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the giver, and afking his bleffing with them, and heartily to be rendering him the calves of our lips, and expreffing our thankfulness to him for them; for as thankfulness is called for always, Col. iii. 17. and iv. 2. 1 Theff. v. 18. fo then when we are receiving of his good creatures, 1 Tim. iv. 4. 5. The apostle proveth that both he who eateth, and he who eateth not, did it to the Lord, because they gave God thanks.
VII. Tho' weak Christians cannot reach the length of others in many duties or actions; yet they may win to as much honefty, fincerity, and fingleness of heart in aiming at the glory of God; for he who refpected a day, and did not eat, did it to the Lord, as well as he who refpected not a day, and did eat.
VIII. The charitable construction that each Chriftian fhould have of the fincere and chriftian intentions of another, in actions wherein they differ from them (being but indifferent) fhould move and provoke each to forbear the cenfuring, or vilipending of another; for this is the force of the apostle's argument.
VERSES 7. 8. 9. For none of us liveth to
himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.
For to this end Chrift both died, and rofe, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
N these verses the apoftle is further illuftrating and confirming the former argument, and fhewing how believers, be they weak or be they ftrong do (or at leaft ought to) eye God and his glory in all their actions, and to eat or to forbear eating unto the Lord; to regard or not regard a day unto the Lord; and fo he begineth this with a for, faying, For none of us liveth to himself, and none of us dieth to
himself; none of us believers, be we weak or ftrong, do (or ought to) propofe ourfelves as our ultimate end in life or death; and again this is cleared and confirmed by the contrary, ver. 8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, &c. and fo we being his, fhould eye him only, and propose him as our end in all we do, whether in profperity or adverfity, and in life and death we are his; and this is proven in ver. 9. For to this end Chrift both died, and rofe, and revived, that he might be Lord. both of the dead and living: Chrift has purchafed this dominion at a great rate; he died and rose again that he might have an abfolute dominion over believers; he died to purchase this dominion; he rose as a victor over death, and took poffeffion of his dominion; and he revived, and liveth for ever, that he might exerce this domion over them.
L. Tho' the Lord alloweth his people a moderate care for the body, and what concerneth its welfare, in fubordination to what fhould be their main end; yet nothing concerning their welfare in a world fhould be the ultimate end at which they should mainly aim; and in fubordination to which, they fhould go about their worldly affairs: None of us liveth to him- . felf; they fhould wholly deny themselves in pleasures, profits and honours, Luke ix. 23. See Phil. ii. 21.
II. Tho' there be much inordinate selflove, and too eager defire after the things of a world, even in the beft; yet there is a great change wrought in believers; that whereas before their conversion they were wholly fold to the world, and devoted to feek their own things therein, now it is not fo with them; they have a more noble and high end propofed, and have poftponed that which before was the chief thing of their aim and defire: tho' now and then temptation prevails to the contrary, yet themfelves are not their end, when they
are at themselves: None of us liveth to himfelf; that is, None of us believers are fo taken up with ourselves, as if we had no other end to level at.
III. As believers are not their own while living, fo neither are they mafterlefs when in affliction and dying: No man dieth to himself.
IV. Believers being now changed from nature to grace, and fo having, as it were, changed countries, they have changed alfo masters, and now they have their Lord Redeemer for their Lord and Mafter, and their life and all their actions are now regulated by his laws, and carried on in fubordination to his honour and glory: Whether que live, it is unto the Lord.
V. Whofoever are propofing themfelves, and their own welfare, as their ultimate end, fuch are not living unto the Lord; for none can ferve two contrary mafters, fuch as Self, and the Lord are; and the main thing which keeps folks from propofing the Lord and his glory, as their end and fcope, is their inordinate felf-love, and driving at that mainly; for these two are oppofed here; and there is no mids betwixt living to ourselves, and living to the Lord; fo that whoever is not living to the Lord, is certainly eyeing himself as his end: Whether we live, we live unto the Lord.
