Romans 9:4
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the Law, the temple worship, and the promises.
The Right Use of PrivilegesS.R. Aldridge Romans 9:4
Christ the Sphere of Spiritual BeingJ. Morison, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
Christian PatriotismR.M. Edgar Romans 9:1-5
Concern for KindredJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
Concern for Other Men's SoulsC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 9:1-5
Conscience and the SpiritDean Vaughan.Romans 9:1-5
Conscience, Consciousness, and the SpiritJ. Morison, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
Earnestness in Promoting the Salvation of OthersT. De Witt Talmage.Romans 9:1-5
Home and Foreign MissionsT. Chalmers, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
Paul's Concern for IsraeJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
The Honour of IsraelT.F. Lockyer Romans 9:1-5
The Sympathy of a Christian PatriotC.H. Irwin Romans 9:1-5
The TruthJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:1-5
Blending of the Human and Divine in ChristEvangelical MagazineRomans 9:4-5
Christ IsJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
Christ Over AllD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
Christ Over All, God Blessed for EverT. Guthrie, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
Christ's Divine Human PersonalityJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
Christ's SupremacyT. Robinson, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
Christ's SupremacyJ. W. Burn.Romans 9:4-5
Israelites and Their PrivilegesT. Chalmers, D.D., W. B. Pope, D.D., T. Robinson, D.D., J. W. Burn.Romans 9:4-5
The Deity of ChristThos. Allin.Romans 9:4-5
The Divine Supremacy of ChristD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
The Fact of Facts in Human HistoryD. Thomas, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
The Israelites and Their PrivilegesJ. Morison, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
The Literal and the True IsraelitesJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:4-5
The apostle turned from his rapt meditation on the present and future glory of the Christian dispensation, to think of the race of Israel excluding themselves from participation in its benefits, and he felt his soul charged with heaviness on their behalf. They hated him as overturning venerable customs, and as lowering their dignity by admitting the Gentiles to the blessing of the covenant on such easy terms. But in reply he vehemently asserted his still subsisting love for his "kinsmen," and for those whom in the past God had so signally honoured. None can look without emotion on the face and form of a Jew, who consider his history and destiny.

I. THE SUPREME DISTINCTIONS OF LIFE ARE THOSE WHICH CONCERN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. All the items particularized are connected with the Divine manifestations granted to Israel. The apostle cares little for the story of military prowess, or even of skill in literature; but all that appertained to the knowledge and worship of God, this was worth dwelling upon. It becomes a speedy test of judgment when we know the things on which a man prides himself. Does he point with chief delight to his acquisition of lands or goods, or to his rank in society, or to his fame in science or. art circles? or does he account his position in the family of the Most High, and the revelation vouchsafed of Divine mercy and grace, as his possession of greatest worth? Which in our hearts do we deem the most highly favoured nation - Greece, or Rome, or Israel? The true wealth and place of a modern empire should be reckoned, not according to its material resources and fighting strength, but rather by its widespread distribution of moral and religious truth. This means real refinement and enduring prosperity. Many opportunities occur to all of us to exhibit our, genuine opinion in the lives we lead, the money and time devoted to the highest pursuits, the notions cherished in the family, the books read, and the amusements indulged in. Missionary enthusiasm rests on a sure basis when the value is perceived of an acquaintance with the things of God. Such a knowledge is the best legacy that can be bequeathed to children.

II. THE HIGHEST RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES WILL NOT PROFIT UNLESS USED ARIGHT. In spite of their advantages, the Jews were found wanting, and, like unfruitful branches, were broken off. Before the exile they fell into idolatry, and sought to nullify their glory by equalling the abominations of the heathen. Could a stronger proof be furnished of the seductiveness of sinful practices and the blindness of man? And the coming of Christ was a further testing season. Their "zeal of God" was shown to be unintelligent, depending upon external rather than spiritual views of religious grandeur and service. It behoves us not only to enjoy but to improve our privileges. Attendance at the sanctuary, the public prayers and reading, unless they exert a living influence upon us, increase our condemnation, as the presence and works of Christ multiplied woes upon the cities of the sea. The tendency is strong that would lull our souls into comfortable dreams of security, from which there could only be a terrible awakening. The religious pride of the Jews hardened into fossilism - an unreceptive soil for new truth. Instead of guiding their steps by the Law, they looked at it till they were dazzled by its glare, and could not recognize the coming of the "Light of the world."

