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in Life of St. Paul. 18 Pastore Epistles-to Timothy and Titus which, has never been doubted. But that the appeal which
jadrent, are of subsequent date. From the brought him to Rome issued in his liberation, that he ne case of Epistles we learn the following par was at large for some years thereafter and took some
x 1 That the trying restraint laid upon the wide missionary circuits, and, that he was again arVsbours by his imprisonment had only turned rested, carried to Rome, and then executed - was the Suence into a new channel: the Gospel having in undisputed belief of the early Church, as expressed by Dedce penetrated even into the palace, and per- Chrysostom, Jerome, and Eusebius, in the fourth century.
the city, while the preachers of Christ were em- up to Clement of Rome, the "fellow-labourer" of the cod; and though the Judaizing portion of them, apostle himself (Philippians, 4. 3), in the first century.
his success among the Gentiles, had been The strongest possible confirmation of this is found in e sonicate with fresh zeal their own narrower the Pastoral Epistles which bear marks throughout of Faderen this had done much good by extending a more advanced state of the Church, and more matured
trda common to both (See on Philippians, 1, 12-18; forms of error, than can well have existed at any period 12. That as in addition to all his other labours, before the appeal which brought the apostle to Rome; care of al the churches pressed upon him from which refer to movements of himself and Timothy, that day2 Corinthians, 11. 28, go with these churches cannot without some straining (as we think) be made Top An active correspondence by means of letters to fit into any prior period; and which are conched in a Taxes, and on such errands he wanted not manifestly riper style than any of his other Epistles. daad beloved brethren enongh, ready to be em- (See Introduction to Timothy, and Titus, and Notes.) -Lude; Timotheus; Tychicus; (John) Mark: All this has been called in question by modern critics Arutarchus. Epaphras: Onesimus: Jesus, called of great research and acuteness (Petavius, Lardner, De ; and, for a short time, Epaphroditus (See on Wette, Wieseler, Davidson, &c.). But those who mainWIA, 4.7.9-12, 14: Philemon, 23, 24; and Introduc- tain the ancient view are of equal authority and more 116 Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.) That numerous, while the weight of argument appears to us
atle suffered martyrdom under Nero at Rome to be decidedly on their side.
ARONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS CONNECTED WITH THE LIFE OF
THE APOSTLE PAUL.
painty in these dates is not to be had, the notes of time in the Acts being few and vague. It is only
time those events of secular history which it records, and the dates of which are otherwise tolerably to t-such as the famine under Claudius Cesar (ch. 11. 28, the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the aperor ch. 18. 2), and the entrance of Porcius Festus upon his procuratorship (ch. 24. 27)-with the intervals
between some occurrences in the apostle's life and others (such as ch. 20. 31; 24. 27:28. 30; and Galatians, KL, that we can thread our way through the difficulties that surround the chronology of the apostle's
toxinate to certainty. Immense research has been brought to bear upon the subject, but, as kapected, the learned are greatly divided. Every year has been fixed upon as the probable date of
couversion, from A.D. 31 (Bengel) to A.D. 42 (Eusebius). But the weight of authority is in favour of
between 35 and 40,a difference of not more than five years; and the largest number of authorities or of the year 37 or 38. Taking the former of these, to which opinion largely inclines, the following Table ut to the student of apostolic History . PAUL'S CONVERSION,
. Acts, 9. 1. . First Visit to Jerusalem,
9. 26; Ga. 1. 18. First residence at Antioch,
" 11. 25-30 Second Visit to Jerusalem,
11. 30; 12, 25. FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
13. 2; 14. 26. Second residence at Antioch,
" 14. 28. Third Visit to Jerusalem,
" 16. 2-30; Ga. 2. 1-10.
