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I16

Sect. 19.

Refle&tions on the Apostle's Affection far his Brethren, &c.

peculiar Privileges and Favours upon the Pa

“ fterity of Jacob, which I have denied to that Rom. IX.13. « of Esau, whose Habitation I have laid waste,

« for the Dragons of the Wilderness, while
“ that of his Brother flourished in the richest
“ Abundance of all Things," We see, then,
to close this Branch of the Argument, that the
Excluçon of a considerable Part of the Seed of
Abraham, and even of the Descendents of Ifaac,
from the special Promises of God, is not only
a Case, which may be supposed poffible, but a
Case, which according to the Jewish Scriptures,
themselves hath actually happened

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IMPROV E M E N T.

Ver. 19. 2.

Ver. 4.

ET that Affection, which the Apostle expresses for the Jews, his pathetick Representation which he makes of the Privileges which they once enjoyed, awaken in our Hearts an earnest Solicitude, that they may by divine Grace be brought back; that they may again be adopted into the Family, from whom they have been cut off, again cloathed with the Glory which is departed from them; that, thro' him who was given for a Covenant to the People, they may receive the Law of Life and Grace, , be formed to that fpiritual Service which it introduces, instead of their pompous Ritual, and embrace the Promises, on which the Faith and Hope of their illustrious Fathers was fixed.

Let it likewise teach us fpiritual Compassion for our Kindred, who areStrangers to Christ, and let us be willing to submit to the greatest Diffi

culties,

Ver. 5

Ver. 3.

Scripture, is evident. Compare Gen. xxix. 31.. Luke xiv..26. Föhn xiii. 25. and the Notes there; These Words in their Connection with the preceding and following, do indeed prove, that. God aas with a sovereign and unaccountable Freedom in the Dispensation of his Favours ;; and do I think, confequentially prove, that, it was not upon the Foresight of the Obedience and Piety of. Jacabe on the one Hand, or the Profaneness of Efau on the other, that. this Preference was given; for then their. Argument taken from their having actually done neither Good nor Evit would be very weak, fince, to an. qmniscient God, that which he certainly foreknew would be, is with Regard to his purpose of Events to succeed it, as if it already w.ere. Nevertheless it is certain, the Apostle does not here speak of the eternal State of Jacob and Esau, )whatever.Some may. fuppose deducible from what he says,) por does he indeed fo much speak of their persons, as of their Pofterity; since 'tis plainly to that Pofterity that both the Prophefies, which he quotes in Support of his Argument, refer. Gen.. XXV. 23. Mal. ic. 2, 3. His laying wafto the Heritage of the Edomites for the Dragons of the Wilderness, is fo different a Thing from his appointing the Person of Ēsau to eternal Misery by a mere Act of Sovereignty, without Regard to any Thing done or to be done by him to deserve it; that I will facher submit to any Cenfure from my Fellow-Servants; than deal fo. freely with my Maker, as, to conclude the one from the other..

117

There is Ão Injuftice in rejecting the Seed of Abraham ; culties, and think nothing too much to be done or borne, for their sect. 19. Recovery.

. Let our Souls pay an humble Homage to him, who is, in such an Ver. 3. incommunicable and sublime Sense, the Son of God, as to be himself over all GOD bleffed for ever more. With prostrate Reverence let us Ver. 5. adore him, as our Lord and our GOD, and repofe that unbounded Confidence in him, which such an Assemblage of Divine Perfections will warrant, putting our most hearty Amen to every Afcription of Glory, to every Anthem of Praise; addressed to him.

And, to conclude, since we see that many of the Children of Abra- Ver. 6, 7.bam, and of Ifaac, failed of any. Share in the special Promises of God, "let us learn to depend on no Privilege of Birth, on no Relation to the greatest and best of Men. May we seek to be inserted into the Family Ver. 10,-131 of God, by his adopting Love in Christ Jesus, and to maintain the lively Exercise of Faith ; without which no Child of Abraham was ever accepta able to God, and with which none of the Children of Strangers have ever failed of a Share in his Mercy and Favour.

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The Apostle shews, that the fovereign Choice of some Individuals to peculiar Priviledges, to which none had any Claim, and the Sovereign Appointment, from among many Criminals, of some to peculiar and exemplary Punishments, was perfe&tly consistent both with Reason and Scripture. Rom.

IX. 14---24:

ROMANS IX. 14.

HAT Ihall we say

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righteousness with God? GOD forbid.

