or ambiguous signification. It means that 
" God hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth ; " and 
that "he hath concluded all under sin, that he may have mercy 
upon all." It means a truth deep yet simple, the fact which we 
recognise in ourselves and trace everywhere around us that we 
are one in a common evil nature, which, if it be not derived from 
the sin of Adam, exists as really as if it were. It means that we 
shall be made one in Christ, by the grace of God, in a measure here? 
more fully and perfectly in another world. It means that Christ is 
the natural head of the human race, the author of its spiritual life. 
It shows Him to us as he enters within the veil, in form as a man, the 
"first fruits of them which sleep." It is a sign or intimation which 
guides our thoughts in another direction also, beyond the world of 
which religion speaks, to observe what science tells us of the interde 
pendence of soul and body what history tells of the chain of 
lives and events. It leads us to reflect on ourselves not as isolated^ 
independent beings ; not such as we appear to be to our own 
narrow consciousness ; but as we truly are the creatures of ante 
cedents which we can never know, fashioned by circumstances over 
which we have no control. The infant, coming into existence in a 
wonderful manner, inherits somethingj not from its parents only, but 
from the first beginning of the human race. He too is born into a 
family of which God in Christ is the Father. There is enough here 
to meditate upon " a mystery since the world was " without the 
" weak and beggarly " elements of Rabbinical lore. We may not 
encumber St. Paul "with the things which he destroyed." 



THERE are some errors in religion which are ever attendant on the 
truths connected with them. Not only have men blessed with the 
grace of God greater powers and responsibilities than others, but 
they have also dangers, if not greater, yet peculiar to them, and 
seeming from the very constitution of the human mind itself to be 
inseparable from their religious state. There are faults, delusions, 
prejudices, tendencies to evil, to which they are liable, and which 
religion itself seems to foster in the weakness of human nature. 
One of these tendencies is antinomianism, or the tendency to rest in 
feeling, without knowledge or action. It is a corruption not pecu 
liar to Christianity, but common to all religions which have had 
anything of spiritual life or power ; in the case of individuals often 
exercising a subtle influence among those who disavow it in words. 
It already existed among the Jews in the time of St. Paul, as we 
may gather from the Epistle of St. James, and are informed by 
Philo. De Migr. Abrah. Man gey. i. 450. 

Against this corruption the Apostle sets himself in the present 
chapter. There was nothing more natural if grace abounded, than 
that men should continue in sin, that it might yet more abound. 
Experience sadly proves that there is a faith without works, hope 
of forgiveness without repentance, final assurance without moral 
goodness. There are religious states in which the eye of the soul 
seems to lose its clear insight into right and truth, and even ob 
scures with the consolations of the Gospel its sterner sense of the 
holiness of God. In the hour of death especially, nature herself 
seems to assist in the delusion. In the first ages, as in all other 
times of religious excitement, such a delusion was more than ordi- 


narily likely to prevail. It was a charge made against the Apostle 
himself that he said : " Let us do evil that good may come." ; 

At this point, therefore, in his great argument, when the abun 
dance of Divine grace has been already developed, the Apostle pauses 
to guard against the dangerous inference. His manner of doing so 
is characteristic of his view of the doctrine itself. He does not seek 
to test the Christian state by external acts, but to exalt our inward 
notion of it. He does not say, a true faith is that which brings 
forth good works, or that which is known like a tree by its fruits. 
To him, the very idea of Christian life is death to sin, and death 
with Christ. In the previous chapter no language seemed too strong 
to express the fulness and freedom of the grace of God. That 
might tempt us to continue in sin. But no, we are dead to sin. 
The state of grace itself is a state of union with Christ, in which we 
follow Him through the various stages of His life. When we think 
of it as death, sin dies within us ; when we think of it as life, we are 
risen with Him. 

An analogy may be traced between this chapter and the com 
mencement of chap, iii., which may be said to be directed against 
Jewish, as this against Christian antinomianism. They both treat 
of the same subject considered under different points of view, as the 
error of the Jew, relying on the promises to Abraham and the non 
interference of God with the evil from which he is himself exempt ; 
secondly, as the error of the believer in Christ, whose soul is ab 
sorbed in the thought of His grace, which he nevertheless regards, 
like the Jew, as the imparting of an outward gift or privilege, not of 
an inward spirit. 

Besides this general parallelism with the third chapter, other 
parallelisms occur also in the structure of the sixth chapter itself. 
It is divided into two leading sections, which correspond to each 
other, the text of the first of which is "We may not sin, because 
we are dead to sin ; " of the second " We may not sin, because if 
we do we shall become the servants of sin." In each of these sec 
tions are several reduplications. The eighth verse answers to the 


fifth, the ninth to the sixth ; the tenth stands in the same rela 
tion to the ninth as the seventh to the sixth ; the eleventh corre 
sponds to the tenth, the fifteenth to the first ; the nineteenth is a 
composition of the sixteenth and thirteenth. There is also a some 
what less obvious connexion between the eighteenth and fourteenth 
verses. In the earlier half of the chapter, verses three and four cor 
respond respectively to the two members of verse two ; five is a fur 
ther confirmation of three and four ; six and eight are confirmations 
of five ; nine and eleven are a hortatory statement of verse five. 



[OH. VI. 

Ti ovv epovjjiev ; cTTiplvtopev 1 rfj apapTia, Iva rj 

; prj yeVotro. oiWes aTreOdvopev TTJ ctjua/ma, 2 
zv avTrj ; rj dy^oeire on ocroi IpaTrTicrdrjiAev 3 
v Irjcrovv, eis roz^ OdvaTOV avrov e 

770)9 eri 

VI. 1. Tt ovv epov/jiev, What 
shall we say, then ?] What shall 
we say, then ? if this be the case 
with the law, are we to continue 
in sin that grace may abound ? 
The connexion of the thought is 
vith the whole previous chapter, 
ind especially with ver. 20. If 
" the law came in that the offence 
might abound, and so grace yet 
more abound," there might seem 
to be a sort of " doing evil that 
good may come " in the purposes 
of Providence. The Apostle 
shows that this law of " bringing 
good out of evil " does not apply 
to the lives of men. In chapter 
iii. a similar suggestion had in 
truded : "Why if my sin re 
dounds to the glory of God, am I 
still judged as a sinner ? " which 
is suppressed as impious and im 
moral. Here in the same way 
the thought that the law was in 
tended to increase sin, might lead 
to the conclusion that what God 
wanted was the increase of sin. 
Sin as much as you can, yet God s 
grace will still exceed. To which 
the Apostle replies, " That be 
far from us." The state of grace 
into which we have passed, is a 
state of death unto sin. How 
can we still live in it ? 

2. a7T0avojUV rrj apapriq. is 
said like rj v rr\ a juctpT-m, from 
which the form of the expression 
is borrowed ; just as below, v. 
20-, eXevOepoi rfj ^iKaLoavvy re 
ceives its meaning from opposi 

tion to fiovXouffdat. rrj 
Compare Gal. ii. 20 V 
vopa) diredavov iva. deaj i/<7w ; 1 
Pet. ii. 24., iva. TCUQ dpaprtaig 
aTroyevojuevot 0W ^rfff^jJLev. The 
Apostle is speaking of the ge 
neral state of Christians being 
one of death to sin. The symbol 
of this is baptism, as he explains 
in the following verse. 

3. 7) ayvoeirs ;] Know ye not 
that as many of us as were baptized 
into Christ, were baptized into 
his death? 

fluTrri^effOaL etc.] So the Is 
raelites ele rov Muijffijv, 1 Cor. 
x. 2. ; ttc a<p(Tiv afjapTitir, Mark 
i. 4. : SO, tig 70 Iwavrov /3a7rriflrjua, 
Acts xix. 3. ; fig TO ovopa IloyXov, 
1 Cor. i. 13. ; elg TO OVOJJ.CL roi> 
Harpoc;, /ecu rov Ytov, /ecu rov dyiov 
HvEvparog, Matt, xxviii. 19. 
Compare o^ivvvat etc lepoo-oXv/^a. 
elg cannot be explained in these 
passages as meaning "with the 
thought of" or " looking to : " the 
relation expressed is purely ob 
jective, and not always the same. 
etc TOV Mojvfffjv means " before 
Moses," or " at the command of 
Moses." In the words etc a</>e<nj> 
a^ajortwv, etc signifies the result 
or object ; so probably in elg TO 

elg oro/jLa only differs in the mode 
of thought from /3a7rrt e<T0cu iirl 
ovopari, both meaning to be bap 
tized " in the name of/ with a 

VEB. 14.] 



6 WHAT shall we say then ? Are we to l continue in 

2 sin, that grace may abound ? God forbid. How shall 

3 we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ? Know 
ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into 2 Christ 

4 Jesus were baptized into his death ? Therefore we 

Shall we. 

2 Jesus Christ. 

reference to the baptismal for 

The expression in the text is 
somewhat different from any of 

To be baptized into Christ is 
to be baptized so as to be one 
with Christ, or to become a mem 
ber of Christ by baptism. Com 
pare 1 Cor. xii. 13., dg h> aCjpa 
i&cnrTiffdr)(Tav, between which and 
the present passage a connecting 
link is formed by Rom. vii. 4. : 
f.Qava.TMQr]Tf. TU> vopw Sid TOV o"to/ua- 
TOQ TOV XPKTTOV. So the Apostle 
says: "By being baptized into 
Christ we were baptized into a 
common death." 

Philosophy, as Plato says in 
the Phsedo, is death ; so the Apo 
stle says that Christian life is 
death. It is a state in which we 
are dead to the temptations of the 
world, dead to all those things 
which penetrate through the 
avenues of sense, dead to the 
terrors of the law, withdrawn 
from our own nature itself, 
shrunk and contracted, as it 
were, within a narrow space, 
hidden with Christ and God. It 
is death and life at once, death 
in relation to earth, and life in 
relation to God. 

4. From the death of Christ, 
the Apostle passes on to the 
burial of Christ, which is again 
the link of transition to his re 
surrection. The second member 

of ver. 2. is here taken up :- 
" We are dead to sin, and can 
no longer live in it ; " for two 
reasons, (1.) because we are bap 
tized into the death of Christ, and 
(2.) because the resurrection of 
Christ is the type of our new life. 
The meaning of this verse 
will be more clearly brought out 
if we recall the picture of Bap 
tism in the apostolic age, when 
the rite was performed by im 
mersion, and Christians might 
be said to be buried with Christ ; 
and the passing of the Israelites 
through the cloud and the sea 
(1 Cor. x. 1, 2.), and even the 
Deluge itself (1 Pet. iii. 21.), 
seemed no inappropriate types of 
its waters. Imagine not infants, 
but crowds of grown up persons 
already changed in heart and 
feelings ; their " life hidden with 
Christ and God," losing their per 
sonal consciousness in the laver 
of regeneration ; rising again 
from its depths into the light of 
heaven, in communion with God 
and nature ; met as they rose 
from the bath with the white 
raiment, which is "the righteous 
ness of the saints," and ever after 
looking back on that moment as 
the instant of their new birth, of 
the putting off of the old man, 
and the putting on of Christ. 
Baptism was to them the figure 
of death, burial^ and resurrection 
all in one, the most apt expres- 



[On. VI. 

TOV 4 

crwTa</>77/xei> ovv avr<5 Sta TOV )8a7TTi<T^aros 
Odvarov, Iva axnrep r^yepdrj ^/HCTTO? IK vtKp&v Sia rrjg 
80^775 rov TraTp6<s, OUTW9 /ecu rjp,is iv Kaivor^n 0^779 Trepi- 
7raTijcr(*)p,ev. el yap CTV^VTOI yeyovapev rco oju-otw/xari rou 5 
Oavdrov CLVTOV, dXXa /ecu TT)S cb>acrrdcrecos ecroju,e#a, rouro 6 
) on 6 TraXcuos o^co^ av0pa>Tros crvv(TTavpa)07] t 

sion of the greatest change that 
can pass upon man, like the sud 
den change into another life 
when we leave the body. 

The Apostle introduces the 
word "buried" instead of "died," 
to recall and assist the image of 

For similar allusions, compare 
Gal. iii. 27.: 6 o-ot yap etc X! l<7 ~ 
TOV iaTTTi(rQr)T ^piffTOV evefivffa- 
<70, and Coloss. ii. 12.: avvra^iv- 

TEQ aVT(Z f.V TO) fla.7TTifTIJ.aTl, kv W 

Kai rjvi iiyEpQrjTe ; also 1 Cor. xii. 
13. : tv 7rvV[j.a. tTrortcrfl^^er, in 
which there is a trace of the same 

tie 7ov SCLVCLTOV is to be taken 
with $m rov f3aTTTtff[jLaTOQ, as in 
the preceding verse, etc TOV 

IG orjQ TOV 7ra.TpOQ.~\ 
"in the glory of God the Fa 
ther," as though Christ rose up 
in the Divine presence and sud 
denly became irradiated with its 
glory ; but " through the glory 
of the Father," which, as in other 
places " the power of the Father," 
is here spoken of as an instru 
ment. This is a simpler way of 
taking the words, than as a 
pleonastic expression for the Fa 
ther himself. We have before 
remarked, that St. Paul speaks 
of that as an instrument which 
we should consider as a mode. 
Nor can it be wondered at, that 
language should be peculiarly 
wavering and uncertain on sub 

jects that altogether transcend 
language. Compare Col. i. 11.: 
kv Traarrj fivvafjiei tWcijuov jutvoi Ka 

OVTWQ Kai fjuelc. As in Rom. 
xiii. 1114., 1 Thess. v. 5 
11., John, v. 24 28., the Apo 
stle passes from resurrection to 
renewal, from the coming of 
Christ (iraoovrjia) to his presence 
in the soul of man. 

5. ffvu(f)VToi, united with him. ] 
May either be taken absolutely, 
" if we have been united with him 
by the likeness of his death," or 
" united with the likeness of his 
death." In the first way of con 
struing the passage, yv^vTOL TU 
6poLU)fj.aTt is equivalent to ffvp<pv- 
Tot TV opoioi elvai, " if we are 
united with Him, by being like 
Him in his death." According 
to the second explanation we are 
said to be united not with Him, 
but with the likeness of His 
death; that is, with the death to 
sin, which is the image of the 
death of Christ. " Planted toge 
ther" in the English version is 
too strong a translation for avfj.- 
<f)VToi, which has lost the idea of 
(pvio. oXXa Kai is emphatic, and 
is equivalent to "immo etiam." 
Compare two other usages of 
aXXa cat, which afford together 
the nearest trace of this use of 
it in the apodosis : with ov juoVov, 
as Phil. i. 8. ; ov porov Se yaipw 
dXXa Kai y^aprjcropat ; and at the 

commencement of sentences, as 

VEB. 5, 6.J 



were * 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 

5 life. For if we have been * united with him by the 
likeness of his death, we shall be also * by the likeness 

6 of his resurrection : knowing this, that our old man is 
crucified with him, that the body of sin might be de- 

in Luke 
yvvcCiKig Ttveg, 
" nay but." 

xxiv. 22.: 


a, we shall be.~\ In the 
eleventh verse, the Apostle speaks 
of our living through Christ in 
this present world. Hence it has 
been supposed that in this pas 
sage he is blending in one the 
resurrection which is present, or 
the renewal that he mentioned 
just before, and the resurrection 
which is to come. And it is 
true that in the Apostle s mode 
of thinking they are always 
nearly connected. But here it 
seems rather as though he were 
dwelling on the resurrection that 
is to come, as a motive for re 
newal here. As though he said : 
"We are dead with Christ, 
therefore let us be dead to sin; 
we shall rise with Christ here 
after, therefore let us walk in 
newness of life." Compare 1 
Cor. xv. 49., " And as we have 
borne the image of the earthly, 
we shall also bear the image of 
the heavenly ; " and Phil. iii. 9 
11., "And be found in Him, not 
having mine own righteousness, 
which is of the law, but that 
which is through the faith of 
Christ, the righteousness which 
is of God by faith : that I may 
know Him, and the power of His 
resurrection, and the fellowship 

aXXa icai of His sufferings, being made 
and " or conformable unto His death : if 
by any means I might attain 
unto the resurrection of the 
dead." So 1 Thess. v. 4, 5. 

6. TOVTO yirwa-KovTEs, knowing 
this,~\ " and we know this." Com 
pare 2 Pet. i. 20., iii. 3. 

6 TraXatoQ IJ^JLMV aj 0/ow7roe.J 
The image of the Christian, as 
one with Christ, is still carried 
on. Man falls asunder into two 
parts corresponding to the two 
divisions of Christ s life, and 
leaves one of those parts hang 
ing upon the cross. 6 -rraXaioQ 
?//uJ}j avQpuiroQ our former self. 
Compare : aTroOecrOai vfJLdt; KctTU 
TYJV TrpoTtpav ai o.a Tpoiprjv TOV ira.- 
\atov avSpwirov . . . Kal iv^vaa- 
ffdai TOV KO.IVOV avtipuTrov, Eph. 
iv. 22 24. ; 6 reoQ at ^WTTOC, Col. 
iii. 10. ; \^v\ixoc aV0pu>7roc, 1 Cor. 
ii. 14. ; also for the general sense 
2 Cor. v. 17., " Therefore if any 
man be in Christ, he is a new 
creature : old things are passed 
away ; behold, all things are 
become new." Coloss. ii. 14., 
" Having blotted out the hand 
writing of ordinances that was 
against us, ... and nailed it to 
his cross." The figure is some 
what varied : our death to sin, v. 
3, 4., is blended with the death of 
sin, in v. 6., represented under the 
image of the old man who is left 
behind on the cross. The other as 
pect of the figure returns in ver. 7. 

o 2 



[On. VI. 

Iva KaTapyyOfj TO crco/xa rrjs apapTLas, rou /zTiKeri SovXeuew 

T7/>ia9 r>7 afJiapTia 6 yap airo9ava>v SeSi/ccuamu 0,770 TT^S 7 

a/xaprtas. ei Se aTredavo^v crvv ypicrTO), TTicrrevo^v on 8 

/ecu crvv&jcroiJiev avrq>, eiSores ore ^ptcrros eycpOels e/c 9 

VtKp&V OVK6TL a7rO0VljCTKl. 6dvaTO<$ OLVTOV OVKtTl KVpiVl. 

o yap airtOavev, rfj apapria aTrlOavtv ec^aTraf. o Se 77, 77 10 

rrjg d^uapr/ae has been 
taken in four ways : 

(1.) The mass of sin. 

(2.) The sinful body, the body 
which is of sin, belongs to sin, 
like (rtipa rfj^ crapKog, in Col. ii. 
11. the fleshly body. 

(3.) Sin which adheres to men 
as a body, like Rom. vii. 24., 
" the body of this death," accord 
ing to its most probable explana 
tion. Or, 

(4.) The body of sin may be a 
continuation of the figure of the 
old man who is identified with 
sin, and has a body attributed to 

The last of these interpreta 
tions is most in accordance with 
the symbolism of the passage, 
while the first two are plainly 
repugnant to it. 

TOV prjKln <)ov\vtv rjpag~^ 6X- 
presses in the concrete, what had 
previously been expressed in the 
abstract, in the words iva 

TO ffwfjia rg 

7. o yap a.TroQavi*)v $f$tKaiurrat t 
he that is dead has been justi 
fied.^ The legal terms right and 
wrong no longer apply to him. 
It is a principle of the law itself 
which the Apostle is adducing. 
Compare vii. 1. : "The law 
hath power over the man as long 
as he liveth." There is also an 
allusion in the word ^tKaiwrat 
to the doctrine of righteous 
ness by faith, which* is height 
ened by the associations of the 
previous ^ erse : " Not only he 

that is dead sins no more, but 
he has left his crimes behind 
him, and paid the last penalty for 

It is not quite clear whether 
these words refer only to Christ, 
or to the believer who is in his 
image also. The latter is most 
agreeable to the context. The 
nerve of the Apostle s argument 
was: "How shall we who are 
dead to sin live any longer 
therein ? " Continuing this 
thought, he says : " We are dead 
and buried with Christ, and 
therefore should rise with him 
to newness of life. We have 
left the old man on the cross 
with him, that the body of sin 
may be done away. For death is 
the quittance of sin." "How then 
shall we any longer live in it ? " 
is still the Apostle s inference ; 
not only " how shall we who are 
dead to sin," but, " how shall we 
who are justified by death." 

StKaLOVffBai OTTO Ttjg apaprlag,^ 
not to be justified, and so sepa 
rated or freed from sin, structura 
pr&gnanti, as it is termed, but 
like StKaiMOfjvai OLTTO Travrwy, Acts, 
xiii. 39. 

8. A repetition of ver. 5. in a 
slightly altered form, a new turn 
being given to the words by their 
juxtaposition with the previous 
clause. As the dead is justified, 
we believe that, as we are dead, 
we shall rise again. The con 
nexion which is here latent be 
tween resurrection and justifica- 

VER. 710.] 



7 stroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For 
s he that is dead has been justified * from sin. But * if 

we be dead with Christ,* we believe that we shall also 
9 live with him : knowing that Christ being raised from 

the dead dieth no more ; death hath no more dominion 
10 over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once : 

tion is more clearly brought out 
in iv. 25., v. 18. 

In ver. 4., the Apostle had 
been chiefly speaking of walking 
in newness of life ; here the 
words Triffrevofjiev ori imply that 
he is referring to another life, as 
in 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. ; Col. i. 5. 

9. We hope to be partakers 
of his resurrection, knowing that 
he dies no more. Sin and death 
are connected together : he that 
is dead is freed from sin, there 
fore death hath no more dominion 
over him. Such appears to be 
the under current of the Apo 
stle s thought, which is more 
fully drawn out in the following 

10. o yap cLiriQavEv, in that he 
died.~\ The first question re 
specting these words is, how we 
may assign a uniform sense to 
the dative in both members of 
the sentence. A near parallel to 
them occurs in Soph. Aj. 1106. 
Seoc yap tKffwfei p.e, rwfie 3 oV^o- 
/.iat, which might be translated 
into the New Testament Greek, 
rw()e TeOi>i]Ka, <o 5-ew. " In rela 
tion to sin, or as far as sin is 
concerned, he died, in relation to 
God he lives." Compare 2 Cor. 
xiii. 4. : el ivravpuitir) e affde- 
vt/ctc, d\Xa %rj EK ^uyayufwg Seov* 

The construction of 6 may be 
explained either by supposing it 
to be the case after a^iQavev or 
in apposition with it : " for the 
death which he died, or in that 

he died ; " either way passing 
into a conjunction. 

But what is the meaning of 
dying unto sin, or in relation to 
sin, so far as sin is concerned, 
once ? Sin and death are con 
ceived of as inseparably con 
nected with each other, and as 
both appertaining to Christ on 
earth. Sin is the sin of man by 
whom he suffered, the sins of 
mankind with which he united 
himself, the terrors of the law, 
according to which he fell under 
the curse ; sin in every sense in 
which figuratively or ideally it 
can be applied to Christ (ch. iv. 
25. : compare Sc TrapeSoOri c)ia ra 
TTOjOaTTT-w/xara //yuwv feat ijyepQr} Sia 
TYJV %iKa.itt)(nv j/^uwv). Of all this 
he was quitted and cleared by 
death. His death was but a 
single, momentary act (e^aTra^), 
which gave death, that king of 
terrors, no real dominion over 
Him. It was but a death unto 
sin, the laying aside of a certain 
relation in which He had stood to 
a former dispensation. But His 
life is infinitely real, He lives in 
communion with God. Compare 
Luke xx. 38.: "For all live 
unto Him." We might para 
phrase the passage as follows: 

Death hatli no more dominion 
over Him. 

For His death was but the ne 
gation of sin and death. His 
life is a communion with the 
source of life. 

o 3 



[Cu. VI. 

TOJ #e<. OVTO)<S Kal vjJLeis \oyitf.crOe eavrovs vtKpovs IJLZV rfj n 
d/xapria 1 , aWas e rw $ea> e^ -^pLcrrco Irjcrov. 2 fjirj ovv ySacri- 12 
XeveYa) 77 afjiapria Iv TCO 0vrjT( V\LU>V crcJ/xart eis TO viraKovtiv 3 
rai? eiTiOvfJiiai^ avrov, ju/^Se TrapLcrrdveTe ra ^teX^ V/JLO>^ 6VXa 13 
dSi/aas TT? d/Aapria, aAXd Trap 0,0*77? cra/re eavrovs rw 


wcrec e/c 

KOL rd 

TOJ Uea). apapna yap VJJLOJV ov KVpLevo~i ov yap ecrre 14 

e\ / \\\e\ / 


Ti ovv; dju,apT770-a)//,J> 4 , on OVK ecr/xe^ VTTO vofjiov a\\a 15 
yapiv; /XT) yevoiro. OVK oiSare on w TrapLcrrdveTe ie 

8 OUT?? eV. 4 afji.apTrfffoiJ.fv. 

body." We should rather have 
expected: "Let not sin reign 
in your body, which is already 
dead." Various modes have been 
adopted of avoiding the diffi 
culty : (1.) Let not sin reign in 
your flesh ; or, (2.) in your body, 
which is appointed to die, of 
which it is a solemn reflection 
that it shall one day die ; or, 
(3.) in which death is a figure of 
a death unto sin. 

The same use of the word 
SvrjroG occurs in two other pas 
sages : 6 kye if 

Throughout this passage the 
Apostle is identifying Christ and 
the believers ; and conceptions, 
primarily applicable or more in 
telligible in reference to the one, 
are transferred to the other. We 
shall better apprehend his mean 
ing, by beginning in a different 
order. " For in that we die, we 
die unto sin ; in that we live, we 
live unto God." Our death with 
Christ is the renunciation of sin 
once for all, and the opening of a 
new life unto God. Under this 
figure of what the believer feels 
in himself, the Apostle describes 
the work of Christ. Death and 
life are one but yet two in the 
individual soul the negative 
and positive side of the change 
which the Gospel makes in him 
so they are also in Christ. 

11. As He dies and lives for 
evermore, so also consider that 
ye are dead, indeed, unto sin, 
but alive unto God through Jesus 
Christ. lv, instrumental, as in 
ver. 23. 

12. The Apostle had said 
above : " How shall we who 
are dead to sin, live any longer 
therein?" He now says: "Let 
not sin reign in your mortal 

ra -^ra <rw- 
yttara vp<Zv, Rom. viii. 11.; and in 
2 Cor. iv. 11.: aet yap 
<JJVTG etc Savarov Trap 
Sid Irjaovv, iva. KCU // on 
Irjffov fyarepwdrj iv TTJ Svrjrfj 
rjfjLwr. In neither of these pas 
sages can the sense be " liable to 
death, mortal." The Apostle is 
speaking of a state, not of pos 
sible, but of actual death. Your 
" corrupt " bodies, or your bodies 
which are in a state of death, 
would be a more exact translation. 
So in the passage we are con 
sidering, the word itself has 
acquired a new meaning, from 
the different point of view in 

VER 1116.] 



11 but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise 
reckon ye also yourselves 1 dead indeed unto sin, 

12 but alive unto God through Jesus Christ. 2 Let not 
sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should 

is obey 3 the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members 
as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin : but yield 
yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the 
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness 

14 unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you : 
for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 

is What then ? are we to sin 4 , because we are not under 

IG the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, 

1 Add to be. 

2 Add our Lord. 

8 Add it iu. 

4 Shall we sin. 

which the Apostle regards death. 
Let not sin reign in your " dead 
body," or your " body which is in 
a state of death unto sin," is his 
meaning. The figurative use of 
Srriru is exactly parallel with 
Svrjrfj ffapKt, in 2 Cor. iv. 11. 

13. ju^^e TrajOtoravere.] Comp. 
1 Cor. v. 16. : " Shall I take the 
members of Christ and make 
them the members of an harlot?" 
Rom. xii. 1.: Trapaor^o-ui ra aa;- 
juara vfjLUtv Svrtiav ^toaar. 

14. It might seem, at first sight, 
tautology to say, "Let not sin reign 
over you, for sin shall not reign 
over you." A slightly different 
turn restores the meaning. Do 
it, as we might say, for you are 
able to do it. Present yourselves 
to God as those who are alive 
from the dead ; who were dead 
once, but now alive ; under the 
law once, but under grace now. 
Instead of the outward and posi 
tive rule, you have the inward 
union with Christ; for the strength 
of sin, the consciousness of for 
giveness ; for fear, love ; for bon 
dage, freedom ; for slavery, son- 

ship ; for weakness, power. Such 
an enlargement of the words of 
the Apostle may be gathered from 
other places. The yap expresses 
the ground of motive and encou 

15. Thus far the Apostle has 
argued, that we cannot continue 
in sin because we are dead with 
Christ. Going off upon the words 
of the last verse, he now puts the 
same argument in another point 
of view : " We cannot serve two 
masters." His servants we are 
to whom we render our service, 
of sin unto death, or of obedience 
unto righteousness. 

What then ? because we have 
the promise that sin shall not 
prevail over us, because we are 
not bound merely by an exter 
nal obligation, but endowed with 
an inward power, shall we sin ? 
Not so ; we cannot sin without 
being the servants of sin ; whether 
we choose for our masters sin or 
righteousness, we are their ser 

16. It seems like tautology to 
say : " Whose servants ye make 

o 4 



[On. VI. 


e e/c 

SouXovs ei? viraKoriv, SovXoi ecrre cS VTTGLKOVT, 
djutaprias 19 6dvaTov rj vTraKorjs eis Stfcaiocrw^^ ; 
Se T< #ea>, on 07x6 SouXoir^s a/xapria?, i>7rr)Kovo-aTe 17 
ets o*> TrapeSd^re TUTTO^ SiSa^s IXevOepa)- ls 

d/^aprtas lSov\a)OrjT rfj SiKaiOcrvvr). 
av6p(*)TTivov Xeya) Sid TJyp dcr$eVeicu> TTJS crap/cos V^MV. 19 
axTTrep yap Trapecrr^crare TO, jiteX^ v^v SovXa r^ clfca- 
BapcrLa /cat r^ avopia eis T^v avopiav, OVTOJ vvv TrapacrTrj- 
crare rol /x-eX^ v/^wz/ SovXa r^ St/caiocrw^ eis ayiacr^6v. ore 20 


yourselves, his servants ye are." 
Accordingly, Lachmann, in his 
preface, has given up the word J, 
and conjectures we. It may be 
objected that the emendation is 
weak, and that the words as 
they stand are very much after 
the manner of St. Paul. They 
admit, moreover, of a sufficient 
sense, even supposing the Apostle 
to have meant nothing more than 
an emphatic repetition : "Know 
ye not that what ye are, ye are." 
But what he says is not precisely 
this, but "Know ye not that 
what ye make yourselves, ye are ? " 
the first clause expressing a vo 
luntary and temporary act, and the 
second its permanent conse 
quence. " To whomsoever ye 
offer yourselves as slaves, his 
slaves ye are, and will not cease to 
be." There is a line drawn be 
tween the two services of sin and 
righteousness which you cannot 

As if unable to find another 
word, the Apostle repeats uTra/coy 
in the latter part of the sentence 
in a new sense. The antithesis 
of SiKaioffvvr) and QavaroQ belongs 
to the form rather than the mean 
ing. Comp. Rom. x. 10. 

In Greek we often find a par 
ticiple where, in a modern lan 
guage, a verb would be employed, 

and a sentence made independent. 
In the Greek of the New Tes 
tament the opposite, however, 
sometimes happens ; we have a 
verb used where a participle 
would be more natural. Thus, 
in the present passage, the mean 
ing is : " Thanks be to God, 
that having been the servants of 
sin, ye became the servants of 
righteousness," "that ye were 
and became," the two clauses 
being regarded as one. Compare 
Eph. v. 8. : //re yap TTOTE ororoe, vvv 
c) (ffiog kv KfjO/w. 

17. vTTYjKovffare EIQ ov Trapeco- 

drjTE TV7TOV Clfia. xfJQ = V7rrjKOV<TCLT 

TW TV-ITU ^t^n^rjg eiQ ov Trapefiodrjre. 
The singularity of this attraction 
of the antecedent into the case of 
the relative, consists in the cir 
cumstance that the dative is thus 
resolved. Comp. Rom. iv. 17. ; 
Acts xxi. 16., ayovrec Trap J c- 
ri(r6u}pev Mmerwvi, where, not 
withstanding the attempt of Winer 
( 31, 2.) to show that aytiv may 
govern a dative, the inverted at 
traction is far more natural. 

18. Ye were freed from sin and 
made the servants of righteous 

19. di^dpcjTrifov \iyit) = fear av- 
dpwTrov Xe yw.] I use human lan 
guage. Sometimes, as in I Cor. 
ix. 8., opposed to the words of the 



that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his 
servants ye are to whom ye obey ; whether of sin unto 

17 death, or of obedience unto righteousness ? But God be 
thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have 
obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine whereto ye 

is were delivered*; and* being made free from sin, ye 

19 became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the 
manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh. 
For as ye have yielded your members servants to un- 
cleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity ; even so now 
yield your members servants to righteousness unto 

20 * sanctification. For when ye were the servants of sin, 

law, ?} Kar .avdptiHrov TCLVTO. XaXw */ 
KCU 6 vo^iOQ Tavra ov XaXtl ; or as 
in Rom. iii. 5., used as a sort of 
apology for a seemingly profane 
mode of speech ; or, as in Gal. 
iii. 15., a^eX^o/, Kara 
\l-yw. 6fiu)Q civdpwTTo 

Seic dderel >/ 

where it means simply, " I 
use a human figure of speech," 
as in this passage, in reference to 
the expression, " slavery to right 

cita ri]v dadlyetav rr}c ffapKOQ 
vpo)v.~] I speak of a service 
after the manner of men ; because 
your flesh is still weak, and there 
fore with you to be righteous, is 
to be the servant of righteous 
ness ; or because ye are slow of 
understanding (compare Heb. v. 
11, 12.), and therefore I speak of 
your present state under a figure 
derived from your former one. 

Comp. viii. 20. : " For the 
creature was made subject to 
vanity, not willingly, but by rea 
son of Him who hath subjected 
the same in hope, for the crea 
ture itself also shall be delivered 
from the bondage of corruption 

into the glorious liberty of the 
children of God." 

rrj avo(, EIQ ri]r avopiav.^ 
With no other end but lawless 

20, 21. The connexion of these 
two verses has been traced as 
follows : there was a time when 
you were in the opposite state, 
when you were the slaves of sin, 
and had a seeming freedom from 
righteousness. Compare the two 
states. What does your expe 
rience tell you of the fruit of 
sin ? Things of which you are 
now ashamed, for the end of those 
things is death. 

Adopting Lachmann s punctu 
ation, it must be admitted that, 
according to this way of taking 
the passage, the point of TO /ZEV 
yap 7-f Xog iKEivuv SavaroQ is lost 
in some degree ; for these words 
supply a good answer to the ques 
tion, "What fruit had ye?" but 
are an inappropriate reason " for 
their being ashamed of these 

It may be objected also that 
the relative clause is a harsh and 
abrupt answer to the question. 



[Cu. VI. 

yap SovXot yT TTJS ajJiapTLas, i\ev6epoi fjre rfj 

riva ovv Kaptrov et^ere rare; e</> of? j w eTraicr^wecr^e * 21 

TO jjiev 1 yap reXos e/cet^a)^ #dVa,TOs* z wl Se IXevfJepaiOevTes 22 

8ov\aj6evTS Se T< #e 
els dyiacr/^oV, TO e TeXos anr)z atw 



TO, yap 6i//oj^ta 


cuomos e 

TO Se ^aptcr/xa 23 
J^crou TW Kvpico 

1 Omit juei . 

It is better to take the words 
</> ole j 0/^vyffd neither as 
the answer to the question, nor 
as a part of the question, but as 
a parenthesis thrown in by the 

As though the Apostle had 
said : " For when you were the 
servants of sin, you were not the 
servants of righteousness. What 
fruit had you then of those 
things ? (which I cannot mention 
without telling you that you are 
now ashamed of them)." The 

answer is implied in what fol 
lows : " You had no fruit, for 
the end of those things is death. 
But now ye are the servants of 
righteousness, and not the ser 
vants of sin, you have a fruit, the 
end of which is not death, but 
eternal life." There is an exact 
parallelism between ver. 20, 21, 
and 22., with the exception that 
the words of the question riva 
ovv Kapler Eiytre. ; are exchanged 
for X r v KOffKov vfj.wr in the 
succeeding verse. 

VER. 2123.] 



21 ye were free* as touching* righteousness. What fruit 

had ye then? things whereof ye are now ashamed; for 

2 the end of those things is death. But now being made 

free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your 

fruit unto sanctificatiori *, and the end everlasting life. 

J For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is 

eternal life in* Jesus Christ our Lord. 

iXevdepoi rrj ^LKatoffvr^.^ Right 
eousness was not your master ; 
you were free as far as she was con 
cerned. The dative may be ex 
plained either by the parallelism 
of SoiiXoc or as a dative of relation. 

23. The evil that we receive 
at the hand of God is deserved, 
but the good undeserved. Sin 
has its wages, and yet eternal life 
is a free gift. How can we main 
tain this paradox, which is, more 
over, a form of expression natural 
to us ? 

It is quite true that the good 
and evil which we receive at the 
hands of God is exactly propor 
tioned by his justice and wisdom 
to our deserts. But what we 
intend to express by such forms 
of speech is: (1.) Our feeling 
that he is, in a special sense, the 
author of our salvation as well 
as of all good ; (2.) That what 
ever may be our deserts in his 
eye, they would lose their very 
nature if we regarded them as 



Ver. 17. 

IN the same way that in 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10., the Apostle argues 
from the verse in the law " Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that 
treadeth out the corn," adding that " this was written for our sakes," 
he proceeds, at the commencement of this chapter, to argue from a 
principle of the law which we have observed to have been already 
in his thoughts in ver. 7. of the chapter preceding. Such an 
argument, although by ourselves it would be regarded as a figure 
of speech or an illustration, was after the manner of those times, 
and came home with peculiar force to the mind of the Jew. The 
form of authority with which he introduces it, does not allow us to 
suppose that he intended it himself as an illustration. It would be 
more true to say that such a distinction as that between " illus 
tration " and " argument " had no existence in the mind of the 

According to the similitude which the Apostle here uses, the 
relation of the Jew to the law is likened to the case of a wife who has 
lost her husband. As a widow the law, of course, said that she 
might marry again ; her husband had no claim on her. Even so 
the law itself was dead, and the Jew was free to marry again to 
Christ, who was not dead, but risen from the dead. 

There is, however, a difficulty in the application of the similitude 
in ver. 4, 5, 6. This arises from the believer being regarded in 
two points of view. In the figure he is compared to the wife, while 
in the application he seems to change places, and become identified 
with the husband, who, in a certain sense, as well as the wife, is 
freed from the law ; for " he that is dead, has been freed from sin." 
For this change there seem to be two reasons : First, In working 
out the figure, the resemblance of the Christian to the husband as 


well as to the wife, strikes the Apostle ; for as the husband is dead, 
so also is the Christian dead to the law. Secondly, The change may 
be regarded as a sort of euphemism to Jewish ears. The Apostle 
avoids the harshness of saying that " the law is dead," by substi 
tuting " ye are dead to the law." 

" The wife is dead to the law " in reference to a single point ; that 
is, " she is loosed from the law of the husband " (ver. 2.), " she may 
marry again " (ver. 3.). 

So also the chain is snapped by which the believer is bound to the 
law itself; he may marry again to " Him that is raised from the dead." 

Instead, however, of drawing out further " the death of the law," 
the Apostle turns the figure round, and compares the believer no 
longer to the living wife, but to the dead husband (read aTroQavovre^ 
in ver. 6.). 

"The husband is dead to the law " in general; it has no more 
dominion over him: he is quit of it not in one point but in all. 
The dead husband, in ver. 4, 5, 6., equally with the surviving wife, in 
ver. 1, 2, 3., is an image of the relation in which the Christian stands 
to the law, as dying to it, although he survives it. See notes. 

Besides the slighter verbal connexion of this passage with ver. 7. 
of the previous chapter (6 yap cnrodavuv SediKa iwTai awo rfJQ d/zapr/ac;), 
which has been already mentioned, there is a deeper connexion also 
with the whole of the preceding subject. 

In the previous chapter the believer had been described as dead 
unto sin, but alive unto righteousness. " Sin," said the Apostle, 
" shall have no more dominion over you ; for ye are not under the 
law, but under grace." This thought he carries out further in the 
present passage, illustrating it by the particular case of the woman 
and the husband, which, in the language of the Epistle to the 
Galatians, shows, in a figure, " that the law is dead to us, and we 
to the law." The only difference is that in the last chapter what 
the Apostle was speaking of was a " death unto sin ; " here rather 
of what in his view is so closely connected as to be almost identical 
with it, " a death unto the law." It is the close connexion between 
them that leads him to guard, in verse 7., against the possible in 
ference that " the law is sin." 



[OH. VII. 

*H ayvotLTe, dSeX</>oi, (yivvo-Kovcriv yap popov XaX&>) , 
cm 6 VOJJLOS KvpLVL TOV avdpa)Trov Ifi ocTOv yjpovov fi rj 2 
yap vTravSpos yvvr) ra t>vn av^pl SeSerat ^d/xor eav 8e 
a7ro9dvri 6 avrfp, KarrfpyrjTai OLTTO TOV vopov TOV avSpos. 
dpa ovv aWos TOV az/Spos /xot^aXt? ^Tj/xaTicrei, e ai> yeVr;- 3 
rat, cb Syo! eTepar ecu; Se aTroOdvri 6 avrfp, IXevdepa ecrri^ 0,770 
TOT) Popov, TOV /XT) et^at, avTJ)v /xoi^aXtSa, ytvopev^v avpl 
ere)ow. wcrre, deXc/)oc /xov, Kal v/Aets e^ai/arcJ^re raJ ^O/AOJ 4 
Sea TOU o-w/xaro? rov ^picrroi), et? TO ye^ecr^at v/xcis erepw, 
TO CAC vtKp&v lyepOevTL, Iva Kapiro^opria u^v ra> ^ea>. ore 5 
yap 77/zei e^ rij crapKi, ra TraOij^aTa TO*V apapTitov ra Sta 
TOV VQJJLOV evrjpyeiTO iv TOIS jueXecr^ ^wz^ eig TO Kaptro- 

VII. The Apostle begins by 
asserting the general principle, 
and illustrates it by a particular 
case. He reminds the Roman 
Church that they knew the law 
(a passing allusion not without 
interest and importance to us. 
See Introduction). Now the 
power of the law, as they also 
knew, did not extend beyond life ; 
the proof of this being the fami 
liar case of the dissolution by 
death of the relations of husband 
and wife. 

1. TOV ai QpwTTovi of the man."] 
Not the husband, but the subject 
of the law. 

OTOV yjporov y-^\ Not "so 
long as the law liveth " (which, if 
the expression were itself tole 
rable, would be a self-evident 
and unmeaning proposition) ; but, 
" so long as he, that is, the man 
liveth, who is the subject of the 

Sederat, Kari ipyiirai, " has been 
and is," the perfect expressing 
the continuance of the state of 

bondage or freedom from the 
law. The word K-arapy7<r0cu, " to 
be set at nought, made void," is 
here used structura prcegnanti ; 

that is, it is followed by O.TTO as 
though some other verb had pre 
ceded. Compare Gal. v. 4. : *a- 
Tr}pyj]driT UTTO TOV xpiffTOv. 

X|0^ar/^v,in its earlier sense, 
means to do business, to give 
audience : hence its two mean 
ings in the New Testament : 
(1.) simply to be called or have a 
title, as Polybius (v. 57. 2.) uses 
the expression, /3ao-tXta 
^iv, and 
Acts xi. 26., 

O.VOVQ : (2.) in the passive 
Ti^eadatj to be warned, or receive 
an answer or intimation, as in 
the phrase \P 1 ll JLariff ^ iQ 
Matt. ii. 22. 

4. UKTTE VfJ.elQ iQo.VO.T(jjBr]T.~\ TllC 

Apostle changes the figure. The 
words EOavaTojQrjTe and cnrotiaruv- 
TLIQ are too strong to allow us to 
suppose that he is still describing 
the death of the believer to the 
law under the image of the wife ; 
who is not dead, but only freed 
by death. This latter image, 
however, reappears in the next 
words, EIQ TO yeviaQai vyude tTepw. 
For a similar change, comp. ch. 
vi. 5, 6, 7. ; 1 Thess. v. 2. 4. 
ctd TOV <rajfj,aroG TOV 

VER. 1 



7 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that 
know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a 

2 man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath 
an husband is bound by the law to her husband* that 
liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from 

s the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband 
liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be 
called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is 
free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though 

4 she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, 
ye also are become dead to the law by the body of 
Christ; that ye should be married to another, to him who 
is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit 

5 unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions 
of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members 

These words have been para 
phrased by some interpreters: 
"Through the body of Christ 
which is the substance of which 
the law is the shadow," as in 
Col. ii. 17. o kffT(.v tr/aa rwv pe\- 
\6v u)i>, TO $e <rttJ/.a TOV yjiiaTOv. 
Here, however, <rw/.ia is only used 
for substance, in opposition to 
ffKit t. In our present passage, 
it is better to understand Sid TOV 
ffwpciToc; TOV ^piorou, as meaning 
" by the death of Christ," which 
is thus signified by his mortal 
part, in opposition to iyepOtvTi. 
The word o-w/^a may have been 
chosen instead of -Savaroc, to 
express the accessory idea of a 
communion of many members 
in one body, as in Col. i. 24., 
" The body of Christ which is 
the church." Comp. above vi. 
3., /3a7r-t (T0r/-f tic; TOV SaraTor ; 
and the Christian use of the 
figure of marriage, Eph. v. 32., 
"This is a great mystery, but 
I speak concerning Christ and 
the church ; " also 1 Cor. vi. 17., 6 

rw Kvpa) ty 7rviv[j,a. 


KupTrofyoprjffut, ] here and in v. 5., 
is an allusion to the word /coprroc, 
in ver. 21, 22., of the previous 

5. Goes back a step to contrast 
the previous with the present 
state; yap is explanatory : "For 
when we were in the state of 
sinful flesh, that is, when we 
were under the law, the sinful 
affections which the law created, 
wrought in our members to bring 
forth fruit unto death." 

The Apostle here takes the 
same view of the relation of the 
law and sin as in the following 
paragraph. Death is not the 
consequence of sin, but rather 
the joint result of sin and of the 

The affections which spring from 
sins or which cause sins ; or 
better, more generally, which be 
long to sins. Compare 




[CH. VII. 

TO OavaTO) vvvi Se 
diroOavovTes 1 




0,770 rov vo 


Kal ov TraXaidr^rt 

rvi ta rov yo/zov] not " in the 
state of the law," but " of which 
the law is the instrument." 
Comp. ver. 8. and ch. v. ver. 19. 

6. vvvl $e KaTr)pyridrjfj.v CLTTO 
TOVv6pov,a.7rodav6i>TogTOV Savarov 
iv u KaTEt-^ofJitQa, A. G. f. g. V. 

vvv\ $F KaTrjpyrjdri/jiEV diro rov 
rofjiov diroQavovTEQ kv w Ka.rf.iyji)- 
peOa, A. B. C. 

The latter reading, which is 
adopted by Lachmann, is probably 
the true one. It is sometimes 
translated "Being dead to that 
wherein we were held." It is 
simpler to connect kv & with 
drro rov vopov. " But now, by 
dying, we are separated from the 
law in which we were held." 

wore $ov\Viv */jud.] Comp. vi. 
22. The moral and the positive, 
the written and the unwritten, 
the letter that killeth and the 
Spirit that giveth life, are con 
trary the one to the other. 

7 25. The question which 
naturally arises in reading the 
following passage, is that of the 
Eunuch to Philip: " Of whom 
saith the Apostle this, of himself 
or of another ? " or, in other 
words : "Is he speaking of the 
regenerate or of the unregenerate 
man ? " Accordingly as we an 
swer this question, the doctrine 
of the Epistle assumes a different 
character. If we say "of him 
self and the regenerate man," 
might we not add in his own 
words ? " Your faith is vain, 
ye are yet in your sins." The 
Gospel has done nothing more 

than strengthen and deepen the 
consciousness of sin. By the 
Gospel, no less than by the 
law, shall " no flesh be justified ;" 
"for," as we may reason with 
the Apostle (iii. 20.), "by the 
gospel is the knowledge of sin." 
Then is the believer " of all men 
most miserable ; " for, assuredly, 
the heathen is not subject to that 
distraction of nature, which is 
here described. He has passed 
into a state in which he is not 
one but two ; instead of being 
reconciled with God, he is at 
war with self. The light of 
peace is not within him, but at 
a distance from him ; seen, for 
a moment only, revealing the na 
ture of the struggle. 

Nothing but the exigencies of 
controversy would have induced 
Augustine, against his better 
mind and the authority of the 
earlier Fathers, to refer this pas 
sage to the condition of the re 
generate man. He was led to 
this interpretation, as others have 
been, by the equal, if not greater, 
difficulty of referring the descrip 
tion of the Apostle to the unre 

The latter interpretation is 
plainly repugnant to the spirit of 
the passage ; for whom shall we 
conceive the Apostle to be de 
scribing ? or, rather> which is the 
same thing, whom do we ourselves 
mean by the term unregenerate? 
Is it the Jew, or the heathen, or 
the hypocrite, or the sensualist ? 
To none of these characters will 

VEB. 6.] 



6 to bring forth fruit unto death. But now, being dead, 
we are delivered from the law L wherein \ve were held ; 
and so * we serve in newness of spirit, and not in the old- 
ness of the letter. 

1 Omit " being dead," and add " that being dead " after " the law." 

such a description refer. They 
know of no struggle between the 
things they would and would 
not; they live in no twilight 
between good and evil ; their 
state is a lower and less con 
scious one. Who would speak 
of the unregenerate heart of 
Caesar or of Achilles ? Language 
itself teaches us the impropriety 
of such expressions. And the 
reason of the impropriety is, that 
we feel with the Apostle, though 
our point of view may be some 
what different, that the guilt of 
sin is inseparable from the know 
ledge of sin. Those who never 
heard the name of Christ, who 
never admit the thought of Christ, 
cannot be brought within the cir 
cle of Christian feelings and as 

There have been few more 
frequent sources of difficulty in 
theology, than the common fal 
lacy of summing up inquiries 
under two alternatives, neither of 
which corresponds to the true 
nature of the case. We may 
admit the logical proposition 
that all things are animal or not 
animal, vegetable or not vege 
table, mineral or not mineral. 
But we cannot say that all men 
are civilised or uncivilised, Chris 
tian or unchristian, regenerate 
or unregenerate. Such a mode 
of division is essentially erro 
neous. It exercises a false in 
fluence on the mind, by tending 
to confuse fixed states and trans 
itions, differences in degree with 


differences in kind. All things 
may be passing out of one class 
into another, and may therefore 
belong to both or neither. The 
very attempt to classify or divide 
them may itself be the source of 
an illusion. 

Obvious as such a fallacy is, it 
is only by the light of experi 
ence that theology can be freed 
from it. From " the oppositions 
of knowledge falsely so called," 
we turn to the human heart itself. 
Reading this passage by what we 
know of ourselves and other 
men, we no longer ask the ques 
tion : " Whether the Apostle 
is speaking of the regenerate or 
unregenerate man ? " That is 
an " after-thought," which has 
nothing to correspond to it in 
the world, and nothing to justify 
it in the language of the Apostle. 
Mankind are not divided into re 
generate and unregenerate, but 
are in a state of transition from 
one to the other, or too dead and 
unconscious to be included in 
either. What we want to know is 
the meaning of the Apostle, not 
in the terms of a theological pro 
blem, but in the simpler manner 
in which it presented itself to his 
own mind. 

He is speaking of a conflict in 
the soul of man, the course of 
which, notwithstanding its sud 
den and fitful character, is never 
theless marked by a certain pro 
gress. It commences in childish 
and unconscious ignorance 
("I was alive without the law 



[On. VII. 

Ti ovv Ipovpev; 6 ^dftos ajuta/ma; prj yeVoiro dXXa 7 
TT?Z> ajJLapTiav OVK cyvuv d prj Sia z/o/^ov. try re yap 
OVK yjSew, ei /XT) o vopos eXeyez , OVK eTnOvprjcreLS 
Se \a/3ovcra r) apapria Sia 7779 eVroX^s /careipya- 8 

once"), which is succeeded by 
the deep consciousness of sin, 
which the law awakens, and so 
hovering between death and life, 
passes on to the last agony and 
final deliverance. The stages of 
this contest are not exactly 
defined. In the earliest of them 
is an element of reason and of 
good ; in the latest, we seem only 
to arrive at a more intense con 
viction of human misery. The 
progress is not a progress from 
works to faith, or from the law 
to grace, but a growing separa 
tion and division, in which the 
soul is cut in two into the 
better and the worse mind, the 
inner and the outer man, the 
flesh and the Spirit. The law is 
the dividing principle, " sharper 
than any two-edged sword," 
which will not allow them to 
unite. On the one side remains 
the flesh, as it were, a decom 
posing body of death ; on the 
other, the mind and spirit flutter 
in lawless aspirations after good 
which they have no means or in 
struments to attain. The extre 
mity of the conflict is the moment 
of deliverance ; when completely 
in the power of sin, we are al 
ready at the gate of heaven. 

In this spiritual combat, in the 
description of which he adopts the 
first person, is he really speaking 
of himself or of some other man ? 
The question with which we be 
gan has been already answered. 
The description which has just 
been given, could not have been 
meant as an epitome of his own 

daily experience. It may describe 
the struggle of Luther at a par 
ticular crisis of his life, not the 
habitual temper of St. Paul. We 
cannot imagine him daily "doing 
the things that he would not, and 
not doing the things that he 
would." Least of all can we sup 
pose him to say this of himself 
just after the words which have 
preceded, in which he has been 
contrasting the present service of 
the believer "in newness of 
Spirit," with oldness of the letter. 
One might ask further, which of 
the many states which are des 
cribed in this passage (vii. 7 
viii. 17.) is the state of the Apo 
stle himself? On the other hand, 
it is true that the use of the first 
person is not merely rhetorical. It 
seems as though the Apostle were 
speaking partly from recollec 
tions of his former state, partly 
from the emotions of sin, which 
he still perceived in his mem 
bers, now indeed pacified and 
kept under control, yet suffi 
ciently sensible to give a liveli 
ness to the remembrance, and 
make him feel his dependence 
on Christ. So much of the 
struggle continued in him as he 
himself describes in such passages 
as 2 Cor. i. 9, 10., or xii. 7. He 
who says, "without were fight 
ings, within fears " (2 Cor. v. 7.), 
who had " the sentence of death 
in himself," and " a messenger of 
Satan to buffet him," could not 
have lived always in an unbroken 
calm of mind, any more than we 
can imagine him to have been 

VEB. 7, 8.] 



What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God 

forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for 

I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou 

8 shalt not lust.* But sin, taking occasion by the co in 

constantly repeating, " O wretched 
man that I am ! " Further, we 
may remark, that the combat, as 
it deepens, becomes more ideal, 
that is, removes further away 
from the actual consciousness of 
mankind ; the Apostle is de 
scribing tendencies in the heart of 
man which go beyond the expe 
rience of individuals. 

7. TV 

What shall 

we say then?~\ If the law was 
the instrument whereby the mo 
tions of sins worked in our mem 
bers (ver. 5.), if we are freed 
from sin by being dead to the 
law (ver. 6.), what shall we say? 
"Is the law sin?" It has been 
nearly identified in what pre 
cedes, it is all but sin in what 
follows. There is reason for us 
to pause before going further. 

6 vofjioc, the law.~] But what 
law? the Mosaic, or the law writ 
ten on the heart ? We can only 
gather from the passage itself, 
which leads us rather to think of 
a terrible consciousness of sin, 
than of questions of new moons, 
and sabbaths. " What shall we 
say then," we might paraphrase, 
" is conscience sin ? " 

To shift the meaning of vo^oc, 
or to assign remote and different 
significations to the word in suc 
cessive verses, may seem like a 
trick of the interpreter. Whether 
it really be so or not, must depend 
on the fact of how St. Paul uses 
the word, and on the general use 
of language in his age. Compare 
Col. ii. 1623. for three distinct 
uses of the word o-w/za ; also vii. 

21 viii. 4. for several changes 
in the sense of VOJJ.OG, and viii. 
19 22. for similar changes in 
the sense of KTICTIQ. 

pi ytVotro.] If by being freed 
from the law, we are freed from 
sin what shall we say ? " Is the 
law sin ? " It comes indeed very 
near to being so, because sin is in 
separable from the consciousness 
of sin which, considered objec 
tively, is the law. But on the 
other hand, such is the para 
doxical nature of the law, that in 
another point of view it delivers 
us from sin. Without the law 
there is no sin, and no possibility 
of avoiding sin. We feel its evil, 
we cannot also avoid acknow 
ledging its truth. a XAa em 
phatically introduces an adverse 
fact, " nay ; so far is the law from 
being sin I should never have 
known of sin but for the law." 
OVK eyvwj/ : av is omitted, as in ix. 
3. and with OVK r/3t tv, the omission 
adding force, as, in English, " I 
had" is a stronger expression 
than " I should have had." 

ri\v T yap eTridvfjiiav^ has no 
reference to particular precepts. 
The Apostle means to say, "I had 
never known lust, which is the 
parent of sin (cf. James i. 15.), 
but for the law : lust would not 
have been lust to me but for the 
general command of the law, 

Thou shalt not lust. 


yvwv,inthe sense of acquaintance 
with a person. 

8. In this verse the Apostle 
turns to the other side of the ar 
gument. The extremes meet. 

p 2 



[On. VII. 

craro eV e/>toi irao-av eiriOv^iap. x^P 7P v f lov a/xa/ma 9 
d, eya> Se e&>*> x<y/ns vopov TTOTC l\6ovcry]s Se TTJS 

rjs 17 djaa/m a dvefycrev, eya> Se d-rreOavov, /cat evpeOrj 10 

17 eVroX^ 17 eis 0)77^, CCV TT? efc BdvaToV f] yap dpaprla n 

r)v Xafiovora Sid TT?S eVroXTJs e ^Trar^creV /x,e Acal Si 

uT7?s direKTewev. wore 6 //,o> z^d/xos aytos, /cat 17 eVroX?) 12 

The law forbade me to sin, and 
yet sin took its occasion and origin 
through the law. For sin with 
out the law is dead, non-existent, 
not sin at all. 

The law is sin, for without the 
law sin could not exist. 

The law is not sin, for the law 
itself says "Thou shalt not 
commit sin." 

So far as sin is inseparable 
from the consciousness of sin, the 
law is the strength of sin. 

So far as the knowledge of sin 
is the first step to amendment, 
the law is the opposite of sin. 

It may be asked, How can the 
law increase the temptation to 
sin ? It may not make men better ; 
how does it make them worse? 
Human nature errs under the in 
fluence of passion, from propen- 
sions, as Bishop Butler terms 
them, towards external objects, 
not because there is a law which 
forbids them. For a fuller answer 
to this difficulty the reader is re 
ferred to the Essay on the Law 
as the Strength of Sin, the heads 
of which may be summed up as 
follows : 

First, By sin the Apostle means 
the consciousness of sin, consci- 
entia peccati, not any mere ex 
ternal act vicious or criminal. 
This consciousness of sin is the 
reflection of the law in the mind 
of the subject. The law = the 
consciousness of sin ; the con 
sciousness of sin = sin, i. e. the 

law is almost sin. But secondly, 
It must not be lost sight of that, 
by the law, the Jewish law is 
also partly meant, with its ever 
increasing burden of ordinances, 
which in an altered world it was 
impossible to obey, seeming by 
its hostility to the preaching of 
the Gospel to be an element of 
discord in the world, like the 
consciousness of evil in the soul 
of man. Thirdly, The state which 
the Apostle describes in the fol 
lowing verses, is in some degree 
ideal and imaginary. It begins 
with absolute ignorance (I was 
alive without the law once), and 
ends with the utter disruption of 
the soul between will and know 
ledge. But these extreme cases 
do not exist in fact, though they 
may be truly used to exhibit ten 
dencies in human nature. If we 
imagine Adam in a state of inno 
cence, a child not yet in the sim 
plicity of its nature come to a 
knowledge of right and wrong, 
and at the other extreme a sinner 
plunged in the recklessness of 
despair by the contrast of his 
life and the holiness of God, and 
at some point of this progress the 
law coming in that the offence 
may abound, there will be less 
difficulty in comprehending the 
Apostle s meaning; the real dif 
ficulty being to fix the point of 
view from which the description 
is drawn. 
9. x w P l 7&P vufjiov gives a second 

VEB. 9 12.J 



9 mandment, wrought in me all manner of lust.* For 
without the law sin was dead, and* I was alive without 
the law once: but when the commandment came, sin 

10 revived, and I died. And the commandment, which 

11 was to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking 
occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it 

12 slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the command- 

reason why " I had not known 
sin," which is the first expressed 
over again in a negative form: 
"For the commandment quick 
ened sin ; for, without the law, sin 
was dead." eyw $e is opposed to 
dpaprta, as arer)ff to e^wy, and 
(nriQavov to dve^ri<re. 

Sin and the law came into ex 
istence in me at once. "There 
was a time before the law when 
I was alive." Perhaps, in child 
hood, as the Apostle says in 
1 Cor. xiii. 11., "When I was a 
child, I thought as a child;" or, 
without any particular reference, 
"I was alive when I was uncon 
scious of the law," whether the 
state of unconsciousness be that 
of childhood, or of what we some 
times term the childhood of the 
human race, ere the law was 

" But when the commandment 
came, sin revived, and I died." The 
Apostle is not speaking of his 
committing actual sin and suffer 
ing death as a penalty. What is 
here termed death is the state 
which he is about to describe, in 
which the soul has no harmony 
either with the natural or the 
spiritual world. 

10. And the commandment 
which was to life, was found 
by me to be unto death. 

An illustration may assist us 
in realising the Apostle s mean 
ing. Suppose a person liable to 

two bodily disorders of a different 
kind. He is weak, but the means 
taken to restore health and 
strength raise a fever in his veins. 
If we could keep him weak, he 
might live ; as it is, he dies. So 
it might be said of the law, that 
it is too strong a medicine for 
the human soul. 

11. ifyTrarrjffev, deceived me."] 
The passions of men s nature 
carry them away from the service 
of God and virtue. But the law 
has a further operation ; it is the 
instrument of deception which is 
employed in the service of sin. 
(Compare 2 Cor. xi. 3.: "As the 
serpent deceived Eve.") We may 
figure sin pointing to the law ; 
it says, "Lo! this is what God 
requires of thee. Sin boldly, for 
thou canst not obey." The soul, 
taught out of the law, knows the 
truth of this. It cannot answer 
the reasonings of sin, which has 
found an occasion against it out 
of the law itself. Compare v. 13. 

The difficulty of the verse 
arises from its figurative charaC" 
ter. In plain language, the Apo 
stle means generally what he had 
said before, that the law made 
sin to be what it is. The word 
i^7ra,Tr]fre only implies further, 
that the law causes the insidious- 
ness of sin ; it makes sin to be 
sin and also deception. 

12. is connected with the whole 
of the preceding passage. " Is 

r 3 



[On. VII. 

ayia KO! Strata Kal ayaOij TO ovv ayaOov e/xol eyeVero 1 13 
Bavaros; ^ yevoiro, a\\ rj a/xaprta, Iva <f)avfj apapria, 
Sia TOV ayadov poi Karepyatp^w) Odvarov, Iva yevrjTai 
Kaff VTrepfioXrjv apaprcoXos rj a^apria Sia r^s eVroX^?. 

yap on 6 VOJJLOS TT^ev/xari/cos eorw, eya> Se crap- u 


the law sin?" After balancing 
the two sides of this question, the 
conclusion at which the Apostle 
arrives is, that the law is "holy, 
just, and good." It was the law 
that made sin to be what it was, 
and it is true that this conies very 
near to the law being itself sin. 
But the other side has also to be 
put forward. Sin is the active 
cause, the law only the occasion, 
the deceiver being human nature 
itself, and the law forbidding sin 
at the moment it seems to create 
it. So that the law, in itself, is 
no more polluted than the sun in 
the heavens by the corruption on 
which it looks. The obscurity in 
this, as in many other passages, 
arises from the Apostle, in the 
alternation of thought, dwelling 
too long on that side of the ar 
gument, which, for the sake of 
clearness, should have been sub 
ordinate. In this instance, he has 
said so much of the commandment 
being found unto death and the 
occasion of sin, that he is obliged 
to make a violent resumption of 
the thought with which he com 

13. But a person might ask, 
How can I call it good ? Did that 
which was good, become death 
unto me ? The answer admits of 
being taken in two ways : (1.) 
Not so ; but sin, that it might 
appear sin, was working death to 
me through the good (sup. r>) ; or, 
(2.) Not so ; it was not the good, 
but sin that became death, that 

it might appear, as it really was, 
working death through the good. 

