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devoted to bodily gratifications, that they have departed from their own natural excellence.-Finally, the nature of man is termed corporeal, because, having been deprived of heavenly grace, it is now only a certain deceitful shadow or image. This body is contemptuously denominated mortal by Paul, for the purpose of teaching us that the whole human nature of man is prone to death and destruction. He now, indeed, terms sin that first depraved inclination which is seated in our minds, and impels us to the commission of sin, from which as a fountain all our crimes and wickedness properly flow. He imagines our desires to be intermediate between sin and us, so that sin assumes the character of a king, and our inordinate desires are the edicts and orders which are issued by his authority.

Neither yield ye your members-When sin has once fixed its kingdom in our mind, all the parts of our body are immediately directed to yield it obedience. Paul, therefore, in this passage, describes the kingdom of sin from its results, that he may point out, in a more striking manner, what steps we ought to take, if we are desirous to cast off its yoke. The apostle, in calling our members instruments, or arms, derives the simile from a military life; for as a soldier has his armour always in a state of readiness, that he may be prepared to use it whenever his commander shall issue his orders, and never girds his arms except at the nod of his general; so Christians ought to regard all their members as arms for a spiritual combat ; and if any of them are abused in gratifying depraved inclinations, they are in the service of sin. Believers have also devoted themselves, by their military oath, to Christ and God, and are held bound to pay them obedience, and it becomes the pious to keep at a distance from all intercourse with the camp of sin. We may hence see what


right those have to call themselves Christians, with all the pomp of pride, whose every member is in a state of readiness, as if sold to the service of satan, to commit all uncleanness with greediness. Paul now orders us, on the other hand, to stand entirely ready for the service of God, that, restraining our mind and inclination from wandering after any of those vices into which the desires of the flesh might lead us, we should keep our attention fixed on the will of God alone, be always ready to obey his commands, and in a state of preparation to observe his orders. Our members also should be prepared and consecrated to his will, so that all the faculties, both of our mind and body, should breathe after nothing but his glory. The reason is also added,-because the Lord, having destroyed our former life, has created us for another, with which our actions ought to correspond.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin; but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

For sin shall not have dominion over you—It is unnecessary for me to recite or refute expositions

which have little or no appearance of truth. The interpretation, which understands the expression, to be under the law, to mean, being subject to the letter of the law, without the renewal of the mind, as to be under grace, implies freedom from depraved desires by the Spirit of grace, though it has the appearance of greater probability than other interpretations, does not meet my entire approbation. For if this sense of the passage be adopted, why does the apostle propose the question, Shall we sin because we are not under the law? The very statement of the question proves Paul to have understood us to be so freed from the rigour of the law, as to be no longer treated by God according to its utmost demands. He undoubtedly, therefore, wished to point out, by this expression, some deliverance from the bondage of the law of the Lord. I will briefly explain my own view of this passage, without entering into a controversial examination of the sentiments of other commentators. The apostle seems to me, in the first place, to comfort and strengthen believers, lest they should faint in their zeal and desire after holiness, on account of the sense which they feel of their own weakness. He exhorts believers to exert all their faculties in performing obedience to the righteousness of the law. The remains of sin, however, must necessarily make them in part halt. To prevent their discouragement and despondency from a consciousness of infirmity, he affords them seasonable consolation from the consideration of their works not being now exacted according to the rigid demand of the law; but God, forgiving their impurity, accepts them in a kind, gracious, and indulgent manner. The yoke of the law cannot be borne without breaking or wearing down those who are subject to its power and on this account believers must fly to Christ, and implore his assistance as a

defender of their liberty, who is always ready to present himself in this character. For the Redeemer submitted himself unto the bondage of the law, who was not on any other account a debtor to its demands, that he might redeem those who were under the law, as the apostle states: (Gal. iv. 5.) Not to be under the law, therefore, means, "that it is not only prescribed to us as a dead letter, when it condemns us as guilty, because we have not power to obey it; but, also, that we are no more subject to the law, since it exacts a perfect righteousness, and pronounces death against all who shall have swerved from any part of its demands." Under the word grace, we likewise include both parts of redemption, and mean, "the forgiveness of sins, by which God imputes righteousness to us, and also the sanctification of the Spirit, by which he reforms us to good works." If we translate the passage, "Because we are under grace, therefore we are not under the law,' as the Greek particle frequently allows to be done, the sense will evidently be, that the apostle wishes to afford comfort, and prevent us from fainting in our zealous pursuit of good living, because we still feel in ourselves many imperfections. For notwithstanding the stings of sin continue to harass us, yet they cannot bring us under their power, because we are rendered superior to them by the Spirit of God: we are also freed from the rigid demand of the law, when we are established in grace. The apostle, it must here be understood, undoubtedly presupposes that all men, destitute of the grace of God, are bound by the yoke, and held under the condemnation of the law. We may, therefore, on the contrary, infer that all, while under the law, are subject to the dominion of sin.


What then?-Because fleshly wisdom is always railing against divine mysteries, Paul necessarily

subjoins this anticipation of the objections of his opponent; for as the law is the rule for a good life, and given for moderating the affections and conduct of mankind, we imagine, if it is broken, that all discipline will be immediately overthrown, all bars and checks against iniquity be broken, and all choice and distinction between good and evil annihilated. The chief fallacy in this reasoning consists in our imagining the righteousness commended by God in the law to be abolished by its abrogation, without considering that the precepts of the law, as a rule of life, are confirmed and ratified, rather than abrogated by Christ. The proper solution of the objection consists in showing the curse of the law only to be taken away by the gospel, and the whole race of mortals to be condemned by this, unless the grace of Christ intervene. Paul, though he does not expressly state this, points at it in an oblique manner.

God forbid. Know ye not-This is not a mere expression, as some have supposed, of Paul's rather detesting such a question than of his refuting it; for the confutation of the objection immediately follows, derived from the nature of contraries, in the following sense: "There is so great a dissention between the yoke of Christ and of sin, that no one can endure both at the same time. If we sin, we give ourselves up to the bondage of sin; but, on the contrary, believers are redeemed from the tyranny of sin, to become the servants of Christ; and, on this account, it is impossible for them to remain the slaves of sin.' But it will be useful more carefully to examine the order taken by Paul in investigating this argument. To whom you obey-The relative pronoun, which is very common, has the force of a causal particle. As if it should be said, a parricide is guilty of every crime, by daring to commit the most dreadful wickedness, and to perpetrate an act of cruelty, at



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