22. What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
22. Quid autem si Deus volens demonstrare iram, et notam facere potentiam suam, sustinuit in multa patientia vasa irae, in interitum ap-parata;
23. And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
23. Ut notas quoque faceret divi-tins gloriae sum in vasa misericordiae, quae preparavit in gloriam?
But if we wish fully to understand Paul, almost every word must be examined. He then argues thus, -- There are vessels prepared for destruction, that is, given up and appointed to destruction: they are also vessels of wrath, that is, made and formed for this end, that they may be examples of God's vengeance and displeasure. If the Lord bears patiently for a time with these, not destroying them at the first moment, but deferring the judgment prepared for them, and this in order to set forth the decisions of his severity, that others may be terrified by so dreadful examples, and also to make known his power, to exhibit which he makes them in various ways to serve; and, further, that the amplitude of his mercy towards the elect may hence be more fully known and more brightly shine forth ; -- what is there worthy of being reprehended in this dispensation? But that he is silent as to the reason, why they are vessels appointed to destruction, is no matter of wonder. He indeed takes it as granted, according to what has been already said, that the reason is hid in the secret and inexplorable counsel of God; whose justice it behoves us rather to adore than to scrutinize.
And he has mentioned
Though in the second clause he asserts more expressly. that it is God who prepares the elect for glory, as he had simply said before that the reprobate are vessels prepared for destruction; there is yet no doubt but that the preparation of both is connected with the secret counsel of God. Paul might have otherwise said, that the reprobate give up or cast themselves into destruction; but he intimates here, that before they are born they are destined to their lot.
1 Critics have in various ways attempted to supply the ellipsis, but what is here proposed is most approved. Beza considered the corresponding clause to be at Romans 9:30, and viewed the intervening verses as parenthetic, "And if God," etc., -- " What then shall we say?" Grotius subjoined, "Does God do any wrong?" Elsner," Has he not the power?" and Wolfius," What canst, thou say against God?" Stuart proposes to repeat the question in Romans 9:20, "Who art thou?" etc. Some connect this verse with the question in Romans 9:20, and include the latter part of it and Romans 9:21 in a parenthesis. Whatever way may be adopted, the sense is materially the same. It has also been suggested that
22. "Since then God willed (or, it was God's will) to show His wrath and to make known his power, he endured with much forbearance the vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction;
23. So he willed to make known the riches of his glory towards the vessels of mercy, whom he has fore-prepared for glory,
24. Even us, whom he has called not only front the Jews but also from the Gentiles."
The beginning of Romans 9:23 presents an anomaly, if, with Stuart and others, we consider "willing:" or wills to be understood, as it is followed in the preceding verse by an infinitive, and here by a subjunctive mood. But Beza, Grotius, and Hammond, seem to regard the verb" endured," to be here, as it were, repeated, which gives the same meaning to the pas sage as that which is given to it by Calvin. -- Ed.