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Epistle to the Romans. is one that is serving the Lord with his , but even such as hath gotten some special spirit, in the work of the gospel, where- blessing and favour from God, fould be to he is called.
constantly recommended to him, that he VII. It is the duty of ministers, in fol. would keep that which he hath granted lowing forth their ministerial calling, to from dying out; and would through his be serving the Lord, and not to be seek- bleffing increase the fame: for Paul says ing themselves, remembering who has put here, he made mention of those Romans, them there; and therefore they should whofe faith was spoken of far and near, so preach the gospel, as that God, whose in his prayers. servants they are, may be glorified; and XIII. The ferious and constant minding in every point thereof they should, carry of people to God by their pastors, should themselves, as doing service to the Lord: fufficiently convince people of the reality therefore fays Paul, whom I serve in the of their pastors love towards them; and gospel.
being thus convinced, they are obliged to VIII. Because ministers, in preaching welcome God's message at their hands; of the gospel, have to do with God who for this is the force of this argument. is a fpirit, that will be worshipped in spirit and truth; therefore it is their duty VERSES 10. 11. 12. Making request (if by to be labouring for sincerity and zeal in the
any means now at length I might bave administration of their office: they should prosperous journey by the will of God) preach the gospel with a pure conscience, to come unto you. 2 Tim. i. 3. earnestly, seriously, with ar- Für I lóng to see you,
may impart dour, and great affection; therefore says untogou some spiritual gift, to the end yol Paul, whom I serve in my spirit. 1 Cor. may be establifised; ix. 16. ----Neceffity is laid upon me ; yea, That is, that I may be comforted together wo is unto me if I preach not the gospel.
you, hy the mutual faith both of IX. As the gospel is nothing but glad
g'oll and me, tidings of good news concerning Christ; to the pronulgation and preaching of the The apostle, in prosecuting his
pose further, doth make use of a fitted men for that purpose, and gave them new argument to this purpose: My love a commission to go preach the gospel to to you is such, that I earnestly long to be all nations, Matth. xxviii. for thus it is with you; it is my earnest defire to God, called the gospel of his Son.
that he would grant me a prosperous X. Prayer is a duty that should not be journey towards you ; I mean such a jourgone about in fits and starts, but constant- ney as may be according to his good plealy; therefore says Paul, without ceasing, sure: and that not by reason of any delign and always in my prayers.. i Theff. v. 17. I have to enrich myself thereby, or to Pray without ceasing: See Luke xviii. 1. take any thing from you, but that rather and xxi. 26. Rom. xii. 12.
may give you, and give you freely, even XI. Thole over whom the Holy Ghost of thole things which God hath given ine; hath made us overseers, should lie near even such things as may tend to your proour hearts; and pastors should make con- fit and establishment : not as if I looked science to mind them to God, without upon you as young tender babes, needing ceasing and wearying, as Paul's example such props, or as if I were so far above teacheth us here.
you, as incapable of receiving any advanXII. Not only should we hold up their tage frorn you, in the fane kind, for case to God who lie ftill in impenitency, I as I would give, fo would I take; there
fore you must not reject this my exhorta- prosperous journey, yet with great submillition.
on of spirit, putteth a blank in God's HENCE OBSERVE,
hand (whom he knew to be wiser than I. As it is christian-like and comely for himself) and would have his petition people to be acknowledging God, and his granted when, and what way it seemed providence, in all their ways; fo a Chri- good in his eyes, and so as it might be Itian, in a spiritual frame and temper, will had with his good-liking, therefore (faith be praying for, and taking the meanest and he) by the will of God. most ordinary favour from God; as Paul's V. As prayer flacketh, when affectiexample teacherh us, who here did suppli- ons to the thing prayed for, are weak and cate the Lord for his journeying.
