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The necessities of subjection to



the civil constituted authorities

Subjection to civil governors inculcated from the consideration, that civil government is according to the ordinance of God; and that those who resist the lawfully constituted authorities, shall receive condemnation, 1, 2. And those who are obedient shall receive praise, 3. The character of a lawful civil governor, 4. The necessity of subjection, 5. The propriety of paying lawful tribute, 6, 7. Christians should love one another, 8-10. The necessity of immediate con version to God, proved from the shortness and uncertainty of time, 11, 12. How the Gentiles should walk so as to please God, and put on Christ Jesus in order to their salvation, 13, 14. [A. M. cir. 4062. A. D. cir. 58. An. Olymp. cir. CCIX. 2. A. U. C. cir. 811.]

ET soul be subject unto the

2 therefore, resisteth d the resisteth

Leveys on power but of God: the powers that be, are ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to them

ordained of God."

Tit.3.1. 1 Pet 2.13-b Prov.8. 15, 16. Dan. 2.21.& 4.32. Wisd.6.3. John 19.11.

NOTES.-To see with what propriety the apostle introduces the important subjects which he handles in this chapter, it is necessary to make a few remarks on the circumstances in which the church of God then was.


selves damnation.

o Or, ordered.-d Tit.3.1.-e Deu. 17. 12. & 21.18.

legates authority to whomsoever he will: and though, in many cases, the governor himself may not be of God, yet civil go vernment is of him; for without this, there could be no society, no security, no private property: all would be confusion and anarchy; and the habitable world would soon be depo pulated. In ancient times, God, in an especial manner, on many occasions, appointed the individual who was to govern, and he accordingly governed by a divine right; as in the case of Moses, Joshua, the Hebrew judges, and several of the Israelitish kings. In after times, and to the present day, he does that by a general superintending providence, which he did before by especial designation. In all nations of the earth, there is what may be called a constitution, a plan by which a particular country or state is governed; and this constitu tion is less or more calculated to promote the interests of the community. The civil governor, whether he be elective of hereditary, agrees to govern according to that constitution. Thus, we may consider, that there is a compact and consent between the governor and the governed, and, in such a case, the potentate may be considered as coming to the supreme authority in the direct way of God's providence; and as civil government is of God, who is the fountain of law, order, and regularity; the civil governor, who administers the laws of a state according to its constitution, is the minister of God. But it has been asked, if the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself, thereby, to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed? I answerNo: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can jus fy rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority: and every act against him is not only rebellion, in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful, and absolutely sinful.

It is generally allowed that this epistle was written about the year of our Lord 58, according to the vulgar reckoning, four or five years after the edict of the emperor Claudius, by which all the Jews were banished from Rome. And as, in those early times, the Christians were generally confounded with the Jews, it is likely that both were included in this For what reason this edict was issued, does not satisfactorily appear. Suetonius tells us that it was because the Jews were making continual disturbances under their leader Chrestus. (See the note on Acts xviii. 2.) That the Jews were, in general, an uneasy and seditious people, is clear enough from every part of their own history. They had the most rooted aversion from the heathen government; and it was a maxim with them that the world was given to the Israelites; that they should have supreme rule every where, and that the Gentiles should be their vassals. With such political notions, grounded on their native restlessness, it is no wonder, if, in several instances, they gave cause of suspicion to the Roman government, who would be glad of an opportunity to expel from the city, persons whom they considered dangerous to its peace and security; nor is it unreasonable, on this account, to suppose, with Dr. Taylor, that the Christians, under a notion of being the peculiar people of God, and the subjects of his kingdom alone, might be in danger of being infected with those unruly and rebellious sentiments; therefore the apostle shows them that they were, notwithstanding their honours and privileges as Christians, bound by the strongest obligations of conscience to be subject to the civil government. The judicious commentator adds, "I cannot forbear observing the admirable skill and dexterity with which the apostle has handled the subject. His views in writing are always comprehensive on every point; and he takes into his thoughts and instructions, all parties that might probably reap any benefit by them. As Christianity was then growing, and the powers of the world began to take notice of it, it was not unlikely that this letter might fall into the hands of the Roman magistrates. And, whenever that happened, it was right not only that they should see that Christianity was no favourer of sedition; but likewise that they should have an opportunity of reading their own duty and obligations. But as they were too proud and insolent to permit themselves to be instructed in a plain, direct way: therefore, the apostle, with a masterly hand, deli-cording to law, can either justify rebellion against him, or neates, and strongly inculcates the magistrate's duty. While he is pleading his cause with the subject, and establishing his duty on the more sure and solid ground, he dexterously sides with the magistrate, and vindicates his power against any subject who might have imbibed seditious principles, or might be inclined to give the government any disturbance: and, under this advantage, he reads the magistrate a fine and close lecture, upon the nature and ends of civil government. A way of conveyance so ingenious and unexceptionable, that even Nero himself, had this epistle fallen into his hands, could not fail of seeing his duty clearly stated, without finding any thing servile or flattering on the one hand, or offensive or disgust-moral man, as far as I can learn, but he was a bad and daning on the other.

