Be Wette’s Commentary On Romans 5:12-19 -- By: M. Stuart

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:18 (May 1848)
Article: Be Wette’s Commentary On Romans 5:12-19
Author: M. Stuart

Be Wette’s Commentary On Romans 5:12-19

M. Stuart

Introductory Remarks

[It may be proper to state some reasons, why a portion of Commentary by De Wette on Rom. 5:12–19 has been translated, and is here inserted.

Every one conversant with theology or exegesis knows what importance has been attached to the passage of Scripture in question. It is appealed to beyond all others, as peculiarly exhibiting the condition of fallen man, and the connection of his depravity and guilt with the fall of the first human pair. The doctrine of original sin, or (as the Germans call it) inherited sin (Erbsünde), has been regarded, by a large portion of evangelical theologians, as having its most ample and solid basis in the passage before us. Of course, their opponents have made every possible effort to show, that the passage has been misunderstood and misinterpreted by them. The contest has been going on, in respect to this subject, ever since the days of Augustine and Pelagius, and even from a period still more remote. It would form a library of no small extent, were all that has been written on this subject embodied and published. Nor can we well wonder at this. The subject is one of the deepest interest. Men of sober thought and reflection will be prone to ask: What is our present native condition as moral and accountable beings? If corrupt and depraved, how has this been brought about, inasmuch as we naturally expect everything which comes from the hands of the Creator to be good? Can sin, or a sinful state or condition, be propagated? How far are we accountable for a state or condition, which we did not contribute in any way originally to form or introduce? How far are we, or can we reasonably be, accountable for the acts of others? These and many more of the like questions must give a high degree of interest to Rom. 5:12–19; for it is here, either directly or consequentially, that material is found by the mass of theologians who are of the stricter cast, for the solution of such questions. Hence the animated attacks upon what is called the orthodox exposition of this passage, and the equally animated defences of that exposition.

Of late, some distinguished critics and theologians in Germany have renewed, in an animated way, the discussion of these matters. Pamphlets, monogramms, small volumes, excursus appended to commentaries, etc., have been issued almost every year, until, as one would naturally suppose, the subject has been presented in nearly every possible light. In circumstances such as these, and after all the improvements made in sacred philology, it seems desirable that the theologian a...

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