Page images
PDF
EPUB

ordering providence, I am ready, and at a world for their charge: and such were call. cail, to preach the gospel to you also at ed Apostles, and other extraordinary per. Rone.

fons, whom God raifed up, for that ina HENCE LEARN,

Itant, and laid alide again when he thought 1. All such whom the Lord employeth fit; among whom was Paul, who had the in the work of the ministry, are not 10 whole Gentiles in his commission, Grelook upon the preaching of the gospel, cians and barbarians. and thereby the gaining of souls, as an ar IV. Such is now the darkness of the bitrary and indifferent thing, which they understandings of men by nature, fince may set about, when and how they that general confufion which befel man. please, and leave off again, as they think kind at the fall of Adam, that were they good; but as a piece of work unavoid never so well polished and dressed with ably bound upon their back, and a talk natural speculations, and adorned with which by no means they can get shunned; moral virtues, they cannot of themselves for it is here held forth as a debt, I am attain unto the knowledge of Christ in debtor, fays Paul. See i Cor. ix. 16. 17. the gospel ; but wise and unwise, Gre

II. The consideration of this, that therecian and barbarian, are all alike: and to is such a necessity lying upon the preach them the gospel must be preached, and ers of the gospel, to endeavour after the Paul must have a commission to preach to conversion and establishment of poor souls, then the unspeakable riches of Christ : as it should prove a spur in the fides of 1 Cor. ii. 14. But the natural man receive fuch as are imployed, to walk answerable eth not the things of the Spirit of God: for to their obligation and duty, notwith they are foolishness unto him ; neither can ftanding of what difficulties can be ima- he know them, becaufe they are spiritually gined to be in their way; so should it discerned. move people, not only not to spurn at V. Howbeit men foolishly doting and the meffengers of the gospel

, when dili- resting upon their vain natural speculations, gently following their duty, and setting should think meanly of the doctrine of the against ignorance and profanity, but also gospel, as not answering their humours, heartily and sweetly to welcome the go- and foolith imaginations, and account is fpel, and chearfully yield obedience there foolilhness, 1 Cor. i. 23. yet there is such un!o: all which is implied in the word debt. depths in it, as may give the best of their For what honest man will not be moved brains enough to do: and withal, conat the fight of his obligation, to endea- taining the mind of God, and holding vour after a fulfilling of it; and who forth his counsel so clearly, that through will not take that well off a man's hand, God's grace, the fimplest idiot, and barbawhich they see him bound to do, especi rian, may take it up: and therefore Paul ally when it is for their own advantage, says, he is a debtor to both wise and unpayment of a debt is.

wife; knowing that it was a mean for the III. The only wise Lord, at the be- instruction of the one, as well as of the ginning of the gospel

, saw it needful for other; and as it would give instruction to the spreading of the same, and for found the barbarian, fo the Grecian, for all his ing of churches, to give a commission to wit, would stand in need of it, and receive fome to preach the gospel, not to one con- light by it. gregation only, but to all people, far or VI. As the ministers of the gospel have near, to whom God in his providence not their flocks all of one size and kind, would bring them., They were not fixed but some wise and some unwise; so it is to one particular flock, but had the broad their duty to be endeavouring to pay that

debe

as the

T

debt they owe to both, and so to preach as of him that sent them, and should make both may be bettered; babes may have their them shake off all the intanglements of milk, and grown Christians strong food : this life, 2 Tim. ii.

this life, 2 Tim. ii. 4. No man that warreth for Paul says, he was debtor both to the intangleth himself with the affairs of this wife and the unwise. See 1 Cor. iii. 1. 2. life---and whatever may prove distractions, Heb. v. 12. 13.

to impede them in their message; yet they VII. A right sight of ministers their, ought not to wrestle against God and his commission over such and such a charge, providence, when he lays impediments in fhould put them in mind of, and incite their way: for of such impediments Paul them to, every particular duty, to every makes exception here, while he says, as particular person within their charge, lo much as in me is; that is, so far as God far as they are able: for Paul, from the gives liberty, there shall nothing on my consideration of his commission over Gre- part hinder: if God lay any obstruction cians and barbarians, infers particularly his in my way, there I must stand. dary of preaching to the Romans, saying, So, as far as in me is, I am ready, &c. VERSE 16. For I am not ashamed of the