Nothing can justify the opposition of the subjects to the ru ler, but overt attempts, on his part, to change the constitution, or to rule contrary to law. When the ruler acts thus, he dissolves the compact between him and his people; his authority is no longer binding, because illegal; and it is illegal because he is acting contrary to the laws of that constitution, according to which, on being raised to the supreme power, he promised to govern. This conduct justifies opposition to his government: but I contend, that no personal misconduct in the ruler, no immorality in his own life, while he governs accontempt of his authority. For his political conduct, he is accountable to the constitution: for his moral conduct, he is accountable to God, his conscience, and the ministers of religion. A king may be a good moral man, and yet a weak, and indeed, a bad and dangerous prince. He may be a bad man, and stained with vice in his private life, and yet be a good prinee. SAUL was a good moral man, but a bad prince; because he endeavoured to act contrary to the Israelitish constitution; he changed some essential parts of that constitution, as I have elsewhere shown; (see the Note on Acts xiii. ver. 22.) he was therefore lawfully deposed. James the Ild. was a good gerous prince; he endeavoured to alter, and essentially change the British constitution both in church and state; there fore he was lawfully deposed. It would be easy, in running over the list of our own kings, to point out several who were deservedly reputed good kings, who in their private life were very immoral. Bad as they might be in private life, the constitution was, in their hands, ever considered a sacred deposit; and they faithfully preserved it, and transmitted it unimpaired to their successors: and took care, while they held the reins of government, to have it impartially and effectually ad

"The attentive reader will be pleased to see, with what dexterity, truth, and gravity, the apostle, in a small compass, af. firms and explains the foundation, nature, ends, and just li mits of the magistrate's authority, while he is pleading his cause; and teaching the subject the duty and obedience he owes to the civil government."-Dr. Taylor's Notes, page 352. Verse 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers] This is a very strong saying, and most solemnly introduced; and we must consider the apostle as speaking not from his own private judgment, or teaching a doctrine of present ex-ministered. pediency; but declaring the mind of God on a subject of the uumost importance to the peace of the world; a doctrine which does not exclusively belong to any class of people, order of the community, or official situations; but to every soul; and, on the principles which the apostle lays down, to every soul in all possible varieties of situation, and on all occasions. And what is this solemn doctrine? It is this; Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Let every man be obedient to the civil government under which the providence of God has cast his lot. For, there is no power but of God] As God is the origin of power, and the Supreme Governor of the universe, he de

