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or pretended to be so, in virtue of which | something more, we find the apostle they cleaved to the one and rejected the adding the salutations of the 16th chapother-Secondly in abstaining from all ter, from the first to the sixteenth verse. fellowship, and so having no knowledge As he had recurred to the letter for the of their ways, with those deep and mis- purpose of sending these salutations, he chievous designers who could so sophis-is revisited while in the act of penning ticate and so counterfeit evil as to make it pass for that which was good-imposing on their deluded followers, by a show of will-worship and zeal for the law, to the utter subversion of the gospel of Christ. By the first they were men in understanding-proving all things, and holding fast that which is good.' By the second they were children in malice-strangers to its will, and therefore unskilled in its methods or its ways.

or rather of dictating them, with that desirousness which he felt so strongly for the peace of the church at Rome: And this occasions a prolongation of the letter from the 16th to the 20th verse, which he concludes with a second farewell saluta. tion-The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.' After this, and with the benefit of a further allowance of time ere the messenger was despatched, there seems to be a second postscript of more salutations which occupy three verses, from the 20th to the 24th-where a third valedictory, the last of all, concludes the

Ver. 21-23. Here follow the salutations, not from Paul himself to the individuals whom he names-these he had finished already; nor yet from the churches a large, which also had been given; bu from certain Christian friends who were with him, and were desirous of sending through him their respects to the whole church at Rome.

Ver. 20. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' A good many manuscripts, and even a warrantable translation of the received read-epistle. ang, would authorise our turning this clause from a prophecy into a prayer"May the God of peace bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' The reference by the apostle to the great adversary of human souls was very naturally suggested by the view he was then taking of those false teachers, whom he elsewhere designates as the ministers of Satan transformed into angels of light. And the terms in which the prayer or prophecy is couched, is precisely such as would be suggested by the prediction in Genesis, iii, 15, "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." He is the great author of all confusion and controversy in our churches: And the achievement proper to the God of peace, or to His Son, who came to destroy the works of the devil, would be to trample them under foot, and so evolve harmony and order out of all the disturbances by which he retards, though unable to prevent, the final establishment of the triumph of Christ over all His enemies. The invocation for His grace to be with them comes in most appropriately-seeing that this is indeed the great instrument of Satan's overthrow-the Spirit who is at the giving of Christ, being the alone victor over the spirit which worketh in the children of disobedience-the spirit of him who is the god of this world. "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."

It is not unworthy of notice that this Epistle to the Romans seems to have had three distinct conclusions. The first is at the end of the 15th chapter, where the last verse is quite in the form of a valedictory invocation; but, just as if before the letter had been sent off, there had occurred time enough for the subjoining of

* 1 Thessalonians, v, 21.

In the 21st verse, there occur two remarkable scriptural names-Timothy, who by the consent of all is he to whom he addressed the two epistles; and Lucius, who though regarded by some as Lucius of Cyrene, is, by far the greater number of critics, and with more probability, reckoned to be Luke the Evangelist, author of the Gospel and Acts, and the fellow-traveller of Paul. We leave the question undecided, whether the kinsmen here mentioned were nearer relatives, or only Israelites, whom the apostle elsewhere calls his kinsmen according to the flesh.

In the 22d verse Paul suspends his dictation, and lets his own amanuensis interpose a salutation for himself to the church at Rome. In his first epistle to the Corinthians he also suspends his dictation; and, taking up the pen himself, writes"The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand."

'Gaius mine host, and of the whole church,' mentioned in the 23d verse, is with good reason conceived to be the Gaius of Corinth whom Paul had baptized ;* from which city this epistle was written. Paul was at that time an inmate of his house; and he takes occasion to make honourable mention of his hospitality to Christians at large-a frequent and most useful virtue, being much called for by the exigencies of the times. Erastus the cham.

1 Corinthians, i, 14.

not fall, or “fall away."* It is well thus to connect our perseverance with the power of God. He who hath begun the good work, can alone confirm and perfect it. It is by a perpetual reference therefore, in prayer to Him, and for the strengthening influences of His Spirit, that grace is alimented in the heart. Let him who thinketh he standeth, thus take heed lest he fall. Let him work out his salvation with fear and trembling, because sensible of his own weakness, and so having no confidence in himself. Yet let him mix with his trembling mirth-because rejoicing in the Lord Jesus, and looking upward to that God who alone worketh in him to will and to do of His own good pleasure.

berlain, or city treasurer of Corinth, is an | establish a man in the faith is to make example, that though not many of wealth him stand fast therein-so that he shall or high station, yet that some such had become obedient to the faith. As we have just stated that this epistle was written from Corinth, we might give a specimen of the way in which this is reasoned out -or of the kind of data on which such a conclusion is supported.-Paul commends Phebe, who seems to have been sent with the epistle, to the church at Rome. She was a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, the port of Corinth, and a few miles distant from it. Then Gaius is the host of Paul;* and Gaius was baptized by Paul at Corinth. Then Erastus is chamberlain of the city, which he does not name. It must have been a well-known city therefore, and in all likelihood this capital of Achaia. Lastly, Erastus, we are told in 2 Tim. iv. 20, abode at Corinth According to my gospel and the -though probably often absent from it, preaching of Jesus Christ.' May He stabas to all appearance he was a fellow-lish you in the truths and principles of helper of Paul, and at times accompanied him in his travels.f

Ver. 24-27. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.' The final benediction of Paul comes at last, and closes the epistle. It begins with a repetition of the same which he had already given in the 20th verse-imploring upon them all the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. What remains is in the general an ascription of glory to the Father of our Lord-but it is of such a complicated and parenthetic structure, as to require some attention for unravelling the several topics which are involved in it.

