|8. Owe no man any thing, but to love
one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
||8. Nemini quicquam debeatis, nisi
ut invicem diligatis; qui enim diligit alterum Legem implevit.
|9. For this, Thou shalt not commit
adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear
false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment,
it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself.
||9. Illud enim, Non moechaberis, Non
occides, Non falsum testimonium dices, Non concupisces, et si quod est
aliud praeceptum, in hoc sermone comprehenditur, Diliges proximum sicut
|10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor:
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
||10. Dilectio proximo malum non infert:
plenitudo ergo legis est dilectio.
8. To no one owe ye, etc. There are those who think that
this was not said without a taunt, as though Paul was answering the objection
of those who contended that Christians were burdened in having other
precepts than that of love enjoined them. And indeed I do not deny, but
that it may be taken ironically, as though he conceded to those who allowed
no other law but that of love, what they required, but in another sense.
And yet I prefer to take the words simply as they are; for I think
that Paul meant to refer the precept respecting the power of magistrates
to the law of love, lest it should seem to any one too feeble; as though
he had said, "When I require you to obey princes, I require nothing more
than what all the faithful ought to do, as demanded by the law of love:
for if ye wish well to the good, (and not to wish this is inhuman,) ye
ought to strive, that the laws and judgments may prevail, that the administrators
of the laws may have an obedient people, so that through them peace may
be secured to all." He then who introduces anarchy, violates love; for
what immediately follows anarchy, is the confusion of all things.
For he who loves another, etc. Pauls design is to reduce all
the precepts of the law to love, so that we may know that we then rightly
obey the commandments, when we observe the law of love, and when we refuse
to undergo no burden in order to keep it. He thus fully confirms what he
has commanded respecting obedience to magistrates, in which consists no
small portion of love.
But some are here impeded, and they cannot well extricate themselves
from this difficulty, that Paul teaches us that the law is fulfilled
when we love our neighbor, for no mention is here made of what is due to
God, which ought not by any means to have been omitted. But Paul refers
not to the whole law, but speaks only of what the law requires from us
as to our neighbor. And it is doubtless true, that the whole law is fulfilled
when we love our neighbors; for true love towards man does not flow except
from the love of God, and it is its evidence, and as it were its effects.
But Paul records here only the precepts of the second table, and of these
only he speaks, as though he had said, "He who loves his neighbor as
himself, performs his duty towards the whole world." Puerile then is the
gloss of the Sophists, who attempt to elicit from this passage what may
favor justification by works: for Paul declares not what men do or do not,
but he speaks hypothetically of that which you will find nowhere accomplished.
And when we say, that men are not justified by works, we deny not that
the keeping of the law is true righteousness: but as no one performs it,
and never has performed it, we say, that all are excluded from it, and
that hence the only refuge is in the grace of Christ.
9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, etc. It cannot
be from this passage concluded what precepts are contained in the second
table, for he subjoins at the end, and if there be any other precept.
He indeed omits the command respecting the honoring of parents; and
it may seem strange, that what especially belonged to his subject should
have been passed by. But what if he had left it out, lest he should obscure
his argument? Though I dare not to affirm this, yet I see here nothing
wanting to answer the purpose he had in view, which was to show, that
since God intended nothing else by all his commandments than to teach us
the duty of love, we ought by all means to strive to perform it. And yet
the uncontentious reader will readily acknowledge, that Paul intended to
prove, by things of a like nature, that the import of the whole law is,
that love towards one another ought to be exercised by us, and that what
he left to be implied is to be understood, and that is, that obedience
to magistrates is not the least thing which tends to nourish peace, to
preserve brotherly love.
10. Love doeth no evil to a neighbor, etc. He demonstrates
by the effect, that under the word love are contained those things which
are taught us in all the commandments; for he who is endued with true love
will never entertain the thought of injuring others. What else does the
whole law forbid, but that we do no harm to our neighbor? This, however,
ought to be applied to the present subject; for since magistrates are the
guardians of peace and justice, he who desires that his own right should
be secured to every one, and that all may live free from wrong, ought to
defend, as far as he can, the power of magistrates. But the enemies of
government show a disposition to do harm. And when he repeats that the
fulfilling of the law is love, understand this, as before, of that part
of the law which refers to mankind; for the first table of the law, which
contains what we owe to God, is not here referred to at all.
|11. And that, knowing the time, that
now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer
than when we believed.
||11. Hoc enim, quum noverimus tempus,
quia hora est qua jam e somno expergiscamur (nunc enim propior est salus
nostra quam quum credi-dimus,)
|12. The night is far spent, the day
is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us
put on the armor of light.
||12. Nox progressa est, dies vero appropinquavit:
abjiciamus ergo opera tenebrarum, et induamus arma lucis.
|13. Let us walk honestly, as in the
day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness,
not in strife and envying:
||13 Sicut in die decenter ambulemus;
non comessationibus neque ebrietatibus, neque eubilibus neque lasciviis,
neque contentione neque aemulatione:
|14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
||14. Sed induamini Dominum Iesum Christum,
et carnis curam ne agatis ad concupiscentias.
11. Moreover, etc. He enters now on another subject of exhortation,
that as the rays of celestial life had begun to shine on us as it were
at the dawn, we ought to do what they are wont to do who are in public
life and in the sight of men, who take diligent care lest they should commit
anything that is base or unbecoming; for if they do anything amiss, they
see that they are exposed to the view of many witnesses. But we, who always
stand in the sight of God and of angels, and whom Christ, the true sun
of righteousness, invites to his presence, we indeed ought to be much more
careful to beware of every kind of pollution.