It must be allowed, notwithstanding, that, when a prince, howsoever heedful to the laws, is unrighteous in private life, his example is contagious; morality, banished from the throne, is discountenanced by the community; and happiness is diminished in proportion to the increase of vice. On the other hand, when a king governs according to the constitution of his realms, and has his heart and life governed by the laws of his God, he is then a double blessing to his people; while he is ruling carefully according to the laws, his pious example is a great means of extending and confirming the reign of pure morality among his subjects. Vice is discredited from the throne: and the profligate dare not hope for a place of trust

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3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power 1 do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

f 1 Pet.2.14.& 3.13.—g Ch.2.8.& 12.19. 1 Kings 10.9. Jer 25.9. and confidence, (however in other respects he may be qualified for it,) because he is a vicious man.

the civil constituted authoritica

5 Wherefore bye must needs be subject, not only for wrath.
but also for conscience sake.

6 For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's
ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute
is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour
to whom honour.

h Eccles. 8.2-i 1 Pet.2.19,-k Matt. 22.21. Mark 12.17. Luke. W. S.

tify rebellion against the constituted authorities. See the doctrine on ver. 1.

Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power] If thou wouldest not live in fear of the civil magistrate, live according to the laws; and thou mayest expect that he will rule according to the laws; and consequently, instead of incurring blame, thou wilt have praise. This is said on the supposition that the ru ler is himself a good man: such the laws suppose him to be; and the apostle, on the general question of obedience and protection, assumes the point, that the magistrate is such 4. For he is the minister of God to thee for good] Here the apostle puts the character of the ruler in the strongest possible light. He is the minister of God: the office is by Divine appointment: the man who is worthy of the office will act in conformity to the will of God: and, as the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears open to their cry, conse. quently, the ruler will be the minister of God to them for good. He beareth not the sword in vain] His power is delegated to him for the defence and encouragement of the good, and the punishment of the wicked: and he has authority to pu nish capitally, when the law so requires; this, the term sword leads us to infer.

As I have already mentioned some potentates by name, as apt examples of the doctrines I have been laying down, my readers will naturally expect, that, upon so fair an opportunity, I should introduce another; one in whom the double blessing meets; one who, through an unusually protracted reign, (du ring every year of which he has most conscientiously watched over the sacred constitution committed to his care,) not only has not impaired this constitution, but has taken care that its wholesome laws should be properly administered; and who, in every respect, has acted as the father of his people: and has added to all this the most exemplary moral conduct, per haps ever exhibited by a prince, whether in ancient or modern times; not only tacitly discountenancing vice, by his truly religious conduct, but by his frequent proclamations, most solemnly forbidding Sabbath-breaking, profane swearing, and immorality in general-more might be justly said, but when I have mentioned all these things, (and I mention them with exultation, and with gratitude to God,) I need scarcely add the venerable name of GEORGE the Third, king of Great Britain; as every reader will at once perceive that the description suits no potentate besides. I may just observe, For he is a minister of God, a revenger] Oɛs diakovos esiv that notwithstanding his long reign has been a reign of unpa- exdikos, for he is God's vindictive minister, to execute wrath: ralleled troubles and commotions in the world, in which his ets opyny, to inflict punishment upon the transgressors of the empire has always been involved; yet, never did useful arts, law and this according to the statutes of that law; for God's ennobling sciences, and pure religion, gain a more decided and civil ministers are never allowed to pronounce or inflict pugeneral ascendancy: and much of this, under God, is owing nishment according to their own minds or feelings; but acto the manner in which this king has lived; and the encou- cording to the express declarations of the law. ragement he invariably gave to whatever had a tendency to 5. Ye must needs be subject] Avayan, there is a necessity promote the best interests of his people, discountenancing re- that ye should be subject, not only for wrath, dia rηv opyny, on ligious persecution, in all its forins. Indeed, it has been well account of the punishment which will be inflicted on evil observed, that under the ruling providence of God, it was chiefly doers, but also for conscience sake; not only to avoid punishowing to the private and personal virtues of the sovereign, that ment, but also to preserve a clear conscience. For, as civil the House of Brunswick remained firmly seated on the throne, government is established in the order of God, for the supamidst the storms arising from democratical agitations, and port, defence, and happiness of society; they who transgress revolutionary convulsions in Europe, during the years 1792— its laws, not only expose themselves to the penalties assigned 1794. The stability of his throne, amidst these dangers and by the statutes, but also to guilt in their own consciences; bedistresses, may prove a useful lesson to his successors, and cause they sin against God. Here are two powerful motives show them the strength of a virtuous character; and that mo- to prevent the infraction of the laws, and to enforce obedirality and religion form the best bulwark against those great ence. 1. The dread of punishment: this weighs with the unevils to which all human governments are exposed. This godly. 2. The keeping of a good conscience, which weighs small tribute of praise to the character and conduct of the Bri-powerfully with every person who fears God. These two tish king, and gratitude to God for such a governor, will not motives should be frequently urged both among professors be suspected of sinister motive; as the object of it is, by an and profane. inscrutable providence, placed in a situation to which neither envy, flattery, nor even just praise, can approach; and where the majesty of the man is placed in the most awful, yet respectable ruins.

