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V I 





Vol. III. 








Vol. III. 

" Affer animum rectum et simplicem, verUatis stipra ctrtera amantcm, 
*' jrrtcjudiciis vacuum. Ne jyrolinus tanquam nova, tanquam iiuiudita el 
" ubsurda damnaveris, qua; tibi nova, tibi inaudita, et absurda occurrent. 
" Ea qiuB dicimus, non cum aliorum judiciis, non cum vulgi inveteratis 
" opinionibus compone, ut inde rem csstimes, sed ciim autoris divini verbis, 
" scopo, ipsoque rationis JUo. Hinc tibi Veritas petenda est : liinc de nobis 
"Jerenda setitentia. Equidem nos sicubi lapsi, aut D. Autoris mcntcm non 
" satis assecuti sumus, amice admoniii, idtro maiius dabimus, grotesque in- 
" super accumulabimus." Slichtingius Pracf. ad Heb. 



(Successor to Mr. Johnson,) 






* TO 



The Epistle to the Galatians is one of those 
compositions of the apostle Paul the genuineness 
of which has never been disputed in ancient or in 
modern times. The external evidence of this epi- 
stle is the same with that of the most authentic and 
approved ancient writings. It professes at its very 
commencement to have been written by Paul the 
apostle ; who had been invested with his high and 
honourable office, not by men, but by Christ him- 
self, who had appeared to him for that express pur- 
pose, and by God, who had raised Jesus from the 
dead. It appears to have been received as the pro- 
duction of that apostle by the whole primitive church 
without a dissenting voice : it is quoted by the early 



ecclesiastical writers under the apostle's name ; and 
the passages they cite from it are to be found in our 
present copies. 

This epistle also contains every internal character 
of authenticity. It treats largely of a controversy, 
viz. the obligation of converted Gentiles to observe 
the Mosaic ritual, which could have had no existence 
later than the apostolic age. It recites many events 
in the life of the apostle, which are also related in 
Luke's history, with the addition of some incidental 
circumstances which are not noticed in the Acts of 
the Apostles, omitting others, which, though men- 
tioned by Luke, were not necessary to be introduced 
into the epistle. The writer also alludes to many 
circumstances relating to the state of the Galatian 
churches, and to occurrences which took place while 
he exercised his office among them, which would be 
fully understood by those to whom the epistle was 
addressed, though necessarily obscure to others. To 
which may be added, that the unusual brevity of 
style, and the elliptical mode of expression and rea- 
soning observable in this epistle, which render it pe- 
culiarly obscure to common readers, would probably 
be not unintelligible to those who were familiar with 
the apostle's phraseology and manner of speaking; 
and would therefore create no objection to the au- 
thenticity of the epistle, but rather the contrary. It 
may also be remarked, that the train of thought and 
the mode of reasoning, which the apostle has adopted 
in this epistle, are very similar to those which occur 
in his other writings, and particularly in the epistle 


to the Romans. Thus, he argues the right of the 
Gentiles to be admitted into the church, from the 
call of Abraham ; he represents the Christian 
church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, as one 
mystical body, of which Christ is the head ; and he 
zealously defends the liberties of the Gentile church, 
in opposition to those who would subject converted 
heathen to the yoke of the Mosaic law. These pe- 
culiar topics and modes of argument occurring in 
different epistles, constitute a presumptive proof that 
they were all of them the productions of the same 

Galatia was a province of the Lesser Asia, which 
was inhabited by a colony of the Gauls. In this 
country the gospel had been preached by Paul with 
great success, and several churches had been formed 
by him, about a.d. 50, Acts xvi. 6. Soon after he 
had left tlie country, some bigots to the Mosaic ri- 
tual intruded themselves into the church, who zea- 
lously insisted upon a strict conformity to the law of 
Moses, as essential to obtaining an interest in the 
blessings of the gospel. These men represented. the 
apostle Paul as a teacher of inferior rank, subordi- 
nate to the apostles, and v4io had no authority from 
them to teach the abolition of the law. And what 
was worse, they charged him with gross incon- 
sistency, both in doctrine and practice: for that 
though, in order to ingratiate himself with the con- 
verted Gentiles, he had insisted upon the abroga- 
tion of the Jewish ritual while he was teaching in 


Galatla, he nevertheless taught the contrary doc- 
trine at other places ; submitting to all the rigour 
of the law himself, and enforcing it strictly upon 
others. These assertions, which were repeated with 
great confidence and warmth by the false teachers 
and their adherents, had made a considerable im- 
pression upon the unstable minds of the simple Ga- 
latians, and had thrown their churches into great 
confusion. Their affections were greatly alienated 
from the apostle, and his authority among them 
was much diminished. Many had adopted the doc- 
trine of the false apostle, and had submitted to the 
yoke of the law ; and the introduction of these doc- 
trines and rites had been the source of much violent 
animosity and contention, so that the genuine spirit 
of Christianity was in danger of being lost in the 
heat and bitterness of controversy. 

Of this state of things in the Galatian churches 
the apostle was probably informed during his short 
residence at Ephesus, in his way to Jerusalem, Acts 
xviii. 19 — 21 ; and to remedy the growing evil he 
wrote this epistle immediately, which, next to the 
two. epistles to the Thessalonians, is of the earliest 
date of any that are now extant. It was probably 
written before he left Ephesus, a,d. 53, previously 
to his second visit to Galatia, which he made at the 
latter end of that year or the beginning of the next. 
Acts xviii. 23. » 

' Learned men are much divided in their opinions as to the 
date of the epistle to the Galatians. I have adopted the opinion 
of Dr. Lardner ; which agrees in the main with that of L'Enfant, 


Contrary to the apostle's usual custom, and in 
order to show his earnestness in the cause, and his 
great affection to the Galatians,this Epistle was writ- 
ten with his own hand. Gal. vi. 11; and as writing 
was probably an irksome employment to him, who 
was engaged so much in travelling and public speak- 
ing, this circumstance may account for the many in- 
stances which occur of elliptical forms of expression, 
and for an unusual brevity and obscurity in the 

The main design of the apostle was to reclaim the 
Christians of Galatia from their novel and unreason- 
able attachment to the Mosaic ritual, to the pure 
and simple doctrine of the gospel which they had 
learned from him ; to restore peace and concord to 
the church ; to vindicate his own apostolical autho- 
rity, the simplicity of his character, and the consist- 
ency of his conduct, in opposition to the calumnies 
of the false apostle and his faction ; to reinstate 

Beausobre, Lord Barrington, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Doddridge. 
Most of these learned writers .seem indeed to think it probable, 
that the apostle had heard at Corinth of the defection of the Ga- 
latian churches, and that he wrote his letter a little before he left 
that city in the spring of a.d. 53. From the warmth of style, and 
the marks of haste which appear in it, we may conclude that it 
was v/ritten under the impression of the first intelligence ; and 
as it is not unlikely that the apostle received the first tidings of 
these unpleasant circumstances at Ephesus in his way from Co- 
rinth to Jerusalem the same year, it is probable that he imme- 
diately wrote the epi.stle to the Galatians, intending to make 
them a visit in his return from Jerusalem to Ephesus, at the end 
of the year, or the beginning of the year following. Gal. iv. 20 ; 
Acts xviii. 23. 


himself in their esteem ; to recover the ground which 
he had lost in their affections by the base artifices 
of his opponent; and, finally, to expose this deceiver 
and his doctrine to the contempt and detestation 
which they deserved. In pursuance of this design, 
after having addressed them in a suitable introduc- 
tion, ch. i. I — 5, 

I. The apostle establishes his own authority, and 
repels the charges of inconsistency in his character 
and conduct. Ch. i. 6 — ii. 21. 

1 . He expresses his great surprise and concern 
at the change which had taken place in the views 
and conduct of the Galatian churches since his de- 
parture, and denounces a solemn anathema upon any 
one who should presume to teach a doctrine different 
from that in which he had instructed them ; and 
even upon himself, if he should be found guilty of 
this glaring inconsistency, ver, 6 — 10. 

2. He proves by an induction of facts that he had 
received his commission from, and had been in- 
structed in the Christian doctrine by, Christ alone ; 
it was not therefore probable that he would be in- 
duced to betray his trust, ver. 1 1 — 24. 

3. He alleges that in all his interviews with the 
apostles, and in all his intercourse with the church 
at Jerusalem, he had upon every occasion asserted 
his plenary apostolical authority, and defended the 
liberties of the Gentile churches ; and that these 
claims had been allowed by the ap6stles themselves, 
ch. ii. 1—10. 

4. As a further proof both of his authority and 


his consistency, he relates the reproof which he ad- 
ministered to Peter in public at Antioch, for the du- 
plicity of his conduct, and comments upon the speech 
which he delivered on the occasion, ver. 11 — 21. 

II. The apostle urges a variety of arguments to 
reclaim the Galatians from their attachment to their 
new teacher and to his judaizing doctrine, and to 
recover their affections to himself and to the simpli- 
city of the gospel. Ch. iii. 1 — v. 12. 

1 . He produces many reasons to prove that the 
obligations of the Mosaic law did not extend to the 
converted Gentiles, ch. iii. 1 — iv. 7. 

2. He expostulates with them concerning the un- 
reasonableness of their apostasy from the truth and 
the alienation of their afifections from himself, ver. 

3. He illustrates his argument by an allegory 
taken from the history of Hagar and Sarah, ver. 24 
•—v. 1. 

4. He faithfully warns them of the dangerous 
consequences of a blind attachment to the law of 
Moses, ver. 2 — 12. 

III. The apostle suggests many pertinent advices 
to promote a spirit of peace and love, and universal 
virtue, ver. 13 — vi. 10. 

IV. He closes the epistle with a solemn protest 
against the extension of the Mosaic ritual to the 
Gentile churches, and with a general apostolical be- 
nediction, ver. 11 — 18. 

Many of the same thoughts and arguments occur 
in this epistle which are introduced in the epistle to 


the Romans ; which, as I have ah-eady remarked, is 
a strong presumption that they were indited by the 
same author. But it has been observed, that the 
apostle treats tlie Romans with a considerable de- 
gree of deference and ceremony, as not being per- 
sonally acquainted with them, that church not hav- 
ing been planted by him. But he expostulates with 
the Galatians with the freedom of a parent and a 
teacher, to whom they were indebted for all they 
knew of the Christian religion, who possessed au- 
thority and a right to remonstrate freely, and even 
sharply, with them, for the errors and faults into 
which they had been betrayed, and for the diminu- 
tion of their affection and regard to him for whom 
they had so lately, and indeed justly, professed the 
highest veneration and gratitude. But these pater- 
nal and apostolical rebukes are softened and quali- 
fied by many expressions of affection and tender- 
ness, and there can be little doubt that they produced 
the desired effect; so that when he visited them in 
the course of the following year, he probably found 
them in that state in which he had left them, and to 
which it was his desire to recover them. 



CHAP. I. 1—5. 

1 HE apostle, Intent upon silencing the objections Ch. i. 
which had been made to his authority, solemnly as- 
serts his apostolical commission in his introductory 
salutation to the Galatian churches. Ch. i. 1 — 5. 

PAUIj an apostle^, not from men nor by any man^ Ver. 1. 
hut by Jesus Christy and from God the Father^ 

' Paul an apostle.'] The apostle here endently alludes to the 
calumnies which had been circulated to injure his character and 
to lessen his influence^ viz. that he was no apostle, that he was 
a missionary from, and subordinate to, the apostles at Jerusa- 
lem, &c. He begins with a solemn assertion of his own apo- 
stolical rank and authority. He was no apostle of theirs or of 
any man's : they had not even been instrumental in investing 
him with the office, as in the case of Matthias, Acts i. On the 
contrary he received his commission from God alone, and had 
been invested with it by Christ himself; he was therefore infe- 
rior to none of the apostles, nor did he hold himself accountable 
to any. With Le Clerc I understand arc before Qea to corre- 
spond with air' avSocuTrwv in the preceding clause. See Bovvyer. 

* God the Father.'] " Here again you see how Jesus Christ 
is distinguished from God, to whom he was subordinate, and by 
whose power, and not his own, he was raised from the dead." 
Dr. Priestley. 


Ch. I. who raised him from the dead, and all the brethren ' 
2. ^j^^ ^j,^ with me, to the churches of Galatia^: fa- 
vour be to you and peace, from Godoui Father and 
from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

This epistle is written by Paul, who, whatever in- 
sinuations may have been circulated to the contrary, 
most assuredly is an authorized and duly qualified 
apostle : an apostle not indeed of men, let their rank 
and station in the church be what it may. I received 
my commission from none of them : I am the de- 
legate of none, I am subordinate to none, I am ac- 
countable to none. They were not even employed 
as the instruments of setting me apart to the office. 
I am the apostle and messenger of God himself, 
from whom alone I derive my authority and quali- 
fications ; who having raised his holy servant Jesus 
Christ from the dead, appointed him to appear per- 
sonally to me to invest me with the office and the 
powers of an apostle to the Gentiles. This epistle, 
thus written by Paul the apostle, is addressed by 
him to those churches which a few years ago he 
planted in the province of Galatia ; and to which 
he and all his associates who are at present with him 

' All the brethren^ i. e. his associates who had accompanied 
him from Greece ; or, as Dr. Chandler apprehends, the whole 
congregation of Christians in the place from whence he wrote 
his epistle, that the Galatians might understand that they had 
seen the epistle and unanimously approved of it. 

* Churches of Galatia.'] Dr. Macknight remarks that 
churches "" are not in the apostle's usual manner designed 
churches of God, or of Christ • perhaps to signify that they did 
not deserve these honourable appellations on account of their 
great defection from the truth of the gospel." 

G A L A T I A N S. 11 

unite in affectionate salutations, and earnest wishes ch. i. 
that they may abundantly participate in the bless- ^^^"' "^ 
ings of that gospel which is the free gift of God our 
adorable Father ; through Jesus, the true Messiah, 
our Master and Lord. 

TVho gave himself for our sins 3, that he might ^• 

deliver us from the present evil age \ according to 
the will of God our Father, to whom, he glory for 5. 

ever and ever. Amen. 

Great indeed are our obligations to our gracious 
Master, who voluntarily, and while we were yet sin- 

^ For our sins^ " i. e. fro nobis peccatoribiis." Rosenmuller. 
" for us sinners." 

^ From the present evil age.'] Mr. Locke, to whom we arc in- 
debted more than to any other commentator for the great light 
which he has thrown upon this obscure and difficult epistle, 
understands the "present evil age," ivss-mtos oMDvogitovr^ps, of 
the Jewish dispensation ; which in the New Testament is desig- 
nated as aivov srog, 1 Cor. ii. 6 — 8, in opposition to that of the 
gospel, which is ajwv y^sXXujv, the age to come. The principal 
objection against this interpretation, which so well accords with 
the connexion, is from the use of the word TTovrjpo;, evil; to ob- 
viate which Mr. Locke observes, that the law is said to be con- 
trary to us. Col. ii. 14, and to work wrath, Rom. iv. 15 3 also, 
that the apostle speaks diminishingly of it in many places. He 
might have added that the apostle in his epistle to the Romans 
proves at large that the law leaves men under a sentence of 
death, Rom. ii. iii. with an utter incapacity to 'extricate them- 
selves from it. See chap. vii. Upon these principles we easily 
explain the phrase of Christ giving himself for our sins : a sacri- 
fical phrase, which signifies that by the death of Christ a new 
covenant was ratified by which all former legal incapacities and 
disabilities were abrogated, and Gentiles, who were formerly 
sinners and enemies, as well as Jews, the ancient people of 
God, are now admitted to a free participation of the blessings 
of the gospel, upon the condition of faith only, without subjec- 
tion to the yoke of the law. This is the doctrine which the 
writer to the Hebrews argues at large, chap. ix. x. 


Ch. I. ners, gave himself up as a sacrifice for us, to purify 
us from the incapacities of our heathen state, and 
to quahfy us for admission among the people of 
God, and for a participation of the privileges of the 
gospel, without submitting to the yoke of the law. 
For, indeed, though this dispensation was originally 
of divine authority, and well adapted to the circum- 
stances in which it was given, its impositions are 
so burdensome, and the state in which it leaves us 
as sinners is so imperfect, and indeed deplorable, 
that it may justly be called evil in comparison with 
the new and glorious dispensation of the gospel. 
For this happy state of things we are wholly in- 
debted to the rich mercy of God, our kind and 
compassionate Father, to whom we can never be 
sufficiently grateful; and to whom we ascribe 
never-ending praise. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 13 




The apostle expresses his great surprise and 
concern at the change luhich had tahen place i7i 
the views and conduct of the Galatian churches 
since his departure^ and denounces a solemn 
anathema upon every one who should presume to 
teach a doctriiie different from that in which he 
had instructed them, and even upon himself if 
he should be found guilty of this glaring incon- 
sistency. Ch. i. 6 — 10. 

/ am astonished ^ that you have so soon ^ trans- Ver. 6. 
f erred yourselves from him who invited you into 

1 1 am asto7nshed.'] ^av[ji.a^uj expresses great surprise at 
something very extraordinaiy and unexpected. So the people 
were astonished at the miracles of Christ, Matt. viii. 2/ ; Mark 
vi.51 5 Luke viii. 25 ; and of the apostles. Acts iii. 12. It some- 
times expresses wonder mixed with indignation, Mark vi. 6 ; 
John V. 28, vii. 21. See Schleusner. 

* So soon.'] The gospel was preached in Galatia, a.d. 50 : and 
this epistle was written, probably from Ephesus, a.d. 53, pre- 

14 Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. 1. 

Ch. I. the favour of Christ ^, to a different gospel, which 
^^'■- '^^ is nothing else than this"^, that there are some luho 
trouble you, and who are desirous to subvert the 
gospel of Christ. 

I am perfectly amazed, my Christian friends, and 
can hardly give credit to the reports which I hear 
of your general defection from the plain and simple 
doctrine, and from the gentle and easy service of 
Christ ; of the alienation of your affections from me, 
who was your first instructor in the Christian reli- 
gion ; and of your conversion to a system which 
you may, if you please, call a gospel, but which I 
can assure you is very different, both in its doctrine 
and its spirit, from the gospel of Christ. And what 
renders this apostasy and alienation the more ex- 
traordinary is, the short space of time in which it 

viously to his second visit to them_, a.d. .54, Acts xviii. 23. 
Saurin observes^ that the Galatians were a colony of the Gauls, 
who have always been reproached with taking impressions easily, 
and as easily suffering them to be effaced. 

' Who invited you into.'] " The apostle probably means him- 
self. See ch. v. 8. sv %ap(r< '^piss may either signify, bij the fa- 
vour of Christ, which is the literal rendering; or, see ver. 15, 
into the grace of Christ, i. e. the gracious dispensation of God 
by Christ." Chandler. — " sv is often put for f<;." Newcome.— 
" The word Xass is omitted in some MSS. of good autho- 
rity." Griesbach. — Mr. Wakefield renders the passage, " I won- 
der that ye are so soon transferring yourselves from Christ, 
who called you with favour," &c. 

^ Is nothing else than this, that, .Sfc] This, I think with Mr, 
Locke and Dr. Chandler, to be the true rendering of the words 
8x £riv a\Xo- El [j,rj, &c. q. d. Your removal from me, who have 
called you to the grace of Christ, is owing to nothing but this : 
the crafty endeavours of designing men, &c. Mr. Locke justly 
remarks that if o had referred to iuayyeK^ov, it would have been 
more natural to have kept the word ktsfw. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. I, 15 

has taken place ; as it is no more than two or three ch.i. 
years since I left you in a very promising state. But ^'^'' '' 
I know how it happens. I see that some evil- 
minded persons have introduced themselves into 
your society, who are determined to disturb the har- 
mony of the church, and, if possible, to overturn 
and to abolish the genuine gospel of Christ, by sub- 
stituting in its place a system of useless and burden- 
some ceremonies. 

But if even we, or an angel from heaven, preach 8. 

to you any gospel different from that which we have 
preached to you, let him be anathema"^. JVhat I 9. 

have already said^ I now repeat'. If any 7nan^ 
preach a gospel to you different from that ivhich 
you have received, let him he anathema. 

The gospel of Christ is, I assure you, one and 
the same without any variation. If, therefore, the 
reports which you have heard of me should have 

^ Let him be anathema.'] avahi^a £fw, " let him be rejected." 
Wakefield. " This word," says Dr. Chandler, " does not signify 
accursed, or condemned of God to the punishment of another 
world. This the apostle would not wish to the worst of men. 
The meaning is. Let him be as a person excommunicated, or 
wholly cut otf from the synagogue or church j with whom it is 
unlawful to have any commerce or correspondence whatsoever. 
It is not properly a wish of the apostle, but a direction to the 
Galatians how to behave." " Excludatur a ccetu vestro. Theo- 
doret ad 1 Cor. xvi. 22. Suicer. Thesaur. advoc." RosenmuUer. 

■* I have alreadij said^ Some copies with the Syriac and IEt\n- 
opic versions read irposipr^KO,. The received text reads. We have, 

^ If any man^ Mr. Locke thinks that in the former verse 
the apostle insinuates that they might as soon suspect an angel 
from heaven of corrupting the gospel as himself ; and that in 
this verse he lays the anathema wholly and solely upon the 
Jewish seducers. 

16 Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 

Ch. I. been true : if I had actually taught a doctrine at 
Ver. 9. other places different from that which I taught in 
Galutia ; yea, if even a messenger, professing to be 
a celestial spirit, should presume to teach a doctrine 
different from that which I taught you at first, it 
would be your duty to regard us as impostors, and 
to expel us from your community as enemies to the 
doctrine and to the church of Christ. I repeat it 
again, that what I now denounce may appear to be 
a deliberate act, and not the hasty ebullition of a 
momentary feeling; and I wish you seriously to 
weigh the solemn admonition. If any one should 
presume to teach a doctrine different from that 
which you have already learned, and to call this 
corrupt doctrine the gospel of Christ, let such a 
teacher, whatever be his talents or pretensions, be 
expelled forthwith from your society, and hold no 
brotherly intercourse with him, lest you should be 
corrupted by him. 
10. For am I noiu i endeavouring to conciliate men ^, 
or God? or am J seeking to please men^ ? If, in- 
deed, I ivere still a pleaser of men, I should not he 
the servant of Christ. 

■ Am I now^ This refers to his former life, when he was 
employed by men in their designs^ and made it his business to 
please them. Acts ix. 1, 2. See Locke. 

'^ Endeavouring to conciliate^ ifsiScu' "^ this word frequently 
signifies, to obtain by entreaty, or to endeavour after the friend- 
ship or goodwill of any person. Matt, xxviii. 14 ; Acts xii. 20. 
itBitrocvTsg, having made Blastus their friend. See also 2 Mac. 
iv. 45. to persuade God, i. e. to endeavour to secure his appro- 
bation." Chandler. 

^ Or am I seeking to please men ?] " This clause is omitted in 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 17 

Is it possible, my friends, that you can give such Ch. i. 
easy credit, as I find that you do, to the reports to 
my disadvantage which are so industriously circu- 
lated by my enemies ? Is it for me, at this time of 
life, after all my professions, after all my labours, 
after all my sufi'erings in the cause of truth, so far 
to contradict my character as to make it my prime 
object, as I once did, to conciliate the favour of 
men, by teaching doctrines that will be agreeable 
to their prejudices, rather than approve myself to 
God, whose messenger I am, and to whom I must 
render my account ? Can you believe so improba- 
ble a calumny as that the object of my ministry is 
to gain human applause ? There was indeed a time 
when I was ambitious of popularity. But if this 
were still my object, I should justly forfeit all claim 
to that which I now regard as the most honourable 
of all distinctions, to be acknowledged as the faith- 
ful servant, the zealous apostle of Jesus Christ. 

the ^thiopic with the approbation of Dr. Mill, Dr. Owen, and 
Mr. Wakefield. Dr. Owen thinks it probable it was a margi- 
nal explanation of ayQpujirsg TtsiQaj," Newcome. 


1 8 Part I, G A L A T I A N S. Skct. 


Ch. I. The apostle to obviate the charge of his being a 
subordinate teacher of Christia7iity, and of in- 
consistency in his conduct^ proves, by an indue- 
tion of facts, that from having been a bigoted 
persecutor, he became a %ealous teacher of the 
gospel, having received instruction and autho- 
rity from Christ alone. Ch. i. 11 — 24. 

1 . The apostle solemnly avers that he received 

his doctrine from Christ only, ver. 11, 12. 

Ver. 1 1 . But I declare to you, brethren, that the gospel 

12. preached by me is not according to maji ^ ; for I 

neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, 

buf^ by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

You have been told, my brethren, that I am only 
a missionary from the apostles at Jerusalem ; and 
that, in denying the obligation of Gentile converts 
to submit to the Jewish ceremonial, I have greatly 
exceeded my commission. In contradiction to this 
charge, I solemnly declare, that the doctrine I have 

' According to maw.] " of human origin." Newcome. " pli- 
ant to human interest." Locke, 

^ Nor was I taught it_, but &c.] " I have removed the point 
from £^(Ja%6i3v, though contrary to the authority of the best edi- 
tions." Newcome ; whose punctuation I follow. Mr, Wakefield'.s 
translation is, " indeed I did not receive it from man, nor from 
mine own knowledge." 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. 11. 2. 1 9 

tausrht you, and which I still continue to preach, is Ch. i. 
no human invention, nor is it phant to views or se- 
cular interest. I am no man's missionary ; nor is 
there a person upon earth who can say that he was 
my instructor in the Christian religion. I was ho- 
noured with the personal intercourse of my Master, 
Jesus Christ himself; and by immediate illumina- 
tion from him alone, I learned all I know, and all 
I teach. 

2. To establish this fact, the apostle gives a brief 
account of his proceedings and removals for three 
years after his conversion : from which it appears 
impossible that he should have derived either his 
authority or his instructions from the other apostles, 
ver. 13—24. 

1.) He reminds them that he was once a bigoted 
persecuting pharisee, ver. 13, 14. 

For ye have heard of 7ny former way of life in J 3. 

the profession of tludaism^, that I outrageously 
persecuted the church of Gody and laid it waste : 
and made proficiency in Judaism above many of 14. 
the same age in my own nation^ being more exceed- 
ingly zealous^ for the traditions of my fathers "^ . 

' Judaism.'] " Mr. L'Enfant well observes, that this does not 
signify the religion taught by Moses, but that which was prac- 
tised among the Jews at this time, and much of it built upon the 
traditions of the elders." Doddridge. " IsJalVjM.oj est studium Ju- 
daicorum rituum." Rosenmuller. 

* More exceedingly zealous.'} " ^r,Xujrr)s,i. e.studiosissimus re- ■ 
ligionis. ^ijXo;, emulatio, est acre studium rei impensum. itepia-- 
<rotspu}s,plus quamalii." Rosenmuller. 

* Traditions of mtj fathers.'] " traditiones patriae s?<n< par^iw. 

20 Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. I. To prove that the charges alleged against me are 
^^^' '"*■ totally destitute of foundation, I will briefly recapi- 
tulate a few of the most material circumstances of 
my former life. You nmst have heard from myself 
and others what 1 originally was : a Jew, educated 
at the feet of Gamaliel in all the tenets both of the 
written and the oral law ; a bigoted persecuting pha- 
risee, who, filled with rage against the disciples of 
Christ, thought I could not exert myself too strenu- 
ously, nor too barbarously, for the extirpation of 
that holy community, which the most high God 
acknowledges as his own ; and which he has taken 
under his immediate and powerful protection. And 
you have certainly heard how m.uch I distinguished 
myself above other young men who were my asso- 
ciates, by the progress which I made in the phari- 
saic doctrine ; by an earnest attachment to rites and 
ceremonies; and by a furious zeal for those tradi- 
tions which, being transmitted, as they pretend, 
from our ancestors, are enjoined by them as of equal 
obligation with, if not superior to, and even occa- 
sionally superseding, the written law. Judge, then, 
whether such a zealot as I have formerly been to 
all the erroneous notions and burdensome supersti- 
tions of pharisaic Judaism, should have been likely 
to have abandoned them completely and at once, 
without some very sufficient and cogent reason. 

ipsa doctr'ma. Lex et prophetce : partim, doctrincB humance, quce 
me iraduntur et ad conservandam legxs olivi civilis atictoritatetn 
perpetuam, sensim a magistris inventcs erant." RosenmuUer. 

Faht I. G A L A T 1 A N S. Sect. II. 2. 2 1 

2.) The apostle relates that after his conversion Ch. I. 
he passed some time in Arabia ; and opened his 
ministry at Damascus previously to his return to Je- 
rusalem, ver. 15 — 17. 

But when it pleased God, who set me apart from Ver. 15. 
my birth i, and called me by his favour, to reveal 16. 
his son to me^ that I might preach his gospel to 
the Gentiles; immediately^, luithout consulting any 
one 4, or going up to Jerusalem to those ivho were 17. 

apostles before me, 1 wejit away into Arabia and 
returned again to Damascus. 

' Who set me opart from my birth. ] Gr. from my mother's 
womb. See Dr. Symonds's Observ. p. 32. The apostle means 
to say, that he was originally intended for the office which he 
then held : it was not his intention to express himself with phi- 
losophical accuracy concerning the divine eternal decrees. — 
There is, therefore, no foimdation for the remark of Dr. Chan- 
dler, that God is sometimes pleased to separ-?'"'" persons, even 
before their birth, for particular offices and dutii 3, as if he did 
not always do this ; and as if all events were not equally under 
the direction and controul of Divine Providence. 

^ To reveal his son to 7ne] " by a miraculous vision from hea- 
ven." Dr. Chandler, sv £[/.oi, to me, that I might preach his 
gospel, sv roig sSvstri, to the Gentiles. So Locke, Chandler, Mac- 
knight, Symonds. — " to reveal his son by me." Tyndal, Wake- 
field, Newcome. 

' Immediately without consulting, &c.] I take this construction 
of the passage from Mr. Wakefield. Literally, / consulted not — 
/ went not up. Luke in his history takes no notice of this jour- 
ney to Arabia ; but it is highly probable that it took place before 
Paul opened his ministry at Damascus ; and that during his re- 
tirement in .Arabia, Jesus Christ appeared to him and commu- 
nicated the doctrine which he was commissioned to teach. 

* Without consulting anyone.'] In the or'igmBl, fesh and blood. 
See Matt. xvi. 1 7 -, Eph. vi. 1 2. "I did not confer immediately 
with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem," 3cc. New- 
come. — " immediately, without having recourse to flesh and 
blood, or going up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles be- 
fore me." Wakefield, — " I a})plied not myself to any man for 

22 PartL GALATIANS, Sect. 11. 2. 

Ch. I. Bigot and cruel persecutor as I was, the mercy of 
Vcr. 1/. Qq^ ^^g^g nevertheless extended to me; and by that 
sovereign goodness which selects what instruments 
it pleases for carrying on its own designs, I was from 
my birth set apart in the divine councils, as one who 
was afterwards to be employed as a teacher of the 
gospel ; and in due time I was, as you very well 
know, by a merciful and most extraordinary interr 
position of Divine providence in my way to Da- 
mascus, invited into the Christian church and con- 
verted to the Christian faith. But as soon as it had 
pleased God in his abundant mercy thus to change 
my heart by the personal appearance of Christ from 
heaven, and in general terms to give me a commis- 
sion to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, what was 
then my conduct? Did I converse with, or desire in- 
formation from, the Christians at Damascus ? or 
did I go up to Jerusalem, to learn the doctrine of 
Christ from those who had been first appointed to 
the apostolic office ? and to request instructions 
and authority from them ? Far from it. I went im- 
mediately away to a great distance into Arabia; 
where, in an obscure retirement for many months, 
my mind was fully enlightened in the plain and 

advice what to do." Locke ; who in his note observes, " This 
and what the apostle says in the following verse, is to evidence 
to the Galatians the full assurance he had of the truth and per- 
fection of the gospel, which he had received from Christ by im- 
mediate revelation ; and how little he was disposed to liave any 
regard to the pleasing of men in preaching it, that he did not 
so much as communicate or advise with any of the apostles about 
\i, to see whether they approved of it." 

Paut I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. 11. 2. 23 

simple truths of the gospel, and my heart weaned ch. i. 
from pharisaic prejudices, by communications from ^^^*"* ^^' 
Christ himself. After this I returned to Damascus, 
and there I opened my apostolical commission, and 
preached the gospel with great freedom and success ; 
till at length, a persecution having been instigated 
against me by my unbelieving countrymen, I was 
compelled to flee for my Hfe. 

3.) The apostle gives an account of a short visit 
which he made to Peter at Jerusalem, which was 
not till three years after his conversion, ver. 18 — 20. 

Then, after three years ', / went up to Jerusa- 18 
lem to visit Peter % and I abode with him fifteen 
days. But I saw none other of the apostles except 19. 
James i the Lord's brother"^. Now as to what I 20, 
am writing to you, behold^ in the presence of God, 
I falsify not *. 

■ After three ijears.'] The apostle is generally understood to 
mean three years after his conversion^, about a.d. 39. Acts ix.26. 

* To iusit Peter.'] ls-of>y)(rai, " to inquire for Peter." Mr, 
Wakefield. — If the apostle had been converted, and had preached 
or at least learned the gospel, three years before he saw Peter, 
it is plain that he did not derive his instructions from him. If 
he savi^ no apostles but Peter and James, it was evident that he 
did not act under a commission from them, and that his autho- 
rity was independent. — " That I might see Peter, not learn of 
him, not consult him." Newcome. 

* The Lord's brother.] This was James the son of Alpheus 
and Mary the sister of our Lord's mother : so that James was 
cousin-german to Christ. See Doddridge. "This James," says 
Dr. Priestley, " from his residing all his lifetime in Jerusalem, 
is often considered as the bishop of that place. None of the 
apostles, however, were properly bishops of any particular place, 
but had a general superintendence over all Christian churches 
wherever they went," 

24 Part I. G A L A Ti A N S. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. I. It was about three years after my conversion that 
^^' ' I was compelled to quit Damascus. I then came 
directly to Jerusalem ; and having with some diffi- 
culty, by means of Barnabas, obtained access to the 
believers there, I made a visit to that eminent apo- 
stle Peter, who entertained me hospitably in his 
house. But from him I could not learn much du- 
ring the short visit of fifteen days which I passed with 
him : much less could I have received a commis- 
sion from the original apostles, as some would have 
you believe ; for in truth, and I most solemnly ap- 
peal to an omniscient God in attestation of my ve- 
racity, I at that time saw no apostle besides, ex- 
cepting James the son of Alpheus, the near relation 
of Jesus, all the other apostles happening then to 
be absent from Jerusalem ; nor was I permitted to 
prolong my residence there, being warned in a vi- 
sion to depart and preach the gospel in other places 
where my ministry would be more useful. My life 
also was in imminent danger from the malice of my 
enemies, which made it necessary for me to hasten 
my departure. 

4.) The apostle therefore went down immedi- 
ately into Syria and Cilicia, without making him- 
self known to the churches in Judea, ver. 21 — 24. 
21. Afterwards I went into the regions of Syria 

* In the presence of God^ As this was not a fact of public no- 
toriety like the rest^ the apostle solemnly appeals to God in at- 
testation of his veracity. It was probably during this visit that he 
had the trance mentioned Acts xxii. 17. See Doddridge in loc. 


Paut I. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. II. 2. 25 

and Cilicia; cmd I iv as personally unknown to the Ch. i. 
churches of t/udea wh\ch were in Christ K But "^''23. 
they only heard that hewho formerly persecuted us ^ 
now preacheth the faith which he forrnerly extir- 
pated; and they glorified God on my account. 

Being obliged to leave Jerusalem, and the Jews 
being greatly exasperated against me, it was thought 
prudent for me not to preach in Judea, and there- 
fore I went down immediately to Syria and Cilicia, 
to preach the gospel to my fellow citizens at Tarsus 
and in the neighbouring regions. All this time, 
so far was I from acting in subordination to the 
churches in Judea, and deriving my instructions 
from them, that I was not even personally known 
to them. They had only heard that Saul of Tarsus, 
who had been a few years before the malignant and 
unwearied persecutor of the disciples of Jesus, is now 
by a signal interposition of divine mercy converted 
to the Christian faith, and is become the zealous 
teacher of that holy doctrine which he once threat- 
ened and laboured to exterminate. And hearing 
this, so far from calling me to account for preach- 
ing the gospel without permission from them, they 
rejoiced in my conversion, and gave thanks to God 
for his great mercy to me, and for employing me 
as an instrument in this honourable and glorious 

Having thus proved that I received my doctrine 

' Churches in Christ,'] i. e. " believing in Christ. Rom. xvi. 
7." Locke. " which had acknowledged Christ." Wakefield. 
Or. as we should say, the Christian churches. 

26 Pakt I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. 111. 1 . 

Ch. I. and my commission from Christ alone, and from no 
'^' " * human authority, I shall next show that many years 
afterwards, when these were called in question, their 
validity and divine authority were fully acknow- 
ledged by the apostles themselves. 


Ch. II. The APOSTLE vindicates the independence of his 
apostolical authority, the consistency of his cha- 
racter, and the truth of his doctrine, by an ac- 
count of his conduct at another visit which he 
Quade at Jerusalem, and by the public conceS' 
sions of the apostles themselves. Ch. ii. 1 — 10. 

1 . Having by divine direction taken a journey to 
Jerusalem, he communicated privately and fully to 
the apostles of greatest eminence the doctrine which 
he taught, ver. 1, 2. 
Ver. 1, Then, after fourteen years^, I went up again to 
Jerusalem ivith Barnabas, and took with me Titus 

* Fourteen yearsJ] That is, according to the generality of 
commentators, after his conversion ; and the visit to which the 
apostle here refers is that which is mentioned Acts xv., when 
Paul and Barnabas were deputed by the church at Antioch to go 
up to Jerusalem to consult the apostles there, concerning the 
obligation of the Gentile converts to submit to circumcision. 
Grotius and others for fourteen read four, by conjecture, suppo- 
sing the apostle to allude to his second journey to Jerusalem, 
Acts xi. 30 ; when, together with Barnabas, he carried up a col- 
lection from tlie Christians at Antiocli for the relief of the indi- 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Stxx. III. 1. 27 

also^. And I went up by i-evelat'ion'^^ and com- cii. ii. 
municated to them that gospel which I preach to 
the Gentiles ; but separately * to those who ivere of 
reputation ^, lest I might run, or might have run, 
in vain ^. 

gent believers at Jerusalem under the pressure of the famine 
predicted by Agabus. But this is expressly said to have been 
remitted to the elders of the church, so that it is possible that 
Paul might not then even have seen any of the apostles. It is 
not, however, likely that all the apostles would be absent from 
Jerusalem at the same time. Acts xii. The fact seems to be, 
that the question concerning circumcision does not appear to 
have been started, or at least to have attracted much notice, 
at the time of the second visit 3 which was antecedent to the mis- 
sion of Paul and Barnabas into the Lesser Asia, and to the con- 
version of such large numbers of heathen idolaters to the Chris- 
tian faith. See Acts xiii. xiv. After fourteen years : Sioc $a- 
xarscra-a^cov. " Six is used for y.era Matt. xxvi. 61 ; Mark ii. 
1 ." Newcome. 

"■^ Took ivith me Titus.'} This, as Dr. Doddridge observes, is 
the first mention of Titus in the New Testament, Luke having, 
for whatever reason, wholly omitted the mention of him in his 
history, though he was an eminent Gentile convert, a jjroselyte, 
a friend and a frequent associate of Paul. The apostle gives 
him a very high character, 2 Cor. viii., and it is even conjec- 
tured that the brother whom he speaks of ver. 1 8, as associated 
with Titus in collecting the charitable donations of the Corin- 
thian Christians, was Luke himself. See 2 Cor. xii. 18. It is 
uncertain when Titus was converted. 

' By revelation.'} This circumstance is omitted by Luke. The 
apostle might perhaps demur to accept the commission from the 
church at Antioch to consult the apostles at Jerusalem, lest it 
should appear as the acknowledgement of an authority superior 
to his own, till his objection was overruled by a divine commu- 
nication. That his missions were frequently undertaken by a 
special direction from heaven, is evident to all who read the 
apostolic history. See Acts xvi. 7, 10, 22. 

^ Separately.} xoct' ihocv, severally, individually. See Chand- 

* To those of reputation?^ roig §0K8ai- see ver. 6, 9. to those 
who were pillars of the church, to James, Peter, and John. 

" Lest I might, &c.} See Newcome : i. e. I communicated to 
the apostles the whole dotlriuc I had taught, lest they, being 

28 Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 1, 

Ch. II. 
Ver. 2. 

To confound the ignorance and malignity of 
those who presume to give out that I am no apo- 
stle, and that neither my mission nor my doctrine 
was approved by the true apostles of Christ, I will 
now mention some important circumstances which 
occurred in a visit to the church at Jerusalem four- 
teen years after my conversion to the Christian re- 
ligion, being the first which I made to the apostles, 
after having by divine appointment fulfilled a mis- 
sion to the Lesser Asia, for the purpose of preach- 
ing the gospel to the Gentiles. And Barnabas my 
fellow-labourer accompanied me : I also thought fit 
to take with us Titus, an eminent convert from hea- 
thenism. This journey we undertook at the desire 
of the church at Antioch, in order to settle a ques- 
tion which had been moved concerning the obliga- 
tion of the Mosaic ritual. And for this purpose I 
was permitted and even commanded to go to Jerusa- 
lemi by an express revelation from Christ, by whose 
direction I act in all the steps which I take relative 
to the purposes of my apostolical mission. Now 
when I came to Jerusalem, knowing the prejudices 
which existed against me, I fully communicated to 
the apostles of greatest note whom I found there, 
the whole of the doctrine which I preached to the 
Gentiles, without omitting the circumstance of their 
entire exemption from the yoke of the ceremonial 

misled by the false reports of others, should oppose my doc- 
trine and obstruct my usefulness. Dr. Mangevj in Bowyer's 
Conjectures, proposes to read w; for irws, not as though, &c. Mr. 
Wakelicld adopts this reading, and Dr. Priestley approves it. 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 2, 3. 29 

law. This communication, however, was made to Ch. n. 
them individually and in private, to avoid the noise 
and clamour of prejudiced persons, and to secure 
the countenance and support of these apostles, with- 
out which I v/as apprehensive that my past and fu- 
ture labours might be rendered in a great measure 

2. The apostle shows in the case of Titus, that 
the apostles at Jerusalem did not insist upon the 
subjection of Gentile believers to the yoke of the 
law, ver. 3. 

But not even Titus, who was with nie, being a ^' 

Greek, was compelled to he circumcised. 

Much as I wished to conciliate the affections of 
the apostles and Jewish Christians, I would not 
upon any account sacrifice the liberties of the Gen- 
tile church to this object. Nor was it indeed ex- 
pected, or at least insisted upon ; for, whatever 
might be their secret wishes, they by no means ab- 
solutely required that Titus should submit to the 
institutions of Moses, though they knew that he 
was a Gentile born, and not only a proselyte to, but 
a teacher of, the Christian religion. 

3. The apostle further declares his determined 
opposition to the demands of Judaizing bigot?, 
ver. 4, 5. 

And with regard to the false brethren ' who ivere 4, 

' With regard to, &c.] cia Ss re^ ^£vSa.S£X(p8?. " Six regit 
accusativum, et valet quod attiaet ad, Rom. iii. 27, viii. 10." 


30 Part I. GALATIANS. Skct. III. 3. 

Ch. 11. clandestinely introduced, who privily slipped in J, 
as spies upon that liberty ivhich we have in Christ 

Ver. 5. Jfesus, that they might enslave us, to these we 
yielded subjection no not for an instant 2, that the 
truth of the gospel might continue with you. 

I have constantly withstood every attempt to im- 
pose the Jewish ceremonial upon the Gentile be- 
lievers. Some half-Christians, bigots to the law, 
had come down to Antioch with great professions 
of regard for the new converts, but in fact with no 
other view but to see whether we complied with the 
Mosaic ritual, to deprive the Gentiles of their li- 
berty, and to insist upon their subjection to the law 
of Moses. And some of this description, and with 

Schleusner, This appears to me to be the easiest construction 
and explanation of the words j but I am inclined to think that in 
fact the apostle in the hurry of writing having introduced a pa- 
renthesis, forgot, and altered the construction of this sentence, 
as he certainly did of the next. 

' Who privily' slipped in.'] oltivsg vccpsKrrjX&ov. These words 
are omitted by Mr. Wakefield, upon the authority of the Sy- 
riac, .^thiopic, and Coptic versions. They appear like a mar- 
ginal explanation of itapuffantsi. They privily slipped in: at 
Antioch, Acts xv. 1, they introduced themselves, probably pre- 
tending amission from James (see Gal. ii. 12); and the other 
apostles at Jerusalem, to inquire after the welfare of the Gentile 
church and to promote their edification, when their real purpose 
was, to enforce subjection to the ceremonial law. And it is not 
unlikely that some of these zealots had contrived to get them- 
selves nominated among the messengers who were sent to con- 
sult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Acts xv, 2, 

• Not for an instant.'] ifpog cupav, for an hour. " with whom 
we complied not even for a moment." Wakefield. — " ne ad 
hreve tempus quidem, h. e. nunquam." Schleusner j who, how- 
ever, gives the sense of" momentum, punctum temporis, minima 
qucevis temporis particiila ;" and refers to Matt. viii. 13, ix. 22 j 
Luc. xii. 39, 46. 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Si.ct. III. 4. 31 

the same design, had artfully introduced themselves Ch. ii. 
among the messengers who were deputed from An- 
tioch to apply to the apostles and elders at Jerusa- 
lem for the decision of this question. But I have 
uniformly and invariably opposed them, and have 
never upon any occasion, even for a moment, ac- 
quiesced in their impositions. For I was determined 
that the gospel should be offered to the Gentiles in 
its truth and purity, as I had received it from Christ, 
unincumbered with the burdensome ceremonies of 
the Jewish law. 

4. His knowledge of the Christian doctrine was 
so complete, that the most eminent of the apostles 
at Jerusalem could make no addition to it, ver. 6. 

Moreover those who were"^ of consideration'^, ^ 

whatever they formerly were ^ it maketh no differ- 
ence to me, God accepteth no ?nans person : even 

^ Those who were.'] In the original, from those, airo §e tuv. 
The apostle evidently intended to say, from those, &c. I received 
no information : but having inserted a parenthesis, he changes 
the structure of his sentence, and concludes with, " theij added 
no information to me." 

* fVho were of consideration.'] rwv SoanvT'iJDV stvat ri. Lite- 
rally, who appeared to be somewhat : i. e. by a well known ele- 
gance of the Attic dialect in the use of the word Soxeuj, who ac- 
tually were somewhat, who were persons of note and eminence 
in the church j pillars, as he afterwards expresses himself, ver. 9. 
" The Greek is equivalent to rwv ovroov ri." Newcorae. — " Ao- 
xscv, solet interdum eleganter pleonastice poni." Schleusner. See 
Marc. X. 42 5 Luc. xxii. 24. 

* They formerly were.] otoioi itots ricrav. " however some 
would set them up above me, as having conversed with Christ 
on earth, and been apostles long before me." Doddridge. 

Ver. 6. 

32 Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. HI. 5. 

Ch. II. those who were of the greatest consideration com- 
Tiiunicated to me no instruction >. 

Are there any among you who presume to charge 
me with not being so well informed concerning the 
doctrine of the gospel as the apostles at Jerusalem ? 
Nothing can be more remote from truth than this 
accusation. There was a time, indeed, when they 
were greatly my superiors in Christian knowledge, 
but that makes no difference at present ; they are 
not my superiors now. For God, with whom there 
is no partiality, and who disposes of his favours as 
he pleases, has vouchsafed to place me upon a level 
with the most eminent of them all ; so that when I 
came to converse even with men of the greatest esti- 
mation in the church, so complete had my instruc- 
tions been, that it was not in their power to com- 
municate any new information to me, nor did they 
discover any error which required to be corrected. 

5. So far were the other apostles from affecting 
any superiority over him, that after having con- 
versed with him, they readily acknowledged him as 
their colleague, upon a footing of perfect equality 
with themselves, ver. 7 — 10. 

Bnt on the cotitrary, when they saw that I was 

' Communicated to me no instruction.'] sSsv irpoa-avsQsvta. 
"Up. facta collatione addo aliquid, examine habito corrigo, 
meliora doceo." Schlensner j who renders the words, " me iti- 
qiiam apostoU, quorum maxima erat auctoritas, nihil novi do- 
cuerunt, ant correxerunt. — " in conference added nothing to 
me." Nev/come. — " they, I say, who had this character gave 
me no instructions." Wakefield. 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 5. 33 

intrusted with the gospel of the uncirciimcisioTiy as Ch. Ii. 
Peter was with that of the circumcision ; for he Ver. 8. 
who exerted his energy ^ iti Peter for the apostle- 
ship of the circumcision, exerted also his energy in 
me for that to the Gentiles ; and perceiving the fa- 9. 

vour 3 which had been conferred upon 7ne, James 4 
and Cephas, and John, who were pillars, gave unto 
7ne and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, 
that we indeed^ might go as apostles 6 to the Gen- 
tiles, but they to the circumcision. 

The persons of eminence to whom I particularly 
allude, were James and Peter and John, who then 
resided at Jerusalem ; and who, being looked up to 

' He who exerted his energy."] evepyYja-as' *' who wrought 
powerfully in Peter," &c. Newcome.— " who gave Peter the 
authority of an apostle to the Jews, gave me also a commission 
to the Gentiles." Wakefield, The apostle means to say that 
his commission to the Gentiles was established by miracles as 
clearly as that of Peter to preach the gospel to the Jews ; and 
that the other apostles were perfectly satisfied with this evi- 
dence. See Locke. 

^ The favour, &c.] r^jv %a^(y. " This word," says Dr. Tay- 
lor, " is put for the apostolic office, Rom. i. 5, xii. 3, xv. J8; 
1 Cor. iii. 10 : and in general may signify any office, &c. which 
is the effect of favour." 

* James, &c.] Of the three apostles who are here mentioned 
as the pillars, that is, the supports and ornaments of the church 
at Jerusalem, James is mentioned first. He was probably the 
bishop or president of the church at Jerusalem : an honour as- 
signed to him, perhaps, from his near relationship to our Lord, 
Gal, i. 19. It is observable that he was the person who spoke 
last, and summed up the arguments, in the council which was 
held upon the question of circumcision. Acts xv. 13 — 21. 

* We indeed.] ^fji-sis i^sv. or, " that we on our part." This is 
the reading of the Alexandrine, Ephrem, and other ancient co- 
pies. See Griesbach. — avroi Ss, " but they on their part:' 

^ Might go as apostles.] The ellipsis is the same as in ver. 8, 
and ought to be supplied in the same manner. 


34 Paut I. GALATIANS. Sfxt. III. 5. 

Ch. II. as the heads and pillars of the church, its best or- 
^*''- ''^- naments and supports, took particular cognizance 
of the cause referred to them by the Christians at 
Antioch. These apostles, therefore, having con- 
versed with me concerning the nature and objects 
of my mission, and my qualifications for it, soon 
discovered and ingenuously acknowledged my equa- 
lity with them. For they found that as Peter and 
others were commissioned to preach the gospel to 
the Jews, to work miracles in confirmation of it, 
and to impart spiritual gifts to believers, God had 
also given to me a similar commission, confirmed 
by similar powers, to teach the gospel to the hea- 
then. Most readily, therefore, they acknowledged 
my apostolical authority; they received me as an 
associate and an equal, and agreed that each of us 
should labour in the province respectively assigned 
to us : so that, while they continued for the present 
to exercise their mission among the Jews, Barnabas 
and I should go on with plenary apostolical autho- 
rity to preach the gospel to the Gentiles ; in the 
conversion of whom they greatly rejoiced, and to 
our arduous labours for whose benefit they cordially 
wished success. 
10. Ojili/ they desired thai we should remember the 
poor, which very thing I also was earnest todo^. 

' Earnest to do.'] Not only from sympathy and compassion to 
the indigent Christians at Jerusalem, who are probably the per- 
sons intended, but from the hope that the generosity of the 
Gentile Christians might gradually soften the prejudices of the 
Jewish bigots. " All that they proposed was, that we should 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. .5. 35 

So far were these distinguished men from desiring ch. ir. 
to innovate upon our doctrine, or to impose a bur- "" ' 
densome ritual upon the Gentile converts, that they 
assumed no authority whatever ; but only requested 
that we would not forget the indigent believers in 
Jerusalem, w^ho stood in great need of relief: an 
object which I was myself particularly anxious to 
promote, not merely from sympathy in their di- 
stresses, and a sincere desire to supply their wants, 
but from the hope that the liberality of the Gentile 
converts might gradually soften the prejudices of 
the Hebrew Christians, and reconcile them to the 
liberal spirit of the new dispensation. 

At the close of this interesting Section, it may 
be of use to compare the accounts which are given 
by Luke and Paul of this celebrated interview with 
the apostles at Jerusalem, when the liberties of the 
Gentile church were fully and authoritatively esta- 
blished : in which we cannot fail to remark the dif- 
ference between the narrative of the calm impartial 
historian, and that of the party personally and deeply 
concerned. Luke, Acts xv., relates that certain Jew- 
ish zealots visited the Gentile church at Antioch, 
and troubled its peace by insisting upon the indis- 
pensable necessity of circumcision ; that Paul and 
Barnabas warmly opposed this unauthorized en- 

vemember to make collections among the Gentiles for the poor 
Christians of Judea, which was a thing that of myself 1 was for- 
ward to do." Locke. 


36 Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. III. 

Ch. II. croacbment upon the liberty of the Gentile church ; 
that the dissentlons rose to such a height that it was 
thought advisable to depute Paul and Barnabas, in 
company with other members of the church, to go 
up to Jerusalem to consult the apostles upon the 
case ; that the apostles and elders, being assembled 
to deliberate upon the subject, after hearing the ac- 
count which Paul and Barnabas gave of their great 
success in converting the Gentiles, came to an una- 
nimous resolution, at the suggestion of James, that 
the Gentiles who believed were not subject to cir- 
cumcision, nor to the yoke of the ceremonial law ; 
but that they should be advised, out of regard to the 
prejudices of the Jews, to abstain from certain kinds 
of food which were forbidden by the law of Moses. 
And with this answer they returned to Antioch, and 
restored peace to the divided church. This is Luke's 

The apostle Paul, as one personally concerned 
and deeply interested in the business, gives a narra- 
tive of the same journey with much greater anima- 
tion than the historian ; and details many circum- 
stances which Luke omits. In the first place, he 
expresses great indignation at the intrusion of these 
unwelcome visitors from Jerusalem, who had art- 
fully insinuated themselves into the society, in order 
to abridge the liberties of the Gentile converts, and 
to sow discord in the church. He further remarks, 
that he did not consent to undertake this journey at 
the request, much less at the bidding, of the church 
at Antioch. No : he would not compromise the au- 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. III. V 

thority which he derived from Christ : nor would he Ch. ii. 
go, till he was directed by Christ himself, to accept 
of the mission from the brethren at Antioch. Nei- 
ther would he for a moment give place to the intru- 
ders : and to exemplify the right which he claimed, 
he took Titus, a converted Gentile, with him to Je- 
rusalem, whom he protected by his own authority 
from the imposition of the ceremonial law. 

The apostle further relates, that in his intercourse 
with his elder brethren, the apostles of the greatest 
note in the church at Jerusalem, he did not profess 
to ask their advice, to apply for instruction, or to 
solicit approbation: he simply communicated the 
doctrine he had taught, the rules which he had ob- 
served, the injunctions he had imposed, the autho- 
rity under which he had acted, the power which he 
had exercised, and the success which had followed 
his preaching. If they approved his proceedings, it 
was well : if not, he should still go on as he had 
been directed by him from whom he had received 
his commission. He communicated this informa- 
tion in private, that the multitude might not take 
offence. And as he expected, so it happened. In 
the first place, the apostles could make no addition 
to his instructions ; and in the second place, they 
'were delighted with his narrative, rejoiced in his suc- 
cess,, and cordially received and acknowledged him 
as their equal and associate, commending him and 
his labours to the blessing of God. 

These circumstances, so vividly described, give 
interest and credibility to the narrative ; and con- 

38 PahtI. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 1. 

Ch. II. tribute powerfully to his main design, of convincing 
the Galatians that he was truly an apostle of Jesus 
Christ, entirely independent of the other apostles, 
and equal in all respects to those who had been 
honoured with the apostleship many years before 


The APOSTLEy as a further proof of his mdcpend- 
ent authority y and of the consistency of his cha- 
racter, mentions the rebuke which he admini- 
stered publicly to Peter at Antiochfor the timi- 
dity and duplicity of his conduct ; and comments 
upon the speech which he then delivered. Ch. ii. 

1 . He states the misconduct of the apostle Peter, 
ver. 11—13. 
Ver. 11. Moreover y ivhen Peter came to Ajitioch^, I op- 
posed him to the face because he luas to be blamed^. 

' Peter came to Antiochl] This was probably soon after the 
council at Jerusalem ; and the first time that Peter had ever 
visited a Gentile church. Dr. Lardner observes, that this is the 
last time that Peter is mentioned in the Nevi^ Testament, ex- 
cept in his own epistles, and 1 Cor. i. \2, iii. 22. Luke takes 
no notice of this journey. 

* To he blamed^ Kar£Yvujcr[j.£vos, the participle for the ad- 
jective. The apostle uses a strong expression. Peter's beha- 
viour deserved " not only a gentle reproof, but to be entirely 
condemned, as being contrary to his own knowledge, and tend- 
ing to subvert the simplicity of the gospel." Chandler. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Skcx. IV. 1 . 39 

For before certain persons came from James 3 he ch, ii 
usedtoeaf^ ivith the Gentiles-, but when they came 
he withdrew^, and separated himself fearing those 
of the circumcision ^. And the rest of the Jews 
also acted hypocritically 7 luith him, so that even 
Barnabas was carried away with them ^ in this 
their hypocrisy. 

Having represented the independence of my cha- 

Ver. 12. 

' Fr(m, James.] As it is mentioned that they came from 
James, it is probable that these officious zealots either had, or 
pretended that they had, authority from that apostle for the ad- 
vice they gave. And though, after what had passed at the 
council, neither James nor the rest of the Jewish Christians 
could insist upon the subjection of the believing Gentiles to the 
yoke of the law, they might still think it inexpedient to asso- 
ciate familiarly with them. 

* He used to eat.'] So Wakefield. This cannot, as Dr. Priest- 
ley observes, be understood of his eating any thing forbidden 
by the laws of Moses, but probably of familiarly associating with 
them at their meals. See Acts x. 28. Dr. Chandler, however, 
thinks that the apostle, having been taught by vision that no- 
thing was unclean, esteemed it no sin to eat of their meats with- 
out distinction. 

* He withdrew.] " vtss-^XXs, se subduxit, subtraxii furtim id 
agens." Newcome j who justly adds, " his reason was an undue 
fear of the converted Jews : from which unworthy motive he 
acted contrary to the revelation'made to him, and to his de- 
clared sentiments ; and thus obstructed the progress of Chris- 
tianity among the Gentiles." See Acts x. 15, 28, 34,35. 

*" Of the circumcision.] tsg sx. irspirojjiriS. Jewish Christians, 
zealots for the law, who came from Jerusalem, who would be 
offended at his familiar intercourse with the Gentile believers, 
and would report it to his disadvantage. 

7 Acted hypocritically.] " contrary to their better judgement 
and conviction ; concealing their real sentiments through fear." 

** Was carried awaij.] " airctyuj signifies to carry or drive a 
person away against his will; here it signifies to be carried 
away by the force of authority and example, in opposition to 
conviction and judgement." Chandler. 

40 PabtI. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 1. 

Ch. II. racter and conduct with respect to the apostles in 
^^' ' circumstances in which we perfectly harmonized 
with each other, I will now show how little I was 
disposed to make improper concessions where our 
conduct differed. Soon after the important ques- 
tion concerning the obligation of the Mosaic law 
had been decided in favour of the Gentile believers 
by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, Peter made 
a visit to the church at Antioch ; and here I was 
under the painful necessity of administering to him 
publicly, and in the presence of the whole assem- 
bled church, a severe rebuke, and of remonstrating 
with him against the duplicity of his behaviour ; for 
indeed his conduct was most inexcusable, and de- 
serving of condemnation. It was this : When Pe- 
ter first came to Antioch he associated familiarly 
with the Gentile converts, and made no scruple of 
eating with them ; knowing that under the gospel 
dispensation ritual distinctions are set aside. But 
afterwards, when some troublesome zealots came 
down from Jerusalem, and pretended that James, 
and the most respectable members of the Hebrew 
church, though they did not insist upon imposing 
the Mosaic ritual upon Gentile Christians, never- 
theless held it to be inexpedient to associate fa- 
miliarly with those who declined subjection to the 
law, Peter, instead of boldly adhering to his princi- 
ples, and rebuking the false maxims and unautho- 
rized intrusion of these officious bigots, meanly 
submitted to them, and acquiesced in their illiberal 
So that, lest he should give oflFence 

Part I, GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 2. 41 

to these narrow-minded Jews, he suddenly broke off Ch. ii. 
his connexion with the Gentile converts ; to the 
great surprise and discouragement of that nume- 
rous and respectable body of believers. The other 
Jewish Christians naturally followed Peter's exam- 
ple; and, like him, in order to silence the clamours 
of unreasonable men, they acted contrary to the con- 
viction of their better judgement. But what is most 
astonishing, even Barnabas himself, my friend and 
associate in the mission to the Gentiles, was carried 
away with the stream, and had not firmness suffi- 
cient to avow his principles, and to maintain his 
ground against the general defection. 

2. The apostle states the reproof which, under 
these circumstances, he administered to Peter, ver. 

But when I saw that they ivere not walking in H. 

the straight path of the true gospel ^^ I said to 
Peter ^ before them all; 

When I saw them all deviating from the right 
line of duty, departing from the genuine principles 

^ In the straight path.'] opSoifoSsa-i. " directly according to 
the truth of the gospel." Chandler j who observes, that " the- 
truth of the gospel was the gospel unmixed with the Jewish law." 
" keeping the straight path of the truth of the gospel." Wake- 

* / said to Peter.'] Dr. Doddridge observes, that " had this 
been matter only of private offence, Paul would have known 
that duty required him to expostulate with Peter privately upon 
it ; but as it was a public affair, this method was the most pro- 
per. Probably this happened after public v/orshipj and it would 
s>eem the less surprising, considering the conferences which were 

42 Paut I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 2. 

Ch. 11. and spirit of the gospel, impeding its progress, 
wronging their own consciences, and grieving and 
discouraging the Gentile converts, so far from sub- 
mitting to the authority of Peter, or being restrained 
by an ill-timed complaisance to the age, character, 
and station of this distinguished apostle, I made no 
hesitation to address him in public, in the presence 
of the whole assembled church, in the language 
which I shall now repeat. 
—14. When thou who art a Jew livest according to the 
manner of the Gentiles^ and not according to that 
of the JewSy how is it ' that thou compellest the 
Gefitiles 2 to observe Jewish rites 3 P 

It is but lately, my venerable brother, that you 
associated without scruple with the Gentile con- 
verts ; and, though a Jew yourself, yet having been 
instructed from above to esteem nothing unclean 
v»^hich God had purified, you hesitated not to live as 

held in the Jewish synagogues before the assembly was broke 
up. It is a very just observation of Mr. Jeffery here, that had 
any imposture been carried on, the contention of these two 
great managers would probably have been an occasion of disco- 
vering it." 

' How is itJ] The best copies read itws, instead of n. See 

- Compellest the Gentiles.'] avayxa^sis. " Though this word," 
says Dr. Chandler, " frequently signifies to compel by force and 
violence, yet it is as frequently used to denote moral compul- 
sion." Matt. xiv. 22; Acts xxviii. 19. 

' To observe Jewish riles.'] isJaig'eiv, tojudaize. " to live like 
the Jews." Wakefield. " Why, by an inconsistent conduct, and 
by the influence of a great example, do you induce the Gentiles 
to think that Jewish rites and customs are of indisj)ensable obli- 
gation ; those very rites with which you have occasionally dis- 
pensed ?" Nevvcome. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 2. 4o 

the Gentiles do, notwithstanding the rigour of the Ch. ii. 
ceremonial precept. What, then, can be the mean- 
ing of this sudden change ? What can induce you, 
as far at least as your example goes, to compel the 
Gentile believers to submit to a yoke from which 
you know they are exempt; and to lead them to con- 
clude, that unless they subject themselves to the ce- 
remonial law, they aire not worthy to be acknow- 
ledged by you as Christian brethren ? 

We who are Jews by birth^, and not sinners of 15. 
the Gentiles ^i yet convinced^ that no man isjusti- 16. 

* Jews by birth.'] (pvcrsi, by nature, " What the Jews thought 
of themselves in contradistinction to the Gentiles, see Rom. ii. 
17—23." Locke. 

* Sinners of the Gentiles.'] The apostle, by this expression, 
does not appear to have any reference to the moral but to the 
ceremonial state of the Gentiles : vv^hat they were by birth, not 
by practice. We who are Jews by nature, i. e. by birth, God's 
peculiar people, and not Gentiles, who are by birth sinners, out 
of covenant, unholy, ceremonially unclean. In this sense the 
word occurs very frequently in the New Testament, as must be 
evident to all who read with attention and impartiality. See 
ver. 17 : while w;e seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are 

found sinners ; surely, not profligate and abandoned, but in an 
unholy state, ceremonially impure, and out of covenant witli 
God, like the Gentiles themselves. " Sinners: such terms 
are applied to the whole body of the Gentiles, as dyios is to 
that of Christians." Newcome. The word ' sinners' occurs in 
a national and not a moral sense in many passages in the New 
Testament. See Luke vii.39, xix. 7; Matt. ix. 10, xi. 19, xxvi. 
45 ; Luke vi. 32, The Gentiles, as Archbishop Newcome ob- 
serves, " were idolatrous and immoral from their very religion ; 
and therefore the terras sinners and Gentiles are often used as 

^ Convinced.] siSoTsg, knowing. " convinced that no man can 
be acquitted." Wakefield. — " since we know that a man is not 
justified."* Newcome ; who in his note adds, " cannot be ac- 
cepted of God, so as to enter into the new covenant with him 
on a plea of obedience to the law of Mose.-s," 

44 Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 2. 

Ch. ir. Jied ' by the works of the law, but through faith in 
Jesus Christ; even we have believed^ in Christ 
Jesus, that we might bejustifed by faith in Christ, 
and not by the works o/'the law ;for by the works 
o/'the laiv no man can bejustifed^. 

You and I are descendants of Abraham, born 
under the Mosaic covenant, subject to its authority, 
and by birth-right entitled to its blessings; not like 
these poor heathen who know nothing of the pro- 
mises, and. have no share in them. And yet so sen- 
sible are we that we have forfeited all claim by law 
to an interest in the promises, that we have pro- 
fessed faith in Jesus as the Messiah, in order to se- 
cure a title to covenant blessings, independently 
upon our observance of the ceremonial law. For, 
to say the truth, the law is so strict in its injunc- 
tions, and so merciless in its penalties, that no in- 
dividual can ever say that he has fully come up to 

^ No man is justified.'] SiKaistai. The word 'justified' is used 
in contradistinction to * sinners' in the preceding clause, and is 
to be understood accordingly. To be sinners is to be out of co- 
venant with God ; to he justified is to be in covenant with him, 
to be in the number of his peculiar people. No man can be jus- 
tified by law, because the law makes no provision for repent- 
ance ; but believers are justified by faith in Christ, i. e. they be- 
come members of the Christian community, holy and conse- 
crated to God by faith in Christ, as they formerly became mem- 
bers of the Jewish community by submission to circumcision. 
See Taylor's Key to the apostolical Epistles, chap. xii. xvi. xvii. 

* Even we have believed,'] and by our faith have acknowledged 
the incompetency, and therefore the inutility, of the law. " Even 
we, &c., and much more should the Gentiles, whose religious 
advantages are so far inferior to what we enjoy." Newcome. 

^ No man can be justified.] " St. Paul gives the reason, Rom. 
iii. 20 ; because the law multiplied offences. See also Rom. iv. 
15, v, 20, vii. 7, viii. 3; Gul. iii. 10." Newcome. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Skct. IV. 2. 45 

its requisitions, and is upon that ground strictly en- Ch. ii. 
titled to its rewards. Shall we, then, send these ^'^' ' 
poor heathen converts to seek for justification, for 
pardon, and for life, upon the very ground which we 
have ourselves abandoned ? 

JVow, if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, 17- 

we ourselves are still found to be sinners'^, then 
Christ is the minister of a dispensation of sin ^ : 
which can by no means be allowed^. 

■* Sinners?^ See note, ver, 15. 

* Then Christ.'] apa. X^is-og. Literally, " then Christ is the mi- 
nister of sin." See Taylor on Rom. v. 20, p. 296. The particle a^sa 
is so frequently used by the apostle to introduce an inference, 
(see ver. 2 1 , where the very same expression occurs without any 
suspicion of an interrogation,) that it seems surprising that so 
many learned expositors should understand it in this case as in- 
terrogatory ; especially as the sense is so much more clear and 
easy if the words are taken in their proper illative signification. 
If, believing in Christ, we are still sinners, then Christ is a mi- 
nister of sin. Which God forbid. By a minister of sin the apo- 
stle means not, as it is commonly understood, a dispensation 
which allows and encourages sin, but a dispensation which while 
it professes to justify leaves men in an unholy unjustified state. 
So that, upon this supposition, believers in Christ would be no 
more the people of God than heathen themselves. And Christ, 
who taught them that by faith in him they would become the 
covenant people of God, equally with the Jews, would, upon 
this supposition, be a liar and impostor. 

' Which can by no means be allowed^ |u,ij yzvoiro, let it not 
be : the form of expression which the apostle uses when he re- 
jects a conclusion as utterly inadmissible and absurd : as a ma- 
thematician would say, Q. E. A., Quod est absurdum. 

Here the address to Peter ends, as is evident from the change 
of persons in the next verse, where he proceeds to comment 
upon the rebuke he administered to Peter. There can be no 
doubt that this reproof, so ably and faithfully administered, pro- 
duced its proper effect. This open rebuke was more honour- 
able, and more truly friendly, than it would have been to have 
opposed and blamed him in private, while he abstained from 

4G Tart I. GALATIANS. Sect, IV. 2, 3, 

Ch. 11. Consider, my brother, the tendency of your con- 
duct, and the dishonour which it entails upon our 
great Master and his gospel. We who are Jews be- 
lieve in Christ for justification ; a plain proof that 
we regard the law as incompetent to this end. But 
your example leads the Gentile believer to con- 
clude, that faith will not justify him independently 
of submission to the law. Thus, according to the 
obvious tenor of your conduct, the dispensation of 
Christ is also imperfect; and Christ is the minister 
and medium of a dispensation which, while it pro- 
fesses to justify, leaves men in the same unpardoned 
and unholy state in which it found them. So that, 
in fact, our Master is a deceiver, an impostor, who 
makes pretensions which he cannot substantiate. 
But God forbid, my dear brother and associate in 
the gospel, that you or I should ever, by our lan- 
guage or example, give countenance to so false and 
dangerous a conclusion. Such, my friends, was 
the reproof which I administered to Peter ; and 
which, upon the ingenuous mind of that holy and 
generous apostle, produced an immediate and be- 
neficial effect. But you will plainly see from this 
history that I neither needed instruction from him, 
nor yielded subjection to him. 

3. The apostle argues that it was not likely that 

public censure. That it left no unfavourable impression upon 
the mind of the apostle Peter, is evident from the kind and re- 
spectful manner in which he mentions Paid in his second epi- 
stle. 2 Pet. iii. 1.^). 

Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 4. 47 

after this rebuke of Peter he should himself become ch. ir. 
an advocate for the law, ver. 18. 

Now, if I buildup again what I have destroyed, Ver. 18. 
I acknowledge myself a transgressor '. 

I must be very weak indeed if I should now be- 
come, as some report of me, an advocate for Jewish 
rites, after having so publicly remonstrated against 
them; for it would be making a confession that I 
never have made, and never will, that I acted wrong 
in the rebuke which I administered to Peter. 

4. He avers that the law had itself taught him to 
renounce all dependance upon it, ver. 19. 

Moreover, I through the laiv am dead to the laiv 2, 19. 

that I may live to God. 

The law itself teaches me its own inefficacy. It 
pi'onounces the sentence of death upon every act of 
disobedience. I have fallen under its condemna- 
tion, and can derive no hope from it. If I live at 
all, it must be by the mercy of God, and to his ser- 
vice must my restored life be devoted. 

' Now if, &c.] The sense I have given to this passage ap- 
pears to me to be the most just, though it is not the most 

^ / through the law.'] The law foretells its own dissolution, 
by the introduction of a superior dispensation, Rom. iii. 21 ; 
Gal. iii. 24, 25, iv. 21. Perhaps the sense will be more clear 
if the phrase is considered as a hypallage not unusual with the 
apostle. To avoid the offensive expression, ' the law is dead,' 
he says, I am dead to the law ; meaning that with respect to 
himself the law had ceased to exist, and he was now at liberty 
to enter into the service of a new master, i. c. the gospel ; in 
the profession of which he was devoted to the service of God. 
See a form of expression exactly parallel to this, Rom. vii. 4 5 
with Dr. Taylor's note. 

48 Part I. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 5. 

Ch, II. 5. By faith in Christ he was become a new per- 
son ; nor would he degrade the gospel by having 
recourse to the law, ver. '10, 2 1 . 

Ver. 20. / a?Ji cruc'ified With Christy nevertheless I live ^. 
Yet no longer /, but Christ liveth in me ^. And 
the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith 
in tiee Son of God^y who loved me and delivered up 
himself for me. 

Professing to believe in Christ, I am become 
dead to the law. My expectations from it and my 
subjection to it are as much at an end as those of 
a dead man with respect to the living world. But 
though crucified like Christ, like him I am raised 
to life ! I am introduced into a new state of exist- 
ence. I was formerly the poor, devoted, condemned 
slave of the law: I am now the pardoned, free, and 
happy believer in the gospel. So that I am not the 

' / am crucified, &c.] The apostle often represents conver- 
sion to the Christian religion under the emblem of death to a 
former state and dispensation, and of a resurrection to a new 
life and state of being, with new views, hopes, duties, and ends, 
so as to be quite difierent from his former self. See Rom. vi. 
2— 14, vii. 4. 

' Yet no longer 7.] I am no longer the same self, ovk sti sycj, 
but I am one with Christ, a portion, a limb of his mystical per- 
son. It is a favourite figure of the apostle to represent the 
whole Christian church as one body, of which Christ is the head. 
It is an idea which occurs in almost every epistle, and plainly 
appears to have been always uppermost in his mind. See Rom. 
xii. 4, 5 ; 1 Cor. xii. 12—27, vi. 1.5 ■, Eph. i. 23. 

^ Bij faith in the Son of God.'] i. e. in other words, faith in the 
resurrection of Jesus, by which he was declared to be the son of 
God, Rom. i. 4. Righteous men are called sons of God, as they 
are to be raised to an immortal life, Luke .\x. 36, And Christ is 
called the first born, as having been first raised to immorUility. 
Col. i. 18. 

Part I. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 5. 49 

same self, I am a new being, a member of Christ, Ch. ir. 
a living portion of his mystical body. And the 
vital principle which animates the whole system, 
and pervades every individual member, that princi- 
ple, which in my present new state of existence is the 
master spring of my whole character, and of every 
particular action, is faith; faith in that glorious 
event by which Christ was declared to be the Son 
of God ; his resurrection from the dead. And this 
principle induces me to consecrate my renewed life, 
and all its faculties and powers, to him who loved us, 
and who died for all mankind, without excepting 
even me, who am the chief of sinners. 

/ do not contemptuously reject '^ the favour of 21. 
God; for if justification come by the law, then 
Christ died in vain. 

If I submitted to the Mosaic ritual as matter of 
obligation, and enforced it upon others, I should 
treat the mercy of God in the gospel with indig- 
nity and contempt : for, if the law could justify, 
the gospel were needless, and the death of Christ 
of no use. So that the whole Christian dispensa- 
tion would be marked with consummate folly. But 
such a conclusion would be absurd and impious. 
Let us then seek for justification only by faith in 
Christ, wholly renouncing every expectation from 
the ceremonial law. 

* Contemptuously reject!] " a9era» signifies to reject or con- 
temn ; and this sense seems to be the best here, as it best suits 
the scope of the apostle's argument." Chandler. 


50 Part II. G A L A T I A N S, Sect. I. 


Ch. III. The apostle offers many considl:rations to 



V. 12. 


The ArosTLE urges a variety of arguments^ to 
prove that the Mosaic ritual was in no degree 
obligatory upon, or beneficial to, the Gentile 
Christians. Ch. iii. 1 — iv. 7. 

1. The apostle apostrophizes the Christians of 

» Urges arguments^ It may perhaps be asked why the apo- 
stle condescends to argue upon a point of pure revelation, when 
it would have been quite sufficient, and perhaps most satisfactory, 
to have appealed to inspiration only ? But, admitting his inspi- 
ration, the tenor of his argument is perfectly just : for his first 
object is to establish his own apostolical authority by an appeal 
to his miraculous powers, ch. iii. J — 5, and then to reconcile his 
readers to the gospel mode of justification, by showing that it 
had a precedent in the case of Abraham, and that it was even 
the subject of a promise to Abraham's spiritual posterity : so 
that the gospel mode of justification by faith, without regard to 
the ceremonial law, was not only consistent with the divine an- 

Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 1. 51 

Galatia upon their infatuation in forsaking the doc- Ch. iir.* 
trine of Christ, which had been so fully explained 
to them, ch. iii. ver. 1. 

O thovghtless Galatians ! who has fascinated Ver. 1. 
you 2, before whose eyes tiesiis Christ crucified has 
been so clearly represented'^ 9 

Thus have I ever maintained, and ever will, the 
inutility and absolute nulhty of the Mosaic ritual 
with respect to the believing Gentiles . This was 
the doctrine which I inculcated upon you, and to 
which I have ever most firmly adhered. And, O 
thoughtless Galatians ! what powerful magician can 
have so blinded your eyes and stupified your under- 
standings as to have induced you to depart so widely 

thority of the Mosaic dispensation, but was actually foretold, 
introduced and supported by it. It may indeed be allowed, that 
where reasoning is introduced, the claim to inspiration is in that 
instance waved, and the apostle's doctrine may be true and his 
conclusion^^sf, though his reasoning may be sometimes illogical^ 
and his premises doubtful. 

' Who has fascinated, or enchanted you ?] It seems strange 
that the converted Gentiles should be so easily seduced, and so 
strongly attached to the burdensome ritual of i.he ceremonial 
law. But they might perhaps hope to escape persecution by 
passing for Jews, ch. v. 10, 11. Also, having been accustomed 
before their conversion to the pomp and ceremony of idolatrous 
rites, their minds might not be sufficiently purified and elevated, 
to relish the simplicity of the Christian religion. And finally, 
some even of the first converts to the Christian religion might 
entertain the notion, too generally prevalent, that a deficiency 
in moral virtue might be compensated by a rigid adherence to 
ceremonial institutions. N.B. The words " that ye should not 
obey the truth," are omitted in the most approved manuscripts 
and versions, and in the editions of Griesbach and Newcome. 

" Represented.'] The words ev ii>.iv, among you, obscure the 
sense, and are omitted in the Alexandrine and other manu- 
scripts, and in Mr. Wakefield's version. 


Ver. 1. 

52 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. 1.2. 

Ch. III. from the plain simple doctrine of a crucified Master 
which I so clearly defined to you, and to fancy that 
faith in a once dead but now risen and exalted Mes- 
siah is not of itself sufficient to entitle you to an 
interest in the blessings of the gospel, without sub- 
jecting yourselves to the grievous and intolerable 
yoke of the law ? 

2. He reminds them that the gospel was first 
preached to them by himself, who had therefore a 
prior claim to their regard, ver. 2. 

This only I desire to learn from you^ Did ye re- 
ceive the spirit i from him who insisted upon the 
works of the law^ or from him who taught the doc- 
trine offaith"^? 

Tell me truly which of the two is most entitled 
to your regard, your new teachers or myself.^ Which 
of us first instructed you in the spiritual, refined, and 
liberal doctrine of Christianity ? Was it the man 

' Receive the spirit.'] The expression, owing to the apostle's 
haste, and the brevity which he afiects in this epistle, is ambi- 
guous and obscure. The word spirit probably in this verse, and 
unquestionably in the following, signifies the spiritual dispensa- 
tion of the gospel, in opposition to the law ; and I conceive tlie 
argument to stand as 1 have explained it in the commentary. 
This distinguishes it from the argument in the fifth verse, where 
an appeal is made to miraculous powers. 

■* From him who insisted, &c.] By the phrases e^ ef/wv vcjita, 
s^ UKOr/s TTirewf , the apostle undoubtedly means to designate 
himself, who taught justification by faith, and the false teachers, 
who insisted upon justification by law. It is to be remembered, 
that the apostle wrote this whole epistle with his own hand, and 
that writing Greek was difficult to him. Gal. vi. 1 1 . This led 
him to study brevity and an elliptical mode of expression, which 
throws great obscurity over a considerable part of this epistle. 

Part II. G A L A T 1 A N S. Sect. I. 3, 4. 53 

who insists upon the expediency of Jewish ceremo- Ch. in. 
nies, or was it he who told you that faith alone was 
sufficient? And surely some little deference is due 
to him to whom you are indebted for all you know 
of the gospel of Christ. 

3. He urges the folly and absurdity of supposing 
that the superior dispensation could need the aid of 
a subordinate ritual, ver. 3. 

u4re ye so inconsiderate? having begun ivith the 3. 

spirit"^, are ye noiv seeking to be made perfect by 
the flesh? 

Can you possibly be so absurd as to believe that 
the gospel needs the aid of the law to make up for 
its defects ? Can you suppose that, if you act up 
to the dictates and spirit of the gospel, you will not 
be accepted by God if you do not add to them the 
low, and comparatively puerile, rigours of the law.'' 

4. The apostle pleads the inconsistency of de- 
serting a doctrine which they had openly professed, 
and for which they had even suffered persecution, 
ver. 4. 

Have ye suffered'^ so many things in vain ? ij\ ^^ 

indeed^ it be in vain ? 

^ Spirit— fesh?] i. e. the gospel and the law. This, as Mr. 
Locke observes, is a way of speaking veiy familiar to St. Paul. 
As this great commentator saw the true meaning of the word 
spirit in this verse, it is the more surprising that he should have 
imderstood it differently in the preceding, where he interprets it 
of spiritual gifts ^ which confounds the argument with that in 
ver. 5. 

* Have ye suffered, &c.] Mr. Wakefield observes, that the 

64 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. 1. 5. 

Ch. Ill, Have not you been persecuted for your profession 
of the Christian rehgion, and by whom ? By the 
Jews chiefly ; the bigoted adherents to the institutes 
of Moses? Are you now gone over to the party of 
your persecutors; and virtually acknowledging, that 
your firmness and fortitude when suffering in the 
cause of truth and liberty was folly and enthusiasm ? 
Let me hope that matters are not carried to this 
disgraceful and dangerous extreme, but that you 
may still be reclaimed from this strange delusion. 

5. He appeals to the miracles wrought, and to 
the miraculous gifts imparted, as decisive in favour 
of the doctrine which he had taught, ver. 5 . 
6- He who supplied you i with the spirit 2, and who 

word TTao-p^cy is what grammarians call a middle verb ; and he 
renders the clause, " Have so many things been done for you in 
vain?" The apostle is generally understood to allude to their 
past firmness in bearing persecution, from which they now de- 
sire to shield themselves by assuming the character of Judaism, 
" If, indeed, the event shall prove that they have been suffered 
in vain ; which I will not suppose, but rather trust that you will 
see your errors and amend them." Newcome. 

' He who supplied you.'] q. cl. Was it my opponent or myself? 
This is a direct appeal to the existence and exercise of miracu- 
lous powers in circumstances in which an appeal to them would 
be infatuation and insanity, if they did not actually exist. His- 
toric evidence can hardly be even conceived to rise to a higher 
degree than that which proves the existence of these superna- 
tural qualifications ; and consequently of the truth of the Chris- 
tian religion, which they were intended to establish. It may 
seem surprising that the false teachers, who performed no mira- 
cles, should be more attended to than the apostle, who exercised 
and even communicated miraculous powers ; but it is to be con- 
sidered that these false tefichers represented themselves as com- 
missioned by the apostles at Jerusalem, whom they represented 
as Paul's superiors, from whom he had derived his authority and 

Ver, 5. 

Part II. G A L A TI A N S. Sect. 1. 5. 55 

j)erformed miracles among you, was he the teacher 3 cii. iii. 
of the luorks of the law ? or of the doctrine of faith ? 
I will at once appeal to the most decisive evi- 
dence. You know that when the gospel was first 
preached to you, miracles of an extraordinary kind 
were wrought among you, and spiritual gifts were 
imparted to many of you upon your profession of 
the gospel. Tell me plainly, was it my opponent 
or myself who produced these high credentials ? 
Did he or I work miracles among you ? Did you 
receive your extraordinary powers from the man 
who tells you that you must submit to the ceremo- 
nial law ; or from him who assures you that faith 
alone will entitle you to all the privileges of the go- 

instructions. And they affirmed that the apostle had greatly 
exceeded his instructions, in teaching the inutihty of the Mosaic 
ritual : for that the apostles at Jerusalem required the observ- 
ance of it as absolutely necessary ; and that Paul himself was 
so sensible of this, that he insisted upon the obligation of the 
law in other places, though he excused the Galatians. All this 
will be very evident to those who read the epistle with atten- 
tion ; and it easily accounts for the deference which was paid 
to the judaizing instructors. 

* The spirit.'] The spirit is here universally understood as 
signifying miraculous gifts and powers ; though the same word 
is used immediately before, ver. 2, 3, to express the gospel, in 
opposition to the law. This is one instance among many, of 
the apostle's sudden change of the signification of his words 
without any previous notice. This is remarkably the case in 
this epistle ; which being written by his own hand^ he affects 
brevity, and uses as few words as possible. 

' Was he the teacher ?] The apostle's ex]Dression is so very 
elliptical, that it is necessary to insert some such words as these, 
to make it at all intelligible. Archbishop Newcome says, " I 
understand ijv after each of the participles, and suppose that St. 
Paul speaks of himself with his usual delicacy. None but apo- 
stles could impart the spirit." 

56 Part 11. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. I. 6. 

Ch. III. spel ? Put the question closely to your understand- 
ings and to your consciences: How can you possi- 
bly resist such cogent evidence ? 

Ver. 5. 

6. He argues from the case of Abraham, who 
was justified by faith, ver. 6, 7. 

6. As Abraham believed God, and it was accounted 

7, to him for righteousness ; therefore know ye, that 
those ivho are of the party of faith » are the chil- 
dren of Abraham^. 

It is no novel doctrine which I am labouring to 
inculcate. You are admitted into covenant upon 
the same terms that Abraham was : he believed the 
divine promise, and by his faith obtained the bless- 
ing. And be assured, that however others may 
boast of their natural descent from this pious patri- 
arch, it is upon the heirs of his faith only that the 
promise is entailed. They who believe in the doc- 

' Who are of the party offaith7\ ol ex TTirew^, they who rely 
on faith for justification, in opposition to ol £>t vo/x,8, " they who 
are of the party of law :" they who seek for justification by the 
works of the law. These, that is, these only (see Wakefield), 
are children of Abraham ; or, in other words, are justified after 
his pattern ; namely, by faith. They believe in the actual resur- 
rection of Jesus, and are justified thereby : he believed in the 
possible resurrection of Isaac, whom he was about to sacrifice, 
and his faith was imputed for righteousness, without regard to 
the ceremonial law. This argument, which the apostle barely 
glances at here, he insists upon at large Rom. iv. : a strong 
presumption that both the epistles were written by the same au- 
thor ; for a train of ideas and arguments so peculiar would 
hardly have entered the imagination of two different writers. 

*" Children of Abraham.'] " His imitators, and heirs of the pro- 
mise made to him." Newcome. With Locke and others I join 
the seventh verse to the sixth, from which it appears to be an 
inference. See Worsley and Rosenmuller. 

Vcr. 7- 

Part II. G A L A T 1 A N S. Skct. I. 7. 57 

trine of the gospel, and who expect its blessings Ch. iii. 
exclusively of all regard to legal rites, are the true 
descendants of Abraham, and heirs with him of the 
divine inheritance, upon the same terms on which 
he obtained the blessing. 

7 . The scriptures had foretold to Abraham that 
all nations should be accepted by God, upon the 
same terms with himself, ver. 8, 9. 

Now the scripture, having foreseen that God 
luould jv^tify the Gentiles by faith, prophetically 
announced"^ the glad tidings to Abraham: *^ In 
thee shall all the nations be blessed^''' So then, 
they who are of the party of faith ^ are blessed 
with Abraham, who believed. 

' Prophetically announced, &c.] iCo'jzuriyysXia'a.rQ' " pro- 
claimed before glad tidings to Abraham." Nevv'come. " gave 
this joyful promise long ago." Wakefield, " he gave Abraham 
a foreknowledge of the gospel." Locke. 

* In thee, &c.] This promise first occurs Gen. xii. 3, when 
Abraham was required to leave his native country and to reside 
in Canaan ; and was repeated several times afterwards to Abra- 
ham, and to his son Isaac and to his grandson Jacob. It is gene- 
rally understood as referring to the descent of the Messiah from 
him, whose doctrine would be a blessing to the whole world : nor 
do I see any reason to recede from this acceptation of the pro- 
mise. It is so explained by the apostle Peter, Acts iii. 25, and 
by the apostle Paul in this place. Some expositors understand 
the promise as signifying nothing more than this, that the 
posterity of Abraham should become so prosperous, that their 
prosperity should become proverbial ; so that others should 
bless themselves in them, or wish themselves as happy as the 
descendants of Abraham. See Dr. Priestley on the text. Ob- 
serve here, that the scripture is personified, yet who supposes 
the scripture to be a real person ? so the gifts of the spii it may 
also be personified, without implying that the holy spirit in a 
distinct intelligent agent. 

•* ff'ho are of the parly «/ JaiUt.] "'of faiih and of the 

58 Part 11. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. 1. 8. 

Ch. III. Believers under the gospel are not only justified, 
^"' ^* after the example of Abraham, without regard to 
ceremonial institutions, but it is expressly foretold 
that they should be so. For God, foreseeing and 
intending that under the gospel dispensation be- 
lievers should be admitted into covenant without 
submitting to Jewish ceremonies, was pleased to 
unnounce this his kind design repeatedly to Abra- 
ham, in the promise recorded in the Jewish scrip- 
tures : the purport of which is, that at some future 
period all the nations of the earth should be admit- 
ted to share the privileges of the covenant, upon the 
same easy terms with himself. This happy period 
is now arrived ; and all who believe the gospel are 
now admitted into the same state of privilege and fa- 
vour which he enjoyed as the reward of his strong 
and operative faith. But if Jewish rites were also 
made necessary, the promise of God would in this 
instance have been violated. 

8. The law condemns all who seek for justifica- 
tion by it, ver. 1 0. 
^ 10. Moreover ', as many as are for the works o/'the 
law are under a curse ; for it is wiitteu, Cursed 
be evety one who continueth not in the performance 

works of the law, spoken of two races of men ; the one as the 
genuine posterity of Abraham, heirs of the promise, the other 
not." Locke. 

' Moreover^ ya.^ here introduces a collateral argument, not 
an inference ; in the second clause it assigns a reason for the 
preceding affirmation, and is properly translated /or. 

Part II. G A L A TI A N S. Skct. I. 9. 59 

of all tldniys which are written in the book of the Ch. in. 

It is quite absurd for any one to expect advantage 
by adherence to the ceremonial law. For, allowing 
that much benefit might be derived from perfect 
obedience, this itself is morally impossible. And 
the law denounces a solemn curse upon all who dis- 
obey it in any particular; and makes no provision 
for the forgiveness of the penitent. Every one, 
therefore, who, rejecting the mercy of the gospel, 
hopes to obtain the blessing by adherence to the 
law, is, by that very circumstance, a convicted and 
condemned culprit, utterly destitute of help and 

9. The prophetic scriptures announce a mode of 
acceptance with God different from that which the 
law prescribes, ver. 11, 12. 

But that by the law no one is justified bejore U. 

God, is evident ; for the just by faith shall live 3. 

^ Cursed, &c.] See Deut. xxvii. 26. The apostle's mind was 
possessed with the idea that no one could be justified, or obtain 
the favour of God by claim of right, as having fulfilled the law ; 
because no one had, in every particular, fulfilled its injunctions, 
and the law made no provision for penitents. He treats of this 
argument at large in the first three chapters of the epistle to 
the Romans. 

^ The just by faith shall live.'] This is a quotation from Ilab. 
ii. 4, where it is translated by Archbishop Newcome, " the just 
shall live by his faith :" though he acknowledges that there is an 
ambiguity in the original, as well as in the passages where it is 
cited by the apostle. " The meaning of the prophet is," says 
the learned prelate, "The good, or the righteous man, who be- 
lieves in my prophets^ and obeys their directions^ shall live at 

60 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. I. 9. 

Ch. III. Ahiv tJw law is not of faith^ hut saith, He who 
*" performeth these things shall live by them *. 

