Page images

the same that ascended also, far above all the heavens,

11 that he might fill all things.) And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pas

12 tors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying the body of Christ;

13 Till we all come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of

14 the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we maj' be no longer children, fluctuating to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, by running craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:

15 But speaking the-truth in love, may grow up into him in

16 all things, who is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every member, maketh an increase of the body, lo the edifying of itself in love.

V. l1. And among oiher his free gifts, fte gave some apostles—His chief ministers and special witnesses, as having seen him after his resurrection, and received their commission immediately from him, and some prophets, and some evangelitts—A prophet testifies of things to come; an evangelist, of things past: and that chiefly by preaching the gospel before or after any of the apostles. All these were extraordinary officers: the ordinary were, some pastors—Watching over their several flocks, and some teachers—Whether of the same, or lower order, to assist them as occasion might require.

V. 12. In this verse is noted the office of ministers; in the next, the aim of the saints; in the 14th, 15th, and 16Ut, the way of growing in grace. And each of these has three parts, standing in the same order: for the perfecting the saints—The completing them both in number, and their various gifts and graces: for the work of the ministry—The serving God and his church, in their various ministrations, to the edifying of the body of Christ—The building up this his mystical body in faith, love, holiness.

V. 13. Till we ail—And every one of us, £ome to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of Clod—To both an exact agreement in the Christian doctrine, and an experimental knowledge of Christ as the Son of God; to a perfect man—To a state of spiritual manhood both in understanding and strength, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ—To that maturity of age and spiritual stature wherein we shall be filled with Christ, so that he will be all in all.

V. t«, Fluctuating to and fro—From within, even when there is no wind; and carried about with eveai wind—From without; when we are assanlted by others, who are unstableaBIhe wind; by the slight of nten—By their cogging the dice; so the original wWd implies.

V. I5. Into him—Into his image and Spirit, and into a full union with him.

V. 16. From whom the whole mystical body fitly joined together—All the parts being fitted for and adapted to each other, and most exactly harmonizing with the whole, and compacted—Knitted and cemented together with the utmost firmness, maketh increase by that which every joint supplieth—Or by the mutual help of every joint, according to' the effectual working in the measure of every member—According as every member in its measure effectually works, for the support and growth of the whole. A beantiful allusion to the human body, composed of different joints and members, knit together by various ligaments, and furnished with vessels of communication from the head to every part. , ,

17 This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the vanity

18 of your mind: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, by the ignorance that is in them, through the hardness of their hearts:

19 Who being past feeling, have given themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ; Seeing ye have heard

21 him, and been taught by him, (as the truth is in Jesus,)

22 To put off, with respect to the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful

23 desires: But to be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And to put on the new man, which is created after God, in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye every man truth with his neighbour; for we are members one of an

26 other. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go

27 down upon your wrath, Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather let him

V. 17. This therefore I say—He.returns thither where he begun, ver. 1, and testify in the Lord—In the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus, in the vanity of their mind—Having lost the knowledge of the true God, Rom. i. 31. This is the root of all evil walking.

V. 18. Having their understanding darkened, through the ignorance that is in them—So that they are totally void of the light of God, neither have they any knowledge of his will, being alienated from the life of God-—Utter strangers to the divine, the spiritual life, through the hardness of their hearts—Callous and senseless. And where there is no sense, there can be no life.

V. 19. Who being past feeling—The original word is peculiarly significant. It properly means, past feeling pain. Pain urges the sick to seek a remedy, which, where there is no pain, is little thought of, have given themselves up— Freely, of their own accord. Lasciviousness is but one branch of uncleanness, which implies impurity of every kind.

V. 30. But ye have not so learned Christ—That is, ye cannot act thus, now ye know him, since you know the Christian dispensation allows of no sin.

V. 3t. Seeing ye have heard him—Teaching you inwardly by his Spirit, at the truth is in JesusAccording to his own gospel.

V. 22. The old man—That is, the whole body of sin. All sinful desires are deceitful i promising the happiness which they cannot give.