The first and second 1W admit 
of being construed in three ways : 
either they may be co-ordinated 
so that the second is the epexegesis 
of the first, as thus ,"Sin, that it 
might appear sin, that it might 
become more sin ; " or the second 
iva may be made subordinate and 
regarded as carrying the thought 
a step further, " Sin, that it might 
appear sin, and by appearing be 
come yet more sin," a thought 
which seems to be much after 
the manner of St. Paul; or, lastly, 
the second iVa may be connected 
with the clause immediately pre 
ceding, as follows : 

f] apapria [eyeVero 
IVCL (f)] a 

S avarov, tVa 

We can imagine a state of 
mind in an individual, or a con 
dition in society, in which vice 
loses "half its grossness," and 
some of its real evil, either by 
the veil of refinement beneath 
which it is concealed, or by the 
very naturalness to the human 
mind of vice itself. Suppose 
the person or society here spoken 
of, to wake up on a sudden to a 
consciousness of the holiness of 
God and the requirements of his 
law ; suppose further, they were 
made aware of the contrast be 
tween their own life and the 
Divine rule, yet were powerless to 



13 ment holy, and just, and good ; was then that which is 
good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that 
it might appear sin, working death to* me by that 
which is good ; that sin by the commandment might 

14 become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is 

change, knowing everything, yet 
able to accomplish nothing, sen 
sitive to the pangs of conscience, 
yet " unequal to the performance 
of any duty ; " of such it might 
be said, in a figure " Sin became 
death that it might appear sin, 
working death to us through that 
which is good, that sin might be 
come exceeding sinful." 

Thus far in tracing the pro 
gress of the spiritual conflict, the 
Apostle has employed the aorist ; 
at ver. 14. he introduces the 
present. This has led some com 
mentators, who agree in the view 
that it is neither of the regene 
rate nor of the unregenerate the 
Apostle can be speaking exclu 
sively, to suppose further that 
the change of tense which he 
here adopts, is an indication of 
the transition from one to the 
other. This change, however, is 
more probably attributable to 
liveliness of style ; at any rate, 
it is sufficiently accounted for by 
the greater reality which the 
Apostle gives to the latter part 
of his description. 

The progress of which St. Paul 
is speaking may be arranged in 
six stages : 

(1.) The state of nature: "I was 
alive without the law once." ver. 9. 

(2.) The awakening of nature 
to the requirements of the law, 
and the death of sin. ver. 9 11. 

(3.) The growing consciousness 
of right and severance of the 
soul into two parts, as the sense 
of right prevails, ver. 15 23. 

(4.) Sin, which was originally 
a mere perversion, strengthening 
into a law which opposes itself 
to the law of God. ver. 23, 24. 

(5.) Laying aside of the worse 
half of the soul, that is, justifica 
tion, ver. 25. 

(6.) Peace and glory, viii. 1. 

It would be unlike the manner 
of St. Paul to draw out these 
stages in perfectly regular order. 
Here, as elsewhere, he goes to 
and fro, and returns upon his 
former thought. In chapter viii., 
for example, when the soul has 
already entered into its rest, he 
again casts his eye upon the 
believer s state from his earthly 
side, " groaning within himself, 
waiting for the redemption of the 

1423. In what follows the 
Apostle deepens the opposition 
between the law and self, or 
(what is nearly the same) be 
tween the better and the worse 
self, as they belong to two orders 
of things, and are of two natures, 
the one spiritual, the other fleshly ; 
the proof (yap) that man falls 
under the latter being his very 
distraction with self, which is a 
witness to the truth of the law, 
and which seems almost to trans 
fer his actions from himself to 
the sin which is personified in 
him ; for (yap) this is the whole 
man, nothing more of him re 
maining, but the scarcely sur 
viving will to do what is right. 
v. 18 20. Both these princi 
ples may be recognised under the 

p 4 



[On. VII. 

ei/u ireirpaiJievos VTTO Trjv a^apTiav. o yap KaTepyd- 15 
ov yivaxTKO) ov yap o 0e\a), TOVTO TTpdcrcra), dXV o 

O), TOVTO TTOtO). 1 C O OV 0.\0), TOVTO TTOlto, O~VfJL(f)rjfJiL 16 

TW VO^CD OTI Ka\6s vvvl Se ovKtTi lya) KaTepyd^OfJiaL avTo, 17 

dXXa TI OLKovcra iv IfJLol a^apTua. olSa yap OTI OVK otAcet is 
iv cfjioi, TOVTZQ-TIV iv TTJ crapKi IJLOV, dya06.v. TO yap 0eXew 

7rapdKLTai poi, TO Se KaTepyd&aOai, TO Ka\bv ov. 2 ov yap 19 

1 (TO KlK.6$. 

form of a law : the law of sin 
dwelling in its fleshly seat, which 
corresponds to the first of them ; 
the law of God, which is the law 
of the mind, which corresponds 
to the latter. 

14. For we know that there is 
a contrariety between me and the 
law the law is spiritual, I am 
carnal, yap contains the proof 
of the goodness of the law, and 
also the reason for its being an 
element of discord. 

The language of the New Tes 
tament does not conform to any 
received views of psychology. 
It is the language partly of the 
Old Testament, but still more 
of the Alexandrian philosophy, 
which is defined neither by po 
pular nor by scientific use. In 
modern times we do not divide 
the soul into its better and worse 
half, but into will, reason, con 
sciousness, and other faculties 
which, for the most part, belong 
equally to good and bad. Such 
is, however, the fundamental di 
vision of the Apostle. There is 
a heavenly and earthly, a higher 
and a lower principle ; the first, 
whereby we hold communion 
with God himself, the Spirit ; the 
second, the flesh, or corrupt soil 
of sin, scarcely distinguishable 
from sin itself. These two do 
not correspond to mind and body, 

9 Add 

which are only the figures under 
which they are expressed. 

15. o yap Ka.Tpyafi[, for 
what I do.~\ Not, "I do not ap 
prove what I do;" a meaning 
which the word ytrwaKw does not 
admit, but simply, "I know 
not what I do." In the state of 
which the Apostle is speaking, 
the mind knows not, from very 
distraction, what it does. It is 
darkened as in the confusion of 
a storm, or the din and cloud of 
a battle. This is the proof that 
he is sold under sin, a blind slave. 

It may be argued that this ex 
planation is inconsistent with 
what follows. For in the next 
clause it is not defect of know 
ledge that is touched upon ; but 
rather defect of power to do what 
he desired, and therefore knew to 
be right. Such an analysis is too 
minute to catch the true spirit of 
the Apostle. He is only present 
ing successive images of the dis 
traction of the soul, first, in not 
knowing what it did ; secondly, 
in doing what it would not. No 
one would feel that there was 
a contradiction if, in describing 
a scene of hurry and confusion, 
some one were to say, 
not what I was about. 1 
the very opposite of what I 

is emphatic, as is seen by 

"I knew 



15 spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what* I 
do I know * not: for what I would, that do I not; but 

16 what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would 

17 not, I consent unto the law that it is good : and now * 
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 

is For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth 

no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how 

19 to perform that which is good, 1 not. For the good that 

1 Add I 

its opposition to po-w in the fol 
lowing clause; not what I will, 
but what I wish. The Apostle 
is describing a state, not in which 
the better mind is passive and 
the worse mind active, but in 
which they are both together 
active; in which for every bad 
act which a man does, conscience 
rebukes him and makes him feel 
that it has a pain equal to its 
pleasures. For illustration of 
such a state comp. Xenoph. Cyr. 
vi. 1.: Avo yctp aatyGjg %w I^W^CLQ 
ov yap (Hi} pia ye ouaa. apa ayuOfj 
re effTi KO.I KaKri, ov<T KaXwv re 
Koi atV)(jOWj> epywj cpp, KCU raura 
afjia (3ov\erai re KO.I ov fiovXerat : 
also the aKparijQ of Aristotle s 
Ethics, and the fine figure of the 
soul being like the palsied limbs, 
in the first book ; and Plato, Rep. 
iv. p. 43. 

16. This very unwillingness to 
do wrong is a witness to the law. 
The law, it is true, is the occa 
sion of sin ; and yet this very sin 
done against the admonitions of 
the law, is a witness to that which 
occasioned it. The law made me 
sin and made me acknowledge 
the sin at once. 

17. vvv\ 3f, and now.~\ That 
is, considering this, I may fairly 
say it is no more I that do it, but 
sin that dwelleth in me. First 

came the state of death, that is, 
of absolute discord; secondly, 
the consciousness of this ; thirdly, 
a dim light of salvation springs 
up from the sense that it is not 
ourselves, but the infirmity of sin 
that does the evil. It is not I 
that do it; but sin, my master, 
takes up his abode with me, and 
carries me whither I would not. 
In this passage, between ver. 
14. and 25., the Apostle may be 
said three times to change his 
identity : First of all, he is one 
with his worse nature, which, 
as having the power to turn the 
balance of his actions, claims to 
be the whole man ; secondly, with 
his better nature, which makes 
a perceptible though ineffectual 
struggle against the power of evil; 
and, thirdly, he separates himself 
from both, and overlooks the 
strife between them, ver. 21 23. 

18. Here is a further change 
in the personality of the speaker : 
"I know that in me," which is 
explained to mean "in my flesh," 
there is, as it were standing by 
my side, the wish for the good, 
but not the accomplishment of the 
good, ovx evpio-Kw, the reading of 
the Text. Recep.and of A. G. f. g. 
v., if genuine, is a continuation of 
the figure of TrapaK-eirai; cf. ver. 21. 

19, 20. A repetition, with 



[OH. VII. 

o #eXo) TTOLO) dya96v, dXX o ov 0e\a> KO.KOV, TOVTO Trpdcrcra). 

ei Se o ov 



avro, dXX Tf oiKovcra eV e/iot d^apria. evpicrKO) dpa TOV 21 


crwTySojutai yap TW v6p,<$ TOV deov Kara TOV 22 
ecro) dv9pb)7rov, /3\7ro) Se eTepov vopov eV rois /xeXecrc^ p.ov 23 


tpvTa fJie TO) vofico TTJs dpapTias TCO OVTI iv rots 

fjiov. Ta\aL7ra)pos eya> dv9pa)7ros ri? /xe pvo~eTai IK TOV 24 

slightly altered phraseology, of 
15, 16., "If I do it not;" it is 
now said, not I agree to the 
law that it is good but "sin 
that dwelleth in me doeth it." 
Compare Gal. ii. 20. for a simi 
lar personification. 

21. The various interpretations 
of this verse, accordingly as on 
is rendered by " that " or " be 
cause," may be divided into two 
classes. First, with 6 rt, in the 
sense of because : " I find out, or 
am made conscious of the law, 
because evil is present with me." 
The thought thus elicited is not 
unlike the manner of St. Paul, 
but the use of evp/o-^w is indefen 
sible. We are thus driven to 
the other interpretation of on, 
" that ; " the clause dependent on 
which may be explained in two 
ways : either, "I find then when 
I desire to do well, that the law as 
the evil is present with me ; " or, 
what seems better and more in 
accordance with the words ro 
3-fXeiv TrajOctfceiT-at in the eigh 
teenth verse, "I find then the 
law (like the law in the members 
below) that when I desire to do 
well, evil is present with me." 
The slight play in the expression 
is analogous to the vo/ioc rrjc; 

in the third chapter, and 
the vofjioQ T% a^uapr/ac in the 

22. For if I may make a dis 
tinction in myself of the inner 
man and outer man (compare 1 
Pet. iii. 4. : 6 KPVTTTOQ rfjg fcapcu ctc 
tivdpioTTOQ. Eph. iii. 16. : fcparcu- 
wQrjvat c)ta TOV TrvevparoQ avrov 
etg rov effu) a 0|OW7roy), "in my 
heart of hearts" I rejoice in the 
law of God. Withdraw man 
from the flesh, from the passions 
and their objects, and there is 
something within which acknow 
ledges the supremacy of right, 
whether we term it reason, or 
the inner man, or the true self. 
No one loves evil for its own sake. 

avvriSofjiat, according to Hesy- 
chius, is sometimes put for (/ /- 
Soften: the case which follows 
is also said by grammarians to be 
governed of the verb, not of 
the preposition. It is more 
natural to suppose a double 
construction, avv expressing con 
sciousness, as in crvvoiSa, (TVJJL- 
fjiaprvpu) : " Conscious of the law 
I delight in it." 

23. In the short space between 
the twenty-first and the twenty- 
this death which clings to me as 
a body ? 



I would I do not : but the evil which I would not, that 

20 I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that 

21 do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then the* 
law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 

23 but I see another law in my members, warring against 
the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to 

24 the law of sin which is in my members. wretched 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of 

third verses there occur five mo 
difications of the word VO^JLOQ : 
(1.) The play of words alluded 
to above, " the law that evil is 
present with him." (2.) The 
law of God, that is, the law of 
Moses " in the Spirit," not " in 
the letter ; " or, as we might ex 
press it, "idealised." (3.) The 
same law presented under a dif 
ferent aspect, as VOJJLOQ TOV rooQ, 
or conscience. (4.) VOJJLOQ iv 
(5.) ro/j.oQ rJ/e ct^uap- 
Borrowing the language 
of philosophical distinctions, we 
may arrange them as follows : 



kv TOIQ J, 


VOJJLOQ TIJQ apapriag. 

See on ver. 7. 

The 23rd verse describes a fur 
ther progress in the conflict. At 
first the two " laws " are opposed 
to each other ; but at length the 
worse " law " gets the better, and 
the soul passes on to consider 
evil as a sort of internal neces 
sity to which it is by nature li 
able. The eTepog j ojuoc is only 
distinguished from the VOJJLOQ riJQ 
ttjuajorme, as the wavering emo 
tion of the will from the settled 

inward principle. The first is 
the temptation of the natural 
desires ; the second, the law of 

The Gospel is often opposed 
to the law, as the inward to the 
outward. Here the law of sin 
is equally figured as internal ; 
though within, that is, in the 
flesh and the members, it is still 
incapable of harmonising with 
our better life. We might il 
lustrate its relation to the soul, 
by the example of those poisons 
whose introduction into the body 
is said to destroy life because 
they never become a part of the 
human frame. 

.] For the figure 

compare TreTrpapevoQ, ver. 16. 

24. At last we arrive at the 
crisis : " O wretched man that 
I am ! who shall deliver me from 
the body of this death ? " Of the 
last words, TOV (T^)^JLUTOQ TOV Sava- 
TOV TOVTOV ; no less than four ex 
planations may be given : 

(1.) Who will deliver me from 
this mortal body ? or, 

(2.) Who will deliver me from 
this mass of death ? or, 

(3.) Who will deliver me from 
this frame or structure of death, 
of which, as it were, my mem 
bers are parts ? or, 

(4.) Who will deliver me from 



H. VII. 


TOV Oavarov TOVTOV ; ^ 
TOV KvpLov rjjjiwv. apa ovv avros eya> rw 
deov, rfj Se (rapid 


No. 1. is ill suited to the con 
nexion; (2.) o-w/ia does not mean 
a mass ; (3.) the idea of the mem 
bers which occurs in the previous 
verse may possibly be included ; 
(4.) is most in accordance with 
the style of St. Paul. As in 
Rom. vi. 6. sin, so here death is 
itself the body, death in this pas 
sage being nothing more than the 
last stage of sin. The two ex 
pressions " body of sin," " body 
of death," may be regarded as 
precisely parallel. A remote al 
lusion is probably intended to the 
words t v rolg fji\(riV) which pre 
cede. This, however, should not 
be taken as if the body consisted 

of the members. For while it is 
natural to speak as in 1 Cor. vi. 
15. of the members of the body 
of Christ, it is not so to speak of 
the members of " the body of 

25. x"! ^ T $ $$"] A great 
variety of readings occur at these 
words, which have probably arisen 
from the difficulty of explaining 
the text as it stands in the best 
manuscripts. We are expecting 
an answer to ver. 24., and the 
Apostle gives no other answer 
but such as is implied in the 
doxology itself. " Thanks be to 
God through Jesus Christ our 

VEE. 25.] 



25 this death? Thanks be to God 1 through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the 
law of God; howbeit with the flesh the law of sin. 

1 I thank God. 

This is one of the many pas 
sages in the Apostle s writings, 
which lead us to conclude that 
he dictated rather than himself 
wrote. Such a slip in the con 
struction could hardly have oc 
curred to any one with the writ 
ten page before him. 

ap ovv~\ contains the summing 
up of the whole previous passage. 

avroQ eyw] has been variously 
explained: either (1.) I by my 
self or I in my unaided state ; or 
(2.) I myself as well as others, 
both of which are inconsistent 
with the connexion ; or (3.), I, 
the same person, which is con 
trary to the language, and would 

require eyw 6 avrnc ; or, lastly 
(4), as seems best, I, "myself," 
that is, " in my true self," serve 
the law of God ; the remainder 
of the sentence may be regarded 
as an afterthought, in which the 
Apostle checks his aspiration, <) 
being exactly expressed in En 
glish by " howbeit." Compare 
ver. 8. : atyoppiv SI Xa/Bovo-a. This 
is not the grammatical form of 
the sentence, in which, of course, 
Se answers to per. That it is the 
order of the thought, however, is 
inferred, from the difficulty in 
connecting the words rij St trap/a 
J Oftw dpapriaQ either with avrog 
w or with what follows. 



THUS have we the image of the life-long struggle gathered up in a 
single instant. In describing it we pass beyond the consciousness of 
the individual into a world of abstractions ; we loosen the thread by 
which the spiritual faculties are held together, and view as objects 
what can, strictly speaking, have no existence, except in relation to 
the subject. The divided members of the soul are ideal, the combat 
between them is ideal, so also is the victory. What is real that cor 
responds to this, is not a momentary, but a continuous conflict, which 
we feel rather than know, which has its different aspects of hope 
and fear, triumph and despair, the action and reaction of the Spirit 
of God in the depths of the human soul, awakening the sense of sin 
and conveying the assurance of forgiveness. 

The language in which we describe this conflict is very dif 
ferent from that of the Apostle. Our circumstances are so 
changed that we are hardly able to view it in its simplest elements. 
Christianity is now the established religion of the civilised portion 
of mankind. In our own country it has become part of the law of 
the land ; it speaks with authority, it is embodied in a Church, it is 
supported by almost universal opinion, and fortified by wealth and 
prescription. Those who know least of its spiritual life, do not deny 
its greatness as a power in the world. Analogous to this relation 
in which it stands to our history and social state, is the relation in 
which it stands also to the minds of individuals. We are brought 
up in it, and unconsciously receive it as the habit of our thoughts 
and the condition of our life. It is without us, and we are within its 
circle ; we do not become Christians, we are so from our birth. Even 


in those who suppose themselves to have passed through some sudden 
and violent change, and to have tasted once for all of the heavenly 
gift, the change is hardly ever in the form or substance of their 
belief, but in its quickening power ; they feel not a new creed, but a 
new spirit within them. So that we might truly say of Christianity, 
that it is " the daughter of time ; " it hangs to the past, not only 
because the first century is the era of its birth, but because each suc 
cessive century strengthens its form and adds to its external force, 
and entwines it with more numerous links in our social state. Not 
only may we say, that it is part and parcel of the law of the land, 
but part and parcel of the character of each one, which even the worst 
of men cannot wholly shake off. 

But if with ourselves the influence of Christianity is almost 
always gradual and imperceptible, with the first believers it was 
almost always sudden. There was no interval which separated the 
preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost, from the baptism of the 
three thousand. The eunuch of Candace paused for a brief space on 
a journey, and was then baptized into the name of Christ, which a few 
hours previously he had not so much as heard. There was no period 
of probation like that which, a century or two later, was appropriated 
to the instruction of the Catechumens. It was an impulse, an inspi 
ration passing from the lips of one to a chosen few, and communicated 
by them to the ear and soul of listening multitudes. As the wind 
bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sounds thereof; as the 
lightning shineth from the one end of the heaven to the other ; so 
suddenly, fitfully, simultaneously, new thoughts come into their 
minds, not to one only, but to many, to whole cities almost at once. 
They were pricked with the sense of sin ; they were melted with the 
love of Christ ; their spiritual nature " came again like the flesh of a 
little child." And some, like St. Paul, became the very opposite of 
their former selves ; from scoffers, believers ; from persecutors, 
preachers ; the thing that they were, was so strange to them, that they 
could no longer look calmly on the earthly scene which they hardly 
seemed to touch, which was already lighted up with the wrath and 


mercy of God. There were those among them who "saw visions 
and dreamed dreams," who were " caught up," like St. Paul, " into 
the third heaven," or, like the twelve, "spake with other tongues as the 
Spirit gave them utterance." And sometimes, as in the Thessalonian 
Church, the ecstasy of conversion led to strange and wild opinions, 
such as the daily expectation of Christ s coming. The " round world " 
itself began to reel before them, as they thought of the things that 
were shortly to come to pass. 

But however sudden were the conversions of the earliest believers, 
however wonderful the circumstances which attended them, they were 
not for that reason the less lasting or sincere. Though many preached 
" Christ of contention," though " Demas forsook the Apostle," there 
were few who, having once taken up the cross, turned back from 
" the love of this present world." They might waver between Paul 
and Peter, between the circumcision and the uncircumcision ; they 
might give ear to the strange and bewitching heresies of the East ; 
but there is no trace that many returned to " those that were no 
gods," or put off Christ ; the impression of the truth that they had 
received, was everlasting on their minds. Even sins of fornication 
and uncleanness, which from the Apostle s frequent warnings against 
them we must suppose to have lingered, as a sort of remnant of 
heathenism in the early Church, did not wholly destroy their inward 
relation to God and Christ. Though " their last state might be worse 
than the first," they could never return again to live the life of all 
men after having tasted " the heavenly gift and the powers of the 
world to come." 

Such was the nature of conversion among the early Christians, 
the new birth of which by spiritual descent we are ourselves the 
offspring. Is there anything in history like it ? anything in our own 
lives which may help us to understand it ? That which the Scripture 
describes from within, we are for a while going to look at from a 
different point of view, not with reference to the power of God, but 
to those secondary causes through which He works, the laws which 
experience shows that he himself imposes on the operations of his 


spirit. Such an inquiry is not a mere idle speculation ; it is not 
far from the practical question, "How we are to become better." 
Imperfect as any attempt to analyse our spiritual life must ever be, 
the changes which we ourselves experience or observe in others, 
compared with those greater and more sudden changes which took 
place in the age of the Apostle, will throw light upon each other. 

In the sudden conversions of the early Christians we observe 
three things which either tend to discredit, or do not accompany, the 
working of a similar power among ourselves. First, that conversion 
was marked by ecstatic and unusual phenomena; secondly, that, 
though sudden, it was permanent ; thirdly, that it fell upon whole 
multitudes at once. 

When we consider what is implied in such expressions as " not many 
wise, not many learned" were called to the knowledge of the truth, we 
can scarcely avoid feeling that there must have been much in the 
early Church which would have been distasteful to us as men of edu 
cation ; much that must have worn the appearance of excitement and 
enthusiasm. Is the mean conventicle, looking almost like a private 
house, a better image of that first assembly of Christians which met 
in the " large upper room," or the Catholic church arrayed in all the 
glories of Christian art ? Neither of them is altogether like in spirit 
perhaps, but in externals the first. Is the dignified hierarchy that 
occupy the seats around the altar, more like the multitudes of first 
believers, or the lowly crowd that kneel upon the pavement ? If 
we try to embody in the mind s eye the forms of the first teachers, 
and still more of their followers, we cannot help reading the true 
lesson, however great may be the illusions of poetry or of art. Not 
St. Paul standing on Mars hill in the fulness of manly strength, as 
we have him in the cartoon of Raphael, is the true image ; but such 
a one as he himself would glory in, whose bodily presence was weak 
and speech feeble, who had an infirmity in his flesh, and bore in his 
body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 

And when we look at this picture, " full in the face," however we 
might by nature be inclined to turn aside from it, or veil its details 



in general language, we cannot deny that many things that accom 
pany the religion of the uneducated now, must then also have accom 
panied the Gospel preached to the poor. There must have been, 
humanly speaking, spiritual delusions where men lived so exclusively 
in the spiritual world ; there were scenes which we know took place 
such as St. Paul says would make the unbeliever think that they 
were mad. The best and holiest persons among the poor and ignorant 
are not entirely free from superstition, according to the notions of the 
educated ; at best they are apt to speak of religion in a manner not 
quite suited to our taste ; they sing with a loud and excited voice ; 
they imagine themselves to receive Divine oracles, even about the 
humblest cares of life. Is not this, in externals at least, very like the 
appearance which the first disciples must have presented, who obeyed 
the Apostle s injunction, " Is any sad ? let him pray ; is any merry ? 
let him sing psalms " ? Could our nerves have borne to witness the 
speaking with tongues, or the administration of Baptism, or the 
love feasts as they probably existed in the early Church ? 

This difference between the feelings and habits of the first Chris 
tians and ourselves, must be borne in mind in relation to the subject 
of conversion. For as sudden changes are more likely to be met 
with amongst the poor and uneducated in the present day, it certainly 
throws light on the subject of the first conversions, that to the poor 
and uneducated the Gospel was first preached. And yet these sud 
den changes were as real, nay, more real than any gradual changes 
which take place among ourselves. The Stoic or Epicurean philoso 
pher who had come into an assembly of believers speaking with 
tongues, would have remarked, that among the vulgar religious 
extravagances were usually short-lived. But it was not so. There 
was more there than he had eyes to see, or than was dreamed of 
in a philosophy like his. Not only was there the superficial ap 
pearance of poverty and meanness and enthusiasm, from a nearer 
view of which we are apt to shrink, but underneath this, brighter 
from its very obscurity, purer from the meanness of the raiment in 
which it was apparalled, was the life hidden with Christ and God. 


There, and there only, was the power which made a man humble 
instead of proud, self-denying instead of self-seeking, spiritual instead 
of carnal, a Christian instead of a Jew ; which made him embrace, 
not only the brethren, but the whole human race in the arms of his 

But it is a further difference between the power of the Gospel 
now and in the first ages, that it no longer converts whole multitudes 
at once. Perhaps this very individuality in its mode of working 
may not be without an advantage in awakening us to its higher 
truths and more entire spiritual freedom. Whether this be so or 
not ; whether there be any spiritual law by which reason, in a measure, 
takes the place of faith, and the common religious impulse weakens 
as the power of reflection grows, we certainly observe a diminution 
in the collective force which religion exercises on the hearts of men. 
In our own days the preacher sees the seed which he has sown gra 
dually spring up ; first one, then another begins to lead a better life ; 
then a change comes over the state of society, often from causes over 
which he has no control ; he makes some steps forwards and a few 
backwards, and trusts far more, if he is wise, to the silent influence 
of religious education than to the power of preaching ; and, perhaps, 
the result of a long life of ministerial labour is far less than that of a 
single discourse from the lips of the Apostles or their followers. 
Even in missions to the heathen the vital energies of Christianity 
cease to operate to any great extent, at least on the effete civilisation 
of India and China ; the limits of the kingdoms of light and darkness 
are nearly the same as heretofore. At any rate it cannot be said 
that Christianity has wrought any sudden amelioration of mankind 
by the immediate preaching of the word, since the conversion of the 
barbarians. Even within the Christian world there is a parallel 
retardation. The ebb and flow of reformation and counter-reforma 
tion have hardly changed the permanent landmarks. The age of spi 
ritual crises is past. The growth of Christianity in modern times may 
be compared to the change of the body, when it has already arrived at 
its full stature. In one half-century so vast a progress was made, in 

Q 2 


a few centuries more the world itself seemed to " have gone after 
Him," and now for near a thousand years the voice of experience is 
repeating to us, " Hitherto shalt thou go, but no further." 

Looking at this remarkable phenomenon of the conversion of whole 
multitudes at once, not from its Divine but from its human aspect 
(that is, with reference to that provision that God himself has made in 
human nature for the execution of his will), the first cause to which 
we are naturally led to attribute it, is the power of sympathy. Why 
it is that men ever act together is a mystery of which our individual 
self- consciousness gives no account, any more than why we speak a 
common language, or form nations or societies, or merely in our phy 
sical nature are capable of taking diseases from one another. Nature 
and the Author of nature have made us thus dependent on each other 
both in body and soul. Whoever has seen human beings collected 
together in masses, and watched the movements that pass over them, 
like " the trees of the forest moving in the wind," will have no diffi 
culty in imagining, if not in understanding, how the same voice might 
have found its way at the same instant to a thousand hearts, without 
our being able to say where the fire was first kindled, or by whom 
the inspiration was first caught. Such historical events as the 
Reformation, or the Crusades, or the French Revolution, are a suffi 
cient evidence that a whole people, or almost, we may say, half a 
world, may be " drunk into one spirit," springing up, as it might 
seem, spontaneously in the breast of each, yet common to all. A 
parallel yet nearer is furnished by the history of the Jewish people, 
in whose sudden rebellion and restoration to God s favour, we recog 
nise literally the momentary workings of, what is to ourselves a figure 
of speech, a national conscience. 

In ordinary cases we should truly say that there must have been 
some predisposing cause of a great political or religious revolution ; 
some latent elements acting alike upon all, which, though long smoul 
dering beneath, burst forth at last into a flame. Such a cause might 
be the misery of mankind, or the intense corruption of human society, 
which could not be quickened except it die, or the long-suppressed 


yearnings of the soul after something higher than it had hitherto 
known upon earth, or the reflected light of one religion or one move 
ment of the human mind upon another. Such causes were actually 
at work, preparing the way for the diffusion of Christianity. The 
law itself was beginning to pass away in an altered world, the state 
of society was hollow, the chosen people were hopelessly under the 
Roman yoke. Good men refrained from the wild attempt of the Gali 
lean Judas ; yet the spirit which animated such attempts was slum 
bering in their bosoms. Looking back at their own past history, they 
could not but remember, even in an altered world, that there was One 
who ruled among the kingdoms of men, " beside whom there was no 
God." Were they to suppose that His arm was straitened to save ? 
that He had forgotten His tender mercies to the house of David ? that 
the aspirations of the prophets were vain ? that the blood of the Mac- 
cabean heroes had sunk like water into the earth ? This was a hard 
saying ; who could bear it ? It was long ere the nation, like the indi 
vidual, put off the old man that is, the temporal dispensation and 
put on the new man that is, the spiritual Israel. The very misery of 
the people seemed to forbid them to acquiesce in their present state. 
And with the miserable condition of the nation sprang up also the feel 
ing, not only in individuals but in the race, that for their sins they were 
chastened, the feeling which their whole history seemed to deepen 
and increase. At last the scales fell from their eyes ; the veil that was 
on the face of Moses was first transfigured before them, then removed ; 
the thoughts of many hearts turned simultaneously to the Hope of 
Israel, " Him whom the law and the prophets foretold." As they 
listened to the preaching of the Apostles, they seemed to hear a truth 
both new and old ; what many had thought, but none had uttered ; 
which in its comfort and joyousness seemed to them new, and yet, 
from its familiarity and suitableness to their condition, not the less 

Spiritual life, no less than natural life, is often the very opposite of 
the elements which seem to give birth to it. The preparation for the 

Q 3 


way of the Lord, which John the Baptist preached, did not consist in 
a direct reference to the Saviour. The words "He shall baptize you 
with the Holy Ghost and with fire," and "He shall burn up the chaff 
with fire unquenchable," could have given the Jews no exact concep 
tion of Him who "did not break the bruised reed, nor quench the 
smoking flax." It was in another way that John prepared for Christ, 
by quickening the moral sense of the people, and sounding in their 
ears the voice "Eepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
Beyond this useful lesson, there was a kind of vacancy in the preach 
ing of John. He himself, as "he was finishing his course," testified 
that his work was incomplete, and that he was not the Christ. The 
Jewish people were prepared by his preaching for the coming of 
Christ, just as an individual might be prepared to receive Him by the 
conviction of sin and the conscious need of forgiveness. 

Except from the Gospel history and the writings of Josephus and 
Philo, we know but little of the tendencies of the Jewish mind in the 
time of our Lord. Yet we cannot doubt that the entrance of Chris 
tianity into the world was not sudden and abrupt; that is, an illusion 
which arises in the mind from our slender acquaintance with con 
temporary opinions. Better and higher and holier as it was, it was 
not absolutely distinct from the teaching of the doctors of the law 
either in form or substance ; it was not unconnected with, but gave 
life and truth to, the mystic fancies of Alexandrian philosophy. Even 
in the counsels of perfection of the Sermon on the Mount, there is 
probably nothing which might not be found, either in letter or 
spirit, in Philo or some other Jewish or Eastern writer. The pecu 
liarity of the Gospel is, not that it teaches what is wholly new, 
but that it draws out of the treasure-house of the human heart 
things new and old, gathering together in one the dispersed fragments 
of the truth. The common people would not have "heard Him 
gladly," but for the truth of what He said. The heart was its own 
witness to it. The better nature of man, though but for a moment, 
responded to it, spoken as it was with authority, and not as the 
scribes j with simplicity, and not as the great teachers of the law ; 


and sanctified by the life and actions of Him from whose lips it came, 
and "Who spake as never man spake." 

And yet, after reviewing the circumstances of the first preaching 
of the Gospel, there remains something which cannot be resolved 
into causes or antecedents ; which eludes criticism, and can no more 
be explained in the world than the sudden changes of character in the 
individual. There are processes of life and organisation about which 
we know nothing, and we seem to know that we shall never know 
anything. "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it 
die ; " but the mechanism of this new life is too complex, and yet 
too simple for us to untwist its fibres. The figure which St. Paul 
applies to the resurrection of the body, is true also of the renewal of 
the soul, especially in the first ages of which we know so little, and 
in which the Gospel seems to have acted with such far greater 
power than among ourselves." 

Leaving further inquiry into the conversion of the first Christians 
at the point at which it hides itself from us in mystery, we have 
now to turn to a question hardly less mysterious, though seemingly 
more familiar to us, which may be regarded as a question either of 
moral philosophy or of theology, the nature of conversion and 
changes of character among ourselves. What traces are there of a 
spiritual power still acting upon the human heart? What is the 
inward nature, and what are the outward conditions of changes in 
human conduct ? Is our life a gradual and insensible progress from 
infancy to age, from birth to death, governed by fixed laws ; or is it 
a miracle and mystery of thirty, or fifty, or seventy years standing, 
consisting of so many isolated actions or portions knit together by 
no common principle ? 

Were we to consider mankind only from without, there could be 
no doubt of the answer which we should give to the last of these 
questions. The order of the world would scarcely even seem to be 
infringed by the free will of man. In morals, no less than in physics, 
everything would appear to proceed by regular law. Individuals 
have certain capacities, which grow with their growth and strengthen 

Q 4 


with their strength ; and no one by taking thought can add one cubit 
to his stature. As the poet says : " The boy is father to the man." 
The lives of the great majority have a sort of continuity : as we 
know them by the same look, walk, manner ; so when we come to 
converse with them, we recognise the same character as formerly. 
They may be changed ; but the change in general is such as we ex 
pect to find in them from youth to maturity, or from maturity to 
decay. There is something in them which is not changed, by which 
we perceive them to be the same. If they were weak, they remain 
so still ; if they were sensitive, they remain so still ; if they were 
selfish or passionate, such faults are seldom cured by increasing 
age or infirmities. And often the same nature puts on many 
veils and disguises ; to the outward eye it may have, in some instances, 
almost disappeared ; when we look beneath, it is still there. 

The appearance of this sameness in human nature has led many 
to suppose that no real change ever takes place. Does a man from a 
drunkard become sober ? from a knight errant become a devotee ? 
from a sensualist a believer in Christ ? or a woman from a life of 
pleasure pass to a romantic and devoted religion ? It has been main 
tained that they are the same still ; and that deeper similarities re 
main than the differences which are a part of their new profession. 
Those who make the remark would say, that such persons exhibit 
the same vanity, the same irritability, the same ambition ; that sen - 
sualism still lurks under the disguise of refinement, or earthly and 
human passion transfuses itself into devotion. 

This " practical fatalism," which says that human beings can be 
what they are and nothing else, has a certain degree of truth, or 
rather, of plausibility, from the circumstance that men seldom change 
wholly, and that the part of their nature which changes least is the 
weakness and infirmity that shows itself on the surface. Few, com 
paratively, ever change their outward manner, except from the mere 
result of altered circumstances ; and hence, to a superficial observer, 
they appear to change less than is really the fact. Probably, St. 
Paul never lost that trembling and feebleness which was one of the 


trials of his life. Nor, in so far as the mind is dependent on the 
body, can we pretend to be wholly free agents. Who can say that 
his view of life and his power of action are unaffected by his bodily 
state ? or who expects to find a firm and decided character in the 
nervous and sensitive frame? The commonest facts of daily life 
sufficiently prove the connexion of mind and body ; the more we 
attend to it the closer it appears. Nor, indeed, can it be denied that 
external circumstances fix for most men the path of life. They are 
the inhabitants of a particular country ; they have a certain position 
in the world ; they rise to their occupations as the morning comes 
round ; they seldom get beyond the circle of ideas in which they have 
been brought up. Fearfully and wonderfully as they are made, 
though each one in his bodily frame, and even more in his thoughts 
and feelings, is a miracle of complexity, they seem, as they meet in 
society, to reunite into a machine, and society itself is the great 
automaton of which they are the parts. It is harder and more con 
ventional than the individuals which compose it ; it exercises a kind 
of regulating force on the wayward fancies of their wills ; it says to 
them in an unmistakable manner that " they shall not break their 
ranks." The laws of trade, the customs of social life, the instincts of 
human nature, act upon us with a power little less than that of 
physical necessity. 

If from this external aspect of human things, we turn inward, 
there seems to be no limit to the changes which we deem possible. 
We are no longer the same, but different every hour. No physical 
fact interposes itself as an obstacle to our thoughts any more than to 
our dreams. The world and its laws have nothing to do with our 
free determinations. At any moment we can begin a new life ; in 
idea at least, no time is required for the change. One instant we 
may be proud, the next humble ; one instant sinning, at the next 
repenting ; one instant, like St. Paul, ready to persecute, at another 
to preach the Gospel ; full of malice and hatred one hour, melting 
into tenderness the next. As we hear the words of the preacher, 
there is a voice within telling us, that " now, even now, is the day 


of salvation ; " and if certain clogs and hindrances of earth could 
only be removed, we are ready to pass immediately into another state. 
And, at times, it seems as though we had actually passed into rest, 
and had a foretaste of the heavenly gift. Something more than 
imagination enables us to fashion a divine pattern to which we con 
form for a little while. The " new man " unto which we become 
transformed, is so pleasant to us that it banishes the thought of 
" the old." In youth especially, when we are ignorant of the com 
pass of our own nature, such frames of mind are perpetually recur 
ring ; perhaps, not without attendant evils ; certainly, also, for good. 

But besides such feelings as these, which we know to be partly 
true, partly illusive, every one s experience of himself appears to 
teach him, that he has gone through many changes and had many 
special providences vouchsafed to him ; he says to himself that he has 
been led in a mysterious and peculiar way, not like the way of other 
men, and had feelings not common to others ; he compares different 
times and places, and contrasts his own conduct here and there, now 
and then. In other men he remarks similarity of character ; in him 
self he sees chiefly diversity. They seem to be the creatures of 
habit and circumstance ; he alone is a free agent. The truth is, that 
he observes himself; he cannot equally observe them. He is not 
conscious of the inward struggles through which they have passed ; 
he sees only the veil of flesh which conceals them from his view. 
He knows when he thinks about it, but he does not habitually re 
member, that, under that calm exterior, there is a like current of in 
dividual thoughts, feelings, interests, which have as great a charm 
and intensity for another as the workings of his own mind have for 

And yet it does not follow, that this inward fact is to be set aside 
as the result of egotism and illusion. It may be not merely the 
dreamy reflection of our life and actions in the mirror of self, but the 
subtle and delicate spring of the whole machine. To purify the 
feelings or to move the will, the internal sense may be as necessary to 
us as external observation is to regulate and sustain them. Even to 


the formula of the fatalist, that " freedom is the consciousness of 
necessity," it may be replied, that that very consciousness, as he terms 
it, is as essential as any other link in the chain in which " he binds 
fast the world." Human nature is beset by the contradiction, not 
of two rival theories, but of many apparently contradictory facts. 
If we cannot imagine how the world could go on without law and 
order in human actions, neither can we imagine how morality could 
subsist unless we clear a space around us for the freedom of the will. 

But not in this place to get further into the meshes of the great 
question of freedom and necessity, let us rather turn aside for a mo 
ment to consider some practical aspects of the reflections which 
precede. Scripture and reason alike require that we should entirely 
turn to God, that we should obey the whole law. And hard as this 
may seem at first, there is a witness within us which pleads that it is 
possible. Our mind and moral nature are one ; we cannot break our 
selves into pieces in action any more than in thought. The whole 
man is in every part and in every act. This is not a mere mode of 
thought, but a truth of great practical importance. "Easier to 
change many things than one," is the common saying. Easier, we 
may add, in religion or morality, to change the whole than the part. 
Easier because more natural, more agreeable to the voice of con 
science and the promises of Scripture. God himself deals with 
us as a whole ; he does not forgive us in part any more than he 
requires us to serve Him in part. It may be true that, of the thousand 
hearers of the appeal of the preacher, not above one begins a new 
life. And some persons will imagine that it might be better to make 
an impression on them little by little, like the effect of the dropping 
of water upon stone. Not in this way is the Gospel written down on 
the fleshly tables of the heart. More true to our own experience of self, 
as well as to the words of Scripture, are such ideas as renovation, 
renewal, regeneration, taking up the cross and following Christ, 
dying with Christ that we may also live with him. 

Many a person will teaze himself by counting minutes and pro 
viding small rules for his life, who would have found the task an 


easier and a nobler one, had he viewed it in its whole extent, and 
gone to God in a " large and liberal spirit," to offer up his life to 
Him. To have no " arriere pensee" in the service of God and virtue 
is the great source of peace and happiness. Make clean that which 
is within, and you have no need to purify that which is without. 
Take care of the little things of life, and the great ones will take care 
of themselves, is the maxim of the trader, which is sometimes, and 
with a certain degree of truth, applied to the service of God. But 
much more true is it in religion that we should take care of the 
great things, and the trifles of life will take care of themselves. "If 
thine eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light." Christi 
anity is not acquired as an art by long practice ; it does not carve 
and polish human nature with a graving tool ; it makes the whole 
man ; first pouring out his soul before God, and then " casting him in 
a mould." Its workings are not to be measured by time, even though 
among educated persons, and in modern times, sudden and momen 
tary conversions can rarely occur. 

For the doctrine of conversion, the moralist substitutes the theory 
of habits. Good actions, he says, produce good habits; and the 
repetition of good actions makes them easier to perform, and " for 
tifies us indefinitely against temptation." There are bodily and 
mental habits habits of reflection and habits of action. Practice 
gives skill or sleight of hand ; constant attention, the faculty of abs 
traction ; so the practice of virtue makes us virtuous, that of vice, 
vicious. The more meat we eat, to use the illustration of Aristotle, 
in whom we find a cruder form of the same theory, the more we are 
able to eat meat ; the more we wrestle, the more able we are to 
wrestle, and so forth. If a person has some duty to perform, say of 
common and trivial sort, to rise at a particular hour in the morning, 
to be at a particular place at such an hour, to conform to some rule 
about abstinence, we tell him that he will find the first occasion 
difficult, the second easy, and the difficulty is supposed to vanish by 
degrees until it wholly disappears. If a man has to march into a 
battle, or to perform a surgical operation, or to do anything else 


from which human nature shrinks, his nerves, we say, are gradually 
strengthened ; his head, as was said of a famous soldier, clears up at 
the sound of the cannon ; like the grave-digger in Hamlet, he has 
soon no " feeling of his occupation." 

From a consideration of such instances as these, the rule has been 
laid down, that, " as the passive impression weakens, the active habit 
strengthens." But is not this saying of a great man founded on 
a narrow and partial contemplation of human nature ? For, in 
the first place, it leaves altogether out of sight the motives of 
human action ; it is equally suited to the most rigid formal 
ist, and to a moral and spiritual being. Secondly, it takes no 
account of the limitation of the power of habits, which neither in 
mind nor body can be extended beyond a certain point ; nor of the 
original capacity or peculiar character of individuals ; nor of the 
different kinds of habits, nor of the degrees of strength and weakness 
in different minds; nor of the enormous difference between youth and 
age, childhood and manhood, in the capacity for acquiring habits. 
Old age does not move with accumulated force, either upwards 
or downwards ; they are the lesser habits, not the great springs 
of life, that show themselves in it with increased power. Nor can 
the man who has neglected to form habits in youth, acquire them in 
mature life ; like the body, the mind ceases to be capable of receiving 
a particular form. Lastly, such a description of human nature agrees 
with no man s account of himself; whatever moralists may say, he 
knows himself to be a spiritual being. " The wind bloweth where it 
listeth," and he cannot " tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth." 

All that is true in the theory of habits seems to be implied in the 
notion of order or regularity. Even this is inadequate to give a 
conception of the structure of human beings. Order is the beginning, 
but freedom is the perfection of our moral nature. Men do not live 
at random, or act one instant without reference to their actions just 
before. And in youth especially, the very sameness of our occupa 
tions is a sort of stay and support to us, as in age it may be described 
as a kind of rest. But no one will say that the mere repetition of ac- 


tions until they constitute a habit, gives any explanation of the higher 
and nobler forms of human virtue, or the finer moulds of character. 
Life cannot be explained as the working of a mere machine, still 
less can moral or spiritual life be reduced to merely mechanical 

But if, while acknowledging that a great proportion of mankind 
are the creatures of habit, and that a great part of our actions are 
nothing more than the result of habit, we go on to ask ourselves about 
the changes of our life, and fix our minds on the critical points, we 
are led to view human nature, not only in a wider and more generous 
spirit, but also in a way more accordant with the language of 
Scripture. We no longer measure ourselves by days or by weeks ; 
we are conscious that at particular times we have undergone great 
revolutions or emotions ; and then, again, have intervened periods, 
lasting perhaps for years, in which we have pursued the even current 
of our way. Our progress towards good may have been in idea an 
imperceptible and regular advance ; in fact, we know it to have been 
otherwise. We have taken plunges in life ; there are many eras 
noted in our existence. The greatest changes are those of which we 
are the least able to give an account, and which we feel the most 
disposed to refer to a superior power. That they were simply mys 
terious, like some utterly unknown natural phenomena, is our first 
thought about them. But although unable to fathom their true na 
ture, we are capable of analysing many of the circumstances which 
accompany them, and of observing the impulses out of which they 

Every man has the power of forming a resolution, or, without 
previous resolution, in any particular instance, acting as he will. 
As thoughts come into the mind one cannot tell how, so too motives 
spring up, without our being able to trace their origin. Why we 
suddenly see a thing in a new light, is often hard to explain ; why 
we feel an action to be right or wrong which has previously seemed 
indifferent, is not less inexplicable. We fix the passing dream or 
sentiment in action ; the thought is nothing, the deed may be every- 


thing. That day after day, to use a familiar instance, the drunkard 
will find abstinence easier, is probably untrue ; but that from once 
abstaining he will gain a fresh experience,"and receive a new strength 
and inward satisfaction, which may result in endless consequences, 
is what every one is aware of. It is not the sameness of what 
we do, but its novelty, which seems to have such a peculiar power 
over us ; not the repetition of many blind actions, but the per 
formance of a single conscious one, that is the birth to a new life. 
Indeed, the very sameness of actions is often accompanied with a 
sort of weariness, which makes men desirous of change. 

Nor is it less true, that by the commission, not of many, but 
a single act of vice or crime, an inroad is made into our whole 
moral constitution, which is not proportionably increased by its 
repetition. The first act of theft, falsehood, or other immorality, is 
an event in the life of the perpetrator which he never forgets. It 
may often happen that no account can be given of it ; that there is 
nothing in the education, nor in the antecedents of the person, that 
would lead us, or even himself, to suspect it. In the weaker sort of 
natures, especially, suggestions of evil spring up we cannot tell how. 
Human beings are the creatures of habit ; but they are the crea 
tures of impulse too ; and from the greater variableness of the 
outward circumstances of life, and especially of particular periods 
of life, and the greater freedom of individuals, it may, perhaps, be 
found that human actions, though less liable to wide-spread or sud 
den changes, have also become more capricious, and less reducible 
to simple causes, than formerly. 

Changes in character come more often in the form of feeling than 
of reason, from some new affection or attachment, or alienation of 
our former self, rather than from the slow growth of experience, or a 
deliberate sense of right and duty. The meeting with some particu 
lar person, the remembrance of some particular scene, the last words 
of a parent or friend, the reading of a sentence in a book, may call 
forth a world within us of the very existence of which we were pre 
viously unconscious. New interests arise such as we never before 


knew, and we can no longer lie grovelling in the mire, but must be 
up and doing ; new affections seem to be drawn out, such as warm 
our inmost soul and make action and exertion a delight to us. Mere 
human love at first sight, as we say, has been known to change the 
whole character and produce an earthly effect, analogous to that 
heavenly love of Christ and the brethren, of which the New Testa- 
ment speaks. Have we not seen the passionate become calm, the 
licentious pure, the weak strong, the scoffer devout ? We may not 
venture to say with St. Paul, " This is a great mystery, but I speak 
concerning Christ and the Church." But such instances serve, at 
least, to quicken our sense of the depth and subtlety of human 

Of many of these changes no other reason can be given than that 
nature and the Author of nature have made men capable of them. 
There are others, again, which we seem to trace, not only to particular 
times, but to definite actions, from which they flow in the same manner 
that other effects follow from their causes. Among such causes none 
are more powerful than acts of self-sacrifice and devotion. A single 
deed of heroism makes a man a hero ; it becomes a part of him, and, 
strengthened by the approbation and sympathy of his fellow-men, 
a sort of power which he gains over himself and them. Something 
like this is true of the lesser occasions of life no less than of the 
greatest ; provided in either case the actions are not of such a kind 
that the performance of them is a violence to our nature. Many 
a one has stretched himself on the rack of asceticism, without on the 
whole raising his nature ; often he has seemed to have gained in 
self-control only what he has lost in the kindlier affections, and by 
his very isolation to have wasted the opportunities which nature 
offered him of self-improvement. But no one with a heart open to 
human feelings, loving not man the less, but God more, sensitive 
to the happiness of this world, yet aiming at a higher, no man of 
such a nature ever made a great sacrifice, or performed a great act 
of self-denial, without impressing a change on his character, which 
lasted to his latest breath. No man ever took his besetting sin, it 


may be lust, or pride, or love of rank and position, and, as it were, 
cut it out by voluntarily placing himself where to gratify it was im 
possible, without sensibly receiving a new strength of character. In 
one day, almost in an hour, he may become an altered man ; he may 
stand, as it were, on a different stage of moral and religious life ; 
he may feel himself in new relations to an altered world. 

Nor, in considering the effects of action, must the influence of im 
pressions be lost sight of. Good resolutions are apt to have a bad 
name ; they have come to be almost synonymous with the absence 
of good actions. As they get older, men deem it a kind of weakness 
to be guilty of making them ; so often do they end in raising 
"pictures of virtue, or going over the theory of virtue in our minds." 
Yet this contrast between passive impression and active habit, 
is hardly justified by our experience of ourselves or others. Value 
less as they are in themselves, good resolutions are suggestive of 
great good; they are seldom wholly without effect on our con 
duct ; in the weakest of men they are still the embryo of action. 
They may meet with a concurrence of circumstances in which they 
take root and grow, coinciding with some change of place, or of 
pursuits, or of companions, or of natural constitution, in which they 
acquire a peculiar power. They are the opportunities of virtue, 
if not virtue itself. At the worst they make us think ; they give us 
an experience of ourselves ; they prevent our passing our lives in total 
unconsciousness. A man may go on all his life making and not 
keeping them ; miserable as such a state appears, he is perhaps not 
the worse, but something the better for them. The voice of the 
preacher is not lost, even if he succeed but for a few instants in 
awakening them. 

A further cause of sudden changes in the moral constitution is the 
determination of the will by reason and knowledge. Suppose the 
case of a person living in a narrow circle of ideas, within the limits of 
his early education, perplexed by difficulties, yet never venturing 
beyond the wall of prejudices in which he has been brought up, 
or changing only into the false position of a rebellion against 



them. A new view of his relation to the world and to God is 
presented to him ; such, for example, as in St. Paul s day was the 
grand acknowledgment that God was " not the God of the Jews 
only ; " such as in our own age would be the clear vision of the truth 
and justice of God, high above the clouds of earth and time, and of 
his goodwill to man. Convinced of the reasonableness of the 
Gospel, it becomes to him at once a self-imposed law. No longer 
does the human heart rebel ; no longer has he " to pose his under 
standing " with that odd resolution of Tertullian, " certum quia 
impossibile." He perceives that the perplexities of religion have 
been made, not by the appointment of God, but by the ingenuity of 

Lastly. Among those influences, by the help of which the will of 
man learns to disengage itself from the power of habit, must not be 
omitted the influence of circumstances. If men are creatures of 
habit, much more are they creatures of circumstances. These two, 
nature without us, and " the second nature " that is within, are the 
counterbalancing forces of our being. Between them (so we may 
figure to ourselves the working of the mind) the human will inserts 
itself, making the force of one a lever against the other, and seeming 
to rule both. We fall under the power of habit, and feel ourselves 
weak and powerless to shake off the almost physical influence which 
it exerts upon us. The enfeebled frame cannot rid itself of the ma 
lady ; the palsied springs of action cannot be strengthened for good, 
nor fortified against evil. Transplanted into another soil, and in a 
different air, we renew our strength. In youth especially, the cha 
racter seems to respond kindly to the influence of the external world. 
Providence has placed us in a state in which we have many aids in 
the battle with self; the greatest of these is change of circumstances. 

We have wandered far from the subject of conversion in the early 
Church, into another sphere in which the words " grace, faith, the 
spirit," have disappeared, and notions of moral philosophy have taken 


their place. It is better, perhaps, that the attempt to analyse our 
spiritual nature should assume this abstract form. We feel that 
words cannot express the life hidden with Christ and God ; we are 
afraid of declaring on the housetop, what may only be spoken in the 
closet. If the rites and ceremonies of the elder dispensation, which 
have so little in them of a spiritual character, became a figure of the 
true, much more may the moral world be regarded as a figure of the 
spiritual world of which religion speaks to us. 

There is a view of the changes of the characters of men which 
begins where this ends, which reads human nature by a different 
light, and speaks of it as the seat of a great struggle between the 
powers of good and evil. It would be untrue to identify this view 
with that which has preceded, and scarcely less untrue to attempt to 
interweave the two in a system of " moral theology." No addition 
of theological terms will transfigure Aristotle s Ethics into a "Summa 
Theologize." When St. Paul says " O wretched man that I am, who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death?" "I thank God 
through Jesus Christ our Lord;" he is not speaking the language 
of moral philosophy, but of religious feeling. He expresses what 
few have truly felt concentrated in a single instant, what many have 
deluded themselves into the belief of, what some have experienced 
accompanying them through life, what a great portion even of the 
better sort of mankind are wholly unconscious of. It seems as if 
Providence allowed us to regard the truths of religion and morality 
in many ways which are not wholly unconnected with each other, 
yet parallel rather than intersecting ; providing for the varieties 
of human character, and not leaving those altogether without law, 
who are incapable in a world of sight of entering within the veil. 

As we return to that " hidden life " of which the Scripture speaks, 
our analysis of human nature seems to become more imperfect, less 
reducible to rule or measure, less capable of being described in a 
language which all men understand. What the believer recognises 
as the record of his experience is apt to seem mystical to the rest of 
the world. We do not seek to thread the mazes of the human soul, 

R 2 


or to draw forth to the light its hidden communion with its Maker, 
but only to present in general outline the power of religion among 
other causes of human action. 

Directly, religious influences may be summed up tinder three 
heads : The power of God ; the love of Christ ; the efficacy of 

(1.) So far as the influence of the first of these is capable of ana 
lysis, it consists in the practical sense that we are dependent beings, 
and that our souls are in the hands of God, who is acting through 
us, and ever present with us, in the trials of life and in the work of 
life. The believer is a minister who executes this work, hardly the 
partner in it ; it is not his own, but God s. He does it with the 
greatest care, as unto the Lord and not to men, yet is indifferent as 
to the result, knowing that all things, even through his imperfect 
agency, are working together for good. The attitude of his soul 
towards God is such as to produce the strongest effects on his power 
of action. It leaves his faculties clear and unimpassioned ; it places 
him above accidents ; it gives him courage and freedom. Trusting 
in God only, like the Psalmist, "he fears no enemy ; " he has no want. 
There is a sort of absoluteness in his position in the world, which can 
neither be made better nor worse; as St. Paul says: "All things 
are his, whether life or death, or things present or things to come." 

In merely human things, the aid and sympathy of others increase 
our power to act : it is also the fact that we can work more effec 
tually and think more truly, where the issue is not staked on the 
result of our thought and work. The confidence of success would 
be more than half the secret of success, did it not also lead to the 
relaxation of our efforts. But in the life of the believer, the sym 
pathy, if such a figure of speech may be allowed, is not human but 
Divine; the confidence is not a confidence in ourselves, but in the 
power of God, which at once takes us out of ourselves and increases 
our obligation to exertion. The instances just mentioned have an 
analogy, though but a faint one, with that which we are considering. 
They are shadows of the support which we receive from the In- 


finite and Everlasting. As the philosopher said that his theory of 
fatalism was absolutely required to insure the repose necessary for 
moral action, it may be said, in a far higher sense, that the con 
sciousness of a Divine Providence is necessary to enable a rational 
being to meet the present trials of life, and to look without fear on 
his future destiny. 

(2.) But yet more strongly is it felt that the love of Christ has this 
constraining power over souls, that here, if anywhere, we are unlock 
ing the twisted chain of sympathy, and reaching the inmost mystery 
of human nature. The sight, once for all, of Christ crucified, recalling 
the thought of what, more than 1800 years ago, he suffered for us, 
has ravished the heart and melted the affections, and made the world 
seem new, and covered the earth itself with a fair vision, that is, a 
heavenly one. The strength of this feeling arises from its being 
directed towards a person, a real being, an individual like ourselves, 
who has actually endured all this for our sakes, who was above us, 
and yet became one of us and felt as we did, and was like ourselves 
a true man. The love which He felt towards us, we seek to return 
to Him ; the unity which He has with the Divine nature, He com 
municates to us ; His Father is our Father, His God our God. 
And as human love draws men onwards to make sacrifices, and 
to undergo sufferings for the good of others, Divine love also leads 
us to cast away the interests of this world, and rest only in the 
noblest object of love. And this love is not only a feeling or senti 
ment, or attachment, such as we may entertain towards a parent, a 
child, or a wife, in which, pure and disinterested as it may be, some 
shadow of earthly passions unavoidably mingles ; it is also the 
highest exercise of the reason, which it seems to endow with the force 
of the affections, making us think and feel at once. And although it 
begins in gentleness, and tenderness, and weakness, and is often sup 
posed to be more natural to women than men, yet it grows up also 
to " the fulness of the stature of the perfect man." The truest note 
of the depth and sincerity of our feelings towards our fellow crea- 

R 3 


tures is a manly, that is, a self controlled temper : still more 
is this true of the love of the soul towards Christ and God. 

Every one knows what it is to become like those whom we 
admire or esteem ; the impress which a disciple may sometimes 
have received from his teacher, or the servant from his Lord. 
Such devotion to a particular person can rarely be thought to open 
our hearts to love others also ; it often tends to weaken the force of 
individual character. But the love of Christ is the conducting 
medium to the love of all mankind ; the image which He impresses 
upon us is the image not of any particular individual, but of the Son 
of Man. And this image, as we draw nearer to it, is transfigured 
into the image of the Son of God. As we become like Him, we see 
Him as He is ; and see ourselves and all other things with true 
human sympathy. Lastly, we are sensible that more than all we 
feel towards Him, He feels towards us, and that it is He who is 
drawing us to Him, while we seem to be drawing to Him ourselves. 
This is a part of that mystery of which the Apostle speaks, " of the 
length, and depth, and breadth of the love of Christ," which passeth 
knowledge. Mere human love rests on instincts, the working of 
which we cannot explain, but which nevertheless touch the inmost 
springs of our being. So, too, we have spiritual instincts, acting 
towards higher objects, still more suddenly and wonderfully cap 
turing our souls in an instant, and making us indifferent to all 
things else. Such instincts show themselves in the weak no less than 
in the strong ; they seem to be not so much an original part of our 
nature as to fulfil our nature, and add to it, and draw it out, until 
they make us different beings to ourselves and others. It was the 
quaint fancy of a sentimentalist to ask whether any one who remem 
bers the first sight of a beloved person, could doubt the existence of 
magic. We may ask another question, Can any one who has 
ever known the love of Christ, doubt the existence of a spiritual 
power ? 

(3.) The instrument whereby, above all others, we realise the 
powsr of God, and the love of Christ, which carries us into their 


presence, and places us within the circle of a Divine yet personal 
influence, is prayer. Prayer is the summing up of the Christian life 
in a definite act, which is at once inward and outward, the power of 
which on the character, like that of any other act, is proportioned 
to its intensity. The imagination of doing rightly adds little to our 
strength ; even the wish to do so is not necessarily accompanied by a 
change of heart and conduct. But in prayer we imagine, and wish, 
and perform all in one. Our imperfect resolutions are offered up 
to God ; our weakness becomes strength, our words deeds. No 
other action is so mysterious ; there is none in which we seem, 
in the same manner, to renounce ourselves that we may be one with 

Of what nature that prayer is which is effectual to the obtaining of 
its requests is a question of the same kind as what constitutes a 
true faith. That prayer, we should reply, which is itself most of an 
act, which is most immediately followed by action, which is most 
truthful, manly, self-controlled, which seems to lead and direct, 
rather than to follow, our natural emotions. That prayer which 
is its own answer because it asks not for any temporal good, but for 
union with God. That prayer which begins with the confession, 
" We know not what to pray for as we ought ; " which can never 
by any possibility interfere with the laws of nature, because even 
in extremity of danger or suffering, it seeks only the fulfilment of 
His will. That prayer which acknowledges that our enemies, or 
those of a different faith, are equally with ourselves in the hands of 
God ; in which we never unwittingly ask for our own good at the 
expense of others. That prayer in which faith is strong enough to 
submit to experience ; in which the soul of man is nevertheless con 
scious not of any self-produced impression, but of a true communion 
with the Author and Maker of his being. 

In prayer, as in all religion, there is something that it is impos 
sible to describe, and that seems to be untrue the moment it is ex 
pressed in words. In the relations of man with God, it is vain to 
attempt to separate what belongs to the finite and what to the infinite. 

R 4 


We can feel, but we cannot analyse it. We can lay down practical 
rules for it, but can give no adequate account of it. It is a mystery 
which we do not need to fathom. In all religion there is an ele 
ment of which we are conscious ; which is no mystery, which 
ought to be and is on a level with reason and experience. There is 
something besides, which, in those who give way to every vague 
spiritual emotion, may often fall below reason (for to them it becomes 
a merely physical state); which may also raise us above ourselves, 
until reason and feeling meet in one, and the life on earth even of 
the poor and ignorant answers to the description of the Apostle? 
"^Having your conversation in heaven." 