The prophets concur with the Mosaic writings 
in predicting that the time would come when faith 
alone, exclusive of ritual performances, should be 
made the condition of participation in the blessings 
of the covenant. Such is the language of the pro- 
phet Habakkuk. Not he who is perfect in obe- 
dience, but he who is faithful and sincere, shall 
escape with life. But the unrelenting language of 
the law is. He, and he only, who performs all duties, 
without any exception, may claim a right to safety 
and impunity. 

the time of the Babylonish invasion. See Jer. xxi. 9, xxxviii. 2, 
17, 18. In the New Testament the words are accommoda- 

Archbishop Seeker observes, that " the English word /aii/i i.s 
only used here, and Deut. xxxii. 20, in all the Old Testament. 
And the Hebrew word denotes many times an attribute of God, 
but never a quality in man, except 1 Sam. xxvi. 23, where it 
vcveaxi^ fidelity ; Prov. xxviii. 20, a man of truth; and Deut. 
xxxii. 20, there is no truth in them. But it never means faith, 
or credit given to testimony. It may be translated here, by his 
faithfulness." See Newcome on the Minor Prophets, Appendix, 
p. 240. 

Upon the whole, it is very evident that the apostle only uses 
the text by way of accommodation ; the words suiting his pur- 
pose, he cites them without any regard to their original con- 
nexion or primary signification. And this is one instance among 
many where the doctrine of the apostle is true and of divine au- 
thority, though the argument which he alleges in support of it 
seems to be infirm and irrelevant, and to amount to nothing 
more than a mere verbal coincidence. See Rem. i. 17 ; Heb. x. 

' He who performeth, &c.] See Lev. xviii. 5 : Ye shall there- 
fore keep my statutes and tny judgements, which if a man do, he 
shall live in them. I am the Lord. 

Pakt II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. I. 10. 6 1 

10. The apostle further declares, that the thne Ch.iii. 
referred to by the prophets must be the advent of 
Christ, who by his death has superseded the old dis- 
pensation, and introduced the new, ver. 13, 14. 

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 
law^ having been made a curse for us 2, (for it is 
written, Cursed is everi/ one who hangeth on a 
tree,) that the blessing of Abraham s might come 

• Having been made a curse for ms.] The apostle immediately 
explains what he means by Christ being made a curse ; namely, 
that he was crucified, because crucifixion was a kind of death 
which the law pronounces accursed ; Deut. xxi, 2.3, he that is 
hanged is accursed of God. It was a death which the law in- 
flicted upon outlaws and the worst of criminals. The apostle 
having thus explained his meaning, it is evident that when it is 
said that Christ was made a curse, he could not mean to say 
that Christ bore the wrath and curse of God for the sins of the 
elect, as some have strangely taught. See Beza in lac. 

He was made a curse for us : that is, for our benefit. He hath 
redeemed us from the curse of the law. How ' By ratifying with 
his blood that new covenant, by which faith is made the condi- 
tion of justification, which supersedes the old covenant, the law 
of Moses and its condemning sentence. This is the doctrine 
which pervades all the apostle's writings, as every unprejudiced 
reader must perceive, who is well acquainted with them. 

" In this sense," (says Dr. Chandler in his excellent note 
upon this passage,) " the innocent Jesus was made a curse by 
God, as his heavenly Father permitted him to die that ignomi- 
nious death which the law of Moses pronounced accursed, and 
which was inflicted only on the vilest and most accursed male- 
factors. But how are we delivered from the curse of the law 
by Christ's being made a curse, or dying an accursed death ? 
Why, plainly thus : As he hereby put an end to the obligation 
of the Jewish law, which pronounced a curse on every one who 
did not in all things continue to observe it, by introducing and 
establishing a better covenant into the world, even that cove- 
nant which God made with Abraham, of which this was the 
principal article, that fiiith should be imputed to him for right- 

* The blessing of Abraham'] " was evidently his justification 


62 Part II. G A L A T I A N S, Sect. 1, 1 1. 

Ch. III. unto the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, that we 
^^'^' ' through faith might receive the spirit promised^. 
Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, 
by delivering us from the obligation to obey it. 
And this he has done by being himself, if I may so 
express it, made a curse for us ; or, in other words, 
by being put to death upon the cross, a death which 
the law pronounces accursed. And Christ delivers 
us by his death, because that event is the ratifica- 
tion of the new dispensation, which supersedes the 
dispensation of rites and ceremonies, and which 
abrogates the law and its condemning power. And 
thus he introduces that new covenant which was the 
object of the divine promise to Abraham, the gra- 
cious purport of which is to communicate to be- 
lieving Gentiles all its invaluable promises and bless- 
ings, upon condition of faith alone, exclusive of all 
regard to the ceremonial law. 

11. The apostle argues that, upon principles of 
common equity, the law of Moses could not vacate 

and acceptance with God through faith : this God himself im- 
puted to him for rigliteousness, and signally rewarded and 
blessed him on account of it. And therefore the coming of 
Abraham's blessing upon the Gentiles was their being justified 
and accepted of God upon the same principle of faith as he was." 

' The spirit promised^ Gr." the promise of the spirit," or, "the 
promised spirit." See Rosenmuller ; who rightly interprets the 
phrase, " dona spiritus sancti, omnibus Christianis communia."' 
The word spirit is here used in the same sense as in ver. 2 and 
3, for the gospel audits blessings, which are common to all who 
believe ; and not for supernatural gifts and powers, which were 
necessarily limited to a small number. 

Pa«t1I. GALATIANS. Sect. I. U. 63 

the promise which had been made to Abraham and ch. in. 
to his spiritual posterity long before, ver. 15 — 18. 

Brethren^ I reason upon common principles^. Ver. 15. 
No one cancelleth or aUereth 3 a covena7it which 
hath been ratified^ though it he only between man 
and man *. 

I will now show you, upon principles of common 
equity, that it is impossible that the ceremonial law 
should be obligatory upon Gentile believers in 
Christ. You well know, that among men a cove- 
nant, when it is once solemnly ratified, cannot be 
abrogated or changed ; and no new conditions can 
be added to it without the consent of both the con- 
tracting parties. 

Now the promises were made to Abraham and 16. 
his offspring^. The promise saith not. And to 

* 1 reason, S;c.'] Literally, " I speak according to man. I am 
speaking of a common custom." Wakefield. 

^ Altereth.'] siriStaraa-asroci. See Newcome and Chandler. 
" Insuper novas et contrarias conditiones addit." Schleusner. 

* Only between man and man.'] " o^ius ocvdpwim- though it be 
but a man's covenant." NeAvcome. 

* To Abraham and his offspring.'] It is difficult to make out, 
and still more to vindicate, the apostle's reasoning. This, how- 
ever, does not at all affect his doctrine, that the Gentiles should 
be admitted to the privileges of the gospel, without submitting 
to the yoke of the law ; a doctrine which he was taught by re- 
velation, and which he confirmed by miracle. He is also right 
in arguing from the case of Abraham, that as this patriarch was 
justified by faith, it was in strict analogy that believers under 
the gospel should be justified in the same way. But how far 
the apostle's argument holds good in detail may be doubted. 
The steps of his proof are the following : 1 . God promises to 
Abraham and his offspring, that all nations shall be blessed in 
him, i. e. should be justified as he was, see ver. 8, 9. 2. This 
promise being made to Abraham's oftsj^ringin the singular, and 
not in the plural number, it is thereby limited to one class only 

64 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. 1. 1 1- 

Ch. III. thi?ie offsprings, as concerning many, hut To 
thine offspring, as concerning one ; which person 
is Christ. 

of the descendants of Abraham, ver. 16. 3. This class, to 
which the promise is limited, consists of believers in Christ, who 
are by faith sons of Abraham, ver. 6 ; and who, together, con- 
stitute Christ's mystical body, ver. 28. See Locke, 4. This 
promise, so made to Abraham's spiritual offspring, could not be 
vacated by tlie Mosaic law, which was not given till upwards 
of four hundred years afterwards, and to which the subjects of 
the promise were not parties, ver. 17. 5. Therefore God is 
by irrevocable promi,se bound to justify believing Gentiles j that 
is, to admit them to the privileges of the gospel, without subject- 
ing them to the yoke of the law. Tlie principal objections to 
this argument are : 1 .) The limitation of the promise, which 
seems indefinitely to express the great benefits which mankind 
would ultimately enjoy from the posterity of Abraham, i. e. from 
the Messiah, see Acts iii. 25, to the circumstance of emanci- 
pation from the ceremonial law : and 2.) The extraordinaiy 
method by which he proves that Christ or believers are the off- 
spring to which the promise is limited ; it being notorious that 
the original word, in the singular number, is commonly used 
to express all the descendants of a common ancestor. 

Archbishop Newcome suspects that this sentence is a margi- 
nal note inserted into the text. St. Jerom says that St. Paul 
made use of a false argument, which, though it might do well 
enough with the stupid Galatians, yet would not be ^approved by 
any wise or learned men. And Le Clerc says it is an allegori- 
cal kind of argument, which the apostle made use of for the con- 
viction of the Jews, who were used to such methods of reason- 
ing. Dr. Chandler thinks these suppositions injurious to Paul's 
character ; and endeavours to explain and justify his reasoning, 
by observing, "that after God made the promise to Abraham, he 
limited the blessing to his posterity by Isaac ; for though he pro- 
mises to make Ishmael a great nation, because he is thy seed, yet 
he restricts the covenant to the descendants of Isaac : in Isaac 
shall thy seed be called, Gen. xxi. 12, 13. Therefore the pro- 
mise, m thy seed shall alt nations of the earth be blessed, could re- 
fer to no other of the seeds or sons of Abraham but Isaac only. So 
that the apostle makes out that this promise relates to a single 
person, or son of Abraham, exclusive of all his other posterity." 

N. B. Mr. Wakefield, with the Syriac, Coptic, and /Ethiopic 
translators, reads <rois a-tspfj^aa-i, the offsprings. 

Part If. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 11. 65 

It was promised to Abraham that he should be Ch. in. 
justified by faith ; and to behevers, his spiritual off- 
spring (ver. 6), that they should be blessed in him, 
or like him; that is, should be justified by faith only 
(ver. 8, 9). And, if I may be permitted to use a 
verbal argument in the case, you may observe that 
the word offspring, in connexion with the promise, 
always occurs in the singular and not in the plural 
number ; which may be understood as signifying 
that only one class of Abraham's posterity is enti- 
tled to the blessing. The promise, therefore, must 
be limited to his spiritual descendants, the heirs of 
Abraham's faith, the great body of believers consist- 
ing of Jews and Gentiles, of v^hich Christ is the 
head ; to the entire exclusion of the patriarch's na- 
tural descendants, as long as they rely for justifica- 
tion upon the ceremonial law. 

And I say this, that the covenant which had 17- 

been previously ratified by God concerning Christ *, 
the law, which was given four hundred and thirty 
years afterwards 2, could not cancel, so as to make 

' Concerning Christ.'] These words are omitted in the Alex- 
andrine and Ephrem manuscripts^ and in the iEthiopic, Vulgate, 
and other versions. See Griesbach and Wakefield. Concerning 
Christ: " -pertinens ad Christum.''' Grotius. See Chandler. 

' Four hundred and thirty ijears afterwards^] The first pro- 
mise was made to Abraham when he was 75 years old, Gen. 
xii. 3, 4 ; from this date to the birth of Isaac was 25 years. 
Gen. xxi. 5 ; Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born. Gen. xxv. 26 5 
Jacob went into Egypt at 130, Gen. xlvii. 9 5 and the Israelites 
sojourned there, according to the Septuagint, 215 years : which 
completes the number. See Whitby and Doddridge. 


6G Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. I. 1 1. 

Ch. III. void the promise. For if the inheritance ' be by 
®*"* ' law, it is no more by promise ; whereas God freely 
gave it to Abraham by promise. 

No covenant, as I have just observed, can be can- 
celled without the consent of both the contracting 
parties ; nor can a promise be revoked but with the 
permission of the promisee. I conclude, therefore, 
with confidence, that the first covenant which God 
had made with Abraham, and with his spiritual off- 
spring, could not possibly be vacated by another 
covenant which he made with another party many 
centuries afterwards, so as to change the terms of 
the original agreement for conditions less favour- 
able, and that without the consent of the parties 
concerned. Such conduct would be no less than 
flagrant injustice, and a palpable violation of a pre- 
vious promise, which cannot, therefore, be imputed 
to God. It is in vain to plead that the promised 
blessing may be imparted upon both conditions ; 
these conditions are absolutely incompatible with 
each other. If men are justified by law, they are 
not justified by faith ; if the blessing is obtained by 
faith, it is not acquired by law. But it is evident, 
that to Abraham and to his believing posterity it 
was promised freely as the reward of faith, exclusive 
of the ceremonial law ; and from this promise God 
cannot and will not recede. 

' Inheritance,'] i. e. says Dr. Chandler, the blessedness en- 
tailed on Abraham and his seed, of being justified by faith. It 
comes to them by descent and birthright. 

Part II, ' GALATIANS. Sect. I. 12. 6/ 

12. Nevertheless the law was not without its use, Ch. III. 
though it did not supersede the previous promise, 
ver. 19, 20. 

To what purpose, M^/z, served the law ? It was ^®*'* '^• 
added because of transgressions ^ ; beiiig admini- 
stered by messengers'^ under the direction of a me- 
diator, till that offspring should come to whom the 
promise belonged. But this mediator was not a 
mediator for one of the parties, and God is but 
one of the two *. 

' Because of transgressions.'] The expression is very elliptical, 
and must be explained by comparing it with other passages in 
the apostle's writings. The law declared the nature of sin ; 
passed sentence of death upon every sin ; it showed no mercy, 
and drove men to despair. In this vvay it guarded man against 
the commission of sin, and made a merciful dispensation more 
welcome. See Gal. iii.23 — 25 ; Rom.vii. 7, &c., iii. 20, iv. 15, 

' Administered by messengers.'] Siex.T'a.ysis, " through the mi- 
nistry of angels." Wakefield. — " JiaraTcw respondet Latino 
constituere, et ita late patet, ut de quov'is, sive propria sive ali- 
ena auctoritate aliqiiidprcecipientejubenie, mandante, accitrante, 
usurpetur. 1 Cor. xi. 34." Schleusner. I have given to thi.<* 
passage the sense which appears to me most natural and intel- 
ligible. Of the existence and ministry of angels we know no- 
thing ; nor does it concern us to know any thing. But that the 
law was communicated to Israel by Moses, as the medium of di- 
vine communications ; and that the observation of it was enforced 
from age to age by a succession of prophets or divine messen- 
gers, till the coming of Christ, is a fact perfectly intelligible, 
and much to the apostle's purpose. That the word ayysXos will 
bear this sense, it would be superfluous to prove ; and there can 
be little doubt that it is used in the same sense through the first 
chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews. See Mr, Wakefield's 

* God is but one of the two.] This is the reading of the ^Ethi- 
opic, and adopted by Wakefield. This sense of the passage 
makes it very pertinent to the apostle's purpose, so that there 
is no occasion, with Michaelis and Newcome, to consider this 



68 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. I. U. 

ch. III. Now, if any one should be inclined to ask What 
Ver. 20. jg ^jjg y^j^ ^f ^j^g \^^^ jf [^ jjygg j^q|. justify ; and if 

the observation of its ceremonial precepts is not ne- 
cessary to acceptance with God ? I answer briefly, 
that the principal use of the law was, by its strict 
and holy precepts, and by the irrevocable sentence 
of condemnation which it passes upon every offence, 
to convince those who were under its jurisdiction 
of their guilt and danger, and to render a more 
merciful dispensation welcome. This ceremonial 
and moral law, which was first communicated to 
the Israelites by the instrumentality of Moses, was 
confirmed and administered from generation to ge- 
neration, by a succession of priests and prophets; 
till it was eventually superseded by the introduction 
of the new dispensation ; under which, agreeably to 
the divine promise, all who believe are to be justi- 
fied by faith, that is, they are to be admitted to all 
the blessings of the gospel, without regard to the 
ceremonial law. And here, in confirmation of my 
preceding argument, I would remind you, that the 
covenant, of which Moses was the mediator, could 
not vacate the covenant made with Abraham. For 
the parties in the Mosaic covenant were God and 
the children of Israel ; whereas the parties in the 
former covenant were God and believers ; and for 
the latter of these contracting parties Moses had no 
authority to act, and consequently they are not 

verse as a marginal gloss. " The .ffithiopic translator has Dot 
minus unus est duorum, interpreting, as I suppose." Newcome. 
The apostle's brevity creates obscurity. 

Pakt II. G A L A T I A iN S. Sect. I. 13. 69 

bound by the contract of which he was, if I may so ch. in. 
express it, the negotiator. ^®''- '^^■ 

13. The law, in its place, was so far from being 
hostile to the divine promise, that it was even sub- 
servient to the introduction of the new and better 
dispensation, vei'. 21 — -24. 

Is the laWf then^ contrary to the promises of 21. 
God? Far from it. If, indeed, a law had been 
given which could have conferred life, certainly jus- 
tification would have been by that law i. Sut the 22. 
scripture hath included all under sin 2, so that the 
promise o/" justification by faith^ is extended^ to 
believei'S only. 

» Justification would have been by that law.'] " The apostle 
argues, that if such a law had been given to the Jews as could 
have secured justification, then righteousness would have been 
by the law ; and thus the promise of God would have been of 
no effect, which expressly declared that acceptance and pardon 
should be the consequence of true faith," Chandler. 

« Included all under sin.'] " ra itavta., all things, i. e. all men." 
Locke. " The apostle," says Dr. Chandler, " uses the most 
general expression that can be, that the Jews might not think 
themselves excepted from the common charge." 

^ Bij faith.] The received text adds the words of Jesus Christ, 
which are omitted in the ^Ethiopic and by Mr. Wakefield j and 
which are not necessary to the sense. 

* Is extended.] lva,SoSyi,isgioe7i. iVa does not always introduce 
the final cause, but is sometimes used to express an inference 
only. So Iva itKvjpujQr, does not always signify that it might be ful- 
filled, but that by such an event such a prophecy was actually 
fulfilled. And here the apostle does not mean to say, that the 
scriptures represent men as sinners, in order to their being jus- 
tified by faith; but that, in consequence of all being sinners, 
the claim of law is wholly excluded, and justification can only 
be obtained by faith, agreeably to the divine promise. " Ut 
fclicitas promissa intelligeretur dari per doctrinam Jesu Christi 

70 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 13. 

ch. III. Some may be disposed to ask. Whether this state 
Ver. 2... ^f ^YiQ case is not in fact setting up two dispensa- 
tions in opposition to each other; one of which jus- 
tifies by faith, and the other by works ? But 1 can 
assure such objectors, that there is no contrariety 
in the divine dispensations. They are all harmo- 
nious and consistent with each other. If, indeed, 
the Mosaic law had been such that its terms might 
have been easily fulfilled, and its blessings easily at- 
tained, this would have been a different mode of 
justification; and law and promise would have been 
at variance with each other. But, in fact, the con- 
ditions of the Mosaic covenant are so strict, and its 
condemning sentence is so severe and irreversible, 
that none ever were or could be justified by it; nor 
could any ever lay claim to life upon the ground of 
right and of perfect obedience. Accordingly, it is 
evident to every one who reads the Jewish scrip- 
tures, that all men, Jew and Gentile without ex- 
ception, are in a state of condemnation^ So that 
there is no hope for any but for those who take 
the benefit of the promise ; and all who are justified 

credentibus. \va , Jo9r, logice : ut inteUigamus, peispiciamus." 
RosenmuUer. Dr. Macknight says, " that though <va commonly 
denotes the end for which the thing is done, it often signifies 
the eflect or consequence of an action simply, without express- 
ing the intention of the agent ; and therefore, in such cases, it 
ought to be translated so, so as, Luke ix. 45 ; Rom, v. 20 j 1 Cor. 
xiv. 13 5 Gal. V. 17 5 Rom, xi. 11," Prel. Ess. No. 4.—" The 
scriptures of the Old Testament represent all mankind, Jews 
and Gentiles, to be in a state of sin and guilt, and set forth the 
Messiah promised to Abraham as the only Saviour by whom 
their pardon and salvation is to be obtained." Pyle. 

PahtH. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 13. 71 

obtain this favour by faith alone, without any claim ch. iii. 
from law. 

Moreover y before this faith came, we were kept Ver. 23. 
in custody ^ under the law, confined together until 
faith 2 should be revealed. So that the law was our 24. 
conductor 3 to Christ, that we 7night be justified by 

And truly those of us who lived under the law 
were in a state of very severe pupillage, which might 
well render the liberal and merciful spirit of the go- 
spel acceptable and welcome. We were like chil- 
dren confined together in a school, under the tui- 
tion of a very harsh and severe master, looking and 
longing for the coming of the time when we should 
be set at liberty, and be at our own disposal. The 
gospel dispensation is that free and happy state 
which was the object of our earnest desire and joy- 
ful anticipation. And the severe discipline which 
we endured under our former rigid tutor the law, 

' Ke^t in custody under the Zew.] " The word signifies to be 
kept in custody or durance. The Jews were in the condition of 
children not arrived to years of maturity, and kept in custody 
under the discipline of the law, that chastised them for every 
offence, and rigorously exacted punishment without hope of 
pardon." Chandler. 

' Faith should be revealed.'] i. e. the dispensation of faith. 
"The thing' promised in this chapter, sometimes called blessing, 
ver. 9, 14 j sometimes inheritance, ver. 18 ; sometimes justifica- 
tion, ver. 11,24 ; sometimes righteousness, ver. 21 ; and some- 
times life, ver. 11, 21." Locke. 

' Conductor.'] In the original, pcedagogue, a "conductor qui 
puerum in ludum ducebat et reducebat. It was a name given like- 
wise to the servant who taught the children letters and super- 
intended their behaviour. They were generally persons of ri- 
gid manners." Newcome, Macknight. 

' 2 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. I. 1 4, 

Ch. III. lias taught us the unspeakable value of the privU 

Ver, 24. Jgg^g ^f ^]^^ gOSpel, 

14. Believers are released from the restrictions of 
the law, as children when declared of age, from the 
authority of a guardian, ver. 25, 26. 

25. But faith being come, we m'e no longer under a 

26. conductor : for ye are all the acknowledged sons of 
God, by faith in Christ Jesus. 

While law retained its authority, we remained in 
a state of childhood and pupillage, subject to severe 
discipline and restraint ; but the new dispensation 
having superseded the Mosaic law, these rigours 
have ceased : and law, having performed his office, 
resigns his charge. You, who believe in Christ, are 
declared of age ; you are taken from school, you are 
delivered from the tyranny of law, and are owned 
and treated as children of God, living at liberty in 
your father's house. 

15. Believers are free from the yoke of the law, 
inasmuch as in a body they form one mystical per- 
son ; which is that very offspring of Abraham to 
whom the promise is made, ver. 27 — 29. 

21. Moreover, as many of you as have been baptized 
into Christ, have put on Christ ' . 

' Havejmt on Christ.'] This is a veiy bold, not to say a very 
harsh figure j but it is a very famiHav one to the mind of the 
apostle, and very necessary to be kept in view by all who are 
desirous thoroughly to understand his writings. All who by 
baptism have made a public profession of faith in the gospel 
have •' put on Christ ;" so that^ as Mr. Locke justly explains the 

PabtII. GALATIANS. Sect. I. IS. 73 

Let me call your attention to another considera- Ch. in. 
tion. By being baptized into the name of Christ, ^'* '* 
you publicly avow yourselves to be the disciples of 
Christ. And as such you are, if I may so express 
it, clothed with Christ ; so that you lose as it were 
your separate personality, and become one with 
him : you constitute a part of that great body of 
which he is the head. 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither 28. 
slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for 
ye all are one person 2 in Christ Jesus . But if ye 29. 

phrase, " to God now looking upon them there appears no- 
thing but Christ ; they are, as it were, covered all over with 
him, as a man is with the clothes he has put on ; and hence he 
says in the next verse, they are all one in Christ Jesus, as if 
there were but that one person." The apostle here, and in 
many other passages of his writings, considers the great body 
of believers as constituting one rn^-stical person, of which Christ 
is the head. It is a favourite comparison with him, to which he 
often alludes, and upon which he loves to dilate. See Rom. xii. 
4, 5 ; 1 Cor, xii. 12—27 ; Eph. i. 23, v. 29—31. It may how- 
ever be proper to observe, that this symbolical and highly figu- 
rative mode of expression gives no countenance to the modern 
and extravagant doctrine of the sinner being clothed with the 
imputed righteousness of Christ, in order to his justification : 
a notion than which nothing can be more foreign to the apo- 
stle's mind, or more inconsistent with reason and with Chris- 
tianity; and which indeed never occurred to any one's imagina- 
tion till many centuries after the mission and ministry of the 
apostles had been concluded. 

* Ye all are one person.] All believers make one person, and 
that person is the true and sole oiFspring of Abraham, to whom 
the promise was made, which the law, delivered long after- 
wards, could not disannuU : a promise which never has been re- 
pealed, and which, without the consent of the promisee, could 
not in equity be made void. " Under the dispensation of the go- 
spel (a« Dr. Chandler expounds the text), there is no distinc- 
tion of nation, or condition, or sex : Jews and Gentiles, bond 
and free, male and female, are all considered as one person in 
Chrisjt." It may be observed here, that the apostle expressly 

74 PabtII. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 15. 

Ch. IH. are one person in Christ Jesus ', then are ye the 
offspring of Abraham^ and heirs in virtue of the 

Bold as the figure may be, I will pursue it still 
further. The gospel of Jesus is offered to all per- 
sons of all ranks and of all countries, and some of 
all descriptions have embraced it. But when they 
become believers, all these distinctions cease : Jew 
and Gentile, high and low, rich and poor, male and 
female, all are united in Christ, all become portions 
of his mystical body ; all are so knit and blended 
together that they constitute only one person. That 
person is Christ mystical ; and this symbolical per- 
son is the true offspring of Abraham, that one de- 
scendant to whom the promise was made, and by 
virtue of that promise they are entitled to the cha- 
racter of sons of God, and to a share in that inhe- 
ritance which was promised to their spiritual ances- 
tor, namely, that he and his descendants should par- 
take of the blessing in consequence of faith only, 
without being subjected to the yoke of the ceremo- 
nial law. 

speaks of all believers as constituting one person^but no one is 
so weak as to understand this declaration in a literal sense. How 
unreasonable then is it to interpret a similar phraseology lite- 
rally when applied to Jesus and his heavenly Father ! See John 
X. 30. The union of Jesus with the Father is the same as the 
union of all his disciples with him, with God, and with each 
other : a union, not of nature, but of will and purpose, a mu- 
tual co-operation in promoting the cause of truth and virtue. 
See John xvii. 21, 22. 

' But if ye are, &c.] l/j ere £v Xpifoj Itjos' this is the read- 
ing of the Clermont and Corbey manuscripts, and is approved 
by Mr. Locke as most suitable to the aj)ostlc'.«i argument. 

Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 16, 75 

16. In the prosecution of his argument the apo- Ch. iv. 
stle further pleads, that under the legal dispensation 
the heirs of the promise were not only kept under 
restraint as children, but were treated with harsh- 
ness as slaves, from which servitude they are re- 
deemed by Christ, ch. iv. 1—5. 

Now I say that tJie heir^ as long as he is a Ver. I. 
childy differeth iiothingfrom a slave 2, though he be 
proprietor of all : hut is under guardians and steiv- 2. 

ards 3 until the time appointed by the father. So 3, 

likewise lue^ luhen we luere children, ivere in bond- 
age under the rudiments of this worlds. 

I am speaking now, my friends, of the great body 
of those who were interested in the covenant which 
God made with Abraham, from the time of that 

• Slave ;] " so (says Mr. Locke) hXo; signifies ; and St. 
Paul's sense will be lost to one who by servant understands not 
one in a state of bondage." The apostle, speaking of all the 
covenanted descendants of Abraham as one person, represents 
this person as in a state of minority, and consequent servitude 
under the tuition of the law 3 and pursues this allegory into 

* Guardians and stewards.'] " siritpoiros is one who is both a 
guardian of the person and estate, and an instructor : oixovo^os 
is a person who has the care of the estate." Chandler. 

'' Under the rudiments of this world.'] The rites and ceremo- 
nies of the law are called by the apostle rudiments of this world. 
See Col. ii. 8, 20. These are called rudiments or elements, be- 
cause the law was a sort of preparatory school for the gospel : 
see ch. iii. 24. And the Mosaic dispensation is here and else- 
where called the world, see Gal. vi, 14, Col. ii. 20, probably be- 
cause its precepts and sanctions related chiefly to worldly ob- 
jects. See Locke ; and Chandler, who supposes there is an allu- 
sion to the pomp of the temple sei"vice, as resembling that of 
the heathen mythology. The law was upon the whole a bur- 
thensome service ; and therefore the Jews under it are repre- 
sented an in bondage, like an heir while in u state of pupillage. 

70 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. I. I G. 

Ch. IV. 
Ver. 3. 

eminent patriarch to the present day : all were heirs 
of the promise, and entitled, in due time, to the pos- 
session of this fair inheritance. But those who lived 
under the law were in the state of children under 
age; and you know that in this situation a child, 
though he be heir to a very large estate, is in no bet- 
ter condition than a slave, that he is no more at his 
own disposal, and has no more power over his pro- 
perty than the meanest servant; but that both his 
person and his property are under the sole direc- 
tion and management of those whom his father has 
appointed to be his guardians and tutors, and the 
stewards and managers of his estate, till the time 
comes when by the will of his father, or by the cus- 
toms and laws of his country, he is declared of age ; 
at which time he is immediately exempted from all 
controul, he enjoys his liberty, and takes possession 
of his property. Exactly so, the posterity of Abra- 
ham under the former dispensation, though heirs 
of the promise, were heirs in a state of pupillage ; 
in bondage to that severe guardian the law, sub- 
jected to a harsh discipline, and required to learn a 
hard lesson ; destitute of liberty, and compelled to 
perform a task of rites and ceremonies which con- 
stituted the essentials of a dispensation resembling, 
in the pomp of its external form, the rituals of hea- 
then nations ; and which only entailed temporal 

Btit when the full time^ ivas come, God sent forth 

The full time.'] These words refer to ver. 2j and signify the 

Paut II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. I. 1 6. 77 

his son, born of a woman-, {born under the Imv^, Ch. IV. 
that he might redeem^ those who were wider the 
law,) that we might receive the adoption of sons ^. 

This state of subjection and servitude was how- 
ever intended to continue only for a limited time ; 
and when that time expired, which had been wisely 
fixed in the unsearchable counsels of heaven, God, 
faithful to his promise, gave an express commission 
to a person, chosen for this purpose out of the hu- 
man race; and who, on account of the distinguished 
honour conferred upon him, is called the first-born 
son of God, to declare that the season of minority 

time " when the heir is declared of age and becomes sui juris, 
;ind takes the estate into his own hands." Chandler. 

^^ Born of a vjoman^ There is no reason to imagine a re- 
ference here to the supposed miraculous conception of Jesus 
Christ; for the expression, born of a woman, is a common pe- 
riphrasis to express a himaan being. See Job xiv. 1, xv. 14, xxv. 
4; Matt. xi. II ; Luke vii. 2 '. With Wakefield, Newcome, and 
others, I translate yevof/^syov, horn, in preference to made. Some 
copies read yevj/iuf^f vov. 

' Born under the law, &o.] This clause I include in a paren- 
thesis, with Castellio and Bengelius. See Bowyer. 

* That he might redeem, fee] " When persons are freed from 
slavery, they are properly said to be redeemed. The law of Mo- 
ses was a yoke upon the necks of the Jews. Now Christ came 
to redeem them from it, by declaring- them of full age, and that 
the time was come for their being put into possession of the pro- 
mised inheritance." Chandler. 

The apostle is here speaking, not of the Jews only, though 
they are particularly alluded to in this parenthesis, but of all the 
spiritual posterity of Abraham collectively, the people of God in 
all ages and nations, iinder different dispensations of law and 
gospel. fVe all, whether Jews or Gentiles, under the gospel dis- 
pensation, are declared of age, and are acknowledged as sons. 
See Macknight. 

* The adoption of sons.'} " that we who believe might be put 
out of the state of bondage into that of sons." Locke. 

78 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. I. 17. 

Ch. IV. and pupillage is at an end, and that all who receive 
his message are now released from the stern guar- 
dianship of the law, are acknowledged as sons of 
God, and are admitted to the privileges and the free- 
dom of heirs who are declared of age and put into 
possession of their inheritance. And to the end that 
those who were before in immediate subjection to 
the law might learn that even they are released from 
its burdensome yoke, this great deliverer was se- 
lected from the Jewish nation ; and having himself 
lived in subjection to the law, he by his death put 
an end to the legal dispensation, introducing and 
ratifying a new and better covenant. So that Jews 
and Gentiles are now alike free from the tyranny of 
the law, and are equally entitled by faith to the pri- 
vileges of the gospel. 

17. The apostle concludes his argument by re- 
ferring to that filial spirit which the gospel produces 
in the heart, as an incontestable proof of the truth of 
his doctrine, ver. 6, 7. 
6. Now, to prove that ye are sojis ', God hath sent 
forth the spirit of his son^ into our hearts^ crying 

' To prove that ye are sons.] " as the evidence and demon- 
stration that ye are thus constituted sons of God." Chandler. — 
"to show that ye are sons." Wakefield. 

' God hath sent forth the spirit of his son7\ " By the Spirit," 
says Dr. Chandler, " is here unquestionably meant the extraor- 
dinary gifts of the Spirit which were given in confirmation of the 
truth of the Christian religion, and as an immediate token from 
God of the acceptance of all who believed in Christ, and their 
being constituted through him heirs of eternal life." — " The 
same argument," says Mr. Locke, " of proving their sonship 

Paht II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. I. 17. 79 

out, Abba- Father'^. So then, thou art no longer Ch. ly. 
a slave, but a son^: and if a son, then an heir of 
Godf through Christ. 

from having the spirit, St, Paul uses to the Romans, llom.viii. 
16. And he that will read 2 Cor. iv. 17 to v. C, and Eph. i. 11 
— 1 4, will find, that the spirit is looked on as the seal and assu- 
rance of the inheritance of life to those who have received the 
adoption of sons." 

It cannot be doubted that the gifts of the holy spirit were 
universally regarded as undeniable proofs that those who were 
favoured with them were in covenant with God, his people, 
his sons, and heirs of the promise : nevertheless, the number 
of those who were favoured with these gifts must have been 
comparatively small. But the spirit of his son, of which the 
apostle here speaks, he mentions as an universal quality, com- 
mon to all believers. This, therefore, 1 conceive to be that filial 
spirit and disposition which the gospel produces in the hearts of 
those who practically believe ; and which teach them to regard 
the Supreme Being in the character of a Father, benefactor, 
and friend, and to hold communion with him as such. This 
spirit, so opposite to that spirit of terror and alarm which was 
the natural effect of the law, might justly be considered as an ir- 
resistible proof of the divine authority of the gospel, and is with 
great propriety introduced by the apostle as the last and most 
substantial and affecting proof of the divinity of his doctrine. 
See the exposition of Rom. viii. 26, 27. The expression 
" God hath sent forth the spirit," does not necessarily imply 
any supernatural interposition to produce a change in the heart. 
God is said to do that which he accomplishes by second causes ; 
and if the principles of the gospel cordially received produce a 
filial spirit in the heart, God may be said to have sent forth his 
spirit for that purpose. — " That Christians are the genuine sons 
of God," says Dr. Priestley, " the apostle proves by their having 
the spirit or dispositions of his sons, which they show by address- 
ing him as their Father, which slaves would not do." Our hearts, 
is the reading of the best copies : the received text reads, your. 

^ Abba! Father!] Dr. Doddridge mentions, that " the learned 
Selden has brought a very pertinent quotation from the Babylo- 
nian Gemara to prove that it was not allowed to slaves to use 
the title of Abba in addressing the master of the family to which 
they belonged, or the correspondent title of Imma, or mother, 
when speaking to the mistress of it." 

■* No longer a slave.'] He is now of age, no longer in the 

80 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. I, 17. 

Ch. IV. To conclude : That I may remove all doubt upon 
^'' '' the subject of your acceptance with God by faith in 
Christ, exclusive of the ceremonial law, I must again 
appeal to those miraculous powers which I exer- 
cised among you, to those spiritual gifts which I 
imparted to you, and which you possessed long be- 
fore you thought of subjecting yourselves to the yoke 
of Moses, when you had heard of no conditions of 
acceptance but those of faith in Christ. These pre- 
cious gifts, which Jesus himself possessed, which he 
is authorized to bestow, and which God by him has 
imparted to us, are substantial indisputable proofs 
that we are accepted by him upon the condition of 
faith only ; and that upon this ground he acknow- 
ledges us as his children, and permits us all, whe- 
ther Jews or Gentiles, to address him under the en- 
dearing character of a Father. Let every one of you 
therefore be assured, that being a believer in Christ, 
he is no longer a pupil in his minority, a slave to 
a harsh pedagogue, but an acknowledged son of 
God, an hejr at age, entitled to receive the promised 
inheritance, to be blessed with believing Abraham, 
to be accepted of God by faith alone, without the 
works of the law; which has now no more power 
over the disciple of Christ than a guardian possesses 
over a pupil who is declared of age and released 
from his wardship. For this free and happy state 

condition of a pupil or a ward, subject like a slave to the con- 
troul of another. The gifts of the spirit, and the filial spirit of 
the gospel, prove that he is a son, an heir, and in possession of 
the inheritance. See Rom, viii. 14 — 17. 

Part II. GALATIANS, Sect. II. 1. 81 

you are indebted to the mercy and faithfulness of Ch. IV. 
God revealed to us by Jesus Christ ; and when the "' " 
new and encouraging views of the divine character 
which the Christian doctrine imparts, the hope of 
mercy which it inspires, and the glorious prospects 
of immortality which it opens to view, produce their 
natural effects upon the heart, which they do in all 
true believers, and I trust in yours, exciting su- 
preme love to God as a father and a friend, and en- 
tire devotedness to his will, a spirit so opposite to 
the servile spirit of the law, this affectionate filial 
spirit is itself the best possible proof that you are in 
the noblest sense sons of God, and heirs of the pro- 
mised inheritance. 


The apostle expostulates with the Galatians con- 
C€rni7ig the unreasonableness of their apostasy 
from the simplicity of the gospel, and of the alien- 
ation of their affection from hifnself. Ch. iv. 

1 . The apostle warns them, that though igno- 
rance might be an apology for the idolatries of their 
heathen state, they could avail themselves of no such 
excuse for their present attachment to judaical rites, 
ver. 8— 11. 

At that time indeed, when ye knew not Gody ye 

82 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. II. 1. 

Ch. IV. tvere in bondage to those who by nature are not 
Ver. 9. gods; but now, after ye have knoivn God, or ra- 
ther have been known by God i, hoiu is it that ye 
turn back again to the weak and poor elements^, 
to which ye desire again to be in bondage as here- 

In your heathen state, you had no knowledge of 
God, of his attributes, his government, or his will, 
nor of the nature of that worship which would be 
most acceptable to him : no wonder you were then 
the votaries of false gods, the besotted worshipers 
of dumb idols, the abject slaves of superstition and 
folly. But, now that you have been taught by the 
Christian religion to form just and honourable con- 
ceptions of God, and of his government and of the 
spiritual worship and service which he requires, and 
since you have by the gift of his spirit been acknow- 
ledged by him as his genuine sons, and invested 

' Ye have known God, or rather have been known by God.'] The 
apostle in his usual manner takes up his words in a different 
sense : to know God, is to form just conceptions of the object of 
worship, such as the gospel inspires ; to be known by God, is to- 
be chosen and approved by him. Amos iii. 2 3 1 Cor. viii. 3. See 

' Weak and poor elements.'] " The law was weak because it 
could not deliver men from bondage and death, Rom. viii. 1 — 3 : 
it is called poor, because it kept men in the jtoor state of pu- 
pils from the full possession of the inheritance, ver. 1 — 3." 

^ Again as heretofore.] " tta.Xi.v, again, cannot here refer to 
roi^s/a, elements, which the Galatians had never been under 
hitherto ; but to bondage, which he tells them they had been in 
to false gods, ver. 8." Locke. See also Wakefield. Macknight 
xenAiirs avw^iv from the first : q. d. "ever since your conver- 
sion." Nevvcome observes, from Wetstein, that txXiv a.vwhv is 
a common pleonasm. 

Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 1. 83 

with peculiar privileges, what pretence can there be Ch. iv. 
for you to have recourse to the observation of mean 
and puerile ceremonies to recommend you to the 
divine regard ? What could induce you, after you 
had obtained your freedom from heathen supersti- 
tion, to enslave yourselves again to the burthen- 
some ceremonies of the Jewish law; which, what- 
ever important purpose they might once answer, 
are now superseded, and are of no kind of use to 
you whatever ? 

How is it 4 that ye observe days, and months, and 10. 
times, and years ? I am afraid concerning you, lest \ \ . 

J have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 

* How is it^ &c.] q. d. Tfivs r/iJ^epas x.. r X. " Why are ye turn- 
ing back again, and are observing days," &c. Wakefield. Dr. 
Chandler also reads it as an interrogation : " Do ye observe 
days and months?" &c. He adds, " by days he unquestionably 
means their weekly sabbaths and festivals : by months, the festi- 
vals of the new moons ; by times, their annual fasts and festivals 3 
and by years, their sabbatical and jubilee years." Observe here, 
that it is because of their strict observation of these sabbatical 
seasons, and the great stress laid upon them, that the apostle 
expresses his fears lest he had bestowed upon them labour in 
vain. He never gives the least hint that a Christian sabbath had 
been substituted in the room of the Jewish sabbath which was to 
be observed with equal strictness ; nor does he ever in any of 
his epistles express his disapprobation of what is called sabbath- 
breaking, or warn his readers against it. This surely must have 
been a very great omission, if the apostle had entertained the 
same ideas of the importance of sabbatizing which are incul- 
cated by some modern Christians, who represent what they are 
pleased to call the profanation of the sabbath, as one of the 
greatest of crimes, which deserves the cognizance even of the 
civil magistrate. The plain doctrine of the New Testament is, 
that all sabbatical institutions without exception are completely 
abolished : but that seasons of religious worship should be regu- 
larly observed, and in the primitive church one of these seasons 


84 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. IV. How comes it to pass that you, who have been 
so plainly taught that the spiritual and liberal ge- 
nius of the Christian religion makes no distinction 
of days, but expressly teaches that all times are 
equally acceptable to God, and that the whole of 
every day is to be employed in his service, can so 
easily adopt the Jewish distinction of holy and un- 
holy days ? How is it that you can lay any stress 
upon such matters, or imagine that you can recom- 
mend yourselves to God by a rigid observation of 
sabbath-days and new moons, and annual festivals 
or fasts, and sabbatical years? All these distinc- 
tions were wisely appointed to the Jews to keep 
them separate from other nations ; but under the. 
Christian dispensation, which embraces all man- 
kind, these and all other ceremonial distinctions are 
abolished. Indeed, my brethren, this servile sabba- 
tical spirit, so widely different from the free and 
filial spirit of the gospel, excites in my breast the 
most painful apprehensions lest my labours among 
you should have been unavailing to your conversion 
to pure and practical Christianity. 

2. In order to recover their alienated affections, 
he pleads with them their former kindness, which 
he had done nothing to forfeit, ver. 12 — 16. 
12. Brethren, I beseech you, be what I am ; for I 

was the first day of the week. This was universally celebrated as 
a religious festival, in commemoration of the resurrection of 
Christ. See Evanson and Priestley on the sabbatical observation, 
of the Lord's day. 

Part II. G A L A T 1 A N S. Sect. II. 2. 85 

once was what ye now are ' . Ye have not wrons;ed Ch. IV. 

,. ^^ * Ver. 12. 

me in amj thing^. 

My dear brethren in Christ, for as such I will still 
address you, and believe you to be such, notwith- 
standing all my suspicions and fears concerning you, 
I earnestly entreat you to follow my example. I was 
once as zealous an advocate for Jewish rites and ce- 
remonies as you now are ; and even held them to be 
essential to the divine favour. But I now see my 
error. I am instructed in the true nature of Chris- 
tian liberty. I am convinced that rites and ceremo- 
nies are of no use ; that the law of Christ requires 
nothing as essential to an interest in its blessings, 
but love to God and benevolence to man : that no- 
thing will be of any avail but a good heart and a 
virtuous life. Let me prevail upon you, my friends, 
to adopt the same just and generous latitude of 
principle. You will feel yourselves better and hap- 

' For I once was what ye now are.] " Fui aliquando qualis 
vos nunc estis." Vatablus. See also Clarius ; and Doddridge, 
who expounds the words thus : " / was as ye are, as much bi- 
goted to the Mosaic ritual and pharisaic traditions, as any of 
you all can be." See Rom. ix. 3, Wakefield's Translation. This 
sense of the passage appears to me greatly preferable to that of 
Grotius and Loclve, whose interpretation is, " I beseech you, 
brethren, let you and I be as if we were all one ;" which is 
adopted by most modern interpreters, though Dr. Whitby ac- 
knowledges that the former is the sense in which it was under- 
stood by the fathers. Dr. Chandler's interpretation is peculiar : 
" Be ye as myself, dear and beloved as my own person, because 
I was as yourselves, 1 was once as much esteemed and beloved 
as your own persons." 

*" Ye have not wrongfd me in any thing.'] Mr. Wakefield, 
upon the authority of the iEthiopic version, omits this, which he 
calls a strange clause ; but the omission is not supported by any 

86 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. II. 2. 

Ch. IV. pier for it. You now, indeed, regard me with a de- 
gree of coldness and suspicion very different from 
your former kind and fervent affection. But I ksow 
the cause, and I forgive it. You have done me no 
wrong ; nor is the seeming asperity of my language 
the effect of resentment or revenge : it is the dictate 
of genuine friendship. 

13. Notu ye know that^ under bodily infirmity *, / 

14. preached the gospel to you at first; and my per- 
sonal ajfiiction ye did not despise^ nor disdainfully 
reject me for it ^ ; but ye received me as a messeri" 
ger of God^i even as Christ Jesus. 

I shall never forget the kindness with which you 

' Under bodily infirmity!] Literally, through or in (Six, see 
Macknight) weakness of thejlesh : this he calls in the next verse 
a personal affliction ; literally, my trial in my flesh. Dr. Ham- 
mond supposes that the apostle alludes to the persecutions 
which he underwent ; but this could be no ground for contempt 
or scorn. There can be little doubt that he alludes to some bodily 
infirmity ; perhaps to some paralytic affection, which, 2 Cor. 
xii. 7, he calls a thorn in the flesh; and which was probably a 
considerable disadvantage to him as a public speaker. Mr. 
Locke justly observes, that " this is an instance of that unavoid- 
able obscurity of some passages in epistolary writings, without 
any fault in the author. For some things necessary to the un- 
derstanding of what is writ are usually of course, and justly 
omitted, because already known to him the letter is writ to." 

^ Disdainfully reject me for it.] s^eiitvo-ars. See Wakefield. 
Literally, " yc did not spit me out." Wakefield. 

' yl messenger of God.l ayysXov ©ea. See Wakefield ; q. d. 
" you received me as you would have received an acknowledged 
prophet of God ; nay, as you would have received Jesus Christ 
himself, the greatest of all the prophets." It is needless to cite 
authorities to prove that the word ayysXoi, in its primary sense, 
signifies a messenger, and not a celestial spirit. And it is suffi- 
ciently obvious that this text gives no countenance to the po- 
pular doctrine that Jesus Christ is in his nature superior to the 
angels in heaven. 

Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. II. 2. 87 

first received me. You recollect, my friends, the Ch. iv. 
bodily infirmity under which I then laboured; how 
great an impediment it was to me as a public 
speaker ; what an awkwardness it occasioned in my 
manner of address. Yet you neither despised nor 
insulted me upon that account : nor did you con- 
temptuously reject my mission and ministry. Far 
from it. I well remember the avidity with which 
you Hstened to my instructions. Impressed with 
the proofs which I exhibited of my divine commis- 
sion, you received me as a messenger of God ; nor 
could you have shown greater attention and respect 
to Jesus Christ himself, had he appeared to preach 
the gospel to you in person. 

Ji^hat ivere, the7i, your benedictions^! For I 15. 
bear you ivitness, that had it been possible, ye 
2vould have plucked out your own eyes and have 
given them to tne. 

How thankful you were for my instructions ! How 
kindly you spake of me and to me ! You thought 
you never could do enough to show your affection 
and your gratitude. I never can forget your kind 

^ Wliat were, then, your benedictions f] I'ls sv 6 i^aiia§i(T[ji,os 
i^uuiv ; " What benedictions did you then pour out upon me ! 
The context makes this sense of the words so necessary and vi- 
sible, that it is to be wondered how any one could overlook it.'^ 
Locke. " What was, then, your happiness ! How great your 
satisfaction !" Chandler ; who adds, " With what address he 
puts them in mind of their former affection to him, every man 
must see who reads the next words." Macknight says that 
" Locke's interpretation is unusual ; and the word is used to 
denote ' blessedness' in other passages of the apostle's writ- 
ings." Rom. iv. 6,9. 

88 Part II. GALATIANS. ' Sect.II.3. 

Ch. IV. attachment. There was no sacrifice which you 
would not readily have made to serve me. 
16. Am, /, then^ become your enemy, by continuing^ 
to tell you the truth ? 

What can be the reason of this extraordinary 
change ? How can I account for the coldness, the 
unkindness, which I now experience from you ? Is 
my constancy the cause of your change ? I taught 
you the truth, and thereby I gained your attention 
and your love. I still continue to teach the same 
important truth ; and is this the occasion of your 
present dislike ? Can the same cause produce effects 
so directly opposite to each other ? 

3. The apostle charges his opponents with a de- 
sire to make a breach between the Galatians and 
himself, in which he hopes they will not succeed, 
though he is not wholly free from some painful sus- 
picions, ver. 17 — 20. 
J 7. They zealously affect you, not with a good de- 
sign^; yea, they desire to exclude ijou"^, that ye 
may zealously affect them. 

• By continuing to tell you the truth?'] aXr^hvMv. See Locke. 
" by dealing truly with you ?" Wakefield. " Am I now be- 
come your enemy, only because I warn you against coiTupting 
or forsaking that very gospel, and exhort you to adhere to the 
truth and purity of it ? How severely, and yet how softly, doth 
he reproach them fjr their fickleness and inconstancy ! How 
strong is the reproof which is thus drawn from arguments of 
love!" Chandler. 

* 'Not with a good design.'] 8 xaXoui' " Their zeal for you is 
not for your good." Wakefield. " It is not with a good design, 
nor by lawiul arts and methods, that they thus endeavour to in- 
veigle your affections : it is not by endeavouring to promote 

PabtII. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 3. 89 

My opponents pretend to have a great affection Ch. IV. 
for you, and to be very solicitous to make you 
Christians of the highest order : but they are not 
influenced by right motives ; nor do they proceed in 
a right method when they expect to accomplish their 
design by subjecting you to the yoke of the law. 
In fact, they desire to exclude you from the privi- 
leges of the gospel, and to cut you off from all com- 
munication with me, that so you may be entirely de- 
voted to them, and may submit in every thing to 
their direction. 

£ut it is honourable to be at all times zealously 1^. 

affected to that which is good"^; and not only when 19- 

I am present luithyou, my dear children^, ofivhom 
I labour in birth again, till Christ be formed in 

But surely, my dear children in the gospel, you, 
of whose conversion to the faith I was the happy 
and the honoured instrument ; and for whose re- 
storation to the genuine principles and spirit of 

your salvation, or preaching the truth of the gospel of Christ." 
Chandler. " ZriXav aliquem dicitur qui valde ah eo amari uf~ 
fectat. Amorem vesirum captant non honeste. Sermo est defalsis 
illis doctoribus de quibus hacienus locutus erat ; quibus autem 
artibus illi usifue.rint, non constat." Rosenmuller. ' 

^ To exclude you.'] " They would exclude you from the privi- 
leges of Christians, or from my affections." Nevvcome. Some 
copies read r^ua;, us : q. d. they w^ould exclude me from your af- 
fection. See Locke. Beza. 

* To that which is good.] sv kocXcv. " towards a-good man." 
Locke. So Wakefield. This is, no doubt, the apostle's mean- 
ing: but the expression is purposely left ambiguous. 

' My dear children?^ With Beza, Bos, Bengel, and others, I 
connect these words with verse 18. See Bowycr. 

90 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. II. 3. 

Ch. IV. Christianity I am at present most tenderly solici- 
tous, and feel a truly parental anxiety, you cannot 
but see and acknowledge that it is right and credit- 
able that you should be at all times equally well af- 
fected to what is excellent, either in principles or 
persons ; and not expose yourselves to the suspicion 
of fickleness and caprice. If you had a well-founded 
attachment to me and to my doctrine while I was 
present with you, you ought not, without reason, 
to have deserted both, after I had left you to pro- 
secute the further purposes of my mission. 
20. But I wish to be present with you now, and to 
change my language^ ;for I am in doubt concern^ 
ing you. 

I have not, indeed, much hope that what I write 
will produce all the effect which I desire ;^nd there- 
fore I wish that I might be permitted, even now, to 
make you a visit. A personal interview would set 
all right ; and nothing would afford me greater sa- 
tisfaction than to exchange the language of suspi- 
cion and censure for that of commendation. 

* Change my language^ " (^wvr) signifies not only the voice, 
but the thing spoken j he should be glad to be present, and to 
converse with them personally, instead of writing to them at a 
distance ; because then he could be more fully informed of their 
true state, and better able to know how to order his discourse 
to them.'' Chandler. 

Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 1 . 01 


The apostle, hy a figurative application of the Ch. iv. 
history of the descenda7its of Abraham, by Sa- 
rah and Hagar, illustrates the opposite genius 
and tendency of the two dispensations of the law 
and the gospel. Ch. iv. 21 — v. 1. 

1 . He briefly touches upon the circumstances of 
the history from which his illustration is taken, ver. 

Tell me, ye who desire to be under the laiv, do ye Ver. 21. 
not hear the law ^ ? 

Many of you are strangely attached to the rites 
and ceremonies of the Mosaic institution. Allow 
me to ask you, Do you really understand the law of 
Moses ? Are you apprized of its nature and ten- 
dency ? Are you willing to learn from the penta- 
teuch itself the distinction, and even the opposition, 
which subsists between the old dispensation and the 

' ' Do ye not hear the law ?] " The law is sometimes used for 
the books of the Old Testament in general. See John x. 34." 
Newcome, This account is taken from the book of Genesis, 
ch. xvi. 15, xxi. 1 . The pentateuch is usually called the law, as 
distinguished from the prophets and thehagiography. " axovsiv, 
intelligere, 1 Cor. xiv. 2. Libri sacri, inquit Paulus, vobis noti 
sunt. Facile igitur intelligetis, qucE ex Us nuncproferam. Noluit 
autem nunc ex libris sacris argumenta petcre, sed illusfrare rem 
quam tractabtit, ad obkctandum, ut tardUatem excitaret." Ro- 

92 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 

Ch. IV. new ? If you are desirous of instruction, I will put 
the case in such a form that you cannot fail to un- 
derstand it, and to be impressed by it. 

22. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons^ 
one by a hond-iuoinan, and another by aJree-\NO- 

23. man. A^ow the son of the bond-woman luas horn 
after the usual manner ' ; but the son of the free- 
woman in consequence of the promise 2. 

The sacred historian relates, that the patriarch 
Abraham, when advanced in years, had two sons : 
the elder of whom, Ishmael, was the son of a con- 
cubine, a female slave, in the circumstances of 
w^hose birth nothing extraordinary occurred. The 
younger, Isaac, was the son of Sarah, a free-woman, 
the patriarch's lawful wife ; the child of a divine 
\ promise, born in a supernatural way, when both his 

parents were very far advanced in years. 

2, The apostle illustrates the different genius and 
spirit of the two dispensations, from the incidents 

' After the usual manner.'] So Wakefield, xa-ra a-a§Ka, " ac- 
cording to the flesh." " according to the course of nature." 

* In consequence of the 'promise^ So Wakefield, ha. ttj; sifay- 
ysXias, through the promise. " by virtue of the promise." 
Locke, Chandler. 

" There is so great boldness," says Dr. Priestley, " in the 
apostle's allegorizing of the history of Sarah and Hagar, that it 
cannot be supposed that he really thought that it was originally 
intended to be applied as he does it. But he made choice of 
this portion of scripture, in order to express his own idea of the 
difl^erent states of the judaizing Christians, and the Gentile 
converts : the former as in a state of bondage, the latter as 

pAftT II. GALATIANS. Sect. III. 2. 93 

which occur iQ the history of Abraham's two sons, Ch. iv. 
ver. 24—30. 

1.) One of these sons was born under the con- 
dition of servitude, and the other of Uberty, ver. 

JVhich circumstances may be allegorized^. Ver. 24. 

The historian relates a plain matter of fact ; but 
the narrative contains incidents which, in a figura- 
tive application, so happily illustrate the subject 
upon which I am now treating, that I shall take the 
liberty of accommodating them to it, as though 
they had been written for that express purpose. 

For these women are two covenants'^: the one —24. 

' May he allegorized^ d tiva ss-iv a\Xrjyop8ix.sva. See Dod- 
dridge and Chandler. " are spoken by me allegorically." 
Newcome ; who suspects the words to be a marginal note. 
They are not in the iEthiopic. " which things have' a fur- 

ther meaning." Wakefield. It is plain that the apostle 

does not mean to represent the history as an allegory j or to 
insinuate that it was intended by the writer to contain any my- 
stical signification. He only applies the circumstances of the 
history to the illustration of the subject in hand. 

Mr. Peirce of Exeter, in his dissertation upon the text, trans- 
lates these words " which things are allegorized : and his {the 
apostle's) meaning is, that the prophet Isaiah, whose words he 
cites, ver. 27, has from this history borrowed the terms, wherein 
he hath expressed himself in a very fine and noble allegory. 
This rendering is exactly grammatical, and sets the apostle's 
discourse in a different light ; and offers nothing but what is fa- 
miliar in all languages, and in all authors." 

* These women are tioo covenants.'] Griesbach drops the arti- 
cle before 8vo. Bishop Pearce's emendation of the text in his 
Epistolce Duce, 0pp. ver. 2, p. 464, is, to say the least, very in- 
genious, and by some may be preferred. 

1.) For SbXbvsi $she reads SaXsvsi yap, ver. 25, upon the 
best authorities. 2.) For to yap Ayap he reads ro Ss yap- 
Ss is inserted and Ayap is wanting in many copies. See Gries- 
bach. 3.) The word yuv is omitted before lepacraAy^/A in the 

94 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Skct. III. 2- 

Ch. IV. from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, 
Ver. 25, whicli is Hagar, {now this Sinai is a mountain in 

Arabia^ who answereth to the Jerusalem noiu ex- 
'^^- isting,ybr she is in bondage ivith her children; but 

the upper Jenisalem is the free-woman, luho is our 


Arabic and Syriac versions ; and is suspected by the bishop to 
have been inserted by some officious scribe to correspond with 
avu} in the following verse. 4.) By conjecture he substitutes 
aito for avu), ver. 26 ; which is a very small alteration, as the 
ancients commonly wrote o for w. And this slight change makes 
the two verses exactly correspond with each other ; and the 
parallelism holds in all its parts. The following is the bishop's 
translation of the three verses : 

" HcEc enim sunt duo fcedera : unum quidem a inonte S'lna ad 
servitutem generans, quod est Agar {hie enim (sc. mons) Sina 
mons est in Arabia, et conjunctus est Hierosolymce) ; servit enini 
cumfiliis suis. Hoc autem (sc. fccdus) ab Hierosolijmd est libera 
(so. Sara), quw est mater omnium nostrum.''^ 

For these are two covenants : one from mount Sinai bearing 
children to bondage, which is Hagar (now this Sinai is a moun- 
tain in Arabia, which joins to Jerusalem) ; for she is in bondage 
with her children. But the other from Jerusalem is the free- 
woman, which is the mother of us all, or, our mother. See 
Griesbach ; who drops Ttavtujv. The bishop, who renders <ru- 
roix^i conjunctus est, according to the Vulgate and Arabic, has 
no doubt of the 25th verse being a marginal gloss. 

Upon Bishop Pearce's statement, Mr. Peirce observes, " that 
the bishop has given a very unusual, if not unauthorized sense 
to the verb cr[;ro*%e», and that there is no authority but the Ara- 
bic for leaving out the word vvv. Upon which ground, a friend 
of Mr. Peirce has proposed the following improvement upon the 
bishop's version : 

" The one covenant, from mount Sinai, bearing children to 
bondage, is Hagar, (for this mount Sinaiis in Arabia, and an- 
swereth, in one part of the allegory, to the city, now called Je- 
rusalem, in the other,) for she is in bondage with her children. 
But the other covenant, from Jerusalem, is the imt-woman, 
Sarah, who is the mother of us all," or, our mother, i. e. of us 
Gentiles, who are, therefore, free-born, and children of the 

Part 11. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 05 

In the parallel which I propose to draw, in order cii. iv. 
to illustrate the genius of the different dispensations, '^'^' " ' 
the two women stand for the two covenants, the 
Mosaic and the Christian. Hagar, the bond-woman, 
represents the Mosaic institution, delivered in so- 
lemn pomp by God himself to the children of Is- 
rael, from mount Sinai in Arabia. And, as the son 
of Hagar was born a slave, so all the children of the 
Sinai covenant, that is, all the Jewish people, and all 
who regard the temple at Jerusalem as the only au- 
thorized edifice for the peculiar solemnities of divine 
worship, are now, and ever have been, in a state of 
servitude ; tied down to certain prescribed rites and 
ceremonies, some of which were painful, some ex- 
pensive, and some inconvenient; and which, in 
themselves, were of no moral use. But, on the 
other hand, Sarah, the lawful wife of Abraham, the 
free-woman, represents the new covenant, which de- 
scended from above ; and which is the charter of 
that holy and happy community which is justly 
called the new and heavenly Jerusalem '. All her 

* The heavenly Jerusalem,'] or, according to the ingenious, 
and perhaps correct, suggestion of Bishop Pearce, the para- 
phrase would stand thus : " But Sarah, the free-woman, the 
lawful wife of Abraham, represents the other covenant, which 
was lately promulgated from the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus 
opened his gracious commission ; where he lived and taught, 
and wrought miracles, and suffered death upon the cross, and 
rose again, and ascended to the right hand of God. Wliere he 
commissioned his apostles to teach his gospel to all nations, and 
endowed them with the gifts of the holy spirit, to confirm their 
doctrine. All her children are freeborn," &c. 

Upon the whole, I prefer the simplicity of Bishop Pearce's in- 
terpretation ; though Dr. Chandler's illustration of the common 
interpretation of the allegory is very beautiful. 


96 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. Ill, 2. 

Ch. IV. children are born free, and are entitled to all the 
^^" " ' privileges of their high descent. They breathe the 
spirit of liberty, and are under no subjection to 
those servile conditions, to those harsh and degrad- 
ing restraints to which the sons of the bond-woman 
were exposed. Now we, my friends, are these very 
persons : children of the free-woman ; we are free- 
born, and, as believers in Christ, we are at liberty 
from all the restraints and burdens of the ceremo- 
nial law ; and are the approved citizens of this new 
and glorious community. 

2.) The analogy applies to the relative numbers 
of their respective descendants, ver. 27, 28. 
27. Moreover ^y it is 2u?itlen% Hejoice, thou barren. 

" By the heavenly Jerusalem," says this learned and elo- 
quent writer, " the apostle means the Christian church ; which 
is a regular or well-ordered city or community, expressly called, 
Heb. xii. 22, Mount Sion, the city of the liv'mg God, the heavenly 
Jerusalem ; the inhabitants or members of which are, the innu- 
inerahle company of angels, the general assembly of the first-born, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect. The great Lord and 
Governor of which is God, the judge of all. The great Mediator, 
who formed this city, and established this commonwealth, and 
introduces that covenant which contains the charter of its privi- 
leges, and the laws of its government, and who rules and go- 
verns under God, is the blessed Jesus. Upon which account 
the Christian church is very beautifully denoted by the heavenly 
Jerusalem, as a city which hath the immediate symbols of the 
divine presence, and is the place of God's residence, by his holy 
spirit. It is his favourite city, under his peculiar protection 
and government." 

For the proper ex])lanation of these phrases in the epistle to 
the Hebrews, see the paraphrase and notes upon the text in that 

^ Moreover.'] ya/s is not here an illative particle, but intro- 
duces a collateral observation. The apostle having pointed out 

Part II. GALATIANS. Skct. III. 2. 97 

who hearest 7iot ; break forth and shout, thou who ch. iv. 
travailest not in birth, for many more are the chil- ^^^'- ^'^' 
dren of the desolate than of her that hath an hus- 
band. Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children 
of promise, 

Wliile I am writing, another circumstance of re- 

the principal circumstances of the parallel^ namely^ servitude 
and liberty, other incidental circumstances of resemblance oc- 
cur to him as he is writing, which he here notices. 

* It is written^ The text cited is Isaiah liv. 1 ; which is thus 
translated by Bishop Lowth : " Shout for joy, O thou barren, 
that didst not bear. Break forth into joyful shouting, and exult, 
thou that didst not travail; for more are the children of the de- 
solate than of the married woman, saith Jehovah." " The church 
of God," says the bishop, " under the Old Testament, confined 
within the narrow bounds of the Jewish nation, and still more 
so in respect of the small number of true believers ; and which 
sometimes seemed to be deserted of God, her husband, is the 
barren woman that did not bear, and was desolate : she is ex- 
horted to rejoice, and to express her joy in the strongest man- 
ner, on the reconciliation of her husband, ver. 6 ; and on the 
accession of the Gentiles to her family. The converted Gentiles 
are all along considered by the prophet as a new accession of 
adopted children, admitted into the original church of God, and 
united with it. See ch. xlix. 20, 21." 

Mr. Peirce considers this text, which the apostle cites from 
the prophet Isaiah, as containing the allegory to which he al- 
ludes, and which he here pursues. And, in order to this, Mr. P. 
takes much pains to show that the females alluded to by the 
prophet are Sarah and Hagar. " Rejoice, thou barren, &c., 
q.d. How earnestly was Sarah desirous of being a mother ! and 
how did she rejoice and triumph when she had a son ! For the 
desolate hath mamj more children than she that hath a husband : 
She that was, with respect to having children, as if she had no 
husband, Abraham being superannuated, and herself being past 
age, hath many more children, &c. See Rom. iv. 19 5 Heb. xi. 
11, 12, Hence she is spoken of as desolate, as having, in a 
manner, no husband. Hagar, though a bond-woman, was Abra- 
ham's wife. Gen. xvi. 3, and there being nothing supernatural 
in the birth of Ishmael, she is said to have a husband. In 
short, therefore, the thing allegorized by the prophet is this : 


98 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. III. 2. 

Ch. IV. semblance occurs strongly to my mind ; which is, 
Ver. 28. indeed, most encouraging and worthy of being 
mentioned. The posterity of Abraham by Ishmael 
were, agreeably to the divine promise, very nume- 
rous and powerful ; and this long before the de- 
scendants of Isaac made any figure in the world, or 
had a place among the nations : but in the end, the 
promise to the patriarch was completely fulfilled ; 
and the posterity of Sarah, though she was child- 
less many years after the birth of Ishmael, and ut- 
terly despaired of hr.ving a son, greatly exceeded, 
both in numbers and in renown, the posterity of the 
bond-woman. Such shall be the final state of the 
Christian community, compared with that of Mo- 
ses. To this the prophet alludes when he calls upon 
the desolate and childless woman to rejoice and ex- 
ult; for that in due time she shall be blessed with an 
offspring more numerous and prosperous than that 
of her who was married, and who first vaunted of a 
family. We, my brethren, who believe in Christ, 
are the promised posterity here alluded to; and 
though our numbers are at present few, and appa- 
rently inconsiderable, be assured that, in due season. 

that Sarah, who had been so long barren, did at last, by virtue 
of the promise of God, and his extraordinary blessing, bear a 
child to superannuated Abraham, contrary to the course of na- 
ture, and became the mother of a more numerous posterity than 
Hagar was, who had a child by him according to the course of,, 
nature." • ' 

Mr, Peirce further contends, that this prophecy properly ap- 
plies to the accession of the Gentiles to the church, and conse- 
quently that the apostle " has explained this passage according 
to its original intent and design." 

Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 99 

the divine promise will be amply and gloriously ful- ch. iv. 
filled, and the number of those who will be even- ^^' ' ' 
tually admitted to share in the blessings and privi- 
leges of the gospel will greatly exceed that of the 
Jewish church in its most extended and prosperous 

3.) The parallel holds still further, in respect to 
the unworthy treatment of the son of the free wo- 
man by the son of the slave, ver. 29. 

JBut as then, he that was born according to the 29. 
flesh 1 persecuted him 2 that was born according to 
the spirit, even so it is now. 

And, to pursue the allegory a little further, the 
history relates, Gen. xxi. 9, that Ishmael the son of 
Hagar, who was an insolent and haughty youth, and 
who, valuing himself upon being the first-born, ex- 
pected no doubt the greatest share in his father's af- 
fection, and the largest portion of his wealth, treated 
with scorn the infant Isaac, the child of the free wo- 

' According to thejieshi] ■x.a.ta, arapynx, in the natural way. 
xara ifvsvy.a, in a supernatural way, and by virtue of a divine 
promise, see ver. 23. 

' Persecuted.'] See Gen. xxi. 9, " The history tells us that 
he laughed at, derided, and mocked him to scorn, which is real 
persecution ; probably through pride, and the conceit of his 
being Abraham's eldest son and heir." Chandler. " Hence we 
may learn," says Mr.Peirce, in his note on the passage, " that 
men may be guilty of persecuting, in the apostle's apprehension, 
without practising any open force and violence, when they treat 
others scornfully and abusively. Nor is it hard for men to be 
really persecutors, when they little imagine they are so ; as no 
doubt the Jews in the apostle's time little thought they were 
chargeable with such a crime, when they used violence, but sup- 
posed they were doing God service." 

H 2 

100 Part II, GALATIANS. Sect. III. 2. 

Ch. iv. T^^^i the heir of promise, as the feeble offspring of 
Ver. 29. decrepit age : so do the unbelieving Jews, the par- 
ties in the first covenant, now treat their younger 
brethren the believers in Christ, the free-born sons 
of God, and the true heirs of the promises ; whom 
they regard with malignity and envy, and by every 
means of insult and injury are endeavouring to crush 
in its infancy the new and the chosen generation . 

4.) The apostle closes the parallel with insinu- 
ating that the fate of the Jews will resemble that 
of the son of the bond-woman, ver. 30. 
30. But what saith the scripture ^P " Cast out this 
bond-woman and her so7i; for the son of this bond-' 
woman shall not share the inheritance with the son 
of thefree-vjoui2iU . " 

' IVhat saith the scripture ?] i. e. what saith the history r See 
Gen. xxi. 10, 13. The apostle could not mean to insinuate that 
Sarah w&s inspired when she formed the cruel resolution of 
turning Hagar and Ishmael out of doors ; though for wise rea- 
sons God permitted the event to take place, and promised Abra- 
ham to protect both the mother and the child. The apostle 
touches with great delicacy upon the rejection of the Jews, and 
leaves his reader to draw his own conclusion from the fact which 
he states. Dr. Newcome observes, that " it is probable that 
St. Paul thus adapted a part of the Mosaic history to his pur- 
pose, not only because it was conformable to the manner of 
teaching among the Jews, but that he might convey to his 
countrymen harsh truths indirectly and with address." 

" Such arguing, or such a comparing of things as this," says 
Peirce, " is always reckoned allowable ; nor does any one ima- 
gine that he who uses it esteems the thing from which the argu- 
ment is drawn to have been any prediction or type of that which 
is inferred from it ; but it i.s only a reasoning from the like 
causes in different cases, which is certainly strong and con- 

Part II. GALATIANS. Secx.III. 3. 101 

With reluctance I point out a fourth particular ch. iv. 
of resemblance, in which it is to be feared that the ^"- ^^• 
analogy will too closely apply. For, look into the 
sacred history, and what do you find to be the issue 
of the story? (Gen. xxi. 10, 12.) The mother of 
the free-born child, resenting the insult offered to 
her infant and herself, insists upon the banishment 
of the slave and her son as a punishment for his in- 
solence : and this sentence, however cruel and un- 
justifiable in the party who pronounced it, is for wise 
reasons confirmed by God, who consoled the reluc- 
tant father by the promise of protection to his ex- 
iled offspring. But the decree was ratified and exe- 
cuted in its utmost rigour : the son of the bond- 
woman shall be rejected, and shall have no parti- 
cipation whatever in the privileges of the child of 
promise. How far this declaration applies to the 
present state of my unhappy and deluded country- 
men, I must leave to your own reflections; it is a sub- 
ject upon which it is too painful for me to insist. 

3. The apostle concludes with an exhortation to 
believers to adhere to the liberty into which they 
have been introduced by Christ, ver. 31,ch. v. ver. 1. 

So then, brethren", ive are not children of the 31. 

' .So then, brethren.'] I agree with Locke, Peirce, Bowyer, 
Doddridge, Newcome, and other critics, in joining the first 
verse of the fifth chapter with the last of the fourth. It is the 
conclusion drawn from the preceding premises. The apo.5tle by 
his allegory had been illustrating and establishing the proposi- 
tion, that Christians are the free-born sons of God : he now 
exhorts them stedfastly to adhere to their Christian liberty. 

102 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect.111.3. 

Ch. V. bond-woman^ but o/the/ree-woinsin : continue sted- 
^*''' ^' fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath 
made us free », and do not by going backwards^ en- 
cumber yourselves with a yoke of bondage 3. 

By our conversion to the Christian religion we are 
regenerated, we are free-born, heirs of liberty and 
not of servitude ; we are children of the promise, 
subject to no servile restraint or servile terror : filial 
obedience flowing from fiUal love is the only law 
which we are required to obey, and we are heirs of 
an everlasting inheritance. For this liberty we are 
indebted to Jesus, our Master and elder brother ; 
who has pubHshed and sealed the charter of our 
freedom, and has admitted us into that free and 
happy community of which he is the head. Learn, 
therefore, the value of your privileges : hold fast 
your Christian liberty : let no one bring you into 
bondage. Submit to no human impositions incon- 
sistent with the authority of Christ : do not volun- 
tarily enslave yourselves : make no addition to the 

* With which Christ hath made us free.'] The gospel which 
Jesus published is the charter of our liberties, and by the pro- 
fession of Christianity we are admitted into the freedom of that 
community of which he is the head. 

* By going backwards. 1 " raXiv is used for retrorsum, and 
perhaps that may better suit this place and Gal, iv. 9, and so 
the meaning here will be, ' Don't by going backwards entangle 
yourselves with a yoke of bondage.' " Peirce. " Be not again 
put under the yoke of servitude." Newcome. " Fasten not 
yourselves in a yoke of slavery." Wakefield j who with the Sy- 
riac and Coptic omits irocXiv. 

' Encumber ijourselves .'j " The original word £V£%f(r6e sig- 
nifies to be bound or held under a yoke," &c. Chandler. 

Part II. GALATIANS. Skct. IV. 1. 103 

institutes of Christ : cherish a filial and a liberal Ch. v. 
spirit ; and let your religious homage be that of 
love and not of terror. 


The apostle solemnly warns the Galatians, that 
a voluntary subjection to the ceremonial law ex- 
cludes a man from the privileges of the gospel; 
he condemns the t/udaizing teacher, and clears his 
oivn character from the imputation of preaching 
up the universal obligation of legal rites. Ch. v. 

1 . The apostle insists, that voluntary submission 
to circumcision is a virtual obligation to yield sub- 
jection to the law, and a renunciation of the privi- 
leges of the gospel, ver. 2 — 4. 

Beholdy I Paul^ declare to you, that if ye sub- 2. 

mit to circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing^, 

* / Paul^ q. d. " who am an apostle of Christ by the special 
designation of God." Chandler. — " who am falsely reported to 
preach up circumcision in other places." Locke : which is the 
more probable interpretation. 

• Christ will profit you nothing.'} The apostle could not mean 
to say, that submission to the rite of circumcision would exclude 
men from salvation and future happiness : he must therefore be 
understood as speaking of a title to external privileges only. 
Circumcision was initiation into the Jewish covenant ; to the 
blessings of which they would be entitled if they kept the law 
without any deviation. Faith was the initiation into the Chris- 
tian covenant, and the title to its privileges. But they who sub- 

104 Part II. G 4. L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 1 

Ch. V. You are free-born, you are entitled to all the pri- 
Vei. 2. viiegt^s of children by faith in Christ ; you are in 
want of nothing which those who lived under the 
Mosaic ritual could claim. Maintain firmly your 
invaluable rights. Beware of giving way in the first 
instance ; for I myself, I who am represented as 
preaching one doctrine at one place, and another at 
another ; I, the depreciated and calumniated Paul, 
do most solemnly and explicitly assure you, that 
if you submit to circumcision, your profession of 
Christianity will be of no use to you at all. 
3. Yectf I testify again * to every one who submits 
to circumcision^ that he is hound to perform the 
whole laiu. 

As an apostle of Christ, qualified and authorized 
to determine the case, I give it as my decided judge- 
ment, that every one who voluntarily submits to cir- 
cumcision voluntarily binds himself to observe, the 
whole law: his conduct will admit of no other in-. 

mitted to circumcision, thereby virtually declared that they pre- 
ferred the legal mode to the evangelical mode of obtaining cove- 
nant privileges : i. e. they renounced the gracious scheme of the 
gospel for the rigours of the law, and they must take the con- 
sequence ; they must punctually fulfill the law, or they forfeit 
tlie blessings, the privileges of the community of the children 
of God, 

' J testify again, &c.] The apostle repeats the sentiment, 
with some variation of phrase to increase the impression. See 
Newcome. Some ©f the most ancient copies omit TraXiv. See 
Griesbach. Perhaps this is preferable : 9. d. Christ is of no usej 
and, what is more, you are bound to keep tlie whole law, or 
your circumcision will do you no good. Or, the third verse is an 
amplification of the second: q. d. Christ is of no use. Why? Be- 
cause you bind yourselves to keep the law, from vvliich Christ 
would have set vou free. 

Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 1 . 1 05 

terpretation. Symbolical actions have no meaning, ch, v. 
if they do not teach that whoever consents to be ^^'^' ^' 
initiated into any society, or profession, does vir- 
tually oblige himself to submit to all the rules and 
engagements of that profession : so that you not 
only forfeit all your Christian privileges, but you 
incur obligations which it is impossible to fulfill. 
Christ would have set you free : but you reject his 

Ye who seek to be justified^ by the law have re- 4. 

nounced Christ^; ye have fallen from the dispen- 
sation of grace *. 

You cannot be both Jews and Christians : if you 
seek divine favour by the ceremonies of the law, you 
renounce your claim to it upon the ground of faith. 
If you choose justification by obedience to a ritual, 
you virtually and absolutely decline all claim to it 
by a method which releases you from ritual obliga- 

^ Y^ who s&Q\i to be justified^ Smociaa-Ssj who are justified. See 

' Ye have renounced Christ.'] xatyjpy^^rjTs cnto rs X§isr8, ye 
are abolished from Christ, wholly separated from him, as a wo- 
man from her husband by his death. Rom.' vii. 2 ; 2 Tim. i. lOj 
1 Cor. XV. 24—26. " xar. utto rivos, is dicitur qui immunis, li- 
ber est ab aliqua re, non amplius rem cum aliquo habet." Schleus- 
ner. See Chandler. — " ye have done with Christ." Wakefield. 
— " Karapysiv denotat vim, pretium, auctoritatem rei detra- 
here, deinde etiam, cessare facer e. Hinc xccr. atto nvog, alienum 
esse ab aliquo, nihil amplius rei cum eo habere."' RosenmuUer. 

* Fallen from grace.] " from the covenant of grace." Locke. 
Xafi; is here, as often elsewhere, put for the gospel dispensa- 
tion, which is a dispensation of mercy. John i. 1 5", 1 7. They had 
fallen from grace, not as excluding themselves from eternal life, 
but as renouncing- the gospel for the Jewish dispensation, and 
preferring the mode of justification by ceremonial institution.s 
to justification by faith. 

106 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. IV. 2. 

Ch. V. *^o"' I^ y®^ ^'^^y "poJ^ the law, you have done with 
Ver. 4. tiie gospel : it is of no more use to you than if it 
had never existed. You have forsaken the gentle 
yoke of Christ, and have subjected yourselves to the 
heavy and insupportable burden of the law. You 
have passed the sentence of exclusion upon your- 
selves, and you must abide by the consequences. 

2. The apostle declares, that the true disciples 
of Christ entertain no hope but what is founded 
upon an operative faith, ver. 5, 6. 
6. For we\ hy the spirit^, expect from faith that 
justification which is the object of omx hope^. 

I do not speak lightly upon this subject; for, 
whatever you may have heard to the contrary, I per- 
sist in assuring you that I myself, and all who listen 
to my instructions, all in every place who are true 
and consistent believers in Christ, have learned 
from the gospel to depend upon faith alone, a sin- 
cere practical faith exclusive of all ceremonial in- 
stitutes, for that acceptance with God, here and 
hereafter, which is the great object of our desire 
and hope. 
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avail' 

' For we.] The apostle himself, and all consistent believers 
together with him. See Locke. 

• By the spirit^ i. e. being so taught by the gospel dispen> 
sation; which is here called the spirit. See ch. iii. 3, 5. New- 
come, Locke. 

' Justification which is the object of our hope.'] Literally, " the 
hope of justification." — "We who follow the truth of the go- 
spel and the doctrine of the spirit of God, have no other hope 
of justification but by faith in Christ," Locke. 

Part II. G A L A T 1 A N S. Skct. IV. 3. 107 

eth any things nor tcncircumcmon ; hut faith which ch. v. 
operates hy love '^. "* ' 

To sum up all in a few words : The truth of the 
case is, that to a believer in Christ it is a matter of 
no consequence whether antecedently to his con- 
version he was a Jew or a heathen. All that is now 
required of him is, to believe in the divine mission 
of Christ, and to live in the habitual exercise of love 
to God and benevolence to man. A lively operative 
faith is the essential and the only condition of se- 
curing an interest in the privileges and the promises 
of the gospel. 

3. The apostle expostulates with the Galatians 
on their declension from the truth, and clears him- 
self from the suspicion of having been the occasion 
of their error, ver. 7, 8. 

Ye were running well: who has intercepted you^, 7. 

that ye should not continue to obey the truth ? This s. 

* Faith which operates by love.'] q. d. Under the new dispen- 
sation ceremonies are nothing, practical faith is every thing. 
See ch. vi. Si' ayairrjs BVBpy8i>.tvrj, "■ rendered effectual or made 
operative by love ; which shows itself to be a living active prin- 
ciple, byjproducing the fruit of obedience, q. d. Under the go- 
spel, faith is all in all ; even that firm belief of the Christian re- 
ligion which influences to, and produces, a sincere love of God 
and our neighbour." Chandler. 

* W'Tio has intercepted yow.] svs-aq^z' this is the reading of 
the best copies. See Griesbach. syKOTTtu), eiJ^itoSi^u}. Hesychius, 
Phavorinus. " metaphorice, interpello, impedio." Schleusner. — 
" It is an Olympic expression, answerable to Bt^sysn, and 
properly signifies coming across the course while another is 
running in it, in such a manner as to jostle and throw him out 
of the way." Doddridge. 

108 Tart II, G A L A T 1 A N S. Skct. IV. 4. 

Ch. V. persuasion i doth not come from him who called 

Ver. 8. „ -^ 


When I left Galatia you were advancing in your 
Christian course with speed and vigour: you un- 
derstood the principles of the Christian doctrine, and 
you adorned them by your practice : you valued your 
Christian liberty, and exulted in your freedom. How 
came this unhappy change to take place ? What 
busy intruder has thrust you out of your v/ay, and 
given you a bias contrary to truth ? Your first in- 
structor in the principles of Christianity is not re- 
sponsible for this obliquity of conduct. I set you in 
the right way; it is some evil-minded person who has 
since perverted your steps, and turned you astray. 

4. The apostle warns them against the progres- 
sive tendency of error, and expresses his hope that 
theGalatians will animadvert with due severity upon 
the corrupter of their faith and the disturber of their 
peace, ver. 9, 10. ' 

' This 'persuasion.'] 5j itsKriJ.ovyj, an allusion in St. Paul's man- 
ner to the preceding word TrsjSecrSaj. q. d. that ye should not 
obey the truth. This obedience, which you now pay to the law, 
Cometh not from him who called you. See Locke, N.B. The 
clause rri aXrjSsia pt^ ireiQstrSai was wanting in some of Je- 
rome's copies, and in the Syriac, and is supposed to have been 
introduced from ch. iii. I ; where, however, it is wanting in the 
best copies. SeeBowyer j and Griesbach, who also marks ita*i 
wanting in Chrysostom, 

* Him who called t/ou.'] Meaning himself: see ch. i. 6. " The 
apostle argues thus : You were going on well in the liberty of 
the gospel : who stopped you ? I, you may be sure, had no 
hand in it ; I, you know, called you to liberty, and not to sub- 
jection to the law, and therefore you can by no means suppose 
that I should preach of circumcision," Locke. 

Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. IV, 4, 109 

A little leaven leaveneth the whole mass 3. Ch. v. 

Erroneous principles admitted and encouraged 
will gradually spread, and will diffuse their influence 
through the whole society ; and though there may 
be but few at present who embrace or propagate 
them, yet if proper methods are not taken to check 
their progress, their abettors will increase, and the 
whole church will gradually be infected by them. 

But I have confidence in you through the Lord^, 10. 

that ye will not think differently from me ; but he 
who troubleth you shall bear his judgement^^ who' 
soever he be. 

Notwithstanding the success which erroneous 
doctrines have met with among you, and the 

' A little leaven, &c.] Mr. Locke infers from this and the 
next verse, that all this disorder arose from one man. "A few 
seducers may corrupt all." Newcome. See 1 Cor. v. 6. 

* Confidence in you through the Lord.'] sv KvpiM. " the ut- 
most confidence in you." Wakefield. He translates the next 
clause, " that ye will not alter your minds." — " I have confi- 
dence in you, that by the help of the Lord you will all be of this 
same mind with me; you will beware of this leaven, so as not 
to be put into a ferment, nor shaken in your liberty, which you 
ought to stand fast in ; and to secure it, I doubt not, such con- 
fidence I have in you, will with one accord ccist out him that 
troubles you. For, as for me, you may be sure I am not for 
circumcision, in that the Jews continue to persecute me. This 
is evidently his meaning, though not spoken out, but managed 
warily, with a very skilful and moving insinuation : for, as he 
says of himself, ch. iv. 20, he knew not at that distance what 
temper they were in." Locke. 

* Shall bear hh judgement.'] " Such judgement might be cen- 
sure, excommunication, or the infliction of some bodily disease. 
It might be future punishment also, the case of impenitence 
being supposed." Newcome. Mr. Locke understands >co/jw,a as 
signifying expulsion by church censure, as in the case of the 
Corinthian fornicator. 

110 Part II. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. IV. 5. 

Ch. V. anxiety which I suffer on your account, my hopes 
Ver. 10. g^'u pi-evail over my apprehensions; and I entertain 
a sanguine expectation that you are so well founded 
in the principles of the Christian religion, that you 
will still adhere faithfully to the doctrine which you 
learned from me ; and, as a proof of it, that you will 
pass a proper censure upon that seducing teacher 
who would pervert your faith and disturb your 
peace, whatever his rank, his abilities, or his influ- 
ence may be. 

5. The apostle appeals to his persecutions as 
proofs of the consistency of his doctrines, and in- 
sists upon the exclusion of the disturbers of their 
peace from their society, ver. 11, 12. 

^^- But as for 7ne, brethren, if I still preach cir- 
cumcision^, luhy do I still suffer persecution? the 

12. scandal of the cross luould then be abolished. 1 
wish that they might even be cut off"^ ivho trouble 

' If I still, &c.] A plain intimation that he had been mis- 
represented to the Galatians as having insisted upon the obli- 
gation of the law in other places, though he had held different 
language there. His persecutions demonstrated the falsehood 
of this calumny ; for they were instigated by the Jews, and 
chiefly for this reason, that he boldly maintained the liberty of 
the converted Gentiles from the yoke of the law. 

* I wish that they might even he cut offj] OipsXov y.a.1 airoxo- 
4/ovraj. The apostle, ver. 10, had expressed his expectation 
that the false teacher should bear the merited punishment : he 
here speaks out and explains what that punishment is, viz. ex- 
clusion from the communion of the church. The construction 
of the original has divided the critics. Le Clerc contends that 
o^eAov is never joined with a future tense, nor is the particle 
xa» ever interposed. He reads ofsKov as if it were oufsiXov, and 

Part II. GALATIANS. Sect. IV, 5. HI 

I am represented as an advocate for the imposi- Ch. v. 
tion of the Mosaic ritual ; but of this calumny the ^^'' 
persecutions which I endure are an ample and pub- 
lic refutation. My chief persecutors are my own 
countrymen ; and the principal ground of their en- 

renders the clause, " they ought to be cut off, and they shall be 
cut off." See Cler. Annot. and Bowyer. Bengelius and others 
put o(psXov by itself, and read the preceding clause with an in- 
terrogation : " Is, then, the scandal of the cross taken away ? I 
wish it were. And they shall be cut off that trouble you." 

" o^eXov, proprie aoristus secundus est verbi o<psiXw, debeo : 
sed sumitur etiam adverbialiter et denotat utinam : et est adver- 
bium optandi quod construitur mox cum indicativo, (qui tamen 
non ah o(psKov pendere videtur, sed a subintellecta particula si, vel 
eiSe, quce cum (xpsXov scepe conjuncta reperitur: Vide Alex. Job. 
xiv. 13, et XXX. 24,) mox cum optativo. 1 Cor. iv. 8; 2 Cor. xi. 
1 ; Gal. V. 12. KitOMitrw, ambiguitate quadam laborat locus 
Gal. V. 12, ubi dc doctoribus judaizantibus inter primos Christia- 
nas sermo est, et Paulus optat 0(ps\ov x.. r. X. h. e. e vulgari opi- 
nione, ut seipsos sejungerent a ccetu Christianorum doctores cce- 
tum Christianorum turbantes : qua expUcatio nee ah usu loquendi 
ahhorret, nee a contexta oratione aliena est. Nee tamen plane 
improbanda est sententia, Chrysostomi, Theodoreti, Theophylacti, 
et Augustini, quam inter recentiores maxime Grotius et Raphelius 
amplexi sunt, ex qua locus ita reddendus est: Per me, si velint, 
non modo circumcidant se, sed adeo genitalia sibi exsecent. Qui 
quidem sensus melius et contextui ipsi, et linguoe Grcecce consen- 
tire, affectui adeo Pauli contra doctores judaizantes, convenire 
videtur. Hesych. a-Kowitos, euv8%o;." Schleusner. " I wish 
that they who are unsettling you may lament it." Wake- 
field. " even cut off, by the judgement of God ; he inflicting 
diseases to the destruction of the body and the salvation of the 
soul. 1 Cor. V. 5. For the Greek, see Bowyer 4to, where Ku- 
ster De Verho Medio is quoted, to show that the future of the 
middle voice signifies passively. St. Paul uses o(psXov with an in- 
dicative mood, 1 Cor.iv. 8, and 2 Cor. xi. 1." Newcome. " I 
wish that they may be cut oft' {from communion, see ver. 10, 
note,) who trouble you about this matter : and they shall be 
cut off." Locke. I am unwilling to suppose that the apostle 
could wish his opponents any bodily harmj I cannot doubt, 
therefore, that Mr. Locke gives his true meaning. 

112 Part II. GALATIANS. Sect, IV. 5. 

Ch. V. mlty is the doctrine which I every where teach and 
^^'^' ^^' inculcate, that the converted Gentile is exempted 
from the yoke of the law. But if I insisted on their 
submission to the Mosaic ritual, the chief cause of 
offence would be removed, and the zealots for the 
law would be in a degree reconciled to the progress 
of the gospel. Let the inventors and propagators 
of these injurious calumnies take the shame which 
they deserve ; and let the disturbers of your peace 
be cut off from Christian communion. They ought 
to be excluded from the church, as the perverters 
of its doctrine and the bane of its peace : and they 
shall be excluded. Christianity herself disowns 
them, and the true disciples of Christ will hold no 
intercourse with them. 

Pari III. G A L A T 1 A N S. Skct.I. 1. 113 


The apostle, now proceeding to the practi- CH. v. 


theGalatians from those vices which were 
TOO prevalent both among Jews and hea- 
13— vi. 10. 


The apostle recommends mutual affection^ and 
contrasts the spiiit of Judatsin and heathenism 
with the spirit of Christianity, Ch. v. 13 — 26. 

1. Christians, though at liberty from ceremonial 
restraints, ought to regard themselves as bound to 
each other by the ties of mutual sympathy and af- 
fection, ver. 13 — 15. 

For ye^ brethren ^^ have been invited to liberty. Ver. 13. 

* For ye, brethren^ " I ^vish they were cut off 5 /or, brethren, 
such are enslavers of you who have been called," &c. Newcome. 
Ye have been invited : i. e. by me who received my commission 
for this purpose from Christ himself. See ver. 8, and ch. i. 6. 


114 Part III. GALATIANS. Skct.I. I. 

Ch. V. Only abuse not liberty as an occasion to the fleshly 
hut in love be servants'^ one to another. 

