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8 according to the riches of his favour; in which he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and understanding ; 9 having made known to us the mystery of his will, according 10 to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself concerning the dispensation of the fulness of times *, that he would gather together + to himself in one all things through Christ, which are in the heavens and which are on the earth2, even 11 through him: through whom we have obtained an inheritance also3, having been predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his 12 own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, hav13 ing first hoped in Christ: in whom ye also having believed,
(after ye heard the word of truth, the glad tidings of your salvation, in whom, I say, ye also having believed,) have 14 been sealed with the holy spirit of promise, (which is the earnest of our inheritance,) unto the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Wherefore, I also, having heard of your faith in the Lord 16 Jesus, and love toward all the saints, cease not to give
"both which," R. T. 2 in heaven and on earth, N. we also have been called," Mss. 4 Or, deliverance.
3 "through whom
5 Or, peculiar, N. m.
tiles. See Locke. Their redemption signifies their deliverance from idolatry and vice: this was through the blood of Christ, by whose death the new covenant was ratified. The forgiveness of sin was transferring them from a heathen state, in which they are represented as sinners, to a covenant and privileged state, in which they are said to be justified and holy.
fulness of times: Twv xaipur: "time: the plural for the superlative singular: as 1 Cor. x. 11. Tit. i. 3. Heb. i. 2; ix. 26." Sn.
The primary signification of the word avançaλow, which the apostle here uses, is to sum up an account, or, to reduce many sums to one. See Schleusner. The proper meaning of it in this place seems to be, to unite all things under one head. And in this view, as Mr. Locke justly observes, things in heaven and things on earth may be understood to signify the Jewish and the gentile world. The Jewish nation is called heaven, Dan. viii. 10. And the great men among the Jewish nation are called "the powers of heaven" by Christ himself, Luke xxi. 26; and Eph. iii. 10, 15, is best explained upon this supposition. See Locke's note, in loc. This remark of Mr. Locke's is both curious and important, and will serve to explain many passages in this epistle, and in that to the Colossians, which was written at the same time, and in the same figurative style.
17 thanks for you; making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit' of wisdom and of revelation, in the know18 ledge of him: that, the eyes of your mind being enlight
ened3, ye may know what is the hope of his having called you, and what are the glorious riches of his inheritance 19 among the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of
his power toward us who believe, according to the working 20 of his mighty strength, which he showed in Christ, when he
raised him from the dead, and seated him at his own right 21 hand in the heavenly places *, far above all principality,
and power, and might, and dominion, and every name which is named, not only in this age, but in that also which is to 22 come; and put all things in subjection under his feet, and 23 appointed him head over all things in the church, which is his body, that which filleth up him who filleth all his
1 the spirit, N. may know, N.
* Gr. heart, understanding, R. T. 3 the eyes, &c. that ye 4 world, N. See N. m.
* In the figurative language of the apostle, all who enjoy the light of divine revelation, whether Jews or Christians, are said to dwell in heaven. See ch.ü.6. And the unbelieving world are spoken of as inhabitants of earth. But the Jewish notion of heaven, borrowed not from divine revelation, which is silent upon the subject, but from the Oriental philosophy, which they appear to have imbibed in the Babylonian captivity, (see Mr. Lindsey's valuable observations in the Sequel to his Apology, p. 456 & seq.) represented the celestial world as peopled by myriads of beings who were of different ranks and orders,—angels, archangels, principalities, powers, &c. Agreeably to this figurative represen tation, Jesus Christ is said, after his resurrection, to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven, i. e. to be advanced to the highest dignity in the Christian dispensation: above all principality, power and might, &c.; that is, above all the officers and ministers of the Jewish or Christian dispensation, expressed by the well-known phraseology of the present age and the age to come. This interpretation makes the apostle's discourse consistent, intelligible, and pertinent; but it gives no countenance either to the commonly received opinion of the existence of a celestial hierarchy, or the popular doctrine of the superiority of Christ to angels and other supposed celestial spirits. "The gospel dispen sation," says Mr. Lindsey, p. 464," is represented under the idea of a new regulation of these heavenly communities, in which Christ is placed at the head
+ Or, the fulness of him, N. m. As the body must be joined to the head to form a complete person, so the church is that body which joined to Christ the
CH. 11. members with all things. And God hath given life to 2 you (who were dead in offences and sins*, in which ye formerly walked according to the course + of this world, according to the powerful ruler of the air ‡, and of the spirit 3 which now worketh in the sons of disobedience: among whom all of us likewise lived formerly, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh, and of our minds; and 4 were by nature children of anger §, even as others: but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he 5 loved us, when we were dead in offences, hath given life, I
say, to us also) together with Christ, (by favour || ye are 6 saved,) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit to7 gether in the heavenly places I, through Christ Jesus: that in the ages ** to come he might show the exceeding riches
head constitutes the complete mystical person, and from its head every member derives its vital energies, and all necessary supplies.
