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ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
V. 15.-St. Paul saith, As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Ps. xl. V. 9.- I have preached righteousness in the great congregation : lo! I have not refrained my lips, O Jehovah, thou knowest. 10. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation ; I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
On first entering upon the Epistles of St. Paul, let us take some pains to ascertain clearly and distinctly what is his faith in the divinity of Christ. In the Epistle to the Romans, chap. ix, v. 4, he calls Christ “ God, blessed for evermore.” In Titus, chap. ii. v. 19, he calls him “God our SAVIOUR ;” and in Colossians, chap. ii. v. 9, he says, 6. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead.” This, then, is the faith he asserts he is willing to preach at Rome. After these positive proofs, can it be right to dwell upon mere verbal difficulties, such as whether " and”, ought or ought not to be inserted in some particular paragraphs ?
V. 1.-Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus CHRIST.
Isa. Ch. xxxii. V. 17.-The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever.
A diversity of persons is here evident, for the peace that is offered us with God is through the mediatorial influence of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
CHA P. VI.
V. 23. — The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life eternal, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD.
Gen. Ch. ii. V. 17.-Jehovah ELOHIM saith, Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Again we are told that eternal life is bestowed by God, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD; this word Lord being so very frequently added to the name of Jesus Christ, seems to convey the same import as when Adoni is joined to the name JEHOVAH.
V. 4.-Who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. 5. Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore.
Deut. Ch. vii. V. 6.-For thou art an holy people unto JEHOVAH thy God. Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Jer. Ch. xxiii. V. 6.—In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely ; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Here St. Paul says, As concerning the flesh, CHRIST descended from the Jews, who were the guardians of the Law and the Covenants made by God with them; and to these very Jews, who could freely refer to these documents, he positively declares that Christ is God, blessed for evermore.
V. 30.—What, shall we say, then, that the Gentiles who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? Because they sought it not by faith ; for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone. As it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone and rock of offence, and whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed.
This extract, I think, may be thus explained. Although the Gentiles had no knowledge of the Law and of the Prophets, to conduct them unto faith in CHRIST, yet, as they did receive the Gospel when it was offered them, they are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's kingdom. Whereas the Jews, possessing the Law and the Prophets, and professing to take them as a rule of conduct, were rejected, because they laid great stress only on the letter, and overlooked the spirit, which could alone guide them to the knowledge of CHRIST and him crucified. The reference to the stone of stumbling proves that St. Paul and Isaiah applied the metaphor to the same divine being, Jehovah CHRIST.
V. 6.—The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven, or who shall descend into the deep? 8. The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is the word of faith which we preach.
Deut. Ch. xxx. V. 11.-For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldst
for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it ? 13. Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? 14. But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
We shall practically experience the truth of these quotations, if we will study the Scriptures with humble piety, and a disposition to obey their precepts; for we shall then speedily perceive that the word they preach is indeed the word of peace and salvation.
V. 10.- We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Isa. Ch. xlv. V. 22.-Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. 23. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return; that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
This quotation of St. Paul from Isaiah again proves that they treat of the same Divine Person, for Christ is identified with God, to whom every knee shall bow, and to whom every one is to give account of himself.
V. 1.-Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3. And did all eat the same spiritual meat, 4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
Exod. Ch. xiii. V. 21.-And Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light to go by day and night.
Exod. Ch. xvii. V. 6.--Behold I, Jehovah, will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.
These passages are, I think, convincing proofs of the divinity of Christ; for St. Paul teaches us that it was he who was the JEHOVAH who conducted the Israelites through the wilderness. And if he were on earth with the Jews in their passage from Egypt to the promised land ; and if, as says St. Stephen, in chap. vii. v. 38, it was the same Christ (JEHOVAH), who mercifully interposed as mediator between EcoHIM and Moses, when the covenant on Mount Sinai was to be established, shall we withhold our love and faith from him, when he again appeared on earth with healing on his wings, and brought life and immortality to light.
V. 9.–Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Ps. lxxviii. V. 13.-They tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lust. 56. They tempted and provoked the Most High Elohim, and kept not his testimonies.
These texts both relate to the same rebellious acts of the Israelites. In the Psalm, the person tempted is called the ELOHIM; in the Epistle he is called CHRIST. Thus St. Paul teaches us to look upon CHRIST as ELOHIM.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received. 3. How that CHRIST died for our sins according to the Scriptures ; and that he was buried and rose again the third day.
Dan. Ch. ix. V, 26.-And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.