You will consult your own advantage and the 
peace of the church, if you exclude from commu- 
nion with you those who would enslave you to the 
yoke of the law. For indeed, my brethren, you 
were invited by me, who derived my authority for 
this purpose from Christ himself, into a state of 
absolute freedom from the yoke of ceremonies: 

* An occasion to thejiesh.'] The wordfi Jlesh and spirit have 
varioas significations in the apostle's writings ; and that they 
are sometimes used in the sense of the tendencies to vice or to 
virtue in man, in which sense they are understood by most in- 
terpreters in this passage, cannot be denied. It appears to me 
however most agreeable to the apostle's design, and to the scope 
of his argument, to understand the word spirit in this connexion 
as expressive of the gospel, and of the state into which men 
were brought in consequence of their conversion to the Christian 
religion ; and the wordjlesh, in opposition to spirit, as expres- 
sive of an unconverted state, whether of heathenism or Judaism, 
including under the latter pharisaism, or a superstitious attach- 
ment to traditionary rites. See ch. iii. 3. The tendency of both 
these states was to deprave the character, that of heathenism by 
vicious indulgence, and of Judaism by pride or despair. This idea 
he pursues at large, Rom. vi. vii. The vices thus generated he 
calls the works of the flesh, whether they consisted in intempe- 
rate pleasure, or in unreasonable affections of the mind ; and 
this consideration easily explains what some expositors have re- 
garded as a difficulty, namely, how it comes to pass that hatred, 
envy, contention, and heresy, are enumerated amongst the 
works of the flesh. See Chandler. In this sense liberty might 
be said to be abused as an occasion to the flesh, if, by conceiv- 
ing themselves at liberty from moral restraint, they allowed 
themselves in the vicious habits and practices of their uncon- 
verted state. 

' Be servants.'] SsXEVsts' " though by the gospel they are 
called to a state of liberty from the law, they were still as much 
bound, and subjected to their brethren in all the offices and du- 
ties of lov€ and good will, as if in that respect they were their 
vassals and bondmen." Locke. 

Part III. GALATIANS. Ssct.I, 1. 115 

emancipated from heathen idolatry, you were and Ch. v. 
are under no obligation to submit to Jewish rites. ^^' 
Yet let me caution you not to mistake the nature 
of that freedom which you enjoy. You are not 
released from the moral law. You are not at liberty 
to indulge those licentious passions which heathen- 
ism encourages, nor to cherish that contracted and 
malignant spirit which distinguishes the pharisaic 
Jews. You are still subject to the law of love, and 
you are bound by the generous spirit of Christianity 
to exert yourselves to the utmost extent of your 
powers to promote the happiness of all around you, 
as if you were actually in bonds of servitude to each 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one precept ^ 14. 
even in this. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 
self. Butif ye bite and devour one another^, take 15. 
heed that ye be not consumed by each other. 

In lieu of all ceremonial rites the Christian law 
prescribes one grand paramount maxim, that of 
doing good ; of doing to others as you could rea- 
sonably desire that in an exchange of circumstances 
they would do to you. Observe this one precept, 
and be assured that you obey every law with which 
under the new dispensation you have any concern. 

^ Bite and devour one another^] " The words are used me- 
taphorically (as they are by the best authors), to signify the 
contention, slander, backbiting and censuring, which arose from 
the differences between the Jewish and Gentile converts. Such 
a conduct was not only contrary to the Christian spirit and cha- 
racter, but the most likely method to prejudice themselves, and 
to destroy the church of Christ among them." Chandler. 

I 2 

116 Part III. G A L A TI A N S. Skct.1.2. 

Ch. V. But if, instead of loving, you hate one another, and, 
'^'' ' like wild beasts, snarl at and bite and worry each 
other, there is great reason to fear that you will be 
accessary to each others ruin ; and be assured that 
no zeal for legal impositions, no superstitious ad- 
herence to burdensome institutions, will compensate 
for a temper and conduct so opposite to the spirit of 
the gospel. 

2. The apostle strongly urges the Galatians to 
adhere firmly to the doctrine and spirit of the go- 
spel, in opposition to the principles and practiced of 
an unchristian ized state, and assures them that by 
so doing they will be perfectly safe from condemna- 
tion, ver. 16-^18. 
16, A^ow I say, TValk by the spirit, and by no means 
fulfilV the desire oftheflesh'^. 

I strictly charge you to act up to the precepts and 

' By no means fulfill.'] 8 fx-rj rsXsrrjTs, to be understood im- 
peratively, not as in the common translation, ye shall notfidjill. 
See Locke, Wakefield, Newcome, &c. s ;xr,, a double nega- 
tive \ q. d. hy no means, on no account whatsoever. 

' Spirit— ^esh.'] " Flesh in the gospel language is that prin- 
ciple which inclines and carries men to ill. Spirit is that prin- 
ciple which dictates what is right, and inclines to good. See 
Rom. vii. 17, &c." Locke. — " By the spirit the apostle means 
the reasonable principle or soul in every man, which God has 
given us to correct and govern the motions and tendencies of 
our fleshly appetites and passions. The flesh, the contrary prin- 
ciple in man, enticing men to such actions as their reason and 
conscience condemn." Chandler. Notwithstanding these 
great authorities, I am inclined to believe that the apostle by 
spirit means the state of believers under the gospel dispensa- 
tion ; and hy Jlesh, the state in which they were antecedent to 
conversion, whether of heathenism or Judaism. See ver. 13, 

Part III. G A L A T I A N S. Skgt. I. 2. 117 

to the spirit of the gospel, and carefully abstain from ch. V. 
the vices of unbelievers, whether Jews or heathen. 

For the flesh hath desires contrary to the spirit ^ Ver. 17- 
and the spirit contrary to the flesh ; and these op- 
pose each other, so that ye do not the things that 
ye would^. 

I'he tendency of your former state of heathen 
idolutry, as well as of that state of bondage to pha- 
risalc Judaism, into which your false teachers are 
now desirous to seduce you, is to betray you into 
gross and fatal immoralities ; while that of the go- 
spel is to inspire you with the love of purity and 
goodness. These states are therefore inconsistent 
with each other : so that, if you submit to Judaism 
in the expectation of attaining greater eminence in 
virtue, you will be miserably disappointed, and the 
severity of the law will first drive you to despair, and 
then plunge you into vice and ruin. 

But if ye be led by the spirit \ ye are not un- ^^■ 

der the laio. 

' Ye do not the things that ye would.'] Mr. Locke observes, 
that ours is the only translation which renders it cannot : q. d. 
You imagine that by submitting to the yoke of :he law you will 
attain greater pre-eminence in virtue. In this you will be dis^ 
appointed ; for the spirit of the law will counteract that of the 
gospel. Locke, Chandler, Newcome, &c. understand the text as 
parallel to Rom. vii. 19. q. d. often ye do not practise what your 
mind approves. 

* If ye be led by the spirit .•] i. e. says Locke, *' if you give 
yourselves up to the conduct of the gospel." He observes in 
the note, " that it was natural for the apostle, having more than 
once mentioned the spirit, to continue tiie same word, though 
somewhat varied in the sense ;" and he proceeds to show that 
the law and gospel are opposed by the apostle under the titles 
of 'flesh' and 'spirit.' 2 Cor. iii. 6, 83 Rom. vii. 5; Gal. iii. 3. But 

1 18 Part III. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. 1. 3. 

Ch. V. If you are governed by the principles and the spi- 
rit of the gospel, you are no longer subject to the 
condemning sentence of the law, and the hope of 
mercy will be a continual motive to filial and cheer- 
ful obedience. 

3. The apostle exposes and condemns the vices 
which were allowed and practised by the unchris- 
tianized world, ver. 19 — 21. 

19. Now the works of the flesh are evident. They 
are adultery "^ fornication^ impurity; lasciviousnesSy 

20. idolatry'^, sorcery^, enmities^ strifes, emulations, 
animosities^ quarrels , party divisions ^y separa- 

21. tions^y eiivyings, murthej's, drunkenness, revel- 

though it cannot be denied that the apostle does sometimes take 
up his words in a sense different from that in which he had used 
them before^ yet it ought always to be presumed that he conti- 
nues to use his words in the same sense, except where the con- 
trary is evident ; which does not appear to be the case in this 
context. And therefore, as it is clear that the word ' spirit ' is 
here used for the gospel, it ought to be taken in the same sense 
throughout the whole paragraph ; and ' flesh,' Avhich is put in 
opposition to it, must signify the unchristianized state, whether 
Jewish or heathen. 

' Adultery.'] ^oiyjia is wanting in the Alexandrine and 
Ephrem manuscripts, and in most of the ancient versions. See 

' Idolatry^ " with its impure attendant rites. See 1 Pet. iv. 
3." Newcorae. 

' Sorcery.'] fapit^axsia; the word signifies poisonings, or in- 
cantations and magic arts by means oi poisonous drugs and oint- 
ments with which impostors were accustomed to delude the cre- 
dulous and superstitious. See Chandler and Macknight. 

■* Party divisions.] Sixora.(rKx.r schisms, which do not proceed 
to separation. See Doddridge and Chandler. 

* Separations.] alpsasis. Literally, heresies. Tlie apostle's 
meaning seems to be separations, and the dissolution of socie- 

Ver. 21. 

Part III. G A L A T 1 A N S. Skct. 1,3. 110 

lings ^y and suck-like; concerning ivhicli I now Ch. v 
forewarn you, as indeed I have told you beforcy 
that they who practise such things will not itiherit 
the kingdom of God. 

You well know, my brethren, the vices which are 
openly practised by the unchristianized and uncon- 
verted world; who are strangers to the sublime 
principles and to the salutary restraints of the go- 
spel. They allow themselves in the most Hcentious 
practices. They degrade themselves by the most 
stupid and contemptible idolatries. They pretend 
to curious arts, and the skill which they possess 
they employ to the most pernicious purposes. They 
disturb the peace of society by their mutual jealou- 
sies, animosities, contentions, and divisions. They 
carry their hatred and malice to such an extent, 
that they often hesitate not to take away the life of 
the unfortunate object of their envy, malignity, and 
revenge. Drunkenness, gluttony, and every species 
of riot is common amongst them. With regard to 
such characters, I now declare, as I formerly assured 
you while I exercised my ministry among you, that. 

ties in consequence of quari'els and factions. There is no refer- 
ence to theological disputes, or to heresies in the ecclesiastical 
sense of the word j for the apostle is detailing the vices of the 
unchristianized world. Dr. Chandler has introduced here a long 
and judicious note upon the meaning of the word heresy as used 
in scripture ; but, for the reason above assigned, it is irrelevant 
to the occasion and the subject. 

^ Revellings.'] y.wiLOi " were, amongst the Greeks, disor- 
derly spending of the night in feasting, with a licentious indul- 
ging to wine, music, dancing, &c." Locke. See Rom. xiii. 13 j 
1 Pet. iv. 3. 

1 20 Part 111, G A L A T 1 A N S. Sect. 1. 4. 

Ch. V. let them make what pretensions they will of strict 
conformity to ceremonial institutions, they are not, 
and while they continue in these practices they never 
can be, the genuine children of God, and heirs of 
the privileges of his kingdom. Ceremonial institu- 
tions, however rigorous, however regular, will never 
be accepted as a substitute for moral duties. 

4. The apostle represents the opposite tendency 
of the principles and of the spirit of the gospel, ver. 
22, 23. 
2i2. But the frvit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, 
23. long'Snffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meek- 
ness, temperance: against such things ^ there is no 

The principles of the gospel, when thoroughly 
understood, and carried into practical effect, will 
produce love to God and benevolence to man, ha- 
bitual cheerfulness of mind, an earnest desire and 
endeavour to live in peace with all men, unvvilling- 

' Against such things.] " Non admodurn probandam reorquo- 
runduvi anxiam diligentiam, qui in hujusmodi cafalogis solent et 
nuuicro laborare^ et in distinguendis singulis supersiitioie torqueri : 
cum probahile sit Pauluni congeriem qunndam malorum et bono- 
rum produxisse, qucefere consequi solent : non quod hccc sola sint, 
sed quod in his sit summa." Erasmus. Hence, adds Dr. New- 
come, after having made this quotation, " we may account for 
the addition of dyvsiac in some manuscripts and versions, ver. 
23 ; and perhaps tor that of [Moiy^sicc, ver. 1 9. Against such like 
dispositions and actions there is no prohibiting or condemning 
law ; no stern law like that of Moses, 1 Tim. i. 9." " Tales 
lege non damnanlur. Est meiosis. Tuntum abest, ut iis legis 
Mosaicce, terrores sint metvendi, ut potius Deo sint grati, et ac- 
cept}, licet non circunicisL''' Ilosenmuller. 

Part III. GALATIANS. Sbct. I. 5- 121 

ness to resent Injuries received, a mild and gentle Ch. v. 
carriage in all the intercourses of society ; habitual, 
active, disinterested benevolence; faithfulness in 
the performance of promises and the execution of 
trusts, and uniform integrity in all transactions of 
business ; mildness in administering reproof, and 
resolute government of the appetites and passions. 
There can be no law to punish men who live in the 
practice of these virtues. And they who thus adorn 
their profession, need be under no anxiety lest they 
should incur the divine displeasure by declining to 
connect the rites of Judaism with the precepts of 

5. The disciples of Christ, having entered upon 
a new life, are bound to renounce the principles and 
vices of their former condition, ver. 24 — 26. 

N^ow they who are Christ's^ have crucified the 24. 
flesh, with its passions and desires. 

What I have before said of myself, individually, 
may justly be applied to all who believe in Christ, 
and who profess to be his disciples. They, like him, 
have died and been raised to life again. Their for- 
mer idolatrous or pharisaic selves are crucified ; and 

' Who are Christ's.'] " who belong to Christ, and are his 
members." Locke. The apostle seems to allude to ch. ii. 20. 
It is a familiar comparison with the apostle. The believer, in his 
converted state, resembles a person in a former state of exist- 
ence ; by conversion he becomes crucified to it ; by the gospel 
he is raised, like Christ, to a new life j and he is, therefore, bound 
to regulate his conduct by the laws of his new state of existence. 
See this thought pursued at large, Rom. vii. A strong presump- 
tion thai these epistles had the same author. 

122 Part III. GArLATIANS. Sect.1.5. 

Ch. V. all the evil principles, all the criminal habits and 

Ver 24 . 

affections, all the gross prejudices and the vicious 
practices of their former state are condemned to 
death, never to appear again. 

25. Seeing that we live by the spirit ', let us also 

26. ivalk by the spirit. Let us not be vain-glorious 2, 
provoking one another, envying one another. 

Crucified like Christ to our former state, like him 
we are also raised to a new life. This great change 
is produced in us by the spiritual dispensation of 
the gospel ; by the profession of which we are in- 
troduced into a new state of existence at present, 
and raised to the hope of eternal life hereafter. But, 
since this privilege is the gift of the gospel, let our 
conduct be governed by the maxims and spirit of 
the gospel ; and not by the principles of our former 
imregenerate and unholy state. Let our characters 
be adorned with Christian virtue. And particularly, 
let us cherish a humble, gentle, and disinterested 

' We live by the spirit.'] The gospel introduces us into anew 
life ; it raises us from the dead ; it behoves us, therefore, to 
adhere to it as a rule of life, " As Christians, as new men, we 
live by that spirit which raises us from the death of sin." New- 
come. Observe throughout, the word ' spirit' is used to signify 
the gospel dispensation. This shows the true meaning of the 
word ' flesh,' which is used in opposition to it. 

* Fain- glorious.'] " like your ambitious leader." Newcome. 
— " nor provoke one another by insolent boasts of our Christian 
liberty, or by censuring others for the use of it ; nor envy one 
another on account of any superior advantages and abilities with 
which the providence of God may have favoured us." Chand- 
ler. " Whether the vain-glory and envying here were about 
their spiritual gifts, a fault which the Corinthians were guilty 
of, or upon any other occasion, I shall not curiously examine." 

Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 1. 123 

spirit ; let us entertain a just sense of our own im- Ch. v. 
perfections, not thinking too highly of our own at* ^^^' ^' 
tainments, nor too meanly and contemptuously of 
those of others. But while, in our respective spheres 
of service, we are faithful and diligent in the per- 
formance of our own duty, let us not repine, but re- 
joice, if any of our fellow-labourers are honoured 
with superior talents, and crowned with more abun- 
dant success. 


The apostle recommends gentleness in reproof; Ch. vi. 
huniiliti/, liberality to Christian instructors, and 
perseverance in doing good. Ch. vi. 1 — 10. 

1. The apostle recommends prudence and gen- 
tleness in administering reproof; sympathy, humi- 
lity, and self-examination, ver. 1 — 5. 

Brethren, if a man be overtaken"^ by any fault, Ver. 1. 

^ If a man he overtaken!] q. d. if a man be carried away 
before he is aware, socv xai ■irpoXYi<pSf " if a man by frailty or 
surprise fall into a fault." Locke. " It expresses surprise by 
which a person might be drawn into sin without any delibe- 
rate design." Chandler. " if a man be even discovered in any 
offence." Newcome. " Si quis invitus et improviso abreptus 
fuerit vitio quodam. Vide Eisner et Kypke. Sed vertunt alii 
interpretes sic : etiamsi quis deliquisse deprehendatur." Schleus- 
ner. This latter sense is adopted by Grotius. Griesbach joins 
the last verse of the preceding chapter to this : q. d. Let us not 
insult over each others frailties and offences, but rather endea- 
vour to rectify what is amiss in ourselves and others. 

1 24 Part III. G A L A T I A N S. Sect. H. 1 . 

Ch. VI. do ye who are spiritual^, restore^ such an one in 
the spirit of meekness, considering thyself ^^ lest 
thou also be tempted^. 

My Christian brethren, instead of envying the su - 
perior attainments of others ; instead of tempting 
each other to what is wrong ; instead of enjoying an 
ungenerous triumph if a person, supposed to be 
eminent for prudence and piety, should disgrace his 
character by unbecoming conduct ; our profession 
inculcates, and it behoves us to exercise, a very dif- 
ferent spirit. If, indeed, it should ever happen, as, 
from human frailty, it undoubtedly may, that a per- 
son professing Christianity, through the influence 
of former habits, or by sudden temptation, should 
be surprised into sin, let those who are eminent for 
gifts and virtues, and for their rank and station in 

' Ye who are spiritual.'] ifvsufxariKOi. " who are eminent in 
the church for knowledge, practice, and gifts. 1 Cor. iii. 1, xii. 
1." Lofcke J which is the general opinion of the expositors. I 
am rather inclined, with Dr. Whitby, to understand it as princi- 
pally referring to those who were instructors of the church, and 
who were qualified for this oiSce by spiritual gifts. Dr. Chandler 
interprets, " you, in whom reason and religion are stronger 
principles, &c. A spiritual man in the New Testament, is either 
one who is endued with the gifts of the spirit, or one who is spi- 

* Restore such an one.] •/.araptt^sts. " restituo rem in suum 
locum aut statum, restauro quod ruptum et dissolutum est." 
Schleusner. To set a limb that is out of joint. " It properly 
signifies to reduce and recover every thing to its original state 
of perfection." Chandler. See 2 Cor. xiii. 11. 

^ Considering tht/self.] Jerome and Le Clercnote this change 
of person as a solecism. Blackwall and Doddridge remark it as 
a beauty. See Erasmus m Zoc. 

'• Be 'tempted.] TrsipaaSr.s- " be overtaken." Wakefield ; who 
ai-gue.s that it signifies the same as Arypflrf. 

Part III. G A L A T 1 A N S. Sect. II. 1. 125 

the church, take the case in hand ; and let them en- Ch. vi. 
deavour to bring the offender to penitence and re- 
formation. Let not the disjointed limb be roughly 
handled, or, immediately cut off; but rather, by pa- 
tience and prudence, let it be gently restored to its 
place, where it may again, in due time, become or- 
namental and useful to the body. For consider, my 
friends, that the very best men are frail ; and none 
can say how soon his own virtue may be exposed to 
a severe trial. Let him, then, conduct himself to an 
offending brother in the same manner in which, in 
similar circumstances, he should himself think it 
right to be treated by others. 

Bear ye one another s burdens 5, and thus ye will 2. 

fulfill the law of Christ ^\ 

In the progress of life, and in the profession of 
the Christian faith, we all have our trials ; and 
often to the full extent of our ability to bear them : 
every one knows his own burden, and finds it heavy 
enough : we need not to have it increased by any 
unnecessary addition to the load. And yet, my 
brethren, such is the strange propensity of some 
among you, that they are eager to impose upon you 

' Bear one another's burdens.'] " Bear with one another's in- 
firmities. 1 Thess. V. 14 5 Rom. xv. I." Loclce, Newcome, 

^ Ye icill fulfill, &c.] avoc -nXripojaers, in the future tense, is 
the reading of most of the ancient versions, and is adopted by- 
Mr. Wakefield. " As some were so very zealous for the law 
of Moses, St. Paul here puts them in mind of a law which they 
were under, and obliged to observe, the law of Christ. And 
he shows them how to do it, viz. by bearing one another's 
burdens, and not by increasing their burdens by the observances 
of the Levitical law." Locke. 

126 Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 1. 

Ch. VI. the burden of the law of Moses, encumbered with 
their own pharisaic rites, the burden of its imposi- 
tions, and the burden of its curse; a weight which 
is sufficient to press you down to the pit of destruc- 
tion. But the gospel which you profess breathes a 
very different spirit. Bear one another's burdens, 
and do not add to them. Sympathize in each 
other's sufferings ; comfort one another under trou- 
ble; relieve distress where it is in your power, and 
encourage the feeble-minded. These, my brethren," 
are the requisitions of the mild dispensation under 
which you live. If you comply with them, if you 
obey this easy, this reasonable, this lovely rule of 
life, you manifest your allegiance to Christ, and fully 
approve yourselves the faithful subjects of his hea- 
venly kingdom, entitled to all the privileges and 
•immunities of his auspicious reign. 
3. For, if any man i conceiteth that he is something 
when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 

Let me add, that if there should happen to be 
any person among you, my brethren, who, despising 
the pure and simple precepts of Jesus, should think 
highly of himself, because of his attachment to the 
ritual law ; should exhibit himself as a model of 
imitation, and as a standard of truth ; and should 
be loud in his censures of those who do not yield 
implicit deference to his authority ; and if, after all, 

' If any man.'] There seems to be an evident allusion to the 
judaizing teacher, though the proposition is expressed gene- 
rally. Indeed, Mr. Wakefield's translation fixes it directly upon 
him : " Now if a certain person think himself to be something, 
he deceiveth his own heart, for he is nothing." 

Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 1 . 127 

it should appear upon examination that such a per- Ch. vi. 
son has no foundation upon which to build his pre- ^^' ' 
sumptuous claims, let that man know that he will 
find himself, in the issue, most egregiously de- 
ceived, and that his folly and his vanity will termi- 
nate in his own disgrace. 

Bui let every man try ^ his own work, and then 4. 

he will have reason to glory on his oivn account, 
and not on that of another 3. For every man must 5. 

bear his own burden *. 

Instead of meddling with and censuring others, 
let every man examine himself, let him inquire se- 

- Try!] " by the test of the evangelical law ; and then he 
will have matter of glorying in his personal obedience, and not 
in causing others to judaize." Newcome. 

' 'Not on that of another^ " See ver, 1 3 ; the apostle in both 
places means the same thing j viz. glorying in another, in hav- 
ing brought him to circumcision, and other ritual observances of 
the Mosaic law." Locke. Wakefield reads kraipov, " then he 
will keep his boasting to himself, and not boast against his 

* His own burden.'] i. e. of his own faults. See ver. 2. "Thus," 
says Mr. Locke, " St. Paul seems to me to discourse in this sec- 
tion : Brethren, there be some among you that would bring others 
under the ritual observances of the Mosaical law, a yoke which 
waf? too heavy for us and our fathers to bear. They would do 
much better to ease the burdens of the weak ; this is suitable to 
the law of Christ, which they are under, and which they ought 
strictly to obey. If they think that, because of their spiritual 
gifts, they have power to prescribe in such matters, I tell them 
that they have not, and that they deceive themselves. Let them 
rather take care of their ov/n particular actions, that they be 
right, and such as they ought to be. This will give them mat- 
ter of glorying in themselves, and not vainly in others, as they 
do when they prevail with them to be circumcised. For every 
man shall be answerable for his own actions. Let the reader 
judge (continues this admirable expositor) whether this does 
not seem to be St. Paul's view here, and suit with his way of 

128 Part HI. GALATIANS. Skct. II. 2. 

Ch. VI. riously and impartially into bis own character and 
conduct; let him consider how they correspond with 
the spirit of the gospel ; let him reform what is 
amiss, and improve what is imperfect. By these 
means he will acquire true satisfaction and peace of 
mind, and will have reason to rejoice on his own 
account, in his own character and hopes ; nor will 
he then be inclined to boast of a fancied superiority 
to his brethren, and much less in his attempts to 
bring them over to his own opinion and party, and 
to subject them to the tyranny of the law. For all 
this will be of little avail in the great day when men 
will be judged according to their works, and to their 
real character, and not according to the estimation 
in which they have been held by themselves or 
others. In that day, every one must be responsible 
for his own errors and offences ; and they who have 
been severe in their censures of others will then 
need, but will seek in vain for, that mercy which 
they have so unrighteously withheld. Nor will their 
professed subjection to the law of Moses, nor all 
their zeal in making proselytes, be of any avail. 

2. The apostle urges the Galatians to make a 
competent provision for the teachers of religion, and 
to persevere in the practice of virtue and benevo- 
lence, ver. 6 — 10. 
6. Now let him who is instructed in the word, com' 
municate in all good things ^ to him that instructeth. 

Communicate in all good things.1 "make the teacher thereof 

Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 2. 129 

Let those who are taught the important truths of q^ yi. 
the Christian revelation be liberal to their pious and Ver. 6. 
faithful instructors ; and cheerfully contribute what 
may be necessary for their support and comfort. It 
is but reasonable that they should have a suitable 
compensation for their time and labour ; and it is 
the appointment of Christ that the teachers of his 
religion should be maintained by those who derive 
benefit from their instruction. 

Be not deceived'^ : God is not deluded ; for what- 7. 

soever a man soiveth, that he will also reap. 

Do not excuse yourselves by frivolous pretences 
from the discharge of this duty. It is required by 
God. And though the persons who are immediately 

a partaker in all his goodthings." Wakefield. "The ex- 
hortation," says Dr. Chandler, " is founded upon this rule of 
equity and gratitude, that benefits conferred deserve suitable re- 
turns." He adds, that " we may observe that the maintenance 
of the preachers of the gospel was, in the primitive church, by 
the voluntary contributions of the Christian people ; and that 
the divine right of tythes was a doctrine much later than the 
times of the apostles." See Phil. iv. 15; 1 Cor. ix. 11. " If 
this was their duty," says Dr. Whitby, " towards such teachers 
as had no need of books or study to fit themselves for the 
work, they being enabled for it by immediate assistance and 
gifts of the Holy Ghost ; how much more towards them who 
spend much time and money to fit themselves for that work, 
and must be still employed in studying and reading to make 
themselves such workmen as need not to be ashamed !" 

^ Be not deceived, &c.] " The apostle here, with great pro- 
priety and force, exposes the evasions some would make use of 
to excuse themselves from acts of liberality ; by which, however 
they might impose upon others, they would egregiously deceive 
themselves, as every circumstance lies open to an all-seeing 
God, and they assuredly should reap according as they sowed j 
a metaphor which he employs elsewhere to excite liberality, 
2 Cor. ix. 6." Doddridge. 


130 PaktIII. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. VI. aggrieved may not be able either to reply to your 
^^'■* ^' sophistry, or to redress their own wrongs, God is 
the impartial judge between you and them. None 
of your vain pretences can impose upon him ; nor 
will it be possible for you to elude his retributive 
justice. Proportioned to your seed-time will be your 
future harvest. To the bountiful and kind, bounty 
and kindness shall be abundantly exercised; but to 
the penurious and the niggardly, the recompense 
will be correspondent to their deeds. 
8. For he who soiueth on the flesh ^, from the flesh 
will reap destruction ; hut he who soweth on the 
spirit t will from the spirit reap everlasting life ^. 

The produce will naturally partake of the quali- 
ties of the soil upon which it grows. A bad soil will 
corrupt the good seed, which a rich and fertile soil 
would invigorate and cherish. He who professes the 

' He who soweth on the Jlesh, from the flesh will reap destruc- 
tion.'] So Mr. Wakefield. The flesh and the spirit are the soil 
iipon which the seed is sown, and corresponding to the soil will 
be the produce. A bad soil will corrupt the best seed^and destroy 
the most vigorous plant. A good soil will nourish and invigorate 
the seed, and produce an abundant crop. The flesh, agreeably 
to the sense in which the word has been before used, is the hea- 
then, unchristianized state, the produce of which is weeds and 
unwholesome plants. He that soweth on the flesh is the man 
who professes faith in the Christian religion, but whose heart 
is unconverted ; the fruit which he will bear will be putrid and 
worthless. He that soweth on the spirit is the cordial and prac- 
tical believer in the gospel ; who bringeth forth fruit to holiness, 
the end of which is everlasting life. To sow upon the spirit is 
to receive the truths of the Christian religion in a good heart. 

^ Everlasting life.'] " The apostle makes use of the terms cor- 
ruption and life, in cori-espondence to the nature of those prin- 
ciples of ^es/i and spirit; the flesh being liable to corruption, 
and spirit or breath being the principle of life." Priestley. 

Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 2. 131 

Christian religion, while he is in his heart a hea- ch. vi. 
then, will naturally practise those vices of a heathen ^^'' ^* 
state which will terminate in ruin. But he whose 
heart is upright and pure, and whose profession is 
sincere, will abound in those fruits of virtue and 
piety, and in those acts of liberality and beneficence, 
which are the surest pledge of everlasting happiness. 

A7id let us not grow iveary of doing well, for m ^• 

due season lue shall reap, if lue faint not. 

Let us then faithfully and resolutely persevere in 
the practice of duty, though it may sometimes re- 
quire great labour, and patience, and self-denial ; 
though we derive no immediate advantage from it ; 
and though our spirits are at times depressed and 
discouraged at the little good which we appear to 
do. If we hold out to the end, we shall succeed. 
We are scattering the good seed upon a soil appa- 
rently rough and barren. But in due time it will 
take root and spring up, and reward our anxiety and 
toil with an abundant harvest. The labourer at least 
shall not lose his own reward. But in order to this, 
it is necessary that we should not relax in our virtu- 
ous exertions, much less fold our hands, and sit down 
in despair. 

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good ^^ • 
unto all men 3, but especially to those who are of 
the household of faith. 

^ Do good unto all men.] " How generous the spirit which 

Christianity inspires ! None that need our assistance are to be 

excluded from it^ when it is in our power to give it. And yet 

how wise and just Is the limitation here fixed by the apostle ! 

j^ 2 Nature 

132 Part III. GALATIANS. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. VI. To conclude : Let us ever cultivate a benevolent, 
^^^'' '^' disinterested, and liberal spirit. Let our good wishes 
extend to all mankind ; and, as far as opportunity 
offers, let us contribute to the happiness of all, with- 
out distinction, and without excluding those who 
may differ most widely from us in principles and pro- 
fession : no, nor yet our enemies and persecutors, if 
it should be in our power to help them. But as the 
exercise of benevolence is necessarily restricted, let 
us be most kind to those with whom we are most 
intimately connected, and who may be most bene- 
fited by our exertions ; particularly to our fellow- 
Christians, who are brethren of the same family, 
heirs of the same glorious hopes, and who are ex- 
posed to the same difficulties, trials, and dangers, 
with ourselves ; who are therefore entitled to a pe- 
culiar share in our sympathy and affection, and to 
whom our good offices may often prove of essential 

Nature teaches men to provide in the first place for their house- 
hold and family ; and reason instructs them to regard the most 
worthy objects of charity in their first and largest distributions. 
And both these reasons concur to direct the Christian to do 
good, especially to the household of faith." Chandler. 

Conclusion. GALATIANS. 1, 133 


The apostle closes his epistle with a severe ani- Ch. vi. 
madversion upon the judaizing teachers^ with a 
solemn declaration of the liberty of Gentile Chris- 
tians, with an earnest profession of his own 
sincerity, and with the apostolical benediction, 
Ch. vi. 11—18. 

1 . He calls their attention to the circumstance of 
his having written the whole letter himself, ver. 1 1 . 

See in ivhat large characters ' / have written to Ver. 11. 
you with my own hand. 

As I have been greatly calumniated by my op- 
ponents, and charged with duplicity of conduct, it 
might possibly be alleged, if I had employed an ama- 
nuensis as usual, that my signature was forged, or 
that the letter did not express my real sentiments. 

' In what large characters.'] TTYiXiKOis ypxy,ixcc(rr this exprCvS- 
sion is usually understood of the length of the letter ; but Dr. 
Whitby observes, that St. Paul uses the word BTCiroKon seven- 
teen times, but never the word ypaix.^a.ra, when he speaks of his 
epistles ; also that th? Greek scholiast conceives that the expres- 
sion refers to the largeness and inelegancy of the characters in 
which it was written. The apostle probably chose to write this 
whole epistle himself, to give testimony under his own hand and 
.seal to the importance of his doctrine and the consistency of his 
character ; and to preclude the possibility of the pretext that the 
letter was forged. He probably wrote the Greek characters ill 
and with difficulty, which might be the reason why he commonly 
employed an amanuensis. See Doddridge. 

1 34 Conclusion. G A L A T I A N S. 2. 

Ch. VI. To preclude every objection of this kind, I have writ- 
^'^^' ■ ten the whole epistle myself, that my own hand- 
writing may bear testimony to the doctrine which I 
teach. And that it is my hand- writing you may ea- 
sily perceive from the large and ill-shaped characters 
in which the letter is written, which discover the 
writer to be one not much used to writing Greek. 

2. The apostle directly charges the judaizing 
teachers with acting from sinister and selfish mo- 
tives, ver. 12, 13. 

1 2. ^/l those 1 w/io are desirous of making a specious 
appearance^ in the Jies/i would constrain you to he 
circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted^ 

13. for the cross of Christ. For they who are circum- 

cised do not themselves keep the law *, hut they de- 

' All those.'] OTOi, " as many as." 

' 4 specious appearance^ £U7rpO(ru)rvj(rar " the word properly 
signifies, to be handsome and lovely: hence it is used to signify 
any thing that recommends itself by its specious appearance. 
This was the case of these judaizing teachers: they made it their 
study to keep fair with the Jews sv crapKi, by means of thejlesh ; 
not only by boasting of their own circumcision, but that they 
had pressed the necessity of circumcision upon others." Chand- 
ler, sv trapKi, " in the ritual observances of the law ; which, 
Heb. ix. 10, are called hy.aiojii.ara <rapKOs." Locke. 

' That they may not be persecuted.'] Dr. Whitby observes from 
Jerom, " that Augustus, Tiberius, and Caius Caesar, had made 
laws that the Jews dispersed through the whole Roman empire 
should live according to their own laws and ceremonies : whoso- 
ever, therefore, was circumcised, though he believed in Christ, 
was by the Gentiles deemed a Jevv ; but they who had not this 
token were persecuted both by Jews and Gentiles." 

^ Do not keep the law.] " For how, saith Theodoret, could 
they in Galatia regularly observe tlie Jewish feasts, or offer sa- 
crifice, or cleanse themselves from their defilements by touching 

Conclusion. G A L A T I A N S. 3. 135 

sire to have you circmncised^ that they may glory Ch. vr. 
in your flesh ^. ' ' * 

When these zealots urge you to submit to the 
yoke of the Mosaic institute, they profess great zeal 
for your interest, and pretend that obedience to the 
ceremonial law will be of the greatest advantage to 
you. But the truth is, they are only pursuing their 
own selfish purposes. They desire to pass them- 
selves off as Jews, and so to escape persecution; as 
the Jewish religion is tolerated through the Roman 
empire. They wish, therefore, to conciliate the 
minds of the Jews by representing you to them as 
proselytes to their law, whereas they are themselves 
convinced that the law is of no use ; and while they 
are persuading, and even compelling you, by their 
imperious language, to conform rigidly to it as a 
matter of indispensable obligation, they themselves 
make no scruple of violating the Mosaic precepts, 
and they screen themselves from censure by boast- 
ing of their zeal and their success in your conversion 
to Judaism. 

3. The apostle boasts in emancipation from the 
Jewish law by the death of Christ ; and declares 
that a practical faith in the gospel is of itself quite 

any thing that was unclean ?" Whitby. But the apostle no 
doubt means to insinuate, that those zealots who bound the yoke 
of the law upon others were themselves very negligent in ob- 
serving its precepts. See Matt, xxiii. 4, 5, 

* Maij glory in your flesh.'] " might boast of this among the 
Jews, that they promoted circum.cision even among the Gentiles, 
and by that pretence might avoid persecution." Whitby. 

136 CoxcLusiox. GALATIANS. 3. 

Ch. VI. sufficient to entitle a believer to mercy and peace, 
ver. 14—16. 

Ver. 14. But far be it that I should glory ^ except in the 
cross of our Lord Jesus Chist, hj which the world 
is crucified to me^ and I unto the luorld^. 

' Far be it that I should glory, &c.] p/ij yevo/ro. See New- 
come and Wakefield. — " glorying in the cross of Christ, is op- 
posed to the judaizers' glorying in circumcision : it is glorying 
in the plain unmixed doctrine of justification by a crucified sa- 
viour." Chandler, 

' The world is crucified, &c.] " by means of which doctrine 
the world was of no more account to him, he valued the ap- 
plauses of men, and the riches and pleasures of the world, no 
more than a dead body hanging upon a cross ; and by means of 
which he was crucified to the world, of no more esteem with 
worldly men than that loathsome and wretched spectacle." 
Chandler, — " I view the world as little impressed by all its 
charms, as a spectator would be by any thing which had been 
graceful in the countenance of a crucified person, when he be- 
holds it blackened in the agonies of death j and am no more af- 
fected by the objects around me, than one that is expiring would 
be struck with any of those prospects which his dying eyes might 
view from the cross on which he was suspended." Doddridge. 
Mr. Locke, Archbishop Newcome, and most other expositors, 
understand the words in a similar sense. With deference, how- 
ever, to these great authorities, I am inclined to agree with 
those critics who understand Koo-f/^os in this connexion to signify 
the Jewish dispensation, as it unquestionably does Gal.iv. 3, and 
Col. ii. 8, 20. — " Nulla amplius Judceorum et religionis Mosaiccc 
meciim estconjunctio.'" Schleusner. — '' Propter Christum, inquit, 
ilia judaica vanitas, cum suis commodis, mihi crucijixa est, nan me 
movet vel allicit; repudio earn." Rosenmuller. But as it is 
certain that the apostle was not released, and did not regard 
himself as personally released, from his subjection to the cere- 
monial law, it seems most reasonable to understand him as 
speaking in the name and under the character of a converted 
Gentile. In the same lax sense he uses the first person singular 
in Rom. vii. See Locke's preface, p. vi. Still, however, though 
to avoid giving ofl^nce the apostle submitted to the rites of the 
law, he was dead to all dependence upon it;, or expectations 
from it. 

Conclusion. GALATIANS. 3. 137 

May I never boast of that in which these hypo- ch. vi. 
crites place their glory, in making proselytes to the * 

Jewish ritual. Nor, indeed, may I ever value myself 
upon any thing else but upon being a faithful and 
unwearied preacher of the true doctrine of my mas- 
ter Jesus, the illustrious person in whom all the 
purposes of the law were fulfilled, and by whose pub- 
lic death upon the cross a new dispensation is intro- 
duced and ratified, and the former covenant is so 
completely superseded and abolished, that it may be 
considered by all converts to Christianity as abso- 
lutely dead ; and believers in Jesus, even those who 
were formerly Jews, may be regarded as persons who 
are in a sense dead to their former connexions and 
obligations, and as having entered upon a new and 
better state of existence. 

For ill Christ Jesus Jieither is circumcision any 15. 

thi7ig^ nor uncirnumcision, but a new creation. 

To say the truth, to those who believe that Jesus 
is the Christ, no rites or ceremonies are of any use. 
It matters little whether they were originally Jews 
or heathen ; they are by faith born into this new 
world which God has created: In other words, they 
thus become members of the visible church ; and 
being separated from the mass of the unbelieving 
world, they are entitled to the privileges of the pro- 

' Is any thing.'] The best copies for kt^vei, availeth, read 
sri, is. See ch. v. 6. A " new creation" is the introduction into 
a new state of things by faith in Christ ; by which believers, 
whether Jews or heathen, are brought into covenant with God. 
It is parallel to ch. v. 6, " faith which worketh by love." Sec 
1 Cor. vii. 19 5 Kph. ii. 10, 

138 Conclusion. GALA T I A N S, 4. 

Ch. VI. fessing people of God. It is not circumcision, it is 

Ver. 15. ^ j^g^, creation, and a new life, which now entitles 

them to be registered as children of God. 

^^' Arid as many as shall walk according to this 

rule, peace arid mercy will be upon them ^, even 

upon the Israel of God. 

If they who are thus by faith introduced into a 
new and privileged state have wisdom to make a pro- 
per use of their privileges, and to govern their tem- 
per and conduct by the rules of their profession, and 
the precepts of Christ, they shall most assuredly 
obtain all the invaluable blessings which the gospel 
promises, forgiveness of sins, peace here, and hap- 
piness hereafter. For these persons, whether they 
were originally Jews or Gentiles, whether they use 
ceremonies or neglect them altogether, are the true 
Israel of God, the genuine offspring of Abraham, 
heirs of the promises, and the worthy objects of di- 
vine complacency and benevolence. 

4. The apostle solemnly pofesses his own de- 
votedness to the service of Christ, ver. 17. 
1 7^ Henceforth let no man give me trouble 2, for I 
hear in my person the marks of the LordJesus^. 

' Will be liipon them.'] " peace and mercy shall be upon them, 
they being that Israel which are truly the people of God." 
Locke. See also Chandler. " will be upon them." Wakefield. 
Newcome and others translate the words as expressing a kind 
wish : Peace he upon them. 

* Let no man, &c.] " by questioning my character and mis- 
sion." Chandler. 

^ The marks, &c.] " r'yjw-a properly signifies a mark that 
was imprinted on the hands of the soldiers when they were en- 

Conclusion. G A L A T I A N S. 5. 139 

For the future, let no one doubt of my attachment cii. vi. 
to the Christian doctrine and to the principles of ^""' ^^' 
Christian liberty: nor let any one presume to charge 
me with duplicity of conduct, and to add to my per- 
secutions by calumniating my character. I carry in 
my person the marks of subjection to a master, and 
devotedness to a chief: not indeed to Moses and his 
law, but to Jesus, whom I am proud to acknowledge 
as my leader : and of my fidehty and attachment to 
him and to his cause, those numerous scars which 
I carry about with me, and which are the indelible 
effects of my sufferings for his sake, are ample and 
incontestable proofs. 

5. The epistle closes with the apostolical bene- 
diction, ver. 18. 

The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with 18. 
your spirit, brethren^. Amen. 

My Christian brethren, for as such I will still 
regard you, and by this endearing appellation will 
continue to address you ; for, notwithstanding the 

listed and had their names entered into the military roll : this 
mark was commonly the emperor's name. Thus our apostle had 
those marks imprinted upon him, either by his sufferings for 
Christ, or, through the number and greatness of the revelations 
he had received from him, as made it abundantly appear under 
what general he was enlisted." Chandler. 

* With your spirlt^^ " that is, with you: in other epistles it 
is jU/fS' v[/jCuv, 1 Cor. xvi. 23 ; or ixsra, itavriuv vfjicvv, Rom. xvi. 
24 ■, ■ 2 Cor. xiii. 13 3 Pliil. iv. 23." Wliitby. The postscript 
which affirms this epistle to have been written from Rome is 
not found in the Alexandrine, Ephrem, Clermont, or other of 
tlie most ancient and approved manuscripts, and is undoubtedly 
a mistake. 

140 Conclusion. GALATIANS. 5. 

Ch. VI. freedom and even the severity of language which I 
may have used in the course of this epistle, I still 
entertain a kind affection for you : and as the best 
proof of my regard, I conclude, my dear brethren, 
with expressing my earnest wish that our common 
Master Jesus Christ may behold you with compla- 
cency, and that the invaluable blessings of his go- 
spel in all their purity and freedom may long remain 
among you. Amen. 





1 HE Epistle entitled to the Ephesians was 
written by the apostle Paul about the year 62, while 
he was a prisoner at Rome ; and was sent at the 
same time with the epistles to the Colossians, and 
to Philemon, and by the same messengers, Tychicus 
and Onesimus : eh. vi. 21 . ^ 

' " There is," says Dr. Priestley, " a peculiar dignity and 
sublimity in this epistle, as well as the strongest marks of the 
most earnest affection to those to whom he writes ; and the same 
has been observed of all the epistles which he wrote from Rome. 
He probably knew that he was near the close of his life j of a 
long and laborious warfare, as it may be called, in the cause of 
Christianity, of the great value of which he was ftiUy sensible : 
he therefore writes with that energy with which a man may be 
supposed to give his last admonitions to those he loves, re- 
specting their most important interests." 



It is one of those epistles the genuineness of 
which was never disputed by the ancients, who were 
best quaHfied to decide upon the subject, and who 
took great pains to gain information. And the 
train of thought, the style of argumentation, the 
structure of the sentences, the peculiarity of phrase, 
and the allusions to facts, constitute a strong body 
of presumptive evidence that the epistle is justly 
ascribed to the apostle Paul as its author. 

Nevertheless, there is great reason to believe that 
this epistle was not addressed by the apostle to the 
church at Ephesus. In all the epistles which are in- 
scribed to churches which Paul had himself planted, 
and where he had for some time resided, there are 
frequent allusions to the visit he had made to them, 
and to memorable events and circumstances which 
had occurred during his residence among them. 
This is evident in the epistles to the Thessalonians, 
the Galatians, the Philippians, and the Corinthians. 
But though the apostle had visited Ephesus twice 
at least (Acts xviii. 19, xix. 1) ; though, in his 
second visit, he had passed the greater part of three 
years amongst them (Acts xx. 31) ; though he had 
been exposed to great danger in that city, in conse- 
quence of the uproar excited by Demetrius (Acts 
xix. 30), to which, in other epistles, he is supposed 
to allude with great emphasis and feeling ( I Cor. 
XV. 32, 2 Cor. i. 8) ; and though he had taken so 
affectionate a farewell of the elders of Ephesus at 
Miletus in his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 
17) ; yet of all this he takes no notice at all through 


the whole of the epistle, but writes in general terms, 
as if he were addressing believers who were almost, 
if not altogether, strangers to his person. It is ob- 
servable that in one place (Eph. i. 15) he speaks of 
his having heard oi their faith and love; and in an- 
other (ch. iii. 2) he makes the supposition that thei/ 
had heard of his divine commission to preach the 
gospel to the Gentiles. No evidence could more de- 
cisively prove that he was not at that time address- 
ing a body of Christians with whom he had been 
for years in the habits of familiar intercourse. 

It is plain from a passage in the epistle to the 
Colossians (Col. iv. 16), that the apostle had writ- 
ten a letter to the church of Laodicea. It also ap- 
pears from the same epistle (ch. ii. 1), that he had 
never visited that church in person. And as he re- 
quires that the epistle to the Colossians should be 
read to the Laodicean s, and that of the Laodiceans 
to the Colossians, it is highly probable that this is 
the epistle which was originally addressed to the 
Laodiceans. For the two epistles were written at 
the same time, were sent by the same messengers, 
they treat on the same subject, and were composed 
in the same style ; so that they mutually illustrate 
each other, and serve as a useful commentary upon 
each other ; and, indeed, one can hardly be under- 
stood without the other. And as the subject in both 
is discussed in a rhetorical declamatory style, it is 
very probable that the apostle might wish that both 
the letters might be read by the same persons, that 
so the subject might be the better understood. In 


all the manuscripts now extant the epistle is in- 
scribed to the Ephesians ; but some copies in pos- 
session of Basil, an ecclesiastical writer of the fourth 
century ', wanted the word Ephesus, as if the tran- 
scriber had been uncertain to what church the epi- 
stle was addressed, or had considered it as intended 
for a general circular letter. And Marcion, a learned 
Christian in the second century, who was stigma- 
tized as a heretic by those who assumed the title of 
orthodox, says that the epistle was inscribed to the 
Laodiceans ; which is probably the fact 2. 

' Basil, speaking" of this epistle, says, " and writing to the 
Ephesians as truly united to him through knowledge, he called 
them, in a peculiar sense,, sucJi who are, saying roi; dyiots roi; 
e<ri, to the saints who are, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. For 
so those before us have transmitted it, and we have found it in 
ancient copies." Hence Mill and others have inferred that the 
words £v Ecpsa-u) were wanting in Basil's copies ; L'Enfant, 
Lardner, and others, deny this conclusion ; but Paley, with his 
usual correctness of judgement, remarks, " that the passage 
must be considered as Basil's fanciful way of explaining what 
was really a corrupt and defective reading ; for I do not believe 
it possible that the author of the epistle could have originally 
written dyioi; roi; 8<ri, without any name of place to follow it," 

From this omission. Archbishop Usher conjectures that this 
epistle might be intended as a circular epistle to any of the 
churches of the Lesser Asia, whose name might be occasionally 
inserted to fill up the blank. Usser. u4nn. a.d. 64. See Dod- 
dridge's Introduction. Bengelius and Haenlein adopt Usher's 
hypothesis. See Rosenmuller, Introd. ad Eph. ; who himself ad- 
heres to the common opinion, together with Locke, Whitby, 
Lardner, Chandler, Doddridge, Newcome, Macknight, Priest- 
ley, &c. 

* Grotius argues, from the testimony of Marcion, that this 
epistle was inscribed to the Laodiceans ; hr, however errone- 
ous his doctrine, or however faulty his character might be, his 
testimony was admissible to a fact which had no connexion with 
his errors. " Marcio have epistolam vocat ad Laodicenses, ex 
fide, ut credibile est, Ecclesice Laodicensis. Nam cur in ea re 


To account for the early and, prevailing error in 
the address of the epistle, it has been ingeniously, 
and not improbably, conjectured, that Tychicus, 
who was intrusted with the epistle, passing through 
Ephesus in his way to Laodicea, permitted the Ephe- 
sians to read and to take a copy of the epistle to the 
Laodiceans, leaving out the name of the city to 
which it was directed ; and that other churches, 
transcribing from the copy at Ephesus, which was 
probably more known than that at Laodicea, erro^ 
neously apprehended that the epistle was originally 
addressed to the Ephesian church 3. 

The objections urged by the late learned and 
acute Edward Evanson against the genuineness of 
this epistle are of great force, upon the supposition 
that the epistle was inscribed to the Ephesians, but 

vientiretttr nihil erat causes." This he supposes to be the epi- 
stle to which Paul refers Col. iv, 16. Benson and Paley argue 
strongly in favour of the same hypothesis ; also Mill^ Vitringa, 
and Wetstein. 

^ ''Whoever (says Dr. Paley) inspects the map of Asia Minor 
M'ill see that a person proceeding from Rome to Laodicea, would 
probably land at Ephesus, as the nearest frequented sea-port 
in that direction. Might not Tychicus then, in passing 
through Ephesus, communicate to the Christians of that place 
the letter with which he was charged ? And might not copies 
of that letter be multiplied and preserved at Ephesus ? Might 
not some of the copies drop the words of designation, ev r-n 
AaoSiKsia, which it was of no consequence to an Ephesian to 
retain ? Might not copies of the letter come out into the Chris- 
tian church at large from Ephesus ? and might not this give oc- 
casion to the belief that the letter was written to that church ? 
And lastly, might not tliis belief produce the error which we sup- 
pose to have crept into the inscription ? " Horce Paulin. Ephes^ 
No- 4. 



are of no validity if the epistle was written to the 
church at Laodicea i. 

Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles ; and it was 
in the faithful discharge of this honourable mission 
that he had been attacked with savage fury by a 
Jewish mob, and, after having been confined for 
two years as a prisoner in Judea, had been sent to 
Rome, and had continued there in bonds two years 
longer. Of this subject his heart was full ; and his 
main design in this epistle, and in that to the Co- 
lossians, is to express his gratitude to God for his 
great goodness in admitting Gentiles to equal privi- 
leges with Jews in the Christian community ; and 
his admiration and delight, that he, who was once 
an ignorant, bigoted, persecuting pharisee, should 
be singled out as the apostle of this gracious dispen- 
sation. This is a circumstance which ought to be 
continually kept in view in reading the epistles that 
are dated from Rome, and particularly this to the 
Ephesians. To modern Christians it appears so 
natural and reasonable, that the benevolent parent 
of mankind should be impartial in his dispensations 
towards all his rational offspring, and they are so 
entirely unaccustomed to national distinctions and 
preferences, that they hardly know how to make suf- 
ficient allowance for those who were placed in dif- 

' See Evanson's Dissonance, ed. 2, p. 312. The learned writer 
denies that there is any evidence that this epistle was inscribed 
to the church at Laodicea. There is indeed no direct evidence, 
but the supposition is at least plausible. 


fei-ent circumstances ; and the -rapturous language 
of the apostle upon this subject is apt to appear un- 
natural, affected, and insipid. This objection, how- 
ever, will vanish, if the reader will keep in mind the 
history and character of the apostle, and the pecu- 
liar circumstances under which these epistles were 

Born a Jew, educated a pharisee of the sternest 
taste^ holding all the heathen of every rank, and 
even the Jewish populace themselves, in sovereign 
tontempt, and execration, a hater of the Christian 
name, and a savage persecutor of the Christian 
faith, it might well be matter of astonishment and 
gratitude, that God, in his free and sovereign mercy, 
should have vouchsafed to step out of his usual 
course, to arrest such an one in his mad career, to 
htimble him who was before a blasphemer, a perse- 
cUtol", and injurious, and the very chief of sinners, 
at the feet of that Jesus whom he had insulted and 
persecuted, and to subdue him to the Christian 
faith, by the personal appearance of Christ to him 
for this purpose on the rdad to Damascus. 

But that one who had been so bitter an enemy, 
s6 tnalignant a persecutor, should not only be con- 
verted to the faith, but that he should be appointed 
a teacher of the Christian doctrine ; that he should 
be invested with the authority and credentials of an 
apostle, in no respect inferior to the very chief of 
that venerable body ; that he should be honoured 
with a special commission to the Gentiles; that it 


should be one principal object of this mission, to 
proclaim liberty to the Gentile believer, and to offer 
him all the privileges of the gospel, accompanied 
with entire exemption from the yoke of the law ; 
and finally, that he at this very time should be a 
sufferer and a prisoner, for this reason only and for 
no other, because he had preached the gospel in this 
liberal form to the Gentiles : all these considerations 
rushing at once into the apostle's mind, overwhelmed 
him with astonishment, delight, and gratitude. He 
labours for language to express what his heart so 
intensely feels. And while he abounds in the lof- 
tiest expressions of admiration and thankfulness for 
the great mercy of God to the Gentile world, in invit- 
ing them to the privileges of the gospel, unshackled 
with the rigours of the law; and to himself in parti- 
cular, in employing him as the missionary for this 
gracious purpose ; he at the same time earnestly 
presses upon those to whom he writes, that they 
would firmly adhere to the pure uncorrupted doc- 
trine which he had taught them ; and urges them 
not to regard his own sufferings as any objection 
either to his mission or to his doctrine ; for that 
these were so far from being to himself a cause of 
uneasiness and regret, or, a reproach to the cause 
which he espoused, that he accounted the chain he 
wore as his ornament and glory, as the sure pledge 
of a triumphant remuneration at the day of Christ's 
appearance ; and even as a corroborative evidence 
of the authenticity of his mission. 


If the reader, therefore, will. take into consider- 
ation this pecuhar state of the apostle's mind, the 
rapturous and glowing language of the epistles 
which are dated from Rome, far from being inflated 
and overstrained, will appear to be the natural and 
appropriate expressions of the apostle's ardent and 
energetic feelings. 

And these considerations will account in a satis- 
factory manner for the manifest difference between 
the style of the epistles which were dictated at 
Rome by Paul the prisoner, and the other letters 
of the same apostle. In the former he gives vent to 
his intense and exalted feelings in a sort of rhapso- 
dical declamation, under a strong impression that 
he approached the termination of his arduous but 
glorious course; while in the latter, he usually 
adopts the calmer language of reasoning and per- 
suasion : not indeed without some occasional bursts 
of natural and strong eloquence. So that this di- 
versity of style in epistles written under circum- 
stances so very different, which to some has ap- 
peared in the light of an objection to the epistles 
sent from Rome, is in fact a presumptive argument 
in favour of their authenticity. 

This epistle, like the rest of those which the 
apostle indited, is partly Doctrinal and partly Prac- 
tical. The Doctrinal part is contained in the first 
three chapters, and the Practical in the last three. 
— In the Doctrinal part, the apostle. 


I. After the usual Introduction^ expresses his 
gratitude to God for the privileges of which the 
Gentiles equally with the Jews are made to parti- 
cipate through Christ, in consequence of their eter- 
nal predestination to it by the pure infinite mercy 
of God. Ch. i. 1—14. 

II. The apostle prays that his Christian friends 
may be duly sensible of that great exertion of di- 
vine poiver which was exhibited in elevating them 
to the hope of the gospel ; a power analogous to 
that by which Christ was raised from the dead, and 
advanced to heaven ; an exertion prompted by 
boundless, unmerited goodness ; and the design of 
which was to raise them to a state of dignity, virtue, 
and happiness. Ch. i. 15 — ii. 10. 

m. In order to impress upon their hearts a just 
sense of the value of their privileges, the apostle re- 
minds his Christian friends of the great disadvan- 
tages of their Jormer Gentile state^ from which they 
are delivered by the death of Christ, in consequence 
of which, they are now incorporated with the chosen 
people of God. Ch. ii. 11—22. 

IV. The apostle, meaning to enter upon the 
practical part of the epistle, incidentally mentions 
his own situation as a prisoner for having preached 
the gospel to the Gentiles. And in order to obvi- 
ate any discouragement which might arise from this 
circumstance, he introduces a digression, in which 
he reminds them of the revelation which had been 
made concerning the admission of the Gentiles into 


the new covenant ; he dwells with rapture upon the 
great honour conferred upon himself as an apostle 
of this new and gracious dispensation ; he hints 
at the powerful evidence which accompanied the 
preaching of the gospel ; he exhorts them not to 
be disheartened at his sufferings in the cause, which 
were indeed a confirmation of his testimony ; he 
prays for their establishment in the faith ; and con- 
cludes this part of the epistle with a suitable doxo- 
logy. Ch. iii. throughout. 

Entering now upon the Practical "^^xX. of the epi- 
stle, the apostle 

1. Exhorts to the practice of various personal 
and i-ocm/ virtues. Ch. iv. 1 — v. 21. 

2. He insists upon the relative duties. Ch. iv. 
22— V. 9. 

3. He recommends resolute opposition to what- 
ever would alienate their regards from the Christian 
faith. Ch. V. 10—20. 

4. He concludes the epistle with a salutation and 
benediction. Ch. v. 21 — 24. 

The language of this epistle is, as I have already 
observed, in many places highly figurative and rhe- 
torical. It cannot be understood without much at- 
tention ; but the true explanation of it will serve as 
a key to the solution of some obscure phrases, the 
misinterpretation of which has laid a foundation for 
many of those popular errors by which the Chris- 
tian doctrine has been corrupted and debased. 


I shall conclude with the words of Grotius : 
** Paulus jam vetus in apostolico inunere, et oh 
evangelium Romcc imictus, ostetidk quanta sit vis 
cvangelii prc^ doctririis orimilms : quomodo omnia 
Dei consilia ah omni axio co tetenderint ; quam ad- 
miranda sit in eo Dei efficacia : rerum suhlimita- 
tem adcdquans verbis sublimioribus, qnam ulla un- 


habuit lins'ua humana.'" 



The apostle treats of the privileges of Gen- Ch. i. 

Ch. i.— ill. 


The apostle, after a suitable introduction^ ex- 
presses his gratitude to God for his great good- 
?iess in the admission of Jews and Gentiles with- 
out distinction to the privileges of the Christian 
church. Ch. i. 1 — 14. 

1. IhE apostle opens the epistle with a suitable 
Introduction and Salutation, ver. 1, 2. 

Paul, by the will of God ^ an apostle of Jesus Ver. I. 

' Paul, hij the will of God.'} Dr. Chandler observes^ that " the 

154 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. I. 1. 

Ch. I, Christ, to the saints ^ luho are at Ephesus 2, even 
Ver. 2. the believers 3 in Christ Jesus, favour be to you 
and peace fro7)i God our Father, and from our 
Lord Jesus Christ 4. 

This letter comes from Paul, who by the merciful 
interposition of God was converted to the Christian 
faith, and invested with the high and honourable 
commission of preaching the gospel of Jesus, and 
of being a chosen witness to his resurrection from 
the dead. And it is addressed to those persons at 

apostle asserts his divine mission and character at the beginning 
of his letter, that the doctrine he delivered in it might carry the 
greater authority and weight." 

' Saints^ that is, holy persons, separated by their profession 
of Christianity from the rest of mankind, like the Jews, without 
any respect to moral character. 1 Cor, i. 2 ; Rom. i. 2 3 Exod. 
xix. 6, &c. See Locke and Chandler. 

' At Ephesus.'] This reading is supported by all the copies 
and versions now extant ; though, for the reasons assigned in 
the Introduction, it is probably a mistake, Basil's manuscripts 
omitted the word, and Marcion read Laodicea. See Griesbach 
in loc. 

^ Believers,'] itiroig , faHhful. Mr. Locke observes that " this 
word is found in the introductions to the Epistles to the Ephe- 
sians and the Colossians, but to no other epistles of Paul ; and 
he understands it of those " who stood firm to Christ : which he 
(the apostle) did not count them to do who made an observance 
of Jewish rites a requisite part of the Christian religion." 

^ From God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.] 
" You see," says Dr. Priestley, " how the apostle constantly 
distinguishes God from Christ, Indeed there is no passage in 
the New Testament in which Christ is so much as called God, 
though in an inferior sense. Could the apostle have foreseen 
how strangely the Christian doctrine would have been corrupted 
in this respect, he might have taken more effectual methods to 
prevent it : but considering that he had not, and without a par- 
ticular revelation could not have had, the least saspicion of any 
such thing, nothing could be better calculated to guard against 
it than the manner in which he has uniformly expressed himself 
on this subject." 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. 1. 2. 15. 

Ephesus and elsewhere, who by their public profes- Ch. i. 
sion of Christianity have separated themselves from ^^" "' 
the unbelieving world, and especially to those who 
faithfully adhere to the purity and to the liberty of 
the gospel, without blending Jewish rites with Chris- 
tian doctrine. And my first wish for you all is, that 
you may enjoy that peace which flows from a faith- 
ful profession of the gospel, which is the free gift of 
our heavenly Father, communicated to us by our ho- 
noured Master Jesus, whom we receive and acknow- 
ledge as the promised Messiah. 

2. The apostle gives thanks to God for the con- 
version of the Gentiles to the Christian faith, ver. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 3 
Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us ^ with every spi- 
ritual blessing^ in heavenly places 7 in Christ ^y 

* Who hath blessed ms.] Mr. Locke has taken great pains^ in 
a note upon this text, to show that by the expressions we and us 
in this chapter the apostle means converted Gentiles in general, 
with whom St. Paul frequently joins himself. Rom. v. 1 — 1 1 ; 
Eph. i. 11, iii. 6. See also Chandler, Macknight, and Newcome. 

^ Every spiritual blessing:'] " i. e. the extraordinary gifts of 
the spirit, and the invaluable benefits of redemption." Chan- 
dler, — " every blessing, so as not to need any assistance from 
the law." Locke. 

' Heavenly places :] i. e. the Christian church ; which is now 
what the Jewish church formerly was, the chosen and peculiar 
community of God. See Eph. ii. 6, and Mr. Locke's note on 
Eph. i. 10. See also Dr. Chandler's note upon the text, and 
Dr. Macknight. — In heavenly things. Newcome : " in matters 
relating to heaven and leading us there." 

* In Christ .•] i. e. Christian, or belonging to Christ. Rom. 
xvi. 7, q. d. in the Christian church as distinguished from the 
Jewish. Or, who hath blessed us, hij or through Christ, with 

156 Paut I. E P H E S I A N S. Ssct, I. 2. 

Ch. I. according as he chose ' 7(s in him before thefounda- 
^^'■•'* tion of the ivorld~y that we might be holy^ and 
spotless before him *. 

Join with me, my brethren, in thankful acknow- 
ledgements to that holy and benevolent Being, 
whom our Master Jesus has taught us to regard as 
his and our God and Father, by whom he was ap- 

every spiritual blessing. " sv Kpis-aj' per Christum, ej usque 
salutarem doctrinam." Rosenmuller. 

' He chose us^ As the Jews were formerly the chosen peo- 
ple of God, whom he selected from the mass of mankind to the 
possession of peculiar privileges (see Ps. cv. G), so now believ- 
ers in Christ are elected in the same manner and in the same 
sense. This by no means implies an arbitrary election of a few 
individuals to eternal life. See Chandler. — " chose the body of 
the Gentiles in Christ, to become disciples of Christ." New- 

" Foundation of the world.'] " of the Jewish state." Wakefield. 
" before the law was, even before the foundation of the world." 
Locke. Dr. Chandler observes that the word Y.ccra^oXri is used 
for the beginning of any thing, and that the phrase signifies, 
before the world began ; and he supposes the apostle meant to 
humble the pride of the Jews, v.'ho boasted that the world was 
created for their sakes. "We here see," says Dr. Priestley, 
" how familiar it is with the sacred writers to speak of things 
being done before the world was, when it was only in the divine 
councils that they should be done : Christians could not be 
ciiosen before they were Christians. In like manner Christ is 
said to have glory with God before the world was ; when the 
meaning is, that this glory was designed for him, as these ho- 
nours were designed for all Christians, before either Christ or 
Christians had any existence." 

' HolyJ] dyioi. " Saints," says Mr. Locke, " in St. Paul's 
epistles, is known to si^^nify Christians, who are now the people 
of God." " Ajxcyjaoj, innocentes, sine vitio : quemadmodum in 
vetere lege arietes et boves qui Deo offerebantur. Lev. i. 3, iii, 6." 
Grotius, Rosenmuller. 

Before him^ With Griesbach and Wakefield I finish the 
sentence with avrs, " before him ;" and join ev ot,ya.irf., " in 
love," to the next period. 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Siocr. 1. 3. lo7 

pointed to his honourable office,- and from whom Ch 
he derived all his powers and qualifications for the 
work. To his God and ours let us give thanks, that 
he has in consequence of our profession of Chris- 
tianity admitted us, though Gentiles, into the com- 
munity of his peculiar people, and has liberally im- 
parted to us all the privileges of the new and spiritual 
dispensation, without annexingany burdensome con- 
ditions. And be it known to you for your comfort 
and satisfaction, that this extraordinary and unhoped 
for blessing is not the consequence of any change 
in the divine councils, but from the very beginning 
of time he purposed to select those of the human 
race who would believe in Jesus, and to separate 
them from the unbelieving world, that, being pos- 
sessed of the best means of moral improvement, they 
might excell all others in the practice of virtue. 

3. This great blessing was the result of his eter- 
nal love, and communicated by Jesus ; whose death 
was the seal of our forgiveness, ver. 5 — 7 . 

Having long ago ^ in his love appointed us his 
adopted sons ^ through Jesus Christ"!, according 

' Having long agoJ] irpoopicrag. Wakefield. " The word," says 
Dr. Chandler, " properly signifies to deiermine, appoint, or de- 
cree any thing beforehand ; and when applied to God in the 
case before us, it denotes his everlasting purpose, or his fixed re- 
solution and decree before the creation of the world, to receive 
the believing Gentiles without circumcision into the privileges 
of his church and people." 

^ Adopted sons.'] Wakefield, moka-ia-/. Gr. " to the adoption 
of sons." To the Jews as a nation pertained the adoption, 
Rom, i.\, 4j Exod. iv, 22 : that is, they were favoured with pri- 

Ver. 4. 

158 pAnrl. EPHESIANS. Skct.1.3. 

Ch. 1. to the good pleasure of his will^, to the praise of 

his glorious kindness ^ivith which he graciously fd- 

7. voured^ us through that beloved son, in whom we 

have deliverance y through his blood^ : evenforgive- 

vileges beyond all other nations, as the first-born is preferred 
amongst the other children. Thus the Gentiles are now ap- 
pointed to the adoption of sons, being invited by the gospel to 
nobler privileges than the Jews were ever favoured with. See 
Chandler and Locke. 

' Through Jesus Christ.'] ha: that is, by the mission and doc- 
trine of Christ J who was authorized to publish the joyful tidings, 
and to impart the glorious privileges. 

' According to the good pleasure of his will.'] svSoxiav "ta ^eAij- 
[ictro;. It was the free unmerited gift of God to the Jews to re- 
ceive and acknowledge them as his people ; and the communi- 
cation of the blessings of the gospel to the Gentiles in conse- 
quence of believing, is equally the effect of free, unsolicited, and 
unmerited kindness. See Locke. 

' Graciously favoured^ s'/oLpirucrev . Dr. Chandler observes, 
that " this word is not used by profane authors. It occurs 
Luke i. 28, 30, where it is properly rendered, thou art highly 
favoured; and the true rendering of it in this passage is not as 
we have translated it, " made us accepted," but " highly fa- 
voured us." So also Mr. Wakefield. 

' Deliverance, through his blood.] airoXvi'puja'iv. " The word 
(says Dr. Chandler) signifies deliverance from any thing. Luke 
xxi. 28 ; Rom. viii. 23 ; Heb. xi. 35." By the blood of Christ: 
that is, by means of his death. " Christ by dying," says Dr. 
Chandler, " annulled that law which pronounced accursed every 
one who did not continue in all things written in it to do them. 
Gal. iii. 17 J Eph. ii. 16, 17." " The manner of speaking that 
some have allowed themselves (continues this learned and mas- 
terly expositor), from this representation of Christ's death by 
his blood, viz. that a drop of Christ's blood was sufficient for 
the redemption of the whole world, is a very crude and unjusti- 
fiable expression, that hath nothing in reason or scripture tO 
support it; for the great stress which scripture lays, is con- 
stantly upon the death of Christ, and not upon any shedding of 
his blood which implies less than his actually dying. Not to 
add, that his death would have been a very needless expense, 
could the deathless shedding of a drop, or the grtatest part df 
his blood, have as effectually answered the purposes of God's 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect.I.S. 159 

ness of OUT offences''^ accordinsrto the riches of his f^h. i. 

,. / ^ * ^ Ver. 7. 


I repeat it again, that from purebenevolence, with- 
out any foreign consideration whatever, prompted 
solely by infinite love, our heavenly Father long ago 
marked us Gentiles out as persons who, by the mis- 
sion and ministry of Jesus and his apostles, were to 
be invited and received into his family, upon equal 
terms with his ancient people, to be acknowledged 
by him as his children, and to be provided with a 
suitable inheritance. This is a privilege and a bless- 
ing so far beyond all that could have been ima- 
gined or expected by poor ignorant idolatrous hea- 
then, that it may justly be called a glorious display 
of divine loving-kindness which demands our highest 
gratitude and praise. And the manner in which this 

grace ; and they who by such kind of expressions think to ho- 
nour Christ, should take care that they do not impeach the wis- 
dom and goodness of God the Father." The blood of' Christ 
is the blood of the new covenant, 1 Cor. xi. 25 ; i. e. by which 
the new covenant is ratified. It is into the participation of the 
blessings of this covenant that believers are introduced ; and in 
this sense they obtain redemption by or through the blood of 

* Forgiveness of offences.'] " The forgiveness of sins here 
spoken of," says Dr. Chandler, " is not the eternal justification 
of sinners from all the sins they are or can be guilty of during 
the whole course of their lives, but strictly and precisely this. 
Their being justified and delivered from all the sins of their Gen- 
tile state, and so reconciled to God as to become his people, and 
put into a capacity of final and eternal salvation." Gentiles, as 
such, being out of covenant, are sinners. Believers are in a cor- 
responding sense hohj, reconciled, and adopted. Forgiveness of 
sins, therefore, in this connexion, is admission to the privileges 
of the gospel : it is the translation from an unholy to a holy 

160 Part I. E P H E S 1 A N*B. Sect. 1. 4. 

Ch. I. blessing is conferred enhances, if possible, its in- 
*'* trinsic value. The gracious message was first an- 
nounced by Jesus Christ, who, in consideration of 
the honourable office to which he was appointed, 
was publicly declared to be the beloved Son of God, 
in whom he was well pleased ; and who, in obe- 
dience to his Father's will, suffered death, in order 
to ratify the new covenant by which we, being de- 
livered from the disadvantages and miseries of our 
heathen state, are admitted to the privileges and 
hopes of the sons of God. Such are the riches, and 
such the unsolicited and abounding freedom of the 
divine mercy to a numerous class of mankind, who 
seemed to be abandoned to hopeless ignorance, and 
vice, and ruin. 

4. The apostle celebrates the goodness of God 
in communicating to believers the knowledge of the 
new dispensation, which was before an impenetrable 
mysteiy, ver. 8 — 10. 

8. Which he made, to overflow onus^, in all ivis- 

9. dom and understanding 2, by making knowji to us 

' He made to overflow^ See KnatchbuU, Wakefield, Mac- 
knight. " Quam Uberalissime nobis exJiibu'd." RosenmuUer. 

* In all wisdojn and under standing.'] q. d. which riches of his 
grace he exhibited abundantly to us who believe, by a great in- 
crease of wisdom and understanding — which increase of wisdom 
was effected by making known (yvw/sitra;) to us the mystery, &c. : 
compare Col. i. 9. "I cease not to pray — that ye may be filled 
with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and un- 
derstanding." Newcome's Translation. Mr. Locke also refers to 
Col.i. 28, ii. 2,3, as parallel passages, which plainly show " that 
the apostle means by wisdom and understanding, a comprehen- 

Pakt I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. 1.4, 161 

that mystery 3 of his gracious will^, {luhich he had Ch. i. 
long before purposed iu himself,) concerning^ the lo,' 
dispensation of the fulness of times^^ that he ivould 
reunited all things, both in the heavens and upon 
earth s, under one head in Christ. 

sion of the revealed will of God in the gospel, and particularly 
of the mystery of God's purpose of calling the Gentiles." Dr. 
Chandler also api)roves of this interpretation, though he ac- 
knowledges that tlie words will bear a very good sense if un- 
derstood of the wisdom of God in the gospel dispensation. 

* Mysteri/.'] The secret purposes of his counsel with respect 
to the call of the Gentiles ; " which," says Dr. Chandler, " is 
the usual sense of the word m.ystery in the New Testament." 
He supposes an allusion to the idolatrous mysteries of Diana, 
whose temple and worship at Ephesus were celebrated all over 
the world. Mr. Locke remarks that the purpose of God in the 
call of the Gentiles is called a mysteiy five times in this epistle, 
and four times in the epistle to the Colossians ; and he thinks 
that the design of the apostle is to keep the Gentiles from at- 
tending to those Jews who would persuade them to submit to 
the yoke of the law, by assuring the Ephesians and Colossians 
that the Jews knew nothing of the divine purpose, which had 
been revealed to him with the express view of preaching the go- 
spel to the Gentiles. 

'^ His gracious will.'] ra ^iXru^aro; avr8,y.a.'ta.'fr^v svSotiiav avrs' 
\itera\ly,of his ivill,according to his good pleasure. The phrase is 
exactly parallel to ver. 5 ; yMToc, rr^v euSoxiav rs ^sXryjU^arof ccvts. 

* Concerning.'] £j;. See Newcome. " at the dispensation." 

* The dispensation of the fulness of times.] " the gospel co- 
venant." Gal. iv. 4. Macknight rightly interprets it, " of the 
dispensation in which all former dispensations terminated, and 
which was erected when the time fixed for it was fully come." 

' Would reunite.] avaxs(paXoi.iuj(iOt.a^GLi " properly signifies," 
says Locke, " to recapitulate." Dr. Chandler renders the word 
to comprehend, sum up, or collect under one head in Christ, 
i. e. -to unite under Christ as their common head. Archbishop 
Newcome gives the verb the force of the middle voice ; his ver- 
sion is, *' that he would gather together to himself in one, all 
things through Christ." " Vt 7iempe omnes creafurce intelligen- 
tesin ccelo et in terra, per Christum in unam societaiem adduce- 
rentur." Rosenmuller. 


162 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. I. 4. 

Ch. r. For the better understanding of the following pa- 
raphrase, it is necessary to observe, that the word 
mystery, in the apostle's writings, expresses not 
some obscure and unintelligible doctrine that is still 
imperfectly made known, but a truth or fact which, 
having been unknown in former ages, is now di- 
stinctly revealed. And in this epistle, as well as in 
that to the Colossians, in which the word frequently 
occurs, it uniformly signifies the call of the Gen- 
tiles, which, though it was always intended in the 
eternal purpose of God, had not been clearly re- 
vealed to the Jews. 

It is also of great importance to the right under- 

" Heavens and eartJi.'] AVHiitby, Chandler, and the generality 
of expositors, understand ' things in the heavens and things on 
earth ' to mean ' angels in heaven and believers on earth, whe- 
ther Jevv's or Gentiles.' See Newcome ; who refers to John vi. 
37, 39, for an instance where the neuter is used for the mascu- 
line. Mr. Locke and Dr. Macknight understand the expression 
of ' Jews and Gentiles,' which seems to be the true sense of the 
))hrase. Mr. Locke has an excellent note upon the text, which 
he closes with modestly observing, " However, this interpreta- 
tion I am not positive in, but offer it as matter of inquiiy to such 
who think an impartial search into the true meaning of the sa- 
cred scriptures the best employment of all the time they have." 
" ra £v spavoig diverse explicaiur. Multi hitelligunt de dcemonibus, 
vel de viortuorum hominum animabus, alii de Judijeis. Koppe to. 
fv spavotg y.ot,t ra stt* rrji yvjj, putat esse periplirasin universi, ut 
h. X.intelligantur omnes omnino homines sine discrimine gentis, 
Judcei et Barbari." RosenmuUer ; who, however, himself, pre- 
fers the interpretation ' angels and men.* Perhaps the sense of 
this intricate period may be thus expressed : 

' Which riches of his goodnes's he has abundantly exhibited 
to us, having enriched our understanding with a clear knowledge 
of that mystery which was the object of his gracious and eternal 
purpose, and which relates to that dispensation which has now, 
at the fulness of time, taken place : namely, that he would re- 
unite under one head, even Jesus Christy all descriptions of 
mankind, whether Jcvvs or Gentiles.' 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. 1. 4. 163 

Standing of the epistle, to be apprized that the ex- Ch. i. 

pressions ' heaven' and ' earth' are used in a figura- 
tive sense, and signify nothing more than ' Jew' and 
* Gentile,' the persons who are, and they who are 
not, in a state of privilege and covenant with God. 
This sense of the words was not unusual amongst 
the Jews. The prophet Daniel calls the Jewish na- 
tion * heaven,' Dan. viii. 10; and our Lord, (Luke 
xxi. 26,) by * the powers of heaven' means ' the great 
men of the Jewish state.' Also Capernaum, by its 
privileges, is said to be exalted to heaven. Matt. xi. 
For this interpretation we are indebted to that ex- 
cellent expositor, Mr. Locke ; and it is unquestion- 
ably the true key to the interpretation of many dif- 
ficult passages, the misunderstanding of which has 
greatly misled the Christian world, and given occa- 
sion to many strange conceits concerning the laws 
and state of the angelic powers, which, if true, are 
of no use ; and would therefore never be made the 
subject of divine communication. That the apostle 
expresses himself in this figurative manner, may 
easily be accounted for by his unwillingness to give 
offence to his countrymen, and by the delicacy which 
he always observes in mentioning a subject so pain- 
ful to himself, and so offensive to them, as the con- 
version of the heathen, and the rejection of God's 
ancient people. The following exposition, there- 
fore, may perhaps convey the true meaning of the 
apostle's language. 

God has abundantly manifested those riches of 
M 2 

Ver. 10. 

164 Paht 1. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. 5. 

Ch. I. his goodness to us Gentile believers, by revealing to 
our minds a doctrine which is to us the excellency 
of wisdom ; far surpassing all the boasted philoso- 
phy of the schools. This he has done by unfolding 
to us that mysterious purpose which had hitherto 
been concealed under an impenetrable veil ; that 
purpose which was formed from eternal ages in the 
councils of infinite benevolence, and which relates 
to a dispensation which, after the revolution of the 
destined number of ages, is now at its proper season 
introduced into the world. Of which new and glo- 
rious dispensation this is the gracious purport and 
tenor : That Gentiles as well as Jews are admitted, 
upon equal terms, into the kingdom of the Messiah ; 
that they shall be collected into one body under 
Christ; that all shall enjoy equal privilege and equal 
favour : and that all invidious distinctions shall for 

ever cease. 

5. Of this mercy the Jews were the first parta- 
kers ; the invitation of the gospel having been first 
addressed to them, ver. 11, 12. 
jl. In him ', by whom also we^ weremvited^, {Iiav- 

' In him.'] Dr. Chandler observes that " these words are very 
injudiciously made, in our version, the end of the tenth verse ; 
whereas they ought to be the beginning of the eleventh^ being 
in strict connexion with it." 

^ By whom also.'] q. d. " We are united in him by whom, 
&c." The change of persons in ver. 1 1 and 13 makes it proba- 
ble that the apostle is here speaking of the believing Jews, espe- 
cially if the phrase * things in heaven and things on earth,' ver. 
] 0, is to be interpreted of Jews and Gentiles. Mr Locke's ob- 
jection, that the Jews are never represented as without hope. 

Part I, E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. 5. 165 

ing been predestinated according to the purpose of ch. i. 
hiin who performeth all things according to thede- ^'^'■- ^'' 
termination of his oivn wilh,) that we who first 12. 

hoped in Christ'^ might be to the praise of his 
glory ^. 

Though the Gentiles iiie invited, the Jews, the 
ancient people of God, are not excluded from the 

seems of little weight, especially as, on the one hand, the ex- 
pression Trpor^X-rtiKoras does not necessarily imply that they were 
before entirely destitute of hope ; and on the other, the apostle 
has taken great pains in the epistle to the Romans, ch. ii. iii., 
to prove that the Jews, by their immoralities, were reduced to a 
situation little superior to that of the unconverted heathen ; so 
thai every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become 
guilty before God, Rom. iii. 19. 

^ U'ere invited.'] SKKrj^rjasr this is the reading of the Alex- 
andrine, Clermont, Corbey, and other ancient manuscripts of 
great repute, and of the old Italic and Vulgate versions. It is 
marked by Griesbach as of good authority ; and seems prefer- 
able, as being more intelligible, and better suiting the con- 
nexion, than sy.Aif}pwSrjU.av , which is the common reading, and 
which some render ' we have obtained an inheritance,' and 
others, with Locke and ('handler, ' we are become the lot of his 
inheritance.' The Ephrem manuscript is mutilated in this pas- 

* Determination of his oion w;j//.] See ver. 5,9. his benevolent 
will. " Uberrima voluntas : Est in his verbis descriptio Dei 
omnipotentis , et immutabilis, qui omnia facit pro sua voluntatc, 
nee mutat quod semel.voluit.'" Rosenmuller. 

* Whojirst hoped.'] TrpoyjXirtxoTa;, q.d. who were the first be- 
lievers in the gospel ; to whom it was preached, and by whom 
it was accepted before it was offered to the Gentiles. Dr. Chand- 
ler offers a different, but a very good, inteipretation : " The 
words literally rendered are, who before hoped in Christ. And 
this 1 think a proper characteristic of the Jews ; they had ,the 
promises of the Messiah, and therefore hoped in him before the 
time of his actual appearance." See Rosenmuller. " who 
have hoped in Christ from the first." Wakefield. 

^ To the praise of his glory.] " might praise him for his glo- 
rious mercy vouchsafed to us." Chandler. " ut insennremus 
laudi divince, qui jam olim expectahamus Messiani." Rosen- 

166 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. 1. 5. 

Ch. I. blessings of the gospel. It was an essential part of 
Ver. 12. ^^^ pij^j^ formed in the eternal councils of infinite 
wisdom and benevolence, that the privileges of the 
new covenant should be offered in the first place to 
the descendants of Abraham. In pursuance of this 
purpose, Jesus himself, during the whole course of 
his personal ministry, preached to them only, and 
even limited the invitations of mercy to the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel. And when he ap- 
peared to his apostles after his resurrection, and 
gave them a commission to preach his gospel, it 
was accompanied with a strict injunction that they 
should begin at Jerusalem, and make the first of- 
fers of the blessings of the new covenant to their 
own countrymen. And though it is but too true, 
that the generality of the Hebrew nation despised 
and rejected the doctrine of Christ, and hated and 
persecuted the teachers of it, yet it is also true, that 
myriads have received the tidings with joy ; of which 
number I have the happiness to be one. And the 
great design of this mercy exhibited to us was, that 
we who were the expectants of the promised Mes- 
siah, and the first believers in the Christian doc- 
trine, the first whose immortal hopes were founded 
on the promises and the resurrection of Jesus, might 
be duly sensible of, and gratefully acknowledge, our 
distinguished privileges ; and that we might, by our 
conduct, reflect honour upon our Christian profes- 
sion, and, by our unwearied exertions, might bring 
many others, both Jews and Gentiles, to the know- 
ledge of the truth, 

Pakt I. EPHESIANS. Sect. I. 6. 1 67 

(5. In the same manner the Gentiles had been ch. i. 
invited by Christ to the participation of the bless- 
ings of the gospel, and had been endowed by him 
with the holy spirit as an earnest of the future in- 
heritance, ver. 13, 14. 

jB?/ whom ye also were invited *, when yc heard Vci. 13. 
the word of truth, the glad tidings of your salva- 
tion ; by whom also 2, after ye believed, yc lucre 
sealed^ with the holy spirit of promise '^^ which is 14. 

' Ye were invited.] The change of persons shows that the 
apostle is now speaking of the Gentiles. The construction of 
the 13th verse is the same with that of the 1 1 th, and therefore, 
as Locke and Chandler have observed, requires the same word 
to be supplied : ver. 1 1 , by whom we Jews were invited : ver. 
13, by v/hom ye Gentiles were also invited — to the praise of 
his glory. 

^ Bij whom also.'] The same construction continues, by v/hom 
we Jews were invited — ver. 13. by whom ye Gentiles were also 
invited, &c. — and by whom ye also, upon believing, were sealed, 

' Were sealed^ The gifts of the spirit, communicated by the 
imposition of the apostle's hands, to primitive converts upon their 
profession of faith, authenticated the truth of the Christian doc- 
trine, and marked those who possessed them as the people of 
God 5 and in this view they are figuratively represented as 
God's seal. Jn the same sense circumcision is represented as 
the seal of God's covenant with Abraham, Rom. iv. 11. " The 
use of a seal," says Dr. Chandler, " is for confirmation and 
certainty, to ascertain and establish any thing written or done, 
as the act and deed of the person who writes and does it. In 
this sense the spirit conferred on those who believed is meta- 
phorically called God's seal ; because, as it was conferred im- 
mediately by God, in confirmation of the doctrine of salvation 
by faith in Christ, it was a solemn assurance and proof to those 
who received it that they were accepted of God. Hence among 
the primitive Christians baptism itself was frequently styled a 
seal, because this spirit was frequently received immediately af- 
ter baptism. Under the Old Testament Abraham received cir- 
cumcision as a seal, Rom. iv. IJ ; not to make him a righteous 
person, but as a testimony from God^ that he accepted him as 

168 Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. 6. 

C'^- ^' the earnest i of our inheritance, for the redemption 
of the purchased possession^, to the praise of his 
glory 3. 

The blessings of the gospel having been first of- 
fered to the Jews, the ancient people of God, and 
having been by them too generally rejected, u^eie, 

such." Macknightsays, "In allu.sion to the custom ofmerchants 
who marked their bales or parcels with seals, to distinguish them 
from the goods of others, Christ is said to have marked the Gen- 
tiles as the children of God, by bestowing on them the gifts of 
the spirit, see Acts xi. 1 8. It is well known that the servants in 
the temples of particular gods had marks on their bodies by 
which they were distinguished." The siiirit, therefore, was a 
seal by which it was manifested to the world that they who pos- 
sessed it were the chosen people, the sons of God. 

* Spirit of promise.'] That is, the spirit promised by the pro- 
phets of God to the Jews, and by Christ to his apostles. 

' The earnest.'] " appa^ouv signifies both an earnest and a 
pledge ; it is a part of the price paid as a security for the re- 
mainder, or it is something of value which is lodged with the 
creditor to be redeemed when the debt is paid. In both senses 
it may be figuratively applied to the gift of the holy spirit." 
Chandler. As the spirit is a seal to notify their state and cha- 
racter to others, so it is an earnest or pledge to assure them- 
selves, and to satisfy their own minds that they are the sons of 
God ; a portion of his inheritance, a part of his family. 

* For the redempt'ion of the purchased possession.] This is the 
third object of the gift of the spirit : it is, first, a seal, to notify 
to the world ; it is, secondly, an earnest to encourage the be- 
liever ; thirdly, it is also given for the redemption of the pur- 
chased possession. The purchased possession is the church 
which Christ purchased {irspiriitoirio-aro) with his own blood. 
Acts XX. 28 ; and believers are called a purchased people, 1 Pet. 
ii. 9. Redemption does not always signify ' paying a ransom,* 
but ' deliverance from a slavish state.' So God is said to redeem 
the Israelites from the house of bondage, Deut. vii. 8. The 
spirit therefore was sent, £is, for the redemption of the pur- 
chased possession, as it was by the gifts of the spirit, and the 
miracles wrought by Christ and his apostles, that the Christian 
doctrine made its way in the world. ' 

" This interpretation (says Mr. Locke, to whom we are 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. I. 6. 169 

by the command of Christ, oifered to you Gentiles: 
and when the apostles and messengers of Jesus in- 
structed you in the pure doctrine of Christ, and 
made known to you the joyful tidings of deliverance 
from ignorance, and vice, and niisery, and of a re- 
surrection to everlasting life and happiness, Christ 
did, by these his chosen servants, invite, and as it 
were beseech, you to accept the offers of mercy. 
Happily for you, ye were induced by the evidence 
proposed, to receive the doctrine, and publicly to 
profess your faith in Christ, and your subjection to 
his authority. In consequence of which he vouch- 
safed to you the promised effusion of his holy spirit, 
in various miraculous gifts andpov.'ers. This spirit 
he communicated as the seal of your adoption, the 
pubHc and sensible Loken of your admission into the 
family of God, and of your title to the character and 
inheritance of his children. He imparted it also as 
to yourselves an earnest and pledge of the divine 
favour; so that you cannot doubt that you are re- 

Ch. I. 
Ver. 14. 

wholly indebted for this admirable solution of a most difficult 
passage,) best answers Paul's design here, which is, to establish 
the Ephesians in a settled persuasion that they, and all the other 
Gentiles who believed in Christ, were as niuch the people of 
God, his lot and his inheritance, as the Jews themselves, and 
equally partakers with them of all the privileges and advantages 
belonging thereunto, as is visible by the tenour of the second 
chapter. And this is the use St. Paul mentions of God's setting 
his sea.1 (2 Tim. ii. 19) to mark them that are his. See also 
Rev. vii. 3, iv. 1 . Those who purchased servants did, as it were, 
take possession of them by setting their marks on their fore- 

^ To the praise of his glory ^ See ver. 12. The Gentiles are 
called and sealed, &c., that tliey, as well txs the believing Jews, 
may celebrate the praises of God for his abundant mercy. 

170 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. I. 

Ch. I. ceived into his family, while this spirit witnesses to 
Ver. 14. y^yj. hearts that you are the children of God. 

These gifts of the spirit are the chief instruments 
which the wisdom of God employs for the redemp- 
tion and recovery of those from the bondage of ido- 
latry and vice, who are disposed to comply with the 
invitations of the gospel, and to become members 
of that holy community which in figurative language 
are described as redeemed to God, and as purchased 
by the blood of Christ. 

And the great design of your invitation to the 
privileges of the gospel, of the gifts of the spirit, 
and your equality of state with God's ancient peo- 
ple, is, that you should unite with them in ascribing 
praise and glory to your common Father and God 
for his abundant mercy. 


The apostle gives thanks to God for the perse- 
veranceof his brethren in their Christian profes- 
sion; and prays continually that they may he duly 
sensible of the extraordinary manifestation ofdi' 
vine power and mercy in their conversion frmn 
heathen idolatry ; which, indeed, bore a striking 
analogy to that by luhicJi Jesus ivas raised from 
the dead, and exalted to supreme authority in the 
new a?id heavenly dispensation. Ch.i. 15 — ii. 10. 

I . The apostle gives thanks to God continually 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 1. 1/1 

for the progress which his brethren make in faith ci». r. 
and love ; and prays that they may be duly sensible 
of the value of the Christian dispensation, ver. 15 

Wherefore, I also, having heard^ of your faith Vci. 15. 
in the Lord Jesus ^, and love to all^ the saints, 
cease not to give thanks for you, making mention ]«. 

of you in my prayers ; that the God of our Lord i j. 

Jesus Chrisf^, the Father of glory '^, may give you 

' Having heard, &c.] This is regarded by some as a presump- 
tive argument that the episile was not written to the Ephesians, 
with whose faith and love the apostle must have been personally 
acquainted 5 but it is properly enough replied that the apostle, 
having been absent from them five or six years when the epistle 
waswritten^ might have heard with pleasure of their perseverance 
in the Christian doctrine, 1 Thess. iii. 4 — G ; Philem. ver. 4, 5. 
See Doddridge, Chandler, and Macknight. 