VI. So fingle-hearted, felf-denyed and dead to themselves fhould believers be, that as they should not act for themfelves. but give themfelves whoily to the fervice of their Lord and Mafter; fo, in his fervice, they should not ftand to hazard all they have; and, when he calleth, to lay down. their very life, when it may tend to the glory of his name: Whether we die, we die unto the Lord.
him: Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
VIII. This relation that is betwixt Chrift and believers, is a fixed, standing, permanent relation; no ups and downs in believers can alter it, no changes of dif penfations, yea nor death itfelf, which puts an end to all other relations, and loofeth all other obligations, as husband and wife, Rom. vii. 2. mafter and fervant, &c. This conjunction and relation abides fresh even after death: Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. See Matth. xxii. 32.
IX. The Lord Jefus Chrift, the fecond perfon in the Trinity, took on our nature, and not the nature of angels, Heb. ii. 16. and was made a little lower than the angels, Heb. ii 7.9. and tho' be thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet he humbled himself, and became obedient unto the death, Phil. ii. 6. 8. Chrift died.
VII. As believers are wholly devoted unto the fervice of the Lord, and ough to eye his honour and advantage mainly; fo the Lord owneth them as his; there is a standing relation betwixt him and them. and this is the grouud of their fervice to
X. As Chrift having by his death fatisfied juftice, so as the Father could call for no more at his hands, was therefore let go out of prifon, yea and taken out by the Father, Phil. ii. 9. 10. fo being God as well as man, he, by his own power, brake thro' the bonds of death, and raised himfelf up to life; as he died, so be rose and revived.
XI. Though Jefus Chrift as God had power and dominion over all creatures, being the work of his own hands, Col. i. 16. John i. 3. and that from the beginning; yet he hath moreover a peculiar dominion over the elect and believers, as Mediator and their Head and Husband; he is now in a peculiar manner Lord and Commander of his church and chofen people, giving them laws, ruling them by his Spirit, quickening and defending them: I hat he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
XII. This Lordfhip and dominion is brought about and acquired by the means of God's work of Mediator fhip and mediation, purchased by his death, for by it he bought a people to himself; and put in exercise by his glorification: To this end
Christ both died, rofe again, and revived,, help them in all their neceflities, and that he might be Lord both of the dead and ufeth this argument, I have fworn, &c. the living. that is, All flesh fhall be forced to acknowledge me, and do me homage by fubmiting to me, bowing the knee, and fo externally profeffing their worshiping of me, and fwearing by me, or avouching their owning of me as Lord, and profeffing this; now, this the apoftle applyeth to the last judgment, because it is certainly there included. Then he concludes, ver. 12. So then every one of us shall give acconnt of himfelf to God; none fhall escape tryal then. So that in this one main argument there are many others couched, as 1. It is unnatural that each of you fhould judge or defpife another, for you are brethren one to another. 2. It is an anticipating of the judgment of the great day. 3. It is an encroachment on Chrift's prerogative, who fhall be judge both of quick and dead in that day. And 4. It is needlefs, for every one will be forced to make answer then, and nonę fhall efcape. 5. It were better that each of us were looking to himself, and preparing.
XIII. As the confideration of the dear price which Chrift laid down to purchafe the elect to himfelf, fhould put believers to be more ferviceable to him; fo may it afcertain them, that the relation they have to him fhall not have an end, but shall stand in force even after death; to prove that whether we die or live, we are the Lord's, he fays, for to this end Chrift both died, and rofe, &c.
VERSES 10. 11. 12. But why dost thou
He apostle's laft argument is taken from the confideration of the dreadful day of judgment that is coming, wherein every perfon and every church-member, be they weak or be they strong, fhall give up their accounts, and anfwer for all that they have done in the flesh; and therefore he adviseth all of them to forbear their judging or cenfuring one another; and he fpeaketh to them both, Why doft thou judge thy brother? that is, the weak; and then to the ftrong he fays, Or why doft thou fet at nought thy brother? We hall all ftand before the judgment feat of Chrift; none of us fhall efcape at that day: now this he proveth out of Ifa. xlv. 23. and maketh use of the meaning of the prophet, (for tho' the word's differ, the fenfe is the fame); As I live, faith the Lord, every knee fball bow to me, and every tongue shall confefs to God. The Lord by the prophet is calling on all nations to take notice of his power and God-lead, and to lay hold on him, who is the only true God, able to
I. Believers, whether they be ftrong or weak, are all members of one family, having all one Father, the God of heaven; all one Lord Jefus to their elder brother, being all begotten by the word of God; he who is defpifed is a brother, as well as he who is judged.
