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ciple of the flesh is restrained within a man, from bringing forth effects which interfere with the peace and comfort of society, although the seed of the Spirit remains unquickened in him, he may think of himself, and others may think it of him, that he has no need to die unto his own will, and to the flesh—for he is not disposed to do any thing wrong. To such a one, God addresses this word, “ The children being not yet born,”— that is, the two principles of the carnal and the spiritual mind, being not yet manifested in their effects, are nevertheless known and judged by God, the one as the reprobate, the other as the elect. God refuses all the service and worship of the flesh;—He will none of it. He will accept only the service and worship of the Spirit. He is not now putting the flesh on its probation, as if to see whether it will yet choose righteousness ; He knows that it cannot; He has already condemned and rejected it, and he has put man on his probation, whether he will walk in the Spirit or the flesh. And He has forewarned him of the consequences of his choice : « The elder shall serve the younger,"
-the younger is the Lord's anointed, and by joining him, you will partake in his king
dom; the elder is the flesh, and by continuing joined to it, you will continue a slave.
“ That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth,” &c.
The flesh, whatever its works may be, is still the flesh-its works are outside things merely, springing not from love, but from selfishness; and the Spirit is that which God hath called to serve Him and enjoy Him-yea, He hath called it out of the flesh,
, “Out of Egypt (the standing type of the flesh) have I called my Son.” This is the true Jacob whom God loves, and the true Esau whom he hates. They are in every man as seeds, and each seed contains the future tree—and thus, every man by yielding himself to the Spirit, though yet only a seed, comes under the blessing of Jacob; as by continuing in the flesh, though it has not yet broken out into violence, he abides under the curse of Esau.
The importance of this point to the Apostle's present argument with the Jews, will be more felt, if we remember, that from the time of the captivity, they had never fallen into the sin of outward idolatry,and that, at the time of Christ's appearing
amongst them, they made a greater profession of religion than, perhaps, they had ever before done. Their fault was, that their religion was a lie, being rooted in the flesh. But in consequence of their sin not taking that gross form which it had done in their forefathers, they deceived themselves, and thought themselves far advanced in holiness. And they needed to be told, that the evil root, out of which their whole life grew, made it altogether an abomination in the sight of God.
The subsequent transactions by which the prophecy was fulfilled in the type, proves that Jacob's election was only a typical election, but still the circumstances are illustrative of the principle on which God's election is truly founded. Esau, as the type of the flesh, seeks his good things now, and for one morsel of meat sells his birth-right-Jacob gives up the present for the future, and thus
, supplants his elder brother. Esau casts in his lot with the first vessel, Jacob with the second.
The last clause of verse 13th, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated,” is a quotation from Malachi. God's hatred for Esau declared in that passage, clearly means His judgments on Esau ; and the Apostle evidently introduces the clause here, for the purpose of warning the Jews, that as they had taken Esau's place, they ought to expect to share in these judgments.
This had been denounced to them by the Apostle, in chaps. ii. and iii. He had declared chap. ii. 8, that “To them who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, God would render tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.” And when, in chap. iii. 5, the Jew acknowledging the truth of the charge of sin against his nation, is yet supposed to plead against the infliction of the punishment, by saying, “ But if our unrighteousness com.
, mend the righteousness of God, what shall we say?" He instantly replies, “Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance ? God forbid, for then how shall God judge the world?
Let the reader observe, that the Apostle is now following out, in the passage before us, that same line of argument with the Jews personally, by which he justifies God in their rejection and punishment, which he
had commenced in chapters ii. and iii. The comparison of the two passages throws great light on both.
Chap. ix. 14—18. “ What shall we then say?" If the promises to the fathers, as has been shown, really belong only to the spiritual seed, and exclude the flesh, the carnal mind and if the Jews have, as a nation, rejected the Spirit, and chosen the flesh, and are deep sunk in carnal mindedness,—“ Is there unrighteousness with God” in dealing with them accordingly?
Or is there any thing in His covenant with them, or in His long toleration of them, which would make it to be unrighteousness in Him, if He were now to cast them off? “Far from it." There is not even the smallest ground for such an accusation. For, at the great ratification of the national covenant at Sinai, and on the occasion of the people setting up the golden calf, God expressly declared, that He might even then have righteously consumed them, and that the relation into which He had taken them, as His peculiar people, laid Him under no obligation to them, either to retain them in that relation, or to abstain from punishing them, like other nations ; and that, though He then exercised forbear