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1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Ver. 1. Ought to bear ] As porters do their burdens, as pillars do the poise of the house, or rather as parents have their babes in their arms. Βασταζειν .
And not to please ourselves ] Bis desipit, qui sibi sapit, He is twice foolish who understands himself. Proverbs 3:7 .
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Ver. 2. Please his neighbour ] Though he cross himself: this is true Christian love, and driven almost out of the world by sinful self-love, which causeth men to dislike those things in others that they favour and flatter in themselves.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Ver. 3. For even Christ ] And we should express him to the world, preach abroad his virtues by our practice, 1 Peter 2:9 . Our lives should be as so many sermons upon the life of Christ. This is to walk in Christ, Colossians 2:6 , as Christ, 1 John 3:6 .
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Ver. 4. For whatsoever things, &c. ] Here the apostle meets with an objection. For some man might say, that that saying of the Psalms pertains to David, how therefore is it applied to Christ? He answers, Whatsoever things, &c. q.d. We must learn to see Christ in David; David in the history, Christ in the mystery; David as the type, Christ the truth.
That we through patience ] Hence the Scriptures are called, The word of Christ’s patience, Revelation 3:10 , because they patient the heart under God’s holy hand; and are better called medicine for the soul ( η της ψυχης ιατρεια ) than ever was the library of Alexandria.
And comfort of the Scriptures ] As the blood and spirits are conveyed by the veins and arteries, so is the Spirit by the promises, helping the soul to lay itself upon Christ by faith, which is a grace of union, and so of establishment.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Ver. 5. Now the God of patience ] The soul is then only in good plight when the heaven answers the earth, Hosea 2:21 ; when Christ the Sun of righteousness shines into it.
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ver. 6. With one mind and one mouth, ] It is recorded to the high commendation of the Church of Scotland, that for this 90 years and upwards they have kept unity with purity without schism, much less heresy. (Syntag. Confession, Prefat.)
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Ver. 7. To the glory of God ] That is, of heaven, the joys whereof it is as impossible to comprehend as it is to compass the heaven with a span, or contain the ocean in a nut shell. Such comfort there is in the presence of Christ (though but in the womb), as it made John to spring. What then shall it be in heaven?
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Ver. 8. Now I say that Jesus ] Paul proveth particularly in this and the following verses that Christ hath taken both Jews and Gentiles to his glory.
9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
Ver. 9. And that the Gentiles ] Though they had no such promises, might glorify God’s free grace in the day of their visitation.
10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
Ver. 10. Rejoice ] That your names are also written in heaven, and that ye are enrolled in the records of the new Jerusalem.
11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
Ver. 11. All ye Gentiles ] As being received into the glory of God, Romans 15:7 .
12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Ver. 12. In him shall the Gentiles trust ] Isaiah hath it, "To him shall the Gentiles seek:" to seek to God then argues trust in God. He that hopes not, praises not, or but faintly.
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Ver. 13. Fill you with all joy, &c. ] Note here that joy and peace are the means whereby faith worketh hope.
14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
Ver. 14. Full of goodness ] The excellency of a godly man is to follow God fully, as Caleb, Numbers 14:24 ; to have a heart full of goodness, as these Romans, a life full of good works, as Tabitha, Acts 9:36 . These shall receive a full reward, 2 John 1:8 .
15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
Ver. 15. Chrysostom truly saith of St Paul, that he was insatiabilis Dei cultor, an insatiable worshipper of God, one that thought he could never do God or his Church service enough.
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Ver. 16. Ministering the gospel ] Serving about holy things or doing sacred offices, as the priests under the law, to whom the apostle all along this verse alludes in an elegant allegory, ιερουργουντα λειτουργον ; the ministry is a divine and heavenly function. All other callings are for the world, and draw to the world; but this, both in the preparation and execution, draweth to God, keepeth us with God, and to be ever mindful of the things of God.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
Ver. 17. I have therefore, &c. ] So have all God’s faithful ministers at this day against the contempts and contumelies cast upon them by the mad world, ever beside itself in point of salvation. There is a pamphlet lately published that sticks not to make that sacred and tremendous function of the ministry to be as mere an imposture, as very a mystery of iniquity, as arrant a fraud, as the Papacy itself. (The Compas. Samaritan.)
