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Philip Doddridge.

The family expositor, or, A paraphrase and version of the New Testament : with critical notes, and a practical improvement of each section ... disposed in the order of an harmony (Volume 4) online

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22 Even the right- great Messiah : Even the righteousness of God, sect.
cousness of God ^y^j^ j^g j^^^j^ appointed us to seek by the ex- vir.

t/vhic/i ts Dv iftitn or ^ ^ ^

Jesus Christ unto all, ercisc of a Yvi'm^ faith on the power and grace "^^
and upon all them o/his Son Jtsus Christ ; to whom he commands iij 22',

L^ no diffeVen^cJ-^^''^ "^ *^ Commit our souls, with all humble and
obedient regard. This way of obtaining right-
eousness and life is now, I say, made manifest
to all, and, like a pure, complete, and glorious
robe, is put upon all them that believe^ whether
they were or were not acquainted with, or sub-
ject to, the Mosaic law before their conversion
to Christianity; for there is in this respect no
difference at all between one believer and an-

23 For all have sin- other : For all have sinned, as we demonstrated 23

ned and come short ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^ i ^f q^, ^^
of the glory of God: , r ^^ ;% v a • "^u- *i 1 - xi^ -^

have tailed oi rendering him that glory that was
so justly his due, and thereby have not only
made themselves unworthy the par-ticipation
of glory and happiness with him, but stand ex-
posed to his severe and dreadful displeasure :

24 Being justified And if any escape it, they are such as, being in- 24}
freely by his grace, duced to embrace the gospel, are justified freely^

through the redemp- •,i . i. j* * i j -^ o .^ •

tion that is in Jesus Without pretending to plead any merit of their
. Christ: own, by his rich and sovereign grace^ proposed

P there by virtue of that redemption and deliver-

ance which is in Christ Jesus his well-beloved

25 Whom God hath Son: Whom God hath in his infinite mercy ;9ro- 25
tfationVi^rough fafth P^^^^, ^^^ exhibited to US in the gospe],^ as a

in his blood, to de- propitiation through whom he may honourably
^ discover himself as propitious to us, and con-

^ verse favourably with us, as he did with Moses

from the mercy-seat; an inestimable privilege,
which we receive by virtue of faith in his aton-
ing blood, with which the throne of God is, as
it were, sprinkled over, as the propitiatory in
the tabernacle was with the blood of the sin-of-

® Come short of the glory of God.'\ Mr. word va-Ts^ovvTui of losing it, which cer-

Fleming, and after him, if I mistake tainly signifies a deficiency of what

not. Lord Harrington, explains this /a//- might have been attained, rather than

ing short of God's glory, as signifying the the loss of what is actually possessed.

loss of that lucid resemblance of the glw Compare Mat. xix. 20; ICor. i. 7; Heb,

rious Shechir/ah, which they, after Mr. iv. 1 ; chap. xii. 15.

Joseph Mede, suppose our first parents ^Proposed.] Some contend that wpoiSfTo

to have worn in their primeval state, here signifies /o exhibit; others, that it

Eut if it were to be granted they had signifies to determine, intend, or fxvpon,

such a glory in that state, I cannot think (Compare Bos in loc. and Eph. i. 9, II ;

' it WQuld have been natural to have call- Pom. i. 13.) I have chose the word />ro-

ed it God's glory, or to explain the />oje, as having just the same ambiguity.



Rom.
iii. 25,



42 Boasting excluded, not hy the law, but by faith.

SECT, fering. (Lev. xvi. 15, 16.) And this is appoint- ciare his righteous-
VII. ed for a demonstration of his righteousness in the "j^nof^sinslhal^are
remission of sins, which now appears to be ac- past, through the for-
compiished without any reflection upon that aw- bearance ot God j
ful attribute which might seem to have a claim
so directly contrary to it; and this remission ex-
tends not only to the present but former age,
and to all the offences which are long since past,
according to the furhearance of God, who has
forborne to execute judgment upon sinners for
their repeated provocations, in reference to that
atonement which he knew should in due time
^6 be made. He has, I say, proposed his Son /or 26 To declare, i
a demonstration of his ris:hteoiisness, which now, ^-^y» ^^ ^^is titBe, his

