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absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the 6 stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye - have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, 7 so walk in him; Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man make a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the doctrine of men, according to the principles of the world, and not according to 9 Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness 10 of the Deity bodily: And ye are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and 11 power: Through whom ye have been circumcised also with a circumcision not made by hands, by putting off the body of carnality 12 through the circumcision of Christ: Having been buried with him by baptism, by which ye were raised also with him through faith in the mighty working of God, who raised 13 him from the dead. And you, being dead in
СНАР. 11. 11. of the sins. Griesb.
of the gospel. When suffering like the apostle, this hope will be as an anchor to our souls; and through its holy influence we may honour him, and encourage his humble disciples. The gospel is preached to
Christ the substance of the law.
your trespasses, and in your uncircumcised carnality, hath he made alive together with him, having forgiven all "our" trespasses, Having blotted out in respect to us, the 14 written law, together with its ordinances, which was contrary to us, and taken it out of the way, having nailed it to his cross. And by 15 it having spoiled principalities and powers, he exposed them publicly, by triumphing over them.
Let no man therefore judge for you as to 16 meat, or drink, or in respect to a feast-day, or new moon, or sabbath, Which were a 17 shadow of things to come; but the substance is the gospel of Christ. Let no man defraud 18 you of your reward, by a voluntary humility, and the worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his carnal mind; And not hold- 19 ing fast the Head, from which all the body, supplied and connected by joints and bands, increaseth with the increase of God.
13. • Mss. Others, you your.
bring men to the knowledge of this Saviour, and to the experience of this hope; and may it be preached every where and these ends attained.
8. Beware lest any, &c. Through what they call philosophy, but which is nothing but empty deceit, and consists in following the traditions of men respecting the invisible powers, which is suitable to the idolatrous worship of heathens, but not to the doctrine of Christ.
9. For in him dwelleth, &c. If this fulness of the Godhead, or deity, signify the full and entire perfection thereof; "dwelling in him bodily" can mean nothing else than the union of the divine nature with the human, which is considered as the temple in which this fulness of the Godhead dwells, as of old the Shechinah, in the temple. To confiue it to the gifts and grace our Lord possessed as a man, does not in any respect answer this peculiar and emphatic language; and as there are other, and in my opinion, decisive and unanswerable proofs of our Lord's divinity, I judge this must be added to them. Comp. John i. 1-3. Rom. ix. 5. Titus ii. 13, &c.
10-15. Complete in him, &c. Newcome renders, "filled through him;" and explains this to mean with spiritual gifts; but as no mention is made of these gifts in what follows, I think the common version right. In what sense they were "complete in him" may be collected from the particulars mentioned. They were circumcised in heart, or renewed in their minds and dispositions; they had avowed their faith in Christ, and had been admitted by baptism as members of his body, the church; they had received the forgiveness of their sins, and having become dead to their past follies and vices, they were now the followers and servants of Christ, from whom, as their spiritual head, they were expecting all needful blessings here, and the fulfilment of his promise as to a future state.- -Body of carnality. Paul speaks of our vices and virtues under the figure or notion of a man, calling the former the new, and the latter the old man, Ch. iii. 9, 10. Eph. iv. 22-24.; the latter we put
off, when regenerated, and the former we put on; as though a man ceased to be the same self he was before. Thus he calls our sins the body of flesh, which is crucified with Christ, Rom. vi. 6.- Hand-writing of, &c. Comp. Eph. ii. 14, 15, and notes. While the Levitical service continued, no means of grace were afforded to the Gentiles, so that the hand-writing of the ordinances thereof, was against them and contrary to them; but when this was disannulled, and blotted out, being nailed to the cross, in allusion to the abrogation of any law, by driving a nail through the table on which it was written, then was salvation preached to the Gentiles. As I think this blotting out was the work of Christ, I have supplied through whom, to show more clearly the connexion; and the 15th verse supports this, as it cannot be applied to the Father. Comp. Eph. vi. 12.
16, 17. Let no man, &c. Suffer no one to judge or condemn you, because you do not regard Jewish customs about meats or days, which were but a shadow of spiritual things which we now have in Christ.