III. THE ADVANTAGES ENJOYED BY NATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT CONFERRED FOR THEIR OWN EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT. The Israelites were stewards of the mysteries for the world around and the times to follow. Very important functions they discharged, keeping the lamp of truth alight, preventing the world from lapsing into barbaric atheism. Especially in relation to Christianity do we discern these advantages as preparatory. The "sacrifices" had respect to the offering of Christ, and in part explain its meaning. The "Law" acted as a pedagogue to bring us to the school of Christ. The temple "service" illustrates the obedience of the Christian priests, and the promises fulfilled confirm our faith. Israel was a nursery where choicest plants were reared with which to stock the wilderness till it should blossom as the rose. And the same principle holds good of every advantage the goodness of our God bestows. The Christian Church is to be as a city set on a hill; its members are lights in the world, pilgrim-soldiers, ambassadors for Christ. It is ours to guard the gift entrusted, to transmit to others the revelation received, the spiritual heirlooms of liberty and intelligence, lest we fail to deliver up a proper account of our stewardship. - S.R.A.

Who are Israelites.
I. The literal enjoyed the ADOPTION as God's people among whom God revealed Himself gloriously — the true enjoy the adoption of sons and the glorious indwelling of the Spirit.

II. The literal were privileged with THE PATRIARCHAL COVENANTS AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW — the true are privileged with the .New Testament covenant, and the dispensation of the Spirit.

III. The literal rejoiced in THE LEVITICAL SERVICE, AND THE PROMISES of better things to come — the true worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in the hope of eternal life.

IV. The literal could boast of THE FATHERS and anticipate the Messiah — the true have their apostles, martyrs, and confessors, and look for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

The name Israelites was a most honourable one, and dear to them all. The relationship which it signalised was fitted to remind them that by the condescension of the Omnipotent One, there was something "princely" within their reach (Genesis 32:28; Hosea 12:3).

I. THE ADOPTION. Under the Old Testament the Divine adoption realised itself specifically in the collective theocratic people as a people (Exodus 4:22; cf. Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1). The collective people were for great theocratic purposes adopted into a relation of Divine sonship, and thus into a relation of peculiar Divine privilege; not, however, because of a feeling of partiality in the heart of God toward a section of His human family, but because His benignant Messianic purposes, widespreading to the ends of the earth, required some arrangement of the kind. Such was the Divine plan in Old Testament ages. The Israelites were God's "son," "daughter," or "daughter of His people." At times the representation tended anticipatively toward the grander principle of personal individuality; as when it is said, "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me." But it was reserved for the New Testament age to give emphasis to the idea of personal individualism in relation to the Divine adoption (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1).

II. THE GLORY. The reference is to that peculiar symbol of the Divine presence which guided the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness, overshadowing them by day and illuminating them by night (Exodus 13:21, 22; Exodus 14:19). This was in some external respects God's glory par excellence (Exodus 24:16). It was a magnificent symbol of Divine guidance and protection, and was denominated "the Shekinah." Wherever it was to be found, there God was to be found; not indeed as in His palace-home, the "house not made by hands," but as in His temporary tent beside His tented people in the period of their pilgrimage — a very present Helper and Defence.

III. THE COVENANTS. These were engagements on the part of God to confer distinguishing privileges on the patriarchs and the Israelites in general, on condition of responsive appreciation on their part, and the observance, in all the affairs of life, of His regulative will (Genesis 15:1-6; Genesis 17:1-8, 15-19; Exodus 19:1-9). But these engagements, while thus involving, as is suggested by the Hebrew term Berith, a certain ineradicable conditionality, were at the same time in accordance with the Greek suntheke, spontaneous and unencumbered dispositions of goods and distributions of benefits, just as if they had been actually "willed" to them by testamentary deed. God "disposed" of certain portions of His means and goods for the benefit of His national son, though it was impossible that He could alienate the goods from Himself, or alienate Himself from both His present usufruct and His perpetual right of property.

IV. THE GIVING OF THE LAW, i.e., the Divine legislative enactments published from Sinai, and constituting in their sum the code which is known as the "moral law." It is incomparably the best of all bases for the innumerable details of practical jurisprudence. It goes back, indeed, in its form to that primitive era when duty was, to a most preponderating extent, identified with moral self-restraint. Hence its injunctions are wisely set forth in negations. But when the detailed expanse of the decalogue is condensed into the summation of the duologue, the phase of representation is become affirmative; and nothing can excel the duological enactments in comprehensiveness, completeness, simplicity, and direct authority over the reason and the conscience.