(on which see Notes.) $1,, 07 54, SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
" 15, 36, 40; 18. 22. or 54, Fourth Visit to Jerusalem,
" 18. 21, 22. Third residence at Antioch,
" 18. 22, 23. THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
18. 23; 21. 15. Fifth Visit to Jerusalem,
1. 16; 23. 35. Arrest and Imprisonment at Cese
, Voyage to and Arrival in Rome,
27. 1; 28. 16.
. “ 28.30.
1 & 2 Tim. and Tit. 04. or 6700
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
THE GENUINENESS of the Epistle to the Romans has never been questioned. It has the unbroken testimony of
up to Clement, the apostle's "fellow.labourer in the gospel, whose name was in the book of life (Philippians, 4.3), and who quotes from it in his undoubted Epistle to the Corinthians, written before the close of the first century. The most searching investigations of modern criticism have left it untouched.
WAEN and WHERE this epistle was written, we have the means of determining with great precision, from the epistle itself compared with the Acts of the Apostles Up to the date of it the apostle had never been at Rome (ch. 1. 11, 13, 15). He was then on the eve of visiting Jerusalem with a pecuniary contribution for its Christian poor from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, after which his purpose was to pay a visit to Rome on his way to Spain (ch. 15. 23-28). Now this contribution we know that he carried with him from Corinth, at the close of his third visit to that city, which lasted three months (Acts, 20, 2, 3; 34. 17). On this occasion there accompanied him from Corinth certain persons whose names are given by the historian of the Acts (Acts, 20. 4), and four of these are expressly mentioned in our epistle as being with the apostle when he wrote it-Timotheus, Sosipater, Gaius, and Erastus (ch. 16. 21, 23). Of these four, the third, Gaius, was an inhabitant of Corinth (1 Corinthians, 1. 14), and the fourth, Erastus, was "chamberlain of the city” (ch, 16. 23), which can hardly be supposed to be other than Corinth. Finally, Phebe, the bearer, as appears, of this epistle, was a deaconess of the Church at Cenchrete, the eastern port of Corinth (ch. 16. 1). Putting these facts together, it is impossible to resist the conviction, in which all critics agree, that Corinth was the place from which the epistle was written, and that it was despatched about the close of the visit above mentioned, probably in the early spring of the year 58.
The FOUNDER of this celebrated church is unknown. That it owed its origin to the apostle Peter and that he was its first bishop, though an ancient tradition and taught in the Church of Rome as a fact not to be doubted, is refuted by the clearest evidence, and is given up even by candid Romanists. On that supposition, how are we to account for so important & circumstance being passed by in silence by the historian of the Acts, not only in the narrative of Peter's labours, but in that of Paul's approach to the metropolis, of the deputations of Roman "brethren" that came as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to meet him, and of his two years' labours there? And how, consistently with his declared principle-not to build on another man's foundation (ch. 15. 20)--could be express his anxious desire to come to them that he might have some fruit among them also, even as among other Gentiles (ch. 1. 13), if all the while he knew that they had the apostle of the circumcision for their spiritual father? And how, if so, is there no salutation to Peter, among the many in this epistle-or, if it may be thought that he was known to be elsewhere at that particular time-how does there occur in all the epistles which our apostle afterwards wrote from Rome not one allusion to such an origin of the Roman Church? The same considerations would seem to prove that this church owed its origin to no prominent Christian labourer; and this brings us to the much litigated question,
For WHAT OLABS of Christians was this epistle principally designed-Jewisb or Gentile? That a large number of Jews and Jewish proselytes resided at this time at Rome is known to all who are familiar with the classical and Jewish writers of that and the immediately subsequent periods; and that those of them who were at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts, 2. 10), and formed probably part of the three thousand converts of that day, would on their return to Rome carry the glad tidings with them, there can be no doubt. Nor are indications wanting that some of those embraced in the salutations of this epistle were Christiang already of long standing, if not among the earliest converts to the Christian faith. Others of them who had made the apostle's acquaintance elsewhere, and who, if not indebted to him for their first knowledge of Christ, probably owed much to his ministrations, seem to have charged themselves with the duty of cherishing and consolidating the work of the Lord in the capital. And thus it is not improbable that up to the time of the apostle's arrival the Christian community at Rome had been dependent upon subordinate agency for the increase of its numbers aided by occasiopal visits of stated preachers from the provinces ; and perhaps it may be gathered from the salatations of the last chapter that it was up to that time in a less organized, though far from less flourishing state, than some otber churches to whom the apostle had already addressed epistles. Certain it is that the apostle writes to them expressly as a Gentile church (ch. 1. 13-15; 15. 15, 16); and though it is plain that there were Jewish Christians among them, and the whole argument presupposes an intimate acquaintance on the part of his readers with the leading principles of the Old Testament, this will be sufficiently explained by supposing that the bulk of them, having before they knew the Lord been Gentile proselytes to the Jewish faith, had entered the pale of the Christian Church through the gate of the ancient economy.