The import then of the words is this, "Since we know that the seasonable
time has already come, in which we should awake from sleep, let us cast
aside whatever belongs to the night, let us shake off all the works of
darkness, since the darkness itself has been dissipated, and let us attend
to the works of light, and walk as it becomes those who are enjoying the
day." The intervening words are to be read as in a parenthesis.
As, however, the words are metaphorical, it may be useful to consider
their meaning: Ignorance of God is what he calls night; for all
who are thus ignorant go astray and sleep as people do in the night. The
unbelieving do indeed labor under these two evils, they are blind and they
are insensible; but this insensibility he shortly after designated by sleep,
which is, as one says, an image of death. By light he means the
revelation of divine truth, by which Christ the sun of righteousness arises
on us. He mentions awake, by which he intimates
that we are to be equipped and prepared to undertake the services which
the Lord requires from us. The works of darkness are shameful and
wicked works; for night, as some one says, is shameless. The armor of
light represents good, and temperate, and holy actions, such as are
suitable to the day; and armor is mentioned rather than works, because
we are to carry on a warfare for the Lord.
But the particles at the beginning, And this, are to be read
by themselves, for they are connected with what is gone before; as we say
in Latin Adhoec besides, or proeterea moreover. The time,
he says, was known to the faithful, for the calling of God and the
day of visitation required a new life and new morals, and he immediately
adds an explanation, and says, that it was the hour to awake: for
it is not cro>nov but kairo<v which means a fit occasion or a seasonable
For nearer is now our salvation, etc. This passage is in various
ways perverted by interpreters. Many refer the word believed to
the time of the law, as though Paul had said, that the Jews believed before
Christ came; which view I reject as unnatural and strained; and surely
to confine a general truth to a small part of the Church, would have been
wholly inconsistent. Of that whole assembly to which he wrote, how few
were Jews? Then this declaration could not have been suitable to the Romans.
Besides, the comparison between the night and the day does in my judgment
dissipate every doubt on the point. The declaration then seems to me to
be of the most simple kind, "Nearer is salvation now to us than at that
time when we began to believe:" so that a reference is made to the time
which had preceded as to their faith. For as the adverb here used is in
its import indefinite, this meaning is much the most suitable, as it is
evident from what follows.
12. The night has advanced, and the day, etc. This is
the season which he had just mentioned; for as the faithful are not as
yet received into full light, he very fitly compares to the dawn the knowledge
of future life, which shines on us through the gospel: for day is
not put here, as in other places, for the light of faith, (otherwise he
could not have said that it was only approaching, but that it was present,
for it now shines as it were in the middle of its progress,) but for that
glorious brightness of the celestial life, the beginnings of which are
now seen through the gospel.
The sum of what he says is, that as soon as God begins to call us,
we ought to do the same, as when we conclude from the first dawn of the
day that the full sun is at hand; we ought to look forward to the coming
He says that the night had advanced, because we are not so overwhelmed
with thick darkness as the unbelieving are, to whom no spark of life appears;
but the hope of resurrection is placed by the gospel before our eyes; yea,
the light of faith, by which we discover that the full brightness of celestial
glory is nigh at hand, ought to stimulate us, so that we may not grow torpid
on the earth. But afterwards, when he bids us to walk in the light, as
it were during the day time, he does not continue the same metaphor; for
he compares to the day our present state, while Christ shines on us. His
purpose was in various ways to exhort us, at one time to meditate on
our future life; at another, to contemplate the present favor of God.
13. Not in reveling, etc. He mentions here three kinds
of vices, and to each he has given two names, intemperante and excess
in living, carnal lust and uncleanness, which is connected with it,
and envy and contention. If these have in them so much filthiness, that
even carnal men are ashamed to commit them before the eyes of men, it behooves
us, who are in the light of God, at all times to abstain from them; yea,
even when we are withdrawn from the presence of men. As to the third vice,
though contention is put before envying, there is yet. no doubt but that
Paul intended to remind us, that strifes and contests arise from this fountain;
for when any one seeks to excel, there is envying of one another; but ambition
is the source of both evils.
14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, etc. This metaphor
is commonly used in Scripture with respect to what tends to adorn or to
deform man; both of which may be seen in his clothing: for a filthy and
torn garment dis-honors a man; but what is becoming and clean recommends
him. Now to put on Christ, means here to be on every side fortified
by the power of his Spirit, and be thereby prepared to discharge all the
duties of holiness; for thus is the image of God renewed in us, which is
the only true ornament of the soul. For Paul had in view the end of our
calling; inasmuch as God, by adopting us, unites us to the body of his
only-begotten Son, and for this purpose, that we, renouncing our former
life, may become new men in him. On this account
he says also in another place, that we put on Christ in baptism. (Galatians
And have no care, etc. As long as we carry about us our flesh,
we cannot cast away every care for it; for though our conversation is in
heaven, we yet sojourn on earth. The things then which belong to the body
must be taken care of, but not otherwise than as they are helps to us in
our pilgrimage, and not that they may make us to forget our country. Even
heathens have said, that a few things suffice nature, but that the appetites
of men are insatiable. Every one then who wishes to satisfy the desires
of the flesh, must necessarily not only fall into, but be immerged in a
vast and deep gulf.
Paul, setting a bridle on our desires, reminds us, that the cause of
all intemperance is, that no one is content with a moderate or lawful use
of things: he has therefore laid down this rule, that we are to provide
for the wants of our flesh, but not to indulge its lusts. It is in this
way that we shall use this world without abusing it.