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Hermann Venema on Romans 2:4

October 13, 2008


We are told moreover that the ungodly enjoy much earthly prosperity and honor.

(1) This we admit is true, but those are blessings not in reality but only in appearance. They are not enjoyed along with a good conscience and with the favor fellowship of God, in which man’s highest happiness consists, and do not tend to a beneficial result.

(2) Their enjoyment of these things is owing to the long-suffering of God, who would thus excite and lead them to repentance (Rom. ii.4), and thus manifests his singular goodness in willing not death but the life of the sinner.

(3) They enjoy these blessings either on account of the virtues of those who have gone before them, whose posterity God, in the exercise of his goodness, thus blesses, or on account of their own services to the community of which they form a part or to the church. For they may sometimes confer some favors on the church or the state–favors which God who is a very bountiful rewarder never allows to pass without some mark of his approbation.

Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., by Alex W. Brown, (Andover: W.F. Draper Brothers, 1853), 417.

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