« ÎnapoiContinuă »
separate us from that eternal and dear love of God, which he beareth to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
IX. 1, 2 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
If I shall say something, that may seem to sound unto the prejudice of my nation, it may perhaps be construed by some, as if I were ill-affected to my countrymen the Jews: but I say the truth in Christ, I lie not; my conscience also bearing me sincere witness, in that whereof I have the attestation of the Holy Ghost, That I am much grieved, and continually afflicted with sorrow of heart, for the obstinacy and infidelity of my people.
IX. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh :
For, in the fervour of my zeal to the glory of God in the salvation of my brethren, I could heartily wish to be utterly separated from Christ, on condition, that the Jews, my kinsmen according to the flesh, might be saved.
IX. 4, 5 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
Who are the natural sons of the holy Patriarch Israel, and who have received many and singular privileges from God above all other nations of the earth; to whom pertaineth that peculiar choice which God made of them for his own people, and the dignity and pre-eminence in many tokens of his favour, and the mutual covenants which he made with them, and the honour of the giving of the Law, and the prerogative of his service, and the grace of his promises; Who are lineally descended of the holy Patriarchs; and which are of the same blood, of which, according to the flesh, Christ vouchsafed to come, even the Eternal Son of God, who is the True and Everliving God, blessed for ever.
IX. 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Not as if I meant, that all the nation stands now excluded from salvation, and that their condition were hopeless; as if the word of promise, which God made to the Fathers and their seed, had utterly failed and taken no effect: for, certainly, if it have not held in some of them, yet in others, which are true Israelites indeed, it hath taken happy and sensible effect: for, there is a just distinction to be made, betwixt those of the seed of Israel: all those, which are according to nature the posterity of Israel, are not the true and privileged sons of Israel :
IX. 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
As, to go higher, neither are all the sons of Abraham children of the promise; for it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: The
blessing shall be derived to his seed, and of his issue shall the Messiah come; not of Ishmael's, though proceeding from the same loins of Abraham.
IX. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
To speak more plainly, all those, that are the children of these holy Patriarchs, according to the flesh, are not therefore the chosen sons of God: it is not their blood, but their faith, that must make them so there are some of these selected from the rest, to whom the promise was made, and by whom it was received by faith: those are they, that God makes reckoning of.
IX. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
And this is the word of promise, which was spoken to Abraham, At this time will I return, and Sarah thy wife shall have a son, even Isaac; so as he only is the promised seed.
IX. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
Neither was this promise made to Sarah only, but even to Rebecca also, the wife of Isaac, having conceived by that one selected person, even our father Isaac ;
IX. 11 (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 of works, but of him that calleth ;)
For she, having then twins in her womb, even Jacob and Esau, the children being yet unborn, and therefore not having done good or evil, that it might clearly appear there was no respect therein to any works that were done by either of them, but that the decree and purpose of God who had made this choice might stand in force and be effected, not out of the merit of either but out of the will of God who calleth or refuseth whom he pleaseth;
IX. 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. It was said unto her, in regard of their earthly condition, whereby a spiritual was closely figured, The elder, which is Esau, shall be a servant to the younger, which is Jacob, and the right and privilege of the primogeniture shall be devolved upon the younger son Jacob.
IX. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
As it is written, Jacob and his posterity have I so loved, that I have purposed many blessings unto them, and accordingly will bestow the same blessings upon them; but Esau have I so far disregarded, as to pass over both him and his posterity.
IX. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
What shall we say then to this? or what use or construction shall we make of this purpose and proceedings of God? Is there unrighteousness with God, in this, seemingly unequal, distribution of his blessings? God forbid.
IX. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
For he saith to Moses, I stand not upon works or merits, that should draw my mercy and pity either way; but my own most holy will is the ground of all the gracious and saving courses that I take with men. I will have mercy, on whom I will have mercy, not on those that deserve it; and I will have compassion, on whom I will have compassion: my only will shall be the rule of all my favourable and merciful dealings with men.
IX. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
So then, the happy success and glorious issue of the elect must not be ascribed, either to the will or to the actions and deservings of themselves, but to the mere goodness and will of God, that sheweth mercy to them, rather than to others.
