Изображения страниц

AND it is to the latter of these that he first

addresses his proof.

THE Apostle, we say, is now entering upon his proof of the inefficacy of the Law to Justification; and, in the case of the Gentiles, he prefaces it with an observation calculated to shew the reasonableness of the extension of the Gospel grace to them :-It was reasonable and necessary that, in common with the Jews, the Gentiles should partake of the pardoning grace of the Gospel; inasmuch as now, through the clear revelation of the Divine will made in that Gospel, it appears that the Gentiles, in common with the Jews, shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, and give an account to that righteous Judge of the things done in the body. (Compare Acts xvii. 30, 31.)

i. 18. αποκαλυπτεται γαρ οργη θες απ' spavs, &c.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

Now the proof of the inefficacy of the Law

to Justification, being founded upon the general state of sinfulness of both Jews and Gentiles; and sin and guilt presupposing the existence and knowledge of a Law; (1v. 15; 111. 20.) it was necessary that he should be able to affirm generally, of both Jews and Gentiles, that a sufficient discovery had been made to them, of the nature and demerit of sin, by the Law, either of Moses, or of Nature.

ACCORDINGLY, with respect to the Gentiles, he shews that they had a sufficient evidence of God, and of his adorable perfections, afforded to them in the works of Creation :

i. 19, 20. διοτι το γνωσον το θες φανερον εσιν εν αυτοις, &c.

"Because that which may be known of God,

is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his Eternal Power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse."

AND upon that ground he convinces the Gentile world of sin, ver. 21, to the end of the first Chapter.


In order to convince the Jew of sin, (which is the next step in the argument,) there was no need to prove that he was under Law; the possession and knowledge of the Law, being one of the Jew's greatest boasts. (Chap. ii. 17, 18.) But very great need there was to root out of his mind those national prejudices, which led him to make a great distinction betwixt Jew and Gentile, as to the measures of God's final dealing with each; and to fortify himself in the belief, that a Jew might continue in sins which would be fatal to a Gentile, and yet escape the final judgment of God. (See ver. 3.)

THE Apostle, first of all, denies a distinction, so derogatory to the Divine Justice; and then confutes the prejudices upon which such a notion was attempted to be built.

FIRST, in the most solemn and awful terms,

he denies all distinction betwixt Jew and Gentile, in the final measures of God's justice; and affirms that there will be but one rule for both Jew and Greek;

ii. 5-10. εν ἡμερα οργης, και αποκαλύψεως δικαιοκρισίας, &c.

"In the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God: who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the 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."

NEXT he sets himself to confute those Jewish prejudices, on which a notion so false and dangerous was pretended to be founded: these were,

1. That the mere possession of the Law, and knowledge of its obligations, was sufficient for justification, or acceptance with God, without a corresponding practice :

2. That the virtue and merit of the seal of circumcision was so great, that the favour of God therein pledged, could never afterwards by any default of their's be entirely forfeited *.

FIRST, he affirms, generally, that there is no such respect of persons with God, as the Jew fancied; i. e. no acceptance of them, at the great day of judgment, (ver. 16.) merely because they are of this or that nation; (see Acts x. 34, 35.) have, or have not, a revealed law; are circumcised, or uncircumcised: but all shall be judged, with strict impartiality, according to the degree

* Similar prejudices are mentioned by Justin Martyr, as still prevailing among the Jews of that day : ότι καν ἁμαρτωλοι ωσι, θεον δε γινωσκεσιν, ε μη λογισηται αυτοις κύριος ἁμαρτιαν. And, ότι παντως τοις απο της σπορας της κατα σαρκα τε Αβρααμ εσι, καν ἁμαρτωλοι ωσι, και απιςοι, και απείθεις προς τον θεον, ἡ βασιλεια ἡ alwvios doInderal. See the passages cited at length in Bp. Bull's Harm. Apost. Dissert. Posterior, Cap. xvii. §. 7.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »