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science in every man and woman, which | bear witness, and so to approve of that attends them constantly, be about what which the apostle was about. bufiness they will, it is a constant compa- XII. Conscience rightly informed, and nion: Mly conscience.
in a fanétified frame, will not approve and VIII. This conscience is not the man's commend the action, or the man in doing, self, but it is something distinct and diffe- of it, tho' the action be good in itself, if rent from the man's self, being a power there be no more, if all the circumstances there deputed for God, to act for him, which make up a christian action be not and to walk by his rules, and to be as a present; if the action be not performed in censor over the man in all he doth; my a right manner, from a right principle, conscience bearing me witness, and so it was and to a right end, conscience will never distinct from himself; and was bearing wit- be pleased; so that a man may be doing ness of what himself was saying, and so that which is right in itself, and yet want distinct from himself.
the testimony of his conscience: for Paul IX. This conscience, which is as God's was not only Speaking truth, but he had deputy in every man and woman, is par also bis conscience bearing witness, because ticularly acquainted with every action the he was honest, even as to the manner of man goeth about, is privy to all he doth, his speaking. be it a mattei of small moment, or of great- XIII. When conscience is rightly informer concernment; for here conscience takes ed, and in a spiritual temper, its testimony notice of Paul's speaking but a word, 1 is most divine and impartial; much weight Speak the truth, says he, my conscience bear- should be laid upon it, it being a spiritual ing me witness.
discerner of things, and unbiassed; and the X. This conscience, when fanctified by attesting of conscience is a weighty and the Spirit of God, and in a good frame, folemn business, and should be gravely and will not only take notice of the substance folemnly gone about : for here the apostle of the action which a man goeth about, puts the testimony of his conscience in whether it be lawful or unlawful; but with the testimony of God the Son, and also of the frame of Spirit which the man God the Holy Ghost, saying, My conscihath, while he is discharging the duty, ence also bearing me witness. and of the manner of his discharging of it, XIV. Tho' the testimony of conscience whether it be in a christian manner or not: may not be appealed unto in trivial and for the apostle says, I speak the truth in light matters, or irreverently and salhly, Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me it being such a grave and weighty malter witness; his conscience took notice, (for to attest conscience; yet a Christian, in so we may understand the words also not some cases, and at some times, may lawonly of his speaking truth, but of his fully appeal to his conscience when the Speaking truth in Christ
, as became a case requireth it, that God may thereby Christian, and sincerely without guile and get glory and others may be edified; and deceit, that he spoke truth, and did there is no other way to get the matter not lie.
cleared, as here; and it must be done soberXI. Not only is conscience privy to ly, deliberately, and weightedly: as Paul what a man doth, both as to matter and doch here, saying, My conscience bearing me manner, but also is accordingly affected, witness, in the Holy Ghot. and can figoify its sense of the man's action, XV. A minister, when lying under great it can give its verdict of what the man calumnies whereby the work of God is doth, be it good or evil, as to matter and marred in his hand, and lying under mis. napper, or both: for here it is faid, to takes whereby others are hindered from
Profiting by the word in his mouth, and conscience was bearing him witness in the there beiog no other way whereby these Holy Ghost. mistakes and calumpies shall be removed xix. Not only should we consult conand taken off, may lawfully, when in a science, when we are enterprizing any fpiritual and heavenly temper and frame, thing, and alk the judgment of conicifolemnly appeal to his conscience in vindi-ence when we have done with the action; cating himself from these aspersions and but seeing conscience is looking upon us in grounds of jealousy; after Paul's example the very cime while we are about an action, here, who finding the jealousies the Jews and hath some sense and judgment of what had of him as their enemy, were certainly we are doing and saying, and can some like to hinder them from believing the way acquaint the man therewith; theretruth, and such as could no otherways be fore we should, even in the mean time removed, says here in a solemó manner, while we are about the action, be consulIfy the truth in Christ, I lie not, my con- ing conscience, and reflecting thereupon, fiience also bearing me witness.
and this will evidence a tender frame and XVI. When conscience is thus duely difpofition, as Paul doth here: he is speakand righdy appealed to, it should abunding the truth, and he is adverting to what antly in realon fatisfy us as to the truth conscience is saying of him in the mean of what is affirmed under such a solemn time, whether it be accusing or exculing attestation; Paul's taking this way, faith, him, and he finds it approving him, and that this might in reason have sufficed bearing witness for him. therefore says the Jews: I say the truth in Christ, I lie he, My conscience bearing me witness
. not, &c.