To him that is of power to stablish you.' This clause is suspended in Paul's own frequent and characteristic way, by the interposal of other matter suggested at the time; and which if removed would connect immediately the words now given with those of the 27th verse. To him that is of power to stablish you...... to God only wise,' &c. The contiguity only, not the connection, of these two clauses, is broken up, by what comes between them. To him that is of power;' or as Jude says in his closing benediction"To him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless." To

• Rom. xvi, 23. + 1 Cor. i, 14. Acts, xix, 22.

that system which is agreeable to, so agreeable as to be identical with my gospel, or with the gospel which I preach, and which Christ also preached-Paul thus affirming his doctrine and Jesus Christ's doctrine to be at one.

According to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began,' or kept secret in ancient times. He had before said-according to my gospel;' and when he now saysaccording to the revelation of the mystery,' he but substitutes one method of expression for another-The subject-matter in both being the same, only amplified or expressed otherwise. This gospel was

kept secret,' or held back in silence from the eartht-there having been little or nothing said of it to the earlier generations of our species. It has been made a matter of discussion what the mystery here spoken of precisely is. Some would have it specifically to be the calling of the Gentiles, and for countenance to this their explanation of it, would refer to Ephesians, iii, 9, and Colossians, i, 26. We have no doubt ourselves, that generally it is the subject matter of the gospel.

That

'But now is made manifest.' which was profoundly hidden before is now made manifest-first in a dimmer and lesser degree by the prophets to the Jews; and afterwards in the fuller light of gospel times made known to all nations. We are not to wonder that the revelation made to the prophets should be spoken of as only made now. At the time when this revelation was first given its meaning was little known even to the prophets through whom it passed. Though ministered by

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them it was not unto themselves but unto us. It had been given in words to the world centuries before the appearance of our Saviour-yet was only made known for the first time to the disciples of Emmaus, when he opened their understandings to understand the Scriptures-beginning with Moses and the Prophets. What our Saviour did in person to these disciples upon earth, He afterwards did to believers in general by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, and whose office it is to make the sure word of prophecy obvious to their view, by causing the day to dawn and the day-star to arise in their hearts. The gospel might well have been said by the apostle to be manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets only now-for only now were these Scriptures made manifest.

'According to the commandment of the everlasting God made known unto all nations for the obedience of faith.' To perfect the revelation of the gospel, the work of apostles had to be superadded to that of prophets. The gospel had been witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets when it lay in enigma till cleared up by the more explicit statements of those who were commissioned to go and preach it unto every creature.

only wise God, be glory for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

We may be assured that there is nothing misplaced or inappropriate in the epithets employed by the apostle; and more especially those which he applies to the Divinity. In particular, when he applies different epithets to Him at different times, there must, we apprehend, be a discriminative reason for his so doing. In the 26th verse he denominates Him the everlasting God; and in the 27th, the God only wise. The epithet everlasting seems to have been suggested to the mind of the apostle, when he had in view the different and distant ages at which God had His different dealings with men from the beginning of the world-as keeping them in ignorance at its earlier periods, and at length in due time making known the scheme of His salvation. He, the King Eternal, who knows the end from the beginning, knows what is best and fittest to be done at each of the successive stages in the process of that great administration whose goings forth have been of old, and whose issues are from everlasting to everlasting. And He is denominated the only wise, that we, the short-lived creatures of a day, might learn to receive with unquestioning silence all the intimations which He has been pleased to have given us. In particular, it should reconcile the Jews to the termination of that economy under which they had hitherto

These three verses (23, 24, and 25) might be rendered thus.-'Now to Him who is able to establish you in the discipleship of my gospel, which is nothing else than the gospel of Jesus Christ Him-lived, and under which they had vainly self-or in the discipleship of that revelation whereby there has been divulged the truth that was before hidden, and kept back from men in the earlier ages of the world; but is now made manifest, both by the prophetic writings which we in these days have been made more fully to understand and also by the proclamation of the same agreeably to the commandment of the everlasting God, amongst all nations, for the purpose of obtaining their submission to the faith-To Him, the

* 1 Peter, i, 12

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arrogated to themselves an exclusive and ever-during superiority over the rest of the species-whereas it appeared that the middle wall of partition was now to be broken down; and that their fancied monopoly of the divine favour was but a temporary evolution in the history of the divine government. And so he concludes his epistle, by calling on both parties in the church to which he writes it, to unite with him in the one ascription of glory to the Father through the Son; and that verily a glory which shall never end.

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