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Romans 9


 1 I say (1) the truth (*) in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the holy Ghost,


(1) The third part of the Epistle, even to the twelfth Chapter, wherein Paul ascendeth to the higher causes of faith; and first of all because he purposed to speak much of the casting off of the Jews, he useth an insinuation, declaring by a double or triple oath, and by witnessing of his great desire towards their salvation, his singular love towards them, and therewithal granting unto them all their prerogatives.

(*) As becometh him that reverenceth Christ, or whose tongue Christ ruleth and so taketh Christ for his witness.


 2 That I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart.


  (*) For I would wish myself to be (a) (♣) separate from Christ, for my brethren that are my kinsmen according to the (b) flesh,


(*) Acts 9:2; 1 Corinthians 15:8 .

(a) The Apostle loved his brethren so entirely, that if it have been possible, he would have been ready to have redeemed the casting away of the Israelites, with the loss of his own soul forever; for this word separate, betokeneth as much in this place.

(♣) He would redeem the rejection of the Jews with his own damnation, which declareth his zeal toward Godís glory, read Exodus 32:32 .
(b) Being brethren by flesh, as of one nation and country.


 4 Which are the Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the (c) (♣) glory, and the (*) (d) Covenants, and the giving of the (e) Law, and the (f) service of God, and the (g) promises.


(c) The Ark of the covenant, which was a token of God's presence.

(♣) The Ark of the covenant, because it was a sign of Godís presence, was called Godís glory, 1 Samuel 4:21; Psalm 26:8 .

(*) Romans 2:17; Ephesians 2:12 .
(d) The tables of the covenant; and this is spoken by the figure Metonymy, Deuteronomy 11:9 .
(e) Of the judicial Law.
(f) The ceremonial Law.
(g) Which were made to Abraham and to his posterity.


 5 Of whom are the fathers, and of whom concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is (2) (*) God over all, blessed forever, Amen.


(2) A most manifest testimony of the Godhead and divinity of Christ.

(*) Christ is very (truly ed.) God.


  (*) (3) Notwithstanding it cannot be that the word of God should (♣) take none effect. For all they are not (h) (♠) Israel, which are of Israel;


(*) Romans 2:28 .

(3) He entereth into the handling of predestination by a kind of preventing an objection; How may it be, that Israel is cast off, but that therewithal we must also make the covenant which God made with Abraham and his seed, frustrate and void? He answereth therefore, that God's word is true, although that Israel be cast off; for the election of the people of Israel is so general and common, that notwithstanding the same, God chooseth by his secret council, such as it pleaseth him. So then this is the proposition and state of this Treatise; the grace of salvation is offered generally in such sort, that notwithstanding it, the efficacy thereof pertaineth only to the elect.

(♣) Greek, fall away.
(h) Israel in the first place, it taken for Jacob; and in the second, for the Israelites.

(♠) That is, of Jacob whose name was also Israel.


 7 Neither are they all children, because they are the seed of Abraham; (*) (4) but, In (i) (♣) Isaac shall thy seed be called;


(*) Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18 .

(4) The first proof is taken from the example of Abraham's own house, wherein Isaac only was counted the son, and that by God's ordinance; although that Ishmael also was born of Abraham, and circumcised before Isaac.
(i) Isaac shall be thy true and natural son, and therefore heir of thy blessing.

(♣) The Israelites must not be esteemed by their kindred, but by the secret election of God, which is above the external vocation.


  (5) That is, they which are the children of the (k) (♣) flesh, are not the children of God, but the (*) children of the (l) promise, are counted for the seed.


(5) A general application of the former proof or example.
(k) Which are born of Abraham by the course of nature.

(♣) As, Ishmael.

(*) Galatians 4:28 .
(l) Which are born by virtue of the promise.


  (6) For this is a word of promise, (*) In this same time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.


(6) A reason of that application: Because that Isaac was born by the virtue of the promise, and therefore he was not chosen, nay he was not at all, but by the free will of God; whereby it followeth that the promise, is the fountain of predestination, and not the flesh from which promise the particular election proceedeth, that is, that the elect be born elect, and not that they be first born, and then afterward elected, in respect of God who doeth predestinate.