V. THE SERVICE, i.e., the temple service — a grand ritual, here regarded as a Divine appointment or grant of grace. Being in its many and varied details instinct with practical significance, it was fitted to recall to the minds of the worshippers what was due to God on the one hand, and how much was graciously provided by Him on the other.

VI. THE PROMISES — announcements of coming favours — avant-couriers of the favours themselves, and sent forth to stimulate expectation and support the heart. All the Old Testament dispensations were replete with Messianic promises. His coming was "the promise" — the one running promise made to the fathers (Acts 13:32), and involved all other Messianic blessings, such as the atonement, the kingdom of heaven, the reign to be continued "as long as the sun," the "new earth," the "inheritance of the world" (Romans 4:13, 14). It involved peace, joy, hope, all of them unspeakable and full of glory (Romans 5:1-11).

VII. THE FATHERS — the patriarch fathers, the band of whom Abraham was the leader and typical representative. They were far indeed from being men without blemish. But perhaps most of the sinister bars in their escutcheon were parcels of the heritage which they had received from their ancestors. But notwithstanding their blemishes they were at once childlike in faith and reverential in spirit. Their thoughts rose up on high. They "sought a heavenly country and looked for a city whose builder and architect was God" (Hebrews 11:10-14). It was no little advantage to be descended from such sires.

VIII. THE CHRIST. The Messiah emerged from among the Hebrews, and thus "salvation was of the Jews." It was their crowning prerogative. Jesus was a Jew. But His own people knew not their privilege, and they perceived not that it was the time of tide in the day of their merciful visitation (John 1:11; cf. Matthew 21:39). When the apostle said "so far as His human nature was concerned," his mind was already mounting the infinite height which rose beyond. "Who is over all, God, to be blessed for ever."

(J. Morison, D.D.)

To no nation under the sun does there belong so proud, so magnificent a heraldry. No minstrel of a country's fame was ever furnished so richly with topics; and the heart and fancy of our apostle seem to kindle at the enumeration of them. They were first Israelites, or descendants of a venerable patriarch — then, selected from among all the families of the earth, they were the adopted children of God, and to them belonged the glory of this high and heavenly relationship; and with their ancestors were those covenants made which enveloped the great spiritual destinies of the human race; and the dispensation of the Law from that mountain which smoked at the touch of the Divinity was theirs; and that solemn temple service where alone the true worship of the Eternal was kept up for ages was theirs; and as their history was noble from its commencement by the fathers from whom they sprung, so at its close did it gather upon it a nobility more wondrous still by the mighty and mysterious descendant in whom it may be said to have terminated — even Him who at once is the root and the offspring of David, and with the mention of whose name our apostle finishes this stately climax of their honours — "of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all God blessed for ever. Amen." They are far the most illustrious people on the face of the world. There shines upon them a transcendental glory from on high; and all that the history whether of classical or heroic ages hath enrolled of other nations are but as the lesser lights of the firmament before it.

(T. Chalmers, D.D.)

The covenants. —

I. THE TERM ITSELF bears a special Messianic meaning, as always having in view the fidelity of God to the design of human redemption through the sacrifice of His Son. The Hebrew Berith almost always translated in the LXX. by diatheke, signifies, not a compact as between man and man, but the disposition or arrangement assumed by the one supreme purpose of grace. Unlike human compacts it is invariably connected with sacrifice. The Hebrew contains an allusion to the custom of cutting and passing between the parts of a divided animal on the ratification of a covenant. The first express revelation of the covenant to Abraham (Genesis 15:18) gives the key to all its history. There all is based on a free Divine promise. The animals divided denoted the two parties to the great transaction; and the flame passing through was God, in His future Son, the Shekinah, uniting the parties alone, and thus ratifying His own covenant. The New Testament term diatheke does not preserve the original allusion; but it is never disconnected from the idea. The one covenant of grace has been ratified by an eternal sacrifice; which is at the same time the death of the Testator, who disposes the promise of eternal inheritance according to the counsel of His own will.