VIII. Albeit the constant settled charge gospel of Christ: for it is the power of of the ministers of the gospel now, be not God unto salvation, to every one that beof such a latitude as was the charge of the lieveth, to the Jew first, and also to the apostles; yet there is none, comparing Greek. their ordinary endowinents and qualifications with the extraordinary endowments HE apostle is here backing what he of the apostles, but must see more work

said, by

pre-occupying an objection, for him than he can get done; and so cry and withal coucheth in the bosom of it out with the fame Paul, Who is sufficient an argument to welcome his doctrine. It for these things? and therefore the apostle might have been objected thus: You say here says, As much as in me is, I am rea you are ready to preach the gospel to us; dy, &c. Importing, that though he was but how think you to do so, when the willing to preach to them, and others of wise ones in the world have it in conhis charge, yet he was not able to get all tempt and derision, and do not value the done.

gospel, nor the carriers thereof. He IX. Notwithstanding that ministers of antwereth : However they think little of the gospel cannot get their commission fol- it, yet I am not moved thereby to have it lowed forth in every point; yet that should in less esteem; I am so far from being abe so far from discouraging them, and shamed of it, that I glory of it; and that Faking them despair and quite the work, for good reasons too. , 1. Because it is the that rather it should be as oil to make their gospel; good news, and glad tidings : and delites to flame and increase, and their who needs be ashamed of that? 2. It is inclinations more forward and bent to the gospel of Chrifl; treating of him, good do all that is within their power, accord news of him, and from him : and should ing as occasion offers: therefore tho' Paul I be ashamed of it? 3. It is the power of could not get liberty to preach to the Ro- God unto falvation: It is that effećtual and mans, yet he was ready, as much as in powerful mean and instrument in God's bire was.

hand, whereot he makes use to bring down X. However the desires of the servants the strong holds of Satan ia fouls, and of the Lord Thould be so strong towards carry souls towards heaven fafely:' and the gaining of souls, as that it should be should I not glory of that? 4. It is thus zbeir meat and their drink to do the will 'efficacious only to believers, and to all such :

D 2

ás

as close with Christ offered in the gospel, whatever difficulties they may in all likelybe they rich, be they poor, without ex hood encounter with: for it was the conceprion : and should I think shame to car- fideration of this, that the gospel was the ry such a message? 5. The Lord thought power of God, that Paul gives as a reason so much of it, that the first proffer of it why he would do what he could to preach was made to the specially-privileged peo- the gospel to those at Rome, whatever reple; to the Jew first. And, 6. However proach and ill will he thould meet with this box of sweet ointment was first broken thereby : this was it that hardened him, up among the Jews, and they first honour against all crosses imaginable. ed therewith, yet the finell of it was dif IV. Seeing the gospel is nothing but fused farther to the Gentiles : and should I good news, and glad tidings of peace to be ashamed to carry such a worthy, favo- rebels, of salvation and redemption to capry and excellent box? And thus, wish tivated fouls, of bands to bind up the what farther followeth in the next verse, broken-hearted, of light to the blind, and having given sufficient grounds why he of the oil of joy, for such as are heavy in would not be ashamed of the gospel

, he spirit; no discouragement imaginable that (as I'faid) tacitely infinuateth this, that the carriers of it can meet with, thould seeing he was not ashamed to preach the make them ashamed that they are counted gospel, they ought not to be ashamed to worthy to carry such a sweet, joyful, rehear and accept the gospel of Christ, freshful, pleasant, and acceptable message: which is fo powerful for the faving of all for so much is imported in the very name believers, be they Jew, be they Gentile. it getterh, the gospel, or good news. OBSERVE,