(*) Genesis 18:10 .


 10  (7) Neither he only felt this, but also (*) Rebecca, when she had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac.


(7) Another forcible proof, taken from the example of Esau and Jacob, which were both born of the same Isaac, which was the son of the promise, of one mother, and at one birth, and not at divers as Ishmael and Isaac were; and yet notwithstanding, Esau being cast off, only Jacob was chosen; and that before their birth, that neither any goodness of Jacob's might be thought to be the cause of his election, neither any wickedness of Esauís, of his casting away.

(*) Genesis 25:21 .


 11 For before the children were born, and when they had neither done good, nor evil (that the (m) purpose of God might (8) remain according to election, not by works, but by him that calleth.)


(m) God's decree, which proceedeth from of his mere good will, whereby it pleased him to choose one, and refuse the other.
(8) Paul saith not, might be made, but being made, might remain. Therefore they are deceived which make foreseen faith the cause of election, and foreknown infidelity, the cause of reprobation.


 12  (9) It was said unto her, (*) The elder shall serve the younger.


(9) He proveth the casting away of Esau by that, which he was made servant to his brother; and proveth the choosing of Jacob by that he was made Lord of his brother, although his brother were the first begotten. And lest that any man might take this saying of God, and refer it to external things, the Apostle sheweth out of Malachi, who is a good interpreter of Moses, that the servitude of Esau was joined with the hatred of God, and the lordship of Jacob with the love of God.

(*) Genesis 25:23 .


 13 As it is written, (*) I have loved Jacob, and have hated Esau.


(*) Malachi 1:2 .


 14  (10) What shall we say then? Is there (n) unrighteousness with God? God forbid.


(10) The first objection: If God doth love or hate upon no consideration of worthiness or unworthiness, then heís unjust, because he may love them which are unworthy, and hate them that are worthy. The Apostle detesteth this blasphemy, and afterward answereth it severally, point by point.
(n) Manís will knoweth no other causes of love or hatred, but those that are in the persons, and thereupon this objection riseth.


 15  (11) For he saith to Moses, (*) I (♣) will (o) have mercy on him, to whom I will shew mercy, and will have (p) compassion on him, on whom I will have compassion.


(11) He answereth first touching them which are chosen to salvation in the choosing of whom, he denieth that God may seem unjust, although he choose and predestinate to salvation, them that are not yet born, without any respect of worthiness, because he bringeth not the chosen to the appointed end, but by the means of his mercy, which is a cause next under predestination. Now mercy presupposeth misery, and again misery presupposeth sin or voluntary corruption of mankind, and corruption presupposeth a pure and perfect creation. Moreover mercy is shewed by her degrees; to wit, by calling, by faith, by justification and sanctification, so that at length we come to glorification, as the Apostle will shew afterward. Now all these things, orderly following the purpose of God, do clearly prove that he can by no means seem unjust in loving and saving his.

(*) Exodus 33:19 .

(♣) As the only will and purpose of God is the chief cause of election and reprobation; so his free mercy in Christ is an inferior cause of salvation, and the hardening of the heart, an inferior cause of damnation.
(o) I will be merciful and favorable to whom I list to be favorable.
(p) I will have compassion on whomsoever I list to have compassion.


 16  (12) So then it is not in him that (q) willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy.


(12) The conclusion of the answer: Therefore God is not unjust in choosing and saving of his free goodness, such as it pleaseth him; as he also answered Moses, when he prayed for all the people.
(q) By will, he meaneth the thought and endeavor of heart, and by running, good works; to neither of which he giveth the praise, but only to the mercy of God.


 17  (13) For the (r) (♣) Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, (*) For this same purpose have (s) I stirred thee up, that I might (14) shew my power in thee, and that my Name might be declared throughout all the earth.


(13) Now he answereth concerning the reprobate or them whom God hateth being not yet born, and hath appointed to destruction, without any respect of unworthiness. And first of all he proveth this to be true, by alleging the testimony of God himself touching Pharaoh, whom he stirred up to this purpose, that he might be glorified in his hardening and just punishing.
(r) God so speaketh unto Pharaoh in the Scripture, or, the Scripture bringeth in God, so speaking to Pharaoh.