-. -J o J*!' righteousness: that

in this present ever-memorable and signal time, he might be just,
is so wonderfully illustrated in the great trans- and the justifier of
actions of our own age, intended for this pur- ^^'^ J^|f ^ beiieveth
pose, that he might he and appear justy and
yet at the same time, without impeaching in
any degree the rights of his government, the
justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus, whcy-
soever he be,s that is, of every one who sincere-
ly believes in him, and acquiesces in that me-
thod of salvation which God hath published by
him, and established in his perfect obedience
and meritorious sufferings.
27 Contemplate, I beseech you, this only way of . 27 Where is boa^t-
redemption and acceptance, and say. Where then c^J^ej^"' ^y '\,,hat
[is'\ boasting in our own righteousness, or on ac- law? of works? Nay ;
count of any other peculiar privileges .'^ Or what
reason can any who partake of these blessings
have to glory in themselves ? You will easily see *
that it is entirely excluded. And reflect farther,
hi/ ichat law is it excluded.? [Bi/ the law] of
works 9 by that of Moses, or any other law pro-
mising life only to perfect obedience, and threat-
ening all disobedience with inevitable death ?
By no means. This would leave a man all the
little reason for boasting he could possibly have ;

iJust and ihejuslijler, &c.] By just just in such an act might have seemed
Mr. Taylor would understand merciful, incredible, had we not received such au
and Mr. Locke faithful to his promises ; account of the propitiation and atone-
but either of these makes but a very cold toient. But oar explication is vindicat-
sense when compared with that we have ed in a most masterly and unanswer-
here given. It is no way wonderful that able manner by the worthy author of an
God should be merciful, or faithful to excellent tract, entitled Christ the Me-
Jiis promises, though the justifier of be- diator, p. 85, &c. to which 1 .with great
lieviiig sinners; but that he should be pleasure refer the reader.



Justification hy faith establishes the law. 43

but by the law of even that he had acted perfectly right and well, sect.
^^^^^' and had all that excellence and worth of cha- v"*



racter which a being in his circumstances could '
attain. But if jou suppose him to have re- -^^^
course to the gospel, Z>j/ the law of faith it must
certainly be excluded, since the very constitu-
tion of that requires persons to acknowledge
themselves sinners, and, as guilty and indigent,
to make an humble application to the free mercy
of God in Christ for pardon and every other
blessing which is necessary to their final hap-
piness.
28 Therefore we We therefore are come to a conclusion of this 28
conclude that a man , ^^ ^^^ argument, that a maw, of whatever

IS justuied by faith r to ' .-,./> j 7

without the deeds of nation, proiession, or character, isjnsti/iea 63/ a
ihe law. true, lively, and effectual faith in the gospel,

without the works of the law ; ^ that is, though
destitute of any legal works in consequence of
which he could claim justification and life.
"29 Is he the God of And this naturally leaves room to add, [fs^9
the Jews only? /.A. g^j^ ^.^^ j^^^j^ established such a method of

not also ot the Gen- . . J . 7 /-^ 1 /• ; r 1

tiles ? Yes, of the justincation, the (jrod oj the Jews onn/, and not

Gentiles also: also of the Gentiles f Sureli/ he is the God of the

Gentiles too ; since it is very evident that all

claim from works being thus universally given

up, the Jews and Gentiles must in this respect

30 Seeing 27 m one stand upon a level. So that [it w] o7ie God, the SO
God wiiich shall JUS- g^me eternal and unchangeable Jehovah, that

III V 11)6 circ u incision ■ o '

by faith, and uncir- will justify the Jews, who have received circum"
cumcision through cision, not by that, but bij faith; and will jus-
^^'^^^' tify the Gentiles too, who are still in their un-

circumcision, through the same faith; and there-
fore demands the grateful love and the new
obedience of both.'