II. It is the looking upon one another with a ftern countenance, and not as brethren, that makes each have fuch harth cenfures and thoughts of another; and were christian believers keeping up the affection of brethren, and looking on others as equally dear to God and related to Christ as themfelves, they would be loth to harbour any finifter thoughts, or uncharitable apprehenfions of another, tho' differing from them in the practice of indifferent things; Why doft thou judge thy brother? or why defpifeft thou thy brother? III. It
3 X 2
III. It is no uncouth thing (tho' most unnatural) to fee, even Chriftians, fo hot about matters of fmall moment, as is the ufe of things indifferent, as to break out in unchriftian and uncharitable cenfures, cafting others, fo far as in them lieth, not only out of the church, but even out of God's love and favour. The ftrong here defpifed the weaker, as contemptible, unworthy to be regarded; the weak again judged the ftrong as graceless, and unworthy to be imitated: Why doft thou thus judge thy brother? or why defpifeft thou thy brother?
IV. It is the little minding of that dreadful day of judgment that is coming that makes Chriftians fo careless in their walk, and fo rafh in cenfuring and condemning others, otherways they would be more taken up with themselves and their own walk, and be loth to take upon them what is Chrift's prerogative: this is the force of the apostle's argument whereby he would diffuade them from judging one another: We all all ftand before the judgment feat of Chrift. See 1 Cor. iv. 5.
V. Tho' God doth oftentimes execute judgment in this earth upon wicked doers, yet because he doth not fo always, nor doth he fully execute his wrath upon the wicked, but often times fuffereth the righteous to be wronged; therefore there is a general day of judgment coming, appointed of God to be, wherein he will judge righteous judgment: We shall all appear before the judgment feat of Chrift. See Matth. xxv. 31. &c. John xii. 48. Acts xvii. 31. 2 Theff. i. 6. Heb. vi. 2. 2 Cor. V. 10. Jude 6.
VI. Tho' men now think little of Chrift, but do defpife and every way undervalue him, yet the felf fame defpifed Lord Mediator fhall be their Judge in that great day: We shall all appear before the judgment feat of Chrift. See John v. 22. 27. Acts x. 42. and xvii. 31. Rom. i. 16. 2 Tim. iv. I.
VII. It shall not be man alone which
people fhall have to do with in that day, tho' that will be dreadful enough, confidering how he hath all power given to him of God, and how God hath exalted him, and fubjected all things unto him, 2 Cor. XV. 27. but they fhall have to do with God, who is able to rip up their fecrets, and hath infinite power to render to every one his due, and to execute the fentence pronounced; for tho' this judgment fhall be gone about in a vifible form, by Christ in his human nature, Acts xvii. 31. Matth. xxviii. 18. yet God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the principal caufe thereof, Dan. vii. 9. 10. in refpect of the authority by which the fentence is pronounced, and the power by which it is executed; and therefore, verfe 12. it is faid, We Shall render an account unto God. See Acts xvii. 31. Rom. ii. 16.
VIII. Tho' Chrift Jefus, at his firft coming into the world, was meek as a lamb, not opening his mouth; yet when he com-. eth again unto judgment, he fhall be glorious in majefty, and dreadful unto the proudest wretch that ftepeth; he fhail come with a notable train of angels, 2 Theff. i. 7. and fhall fet himself upon a stately throne of glory, Matth. xix. 28. We shall all appear before the judgment feat of Chrift. See 2 Cor. v. 10. Matth. xxv. 31.
