Page images
[blocks in formation]

31 unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all ma32 lice. And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God also 1 through Christ hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also loved us, and gave up himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour.


and specifies the various duties of wives and husbands.

Holiness and purity.

or covetousness, be once named among you, as becometh saints; Or filthiness, or foolish 4 talking, or lewd jesting, which are not proper: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, 5 that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of him who is Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with vain 6 words: for because of these things the wrath of God cometh on the sons of disobedience. Be not therefore partakers with them. For ye were formerly darkness, but now are ye

[ocr errors]


A. D. 63. He exhoreth to avoid all uncleanness, to walk circumspectly, light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of light" is in all goodness and 9 righteousness and Proving what is 10


Now let not fornication, or any uncleanness, righteousness and


REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER IV. 1. How are believers obliged by their character, privileges, and favours, to walk as becometh the gospel of Christ, and their own christian calling! Nothing can be more suitable than to be of a humble, meek, calm, and patient temper, bearing and forbearing with one another, and pursuing the things, which make for peace. To this are they called, as members of the body of Christ, animated by the same spirit; partakers of one hope of the heavenly and glorious inheritance; related to, and interested in, one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; professing the same great and fundamental doctrines of faith, and exercising the same belief in them, and under the same baptismal engagements; and have all one and the same covenant God and father, who is exalted above all, and who dwells in all by his Spirit. What motives are these to love and unity! And how wholly opposite to the mind of Christ, and to his precepts is discord! This begets and nourishes envy, malice, hatred, and enmity; and often ends in immoral conduct.

2. What confidence should we exercise in Christ, and what hopes should we cherish from so glorious and exalted a Saviour! He was as mediator for a little time humbled and abased; and though he descended from heaven, yet he was treated with indignity, and condemned as one of the vilest of malefactors. But having drunk the cup of wrath, and become obedient to death, even the death of the cross, he arose and ascended to the highest heavens, as a glorious and triumphant conqueror, leading a multitude of enemies captives. And having taken possession of his throne, with what a liberal band did he scatter down blessings and gifts among men! He lives and reigns on high to fill his church and every member of it, with all suitable gifts

but it is agreeable to his office to caution against sinful anger. Comp. Matt. vii. 7. Prov. xix. 25. Ps. iv. 4, and note.-To the accuser. I have adopted this term, as expressing the ambiguity of the original, which may be applied to Satan, or to any man who slanders and accuses another.

30. Grieve not, &c. Here the term Spirit must be understood personally, as it would be absurd to talk of grieving a power, or a gift.

CHAP. V. 1, 2. Imitators of God, &c. In his kindness and mercy, that ye may prove yourselves to be his beloved children; and consider your

truth;) truth;)

9. Mss. Others, Spirit.

and graces. And what abundant care hath he taken of his people by the appointment of the gospel ministry! He gave apostles, prophets and evangelists, so long as the exigencies of the church required them; and he has qualified and given teachers and pastors, for its edification in every succeeding age. By their labours his holy cause is maintained, the church is filled up with new converts, and the whole grows and increases in knowledge, faith and holiness. Walking in the Spirit, the body of Christ, like the human, possesses symetry, beauty, harmony and vigour and is advancing to the stature of a perfect man in Christ.

3. We are reminded what a change grace makes in the heart and conduct of men. While in sin the mind is dark and alienated from the life of God; and the conscience is asleep, and the heart without feeling. In this state it is no wonder that men give up themselves to vile practices, to lasciviousness and all uncleanness. Since we have learned Christ, and know from his gospel, how odious such sins and practices are; let us put off this old man, this body of sin, and seek to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, and put on the new man, the genuine christian temper, which resembles God, as it consists in righteousness and true holiness. Maintain a sacred regard to truth, and on no occasion be guilty of falsehood and lying. O give not place to wrath; for this dwells in the bosom of fools. Be diligent in your calling, that you may be under no temptation to steal; but may have something to give to him that needeth. Let our converse be pure and profitable; and all the fierce passions be under proper restraint, that we may not grieve the Spirit. Let every tender feeling be cher. ished, and as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us, let us ever be ready to forgive one another.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