31 Do we then Now while we maintain this method of jus-Sl

tification and salvation, can it be said that we
derogate from the honour of God\s justice or

l» A lively and eflfectual faith without one, and supposes it an allusion to the

rvorks, &c.] By thus guarding the asser- prediction, Zech. xiv 9, that the Lord

tion we sufficiently see how very consist- shall be one and his name one; fulfilled

ent it is with that of St. James, (chap. ii. by the publication of the gospel. But!

17,23,25,) who only in effect asserts think this supposed allusion far-fetched,

that no faith can suffice to our justifica- and see not any occasion for supposing

tion which is not in fact productive of iKvi^iw;, by faith, and ^la -Trirf^j, through

obedience; and when the matter is thus faith, to signify different things; nor can

stated, there is no appearance of con- I see what different idea can here be af-

trad-ict^on. fixed to them. L' Enfant renders it, he

^ One God that justlfieth the circumcision u-iil justify the circvmcision by faith, and

by faith, and uncir cumcision through faith. \ unckcumcision by the same faith,
Mr, Locke would render it seeing God is



44 Befledions on justification by grace through Christ,

SECT, his law ? Do we set aside the law hy faith as if ™ake void the lai»
VII. it were a fault, or annihilate it as if it were an f^^^j"^^ IfJ"^ l^^^
useless thing? God forbid that we should ever tablish thelaw.



.?*^"* insinuale such a design or entertain such a
thought. Nay^ on the contrary, we really estab-
lish the law^ on a firmer foundation than ever,
and place it in a juster and more beautiful point
of light: for we show also its honour displayed
in the atonement as well as the obedience of
Christ; and we make it of everlasting use for
attesting the truth and illustrating the necessity
of the gospel, as well as for directing the lives
of men when they profess to have received it ;
as we shall abundantly show in the process of
this discourse.

IMPROVEMENT.

Let our whole souls rejoice in this glorious display of the
divine mercy, in so beautiful an harmony with divine justice,
in our redemption by Christ; to which the apostle in this section
Ver. 20. bears so noble a testimony. We are all become guilty before
God; so that if he should mark iniquity, no flesh living could be
justified before him : let us therefore, with all reverence and

21 esteem, and with all joy, embrace the righteousness of God as

22 now attested by the law and prophets, by Christ and his apostles,
which shall be upon all believers without any difference ; hum-
bling ourselves deeply in the presence of God, as those who

23 have sinned and come short of his glory, and seeking to be
24 justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in

Christ Jesus.

25 To him let us continually look as the great propitiation; ex-
ercising faith in his blood, and rejoicing that those which seemed
to our feeble apprehensions the most jarring attributes, are now

27 reconciled and glorified. Let us readily acknowledge that boast-
ing is excluded ; and in the grateful overflowings of our souls
fall down before that throne whence pardons are dispensed, and
confess " that this act of grace is our only plea,'' and that we
must remain humble before God for ever, in a sense of the de-
merit of our sins and the abundance of his mercy.
29, 30 Let Jews and Gentiles unite in thanksgivings to God and in
love to each other, as having been all involved in the same con-
demnation, and all partakers of the same compassion. And let

31 Christians remember that God intended by this illustrious display

k We establish the law.'] Some render 1 think, not the proper signification of

\\^ Kay, but vce are the persons that observe nrw^iv. — For the justness of this infer-

the law; which is a just and strong ence, see Christ the Med. p. 90 — 96.
thought, (compare Rom. viii. 3, 4,) but.



Abraham was not justified by works: 45

of grace, not to supersede but to establish the law. May we sect.
therefore make it our concern, that not only the actions of our vii.
lives, but the sentiments of our hearts, be directed and deter-
mined by it ! as it is now enforced by more powerful motives
than when it appeared in its unallayed terrors.



SECT. VIII.

The apostle here shows that Abraham and David sought justification in
such a way as the gospel recommends, that is, by faith. Rom. iv. 1 — 12.

