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Heirs of eternal life.
Good works necessary.
of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy | such is subverted, and sinneth, being self6 Spirit ; Which he shed on us abundantly condemned. 7 through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being accounted righteous by his grace, we might be made heirs as to the hope of eternal 8 life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I command that thou affirm constantly, so that they who have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works. These are the things which are good and profitable 9 to men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and 10 vain. Reject an heretic after the first and 11 second admonition; Knowing that he that is
When I shall send to thee Artemas, or 12 Tychicus, endeavour to come to me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Diligently conduct on their way Zenas, once 13 a teacher of the law, and Apollos, that nothing may be wanting to them. And let our people 14 also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful. that are with me salute thee. Salute those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
It was written to Titus, from Nicopolis in
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1. How proper is it for believers, to remember what was once their state, character and conduct! Let us call to mind that we ourselves were formerly unwise, ignorant of our true spiritual condition, knew not God aright, nor his holy law or will; but were proud and disobedient, despising the divine authority, and walking in the way of our own hearts. We were slaves to many evil desires and carnal pleasures, wanderers from God and goodness, malicious, envious, and bitter enemies to one another. Thus did sin reign in our hearts and minds, and spread its unholy influence through all our conduct. And what do such sinners deserve? Surely they merit the severest strokes of justice? And what matter for the deepest humiliation and repentance before God? How justly may we acknowledge our vileness, ingratitude, and obduracy! And what goodness, patience, and long-suffering hath God exercised towards us? It is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, even because his compassion does not fail.
2. How rich and free is the exercise of grace, and how powerful fruitful in the Lord.
8. This is a faithful, &c. He refers to what he had been saying in the four preceding verses; and these things I command as an apostle, &c.—— To maintain, &c. As it respects themselves, and to promote the practice of good works in others.
10, 11. An heretic. A factious man, who forms parties, chiefly with a view to self interest. See Campbell's Diss. 9. Such a one, having been admonished as Christ directed, Matt. xviii. 15—18, and he still continuing refractory, reject.—Is subverted. As to the spirit of the gospel, and sinneth against his knowledge.
its operation? Notwithstanding all our unworthiness, the kindness and love of God our Saviour hath appeared to us in the gospel, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit, hath effected a blessed and important charge in our state, temper, and conduct. We have been washed from our pollutions, renewed in our minds, through the regenerating influence of the Spirit, adopted into God's family, accounted righteous, and made heirs of the hope of eternal life. In this wonderful manner he saves us; and how evident it is, that this is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his own rich and abounding mercy. From motives of love and gratitude, we are called to obey every divine precept; to be subject to principa lities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work; for these are the things which are good and profitable to men. We should avoid vain wrangling; and if a man be obstinate in his error, we should reject him, and have no connexion with him. In works of charity and kindness let us abound that we may not be un
12. To Nicopolis. Either that in Thrace, or one in Macedonia. This shows that Paul was not a prisoner; and of course this was written before the second epistle to Timothy.
13. Zenas, &c. I follow Jerome in rendering on a teacher of the law, because it is used for such in the gospels. Apollos is often mentioned.
14. Our people, &c. Some supply disciples. Let them learn to abound in hospitality and charity to the poor.
15. Who love us in, &c. Who love as christians, as believers in the same Saviour.
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
PHILEMON appears to have been a native or at least an inhabitant of Colosse, as Paul mentions in his epistle to the church there, that Onesimus was one of them. He was one of Paul's converts, as he intimates verse 19; and he appears to have been a man of some note, as he had a numerous family, a church in his house, or the brethren met there for worship. He showed great respect for Paul, when he was the second time imprisoned at Rome, 2 Tim. i. 16. &c.; but this epistle was written near the same time as that to the Colossians.
CHAP. I. 1-3. Philemon, our fellow-labourer. From this some consider Philemon a preacher; but he might labour to promote the gospel by his influence and property, without preaching it.Apphia, &c. Some think she was the wife of Philemon; and Archippus was the pastor of the church which met in the house of Philemon. Philip. ii. 25.