XX. It becomes us all so to walk, even XVII. Though every man hath a con- in the manner of the discharge of our duscience within him, yet every man hath ties, as to have our consciences going along not a like good conscience; fone have their with us and approving us: so that though conscience defiled, Tit. i 4. some pure, 1 Tim. we cannot always actually reflect and find iii. 9. 2 Tim. i. 3. and void of offence, Acts the explicite testimony and verdict of conxxiv. 16. some weak, fome strong, 1 Cor. science; yet we ought fo to walk, as that viji. 7. 10. 12. some have a feared confci- the thing we do be right, and the frame ence, 1 Tim. iv. 2. fome a conscience accuf- of our ipirit in going about it be ftayed ing or excusing, Rom. ii. 15. Tome an evil and compoled, so as conscience be kept in conscience, Heb. x. 22. and fome a good a good tune, and be ready to give its apconscience, Acts xxiii. 1. 1 Tim. i. 5. 19. probation, when consulted : as it was wih Heb. xiii. 18. 1 Pet. iii. 16. 21. fome'a Paul here, who went about his expreling foul conscience needing purging, Heb.ix. 14. his great affection towards the Jews with fome a conscience fanctified, and acting in such composedness of spirit, as he carried the Holy Ghost, as here; and this should along with him a good contcience, and be endeavoured after: My conscience bear had its approbation, saying, My conscience ing me witnefs in the Holy Ghost. bearing me witness in the Holy Ghoji.
XVIII. It is very refreshful and comforcable to have a conscience sanctified and
That I have great heaviness in a good frame befriending a man, and
and continual forrow in my heart. this is it which will satisfy him, and bear For I could wish that myself were accursed him up under reproaches, Acts xxij. in
from Christ, for my brethren crosses, 1 Pet. ii. 19. 20. and under chal
according to the flesh. lenges, i John iii. 21. as it doth Paul here, who comforted himself with this, that his H Ariani
, thus for the conciliating of credit, used a grave and weighty al
restation and oath, he now cleareth how ter, and their falvation, that he waves the groundless their jealousies were of him, and consideration of his being a privileged per. how little cause they had to suspect the re- son, and darts his eyes only towards that ality of his, affection towards, and estima. which he was bent upon, as Moses in a tion of them; he therefore firlt points forth like case, Exod. xxxii. 32. in that he could his affection to vards them, verses 2. 3. and wish himself an anathema. He seems to then holds forth how highly he esteemeth allude unto the custom of the Heathens, of them, verses 4. 5. where he reckoneth who called him, whom they had destined up all their privileges, which they had as to death to pacify the gods for their inibeing the people of God. And all this quity, and the removal of some judgmeit while, tho' he be immediately upon the that was upon them, and so wished to be back of this to speak of clearing God not- abhored of God, and accounted a cherem, withstanding of their rejection; yet he or devoted thing, which behoved to be doth not exprefly inake mention of their killed, Lev. xxvii. 28. 29. and then addeth, off-casting, but rather doth infinuate fo for my brethren my kinsfolk according to the much, and yet so clearly, as all of them flesh; to them, that whatever they would might be convinced of the truth, by ex- alledge, yet he had not shaken off all napressing his great grief fer their case. tural aifection, but looked upon them as Therefore, says he, I have heaviness; that his brethren and kinsfolk, and how strong is, anguth and paio, as of a woman in tra- this tye of natural conjunction was to him, vail; for the word lignifieth so, Joha xvi. 2 1. and should be to others. and not only so, but great heaviness; the
OBSERVATIONS. grief which I have conceived at your condition is not ordinary, but more than or- I. Tho' carnal people, who judge of dinary: and also continual forrow in roy things amiss, do look upon ministers as heart'; your case goeth near my heart, and their rank enemies, because of their freecauseih grief to my spirit, and sorrow that dom; yet notwithstanding of all this free- . is lasting, continual sorrow. All which he dom which faithful ministers may, and further confirmeth, verse 3. where he hold. will use, they may carry a strong affection eth forth the greatest expression of affection even towards these with whom they are imaginable, saying, For I could wish