Ver. 1. &c. We that are stronger, &c. The apostle goes on with his exhortation not to scandalize, or offend such as are weak, and not well instructed in faith. He brings the example of Christ, who pleased not himself, who submitted himself to the law of circumcision, when he was above the law, who bore with the weakness and sins of others, their reproaches, their blasphemies, which he could not but hate, but this to gain their souls. Wi.
Ver. 7. Receive one another, in the spirit of charity, peace, patience, as Christ also hath received you, and bore with your infirmities. Wi.
--- Mutually support each other for the glory of God: learn to practise a grand lesson of Christian morality, to bear and to forbear. A.
Ver. 8. Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision, who came both for the salvation of the Jews, and of the Gentiles, who preached and would have his gospel first preached to the Jews, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers, that he, the Messias, should be sent for their salvation; but at the same time also for the salvation and conversion of the Gentiles, which he confirms by divers evident testimonies of the holy Scriptures. Wi.
--- He calls our Saviour the minister of circumcision, that is, of the Jews, because he appeared amongst them, dwelt amongst them, and himself preached amongst them. This was a privilege which the Gentiles did no enjoy, having never seen, nor heard Jesus Christ, since he confined his preaching to the strayed sheep of the house of Israel; and this, to accomplish the promises made to their fathers. Calmet.
Ver. 15. &c. I have written to you, brethren, more boldly, &c. S. Chrys. admires with what mildness he addresses himself to them, yet puts them in mind, that he is the minister, and the apostle of the Gentiles, in which he may have reason to glory, or boast.
--- Sanctifying the gospel of God, preaching it in a holy manner, that the Gentiles may be sanctified by it. Wi.
--- To be the minister of Jesus Christ among the nations, exercising in their regard the rite of sacrifice, as we read in the Greek, ierourgounta.
--- For I dare not, I shall forbear to speak of any thing but my labours: I need not mention the power of miracles and wonders, which the Holy Ghost hath done by me in many places, from Jerusalem to Illyricum, in places where Christ had not been preached by others. And now having no more place, nor occasion to preach in these countries, when I begin my journey to Spain, &c. by which, it appears, he designed at least to go into Spain. Wi.
Ver. 20. S. Paul does not mean to say, that he never preached where the gospel had before been announced; this would not have been true, for he preached at Damascus, where there were already Christians, whom he formerly wished to take in chains to Jerusalem; and again in this epistle he announces the truths of the gospel to the Romans already converted by the preaching of S. Peter. But he means to say, that on these occasions he acts not as an apostle, whose office it is to preach to infidels; but as one that waters, confirms, comforts, as he says in the beginning of this epistle: and this he did as occasion offered, as the subsequent verses shew, where he tells us his design in calling on the Romans, in his journey to Spain. Estius.
Ver. 24. It is a matter of dispute, whether S. Paul ever executed this his design of visiting Spain. The proofs of the Spaniards, who consider it as certain, are by no means unanswerable. There remain no certain monuments of this journey of his. The proof taken from the words of S. Clement, who lived at Rome in the time of S. Paul, is not certain, since he only says, that S. Paul came to the very extremities of the west. It is a subject on which commentators appear pretty equally divided. Calmet.
--- There is an old tradition that S. Paul, in his journey to Spain, left three of his disciples in Gaul; Trophimus at Arles, Crescentius at Vienne, and Paul at Narbonne; but this very tradition is disputed. V.
Ver. 25-28. But I shall go to Jerusalem, &c. By this S. Paul is thought to have written this epistle at Corinth, where he was about to set forward for Jerusalem, with the charities collected in Achaia and Macedonia, for the poor Christians in Judea. This he calls to minister to the poor saints, or to be serviceable to them. And to exhort others to the like charitable contributions, he says, (v. 27.) they are their debtors; that the converted Gentiles are debtors to the converts, who had been Jews, as having been made partakers of the promises, particularly made to the people of the Jews, and sharers of those spiritual blessings, which Christ promised to the Jews, but were also conferred upon the Gentiles. He looks upon it, therefore, reasonable, that they relieve the Jews in their temporal wants. The apostle says, he goes to consign to them this fruit, to deliver to them their contributions. Wi.
Ver. 29. I know, by the Spirit of God revealing it to me, that God will give a blessing to my labours, when I come to you. That I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, from the unbelieving Jews, foreseeing the persecution he should there meet with. That I may be refreshed with you, have comfort by finding peace and union among you. Wi.
Ver. 32. The word in the original signifies to combat with another, to teach us, that to beg the prayers of our friends will be of little assistance to us, if we do not join our prayer also, and labour, on our part, to the best of our power. Calmet.