This partial indistinctness of the subject of religion, even indepen 
dently of mysticism or superstition, may become to intellectual minds 
a ground for doubting the truth of that which will not be altogether 
reduced to the rules of human knowledge, which seems to elude 
our grasp, and retires into the recesses of the soul the moment we 
ask for the demonstration of its existence. Against this natural 
suspicion let us set two observations : first, that if the Gospel had 
spoken to the reason only, and not to the feelings if "the way to 
the blessed life " had to be won by clearness of ideas, then it is impos 
sible that " to the poor the Gospel should have been first preached." 
It would have begun at the other end of society, and probably re 
mained, like Greek philosophy, the abstraction of educated men- 
Secondly, let us remark that even now, judged by its effects, the 
power of religion is of all powers the greatest. Knowledge itself 
is a weak instrument to stir the soul compared with religion ; mora 
lity has no way to the heart of man ; but the Gospel reaches the 
feelings and the intellect at once. In nations as well as individuals, 
in barbarous times as well as civilised, in the great crises of history 
especially, even in the latest ages, when the minds of men seem 
to wax cold, and all things remain the same as at the beginning, 
it has shown itself to be a reality without which human nature 
would cease to be what it is. Almost every one has had the wit 
ness of it in himself. No one, says Plato, ever passed from youth 


to age in unbelief of the gods, in heathen times. Hardly any 
educated person in a Christian land has passed from youth to age 
without some aspiration after a better life, some thought of the 
country to which he is going. 

As a fact, it would be admitted by most, that, at some period of 
their lives, the thought of the world to come and of future judgment, 
the beauty and loveliness of the truths of the Gospel, the sense of 
the shortness of our days here, have wrought a more quickening and 
powerful effect than any moral truths or prudential maxims. Many 
a one would acknowledge that he has been carried whither he knew 
not ; and had nobler thoughts, and felt higher aspirations, than the 
course of his ordinary life seemed to allow. These were the most im 
portant moments of his life for good or for evil ; the critical points 
which have made him what he is, either as he used or neglected 
them. They came he knew not how, sometimes with some outward 
and apparent cause, at other times without, the result of affliction 
or sickness, or " the wind blowing where it listeth." 

And if such changes and such critical points should be found to 
occur in youth more often than in age, in the poor and ignorant 
rather than in the educated, in women more often than in men, if 
reason and reflection seem to weaken as they regulate the springs of 
human action, this very fact may lead us to consider that reason, 
and reflection, and education, and the experience of age, and the force 
of manly sense, are not the links which bind us to the communion of 
the body of Christ ; that it is rather to those qualities which we 
have, or may have, in common with our fellow-men, that the Gospel 
is promised ; and that it is with the weak, the poor, the babes in 
Christ, not with the strong-minded, the resolute, the consistent, 
that we shall sit down in the kingdom of heaven. 


[On. VIII. 

apa vvv KaTaKpLua roi? iv X/HCTTW lyvov 1 6 yap 8 

r\ / f * > ^ T ^ 5 \ /) 

TOV TTVCVLHaTOS T779 4 W1 7^ ^ XP^^ ^ V L YJO OV 7^AVt/e- 2 

ei> /xe 0,770 TOT) VOJJLOV r^s d/x-aprias /cal rot) OavaTov. TO 3 
yap aSvvaTOV TOV vouov, Iv ($ rjO vzveL ota TT}? o~apKos, o 

1 Add /UTj Kara adpKa irepiiraTOvaiv a\\a Kara 

VIII. 115. The struggle 
has passed away, and the con 
queror and the conquered are side 
by side. The two laws men 
tioned in the last chapter, have 
changed places, the one becoming 
mighty from being powerless, 
the other powerless from being 
mighty. The helplessness of the 
law has been done away in Christ, 
that its righteous requirement 
may be fulfilled in us, who walk 
not after the flesh but after the 
spirit. The Apostle returns upon 
his former track that he may 
contrast the two elements, not, as 
in the previous chapter, in con 
flict with each other, hopelessly 
entangled by " occasion of the 
commandment," but in entire se 
paration and opposition. These 
two, the flesh and the spirit, stand 
over against one another, as life 
and death, as peace and enmity 
with God. Do what it will, the 
flesh can never be subjected to 
the law of God. And this an 
tagonism is not an antagonism of 
ideas only, but of persons also. 
It is another mode of express 
ing the same thought, to say 
that they that are in the flesh 
cannot please God. "But ye," 
the Apostle adds, " are not in the 
flesh, but in the Spirit, which is 
the Spirit of God and Christ, and 
have the body dead, and the 
Spirit that is in you life ; and as 
God raised up Christ from the 
dead, he will raise you up, be 
cause you have His Spirit dwell 

ing in you. Are we not debtors 
then to live according to the Spi 
rit, which is the only source of 
life and immortality, under the 
guidance of which, too, we are 
no longer the servants but the 
sons of God ? " 

1. apa."] To those, then, who 
are dead with Christ, who strug 
gle against sin, who with the 
mind serve the law of God, there 
is therefore now no condemna 
tion. The connexion is with the 
whole of the previous subject. 

vvv."] At this point of our ar 
gument we may say. Compare 
vwi, vii. 17. 

rdis kv %otor-w,] may be com 
pared with ol au<j)l IlXartuva, 
HvQayopav, and the like. Yet 
the preposition iv expresses, also, 
the different relation in which 
the disciple of Christ and of a 
heathen philosopher stood to their 

The accidental division of the 
chapter seems to correspond, in 
this passage, with the actual 
break in the sense. The crisis 
has passed not again to return, 
and the soul, though in its earthly 
state, is, nevertheless, at rest. 

The words, JJYJ Kara capita TTE- 
pnrarovffLV a\\d Kara Trvevua, are 
omitted in B. C. D. F. G. They 
have been introduced into the 
text from ver. 4., perhaps to 
correct the apparently antino- 
mian tendency of the Apostle s 

2. The Gospel has been some- 

VER. 2, 3.] 



3 There is therefore now no condemnation to them 

2 which are in Christ Jesus. 1 For the law of the Spirit 
of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law 

3 of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in 

1 Add who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. 

times represented as a law, some 
times as a spirit ; as a rule to 
which we must conform, and also 
as a power with which we are en 
dowed. Both aspects are united 
in the expression, "the law of 
the Spirit of life," which is a 
kind of paradox, and may be 
compared with "the law of faith," 
at the end of the third chapter. 
Strictly speaking, in the language 
of St. Paul, sin stands on the one 
side, and the Spirit of God on 
the other ; they answer respec 
tively to the worse and the better 
element of human nature ; while, 
between the two is placed the 
straight and unbending rule of 
the law. But the law is used in 
two other senses also, first, for 
the rule of sin to which man has 
subjected himself, and, secondly, 
for the growth of the higher life, 
the spirit which becomes a law, 
the habit which strengthens into 
a second and better nature. Law, 
in the first of these two senses, is 
but a figure to express the strength 
and uniformity of the power of 
evil ; in the second, it is the har 
mony of human things in commu 
nion with God and Christ : the 
first is the law under which the 
first Adam fell : the second, the 
law, by the fulfilment of which 
the second Adam redeemed man 

2. VO/JLOV TrJQ ajuapT-iag KO.I TOV 
Samrou, the law of sin and 
death. ] But what law is thus 
characterised ? The strength of 

the language would not be a 
positive proof that the Apostle is 
not here speaking of the law of 
Moses, if we may take the ex 
pressions in Gal. iii. and iv. 3., 
and 1 Cor. xv. 56., where he 
seems to speak of the law as 
synonymous with "elements of 
the world," and even as " the 
strength of sin," as a measure of 
his words. Such a view of the 
words would also agree with the 
following verse, which speaks of 
the powerlessness of " the law 
through the flesh," an expression 
hardly suitable to the " law in 
the members " that preceded, 
which was not powerless, but 
simply evil. Nor can we sup 
pose that in the " law of sin and 
death," no allusion is implied to 
the law of Moses, even if the two 
be not absolutely identical. Still 
it is less liable to objection, to 
take the law of sin and death in 
the same general sense in which 
the law of sin and the body of 
death were spoken of in the pre 
ceding chapter. It is the law of 
Moses, and what the law of Mo 
ses in its influence on the heart 
and conscience has grown up 
into and become, the law which 
is the strength of sin, which is al 
most sin, which was made death. 
3. TO ycijO a^vrarov TOV rofiov, 
for ivhat the law, Sf-c. ] (1.) For 
God condemned sin in the flesh, 
which was a thing that the law 
could not do, ro a^vvuTOV TOV vo- 
p.ov being in apposition with 



[On. VIII. 





Tias /cat TTC/OI d/xaprias KaTCKpwtv rrjv d/xa/ma*> tv rfj 
crapKi, wa TO Sc/caiw/xa TOV vofjiov 7T\r)pa)0fj eV roZs 
/XT) /card crdpKa TrepnraTovcriv a\\a /carol Trvevpa. ol yap 5 
/cara o-dpKa oVres ra TTjs crap/cos <f)povovo-LV, ol e /card 
rd rou TT^eu/x-aros TO yap ^povrj^a TTJS crap/cos 6 

, K.T.\.]OY (2.) making ro 
independent, for touch 
ing the powerlessness of the law, 
in that it was weak through the 
flesh, &c. This mode of taking 
the passage sacrifices the gram 
mar to the meaning. For ro 
afivvctTOV TOV vopov begins one 
sentence, and is met by 6 0eoe, 
K-.r.X., which begins another. Sim 
plicity is, however, a better guide 
to the order of words in St. Paul 
than classical refinement of con 

To pass on to the sense. The 
law was powerless, not in itself, 
but because it was without in 
struments for the service of God. 
The weakness of the flesh could 
never fulfil the requirements of 
the law ; it seemed rather to jus 
tify disobedience. But God sent 
His own Son, in the likeness of 
sinful flesh, and for sin, and con 
demned sin in the flesh. The 
sinless life of Christ showed that 
even in the flesh sin was not na 
tural or necessary. So we might 
speak in a figure of the life or 
conduct of another convicting or 
condemning ourselves ; he might 
show, that is, some virtue or 
self-denial to be possible which 
would otherwise have seemed 
impossible. Some such analogy 
as this is working in the Apostle s 
mind. The other mode of taking 
the words which refers them to the 
death of Christ, regarded either 
as a sacrifice for sin, or as the 

punishment for sinful flesh, is in 
consistent with ro dlvvaTov TOV 
rojjiov. There is also an allusion 
in the word KCLTEKOIVEV to mra/cp^o, 
in ver. 1., " There is no condem 
nation, because God condemned 
sin in the flesh. 

The meaning of the clause de 
rives some additional light from 
the words that follow. In Scrip 
ture Christ is often said to be in 
all points like ourselves ; and all 
that we are, and are not, and 
might have been, is transferred 
to Him, either to be done away 
with in us, or to be imparted to 
us. Thus, in the language of 
St. Paul, He died, that we might 
be saved from death ; He became 
a curse, to free us from the curse 
of the law ; He condemned sin in 
the flesh, that to us there might 
be no condemnation. (Compare 
ver. 1. and c)ta TOV i/7roraayra, in 
ver. 20.) Also he condemned 
sin that we might condemn it too; 
or, in other words, that the righ 
teousness of the law might be 
fulfilled in us, who walk not after 
the flesh, but after the spirit 
(ver. 4.) : what is expressed in 
the words icareKptvcv Trjv ayuajor/a^ 
kv Trj (rapKi is another aspect of 
iva TO ^iK tuwjua TOV VO/JLOV 7r\r)p(i)6rj. 

kv 6/io<wjucm,] in the likeness, 
that is, the outward form or 
figure of, as in Rev. ix. 7. ffdp 
dpapTiac, flesh of sin, i. e. which 
belongs to sin, is identified with 

VER. 46.] 



that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own 
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned 

4 sin in the flesh : that the righteousness of the law might 
be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after 

5 the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind 
the things of the flesh; but they that are after the 

6 Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the 

Trtpl a/joprtac.] Better in the 
general sense of " for sin" than as 
in Heb. x. 4. "for a sin offering." 

Compare for the sense Heb. iv. 
15.: TTETretpciffpevov 

/caret TTCLVTCL 

4. Iva TO SiKoiufia rov v6p.ov.~\ 
" That the righteous require 
ment of the law may be fulfilled 
in us, who walk not after the 
flesh but after the spirit." These 
words have received three inter 
pretations. They may be supposed 
to refer : (1.) to Christ s fulfil 
ment of the law, which is trans 
ferred to us ; or, (2.) to our parti 
cipation in his fulfilment of the law 
by union with him ; or, (3.) to our 
fulfilment of the law by the holi 
ness which he imparts to us. In 
other words, they may relate : 
(1.) to an external righteousness ; 
or, (2.) to a righteousness, exter 
nal, but imparted ; or, (3.) to in 
herent righteousness. Instead of 
selecting one of these interpre 
tations, the meaning of any of 
which is defined by its antago 
nism to the other two, we must 
go back to the predoctrinal age 
of the Apostle himself, ere such 
distinctions existed. The whole 
Christian life flows with him 
from union with Christ. Whe 
ther this union is conscious or 
unconscious, whether it gives or 
merely imputes the righteousness 
of Christ, is a question which he 
does not analyse. But in think 

ing of it, he perceives a sort of 
balance and contrast between the 
humiliation of Christ and the 
exaltation of the Christian. The 
believer seems to gain what his 
master has lost. He throws on 
Christ the worse half of self, that 
the better half may be endued 
with the spirit of life. 

5. In the fifth verse the Apo 
stle expresses in the concrete 
what in the sixth he repeats in 
the abstract. 

For they that walk according 
to the flesh, have the mind and 
do the deeds of the flesh, and 
therefore cannot fulfil the law. 
Their being in the flesh is no 
mere imaginary state ; it implies 
having the wishes and desires of 
the flesh. 

6. (ppovrjfjia. Trjc ffcif)Koc.~] "Which 
some do expound the wisdom, 
some sensuality, some the affec 
tion, some the desire of the 
flesh." Art. ix. 

" The mind " in the sense of 
" will, intention," more nearly 
answers to the Greek than any 
of these. 

In this and the following 
verses the Apostle, as in vii. 8., 
returns upon the track of the 
preceding chapter. He is speak 
ing of the struggle which is now 
past, the elements of which no 
longer exist together in the same 
human soul, but are the types of 
classes of men living in two dif- 




TO oe ^po^^a TOV TrvevpaTOS a)rj KOL elptfvrj. 
SIOTI TO <f)pov7)p.a T7J$ crap/cos e^Opa ets 0eov rw yap 7 
^0/ifc) TOT) Oeov ov-fc vTTOTacrcreTaL, ovSe yap Suparai. ot 8 
Se eV (rapid oWes #e< dpecrcu ov Swcurat. v/xet9 Se 9 
ov/c ecrre eV crap/d a\\ eV TrvevpaTL, el ?rep 
Oeov oiKel ev V\LW. el Se ris rrvev^a ^picrTov OVK 
oSros OUAC ecrrt^ avTOV. et Se ^pta-ros ez^ vftt^, TO p^v 10 
cra)fjia vtKpov Sta d/x,apriaj>, TO Se irvev^ia ^COT) Sid 

el Se TO Trvevpa TOV eyeipavTOS TOV n 

AC veKpa>v olKel iv VJJAV, 6 eyetpa? 
[ 5 l7?o-075i>] e/c veKpwv ^woTroi^crei /cal Ta 

Xp. Om. i 

ferent worlds. In ver. 6. we have 
what may be termed a further 
epexegesis of ver. 5., as ver. 5. 
was of ver. 4., both being con 
nected by the favourite yop. As 
in ver. 5. he took up the words 
trap?, and Trrevpa from ver. 4., so 
here he takes up the word <f>poi>~it> 
from ver. 5. 

avaro.] Not physical, but 
spiritual death, the state of dis 
cord which he had described in 
the preceding chapter, which in 
the next verses he describes as 
enmity against God, opposed to 
the state of life and peace. 

7. For the mind of the flesh is 
that state which we have de 
scribed above of " enmity against 
God ;" for it is not subject to the 
law of God, for it cannot be : it 
involves, as we should say, a 
moral, almost a physical impossi 
bility, for it to conform to a rule. 
Compare above, vii. 18. : "For I 
know that in me (that is, in my 
flesh) dwelleth no good thing." 

8. ol $ U aapid ovreq.~\ The 
3e in this passage may be re 
garded either as a mere connect 
ing particle, or may be explained 

as arising out of the general op 
position of ffap and TTVEV^CL which 
runs through the passage. 

9. t L Trfp . . . v/ju^.^ Compare 
John, xiv. 23.: "My father 
will love him, and we will come 
unto him and make our abode 
with him." 

As in chapter vi. St. Paul 
spoke of the Christian as being 
dead with Christ, so in this he 
speaks of his living with Him. 
These are the two stages of the 
believer s being, which have many 
names and aspects : slavery, 
freedom, strife, peace ; the flesh, 
the spirit, death, resurrection, 
suffering, glory. 

The spirit is spoken of in 
Scripture indifferently as the 
Spirit of God or of Christ, Phil, 
i. 19. ; or of the Son, Gal. iv. 6.; 
sometimes under the more ge 
neral term of the Spirit of the 
Lord, as in 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. 
Here the Apostle makes a sudden 
transition from the Spirit of God 
to that of Christ, and returns 
again in the eleventh verse to 
speak of " the Spirit of Him that 
raised up Christ from the dead." 

VER. 711.] 



flesh* is death; but the mind of the Spirit* is life and 
7 peace. Because the mind of the flesh* is enmity against 

God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither in- 
s deed can be; and* they that are in the flesh cannot 
9 please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the 

Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. 

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 

10 of his. But* if Christ be in you, the body is dead be 
cause of sin ; but the Spirit is life because of righteous- 

11 ness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from 
the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus 1 

1 Om. Jesus. 

The change is not accidental ; 
it is designed to give point to the 
words OVTOQ ovic tffriv avTOv. But if 
a man have not that spirit, which 
(being the Spirit of God) is also 
that of Christ, he is not Christ s. 

10. " But if Christ be in you, 
the body is dead because of sin ; 
but the Spirit is life, because of 
righteousness." The same ques 
tion which was asked at chap. iv. 
ver. 25. again recurs, " What is 
the meaning of the antithesis ? " 
and must again receive the same 
answer, that the antithesis be 
longing rather to the form than 
to the substance of the Apostle s 
thought, must not be too closely 
pressed. There is no difficulty 
in the second member of the sen 
tence, which may be paraphrased: 
" The Spirit is life, because of 
the righteousness imputed to it 
and inherent in it, its own and 
Christ s." It is not clear, how 
ever, in what sense the body can 
be said to be dead because of sin. 
Either, it may be, (1.) dead be 
cause sin would otherwise live, of 
which the body is the seat (comp. 
ver. 13.), or (2.), dead because 
sin is its destroying power "sin 
revived and I died," as described 

in the preceding chapter; or (3.), 
dead because the sinful body has 
no element of immortality in it 
self, but will be hereafter raised, 
not of itself, but by the Spirit 
which dwells in it. According 
to either of the two last ways of 
taking the passage, the death 
of the body is not looked upon 
as a good, but as an evil, which 
is compensated for by the quick 
ening of the Spirit. For a time 
the body is dead either in a 
spiritual or a natural sense ; 
either inert and incapable of the 
service whether of God or sin, or 
devoid of the seed of a future life. 
But God will revive it whether 
to natural or spiritual life or 
both : if the Spirit which raised 
up Christ is the Spirit which also 
dwells in us. 

11. The spiritual resurrection 
suggests the thought of the ac 
tual resurrection, as in John, v. 
25. In this world the quicken 
ing Spirit and the mortal body 
exist separate from each other ; 
but hereafter the Spirit shall re 
animate the body, as it is the 
Spirit of Him who raised up 
Christ from the dead ; who will 
do as much for us as he did for 




Sia rov 1 eVoiKowros avrov Tn/evjuaros eV vplv. 
apa GUI/, d8eX<cH, 6<eiXeYai, ea//^ ov rfj crap/d rot) Kara 12 
tfiv. d yap Kara crapfca frjre, /xeXXere d?ro- is 
d Se TTvev^ari ras Trpafets TOT) craj/^aros 
fyja-eo-Qe. ocroi yap TT^ev/xart #eov ayovrai, u 
OVTOI mot etcrt^ #eov. 2 ov yap eXa/Sere irvevpa SovXeta? 15 
7rdX(,i> ets fyoftov, dXXa eXa/Sere TT^ev/^a vioOecrias, iv w 
A/3/Ba 6 

Avro TO TTvev^La crv^^apTvpd TOJ TT^eu/^ari ^/xa^, OTL IG 
TCKva deov. el 8e re/era Kal KXrjpovojJioi K\yjpo- 17 

1 rb evoiKovv . . Trj/euua. 2 etcrir ufol 0eov. 

Christ, rci $vr]Ta o-ajuara, your 
bodies that would die were it 
not for His quickening Spirit. 
Compare vi. 12. 

ca ro EVOIKOVV avrov 
has a large majority of patristic, 
as 3ta rov ivoiKovvroQ avrov 7rvf.v- 
/xaroe of MS. authority in its fa 
vour. It makes little difference 
whether we look upon the Holy 
Spirit as the cause, or as the in 
strument of the resurrection, the 
mode of which so far transcends 
human language and thought. 

12. Knowing that the body is 
dead, because of sin, and the 
Spirit is life, because of righteous 
ness, and looking forward to the 
resurrection of the dead, ought 
we to live according to the flesh? 

The tho ught is the same, though 
less strongly expressed than in 
chap. vi. 2. : " How shall we, who 
are dead to sin, live any longer 
therein ? " which is worked out 
in a similar manner in the follow 
ing verses : " That as Christ rose 
from the dead in the glory of the 
Father, so we also may walk in 
newness of life." 

13. The Apostle returns upon 
ver. 6., repeating, as his manner 

is, in the concrete what he had 
thrice said in the abstract, and 
alluding again to the actual death 
and resurrection, the thought of 
which had been introduced in 
ver. 11. : " For if ye live accord 
ing to the flesh, that is not only 
present but future death ; but if 
ye by the Spirit put to death the 
deeds of the body, ye shall live." 

Comp. Gal. v. 24., "And they 
that are Christ s have crucified 
the flesh with the affections and 
lusts ; " and Col. iii. 5., " Mor 
tify, therefore, your members 
which are upon the earth." 

14. The Apostle proceeds to 
describe the relation of the re 
generate to God by a yet nearer 
figure ; they are the sons of God 
as Christ is, they are the mem 
bers of his family, they feel to 
wards him as a Father, they are 
the heirs of His glory. In their 
love to him, and in his to them, 
in the forgiveness of their offen 
ces, in the rest of their eternal 
home, they are conscious that 
they are his children 

yap expresses the ground of 
//<7f<r0f: "You shall live, for 
you are the sons of God, for the 



from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by 

12 his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we 

is are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For 

if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through 

the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall 

H live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they 

is are the sons of God. For ye have not received the 

spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received 

the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 

is The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that 

17 we are the children of God : and if children, then heirs; 

Spirit which you have received 
is the Spirit of adoption." 

This new relation between God 
and man is introduced by the 
Gospel. It is not literally true 
that, in the Old Testament, the 
children of Israel are not spoken 
of as the sons of God, but only 
as his subjects and servants ; but 
it is true that in their essential 
character the law ^nd the Gospel 
are thus opposed, as the spirit of 
bondage again to fear, and the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby we 
acknowledge God as a father. 

15. The Apostle brings home 
to the Roman converts the na 
ture of the Gospel by an appeal 
to their own experience. For a 
similar appeal, compare Gal. iii. 
2.: * fjoywy vofJLOv TO Tivtvpa c Xa- 
(3eT T] c ctKofjf; TriffrewQ. The 
repetition of eXafiere is empha 
tic, as in Heb. xii. 8. ; Eph. 
ii. 17. 19. Compare, again, for 
this and the following verse,Gal. 
iv. 6, 7. OTI i)e EffTe vio/j ta- 
TTf 0reiXej> 6 SeoQ TO irvevfjia. TOV vlov 
avTovelg TctQ Kap^tag fyuaiv, Kpaot> 

9 A/3f3d 6 TrttTrjp. &ffT OVKtTl 1 COV- 

Xoe, aXXa vice * ei <5e vtoe, Kal K\YJ- 
povopoQ Sia Seov. The two words 
mean the same. A/3/3d is the 
vocative. The origin of the 

common formula in which they 
were both retained is uncer 

16. AVTO TO TTvevpa, the Spirit 
itself. ;] The Spirit has been 
spoken of already as the Spirit of 
adoption (v. 15.), as the Spirit 
of God, in v. 9., also as the Spirit 
of Christ, and, v. 11., the Spirit 
of them that raised up Christ 
from the dead. It now becomes 
more abstract and personal ; 
comp. 1 Cor. ii. 11. ; 2 Cor. iii. 
17. We may conceive of two 
Spirits, the dwelling-place of 
both being the human soul : the 
first a higher, which is the Spirit 
of God, and a lower, which is 
our own ; the one bears witness 
with the other that we are the 
children of God. For o-v/^ap- 
Tvpel comp. 1 John, v. 10., "He 
that believeth in the Son of 
God hath the witness in himself;" 
and below, ver. 26. ; also, ix. 1., 
" My conscience also bearing me 
witness in the Holy Spirit.** 
The Spirit is essentially the com 
munion of the spirit and the 
conscious witness of itself. 

17. The Apostle follows the 
train of thought suggested by 
the human figure, which he has 
just employed : "If we be the 



[Cn. VIII. 

060V, CrVyK\7)pOv6p.OL e -^LCTTOV, ti 7Tp 

, tVa /cat crwSofacr#a>/x,ei>. Xoyioj/,ai yap is 
ort OUK: afia ra TraOrjfJiaTa TOV vvv Kaipov Trpos TT)I> 

Sdfa^ aVo/caXv^^ai els 17/^9. 17 yap dVo- 19 
rrjs /m crea>9 TT)^ aVo/caXvi/w TWV vi&v row 

rij ya/> /mraioT^Ti 17 KTICTIS virerdyrj, 20 

sons of God, we are his heirs, 
and partakers of the inheritance 
of Christ, as in His sufferings so 
also in His glory." Comp. John, 
xvii. 22., Rev. iii. 21. ; also, Col. 
iii. 4, 5., 2 Tim. ii. 12., 1 Peter, 
iv. 13. 

The new thought is carried on 
to a climax, and then surrounded 
with the imagery in which the 
Apostle habitually describes the 
relation of the believer to Christ. 

18. \oyio[jia.iyap,forlreckon. ] 
Expressive, not of doubt, but of 
reflection : " For when I speak 
of our present sufferings and our 
future glory, I consider that 
there is no comparison between 

In Scripture, the glory of the 
saints is sometimes spoken of as 
future, sometimes as present ; 
sometimes as at a distance, at 
other times upon the earth; some 
times as an external state or con 
dition ; at other times as an 
inward and spiritual change, to 
be revealed in them as they are 
transformed from glory to glory. 
In the writings of St. Paul it .is 
the spiritual sense of a future life 
which chiefly prevails, as in this 
passage. He does not paint 
scenes of the world to come : he 
is lost in it ; "whether in the 
body or out of the body he can 
not tell." 

19. a7ro/ca|Oao/aa,]Phil. i. 20. ; 

, Etym. Mag. : " For this re 
velation of the sons of God is 
what shall be, and what the in 

tense desire of the creature wait 
ing for it intimates." 

As we turn from ourselves to 
the world around us, the pro 
spect on which we cast our eyes 
seems to reflect the tone and colour 
of our own minds, and to share 
our joy and sorrow. To the re 
ligious mind it seems also to re 
flect our sins. We cannot, indeed, 
speak of the misery of the brute 
creation, of whose constitution 
we know so little ; nor do we 
pretend to discover in the love 
liest spots of earth, indications of 
a fallen world. But when we 
look at the vices and diseases of 
mankind, at their life of labour 
in which the animals are our 
partners, at the aspect in mo 
dern times of our large towns, as 
in ancient of a world given to 
idolatry, we see enough to give 
a meaning to the words of the 
Apostle. The evil in the world 
bears witness with the evil and 
sorrow in our own hearts. And 
the hope of another life springs 
up unbidden in our thoughts, for 
the sake of ourselves and of our 
fellow creatures. 

The exact meaning of the 
word Kriffic, in ver. 19. 22., has 
been a subject of great difference 
of opinion among commentators. 
Some have referred it, (1.) to 
the inanimate, others (2.) to the 
brute creation ; while others have 
thought they saw in it (3.) the 
Gentile as opposed to the Jewish 
world. The first two of these 
three interpretations have little 



heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; since* we 

suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together, 
s For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time 

are not worthy to be compared with the glory which 
9 shall be revealed unto* us. For the earnest expectation 

of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons 
:o of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, 

except, perhaps, poetical figures 
to support them, common to all 
nations ; while the last of them 
seems narrow as well as inap 
propriate to the present passage, 
in which the acceptance of the 
Gen tiles having been the subject 
of the whole Epistle, could not 
be spoken of as a distant aspira 
tion, but as an actual and present 
fact. Considering the various 
uses which we have already ob 
served of the words, rop.oc, TTVZV- 
pa, &c., in successive verses, there 
would be nothing extravagant in 
supposing that the word Krlatg, 
which occurs four times, was not 
to be taken in each of the four 
verses in which it is used, in pre 
cisely the same sense. It may 
refer to the creature considered 
from within, in which sense it is 
a personified ffapZ, which is the 
best explanation of it in ver. 19.; 
or to the creature considered 
from without, as the figure of a 
former dispensation, which is the 
sense to which it inclines in ver. 
20, 21. ; or to the creation col 
lectively, of which man is, never 
theless, the principal part, as in 
ver. 22. That even this last is 
not to be pressed too strictly, we 
shall see in considering ver. 23., 
the form of which seems to ex 
clude the believer from the circle 
of creation. 

20. /ucn-aiorrjn, vanity, nothing 
ness, what is afterwards termed 

aQ. The connexion 
of this verse with the preceding 
is as follows : " The creature 
desires redemption ; for though it 
is subject to vanity, it was not 
of its own will that it became 

It never fell, we may para 
phrase, to the level of the brutes, 
but had always a wish for bet 
ter things, a monitor which wit 
nessed of its better state. 

a\\u dm TOV v7roruujTa, but by 
reason of him who hath subjected. ] 
These words can scarcely be sup 
posed to refer to Adam, who, "as 
in him all died," might indeed 
indirectly be considered as the 
cause of salvation. But the 
meaning of the word viroraaaeiv is 
ill-suited to express this indirect 
effect ; nor is it likely that 6 I/TTO- 
7-aae, used thus generally, could 
refer to any but God or Christ. 

It is not quite clear, however, 
whether it is to God or Christ 
the words are to be referred. 
The Apostle is speaking here, as 
elsewhere, of the double cha 
racter of the scheme of Provi 
dence, consisting, as it did, of two 
parts, one of which had a refer 
ence to the other. As afterwards 
he says (xi. 32.) " God con 
cluded all under sin that he miglit 
have mercy upon all ; " so here 
The creature was made subject 
to evil against its will, and with 
the hope of restoration, because 

s 2 



[Cn. VIII. 

tKOVcra aXXa Sia TOP vTroTa^avra CTT eXTTiSi, on KOL 2 * 
vTJ) rj KTiVis l\ev6epo)OTJo-Tai CLTTO rr?s SouXeia? rrjs 
$0opas ets rrjv i\tv6epiav TT}S Sdfyys rwv tixvuv rov 
6eov. oiSa/ie^ yap Sri Tracra 07 KTICTIS crvo-rem^ei Kal 22 
roO PW ov povov Se, dXXa /cat avrot 23 


* Kal avroi 

eavTois (TTevaipuzv viouecriava7rK.o)(oi^tvui, TrjvaTroXvTpa)- 
ariv TOV crc^naTOs rjjjitov. Trj yap eXTTiSi ecrw^/^ei eXTris Se 24 

1 al TjjLieTs ai)rof. 

to Himself:" as the Creator con 
sidered as the Author and Ap- 
pointer of all His creatures ; as 
the Redeemer, the final cause and 
end of their sinful state. In de 
fence of this twofold meaning of 
vVoraae, compare the transition 
from God to Christ in ver.9. 11.; 
also Col. i. 15. 

eV \7rt^t] refers partly to what 
precedes and also to what follows. 

21. on,] either "because" or 
"in hope that." If the latter 
sense is adopted, the meaning will 
be either "It was subjected be 
cause of him that subjected it in 
hope that;" or "it was subjected 
in hope that." It is, however, 
more in accordance with the 
idiom of the Apostle to put a stop 
after eV e\7ri^i (which may be 
connected either with vTreray?? or 
with i/7roraavra), and to regard 
the clause dependent on on as a 
further explanation from the ob 
jective side of what t XTrtc ex 
presses subjectively. 

els ri]v IXevO. is put in what is 
termed a pregnant construction 
after IXevdepwQrj fferat : ri}Q o?/e 
parallel with TTJQ <f>6opa. Com 
pare Gal. iv. 26. : " But the 
Jerusalem that is above is free." 

The creation is to those who 
have the first fruits of the Spirit, 
as the body to the soul. As the 
first shall partake of the glorious 

of him who subjected the same; 
or the creature was made subject 
because of him who subjected the 
same, in hope that, etc. Connect 
ing err iXiriSi with the following 
clause, " the creature," we might 
paraphrase, " had no love for this 
helpless state. He was subjected 
to it because of him that sub 
jected him, in the hope that 
grace might yet more abound." 
But who is "he who subjected ?" 
First, Christ, on account of whose 
special work the creature was 
made subject to vanity. (The pre 
position ^m has no proper mean 
ing, if the word v^ora^ac is re 
ferred exclusively to God.) He 
subjected the creature as he con 
demned sin in the flesh in his own 
person, by subjecting Himself. 
And yet though the work of re 
demption be attributed to Him, it 
seems inappropriate to regard 
Him also as the author of the 
fallen condition of man. There 
is the same impropriety in such a 
mode of expression as there 
would be in saying " Christ con 
cluded all under sin that he might 
have mercy upon all." In the 
language of St. Paul, he is the 
instrument of our redemption, 
not its first author. More truly, 
in the word virora^avra God 
and Christ seem to meet. "God 
in Christ reconciling the world 



not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected 

21 the same in hope, because* the creature itself also shall 
be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the 

22 liberty of the * glory of the children of God. For we 
know that the whole creation groan eth and travaileth in 

2 3 pain together until now. And not only they, but our 
selves also which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even 
we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for theadop- 

24 tion, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are 
saved by hope : but hope that is seen is not hope : for 

liberty of the sons of God, so also 
the body shall be redeemed in 
the sons of God themselves. For 
their sonship is not yet attained ; 
like the rest of creation, they are 
waiting for it. 

22. For we know how great is 
the contrast of its present state 
which yet continues. &\P L T0 ^ 
vi> v contains an allusion to the 
speedy termination of this state. 

23. rr\v cnrapy^v TOV Trvevfjia.- 
TOQ iyovTc.~\ These words may 
bear four different meanings : 
either, (1.) we who have the gift 
of the Spirit ; or, (2.) who have 
the first fruits of the Spirit, as 
being first called ; or, (3.) who 
have the first fruits, in the sense 
of the choicest gifts of the Spirit; 
or, (4.) who have the earnest or 
anticipation of the Spirit. The 
last explanation is the best, the 
very idea of first fruits implying 
an earnest : " Even we who 
have here on earth the begin 
nings of that Spirit, with which 
we shall have a fuller commu 
nion in glory." Comp. ctjopa^wj/ 
TOV TrvzvfjLaTOc, 1 Cor. i. 22. ; ap- 
pa&wv rijg K\r)povop,tag, Eph. i. 14. 

For the thought compare the 
passages in which St. Paul speaks 
of the contradiction of the Chris 

tian life, 2 Cor. v. 4. : For 
we that are in this tabernacle 
do groan, being burdened : not 
that we would be unclothed, 
but clothed upon, that mortality 
might be swallowed up of life." 


ive ourselves. ] We believers ; the 
repetition of avrol ... 7/jueTe avrol is 
not intended to confine the words 
to the Apostles, but to emphasize 
the consciousness of this sadness 
in the believer s soul. It will be 
said, if all creation is compre 
hended in the previous verse, how 
can the believer be excluded ? 
Must we not confine the meaning 
of Trdffa // KriffiQ to the world in 
opposition to the elect ? We 
have seen before, in Gal. vi. 16. 
and Rom. iv. 12., that it is not 
necessary to regard the rules of 
logic to the injury of the sense. 
In this passage the Apostle first 
thought of the whole world in a 
general manner, and then singled 
out a particular class, which to 
the spiritual eye " was not in the 
world," without remembering that 
he had previously included it. 

aTToXirpwo-ic, K. r. X.,] not "re- 
demptiori from the body " (which 
is not to the Apostle s present 
purpose (v. 21.), and is also in- 

s 3 




/3Xe7roju,eV>7 OVK ecrrtJ> eXTTtV o yap /3XeVet Tts, Tt 1 eX7rt et ; el 25 
Se o ov /3XeVoju,ej> e 5 Xmo//,ej>, St VTTOIAOVYJS aTTeK^xo^Oa. 

Se /cat TO Tr^eu/ia crwa^TtXaju/Jaz eTat T# 26 
v. 2 TO yap Tt Trpocrtv^tofJieda KaOo Set ou/c 
dXX auro TO Trvevpa vrrepwrvyyavu 3 <rTej>ay/x,ots 
6 Se ipevvvv Tag /capStas otSez/ Tt TO ^povrn^a 97 

, 6Vt /caTa #eoz> eVTuy^dVet vTrep ayicov. 
Se oTt Totg ayaTTOMTLV rov 6ebv Travra (rvvepyti 23 
eos ets TO ayadov, Tot? /caTa TrpoOecnv /cX^Tots ovcrtz^. 
6Vt ou? TT^oey^a), /cat TTpowpLcrev orv^op^ov^ TT}S et/coVos 29 



consistent with, the active mean 
ing of the word a7roXurpw<rtc), but 
" redemption of the body." 

24. For what we are saved by 
is hope, which is not yet swal 
lowed up in sight ; and (le) there 
would be no meaning in it, if it 
were, yap implies that our sal 
vation is not inconsistent with 
this sorrowing expectation. 

25. The very mode of our re 
demption implies patient expec 
tation. a.TTK()e-%6iJLda alludes to 
aTTEK&EyoiJiEVQi) in ver. 23. 

2330. The connexion of 
these verses may be traced as 
follows : 

(1.) We walk feebly by hope 
and not by sight, waiting for the 
redemption of the body. 23 25. 

(2.) But this feebleness the Spi 
rit helps, and ever makes earnest 
intercession for us. 26, 27. 

(3.) And there is another side 
to this view of creation groaning 
together ; viz. that in all things 
God is working together for good 
to them that love Him ; there are 
many steps in the ladder of God s 
Providence foreknowledge, pre 
destination, vocation, justifica 
tion, glory. 

The use of the particle li five 
times in as many verses, is almost 

8 far. uTrep ^/j.wy. 


as difficult to analyse as in other 
places the still more favourite -yap. 
In ver. 24, 25. the repetition of 
Sfi is slightly adversative. "But 
we must not suppose that hope is 
sight." "But we must not expect 
immediate fruition of what we 
hope for." In ver. 26, 27, 28. the 
Be, which is three times repeated, 
is also adversative. In all three 
cases St is best taken coordinately ; 
they express the other side of the 
Apostle s argument which is also 
the confirmation of what has pre 

26. l<7avrwe, likewise. ] That 
is, the movement of the Spirit of 
God corresponds and coincides 
with this patient expectation in 
ourselves [comp. above ver. 16. : 
the Spirit beareth witness with 
our Spirit]. " We are saved by 
hope, not by sight, and with this 
our imperfect condition it agrees 
well that we have the Spirit for 
our help." For in our very 
prayers we know not what to 
ask as we ought ; but when 
language fails, the Spirit utters 
for us a cry inexpressible : comp. 
Eph. vi. *18., " Praying always 
with all prayer and supplication 
in the Spirit ;" and 1 Cor. ii. 11. 
quoted above. 

VER. 2529.] 



25 what a man seeth, why doth he 1 hope for? But if we 
hope for that we see not, we with patience wait for it. 

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity 2 : 
for we know not what we should pray for as we 
ought : but the Spirit itself maketh intercession 3 with 

27 groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that 
searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the 
Spirit, that* it* maketh intercession for the saints 

23 according to the will of God. And we know that 4 in all 
things God works together for good to them that love 
God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be 

1 Add yet. 2 Infirmities. 3 Add for us. 4 All things work together. 

Kara SeoV] = according to the 
will of God. Comp. Kara TrovQemv, 
ver. 28., and iXvTrijOrjTE fcara SEOJ , 
2 Cor. vii. 9. 28. 

28. Not only have we hope, 
and patience, and the gift of the 
Spirit ; but we know that in all 
things God works together for 
good with them that love Him ; 
or, according to the reading of 
the Textus Receptus (the au 
thority for which is nearly evenly 
balanced), " but we know that 
all things work together for good 
to them that love God ; " who 
moreover are chosen according 
to His purpose. In these latter 
words the Apostle indicates a 
further ground of hope and com 

29. on OVG TTQoiyvb) KOI Trpow- 
PKTEV, whom he did foreknow.^ 
This verse is a further explana 
tion of the previous words ro7c 
KUTCL TrpoQeaiv K\r)ToT.Q ovair. 
About the meaning of Trpolyvw, 
which from its use in this pas 
sage has become a sort of key 
note in theology, commentators 
are disagreed. Three principal 

. ] Comp. 2 Cor. xii. 
5. : " For myself I will not glory 
except in mine infirmities." 

TO yap. The article includes 
under it the words that follow 
(ri . . . 2e7), which maybe regarded 
as its substantive. 

virtptVTvyya.vf.1, makes request.~] 
In this passage only used for 
IvTwyxavei, see ver. 27. and xi. 2. 

aXaXj/roig, unutterable.^ Comp. 
1 Peter, i. 8., dve/cXaX^roe ; 2 
Cor. xi. 15., arK^u ]yr]Tog. 

It sounds strangely to us at 
first, that the Spirit should be 
spoken of as "uttering cries." 
But the Spirit of God bearing 
witness with our spirits takes 
part in all our acts. It is we 
who cry aloud for help to God, 
and God knows this is the cry of 
those who are moved by his 

27. Comp. 1 John, iii. 21. : 
" Beloved, if our heart condemn 
us, God is greater than our heart 
and knoweth all things." 

on, K. r. X.] not because, but 
" that ; " the clause following ex- 
plains ri TO 




rov vlov avroG, eis TO iv<u avrov irpwTOTOKOv eV TroXXois 
dSeX<ois ous 8e 7rpoa>picrev, TOVTOVS KOI eWXeo ei Kal so 
ovs KaXecrez>, TOVTOUS KCU eSifcaicocrez> . ovs Se eSi/ccuaJcrez , 
TOVTOVS fcal e5dfacrez>. 

Tt o?^ ipov^v 7T/)os ravra ; ei 6 #eos v?rep ^//-wr, 31 
TIS Ka# yptov ; os ye rot) tStov wou ou/c ec^eicraro, 52 
a-XXa uTre/o rftjitov Travrw TraptSajKev OLVTOV, TTWS ov^i Kat 

significations have been assigned 
to it : (1.) Whom he fore-de 
termined ; or (2.) whom he fore- 
approved ; or, (3.), whom he 
fore-knew, he fore-determined. 
As the first explanation may be 
used to support predestination 
irrespective and absolute, so the 
third may be appealed to in sup 
port of that view of predestina 
tion which makes it conditional 
and dependent on fore-know 
ledge. Accordingly, the Cal- 
vinistic and Arminian commen 
tators have respectively supported 
these two lines of interpretation. 
The use of the word Trpotyrw is 
sufficiently uncertain to afford 
some ground on which to main 
tain either. 

In most passages of the New 
Testament where TrpoyivwcKetv 
and cognate words occur, as Rom. 
xi. 2., 1 Pet. i. 2., i. 20., Acts, 
ii. 23., the meaning of "prede 
termined, fore-appointed," is the 
more natural. "God hath not 
cast off his people whom he fore- 
appointed " (ovg TTjOoe y via). " By 
the determinate counsel and 
fore-appointment of God" (rrj 
&pi<T[jiei>ri /3ouXrj rat Trpoyvojcrei). 
Yet, on the other hand, Acts, xxvi. 
5., 2 Pet. iii. 17., admit only of 
the meaning of "know before 
hand," but not in reference to the 
Divine or prophetic fore-know 
ledge, and have, therefore, no 
bearing on the present passage. 

The idea of fore-knowledge,it may 
be observed, as distinct from pre 
destination, is scarcely discernible 
in Scripture, unless, perhaps, a 
trace of it be found in Acts, xv. 
18. : ," Known unto God are all 
his works from the beginning." 
The Israelite believed that all 
things were according to the 
counsel and appointment of God. 
Whether this was dependent on 
his previous knowledge of the 
intentions of man, was a question 
which, in that stage of human 
thought, would hardly have oc 
curred to him. The theories of 
predestination, which have been 
built upon the words in the La 
tin or English version of them, 
" whom he did fore-know, them 
he did predestinate," are an after 
thought of later criticism. 

We are thus led to consider 
the interpretation of fore-ap 
pointed, fore-acknowledged, as 
the true one. We might still 
translate fore-knoweth in the 
sense in which God is said to 
" know " them that are His. There 
might be a degree of difference in 
meaning between Trpoeyrw, "fore 
knew," as the internal purpose of 
God, if such a figure of speech 
may be allowed, and "predes 
tined," as the solemn external 
act by which He, as it were, set 
apart His chosen ones. Such a 
distinction would be in keeping 
with the gradation of the words 



conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the 
so firstborn among many brethren. 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. 

31 What shall we then say to these things ? If God 

32 be for us, who can be against us ? He that spared 
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, 

that follow ; it might also be 
gained in another way, by taking 
TTjOowjOiorev closely with crv/ijuo p^ove: 
either " whom he fore-determined 
them he fore-appointed ;" or 
"whom he fore-determined he 
fore-determined to be like his 
Son." TOVTO <) tTT~irpTa(f)Opag ianv 
liireiv avftpuirivaQ. The Apostle 
is overflowing with the sense of 
the work of God: what he chiefly 
means to say is, that all its acts 
and stages are His, now and here 
after, on earth and in heaven. 

ELQ ro flvcu,] the end being 
that Christ should not be the only- 
begotten Son of God, but the 
first-begotten among many. 

TrpwTOTOKov."] As in Col. i. 15. 
Christ is called the firstborn of 
every creature, a figure which 
in Col. i. 18. is also applied to 
his resurrection TrpwroroKog EK 

30. To predestine refers to the 
act, on God s part, external to 
man, as to call to the act in man 
by which the Divine presence is 
first signified to him. To justify 
is the completion of the work 
of God upon earth, when the 
spirit of man no longer strives 
with him, as to glorify is its final 
fulfilment arid accomplishment in 
the kingdom of heaven. 

31 39. All creation is groan 
ing together ; but the Spirit 

helps us, and God has chosen us 
according to His purpose, and in 
all things God is working with 
us for good. The Lord is on our 
side ; and as He has given us 
His Son, will give us all else as 
well. Is it God that justifies 
who will accuse ? Is it Christ 
who intercedes that will condemn ? 
On the one side are ranged perse 
cution, and famine, and sword, and 
nakedness ; on the other, the love 
of Christ, from which nothing 
in heaven or earth, or the changes 
of life or death, can us part. 

Compare Is. 1. 8, 9., the thought 
of which words seems to be 
passing before the Apostle s 
mind : OTI iyyi^Ei 6 ^iKatuxrac HE 
rig o KpivofjiEvog /J.OL ; avnorr/rw 

fj.01 ajUCf KCLl TIQ O KpU OpEVOg JUOt / 

Eyyiffaru) /zof lov Kvpiog 

JJ.OI Tig KCLKit)(JL JJ.E ; K* T. X. 

og yerov 23/ov vtov OUK 
Itiiov is used as a term of endear 
ment ; as in John, iii. 16., it is said 
. " God so loved the world that 
he gave his only-begotten Son." 

In ver. 33 35. the chief doubt 
relates to the punctuation. The 
rhythm of the passage may be 
brought out by either of the two 
following arrangements : 

(1.) 31. El 6 $O VTTEp fjflaJV 

rig Ka0 f]jj,u>i ; 

32. og ye TOV ifilov vlov OVK 
K. r. X. vrwc ov%l KCU 



[Cii. VIII. 


rot TrdvTa 

papier erai ; ri9 ey/caXe cret, Kara 33 

0OV ; 0O9 6 8iKaLa)V ; T19 O KCLTaKpLVtoV 1 ; 34 

[ 1770-01)9] 6 aTTo6ava>v, paXXov Se 2 eye/)#ei9, 09 
[^Acal] eo-ru> iv Sefta rov ^cov, 09 Kal evrvyyavti VTrep 

^Xti//t9 T^ o~TVo^ojpl>a rj Si(yy/jCO9 T^ Xiju,o9 T^ yvjJLVOTrjs 

77 p^d^aipa ; KaOcos yeypaTrraL ort evtKtv crov 36 
a 0X771^ TT)^ 77/xepa^, eXoyto-^/xez/ a>9 TrpdySara 
clXX a TOVT019 iracriv vTTtpviKu>iL*v Sta TOT) 37 
TrtTreiO p.aL yap ort ovre Odvaros 33 
oure ^0)77, ovre ayyeXoi ovre cl^ai 3 , ovre e^ecrrwra ovre 

, oure Sv^ct/^et9 oure vi//aj/>ia oure /3d0os ovre ri9 39 
erepa Sv^crerat 77^0,9 ytopicroLi CCTTO T779 
TOU ^eov 77^9 ei^ ^pto-raj 9 l7jo~ov TO* Kvpicp rj^ 

3 o^re 


ra Travra 


34. r/c o 
6 a7ro0aj wv K. r. X. = 


arro TTJQ 
$\~i\^tg r) 


uyaTrr/c ro 
orej o^wp/a, c. r. X. 

(2.) Differs in the arrange 
ment of verses 33, 34. by making 
the latter clauses questions : 

Who shall lay anything to the 
charge of God s elect? 

Is it God that justifies? 

Who is he that will condemn ? 

Is it Christ who died and in 
tercedes for us? 

The last mode which agrees 
with the text of Lachmann is 
adopted in the following remarks 
as the more pointed and forcible. 

33. Who shall lay anything to 
the charge of God s elect? Is 
God who justifies, their accuser? 
Does he justify and accuse at 

once ? It were a contradiction 
to suppose this. 

34. Who is he that condemn- 
eth? Is the condemner Christ 
who ever lives to intercede for 
us ? Comp. Heb. vii. 25., " Who 
ever liveth to make intercession 
for us;" and 1 John, ii. 1., "We 
have an advocate with the Fa 

6 aTTodavuv, who died, or more 
truly rose again, of whom we 
now speak rather as of one passed 
into the heavens. The words 
paXXov $c, or judAXoy e KCU, fur 
ther intimate the inconsistency 
of Christ condemning us, not 
only because he died for us, but 
also, which is an additional rea 
son, because he rose again " for 
our justification," iv. 25. ; and 
what is a yet further reason, 
because he is oar advocate. 

35. T IQ better than r/, as a con 
tinuation of the questions : Who 
shall separate us from the love of 
Christ ? Who shall make us give 



how shall he not with him also freely give us all 

33 things ? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God s 

34 elect? Shall* God that justifieth? Who is he that 
will condemn? 1 Will Christ that died, 2 rather, that 
is risen again, who is also at the right hand of God, who 

35 also maketh intercession for us ? Who shall separate 
us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, 
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or 

36 sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed 
all the day long: we are accounted as sheep for the 

37 slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than 
ss conquerors through him that loved us. For I am per 
suaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, 

39 nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other crea 
ture, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

1 That condemneth. 

up Christ, or Christ give up us ? 
Not afflictions of any sort. In 
verses 34. and 39. Christ s love 
to us, rather than ours to Him, 
seems spoken of; in ver. 35. ours 
towards Him. Yet there is no 
occasion, in either place, to sepa 
rate one from the other. We 
love Him as we are loved of 
Him : we know Him as we are 
known of Him. 

36. The quotation is taken lite 
rally from the LXX. Ps. xli v.22. 

37. aXX kv TOVTOIQ Trdfft.] We 
conquer far through his love to 

38. For I am persuaded that 
neither life, nor death, nor evil 
angels, nor principalities, nor 
things present nor future, nor 
powers, nor the height of heaven, 
nor depths of hell, nor any other 
created thing, can separate us 
from the love of Christ. 

2 Add yea. 

To ask the exact meaning of 
each of these words, would be 
like asking the precise meaning 
of single expressions in the line 
of Milton : 

" Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, 

The leading thought in the 
Apostle s mind is that "nothing 
ever at any time or place can 
separate us from the love of 
Christ." Of the signification of 
the particular words we can only 
form a notion, by attempting to 
conceive the invisible world, as 
it revealed itself by the eye of 
faith to the Apostle s mind, as 
inward, and yet outward ; as pre 
sent, and yet future ; as earthly, 
and yet heavenly. Compare 1 
Peter, iii. 22.: OQ kanv iv Seia 
TOV 0oi), Tropevdelg eiQ ovpat ov VTTO- 
avru) ayylXwv Kill i,o\)- 



THE chapters that have preceded have been connected with each 
other by a sort of network, some of the threads of which have never 
ceased or been intermitted. At this point we come to a break in the 
Epistle. What follows has no connexion with what immediately 
precedes. The sublime emotion with which chapter viii. concludes 
is in another strain from that with which chapter ix. opens. We 
might almost imagine that the Apostle had here made a pause, and 
only after a while resumed his work of dictating to " Tertius who 
wrote this Epistle." It is on a more extended survey of the whole 
that order begins to reappear, and we see that the subject now intro 
duced, which was faintly anticipated at the commencement of the 
third chapter, has also an almost necessary place in the Apostle s 

The three chapters IX. XL have been regarded by an eminent 
critic as containing the true germ and first thought of the Epistle. 
Such a view may be supported by various arguments. It may be 
said that a letter must arise out of circumstances, and that this por 
tion of the Epistle only has an appropriate subject ; that we can 
imagine the Apostle, though unknown by face to the Church which 
was at Rome, writing to Jewish Christians on a topic in which they, 
as well as he, were so deeply interested as the restoration of their 
countrymen ; but that we cannot imagine him sitting down to com 
pose a treatise on justification by faith ; that to explain the deal 
ings of God with his people, it was necessary for him to go back to 
the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, and that this mode of 
overlaying and transposing what to us would seem the natural order 


of thought is quite in accordance with his usual manner. (Com 
pare, e. g. the structure of I Cor. x.) It may be urged, that in seve 
ral passages,, as, for example, at the commencement of the third and 
fourth chapters, he has already hinted at the maintenance of the 
privileges of the Jews. All such arguments, ably as they have been 
stated by Baur, yet fail to convince us that what is apparently pro 
minent and on the surface, and also occupies the greater part of the 
Epistle, is really subordinate, and that what is apparently subordi 
nate and supplementary, held the first place in the Apostle s thoughts. 
See Introduction. 

The theory of Baur is, however, so far true, as it tends to bring into 
prominence, as a main subject of the Epistle, the admission of the 
Gentiles. To the Apostle himself and his contemporaries, this was 
half, or more than half, the whole truth, not less striking or absorb 
ing than the other half, of " righteousness by faith only." It is with 
this aspect of the doctrine of St. Paul that the portion of the Epistle 
on which we are now entering is to be connected. " Is he the God 
of the Jews only ? is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the Gen 
tiles also." But granting this, innumerable difficulties and perplexi 
ties arose in the mind of the Israelites or of the reader of the Old 
Testament. What is the meaning of a chosen people ? What advan 
tage hath the Jew ? and above all, what is to be his final end ? When 
the circle of God s mercy is extended to the whole world, is he to be 
the only exception ? Thrice the Apostle essays to answer this ques 
tion ; thrice he turns aside, rather to justify God s present dealings in 
casting away His chosen, than to hold out the hope with which he 
concludes, that all Israel shall be saved. 

We have seen elsewhere (chap. iii. 1 8., v. 12 21.,vii.7 11.) that 
in many passages the Apostle wavers between the opposite sides of a 
question, before he arrives at a final and permanent conclusion. The 
argument in such passages may be described as a sort of struggle in his 
own thoughts, an alternation of natural feelings, a momentary conflict 
of emotions. The stream of discourse flows onward in two channels, 
occasionally mingling or con tending with each other, which meet at the 


last. There are particular instances of this peculiarity of style in the 
chapters which follow, ix. 19., x. 14. But the most striking illustration 
of it is the general character of the whole three chapters, in which 
the Apostle himself seems for a time in doubt between contending 
feelings, in which he first prays for the restoration of Israel, and then 
reasons for their rejection, and then finally shows that in a more 
extended view of the purposes of God their salvation is included. He 
hears the echo of many voices in the Old Testament, by which the 
Spirit spoke to the Fathers, and in all of them there is a kind of unity, 
though but half expressed, which is not less the unity of his own 
inmost feelings towards his kinsmen according to the flesh. He is 
like one of the old prophets himself, abating nothing of the rebel 
lions of the house of Israel, yet still unable to forget that they are 
the people of God. As an Israelite and a believer in Christ, he is full 
of sorrow first, of consolation afterwards ; two opposite feelings 
struggle together in his mind, both finally giving way to a clearer 
insight into the purposes of God towards the chosen nation. 

When the first burst of his emotion has subsided, he proceeds to 
show that the rejection of Israel was not total, but partial, and that 
this partial rejection is in accordance with the analogy of God s deal 
ings with their fathers. The circle of God s mercy to them had ever 
been narrowing. First, the seed of Abraham was chosen ; then Isaac 
only ; then Jacob before Esau, and this last quite irrespective of any 
good or evil that either of them had done. There was a preference 
in each case of the spiritual over the fleshly heir. Shall we say that 
here is any ground for imputing unrighteousness to God ? He Him 
self had proclaimed this as His mode of dealing with mankind. The 
words of the law are an end of controversy. He does it, therefore it 
is just ; he tells it us, therefore it is true. Who are we that we should 
call in question His justice, or challenge His ways ? The clay might 
as well reason with the potter, as man argue against God. And, after 
all, this election of some to wrath, others to mercy, is but justice in 
mercy delayed, or an alternation of mercy and justice. The rejection 
of the Jews is the admission of the Gentiles. And to this truth the 


prophets themselves bear witness. They speak of " a remnant," of 
"another people," of "a cutting short upon the earth," of "a rock 
of offence." The work that God has done is nothing unjust or unex 
pected, but a work of justice and mercy upon the house of Israel, 
of which their own prophets witness ; of which they are themselves 
the authors, as they sought to establish their own righteousness, 
and rejected the righteousness that is of faith. 

But the subject of God s dealings with the Jews is not yet finished ; 
it is, indeed, scarcely begun. The first verses of the ninth chapter 
gave an intimation that this would not be the final course of the Apo 
stle s thought. Israel had sought to establish their own righteousness, 
and rejected the righteousness that was of faith. But this very rejec 
tion, which was their condemnation, was not without excuse, in that 
it arose from a mistaken zeal for God. That mistake consisted in 
their not perceiving the difference between the righteousness of 
the law and the righteousness of faith ; the one a strait and un 
bending rule ; the other, " very nigh, even in thy mouth and thy 
heart," and extending to all mankind, " But," we expect the Apo 
stle to say at the end of the contrast, " notwithstanding this, Israel 
may yet be saved." The time for this is not yet come. In what 
follows, to the end of the chapter, he digresses more and more ; first, 
as at ver. 14 19. of the previous one, to state the objections of the 
Jew ; secondly, to show that those objections are of no weight, and 
are disproved by the words of their own prophets. 

Nowhere does the logical control over language, that is, the power 
of aptly disposing sentences so as to exhibit them in their precise rela 
tion to each other, so fail the Apostle as at the conclusion of the tenth 
chapter. We see his meaning, but his emotions prevent him from 
expressing it. At the commencement of the eleventh chapter, finding 
that he is so far away from his original subject, he makes an effort to 
regain it. "Hath God then cast away his people ?" The Apostle is 
himself a living proof that this is not so. Though Israel " hath not 
obtained it," the elect, who are part of Israel, who are the true Israel, 
have obtained it. The fall of the rest is but for a time, and is itself 


an argument for their final restoration. The rejection of the Jews is 
the admission of the Gentiles, and the admission of the Gentiles comes 
round in the end to be the restoration of the Jews. And besides, 
and beneath all this, amid these alternations of thought and vicis 
situdes of human things, there is an immutable foundation on which 
we rest in the promises of God to Israel. The friend of the patriarchs 
cannot forget their children ; the Unchangeable cannot desert the 
work of His hands. 




[Cir. IX. 

Xeyo) Iv 

- 9 

OTL \V7rrj fJioi i<TTiv fJieyaXrj Kal dSiaXeiTrros oSvvrj rrj 2 
KapSia fjiov r^v^o^v yap avdOepa elvai avros e y&> x a/7ro 3 
rou xpicrTov vTTep T&v dSeX^xSi jitov, raw crvyye^ajz/ ^cou 
Kara cra/o/ca, otrweg eicru> Icr/m^XiTai, 5i> 17 vlo0cria Kal rj 4 


IX. 1. aXrjdftav Xe yw, / say 
Me fr-wM.] In the language of St. 
Paul, everything that the Chris 
tian is and does is said "to be 
in Christ." Christ is the element 
in which his soul moves, as he 
says in Gal. ii. 20. : " Yet not I, 
but Christ within me." To speak 
the truth in Christ is not a form 
of adjuration, but an expression 
of the same kind as "to be in 

ffvpfjiapTvpovffrjG f.ioi TfJQ avret- 
//<r<o, my conscience witnesses 
that I speak the truth. ] Comp. 
ii. 15., "Who show the work of 
the law written on their hearts, 
their conscience also bearing them 
witness;" andviii. 16., "The Spi 
rit itself also beareth witness with 
our spirit that we are the children 
of God." So here conscience 
witnesses to the truth of his 
words, but it is a conscience 
which passes out of itself, and 
is identified and lost in the Spirit 
of God. 

It may be asked why should 
St. Paul asseverate with such 
warmth what no one would doubt 
or deny. Such is his manner in 
other passages, as in Gal. i. 20., 
" Now the things which I write 
unto you, behold, before God, I lie 
not ; " although the things that he 
wrote merely related to his jour 
neys to Jerusalem. But there 
was a matter behind, which was 
of vital importance to himself 

and the church, viz. his claim to 
independence of the other Apo 
stles. Hence the strong feeling 
which he shows. Compare also 
2 Cor. xi. 31.: "The God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 
knoweth that I lie not ; " viz. in 
the narrative of his sufferings. 
So here the intensity of his lan 
guage expresses only the strength 
of his feelings, not the suspicion 
that any one would doubt his 
words. In the first part of the 
Epistle it might perhaps have 
been argued that he had lost 
sight of his own people ; he re 
turns to them with a burst of 

2. No such ties ever bound to 
gether any other nation of the 
world, as united the Jews. Pa 
triotism is a word too weak to 
express the feeling with which 
they clung to their country, to 
their law and their God. And St. 
Paul himself, although, to use his 
own words, "his bowels had been 
enlarged" to include the Gentiles, 
comes back to the feelings of his 
youth, as with the vehemence of 
a first love. He sorrows over his 
people, like the prophets of old, 
not without an example in the 
Saviour himself, Luke, xix. 42. : 
"If thou hadst known, even thou, 
at least in this thy day, the things 
which belong unto thy peace! but 
now they are hid from thine eyes." 

3. Great ingenuity has been 

VER. 14.] 



9 I SAY the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also 

2 bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great 

3 heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I 
could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for 

4 my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh : who 
are Israelites ; whose * is the adoption, and the glory, 

exercised to evade the natural 
meaning of this verse, in conse 
quence of the supposed impiety 
of St. Paul s devotion of himself 
to everlasting damnation. Hence 
the words avadefj-a OTTO TOV \P L ~ 
ffrov have been regarded as signi 
fying " set apart by Christ," in 
violation both of grammar and 
sense, smdrjv^oprjv has been made 
to refer to the state of the Apostle 
before his conversion, " For I 
used to pray that I might be 
what I now call anathema from 
Christ." To such expedients the 
interpreter is obliged to resort, 
when he begins by laying down 
the principle that St. Paul could 
not have bartered his eternal 
salvation for the good of others. 
This is the error of " rhetoric 
turned logic ; " that is to say, the 
error of explaining the language 
of feeling, as though it were that 
of reasoning and reflection. The 
Apostle is not thinking of everlast 
ing damnation. He means only 
to express in the strongest man 
ner his affection for his kinsmen, 
and his willingness to make any 
sacrifice, if he might save some of 
them. As Moses says, Exod. 
xxxii. 32. " Blot me, O Lord, 
out of the book that thou hast 
written;" as David says, 2 Sam. 
xviii. 33. "Would God I had 
died for thee, my son, my son ; " so 
St. Paul, absorbed in a single feel 
ing, and hardly considering the 
strength of his own words, is for a 

moment willing to be accursed 
from Christ, that he might be 
exchanged for them ; an impos 
sible prayer it may be, but to be 
regarded only as an instance of 
the devoted love and zeal of the 

IffparjXiTai.^ The name re 
fers us back to the Father of the 
Jewish race, who was called Israel, 
that is, Striver with God, by God 
Himself, Gen. xxxii. 28. Comp. 
xi. 1., also 2 Cor. xi. 22. : "Are 
they Hebrews ? so am I. Are 
they Israelites ? so am I. Are 
they the seed of Abraham ? so 
am I ; " and Acts, xxii. 3. 

