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"He apostle having discoursed at large of the theoretical part of religion, and
spoken at length unto some fundamentals thereof most neceffary to be be
lieved, and thus instructed these Romans touching what they were to believe ; now he comes to speak of the practical part, and to press christian duties upon believers, and so to thew them what duties they ought to follow, that they may adorn their profession, and may not be a scandal to the gospel.
In this chapter be, first, exhorteth them to a holy chriitian deportinent, in general, verses 1. 2.; and that, i. positively, and then, 2. negatively. Secondly, He exhorteth, in a special manner, the officers of the Lord's house, unto fome duties concerning them in particular, to verse 9: And, thirdly, prefseth some particular duties, common to all Christians, to the end of the chapter.
VERSE 1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, your sacrifice must flow from a spirit of
by the mercies of God, that ye present your life within, the life of Christ, Gal. ii. 20. bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable and must be the motions and actions, not unto God, which is your reasonable service. of a soul void of the Spirit of Christ, but
of one who is the temple of the Holy N this verse he seriously eshorteth them Ghost, and hath Christ living within him. I
in general, to holiness and a christian (2.) It muit be holy; that is, flowing from conversation, positively, and that under a new heart, a soul regenerate, a spirit borrowed terms, alluding unto the sacrifi- fanétified with grace; grace must be the ces under the law; that as they under the fountain it flows out of, and it must .us law had their sacrifices, which they offered through a channel of holiness; it must not up in testimony of their thankfulness, (be. be contaminated or defiled with any carnal, fide their expiatory facrifices,) fo Christians corrupt ingredient; and purged by Christ's now should offer up some sacrifice too, see- blood. (3.) It must be acceptable to God; ing they are all now advanced to that ho service performed unto God's glory, to nour and dignity, to be priests to the Lord; that that be our last end; and duties perand that not any facrifice of beasts, but formed according to God's revealed word, themselves, soul and body, so dedicate and and so a service that he will accept and be consecrate themfelves wholly to his ser. well pleased with. (4.) It must be reasonvice, as not being any more their own, able; not in ourward thew and ceremonies but God's; and so should no more live to of time and place, but in Spirit and in themselves, but to him and his glory. And truth, John iv. 20. &c. And (5.) it mut beside this duty, there are other two things be willing, free, ready, hearty, and cheerin the verse; 1. The manner how this of- ful; this is couched up in the word, prefering thould be made, or the qualifica- | fent yourself; as the Jews facrifices were tions of this facrifice, which are these : presented at the altar before they were (1.) It must be a living sacrifice; that is, offered.
2. There is the arguments, or
motives, which he useth to persuade them to a christian conversation, after he had to this duty, and they are these: (1) I instructed them in truths to be believed. beseech; I obtelt you, I earnestly and se. ll. Until folks be once clear and well rioully exhort you, I press you as hearti instructed in the matter of their justificaly as I can; and 1, the apoftle. Paul, do tion before God, and have followed forth it; therefore you must obey. (2.) In the that way, they will not be able to follow word therefore, which relateth unto what forth christian duties, and yield obedience the apostle had been discoursing of before, unto christian commands, acceptably: thereviz. anent the doctrine of election and fore doth Paul first clear the business predestination, and the Jews rejection, touching justification, and then presseth and carrieth this argument in it: Seeing them to holiness. God, out of his mere free grace and love, III. The' the Lord bath armed his ferhath chosen you to salvation, present your- vants with power and authority to comselves a living facrifice. (3.) A third ar- mand, yet they need not always use that gument in the word brethren, to this pur. authoritative way in enjoining duties; but pose: I affect you dearly as my brethren, as they see it most advantageous for the and so it is out of no ill-will I exhort you gaining of their point, to use it sometimes, to this, but out of love and tenderness of and at other times to take a more calm affection, knowing the necessity of it; way, rather entreating, as it were by way therefore hear and obey. (4.) There is of beging a favour or courtesy, than coma fourth argument in it: You are brethren, manding; when love and entreaty are partakers of the same grace with me, the most likely to gain, more is needless : fo: adopted fons of God; and therefore you doth the apostle Paul here beseech them, ought not to deny this service to God which seeing it was most likely that the very sense : I call for. (5.) The last argument is in of these admirable mercies and favours he these words, by the mercies of God, and it had been speaking of in the former chapis a main one, to this purpose: God in his ter, would have melted and sofiened their mercy hath let out bowels of tender affec. hearts, so that with Imall labour, they tion to you, and for that cause I beg you would have received any impression of thar : would follow this exhortation; much ten- kind. der love hath flowed towards you, and IV. It is not enough for ministers to therefore it is your duty to offer. up your- clear duties unto people, but they ought selves to this tender-hearted God.
press them home with all earnestness
and seriousness, and let people know, that OBSERVATIONS.
they are dealing with them in serious fadI. Christians ought not to content them- ness; and knowing what "averseness and selves with the knowledge of fundamental reluctancy is in people ordinarily, and how truths of religion, touching things to be active and busy their spiritual enemies are believed; but also they should labour for to persuade them to the contrary; and the practical part, and to know what is therefore Paul here befeecheth them, or their duty, both towards God and man: vehemently entreateth them, as the word And as ministers fiould be careful to clear may be rendered. folks judgments anent these things which V. When people see the servants of the are to be believed, so they should not rest Lord exhorting and prefsing them to their there, but moreover they ought seriously duty, with all vehemency and earnestness, to instruct them in, and persuade and move as seeing some great neceflity, by reason them to, their duties : all which is clear of profit upon the one hand, and loss upin the apostle's practice, in exhorting them on the other hand, in the natier, it
should be a forcible inducement to move to be helpful to other in spiritual things, them to a willing obedience; and if obedi. according to their places and Itations ; fo ence be pot yielded, their seriousness will it layeth an obligation on them to receive make the peoples case more sad, both in the help one of another, whether by diTegard of guilt and punilhment; for the rection, reproof, or admonition, in very force of Paul's argument fheweth this. good part, and submit unto and obey their
VI. The doctrine of predestination and wholesome counsel and advice: for that election, is not a doctrine tending to lull they might yield obedience unto this his folk asleep in security, and to cause them command, he stiles them brethren. shake themselves loose from all pains and
X. The best and most edifying way
for endeavours; nor a doctrine destroying the ministers to press duties upon their flocks, freedom and liberty of man's will, in willing and Christians upon one another, is, so to
or nilling; nor yet a doctrine inconsistent urge them as those whom we exhort may with exhortacions; for after Paul hath fee and be convinced of our love to them; been treating of that doctrine, and as com and where exhortations that come forth prehending some of them at least, he finds enwraped in love are flighted, the guilt a place for an exhortation to them all, and will be the greater : this is Paul's argu . doth not look upon them as stocks or ment, brethren; thereby discovering his stones, but as rational creatures, endued | love and brotherly affection to them, the with a faculty of willing and nilling, with more to gain their obedience. out any natural necessity, or external com XI. It is the want of the serious copfi. pulfion; and notwithstanding of their elec- deration of the relation wherein believers tion he presseth them to holy duties. stand in to God, that makes them flack in
VII. The doctrine of election is so far their christian duties; and as this relation from making folks secure, that if it be layeth on stronger obligations to duty, so rightly considered, it will be a sharp spur believing thoughts of it will be as oil to in the lides of his people, to run about all make their wheels run more swiftly : therecommanded duties : following of duties fore the apostle, to incite them to this duflows from it, by a clear and natural con ty, puts them in mind of this, that they fequence; for the apostle deduceth this were brethren, and so had the same relaexhortation by way of an undoubted con tion to God as their Father which he bad. sequent, therefore ; so that they turn the XII. Believers, and none but believers, grace of God into wantopness and lascivi are the peculiar privileged people, whom oufaess, who, because they are elected, as the Lord maketh partakers of his fatherly they think, do therefore thake off all obe and tender affections, and commiserations; dienco.
for such Paul presseth by the mercies of VIII. However believers, in respect of God. the measure of grace bestowed upon them, XIII. As God is the author of all merbe of different fizes, some babes, some cy toward his children, hence called the young men in grace, and some grown, ex Father of mercies, 2 Cor. i. 3.; so upon ercised, and experienced Christians; yet such he thinks it not enough to beltom as there is a firm union of fraternity be one, but many such acts of mercy; erery twixt ther, fo are they all children of one mercy carrying many in the bosom of it, father, and stand under that relation to and making way for more; and therefore him; for they are all brethren, and this we hear of mercies of God in the plural supposes a father.
number. IX. As this relation of brotherhood XIV. The more expressions of God's betwixt believers, layeth on a iye on each compallion and merciful disposition toward
vs, we meet with, so far ought we to be and enlivened by the Spirit of Jesus; lo from turning God's goodness into lafci- it is our duty to be more carefully envicusness, that, of all motives and in-deavouring to please God in our duties, ducements, presling us to a holy life, than any else ; and a soul that hath rightly this is one of the greatest, even the con- surrendered itself to God, will be aiming Gideration of God's mercies; all and every at this mainly, as its main end, how it one of God's mercies cry aloud for thank- may please him unto whom it hath given fulness in a holy life and coaversation. up itself: for thus our service should be
XV. It is a duty lying upou all the acceptable to God.. children of God, to be dedicating and sur. XX. Tho'it seemed good in the Lord's rendering themselves wholly, even their eyes to require of his people under the : very bodies, unto God, for his service : law, who were a people in non-age, under this is the duty here preifed, Present your tutory, a service under a multitude of ce bodies a fo.crifice, &c.
