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.:Reflections on the righteous Fudgment of GOD.

31 feience allo bearing Witness, to Moses: their Consciences joining to bear Wit- Sect. 4. and their.. Thoughts the ness to it, aud (their) mutual Reasonings among


Rom. II. 15. elfe excusing one another)." Selves, accufing those that break fuch Precepts, or

defending those who observe them, attest the same
16 In the Day when Thing. As therefore there are sure Traces 16
God Tall judge the Secrets of some natural Knowledge of the Law, a due
of Men by Jesus Christ, ac-
cording to my Gospel.

Regard will be maintained towards them, and on
this most equitable Principle will the grand Pro-
cess be conducted, in that awful Day, when GOD
Shall judge the Secrets of the Hearts of Men by Jesus

, according to the Tenor of that glorious
Dispensation which I may call my Gospel (2), as
it is committed to my Care; in which no Doc-
trine is more important, or evident, than that of
a universal and most impartial Judgment.

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ET us revere the righteous Judgment of GOD, which is here laid

before us in so particular and affecting a Manner; remembring we are each of us to have our Part in that Day of final Retribution, and that the Secrets of our Hearts will then be made manifest. Let us often Ver. 16, reflect

upon the awful Result; and consider, that Indignation and Wrath, Ver. 8. Tribulation and Anguish will be our Portion, if we are contentious and Ver. 9. difobedient to the Truth, yea, if we do not, by a patient Continuance in well doing, seek the promised Glory, Honour, and Immortality; which if Ver. 7. we do, we shall; through the Grace of God, secure everlafting Life. Ver. 1. Vain will our Knowledge and our Profession otherwise be, and our Testimony against the Sins of others will only inflame the Guilt of our own.

Let it ever be remembered, that the Goodness of - GOD, which we have such daily Reason to acknowledge and adore, gently takes us, as it were, by the Hand, and leadeth to Repentance; and while we con- Ver. 4. tinually live upon it, let us not act in Contempt of it, or abuse it to our own inconceivable Detriment. Is the Wrath already laid up so small,

that (1) According to my Gospel.]. Nothing is more contrary to the Apostle's Meaning, as

.] expressly declared above, than that all Men are to be judged by the Gospel. He only means, that the Gospel teaches such a Judgment. Therefore, fome transposing the last Clause, render it, very plainly and properly, in the Day .when GOD Jhall, according to my Gospel, judge the Secrets of Mén. Mr. Mace transposes. the whole fixteenth Verse to join it with the Twelfth; and I think it very evident, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Vertes come in as a Parenthesis : But the Tranfpoficion of Verses. Teems a dangerous Thing; though I think in fome evident Cafes, that of a few. Words may be pardoned, considering the different Genius of Ancient and Modern, Eaflern and Western, Languages.


Ver. 5.

The Jews, tho' they made their boast in the Law, Sect. 4. that we should be increasing the Treasure ? Increasing the Terrors of the

Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous Judgment of GOD?

It will be a most impartial, as well as important Day. Nor are we

concerned to know how the Heathen will fare in it: Let it suffice us, Ver. 14. 15. that if they are condemned, they will be righteously condemned; not

for remaining ignorant of the Gospel they never had an opportunity of hearing, but

for violating those Precepts of the divine Law which were inscribed on their Consciences. Let us bless God that he has written it there, and reverence the Traces of his Hand on our own Minds; always remembring, that the Discoveries of Revelation were never intended to erase or discredit the Dictates of Nature, but to illustrate and confirm them.

We shall be judged by the Dispensation we have enjoyed; and how Ver. 13. devoutly loever we mayhear and speak of it, shall be condemned, if we

have not acted agreeably thereto. The Lord grant that we may all find that Mercy of the Lord, which we shall every one of us need, in that Day; and that we may find it, may we keep that Day continually in View, and direct all our Actions with a Regard to its grand Decisions.

Ver. 12.

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Paul proceeds to fix the Charge upon the Jews, that they

were Sinners, as well as the Gentiles; and confequently ftood in Need of Justification by the Grace of the Gospel, as well as they Rom. II. 17, to the End.

Sect. 5.