IX. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Since thou wouldest needs obstinately and presumptuously resist the messages, that I sent unto thee, in the behalf of my people; I have, in my wise and just decree, purposed to make this use of thy advancement to the throne of Egypt, and of thy rebellious resistance of that charge which I sent unto thee, thereby to take just occasion, to shew my mighty power in and upon thee; and that my powerful and miraculous revenges of thee might be declared abroad, to the glory of my might and justice, through all the earth.
IX. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Therefore he hath mercy, on whom he will have mercy; there being no other motive to incite him hereunto, but his own mere and gracious will: and, whom he will, he passeth over, leaving them to themselves; who are thereupon hardened by their own corruptions, and the temptations of Satan; justly punishing their former contempt, with further obduredness of heart.
IX. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Thou wilt then, perhaps, say, If God, in these courses which he takes with men, follow his own will only, and all things are done thereafter, why doth God complain, and find fault with sinners, as if they had offended in doing that which they do? Why doth he blame them for being hardened? If he will have it thus, who can resist it?
IX. 20 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?
Nay, but, O vain and wretched man, who art thou, that art ready thus to cavil and quarrel with thy Maker; as if he had done thee wrong, in giving thee this condition, and thus disposing of thee?
How easy is it for God, to silence and confound thee, ten thousand ways! In the mean time, let this answer stop thy presumptuous mouth; that, if it shall please the Almighty to stand upon his absolute right and power over his creature, it is not for any creature to expostulate with him, and to challenge him for his actions: we are to him, as the clay is to the potter; shall the clay insolently argue with the potter, and say, Why hast thou made me so homely a vessel, and why to so mean uses?
IX. 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Hath not the potter full power over the clay, to make it up into what form, or to what use he pleases? and, of the same lump, to make one, a handsome vessel for the table; another, plain and carelessly shaped, for the use of the kitchen, or whatsoever other base service? And shall not God have power over the clay of mankind, out of the same mass of perdition, to make up one man a vessel of honour, and to pass over another as a vessel of dishonour?
IX. 22, 23, 24 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the 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 unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Who hath cause to take exception at God, if he take these two contrary courses with his creatures? There are some, with whom God is justly offended for their sins; called, therefore, Vessels of Wrath; whom their own iniquity hath made fit subjects of damnation. What if God, after much patience and longsuffering, whereby he hath endured the provocations of these men, yet, willing to shew and approve his justice, and to let the world see that he is infinitely displeased with sin, and that he is a powerful God able to take vengeance of sinners, do execute his fierce wrath upon them on the one side; And, on the other side, what if he please to make known the infinite praise and glory of his grace and mercy, upon those chosen Subjects of Mercy, which he, of his own mere goodness, and without any respect of ought in them, had before prepared unto their glory, Even to us, whom he hath graciously and effectually called, not of the nation of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles, without any exception of blood or country?
IX. 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
As he saith also in the prophet Hosea. See Hosea ii. 23, 20.
IX. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, &c. See Isaiah i. 9.
IX. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
What shall we then say to all this? or, what is the issue of that, which we have spoken? Even this; that, herein is to be seen and magnified the wonderful dispensation of the Almighty; that the Gentiles, which followed not after Righteousness, have attained to that Righteousness, which they sought not after, even the Righteousness which is of Faith; in that they, by their Faith, have laid hold of that grace and mercy, which is offered in the Gospel by Jesus Christ, being of themselves otherwise both strangers and enemies to God.
IX. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
But Israel, which sought to attain to Righteousness by the Works of the Law, and affected to earn both perfect justice and God's favour by the fulfilling thereof, have not at all attained to the state of Righteousness.
IX. 32, 33 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not the right way, nor upon right grounds; thinking to attain to it, not by Faith in Christ, which is the only way to compass it, but by the Works of the Law, which they were never able to keep and perform: for they made Christ a stone of offence unto them; and, obscuring the virtue of his merits and satisfaction, by confidence in themselves and their own Works, they have taken occasion to fall foul upon that Saviour, which should have raised them: As it is written. See Isaiah viii. 14, 15.
X. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For I bear them record, they have a fervent zeal to God, but it is ignorant and erroneous: they do earnestly affect the Law, but they know not that Christ, by and in whom the Law is fulfilled.
X. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For they, not knowing and apprehending that Righteousness which is of Faith in Christ, which God worketh in us and accepteth from us, going about to make good their own Righteousness which is by the Works of the Law, have not submitted themselves to seek that Righteousness, which God requireth and crowneth in his children.
X. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Christ is so the end of the Law for Righteousness to every one