V. That the gospel hath such a noble 1. Such is the implacable maliciousness of subject to treat of, as is Jesus Christ, the Satan, and the desperate wickedness of image of God, 2 Cor. iv. 4. I he brightness poor, ignorant, proud, foolish souls, whom of his glory, and the express image of his Saran stirreth up, that the gospel shall not person, Heb. i. 3. and luch a one as is this want opposition where-ever it cometh; and King of kings, to be its author and instithough it be glorious and worthy of all ac tutor, it should so much the more comceptation of itself, yet ordinarily it is ac mend it to the carriers of it, and encoucompanied with opposition, calumnies, and rage them against what affronts or disgrace foul aspersions, which is here supposed, they can be exposed to, in their faithful in that he says, he will not be ashamed of it. discharge of their office: so Paul was not

II. All that opprobry that can be cast ashamed of the gospel, it being the gospel upon the gospel, and all those crosses that of Christ. do ordinarily attend the preaching of it, at VI. However the gospel seem conthe hands of one or other, should not so temptible to many, to whom it seemeth discourage the messengers of it, as to give it foolishness, because of its fimplicity; and over; but rather should stir them up to a however many not only stand out against rejoicing in their employment, and to mag | it, and refuse to yield obedience thereunnify their office: for Paul's example in to, but also set themselves against it, and not being amamed of it, should teach us as make all the opposition they can; yet it is, much. See 2 Tim. i. 12.

in itself, a mean appointed of God whereby III. A right and fan&tified sight and ap- he bringeth about strange and wonderful prehension of the work, and excellency of works of power; and where the Lord is the gospel, will be a mean to stir up the pleased to back it with his spirit, becomes carriers of it, to diligence, and to see about mighty to the pulling down of strong bolds, every piece of their work with carefulness, I 2 Cor. x. 4. and as a two handed sword

levelleth

levelleth all before it : Therefore it is unto whom it becometh the favour of life bere called the power of God. Heb. iv. 12. unto life: therefore faith Paul, it is the For the word of God is quick and powerful. power of God unto salvation, to them that 1 Cor. i. 18.--- But unto us which are saved, believe. See Heb. iv. 2. it is the power of God.

XI. Such is the freedom of God's offer VII. In that the gospel is such a power in the gospel, that whatever sort of finners ful instrument and mean, whereby God is they have been to whom the offer is made, pleased to bring about mighty and won and however vile and abominable they have derful works, the carriers thereof should been formerly, yet they shall be welcome, be so much the more encouraged, and on condition that they heartily receive and heartened to go through all contradiction embrace the same, and welcome Christ that and feas of obloquy and disgrace, knowing is offered therein ; for the gospel is the that mauger all their oppolision, it will be power of God unto salvation, to all such as effećtual for gaining of souls, where and believe, without exception.. when it seemeth good in his eyes, whose XII, Great and manifold are the priviinstrument it is: for here Paul says, he leges of people in covenant with God; was not ashamed of the gospel, and why, and however they, for their iniquities, debecause it is the power of God.

ferve little good at God's hand, yet he is VIII. How fad and lamentable must the fo mindful of his covenant, as to thow them ardtion of such be, as either want, re some favour beyond others : and therefore jećt, or oppose this gospel; seeing it is these people of the Jews, being the feeủ of the ordinary, and only ordinary mean, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so in covewhereby souls are brought to faivation: nant with God, howbeit undeserving at how feckless foever it seem in itself, it is God's hand, yet get here the first offer of the gospel of salvation, Eph. i. 13. and the a Mediator; the cabinet of the precious grace of God that bringeth. falvation, Tīt. jewels is first opened among them, who i. Il. that discovereth that way, and were a greatly privileged people, Rom. ix. bringeih folk into it; it is the ministration 4. 5. Who are Ifraelites; to whom pertainof tbe Spirit, which quickeneth, and giv- eth the adoption, &c. It is to them first: eih life, 2 Cor. iii. 8. therefore it is here Matth. X. 5. - Go not into the way of the called, the power of God unto salvation. Gentiles, and into any city of the Samuri

