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Romans 7


 1 Know (1) ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the Law) that the (*) Law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?


(1) By propounding the similitude of a marriage, he compareth the state of man both before and after regeneration together. The law of matrimony, saith he, is this, that so long as the husband liveth, the marriage abideth in force, but if he be dead, the woman may marry again.

(*) Meaning, moral Law.


 2  (*) For the (♣) woman which is in subjection to a man, is bound by the law to the man, while he liveth; but if the man be dead, she is delivered from the law of the man.


(*) 1 Corinthians 7:32 .

(♣) Both in this first marriage and in the second, the husband and the wife must be considered within ourselves; the first husband was Sin, and our flesh was the wife, their children were the fruits of the flesh, Galatians 5:19 . In the second marriage the Spirit is the husband, the new creature is the wife, and their children are the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22 .


 3 So then, if while the man liveth, she taketh another man, she shall be (a) called an adulteress; but if the man be dead, she is free from the Law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she take another man.


(a) That is, she shall be an adulteress, by the consent and judgment of all men.


 4  (2) So ye, my brethren, are dead also to the Law by the (b) body of Christ, that ye should be unto another, even unto (*) him that is raised up from the dead, that we should bring forth (c) fruit unto (d) God.


(2) An application of the similitude thus. So, saith he doeth it fare with us; for now we are joined to the Spirit, as it were to the second husband, by whom we must bring forth new children; we are dead in respect of the first husband, but in respect of the latter we are as it were raised from the dead.
(b) That is, in the body of Christ, to give us to understand how straight and near that fellowship is between Christ and his members.

(*) Which is the Spirit or the second husband.
(c) He calleth the children which the wife hath by her husband, fruit.
(d) Which are acceptable to God.


 5  (3) For when we (e) were (*) in the flesh, the (f) (♣) affections of sins, which were by the (g) Law, had (h) force in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death.


(3) A declaration of the former saying; for the concupiscence’s (saith he) which the law stirred up in us, were in us as it were a husband, of whom we brought forth very deadly and cursed children. But now since that husband is dead, and so consequently being delivered from the force of that killing law, we have passed into the governance of the Spirit, so that we bring forth now, not those rotten and dead, but lively children.
(e) When we were in the state of the first marriage, which he calleth in the next verse following the oldness of the letter.

(*) When we were destitute of the Spirit of God.
(f) The motions that egged us to sin, which shew their force even in our minds.

(♣) Or, motions.
(g) He saith not, of the law, but by the law, because they spring of sin which dwelleth within us, and take occasion to work thus in us, by reason of the restraint that the law maketh, not that the fault is in the law, but in ourselves.

(h) Wrought their strength.


 6 But now we are delivered from the Law, (i) being dead unto it (k) wherein we were (l) holden, that we should serve in (m) newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the (n) letter.


(i) As if he said, The bond which bound us, is dead, and vanished away, in so much, that sin which held us, hath not now wherewith to hold us.
(k) For this husband is within us.
(l) Satan is an unjust possessor, for he brought us in bondage of sin and himself deceitfully; and yet notwithstanding so long as we are sinners, we sin willingly.
(m) As becometh them, which after the death of their old husband are joined to the spirit, as whom the Spirit of God hath made new men.
(n) By the letter he meaneth the law, in respect to that old condition; for before that our will be framed by the holy Ghost, the law speaketh but to deaf men, and therefore it is dumb and dead to us, as touching the fulfilling of it.


 7  (4) (♣) What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? God forbid. Nay, I knew not sin, but by the Law, for I had not known (o) (♠) lust, except the Law had said, (*) Thou shalt not lust.


(4) An objection: What then? Are the law and sin all one, and do they agree together? Nay, saith he; Sin is reproved and condemned by the law. But because sin cannot abide to be reproved, and was not in a manner felt until it was provoked and stirred up by the law, it taketh occasion thereby to be more outrageous, and yet by no fault of the law.

(♣) There is nothing more enemy to sin than the Law; if so be therefore that sin rage more by reason thereof than before, why should it be imputed to the Law which discloseth the sleights of sin her enemy.
(o) By the word, Lust, in this place he meaneth not evil lusts themselves, but the fountain from whence they spring; for the very heathen philosophers themselves condemned wicked lusts, though somewhat darkly, but as for this fountain of them, they could not so much as suspect it, and yet it is the very seat of that natural and unclean spot and filth.

(♠) Which is an inward vice not openly known.

(*) Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21 .


 8 But sin took an occasion by the commandment, and wrought in me all manner of concupiscence; for without the Law sin is (p) dead.


(p) Though sin be in us, yet it is not known for sin, neither doth it so rage, as it rageth after that the law is known.


 9  (5) For I once (*) was alive, without the (q) Law; but when the commandment (r) came, sin revived,


(5) He setteth himself before us for an example, in whom all men may behold, first what they are of nature before they earnestly think upon the law of God; to wit, blockish, and heady to sin and wickedness, without all true sense and feeling of sin, then what manner of persons they become, when their conscience is reproved by the testimony of the law, to wit, stubborn, and more inflamed with the desire of sin, than ever they were before.

(*) He thought himself to be alive, when he knew not the Law.
(q) When I knew not the law, then I thought that I lived indeed; for my conscience never troubled me, because it knew not my disease.
(r) When I began to understand the commandment.


 10 But I (s) died, and the same commandment which was ordained unto life, was found to be unto me unto death.


(s) In sin, or by sin.


 11 For sin took occasion by the commandment, and deceived me, and thereby slew me.


 12  (6) Wherefore the Law is (*) holy, and the (t) commandment is holy, and just, and good.


(6) The conclusion: That the law of itself is holy, but all the fault is in us which abuse the law.

