Early Church Fathers
16 i. e. "do not require him to be circumcised." See Rom. xiv. 3; Gal. vi. 12 Gal. vi. 15, etc.
17 According to vv. 14-17, the promise cannot be through the law because that would annul faith and destroy the promise entirely (14). The principle of law is quid pro quo and on that basis alone there is no room for faith and promise. Claim, debt and reward, are the ideas which stand on the plane of law. Justification by law would imply no act of trust, obedience or gracious promise, but would be matter of reward simply. But since man is a sinner, it is inconceivable that he be justified on this basis, and the gospel of a gracious salvation is the only hope. To reject the latter is to exclude the possibility of any salvation whatever. Only by clinging to the Gospel can the Jew find any ground of hope in the ancient promises and covenants.-G. B. S.
18 i.e. as justifying. Rom. iii. 21.
19 These words are very important, as they show that the Law was not held empty in itself, but at this time, i.e. since Christianity.
20 Or perhaps "fixing the relationship," i.e. of Abraham to the Gentiles, sunaptwn.
21 Nearly all Mss. omit "not": as do the oldest of the N. T.
22 i.e. Sarah's personal barrenness, and her present age.
23 6 mss. filoneikian, Sav. filosofian, 1 Ms. sofian, which makes better sense than the reading of Savile.
24 logismouj. It may be used for imaginations, as by Macarius: but perhaps St. Chrysostom is thinking of Arist. Eth. vii. iii 9, 10.
25 Tertull. de Res. Carn. cap. xii. Totus hic ordo revolubilis rerum, etc.
26 Or, "destroy"-dialusai, for diasaleusai. Savile's reading seems the most forcible, but the other makes good sense.
27 Tyrant was the name given to any rebel who set himself up for Emperor.
28 See St. Chrys. on Matt. iv. 1; Hom. 13 in St. Matt. p. 174 O. T., and the Catena Aurea on the same place, Oxf. Trans. p. 117, etc. Being alone is represented as always exposing us to temptation, though it is sometimes done for holy purposes, and for greater victory.
29 Alluding perhaps to the sons of Sceva, and then to Goliath.
30 Sav. mar. and 5 Mss. dhloj: Vulg. deiloj a coward.
31 Compare Bp. Taylor, Worthy Communicant, Sect. iv. 10 t. xv. p. 480.
32 Or tunes, the word is ambiguous in the original.
33 The substance used was probably not salt, but something possessing astringent properties.
1 If a fresh argument commences here, there is no vicious circle. For there was independent proof of each proposition, and so, when shown to involve one another, they were mutually confirmed.
2 So nearly all Mss. here; and there is good authority for the reading in the text of the N. T. both from mss., versions, and Fathers. It is accepted by Tregelles: Tischendorf retains the received text "we have."
3 The text of Chrys. adds confirmation to the strongly attested exwmen (so )
A. b.c. D.) as against the reading (exomen) of the T.R. Strong and clear as is the external evidence here, it is to me very doubtful whether it is not overborne by the internal evidence. There seems to be no appropriateness in an exhortation here. The thought has been developed in a didactic form thus far and we should now expect a didactic conclusion (oun). Nor should we expect an exhortation to have peace with God which would be the natural consequence of justification and scarcely the proper object of an exhortation. De Wette, Meyer, Godet and Weiss reject the better authenticated reading exwmen on these grounds. It is difficult to see how Chrys. can think that the Apostle is here treating of our "Conversation"-when he proceeds at once to enumerate the new comfort, patience and hope which follow from justification.-G. B. S.
4 3 mss. If thou wilt consider how, etc.
5 Or perhaps "by the terms of reconciliation," for so the text may be understood. The reading in Savile's margin, toij katallageisi, seems also to bear the same sense.
6 The word rendered "patience," (upomonh) means rather patient endurance, constancy. It is active rather than passive in meaning. Then the endurance which is developed under tribulation helps to form a tried, tested character, Dokimh means a tested state-approved character. The R. V. renders "probation," which is more nearly correct than "experience" (A. V.). We have no word which makes a felicitous translation. The meaning is that steadfastness under trials develops a tested moral manhood, and this kind of character begets hope; it takes away fear for what the future may bring.-G. B. S.
7 We do not see what use patience will be of in a future state, cf. Butler's Anal. part i. c. v. §4. That such is the power of conscience even in a heathen is plain from Plato, Rep. 1. §5. Steph. p. 350. e. "For you must know, Socrates," said he, "that when a man is near the time when he must expect to die, there comes into his mind a fear and anxiety about things that were never so thought of before. For the stories that are told of things in Hades, how a man that has done wrong here must satisfy justice for it there, which have hitherto been laughed at, come then to perplex his soul with alarms that they may be true. And even of himself, whether from the infirmity of age, or in that he is in a manner already nearer to that state, he sees somewhat more of it. However it be, he becomes full of suspicion and alarm; and takes account and considers whether he has at all wronged any one. And then a man who finds a number of guilty actions in his life is often roused by alarm from his sleep, like children, and lives ever in expectation of misery. But one who is conscious in himself of no wrong has a pleasing hope ever with him, as the kind nurse of his old age, as Pindar too says. For beautifully indeed, Socrates, has he expressed this, that whoever has passed his life in justice and holiness,
Sweet Hope, best helpmate of the heart,
With cheerful tenderness,
Soothes his declining years.
She whom we mortals trust
In many an anxious doubt
To sway life's wavering helm.
Well said indeed! one wonders to think how well," etc.
8 Meyer and Weiss make no distinction between dikaiou and agaqou here. Most have held (I think, rightly) that the latter expresses more than the former. It comprehends those qualities of benevolence, kindness, etc., which may be considered as the peculiar bonds of friendship and would lead to the greatest sacrifices. Holman, Godet and Weiss (following Jerome) take tou agaqou as neuter. J. Müller supposes it to refer to God. The force of the argument is: For an upright man one would hardly be moved to die, but in the case of a benefactor to whom one owed much, the motives of love and pity might move one strongly enough to lead him to summon up the resolution (tolma) to die, but this would be the highest and a very improbable reach of human love. But Christ died for his enemies, etc.-G. B. S.
9 pollakij, Heind. ad Plat. Phaed. p. 140, §12.
10 So Field, from one ms. and Brixius' version: the old reading could only mean "Now none of these things can be said of God, considering He hath given up."
11 Same word as joy. See v. 2, etc.
12 Several mss. "art in pain."
1 This whole passage is introduced to show the glory and power of Christ's salvation as able to conquer the power of sin and death. The case of Adam's sin is not introduced for its own sake but as a background on which to exhibit the greatness of God's grace. Two erroneous assumptions are often made in respect to this passage (1) that Adam's sin and not God's grace in Christ is the chief theme, and (2) that the Apostle intends here to set forth a theory of original sin. This verse contains four points (1) Sin came into the world by the agency of one man-Adam. (2) In consequence of sin came death. (3) In virtue of the causal relation between sin and death, the latter extended itself to all men, for the reason (4) that all sinned. The wsper shows that this is used as an illustrative parallel to magnify the greatness of grace which is mightier than sin (cf. pollw mallon vv. 15-17).-G. B. S.
2 oi ta hmetera eirhkotej. The passage is corrupt in Savile: most Mss. read fasin and legonta.
3 The apostle does not say that there can he no sin if there is no law. He says the exact contrary. He elsewhere says (iv. 15) that where there is no law there is no transgression. By "law" here he means positive, statutory commands and prohibitions. His meaning here is: God does not reckon amartia as parabasij where there is no explicit commandment. But sin was in the world during all this period previous to the Mosaic law, as proved by the reign of death. It extended its sway and penalty even to those who had not sinned, as Adam did, against positive enactment. We know well on what principle the apostle justifies his position that there is sin even where no written commandment is transgressed. The principle has been already developed viz.: there is a moral law implanted in the human heart (i. 19, 21; ii. 15). To offend against this is sin (though not transgression, which implies positive law) and induces death as its consequence.-G. B. S.
5 The comparison of the two Trees is very frequent in the Fathers; see St. Cyr. Cat. xiii. §19, p. 152, O. T. Tert. adv. Judaeos, §13.
6 Chrys. has well apprehended v. 15-17 as an argument a fortiori. Here are three contrasts between the principles of sin and grace to show the superior power of the latter: (1) It is a much more reasonable and supposable case that many should find life in one man's act than that many should suffer death in consequence of one man's sin, v. 15. (2) The condemnation has in it (so to speak) only the power of one sin; the gracious gift overcomes many trespasses, v. 16. (3) Life in Christ must be greater than death in Adam.-G. B. S.