But to resume the subject, and conclude the argument: I wish particularly to show the utter unlawfulness of rebellion against a ruler, who, though he may be incorrect in his moral conduct, yet rules according to the laws; and the additional blessing of having a prince, who, while his political conduct is regulated by the principles of the constitution; his heart and life are regulated by the dictates of eternal truth, as contained in that revelation which came from God.

2. Whosoever resisteth the power] 'O avriтaccouεvos; he who sets himself in order against this order of God; rn rov Dɛ duarayn, and they who resist, bɩ avÕcorηkoTES, they who obstinately, and for no right reason, oppose the ruler, and strive to unsettle the constitution, and to bring about illegal changes,

Shall receive to themselves damnation] Kpipa, condemna tion; shall be condemned both by the spirit and letter of that constitution, which, under pretence of defending or improving, they are indirectly labouring to subvert.

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6. For this cause pay ye tribute also] Because civil government is an order of God, and the ministers of state must be at considerable expense in providing for the safety and defence of the community; it is necessary that those in whose behalf these expenses are incurred, should defray that expense; and hence nothing can be more reasonable than an impartial and moderate taxation, by which the expenses of the state may be defrayed, and the various officers, whether civil or military, who are employed for the service of the public, be adequately remunerated. All this is just and right; but there is no insinuation in the apostle's words in behalf of an extravagant and oppressive taxation, for the support of unprincipled and unnecessary wars: or the pensioning of corrupt or useless men. The taxes are to be paid for the support of those who are God's ministers, the necessary civil officers, from the king downwards, who are attending CONTINUALLY on this very thing. And let the reader observe, that by God's ministers, are not meant here the ministers of religion, but the civil officers, in all departments of the state.

7. Render, therefore, to all their dues.] This is an extensive command. Be rigidly just: withhold neither from the king, nor his ministers, nor his officers of justice and revenue, nor from even the lowest of the community, what the laws of God and your country require you to pay.

Tribute to whom tribute] Popos this word probably means such taxes as were levied on persons and estates

Custom to whom custom] Teλos' this word probably means such duties as were laid upon goods, merchandize, &c. on imports and exports; what we commonly call custom. Kypke, on this place, has quoted some good authorities for the above distinction and signification. Both the words occur in the following quotation from Strabo, Avayên yap petovodai Ta TeÀn, op wv εniẞadλo prvov; it is necessary to lessen the CUSTOMS, if TAXES be imposed. Strabo, lib. i. page 307. See several other examples in Kypke.