that most free. Tho' the Jews were jealous myself were accursed from Christ, for my of Paul, and looked upon him as their brethren my kinsmen according to the flesh; enemy, because he told the truth, as Gal, what more teitimony and proof of love iv. 16. also; yet here he leweth that their can a man desire, than thus to be content jealousy was groundless, and how dearly to be cast out of the church, as one ana- be loved them; for he was fore vexed thematized, for his friends, if that could with their condition, and was in heaviness do them good, and help them out of their and continual forrow, &c. condition: now, says the apostle, if it were II. The best proof that. a minister can possible that I could save you, and deliver give of his strong affections towards carnal you out of that state of rejection in which people, who do much question the same, ye are, by becoming an anathema myself, is to express the real grief and forrow of Í could be content, so strong is my affe&tion his heart for their woful and wreiched towards you; so far am I from rejoicing condition; as Paul doth here, saying, I at your sad condition, who were once a have great heaviness and continual forroco. people so much accounted of: he was, in III. The unchurching of a particular a manner, so transported with the strength visible church being a sad judgment, Rev. of his affection to God's glory in the mat. I ii, 5. is matter of grief and sorrow to any
of the children of God, and will be to all dear for that effect : for Paul here fays, that are truly religious and tender, mini- I could wish that myself were accursed from fter or people, a matter of great grief and Christ, for my brethren. continual forrow : it cannot chooie but go VII. Christianity doth not loose the near the heart of a true child of God, bonds of nature, nor cool natural affection, to see him giving their mother a bill of but rather helps it, and makes it to run in divorce: for this was it which made Paul a right channel: Paul has this strong afhere be in heaviness, and have continual fection to such as were his kinsmen accordforrow of heart.
ing to the flesh. IV. Ministers, in dealing with an exas. perated people, should follow a christian VERSES 4. 5. Who are Ifraelites ; to whom prudent way of infinuating themselves in
pertainerh the adoption, and the glory, their affections, and for this cause should and the covenants, and the giving of the wisely forbear any expression which may law, and the service of God, and the irritate; yet so as truth may thereby suf promises; fer no prejudice, and therefore should ta Whose are the fathers, and of whom as citly and indirectly point out that which
concerning the fielh Christ came, who is would incense them if spoken in even-dowa over all, God blefed for ever. Amen. terms: as Paul doth here, who will not say exprelly, that God had unchurched Ext, to persuade them of his high them, or cast them off; yet he hints at as estimation of them, the apostle much, and leaves them to gather it out of reckoneth up the privileges wherewith the his great grief and heaviness.
Lord had honoured them: And 1. says he, V. Though the children of God should W no are Israelites; that is, come of noble quietly submit unto all God's dispensations, and valiant Jacob, who as a prince preand put their mouth in the dust, and re vailed with God, and for that cause was verence his doings towards others, how called Ifrael, so that whatever honour was dear foever they be to them; yet this in that name which God so remarkably should not justle out natural tenderness, pity gave to Jacob, they were made sharers and compaffion, and hinder them from con thereof. 2. To whom pertaineth the adipe doling the condition of fuch; both these tion; that is, they are the only people may well subsist together : for tho' Paul whom God has chosen out of all the reft knew that this dispensation which these of the nations, and are become his choses Jews were under, was according to God's people, his sheep, and hence are named will and wise purpose, and so in that re. his first born, Exod. iv 22. his peculia spect did christianly submit, and did not treasure, Exod. xix. 5. and the lot of his in fret and repine; yer his religion did not heritance, Deut. xxxii. 9. 3. and the glory banish his natural affection, and make him that is, they had the pre-eminence and ex a stoick, but for all that he was in heavi- cellency beyond all other nations, as har ness and continual forrow of heart.
