Romans 13* The duty of subjection to governors. (1-7) Exhortations tomutual 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 murmuringand discontent. Whatever the persons in authority over usthemselves may be, yet the just power they have, must besubmitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs,rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, butto evil-doers. Such is the power of sin and corruption, thatmany will be kept back from crimes only by the fear ofpunishment. Thou hast the benefit of the government, thereforedo what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it.This directs private persons to behave quietly and peaceablywhere God has set them, #1Ti 2:1,2|. Christians must not use anytrick or fraud. All smuggling, dealing in contraband goods,withholding or evading duties, is rebellion against the expresscommand of God. Thus honest neighbours are robbed, who will haveto pay the more; and the crimes of smugglers, and others whojoin with them, are abetted. It is painful that some professorsof the gospel should countenance such dishonest practices. Thelesson here taught it becomes all Christians to learn andpractise, that the godly in the land will always be found thequiet and the peaceable in the land, whatever others are. 8-10 Christians must avoid useless expense, and be careful notto contract any debts they have not the power to discharge. Theyare also to stand aloof from all venturesome speculations andrash engagements, and whatever may expose them to the danger ofnot rendering to all their due. Do not keep in any one's debt.Give every one his own. Do not spend that on yourselves, whichyou owe to others. But many who are very sensible of thetrouble, think little of the sin, of being in debt. Love toothers includes all the duties of the second table. The lastfive of the ten commandments are all summed up in this royallaw, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; with the samesincerity that thou lovest thyself, though not in the samemeasure and degree. He that loves his neighbour as himself, willdesire the welfare of his neighbour. On this is built thatgolden rule, of doing as we would be done by. Love is a living,active principle of obedience to the whole law. Let us not onlyavoid injuries to the persons, connexions, property, andcharacters 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 directoryfor his day's work. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of thesleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of thesleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritualdeadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time.Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mendour pace, we are nearer our journey's end. Also to makeourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand;therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Observe what we mustput off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works ofdarkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress oursouls. Put on the armour of light. A Christian must reckonhimself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are thisarmour, to secure the soul from Satan's temptations, and theassaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; thatincludes all. Put on righteousness of Christ, for justification.Put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. TheLord Jesus Christ must be put on as Lord to rule you as Jesus tosave you; and in both, as Christ anointed and appointed by theFather to this ruling, saving work. And how to walk. When we areup and ready, we are not to sit still, but to appear abroad; letus walk. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to pleaseGod, who ever sees us. Walk honestly as in the day; avoiding theworks of darkness. Where there are riot and drunkenness, thereusually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy.Solomon puts these all together, #Pr 23:29-35|. See whatprovision to make. Our great care must be to provide for oursouls: but must we take no care about our bodies? Yes; but twothings are forbidden. Perplexing ourselves with anxious,encumbering care; and indulging ourselves in irregular desires.Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must bechecked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is ourduty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat forour lusts, is provoking God, #Ps 78:18|.
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