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Tribulation itself good, as producing patience.

So great is God's gift, and such a nothing any distastefulness Rom. in it! For in the case of external goods, the struggle 5, 4. 5. for them brings trouble and pain and irksomeness along with it; and it is the crowns and rewards that carry the pleasure with them. But in this case it is not so, for the wrestlings have to us no less relish than the rewards. For since there were sundry temptations in those days, and the kingdom existed in hopes, the terrors were at hand, but the good things in expectation, and this unnerved the feebler sort, even before the crowns he gives them the prize now, by saying that we should glory even in tribulations. And what he says is not you should glory, but we glory, giving them encouragement in his own person. Next since what he had said had an appearance of being strange and paradoxical, if a person who is struggling with famine, and is in chains and torments, and insulted, and abused, ought to glory, he next goes on to confirm it. And, (what is more,) he says they are worthy of being gloried in, not only for the sake of those things to come, but for the things present in themselves. For tribulations are in their own selves a goodly thing. How so? It is because they anoint us unto patient abiding. Wherefore after saying we glory in tribulations, he has added the reason, in these words, Knowing that tribulation worketh patience. Notice again the argumentative spirit of Paul, how he gives their argument an opposite turn. For since it was tribulations above all that made them give up the hopes of things to come, and which cast them into despondency, he says that these are the very reasons for confidingness, and for not desponding about the things to come, for tribulation, he says, worketh patience.

Ver. 4. 5. And patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed.

Tribulations, that is, are so far from confuting these hopes, that they even prove them. For before the things to come are realized, there is a very great fruit which tribulation hath-patience'; and the making of the man that is tried,

f We do not see what use patience Anal. part i. c. v. §. 4. will be of in a future state, cf. Butler's

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Men's hopes are usually as their consciences.

IX.

HOMIL. experienced. And it contributes in some degree too to the things to come, for it gives hope a vigour within us, since there is nothing that so inclines a man to hope for blessings as a good conscience. Now no man that has lived an upright life is unconfiding about things to come, as of those who have been negligent there are many that, feeling the burden of a bad conscience, wish there were neither judgment nor retribution. What then? do our goods lie in hopes? Yes, in hopes-but not mere human hopes, which often slip away, and put him that hoped to shame; when some one, who was expected to patronize him, dies, or is altered though he lives. No such lot is ours; our hope is sure and unmoveable. For He Who hath made the promise ever liveth, and we that are to be the enjoyers of it, even should we die, shall rise again, and there is absolutely nothing which can put us to shame, as having been elated at random, and to no purpose, and with unsound hopes. Having then sufficiently cleared them of all doubtfulness by these words of his, he does not let his discourse pause at the things present, but urges again the things to come, knowing that there were men of weaker character, who looked too for present advantages, and were not satisfied with these mentioned. And so he offers a proof for them in blessings already given. For lest any should say, But what if God be unwilling to give them to us. For that He can, and that He abideth and liveth, we all know: but how

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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

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God's love shewn in giving the Holy Spirit to sinners. 141

do we know, that He is willing, also, to do it? From the ROM. things which have been done already. What things done ? 5, 6-10.

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The Love which he hath shewn for us. In doing what? some may say. In giving the Holy Ghost. Wherefore after saying hope maketh not ashamed, he goes on to the proof of this, as follows.

Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. And he does not say is given to, but is shed abroad in our hearts, so shewing the profusion of it. That gift then, which is the greatest possible, He hath given; not heaven and earth and sea, but what is more precious than any of these, and hath rendered us Angels from being men, yea sons of God, and brethren of Christ. But what is this gift? The Holy Spirit. Now had He not been willing to present us after our labours with great crowns, He would never have given us such mighty gifts before our labours. But now the warmth of His Love is hence made apparent, that it is not gradually and little by little that He honours us; but He hath shed abroad the full fountain of His blessings, and this too before our struggles. And so, if thou art not exceedingly worthy, despond not, since thou hast that Love of thy Judge as a mighty pleader for thee. For this is why 1 4 Mss. he himself, by saying, hope maketh not ascribed every thing not to our well-doings, but to God's yúv love. But after mentioning the gift of the Spirit, he again passes to the Cross, speaking as follows.

ashamed, has for με

Ver. 6-8. For while we were yet without strength, Christ in due time died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love towards us.

Now what he is saying is somewhat of this kind. For if for a virtuous man, no one would hastily choose to die, consider thy Master's love, when it is not for virtuous men, but for sinners and enemies that He is seen to have been crucifiedwhich he says too after this, In that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ver. 9, 10. Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the

Recapitulation of the proofs of Blessings to come.

HOMIL. death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be IX. saved by His life.

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And what he has said looks indeed like tautology, but it is not to any one who accurately attends to it. Consider them. He wishes to give them reasons for confidence respecting things to come. And first he gives them a sense of shame from the righteous man's decision, when he says, that he also was fully persuaded, that what God had promised He was able also to perform; and next from the grace that was given; then from the tribulations, as sufficing to lead us into hope; and again from the Spirit, whom we have received. Next from death, and from our former viciousness, he maketh this good. And it seems indeed, as I said, that what he had mentioned was one thing, but it is discovered to be two, three, and even many more. First, that He died; second, that it was for the ungodly; third, that He reconciled, saved, justified us, made us immortal, made us sons and heirs. It is not from His Death then only, he says, that we draw strong assertions, but from the gift which was given unto us through His Death. And indeed if He had died only for such creatures as we be, a very great proof" of love would what He had done be! but when He is seen even in Death' to yield us a gift, and that such a gift, and to such creatures, what was done casts into shade our highest conceptions, and leads the very dullest on to faith. For there is no one else that will save us, except He who so loved us when we were sinners, as even to give Himself up for us. Do you see what a ground this topic affords for hope. For before this there were two difficulties in the way of our being saved; our being sinners, and our salvation requiring the Lord's Death, a thing which was quite incredible before it took place, and required exceeding love for it to take place. But now, since this hath come about, the other requisites are easier. For we have become friends, and there is no further need of Death. Shall then He who hath so spared His enemies as not to spare His Son, fail to defend them now they are become friends, when He

h 5 Mss. a proof of very great.

not only dying, but giving a gift, 1 5 Μss. καὶ ἀποθνήσκων καὶ δωρούμενος, &c.

To be made Friends of God the greatest gift.

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5, 11.

hath no longer any need to give up His Son? For it is RoM. either because a person does not wish it, or because though he may wish it perhaps, yet he is unable to do it, that he does not save. Now none of these things can be said of God, considering He hath given up His Son. But that He is able, is the very thing He proved likewise, from the very fact of His having justified men who were sinners. What is there then to prevent us any more from obtaining the things to come? Nothing! Then again, lest upon hearing of sinners, and enemies, and strengthless ones, and ungodly, thou shouldest be inclined to feel abashed and blush; hear what he says,

Ver. 11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

us.

What meaneth the not only so. Not only were we saved, he means, but we even glory' for this very reason, for which some suppose we ought to hide our faces. For, for us who lived in so great wickedness to be saved, was a very great mark of our being exceedingly beloved by Him that saved For it was not by angels or archangels, but by His Only-begotten Son Himself, that He saved us. And so the fact of His saving us, and saving us too when we were in such plight, and doing it by means of His Onlybegotten, and not merely by His Only-begotten, but by His Blood, weaves for us endless crowns to glory in. For there is not any thing that counts so much in the way of glory and confidence, as the being treated as friends' pasiφιλεῖby God, and finding a Friend in Him that loveth us. This it is that maketh the angels glorious, and the princi-yapalities and powers. This is greater than the Kingdom, and so Paul placed it above the Kingdom. For this also I count the incorporeal powers blessed, because they love Him, and in all things obey Him. And on this score the Prophet also expressed his admiration at them. Ye that Ps. 103, excel in strength, that fulfil His Word. And hence too Isaiah extolleth the Seraphim, setting forth their great

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σθαι

πῶντα

20.

koλλáxis, Heind. ad Plat. Phæd. 1 Same word as joy. See v. 2. &c. p. 140. §. 12.

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