coldrife; so strong desires will be as oil to II. Ministers that are faithfully minding cause the wheel of prayer run more their work, and desirous of the salvation smoothly: and where prayers are ardent of poor souls, will be sparing no pains, but and sincere, they argue strong affections seriously looking for, and desirous of op to the thing desired by prayer; for here portunities and occafions, wherein they may Paul Ahows, why it was, that he was so be in a capacity of doing somewhat for their ardent in his prayers for a prosperous advantage: for here Paul, a man travelling journey towards these Romans, viz. because in pain, till he saw the falvation of souls, he had a vehement and strong desire to will not only write, but moreover is long- see them. ing for, and desirous of an opportunity of
VI. Christian love, as it is strong in itspeaking to them face to face, if that way felf, and rising from a right principle and he may advantage them more, than by ground; fo it extendeth even to such as writing; for he made request for a prosperous they, in whom it is, never faw, and is dejourney unto them.
sirous of a near capacity of benefiting them; III. So desirous of the salvation of poor as we see in Paul, who was most earnestly souls should ministers be, that they should desirous to see these Romans, that thereby be fo far from shunning occasions of ad he might be in a further capacity of dovantaging people, because of difficulties ing them good. in the way, that they should resolve up VII. As the servants of Christ who would on hardships and losses, in the way of approve themselves unto their. Master in the faithful discharge of their duty, and the day of accounts, should have an eye lay their account for the worst, that may unto the thriving of their Master's work, be; for here Paul says, if by any means
in all their deportment; so their very I might have a prosperous journey, &c. as journeying hither and thither
, and their if he had said, I do not value what crosses teeking after opportunities to converse with or troubles I can meet with in my way, people, should be for the doing good unto yea, I refolve on the worst; let it cost me their souls, and for the advancement of what it will, I would gladly see you. the work of the Lord among them: there
IV. In our supplications to God, it is fore Paul, as one ihat did not seek himour duty to be very submissive: and in felf, or his own things, longed so earnestly these temporal matters we ought to give to be with them, that he might do their God full liberty to cut and carve as he fouls good ; his end was not to get some pleaseth, and to give when and after what temporal courtesy and favour from them, manner he pleaseth; nor should we desire but to establish their fouls, by speaking any thing that is not according to his good according to the gift given him of God, will and pleasure. Therefore l'aul, tho' for ihis he was desirous to impart to them. he was making request unto God for a VIII. Not only is it the duty of the fiew
ards of Christ, to be distributing of these in grear need of supporting and undergood things the Lord hath laid under their proping; of being rooted and hafted in hand, as opportunity offereth; but they grace, and built up; and therefore doth fooull be tłudying to find out occafions, those Romans need to be established. and fo defirous to impart of what God hath XII. Ministers work is not ended when given, as to long for, and earnestly desire they have brought souls in unto Christ; to have the oppor unity, and to be put in- buc though that be a great work, yét. 1) a capacity of giving out of that food belide thar, they are to labour to keep which God hath made then stewards of; those in Christ, who are brought to Chrift, for faithful Paul is here longing to see them, least they slide back and fuccumb in the to the end he might impart some spiritual hour of temptation : therefore doth Paul gift, &c. Go:l giveth them no talent to here labour to have them established, and hile up into a napkin.
for this cause willieth to be among them. IX. As the office of the ministry is
XIII. As believers are not above orfron the Lord, and given freely unto whom dinances, and a ministry, as long as they it seemerh good in the Lord's eyes to give
d's eyes to give stand in need of establishment; so such is it; so these endowments and qualifications the love and great goodness of God towherewith they are fitted and enabled for wards them, that he, for that end, hath apthe work, are not of their own fpinning; pointed a standing ministry unto the end but are also freely bestowed by the Lord, of the world; and endued men with spiwhether they be ordinary or extraordina- ritual gifts whereby fouls may be estary, and should be acknowledged as coming blished and confirmed: for here the Lord from him, and for that cause more faith- provided means whereby these Romans fully laid forth for him: for here there might be brought in to Christ; yet Paul qualifications that were in Paul whether knowing that they needed to be establitb. for exhortation, for doctrine, for prophecy, ed, wilhetli to be among them for that for interpretation, or the like, are called end, for whicli also God had gifted him, gifts; gifts freely given, and gifts given | And as these Romans needed such means, of God's free grace, as the word imports.certainly no less doth believers now aSee I Cor. xii. 8. 9. 10. 11.