It remains only to speak briefly of the PLAN and CHARACTER of this epistle. Of all the undoubted epistles of our apostle this is the most elaborate, and at the same time the most glowing. It has just as much in common with a theo logical treatise as is consistent with the freedom and warmth of a real letter. Referring to the headings which we have prefixed to its successive sections, as best exhibiting the progress of the argument and the connection of its points, we here merely note that its first great topic is what may be termed the legal relation of man to God as a violator of His holy law, whether as merely written on the heart, as in the case of the Heathen, or, as in the case of the Chosen People, as further known by external revelation; that it next treats of that legal relation as wholly reversed through believing connection with the Lord Jesus Christ; and that its third and last great topic is the new life which accompanies this change of relation, embracing at once a blessedness and a consecration to God which, rudimentally complete already, will open, in the futuro world, into the bliss of immediate and stainless fellowship with God. The bearing of these wonderful truths upon the copo dition and destiny of the Chosen People, to which the apostle next comes, though it seem but the practical application of them to his kinsmen according to the flesh, is in some respects the deepest and most difficult part of the whole epistle carrying us directly to the eternal springs of Grace to the guilty in the sovereign love and inscrutable purposes of God; after which, however, we are brought back to the historical platform of the visible church, in the calling of the Gentila,
the preservation of a faithful Israelitish remnant amidst the general unbelief and fall of the nation, and the ultimate TOODTery of all Israel to constitute, with the Gentiles in the latter day, one Catholic Church of God upon earth. The reaninder of the epistle is devoted to sundry practical topics, winding up with salutations and outpourings of heart delightfully suggestive.
CHAPTER L... Isee on Acts, 13. whicharnal, uncreated nat
mon expression must mean 'in His other nature, Ver. 1-17. INTRODUCTION. 1. Paal (see on Acts, 13. which we have seen to be that "of the Son of God 9. a servant of Jesus Christ-The word here rendered an eternal, uncreated nature. This is here styled the "servant" means 'bond-servant,' or one subject to the "Spirit," as an impalpable and immaterial nature will and wholly at the disposal of another. In this (John, 4. 24), and "the Spirit of holiness." probably in sense it is applied to the disciples of Christ at large absolute contrast with that "likeness of sinful flesh" a Corinthians, 7. 21-23, as in the Old Testament, to all which He assumed. One is apt to wonder that if this the people of God (Isaiah, 66. 14). But as, in addition be the meaning, it was not expressed more simply. to this, the prophets and kings of Israel were officially | But if the apostle had said 'He was declared to be the *the servants of the Lord" (Joshua, 1. 1: Psalm 18. Son of God according to the Holy Spirit.' the reader title), the apostles call themselves, in the same official would have thought he meant 'the Holy Ghost;' and sense, "the servants of Christ" (as here, and Philip it seems to have been just to avoid this misapprehenvians, 1. 1: James, 1. 1; 2 Peter, 1. 1; Jude, 1), expressing sion that he used the rare expression, “the Spirit of fach absolute subjection and devotion to the Lord holiness." 5. By whom (as the ordained channel) we Jesus as they would never have yielded to a mere have received grace the whole "grace that bringeth creature. See on v. 7; and on John, 6. 22, 23.) called salvation") and apostleship-for the publication of that to be an apostle-when first he "saw the Lord;" the " grace," and the organisation of as many as receive indispensable qualification for apostleship. See on it into churches of visible discipleship. (We prefer Acts. 9. 5: 22. 14; 1 Corinthians, 9. 