11 well-pleasing unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of dark12 ness; but rather reprove them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which 13 are done by them in secret. But all things that are discovered, are made manifest by the light for it is the light which maketh every 14 thing manifest. Wherefore the Spirit saith, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as 16 unwise, but as wise, Redeeming the time, 17 because the days are evil. Wherefore be not inconsiderate, but understand what the will of 18 the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness; but be filled with the 19 Spirit; Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things, to our God and Father, in the name of our Lord 21 Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ."



Wives, submit yourselves to your own hus23 bands, as to the Lord.. as to the Lord. For the husband is For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the

Duly of husbands and wives.

[ocr errors]

head of the church: (and he is the Saviour of this his body.) Therefore as the church is 24 subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love 25 your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave up himself for it; That he 26 might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the washing of water by the word preached; That 27 he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought husbands to love 28 their wives, as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man 29 ever hated his own flesh, but every one nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ" the church: For we are members of his body; we 30 are a part of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 "Because of this shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." This mystery is 32 great: but I speak concerning Christ and concerning the church. Nevertheless let every 33 one of you likewise so love his wife even as himself; and let the wife take care that she reverence her husband.


CHAP. V. 21. Mss. Griesb.

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER V. 1. We are taught the obligations of christians to walk as becometh their professed subjection to Christ, and their privileges as the beloved children of God by faith

29. Mss. Griesb.

in him. How unsuitable to the character of saints, are the vices here enumerated! Shall any professing to be such dare to be guilty of fornication and uncleanness? Let such make a covenant, not only

6. Vain words. Pretending that the things mentioned are harmless; for because of, &c.

S. Darkness. A state of gross ignorance and folly; but "now are light in the Lord;" by him ye enjoy the light of truth, and are enlightened, and it is your duty to walk and act in a manner suitable to your state, manifesting the fruits of the Spirit, &c.

11, 12. Works of darkness. Properly so called, as being unfit for the light. They are unfruitful or destructive to those who practice them.-In secret. In their mysteries and hidden rites.


By the light. By the gospel, and by the light of a holy and upright life, the secret vices of men, especially of heathens, are exposed and reprehended; and that may justly be called light, which maketh every thing of this kind manifest.

14. The Spirit saith. I supply, with Newcome and others, πνεύμα, and consider that the apostle gives us the sense of the gospel message addressed to sinners. Awake thou, &c. See Rom. xiii. 13. Arise from the dead; the dead and lost state of sin and iniquity, through the gracious call of the gospel, and then Christ will give thee light to guide thee and bless thee.

15-21. See then that, &c. So as to give no offence, and so as to convince ignorant sinners of their folly; and by diligence redeem the time you


have lost, by your past negligence and crimes, especially considering that you live in the evil days of persecution.—Dissoluteness. Both of mind and manProv. xxiii. 29.- With the Spirit. With the truths and discoveries which he has made, speaking to one another, &c. in psalms such as those of David, and in hymns dictated by the Spirit. 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 26.-To our God, &c. I add the pronoun, as the article in such a construction implies it. —In the fear of Christ. See the authorities in Griesbach. If he were not a divine person, possessing the most perfect knowledge of their conduct, such a direction would be improper.

22-24. As to the Lord. Husbands having an authority over you, as he has over the church, which is his body. 25-27. Gave up himself, &c. To sufferings and death.- -Having cleansed it, &c. By the rite of baptism, enjoined by his word, and which was, and is, a symbol of purity.- - A glorious church, &c. Comparing the church to a person, he will so form it as to be without defect, and in all things holy, beautiful, and ever enjoying the vigour of youth.

28-31. Own bodies. As by marriage they become one flesh; so that to love his wife is in fact to love himself, even as Christ the church, his body. A part of his flesh, &c. The allusion is to Gen. ii. 23. 32. This mystery, &c.