^ ^ - Romans iv. 1.

WHArThanwe'say T HAVE been observing to you that we Chris- sect.

then, that Abra- -■- tiaus, by maintaining the doctrine ofjustifi- viii.
ham, our father as cation bv faith, instead of superseding and ener-~T

pertaining to the ,. j • j j ^ i_t i A j* • i j Rom.

flesh, hath found? vatmg do mdeed establish the divme Jaw, and j^ j^
assert, in the most convincing manner, both its
authority and purity. For the illustration of
this, therefore, let us consider the important in-
stance of Abraham, and the manner in which he
was justified. What then shall we say that the
holy patriarch Abraham, our reverend father
according to thejlesh^ hath found effectual in this
respect?^ and to what must his justification and

2 For if Abraham acceptance with God be ascribed ? For if^
were justified by Abraham, were justified by circumcision, or by
7ttglor\^,^buf not t^^e "^erit of any other work^, rather than by the
before God. free grace and mercy of God, then he hath some^

thing in which he may glory ;^ but it is certain,
by what the sacred oracles express, that though
the behaviour of this celebrated person was in-
deed innocent, fair, and honourable before men,

3 For what saith 2/^^ [^^ hath^ not any thing to boast in the sight
the scripture? Abra- of God. For what saith the scripture upon thisS

* Hath found.'] Some would transpose authors use iv^i<r%w for obtaining, and that

the words, and render them, " Shall we by merit. Anuot. ex Her<>d, m Loc.

** say that our father Abraham hath foundy ^ He hath something in which he may

*' that is, obtained, justification and life glory.'] This seems 'o intimate that the

** according to the fie sh, that is, by cir- Jews maintained not only the necessity

" cumcision and observing the carnal but the merit of the Jewish observances;

** rites of the Mosaic economy ?" But else it might have bt^en replied, that

when the natural order and usual import Abraham was indeed justified upon his

of the phrase makes so easy and so good being circumcised, but that it was by

a sense, I can see no reason for admitting the grace of God in freely annexing

this construction. Raphelius shows that the promise of justification and life to

Herodotus ^nd other authentic Greek such a rite.



46 But his faith zvas imputed for righteousness.

SECT, head ? (Gen. xv. 6.) " Abraham believed God, ^^^ believed GorJ,
VIII. '' when he made him the promise of that mira- ^"no'LrLrri&hu
" culoiis and important seed, and so it was im- eousuess.



h^°3* *'' puled to him, or placed to his account, /or
" righteousness, or in order to his justification :"
that is, God was pleased graciously to accept it,
though he had not that complete and perfect
righteousness which might in strict justice be
demanded of every rational creature as the only
condition of his being acquitted at the divine
4bar. Now to him who i\\\\s worheth io the ut- 4 Now to him that
most extent of all that was required, the reward ^orketh is the re-

,.^,, \ ' ^ 1 1 ^ wvixa not reckoned

proportioned to that work is 7iot charged to ac- of grace but of debt;
count as matter of grace,^ but of debt ; and he
may glory at least in having diligently earned

5 it. (Compare chap. xi. 6.) But to him who in 5 But to him that
this sense worketh not, who can by no means ^orketh not, but be-

,., liii'ii. 7^ Ijeveth on him that

Eretend to have wrought all righteousness, but justifieth the unuod-
umbly believeth on him who declareth the free- ly, hisfait-hiscount-
ness of pardoning grace, and by that justifieth ed for righteousness.
even the ungodlj/, if he repent and return, the
phrase used concerning Abraham may be ap-
plied with the strictest propriety, and it may be
said that his faith is imputed to him, or placed
to his account, jTor righteousness, or to the pur-
pose of his being accepted and treated by God
as righteous.