II. THE COVENANT OF REDEMPTION, OR OF GRACE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONNECTED WITH CHRIST, ITS UNREVEALED MEDIATOR. As its Mediator He is the medium through whom, or rather in whom, all its blessings are conveyed: that grace which is the one name and blessing of the covenant, the free bestowment of favour on sinful man, or "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 13:14). Therefore the term, which has a wider meaning than its relation to a compact, may be applied to Christ as the yet unknown Redeemer who was at once the ground of the covenant, and its promise, and its virtual administrator. After He came and was revealed, it is the term surety that more precisely expresses His mediatorship in the order of grace: in His Divine-human atoning personality, He is the Pledge to man of the bestowment by God of all blessings procured through His atoning work, and the Pledge to God on behalf of mankind of compliance with all the conditions of the covenant. In the Old Testament the future Redeemer is not termed either the Mediator or the Surety; though He was in the profoundest sense both as the Angel or "Messenger of the covenant" (Malachi 3:1), and Himself the embodied Covenant reserved for the future (Isaiah 49:8). What was thus given to Him by promise becomes the heritage of His people through faith, who as "Christ's are heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:18, 19, 29).

III. THIS ONE COVENANT HAS TAKEN THREE FORMS in the history of revelation.

1. As entered into with mankind, represented by Adam, its revelation began with the Fall, was ratified for the world with Noah, and was con- firmed to Abraham as the representative of all believers to the end of time.

2. But the covenant with Abraham for the world in all ages also introduced the special compact with his descendants after the flesh. The latter was established through Moses, its mediator; and blended the covenant of grace with a covenant of works. The law was given by Moses; and as an appended form or condition of the original institute of grace, perpetually convicted the people of their sin and impotence, drove them to take refuge in the hope of a future grace, the ground of which was kept before them in the institute of sacrifice.

3. Finally the new covenant, established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6), was ratified in the death of Christ. It was at once the abrogation of the Mosaic, or later old covenant, so far as concerns its national relation and its legal condition, and the renewal unto perfection of the more ancient covenant, always in force and never superseded, with mankind.

(W. B. Pope, D.D.)

The giving of the law. —

1. The act as described (Exodus 20:18; Deuteronomy 4:32, etc.).

2. The law itself. System of laws given (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Psalm 147:19, 20). A distinction exalting Israel above every other nation, served —

(1)For instruction.

(2)For restraint.

(3)For conviction.Prepared the way for the promised Saviour (Galatians 3:21). Its observance brought national blessings in its train.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

The service of God. — A technical term for Divine worship. The apostle is detailing the privileges which constituted Israel a peculiar people. This was one of the most conspicuous. For the service of Jehovah was distinguished from all heathen cults: —

I. In its ORIGIN. This was Divine. God Himself arranged the whole Hebrew ritual down to its minutest details. Man was not left to his own blind instincts as to the manner in which his Maker was to be approached. No doubt all worship was Divine in its origin, and were we able to thread the labyrinths of heathen devotion we should arrive ultimately at a primitive revelation. But this is impossible; and the great mass of heathen worship is the offspring of irrational superstition when it was not the device of a fraudulent priesthood.

II. In its NATURE.

1. It was spiritual. The forms were materialistic as all forms must necessarily be; but it was not mere form as heathen worship was. Time after time it was carefully explained that the sacrifices, etc., were symbolic, and that without the corresponding spiritual reality they were an abomination to Deity. To what an extent this was realised by the best spirits of the nation, the Psalms and prophets abundantly testify.

2. It was intelligent. The heathen worshipped "they knew not what." To worship all the objects presented to their devotion was an impossibility, and had it been possible, ineffectual, for prayers offered to one God would have been neutralised by those offered to another. And the intelligent heathen, while he conformed to the superstitions of his fellow-country-men, knew the host of Olympus to be a myth. The Hebrews knew whom they worshipped. The Shekinah glory was a standing evidence of the Divine existence and presence, and the revelations of His character from time to time exhibited Him as worthy of the homage of rational beings.

III. In its EFFECTS. These were —

1. Humbling. The whole system was calculated to reveal the Divine greatness and holiness on the one hand and human insignificance and sinfulness on the other, and thus was discouraging to pride and self-confidence. It was not the fault of the system if men thanked God that they were not as other men were. Heathen worship encouraged no such notions of God or man, and hence humility was never a heathen virtue.

2. Joyful. God was served with gladness; and the joy of the Lord was the people's strength for services. The great festivals are proofs of this. Heathenism had plenty of hilarity, but little joy. How could it have had when their worship brought no manifestation of the Divine presence and no consciousness of the Divine favour?

