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ROMANS 12, 17-21

ROMANS 12, 17-21

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Published by glennpease
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.



Romans xii. 17—21.

** RecDinpense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the iiight of
ftll men. If it be poesiblef as much ss li«tb in 70a, live peaceablv with all men.
J>earlj beloved, avenge not yoorselves, bat rather give place unto wmth: for it
is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt
heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good."
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.



Romans xii. 17—21.

** RecDinpense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the iiight of
ftll men. If it be poesiblef as much ss li«tb in 70a, live peaceablv with all men.
J>earlj beloved, avenge not yoorselves, bat rather give place unto wmth: for it
is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt
heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good."

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 26, 2013
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ROMAS 12, 17-21REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.Romans xii. 17—21.
** RecDinpense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the iiight of ftll men. If it be poesiblef as much ss li«tb in 70a, live peaceablv with all men.J>earlj beloved, avenge not yoorselves, bat rather give place unto wmth: for itis written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thineenemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shaltheap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil withgood."
Eesentmbnt is a modification of pride. By an injury done tous, we not only sustain a certain amount of pain or of loss, — we are at the same time mortified. He who has done usthe wrong appears in our eyes as having acquired a certainsuperiority. Against this our pride rises, and urges us byretaliation to be even with him. This is a principle whichthe world too generally applaud. They call it spirit, andthe contrary is in their vocabulary inean-spirltedness : — andsome philosophers have concurred in the commendation of the principle, as a wise provision of nature. Let us see,then, how the Christian law stands : — " Ye have heard thatit hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth :but I say unto you. That ye resist not evil : but whosoevershall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the otheralso."* Our Lord's language has reference to a precept be-longing to the criminal code of Israel,+ of which the applica-ticm was to be determined and the execution ordered by the judicial authorities; but which had been perverted, by the• Matth. V. 38, 39. f Exod. xxi. 24, 27; Lev. xxiv, 19, 20.■■
 
ROMAICS XII. 17«21. 141same principle that had produced the perversion of otherstatutes, into a permission of personal retaliation, or privaterevenge. But such never "was its import, any more than theprecept to ''love our neighbour" implied a permission to" hate our enemy."The expressions of our Lord, as they are here interpretedby his servant, are strongly descriptive and imperative of theepirit of his religion. They do not mean that there is neverto be any remonstrating, however calm and gentle, against in- jurious treatment : for He of whom it is said, that He ''gave hisback to the smiteis, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair," that " he was led as a lamb to the slaughter," that" when he was reviled, he reviled not again," — did actuallyset the example of such remonstrance.* or do they meanthat in no case are we^ever to seek such redress of the wrongdone to ue as the circumstances of the case admit Forsurely Paul was not acting in opposition to his own preceptwhen he expostulated with the ms^strates of PhiUppi, andinsisted on such steps being taken as would serve to do awaythe effects of the injurious treatment which himself and hisfellow-labourers had sustainedt Our Lopd*s expression — " If any man smite theo on thy right cheek, turn to him theother also," is a proverbial one for meek submission toafi&onts and injuriea The expression of the Apostle,"Eecompenae to no man evil for evil," means that weare not to inflict injury for injury — to retaliate for the sakeof retaliation — ^to gratify resentment. It is precisely thespirit prohibited by the wise man, — " Say not, I will do tohim as he hath done to me ; I will render to the man ac-cording to his work." JThere may be cases of wrong by which the interests of others are implicated as well as our own : and there may be
 
cases in which, character being concerned, not comfort of mind only but usefulness is at stake; — cases in which anappeal to the law of our country, to establish our injuredreputation, or to secure our endangered or recover our ab-• John xriii 22, 23. f Acts xvi. 37. t Pk>v. xxiv. 29.142 LECTURE LVIILstracted property, may be an imperative duty — ^for our ownsake, for our family's sake, for the church's sake, for the Lord'ssake. But we are interdicted from prosecuting an offencefor the sake of bringing our enemy to suffering ; &om grati-fying our resentment even by le^ means. — ^There may becases which (although in as far as we are ourselves per-sonally concerned, we might be desirous to pass all over)require us, however reluctantly, to call the defaulters toaccount, for the sake of the public good — for the protectionof the injured laws and the safety of the community; — but in such cases, we would do well to take heed to our mo-tives, lest, through the deceitfalness of our hearts, we shouldbe found covering over a feeling of personal resentmentand retaliation under the pretext of regard to the publicbenefit. We are often very fond of having some such spe-cious covert for what is at bottom purely selfish, or has in itat least a large proportion of this unworthy principle. — ^LetChristians beware of their allowing the prevailing opinionsand favourite maxims of the world to interfere in any de-gree with their firm adherence to the explicit laws of theirdivine Master, and the true spirit of his GrospeL It is Hiswill, and His Example they are ever to follow, not the in-clinations of their own corrupt hearts, nor the course of anungodly world. — I may just remark, before quitting thisclause, of which the spirit is expanded afterwards, that.Christian country as it is called, Scotland bears on hernational arms an emblem and a motto as thoroughly aspossible an^i-christian.*

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