4. >/ viodeffia.^ Comp. Deut. xiv. 
1. : "Ye are the children of 
the Lord your God ; " and for a 
contrast, Gal. iv. 1. : "But I 
say that the heir, so long as he is 
a child, differeth nothing from a 
servant, though he be Lord of all." 

The sonship of the Israelite 
has sometimes been contrasted 
with the sonship of the believer, 
as an external with a spiritual 
adoption. The one had the name 
of son ; the other the feeling 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 
In this passage, however, no such 
opposition is justified, because 
the Apostle is speaking of the 
adoption of the Israelite in 
its first idea and origin 
" whose great privilege it was 
to be called the sons of God," 
whose was the Shechinah, or 
visible presence of God, the 

T 2 



[Cu. IX. 

Sofa Kal rj 

Kal 17 vo^oOecrLa, Kal rj Xarpeta Kal at 
en-ayyeXtat, a>z/ ot Trarepes, /cat Ig >v 6 ypUTTos TO /cara 5 
6 &v e-rrl Travrw 0eos ev^oyrjTos et? rovs ataW?. 
olov Se 6V t e/c7re7rra)/cei> 6 Xoyos rou #eo. ou 6 

cu 5ta0f)/ccu. 

" angel of his presence," as it is 
termed in other passages. Comp. 
the expression: 6 $eog rijg o 
Acts, vii. 2. ; 6 Trim/p r/je 
Eph. i. 17. ; ytpovGiii r >fe 
Heb. ix. 5. ; also, 2 Cor. iii. 7., 
where Soa is used for the glory 
on Moses face,which is contrasted 
with the higher glory of the new 
dispensation; also its use in Rom. 
iii. 23., v. 2., where, as elsewhere, 
it is applied to the glorified state 
of which the believer is hereafter 
to be a partaker. 

fj \arpeia. ] The service of the 
temple and tabernacle. 

fTrayycXmt.] Coinp. Rom. XV. 
8., at tTrayyeXmi rfov Trarepwv 
in Gal. iii. 16. opposed to the law. 

5. <3j> 01 Trarepe c.] To whom be 
long Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
whose God is the God of Israel. 
Comp. Exod. iii. 13.: "The 
God of your fathers hath sent 
me unto you." 

TO Kara ffap/ca.] Comp. 1 3. 

o wv 7rt Trnj rwj , who is over 
all.~\ It is a question to which 
we can hardly expect to get an 
answer unbiased by the inter 
ests of controversy, whether the 
clause, 6 &v e-rrl iravTiov Stbg tv- 
Xoyrjroc ftg rove cuwvctc, is to be 
referred to Christ, " of whom is 
Christ according to the flesh, 
who is God over all blessed for 
ever ; " or, as in Lachmann, to be 
separated from the preceding 
words and regarded as a doxo- 
logy to God the Father, uttered 
by the Apostle, on a review of 

God s mercy to the Jewish people. 

The emendations of the text, 
such as the suppression of Scoe, 
and the inversion of 6 wv into 
&v b, have no authority. Neither 
can tradition be of any real 
value, except so far as it pre 
serves to us some fact or mean 
ing of a word which we should 
not otherwise have known. Where 
it is repugnant to the style and 
phraseology of an author, it is 
in error ; where it agrees with 
them, it hardly affords any ad 
ditional confirmation. 

Against those who refer the 
ambiguous clause to God and 
not to Christ it is argued : 

(1.) That the doxology thus 
inserted in the midst of the 
text is unmeaning. 

(2.) That here, as in Rom. 
i. 3., the words fcarct trapKa 
need some corresponding clause 
expressive of the exaltation of 

(3.) That the grammar is de 
fective and awkward. 

It is replied to the first ob 
jection, that the introduction of 
such doxologies in the midst of 
a sentence is common in Jewish 
writers. See Schoettgen on 2 
Cor. xi. 31., though the passages 
there quoted do not justify the 
abrupt introduction of the doxo 
logy where the name of God has 
not preceded. 

To the second it is answered, 
that St. Paul is not here con 
trasting the humiliation and ex- 



VER. 5, 6.] 

and the covenant 1 , and the giving of the law, and the 

5 service of God, and the promises ; whose are the fathers, 
and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came. God, 

6 who is over all, is* blessed for ever. Amen. Not as 

1 Covenants. 

altation of Christ, which would 
be out of place in this passage, 
but simply declaring the fact that 
"Messiah was of the Jews." 

To the third, which is the 
strongest objection, that the omis 
sion of the verb is usual in such 
formulas : 

Itmay be added : (1.) That the 
language here applied to Christ is 
stronger than that used elsewhere, 
even in the strongest passages ; 
Titus, ii. 13. (1 Tim. iii. 16., 
where OQ, and not 0eoe, is the true 
reading) ; Col. ii. 9. 

Had St. Paul ever spoken 
of Christ as God, he would many 
times have spoken of him as 
such, not once only and that by 

(2.) That in other places the 
Apostle speaks of one God, as in 
1 Cor. viii. 4., Eph. iv. 6., and in 1 
Tim. ii. 5., of one God and one 
Mediator between God and man. 

(3.) That nearly the same ex 
pression, 6 wr . . . evXoyriTog EIQ rove 
cuwi ae, occurs also in 2 Cor. xi. 
31. ; but that it is applied, not to 
Christ himself, but to " the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." So in Rom. i. 25. 

(4.) That the introduction of 
the doxology, if it be referred to 
Christ, is too abrupt a transi 
tion, in a passage the purport of 
which is, not to honour Christ, 
but to recount the glories of the 
Jewish race, in the passionate re 
membrance of which the Apostle 
is carried on to the praises of God. 

(5.) That in the phraseology 
of St. Paul, Kara crapKa is not 
naturally contrasted with -Seoe, 
but always with l eTrayyeAtctf, 
Kara Trrevfjia, and is often used 
without contrast. 

(6.) That the word ei/Xoyijroe, 
is referred in the New Testament 
(as the corresponding word in 
Hebrew) exclusively to God the 
Father, and not to Christ. Mark, 
xiv. 61.; Luke, i. 68.; Rom. i. 25. 

Patristic authority is in favour 
of referring the words in dispute 
to Christ. Wetstein has led him 
self and others into error, by as 
suming that the fathers who 
denied that the predicate 6 ini 
TrdvTwv 6eoe could be applied to 
Christ, would have refused to ap 
ply to Him the modified form, 
6 ajv iir\ TravTtov Oeog. The evi 
dence of Iren. adv. Haer. iii. 
16. 3.; Tertull. adv. Prax. 13.; 
Origen and Theodoret on this 
passage ; Athanasius, Hilary, and 
Cyril (Chrysostom is uncertain), 
shows clearly the manner of read 
ing the words in the third or 
fourth century. But the testi 
mony of the third century can 
not be set against that of the 
first, that is, of parallel passages 
in St. Paul himself. 

According to a third way of 
taking the passage, the words 
(> &v 7ri TravTwv are separated 
from the remainder of the clause, 
" of whom came Christ, according 
to the flesh, who is over all ;" 
upon which follows the doxology 

T 3 



[Cn. IX. 

yap Trvres o 

on eicr> 

Icr/m^X, OVTOL icrpaTjX* 
7rdi>Tes TCKVOL, dXX *E 
croi cnrepfjia. Tovrtcmv, ov ra re/c^a TT^S crapKog, ravra 8 
refc^a rov Oeov, clXXa ra Te/a>a rrjs eTrayyeXias Xoyierai 
cis cnrepfjia. eVayyeXtas yap 6 Xoyos o5rog, Kara TOJ> 9 
Kaipov TOVTOV eXevcro/^ai KCU ecrrai rij Sdppa vtd?. ou 10 
Se, dXXct Acal e Pe/3e/c/ca e eVos KOIT^V fyovcra 

as the conclusion of the whole : 
" God is blessed for ever." 

6. For the construction com 
pare Phil. iv. 11., OVK OTL Katf 
vvTEprjffiv Xt ya*. In the present 
passage, ov)( o\ov $e = ov TOLOVTOV 
Se Xeyw oiov on iKTrlTrruKev b 

\6yOQ TOV S fOU. 

For the meaning compare the 
beginning of the third chapter : 
" For what if some did not be 
lieve ; that makes no difference 
in the steadfastness and truth of 
God." So here : "The Jews are 
the heirs of all the promises, and 
yet the word of God has not 
failed. For the promises were 
made only to the true Israel." 
And " He is not a Jew who is 
one outwardly, nor is that circum 
cision which is outward in the 

7 13. Two lines of argument 
run through the following pas 
sage: (1.) There was a spiritual 
as well as a fleshly heir. (2.) 
God chose according to his own 
free will, anvu irmv aXXrjyopov- 
peva, the history of the patri 
archs is a figure of the Gospel. 

7. oi>(? OTL Eifflv airipfjia., nei 
ther because they are the seed.~] 
The Apostle had just said, that 
not every Israelite was an Is 
raelite indeed. Here he repeats 
the same thing. The Old Testa 
ment used the word ^Xrjdrjfferat, 
in speaking of the seed of Isaac : 

" In Isaac shall thy seed be 
called ;" meaning that the line 
of Isaac shall be called by the 
name " seed of Abraham." To 
this word (cX^0i/<Tfrai) the Apo 
stle here gives an evangelical 
sense, as he did to \oy/o/zcu, in 
chap. iv. The restriction of the 
promises to the seed of Isaac 
seemed to him exactly to repre 
sent what was taking place before 
his eyes. 

8. roiTt ortv, that is.~] The 
meaning of this is, that the chil 
dren of the promise, not the chil 
dren of the flesh, are the seed of 
God. The contrast is carried 
out further in Rom. iv. and Gal. 
iv. There were many circum 
stances that marked Isaac out as 
the type of the spiritual. He 
was (like the Gentile) born out 
of due time ; he was the true 
heir of the promises, the son, not 
of the bondwoman, but of the 

The promise is the anticipation 
of the Gospel. It is in the Old 
Testament what grace and for 
giveness are in the New. Com 
pare Gal. iii. 18., Rom.iv. 13, 14. 

In the passage which follows 
the Apostle is speaking, accord 
ing to the Calvinist interpreter, 
of absolute, according to his op 
ponents, of conditional predesti 
nation. The first urges that he 
is referring to individuals ; the 

VER. 7-10.] 



though the word of God hath failed.* For they arc 

7 not all Israel, which are of Israel : neither, because they 

are the seed of Abraham, are they all children : but, In 

Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are 

s the children of the flesh, these are not the children of 

God : but the children of the promise are counted for 

a * seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time 

9 will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only 

10 this ; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even 

second, to nations; the first dwells 
on the case of Pharaoh, as stated 
by the Apostle ; the second returns 
to the language of the Old Testa 
ment, which says not only " the 
Lord hardened Pharaoh s heart," 
but " Pharaoh hardened his own 
heart." The former, it has been 
observed, takes chap. ix. separate 
from chap. x. and xi., which speak, 
not merely of the rejection, but 
of the sins of Israel ; while the 
latter confines his view to chap. 
x. and xi., and appears to do away 
with the election of God in chap. 

What we aim at in modern 
times in the consideration of such 
questions is "consistency ;" and 
the test which we propose to 
ourselves of the truth of their 
solution, is whether they involve 
a contradiction in terms. No 
thing can be more unlike the mode 
in which the Apostle conceives 
them, which is not logical at all. 
Sometimes he is overpowered by 
the goodness and mercy of God ; 
at other times he is filled with 
a sense of the deservedness of 
man s lot ; now, as we should say, 
for predestination, now for free 
will ; at one time only forbidding 
man to arraign the justice of God, 
and at another time asserting it. 

Logically considered, such oppos 
ing aspects of things are incon 
sistent. But they are true prac 
tically ; they are what we have 
all of us felt at different times, 
and are not more contradictory 
than the different phases of 
thought and feeling which we ex 
press in conversation. There are 
two views of these subjects, a phi 
losophical and a religious one : the 
first balancing and systematising 
them and seeking to form a whole 
of speculative truth ; the latter 
partial and fragmentary, speak 
ing to the heart and feelings of 
man. The latter is that of the 

9. For the word of promise is 
that which speaks particularly of 
the son who was to be born to 

10 ov /jiovov tte .] And not only 
so ; there is the yet stronger case 
of Jacob and Esau, who were the 
legitimate sons of Isaac and Re 
becca. The words aXXci icae Pe- 
&KKa have no verb ; the 
struction being changed 
ai/rjj in ver. 12. 

e f.voQ.~\ tie here unemphati- 
cally, for TIQ, as with substan 
tives, Matt. viii. 19., and else 
where. To make a contrast be 
tween the one husband of Rebecca 


T 4 



[CH. IX. 

\ i 


TOV Trarpos fjiJiwv py wo) yap yevvrjOtvTuv /r^Se TT/oaf d 

TL ayaOov rj (f)av\ov l , Iva 07 KOLT K\oyrjv 2 TrpoBe 

6eov pevy, OVK l epyuv dXX e/c TOV /caXoiWos, IppeOrj 12 

avTrj OTL 6 pti&v SovXevaei TU e XdVcrow, KaOa>s yeypaTTTcu, 13 

Tov laKajfi rjydTrrjo-a, TOP Se Hcrav l^io-rjo-a. 

TL ovv ipovpev ; JUT) dSi/aa Trapd TQ> 0<S ; ///*) yeVoiro. u 
ra> Mojorfj yap 3 Xeyet, EXeTycra) ov az/ eXew, Acai oi/cretp^ora) 15 
oz cU> oiKTtipa). dpa ovv ov TOV 6kovTO<$ ouSe rov r/oe- 16 
^o^TO5, dXXa rou eXew^ro? 0eov. Xeyet yap 17 ypa^rj T( 17 
$apaa) STL ecs auro rovro e^rfyeipd ere, OTTO)? eV 


w p^ov Kal OTTCU? SiayyeXiJ TO 6Vo//,a /xov e 


and the two wives of Abraham is 

It is characteristic of Jewish 
history that the younger is pre 
ferred to the elder. "And not 
only this," we might say with the 
Apostle, " but Ephraim, and Mo 
ses, and David, and Samuel, and 
Abraham himself" were all in 
stances of the same preference. 

11. The Apostle expressly 
points to the fact from which we 
should naturally have withdrawn 
our minds, that as it were to 
preserve the prerogative of God 
intact, the election of Jacob took 
place, before there could be any 
ground for favour arising out of 
the actions of either. It was not 
of works, though in this case it 
could not be of faith, but of Him 
that calleth. 

f] Kar c*;Xoy)}> 7Tj0000-tg.] The 
purpose of God according to 
election, that is, the purpose of 
God irrespective of men s actions 
(comp. ol Kara TrpoQeffiv K\r)roi, 
viii. 28.). plvr] refers either to 
the establishment of the belief in 
election, " might stand firm and 
be acknowledged ; " or merely to 

the firmness of the Divine pur 
pose. Comp. Heb. xii. 27. 

12. Gen. xxv. 23. Where, 
however, the words (which are 
here exactly quoted from the 
LXX.) refer not to Jacob and 
Esau, but to the two nations 
who were to spring from them. 

13. These words are exactly 
quoted from the LXX., with a 
very slight alteration in their 
order. Their meaning must be 
gathered from the connexion of 
the Apostle s argument, not from 
any preconceived notion of the 
attributes of God. In the pro 
phet (Mai. i. 2, 3.) God is intro 
duced as reproaching Israel for 
their ingratitude to Him, though 
he had " loved Jacob and hated 
Esau." Here no stress is to be 
laid on the words "loved" and 
" hated," which are poetical 
figures, the thought expressed by 
them being subordinate to the 
prophet s main purpose. It is 
otherwise in the quotation ; there 
the point is that God preferred one, 
and rejected another of his own 
free will. As of old, he preferred 
Jacob, so now he may reject him. 



11 by our father Isaac ; for the children being not yet 
born, neither having done any good or evil, that the 
purpose of God according to election might stand, not 

12 of works, but of him that calleth : it was said unto her, 

13 that * the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, 
Jacob* I loved, but Esau* I hated. 

u What shall we say then ? Is there not* unrighteous- 
15 ness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I 

will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will 
is have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So 

then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that run- 
17 neth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture 

saith unto Pharaoh, that * for this same purpose I have 

raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and 

Any further inference from the 
unconditional predestination of 
nations to that of individuals, 
does not come within the Apostle s 
range of view. 

14, 15. What shall we say 
then ? is not God unjust for this 
arbitrary election ? The Apostle 
answers the objection which he 
himself suggests by an appeal to 
the book of the law, as the end 
of all controversy. " So far from 
being unjust, it is the very rule 
of action which God announces 
to Moses." Beyond this circle, 
he does not at this time advance. 
Yet the three chapters taken to 
gether imply a further answer. 

The quotation is from Ex. 
xxxiii. 19., taken word for word 
from the LXX. It refers in the 
original passage to the favour 
shown by God to Moses when 
he made " his glory to pass be 
fore him." 

16. And so it is proved, not 
that God is unjust, but that man 
neither wills, nor does, and that 
all is the work of Divine mercy. 

17. The Apostle passes on to 
a yet stronger instance in which 
God raised up a monument, not 
of his mercy, but of his ven 

The quotation must be inter 
preted with a reference to the 
connexion, and not with a view 
to the refutation of Calvinistic 
excesses. And the connexion 
requires, not that "God per 
mitted Pharaoh s heart to be 
hardened," or that " Pharaoh 
hardened his own heart," but 
that "God hardened Pharaoh s 
heart." The words do not pre 
cisely agree with the LXX., in 
which the first is changed into 
the second person. Exod. ix. 

TO ova^a pov i 

ar) TIJ y. 

For ^ierr)pii6r]Q the Apostle 
substitutes the stronger expres 
sion l^yttjoa, which agrees with 
the Hebrew in the person, though 
neither SierrjpridrjQ (thou wast pre 
served alive), nor c/yjua (raised 



. IX. 

Trj yfj. apa ovv ov 0e Xei eXeet, bv oe $eXei O~K\T]- is 
pvvti. Iptts IJLOL ovv Ti ovv en l /xe/^ercu ; rw yap fiov- 19 
X^art avTov ri<$ avOecrTyKev ; a> av0pa)7T, ptvovv ye 2 2 o 
crv rts el 6 avTCLTTOKpivoiJievos ra> #ew ; prj Iptt TO 7rXacr//,a 
ra> TrXacraz Ti Ti pe liroiTjcras oimos; ^ OVK e)(et e^ovcriav 21 
6 Kepafjicvs TOV 7777X01), IK TOV OLVTOV ^vpd^aro^ Troirjcrcu 
o ptv ets TijJirjv cr/cevo?, o 8e ets anp,iav ; el Se OeXwv 6 22 
#eos eVSet^acr^at, r^ opyrjv Kal yvcopicrat, TO SVVOLTOV avTov 

thee up,, brought thee into exist 
ence), is an exact translation of 
the word used, which means 
" made to stand, established." 

18. In the word aK\r)pvvEi, 
"hardens," a trace again appears 
of the Old Testament narrative 
respecting Pharaoh. Compare 
Exodus, ix. 12., i(TK\r]pvve Kvpiog 
T)}I> Kaptilav 4>ctpaw. ix. 34., $apaw 
O.VTOV rrjv Kapdiav. 35., 
i] K ap^/a 4>apaw. The 
inference is drawn partly from 
the word l^yeipo, but chiefly 
from the clause that follows : 
The words in which God speaks 
of raising up Pharaoh, to display 
his power in him, are a proof that 
lie does what He will with His 

Can we avoid the fatal conse 
quence that God is here regarded 
as the author of evil ? It may be 
replied that throughout the pas 
sage St. Paul is speaking, not of 
himself, but in the language of 
the Old Testament, the line drawn 
in which is not precisely the same 
with that of the New, though 
we cannot separate them with 
philosophical exactness. It was 
not always a proverb in . the 
house of Israel, that " God tempt 
ed no man." In the overpower 
ing sense of the Creator s being, 
the free agency of the creature 

was lost, and it seemed to the 
external spectator as if the evil 
that men did, was but the just 
punishment that he inflicted on 
them for their sins. Comp. Ezek. 
xiv. 9. 

The portions of the New Tes 
tament which borrow the lan 
guage or the Spirit of the Old 
must not be isolated from other 
passages, which take a more 
comprehensive view of the deal 
ings of God with man. God 
tempts no man to evil who has 
not first tempted himself. This 
is the uniform language of both 
Old and New Testament ; the 
difference seems to lie in the 
circumstance that in the Old Tes 
tament, God leaves or gives a 
man to evil who already works 
evil, while the prevailing tone of 
the New Testament is that evil 
in all its stages is the work of 
man himself. (See Essay on the 
Contrasts of Prophecy, at the 
end of chap, xi.) 

19. Again, as in the 3rd chap 
ter, human nature seems to rise 
up against so severe a statement 
of the attributes of God. We 
trace the indistinct sense of the 
great question of the origin of 
evil : ri eri /otyw w ajuaprwXoe 
Kplvoftdt ; iii. 7. 

Tt ovv HTL jLejL()eTaL ; The 

VER. 18-22.J 



that my name might be declared throughout all the 
is earth. So * then he hath mercy on whom he will, and 

19 whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto 
me, Why then 1 doth he yet find fault? For who hath 

20 resisted his will ? Nay rather, man, who art thou 
that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say 
to him that formed it, Why hast thou made ine thus? 

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same 
lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto 

22 dishonour?* And if God, willing to shew his wrath, 

Om. then. 

thought will insinuate itself into 
the soul that He who can pre 
vent, ought not to punish evil. 
But such thoughts must be put 
down with a strong hand. 

20. perovv ye, nay but,"] is 
used to corrector oppose an asser 
tion (Rom. x. 18. ; Luke, xi. 18.), 
as in classical writers, though in 
the latter not placed at the be 
ginning of a sentence. The an 
swer to the objection is of the 
same kind as at ver. 15. : " Rather 
O man, who art thou to bandy 
words with God ? " Without 
maintaining the justice of God, 
the Apostle denies the right to 
impugn it. He appeals to the 
single consideration that he is the 
Creator. " Shall the thing formed 
say to him that formed it, Why 
hast thou made me thus ? " He 
does not do it, because it is just ; 
it is just, because he does it. The 
words fj.r) epu down to OVTWQ are 
taken, with some verbal altera 
tion, from Isaiah, xxix. 16. 

21. The conception of God as 
the potter, and his creatures as 
the clay, occurs in several pas 
sages of the Old Testament, as 
Jer. xviii. 3 10., where the pro 
phet goes down to the potter s 

house and sees the vessel which 
he had in his hands marred 
(ver. 4., Kal 7re<re TO ayyeloi o 
avroQ ETroiet ev rnlg ^eparlv avrov 
KCU iraXiv avroG tTroirjaev avrb dy- 
yeloy trepov), and another vessel 
put on the wheel, threatening in 
a figure the destruction of Israel; 
also in another spirit, Isaiah, Ixiv. 
8. : "But now, O Lord, thou 
art our Father ; we are the clay 
and thou our potter, and we all 
are the work of thy hands." 
The first of these quotations has 
probably suggested the words of 
this passage, the second more 
nearly resembles the tone of the 
following verses, which seem to 
say : " We are his, therefore he 
has an absolute right over us ; 
therefore, also, as we acknowledge 
his right over us, will he have 
mercy upon us." Compare 
Isaiah, xlv. 9. 

22. The construction of this 
passage involves an anacoluthon. 
As in ii. 17., el <$ av Ioi>c)a7og 
tTTOj o/ua^r/, there is no apodosis to 
ft eJc. The thread of the sentence 
is lost in the digression of verses 
23, 24, 25. The corresponding 
clause should have been, What is 
that to thee ? or, Who art thou 



[OH. IX. 

Iv iro\\fj ^aKpoOv^ia o~Kvrj 
ets a7TtoXetaj>, Kal tVa yvcopicry TOV 7r\ovTov TT?S 80^77$ 23 
avrov ITT! o~Kvr) eXeous, a Trpoyjroi^acrev ets S6av ; ovs /cat 24 
e/caXecrei> ^/x-ag ou ^QVQV ef lovSaicov dXXa /cat ef iOvtov, 
fc>9 /cat ez rw /2cr7ye Xeyet KaXecro) TOJ> ov Xao^ /xou Xaw jnov 25 
/cat Tr?z> ov/c rjyaTrrjfJLemqv T^yaTn^ez Tp /cat carat e^ TO- 25 
Trw o5 eppedrj [avrots] Ou Xads /x,ov u/xet?, e/cet /cX^^cro^rat 
vtot ^eou ^<w^ro5. Hcratas 8e /cyoa^et VTrep TOT) *Io-paij\ JBa^ 27 
T^ 6 apiOfJibs TMV viwv IcrparjX as 17 a/x,/xos r^s ^aXacrcrTy?, 
ro 1 v7rdXetjLt/>ta craj^creTaf Xoyoz^ ya^o crv^reXaj^ /cat crw 28 

who hast an answer to God ? 
There is, however, a further com 
plexity in the passage. The 
simple thought would have been 
as follows : But if God shows 
forth his righteous vengeance on 
men, what is that to thee ? 
But side by side with this creeps 
in another feeling, that even in 
justice he remembers mercy. 
"He punishes, and you have no 
right to find fault with Him for 
anything which he does." Still it is 
implied that he only punishes those 
who ought to have been punished 
long before. There would have 
been no difficulty in the passage 
had the Apostle said: "He 
punishes some and spares others." 
But he has given a different turn 
to the thought " He spares 
those whom he punishes." " May 
not God," he would say, "be like 
the potter dashing in pieces one 
vessel, and showing his mercy 
to another ; merciful even in the 
first, which he puts off as long as 
he can, and only executes with 
a further purpose of mercy to 
others." Se, adver.: " The potter 
does this, AND may not God do 

23. ira yvwpfop,] ma j be taken 
cither as parallel with i\wv 9 or 

with c?3ela90cu, or with 
picrai. The last verse implied 
that in judgment He remembered 
mercy. But now the further pur 
pose of God is unfolded, that 
mercy should alternate with jus 
tice, mercy to the Gentiles, 
with judgment on the House of 
Israel. As is more explicitly re 
peated in chap, xi., the Jew was 
rejected that the Gentile might 
be received. As in chap. v. 
20, 21., or in viii. 3, 4., the two 
parts of His work must be taken 
as one. 

TOV irXovrov TTJg dofyg."^ ()oa is 
the glory of God revealed to man. 
Compare Eph. iii. 16.; Rom.ii. 4., 
TOV TT\OVTOV riji; xpifffr&ifrog: Col. 


or the still more complicated ex 
pression, 6 TrXouroc Trjg 
pvffnjplov TOVTOV iv TO~IQ 
i. 27. The word TrXouroe occurs 
again in Rom.xi. 12., in reference 
to the admission of the Gentiles. 
So here the thought of ver. 24., 
dXXa Kal e iOv&v is dimly anti 
cipated in it. 

ovc KCII EKaXeffev >/juac.]| As 
which persons He hath also called 
(as well as prepared) us. Compare 
viii. 30.: cue Trpowpifftv TOVTOVQ KUI 



and to make his power known, endured with much long- 

23 suffering* vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and 
that he might make known the riches of his glory on 
the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared 

24 unto glory ? Even us, whom he hath called, not of the 

25 Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, as he saith also in 
Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my 

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

27 called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth 
concerning Israel, Though the number of the children 
of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be 

28 saved. For the Lord will accomplish his word finish- 

25, 26. The passages here 
quoted from Hosea are as follows 
in the LXX.: 

ii. 23. : fccu ffirepti CLVTYIV tpavTv 
iirl TTJQ yfjc; /ecu aya7rr/<rw rrjv OVK 
riyaTrrjfjievrjy KOI low ry ov \au> 
/*ov, Aadc pov el ffv. 

i. 10.: KOI tcrrat kv T<3 TOTTV ov 
eppeQrj avrolQ ov Xaoc pov v/iett: 
K\rjdi]ffoi Tai Kal avrot viol Oeov 
w) roc. The prophet is speaking 
of the rejection and acceptance of 
the ten tribes. 

In the quotation it is not ne 
cessary to give the words kv r$ 
TOTTW a precise meaning. There 
is no point in saying, with some 
interpreters, that in Palestine 
also the Gentiles should be called 
the Sons of God. 

27, 28. The quotation is from 
Isa. x. 22, 23., and in the Textus 
Receptus " agrees almost exactly 
with the LXX. The latter verse 
is, however, entirely different 
from the Hebrew text, the mean 
ing of which, according to Gese- 
nius and Ewald, is as follows : 

" The extermination is deter 
mined; it streams forth, bring 
ing righteousness, for the Lord 
God of Hosts executeth the 
appointed destruction in all the 
land." The great difference be 
tween the Hebrew and the LXX. 
is supposed to have arisen from 
a mistranslation of Hebrew 

It was not only in accordance 
with the prophecies of the Old 
Testament that Israel should be 
rejected. They spoke yet more 
precisely of a remnant being 
saved. If any one marvelled at 
the small number of believers of 
Jewish race, it was " written for 
their instruction " that " a rem 
nant should be saved." 

Ho-cuae c).] Se marks the tran 
sition to another prophet ; virep 
either " respecting " or " over." 

28. The two best MSS., A. and 
B., omit kv ciKaioffvvr) . . . OVVTET- 
uiffjiii QV. As they occur in the 
LXX., it may be justly argued 
that they are more likely to have 



[On. IX. 

Hcrcuas, El /XT) Kvpios era/Bawd ey/careXiTre^ 7jp!u/ 
WS SoSojJia av eyevTJOrjiJiev Kal a>9 To^oppa av w/xotco #77/^6^. 
Ti ow epovpev ; STL Wvr) ra /XT) Siaj/co^ra iKaiocrvv f r)v so 
ev Si/catocrwr;^ SiKawcrvvyv Se ryp CK 7rioTea>s, 

Se SLWKMV vopov St/catocrw^s eis 


. Sia ri ; on OVAC CAC Trccrrea)?, dXX a>9 e^ /xya>j> 3 TT^ocre- 32 
roi) Trpocr/cd/xjutaro?, /ca^a>s yeypaTrrat, lou 33 


/cai Trtcrreucu^ CTT avrw ou 

1 Add eV SLKcuoavvy on \6yov 

3 Add j/(fyiow. 4 Add 7^). 

2 Add 
5 Add 

been inserted as a correction 
than omitted in this passage. 
If the words are retained, as in 
the Textus Receptus, Tischen- 
dorf, and several MSS. and Ver 
sions, effn must be supplied with 
avvTfXGjv and avvrk^-vdiv. 

The passage of Isaiah taken in 
the sense in which it was under 
stood by the Apostle, may be 
paraphrased as follows: Isaiah 
lifts up his voice in regard to Is 
rael, and says," Though the house 
of Israel be as the sand of the sea, 
the remnant only shall be saved. 
For God is accomplishing and 
cutting short his work, for a short 
work will God make upon the 
earth," or (according to Lach- 
mann s reading), " For God will 
perform his work, accomplishing 
and cutting it short upon the 
earth." The application of this 
to the present circumstances of 
the house of Israel is, that few 
out of many Israelites should be 
saved, for that God was judging 
them as of old he had judged 
their fathers. They were living 
in the latter days, and the time 
was short. 

29. In their original connexion 
these words have a different bear 
ing. The prophet is describing 
the desolation of the land in which 
all but a few had perished. He is 
not speaking of those who are 
saved, but of those who are lost. 
The succeeding verse is Give 
ear now, O ye rulers of Sodom ; 
hear the word of the Lord, ye 
people of Gomorrah. 

30. What then is the conclu 
sion ? That the Gentile who 
sought not after righteousness, 
attained righteousness, but the 
righteousness that is of faith. 
But Israel, who did seek after it, 
attained not to it. What was 
the reason of this ? because they 
sought it not of faith, but we c 
epyw^, under the idea that it might 
be gained by works of the law 
they stumbled at the rock of of 
fence. We are again upon the 
track of chap. iii. 

31. ro juov diKa.iO(rvvr]G.^ Like 
vopog TOV Tcrc.vp.aTOQ rijg ^w>7C} in 
ch. viii. Compare also Gal. iii. 
21., "If there had been a law 
given which could have given life, 
verily righteousness should have 

VER 2933.] 



29 ing and cutting it short upon the earth. 1 And as Esaias 
said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a 
seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto 

so What shall we say then ? That the Gentiles, which 
followed not after righteousness, have attained to righte- 

31 ousness, but* the righteousness which is of faith. But 
Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, 

32 hath not attained to the law. 2 Wherefore? Because 
not* of faith, but as it were of works 3 they stumbled 

33 at the* stumblingstone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in 
Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and he who 4 
believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 

1 For he is finishing the work, and cutting it short in righteousness ; because 

a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 

2 Add of righteousness. 3 Add of the law. For. 4 Whosoever. 

been by the law." The Apostle 
means that the Israelites did not 
succeed in attaining true right 
eousness by the law. This he ex 
presses by saying, that Israel, 
pursuing after a law as the source 
of righteousness, or as belonging 
to righteousness, failed in attain 
ing to this law. ovKefydatre, arrived 
not at ; the sense of anticipation 
is lost. 

32. eta rl, K. r. X.] In the 
words that follow it is most con 
venient to take the first clause, 
OVK EK TTIOTCWC, with some idea 
gathered from what has pre 
ceded, " Because they did it, t. e. 
pursued the law of righteousness, 
and not of faith." The words 
we E epytav have probably a 
double relation, they form an 
antithesis with OVK tic iriareiog, and 
are also joined with 

The expression 

is taken from Isa. viii. 14. 

(in the LXX. \idov 
The remainder of the passage is 
from Isa. xxviii. 16., the words 
of which are as follows : i$ov 
e yw efji>a.\\(i) etc TO. ScpsXia 2t- 
iijv \iQov TroXvTeXrj eV\e/croj , 
yomatov, evrtfiov etc ret 

While following the spirit of 
this latter passage, the Apostle has 
inserted the words \iBov TrpoaKOjj.- 
fj,aroc, so as to give a double no 
tion of the Rock, which is at once 
a stone of stumbling and rock of 
offence, and a foundation stone on 
which he who rests shall not be 
made ashamed. Compare Luke, 
xx. 17, 18. for a similar double 
meaning : XiOov ov &.mvOKifM- 
aav ol olKodopovvrtf, OVTOQ eye- 
etc K(f)ci\rjv ywf/ac* Trac o 
r eKelvov rov \iQov avv- 



[CH. X. 

*ASe\<f)oi, r) fjiv evSoKia TTJS e/XTjs Kap8ia<s Kal rj Sevens 1 1Q 

irpos TOP 6eov vwep avrvv 2 eis crajTrjpiav. paprvpa) yap 2 
avTols on rj\oi> Otov exouo-iJ>, dXX* ov /car iTrlyvww 

ayvoovvres yap rrjv rov Oeov SiKaiocrvvrjv, /cat rty liav 3 
^roiWcs crr^crat, TT; St/caiocrw^ rou #eou ov/c vvrera- 

yrjcrav. re Xos yap Popov xp LcrT S *k SiKauxruvrjv Trai^rt TO 4 

1 Add 77. 

X. The commencement of this 
chapter, as well as of the one 
which follows, affords a remark 
able instance of a sudden tran 
sition of feeling in the mind of 
the Apostle. At the end of the 
previous chapter, he had passed 
out of the sorrowful tone in 
which he began, to prove that 
very truth over which he sor 
rowed the rejection of Israel. 
But at this point he drops the 
argument, and resumes the strain 
which he had laid aside. The 
character of the passage may be 
illustrated by the parallel passage 
in chap. iii. 1 8. There he had 
been arguing that the Gentiles 
were better than the Jews, or at 
least as good ; because they, not 
having the law, were a law unto 
themselves. Then to correct the 
impression that might have arisen 
from what he had been saying, 
he goes on to point out that the 
Jew too had advantages. Now, 
a similar contrast is working in 
his mind. There was something 
that the Jew had, though not the 
righteousness of faith. He was 
not a sinner of the Gentiles, he 
had a zeal for God, he had the 
mark of distinction which it has 
been said made Jacob to be pre 
ferred to Esau ; "he was a reli 
gious man." But almost before 
the thought of his heart is fully 
uttered, the Apostle returns to 

TOV lo-pcnjA 

his former subject " the right 
eousness of faith, Christ the end 
of the law to every one that be- 
lieveth ; " and gathers fresh proof 
from the prophecies that the re 
jection of Israel was but accord 
ing to the will of God. 

1. pip answers to a suppressed 
t), which is indicated in v. 3., 
"But they would not ;" or " But 
it was not the will of God." 

is equivalent to 
Comp. etg 
ch. i. 5., elg 
ver. 4.; also i. 16. 

2. rj\ov Seov, zeal for 
Compare 2 Cor. xi. 2., r/Xo) yap 
v/iae $eov /?^w, and the Apostle s 
description of himself in Gal. i. 
14., irtpiffaoTtpijjQ ^r)\(t)TrjQ VTrap- 
X^. The word zeal is peculiarly 
appropriate to the Jewish people, 
" all zealots for the law," Acts, 
xxi. 20. ; " Ready to endure death 
like immortality rather than suf 
fer the neglect of the least of 
their national customs," Philo, 
Leg. ad Caium, 1008. They were 
not like the Gentiles indifferent 
about religion ; it was not the 
power, but rather the truth of the 
law that had died away. Many 
of them were ready to compass 
sea and land to make one prose 
lyte. If religion did not include 
morality, there would have been 
no nation more religious. 

ov KCIT tTriyvuffiv, not accord- 

VER 14.] 



10 Brethren, my heart s desire and prayer to God for 

2 them l is, that they might be saved. For I bear them 
record that they have a zeal of God, but not according 

3 to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God s right 
eousness, and going about to establish their own right 
eousness, are not subject * unto the righteousness of 

4 God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness 

1 For Israel. 

ing to knowledge.^ These words 
are not added to extenuate their 
fault, as though St. Paul said 
" They have a zeal for God, but 
know not their Lord s will ; " but 
are merely an explanation of how 
they could have a zeal for God, 
and yet be rejected. In what 
follows he explains in what this 
ignorance consists. 

3. Their ignorance consisted 
in not obeying the righteousness 
of God, and in setting up their 
own righteousness in its place. 

Three questions arise on this 
verse: (1.) What is meant by 
the righteousness of God ? The 
righteousness of God plainly 
means the righteousness of faith, 
the new revelation of which the 
Apostle spoke, Rom. i. 17., which 
is the power of God unto salva 
tion to every one that believeth. 
(2.) What is meant by their own 
righteousness ? Either the word 
tdtoe may simply indicate oppo 
sition to 5-fov, " their own " as 
opposed to God s ; or it may have 
a further meaning of private in 
dividual righteousness, consisting 
only in a selfish isolated obedience 
to the law, not in communion with 
God or their fellow-creatures. 
But, (3.) what is meant by oi>x 
iWeray j)0-a v ? Not something en 
tirely different from ayvoovi Ttq 
in the first clause ; only as that 
expressed their wilful blindness 


in not recognising the Gospel, 
this indicates the effect on their 
life and conduct. The expression 
is analogous to vTraKoij Trtorewe, 
XpiffTOv, aXrjdttac;. 

4. re Xoc vo/uou, the end of the 
law.~\ Either the aim of the law, or 
the termination of the law, or the 
fulfilment of the law ; the law 
itself meaning either the law of 
Moses, or that higher law which 
was reflected in it. These diffe 
rent senses of the two words 
insensibly pass into each other, 
and there is nothing unreason 
able in supposing that all of them 
may have been intended by the 
Apostle ; that is to say, that the 
expression which he has cm- 
plpyed, when analysed, may in 
clude these various allusions. It 
was Christ to whom the law 
pointed, or seemed to point, who 
was its fulfilment and also its 
destruction. It was of Him 
" Moses in the law, and the pro 
phets spoke ; " it was He who 
was the body of those things of 
which the law was the shadow. 
It was He who was to " destroy 
this temple, and raise up another 
temple, not made with hands." 
It was He who came to fulfil the 
law, in all the senses in which 
it could be fulfilled. 

It has been said by those who 
confine the idea of the word 
to the sense of end or ter- 



[CH. X. 

Ma)V(rfjs y a p ypa(f)ei TT^V OLKaiOcrvvrjv Trjv 5 
IK TOV vopov, STL 6 Trot^cras [avra] av6po>TCO<s ^crerai iv 
avTy. 1 r) Se IK mcrTeco? Sifcatocrw^ OVTUS Xeyci, Mr) CITTT;? 6 
eV r^ /ca/oSia crov Tis d^a^Verai 15 TOI/ ovpavov; TOVT 

vptcrro^ KaTayayelv r) Tis Kara^crerai i rr)^ 7 

afivo-crov ; TOVT tcrTiv 



dXXa rt Xeyec ; Eyyvs crov TO /OTJfta ecrTi^, iv TV VTOpaTi 8 

mination, that in the Apostle s 
view the law and Christ are 
in extreme opposition to each 
other. This is true. But it is 
not true that this is his only view, 
as is shown by such passages as 
Romans, iv. 25., Gal. iii. 26., 1 
Cor. x. 1., and the context (ver. 
6 8.) in this place. 

For the meaning of the word 
re Xoc, compare Eccles. xii. 13. : 
ri\oc, Xoyou TO TTO.V ctK ove; Rom. 
vi. 22. : TO fie rt Aoe, w/)v aifaviov ; 
1 Tim. i. 5. : T-O e rt Xoe TTJG nap- 
oyyeXiac ; and for a similar 
ambiguity in its use, 2 Cor. iii. 
13. : ov KadafTEp MwvvfJG tTiQei 


TO prj a.Tf.viaai TOVQ vlovg 
<G TO TeXog TOV fcarapyoujue- 
rov which may be construed 
either to the intent that the 
children of Israel should not look 
to the reality or fulfilment of 
what was being done away (that 
is, to the glory behind), or that 
they should not look to the pass 
ing away or termination of it. 

yap.] For this is the righteous 
ness of God, Christ the end of 
the law ; or, For the true notion of 
righteousness is that the law is 
done away in Christ, working the 
effect of righteousness in every 
one that believeth. 

5. yap.] " For Moses describes 
legal righteousness in one way, 

and righteousness by faith in 

As in Gal. iii. 10 13., the 
Apostle contrasts the nature of 
the law and faith, as characterised 
in the law itself. The words 
which he first quotes (from Lev. 
xviii. 5.) imply external acts : 
" He who has done the command 
ments of the law, shall have life 
in the righteousness of the law " 
(from the LXX., in which the 
word aura refers to the statutes 
and judgments that have pre 
ceded). Compare 1 Tim. iv. 8. : 
"Godliness is profitable unto 
all things, having the promise of 
the life that now is, and of that 
which is to come." ^//ererat, as 
elsewhere, used by the Apostle 
in a fuller sense than its original 

68. The language of Deut. 
xxx. 13. (the book of Moses, which 
has been regarded almost as an 
evangelization of the law, and as 
standing in the same relation to 
the other books of Moses as the 
Gospel of St. John to the three 
first Gospels,) is far different. 
There our duty to God is not 
spoken of, as outward obedience 
or laborious service. There the 
word is described as " very nigh 
to us, even in our mouth and in 
our heart." Surely this is the 
righteousness that is of faith. 

VER. 58.] 



5 to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the 
righteousness which is of the law, That the man which 

6 doeth those things shall live in it L But the righteous 
ness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not 
in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, 

7 to bring Christ down from above :) or, Who shall de 
scend into the deep ? (that is, to bring up Christ again 

s from the dead). But what saith it ? The word is nigh 

1 By them. 

The Apostle quotes this pas 
sage in a manner which is in 
several ways remarkable: (1.) 
As there is no word in the pas 
sage itself which exactly suits 
the meaning which he requires ; 
it is the spirit, not the letter, 
which he is quoting, as in Rom. 
iv. 6. (2.) To each clause he 
adds an explanation, " Who shall 
ascend up into heaven ? (that 
is, to bring down Christ from 
above:) or, Who shall descend 
into the deep ? (that is, to bring 
up Christ from below.)" Comp. 
ix. 8. ; Gal. iv. 25. ; 2 Cor. iii. 
17. (3.) He has altered the 
words, so as to suit them to the ap 
plication which he makes of them. 
Compare ix. 17.; infra, ver. 11. 
Lastly, he puts them into the 
mouth of righteousness by faith, 
who speaks as a person in the 
words of Moses ; cf. ver. 5. 

The principal difference be 
tween the passage as quoted by 
St. Paul, and as it occurs in the 
LXX., from which the Hebrew 
very slightly varies, is, that in 
ver. 7. we have TIQ /cara?7<rrai 
elg Trjv avffcrov ; instead of TIQ 
cicnrepaffei rj^juv t TO trepnv TVJQ 
a\a(Tffr), in the LXX. Much 
ingenuity has been expended in re 
conciling these variations. Some 
have referred the words, etc TO 

Trjg SaXaaerrjc, to. a heathen 
ish notion of Islands of the Blest, 
" beyond the Western wave ; " 
while others have supposed that 
some copy of the LXX. or some 
other version of the Scriptures 
may have read tc r)v av<r<ror, 
in the meaning of " the sea," 
which has had another sense 
put upon it by the Apostle. 

It would not be inconsistent 
with sound criticism to admit 
even very improbable conjectures, 
to account for the Apostle s in 
accurate quotation, if we found 
such quotations occurring in a 
single instance only. But as they 
occur many times, sound criti 
cism and true faith require equally 
that we should admit the fact, 
and acknowledge that the Apostle 
quotes without regard to verbal 
exactness, apparently because he 
is dwelling rather on the truth 
that he is expounding, than on 
the words in which it is conveyed, 
not verifying references by a 
book, but speaking from the ful 
ness of the heart. 

The truth seems to be that the 
parallel required in the words, 
" to bring up Christ from the 
dead," has led the Apostle to alter 
the text in Deuteronomy, so as to 
admit of his introducing them. 
The general meaning of ver. 6. to 

u 2 



. X. 

crov KOL kv rfj /capSta crov. TOVT Zvnv, TO prjpa rrjs 
o Kr)pvo-crop,v, on kav o/x-oXoy^crT/s zv rco crrd/xart crov 9 
Kvpiov J^crov^, /cat Tno-Ttvcrrjs iv rfj Kapoia crov on 6 Oeos 
avrov jjyeipev l/c vtKpwv, craidyjcry /capSta yap TTtcrreverai 10 
et9 St/catocrwT^, crrd/xart Se ojnoXoyetrat ets cra)T7jpiai>. 
Xeyet yap rj ypa<f>nj ITa? 6 TricrTevaiv ITT avrw ov /carat- 11 
ov yap ZCTTLV StacrroX^ lovSatou re /cat 12 

that he also descended first into 
the lower parts of the earth ? He 
that descended is the same also 
that ascended;" which is in like 
manner based on Psalm Ixviii. 18.: 
" Thou hast ascended on high, thou 
hast led captivity captive, and re 
ceived gifts for men." 

9. As in ver. 8. the Apostle 
had given an explanation of the 
word prjpa, he proceeds to give a 
similar explanation of crropart and 
Kapc iq. The word pvjpa means 
f>rjfj.a rfjc, Triorewc, and the words 
oro^ua and /capita refer to the con 
fession with the lips of the Lord 
Jesus, and the belief with the 
heart of his resurrection. Com 
pare 1 Peter, i. 24, 25. : ihpAyOq 
o ^oproc, Kal TO avdoQ avrov ffcVf- 
aev TO e pijjJ.a xvpiov pivei E!Q TOV 
aiuiva, TOVTO fie iffTiv prjjjia. TO tvcty- 
yeXiardev tig vpdg. 

10. The Apostle adds a further 
explanatory clause : " For by the 
heart we believe, and with the 
mouth we confess." Various at 
tempts have been made to pre 
serve the opposition. (1.) The 
words etc %iKo.LO(jvvr}v have been 
supposed to refer to justification ; 
t\Q ffdJTYipiav, to final salvation. 
But it may be answered, that con 
fession has no special connexion 
with final salvation ; if it had, 
the confession of the lips would 
be more important than the be 
lief of the heart. Or, (2.) The 
words SiKaioffvrr) and 

8. is as follows : " The right 
eousness of faith uses a different 
language. It says, Deem it not 
impossible ; do not ask the unbe 
liever s question : who shall go 
up into heaven, by which I mean 
to bring down Christ from above ; 
or who shall descend into hell, 
by which. I mean to bring up 
Christ from below ? But what 
saith it ? the word is nigh unto 
thee, even in thy mouth and in 
thy heart. And by the word I 
mean, the word of faith which 
we preach." 

It was doubtless the last verse 
which induced the Apostle to 
quote the whole passage : " The 
word is within thee, ready to come 
to thy lips." Here is a description 
of faith. To the words which 
precede the Apostle has given 
a new tone. In the book of 
Deuteronomy they mean : " The 
commandment which I give you is 
not difficult or afar off ; it is not 
in the heaven above, nor beyond 
the sea." Here they refer, not to 
action, but to belief. They might 
be paraphrased in the language 
of modern times : 

" Do not raise sceptical doubts 
about Christ having come on 
earth, or being risen from the 
dead: there is a Christ within 
whom you have not far to seek 

Compare Eph. iv. 9, 10.: "Now 
that he ascended, what is it but 

VER. 912.] 



thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word 

9 of faith, which we preach ; that if thou shalt confess with 

thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine 

heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou 

10 shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made 

11 unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever be- 

12 lieveth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no 
difference between the Jew and the Greek : for the same 

have been opposed, as inward 
justification and outward mem 
bership of the Church. " For 
by the heart we are justified, and 
by the confession of the lips we 
are made members of the Church." 
This offers a good sense, but the 
meaning given to o-wrr/pm is not 
justified by such a use of the 
word <Two[jivovG 9 as occurs in 
Acts, ii. 47. 

Instead of adopting explana 
tions so forced, it is better to 
acknowledge that the antithesis 
of $iKcn.offvvr] and cr&Trjpia is one 
of style, as at iv. 25., which 
need not be insisted upon. The 
Apostle means only " that the 
heart and lips agree together, in 
faith and confession, and their 
end righteousness and everlasting 

11. The link of connexion is 
again a word, iriaTtvuv. The 
Apostle had explained a passage 
from the Old Testament, 6 9., 
the words of which he had fur 
ther drawn out in ver. 10. ; he 
adds now a new confirmation. For 
the Scripture says : " For every 
one that believeth on him shall 
not be ashamed." 6 TTIOTVW> 
seems to refer to the first of the 
preceding clauses ; ol> 

6> ]fferai, to the second: "For every 
one that believeth on him shall 
not be made ashamed in the day 
of the Lord." 

The citation is slightly altered 
from Isa. xxviii. 16. as it stands 
in the LXX., o Trioreuwv ov u>) 

) where it is remark 
able that the word Trdc by which 

St. Paul connects this with the 
verse following, does not occur. 

The addition, however, is not 
inconsistent with the general 
sense of the original ; the Apostle 
has only emphasised the thought 
which was already implied with 
out it. The alteration was pro 
bably suggested by the words 
of Joel, which are quoted in v. 

12. As the tenth and eleventh 
verses, so also the eleventh and 
twelfth, hang together by a word. 

The Scripture says "every 
one," meaning hereby to include 
Jew and Greek. For there is 
the same Lord, rich in mercy to 
all who call upon Him. As at 
ch. iii. 29., we have already 
passed from the inward truth of 
righteousness by faith to the cor 
relative which was never wanting 
to it in the Apostle s mind, 
" admission of the Gentiles." 

u 3 



[OH. X. 

r E\\7)vos 6 yap avros /cvptos Travrvv, TT\OVTO)V eis 
TOUS eTri/caXou/xeVous auroV. Has yap 05 az/ eTriKaXeVqTai is 
TO ovopa Kvpiov, creamer erat. TTOJS o3*> 7TLKa\ecra)VTai * eis u 
ovovK7TLcrTevcrav; Trais SeTTtcrreucroJO-t^ 2 o5 ou/c ^Kovcrcw ; 
7ra>5 Se dfcovcrcuo-ii> 2 x^P^ ^pvcrcro^TOS ; TTCOS Se K7)pva)- 15 
2 T) a7rocrTaXa>crw> ; Ka0a>s yey/oaTrrat V2s wpcuoi 01 

, cutovaovffiv, 

6 yap avroQ Kvpio.^\ Whether 
by Kvptos is meant God or Christ 
is uncertain. Compare Phil. ii. 
11.: Trdffa yXwffffa c^OjUoAoy^tnjrcu 
on Kvptos Ij<7ouc, where the title 
is given to Christ in a similar 
connexion; also, Kvptov I^orou^, 
in v. 9. It may be God or 
Christ, or God in Christ re 
conciling the world to himself, 
who is in the Apostle s mind. 
The application to Christ is sup 
ported by the reading xpurrov, 
which Lachmann has received 
into the text in ver. 17. 

13. Again the connecting link 
is a word which is taken up by 
a quotation from the Old Tes 
tament, Joel, ii. 32. (/cat eoreu 6e av 

ETUKaXffflJTat TO OVOp.CL KVplOV fftodtj- 

ffercu), which, as if well known, 
the Apostle does not formally cite 
(so ix. 7., and infra, v. 18.). The 
same passage is quoted by St. 
Peter on the day of Pentecost, 
as referring to the times of Christ. 
In the place where it originally 
occurs, it contains no reference 
to the Gentiles. 

14 21. The passage which 
follows is, in style, one of the 
most obscure portions of the 
Epistle. The obscurity arises 
from the argument being founded 
on passages of the Old Testa 
ment. The structure becomes dis 
jointed and unmanageable from 
the number of the quotations. 
Some trains of thought are car 

ried on too far for the Apostle s 
purpose, while others are so 
briefly hinted at as to be hardly 
intelligible. Yet if, instead of en 
tangling ourselves in the meshes 
of the successive clauses, we 
place ourselves at a distance and 
survey the whole at a glance, 
there is no difficulty in under 
standing the general meaning. 
No one can doubt that the Apo 
stle intends to say that the pro 
phets had already foretold the 
rejection of the Jews and the 
acceptance of the Gentiles. But 
the texts by which he seeks to 
prove or to express this, are in 
terspersed, partly with difficulties 
which he himself felt ; partly, 
also, with general statements 
about the mode in which the 
Gospel was given. 

Going off from the word eVt- 
KaXovfjLEVovG and iTrtKaXlffrjrai, he 
touches first on an objection 
which might naturally be urged : 
" No one has preached the Gos 
pel to them." His mode of rais 
ing the objection is such that we 
are left in uncertainty whether 
this is said by him in the person 
of an objector, or in his own 
(cf. iii. 18., v. 13, 14., ix. 20, 
21.). From one step in the rhe 
torical climax he passes on to 
another, until the words of the 
prophet are brought by associa 
tion into his mind. " How beau 
tiful are the feet of those who 

VER. 1315.] 



is Lord* is over all, rich unto all that call upon him. For 
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be 

H saved. How then are they to call 1 on him in whom they 
have not believed? and how are they to 2 believe in him* 
whom they have not heard ? and how are they to 2 hear 

15 without a preacher ? and how are they to 2 preach, except 
they be sent ? as it is written, How beautiful are the 

1 Shall they call. 

preach good tidings ! " He is 
now far away from his original 
point. At ver. 16. he returns to 
it, and answers the question, 
" How are they to call ? " &c., by 
saying that there had been a 
hearing of the Gospel, but some 
had not obeyed what they heard. 
This was implied in the words 
of the prophet, "who believed 
our report ? " the inference from 
which is " that faith cometh by 
hearing ; " and (we may add) 
hearing by the word of God. 
After this interpretation the Apo 
stle returns to his first thought : 
" How shall they believe on 
him whom they have not heard ? " 
The answer is : "Nay, but they 
have heard." All the world has 
heard. I repeat the question 
that it may be again answered, 
" Did not Israel know ? " Moses 
and the prophets told them in 
the plainest terms that the Is 
raelites should be rejected, and 
another nation made partakers of 
the mercies of God. 

Trwe ovv EiriKaXiffuvTcu. ; How 
are they to call ?] The conjunc 
tive in questions expresses doubt 
or deliberation under some pre 
vious supposition. 

14. It is remarkable that St. 
Paul should state the objection 
in so animated and forcible a 
manner, while the answer given 

2 Shall they. 

to it is so fragmentary and im 
perfect : and also that here, as in 
ch. iii., he should interweave his 
own thoughts with the objection. 
The whole of the passage is an 
amplification of the thought 
" How can they call upon God, 
except they be taught ? " But 
in the words tav pj aTrooraXwo-ty, 
and in the quotation which fol 
lows, the Apostle is thinking of 
himself and the other ministers 
of the Gospel as appointed by 
God "Apostles of the Churches." 

ov OVK ijKovffay ;] " whom they 
have not heard ? " as in Eph. iv. 
21., it is said el CLVTOV ijKovffare, 
as in Acts, iii. 22., avrov O.KOV- 
fftade ; not " about whom they 
have not heard," which, though 
supported by Iliad, 1. 490., aidev 
Z&ovrog UKOVWV, is only a poetical 
construction of the Genitive. 

15. The passage in Isaiah (Iii. 
7.) is suggested by the thought 
of the preachers going forth, 
and the Apostle is led to quote 
it from association. It has, how 
ever, a bearing on his argument, 
as it implies that there must be 
those who are to preach the Gos 
pel. In this passage the LXX. 
has we wpa 7n rwv opiw, we iro$eg 
evayyeXi^ojjievov aKorjv eipyvrig, we 
vayye\io^i>oe aya0a. The He 
brew, according to Ewald, is as 
follows : " How lovely upon 

u 4 



. X. 

TrdSeg TWV ei5ayyeXto/xeV<yz> l ay add. d\\ ov Trai Tes vrrrj- 15 
Kovcrav ra> evayyeXtw. Hcratas yap Xeyet Kvpie, rt s CTU- 
<TTev<Tej> TT? aKOTj T^/XWZ ; dpa rj TT terns e d/coTJs, 17 oe CXKOT) 17 
Sta /3T7/xarog ^tcrrou. 2 clXXa Xeyw, /XT) OVK T7/covcrcu> ; pevovv is 
ye Ets Tracrcw TT)Z^ y^ z^rfkBtv 6 (j)66yyo<$ avrwv, /cat ets ra 
Trepara TTJS ot/cov/xeVTis ra pij^ara avrav. dXXa Xeya>, 19 
/XT) Io-par)\ OVK tyvco 3 ; TT/OOJTO? MwvcrTjs Xeyet Eya> Trapa- 
j u/xa? CTT ov/c etfvei, CTTI e^rei dcrv^erw irapopyi^ 
. Hcraca? 8e cxTroroX/xa /cat Xeyet EvpeOrjv [et ] 4 rots 20 
e/xe /XT) Drover tz/, e /x^a^? lyevo^v [tv~\ rots ejae /XT) eTre- 
pa)Ta)crLV. TT^OS Se To^ lcrpar)\ Xeyet c O\r)v rrjv f)p,epav 21 

1 Add elp-fivrjv rcav 
3 - 

y TO. 

2 SeoG. 
4 Om. eV. 

the mountains are the feet of 
him that proclaimeth joy ! " 

The citation in the New Tes 
tament is rather nearer to ;the 
Hebrew than to theLXX., which, 
however, as the Apostle has 
changed the number and omitted 
the beautiful figure eVt r&v opeW, 
it is not certain that he is quoting. 
See Essay on Quotations, vol. i. 

16. But here is an explanation 
of our difficulty. It was not that 
they were without the glad tidings 
of the Gospel, but that they re 
fused to listen to them. (Comp. 
ch. iii. 3. : "For what if some 
did not believe ?") This, too, was 
shadowed forth in the words of 
prophecy. When the prophet 
says, " Who hath believed our 
report?" he clearly implies that 
some did not believe. There the 
link was wanting, not in the 
preaching of the Gospel (comp. 
tV/errfvo-ev), but in the belief of 
the hearer. 

17. The words of Isaiah are 
made the ground of a further in 
ference, which is also the answer 
to the question which was started 

in ver. 14. : "How are they to 
believe him whom they have not 
heard ? " So far, at any rate, we 
may conclude that "Faith cometh 
by hearing," to which the Apostle 
adds, as if led on by verbal asso 
ciation, and "hearing comes by 
words, the word of Christ." 

18. Again the Apostle pursues 
the word a/co// in a different di 
rection. How faith comes in 
general we know ; but did it 
come to them ? To which the 
Apostle replies, by an abrupt ex 
clamation " But I say, have 
they not heard ?" a\Xa is a pas 
sionate adversative. He had been 
previously speaking of Jews ; 
here he includes Jews and Gen 
tiles. We may answer, he says, 
in the words of the Psalmist, 
" Their sound is gone out into all 
lands, and their voice unto the 
ends of the earth." Ps. xix. 
from the LXX. 

19. But I say (to put the 
case more precisely), Did not 
Israel know ? Did not know, 
what ? the Gospel, or the word 
of God in general, or the rejection 

VER. 1621.] 


2 ( J7 

feet of them l that bring glad tidings of good things ! 

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias 

17 saith, Lord, who hath believed our report ? So then 
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of 

18 Christ. 2 But I say, Have they not heard? Nay rather*, 
their sound went into all the earth, and their words 

19 unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel 
know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy 
by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I 

20 will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I 
was found in 3 them that sought me not ; I was made 

21 manifest in 3 them that asked not after me. But to 

1 Add That preach the gospel of peace and. 

2 God. 


of the Jews in particular ? The 
latter agrees best with the words 
which follow: "First, Moses 
prophesies of the Jews being pro 
voked to anger by the Gentiles." 
But, on the other hand, what the 
previous context requires is, not 
the rejection of the Jews, but the 
Gospel or the Word of God in 
general ; nor would the laws of 
language allow us to anticipate 
what follows as the subject of 
tyvo). "But I say, did not Israel 
know of the rejection of the 
Jews, of which I am about to 
speak ? " The truth seems to be, 
that what was to be supplied after 
y>/w, was not precisely in the 
Apostle s mind. He was think 
ing of the Gospel ; but with the 
Gospel the rejection of the Jews 
was so closely connected, that he 
easily makes the transition from 
one to the other. 

TTjOtDroe Mwvtrj/e.] First, that is, 
before all others, Moses, as after 
him the prophets. The words 
which follow, are quoted from 

the LXX. (Deut. xxxii. 21.), 
which differs in reading avroi>^ 
for vpdg. 

Trapa^TjXoxrw.] Comp. xi. 13. 

20. Hffa iag c)e.] Moses speaks 
first obscurely ; but afterwards 
Esaias freely and boldly, and, as 
it were, without fear of the Jews, 
says, " I was found of them that 
sought me not." 

evpedrjv.^ What is already 
past, in the language of the pro 
phet, is made present in the 
application by the Apostle. 

21. Bat to the Jews far diffe 
rent is his language. In address 
ing them he says: "All day 
long I stretched forth my hands 
to a disobedient and gainsaying 
people." Both passages are taken 
from Isa. Ixv. 1, 2., with slight 
variations from the version of 
the LXX., which is as follows : 

v TOLQ E/J.E prj 

etTTft, ifiov elp.1 TW tdi ei) ot oJ*c exa- 
\taciv JJLOV TO ovofjia. 
rag ^elpac; yuou 6 Xr/r 

TO,? X^pfa f JLOV npbs \abv a 



Xao>> a7rio>j>ra Kct 

Here it is obvious that 
the nation referred to is in both 
verses the same, viz. the Jews. 
The Apostle was perhaps led by 
the sound of the word tQvog to 
apply the first verse to the Gen 

Such is the mode in which the 
Apostle clothes his thoughts. 