1. separated unto the thus taking them as two distinct things, and not, with (preaching of the gospel-neither so late as when "the some good interpreters, as one - the grace of apostleHoly Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul" (Acts, ship.') for obedience to the faith (rather, 'for the obedi. 13. 2, nor so early as when "separated from his inother's ence of faith')-i.e., in order to men's yielding themwomb (see on Galatians, 1. 15). He was called at one selves to the belief of God's saving message, which is and the same time to the faith and the apostleship of the highest of all obedience. for his name-that He Christ (Acts, 26. 16-18). of God-i.e., the gospel of which might be glorified. 6. Among whom are ye also .e. God is the glorious Author. So ch. 16. 16; 1 Thes-along with others; for the apostle ascribes nothing salonians, 2.2, 8, 9; 1 Peter, 4. 17. 2. Which he had special to the Church of Rome (cf. 1 Corinthians, 14. promised afore ... in the holy Scriptures--Though the 36). [BEXGEL.] the called (see on ch. 8. 30) of Christ Roman Church was Gentile by nation (see on v. 13), Jesus-i.e., either called 'by Him' (John, 5. 25), or the yet as it consisted mostly of proselytes to the Jewish called 'belonging to Ilim''Christ's called ones.' Perfaith (see Introduction to this Epistle) they are here haps this latter senso is best supported, but one hardly reminded that in embracing Christ they had not cast knows which to prefer. 7. beloved of God-(cf. Deuteroott, bat only the more profoundly yielded themselves nomy. 33. 12; Colossians, 3. 12). Grace ... (see on to, Noses and the prophets (Acts, 13. 32, 33). 3, 4. John, 1. 14, p. 70, 2d column) and peace – the peace Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord- the grand which Christ made through the blood of His cross burden of this "gospel of God." inade of the seed of | Colossians, 1. 20), and which reflects into the believing David -23. according to "the holy Scriptures," He bosom the peace of God which passeth all understandLeboved to be. See on Matthew, 1, 1.) according to | ing (Philippians, 4. 7). from God our Father, and the the leahhe., in His human nature cf. ch. 9. 5, and Lord Jesus Christ - 'Nothing speaks more decisively John, 1, 14; implying, of course, that He had another for the divinity of Christ than these juxtapositions of nature, of which the apostle immediately proceeds to Christ with the eternal God, which run through the speak. And declared - lit., 'marked off,' 'definod,' whole language of Scripturo, and the derivation of • determined,' i.e., 'shown,' or 'proved.' to be the Son purely divine influences from Ilim also. The name of of God-Observe how studiously the language changes no man can be placed by the side of the Almighty. He bere. He "ecas MADE (says the apostle) of the seed orl only, in whom the Word of the Father who is Himself David, according to the flesh;" but He was not made, God became flesh, may be named beside Him; for men He was only "declared (or proved) to Be the Son of are commanded to honour Him even as they honour God." So John, 1. 1, 14, “In the beginning was the the Father, John, 6. 23.' (OLSHAUSEN.) 8. your faith Word ... and the Word was MADE flesh;" and Isaiah, is spoken of throughout the whole world-This was quite 2. 6. "Unto us a Child is BORN, unto us a Son is practicable through tho frequent visits paid to the GIVES," Thus the Sonship of Christ is in no proper capital from all the provinces; and the apostle, having sense a born relationship to the Father, as some, other- an eye to the influence they would exercise upon wise sound divines, conceive of it. By His birth in others, as well as their own blessedness, gives thanks the flesh. that Sonship, which was essential and un- for such faith to "his God through Jesus Christ." as created merely efloresced into palpable manifestation. I being the source, according to his theology of faith, as See on Luke, 1. 35; Acts, 13, 32, 33.) with power--This of all grace in men. 9. For God... whom I serve (the may either be connected with "declared," and then the word denotes religious service, with my spirit (from my meaning will be powerfully declared' (LUTHER, BEZA, I inmost soul, in the gospel of his Son (to which Paul's BESGEL, FEITZSCHE, ALFORD, &c.); or (as in our ver whole religious life and official activity were consesion, and as we think rightly) with "the Son of God," | crated) is my witness, that without ceasing I make and then the sense is, 'declared to be the Son of God mention of you always in my prayers-So for the Ephein possession of that "power" which belonged to Him sians (Ephesians, 1. 15, 16): so for the Philippians as the only-begotten of the Father, no longer shrouded (Philippians, 1, 3, 4); so for the Colossians (Colossians,