3. Moral. Holiness unto the Lord was the legitimate and only issue of the Mosaic system: whereas we know that many heathen gods were served with obscene rites, and that the whole tendency of idolatry was degrading to intellect, heart and life. Conclusion: The comparative value of heathen and Hebrew worship may be seen in their devotional manuals. To estimate this let the Book of Psalms be read side by side with the Vedas, Shasters, etc.

(J. W. Burn.)

The promises. —

1. Of blessings in general (Leviticus 26:43; Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

2. Of the Messiah in particular. Given various times and in various ways (Hebrews 1:1; Romans 1:2). Some already fulfilled in Christ's first coming (Acts 3:18, 22-26). Others yet to be fulfilled in Israel's experience (Ezekiel 37; Isaiah 66:1.). All the promises of God, yea and amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Gentiles by faith made fellow-heirs of the promises (Ephesians 3:6; Galatians 3:29). Promises all fulfilled at Christ's second appearing (chap. Romans 11:26; Acts 1:6; Acts 3:19-21). Mentioned last as the transition to Christ Himself.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

Whose are
Here is —

I. THE CROWNING FACT IN JEWISH HISTORY. "Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." In the preceding verses the apostle points to the most illustrious facts in the history, facts in which the Jews passionately gloried. They were "Israelites." No national appellation in their estimation was so distinguished as this; Greek and Roman were contemptible by its side. Theirs was the "adoption." To them pertained the "glory." They had the "covenants." The covenants with Abraham, with Jacob, and with Moses, were with them. To them pertained the "giving of the law." The best commentary on these words is to be found by Moses himself (Deuteronomy 4:32-36). To them also pertained the "service of God." He mentions these in order to prepare the way for the announcement of a fact before whose splendour all others pale their lustre, and that is this: "Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came." This was the crowning fact of their history. He does not disparage the other facts; on the contrary, he is patriotically proud of them. When will the Jew come to see that Jesus of Nazareth is the glory of Israelitish history? Here is —


1. There are many great facts in the history of the world.

(1)Physical, such as deluges, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, etc.

(2)Political, such as the rise and fall of empires.

(3)Social, such as discoveries in science, inventions in art, reformations in customs and manners.

(4)Religious, such as the birth, growth, and decay of theological systems and ceremonial observances.

2. But of all facts there is not one approaching the great one in the text, viz., that Christ Jesus came into the world.

(1)No fact is better attested.

(2)No fact is so central in the world's history as this.

(3)No fact involves such vital influence to the world as this.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

I. God

1. Supreme.

2. Infinite.

3. Eternal.


1. Nature.

2. The world.

3. Heaven.


1. Self-sufficient.

2. Holy.

3. Good; hence —

4. Happy.


1. Conscience.

2. Gratitude.

3. Hope — say, Amen.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I. IN THE SUBLIMITY OF HIS ORIGIN. All others came into existence in the natural order of generation, received a bias to wrong from their parents, and never in the case of the best quite lost their earthliness. On the contrary, Christ came down from the pure heavens of God. He had a pre-incarnate existence (Proverbs 8.; John 1:1-2). He was in the bosom of the Father, and while there was morally over all.


1. Realities of which He Himself was conscious. They were not matters of speculation. All the forms and voices of eternal truth were matters of consciousness to Him.

2. Moral in their influence. They are so congruous with man's sense of right, consciousness of need, feeling of God, desire for immortality, that the believing soul sees them as Divine reality.

3. Pre-eminently Divine. They concerned God Himself, His words, thoughts, feelings, purposes. Christ does not teach what men call sciences; but God Himself, the root, centre and circumference of all truth.


1. No one shared the Divine love so much as He. God loves all. He is love. But Christ is His "well-beloved," and as such He loves Him with infinite complacency.

2. None ever deserved it as Christ did. He never offended the Father in His conduct, or misrepresented Him in His teaching. He always did those things which pleased Him.

3. None ever had such demonstrations of it. "All power is given unto Me."

IV. IN THE EXTENT OF HIS ENDOWMENT. "God giveth not His Spirit by measure unto Him." "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell."