. X. 


The language of the Old Testa 
ment is not the proof of the 
doctrine which he is teaching, 
but the expression of it. He 
sees the great fact before him 
of the acceptance of the Gentiles 
and the rejection of the Jews, 
and reads the prophecies by the 
light of that fact. The page of 
the Old Testament sparkles be 
fore his eyes with intimations of 

VER. 21.] 



Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my 
hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. 

the purposes of God. There is 
an analogy between the circum 
stances of Israel, now and for 
merly, dimly visible. To the 
mind of the Apostle this analogy 
does not present itself as to the 
mind of the author of the He 
brews, as embodied in the whole 
constitution and history of the 
Jewish people, but in particular 

events or separate expressions. 
Hence, when passing from the 
law to the Gospel, he is like one 
declaring dark sayings of old. 
And his language appears to us 
fragmentary and unconnected, 
because he takes his citations in 
unusual senses, and places them 
in a new connexion. 



[OH. XI. 

Adyoj ovv, fJLrj aTraxraTO 6 #eos rov Xabv avrov, [/ ov irpoe- 11 
yva) ;] jjirj yevoiro KOL yap lya) ^Icrpa^Xurrj^ et/xi, e/c cnrep- 
^aaros A/BpadfJi, <[>vXrjs Beviapdv. OVK anaKraro 6 0os 2 
rov Xabv avrov, ov irpotyva). rj OVK oloare Iv HXia ri Xeyet 
7] ypacfryj ; a)? ivrvyyavei ro> dew Kara rov icrpayX 2 , Kvpie, 3 
TrpotpTjras crov aireKTeLvav 3 , ra Ov&iaorrripia, crov Ka- 

1 Om. ov Trpotyvov. 

XL The whole of the three 
chapters viii., ix., x. may be re 
garded as the passionate struggle 
of conflicting emotions in the 
Apostle s mind, Trove JJLEV vvvi ct 
of his present and former self. 
Are Israel saved, or not ? They 
must be, for I also am one of 
them. At last, the purpose of 
God respecting them clears be 
fore his eyes. That they are 
rejected is a fact ; but it is only 
for a time, that the Gentiles may 
be received. Hitherto he has 
been occupied with laying the 
broad foundation of a universal 
Gospel. Is he the God of the 
Jews only ? is he not also of the 
Gentiles ? Yes ; of the Gentiles 
also ; and of the Gentiles ex 
clusively it seemed, but for the 
remnant who are saved. Such 
was the impression to which his 
own reception would naturally 
have led the Apostle, as he went 
from city to city, finding no 
hearers of the word, but Gentiles 
only. Of the two divisions of 
mankind, he seemed to lose one, 
and gain the other. The medita 
tion of this fact had revealed to 
him a new page in God s dealings 
with mankind. But now a fur 
ther insight into the purposes of 
God breaks upon him. In the 
order of Providence came the 
Jew first, and afterwards the 
Gentile ; and the Jew last re- 

Add Xt-ywv. 

Add KO.I. 

turning to the inheritance of his 
fathers. The erring branch that 
has twined with the briars cf the 
wilderness, is brought back to 
its own olive, and the tree covers 
the whole earth. 

1. The prophets spoke in pa 
rables of the acceptance of the 
Gentiles, and of the rejection of 
the Jews. What is the inference 
that we are to draw from this ? 
That God has cast off his peo 
ple ? The Apostle starts back 
from the conclusion which, up to 
this point, he has been seeking to 
illustrate and enforce : " I say, 
God forbid ! for I also am one 
of them." 

otTrwo-ttro contains an allusion 
to the ninety-fourth Psalm, from 
which the Apostle has borrowed 
the expression, on OVK cnrwae-at 
Ki/pioe TOV \aov avTOVj ver. 14. 

ov irpoiyvu, A.A.f., om. B. C. G. 
g. v. It has probably been in 
serted from v. 2. Compare viii. 
1. for an instance of a similar 

Kal yap iyw, For I also.~\ The 
Apostle feels that the future of 
his countrymen is bound up with 
his own ; as if he said, " They 
cannot be cast off, for then I 
should be rejected ; and they 
will be accepted, because I am 
accepted." He recoils from the 
one consequence, and is assured 
of the other. He whom God 


1 3.J 



I say then, Hath God cast away his people [* which he 

2 foreordained*] ? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, 
of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God 
hath not cast away his people which he foreordained.* 

3 Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias ? how he 
maketh intercession to God against Israel 2 , Lord, they 
have killed thy prophets 3 , digged down thine altars ; 

1 Omit which he foreknew. 

chose to be the Apostle to the 
Gentiles could not be a cast 
away. This is one way of draw 
ing out his thought. More simply, 
and perhaps truly, it may be 
said, that he is expressing the 
feeling as of a parent over a 
prodigal son, that "he cannot be 
lost," the true ground of which 
is the affection which will not 
bear to be separated from him. 

For a similar particularity of 
statement respecting his own 
claim as an Israelite, compare 
Phil. iii. 5. 

2. God has not cast off his 
people ; but, as heretofore, has 
fulfilled his purpose towards a 
remnant. The words \aov ov 
Trpolyru have been translated 
" which he foreknew," in the 
English Version, in accordance 
with the signification of the word 
TTpoyivojaKsiv in some other pas 
sages (Acts, xxvi. 5., 2 Pet. iii. 
17.). This, however, affords no 
good opposition to UTTUMTCITO, if it 
can be said to have any meaning 
at all. The clause is better ex 
plained "which he foreordained," 
or "respecting which he had a 
purpose." So in 1 Pet. i. 20., our 
Saviour is called " a Lamb fore 
ordained before the foundation of 
the world." The Apostle means to 
intimate that all which related to 
Israel was predetermined. It is 
a reason for believing that they 

8 Add saying. 

3 And. 

are not rejected, that no thing hap 
pens to them which is not wpi- 
fffiirri fiuvXrJKaiirpoyi UHrei rov $co&. 
The consolation is of the same 
kind as is implied in the words 
of the heathen poet : "Non hrec 
sine numine divum eveniunt." 

iv f H\i 0,] in the place about 
Elias (1 Kings, xix. 10.). This 
is an instance of a common cus 
tom among the Jews of using 
proper names as landmarks for 
passages of Scripture ; so, in Ga- 
briele, Dan. ix. 21., that is, in 
the passage about Gabriel. The 
quotation which follows is a- 
bridged from the LXX. 

irrvyxavct,] "goes to God" 
against Israel; tvruyxcb w, accord 
ing to the analogy of a^ro/zat, and 
other Greek words, from the sense 
of " meeting with," " going to," 
acquires in the later and ecclesi 
astical Greek a secondary notion 
of " prayer, supplication to." 

3, 4. Is it only I that say this ? 
Does not the Scripture say so 
too ? Elias comes to God as a 
man might do now, and complains 
that all Israel are rejected, and 
that there is but one godly man 
left. And the answer of God 
gives him the same consolation 
that we now have : " Yet have 
I left to myself seven thousand 
men that have not bowed the 
knee to Baal." 

It is doubtful with what de- 



[CH. XL 

wos, KOLL ^rovcriv rfJ 
/xov. aXXa TL Xeyei avrw 6 xp^arioTxos ; Kareknrov 4 



/car 5 

riv X<*/HTOS yeyovev et Se ^apiTi, OVKCTL i epyw, 6 
eVei 17 X ^ 019 ov Ken, yiverai x**/ 019 - 1 ^ ; emt^ret 7 
Io~pairj\ f rovro 2 ov/c eTrerv^ev ; r) Se tK\oyr} iTreTv^ev ol 

1 Add et Se e| epywv, OVK 

gree of precision the Apostle 
would have applied the details of 
the prophecy to the Jews of his 
own day. He may, perhaps, be 
thinking of himself as answering 
to the person of Elias in the 
words " I only am left alone ; " he 
may possibly intend an allusion 
to "those who killed the Lord 
Jesus," in the words " Lord they 
have slain thy prophets ; " whether 
such analogies were present to 
his mind or not, his main pur 
pose is clear, that purpose being 
to inculcate the general lesson 
that, when once before Israel had 
been rejected, the oracle of God 
said that a remnant should be 

4. 6 xprjpaTirriJiOQ.^ The oracu- 
lar response in the passage of 1 
Kings, xix. 12. the "still small 
voice." The quotation which 
follows is designedly altered, to 
give point to the Apostle s words. 
In the original it does not come 
immediately after the complaint 
of the prophet, but is introduced 
in connexion with the cruelties 
of Jehu and Hazael, 1 Kings, 
xix. : 

Ver. 17. "And it shall be, that 
him that is saved from the sword 
of Hazael Jehu shall slay : and 
him that is saved from the sword 
of Jehu shall Elisha slay." 

Ver. 18. " And thou shalt leave 

t^ epyov. 

in Israel 7000 men, all the knees 
which have not bowed the knee 
to Baal, and every mouth which 
hath not kissed him." 

It is remarkable that the 
number 7000 occurs in the next 
chapter as the number of the 
valiant men of Israel. The Apo 
stle is citing from memory; he is 
not likely to have turned to the 
original passage to select what 
would suit his purpose. 

ri/BaaA.] (1.) Older interpret 
ers explain the feminine article 
before BaaX, by supposing the 
word eiKon to be understood, but 
no other example is adduced of 
such an omission. (2.) It has 
been thought by Gesenius that the 
feminine is here used as a mode 
of contempt, as in some other 
instances in Hebrew. It is doubt 
ful, however, how far such an 
idiom, if it exist in any precisely 
parallel case in Hebrew, would 
be transferred to the Hellenistic 
Greek. Would a Jew have said 
fl ZEVQ by way of contempt ? (3.) 
A more probable supposition is, 
that there was a goddess, as well 
as a god Baal ; like Lunus and 
Luna, in Latin. This feminine 
occurs in several passages of the 

Judges, ii. 13. IXaTpevffav TTJ 
BaaX Kol ra?e Aorapraie. 

Judges, X. 6. eXaTpevffav rale 

VER. 48.] 



4 and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what 
saith the answer of God unto him ? I have reserved to 
myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the 

5 knee to Baal. Even so then at this present time also 
there is a remnant according to the election of grace 

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works : otherwise 

7 grace is no more grace. 1 What then ? hath not Israel 2 
obtained that which he seeketh for? But the elec- 

s tion hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (accord- 

1 Add But if it be of works, then it is no more grace : otherwise work is 
no more work. Israel hath not. 

very inferior though ancient MS. 
authority, and even thus requir 
ing help from emendation, 
ti e EL, fpywv, OVK en ecrrl ^aptc t 
7Tt ro epyov ou/cert earlv tpyov. 
It is not necessary to argue 
whether or not this clause is 
in character with the style of 
St. Paul, on which ground pro 
bably no fair objection could be 
raised to it, when the want of 
external evidence sufficiently 
condemns it. 

7. TI olv ;] What is the conclu 
sion then? The Apostle checks the 
digression which was once more 
carrying him away. Is Israel 
saved? Is Israel lost? Neither, 
exactly. It has not attained what 
it is seeking for, but a portion of 
Israel has attained it. 

Such is the way of taking the 
passage according to the Textus 
Receptus and the English version, 
against which, as the question 
is only one of a stop, manu 
script authority cannot be set in 
the scale. 

The connexion will have 
to be drawn out somewhat 
differently if, with Lachmann, 
we place a note of interrogation 
after lirervxev. " What is the 

BaaXetfj. KCU TCUQ 

So Hosea, ii. 10. ; Jer. xi. 13. ; 
Tob. i. 5. 

5. So now, at the present time, 
God has chosen a remnant. In 
the days of Elias there were more 
worshippers of the true God than 
any one could have imagined, in 
Israel. Even so now, from the 
Jews themselves, there are a great 
company of believers. 

fear eK\oyi]v ^apiroe,] according 
to the election which grace 
makes; gen. of the subject. 

6. As in many other passages, 
the Apostle is led back by the 
association of words to the great 
antithesis. Compare chap, iv 4., 
ry Se epya^opeva) 6 fj,iffdoQ ov \o- 
yi crcu Kara, ^apiv, K. T. A.j Eph. 
ii. 9., OVK: e tjoywy iVa pr] rig Kav- 
X*/<Trjrai. " But if of grace, not 
as the Jews suppose by obedi 
ence to the law ; for grace ceases 
to be grace, when we bring in 
works." In these words the 
Apostle is already taking up the 
other side of the argument, that 
is, he is showing why Israel was 
rejected, not why a remnant was 

In the Textus Receptus is added 
the parallel clause, resting on 



[Cii. XL 

Se \OiTTol 7ra)pa>0r)crav, Kaa)S yeyp&TTTai oj/cet auroi? 
#eos irvevfjia /caraWfea)?, ofidaXfJiovs rov /AT) jSktirtiv KOL 
a)ra rov /AT) aKoveiv, ea>s TT?? cr^/xepo^ T^/xepas. /cat JauelS 
Xeyet, TevYjOrjTO) r) TpdVea avr&v ei? Trayi Sa KCU et? Qrjpav 
Kal eis <TKdv?>a\ov KOI ei? cb TctTroSctyta OLVTOLS, 
Tcocrav ol d</>#aX/AOi avrow rov /AT) /SXeVew, /cal roz^ 
avrwv Sta TTCWTOS 

words are used in a metaphorical 
sense, the substantive meaning 
" sadness," the verb " to arouse sad 
ness." They acquire in the LXX. 
a further sense of "torpor," "to 
cause torpor," as in Ps. Ix. 5., Is. 
xxix. 10., analogous to the tran 
sition of ideas in the words smit 
ten or stricken in English ; " tor 
por" is the meaning of ^ara.w^iQ 
in this passage. 

9, 10. And David (in Ps. Ixix. 
23.) uses the same language: 
" Let their table be made a snare 
unto them, and a gin and an 
offence and a retribution. Let 
them have the evils of old age, 
blindness and bent limbs." 

St. Paul quotes this passage, 
not in its original sense of a 
malediction against the enemies 
of God, but as a proof of the re 
jection of the Jews. The original 
passage is one of those which in 
all ages have been a stumbling- 
block to the readers of Scripture, 
in which the spirit of the Old 
Testament appears most unlike 
the spirit of the New. With the 
view of escaping from what is 
revolting to Christian feelings, it 
has not been uncommon to con 
strue the imperative moods as 
future tenses. The Psalmist or 
prophet is supposed to be predict 
ing, not imprecating, the destruc 
tion of his enemies. But the 
spirit of these passages cannot 
be altered by a change of tense 

conclusion then ? Has not Israel 
obtained what it seeks for ? It 
may be, not. This makes no dif 
ference; the election has obtained 
it, and the hardness of heart of 
the rest only fulfilled the pre 
dictions of prophecy." Accord 
ing to this way of punctuating 
the passage, the question is tenta 
tive, as in Rom. iii. 3. 

eVtforet,] which has far greater 
MS. authority in its favour than 
the imperfect gTTf^ref, Gr.f. g. v., 
may be explained by supposing 
a reference to the expectation of 
the Messiah among the Jews in 
the days of the Apostle. 

8. As in chap, iv., Moses and 
the Psalmist are quoted in suc 
cession, to illustrate the Apostle s 
statement. This was only what 
Moses said "God gave them the 
spirit of torpor, eyes that they 
should not see, and ears that they 
should not hear unto this day * 
(as was then said, and we still 

The quotation is taken, though 
not precisely as it stands, from 
Deut. xxix. 4., where the last 
words occur with a slight change; 
probably there is also a recol 
lection of the passage so often 
quoted in the Gospels and Acts, 
Isaiah, vi. 10. The expression 
TTvevpa KararvEewg is introduced 
from Isaiah, xxix. 10. 

is derived from /,-ara- 
), to pierce, wound. Both 

VER. 810.] 



8 ing as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of 
torpor*, eyes that they should not see, and ears that 

9 they should not hear ;) unto this day. And David saith, 
Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a 

10 stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them : let their 
eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down 
their back alway. 

or mood ; neither is it consistent, 
in such a psalm, for example, as 
the Ixviii., to read the first por 
tion of the psalm as a prayer or 
wish, and refuse to consider the 
remainder as an imprecation. It 
is better to admit. Avhat the words 
of the passage will not allow us 
to deny, that the Psalmist is im 
precating God s wrath against 
his own enemies. But first his 
enemies are God s enemies, so 
that his bitter words against them 
lose the character of merely pri 
vate enmity. Secondly, the. state 
of life in which such a prayer 
could be uttered by a " man after 
God s own heart," is altogether 
different from our own. It was 
a state in which good and evil 
worked with greater power in 
the same individual, and in which 
a greater mixture of good and 
evil, of gentleness and fierceness, 
existed together than we can 
easily imagine. The Spirit of 
God was working " in the un 
tamed chaos of the affections," 
but also leaving them often in 
their original strength and law 
lessness. David curses his ene 
mies, believing them to be the 
enemies of God. The Christian 
cannot curse even the enemies of 
God, still less his own. This 
contrast we need not hesitate to 
admit ; if the writers of the Old 
Testament did not scruple to dis- 


own " the visitation of the sins of 
the fathers upon the children ; " 
neither need we refuse to say with 
Grotius, " Eis ex spiritu legis 
optat Davides paria." 

9. r) rpaTTf^a.] Let their table > 
spread with the banquet, be a 
snare to them. We need not 
think, with some commentators, 
of the table of the Lord, which 
is a snare to the unworthy par 
takers of it, or of the Paschal 
Lamb, which may be said, in a 
certain sense, to have ensnared 
the Jews at the destruction of 
Jerusalem ; still less of the tables 
of the money-changers, and least 
of all of the Temple, which is re 
garded as synonymous with the 
altar of the Temple, and this with 
the table here spoken of. The 
meaning is better illustrated by 
the words of Shakespeare : 
" Poison be their drink. Gall, 
worse than gall, the daintiest that 
they taste." 

Comp. the preceding verse of 
the psalm : " They gave me gall 
for my meat, and in my thirst 
they gave me vinegar to drink." 

elg S//pav,] either " for a cause 
of their becoming a prey," or pro 
bably, in Alexandrian Greek, "for 
a trap or gin." Such appears to 
be the meaning of the word in 
Ps. xxxiv. 8., ?/ Sjjpa r/j/ tKpv^e, 
where as here Trayig has preceded. 




[Cu. XL 

Atyco ovv, /xr} errTcucraz Iva Trecrtocriv ; prj yevoiro dXXa n 
TO* avTwv TTapaTTT^jJiaTL TI cr^rrjpia rois Wvtviv ets TO 

o-ai OLVTOVS. d Se TO TrapaTTTOJ^a avruv TrXouTOS 12 
/cat TO yJTTrjfJia avrvv TrXouTOS iOvwv, TTOCTCO p,a\\ov 
TO Trroaia avTwv. Se 1 Xeyw Tots edve<Tiv. e< oVo^ 13 

ou^ 2 eiftl eyw e#^(z/ aTrocnroXo?, Trp SiaKOvtav JJLOV 

; et TTOJS Trapa^rjXaxra) [JLOV TT)^ crap/ca Aca craxra) u 
as ef avT&v. el yap 17 0,770)80X7) avT&v Kara\\ayr) /cdcr- !5 

down their neck, either with old 
age or slavery. 

11. Language like this would 
seem to imply that Israel has 
fallen. The cup of God s wrath 
must be full against those of 
whom such things are said. But 
the Apostle has not forgotten the 
other side of his argument, from 
which he digressed for a mo 
ment. Is their stumble a fall 1 
he asks (the very word tirraiaav 
prepares the way for the con 
clusion at which he is aiming) ; 
or (if we take the words eWcac-ar 
and Triadxjiv in a metaphorical 
sense), have they erred so as 
utterly to fall away from grace ? 
The Apostle, with the words of 
Moses, which he had quoted in 
the previous chapter, still in his 
mind, replies : " Not so ; " their 
fall was but a Divine economy, 
in which the Gentiles alternated 
with the Jews. The temporary 
precedence of the Gentiles wa^ 
intended to have, and may have, 
the effect of arousing them to 
jealousy. As in other passages, 
the Apostle recovers the lost 
theme by repeating the same 
formula with which he com 
menced At yw ovv. 

r/ <rwr?7jO/a,] the salvation which 
answers to this fall or which is 
given to the Gentiles ; ro7e tQ 

2 Om. ovv. 

a possessive dative after // <rwrr?p/a, 
or more probably after a verb un 
derstood. The word Trapct^Awo-w 
alludes to the passage from Deut. 
(xxxii. 21.), which has been al 
ready referred to (x. 19.). 

12. irXovTOQ KO<T;UOV,] the en 
richment of the world. The word 
Koajjioe is general, though here 
the connexion shows the Gentiles 
to be chiefly in the Apostle s mind. 

teal TO ijrrrffjia avrwy.] Their 
inferiority, being ^Vro^ec, //rrw- 
yLtevoi, is opposed to TT\OVTOQ eOvwi , 
and also TO TrX/ypwjua, their ful 
ness. In the latter word is in 
cluded the fulfilment of God s 
purposes (a secondary thought, 
which enters also into the mean 
ing of TrX^jOw^ua TOV ^porov, Tatv 
fccupa)* ), as well as the filling up 
of the numbers of the elect. 
Israel may be said to be filled up 
when all Israelites are included 
and there is no more room left in 
the measures of Providence. 

13. vfjuv fie Xeyw TO"IQ edveffiv.^ 
But in saying this, I am as one 
addressing those who are without. 
I speak not to the Jews them 
selves, but to you Gentiles. As 
though he said, " Judge ye what 
I say, who are spectators of this 
work of God, and know what 
blessings you have received by 
the partial rejection of the Jews." 

VER. 1115.] 



11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall ? 
God forbid : but rather through their fall is salvation 
unto the Gentiles come, for to provoke them to jealousy. 

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and 
the diniinishing of them the riches of the Gentiles ; how 

is much more their fulness ? But * to you Gentiles I speak, 
nay rather 2 *, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gen- 

H tiles, I magnify mine office : if by any means I may 
provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and 

15 may* save some of them. For if the casting away of 
them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the re- 

1 For. 

offov pet ouv elfju eyw.] It is 
better, with Lachmann,to separate 
these words by a full stop from 
the preceding. The Apostle is 
beginning a new thought, in which 
he applies the argument which 
has been just used, to his own 
position as Apostle of the Gen 
tiles. He " goes off " upon the 
word Gentiles. "Nay, I do not 
hide but rather magnify mine 
office of Apostle of the Gentiles, 
in the hope that I may rouse my 
kinsmen to jealousy, and save, I 
will not venture to say all, but a 
few of them." The name of apo- 
stleship of the Gentiles was odious 
to the Jews. The Apostle does 
seek to mitigate this hatred or 
put away the odious name. His 
hope mounts higher that a whole 
some shame at the conversion of 
the heathen may bring back his 
countrymen to the truth. Com 
pare Trapar)\u>(Tai in ver. 11. 

According to another way of 
taking the passage, the Apostle is 
supposed to say " As the Apostle 
of the Gentiles, I magnify mine 
office to include the Jews ; the 
term ZQw] is ambiguous and com- 

2 Om. nay rather. 

prehends both." This is more 
than is contained in the text, and 
destroys the point of the words, 
oaov H.EV ovv elfj.1 f yw 

According to a third view the 
Apostle is excusing himself to 
the Gentiles for the honour he 
may be supposed to have done to 
the Jews in the preceding words, 
in extenuation of which he pleads 
that it is the glory of his office as 
Apostle of Gentiles to rouse the 
Jews to jealousy as this would be 
the enrichment of the Gentiles, 
and of all mankind. Too much 
has here also to be supplied ; and 
the connexion, though more con 
tinuous, is obscure and laboured. 

15. Neither is it a merely vi 
sionary hope that some of them 
shall be saved. " For as I said 
above, so say I now again ; if the 
casting away of them be the re 
concilement of the world, what 
shall the receiving of them be but 
life from the dead." In more 
senses than one, it might be said, 
that the casting away of the Jews 
was the reconciliation of the world, 
(1.) as they were simultaneous; 

x 2 



[CH. XI. 

, rts TI 77pdo-X?7jU,i//{,s el JUT) far] IK veKpwv; el Se TI anap^y 16 
dyioi, Kal TO (frvpajjia Kal elrj pi>a dyia, Kal ol /cXaSoi. el 17 
Se rwes TUTS /cXaSo>i> eeK\d<T0r)crav, crv Se a/ypteXaios &v 
eveKevTpio-OvjS eV avrols Kal <rvyKOLVtovo<$ rrjs /oi&ys Kal TT}S 
7710x77709 XT?? eXcuas eyevov, fJirj KaraKav^o) TOIV /cXaSaj^* is 
et Se KaraKavyacrai, ou crv TT)^ /iaz/ /3acrraei9, dXX 17 

(2.) as without the doing away 
of the law of Moses, the Gentiles 
could not have been admitted. 

The words <i>]7 CK VEK^MV have 
had more than one meaning as 
signed to them : (1.) Life out of 
death ; the house of Israel who 
are dead, shall be alive again. 
Compare chap. iv. 17 20. But 
the connexion requires that the 
benefit should be one in which 
Gentiles as well as Jews are par 
takers. There would be a 
want of point in saying, " If 
their casting away be reconcile 
ment to the world, what shall 
their acceptance be, but the 
quickening of the Jews into life ? " 
(2.) It is better, therefore, to take 
w/} EK veKptiv of some undefined 
spiritual good, of which Gentile 
and Jew alike have a share, and 
which, in comparison of their 
former state may be regarded as 
resurrection ; the thought, how 
ever, of their prior state, is sub 
ordinate. Least of all in a cli 
max, should the meaning of each 
word which the Apostle uses be 
exactly analysed. Words fail 
him, and he employs the strongest 
that he can find, thinking rather 
of their general force than of 
their precise meaning. 

16. The last argument might 
be described in modern language 
as an argument from analogy ; 
this which follows, as an argu 
ment from tendencies. As the 
beginning is, so shall the comple 

tion be ; as the cause is, so shall 
the effect be ; as the part, so the 
whole. In a similar way the 
Apostle argues in the 1 Cor. vii. 
14., that "the unbelieving hus 
band is sanctified in the wife," 
that children are holy if their 
parents are so; that " if while we 
were yet sinners Christ died for 
us, much more being justified we 
shall be saved " (Rom. v. 9.) ; 
that " he which hath begun a good 
work will perform it until the 
day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. i. 6.). 
The figures aTrap^f] and pia seem 
intended to express two different 
phases of the Apostle s argument. 
ATrapx/; = the firstfruits of the 
Gospel ; tyvpapa, the mass from 
which the firstfruits are taken, 
and which is consecrated by their 
oblation (Num. xv. 21.). The 
image is a favourite one with St. 
Paul, occurring in 1 Cor. v. 6, 
Gal. v. 9., as well as here. 
Stripped of its figure, the mean 
ing of the clause will be : As 
some Jews are believers, all Jews 
shall one day become so ; the 
" firstfruits " of the Gospel con 
secrate the nation to God. The 
word pia, on the other hand, may 
have several associations. It may 
either mean the patriarchs (cf. 
below, verse 28., "beloved for 
the fathers sakes "); or the Jew 
ish dispensation generally ; or the 
Christian Church, which was the 
stock, new yet old, from which 
the branches were broken off. 

VER. 1618.] 



is ceiving of them be, but life from the dead ? And* if the 
firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root 

17 be holy, so are the branches. But* if some of the 
branches be broken off, andthou, being a wild olive tree, 
wert graffed in among them, and with them becamest * 

is partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree ; boast 
not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest 

This last interpretation best pre 
serves the parallelism of the 
clauses, and is most in keeping 
with ver. 18. For the use of the 
word ay/a, comp. ch. vii. 12. : 
" So then the law is holy, and 
the commandment holy, and just, 
and good." 

17. ei Se rives. ] The Apostle 
anticipates an objection, " that 
some of the branches were broken 
off." ]t is the ever recurring ri 
yap el ijTricrrrjffav ru te (iii. 3.) 
in a new form. In the words 
aypitAaiog and ffvyKou wvoQ rijg 
pifyg the Apostle is preparing 
his answer. 

The paronomasia in /cXadoi and 
e^K\acrOr)<Tai i which is repeated 
in v. 19., is hardly translatable 
in English : " If some of the 
branches ceased to be branches," 
&c.;comp. ii. 1., xii. 3., 1 Cor. xi. 
31, 32., and many other passages 
for similar plays of words, in 
which the Apostle is said to have 
a peculiar delight, or rather 
which he often seems to employ 
from a defect of expression. 

The olive tree, like the vine, is 
used in the Old Testament (Jer. 
xi. 16.) as a figure of the house of 
Israel. No image could be more 
natural to an inhabitant of Pales 
tine. The relative dignity rather 
than the fruitfulness of the cul 
tivated and wild olive is here the 
point of similarity. Those who 
are acquainted with the subject 

of grafting trees, observe that 
the comparison fails, because it is 
not the new which derives strength 
from the old, but the old from the 
new. Such an observation may 
be placed on a level with the re 
mark which is sometimes thought 
to reflect light on the meaning of 
the parable of the wheat and 
tares, " that wheat is only another 
kind of tares." Our Lord and 
St. Paul speak not as botanists 
or men of science, but in the 
familiar language of ordinary 

18. el Be Karat. . . . pia (re.^ But 
if you do boast, remember this: it 
is you who are dependent on the 
root, not the root on you. The 
Apostle is not speaking of the 
Old Testament as the root of the 
New, but of the Christian Church, 
the spiritual Israel, which is old 
and new at once, the root on 
which the Gentiles are ingrafted 
branches, and from which the 
Jews are broken off. 

19. The thought already latent 
in ver. 17. is distinctly brought 
out ; "therefore you will say : 
I was put in their place." They 
were broken off that I might be 
grafted in. 

20. I grant it. [St. Paul has 
already said the same in other 
words at ver. 11.] But it is 
another and a more practical les 
son I would have you learn from 
the same fact. They were broken 

x 3 



[Cn. XL 


pitfL ere. Ipels ovv \Efe/cXacr#7?craz 1 /cXaSot, IVa ey a) lyKtv- 19 

rpicrOa). /caXa>9. TT? cwri-OTia eK\do-0r)crav, cru Se TT; Trtcrret 20 

ecrr?) KOLS. JUT) vifjrjXfxfipovei, dXXa <j)o/3ov. el yap 6 #eos rwz/ 21 

/cara <>V<JLV /cXaSa)^ OVAC e^eccraro, ouSe crou </>eicrerai,. 2 iSe 22 

Oeov. eVi /xe> rovs 

#eo> 4 , CCt^ 

lirel KOI cri) eKKOTnjo-y. 
^ aTTicrrta, eyKevrpicrO 
yap k<TTiv o Qebs TraXw kyKtvrpio ai avrous * et yap cri 24 
l/c TT}? Acara fyvGiv efe/coTn?? aypieXaiou Acal Trapa (fivcrw 
ets KaXXteXaio^, TTOCTO) ju,aXXoi^ oSrot oc /cara 
ey/ce^rptcr^cro^rai rij JSta eXaia. 

TttS aTTOTO/Ua 3 , CTTl 6 CTC 

e, eaz> 23 

Add Oi e . 

off because of unbelief, and you 
stand by the faith which they 
had not. Be humble and fear 
for yourselves. 

777 aTTtor/a.J Comp. ver. 30. T-/? 
TOVTWV aTTEideioi. They are datives 
of the reason or cause, as in Soph. 
Antig. 387. : o-^oXr) y aV ifieiv 
eyw ralg 

21. What was true of them is 
still more true of you. The ori 
ginal branches had a sort of 
claim on God, and yet he did not 
spare them. No, and he will not 
spare you. 

ov^ ffou fysiaeTo.i. ] Two other 
readings, one of which is that of 
the Textus Receptus, JU^TTWC ovde 
rrov 0e/o-??rat, and JJH^KIOQ ovfie aov 
<f>eicrerat, express, with different 
degrees of emphasis, the same 

Let us cast a look over the 
connexion of the last ten verses. 
At ver. 12. the Apostle had 
spoken of the " diminishing of 
the Israelite " being the " enrich 
ment of the Gentile." This led 
to the thought of the still greater 

gain which was to accrue to the 
Gentile from the restoration of 
the Israelite. Therefore also the 
restoration of Israel naturally 
formed a part of that Gospel 
which he preached among the 
Gentiles. And that Gospel he 
would make much of and thrust 
forward, if only that it might 
react upon his countrymen. 
For that Israel would be 
restored was as true as that 
the firstfruits consecrated the 
lump, or that the root implied 
the tree. And the Gentile should 
remember that he was not the 
original stock, but the branch 
which was afterwards grafted in. 
Still the Apostle observes a loop 
hole in the argument through 
which Gentile pretensions may 
creep in. He may say, Granted; 
I am not the root only the branch, 
but it was they who gave place 
to me ; they were cut off that I 
might be grafted in. Good, says 
the Apostle, learn of them but 
another lesson. Not " they were 
cut off that I might be grafted 
in;" but " I may be cut off too." 

VER. 1924.] 



19 not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, 
The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed 

20 in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, 
and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but 

21 fear : for if God spared not the natural branches, take 

22 heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the 
goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, seve 
rity; but toward thee, goodness, the goodness of God 1 
if thou continue in his goodness : otherwise thou also 

23 shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not in 
unbelief, shall be graffed in : for God is able to graff 

24 them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive 
tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary 
to nature into a good olive tree : how much more shall 
these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into 

Om. of God. 

22. Behold, a twofold lesson : 
mercy and severity ; mercy to 
you, severity to them. And yet 
this lesson is one that may make 
you rejoice with trembling ; for 
you may yet change places. 

Like SiKaiocrvi ri, ^apic, OeXrjpa, 
and other words, xfirjaroTriG is 
used in this passage, for the ef 
fect as well as the cause ; for the 
state produced in man, as well as 
for the goodness of God, which 
produces that state. " Mercy if 
you abide in his mercy," is said 
in the same way as grace if you 
abide in his grace. See Essay on 
Abstract ideas of the New Tes 
tament, at the end of ch. ii. 

For the change in construc 
tion from the accusative to the 
nominative, compare chapter ii. 

7Ti Kai <rv.] Since, if you do 
not ; an elliptical form of expres 
sion in which the protasis is 

supplied from the connexion. 

V. 6. 7Tt > 


23. You shall change places ; 
you shall be cut off, and they, if 
they cease from unbelief, shall 
be grafted in. For it is only 
their unbelief, and not any defect 
in the power of God, that pre 
vents their being again en 

Comp. 2 Cor. iii. 15, 16., "But 
even unto this day, when Moses 
is read, the veil is upon their 
heart. Nevertheless, when he 
shall turn to the Lord, the veil 
shall be taken away." 

24. is an amplification of 23., 
" God is able to graft them in 
again." It is an easier and more 
natural thing to restore them to 
their own olive, than to graft 
you into it. It is uncertain, and 
is of no great importance, whe 
ther ol is the article or the re- 

x 4 



[CM. XT. 

t, TO 


rovro, 25 

Ov yap de\o) u/m? dyvotiv, a 

Iva JUT) rjre Trap 9 eavrots (j^povi^oi, on Trojpcoo is CCTTO 
TO) Io-pa7j\ yeyovev a^pis ov TO 7T\ijpo)fJia TOJV iQv&v eto~- 

Kal ouTa>5 Tras I(T/)a^X craj^creTat, Ka#a>9 yeypa- 26 

1 Add icaf. 

lative ; whether, that is, the 
last clause is to be translated, 
" How much more shall these 
who are the natural branches be 
engrafted in their own olive ?" 
or, "How much more shall 
these (i. e. be engrafted), who 
will be engrafted according to 
nature in their own olive ? " 

25. For I would have you 
know, brethren, that this is the 
secret purpose of God. 

Comp. Eph. iii. 36. : " How 
that by revelation he made 
known unto me the mystery ; 
. . . which in other ages was 
not made known unto the sons 
of men, as it is now revealed 
unto his holy apostles and pro 
phets by the Spirit ; that the 
Gentiles should be fellow heirs, 
and of the same body." 

/zvtm/joiov,] in reference to the 
heathen mysteries, is a revealed 
secret, a secret into which a 
person is admitted, not one from 
which they are excluded. Ana 
logous to this is the use of 
p-vrrrripioi in the New Testament. 
It is applied to a secret which 
God has revealed, known to 
some and not to others, mani 
fested in the latter days, but 
hidden previously. Thus the 
Gospel is spoken of in Matt, 
xiii. 11. as the mystery of the 
kingdom of God. So Rom. xvi. 
25. : " Now to him that is able 
to stablish you according to my 
Gospel, and the preaching of 

Jesus Christ, according to the 
revelation of the mystery, which 
hath been kept silent through 
endless ages." In Eph. v. 2. 
the rite of marriage is spoken 
of as a great mystery, typifying 
Christ and the Church. So 
" the mystery of godliness," 1 
Tim. iii. 16. ; the mystery of 
iniquity, 2 Thess. ii. 7. ; " the 
mystery of the seven stars," Rev. 
i. 20.; "Mystery Babylon the 
great," xvii. 5. In all these pas 
sages reference is made: (1.) 
to what is wonderful ; or, (2.) to 
what is veiled under a figure ; 
or, (3.) to what has been long 
concealed or is so still to the 
multitude of mankind ; and in 
all there is the correlative idea 
of revelation. The use of the 
word pvart ipiov in Scripture, af 
fords no grounds for the popu 
lar application of the term 
" mystery " to the truths of the 
Christian religion. It means 
not what is, but what was a se 
cret, into which, if we may use 
heathen language, the believer 
has become initiated, which there 
is no purpose to conceal from 
mankind; rather which he "would 
not have other men ignorant of : " 
so far as it remains a secret it is 
so because it is spiritually dis 
cerned, and some Christians, or 
those who are not Christians, 
have not the power of discern 

tVa fjLrj fire Trap zavrolg 

VER. 25, 26.] 



5 their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that 
ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be 
wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is 
happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be 

26 come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is 
written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer ; l he 


/not.] The present position of the 
Gentiles in relation to the Jews 
was temporary and accidental ; 
it was not to be made a ground 
of boasting for any. 

TTwpwo-ig a? ^if poue,] a partial 
hardening of the heart. Whether 
the Apostle means " a hardening 
of heart" which came over a 
part of Israel, or a degree of har 
dening of heart coming over the 
whole people, is not expressed. 
The Apostle is arguing against 
the Gentiles being puffed up, and 
at the same time extenuating the 
fault of his countrymen. " For 
I would wish you to know, 
brethren, that this rejection of 
the Jews is not total, but partial ; 
it is but for a time, until the 
number of the Gentiles is filled 

7r\/7pwjua rUtv tOrah ,] the full 
number of the Gentiles, all that 
were contained in the purposes 
of God ; like TrXtjpwpa TOV xpovov, 
Gal. iv. 4. 

etore Xfy.] Compare Heb. iii. 19. 
where, as here, the word is used 
absolutely. The first portion of 
ver. 25. is closely connected with 
ver, 26. ; the mystery was not so 
much the partial rejection of 
Israel as their final salvation. 

26. Trcie lo-pcu/X,] i. e. the Is 
raelites who are hardened, as 
well as those who believe. 

It is evident, by the opposition 
to the Gentiles that St. Paul is 
here speaking, not of the spi 
ritual, but of the literal Israel. 
His words should not, however, 
be so pressed as to imply uni 
versal salvation, which was not 
in his thoughts. The language 
of prophecy, and the feelings of 
his own heart, alike told him that 
Israel should be saved. But he 
is thinking of the nation which 
is to be accepted as a whole, not 
of the individuals who composed 
it. It may be said that even in 
this modified sense the words of 
the prophecy or aspiration have 
not been fulfilled. We must an 
swer, no more has the Apostle s 
belief in the immediate coming 
of Christ ; it was the near wish 
and prayer of his heart, but in 
its accomplishment far off, and 
to be realised only in the final 
victory of good over evil. 

Modern criticism detaches the 
meaning of the Apostle from the 
event of the prophecy. It has 
no need to pervert his words, 
from a determination as it may be 
called, such as Luther expresses, 
that the Jews shall not be saved, 
or with Calvin to transfer them 
to the Israel of God, because the 
time seems to have passed for 
their literal fulfilment. Happy 
would it have been for the for- 





Ia/cto/3 * Kal avTrj avrot? 77 nap* /JLOV SiaOjjKT], OTav a^>e- 27* 

Xw/xac ras d/*a/mas avTwv. Kara pev TO evayyeXwv iyOpol 28 
t v//,a?, Kara Se TT)^ K\oyrjv dyaTrrjTol Sia rovs Trarepa? 

dfJLTafJL\rjTa yap ra papier para Kal 77 K\IJ<TL<S TOV Oeov. 29 

ajcTTrep yap 1 v/xets TTOTC rjireiurj era/re ra> uea>, ^i)^ Se 77X677- so 

^77x6 r>7 TOUTW^ aTreiOeia, OVTOJS Kal OVTOL vvv rjirtiOrjorav si 

eXeet, IVa Acal avroi [vw] 2 IXerjOwcnv crvve- 32 
yap 6 ^eog rovs Tra^ra? eis direWeiaiv, Iva rou 

2 Om. vD^. 

sake of their fathers, whom God 

Compare Philo (De Justitia, 
ii. 366. Mangey), where he says 
that God will always show mercy 
to the Jewish people, because of 
the virtues of the patriarchs; 
and (De Exsec. ii. 436.), that 
God will receive their prayers 
for their descendants. 

29. auerapeXrjra yap ra \api- 
arpara Kal // K\i)cri<; rov S sou.] In 
the same spirit in which the 
Apostle says, " He that hath be 
gun a good work in you, will 
continue it to the end ; " he says, 
also, in reference not to indi 
viduals, but to nations, " God is 
unchangeable, what He has once 
given, He cannot take back ; 
those whom He has once called, 
He will not cast out." We know 
what the Apostle teaches else 
where, that the gifts and calling 
of God are not irrespective of 
our acceptance and obedience. 
But in this passage he makes 
abstraction of the condition ; he 
thinks only of the purpose of God, 
who is not a man that He should 
change His will arbitrarily, and 
be one thing one day, and another 
thing another, to the objects of 
His favour. He feels that God 
cannot desert the work of His 
hands. Neither need we stop to 

1 Add iraf. 

tunes of the Jewish race and the 
honour of the Christian name 
had they never been wrongly 
applied ! (See on ver. 32.) 

ycypairrat.] The words quoted 
are from Isaiah, lix. 20., a Mes 
sianic prophecy. The citation is 
not exact, as in the LXX. we 
read, instead of e/c Siwr, tvtKtv 
2twv. In the Hebrew the dif 
ference is greater, the meaning 
being, " The Redeemer shall 
come to Zion and unto them 
that turn from transgression in 

27. The remaining clause, orav 
a0eAw/Jcu TCIQ apapriaQ avrah , is 
taken, with the alteration of a 
letter, from Isaiah, xxvii. 9., the 
former part of which verse nearly 
resembles the quotation which 
precedes: ()ta rovro a0atpg0?/- 
af.TO.1 avopia. Ia/cw/3, Kal rovro kanv 
// evXoyia. aurov, orciv a^t Xwjuat 
r))v ajjiapriav aiirov. Avrrj is ex 
plained by the words orav a<pe- 
Xwjuat, "This," viz., "when or 
that I take away their sins;" cf. 
1 John, v. 2. 

28. Their case, the Apostle 
says, may be looked at in two 
ways. In reference to the Gos 
pel, they are rejected (i-^Opoi), 
and this you must regard as a 
part of the mercy of God to you ; 
but they are still elect for the 



2 7 shall turn away ungodlinesses* from Jacob: and* this is 
my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their 

28 sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for 
your sakes: but as touching the election, they are be- 

29 loved for the fathers sakes. For the gifts and calling 
so of God are without repentance. For as ye in times 

past have disobeyed* God, yet have now obtained mercy 

31 through their disobedience*: even so have these also 
now not believed through mercy to you*, that they 

32 also now 1 may obtain mercy. For God shut* up all 
together in unbelief, that he may * have mercy upon 

1 Om. now. 

reason whether or in what way 
this is reconcilable with the Di 
vine justice. The whole relations 
of man to God and nature can 
never be perceived at once : we 
see them " in part " " through a 
glass," under many aspects, of 
which this is one. 

30. God has inverted the order 
of things ; you were once disobe 
dient, and now He has made their 
disobedience a source of mercy to 

3 1. " So they are disobedient (1.) 
by reason of the mercy shown to 
you, that they also may themselves 
receive mercy ; " or (2.) " that they 
may receive mercy by reason of 
the mercy shown to you." The 
latter way of construing gives 
the most point to the passage ; 
the former agrees best with the 
order of words and the paral 
lelism of the previous clause. 

32. o-vreVAeiaej ,] shut up : the 
avv is emphatic. Compare Gal. 
iii. 22., (TvvtK\eiffv // ypcujfr)} ra 
Trarra v^ apapriav. verse 23. 
itipovpovvTO ffvyKXeio/nevoi. 

Such is the conclusion of the 
doctrinal portion of the Epistle. 

God concluded all under sin, as 
was shown in the first chapters, 
" that he might have mercy upon 
all." The steps by which the 
Apostle has arrived at this con 
clusion, might be termed in mo 
dern language, " an argument 
from analogy." In the Old Tes 
tament the younger was preferred 
to the elder, and God seemed to 
deal with men irrespective of 
their, actions, and in the utter 
subversion of the true religion a 
remnant was still preserved. We 
may argue from the ways of God 
then, to the ways of God now. 
But, again, the very rejection of 
the Jews is a kind of argument 
from analogy for their acceptance : 
what they were, the Gentiles are; 
therefore, what the Gentiles are, 
they will become. And if the 
chosen are rejected, "a fortiori" 
shall they be again accepted. They 
have in them the root, the germ, 
the firstfruits of holiness, in the 
patriarchs who are their fathers, 
and in the true Israel who have 
already received the Gospel. It 
is in accordance with the prin 
ciple formerly laid down by the 



[On. XI. 

TroWa? IXeyo- fl. w fidOos TT\OVTOV Kal crofyias Kal y^wcrews 33 
Oeov, o)<s dve^epevvrjra TO, Kpi^ara avrov Kal dv^i^yiacrroi 

al oSol avTOv. Tts yap !yz>a) vovv Kvpiov ; ^ ris CTVJJL- 34 

/3ovXos avrov eyevero ; r) TL<$ irpoeStoKev avrq), Kal aVra- 35 

erat aurw; on ef aurov Kat 01 avrov Kal eis 36 
ra TrdVra avro) rj Sofa eis rovs aiowa?, d 

Apostle, " where sin abounded, 
grace did much more abound," 
that their rejection should be the 
hope of their salvation. 

And yet it will be urged, and 
cannot be denied, that the Jewish 
people are as they were ; in the 
language of the Apostle, " even 
unto this day when Moses is read 
the veil is upon their hearts " 
(2 Cor. iii. 15.). Judging hu 
manly, might we not say that 
every century, if it has not in 
creased their animosity to the 
Gospel, has rendered more inve 
terate those differences of thought 
and habit, which to nations as to 
men become a second nature, and 
cannot be laid aside ? How is 
this to be reconciled with the 
language of the Apostle ? Rather 
let us admit that it is not to be 
reconciled, and yet that the truth 
of the Gospel may remain with 
us still. It is " I," not the Lord, 
who am speaking, as an Israelite 
of Israelites, within the circle of 
the Jewish dispensation, after 
the manner of the time, accord 
ing to the received mode of in 
terpreting prophecy in the schools 
of Philo and the Rabbis. " I 
cannot but utter what I hope and 
feel." There is no irreverence in 
supposing that St. Paul, who 
after the lapse of a few years 

looked, not for the coming of 
Christ, but rather for his own 
departure to be with Christ, 
would have changed his manner 
of speech when, after eighteen 
centuries, he found " all things 
remaining as they were from the 
beginning." His spirit itself bids 
us read his writings not in the 
letter but in the spirit. He who 
felt his views of God s purposes 
gradually extending, who read the 
voice within him by the light of 
daily experience, could never have 
found fault with us for not at 
tempting to reach beyond the ho 
rizon within which God has shut 
us up. 

33. is wrongly translated in the 
English Version, "O the depth 
of the riches, both of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God." There is 
no meaning in the word " both," 
because there is no opposition 
between " the wisdom and know 
ledge of God." The expression 
TrXovTOQ $eov, in the attempt to 
get rid of which the mistransla 
tion has probably arisen, is suffi 
ciently defended by Phil. iv. 19., 
JJ.OV TrXrjpwaei Traaav 
Kara TO TT\OVTOQ av 
rov. Compare TT\OVTOQ eOrwv for 
the metaphorical use of the word 
7rXoi)roc, which may be well ap 
plied to God, who is " the author 



33 the depth of the riches and* the wisdom and 
knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judg- 

34 ments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath 
known the mind of the Lord ? or who hath been his 

35 counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall 

36 be recompensed unto him again ? For of him, and 
through him, and to him, are all things: to him* be 
glory for ever. Amen. 

of every good and perfect "gift," 
and " who giveth to all men libe 
rally, and upbraideth not." As 
ao(j)ia and yv&ffiQ are connected 
with ver. 34., so TT\OVTOQ with 
ver. 35. 

oro^ta and yv&ffig are opposed 
chiefly as the more or less abstract 
and general terms. Besides this, 
aotyia may be described as the 
intellectual quality most akin to 
moral ones ; the word yvtiats im 
plying the idea of acquired in 
formation, or of knowledge not 
naturally known. ao<f>ia Stov may 
be referred to the general provi 
dence of God ; y vuxrtQy to the know 
ledge which he possessed of all 
his works from the beginning : 
the first answers to a i^ovAoc, 
the second to rove Kvpiov, in the 
34th verse. Compare Theodoret 
(quoted by Fritsche) : ra rp/a ravra 
TTpoQ TO. rpia reOeiKt, TOV TT\OVTOV 
KCU rr\v ffo<piav Kal Tt]v yv&aiv* TO 
jutv TLQ iyvd) vovv Kvpiov TrpOQ TTJV 
yvtiair, TO Se Tig avfj,ovXog CIVTOV 
kyivtTO TrpoQ TVJV aotyiav, TO %e TIQ 
TrpoeddtKev ai/rw KO.I avTCLTrocodrj- 


At chapter ix. ver. 5., when 
contemplating the former mercies 

of God to Israel, he burst forth 
into a doxology ; now, as be 
holding the circle of his provi 
dence complete, he is lost in 
ecstasy. Jew and Gentile are 
alike concluded under sin, that 
they may be alike saved, and the 
one takes the place of the other 
for a season, only that the other 
may be in turn restored. Who, 
looking at the present state, or at 
the past history of the world, 
could have imagined this ? But 
such are the ways of God, as set 
forth to us by the prophet. (Is. 
xl. 13., which is again quoted in 
1 Cor. ii. 16.) 

36. e avrov,] from Him all 
things spring ; ci CLVTOV, by Him 
they are maintained ; EIQ CL VTOV, 
to Him they all tend. As if the 
Apostle has said : He is the 
beginning, middle, and end of all 
things ; the source whence they 
proceed ; the mean by which 
they are wrought ; the end at 
which they aim. This is the reason 
why no man " hath first given to 
him ;" for all things are his. 
Comp. 1 Cor. viii. 6. : it, ov 
TO. TravTa KOI r]jj.elQ EIQ O.VTQV. 



EVERY reader of the Epistles must have remarked the opposite and 
apparently inconsistent uses, which the Apostle St. Paul makes of the 
Old Testament. This appearance of inconsistency arises out of the 
different and almost conflicting statements, which may be read in the 
Old Testament itself. The law and the prophets are their own wit 
nesses, but they are witnesses also to a truth which is beyond them. 
Two spirits are found in them, and the Apostle sets aside the one, 
that he may establish the other. When he says that "the man that 
doeth these things shall live in them," x. 5., and again two verses 
afterwards " the word is very nigh unto thee, even in thy mouth 
and in thy heart," he is using the authority of the law, first, that 
out of its own mouth he may condemn the law ; secondly, that he 
may confirm the Gospel by the authority of that which he condemns. 
Still more striking are the contrasts of prophecy in which he 
reads, not only the rejection of Israel, but its restoration ; the over 
ruling providence of God, as well as the free agency of man ; 
not only as it is written, " God gave unto them a spirit of heaviness," 
but, " who hath believed our report ; " nor only, " all day long I have 
stretched forth my hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people," 
but " there shall come out of Sion a deliverer and He shall turn away 
iniquities from Jacob." Experience and faith seem to contend toge 
ther in the Apostle s own mind, and alike to find an echo in the 
two voices of prophecy. 

It were much to be wished that we could agree upon a chrono 
logical arrangement of the Old Testament, which would approach 
more nearly to the true order in which the books were written, than 


that in which they have been handed down to us. Such an arrange 
ment would throw great light on the interpretation of prophecy. 
At present, we scarcely resist the illusion exercised upon our minds 
by " four prophets the greater, followed by twelve prophets the less ;" 
some of the latter being of a prior date to any of the former. Even 
the distinction of the law and the prophets as well as of the Psalms 
and the prophets leads indirectly to a similar error. For many 
elements of the prophetical spirit enter into the law, and legal pre 
cepts are repeated by the prophets. The continuity of Jewish 
history is further broken by the Apocrypha. The four centuries 
before Christ were as fruitful of hopes and struggles and changes of 
thought and feeling in the Jewish people as any preceding period 
of their existence as a nation, perhaps more so. And yet we piece 
together the Old and New Testament as if the interval were blank 
leaves only. Few if any English writers have ever attempted to 
form a conception of the growth of the spirit of prophecy, from its 
first beginnings in the law itself, as it may be traced in the lives and 
characters of Samuel and David, and above all, of Elijah and his 
immediate successor ; as it reappears a few years later, in the writ 
ten prophecies respecting the house of Israel, and the surrounding 
nations (not even in the oldest of the prophets, without reference to 
Messiah s kingdom) ; or again after the carrying away of the ten 
tribes, as it concentrates itself in Judah, uttering a sadder and more 
mournful cry in the hour of captivity, yet in the multitude of 
sorrows increasing the comfort ; the very dispersion of the people 
widening the prospect of Christ s kingdom, as the nation " is cut 
short in righteousness," God being so much the nearer to those who 
draw near to Him. 

Other reasons might be given why the study of the prophetical 
writings has made little progress among us. It often seems as if the 
only thing which could properly be the subject of study, namely, the 
meaning of prophecy, as it presented itself to the prophet s own mind 
had been wholly lost sight of. There has been a jealousy of attempts 
to explain by contemporary history what we would rather regard as a 


light from heaven shining on some distant future. We have been 
unwilling to receive any help, however imperfect, toward the better 
understanding of the nature of prophecy, which might be drawn 
from the comparison of " the religion of the Gentiles." No account 
has been taken of prophecy as a gift of the mind, common to early 
stages of the world and of society, and to no other. The material 
imagery which was its mode of thought (" I saw the Lord high and 
lifted up, and his throne also filled the temple "), is resolved into 
poetical ornament. The description in the prophecies themselves, of 
the manner in which the prophet received the word of the Lord, 
whether by seeing of the eye or hearing of the ear, and in which he 
wrote it down and uttered it, has also been little considered. The 
repetitions of the earlier prophets in the later ones have been noted 
only as parallel passages in the margin of the Bible. Principles of 
interpretation have been assumed, resting on no other basis than the 
practice of interpreters. The fulfilment of prophecy has been sought 
for in a series of events which have been sometimes bent to make 
them fit, and one series of events has frequently taken the place 
of another. Even the passing circumstances of to-day or yester 
day, at the distance of about two thousand years, and as many 
miles, which are but shadows flitting on the mountains compared with 
the deeper foundations of human history, are thought to be within the 
range of the prophet s eye. And it may be feared that, in attempt 
ing to establish a claim which, if it could be proved, might be made 
also for heathen oracles and prophecies, commentators have some 
times lost sight of those great characteristics which distinguish 
Hebrew prophecy from all other professing revelations of other 
religions : (1.) the sense of the truthfulness, and holiness, and loving- 
kindness of the Divine Being, with which the prophet is as one 
possessed, which he can no more forget or doubt than he can cease 
to be himself ; (2.) their growth, that is, their growing perception of 
the moral nature of the revelation of God to man, apart from the com 
mandments of the law or the privileges of the house of Israel. 

It would be a great external help to the perception of this increasing 


purpose of prophecy, if the study of the prophetic writings were 
commenced with an inquiry into the order in which the books of the 
Old Testament follow one another. Yet, in the present day, how 
could we come to an understanding about the first principles upon 
which such an inquiry ought to be conducted ? Not the prophecies 
only, but the superstructures of interpreters of prophecy, would be 
considered. Nor does criticism seem equal to the task of arranging, 
on grounds often of internal evidence alone, not merely books, but 
parts of books, in their precise order. Even the real arguments that 
might be urged in favour of a particular arrangement, arising out of 
doubtful considerations, or considerations of a kind which, however 
certain, are hardly appreciable to any but critical scholars, could not 
be expected to prevail when weighed in the balance against religious 
feelings or the supposed voice of antiquity or agreement of the 
Christian world. 

The difficulty of arranging the prophecies of the Old Testament 
in an exact chronological order, need not, however, prevent our 
recognising general differences in their spirit and structure, such as 
arise, partly out of the circumstances under which they were written 
at different periods of Jewish history, partly also out of a difference 
of feeling in contemporary prophets ; sometimes from what may be 
termed the action and reaction in the prophet s own mind, which even 
in the same prophecy will not allow him to forget that the God of 
judgment remembers mercy. There are some prophecies more 
national, of which the fortunes of the Jewish people are the only 
subject; others more individual, seeming to enter more into the 
recesses of the human soul, and which are, at the same time, more 
universal, rising above earthly things, and passing into the distant 
heaven. At one time the prophet embodies " these thoughts of 
many hearts " as present, at another as future ; in some cases as 
following out of the irrevocable decree of God, in others as depen 
dent on the sin or repentance of man. At one moment he is looking 
for the destruction of Israel, at another for its consolation ; going 
from one of these aspects of the heavenly vision to another, like 



St. Paul himself in successive verses. And sometimes he sees the 
Lord s house exalted in the top of the mountains, and the image of 
the "Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty Prince, the Everlasting God." 
At other times, his vision is of the Servant whom it " pleased the Lord 
to bruise," whose form was " marred more than that of the sons of 
men," who was " led as a lamb to the slaughter." 

National, individual, spiritual, temporal, present, future, re 
jection, restoration, faith, the law, Providence, freewill, mercy, 
sacrifice, Messiah suffering and triumphant, are so many pairs of 
opposites with reference to which the structure of prophecy admits 
of being examined. It is true that such an examination is nothing 
more than a translation or decomposition of prophecy into the modes 
of thought of our own time, and is far from reproducing the living 
image which presented itself to the eyes of the prophet. But, like 
all criticism, it makes us think ; it enables us to observe fresh points 
of connexion between the Old Testament and the New ; it keeps us 
from losing our way in the region of allegory or of modern history. 
Many things are unlearnt as well as learnt by the aid of criticism ; 
it clears the mind of conventional interpretations, teaching us to 
look amid the symbols of time and place for the higher and universal 

Prophecy has a human as well as a divine element : that is to say, 
it partakes of the ordinary workings of the mind. There is also 
something beyond which the analogy of human knowledge fails to 
explain. Could the prophet himself have been asked what was the 
nature of that impulse by which he was carried away, he would 
have replied that " the God of Israel was a living God " who had 
" ordained him a prophet before he came forth from the womb." Of 
the divine element no other account can be given ; " it pleased God 
to raise up individuals in a particular age and country, who had a 
purer and loftier sense of truth than their fellow men." Prophecy 
would be no longer prophecy if we could untwist its soul. But the 
human part admits of being analysed like poetry or history, of which 
it is a kind of union ; it is written with a man s pen in a known 


language ; it is cast in the imaginative form of early language itself. 
The truth of God comes into contact with the world, clothing itself 
in human feelings, revealing the lesson of historical events. But 
human feelings and the lesson of events vary, and in this sense the 
prophetic lesson varies too. Even in the workings of our own minds 
we may perceive this ; those who think much about themselves and 
God cannot but be conscious of great changes and transitions of 
feeling at different periods of life. We are the creatures of impres 
sions and associations ; and although Providence has not made our 
knowledge of himself dependent on these impressions, he has allowed 
it to be coloured by them. We cannot say that in the hours of 
prosperity and adversity, in health and sickness, in poverty and 
wealth, our sense of God s dealings with us is absolutely the same ; 
still less, that all our prayers and aspirations have received the 
answer that we wished or expected. And sometimes the thoughts of 
our own hearts go before to God ; at other times, the power of God 
seems to anticipate the thoughts of our hearts. And sometimes, in 
looking back at our past lives, it seems as if God had done every 
thing ; at other times, we are conscious of the movement of our own 
will. The wide world itself also, and the political fortunes of our 
country have been enveloped in the light or darkness which rested 
on our individual soul. 

Especially are we liable to look at religious truth under many 
aspects, if we live amid changes of religious opinions, or are wit 
nesses of some revival or reaction in religion, or supposing our lot to 
be cast in critical periods of history, such as extend the range and 
powers of human nature, or certainly enlarge our experience of it. 
Then the germs of new truths will subsist side by side with the 
remains of old ones ; and thoughts that are really inconsistent, will 
have a place together in our minds, without our being able to per 
ceive their inconsistency. The inconsistency will be traced by pos 
terity ; they will remark that up to a particular point we saw clearly ; 
but that no man is beyond his age there was a circle which we 
could not pass. And some one living in our own day may look into 


the future with " eagle eye ; " he may weigh and balance with a sort 
of omniscience the moral forces of the world, perhaps with some 
thing too much of confidence that the right will ultimately prevail 
even on earth ; and after ages may observe that his predictions were 
not always fulfilled or not fulfilled at the time he said. 

Such general reflections may serve as an introduction to what at 
first appears an anomaly in prophecy, that it has not one, but many 
lessons ; and that the manner in which it teaches those lessons is 
through the alternations of the human soul itself. There are failings 
of prophecy, just as there are failings in our own anticipations of the 
future. And sometimes when we had hoped to be delivered it has 
seemed good to God to afflict us still. But it does not follow that 
religion is therefore a cunningly devised fable, either now or then. 
Neither the faith of the people, nor of the prophet, is shaken in the 
God of their fathers because the prophecies are not realised before 
their eyes ; because " the vision," as they said, " is delayed ;" because 
in many cases events seem to occur which make it impossible that it 
should be accomplished. A true instinct still enables them to sepa 
rate the prophets of Jehovah from the numberless false prophets 
with whom the land swarmed ; they are gifted with the " same 
discernment of spirits " which distinguished Micaiah from the 400 
whom Ahab called. The internal evidence of the true prophet we 
are able to recognise in the written prophecies also. In the ear 
liest as well as the latest of them there is the same spirit one and 
continuous, the same witness of the invisible God, the same character 
of the Jewish people, the same law of justice and mercy in the deal 
ings of Providence with respect to them, the same " walking with 
God " in the daily life of the prophet himself. 

" Novum Testamentum in vetere latet," has come to be a favourite 
word among theologians, who have thought they saw in the truths 
of the Gospel the original design as well as the evangelical applica 
tion of the Mosaical law. With a deeper meaning, it may be said 
that prophecy grows out of itself into the Gospel. Not, as some 
extreme critics have conceived, that the facts of the Gospel history 


are but the crystallisation of the imagery of prophecy. Say, rather, 
that the river of the water of life is beginning again to flow. The 
Son of God himself is " that prophet " the prophet, not of one nation 
only, but of all mankind, in whom the particularity of the old pro 
phets is finally done away, and the ever-changing form of the 
" servant in whom my soul delighteth " at last finds rest. St. Paul, 
too, is a prophet who has laid aside the poetical and authoritative 
garb of old times, and is wrapped in the rhetorical or dialectical one 
of his own age. The language of the old prophets comes unbidden 
into his mind ; it seems to be the natural expression of his own 
thoughts. Separated from Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah by 
an interval of about 800 years, he finds their words very near to 
him " even in his mouth and his heart ; " that is the word which he 
preached. When they spoke of forgiveness of sins, of non-impu 
tation of sins, of a sudden turning to God, what did this mean but 
righteousness by faith ? when they said "I will have mercy, and not 
sacrifice," here also was imaged the great truth, that salvation was 
not of the law. If St. Paul would have " no man judged for a new 
moon or sabbath," the prophets of old time had again and again 
said in the name of Jehovah " Your new moons and sabbaths I can 
not away with." Like the elder prophets, he came not "to build up 
a temple made with hands," but to teach a moral truth ; like them he 
went forth alone, and not in connexion with the Church at Jeru 
salem. His calling is to be Apostle of the Gentiles ; they also 
sometimes pass beyond the borders of Israel, to receive Egypt and 
Assyria into covenant with God. 