4-7. Heard of thy faith, &c. To prevent ambiguity, I have transposed the words of the text, and have given what all critics allow to be the sense. See Matt. xii. 22, and 1 Cor. vi. 11.—Of thy faith, &c. Of the fruits of thy faith, in doing good to the saints, may be effectual in bringing others to the acknowledgment of what is good among us believers. For we have, &c.
8, 9. In Christ, to enjoin, &c. As an apostle. Yet because of my love
love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
Wherefore, though I might use much free- 8 dom in Christ, to enjoin thee what is fit, Yet 9 because of my love I rather beseech thee, as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner for Jesus Christ. I beseech thee, I say, for my 10 son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Who formerly was unprofitable to 11 thee, but is now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again: do thou therefore 12 receive him, that is, mine own bowels: Whom 13 I was willing to retain with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered to me in my bonds for the gospel: But without thy con- 14 sent I would do nothing; that thy good deed should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore departed 15
to thee, I use not authority, but beseech thee, as Paul the aged, now grown old in the service of Jesus, and a prisoner for him. How delicate, and yet affecting must this have been to Philemon.
10-14. Begotten in, &c. By the gospel to a new and holy life; who formerly was unprofitable to thee, not doing the duty of a servant, and even running away; but by the change wrought in him will be profitable to thee and me. Receive him as a convert, whom I tenderly love, and whom I would have retained to minister to me in thy stead, while I continue in bonds; but I thought it not right without thy consent, &c.
15, 16. Receive him for ever. To part with him no more until death; and as a christian brother, to enjoy future happiness with him.- - Both in the 401
to answer for him for a season, that thou shouldst receive him || refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having con- 21 16 for ever; No longer as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved; especially to me, but how much more to thee, both in the flesh, 17 and in the Lord? If thou therefore consider
fidence in thy compliance I have written to
Written from Rome to Philemon, by
me as a companion, receive him as myself. 18 But if he have wronged thee, or owe thee 19 ought, put that to mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it not to say to thee that thou owest 20 besides to me even thine own self. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord :
REFLECTIONS UPON PHILEMON. 1. If not many, yet there have been some rich and noble called by grace, and who have adorned the gospel, by their holy conduct. Such a person was Philemon. Paul's friend and convert; and whatever might be his rank or property, it was his chief glory and happiness to be so eminent for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and for his love to all the saints. It is only in this manner that real faith in him can be manifested. For if we love not our christian brother, whom we see, how can we have that faith which works by love towards him whom we have not seen? It will be an honour to us and to the holy cause in which we are engaged, if our communion in this faith should induce all who are ac. quainted with us to acknowledge, that there is some good thing among us. And what joy will it excite in every humble believer to hear of the faith and usefulness of others? Especially will the hearts of pious faithful ministers be comforted, when they hear that the bowels of poor saints are refreshed, by the liberality of their richer brethren.
2. We may justly admire the humble spirit of the apostle, and the wisdom and sovereign grace of God towards Onesimus! He
flesh, &c. On account of your relation to him as his master, and as his fellow-christian.
17-19. As a companion, &c. As a friend, receive him as thou wouldst -If he have wronged, &c. Most probably Onesimus would tell Paul what he had done; and the debt Paul was willing to take upon himself.Not to say, &c. I enter into this engagement, notwithstanding I might say that thou owest to me much more than what he owes to thee, even thy ownself, as far as relates to thy knowledge and state as a christian.
20, 21. Let me have, &c. Increase my joy by receiving Onesimus; and
might have used authority as an apostle of Christ; but he beseeches as Paul the aged, and now the prisoner of Christ, and reminds him how much he owed to him as the instrument of God for his salvation! He beseeches not for himself, but for Onesimus! This person had been faithless to his master, stolen some of his property and to Rome. Here he heard Paul preach, was brought to repentance, and admitted into the church of Christ. He showed his repentance by his fruits; and the apostle speaks of him as a christian brother, beloved by himself and ought to be so by others. He sends him back to his master, stating his conversion and becoming responsible for what he owed. O let this amiable conduct remind us of him who took on himself our debts, and who has paid them! Who has become a ransom for us, and who in consequence hath redeemed us to God. We indeed like Onesimus had departed from our duty and our God; but by his recovering grace, we are brought back, that we may be received and abide with him for ever. May the grace of Christ be so with our spirit, as to strengthen and invigorate it, that we may to the end of our days, serve, honour, and glorify him! Amen.