V. IN THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION. Faith in Him is essential to man's eternal well-being.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

Let us in imagination pass the angel guardians of those gates where no error enters, and, entering that upper sanctuary which no discord divides, no heresy disturbs, let us find out who worship and who are worshipped there. The law, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve," extends to heaven as well as to earth; so that if our Lord is only the highest of all creatures, we shall find Him on His knees — not the worshipped, but a worshipper; and from His lofty pinnacle, and lonely, and to other creatures unapproachable pinnacle, looking up to God, as does the highest of the snow-crowned Alps to the sun, that, shining above it, bathes its head in light. We have sought Him, I shall suppose, in that group where His mother sits with the other Marys, sought Him among the twelve apostles, or where the chief of the apostles reasons with angels over things profound, or where David, royal leader of the heavenly choir, strikes his harp, or where the beggar, enjoying the repose of Abraham's bosom, forgets his wrongs, or where martyrs and confessors and they which have come out of great tribulation, with robes of white and crowns of glory, swell the song of salvation to our God which sitteth on the throne. He is not there. Rising upwards, we seek Him where angels hover on wings of light, or, with feet and faces veiled, bend before a throne of dazzling glory. Nor is He there. He does not belong to their company. Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels. Eighteen hundred years ago Mary is rushing through the streets of Jerusalem, speed in her steps, wild anxiety in her look, one question to all on her eager lips, "Have you seen my Son?" Eighteen hundred years ago on those same streets, some Greeks accosted a Galilean fisherman, saying, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Now, were we bent, like His mother on finding Him, like those Greeks on seeing Him, to stay a passing angel, and accost him in the words, "Sir, we would see Jesus," what would he do? How would his arm rise, and his finger point upward to the throne as he fell down to worship, and worshipping to swell that flood of song which in this one full stream mingles the name of the Father, and of the Son — Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever. Such a glorious vision, such worship, the voices that sounded on John's ear as the voice of many waters, the distant roar of the ocean, are in perfect harmony with the exalted honour and Divine dignity which Paul assigns to Him who is "over all, God blessed for ever."

(T. Guthrie, D.D.)

I.OVER SPIRITS (Matthew 8:16).

II.OVER NATURE (ver. 26; 17:27).

III.OVER MAN (John 2:14-16; John 18:6).

(T. Robinson, D.D.)

I. OVER WHAT. Over —

1. The sublimest created intelligences (Hebrews 1.).

2. The greatest human potentates (Revelation 19:16; Psalm 110:1. cf. Matthew 22:43; 11:42).

3. The most glorious of material edifices (Matthew 12:46).

4. The universe of matter as its Creator (John 1:3).

5. The universe of mind as its Ruler and Judge (Matthew 28:18; John 5:22, 25).

6. His Church as its Redeemer, Legislator, Sovereign (Colossians 1:18, 19).

7. In a word — all things (Colossians 1:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:27).

II. WHY? Can there be any other answer but that in the text? — because He is God.

(J. W. Burn.)

Various constructions have been put on these words in order to set aside so clear an assertion of the Godhead of Jesus; but most of the highest authorities agree in regarding the present construction as most true to the original: and, if so, a more full and unmistakable declaration of Christ's Divinity it is almost impossible to conceive. Were it our intention to argue the point of our Redeemer's Godhead, we would look upon the question —

1. In the light of general history, and develop three facts.(1) That the system of Jesus has become one of the most mighty powers in the human world, and is evidently tending to universal dominion. The Anglo-Saxon race is, in its literature, laws, customs, institutions and spirit, mightily influenced by it, and that race is rapidly advancing to the throne of the world.(2) That there was a period in the history of the world when this mighty creed had no existence. When Homer sang, and Socrates reasoned; when Alexander fought his campaigns, and Demosthenes hurled his fulminations over Greece, Christianity was not.(3) There was everything in the external history of the Founder of Christianity, as well as in the spiritual purity of its doctrines and precepts, to have led one antecedently to suppose that it would never make any way in the world. Christ was born of a despised people; lived in the most obscure part of their country; and came of humble parents; and so thoroughly did His doctrines clash with the feelings, and prejudices, and habits of the people, that the proclamation of them ended in His being executed as a malefactor. These facts show that the power which Christianity has gained in the world is a phenomenon which cannot be explained on the hypothesis of His being nothing more than a mere man; and that gives a strong presumption in favour of His Divinity.