6 ^nd \this is'] verv agreeable to what we read , ^ ^J^" .^^ David

1 I i* *i 1 T\ 'J /T^ 1 •• also describeth the

elsewhere ; particularly as JUavid (rsal. xxxii. blessedness of the
1, 2.) describeth the blessedness of the man^yho is man unto whom God
accepted of God, whom he speaks of as " one "np"teth righteous-
«^o whom God, according to the method of "^^^ ^'^^^^"^ ^^^^^^ '
*' proceeding we now maintain, imputeth right-
" eousness, without any supposition of, or re-
" gard to, a former series of good works sup-
" posed to have been performed by him." 7 Saying, Blessed

7 For he expresses himself thus: '^ Blessed are the^ °^e they whose ini-
" whose iniquities are pardoned, and whose sins q"'^'^'' a''^ *o/8'^'en,

. i 7^ 1 1 •! /» !• a"d whose sms are

^^ are as it were covered^ by the veil 01 di- covered:

'^ As of grace. ] Raphelius has shown here; but the validity of it by no means

that iJ.i(r9ov does not only signify a reward depends upon that fact.

of debt, but also a gift of favour ; and that <• Whose iniqmty is pardoned and whose

the phrase jw,t(T9ov^wpft)y occurs in Herodo- sin is covered.] Archbishop Leighton has

tus: so that a reward of grace or favour s© elegantly and beautifully illustrated

is a classical as well as theological expres- these words, that 1 must beg leave tore-

sion. — Could we be sure that Abraham fer those of my readers that cannot use

was once an idolater, it would be some his Latin meditations on the xxxiid

jfllustration of the apostle's reasoning Psalm, lo review the English translatioa



lie was justified hy faith before he was circumcised, 47

5 Blessed is the « vine mercy. Blessed is the man to whom sect.
man to whom the « ^j^^ j^^^,^i {^puteth not Sin.'" Which plainly viii.
Lord will not impute .^^^.^^ ^^^^ ^.^ ^^^ ^^^^ Committed by the -^'

best and happiest of men, and that it is matter iv. 8."
of mercy and favour that it is not charged to
account, so that he should finally be condemned
for it.

9 Cofnetk this h\ess' Now while we are speaking of this blessedness 9
edness then upon ^^ ^y^^ pardoned and accepted sinner, mve me

the circumcision , J i rj iL u i *i-

o;;/^,oruponiheun. l^ave to ask, [doth it come] iipon the circumci-

circuiTicision also? sion [o«/j/,] or also on the uncircmncision? The

For ivesay that faith celebrated instance we have just been mention-
was reckoned to . mi i i r - • • ' v i

Abraham for right- ^g Will show how far circumcision IS from be-

€ousness. ing ncccssary to a share in it : For [when'] we

say^ as above, that faith was imputed to Abra-

10 How was it then ^^^ yj,^ righteousness,"^ How and when waslO
I'atL" circumc'ision' it thus^ imputed and charged to his account, in
orinuncircumcision? this view.f^ When he was in circumcision or in
not in circmncisiou, j^^f.{j,f,umcision? [Truli/] the history plainly



but in uncifcuraci-



siou.



shows us that it was not in circumcision, but



in uncircumcision ; for it relates this important

circumstance of Abraham as taking place

many years before circumcision was instituted.^

11 And he receiv- ^wd it assures US that he received the sign of 11

€d the sign of cir- circumcision, not as the means of making him

trrtte"ou'ne"s of acceptable to God when he was not before so,

the faith which he but as the token of his being already accepted ;

had yet being uncir- ^nd therefore as the seal of the righteousness of

cumcised: that he ^^j^at/aiYA which he had in uncircumcision :S that

of it in the 2d volume of his Expository entitled tothebenefitof this, it is alsoen-

Discourses; printed at Edinburgh, 1748. tered iu the book of God's remembrance

« Imputed to him for righteousness.] I " that we are believers;" and this ap-

think nothing can be easier than to un- pearing, we are graciously discharged,

derstand how this may be said in full con- yea and rewarded, as if we ourselves had

sislence with our being justified by the beenperfectly innocent and obedient. See

imputation ofthe righteousness of Christ, my Sermons on Salvation by Grace, p.

that is, our being treated by God as right- 1 4 — 1 9 ; which account is perfectly agree-