I have confidence that thou will do so, and even go beyond what I request. 22. A lodging, &c. Here Paul expresses his hope that he should be re. leased, through the many prayers presented for him; and he hoped again to visit Colosse.
23-25. Epaphras, &c. See Coloss. i 7.; iv. 12, &c. He was now saffering to bonds with Paul. Mark was with Paul when he wrote this epistle; but when he wrote the second to Timothy, he was not.—Aristarchus. Coloss iv. 10.-Luke. He abode with Paul at Rome until he was released. These excellent men must have greatly contributed to promote the christian cause.
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
THIS epistle is not directed to any particular church or people; and on this account some have doubted its authenticity; but from the matter, style, and sentiments, there is the strongest evidence both of its authenticity, and of its being written for the use of the Hebrew christians. See Ch. xiii. 13-19. It is most probable that it was composed during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, and sent either to the church at Jerusalem, or some other in Judea, where the believing Jews were suffering great persecutions. I Thess. ii. 14, 15. The design of the epistle is to confirm them in the steady profession of the faith, by exhibiting its divine author, and showing in what manner the gospel had been typified by the Mosaic economy, and how that economy was fulfilled and superseded by the gospel.
A. D. 63. In these last times Christ coming to us from the Father is preferred above angels, both in person and office.
1 GOD, who in various parts and in various manners spoke formerly to the fathers by the 2 prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds 3 also; Who being the brightness of his glory,
CHAP. I. 1. In various parts. Not giving them a system of revelation at once, but in such parts as to his wisdom seemed proper; yet one bearing a relation to another, and constituting a regular whole.In various manners, &c. By visions of the day and the night, by angelic appearances, by a voice addressed to them, and by inspiration To the fathers. To Jacob by Isaac, Gen. xxvii. To the twelve patriarchs by Jacob, Gen. Ixix. To the Israelites by Moses, and by the prophets to the following generations.
2. By his Son, &c. By him as incarnate, the Word made flesh.-Appointed heir, &c. That is, head and possessor of all things, Lord and proprietor. Gal. iv. 1.- -Made the worlds. Some would render, "for whom he constituted the ages," the antediluvian, patriarchal, Mosaic. Such a sense of die is unsupported, notwithstanding what Grotius affirms; and that αίωνες denotes the material worlds, see Ch. xi. 3, aud verse 10. Matt. xxviii. 20, comp. with John i. 3. Coloss. i. 15-17.
The brightness. Or effulgence of his glory. As the Father is called light, 1 John i. 5; so is the Son the brightness of this light.The express image, &c. Such as the seal leaves on the wax. I follow Jerome in rendering UNCOTROLS, substance; and it is so rendered, Ch. xi. 1. See Campbell's Diss. 16, Parts 5, 9. Macknight observes, that if there be any difference between "the brightness of his glory," and the express or exact image of his substance, the former may express what the Son is to angels and men ; and the latter what he is in his own nature. Comp. John i. 14. Coloss. i. 15.—— Upholding all things, &c. Comp. Coloss. i. 17. As he made all things, so he supports them. When he had by, &c. There can be no doubt that the apostle referred to the 3 e 2
and the express image of his substance, and
For to which of the angels said God at 5 any time, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” And again, "I will be to
death of Christ, from what immediately follows, his sitting down at the right
4. Being so much, &c. I render the participle being, as what it often
5. Thou art my Son, &c. See note on Ps. ii. 7.--I will be to him, &c. 2 Sam. vii. 4-17. Peirce has satisfied me that the passage referred to is indeed a prophecy concerning Messiah, and has no respect to Solomon. In this. case the version of the 14th verse should be, "Him who committeth iniquity L 403
Christ the Creator,
into the world, he saith, "And let all the an7 gels of God worship him." And concerning the angels he saith, "Who maketh the winds as his angels, and flaming fire as his ministers." 8 But concerning the Son he saith, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated inrighteousness, and hated in- A. D. 63. We ought to be obedient to Christ, who in his love assumed our iquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed
and immutable. him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?" || shall be changed; but thou art the same, and/ But to 13 6 And when he bringeth again the first-begotten thy years shall not have an end." which of the angels said he at any time, "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?" Are they not all ministering 14 spirits, sent forth to serve those who shall be heirs of salvation?
nature, as it was necessary for him to do in order to save us.
