Romans 13

* The duty of subjection to governors. (1-7) Exhortations to

mutual love. (8-10) To temperance and sobriety. (11-14)

1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet,

where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring

and discontent. Whatever the persons in authority over us

themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be

submitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs,

rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, but

to evil-doers. Such is the power of sin and corruption, that

many will be kept back from crimes only by the fear of

punishment. Thou hast the benefit of the government, therefore

do what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it.

This directs private persons to behave quietly and peaceably

where God has set them, #1Ti 2:1,2|. Christians must not use any

trick or fraud. All smuggling, dealing in contraband goods,

withholding or evading duties, is rebellion against the express

command of God. Thus honest neighbours are robbed, who will have

to pay the more; and the crimes of smugglers, and others who

join with them, are abetted. It is painful that some professors

of the gospel should countenance such dishonest practices. The

lesson here taught it becomes all Christians to learn and

practise, that the godly in the land will always be found the

quiet and the peaceable in the land, whatever others are.
8-10 Christians must avoid useless expense, and be careful not

to contract any debts they have not the power to discharge. They

are also to stand aloof from all venturesome speculations and

rash engagements, and whatever may expose them to the danger of

not rendering to all their due. Do not keep in any one's debt.

Give every one his own. Do not spend that on yourselves, which

you owe to others. But many who are very sensible of the

trouble, think little of the sin, of being in debt. Love to

others includes all the duties of the second table. The last

five of the ten commandments are all summed up in this royal

law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; with the same

sincerity that thou lovest thyself, though not in the same

measure and degree. He that loves his neighbour as himself, will

desire the welfare of his neighbour. On this is built that

golden rule, of doing as we would be done by. Love is a living,

active principle of obedience to the whole law. Let us not only

avoid injuries to the persons, connexions, property, and

characters of men; but do no kind or degree of evil to any man,

and study to be useful in every station of life.
11-14 Four things are here taught, as a Christian's directory

for his day's work. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the

sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the

sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual

deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time.

Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend

our pace, we are nearer our journey's end. Also to make

ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand;

therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Observe what we must

put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of

darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our

souls. Put on the armour of light. A Christian must reckon

himself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this

armour, to secure the soul from Satan's temptations, and the

assaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; that

includes all. Put on righteousness of Christ, for justification.

Put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. The

Lord Jesus Christ must be put on as Lord to rule you as Jesus to

save you; and in both, as Christ anointed and appointed by the

Father to this ruling, saving work. And how to walk. When we are

up and ready, we are not to sit still, but to appear abroad; let

us walk. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please

God, who ever sees us. Walk honestly as in the day; avoiding the

works of darkness. Where there are riot and drunkenness, there

usually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy.

Solomon puts these all together, #Pr 23:29-35|. See what

provision to make. Our great care must be to provide for our

souls: but must we take no care about our bodies? Yes; but two

things are forbidden. Perplexing ourselves with anxious,

encumbering care; and indulging ourselves in irregular desires.

Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be

checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our

duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for

our lusts, is provoking God, #Ps 78:18|.
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