3. For rulers are not a terror to good works] Here the apostle shows the civil magistrate what he should be: he is clothed with great power, but that power is entrusted him, not for the terror and oppression of the upright man, but to overawe and punish the wicked. It is, in a word, for the be nefit of the community, and not for the aggrandizement of himself, that God has entrusted the supreme civil power to any man. If he should use this to wrong, rob, spoil, oppress, and persecute his subjects, he is not only a bad man, but also a had prince. He infringes on the essential principles of law and equity. Should he persecute his obedient, loyal subjects, on any religious account, this is contrary to all law and right; and, his doing so, renders him unworthy of their confidence; and they must consider him not as a blessing, but a plague. Yet, even in this case, though in our country it would be a breach of the constitution, which allows every man to worship God according to his conscience; yet the truly pious will not feel that even this, would justify rebellion against the prince; Honour to whom honour] The word run, may here mean they are to suffer patiently, and commend themselves and that outward respect which the principle, reverence, from their cause to him that judgeth righteously. It is an awful which it springs, will generally produce. Never behave rude thing to rebel, and the cases are extremely rare that can jus-ly to any person; but behave respectfully to men in office: if

Fear to whom fear] It is likely that the word doßor, which we translate fear, signifies that reverence which produces obedience. Treat all official characters with respect, and be obedient to your superiors.

The necessity of immediate


conversion to God.

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one anpiner: for he, awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. we believed.

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you cannot even respect the man, for an important office may be filled by an unworthy person, respect the office, and the man on account of his office. If a man habituate himself to disrespect official characters, he will soon find himself disposed to pay little respect or obedience to the laws themselves. 8. Que no man any thing, but to love one another] In the preceding verses, the apostle has been showing the duty, reve rence, and obedience, which all Christians, from the highest to the lowest, owe to the civil magistrate; whether he be em. peror, king, pro-consul, or other state-officer; here, he shows then their duty to each other; but this is widely different from that which they owe to the civil government; to the first, hey owe subjection, reverence, obedience, and tribute; to the fatter they owe nothing but mutual lore, and those offices which necessarily spring from it. Therefore, the apostle says, owe no man; as if he had said, ye owe to your fellow brethren, nothing but mutual love: and this is what the law of God requires; and in this the law is fulfilled. Ye are not bound in obedience to them as to the civil magistrate; for, to him ye must needs be subject, not merely for fear of punishment, but for conscience sake: but to these ye are bound by Love: and by that love especially, which utterly prevents you from doing any thing by which a brother may sustain any kind of injury.

9. For this, thou shalt not commit adultery] He that loves another, will not deprive him of his wife, of his life, of his property, of his good name; and will not even permit a desire to enter into his heart which would lead him to wish to possess any thing that is the property of another: for the law, the sacred Scripture, has said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

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us in our glorious resurrection unto eternal life. Therefore, let us cast off, let us live as candidates for this eternal glory. But this sense cannot at all comport with what is said below; as the Gentiles are most evidently intended.

13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day] Let us walk, evxnuovos, decently, from cv, well, and oxŋμa, mien, habit, or dress. Let our deportment be decent, orderly, and grave; such as we shall not be ashamed of in the eyes of the whole world. Not in rioting and drunkenness] Μη κωμοις και μέθαις· Kopos, rioting, according to Hesychius, signifies, aoɛλyn aσμara, τoрvika ovuяvoia, wdai, unclean and dissolute songs; banquets, and such like. Medaus signifies drunken jesti vals, such as were celebrated in honour of their gods: when, after they had sacrificed, (pera To Overv, SUIDAS,) they drank to excess, accompanied with abominable acts of every kind. See Suidas and Hesychius, under this word.

Not in chambering] This is no legitimate word, and conveys no sense till, from its connexion in this place, we force a meaning upon it. The original word, kotтais, signifies whoredoms, and prostitution of every kind.

And wantonness] Aσcλyɛiais, all manner of uncleanness, and sodomitical practices.

Not in strife and envying.] Mn eçidi kai (nλw, not in contentions and furious altercations, which must be the consequence of such practices as are mentioned above. Can any man suppose that this address is to the Christians at Rome? That they are charged with practices almost peculiar to the hea thens? And practices of the most abandoned and dissolute sort? If those called Christians at Rome were guilty of such acts, there could be no difference, except in profession, between them and the most abominable of the heathens. But it is impossible that such things should be spoken to the followers of Christ; for the very grace that brings repentance etables penitent to cast aside and abominate all such corrupt and vicious conduct.