in the days of his flesh, but "by His resurrection | 1, 3, 4); so for the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians, 1. from the dead" gloriously displayed and henceforth l 2, 3). What catholic love, what all-absorbing spirituto be for ever exerted in this nature of ours.' (VULI ality, what impassioned devotion to the glory of Christ GATE, CALVIX, HODGE, PHILIPPI, MEHRING, &c.] among men! 10. Making request, if by any means now according to the spirit of holiness-If "according to the at length I may have a prosperous journey by the will of flesh menn here, 'in His human nature,' this uncom- 1 God, to come to you - Though long anxious to yisit the
Olaces where have some other Gentis explicitly Sewish
The Gospel is for the
Justification of all Men. capital, he met with a number of providential hind. Hebrews, 10. 38 - showing that the gospel way of rances (v. 13; ch. 15. 22; and see on Acts, 19. 21; 23. 11; / 'LIFE BY FAITH,' so far from disturbing. only con28. 16): insomuch that nearly a quarter of a century tinued and developed the ancient method - On the elapsed, after his conversion, ere his desire was ac | foregoing verses, note (1.) What manner of persons complished, and that only as "& prisoner of Jesus ought the ministers of Christ to be, according to the Christ." Thus taught that his whole future was in the pattern here set up-absolutely subject and officially hands of God, he makes it his continual prayer that at dedicated to the Lord Jesus; separated unto the gospel length the obstacles to a happy and prosperous meet- of God, which contemplates the subjugation of all ing might be removed. 11, 12. For I long to see you, nations to the faith of Christ; debtors to all classes, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift-not any
the refined and the rude, to bring the gospel to them supernatural gift, as the next clanse shows, and cf. all alike, all shame in the presence of the one, as well 1 Corinthians, 1. 7. to the end that ye may be established; pride before the other, sinking before the glory which That is, that I may be comforted together with yon by the they feel to be in their message; yearning over all faith
L ot wishing to lord ful churches, pot Jording it over them, but rejoicing it over their faith," but rather to be a "helper of their
in their prosperity, and finding refreshment and joy," the apostle corrects his former expressions: my
strength in their fellowship! (2.) The peculiar features desire is to instruct you and do you good, that is, for
of the gospel here brought prominently forward should us to instruct and do one another good: in giving I
be the devout study of all who preach it, and guide shall also receive.' (JOWETT.) 'Nor is he insincere
the views and the taste of all who are privileged in so speaking, for there is none so poor in the Church statedly to bear it: that it is "the gospel of God." as of Christ who may not impart to us something of
& message from heaven, yet not absolutely new, but value: it is only our malignity and pride that hinder
on the contrary, only the fulfilment of Old Testament us from gathering such fruit from every quarter.'
promise; that not only is Christ the great theme of it. (CALVIN.) How 'widely different is the apostolic style
but Christ in the very nature of God as His own Son. from that of the court of Papal Rome! (BENGEL.]
and in the nature of men as partaker of their flesh13. oftentimes I purposed to come auto you, but was let
the Son of God now in resurrection - power and in(hindered) hitherto-chiefly by his desire to go first to
vested with authority to dispense all grace to men, places where Christ was not known ch. 15. 20-24).