days stand in need of the like;, and God's X. As those gifts and qualifications are care is no less now than then.. from God's Spirit, who worketh them in XIV. As young believers are fubje& whom he pleaseth, and bestowed by the to many discouragements; and among oLord for a spiritual end; fo should ministers ther things that useth to discourage them, ke far from abusing them unto their own this is one, that when they hear any carnal advantage and bye-ends, and should thing intimating that they are not such as cnly employ them for the ends appointed they ought to be, or when they compare ci God, viz. the spiritual emolument and be themselves with others, who possibly are refit of souls; for in these respects are they of longer standins, and of greater expecalled here spiritual gifts, and gifts thai rience, and findeth such a great dispropornight tend to their establishment. tion, prefently they are ready to con
XI. Such is the weaknefs of grace oftclude, that all are wrong with them, or I believers, and such is the falsehood and at least, to droop and hang the head in deceitfulness of their hearts, as yet not discouragement; so it lieth at the door of thoroughly renewed and changed; and the ministers of the gospel 10 fee to this, fach is the strength of corruption, and the and to use all possible fair means to pre. forms of temptation, and the malice and vent the stumbling of the weak; as Paul restlessness of adversaries, that they stand I doth here, fearing they should have stum
, and that from them, as well as they Author argument much to the same
bled, and been discouraged at his speak-, adhering to him, and living in him, will ing of their needing to be strengthen by this means strengthen and comfort one ed, c. by mitigating what he said for- another, and also admonish and exhort merly, in this 12th verse.
such as faint, and are like to weary, and XV. The best way for pastors, or others, hereby the strongest will be profited by to prevent the discouragement that young the weakest; for it was by their mutual beginners are obnoxious unto, is not to faith that Paul says, he would be comforted harp too much upon their weakness and together with them. infirmities, but rather to be putting themselves in the same case and condition with VERSE 13. Now, I would not have you them, as needing the same fupply and ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purhelp that they stand in need of; and so posed to come unto you (but was lei himiaking the case common, it will be the therto) that I might have fome fruit'aless grievous and burdensome unto weak
mong you also, even as among other Genbeginners: therefore Paul tells them, he tiles, had need of exhortation or confolation, (for the word will bear both) as well as
firous of a prosperous journey to come XVI. There is none so far advanced in unto you, and instant with God by prayChristianity, while they are on this side er, that my desire might be granted, but of the fun, as not to need help and com- moreover I have been labouring for opfort even from others that are their infe- portunities, and casting in my mind, how, riors, as Paul teacheth us, while he con- and what way, and what time, I would fefseth here, that he would be comforted, win unto you; and oft-times laying down or exhorted, even by these Romans to resolutions, that, at such or such a time, whom he was writing.
I would come to you ; only the Lord XVII. As iron sharpeneth iron, fo Chri. thought good to lay fome impediment in stian communion and fellowship, when my way, and nothing but that keeped me rightly improven, will prove a mean from coming unto you; and that not for whereby Christians will be mutually edi- any particular of mine own, save what fied, and built up; as Paul teacherh us, concerneth you, that some of you that while he fayeth, that his conversing with are not yet brought in to Christ, might be them would tend to their mutual comfort. brought in, and so my ministry should
XVIII. Then is christian communion have fruit among you, as it hath among well managed and used, when thereby others. Therefore, mutual discoveries and evidences of the
HENCE LEARN, reality of God's grace in them is held I. As it is not enough for people to forth; and proof given of their know be praying for that which is for their beledge of, and faith in Christ, and menti- | hoof, but also mould moreover be so seon made of their mutual experiments of rious, and earnest in endeavouring after God's love, &c. for the mutual faith both the same, as that they ought to be laying of Paul and these Romans, was to be made hold on every fair occasion whereby they known and discovered, when they were may attain what is prayed for ; fo, in to meet together.