The advices to the Christians may be found in the preceding chapter: those at the conclusion of this chapter belong solely to the heathens.

It is remarkable, that ov evdoμapropnocis, thou shalt not bear false witness, is wanting here in ABDEFG., and several other MSS. Griesbach has left it out of the text. It is want-the ing also in the Syriac, and in several of the primitive Fathers. The generality of the best critics think it a spurious reading. 10. Love worketh no ill] As he that loves another, will act towards that person, as, on a reverse of circumstances, he would that his neighbour should act towards him; therefore, this love can never work ill towards another; and, on this head, i. e. the duty we owe to our neighbour, love is the fulfilling of the law.

11. And that, knowing the time] Dr. Taylor has given a judicious paraphrase of this and the following verses. "And all the duties of a virtuous and holy life we should the more carefully and zealously perform, considering the nature and shortness of the present season of life; which will convince us that it is now high time to rouse and shake off sleep; and apply, with vigilance and vigour, to the duties of our Christian life; for, that eternal salvation which is the object of our Christian faith and hope, and the great motive of our religion, is every day nearer to us, than when we first entered into the profession of Christianity."

Some think the passage should be understood thus: We have now many advantages which we did not formerly possess. Salvation is nearer; the whole Christian system is more fully explained, and the knowledge of it more easy to be acquired than formerly; on which account, a greater progress in religious knowledge, and in practical piety, is required of us and we have, for a long time, been too remiss in these respects. Deliverance from the persecutions, &c. with which they were then afflicted, is supposed by others, to be the meaning of the apostle.

12 The night is far spent] If we understand this in reference to the heathen state of the Romans, it may be para phrased thus: the night is far spent; heathenish darkness is nearly at an end: the day is at hand; the full manifestation of the Sun of righteousness, in the illumination of the whole Gentile world, approaches rapidly. The manifestation of the Messiah is regularly termed by the ancient Jews Dyom, day, because previously to this all is night. Bereshith Rabba, sect. 91. fol. 89. Cast off the works of darkness: prepare to meet this rising light, and welcome its approach; by throwing aside superstition, impiety, and vice of every kind: and put on the armour of light; fully receive the heavenly teaching, by which your spirits will be as completely armed against the attacks of evil, as your bodies could be by the best weapons and impenetrable armour. This sense seems most suitable to the following verses, where the vices of the Gentiles are particularly specified; and they are exhorted to abandon them, and to receive the Gospel of Christ. The common method of explanation is this: the night is far spent; our present imperfect life, full of afflictions, temptations, and trials, is almost run out; the day of eternal blessedness is at hand is about to dawn on

14. Put ye on the Lord Jesus] This is in reference to what is said ver. 13. Let us put on decent garments: let us make a different profession, unite with other company; and maintain that profession by a suitable conduct. Putting on, or being clothed with Jesus Christ, signifies receiving and believing the Gospel; and consequently, taking its maxims for the government of life: having the mind that was in Christ. The ancient Jews frequently use the phrase, putting on the Shechinah, or Divine Majesty, to signify the soul's being clothed with immortality, and rendered fit for glory.

To be clothed with a person, is a Greek phrase, signifying to assume the interest of another, to enter into his views, to imitate him, and be wholly on his side. St. Chrysostom particularly mentions this as a common phrase, o deva Tov deiva Evcovoaro, such a one hath put on such a one; i. e. he closely follows and imitates him. So Dionysius Hal. Antiq. lib. xi. page 689, speaking of Appius, and the rest of the Decemviri, says, ουκετι μετριάζοντες, αλλά τον Ταρκύνιον εκείνον ενδυομε voi, They were no longer the servants of Tarquin, but they CLOTHED THEMSELVES WITH HIM: they imitated and aped him in every thing. Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, says the same of his sons, they put on their father; they seemed to enter into his spirit and views, and to imitate him in all things. The mode of speech itself is taken from the custom of stage. players; they assumed the name and garments of the person whose character they were to act; and endeavoured as closely as possible to imitate him in their spirit, words, and actions. See many pertinent examples in Kypke.