ROMANS IX. 14.
HAVE already shewn you, how possible it is, Sect. 20..

that Persons descended from Abraham, and
even from Isaac, may be cut off from the special Rom.IX.146.
Promises of God; as the Pofterity, first of Ith-
mael, and then of Efau, evidently were. What
therefore shall we say to this ? [Is there] Unrigh-
teousness with GOD in the Proceedings and Distri-
butions of his Providence, in this or any other
Instance to be produced ? GOD forbid, we
fhould insinuate any Thing of that Nature. It
is, in the highest Consistence with Justice, Mat-

ter

118 För GOD bath a Right to foew Mercy to whom he will,
Sect. 20. ter of the freest Choice, to whom such Favours
Thall be granted. For be faith to Moses, (Exod.

15 For he faith to Mofes,
Rom. IX. 15. xxxiii. 19.) when intimating a gracious Purpose i will have Mercy, and I

I will have Mercy on whom toward Israel, tho' they had broke his Covenant will have compaffion on fo soon after the first Confirmation of it, and by whom I will bave Compas

fion.
an- Act of flagrant Idolatry had just merited im-
mediate Destruction, I will have Mercy on wbom-
Joever I will have Mercy, and will compasionate
whomfoever I please to compassionate, so as to dis-
pense Acts of Pardon according to my own love-

reign Pleasure.
16
Jacob and Esau, of whom I was speaking just him that willeth, nor of

16 So then it is not of
above, may be farther considered as an Illustra- him that runneth, but of
tion of the Sovereignty of the Divine Dispensa- God that the weth Mercy.
tions in such Cases : The latter of them, after he
had foolishly sold his Birth-right, was exceed-
ingly desirous of obtaining his

Father's Blessing,
and run out eagerly to hunt Venison for him;
(Gen. xxvii. 5,-30.) nevertheless it was be-
stowed upon Jacob. (It is] not therefore, you see,
to be referred into the Forwardness of him that wil-
leth, nor of him that runneth; but it is of GOD, that
Shewetb Mercy, to one rather than another, on fo-
vereign Reasons, which we cannot penetrate, but

must always believe to be worthy of himself.
17

And moreover we may add, that such is the 17 For the Scripture
Conduct of God in other Instances, when of va- for this fame Purpose have

faith unto Pharoah, Even
rious Sinners he appoints one, rather than another I raised thee up, that
to be-a Monument of special Vengeance. For
the Scripture says to Pharoah (a), (Exod. ix. 16.)
For this Čause have I raised thee up, to that

Height of Eminence in which thou gloriest (),

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(a) Moreover the Scripture says, &c.] 'Tis plain, that this is no Proof of what imme. diately goes before; 1 therefore choose to render jeep by moreover, which is consistent with making it introductory to what proves something aflerted at some Distance, if it come in as a co-ordinate Proof. This is so important a Remark in the Illustration of Scripture, and clears an attentive Reader of so many Embarassments, that I hope I shall be excused repeating it on different Occasions. The Reader will observe, the Apostle does not produce an Inftance of an innocent Person being made an Object of Divine Displeasure, out of mere sovereignty, but one of the most infolent Sinners that the World ever knew.

(6) í bave raised ther up.] Some would render it, I have made thee to Rand," that is, I have supported thee during the former Plagues, that I might make thee a more remarkable Example of Vengeance; but tho' (as Dr. Shuchford, Connect. Vol. ii. pag. 433 and many others observe,) that agree with drilmprons, the Word used by the Lxx. in their Verfron of the Text in Question, and with the Original 1817oyn; yet it does not answer to the

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refifted his Will?

And make Sinners he will the Monuments of his Wrath. 119 I might fhew my Power in that I may remarkably Shew forth iny Power Sect. 20. - thee, and that my Name in thee, and that my Name, in Consequence of might be declared throughout all the Earth.

distinguished Judgments to be righteously in- Rom. IX.17. “ flicted upon thee, may be celebrated through all the Earth, in the most distant Nations and “ remotest Ages.” And accordingly he hardened his Heart, that he should not let Israel go, that is, he took Measures, which he knew would

be attended with that Effect, and at last brought 18 Therefore hath he the Extremity of his Wrath upon him.