remonies, affixed to such a place and to XVI. As the Lord loveth a chearful such times; yet now he requireth of us giver, so should we chearfully, willingly, under the gospel a more spiritual and and freely, offer ourselves and our services pure service, in spirit, and in truth, John to God, and have fuch a heart to the iv. 24.; our service now must be reasonable, . employment, as to be ready at a call, still as opposed to their typical and ceremonious waiting for an invitation, and an open service, in offering up irrational creatures. door to exercise ourselves in holy duties :
See 1 Pet. ii. 5. therefore says the apostle, Present yourselves:
VERSE 2. And be not conformed to this XVIL Whatever duties we perform, as world: but be ye transformed by the reacted by our own spirit, and in our own newing of your mind, that ye may prove strength, will not be a sacrifice acceptable, what is that good, and acceptable, and but that service only is approven of God perfect will of God. which floweth from a spirit of life within; and all fuch duties as are performed by Nuntos another part of their
N this verse the apostle is pressing them one in whom the Spirit of Christ is not living, as in Paul, Gal. ii. 29. are but dead | down negatively, in more clear expreslions, and lifeless, and accounted of God as a and then amplified and cleared from the dead facrifice ; the sacrifice we must per. contrary duty. Then, 1. he would not form muit be a living Jacrifice in this re- have them conforming themfelves, or walk spect.
according to the fathions of the godless, XVIII. As the Spirit of God acting in unregenerate part of mankind in the world, believers is the first principal mover unto who favour of nothing but this world, as every good work, and so puts life in it; if they were wholly composed of it, and fo our natures ought to be renewed, and hence called here this world, or age, beour hearts sanctified by habitual infused cause they are subject to changes; and a!! grace of God, that so our duties may flow their glory, and whatever they have, will from a gracious sanctified soul; and must evanilh ere long. 2. The contrary duty is, be walhed in that cleaaling and fanctifying But be ye transformed; he would have blood of Jesus, orherways our facrifice them thoroughly changed and rerewed as will not be holy and acceptable unto God. new creatures, growing in holiness daily:
XIX. As God is well pleased with chri- And this duty he cleareth, by shewing, · ftian duties, altho' they be imperfect, if (1.) The manner how it must be elfeétuated, lowing from a soul fanctified by grace, Ivizi by guiog the mind and intellectual
God's childrco have reason to be walking
part renewed, and endued with more spi- ; of are still in hazard of being in nared by ritual knowledge, and fanctified illumination. their evil example; and such is ihe force (2.) The end for which they thould, or the and strength of the corrupt conversation advatnages that they would meet with if of bad company, as that even the best of they would, endeavour after this renovation, viz. that they prove what is God's circumspectly and warrily, left they be will; that is, that they may be acquainted drawn aside and tainted by their coarse carand fall in love with God's law, and may riage; all which is held forth in this, when make it their rule, and walk accordingly. he exhorteth these believing Romans, Not And this will of God hath three epithets to conform themselves unto the men of this added, whereby to commend it, and to world. move them so much the more to this reno II. Unregenerate persons, are so related ration of spirit, whereby they may be and near of kin (as it were) unto the world, enabled to walk after God's will as their in that they favour nothing and understand rule: As, 1. It is called good, because nothing but the world, and have their it is the mind of a good God, and holdeth heart and their eye on it, and their portion forth nothing but what is good to us, and in it, as that they borrow their name from for our fpiritual advantage : 2. Acceptable, it, and are fitly called by, the world, as as shewing wherein we shall be accepted their name; for such are here understood of God, and what is that which is well- by the world. pleasing in his eyes: And, 3. perfect, be IV. It is a duty lying upon all the chilcause it is a pure and complete rule, with-dren of God, to be labouring to keep themout any mixture and any deficiency, able selves free of the vain sinful fashions of the to hold forth to us the whole will of God, world; and whatever seeming beauty their and to clear to us every duty which we carriage be covered with, yet the children ought to set about,
of God ought to be labouring not to con
form themselves thereunto; for this inOBSERVATIONS.
junction the Lord layeth on all believers: 1. The following of the customs and That they be not conformed unto this world. fathions of the men of this world, is a great V. Tho' men, following the guise of impediment to hinder Christians from give this world, may fondly and foolishly look ing themselves and their service up to God, upon themselves as happy enough notwithto be imployed for him and his glory; such standing; yet the truch is
, whoever he be a contrariety there is berwixt our God and that is led away with the fashion of this the god of this world, the spirit that work world, and walketh no otherways than the eth in the children of disobedience, and in- men of this world do, he can have no conlistency betwixt the service that the one ground to look upon himself as any other sequireth, and the other, as that no man than one unregenerated and unrenewed: .can serve both; and therefore when the And in so far as any are renewed and apostle in the former verse was deliring changed, they walk after another fashion them to present themselves to God, he add-than the world doth, and in so far are not eth this, as that which must necessarily be conformed thereunto: This is clear from joined therewith, saying, And be not con the opposition which he makethr betwist formed unto this world.
conforming ourselves to the world, and II. There is an inevitable necessity that transforming ourselves. God's children must dwell and abide a VI. The most effectual way for people mongst worldly ones, or such as have their to win free from being tainted, and led aportion in this world, and by reason there way, with the enticing conversation of