«ous for the sake of what he has done able to what Witsius has remarked,

and suffered; for though this be theme- Econ. Fed. lib. iii. chap. viii. § 36.
ritorious cause of our acceptance with ^ Many years before circumcision was

God, yet faith may be said to be imputed instituted,] It is said this imputation

to us, aj h)Laio(T'^yyjv, in order to our being was made on Abraham's believing the

justijied or becoming righteous; that is, promise, Gen, xv. 6, about a year before

according to the view in which I have the birth of Ishmael ; but he did not re-

elsewhere more largely stated it, as we ceive circumcision till Ishmael was thir-

are charged as debtors in the book of teen years old, Gen. xvii. 27 ; conse-

God's account, what Christ has done in quently Abrahana was declared justified

fulfilling all righteousness for us is at least fourteen years before he was

charged as the grand balance of the ac- circumcised.

count; but t-liat it may appear that we S Seal of the righteousness of faitk-l

are, according to the tenour ofthe gospel, This seeaas an incontestable proof that



48 Reflections on the happiness of a justified state,

SECT, so he mtsht be the father of all those who believe might be the father
• • • 4t * • i* / of all them that be-

viii. in uncircumcision, that righteousness mai/ also y^^^^ tijou'-h thev

■ — Z>e imputed unto them, that they may be justifi- be not circumcised :

^**™- ed in the same means, and that it may be writ- ^-^at righteousness
'"• ^^- ten down in the book of God's remembrance ^^'f^^ 'hem aitf''*
12 that they are so. And he received this right 12 And the father
by divine appointment, that he might also be the of circumcision to
father of the circumcision, that is, to those «^'Ao Ilir ""rtrLrl^^f
should afterwards practise it, and were not onii/ only, but also walk
partakers of the external ceremony vf circum- «" t^e s(eps of that
cision, which in itself indeed can have no effi- ^^^^^''ZJc^^Z

1 1 n 1 11 • 7 _r j^ 1 -w^'ariam, wnicn he

cacy, but shall also walk in the jootsteps oj thai had Lemg yet uncir-
faith of our father Abraham which he had in cumcised.
uncircumcision, and which rendered him so dear
to God while he was in that state.

IMPROVEMENT.

If there be indeed such a thing as happiness to be enjoyed by
mortal man, it is the portion of that man of whom David speaks,
Ver.7 8. even of him whose iniquity is pardoned and whose sin is cov-
ered, and who enjoys the manifestation of that pardon. Well
may he endure the greatest afflictions of life with cheerfulness,
and look forward to death with comfort, when the sting of all
these evils is taken out, and the returning tokens of the Divine
favour convert them into blessings. Oh let us earnestly pray that
this happiness may be ours; that the great and glorious Being
whom by our sins we have offended, and in whom alone the
right and power of pardon resides, would spread the veil of his
mercy over our provocations, and blot them out of the book of
bis remembrance !

Let us on the one hand fix it in our mind, that it is the cha-
racter of that man to whom this blessedness belongs, that in his
spirit there is no guile; and on the other, let us often reflect
that it is in consequence of a righteousness which God imputes,
and which faith receives and embraces. We are saved by a
scheme that allows us not to mention any works of our own, as
3, 2 if we had whereof to glory before God, but teaches us to
- ascribe our salvation to believing on him who justifieth the un-
5 godly. Nor need we be ashamed of flying to such a method, to
1,2 which Abraham the father of the faithful had recourse himself,
and on which he built his eternal hope. May we share his dis-
position of mind, that we may inherit the same promises, walk-
12ing in the footsteps of our father Abraham ! So shall we also bei

circumcision was a seal of the covenant the most considerable objection that
of grace, and not merely of temporal bath ever been urged against infant-



Online LibraryPhilip DoddridgeThe family expositor, or, A paraphrase and version of the New Testament : with critical notes, and a practical improvement of each section ... disposed in the order of an harmony (Volume 4) → online text (page 6 of 59)