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THE NEW TESTAMENT
LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST,
SACRED TEXT IS AT LARGE RECITED,
THE SENSE EXPLAINED, AND THE INSTRUCTIVE EXAMPLE OF THE BLESSED
JESUS, AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES, TO OUR IMITATION RECOMMENDED.
THE WHOLE DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE THE READING OF THE SCRIPTURES IN
THEM PROFITABLE AND DELIGHTFUL.
BY WILLIAM BURKITT, M. A.
LATE VICAR AND LECTURER OF DEDHAM, IN ESSEX.
JAMES DINNIS, 62, PATERNOSTER-ROW.
THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
This Epistle to the Romans bas always been esteemed by the Church of God one of the chiefest and
most excellent portions of boly scripture. The reason why this Epistle stands first, is not because it was wrote first; (the epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians, being writ before it ;) but eitber because of the imperial dignity of the city, to Rome, unto which it was directed, or else because of the sublimity of the matter, and the excellency of the doctrine, contained in it, with respect to which some have called it, “ The Marrow of Divinity, -The Key of the New Testament,
- The Christian Church's Confession of Faith, -and, The most divine Epistle of the most holy Apostle." The scope and design of which is two-fold ; First, To show that neither the Gentiles by the law of nature,
Dor the Jews by the law of Moses, could ever attain to justification and salvation, but only by faith in Jesus Christ: for the sake of whose merits alone we are accounted righteous in the sight of Cind. Se. condly, To show that faith is not separated from good works, but productive of them; being the
parent and principle of obedience, without which whosoever liveth is accounted dead before GOD. The subject matter of this Epistle is two-fold ; partly doctrinal, and partly practical in the doctrinal
part, which makes up the first eleven chapters, the apostle treats of justification by faith alone, without ihe works of the law'; of original corruption, by the fall of Adam ; of sanctification by the Spirit of Christ; of the calling of the Gentiles; that is, of the present rejection of the Jews, and the fuiure re
calling of them when the fulness of the Gentiles was come in. In the applicatory or practical part of this Epistle, which begins at chapter xii. we have many useful and
excellent exhortations, both to general and particular duties, respecting GOD, our neighbour, and our. selves ; and several encouragements given us to the love and practice of universal holiness.
changing grace of God! which is able to CHAP. I.
turn Sauls into Pauls; persecutors into
professors; faithless sinners into faithful in this first chapter our apostle (aster salutation servants of Jesus Christ. Observe, 2. He
namely, to assert and prove the grand doctrine of is described by his general office; a servant justification by faith, that is, by believing and of Jesus Christ : an higher and more honobeying the gospel of Christ and that no personi ourable title than that of emperor of the either Jew of Geotile, could possibly be justified by any works of their own,
whole earth. Servire Christo est regnare: As to the Gentiles, he shows in this chapter, That
to serve Christ, especially in the quality their works were so far from justifying them before God, that they were an‘abumination in bis of an ambassador, is a greater honour than sight; that, for rebelling against the light and to have the monarchs of the world to serve law of nature, God delivered them up to their un
us, and bow the knee before us. Observe, satural lusts, which exposed them io unutterable and inevitable condembation, as the close of this 3. He is described by his particular office, chapter will inform us,) and this as a just judgment Called to be an apostle : that is, constitutand righteous punishment for their sius.
