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TO THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS.
As St. Paul, who at first was also called Saul, was the author not only of this, but most of the epistles, it may not be improper to give a short account of his life. He was born at Tarsus, one of the principal towns in Cilicia, probably not long after the birth of our Saviour. His parents were Jews, of the tribe of Benjamin ; and as they were Pharisees, Paul was educated in all the principles and prejudices of that sect. He had the privileges of a Roman citizen by birth-right, but how his parents acquired these privileges is not certain. Paul spent the early part of his life at Tarsus, and probably was there taught Grecian literature and philosophy. He afterward went to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel, a celebrated Jewish Rabbi, or doctor of the law, with whom he made great proficiency in the law, and the traditions of the elders.
Paul appears to have possessed great natural abilities, quick apprehension, strong feelings, and firm resolution, which qualified him for eminence as a teacher of whatever principles he might embrace. He distinguished himself by his zeal in favour of the Jewish religion, and against the disciples of Jesus Christ, till, on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus in order to persecute the Christians, he was called in a miraculous manner to the profession of that religion, which he was madly endeavouring to destroy. From this time Paul was ever a firm and unshaken friend to the Christian cause. He spent the remaining part of his life in travelling through the most populous parts of Asia and Europe, teaching the Gospel, and convincing both Jews and Gentiles, that Jesus was Christ the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
It is pretty well ascertained, that Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, being beheaded about A. D. 64, in the reign of the emperor Nero.
As this Epistle to the Romans is of great importance, and somewhat difficult to be understood, it may be well to be a little more particular concerning it.
At what time, and by whom the Gospel was first preached at Rome, is not certain ; but there is good reason to believe, it was early introduced there, and that its converts soon became
As this church appears not to have been established by either of the apostles, St. Paul, about A. D. 57, lest it should be corrupted by the Jews, who, at this time were nu
PREFACE. merous at Rome, and of whom many were converted to Christianity, wrote this Epistle, in which he gives a summary of Christian doctrine, and endeavours to guard the Christians against those erroneous ideas, which the Jews entertained of justification by works, or by the observance of the ceremonial law; and of the particular election of their own nation.
Concerning justification the Jews assigned three grounds, which they trusted, would secure to them the favour of God; 1. The extraordinary piety and merits of their ancestors, and the covenant made by God with those holy men; 2. the diligent study, and perfect knowledge of the law of Moses ; 3. the works of the Levitical law, which, especially circumcision and sacrifice, were to expiate sin. Hence they inferred, that the Gentiles must receive the whole law of Moses in order to be justified and saved. But Paul refuted these dangerous errors, by shewing, that by the deeds of the Levitical law, that is, cireumcision, sacrifices, purifications, &c. there was no remission, but only the knowledge of sin; and he taught that the Gospel reveals a righteousness before unknown, which is derived solely from faith, and to which both Jews and Gentiles have an equal claim. Rom. ii. 20—25.
The doctrine of the Jews concerning the particular election of iheir nation was, that, as God had promised to bless Abraham and his seed, to give him not only spiritual blessings, but also the land of Canaan, to allow him to live there in prosper. ity, and to consider him as his church upon earth; therefore this blessing extended to their whole nation, and that God was bound to fulfil these promises to them, whether they were righteous or wicked, faithful or unbelieving: and that the promise to Abraham, “ In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” consisted in the conversion of all nations to Judaism by the Jews. Hence they believed, that there was no church on earth, but the Jewish, in which men could be saved. But St. Paul shewed, that the promises of God were not made to all the natural posterity of Abraham, but only to his spiritual children, that is, to all those, whether Jews or Gentiles, who had obtained like precious faith with faithful Abraham.
As the Jews, at this time, were very seditious in Rome, Paul exhorts to be subject to magistrates, to abstain from vice, and that Jews and Gentiles, be united in the church by brotherly love.
commended THE EPISTLE OF PAUL, THE APOSTLE, TO
10 Making request, if by 1 Paul's calling commended : any means now at length I
16 what his Gospel is. 18 might have a prosperous jourGod's anger at sin. 21 The ney by the will of God to come Gentiles'
sins. PAUL, a servant of Jesus 11 For I long to see you, Christ, called to be an apostle, that I may impart unto you separated unto the Gospel of some spiritual gift, to the end God,
ye may be established ; 2 (Which he had promised 12 That is, that I
be afore by his prophets in the comforted together with you, holy scriptures,)
by the mutual faith both of 3 Concerning his Son Je- you and me. sus Christ our Lord, which 13 Now, I would not have was made of the seed of Da- you ignorant, brethren, that vid according to the flesh, oftentimes I purposed to come
4 And declared to be the unto you, (but was let hitherSon of God with power, ac- to,)a that I might have some cording to the spirit of holi- fruit among you also, even as ness, by the resurrection from among other Gentiles. the dead;
14 I am debtor b both to the 5 By whom we have receiv Greeks and also to the Barbaed grace and apostleship, for rians, both to the wise and to obedience to the faith among the unwise. all nations for his name; 15 So, as much as in me is,c
6 Among whom are ye also I am ready to preach the Gosthe called of Jesus Christ; pel to you that are at Rome
my To all that be in Rome, also. beloved of God, called to be 16 For I am not ashamed saints; Grace to you, and of the Gospel of Christ; for peace, from God our Father, it is the power of God unto and the Lord Jesus Christ. salvation to every one that be
8 First, I thank my God lieveth; to the Jew first, and through Jesus Christ for you also to the Greek. all, that your faith is spoken 17 For therein is the righof throughout the whole world. teousness of God revealed
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit
a But was let hitherto. Though I in the Gospel of his Son, that have been hindered hitherto.