It is not, however, this deeper unity between St. Paul and the 
prophets of the old dispensation that we are about to consider 
further, but a more superficial parallelism, which is afforded by the 
alternation or successive representation of the purposes of God 
towards Israel, which we meet with in the Old Testament, and which 
recurs in the Epistles to the Romans. Like the elder prophets, St. 
Paul also " prophesies in part," feeling after events rather than see 
ing them, and divided between opposite aspects of the dealings of 

y 3 


Providence with mankind. This changing feeling often finds an 
expression in the words of Isaiah or the Psalmist, or the author of the 
book of Deuteronomy. Hence a kind of contrast springs up in the 
writings of the Apostle, which admits of being traced to its source 
in the words of the prophets. Portions of his Epistles are the dis 
jecta membra of prophecy. Oppositions are brought into view by 
him, and may be said to give occasion to a struggle in his own mind, 
which were unobserved by the prophets themselves. For so far from 
prophecy setting forth one unchanging purpose of God, it seems 
rather to represent a succession of purposes conditional on men s 
actions ; speaking as distinctly of the rejection as of the restoration 
of Israel ; and of the restoration almost as the correlative of the re 
jection; often too making a transition from the temporal to the spi 
ritual. Some of these contrasts it is proposed to consider in detail 
as having an important bearing on St. Paul s Epistles, especially 
on the Epistles to the Thessalonians, and on chapters x. xii. of 
the Epistles to the Eomans. 

(1.) All the prophets are looking for and hastening to " the day of 
the Lord," the " great day," " which there is none like," " the day 
of the Lord s sacrifice," the " day of visitation," of " the great 
slaughter," in which the Lord shall judge "in the valley of Jehosha- 
phat," in which " they shall go into the clefts of the rocks and into 
the tops of the ragged rocks for fear of the Lord, and for the glory 
of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." That 
day is the fulfilment and realisation of prophecy, without which it 
would cease to have any meaning, just as religion itself would cease 
to have any meaning to ourselves, were there no future life, or retri 
bution of good and evil. All the prophets are in spirit present at 
it ; living alone with God, and hardly mingling with men on earth, 
they are fulfilled with its terrors and its glories. For the earth is not 
to go on for ever as it is, the wickednesses of the house of Israel are 
not to last for ever. First, the prophet sees the pouring out of the 
vials of wrath upon them ; then, more at a distance, follows the vision 
of mercy, in which they are to be comforted, and their enemies, the 


ministers of God s vengeance on them, in turn punished. And evil and 
oppression everywhere, so far as it comes within the range of the 
prophet s eye, is to be punished in that day, and good is to prevail. 

In these " terrors of the day of the Lord," of which the prophets 
speak, the fortunes of the Jewish people mingle with another vision 
of a more universal judgment, and it has been usual to have recourse 
to the double senses of prophecy to separate the one from the other, 
an instrument of interpretation which has also been applied to the 
New Testament for the same purpose. Not in this way could the 
prophet or apostle themselves have conceived them. To them they 
were not two, but one ; not " double one against the other," or 
separable into the figure and the thing signified. For the figure is 
in early ages the mode of conception also. More true would it be 
to say that the judgments of God on the Jewish people were an an 
ticipation or illustration of his dealings with the world generally. If 
a separation is made at all, let us rather separate the accidents of 
time and place from that burning sense of the righteousness of God, 
which somewhere we cannot tell where, at some time we cannot tell 
when, must and will have retribution on evil ; which has this other 
note of its divine character, that in judgment it remembers mercy, 
pronouncing no endless penalty or irreversible doom, even upon the 
house of Israel. This twofold lesson of goodness and severity speaks 
to us as well as to the Jews. Better still to receive the words of 
prophecy as we have them, and to allow the feeling which it utters 
to find its way to our hearts, without stopping to mark out what 
was not separated in the prophet s own mind and cannot therefore 
be divided by us. 

Other contrasts are traceable in the teaching of the prophets 
respecting the day of the Lord. In that day the Lord is to judge 
Israel, and he is to punish Egypt and Assyria ; and yet it is said also, 
the Lord shall heal Egypt, and Israel shall be the third with Egypt 
and Assyria whom the Lord shall bless. (Is. xix. 25.) In many of the 
prophecies also the judgment is of two kinds ; it is a judgment on Is 
rael, which is executed by the heathen ; it is a judgment against the 

Y 4 


heathen and in favour of Israel, in which God himself is sometimes 
said to be their advocate as well as their judge " in that day." A 
singular parallel with the New Testament is presented by another 
contrast which occurs in a single passage. That the day of the Lord is 
near, " it cometh, it cometh ;" is the language of all the prophets ; and 
yet there were those who said also in Ezekiel s time, " The days are 
prolonged, and every vision faileth ; tell them, therefore, thus saith 
the Lord God ; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no 
more use it as a proverb in Israel, but say unto them, The days are at 
hand, and the effect of every vision." (xii. 22.) (Compare 2 Pet. iii. 4., 
" Where is the promise of bis coming ? ") On the other hand, in the 
later chapters of Isaiah (xl. seq.) we seem to trace the same feeling 
as in the New Testament itself: the anticipation of prophecy has 
ceased ; the hour of its fulfilment has arrived ; men seem to be con 
scious that they are living during the restoration of Israel as the 
disciples at the day of Pentecost felt that they were living amid the 
things spoken of by the prophet Joel. 

(2.) A closer connexion with the Epistle to the Romans is fur 
nished by the double and, on the surface, inconsistent language of 
prophecy respecting the rejection and restoration of Israel. These 
seem to follow one another often in successive verses. It is true that 
the appearance of inconsistency is greater than the reality, owing 
to the lyrical and concentrated style of prophecy (some of its greatest 
works being not much longer than this " cobweb "* of an essay) ; 
and this leads to opposite feelings and trains of thought being pre 
sented to us together, without the preparations and joinings which 
would be required in the construction of a modern poem. Yet, after 
making allowance for this peculiarity of the ancient Hebrew style, 
it seems as if there were two thoughts ever together in the prophet s 
mind : captivity, restoration, judgment, mercy, sin, repentance, 
" the people sitting in darkness, and the great light." 

There are portions of prophecy in which the darkness is deep and 
enduring, "darkness that may be felt," in which the prophet is 

* Carlyle. 


living amid the sins and sufferings of the people ; and hope is a long 
way off from them, when they need to be awakened rather than com 
forted ; and things must be worse, as men say, before they can become 
better. Such is the spirit of the greater part of the book of Jere 
miah. But the tone of prophecy is on the whole that of alternation ; 
God deals with the Israelites as with children ; he cannot bear to 
punish them for long ; his heart comes back to them when they are 
in captivity ; their very helplessness gives them a claim on him. 
Vengeance may endure for a time, but soon the full tide of his 
mercy returns upon them. Another voice is heard, saying, "Comfort 
ye, comfort ye, my people." " Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, 
and say unto her that she hath received of the Lord s hand double 
for all her sins." So from the vision of God on Mount Sinai, at the 
giving of the Law amid storms and earthquakes, arises that tender 
human relation in which the Gospel teaches that he stands, not 
merely to his Church as a body, but to each one of us. 

Naturally this human feeling is called forth most in the hour of 
adversity. As the affliction deepens, the hope also enlarges, seeming 
often to pass beyond the boundaries of this life into a spiritual world. 
Though their sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; 
when Jerusalem is desolate, there shall be a tabernacle on Mount 
Sion. The formula in which this enlargement of the purposes of 
God is introduced, is itself worthy of notice. " It shall be no more 
said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of 
the land of Egypt ; but, The Lord liveth, that brought up the 
children of Israel from the land of the North, and from all the lands 
whither he had driven them." Their old servitude in Egypt came 
back to their minds now that they were captives in a strange land, 
and the remembrance that they had already been delivered from it 
was an earnest that they were yet to return. Deeply rooted in the 
national mind, it had almost become an attribute of God himself 
that he was their deliverer from the house of bondage. 

With this narrower view of the return of the children of Israel 
from captivity, not without a remembrance of that great empire 


which had once extended from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates, 
there blended also the hope of another kingdom in which dwelt 
righteousness the kingdom of Solomon " become the kingdom of 
Christ and God." The children of Israel had been in their origin 
" the fewest of all people," and the most alien to the nations round 
about. The Lord their God was a jealous God, who would not 
suffer them to mingle with the idolatries of the heathen. And in 
that early age of the world, when national life was so strong and 
individuals so feeble, we cannot conceive how the worship of the 
true God could have been otherwise preserved. But the day had 
passed away when the nation could be trusted with the preservation 
of the faith of Jehovah ; " it had never been good for much at any 
time." The prophets, too, seem to withdraw from the scenes of poli 
tical events ; they are no longer the judges and leaders of Israel ; it 
is a part of their mission to commit to writing for the use of after 
ages the predictions which they utter. We pass into another country, 
to another kingdom in which the prospect is no more that which 
Moses saw from Mount Pisgah, but in which the " Lord s horn is 
exalted in the top of the mountains and all nations flock to it." 

In this kingdom the Gentiles have a place, still on the outskirts, 
but not wholly excluded from the circle of God s Providence. Some 
times they are placed on a level with Israel, the " circumcised with 
the uncircumcised," as if only to teach the Apostle s lesson, " that 
there is no respect of persons with God." Jer. ix. 25, 26. ; compare 
Rom. ii. 12 28. At other times they are themselves the subjects 
of promises and threatenings. Jer. xii. 14 17. It is to them that 
God will turn when His patience is exhausted with the rebellions of 
Israel ; for whom it shall be " more tolerable " than for Israel and 
Judah in the day of the Lord. They are those upon whom, though 
at a distance, the brightness of Jehovah must overflow ; who, in the 
extremities of the earth, are bathed with the light of His presence. 
Helpers of the joy of Israel, they pour with gifts and offerings 
through the open gates of the city of God. They have a part in 
Messiah s kingdom, not of right, but because without them it would 


be imperfect and incomplete. In one passage only, which is an 
exception to the general spirit of prophecy, Israel " makes the third " 
with Egypt and Assyria, " whom the Lord of Hosts shall bless." 
Is. xix. 1825. 

It was not possible that such should be the relation of the Gentiles 
to the people of God in the Epistles of St. Paul. Experience seemed 
to invert the natural order of Providence the Jew first and after 
wards the Gentile. Accordingly, what is subordinate in the prophets, 
becomes of principal importance in the application of the Apostle. 
The dark sayings about the Gentiles had more meaning than the 
utterers of them were aware of. Events connected them with the 
rejection of the Jews, of which the same prophets spoke. Not only 
had the Gentiles a place on the outskirts of the people of God, 
gathering up the fragments of promises " under the table ; " they 
themselves were the spiritual Israel. When the prophets spoke of 
the Mount Sion, and all nations flowing to it, they were not expect 
ing literally the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. They spoke 
of they knew not what of something that had as yet no existence 
upon the earth. What that was, the vision on the way to Damascus, 
no less than the history of the Church and the world, revealed to 
the Apostle of the Gentiles. 

(3.) Another characteristic of Hebrew prophecy is the transition 
from the nation to the individual. That is to say, first the nation 
becomes an individual ; it is spoken of, thought of, dealt with, as a 
person, it " makes the third " with God and the prophet. Almost a 
sort of drama is enacted between them, the argument of which 
is the mercy and justice of God ; and the Jewish nation itself has 
many parts assigned to it. Sometimes she is the " adulterous 
sister," the " wife of whoredoms," who has gone astray with Chaldean 
and Egyptian lovers. In other passages, still retaining the same 
personal relation to God, the " daughter of my people " is soothed 
and comforted ; then a new vision rises before the prophet s mind, 
not the same with that of the Jewish people, but not wholly 
distinct from it, in which the suffering prophet himself, or Cyrus 


the prophet king, have a part, the vision of " the servant of 
God," "the Saviour with dyed garments " from Bosra ; "he shall 
grow up before him as a tender plant ; " " he is led as a lamb 
to the slaughter." Isaiah, liii. 2. 7. ; compare Jer. xi. 19. Yet 
there is a kind of glory even on earth in this image of gentleness 
and suffering. "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking 
flax shall he not quench, until he hath brought forth judgment unto 
victory." We feel it to be strange, and yet it is true. So we have 
sometimes seen the image of the kingdom of God among ourselves, 
not in noble churches or scenes of ecclesiastical power or splendour, 
but in the face of some child or feeble person, who, after overcoming 
agony, is about to depart and be with Christ. 

Analogies from Greek philosophy may seem far-fetched in refer 
ence to Hebrew prophecy, yet there are particular points in which 
subjects the most dissimilar receive a new light from one another. 
In the writings of Plato and Aristotle, and the philosophers who 
were their successors, moral truths gradually separate from politics, 
and the man is acknowledged to be different from the mere citizen : 
and there arises a sort of ideal of the individual, who has a responsi 
bility to himself only. The growth of Hebrew prophecy is so 
different ; its figures and modes of conception are so utterly unlike ; 
there seems such a wide gulf between morality which almost ex 
cludes God, and religion which exists only in God, that at first 
sight we are unwilling to allow any similarity to exist between 
them. Yet an important point in both of them is really the same. 
For the transition from the nation to the individual is also the more 
perfect revelation of God himself, the change from the temporal to 
the spiritual, from the outward glories of Messiah s reign to the 
kingdom of God which is within. Prophets as well as apostles 
teach the near intimate personal relation of man to God. The 
prophet and psalmist, who is at one moment inspired with the feelings 
of a whole people, returns again to God to express the lowliest sor 
rows of the individual Christian. The thought of the Israel of God 
is latent in prophecy itself, not requiring a great nation or com- 


pany of believers ; " but where one is " there is God present with 

There is another way also in which the individual takes the place 
of the nation in the purposes of God ; " a remnant shall be saved." 
In the earlier books of the Old Testament, the whole people is 
bound up together for good or for evil. In the law especially, there 
is no trace that particular tribes or individuals are to be singled 
out for the favour of God. Even their great men are not so much 
individuals as representatives of the whole people. They serve God 
as a nation ; as a nation they go astray. If, in the earlier times of 
Jewish history, we suppose an individual good man living " amid an 
adulterous and crooked generation," we can scarcely imagine the re 
lation in which he would stand to the blessings and cursings of the 
law. Would the righteous perish with the wicked ? That be " far 
from thee, O Lord." Yet " prosperity, the blessing of the Old 
Testament," was bound up with the existence of the nation. Gra 
dually the germ of the new dispensation begins to unfold itself; 
the bands which held the nation together are broken in pieces ; a 
fragment only is preserved, a branch, in the Apostle s language, cut 
off from the patriarchal stem, to be the beginning of another Israel. 

The passage quoted by St. Paul in the eleventh chapter of the 
Romans is the first indication of this change in God s mode of 
dealing with his people. The prophet Elijah wanders forth into 
the wilderness to lay before the Lord the iniquities of the people : 
" The children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down 
thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword." " But what," 
we may ask with the Apostle, " saith the answer of God to him ? " 
Not " They are corrupt, they are altogether become abominable," 
but " Yet I have seven thousand men who have not bowed the 
knee to Baal." The whole people were not to be regarded as one ; 
there were a few who still preserved, amid the general corruption, 
the worship of the true God. 

The marked manner in which the answer of God is introduced, 
the contrast of the " still small voice " with the thunder, the storm, 


and the earthquake, the natural symbols of the presence of God in 
the law, the contradiction of the words spoken to the natural bent 
of the prophet s mind, and the greatness of Elijah s own character 
all tend to stamp this passage as marking one of the epochs of 
prophecy. The solitude of the prophet and his separation in " the 
mount of God," from the places in which "men ought to worship," 
are not without meaning. There had not always " been this proverb 
in the house of Israel ; " but from this time onwards it is repeated again 
and again. We trace the thought of a remnant to be saved in cap 
tivity, or to return from captivity, through a long succession of 
prophecies, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel ; it is 
the text of almost all the prophets, passing, as a familiar word, from 
the Old Testament to the New. The voice uttered to Elijah was 
the beginning of this new Revelation. 

(4.) Coincident with the promise of a remnant is the precept, " I will 
have mercy and not sacrifice," which, in modern language, opposes 
the moral to the ceremonial law. It is another and the greatest step 
onward towards the spiritual dispensation. Moral and religious 
truths hang together ; no one can admit one of them in the highest 
sense, without admitting a principle which involves the rest. He 
who acknowledged that God was a God of mercy and not of sacrifice, 
could not long have supposed that he dealt with nations only, or 
that he raised men up for no other end but to be vessels of his wrath 
or monuments of his vengeance. For a time there might be " things 
too hard for him," clouds resting on his earthly tabernacle, when he 
" saw the ungodly in such prosperity ; " yet had he knowledge 
enough, as he " went into the sanctuary of God," and confessed him 
self to be " a stranger and pilgrim upon the earth." 

It is in the later prophets that the darkness begins to be dispelled 
and the ways of God justified to man. Ezekiel is above all others 
the teacher of this "new commandment." The familiar words, 
" when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth 
that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive," are the 
theme of a great part of this wonderful book. Other prophets have 


more of poetical beauty, a deeper sense of divine things, a tenderer 
feeling of the mercies of God to his people ; none teach so simply 
this great moral lesson, to us the first of all lessons. On the eve of the 
captivity, and in the midst of it, when the hour of mercy is past, and 
no image is too loathsome to describe the iniquities of Israel, still the 
prophet does not forget that the Lord will not destroy the righteous 
with the wicked : " Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, 
as I live, saith the Lord, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter ; 
they shall deliver but their own souls by their righteousness (xiv. 20.). 
Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant ; and they shall know that 
I have not done without cause all that I have done, saith the Lord." 
ver. 22. 

It is observable that, in the Book of Ezekiel as well as of 
Jeremiah, this new principle on which God deals with mankind, is 
recognised as a contradiction to the rule by which he had formerly 
dealt with them. At the commencement of chap, xviii., as if with 
the intention of revoking the words of the second commandment, 
" visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children," it is said : 

" The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, 

" What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of 
Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children s 
teeth are set on edge ? 

" As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any 
more to use this proverb in Israel. 

" Behold, all souls are mine ; as the soul of the father, so also the 
soul of the son is mine : the soul that sinneth, it shall die." 

Similar language occurs also in Jer. xxxi. 29., in a connexion 
which makes it still more remarkable, as the new truth is described 
as a part of that fuller revelation which God will give of Him 
self, when he makes a new covenant with the house of Israel. 
And yet the same prophet, as if not at all times conscious of his own 
lesson, says also in his prayer to God (Lam. v. 7.), " Our fathers have 
sinned and are not. and we have borne their iniquities." The truth 
which he felt was not one and the same always, but rather two 


opposite truths, like the Law and the Gospel, which, for a while, 
seemed to struggle with one another in the teaching of the prophet 
and the heart of man. 

And yet this opposition was not necessarily conscious to the pro 
phet himself. Isaiah, who saw the whole nation going before to 
judgment, did not refrain from preaching the lessons, "If ye be 
willing and obedient," and "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the 
unrighteous man his thoughts." Ezekiel, the first thought and 
spirit of whose prophecies might be described in modern language as 
the responsibility of man, like Micaiah in the Book of Kings, seemed 
to see the false prophets inspired by Jehovah himself to their own 
destruction. As in the prophet, so in the Apostle, there was no sense 
that the two lessons were in any degree inconsistent with each other. 
It is an age of criticism and philosophy, which, in making the 
attempt to conceive the relation of God to the world in a more 
abstract way, has invented for itself the perplexity, or, may we 
venture to say, by the very fact of acknowledging it, has also found 
its solution. The intensity with which the prophet felt the truths 
that he revealed, the force with which he uttered them, the desire 
with which he yearned after their fulfilment, have passed from the 
earth ; but the truths themselves remain an everlasting possession. 
We seem to look upon them more calmly, and adjust them more 
truly. They no longer break through the world of sight with un 
equal power ; they can never again be confused with the accidents 
of time and place. The history of the Jewish people has ceased to 
be the only tabernacle in which they are enshrined ; they have an 
independent existence, and a light and order of their own. 



THE last five chapters may be considered as a third section of the 
Epistle to the Romans, in which, as in the latter portion of the Ga- 
latians, Colossians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, exhortation takes the 
place of doctrinal statement, and the imperative mood becomes the 
prevailing form of sentence. There is less of plan than in what has 
preceded, and more that throws light on the state of the Church. At 
first sight, it seems as if the Apostle were dictating to an amanuensis 
unconnected precepts, which his experience, not of the Roman con 
verts, to whom he was unknown by face, but of the Church and the 
world in general, led him to think useful or necessary. 

Yet these fragments, including in them ch. xii. 1 xv. 7., at 
which point the Apostle returns briefly to his main theme, and con 
cludes with a personal narrative, are not wholly deficient in order, 
especially that recurring order which was remarked in the intro 
duction to the fifth chapter, and which consists in the repetition, at 
certain intervals, of a particular subject. The great argument is 
now ended ; what follows is its practical application : " For God 
concluded all under sin, that he might have mercy upon all ; " the 
inference from which is not, " Let us continue in sin that grace may 
abound," but rather, " How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any 
longer therein ? " which the Apostle expresses once more in language 
borrowed from the law : "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by 
the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice." 
Leaving this thought, he passes on at ver. 3. to another, which 
can hardly be said to be connected with it in any other than 
that general way in which all the different portions of Christian 


truth or practice are connected with each other, or in which the 
part may be always regarded as related to the whole. This new 
thought is Christian unity, which is introduced here much in the 
same manner as love of the brethren in the Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians. The ground of this unity is humility, each one retiring 
into his own duties, that the whole maybe harmonious, remembering 
that he is a member of the body of Christ, in which there are 
diversities of gifts, which the members of that body are severally 
to use. Thence the Apostle goes on to the mention of Christian 
graces, apparently unconnected with each other, among which, at 
ver. 16., the first thought of humility, which is the true source of 
sympathy, reappears, with which peace and forgiveness of injuries 
meet in one. At the commencement of chap. xiii. what may be 
termed the key-note of this portion of the Epistle returns, the order 
of the Church, not now considered in reference to the members of 
the same body, but to those that are without the Church the 
heathen rulers with whom they came into contact, whom they were 
to obey as to the Lord and not to men. The remainder of this 
chapter stands in the same relation to the former part as the 
latter portion of chap. xii. to the commencement ; that is to say, 
it consists of precepts which arise out of the principal subject ; here 
honesty in general, out of the duty of paying tribute, which leads, 
by a play of words, to the endless debt of love, which is the fulfil 
ment of the law ; all which is enforced by the near approach of 
the day of the Lord, corresponding to the argument of the preacher 
from the shortness of life among ourselves. 

The remaining section of the Epistle, from chap. xiv. to xv. 6., 
is taken up with a single subject, the treatment of weak brethren, 
who doubt about meats and drinks and the observance of days. 
This subject is distinct from what has preceded, and forms a whole 
by itself; yet, in the mode of handling it, vestiges of former topics 
reappear. It is a counsel of peace, to show consideration to the 
doubters ; and for the doubters themselves, it is a proper humility 
not to judge others, chap. ii. 1.: and in our conduct towards the 


weak brethren, it must be remembered how awful a thing is the 
conscience of sin, which is inseparable from doubt, " for whatever is 
not of faith, is sin." And here we come back once more to our 
original text, " Be of the same mind one with another." 

At this point, the Apostle returns from his digression to the main 
subject of the Epistle, which he briefly sums up under the figure of 
Jesus Christ a minister of the circumcision to the Gentiles, and 
once more clothes in the language of the prophets. Yet a certain 
degree of difference is discernible between his treatment of it in this 
and in the earlier portions of the Epistle. It is less abstract and 
more personal. He seems to think of the truths which he taught 
more in connexion with his own labours as Apostle of the Gen 
tiles. A similar image to that of Christ the minister of the cir 
cumcision he applies to himself, the minister of Christ, the offerer 
up of the sacrifice of the Gentiles. Still, Apostle of the Gentiles as 
he is, he is careful not to intrude on another man s labours. He has 
fulfilled his mission where he is, and does but follow the dictates of 
natural feeling in going first to Jerusalem, and then to the Christians 
of the West ; for the success of which new mission he desires their 
prayers, that it may be acceptable to his friends and without danger 
from enemies, and may end in his coming to them with joy. 

The last chapter consists almost entirely of salutations. Among 
these are interspersed a few of the former topics, some of which 
occur also at the end of other Epistles, such as peace and joy at 
the success of the Gospel. There are names of servants of God, 
among whom are Aquila and Priscilla, and others of whom no re 
cord has been elsewhere preserved. One expression raises without 
satisfying our curiosity, " distinguished among those who were 
Apostles before me." The Epistle, as it began with a summary of 
the Gospel, concludes with a thanksgiving in which the subject 
of the Epistle is once more interwoven to God the author of the 
Gospel, which was once hidden, but now revealed that the Gentile? 
also might be obedient to the faith. 

z 2 



H. XII. 

ovv vpas, dSeX<oi, Sia T&V 
Oeov, Trapaa-Trjo-ai ra o-a^ara vpuv Overlap 
evdpto-Tov ra> 0e<, rrjv \oyiKr]v \arpeiav 

TOV 12 



XII. The last chapter ended 
with a doxology. All the world 
was reconciled to God, and Jew 
as well as Gentile included in the 
circle of His grace. Therefore 
the Apostle did not refrain him 
self from uttering a song of tri 
umph at the end " of his great 
argument." Now he proceeds to 
draw the cords of divine love 
closer about the hearts and con 
sciences of individual men. 

At the commencement of the 
Epistle we were led to regard 
mankind, not as they appeared, 
but as they were in the light of 
the new revelation. We were 
spectators of the human race 
looking far and wide on Jew and 
Gentile, backwards and forwards 
on Adam and Christ. The vic 
tory over the law was won ; the 
banished Israelite restored to the 
favour of God. And now we 
return from this wider view 6f 
the counsels of Providence to our 
selves again. It is the individual 
rather than the world, which is 
first in the Apostle s thoughts : 
" Seeing, then, all these things, 
what manner of persons ought 
we to be ? " This connexion is 
indicated in the word oiKTipptiv, 
which refers to ver. 32. of the 
preceding chapter : "I exhort 
you through the mercies of that 
God who has mercy upon Jew 
and Gentile alike, who concluded 
all under sin that he might have 
mercy upon all." 

The latter part of the chapter 
is remarkable for the irregularity 
of its construction and the want 
of connexion in its clauses. It 

would be a mistaken ingenuity 
to invent a system where no sys 
tem is intended. Precepts occur 
to the Apostle s mind without 
any regular sequence, or with 
none that we can trace. In some 
instances he appears to go off 
upon a word, without even re 
membering the sense of it. Thus, 
in ver. 13. of this chapter, he 
passes from ri]v fyiXol-eviav <)iw- 
KOVTtQ) to evAoyelre TOVQ $tu)xovra 
vpac, which we might have been 
disposed to regard as an acci 
dental coincidence, were it not 
that a nearly similar instance 
occurs in ver. 7, 8. of the follow 
ing chapter : A-n-odore ovv Trdort 
rag dfyeiXac, and prfilt i prj^ey 
6(f)ei\re el /u) TO aycnrav a\\i]\ovc 9 
K. T. X. Such passages are in 
structive, as showing how little 
the style of St. Paul can be re 
duced to the ordinary laws of 
thought and language, how en 
tirely we must learn to know him 
from himself. 

riapcucoXo).] Rather exhort 
than beseech, as appears from the 
tone of ver. 3. : " But I say 
unto you through the grace given 
unto me." 

our, therefore."] That is, seeing 
the mercy of God to Jew and 
Gentile alike. 

c!ta.j Probably, in its ordinary 
sense, to mark the instrument. 
The mercies of God are in a 
figure the instrument or medium 
of the Apostle s exhortation, as in 
2 Cor. x. 1.: Avrog de tyw 
HavXoc; TrapciKaXw vf 

KTU irifiKfag TOV Xi l ~ 
is not found with verbs 

VER. l.J 



12 1 EXHORT* you therefore, brethren, through* the 
mercies of God, to* present your bodies a living sacri 
fice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your worship* 

of swearing ; which leads to the 
inference, in this and similar pas 
sages, that it is not used as a sign 
of adjuration, and necessitates 
the translation, though harsh in 
English of through." 

TrapaffrTJffai, to present,^ has 
no sacrificial allusion here, any 
more than in other passages in 
which it occurs in the New Tes 
tament : Rom. vi. 13. 16. 19.; 
2 Cor. xi. 2., &c. The idea of 
sacrifice is introduced in what 

TCI crw/uiaTa vfiiov^ not "your- 
selves," but "your bodies," as 
opposed to the mind. Compare 
ver. 2.: rrj ayarcurtiurci TOV 
VOOQ. In ch. viii. 10. the body 
was described as " dead because 
of sin," but the spirit " life be 
cause of righteousness ; " and in 
ver. 23. the believer was said to 
be " waiting for the redemption 
of the body." Here the image 
is different : the body though 
offered to God is still alive. 
And yet the Apostle would have 
us add in the language of Gal. 
ii. 20.: "It is not I that live 
but Christ liveth in me ; and the 
life that I now live in the flesh 
I live in faith of the Son of 

Svffiav d)<7cn , a living sacri 
fice.^ Comp. for a similar play 
of words, 1 Cor. xv. 44., crw/^a 
ov ; 1 Pet. ii. 5., TTVEV- 
// Svaia ; and Aoyiu) Xarpeia 
below. The sacrifice is dead, but 
the believer is alive, like his 
Lord suffering on the cross ; the 
image is yet stronger in Gal. ii. 
20., "I am crucified with Christ." 

The body of the Christian is 
called a sacrifice, first, because in 
one sense it is dead, as the Apostle 
says in the expression just now 
quoted ; and, secondly, as it is 
wholly dedicated to God. As he 
is one with Christ in His cruci 
fixion, death, burial, resurrection, 
he is also like Him in being a 
sacrifice, not because of the sins 
of others, but to put an end to 
sin in himself, Eph. v. 2. 

ayiav evapevrov raj S ew.]] Such 
an offering might in a new sense 
be termed holy, acceptable, such 
as the Levitical law required, 
a sacrifice like that of Christ 
himself, who was " the lamb 
without spot;" 1 Pet. i. 19. 

TIJV \oyiKt]v Xarpeiav v/.twi , 
which is your worshipin thought^ 
in apposition with the preceding 
sentence, as in the well-known 
classical instance, EXeV/jj/ KTO.- 
vwfjiEV McycXc&i XvTrrjv TriKpav : that 
is to say, the reasonable service is 
not the living sacrifice, but the 
offering up of the body as a living 
sacrifice. The translation, " rea 
sonable service," in the English 
version, is not an accurate ex 
planation of Aoyu j/Xarjoem, which 
is an oxymoron or paradoxical 
expression, meaning " an ideal 
service, a ceremonial of thought 
and mind." The word Xarpeia 
signifies a service which con 
sists of outward rites, which in 
this case is Aoyto), that is, not 
outward, but in the mind, the 
symbol of a truth, the picture of 
an idea. In the Epistle to the 
Hebrews the whole Mosaic law 
may be said to pass into a XoyiKt) 

/ 3 



[Cu. XII. 




ai 2 77? 

rov *>oos 3 , ets TO Soja/xaea t 


\arpela, a law which, from being 
ceremonial, became ideal. 

Compare the following parallel 
passages : 

TOVQ TU> 5"6j, 1 Pet. ii. 5. ot ay- 
yeXoi 7rpoff(Jjpovffi Kvpiy ooyu/v tv- 
\oyiKi)v irtci avaipaKTOV 
av, Test. XII. Patriarch. 
ch. 3. 6 /uey ov*> rourotc 
irw 3"ad)^ etc 

aptffrov epeiov eTrt 

ro /, Philo de Yictimis, 849. 

^ew ju>) ro 7r\i]6o 

vu)v eij cii Tiptoe, aAAa 70 K 


uov, 850. Qui Justus est sacri- 
ficium est Dei sancti benedicti, 
non vero sic etiam injustus. Syn 
opsis Sohar. p. 94. 

The words XoytKtj \arpfia and 
the use which St. Paul makes in 
other places of ceremonial lan 
guage (Rom. xv. 8. 16. and else 
where), suggest the inquiry, "In 
what way the rites arid cere 
monies of the Mosaic law became 
appropriated to the truths of the 
Gospel ? Had the Israelite of old 
seen in them anticipations of 
Him who was to come ? had any 
before the times of the Apostles 
made a similar application of 
them ? There is no reason to 
think that Simeon and Anna, or 
any of those who were waiting 
for the consolation of Israel, saw 
in the ritual of the Temple-wor 
ship anything which led their 
minds to a knowledge of the 
Gospel. Nor is there any indica 
tion of a spiritual use of the ce 
remonies of the law in other 

d v/uwv. 

periods of Jewish history. Moses 
gave the law without comment 
or explanation : its hidden mean 
ings were the discoveries of after 
ages, to whom the original one 
had become unsuited. That 
meaning was in the earliest times 
inseparable from its use ; not 
" allegory, but tautegory," in the 
quaint language of Coleridge. 
In process of time many meanings 
sprang up, but those meanings 
were not the fruit of antiquarian 
research, such as we find in some 
modern works on this subject : 
nor were they based on ancient 
tradition ; they were fanciful as 
sociations of words and things. 

The parallel of Philo throws 
light on the question we are con 
sidering, because it shows how 
readily the human mind could 
find in the law that which in 
reality it brought to the law. 
New truths were to be taught ; 
new thoughts were to be given ; 
and they must be given through 
something. The revelation of 
the Gospel was not a mere blaze 
of light ; it contained objects to 
be distinguished, new relations 
between God and man to be ex 
plained, a scheme of Providence to 
be set forth. Some tongue of men 
or angels must be the medium of 
communion between heaven and 
earth. Accordingly, the sacred 
things of the Israelites became, 
by a sort of natural process, the 
figures of the true ; the Old Tes 
tament was the mystery of the 
New, the New the revelation of 
the Old. They were not con 
nected by any system of rules ; 

VER. 2.] 



2 in thought. And not to be 1 conformed to this world: 
but to be 2 transformed by the renewing of the 3 

1 Be ye not. 

out of the fulness of the heart 
the mouth spoke. The mind 
needed not to be taught, but 
taught itself the new meaning of 
old words. Often the believing 
Israelite must have stood by the 
altar and seen the priests moving 
to and fro in the courts of the 
temple, and thought of that other 
altar which they had no right to 
partake of who served the taber 
nacle, and of the priest not after 
the order of Aaron, and of the 
holy place, that holiest of all, not 
yet revealed to his longing eyes. 
His attention would no more 
dwell, if it had ever done so, with 
minute particularity on the de 
tails of the ritual ; he might lift 
up his heart to the truths which 
he associated with it, the cir 
cumcision of the heart, the build 
ing not made with hands, the 
everlasting priesthood, the living 
sacrifice. Such may have been 
the thoughts of James, the Bishop 
of Jerusalem, the Nazarite from 
his mother s womb, as described 
in the narrative of Hegesippus, 
kneeling daily in the temple, 
" until his knees became as hard 
as a camel s," praying for the 
sins of the people. 

Yet it must be remarked also, 
that the application of the cere 
monies of the law to the thoughts 
of the Gospel is not so much 
an application of what men saw 
around them the practice of 
Judaism, at that day, as of the 
words of Scripture. Thus the 
author of the Hebrews argues 
almost solely from the descrip 
tion of the temple and tabernacle 

Be ye. 

3 Your. 

which he found written. The 
words rather than the ceremonies 
of the law were the links which 
connected the Old and New Tes 
tament; and the more entirely 
the minds of men became pos 
sessed with the new truth, the 
slenderer was the thread of asso 
ciation by which they were ena 
bled to connect them. 

2. K CU fj,t) o vo ^r/juar/^eo Oai, and 
not to be conformed. ] Dependent 
on Trapa/caXw. I exhort you, bre 
thren, not to be conformed. Comp. 
1 Cor. vii. 31., TO ffia rov KUCT- 


TU) aiwi i rovrw, this woTld^\ con 
tains an allusion to the Jewish 
distinction between b aiuv OVTOQ 
and 6 cuuv ip-^operoc^ yue XXwr, 
&c., as the times before and the 
times after the Messiah ; expres 
sions which are continued, for 
the most part in the same sense, 
in the New Testament, or with 
only such a modification of mean 
ing as necessarily arises from the 
new nature of Messiah s kingdom. 
That kingdom was not merely 
future ; it was opposed to the 
present state which the believer 
saw around him, as good to evil, 
as the world of those who rejected 
Christ to the world of those who 
accepted him. This present world 
(6 vvv cawy, 2 Tim. i. 10.) was 
to the first disciples emphatically 
an alwv irovriftoc, (Gal. i. 4.), 
which had a god of its own, and 
children of its own (2 Cor. iv. 4.), 
and was full of invisible powers 
fighting against the truth. Hence 
it is in a stronger sense than we 
speak of the world, which in the 

z 4 



[Cii. XII. 


TOV Oeov TO ayadov Kal evdpecrTOV Kal 

\eyoj yap Sict TT^S x^P LTO<; r ^ 9 SoOeiays poi Travrl TOJ OVTL 
eV, fJirj vTrepffrpovetv Trap* o Sei <f>povelv, a\\a 

$pOVLV, KOLCTTa) O>S 6 #OS ^4plC 

KadaTrep yap iv kv\ crw/xa/n, TroXXa xe eoev 4 

19 TO 


language of modern times has be 
come a sort of neutral power of 
evil, that the Apostle exhorts 
his converts not to be conformed 
to this world, which is the king 
dom, not of God, but of Satan. 
Comp. note on Gal. i. 4. 

aXXa peraiJiopQovadai, but to be 
transformed. } No more reason 
can be given why the Apostle 
should have changed the word, 
than if we were to say, " and not 
to be conformed to this world, but 
to be transfigured by the renewal 
of your minds." (Comp. the 
change of t KCUOC into dyaOog in 
Rom. v. 7.) The words which 
follow, rJj avaxairiocrei TOV rooQ 
vjuair, are opposed to the first 
verse : " I exhort you to sacrifice 
the body ; but renew the mind." 
The same opposition occurs in 
Eph. iv. 22, 23. : " That ye put 
off concerning the former conver 
sation the old man, which is cor 
rupt according to the deceitful 
lusts, and be renewed (avaveovffde) 
in the spirit of your minds." 

VOVQ is here opposed to body, 
as elsewhere to Trrcv/za, 1 Cor. 
xiv. 14. Like the English word 
" mind," it is a general term, and 
includes the will. (Eph. iv. 17.) 
It is idle to raise metaphysical 
distinctions about words which 
the Apostle uses after the fleeting 
manner of common conversation, 
or to search the index of Aristotle 
for illustration of their meaning 
which the connexion in which 

they occur can alone supply. 
Compare note on 1 Thess. v. 23. 

eig TO COKina^eiv vpac;, that you 
may prove.} ^oKipa^etp signifies, 
first, to try, examine; secondly, 
to have experience of, know, 
approve: "Be so unlike the 
world, that the will of God may 
be its own witness to you " 
"that ye may know by expe 
rience what the will of God 
working in you is." Yet, in the 
words that follow, the " will of 
God" is supposed to be active 
rather than passive. It is what 
God wills, not what we perform, 
which is described as the good, the 
acceptable (to God), the perfect. 

It has been shown in other 
places, that such a confusion of 
the objective and subjective is 
quite in harmony with St. Paul s 
style. Those who deny that the 
same word can have two different 
senses in the same passage, find 
no better means of explaining the 
words ri TO 6e\rjjj.a TOV SEOV than 
by taking them in the sense of 
" what God wills you to do, the 
thing which is good, acceptable, 
and perfect (comp. 1 Thess. iv. 3., 
TOVTO yap EffTi SeXrjfjia TOV Seov o 

as a verbal, " respecting 
the thing that is good." 

The clause tie TO coiiJLaf.iv 
vjjiac, has a further connexion, first 
with the previous verse through 
the repetition of evapenTor, which 
recalls the thought of the accept- 

VER. 3, 4.] 



mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and accept 
able, and perfect will of God. For 1 say, through the 
grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 
not to think of himself more highly than he ought to 
think; but to think unto* sobriety, according as God 
hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as 
we have many members in one body, and all members 

able sacrifice, and also with ver. 
34. of the former chapter, " Who 
hath known the mind of God ? " 
which is referred to here in 
the words, "Be ye renewed in 
the spirit of your minds, that ye 
may have practical experience of 
what the mind of God is." Com 
pare 1 Cor. ii. 11. 16., for a si 
milar transition of thought from 
the incomprehensibility of the 
Divine nature to the knowledge 
of it. 

3. For I say, though not of 
myself, but by the grace given 
unto me (comp. the still more 
pointed expressions, 1 Cor. vii. 
25., yj Mprjf c> tu>jui wf r)\erjfA- 
VOQ VTTO Kvpiov TTKTTOQ ti/cu), to 
every one that is among you, "if 
there be any who seems to be 
somewhat," not to think of him 
self too much, beyond what he 
ought, but to have thoughts of 
himself only with the view of 
thinking soberly of himself, ac 
cording as God has given to each 
one a measure of faith or spiritual 

yap, for. ] Why "for"? One 
of the greatest moral impediments 
to this renewal is spiritual pride, 
the desire to appropriate in an es 
pecial sense to self, the grace com 
mon to all believers. Hence the 
Apostle argues from the part to 
the whole : " I exhort you to be 
transfigured ; for I tell you as a 
part of this that ye must be hum 

ble." Comp. UTroKttAvTrrerat 
in Rom. i. 17. In both passages 
the Apostle uses yap rather from 
an instinct of the connexion than 
an express consciousness of it. 

Qpovelv etg ro o-w0pove7i , to think 
unto sobriety.] " To let modera 
tion in thought be the limit or 
end of your thought," or as the 
paronomasia may be turned 
rather more loosely, to be minded 
to be of a sound mind. Comp. 
2 Cor. x. 13. : OVK etc ra a^erpa 
KCI v^?](T 6 jjLeQa, a A Act /caret ro 
TOV tcavorof, ov k^iptrrev 
pirpov. Eph. iv. 7. 

ptrpov TT/orewc, the measure of 
faith. ] All things are done by 
faith ; but faith itself is given 
in different proportions to dif 
ferent men. As in temporal 
things we say, " do not be strain 
ing after things beyond your 
power," so St. Paul says, "be 
not ambitious after things beyond 
your spiritual power, and remem 
ber that this too is not your 
own, but given you by God." 
Even " the stature of the perfect 
man," who is the image of the 
Church (Eph. iv. 13. ), is not 
without measure. 

4. The connexion of this 
verse with what has preceded is 
as follows. Let us not be high- 
minded, but all keep our proper 
place, according to the measure 
which God has given us. For 
we are like the body, in which 



[On. XII. 

ra Se /xe X?? iravra ov r^v avrty e^ec 
TroXXoi eV crw/xa ecr^e^ eV ^jpicrr^, TO Se Kad* 
e^o^reg Se ^apLcr/xara /cara TT)J> yapiv 

ovrws o 5 

els 1 


8o0elo m av 6 

Kara rrjv ava\oyiav rrjs 

there are many members with 
different offices. Compare 1 Cor. 
xii. 14.31., also Phil. ii. 3, 4.: "Let 
nothing be done through strife or 
vainglory, but in lowliness of mind 
let each esteem other better than 
themselves. Look not every man 
on his own things, but every man 
also on the things of others." 
Where there is the same con 
nexion between thinking of others 
and not thinking of ourselves, a 
connexion which we may trace 
in our own lives and characters 
as well as in the words of Scrip 
ture. For " egotism " is the 
element secretly working in the 
world, which is the most hostile 
to the union of men with one 
another, which destroys friendly 
and Christian relations. 

5. Where the Church is spoken 
of as a body, three modes of ex 
pression may be noted. It is the 
body of which Christ is the head, 
as in Col. ii. 19. ; or simply the 
body of Christ, as in 1 Cor. xii. 
27., Eph. iv. 12. (comp. Eph. i. 
22, 23., where both points of view 
are united, the church, of which 
He is the head, being also spoken 
of as " His body, the fulness of 
Him which filleth all in all ") ; or, 
lastly, we are one body in Christ, 
in the same sense that as Chris 
tians we are all things in Christ. 

TO ce Katf t, and in what 
concerns each."] TO /oifl tie quod 
attinet ad singulos, Mark, xiv. 
19. The form TO KU& tic rarely 
if ever occurs elsewhere even in 

Hellenistic Greek; it is, however, 
the reading of the principal manu 
scripts, and is supported by the 
analogy of TO Kad fiplpav, TO Kara 
(frvffiv, &c., the use of the nomina 
tive having probably arisen out 
of a confusion of the other for 
mula, IQ KClO IQ. 

The general meaning of the 
verse is as follows : For as the 
body has many members, which 
have each of them distinct offices, 
so we, being many, are one body 
in Christ, diverse and one too, 
interdependent members of each 
other. Compare 1 Cor. xii. 27, 
28., Eph. iv. 1116., where the 
same thought is still more fully 
worked out with a similar refer 
ence to the different offices and 
gifts of the Church. 

An organised being has been 
described, in the language of me 
taphysical writers, as a being in 
which every means is an end, 
and every end is a means, or in 
which the whole is prior to the 
part. The Apostle has another 
form of speech of a very different 
kind, but not less expressive of 
close and intimate union : " We 
are baptized into one body ; we 
are drunk of one spirit." 

6. s.^oi Tg ^e xcijO/Vyuara. But 
having gifts. ~] These words are 
sometimes joined with what pre 
cedes, " We are one body in Christ, 
and individually interdependent 
members, howbeit, with divers 
gifts." In this way, however, 
the long sentence, which must be 

VER. 5 7.J 



5 have not the same office : so we, being many, are one 
body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 

6 But* as we have gifts differing according to the grace 
that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy 

7 according to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let* 

continued to the end of ver. 18., 
greatly drags, and the hortatory- 
tone of the first part of the 
chapter is dropped, and only re 
sumed again at ver. 18. Further, 
the opposition implied by e to 
the tv aUjfjia f.ffp.ev iv ^piarw, is 
already anticipated in the clause, 
ro t)e xaO e tQ. 

A better way of explaining the 
passage is, to oppose lypvTtQ e 
to the previous exhortation in 
ver. 3. "Let us not be high- 
ininded, for we are the members 
of one body ; but as we have 
different gifts, let us seek to use 
them according to the measure 
of grace and faith which we 
have." The words, tyovreg U x- 
piffpara, carry on the thought of 
ver. 3. The imperative which is 
required in what follows may 
also be supplied from ver. 3., the 
recollection of which is recalled 
at ver. 6. in the words, KCITO. r//v 
avakoyiav TTJG iri ore we, which an 
swer to the clause, eK-aorw we o 
vtoc impure fjLerpov TT/OTCWC. "But, 
as we have diverse gifts, accord 
ing to the grace given unto us, 
it may be prophecy, let us have 
it according to the proportion of 
faith, or the gift of ministering, 
let us have it for use in the mi 
nistry ; or, if a man be a teacher, 
let him use his gift in teaching ; 
or an exhorter, let him use his 
gift in exhortations." That is to 
say, " We have divers gifts, let 
us have them, not beyond, but 
within measure, to be used not 

to exalt ourselves, but in that 
whereunto they are appointed." 

Philosophy, as well as religion, 
Plato and Aristotle, as well as 
St. Paul, speak of " a measure in 
all things ; of one in many, and 
many in one ; " of " not going be 
yond another ; " of <^po ?<ne and 
ffMfppoarvi r) ; of a society of another 
kind, " fitly joined together," in 
which there are divers orders, 
and no man is to call anything 
his own, and all are one. As the 
shadow to the substance, as words 
to things, as the idea to the 
spirit, so is that form of a state 
of which philosophy speaks, to 
the communion of the body of 

The construction is twice va 
ried. Instead of saying, tire 

ri]v avaXoyi aj/ TTJG Tr/arcwe, the 
Apostle adds in the second clause, 
kv rfi SiaKoviy (which indirectly 
implies the same thought " let 
him confine himself to his office "), 
and further changes the person 
in the words 6 t^aca-wr. For a 
parallel omission of the verb, 
compare 1 Pet. iv. 11., ei ne 
AaAei we Aoyia Qeov, ei TIQ BiaKOJ tl 
a>C EL, iayvoc ?/e ^opryyet 6 OeoQ : also 
2 Cor. viii. 13. 

TTjoo^rem? , prophecy.^ The 
gift of prophecy, common to the 
new, as well as to the old dispen 
sation ; not simply teaching or 
preaching, but the gift of extra 
ordinary men in an extraordinary 



[On. XII. 

, LT SLOLKOVICLV, iv rfj SiaKovia, etre 6 SiSacnccoz , 7 

iv rfj StSao-KaXia eire 6 TrapOLKaXuv, iv rfj 7rapaK\TJo-i, 6 8 
jueraSiSovs iv airXoTrjTi, 6 Trpoi crra/zej os iv (TTTovSfj, 6 

eXea)j> iv tXapdr^n. 07 ayaTrrj avvrroKpiro^ aTrocrTvyovvTes 9 

TO Trovrjpov, KO\\a)fJLPOi TO) ayaOa), rfj (j)i\aSe\<f)La, ecs 10 

, rfj 

age. It was the gift of the Apo 
stles and their converts, more 
than any other characteristic of 
the first beginnings of the G-os- 
pel, the utterance of the Spirit in 
the awakened soul, the influence 
and communion of which was 
caught by others from him who 
uttered it; not an intellectual gift, 
but rather one in which the in 
tellectual faculties were absorbed, 
yet subject to the prophets, higher 
and more edifying than tongues, 
failing and transient in compa 
rison with love (1 Cor. xii., xiii., 
xiv.). Compare note. 

Kara rj}vava\oylav rijQ TT/OTCWC.] 
Let him have it according to that 
proportion of faith which makes 
a man a prophet ; i. e. let him 
prophesy as he has faith for it ; 
or, let him prophesy in propor 
tion to the degree of his faith. 

7. %Lo.Koviav may (1.) either 
relate to the general duty of a mi 
nister of Christ ; just as TT LCTTLQ 
occurs in 1 Cor. xii. among spe 
cial gifts ; it is not necessary here 
any more than there, or in Eph. 
iv. 11, 12., that the meaning of 
each word should be precisely 
distinguished : or (2.) may refer 
to the office of a deacon in its 
narrower sense, of which we 
know nothing, and cannot be cer 
tain even that it was confined to 
the object of its first appointment 
mentioned in Acts, vi. 1., viz., 
the care of the poor, and the ad 
ministration of the goods of the 

Church, kv 7-77 SiaKovig,. Com 
pare 1 Tim. iv. 15., kv TOVTOIQ 

o tcw) . The teacher or 
preacher, as distinct from the 

8. 7rapa.K\rj(nG is distinguished, 
as sympathy and exhortation, 
from instruction (3t^a^//). 

Comp. 1 Cor. xii. 4., SiaiptffeiQ 
$E ^apioyicirwj ettrtV, TO $e avro 
7rvevfj,a, and Eph. iv. 11, 12., /cat 


TOVQ ^ 7rpo0//rac5 roue f vayy- 
Atorac, TOVQ fie Trot/ieVae Kai didaff- 
our, TrpOQ TOV Ka-apTiffpov riUj 
/an , elg tpyov Stauov/ag, etc ot/co 
TOV - 

v aTror^rt. Not, liberally, 
but, in singleness of heart, " as 
unto the Lord, and not unto 
men," with no other thought than 
that of pure love. 

Not the pa 

tron of strangers, but the ruler 
of the Church, or any one who 
bears authority over others. Com 
pare 1 Thess. v. 12. 

eV O-TTOU^J/.] In the spirit of 
those who do whatsoever their 
hand finds to do with all their 

iv tXaporj/ri, he that 

showeth mercy, with cheerful 
ness.^ Let a man find pleasure in 
doing good to the unfortunate. 
There should be a contrast be 
tween the cheerfulness of his de 
portment and the sadness of his 

VER. 810.] 



us use our gift in ministering: or he that teacheth, in 

8 teaching ; or he that exhorteth, in exhortation : he that 
giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, 
with diligence ; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerful- 

9 ness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that 

10 which is evil ; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly 
affectioned one to another in* the love of the brethren ; 


All these exhortations may be 
summed up in the general pre 
cept which follows : 

9. )/ ayri7r/7 uvvTroKpiroQ.^ Let 
love be real, and not merely put 
The words which follow 
TO Trovr/poi , /coXXoi- 
r<*> aya0, are in no con 
struction. It has been proposed 
to connect them with ayctTrd-e a\- 
\TI\OVL, understood in >/ uymr / 
awrroKpiToc. But while the gram 
mar is not much helped, the sense 
is greatly injured by this mode 
of taking them. As they are 
unconnected in construction, it 
is better to disconnect them in 
meaning, and take the several 
clauses as so many detached pre 
cepts, dictated by the Apostle 
to an amanuensis, perhaps with 
many pauses, as they occurred to 

It may be questioned whether 
these words are an imperative or 
an indicative. In point of sense 
the indicative is equally good, 
and the omission of the indicative 
verb eari much more common 
than of the imperative ; but in 
this passage, as imperatives pre 
cede and follow, it might be 
argued that the imperative sense 
is more naturally continued. 
Yet the imperative sense can 
hardly be continued through all 
three verses. The truth seems 
to be, that the Apostle, who had 
never distinctly expressed the 

imperative mood, has here lost 
sight of it altogether, and passed 
from exhortation to description. 
Nor is there much difference be 
tween them. For every descrip 
tion of the Christian character 
is also an exhortation to Chris 

10. rrj ^tXadeX^m.] Not, as in 
the English version, with brother 
ly love, but (as in 1 Thess. iv. 9.) 
" in your love to the brethren, 
affectionate one toward another." 
^tXooTopyot, as of parents to chil 
dren or of children to parents. 

rrj Ttjj.rj ciXX//Xov TTjOor/you^tevot.]] 
Not, in honour preferring one 
another (as in Phil. ii. 3., rr\ ra- 
Tren ofypoffvi r] a\\ri\ovQ fiyovpevot 
vTrepiyoi TdQ eavrwv), in defence of 
which something may be urged 
on the ground of the Apostle 
having made an etymological 
adaptation of the word (cf. Trpoe- 
ypa^j/, Gal. iii. 1.), and the rarity, 
if it is ever found, of the construc 
tion with the accusative case 
but as Theophylact and some of 
the ancient versions, " going be 
fore or anticipating one another 
in paying honour : " " leading the 
way to one another," like TrpoTro- 
joevojLievo*," and the Latin " an- 

r/7 O-TTOV^ ju>) oKvrjpoi.^\ Not 
wanting in the energy of action. 

TW 7ri v/j.ari ^iovTEQ, fervent in 
spirit j~\ opposed to what preceded, 
as the inward to the outward: 



[CH. XII. 

rfj <T7rov8fj JUT) oKvypoi, rw Tr^ev/xari ^eoz^re?, ra> Kvpio> 1 n 
SotAeuoz Tes, Ty eXTTiSi yaipovres, rfj $Xu//ei VTro^tvovrts, 12 
rfj 7rpo<TV)(fj npo&KapttpovvTes, rcus ^peiats TOJJ> ajyluv 13 
/co (j wj o wres, TT)I> <$)L\oi;VLav 8iO)KovTS. euXoyeire roug u 
StcoKoz Tas u/ms euXoyetre, /ecu JU,T) Karapacrde. yoLipew is 
/xera yaipovTW^, K\aieiv jnera fcXatdz^rco^. TO avro et? 16 
dXX??Xovs tfipovovvTts, fJirj ra vi/n^Xa $povovvT.<$, ctXXa rois 

1 Katpy. 

" energetic in act, fervent in 

rw Kvpik) BouXevovrfc? serving 
the Lord.~\ Considerable weight 
of MS. authority attaches to 
the reading /ocupw <WXetotTe (A. 
G.y! p .) ; either, " adapting your 
selves to the necessities of the 
time," which comes in strangely 
among precepts to simplicity 
and zeal, though, if a good mean 
ing be put upon the words, not 
unlike the spirit of the Apostle in 
other places, Acts, xvi. 3, 1 Cor. 
ix. 20. ; or (2.) in a higher sense, 
"serving the time;" because the 
time is short, and the day of the 
Lord is at hand : an interpreta 
tion which, like the former one, 
connects better with what follows, 
than with what precedes. Later 
editors, however, agree with the 
Textus Receptus in reading rw 
Kvpio) fiovXevovrec, which, on the 
whole, has the greater weight of 
external evidence (A. B. v.) in 
its favour. Nor can any ob 
jection be urged on internal 
grounds, except that of an ap 
parent want of point, the slight 
est of all objections to a read 
ing or interpretation in the writ 
ings of St. Paul. And even this 
is really groundless, if we regard 
St. Paul as summing up in these 
words what had gone before: 
" Be diligent, zealous, doing 

2 Add Kal. 

all things unto the Lord, and not 
unto men. Remembering in all 
things that you are the servants 
of Christ." The difficulty is, in 
any case, no greater than that 
a ^upLffpa Tri(TT(t)Q should occur 
among other special graces in 
Cor. xii., or that the word S eo- 
orvyele should be found in a long 
catalogue of particular sins. 
Rom. i. 30. 

12. rrj e\7ri%i ^aipovT^.~\ With 
joy in time of hope and prosperity, 
with patience in time of affliction. 
r/7 A/4/t might be a dative after 
vtrojjiEvovrec, "constant to afflic 
tion," but is probably an ablative 
" constant in affliction ; " the 
construction of the previous 
clause being continued. 

13. TCUQ ^peiciiQ T(JJV dyiwv Koivk)- 
rovvTec.~] Not, having a portion in 
the needs of the saints ; but, im 
parting to the saints who have 
need. Compare Acts, xx. 34., 
Gal. vi. 6., Rom. xv. 20. The 
variation in the text, rale ^E LULQ 
T>V a.yii)v /coivwvoi/rrec, A. a. f. g., 
holding communion with the me 
mories of the saints, is a curious 
instance of a reading supported 
by ancient authorities, in which 
ideas of the fourth or fifth century 
are transferred to the first. 

TI}V fyiko&v iav liwKovrtQ. In 
the same strain as in the pre 
ceding clause, the Apostle con- 



11 in honour leading* the way one to another; not back- 

12 ward in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 

13 rejoicing in hope ; patient in tribulation ; continuing 
instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of 

14 saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which perse- 

15 cute you : bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them 
is that do rejoice *, weep with them that weep. Be of 

the same mind one toward another : minding* not 

Add and. 

tinues : " Relieving the wants 
of the saints, and given to re 
ceiving them hospitably." The 
connexion leads us to suppose 
that the Apostle is speaking of 
hospitality specially to Christians, 
perhaps pilgrims at Rome, and 
not to men in general. 

14. fi/XoycTre TOVQ ^uaKovrag 
7/ftcic, bless them that persecute 
you^\ remind us of our Lord s 
words recorded in Matt. v. 44. : 
" Bless them that curse you." 
The similarity is, however, not 
close enough to be urged as 
a proof that St. Paul was ac 
quainted with our Gospels. The 
word SKJJKOVTQ in the preceding 
verse, appears to have suggested 
the thought which the Apostle, 
as his manner is, expresses first 
positively and then negatively. 

15. It is proposed by some in 
terpreters to connect KXaieiv /uera 
K\cu6vTb)v with the preceding 
verse, so as to give the following 
sense : " Bless them that per 
secute you : bless and curse not, 
so that ye may be able to sym 
pathise with all their good and 
ill fortune, thinking of one an 
other with like thoughts." This 
is another instance of the sacri 
fice of sense to an attempt at 
grammar and connexion. To 
say : "Bless your enemies, that 
you may weep with them that 

weep," is extremely far-fetched. 
The infinitive is better taken 
for the imperative, as in Phil, 
iii. 16., Luk. ix. 3., that is to say, 
the construction is changed, and 
the sentence proceeds as if Xe yw 
TrapaKaXw, or a similar word, had 
gone before. 

16. TO avro.] Either with EIQ 
a\\i]\ovc, (1.) Thinking of your 
selves as you would have others 
think of you the reverse of 
placing yourselves above one 
another (jri) TCI v\^/r)\a typorovvre^ ; 
or with <f>pove~iv preserving the 
ordinary sense of TO O.VTO (f)poveHi 
in other passages (cf. TO av-b 
typore.~iv ) aXX//Xote). (2.) " Be 
of the same mind one with ano 
ther," a counsel not of humility, 
but of unity, of which humility 
is also a part. Compare ver. 4. 


ju o.] It is doubted whether in 
this passage rciTreivoTe is neuter 
or masculine: the word vv/^Xa, 
which precedes, would incline 
us to suppose the former ; the 
common use of Tcnreivog is in 
favour of the latter. Let us 
suppose the first, and take 
TCITTEIVOQ in the sense in which it 
is most opposed to ui^/Xoe, not 
"miserable," as in James, i. 10, 
but "lowly." Then, amid pre 
cepts of sympathy and humility, 
or unity, the Apostle may be 



[On. XII. 

raireivos crvvaTrayo^voi. 

KaKov avri KGLKOV a/Tro 

yivea-Ot (fipovipoi Trap* eav- 

SiSoVres, Trpovoovpevoi 17 

a [ivomiov TOV Oeov KOL I ~\ IV&TTIOV rojv 2 avOpatTTW d 18 
Svvarov, TO ef vfjiojv jaera TrdvTOJV avOpojirav elprjvevovres, 
fjir) eavrovs K?>iKOvvT<$, ayaTTrjTOi, dXXa Sore TOTTOV rfj 19 
yey/ a7rr(U yap Epol e/cSt/c^crt?, ey^ d 

1 Om. eV&)7r. . . feat. 

supposed to proceed as follows : 
" Thinking of yourselves as on a 
level with one another, minding 
not high things, not struggling 
against lowly ones ; " or with 
rdTmrote as a masculine, " Mind 
ing not high things, but de 
scending to be with the lowly." 
The two opposed clauses thus 
serve as a new expression of the 
general thought, TO av-6 elc aXX?/- 
\OVQ <j)povovvTG, which is again 
resumed in ver. 17.: "Be on a 
level; there are v^rjXd and 
Tcnreiva or TCLTTEIVOI ; do not seek 
to rise to one, or strive against 
descending to the other." So far 
all is clear. The difficulty is how 
to insert the notion of "force" 
or " constraint " which is con 
tained in the word avrairayonevoi. 
It may possibly be nothing more 
than the misuse or exaggeration 
in the use of a word which arises 
from an imperfect command over 
language ; but it may also be 
fairly explained as referring to 
the struggle in our own minds, 
or the violence we do to our own 
feelings. The Apostle might 
have said role rairtivoiQ ffvrojjii- 
Remembering that 
the human heart is apt to be in 
rebellion against lessons of hu 
mility, he uses, not with perfect 
clearness, the more precise word 

JJLYI ylvtaQt. ^pot ipot Trap 
be not wise in your own opinions. ~\ 
These words are a short summary 
of what has preceded ; they have 
also a reference to what follows. 
As above the Apostle connected 
lowly thoughts of ourselves with 
consideration of others, so pride 
leads in its train retaliation ; it 
will not hear of the Gospel pre 
cept, " If any man smite you on 
the right cheek, turn to him the 
other also." 

Trpovoovjjievoi KaAo.] It is a 
favourite thought of the Apostle 
that the believer should walk 
seemly to those that are without, 
careful of the sight of man no 
less than of God. Comp. 2 Cor. 
viii. 21., where, speaking of the 
collection to be made for the 
poor saints, the Apostle says that 
he had one chosen to go up with 
him to Jerusalem with the alms : 

yap /cact ov JJLOVOV 
oVf aXXa fjai kvuniov 
as in this passage. 
Cf. Prov. iii. 4., fccu Trporoov KaXa 
ivwiTiov Kvpiov /ecu avdpwTrwr. 

18. 1 ^VVCLTOV) TO l VyUfe)) .] If 

it be possible, live peaceably with 
all men. To which the Apostle 
adds, as a limitation, TO ! vp<Zv : 
if other men will not, yet, as far 
as you are concerned, live peace 
ably ; at any rate, it is possible 
for you. 