ed and appointed by Christ to that holy PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, function, without any merit or desert of his
called to be an apostle, sepa- own. He did not assume the honour of rated unto the gospel of God,
an apostle till called ; and when called,
it was not any desert of his own, but the Observe here, The author and penman free and undeserved grace of God that call. of this epistle described : 1. By his name, ed him, Observe, 4. That as he was Paul. Before his conversion he was called called to, so is he said to be separated for, Saul, then Saul the persecutor; after his the great work of preaching the gospel : conversion he was Paul the professor, Paul separated unto the gospel of God, that is, the preacher, Paul the great doctor of the set apart in the purpose and decree of God. Gentiles. O wonderful power of the heart- separated from his mother's womb, Gair
i. 15. Immediately and extraordinarily the holy scriptures. Where note, 1. The called by Christ himself to this great work, antiquity of the gospel, how ancient that Acts ix. 15. and mediately by the officers doctrine is, even as old as the prophets of the church, Acts xiii. 2, 3, &c. The themselves; nay, as old as Adam himself. work of dispensing the mysteries of the ever- The gospel, or glad tidings of a Saviour, lasting gospel is to be undertaken by none was first preached to Adam by God himself, but those who are solemnly separated and Gen. ii. 15. next to Abraham, Gen. xv. set apart for it, and regularly called to it. I then it was predicted by all the prophets would to God the herd of lay-preachers at which have been since the world began. this day would consider this. These The gospel which we preach can by no usurpers of the sacred function can neither means fall under the charge and imputation pray in faith for a blessing upon what they of novelty: it is no new or modern docundertake, because they have no promise trine, but almost as old as the world itself : to bottom their faith upon, nor can the Which gospel he had promised before by people expect to profit by what they hear his holy prophets. Behold then a greut from them; for this would be to expect correspondency, a sweet agreement and God's blessing out of God's way. Read harmony, between the Old and New Teswith trembling what God says, Jer. xxiii. tament, between the prophets and apostles ; 32. I sent them not, neither commanded though great ditforence in the manner and them, therefore shall they not profit this measure of the revelation. For, as one says, people at all. Where mark, That the the Old Testament is the hiding of the people's not profiting by these men, is not New; the New Testament is the opening charged upon their false doctrine, but upon of the
Old. The Old Testament is the their want of a call and commission. It is New Testament veiled: the New Testanot said, that their doctrine is unsound, but tament is the Old revealed. Note, 2. The they preach unsent; therefore they shall venerable title given to the scriptures : not profit this people at all. These men they are called the holy Scriptures. Which contradict the command of God, the uni- hc had promised before by his prophets versal practice of the christian church, vio- speaking in the holy scriptures. late the rules of order and right reason, and scriptures are holy in several respects. 1. expose a inost awful and tremendous ordi- In regard of their author and inditer, the nance of God to contempt and scorn; yea, Holy Spirit of God. 2. In regard of the lay it open to the bold presumption of every penmen and writers of them, holy men of ignorant and impudent pretender. Observe, God. 3. In regard of the subject-matter 5. The glorious title given to the gospel, contained in them, the holy will of God. which St. Paul was called forth to preach: 4. In regard of their design, to make us it is here styled the gospel of God, and else. holy both in heart and life. And, if the where the gospel of Christ. It is the gospel word of God be an holy word, then let it of God, as he was the author and contriver be treated by us with all holy deference of it; it is the gospel of Christ, as he is the and regard. Lord! what an impious lisubject matter and scope of it. As Jesus berty do some men take, in this wanton Christ was the sum of the law, so is he the age, to furnish out a jest in scripture attire, substance of the gospel. Indeed St. Paul and in their jocular humour to make light sometimes calls it his gospel, Rom. ii. 16. and irreverent applications of scripture because he was the dispenser and promulger phrases and sentences ! They lay their of it, it was Depositum fidei suæ com- schemes of ridiculous mirth in the Bible, missum : “ Å divine treasure committed and play the buffoons with the most seri. to his care and trust," And if the gospel ous things in the world. These men bring preached be the gospel of God, let tis en- forth scripture as the Philistines brought tertain it in our judgments, retain it in our forth Samson, only to make them sport; memories, embrace it in our affections, hide but they shall ere long find Almighty God it in our hearts, confess it with our mouths, in earnest, though they were in jest. He and practise it in our lives.