HAVE hitherto been speaking of the inex- BEHOLD, thou art cal-

led a Jew, and restest in cufable Guilt of those, who have the greatest Rom. II. 17. Opportunity

of knowing their Duty, and in Consequence of this acknowledge it, and condemn others for acting contrary to it; while yet they are guilty of the fame Evils. I will now keep on the Reserve no longer ; but will boldly declare, that in what I have said concerning fuch, I meant the Conviction, not merely of Heathen Philosophers, but of wicked Jews; and if thou, Oh Reader, art such an one, I apply myself personally to thee. Behold thou bearesi the Name of

a Jew,


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were yet Sinners against GOD as well as the Gentiles.

33 he Law, and makest thy a yew (a); and thou reposest thyself on the Sect. 5. Boaft of God; Knowledge and Profession of the Law, as if

Rom. II. 17. that would save thee and thou gloriest in the true GOD, in whom thou believest; as if thy Descent and Profession, by Virtue of the peculiar Covenant he made with thy Fathers,

must necessarily intitle thee to his Favour. 18 And knoweft bts Will, Thou hoaftest of it as thine Honour and 18 and approvest the Things Happiness, that thou knowest [his] Will; not that are more excellent, bec merely by uncertain Conjecture and Reasoning, ing instructed out of the

but by an express Revelation ; and that thou ac

urately difcernest and distinguishest upon Things that differ (6), which untaught Nature may in many Respects confound; being thy self well instructed out of the Law, having been from thy

Infancy catechised and educated in the accurate
19 And art confident that Knowledge of it. And in Consequence of 19
thou thyself art a Guide of this, thou art very confident, that thou thyself
the Blind, a Light of them
which are in Darkness,

art fit to teach the whole Gentile World; to be
a Guide of the Blind, as thou thinkest them to

be; a Light to them, that for Want of the Light 20 An Instructor of the

An Instruc- 20 Foolish, a Teacher of Babes, thou disperseft

, are in Darkness ;
which haft the Form of tor of the Ignorant, a Teacher of these Babes (c), as
Knowledge, and of the thou esteemest them in Comparison with thyself;

having perhaps not only the Sacred Oracles in
thine Hands, but also, in order to render thee
more expert and methodical in the Use of them,
a Summary, a compendious System and Form of
the Knowledge and Truth, which is contained in
the Law (d).


Truth in the Law.

(a) Bearest the Name of a Jew.] The Apostle frequently addresses himself to unconverted Jews in this Epistle, and especially here ; for no Doubt there were many of them at Rome, who might be curious to know, what he, who had been so violent an Enemy to Christianity, would say to recommend it. And Paul's great Love to them engaged him, on the Contingency of such an Event, to insert such Paflages, and other Passages are calculated for the Conviction of other Unbelievers, as well as for the Edification of Christians.

(6) Difcernef Things that differ.] So Beza renders doxa's ess ta dicupepoolx ; and Elsner vindicates it in a Manner which seems very satisfactory ; tho' Cappellus, Hammond, and Erafmus defend our Translation, approvest I hings which are more excellent. See Elsner, Obferv.

(c) Blind,-ignorant, --Babes.] These were Titles, which the proud Jews often gave to the Gentiles.

(d). Form.] Hop wars has this Signification, 2 Tim. iii. 5: And Bos (Exercit. pag. 100, 101.) Thews, that it often signifies the Sketch, or Out-lines of a Thing; which suits ; the Interpretation here given, better than he seems to apprehend. L'Enfant renders it, havVol. IV. E


Vol. ii. pag. 17;


Sect. 5.


34 Expostulation with thofe, who commit the Crimes they condemn. Now I deny not, that thine Advantages are

in 21 Thou therefore which

teachelt another, teachest w this Respect very great; but I must caution thee, thou not thyfelft Thou that Rom. II. 21. that thou art not deceived by any absolute De- preachest a Man should not

pendence upon them ; and must press thee to re- steal, doft thou steal ?
flect, how far thine own Temper and Conduct
is agreeable to this Knowledge and Profession.
Let me ask therefore, Thou that teachest another,
teachest thou not thyself? Dost thou act, as if thou
hadst forgotten thine own Precepts, or didst ima-
gine, they did not oblige thee? Thou that preach-
eft, for Instance, a Man jould not steal, doest
thou think thyself tolerated to steal (e) ? Thou

