It worketh no ill; that is, it prohibits the working of any ill: more is implied than is expressed; it not only worketh no ill, but it worketh all the good that may be, deviseth liberal things. ◄Romans 13 ► Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again, Ps. 19:11), the divine providence being in a special manner conversant about those changes and revolutions of governments which have such an influence upon states and kingdoms, and such a multitude of particular persons and smaller communities. Love is a living active principle of obedience to the whole law. You do by paying taxes contribute your share to the support of the power; if therefore you be not subject, you do but pull down with one hand what you support with the other; and is that conscience?" And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. 2. Because of the reproach which the Christian religion lay under in the world, as an enemy to public peace, order, and government, as a sect that turned the world upside down, and the embracers of it as enemies to Caesar, and the more because the leaders were Galileans-an old slander. 1. (5) there "were" cases where it was right to "resist" the laws. We are not forbidden barely to provide for the body (it is a lamp that must be supplied with oil), but we are forbidden to fulfil the lusts thereof. Erasmus thinks it was inserted by some interpreter, by way of explanation; but it is found in all ancient copies, therefore that conceit of his is without foundation. As the killing of an inferior magistrate, while he is actually doing his duty, is accounted treason against the prince, so the resisting of any magistrates in the discharge of these duties of their place is the resisting of an ordinance of God. Ro 13:1-14. Romans 13:1. It became, therefore, a question of great importance and difficulty, "what kind" of allegiance they were to render to earthly magistrates. Therefore the tyranny of the pope over all kingdoms must be thrown down to the ground. An induction of particular precepts, v. 9. Nay, it is intended for a kindness to those that are punished, that by the destruction of the flesh the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1.) II. Chrysostom notes, that he rather speaks of our subjection to powers, than persons in power; because, that howsoever their power be abused, their authority must be acknowledged and obeyed. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. The former chapter is called by some St. Paulâs ethics, and this his politics. Have we this light to sleep in? Not only so, but when resistance was made on His behalf, He rebuked the disciple who had drawn the sword for Him. Four things we are here taught, as a Christian’s directory for his day’s work: when to awake, how to dress ourselves, how to walk, and what provision to make. From the intention of magistracy: Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil, etc. Surely we serve a good master, that has summed up all our duty in one word, and that a short word and a sweet word—love, the beauty and harmony of the universe. The apostle here both uses the language, and speaks the sentiments of his countrymen the Jews, who are wont to call magistrates, "powers"; hence those sayings were used among them; says Shemaiah (t), "twvrl edwtt la, "be not too familiar with the power".''. This is a good argument, but it is low for a Christian. Love intends and designs no ill to any body, is utterly against the doing of that which may turn to the prejudice, offence, or grief of any. Now there was good reason for the pressing of this duty of subjection to civil magistrates, 1. The graces of the Spirit are this armour, to secure the soul from Satan’s temptations and the assaults of this present evil world. Allen, contains what are perhaps the most important words ever written for the history of political thought." With these feelings they had become Christians; and it was natural that their former sentiments should exert an influence on them after their conversion. See on set under authority, Luke 7:8. In the enumeration of these commandments, the apostle puts the seventh before the sixth, and mentions this first, Thou shalt not commit adultery; for though this commonly goes under the name of love (pity it is that so good a word should be so abused) yet it is really as great a violation of it as killing and stealing is, which shows that true brotherly love is love to the souls of our brethren in the first place. 2:17) and outward reverence and respect, both in speaking to them and in speaking of them-obedience to their commands in things lawful and honest, and in other things a patient subjection to the penalty without resistance-a conformity in every thing to the place and duty of subjects, bringing our minds to the relation and condition, and the inferiority and subordination of it. Where there are riot and drunkenness, there usually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy. From the institution of magistracy: There is no power but of God. "—Pay you tribute, phorous seleite. 5:5, 6. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 13:1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. We are in the midst of enemies and snares. His experience in Palestine would tell him to what unscrupulous acts of violence this might lead. (3.) How to dress ourselves. Due taxes: Tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom. Fourthly, As one that desires not the eternal ruin of sinners, but by the punishment of some would terrify others, and so prevent the like wickedness, that others may hear and fear, and do no more presumptuously. 2. The Church at Rome was largely composed of Jews, and these would naturally be imbued with the fanatical spirit of their countrymen. This is not at all applicable to the particular rights of kings and kingdoms, and the branches of their constitution; nor can any certain rule be fetched from this for the modelling of the original contracts between the governors and governed; but it is intended for direction to private persons in their private capacity, to behave themselves quietly and peaceably in the sphere in which God has set them, with a due regard to the civil powers which God in his providence has set over them, 1 Tim. "Let us therefore, who are of the day, cast them off; not only cease from the practice of them, but detest and abhor them, and have no more to do with them. Many, who in other things seem to be just, yet make no conscience of this, but pass it off with a false ill-favoured maxim, that it is no sin to cheat the king, directly contrary to Paul’s rule, Tribute to whom tribute is due. Their religious hopes took a political form. 5:7. It is high time to awake; for others are awake and up about us. 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