that has magnified his word above all his 2 (Which he had promised afore
name, will not brook it, that any man by his prophets in the holy scrip- rendering it the theme of his giddy mirth
should make it vile and contemptible, by tures)
and profane drollery. That is, which gospel God has promised before by his holy prophets speaking in 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ
our Lord, which was made of the and powerfully demonstrated so to be. seed of David according to the Learn hence, i. That the resurrection of fesh, 4 And declared to be the
our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, by Son of God with power, according the Holy Ghost, is a powerful and con
vincing demonstration that he was the Son to the Spirit of holiness, by the re- of God. Christ as man is nowhere said surrection from the dead :
in scripture to be the Son of God, but with The apostle having told us in the fore- relation to the divine power of the Holy going verses, that he was particularly called Ghost, by whom he had life communicated to, and by God set apart for, the preaching to him from the Father, both at his concepof the gospel, in the verses before us he de- tion and at his resurrection. At his conclares that Jesus Christ was the main sub- ception he was the Son of God, by being ject of that gospel which he preached, and conceived by the Holy Ghost; but this describes him by his twofold nature ; by was secret and invisible, known only to the his human nature, ver. 3. by his divine mother of our Lord. Therefore at his nature, ver. 4. According to his human resurrection, by the Spirit of holiness, nature he was made of the seed of David; that is, by the immediate power of the that is, descended from David, and one of Holy Ghost, God thought fit to give a his posterity by the mother's side, who visible and public demonstration io the was of that house and line, according to whole world, that Jesus was his own Son, the flesh; that is, the weakness, frailty, the promised and true Messias, and conand mortality, of his human nature. Where sequently did thereby give testimony to observe, 1. That our Lord Jesus Christ had the truth and divinity of our Saviour's doca being, even an eternal existence, before trine and miracles. God did now publicly his jacarnation, or manifestation in our own his Son, in the face of the whole flesh and nature. He was the Son of God, world, and freed him from all suspicion of before he was the Son of man; hence he being an impostor or deceiver ; for it is not is said to be made of the seed of David, supposable, that God should put forth an intimating that he was then made what almighty power to raise him from the he was not before. In regard of his divine grave, if he had by robbery assumed that nature, he was begotten, not made; but glorious title of the Son of God, therefore in regard of his human nature, he was made, saith the Father of him in the morning of not begotten. Observe, 2. That Jesus the resurrection ; Thou art my Son, inis Christ, the eternal Son of God, did in the day have I begotten thee; that is, in the fulness of time assume the true and perfect words of our apostle here, declared and nature of man into a personal union with made the conspicuously app ar to be the his Godhead; the human nature was united Son of God with power, according to the to the divine nature miraculously and ex- Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection traord inarily, by the overshadowing power from the dead. Yet observe, 2. That of the Holy Ghost, Luke i. 34, 35. and though Christ was raised from the dead also integrally and completely; that is by the power of God's Holy Spirit, to say, Christ
' took a complete and perfect yet did he certainly raise himself by his human soul and body, with all the facul. own power as God, according to his ties of the one, and all the members of the own prediction, John ii. 19, Destroy other
, that thereby he might heal the whole this temple of my body, and in three days nature of that leprosy of sin, which had I will raise it up; and according to St. seized upon, and diffused its malignity into Peter's assertion, 1 Pet
. iii. 18, Being every member, and every faculty.
put to death in the flesh, in his human Next
, we have a demonstration of Christ's nature, but quickened by the Spirit: that divine nature, ver. 4. Declared to be the is, by the power of his Godhead, or divine Son of God with power, &c. As if our
nature, quickening himself; for had he apostle had said, that our Lord Jesus Chris, been only raised by the power of God, though according to the faculty and weak and not by his own power
, how could Dess of his human nature he was of the his resurrection have been a declaration seed of David, yet in respect of that divine that he was the Son of God? What had power of the Holy Ghost which manifested more appeared in Christ's resurrection than itself in him, especially in his resurrection in other men's ? for they were raised by from the dead, he was declared to be the the power of God as well as he. But here Son : a self