* Fuith in the Lord Jesus.'] " Hearing of their faith is not his 
being told that they were Christians, but their continuing in that 
foith which they were converted to and instructed in ; viz. that 
they became the people of God only by faith in Christ, without 
submitting to the Mosaical institution." Locke. 

^ Jll the saints.'] Mr. Locke observes, " that all is here an 
emphatical word, put in for some particular reason ; viz. that 
they were not by the Judaizers drawn away from their esteem 
and love of those who did not observe the Jewish rites ; which 
was a proof that they stood firm in the faith and freedom of the 
gospel." Dr. Chandler agrees in this interpretation. 

* God of Jesus Christ.] See John xx. 17. What plainer proof 
can there be that Jesus Christ is the creature of God, and not his 
equal ? Dr. Chandler observes, " that it can never in any sense be 
said of Christ that he is God of the Eternal Father." " Here 
it is evident," says Dr. Priestley, " that all the illumination the 
apostle prayed for, was to come from God the Father, who is 
here called the God of our Lord Jesus Christ ; the same, no 
doubt, who was the author of his being, whom he reverently 
worshiped, and whom he taught his disciples to v^orship : so 
far was he from teaching the worship of himself." 

* Father of glory.] " either possessed of eternal unchange- 
able glory, or the author and bestower of glory, in which sense 

27 I I'Ar.T I. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. 1 . 

Ch. I. <« apirif. f)f wisdom and revelation to the knowledge 
Ver. 18. ofhvn >, that the eyes of your mind being enlight- 
ened", ye may know vjhat is the hope of this invi- 
tation by him'^, and what the glorious riches o/'that 
inheritance^ which he hath given you among the 

Having, as I have just observed, been invited by 
Christ to a participation of the blessings of the go- 
spel, and favoured with the gift of the holy spirit, 
as the seal and e;-.rnest of the promised inheritance, 
I am anxious that you should duly appreciate your 
great privileges. And, in tlie first place, having re- 
ceived tlie pleasing intelligence of your perseverance , 

the word rendered ' Father' is sometimes used. James i. 17." 
('handler. " being glorious himself, the fountain from which all 
glory is derived, and to whom all glory must be given." Locke. 

' To the knowledge of him.'] gv aTriyvci'CTEJ, in, &c. Dr. Chand- 
ler observes, " that sv is frequently used by the best writers for 
gjj, to denote the end and design of any thing." By * the 
spirit of wisdom mid revelation,'' Archbishop Newcome justly re- 
marks, that the apostle means the knowledge of revealed truths, 
1 Cor. xiv. 6, 26, 30. The knowledge of him, that is, ' of Uie 
doctrine of God.' 

" Eyes of your mind being enlightened.'] " The Greek is in 
the accusative absolute." Newcome. The best copies read Kccp- 
§tag, heart, instead of diavoias, understanding ; and Griesbach 
receives it into his text. The meaning is the same. " The 
expression," says Dr. Chandler, " is certainly explicative of the 
former words, and should have been rendered, even enlightened 
eyes of your understanding. ' I make mention of you,' says the 
apostle, • in my prayers, that God Avould give unto you the 
spirit of wisdom and revelation, even enlightened eyes of your 
understanding ; i. e. a mind free from prejudice and darkness, 
that you may clearly apprehend, and pass a true judgement con- 
cerning, the great object of your ho|)es as (Christians." 

^ This inv'itation by him.] See W^akefield. tijj KXriasws olvzh, 
of his inv'itation. 

* The glorious riches nf that inheritance, &c.] So Wakefield. 
Gr. of his inheritance among the saints. " that you may see 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. I. 1^3 

in the faith In which you have been instructed, not- Ch, i. 
withstanding opposition and danger ; and of your ^^'' * 
fraternal affection to believers of all denominations, 
notwithstanding some accidental differences in opi- 
nion or practice, and the pains which some who are 
bigots to the ceremonial law take to pervert your 
judgement, and to give you an ill opinion of all who 
are not equally rigid with themselves ; for this your 
firmness of principle, and liberality of spirit, I offer 
my daily thanksgivings to God, to whose grace and 
favour all attainments in moral excellence are justly 
to be ascribed. To these thanksgivings I add fer- 
vent prayers to that great Being whom our Master 
Jesus Christ has taught us to adore as his God and 
our God; and to venerate as our common Father to 
whom all glory belongs, and from whom all honour 
and happiness is derived ; of whom I earnestly im- 
plore, that he will impart to you that perfect know- 
ledge of revealed truth which will lead you with still 
greater courage and zeal to profess your faith in the 
Ireavenly doctrine : And that your understandings 
may be so enlightened by the instructions of the go- 

what an abundant glory it is to the saints, to become his people, 
and the lot of his inheritance." Locke. 

Perhaps the true meaning of this paragraph may be thus 
briefly expressed : 

Having heard of your perseverance in the true faith, and of 
your love to all believer{s^ vvitliout distinction of Jew orCentile, 
1 thank God on your account. And I also pray that (rod wor.ltl 
enlighten your mind in revealed truihs, that you may cleaily un- . 
derstand the object of Christian hope, and the un.speakable im- 
portance of your admission into the pale of the Christina church, 
and to the privileges of the people of God. 

174 Part I. EPHESIANS. Skct. II. 2. 

Ch. I. spel, and the gifts of the spirit, that you may be 
Vcr. 18. f^^iiy apprized of the inestimable value of your Chris- 
tian hope : and may be duly sensible of the high 
importance of your Christian profession, and of your 
unspeakable obligation to the mercy of God in thus 
freely admitting you into the Christian commu- 
nity, and to the glorious privileges of his peculiar 
people ! 

2. The apostle further prays that they may be pro- 
perly apprized of that great display of divine power 
which had been manifested in their conversion to 
the faith : an exertion analogous to that by which 
Christ was raised from the dead, and exalted to be 
the head of the new and evangelical dispensation, 
ver. 19, 20. 

19- And what is the exceeding > greatness of his 
power toward us who believe, corresponding with 
the energy of his mighty strength^ which he exerted 

20. in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and 

' Exceeding greatness of his power.'] " That is," says Dr. 
Chandler, " that j'ou may be able to form some suitable con- 
ception of that amazing infinite power of God which he shall 
exert in our future resurrection." So Dr. Macknight. Mr. 
Locke's interpretation appears to me far preferable : " What 
an exceeding great power he has employed upon us who be- 
lieve ! a power corresponding to that mighty power which he 
exerted in raising Christ from the dead." This sense is adopted 
by Archbishop Newcome. 

^ Energy of his mighty strength.'] Dr. Doddridge observes 
that the admirable beauty of this passage, and the strong em- 
phasis and force of the expressions in the original, are well set 
forth by Bishop Pearson {on the Creed, p. 519), as scarcely to 
be paralleled in any author ; and superior to what our language 
can reach. Blackwall's Sacred Classics, vol. i. p. 307. 

Part h E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. 3. 1/5 

seated him at his own right hand^ in the heavenly ^^ i. 

places 4. Ver. 20. 

I also earnestly pray, that you may be duly sensi- 
ble of the extraordinary manifestation of his power 
which God has been pleased to display in all who 
sincerely believe, and particularly in subduing their 
inveterate prejudices, whether Jews or heathen : a 
power which, when I consider the astonishing effect 
produced in our conversion to the Christian faith, 
and in the wonderful change which it has effected 
in our views, affections, and practice, I can compare 
to nothing less than to that amazing effort of om- 
nipotence, if I may so express it, by which our Mas- 
ter Jesus Christ was raised from the grave and ad- 
vanced to the highest dignity and authority in the 
new and heavenly dispensation ; which is as much 
superior to any that preceded it as heaven to earth. 

S. Having mentioned the exaltation of Christ, 

* Hh own right hand.'] " The right hand is the seat of dig- 
nity and honour ; and therefore when God the Father is said to 
have set Christ at his right hand, the meaning is, that he placed 
him next in dignity to himself." Chandler, i. e. as head of the 
Christian church. 

* Heavenly places :] or, things, i. e. in his heavenly king- 
dom ; or, the gospel dispensation. See Matt. iii. 2, xvi. 7 ; 
John iii. 2. Mr. Locke says, " The whole drift of this and the 
following two chapters is to declare the union of Jewf. and Gen- 
tiles into one body under Christ, the head of the heavenly king- 
dom. And he that sedately compares Eph. ii. 1 6 with Col. i. 20, 
in both which places it is evident the apostle speaks of the same 
thing, viz. God's reconciling both Jews and Gentiles by the 
cross of Christ, will scarce be able to avoid thiid<ing that ' things 
in heaven and things on earth ' signify tiie people of the one and 
the other of these kingdoms." 

176 Paiit I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 3. 

Ch. I. he expatiates upon this pleasing topic in language 
borrowed from the Jewish notions of the celestial 
hierarchy ; and represents the dependence of the 
whole Clu-istian church upon communications from 
him, to be as entire as that of the body upon the 
head, ver. 21 — 23. 
Ver. 2 1 . Far above all principality ^ and power ^ and might, 
and dominion ', and every name that is jiarned, not 

' Pr'mcipalitij , &c.] The,se titles are commonly understood 
to expres.s ranks of angels, and the text is generally interpreted 
as asserting the dominion of Christ over the angelic world. But 
if Mr. Locke's interpretation oi heavenly places in the preceding 
verse be the true one, then principalities, powers, &c. can only 
signify officers of difi'erent ranks and degrees under a divine 
dispensation, such as ])rophets, priests, apostles, teachers, &c., 
to all of whom Christ is in dignity and office far superior, being 
the head of them all, the chief of all the prophets of God. 

" These abstract names are frequently used in the New Tes- 
tament, according to the style of the eastern languages, lor those 
vested with power and dominion, &c., and that not only here on 
earth among men, but in heaven among superior beings, and 
so often are taken to express ranks and degrees of angels ; and 
though they are generally agreed to do so here, yet there is no 
reason to exclude earthly potentates. Besides, the apostle's 
chief aim here being to satisfy the Ephesians that they were 
not to be subjected to the law of Moses, and the government 
of those who ruled by it, but they were called to be of the king- 
dom of the Messiah, it is not to be supposed that where he 
speaks of Christ's exaltation to a power and dominion paramount 
to all other, he should not have an eye to that little and low 
government of the Jews, which it was beneath the subjects of 
so glorious a kingdom to subject themselves unto." Locke. 

The Jewish dispensation having been represented as " hea- 
venly places," the superiority of Christ to the officers of that dis- 
pensation is naturally described as an exaltation above the sup- 
posed ranks and orders of beings in those heavenly places : but 
as Christ is also superior to all the officers of his church, this 
superiority is represented as an exaltation above .such supposed 
orders of beings in the world, or age to come, that is, the Chris- 
tian dispensation, as well as in the present world, or age, that 
is, the dispensation of the law. So that there is no reason to 

PAnrl. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 3. 177 

only in the present age, but in tliat also which is to Ch. i. 
come 2. And he hath put all things in subjection Ver. 22. 
unde?' his feet 3 ; and hath appointed him ^ head over 
all thi?igs in the church, which is his body^, the 23. 

completion^ of him. whofilleth all, luith all things. 
Our glorious Lord and Master, being thus ad- 
suppose that the apostle had any intention to express or allude 
to the superiority of Christ above angels in heaven. 

* The present age .•] or, dispensation. See Mr. Locke's note 
on Eph. ii. 2. That onujv has the sense of dispensation does not 
admit of a doubt. See Heb. i. 2. 

' Put all things, &c.] Alluding to Ps. ex. I ; Ps. viii. 6—8; 
1 Cor.xv. 25, 273 Heb. ii. 8. 

* Appointed^ " In the original ' given :' a Hebrevi^ phraseo- 
logy. See Gen. xvii. 5 ; Ezek. iii.l7." Newcome. 

" Which is his body.'] " deriving all its nourishment and in- 
fluences, its growth and support, its direction and management, 
from (Jhrist as the head : even as the natural body is influenced 
and supported, guided and managed, by its natural head." 

^ The completion.'} itXyipiuiua,, " the complement :" that which 
is wanting to make an object complete. " The Jews and Gen- 
tiles," says Dr. Chandler, " are the difterent members of Christ's 
church, and these difterent members are the full complement of 
his body. The word ■n'\rjpuj[x.a, is used in a sense like this by 
the best Greek writers. yEL V. H. 1.5, c. 10." The learned 
writer imagines an allusion to the statue of Diana at Ephesus ; 
but with little appearance of reason. 

" It is a fine figure," says Dr. Priestley, " by which Christ is 
here represented as the head, and his disciples the body, all being 
one and the same system, he only having pre-eminence in point 
of honour, distinction, and usefulness. A similar idea is ex- 
pressed by Christ being called our elder brother, implying that 
he is one of the same species and family. Accordingly, when he 
is called an heir of God, his brethren are joint heirs with him. 
This doctrine is uniformly inculcated in the New Testament, 
and we ought to have our minds deeply impressed with it, and 
fully to understand its value, in opposition to that strange sy- 
stem, however prevalent, which makes Christ a being of equal 
rank with God his Father ; and thus in fact makes three Gods, 
or objects of religious worship. If any article of faith be worth 
earnestly contending for, it is this," 


178 PautI. EPHESIANS. Sect. I 1.3. 

Ch. I. vanced by the power of God to supreme authority 
^^^' "" ' in his church, is made superior to all other teachers 
and prophets, how important soever the instructions 
they were authorized to communicate, how splendid 
soever the attestations of their mission, to whomso- 
ever their message was addressed, or by whatever 
names and titles of civil or ecclesiastical authority 
they have been, or may be, dignified. Whether they 
lived under the old or under the new dispensation, 
whether the objects of their instructions were Jews 
or Gentiles, or both, they must all bow to the au- 
thority of Jesus, and acknowledge him as their su- 
perior and lord. His dignity is more exalted, his 
mission is more important, his miracles are more 
splendid, his dominion is more extensive and du- 
rable. Of him it is declared (Ps. viii. 6), that " all 
things are put in subjection under his feet :" by 
which is meant, that the whole world shall in due 
time embrace the gospel, and yield a willing sub- 
jection to his gentle yoke. And in the mean time 
God has authorized him to impart all necessary in- 
formation to true believers, and to supply them with 
those gifts of the spirit which contribute to their 
conviction, edification, and comfort. So that Christ 
and his church form as it were a complete person : 
Christ is the head, and the church the body, which 
derives that light and vigour, and vital influence 
from him by his doctrine and his spirit, which are 
essential to the life and nourishment, the growth 
and beauty of every part, and to the symmetry and 
perfection of the whole. 

PabtI. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 4. 179 

4. The apostle proceeds to illustrate his posi- Ch. ii. 
tion, that the power of God manifested in the eon- 
version of Jews and heathen, and in their admission 
to the privileges and hopes of the gospel, is analo- 
gous to that power which was displayed in the re- 
surrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ, ch. ii. 

And you hath God brought to life with Christ', Ver. I. 
who are now dead to transgressions and sins ^. 

' And ijou hath God brought to life.] Dr. Chandler, and after 
him Dr. Macknight, supplies the ellipsis in this verse from the 
preceding ; viz. " you hath he filled who were dead," &c, Mr. 
Locke, with the public version and the generality of commenta- 
tors, supplies the ellipsis from the fifth verse : q. d. you hath he 
brought to life with Christ. See Wakefield, The train of thought 
is this : I pvay daily for you, ch. i. 16, that you maybe apprized 
of the value of the inheritance, ver. 18, — and of the great power 
of God exerted upon you, ver. 1 9, — similar to that exerted in 
the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, ver. 20 — 23 ; — so 
likewise has he raised you who are now dead to your former 
state, ch. ii. 1, — in which you once lived, ver. 2 ; — and likewise 
we Jews, being in a situation equally deplorable, ver, 3, — are 
nevertheless made objects of mercy, ver, 4 j — and being dead 
to our former state, ver. 5, — we and you are raised and ex- 
alted together with Christ, ver. 5, 6, — as monuments of free 
unmerited goodness, ver. 7—9, — to the practice of virtue, ver. 
10, See Locke's note 3 who observes, that the conjunction xai 
gives us here the thread of Paul's discourse, which it is impossi- 
ble to understand without seeing the train of it, 

* Dead to transgressions and sins.'] " to trespasses ^nd sins." 
Wakefield, Dr. Chandler acknowledges that the words admit 
of being translated dead to trespasses, though he prefers the 
common translation. The best commentary upon this text is 
the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, in which the 
same thought is pursued at large. The apostle does not mean 
to represent the unconverted Gentiles as in a state of death, but 
as living in sin, and to the purposes of sin. When converted to 
the gospel, they die to sin ; i. e. they renounce the idolatry and 
vices of their heathen state : and when by the profession of 
Christianity they entertain new views and expectations, and 

180 Part I. EPHESIANS, Sect. II. 4 

Ch. II. Such is the astonishing power which Almighty 

Ver. 1 

God hath displayed in the resurrection of Christ, 
and in his exaltation to supreme authority in the 
church. Similar to this, and equally illustrative oi 
divine power and goodness, is the wonderful change 
which has taken place in you Gentiles, in your con- 
version to the Christian religion. It may justly be 
said of you, that you have undergone a transforma- 
tion equivalent to a death, a resurrection, and an 
exaltation. You are dead to your former state of 
idolatry and vice ; and by the same power of God 
which raised up Jesus you are now animated with a 
life and spirit far different from that of your uncon- 
verted state. 

hi which ye formerly walked ' according to the 
course of this worlds, according to the prince of 
the power of the air^, of the spirit which now luork- 
eth ^ in the sons of disobedience. 

lead a different course of life, they are said, by Christ, and with 
Christ, and in resemblance of Christ, to be raised to life and 
exalted to heaven. 

' In which yeformerhj walked:'] that is, lived; not in which you 
were dead. You were then alive to sin : sin was your master, 
in whose service you exerted all your powers. See Rom. vi. 

* Course of this world.'] Dr. Chandler observes, " that the 
Greek word aiujv and the Latin cEvu7n both signify the life of 
man, and from thence by an easy figure the manner and cus- 
tom of a person's living. It here signifies the corrupt principles 
and idolatrous practices of the Gentile world." " A«wv, quod- 
vis temporis spatium, s. longius, s. brevius — integram duratio- 
nem accommodatam nempe rebus et personis de quibus sermo est, 
signi/icat, ita tamen, ut etiam res et personas durantes, res in 
tempore factas,seM, existentes,per metomjrniamadjuncticomplec- 
tatur: ingenium aetatis — vivendi ratio. Rom. xii. 2 j 1 Cor. ii. 
6." Schleusner. Very properly rendered " the course of this 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. 4, 181 

In your former heathen state you were the de- cii. ir. 
voted subjects of the worst of tyrants ; you lived in 
the unrestrained practice of those vices which were 
authorized and allowed by the idolatry of your coun- 
try ; you behaved like the rest of the heathen world, 
like the subjects of Satan, whose kingdom is in di- 
rect hostility to that of truth and virtue, of God and 
Christ : who is supposed by his deluded votaries to 
inhabit the regions of the air ; and whose spirit, the 
spirit of obstinacy, of error, of malignity, and mis- 

' The prince of the power of the air .] i. e. Satan, the mytho- 
logical head of the unbelieving world 5 whose residence was sup- 
posed to be in the air, us that of Christ was supposed to be 
above him in the heavens. There is no occasion to suppose, 
either, with Dr. Harwood, that Jupiter is the person alluded to 
by the apostle, (see Harwood's Introd. to New Test.) or with 
many, that the devil is a real being, who resides in the air and 
who has power to govern the changes of the atmosjjhere. This 
most improbable doctrine, which makes a malignant spirit a col- 
league with the Deity in the government of the universe, re- 
ceives no countenance from the writings of Paul, who only al- 
ludes to a mythology already subsisting. Should it be alleged, 
that if Satan be a figurative person, Christ, who is opposed to 
him as the ruler of the believing world, must also be a figura- 
tive person, it maypei-haps be allowed, that when Clirist is thus 
put in opposition to Satan, the word may, sometimes at least, 
be taken in a figurative sense to express tlie spirit and the prin- 
ciples of the Christian religion, in opposition to tlie spirit and 
principles of heathenism and idolatry. Mr. Wakefield renders 
the clause, " the ruler of this empire of darkness." Archbishop 
Newcome remarks, that though the sense of darkness is very 
suitable to aijp in this place, and is attributed to it by Cocceius, 
Heinsius, and Wakefield, he cannot find it used thus except in 
the feminine gender. See 2 Pet. ii. 4, Jude fJ. 

* Which now worketh.'] svspysvros. Mr. Locke observes, that 
" this is the proper term whereby in the Greek is signified the 
])ossession and acting of any persjn by an evil spirit." The 
apostle represents unconverted heathen as demoniacs, as mad- 
men, as men out of their senses. See Doddridge. 

1 82 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 4. 

Ch. II. chief, possesses and actuates the minds of the mass 
Ver. 2. of unbehevers, and impels them, hke madmen, to 

reject and vihfy the salutary scheme, and gracious 

offers of the gospel. 
3- Among whom we all likewise lived formerly^ in 

our carnal desires ^ indulging the inclinations of the 

senses and of the thoughts i, and were by nature 

children of wrath 2 even as the rest. 

' OJ the senses and of the thoughts.'] Literally, of the Jlesh 
and of the imaginations. See Macknight. Dr. Chandler says 
" the literal version of the words is this, doing the wills of the 
Jlesh and of the thoughts : i. e. they did whatever their fleshly 
appetites prompted them to ; and not only thus, but they stu- 
died after methods of vice and wickedness, and employed their 
thoughts how to invent new gratifications of their corrupt ap- 
petites and passions, and allowed themselves the freest indul- 
gence in them." It was a maxim of the pharisees, that thoughts 
were not sinful. 

* By nature children of wrath:] i. e. we Jews, like you Gen- 
tiles, were, antecedent to our conversion to Christianity, in a state 
of condemnatior under the righteous law of God. See Gal. i. 15. 
' we who were Jews by nature,' i. e. before our conversion to 
Christianity, ' and not sinners of the Gentiles.' That Jews 
as well as Gentiles were in a state of condemnation previously 
to the publication of Christianity, the apostle proves at large in 
the first three chapters of the epistle to the Romans. See parti- 
cularly Rom. iii, 19, 20, How far this text, thus explained ac- 
cording to its true import, is from giving countenance to the 
commonly received doctrine of original sin, is sufficiently ob- 
vious. " It is evident (says Dr. Chandler) by the ^'ery form 
of expression, that the apostle refers to their condition before 
their conversion, and not to that which may be at all times af- 
firmed equally of all mankind. For he says, and were by na- 
ture, not are by nature j'fand therefore their being formerly 
children of wrath could only refer to the vices of their condition 
before conversion, and means no more than their being subject 
to God's displeasure, because educated and brought up in, and 
habituated by inclination and practice to, the worst of immora- 
lities and vices. This is the meaning of the word in the best 
writers," The learned author proceeds lo cite authorities to 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Skct. II. 4. 183 

And to say the truth, we Jev(^s, notwithstanding ch. ii. 
all our professions of sanctity and our means of bet- '^^'■* ^' 
ter information, were sunk in vices as gross as those 
of the heathen world ; equally with the Gentiles, 
whom we despised, yielding ourselves to the direc- 
tion of our unbridled appetites and passions, and the 
strictest among us pleading for the uncontrouled 
indulgence of licentious imaginations ; being utter 
strangers to that purity of principle which imposes 
severe restraints upon the thoughts and purposes of 
the heart. So that, antecedently to our conversion 
to the Christian religion, we were, nationally, as for- 
lorn, and as liable to condemnation, as the unbeliev- 
ing world now are. 

But God being rich in mercy y according to his ^' 

great love with which he loved us, hath made us, 
who are now dead to sins^, alive together with 5. 

Christ: by whose free favour ye are delivered'^ ; 

prove that the word (putrij-, nature, is used to express a disposi- 
tion contracted by habit. I am, however, rather inclined to think 
that the apostle uses the word in a technical sense, to express 
the condition in which they were born, that is, out of covenant 3 
and he affirms that his countrymen, however they might pride 
themselves in their privileges, had by their transgressions cast 
themselves, as a nation, out of covenant, and were therefore, 
antecedently to their conversion, in no better state than the 
Gentiles themselves, vv-hom they familiarly spoke of as sinners, 
and children of wrath. See Rom. ii. 17 — 20 ; Gal. ii. 15. " By 
nature, in our original state : before conversion, children of 
anger. Heirs of the divine displeasure on account of our actual 
vices." Newcome. 

'' Now dead to sins.'] Not in sins, but to sins : i. e. to our for- 
mer unconverted state. " made us, now dead to sins, alive to- 
gether with Christ." Wakefield. 

* By tvhose favour ye are delivered.'] arr %ap<r<. This is the 

184 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 4 

ch. II. and hath raised us up with him, and hath made us 
sit together with him, in heavenly places ', by Christ 

Nevertheless it pleased God, who delights in 
mercy, that where sin had abounded, mercy should 
also abound. And not regarding even us sinful and 
apostate Jews as utterly unworthy of his notice, he 
has vouchsafed to raise to hfe, as Christ was raised, 
all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, who are dead to 
our former state of ignorance and wickedness, and 
who are willing to renounce all dependence on ce- 
remonial rites, and to reinstate us in a life of virtue, 
privilege, and hope. This favour we have obtained 
by the grace of Christ, through faith in the gospel 
of our common Master. And as he is raised by the 

reading of the Clermont and other ancient manuscripts, and 
of the Vulgate and Italic versions ; and it best suits the con- 
nexion. See Chandler. The gospel is often called the grace or 
gift of Christ, because Christ was the medium of communi- 
cating this great blessing to the world. " Ye are saved," 
i e. delivered from the evils of your heathen state j as the con- 
text sufficiently shows. The apostle here resumes his discourse 
concerning the heathen converts, and speaks of believers in ge- 
neral to the end of the section. 

' Hath made us sit together with him in heavenly places.] Ob- 
serve, the apostle says, God hath brought us to life, hath raised 
us up, hath made us sit in heavenly places by Christ : not he 
ivill do it. Therefore it is not a literal, but a figurative resur- 
rection and ascension that is here intended, and a figurative 
heaven. The plain meaning is, that Jew and Gentile believers, 
having completely renounced former errors, prejudices, and 
vices, are now advanced to the privileges and hopes of the go- 
spel. This is that kingdom of heaven of which Christ is ap- 
pointed to be the sovereign ; and as believers sit with him who 
sitteth at the right hand of God, they share with him in his dig- 
nity and authority, and under his auspices are employed in ex- 
tending the limits of bis glorious kingdom. 

Part I, EPHESIANS. Sect, II. 5. 1 85 

power of God, and exalted to the highest dignity in Ch. ii. 
the new and heavenly dispensation, so we likewise ^'' ' 
are exalted with him, and are even now seated with 
him, and near him, in his heavenly kingdom : grate- 
fully acknowledging suojection to him as our go- 
vernor and head, deriving evangelical blessings from 
him, and in our respective posts employing and ex- 
erting our best talents to extend the limits of his au- 
spicious empire. 

5. This whole scheme is an illustrious display of 
undeserved and unexpected mercy, which precludes 
all boasting on the part of those who are interested 
in it and benefited by it, ver. 7 — 10. 

That in the ages luhich are coming ^ he jnight 7. 

show the superabundant riches of his favour and 
kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. 

The design and end of all these extraordinary 

' The ages which are coming:'} i. e. the gospel dispensation. 
Mark xi. 10 j Heb. vi. 5, ii. 5. — " God was pleased to quicken 
and raise up the Gentiles who believed, that in all successive 
ages of the world they might stand as a demonstration of the 
acceptableness of faith in God, and of his fixed purposes of 
mercy and grace towards all without exception that should re- 
ceive and obey the gospel. The conversion of the Gentiles by the 
ministry of the apostles, was a great instance of Gods goodness 
to them, and a standing proof, throughout all future ages, of 
the certainty of God's favour to all who should believe, to the 
end of time." Chandler. "The great favour and goodness 
of God," says Mr. Locke, " manifests itself in the salvation of 
sinners in all ages ; but that which most eminently sets forth 
the glory of his grace was the case of those who were first of all 
converted from heathenism to Christianity, and brought out of 
the kingdom of darkness, in which they were as dead men, with- 
out life, hope, or so much as a thought of salvation or a better 
state, into the kingdom of God." 

186 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 5. 

Ch. II. operations of divine power in our conversion to the 
Christian faith, and in thus transferring us, as it 
were, from an earthly to a heavenly state, from a 
state of ignorance and prejudice, and vice and mi- 
sery, to a state of light and virtue, and privilege 
and hope, is to exhibit and to magnify his unspeak- 
able mercy and compassion in this new dispensa- 
tion, which his faithful and holy servant and mes- 
senger Jesus of Nazareth has been commissioned 
to introduce into the world. 
8. For hy free favour ye are delivered through 
fakhy and this i not of yourselves, it is the gift of 
9,10. God. Not of works, that no one may boast. For 
ive are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus 
to good works 2, which God hath before prepared 
for us, that we should walk in them^. 

' And this^ xcci rsro. Dr. Doddridge and others contend 
that faith is the antecedent ; Chandler, Newcome and others 
refer rato to the whole antecedent sentence : q. d. this salvation 
by faith is the gift of God. The sense amounts nearly to the 
same ; the glory of all is to be ascribed to God. Dr. Doddridge 
in favour of his interpretation pleads Phil. i. 28} ISj 
Gal. iii. \7, iv. 19 ; and refers to Eisner's Obs. vol. i. p. 128, 
and Raphelius Annot. ex Herod, p. 186. Faith may be called 
the gift of God, as he communicated the evidences and placed 
the mind in circumstances in which those evidences produced 
conviction. Dr. Chandler contends that his translation is more 
agreeable to the construction and the context. 

* Created in Christ Jesus. 1 xtia^vrss' " the original word, 
which we render create, properly signifies to produce or form 
any thing. Thus it is used by the best writers for the building 
of walls and cities, the planting of groves, the making laws, &c. 
So that it is not strictly applied to what we mean by creation, 
nor doth it involve the notion of almighty power : and in Latin 
Cicero speaks of creating magistrates, dangers, calamities, &c. 
The Ephesiuns were God's workmanship, created in or by Christ 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. 5. 187 

I again repeat, that it is solely to be imputed to ch. ii. 
the free, unsolicited, and unmerited goodness of ^®''* * 
God that you have been delivered from the evils 
and disadvantages of your heathen state, and by the 
profession of faith in Christ have been admitted to 
participate in the privileges of the gospel. And 
this deliverance is to be ascribed to no merit and to 
no effort on your part : you neither knew the dan- 
ger of your case nor sought for deliverance. You 
owe all to the free gift of God. He formed the 

Jesus to good works ; brought by his gospel to the knowledge of 
true religion and virtue, and quickened by the powerful motives 
contained in it to obey and live according to the precepts 
thereof. The forming particular doctrines from metaphorical 
expressions, and straining similitudes to their utmost extent, 
is not to explain but pervert the sense of writers, to make them 
speak in the most absurd and unintelligible manner, and to 
expose their meaning to ridicule and contempt." Chandler, 

' Which God, &c.] Archbishop Newcome renders the words, 
" in which God before designed that we should walk." He ob- 
serves, that instead of sv ols — Iva itspiTtartio-MiLsv, the apostle 
uses a pleonastic pronoun, after the Hebrew manner. Dr. 
Chandler has an excellent note upon the text : " God (says he) 
prepared ordinances and statutes for his people the Jews under 
the law by Moses, that they should observe and do them, Prov. 
xxiv. 27, Ps. lix. 4. But under the gospel dispensation he in- 
tended a more excellent service, and chose us that we should 
be holy and without blame before him in Christ. These works 
he prepared for the gospel dispensation, as what should super- 
sede all ceremonial observances." 

Upon the whole, the sum of the apostle's argument is this : 
The conversion of Jews and Gentiles to the Christian faith is an 
extraordinary effort of divine power, the result of unsought for, 
unmerited goodness ; the end and design of which is to form 
those who are so converted to the love and practice of virtue. 

Mr. Locke has along note upon the eighth verse, to show^that 
" the apostle, when speaking of the Gentiles, calls their being 
brought back again from their apostasy into the kingdom of 
God^ their being saved." 

188 Part 1. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I, 5. 

Ch.ii. plan, he annexed the condition, he made the disco- 
' very, he proposed the evidence. You yourselves had 
no concern in the contrivance, and contributed no- 
thing to the execution of the glorious scheme. So 
that no one can boast of himself as a party con- 
cerned in producing this astonishing effect. So far 
from it, you were as little accessory to it as if you 
had not even existed : for the change which you 
have undergone, in passing from heathenism to 
Christianity, is like that of passing from nothing 
into existence. It is a new creation. God has 
herein, as it were, formed you anew ; and by Jesus 
Christ he has introduced you into a new state of ex- 
istence, upon new conditions of life. For, as to 
Adam in paradise was given the law of innocence, 
and to the Jews by Moses, the law of Sinai, the 
yoke of ceremonies, so, to believers in Christ is given 
the law of virtue and beneficence, love to God and 
love to man, by which it was long ago determined 
and foretold that the followers of Jesus should be 
distinguished from the unbelieving world, and be- 
come entitled to the promised blessings of the 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 1. 189 


The apostle, in order to excite i?i the Christian Ch. ii. 
converts a Just sense of the inestimable value of 
the blessings of the gospel , strongly urges them 
to retain an habitual recollection of the miseries 
of their past, and of the privileges of their pre- 
sent condition. Ch. ii. 1 1 — 22. 

1. He reminds them of the disgrace and danger 
of their heathen state, ver. 11 — 13. 

Wherefore remember, that ye who were origi- Ver. 11. 
7ially Gentiles by descent ', {being called the U7i- 
circumcision ^, by that which is called the circum- 
cision performed by hands in the Jlesh^), were at 12. 
that time luithout Christ^, aliens from the commu- 
nity^ of Israel, and strangers to the covenants^. 

' By descent!] ev crapKi' literally, in thejlesh. Rom. i. 3. See 
Chandler's note. " Gentiles born." 

' Called the uncircuyncision] " by the Jews in contempt ; 
implying that they were destitute of every privilege in which 
they imagined themselves interested, and of which they looked 
upon circumcision as a seal or mark." Chandler. 

^ In thejlesh.'} To distinguish it from the circumcision of 
the heart, Rom. ii. 29 ; in which they were miserably deficient, 
Col.ii. 11. " which consists in cutting off and casting away 
the sinful affections, passions, and habits, of a corrupted mind." 

* Without Christ.l " destitute of all knowledge of the Mes- 
siah, or any expectation of deliverance or salvation by him." 
Locke ; who argues, that the connexion determines this to be 
the sense of the words. 

190 PahtL EPHESIANS. Skct.III. 1. 

Ch. II. having no hope of the promise^ , and without God'^ 
in the world, 

I have been representing to you the extraordinary 
exertion of divine power and goodness in your con- 
version to the Christian rehgion, that you might be 
reclaimed to the love and practice of righteousness. 
And indeed it is highly reasonable that you should 
retain a just sense of the value of your present pri- 
vileges, which you will best accomplish by contrast- 
ing your present happy condition with your former 
forlorn and miserable state. Remember then, my 
brethren, what you originally v^'ere : ignorant, idola- 
trous, and vicious heathen ; regarded and treated 
with the utmost contempt by the Jews, who glory 
in the external marks of their relation to God, 
though they are too often deficient in that spirit of 
piety and purity which their profession requires, 
and their law inculcates. In this unhappy state you 

' Aliens, &c.] " Tliey had no right of citizenship in the Jew- 
ish polity, nor any claim to the privileges of citizens." Chand- 
ler. " The Jews' were then the only people of God." Locke, 

® Strangers to the covenants.'] i. e. " the patriarchal and Mo- 
saic covenants, which promised the Messiah, Rom. ix. 4." New- 
come, Mr. Wakefield's version is, " strangers to the covenants, 
having no hope of the promise, and without God, men of this 
world." This alteration in the punctuation is suggested in Bow- 
yer's Conjectures. 

' No hope of the promise^ i. e. of those blessings which the 
promises contained, justification by faith, acceptance with God, 
as his children, a title to the inheritance of eternal life. See 

* Without Got/.] " without having the true God for their 
God." Locke ; who observes, that " it is in this sense the Gen- 
tiles are called aSso*, few of them being, properly speaking, 
atheists, denying the existence of superior powers." See Rom.ix. 
5 ; with Taylor's or Crellius's note. 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect.III.2. 191 

had neither hope nor wish for a deliverer: not being Ch. li. 
descended from the ancient patriarchs, you were ex- 
eluded from the privileges entailed upon their post- 
erity, and from the community which God had se- 
lected as his own. You had never heard of the co- 
venants which God had entered into with Abraham 
and his descendants, in which he promised his fa- 
vour upon condition of obedience, and foretold the 
appearance of a great prophet, who should instruct 
them in a more perfect institute than that of Mo- 
ses. In consequence of this ignorance, you had no 
interest in the promises, no expectation of any im- 
provement of your moral condition, nor any hope 
of a future life. You had no just ideas of the na- 
ture and character of God ; you neither loved nor 
worshiped him ; you were enemies to him by wic- 
ked works, and outcasts from his favour; you were 
mere men of the world, who only sought after 
worldly pleasures, and who looked for nothing be- 
yond the present life. 

2. He reminds them of the happy change which 
had taken place in their condition by faith in Christ, 
ver. 13. 

But now, in Christ Jesus'^, ye who formerly 13. 
were far off^^ are brought near by the blood of 

' In Christ Jesus.l " since your conversion to the faith of 
Christ." Chandler, q. d. you being in Christ Jesus, that is, in 
the number of his disciples. See Rom. xvi. 7. 

* Far off.'] From the connexion, and from ver. 17, it seems 
evident that the expressions ' far off' and ' near' allude to the 

192 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 3. 

Ch. II. Your state is now wonderfully improved. In- 
Ver. 13. stej^jj of being at a distance from God, excluded 
from his temple, and regarded as aliens and ene- 
mies, you are admitted into his holy place, and 
brought near to his person, by your conversion to 
the Christian religion ; being, as it were, conse- 
crated and purified by the blood of Christ, which 
was shed to ratify the new and more comprehensive 
covenant, and to put an end to the distinction be- 
tween Jew and Gentile. 

3. By his death having abolished all ceremonial 
distinctions, Jesus has reconciled Jews and Gen- 
tiles to each other, and to God, ver. 14 — 18. 

14. For he is our peace ^ ; luho hath united both -, 
and hath removed the enmity^ the middle wall of 

15. partition^; having in his own person abolished^ 

situation of the worshipers in the outer and the inner courts of 
the temple, the court of the Gentiles and that of the Jews. So 
the publican in the parable is described as standing afar off, 
X. e. in the court of the Gentiles, Luke xviii. 13. 

' By the blood of Christ.'] Qu. How by the blood of Christ ? 
The apostle immediately explains himself. The death of Christ 
broke down the partition wall, and opened a way for the wor- 
shipers in the outer court to advance into the holy place. 

' Our peace.l i. e. the maker or author of peace, see ver. 15 ; 
a common phraseology : so (ver 15) the partition wall, the ce- 
remonial law, is called ' the enmity,' being the cause or the sign 
of enmity. Compare Gen. xv. 1, 1 Thess. ii. 20. " The cause 
of peace and union between Jews and Gentiles." Newcome. 

* United both .•] i. e. those who were far off, and those who 
were near ; those who were in the outer, and those in the inner 
courts. Literally, " he hath made both one." 

^ The enmity, the wall of partition,'] which separated the court 
of the Gentiles from that where the Jews worshiped, and into 
which it was not permitted to the Gentiles to enter, under pain 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect, III. 3. 193 

the Imv of commandments ^ consisting in ordi- ch. ir. 
nances *. ^""* ^^' 

To accomplish this important purpose, of bring- 
ing Jews and Gentiles into the same state of privi- 

of death. Josephus Ant. 1. xv, § 5. St. Paul was seized upon the 
charge of having brought Gentiles into the inner court. Acts xxi. 
28. I adopt the punctuation of Griesbach and Wakefield. 

■• In his own person abolished the law.'} Gr. " in his own 
flesh," i. e. by his death he introduced another dispensation, 
which superseded the dispensation of rites and ceremonies, the 
observance of which ceased to be necessary as an introduction 
to the kingdom of God. Mr. Locke here introduces a long note, 
to explain what is meant by the abolition of the law, justly ob- 
serving, " that the law of Moses is no where abrogated by an 
actual repeal ; but that by the introduction of the kingdom of 
the Messiah, which extended to the Gentiles, and proposed new 
terms of admission, it ceased to be the law of the people and 
kingdom of God, but not to be the law of the Jewish nation. 
This did not make its observances unlawful to those who, before 
conversion, were under the law j but that which was unlawful 
and contrary to the gospel was, the making those ritual obser- 
vances necessary to be joined with faith in believers for justifi- 

'' Ordinances.'] Soyfj^acri, " edicta multas observationes reddunt 
necessarias." RosenmuUer; that is, the ceremonial law. The 
Jews insisted upon the strict observation of its rites as neces- 
sary to admission into covenant with God ; while the Gentiles 
regarded them as an insupportable yoke. This difference pro- 
duced an enmity between them, which could not be reconciled 
till the ceremonial law was abolished. " This law of ceremo- 
nies," says Dr. Chandler, " was properly the partition wall, 
which kept the Jews and Gentiles from coalescing or uniting 
into one church and people j from worshiping together, and 
partaking in common the privileges of God's house and service j 
and therefore our blessed Savioui-, by taking down this partition 
wall, i. e. by cancelling the obligation of the Mosaic law, became 
our peace, and made both one ; made both Jews and Gentiles 
Equally the people of God, invested them with a right to the 
/same privileges, enjoined them the same method of worship, 
:> gave them the same body of laws, and thus laid a foundation 
/ for their future union in the strictest bonds of affection and 


194 Part I. EPHESIANS, Sect. III. 3. 

Ch. II. lege and promise, Jesus came as the ambassador of 
peace. And this great design he has actually ful- 
filled : having reconciled believers of both descrip- 
tions to each other, by putting an end to that which 
was the principal cause of enmity; namely, the law 
of ceremonies, which formerly constituted the proud 
distinction of the Jews. Jesus having ratified by his 
death a covenant which admits all believers to equal 
privileges, without arbitrary and positive marks of 
distinction, has, as it were, broken down that wall 
in the temple which separated the court of the Gen- 
tiles from that of the Jews ; so that converted hea- 
then may now approach as near to the holy place 
as converted Jews ; and all who profess subjection 
to Christ as their Master are taught to regard each 
other as brethren in him. 
—15. That he might form the tivo i into 07ie neiu man 
16. in himself^, thus making peace 3, and that he might 

' Form the two.'] xticrr,, create, i. e. malce, or form, see ver. 
10, note. 

* In himself:'] i. e. " in his mystical body, the church." New- 
come. The apostle delights in representing the universal church, 
consisting of believers, Jews and Gentiles, as forming one 
body, of which Christ is the head ; and this body is sometimes 
called Christ, see Eph. i. 23. Mr. Locke observes, that the 
apostle " always has Jesus Christ in his mind as the head of the 
church, which was his body ; from and by whom alone, by being 
united to him, the whole body, and every member of it, received 
life, vigour, and strength, and all the benefits of that state, 
which admirably well shows that whoever were united to this 
head must needs be united to one another ; and also, that all 
the privileges and advantages they enjoyed were wholly owing 
to their union with, and ?'.lhering to, him their headj which 
were the two things he inculcated upon the converted Gentiles 
at Ephesus." Ke adds : " If the Jewish nation had owned Jesus 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Skct. III. 3. 195 

reconcile Loth, in one person; to God-^ ; having Ch. ii. 
slain the enmity by the cross. 

Two purposes were to be accomplished by tiie 
abolition of the ceremonial law : the reconciliation 
of Jews and Gentiles to each other, and to God. 
As to the first, it is so completely effected, that the 
great body of believers now forms one mystical per- 
son, of which Christ is the head ; and of this body 
the several parts and limbs, in their respective places, 
live and act together in perfect harmony. This my- 
stical person, consisting of Jesus and his faithful 
disciples of all nations and parties, is reconciled and 
consecrated to God, not by any formal initiatory 
rite, or ceremonial institute, but by the death of 
Christ, which abolishes all those legal distinctions 
which heretofore constituted ceremonial disqualifi- 
cations, and barred the gates of the temple against 
the admission of the Gentiles. 

as the Messiah, they had continued the people of God : but, as 
they had nationally rejected him, they were no longer such ; 
and all who_ after that would return to their allegiance, must be 
admitted upon other terms than being the posterity of Jacob." 

^ Making peace,'] by making them members of the same 
body, all harmonizing with each other. 

* To God, having slaiji the enmity by the cross.'] I follow the 
reading and the punctuation of the Syriac and Mr. Wakefield. 
The enmity slain by the cross is the ceremonial law, which was 
the cause of enmity between Jew and Gentile. This being now 
abolished, and the two parties being now formed and moulded 
into one mystical body, of which Christ is the head, this new 
man is admitted into favour with God, and taken into a cove- 
nant state, not in consequence of any satisfaction made to of- 
fended justice, but from free, unpurchased, unmerited mercy. 
See ver. 8, ' By grace ye are saved, through faith, and this sal- 
vation is the free gift of God.' This is plainly the train of the 
apostle's ideas. 


196 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 3. 

Ch. II. And he came ', and proclaimed the glad tidings 
of peace to you who were afar off, and to those that 
18. were near^. For through him we both have ad' 
7nission 3, by one spirit *, to the Father. 

Having thus superseded the ceremonial law, 
which was the cause of alienation from God, and 
from each other, he came after he was risen from 
the dead, and by himself in person, and still more 
explicitly by his apostles and other chosen messen- 
gers, to announce the joyful tidings of peace and 
reconcihation. To you Gentiles, who worshiped in 
the outer court, he has proclaimed liberty of access 
to the holy place, and the removal of whatever pre- 
vented your admission Into the rank and privileges 
of the people of God. To the Jews he has an- 
nounced a new and better covenant, which makes 
provision for the remission of offences which the 
law condemned without mercy. And thus, through 
this highly favoured messenger of peace, Jesus 
Christ, we all, both Jews and Gentiles, are admit- 

* He came.} Newcome joins this with ver. 14, including the 
15th and IGth in a parenthesis, Christ came to proclaim these 
tidings, after his resurrection^ by his apostles and prophets, 
ver. 20. 

* To you who were afar off, &c.] q. d. to you Gentiles who 
were in the outer court, and to the Jews who were in the inner 
court of the temple, see ver. 13, note. 

' Admission.'] An allusion to the custom of appointing per- 
sons to introduce strangers at the courts of princes. See Dod- 
dridge and Macknight. 

■• By one spirit.'] " The extraordinary gifts of the spirit were 
the evidence of their adoption, and were poured out upon the 
Gentiles as well as upon the Jews." Chandler. One and the 
same spirit is communicated to all who believe, whether Jew or 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Skct. III. 4. 19/ 

ted into the temple of God ; we are allowed to in- ch. ii 

voke God as our Father, and to expect a glorious 
inheritance from him ; of which the miraculous gifts 
and powers which are communicated alike to be- 
lievers of every nation, are a convincing proof, and 
a most satisfactory earnest and pledge. 

4. Being thus incorporated with the people of 
God, they are dedicated to his service, being made 
constituent parts of an ever-increasing temple, con- 
secrated to God, and inhabited byhim, ver. 19 — 22. 

So t/ien, ye are no longer strangers and sojour- 
ners^ hut J'eUoiV'Citi%ens with the saints, and be- 
longing to the house of God^. 

From this view which I have given you of the 
means by which reconciliation has been accom- 
plished by Christ, you may draw the joyful conclu- 
sion that you Gentiles are no longer considered as 
foreigners and sojourners, who have no title to the 
privileges and immunities of the holy city, the com- 

* Belonging to the home of God.] The word oikeioi signifies 
either belonging to a family as members or servants. Gal. vi. 10 ; 
or belonging to the building as a constituent part of it. Tlie 
apostle glances at both these senses of the word, and passes off 
to another similitude. See Macknight. " The church of God 
(says Dr. Chandler) is compared to a city or republic, which 
hath its peculiar immunities, rights, and privileges ; and of this 
city all who believe in Christ are equally free, of whatsoever na- 
tion or country they may be. They are no more ira^oiKoi, i. e. 
mere dwellers or lodgers in a city, without enjoying the free- 
dom of it, but the proper denizens of it, yea, such as belong to 
the very house and family of God, the universal Lord and Fa- 
ther. The word oiy.eios is used in both senses, to denote a do- 
mestic, or one who is a freeman, in opposition to a stranger or 

Ver. 18. 

198 Paut I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. 111. 4. 

Ch. II. munity of the chosen people of God ; but that, by 
your profession of faith in Christ, without submit- 
ting to the yoke of the ritual law, you are entitled 
to all the privileges which any of the professing 
peo})ie of God have ever enjoyed. You are free ci- 
tizens of the kingdom of Christ ; you are admitted 
into the house of God ; you are suffered to enter as 
worshipers into the holy place; you are received 
into his service; you are acknowledged as his chil- 

20. Being built upon the foundation of the apostles 
and prophets ', Jesus Christ himself being the chief 

21. corner-^iouQ.'^. By ivhich the whole building, being 
harmoniously framed together"^, groweth'^ to a holy 

' Apostles and prophets.'] " of the Christian church." New- 
come. See ch. iii. 5, iv. 1 1 j 1 Cor. xii. 28. built upon, &c. 
" since that gospel which they preach they received by imme- 
diate revelation from Christ." Chandler. 

* Cor??er-stone.] " The chief corner-stone is that which is 
laid at the foundation, upon which the whole angle of the build- 
ing rests ■ and which, therefore, is the principal support and tie 
of the whole edifice." Chandler. See Psalm cxviii. 22. 

^ Harmoniously framed together^ " The materials of a build- 
ing in their original form (says Dr. Chandler in his beautiful 
note) are shapeless and disagreeing, and could never constitute 
an edifice till wrought and fashioned by the art and labour of 
the workmen, fitted in size and shape for their proper places. 
And what more unlikely than that Jews and Gentiles should 
ever be brought to coalesce and join in one society, and con- 
stitute one church, between whom there had been so long and 
inveterate an opposition and hatred ? But in Christ they were 
fitly framed. His gospel, and doctrine, and spirit, so altered 
and fashioned tliem, that they became capable of settling and 
joining together, and in their several places contributing to the 
proportion, harmony, strength, and beauty of this sacred tem- 
ple which it pleased (lod to erect out of them. Notwithstand- 
ing Ihc enmity of their former state, and though they would will- 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 4. 1 99 

temple through the Lord^ : by which^ ye also are ch, il, 
built together for a habitation of God, through the ^^'■- -^• 
spirit 7. 

I said that you belonged to the house of God : 
you do belong to it as members of his family ; you 
also belong to it as constituent parts of that holy 
building the church. As such, you rest upon the 
foundation of the apostles and prophets ; your faith 
being erected upon the doctrine .which the autho- 
rized teachers of the gospel have taught and incul- 
cated, and upon the evidence which they exhibited 
of the truth of their doctrine. But your principal 

ingl}' have destroyed each other, yet, under the power and skill 
of the Redeemer, they arose upon him as their proper founda- 
tion, out of their common ruins, a regular and stately temple, 
consecrated to God, and honoured witli his presence." 

Archbishop Newcome and others have observed that " the 
temple of Diana, at Ephesus, made this allegory a most perti- 
nent one." But I confess that I see nothing in the allegory pe- 
culiarly appropriate to that celebrated temple. The apostle, 
upon other occasions, I Cor. iii. 11, 12, 16, 17, has compared 
the church to a temple, where it is not suspected that he had 
any particular temple in view. Nor would the temple of Diana 
have been thought on here, had it not been first presumed that 
the epistle was addressed to the Ephesians. And this allusion, 
if it were more direct than it is, would be of no avail in opposi- 
tion to the many strong objections against that hypothesis, and 
particularly that from the apostle making no allusion to any of 
the memorable events which occurred to him at Ephesus, or 
even, to his having ever visited Ephesus at all. 

* Groweth.'] " is gradually increasing by the addition of new 
members." Macknight. 

■■* Through the Lord.'] " under the inspection of, and sacred 
to, the Lord." Chandler. 

^ Bij vihich.'] i. e. " corner-stone." Newcome, Wakefield. 

' Habitation of God.'] " God dwells in you by those extra- 
ordinary gifts of his holy spiril. which is the sure evidence of 
his acceptance and immediate presence." Chandler. — " a spi-r 
ritual habitation of God." Wakefield, 

200 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. 1 . 

Ch. II. dependance is upon the testimony of Jesus himself, 
Ver. 22. ^j^g ^hief of all the prophets of the Most High. He 
is the solid foundation and the chief corner-stone of 
this spiritual temple, which unites and firmly binds 
together different parts of the building. He is the 
great bond of union to the universal church. Rest- 
ing upon this foundation, the united building rises 
by the continual accession of fresh materials, of 
new converts, to a harmonious and magnificent 
temple, constructed by the Lord, and consecrated to 
him. Upon this foundation you rest secure ; and, 
firmly united with the great body of true believers 
of all nations, you constitute a glorious fabric, the 
universal church, in which God has fixed his per- 
manent residence, as he once did in the most holy 
place ; and where he manifests his presence, by the 
gifts of his holy spirit, in a manner more truly ho- 
nourable and beneficial than the cloud of glory upon 
the mercy-seat. 


Ch. III. The apostle prays to God for the establishment 
of his Christian friends in the faith of Christ; 
and in a pertinent and eloquent digression he 
obviates the objections which would naturally oc- 
cur from the consideration of his own sufferings 
in the cause. Ch. iii. throughout. 

I. He announces himself as a prisoner of Christ, 
for their sake, ver. 1 . 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. 1 . 201 

For this cause ^ I, Paul, the-prisoner^ of Christ Ch. in. 
Jesus, for the sake of you Gentiles^. ^*"' ' 

Having thus reminded you of your great privi- 
lege of admission into the kingdom and family of 
God, (ch. ii. 19,) I, Paul, whom you know by name 
and character, and many of you in person, who, in 
the introduction of this epistle, announced myself 
as the apostle of Christ, and who now am also a 
prisoner at Rome ; not for any wrong that I have 

' For this cause.'] " Because ye are admitted into the outward 
privileges of the gospel, ch. ii. ] 9. 1 pray that ye maybe streng- 
thened in it, ver. 16, &c. This verse is connected with ver. 14, 
where rary x°''P^^ '** resumed j St, Paul having dropped his 
first thought, and pursued others which arose in his mind." 

* The prisoner.'} Grotius, Chandler, Wakefield, and many 
others, read, " 1, Paul, am a prisoner," and thus avoid the 
parenthesis. With Archbishop Newcome, and most others, I 
include the twelve verses following in a parenthesis ; and think 
that the apostle takes up his expressions again ver. 14. This 
is, indeed, more obscure, but more agreeable to his usual style 
of writing ; in which he frequently digresses to pursue inciden- 
tal thoughts, which, however, are generally closely connected 
vidth the subject. A remarkable instance of this occurs 1 Cor. 
ix, X. 

* For the sake of you Gentiles.'] The apostle's long imprison- 
ment, first at Cesarea, and afterwards at Rome, was, strictly 
speaking, owing to his public declaration. Acts xxii. 21, that he 
had received a divine commission to preach the gospel to the 
Gentiles. The historian remarks, ver. 22, " they gave him au- 
dience to this word, and then lift up their voices and said. Away 
with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should 
live." It was in consequence of the riot thus excited, that the 
chief captain ordered him to be arrested and brought into the 
castle. The exact, but undesigned coincidence between the 
epistle and the history is a considerable presumptive evidence 
of the genuineness and credibility of both. See this argument 
beautifully and conclusively illustrated in Paley's HorcB Paulina, 
ch. viii, no. 1. 

202 Paht 1. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. ii. 1 . 

Ch. III. done, but for having taught the doctrine of Christ ; 
and particularly for having executed his gracious 
commission with which I was intrusted for the be- 
nefit of you, the converted Gentiles — I, therefore, 
being now a prisoner for his sake and for yours, 
commend you to the divine blessing. 

2. The apostle, recollecting himself, stops to 
obviate any unfavourable impression which might 
be occasioned by the circumstance of his being at 
that time a prisoner, ver. 2 — 13. 

1 .) He expatiates upon the important communi- 
cation which had been made to him and others of 
the gracious design of divine Providence in the con- 
version of the heathen, ver. 2 — 6. 
2. Inasmuch ' as ye have heard 2 of the dispensa- 

' Inasmuch.'] With Newcome, Bowyer, &c., I include in a 
parenthesis ver. 2 — 13. Some, not without plausible reason, 
suppose the parenthesis extended through the chapter. 

' As ye have heard.'] eiya TjXHa-ars. Dr. Mill, Mr. Evanson, 
and others, infer from the expression " if that you have heard," 
that the epistle was not addressed to the Ephesians, but to 
some persons who had never seen the apostle. It has, however, 
been argued that the word siys does not express uncertainty, 
but may be rendered si quidem, seeing that, inasmuch as. See 
Locke, Whitby, Newcome, and Chandler. 2 Cor. v. 2 ; Eph. 
iv. 21. " Ejye magis est confdenth quani dubitantis." Hooge- 
veen. Nevertheless, I cannot help thinking with Mr. Evanson, 
that after the apostle had visited Ephesus twice, and had at one 
time spent almost three years amongst them. Acts xx. 31, it is 
verj' extraordinary that he should address the Ephesians only as 
having heard that the dispensation of the gospel to the Gentiles 
had been committed to him, and should refer them to the former 
part of his epistle, that they might, when they had read it, per- 
ceive his knowledge of the mystery of Christ. These consider- 
ations appear to me conclusive against the epistle being inscribed 
to the Ephesians ; but I cannot coincide witii the learned and 

Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. ii. 1. 203 

iion 3 of the grace of God, ivhich has been granted ch. in. 
to me concerning you. ^^^' ' 

I am, my brethren, indeed suffering for my exer- 
tions in your cause, and for the zeal with which, in 
the face of my bigoted countrymen, I announced 
the commission with which I was charged to preach 
the gospel to you (see Acts xxii. 21). And this cir- 
cumstance may possibly alarm and intimidate some 
of you : but I assure you that you have no reason 
at all to be disquieted on that account ; for, when 
duly considered, my long imprisonment is more a 
subject of congratulation than uneasiness. For, 
though some of you may not know my person, you 
cannot fail to have heard much of that extraordi- 
nary commission with which I have been honoured 
by God to publish the designs of his great wisdom 
and goodness towards you. 

That by revelation''^ that mystery-' was made 3. 

known to me (as I have written before briefly^; by 4. 

acute writer, that they prove the epistle not to have been writ- 
ten by Paul. See Evanson's Dissonance of the Evangelists, \26l, 

' Dispensation of grace J] "This dispensation," says Dr. 
Chandler, " seems to be that particular office in the Christian 
church to which this apostle was immediately called ; and he 
styles it a dispensation of grace, because it was a great honour 
and signal favour conferred upon him, and because the design 
of it was extremely beneficial and favourable to the Gentiles." 
'file apostle often speaks of the gospel as %a/3<^, a free gift, 
Rom. vi. ir>, and of his own apostleship as %af(^, an unmerited 
favour, Rom. i. .5, Eph. iii. 8. 

^ By revelation.'] " by the teaching of God himself. See 
Gal. i. 12." Nevvcome. 

* Mystery :] the call of the Gentiles. See ver. 6. 

^ Written before .-I in this epistle. See ch. i. 4 — 10, ii. 13 — 
2i. Bv oAiyoy, in brief Worslcy. 

204 Part I, EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. a. L 

Ch. III. reading which ye will be able to perceive my know- 
Ver. 6. ledge in the mystery of Christ) which in otheo' ge- 
nerations was not made knoivn i to the sons of men, 
as it hath now been revealed to his holy apostles and 
prophets 2 by the spirit. 

What I allude to is the discovery which God has 
been pleased to make to me in particular of a dis- 
pensation, the full import of which has hitherto 
been a secret and a mystery that was known to 
none but God himself. This mystery communi- 
cated to me I have in the former part of this epistle 
disclosed to you, not indeed insisting upon it to that 
extent which mercy so rich, so unmerited, and so 
unexpected, deserves. Nevertheless, if you will take 
the trouble to review what I have written, you will 
find that it comprehends a new and glorious disco- 
very of truths the most interesting and important 
relative to the doctrine of Christ. And though it 
was hinted at occasionally and obscurely by the holy 
prophets of former ages, it was never so fully re- 

' Not made known.'] " The calling of the Gentiles to be the 
people of God was frequently foretold by the prophets under the 
Old Testament ; but yet it does not seem to have been ex- 
pressly asserted by any of them that they should become God's 
people by faith only, without conformity to the law of Moses. 
The calling of the Gentiles in this manner was the grand secret 
of God's counsel and providence, which former ages knew no- 
thmg of in comparison with that clearness with which God was 
pleased to discover to the apostles and prophets under the New 
Testament." See Chandler. Comp. Rom. xvi. 25, 26, xiv. 24, 25. 

* Prophets :~\ i. e. authorized teachers of the gospel. See Eph. 
ii. 20 ; 1 Cor. xii. xiv. All inspired or duly authorized teachers 
are called prophets, though they did not foretell future events. 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. n. 1. 205 

vealed to the servants and messengers of God in ch. iir. 
past generations, as it is now revealed and con- ^^^' ^" 
firmed, by the communications of the holy spirit, 
to the apostles of Christ, and to the authorized 
teachers of his doctrine. 

T/iat the Gentiles through the gospel^ are co- 6. 

heirs with the Israelites, incorporated with them, 
and Joint partakers oj" the promise in Christ"^. 

Need I mention, that the glorious and interest- 
ing truth so long concealed in the eternal councils 
of heaven, and now first made known, to the joy 
and astonishment of all who possess the generous 
sentiments of the gospel, is this ? That the Gen- 
tiles are no longer to be regarded as aliens and ene- 
mies, nor even as inferiors, in the same community, 
but that under the gospel dispensation, and believ- 
ing in Christ, they are admitted to a full equality 
with the ancient people of God. They become, to- 
gether with believing Jews, sons of God and co- 
heirs of the divine inheritance of eternal life ; they 
are incorporated in the same privileged community, 
and equally with the descendants of Abraham they 
participate in all the blessings and promises of the 

^ Through the gospel.'] Locke says, " in the time of the go- 
spel :" rather, by faith in the gospel. " by the preaching of the 
gospel." Newcome. — This is the mystery now fully revealed, 
that believing Gentiles should be upon an equal footing w^ith 
believing Jews, "joint heirs, a joint body, and joint partakers 
of his promise in Christ." Newcome. 

* The promise in Christ.] " of which Christ was the object." 
Newcome. The received text reads, his promise ; which is not 
supported by the best copies. See Griesbach. 

206 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. n. 2. 

Ch. III. 2.) Of these joyful tidings it was the apostle's 
honour and happiness to be appointed a herald, ver. 

Ver. 7. Of which I have been made a minister^ hy the 
gracious gift i of God bestowed upon me according 
to the energy of his power ^. 

This glorious intelligence I am appointed to com- 
municate. Not that I was myself a candidate for 
the honourable office: far from it. Tliis great fa- 
vour was the free unsolicited gift of God to me, and 
his mighty energy qualified me for the work. No- 
thing but omnipotence could have subdued my in- 
veterate prejudices, or have imparted those disposi- 
tions and qualifications which were requisite to my 
8. Upon me, who am less than the least 3 of all 

* The gracious gift of God:'\ Gr. " the gift of the grace or 
favour of God. See ver. 2. " Of which great and merciful dis- 
pensation God has mad(^ me a minister, and qualified me for 
preaching and demonstrating the truth of it, by the powers of 
his holy spirit conferred upon me." Pyle. — " The apostle un- 
questionably refers in these words," says Dr. Chandler, " to the 
extraordinary manner in which he was called to^ and fitted for, 
the work and office of an apostle." 

* Energy of his power. "] " Paul's conversion to the Christian 
faith was purely miraculous, and his knowledge of the gospel 
the efl^ect of immediate inspiration." Chandler. See Gal. ii. 8; 
] Cor. XV. 9, 10 3 and Locke on the text. 

^ Less tha7i the least.'] Dr. Doddridge says, " It has often 
been observed, that the apostle here makes a new word, sXa- 
Xifotspw, the comparative degree of the superlative, which no 
translation can fully equal or happily express. No doubt he 
refers to what he had been formerly, when he persecuted the 
church of God." See 1 Cor. xv. 9 ; 1 Tim. i. 13. " The ori- 
ginal word," says Dr. Chandler, " is excellently well rendered 
by our translators. The apostle does not content himself with 

Part I, E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. ii. 2. 207 

saints, tJiis favour hath been bestowed, to proclaim'^ Ch. in 

among the Gentiles the glad tidings of the unsearch- 
able riches ^ of Christ. 

I cannot express the astonishment and the gra- 
titude that I feel at the high honour that has been 
conferred upon me. When I call to mind what I 
formerly was, a blasphemer, a persecutor, injurious, 
breathing out threatenings and slaughter against 
the disciples of the Lord, I can hardly believe that 
I am permitted to enter into this holy community. 
I am unworthy of the lowest place, of the meanest 
office, in the church of God; and yet to me, even 
to me, the most unworthy of the servants of God, 
is this high distinction granted, to be the herald of 
eternal truth, to proclaim to the ignorant, deluded, 
despised Gentiles the joyful tidings of inestimable 
blessings by Jesus Christ, freely offered to those 
who could never have expected them, and who in- 
deed were not sufficiently apprized of their poverty 
and wretchedness to have sought after them. 

j^nd to manifest clearly unto all that mysterious 
dispensation^^ luhich was concealed from the past 
ages in God, luho hath created all these things! . 

saying that he was the least of all saints, but his humility goes 
yet lower, and he styles hiniselt' ' less than the least.' Such di- 
minutive forms of expression are used by the best writers." 

* Proclaim, &c.] This is the spirited and just translation of 
Mr. Wakefield. 

* Unsearchable riches.'] Dr. Doddridge remarks in this and 
the follov\-ing verse an allusion to concealed treasure. Dr. 
Chandler supposes that the apostle alludes in this paragraph to 
the officers of the temple of Diana at Ephesus ; but the resem- 
blance does not appear to be very striking. 

" Mysterious iUspensafion.'] Most of the ancient manuscripts 

Ver. 8. 

208 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. ii. 3. 

Ch. III. To me it has been granted to discover and make 
Ver. 9. i^nown this hidden treasure; to publish to the world 
this new and glorious dispensation, which was lately 
an unfathomable mystery, concealed in the eternal 
councils of God, from wise and good men in past 
ages and under former dispensations ; and now in 
its proper season revealed by him whose wise and 
powerful providence has introduced this new and 
happy state of things. 

3.) The consequence of the apostle's preaching 
was the manifestation of the wisdom of God in the 
gospel dispensation through the medium of the 
church, ver. 10 — 12. 
10. iSo t/iat' the manifold variety of the wisdom of 
God^ is noiu^ made knoiun through the church^ to 

and versions read oixovOfJAa, dispensation, instead of xojvwvja, 
fellowship; and this reading is adopted by Griesbach, Wake- 
field, and Newcome. ' The dispensation of the mystery,' or, 
' the mysterious dispensation,' is that dispensation which was 
formerly a mystery. 

' All these things .•] i. e. who has introduced this happy 
change of state in the moral world. The words " by Jesus 
Christ" are probably spurious, being omitted in many of the 
most ancient manuscripts and versions, though capable of a very 
good sense, as the new creation alone is spolcen of by the apo- 
stle in this passage. Archbishop Newcome observes " that the 
sense most suitable to the place is this, ' who hath created all 
things, that is, Jews and Geniiies, anew to holiness of life.' " 
See ch. ii. 10, 15, iv. 24. How very precarious the argument 
is which is drawn from this text in favour of the pre-existence of 
Christ, and that he is the creator of all things, is obvious to eveiy 
intelligent and impartial reader. See Tyrwhit On the Creation of 
all Things by Jesus Christ. 

' -So that.l Whitby observes that Ivcc may here signify adeout. 

' Manifold variety of the wisdom of God.'] ifoXvroMiXos. See 
Wakefield. " Now that the uncircumcised Gentiles believe in 

Paiit 1. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. n. 3. 209 

the principalities and powers in heavenly places ^r Ch. III. 
according to the predisposition of the ages^ ivhich Vcr. U. 
fie made in respect to Jesus Christ our LordT. 
In consequence of this manifestation of God's 

Christ, and are by baptism admitted into the church, the wis- 
dom of God is made known to the Jews, not to be tied up to 
one invariable way and form, as they persuade themselves, but 
displays itself in sundry manners' as he thinks fit." Locke. 

' Now^ " This word affords a presumptive argument that 
a recent creation is spoken of in the foregoing verse." New- 

'' Made known through the church.'] The existence of the 
Christian community, formed by the apostle^'s ministry, and 
acknowledged by God as his through the gifts of the spirit, 
constitutes a proof which the scribes and priests and ministers 
of the Jewish dispensation could not object to or repel, that the 
wisdom of God had other ways of reconciling sinners to him- 
self, and of bringing the Gentiles into the church, than submis- 
sion to the Mosaic institute. 

" The Jews, und most even of the converted Jews, would not 
believe that the converted Gentiles were admitted without sub- 
mitting to the laws and ceremonies of the Jews. Now, says St. 
Paul, God of his special grace has commissioned me to preach 
to the world this his hidden purpose of taking the Gentiles into 
the kingdom of his son, that so by the church consisting of 
members who are God's people, v/ithout being circumcised or 
observing the other Mosaical rites, might, which the Jews could 
by no means conceive, now be made known and declared, to 
the leaders and chiefs of that nation, the manifold wisdom of 
God, Avhich is not, as the Jews imagine, tied up to their own 
way, but can bring about his purposes by sundry manners, and 
in ways that they thought not of." Locke. 

* Principalities and powers in heavenly places.] The angels, 
1 Pet. i. 12. Newcome, Chandler, &c. " not only governors 
and magistrates of this world, but all ranks and degrees of crea- 
tures in heaven and earth." Pyle ; who observes upon ch. i. 10, 
that " heaven and earth are sometimes a Jewish phrase to ex- 
press the whole world ; but they seem in these epistles to the 
Ephesians and Colossians, with relation to Christ's govern- 
ment, to include the angels and heavenly spirits along with 

But it is hard to say, what could be the use of communicating 

21 Pakt I. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. IV. ii. 3, 

Ch. III. gracious, and heretofore unknown counsels of mercy 

^"■•^^' to mankind, a church has now been gathered in the 

world, which God acknowledges as his peculiar peo- 

by revelation any thing which passes in the world of spirits, 
even supposing such a world to exist, and to be informed of 
what is going on upon the earth. And if, with Mr. Locke, we 
understand heaven and earth as expressing Jews and Gentiles, 
those who are in, and those who are out of, covenant. It is in 
strict analogy with this figure to interpret principalities and 
powers as expressing the officers and ministers of the Jewish 
church. This is the explanation which Mr. Locke himself gives 
in a judicious and modest note upon this text, which, however, 
he professes that he " does not fully understand." After having 
observed, that it is not easy to conceive that the commission 
given to St. Paul was for the instruction of angels, and that 
heathen magistrates gave themselves no concern about it, he 
adds, " 1 dare not be positive, but I should take this to be the 
meaning of it. The high priests, scribes, and pharisees, who 
alone pretend to any authority in these matters, deny the con- 
verted heathen to be the people of God, because they neglect 
the law and circumcision, and those other rites whereby God 
has appointed those who are his people to be separated from 
the rest of the world and made holy to himself. Now, says 
St. Paul, God has commissioned me to preach his purpose of 
taking the Gentiles into the kingdom of his Son j that so, by 
the church, consisting of members who are God's people with- 
out being circumcised, might be declared to the leaders and 
chiefs of that nation the manifold wisdom of God ; which is not, 
as the Jews imagine, tied up to their own ways, but can bring 
about his purposes by sundry manners, and in ways which they 
thought not of. And thus, by the church, is this mystery now 
made known to principalities and powers, i.e. to the rulers and 
teachers of the Jewish nation." 

^ According to the predisposition of the agesJ] So Wakefield, 
Locke, &c. xara ifpoSsa-iy twv atiovwv. " The word irpoSs<riSy," 
says Dr. Chandler, " properly signifies the disposition which a 
person makes of any thing either in his intention or conduct. 
The literal translation of the Greek words is not, as in our ver- 
sion, according to his eternal purpose, the word his not being in 
the original, but according to the disposition of ages which he 
made in or by Christ." 

' In respect to Jesus Christ.'] sv Xpircv, " for the coming of 
Christ." Macknightj who observes, that aaov is a word of va- 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Skct. IV. n. 3; 211 

pie by the gifts of his holy spirit : a proof which Ch. in. 
none can call in question. And this church, thus 
endowed, manifests beyond all contradiction, and 
that to those who are most averse to believe, even 
to the priests and rulers of the Jewish dispensation, 
that the wisdom of God is not limited in its mode 
of operation ; and that compliance with the law of 
Moses, in all its pompous and burdensome cere- 
monial, is not the only way of adtnitting sinners and 
outcasts into the bond of his covenant, and to the 
privileges of his peculiar people. And this new and 
happy state of things is not owing to any late change 
in the divine counsels, for all the various portions of 
this magnificent design take place in regular suc- 
cession, according to the plan originally formed in 
the divine mind ; God having from the beginning 
determined that all the more imperfect and limited 
revelations of his will under the patriarchal and Mo- 
saic dispensations, should be made subservient to 
the great and final plan of universal redemption by 
Jesus Christ. 

By whom lue have this freedom of speech, and \2, 
access ivith confidence through faith in him^. 

rious signification. Here it denotes the dispensations of reli- 
gion under which mankind have been placed, the patriarchal, 
the Mosaic, the Christian. All these ages or dispensations the 
apostle says God planned and brought to pass for the sake of 
Christ Jesus, to prepare mankind for his reception." Dr. Chan- 
dler refers to Heb. i. 2, which he renders, for whose sake, or, 
upon whose account, he made even the ages, as illustrating this 
text : " all which dispensations had a reference to Christ, and 
led on to the accomplishment of the divine purposes of mercy 
to mankind." 

' Faith in hitn.'] irtns avrs, faith of him. The genitive 

212 Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect.IV. n.4. 

Ch. III. And it is by the dispensation introduced by Christ 
Ver. 12. wi^ich has now superseded all others, that we all, 
whether Jews or Gentiles, are encouraged to address 
ourselves to God as our God and Father ; and by 
the profession of faith in Christ, and by this alone, 
without any ceremonial observances whatsoever, we 
are initiated into our present happy state of privi- 
lege, and joyful expectation. 

4^) The apostle concludes his digression with a 
request to his friends not to be discouraged by his 
sufferings -for their sake, ver. 13. 
13. Wherefore^ I entreat that ye faint not ' at my 
afflictions for you, which are your glory 2. 

Since, therefore, I esteem it so great an honour 
to be employed in the promulgation of the gospel 

case of the object, as well as of the agent, is so frequent in the 
sacred scriptures, that tliere needs nothing to be said of it." 

' Ye faint not, &c.] Mr. Wakefield, with the Syriac version,; 
fenders the text, " I pray that 1 may not faint." The original 
is ambiguous ; but the common interpretation appears prefer- 
able, because it is more probable that new converts would be 
discouraged by the apostle's persecutions than the apoStle him- 

* Yoiir glory.'] Dr. Chandler observes, that the pronoun 
which may either be referred to the whole sentence, and then 
the meaning will be, that Your not being disheartened will be 
your glory ; or it may refer only to the apostle's sufferings, and 
then the sense will be. My afflictions are your glory, as I am 
hereby enabled to give you an example of fortitude, and a proof 
that I know the truth of my doctrine. He adds : " both senses 
are so good that I know not which of them 1.0 prefer." Arch- 
bishop Newcome remarks, that the language seems to show 
that a personal regard subsisted between the writer of this epi- 
stle and those to whom it is addressed. See ch. vi, 22, He re- 
fers for the use of r^ris to Phil. i. 28. . 

Part I, E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. 3. 213 

to the Gentiles, notwithstandmg all the persecu- Ch.iii. 
tions that I endure, and since I have exhibited such "' 
decisive evidence of the commission which I have 
received for this purpose, let not the imprisonment 
which I suffer, and the hardships which I so cheer- 
fully undergo, diminish your regard either to me or 
to my doctrine. It is for your sake that I am in 
bonds ; it is your honour to be benefited by the in- 
structions of a teacher who is ready to attest the 
truth of his doctrine by his sufferings ; and it will 
be much to your commendation to adhere to such 
a doctrine, and to such a teacher, in circumstances 
so difficult and perilous, 

3. The apostle, resuming his subject, prays for 
the establishment and perseverance of his Christian 
friends, and that they may be duly sensible of the 
inestimable value of the gospel, ver. 14 — 19. 

JFb?- this cause ^ I bend 7)iy knees to the Father *, *"*• 

by whose name the ivhole family ^ m heaven and 15« 
2ipon earth is called. 

' For this cause?^ ITie apostle here resumes the sentence be- 
gun ver. 1 . See the note on that verse. 

* Fither.'} With Mr. Wakefield, upon the authority of the 
Alexandrine and Ephrem manuscripts^ and some ancient ver- 
sions, I omit the words " of our Lord Jesus Christ," which 
make the sense ambiguous, and which seem to have been added 
by some officious scribe, or taken in from a marginal note. 
Archbishop Newcome has, marked them as doubtful. 

' The whole family^ Archbishop Newcome remarks, that 
the word Trarfta, ver. 15^ has a reference to itarspa,, ver. 14. 
By the family " in heaven and earth," is commonly understood 
angels and men. Mr. Locke interprets it, " of Jesus Christ, 
who is already in heaven^ and believers^ who are still on earth." 


214 Part I. E P II E S I A N S. Sect. IV. 3. 

Ch. III. To return, then, to the subject of your admission 
Ver. 15. |.Q ^Yie privileges of the gospel, from which the asto- 
nishment and gratitude which I always feel at the 
recollection of my being employed on this glorious 
errand, and the fear lest you should be intimidated 
by my sufferings, have tempted me so far to digress: 
When I call to mind the rich, and free, and unso- 
licited mercy of God, in bringing you idolatrous 
Gentiles within the inclosure of the church, I hum- 
bly offer my most fervent prayer to that venerable 
Being, who is the great universal Parent, and who, 
more especially, owns the character of the Father of 
the whole family of believers, whether Jews or Gen- 
tiles, whether antecedently to their conversion to 
the faith, they had, or had not, been subject to the 
Mosaic ritual : all being now equally acknowledged 
as his children, and equally the objects of his pa- 
ternal love, 
16. That he luould grant tjou^ according to his glo- 
rious riches i, that ye may he strengthened with 
power, by his spirit 2, in the inward man 3 ; 

But I see no reason in this text to recede from Mr. Locke's own 
former explanation of the words heaven and earth, as signifying 
Jew and Gentile. Mr, Locke himself indeed, in his note upon 
ch. i. 10, gives it as his opinion, that the family in heaven and 
earth in this text (iii. 15) signifies " the united body of Chris- 
tians, made up of Jews and Gentiles." I see no allusion here 
to the goddess Diana, which Dr. Chandler supposes, who re- 
marks, that " she was the common goddess of the Asiatic ci- 
ties. All Asia worshiped her. Acts xix. 27 : which was there- 
fore strictly and properly her family." But who would have 
thought of such an allusion if they had not pre-supposed that 
this epistle had been written to the Ephesians ? 

' Glorious rickes.l " his abundant and glorious power." 


Part I. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. IV. 3. 2 15 

The favour which I request for you is, that our ch. in. 
benevolent and gracious Father, in conformity to ^^^'' ^^' 
the wonderful purposes of his love to you converted 
Gentiles, would, by the energy of his spirit so co- 
piously diffused among you, enlighten your under- 
standings, establish your faith, fix your resolution, 
and confirm your courage. 

That Christ may dwell '^ in your hearts by faith. '7. 

That you may be sincere, judicious, established, 
and practical believers in the Christian doctrine. 

So that being rooted^ and founded in lovely ye ^^• 

Chandler. — " the great glory he designed to you Gentiles. See 
Col. i. 27 ; Eph. i. 17." Locke. — " The glorious abundance of 
good things, and especially of spiritual endowments, which he 
can impart." Newcome. 

* Power bij his spint.l " strengthened with might, i. e. migh- 
tily strengthened, that God would give them mighty courage. 
By his spirit. The extraordinary gifts of the spirit were the great 
means of confirmation and establishment." Dr. Chandler ; who 
thinks that by spirit here may also be intended " the ordinary 
influences of the power and grace of God." 

* Inward man.'] " the mind and spirit (Rom. vii. 22 ; 2 Cor. 
iv. 16), of which the body is only the outward clothing and ha- 
bitation." Chandler. 

* That Christ may dwell.'] Dr. Chandler here supposes an 
allusion to the temple of Diana, in which the goddess was sup- 
posed to reside. This is upon the hypothesis that the epistle i& 
addressed to the Ephesians ; which appears to me, for reasons 
before assigned, in the highest degree improbable. All these 
fanciful allusions, therefore, in the illustration of which so much 
learning and ingenuity are displayed, fall to the ground ; nor, in 
truth, are the allusions to temples and buildings in this epistle 
at all more frequent, or appropriate, than in the other epistles 
of the same apostle. See 1 Cor. iii. 10, &c. 

* Rooted, &c.] " Grotius obseive-s that there is a trajection 
in Iva, as John xiii. 29, 1 Cor. ix. 15. The original run.s being 
rooted, &c., so that ye may be able, &c. ; and Bengelius re- 
moves the comma or colon from reSfjW-sA^wfisvoi." Newcome. 

^Founded in love.] Archbishop Newcome justly observes. 

216 PabtI. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. 3. 

Ch. III. ^^y ^^ ^^^^ ^^ comprehend with all the saints, the 

Ver. 19. breadth and length, and depth and height i, and 

to know the exceeding love of the hnowledge of 

Christ^, so that ye may be filled to all the fulness 

of Gods, 

that " the apostle here uses a figure taken from architecture j" 
but there is no occasion to suppose, with the learned prelate, any 
particular allusion to the temple of Dianaj though Dr. Chand- 
ler " thinks that this verse is in every vv'ord almost a remarkable 
and beautifid allusion to Diana's temple at Ephesus j" but he 
acknowledges that " it is not taken any notice of by any inter- 
preter that he has seen." 

' The breadth a7id length, &c.] Dr. Chandler applies this de- 
scription to " the spiritual temple, the Christian church, whose 
breadth and length extend as wide as the universe, and whose 
depth and height reach from earth to heaven, comprehending 
believers of all nations; also angels as well as men." Archbi- 
shop Nevvcome observes that " the words are applied to the 
mystery of calling the Gentiles, in all its consequences here and 
hereafter;" and accordingly he translates, the height of this 

* Exceeding love of the knowledge of Christ."] I adopt the read- 
ing of the Alexandrine manuscript, aya.ity\v ttj; yvcuasuji, and 
take the words in Mr. Locke's sense, " to understand the ex- 
ceeding love of God in bringing us to the knowledge of Christ." 
The apostle prays, that the Christians to whom he writes may 
see the great love of God, in contriving, executing and publish- 
ing the scheme of the gospel ; in the firmness of the foundation, 
and in the vast extent, the grandeur and beauty of the super- 
structure, capable of containing all the people of God in all 
ages : that, possessing a complete view of this magnificent de- 
sign, they may be filled to all the fulness of God. 

Grotius also adopts the Alexandrine reading, which he says 
was Jerome's ; and he explains it, " summam illam dilectionem 
Dei scilicet et proximi, quee ex cognitione Chrisii oritur." Bi- 
shop Pearce, in his Epistolce Duce (Works,vol. ii. p.476) quoted 
by Bowyer, observes that the sense of ver. 18 is imperfect for 
want of a genitive, and that a genitive after virsp^aXXaa-av is 
scarcely Greek ; he proposes, therefore, to place rr,i yvcuascvg, 
after JvJ'Of , which will make both the sense and the construction 
clear : q. d. " that ye may be able to comprehend what is the 
breadth and length and depth and height of this knowledge 

Part I. EPHESIANS. Skot. IV. 3. 217 

And being established in faith, I pray that you Ch. in. 
may also be established in love ; and to this end, ^'' ' 
that you may be enabled to form a just conception 
of the love of God as manifested in the gospel of 
Jesus. It is indeed, my brethren, a scheme replete 
with the purest, richest love to guilty, perishing 
mankind. The gospel dispensation is a magnifi- 
cent temple : its foundations are in the centre of 
the earth ; its summit pierces the clouds ; its circum- 
ference is sufficiently ample to include the whole 
human race, both Jew and Gentile ; it is graced 
with the presence of God, who there delights to 

and to know the surpassing love of Christ." Tliis is a very ju- 
dicious correction of the text j and, though only conjectural, it 
is by no means improbable. 

Castalio's version is, " ut cognoscere valeaiis quam omnem 
cognitionefm excedat amor Christi," ' that ye may know how far 
the love of Christ excels all knowledge.' Mr. Wakefield ren- 
ders the passage thus : " and to understand (which is far bet- 
ter than that knowledge) the love of Christ, so as to be filled 
with all the fulness of God." Upon the whole, the Alexandrine 
reading and Mr. Locke's interpretation appear to me most suit- 
able to the connexion, unless Bishop Pearce's conjectural emen- 
dation should be preferred. 

* Filled to all the fulness, &c.] ver. 18, that you may compre- 
hend the height and depth, &c., ver. 1 9, that you may know 
the love of Christ, &c. (iva,), to the end that ye may be filled to, 
or with, all the fulness of God, i. e. that you may fully com- 
prehend and gratefully acknowledge the complete scheme of 
divine mercy. " according to all the fulness of God." Worsley. 
Mr. Locke's interpretation is, " filled to that degree of fulness 
which is suitable to his purpose of munificence j" and " by the 
fulness of God he understands such a fulness as God is wont 
to bestow. Tfav ro ntXrjpw^a, means, that there is not a fulness of 
one thing and emptiness of another, but a fulness of all neces- 
sary gifts." This is the interpretation generally received. So 
Grotius, " ut impleanmi omnibus illis donis quibus Deus implere 
homines solet." 

218 Part I. EPHESIANS. Sect, IV. 4. 

Ch. III. manifest the glory of his mercy through Jesus the 
Ver. 19. jjigh Priest of our profession. May you all take 
your proper stations in this sacred inclosure ; and, 
with true believers of every name, may you behold, 
with heartfelt pleasure, the unlimited dimensions 
of this stupendous fabric ; and remark, with gene- 
rous delight, the unspeakable love of God, through 
Christ, in the admission of believers into the church, 
without distinction of Jew or Gentile ! So that, 
when you contemplate this great work from begin- 
ning to end, both in its design and in its execution, 
you may be filled with admiration and delight, in 
the view of a scheme so complete in all its parts, 
so worthy of its divine contriver, so honourable ta 
God, so beneficial to men '. 

4. The apostle concludes his prayer and the doc- 
trinal part of his epistle with a suitable doxology, 
ver. 20,21. 
20. NoWy unto Him who is able to do very abun^ 

' If we admit the emendation of Bishop Pearce, which is, to 
say the least, very plausible, the paraphrase may perhaps stand 

q. d. that you, and all believers, may possess a comprehen- 
sive view of this knowledge : that you may see the vast extent 
of the scheme of the gospel ; how admirably it is adapted, by 
the liberality of its terms, to include all the people of God, all 
the virtuous in all ages and countries — that you may form a 
just conception of the love of God in the mission of Jesus 
Christ, which so far surpasses all that could antecedently have 
been expected and imagined — and finally, that you may be filled 
to the full with admiration and gratitude at the glorious mani- 
festation of the wisdom and goodness of God, in the dispensa- 
tion of the gospel. 

PabtI. EPHESIANS. Sect. IV. 4. 210 

dandy above all which we ask or conceive ^^ accor- q^ uj 

ding to the poiver 3 which strongly worketh in us^ Ver. 20. 
unto him be glory in the churchy in Christ Jesus '^y 21. 

' Ask or conceive^ This is a most appropriate doxology. 
Neither the converted Gentiles nor the apostle himself would 
ever have thought of asking for that vvhich was so graciously 
given to them, without any solicitation, or even wish, to ob- 
tain it. 

' According to the power .] " i. e. according to the similitude 
of that power which worketh by the gifts of the spirit." New- 
come. That wonderful power which had been exerted in their 
conversion, and in the apostle's mission, was a proof that God 
could do more and better than they could ask or think. 

" This power was exerted," says Dr. Chandler, " in their 
being quickened when dead in trespasses and sins, and reco- 
vered from the dominion of the powers of darkness ; and in 
building them up to himself a church and people, that they 
might be to the praise of his glorious grace. Now the same 
power which they had already experienced in producing this 
wonderful change, a change which they neither asked nor 
thought of, was abundantly sufficient to confer on them as real 
and valuable blessings for the future, suitable to all their wants, 
far exceeding all their thoughts, and even greater than they 
themselves could ever directly ask for." 

* In the church in Christ Jesus. -^ i. e. in the Christian church; 
to be in Christ is to be abeliever in him. See Rom. xvi. 7. " To 
him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus. The great object of 
adoration, and the medium by which it should be offered, are 
here expressly and distinctly represented. The object is the Al- 
mighty Father j the person by and through whom, or in whose 
name, this glory and praise is to be offered, is Jesus Christ." 
Chandler. Yet if this learned writer means that these words by, 
or through, or in the name of Christ, are required to be repeated 
at the close of every prayer, as though there was some mysteri- 
ous efficacy in them, as is now usual, 1 do not see the necessity, 
or use, or scripture warrant, for such a custom. That we ought 
at all times to be ready to acknowledge that all we know of 
God, and of the most acceptable method of praying to him, is 
derived from the instructions of Christ, cannot be doubted. But 
the constant use of the name of Christ, as a sort of charm at 
the end of a prayer, seems unnecessary; and if introduced 
with a view to make the Father placable, it is blaraeable in the 

220 PabtI. EPHESIANS. SBcr.IV.4. 

Ch. III. throughout all the generations of this most eoccei' 

Ver. 21. lent dispensation^. Amen. 

And now, my Christian friends, having thus sur^ 
veyed the wonderful love of God, in contriving, in 
executing, and in completing the scheme of the 

' Throughout all the generations, &c.] In the original, £<? ita.-; 
cas fas yBveoLs fa aicuvog rwv aiujywv literally, through all the 
> generations of the age of ages ; which is generally understood 

as an emphatical expression of eternity. Archbishop Newcome 
renders it, " throughout all generations, for ever and ever." 
Locke, with the public version, " throughout all ages, world 
without end." Wakefield, " through the generations of eter- 
nity." Priestley, " to the end of all time." Doddridge, 
" through all the successions of an endless eternity." — Dr. 
Chandler says, " the expression in Greek is so emphatical that 
it can scarce be rendered into English. ' To all the generations 
of the age of ages,' i. e. throughout all the successions of all 
possible ages." RosenmuUer, after Grotius, " Junctce sunt 
dua formula sxjnonymce Hebr." and adds, " ut summa aeterni- 
tas quanta rnente quidem humana cogitari potest, eocprimeretur." 

With great deference to these learned expositors, I would 
submit that, as the doxology to be offered is that of the church, 
the duration expressed can extend no further than while the 
church continues ; which, of course, is limited to the end of 
time, or of the Christian age or dispensation ; and this is the 
natural and proper signification of the apostle's words : viz. 
* to him be glory in the church, of or through Christ Jesus, 
through all the generations of this age of ages ;' or, agreeably 
to a familiar Hebrew idiom, ' of this most excellent age or dis- 
pensation.' Or if, with some good manuscripts, we drop rcoy 
atwvcuv (see Griesbach), the reading will be, * all the genera- 
tions of this,' i. e. ' the Christian age,' which appears to me to 
be clearly the apostle's meaning. 

Dr. Chandler explains the apostle's rule, q. d. tliroughout all 
the successions of all possible ages glory must be ascribed to 
the Father by Christ. " I confess," siays he, " tbit the practice 
qf the Christian church, for many ages, has superseded this com- 
mand, though I do not find any injunction or precedent in the 
New Testament fpr doing it ; the apostolic example may. and 
ought to be followed." 

How far this apostolic precedent can be made consistent with 
the well known doxology, * Gloiy be to the Father, and to the 

Part h EPHESIANS. Ssct. IV. 4. 221 

gospel, and especially in the conversion and admis- ch. tir. 
ision of the Gentiles, what can we do better than ex- ^^^' ^^' 
press our gratitude in devout thanksgiving ? To 
Him, therefore^ to that almighty and most merci- 
ful Being, who has in this illustrious manner de- 
monstrated, that he is not only able but willing to 
confer benefits Upon his ignorant, thoughtless, ru- 
ined creatures, far beyond all their prayers and de- 
sires, and even their conceptions, which kindness 
he has abundantly manifested in the powerful ope- 
ration of his spirit in the conversion of you Gen- 
tiles, and in my own apostolical mission and suc- 
cess, neither of which could have been imagined, 
much less solicited by us ; to that ever-blessed Being 
to whose great mercy we are all so deeply indebted, 
be ascribed, by the whole Christian church, through- 
out all the successive generations of this most ex- 
cellent, and most benign, of all the moral dispen- 
sations of God to mankind, even to the end of time, 
all those high honours, and all that grateful homage, 
which are so justly due to him from all who have 
been enlightened, and sanctified, and saved by him. 

Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, 
and ever shall be, world without end,' it behoves those who 
daily use this famous doxclogy, and impose it upon others, se- 
riously to consider. 

For the sense here given to the word awv, see ch. ii. 2 — 7 j 
Matt, xxiv.3; Heb.i. 2. 

222 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. 1. 1. l- 


TATIONS. Ch. iv. — vi. 


Ch. IV. ^Exhortations to the practice of personal and 
social virtue^ and Cautions against relapsing 
into the vices of the idolatrous heathen. Ch. 
iv. 1— V. 21. 

The APOSTLE exhorts to humility and concord, 
particularly with a view to the distribution of spiri- 
tual gifts, and the appointment of officers in the 
church. Ch. iv. 1 — 16. 

1. He bespeaks their attention to his advice, 
from the consideration of his persecutions; and ear- 
nestly recommends mutual forbearance, and unity, 
ver. 1 — 3. 
Ver. 1, /, therefore y the prisoner ' 07i account of the 

' The 'prisoner^ The apostle recurs to the expression ch. iii. 1 ; 
and some suppose the parenthesis continued through the whole 
of the third chapter. The consideration of the exhortations be- 
ing addressed to them by the apostle while suffering in their 
cause, would give Ihera great weight with every ingenuous 

Part II. EPHfiSlANS. Skct.I. 1. 1. 223 

Lord^, entreat you that ye walk worthily of the Ch.iv. 
calling^ with luhich ye have been called. 

Having represented the exuberant display of di- 
vine power and mercy in the invitation of you, who 
were once idolatrous Gentiles, to the faith of the 
gospel ; and in freely admitting you to the character 
and privileges of children of God, let me now re- 
mind you of the obligations under which you are 
laid by your holy profession. And remember, my 
brethren, that the man who inculcates these duties 
upon you is Paul the prisoner: the prisoner for his 
and your master Jesus Christ, and for the testimony 
which he has borne to his doctrine. He is Paul, 
the prisoner for you Gentiles, who lost his hberty 
for his zeal in your sei^vice, and for his known at- 
tachment to the rights and privileges of the Gentile 
church; who would not, therefore, impose upon 
you any unnecessary restraint, and whose sufferings 
for you entitle him to a peculiar share in your re- 
gard. And the sum and substance of my advice to 
you is this : That you would, upon all occasions, be- 
have in such a manner as to reflect credit upon 
your Christian profession, and to exemplify the be- 
neficial energy of your evangelical expectations and 

' On account of the Lord.} av Kv^tcy, in the Lordj "pro ha. 
fo>Kvpiov, ut cAii. 1. Fel nomine Jesu Christi vos obtestor." 

3 Worthily of the calling,'] " i. e. (says Dr. Chandler) in a. 
manner agreeable to the nature and suitable to the design of 
it." " of the honourable appellations, children of God, &c., by 
which you are called." Macknight. 


Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. 1. 1. L 

Ver. 3. 

Ch. IV. With all humility of mind'^ arid gentleness^; 
with long-siiffertjig^, bearing with each other '^ in 
love ; earnestly endeavouring to preserve the unity 
of the spirit^ in the bond ofpeace^. 

And, in the first place, let me recommend humi- 
lity and lowliness of spirit, recollecting that you owe 
all the privileges you possess to the free, unmerited, 
unsolicited goodness of God. And let this consi- 
deration suppress all disquietude and jealousy at the 
supposed superiority of others, either in offices or 

Let your disposition be kind and gentle, not 
easily offended, not angry at trifles: and, though the 
provocation be great, let it not throw you off your 
guard, nor induce you to use intemperate language, 
much less to indulge a spirit of resentment and re- 
venge. Bear with each others ignorance, infirmities, 
and prejudices ; recollecting how much you need 
the forbearance of others. And, if you cultivate the 
kind affection which the gospel recommends, you 

' Humilitij.'] " Modestia vel humilitas viaxime decet homines, 
qui omnia vera bona Deo se debere sentiunt." RosenmuUer. 

' Gentleness.'] " Lenitatis est non moveri ob res leves." Ro- 

' Long-sujfering.'] " Indulgentia, etiam in gravioribus cohi- 
here iram." RosenmuUer. 

* Bearing with each other ^ " Ita ut toleretis vos invicem, 
amore compulsi." RosenmuUer. 

* Unity of the spirit.] " animorum studiorumque consensus, in 
primis in religione. Alii to 7rv£y|xa interpretantur corpus spiri- 

uale, ecclesiam : alii religionem ipsam." RosenmuUer. 

^ Bond of peace.] " vinculum tranquillitatis, i. e. tranquilli- 
tas, qu<B est vinculum societatis : est tropus omnibus Unguis com- 
munis." RosenmuUer. 

Paut II, E P H E S I A N S. Skct. 1. 1. 2. 225 

will not find this a difficult task. Finally : be un- Ch. IV. 
wearied in your endeavours to promote mutual kind- 
ness among individuals, and the peace and unity of 
the church, by cultivating in yourselves and others 
that peaceful apirit which is the bond of society. 

2. The apostle suggests various considerations to 
recommend harmony and peace, ver. 4 — 6. 

There is one body^ and one spirit, even as ye are 4. 

called to one hope^. 

Every thing concurs to induce you to live in 
peace and union. There is one body, of which you 
are all members, namely, the church ; there is one 
spirit which animates this body, of whose various 
gifts you are respectively partakers. And there is 
one hope, the hope of a resurrection to everlasting 
life, which is the great object of Christian revela- 
tion, and in this most important blessing you all 
equally share. 

One Lordly 07iefaith9, one haptism^^, one God, b, 6. 

' To one hope.'] " to one common hope, i. e. to the hope of 
the same blessedness and salvation. Thus the preposition is 
rendered by our translators, Luke i. \7 ; and thus it is used by 
the best Greek authors." Chandler. Mr. Wakefield drops rijf 
K\Yj<rsajs v^Mv, on the authority of the ^Ethiopic version, which 
however is not noticed by Griesbach. 

' Lord,] " or Master ; this is in a peculiar manner applied 
to our blessed Saviour, 1 Cor. viii. 6, and signifies his authority 
over the church." Chandler. 

" One faith.'] " one and the same gospel, containing one set- 
tled and fixed scheme of truth, that was preached by him and 
his apostles." Chandler. 

'" One baptism.] Hence some infer that water baptism is not 
obligatory, understanding the apostle to refer here to the bap- 
tism of the spirit. Biit there can be little doubt that the apostle 

VOL. III. a 

Ver. 6, 

226 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. r. 2. 

Ch. IV. even the Father of all '^, ivho is above all^, and 
through all^, and in all''". 

Be it further remembered, as a powerful induce- 
ment to Christian unanimity, that there is one Mas- 
ter, even Christ, whose servants you are, whose laws 
you must obey, and whose benign example you are 
to follow. There is also one great article of faith, 
in which you all agree, namely, that Jesus Christ 
was raised from the dead ; and, agreeing in this 
essential principle, you may well bear with each 
others differences in things of less importance. 
There is one rite, that of baptism, by which you 
have all been iniiiated into the Christian commu- 
nion ; and, in consequence of which, without sub- 
mitting to the burdensome ceremonies of the law, 
you become entitled to all the privileges of the sons 
of God. And, to sum up all, there is one God, the 

here means the baptism of water, which it is certain that he him- 
self practised. See Doddridge. ^'^ All Christians were equally 
baptized by water." Chandler. 

' Father of all.'] " the universal creator : Father in an espe- 
cial manner of the rational creation, and particularly of every 
faithful Christian." Chandler. 

• Jbove all.'] " superior in perfection, dignity, and authority : 
even above him who is the one Lord of all Christians, being his 
Father and his God." Chandler. 

^ Through all.] " universally present : upholding all things 
by his power, directing all things by his wisdom, overruling and 
disposing all events by his providence, managing the affairs of 
his church." Chandler. 

^ In all] The word Jajv (you) is not found in the Alexan- 
drine and Ephrem manuscripts, nor in the ^thiopic version ; 
it is omitted by Mr. Wakefield, and marked as doubtful by Arch- 
bishop Newcome. " amongst you all ; manifesting his good- 
ness by the privileges to which he has called you, and the ex- 
traordinary gifts of his spirit." Chandler. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. 1. 1. 3. 227 

sole object of your faith and adoration ; whose provi- Ch. iv 
dence governs all, whose energy supports all things, 
whose spirit dwells in all behevers, and who thus 
demonstrates himself to be the kind impartial Fa- 
ther of all. Let jealousy and discord be for ever ba- 
nished from amongst those who are united together 
by so many strong and tender ties. 

3. As a further incentive to Christian unity, he 
reminds them that all their spiritual gifts were im- 
parted by Christ in that measure and degree which 
he thought fit, ver. 7, 8. 

JVoiv unto eveiy one of us has been granted in 7- 

its measure the gracious gift of Christ^. 

It is particularly unbecoming for the disciples of 
Christ to entertain jealousies and to foment con- 
troversies concerning the pre-eminence of spiritual 
gifts, because they possess none but what they re- 
ceived from the free unmerited kindness of Christ 
himself, and in that measure and degree which he 
has been pleased to communicate. No one, there- 
fore, can have any right to be discontented on the 
one hand, or vainglorious on the other. 

Wherefore the scripture saitK He ascended on 8. 

' Tn its measure, &c.] This is Mr. Wakefield's translation. 
" In such measure and proportion as Christ thinks proper to 
distribute them." Chandler. It appears from this and other 
passages of scripture, that the distribution of spiritual gifts and 
powers, in the apostolic age, was under the direction of Christ 
himself 5 who during that period seems to have maintained a 
personal, and often a visible and sensible, intercourse with the 
church. See Matt, xxviii. 20. 


228 Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. 1. 1. 3. 

Ch. IV. high, he led captivity captive^ he gave gifts to 
men '. 

What I have now observed concerning our entire 
dependence upon Christ for the gifts we possess, 
may be very well expressed in the words of David 
in Psalm Ixviii., which was written upon the occa- 
sion of the removal of the ark to Mount Sion, ver. 
18. The Psalmist describes Jehovah as a glorious 
conqueror returning from the wars to take posses- 
sion of his imperial throne, leading in triumph his 
captive enemies, the late oppressors of his loyal peo- 
ple, and distributing magnificent presents amongst 
his faithful followers. Thus it may be said of our 
glorious chief, that he has ascended to his heavenly 
throne, that he has subdued his enemies and ours, 
having, by his death, abolished all the ceremonial 
law, which was the great bar to our acceptance with 
God ; and, like a triumphant conqueror, he has dis- 
tributed to his faithful adherents those precious gifts 

' The scripture saith ,] i. e. David, Ps. Ixviii. 1 8 ; where he 
represents God returning as a conqueror from a complete vic- 
tory over the enemies of his people, and bestowing rewards upon 
his faithful adherents. The ex]>ression in the psalm isj " thou 
hast received gifts j" but the Chaldee paraphrase and the Sy- 
riac and Arabic versions render it as the apostle cites it, " he 
gave gifts 3" and this, as Dr. Chandler observes, " is the ge- 
nuine sense of the place, for God could no otherwise receive 
gifts, than as he caused them to be given to his people. I sup- 
pose this whole passage alludes to the custom of victorious 
princes causing their captives to pass before them, and distri- 
buting largesses to their people. The passage is cited, not, as 
I apprehend, by way of strict proof, but by way of accommoda- 
tion, and to illustrate the point by a like instance." 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. 1. 1. 4. 


of the holy spirit, which are the sure pledge of our Ch. iv. 
admission into the family of God. 

4. The apostle, in a parenthesis, argues the an- 
tecedent humiliation of Christ, from the prediction 
of his exaltation, ver. 9, 10. 

I^ow this expression, " he ascended^' what does Ver. 9. 
it mean 2, but that he \Jirst\ descended also into 
the lower parts of the earth^? 

The Psalmist saith that he ascended : now if we 
apply this language to Christ, to whom it may ea- 
sily be accommodated, it may lead us to reflect 
upon a very important circumstance relating to Je- 
sus, which, indeed, ought ever to be present to our 
minds ; I mean his humiUation, his ignominious 
death, and descent into the grave ; a fact which, 
however offensive to unbelievers, must be admitted 
and regarded by us as the great foundation of our 
faith and hope. 

He that descended^ ^ is the same who also ascend- 10. 

* miat does it mean?'} ri er'v, " How can it be, unless — " 
Wakefield. The apostle argues, that as Jesus ascended, he 
must first have descended : the inference, perhaps, is not per- 
fectly logical ; but this allusion to the death and burial of Christ 
is a plain proof that this fact lay uppermost in the apostle's 
mind, and was regarded by hiip as of great importance in the 
Christian system. 

' Lower parts of the earth.'] This expression signifies the 
womb, Ps. cxxxix. 15 j and the grave, Ps. Ixiii. 9. In the lat- 
ter sense it is unquestionably used by the apostle in this place, 
as Dr. Newcome rightly observes. The word Jirst (n'^wrov) is 
wanting in the most authentic manuscripts, and is dropped by 
Griesbach. It is evident that the text affords no argument for the 
commonly received doctrine of the pre-existence of Jesus Christ, 
* He that descended.'} The apostle seems desirous of impress- 

230 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. 1. 1. 4, 

Ch. IV, ed above all heavens ', that he might complete all 
things 2. 

Unbelievers may, if they please, revile us as the 
disciples of a crucified malefactor. We glory in the 
assurance, founded upon evidence the most satis- 
factory, that the same Jesus who was crucified and 
laid in the grave, was raised fi'om the dead ; and, 
though he is now removed from all visible inter- 
course with this Vi^orld, he is exalted to higher dig- 
nity and authority than any of the other prophets 
and messengers of God ; being constituted head of 
the church, and empowered to communicate those 
spiritual gifts which are necessary for the completion 
of this his mystical body, and for the growth and 
perfection of every part. 

ing the recollection of the death of Christ upon the minds of 
his readers, as an event which ought to be remembered in con- 
nexion with his exaltation, and of which they ought never to be 

' Above all heavens^ An allusion, no doubt, to our Lord's 
ascension in the air j but as the fact cannot be true in a literal 
and local sense, there being no such concentric spheres as the 
Jewish philosophy supposed, the true meaning of the apostle 
probably is, to express the unrivalled superiority of Jesus over 
all former prophets and messengers of God, and his headship 
over the church. SeeEph. i. 10, iii. 15. 

- Complete all things.] So Wakefield, things, i. e. persons. 
See Tyrwhit's Dissertation on the Creation of all Things by Jesus 
Christ, in the Commentaries and Essays. The church is the ful- 
ness or complement of Christ the head, ch. i. 23. He supplies 
or fills the various parts with vital influence ; i.e. he communi- 
cates to the church what is necessary to its existence and well- 
being, viz. the gifts of the holy spirit, by which the apostles and 
teachers of Christianity were qualified for their mission, and by 
which the gospel was promulgated in the world. See Mac- 
knight and Chandler. " that he might bestow on all his disci- 
ples a fulness of gifts." Newcome. 

Paht II. E P H E S 1 A N S. Skct. 1. 1. 5. 23 I 

5. Resuming his discourse, he reminds his read- Ch. IV. 
ers, that the gifts communicated by Christ were in- 
tended to quaUfy believers for the exercise of differ- 
ent offices for the edification of the church, ver. 1 1 

A:ndhe appointed^ some to be apostles, and some Ver. 11. 
prophets, and some evangelists, and some jiastors 
and teachers, for the perfecting^ of the saints, for 12. 
employment in the minis toy, for the edification of 
the body of Christ. 

^ He appointed .-] or, he gave. As a triumphant conqueror 
having taken possession of his kingdom, he dispenses honours 
and offices to his faithful adherents. This is an additional ar- 
gument that Christ had a personal intercourse with the church 
during the a])Ostolic age, of which there has been no proof or 
example since. See ver. 7. The gifts of the spirit seem to have 
been dispensed immediately by him, John xv. 26 ; and he re- 
peatedly appeared to the apostle Paul, to direct and support 
him in his apostolic labours . There might therefore be a pro- 
priety in ascribing efiects immediately to his interposition, and 
even in directing prayers to him in the apostolic age, which 
would be unwarrantable and highly improper now that we have 
no evidence of his personal presence and agency. 

■* Perfecting.'] Dr. Chandler observes, that " v.arapTi^vo sig- 
nifies an exact composition of one thing out of many ; and figu- 
ratively, to reconcile those who have been at variance. So that 
the 'perfection of the saints' seems to intend the full settle- 
ment of the church, by introducing Jews and Gentiles into it, 
and uniting them together in affection and love as members of 
the same body." 

Archbishop Newcome remarks, that perhaps the first clause 
of the 12th verse refers to apostles and prophets, tlie second to 
evangelists, and the third to pastors and teachers. This observa- 
tion appears to me to be judicious, and I have adopted it in the 
exposition. Dr. Doddridge says, he " shall not take upon him 
to determine whether two different offices are intended by pas- 
tors and teachers ; but that it has been justly observed;, that if 
diocesan bishops were the very remedy by which the holy gliost 
designed to prevent or heal those schisms of which the Ephe- 
sian church was in such apparent danger (Acts xx. 29, 30), it 

232 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. i. 5. 

Ch. IV. By the different gifts and powers which our ex- 
^^' ' alted and triumphant chief has bestowed upon his 
disciples, he has quaUfied and appointed some to 
be apostles, the immediate witnesses of his resur- 
rection from the dead, whom he furnished with a 
complete and comprehensive knowledge of the sim- 
plicity, liberality, and extent of the gospel dispensa- 
tion. Others he qualified for the office of prophets, 
occasionally inspiring them with the foreknowledge 
of future events, and honouring them with extra- 
ordinary revelations for the instruction of others. 
And the main design of these chief and most use- 
ful offices in the church is to publish the gospel to 
Jews and Gentiles, and to unite believers of both 
descriptions in one firm, compact and harmonious 
body. Some were qualified for, and appointed to, 
the office of evangelists, companions of the apostles, 
who by the gift of tongues, and the instructions which 
they received from the apostles, became qualified and 
authorized to teach the gospel in those places which 
the apostles could not themselves visit ; and lastly, 
some were appointed by Christ to reside in the 
churches which were formed in diflferent places for 
the purpose of superintending discipline and com- 
municating further instruction where it was neces- 
sary, so that the magnificent edifice of the church 

is very strange there should be no mention of them amidst all 
these ecclesiastics which are here enumerated." Dr. Doddridge 
and others connect the two first clauses of the 1 2th verse, and 
render them thus : " for the perfecting of saints to the work of 
the ministiy," &c. The words will very well bear this sense, 
though the other appears to ihe preferable. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sixt. 1. 1. 5. 233 

might continually increase, and the body of Christ ch. iv. 
might grow in all its parts. 

Till we all^ arrive at the unity of the faith and Ver, 13. 
knowledge of the son of Gody at perfect maturity 2, 
at the full 'proportion of the stature of Christ^, 

' Till we all, &c.] The apostle keeps in view a favourite idea 
which he had advanced ch. i. 23. The church is a mystical 
body, of which Christ is the head, and individual Christians are 
parts of that body. While they think the observance of Jewish 
rites, or any other condition besides faith in the mission of 
Christ and a practical profession of it, necessaiy to communion 
with him, they are imperfect, ungrown parts of the body ; but 
when they fully adopt the Christian faith in its pure and uncor- 
rupted state, they are grown to a manly proportion, and are of 
a proper size to be joined to that mystical body of which Christ 
is the head. If we carry in mind this analogy, to which the 
apostle is so veiy partial, we shall easily enter into his meaning 
in this and the following verses, though he occasionally breaks 
and mixes his metaphors. 

^ At perfect maiurify.'] So Worsley. Gr. " manhood." Dr. 
Macknight ingeniously observes, that " the apostle having re- 
presented the Christian church under the idea of Christ's body, 
ver. 4. he here speaks of it as in a state of childhood, whilst its 
members were few in number and imperfect in knowledge ; and 
told the Ephesians, that the supernaturally endowed teachers 
were to continue in the church till it was so enlarged, and so 
well instructed in the doctrine of the gospel, as to be able to 
direct and defend itself without any supernatural aid. This ad- 
vanced state of the church the apostle termed perfect manhood : 
at which when the church arrived, the supernatural gifts of the 
Spirit were to be removed as no longer necessary." 

Perhaps the apostle's meaning rather is, that these superna- 
tural communications were made for the purpose of promoting 
the growth of every individual ; not that they would continue 
till all were come to maturity. 

' The full proportion of the stature of Christ.'] sig (jistpov 
Yjhmas TB 'rrXripuj[ji.a.rQs, to the measure of the stature of the com- 
plement of Christ. See ch. i. 23. i. e. till they have attained their 
full growth as portions of the mystical body of Christ, till they 
are become mature and perfect Christians, well instructed and 
well disciplined in liie practice of the Christian religion. " to 
the full size of the stature of Christ." Wakefield. 

234 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. i. 6. 

Ch. IV. These various offices appointed by the great head 
of the church, and occupied by persons qualified by 
spiritual gifts for their respective situa.tions, ought 
not to be the object of low ambition and malignant 
jealousy. They are calculated to unite Christians 
of all classes and nations in the harmonious belief 
and courageous profession of the fundamental truth, 
that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the first-begot- 
ten from the dead, the promised deliverer of the 
world, and in a conduct correspondent to this holy 
profession. When this is accomplished, we may 
indeed be said to have attained the manhood of 
Christianity ; and then in our respective stations we 
shall appear as full-grown limbs of that mystical 
body, which, united to Christ the head, forms the 
complete figure of the universal church. 

6. The great design of all the gifts dispensed by 
Christ, is to promote stability of principle and mu- 
tual affection in the several members of the great 
body of professing Christians, ver. 14 — 16. 
14. That we may be no longer children\ Jtuctuat- 

' That we may be no longer children.'] The apostle here 
plainly declares that just principles of the Christian doctrine, 
derived from the instructions of apostles^ prophets, evangelists, 
and other inspired and authorized teachers, are the only proper 
security against false and pernicious doctrines propagated by 
artful and bad men, for their own personal advantage: he par- 
ticularly alludes to judaizing teachers. Dr. Chandler observes, 
that " the apostle heaps together a crowd of strong and lively 
figures. He represents such of the Christian church as were 
Travering and unsettled in their principles^ as children who are. 
continually changing their mind," He describes the conduct of 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. i. 6. 235 

ing, and ivhirled about by every wind of doctrine^ Ch. IV. 
through the sleight of me?i'^, and through their 
crafty method of deceit 3. 

The intention of this wise provision which Christ 
has made for the instruction of the church is, that 
we may have a clear and distinct knowledge of the 
leading principles of the Christian doctrine; de- 
riving them from those teachers only who prove 
their commission from him. Being thus well- 
grounded in the faith, we shall not become the 
dupes of false and artful teachers, who, to answer 
their own secular views, would impose upon us their 
own mischievous errors as Christian truths. Nor 

false teachers by a word (xufgja) which signifies that " they heid 
no more honour than gamesters at dice j" and whose opinions 
have " no more certainty or constancy than the dice, which 
vary at every throw." Ilavspyia signifies sleight of hand 
and denotes the subtlety and false arts of those who endea- 
voured to corrupt them. 

* The sleight of men.'] xv^sia, " 1. alea, hisus alece ; l.fal- 
laclaet astutia in liulo tesserarum, etper synecdochen significat, 
omnemfr audit lentiam et versutiam, qua utuntur homines alios 
decepturi." Schleusner. 

" The deceitful arts of false teachers are here compared to 
those of gamesters, who, by using false dice, cheat those with 
whom they play. The men wliose base arts the apostle de- 
scribes were the unbelieving Jews and heathen philosophers, 
who opposed the gospel by sophistry and calumny." Macknight, 

' Their crafty method, of deceit^ sv Tfavs^yia 7f§os rrjv p/gSo- 
osiav, *' craft to invent methods." Worsley, " Solertia ad 
male agendum, multo usu coinparata." Schleusner j who ob- 
serves that the word is always taken in a bad sense in the New 
Testament, though it admits a good one. Ms^oSsia, rrjs ifXcc- 
yyjg, excogitata ratio alios decipiendi, et in errores inducendi." 
Schleusner. — " through their craftiness for the purpose of artful 
deceit." Newcome. — " for the more subtle disposition and or- 
derance of error." Chandler. — " by their malicious cvmning, by 
the contrivances of error." Wakefield. 

236 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. i. 6. 

Ch. IV. shall we, like children, waver in uncertainty, with- 
out any fixed principles ; at one time professing one 
opinion, at another time another, being destitute 
of all consistency of judgement and dignity of cha- 

1 5. But maintaining the truth ' in love, we may grow 
np in all things to him who is the head, even Christ. 
Being thus instructed in the genuine doctrine of 
Christ by apostles, prophets, and evangelists, it is 
our duty stedfastly to adhere to the truth, to defend 
it against all opposers, and upon no consideration 
whatever to suffer it to be corrupted by human in- 
ventions. And this may and ought to be done in 
perfect consistency with genuine benevolence ; for, 
indeed, the more we know and study the doctrine 
of Christ, the more earnest, diligent, and perse- 
vering shall we be in our endeavours to do good to 
others. Thus shall we in our respective situations, 
as parts of the mystical body of Christ, be daily 
growing up in due proportion, to him who is our 
perfect and glorious head. 

IG. From whom the whole body^ fitly compacted and 

' But mamtamhig the truth.'] AAr;9suovTej denotes " not so 
much speaking truth as embracing and adhering to it ; and to 
render the Christian perfect, he must add to this regard to 
truth, love, or universal benevolence.'" Chandler. — " speaking 
the truth in love." Newcome. — " dealing truly, may grow up 
in love." Wakefield. 

* From whom the whole body.'] " The vvhole body that con- 
sists of divers parts : (ruvapjot-oXoysjU-evov is in all these parts pro- 
portioned and fitted for the nearest conjunction, xai cy/xSifa- 
^oix,svov, and to connect and fasten with each other by every 
joint contributing to this purpose ; so that the body receives its 

PahtII. EPHESIANS. Sect. 1. 1.6. 237 

connected together by the aid of every joint, and Ch. iv. 
according to the proportionate operation of every ^^' ' 
single limb^, thriveth^ to the improvement^^ of it- 
self in love. 

It is from Christ, the head, that the whole church, 
which, like the natural body, consists of various 

increase by the operation, i. e. the growth of every single mem- 
ber, till by that sympathy or kind of affection which there is be- 
tween them, it grows up to its full strength and perfection. And 
thus the various offices and gifts of the Christian church do unite, 
as the joints of the body do the several parts of it, the several 
members of the church, and will all conspire to promote its wel- 
fare, honour, and prosperity, if those members are united to one 
another in love." Chandler. 

^ Every limb.'] This is the reading of the Alexandrine and 
Ephrem manuscripts, the Syriac, Coptic, and other versions : 
it is marked as not improbable by Griesbach, and is adopted by 
Newcome and Wakefield. 

* Tliriveth.'] rrjv av^vjo-iv rs (rwixaros 'ffoiEirai. Wakefield. 
Literally, maketh increase of the body. " maketh its increase." 
Newxome ; who remarks, that " in the Greek the antecedent 
is used instead of the pronoun." 

' Improvement^ So Wakefield. o/>coi5"o/xi3v, edification : New- 
come, and others ; but improvement better corresponds with 
the apostle's allegory. 

" By the stress," says Dr. Priestley, " which the apostle here 
and elsewhere lays upon good morals, we see that this was the 
great object of the gospel ; and in this respect it was essen- 
tially different from the religion of the Gentile world, which in 
reality had no connexion with morals, as it consisted of nothing 
but superstitious observances, with which they thought the fa- 
vour of their gods to be arbitrarily connected. So far was re- 
ligion, properly so called, from teaching good morals to the 
Gentile world, that their temples, and the precincts of them, 
were often used for the vilest purposes : accordingly. Chris- 
tians were soon distinguished from heathens for their better 
morals. But this was not effected immediately, because it re- 
quires time for good principles to operate, and to produce their 
genuine fruits. On this account, the apostles are so frequent 
and earnest in their expostulations with their new converts on 
this most important subject." 

238 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. ii. 1. 

Ch. IV. parts and limbs, every one in its proper place, or- 
namental, useful, and necessary to the compactness, 
beauty, and perfection of the whole, derives its nou- 
rishment and vigour. It is from him that those 
supplies of the holy spirit are communicated, by 
which every believer in his proper station is quali- 
fied to occupy the post assigned him, and contri- 
butes to the increase and prosperity of the general 
body of Christians. Though, therefore, all cannot 
occupy the highest posts, nor all possess the most 
splendid gifts, yet all may be virtuous, useful, and 
approved. Let, then, all jealousy and contention 
be entirely laid aside, and all exert their earnest and 
harmonious efforts in supporting the truth, and in 
diffusing the knowledge and the spirit of pure and 
practical Christianity. 


The apostle earnestly exhorts the Christian con- 
verts to shun the impurities of heathenism, and to 
maintain a dignity of character becoming their su- 
perior knowledge and advantages, ch. iv. 17 — 24. 

1 . He solemnly cautions them against the evil 

examples of their heathen neighbours, ver. 17 — 19. 

17. This therefore I declare, and earnestly charge ^ 

* Charge^ Dr. Chandler observes, that " the word ^uaprv- 
poixcci in the best Greek writers often signifies to beseech, and 
earnestly entreat; and that this is unquestionably the meaning 
of it in this place." Archbishop Newcome renders it " to 
charge," and refers to I Thess. ii. 12. 

Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. I.ii. 1. 239 

you in the name of the Lord^', that ye no longer ch. iv. 
ivalk as the Gentiles 3 walk, in the vanity of their 
minds ^, darkened in their understanding^, alien- Ver. 18. 
ated from the life of God^ because of their ig?io- 
rance, because of the hardness! of their heart : ivho 19* 

have abandoned themselves without remorse^ to las- 
civiousness, and to all exorbitant impurity 9. 

^ In the name of the LordI] sv Kvpicu, in, or by, the Lord : 
i. e. " by his authority, or by the greatness of his love, or by the 
sincerity of your love and regaid to him." Cliandler. — " as a 
disciple and apostle of Christ," Newcome, 

' Walk as the Gentiles.'] Xonra, the other Gentiles, which is 
in the received text, is wanting in many manuscripts and ver- 
sions ; it is omitted by Mr. Wakefield, and marked as doubtful 
by Archbishop Newcome. 'Walking' is a common expression 
in Paul's writings, to denote a manner or course of life. 

* Vanity of their minds .-] i. e. " their false and inconclusive 
reasonings, which led them into the most absurd and dangerous 
errors in judgement and practice." Rom. i. 21 j 1 Pet. i. 18. 
Chandler. See Macknight. 

* Darkened in their understanding:'] viz. ''through con- 
tracted habits of vice, and those strong prejudices and corrupt 
principles in which they had been brought up ; which prevent 
the access of light and knowledge, and pervert the judgement." 
Dr. Chandler. 

^ Life of God?^ " from that course of life which God re- 
quires : from living to God." Gal. ii. 19. Grotius, Newcome. 
" from that life which God prescribes and approves." Chandler, 

' Hardness.] ifcupuKrts, blindness, according to the common 
translation, and so Wakefield and Newcome. Dr. Chandler 
says, " It properly signifies the hardness and callousness of a 
man's skin, contracted by frequent exercise and labour ; and 
this seems to be the true rendering, because the apostle had 
spoken of the darkness of their understanding just before." 

^ Without remorse.] aTfrjXyriKorss . Some copies read atf>]A- 
•jiiMYss, without hope, desperate, and therefore wicked. The 
common reading is supported by the best authorities. " The 
word primarily means, to be void of sorrow j hence it signifies 
persons who through despair have thrown off all sense of grief 
and misery, and cease all care to free themselves from it. 
Hence it implies the last and worst state of wickedness and vice. 

•240 Part II. E P H E S 1 A N S. Skct. I. ii. 1 . 

Ch. IV. Being therefore earnestly desirous that you^may 
^^'"" ^^' attain to Christian perfection, it is my solemn de- 
claration in his name, and my explicit testimony 
under his authority, that the practice of vice is ut- 
terly inconsistent with a vital union to him, and 
with the participation of blessings from him : I 
warn and charge you, therefore, as you value your 
relation to him and your expectations from him, 
that you cautiously abstain from all those criminal 
excesses which in your unconverted state you prac- 
tised without hesitation, and to which your heathen 
neighbours now abandon themselves without con- 
sideration or remorse. Their miserable reasonings, 
unassisted by the clear light of divine revelation, 
have indeed led them into the most pernicious er- 
rors both in doctrine and practice. Their under- 
standings being obscured by the most inveterate 
prejudices, their affections being alienated from the 
practice of virtue, and from obedience to the will 
of God, being ignorant that his favour alone is the 
true source of life and happiness, and their hearts 

in which men have no remorse of conscience, but are desperately 
wicked, hardened, and insensible in vice." Cliandler. 

^ Exorbitant impurihj .'] In the public version, " to work un- 
cleanness with greediness." nxsovs^ia., Dr. Chandler says, pro- 
perly signifies covetousness ,• and he understands it of those who 
committed these crimes for gain. Some of the best manuscripts 
read xai irXaovs^ia;, which Mr. Wakefield follows. Mr. Locke 
in a valuable note shows that the word trKsovs^isc is not uncom- 
monly used by the apostle as a decent expression for lewdness 
of the grossest and most abominable kind, and understands it in 
the same sense here : so likewise Wakefield. See Eph. v. 3 3 
1 Thess. iv. 5; I Cor. v. 10, 1 1 ; Rom. i. 29. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N 8. Sbct. I. ii. 2. 24 1 

having become callous to every r-efined feeling, and ^^ jy 
even to the sense of shame, they abandon themselves Ver. 19, 
without compunction to vices which are the dis- 
grace of human nature, and utterly inconsistent 
with every sentiment of purity, dignity, and virtue. 

2. The apostle further alleges, that believers in 
Christ have been instructed to aspire after the strict- 
est purity of morals, ver. 20 — 24. 

JBut it is not so with you. Ye have learned Christ ' .* 20. 
inasmuch^ as ye have heard him, and beejt instruc- 21. 

ted in him, even as the truth is in Jesus 3 ; 

Far different, my Christian friends, I trust, is 
your present character from that prejudice, igno- 
rance, pollution, and callousness of mind which I 
have just described, by which you yourselves were 
formerly entangled, and in which, as you well know, 
the heathen world is now immersed. It is your pri- 
vilege that you have been introduced into the school 
of Christ. You have heard him addressing you in 
the person of his ambassadors ; you have been taught 
by hiin who sent his apostles and prophets to preach 
the gospel to you, and who instructed them in what 
they were to deliver in his name ; and be assured. 

' It is not so with you.l Such is the spirited translation of 
Chandler, q. d. " This is not your practice : ye have learned 
Christ : Christianity, in which you have been instructed, hath 
reformed you." See Luke xxii. 26. — " You have been scholars 
at his school." Locke. 

* biasmuch.'] Eiys. See Chandler, Wakefield. — " since ye 
have heard concerning him." Newcome. 

^ In Jesus .] " the antecedent for the pronoun, as in ver. 16." 


242 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. n. 2. 

ch. IV. whatever insinuations some may throw out to the 
Ver. 21. contrary, that the pure uncorrupted gospel has been 
preached to you, and that your teachers have faith- 
fully accomplished the object of their mission. And 
this was the tenor of the message which they had 
in charge to exhort you. 

22. To put off the old man of your former course of 
life >, which iv as going to destruction with deceitful 

23. desires 2, and to renew yourselves in the spirit of 

24. your nmid, and to put on the new 7nan, the man ac- 
cording to God^t created to righteousness, and ho' 
linesSy and timth "*. 

' To put off the old man, &c.] This is Mr. Wakefield's trans- 
lation, and seems to convey the true meaning of the passage. 
Some think there is an allusion here to the custom of baptism ; 
in which the baptized persons laid aside their old garments when 
they vvent into the water, in token of laying aside their former 
sins, and put on white garments after baptism, to denote the 
purity of their Christian conversation. Dr. Chandler thinks 
that this custom of exchanging garments was not so ancient as 
the times of the apostle : yet jt might have been the custom of 
the Jews, from whom the mode of baptism was probably bor- 
rowed. Chandler, however, supposes that the apostle " parti- 
cularly allude.? to theatrical representations, in which the actors 
put on different characters and took on themselves the persons 
of other men." The apostle's idea therefore seems to be, that 
in the school of Christ they have been taught by him to act a 
very different part from v.'hat they had before practised. 

' Going to destruction, &c.] The unbridled licentiousness of 
their heathen state naturally tends to destruction here and here- 
after. See Wakefield. 

' The man according to God.'] So Mr. Wakefield, see ver. 18, 
thf man formed after the image of God, and living the life of 
God. They are to put off their former ancient selves, their hea- 
then character and vices, and to assume a new self, a holy cha- 
racter, a person resembling God, approved by hirn, and devoted 
to him. 

* And truth.'] The Clermont and some other ancient manu- 
scripts, and the Italic version, read xai aXr^^fia. The common 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. in. 1 . 243 

On this great theatre of human Hfe you have for- c^». jv. 
inerly acted a most immoral and a dangerous part. ^*^*" ^** 
You sustained the character which your heathen 
neighbours now do. You lived in the practice of 
vices, which, whatever flattering appearances they 
might assume, afforded no real satisfaction, and 
which tended to your destruction both in body and 
soul. The Christian doctrine warned you to re- 
nounce the character and to escape the danger. 
Clirist by his faithful messengers required you to 
prepare your mind for a very different course of life. 
He taught you another and a far more honourable 
and useful lesson. You are now to assume a new 
character ; a character such as God will approve, 
and which is formed after his own model ; a cha- 
racter by which you may be distinguished as belong- 
ing to him, as dedicated to his service, as the firm 
and faithful adherents to truth and virtue. 


The apostle cautions his readers against the vices 
of heathenism, and urges them to the practice of 
the contrary virtues upon principles peculiar to the 
Christian religion, ch. iv. 25 — v. 2. 

1 . He recommends a strict regard to truth, ver. 

Therefore, laying aside falsehood^, speak truth 25. 

reading is holiness of truth ; or, true holiness, not external, but 
that of the mind. See Newcome. Mr. Wakefield's version is, 
" fashioned in righteousness and holiness, the true man." 
' Therefore, &c.] The apostle now proceeds to state the qua- 


244 Part 11. EPHESIANS. Skct. I. in. I. 

Ch. IV. every one to his 7ieighbour, for we are memhers one 

Ver.26. of another. 

Having thus, by your profession of the Christian 
religion, assumed a new character, let your conduct 
ever be consistent with it. And though in your 
former heathen state the violation of truth was re- 
garded by you as a matter of little moment, if any 
advantage could be gained by it, you must now, un- 
der your present character, utterly renounce every 
species and degree of falsehood and deceit ; and in 
all your conversation and intercourse with each 
other, your language must always be the represen- 
tative of your real sentiments ; you be sincere 
in your declarations, and inviolably faithful to your 
engagements. You are all parts of the body of 
Christ, and therefore are all members one of an- 
other ; your true interest is one and the same ; 
you must therefore feel for others, and act by them 
as you would feel for and act by your own selves, 
as though they were vital parts of your own bodies. 

lities of that old man which they were to put off, viz. the vices 
of their heathen state ; and to contrast them with those of the 
new man which they were to put on, viz. the virtues of the 
Christian religion. And first of all they must lay aside the prac- 
tice of lying, which the heathen philosophy approves and recom- 
mends. He may lie who knows how to do it, says Plato, bv hovri. 
xaipiy, in a Jit season. See this and many other passages from 
the writings of the philosophers, to the same purpose, in Whitby 
on the text. In opposition to which, the apostle recommends a 
stedfast adherence to truth upon all occasions, and enforces his 
exhortation by his favourite analogy, that being all members of 
the mj'stical body of Christ, they are all members of each other, 
and they cannot injure others without in some degree hurting 

Paiit 11. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. 1. in. 2. 245 

2. He further cautions against exorbitant anger, ch, iv. 
ver, 26, 27. 

If ye be angry ', yet sin not ; let not the sun go Ver. 26. 
down upon your resentment *, and give no advan- 27. 
tage^ to the accuser'^. 

* If ye he angry.'] See Wakefield, Newcome, Bowyer, Beza, 
and Grotius. " The words/' says Dr. Whitby, " are not a 
command to be angry, but a caution to avoid sinful anger." 
Comp. Johnii. 19. See also Matt. vii. 1, 7 ; Prov. xix. 25; Isa. 
viii. 9, 10 5 Nab. iii. 14, 15 j Ecclus. xxx. 9. Dr. Chandler 
says, that " the expression may be rendered * Are ye angry ? see 
that ye do not sin ;' viz. by indulging it too far, and harbouring 
your resentment too long ; kai, tamen, John i. lOj 1 Cor. v. 
10: Phil.i. 18." 

^ Let not the sun, &c.] Plutarch says that the scholars of 
Pythagoras, when they had been angry with each other, shook 
hands and embraced before the sun went down. See Whitby, 
To this the apostle may perhaps allude. Though, as Dr. Chand- 
ler observes, " the advice is not to be understood literally, as 
though it were always sinful to keep anger after sunset." " The 
plain meaning (continues he) of the whole advice is, ' be not 
angry without just occasion j and, whenever you are, be of a 
reconcilable spirit, and carry not your displeasure against the 
offender too far, either in measure or duration.' " 

' Give no advantage, &c.] Dr. Chandler observes, that " the 
phrase hhvcti rotov, to give place, is used by the best Greek 
writers to signify the giving a handle, occasion, or opportunity, 
to any thing" Dr. Newcome's version is, " give not advan- 
tage," &c. 

* The accuser?^ So Erasmus and Wakefield, and unquestion- 
ably right. In the common and most other versions it is " the 
devil." But in what sense it is not easy to explain. Dr. Chand- 
ler adopts both interpretations : " do not give occasion to the 
devil to lead you to commit the most heinous crimes, nor to the 
enemies of Christianity to reproach and slander you," There 
is no reason to believe that the apostle intended to express two 
meanings so very different. The latter, therefore, as being na- 
tural, intelligible, and pertinent, is by far the most probable. 
See Macknight; who, though he translates " devil," yet in his 
note remarks, that " Erasmus, with the Syriac version, gives 
the sense, ut ne detis locum calumniatori. According to their 
translation the apostle's meaning is, ' give no occasion to infi- 

246 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. in. 3. 

Ch. IV. In your former heathen state you were accus- 
^'^' '■ tomed to regard anger and revenge as the quahties 
of a noble and generous mind, and regarded it as 
meanness of spirit to forgive an injury. But you 
are now entered under the discipHne of Christ, and 
have assumed the profession of Christians. Anger 
is a passion which, in the present state of imper- 
fection, will occasionally rise in the breast. But, 
whatever be the provocation, guard to the utmost 
of your power against excess in your resentment. 
Let not anger rise upon trivial occasions, nor to an 
exorbitant degree, and sufi'er it not to dwell in your 
heart. Where offence has been given, be easily pa- 
cified ; where it is acknowledged, be ready to for- 
give ; and where correction is necessary, let it be 
administered with moderation. And give no occa- 
sion to the enemies of your faith to calumniate your 
character, and to say that Christians, whatever they 
may pretend to, are neither more forbearing nor 
more placable than other men. 

3. The apostle recommends honesty and indus- 
try, ver. 28. 
28. Let him that hath stolen^, steal no more : but 

dels to speak evil of the holy religion whicli ye profess.' " Pos- 
sibly the apostle may mean nothing more than to guard them 
against giving way to a bad temper, an angry unforgiving spirit. 
John xiii. 2, SiaSaXog is used to express the wickedness of the 
heart of Judas. " do not yield to any temptation to sin, from 
whatever source it may arise." Priestley. 

' Hath stolen, &c.] Stealing was a common vice among the 
barbarous nations, nor was it regarded by them as deserving of 
jcproach. See Whitby. 

Part II. E P II E S 1 A N S. Sect. I. ni, 4. 24/ 

rather let Mm labour^ provi(Rng with his hands ch. iv. 
zvhat is good^, that he may have something to im- ^^'^' ^^' 
pai't to him that is necessitous. 

In your former heathen state, violations of ho- 
nesty, where they could be committed with impu- 
nity, were as little regarded as violations of chas- 
tity, truth, and meekness, and were hardly thought 
worthy of blame : these, therefwe, are some of the 
deeds of the old man, which you are to renounce 
altogether, now that you have assumed the profes- 
sion of Christianity, and have entered upon a new 
and a holy life. Have any of you, then, unjustly 
deprived another of his property ; let him immedi- 
ately restore what he has unlawfully acquired, for 
there can be no repentance without restitution ; and, 
for the future, let him resolutely abstain from every 
dishonest action, whatever temptation or opportu- 
nity may offer itself, and how secure soever he may 
be from detection and punishment. And let every 
one by honourable industry endeavour to acquire 
such a plentiful supply of the good things of this 
life, that he may not only be under no temptation 
to take unjustly what belongs to his neighbour, but 
may be both able and willing, from his own abun- 
dant stores, to relieve those who are in want. 

4. That conversation be inoffensive and instruc- 
tive, ver. 29, 30. 

• fVhat is good.'] " the good things of life." Wakefield. — 
" a livelihood." Dr. Chandler ; " or such a support as may not 
only be barely sufficient for himself, but may enable him to give 
somewhat to other persons who are in distress." 

248 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. in. 4. 

Ch. IV. Let no corrupt discourse > proceed out of your 
Ver. 29, ^yiQjith, but whatever may be useful for edifcatioji 

in faith 2, that it may contribute to the benefit 3 of 
30, the hearer's. And offend not * the holy spirit of 

God^, by ivhich ye have been sealed to the day of 

redemption 6. 

' Corrupt discourse^- " By corrupt or rotten discourse," says 
Archbishop Newcome, " obscene talk is principally meant. 
Hesychius explains c-aTtpijv by aicr-^pov, aKdhocprov . The word 
properly means what is rancid, or putrid by age, Alberti." — 
Dr. Chandler observes, " that it is used by the best writers to 
signify idle, insignificant, useless, and unprofitable discourse ; 
and in this large sense it appears to be used in this place, as 
seems plain not only from the original notion of the word, but 
from what the apostle expressly opposes to it." Wakefield ren- 
ders it unmeaning. 

' Edification in faith.'] " The reading of tfifsoog, faith, is," 
as Archbishop Nev/come remarks, " well established by manu- 
scripts : it is preferred by Bengelius ;" and marked with ap- 
probation by Grie.sbach. The common reading, ^peiag, is tau- 
tological. Mr. Wakefield renders the clause, " what is good to 
the furtherance of the business." Dr. Chandler renders Xpt^cL^ 
' occasion or use,' and explains it of such kind of discourse as 
is suitable to the present occasion. 

* Benefit.'] %a|5(v. Dr. Chandler explains " that it may be 
grateful and acceptable to such as hear it." "Ut gratus accep- 
tusque sit." Raphelius. So Wakefield, j^af if being often used 
for the ' gospel,' or for the ' temper and spirit of Christianity,' 
the apostle may perhaps principally refer to their improvement 
in the knowledge and spirit of the gospel ; especially if itiS'sws 
be the true reading. 

* Offend noti] " Though the primary sense of Xvitiui is to 
grieve, it is often used in the best writers for ' offending' and 
* displeasing.' * Grieving the holy spirit of God' signifies ' of- 
fending God himself,' who conferred those extraordinary gifts." 
Chandler. " Delicata res est spiritus Dei, was a maxim of one 
of the ancients." See Doddridge. 

' Holy spirit of God.] The gifts of the holy spirit, by which 
converted Gentiles were proved to be in covenant with God, 
are here personified, and said to be grieved or offended : i. e. 
corrupt discourse, as it tends to defeat the design of Christi- 

Part II. K 1' 11 E S I A N S. Skci'. I. in. -1. 249 

Another practice of your heathen state, which ch. iv. 
you must now entirely lay aside, is all irifling, fool- ^*"' ' * 
ish, and obscene conversation, ail kind of Ir.iiguage 
which has a tendency to corrupt the heart and to 
debase the character. Let not such discourse ever 
be heard among professing Christians. But let con- 
versation in your social intercourse be always inno- 
cent, and often edifying. Endeavour to confirm 
each others faith in the gospel, and thus to improve 
each other in Christian knowledge, and in virtuous 
resolution. And do not, upon any consideration, by 
grossness of language, or indecency of behaviour, 
offend the delicacy or provoke the resentment of 
that holy spirit of God which dwells in the temple 
of your hearts, and whose residence there is a stand- 

anity, would provoke God to withdraw from them the gifts of 
the spirit with which they are favoured. 

" Sealed to the clay of redemption. -^ i. e. by which that cove- 
nant is sealed and ratified, the promises of which have a respect 
to blessings which will be hereafter conferred upon you at the 
day of redemption, i. e. at the resurrection, when you shall be 
put in the actual possession of a place in his kingdom, whereof 
the spirit is now an earnest. See Locke. See Rom. viii. 23. — 
" As these gifts were vouchsafed in token of God's acceptance 
of the persons on whom they were conferred, and were thereby 
a kind of impression or seal that God put on them, to assure 
them of the future inheritance of his children, so if persons of- 
fended God by their vices, in such a manner as to provoke him 
to withdraw these gifts from them, they forfeited this seal of 
their right to the heavenly inheritance, and were left in a state 
of condemnation. And as these gifts were granted in confir- 
mation of a religion which enjoined the greatest purity of heart 
and conversation, and the perpetual study of love and peace, 
the apostle, by placing this exhortation between the commanda 
to abstain from corrupt conversation, and a bitter, wrathful, re- 
vengeful spirit and behaviour, seems plainly to intimate that by 
those sins God was in a peculiar manner offended." Chandler. 

250 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. iii. 5. 

Ch. IV. ing proof that you are his chosen people, and heirs 
Ver. 30. ^f ^^^ promised inheritance. In other words, do 
not by any misdemeanour, either in conversation or 
conduct, offend God, and provoke him to withdraw 
from you those manifestations of his spirit which 
are the tokens of his favour, and the earnest of 
your deliverance from the power of sin and death. 

5. The apostle urges them to abstain from all 
malignity and clamorous contention, and to culti- 
vate kindness, forgiveness, and disinterested good- 
will, after the example of God and Christ, ver, 
31— V. 2. 
31. I^et all bitterness i, and wrath, and anger, and 
clamour, and evil-speakinq, be removed from you, 
with all malice. 

Among your unconverted and ungodly neigh- 
bours, who are under no restraint from moral and 
religious considerations, nothing is more common 
than malignant quarrels, fierce contentions and 
brawlings, abusive language, malice, and mischief. 
Be assured, my brethren, that nothing can be more 
contrary to the spirit of the gospel than such a tem- 
per and behaviour as this ; and, if it is your desire 
to approve yourselves the genuine disciples of Jesus, 

' Bitterness, &c.] It is not easy to distinguish the diflerent 
signification of each different word which is here used. Dr. Dod- 
dridge obsei-ves, " that perhaps it might only be the apostle's 
design^ in amassing so many almost synonymous expressions 
together, to show that he would have them be upon their guard 
against all the malevolent passions, and those outrages of speech 
and expression which they tend to produce." 

Ver. 1. 

Part 11. EPHESIANS. Si:cx. I. in. 5. 251 

you must utterly renounce these malignant pas- ch. iv. 
sions, and live under the influence of a very differ- ^'^'■••^*- 
ent spirit. 

And be ye kind one to another^ tenderly affec- 32. 

tioned' , freely forgiving one another^ even as God 
by Christ^ hath freely forgiven you. Be ye, there- ch. v. 
fore^, the imitators of God, as beloved children. 

Instead of hating, and wishing ill, and doing 
mischief to one another, the law to which you are 
now subject requires that you should be always ready 

' Tenderly nffectioned.'] " This precept is very different from 
that of Epictetus, who says, * If one is in affliction, thou mayest 
say thou hast pity on him, but take care not to feel any pity.' " 

' By Christ, &c.] that is, ' God in the gospel has declared free 
pardon to all who repent and believe.' The expression sv 'Kptruj 
is very improperly rendered in the public version, " for Christ's 
sake," a phrase which greatly diminishes the force of the apo- 
stle's argument, which is to urge Christians to the exercise of 
a forgiving spirit, from the consideration of the great mercy of 
God exercised in the forgiveness of their offences without any 
foreign consideration whatever. He certainly did not mean to 
recommend to those who had been offended to withhold forgive- 
ness till satisfaction had been made by a third party. 

" God is no where said to forgive sin for the sake of Christ. 
It is a great injury to the character of the Divine Being to sup- 
pose that he does not forgive repenting sinners freely, without 
any satisfaction to his justice, or the intercession of others. 
All that is necessary is men's becoming proper objects of his 
mercy, which true repentance and leading a new life will al- 
ways make them. If this had not been the case, the divine con- 
duct could never have been proposed to our imitation in this 
respect. Now, we are taught to pray that God v-ould forgive 
us, as we forgive others, and we are told that if our offending 
brother only repent, we must forgive him. The Divine Being, 
therefore, no doubt acts upon the same generous maxim." 
Dr. Priestley. 

* Be ye, therefore.'] Griesbach joins the two first verses of the 
sixth chapter to the end of the fifth, " from which," as Chan- 
dler remarks, " they ought never to have been separated." 

252 FAttill. EPHESIANS. 


Ch. V. to perform kind offices for each other ; that, instead 
"* ■ of contriving and rejoicing in each others calami- 
ties, you should sympathize in the tenderest man- 
ner with those who are in distress, and contribute 
to the utmost of your ability to their relief; instead 
of making a boast of taking ample revenge for a 
supposed injury or insult, you should be ready to 
forgive upon the first symptoms of repentance, and 
that without insisting always upon the satisfaction 
to which you are justly entitled. For, consider how 
often and how grievously you have offended God, 
and yet how kind he has been to you in sending 
Jesus Christ to offer you that forgiveness which 
you never sought for, and, had you been left to 
yourselves, would never have obtained. Imitate, 
then, the merciful spirit of your merciful God ; and, 
instead of indulging a revengeful temper, rather be 
the first to invite to reconciliation those with whom 
you have the greatest reason to be offended. Thus, 
by your resemblance to your heavenly Father, ap- 
prove yourselves his beloved children. 
2. And walk hi love, even as Christ loved 7is, and 
gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifee^ 
to God of fragrant odour. 

' Ojfering and sacrifice.'] Some distinguish Kpoo'cpopct as ' a 
peace offering,' and hutxia as ' a sin offering.' See Macknight, 
and Dr. Bates's //(/HHO?/?/ of Divine Attributes, p. 234. But 
Dr. Doddridge justly observes, " I cannot lay much stress upon 
this distinction." Neither, indeed, ought any stress to be Ijiid 
upon the figurative representation of the death of Christ as a 
sacrifice, as though it necessarily implied atonement, propitia- 
tion, or satisfaction to God for the sins of men j a notion ut- 


. o 

P.VTIT 11. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. iv. 1. ^53 

Let your whole life be a continued scene of be- ch. V. 
nevolent exertions ; and be ever ready to make the 
most generous sacrifices of ease and interest, of 
health and safety, for the benefit of your fellow- 
creatures. Such is the glorious example which our 
honoured Master hath set before us. Such was his 
love to mankind and his generous pity for lost sin- 
ners, that, after having laboured with indefatigable 
zeal for their instruction, he closed his ministry by 
sacrificing his life upon the cross for their benefit. 
And so acceptable was this illustrious instance of 
magnanimous self-denial to his heavenly Father, 
that he has crowned his virtue with a proportionate 
reward, and given him a name above every name. 
And be assured, my brethren, that all who folloxv 
his example shall participate in his triumph. 

The apostle earnestly warns them against the 
vices of heathenism, and enjoins the Christian vir- 
tues of purity, prudence, temperance, and thank- 
fulness, ch. v. 3 — 21. 

1. He strictly prohibits, in every shape and in 

terly unfounded in the scriptures. Christy from good will to 
men, made a sacrifice of his life upon the cross ; and his bene- 
volent and disinterested conduct in this instance was highly ac- 
ceptable to God, which is here expressed by thesacrifical term, 
' an offering of fragrant odour.' See Lev. ii. ] — 9 ; Numb. xv. 
3 — 14. And it is the duty of the disciples of Christ to cherish 
and to exercise the same kind and generous spirit, and, where 
occasion may require, to submit to the greatest sacrifices for the 
good of others, 1 John iii. 16. 

254 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. iv. 1. 

Ch. V. every degree, those gross impurities which were al- 
lowed amongst the heathen, ver. 3, 4. 

Ver. 3, Now let Tiot fornication^ nor any kind of impu- 
rity ^ nor licentious desire ', be even named amongst 
4- you, as becometh saints, nor ribaldry 2, nor buf- 
foonery^, nor scurrilous jesting'^, which «re wholly 
improper^; but rather graceful conversation^. 

■ Licentious desire.'] TrXsovs^ia,- " excessive appetite." Wake- 
field. See Eph. iv. 19. The usual sense oi irXsovs^ia is ' cove- 
tousness ;' but Locke, ufter Hammond, observes, " that if it is 
considered how often it stands connected with various species 
of impurity, it can hardly be doubted that in this connexion it 
is used as a decent expression for very gross crimes, such as 
were not even to be named amongst Christians." See Horn. i. 

^Ribaldry.'] See Worsley's translation. ccKr^t^potYiC ''inde- 
cent speeches." Wakefield. " The former advice," says Dr. 
Chandler, " related to impurity of action, this to obsceneness 
of conversation and speech, which is here condemned by the 
apostle, as inconsistent with the obligation of our Christian pro- 
fession ; in which many who call themselves Christians give 
themselves very scandalous liberties, to the shocking of chaste 
ears, and to the breach of decency and iill good manners." 

^ Buffoonery.'] " (jMpoXoyia.'" Worsley. "unchaste speeches." 
Wakefield. " Shidium ineptorum et impudicorum sermonum." 
Schleu.sner. Archbishop Newcome renders the word, foolish 
talking; q. d. " nor impure talk. Col. iii. 8 ; nor light and idle 
talk, unworthy of the character or of the subject ; nor scurrilous 
jesting, injurious to peace and reputation." He adds, from Eras- 
mus, " Nonfero quosdam qui quoties urbani videri volunt e divi- 
nis Uteris ad sua s ineptias <}etorquent aliquid." 

"* Scurrilous jesting.] ivrpaifsXia. So Newcome, " dou- 
ble meanings." Macknight. " scurrilitas, dicacitas" Schleu- 
sner. " The original sense," says Dr. Chandler, " is an art- 
fully turned discourse ; it is used both in a good and bad sense. 
The apostle here intends such ambiguous forms of speecli as are 
intended to raise mirth by dishonest and corrupt meanings. 
This, amongst some, passes for wit ; but, in the judgement of 
the apostle, it is foohsh talking ; and, in the opinion of all wise 
and sober persons, it is rudeness and ill manners." 

*. Wholly improper^ hk avr^jcovra- not convenient, " mast 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 1. 255 

You well know in what low estimation the vir- ch.v. 
tues of purity and chastity are held by your heathen ^^^- ^' 
neighbours, how deeply their conversation is tinc- 
tured with indecent and obscene language, and with 
how little shame or sense of guilt they indulge them- 
selves in the most abominable practices. I now so- 
lemnly warn you, my brethren, that these habits of 
your former heathen and idolatrous state must be 
entirely relinquished, and for ever renounced. You 
must not only, as believers in Christ, consecrated 
and set apart from the rest of mankind, abstain from 
the practice, but even from the familiar mention of 
these odious vices. Your conversation, also, must 
be purified from all those lewd expressions and in- 
decent speeches which afford so much mirth to men 
of gross and sensual minds, but which are wholly 
unsuitable to the dignity of the Christian charac- 
ter. I do not, however, mean to proscribe innocent 
mirth. God is not honoured by sadness of spirit. 
Let your conversation, then, be cheerful and easy ; 

disagreeable." Pylej who refers to Rom. i. 28, which he says 
" ought to be so translated." — " which are greatly unbecom- 
ing, and highly displeasing to God." See ver. 1 1 . Chandler. 
Mr. Wakefield, from Bowyer, supplies jcara before roc, and 
reads tj svrpxitsXitx, (jtara) ra, ouk avYjKOvra., which he renders, 
" unseasonable levity, levity upon improper subjects." 

'^ Graceful conversation. 1 su^oi'piS'ta. " urbanitas etjucimdi- 
tas in sermone temperata et honesta, gratia et honesias oratio- 
nis, et opponitur rr, ix,ajpoAoyia." Schleusnerj who refers to 
Xenophon. This forms a better opposition to the preceding 
vices than " thanksgiving." comp. ch. iv. 29. Chandler includes 
both senses in his exposition : " Endeavour to render your 
speech grateful and profitable to those you converse with j and 
abound in thanksgivings to God for all his mercies," See Col. 
iii. 15—17. 

256 Part II. E P H E g I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 2. 

Ch. V. the natural effusion of a grateful heart, acceptable 

Ver. 4 

alike to God and man. 

2. He plainly warns them that these vices utterly 
exclude from all the privileges of a Christian pro- 
fession, and entail condemnation even upon the 
ignorant and idolatrous heathen, ver. 5 — 7. 

For he assured of this, that no fornicator ^ or 
■unchaste person, or lascivious libertine ', ivho is an 
idolater 2, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of 
Christ and of God^. Let no man deceive you 
with vain words *, for because of these things the 

' Lascivious libertine^ itXsovBKrrjg . See Locke j compare 
ver. 3. " one of excessive appetites." Wakefield. There can 
be no doubt that the crime alluded to in this verse is the same 
that is mentioned in the third verse ; and, from the connexion, 
it seems evident that the apostle alludes to these abominable 
impurities which were practised and avowed amongst the hea- 
then, and which often even constituted a part of their sacred 
rites. '•' a man of such inordinate desires as an idolater is and 
must be. This sense is most agreeable to the apostle's de- 
sign." Pyle. 

* Who IS an idolater.'] q. d. whatever such a profligate wretch 
may call himself, he is no Christian : he retains the very worst 
part of heathenism, and ought to be avoided by all sincere pro- 
fessors of Christianity, and to be excluded from the communion 
of the church. Archbishop Newcome explains tlie expression 
of " making riches his god;" so likewise Dr. Chandler j but 
this ap]3ears to me wide of the apostle's meaning, which is, that 
these licentious practices are the very essence of idolatry, and 
the M'Orst part of it. 

3 Of Christ, &c.] Mr. Wakefield observes, " that the ^Ethi- 
opic and Arabic versions omit xai before ©ss," and he renders 
the clause, " no fornicator, &c., can have an inheritance in the 
kingdom of the anointed teacher of God." 

* Vain words.'] " Suffer not yourselves to be imposed upon 
by the vain and false pretences of corrupt men, who may en- 
deavour to persuade you that these vices may be indulged with 
safety." Chandler •, who observes that " the word means false 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. I. iv. 2. 25/ 

wrath of God cometh on the sons of disobedience'-'. Ch. v. 
Be not^ therefore^ associates with them. Ver. 7. 

Do not, my brethren, make light of my advice, 
and think not that the crimes to which I have al- 
luded can be made consistent with the Christian 
profession, or the Christian hope. I solemnly assure 
you that every violation of chastity, from cases which 
are commonly regarded as the least criminal, even 
to those of the greatest enormity, however connived 
at or tolerated, or even required, in the abominable 
rites of heathen deities, constitute an absolute ex- 
clusion from all the privileges of that holy commu- 
nity which God has been pleased to establish in the 
world, and of which Jesus is the holy and exalted 
head. There are, indeed, some who assume the 
character of lovers of wisdom, who will gravely ar- 
gue in defence of these licentious practices. But 
beware of being deceived by their plausible and in- 
sidious harangues: they may make as light as they 
please of their infamous debaucheries, but let them 

and deceitful representations, void of solidity and truth." Mr. 
Locke renders it, " empty talk ;" and remarks, that " One would 
guess by this that, as there were Jews who would persuade 
them that it was necessary for all Christians to observe the law 
of Moses, so there were others who retained so much of their 
ancient heathenism, as to endeavour to make them believe that 
these abominations were indifferent actions, not offensive to 
God, nor inconsistent with his worship." Dr. Whitby, in his 
note upon this text, produces several authorities to show that 
fornication was approved and recommended by the heathen phi- 

^ Sons of disobedience] " here, and in ch. ii. 2, and Col. iii. 6, 
are plainly the Gentiles, who refused to come in and submit 
themselves to ti.e gospel." Locke. 


258 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 3. 

Ch. V, know that they are not only forbidden under the 
^^*' severest penalties to professing Christians, but that 
they are inconsistent even with the law of nature, 
and justly entail the righteous vengeance of God 
on the heathen woifld. Be not, then, associates with 
them in their cripies, lest ye al$o partake with them 
in their punishments. 

3. The Hght of the gospel requires a conduct that 
will bear inspection, and is absolutely inconsistent 
with those deeds of darkness and of shame which . 
were the disgrace of the heathen world, ver. 8 — 12. 
8. For ye were formerly darkiiess i, but now ye are 
light in the Lord^ : walk as children of light. 

I press this advice upon you from the considera- 
tion of the happy change which has taken place \a 
your moral state. Not long ago you were as igno- 
rant of the character of God, of the requisitions of 
duty, and of the doctrine of immortality, as any of 
your poor unconverted neighbours. You were dark- 
ness itself; totally uninformed upon every topic of 
pure moraUty and true religion. You are now in 
a very different state. You are brought into mar- 

' Darkness.'] See Col, i. 12, 13. " The kingdom of Satan 
over the Gentile world was a kingdom of darkness ; and, to 
express the ignorance which the Gentiles were in, the apostle 
galls them ' darkness itself." " Locke. 

' hi the Lord.'] q. d. ye believing in, or instructed by, the 
Lord, are light, i. e. says Dr. Chandler, " ye are instructed in 
the knowledge of God and of true religion by the gospel of 
Christ." " The converts from heathenism are said to be called 
out of darkness into marvellous light in the Lord : i. e. as Chris- 
tians." Newcome. 

Part II. E P H E S 1 A N S. Sect. I. iv. 3. 25,9 

Villous light. By the revelation of the gospel you, ch. v. 
have been fully instructed, both with regard to your ^^'- ^' 
duties and your expectations. Let your co.ndi^ct, 
^heo, correspond with your privil^ge^. Live as 
Christians, and not as heath^u. 

For the fruit^ of the light'^ consisteth'^ in all ^- 

goodness, and righteousness, and truth 6. 

If you are truly enlightened by the doctrine and 
governed by the spirit of the gospel, you will 
abound in acts of beneficence. You will be scru- 
pulously exact in rendering to ev^ry one his due, 
inflexibly firm in your adherence to truth, and in- 
violably faithful to all your engagements. 

Searching out 7 what is well pleasing to the 10. 


Being in possession of the b^st means of infor- 
mation, you will diligently study the doctrine of 
Christ, that you may learn the virtues of the Chris- 

^Tcor the fruit.'] " This parenthesis," says Mr. Locke, " serves 
to give us the literal sense of all that is here required by the 
apostle in this allegorical discourse of light." 

* Light.'] The common reading is itvsv c, spirit, but (pcv- 
TOj, light, is authorized by the most approved manuscripts an(i 
versions ; and it best suits the connexion, aiid is adopted by 
Griesbach and Newcome, See Macknight's note. The worfl 
spirit does not occur in this connexion, and is probably bor- 
rowed from Gal. v. 22. 

* Consisteth.] See Macknight, 

" Good7iess, &c.] " universal goodness, justice, aqd vera- 
city-" Chandler. 

^ Search'uig out.] S(>Titi/,a^ovrss. " giving proof." Wakefield. 
— " The mpst frequent significatiop of the original word," says 
Dr. Chandler, " is, to discern, or search out : sometimes it sig- 
nifies to approve any thing when fully apprehended and dis- 
cerned, in both senses it Avell suits the connexion." 
c 9 

260 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. rv. 3. 

Ch. V. tian character, and may attain that purity of spirit 
^'^' ' which alone is acceptable to God, who is the 
searcher of hearts. 

1 1 . And participate not in the mischievous works ^ of 

12. darknesSy but rather even reprove them^. For it is 
indecent even to mention their secret practices^. 

Far from joining in the lewd revels, the indecent 
language, and the licentious practices of your ido- 
latrous neighbours, which are most hateful, and 
equally injurious to their bodies and their souls, ra- 
ther seek every favourable opportunity to enter your 
protest against, and to testify your abhorrence of, 
these abominable vices. Discourage them, at least, 

' Mischievous works :'] a^ccpirois "here signifies, not only wn- 
projitable, but mischievous ; as Rom. i. 28. Thus it answers to 
inutilis, which signifies mischievous in the best Latin authors." 
Pyle. " destructive." Newcome ; who adds, " We have the 
same litotes, ver. 4, ' which are not fit,' for, ' which are unfit 
and disgraceful.' See Rom. vi. 21." — " such as are attended 
with the most mischievous and destructive consequences." 

' Reprove them.'] Chandler observes, that " the original 
word signifies both to reprove and to convince. Christians 
ought to endeavour, by the light of a good conversation, to re- 
prove the vices of their Gentile neighbours, that so they may 
convince them of the evil and danger of them." 

^ Secret practices.'] It is generally understood that there is a 
reference in these verses to the heathen mysteries ; and Chand- 
ler observes, that " the word a-vyycoivcuvsirs is used by profane 
authors to denote a participation in their religious rites and 
mysteries." Dr. Whitby, in his note upon the text, produces 
authorities to prove that the Eleusinian and Bacchanalian my- 
steries were full of the most detestable iniquity. Dr. Doddridge 
remarks, from Saurin, " a sarcasm in this clause seldom at- 
tended to : as if it were insinuated here, they are called airop- 
pYiToc, things not to be spoken of. True, says the apostle, they 
are properly so ; things not too sacred, but too infamous, to be 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 4. 26 I 

by the sanctity of your example. They veil these Ch v. 
odious practices under the sacred appellation of re- 
ligious mysteries, into which none but the initiated 
are permitted to be introduced ; and mysteries let 
them ever remain, for the infamy of their conduct 
upon these occasions is too gross, and too atro- 
cious, to be described. 

4. The Christian religion denounces shame upon 
the gross vices of heathen idolatry, and calls upon 
every one to renounce the works of darkness, and 
to walk in the light of the gospel, ver. 13, 14. 

But all these things are discovered^ being re- 13. 

proved by the light '^:for the light is that ivhich dis- 
covereth every thing ^; therefore it saith^^ Awake^ 14. 

O sleeper! and rise from the dead, and Christ will 
shine upon thee. 

* All these things, &c.] So this clause is rendered and ex- 
plained by Dr. Chandler : " All things, viz. which were done 
by the heathen in secret, were discovered, i. e. their moral tur- 
pitude, and the doers of them rendered ashamed, being re- 
proved, i. e. demonstrated to be wicked and abominable by the 
light, i. e. by the Christian religion, or by the lustre of an un- 
blameable and virtuous behaviour." 

• For the light, &c.] Dr. Chandler renders the words, " it 
is the light which makes manifest every thing." An anony- 
mous writer in Bowyer suggests the propriety of the transposi- 
tion, TO yap irccv (pscvspsiMsvciv. Mr. Wakefield translates this 
verse, '' For all these things show themselves when convicted 
by the light, and whatever showeth itself is become light;" 
i. e. as he explains it in the note, " is thereby brought to 
shame." He adds, " after all, this is to me one of the most 
difficult passages of scripture." 

" It saith.'] The words which follow are not to be found in 
the Old Testament. They are, however, commonly supposed 
to be an allusion to Isa. Ix. 1, " Arise, shine ! for thy light is 

"162 Part II. E P H E S I A N S, Sect. I. iv. 4, 

Ch. V. But all these odious vices, so common in the hea- 
then mysteries, iso shamefully justified by the phi- 
losophers, So impudently practised by persons of all 
idesciiptions, and which so often constitute an es- 
sential part of idol worship, are now plainly proved 
t6 be disgraceful to human nature, and offensive t6 
the divine purity. This important discovery iS re- 
vealed by the gospel ; the light of which now shines 
upon the benighted woiid, and exposes to just ab- 
horrence and contempt those vices the malign^iit 
nature and pernicious tendency of which were 'ribt, 
under the darkness of heathenism, sufficiently iippa- 
rcnt to mankind. Justly indeed may the evangeli- 
cal do'ctrihe be called light, siuce itiiiaTies the rilo^'t 
impbttant dis'coVeries in the^ mdral Woi^d, a'nd 'so 
'clearly reVeals the duties atid the ekpectatioris of 
man. And as a benignant angel, commissioned 
upon the kindest errand, it addresses itself in the 
most energetic language to those whose eyes are 
closed to the evidence and beauty of moral and re- 
ligious truth, whose hearts are dead to every princi- 

come ; for the glory of the Lord is iisenttpdn tHee." A writer 
in Bowyer supposes it to have beefi in.^erted froth the margin. 
Scaligerdfia, p. 13G. G. Syncellus in Chron. p. 27, skys it 
is cited out of an iipocryphal 'piece of the prophet Jeretnikh. 
Chandler thinks it was some sentence spbken by Christ, though 
not recorded in the evangelical history. Archbishop Newcoirie 
supplies the vvords " the Spirit sayeth," and explains it as a de- 
claratioti by the apostle immedia:tely from God. Pr. Macknight 
says, that " the apostle by a rhetorical figure introduces the 
gospel as addressing an exhortation to the Gentiles, to awake 
out of the lethargy dfsiti ; " and refers to Rom. x. 6 for a simi- 
lar persoriification. This interpretaition appears both just arid 
Ijeautifid, and it is itdoptcd in tiie ex^position. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. o. 2G3 

pie of virtue and piety, and wh'o are buried in sen- ch. v. 
suality and vice, summoning them to awake from • 
the slumbers of ignorance, calling upon them to 
rise from the death of sin, and inviting them to par- 
ticipate in the light, the life, and happiness of the 
gospel. And, blessed be God, this invitation is not 
always urged in vain. 

5. The apostle recommends prudence, and that 
they should not unnecessarily provoke persecution, 
ver. 15 — 17. 

See ^ therefore^ that yc walk correctly ^^ not as 15. 

unwise i but as wise, gaining time'^, because the 16. 

days are evil. Therefore be not inconsiderate ^^ 17. 

but understand what the will of the Lordis. 

' Correctly.'] ax.piCu}g. " exacthj, according to the evan- 
gelical rule," Newcome. — " acairately," Macknight and Dod- 
dridge. " with great exactness and care, so as neither to 
become partakers with the Gentiles in their crimes, nor to ex- 
pose yourselves to their malice and anger by an imprudent 
rebuke of their very vices." Chandler. " walk correctly 
(Dr. Paley, Hor. Paul. p. 226), suiting yourselves to the diffi- 
culty and ticklishneSs ot" the times in which you live. When 
^ve advise a person to walk coi'rectly, our advice is always given 
with a reference to the opinion of others." 

* Gaining time.'] So Chandler j and Macknight, who refers 
to Dan. ii. 8 : " I know of a certainty that ye would gain time," 
on Kaipov s^ayopa^srs. " The English expression, ' gaining 
time," " says Dr. Chandler, " will take in the proper meaning 
of the apoJjtle ; especially as the original ejqjression seems to 
refer to debtors who by some valuable consideration buy off the 
fixed time for the payment of their debts ; or, as we say, .gain 
further time for this purpose. \Vhen ihe apostle wrote, the time 
vms extremely dangerous, and the profession of Christianity 
hazardous. What was the prudence requisite ? It was to gain 
time, tlia't the evils might not come upon them to which impru- 
dence would certainly expose them. See (^'ol. iv. 5." 

^ 'Licoiisiderdie.] 'scfpiys^. " Yet, for the sake of thi.5 gaining 

264 Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. I. iv. fi. 

Ch. V. You, my brethren, are in the number of those 
who have listened, to the invitations of the gospel, 
and who walk in the light of Christ. Let me charge 
you to keep to the path of duty with the greatest 
accuracy and circumspection. Warn, admonish, 
instruct, and edify others by your example and con- 
versation. Do not by any unguarded conduct ex- 
pose yourselves or your cause to reproach, and give 
no unnecessary offence. Let the wisdom of the ser- 
pent be united with the simplicity of the dove. And 
by a prudent and conciliatory conduct, without a 
mean desertion of principle, adjourn as far as pos- 
sible the season of persecution and peril. But in 
order to this, do not venture to join with your hea- 
then neighbours in their mad and impious revels ; 
for it would be far better to endure the severest tor- 
ments their malice could inflict, than to be ^asso- 
ciates with them in their crimes. Consider, there- 
fore, with yourselves how far you may with a safe 
conscience avoid giving offence, and how you may, 
consistently with your duty to God, forbear to pro- 
voke those evils which it will be sufficient to meet 
with fortitude, when they cannot be avoided consi- 
stently with integrity and honour. 

6. Instead of intemperate revellings, the apostle 

time, do not become madmen, by joining the votaries of Bac- 
chus in their frantic rites." Macknight. Dr. Chandler also sup- 
poses an allusion to the feasts of Bacchus, and that the advice 
of the apostle is, that " they should not act like persons out of 
their minds, but as persons fully apprized of their interest and 
duty. rj. (1. Do not act without thought and understanding." 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 6. 265 

recommends the love of virtue,' pious hymns and Ch. v. 
thanksgivings, and a kind conciHatoiy conduct, ver. 

And he not intoxicated with wine, by ivhich is Vcr. 18. 
dissoluteness ', but befitted witti tJie spirit 2. 

Instead of joining in the bacchanalian revels of 
your idolatrous neighbours, and escaping from per- 
secution by indulging yourselves, and countenancing 
them, in those excesses of intemperance which lead 
to every species of wickedness and debauchery, and 
which are absolutely inconsistent with your charac- 
ters and hopes as Christians, drink deeply into the 
doctrine and spirit of the gospel, with which if you 
are thoroughly imbued, you will lead a life diame- 
trically the reverse of that low and gross and con- 
temptible character which I have just described, and 
will be formed to habits of purity, truth, and virtue. 

' Dissoluteness.'] " acrcutia, ex a priv. et a-tou} servo, qui ser- 
vari nequit, vita foedissima et ad omnem turpitudinem ahjecta," 
Schleusner, See Wetstein N. T. vol. i. p. 758. " dissolute- 
ness, riot, profligacy." Harwood. " the habit of vi^hich vice 
shows that a man is so lost that he cannot be saved from pre- 
sent and final destruction without great difficulty." Newcome. 
— " Wherein is excess. This rendering doth by no means come 
up to the force of St. Paul's word, which signifies a wretched 
and abandoned disposition, the being lost to all virtue, and fit 
for the worst excesses and enormities, a perfect dissoluteness of 
mind and behaviour. So that the meaning of the advice is. Be 
not drunk with wine, because habitual drunkenness is an argu- 
ment of a very dissolute and profligate temper ; or because it 
leads to, and is the cause of, the most licentious and abandoned 
behaviour." Chandler. — " in which is a shameful want of order." 

' The spirit.'] " spiritual gifts." Chandler. " with the grand 
discoveries of the gospel." Macknight; more correctly. The 
attainment of spiritual gifts was not in their power. 

266 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 6. 

Ch. V. Speaking among yourselves psalms and hymns 

and spiritual odes ^,. singing and making melody 

-'t). ivithyour hearts to the Lord. Giving thanks at alt 

times for all things ^ in the naine 3 of our Lord 

■ 21. Jesus Christ to owx God and Fathei'^. Submitting 

yourselves one to another in the fear of C/msi^. 

' Speaking among yourselves psalrfix and hymns alid spiritual 
ories.] So Wakefield. Gr. *' in psalms." " in psalms, such as 
those of David, in hymns of praise to God, and in other song.s 
dictated by the .spirit." Newcome. See 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 16. Pro- 
bably the meaning is, that they were to entertain themselves 
and each other with hymns and anthems upon religious sub- 
jects, and particularly in praising God for his goodness in the 
Christian revelation, whether the comi)ositions which they made 
use of were inspired or not. It is also supposed that respon- 
sive melodies are here alluded to. See Macknight. 

• All things.'] Dr. Barrow interprets the expression as if the 
meaning were. Consider yourselves as appointed to return to 
God the tribute of praise due from the whole human race. See 
his Works, vol. i. p. 257 : also Doddridge in lot: 

^ In the iuwie :'] i. e. under the direction and authority of 
our Master Jesus Christ. We are to give thanks in the way in 
which we have been directed by Jesus Christ. The apostle 
does not mean to require that every act of prayer or thanks- 
giving should be concluded with the words in the name of- 
Christ, as if there was some charm in that e\-])ression which 
would prevail upon God to grant what he might otbenvise be 
inclined to Avithhold. " Secundum voluntatein,ex pracepto Do^ 
mini nostri-Jesu Christi." RosenmuUer. 

•* To our God and Father.'] tea ©scu nai varpi, " to God, even 
khG Father, or, our God and Father." Newcome. — " to God 
the Father." Wakefield. " The primitive Christians," says 
Dr. Priestley, " were noted for their observance oif this advice, 
being frequently employed in singing spiritual hymns and 
psalms. Singing consists chiefly in than'ksgiving, aind this yo"d 
"see is here directed to God through ; Christianity being 
th-e means by which glory is brought to God. Here, as upon all 
other occasions, you see the supremacy of one God the Father, 
•;ind the subordination of Christ, as well as of other proplh^s, to 
him, who is his God as well as ours, and bis Father, or the au- 
thor of his being, as vrcjl as ours." 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. I. iv. 6. 267 

Nor is the spirit of the gospel in the least degree Ch. v. 
inconsistent with innocent cheerfulness, but highly 
productive of it. And when your hearts are full of 
joy, arising from conscious iiitegiity, and from the 
discoveries and hopes of the gospel, let your tongues 
'express your gratitude atid delight in responsive 
melodies ; either using the language of those de- 
votional compositions of which David and other 
pious harmonists have furnished us with so pleas- 
ing a variety ; or, odes composed for the occasion, 
as every one's disposition and ability may prompt. 
Remembering, that sincerity is of more value in 
the estimation of God, than the finest poetry or the 
sublimest harmony ; and that the most acceptable 
melody is a grateful heart. Give thanks to God, 
therefore, at all times for all things ; for spiritual 
as well as temporal blessings, for adversity as well 
as prosperity. All is the appointment of God, all 
h intended for good ; let all therefore be acknow- 
ledged with gratitude and praise. Give thanks to 
God likewise for his loving kindness to all men : 
praise him for the bounties of his providence, and 
for the riches of his grace to the whole family of 
mankind, a;nd let a gener6us sympathy inspire the 
accents of gratitude. Leitall be done itccoi'dingto 

' The fear of Christ.'] This is the reading of the Alexandrine 
and many other manuscripts and versions of the best repute : 
it is received into the text by Griesbach, Wakefield, and New- 
come. The common reading is, "the fear of God." The fear 
of Christ expresses that reverence which is due to his authority 
as a teacher sent from God. — " Obscquhim exhihii c vnbis inviiem 
ex pietate (revercntia), crga Chrislunt." Ro.scnmvdlcr. 

268 Part II. E P H E S 1 A N S,. Sect. II. i. I . 

Ch. V. the directions of our common Master Jesus Christ ; 

^"' '^" who has taught us to address our religious homage, 

neither to himself nor to any other creature, but 

solely to that great and venerable Being who is his 

Father and our Father, his God and our God. 

And as the best proof of your reverence for Christ 
as your Master, and of your gratitude to your God 
and Father, be kind one to another, and fulfill with 
affectionate solicitude the important duties of the 
various relations of social and domestic life. 


Exhortations to Relative Duties. Ch. v. 22 — vi. 9. 


The apostle insists upon the duties of the conju- 
gal relation, with a particular allusion to the case 
in which either of the parties was an unbeliever. 
Ch. V. 22—33. 

1 . The apostle prescribes the duty of the wife to 
the husband, ver. 22 — 24. 

22. JVives^ he subject to your own husbands^ as 

23. the church' is to the Lord; for the husband is the 

' As the church.] An anonymous writer in Bowyer suggests 
ij fx>cXr/cr<a, the church, as the word proper to be supplied be- 
tween ws and tu} xvpiu). And as it best agrees with the strain 
of the argument, I have introduced ft into the translation. Dr. 

Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. II.i. 1. 2G9 

head of the wife^ even as Christ is the head of the ch. v. 
church : he is the protector of this his body 2. jis Ver. 24. 
the church, then, is subject to Christ, so let wives 
be to their husbands in every thing 3. 

Fulfill with becoming attention the duties of the 
various relations of Hfe. And, to begin with that 
which is the most important of all, the conjugal 
relation : Let it not be imagined that the profes- 
sion of Christianity interferes in the least degree 
with the social and civil duties; on the contrary, it 
enforces them more strongly and by peculiar mo- 
tives. Let not Christian wives, even though united 
to unbelieving husbands, think themselves autho- 
rized to relax in that respectful attention to them 
which the laws and customs of society require, and 
which they have been accustomed to show. Let 
them regard the relation in which they stand to 

Chandler observes, that " the submission here required is that 
which flows from sincere affection and love : for such is the 
submission we pay to Christ, and this is all a wise and good 
man will desire, and which no prudent and religious woman will 
ever refuse." 

' This his bodij •] " i. e. the church." Newcome. 

' In every thing.'] " This," says Archbishop Newcome, " is 
to be limited by reason. It is observable that when St. Paul in- 
culcates submission to civil magistrates, he avoids expressing 
himself so strongly." " The church's subjection to Christ," Dr. 
Chandler observes, " is founded in gratitude ; and results from 
that protection which he grants it, and those blessings which he 
confers upon it. And from hence it follows, that if the husband 
be defective in his care of the wife, and refuses her that tender- 
ness, protection, friendship, and support, which the matrimo- 
nial relation gives her a claim to, the husband so far vacates the 
reasons and obligations of that submission which he might other- 
wise reasonably expect from her, and which an obliged virtuous 
wife would gladly pay him." 

270 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. i.2. 

rh. V. their husbands, as similar to that of the church to 
■^^■' ' Christ. He is to the church what the head is to 
the body : so likewise is the husband to the wife : 
and as the church, instructed, protected, and che- 
rished by Christ, yields a ready obedience to his 
mild and wise and beneficial precepts ; so while the 
husband, though an unbeliever, continues to con- 
duct himself with becoming tenderness and affec- 
tion, and to exercise only that mild authority which 
the laws and manners of society warrant, and which 
in certain cases may be expedient, let the wife sub- 
mit to his direction and yield to his authority in all 
cases in which she is not restrained from it by du- 
ties of superior obligation. 

It may be proper to observe here, that the apo- 
stle's directions are better suited to the state of so- 
ciety and manners in the East, where the female 
sex then were, and still are, kept under an undue 
and ungenerous restraint, than to the more enlight- 
ened views and more polished manners of Euro- 
pean countries and modern times ; and they are by 
no means to be regarded as obligatory in their strict 
and literal meaning. Good sense, good temper, 
good manners, mutual affection and sincere piety, 
will regulate the conduct of persons in the married 
state toward each other, far better than any specific 

2. The apostle enjoins upon the husband to show 
regard and tenderness, even to an unbelieving wife, 

Part II. E P li E S I A N S. Sect. II. i. 2. 2/ 1 

^milar to, that which Christ has manifested towards Ch. v. 
the church, ver. 25 — 27. 

Husbands^ love your wives^y even as Christ loved Ver. 2.5. 
the church'^ f and gave himself up for it, that he 26. 
3t\\ght sanctify it, frnving pv,vijied it by the wash- 
ing of waiter and by the word^y that he himself'*' 27. 

. • Husl^ands, &c.] " These precepts concerning relative du- 
ties," says Dr. Chandler, " evidently relate to such persons as 
were of different religions. Lest women who were converted 
\,o Christianity should imagine they were discharged from the 
obligations and duties of the matrimonial contract towards their 
husbands, if they were either .Jews or heathens, the apostle 
commands them to live in a reasonable subjection to them. 
And lest the husband, when convened, should hate or endea- 
vour to divorce his wife, if Jewish or pagan, the apostle com- 
mands him to treat her with the tenderest aflection, and by 
methods of kindness to endeavour to reclaim and purify her from 
the superstitions of Judaism or the idolatries of paganism." 

* ^s Christ, &c.] " As Christ loved the church and gave 
himself for it, that he might sanctify it, L e. might reform men 
from superstitious idolatries and vices, and separate them to 
himself to be his peculiar people, so ought men tenderly to love 
their heathen or Jewish wives, that thus by kindness and affec- 
tion they might prove the means of their sanctification and con- 
version to Christ." Chandler. 

' Jnd by the ivord.'] So the Syriac : see Newcome. By the 
word they had been instructed in the Christian faith ; by the 
washing of water in baptism they had made profession of it ; 
and by both united they were purified and sanctified, i.e. openly 
separated from the unbelieving world. " Ev pvjijMri optinie ver- 
titur per doctrinam, et conjungitur cum verbis, ha, ccvrr^v dyiac-n. 
Nam per doctrinam, quam discimus, emendamur, reddimur pii, 
et abstrahimur a vitiis. Ka^apia-a; x. r. a. posiquam nos aqua: 
lavacro abhiit." Rosenmuller. q. d. that he might sanctify it by 
his word, i. e. doctrine, after having purified it by the washing of 
water. Upon his profession of faith, the converted heathen is 
baptized and admitted into the Christian community, and by 
his continued attendance upon the Christian doctrine he gra- 
dually becomes thoroughly instructed and reformed. 

■* That he himself^ The Alexandrine, Clermont, and other 
manuscripts and versions read auro; for aurrv. This is also the 

272 Faux II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. i. 2, 

Ch. V. might present the church to himself, glorious ', not 
' ■ having blemish or ivrinkle, or any such thing ; but 
that it might be holy and unblameable. 

Let not husbands whose wives are unbelievers 
think themselves authorized to neglect them, or 
treat them unkindly, on that account. This igno- 
rance of truth, this alienation from God, is their 
great calamity : let them be regarded with a gene- 
rous tenderness and pity. So Christ loved the Gen- 
tile church, and pitied it in its heathen state ; not 
because of its merits, but of its wretchedness. And, 
moved by disinterested compassion, he made a vo- 
luntary sacrifice of himself for it, in order first to 
separate it from the unbelieving world by the rite of 
baptism and the public profession of religion, and 
then to purify it by the efficacy of his doctrine : in- 
tending thereby to cleanse it completely from every 
moral stain, to make it resplendent in the beauty 
of holiness, and to prepare and qualify it for its high 
and honourable destiny of an intimate and everlast- 

reading of the Coptic, Italic, and Vulgate versions, and is 
adopted by Locke, Griesbach, and Newcome. " EvSo^ov, quic- 
quidnitet: cnriXos, macula in facie, vel vestimentis. f/vtihs, ru- 
gcB." RosenmuUer. " The apostle (says Mr. Locke), tore- 
commend to husbands love and tenderness to their wives, in 
imitation of Christ's affection to the church, shows, that whereas 
other brides take care to spruce themselves and to set off their 
persons with all manner of neatness and cleanness, to recom- 
mend themselves to their bridegrooms, Christ himself, at the 
expense of his own pains and blood, purified and prepared for 
himself his spouse the church, that he might present it to him- 
self without spot or wrinkle." 

' Glorious: a church, &c.] This punctuation is preferred by 
Chandler and Macknight : they both suppose an allusion to 
Ps. xlv. 13. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. i. 3. 273 

ing union to him. Thus let Christians who are ch.v. 
connected in the conjugal relation with unbelievers ^^^*"" ^'^' 
by no means think themselves at liberty to withdraw 
from them, but, after the example of Christ, let 
them spare no pains to promote their conversion, 
to bring them to the knowledge of the truth, and 
to form them to the temper and spirit of the gospel ; 
which will be the surest pledge of mutual happiness 
both here and hereafter. 

3. The apostle enforces his exhortation by an al- 
lusion to the account given in the Jewish scriptures 
of the first formation of the won^an, ver. 28 — 32. 

Husbands ought so to love their luives as their 28. 
own bodies. He that loveth his luife, loveth him- 
self^. For no one ever hated his own flesh ; but 29. 
nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the 
church. For we are members of Ids body ; we are 2^- 

of his fleshy and of his bones^ . Accordingly ^^ a 31. 

" Loveth himself.'] There is no doubt an allusion here to the 
account given of the formation of the woman out of the man. 
Gen. ii. 21 — 25 ; which, whether it is to be understood literally 
or figuratively, as a fact or as a fable, was equally suitable to 
the apostle's purpose. He alludes to it as a known story. 

' Of his flesh, &c.] An unquestionable allusion to the words 
of Adam, Gen. ii. 24, ' This is now bone of my bone, and flesh 
of my flesh.' The church is a part of Christ's mystical person, 
as the woman of the person of the first man. " The apostle," 
says Mr. Locke, " had here two things in view : the one was, to 
press men to love their wives, by the example of Christ's love to 
his church ; and the force of that argument lay in this, that a 
man and his wife were one flesh, as Christ and his chiirch were 
one ; but this being a truth of the greater consequence, though 
an incident, he subjoins the reason, Because we are members of 
his body, &c. These words, from Gen. ii. 23, in his concise way 

274 Part II, E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. i. 3 

Ch. V. man shall leave his father and his mother^ and 
shall adhere to his wife^ and they two shall be one 

Ver. 32. person. This mystery is great • ; yet I affirm it 
in reference to Christy and the church. 

he understands both of Christ and the church. He then goes 
on with Gen. ii. 24, which makes their being one flesh the rea- 
son why a man was more strictly to be united to his wife than 
to his parents or any other relation," 

* Accordingly^ avti rsrs' " answerably to this." Doddridge, 
The apostle's analogy seems to be this : As the woman was part 
of the body of the man, so is the church the body of Christ. And 
still further : As, in consequence of this formation of the woman, 
the matrimonial connexion is represented as the most indisso- 
luble of all relations, such also is the relation between Christ 
and his church. Nothing must separate them. 