This truth, which was a mystery until revealed,

Duty of children to parents;



A. D 63. The duty of children and parents; of servants and masters; a christian life is a warfare; his armour, and how he should use it, &c.


CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord: 2 for this is right. "Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with 3 promise ;) That it may be well with thee, and 4 thou mayest live long on the land." And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to anger; || but bring them up in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.

5 Servants, obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of 6 your heart, as ye obey Christ; Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants

with their eyes, but with their hearts, lest their consciences should be defiled even with the thoughts of impurity. And for this purpose let us guard against all immodest, indecent words and language; nor on any occasion indulge in such jesting as may have a tendency to excite any unholy desires and passions. Nor let our religion be dishonoured by a worldly and covetous spirit. This shows the heart to be ensnared; and our wealth and our riches, are made our confidence and hope. Let those who practise such vices assuredly know, that, whatever they may profess, they have not, nor unless changed, ever shall have any inheritance in the glorious kingdom of our God and Saviour. These are crimes which prove a state of real impenitence, and show us to be sons of disobedience; and such will suffer the wrath of God.

2. We learn that where the gospel is truly received, it produces a glorious and manifest change in the heart and life. Such as were involved in the most awful gloom of moral ignorance and darkness, are instructed and enlightened, so as to know and feel their sin and guilt, and understand the way of peace, pardon, and happiness revealed in the gospel. They are in mercy called from the darkness of sin into the light of grace; and are under the strongest obligations to walk as children of the light, proving and practising whatever is well-pleasing to God. Let such avoid the works of darkness, not only as unfruitful, but as mischevious and destructive; and be careful that they do not partake of them, even by a criminal silence, when they see them; but


and of servants to masters.

of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Doing service with good will, as to 7 the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that 8 whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the 9 same things unto them, forbearing threats: knowing that ye yourselves also have a Master in heaven, with whom there is no respect of persons.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, 10 and in his mighty power. Put on the whole 11 armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle 12 not against flesh and blood only, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers

rather reprove then, and show their odious and shameful nature in such a manner, as to convince and turn men from them. Possessed of the light of gospel truth, by this let us expose and make manifest the evil of those things which are done in secret; and may the language of the Spirit resound in the ears of every sinner, and his gracious energy effect the mighty change! "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

3. We learn what we should aim to be as believers in Christ, and as joined to him as the glorious head of the church. We should cultivate heavenly and spiritual wisdom, by redeeming time, and endeavouring to know and understand what the will of the Lord is; and should ardently desire to be filled with the Spirit, as a spirit of wisdom, love, peace and joy. Then shall we speak to one another for edification, and while we make melody to God in our hearts, we shall animate one another by singing hymns and spiritual songs. While husbands and wives show their union, love, and mutual interest in each other, they are reminded of the endearing relation of Christ to his church and people. As he gave up himself for them, that he might take away the guilt of their sins by his blood; so by his word and Spirit he will cleanse and purify them, so that they may be presented without blemish before him at the great day. O what love, tenderness and care does this husband display! And how should we be constrained to all dutiful returns of love and submission to him.

is great-that Christ should leave the glory which he had with the Father, to join himself to sinners, and become their Saviour, friend, and husband.

33 Nevertheless, &c. Though I have been led to consider the union of Christ with the church, yet let every one of you, &c.

CHAP. VI. 1-4. In the Lord. Not only as being your parents, but as being in the Lord as christian believers.- With promise. With a special and appropriated promise. See Exod. xx. 12.—Provoke not, &c. By any unkind or improper behaviour; but instruct and admonish them in a manner becoming your character as christians.