18, 19. By a voluntary, &c. Paying worship to angels as a kind of mediators between you and God, considering it as an act of humility to ap. proach God in this manner. From Philo the Jew, we learn that this was a sentiment common in his day. See Tobit, Ch. xii. 12, &c. This view of the angels is thought to have been formed by mixing the opinions of Plato with the account given of angels in the holy scriptures; and it is singular that the heathens caught this language and considered their demons as a kind of mediators. Such worship Paul condemns as irrational; and as the effect of insufferable pride; and wholly opposed to the authority of Christ as head of the church. This condemns the worship of departed saints and martyrs practised in the Roman church.
Believers died with Christ.
20 If ye have died with Christ to the principles of the world, why, as though living in the 21 world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Such as, touch not; taste not; handle not, certain 22 things; All which are to perish by the use of them ;) according to the commandments and 23 doctrines of men? Which ordinances have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility of mind, and the neglecting of the body; yet should not be held in any honour as they serve only to the satisfying of the flesh.
Should mind heavenly things.
IF then ye have been raised with Christ, 1 seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the on the right hand of God. Set your affection on Set your affection on things above not on 2 the things on the earth. For you have died, 3 and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, with whom your" life is hidden, 4 shall appear, then ye also shall appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members as to the 5 things on earth; as to fornication, uncleanness, unnatural passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry: On account of 6
A. D. 63 He showeth where we should seek Christ; exhorteth to mortifica- which things the wrath of God cometh on the sons of disobedience: In which ye also 7.
tion, and to the cultivation of christian virtues, and the discharge of christian duties.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 11 1. We learn how deeply concerned the apostle was for the honour of his Lord, and the esta blishment of believers; and this should be the desire and concern of every minister and of every christian. Though we have not seen christian brethren, but only heard of their conversion, we should remember them in our prayers; and if we possess ability and have opportunity of instructing them by our letters, we should not fail to do it.. Young converts need instruction, advice, and encouragement; and nothing can be more proper than to remind them how necessary it is, that "their hearts be knit together in love," and that they should study to attain to the fullest assurance of understanding as to the truths of the gospel, the nature, blessings, and holy influence of it. It should be the care of all, that " as they have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so to walk in him;" showing his Spirit, meekness, gentleness, love, and compassion, giving no offence, that the gospel may not be reproached.
2. We are taught that the blessings and privileges we enjoy in Christ, should alike awaken our gratitude, stimulate our zeal, and promote our love and attachment. The law of Moses was strict and burdensome, consisting of so many various ordinances and multiplied rites, that it might be said to be against us and contrary to us; but this law Jesus has fulfilled and abolished by his cross. Nor are we now left to worship demons and invisible powers, all of whom Jesus has conquered and deposed. Though dead in sin, through Christ we
20-27. Died with Christ, &c. Professedly by your baptism; and are thereby loosed from the elements of the world, the Mosaic rites, and the deceits of heathen philosophy; why as if living under these rites and notions, are ye subject to ordinances? Such as the Jews still observe and enforce, saying, “Eat no unclean food; taste it not, handle, touch it not, &c." yet all kinds of food perish with the using, and are now only enjoined by the authority and doctrines taught by men -Yet are not, &c. Are in themselves of no value, and only serve to satisfy the pride of a Jewish faction. See verse 18. Gal. vi. 12.
CHAP. III. 1. 1-4. Raised with Christ, &c. Raised from a death in sin tʊ a new spiritual life; then as Christ ascended to heaven to rule and reign, so let your thoughts and desires ascend with him, and mind the things above
4. Mss. Others, who is our.
have been made alive; and signal distinguishing mercy hath been exercised towards us, God having forgiven us all our trespasses. As Gentiles, we were uncircumcised both in the flesh and in our hearts; but by baptism we have received the circumcision of Christ, and ought to be separate from the world, and devoted to him. In him as believers we are complete, pardoned and accepted, and hope to be finally and for ever saved.
