8. For without the law sin was dead. 1
8. Sine Lege enim peccatum est mortuum:
9. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
9. Ego autem vivebam sine Lege aliquando 2 adveniente autem mandato, peccatum revixit,
10. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
10. Ego autem mortuus sum; et deprehensum est a me mandatum quod erat in vitam, cedere in mortem.
11. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
11. Peccatum enim, occasione sumpta per mandatum, abduxit me a via et per illud occidit:
12. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
12. Itaque Lex quidem sancta, et mandatum sanctum, et justum et bonum.
It may be here asked, what time was that when through his ignorance of the law, or as he himself says, through the absence of it, he confidently laid claim to life. It is indeed certain, that he had been taught the doctrine of the law from his childhood; but it was the theology of the letter, which does not humble its disciples, for as he says elsewhere, the veil interposed so that the Jews could not see the light of life in the law; so also he himself, while he had his eyes veiled, being destitute of the Spirit of Christ, was satisfied with the outward mask of righteousness. Hence he represents the law as absent, though before his eyes, while it did not really impress him with the consciousness of God's judgment. Thus the eyes of hypocrites are covered with a veil, that they see not how much that command requires, in which we are forbidden to lust or covet.
1 This clause is rightly separated from the former verse; for it clearly announces what is illustrated in the following verses. "Without the law," means without the knowledge of the law. The law is known and not known still. -- Ed.
3 This verse will be better understood if we consider it as in a manner a repetition, in another form, of what the former verse contains, and this is perfectly consistent with the usual manner of the Apostle. His object seems to have been to prevent a misapprehension of what he had said, that the commandment which was for life proved to be unto death. He hence says, that sin availed itself of the commandment, and by it deceived him, that is, promised him life, and then by it killed him, that is, proved fatal to him. There is a Correspondence in meaning between the commandment unto life and deceiving, and between death and killing. In Romans 7:8, sin, as a person, is said to take advantage of the commandment to work every kind of sinful desires: but it is said here to take this advantage to deceive by promising life, and then to destroy, to expose, and subject him to death and misery. -- Ed.
4 This is doubtless true, and it is an example of what the Apostle's manner of writing is, it being that of the ancient prophets. How various are the words used in the 119th Psalm to designate the law or the revealed will of God? and two different words are often used in the same verse.
Having spoken of the law in connection with sin, the Apostle may be supposed to have had the character of sin in view in characterizing the law. Sin works depraved desires and lusts; the law is holy: sin deceives and acts the traitor, the law is plain-dealing and just: sin leads to death and misery; the law is good and leads to happiness. The last contrast is evident from what follows in the next verse, "Was that which is good made death unto me?" -- Ed.