V. 23. The spirit of your mind—The very ground of your heart.

V. 24. The new man —Universal holiness, after-ifk the very image of God.

V. 35. Wherefore—Seeing ye are thus created^mevr, walk accordingly, in every particular. For we are members one of another—To which intimate union all deceit is quite repugnant,

V. 26. Be ye angry, and sin not—That is, if ye are angry, take heed ye sia not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the siuner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin. And how hardly do we avoid it! Let not the sun go down uptn your wrath—Reprove your brother, and be reconciled immediately. Lose not one day. A clear, express command. Reader, do you keep it?

V. 27. Neither give place to the devil—By any delay.

V. M. But rather let him labour—Lest idleness lead him to steal again. And whoever has sinned in any kind, ought the more zealously to practise the labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that §9 he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt discourse proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace

30 to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye have been sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

32 But be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted; forgiving one another; as God also for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

CHAP. V. 1. Be ye therefore followers of God, as

2 beloved children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself up for us, an offering and a

3 sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour. But let not fornication, or any uncleanness, or covetousness, be even

4 named among you, as becometh saints: Neither obscenity, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not corp opposite virtue, that he may have to give—And so be no longer a burden and nuisance, but a blessing to his neighbours.

V. 29. But that which is good—Profitable to the speaker and hearers, to the use of edifying—To forward them in repentance, faith, or holiness, that it may minister grace—Be a means of conveying more grace into their hearts. Hence we learn, what discourse is corrupt, as it were stinking in the nostrils of God; namely, all that is not profitable, not edifying, nor apt to minister grace to the hearers. t

V. M. Grieve not the Holy Spirit—By any disobedience, particularly by corrupt discourse; or by any of the following sins. Do not force him to withdraw from you, as a friend does whom you grieve by unkind behaviour. The day of redemption—That is, the day of judgment, in which our redemp. tion will be completed.

V. s1. Let all bitterness— The height of settled anger, opposite to kindness, (ver. 32,) and wrath—Lasting displeasure toward the ignorant, and them that are out of the way, opposite to tender-heartedness,: and anger—The very first risings of disgust at those that injure you, opposite to forgiving one another: and clamour—Or bawling. "I am not angry, says one, but it is my way to speak so." Then unlearn that way. It is the way to hell: and evil speaking—Be it in ever so mild and saSL a tone, or with ever such professions of kindness. Here is a beautiful retrflp-adation, beginning with the highest, and descending to the lowest degree of the want of love.

V. 32. As God—Shewing himself kind and tender-hearted in the highest degree, hath forgiven you.

CHAP. V. Ver. 1. Be ye therefore followers—Imitators of God—In forgiving and loving. O'how much more honourable and more happy, to be an imitator of God, than of Homer, Virgil, or Alexander the Great!

V. 3. But let not—Any impure love, be even named or heard of among you. Keep at the utmost distance from it, as becometh saints.

V. 4. Nor foolish talking—Title-tattle, talking of nothing, the weather, fashions, meat and drink, nor jesting—The word properly means, wittiness, factiousness, esteemed by the heathens a half-virtue. But how frequently

5 venient, but rather thanksgiving. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, or unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom

6 of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with vain words j for because of these things the wrath of

7 God cometh upon the sons of disobedience. Be ye not

8 therefore partakers with them. For ye were once darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord: walk as children

9 of light; (The fruit of the light is in all goodness, and

10 righteousness, and truth:) Proving what is acceptable to

11 the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful

12 works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak the things which are done by them

13 in secret. But all things which are reproved are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest

14 is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepesf, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then tiwi that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools,

16 but as wise men, Redeeming the time, because the days

17 are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understand

18 ing what is the will of the Lord. And be not drunken

even this quenches the Spirit, those who are tender of conscience know: which are not convenient—For a Christian; as neither increasing his faith, nor holiness.

V. 6. Because of these things—As innocent as the heathens esteemed them, and as those dealers in vain words would persuade you to think them.