2. In the light of Divine revelation, we would also state three facts. .(1) That whoever created the universe is our God, by whatever name you call the great originating agent. We cannot form an idea of a higher being than a Creator.(2) That the Bible unquestionably refers the work of creation to Christ (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).(3) As a necessary conclusion, that unless the Bible is false, Christ is God. But our object is to offer a few remarks concerning Christ's Divine supremacy, which is —

I. CO-EXTENSIVE WITH THE UNIVERSE. "Over all." How much is included in this "all!" The visible and invisible, the proximate and remote, the minute and vast, the material and the spiritual. The subjects of His dominion may be divided into four classes. Those which He governs —

1. Without a will; all inanimate matter and vegetable life. Plants germinate, grow, and die; oceans ebb and flow; stars and systems revolve by His will entirely. They have no will.

2. With their will. All irrational existences have volition. By this they move. They cannot move contrary to their instinct. Whether they roam in the forest, wing the air, or sport in mighty oceans, they move with their will, and He controls them thus.

3. By their will. Holy intelligences He governs thus. He gives them laws, and supplies them with motive, and leaves them free. They move by their will, yet He governs them.

4. Against their will. These are wicked men and devils. He makes their "wrath to praise Him." He is "over all" these.

II. EXERCISED WITH PERFECT HAPPINESS. "Blessed for ever. He is the blessed and only Potentate." Christ is happy on the throne. If so, we infer —

1. That He can have no doubt of His capacity to meet every conceivable emergency. The sovereign who doubts his power can never be happy. How many monarchs, like Herod, are miserable from fear? "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Christ has "all power." He is not afraid of insurrections or rebellions.

2. That He can have no misgivings as to the rectitude of His position. The monarch who has got power by fraud or violence, by treading on the rights of others if he has conscience, can never be happy on his throne. But Christ has a consciousness that He has a right to the power He wields. His subjects are His creatures, His property, etc.

3. That He must be ever under the sway of benevolent affections. Envy, anger, revenge, ambition, are all the fruits of selfishness, and are elements of misery; and they cannot co-exist with benevolence.

4. That happiness is the law of the universe. He that is happy ever seeks to make others so. Misery is an accident; happiness is a necessity; for Christ's being is a necessity. Misery had a beginning; happiness is eternal. Misery is local; happiness is universal. The misery of the universe, as compared with the happiness, is only as one blighted leaf in an immeasurable forest.

III. HEARTILY ACQUIESCED IN BY THE GOOD. "Amen"; i.e., So be it — I would have it so.

1. Conscience says amen to Christ's supremacy.

2. Gratitude. What has He done for us! Recount His victories — His mercies.

3. Hope. What higher security can we have, either for the future well-being of our race or selves than this?

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

In defence of the received version of our text, we have to urge —

I. THAT IT IS IN STRICT CONFORMITY WITH EVERY PRINCIPLE OF JUST INTERPRETATION. It violates no rule of construction; it infringes on no idiom of the Greek language; it deviates from no general usage of the sacred writers. There is no rude disjointure of the passage; no referring of the terms "who is" to a person afterwards to be named, instead of the person named before; no mutilation of the passage; no addition; but — so far as the English language will admit of it — the very order is preserved in which the passage stands in the original.

II. THE QUALIFICATION OF THE STATEMENT, THAT THE MESSIAH WAS OF THE ISRAELITES ONLY "ACCORDING TO THE FLESH," STRONGLY COUNTENANCES, NOT TO SAY RENDERS NECESSARY, THIS READING; involving, as it does, the supposition that there was something else, according to which He was not of them; and at least justifying the conclusion that if anything else be named before the final closing of the sentence by which the contrast can be completed, and according to which the Messiah was not of the Jews, it was intended to be so taken and applied. Now, in our text that something else is clearly pointed out — namely, His Deity. According to the flesh, He is of the Israelites; according to another, and a Divine nature, He is over all, God blessed for ever. Thus the contrast is complete; both parts of the antithesis are supplied, and our Emmanuel is seen to be precisely as St. John represented Him — truly man, and truly God.

III. That this is the proper rendering of the text we argue FROM THE EXISTING ANCIENT VERSIONS OF THIS EPISTLE. The most ancient of the versions of the New Testament, and that which stands highest in critical authority, is the Old Syriac, made, some suppose, before the death of the apostle John, but certainly at the close of the first century, or the beginning of the second. This ancient version thus renders the passage: — "And from them was manifested Messiah in the flesh, who is God that is over all; whose are praises and blessings to the ages of ages. Amen." Nothing can be more clear than this; nothing more express. The version which stands next to the Syriac, and which may be said almost to rival it, is the Old Latin, denominated the Italic. This was executed, as is supposed, at the beginning of the second century, and is of no small importance in Biblical criticism. It renders our text thus; — "From whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen." The Ethiopic, translated in the fourth century, omits the words "over all," and reads — "Of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is God blessed for ever. Amen." And the Armenian, translated at the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century, reads — "Of whom the Christ came according to the flesh; who is also over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen."