IX. Before this Judge, who will accept of no man's perfon, no man fhall be exeemed from appearing, but all flesh, rich and poor, noble and ignoble, good and bad, ftrong and weak, quick and dead, fhall all be prefented before this dreadful Lord : We shall all appear. See Rev. xx. 12. Acts x. 42. There is no exception of perfons with God.
X. Tho' men may find ways to fhift human judicatories, yet there fhall none, no not the greateft, be able to shift the judgment of that day, but nill they will they, they fhall be impannelled and fifted before the tribunal; for the word in the original which is rendered appear, fignifieth a judicial fifting and impannelling, or a forcing
forcing of men before a judge to be judged, for it is a judicial word borrowed from courts and places of judgment: We shall all appear before the judgment feat of Chrift. See Rev. xx. 13. Matth. xxv. 32. and xiii.
XI. At that day there will be an exact inquifition made after all a man's actions; and as he who fhall be Judge in that day is God, who knoweth the fecrets of all things, fo fhall all these be disclosed, and man must answer to God for his actions, 2 Cor. v. 10. all his words, Matth. xii. 37. and for all his thoughts, Rom. ii. 16.; the books wherein all is written must be opened, Rev. xx. 12.; we must give an account of our judging and despising our brother, which may be by thoughts, words, and deeds; fo that every one of us fhall give an account of himself.
XII. Tho' now men and women be ready to fmooth over and colour their actions, and to put the best excuse they can invent upon them, yet in that day, as all things will be brought to light, fo every word, thought, and action, will be exactly fifted, examined, and tried by the law of God, whether it be the law of nature, Rom. ii. 5. 6. 12. the law moral, 2 Cor. v. 10. or the law of the gospel, Rom. ii. 16. John xii. 48.; making up of an account doth fuppofe this: We shall give an ac· count of our felves to God.
XIII. Tho' we should not altogether lay afide the care of our neighbour's welfare, yet we fhould mainly be taken up with fearching and trying our own ftate and condition, knowing that at the day of judgment we will be mainly queftioned for our felves, and for our own actions, and will not be accountable for others, fave in fo far as by our finful actions or omiffions we have occafioned their fall: Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. From the paffage cited ver. 11. OBSERVE,
I. The word of God is the only rule of faith and manners, and to it fhould we ap
peal in all controverted points of truth, becaufe therein there is only ground for a confcience to fettle on; and in points not controverted but commonly received, being most necessary and useful, it is good to look on these as preffed immediately by God, that the impreffion may be the more deep and lasting, and to take even these obvious truths as fpoken by the Lord, that the falfe heart may know no way of fhifting therefore doth he prove, that all flesh muft appear before God at the great day, by a scripture, faying, For it is written.
II. So complete and full a canon is the word, and fo perfect, that very confequences, natively and clearly deduced therefrom, are to be looked on as of everlasting truth, and of divine authority, as well as what is fet down in plain terms; the penmen thereof being guided immediately and acted by the infallible Spirit to fet down the very words and fentences in fuch and fuch an order: for that which the apoftle is here proving, followeth upon these words of Ifaiah by confequence only, at least the prophet doth not speak in plain terms of the day of judgment, of whichthe apoftle is fpeaking exprefsly.
III. Our Lord Jefus Chrift is God equal with the Father in power and glory. Phil. ii. 6. having the fame Godhead, and being of the fame substance with him: for here not only is he who is called Christ, verfe 1o. called God, verfe 12. but all that the prophet fpeaks of Jehovah, Ifa. xlv. 22. 23. 24. the apoftle here applieth to Chrift; As it is written, As I live,, faith the Lord, every knee hall bow to me, &c. and fo he is declared the object of adoration.
IV. Tho' he who is the God of truth cannot lye, and fo whatever he fays be certainly true, and ought undoubtedly to be believed; yet it hath feemed good in the Lord's eyes, because of our backwardness to believe, and readiness to queftion even fuch truths as are most neceffary for us to believe and rely upon, to fet to his