' This viystery is great.l " This," says Dr. Chandler, " is 
the natural order of the words." The sense of them it is not 
easy to ascertain. It seems to me that the apostle is pursuing 
his analogy, q. d. The indissoluble natiu'e of the matrimonial 
bond is a considerable difficulty, and seems liable to some ob- 
jection : nevertheless, sycu $s, I apply it in its utmost extent 
to the union between Christ and the church ; this must never 
be dissolved. No professing Christian must apostatize from the 
faith, nor will Christ ever discard his genuine disciples. The 
apostle here follows the turn of his mind, probably owing to his 
pharisaic education, to pursue analogies from the Old Testa- 
ment. There is no reason to suppose that any such figurative 
meaning was originally intended in the narrative in Genesis ; 
still less to admit, with Mr. Locke, that the apostle was inspired 
to interpret these passages. Some persons understand the my- 
stery to relate to the eternal Son of God becoming incarnate. 
But this is far from the apostle's purpose. The Vulgate version 
renders the text, " marriage is a great sacrament j" and upon 
this text found their doctrine, that marriage is one of the seven 
sacraments. But this is a palpable error. 

" This mystery," says Dr. Chandler, " this secret union of 
persons by matrimonial affection, is great, and it is called a my- 
stery, from the indissoluble union which that matrimony con- 
stitutes ■; and because the tetiderness of conjugal afl'ection, when 
sincere, is such as no words can describe. The Papists, from 
this passage, would fain prove matrimony to be a sacrament ; 
whereas ixvrripiov never signifies in the New Testament a sa- 

pABxil. EPHESIANS. Skct. II. 1.3. 27i 

You have read in the Jewish scriptures, that the ch. v. 
Vvoman was formed from a rib taken out of the side ^^'^' ^'' 
of the man. Gen. ii. 21. Now, whether this account 
be history or fable, it teaches the important truth 
that the conjugal relation is the most intimate and 
indissoluble that can subsist in the world ; and that 
persons in the married state should consider them- 
selves as one and the same in person, in spirit, in 
affection, in feeling, in design, and in conduct ; it 
is therefore as unnatural for a man to be unkind and 
cruel to his wife, as it would be to see him tearing 
and mangling his own flesh. A man who loves his 
wife, loves himself; while he contributes to her ease 
and comfort, he contributes to his own. Here, like- 

crament, but something that either was or is a secret ; and 
therefore can never agree to the nature of a Christian sacra- 

" Hoc mysterium vocat grave. Operee pretium esse, inquit 
Paulus, has res invicem conferre, cogitare quomodo unum sub al- 
tera lateat. Hoc et simiUbus locis, Paulus imitatus est Judceo- 
rum interpretandi modum mysticum, quo, cum persona, historia, 
ritibus, comparatur simul res alia, quee per ilia illustretur. Inde 
scriptor allegoricus did solet etiam mysticus. Non opus est ut 
nos Pauli exemplo hunc modum interpretandi imitemur, nobis 
enim non est res cum Judceis, quorum ingenio nos accommodare 
debeamus.'' Rosenmuller. 

" This mystery is great: q.d. This truth, which revelation has 
opened to us, is great. 1 mean, that Christ should leave the 
glory which he had with the Father, and should join himself to 
his sjDouse the church." Newcome. Dr. Doddridge is still more 
confident: " The mystery certainly was, that the eternal Son of 
God, receiving the degenerate race of man into an union with 
himself," &c. Surely nothing but attachment to a favourite sy- 
stem could ever have induced these learned and pious writers to 
have given an interpretation to the apostle's language, to which 
neither the words themselves nor the context afford the slightest 


276 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. i. 4. 

Ch. V. wise, the analogy applies to Christ and the church ; 
Ver. 32. ^^le chiirch is Christ's mystical body, which he re- 
gards as a constituent part of himself; which, there- 
fore, he protects, nourishes, and comforts. As Adam 
is said to have called Eve ' bone of his bone, and 
flesh of his flesh,' so may Christ be regarded as 
speaking of the church. And as it is said of man, 
that he shall forego all other relations in order to 
form an indissoluble connexion with the female of 
his choice, so the connexion between Christ and his 
church is equally paramount and indissoluble. You 
may think this doctrine strange, but I assure you 
that it is true. And they who have once entered 
into the Christian covenant must no more think of 
receding, than a man can recede from his marriage 

4. The apostle concludes this branch of liis sub- 
ject with a general exhortation to conjugal virtue, 
ver. 33. 
33. However ', iei each of you, individualli/, so love 
his wife as himself, and let the luife reverence her 

' However.'] TtXr,v q.d. Dropping the allegory altogether, the 
sum and substance of my advice is this, &c. " 1 speak of the 
sacred and strict union there is between him (Christ), and the 
members of it, (the church,) only that you may every one of 
you ajjply it to each other. ttXtjV y.oh v[j,eis, only that you may 
apply it to yourselves, each one of you." Chandler. " Enim- 
vero, particula transeundi, lit ad rem redeam. Nam sensum 
ilium allegoricum obiter tantum attingere voluit." llosenmuller. 
" However, not to enlarge on this truth respecting Christ, let 
us, &c. See Phil.iii. 16." Newcome. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. ii. 1. V7 

To return from this digression, and to drop the Ch. V. 
allegory, what I mean to recommend is, that each ^^' ' 
party should be strictly attentive to the duties of 
the conjugal relation, whether the other party be a 
Christian or an unbeliever. Let the husband, by 
kind and generous behaviour, win over the unbe- 
lieving wife to the profession of a religion which 
breathes the spirit of love ; and let the dutiful be- 
haviour of the Christian wife prove to the unbe- 
lieving husband that the profession of Christianity, 
while it strictly enforces all other duties, does not 
diminish that respectful deference which the laws 
and customs of society require from an affectionate 
and faithful wife to a kind and virtuous husband. 


The apostle inculcates filial and parental duties, 
especially in cases where either of the parties were 
unbelievers, ch. vi. 1 — 4. 

1 . He represents the duties of children, and par- 
ticularly to unbelieving parents, ver. 1 — 3. 

Children^ obey your parents in the Lord"^^ for Ch. vi. 
this isjust^. 

Ver. 1. 

* In the Lord?[ sv Kvpicy- " by virtue of his command, and 
as far as they could consistently with the obligations of their 
Christian profession." Chandler. These words are wanting in 
the Clermont and some other very ancient manuscripts, and 
have much the appearance of a marginal gloss. In the parallel 
passage. Col. iii. 20, they are placed at the end of the sen- 
tence. Dr; Chandler understands the advice as given to the 
converted children of unbelieving parents, that they might not 

278 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. ii.l. 

Ch. VI. The disciples of Moses, whose attachment to ler 
Ver. 1. gj^j j.j^gg ^j^j rigours, and whose zeal for making pror 
selytes is unbounded, teach that conversion to their 
system is a dissolution of all the bonds of civil so- 
ciety, and even of nature; so that parents and chil- 
dren are as entirely released from all the peculiar 
duties of those endearing relations, to those who 
remain in a heathen state, as if they were entire 
strangers to each other. Far different is the spirit 
and the doctrine of the Christian dispensation. lur 
stead of relaxing, it enforces the duties of every re- 
lation by the most powerful and engaging motives. 
Let children, therefore, obey their parents; and 
particularly let those young persons, whose parents 
are not yet converted to the faith, yield to them the 
same respectful and dutiful obedience which that 
honourable and endearing relation naturally claims; 
except in those cases where obedience to the parent 
would be inconsistent with the allegiance which 

thinl( themselves exempt from filial duty. The Jews repre- 
sented proselytism to their religion as dissolving the bonds of 
natural relation. " Transgressi in moremcorum idem usurpant: 
nee quicquid prius irnbumitur quam contemnere divos; exuere pa- 
triam ; parentes, liberos,fr aires, villa habere." Tacitus Hist. v. 7. 
It is not improbable that the judaizing teachers might inculcate 
a similar doctrine, which would make it peculiarly proper for 
the apostle to enter his protest against it, and strongly to press 
upon new converts the discharge of relative and social duties. 
See Dr. Jennings's Jewish Antiquities, b. i. ch. 3. 

' This is jnst.'] " It is reasonable in itself, independent of 
any law of God, it being the dictate of nature, and for the ge- 
neral good, that till persons come to the full use of their own 
reason, they should be under the direction of that of their pa- 
rents, who are responsible for them." Priestley. 

Part IL E P H E S 1 A N S. Sect. II. ii. 1. 2/9 

they owe to Christ. It is just that children should ch. vi. 
obey their parents thus far, because they are under "' ' 
great obligations to them for past care and kind- 
ness ; because, in general, the prudence and expe- 
rience of the parent is much superior to that of the 
child ; and because such behaviour may induce the 
unbelieving parent to inquire into the evidence of 
a doctrine which produces such beneficial effects. 
But that obedience to parents is to be limited by 
the paramount authority of Christ, is also just ; for 
Christ is the messenger of God, and it is right to 
obey God rather than man. 

This is the first commandment with a promise • ; 2. 

Honour thy father and thy mother y that it may be 3. 

tvell with thee, and that thou may est live long in 
the land. 

That obedience to parents is peculiarly accepta- 
ble to God, may be inferred from the eminent di- 
stinction which this precept obtains among those 
commandments which the finger of God engraved 
upon the tables of stone. The precept which re-r 
quires children to love, obey, and in case of need to 
support, their aged parents, is the only one to which 
a specific promise is annexed ; namely, long hfe in 
the land of Canaan. And this shows how little 

' This is the first commandment, &c.'\ I follow Mr. Wake- 
field, in placing this clause at the beginning of the sentence. 
It is justly observed that the meaning is, that this is the first, 
and indeed the only, commandment in the decalogue which 
hath any " special and appropriated promise 3" the promise in 
the second commandment being of a general nature : " to all 
who love God and keep his commandments." See Newcome. 


28U Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sicct. II. ii. 2. reason the Jewish zealots have for teaching, that 
Ver. 3. proselytism supersedes the duties of natural rela- 
tions. And though temporal blessings are not the 
proper objects of evangelical promise, yet be assured 
that, as nothing is more acceptable to God than 
filial piety, so there is no virtue that has a more di- 
rect tendency to secure peace, reputation, and pro- 
sperity in life. 

2. The apostle gives directions to parents for 
their conduct towards children, especially if they 
are unbelievers, ver. 4. 
4. Andy ye parents y do not exasperate ' your chil- 
dren, but educate them in the discipline and in- 
struction o/'the Lord^. 

Exod. XX. 6. " £vroXyj itptutri vkletur pntius esse, primarium 
preeceptum, uninn e pr^ccipuis, vel ad fructum, vel ad necessita- 
tem observnndi." Rosenmiiller. 

' Do not exasperate, &c.] " If converted Christian parents 
had children that seemed averse to the faith of Christ," says 
Dr. Chandler, " they were not to treat them with severity, nor 
to exasperate them by an unkind and harsh behaviour, because 
this might tend to prejudice them against Christianity itself." 

* The discipline, &c.] Wakefield. " itixihia, est disciplina, 
seuviorum guhernotio, ut ex iraiSsia Cyri apparet." Raphelius. 
" NsfisTgtv est rov ysv svhrsiv, rov vav ■H.a.Xwg r, opQws ti^evai : 
ETTavopSsv, monere mitius, vel severius, acriter redarguere et 
reprehendere, immo, poena afficere." Kypke apud Newcome. 
"itOLi^cia, omnis institutio et disciplina puerilis, sive ilia fiat insti- 
tntione in Uteris, sive moncm et animi informatione ad honesfa 
qucevis exemplo, admonitionibus, beneficiis et poenis. vs^soria., ad- 
monitio, disciplina, qua alterum ad meliorem mentem revocare 
studemus." Schleusner. " The apostle exhorts parents to treat 
children as rational creatures, and not with that harshness and 
severity which was common with the ancients, who had a power 
over their children which the humanity of modern laws does not 
permit. But they were to be more especially careful to instruct 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. iii. 1 . 281 

Let not parents behave harshly and unkindly to C]i. vi. 
then- children ; and particularly let not Christian 
parents think themselves authorized to treat with 
peculiar severity those who are not yet converted to 
the faith. Harsh behaviour and violent language 
will exasperate rather than convince. If they wish 
that their children should become true disciples of 
Jesus, let them mildly instruct them in the princi- 
ples of Christian doctrine, and the evidences of the 
Christian faith, so as to enlighten their understand- 
ings and to bring conviction to their reason ; and 
by wise and gentle, but firm, discipline, let them 
restrain their children from the vices of heathenism, 
and train them up to the practice and habit of 
Christian virtue. 


The apostle enforces the mutual duties of mas- 
ters and servants, or bondmen, ver. 5 — 9. 

1 . The duties of believing servants to unbeliev- 
ing masters are strongly represented and enforced, 
ver. 5—8. 

Bond-servants^, be obedient to your earthly 5. 

their children in the principles of religion, this being a thing of 
more conseqiience to them than any thing else they could do 
for them." Priestley. 

^ Bond-servants. 1 " SaXo;," says Dr. Chandler, " is, properly, 
a slave 5 and, lest slaves converted to Christianity should ima- 
gine that they were discharged from their subjection to their 
masters because they were become by faith the freed men of 
Christ, the apostle enjoins upon them the most exemplary obe- 

282 Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. II. lu. 1. 

Ch. VI. masters •, wit hy ever ejitial fear ^, in the integrity^ 
^'^ ' of your heart, as unto Christ *. 

Let not those whom the state and laws of society 
have placed in the degraded and unhappy condition 
of bondmen and slaves, imagine that Christianity 
is intended to operate any immediate change in 
their civil state or social duties. The benevolent 
principles and liberal spirit of the doctrine of Jesus 
will indeed, in due time, abolish slavery, and put 
an end to all unjust and arbitrary rule which man 
exercises over his fellow man. In the mean time, 
let the Christian slave yield obedience to his hea- 
then master, not only from terror and the dread of 
punishment, but with the same uprightness and 
sincerity with which he obeys the precepts of his 
heavenly master Christ. 
6. Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers 5, but as 

' Earthly masters7\ In the original, " according to the flesh." 
" in opposition (says Archbishop Newcome) to their religious 
master, Christ." Mr. Wakefield translates it, " your worldly 

' Reverential fear :'] literally, fear and trembling. SeeWors- 
ley's translation. " i. e. with diligence and earnestness." 
Newcome. " with that fear and dread of their displeasure 
which becomes your state of slavery and subjection." Chand- 
ler, The same expression occurs Phil. ii. 12 ; it seems to be a 
proverbial phrase, " summa cum reverentia.'' RosenmuUer. 

^ Integrittj ,1 or, ' in singleness of heart.' " This virtue," 
says Dr. Newcome, " is opposed to that deceit and duplicity 
for which slaves were remarkable." 

* (Into Christ.'] The Alexandrine and some other manuscripts, 
and the Coptic version, here read * the Lord.' See Griesbach. 

* Eye-service, &c.] Dr. Doddridge observes, that " Grotius 
takes notice of the elegance of the compound words made use 
of here in the original, which our translators have endeavoured 
to imitate. But as the Greek abounds more in such compound 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. II. ni. 1. 283 

bond-servants of Christy doing the will of God from ch. vi, 
the heart 6 ,• performing service with good-will as ^^^'- '^^ 
to the LordT, and not to men. 

Let not Christian servants behave as the heathen 
are often known to do : being active and dihgent 
under their master's eye, to excite his attention and 
to gain his favour, but idle and vicious when they 
can be so with impunity. Let them perform their 
duty faithfully, considering the lawful requisitions 
of their masters as the requisitions of Christ, whose 
command it is that they should be obeyed ; and to 
obey Christ is to do the will of God, whose servant 
and messenger he is. Obey your heathen masters, 
therefore, from a sense of duty to God, whose no- 
tice you can never escape. Let, then, your obe- 
dience be not only exact and faithful, but benevo- 
lent and cheerful ; and whatever you do for the ser- 
vice of your master, regard it as done for the service 
of Christ, who will not suffer you to go without a 
proper remuneration. 

Knowing that whatever good work any man 8. 

doeth^ he will receive it from the Lord^ ivhether he 
be a slave 8 or a free-man. 

words than any other language, so the apostle Paul has fre- 
quently introduced them into his writings with a peculiar ele- 
gance and beauty, of which the best translation must, in many 
instances, fall very short." Rom. ii. 11 j 2 Cor. vi. 14; Col. ii. 
4; ITim. i. 65 2 Tim. i. 6, ii. 15. 

* From the heart.'] " sx. ^v/ris, luhenter, sed tanquam ingenui 
Christlani,qui lubenter praceptis Deiobsequuntur." Rosenmuller. 

' Jls to the Lord.'] i.e. " Respicientes prcecipue non illos homi- 
nes, quorum servi estis, sed Christum, qui id exigit, et qui prce- 
mium reddit." Rosenmuller. 

* J slave.] " These slaves were the property of their mas- 

284 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. II. in. 2. 

Q]^ VI Your unbelieving and unjust masters may some- 
Ver. 8. times govern you with the rod of oppression ; 
and, instead of expressing approbation, or allowing 
a proper recompense for your fidelity and dihgence, 
they may treat you with insult and cruelty. Let 
not this discourage you : least of all let it induce 
you to neglect your duty. You must habitually re- 
gard yourselves as the servants of Christ; he is your 
true master : and none of his servants, whatever 
their rank and condition may be, shall go without 
his due reward : nor shall the lowest act of duty fail 
of its corresponding recompense. Let no conside- 
ration, therefore, tempt you to neglect the duties of 
your humble and laborious station ; and let your cha- 
racter exhibit to all around you the efficacy of Chris- 
tian principles, and the triumph of Christian hopes. 

2. The apostle gives advice to Christian masters, 
ver. 9. 
9. ^nd ye, masters, deal equitably i with them, for- 

ters ; and some of these being treated, upon their conversion 
to Christianity, as rational beings by the apostles and their fel- 
low Christians, were more sensible of the yoke of servitude j 
and there v^^ere not wanting in those days who told them that 
their masters had no right to hold them in that abject state. To 
this doctrine they were too ready to give ear. But the apostle, 
sensible of what disservice this would be to the Christian cause, 
uro-es upon Christian slaves to render to their masters all tht 
semces that were required of them ; and even to do it more 
cheerfully, as now lying under an additional obligation to the 
performance of every duty, being servants of God and of Chiist, 
who would reward their obedience here in a better state here- 
after." Priestley. 

' Deal equitably.'] ra, avroc iroisits. Mr. Wakefield imder- 
stands the words in the same sense as i<rotr)ra. Col. iv. 1 , and 

Part II. E P H E S 1 A N S. Sect. II. in. 2. 285 

bearing threats'^ ; knowing thai their and your '^ Ch. vi. 

master also is i?i heaven ; with whom is no respect 
of persons. 

Let Christian masters act justly and equitably 
towards their heathen slaves ; and let them not ima- 
gine that they are to be treated with undue severity 
because they are of a different religion. As men, 
they possess the feelings and claim the rights of hu- 
manity. Abstain from harsh and reproachful lan- 
guage, and do not threaten severe punishments for 
trivial faults. Or if, in the heat of resentment, you 
may have let fall an unguarded threat, beware of 
executing the injustice you have denounced. These 

vcr. y. 

renders them " deal equally." Dr. Chandler explains the pre- 
cept, " act by them in the like manner ; i. e. with a benevolent 
and friendly mind, and out of regard to the will and example of 

'^ Forbearing threats^ aviEvTsg' "moderating threatening." 
Macknight. Neither uttering unjust threats, nor executing 
them when uttered. 

' Their and your.'] avtcov vi/mv this is the reading of 
the Alexandrine, Clermont, and other manuscripts, and of the 
Vulgate version. See Griesbach. " The apostle," says Dr. 
Priestley, " gives proper admonition to masters to forbear that 
rigorous and inhuman treatment of slaves which was too com- 
mon in that age. There were some slaves of better condition, 
who managed tlieir masters' most confidential affairs; many of 
whom were persons of good education. Of this superior class 
there were many converts to Christianity. But the common 
labouring slaves were treated in much the same manner as 
slaves are now treated in the West Indies. We do not find 
any express precept in the scriptures against the practice of 
slavery. But the general maxims of Christianity are particu- 
larly applicable to this case, especially that golden rule, of do- 
ing to others as we would have others do to us. It is indeed 
true that the mild spirit of Christianity has greatly contributed 
to abolish slavery in this western part of the world ; and it is 
not doubted but that, in time, its happy influence will be felt 
every where, to the abolishing of slavery universally." 

286 Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 1. 

Ch. VI. poor and friendless wretches may not, perhaps, be 
*^'^' '^' able to revenge the injuries they receive ; but your 
religion teaches you that they have a protector in 
heaven, at whose tribunal both you and they will 
soon appear, who is equally the sovereign both of 
the master and the slave ; and who will administer 
justice with an impartial hand. Be merciful, there- 
fore, and you shall obtain mercy. 


The apostle, in language highly figurative, caU' 
tions his readers against the pernicious eiTors 
of seducing and artful teachers, against which 
he advises them to fortify themselves by a firm 
adherence to the doctrine and the spirit of the 
gospel 10—20. 

1 . The apostle warns them of the necessity of a 
firm attachment to the gospel, in all its extent, as 
the best guard against the artifices of seducing 
teachers, ver. 10, 11. 
10. As to what remaifis, my brethren, strengthen 
yourselves in the Lord, and in his mighty powei- ' ; 

' Strengthen, &c.] i. e. establish yourselves in the doctrine 
of Christ, which has been confirmed by miracles, the works of 
extraordinary and supernatural power. Dr. Chandler para- 
phrases the text, q. d. " Be ye established and confirmed in your 
Christian profession ; and fortify your minds with all those helps 
and assistances which the Lord, or the gospel of Christ, fur- 
nishes you with." The other interpretation is better suited to 
the context. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 287 

put on the complete armour of- God, that ye may ch. vi. 
be able to stand against the artifices of the slan- ^^'"* ' 
dercr 2. 

I cannot conclude this epistle without warning 
you earnestly and faithfully of a dangerous and art- 
ful enemy, against whom it is highly requisite that 
you should be continually upon your guard ; and 
for an encounter with whom you nmst be well pre- 
pared. Confirm yourselves, therefore, in your Chris- 
tian principles ; in those principles which you have 
received as the doctrine of Christ, and which have 
been proved to be such by the miraculous powers 
of the missionaries by whom they have been taught. 
Arm yourselves, therefore, at all points with the 
doctrine and the spirit of the gospel, and you will 
easily detect the sophistry and repel the attacks of 
those who would corrupt the simplicity of the Chris- 
tian faith, and who calumniate the chamcters of its 
most enlightened teachers. 

2. Under highly figurative language, the apostle 
describes the characters of the enemies of truth, 
ver. 12, 13. 

- The slanderer^ rs Sia^oXs, the devil. So the public and 
most other versions : applying it to the supposed leader of evil 
spirits. Accuser. Wakefield. " the insidious artifice of the 
false accuser." Harwood. That the apostle is here caution- 
ing his readers against the artifices of the judaizing teachers, 
by which they endeavoured to corrupt the Christian doctrine, by 
blending it with the ceremonies of the Mosaic ritual, is suffi- 
ciently evident from the context ; and that these teachers were 
justly entitled to the name of SiatoXoi, or slanderers, is notori- 
ous both from Luke's history, and Paul's epistles : especially 
those to the Galatians and Corinthians. 

288 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 

Ch. VI. For your conflict i is not only 2 ivith blood and 
"■ ''' flesh^, but ivith principalities, luith powers^ with 

' Your conjikt?^ v^j^wv is the reading of the Clermont manu- 
script, and of some others of good authority, and is marked by 
Griesbach as well supported, though not admitted into his text. 
TTaXij, wrestling. " Plutarch tells us that wrestling was the most 
artful and subtle of all the ancient games, and that it was derived 
from a word which signifies to throw a man down by deceit and 
craft. Persons who understand this exercise have many fetches 
and turns, and changes of posture, which they make use of to 
supplant and trip up their adversaries. And it is with great jus- 
tice that a state of persecution is compared with it." Chandler. 

Macknight observes, that the word here used must signify 
fighting : for instead of being clad in armour, the Greeks always 
wrestled naked. 

* Not only, &c.] This is one instance amongst many of that 
idiom of the Hebrew language in which an absolute negation is 
used when inferiority only is intended. Your conflict is not with 
flesh and blood : that is, not only, or, chiefly. Other instances 
are numerous. See Matt. xii. 7 ; 1 Cor. i. 17. See Macknight's 
Prelim. Ess., No. 4, p. 97. He states it as a form of the compa- 
rative degree. 

' Not with blood andjlesh, but with principalities, &c.] " our 
conflict is not barely with men, but with principalities," &c. 
Locke ; who adds in his note, that " principalities and powers 
are put here, it is visible, for those revolted angels which stood 
in opposition to the kingdom of God." Such is Mr. Locke's in- 
terpretation, and with him run the whole mass of commentators 
with very few exceptions. It is unfortunate that this excellent 
critic did not upon this occasion recollect his own judicious ob- 
servations upon ch. i. 10, where he interprets the very same ex- 
pressions, of the " government of those who ruled by the law of 
Moses." Dr. Chandler explains the words blood andjlesh as ex- 
pressing " men of low degree, in opposition to the powerful, 
rich, and mighty." Dr. Harwood's version is, " For we com- 
bat not merely with the vices and prejudices of private indivi- 
duals, but we have to conflict with all the confederate and united 
powers of grand and patent establishments, both civil and reli- 
gious, which are supported by the sovereigns and rulers of this 
benighted age." 

This makes an excellent sense, well suited to the connexion 
and to the apostle's design. Perhaps, however, we shall appro- 
ximate more nearly to the true meaning of the apostle, if, by 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 289 

the riders of this dark ivorld^, with spiritual wic- ch. vi. 
kedness^ in heavenly places. Wherefore, take up Ver. 13. 

taking the words principalities, powers, &c. in the sense in which 
they are used c'a. i. 2J, as meaning the Jewish hierarchy, and 
zealots for the law in general, we should understand its corre- 
lative, blood andjiesh, as expressing heathen idolaters, and op- 
posers of the gospel. See Heb. xii. 4. The contrast then will be, 
not between wicked men and wicked angels, according to the 
common opinion, nor, between men of low degree and men in 
power, according to Dr. Chandler and Dr. Harwood, but be- 
tween the power and prejudices of heathen idolaters, and those 
of Jewish rulers and zealots for the law ; not excluding theju- 
daizing Christians, who created so much uneasiness to the apo- 
stle and to the Gentile believers. 

This interpretation is countenanced by Mr. Wakefield ; and 
it gives a clear and consistent sense to this difficult and highly 
figurative passage : whereas the common interpretation, though 
supported by great names, is in truth totally unintelligible, and 
would appear so to every person of reflection, if, as in many 
other cases, its absurdity had not been veiled by its familiarity. 
For how can frail and feeble mortals be prepared to encounter 
with hosts of revolted angels, even supposing such beings to 
have a real existence ? 

■* Rulers of this dark world,'] The words ra a(a;v35 are unne- 
cessary, and are omitted, as Archbishop Newcome observes, 
upon sufficient authority. " KoCjOto^jsarw^, mundi dominus. Eph. 
vi. 12. qui locus ab aliis, de doctor ibus autprincipibus Judceonnn, 
itb aliis, vero, de geniis vialis explicatur, a quibus Juec sublunaria 
gubernari credebant Judasi super stitiosi. Utrique explicationi 
fnvet usus loquendi." Schleusner. The state of the Jews 
at that time may jiistly be called a state of darkness, as their 
inveterate prejudices blinded their eyes against the light of the 

* Spiritual tvickedness, &c.] In the original, " the spiritual 
things of wickedness j" "which," says Dr. Chandler, "may 
signify, either apostate spirits, or, what I rather incline to think, 
the wicked and perverse corrupters of the Christian doctrine." 
Christians are called TCvsuix,ot,riMi- the natural adversaries to 
these are TtvEuiia.TiY.a, rvjs itovr^piag , spiritual wickednesses ; men 
who, pretending to the spirit, endeavoured to corrupt the sim- 
plicity of the faith. See Rev. xviii. 2, xvi. 14; 1 John iv. 6 ; 
1 Tim. iv. 1 . Mr. Wakefield's translation is, " For we have not 
only to wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the autho- 

290 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sect. III. 2. 

Ch. VI. the complete armour of God^ that ye may he able 
Ver. 13. ^^ withstand in this evil day, and having subdued 
every thing ', to stand. 

The caution I have suggested to you is not su- 
perfluous ; for I solemnly announce to you who 
have embraced the Christian faith, and who are de- 
sirous of maintaining it in its primitive purity, that 
you are engaged in a very arduous and perilous 
conflict, which will require the constant exertion 
of your best vigilance and skill to maintain your 
ground and to secure the victory. And do not ima- 
gine that I am here speaking of a personal combat 
between man and man, which, except in very ex- 
traordinary circumstances, is at all times inconsist-' 
ent with the spirit of the gospel ; nor yet do I refer 
particularly to the opposition to which you will be 
exposed, in your attempts to propagate the gospel, 
from heathen prejudices and heathen power : the 
struggle to which I chiefly allude, is that which you 
will have to maintain against those who would re- 
sist the progress, or corrupt the purity, of the 
Christian faith. I have before reminded you that 
you are, in a sense, risen with Christ, and are ex- 

rity, against, the powers, against the rulers of this dark age, 
against the wickedness of spiritual men in a heavenly dispensa- 
tion :" i. e. as he explains it in his notes, " against Jewish go- 
vernors, who have a dispensation of religion from heaven, as 
well as against heathen magistrates, under the darkness of su- 
perstition and idolatry." 

' Subdued evenj thing.'] " and having vanquished them, to 
maintain your ground."- Harwood j who produces several pas- 
sages from Dionysius Halicarnassensis, to prove that the verb 
KOLTipya^uj often signifies to vanquish or dispatch an enemy. 

Part II. E P H E S 1 A N S. Sect. III. 3. 291 

alted with him into the community of the sons of ch. vi, 
God without submitting to the yoke of the law, ^®^'* ^^' 
and that this has been so clearly made out to the 
Jewish leaders, that the greatest zealots could not 
deny it: seeEph. i. 21. These, therefore, and espe- 
cially those sects and orders of men who are by pro- 
fession most zealously and blindly attached to the 
Mosaic ritual, and to oral tradition, are full of the 
bitterest malignity against the gospel and its pro- 
fessors, and will leave no effort untried to pervert 
your principles and to seduce you from the faith : 
and some even of those who profess the Christian 
religion discover the same mahgnant opposition to 
the enlarged and liberal spirit of the gospel, and 
would bend the necks of their fellow-Christians un- 
der the yoke of the ceremonial law. These are the 
enemies, to oppose whom with success, it is neces- 
sary for you to gird on the whole armour of the 
gospel, by which alone you will be able to repel 
their hostile and insidious attacks; and, having van- 
quished them all, to stand your ground, and to ap- 
prove yourselves as good soldiers of your glorious 

3. He describes the armour which the gospel fur- 
nishes to its professors to fit them for this important 
and perilous warfare, ver. 14 — 17. 

Standi, therefore, havhig your loins girded about ' 4. 

« Stand:\ Dr. Chandler observes, " The Christian must never 
flee from his post, or quit the field." " Some (says Dr. Dod- 

292 Part II. EPHESIANS. Sect. III. 3. 

Ch. VI. with truths ; having put on the breastplate of 
*' 15. '^ighteoiisnesSy and having your feet ready shod'^ 
with the gospel of peace. 

Now, that you may not be at a loss to know what 
that armour of proof is which I so earnestly recom- 
mend, I will give you a brief description of it. In 
the first place, then, Let truth be your military belt: 
adhere firmly to the doctrine of the gospel ; profess 
it sincerely, openly, and without disguise : this will 
inspire you with strength and vigour of mind. Put 
on next, the breastplate of integrity and universal 
virtue. Truth and righteousness must go together; 
and, united, they will form an impenetrable defence. 
And, that you may pass on in your Christian career 
with as little molestation as possible, you must al- 
ways wear the greaves of peace. The gentle inoffen- 

dridge) have observed, that no araiour is provided for the back, 
as we must always face the enemy, or, have no defence from dan- 
ger." It may also be remarked that the Christian virtues, here 
described as the armour of God, are very suitable for opposing 
the corruptions of Christian doctrine, and their use in this view 
is very obvious ; but the propriety of the comparison, to say the 
least, is not equally apparent if the enemies to be resisted are 
evil angels. 

' Truth.'] It is not perhaps easy to ascertain the distinct 
meaning of every expression. By truth, the military belt, we 
may reasonably understand, the genuine doctrine of the go- 
spel ; which must be firmly adhered to and publicly professed. 
The breastplate is righteousness, the practice of universal virtue, 
and the greaves are peace, " that benevolent peaceful spirit re- 
quired by the gospel ; which (says Chandler) will render per- 
sons ever ready for and cheerful in every kind and friendly of- 
fice, and will be one of the best securities any one can have 
against the injuries of persecution." 

* Feet ready shod.] See Wakefield. " shod with the readi- 
ness or activity of the gospel of peace." Chandler. 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Sixir. III. 3. *^93 

sive spirit of the gospel will do much to smooth the cb. vr. 
ruggedness of the way, and to disarm the fury of the ^^* * 
enemy and the persecutor. While, therefore, you 
firmly profess the truth, let your conduct at all 
times be mild and peaceable. 

Besides all^ these, take up the shield of faith, by 16. 

which ye will be able to quench all the fiery darts "* 
of the wicked adversary*. 

In addition to truth, righteousness, and peace, 
you must grasp the shield of faith : faith in the pro- 
tection, and promise of God, by Jesus Christ, will 
keep you from being alarmed and wounded by those 
bold denunciations of vengeance and damnation, 
which the enemies of truth, and of the liberty of the 
gospel church, vociferate against the faithful disci- 
ples of Jesus, as if the thunder of heaven were at 
their own disposal. These burning shafts, so for- 
midable to weak and unstable minds, are easily re- 
pelled by the broad impenetrable shield of rational 
confidence in the goodness of God, and in the pro- 
mises of the Christian covenant. 

^ Besides all.'] siti Tra.<nv, in addition to all. See Harwood. 

* Fiery darts.'] " It was customary among the ancients," 
says Dr. Chandler, " to make small firebrands in the form of 
arrows, composed of pitch, tar, and brimstone, which they shot 
either into towns to set them on fire, or amongst their enemies, 
to disorder and annoy them. These the soldiers used to receive 
on their shields, and so prevented them from doing harm." In 
the allegory, the fiery darts may be explained of the damnatory 
anathemas of the corrupters of Christian truth, which confidence 
in the divine mercy will easily repel. 

' The wicked adversary.] So Dr. Harwood. The slanderer^ 
mentioned ver. 11. The principalities and powers, &c. ; that is, 
the enemies of truth, vcr. 12. 

^94 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. III. 3. 

Ch. VI. Take also the helmet of salvation >, and that spi- 
^er. 17. Yitual suQord^ which is the word oj" God^. 

Let the hope of eternal life, founded upon the 
promises of the gospel, be the ornament and the 
defence of your head. Let this divine hope be the 
predominant affection in your breast, the constant 
spring of action in your soul, and by its benign in- 
fluence let it overrule every inferior emotion, every 
low and unworthy impulse ; and thus let it keep the 
understanding clear and cool, and capable of dis- 
cerning and judging right, and diffuse an habitual 
cheerfulness over the countenance. — The last wea- 
pon which I shall mention, as necessary to complete 
the suit of Christian armour, is a weapon of attack 
as well as defence, which, if managed with skill and 
courage, will soon put hosts of adversaries to flight. 
I mean the word of God, the authentic declarations 
of the divine will by Christ and his apostles ; which, 
if they are well understood and properly applied, 
will, like a sharp and well-tempered sword, cut 

' Helmet of salvation.'] I Thess. v. 8, for a helmet, the hope 
of salvation. " The hope of salvation," says Chandler, " built 
on the promises of God, will preserve from the fatal effects of all 
temptations, from worldly terrors and evils, so that they shall 
not disorder the imagination, or pervert the judgement, or 
cause men to desert the path of duty." 

" That spiritual sword, &c.] So Mr. Wakefield. " The know- 
ledge of this (says Dr. Chandler) not only separates them from 
evil affections, but teaches them to discern between truth and 
falsehood; guards the Christian from the entrance of corrupt 
and destructive doctrine, and destroys the influence and force 
of the most artful and delusive errors." Beza observes that all 
the parts of the complete armour of the ancients are elegantly 
introduced into the apostle's account of the armour of the Chris- 
tian. See Mackniaht. 

Paht II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. III. 4. 295 

down that formidable band of reasonings and mo- Ch. VI. 

Ver. 1 

tives which the champions of error set in array 
against the advocates of truth. Tliis is a weapon 
furnished by God himself, who by his spirit inspired 
the holy prophets ; and its stroke is irresistible. If 
God, who is eternal and unchangeable, has declared 
that all sincere believers in Christ shall be accepted 
by him and adopted into his family, the envy, ma- 
lice, and rage of those who would arrogate to them- 
selves exclusively the tokens of the divine favour, 
may justly be regarded with pity and contempt. 

In this armour stand, persevere, and advance. 
This will be your safety and your wisdom: as no ar- 
mom* is provided but that which enables you to face 
the enemy, nor any security for those who retreat. 

4. The apostle recommends earnest prayer and 
intercession for one another ; and particularly for 
himself, then a prisoner at Rome, ver. 1 8 — 20. 

Continually offering all prayer and supplica- ^8. 

tion 3 in the spirit 4, a?id watching thereto ^ with all 
perseverance, and supplication for all the saints. 

' Prayer and supplication^ itpocrsv-xytS J^a' hr,(rB(jo5. " These 
two words," says Dr. Chandler, " seem naturally to denote the 
asking of what is good, and the deprecating of what is evil, 
from their two roots ; the first of which signifies ' wishing,' 
and the latter ' fearing,' Dr. Macknight renders them " sup- 
plication and deprecation." This distinction, however, is not 
adhered to, the word (Jsij^; being used in the latter clause of 
this very verse for prayer in general. 

* In the spirit .•] i. e. " either with their heart and mind, sin- 
cerely and fervently ; or, according as the spirit of God should 
excite and move them." Chandler. — " praying in ycur mind at, 
all times, i. e. as ye keep watch." John xi. 33. Wakefield. 

* tVatdung thereto.] " The apostle continues the use of mi- 

296 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. III. 4. 

Ch. VI. Clothed and girded as you are in the panoply of 
the gospel, I would not have you so far depend upon 
your own courage and prowess as to forget your de- 
pendence upon God. From him you derive all your 
weapons of attack and defence, and all your skill to 
wield them ; and upon his blessing you depend for 
success. To him therefore, while you stand upon 
the watch to observe the motions of the enemy, 
continually address your humble, fervent supplica- 
tions, for yourselves and others, in obedience to the 
precepts, and agreeably to the spirit of the gospel ; 
that you and they may be preserved from perni- 
cious errors, and may be enabled to defend the truth 
of the gospel with success. 
19. Particularly^ for me, that utterance'^ may be 

litary terms ; and alludes here to the sentinels and guards of an 
army, who were to watch in their posts during the night, to 
prevent surprise and give notice of danger." Chandler. 

' Particularly.'] Dr. Doddridge observes from Blackwall 
{Saaed Classics, vol i. p. 145), that the particle naj sometimes 
signifies particidarlij , or, especially ; and that he produces pas- 
sages to this purpose from proper authorities. See also Mac- 

" Earnest intercession for others," says Dr. Pries. ley, " is 
particularly recommended in the scriptures ; and tliere is the 
same reason for it as for praying for ourselves, because the in- 
terests of others ought to be as dear to us as our own. As to 
the efficacy of prayer in general with God, to whom it is ad- 
dressed, we must remain at a loss : it is enough for us that it 
is prescribed by God, who would not do it without sufficient 
reason. It is certainly well adapted to our present infant state, 
and has the happiest effect upon our minds. But whatever con- 
nexion there be between our prayers and the blessings we pray 
for, or something equivalent, though seemingly the reverse of 
our prayers, we may be assured that at this day there is nothing 
supernatural in it. We pray for our daily bread, and v.e thank 
God for it j but it is never given us except through the medium 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Skct. III. 4. 21)7 

giveit me, so that I 7nay open my mouth to make ch. vi. 
known with confidence^ this mystery of the gospel'^, 
for which I discharge my embassy in a chain 5, that Ver. 20. 
/ may speak boldly in its behalf, as I ought to 

Amongst others, I particularly request your in- 
tercessions for myselfj who am engaged in the same 
honourable conflict with you, and have suffered se- 
verely in the struggle. Whether I labour or suf- 
fer, it is an encouragement to me to know that my 
brethren sympathize with me, and are offering up 
their prayers for me. Intreat, then, that God will 
be pleased to grant me both ability and opportu- 

of our own labour j and the same, no doubt, is the cast with 
blessings of a spiritual nature. This is certain, that a sense of 
our dependence upon God for all blessings, temporal and spiri- 
tual, cannot be too deeply impressed upon the mind : and this 
can only be done by meditation and prayer." 

' Utterance, &c.] Dr. Doddridge supposes that thiis may 
refer to some impediment in his speech, or other imperfection 
in the manner of his address. See 2 Cor. xii. 7, Gal. iv. 14. 

' To make known with conjidence .'] This punctuation is ap- 
proved by Stephanus, Estius, Bengelius, and Griesbach. The 
common reading is, " that I may open my mouth boldly." See 
Bowyer and Wakefield. 

* Mystery, &c.] i. e. " the call of the Gentiles." See ch. ii. 
.3 — 10. Newcome. 

* In a chain.'] bv dXvasi. An allusion, no doubt, to his being 
in the custody of a soldier, and chained to him. "Few (says 
Dr. Doddridge) need be told that it was usual among the Ro- 
mans to chain the prisoner's right arm to the left arm of the 
soldier that guarded him. But as the persons of ambassadors 
were always sacred, the apostle seems to refer to the outrage 
that was done to his divine master in this violation of his li- 
berty." " It is a fine idea," says Dr. Priestley, " under which 
the apostle here exhibits himself. He was a prisoner and in 
bonds 5 but, notwithstanding this, he considered himself as an 
embassador, and from a power superior to any on earth." 

298 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Coj 


Ch. VI. nity to publish the gospel ; and particularly, to 
^^^^ ^' speak boldly that great mystery so offensive to pre- 
judiced and narrow-minded zealots, that believing 
Gentiles are admitted under the gospel dispensation 
to equal privileges with believing Jews. A glorious 
doctrine ! of which I esteem it my highest honour 
to be an authorized ambassador ; though, in con- 
sequence of my fidelity to my trust, I am now 
chained to a guard, and have long been a prisoner 
and an exile. Nevertheless, there is nothing I so 
much desire, whether a prisoner, or at large, as to 
be employed in this honourable ministry, and to 
proclaim the joyful tidings of the gospel with a zeal 
and freedom which becomes one whose obligations 
to the mercy of God in Christ are so various and 


The epistle concludes with referring them to 
Tychicus for further information concerning him- 
self; and with a general salutation and appropriate 
benediction, ver. 21 — 24. 
21. A^ow that ye also may know my affairs, and 
what I am doing, Tychicus^, a beloved brother and 

' Tychicus.'] " He was one of Paul's friends and fellow- 
labourers, and had been his companion in the last interview he 
had with the ciders of Ephesus, when he sent for them to come 
to him at Miletus. Acts xx. 4, 17." Doddridge. 

Part II. EPHESIANS. Conclusion. 299 

faithful minister in the Lord, will inform you of Ch. VI. 
every thing. Him I have sent unto you for this Ver. 22. 
express purpose, that ye may know luhat relates to 
me 2, and that he may comfort your hearts. 

I have not time to write particularly the state of 
my affairs ; and it is the less necessary, as Tychicus 
my Christian brother, and faithful fellow-labourer 
in the gospel, who has passed some time with me 
at Rome, and who knows in what manner I employ 
myself, under what disadvantages and with what 
success I teach the gospel, will give you all the in- 
formation concerning me, that you can wish. He 
is the bearer of this epistle : and though much 
pleased with his company, and relieved by his help, 
I have sent him for the express purpose of letting 
you know the state in which I am ; and of comfort- 
ing and encouraging you, by representing the cheer- 
fulness with which I bear persecution in the cause 
of Christian truth, and the great degree in which my 
sufferings have contributed to promote the success 
of the gospel. 

Peace be unto the brethren, and love, with faith, 23. 

from God our Father, and from our Loi^d t/esus 
Christ 3. 

' fVhat relates to me.'] " The apostle means, that he wishes 
them to know what success he had had in preaching at Rome, 
what opposition he had met with, what comfort he enjoyed un- 
der his sufferings, what converts he had made to Christ, and in 
what manner the evidences of the gospel affected the minds of 
tlie inhabitants of Rome." Macknight. 

' From God, &c.] i. e. from God the Father, who is the ori- 

300 Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Co> 


Ch. VI. May the best blessings for this life and the next 
be iiriparted to all who profess the Christian name ; 
and in order to this, may God our Father, through 
the mission and doctrine of JesusChrist our teacher 
and Lord, implant in your hearts that genuine faith 
which will be productive of love to God and bene- 
volence to man ; and which, without the rigour of 
the ceremonial law, is of itself a sufficient qualifi- 
cation for the character and privileges of the sons of 
24. Favour be lu'ith all those who love the un- 
corrupted doctrine ' of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

May the favour of God, and the complete parti- 
cipation of all the blessings of the gospel, be granted 

ginal source and author of the blessings of the gospel ; and 
from the Lord Jesus Christ, who was appointed by him to pub- 
lish and dispense them to mankind, q. d. May they have that 
peace which is the result of love to God and man, and founded 
in a cordial belief in the gospel which was given by God and 
published by Christ. " Here," says Dr. Priestley, " as upon 
all other occasions, God or the Father is spoken of as one being, 
and Jesus Christ, or our Lord, as another. The difference is 
that of God and man, which certainly ought not to be con- 

' Who love the uncorrupted doctrine.] ev a(pBa§a-ia. " who 
love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption.''' Mr. Locke re- 
marks thepeculiarity of the phrase, and explains it, " without 
mixing or joining any thing with him in the work of salvation 
which may render the gospel useless and ineffectual." See Gal. 
V. 2. Archbishop Newcome explains the text in the same sense : 
" not adulterating the gospel with false doctrines, as the judai- 
zers did." As the expression " loving the Lord Jesus Christ 
in incorruption " sounds harsh, I have ventured to translate it 
by the equivalent phrase, " loving the uncorrupted doctrine of 

Part II. E P H E S I A N S. Conclusion. ^^^^ 

to those who show their regard to Christ by receiv- Ch. VI. 
ing his doctrine in its primitive purity, and in firmly 
resisting every attempt to blend the simplicity of 
the gospel with the unauthorized inventions of hu- 
man folly and presumption. Amen. 

Christ." — " who love the Lord Jesiis Christ in purity." Wake- 
field. Dr. Harvvood gives a peculiar turn to the passage : " who 
love our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in immortality." The phrase 
is never used in the sense given to it in the public version, " who 
love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," that is, truly nndfaith- 





X HILIPPI I was a considerable city in the eastern 
district of Macedonia, and a Roman colony. The 
gospel was first preached in this city about a.d. 
51, when the apostle Paul, having separated from 

' Philippi took its name from Philip, the father of Alexander 
the Great, who improved and fortified it, partly for the sake of 
the gold mines in the neighbourhood, and partly for defence 
against the Thracians. Acts xvi. 12, it is called " a colony ;" 
and, ver. 21, the inhabitants call themselves Romans. It ap- 
pears, by the coins of several of the Roman emperors, that it 
was first colonized by Julius Csesar, and that other inhabitants 
vs^ere afterwards sent thither by Augustus. It is well known 
that Roman colonists retained the laws and privileges of Ro- 
man citizens. Acts xvi. 12, Philippi is called the chief city of 
that part of Macedonia, and the margin reads, the frst city. 
Neither of these assertions is true ; Amphipolis being the me- 
tropolis, and Neapolis the first city to which a traveller from 
Asia would come. See ver. 11. It is conjectured that the true 


Barnabas, had chosen Silas to be the companion 
of his labours, and in his circuit through the Les- 
ser Asia having arrived at Troas, he had been ad- 
monished in a vision to extend his mission to Ma- 
cedonia, Acts xvi. 9, 10. He landed at NeapoHs, 
and proceeded to Philippi ; where, after having con- 
verted Lydia, a woman of property, he and his com- 
panions consented to pass some days at her house. 
In this interval he miraculously healed a young 
woman whose mind was deranged, and who, ima- 
gining herself possessed with a spirit of divination, 
had taken a fancy to bear her testimony to the di- 
vine authority of the Christian missionaries. The 
keepers of this unhappy creature, who by her re- 
storation to her right mind were deprived of the 
iniquitous gains which they extorted from the credu- 
lity of the superstitious crowd, exasperated against 
the apostle and his companion, accused them be- 
fore the magistrates as turbulent men, who were 
guilty of illegal practices, and who disturbed the 
peace of the city : upon which charge they were se- 
verely beaten, and cast into prison, without being 
heard in their own defence. But having been re- 
leased by miracle, the jailer was converted and bap- 
tized. The next day, the apostles having obliged 

reading is, " which is a city of the first part of Macedonia." 
This would require a very small alteration of the original {itpuj- 
rrji instead of itpwri] rrjs). Paulus ^milius, when he con- 
quered Macedonia, divided the country into four districts, of 
which the first was between the rivers Strymon and Nessus : in 
which district stood Philippi. See Peirce's Synopsis of the Epistle, 
and Benson's Propagation of Christianity , vol. ii. p. 87. 


the magistrates to attend in person to set them at 
liberty, and to make an apology for having infringed 
their privileges as Roman citizens, they quitted Phi- 
lippi and went to Thessalonica, i\cts xvi. VI — 40. 
In this mission, Luke and Timothy were associated 
with Paul and Silas. 

The apostle passed through Philippi some years 
afterwards, in his way to Jerusalem from Macedo- 
nia, Acts XX. 6 ; and it is generally believed that he 
visited this city again, agreeably to his expressed in- 
tention, Philip, ii. 24, soon after his release from 
his first imprisonment. 

It appears from the apostle's grateful acknow- 
ledgements, that the Christian converts at Philippi 
had been very kind to him. They had not only en- 
tertained him and his associates with great hospi- 
tality during his residence amongst them, but they 
had also sent him very liberal supplies, both into 
Achaia ' and Thessalonica ; and would have done 
more for him in other places if they could have 

' Achaia.'] This Dr. Paley apprehends the apostle to refer to 
Phil. iv. 15, 16 ; which he translates thus : " Now ye Philip- 
pians, know also, that in the bej^inning of the gospel, when I 
was departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with 
me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only 3 and that 
also in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessi- 
ty." From 2 Cor. xi. 8, 9, it appears that he accepted no pe- 
cuniary assistance from the converts of taat country, but that 
he drew his supplies from the Macedonian Christians. This 
was at the beginning of the gospel, i. e. when he first preached 
the gospel in these parts. The ingenious and learned author 
justly infers from this undesigned coincidence in the two epistles, 
the impossibility of forgery. See Paley's Horce Paulince, p. 263 



found a safe and convenient conveyance. And It 
is observable, that the clmrch at PhiHppi was the 
only society of Christians from whom the apostle, 
when he first preached the gospel in Greece, ac- 
cepted contributions of this kind ; choosing, from 
prudential considerations, to wave his right of being 
maintained by those to whom he preached, and to 
support himself by his own manual labour, rather 
than give occasion to his enemies to calumniate his 
motives, or obstruct the progress of the gospel by 
making it burdensome to the hearers. See Phil. iii. 
10, 14—16, 2 Cor. xil. 13, 14. It is generally in- 
ferred from 1 Cor. vii. 8, that the apostle was a wi- 
dower, but many have concluded, from an expres- 
sion in this epistle (ch. iv. 3), that Paul was a mar- 
ried man: but that his consort being unable to 
accompany him in his fatiguing and perilous mis- 
sions, he had, as a testimony of his high regard and 
affection to his generous friends at Philippi left her 
under their protection in that city, where she was 
employed, in company with other pious women, in 
acts of piety and charity. The Philippians had lately 
sent the apostle a very liberal present by Epaphro- 
ditus (ch. iv. 1 8), by whom it should seem that they 
had also expressed their tender sympathy with him 
in his confinement, and their alarms lest the pro- 
gress of the gospel should be retarded by the arrest 
and persecution of its most zealous and successful 
advocate. This worthy messenger of the church, 
who had been visited with a long and dangerous 
sickness at Rome, probably in consequence of the 


fjitigue which he had suffered, was now recovering ; 
and being impatient to return to his anxious friends, 
who had heard of his illness, the apostle dispatched 
him with this letter (ch. ii. 25 — 30), the design of 
which is to acknowledge and to return them thanks 
for their pious liberality, to remove their apprehen- 
sions with regard to the consequences of his impri- 
sonment, to fortify them against the intrusion and 
the mischievous doctrines of the judaizing zealots, 
and to encourage them to persevere in their adhe- 
rence to the gospel. It has been observed, that this 
epistle contains very high commendations of the 
conduct of the Philippians, with little or no mix- 
ture of reproof ^ ; a clear evidence that the Chris- 
tian doctrine had not at that time been corrupted 
among them ; and indeed it is probable that not 
many Jews were settled in the place, as there does 
not appear to have been any synagogue at Philippi. 
See Acts xvi. 13. 2 

' " Est hac Epistola, quanquam et ipsa Roma* in vincuUs 
scripta, Icetior, alacriorque, et blandior cceteris, ideo quod Phi- 
lippis, quce urbs prceclpua est Macedonice et colonia, hisfuisset 
Paulas, et bene successisset ibl PauLi prcedicatio, etc. Post quce 
tempora Philippenses plerique Jidellter custodierant ea quce a 
Paulo acceperant, amoremque in tarn bonum magistrum, et re- 
verentiam multis modis erant testati.'' Grotius. 

' If the Jews had been numerous at Philippi they would have 
had a synagogue, where the apostle would, as usual, have 
opened his commission ; whereas it appears that he began to 
preach at an oratory by the river side, out of the city, to the 
pious women who resorted thither. The Jewish ^-Dnverts were 
most easily seduced by judaizing teachers, and usually gave the 
the apostle most trouble ; the converts at Philippi were proba- 
bly chiefly among the Gentiles. 



The Epistle to the Philippians was written 
about A. D. 62 ', and near the close of the apostle's 
first imprisonment. It is one of those epistles the 
genuineness of which has never been impeached. 
Its authenticity is not only established by the con- 
current testimony of the ecclesiastical writers, but 
by very strong internal evidence 2, particularly by 
many undesigned coincidences with the history of 
Luke, and by a cast of sentiment and a structure 
of style which are peculiar to St. Paul, and easily 
distinguished by those who are much conversant 
with that apostle's invaluable writings. 

Having introduced the epistle with an appropriate 
salutation, ch. i. 1,2, the apostle proceeds, 

' Dr. Lardner thinks, some time before the close of that year. 
Supplement, vol. ii. ch. xii. sect. 1 1 . 

* As internal evidences of the genuineness of this epistle. 
Dr. Paley mentions : 1 .) The account of Epaphroditus, his 
journey, errand, sickness, &c. which are all incidentally hinted at 
as circumstances well known to his correspondent. 2.) The 
insinuation that Epaphroditus's recovery was natural, and not 
miraculous. 3.) The coincidence of the hints which he 

drops of having received supplies from the Philippians while 
he was in Achaia, with the facts he mentions in the second 
epistle to the Corinthians. Phil. iv. 15, ]6, compared with 
2 Cor. xi. 8, 9. 4 ) The allusion to Timothy having been 
at Philippi, ch. i. 1, ii. 19, which, though not expressly men- 
tioned, is plainly implied in Luke's history. Acts xvi 3, xvii. 14. 
5 .) The epistle purports to have been written near the close of 
an imprisonment of long duration, which agrees with Luke's 
account. Acts xxviii 3 1 . 6.) The temper of the apostle's 
mind, as discpvered in this epistle, ch. i. 23, and in the 2 Cor. 
V. 8, &c. is a'presumption that they were written by the same 
person. 7.) The allusions to his persecutions at Philippi, 
ch. i. 29, 30, ii. 1, 2^ agree with the account given by Ltike, 
Acts xvi. 22. 


I. To express his gratitude to his Philippian 
friends for their liberality, and his prayers for their 
improvement, ver. 3 — 11. 

II. To quiet their apprehensions, he gives some 
account of his own situation and views, of his feel- 
ings and his prospects of release, and of the great 
success of the gospel at Rome, ver. 12 — 26. 

III. He exhorts the Philippian converts to cul- 
tivate a temper and spirit worthy of the gospel, 
and particularly to unanimity and fortitude in the 
profts ion of truth, after the example of Jesus 
Christ, and in hope of future reward. Ch. i. 27 — 
ii. 16. 

IV. The apostle promises to send Timothy to 
Philippi as soon as he could judge how his own 
case was likely to terminate, he expresses his hope 
of following him speedily ; and in the mean time 
he dispatches their friend and messenger Epaphro- 
ditus to them without delay, passing, at the same 
time, a high encomium upon his character, and 
warmly recommending him to their esteem, ver. 

V. The apostle earnestly warns them against the 
artifices of Jewish zealots, and urges them to fol- 
low his own example, and to adhere firmly to the 
doctrine which he had taught them. Ch. iii. 1 — 
iv. 1. 

VI. He sends specific messages to a few distin- 
guished individuals ; he adds some general exhor- 
tations ; he renews his expressions of gratitude for 


their repeated kindness and liberality, and particu- 
larly for their late generous and acceptable present 
by Epaphroditus ; and concludes the epistle with 
a suitable doxology, a general salutation, and the 
usual benediction, ver. 2 — 23. 


CHAP. I. 1,2. 

1 HE apostle, associating the name of Timothy Ch. i. 
with his own, introduces the epistle with a general 
salutation to the officers and members of the Phi- 
lippian church, ch. i. 1, 2. 

s^AUL and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ J, Vei. l. 
to all the holy believers in Christ Jesus 2 who are 

' Servants, &c.] There are but four epistles in which Paul 
does not introduce himself under the character of an apostle. 
The two epistles to the Thessalonians were written before his 
authority had been disputed ; and that to Philemon was a pri- 
vate letter, requesting a favour of a friend. The object of this 
epistle to the Philippians appears to be in a great measure to 
express his gratitude to them for their liberality : he seems, 
therefore, purposely to avoid mentioning a title which carried 
in it a claim to a maintenance. See 1 Thess. ii. 6, 2 Cor. xii. 
12, 13. Nor does it appear that there was any party formed 
ag;dnst the apostle in the church at Philippi. Timothy's name 
is joined with his own, because he had been with the apostle 
when he first preached the gospel at Philippi. See Peirce in loc. 
and -Benson on Philemon, ver. 1, 

- Hohj believers, &c.] In the original^ " all the holy in Christ 

1'2 I'll 1 LI PPI ANS. 

Ch I. at Philippic with the bishop^- and deaco7is ', favour 
^^^'" be to you and peace from God our Father^ andixovci 
the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul and his beloved associate Timothy, whose 

Jesus :" a periphrasis for all Christians; a word which the apo- 
stle never uses in any of his epistles, though it must have been 
familiar to him, as it was first imposed at Antioch, where he 
and Barnabas had preached the gospel with much success. Acts 
xi. 26 : a plain proof that those learned men are mistaken who 
infer, from the expression used by Luke, that this appellation 
was given by divine appointment. 

' Bishops, &c.] The existence of these officers in the primi- 
tive church is indisputable ; and the mention of them in this epi- 
stle, and in no other, seems to me to be no serious objection 
against the genuineness of the epistle. They might have been 
particularly active in the collection which had been made for the 
apostle, or there might be some other reason for mentioning 
them of which we are ignorant. See Doddridge and Macknight ; 
and Whitby, who also justly arg-ues that the apostle, by the word 
bishops, iTria-KOTTOi, here, means the elders of the church. " By 
bishops," says Dr. Priestley, " the apostle could only mean the 
elders or presbyters of the church, to all of whom, as to those 
of the church of Ephesus, he gives the title of bishops, or, over- 
seers. There could be no such thing in that age as a bishop of 
one church having a superintendence over the ministers of other 
churches. Whether diocesan episcopacy be a useful Institution 
or not, there is nothing to countenance it in the scriptures j and 
the history of the church in later ages shows how liable it is to 
the grossest abuses, making the church of Christ to resemble 
the kingdoms of this world, by feeding the pride and ignorance 
of some churches and bishops, to the degradation and oppres- 
sion of others." 

It is very true, as Dr. Priestley observes, that diocesan epis- 
copacy is not a divine institution. Neither is any other form of 
church discipline and government. The Christian religion, with 
great wisdom, leaves every society of believers to model its own 
discipline according to its own ideas of expedience. And though 
episcopacy has been often perverted to evil purposes, to which 
all human institutions are liable, and of which episcopacy is far 
from exhibiting tlie sole example, it does not follow that this 
mode of church government which has so generally prevailed 
may not in all cases be lawful, and in borae highly expedient. 

Skct. I. PHILIPPIANS. I. 313 

hisfhest boast it is to be the servants of Jesus of Na- Ch. i. 
zaieth, the true Messiah, and the messengers of his 
grace to the heathen world, send their affectionate 
salutations to their generous friends, to all true be- 
lievers in Christ in the celebrated city of Philippi ; 
and particularly to those grave and venerable men 
who so worthily preside over their religious assem- 
blies ; and likewise to those active and faithful per- 
sons to whose management the temporal concerns 
of the society are committed. The blessing of God 
be upon you all, and a large participation of that 
peace which results from the faith and hope and 
temper of the gospel of Christ. 


The apostle expresses his gratitude for their 
kindness, and his prayers for their improvement 
in the spirit of the gospel. Ch. i. 3 — 1 1 . 

1 . The apostle expresses his great satisfaction in 
their liberal spirit, his gratitude to God for it, and 
his firm persuasion that they will persevere in their 
Christian principles and conduct, ver. 3 — 7. 

/ thank 7ny God for all your remembrance of 
me 2; always and in every prayer of mine for you 

' All your remembrance of me.] sti itao-n rr, [/,veicc Jju,wv. Com- 
pare Luke XV. 7, 10, See Peircej who proposes and vindicates 
this translation. 

314 Sect. I. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1. 

Ch. I. ally making supplication iuithjoy^ because of your 
conti'ibution to the gospeV from the first day until 

6- now. Being confident of this y that each of youwho 
hath begun a good work 2 will go on to finish it until 

7. the day of Jesus Christ. As it is just for me to 
think this of you all, because you retain me in your 
hearts 3, and because you were all joint contributors 
to the present which 1 received*, both during my 

' Contribution, &c.] xojvwviasjf ro svayysXiov i. e. " com- 
municating or contributing to my support while I have been 
employed in preaching the gospel." Peirce ; who observes, that 
if he had intended what our translators have expressed, he would 
have said rs EvayysXfd. 1 Cor. i. 9. Eph. iii. 9. See Wakefield. 
Frotn the first day : " i. e. ever since I began to preach among 
you." Peirce. 

' That each of you, &c.] So Mr. Wakefield translates the 
clause ; and much more suitably to the connexion than the 
common version. Until the day, &c. " i. e. as long as you 
live." Peirce. 

' You retain me in your hearts.l ha, to b'/jbiv f/.e ev T]j xapSioc 
uiiag. The original is ambiguous : I adopt the version of Peirce 
and Wakefield, as more agreeable to the context. 

* Joint-contributors, &c.] " You have all been contributors to 
the gift 1 have received, in order to my being the better prepared 
for my defence." Peirce ; who shows that the word xoii/wvos is 
sometimes taken in an active sense in classical authors. See 
1 Cor. ix. 23 ; which he translates thus : " This I do for the 
gospel's sake, that I might be avyMiyujvtig, in conjunction with 
others, a communicator of the gospel. " Pearce (Peirce) 1 be • 
lieve," says Dr. Paley Hor. Paul. p. 25G, " was the first com- 
mentator who gave this sense to the expression, and I believe 
also that his exposition is now generally assented to." It is very 
evident that Dr. Paley appeals to Peirce of Exeter, whose criti- 
cism he cites, and not to Bishop Pearce. But it is remarkable 
that Bishop Pearce himself, iirhis Epistolce Duce, Works, vol. ii. 
p. 478, incidentally gives the same sense to the passage. He 
considers the text in ver. 3, 4, as corrupted and confused, and 
conjectures the true reading to be, Ey%ao*rw rco ©ecu jw,8 (sTTi 
iratri) rr, Sarj(rei (/.ov iravrote vifsp icavrwv v[j.cuv, jj.sra,{ rr^v 
fj^vsiav TtoiB^ivos) eti ti\ notvuvio,, H.r. A. " et Apoatolum puto 

Sect. I. P H I L I P P 1 A N S. 1. 315 

bonds and in the defence and eonfi^^mation of the ch. i. 
gospel. ^^' '■ 

It is with the greatest satisfaction that I not only 
hear of, but that I also experience in my own person, 
the happy effects of your Christian benevolence. I 
thank God that you still remember your faithful 
friend and teacher in the gospel, and that neither 
length of time nor distance of place, nor depression 
of circumstances, have effaced your affectionate sym- 
pathy. I often pray for you ; which is the only way 
in which I can express my love and gratitude to you. 
And as often as I pray, I recollect with joy, and ex- 
press with gratitude, your great liberality in the ge- 
nerous contributions which you have made to sup- 
port the great expense of the mission of the gospel 
among the heathen. This generous spirit mani- 
fested itself, not only when your affections were 
warmly excited at your first conversion to the faith, 
but, to your great honour, this zeal has never relaxed, 
from that time to the present hour : and I have no 
doubt that you will persevere, as long as you live, 
in the same generous, public-spirited conduct ; and 
that you will be found so employed when you are 

velle clicere, se gratias Deo agere quia Philippenses huic suas di- 
vitias communicarunt, ut Judceis inopia laborantibus ministra- 
returr This, though a very ingenious conjecture, being desti- 
tute of all authority, is therefore inadmissible, as Mr. Peirce 
observes, who gives what he esteems a correct interpretation of 
the received text. 

How little support is given by this passage to the Calvinistic 
doctrine of final Perseverance, or that a man who has been 
once converted cannot full away from grace, is sufficiently ob- 

316 Sect. I. P H I L I P P 1 A N S. 2. 

Ch. 1. summoned to the great and final tribunal. I speak 
Ver. 7. ^[^i^ confidence of you all without exception ; and 
I have the best reason for the good hopes which I 
entertain respecting you,forIam informed that every 
individual among you sympathizes kindly with me in 
my present confinement, and that you all contributed 
in proportion to your ability to that handsome and 
seasonable present which you have sent me ; and for 
which I may have particular occasion, as I expect 
in a short time to be called upon to defend myself, 
and the gospel which I am commissioned to preach, 
at the imperial tribunal. 

2. The apostle further assures them of his tender 
affection for them, which he expresses in earnest 
prayer to God for their improvement in the know- 
ledge and spirit of the gospel, ver. 8 — 1 \ . 

8. For God is my witness how earnestly I long 
after you all with the tender affection i of Jesus 

9. Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound 
still more and more in knoiuledge and in all discern- 

10. ment^i that ye may distinguish things that differ^, 

' Tender affection^ Gr. bowels. See Wakefield and New- 

* Discernment.'] aJtrOjjcrer " see Prov. i. 7, The fear of the 
Lord is the beginning aio-Qijo-ew;." Newcome. " I pray that 
your attachment to the gospel may increase and show itself by 
your knowledge of its principles and your feeling of its influ- 
ence. The word, in the original, implies perception and feel- 
ing." Dr. Priestley. 

^ Distinguish things that differ.'] So Peirce. Wal<efield and 
Newcome prefer the common version, viz. " things that are ex- 
cellent." Peirce refers to 1 Thess. v, 21 as a parallel text, 
" Prove all things : hold fast that which is good;" and adds. 

Ver. II. 

Sect. I. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2. 317 

that ye may continue clear ^ and unperverted^ till Ch 
the day of Christ : being filled with the fruit 6 of 
righteousness 7 through Jesus Christ to the glory 
and praise of God. 

Be assured, my dear friends, that your great kind- 
ness to me, and your generous remembrance of me, 
is not lost upon me. God, who searches the heart, 
is witness to the truth and fervour of my affection 
for you ; how earnestly I desire to visit you, how 
much I wish to impart to you some Christian in- 
struction, some spiritual consolation. But, for the 
present, a personal interview is not permitted. And 
the only return I can make for your kindness and 
liberaliiy is, by praying for you. And this, my 

" Nor can a man's holding fast any controverted opinion in re- 
ligion be of any advantage unless he hold it fast upon such a 
trial ; nor is there any other vvay for men to approve themselves 
sincere against the day of Christ while they neglect this course, 
as is here plainly intimated." 

•* Clear ^ " siXiKpivrig, qui ad solem explicatus et spectatus pu- 
rus reperitur."' Schleusner. It is generally understood of sin- 
cerity, in opposition to deceit and duplicity : see Peirce. Gro- 
tius explains it, " ut dare omnia perspiciatis ;" and Mr. Wake- 
field translates it, " that ye may continue with discernment." 
See 2 Pet. iii. 1 . Perhaps this sense better suits the connexion : 
q. d. that you may be clear-sighted in the doctrine of Christ. 

* Unperverted.'] aitpoawitoi. The word is doubtful : it some- 
times signifies, not giving offence to others, I Cor. x. 32. Mr. 
Peirce thinks it here signifies, " Do nothing to offend your- 
selves:" i. e. to wound your own consciences. Acts xxiv. 16. 
Mr. Wakefield translates it, " without stumbling ;" and in this 
sense it best connects with siXiKpivsig, if that word is rendered 

" Fruit.'] This word is read in the singular number in the best 
copies. See Griesbach. 

' Righteousness :'] i. e. liberality. See Ps. cxii. 3, 9 j 2 Cor. 
ix. 9, 10 J James ii. 13. Peirce. 

318 Sect. I. PHILIPPIANS. 2. 

Ch. I. brethren, is the object of my earnest aspirations on 
*'"• • your account: That you may persevere and improve 
in that amiable, benevolent, and generous spirit, 
by which you have hitherto been distinguished ; and 
that your Christian benevolence may be combined 
with proportionable improvementin Christian know- 
ledge, and in a capacity to form a right judgement 
concerning the doctrines of the gospel. And this 
I desire for you, to the end that you may be able to 
distinguish truth and falsehood, right and wrong, 
and may not be in danger of being misled by false 
and seducing teachers, who, I fear, are endeavouring 
to insinuate themselves among you. Hitherto you 
have maintained the gospel doctrine in its purity, 
and have preserved inviolable your Christian liberty. 
I pray that you may persevere to the end of life in 
the same honourable course ; that your principles 
may be uncorrupted ; that your conduct may excite 
no prejudices against your profession : that so you 
may enjoy, to their utmost extent, the comfort, the 
reputation, and the affectionate gratitude, which are 
the genuine fruit and just reward of your Christian 
liberality, which redounds so much to the honour of 
God, and to the credit of the gospel, and for which 
you will hereafter receive ample recompense at the 
great day, when we shall all appear before the judge- 
ment-seat of Christ. 




The a postle reports to the PhiUppiayis an en- ch. i. 
couraging account of his present situation ; and 
compresses his hope that it would soon be in his 
poiver to make them a visit. Ch. i. 12 — 26. 

I. He informs them that his long confinement 
had, upon the whole, contributed to the success of - 
the gospel, ver. 12 — 14. 

Now I luouldhaveyouknow, brethren, that what Ver. 12. 
hath happened to me hath twmed out rather i to the 
advancement of the gospel. So that my bonds are 13. 

well knoivn to be for the^sake of Christ^, through 
all the palace"^, and all other places; and many of 14, 
the br'ethren in the Lord^, emboldened by my bonds 

' Rather.'] fiaXXov. Mr. Wakefield's version is, " has been 
greathj to the furtherance of the gospel." 

• For the sake of Christ.'] The expression in the original is 
ambiguous 5 the sense given in the translation seems best 
adapted to the context, and is given by Peirce, Harwood, Mac- 
knight, Wakefield, and Newcome. If it were known that 
he Was imprisoned solely for preaching the Christian doc- 
trine, and not for any offence against the state, it might tend to 
make an impression in his favour, and contribute to his enlarge- 

' Palace.] " the word properly signifies, the judgement-hall. 
Some think the camp of the pretorian guards is meant. See Le 
Clerc, Suppl. to Hammond." Newcome. 

* Brethren in the Lord.] " Christian brethren, described in 
the second clause of the next verse." Newcome. 

320 Sect. II. PHILIPPIANS. 1. 

Ch. I. have ventured ', with much more undaunted cou- 

^^' ' ■ rage, to speak the word of God^. 

You are naturally apprehensive, lest my long im- 
prisonment at Rome may have been a considerable 
impediment to the progress of the gospel. But di- 
vine providence often compasses its ends by means 
which are to us unsearchable ; and in the present 
case I can assure you for your comfort, that an event 
which appeared in itself so likely to obstruct and to 
put an end to my usefulness, has, in fact, contri- 
buted greatly to extend it. My tedious and unjust 
confinement has promoted the diffusion of the go- 
spel. For it has excited the curiosity of many, even 
in Caesar's palace, as well as in all other districts of 
the city, to inquire into the cause of this bitter per- 
secution ; and having discovered that the only ground 
of accusation was, that I preached the gospel to, the 
Gentiles, it has led them to inquire into the con- 
tents of this glorious dispensation ; the consequence 
of which has been, that many have become sincere 
and confirmed believers, and some of them of no 
inconsiderable rank in the imperial court. And 
though the chain I wear is a considerable restraint 
upon my personal exertions, yet I am happy to say 
that I have many faithful colleagues who are both 
able and willing to labour in this honourable cause, 

' Have ventured^ See Doddridge's version. Gr. " are more 
abundantly bold to speak the word without fear." 

' Of God^ 'fs ©£8. This, which is wanting in the received 
text, is the reading of the Alexandrine and several other manu- 
scripts, and of the Syriac, Italic, and Vulgate versions. See 
Griesbach and Peirce. 

Skct. n. PHILIPPIANS. 2. 321 

and who, observing the cheerfulness with which I Ch. i. 
endure this long confinement, and its happy effect, 
so contrary to their expectation, in diffusing the 
knowledge of the gospel, have become more active, 
zealous, and courageous in the propagation of Chris- 
tian truth, and brave every danger in so glorious and 
divine a cause. 

2. The apostle expresses the great satisfaction he 
felt in the zeal with which the gospel was promul- 
gated, even though some of the preachers of it were 
influenced by motives personally unkind to himself, 
ver. 15—18. 

Some, indeed^ are preaching Christ even through 15. 
envy and contention ', and some also through good- 
will. Those who preach him /rom /oi'e 2 preach, 17- 

' Some are preaching Christ even through envy and contention.'] 
These were, no doubt, judaizing zealots, who, professing to be- 
lieve Jesus to be the Messiah, but insisting upon the observa- 
tion of the Jewish ceremonial as essential to salvation, were 
implacable enemies to the apostle, who was a zealous advocate 
for the liberty of the Gentile Christians. These would probably 
take advantage of the apostle's confinement} and would go 
about among the new converts, endeavouring to persuade them 
to submit to the Mosaic ritual, than which nothing, as they well 
knew, would be more mortifying to him. It should seem that, 
though these men preached their judaizing doctrine in a degree 
which marked the malignity of their temper, and their hostility 
to the apostle, yet they did not preach it to that extent in Rome 
to which they carried it in some other places. Othervvise the 
apostle would hardly have called it preaching Christ. See Gal.i. 
6 — 9, v. 2, 3. Perhaps these zealots were afraid of insisting 
loudly and publicly at Rome upon the absolute necessity of sub- 
mission to the Jewish ritual, lest they should give offence to the 
civil power. See Peirce and Macknight. Mr. Evanson, surely, 
has little reason to argue, from the bad spirit of Paul's oppo- 
nents, that the epistle is not genuine. 

* Those who, &c.] The construction of the original {ol ( — • 

322 Sect. II. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2. 

Ch.I. knowing (hat I lie in prison ybr the defence'^ of 
Ver. 16. the gospel. But those who \n'e'dch from st?ij'e, pro- 
claim Christ with no pure intentioji-^ meaning to 
18. add affliction to my bonds. What then? notwith- 
standing^ every way, whether in pi'etence or in 
truth, Christ is proclaimed, and herein I do rejoice^ 
yea, and will rejoice^. 

Many are engaged in preaching the great truth, 
that Jesus is the Christ ; but, I am sorry to add. 

ol (Js) requires the transposition of the 1 6th and 17th verses, 
which is supported by many good manuscripts and versions. 
See Griesbach, Wakefield, and Newcome. Peirce justly re- 
marks, " that ol £^ aya-Tty};, and ol s^ spiQsia;, are the subjects 
and not the predicate of their respective sentences 3" vs^hich is 
also the construction of Wakefield and Newcome. 

' Lie in prison for the defence.'] stg airoXoyiocv re svayysXis 
xsiiMUi. " that I lie in bonds in order to make an apology." 
Peirce j who thinks this sense better suited to the connexion 
than the common version, / am set or appointed for the defence, 
&c. : he observes, that the proper sense of aKoKtyia, is a defence 
upon an accusation. Perhaps the meaning is, q. d. I must re- 
main in confinement till after my defence ; and therefore, as I 
can do less, these exert themselves the more, ^ 

* With no pure intention.'] dyvws. This expression may refer 
either to the insincerity of their motives, or to their corruption 
of the Christian doctrine : perhaps the apostle included both. I 
have adopted Mr. Wakefield's translation. 

3 Will rejoice] " The friends of Paul," says Dr. Priestley, 
" were encouraged by his firmness to preach the gospel with 
the greatest boldness } and others who were probably judaizing 
teachers, of whom, as appears by St. Paul's epistle to the Ro- 
mans, there were many in that metropolis, preached it in such 
a manner as tended to disparage the apostle, thinking perhaps 
to mortify him by preaching independently of him, and under- 
valuing him ; and also, preaching many doctrines that he did 
not approve, especially the universal obligation to adhere to the 
laws of Moses. Paul, however, rejoiced in this preaching of the 
gospel, for hereby converts would be made to it, and the evil 
that might be occasioned by the preaching of his enemies would 
in time be rectified." 

Sect. II. P H I L 1 P P I A N S. 2. 328 

not all with equally pure and benevolent motives, ch. r. 
Strange to relate, there are some who preach the ^"' ' 
good news of universal peace and good will to men, 
from a contentious, perverse, and envious spirit; 
but there are also some who preach the same doc- 
trine from the best and most generous motives. 
These illustrious characters, who honour me with 
their friendship, are the more active in the labours 
-of their ministry, because they know not only that I 
am a prisoner for the sake of the gospel, but that till I 
have made my defence, or rather, which is in effect 
the same, till I have pleaded the cause and made 
known the doctrine of Christ before the imperial 
tribunal, I must continue in confinement, unable to 
exert myself as I wish. It is their desire, therefore, 
to supply my deficiency, and in this they manifest 
their affection to me by their zealous co-operation 
in the same cause. The other party, who oppose 
my doctrine and envy my success, teach indeed that 
Jesus is the Christ, and so far it is well. But they 
neither act from a good motive, nor teach uncor- 
rupted doctrine. As far as they dare, at this distance 
from Jerusalem, the chief seat of their polity and 
worship, they insist upon the observation of judaical 
rites ; and thus they expect and intend to add to 
my sufferings, by the pain which they know that it 
would give me to witness their success in propagat- 
ing unsound doctrine. But in this they are mis- 
taken : for after all, and amidst all the imperfection, 
and all the insincerity with which they exercise their 
ministry, they agree with those who are animated 

324 Sect. II, PHILIPPIANS. 3. 

Ch. I. by a better spirit in teaching, the fundamental truths 
Ver. 18. of the Christian rehgion, and in this I do and I will 
rejoice : knowing that they who sincerely embrace 
the first elements of Christianity, and who practi- 
cally acknowledge Jesus as their master, will not, 
whatever their teachers may intend, be materially 
injured by speculative errors. 

3. Tlie apostle expresses his cheerful confidence 
that this zeal for the gospel would contribute to his 
release ; and that his defence at his approaching trial 
would be conducive to the success of the Christian 
doctrine, ver. 19, 20. 

19. For I knoiu ' that this^ will end in my deliver- 
ance 3 through your prayer, and through the sup- 

20. ply of the spirit of Jesus Christ '^, according to my 

■ / knoiv^ oiSa. Though the apostle uses strong language, 
he does not mean to express absolute certainty of release, but 
merely a confident expectation of it j for in the next sentence he 
expresses at least a possibility that the issue might be fatal. 

* This .•] i. e. " this preaching of Christ of which my bonds 
are the occasion, ver. 18." Peirce. " this imprisonment.'" 

^ Deliverance^ (rwrnipiav, release from confinement. 2 Cor. i. 
6, Acts vii. 25, xxvii. 34, are passages in which the word is 
used in a sense different from eternal happiness. See Peirce, 
Wakefield, Harwood, Macknight, and Newcome. Peirce sug- 
gests that " the preaching of the Judaizers, out of envy, would 
give his friends an opportunity to represent to the emperor and 
those in power, that he was persecuted by the Jews out of ma- 
lice, and not for any real crimes against the state. He might 
be sensible what good use would be made of this to favour his 

* Supply of the spirit,"] " which was promised in imminent 
danger, and for which the apostle had occasion in his defence 
beft^re Nero." H arwood . 

SiXT. II. P H I L I P P I A N S. 3. 325 

earnest expectation and hope tliat I shall disgrace Ch. i. 
myself' in no respect^; ^w/ that with all freedom ^"■•^^• 
of speech now, as at all other times y Christ will be 
honoured in my person ^, whether it be by life, or 
by death. 

I rejoice in the zeal with which the fundamental 
doctrines of the gospel are promulgated ; nor need 
you, my friends, be anxious lest I should suffer any 
inconvenience on this account ; for I am persuaded, 
that so far from being an impediment to my re- 
lease, as some desire and expect, it will rather tend 
to accelerate that happy event, in connexion with 
your prayers for me, and with that supply of holy 
courage and freedom of speech which Christ has pro- 
mised to his faithful servants, when they are called 
to plead his cause before kings and rulers. The en- 
mity of Jewish zealots will be no disadvantage to me 
in the imperial court ; and the prevalence of the go- 
spel in its genuine spirit must be favourable to my 
cause. And I am fully confident that my honoured 
Master, who has so powerfully supported me upon 
all former occasions, will not, by denying me his 
promised aid, suffer me to disgrace myself and the 
cause in which I am embarked, at the approaching 
important crisis ; but that, by a becoming freedom 
of speech when I am called to defend my character 
and cause at the tribunal of Caesar, the doctrine of 

* Disgrace myself. 1 So Mr. Wakefield ; or, be disappointed. 
He refers to Rom. v. 5 ; where the word is used in the sense of 
disappoint. " 1 shall be put to shame in nothing." Newcome. 

" J:*crson.'] Gr. " body." 

3*26 Skct.H. PHILIPPIANS. 4. 

Ch. I. Christ will obtain a glorious triumph through my 
istrumentality, whatever the event may be as to my 
own person, and whether I, the herald of salvation, 
be condemned or released. 

4. The apostle, though on his own account de- 
sirous of release from a state of labour and suffering, 
expresses, nevertheless, an entire readiness to con- 
tinue at his post as long as he could be of use to 
others by preaching the gospel, ver. 2 1 — 24. 

21. /or to me to live is Christ, and to die, gain^, 

22. But though this living in the flesh, would be to me 
a fruitful labour ^ ; yet, luhat I should choose I 

23. cannot say^. But I am distressed between the 

* To live is Christ, and to die, gain^ The Arabic translator 
reads XP^i^^^' E^^'^ / which Griesbach marks as a valuable read- 
ing. Beza, Calvin, Gataker, and Peirce make li^pis-os the sub- 
ject of both members of the sentence, and Ksphg the predicate 
of both ; q. d. for Christ to me, both in life and death, is gain. 
But VVolfius Cur. Crit. observes, that the apostle would then 
have written £jU,o< yap Xpiros, xxi ro ^y, xai ro airofiave/y xsp- 
Soc. See Bowyer. 

'^ Would be to me a fruitful labour.'] Gr. " fruit of labour," 
i. e. fruitful, or advantageous labour. To him to live was to 
preach Christ; and this employment would be highly advan- 
tageous ; the greater the labour, the greater would be his re- 
ward. Yet even this consideration can hardly reconcile him to 
life. The expression in the original is elliptical : ei Se ro t,y £" 
(ractii, rero aoi xu^iros spya. Dr. Newcome supplies hioroLi fxot 
after trapKi, and his version is: " But if it be given to me to live 
in the flesh, this preaching of Christ is the fruit of my labour." 
•' But if this life in the flesh be to me a fruitful employment in hi$ 
gospel." Wakefield. " Quod sivero vita mea in corpore, utilita- 
tem afferret muneri meo, sane quid eligam nescio. Ken, sane." Ro- 

^ / cannot saij^ s yvwpi^cu. So Wakefield j who thus preserves 
the proper signification of the word, which is lost in the common 

Sect. I. P H I L 1 P P I A N S. 4. 327 

Iwo* , having a desire to depaH ^, and to be with Ch. i. 
Christy which were very far better 6. Nevertheless, Ver. 24. 
to continue in the flesh is more necessary for you, 

I am well prepared for the awful alternative of 
life or death. While I live, indeed, I am doing 

translation, and which has created a difficulty to critics. See 

* Distressed between the too.] See Wakefield. " I am borne 
different ways." Doddridge ; who observes, " that the original 
is very emphatical, a-vve^O[/.ai ax. tcuv Suo, and seems to be an 
allusion to a ship riding at anchor, and at the same time likely 
to be forced to sea by the violence of the winds." 

* To depart.'] sis to avaAutrai* " to be unbound." Doddridge. 
Many manuscripts omit gjj, and it is ingeniously conjectured by 
Bishop Pearce, that the true reading is rs avaAutra*. See Peirce 
and Bowyer, and Bishop Pearce's Epp. Duce. 

* Very far better i] •noWw iJ.aXKov -ApBio-Q-ov . The original is very 
emphatical. "mMZ^oma^isme/iMS." Vulgate. The Clermont and 
some other manuscripts read ntoffu) for itoKKw, and omit yap, 
q. d. O how very far better ! It is commonly inferred from this 
text, and with some appearance of plausibility, that the apostle 
expected to be introduced into a state of activity and happiness 
immediately after death; but this conclusion is inconsistent with 
his doctrine in the epistles to the Corinthians and the Thessalo- 
nians, where he represents the happiness of a future life as en- 
tirely dependent upon a resurrection from the dead; without 
which he assures them that their faith is vain, and that all who 
had fallen asleep in Christ had perished, 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14, 
1 Cor. XV. 12 — 18. To make the apostle, therefore, consistent 
with himself, we must understand him as comparing the present 
state with that which will take place immediately after the re- 
surrection, and accounting as nothing the intervening lapse of 
time. Not, indeed, upon the metaphysical, however just, sup- 
position, that the interval of thousands of ages is in reality no- 
thing ; but, because the apostle, and all the Christians in that 
age, believed that the second appearance of Christ to raise the 
dead, and judge the world, would take place in the course of a 
very few years, so that some who were then living would be wit- 
nesses to that awful event. It is upon this ground that he re- 
garded as nothing the few years which he supposed would elapse 
before the resurrection of the dead. See 1 Thess. iv. 1.5. 

"■' Nothing can be inferred from this text," says Dr. Priestley, 

328 Sect. II. P H I L I P P I A N S. 4. 

Ch. I. something to promote the cause of Christ, and to 
Ver. 24. ^iffugg jjjs doctrine in the world ; and this it is 
which gives life all its value, and reconciles me to 
remaining in life. But, independently of useful- 
ness, life would be of little value ; and death would 
be far preferable to the fatigues and sufferings which 
I continually undergo. Indeed, so weary do I often 
feel, that the desire of rest almost prevails over that 

" in favour of an intermediate state between death and the re- 
surrection. For the apostle, considering his own situation, would 
naturally connect the end of this life with the commencement 
of another and a better, as he would have no perception of any 
interval between them. That the apostle had no view to any 
state short of the coming of Christ to judgement, is evident from 
the phrase he makes use of, viz. being with Christ, which can 
only take place at his second coming. For Christ himself has 
said that he would come again, and that he would take his dis- 
ciples to himself; which clearly implies that they were not to 
be with him before that time. 

'' Accordingly, for many centuries after the notion of an in- 
termediate state was advanced, a notion which has been the 
foundation of the doctrine of purgatory, and many other absurd 
and mischievous opinions and practices in the church of Rome, 
and of no good whatever, it was never imagined that the de- 
parted souls were to be with Christ, but only in a place under 
ground called Hades, where they were to wait till the resurrec- 
tion of their bodies, at which time, and not before, it was sup- 
posed that they would be with Christ. The opinion, of the soul 
going immediately to heaven, was not advanced with any de- 
gree of confidence by any Christians except the Gnostics, who 
believed in no resurrection at all, till about a thousand years 
after Christ." 

"The scripture," says the venerable Bishop Law, " in speak- 
ing of the connexion between our present and our future being, 
doth not take into the account our intermediate state in death, 
no more than we, in describing the course of any man's actions, 
take in the time he sleeps. Therefore the scripture must affirm 
an immediate connexion between death and judgement, Heh. 
ix. 27, and repvcLcnts the coming of Christ as near at handj 
James v. 8, 9." Lav/'s Inquiry, App. No. xiii. xiv. 

Skct. II. P H 1 L 1 P P I A N S. 


of usefulness ; and I can hardly say whether I incline Ch. i 
most to live or die. My situation is like that of a 
ship at anchor, exposed to the impulse of opposite 
currents. Self-interest and the love of ease some- 
times prompt the wish to break loose, to depart from 
a region of storms and dangers, and to return to 
port, where I should soon be summoned into the 
'presence of my glorious chief, and receive the pro- 
mised reward — a reward how great and transcend- 
ent ! a state how unspeakably preferable to the pre- 
sent mixed and variable scene ! Nevertheless it is 
for your advantage, and for that of the church in 
general, that I should remain a little longer at my 
post ; and I am content to do so. My master's will 
is mine : I desire nothing so much as to approve my 
fidelity to him. 

5. With these viev/s the apostle expresses his firm 
conviction that he shall be spared, and in due time 
restored to the society of his friends, ver. 25,26. 

And^ being confident of this, I knoiv ^ that I 25. 
shall remain, yea I shall remain luith you all ^, for 
the advancement of your faith and joy 3 ; that your 26. 

' I know^ by inference, not by revelation ; for in that case 
he could not have supposed it possible that his confinement 
might issue in martyrdom, ver. 20. 

•^ With you all^ " I shall not only remain on earth, but con- 
tinue my intercourse with you. See ver. 26." Newcome. 

* Advancement, &c.] Doddridge. " for your furtherance 
and joy in the faith." Newcome. Mr. Wakefield translates the 
words, "for your satisfaction, and the furtherance of your faith ;" 
and observes in his note, that " the transposition of the two 
SLibgtantives is authorized by the Syriac, and in some measure 

330 SsojlII. PHILIPPIANS. 5. 

Ch. I. glorying * in Christ Jesus may abound through 
me^ by my presence with you again. 

Being fully persuaded that the continuance of my 
mission will, for the present, be of considerable ad- 
vantage to the Gentile churches, I have no doubt 
that my life will be prolonged. And not only so, 
but I am further persuaded that I shall also obtain 
my release from this long confinement, and shall be 
permitted once more to visit you, and all the other 
Gentile churches which I have planted, to confirm 
your faith and promote your joy, by recounting to 
you the beneficial effects which have resulted from 
this painful and tedious imprisonment. And my 
presence with you will completely justify the tri- 
umph which you have so often expressed in your 
conversion to the Christian doctrine by me, who 
was your first instructor ; and will confute and bring 
to shame the malignant insinuations of those who 
would infer from my sufferings, and particularly 
from my long restraint from public service, that I 
am not an authorized apostle of Jesus Christ. 

by other versions, to say nothing of the context." Griesbach 
takes no notice of any various reading. I have given Dr. Dod- 
dridge's translation, which evidently expresses the apostle's 
meaning. So Grotius explains the text : " Quh majori cum 
gaudio conjuncta sitjides vestra." " Ut adjuvem vestrumpro- 
fectum in cognitione et virtute, et gaudium, quod exjideproma- 
naresolet." Rosenmuller. 

• Glorying in Christ.'] They would not only rejoice to see 
the apostle at liberty, and to enjoy his instructions, but would 
also triumph over his adversaries, who represented his im])ri- 
sonment as a proof of the invalidity of his mission. See Peirce 
and Nevvcome. 

Sbct. III. PHILIPPIANS. 1. 331 


The APOSTLE eixhorts the Philippians to cultivate Ch, I. 
a spirit worthy ofthegospel^ and particularly re- 
commends mutual affection, humility, and forti- 
tude in the prof ession of truth, from the example 
of Christ, and in expectation of future reward, 
Ch. i. 27— ii. 16. 