ing the tabernacle of the Lord pitchel VI. So dearly should all ministers love, among them; in which respect he is fait and so-earnestly should they desire the falo to walk among them, Lev. xxvi. 11. 11 vation of such as are under their charge, out of which tabernacle the Lord gave hi and also all Christians should so seriously responses, and so is called, the babitatio, desire the salvation of others, that they of his glory, Psal. xxvi. 8. and the ark i should be content to be at any loss ima- called his glory, 1 Sam. iv. 21. 22. 4. ar ginable and possible, for the procuring of the covenants; that is, the moral iaw, whid the same, and should think nothing too God delivered upto them in two tables
stone, and therefore mentioned in the plu- of justification thro' him; and therefore ral number; which were called, the tables after he has shortly described his person of the covenant, Deut. ix. 11. 15. Heb. he closeth with an amen, going before *
5. The giving of the law; that is, them in what he would gladly have had the judicial law, whereby they were ruled them doing. He describeth him in his as a commonwealth, all their judicial sta- two natures, as man and God; as man he tutes were given by the mouth of God, had his original of the Jews, and therefore Deut. iv. 8. not by man, as the laws he says, of whom, as concerning the flesh of other nations were, such as Solon, Li. Chris came; he came of the Jews, but it curgus, Numa, Draco, "and the like. was according to the flesh, or his human 6. And the service of God; that is, the nature; and this supposeth that he had ceremonial law, or the rites, ceremonies, another nature, viz. a divine nature; and and way how the Lord would be worship- therefore he addeth, God; to shew, that ed; these were the ordinances of divine as he was man, so was he true God: and service spoken of, Heb. ix. 1. 7. And for further confirming of this, he addeth the promises; that is the covenant of grace, wo epithets of God; as 1. That he is which contained the promises of grace and over all; which theweth his glory and glory, wherein every thing held forth is power to be equal with the Father's, in freely promised, and all things necessary that he is far beyond all fathers and perto a soul here or hereafter, are freely pro- sons whatsoever, yea, and over all things mised. 8. Whose are the fathers; that is, in heaven and earth. 2. Blessed for ever; they are descended of noble progenitors, an epithet which agreeth only to the true of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, men emi- God, and which also pointeth forth his nently beloved of God and eminent in pi. eternity. And then, that he might engage ety, men with whom the Lord made a co- the Jews to fall in love with Christ, who venant, Gen. xvii. 4. and so they sprung is such an excellent person, he casteth a from a people in covenant with God, who copy unto them, and crieth out, Amen; sheweth mercy to the thousand generation as if he had said, I am heartily content of them that love him and keep his com- with this Mediator, who is God blessed mandments, Exod. xx. 6. 9. And of whom, for ever; my soul closeth with him, and as concerning the flesh, Christ came; a great I rest upon him, and am fully satisfied in honour indeed to this pation of the Jews, him, and with him. that Christ the only Son of God came of
OBSERVATIONS. them, and took his human nature of them; he who by his incarnation, and taking on I. Seeing carnal men stand much upon our nature, hath honoured all mankind, their external privileges, and account him and made us, in this respect, greater than their enemy who would seem to lessen angels, whose nature he did not take on; them, or deny them: therefore, seeing it he came of the Jews, and so was, accordo may gain such in some reasure, or at least, ing to the flesh, nearer of kin to them than it may open a door for their gaining, we to others, and this was no small piece of would deny to such none of their titles, or honour. And for the further clearing of honours, and due privileges, and thereby the excellency of this eminent one, who prevent their irritation, as Paul doth here: was so near of kin to the Jews, he further he will deny them.none of their due pridescribeth what an one he was, and that, vileges, but reckons them up to che full
, so as the Jews might not be so enraged a- saying, Who are Ifraelites, &c. gainst him as they were, but might carry II. It is a great discredit unto a people, more affection towards him, and to the way when degenerated from the heavenly stout