So IS
Mercy on whom he will then we must, after all our Objections, rest the
bave Mercy, and whom he
will, he hardeneth. Matter here, that the blessed GOD, as he is un-

controulable, so he is also unaccountable in his
Dispensations : That in choosing this or that
Creature to distinguished Favours, or appointing
this or that Sinner to deserved Punishment, be
bath Mercy on whom he will have Mercy, and be

bardeneth and destroyeth who he will.
19 Thou wilt say then But thou wilt perhaps be ready, while thou read 19
unto me, Why doth he yet eft this Declaration, to raise an Objection against
find Fault? For who háth it, and say to me, if “ God acts thus, why doth he

" then find Fault, and blame his Creatures for their

Obstinacy, when he determines to give, what he “ knows will in Fact prove a prevailing Occasion “ to it? Who bath ever, in any Instance, resisted, or « who can ever be able to resist, bis Will? If he “ hath determined by such Methods to destroy a “ Nation, or a Person, who can prevent it, or

prevent those Evils, which shall, according to

hishigh Appointments of Providence, be in Fact

“ the Means of bringing on that Destruction ?” 20 Nay but, 0 Man, who are thou that replet ob vain, weak, and ignorant Man, with all thy

Nay but let me rather reply, who art thou, 20 against God? Shall the

Thing boasted Wisdom and Penetration, who art thou,

who thus arrogantly enterest into a Debate with
the all-wise, almighty, and all gracious GOD, and
chargest his Proceedings as arbitrary and unjust?

Surely Greek Word used by St. Paul, s nyufa. If, as fome Writers suppose, the Pharoah here spoken of were an Ægyptian King, (I think Apophis,) who made his Way to the Throne by Treafon, Incest, and Murther," the Words had a singular Weight, in the Sense we have here given them. Mr. Taylor explains it of his having been recovered from the Plague of Blains, which was indeed said to have been upon Pharoah, Exod. ix, 15, 16. and this may possibly be the true Sense; but I think the other stronger and nobler.

() Potter

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120 GOD may bear with hardened Sinners, to make his Power known, Sect. 20. Surely it becomes us, whenever we treat such a Thing formed fay to him Subject, to do it with the humblest Reverence, that fformed it, Why haft

thou made me thus ! Rom. IX.20. and thro' the whole to remember the infinite

Distance between him and us. Shall the Thing for-
med say unto him that formed [it,] why bast thou
made me thus ? Let us remember he is our al-
mighty Creator, and not imagine we can ever
have

any Room or Right to expostulate with him,
or in any Circumstance to complain of him.
21 Hath not the Potter Power over [his] Clay (c), as 2r Hath not the Potter

God himself represents the Case, (Jer. xviii. Power over the Clay, of the 4,-6.) out of the same Mafs to make one Vessel fel unto Honour, and another to Uses of Honour, and another to the basest Öf- unto Dishonour?

fices of Dishonour, and to break, and renew it at 22 his Pleasure ?

[What] then is it to thee, or 22 What if God, wilwhat Right hast thou to find Fault, if GCD, re- ling to thew his Wrath, and solving at last to manifest the Terrors of [bis]Wrath, endured with much

Longand to make known bis awful and tremendous suffering the Vessels of Power, in their aggravated Destruction, bath in Wrath fitted to Destruction: the mean Time, endured with much Long-suffering those, who shall finally appear to be Vesels of Wrath, which are fitted to Destruction (d)? Is he to account to thee for punishing them, who justly deserve Punishment, at what Time, and in what Manner, he pleases, and to ask thy Leave to de

lay or to execute the Stroke of his righteous Ven-
23 geance? And [what if;] on the other Hand, 23 And that he might

that be may make known in the most affecting and make known the Riches of
endearing Manner
the Riches of his Glory, and his Glory on the Vessels of

Mercy,
display his Compassions in those, whom he will
make the Vessels of Mercy, he graciously waits
upon them, and (long endures] them (e), even

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(0) Potter Powder over [his] Clay.] 'Tis observable, that Plutarch uses the very fame Simiditude with this before us, and Aristophanes, among other contemptuous Expressions, by which he describes the Frailty of human Creatures, calls them inaouala ande, Vefels of Clay: See Bos in Laci

(d) Endures with much Long-Juffering the Vesels of Wrath, &c.] The Apostle seems here to have had the impenitent Jews in his Thoughts, tho' he did not think it proper expressly to name them. 'T'is certain, they were Vesels of Wrath, and that they were long borne with, under many Advantages, which they ungratefully abused.

(e) He waits and endures.} As it is certain, there is an Ellipfis in thefe Words, and that fomething must be fupplied, it seems most natural to borrow a Word or two from the preceding Verse, to compleat the Sense. Every attentive Rcader will, I doubt not, infer for him self the great Difference of Phrasc, in which, they, who are Veffels of Wrath, and they, who are l'esels of Mercy, are spoken of: It being said fimply of the former, that they were fitted for

Destruction,

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