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Ver. 18. To make the Gentiles, &c. ] Christ by his gospel subdued the Britons, whom the Romans with all their force could never subdue, as Tertullian observed. a
a Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca Christo tamen subdita.
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Ver. 19. So that from Jerusalem ] Chrysostom observeth, that Plato came three times to Sicily to convert Dionysius the tyrant to moral philosophy, and could not. But Paul fetched a great compass, converted many souls, planted many Churches; and why? Christ sat upon him as upon one of his white horses, and went forth conquering and to conquer, Revelation 6:2 .
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
Ver. 20. Lest I should build ] Lest I should seem to do anything unbeseeming the office of an apostle: there is a decorum to be kept in every calling.
21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
Ver. 21. But as it is written, ] In obedience to this divine oracle, the apostle preached to those that had not heard, yet neglected not those that had.
22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
Ver. 22. For which cause ] By planting Churches and preaching where was more need.
23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
Ver. 23. These many years ] The Romans were converted to the faith betimes. Some of them were "in Christ before Paul,"Romans 16:7; Romans 16:7 . Christ made haste also to convert England, whose religion before was tristissimum superstitionum chaos (as Camden hath it), a most sad chaos of superstitions. Sabellicus testifieth that Brittany was the first of all the provinces that publicly professed Christ. And as we were the first that took upon us the yoke of Papal tyranny (so that England was called the Pope’s Ass), so were we the first that shook it off again.
24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company .
Ver. 24. For I trust to see you ] Ipse aspectus viri boni delectat, He himself delights at the sight of good men, saith Seneca. There is a great deal of sweetness in the society of saints, and much good to be gotten thereby. Sometimes (saith a grave divine) though we know that which we ask of others as well as they do, yet good speeches will draw us to know it better, by giving occasion to speak more of it: wherewith the Spirit works more effectually, and imprints it deeper, so that it shall be a more rooted knowledge than before. For that doth good that is graciously known, and that is graciously known that the Spirit seals upon our souls.
25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
Ver. 25. To minister unto the saints ] The highest angel in heaven may not hold himself too good to serve the saints.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Ver. 26. It hath pleased them ] It hath not been squeezed out of them as verjuice is out of a crab, but freely and cheerfully they have contributed, ευδοκησαν .
For the poor saints which are at Jerusalem ] The Jews do to this day send their alms yearly from all parts to Jerusalem for the maintenance of the poor that live there, and spend their time praying for the welfare of the whole nation.
27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
Ver. 27. Their debtors they are ] And so are we to pity and pray for them. See my "True Treasure," sect. 2. chapt. 7.
28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
Ver. 28. When I have sealed ] That is, safely delivered, as if it were under seal.
This fruit ] This sweet ripe fruit of their faith and love, their alms.
29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
Ver. 29. In the fulness of the blessing ] Christ may use one of less grace to do more good than one of more (for there are diversities of operations, as well as of gifts, 1Co 12:6 ), but usually he delights to honour those of most sincerity, with most success,1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Corinthians 15:10 .
30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
Ver. 30. For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake ] This is one of those passages in St Paul, than the which there can nothing possibly be imagined more grave, divine, excellent, saith Beza.
That ye strive together ] Even to an agony, as the word συναγωνισασθαι imports. Spiritual beggary is the hardest and richest of all trades, as one said. Learn of this great apostle to beg prayers with all earnestness. Pray for me, I say, pray for me, I say, quoth father Latimer. Pray for me, pray for me, for God’s sake pray for me, said blessed Bradford.
31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
Ver. 31. That my service which, &c. ] One would have thought that the apostle coming with alms to them, should easily have been well accepted; but he saw cause to seek God for such a mercy, since it is he alone that fashions men’s opinions, and gives favour and kind acceptance. Besides wisdom, he gave Solomon honour.
32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
Ver. 32. Be refreshed ] See Trapp on " Rom 1:12 " See Trapp on " 2Jn 1:12 "
33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Ver. 33. Now the God of peace ] A fit attribute for the present purpose. It is a commendable policy in Christians, when they pray, to propound God to their mind in such notions, and under such titles, as whereby they may see in God the things they desire of God.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 15". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent