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the mutual faith both of you and me.

you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit 1 among you also, even as among other

13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that often-Gentiles. times I purposed to come unto

a 2 Pet.1.1.

That one effect of religion is to produce the desire of the communion of saints. It is the nature of Christianity to seek the society of those who are the friends of Christ. (2.) Nothing is better fitted to produce growth in grace than such communion. Every Christian should have one or more Christian friends to whom he may unbosom himself. No small part of the difficulties which young Christians experience would vanish, if they should communicate their feelings and views to others. Feelings which they suppose no Christians ever had, which greatly distress them, they will find are common among those who are experienced in the Christian life. (3.) There is nothing better fitted to excite the feelings, and confirm the hopes of Christian ministers, than the firm faith of young converts, of those just commencing the Christian life. 3 John 4. (4.) The apostle did not disdain to be taught by the humblest Christians. He expected to be strengthened himself by the faith of those just beginning the Christian life. "There is none so poor in the church of Christ, that he cannot make some addition of importance to our stores." Calvin.

13. That oftentimes I purposed. See ver. 10. How often he had purposed this we have no means of ascertaining. The fact, however, that he had done it, showed his strong desire to see them, and to witness the displays of the grace of God in the capital of the Roman world. Comp. ch. xv. 23, 24. One instance of his having purposed to go to Rome is recorded in Acts xix. 21. "After these things were ended (viz. at Ephesus), Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem; saying, after I have been there, I must also see

14 I am debtor both to the

1 or, in. b 1 Cor.9.16.

Rome." This purpose expressed in this manner in the epistle, and the Acts of the Apostles, has been shown by Dr. Paley (Horæ Paulinæ on Rom. i. 13) to be one of those undesigned coincidences which strongly show that both books are genuine. Comp. Rom. xv. 23, 24, with Acts xix. 21. A forger of these books would not have thought of such a contrivance as to feign such a purpose to go to Rome at that time, and to haye mentioned it in that manner. Such coincidences are among the best proofs that can be demanded, that the writers did not intend to impose on the world. See Paley. was let hitherto. The word "let" means to hinder, or to obstruct. In what way this was done we do not know, but it is probable that he refers to the various openings for the preaching of the gospel where he had been, and to the obstructions of various kinds from the enemies of the gospel to the fulfilment of his purposes.


That I might have some fruit among you. That I might be the means of the conversion of sinners and of the edification of the church in the capital of the Roman empire. It was not curiosity to see the splendid capital of the world that prompted this desire; it was not the love of travel, and of roaming from clime to clime; it was the specific purpose of doing good to the souls of men. To have fruit means to obtain success in bringing men to the knowledge of Christ. Thus the Saviour said (John xv. 16), "I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain."

14, 15. I am debtor. This does not mean that they had conferred any favour on him, which bound him to make this return, but that he was un

Greeks and to the Barbarians, | I am ready to preach the gospel

both to the wise and to the unwise.

15 So, as much as in me is,

der obligation to preach the gospel to all to whom it was possible. This obligation arose from the favour that God had shown him in appointing him to this work. He was specially chosen as a vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts ix. 15. Rom. xi. 13), and he did not feel that he had discharged the obligation until he had made the gospel known as far as possible among all the nations of the earth. To the Greeks. This term properly denotes those who dwelt in Greece. But as the Greeks were the most polished people of antiquity, the term came to be synonymous with the polished, the refined, the wise, as opposed to barbarians. In this place it doubtless means the same as "the wise," and includes the Romans also, as it cannot be supposed that Paul would designate the Romans as barbarians. Besides, the Romans claimed an origin from Greece, and Dionysius Halicarnassus (book i.) shows that the Italian and Roman people were of Greek descent. ¶ Barbarians. All who were not included under the general name of Greeks. Thus Ammonius says that "all who were not Greeks were barbarians." This term barbarian, Bagbags, properly denotes one who speaks a foreign language, a foreigner, and the Greeks applied it to all who did not use their tongue. Comp. 1 Cor. xiv. 11. "I shall be unto him that speaketh, a barbarian," &c. i. e. I shall speak a language which he cannot understand. The word did not, therefore, of necessity denote any rusticity of manners, or any want of refinement. To the wise. To those who esteemed themselves to be wise, or who boasted of their wisdom. The term is synonymous with "the Greeks," who prided themselves much in their wisdom. 1 Cor. i. 22, "The Greeks seek after wisdom." Comp. C

to you that are at Rome also.

16 For I am not ashamed " of the gospel of Christ: for it is

a Mark 8.38. 2Tim.1.8.

1 Cor. i. 19; iii. 18, 19; iv. 10. 2 Cor. xi. 19. Unwise. Those who were regarded as the ignorant and unpolished part of mankind. The expression is equivalent to ours, 'to the learned and the unlearned.' It was an evidence of the proper spirit to be willing to preach the gospel to either. The gospel claims to have power to instruct all mankind, and they who are called to preach it, should be able to instruct those who esteem themselves to be wise, and who are endowed with science, learning, and talent; and they should be willing to labour to enlighten the most obscure, ignorant, and degraded portions of the race. This is the true spirit of the Christian ministry.

15. So, as much as in me is. As far as opportunity may be offered, and according to my ability. I am ready, &c. I am prepared to preach among you, and to show the power of the gospel, even in the splendid metropolis of the world. He was not deterred by any fear; nor was he indifferent to their welfare; but he was under the direction of God, and as far as he gave him opportunity, he was ready to make known to them the gospel, as he had done at Antioch, Ephesus, Athens, and Corinth.

This closes the introduction or preface to the epistle. Having shown his deep interest in their welfare, he proceeds in the next verse to state to them the great doctrines of that gospel which he was desirous of proclaiming to them.

16. For I am not ashamed, &c. The Jews had cast him off, and regarded him as an apostate; and by the wise among the Gentiles he had been persecuted, and despised, and driven from place to place, and regarded as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things (1 Cor. iv. 13), but still he was

the power of God unto salva- | to the Jew first, and also to the tion, to every one that believeth; Greek.

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not ashamed of the gospel. He had so firm a conviction of its value and its truth; he had experienced so much of its consolations; and had seen so much of its efficacy; that he was so far from being ashamed of it that he gloried in it as the power of God unto salvation. Men should be ashamed of crime and folly. They are ashamed of their own offences, and of the follies of their conduct, when they come to reflect on it. But they are not ashamed of that which they feel to be right, and of that which they know will contribute to their welfare, and to the benefit of their fellow men. Such were the views of Paul about the gospel; and it is one of his favourite doctrines that they who believe on Christ shall not be ashamed. Rom. x. 11; v. 5. 2 Cor. vii. 14. 2 Tim. i. 12. Phil. i. 20. Rom. ix. 33. 2 Tim. i. 8. Comp. Mark viii. 38. 1 Peter iv. 16. 1 John ii. 28. Of the gospel. This word means the good news, or the glad intelligence. See Note, Mark i. 1. It is so called because it contains the glad annunciation that sin may be pardoned, and the soul saved. Of Christ. The good news respecting the Messiah; or which the Messiah has brought. The expression probably refers to the former, the good news which relates to the Messiah, to his character, advent, preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension. Though this was "to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness," yet he regarded it as the only hope of salvation, and was ready to preach it even in the rich and splendid capital of the world. The power of God. This expression means that it is the way in which God exerts his power in the salvation of men. It is the efficacious or mighty plan, by which power goes forth to save, and by which all the obstacles of man's redemption are taken away. This expression implies, (1.) That it is God's plan, or his appointment. It is not the


c Acts 3.26.

device of man. (2.) It is adapted to the end. It is fitted to overcome the obstacles in the way. It is not merely the instrument by which God exerts his power, but it has an inherent adaptedness to the end, it is fitted to accomplish salvation to man so that it may be denominated power. (3.) It is mighty, hence it is called power, and the power of God. It is not a feeble and ineffectual instrumentality, but it is "mighty to the pulling down of strong holds." 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. It has shown its power as applicable to every degree of sin, to every combination of wickedness. It has gone against the sins of the world, and evinced its power to save sinners of all grades, and to overcome and subdue every mighty form of iniquity. Comp. Jer. xxiii. 29, "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" 1 Cor. i. 18. "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God." Unto salvation. This word means complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man. It cannot imply any thing less than eternal life. If a man should believe and then fall away, he could in no correct sense be said to be saved. Ard hence when the apostle declares that it is the power of God unto salvation "to every one that believeth," it implies that all who become believers "shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (see 1 Pet. i. 5), and that none shall ever fall away and be lost. The apostle thus commences his discussion with one of the important doctrines of the Christian religion, the final preservation of the saints. He is not defending the gospel for any temporary object, or with any temporary hope. He looks through the system, and sees in it a plan for the complete and eternal recovery of all those who believe

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in the Lord Jesus Christ. When he says it is the power of God unto salvation, he means that it is the power of God for the attainment of salvation. This is the end, or the design of this exertion of power. To every one that believeth. Comp. Mark xvi. 16, 17. This expresses the condition, or the terms, on which salvation is conferred through the gospel. It is not indiscriminately to all men, whatever may be their character. It is only to those who confide or trust in it; and it is conferred on all who receive it in this manner. If this qualification is possessed, it bestows its blessings freely and fully. All men know what faith is. It is exercised when we confide in a parent, a friend, a benefactor. It is such a reception of a promise, a truth, or a threat ening, as to suffer it to make its approbriate impression on the mind, and such as to lead us to act under its influence, or to act as we should on the supposition that it is true. Thus a sinner credits the threatenings of God, and fears. This is faith. He credits his promises, and hopes. This is faith. He feels that he is lost, and relies on Jesus Christ for mercy. This is faith. And, in general, faith is such an impression on the mind made by truth as to lead us to feel and act as if it were true; to have the appropriate feelings, and views, and conduct under the commands, and promises, and threatenings of God. See Note, Mark xvi. 16. To the Jew first. First in order of time. Not that the gospel was any more adapted to Jews than to others; but to them had been committed the oracles of God; the Messiah had come through them; they had had the law, the temple, and the service of God, and it was natural that the gospel should be proclaimed to them before it was to the Gentiles. This was the order in which the gospel was actually preached to the world, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. Comp. Acts ii. and x. Matt. x. 6.

faith to faith: as it is written, ' The just shall live by faith.

b Hab.2.4.