3. Let every believer consider his relation to Christ, and act as a member of his body the church; and preserve with holy zeal that freedom with which Christ has made him free. What an honour is it thus to be related to him! And how careful should all his disciples be, to maintain christian fellowship and love, that as members of the same body, they may increase with the increase of God. Let them guard against the influence of the specious errors of a vain and empty philosophy, which pretends to honour the majesty of God, by consider. ing the angels, his creatures, to be mediators between himself and us, and entitled to our homage and worship. Nor let us scruple to eat whatever is wholesome and proper for food, nor to labour on those days which the Jews were accustomed to account holy. These were but the shadow of the spiritual blessings which we have in Christ. Let us then disregard the vain outcries of touch not, taste not; and with holy diligence let us avoid all will-worship, the mere ordinances of men, and firmly adhere to the laws and precepts of the gospel.
as of everlasting importance, not the trifling things of the earth, riches, boaours, or pleasures. For ye have died, &c. He assigns the reason of the duty. For ye have died to sin, and your future eternal life is hidden, or laid up as a jewel in a safe place, with Christ in God-with Christ who is now enjoying it as the forerunner of his people in God, in his purpose and promise. John x. 28, 30. Macknight applies this to the life of the body, which may be said to be laid up or hidden in Christ, as he has power to restore it ; and is fact will restore it at the resurrection. But as the life is opposed to the death which they had died, clearly a death to sin, the life must be spiritual and eternal life. Dr. Watts considers the text in this light. See his works, vol. 1. 5-7. As to the things on, &c. Which men do in this sinful world.Unnatural passion. Rom i. 27.Evil desire. Of every kind, but espe
walked formerly, when ye lived in them. 8 But now do ye also put away all these; anger, wrath, maliciousness, evil-speaking, fil9 thy talking out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, since ye have put off the old man 10 with his deeds; And have put on the new man, that is renewed as to knowledge, according to the image of him who created 11 him: Where there is neither Gentile nor nor Jew; circumcision nor uncircumcision; Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ 12 is all things, and in all. believers. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness 13 of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a complaint against any; even as 14 Christ forgave you, so do ye also: And besides all these things abound in love, which is 15 the bond of perfection. And let the peace of 'Christ" preside in your hearts, to which ye have been called also in one body; and be body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, while teaching and admonishing one another or singing psalms
CHAP. III. 15. Mss. Others, God. REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1. We are taught a most important branch of our duty, and the reasons which enforce it. As believers we have been raised with Christ, and are bound to seek after the holiness and purity, communion and fellowship, happiness and glory, which are enjoyed in perfection in heaven above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of the Father. On these things, and on the great source of them, our best and warmest affections ought to be
cially the luxury of the table which leads to other sins.—Covetousness, &c. Eph. v. 5. This vice is classed among the others, because it involves in it not only the desire of riches, but of whatever is gratifying to a depraved heart, and the habitual indulgence of it is practical idolatry. For these things the wrath of God, &c.
8-11. But now do ye, &c. Not only abstain from such gross vices as mentioned, but from anger, &c.— -Lie not, &c. In conversation or business, as is but too common, since by your profession, ye have put off the old man, &c. See Ch. ii. 11.-Renewed as, &c. Restored to a just view of spiritual things, and their excellence.- -Created him. To good works. Eph. ii. 10. And in this new creation no regard is paid to nation, privilege, rank, or condition.Christ is all, &c. He is all things as to the pardon and acceptance of believers of all nations; and in all periods of time and places of the earth he is among them.
12-15. Holy and beloved. Called with a holy calling, and beloved and blessed in Christ.- Forbearing one, &c. In this manner exemplify the virtues of your profession.—Bond of, &c. Love may be called the bond of
and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts, to God." And what- 17 soever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, even the Father, by him.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own hus- 18 bands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, 19 love your wives, and be not bitter towards them.
Children, obey your parents in all 20 things: for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, Fathers, provoke not your children, lest 21 they be discouraged. Servants obey in all 22 things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but, in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord:" And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to 23 the Lord, and not to men; Knowing that 24 from the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall re- 25 ceive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Masters, give to your servants that which 1 is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
16. Some, the Lord. 22. Some, God.
placed; and not on the fading, perishing things on the earth. To the vain and empty things of the world, to the follies, carnal pleasures, and delights of it, we profess to have died, and to have received a principle of spiritual life.from Christ, in whom are the hidden springs of it; let us then show the reality of these things by a holy spiritual temper, and by a steady reliance on Christ to support our life, and to complete it in glory. We have no reason to fear that our life, as to
perfection, as it unites christians to their Saviour and head, and to one another, as members of his body.-Peace of Christ. A sense of the peace he has made by his blood shed on the cross, preside, &c. to which state of peace ye have been called by the gospel, and are as a church one body; for which be thankful.