And make not provision for the flesh) By flesh we are here to understand, not only the body, but all the irregular appetites and passions which led to the abominations already recited. No provision should be made for the encourage-, ment and gratification of such a principle as this.

To fulfil the lusts thereof.] Eis emiovμias, in reference to its lusts; such as the Kool Koirai, μebai, and areλyetai, rioting, drunkenness, prostitutions, and uncleanness, mentioned ver. 13. to make provision for which the Gentiles lived and la boured, and bought and sold, and schemed and planned; for it was the whole business of their life to gratify the sinful lusts of the flesh. Their philosophers taught them little else; and the whole circle of their deities, as well as the whole scheme their religion, served only to excite and inflame such passions, and produce such practices.

1. In these four last verses there is a fine metaphor, and it is continued and well sustained in every expression. 1. The apostle considers the state of the Gentiles under the notion of

who is weak in the faith.


IM that is weak in the faith receive ye, but bnot to doubt-
ful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who
is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and d let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

a Ch. 15. 1, 7. 1 Cor. 8.9, 11. & 9. 22-b Or, not to judge his doubtful thoughts.e Ver. 14. 1 Cor.10.25. 1 Tim.4.4. Tit. 1.15.

NOTES.-It seems very likely, from this, and the following chapter, that there were considerable misunderstandings between the Jewish and Gentile Christians at Rome, relative to certain customs which were sacredly observed by the one, and disregarded by the other. The principal subject of dispute was, concerning meats and days. The converted Jew, retaining a veneration for the law of Moses, abstained from certain meats, and was observant of certain days; while the converted Gentile, understanding that the Christian religion laid him under no obligations to such ceremonial points, had no regard to either. It appears farther, that mutual censures, and uncharitable judgments, prevailed among them; and that brotherly love, and mutual forbearance, did not generally prevail. The apostle, in this part of his epistle, exhorts, that in such things, not essential to religion; and in which both parties, in their different way of thinking, might have an honest meaning, and serious regard to God, difference of sentiments might not hinder Christian fellowship and love: but that they would mutually forbear each other, make candid allowance, and especially not carry their Gospel liberty so far as to prejudice a weak brother, a Jewish Christian, against the Gospel itself, and tempt him to renounce Christianity. His rules and exhortations are still of great use; and happy would the Christian world be, if they were more generally practised. See Dr. Taylor, who farther remarks, that it is probable St. Paul learnt all these particulars from Aquila and Priscilla, who were lately come from Rome. Acts xviii. 2, 3. and with whom he apostle was familiar for a considerable time. This is very ikely, as there is no evidence that he had any other intercourse with the church at Rome.

1. Him that is weak in the faith] By this the apostle most evidently means the converted Jew who must indeed be weak in the faith, if he considered this distinction of meats and days essential to his salvation.-See on ver. 21.

Receive ye] Associate with him; receive him into your religious fellowship; but when there, let all religious altercations be avoided.

Not to doubtful disputations.] Mn eis diarpureis diaλoyte Go These words have been variously translated and understood: Dr. Whitby thinks the sense of them to be this, Not discriminating them by their inward thoughts. Do not re80

4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5f One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth i the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; d Col.2. 16.- James 4. 12.-f Gal.4.10. Col.2.16.-g Or, fully sasured.-h Gal.4. 10-i Or, observeth.

ject any from your Christian communion, because of their particular sentiments on things which are in themselves indifferent. Do not curiously inquire into their religious scruples, nor condemn them on that account. Entertain a brother of this kind rather with what may profit his soul, than with curious disquisitions on speculative points of doctrine. A good lesson for modern Christians in general.