particular, ministers of the gospel should XIX. Believers meeting together, and not think it enough, to'pray for such or by conference, or other exercises, shewing such means, whereby they might edify the to one another their embracing of Christ, ' people, but also study to lay hold on the first offered occasion; for Paul, we see, did to place, should be the gaining of souls to not only pray for a prosperous journey to Christ: this should be the intended fruit come tò these Romans, but besides, was of their painful labours. This was one of using other lawful endeavours, apprehend- the ends why Paul would have been at ing whatever fair occasion did present itself : Rome, viz. .that he might have fume fruit A&s xix. 21.--- Paul purposed in the spirit--- | among them; by which he meaneth the to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been conversion of foine to Christ. thers, I must also fée Rome.
VI. The gospel's gaining ground and II. Many a time it seemeth good in the doing good in one place, should encourage Lord's eyes, to stop lawful purposes and the melsengers thereof to carry it farther; resolutions; and these purposes neverthe- therefore his finding the gospel having less laudable and lawful: and it is ordinary fruit among other Gentiles, made him the for faithtul ministers, in their ministerial more desirous to go to the Romans. function, to have their desires obtruct- VII. So great desire should the ministers ed. Paul would gladly have been at of the gospel have to see it thrive, as if all Rome, that he might have gained souls; the fruit of their pains and labour were and yet though his desire was lawful and their own, and none's else; and therefore commendable (for here he avows it, and he calls the fruit his, that I might have, &c. maintains it) the Lord was pleased to put ftop in his way.
VERSES 14. 15. I am debtor both to the III. Whenever the Lord in his provi- Greeks, and to the barbarians, both to dence, either layeth, or suffereth the devil the wise, and to the unwife. to lay, invincible impediments in our way, So, as much as in me is, I am ready to fo as we cannot come by our purposes and
preach the gospel to you that are at Rome endeavours, in a lawful and honest way, also. We thould then reverence Providence, and as contentedly sit down, as if we had got- Aving from the tenth verse expressren an express prohibition: therefore fays ed the vehemency of his desire to be Paul, he was forbidden, (as the word figni- among them; and held forth many speakfieth) when hindered, either by God's ing and undeniable evidences thereof; to giving him his hands full elsewhere, or by the end he might prevail so far with them Satan the like; fee Afts xvi. 10. &c. as to entertain kindly his epiftle, and the 1 Theff. ii. 18. Wherefore we would have doctrine therein delivered; he here furcome unto you (even / Paul) once and again; ther confirms, and giveth reasons of this but Satan bindred us.
his defire, from the inward principle that IV. The great Lord, whose providence moved him; to this purpose: Do not reacheth all things, taketh special care of think strange that I have such a strong inthe gospel, and the preaching thereof, and clination to come unto you, and to preach fends it to whom, and when, he pleaseth, the gospel among you, for there is bonds and not to others, nor till he thinks fil ; lying upon me; and I am under triat debt he can stop the wheels when, and as long and obligation to preach the gospel, not 2:, he will: as here he stopped Paul from only to you, but to all the Gentiles whatcarrying the gospel to them at Rome for a somever, be they Grecians or Barbarians ; while. Whatever hand second causes may be they of the learnedett; wifest, and most tare in this, his supreme righteous arm judicious fort, or of the rudest and most should be marked, and acknowledged. barbarous and ignorant : and therefore
V. One of the great designs of ministers, question not, but, so far as I am able, and in their travelling and marching from place ' as God will give way, in his wise and well