19. ore TOTTOV TTJ dpyfj, give 



high things, but going along* with the lowly. Be not 

17 wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man 
evil for evil. Provide things honest 1 [in the sight of 

18 God and] in the sight of 2 men. If it be possible, as 
much as lieth in you, be* at peace with all men. 

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give 
place unto wrath : for it is written, Vengeance is mine; 

Om. in the sight of God and. 

2 Add all. 

place to wrath. ] These words 
have received three explanations : 

(1.) Make room for the wrath 
of your enemy, i. e. let the wrath 
of your enemy have its way ; or, 
(2.) Make room for your anger 
to cool, " date spatium irae," give 
your anger a respite; or, (3.) 
Make way for the wrath of God. 
The second of these explanations 
is equally indefensible on grounds 
of language and sense. It is only 
as a translation of a Latinism we 
can suppose the phrase to have 
any meaning at all, and the 
meaning thus obtained, " defer 
your wrath," is poor and weak. 
According to the first and third 
explanations the words t)or TOKOV 
are taken in the same sense 
(which also occurs in Eph. iv. 27. 

jjirj^/e ?>i$ore TOTTOV rw oia^oAw), 
the doubt being whether the word 
opyfj refers to the wrath of our 
enemy or of God. The latter is 
supposed to be required by the 
context, " Give place to the wrath 
of God, who has said, Vengeance 
is mine." The last clause, how 
ever, may be equally well con 
nected with the words, avenge 
not yourself; nor is it easy to 
conceive that if the Apostle had 
intended the wrath of God, he 
would have expressed himself so 
concisely and obscurely as in the 
words rrj dpyrj. The first ex- 


planation is, therefore, the true 
one. " Dearly beloved, avenge 
not yourself, but let your enemy 
have his way." It has been ob 
jected that common prudence 
requires that we should defend 
ourselves against our enemies. 
This is true, and yet the fact, 
that the same objection ap 
plies equally to the words of 
our Saviour in the Gospel 
(Matt. v. 34 48.), is a sufficient 
answer ; 6 ^v^aperog 

yap.] The words 
that follow are from Deut. xxxii. 
35. The spirit in which they are 
cited by the Apostle, is somewhat 
different from that in which they 
occur in the Old Testament; not, 
"avenge not yourself, for God 
will avenge you, and so your 
enemy will not escape free ;" but, 
" avenge not yourself, because 
you are intruding on the office 
and province of God." 

The principle here laid down 
may be sometimes a counsel of 
perfection ; that is to say, a prin 
ciple which, in the mixed state of 
human things, it is impossible to 
carry out in practice. But it is 
worthy of remark that it is also a 
maxim acted upon by civilised 
nations in the infliction of penal 
ties for crime. There is no vin- 
dictiveness in punishment, neither 



[Cn. XII. 

Xeyei Kvpios. dXXa Ea^ 1 irtiva 6 e^^os crov, 
avrov lav Su//a, Tronic avrov. TOVTO yap TTOLWV a 

iTvpos crct)pevo L<5 771 TT]v K<pa\r)v avrov. fjirj VLKOJ vrro rov 
/ca/cov, dXXa vUa Iv r& ayaOa) TO Kaxov. 

1 Om d\Aa: add ovv after l&v. 

retaliation for the injury done to 
the individual nor to the state, 
nor, if so be, for the impiety 
against God. The preservation 
of society is its only object. 
Human law begins by acknow 
ledging that God alone is the 
judge ; it is not even the execu 
tioner of his anger against sin, 
much less of man s wrath against 
his fellows. Conscious of its own 
impotence and of the awful re 
sponsibilities which surround it, 
it only seeks to accomplish, in a 
superficial and external manner, 
what is barely necessary for self- 

[ecu- ovv. If ovv were genuine, 
this and the preceding verse 
might be connected as follows : 
Therefore seeing you have no 
right to avenge yourself, do good 
only to your enemy. There is no 
need, however, to invent a con 
nexion in a passage the general 
character of which is so abrupt, 
more especially as the particle 
ovv is probably spurious.] 

The words which follow, TOVTO 
yap TTOtwv a.vQoa.Kaq TTVQOQ 

creig eirl TYJV ice^aX^v avrov, " for 
in so doing thou shalt heap 
coals of fire upon his head," are 
a well-known difficulty. It must 
not be overlooked that they are 
a quotation from Prov. xxv. 21., 
taken verbatim from the LXX., 
which, however, has an addi 
tional Clause, O ^ KVplOQ aVTCUTO- 

dwerfi croi ctyaOd. The meaning 
of the words, in their original 
connexion, has been thus given : 
" Do good to your enemies, for 
so you shall undo them with grief 
and indignation at themselves, 
but God shall reward you." To 
this it may be objected that the 
adversative particle e)e (6 e KV- 
piog) has no force, and also that 
the expression, " thou shalt heap 
coals of fire on his head," is an 
image of destruction, and cannot 
be distorted into the metaphor of 
destroying another with grief and 

But, secondly, the context in 
the New Testament in which the 
expression occurs, has reference 
to the forgiveness of injuries, and 
in some way or other a meaning 

VER. 20, 21.] 



20 I will repay, saith the Lord. Rather " if 1 thine enemy 
hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink : for it* is 

21 by doing this that thou shalt heap coals of fire on his 
head." Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with 

1 Therefore. 

must be found for the words, 
"thou shalt heap coals of fire 
upon his head," which is in ac 
cordance with this precept. The 
explanation, "thou shalt melt 
thine enemy like wax," may be 
at once set aside as inconsistent 
with the words. Nor is the other 
interpretation, " thou shalt make 
his soul burn with remorse," really 
more defensible. What appro 
priateness is there in the expres 
sion, " heaping coals of fire on the 
head," to express inward remorse 
and indignation ? or how would 
the desire even to excite remorse 
in an enemy be consistent with 
Christian forgiveness ? It is im 
possible to harmonise such an in 
terpretation with what precedes 
or follows. Better, therefore, to 
take the words in their literal 
sense as an image of destruction, 
which is, however, ironically ap 
plied by the Apostle, in the spirit 
of the New Testament, rather 
than of the Old, so as to reverse 

the meaning. " Instead of aveng 
ing yourselves, say rather (with 
them of old time), if thine enemy 
hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, 
give him drink, for this is the 
right way of undoing and de 
stroying him ; this is the true 
mode of retaliation ; this is the 
Christian s revenge." There is an 
emphasis on TOVTO : " In so doing 
thou shalt inflict on him the true 
vengeance." The omission of the 
final words (but the Lord shall re 
ward thee), which would be in 
appropriate, if the first part of 
the passage is to have this turn 
given to it, is a strong argument 
that the suggested interpretation 
is the correct one. 

2 1 . The explanation j ust given 
is further confirmed by the verse 
which follows. He has just said, 
" Destroy your enemy with deeds 
of mercy." Following out the 
same thought he adds, "Do not 
be carried away by his evil, but 
carry him away by your good." 

A A 2 



Is the previous chapter the Apostle had spoken of the unity of the 
Church, and of the offices of its members. He had gone on to scatter 
admonitions, following each other in order sometimes of sound, .some 
times of meaning, which, like the precepts of the sermon on the Mount, 
went beyond the maxims of heathen virtue, or the sayings of " thorn 
of old time." Men were to think humbly of th< . to return 

good for evil, to feed their enemies, to live peaceably with all. Con 
tinuing in the same spirit, he adds, " they are to be obedient to the 
powers that be." This is a part of the Christian s duty, which he will 
more easily fulfil if he regards the magistrate as he truly is, as " the 
minister of God for good." 

The ear with which St. Paul dwells upon his theme, as 

well as the allusions to the same subject in other p j i of the 
ament (Tit. iii. 1., 1 Pet. ii. 13 18.), are proof s that he 
is guarding against a tendency to which he knew the first believers 
to be subject. He is speaking to the Christians at Rome, as a bishop 
of the fourth or fifth century might have addressed the multitudes 
of Alexandria ; preaching counsels of moderation to " the fifth 
monarchy men " of that day. They were more in the eye of the 
Christian world than believers elsewhere, more likely to come into 
conflict with the imperial power, perhaps in greater danger of being 
led away with the dream of another kingdom. The spirit of rebel 
lion, against which the Apostle is warning them, was not a mere 
misconception of the teaching of the Go-pel ; it lay deep in the cir 
cumstances of the age and in the temper of the Jewish people. It 
ig irnpob.ible to forget, however blight may be their historical ground- 


work, the well-known words of Suetonius. Claud, c. 25.. " Judzeos 
impulsore Chresto assidue turuultuantes Koma expulit." (Acts, xviii. 
2.) The narrative of Scripture itself affords indications of similar 
agitations, so tar as they can be expected to cross the peaceful path 
of our Saviour and his disciples. The words of the prophecy, as it is 
termed, of Caiaphas respecting our Lord, however unfounded, imply 
a political fear more than a religious enmity. The question of the 
Pharisees, " Is it lawful to give tribute to Civsar.* and the argument 
with which the Jews wrought on the fears of Pilate, are also not with 
out significance. The account of Judas the Gaulonite. in Josephus, 
-who rose up about the time of the taxing," and whom Josephus terms 
4 the founder of the fourth philosophy of the Jews." Ant. xviii. c. 1. 
1. 6., is a more explicit evidence of the spirit of insubordination. 
That "philosophy" consisted in an inviolable attachment to liberty, 
and " in calling no man Lord " but God himself ( 6.), a principle 
which was maintained by its adherents with indescribable constancy. 
The author of the movement was no ordinary man. and the move 
ment itself so tar from being a transient one. that it continued through 
century, and is regarded by Josephus. as " laying the 
foundation of the miseries" of the Jewish war. i^xvii. c. 1. 1.) 

The account of Josephus himself, unwilling as he is to do them 
justice, shows that in their first commencement the Zealots 1 
animated by noble thoughts, their testimony to which t". 
ready to seal by tortures and death. Many of fl*eae "Gftlflei l" 
^for in this country they were chiefly found^ were probably among 
the first converts. Like the Essenes. they stood in some relation 
that we are unable to trace to the followers of John the Baptist and 
brisi We cannot suppose that in all cases the temper of the 
Zealot had died away in the bosom of the Christian. A very slight 
misunderstanding of the manner in which " the kingdom was to be 
restored to Israel" might sutnce to rekindle the flame. If our Lord 
himself had said. Peace I leave with you, He had also said. I come 
not to bring peace on earth, but a sword : if lie had commanded 
Peter to put up his sword into the sheath. He had also commanded 

A v 


them each to sell his garment and buy one ; if He had paid tribute, He 
had also declared that the children of the kingdom were free from the 
tribute. We could hardly wonder if those who heard His words some 
times mistook the result for the object, or confused the Jewish belief of 
the kingdom of heaven upon earth with the kingdom of God that is 
within. The after history of the Church teaches how near such a 
confusion lay to the truth itself. Not once only, nor during our 
Lord s lifetime only, there have been those who have " taken him by 
force to make him a king." 

The words " the powers that be are ordained of God " have been 
made the foundation of many doctrines of passive obedience and 
non-resistance. Out of the Apostle s " counsels of moderation " have 
developed themselves the Divine right of government, however exer 
cised and under all circumstances, and even of particular forms of 
government. The party feelings of an age have been clothed in the 
language of Scripture, and established on the ground of antiquity. 
If the first Christians were to obey the heathen emperors, how 
can we ever be justified in shaking off the yoke of a Christian 
sovereign ? If St. Paul said this under Nero, how much more is it 
true of the subjects of King Charles I. ? 

Such arguments are two-edged ; for as many passages may be 
quoted from Scripture which indirectly tend to the subversion, as can 
be adduced for the maintenance, of order or of property. The words 
of the psalmist, " to bind their kings in chains, their nobles in fetters 
of iron," are in the mouth of one class ; " shall I lift up my hand 
to slay the Lord s anointed ? " of another ; and in peace and pro 
sperity men turn to the one, in the hour of revolution to the other. 
Many are the texts which we either silently drop or insensibly 
modify, with which the spirit of modern society seems almost 
unavoidably to be at variance. The blessing on the poor, and the 
" hard sayings " respecting rich men, are not absolutely in accordance 
even with the better mind of the present age. We cannot follow the 
simple precept, " Swear not at all," without making an exception 
for the custom of our courts of law. We dare not quote the words, 


" Go sell all thou hast and give to the poor," without adding the 
caution, " Beware, lest in making the copy thou break the pattern." 
We are riot so often exhorted " to obey God rather than man," as 
warned against the misapplication of the words. 

These instances are sufficient to teach us how moderate we should 
be in reasoning from particular precepts, even where they agree with 
our preconceived opinions. The truth seems to be that the Scripture 
lays down no rule applicable to individual cases, or separable from the 
circumstances under which it is given. Still less does it furnish a poli 
tical or philosophical system "My kingdom is not of this world," 
which it scarcely seems to touch. No one can infer from the passage 
that we are considering that St. Paul believed it wrong to rise against 
wicked rulers in any case, because they were the appointment of God, 
anymore than from his speaking of wrestling against principalities and 
powers we can conclude that he supposed, with some of the Ebionitish 
sects, that all power was of the devil. It never occurred to him that the 
hidden life which he thought of only as to be absorbed in the glory of 
the sons of God, was one day to be the governing principle of the civi 
lised world. Though " he has written this in an epistle," he would 
not have us use it " altogether " without regard to the state of this 
world. Only in reference to the time at which he is writing, looking 
at the infant community in relation to the heathen world, he exhorts 
them to suffer rather than oppose ; and if ever the thought rises in 
their minds that those whom they obey are the oppressors of God and 
His Church, to remember that without His appointment they could 
not have been, and that, after all, it is for their own faults they them 
selves are most likely to endure evil even at the hands of Gentile 

A A 4 




Ilacra ^V^T) i^ovcriais vTrepe^ovcraLg v7roracrcr(T0o}. ov 13 
yap O-TLV l^ovcria el /XT) VTTO I 9eov, at Se ovcrai VTTO Oeov 2 
TCTay/xeVcu eicrtk wcrre 6 d^rtracrcro/xe^os rfj e^oucrta rfj 2 
rov 0eov SiaTayf) dvOecrTrjKev ol Se dvOecrTyjKOTes eavrols 
KplfJia \TJfJL\fjovTai. ol yap dpyovres OVK elcrlv <f)6/3os TV 3 
dyaOo) tpy<p, d\\a TO) KaKoj. B #e Xei9 Se /XT) <o/3eco-#cu rr}z/ 
eovo-Lav ; TO dyaOov Troiei, Kai e^eis eiraivov ef avrr;? 
yap Sta/co^d? Icrnv crot ets TO dyaOov. lav 8e TO 4 

770177? ^>oy8o) ov yap ei/c^ TT)^ /xa^atpa^ <f)opel 
deov yap Sia/co^ds eo*Tiz/ eK:St/cos ets opyrjv TM TO KO.KQV 

e|oyo"tat UTT?) TOU 

Trao-a if/vx*?? every soul, ] is used 
here as the word soul or body in 
English, simply for " person." 
Compare 1 Pet. iii. 20. OKTW ^v- 

8 T>V aya,6uv 

a\\a rcav KO.KUV. 

v7Tp\ovffaiQ, to pow 
ers above them.~\ Comp. 1 Pet. 
ii. 13. : vTToray^re iraar] avOpcj- 
KTivei Sia rov Kvptov, e /re /3a- 

a> i O.VTOV 

ov yap eoriv iZovcria, K. r. \,^for 
there is no power. ~\ " For there is 
no power but has a Divine source, 
and those that exist are appointed 
by God." The second clause is 
not a mere repetition ; it gives 
emphasis ; what in the first clause 
was a principle, is a fact in the 
second. " All power is of God ; 
those which exist among us, un 
der which we live, are his express 
appointment." The same thought 
occurs in the Wis. of Sol. vi. 1 
3., " Hear, O ye kings ..... 
for power is given you of the 
Lord and sovereignty from the 
Highest, who shall try your 
works and search out your coun 

The MS. authority is nearly e- 
qually balanced between UTTO -S^ov, 

the reading of the TextusRecep- 
tus, in the first clause, and vVo 
SEOV, which is Lachmann s. The 
former of the two readings gives 
the best sense, as it agrees best 
with the generality of the first 
clause. As ovaai corresponds to 
eortv, so VTroTaffffeadd) to re raypevuty 
which latter paronomasia is car 
ried on in the next verse by av- 
TiraffffofjLevoQ and Starayr). It may 
be rendered in English " Let 
every one be in his place under 
the powers above him, for they 
have their place from God him 

2. So that he who arrays him 
self against the power, opposes 
the appointment of God, a con 
sequence of the previous verse ; 
and (e slightly adversative = and 
whatever they may think) they 
that oppose, shall receive to 
themselves condemnation. From 
whom ? From the magistrate 
apparently. Yet St. Paul does 
not merely mean that they shall 
suffer temporal punishment. As 
in Matth. v. 21, 22., the punish 
ment of the magistrate is the 
symbol of a higher penalty which 
they are to suifer, because he has 

VEB. 14.] 



3 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. 
For there is no power but of God : the powers that be 

2 are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the 
power, resisteth the ordinance of God : and they that 

3 resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers 
are not a terror to the good work 1 , but to the evil. And* 
wilt thou not be afraid of the power ? do that which is 
good, and thou shalt have praise of the same : for he is 

4 the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do 
that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the 
sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger 

1 Good works. 

the authority of God. By some 
commentators the second verse 
is connected with what follows : 
"Thou shalt be punished; for 
rulers are a terror, not to good 
works, but to evil, which is a 
proof that your resistance to au 
thority is evil." This is far 
fetched ; the latter words are 
better taken in connexion, not 
with the clause oi $s avdearrjKOTeL; 
but with the general sense of the 
two previous verses. 

3. ol yap apxpvTtc,for rulersJ] 
The dative (rw fyyw), which is 
supported by a great prepon 
derance of MS. authority, is the 
true reading. The Apostle goes 
on to give another reason why it 
is our duty to obey magistrates, 
besides their being divinely ap 
pointed, because they are a terror, 
not to the good work, but to the 
evil. And would you be with 
out fear of the magistrate ? Do 
well, and he shall praise you as 
a good citizen. 

It maybe observed: (1.) That 
St. Paul cannot have intended to 
rule absolutely the question of 
obedience to authority, if for no 

other reason than this, that the 
only case he supposes is that of a 
just ruler. (2.) That the man 
ner in which he speaks of ru 
lers, is a presumption that the 
Christians at Rome could not 
have been at this time subject 
to persecution from the autho 
rities ; whence it may be in 
ferred also that it was in re 
ference to the temper of the 
early Christians rather than to 
any systematic persecution likely 
to arouse it, these precepts were 

4. He will praise you, if you 
do well, for he is the minister of 
God to you (sc. if you do well) 
for good. But if thou doest ill, 
be afraid ; for he does not bear 
the sword without purpose. For 
he is the minister of God, an 
avenger to execute wrath on him 
that does evil. 

Is the Apostle speaking of 
rulers of this world as they are, 
or as they ought to be ? Of nei- 
ther,but of the feeling with which 
the Christian is to regard them. 
In general, he will be slow to 
think evil of others ; in par tic u- 




TrpdcrcrovTi. Sto aVay/o? vTroracrcrecr&u, ov \LQVQV Sta rrjv 5 
opyrfv, aXXa Kal Sta rrjv o-vveiSiqcriv. Sta TOVTO yap /cat 6 
<j)6povs reXetre* XetTovpyot yap Oeov elarlv ets avTo TOVTO 

TrpOGTKapTpOVl>Te$. aVoSoTe 1 TTOLCTLP TO,? OC^CtXct?, TC? TOI> 7 
</)6pOV TOV $6pOV, T0> TO TeXoS TO TeXo9, T(5 TCW <f)6/3ov TOV 

<j)6/3ov, TO) Trjv Tiprjv TTJV rt^z/. /u/tySo l ^Se^ 6</>tXere, et 8 
/AT) 2 TO aXXr/Xovs ayaTraV. 6 yap ayaTrwz TOJ> eTepov vo^ov 

ov </>o^vo-et5, ov AcXe- 9 
j, e^ TO> Xoya} 

7T7r\TJpa)KV TO ya/o ov /^ 

i//et9 3 , ov/c eTTt^v/^cret?, /cat et Tts Tepa 

4 aVa/ce(aXatovTat ? [ez^ Ta>J dyaTT^crets 

1 Add o 
8 Add 06 

lar, of rulers. His temper will 
be that of submission and mode 
ration. He will acknowledge that 
almost anj government is toler 
able to the man who walks in 
nocently, and that the govern 
ments of mankind in general have 
more of right and justice in them 
than the generality of men are 
apt to suppose. And lastly, he 
will feel that, whatever they do, 
they are in the hands of God, who 
rules among the children of men ; 
and, in general, that his relations 
to them, like all the other relations 
of Christian life, are to God also. 

5. Therefore we must obey, not 
only from fear of punishment, but 
for conscience sake. Comp. 1 Pet. 
ii. 13., vrroTayr)T iraffr) a.vOpu)7rivr) 
Kriati (hci TOV Kvptov. In obeying 
the magistrate, you are obeying 
God ; you are " in foro consci- 
entise," and you cannot disobey 
without " the conscience being 
defiled." 1 Cor. viii. 7. 

opyfi, punishment, as in iii. 5., 
iv. 15., like the English word 
" vengeance," including the act 
of execution as well as the feel 
ing which prompts it. 

6. ia rovro, therefore,^ is at 
once tjie proof and the conse- 

2 rb d-ya.ita,v 
4 eV Tovrcp rf 

quence of what has preceded, and 
may be referred to ver. 5., " Be 
cause you must be subject for 
conscience sake ; " or better, to 
the whole preceding passage, 
" Because of the Divine appoint 
ment of rulers," which is again 
repeated in the next clause. 

The same remark which was 
made in ver. 4. holds good here. 
We are not to conceive St. Paul 
as arguing absolutely that Caesar 
had a right to tribute, but only 
setting forth one side of the ques 
tion, that is, the feeling with which 
a religious man should regard the 
exactions of a heathen govern 
ment. As though he had said : 
" When you see the tribute ga 
therer sitting at the receipt of 
custom, restrain the feelings that 
might arise in your mind, with 
the thought that he too is the 
minister of God. Render unto 
Caesar the things that are Caesar s/ 
because in so doing ye are ren 
dering unto God the things that 
are God s." 

dg avTo TOVTO] may either be 
explained (1.) by dg TO XeiTovp- 
^ew, understood in \ei- 
Seov, or (2.) referred to 
what precedes "for the very 

VER. 5-9.] 



5 to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore 
ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also 

e for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute 
also : for they are God s ministers, attending continually 

7 for * this very thing. Eender 1 to all their dues : tri 
bute to whom tribute is due ; custom to whom custom ; 

8 fear to whom fear ; honour to whom honour. Owe no 
man any thing, but to love one another: for he that 

9 loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou 
shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou 
shalt not steal 2 , Thou shalt not covet; and if there be 
any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in 
this 3 , namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 

1 ^(/(/therefore. 

Add thou shalt not bear false witness. 

Add saying. 

purpose of receiving tribute ; " 
the point is, that the Divine au 
thority of magistrates is brought 
home to the rebellious spirit in 
the vulgar case of their receiving 

7. The Apostle goes on to 
comprehend the particular in 
stance of duty to magistrates 
under a general head. \_ovv, 
which would imply an inference, 
is probably corrupt.] rw TOV 
(popov is governed of some pas 
sive verb understood in d<ptXde. 
For the omission, comp. 2 Cor. 
viii. 15. 

8. The precept of the previous 
verse is repeated in a stronger 
negative form : " Owe no man 
any thing." To which the Apostle 
adds, but " to love one another." 

Some have taken the word 
d^eiXtre in different senses in the 
two clauses. " Owe no man any 
thing, only ye ought to love one 
another." It is simpler, without 
such a paronomasia, to explain 

the words of the endless debt of 
love : " Owe no man anything, 
but to love one another ; " that 
debt, we may add, which "owing 
owe s not " and is alway due. 

6 yap ayairutv TOV erfjoo^.] For 
to owe this debt is the payment 
of all debts. He that loveth his 
neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. 
Comp. Matt. xxii. 37, 38. 

9. The Apostle, quoting ap 
parently from Exodus, xx. 13., 
Deut. v. 18, 19., not according 
to the Hebrew, but according to 
copies of the LXX., which Philo 
must have had (De Decalogo, 
12. 24. 32.), like him, places 
the seventh commandment be 
fore the sixth. The same order 
is observed in the quotation of 
the Evangelists, Luke, xviii. 20., 
Mark, x. 19. ; the places of the 
seventh and eighth being also 
transposed in the Vatican MS. 
of the LXX. 

ft TIQ tripa eVroX?/.] The ninth 
commandment is omitted. 



[Cn. XIII. 

crov o>5 creavTov. 77 ayaTrrj ro> 77X770-10^ KaKov OVK epyd- 10 
eTa,6* TrXT^ooJ/m ovv VOJJLOV 77 dydrrrj. Kal rovro t8dre5 11 
TOZ^ Kaipov, on a>pa 77877 v/x,a,5 x ef VTTVOV tyepOfjvai vvv yap 
eyyvrepov fjucov 77 crcoTTjpia 77 ore eTTtcrrevcrajLte^. 77 w^ 12 
7rpoeKo\jJVj 77 Se Tjf^epa ijyyLKev 0,770 OwjJieOa ovv ra epya 
TOV CTKOTOVS, vSvora)fJLe0a 2 Se ra oTrXa roi) (^>o)TO5. o>5 ez^ 13 
rjjjiepa ev(7V77/>td^o)5 TreptTrarT^crw/xe^ ^77 /co^uoi5 Acal fJLedaus, 
fjirj Koirais Kal acreXyeuu5, /^T) eptSt Kal 77X0) dXX ez/Sv- 14 

)W. 2 KCli 

10. Or to come to the conclu 
sion in a different way. Love 
works no ill to our neighbour; 
that is to say, it breaks none of the 
commandments of the law which 
have been just mentioned, there 
fore, in other words, love fulfils 
the law. (11 13.) What follows, 
the Apostle has clothed in an 
allegory. The night is far spent, 
the day is at hand. It is mid 
night still, and yet he seems 
to see the morning light. He 
has been awake, while others 
slept. Surely the night is far 
spent, he says, it cannot be so 
long as it was. 

11. KOI TOVTO, and this too.~\ 
1 Cor. vi. 6 8. ; Eph. ii. 8. 

It has been remarked that in 
the New Testament we find no ex 
hortations grounded on the short 
ness of life. As if the end of 
life had no practical importance 
for the first believers, compared 
with the clay of the Lord. Like 
one of the old prophets, St. Paul 
already seems to see " the morn 
ing spread upon the mountains." 
The night has endured long 
enough, and the ends of the 
world are come. Comp. 1 Thess. 
v. 1 5., and Essay in Vol. I. 
On Belief in the Coming of Christ. 

vvv yap iyyvrepov //yuwy // CTW- 

for now our salvation is 
nearer than when we believed.^ 
So much time has elapsed since 
we first received the Gospel, that 
he cannot long delay his coming. 
Yet the very consciousness of 
this is not unlike the feeling 
expressed in 2 Peter, iii. 4. : 
"Where is the promise of his 
coming ? for since the fathers 
fell asleep, all things continue as 
they were from the beginning of 
the creation." 

Cornp. Ezekiel, xii. 22, 23. : 
" Son of man, what is that pro 
verb that ye have in the land of 
Israel, saying, The days are pro 
longed, and every vision faileth ? 

"Tell them therefore, Thus 
saith the Lord God, I will make 
this proverb to cease, and they 
shall no more use it as a proverb 
in Israel ; but say unto them, 
The days are at hand, and the 
effect of every vision." 

jjfjLojv may be taken either 
with rj ffwrrjpia, Eph. i. 13., Phil, 
ii. 12., or with eyyvrepov. 

But why should the Apostle 
address the Roman Christians in 
such startling language ? Had 
they been asleep like the heathen 
around them ? It is the language 
of the preacher now and then, 
and in the old time before that 



10 self. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour : therefore 

11 love is the fulfilling of the law. And this,* knowing the 
time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for 

12 now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The 
night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us therefore 
cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the 

13 armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; 
not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and 

14 wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on 

" Awake thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead," which, 
however often repeated, finds 
men sleeping still. 

12. ?/ vvt, 7rpoeKo\Lev, the night 
is far spent. ] The night is far 
spent ; let us lay aside the gar 
ment of the night, that is, the 
deeds of darkness. The idea of 
a garment is contained in a-n-odw- 
ju0a, which is opposed to evSv- 
ffM^eda in what follows. " And 
let us put on the armour of light ;" 
compare Eph. vi. The Greek 
Fathers give several reasons why 
in the first clause the Apostle 
should have used the word e joya, 
and in the second oVXa. If any 
reason is necessary, it may be 
said to arise from the latter word 
being more appropriate to express 
the position of the Christian in 
this world, arrayed for the con 
flict against evil. 

13. As in the face of day, let 
us walk decently. Two figures 
of speech here blend. Let us 
walk as in the light of day, let 
us walk as in the day of the 
Lord ; let us walk as men com 
monly do in the eyes of their 
fellow-men, remembering that we 
are walking in the eye of God. 

jj-r) Kit)fj.OLQ . . . fjtrj KoiYcue.] On 
what analogy are these cases to 

be explained ? Those who re 
gard them as datives of relation, 
say that they are governed of the 
idea of Zwpev contained in the 
words evayiiiAovuc Trepnrarrjffii)^^. 
But datives of relation cannot be 
assumed at pleasure, and although 
i]v flew, or even ^v Koiraig, may 
be Greek, it does not follow 
that TrepiTrarelv Kolraic, in the 
sense of to walk for, or in re 
ference to, something, will be an 
allowable expression, unless as 
sisted by some similar use of the 
dative with another verb in a 
parallel clause. Some other ex 
planation of the cases in question 
is required. It is not, however, 
necessary that the grammarian 
should confine himself to any 
single way of conceiving the re 
lation expressed by them. Either 
they follow the analogy of 63 
TrepiTrarelv, or kv is omitted (a 
mode of speech which may be 
fairly used where kv is commonly 
inserted), or they are datives of 
the rule as it is termed, like ro7e 
edeffi 7repi7ra.Te~tv, in Acts, xxi. 21., 
or grammar fails, and, as often in 
Sophocles, an obscure sense of two 
or three imperfect constructions 
may make up a good one. 

14. Ivdvaraade, put on.~] Com 
pare Gal. iii. 27., where the word 


TOP Kvpiov ^Irfcrovv yjpicrTOV, /cat rrjs crapKos irpo- 

occurs, as perhaps also here, with clothed after coming up out of 
an allusion to the garment in the water; "For as many of 
which the baptized person was you as were baptized into Christ, 


the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the 
flesh, unto* the lusts thereof. 

have put on Christ." Compare result and object ; as elsewhere, 
notes on 1 Thess. v. 1 10. " which thing tends to lust/ 

etc 7ri0u/ ae.] Confusion of 



IT has been already stated, that we hardly know anything of the 
Roman Church. Hence the illustrations of the present chapter 
must rather consist in references to the floating opinions of the 
time than to precise facts. Even in regard to what we may 
seem to gather from the Epistle itself, it is not quite certain whether 
St. Paul is speaking from a knowledge of the circmnftancefl of a 
Church which he had never visited, or from what he knew of the 
state of other Churches and of general tendencies in the mind of the 
fir.-.t believers, or in the age generally. lie may have had among 
his numerous acquaintances (xvi.) some who, like the household of 
Chloe at Corinth, brought him news of what passed among the 
Christians at Rome. On the other hand, it may be remarked that a 
mention of similar observances to those here spoken of, recurs 
in the Kpi.stlo to the Colossians ; arid that a like scrupulosity of 
temper appears to have existed among the converts at Corinth. 

The practices about which the first believers had scruples and on 
which the Apostle here touches, were the use of animal food, and 
the observance of special days. The most probable guess at the 
nature of these scruples is that they were of half- Jewish, half-Oriental 
origin ; similar practices existed among .Jewish Essenes or Gentile 
Pythagoreans. Abstinence from animal food may be regarded 
as one among many indications of the ever-increasing influence 
of the East upon the West ; unnatural as it seems to us, like 
circumcision it had become a second nature to a great portion 
of mankind. Fancy represented the eating of flesh as a species 
of cannibalism, and the Ebioriites declared the practice to be an 


nvcntion of evil demons (Cleni. Hom. viii. 10 16.). And with 
those who were far from superstitions of this kind, the fear of eating 
things offered to idols, or forbidden by the Mosaic law, operated so 
as to make them abstain where there was a danger of contact with 
Gentiles. Instances of such scruples occur in the book of Daniel 
and the Apocrypha. It was the glory of Daniel and the three holy 
children that they would " not defile themselves with the portion of 
the King s food ; " Dan. i. 8. So Tobit " kept himself from eating 
the bread of the Gentiles;" i. 10, 11. Judas Maccabeus and nine 
others, living " in the mountains after the manner of beasts, fed on 
herbs continually, lest they should become partakers of the pollu 
tion ;" 2 Mace. v. 27. Such examples show what the Jews had 
learned to practise or admire in the centuries immediately preceding 
the Christian era. So John the Baptist, in the narrative of the 
Gospels, "fed on locusts and wild honey." A later age delighted to 
attribute a similar abstinence to James the brother of the Lord 
(Heges. apud Euseb. H. E. ii. 23.) ; and to Matthew (Clem. Alex. 
IVd. ii. 1. p. 174.): heretical writers added Peter to the list of these 
em-rat it es (Kpiph. Her. xxx. 2., Clem. Hom. xii. 6.). The Aposto 
lical canons (Ii. liii.) admit an ascetic abstinence, but denounce those 
who abstain from any sense of the impurity of matter. See passages 
quoted in Fritsche, vol. iii. pp. 151, 152. 

Jewish, as well as Alexandrian and Oriental influences, combined 
to maintain the practice of abstinence from animal food in the first 
centuries. Long after it had ceased to be a Jewish scruple, it 
remained as a counsel of perfection. In earlier ages, it was the 
former more than the latter. Those for whom the Apostle is urging 
consideration are the weak, rather than the strong ; not the ascetic, 
delighting to make physical purity the out ward sign of holiness of 
life against him it might have been necessary to contend for tho 
freedom of the Gospel, but " the babe in Christ/ feeble in heart 
and confused in head, who could not disengage himself from opinions 
or practices which he saw around him ; for whom, nevertheless. 
Christ died. 



Respecting the second point of the observance of days, we know 
no more than may be gathered from Gal. iv. 9, 10. 17., " How turn 
ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye again 
desire to be in bondage ? ye observe days, and months, and times, 
and years ; " where the Apostle is writing to a Church entangled 
in Judaism, which he therefore thinks it necessary to denounce : 
and Col. ii. 16., "Let no man therefore judge you in respect of 
an holyday or a new moon, or of the sabbath days : " where the 
Apostle also reproves the same spirit as inconsistent with the 
close connexion or rather identity of the believer with his Lord. 
Whether in the Epistle to the Romans he is alluding to the Jewish 
observance of the Sabbath is uncertain ; his main point is that the 
matter, whatever it was, should be left indifferent, and not determined 
by any decision of the Church. Superstitions of another kind may 
have also found their way among the Roman as well as the Colossian 
and Galatian converts. Astrology was practised both by Jew and 
Gentile ; nor is it improbable that something of a heathen mingled 
with what was mainly of a Jewish character ; the context of the two 
passages just quoted (Col. ii. 18. 20., Gal. iv. 9.), would lead us to 
think SO. It is true that the words, og p,ev Kpivei fipepav Trap fyue pcu , 
oe le Kptvei TTCLaav fjplpav (ver. 5.), probably mean only that " one 
man fasts on alternate days, another fasts every day." But the ex 
pression 6 (j)pov&v Trjvfjjjiepav, in ver. 6., implies also the observance of 
particular days. 

It has been already intimated, that this chapter furnishes no sure 
criterion that the Roman converts were either Jews or Gentiles. 
If it be admitted that it has any bearing at all on the state of 
the Roman converts, it tends to show that they were, not simply 
Gentiles converted from the ancient religion of Rome to Judaism or 
Christianity, but persons into whose minds Oriental notions had pre 
viously insinuated themselves, who with or before Christianity had 
received distinctions of days, and of meats and drinks, which in St. 
Paul s view were the very opposite of it. If, on the other hand, we 
suppose St, Paul to have written without any precise knowledge of 


the state of the Roman Church, we may regard this chapter, and part 
of that which follows, as characteristic of the general feeling in the 
Churches to which the Apostle preached. 

The subject recurs in the eighth and tenth chapters of the First 
Epistle to the Corinthians. Here, as there, the Apostle knows 
but one way of treating these scruples and distinctions which 
were so alien to his own mind. It may be shortly described 
as absorbing the letter in the Spirit. When you see the weak 
brother doubting about his paltry observances, remember that 
the strength of God is sufficient for him ; when you feel disposed to 
judge him, consider that he is another s servant, and that God will 
judge both him and you ; when you rejoice in your own liberty, do 
not forget that this liberty may be to him " an occasion of stum 
bling." Place yourself above his weaknesses by placing yourself 
below them, remembering that your very strength gives him a claim 
on you for support." 

B B 2 



. XIV. 

, Tbv Se OLO-Otvovvroi rfj Trtcrret 7rpoo-Xaju,/3aVeo-#e pr) eis 14 
Sia/cpio-eis StaXoytcr/xa)^. os /xej> Trio-revet ^ayei^ Trdvra, 6 2 
Se acrOevvv \a\ava ecr^tet. 6 ecrOlw TOP pr) IcrOiovTa JUT) 3 
cgovOeveira), 6 Se /XT) ecrOiojv l rov ecrO iovTa JUT) Kpivtru 
6 0eos yap avroj> TrpocreXa/JeTO. crv TIS el 6 Kplvuv dX- 4 
\6rpiov oiKer^v; rw iSi<u Kvpuy crr^/cei 77 TTiTrret oTaftf- 
crerat Se, Swarei yap 2 6 Kvpios crrirjcrai avTov. 09 /^ez 5 
[yap 3 ] Acpit ei j]^pav Trap ^pepav, os Se /cpu>et Tracrav 


1 K0.16 f. 

XIV. 1. TOV aaQtvovvTO. 

him that is weak in tfie 
faith.~] These words do not mean 
him that has a half-belief in 
Christianity, but him that doubt- 
eth, him that has not an enlight 
ened belief, who has not "know 
ledge/* whose " conscience being 
weak," is liable " to be denied." 
Comp. 1 Cor. viii. 1. 7. 

pun , not to judge his doubtful 
thoughts. ~\ From the word SictKpi- 
reffdai in ver. 23. being used for 
to doubt, it is inferred in the 
English version, that the word 
ItuKpitng may be used in the sense 
of doubtings, "not to doubtful 
disputations." This is the fallacy 
of paronymous words ; the real 
meaning of diaKpung is " discern 
ing, determining." " Receive 
him that is weak, not to determi 
nations of matters of dispute." 
"Receive him that is weak," says 
the Apostle ; but then occurs 
the afterthought, " do not deter 
mine his scruples ; that might 
be injurious to the Church, and 
narrow its pale by excluding 
others who have another kind of 

2. OQ iitv TTiffrevei, one man be- 
lieveth.~\ Not as in the English 
Version, one man believeth that 
he may eat all things, but in the 
same sense as 7ricr-tg of the pre- 


3 Om. 70/3. 

ceding verse " one man has 
faith so that he eats all things." 
The play of words in Tr/orie and 
TTiffTEVEi is confirmed by num 
berless similar instances in St. 
Paul s writings. Compare ver. 
22., <TV TTL<TTIV zxetQ. 

6 Se aaQtv>Gn>.~\ " But the weak, 
of whom I spoke before ; " not 
opposed to OQ /ztV, but referring 
to ver. 1. 

3. 6 iffQiwv, let not him that 
eateth.~\ If the clause in which 
these words are contained refers 
to what immediately precedes, 6 
iaQlwv must have Xa^ava sup 
plied after it. "Let not him that 
eateth herbs, despise him that 
eateth all things ; " or, in other 
words, does not maintain the 
same ascetic purity as himself. 
But then what is to be made of 
what follows? " Let not him that 
eateth not herbs (specially) judge 
him that eateth." For we should 
expect that the more scrupulous 
should judge the less so, not the 

It is better to take the words 
generally, without reference to 
preceding Xa^ava eaOlei. The 
Apostle means to distinguish two 
classes, those who eat and those 
who abstain ; the characteristic 
which he feared in the former 
class being contempt of others; in 
the latter censoriousness. This 

VER. 15.] 



1 4 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, not to judge * 

2 his doubtful thoughts. For one has* faith to eat all 

3 things : but* he that is weak, eateth herbs. Let not 
him that eateth despise him that eateth not ; and let 

4 not him which eateth riot judge him that eateth : for God 
hath received him. AVho art thou that judgest another s 
servant? to his own Lord* he standeth or falleth. 

s And hold en up he shall be*: for the Lord is able to 
make him stand. One man approves * every other day : 
another approves every day. Let every man be fully 

is expressed in the opposition of 
i^ovOeveiriijSind Kpiverd). Narrow- 
minded scrupulous men judge 
others by their own petty stan 
dard; men of the world are hardly 
less intolerant in despising scru 

6 S EOQ yap avrov TrpOffe\atTO.~] 
For it is not you who receive him 
into the Church, but God. Strictly 
speaking, these words refer only 
to the preceding clause, but they 
may be applied by analogy to the 
previous one. Compare xv. 7: 
10 TrpOffXap&avEffOe aXXr/Xouc, KO.- 
OWQ KCU b xpHTTOG TrpocreXa&ero Vjuae 
EIQ ^6^,av ruv Seov. 

4. The Apostle speaks gene 
rally, intending to include both 
the cases mentioned in the pre 
vious verse. As he argued in 
the last chapter " You ought 
to pay tribute, for it is a debt to 
God ; " so here he urges, that to 
judge our brother in matters in 
different, is taking a liberty with 
another man s servant. "Who 
art thou who judgest the servant 
of another man ? It is no con 
cern of yours ; not to you but to 
his own Master is he accountable, 
whether he stand or fall." And 
then, as if it were a word of ill 
omen even to suggest that he 

should fall, he adds, but he shall 
stand, as we may in faith believe, 
for God is able to make him 
stand. He is a weak brother, 
I speak as a man, therefore he is 
likely to fall. But, believing in 
the omnipotence of God, I say he 
is so much more likely to stand 
also, for " my strength is per 
fected in weakness." Compare 
James, iv. 12., "There is one 
lawgiver who is able to save and 
to destroy ; who art thou that 
j udgest another ? " and Rom. ix. 

5. o fj.v Kpivti ?//.tpcu> Trap 
y/juc paj , one man approves every 
other day^\ is parallel to the 
second verse. The Apostle takes 
up the subject in reference to 
another scruple. The words have 
been explained, (1.) one approves 
alternate days, another every day; 
or, (2.) one judges one day before 
another, another judges every 
day to be the same ; or, (3.) one 
man approves alternate days 
[for eating flesh], another every 

The third of these interpreta 
tions gives a good sense, but re 
quires too great an addition to 
the words of the original, Kpivet 
(sc. ecrOien ), to be admissible. The 

B B 3 



CCn. XIV. 


pav e/cacrros Iv ra> tStw VOL TrXrjpo^opeicrOo). 6 (j>pova>v 6 
rjpepav Kvpico (frpovel. 1 /cat 6 ecr#tW Kvpia> e<r#tei* 
yap T & 6ea) /cat 6 /AT? lo-0io*v KVpia* OVK ecr#tet 

rw #ea>. ouSets yap ^/AWI/ eavrw 77, /cat 7 
eavro) aVo^r/cr/cer edV re yap <S/xei>, rw /cv/otw 8 
, edV re a7ro0TJcrKO[jiv 2 , TOJ Kvpiaj ai 
lav re oi> tfiptv lav re aTTo0VTJ<TKOp J ev, rov Kvpiov e 
ets TOVTO yap ^otcrros airedavev /cat e&rjcrev 3 , tVa /cat veKpa>v 9 

1 Add Koi 6 


<f>povwv r)]v ripspav Kvpiy ov (ppovei. 

second also gives a good sense, 
and agrees with the style of St. 
Paul in the play upon the word 
Kplvei,, which has its meaning in 
the first clause carried on in the 
second. As we might say, " one 
man sets apart a seventh portion 
of time for a sabbath, another 
makes every day a sabbath." 

No authority can, however, be 
adduced for Trap j/^ue pay in the 
sense of " before another day," 
while the phrase fyu|oa> Trap 
fyuEjoai/ is common in the sense of 
alternate days. We are there 
fore compelled to adopt the first 
interpretation. One man selects, 
approves, distinguishes alternate 
days ; another man selects every 
day. The meaning of Kpiret in 
the first clause is played upon in 
the second. A further play on 
the word Kpivw occurs in ver. 13. 

tKCLffTOQ f.V TO) iSlO) VOl.~\ Let 

each be satisfied in his own mind, 
not compelled by some external 
rule. This individual liberty of 
conscience is with the Apostle an 
essential part of the Gospel, a 
law for ourselves, and to be re 
spected in others. 

6. Whether we eat flesh and 
observe days or not, we are all 
Christians ; we do not disagree 
in the main point, which is doing 


all to the glory of God. He who 
eats, and he who abstains, agree 
in giving God thanks. 

As our Lord answers the diffi 
culties put to him by the Phari 
sees by stirring higher and deeper 
questions, as St. Paul himself 
concludes the discussion on mar 
riage, by carrying it into another 
world, " It remaineth, that they 
that have wives be as though 
they had none," 1 Cor. vii. 29. ; 
as touching meats offered to idols 
he allows the rule of Christian 
charity to weaker brethren to be 
superseded by the wider and more 
general principle, " Whether ye 
eat or drink, do all to the glory 
of God," 1 Cor. x. 31. : as the 
possibility of the Christian " liv 
ing in sin that grace may abound," 
is dispelled by the thought of 
union with Christ ; so too, scru 
ples respecting meats and drinks 
are lost in the sense of our rela 
tion to Christ and God, which 
furnishes the practical rule for 
our treatment of them. The re 
membrance of this common rela 
tion is also an assurance both to 
the lax and the strict, that the 
brethren whom they judge or 
despise are believers equally with 

7 and 8. " For in discussing 

VER. 69.] 



e persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the 
day, regardeth it unto the Lord. 1 He that eateth, 
eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks ; and he 
that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth 

7 God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no 

s man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live 
unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the 
Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the 

9 Lord s. For to this end Christ both died, and lived 2 , 
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 

1 Add and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord doth not regard it. 

2 Rose. Add and revived. 

these questions we are insensibly 
led on to higher thoughts. No 
one of us liveth unto himself, and 
none of us dieth unto himself. 
Whether we live, or whether we 
die, it is unto the Lord, whose we 
are. It is observable that the two 
expressions lavrw 77 and tavrw 
cnroSrJjffKei are not taken in pre 
cisely the same sense, but with 
a difference similar to that in 
chap. vi. 10., rrj afjiapriq airiQavtv 
0a7ra . . . . 4/7 rw Sew. 

What do all these things matter 
to him whose life is hid with 
Christ in God, who feels that 
nothing can separate him from 
Christ, who thinks of them in 
connexion only with the life of 
Christ ? 

8. As men and women may be 
said to live for one another, as 
Christ is said to live unto God, 
so the believer is said to live unto 
Christ. Compare 1 Cor. vi. 19., 
OVK e 0T lavTfeh , " JQ are not your 
own ;" and 1 Thess. v. 10., "Who 
died for us, that whether we wake 
or sleep, we should be the Lord s." 
The genitive expresses a closer 
and more intimate relation of 
Christ to the believer than the 

dative, which precedes. We live 
and die to Him, and therefore are 
His : neither life nor death can 
make us cease to be so. 

9. Here, as in ch. iv. ver. 25., 
there is a correspondence be 
tween the life of Christ and that 
of his followers " We live and 
die unto the Lord, and this was 
the reason why Christ died and 
lived ; " to which is added a 
further statement of the same 
reason, " that he might be our 
Lord in life and death." The 
order of the words airiBavev KOL 
ifaffE shows that the life here 
spoken of is the resurrection. 
Hence the word " lived " is not 
taken in precisely the same sense 
as " the living " in the following 

It is argued that we cannot 
suppose the Apostle to have 
meant that Christ died that he 
might rule the dead, and rose 
again that he might rule the 
living ; but that the two clauses 
must be taken as one ; " Christ 
died and rose again that he 
might be the ruler over all." 
The remarks made on iv. 25. are 
applicable here. The distribution 
B 4 



[OH. XIV. 


Kvpievcrrj. crv Se TL Kpiveis rov dSeX^bV crov ; 10 
TI Kal crv ri i^ovOevtis rov dSeX(oV crov ; TrdVres yap ira- 
pacTTrjcrofJieOa r< yS^/xarc rou Oeov. 1 yeypaTrrai yap Zw n 
eyw, Xeyei Kvpios, on e/xot Ka^ei Trav yovv, Kal 
Xoy^crerat Trdcra yXwcrcra 2 TG> 
Treyot eavrov Xdyoz> aTroSwcret 4 [ra 
Xovs KpLvcofJLev, dXXd rovro Kpivart 

ra> dSeXa) <r/cd^8aXoz/. 

d pa 3 eKacrTOs 

- 13 



Kal TreVetor/xat 14 

of the clauses in the present in 
stance is to our mode of thought 
unnatural, but it was natural to 
St. Paul, who divides and sub 
divides Christ s life analogously 
to the life of the believer. 

There appeared to the Apostle 
a certain fitness in Christ being 
like us, tempted in all points like 
as we are, and therefore able to 
succour them that are tempted ; 
crucified, even as we are to cru 
cify the lusts of the flesh ; dying, 
that we may die with Him ; rising 
again, that we may rise with Him. 
It is not simply that He once over 
came death for us, or was offered 
up a sacrifice for sin. The Apo 
stle s view is more present and 
lively, though from its not having 
passed into the language of creeds 
and articles, and perhaps also 
from something which we feel in 
it that belongs to another age, it 
has fallen out of daily use. Not 
only is Christ the source of the 
believer s acts, but He is the 
image of him in the different parts 
of his life. The believer is trans 
formed into His likeness, not 
merely by putting on Christ, 
that is, by being clothed with 
His holiness, or in vested with His 
merits, but by going through the 
stages of His existence. We can 
not precisely analyse what the 

Add o 

4 Swcret. 

Apostle meant by this "iden 
tity," the superficial form of 
which is due to the peculiar 
rhetorical character of the age. 
the deeper and hidden thought 
being that, both inwardly and 
outwardly, as He was, so ought 
we to be, so are we in this 

Kvpitv(T7).~] Comp. Kvptoc, ver. 8. 

10. (TV de ri KpivetQ ;] "But why 
dost thou judge thy brother?" 
As in other passages, the Apostle 
recapitulates his former thought 
(comp. ver. 4. and Rom. iii. 1., 
iv. 1.), the relation in which we 
all stand to Christ, on which he 
has been dwelling in the previous 
verses, being a new reason for 
abstaining from judging others. 

3e .] "But seeing that we are 
to live, not for ourselves, but 
for Christ, who also lived and 
died for us, why dost thou judge 
another ? " The 5c also anticipates 
an opposition to the clause follow 
ing. The words, Kpivuv and i&v- 
Oev~iv, are repeated from ver. 3. ; 
they differ from each other as 
the spirit of cavilling or censo- 
riousness from contempt. Com 
pare the words of Christ, Matth. 
xviii. 6. 10, 11., " Whosoever shall 
offend one of these little ones 
which believe in me, it were bet 
ter for him that a millstone were 



10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost 
thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand 

11 before the judgment seat of God. 1 For it is written, 
As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, 

12 and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every 
is one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us 

not therefore judge one another any more: but judge 

this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an 

14 occasion to fall in his brother s way. I know, and am 

1 Christ. 

hanged about his neck, and that 
he were cast into the sea." 
In ver. 4. the Apostle had said 

" Who art thou who judgest 
another man s servant ; " here he 
gives a new aspect to the thought 

"Why dost thou judge thy 
brother? for he and you alike, and 
all of us, have another judge." 
Compare 2 Cor. v. 10., whence 
the various reading xpiarov is 
probably derived. 

11. The prediction of a future 
judgment the Apostle further 
confirms from Isaiah, xlv . 23., 
which he quotes according to the 
Alexandrian MS. of the LXX. 
The OTL is dependent on the idea 
of asseveration contained in 6i 

soyuo\oyi7<77cu, shall confess,^ 
but whether their sins, or the 
truth that God is God, is not 
precisely stated. The connexion 
favours the first sense ; the pa 
rallel passage of Phil. ii. 11. tends 
to confirm the second. " Every 
tongue shall confess that Jesus 
Christ is Lord, to the glory of 
God the Father." The LXX. 
use bpoXoye~ia6ai almost exclu 
sively in the sense of " giving 
praises," " returning thanks to." 
And such is probably its meaning 

in the original passage. But 
here, as often elsewhere, the 
meaning of the original is not a 
guide to the meaning of the ap 
plication ; the connexion espe 
cially with ver. 12. shows that the 
word is taken, as commonly in 
the N. T., in the sense of " con 

12. So then it will not be about 
others, but about himself that each 
one of us will have to give an ac 
count. The emphasis is on Trepl 

13. Let us not, therefore, per 
sist any longer in determining 
that this man is right, and that 
man wrong ; but let us rather 
determine not to put a stumbling- 
block in our brother s way. 

For the latter sense given to 
Kpivw in the paronomasia, comp. 
2 Cor. ii. 1., eKpiva 
TO TO prj iraXiv kv Xvrrrj 


is an explanation 

14. The Apostle goes on to 
explain the feeling under which 
he says all this ; not that he dis 
agrees with the stronger brethren 
who suppose that all these things 
are indifferent. Indeed as a Chris 
tian (eV Kvpty Irjfrov) he knows as 



[On. XIV. 

yap 2 Sia is 

lv KVpia) Irjcrov on ovSev KOIVOV SL avrov 1 , el /AT) 

rt KOIVOV elvcu,, e/cei^o) KOIVO 

6 dSeX(o9 crov XuTmrai, ov/ceri Kara ayTrrjv wepi- 
JLCT) r<5 ^p^^ari crov IKCLVOV dVdXXve, v?rep o5 
aireOavev. /XT) /SXacr^/xeur^a) ow v/xwz^ TO dya#oV. 16 
ou yap icrnv TI /BacriXeia rov 0eov ySpaJcrts /cat TTOCTIS, dXXa 17 

English reflexive use of the word 

15. "For reasoning with you 
I say that, if you pain your 
brother, you violate the law of 
love." That he may be so pained 
has been already intimated in 
the words, IfcetVw KOLVOV. ya/o, 
which is not the reading of the 
Textus Keceptus, but of the far 
greater number of MS., may also 
be referred back with more pre 
cision to ver. 13., " For if you do 
put an offence in your brother s 
wa y> you violate the rule of love." 

The Gospel is the law of free 
dom, and cannot by any possibility 
admit scruples respecting meats 
and drinks. But when we have 
not our own case to consider, but 
that of our brethren, when (to 
bring the precept home to our 
selves) the difference between us 
is the question of a sabbath day, 
the very same principle of free 
dom leads us to avoid giving 
offence by our freedom. Our 
brother sees strongly the sin and 
guilt of what we nevertheless 
know to be our Christian liberty, 
and love must induce us to 
abridge our rights for his sake. 
We must not take him by force, 
and compel him to witness what 
he supposes to be our evil ; still 
less must we induce him to follow 
our example and defile his con 
science. Yet we cannot say that 
we must give up everything 

well as they do, that the distinc 
tion of clean and unclean meats 
is a mere superstition. " Not 
that which goeth into a man 
defileth a man." He says so 
broadly and generally, but his 
object is to show that this makes 
no difference in the case of an 
other. " Your conscience cannot 
judge for him, your knowledge 
will not pluck the scruple from 
his soul." Therefore, however 
much he knows all this, he will 
not act upon it ; the right use of 
his strength is to support his 
brother s weakness. 

The words kv Kvpta) Irjffov do 
not mean as one taught by 
Christ, as one who has received 
a revelation from Christ. They 
are simply the form in which St. 
Paul expresses his living and 
doing all things in Christ, as in 
language colder and more na 
tural to our time, we might say 
as " a Christian." 

2t ai/7-ov, not "through Christ," 
but " in itself ;" a meaning of the 
words which does not require 
avrov any more than it is required 
in such expressions as avrol rear 
ai/rwj , &c., in the Tragic writers. 
The reading is frequently un 
certain. But there is nothing 
contrary to the genius of the 
Greek language, in such a use of 
the demonstrative, which is not 
uncommon, especially in Homer, 
and may be compared with the 



persuaded in* the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing 
unclean of itself: but to him that esteeineth any thing 

is to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For 1 if thy brother 
be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not chari 
tably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ 

Jy died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the 


that offends our brother. Such 
a rule would be impracticable, 
and if not impracticable, often 
full of evil. It was not the rule 
which St. Paul himself adopted 
with the Judaizers, " to whom he 
gave way, no, not for an hour." 
It is not the rule which he en 
joins when matters of import 
ance are at stake ; and the most 
indifferent things cease to be 
indifferent the moment an at 
tempt is made to impose them 
upon others. Only in reference 
to the particular circumstances 
of the Church, and to the pas 
sions of men ever prone to exag 
gerate their party differences, the 
rule of consideration for others 
is the safer side. 

p) ru /3pw/.tct7t,] sc. by the eat 
ing flesh, comp. ver. 21. Either 
by being induced against his 
conscience to imitate the exam 
ple set him ; or more probably, 
by the antagonism which would 
be aroused in his bosom, towards 
his brethren. 

v?rep ov xpiffTog\ De 
stroy not him with thy meat, 
whom Christ thought of so much 
importance that he died for him ; 
" Ne pluris feceris cibum tuum 
quam Christus vitam suam." 

16. pf) /3Aa 0-^77 jue7<70w ovv vpuJv 
TO ayat)6v, let not then your good 
be evil spoken of.~\ Either the 
precept is general, " let us live 
innocently so as to give no place 

to reproach," or, with more point, 
the words may be referred to 
the case of the stronger brethren. 
Let not that good or superiority 
which we have in our Christian 
freedom be a matter of reproach 
with others In this latter case, 
if we read vjuwi , the Apostle is 
addressing the stronger brethren ; 
if j/juwy, he is identifying himself 
with them. 

It is a good thing, we might 
say, to know that Christ does not 
require of us the observance of 
the Jewish sabbath ; it is a good 
thing to know that, without form 
of prayer or set times and places, 
"neither in Jerusalem nor on this 
mountain," we can worship the 
Father ; to know that there is 
no rite or ceremony or ordinance 
that God cannot dispense with ; 
or rather, that there is none 
which we are required to observe, 
except so far as they tend to a 
moral end. It is a good thing to 
know that Revelation can be in 
terpreted by no other light than 
that of reason; it is a good thing 
to know that God is not extreme 
to mark human infirmities in our 
lives and conduct. But all this 
may serve for a cloak of licenti 
ousness, may be a scandal among 
men, and humanly speaking, the 
destruction of those for whom 
Christ died. 

17. ov yap iffrtv r/ ficiffiXela TOU 
deov pp&ifftf teal Traffic.^ For the 
kincrdom of God does not consist 



[Cn. XIV. 

o 18 


TOVTO) oVVO)P yjplO TO) vpO~TOS Tto) 

So/aju,og roc? av9pa>TTOis. dpa ovv ra TT)S elpTJvrjs SLOJ- 19 
Kal rd rrjs oi/coSo//,?}? TT}? eis dXXTyXov?. ju,?} 20 
ySpw/taros KardXve TO epyov rov $eou, 
KaOapd, clXXa KOLKOV TO* dv0pM7rq> rw Sia 
IcrOlovTi KOL\OV TO /XT) 

6 d8eX^)09 o~ov TrpocrKOTrrei rj 


of sensual goods, but of Christian 
graces. The kingdom of heaven 
of which the Apostle is speaking 
is the kingdom of God that is 
within, the life hidden with 
Christ and God ; not the visible 
Church, or the doctrine which 
Christ and his Apostles taught. 

dXAct StKaioavi r), K. T. X.] In 
these words the Apostle de 
scribes generally the inward and 
moral character of the kingdom 
of God, with an allusion to the 
subject of their differences in the 
word peace. 

X|oa.] The Christian cha 
racter naturally suggests ideas of 
sorrow, of peace, of consolation ; 
not so naturally to ourselves the 
thought of joy and glorying 
which constantly recurs in the 
writings of the Apostle. These 
seem to belong to that circle of 
Christian graces, of which hope 
is the centre, which have almost 
vanished in the phraseology of 
modern times, kv irvevjjaTi ay/w, 
a holy joy, like all the other feel 
ings of the Christian, seeking for 
its ground in some power beyond 
him, that is to say, in communion 
with the Spirit of God. 

18. kv TOVTG),^ llOt kv TOVTOIQ., IS 

the true reading, though the more 

difficult to explain. It can scarcely 
be referred to anything, except 
kv irrtvpciTi ay la), which precedes. 
For he who is the servant of 
Christ, not in the performance of 
external rites, but inwardly in 
communion with the Holy Spirit, 
is acceptable to God and ac 
counted worthy among men. The 
last two expressions have refer 
ence to " the kingdom of God," in 
ver. 17. ; and to the precept not 
to let our good be evil spoken of, 
in ver. 16. : "For he who in the 
Spirit serves Christ, has entered 
into the kingdom of God, and is 
not ill spoken of among men." 

19. apa ovv ra rrjg elpi)vi]g tw- 
Kwjuej Kal TO. riJQ olKoSopije ri]Q HQ 
a\\ii\ovQ.~] So then, we pursue 
the things which tend to peace, 
and to the building up of one 
another in the faith. Compare 
1 Cor. iii. 9. 

20. is in part a repetition of 
ver. 15. with the addition of TO 
tpyov rov Seov, which latter words 
may either be taken in connexion 
with the preceding (ra riyg dpijvriQ 
and ra Tijg okoc!ojur/e), as meaning 
the Christian life, which consists 
in peace and edifying, or better 
and more in St. Paul s manner, 
in reference to the weak brother 


crv TTLCTTLP f)v 2 e)(is 3 /caTa creavToz 22 



kingdom of God is not meat and drink ; but righteous- 

is ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For 

he that in this 1 serveth Christ is acceptable to God, 

19 and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after 
the things which make for peace, and things where- 

20 with one may edify another. For meat destroy not 
the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but 

21 it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It 
is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor 
any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is of- 

22 fended, or is made weak. The faith which thou hast 

1 These things. 

himself, who, as other believers, 
might be termed the work of 
God. TO roil SEOV epyov thus be 
comes also a repetition of eKtlvov, 
in ver. 15. 

As in ver. 14. the Apostle 
admitted the objections which 
he himself put into the mouth 
of those who held meats and 
drinks to be indifferent, and re 
plied to them, so here, he again 
expresses his agreement in prin 
ciple with the stronger party, 
only to state with more force his 
precepts about the weaker bre 
thren. " It is true that all things 
are pure, but woe to him who 
eateth with offence." 

Sta.Trpofrxofjifjia.TOG. ] With offence 
to whom ? to himself, or to others? 
If we say to himself, the words 
will refer to the weak brother, 
who is induced to eat from seeing 
others eat ; and his conscience 
being weak, is defiled ; an inter 
pretation which agrees with ver. 
14. and with the parallel passage 
in 1 Cor. But the verses which 
follow, have plainly a reference 
to the offence given, not to a 
man s own conscience, but to 

others. We are therefore led to 
take the words as equivalent to 
iv a> o a^e\(f)6g aov TrpoffKOTrrei, 
in ver. 21. The opposite view 
might, however, be confirmed by 
observing that the Apostle re 
turns to the other side of the 
subject in ver. 23. 

21. It is good not to eat meat, 
nor to drink wine, nor (to eat or 
drink) anything whereby thy 
brother stumbleth, or is entan 
gled, or made weak. 