(♣) That is, God in the Scripture.

(*) Exodus 9:16 .
(s) Brought thee into this world.
(14) Secondly, he bringeth the end of God's counsel, to shew that there is no unrighteousness in him. Now the chiefest end, is not properly and simply the destruction of the wicked, but God's glory which appeareth in their rightful punishment.


 18  (15) Therefore he hath mercy on whom he (t) will, and whom he will he hardeneth.


(15) A conclusion of the full answer to the first objection: therefore seeing God doth not save them whom he freely chose according to his good will and pleasure, but by justifying and sanctifying them by his grace, his counsel in saving them cannot seem unjust. And again, there is no injustice in the everlasting counsel of God touching the destruction of them whom he listeth to destroy, for that he hardeneth before he destroyeth; Therefore the third answer for the maintenance of God's justice is the everlasting counsel of reprobation, consisteth in this word Hardening, which notwithstanding he concealed in the former verse, because the History of Pharaoh was well known. But the force of the word is great; for Hardening, which is set against Mercy, presupposeth the same things that mercy did, to wit, a voluntary corruption, wherein the reprobate are hardened, and again corruption presupposeth a perfect state of creation. Moreover, this hardening also is voluntary, for God so hardeneth being offended with corruption, that he useth their own will whom he hardeneth, to the executing of that judgment. Then follow the fruits of Hardening, to wit, unbelief and sin, which are the true and proper causes of the condemnation of the reprobate. Why doeth he then appoint to destruction? Because he will, why doeth he harden? Because they are corrupt, why doeth he condemn? Because they are sinners. Where is then unrighteousness? Nay, if he should destroy all after this same sort, to whom should he do injury?
(t) Whom it pleaseth him to appoint, to shew his favor upon.


 19  (16) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doeth he yet complain? For who hath resisted his will?


(16) Another objection but only for the reprobate, rising upon the former answer. If God do appoint to everlasting destruction, such as he listeth, and if that cannot be hindered notwithstanding that he hath once decreed, how doth be justly condemn them, which perish by his will?


 20  (17) But, O man, who art thou which (♣) pleadest against God? (18) Shall the (*) thing (u) formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?


(17) The Apostle doeth not answer that it is not God's will, or that God doth not either reject or elect according to his pleasure, which thing the wicked call blasphemy, but he rather granteth his adversary both the antecedents, to wit, that it is God's will, and that it must of necessity so fall out, yet he denieth that God is therefore to be thought an unjust revenger of the wicked, for seeing it appeareth by manifest proof that this is the will of God and his doing, what impudency is it for man, which is but dust and ashes to dispute with God, and as it were to call him into judgment? Now if any man say that the doubt is not so dissolved and answered, I answer, that there is no sure demonstration in any matter, because it is grounded upon this principle, That the will of God is the rule of righteousness.

(♣) Or speakest against.
(18) An amplification of the former answer, taken from a comparison, whereby also it appeareth that God's determine counsel is set of Paul as the highest of all causes; so that it dependeth not upon any respect of second causes, but doth rather frame and direct them.

(*) Isaiah 45:9 .
(u) This similitude agreeth very fitly in the first creation of mankind.


 21  (*) (19) Hath not the potter power of the clay to make of the same lump one (20) vessel to (x) honor, and another unto (21) dishonor?


(*) Jeremiah 18:6 .

(19) Alluding to the creation of Adam, he compareth mankind not yet made (but in the Creators mind) to a lump of clay; whereof afterwards God made and doeth daily make, according as he purposed from everlasting both such as should be elect, and such as should be reprobate, as also this word, making, declareth.
(20) Whereas in the objection propounded, mention was only made of vessels to dishonor, yet he speaketh of the other also in this answer, for that he proveth the Creator to be just in either of them, as the rule of contraries doeth require.
(x) To honest uses.
(21) Seeing then, that in the name of dishonor, the ignominy of everlasting death is signified, they speak with Paul, which say that some are made of God to most just destruction, and they are offended with this kind of speech bewray their own folly.