IX. The consideration of this, that the tans enter ye not. See Açtsi. 8. chap. xiii. 46. preaching of the gospel is such a necessary XIII. Albeit God was pleased to ho2nd profitable mean, a mean whereby nour the covenanted Jews with the first ofTuor fouls are brought into a state of lal fer of the gospel, yet he would not confine sation, should so harden the messengers the fame among them, but thought good tereof against all possible affronts, and to make the Gentiles, that were once ftranreader the gospel so glorious and excel-gers and foreigners, fellow-heirs and citileor in their eyes, that no spot of ignoni- zens; for now the middle wall of partition por reproach cast upon it, should cause being broken down, there is no difference ilem turn their backs thereupon, as a between the Jew and the Greek : for the Shared thereof : for, for this cause, that fame Lord over all, is rich unto all that call e gospel was the power of God unto fal. upon him: For whosoever jball call upon

the cation, Paul was not ashamed of it.

name of the Lurd, Jhall be saved, Rom. x. X. Albeit the gospel, where backed by 12. 13. for here it faid, to the Greek also. re Spirit, be glorious and powerful, for XIV. The confideration of the efficacy ne accomplishing and bringing to pals and usefulness of the gospel to all that beWonderful works; yet it is only believers lieve, be they of what nation or kindred

soever;

X. 3.

soever; and how the messengers thereof the gospel, for therein is this righteoufiefs are so far from flinching from it, because revealed. of persecution, or what malice can effec- III. However in folks by nature there tuate, that they glory in it; should be a mbe an inclination to obtain happiness by a strong inducement to people to embrace covenant of works, which is broken long heartily, and yield obedience unto the gofince; yet that righteousness by which we spel: for this is the force of the apostle's must stand before God's tribunal, and argument, whereby he would persuade which is revealed and made known in the them to welcome the gospel, because he gospel, is not a righteousness of our own was not alhamed of the gospel, it being the purchasing, and merit, or devising, but a power of God unto salvation, &c. righteousness fallen upon by the infinite

wise God, or a righteousness of one who VERSE 17. For therein is the righteousness is God; for it is called the righteousness of of God revealed from faith to faith :---

God. Phil. iii. 9. ----'I be righteousness which

is of God by faith. See Rom, iii. 2 1. and HIS JIS last argument, taken from the use

fulness and efficacy of the gospel, he IV. This righteousness of God which tonfirmeth in the fore part of this verse ; is revealed and exhibited in the gospel, is and sheweth, that the gospel is the power made ours and applied by faith, laying of God unto salvation, to all such as be hold on Jefus and his righteousness; for lieve, because in the gospel that righteouf- it is revealed from faith, or by faith. ness by which we must stand before God's V. The least degree of faith, provided tribunal, and which is of his invention, is it be fincere and true, appropriateth this therein declared and exhibited to believers, revealed righteousness of God in the gobe their faith weak or strong, from faith to spel to us : for it is revealed from faith to faith; that is, that righteousness of God faith; that is, from the smallest measure by which we must be justified, is exhibit- and degree of faith to the greatest. ed, and applied by faith that is fincere, VI. Such is the nature of true faith, and is upon the growing hand, and advan: that however Satan be using many means cing from one degree to another. whereby to make it fail, and die, yet it is OBSERVE,

ftill growing from one degree and measure 1. The Lord hath made such a connec- to another, from faith to faith. tion betwixt righteousness, as the way, and life and falvation, as the end, that none ---- As it is written, The just Mall live by needeth to expect salvation without' righ- faith. teousness; Hab. i. 13. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil... 1 Cor. vi

. 9.10. THE apostle having shown, how the Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not gospel is the power of God unto inherit the kingdom of God? ---- See Rev. salvation, to all that believe, by thewing xxi. 27. For here the apostle's argument that therein is the way to falvation, thro supposeth it.

faith applying the righteousness of God, II. That righteousness by which alone without which no falvation ; he comes to we attain unto salvation, cannot be learned the main question which he is about to by natural knowledge; but the natural clear, touching justification by faith alone, man, however in other things he be sharp without the works of the law. enough fighted, yet he cannot reach thisHere then beginneth the second part of for it is a matter that must be revealed in the epistle; and the first doctrine which the gospel; and so cannot be known but by 'he proposeth' and confirmeth, is anent ja

stification

« PreviousContinue »