Luke xxiv. 49. Acts xiii. 46, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." Comp. Matt. xxi. 43. ¶ And also to the Greek. To all who were not Jews, that is, to all the world. It was not confined in its intention or efficacy to any class or nation of men. It was adapted to all, and was designed to be extended to all.

17. For. This word implies that he is now about to give a reason for that which he had just said, a reason why he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. That reason is stated in this verse. It embodies the substance of all that is contained in the epistle. It is the doctrine which he seeks to establish; and there is not perhaps a more important passage in the Bible than this verse; or one more difficult to be understood. Therein. In it, ev auto, i. e. in the gospel. Is the righteousness of God, Smaucom . There is not a more important expression to be found in the epistle than this. It is capable of only the following interpretations. (1.) Some have said that it means that the attribute of God which is denominated righteousness or justice, is here displayed. It has been supposed that this was the design of the gospel te make this known; or to evince his justice in his way of saving men. There is an important sense in which this is true (ch. iii. 26). But this does not seem to be the meaning in the passage before us. For, (a) The leading design of the gospel is not to evince the justice of God, or the attribute of justice, but the love of God. See John iii. 16. Eph. ii. 4. 2 Thess. ii. 16. 1 John iv. 8. (b) The attribute of justice is not that which is principally evinced in the gospel. It is rather mercy, or mercy in a manner consis tent with justice, or that does not interfere with justice. (c) The nas

sage, therefore, is not designed to teach simply that the righteousness of God, as an attribute, is brought forth in the gospel, or that the main idea is to reveal his justice.

(2.) A second interpretation which has been affixed to it is, to make it the same as goodness, the benevolence of God is revealed, &c. But to this there are still stronger objections. For (a) It does not comport with the design of the apostle's argument. (b) It is a departure from the established meaning of the word justice, and the phrase "the righteousness of God." (c) If this had been the design, it is remarkable that the usual words expressive of goodness or mercy had not been used. Another meaning, therefore, is to be sought as expressing the sense of the phrase.

(3.) The phrase righteousness of God is equivalent to God's plan of justifying men; his scheme of declaring them just in the sight of the law; or of acquitting them from punishment, and admitting them to favour. In this sense it stands opposed to man's plan of justification, i. e. by his own works. God's plan is by faith. The way in which that is done is revealed in the gospel. The object contemplated to be done is to treat men as if they were righteous. Man attempted to accomplish this by obedience to the law. The plan of God was to arrive at it by faith. Here the two schemes differ; and the great design of this epistle is to show that man cannot be justified on his own plan, to wit, by works; and that the plan of God is the only way, and a wise and glorious way of making man just in the eye of the law. No small part of the perplexity usually attending this subject will be avoided if it is remembered that the discussion in this epistle pertains to the question, "how can mortal man be just with God?" The apostle shows that it cannot be by works; and that it can be by faith. This latter is what he calls the righteousness of God which is revealed in the gospel.

To see that this is the meaning, it is

needful only to look at the connexion; and at the usual meaning of the words. The word to justify, maiów, means properly to be just, to be innocent, to be righteous. It then means to declare, or treat as righteous; as when a man is charged with an offence, and is acquitted. If the crime alleged is not proved against him, he is declared by the law to be innocent. It then means to treat as if innocent, to regard as innocent; that is, to pardon, to forgive, and consequently to treat us if the offence had not occurred. It does not mean that the man did not commit the offence; or that the law might not have held him answerable for it; but that the offence is forgiven; and it is consistent to receive the offender into favour, and treat him as if he had not committed it. In what way this may be done rests with him who has the pardoning power. And in regard to the salvation of man, it rests solely with God, and must be done in that way only which he appoints and approves. The design of Paul in this epistle is to show how this is done, or to show that it is done by faith. It may be remarked here that the expression before us does not imply any particular manner in which it is done; it does not touch the question whether it is by imputed righteousness or not; it does not say that it is on legal principles; it simply affirms that the gospel contains God's plan of justifying men by faith.

The primary meaning of the word is, therefore, to be innocent, pure, &c. and hence the name means righteousness in general. For this use of the word, see Matt. iii. 15; v. 6. 10. 20; xxi. 32. Luke i. 75. Acts x. 35; xiii. 10. Rom. ii. 26; viii. 4, &c.

In the sense of pardoning sin, or of treating men as if they were innocent, on the condition of faith, it is used often, and especially in this epistle. See Rom. iii. 24. 26. 28. 30; iv. 5; v. 1; viii. 30. Gal. ii. 16; iii. 8. 24. Rom. iii. 21, 22. 25; iv. 3. 6. 13; ix. 30, &c.

It is called God's righteousness, because it is God's plan, in distinction from all the plans set up by men. It

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