22 Thou thatsayest a Man

should not commit Adul.
that forbiddejt a Man to commit Adultery, doft tery, dost thou commit A-
thou commit Adultery? Thou that doft so abominate dultery? Thou that abhor-
Idols, and speakest of them at all Times with reft Idols, dost thou com-

mit Sacrilege?
such great and just Abhorrence, dost thou commit
Sacrilege, by robbing the true God of what he so
justly claims from thee, whether of outward Tri-
bute, or inward Homage; while thou so ftrenu-
ously disputest against any other Object of Wor-

In one Word, thou that gloriest in the 23 Thou that makest thy
Law, as so excellent, and thinkest it such an Boast of the Law, through
Honour to be acquainted with it, dost thou by the breaking the Law dishonou-
Tranfgreffion of the Law dishonour GOD, and act
as if thou wert studying the Declaration of his
Will, only; to Thew him, in a more presump-

tuous and contamatiqus Manner, that thou dost

not regard it? It is not an improbable Sup 24 For the Name of
position, that I have now been making; for I, God is blasphemed among

who have had an Opportunity of knowing by
long Experience the Temper and Character of the
Jewish People, know it to be such, that I will
boldly say to their Faces, " the Name of the
GÓD of Israel, for which you profess so
“ warm a Zeal is by your Means blaspbemed among

« the

23 hip?

ing in the Law the Rule of Knowledge and Truth ; but I know not whether poppwors ever fig-
nifies Rule; and if the Article has any Force, it is in Favour of the Rendering we have pre-

(e) Dost thou steal?] Grotius on this Text proves from Jofephus, that some of the
Jewish Priests lived by Rapine, depriving others of their due Share of the Tithes, and
even suffering them to perish for Want; that others were guilty of gross Uncleanness; and
as for facrilegiously robbing GOD and his Altar, it had been complained of as early as
Malachy's Days, Mal. i. 8, 12, 13. So that the Instances are given with great Propriety
and Judgment.

(f) For


xii. 14.

Circumcifon of no Importance without keeping the Law'. 35 the "Gentiles through you, the Gentiles, and his holy Religion brought into Sect. 5. as it is written. Contempt by your notorious and scandalous

Roin. II. 24 « Immoralities : as it is written in your own Scrip“ tures concerning your Fathers, whose evil Deeds you so generally imitate.” (Compare 2 Sam.

Ifai. lii. 5. Ezek. xxxvi. 23.) 25 For Circumcision ve My Duty absolutely requires me to give such 25 rily profiteth, if thou keep Cautions, and to make such Remonftrances, as Breaker of the Law, thy these : For Circumcision is indeed profitable, if a Circumcision is made Un- Man keep the Law (f): His being a Jew, if he circumcifion. be truly a good Man, will give him many

Advantages for becoming a Christian; and were his Obedience perfect, would intitle him to the Bletsings promised in the Law. But if thou be a Tranfgreffor of the Law, thy Circumcision is in Effect become Uncircumcifon : Thou wilt have no more Benefit by it, than if thou hadît never received it; as thou well knowest, that according to the Tenor of the Law itself, Circumcision, far from being any Excuse for thy Offence, will ra

ther expose thee in many Respects to much great-
26 Therefore if the Un- er Punishment. And therefore, by a Parity 26
circumcision keep the Righ. of Reason, if the Uncircumcision, that is, an un-
not his Uncircumcision be circumcised Person, observe and obey the greatest
counted for Circumcision ! and most important Precepts or righteous Deter-

minations of the Law, though without any Ac-
quaintance with the Book that contains them;
if he faithfully and steadily conform himself to
the main Branches of Virtue and Rectitude it
requires, shall not his Uncircumcifon be imputed
or reckoned, as Circumcision? Shall he not be
treated as favourably by God in his final Ac-
count, as if he had been circumcifed, when his
not being so does not proceed from any Contempt
of the Divine Authority, but from his knowing
nothing of the Rite, or not apprehending it in

his particular Circumstances to be his. Duty to
27 And shall not Uncir- practise it ? Yea it is certain, that the Uncir- 27


(f) For Gircumcision, &c.] It is most évident that yag cannot here signify, that the following Words are a Reason for what was aflerted in those immediately preceding: Ic seems little more than an Expletive, as the Particle now among us often is. I shall not therefore in many passages take the Pains of endeavouring to find such a Connection, as would justify the Use of it in its strictest Propriety ; in attempting which many have vainly perplexed themselves to. no other Purpose, than to make the Writings of St. Paul appear more obscure, than they really are.

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6) Praile

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