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Romans 13, 8-14

Romans 13, 8-14

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



ROMANS XIII. 8 — 14.
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.



ROMANS XIII. 8 — 14.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 26, 2013
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ROMAS 13, 8-14REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.ROMAS XIII. 8 — 14.
**Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth anotherhath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shaitnot kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt notcovet; and if there be any other commandment, it is brieflj comprehended inthis saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as tliyself. Love vrorkethno ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that,knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now isour salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day isat hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on thearmour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting anddrunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: butput ye on the Ix)rd Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfilthe lu&ts thereof.**
The precept in the preceding verse, enjoining Christians to" render fear to whom fear was due, and honour to whomhonour," we considered, from the connexion in which itstands, as having a special reference to civil rulers. It maybe understood, however, with a more comprehensive rangeof application. Tt may include all superiors. There is " hon-our" due by the law of God, as well as by the dictates of na-ture, to parents. — "Honour thy father and mother" is *'thefirst commandment with promise;" and one of the mostsacred of all duties.* There is "honour" due also fromservants to their earthly masters ; to whom they are enjoinedto be subject " with all fear." t The precept too may in-* Prov. XXX. 17. t 1 Pet ii. 18; and compare 1 Tim. vi. 1.ROMAS XIII. g-] 4. 189elude the respect due from believers to those who are over
 
them in the Lord, and whom they are elsewhere enjoinedto " esteem very highly in love."*If in this comprehensive acceptation of the terms, we" render to all their dues," we shall be found to have ex-hausted the import of the general precept in the eighthverse. K we " render to all their dues," we shall of coursebe found " owing no man any thing," This language is quitetoo narrowly interpreted, when it is viewed in relation tomere pecuniary obligations. It includes obligations of allkinds; — whatever, in the various relations of life, whetherpermanent or incidental and temporary, is due to others.The spirit of the precept is, that we should endeavour so todischarge all our obligations as to leave no claim lying uutfulfilled. That this has a direct and strong application topecuniary claims, there can be no doubtt That the pre-cept goes the length of prohibiting Christians from ever con-tracting debt, in any degree, in any circumstances, or for anyeven the shortest time, would be a rigidness of interpreta-tion such as would place it, in many situations, beyond thepossibility of compliance. It would be inconvenient in al-most any state of society; and in a commercial countrywould be incompatible with the free and uninterrupted in-tercourse of business. But let me not be mistaken. This isone of those admissions which, while we are obliged to makethem, multitudes are in danger of abusing, — stretching themfar beyond their legitimate limits, and taking, under thecovert of the liberty which they allow, a license to indulgein the most unwarrantable risks and speculations, by whichothers as well as themselves and their families are manya time involved in loss and ruin. It is fearful to think of the extent to which this practice has been carried Itought to be laid down as a principle for Christian con-duct, that no debt should in any case be contracted, beyonda man's present or his regular and sure means of dis-charging ; and in general, the maxim oaght to be, — a maxim» 1 ThesB. V. 12, 13: 1 Tim. v. 17, 18. f Pw>v. iii. 27, 28.
 
190 LECTURE LXnot merely approved in theory but faithfully applied in prac-tioe^ — the less the better. ALL that can be avoided oitght tobe avoided; inasmuch as no man knows by what unantici-pated turns in providence he may be disabled from discharg-ing his obligations. And as to any man's voluntarily andwith his eyes open incurring debts which he has not — I donot say the honest purpose^ for that is by no means enough — ^but which he has not the fair and reasonable prospect of being able at the stipulated time to dischaigey — ^wMle it isa disgrace to the mercantile honour of the men of theworld, is a much deeper disgrace to the profession of Chris*tian principla Sanguine honesty, though so often pleaded^ia by no means a sufficient justification of it Let the goldenrule be uniformly applied.There is (me debt that is here represented as being altoaysdue. It is the debt of l&oe. This is true both of the pecu-liar love we owe to fellow-christians, and of the general bene-volence which comprehends in its obligations all our fellow-men. This, my brethren, is an account that is always open.It is not like a bill of a fixed amount and drawn at a certaindate, which can be at once discharged, and there is an endof it. The claims of love are never filled up. The momentone bill is retired, another is presented; or rather, as I havealready said, it is a constantly open and reciprocal account ;and it should be ^e aim of all, as £su? as lieth in them, thatin the form of mutual benefit and requital, it may standalways at a balance. We are taught by the language of theApostle to regard love as a debt, — all its claims, accordingto the law of Gk)d, to be held saci-ed, and fidthfully andcheerfully discharged. Hence it follows — " For he that lov-eth another hath fuLfiUed the lawJ' I need not say, surely,that here, as the love spoken of is the love due to fellow-men, the law of which love is the fulfilment is the law as itrespects our fellow-men. The maxim, taken in an insulatedand unconnected form, might be considered still more com-prehensively. ^ Love is the fulfilling of the law" in regard

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