5-9. Masters according, &c. In opposition to Christ, who is your Lord and master in all that regards religion. Matt. xxiii. 8-12.—With fear, &c. With diligence and earnestness, Phil. ii. 12 ; and "in singleness of heart," in opposition to that deceit for which you have been blamed. You are encou

raged to this from your professed subjection to Christ, and from the assurance that he will reward your fidelity and christian behaviour.-Masters, &c. Consider that your rank does not justify you in treating them with severity, as you have a master who will not regard you because of your wealth and power. 10-12. In the Lord, &c. Confide in his power, might, and grace, for suitable assistance in all your duties and trials; and so be able to resist the wiles of the devil, who by his instruments, is ever trying to corrupt, to deceive, and destroy you.- -Not against flesh, &c. That is against men only, Matt. xvi. 17.; but "against principalities, &c." against all the various orders of fallen spirits; "against all the rulers of this dark world," whether heathen or Jewish magistrates, who are addicted to gross superstitions, and violently persecute us; and "against spiritual wickedness, &c." or, "the spiritual things of wickedness in heavenly things." With Dr. Chandler, I conceive those de

[blocks in formation]

of this dark world, against spiritual wickedness 13 in heavenly things. Take the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand, in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of 15 righteousness; And your feet ready shod with 16 the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one: 17 Take also the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication with your spirit; and watching thereto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth with freedom,

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER VI. 1. We have the respective duties of children and parents, and of servants and masters, stated and enforced. And how much of the happiness of families and societies depends on the discharge of these duties. Let children then be subject to their parents, showing all dutiful and becoming respect, from the reasonableness of the command, and from the promise annexed to the observance of it. And let parents treat their children with kindness, and not, by using improper language, provoke thein to anger; but especially let them be concerned for their religious instruction, as the best method to restrain and sanctify their tempers and hearts, and render them amiable, humble and obedient. As to servants, let them remember their situation and duty, and from the authority of Christ, regard their masters according to the flesh. Let them cherish good will to them, and perform their duty with readiness, and not when under their eye only, but in their absence, doing herein service to the Lord. And how great is the encouragement to this, that such service shall be accepted of God, and even regarded. And let masters remember that there is one above them, to whom they must give an account; and let their commands be reasonable and just, not using threats or improper severities. How much better is it to rule by love than by terror; and how much more consoling to the mind, to have those of our household united to us by this sacred principle!

[blocks in formation]

to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds:, that 20 therein I may speak freely, as I ought to speak.

But that ye also may know my affairs, and 21 what I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make known to you all things: Whom I have sent to you 22 for this very purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with 23 faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those that 21 love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Written from Rome unto the Ephesians by Tychicus.

[ocr errors]

2. We learn that whatever our situations in this life may be, we shall be exposed to various trials and temptations. There is need then to be strong in the Lord Jesus and in his mighty power; and to put on that complete and heavenly armour which he has provided for us. Invested with this, we shall be able to stand against all the wiles and assaults of the devil; and even to conquer and triumph over this great adversary, and all his allied powers and hosts. In this great and glorious warfare, of what advantage are sincerity and uprightness, righteousness and true holiness; faith in Christ, and the hope of eternal salvation, together with the saving knowledge of the scriptures, and fervent, daily prayer. These will be to us, instead of the military belt, breast-plate, greaves, shield, helmet, and sword, both for repelling the fiery darts of our enemies, and successfully attacking them! Let us use this armour of righteousness, and not fear what the enemy may threaten, or attempt to do against us! Let us abound in prayer, not only for ourselves, but for others, and especially for the suffering servants of Christ and for his ministers, that they may be supported and enabled to plead and maintain his holy cause with boldness and freedom. In this holy warfare they have to endure the fiercest attacks of the enemy; and should they fall, how would the good cause suffer, and the Saviour be reproached. May peace be with all such as love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.'

ceivers to be meant, who under the profession of the gospel, were its corrupters, introducing dangerous errors among "those heavenly things" which it reveals to men. See his excellent note.