1 . The apostle urges them to a firm adherence 
to truth and duty, undismayed by opposition, ver. 27 

Only"^, behave ivorthy of the gospel of Christ^, Ver. 27. 
that whether I come and see you, or being absent 
hear of your concerns, I may be assured * that ye 
stand firm in one spirit ^, striving together with 
one soul for the faith of the gospel^, and in no 28. 

' Only^ Hoc tantum moneo in prcesentia. Menochius apud 
Pol. Sijn. See Newcome. Gal. ii. 10, v. 13. 

^ Behave, &c.] TtoKirsvEo-Qs. " The word literally signifies, 
' to behave as denizens of some city or corporation.' " Dod- 

* I may be assm-ed.] The expression is elliptical by the omis- 
sion of jJw Ka.i CCKSU} after v^wv, and the ellipsis is supplied va- 
riously, but the apostle's meaning is evident. See Wakefield, 

' Stand firm in one spirit^ unanimous in your adherence to 
truth. See Peirce. " Standi verbum athletis convenit gradum 
servantibus ; a quibus sumpfa est translatio." Beza. 

^Striving, &c.] " united in exertion to maintain the uncor- 
rupted faith in opposition to Jewish zealots. Seech, iii," Peirce ; 
who observes, " that their own unanimity, and their withstand- 
ing and opposing seducers to Judaism^ were the two points on 

332 ^jcT. in. PHILIPPIANS. 1. 

Ch. I. degree inthnidatedhy your opponents'^ ^ {which con- 

*'' "^' stcincy 2 is to them a certain evidence of youv ruin •', 

2.9. but to you of salvation * ; For this favour has 

been graciously given ^ to you by God with respect 

to Christ, not only to believe in him, but even to suf 

30 ferfor him:) enduring the same conflict^ which ye 

saw in me, and now hear to be in me. 

which the apostle was about chiefly to insist." Striving, crvv- 
a^XsvTsg, wrestling together, jointly contending: the metaphor is 
still kept up. " It signifies," says Dr. Macknight, " the greatest 
exertions of courage and strength. The word denotes the action 
of the Athletae in the Olympic games." 

' Intimidated.'] irtvpofisvoi, startled by your opposers : i. e. 
judaizing teachers, " who alone, says Mr. Locke (Eph. i. 25), 
were likely to affright the convert Gentiles, and to make them 
start out of the way of the gospel ; which is the proper import 
of the word." Peirce. 

' Which constancy.] " r^tis, says Dr. Newcome, is here used 
for OTTs/j, as Eph. iii. 13 it is used for amvsf being in both places 
attracted by the following substantive. See also Col. i. 27." 

^ <y your rwm.] " When these Judaizers saw that they could 
not by all their endeavours prevail upon the Gentiles to comply 
with what they took to be the condition of salvation. Acts xv. I, 
they would esteem them obstinate and incorrigible, and as aban- 
doned by God to everlasting perdition." *' It is no new thing 
(adds Mr. Peirce) for men to make such things the conditions 
of salvation, as God does notj and then unmercifully to damn 
those who do not submit to them." Peirce. See also Macknight. 
The common interpretation supposes, that the constancy of the 
Philippians was an evidence of destruction to their opponents : 
which is hardly consistent or intelligible. The construction re- 
quires, that from the middle of the 28th verse to the end of the 
2Dth should be included in a parenthesis, 

■* Salvation^ I follow Mr. Wakefield in finishing this sen- 
tence at a-ujrrjpias. He pleads the authority of the Syriac, iEthi- 
opic, and Arabic translators. Griesbach is silent. 

^ Graciously given.'] The apostle here, with great address, 
speaks of suffering for Christ as an honour and a favour : thus 
obviating the objections of those who represented persecution 
as a token of divine displeasure, and of disapprobation of the 
persecuted cause. Newcome, PiMrce. 

* Enduiir'.^ thcsamr cofiflivl, &C.] The construction rcquiics 

Skct. III. P H I L 1 P P I A N :^. 

To promote your stability and iinproveiiient in Ch. i 

the Christian doctrine, I am wilHng to continue in 
a state of labour and of suffering. I have one, and 
but one, favour to ask of you in return for this tes- 
timony of my affection : Live as Christians. Let 
your whole conduct correspond with the laws and 
the spirit of that holy community into which you 
are now initiated, and in the privileges and immu- 
nities of which you have been made to participate. 
I hope soon to be at liberty to visit you: at all events, 
I cannot be long without hearing of you. But in 
whatever way I gain information of your state, let 
me have the satisfaction to learn that you all adhere 
stedfastly to the doctrine of the gospel, in its sim- 
plicity and purity ; that you are unanimous in the 
profession of it, and that you support one another 
in earnestly contending for the truth, and in a zea- 
lous opposition to all false doctrine, under whatever 
pretence it may be pressed upon you. They who 
wish to subvert your principles announce their doc- 
trines as essential to salvation, and anathematize 
all who will not receive them. Fear them not : 
their anathemas are vain. This firmness of yours 
they will call obstinacy, and represent it as a sure 
mark of reprobation. But believe me when I assure 
you, that you cannot possess a stronger evidence 

that this should be joined with the former part of the 28th verse, 
Bowyer. It is uncertain what that conflict is to which the 
apostle alludes, whether the opposition of judaizing teachers, or 
of persecution. The former, from the connexion, seems most 
probable ; though v/e hear nothing of any such contest which 
the apostle had at Philippi, Perhaps both may be included. 

Ver. 30. 


Ch. I. of the safety of your state than a firm practical ad- 
Ver. 30. j^grence to the pmity of the Christian faith. You 
have also this further proof of your interest in the 
promises of the gospel. God has not only called 
you to the profession of the gospel, but he has 
vouchsafed you the great honour of being confes- 
sors and sufferers in this holy cause. Do not, then, 
disgrace it or yourselves, by suffering this inesti- 
mable treasure to be injured and corrupted. Your 
situation is similar to my own : you saw that I stre- 
nuously resisted every attempt to blend the simpli- 
city of the gospel with the bondage of the law ; you 
know that I am now in confinement for maintain- 
ing the liberty of the Gentile church, and you are 
now struggling with the zealots who wish to bring 
you under the yoke of the ceremonial institution. 
Follow my example : resist them firmly : and upon 
no consideration abandon the principles, or resign 
the privileges, of the gospel. 

2. The apostle earnestly adjures them to mani- 
fest their affection to him by uniting zeal for truth 
with a peaceable, humble, and disinterested spirit, 
ch. ii. 1 — 4. 
Ver V. V^ therefore \ there be any consolation in 
Christ ^y if any comfort from love, if any commu- 

' Ify therefore.'] q. d. If you have that affection for me which 
you profess, and which I am confident that you feel, complete 
my happiness j which you will accomplish most effectually by 
love and kindness to each other, and by a cordial union to sup- 
port the pure doctrine of the gospel, in opposition to those who 
would subvert the truth or corrupt its purity. 

Sect. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2. 335 

7iion of spirit "^y «/^ «^y tender compassions^ com- ch. ir. 
plete ye my joy ^ : that ye may be unanimous, main- ^^^'' • 
taining the same love, having your souls joined to- 
gether in attending to one thi?ig^, doing nothing 3. 

through contention or vainglory, but in humility of 
mind giving others a preference to yourselves : each 4. 

one considermg not his oivn attainments only, but 
every man the attainments of others also 7. 

' If any consolation in Christ.'] q. d. if there be any comfort in 
the doctrine of Christ, in which we mutually participate. 

' Communion of spirit, &c.] koivwvio, irvsviJiaros. This may 
be understood of the gifts of the holy spirit communicated by 
the apostle ; or, more probably, of spiritual union or fellow- 
ship. See Peirce and Wakefield. 

■* Any tender compassion.'] Gr. " any bowels and mercies." 
" affection and compassion." Wakefield, q. d. if you have any 
sympathy in my privations and sufferings, which indeed you 
have so largely contributed to relieve. 

* Complete, &c.] The apostle had before expressed his great 
joy at the good account which he had received from Epaphro- 
ditus of their faith and liberality, chap. i. 4 : he now wishes that 
they may render his satisfaction complete, by mutual harmony 
among themselves, and by a stedfast adherence to the purity of 
the faith. 

° Attending to one thing.] " The apostle forcibly inculcates 
unanimity and agreement by a redundancy of language." In 
this observation of Archbishop Newcome most expositors con- 
cur. Mr. Wakefield's version is, " having the same disposi- 
tions, the same love, the same soul, the same mind." Dr. Da- 
niel Scott joins the two former and the two latter clauses; viz. 
"that ye maybe unanimous, maintaining the same love j having 
your souls Joined togetlier, in attending to the one thing." See 
Doddridge's note upon the text. Mr. Peirce expounds the words 
thus : " Let me have a complete joy and satisfaction, in your 
manifesting the same disposition towards me which I have de- 
clared that I have towards you all." And he observes, in his 
note, that it " will make all easy if we understand the apostle 
in the first clause as exhorting them to be like-minded with him- 
self; and the ro hv (ppovavrss as signifying their agreement with 
one another." The difficulty is, to avoid tautology, 

' Not h'ls own attainments only ] " his own advantages and 

S36 Sect. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2, 

Ch. 11. In this conflict of principles and parties, allow me 
to put in my claim to a share in your regard. If 
there be any thing valuable in your Christian pro- 
fession, you owe it in some measure to me, who 
first enlightened you in the doctrine of Christ. If, 
then, you set any value upon that doctrine which 
reveals an immortal existence, if there be any de- 
light in that cordial affection which the true disci- 
ples of Jesus bear to each other, if there be one 
common spirit of holiness and zeal pervading the 
community of those who believe, and in which we, 
I trust, largely participate ; finally, if you still feel, 
as I am sure you do, a kind affection for your first 
instructor in the faith, and a tender sympathy with 
him in his sufferings for truth, let me conjure you 
by all these tender and engaging considerations to 
contribute what lies in your power to my comfort 
and satisfaction. You have indeed already done 
much ; you have received the gospel readily ; you 
have professed it honourably and consistently ; you 
have shown me much personal kindness. Persevere, 
my brethren : complete my satisfaction, fulfill my 
joy. Unite with me in firm adherence to Christian 
principles, in resolute opposition to false doctrine, 
and to insidious and seducing teachers. Be una- 
nimous amongst yourselves in the prosecution of 
this honourable cause. If you maintain your inte- 

excellencies, thus filling himself with pride." Newcome — " The 
apostle does not mean to encourage a busy pragmatical temper ; 
which he elsewhere utterly condemns. 1 Thess. iv. 11 j 2 Thess. 
iii. II. 12:.i Tim. V. 13." Peirce. 

Skct.III. PHILIPPIANS. iii. 1. 337 

grity) you will indeed afford me the highest delight, Ch. ii. 
an ample remuneration for all my labours and my "' ' 
sufferings. Unite in opposing the common enemy; 
but first of all, love one another : be peaceable; be 
humble; let each be ready to give preference to 
others, and to wave his own right to precedence. 
Think not highly of your own attainments ; regard 
not solely your own interest. Allow to others the 
merit of those good qualities which they possess ; 
und be zealous and active in promoting the welfare 
of others ; for in so doing you will best consult your 
own ultimate advantage. 

3. The apostle, to enforce the practice of self- 
denial, urges the example of Christ, in his volun- 
tary humiliation and subsequent exaltation, ver. 

1.) The apostle states the circumstances of 
Christ's voluntary humiliation as an example of 
self-denial to his followers, ver. 5 — 8. 

Let the same mind be in you luhich ivas also in 6- 

Christ Jesus ^ luho being in the form of God ^, did 6. 

' In the form of God^ sv jw,o/j^ij ©es' " Mopipij, forma, ormie 
quod in oculos occurrit, imago, similitudo." Schleusner. Hesych. 
iSsx, sihs. This word occurs but three times in the New Testa- 
ment: Mark xvi. 12, he appeared in another form to two of 
them ; and Philip, ii. 7, he took upon him the form of a servant. 
Its proper signification is, an external visible appearance. In 
this sense Christ could not resemble God, who is invisible ; the 
word is used, therefore, in a figurative sense : and to pretend 
that here is an allusion to some pre-existent glory, or to his 
supposed appearance upon Mount Sinai, is perfectly gratuitous, 
and destitute of all proof and probability. I have given in the 
paraphrase what appears tome the true sense of the expression. 



Ch. n. not peremptorily lay claim ' to this resemblance oj 
Ver. 7. God^, but divested himself^, assuming the form of 

God alone, the omnipotent Author of Nature, can controul its 
laws and operations at pleasure ; and the voluntary power of 
working miracles which Christ was permitted to exercise, exhi- 
bited a striking resemblance of the divine omnipotence, and 
distinguished this illustrious prophet from all former prophets 
and messengers of God. 

' Did not peremptorily laij claim, 2cc.] ov^ dpif(X.yiJ.ov riyr^' 
(Tdto. did not regard it as a prey : did not seize as his right : 
as a property acquired by his own prowess, for which he was 
f^menable to no account. " 'ApTtayy.os, proprie, direptio, ipsa 
rapiendi actio. Nomen verhale; et nomina in og desinentia fere 
actionem, non rem, et statum, significant. Sed interdum tamen 
passive usurpatur, ut signijicet rem raptam, prsedam, vel rem 
avide diripiendam et vindicandam, Hinc formula apitayi/^ov 
_}]y£i(rQai ri, cupide aliqua re uti, studiosissime eam occupare, 
et sibi vindicare, signyicat." Schleusner. — " non rapinam- ar- 
bitratiis est." Vulg. — "did not esteem it a prey or booty." 
Newcome ; and Peirce, who observes " that doTta.yii.os, which 
is a word that occurs very seldom in classic authors, has pro- 
bably the sense of dpirayaa, as ^aiftia-ij.og of |Sairrjcrfx,a, &c., 
and that it signifies something actually in possession, which a 
person is eagerly desirous to retain." Mr, Wakefield, from 
Eiistathius, shows that, according to the genius of the Greek 
language, dpTtay[u.o; is equivalent to dp'iiayi^a,. Sijlva Critica, iii. 
112, § cxlii. Dr. Clarke observes, that the construction also 
requires, that the clause 8% dpirayixov x. r. \. should be un- 
derstood as expressing, not his greatness, but his humiliation ; 
otherwise the expression would have been, not aXXa, but oacwf 
Ss, or, ocW' o[^ujs, nevertheless. Clarke's Script. Doct., No. 934. 
The connexion also requires this sense 5 for the apostle is ex- 
horting the Philippians, after the example of Christ, not to seek 
after that to which they had no claim, but, for the benefit of 
others, to part with that which they might have retained. It 
highly favours this interpretation that it is the sense in which 
the word was understood by all the Ante-Nicene writers. The 
churches of Vienne and Lyons, in their epistle to those of Asia, 
speaking of the martyrs who suffered in the time of the emperor 
Verus, say. They were such zealous followers of the example of 
Christ, who being in the form of God, 01;% dptayfj^ov v.. r. X. did 
not claim as a right, was not tenacious of being like God, that 
though they had often been cast to wild beasts, and had en- 

Sect. Ill, PHILIPPIANS. in. 1. 339 

a servant *f and becoming like oi\iQ.x 7nen^. And Ch. il. 
being in condition like another man 6, in obedience ^^' ' 

dured all manner of torments, yet would they not suffer them- 
selves to be honoured with the title of martyi-s, &c. See also 
Origen on John, p. 34, Huet. et Novatian De Tr'm. cap. 17. 
Grotius, Tillotson, Whitby, and Bishop Bull, disapprove the 
common translation. Mr. Wakefield renders the clause, " did 
not think of eagerly retaining this divine likeness." 

* Resemblance of God.'] itra @scv, " to be as God, or in the 
likeness of God," Whitby ; who observes, that la-a. is frequently 
used adverbially in the LXX. Job x. 10, hast thou not curdled 
me, icx rvpcy, like cheese? xi. 12, man is born, icra, ovw, like a 
wild ass's colt. See also xiii. 12, xv. 16 j Isa. li. 23. If the apo- 
stle had intended to express complete equality, he would rather 
have used la-ov rw Qscu. See John v. 18. But the thought of the 
humble Jesus arrogating to himself perfect equality with the 
Almighty God, wliose servant and messenger he was, could 
never have entered into the apostle's mind. The true sense 
of the passage appears to be that which is expressed in the pa- 
raphrase, viz. that Christ, possessing voluntary powers of work- 
ing miracles, did not regard thejn as his own property and right. 
He had been taught by the discipline of his temptation in the 
wilderness, that he was not to exercise the powers intrusted to 
him to promote his own interest, or to gratify his own ambi- 
tion ; nor, in general, to extricate himself from danger. And 
this was so remarkably the character of our Lord, that he even 
prohibited his disciples from speaking of some of the most il- 
lustrious of his miracles j he was supported by the contribu- 
tions of his followers, in preference to a supernatural supply ; 
and till his appointed hour was come, he chose rather to with- 
draw from the scene of danger than to rescue himself by mira- 
cle. And this, by the way, obviates the objection which some 
have made against the supposition that Jesus was intrusted with 
discretionary miraculous powers. It amounts to exactly the 
same thing, whether he never wrought a miracle but by imme- 
diate impulse, or whether, being intrusted with a voluntary 
power of working miracles, his mind was so perfectly disci- 
plined that he never exercised that power but upon proper oc- 

^ Divested himself.'] sccvrov snsvujas. " emptied himself of it." 
Wakefield. — " made himself of no account." Newcome. Not 
that he actually resigned his miraculous powers, but that he 
never exerted them except upon special occasions ; and that in 


Ch. II. to God he humbled himself ^ unto deaths even unto 

Ver.8. , . -^ 

death upon a cross. 

Practise self-denial. Be ever ready to make the 
greatest sacrifices for the good of others; and be as- 
sured you will not ultimately be losers by your ge- 
nerosity. Drink deeply into the spirit of Christ, 
and follow his great example. He voluntarily and 
cheerfully made far greater sacrifices for the benefit 
of mankind than it is possible for any of his follow- 
ers to pretend to, and his reward was proportionably 

the common intercourses of life he acted as though he possessed 
them not, so that no one from his appearance would expect any 
thing extraordinary from him. 

■* Assuming the. form of a servant^ iJi,op(p-^v JsAs Aa!?wv, he 
voluntarily submitted to the labours, the indignities, and to the 
punishment of a slave. Mop(prj SsXs does not imply that he was 
actually a slave, nor does ,ao^i/;ij ©ss prove that he was truly 
God. He resembled God in his miraculous powers, he resem- 
bled a slave in his labours and sufferings. 

* Becoming like other men.'] sv o^oiuiy.aT'i avOf wttwv ysvo[j.s- 
vo;, being made in the likeness of men : i. e. of other men, who 
possessed no superior powers. He made himself like them by 
not exerting the powers he possessed upon ordinary occasions. 
See Judges xvi. 7, 11, 13, 17 : I shall become weak, and be aV 
sis rwv avSpuTfcvv, like another man. The expression likeness 
of men, no more proves that Christ possessed a nature different 
from that of men, than the similar expression, as applied to 
Sampson, proves that warrior to have been one of a superior 
class of beings. 

^ Being in condition like another man.'] (T^'^j/.ari svpa^sig wf 
avQpui-nos, being found in fashion as a man. svps^sii, cum 
esset, cum existeret. EUys's Fortuita Sacra, Newcome, Peirce. 
crp^oj]u,a, state and condition. Raphelius. " Omnem habitum et 
statum alicujus rei externum significat." Schleusner. 1 Cor. vii. 

' He humbled himself unto death.] This plainly implies, that 
the submission of Christ to a violent death was a voluntary act, 
which it was in his power to have avoided if he would j agree- 
ably to his own declaration John x. ir>, 17, 18. 


great. He was exalted far above all other men by ch, ii. 
his miraculous gifts ; he was anointed with the holy ^®'" 
spirit and with power ; the spirit was communicated 
to him without lim.itation ; and he exercised at plea- 
sure those miraculous powers which were given him 
for the confirmation of his mission : and in this 
sphere, like that Almighty Being himself whose 
delegate and ambassador he was, he spontaneously 
controuled the laws, and changed the course, of 
nature. Nevertheless, so admirably was his mind 
enlightened, and his heart disciplined to his situ- 
ation and office, that he never presumed to arro- 
gate these mighty powers, this similitude to the Al- 
mighty, as his own natural right, as the acquisition 
of his own wisdom and strength, for the possession 
of which he was indebted to none, in the exercise 
of which he was controulable by none, and for the 
use of which he was amenable to none. Far other- 
wise. He knew that he possessed these mighty 
powers as a trust for which he was accountable, and 
in the use of which he had been fully instructed : 
and therefore he strictly confined the exercise of 
them to the purposes for which they were commu- 
nicated. He never exhibited them for the purpose 
of display; he seldom used them for his own per- 
sonal benefit ; he acted in the concerns of life as 
though he possessed them not. He declined the 
applause which the gratitude of the happy subjects 
of his beneficent miracles, and the admiration of 
surrounding multitudes would have accumulated 
upon his head. Resembling the Almighty in the 


Ch. II. powers which he possessed, in external appearance 
*'■ * he assimilated himself to a servant. For the good 
of mankind he submitted to the labours, and bore 
the indignities, of a slave. Thus, notwithstanding 
the dignity of his character and the greatness of his 
powers, he could not in appearance be distinguished 
from other men. And being, as to his external 
state and condition, like a person of the meanest 
rank in life, destitute even of necessaries, when it 
was in his power to have commanded all the pomp 
and luxury which opulence could supply, he carried 
his self-denial still further; and in obedience to the 
will of God, who had given him a commission to 
redeem mankind from idolatry and vice, he submit- 
ted to greater indignities still. And though no hu- 
man power could have wrested his life from him, 
though legions of angels would, in obedience to his 
summons, have instantaneously appeared in his de- 
fence, though he could in an instant have struck all 
his adversaries to the ground, and though he felt 
and trembled at the horrors of his approaching suf- 
ferings, yet because the purposes of his mission re- 
quired it, and his heavenly Father directed it, he 
without hesitation submitted to a death which it was 
in his power to have avoided ; and that, a kind of 
death the most painful and ignominious, being 
nailed to and suspended upon a cross. These were 
the sacrifices which Jesus made, and the sufferings 
which he voluntarily underwent for the good of 

Sect. Ill, PHILIPPIANS. in. 2. 34,' 

2.) The apostle insists upan Christ's exaltation Ch ir. 
as the reward of his self-denial, ver. 9 — 1 1. 

Therefore God, on his part, hath very highly Vcr. 9. 
exalted him^, and hath granted him that name^ 
which is superior to every name, that in the name '0. 
of Jesus every knee should bend^, of those who are 
in heaven, and upon earth, and binder the earth \ 
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus 11. 

Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

' God on his part, Sicl y-o!.i,vicissiin. Rom. i. 24. Newcome. 
"" y*£fuvf/a;tr£. Men Deus eum multo suhlimior em fecit quam erat 
antea." Grotius, Peirce. Heb. xii. 2, Dan. iv. 34. 

- That name.'] See Griesbach and Newcome. A name supe- 
rior to every name : i. e. authority superior to all former pro- 
phets and messengers of the divine will. " Nomen hie est dig- 
nitas." Grotius. See Eph. i. 21. 

* In the name of Jesus, &:c.] i. e. that all should be taught by- 
Jesus the worship of the true God. '' It should be translated 
in, says Seeker, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 344. To bow the knke 
is to pray. Eph. iii. 14. Or, rather thus : that a token of sub- 
jection should be shown at, for, on account of the glorious name, 
dignity, or authority of Jesus. Matt. vi. 7, xi. G; Acts vii. 29. 
The next verse shows what this dignity is." Newcome. Viz. 
that every tongue should confess, &c. 

* Of those that are in heaven, &c.] i. e. says Newcome, and 
most of the expositors with him, " of angels, of men now living, 
and of departed men." I would rather understand this figurative 
expression of Jew and Gentile, the living and the dead. See 
Mr. Locke's note upon Eph. i. 10. At any rate, let it be re- 
membered, that it is the worship of God, not of Jesus, which 
is here spoken of. In the name, not at the name, of Jesus, 
every knee shall bow : as his disciples, not as his worshipers, as 
many believe. 

Mr. Peirce conjectures, or rather he considers the scriptures 
as teaching, that " antecedently to the advent of Christ, God 
allotted to the angels provinces and dominions ; one being ap- 
pointed to preside over one country, and another over another. 
But that at our Lord's resurrection an end was put to this rule 
of angels ; they themselves, together with all nations, were put 
under Christ, whose authority and power were then highly ad- 

344 Sect. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. in. 2. 

Ch. II. This unexampled instance of voluntary humili- 
^"' ation and suffering for the benefit of mankind was 
not left destitute of its proper reward. The right- 
eous and benevolent Governor of the world, who, 
to answer the wise purposes of his administration, 
imposed this severe duty upon his holy servant Jesus 
Christ, has in return made him ample compensa- 
tion for this great act of filial obedience and mag- 
nanimous benevolence. He first raised him from 
the grave ; and has since advanced him to the high- 
est honour and authority. He has made him supe- 
rior to all former prophets and messengers of his 
will, without excepting the Jewish legislator him- 
self; whose authority was never meant to extend 
beyond the limits of the Hebrew nation, while the 
divine religion of Jesus Christ, confirmed by his 

vanced above what they were before : he being intrusted with 
universal dominion, and all that were rulers and governors be- 
fore being made his subjects and ministers." To this, I had 
almost said wild, but at best very improbable, hypothesis, the 
learned writer accommodates the tenth verse : and upon this 
principle he explains the ninth, ' And upon this account God 
has advanced him higher than before.' 

" Whether the apostle annexed any distinct ideas to these 
phrases," says Dr. Priestley, " or only meant to give one ge- 
neral idea of the great power to which God had raised Christ, 
is not very certain. The plirase heaven and earth might have 
been a kind of proverbial expression, denoting the universe in 
general. But it has been conjectured that the things in heaven, 
the things in earth, and the things under the earth, in this place 
may refer to the threefold division of the heatlien gods, some of 
whom were said to have power in heaven, others upon earth, 
and others under the earth, or among the ghosts of the dead : 
intimating, that all these heathen deities would fall before the 
doctrine of the gospel of Christ ; or, that idolatry in all its forms 
would fall before it. This interpretation appears to me not im- 

Sect. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 3,4. 345 

miracles, his death, and resurrection, is intended for Ch. ii. 
universal prevalence. The law which he has pro- 
mulgated is to be obligatory upon all mankind ; 
upon those who were favoured with former revela- 
tions, as well as upon those who were left to unas- 
sisted reason and the dim light of nature. The 
blessings of the gospel extend to the dead as well 
as to the living ; and the doctrine of Jesus reveals 
the awful truth, that all who are in their graves shall 
hear his voice and shall come forth. It is the will 
of God that this divine religion, of which Jesus is 
the honoured founder, should be promulgated to all 
nations ; and in due time all the systems of heathen 
idolatry shall fall before the banner of the cross : 
all the tribes of mankind, of every rank and degree, 
shall bow to the sceptre of Christ : all shall learn 
from him how to offer the most acceptable homage 
to his and their Father ; and while they joyfully ac- 
knowledge and honour him as their Master, they 
shall with grateful hearts adore the mercy of God 
in sending his well-beloved son and faithful servant 
into the world, as the teacher of truth and the mes- 
senger of peace. Such is the honour and reward 
which has been conferred upon Jesus, our great 
Lord and Master, for his willing obedience, and his 
meritorious self-denial for the good of mankind. 
Be you animated by the same spirit, and from the 
same righteous and merciful Judge you shall re- 
ceive your due reward. 

4. The apostle enforces his exhortation from the 

346 Sect. III. T H I L 1 P P I A N S. 4. 

Ch. II. deference which they had hitherto uniformly paid 
to his authority ; and from the help which they had 
obtained from God, ver. 12, 13. 

Ver. 12. TVherefore i, my beloved brethren, as ye have al- 
ways obeyed me^ wif/i respect and reverence'^, and 
that not only when I was present but much jnore 
now in my absence, promote earnestly the welfare 
13. of each other ^, for God is working in you both to 
be tvilling 5, and to perform. 

* Wherefore .•] i, e. since Christ has done so much for u.s, 
Newcome, Peirce, See ver. 3 — 5, 

' Obeyed me.] So Peirce and Wakefield. This suits the con- 
nexion better than if the word God had been supplied, agree- 
ably to the opinion of some expositors • for the apostle, being 
about to give a solemn charge, enforces it by reminding them 
of the attention which they had been used to pay to his advice 
and directions. Mr. Wakefield observes, that " this translation 
is as consistent with the original, and much more with the scope 
of the writer, than the former." 

' With respect and reverence.'] [xs'fa <pots %oci tpoi^s, with fear 
and trembling ; probably a colloquial phrase, by which is ex- 
pressed respectful deference to the directions of a teacher or 
master. It occurs in three other places only in the New Tes- 
tament, 2 Cor. vii. 15, " whilst he (Titus) remembers the obe- 
dience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received 
him." See also 1 Cor. ii. 3, Eph. vi. 5. In this sense it is pro- 
perly connected with the clause which precedes it, and ex- 
presses the deference which the Philippians paid to the instruc- 
tions of the apostle. Mr. Peirce, who proposes and defends this 
interpretation, renders the words humility and concern. 

* Promote earnestly the welfare of each other.'] tr^v kavTcav 
a-wTYjpiav Katspya^BcrSs. The connexion seems to require this 
interpretation in preference to the common one, " work out 
your own salvation." See Peirce, Harwood, and Wakefield. 
kavtm is sometimes used for one another. See Eph. iv. 32. %a- 
pi^o[/.svoi kavtots, forgiving one another, Col. iii. 16, Heb. iii. 
13. Mr. Peirce, however, allows that the word does not occur 
in this sense in any other passage in this epistle. <rwrrjpia. is 
unquestionably sometimes used in the sense of temporal wel- 
fare, prosperity, or comfort. See Philip, i. 19, with Pcirce's 

Sect. III. PHILIPPIANS. 4, 347 

You see, my beloved Christian brethren, the ex- ch. ii. 
ample of our Master Jesus Christ. How great his ^'^^' ^^' 
condescension, his self-denial, his voluntary humi- 
liation, and sufferings for the benefit of mankind, 
and how transcendent his reward ! I beseech, I 
charge you to resemble him to the utmost of your 
ability, in your exertions to assist and benefit one 
another. And I flatter myself that this my solemn 
injunction will not be ineffectual. I bear you tes- 
timony that, while I was with you, and exercising 
my ministry at Philippi, you discovered the utmost 
anxiety and solicitude to comply with my wishes, 
and to conform to my instructions in every thing. 
And since I have left you, and especially since I 
have been a prisoner for the gospel, you have dis- 
covered, if possible, a still more earnest concern to 
adhere to the principles and rules which you received 
from me. Let me not be disappointed in the pre- 
sent case: especially as God, in his good providence, 

note. }ixrspYa,^o[xcx.i signifies to secure, to effect. Dr. Har- 
wood translates it, " sedulously effect and secure one another's 
welfare." See Harwood's note in loc. 

* God is working, &c.] To will, i. e. by the motives of the go- 
spel he produces this effect in your minds, and by the opportu- 
nities his providence affords he enables you to fulfill your ge- 
nerous purposes. This expression does not necessarily imply 
an immediate divine impulse upon the mind, much less does it 
countenance the strange doctrine of irresistible grace. " It is 
God who infuseth into you the powers of acting and willing in 
this manner." Harwood. Bishop Pearce, in his Epistolce Dues, 
objects to the expression zvsf^ynv sv vixtv — to svspysiv, and con- 
jectures that sirffsXeiv is the true reading. Mr. Peirce, though 
he allows the ingenuity of the conjecture, objects to the admis- 
sion of a merely conjectural emendation, unsupported by ma- 
nuscripts ; and ably defends the received text. 

348 Skct. III. P H 1 L I P P I A N S. 4, 5. 

Ch. 11. has Imparted to you the discoveries and promises of 
Ver. 13. ^i^g gospel, which is a law of love, and which, if 
practically believed, will be sure to generate a kind 
and benevolent temper, and has afforded you many 
opportunities of exercising and gratifying your ge- 
nerous feelings. 

5, The apostle further enforces his exhortation 
from a regard to the credit and success of the go- 
spel, and from the expectation of Christ's appear- 
ance, ver. 14 — 16. 
] 4. Do all things luith good-will ' , without grudging 
]5. and hesitation^, that ye may he blameless and un^ 

' With good-will.'] I place the period after svspysiv, with an 
anonymous writer in Bowyer, and with Mr. Wakefield : ttjs au- 
SoKias avrs, is the reading of the Ephrem manuscript alone. — 
The words vifsp Trjs, h. r. A. are commonly joined to ver. 13. 
Admitting this punctuation, Mr. Peirce observes, " that the 
sense is either, ' that God works in you to be willing to act in 
this manner, that he may promote good will among you, which 
ought to be a strong motive to good-will, because God does so 
much to promote it ;' or, ' that God works in you to be inclined 
to, and to act from this principle.' " Archbishop Newcome 
adopts the common version : "It is God that worketh in you 
both to will and to do of his good pleasure." " As a motive 
to constant vigilance and exertion," says Dr. Priestley, " the 
apostle reminds the Philippians of the great goodness of God, 
who, by giving the gospel in reality, does every thing for us ; 
the principles of the gospel being that which animates and en- 
gages us to act as we ought to do in life. It is unquestionably 
God that works in us, and for us, but not immediately. The 
contrary idea has been the source of much enthusiasm." 

^ Grudging and hesitation.] " yoyy^j<T[j.ujy km SiaXoyia-i^wv 
yrjyyva-[x,os, indignatio clandestina quce non palam profertur. 
1 Pet, iv. 9. ha.Xoyiirii.05, cogitatio et opinio hominis secum ra- 
tiocinantis. Luc. v. 22. dubitatio. Luc. xxiv. 3S. disceptatio. 
Luc. ix. 46." Schleusner. Deut. xv. 9. See Peirce 3 who ab- 
scrvcs, that the apostle here continues his subject from ver. 3. 

StcT. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 6. 349 

corrupted^ ^ the children of Godivithout reproach'^, Ch. ii. 

in the midst of a crooked and perverse gejieration^^ ^^''' '^• 
amongst whom shine ye forth as lights^ in the ivorld, 

holding out^ the doctrine of life ^ that I may glory 16. 

^ Blameless and uncorrupted.'] ai^si^ittoi xai axspaior a(x.£^- 
ftros, integer ab omni vitiositate. axspaios, axs^ai^Biv IcBdere, 
nocere. Euni notat quinemini Icedit, ab omni dolo , ac fraude 
alienus, homo perfectus." Schleusner. " Some derive the word 
from Kspaw misceo, and give it the sense of sincerum, immixtum : 
blameless and uncorrupt." Wakefield. 

■• H'ithout reproach^ aixtxiiJ.yjra,. " unreproveable." New- 
come. " spotless." Wakefield. " Ex a priv. et [iwi^os ma- 
cula, nulla macula notatus." Schleusner. 

* Crooked and perverse generation.'] " a-KC?^ias km SiEs-pa[x- 
[j^Bvrjg. See Deut. xxxii. 5. (tkoXios tortuosus, obliquus, curvus. 
Luc. iii. 5, metaphorice pravus, iniquusf perversus. Act. ii. 40. 
^KX.s'ps<pw, torqueo, in varios anfractus deflecto, corrumpo, per- 
verto, vitiosumreddo." Schleusner. These epithets are applied 
to the Jews in the Old and New Testaments ; but there can be 
no reason to limit them to that nation only. They may be ex- 
tended to idolatrous heathen, to persecuting Jews, or to ju- 
daizing zealots, who were desirous to corrupt the genuine doc- 
trines of the gospel. 

' Amongst whom shine ije forth a^ lights, &c.] " sv o'lg, agree- 
ing with avS^wTroi; understood." Bowyer, Newcome. " as lu- 
minaries." Wakefield. Dr. Doddridge, from Saurin, supposes 
that there is an allusion to a light-house, and paraphrases the 
words thus : " Shine as elevated lights in the dark world about 
you, that you may direct those who sail on this dangerous sea, 
and secure them from sufferini; shipwreck on those fatal rocks 
which every where lie in their way." The imperative sense of 
the verb is preferable to the indicative. 

' Holding out.l The word BTizyuj has the sense both of hold- 
ing fast, and holding out or exhibiting. See Schleusner. The 
latter seems better suited to the connexion. Christians, as lu- 
minaries to the world, are to exhibit, both by instruction and 
example, the excellence and energy of that doctrine which re- 
veals a future everlasting life. " Beza thinks this is an allu- 
sion to those towers which were built at the entrance of har- 
bours, and on which fires were kept burning to direct ships into 
port." Macknight. 

350 Skct. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 5. 

Ch. II. in the day of Christ that I have not run in vai?i, 
nor laboured in vain. 

Let your benevolent actions be tbe genuine effect 
of a truly benevolent spirit. Perform them without 
a reluctance which would indicate that your kind- 
ness was extorted and involuntary, and without any 
of those frivolous excuses and pretences which be- 
tray a backwardness to good works. By this libe- 
ral and generous spirit you will show that your pro- 
fession is not a mere name, and that your princi- 
ples produce their proper effect, so that none will 
have reason to charge you with insincerity. You 
will approve yourselves the genuine sons of God, 
who has adopted you into his family who were once 
aliens and enemies, and admitted you to all the pri- 
vileges and expectations of his children. You will 
retain your integrity and preserve your character 
and principles unsullied, amidst the scoffs of idola- 
ters, the malice of unbelieving Jews, and the insi- 
dious arts and practices of false brethren, who are 
desirous of subverting your faith and infringing 
your Christian liberty. In the midst of temptation 
hold fast your integrity; and in a dark and be- 
nighted region let the lustre of your benevolent 
example exhibit to the admiring world the beauty 
and excellence of the doctrine of Christ, and thus 
engage them to embrace it cordially as the only 
foundation of our immortal hopes. If such be your 
conduct, you will fulfill my best wishes and gratify 
my highest ambition. We shall then have a glo- 
rious meeting at the tribunal of Jesus Christ, where 

Skct.III. PHILIPPIANS. 5, G. 351 

I shall enjoy the unspeakable satisfaction to see ch. ii. 
that I have won the prize for which I have con- ^'^^' 
tended in the course, and my anxious and perse- 
vering labours will be crowned with the reward of 
which I was most ambitious, the salvation of those 
to whom I proclaimed the joyful tidings of the 

6. The apostle expresses his willingness to suffer 
as well as to labour in the cause of truth, and for 
the benefit of his hearers, and calls upon his friends 
to congratulate with him, if this should be the event 
of his present conflict, ver. 17, 18. 

Yea, if J should even he poured out as a liha- 17. 

tiori 1 upon the sacrifice and offering of your faith, 
I rejoice and congratulate with you all ; and in the 18. 

same manner do ye also rejoice and congratulate 
ivith me". 

' Poured out as a libation.'] " If my blood be poured out as 
jt drink-oftering. Lev. ii. 6, Num. xv. 5, 7, upon the acceptable 
jfacrifice and public oblation of your Christian faith to God, 
Rom. XV. 16. The heathen also poured libations of wine on 
the victim which was about to be sacrificed." Newcome." The 
word (TTrsv Jojw-ai occurs twice only in the New Testament : here, 
and 2 Tim. iv. 6. It is rendered by Schleusner, paulatim ab- 
sumor ; perhaps it may have no direct allusion to a sacrifical 
rite. " The apostle," says Dr. Priestley, " compares the faith 
of the Philippians and the fruits of it to the victim, and him- 
self to this libation which accompanies it ; intimating that he 
would cheerfully give up his life to promote their faith in the 

* Congratulate with me.'] Dr. Doddridge remarks, that he 
" cannot read this heroic discourse of the apostle without re- 
flecting on the behaviour of the brave Athenian mentioned by 
Plutarch, {0pp. p. 347,) who returned to Athens from the victo- 

352 SfccT. III. P H I L I P P I A N S. 


Ch. II. Yea, my Christian friends, with this glorious pro- 
^^^' ' . spect in view, I am as willing to suffer, as to la- 
bour, in the cause of truth, and for the benefit of 
mankind. And if my present confinement and my 
approaching trial should, as it possibly may, termi- 
nate in martyrdom ; if my blood should be poured 
out as a libation upon the acceptable sacrifice of 
your faith, and the public offering of your homage 
and worship to the true God, so far from regretting 
it as a calamity, I shall glory in it as an honour ; I 
shall triumph in it as the crown and completion of 
my most fervent desires ; and, my dear brethren, 
I call upon you, as deeply interested in my success, 
and as faithful confessors in the same cause, to unite 
your joy and congratulations with mine for the ho- 
nour conferred on one whom you profess so highly 
to esteem, so affectionately to love* 

rious battle of Marathon, bleeding to death with the wounds he 
had received in the action, and coming directly to the house 
where the magistrates were assembled, uttered only these two 
words, yjiipirt, ^ai^oy^sv, take your share of our joy, and im- 
mediately dropped down dead at their feet." 

Sect. IV. P H I L I P P I A N S. J. 353 


The apostle promises to send Timothy to the Ch. ii, 
Philippians as soon as he could judge how his 
own case was likely to be determined at Rome ; 
he Ccvpi^esses his hope of visiting them soon in 
person, and in the mean time, he dispatches Epa- 
phroditus with this epistle, and passes a high en- 
comium upon his character. Ch. ii. 19 — 30. 

1 . The apostle promises that as soon as he can 
learn how his own case will be determined he will 
send Timothy, of whom he gives a high and ho- 
nourable character, ver. 19 — 23. 

But I hope in the Lord Jesus ^ to send T'imothy Ver. 19. 
to you soon, that I may be of good comfort also 
when I knoiv the state of your affairs. 

' I hope in the Lord Jesus .] that is, I hope that Jesus, my 
master, will permit me. The apostle upon es^ery occasion ex- 
presses himself as immediately under the direction of Jesus, 
from whom he received his commission, and with whom he 
appears occasionally to have been favoured with personal inter- 
course, and to have been directed by him in his various jour- 

Mr. Peirce judiciously remarks, " that St. Paul having de- 
clared his readiness to lay down his life for them, apprehended 
how tenderly they would take it ; and therefore, to prevent 
their being over much concerned, he here tells them that, how- 
ever willing he was to die for them, he did not expect to do so 
presently ; and acquaints them that when he could see which 
way his affair was like to turn, he should be able to spare them 
Timothy, from whom he expected a good account of them." 

VOL. III. 2 A 

354 Sect. IV. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1. 

Ch. II. But though I use this strong language, and well 
Ver. 19. j^i-jQ^y ii^^i I 2i^^ approaching the termination of my 
course, and know not how my imprisonment will 
end, and am prepared to welcome the issue what- 
ever it be, I do not mean that you should suppose 
that I am in immediate danger. No ; I hope fii-st 
to be cheered with good tidings from you. I hope, 
therefore, that the Lord Jesus, whose servant I am, 
and whose directions I obey, will permit me in a 
short time to spare the evangelist Timothy to make 
you a friendly visit, and from him I hope to receive 
such a report of you, and of the prosperous state 
of religion among you, as will yield me the highest 
satisfaction and comfort. 

20. I^or I have no oTzehere of a like disposition with 
him ', who luill sincerely concei'n himself in your 

21. affairs. For all seek their own interest, rather 
than 2 that of Christ Jesus. 

^ Of a like dl<ipositmi ■w\th.\\im^ i(j(j'\>u')(j:>v. SoNewcomeand 
Doddridge. This appears to me to suit the connexion better 
than the sense which Peirce gives to the word " like-affected 
to myself." See 2 Cor. xii. 18, I Cor. xvi. 10. The apostle's 
meaning seems to be : That of the associates who were then 
with him, none felt so much concern for the Philippians as Ti- 
mothy ; and none would exert himself so much, or submit to so 
many inconveniences to serve them. 

^ Rather thati.'] See Peirce. In the original, " all seek their 
own, not the things of Christ Jesus." The apostle probably 
only means to speak comparatively, though the negative is used 
absolutely here, as in many other places. Matt. ix. 13, vi. 19, 
20, 34 3 'John vi. 27 ; I Cor. x. 24. The apostle can hardly 
mean to pass an unqualified censure upon all his associates 
who were then with him, though none of them perhaps might 
be equal in zeal and self-denial to this young evangelist, and 
they might all be very reluctant to leave the .society of Paul in 

Sect. IV. P H I L I P P 1 A N S. 1. 355 

I send Timothy in preference to any other per- ch. ir. 
son, because I have no one here who enters so cor- ^^'^' *^' 
dially into my views and feeHngs, and who is so 
deeply interested in your character and conduct as 
he ; or who is so ready to make any sacrifice which 
may be requisite to promote your comfort and im- 
provement. Indeed I have many friends with me 
whose characters I highly respect; but they are not 
particularly known to you, and rather wish to remain 
here, or to be employed in services less hazardous 
and laborious ; and, to say the truth, some of them 
are perhaps too much disposed to prefer their own 
inclination, ease, and security, to the success of the 
gospel, and incline to go where they may be most 
comfortable, rather than where they may be most 

JBui of Mm ye knoiu the proof ^; that as a son 22. 
with a father *, so he hath served with me for the 

order to carry a message to Philippi. It is highly probable that 
Luke and Mark were both with him when he wrote this epistle. 
See Philem. v. 24. 

' The proof. 1 Timothy was in company v/ith Paul and Silas 
when they preaclied the gospel at Philippic Acts xvi. 1 — 3. 
" There were few," says Dr. Priestley, " so wholly devoted to 
the service of the gospel, and who paid so little regard to their 
own ease and safety, as Timothy. The apostle had before ex- 
pressed some chagrin at the conduct of Demas, and even that 
of Crescens and Titus, for deserting him, and consulting their 
own safety by flight." 

** As a son with a father.] " sicut patri filius mecum inservi- 
verit religion!. Non elicit Pauliis, Timotheus mihi servivit, sed 
mecum servivit, et quidem evangelic sig ro succy/sXiov, et ita qui- 
dem ut me, tit patremjilius, observaret, mihique in omnibus ob- 
sequentem se prceberet." RosenmuUer. " Assure yourselves of 
Timothy's approved faithfulness, for he has been to me as a 
cliild to his father in the service of the gospel." Wakefield. 

356 Sect. IV. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1, 2. 

Ch. II. gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him forthwith^ 
^^^' ^^' as soon as I shall see the issue of my affairs \ 

My young friend and fellow-labourer Titnothy 
breathes a very different spirit. You well lecollect 
his behaviour during the critical and dangerous 
season of my ministry at Philippi ; how firm, how 
active, how zealous, he was in propagating the go- 
spel ; and to what hazards he exposed himself in a 
place where I was myself so severely treated. You 
observed also how affectionately he behaved to me, 
how tenderly he sympathized with me, and the filial 
deference which he constantly showed to my advice 
and instructions. So that we appeared like a father 
and a son who were fellow- servants of the same 
master, and commissioned upon the same perilous 
and important errand, vying with each other who 
should best approve his zeal and fidelity in the ser- 
vice. I hope to send him to you soon, but not till 
my appeal has been decided in the imperial court, 
the result of which I know you will be anxious to 
hear, and the tidings of which he shall immediately 
convey to you . 

2. The apostle expresses his hope that he should 
soon follow his friend, and make the Philippians a 
visit in person, ver. 24. 

But I am confident in the Lord^, that I shall 
soon come to yo2i myself. 


* As soon as I shall see, &c.] wg av ocTTiSuj ra. vspi sfx^s' " ubi 
videro, quid de me futurum sit." RosenmuUer. " Him, then. 

Sect, IV. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2, 5- 357 

You may perhaps suspect, from the hints which ch. n. 
I have dropped, that I am apprehensive that the 
issue of my trial may be fatal. But I assure you, on 
the contrary, that I have the highest expectation of 
a speedy release from my long confinement ; and in 
this case, if I may indulge my own incUnations, one 
of my first visits shall be to you. And I am per- 
suaded that my beloved and honoured master will 
not, in this instance, oppose the desire of his faith- 
ful servant. 

3. In the mean time he thought fit to send back 
EpaphroditLis immediately, of whose character and 
services he expresses the highest approbation, and 
whom he warmly recommends to their affection and 
esteem, ver. 25 — 30. 

Yet I thought it necessary to send to you Epa- 25. 

phroditus^ my brother and fellow -labourer y and 
fellow -soldier, but yoiir messenger and imnister to 
my ivants'^ ; for he greatly longed after you all, 26. 

I hope to send as soon as ever I shall see the issue of this affair 
with me." Wakefield. 

- Confident in the Lord.'] See the note on ver. 19. 

' Epaphroditus.'} Grotius supposes this person to be the 
same with Epaphras, who is mentioned in the epistles to the 
Colossians and Philemon : Col. i. 7, iv. 12 j Philem. v. 23. It 
is indeed probable that Epaphras was at that time with Paul ; 
but he seems to have been particularly connected with the 
church at Colossse, as Epaphroditus was with that at Philippi. 
Dr. Jones has laboured with his usual learning and ingenuity to 
prove that Epaphroditus was the celebrated freedman of the 
emperor Nero ; but this is hardly consistent with his having 
been employed by the Philippians (ch. iv. 18) to convey their 
present to the apostle 3 or his being described (ch. ii. 25) as 
their apostle and teacher. Dr. J. Jones's -Series of Fads, chap. 4. 

358 Sect. IV. P H 1 L I P P I A N S. 3. 

Ch. II. and was much dejected ^ because ye had heard that 

Ver. 27. he luas sick. For indeed he hath been sick, near 

unto death ; but God had pity upon him, and not 

upon him only, but upon me also, that I might not 

have sorrow upon sorrow 2. 

* Your messenger and minister to my viantr,.'] JjU-wv 0£ aitdfo- 
Xov, xxi Xsitspyov rrj; %f£<aj' /xs' " minister of my concerns ; 
literally, of thin business of mine; meaning the particular errand 
on which he went." Wakefield. " your apostle, and who is now 
to act for me with you." Peirce. " vvhom you are now to re- 
gard as your apostle, and my substitute." Harwood. " Ves- 
trum autem apostolum etmei muneris vicarium.'" Castellio. The 
common translation, however, which is that of Newcome, and 
adopted in the text, may be defended. %f£(a is used in the 
sense oi necessity, ch. iv. 16, 19. The opposition in the clauses 
of the sentence is ssfBciently supported, if the first clause is 
supposed to express the reasons why the apostle wished to de- 
tain Epaphroditus, and the latter the grounds upon which it was 
expedient that he should depart. Xzirscyog rrji xpsiag may be 
uncommon, but Mr. Peirce does not pretend that it is unallow- 
able. Indeed aitog-oXo; rwv aSvcvv is a similar construction. And 
it is certainly very unusual for the minister of a church to be 
called its apostle. The common interpretation is favoured by 
ver. 30. 

^ Much dejected.'] " full of anguish." Newcome. aJij|U,oya;v. 
Erasmus says that the word signifies to be almost killed with 

' Thai I might not have sorrow upon sorrow.'] It has been 
before observed that Dr. Paley notices the case of Epaphroditus 
as a proof that the apostles did not possess the power of work- 
ing miracles at pleasure. Dr. Priestley makes the same observa- 
tion ; " otherwise (he remarks) Paul no doubt would not have 
suffered this Epaphroditus, whom he esteemed so highly, and 
others of his fellow Chinstians whose sickness he mentions, 
and whose lives he imagined to be of value for the propagation 
of the gospel, to continue in circumstances so painful to them- 
selves, and so detrimental to the cause in which they were en- 
gaged. Miraculous power does not appear to have been in any 
case subject to the will of men, our Saviour and the apostles 
always feeling a supernatural impulse upon their minds, when- 
ever divine wisdom judged a miracle to be proper." 

I am fully ready to concede this point with respect to the 

Sect. IV. F H I L 1 P P I A N S. 3. 359 

Though I cannot at present spare Timothy, yet Ch. il. 
I think it highly requisite to send Epaphroditus ^** 
back to you ini mediately, both that he may carry 
this token of my affection, may inform you of the 
particulars of my situation, and that he may renew 
his ministerial labours among you. I should in- 
deed have rejoiced to have kept him with me, both 
to have enjoyed his society as a Christian friend, 
and to have engaged him as an associate in the toils 
and dangers of my apostolic mission. But I con- 
sider you as possessing a prior claim to his emi- 
nently useful services. He came hither as the mes- 
senger of your liberality to me ; it would therefore 
be inexcusable to detain him without your approba- 
tion. And indeed he is himself very anxious to 
return to you, being exceedingly desirous to see you 
again, especially since he has heard how much you 
were affected by the account you received of his late 
illness ; and he cannot enjoy any peace till he has 
relieved your affectionate sohcitude for him. And 
indeed he has been very dangerously ill ; but God 
in great mercy, both to him and to me, has dis- 

apostles 5 but he to whom the spirit was communicated without 
measure, appears to have possessed a power of performing at 
pleasure that class of miracles which were necessary for esta- 
blishing his character and claims as the Son of God, the Mes- 
siah foretold by the prophets. 

Dr. Priestley adds, " With respect to the miraculous healing 
of sickness, it is observed that it was seldom exerted in favour 
of preachers of the gospel, but generally of indifferent persons, 
though they might afterwards be won upon, by sucli marks of 
divine favour, to embrace the gospel. By this means the evi- 
dence of the miracles was less liable to suspicion." 

360 Sect. IV. P H 1 L 1 P P I A N S. 3. 

Ch. II. pelled our fears and restored his health ; for truly, 
Ver. 27. jf J 1^^^ j^g^ g^ jg^j. ^ friend, I should have been 
overwhelmed with an accumulation of distress. 

28. / have sent him, therefore, the more speedily^, 
that when ye see him again ye may rejoice, and that 

29. / may be the less sorroivful^. Receive him, there- 
fore, in the Lord^, ivith all joy, and hold such in 

30. high estimation. For because of the work of Christ 
he was near to death, having e^vposed his own life^, 
that he might supply the remainder of your kijid 
offices towards me s. 

• Speedily.'] " cnrsSociotspuSyftstinantiuii." Vulg. See Peirce. 
" a ir-risioLiOi , festbians." Schleusner. 

^ Less sorrotcful.] " Because my sympathy in your concern 
about Epaphroditus will be removed." Newcome. 

' la the Lord.'] " As a Christian minister." Peirce. "as 
a fellow -disciple of the Lord." Ne-wcome. 

* Having exposed his own life ] ■}tapa^oX£'j(ra.[j.evoi , accord- 
ing to the Alexandrine and other manuscripts of the best au- 
thority. " parabolatus de animd sud." Vulg. See Griesbach. 
" Paraholani sunt qui se in pericidum muximmn projiciunt." 
Rob. Steph. Thes. Linguce Latince. Epaphroditus, by the fa- 
tigue he had undergone in the e.vecution of his commission, had 
probably brought on a fever, which had endangered his life. 
" Epaphroditus had exposed his own life to the utmost danger, 
as they did who took care of people infected with the pesti- 
lence, who were called parubohtni ,• or as they did who fought 
with wild beasts. Vid. Socrat. H. E. lib. 7. c. 22." Peirce; who 
conjectures that the danger was incurred by sickness brought 
on by tatigue, and that it must have happened some time be- 
fore, " as the news had not only been carried to Philippi, but 
the knowledge of their being acquainted with it had been brought 
back to Rome." 

■' That he might supply, &c.] " that lie might supply your 
lack of service towards me :" ro J^awv ursprjjj^x rr^s itpoi |u.£ Ksi- 
rspyiocs. " Our translators, (wiiose version is here given,)" 
savs iMr. Wakefield, " quite misunderstood the passage. The 
defect of the Philippians, or rather towards them, was the apo- 
stle's inability to come himself, which he sent Epaphroditus to 

Ver. 30. 

Skct. IV. P H I L IP P I A N S. 3. 361 

For these reasons I was the more desirous to ch. ii. 
send him back to you without delay, both that you 
might have the satisfaction to see your friend in good 
health, and that I might share in your joy, and be 
under less apprehension on your account. Receive 
him then, my brethren, with a cheerful welcome, 
as your faithful minister in the gospel of our com- 
mon Lord ; and hold such able and zealous ser- 
vants of Christ in the highest respect and affection. 
Epaphroditus eminently deserves it at your hands : 
his late dangerous sickness was brought on by his 
too ardent exertions to fulfill the generous commis- 
sion with which you had entrusted him in my be- 
half. Benevolence so active and disinterested can- 
not be too highly prized. 

supply." His own translation is, " making no account of his 
life, that he might fill up the deficiency of my service towards 
you." But without stopping to inquire whether the words will 
admit of this translation, the version of Peirce, Newcome, and 
others, seems more natural, and better suited to the connexion : 
" exposing his life to the most imminent danger, that he might 
fill up the remainder of your beneficence to me." " Id mihi 
prcEstaret, quod prcestare, vestri erai officii." Castalio. 

The Public Version appears to express the true meaning of 
the passage. Epaphroditus fell sick through fatigue, occasioned 
by his zealous exertions to supply your place ; by attempting to 
do what you would have done for me had you been at Rome : 
or, as Archbishop Newcome expresses it, " by conveying your 
supply tome, and giving me personal attendance." See2 Cor.x. 

352 Sect. V. P H I L I P P 1 A N S. 


Ch. III. The apostle warns the Philippians agairtst being 
misled by the artifices of judai%ing zealots, and 
exhibits his own conduct as an example of an 
absolute renunciation of dependence upon any 
legal pretensio7is as the ground of acceptance 
with God. Ch. iii. 1. — iv. 1. 

1. The apostle apologizes to his friends for in- 
sisting upon the same topics which he had given in 
charge to Epaphroditus, ver. 1. 
Ver. 1. As to what remains, my brethren, rejoice hi the 
Lord ' . To write the same thi?igs 2 to you is not 
irksome to me, and to you it is safe. 

To proceed, my brethren and beloved friends, to 
the advice which I would now offer as peculiarly 
suitable to your present circumstances : my first ex- 
hortation is. Rejoice in, and be thankful for, that 
liberal dispensation of which you partake, and which 
imposes upon you no harsh and insupportable yoke. 
I have desired Epaphroditus to warn you against a 

' Rejoice in the Lord.l " as Christians : in your Christian 
privileges and hopes." Newcome. 

' The same things:'] i. e. " wliich I have delivered in charge 
to Epaphroditus." Peirce. — " which I have inculcated when 
present with you ; or, which I have written to other churches." 
Newcome. I prefer Peirce's interpretation. Two manuscripts 
read ravra, these things. 

Sect.V. PHILI PPIANS.- 1,2. 36S 

delusion of which you are in some danger. I shall ch. iir. 
now address the same warning to you ; and shall ^^^'' ^• 
think it no trouble to repeat to you what I have said 
to him, and the advice will probably come to you 
with greater effect when you observe the perfect 
coincidence in the doctrine of those whom you have 
been used to regard as your instructors in Christian 

2. He briefly warns them against those evil- 
minded teachers who would seduce them into a 
needless subjection to the ceremonial law, ver, 

9 Q 

Beware of the dogs 3, beware of the evil labour- 2. 

ers^, beware of the concision^. For ice are the 3. 

' Beware of the dogs.'] " The apostle seems to retort upon 
the wicked and persecuting Jews the name given by them to the 
Gentiles." Newcome. See Isa. Ivi. 10 — 12, Rev. xxii. 15, Matt, 
vii. 6, " cruel, fierce, and mischievous." Peirce. " It was 
customary with the Jews," says Dr. Priestley, " as well as with 
other Oriental nations, to denote particular characters by the 
names of those animals in which they predominate. Thus our 
Saviour, ' Cast not your pearls before swine,' ' Go and tell that 
fox.' Here the name dog probably means persons of a quar- 
relsome disposition, always ready to promote contention and 
division : which was the character of the judaizing teachers." 

^ The evil labourers .-I not merely evil-doers. Epyarr}^, opera- 
rius, a labourer in any business : here the apostle means la- 
bourers v/ho set up to be teachers, xockhs spyarag, evil la- 
bourers, similar to -na-KSpysg, persons who act fraudulently and 
deceitfully. See Peirce. In 2 Cor. xi. 13 the apostle calls the 
same persons deceitful labourers. 

* The concision?^ An expression of contempt, denying them 
a right to the title of irspiroyi^ri, the circumcision, in which they 
gloried. " those who rend and divide the church." Peirce. — 
Mr. Wakefield translates the passage, " Beware of those dogs, 
beware of their wicked practices^ beware of their biting you," 

364 Sect. V. P H 1 L I P P I A N S. 2. 

eh. III. f^i^'cwincision who ivorship God by the spirit ', and 
Ver. 3, ^Jio glory in Christ. Jesus, mid place no confidence 
in the flesh. 

When I consider what they are who attempt to 
rob you of your Hberty and your peace, when I call 
to mind their restless malice and their hypocritical 
professions, I cannot restrain my indignation. Be, 
therefore, much upon your guard against those 
fierce and hungry dogs who wish to break in upon 
and to devour the flock. I mean those false teach- 
ers who are exerting their utmost endeavours to 
pervert your faith, to alienate your affections from 
your faithful instructors, and to make a prey of you. 
Beware of those men who, preaching up the neces- 
sity of Jevi^ish rites, are in fact dividing and rending 
asunder the church of Christ by their schismatical 
and sectarian spirit. They call themselves, indeed. 

In this last clause he professes to follow an interpretation in 
Gataker's Advers. Miscell. p. 82G. y.ara.rou.ri, concisio, muti- 
latio : q. d. The rite being now abolished, is no longer entitled 
to its former honourable name. Theophylact apud Schleusner. 
" We are not to infer from this/' says Dr. Priestley, " that the 
apostle undervalued circumcision, or any other part of the Jew- 
ish ritnal. Had he thought the law of Moses to be abolished 
by the gospel with respect to the Jews, he certainly would 
never have circumcised Timothy ; especially as his mother only, 
and not his father, was of Jewish extraction. All that he says 
in contempt of Jewish observances, is only -"o be understood of 
them in comparison of moral virtues, on which alone any stress 
is laid in the gospel, and which the superstitious attachment of 
the Jews to their ceremonies led them to neglect." 

' Who worship God, &c.] the spirit ; i. e. the gospel, as op- 
posed to the law of rites. See Gal. iii. 3, 5, iv. 29, v. 5 ; Rom. 
ii. 29. we glory in Christ Jesus: i. e. in our faith in and rela- 
tion to .lesus as the Messiah, and have no confidence in thejiesh : 
i. e. in subjection to the law-. 

Skct.V. PHILIPPIANS. 2,3. 365 

the chosen and the holy people of God'; they glory ch. iii. 
in their conformity to the ceremonial law, and they ^^'' ^' 
place their confidence in the seals and symbols of 
the Mosaic institute. But in this, if they are sin- 
cere, they are most egregiously mistaken : for we, 
my friends, are the true and accepted people of God 
who worship the Father of our spirits agreeably to 
the terms of the new dispensation ; who glory, not 
in being the adherents of Moses, but the disciples 
of Jesus the true Messiah ; and who place our con- 
fidence, not in the symbols of the old and super- 
seded covenant, but in our conformity to the terms 
of the new and better dispensation. 

3. The apostle shows that no one ever had greater 
cause than himself to boast in Jewish privileges, 
and ritual conformity, ver. 4 — 6. 

Although I might have confidence^ even in the 4. 

flesh. If any other may presume to have confidence 
in the flesh -, I still more. Circumcised on the 5. 

eighth day 3, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of 

* Presume, &c.] See Mr. Wakefield, in thejlesh. The con- 
text plainly shows, that hy the flesh, the apostle nrieans the rites, 
privileges, and profession of a Jew educated under the law. 

^ Circumcised the eighth day.'] See Bowyer, Newcome, and 
Griesbach, for the construction of the original. Dr. Doddridge 
observes, that " the Jews did not only lay a great deal of stress 
on the rite of circumcision, but on the time of performing it, 
i. e. exactly the eighth day ; and that the LXX. have an addi- 
tion to Gen. xvii. 14, which is also in the Samaritan Penta- 
teuch, ' the male-child which is not circumcised the eighth day 
shall be cut off from among his people.' " It is generally sup- 
posed that the apostle in these observations refers to some par- 
ticular person who was the leader of the judaizing party in the 

366 Sect. V. P H I L I P P 1 A N S. 3. 

Ch. III. Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews'^', concerning 
Ver. 6. the law, a pharisee ; concerning zeal, a persecutor 
of the church^; concerning justification by the law^, 

Your false teachers boast of their Jewish extrac- 
tion, and of their strict adherence to Jewish rites, 
which they represent as essential to acceptance with 
God. But be assured, that under the gospel dis- 
pensation all this is of no value. Impute not this 
disavowal to envy, or to any consciousness of defect 
on my part : I am equal, yea superior, to every one 
of them in those claims to merit which Judaism 
can give. So that if any confidence could be placed 
in such kind of privileges or of works, as entitling 
men to the divine favour, I, above the proudest of 

church at Philippic and who made great boasts of his Jewish pri- 

' Hebrew of Hebrews ;] i. e. a, Hebrew of the purest pedigree : 
or, as some think, a Hebrew in language, in opposition to the 
Hellenistic Jews, who used the LXX. See Newcome. 

- A persecutor of the church.'] " St. Paul was far from account- 
ing this a virtue : he freely condemns it elsewhere as a grievous 
sin. 1 Cor. xv. 9, 1 Tim. i. 13. All, therefore, he can mean by 
what he says is, that if a zeal for the law were, as the Jews 
thought, a ground of confidence, he could with a witness pre- 
tend to it, since his zeal had been so great for it as to lead him 
to persecute the Christians, because he thought they disho- 
noured it." Peirce. 

^ Justification by the law.'] This is opposed, ver. 9, to justi- 
fication by faith in Christ. The former is that state of privilege 
which a Jew obtained by an exact conformity to the Mosaic 
ritual. In this respect the apostle was comparatively blameless : 
no person had a better claim than he to the reward which v/as 
due to ceremonial obedience. See Peirce and Macknight. — 
" the imperfect justification which can only make me appear 
blameless as to legal transgression in the sight of men." New- 

Sect. V. P H I L I P P I A N S, 3,4. 367 

them all, have a right to boast this confidence. I ch. iii. 
was circumcised, as the law prescribes, precisely on ^^^'* ^' 
the eighth day after my birth. I am a genuine de- 
scendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom 
the promises were made ; I am of the tribe of Ben- 
jamin, one of the two which returned from the cap- 
tivity. I am a Hebrew of the purest pedigree : both 
my parents were of the Hebrew nation, and descend- 
ants of Hebrew ancestors. I was educated at Je- 
rusalem in a strict observance of the law; I was ad- 
mitted a member of the rigid sect of the pharise^s, 
and was as rigorous in my external conduct as any 
of that fraternity. I was beyond measure zealous 
for judaical rites, and for that reason a vehement 
persecutor of those who professed to hold the doc- 
trine of Jesus in higher estimation than the law of 
Moses. So that, if lineal descent from the Abra- 
harnic family, if early initiation, if intemperate zeal, 
if rigid profession, could entitle any one to justifica- 
tion in the sight of God, I may challenge the whole 
Jewish nation to produce one who possesses a claim 
superior to my own. 

4. The apostle explicitly disclaims all merit of 
this kind, and rests his hope of acceptance with God 
upon his faith in Jesus Christ, ver. 7 — 0. 

But these thi?ig6; which were once gain to me, 7. 

/ accounted loss for Christ^. Yea doubtless, and s. 

* Gain — loss?^ KspSr/ — fijjW-iav, profit and loss in commercial 
speculation. The apostle represents this ceremonial righteous- 
ness, which he once valued as his choicest treasure, as being 

Ver. 8. 

368 Sect. V. P H I L I P P I A N S. 4. 

Ch. III. / account all but loss for the excellency of the hioiv - 
ledge of Christ^ Jesus my Lord; for whose sake 
I have cast away- all these things, and do account 
them but refuse'^, that I might gain Christ"^ and 
be found in him ^, not having my own jnstifcation, 

now in his estimation nothing but refuse and lumber, which he 
had thrown overboard to make room for that justification by faith 
which was a prize of the highest value. See Peirce. 

' Knowledge of Christ.'] " By the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
we are to understand the knowledge of Christianity ; so also by 
winning Christ in to be understood gaining the rewards of Chris- 
tianity. With Christ himself, personally considered, we can 
have nothing to do ; and the manner in which many enthu- 
siastic persons have expressed themselves on this subject is 
highly reprehensible." Dr. Priestley. 

'^ Cast awtnj all these things.'] " ^r^ii^toiv has two senses; one 
to suffer loss or damage, the other to part with or throw away, in 
order to prevent a greater detriment, as when goods are thrown 
overboard to save the ship." Peirce. See Grotius on Matt. xvi. 

^ Refuse.] cxu'SaXa. " Latissime putet hoc vocabulum, et 
quodvis vile rejectamentian notat." Sciileusner. 

* That I might gain Christ:] that is, the blessings of his go- 
spel. This is the treasure which I now seek after, and for which 
I have cast away what I formerly most highly prized. " He 
seems here to consider Christ as the most important and va- 
luable thing, which he was therefore solicitous to secure to him- 
self above every thing ; and his meaning is. That 1 may attain 
the knowledge of Christ and faith in him, so as to have him for 
my Saviour, and be entitled to all the advantages which belong 
to those who are found in him." Peirce. 

* Be found in him.] See chap. ii. 7. To be found in Christ is 
the same as to be in him ; and to be in Christ, is to believe in 
him and to profess his doctrine. See Rom. xvi. 7,11. Mr. Peirce 
considers the text as parallel to Gal. iii. 27, according to Mr. 
Locke's interpretation: Believers having put on Christ are 
clothed with him, so that God, looking on, sees nothing but 
Christ. "This expression, being found in Christ," says Dr. 
Priestley, " which has been so much abused by ignorant and 
enthusiastic persons, means nothing more than continuing in 
the profession of Christianity. Also by his own righteousness 
which was of the law, the apostle means, not moral virtue. 

Sect.V. PHILIPPIANS, 4. 30.9 

which is by the law, but that which is through the ch. iir. 
faith of Christ^: even the justif cation which is ^'''■- ^• 
from God by faith. 

Upon these external distinctions I once laid a 
most unreasonable stress, and thought highly of my 
character and state on account of them. But I now 
view them in a very different light; and what I then 
valued most I now regard as of no real worth : and 
indeed as worse than nothing, if they are placed in 
competition with the blessings of the gospel. Yes 
indeed, my dear brethren, I solemnly assure you 
that I reckon, not only these proud distinctions, but 
all the most valued blessings of life, as nothing, as 
a price infinitely below the value of that saving doc- 
trine of my master Jesus Christ ; which in its sub- 
limity, in its evidence, and in its glorious effects, 
far surpasses every thing which bears the name of 
learning or science. 

For the acquisition of this most excellent know- 
ledge I have in fact sacrificed all that was most dear 
and valuable in life; my most endearing and useful 

which he was very far from undervaluing, but the mere ob- 
servance of the Mosaic ritual. And that righteousness which is 
hy faith in Christ, means that virtue or ground of justification in 
the sight of God vv'hich is taught in the gospel, independently 
of the law." 

^ That which is through the faith of Christ.l That state of pri- 
vilege and acceptance with God, which was to be attained by 
faith in Christ without submitting to the rites of the law ; of 
which justification the apostle treats at large in his epistles to 
the Romans and to the Galatians, It was a state in which they 
were admitted to all the outward privileges of the gospel ; and 
which, if practically improved, would entitle them to an interest 
in its spiritual and everlasting blessings. 

VOL. III. 2 B 

370 Skct.V. PHILIPPIANS. 4, s, 

Ch III. connexions, my temporal interest, my flattering pro- 
ber. 9. spects, and even my fondest prejudices ; and have 
exposed myself to poverty, to contempt, to persecu- 
tion, and to death in its most terrifying forms. I 
have, as it were, cast overboard all that I once 
thought precious. But I am far from repenting of 
the sacrifices I have made ; for though I would not 
undervalue the blessings of life, when they are to 
be obtained in consistence with duty, I would never- 
theless cheerfully discard them all, as I would cast 
away the vilest refuse, if this self-denial should be 
necessary to securing the prize at which I aim, a 
true knowledge of the doctrine of Christ, and an 
interest in the blessings of the gospel ; that I may 
be justified in the sight of God, not by ritual merits, 
which is all that I could ever pretend to, but by faith 
in. Jesus as the Christ, which is the reasonable and 
sole condition of the gospel covenant. This justifi- 
cation, this happy state of acceptance and of privi- 
lege, is the free gift of God to all who, convinced 
by the evidence proposed, receive and acknowledge 
Jesus as txe Christ. 

5. The apostle pants after this practical know- 
ledge of Christ, to whatever dangers or sufferings it 
may lead, being confident that it must terminate in 
a resurrection to immortal happiness, ver. 10, 11. 
10. That I may know Christ i, and the efficacy of 

' T)iat I may know Q\ix\%\.?\ Ts yvcvvai. The English version 
supposes the infinitive to be put for the subjunctive, and tliat 
rit yywyai answers to svps^M^ ver. 9. Bengelius supposes the 

Skct. v. p h 1 l I p iM a n s. .1. :37l 

his resurrection 2, and the participation of his siif- ch. iii. 
ferings'^; being rnade conformable to his death *, so Ver. 1 1. 
thaty in amj way^ I may arrive at the resurrection 
of the dead ^. 

infinitive to !)e taken as a gerund, and to be governed by TTfrei, 
' the faith or knowing him.* Peirce supposes it governed by ^i- 
xaioa-uvYiy (see ver. 21,) the righteousness of knowing, or which 
consists in knowing, Christ. This interpretation would be more 
probable if the intervening words sn tv itis-ai, should be drop- 
ped, as they are in the Ethiopia and Syr'iac ; and by Mr. Wake- 
field, whose translation is, " so as to know Christ." 

* Efficacy of his resurrection^ " its power of confirming my 
faith in him, and my hope of salvation through him." Mac- 
knight. See IPet. i.3. 

^ Participation of his sufferings.'] " either those which he 
himself endured, or which are allotted to his disciples, for his 
sake and in his cause. The latter the more probable." Peirce. 

■* Conformable to his death.'] evps^'jo a-vy.iJi.oppii!X£vrjg- see ver. 9. 
Grotius. may be found conformable to h'ls death. The Alexan- 
drine and Clermont copies read <rvu,fj.op(pi^oij.£vos, made con- 
formable; which Griesbach marks as the preferable reading. 
Peirce justly observes, that " though dy'ing to sin is several times 
spoken of as a conformity to Christ in his death, Rom. vi.3, 
&c., yet conformity to his death by dying for his sake seems 
to be more agreeable to the scope of this place. Rom. viii. 17, 
2 Cor. iv. 10 — 14." — Dr. Priestley observes, that " the apostle 
alludes to his sufferings in the same cause with Christ, and his 
expectation of the same reward after death. From many other 
expressions it appears that the apostle did not consider the suf- 
ferings of as of a peculiar nature, having any other cause 
or efi^'ect than the sufferings of other good men in a good cause. 
The public death of Christ was absolutely necessary, as a pre- 
paration to the proper evidence of his resurrection. Had he died 
a natural death and then appeared again, it might have been 
said that he had never died at all : it was therefore wisely or- 
dered in the course of divine providence, that his death should 
be as public as possible. His resurrection was so circumstanced 
as to have the highest degree of credibility at this distance of 

* Resurrection of the dead.] Mr. Peirce observes, that the 
expression "si has not always adubitative signification, 1 Tim. 
V. 10, Acts xxvi. 23 ; nor necessarily ^0 when followed by ttujs, 

2 B 2' 

372 Sect.V. PHILIPPIANS. 5. 

C'n. III. Tlie great prize of which I am ambitious, and the 
Ver. 1 1, possession of which will amply compensate for every 
loss, is that state of privilege, and hope, and peace, 
which is the result, not of the knowledge and pro- 
fession merely, but of a practical conviction of the 
truth of the Christian doctrine, a conviction founded 
upon that amazing display of divine power by which 
Jesus was raised from the dead, and was made the 
pledge and pattern of the final resurrection of all his 
faithful disciples to immortal life and happiness. 
Nay, I am not unwilling to be a fellow-sufferer with 
him, to endure the ignominy and torture to which 
he was exposed, and to resign even life itself, if this 
sacrifice should be necessary to my safe arrival at 
the desired haven : to the attainment of that which 
is the great object of my triumphant expectation, 
and the glorious reward of all my toils and dangers 
and sufferings, a resurrection to life and happiness 
uninterrupted and everlasting. And I am persuaded 
that you, my brethren, among whom I laboured so 
long, who were also witnesses to my sufferings for 
the gospel, will give credit to my assertion, and will 
not regard it as a vainglorious boast : but will your- 

nor is it to be so understood here." Kccravi'au} signifies, to 
arrive at a harbour ; so that the apostle still keeps up his beau- 
tiful metaphor. Acts xviii. 19, 24, xxvi. 7. The apostle is here 
speaking of the resurrection of the just. And as the Philip- 
pians were personally acquainted with him, there was a pro- 
priety in appealing to what they had observed in his conduct 
which there would not have been in writing to the Colossians, 
who had never seen him. See Peirce's excellent note upon this 
text. " arrive at a complete resurrection from dead works." 

Sect. V, P H I L I P P I A N S. 5, 6. 373 

selves be disposed to follow my example and to act Ch. iii. 
the same wise and honourable part. *^'^' * 

6. He does not pretend that he has as yet obtained 
the object to which he aspires, but he professes to 
be incessantly reaching forwards towards it, ver. 

I say not i that I have already received the prize, 1 2. 

or already finished my race^; hut I press forward, 
that I may lay hold on that's/or which I also have 

' I say not.'] The expression in the original is elliptical : 
I smj is supplied by Peirce and Nevvcome. The apostle here 
changes his metaphor^ and represents himself as in the situation 
of a man who is candidate for a prize in the races at the Grecian 
games, who is continually pressing forward till he reaches the 
goal. Mr. Peirce thinks that the aposile intends a secret com- 
parison between his own character and that of the false teachers, 
who regarded and represented themselves as having attained 
perfection by their zealous conformity to the ceremonial law. 
But the apostle, though he had as good reason for boasting in 
this respect as they, was so for from regarding himself as com- 
plete in every particular and fully entitled to the prize, that he 
thought it necessary to stretch every nerve in order to maintain 
his ground and to secure final success. 

* Finished my race.] So Mr- Wakefield. The false teachers 
fancied that their labours were finished, they had only to re- 
ceive the prize ; but the apostle had no such vain thought of 
himself. " am already perfected in evangelical excellence." 
Newcome. Comp, ver. 1.5, 

^ That I may lay hold, &c.] s< xai xaraXafw. So Peirce y 
who considers gj >iCLi as similar to si itojs, ver. 1 1, not express- 
ing any doubt in the apostle's mind. Castellio renders the 
phrase ret comprehendam. Yet still it may be doubted whether 
the apostle, in opposition to the bold confidence of the false 
teachers, did not mean to represent himself as under some de- 
gree of anxiety with regard to the issue of his exertions. Mr. 
M^akefield renders the words, " I am still ])ur.suing if I may 
after all lay hold," &c. 

374 Skct. v. P H I L I p p i a N S. 6. 

Ch. III. been laid hold on • by Christ 2. Brethren. I do not 
^^' ' reckon 3 myself to have laid hold on it : but neglect- 
ing those that are behind, and stretching forward 
H. to those before^ I pursue one thing, according to 
my design^, for the prize of that invitation of God 
from above ^ by Christ t/esus. 

Others, if they please, may boast the perfection 
of their character and the happiness of their state, 
in uniting the privileges of the disciples of Moses 
with the hopes of believers in Christ. I am not 
their inferior in either of these respects, and yet I 
am far from pretending, either that I have attained 
the prize of my ambition, or the perfection of those 
qualifications which are requisite for this purpose. 
Nevertheless, as Jesus mercifully arrested me in the 

' Laid hold o«.] " Tjie apostle, playing upon a word, re- 
jireHcnts himself as made a prize of by Christ, while he himself 
is desirous of obtaining that for which Christ made a prize of 
him." Dr. Priestley. 

- Christ.] This is the reading of the best copies : the received 
text reads Christ Jesus. See Griesbach. 

^ I do not reckon.'] " This will ever be the disposition of a 
mind truly virtuous. Every man who knows himself will be 
sensible of his imperfections, and if he be a good man he will 
be continually striving to remove them, and make nearer ap- 
proaches to perfection." Dr. Priestley. 

* I pursue one thing, &c.] " Join £v Ss with -/.ara o-KCifov Six- 
x-j:, including the intermediate words in a parenthesis." Peirce 
and Bowyer. Peirce says he has no where met with good au- 
thorities to prove that axoTTOf signifies the same as rs^txa, the 
goal. He translates the words, therefore, " according to my 
4iim 01' design." He admits thatsv Simkuj, etti to B^ateiov is un- 
usual, but he refers to Prov. xx. G, LXX. as perfectly parallel. 

* Invitation of God from above.] See Wakefield. The judges, 
seated on an eminence, summon the competitors to enter the 
lists. See Macknif,ht. 

SucT. V. P H I L I P P I A N S. 6,7. o/i] 

midst of a course of hardened unbelief and fiery per- ch. ni. 

. . Ver. 14. 

secuting zeal, and has graciously enlisted me in his 
service, I now steadily pursue the great object for 
the sake of which I became a believer and was con- 
stituted an apostle. Indeed, my brethren, I pretend 
not to perfection, either in character or in state. 
But I have entered the lists, and I am resolved to 
press forward till I have reached the goal and won 
the prize. Not trusting to past merits and services, 
nor comparing myself with those whom I have left 
behind, I will still exert myself to the utmost in my 
Master's work, making it my sole aim to obtain 
that glorious reward which God has promised in the 
gospel of his Son to those who obey the heavenly 
call, and who persevere to the end of their course, 

7. The apostle urges the Philippians to follow his 
example, and expresses his hope that God will com- 
municate to them all necessary truth, ver. 15, 16. 

Let uSy therefore, as many as are perfect men ^, 15. 

be of this mind; and if ye differ in any thing 7, God 

^ Perfect men.] rsXstoi, perfect, q. d. persons thoroughly in- 
structed in the Christian doctrine. See 1 Cor. ii. 6, we speak 
wisdom among those that are perfect. It is opposed to vrjinos, 
a child. 1 Cor. xiv. 20, Heb. v. 13, 14. " Let us, as many .is 
are perfect men, think thus as to the excellency of the know- 
ledge of Christ." Newcome. In opposition to Judaizers. 
" grown up men not babes in Christ." Wakefield ; who " sus- 
pects the purity of the latter part of the verse." 

''Ifye differ, &c.] st ri srspwg fpovsirs. Mr. Peirce under- 
stands ktspwi here, of differing with one another. They were 
all sufficiently instructed in the Christian doctrine not to be 
imposed upon by judaizing teachers ; if there were any other 
points concerning which they were in doubt, God would, in one 

376 Skct. v. P H I L I P P I a N S. 7, 8. 

Ch. III. will reveal this likewise to you. Nevertheless, as 
^^'■" ^^' to what ive have attained, let us lualk therein'^. 

Upon the whole, then, let all of us who profess 
the faith of Christ, who are no longer babes but 
grown up men, and who have been well instructed 
in the doctrine and in the liberty of the gospel, be 
unanimous in our resolution that we will not be 
enslaved to the yoke of the ceremonial law, but that 
we will make it our chief study and our constant aim 
to obey the laws of Christ. And if there be any 
otherpoints concerning which you differ in opinion, 
and in which you are not fully informed, if you are 
sincere lovers of truth, and open to conviction, 
using at the same time the proper means of in- 
quiry, there is great reason to believe that God will, 
in one way or other, correct your errors, and lead 
you into all important truth. To this end let 
your practice keep pace with your knowledge. Let 
us all act up to the principles and to the spirit of 
the gospel. If we improve the light we have, we 
may reasonably hope that more will be communi- 

8. The apostle still more explicitly presses upon 
the Philippians to follow his example, and cautions 

way or other, communicate instruction. Revelation docs not 
always express new inspiration. See Locte on Eph. i. 17. 

* Let us walk therein.'] The received text reads, let us loalk 
by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. But the Alexan- 
drine manuscript and some ancient versions leave out the words 
Kocvovi, to avro ^povaiv, and these words are omitted in the edi- 
tions of Gricubach and Newcorae, 

Skct. V. P H I L I P P I A N S. 8. 377 

them against the practices of selfish and seducing ch. iii. 
teachers, ver. 17 — 21. 

Brethren^ he ye together wiitators of ine, and Ver. 1 7- 
observe those who lualk after the pattern which ye 
have in us 2. 

My christian brethren, I have plainly stated to 
you my principles, views, and conduct ; that I am 
by birth a Jew, and entitled to claim all the privi- 
leges of the disciples of Moses to a degree beyond 
what any one else can pretend to ; that nevertheless 
I have renounced all for the sake of Christ ; and that 
my sole object now is to comply with the requisi- 
tions and to secure the rewards of the gospel. You 
well know that I have not misrepresented my cha- 
racter and aims. Be, then, all of you without ex- 
ception, imitators of me in these respects; and ob- 
serve the conduct of those who habitually follow my 
example, the wise and faithful teachers who are set- 
tled among you, or the excellent person who bears 
this epistle to you ; and mark how far superior their 
character shines above that of their opponents who 
disclaim my authority, and would subvert our faith. 

For many walk, of whom I have told you often^ 18. 

and 710W tell you even iveeping, that they are ene- 
inies of the cross of Christ 3 ; whose end is destruc- 19. 

' Observe those, &c.] See Wakefield. The ajDostle here con- 
trasts his own character and that of his colleagues with those 
of the judaizing zealots. " Here," says Peirce, "' the reason 
very plainly a})pears why he said so much of himself in the 
foregoing verses." 

^ They are enemies, &c.] The apostle is here speaking of i\\^ 
judaizing teachers vvho were ashamed of the cross^ who taught 

378 SixT. V. P H I L I P P I A N S. 8. 

Ch. III. ttou ^, ivhosc God is their belly -, and whose glory 
^^' ' is m their shame 3, who affect earthly things ^. 

There are many in the Christian church, and it 
is v/ell if there are not some even among you, who 
are of a character the reverse of that which I have 
described. I often mentioned them to you when I 
was present with you, and cautioned you against 
their seducing and mischievous arts. I now renew 
my caution to you again ; and, anxious for your 
welfare, 1 with tears warn you against those artful 
and wicked teachers, who conceal their enmity to 
the doctrine of Christ and their shame of the cross, 
by an affectation of zeal for the Mosaic ritual ; the 
tendency of whose doctrine, whatever they may 
think or profess, is to the ruin of themselves and of 
their hearers ; who, whatever pretences they make 

the obligation of the ceremonial law, which had been abolished 
by the death of Christ ; who preached the gospel with merce- 
naiy views, and who were men of immoral characters, 2 Cor. 
xi. 13, 15, 20, 

' 'Destruciion'^^ oLTfuoXsia: " the ruin of others.'" Mr. Wake- 
field, Comp. c. 1. 28. " These men reckon upon your destruc- 
tion, but they will certainly meet with their own." Peirce. 

• Wliose God is their belhj.'] who aim at nothing but their 
own gratification. See Rom. xvi. 18 ; J Tim. vi. T) ; Tit. i. 1 1. 

" Whatever any person may profcs.*,," says Dr. Priestley, 
" of friendship for Christ and respect for the gospel, if their 
lives be not governed by the moral precepts of it, they are to 
be ranked with its enemies, their conduct tending to bring it 
into disgrace." 

' Glory is in their shame.'] " That is, who triumph in that 
which is really a disgrace ; viz. in their circumcision, in their 
zeal for the law, in the number of their proselytes, in the ad- 
vantage they derived from them." Peirce. 

^ Who affect earthly things.-'] that is, the ordinances and 
ceremonies of tlie law wliic-h were of an earthly nature. That 
this sense is included is cvidcni from Col.iii. 1 — 3. See Peirce 

Sect. V. P H I L I P P I A N S, 8. 379 

to peculiar sanctity, are in fact the slaves of luxury Ch. iii. 
and intemperance, and seek only for the means of 
gratifying their appetite ; who glory in their blind 
subjection to a ritual, to which, as professors of 
Christianity, it is a disgrace to them to be in bond- 
age ; and who are enthralled by that low and de- 
grading spirit which is generated by an attachment 
to the law of Moses and the traditions of the pha- 

For we are citizens of heaven^, whence indeed^ 20. 
we are expecting a deliverer'^, our Lord Jesus 

^ For we are, &c.] Include the 18th and 19th verses in a 
parenthesis, q. d. Mark those that walk, &c. for we are citizens 
of heaven. See Newcome and Wakefield. Formerly the Jews 
were in heaven and the Gentiles were on earth, i. e. the former 
were in a covenant, and the latter in an uncovenanted state. 
Now the//, the judaizers, are earthly, but we Christians are citi- 
zens of heaven. Eph. ii. G, This interpretation is the more pro- 
bable if, as Peirce allows, ' earthly things ' in the preceding verse 
express Jevvish rites and ceremonies. 

^ Whence indeed.'] £^ a. Peirce, and Dr. Owen in Bowyer 
(see Newcome), with the generality of interpreters, supply 
roTTs, q. d. from which place. Two copies, of no great account, 
read s^ vov. " This is the most important of all considera- 
tions," says Dr. Priestley in his note upon this verse, " Chris- 
tians should ever consider themselves as citizens of heaven. 
Our king or sovereign, who was not of this world, and whose 
kingdom was not of it, is now in heaven ; and if we here below 
behave as the proper subjects of his spiritual kingdom, he will 
in due time come again, and take us to himself, to our proper 
country. I would observe, however, that according to this re- 
presentation, we have nothing to expect from our King and 
Saviour before his coming to raise the dead, and judge the 

' We are expecting a deliverer^ So Wakefield. '^The apostle 
always expresses himself as if the second coming of Christ was 
very near at hand, so that some then living would be eye-wit- 
nesses to it, 1 Thcss. iv. l.T. The times and seasons were not 
revealed to him, nor even to Christ himself, Acts i. 7. 

3g0 SacT. V. P H I L I P P I A N S. ,8. 

Ch. III. Christ; who will transfoifn this our lowly body info 
Ver. 21. tJic similitude of his glorious body \ according to 
the energy by which he is able even to subject all 
things to himself^. 

Follow, then, as I have just observed, tlie exam- 
ple of me and of your other faithful and approved 
teachers ; for we are members of a celestial com- 
munity, and are entitled to the blessings and pri- 
vileges of the new and heavenly dispensation, the 
laws of which it is our duty to obey. And, as the 
immediate consequence of, this happy change of 
state, Vv^e are now taught to look with joyful expec- 
tation for the glorious appearance of our triumph- 
ant deliverer Jesus Christ from heaven, who is 
speedily coming, perhaps much sooner than many 
apprehend, to raise those who have fallen asleep in 
him, and to renovate those who shall be living 
when that awful consummation arrives. Then shall 

' Will transform, &c.] ixstaxw^^'^^'^^^ properly expresses a 
change of the outward appearance, not the substance of the 
thing spoken of. In the present state we bear tlie image of the 
earthly Adam, in tlie future we are to bear the imuge of the hea- 
venly, 1 Cor. XV. 45 — 49, This mortal trame, which we inherit 
from a mortal ancestor, must be transformed into the similitude 
of the glorious person of Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 50 — 54, 1 Thess. iv. 
15 — 17. What the full import of these expressions is, the event 
only can fully show. See Peirce. " who will change this lowly 
body of ours into the form, &c." Wakefield. 

- According to the energy, &c.] See 1 Cor. xv. 24 — 26, 54 — 
57. Mr. Peirce remarks, that this energy and power which is 
here attributed to Christ, is elsewliere ascribed to God, 1 Cor. vi. 
14, for the power which Christ has, he received from the Fa- 
ther ; Christ will subdue all things ; his dominion will be uni- 
versal. All the race of mankind will ultimately become subject 
to his authority ; and his enemiea, sin and death, all evil na- 
tural and moral, shall be destroyed. 

St.ct. v. P II I L I P P I a N S. 8, 9. 38 1, 

this mortal put on Immortality, and these frail and ch. in. 
perishable frames shall, in a moment, in the twink- ^^' " ' 
ling of an eye, be transformed into the similitude of 
his own glorious person, qualified for immortal life, 
improvement and felicity. And this great and un- 
known change shall be produced' in us by the energy 
©f that stupendous power which is communicated 
to him by the Father, by which all his enemies shall 
be subjected to his authority; and sin and pain and 
death shall exist no more. 

9. The apostle concludes this division of his sub- 
ject by an affectionate exhortation to stedfastness in 
their Christian profession, ch. iv. 1. 

Wherefore'^, my hretkren^ beloved and greatly Ch. IV. 
desired, my joy and crown, thus stajid firmly '* in 
the Lord, my beloved^. 

To conclude: My dear brethren in the faith, 
children of the same father, heirs of the same im- 
mortal hopes, the worthy objects of my complacency 
and benevolence; whose company and conversation 
I earnestly desire ; but for v/hose moral and Chris- 

' Wherefore, &c.] This verse should not have been separated 
from the preceding chapter, from vi^hich it is the proper infer- 
ence. See 1 Cor xv. 58. 

* Thus stand firmly, &c.] implying a commendation of their 
stedfastness hitherto, as well as an exliortation to perseverance. 
Stand fast in the Lord, i. e. be stedfast Christians. See ch. i, 5, 
G, 28, 29, ii. 1 1— 16, iii. 17. " thus, q. d. as I have exhorted 
you, foUow^ this my example." Peirce. 