I am debtor &c. As an apostle without ceasing I make men
of Jesus Christ I am bound to preach tion of you always in my pray- the Gospel both to the Greeks, &c.
As in me is, as is in my power.
What Paul's gospel is. Romans, The sins of the Gentiles. from faith to faith ; as it is four-footed beasts, and creepwritten, The just shall live by ing things. faith.
24 Wherefore, God also 18 For the wrath of God is gave them up to uncleanness, revealed from heaven against through the lusts of their own all ungodliness and unrigh-hearts, to dishonour their own teousness of men, who hold the bodies between themselves ; truth in unrighteousness ;d 25. Who changed the truth
19 Because that which may of God into a lie,g and wor. be known of God is manifest shipped and served the creain them; for God hath shewed ture more than the Creator, it unto them.
who is blessed forever. Amen. 20 For the invisible things e 26 For this cause God
gave of him from the creation of them up unto vile affections ; the world are clearly seen, be- for even their women did ing understood by the things change the natural use into that are made, even his eter. that, which is against nature: nal power and Godhead; so 27 And likewise also the that they are without excuse; men, leaving the natural use
21 Because that, when they of the women, burned in their knew God, they glorified him lust one toward another; men not as God, neither were thank- with men, working that which ful; but became vain in their is unseemly, and receiving in imaginations, and their foolish themselves that recompence
of heart was darkened.
their error, which was meet. 22 Professing themselves to 28 And even as they did not be wise, they became fools ; like to retain God in their
23 And changed the glory knowledge, God gave them of the incorruptible God into over to a reprobate mind, to do an image made like to corrup- those things which are not contible man, f and to birds, and venient : d Who hold the truth in unrighteous- unrighteousness, fornication,
29 Being filled with all ness, who acknowledge the truth, but wickedness, covetousness, madisobey it. e The invisible things of God, even
liciousness; full of envy, murhis eternal power and Godhead, are der, debate, deceit, malignity; and ever have been clearly seen even whisperers, from the foundation of the world, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, being understood by the things that despiteful, proud, boasters, inare made, the heavens, the earth, and ventors of evil things, disobeall they contain of An image made like to corruptible
dient to parents ; &c. i. e. they represented God
31 Without understanding, by images or idols, which they made g The truth of God into a lie; the in likeness to all kinds of animals. true idea of God into an idol.
Who are justified.
Chap. ii. of keeping the law. covenant-breakers, without na To them who, by patient tural affection, implacable, un- continuance in well-doing, merciful :
seek for glory, and honour, 32 Who, knowing the judg. and immortality, eternal life za ment of God, that they which 8 But unto them that are cominit such things are worthy contentious, and do not obey of death, not only do the same, the truth, but obey uprighbut have pleasure in them that teousness,b indignation and do them.
wrath, CHAP. II.
9 Tribulation and anguish, They that condemn sin in upon every soul of man that
others, and yet sin, are in- doeth evil; of the Jew first, excusable, whether Jews or and also of the Gentile : Gentiles.
10 But glory, honour, and THEREFORE thou art in- peace, to every man that workexcusable, 0 man, whosoever eth good; to the Jew first, thou art that judgest; for and also to the Gentile : wherein thou judgest another,
11 For there is no respect thou condemnest thyself; for of persons with God. thou that judgest, doest the 12 For as many as have same things.
sinned without law, shall also 2 But we are sure that the perish without law; and as judgment of God is according many as have sinned in the to truth against them which law, shall be judged by the coinmit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, 0 13 (For not the hearers of man, that judgest them which the law are just before God, do such things, and doest the but the doers of the law shall same, that thou shalt escape be justified: the judgment of God?
14 For when the Gentiles, 4 Or despisest thou the which have not the law, do by riches of his goodness, and nature the things contained in forbearance, and long-suffer- the law, these, having not the ing; not knowing that the law, are a law unto themgoodness of God leadeth thee selves : to repentance ?
15 Which shew the work 5 But, after thy hardness of the law written in their and impenitent heart, trea- hearts, their conscience also surest up unto thyself wrath bearing witness, and their against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous eternal life on them, who by patient
a Eternal life, i. e. he will bestow judgment of God;
continuance, &c. 6 Who will render to every
6 But obey unrighteousness, he will man aocording to his deeds; render indignation and wrath, &c.