2. One believeth that he may eat all things] He believes that whatsoever is erholesome and nourishing, whether herbs or flesh, whether enjoined or forbidden by the Mosaic law, Another, who is weak, eateth herbs] Certain Jews, lately may be safely and conscientiously used by every Christian. converted to the Christian faith, and having as yet little knowledge of its doctrines, believe the Mosaic law relative to clean and unclean meats, to be still in force; and therefore, when they are in a Gentile country, for fear of being defiled, avoid flesh entirely, and live on vegetables. And a Jew, when in a heathen country, acts thus, because he cannot tell whether the flesh which is sold in the market, may be of a clean or unclean beast; whether it may not have been offered to an idol, 3. Let not him that eateth] The Gentile, who eats flesh, or whether the blood may have been taken properly from it. despise him, the Jew, who eateth not flesh, but herbs. And let not him, the Jew, that eateth not indiscriminately, judge, condemn him, the Gentile, that eateth indiscriminately flesh, or vegetables.

For God hath received him.] Both being sincere, and upright, and acting in the fear of God, are received as heirs of gious scruples or prejudices. eternal life, without any difference on account of these reli

4. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?] Who has ever given thee the right to condemn the servant of own master he standeth or falleth. He, not thou, is to judge another man, in things pertaining to his own master? To his him; thy intermeddling in this business, is both rash and uncharitable.

Yea, he shall be holden up] He is sincere and upright; and God who is able to make him stand, will uphold him; and so teach him that he shall not essentially err. And it is the will of God that such upright though scrupulous persons, should be continued members of his church

We must live to him


6. He that regardeth the day] A beautiful apology for mistaken sincerity and injudicious reformation. Do not condemn the man for what is indifferent in itself: if he keep these festivals, his purpose is to honour God by the religious observance of them. On the other hand, he who finds that he cannot observe them in honour of God, not believing that God has enjoined them; he does not observe them at all. In like manner, he that eateth any creature of God, which is wholesome and proper for food, gives thanks to God, as the author of all good. And he who cannot eat of all indiscriminately, but is regulated by the precepts in the Mosaic law, relative to clean and unclean meats, also gives God thanks. Both are sincere; both upright; both act according to their light; God accepts both; and they should bear with each other. 7. None of us liveth to himself] The Greek writers use the phrase tauro (nv, to signify acting according to one's own judgment, following one's own opinion. Christians must act in all things according to the mind and will of God, and not follow their own wills. The apostle seems to intimate, that in all the above cases, each must endeavour to please God; for he is accountable to him alone for his conduct in these indifferent things. God is our Master, we must live to him; as we live under his notice, and by his bounty; and when we cease to live among men, we are still in his hand. Therefore, what we do, or what we leave undone, should be in reference to that eternity which is ever at hand.

9. Christ both died and rose] That we are not our own, but are the Lord's both in life and death, is evident from this, that Christ lived and died, and rose again, that he might be the Lord of the dead and the living; for his power extends equally over both worlds: separate as well as embodied spirits, are under his authority; and he it is who is to raise even the dead to life; and thus all, throughout eternity, shall live under his dominion.

The clause kat aves, and rose, is wanting in several reputable MSS. and certainly is not necessary to the text. Griesbach omits the words and reads areDave Kaι εnosv, died and lived; of which professor White says lectio indubiè genuina; "this reading is indisputably genuine."

10. But why dost thou] Christian Jew, observing the rites of the Mosaic law: judge, condemn thy brother, Christian Gentile, who does not think himself bound by this law?

Or why dost thou] Christian Gentile, set at nought thy Christian Jewish brother, as if he were unworthy of thy regard, because he does not yet believe that the Gospel has set him free from the rites and ceremonies of the law.d VOL. VI. L

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