The Apostle is using the ex 
pression to eat meat, or to drink 
wine generally, neither with par 
ticular reference to any customs 
of Nazarites or Essenes, nor to 
luxurious and dainty fare. He 
merely means " It is good not to 
eat or drink anything whatever 
that will give offence to our bre 

iv w is best explained by the 
repetition of fyayeiv and iritiv. 

22. Of the two readings, < 
TTiffnv x te > with an interrogative, 
trv iriffriv jf}v ex^e, without an 
interrogative, the latter has the 
greater MS. authority, the former 
is more like St. Paul. Hast 



[dr. XIV. 


a> So/a/xaei 6 
OVK e/c 7ricrrea>s 




Acara/ce/cpirat, on 23 
Se o OVK IK moreo)?, d/xaprta 

thou faith, keep it to thyself. 
" Blessed is he who judgeth not 
himself in that which he allow- 
eth." It is a happy thing not to 
have a scrupulous conscience. I 
admit your superiority, I am not 
saying that you are not better 
than he. Only keep it to your 
self and the presence of God. 
Compare 1 Cor. xiv. 28., eavrw 
3e XaXeirw KO.I ru> -9c. 

23. The Apostle adds a reason 
for the stronger respecting the 
scruples of the weaker. But 

the case of the weaker brother 
is very different, he is con 
demned if he doubts, because 
doubt is inconsistent with faith, 
and whatever is not of faith 
is sin. 

It has been often remarked 
that St. Paul s conception of sin 
is inseparable from the conscious 
ness of sin. A trace of the same 
thought occurs in the present 
passage. He who is not confident 
of what is right has not faith, and 
is therefore a sinner. As above, 

VER. 23.] 



have to thyself 1 before God. Happy is he that con- 

demneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 

23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he 

eateth not of faith : for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. 

i Hast thou faith ? Have it to thyself. 

faith delivered men from the law 
of sin and death ; so here, where 
the sense of sin is, faith is want 
ing, and sin reassumes its former 
power. The law in one of its 
many forms returns, saying, not 
"thou shalt not covet," but "thou 
shalt not eat meats offered to 
idols ;" introducing doubt and 
perplexity into the soul. That 
which makes sin to be what it is 
is the law ; what in this parti 

cular instance makes the thing 
wrong, is the sense that it is so. 
As above, the law and faith were 
opposed, and the law was re 
garded as almost sin ; so here, 
sin and faith are the antagonists. 
See Essay on the Law as the 
Strength of Sin. 

For the doxology which in 
some MS. occurs in this place, 
see the end of the Epistle. 



RELIGION and morality seem often to become entangled in circum 
stances. The truth which came, not "to bring peace upon earth, 
but a sword," could not but give rise to many new and conflicting 
obligations. The kingdom of God had to adjust itself with the 
kingdoms of this world ; though " the children were free," they could 
not escape the fulfilment of duties to their Jewish or Roman gover 
nors ; in the bosom of a family there were duties too ; in society 
there were many points of contact with the heathen. A new element 
of complexity had been introduced in all the relations between man 
and man, giving rise to many new questions, which might be termed, 
in the phraseology of modern times, " cases of conscience." 

Of these the one which most frequently recurs in the Epistles of 
St. Paul, is the question respecting meats and drinks, which appears 
to have agitated both the Roman and Corinthian Churches, as well as 
those of Jerusalem and Antioch, and probably, in a greater or less 
degree, every other Christian community in the days of the Apostle. 
The scruple which gave birth to it was not confined to Christianity ; 
it was Eastern rather than Christian, and originated in a feeling 
into which entered, not only Oriental notions of physical purity and 
impurity, but also those of caste and of race. With other Eastern 
influences it spread towards the West, in the flux of all religions, 
exercising a peculiar power on the susceptible temper of mankind. 

The same tendency exhibited itself in various forms. In one form 
it was the scruple of those who ate herbs, while others " had faith " 
to eat any thing. The Essenes and Therapeutse among the Jews, 
and the Pythagoreans in the heathen world, had a similar feeling 
respecting the use of animal food. It was a natural association 
which led to such an abstinence. In the East, ever ready to connect, 


or rather incapable of separating, ideas of moral and physical im 
purity, where the heat of the climate rendered animal food unne 
cessary, if not positively unhealthful ; where corruption rapidly in 
fected dead organised matter ; where, lastly, ancient tradition and 
ceremonies told of the sacredness of animals and the mysteriousness 
of animal life, nature and religion alike seemed to teach the same 
losson, it was safer to abstain. It was the manner of such a 
scruple to propagate itself. He who revolted at animal food could 
not quietly sit by and see his neighbour partake of it. The cere 
monialism of the age was the tradition of thousands of years, and 
passed by a sort of contagion from one race to another, from Pagan 
ism or Judaism to Christianity. How to deal with this " second 
nature " was a practical difficulty among the first Christians. The 
Gospel was not a gospel according to the Essenes, and the church 
could not exclude those who held the scruples, neither could it 
be narrowed to them ; it would not pass judgment on them at all. 
Hence the force of the Apostle s words : " Him that is weak in the 
faith receive, not to the decision of his doubts." 

There was another point in reference to which the same spirit of 
ceremonialism propagated itself, viz. meats offered to idols. Even 
if meat in general were innocent and a creature of God, it could 
hardly be a matter of indifference to partake of that which had been 
" sacrificed to devils ; " least of all, to sit at meat in the idol s 
temple. True, the idol was " nothing in the world " a block of 
stone, to which the words good or evil were misapplied ; " a graven 
image " which the workman made, " putting his hand to the hammer," 
as the old prophets described in their irony. And such is the 
Apostle s own feeling, 1 Cor. viii. 4., x. 19. But he has also the 
other feeling which he himself regards as not less true (1 Cor. x. 
20.), and which was more natural to the mind of the first believers. 
When they saw the worshippers of the idol revelling in impurity, 
they could not but suppose that a spirit of some kind was there. 
Their M^rfare, as the Apostle had told them, was not " against 



flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against 
the rulers of the darkness of this world." Evil angels were among 
them ; where would they more naturally take up their abode than 
around the altars and in the temples of the heathen ? And 
if they had been completely free from superstition, and could have 
regarded the heathen religions which they saw enthroned over the 
world simply with contempt, still the question would have arisen, 
What connexion were they to have with them and with their wor 
shippers ? a question not easy to be answered in the bustle of Rome 
and Corinth, where every circumstance of daily life, every amuse 
ment, every political and legal right, was in some way bound up 
with the heathen religions. Were they to go out of the world ? if 
not, what was to be their relation to those without? It was a 
branch of this more general question, the beginning of the difficulty 
so strongly felt and so vehemently disputed about in the days of 
Tertullian, which St. Paul discusses in reference to meats offered to 
idols. Where was the line to be drawn ? Were they to visit the 
idol s temple ; to sacrifice like other men to Diana or Jupiter ? That 
could hardly be consistent with their Christian profession. But 
granting this, where were they to stop ? Was it lawful to eat 
meats offered to idols ? But if not, then how careful should they 
be to discover what was offered to idols ? How easily might they 
fall into sin unawares ? The scruple once indulged would soon 
gather strength, until the very provision of their daily food would 
become difficult by their disuse of the markets of the heathen. 

A third instance of the same ceremonialism so natural to that age, 
and to ourselves so strange and unmeaning, is illustrated by the 
words of the Jerusalem Christians to the Apostle, " Thou wentest 
in unto men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them ; " a scruple so 
strong that, probably, St. Peter himself was never entirely free from 
it, and at any rate yielded to the fear of it in others when withstood 
by St. Paul at Antioch. This scruple may be said in one sense to 
be hardly capable of an explanation, and in another not to need one. 
For, probably, nothing can give our minds any conception of the 


nature of the feeling, the intense hold which it exercised, the con 
centration which it was of every national and religious prejudice, 
the constraint which was required to get rid of it as a sort of 
" horror naturalis " in the minds of Jews ; while, on the other hand, 
feelings at the present day not very dissimilar exist, not only in 
Eastern countries, but among ourselves. There is nothing strange 
in human nature being liable to them, or in their long lingering and 
often returning, even when reason and charity alike condemn them. 
We ourselves are not insensible to differences of race and colour, and 
may therefore be able partially to comprehend (allowing for the 
difference of East and West) what was the feeling of Jews and 
Jewish Christians towards men uncircumcised. 

On the last point St. Paul maintains but one language : "In 
Christ Jesus there is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision." No 
compromise could be allowed here, without destroying the Gospel 
that he preached. But the other question of meats and drinks, when 
separated from that of circumcision, admitted of various answers 
and points of view. Accordingly there is an appearance of incon 
sistency in the modes in which the Apostle resolves it. All these 
modes have a use and interest for ourselves ; though our difficulties 
are not the same as those of the early Christians, the words speak to 
us, so long as prudence, and faith, and charity are the guides of 
Christian life. It is characteristic of the Apostle that his answers 
run into one another, as though each of them to different individuals, 
and all in their turn, might present the solution of the difficulty. 

Separating them under different heads, we may begin with 1 Cor. 
x. 25., which may be termed the rule of Christian prudence : 
" Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question 
for conscience sake." That is to say : " Buy food as other men 
do ; perhaps what you purchase has come from the idol s temple, 
perhaps not. Do not encourage your conscience in raising scruples, 
life will become impossible if you do. One question involves an 
other and another and another without end. The manly and the 
Christian way is to cut them short ; both as tending to weaken the 

c c 2 


character and as inconsistent with the very nature of spiritual 

So we may venture to amplify the Apostle s precept, which 
breathes the same spirit of moderation as his decisions respecting 
celibacy and marriage. Among ourselves the remark is often made 
that "extremes are practically untrue." This is another way of 
putting the same lesson : If I may not sit in the idol s temple, it 
may be plausibly argued, neither may I eat meats offered to idols ; 
and if I may not eat meats offered to idols, then it logically follows 
that I ought not to go into the market where idols meat is sold. 
The Apostle snaps the chain of this misapplied logic : there must be 
a limit somewhere ; we must not push consistency where it is prac 
tically impossible. A trifling scruple is raised to the level of a 
religious duty, and another and another, until religion is made up 
of scruples, and the light of life fades, and the ways of life narrow 

It is not hard to translate the Apostle s precept into the language 
of our time. Instances occur in politics, in theology, in our ordinary 
occupations, in which beyond a certain point consistency is impos 
sible. Take for example the following : A person feels that he 
would be wrong in carrying on his business, or going to public 
amusements, on a Sunday. He says: If it be wrong for me to 
work, it is wrong to make the servants in my house work ; or if it 
be wrong to go to public amusements, it is wrong to enjoy the re 
creation of walking on a Sunday. So it may be argued that, because 
slavery is wrong, therefore it is not right to purchase the produce 
of slavery, or that of which the produce of slavery is a part, and so on 
without end, until we are forced out of the world from a remote 
fear of contagion with evil. Or I am engaged in a business which 
may be in some degree deleterious to the health or injurious to the 
morals of those employed in it, or I trade in some articles of com 
merce which are unwholesome or dangerous, or I let a house or a 
ship to another whose employment is of this description. Number 
less questions of the same kind relating to the profession of a clergy- 


man, an advocate, or a soldier, have been pursued into endless con 
sequences. Is the mind of any person so nicely balanced that " every 
one of six hundred disputed propositions " is the representative of 
his exact belief? or can every word in a set form of prayer at all 
times reflect the feeling of those who read or follow it ? There is no 
society to which we can belong, no common act of business or 
worship in which two or three are joined together, in which such 
difficulties are not liable to arise. Three editors conduct a news 
paper, can it express equally the conviction of all the three ? Three 
lawyers sign an opinion in common, is it the judgment of all or of 
one or two of them? High-minded men have often got themselves 
into a false position by regarding these questions in too abstract a 
way. The words of the Apostle are a practical answer to them which 
may be paraphrased thus : " Do as other men do in a Christian 
country," Conscience will say, " He who is guilty of the least, is 
guilty of all." In the Apostle s language it then becomes "the 
strength of sin," encouraging us to despair of all, because in that 
mixed condition of life in which God has placed us we cannot fulfil 

In accordance with the spirit of the same principle of doing as 
other men do, the Apostle further implies that believers are to 
accept the hospitality of the heathen. (1 Cor. x. 27.) But here 
a modification comes in, which may be termed the law of Chris 
tian charity or courtesy: Avoid giving offence, or, as we might 
say, " Do not defy opinion." Eat what is set before you ; but if 
a person sitting at meat pointedly says to you, " This was offered 
to idols," do not eat. " All things are lawful, but all things are not 
expedient," and this is one of the not expedient class. There ap 
pears to be a sort of inconsistency in this advice, as there must 
always be inconsistency in the rules of practical life which are 
relative to circumstances. It might be said : " We cannot do one 
thing at one time, and another thing at another ; now be guided by 
another man s conscience, now by our own." It might be retorted, 
" Is not this the dissimulation which you blame in St. Peter ? " To 

c c 3 


which it may be answered in turn : " But a man may do one thing 
at one time, another thing at another time, becoming to the Jews a 
Jew, if he do it in such a manner as to avoid the risk of miscon 
struction." And this again admits of a retort. " Is it possible to 
avoid misconstruction ? Is it not better to dare to be ourselves, to 
act like ourselves, to speak like ourselves, to think like ourselves ? " 
We seem to have lighted unawares on two varieties of human dispo 
sition ; the one harmonising and adapting itself to the perplexities of 
life, the other rebelling against them, and seeking to disentangle itself 
from them. Which side of this argument shall we take ; neither 
or both ? The Apostle appears to take both sides ; for in the abrupt 
transition that follows, he immediately adds, " Why is my liberty to 
be judged of another man s conscience ? what right has another 
man to attack me for what I do in the innocence of my heart ? " It 
is good advice to say, " Regard the opinions of others ; " and equally 
good advice to say, " Do not regard the opinions of others." We 
must balance between the two ; and over all, adjusting the scales, is 
the law of Christian love. 

Both in 1 Cor. viii. and Rom. xiv. the Apostle adds another prin 
ciple, which may be termed the law of individual conscience, which 
we must listen to in ourselves and regard in others. "He that 
doubteth is damned ; whatsoever is not of faith is sin." All things 
are lawful to him who feels them to be lawful, but the conscience 
may be polluted by the most indifferent things. When we eat, we 
should remember that the consequence of following our example 
may be serious to others. For not only may our brother be offended 
at us, but also by our example be drawn into sin; that is, to do 
what, though indifferent in itself, is sin to him. And so the weak 
brother, for whom Christ died, may perish through our fault ; that 
is, he may lose his peace and harmony of soul and conscience -void 
of offence, and all through our heedlessness in doing some unne 
cessary thing, which were far better left undone. 

Cases may be readily imagined, in which, like the preceding, the 
rule of conduct here laid down by the Apostle would involve dis- 


simulation. So many thousand scruples and opinions as there are 
in the world, we should have " to go out of the world " to fulfil it 
honestly. All reserve, it may be argued, tends to break up the 
confidence between man and man ; and there are times in which 
concealment of our opinions, even respecting things indifferent, 
would be treacherous and mischievous ; there are times, too, in 
which things cease to be indifferent, and it is our duty to speak out 
respecting the false importance which they have acquired. But, 
after all qualifications of this kind have been made, the secondary 
duty yet remains, of consideration for others, which should form an 
element in our conduct. If truth is the first principle of our speech 
and action, the good of others should, at any rate, be the second. 
" If any man (not see thee who hast knowledge sitting in the idol s 
temple, but) hear thee discoursing rashly of the Scriptures and the 
doctrines of the Church, shall not the faith of thy younger brother 
become confused? and his conscience being weak shall cease to 
discern between good and evil. And so thy weak brother shall 
perish for whom Christ died." 

The Apostle adds a fourth principle, which may be termed the 
law of Christian freedom, as the last solution of the difficulty : 
" Therefore, whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God." 
From the perplexities of casuistry, and the conflicting rights of a 
man s own conscience and that of another, he falls back on the 
simple rule, " Whatever you do, sanctify the act." It cannot be said 
that all contradictory obligations vanish the moment we try to act 
with simplicity and truth ; we cannot change the current of life and 
its circumstances by a wish or an intention ; we cannot dispel that 
which is without, though we may clear that which is within. But 
we have taken the first step, and are in the way to solve the riddle. 
The insane scruple, the fixed idea, the ever-increasing doubt begins 
to pass away ; the spirit of the child returns to us ; the mind is 
again free, and the road of life open. " Whether ye eat or drink, 
do all to the glory of God ;" that is, determine to seek only the will 
of God, and you may have a larger measure of Christian liberty 

c c 4 


allowed to you ; things, perhaps wrong in others, may be right 
for you. 

The law, then, of Christian prudence, using that moderation 
which we show in things pertaining to this life ; or the law of 
Christian charity, resolving, and as it were absorbing, our scruples 
in the love of other men ; or the law of the individual conscience, 
making that right to a man in matters in themselves indifferent 
which seems to be so ; or the law of freedom, giving us a spirit, 
instead of a letter, and enlarging the first principles of the doctrine 
of Christ ; or all together, shall furnish the doubting believer with 
a sufficient rule of faith and conduct. Even the law of Christian 
charity is a rule of freedom rather than of restraint, in proportion 
as it places men above questions of meats and drinks, and enables 
them to regard such disputes only by the light of love to God and 
man. For there is a tyranny which even freedom may exercise, 
when it makes us intolerant of other men s difficulties. " Where 
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty ; " but there is also a liberty 
without the Spirit of the Lord. To eat with unwashen hands 
defileth not a man ; but to denounce those who do, or do not do so, 
may, in St. Paul s language, cause not only the weak brother, but 
him that fancieth he standeth, to fall ; and so, in a false endeavour to 
preach the Gospel of Christ, men " may perish for whom Christ died." 

The general rule of the Apostle is, "Neither circumcision 
availeth anything, nor uncircumcision ; " " neither if we eat not are 
we the better, neither if we eat are we the worse." But then " all 
things are lawful, but all things are not expedient," even in re 
ference to ourselves, and still more as we are members one of ano- 
other. There is a further counsel of prudence, " Receive such an 
one, but not to the determination of his doubt." And lastly, as the 
guide to the spirit of our actions, remember the words : " I will 
eat no meat as long as the world standeth, lest I make my brother 
to offend." 

Questions of meats and drinks, of eating with washen or un- 


waslien hands, have passed from the stage of religious ordinances to 
that of proprieties and decencies of life. Neither the purifications of 
the law of Moses, nor the seven precepts of Noah, are any longer 
binding upon Christians. Nature herself teaches all things neces 
sary for health and comfort. But the spirit of casuistry in every 
age finds fresh materials to. employ itself upon, laying hold of some 
question of a new moon or a sabbath, some fragment of antiquity, 
some inconsistency of custom, some subtilty of thought, some 
nicety of morality, analysing and dividing the actions of daily 
life ; separating the letter from the spirit, and words from things ; 
winding its toils around the infirmities of the weak, and linking 
itself to the sensibility of the intellect. Out of this labyrinth of 
the soul the believer finds his way, by keeping his eye fixed on that 
landmark which the Apostle himself has set up : " In Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a 
new creature." 

There is no one probably, of any religious experience, who has 
not at times felt the power of a scrupulous conscience. In speaking 
of a scrupulous conscience, the sense of remorse for greater offences 
is not intended to be included. These may press more or less hea 
vily on the soul ; and the remembrance of them may ingrain it 
self, with different degrees of depth, on different temperaments ; 
but whether deep or shallow, the sorrow for them cannot be 
brought under the head of scruples of conscience. There are " many 
things in which we offend all," about which there can be no mis 
take, the impression of which on our minds it would be fatal to 
weaken or do away. Nor is it to be denied that there may be customs 
almost universal among us which are so plainly repugnant to mo 
rality, that we can never be justified in acquiescing in them ; 
or that individuals of clear head and strong will have been led on 
by feelings which other men would deride as conscientious scruples 
into an heroic struggle against evil. But quite independently of 
real sorrows for sin, or real protests against evil, most religious 
persons in the course of their lives have felt unreal scruples 


or difficulties, or exaggerated real but slight ones ; they have 
abridged their Christian freedom, and thereby their means of doing 
good ; they have cherished imaginary obligations, and artificially 
hedged themselves in a particular course of action. Honour and 
truth have seemed to be at stake about trifles light as air, or conscience 
has become a burden too heavy for them to bear in some doubtful 
matter of conduct. Scruples of this kind are ever liable to in 
crease : as one vanishes, another appears ; the circumstances of the 
world and of the Church, and the complication of modern society, 
have a tendency to create them. The very form in which they come 
is of itself sufficient to put us on our guard against them ; for we 
can give no account of them to ourselves ; they are seldom affected 
by the opinion of others ; they are more often put down by the ex 
ercise of authority than by reasoning or judgment. They gain hold on 
the weaker sort of men, or on those not naturally weak, in moments 
of weakness. They often run counter to our wish or interest, and for 
this very reason acquire a kind of tenacity. They seem innocent, 
mistakes, at worst, on the safe side, characteristic of the ingenuousness 
of youth, or indicative of a heart uncorrupted by the world. But 
this is not so. Creatures as we are of circumstances, we cannot 
safely afford to give up things indifferent, means of usefulness, in 
struments of happiness to ourselves, which may affect our lives and 
those of our children to the latest posterity. There are few greater 
dangers in religion than the indulgence of such scruples, the conse 
quences of which can rarely be seen until too late, and which affect the 
moral character of a man at least as much as his temporal interests. 
Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that scruples 
about lesser matters almost always involve some dereliction of duty 
in greater and more obvious ones. A tender conscience is a con 
science unequal to the struggles of life. At first sight it seems as if, 
when lesser duties were cared for, the greater would take care of 
themselves. But this is not the lesson which experience teaches. 
In our moral as in our physical nature, we are finite beings, capable 
only of a certain degree of tension, ever liable to suffer disorder 


and derangement, to be over-exercised in one part and weakened 
in another. No one can fix his mind intently on a trifling scruple 
or become absorbed in an eccentric fancy, without finding the great 
principles of truth and justice insensibly depart from him. He has 
been looking through a microscope at life, and cannot take in its 
general scope. The moral proportions of things are lost to him ; 
the question of a new moon or a Sabbath has taken the place of 
diligence or of honesty. There is no limit to the illusions which he 
may practice on himself. There are those, all whose interests and 
prejudices at once take the form of duties and scruples, partly from 
dishonesty, but also from weakness, and because that is the form in 
which they can with the best grace maintain them against other men, 
and conceal their true nature from themselves. 

Scruples are dangerous in another way, as they tend to drive men 
into a corner in which the performance of our duty becomes so 
difficult as to be almost impossible. A virtuous and religious life 
does not consist merely in abstaining from evil, but in doing what is 
good. It has to find opportunities and occasions for itself, without 
which it languishes. A man has a scruple about the choice of a pro 
fession ; as a Christian, he believes war to be unlawful ; in familiar 
language, he has doubts respecting orders, difficulties about the law. 
Even the ordinary ways of conducting trade appear deficient to his 
nicer sense of honesty ; or perhaps he has already entered on one of 
these lines of life, and finds it necessary to quit it. At last, there 
comes the difficulty of " how he is to live." There cannot be a 
greater mistake than to suppose that a good resolution is sufficient in 
such a case to carry a man through a long life. 

But even if we suppose the case of one who is endowed with every 
earthly good and instrument of prosperity, who can afford, as is 
sometimes said, to trifle with the opportunities of life, still the 
mental consequences will be hardly less injurious to him. For he 
who feels scruples about the ordinary enjoyments and occupations of 
his fellows, does so far cut himself off from his common nature. 
He is an isolated being, incapable of acting with his fellow-men. 


There are plants which, though the sun shine upon them, and the 
dews water them, peak and pine from some internal disorder, and 
appear to have no sympathy with the influences around them. So 
is the mind corroded by scruples of conscience. It cannot expand 
to sun or shower ; it belongs not to the world of light ; it has no in 
telligence of or harmony with mankind around. It is insensible to 
the great truth, that though we may not do evil that good may come, 
yet that good and evil, truth and falsehood, are bound together on 
earth, and that we cannot separate ourselves from them. 

It is one of the peculiar dangers of scruples of conscience, that the 
consequence of giving way to them is never felt at the time that 
they press upon us. When the mind is worried by a thought secretly 
working in it, and its trial becomes greater than it can bear, it is 
eager to take the plunge in life that may put it out of its misery ; 
to throw aside a profession it may be, or to enter a new religious 
communion. We shall not be wrong in promising ourselves a few 
weeks of peace and placid enjoyment. The years that are to follow 
we are incapable of realising ; whether the weary spirit will require 
some fresh pasture, will invent for itself some new doubt ; whether 
its change is a return to nature or not, it is impossible for us to 
anticipate. Whether it has in itself that hidden strength which, 
under every change of circumstances, is capable of bearing up, is a 
question which we are the least able to determine for ourselves. 
In general we may observe, that the weakest minds, and those least 
capable of enduring such consequences, are the most likely to indulge 
the scruples. We know beforehand the passionate character, hidden 
often under the mask of reserve, the active yet half-reasoning intel 
lect, which falls under the power of such illusions. 

In the Apostolic Church "cases of conscience" arose out of reli 
gious traditions, and what may be termed the ceremonial cast of the 
age ; in modern times the most frequent source of them may be said 
to be the desire of logical or practical consistency, such as is irre 
concilable with the mixed state of human affairs and the feebleness 
of the human intellect. There is no lever like the argument from 


consistency, with which to bring men over to our opinions. A par 
ticular system or view, Calvinism perhaps, or Catholicism, has taken 
possession of the mind. Shall we stop short of pushing its premises 
to their conclusions ? Shall we stand in the midway, where we are 
liable to be overridden by the combatants on either side in the 
struggle? Shall we place ourselves between our reason and our 
affections; between our practical duties and our intellectual con 
victions ? Logic would have us go forward, and take our stand at 
the most advanced point we are there already, it is urged, if we 
were true to ourselves, but feeling, and habit, and common sense 
bid us stay where we are, unable to give an account of ourselves, 
yet convinced that we are right. We may listen to the one voice, 
we may listen also to the other. The true way of guiding either is 
to acknowledge both ; to use them for a time against each other, 
until experience of life and of ourselves has taught us to harmonise 
them in a single principle. 

So, again, in daily life cases often occur, in which we must do as 
other men do, and act upon a general understanding, even though 
unable to reconcile a particular practice to the letter of truthfulness 
or even to our individual conscience. It is hard in such cases to lay 
down a definite rule. But in general we should be suspicious of any 
conscientious scruples in which other good men do not share. We 
shall do right to make a large allowance for the perplexities and 
entanglements of human things ; we shall observe that persons of 
strong mind and will brush away our scruples ; we shall consider that 
not he who has most, but he who has fewest scruples approaches 
most nearly the true Christian. The man whom we emphatically 
call " honest," " able," " upright," who is a religious as well as a 
sensible man, seems to have no room for them ; from which we are 
led to infer that such scruples are seldom in the nature of things 
themselves, but arise out of some peculiarity or eccentricity in those 
who indulge them. That they are often akin to madness, is an 
observation not without instruction even to those whom God has 
blest with the full use of reason. 


So far we arrive at a general conclusion like St. Paul s : 
"Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God;" and, 
" Blessed is he who condemneth not himself in that which he allow- 
eth." " Have the Spirit of truth, and the truth shall make you 
free;" and the entanglements of words and the perplexities of 
action will disappear. But there is another way in which such dif 
ficulties have been resolved, which meets them in detail ; viz., the 
practice of confession and the rules of casuistry, which are the 
guides of the confessor. When the spirit is ^disordered within us, 
it may be urged that we ought to go out of ourselves, and confess 
our sins one to another. But he who leads, and he who is led, alike 
require some rules for the examination of conscience, to quicken or 
moderate the sense of sin, to assist experience, to show men to them 
selves as they really are, neither better nor worse. Hence the ne 
cessity for casuistry. 

It is remarkable, that what is in idea so excellent that it may be 
almost described in St. Paul s language as " holy, just, and good," 
should have become a by -word among mankind for hypocrisy and 
dishonesty. In popular estimation, no one is supposed to resort to 
casuistry, but with the view of evading a duty. The moral instincts 
of the world have risen up and condemned it. It is fairly put 
down by the universal voice, and shut up in the darkness of the 
tomes of the casuists. A kind of rude justice has been done upon 
the system, as in most cases of popular indignation, probably with 
some degree of injustice to the individuals who were its authors. 
Yet, hated as casuistry has deservedly been, it is fair also to admit 
that it has an element of truth which was the source of its influence. 
This element of truth is the acknowledgment of the difficulties 
which arise in the relations of a professing Christian world to the 
church and to Christianity. How, without lowering the Gospel, to 
place it on a level with daily life is a hard question. It will be 
proper for us to consider the system from both sides in its origin 
and in its perversion. Why it existed, and why it has failed, furnish 
a lesson in the history of the human mind of great interest and im 


The unseen power by which the systems of the casuists were 
brought into being, was the necessity of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Like the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, they formed a link 
between the present and the past. At the time of the Reformation 
the doctrines of the ancient, no less than of the Reformed, faith 
awakened into life. But they required to be put in a new form, 
to reconcile them to the moral sense of mankind. Luther ended the 
work of self-examination by casting all his sins on Christ. But the 
casuists could not thus meet the awakening of men s consciences and 
the fearful looking for of judgment. They had to deal with an altered 
world, in which nevertheless the spectres of the past, purgatory, pe 
nance, mortal sin, were again rising up ; hallowed as they were by 
authority and antiquity they could not be cast aside ; the preacher of 
the Counter-reformation could only explain them away. If he had 
placed distinctly before men s eyes, that for some one act of immora 
lity or dishonesty they were in a state of mortal sin, the heart true 
to itself would have recoiled from such a doctrine, and the connex 
ion between the Church and the world would have been for ever 
severed. And yet the doctrine was a part of ecclesiastical tradition ; 
it could not be held, it could not be given up. The Jesuits escaped 
the dilemma by holding and evading it. 

So far it would not be untrue to say that casuistry had originated 
in an effort to reconcile the Roman Catholic faith with nature and 
experience. The Roman system was, if strictly carried out, horrible 
and impossible ; a doctrine not, as it has been sometimes described, of 
salvation made easy, but of universal condemnation. From these 
fearful conclusions of logic the subtilty of the human intellect was 
now to save it. The analogy of law, as worked out by jurists and 
canonists, supplied the means. What was repugnant to human jus 
tice could not be agreeable to Divine. The scholastic philosophy, 
which had begun to die out and fade away before the light of clas 
sical learning, was to revive in a new form, no longer hovering 
between heaven and earth, out of the reach of experience, yet below 
the region of spiritual truth, but, as it seemed, firmly based in the life 


and actions of mankind. It was the same sort of wisdom which de 
fined the numbers and order of the celestial hierarchy, which was 
now to be adapted to the infinite modifications of which the actions 
of men are capable. 

It is obvious that there are endless points of view in which the 
simplest duties may be regarded. Common sense says, "A 
man is to be judged by his acts," "there can be no mistake about 
a lie," and so on. The casuists proceed by a different road. Fixing 
the mind, not on the simplicity, but on the intricacy of human action, 
they study every point of view, and introduce every conceivable dis 
tinction. A first most obvious distinction is that of the intention 
and the act : ought the one to be separated from the other ? The 
law itself seems to teach that this may hardly be ; rather the inten 
tion is held to be that which gives form and colour to the act. Then 
the act by itself is nothing, and the intention by itself almost inno 
cent. As we play between the two different points of view, the act 
and the intention together evanesce. But, secondly, as we con 
sider the intention, must we not also consider the circumstances of 
the agent ? For plainly a being deprived of free will cannot be re 
sponsible for his actions. Place the murderer in thought under the 
conditions of a necessary agent, and his actions are innocent ; or 
under an imperfect necessity, and he loses half his guilt. Or sup 
pose a man ignorant, or partly ignorant, of what is the teaching of 
the Church, or the law of the land, here another abstract point of 
view arises, leading us out of the region of common sense to difficult 
and equitable considerations, which may be determined fairly, but 
which we have the greatest motive to decide in favour of ourselves. 
Or again, try to conceive an act without reference to its conse 
quences, or in reference to some single consequence, without regard 
ing it as a violation of morality or of nature, or in reference solely 
to the individual conscience. Or imagine the will half consenting 
to, half withdrawing from its act ; or acting by another, or in 
obedience to another, or with some good object, or under the 
influence of some imperfect obligation, or of opposite obligations. 


Even conscience itself may be at last played off against the plainest 

By the aid of such distinctions the simplest principles of morality 
multiply to infinity. An instrument has been introduced of such 
subtilty and elasticity that it can accommodate the canons of the 
Church to any consciences, to any state of the world. Sin need no 
longer be confined to the dreadful distinction of mortal and venial 
sin ; it has lost its infinite and mysterious character ; it has become 
a thing of degrees, to be aggravated or mitigated in idea, according 
to the expediency of the case or the pliability of the confessor. It 
seems difficult to perpetrate a perfect sin. No man need die of 
despair ; in some page of the writings of the casuists will be found a 
difference suited to his case. And this without in any degree inter 
fering with a single doctrine of the Church, or withdrawing one of 
its anathemas against heresy. 

The system of casuistry, destined to work such great results, in 
reconciling the Church to the world and to human nature, like a 
torn web needing to be knit together, may be regarded as a science 
or profession. It is a classification of human actions, made in one 
sense without any reference to practice. For nothing was further from 
the mind of the casuist than to inquire whether a particular distinc 
tion would have a good or bad effect, was liable to perversion or not. 
His object was only to make such distinctions as the human mind was 
capable of perceiving and acknowledging. As to the physiologist 
objects in themselves loathsome and disgusting may be of the deepest 
interest, so to the casuist the foulest and most loathsome vices of 
mankind are not matters of abhorrence, but of science, to be arranged 
and classified, just like any other varieties of human action. It is 
true that the study of the teacher was not supposed to be also open 
to the penitent. But it inevitably followed that the spirit of the 
teacher communicated itself to the taught. He could impart no high 
or exalted idea of morality or religion, who was measuring it out by 
inches, not deepening men s idea of sin, but attenuating it ; " mincing 
into nonsense " the first principles of right and wrong. 



The science was further complicated by the " doctrine of pro 
bability," which consisted in making anything approved or approv- 
able that was confirmed by authority ; even, as was said by some, 
of a single casuist. That could not be very wrong which a wise 
and good man had once thought to be right, a better than ourselves 
perhaps, surveying the circumstances calmly and impartially. Who 
would wish that the rule of his daily life should go beyond that of a 
saint and doctor of the Church ? Who would require such a rule to 
be observed by another ? Who would refuse another such an escape 
out of the labyrinth of human difficulties and perplexities ? As in 
all the Jesuit distinctions, there was a kind of reasonableness in the 
theory of this ; it did but go on the principle of cutting short scruples 
by the rule of common sense. 

And yet, what a door was here opened for the dishonesty of man 
kind ! The science itself had dissected moral action until nothing 
of life or meaning remained in it. It had thrown aside, at the same 
time, the natural restraint which the moral sense itself exercises in 
determining such questions. And now for the application of this 
system, so difficult and complicated in itself, so incapable of receiving 
any check from the opinions of mankind, the authority not of the 
Church, but of individuals, was to be added as a new lever to over 
throw the last remains of natural religion and morality. 

The marvels of this science are not yet ended. For the same 
changes admit of being rung upon speech as well as upon action, until 
truth and falsehood become alike impossible. Language itself dis 
solves before the decomposing power ; oaths, like actions, vanish into 
air when separated from the intention of the speaker ; the shield of 
custom protects falsehood. It would be a curious though needless 
task to follow the subject into further details. He who has read one 
page of the casuists has read all. There is nothing that is not 
right in some particular point of view, nothing that is not true 
under some previous supposition. 

Such a system may be left to refute itself. Those who have 
strayed so far away from truth and virtue are self-condemned. Yet 


it is not without interest to trace, by what false lights of philosophy 
or religion, good men revolting themselves at the commission of evil 
were led, step by step, to the unnatural result. We should expect 
to find that such a result originated not in any settled determination 
to corrupt the morals of mankind, but in an intellectual error ; and 
it is suggestive of strange thoughts respecting our moral nature, that 
an intellectual error should have had the power to produce such con 
sequences. Such appears to have been the fact. The conception of 
moral action on which the system depends, is as erroneous and im 
perfect as that of the scholastic philosophy respecting the nature of 
ideas. The immediate reduction of the error to practice through 
the agency of an order made the evil greater than that of other 
intellectual errors on moral and religious subjects, which, spring 
ing up in the brain of an individual, are often corrected and puri 
fied in the course of nature before they find their way into the 
common mind. 

1. Casuistry ignores the difference between thought and action. 
Actions arc necessarily external. The spoken word constitutes the 
lie ; the outward performance the crime. The Highest Wisdom, it is 
true, has identified the two : " Pie that looketh on a woman to lust 
after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." 
But this is not the rule by which we are to judge our past actions, 
but to guard our future ones. He who has thoughts of lust or passion 
is not innocent in the sight of God, and is liable to be carried on to 
perform the act on which he suffers himself to dwell. And, in looking 
forward, he will do well to remember this caution of Christ ; but in 
looking backward, in thinking of others, in endeavouring to esti 
mate the actual amount of guilt or trespass, if he begins by placing 
thought on the level of action, he will end by placing action on the 
level of thought. It would be a monstrous state of mind in which 
we regarded mere imagination of evil as the same with action ; 
hatred as the same with murder; thoughts of impurity as the same 
with adultery. It is not so that we must learn Christ. Actions are 
one thing and thoughts another in the eye of conscience, no less than 


of the law of the land ; of God as well as man. However important 
it may be to remember that the all-seeing eye of God tries the reins, 
it is no less important to remember also that morality consists in 
definite acts, capable of being seen and judged of by our fellow- 
creatures, impossible to escape ourselves. 

2. What may be termed the frame of casuistry was supplied by 
law, while the spirit is that of the scholastic philosophy. Neither 
afforded any general principle which might correct extravagancies 
in detail, or banish subtilties, or negative remote and unsafe in 
ferences. But the application of the analogy of law to subjects of 
morality and religion was itself a figment which, at every step, led 
deeper into error. The object was to realise and define, in every 
possible stage, acts which did not admit of legal definition, either 
because they were not external, but only thoughts or suggestions 
of the mind, or because the external part of the action was not 
allowed to be regarded separately from the motives of the agent. 
The motive or intention which law takes no account of except 
as indicating the nature of the act, becomes the principal subject 
of the casuist s art. Casuistry may be said to begin where law 
ends. It goes where law refuses to follow with legal rules and 
distinctions into the domain of morality. It weighs in the balance 
of precedent and authority the impalpable acts of a spiritual being. 
Law is a real science which has its roots in history, which grasps 
fact ; seeking, in idea, to rest justice on truth only, and to reconcile 
the rights of individuals with the well-being of the whole. But 
casuistry is but the ghost or ape of a science ; it has no history and 
no facts corresponding to it ; it came into the world by the ingenuity 
of man ; its object is to produce an artificial disposition of human 
affairs, at which nature rebels. 

3. The distinctions of the casuist are far from equalling the subtilty 
of human life, or the diversity of its conditions. It is quite true 
that actions the same in name are, in the scale of right and wrong, 
as different as can be imagined; varying with the age, tempera 
ment, education, circumstances of each individual. The casuist is 


not in fault for maintaining this difference, but for supposing that 
he can classify or distinguish them so as to give any conception 
of their innumerable shades and gradations. All his folios are 
but the weary effort to abstract or make a brief of the individuality 
of man. The very actions which he classifies change their mean 
ing as he writes them down, like the words of a sentence torn 
away from their context. He is ever idealizing and creating dis 
tinctions, splitting straws, dividing hairs ; yet any one who re 
flects on himself will idealize and distinguish further still, and think 
of his whole life in all its circumstances, with its sequence of 
thoughts and motives, and, withal, many excuses. But no one can 
extend this sort of idealism beyond himself; no insight of the 
confessor can make him clairvoyant of the penitent s soul. Know 
ourselves we sometimes truly may, but we cannot know others, and 
no other can know us. No other can know or understand us in the 
same wonderful or mysterious way ; no other can be conscious of 
the spirit in which we have lived ; no other can see us as a whole 
or get within. God has placed a veil of flesh between ourselves and 
other men, to screen the nakedness of our soul. Into the secret 
chamber He does not require that we should admit any other judge 
or counsellor but Himself. Two eyes only are upon us, the eye 
of our own soul the eye of God, and the one is the light of the 
other. That is the true light, on the which if a man look he will 
have a knowledge of himself, different in kind from that which the 
confessor extracts from the books of the casuists. 

4. There are many cases in which our first thoughts, or, to speak 
more correctly, our instinctive perceptions, are true and right ; in 
which it is not too much to say, that he who deliberates is lost. 
The very act of turning to a book, or referring to another, enfeebles 
our power of action. Works of art are produced we know not how, 
by some simultaneous movement of hand and thought, which seem 
to lend to each other force and meaning. So in moral action, the true 
view does not separate the intention from the act, or the act from the 
circumstances which surround it, but regards them as one and abso- 

D D 3 


lutely indivisible. In the performance of the act and in the judgment 
of it, the will and the execution, the hand and the thought are to be 
considered as one. Those who act most energetically, who in difficult 
circumstances judge the most truly, do not separately pass in review 
the rules, and principles, and counter principles of action, but grasp 
them at once, in a single instant. Those who act most truthfully, 
honestly, firmly, manfully, consistently, take least time to deliberate. 
Such should be the attitude of our minds in all questions of right 
and wrong, truth and falsehood : we may not inquire, but act. 

5. Casuistry not only renders us independent of our own convic 
tions, it renders us independent also of the opinion of mankind in 
general. It puts the confessor in the place of ourselves, and in the 
place of the world. By making the actions of men matters of sci 
ence, it cuts away the supports and safeguards which public opinion 
gives to morality ; the confessor in the silence of the closet easily 
introduces principles from which the common sense or conscience of 
mankind would have shrunk back. Especially in matters of truth 
and falsehood, in the nice sense of honour shown in the unwilling 
ness to get others within our power, his standard will probably 
fall short of that of the world at large. Public opinion, it is true, 
drives men s vices inwards ; it teaches them to conceal their faults 
from others, and if possible from themselves, and this very conceal 
ment may sink them in despair, or cover them with self-deceit. 
And the soul whose "house is its castle" has an enemy within, 
the strength of which may be often increased by communications 
from without. Yet the good of this privacy is on the whole 
greater than the evil. Not only is the outward aspect of society 
more decorous, and the confidence between man and man less liable 
to be impaired ; the mere fact of men s sins being known to them 
selves and God only, and the support afforded even by the unde 
served opinion of their fellows, are of themselves great helps to a 
moral and religious life. Many a one by being thought better than 
he was has become better ; by being thought as bad or worse has 
become worse. To communicate our sins to those who have no 


claim to know them is of itself a diminution of our moral strength. 
It throws upon others what we ought to do for ourselves ; it leads 
us to seek in the sympathy of others a strength which no sympathy 
can give. It is a greater trust than is right for us commonly to 
repose in our fellow-creatures ; it places us in their power ; it may 
make us their tools. 

To conclude, the errors and evils of casuistry may be summed up 
as follows: It makes that abstract which is concrete, scientific which 
is contingent, artificial which is natural, positive which is moral, 
theoretical which is intuitive and immediate. It puts the parts in 
the place of the whole, exceptions in the place of rules, system in 
the place of experience, dependence in the place of responsibility, 
reflection in the place of conscience. It lowers the heavenly to the 
earthly, the principles of men to their practice, the tone of the 
preacher to the standard of ordinary life. It sends us to another for 
that which can only be found in ourselves. It leaves the highway 
of public opinion to wander in the labyrinths of an imaginary sci 
ence ; the light of the world for the darkness of the closet. It is to 
human nature what anatomy is to our bodily frame ; instead of a 
moral and spiritual being, preserving only " a body of death." 

I) D 4 



[Cii. XV. 

Se ^ju-ets ol Svvarol ra ao-Oeprj^ara TUV a$v- 15 

/3acrraew Kal JU,T) eavTois apeo-Keuv. e/cao-ros 1 2 

TO) 7r\r)(riov apecrKTO) ets TO ayauov irpbs OLKOOO- 3 
/cat yap 6 X/HCTTOS ov^ laurw ^pecre^, dXXa KaOoas 
Ol oVeiSiay^ol rwz 6VeuH6Vr<wi> ere eTreVecra^ 

CTT e///e. ocra yap Trpoeypdcfrrj, ets TT)Z rjfJLerepav StSacnca- 4 

Add 7cfy>. 

The commencement of this 
chapter is closely connected with 
the preceding. " He who doubts 
if he eats, is condemned." But 
we who are strong and do not 
doubt, ought to bear the weak 
nesses of others. As Christ 
pleased not himself, so neither 
ought we to please ourselves. 
The words of the prophets, which 
speak of the reproaches that fell 
on Him, may still instruct us. 
They were written beforehand, 
to teach us to be of one mind, 
that we should receive others, 
even as Christ received us. At 
ver. 8. the argument takes a new 
turn. While exhorting the Ro 
man Church to unity, the other 
subject of discord arises in the 
Apostle s mind, not the disputes 
of strong and weak about meats 
and drinks, but the greater and 
more general dispute about Jew 
and Gentile, the old and the new, 
the law and the Gospel. He re 
turns upon the former theme, 
and repeats language of reconci 
liation, which he had used before. 
Christ came not to destroy the 
prophets, but to fulfil ; the mi 
nister of the circumcision to the 
uncircumcision ; the performer of 
the promises made to the patri 
archs to all mankind. The Gen 
tiles and the Jews rejoice to 
gether ; the root of Jesse is the 
hope of both. The Apostle then 
passes on to matters personal : an 

apology for writing so boldly; his 
intended journeys to Rome, Spain, 
and Jerusalem ; the contribution 
for the poor saints ; with the al 
lusions to which, however, he 
blends religious thoughts and 

5,] but we ought. 
e is closely connected with the 
preceding chapter. "And it is 
our part to take upon ourselves 
the infirmities of the weak, as 
they may lead them into sin." ce. 
expresses the practical result of 
the former statement, viewed from 
another aspect in reference to 

The division of the chapters is 
obviously unnatural. Yet that 
of Lachmann is not much better, 
who includes the first verse of 
XV. in the previous chapter, and 
thereby separates rw TrX^aioi in 
the second verse, and lavrw in the 
third, from tavro tQ in the first. 
In a style like that of St. Paul, 
in which the divisions of the 
subject are irregular, the distri 
bution into chapters of conve 
nient length is necessarily arti 
ficial, and often bears no relation 
to the breaks in the sense. 
Chapter and verse are only marks 
in the margin to facilitate re 

A better break occurs at ver. 
8. and at ver. 14. 

r/^ueTc ol t^uyaro/.J The Apo 
stle identifies himself with the 

VER. 1 -4.] 



15 Now* we that are strong ought to bear the infirmi- 

2 ties of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every 
one of us please his neighbour for his good to edi- 

3 fication. For Christ too* pleased not himself; but, as 
it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached 

4 thee fell on me. For 

whatsoever things were written 

stronger party, to give force to 
his words. As if he said : 
" You and I, who are strong and 
enlightened, should bear the in 
firmities of others. My side is 
that of the strong, not against 
but for the weak ; we who are 
whole should take care of those 
who are sick." It is a stage of 
the Gospel to know that "that 
which goeth into a man defileth 
not a man ; " it is a higher stage 
to know it and not always to act 
upon it. /3a0rdei , more precise 
than 4>tpiv, as " to carry " is more 
precise than " to bear." Compare 
Gal. vi. 2., a\\ri\u)r TO. flapr] /3a- 

KOI fjtf] eavrolg djoeoreiJ .J The 
Apostle touches upon selfishness 
as the root of these differences 
with each other. Above he had 
said " We are not our own, but 
Christ s ; " in a similar strain he 
continues, we ought not to please 
ourselves, for Christ pleased not 

elc TO ayadov, for good.~\ Of 
which Ti-jooc otjcociojuj/i is a more 
exact explanation ; " for good, 
with a view to edifying." To 
this interpretation it is objected 
that olKolo^iiv should have had 
the article, as well as dyafloj , 
and, therefore, that it is better to 
give the words, dg TO ayaflor the 
explanation, " touching the good." 
The awkwardness of such a use 
of eiQ, where a simpler construc 
tion is possible, is a greater ob 
jection to this mode of taking the 

passage than can be urged against 
the other, from the want of pa 
rallelism in the clauses. TO dyu- 
Q6v may have the article, either 
as an adjective turned into a sub 
stantive by the addition of the 
article, or as implying a reference 
to what has preceded, or to the 
idea of good in the mind of the 
person addressed. 

Here, as elsewhere, ctfcodop/ 
is the practical principle which 
is to determine questions and dis 
putes. Comp. 1 Cor. xiv. 26. ; 
2 Cor. x. 8. 

3. For in doing this we are 
but imitating the example of 
Christ, who pleased not himself. 
For ye know the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that though 
he was rich, yet for our sakes he 
became poor. Comp. 2 Cor. viii. 
9., and Phil. ii. 6. As was said 
of him in Psalm Ixix. (in the 
latter part of the ninth verse), 
" The reproaches of them that 
reproached thee, O God, are 
fallen upon me." That is, Christ 
pleased not himself, but endured 
all the reproaches of the enemies 
of God which were heaped upon 
him. A similar application of 
the former words of the same 
verse to Christ is made in John 
ii. 17., " The zeal of thy house 
hath eaten me up." 

oaa yap Trpotypdfyrjyfor whatso- 
ever things were written afore 
time. ] It is observable that in 
quotations from the Old Testa 
ment, St. Paul does not say " this 



[Cn. XV. 

\iav lypdffrr) 1 , Iva Slot TT?S vTTOfJiovrjs Kal Sid 2 TT/S irapa- 

TOJV ypa<j)Ct)i> TT]V IXirioa e^aj/xe^. 6 Se 0o<$ Trjs 5 
Acai TT^S TrapaK\TJ<Tea)s our) ypJuv TO avTO <f)povelv 
iv dXX^Xoi? KaTa yjpio~Tov Ir)o~ovv, iVa 6/xo^v/iaSo^ eV e^i 6 
Sofd^re ro^ #eo*> Acai rraTtpa TOV Kvpiov r^^v 

SLO 7rpoo~\ap./3dveo~d dXXi^Xou?, Ka0a)<$ 7 
os TT^ocreXdySero u/xds 3 15 Sd^a^ roi) 4 ^eov. 
ydp xpio~Tov SiaKovov yevecrOai TrepiTOfJi fjs vtrep s 

4 Om. TOV. 5 5e. Add Irjo-ouV. 

Kal 6 

is the original meaning of these 
words," but rather, " hence we 
are to learn this lesson." " Doth 
God take care for oxen ? or saith 
he it altogether for our sakes ? " 
] Cor. ix. 9, 10. 

We may ask, "But did the 
Apostle suppose that words like 
these were intended to bear this 
and no other meaning ? and that 
they were understood in this 
sense by their original authors ?" 
The answer to these questions is 
that the Apostle never asked 
them. The last thought that 
would have entered into his 
mind, would have been what in 
modern language we should term 
the reproduction to himself of 
the life and circumstances of the 
writers. He read the Old Tes 
tament, seeing " Christ in all 
things, and all things in Christ." 

4. cia rfJQ virofJLOvriG KCLL eta rijr 
TrupaKXriffewQ TWV ypcKfi&v, through 
patience and through comfort of 
the Scriptures, ] may mean, either 
" by the examples of patience 
and consolation which the Scrip 
tures afford ; " or rather, " by 
patiently meditating and receiv 
ing consolation from the Scrip 
tures ; " the genitive case denot 
ing, either origin, or a more 
general idea of relation and con 

nexion. Such words would de 
scribe those who, like Simeon and 
Anna, were waiting " for the 
consolation of Israel," suggested 
by the Psalms and the prophets. 
The reading of Lachmann, who 
inserts a second tci, has a con 
siderable preponderance of MS. 
authority in its favour. Internal 
evidence is on the other side, as 
the connexion of the verses pre 
ceding and following shows that 

i] as well as TrapaK\r}<ng is 
to be joined with TWV ypafyuv. 
The insertion of &a is, therefore, 
unnecessary and rather awkward. 

5. But when I speak of pa 
tience and consolation, I would 
add a prayer that God, who is 
tho author of every good and 
perfect gift, and of those in par 
ticular, may give you the spirit 
of unity. 

KUTCL xptcrrov Ir/Toyy, according 
to Jesus Christ.^ either like Christ 
or according to the will of Christ. 
Comp. KUTU lo-aa/c, Gal. iv. 28., 
" That we may love one another 
as Christ also loved us ; that we 
may show such a spirit as Christ 
showed in submitting to his 
Father s will." Comp. ver. 3. 
and 7. 

TOV tov KUL TTUTEpa, the God 
and Father.~\ Not God, even 

VER. 5-8.] 



aforetime were written for our learning, that we through 

patience and through l comfort of the scriptures might 
5 have hope. Now the God of -patience and consolation 

grant you to be likeminded one toward another according 
c to Christ Jesus : that ye may with one mind and one 

mouth glorify the God* and Father of our Lord Jesus 
: Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also 
s received us 2 to the glory of God. For 3 I say that 4 

Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth 

Omit through. 



4 Add Jesus. 

the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, as in the English Ver 
sion ; a translation which appa 
rently arises out of a fear of 
calling God, the God of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; but, " the 
God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ," as in Gal. i. 4. 
God is called, "our God and 
Father;" and in Kphes. i. 17., 
" That the God of our Lord 
Jesus Christ may give you the 
spirit of wisdom." Cf. John. \\. 
17., "My God and your God;" 
1 Cor. xi. 3., <fc the head of Christ 
is God ;" and lleb. i. 9., "God 
even thy God ;" also 2 Cor. xi. 

7. Wherefore receive one an 
other, the weak the strong, and 
I lie strong (lie weak; the flew the 
Gentile, and the Gentile the flew; 
as Christ also received you to the 
glory of God. 

The seventh verse is connected 
with both the sixth and eighth. 
"Be of one mind, that ye mav 
glorify God, and receive one an 
other as friends, as Christ also 
received you to the glory of God." 
For 1 say that he has received 
both Jew and Gentile. 

8. Xt yw yap, for /AW/.] This 
verse has been explained as fol 

lows : "For (or if we read 3e, 
now) I say that Christ is the 
minister of the circumcision, that 
is. the minister of the Jews, for 
the truth of God, to establish the 
promises made unto the fathers, 
and that the Gentiles may glorify 
God for His mercy;" in other 
words, "Christ has received the 
circumcision into His glory, as 
he has also received the Gen 
tiles." According to this way of 
taking the words, there would 
have been no difficulty in the 
construction, hail the order been 
dilferent, or if the words uitfwc 
TO. t tJrr; elg 3oay, or 
rov titov, had fol 
lowed, so as to recall the words 
7rpoffe\a,e.To vpdc which preceded. 
A strong objection to this 
mode of explaining the passage 
is the use of the word Trfpt-o/n/, 
without the article, for the flews. 
Kven supposing the gramma tieal 
ditlieulty to be removed, the lan 
guage is still unlike that of St. 
Paul, whose tone is not that there 
were 1 two Gospels, one for the 
flew, another for the Gentile, or 
that Christ was the minister of 
the circumcision to the flew, and 
of the uncircumcision to the Gen 
tile, but that he is the medium 



[Cii. XV. 


Oeov els TO /3e/3cu<S<ra<, ras eTrayyeXias rwz/ Trare- 9 
ra Se eOvrj virep eXeovs Sofcurai TOJ> 6e6v, KaOvs ye- 
i AIOLTOVTO e^o/^oXoy^cro/xai croi et> tOvecriv, KOI TOJ 
i crov \fja\oj. Kal TTVL\W Xeyei Ev(f)pdv0r}T eOvrj 10 
rov Xaov avrov. /cai traXiv Xeyei 1 ^t^eire Trdvra ra n 
ro^ Kvpiov, KOL ItraweordTaMTav 2 avro* trdVres 01 Xaoi. 

Hcraias Xeyei v crTat 17 pt^a rou Jecrcrat, Acal 6 12 
ap^tiv idv&v, ITT avra> #^77 eXTTtoucrt^. 6 Se 13 


1 Om. 

Leg. AireTre T^J/ Kvpiov 

ra> Trtcrreuet^, etg TO Treptcrcrevet^ v/^as e^ rij l\77iSi iv 

Tfavra. 2 tTraiveirare. 

which is explained by the words 
immediately following ; " to con 
firm the promises made unto the 
Fathers." Compare iv. 16., tig 
TO tivcLL ptpaicLV TYJV 7TttyyeA./a i 

TTCLVTl Tljj (TTreppaTl, 0V TU) /C TOV 

vofjLov povor, and, as a remoter 
parallel, Rom. iii. 26., elg TO 
eivai O.VTOV ^IKULOV. 

EIQ TO (3e(3a.L<Jjcrai.^ It is not 
certain whether, in these words, 
St. Paul is referring to the ful 
filment of the promises to the 
Jews (see c. xi.), or to the trans 
fer of them which he had made 
in the fourth chapter to the 
Gentiles. Either would in his 
view have been a true perform 
ance of them. 

ra cf 0i r?,] governed of elg : 
SE intimates the new aspect under 
which this fulfilment is regarded : 
" Howbeit that the Gentiles," etc. 

9. Aia TOUTO e^opoXoyj jffojjicn, 
therefore I will give thanks.~\ 
These words, which are exactly 
quoted from the LXX., Ps. xviii. 
49., are in their original meaning 
an expression of triumph after a 
victory, for which the victor says 
he will give thanks among the 

of communion with the Jewish 
dispensation, whereby the privi 
leges of the Jew are extended to 
all mankind. As Abraham is 
called a father of circumcision to 
all them that are uncircumcised, 
so Christ, " born under the law," 
is the minister of the circum 
cision to the Gentiles. The re 
ception of the Gentiles was itself 
included in the promise to Abra 
ham, according to St. Paul s in 
terpretation of it. Hence the se 
cond clause, ret e ttivr], is only a 
more distinct enunciation of what 
is already implied in the first. 
St. Paul "asserts" that Jesus 
Christ is the minister of circum 
cision, to establish the promises 
made to the fathers, in the same 
sense that it is said that he was 
to build the Temple, or to fulfil 
the law ; another aspect of which 
ministration is that the Gentiles 
should glorify God for the mercy 
which they have obtained of him. 
Compare the introduction to c. 
iv., and note on iv. 12. 

vTrtp aXrjOeiaQ Oeov, for the truth 
of God, ] "to make good the 
truth of God," the meaning of 

VER 913.] 



9 of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers : 
and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy ; 
as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee 

10 among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And 

11 again* it saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 
And again, it saith 1 , Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles ; 

12 and let all the people laud him. 2 And again, Esaias 
saith, "There shall be the* root of Jesse, and he that shall 
rise to reign over the Gentiles ; in him shall the Gentiles 

13 hope.* Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and 
peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through 
the power of the Holy Ghost. 

1 Om. it saith. 

8 Laud him all ye people. 

subject people. In the applica 
tion made of them by St. Paul, 
they are supposed to be uttered 
by a Gentile, and the word lftvn\ 
receives, as elsewhere, a new 

10. Kcii TraXtv Xeycc, and again 
it saith.~] sc. ?/ ypa^//, " the Scrip 
ture," as in Rom. ix. 17. and else 
where. The words which follow 
are taken from Deut. xxxii. 43., 
in which passage Moses exhorts 
the heathen to sing the praises 
of God for his dealings with the 
Jewish people. The verse in 
the LXX. is greatly interpolated, 
and in the midst of the interpo 
lation exhibits the words here 

11. AlvelTE TraiTd ra tQvq TQV 
Kvpiov.~] These words are taken, 
with a slight change in their 
order, from Ps. cxvii. 1. As in 
the previous verse, the word 
edvtj has received a new meaning. 
The writer meant to say, " Praise 
the Lord, all ye nations, for His 
goodness to Israel His people." 
The application which St. Paul 

makes of the words is, "Praise 
the Lord, O ye Gentiles, for he 
has given you a share in his 
mercies to the house of Israel." 

12."E0rcu,/c.r.X.] The quotation 
is from the LXX., which reads : 
f.ara.1 iv rrj fipepq. EKeivr] rj pia 
TOV leffffai K cu 6 c triffrufjiEvog apyf.iv 


(Is. xi. 10.) These words are 
not, however, an exact translation 
of the Hebrew, which is as fol 
lows : " And in that day shall the 
shoot of Jesse, which is set up for 
a banner, be sought of the Gen 

13. But says the Apostle, go 
ing off upon the word iX-jriowtv 
of the previous verse, as at ver. 5. 
on the words viro^ovi] and Trapu- 
/cXr/o-te, May the God of hope, 
who is the hope of the Gentiles, 
fill you he adds, not without 
reference to his previous exhor 
tations to unity with joy and 
peace, in believing ; that you 
may have yet more of that hope, 
by the instrumentality of His 
Holy Spirit ! 



[On. XV. 

ITe7reicr/>icu Se , dSeX^oi JJLOV, KOI avro9 eya> 
on /cal avTol ^ecrroi ecrre dyaOa*cnji>r)s, 

yvwcreoos, Swdjuez oi /ecu dXX>7Xov9 vovOereiv roX- 15 
Se eypaijja^ V^LIV aTro fjiepovs, W9 Travap,LfJiVTJ- 

t * ^ \ \ / ^ > /) <* v ^ /) ^ 

v/x,a9 ota TT)^ yapw rrjv ooueio-av JJLOL VTTO rov ueov 
et9 TO elj>ai /^/ \tiTovpyov yjpio~Tov J Irjo~ov^ et9 rd edvrj, 16 
iepovpyovvra TO evayyeXtoz/ TOV ^eov, tVa yeV^Tat 17 TTpoo-- 
(fropa T&V lOvcop ev7Tyodo~Se/CTO9, f rjyiao~fjii f rj tv TrvevfJiaTL 
dyico. e^o) oS^ T^ 3 Kav^qcriv iv ^yoto~ Irjcrov ra 77^09 17 
ov yap ToX^craj TI XaXel^ 4 a)^ ov Kareipydo-aro is 

3 Om. TTjV. 

14. xvi. 27. is a resumption 
of the personal narrative. The 
Apostle began by offering com 
mendation ; he concludes in the 
same spirit by apologising for 
giving advice. The salutation 
with which he opened, like the 
doxology with which he ends, 
contained in few words a sum 
mary of the Gospel. 

" But I know, brethren, that 
you need not these words of 
mine." I myself, who give this 
advice, am persuaded that you are 
able too (/ecu) to advise one another. 

15. But I have taken this 
liberty, brethren, to a certain 
extent, as an Apostle of Christ. 
These last words St. Paul softens 
by a periphrasis we 

juoi, as one who has " received 
grace and apostleship," and who 
ventures not to teach, but to call 
to remembrance things that you 
know, and this not of myself but 
by the grace given to me. For the 
feeling, compare 1 Cor. vii. 25. : 

VTTO TOV Kvpiov TriffTog tlvai . and 
Rom. i. 5. Such withdrawing of 
self reminds us of the quaint ex 
pression of Coleridge, " St. Paul 

was a man of the finest manners 
ever known." 

CCTTO ^tjoove,] " in some degree," 
(1.) may be either taken with roX- 
prjporepoi eypa^/a, "I have taken 
this liberty, to a certain extent, 
and with the object of reminding 
you," etc. : or, (2.) with we eTrom- 
/ztjuj //<7KW)/, " I have taken this 
liberty : my object partly is to 
remind you of what you know ; 
and this only because I have re 
ceived grace." 

Compare i. 5., Si ov 
\apiv KO.I a.Troaro\r]y. 

16. The whole passage, from 
we E7rarafAiiJ.vr](TK(t)V v/jidg down to 
Trvf.viJLa.Ti ctytw, may be summed 
up in two words, " as the Apostle 
of the Gentiles." The simple 
thought is "transfigured" into 
the language of sacrifice, in which 
the Apostle describes himself and 
his office. Elsewhere he loves 
to identify the believer and his 
Lord ; here he applies the same 
imagery to his own work, which 
is elsewhere applied to the work 
of Christ, partly because the use 
of such figures was natural to 
him, and partly, also, because 
such language was intelligible 

VER. 14 18 ] 



H And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, 
that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all know- 
is ledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, 
brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in 
some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace 
16 that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister 
of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, doing the work of a priest 
of* the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gen 
tiles might be acceptable, being s