* Some connect this clause with the preceding verse. q. d. who filleth all his members with all things, even you, who were dead in offences and sins. See Hallet's Observ. vol. i. p. 49. Chandler in loc.
+ manner, Wakefield. The state, or constitution, of the gentile world. Newcome.
As Jews and Christians residing (figuratively) in heaven, are represented as constituting a polity under the government of angels, principalities, and powers, &c. so the unevangelized world are a polity under the government of a fictitious personage called Satan, the ruler of the air, &c. and his angels. This whole imagery is borrowed from the Oriental philosophy, and is not to be taken in a literal sense. See Mr. Lindsey, ubi supra.
"In our original state, before our conversion. Compare Gal. ii. 15. Heirs of the divine displeasure, on account of our actual vices." Newcome. Or, 'children of anger' may signify persons of wrathful dispositions, as sons of disobedience, ver. 2, means the disobedient.
i. e. gratuitous goodness, N. m. i.e. by the gospel, which is the free gift of God to Jew and gentile. See ver. 7, 8.
¶ As ch. i. 20, it is said that God hath seated Christ at his own right hand in heavenly places, so here it is also said, that God hath raised us up, and made us sit together in heavenly places. "Where," says Mr. Lindsey (ibid. p. 469.) "it is observable that these Christians are actually supposed to be in heaven, and this change and exaltation to be effected whilst the apostles were alive. No real elevation therefore is intended, either of Christ, or his apostles, and the first Christians; but it is the dress and clothing which the writer gives to the subject, to raise in his readers the most exalted ideas of the gospel, and of the mighty power of God by which it was propagated."
ages," the plural for the singular. See ch. i. 10; Heb. i. 2. Sn.
of his favour, in his kindness toward us through Christ 8 Jesus. For by favour are ye saved through faith and this 9 salvation is not from yourselves: it is the gift of God: not 10 from works, lest any man should glory'. For we are his workmanship, having been created through Christ Jesus to good works, in which God before designed that we should walk.
Wherefore remember that ye, formerly gentiles in the flesh, (who are called the uncircumcision by that which is 12 called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; remember, I say, that ye then) were without Christ, being aliens from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the 13 world. But now through Christ Jesus ye, who formerly 14 were far off, are brought near by the blood of Christ *. For
he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken 15 down the middle wall of partition between us; (having
abolished by his flesh the cause of enmity, even the law of the commandments consisting in ordinançes, to make in 16 himself of the two one new man, thus causing peace; and
to reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, hav17 ing destroyed by it their enmity ;) and hath come and proclaimed the glad tidings of peace to you that were far off, 18 and to those that were near. For through him we both have access by one spirit to the Father.
19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but* fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone;
Or, so that no man can glory. N. m. mystical body, the church," Newcome.
Or, create, N. m. 3" in his 4" but ye are," Mss.
*Jews and gentiles are harmoniously united in that dispensation, which is ratified by the death of Christ, and by which the burthensome ritual of Moses was superseded, as the apostle asserts more particularly in the following
21 by which all the building, being fitly framed together, 22 groweth to an holy temple through the Lord: by which also are built together, for an habitation of God through the spirit.
CH. III. For this cause I Paul, a prisoner on account of Jesus 2 Christ for preaching to you gentiles; (since ye have heard *
the gracious dispensation of God', which is given me to3 ward you; that by revelation the mystery was made known 4 to me, as I have written before in few words, by which, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the 5 mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed to 6 his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit; namely, that the gentiles should be joint-heirs, and a joint-body, and 7 joint-partakers of his promise in Christ, by the gospel; of which I have been made a minister, according to the gift of that favour of God which hath been bestowed on me, ac8 cording to the mighty working of his power: on me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this favour hath been bestowed, that I should preach among the gentiles the 9 unsearchable riches of Christ; and should clearly manifest to all what is the dispensation of the mystery 4, which from the beginning of the world was hidden in God, who hath 10 created all things t. To the intent that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known, by the church, to
Or," the dispensation of the grace of God," N.m. 2 Gr. gift of the grace. 3 Or, by far the least, N. m. 4 fellowship of the mystery, R.T.
The apostle's expressions here, and in ver. 4, seem to indicate that the Christians to whom this epistle was addressed were not personally known to him; and therefore favour the supposition that the epistle was sent to the Laodiceans, and not to the Ephesians,
The words "by Jesus Christ" in the received text, and inclosed by the Primate in brackets, are not to be found in the Alexandrine, Vatican, Ephrem, or Clermont manuscripts, nor in the Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Italic or Vulgate versions, and are plainly an interpolation, perhaps a marginal gloss introduced into the text. But if they were genuine, archbishop Newcome justly observes that "the sense most suitable to the place is this, Who hath created all things, that is, Jews and gentiles, anew to holiness of life. See ch. ii. 10, 15; iv. 24."