14-20. Your loins girt, &c. Having mentioned the armour in general, he now specifies its parts. First, we have the military belt of truth; secondly, the breast-plate of righteousness; thirdly, the sandals, the gospel of peace; fourth, the shield of faith; fifth, the helmet, the hope of salvation, and sixth, the word of God, as the sword of the Spirit. Is. xi. 5. By truth may be meant an invariable adherence to truth in their common discourse; and "by righteousness," their personal obedience to the laws of God; the gospel of peace, their interest in its blessings of pardon, justification, and peace with God, which would make them ready for every good word and work; and VOL. III. PART XXIII. Y Y

“faith” in Christ, and in the promises and doctrines of the gospel, which would not only repel, but quench the "fiery darts" of the tempter; and the "word of God,” the whole of it, as revealed by the Spirit known and understood, would be found as a sword to attack error, and to refute all the sophisms of unbelievers; but especially to these must be added fervent, persevering prayer, both for ourselves and others.

21, 22. My affairs. How I succeed in my work, and what are my sufferings and trials, &c.—Tychicus. One who had been with Paul at Rome, and from experience, one whom he could thus recommend.

23, 24. Peace be to, &c. Prosperity attend them, as consisting in peace, faith, and love from God the father, &c.—In sincerity. Without hypocricy in their profession, and without corruption in practice or sentiment.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

PAUL visited Philippi, in consequence of a vision which he had of a man of Macedonia, who said, "Come over and help us." Acts xvi. 9-40. On his departure he appears to have left Timothy, Luke, and Silas, to carry on the work. He paid them a second visit, (Acts xx. 6.) when a collection was made there and among the other churches of Macedonia, for the saints at Jerusalem. 2 Cor. viii. and ix. Ch. The design of the apostle was to comfort them under the concern they had expressed on hearing of his imprisonment; to check a party spirit, and to promote union and love; to guard them against Judaizing teachers, and to inspire them with a concern to adorn their profession.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

For 8

think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in my defence of myself, and my confirmation of the gospel, ye are all joint-partakers of the grace bestowed on me, God is my witness, how greatly I long after you all with the tender affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may 9 abound still more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment; That ye may discern 10 the things that are excellent; so that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righte- II ousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Now I wish you to understand, brethren, 12 that the things which have befallen me have come to pass, rather to the furtherance of the

CHAP. I. 1, 2. To all the saints. An usual appellation of the disciples; but I find no other instance of ayıs 19 Xg. Iŋ. and suppose that there is an ellipsis, which I have supplied from Eph. i. I. Newcome renders, "To the Holy through Christ Jesus."—— Bishops and deacons. Or overseers, elders, and deacons. Only two orders are mentioned here, nor is there any proof from the New Testament, that any more ordinary officers existed in the church. There were more bishops than one at Philippi, as there were in some other places; and of course they could not be in any sense Diocesan, but simply coordinate pastors and teachers of the same people.

3-6. With joy. At the recollection of your readiness to receive the gospel, and for your continued fellowship, or joint participation in the blessings and privileges of the gospel, from the first day you were enabled cordially to receive it, until now; and I am confident of this very thing, &c.— He who hath begun, &c. God who had begun it by his word and Spirit; and whatever he works in us will be good; and his beginning the work is a sure

pledge that he will complete and finish it until life shall end. Peirce applies this to the collection which the church at Philippi had made for Paul; but the close of the verse subverts this opiniou. For how could Paul expect that God would be finishing this work until the day of Christ? To remove the force of this he explains the time of the persecution which Paul was then suffering, a sense the words never have.

7. As it is right for me, &c. As you have given the strongest proofs of your sincerity, and of your faith and love, in stedfastly maintaining your profession, and in showing to me, as an apostle, the tokens of the warmest affection, during my bouds, and while I have defended my own character, and confirmed the gospel by my preaching and stedfastness, ye appear to be evidently joint-partakers of the grace of God which bringeth salvation bestowed on me.

8-11. For God is my, &c. He had said, I have you in my heart. For God is my witness, &c.—————In all judgment. Or inward perception and feeling.

« PreviousContinue »