(*) 1 Timothy 1:8 .
(t) Teaching not coveting.


 13  (7) Was that then which is good, (u) made death unto me? God forbid; but sin, that it might (x) (*) appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good, that sin might be (y) out of measure sinful by the commandment.


(7) The proposition: That the Law is not the cause of death, but our corrupt nature, being therewith not only discovered, but also stirred up; and took occasion thereby to rebel, as which, the more that things are forbidden it, the more it desireth them, and from hence cometh guiltiness, and occasion of death.
(u) Beareth it the blame of my death?
(x) That sin might shew itself to be sin, and bewray itself to be that, which is indeed.

(*) Sin being disclosed by the Law; is so much more detestable, because it turneth the goodness of the Law to our destruction.
(y) As evil as it could, shewing all the venom it could.


 14  (8) For we know that the Law (*) is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.


(8) The cause of this matter, is this: Because that the Law requireth a heavenly pureness, but men, such as they be born, are bondslaves of corruption, which they willingly serve.

(*) So that it can judge the affections of the heart.


 15  (9) For I (10) allow not that which I do, for what I (11) (*) would, that do I not, but what I hate, that do I.


(9) He setteth himself, being regenerated, before us, for an example, in whom may easily appear the strife of the Spirit and the flesh, and therefore of the Law of God, and our wickedness. For since that the Law in a man not regenerate bringeth forth death only, therefore in him it may easily be accused; but seeing that in a man which is regenerate, it bringeth forth good fruit, it doth better appear that evil actions proceed not from the Law, but from sin, that is, from our corrupt nature; And therefore the Apostle teacheth also, what the true use of the Law is, in reproving sin in the regenerate, unto the end of the chapter, as a little before (to wit, Romans 7:7-15) he declared the use of it in them which are not regenerate.
(10) The deeds of my life, saith he, answer not, nay they are contrary to my will; Therefore by the consent of my will with the Law, and repugnancy with the deeds of my life, it appeareth evidently, that the Law and a right ruled will do persuade one thing, but corruption which hath her seat also in the regenerate, another thing.
(11) It is to be noted, that one selfsame man is said to will and not to will, in divers respects; to wit, he is said to will, in that which he is regenerated by grace; and not to will, in that which he is not regenerated, or in that which he is such a one as he was born. But because the part which is regenerated, at length becometh conqueror, therefore Paul sustaining the part of the regenerate, speaketh in such sort as if the corruption which sinneth willingly, were something without a man, although afterward he granteth that this evil is in his flesh, or in his members.

(*) He is not able to do that which he desireth to do, and therefore is far from the true perfection.


 16 If I do then that which I would not, I consent to the Law, that it is good.


 17 Now then, it is no more I, that do (*) it, but (z) sin that dwelleth in me.


(*) He doeth not excuse himself, but sheweth that he is not able to accomplish that good desire which is in him.

(z) That natural corruption, which cleaveth fast even to them that are regenerated, and not clean conquered.


 18  (12) For I know, that in me, that is, in my (*) flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but I find (a) no means to perform that which is good.


(12) This vice, or sin, or law of sin, doeth wholly possess those men which are not regenerated, and hindereth them or holdeth them back that are regenerate.

(*) Or, in my nature.
(a) This doeth indeed agree to that man, whom the grace of God hath made a new man; for where the Spirit is not, how can there be any strife there.


 19 For I do not the good thing, which I would, (*) but the evil, which I would not, that do I.


(*) The flesh stayeth even the most perfect to run forward as the spirit wisheth.


 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but the sin that dwelleth in me.


 21  (13) I find then by the Law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.


(13) The conclusion: As the Law of God exhorteth to goodness, so doeth the Law of sin (that is, the corruption wherein we are born) force us to wickedness; but the Spirit, that is, our mind, in that which it is regenerated, consenteth with the Law of God; but the flesh, that is, the whole natural man, is bond slave to the Law of sin. Therefore to be short, wickedness and death are not of the Law, but of sin, which reigneth in them that are not regenerated; for they neither will, nor do good, but will, and do evil; But in them that are regenerated, it striveth against the Spirit or law of the mind, so that they cannot either live so well as they would, or be so void of sin as they would.


 22 For I delight in the Law of God, concerning the (b) (*) inner man;


(b) The inner man, and the new man are all one, and are answerable and set as contrary to the old man, neither doeth this word, Inner man, signify man's mind and reason, and the old man, the powers that are under them, as the Philosophers imagine, but by the outward man is meant whatsoever is either without or within a man, from top to toe, so long as that man is not born a new by the grace of God.

(*) That is, in my spirit.


 23 But I see another (*) law in my (♣) members, rebelling against the law of my (c) mind, and leading me captive unto the law of sin, which is in my members.


(*) Or, commandment.

(♣) Even the corruption which yet remaineth.

(c) The law of the mind in this place, is not to be understood of the mind as it is naturally, and as our mind is from our birth, but of the mind which is renewed by the Spirit of God.


 24  (14) O (d) wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the (*) body of this death? 


(14) It is a miserable thing to be yet in part subject to sin, which of its own nature maketh us guilty of death; but we must cry to the Lord, who will by death itself at length make us conquerors as we are already conquerors in Christ.
(d) Wearied with miserable and continual conflict.

(*) This fleshly lump of sin and death.


 25 I (e) thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then I (f) myself in my (*) mind serve the Law of God, but in my (♣) flesh the law of sin.


(e) He recovereth himself, and sheweth us that he resteth only in Christ.
(f) This is the true perfection of them that are born anew, to confess that they are imperfect.

(*) In that part which is regenerate.

(♣) Which is the part corrupted.





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