I and all gifts for the establishment and edification of that I might have some fruit (of my ministry) among
the Church, Christ the righteousness provided of God
for the justification of all that believe in His name: you also, even as among other Gentiles -The GENTILE origin of the Roman Church is here so explicitly stated,
and that in this glorious Gospel, when preached as that those who conclude, merely from the Jewish
such, there resides the very power of God to save Jew strain of the argument, that they must have been
and Gentile alike wbo embrace it. (3.) While Christ mostly Israelites, decide in opposition to the apostle
is to be regarded as the ordained Channel of all grace himself. (But see Introduction to this Epistle.) 14, 15.
from God to men (v. 8), let none imagine that His I am debtor both to the (cultivated) Greeks and to the
proper divinity is in any respect cornpromised by this (rude) Barbarians. ... So, as much as in me is, I am ready
arrangement, since He is here expressly associated with to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also-He
God the Father," in prayer for “grace and peace" feels himself under an all-subduing obligation to carry
(including all spiritual blessings) to rest upon this the gospel to all classes of mankind, as adapted to and
Church (v.7). (4.) While this Epistle teaches, in conordained equally for all (1 Corinthians, 9. 16). 16. For
| formity with the teaching of our Lord Himself, that I am not ashamed of the gospel (The words, "of Christ,"
all salvation is suspended upon faith, this is but half a which follow here, are wanting in the oldest and best truth, and will certainly minister to sell-righteousness, MSS. This language implies that it required some 11 dissociated Iroin another feature of the same truth.
h ora her here explicitly taught, that this faith is God's own gift "to the Jews was a stumbling-block and to the Greeks
-for which accordingly, in the case of the Roman foolishness." But its inherent glory, as God's life
believers, he "thanks his God through Jesus Christ" giving message to a dying world, so filled his soul, that,
(v. 8). (5.) Christian fellowship, as indeed all real like his blessed Master, he “despised the shame." for
fellowship, is a mutual benefit; and as it is not possible IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY
for the most erninent saints and servants of Christ to ONE THAT BELIEVETN-Here and in the next verse
impart any refreshment and profit to the meanest of the apostle announces the great theme of his ensuing
onnces the great theme of his engning their brethren without experiencing a rich return into argument: SALVATION, the one overwhelming neces
their bosoms, so just in proportion to their humility sity of perishing men: this revealed IN THE GOAPEL and love will they feel their need of it and rejoice in it MESSAGE; and that message so ovoned and honoured of
18. WHY THIS DIVINELY PROVIDED RIGHTEOUSGod as to carry, in the proclamation of it, God's own NESS 19 NEEDED BY ALL MEN. For the wrath of God POWER TO BAVE EVERY SOUL THAT EMBRACES IT. (His holy displeasure and righteous vengeance against Greek and Barbarian, wise and unwise alike. 17. For sin) is revealed from heaven-in the consciences of men. therein is the righteousness of God revealed that is, (as and attested by innumerable outward evidences of a the whole argument of the Epistle shows) GOD'S JUSTI- Moral Government. against all ungodliness-i,e., their FYING RIGHTEOUSNESS. from faith to faith-a difficult whole irreligiousness, or their living without any con. clause. Most interpreters (judging from the sense of scious reference to God, and proper feelings towards such phrases elsewbere) take it to mean, 'from one Him, and unrighteousness of men-i.., their whole degree of faith to another.' But this agrees ill with the deviations from moral rectitude in heart, speech, and apostle's design, which has nothing to do with the pro- behaviour. (So these terms must be distinguished gressive stages of faith, but solely with faith itself as when used together, though, when standing alone. the appointed way of receiving God's “righteousness." either of them includes the other.) We prefer, therefore, to understand it thus: 'The 18-82. THIS WRATH OF GOD, REVEALED AGAINST righteousness of God is in the gospel message, revealed | ALL INIQUITY, OVERHANGN THE WHOLE HEATHEX (to be) from (or 'by') faith to (or 'for) faith,' that is, í WORLD. 18. who hold (rather, 'hold down,' 'hinder.'