16, 17. The word of Christ. The gospel or doctrine which he taught, and which we, his apostles, teach; "richly in all wisdom," thoroughly understanding it, so that ye may be able to teach and admonish, &c. See Eph. v. 19. With thankfulness. That xagis has this sense, see Rom. vi. 17, and 1 Cor. xv. 57. Whatsoever ye do, &c. Comp. Eph. v. 20. -In all things
18-25. Wives, &c. Comp. Eph. v. 22-33.; vi. 1—9. Here, and verse 22, the words must be restrained to all such things as are reasonable and proper.- -Knowing that from the Lord, &c. Ye will receive, notwithstanding your humble lot here, the reward of an everlasting inheritance; but should you be unfaithful and do wrong, you will be punished. And let masters remember that there is one to whom they also are accountable, and who will render to them according to their works.
A. D. 63. He exhorteth them to be fervent in prayer; to walk so as to gain those who are not yet converted; and concludes with salutations.
PERSEVERE in prayer, watching therein with 3 thanksgiving; Praying at the same time for us also, that God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, 4 for which I am even in bonds: That speaking as I ought to speak, I may make it 5 manifest. Walk in wisdom towards them 6 that are without, redeeming the time. Let your discourse be always well-pleasing, seasoned with the salt of wisdom, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. All things concerning me Tychicus will declare to you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow-servant
in the Lord: Whom I have sent to you for 8 this purpose, that he may know your affairs, and comfort your hearts; Together with 9 Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, 10 and Mark, son of the sister of Barnabas, (respecting whom ye have received commands: if he come to you, receive him ;) And Jesus, who is called Justus, who are 11 of the circumcision. These have been my only fellow-labourers as to the kingdom of God; and they have been a comfort unto Epaphras, who is one of you, a ser- 12 vant of Christ, saluteth you, always earnestly striving for you in that ye may prayers, that
our conduct towards our fellow-members of the church.
its commencement or completion, will be taken from us, as it is of Christ; and while this presides in the conscience, it will regulate secured beyond the reach of malice, and the power of earth and hell. It is hidden with Christ in God; secured by the mediation of Christ, and the purpose and grace of the Father.
2. What obligations are believers under, not only to avoid gross sins, but all kinds of immorality. Assuredly no christian should live like the heathens, in fornication, uncleanness, in the indulgence of the most depraved passions. Nor is habitual covetousness, the prevailing love of money or earthly things, consistent with the christian character, as it may justly be regarded as giving the heart to the objects of it instead of God. Well may those who practice such things tremble; for the wrath of God is not only revealed against them, but is ready to burst forth upon them. Let us put off, and put far from us, the vices of our unregenerate state; and let it appear that we are renewed as to knowledge, according to the image of him who created us; and who is the model of all moral excellence. We should entertain and preserve just views of the christian economy, in which all distinction of nations, or attainments, or ranks, is done away, and Christ is all things to his people, and in, and with them all by his Spirit. As the chosen of God, we are called to imitate him, and to exercise mercy, kindness, meekness; and to forgive one another as we have been forgiven. And if we abound in christian love, we shall also in the peace
CHAP. IV. 3. Door of utterance, &c. Being surrounded as they were with difficulties and enemies, they ought to watch and pray; and when they did so Paul desired that they would remember him, and that blessed cause to which he was devoted, and for which he was now a prisoner; that he might have full opportunity of preaching and making known the gospel to the Gentiles, and their right to all its privileges.
5. Are without, &c. The unconverted heathens.. -Redeeming the time. By your diligence and by your meek and christian behaviour, avoiding or preventing persecution, and thus gaining time to spread the gospel.
6. Well-pleasing. Mild, becoming and good, so as to gain the favour of those with whom you converse. I take yagiri as used adverbially, and have given the sense.————— -Seasoned with the salt, &c. Tempered with wisdom, of which salt is the symbol. Matt. v. 13. Mark ix. 50.