V. 8. Ye were once darkness—Total blindness and ignorance. Walk as children of light—Suitably to your present knowledge.

V. 9. The fruit of the light—Opposite to the unfruitful works of darkness, (ver. 11,) is in—That is, consists iu, goodness, and righteousness, and truth— Opposite to the sins spoken of ch. iv. 25, &c.

V. 11. Reprove them—To avoid them is not enough.

V. 12. In secret—As flying the light.

V. 13. But all things which are reproved, are thereby dragged out into the light, and made manifest—Shewn in their proper colours, by the light: far Whatsoever doth make manifest is light—That is, for nothing but light (yea, light from heaven) can make any thing manifest.

V. 14. Wherefore he—God, saith—In the general^nor «f his word, to all who are still in darkness, Awake, thou that sleepest-Wla ignorance of God and thyself, in stupid insensihility, and arise from the dead—From the death of sin, and Christ shall give thee light—Knowledge, holiness, happiness

V. 15. Circumspectly—Exactly, with the utmost accuracy, getting to the highest pitch of £very point of holiness, not as fools—Who think not where they are going, or do not make the best of their way.

V. 16. With all possible care redeeming the time—Saving all you can, fur the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the hands of sin and Satan, out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure,, worldly business: the more diligently, because the present are evil jays, days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.

V. 17. What the will of the Lord is—In every time, place, and circumstance.

V. IS. Wherein is excess—-That is, which leads to, debauchery of every kind,

with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the

19 Spirit; Speaking to each other in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your

20 hearts unto the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things to God even the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus.

21 Christ, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as

23 unto the Lord: For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church: (and he is the Saviour

24 of the body.0 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their own husbands in every

25 thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved

26 the church, and gave up himself for it; That he might sanctify it (having cleansed it by the washing of water)

27 through the word: That he might present it to himself a

28 thing, that it may be holy and unblameable. Men ought

but be yefilled with the Spirit—In all his graces; who givas aTfcore noble pleasure than wine can do.

V. 19. Speaking to each other—By the Spirit, in the Psalms—.Of David, and hymns— Of praise, and spiritual songs—On any divine subject. By there being no inspired songs, peculiarly adapted to the Christian dispensation, as there were to the Jewish, it is evident that the promise of the Holy Ghost, to believers in the last days, was by his larger effusion, to supply the lack of it, singing with your hearts—As well as your voice, to the Lord—Jesus, who searcheth the heart.

V. 20. Giving thanks— At all times and places, and for all things—Prosperous or adverse, since all work together for good, in the name of—Or through our Lord Jesus Christ—By whom we receive all good things.

V. 22. In the following directions concerning relative duties, the inferiors are all along placed before the superiors, because the general proposition is concerning submission. And inferiors ought to do their duty, whatever their superiors do. Wives, submit yourselves to your own hushands—Unless where God forbids. Otherwise, in all indifferent things, the will of the husband is a aw to the wife, as unto the Lord—The obedience a wife pays to her husband, is at the same time paid to Christ himself; he being head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church.

V. 23 The head—The governor, guide, and guardian of the wife. And he is the Saviour of the body— The church, from all sin and misery.

V. 24. In every thing—Which is not contrary to any command of God.

V. 25. Even as Christ loved the church—Here is the true model of conjugal affection. With this kind of affection, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives.

V. 26. That he might sanctify it through the word—The ordinary channel of all blessings, having cleansed it—From the guilt and power of sin, by the washing of water—In baptism, if with the "outward and visible sign," we receive the inward and spiritual grace.

V. 27. That he might present it—Even in this world, to himself—As his spouse, a glorious church—All glorious within, not having spot—Q( impurity from any sin, or wrinkle—Of defortnity from any decay.

V. 23. As their own bodies—That is, as themselves. He that loveth his wife, Imeth himself— Which hi not a sin, but an indisputable duty. . .

glorious church, not havi

« PreviousContinue »