in order to be by faith received.' (So substantially, or "keep back) the truth in unrighteousness - The MELVILLE, MEYER, STUART, BLOOMFIELD, &c.) as it apostle, though he began this verse with a comprehenis written (Habakkuk, 2. 4), The just ahall live by faith sive proposition regarding men in general, takes up in -This golden maxim of the Old Testament, is thrice the end of it only one of the two great divisions of quoted in the New Testament-here: Galatians, 3. 11; mankind, to whom he meant to apply it; thus rently
The Wrath of God Overhangs
the whole Heathon World, sliding into his argument. But before enumerating 1 24. Whereforo God also in righteous retribution) gave their actual iniquities, he goes back to the origin of them up-This divine abandonment of men is here them all, their stifling the light which still remained to strikingly traced in three successive stages, at each of them. As darkness overspreads the mind, so impot which the same word is used (v. 24; v. 26; and v. 28, ence takes possession of the heart, when the "still where the word is rendered "gave over"). "As they
all voices of conscience is first disregarded, next deserted God, God in turn deserted them; not giving thwarted, and then systematically deadened. Thus them divine (i.e., supernatural laws, and suffering
the truth" which God left with and in men, instead them to corrupt those which were human; not sending e having free scope and developing itself, as it other them prophets, and allowing the philosophers to run wise would, was obstructed (cf. Matthew. 6. 22, 23; into absurdities. He let them do what they pleased, Ephesians, 4. 17, 18, 19. Because that which may be even what was in the last degree vile, that those who Tatber.*which is') known of God is manifest in them; had not honoured God, might dishonour themselves.' far God hath showed it into them The sense of this (GROTIUS.] 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie prekdant statement the apostle proceeds to unfold in i.e., the truth concerning God into idol-falsehood), the next verse. 20. For the invisible things of him from and worshipped and for since') the creation of the world are clearly seen the Creator-Professing merely to worship the Creator by mind brightly beholding what the eye cannot discern), means of the creature, they soon came to lose sight of beng understood by the things that are made-Thus, the the Creator in the creature. How aggravated is the ontward creation is not the parent but the interpreter guilt of the Church of Rome, which, under the same of our faith in God. That faith has its primary sources flimsy pretext, does shamelessly what the heathen are willin our own breast v. 19); but it becomes an intel- here condemned for doing, and with light which the ligible and articulate conviction only through what we heathen never had! who is blessed for ever. AmenCbserve around us (* by the things which are made," v. By this doxdogy the apostle instinctively relieves the
And thus are the inner and the outer revelation horror which the penning of such things excited within of God the complement of each other, making up his breast; an example to such as are called to expose between them one universal and immoveable convic like dishonour done to the blessed God. 26. 27. For tion that God is. (With this striking apostolic state- this cause God gave them up-See on u. 24. for even their ment agree the latest conclusions of the most profound women - that sex whose priceless jewel and fairest speculative students of Theism.) even his eternal ornament is modesty, and which, when that is once poser and Godhead - both that there is an Eternal lost, not only becomes more shameless than the other Power, and that this is not a mere blind force, or sex; but lives henceforth only to drag the other sex Dentheistic spirit of nature,' but the power of a living | down to its own level. did change, &c.