3. We are taught our duties to one another in the various relations of social and civil life. In our religious intercourse we should study the word of Christ, and teach and encourage one another. And the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we sing should be instructive; and while we join in them with our voices, gratitude should dwell in our hearts. In the domestic circle, let the influence of the gospel appear. Let husbands and wives maintain that fidelity and exercise that mutual respect, which so close and endearing a relation demands. Forget not, O ye children, your manifold obligations to your parents; but show to them all due reverence and honour. And, ye parents, command nothing but what is just and proper; nor on any occasion try to irritate your children; for this is the way to make them disobedient. Let christian servants be obedient to their masters, not only because they require obedience, but because it is the will of their Lord and Saviour. And if such are faithful, the Lord will reward them; but if any do wrong, they will experience due punishment. And finally, let masters treat their servants with justice and kindness, remembering that they have a master, who will measure out to them as they have measured to others. Thus the peace, comfort, and happiness of families will be secured.
7-9. Tychicus, &c. Paul commends him as a beloved christian brother fellow-servant, and faithful minister of Christ; and he had sent him with Onesimus, one of themselves, that they might be informed of their affairs, and be useful to them by their instructions. This notice of Onesimus renders it certain that Philemon, his master, was a Colossian, one who probably had heard Paul, and been converted in some other place.
10, 11. Aristarchus, &c. This person, and Mark and Justus, were Paul's fellow-labourers at Rome, and all Jews by descent, though not born in Judea. Aristarchus was a native of Macedonia, and at this time a fellow-labourer with Paul.
12, 13. Epaphras, &c. This good man, though absent from his native city, was anxiously concerned for the christians there.—Perfect, &c. In
Written from Rome to the Colossians by
13. Griesb. Others, zeal.
love, and mutual care, then abounded. Nothing afforded the apostle a more sublime pleasure than to hear of the peace and prosperity of the churches; and when a prisoner himself, he sent some of his attendants and fellow-labourers to impart information, inquire into the state of their affairs, and to give them suitable advice and encourageOn this occasion Tychicus and Onesimus were employed to visit them, and comfort their hearts. Aristarchus was a prisoner with Paul; but Mark, to whom the apostle had been reconciled, enjoyed his liberty, and was about to go to them. He notices Justus, who together with the two before mentioned, had not only laboured in the gospel at Rome, but had been a comfort to the apostle. How amiable the Spirit of Epaphras, who, though now far removed from his dear believing brethren, did not forget them, but wrestled and earnestly strove for them in his prayers. And how excellent were his petitions! That they might not only be sincere, but perfect and complete in all the will of God; wholly conformed to it in spirit and deportment. We learn that though this epistle was sent to the Colossians, it was
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER IV. 1. We are reminded that it is not only our duty to pray, but to abound and persevere in this holy exercise. Jesus delivered a parable to this end, that men should pray always and not faint. Luke xviii. 1. He who neglects this duty has no claim to the christian character, as he is living in the violation of so many express injunctions and commands; and his conduct is forcibly condemned by the practice and example of Christ and all his real 'disciples. Let us then cultivate the spirit of prayer, and daily and fervently seek that we may find God gracious, and ask that we may receive suitable favours and blessings. Let praises be mingled with our petitions; and when we approach the throne of grace ever let us remember the Ministers of the gospel, that a door of utterance may be opened for them, that they may make known the freeness and riches of grace as displayed in the gospel, and as now exhibited to all nations. We ought to conciliate, by a humble and peaceful behaviour, those who are without the pale of the church; and being well-instructed in the principles of the doctrine of Christ, and feeling their practical influence on our hearts, our discourse ought to be well-designed to be of general use; and was to be read and communicated pleasing, attractive, and edifying. Nothing contributes so much to this as perseverance in prayer, for it powerfully controls our passions, and adds grace to our lips.
2. In the salutations of the apostle and his fellow-labourers, and his commendations of them, we learn how much christian sympathy,
to other churches. All inspired scripture is for the general good; and none should be deprived of it. Let us then devoutly regard it; and if called to believe on the Son of God, or to the ministry of the word, let us fully discharge the duties of our calling, that we may be approved by our Lord at his appearing. Amen.