Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 9\\

The apostle having discoursed of justification and sanctification, and
of the privileges of justified and sanctified ones, proceeds to treat
of predestination, the source and spring of all the blessings of grace;
and to observe how this distinguishing act of God's sovereign will has
taken place, both among Jews and Gentiles; in treating of which, he
knew he should go contrary to the sense of his countrymen the Jews, who
have a notion that all Israel shall have a part in, or inherit the
world to come {q}: and that the Gentiles will be for ever miserable;
and nothing was more disagreeable to them, than to talk of their
rejection of God, and the calling of the Gentiles; wherefore that it
might be manifest, that it was not out of pique and ill will to them,
that the apostle said the things hereafter related; he expresses the
most cordial affection to them imaginable, and which he introduces in
\\#Ro 9:1\\, by way of appeal to Christ, who knew the truth of what he
was about to say, and who could, together with the Spirit of God and
his own conscience, testify for him that it was no lie: the thing he
appeals for the truth of, is in \\#Ro 9:2\\, that the salvation of the
Jews lay near his heart; that it was no pleasure to him to think or
speak of their rejection, but was what gave him continual pain and
uneasiness: and his great desire for their good is expressed in a very
strong and uncommon manner, \\#Ro 9:3\\, the reasons of it are partly
the relation they stood in to him, being his brethren and kinsmen; and
partly the many privileges they had been favoured with of God; an
enumeration of which is given, \\#Ro 9:4,5\\, and foreseeing an
objection, he prevents it, which might be made, that if the Jews were
cast off, the promise of God to that people that he would be their God,
would become void, and the preaching the Gospel of Christ to them of no
effect; to which he answers by distinguishing between Israel and
Israel, or the elect of God among them, and those that were not;
wherefore though the latter were rejected according to the purpose of
God, the promise and preaching of the word had their effect in the
former, \\#Ro 9:6\\, and that there was such a distinction, he proves
from the two sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, who were both
Abraham's seed; yet one was a child of promise, and the other a child
of the flesh, and were emblematical of the children of the promise, and
the children of the flesh among that people; \\#Ro 9:7-10\\, and further
confirms this by the instance of Jacob and Esau, who were born of the
same parents, and were twins; and yet one was in the favour of God, and
the other not; and that this was owing not to works, but to the
sovereign will of God in election, he proves by observing that this was
before good or evil were done by either of them, \\#Ro 9:11\\, and that
this was notified to Rebekah before, \\#Ro 9:12\\, as appears from a
passage in \\#Ge 25:23\\, and by another passage in \\#Mal 1:2,3\\,
which is cited, \\#Ro 9:13\\, then an objection is started, \\#Ro 9:14\\,
that if God loves one, and hates another, both being in equal
circumstances, as Jacob and Esau were, he must be guilty of
unrighteousness; which he answers and removes, first by a detestation
of such a charge against God, and then by producing testimonies out of
the books of Moses, proving both election and reprobation, as being not
of the works of men, but of the will of God; the former of these he
proves, \\#Ro 9:15\\, from \\#Ex 33:19\\, by which it appears, that the
choice of men to salvation is not according to the will of man, but
according to the grace and love of God, \\#Ro 9:16\\, the latter he
proves by the case of Pharaoh, \\#Ro 9:17\\, and the Scripture relating
to that, \\#Ex 9:16\\, and from both testimonies concludes, \\#Ro 9:18\\,
that God's having mercy on one, and hardening another, are according to
his sovereign will and pleasure; then another objection rises, up, if
so, God has no reason to find fault with men that are hardened in sin,
since they are according to his will, and in sinning do but fulfil it,
and which no man resists; and this objection is formed in a very pert
and sneering manner, and insinuates that God is cruel and acts
unreasonably, \\#Ro 9:19\\, to which he answers, by putting the
objector in mind that he was a man, a mere creature that started it,
and that it was God against whom it was made; and by observing the
folly and madness of replying against God, and the absurdity of such a
procedure, taken from the consideration of the one being a creature,
and the other the Creator, \\#Ro 9:20\\, and by instancing in the case
of the potter, who has power over his clay, to form it in what shape,
and for what use he pleases, \\#Ro 9:21\\, and accommodates this, both
to the affair of election and reprobation, and to the business of the
latter first, \\#Ro 9:22\\, where he observes the end of God in it to
show forth his power and wrath, and describes the subjects of it, which
clears him from injustice, and points at the patience of God towards
them, which frees him from the charge of cruelty, \\#Ro 9:22\\, and
then proceeds to apply the metaphor before used, to the objects of
election styled vessels of mercy, and the end of the Lord to manifest
the riches of his glory in them, and the method he takes to bring them
to eternal happiness, by preparing them for it by grace, \\#Ro 9:23\\,
which is done in the effectual calling, the objects of which are both Jews
and Gentiles, \\#Ro 9:24\\, That it is the will of God that the Gentiles
should be called, he proves, \\#Ro 9:25,26\\, from some passages in
Hosea, \\#Ho 2:23 1:10\\, and that God had chosen, and so would call
some among the Jews, he clearly makes appear, \\#Ro 9:27-29\\, from
some prophecies of Isaiah, \\#Isa 10:22,23 1:10\\, and then he
concludes the chapter by observing the free and distinguishing grace of
God, in the calling of the Gentiles, and the justification of them by
the righteousness of Christ; that such who were far off from it, and
sought not after it, should enjoy it, \\#Ro 9:30\\, when the Israelites,
who were diligent and zealous in seeking after a righteousness to
justify them before God, yet did not arrive to one, \\#Ro 9:31\\, the
reasons of which are given, \\#Ro 9:32\\, because it was not the
righteousness of faith, or the righteousness of Christ received by
faith they sought; but a legal one, and by works which can never be
attained by sinful men: they sought after a wrong righteousness, and in
a wrong way, because they stumbled at Christ, and rejected him and his
righteousness; and this removes an objection which is suggested in the
two preceding verses, that God is unrighteous in calling the Gentiles,
who never sought after righteousness, and in rejecting the Jews that
followed after one: and that they did stumble at Christ and his
righteousness, is no other than what was foretold in \\#Isa 8:14\\, and
that whoever believes in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, shall be
saved, he suggests is a doctrine agreeably to \\#Isa 28:16\\, which
passages are referred to, \\#Ro 9:33\\.

{q} Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1.