 22  (22) What and if God would, to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, suffer with long patience the (y) vessels of wrath, prepared to (23) destruction?


(22) The second answer is this, that God, moreover and besides that he doeth justly decree whatsoever he doeth decree, useth that moderation in executing of his decrees as declareth his singular lenity even in the reprobate in that, which he suffereth them a long time, and permitteth them to enjoy many and singular benefits, until at length he justly condemn them, and that to good end and purpose, to wit, to shew himself to be an enemy and revenger of wickedness, that it may appear what power he is of by these severe judgments, and finally by comparison of contraries to set forth indeed, how great his mercy is towards the elect.
(y) By vessels, the Hebrews understand all kinds of instruments.
(23) Therefore again, we may say with Paul that some men are made of God the Creator to destruction.


 23 And that he might declare the (z) riches of his glory upon the vessels of mercy, which he hath prepared unto glory?


(z) The immeasurable and marvelous greatness.


 24  (24) Even us whom he hath called, not of the (a) Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, 


(24) Having established the doctrine of the eternal predestination of God on both parts, that is, as well of the reprobate, as of the elect, he cometh now to shew the use of it, teaching us that we ought not to seek its testimony of it in the secret counsel of God, but by the vocation which is made manifest, and set forth in the Church, propounding unto us the example of the Jews and Gentiles, that the doctrine may be better perceived.
(a) He saith not that all and every one of the Jews are called, but some of the Jews, and some of the Gentiles.


 25  (25) As he saith also in Hosea, (*) I will call them, My people, which were not my people, and her, Beloved, which was not beloved.


(25) Our vocation or calling is free and of grace, even as our predestination is; and therefore there is no cause why either our own unworthiness, or the unworthiness of our ancestors should cause us to think that we are not the elect and chosen of God, if we be called by him, and so embrace through faith the salvation that is offered us.

(*) Hosea 2:23; 1 Peter 2:10 .


 26 And it shall be in the place where it was said unto them, (*) Ye are not my people, that there they shall be called, The children of the living God.


(*) Hosea 1:10 .


 27  (26) Also Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, (*) Though the number of the children of Israel were as the sand of the sea, yet shall but a remnant be saved.


(26) Contrariwise, neither any outward general calling, neither any worthiness of our ancestors is a sufficient witness of election, unless by faith and belief we answer God's calling; which thing came to pass in the Jews, as the Lord had forewarned.

(*) Isaiah 10:21 .


 28  (*) For he will make his account, and gather it into a (b) short sum with righteousness, for the Lord will make a short count in the earth.


(*) God will make such waste of that people that the few, which shall remain, shall be a work of his justice, and shall set forth his glory in his Church.

(b) God purposeth to bring the unkind and unthankful people to an extreme fewness.


 29  (*) And as Isaiah said before, Except the Lord of (c) hosts had left us a (d) seed, we had been made as (♣) Sodom, and had been like to Gomorrha.


(*) Isaiah 1:9 .

(c) Armies, by which word the chiefest power that is, is given to God.
(d) Even a very few.

(♣) That is, utterly lost.


 30  (27) What shall we say then? That the Gentiles which followed (e) not righteousness, have attained unto righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.


(27) The declaration and manifestation of our election, is our calling apprehended by faith, as it came to pass in the Gentiles.
(e) So then, the Gentiles had no works to prepare and procure God's mercies beforehand; and as for that, which the Gentiles attained to that which they sought not for, the mercy of God is to be thanked for it, and in that the Jews attained not to that which they sought after, they can thank none for it but themselves, because they sought it not aright.


 31  (28) But Israel which followed the Law of righteousness, could not attain unto the Law of righteousness.


(28) The pride of men is the cause that they contemn vocation, so that the cause of their damnation need not to be sought for any other where but in themselves.


 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the (s) works of the Law. For they have stumbled at the stumbling stone,


(s) Seeking to come by righteousness, they followed the Law of righteousness.


 33 As it is written, (*) Behold, I lay in Sion a (♣) stumbling stone, and a rock to make men fall, and every one that believeth in him, shall not be ashamed.


(*) Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6 .

(♣) Jesus Christ is to the infidels destruction, and to the faithful life and resurrection.



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