-The practices Godhead. so that they are without excuse - all their here referred to, though too abundantly attested by deceneracy being a voluntary departure from truth classic authors, cannot be further illustrated, without thus brightly revealed to the unsophisticated spirit. trenching on things which "ought not to be named 21. Because that, when they knew God that is, while still among us as become the saints." But observe how retaining some real knowledge of Him, and ere they vice is here seen consuming and exhausting itself, sank down into the state next to be described), they When the passions, scourged by violent and congiarifed him not as God, neither were thankful-neither tinued indulgence in natural vices, became impotent yielded the adoration due to Himself, nor rendered the to yield the craved enjoyment, resort was had to granitude which His beneficence demanded but became artificial stimulants by the practice of unnatural and Fain (cf. Jeremiah, 2.5) in their imaginations, (thoughts, monstrous vices. How early these were in full career, potions, speculations regarding God: cf. Matthew, 15. | in the history of the world, the case of Sodom affect16: Lake, 2. 38; 1 Corinthians, 3. 20, Greek), and their ingly shows; and because of such abominations, cenfaclish (senseless,' 'stupid') heart (i. e., their whole turies after that, the land of Canaan "spued out its inner man wag darkened - How instructively is the old inhabitants. Long before this chapter was penned, downward progress of the human soul here traced ! the Lesbians and others throughout refined Greece 22, 23, Prcfessing themselves ("boasting,' or 'pretending had been luxuriating in such debasements; and as for to be') wise, they became fools-It is the invariable the Romans, Tacitus, speaking of the emperor Tiberius, property of error in morals and religion, that men take tells us that new words bad then to be coined to excredit to themselves for it and extol it as wisdom. So press the newly invented stimulants to jaded passion. the heathen, 1 Corinthians, 1. 21.' (THOLUCK.) and No wonder that, thus sick and dying as was this poor changed for, 'exchanged') the glory of the uncorruptible Humanity of ours under the highest earthly culture, Gad into or for an image ... like to corruptible man its many-voiced cry for the balm in Gilead, and the
The allusion here is doubtless to the Greek worship, Physician there, "Come over and help us," pierced the and the apostle may have had in his eye those exquisite bearts of the missionaries of the cross, and made Chisellings of the human form which lay so profusely them "not ashamed of the gospel of Christ!" and beneath and around him as he stood on Mars' hill, receiving in themselves that recompence of their error and *beheld their devotions." See on Acts, 17. 29.) which was meet-alluding to the many physical and But as if that had not been a deep enough degradation moral ways in which, under the righteous government of the living God, there was found a lower deep still of God, vice was made self-avenging. 28-31. gave them and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things over (or, 'up'--see on v. 24) ... to do those things which -referring now to the Egyptian and Oriental worship. are not convenient-in the old sense of that word, i.e.. In the face of these plain declarations of the descent of 'not becoming,' indecorous,''shameful,' haters of God man's religious belief from loftier to ever lower and -The word usually signifies 'God-hated,' which some more debasing conceptions of the Supreme Being, there here prefer, in the sense of abhorred of the Lord; exare expositors of this very Epistle as Reiche and Jowett) pressing the detestableness of their character in His who, believing neither in any Fall from primeval sight (cf. Proverbs, 22. 14; Psalm 73, 20). But the active innocence, nor in the noble traces of that innocence sense of the word, adopted in our version and by the which lingered even after the fall, and were only by majority of expositors, though rarer, agrees perhaps degrees obliterated by wilful violence to the dictates better with the context. 32. Who knowing (from the of conscience, maintain that man's religions history voice of conscience, ch. 2. 14, 15) the judgment of God (the has been all along & struggle to rise, from the lowest stern law of divine procedure), that they which commit forms of nature-worship, suited to the childhood of our such things are worthy of death-here used in its widest ruce, into that which is more rational and spiritual. I known sense, as the uttermost of divine vengeance