IV. ALL THE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN WRITERS WHO HAVE EITHER PROFESSEDLY CITED OR TRANSLATED THE PASSAGE, OR WHO HAVE REFERRED TO THE APOSTLE'S DESIGN IN WRITING IT, HAVE GIVEN THE CONSTRUCTION FOR WHICH WE ARE CONTENDING. , who flourished in the second century, and who was the disciple of , who had been personally acquainted with the apostle John, speaking of the generation of Jesus Christ, says — "He is called God with us, lest by any means one should conceive that He was only a man; for the Word was made flesh, not by the will of man, but by the will of God; nor should we, indeed, surmise Jesus to have been another, but know Him to be one and the same God. This very thing St. Paul has interpreted. Writing to the Romans, he said — 'Whose are the fathers, and of whom Christ came according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever.'" , about the year , writes thus: — "I will follow the apostle; so that if I have occasion to mention the Father and the Son together, I will use the appellations God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Lord. But when I am speaking of Christ alone, I will call Him God; as the apostle says, 'of whom is Christ, who is,' saith he, 'God over all things, blessed for ever.'" And in another passage Tertullian states: — "Paul also hath called Christ very God: 'Whose are the fathers, and of whom Christ came according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever'" , who wrote about the year , thus cites the passage, in a work written to prove that Christ is God: — "Of whom are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever." , about the year , thus expostulated with the opposers of the Saviour's Godhead: — "But if, when it belongs to God alone to know the secrets of the heart, Christ looks into the secrets of the heart; but if, when it belongs to God alone to forgive sins, Christ forgives sins; but if, when it is not the possible act of any man to come down from heaven, Christ in His advent descended from heaven; but if, when no man can utter this sentence, 'I and my Father are one,' Christ alone, from a consciousness of His Divinity, declared, 'I,' etc.; but if the apostle Paul, too, in his writings says, 'Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever,' it follows that Christ is God." , about the year , states: — "Paul thus writes in his Epistle to the Romans: 'Of whom are the fathers, and of whom Christ came according to the flesh, who is over all, God.'" Here, by not adding the doxology, "blessed for ever," Athanasius has incontrovertibly proved that he understood the words as applying to Christ. , , and have quoted them in the same manner. Hilary, who wrote A.D. 324, has left the following testimony: — "Paul was not ignorant that Christ is God, saying, 'Of whom are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all things, God.'" And, now, what shall we say to this? If the consent of the whole professing Christian world — with the exception of a few individuals within the last three centuries — be not sufficient to prove the proper construction of a passage like this, on what authority are we to depend? But if it be sufficient, then an inspired apostle has assuredly written that "Christ is over all, God blessed for ever."

(Thos. Allin.)

Evangelical Magazine.
The picture produced in the stereopticon is fuller, rounder, and more natural than the same picture seen without the use of that instrument. But to produce the stereoscopic picture there must be two pictures blended into one by the use of the stereopticon, and both the eyes of the observer are brought into requisition at the same time, looking each through a separate lens. Thus Christ is only seen in His true and proper light when the record of His human nature and the statement of His Divine are blended. It is a flat, unfinished Christ with either left out. But it is as seen in the Word, with the moral and mental powers of our being both engaged in the consideration, and thus only, that we get the full and true result. Pre-eminence of Christ: — We have seen in mountain lands one majestic peak soaring above all the rest of the hills which cut the azure of the horizon with their noble outline, burning with hues of richest gold in the light of the morning sun; and so should the doctrine of Christ incarnate, crucified, risen, and reigning, be pre-eminent above the whole chain of fact, doctrine, and sentiment which make up the sublime landscape — the magnificent panorama — which the Christian preacher (or teacher) unfolds, and makes to pass in clear form and brilliant colour before the eyes of his people's faith.

(Evangelical Magazine.)

I. Christ's HUMANITY.

1. Real flesh.

2. Of the seed of Abraham.

3. Compassed about with infirmities.

II. Christ's DIVINITY.

1. Supreme.

2. Eternal.

3. Blessed for ever. Amen.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

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