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." 10 And, “Thou, Lord, in the beginning laidst
the foundation of the earth; and the heavens 11 are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou shalt remain; and they all 12 shall be worn out as a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up; and they How shall we escape, if we neglect so great 3
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER I. 1. We hence learn the divine authority of both the old and new Testament, or Covenant. They are not cunningly devised fables; but God formerly spoke to the fathers by the prophets, revealing not at once, but in such parts and portions, his own will and grace, as the state of men seemed to require, and as his own unerring wisdom judged to be proper. And in what a variety of ways did he manifest himself and his kind designs to them, sometimes he appeared in a glorious visible form, and conversed with them in the most condescending and engaging manner; and at others, by visions and the inspirations of his Spirit, he addressed them. To us he has spoken by his incarnate Son! He who had dwelt in the bosom of the Father, and knew perfectly all his designs and purposes. How thankful should we be, that we see and hear what so many prophets and righteous men desired to see and hear, but their desires were not granted. We enjoy the clearest, fullest, best, and last discovery of the mind and will of God; and O that we may faithfully improve it to his glory.
2. We are again reminded how glorious a person our Lord and Saviour is; and what homage and regard we ought to pay him.
will correct, &c." that is, any of the subjects of Messiah. Comp. Ps. lxxxix. 30-33.
6. Bringeth again, &c. He came into the world by his incarnation; and he came again, or was brought into it, by his resurrection, when the angels were commanded to worship him, as a part of his reward. Philip. ii. 9, 11, and Ps. xcvii. 7. The apostle gives rather the sense than the exact words of the Psalmist.
7. Who maketh the winds, &c. See note, Ps. civ. 4. In this version it is implied that angels are servants, and subject, as the elements of nature are. 8, 9. But concerning the Son, &c. He does not speak of him in this style; but, "Thy throne, O God, &c." See Ps. xlv. 6, 7, and notes. 10-12. And, "Thou, Lord, &c. See Ps. cii. 25-27, and notes. If the Son laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the heavens; and if he be as here stated, immutable, he must be the living and true God. Pierce under
We ought therefore to give the more earnest 1 attention to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them escape. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, 2 and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of punishment;
possesses the same nature with the Father, and as he is the brightness of his glory, so he is the express image of his person, exhibiting the holiness, wisdom, justice, and truth of God, in his incarnate state, so that he who saw the Son, might be said to see the Father. He is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all the various ranks and orders of beings contained therein; and he upholds and supports, and governs and regulates all by his own powerful word. And as to his office, he is the appointed heir of all things, in and by whom we enjoy all the blessings of grace and glory. It is he who has expiated our sins by the sacrifice of himself, and is now exalted to the Father's right hand, expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. He is as Mediator invested with an authority far above whatever any prophet, priest, king, or even angel ever enjoyed, or shall enjoy. In the administra tion of his empire, he is immutably just; and his glorious throne shall abide for ever. The heavens which he originally formed may be worn out like a vesture; but he will for ever be the same, as the coequal Son of God. Ò may we admire the grace of our Lord Jesus, and cleave to him with full purpose of heart. May we share with him the glories of his heavenly kingdom.
stands by the heavens and the earth, the governments of angels, and among
Ps. cx. 1, and comp. Matt. xxii. 43, &c.
14. Ministering spirits, &c. Are they not subject to the Son, and by him as sitting at the right hand of the majesty on high, sent forth to serve those, &c. Comp. Philip. ii. 10. Eph. i. 21, &c.
CHAP. II. . We ought to give, &c. If the Son be so glorious, we ought to regard whatever he has taught either personally, or by his inspired apostles, and should not forget them.