* My beloved.'] " Remarkable (says Peirce) is this number of 
word§ he here uses, as though he thought he never could apply 
words enough to express the greatness of his love and tender- 
ness for them." 

382 Skct. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1. 

Ch. IV. tian improvement I am still more anxiously solici- 
tous; whose conversion, whose practical and perse- 
vering faith, and whose kind remembrance of their 
persecuted instructor, have been, and continue to 
be, a source of the purest satisfaction and delight ; 
and to whose joyful appearance with me at the tri- 
bunal of our glorious chief, I look forward with 
transport as to a prize more to be coveted than an 
imperial diadem ; attend, my beloved brethren, to 
this my last, my earnest and most affectionate ad- 
vice: Continue inflexible in your adherence to the 
purity of the Christian faith, and let no artifices of 
your seducing teachers, nor any consideration what- 
ever, alienate your minds from the doctrine, the 
spirit, the practice, and the hope of the gospel. 


The apostle offers seasonable advices and exhor- 
tations to some distinguished individuals ; he re- 
peats his thanks to the Philippians for their li- 
ber aliti/, and particularly for their last present^ 
and concludes the epistle ivith a suitable doxo- 
logyy a general salutation^ and the usual bene- 

diction. Ch. iv. 2 — 23. 

1 . The apostle gently hints some seasonable ad- 
vice to some respectable members of the church at 
Philippi, ver. 2, 3. 

Skct. VI. P H I L 1 P IM A N S. I. 383 

/ exhort Euodia, and 1 exhort Syntyche ', that ch. iv. 

they he of one mind in the Lord. Yea, I intreat ^^^'' 'g 
thee also, true companion 2, assist these women, for 

' Euodia and Syntyche.'} These were, no doubt, two women 
of respectable character in the church at Philippi, The apo- 
stle's exhortation supposes the existence of some difference, 
but whether with each other, or with the church in general, 
does not appear from the epistle. As the exhortation imme- 
diately succeeds the warning against false teachers, and these 
pious women appear, ver. 3, to have been very active in assist- 
ing the teachers of Christianity, it seems not improbable that 
they had been misled by the affected zeal of the judaizing 
teachers, and that the apostle's design was to recover them to 
the purity of the faith. This thought is hinted at in Mr. Peirce's 
note. Dr. Whitby thinks, that as persons cannot change their 
minds by intreaty or exhortation, the apostle exhorts them to 
promote the gospel with one soul. 

• True co)npanioji.'] So Newcome. yvYjO-ie avil,uys, true yoke- 
fellow ; metaphorically, every one who is in any way united to, 
or associated with another. See Schleusner. Some of the an- 
cients imagined that the apostle is here addressing his own wife, 
wlrom he is supposed to have left at Philippi. Clemens Alex. 
Strom, ii. p. 448. Euseb. E. H. iii. 30. It is objected that 
yvTjtj-is is in the masculine gender. But this, Erasmus observes, 
is not an unusual Atticism, and if it v/as a real objection, it 
must have occurred as such to the ancient Greek ecclesiastical 
writers. It is, however, generally understood from 1 Cor. vii. 
7, 8, that the apostle was either unmarried or a widower ; and 
most modern interpreters suppose that the apostle here ad- 
dresses some eminent fellow-labourer in the gospel. Grotius 
and others think that he apostrophizes Epaphroditus ; but this 
distinguished teacher was not then at Philippi 3 and the apostle 
never uses the expression cru^uyos in this sense, but awspyoc. 
" It is uncertain what eminent person in the church of Philippi 
is here meant." Newcome. Perhaps the most probable sup- 
position may be that of (^hrysostom, and some ancient Greek 
commentators, (see Clarius's note, and Peirce in loc.,) that the 
person here addressed was the husband or brother of one of 
these women. It maybe observed, that a difficulty of this 
kind, which is inexplicable to a commentator, could not occur 
to those to whom the letter was written, who would at once 
know the persons and circumstances to which the apostle al- 

384 Skct. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1. 

Ch. IV. they have earnestly laboured in the gospel with me, 
^'^^' ^' and with Clement i, and with my' other fellow-la- 
bourers , ivhose names are in the hook of life^. 

Having thus warned you of the danger you are 
in of being misled by false and interested teachers, 
I must now take leave to suggest a hint of friendly 
and Christian advice to two eminently pious wo- 
men, who are, I fear, in some hazard of being warped 
from the simplicity of the faith. I earnestly beseech, 
therefore, and I seriously exhort those venerable 
matrons, Euodia and Syntyche, that they continue 
in unison with the church of Christ, and that they 
do not suffer themselves to be seduced from the 
pure doctrine of the gospel. And you, my dear 
brother, the faithful partner of one of these excel- 
lent women, assist their weakness, and teach them 
how to repel the artful attacks of the enemies of 
Christian faith and liberty. I am anxious on their 
account, because they were once zealous advocates 

luded. This is an inconvenience unavoidably attached to epi- 
stolary writing ; and the occurrence of such obscure allusions 
is a presumption in favour of the genuineness of the epistle, 
which a forger would hardly give himself the trouble to invent. 

' ClcmenQ is supposed to be the person who was afterwards 
Bishop of Rome^ who wrote an epistle to the Corinthians which 
is still extant. 

^ Whose names, &c.] This is an allusion to a public register 
of the names of persons who are entitled to the privileges and 
immunities of a corporation or society. It occurs repeatedly 
both in the Old Testament and the New. See Exod. xxxii. 32 j 
Isa. iv. 3 ; Luke x. 20 ; Heb. xii. 33 ; Rev. xiii. 8, xxi. 27, 
xxii. 19 ; Mai. iii. 16. The apostle does not pretend to any re- 
velation upon this subject ; but, knowing the character and zeal 
of his fellow-labourers, he expresses his firm expectation of 
their future reward. 

Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 1,2. 385 

for truth, and in their proper province they afforded ch. iv. 
great assistance to myself, and to Clement, and to ^®''" ^' 
other teachers of the gospel who have laboured 
among them at different times, who are not only 
professing but practical believers, and useful mini- 
sters : and whose names are entered in the registers 
of that holy community the members of which are 
entitled by the promise of God to immortal life 
and happiness. 

2. The apostle recommends cheerfulness, meek- 
ness, prayer, and thankfulness, ver. 4 — 7. 

Rejoice in the Lord. Again I sai/, always re- 4. 


My friends, in the midst of your difficulties and 
trials I call upon you to rejoice. Rejoice in your 
Christian profession, your Christian privileges, and 
your Christian hopes ; I have given you this advice 
before; I now repeat it again. Rejoice continually. 
None have so much reason to rejoice as the sincere 
and enlightened believer in Christ. Let not any 
sophistry of error, nor any ftutward afflictions or 
persecutions, rob you of your invaluable treasure, 
or interrupt your sacred delight. 

Let your mildness'^ he known to all men. The 5. 

Lord is near ^. 

' Again I say, always rejoice.l This punctuation is recom- 
mended by Bengelius, " that the sentence may rise stronger 
after the word again, agreeably to the apostle's usual manner 
Gal. i. 8, V. 2, 3." Bowyer. See ch. iii. 1. 

* Mildness.'] to stieiKss. " The word denotes a disposition to 
clemency, lenity, and fgrgiveness." Newcome, 

* The Lord is near.] This is generally understood of Christ's 
VOL. III. 2 c 

->8G Sect. VI. P H 1 L 1 P P I A N S. 2 

Ch. IV. You suffer in one shape or another for your ad- 
• *^''^" herence to Christian truth. Let not the injustice 
nor the severity of your sufferings betray you into 
any acrimonious expressions, and still less into any 
acts of retaliation for injuries received. Let your 
meekness and forbearance to your enemies and per- 
secutors be conspicuous to all. It will make a fa- 
vourable impression. At all events, remember that 
Jesus is near ; that the hour is approaching when 
your beloved and honoured Lord will appear in his 
glory to animadvert with just severity upon his ene- 
mies and yours ; and to give his faithful followers 
the crown of life. Leave it to him to redress your 
wrongs, and look to him for the promised reward. 
6. Be anxious about notlmig ; hut upon every oc- 
casion, hy prayer and supplication ^, with thanks- 


'g, let your requests be made known unto God. 
And that peace of God^ which eccceedeth all com- 

coming to the destruction of Jerusalem, but that would be little 
to the apostle's purpose. It seems more probable that the apo- 
stles expected the appearance of Christ to judge the world be- 
fore the generation then txisting was extinct. To them it was 
not given to know the times and the seasons. Acts i. 7. " Ita 
sane arhitrahantur quia Christus tempus illud sui adventus in oc- 
culto ienuerat." Grotius. 

' Supplication. '] Dr. Macknight renders the word SerjO-ei, 
" deprecation of what is evil." 

* Peace of God will guard, &c.] This expression occurs only 
in this place and Col. iii. 15 ^ it probably signifies that state of 
peace and friendship with God into which they were introduced 
by the Christian religion, which, by enlightening their under- 
standings and encouraging their hearts, would keep them firm 
in their adherence to the gospel. Newcome renders the phrase, 
" peace with God." The Vulgate and Italic versions read 
custodial, which Mr. Wakefield adopts.^ q. d. May that peace of 
God, Sic. The Alexandrine manuscript and the Syriac ver- 

Skct. VI. P H 1 L I P P I A N S. 2. 38/ 

prehension, will safely guard your hearts and Ch. iv. 
minds in Christ t/esus. 

In the mean time, let not your minds be dis- 
tracted by corroding care, or by any distressing ap- 
prehensions of what may happen to you in your pas- 
sage through this world. Confide in God, and keep 
close to him in the exercises of devotion. Pray to 
him for what you want, deprecate what you fear, 
and be thankful for what you possess. While you 
thus offer up the tribute of gratitude and of piety, 
you may cheerfully hope for a divine blessing. And 
in particular, that happy state of reconciliation with 
God into which you are introduced by faith in Jesus 
Christ, will soothe your troubled spirits into tran- 
<|uillity and peace. That exquisite delight which 

sion read, " the ])eace of Christ;" and in the parallel passage 
in the Epistle to the Colossians, this reading is so well sup- 
ported, that Griesbach introduces it into his text. The sense 
is the same ; that happy state into which the mind is brought 
by practical faith in the gospel of Christ, and reliance upon its 

Mr. Peirce observes, that " St. Paul is here arming the Phi- 
lippians against persecution j nor could any thing be a greater 
support to them under it than the peace we have with God ; for 
the sense of it will make the heaviest afflictions and pressures 
sit easy upon us. I grant a peaceable and quiet temper (which 
is the sense in which some understand the words) will be a 
support and comfort to a man under his troubles, when he con- 
siders that he has done nothing to provoke men, and that their 
fury and wrath against him is without cause. But this is in- 
considerable in comparison with the support we shall have from 
a sense of God's favour and his being at peace with us. And 
the commendation here given to the peace of God, that it pas- 
seth all understanding, seems to suit better with this sense than 
the other." " ' Peace ' signifies happiness ; and the ' peace 
of God ' may signify ' great happiness,' or, ' such peace or hap- 
piness as God alone can bestow.' " Dr. Priestley. 
2 c 2 

>88 Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 2, 3. 

Ch. IV. arises from a humble hope in the divine mercy, and 
Ver. 7. ^iiich none but those who experience it can com- 
prehend, is the best and surest refuge to the bewil- 
dered understanding, and to the aching and fore- 
boding heart. 

3. The apostle enjoins the practice of all virtue, 
and proposes to their imitation his own example, 
ver, 8, 9. 

8. Finally, brethren^ whatsoever things are true\ 
whatsoever things are venerable^ ^ whatsoever 
things 2<xejust, whatsoever thijigs are pure, what- 
soever things are kind^, whatsoever things are re- 
putable ^ ; if there be any virtue, if there be any 

9. praise^, attentively consider these things^. And 

' True?^ " rectum, honeslum ut verum apiid Latinos ; ' Quid 
verum atque decens. Hor." RosenmuUer. 

* Venerable^ csi^va, "grave, or honourable." See Newcome, 
Mr. Wakefield renders the word respectable, " which," he ob- 
serves, " has not a sufficiently ancient cast, but so exactly 
represents the original as to deserve the preference to every 
other." " honestum, decorum, quicquid est viro gravi et honesto 
dignum." RosenmuUer. 

* Kind.'] " 'ir§o<r(piXyj, quce benigna sunt et gratiosum faciunt 
hominem." Grotius, " amabilia," RosenmuUer. 

* Whatsoever things are reputable.'] " iv^tjiJia, quce bonam 
famam pariunt." RosenmuUer. 

* If there be any virtue, &c.] " If there be any other vir- 
tuous or praiseworthy action. Praise is used for what is the 
cause of praise." Newcome. Some copies after siroiivog, read 
£iz"(r^|xijj, " praise of knowledge ;" and the Vulgate and some 
other versions read disciplince, which reading Peirce prefers, 
though he admits that the common reading amounts to the 
same thing. "Si quce res est, quce in censu virtutum apud cor- 
datos venit. eifaivog, meton. quicquid est laude dignum." Ro- 

® Attentively consider^] So Macknight. " rw'foi. ?,oyt^s<rQ£, 

Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 3. 389 

the things which ye have learned^, and admitted, ch. iv. 
and healed, and seen in me, these practise, and the ^^''" ^' 
God of peace ^ ivill be with you. 

And now, my beloved brethren and fellow-Chris- 
tians, I shall in a few words sum up what remains 
to be added by way of exhortation. Maintain an 
invariable regard to truth. Let your words uni- 
formly correspond with your real sentiments, and 
your actions with your promises. Let your conduct 

hoc anhno recoUte, nempe ideo, ut et in actionem producatis.'" 

' Which ye have learned.'] " which ye have learned from me, 
and received as the will of God, and have heard that I practise, 
and seen me do." Macknight. " It is happy when the preachers 
of the gospel can thus propose their own example for the imita- 
tion of their hearers j and certainly none ought to preach the 
gospel but those who, besides understanding the principles of 
it, can likev/ise recommend and enforce^ it by their own con- 
duct." Dr. Priestley. 

^ The God of peace:] i. e. God the giver of peace. Mr. Peirce 
observes, tliat " this title is several times used by St. Paul when 
he is discoursing of Christians being peaceable as very proper 
to encourage them to mind the things which make for peace 3" 
but he adds, " that he may as well be called the God of peace, 
upon account of his afibrding us peace with himself. See Heb. 
xiii. 20, 1 Thess. v.23." 

Dr. Priestley observes, that " the apostle concludes his epi- 
stle with mentioning particular circumstances relating to him- 
self and the persons to whom he wrote, and with salutations 
from and to particular persons ; all which are most unequivocal 
marks of the genuineness of the epistle. Indeed there are no 
epistles remaining from all antiquity which bear such indispu- 
table marks of genuineness as these of Paul : and, as I have ob- 
served, the genuineness of these epistles sufficiently proves the 
truth of Christianity. For it is impossible to account for the 
writing of such epistles as these, Mnthout admitting the reality 
of the principal facts on which the truth of Christianity de- 
pends ; and these epistles were written prior to any of the go- 

390 Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 3. 

Ch. IV. be grave and dignified, worthy of your honourable 
^®''' ^' profession and your exalted expectations. In your 
intercourse with others, be solicitous to give every 
one his due, and so insist upon your own rights as 
not to infringe upon the rights of others. Preserve 
the purity of your mind unsullied ; and resolutely 
abstain from all unchaste thoughts, words, and ac- 
tions. Be courteous and kind to all, and let bene- 
ficence in conduct flow from benevolence of heart. 
Behave at all times with that prudent circumspec- 
tion and strict propriety which will ensure the ap- 
probation of the wise and good, and will defeat the 
malice of those who may wish to calumniate your 
character and profession. In a word, whatever may 
with truth be denominated virtuous and praisewor- 
thy, let this be the object of your serious attention ; 
and when you have formed your judgement, act ac- 

Upon these topics it is unnecessary for me to 
enlarge at present. When I preached the gospel to 
you at first, I fairly stated the whole of its requisi- 
tions. You learned them from me ; you admitted 
their obligation : you saw them exemplified in my 
conduct. I can appeal to you, that my character 
was uniformly consistent with my doctrine. As, 
then, you have received my doctrine, I beseech you 
to follow my example. Live in habitual subjection 
to the laws of Christ; and God, the Author of 
peace, who sent his son into the world, to proclaim 
and to seal the message of reconciliation and mercy, 
this God will be with you to preserve and bless 

Skct. VI. P H I L I r r I A N S. 3, 4. oO 1 

you, to ensure peace here, and everlasting happiness ch. iv. 

4. The apostle expresses the great satisfaction 
which he felt on account of the generous spirit of 
the PhiUppians, and that still more for their sakes 
than for his own, ver. 10 — 14. 

But I rejoiced in the Lord ^ greatly^ that now, Vcr. lo. 
at last, your concern for me hath revived'^, with re- 
gard to luhichye were indeed concmmedhQ-ioxQ.^, but 
ye wanted opportunity **. 

* Rejoiced in the Lord .] i. e. as a believer in Christ I was 
pleased to see the efficacy of Christian principles in the gene- 
rosity of your conduct. See ch. iii. 1, iv. 4. " He uses (says 
Mr. Peirce) a very skilful way of commending the generosity 
of his benefactors ; wherein he signifies, not only that they had 
done their .duty, but that the Lord had favoured them by stirring 
them up to it ; and that they had given him occasion of much 
thankfulness to the Lord : which shows his pious disposition 
who in such things took special notice of the Lord's hand and 
kindness to him." " It is observable," says Dr. Priestley, 
" that the apostle thanks God for their generosity to him. Men 
are only the instruments in the hands of providence. The first 
and proper cause of all good is God. But I would observe also, 
that God works only by second causes, and not immediately, 
for that would be by miracles, which we are not now autho- 
rized to expect." 

* Your concern, &c.] Literally, that you have revived, ox flou- 
rished again, as to your concern for me. It is a metaphor, bor- 
rowed from the revival of vegetables in the spring. " Like ve •; 
getables (says Dr. Doddridge), which, after having seemed dur- 
ing the winter to be dead in the earth, sprout up at the return- 
ing spring with new beauty." 

^ With regard to which, &c.] s(f to* i. e. iipa.y\}^afi. " in 
which matter ye were careful." Peirce. Mr. Wakefield's trans- 
lation is, " which indeed ye entertained before." " I know 
you would have done it sooner, had not my great distance from 
you prevented it." Pyle. " Qua de re tamen soUiciti eratis, iit 
Beza vertit. Hoc anient Paulus addit, ut nutiget, quod dixeratj 

392 Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 4. 

Ch. IV. As a faithful missionary of the benevolent religion 
Ver, 10. ^f Jesus, and solicitous for the prevalence both of 
its knowledge and its power, I am highly gratified 
with the late seasonable exertion of your bounty 
towards me, which cheered me like the return of 
spring after a dreary winter. Indeed I well know 
that there has been no interruption of your kind in- 
clinations towards me, though circumstances have 
for a long time precluded me from deriving the be- 
nefit which you were desirous to communicate. 
1 1. Nor do I speak on account of want ', for I have 
learned in whatsoei>er circumstances / am^ to be 

I assure you that my joy does not merely, or prin- 
cipally, arise from the ample supply of my wants, 
though I am far from being insensible of your kind- 
ness in this respect, or from any unbecoming con- 
tempt of the blessings of life ; but acting always 
under a sense of duty in the discharge of my im- 
portant mission, I have made up my mind to be 
satisfied with every change of condition which the 
providence of God may see fit to assign me. 

ipsorum studium reviruisse. af w, h. e. Tfe§i 8, KaOw;. Kai, -pro, 
[j.£vroi." Rosenmuller. 

* Ye wanted opportunity.'] yjxaipsiffSe ^s, or, " ye wanted 
ability." Peirce approves this translation, because Chrysostom 
says that the word was commonly used in this sense. They 
wanted ability^ not because of their poverty, but from the want 
of means and opportunities of conveyance. 

' Nor do I speak, &c.] " Neque, xctta., propter inopiam 
dico.'' Castellio. " Non ideo hoc dico, quod inpenuria con- 
stitutus fuerim, vel magna penuria iaboraverim. Sapiens enim, 
ut statim aliis verbis addit Paulus, tcnui eliam sorts est content 
ills, nee multis eget." Rosenmuller. 

Sect. VI, P H I L 1 P P I A N S. 4. 393 

/ both know what it is 2 to he brought low, and ch. iv. 
1 know what it is to ahoimd; in every season and ^^' "* 
in all conditions / am instructed^ both to be fed 
plentifully and to suffer hunger ^ both to abound and 
to be in want. I am sufficient for all things through 13. 

him who strengtheneth me *. Nevertheless, ye have \ 4. 
done right in jointly contributing^ to the relief of 
my distress. 

In the various scenes through which I have been 
conducted in the course of my ministry, I have ex- 
perienced all the vicissitudes of external condition. 
I have experienced what it is to be poor, and what 
it is to be rich ; I have been initiated into the great 
mystery of accommodating myself to all situations, 
to every change of time and circumstance, to live 
in abundance, or to be in want of the necessaries of 

« What it is, &c.] See Wakefield. 

^ I am instructed.'] " ihsit^vri^oa, [Wivo, proprie initio aliquem 
sacris et mysteriis." Schleusner. q. d. it has been a part of the 
discipline in which I have been initiated to instruct me how to 
conduct myself with propriety in all circumstances and upon all 
occasions. " Initiatus sum : i. e. institutus. Hesychius interpre- 
tatur Tfaifsipaiiai, expertiis didici. sv itavri sc. Xfiovo) vel I'OTfca, 
et sv •ffa,<ri sc. p^pijjxatrj, in omnibus rebus vel negotiis." Rosen - 
muUer. " always and in all things I am instructed." New- 
come, " in every place and among all men." Peirce. I have 
adopted Wakefield's version, 

* Him who strengtheneth me.'] ^pirw, Christ, which is the 
reading of the received text^ is wanting in the Alexandrine and 
Clermont copies, in the Coptic, iEthiopic, and Vulgate versions, 
and is omitted in Griesbach's edition, and in Archbishop New- 
come's translation. 

* Jointly contrihuti7ig.] So Wakefield, Macknight, and New- 
come. " My contentment in my circumstances does not at all 
lessen the commendableness of your behaviour, who have dune 
well in commiserating and supplying me." Peirce. 

^94 Sect. VI. P H 1 L I P P I A N S. 4, 5. 

Ch. IV. life, to be supplied with every thing, or to be desti- 
tute of all things. And in every state I can be 
cheerful and satisfied ; for God, who has invested 
me with my apostolical office, supports me in it, 
and enables me zealously to perform all the duties 
and cheerfully to endure all the trials with which 
I am exercised in the discharge of my mission. 
Nevertheless, I am not above accepting the kind^ 
ness of my friends ; and it is much to the credit of 
your character, that you have made so large a con- 
tribution towards the alleviation of those difficulties 
in which you knew that T was involved. 

5. The apostle gratefully acknowledges the re- 
peated and peculiar obligations that he was under 
to the generosity of the PhiHppians ; and expresses 
his earnest prayer and hope that God would abun- 
dantly reward them for all their kindness to him : 
concluding with a suitable doxology, ver. 15 — 20. 
15. And indeed^ ye PhiHppians, ye yourselves 
know that at the beginning of the gospel, wheri I 
luas departed from Macedonia i, no church had 

' Ai the beginning of the gospel, when I was departed from 
Macedonia.'] ore e^vjXQov airo v..r. X. Dr. Paley, in his excellent 
Horce Paulina, p. 265, mentions the coincidences of the facts 
here alluded to, with other passages in the New Testament, as 
remarkable illustrations of his argument for the genuineness of 
the epistles. At the beginning of the gospel : q. d. when the 
gospel was first preached in Macedonia. An indication that 
it had been preached there more than once at the time when 
the apostle wrote ; and that the event alluded to had happened 
after the first visit : a fact confirmed by the history. Acts xvi. 
XX. The liberality of the Pbilippians occurred first, soon after 
he had quitted Macedonia : Ye know (or<) that ivhen I was de- _ 

Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 5. 395 

intercourse with me as concerning giving and re- ch. iv. 
ceiving% but ye only. And that even in Thessa- Ver. 16. 
lonica^ more than once'^ ye sent relief to my ne- 

I remember with gratitude your oft experienced 
kindness. 1 need not remind you, my dear Phi- 
lippian friends, how repeatedly you have attended 
to and relieved my wants, and have been ready un- 
asked to impart your welcome bounty ; when other 
churches, equally indebted to my apostolical la- 
bours, either did not consider my necessities, or 

parted — for so he renders s^rjXQov, comp. Luke ii, 15, Matt. xii. 
43, John xiii. 30, Acts x. 7, — -from Macedonia no church com- 
municated with me, but ye only ; xai hri, and ye know that in 
Thessalonica ye sent, &c. Now it appears from 2 Cor. xi. 8,9, 
that the Macedonians, i. e. the Philippians, sent relief to him at 
Corinth in Achaia, i. e. alter he had left Macedonia, besides the 
supplies which they repeatedly remitted to him at Thessalonica. 
So that the apostle here alludes to two distinct remittances, or 
rather donations, at two distinct pferiodsj one at Corinth soon 
after he had left Macedonia, the other at Thessalonica : which 
facts coincide with the history and the epistle in a way which 
plainly proves that the coincidence was undesigned, and con- 
sequently that the epistle could not have been forged, 

'■^ ^s concerning giving and receiving.l sig Xoyov. " No church 
communicated with me in a single instance of giving and re- 
ceiving." Wakefield. 

' In Thessalonica.'] " a city so much larger and richer than 
your own." Peirce and Newcome. But it is not probable that 
the apostle intended to cast any reflection upon the liberality 
of the Thessalonians, for whom he expresses so much aflfection 
in his epistles to them. Possibly there might be the same rea- 
son for declining to accept a maintenance from them as from 
the Corinthians, and he chose rather to maintain himself by his 
own industry, and to derive the assistance he wanted from the 
Philippians, than to give his malignant enemies and persecutors 
a pretence to say that he was influenced by mean and sinister 
motives. 1 Thess. ii. 5, 6, 9 ; 2 Thess. iii. 7, 8, 9. 

* More than once.] atfag Jij, scrpius. Grotius. 

396 Skct. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 5. 

Ch. IV. were unable to supply them, or from peculiar cir- 
Ver. ]6. cumstances were prevented from gratifying their 
generous inclinations. And in particular, when I 
first preached the gospel in Achaia after I had left 
Macedonia, and when for special reasons I abso- 
lutely refused accepting any remuneration at Co- 
rinth, you, and you alone of all the churches which 
I had established, sent me a supply ; which enabled 
me to preach the gospel at free-cost to the Corin- 
thians. Nor can I ever forget, that before I left 
Macedonia, and while I was preaching and suffering 
at Thessalonica, you repeatedly sent a seasonable 
relief to my necessities. 
17. Not that I desire another gift i; but I rather 
desire fruit luhich may abound to your account. 
J 8. For 1 have every thing ^^ and abound; I am fully 
supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the 
things sent by you^ a fragrant odour, an accepta- 
ble sacrifice^, well pleasing to God. 

1 Desire another gift?^ svi^rjfuj. I further desire. Newcome. 
■' Not that I wish for a gift so much as I wish for that fruit," 
&c. Wakefield. 

' I have every thing.'] " o.iteyjj}, recte omnia accepi." Grotius, 
Matt. vi. 2. But Peirce prefers the common translation ; as he 
afterwards mentions his having received their present by Epa- 

' An acceptable sacrifice.'] " We see how familiar to the 
Jews," says Dr. Priestley, " were the rites of their religion, and 
how they supplied them with a constant source of figure.s of 
speech. If a present of money was called a sacrifice well pleas- 
ing to God, can we be surprised that so heroical an act of virtue 
as that which Christ manifested in his death should also be called 
a sacrifice icell pleasing to God ? How then can we be autho- 
rized from such phrases as these to .suppose that the death of 
Chrifst was a sacriMcc in' any other tscuse than that in which thii> 

Sect. VI. P H I L I P P I A N S. 5. 397 

Do not imagine, my brethren, that I remind you Ch. iv. 
of these your former kindnesses, in order to tres- ^^^' ' 
pass further upon your generosity at present : far 
from it. I mean no more than to encourage that 
liberal spirit, by the exercise of which upon every 
proper occasion you may be daily adding to your 
future reward. As to myself, I am quite at ease, 
in the enjoyment of abundance, since I received 
your bountiful present by Epaphroditus ; which, as 
it was a most seasonable and acceptable supply to 
me, so as proceeding on your part from motives of 
piety and gratitude, it is an oblation more pleasing 
to God, whose servant and messenger I am, than a 
sacrifice of the sweetest perfume, and will in due 
time be acknowledged and rewarded by him as 

JVozo may my God^, according to his glorious 19. 
riches 5, supply all your ivants by Christ Jesus. 

contribution of the Christians at Philippi to Paul was called a 
sacrifice j or, than prayer, or any other part of our duty, may 
be called a sacrifice ? and yet the death of Christ has been con- 
sidered so much a sacrifice, as by this means alone the anger of 
God against sin has been appeased, and that by this means only 
he has become propitious to offending sinners." 

■* May my God.'} itKyipouffai' This is the reading of the Cler- 
mont and other manuscripts, and the Vulgate and Italic ver- 
sions, is noted by Griesbach as deserving of respect, and is ap- 
proved by Peirce. The common reading is ttAij^ cutre/, my God 
will supply. 

* Glorious riches.'] Put sv h^yj between commas. Not, " in 
glory by Christ Jesus 5" but, " he shall supply your need with 
glory, according to his riches in Christ Jesus." Castellio, Bow- 
yer. " May my God gloriously supply all your need, according 
to his riches, or, as he is abundantly able to do it." Peirce. " sv 
h^r, referendum ad irXrjpwa-oci, glorios^^ i.e. largissime.'' Rosen- 

^98 P H I L 1 P P 1 A N S. Conclusion. 

Ch. IV. And to our God and Father * be .jj/on/ for ever 
• ' and ever. Amen. 

The only return I can make for all your kindness 
is by good wishes and prayers in your behalf. Of 
these be assured you have no common share. May 
that Godj whose messenger I am, whose service I 
perform, in whose protection and favour I rejoice, 
and in whose great mercy I humbly confide, reward 
your generosity with a rich abundance of the glo- 
rious blessings of the gospel of Jesus ; with peace, 
and joy, and everlasting life. To this great and ve- 
nerable Being, who condescends to acknowledge the 
endearing character of a Father to all the true disci- 
ples of Jesus Christ, be ascribed by us, and by all 
his faithful servants, glory and praise for ever and 
ever. Amen. 


The apostle in a postscript adds a general sa- 
lutation and the customary benediction, ver. 21 — 
21. Salute every holy believer in Christ Jesus ^, 

' To our God and Father.'] " Here again I would observe," 
says Dr. Priestley, " what is conspicuous through all the New 
Testament, that God and the Father are synonymous terms, 
neither Christ nor any other person being so much as called 
God ; and that to the Father alone is glory in the highest sense 
ascribed, he being the author of all good, and Christ his minister 
or servant in communicating blessings to mankind." 

- Holy believer in, &c.] " every one that is holy through 

Conclusion. PHILIPPIANS. 399 

The brethren ^ who are ivkh me salute you. All ch. vi. 
the saints^ salute you ; particularly those of Ce- ^^''* ^•"' 
sars household^. The favour of our Lord Jesus 23. 
Christ be with your spirit ^. Amen. 

I cannot close this epistle without sending my 
affectionate salutations to every individual member 
of your Christian society. All are entitled to my 
best regards ; and I name none, that I may not ap- 
pear to give preference to any. My respected col- 
leagues in the honourable office of preaching the go- 
spel send their salutations to you. All the mem- 

Christ Jesus." Newcome. It is the apostle's circumlocution fof 
Christian : a term which he always avoids. 

^ Brethren^ These^ being distinguished from the saints, pro- 
bably signify the ministers of the gospel who were the apostle's 

* Saints .-] or^ " holy men ;" as ver. 21. "By saints in this 
place/' says Dr. Priestley, " we are not to understand what was 
meant by that term in after ages, persons of greater sanctity 
than others : and least of all persons abstracted from the world 
and from the duties of it, but simply Christians, persons profess- 
ing Christianity, and thereby constituting the church and people 
of God, as the Jews had been before, who were called a holy 
and peculiar people, as standing in a nearer relation to God 
than other nations." 

* Cesar's household.'] " Raphelius, Kypke, and Krebsius, 
show that the phrase may signify non solum domesticos, sive au- 
licos sive libertos, Neronis, sed cognatos ejusdem." Newcome. — 
Dr. Macknight conjectures that the apostle may have been fa- 
vourably regarded even by Poppea the emperor's wife ; for Jo- 
sephus, who was acquainted with her character, says she was a 
worshiper of the true God. Antiq. lib. xx. c. 7. Dr. John Jones 
has taken much pains to show that Epaphroditus, the freedman 
of Nero, and that Seneca, were both Christians. Jones's Series 
of Important Facts demonstrating the Truth of the Christian Re- 
ligion, ch. iv. 

^ Your spii'it.'] [/.stoc ra itvsviLO.rog J/x.wv, i. e. with you. This 
is the reading of some of the best manuscripts^ and of many an- 
cient versions : see Griesbach. 

400 r H I L I P P I A N S. Conclusion, 

Ch. IV. bers of the congregation of believers at Rome are 
Ver. :.3. golicitous to testify their affectionate 'regard to you. 
Amongst these are some whom perhaps you would 
little expect, some who live within the precincts of 
the court, who are even members of the imperial 
family : these in particular desire me to testify their 
high sense of your meritorious conduct. Finally, 
may all the invaluable blessings of the everlasting 
gospel, which is the free gift of God by Jesus Christ, 
be with you and yours ! Amen. * 

' The postscript^ that " the Epistle to the Philippians was 
written from Rome by Epaphroditus," is correct. Dr. Mac- 
knight concludes his Notes with the observation, that " though 
the apostle has not mentioned it in his Letters, we may believe 
that not long after this epistle was written, he obtained a fair 
hearing and an honourable release, through the good offices of 
the Christians in Nero's family, as well as on account of the 
justice of his cause." 





VvOLOSSiE was a considerable city of Phrygia 
Major, in the Lesser Asia, upon the river Lycus, at 
no great distance from Hierapolis, and Laodicea, 
which was the largest and the most opulent of the 
three, and the metropolis of that district. It is de- 
bated whether the apostle Paul planted the gospel 
in these cities, and even whether he had ever visited 
them in person. It seems, indeed, highly impro- 
bable, when the historian relates. Acts xvi. 6, that 
*' Paul and Silas went through Phrygia and Gala- 
tia ;" and Acts xviii. 23, that the apostle " went 
over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in or- 
der," that he should have declined to visit the prin^ 
cipal cities in that region. It is, however, possible 

VOL. III. 2 D 


that, for reasons not now apparent, Paul and Silas 
might have been warned to decline visiting these 
cities, as they had been forbidden to preach the go- 
spel in Mysia, or to enter into Bithynia, Acts xvi. 
6, 7 1. And it has generally been inferred from the 
apostle's expressions Col. ii. 1, " I would that ye 
should know what earnest care I have for you, and 
for those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not 
seen my face in the tiesh," that he had never visited 
these cities in person. And though Theodoret^, a 
writer of the fifth century, has explained these words 
as though he had said, " not only for you, but for 
others who have never seen me." Dr. Whitby justly 
observes, " that the structure of the sentence is in- 
consistent with such an interpretation 3." 

• • It is also possible that the apostle in his missionary circuits 
might have passed through these cities, and even stopped a few 
days without any material occurrence worthy of record. It is 
plain, that in the second of these journeys the apostle was 
anxious to get on to Ephesus, and of course w^ould not make a 
long stay at any of the places through which he passed. 

^ " Some are of opinion, says Theodoret, tom. iii. p. 342, 
that when the divine apostle wrote this epistle he had not seen 
the Colossians ; and they endeavour to support their opinion 
by these words Col. ii. 1. But they should consider that the 
meaning of the words is this, ' I have not only a concern for 
you, but I have also a, great concern for those who have not 
seen me.' " Lardner's IVorks, vol. vi. p. 457. 

^ Whitby ^ays, " That St. Paul wrote this epistle to the Co- 
lossians when he had not yet seen them, is the opinion of most 
of the ancient scholiasts. This is confessed even by Theodoret, 
though he saith this does not follow from the words cited to 
confirm this opinion, but the contraiy." And upon Theodoret's 
interpretation Dr. Whitby observes, " that the connecting par- 
ticle being, not aAAa, oraXXa kxi, but also, but only xa<, and, 
seems to favour our translation and the opinion of the an- 


It is also remarked, that (Col. i. 3) the apostle 
gives thanks to God for them since he had heard of 
their faith in Christ Jesus ; whereas, when writing 
to the churches which he had himself planted or 
visited, he saith to the Thessalonians, I Thess. i, 
3, " We give thanks to God, rememberings without 
ceasing, your work of faith ;" and to the Philip- 
pians, ch. i. 3, " I thank my God upon every re- 
membrance of you." 

But the fact which principally decides the ques- 
tion is. That whereas, in the epistles addressed to 
churches which the apostle is known to have planted 
or visited, in those to the Thessalonians, to the 
Corinthians, to the Galatians and the Philippians, 
he is continually making allusions to circumstances 
which occurred while he was with them, to his con- 
duct among them, or to their behaviour to him : in 
the epistle to the Colossians, as well as in that to 
the Ephesians, there is not a single allusion of this 
nature, there is not a sentence, or a word, which 
would lead any one to conclude that Paul had ever 
been at Coloss<e, or that he had ever seen an indivir 
dual of those to whom the epistle was inscribed. 

Lardner has taken great pains to establish the 
fact that Paul had planted, or at least visited, the 
church at Colossi ; but Paley thinks that he has 
not been successful in his argument. On the other 
hand, it is admitted that the majority of the ancient 
ecclesiastical writers, with the exception of Theodo^ 
ret, and a few others, believed that the apostle was 
a stranger to the Colossians ; and this opinion \% 
2 d2 


adopted by Whitby, Peirce, Doddridge, Rosenmul- 
ler, and Paley. 

It becomes, therefore, a question when and by 
whom was the gospel first preached at Colossae '. 
And it is generally agreed that the Christian doctrine 
was planted there during the residence of Paul at 
Ephesus, where he passed three years. It is stated 
Acts xix. 9, 10, that " Paul discoursed daily in the 
school of one Tyrannus ; and this was done for two 
years, so that all those who dwelt in Asia heard the 
word of the Lord, both Jews and Gentiles." At this 
period, no doubt, some of the inhabitants of Co- 
lossee would have an opportunity of listening to the 
instructions of the apostle, and would be converted 
to the faith, and that they would carry the gospel 
home to their countrymen. Among these probably 
were Epaphras, Philemon, Archippus, and others. 

The Epistle to the Colossians is one of those 

' " It is uncertain by whom a Christian church was planted 
at Colossae. It seems probable that it was not by Paul himself. 
Nor is it certain that the Colossians were converted to the 
Christian faith by any whom St. Paul sent to them. This, in- 
deed, seems probable ; for he had spent three years at Ephe- 
sus, Acts XX. 31, and it is not unlikely that during that time 
some of the Colossians having occasion to go to Ephesus, 
might by him be turned to Christianity, and might when they 
went home be employed by him to preach the gospel to their 
fellow-citizens. This may be thought the more probable from 
what Luke says of his success when he had been at Ephesus 
but two years. Acts xix. 10. Epaphras may well be supposed 
to be one of this number. He was himself a Colossian, chap. iv. 
12, a faithful minister of Christ for them, chap. i. 7, by whom 
he intimates they had been chiefly instructed. And possibly 
thev therefore sent him as their minister to St. Paul." Peirce. 


the genuineness of which has never been called in 
question 2. It professes to have been written by the 
apostle Paul : it contains nothing inconsistent with 
this supposition, nothing incongruous to the apo- 
stle's character and circumstances, to his doctrine, 
his style, and manner of thinking ; or to the age 
in which he lived, and the relative situation of the 
writer and of those to whom his epistle is inscribed : 
and its authenticity is confirmed by various inci- 
dental coincidences with Luke's History and the 
other epistles, which are noticed by Archdeacon 
Paley. It was universally received by the primitive 
church ; was early translated into different lan- 
guages ; copies of it were multiplied and widely 
diffused : it has been cited from age to age, invari- 
ably, as the production of the apostle's pen ; and 
the copies which are now extant in all parts of the 
world, whether in the original language, or in ver- 
sions ancient or modern, harmonize with each 
other, with very few, and those immaterial, varia- 

This epistle was written by the apostle from 
Rome, at the latter end of the year 62, or the be- 
ginning of the year 63, at the same time with the 
epistle to the Ephesians, with which it remarkably 

^ The late learned and pious Edward Evanson is the single 
exception to this assertion, and his objection is founded upon 
the supposed inconsistency between the language of the epistle, 
■which implies that he had never personally visited Colossse, and 
the declaration of Luke that he had passed through Galatia and 
Phrygia in order. Evanson's Dissonance of the Evangelists, 
p. 313. 


harmonizes both in matter and style, as is distinctly 
and beautifully illustrated by Paley ^ ; and it was sent 
to Colossae by the same messengers, Tychicus and 
Onesimus, who conveyed the Epistle to the Ephe- 
sians, or Laodiceans. Compare Eph. vi. 21, 22 
with Col. iv. 7, 8. 

' " Both epistles/' says Paley, p. 209, " represent the writer 
as under imprisonment for the gospel, and both treat of the 
same general subject. The epistle, therefore, to the Ephe- 
sians, and the epistle to the Colossians, import to be two let- 
ters written by the same person, nearly at the same time, and 
upon the same subject, and to have been sent by the same 
messenger. Now every thing in the sentiments, order, and 
diction of the two writings, corresponds with what might be 
expected from this circumstance of identity or cognation in 
their original. The leading doctrine of both epistles is the 
union of Jews and Gentiles under the Christian dispensation ; 
and that doctrine in both is established by the same argument, 
or, more properly, illustrated by the same similitudes : ' one 
head,' ' one body,' ' one new man,' ' one temple,' are, in both 
epistles, the figures under which the society of believers in 
Christ, and their common relation to him as such, are repre- 
sented. The ancient, and, as had been thought, the indelible 
distinction between Jew and Gentile, in both epistles is de- 
clared to be now abolished by the cross. Beside this consent 
In the general tenor of the two epistles, and in the run also, 
and warmth of thought with which they are composed, we may 
naturally expect in letters produced under the circumstances in 
which these appear to have been written, a closer resemblance 
of style and diction than between other letters of the same per- 
son, but of distant dates, or between letters adapted to different 
occasions. In particular we may look for many of the same ex- 
pressions, and sometimes for whole sentences being alike, since 
such expressions and sentences would be repeated in the se- 
cond letter (whichever that was), as yet fresh in the author's 
mind from the writing of the first. Compare Eph. i. 7, 10 with 
Col. i. 14, 20 ; Eph. iii. 2 with Col. i. 25. Sometimes the order 
of the principal words is inadvertently changed ; and in many 
instances not single words, nor whole sentences, but parts and 
fragments of sentences are repeated. Eph. i. 19, ii. 5, compared 
with Col. ii. 12, 13 ; Eph. iv. 2—4 with Col. iii. 12—15." 


Grotius introduces his Annotations upon the 
Epistle to the Colossians with observing : " All the 
Epistles of Paul are excellent ; but chiefly those 
which are written from Rome by Paul the pri- 
soner 2." 

The great design of this Epistle appears to be, 
to confirm the Colossians in the true faith of the 
gospel, to excite their admiration and gratitude at 
the goodness of God in inviting the Gentiles into 
the church ; to warn them against the delusions of 
Jewish bigotry and heathen philosophy ; and to ex- 
hort them to the cultivation of that spirit and the 
practice of those duties which become the profes- 
sors of the holy religion of the gospel. 

The APOSTLE, after a suitable Introduction, enters 
upon the First Part of his Epistle, in which he ex- 

* " Omnes epistolcs Pauli egregia sunt ; sed omnium imprimis 
quce Romd ex vinculis missce sunt. Harum primam temporis 
ordine arbitror fuisse illam ad Philemonem: nam tunc a,dhuc 
cum ipso erat Epaphroditus qui et Epaphras. Alteram ad Phi- 
lippenses, uhi Epaphroditum remittit. Tertiam, ad Ephesios, et 
eodem props tempore hanc ad Colossenses cum adhuc quce ad 
Ephesios scripserat in animo hcererent. Postrema vero omnium 
ea quce posterior est ad Timotheum. Erant Colossi urbs Phry- 
gice, memorata et Herodoto, et Xenophonti, et Straboni, et Plinio, 
non longe a Laodicea : quce urbes ambce non multo post scriptam 
hanc epistolam terrce motu corru&e. Ideo apud Ptolemceum non 
reperiuntur." Grotius. 

That this- learned critic was mistaken in his method of ar- 
ranging the epistles from Rome is highly probable, as has been, 
or will hereafter be, shown. Nor is it certain that Epaphras was 
the same with Epaphroditus ; for though the name might be the 
same, Epaphroditus, as Beausobre observes, was sent to Phi- 
lippi, while Epaphras was detained a prisoner at Rome. Phile- 
mon, ver, 23. 


presses his joy and thankfulness for the conversion 
and consistent behaviour of the Colossians : expa- 
tiates upon the Hberties and privileges of the Gen- 
tile church, and upon the honour conferred upon 
himself as the apostle of the Gentiles ; and warns 
them against the artifices of false teachers who 
would seduce them to subjection to the ceremonial 
law, or to the delusions of an erroneous philosophy. 
This subject extends from the third verse of the 
first chapter to the fourth verse of the third. 

And in the First place, the apostle expresses his 
joy in the conversion of the Colossians ; he prays 
for their improvement ; he declares the superiority 
of Jesus Christ to all other prophets and teachers ; 
he reminds them of the great goodness of God in 
bringing the Gentiles into the church ; and ex- 
presses his gratitude for the honour conferred upon 
him in his appointment to the apostleship of the 
Gentiles. Ch. i. 3— 29. 

He then urges the Colossian brethren to perse- 
vere in their attachment to the pure unsophisti- 
cated doctrine of the gospel; and cautions them 
against corrupting it by the base intermixture of 
pharisaic tradition, of false philosophy, and of Jew- 
ish or heathen superstitions. Ch. ii. 1 — iii. 4. 

In the Second Part of this excellent Epistle, 
the apostle treats of Practical Duties, and par- 
ticularly he insists first, upon personal duties and 
self-government ; secondly, upon the duties which 
Christians owe to each other ; he enters, thirdly. 


into a brief detail of relative duties ; and lastly, re- 
presents the conduct which ought to be observed 
towards unbelievers. Ch. iii. 5 — iv. 6. 

The Epistle closes with the recommendation of 
Tychicus and Onesimus, who are the bearers of it ; 
with the salutations of the believers at Rome to 
those at Colossse, with an order that the epistles to 
the Laodiceans and Colossians shall be mutually 
exchanged and read in both the churches ; with a 
solemn charge to Archippus, and with the aposto- 
lical benediction : accompanied with a request that 
tliey would not forget that he was now a prisoner. 



IHE apostle, after a suitable introduction, ex- ch. i. 
presses his joy and thankfulness for the conversion 
and good behaviour of the Colossians ; he expati- 
ates upon the liberty of the Gentile church, and the 
honour conferred upon himself by his commission 
to teach the Gentiles, and cautions them against 
the artifices of false teachers, who would seduce 
them to subjection to the ceremonial law. Ch. i. — 
iii. 4. 

CHAP. I. 1,2. 

The apostle introduces the epistle with the 
usual salutation, joining the name of Timothy with 
his own. 

Pa UL an apostle of Jesus Christ , by divine ap- Ver. I. 
pointment *, and Timothy our brother y to the holy^ 2. 

* B]j divine appointment.'] So Wakefield, Gr. "" by the will 


Ch. I. and faithful'^ brethren in Christ at Colossce, favour 
^*''' ^' be unto youy ajid peace from God our Father"^. 

This epistle is dictated by me, Paul, who am ac- 
knowledged in the Gentile churches as an apostle of 
Jesus Christ, whose office it is to teach his doctrine, 
and bear testimony to his resurrection ; an honour- 
able office, which I did not arrogate to myself, but 
to which I was expressly appointed by God, in a way 
that is well known, and cannot be sufficiently ad- 
mired. In this salutation I join the name of Timothy 
my pupil, convert, companion, fellow-labourer, and 
fellow-prisoner, with my own. And to the holy be- 
lievers in Christ in the city of Colossse, who firmly 
adhere to their principles in seasons of trial and 
temptation, we heartily wish that God our Father, 

of God." " to intimate his extraordinary and miraculous mis- 
sion. Acts ix. xxvi. and his receiving the gospel by immediate 
revelation. Gal. i. ii." Peirce. 

' Holy .•] i. e. separated from the common state of mankind 
to be the people of God, and to serve him, as the Jews formerly 
were, and professing Christians now are, Rom, i. 18 — 25 j 
Exod. xix. 5, 6 ; Numb. xv. 40 j 1 Pet, ii. 9, 10. See Peirce, 

^ Faithful^ ntiroig. Peirce observes, that " this term being 
found in the introduction to this epistle, and in that to the 
Ephesians, and to no one other of St. Paul's, there is just rea- 
son to think it was a term suited to the present notion he had 
of those he was writing to, with reference to the business he 
was writing about. I take it, therefore, that by the faithful 
brethren, he means such as stood firm to Christ} which he did 
not count them to doj who made circumcision necessary to sal- 
vation. Gal. V. 1, 2." 

* Qod our Father^ The words " and the Lord Jesus Christ," 
which are found in the received text, are wanting in the Cler- 
mont, the Corbey, and many other manuscripts, in the Syriac, 
the iEthiopic, and other versions, and in several ecclesiastical 
writers ; they ai'e also left out in Griesbach's edition, and in 
Newcome's translation. 

PautI. COLOSSIANS. Skct. I. 1. 413 

and their Father, may send that peace which the ch. i. 
gospel brings to all who sincerely profess it, and all ^^'' ^* 
other blessings comprehended in it, and resulting 
from it. 


The apostle expresses his joy in the conversion 
of the Colossiajis, and prays for their improve- 
ment : he declares the superiority of Christ to ail 
other prophets and teachers ; reminds the7n of the 
gr^eat goodness of God in hringing them into the 
churchy and expresses his gratitude for his own 
appoi?itment to the apostolic office. Ch. i. 3 — 

1 . The apostle thanks God for their faith and 
love, and for the success of the gospel at Colossse, 
and throughout the world, ver. 3 — 6. 

TVe give thanks ^ to the God and Father ^ of our 

' We give thanks, &c.] The apostle having heard a good ac- 
count of their stedfastness, ver. 3, gives thanks to God for their 
interest in the hopes and promises of the gospel, ver. 5 ; which 
they would have forfeited had they apostatized from the doc- 
trine he taught. " I thank the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ always on your account in my prayers." Peirce, 
" praying always for you." Newcome ; who with the public 
version joins itoLvtwe with Ttpoa-sv^oixsvoi. 

" God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.} " What more 
could have been said by any Unitarian ? It is the same Being 
that is called our God and Father ; and to whom our Saviour 
always prayed under the character of his God and Father. 
Where, therefore, is the evidence of Christ's having any nature 
superior to ours ?" Dr. Priestley. 

414 PahtI. COLOSSIANS. Sect. I. L 

Gh. I. Lord Jesus Christ continually in our prayers for 
' ^' you {having heard ^ of your faith in Christ Jesus, 

5. and y OUT love towards all the saints), on account of^ 
that hope which is laid up for you in the heavens^, 
of which ye have heard before in the true doctrine 

6. of the gospel '^, ivhich hath appeared among you ^ 

^ Having heard, &c.] Not of their conversion, for this he 
must have known long before ; but of their stedfast adherence 
to the truth to which he alludes, ver. 2 ; and of their love to all 
the saints of eveiy denomination, without restricting their affec- 
tion to those who adhered to the ceremonial law. The word all 
here is unquestionably emphatical, as is rightly observed by 
Peirce and Macknight. The apostle was apprehensive that they 
might have been corrupted by judaizing zealots ; and he rejoices 
in the account brought to him by Epaphras, that they adhered 
to the pure and liberal principles in which they had been ori- 
ginally instructed. See Peirce's note, and Locke on Eph.i, 15. 

' On account of, &c.] ha. rijv sXiriSa,. Mr. Peirce not finding 
any instance of f u%ap;r£'v being followed by ha, with an accu- 
sative, connects this with ver. 4, and supposes that it expresses 
the motive for the sake of which they persevered in faith and 
love ; q. d. the continuance of your faith and love for the sake 
of heavenly happiness. I rather prefer the common interpre- 
tation, which is also that of Wakefield and Newcome, and is 
most agreeable to the parallel passage in Eph.i. 15 — 20. There 
the apostle, thanking God for their faith and love, prays that 
they may be apprized of the value of the blessings of the gospel, 
represented by their advancement with Christ into heavenly 
places. Here he thanks God for the hope treasured up for 
them in the heavens : i. e. in the gospel dispensation. 

^ In the heavetis.} " blessing God for the hope and full as- 
surance which you now have of the heavenly happiness promised 
in the gospel of Christ," So Pyle, and others. But I beg leave 
to submit whether the word heavens may not here be better 
understood of the heavenly dispensation of the gospel, and 
whether this interpretation would not better correspond with 
the sense of atspaviois as applied to Christ Eph. i. 20, and to 
believers Eph. ii. 6. See Locke on the Ephesians. It cannot, 
however, be denied that hope is not unfrequently put for the 
object of hope. 

'' The true doctrine of the gospel.'] So Newcome and Wake- 
field. Gr. " in the word-of truth of the gospel." 

Pakt I. COLOSSIANS. Sexjt.I. 1. 415 

as it hath also in all theworld^, where it beareth ch. i. 
fruit 7 and groweth 8, as it hath also among you ^"'" ^* 
from the day in which ye heard and acknoivledged 
thefrvour of God in truth 9. 

In the daily exercises of devotion, when I bear 
upon my heart the cases of the several churches of 
Christ, in the presence of that merciful Being who 
is the God and Father of our master Jesus Christ, 
and whom we his disciples of every nation are taught 
to regard and adore as our Father and our God, 
I have always remembered you, my beloved bre- 
thren at Colossse, ever since the encouraging ac- 
counts which I have received of your character and 
state ; that you believe the gospel ; and that undis- 
mayed by perils and persecutions you firmly adhere 
to the faith of Christ ; that you love one another ; 
and indeed that your kind affection extends to all 
of every name and country who truly believe in 
Jesus, without confining your benevolent regard to 
those only who mix up the burdensome ceremonial 
of the law with the free grace of the gospel. 

' Hath appeared among tjou.'] So Wakefield. ■jrapovTo^ sig 
vij!,as, " which is come to you," Newcome. 

^ In all the world .-] i. e. the known world, and particularly the 
Roman empire. Peirce thinks that the apostle alludes to the 
preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. 

' Where it beareth fruit!] Gr., and, " beareth fruit." — 
Some good copies leave out xa,i, and read, " as it bringeth forth 
fruit, and increaseth in all the world also, even as among you." 
See Griesbach and Newcome. 

• And groweth.'] Tliese words are found in the most approved 
manuscripts and versions. See Griesbach. They are wanting 
in the received text. 

^ The favour of God in truth.] " Truly, really, substantially." 
^lewcome, " this genuine kindness of God." Wakefield. 

416 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1. 2. 

Ch. I. And I bless God, that thus professing your faith 
in the gospel, and breathing its generous spirit, you 
have acquired a title to the glorious hope of immor- 
tal existence which is treasured up in this heavenly 
dispensation, and which is secured to all who prac- 
tically receive it. It is your privilege that you have 
long ago been put into possession of this invaluable 
blessing, through the labours of those faithful men 
who first taught you the uncorrupted doctrine of 
Christ. And I am happy to assure you that this 
doctrine, notwithstanding all opposition, is now 
making great and rapid progress through the whole 
Roman empire, and indeed throughout the world : 
and that every where it produces the best effects in 
the hearts and lives of its sincere professors, exactly 
as it has done at Colossse, ever since you knew and 
became justly sensible of the value of the gospel, 
that best and most important gift of God to man- 

2. He mentions Epaphras, who had first preached 
the gospel to them, as the person from whom he 
had received this encouraging account, ver. 7, 8. 

7, Even as ^ ye learned it of Epaphras our beloved 
fellow-servant^ who is a faithful minister of Christ 

8. in our stead ^; who has also declared to us your 
love in the spirit 3. 

' 'Even as.] xa;, even, is found in the best copies, and is in- 
troduced into the text by Griesbach. 

* In our steady vts§ y);x«;v. This is the reading of the Alex- 
andrine and Clermont manuscripts, and approved by Gries- 


C O L O S S I A N S, Sect. I. 3. 417 

I rejoice in your faithful adherence to that pure Ch 

doctrine which you learned from Epaphras, whose 
name I cannot mention but in terms of the highest 
commendation. He is my beloved companion in 
the service of Christ, a faithful fellow-labourer in 
the propagation of the gospel. And as it was not 
in my power to visit Colossse when I was preaching 
the gospel in those regions, I sent him to officiate 
in my stead ; in which mission he was blessed with 
extraordinary success. It is from him that I have 
received here at Rome, where I am now a prisoner, 
that delightful intelligence of your Christian affec- 
tion to each other, to all believers, and to myself, 
which has cheered my spirits, and is the subject of 
my devout and habitual gratitude. 

3. He assures them of his daily earnest prayers 
for their improvement in spiritual gifts and in Chris- 
tian virtues ; and especially in knowledge, holiness, 
and fortitude, ver. 9 — 12. 

bach, though not received into his text. The apostle, though 
he preached the gospel in the Lesser Asia, could not himself 
visit every city in person ; but he probably sent evangelists, 
such as Timothy, Epaphras, &c. to preach the gospel in those 
places which he could not reach, and amongst the rest to Co- 
lossse : where Epaphras, fully instructed by the apostle, seems 
to have met with great success. Epaphras may be a contraction 
for Epaphroditus, but he could not be the same person with 
that Epaphroditus whom Paul sent to Philippi. 

' Love in the spirit .•] i. e. your Christian affection ; your love 
to me on account of my knowledge of the gospel, and my zeal 
and sufferings in its defence. Or, perhaps, more generally, 
your love to all the saints, to believers in general, without re- 
striction. " your love in tjoiir spirit — your sincere and hearty 
love. See Kom. i. 9." Newcome. 

VOL. III. 2 E 

Ver. 8. 

418 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1. 3. 

Ch. I. For this cause we also, Jrom the day that we 
heard t\\e^iii\\mg'&\ cease not to pray for you, and 
to request that ye may he filled with the knowledge 
of his will^ in all spiritual wisdom and under- 

After having heard so good a report concerning 
you, we could not but entertain a favourable opinion 
of you, and an anxious solicitude for your improve- 
ment. And for this reason, ever since I heard these 
pleasing tidings, I have made it the subject of my 
daily prayers to the Father of mercies that you may 
possess a complete, distinct and comprehensive 
knowledge of the will of God in the gospel dispen- 
sation, so that it may not be in the power of any 
false teacher to mislead you by the arts of sophis- 
try, or pretences of superior knowledge. 
10. That ye may walk worthy of the Lord^ so as to 
please him in all things, being fruitful in every 
good luork, and increasing in tlte knowledge'^ of 

We pray that your conduct may correspond 

' These things.] So Peirce. i. e. all the good things he had 
before mentioned concerning them, ver. 5, 6. 

* Filled, &c.] Compare Eph. i. 8, 9 : i. e. a comprehensive 
view of the will of God, and particularly concerning the call of 
the Gentiles, the mystery which was now revealed. See Peirce 
and Locke on Eph. i. 17. " spiritual understanding) i. e. an 
understanding of spiritual things." Peirce. 

' That ye may walk worthy of the Lord^ Ttspnta.rrjcra.i for stg 
ro irepiirarYjO-oci. Comp. Eph. iii. 17. Right knowledge is to lead 
to right practice. " so as to please him in all things." New- 
come. Gr. " to all pleasing." 

* In the knowledge.'] Tlie best manuscripts read rr sitiyvua'ei. 
" Evtyywaig major, perfectior et exactior cognitio et scientia; nam ■ 
e-fft in compositis hand raro auget signi/icationem." Schleusner. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Si:ct. 1. 3. 419 

with your faith and knowledge, that it may become ch. I. 
your Christian profession, that it may be in all re- * ^* 
spects acceptable to God, who is then best pleased 
when those who profess the faith of Christ abound 
most in the fruits of righteousness, and increase in 
the practice of those virtues which prove them to be 
the genuine children of God. Obedience to the 
precepts will also contribute to the increase of your 
knowledge of the scheme of the gospel, and of the 
wisdom of God in it. 

Being endued with all strength according to his * !• 

glorious power ^y unto all patience and long-suffer- 
ing with joy ; giving thanks unto the Father ^ who 12. 
hy enlightening us ^ hath made us Jit to be par- 
takers of the inheritance of the saints. 

I further implore, that your faith may be con- 
firmed by the possession of miraculous powers, and 

' Endued with all strength according to his glorious power.'] 
This may be understood either of miraculous powers, or of for- 
titude and strength of mind, probably the latter. The glorious 
power of God is that which was exhibited in the conversion of 
the Gentiles, and which, Eph. i. 19, he compares to the power 
exerted in raising Christ from the dead. See Peirce. 

^ By enlightening us.] Mangey (see Bowyer) puts a comma 
after ij/xa; and dyiwv, see Eph. i. 18, which favoui-s this interpre- 
tation. RosenmuUer also approves it. If the common con- 
struction be retained, the inheritance among the saints in light 
is, as Mr. Peirce well observes, opposed to the darkness, ver. 13^ 
" and signifies the light which the saints have by the gospel in 
this world." See Eph. v. 8. Dr. Macknight adopts this interpre- 
tation. Peirce remarks that us and we, ver. 12, 13, 14, mani- 
festly signify the Gentile converts. Mr. Wakefield translates 
the passage, " giving thanks to the Father for thinking us worthy 
of this share of the lot of the saints in light:" and he takes this 
to be the force of the word kavwiravn here, and 2 Cor. iii. 6, 
ITim.i. 12. 


420 Paut I. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. 1. 4. 

Ch. I. that your minds may be invigorated by the princi- 
Ver. 12. pj^g ^^^^ hopes of the Christian reUgion, so that you 
may bear the afflictions of life, and particularly all 
persecution for the sake of Christ, not only with 
patience, meekness, and forbearance, but with joy 
and gratitude ; giving thanks to God for your in- 
struction in the discoveries, and your participation 
in the privileges of the gospel dispensation, what- 
ever trials and sufferings you may be called to en- 
dure for the profession of it. 

4. The apostle gratefully acknowledges God as 
the author of the happy change which had taken 
place in the state of the converted Gentiles, ver. 
13, 14. 

13. If/io liath rescued us from the dominion of dark-' 
ness 1, and hath translated us into the kingdom oj 

14. his beloved son; by whom we have this deliverance 2, 
even the remission ofsins^. 

' Dominion of darkness.l In the writings of the apostle the 
world is often represented as divided into two great empires. 
The unbelieving world is the empire of darkness, under the go- 
vernment of Satan, the enemy, the prince of darkness, the God 
of this world : believers are the kingdom of light, under the 
government of Christ, enlightened by his doctrine and regu- 
lated by his laws. To be translated from the kingdom of dark- 
ness to the kingdom of God's beloved son, is to be converted to 
the Christian religion. Eph. vi. 12, Acts xxvi. 18. 

* This deliverance.'] The received text adds Sioc ra'o; 
avra, through his blood ; but these words are wanting in all the 
uncial, and in many other MSS. and in most of the ancient ver- 
sions, and are left out of the text by Griesbach, Wakefield, and 

' Remission of sins.] See Eph. i. 7, "we are no longer regarded 
as unholy, or in an uncovenanted state." Dr. Priestley, who was 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Skct. 1. 5. 421 

Of all the numerous topics of thanksgiving, there ch. i. 
is none more worthy of being insisted upon with ^'* " 
devout and ardent gratitude, than the happy change 
which by the mercy of God has taken place in your 
moral state. You were once subjects of the empire 
of darkness; poor, ignorant, idolatrous, vicious hea- 
then ; who knew nothing of God or duty, or of a 
future life. You are now by divine goodness in- 
troduced into a new and happy community, into a 
kingdom which God himself has lately established 
in the world, and placed under the government of 
his beloved Son Jesus Christ, whom he has com- 
missioned to reclaim mankind from that wretched 
state of superstition and vice in which they are in- 
volved, and to enlighten their minds upon subjects 
of the greatest moral importance. And it is by his 
ministry and doctrine that we all, whether Jews or 
heathen, who now profess to be his disciples, have 
been delivered from our respective errors and pre- 
judices, and from a state of hostility and alienation 
have been introduced into a state of external peace 
and amity with God ; which, if we improve properly, 
will ensure our everlasting felicity. 

5. The apostle proceeds in bold and highly figu- 

not aware of the true reading of this text, observes, that " to 
deliver mankind from a state of heathen darkness, and to bring 
them into a state of gospel light, Christ submitted even to death. 
This is the most natural meaning of the passage ; which is far 
from implying that Christ redeemed mankind from the punish- 
ment due to sin, by dying in their stead, becoming the object of 
God's wrath for us'. God the righteous judge can never so con- 
found the innocent and the guilty." 

422 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1. 5. 

€h. I. rative language to represent the dignity of Christ as 
the head of the new creation, and the renovator of 
the moral world, ver. 15 — 20. 
Ver. 15. fVho is an image of the invisible God^^ the first- 
born of the whole creation^. 

Our honoured master Jesus Christ, the sovereign 
of this new empire, the author of this new and 
happy state of things, has received from God a com- 
mission for this purpose, and in his regal capacity 
he acts as the delegate and representative of his 
heavenly Father ; so that God does as it were be- 
come visible in him, and makes known his plea- 
sure by him. And so great and astonishing is the 
change which takes place in the moral state of those 
who are converted from heathenism to Christianity, 
that it may fitly be represented as a new creation, 
of which Christ is the former and the head. 

' An image, &c.] Gen. i. 26. Man is said to be made in the 
image of God, as having dominion over the creatures j and here 
Christ is represented as an image of God, as being the sovereign 
of that kingdom which God has established in the world. Nor 
is there any reason to suppose that Christ exercises any per- 
sonal authority over believers : but as the dominion of Satan 
signifies the dominion, not of a real person, but of ignorance, 
idolatry, and vice, so the dominion of Christ is the dominion, 
not of Christ personally, but of the doctrines and the spirit of 
the gospel. 

* First-born, &c.] ifpajtoroKOf, an expression of endearment 
similar to the expressions, beloved, ver. 13, and only-begotten, 
John iii. 16, See also Exod. iv. 22. The meaning may be that 
Christ is the most distinguished person in the new dispensation, 
the chief of the prophets and messengers of God ; as much su- 
perior to the rest as the first-born son is to the other childrerv 
of the family. It may also have reference to priority in time, 
as well as in rank, ver. 18. He was the first who rose from the 

Pabt I. COLOSSIANS, Sect. I. o. 423 

For in him, 3 were C7'cated all things * in the hea- Ch. I. 
vens and upon the earth^, the visible and the invi- ^^^' ^^' 

^ In him^ All things are said to be created in him sv avny, 
by him Bi' auTa, and/or him e»f avrov. The apostle appears evi- 
dently to intend a distinction which the generality of interpre- 
ters have overlooked. All things are created in him : i. e. all 
are new-modelled under the Christian dispensation^ or by the 
profession of Christianity. This is the proper sense of bv avtiv. 
See Rom. xvi. 2,7,3; 2 Cor. v. 17, where sv Xpirw and simi- 
lar phrases evidently mean nothing more than professing Chris- 
tianity ; the consequence of which was such a change in their 
moral state as might be called a new creation. " If any man be 
in Christ Jesus," i. e. a Christian, " there is a new creation ;" 
an expression exactly similar to those which occur here. See 
also Gal. vi. 15. 

•* Were created all things, &c.] Observe that the apostle does 
not say that natural objects, the heavens, the earth, the sea, &c. 
w^ere made by Christ ; the formation of these things is uniformly 
attributed to the Supreme Being. Moreover, if the observation 
in the preceding note be just, that the words ev avru>, in him, 
imply that this change took place in consequence of the Chris- 
tian dispensation, it entirely precludes the notion of a creation 
of natural substances. Also when the apostle enters into the 
detail of things said to be created, he mentions neither animate 
nor inanimate beings, neither angels nor men, but enumerates 
merely states of things, thrones, dominions, &c. ; which, what- 
ever they mean, are not substances, but orders and ranks, or 
conditions, of being : so that nothing can be more astonishing 
than the confidence with which the generality of Christian in- 
terpreters explain this text as asserting that all natural sub- 
stances, all worlds and all their inhabitants, and even celestial 
intelligences, angels, archangels, and the like, were created by 
Christ J than which nothing could be more remote from the 
apostle's meaning. 

Arcb.bishop Newcome here adopts the common interpreta- 
tion. " Here," says he, " a proper creation is meant, and not 
a figurative one to good works : thrones, &c. are several orders 
of angels." But what evidence have we of this fact ? 

Dr. Priestley gives a more probable interpretation. " The 
countenance," says he, " which this passage has given to the 
notion of Christ being under God the creator of all things, has 
arisen from not attending to the meaning of the word which we 
render creation. In the scriptures it is; often ascd to expre&s 

424 PautI. COLOSSIANS. Skct. 1. 5. 

ch. I. Slide "^y luhether thrones or dominiojis, or principa-' 
Ver. 16. lilies f or powers *^f all were created by him and for 

renovation^ or a happy change in the constitution of things, such 
as was brought about by the gospel. Isaiah evidently uses the 
term in this sense : Behold I create all things neio ! " See an 
excellent Essay on the Creation of all Things by Jesus Christ, 
by Mr. Tyrwhit of Jesus Coll. Cambridge in the Commentaries 
and Essays published by the Society for Promoting the Know- 
ledge of the Scriptures, No. 14, vol. iL 

* In the heavens, &c.] i, e. amongst Jews and Gentiles. See 
Locke on Eph. i, 10,20. 

' Visible and invisible:'] i. e. as I understand it, the Jews, who 
formerly stood in a visible relation to God as theirs by cove- 
nant 3 and the Gentiles, who had no external badge of commu- 
nion with him. It seems surprising, if any thing relating to the 
prejudices and errors of mankind concerning religion could oc- 
casion surprise, that when the apostle, entering into detail, 
specifies " thrones and dominions" instead of heaven and earth, 
it should not have led his readers to see that arrangement, not 
creation, was the object of his discourse. " From him were de- 
rived," says Dr. Doddridge in his exposition, " the visible 
splendour of the celestial luminaries, the sun, the jnoon, and 
the stars, even all the hosts of these lower heavens, and from 
him the yet brighter glories of invisible and angelic beings." 

Such is Dr, Doddridge's distribution of the subject, and such 
would have been the distribution of the apostle, had his train of 
ideas been the same as that of Dr. Doddridge. But he never 
thought, nor did he suspect that any of his readers would think, 
of attributing to the humble and lowly Jesus the power of crea- 
ting the celestial luminaries. And yet the above-mentioned 
learned expositor gravely expresses his surprise that the So- 
cinians should interpret this of the new creation, and thinks it 
incredible, " if the evidence were not so undeniably strong, 
that any set of learned commentators could fall into so unna- 
tural an exposition." 

^ Thrones, &c.] The apostle seems to refer here to the orders 
and ranks of persons holding offices in the Jewish church, 
which having been alluded to under the name of heaven, the 
officers employed in it, prophets, priests, Levites, t^c. are fitly 
represented under names given to a supposed celestial hierar- 
chy. The meaning is, that Jesus has introduced a new order 
of things into the visible church, and that all who are employed 
to dispense the gospel and to occupy offices in the Christian 

Tart I. 

COLOSSIANS. SiiCT. 1. 5. 425 

him^; and he is s?iperior to all things ^y and all Ch.i. 
these things are holden together in him ^. 

Under this new dispensation, introduced by- 
Christ, a most extraordinary and astonishing revo- 
lution has taken place in the moral world. It is, 
as I have just expressed it, a new creation : a cre- 
ation not indeed of natural but of moral objects ; 
not of things, but of states of things ; not of exter- 
nal dignities, but of religious privileges. Under this 
new and heavenly dispensation Jews and Gentiles 
undergo a glorious and a happy change ; they who 
were formerly the members of the visible church, 
and they who possessed no external badge of rela- 
tion to God, are now formed into one harmonious 
community ; and those who were most eminent for 
rank and station under the former covenant, cheer- 
fully resign all former distinctions for the common 
but truly honourable character of believers in Jesus. 
This happy change was introduced by him, by his 
doctrine, his miracles, his sufferings, his resurrec- 

church, receive their commission from him, whether apostles, 
evangelists, &c. and that he, by his spirit, qualifies them for 
their work. See Eph. i. 20, 2 1 . 

* By him and for him.'] St' avrs xai sis avrov. All things are 
b7j or through him. Christ is the medium of the new dispensa- 
tion of the renovation of the moral world. All are created for 
him, that is, to be governed by him, and to reward his obe- 
dience and sufferings by the unspeakable delight which he de- 
rives from having been honoured as the medium of accomplish- 
ing the gracious purposes of God to man. 

^ tiuperior to all things.'] " above all things." Wakefield. 

' Holden together in him.] The Jewish and Gentile church 
are united in Christ. See Wakefield. hi the chief corner- 
istcnc, Eph. ii, 20, 

426 Pabt I. C O L O S S I A N S. Skct. I. 5. 

Ch. I. tion, his exaltation, and by the mission of his spirit, 
^'' '* and it terminates in his well earned honour. For 
he is exalted to the high dignity of the chief of all 
the prophets and messengers of God, both under 
the old and the new dispensation ; and in the great 
principle, allegiance to him, believers of all nations, 
without any invidious distinctions, harmoniously 

18. ^nd he is the head of the hody^ the church ; be^ 
ing the first-fruits ', the first-born from the dead, 
so as to be first in all things. 

Christ and his church are now one mystical per- 
son : Christ is the head, and the church the body, 
which is indeed necessary to the completion of his 
person, and which derives life and vigour from his 
doctrine and his spirit. And that he is entitled to 
this pre-eminence, is evident from considering that 
he is the first-fruit of the glorious harvest, the first 
human being who is raised to immortal life, and 
who is thus become the pattern and pledge of the 
final resurrection of all mankind. 

1 9. For by him God was pleased to inhabit the whole 

20. complete body ^ : and through him to reconcile all 

' First-fruits.'] aitapxfj' this is the reading of five manu- 
scripts, and the connexion seems to require it. 1 Cor. xv. 20. 
See Griesbach and Peirce. If apx^l is the true reading, it is 
probably a marginal gloss, and Mr. Wakefield observesj that it 
is wanting in the iEthiopic version. 

^ God was pleased to inhabit the whole complete body.] " ev 
aorcu ivdoxyiffs icoy to itXr^pujiux KcctoixYiO-ai. Quoniam per eum 
visum est patri, omnem wiiversitatem inhabitare.'' Castalio ; who 
observes, that vvlienever an infinitive verb is in the New Testa- 
ment joined with suhKYiOs it always denotes the action of him 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Skct. 1. 6. 427 

tilings to himself, whether things on earth or things ch. i. 
in heaven 3, making peace by the blood of his cross. ' 

The church, which is the body, consisting of 
Jews and Gentiles, is the completion of Christ, who 
is the head : and God is pleased to dwell in this 
united church, and to manifest his favour and love 
to it by those gifts of the holy spirit, which he has 
authorized his Son to bestow so liberally upon it. 
And by the mission of Jesus, and particularly by 
his death, he has confirmed the new covenant and 
set aside the old ; incorporating Jew and Gentile 
into one harmonious society, of which Jesus is the 
head. Being thus united to him by faith, they are 
joined in bonds of fraternal affection to each other, 
and no longer regard each other with an envious 
or a malignant eye. 

6. The apostle assures the Colossians that being 

who is spoken of as pleased. Peirce adopts this interpretation, 
and renders the text, " it seemed good to God to inhabit all 
fjalness by Christ :" that is, to inhabit the church, which is the 
irXy}pa)ij.a, " the fulness or complement of Christ." Eph, i. 23. 
" All is added because there is a double fulness, a fulness of the 
Jews and a fulness of the Gentiles- " Adopting this interpreta- 
tion, I have a little altered the phraseology in the translation, to 
make it more intelligible to the English reader. 

' Things on earth, &c.] i. e. Jews and Gentiles. " This 
sense," as Peirce justly observes, " best suits the connexion, 
and coincides exactly with the parallel passage, Epli. ii. 14 — • 
16. He is our peace who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) 
one," &c. Nevertheless, this learned expositor declines, though 
with reluctance, to adojjt this interpretation, which gives the 
only rational and proper sense, and explains the text as rcfcr- 
ling to some unknown and incomprehensible reconciliation of 
iingels and meti. 

428 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1, 6. 

Ch. I. now, by the death of Christ, introduced into a new 
and holy community, all the privileges and bless- 
ings of it shall be ensured to them, provided that 
they adhere faithfully to their Christian profession, 
ver. 21— 23. 
Vcr. 21. And you who ivere formerly aliens and enemies 
in your minds by wicked works ', he hath now in- 
22. deed^ reconciled through the death of his fleshly 
body 3, that he rnight present yoit before himself "^ 
holy and spotless, and irreproachable. 

Of this church, which is the mystical body of 
Clu'ist, you are now approved members. Formerly, 
indeed, you were aliens from this holy community ; 
being in principle and affection idolatrous and vi- 
cious heathen, you were enemies to the people of 
God, and had neither the wish nor the power to 
join that venerable society. But the death of Christ 
(I speak now not of his mystical but of his natural 
person) has put an end to the Jewish peculiarity, 
and has introduced a dispensation by which Jew 

* Aliens and enemies by wicked worksJ] See Eph. ii. 12. 
" aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." Peirce. 

' Indeed.'] Sr) for $e. Dr. Mangey. See Bowyer's Conjectures. 

^ Reconciled through the death of his Jleshly body .'] So Wake- 
field. The fleshly body is put in opposition to the spiritual or 
mystical body, ver. 1 8, 24. See Newcome. The death of Christ 
reconciles Jews and Gentiles, by putting an end to the Jewish 
peculiarity, and introducing a new and liberal dispensation. 
This thought is more largely insisted upon Eph. ii. 14 — ]8 ; 
■which fully explains the apostle's meaning here. See Newcome 
and Peirce. 

* Before himself] aurs for kavrs' the passage, as is well ob- 
served by Peirce and others, is exactly parallel to Eph. v. 27, 
" that he might ])resent it to himself a glorious church not hav- 
ing spot or vvrinkle, or any such thing." 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. I. G. 429 

and Gentile are reconciled to each other and to ch.i. 
God. Into this society you have been introduced ^^' ' 
by Christ ; and his gracious intention is, that by 
this means you may attain, not only to a state of 
privilege, but to virtue of character, that so you may 
become honourable and useful members of that glo- 
rious body of which he is the exalted head. 

If 1/e continue^ in the faith^ firm on its foiin- 23. 
datiojiy and be not moved away from the hope of 
that gospel which ye have heard, which hath been 
proclaimed to the whole creation under heaven 6, of 
which /, Paul, have been appointed a minister. 

I must, however, faithfully warn you that your 
improvement, and even your safety, depend upon 
your perseverance. You have no right to expect the 
blessings of the gospel any longer than you adhere 
to the profession of it ; resting your hope on a 
practical belief of the fundamental truth that Jesus 
is the Christ, and not being influenced by any con- 
sideration whatever to depart from the genuine sim- 
plicity of that doctrine, which is the only proper 
ground of hope ; which has been preached by the 
command of Christ to all mankind without distinc- 
tion, even to the idolatrous heathen ; and which I 
esteem it my greatest honour that I, notwithstand- 
ing my great unworthiness, have been selected, and 
expressly appointed, to be a teacher and publisher. 

^ IJye continue, &c.] siys. 1 prefer this translation to that of 
Peirce, who renders the phrase, " since ye continue." See 

^ The whole creation, &c.] " to Jews and Gentiles." New- 

430 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect, I. 7. 

Ch. I. 7. The apostle expresses the joy which he expe- 
rienced amidst, and even on account of, the diffi- 
culties and persecutions which he endured in the 
discharge of his honourable commission, ver. 24 — 
Ver. 24. Now I rejoice in these sufferings ^ for you; and 
am in my iurn^ fiiUng up that which remains of 
the afflictions of Christ^ in my per son, for the sake 
of his body, ivhich is the church. 

' These sufferings.'] The pronoun [is (my) in the received 
text, is wanting in the best manuscripts, and is omitted in Gries- 
bach's edition, and in Newcome's version. 

' In my turn^ avta.vant'kr^pw. Le Clerc observes, that the 
apostle elegantly insinuates that he had formerly made others 
suffer for Christ. Art. Crit. part ii. sect. i. c. 12. See Peirce and 
Macknight. " I who formerly persecuted the church, now in 
my turn fill up, by my bodily sufferings, what remains behind 
in the course of my life of the afflictions allotted to me because 
of Christ. See Eisner." Newcome. 

^ Jffiictions of Christ .•] i. e. for the sake of Christ, or such 
.sufferings as Christ underwent, 2 Cor. i. 5. See Newcome. — 
Dr. Doddridge observes, that " the apostle considered it as the 
plan of providence that a certain measure of sufferings should 
be endured by this body of which Christ was the head, and he 
rejoices to think that wliat he endured in his own person was 
congruous to that wise and gracious scheme." " This passage 
mav mean either that the apostle partook largely of ^vhat re- 
mained in the cup of affliction of which Christ drank ; or that 
Paul in his person endured to the utmost whatever affliction had 
been endured by others in the Christian cause." Philalethes's 
Translation of Colossians, Sec. 1819. " It is remarkable," says 
Dr. Priestley, " that the apostle, in speaking of his own suffer- 
ings for the sake of the gospel, represents them in the same 
light with the sufferings of Christ himself, as both having the 
same general object and effect. Christ laid down his life for his 
friends and for the church, and the apostle also was ready to 
lay down his for the sake of Christ's body, which is the church. 
This is language which he could never have used if he had con- 
sidered the death of Christ as the means of making atonement 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1. 7. 431 

^ Having mentioned my character as a minister of ch. i. 
this new dispensation, let me assure you that the ^'"'* ' 
sufferings which 1 endure in the faithful discharge 
of my apostolic duties are far from exciting regret 
at my appointment to that honourable office. On 
the contrary, the persecutions I now undergo for 
preaching the gospel to the heathen are to me a 
source of exquisite satisfaction, as undoubted tes- 
timonies to my fidelity and efficacious means of 
success. I was once a persecutor of the church of 
Christ ; in my turn I am now a sufferer in the same 
cause ; and being a member of the mystical body, 
I willingly bear my share of the persecutions which 
that body is destined to endure in order to promote 
the growth and perfection of the whole. 

Ofivhich church / have been appointed a 7ni?ii- 25. 

stei\ in reference to that dispefisation of God which 
hath been intrusted to me for you, that I may fully 
teach the word of God; even the mystery '^y which 26. 
hath been concealed from ages and generations^, 
but which is noiv made manifest to his saints. 

for the sins of men. On this idea there would be great pre- 
sumption and profaneness in the apostle's language. The idea 
which his language naturally conveys to us is this. That a great 
deal of suffering was necessary to establish the Christian church. 
That of Christ was one part, but not the whole ; that of the 
apostles and other Christians must be added to it." 

* The mystery, &c.] i. e. the call of the Gentiles to equal pri- 
vileges with the Jews ; see Eph, iii. 4 — 10, where the same sub- 
ject is treated of more at large. 

* Jges and generations .] i. e. the times under the law, which 
were measured by jubilees, and are therefore called xpavoi aiw- 
vioi, secular times. Before the days of Abraham, the call of the 
Israelites to be the peculiar people of God was as much a ray- 

432 Part I. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. I. S. 

Ch. I. In the church of Christ I am appointed to exe- 
Ver. 26. ^^^^.^ ^ ^^^.^ j^onourable and important office for 
your benefit ; being charged with a commission to 
teach in the most explicit and undisguised manner 
an important doctrine, which constitutes an essen- 
tial and glorious part of the gospel dispensation ; 
a doctrine which was indeed completely concealed 
from our ancestors, who lived under the ceremonial 
dispensation ; but which is now revealed in the 
clearest manner to all who are sincerely willing to 
hear and to welcome the joyful tidings. 

8. The apostle explains his meaning to be the 
admission of Gentiles to equality of privileges with 
Jews in the Christian chuvch, a doctrine which it 
was the labour of his life to teach and inculcate, 
ver. 27—29. 
27. To ivhom God ivilled to make knoivn the glori- 
ous riches of this 7)iystery ' towards you 2 Geti' 
tiles, ivhich jnystery is Christ the hope oj' glory. 

stery as the call of the Gentiles afterwards. See Peirce, and 
Locke's note on Rom. xvi. 25. It was only during the Jewish 
dispensation that this mystery concerning the Gentiles could 

' Glorious riches, &c.] Gr. the riches of the glory. See Rom. 
ix. 23j Eph. i. 17, 18, ii. 7, iii.l6; Phil. iv. 19. Indeed, when- 
ever the apostle mentions the admission of the converted Gen- 
tiles to equal privileges with the Jews, he seems at a loss for 
words to express his admiration, joy, and gratitude upon the 
occasion. " This great mystery," says Dr. Priestley, " to 
which the apostle often alludes, was the call of the Gentiles to 
partake of the privileges of Jewish Christians, without circum- 
cision or conformity to any other Jewish rites. This does not 
now strike us as a thing of very great magnitude, but in that 
age it must have appeared of the greatest ; and accordingly we 

Part I. COLOSSI A N S. Skct. 1. 8. 433 

■ To true believers, who are separated by their ch. i. 
Christian profession from the ungodly and idola- * ♦* 
trous world, God has been graciously pleased to 
communicate the knowledge of his purposes of 
mercy towards the ignorant and despised heathen, 
namely, that the doctrine of Jesus, which is taught 
among you, and received by you, who were formerly 
idolaters, entitles you to a participation in that glo- 
rious hope which is the peculiar privilege qf the 
sons of God, the hope of an everlasting inherit- 

JVhom we preach, admonishing every man 3, and 28. 
instructing every man in all wisdom *, that we may 
present every man perfect in Christ^. 

find that the minds of the Jewish converts were never tho- 
roughly reconciled to it. That the kingdom of Christ was not 
of this world, and that uncircumcised Gentiles were proper 
subjects of it, were two great articles of faith which Christians 
learned after the descent of the holy spirit on the day of Pen- 
, tecost." 

^ Towards ijou.'] See Wakefield, who thinks there can be 
little doubt that the words bv v^iv are transposed. For of, the 
common reading in the last clause, the Alexandrine and two 
other uncial manuscripts read o. See Griesbach. " Spes, pro 
causa spei. Gloria, felicitas. Sive, spem excellentissimam ; spem 
excellentissimce/eUcitatis." RosenmuUer. 

^ Every man.'] irocvra avSpouTfov. It is observed that the apo- 
stle repeats these words three times in this sentence, strongly 
implying that the Gentiles, equally with the Jews, were the ob- 
jects of the apostolic mission. See Peirce and Newcome. " Ex 
toto commate patet, apostolum has voces, Ssivorrjtos et s^(pa,a'BUJs 
causd, data operd repetiisse." RosenmuUer. 

* Wisdom.'] " This may be understood either of the manner 
in which the teachers of the gospel conducted their ministry, 
or, of the subject of their preaching, viz. the doctrine of the go- 
spel, which is the truest philosophy. See 1 Cor. ii. 6." Peirce ; 
who takes it in the latter sense. 

^ In Christ.] The received text reads " Christ Jesus." In 

VOL. III. 2 F 

434 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. 1. 8. 

Ch. I. This is the great doctrine which Jesus was com-* 

28. lYiissioned to reveal ; this it is the delightful em- 
ployment of the faithful ambassadors of Christ to 
teach; this commission they execute, addressing 
themselves without distinction to Jew and Gentile, 
admonishing both of the necessity of adopting the 
gospel scheme, and instructing both in the nature 
and detail of the Christian doctrine, which is the 
truest wisdom, the sublimest and most valiiabk 
philosophy ; and their great design in all is, that 
they may form these their converts, whether Jews 
or Gentiles, to the knowledge of truth and the prac- 
tice of virtue, so that they may be able to present 
them to their master as believers of the highest 
order, worthy of being admitted into his glorious 

29. To which purpose I also ^ am labouring^ ear- 
nestly striving according to his energy ^ which ope- 
rates poiuerfully by me ^. 

In this glorious cause I also am a humble and 
unwearied labourer. And though I meet with con- 
tinual opposition, I persevere in the arduous strug- 
gle. Not indeed relying upon my own ability, for 

the best copies the word Jesus is wanting, and is dropped by 
Griesbach and Newcome, " rsKeios ev Xjo/ro' est perfectus Chris- 
tianus, qui bene institutus in religione, ita sentire et agere potest, 
ut Christianum decet. Col. iv. 10, Eph. iv. 13." Rosenmuller. 

' I also-] i. e. " together with the other preachers mentioned 
ver. 28." Newcome. 

• According, &c.] " This may either refer to the miracles 
which God enabled him to perform in confirmation of his doc- 
trine, see Gal. ii. 8, 2 Cor. xiii. 3, or else to the divine influence 
upon himself." Peirce. See Rom. xv. 19, 1 Cor. xv. 10. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 1. 435 

that would soon fail me. But supported by that ch. i. 
energy which he who called me to the office com- ^^' ' 
municated to me, to qualify me for the honourable 
and successful discharge of it, and the powerful 
efficacy of which I continually experience, to streng- 
then me for every labour, and to carry me triumph- 
antly through every conflict. 


The apostle urges the Colossians to persist in Ch. ir. 
their adherence to the genuine doctrine of Christy 
and cautions them against the corruption of it by 
the intermixture of pharisaic tradition^ of false 
philosophy, and of Jewish ceremonies. Ch. ii. 1 
— iii. 4. 

1. The apostle expresses his earnest desire that 
those Christians who had not enjoyed the benefit 
of his personal ministry, might nevertheless be fully 
instructed in the doctrine of Christ, ver. 1 — 3. 

Therefore^, I am desirous that you should Ver. 1. 
know what earnest care * / have for you, and for 

' Therefore, &c.] Dr. Macknight justly observes, " that as 
this verse does not contain a reason for what goes before, but 
is an inference from it, yap in this passage is an illative and 
not a causal particle." 

■* Earnest care^ " See Thess. ii. 2." Newcome ; who ob- 
serves, " that the word xyvovot. here refers to d'ymi^oit.zvos , 
ch. i. 29. The word properly signifies conflict." " It expresses," 

2 f2 

436 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. I. 

Ch. II. those of Laodicea, and for as •many as have not 
Ver. 1. ^^^jj^ yj^g in perso7i ^ 

Being thus solicitous to discharge the duties of 
my apostolic office, I am anxious that you should 
be apprized, that if I did not visit you in person 
when I preached the gospel in the cities that are in 
your neighbourhood, it was not because I was in- 
different to your spiritual welfare, but because my 
journeys were under an immediate divine direction, 
and I was not permitted at that time to visit Co- 
lossse or Laodicea, nor indeed any of the cities in 
the proconsular Asia. But I can truly aver that I 
feel as earnest a desire for your and their instruction 
and improvement as if you had been converted by 
my personal ministry. 
2. That their hearts may he encouraged^ being knit 
together^ in love, and in all the riches of the most 

says Peirce, " the great solicitude and concern St. Paul had 
upon his mind for them, the pains he took to preach the gospel, 
and to assert their liberty against such as opposed, the troubles 
and difficulties he now underwent upon this account, and the 
earnestness with which he prayed for them." 

• Have not seen, &c.] It is plain that the apostles were under 
a divine guidance in the progress of their mission, and were not 
permitted to go where they pleased. See Acts xvi. 6, 7. It ap- 
pears from the passage referred to, that Paul and Silas were ex- 
pressly prohibited from preaching the gospel in the proconsular 
Asia, and though they were allowed to pass through Phrygia, 
they might be restrained from preaching at Laodicea and Co- 

• Being knit together^ " cuju.Cifag'eiv, conjungere ut dux 
trabes et similia conjunguntur et compinguntur." RosenmuUer. 
Peirce observes, that " St. Paul thought that the hearty love 
which Christians bore to one another would be a good means 
to fortify them against any ill impression from seducers. See 
Eph.iv. 14—16." 

PautI. COLOSSIANS. Skct. 11. 1. 437 

fuUif assured understanding s, even in the cojnplete cm. ii. 
knowledge'^ of that mystery of God^y in which ^ Ver. 3. 

' yill the riches of the most fully assured understanding.'] eis 
Tfavra, ttKbtov rrjs icX-ripo^opiois fyji (tvvsitsujs. See Newcome's 
margin. Dr. Doddridge translates the clause, " the richest and 
viost assured understanding .•" and observes, " that the original 
phrase is extremely emphatical, more agreeable to the Hebrew 
than to the Greek idiom, and it is one of the many instances 
of that strong manner of speaking with which the writings of 
our apostle abound." " The manner," says Peirce, " in which 
he speaks of this mystery, and heaps up expressions concerning 
it, shows how necessary he apprehended the knowledge of it 
to be." " Ut ad plenissimam, quae esse potest, intelligentiam 
perveniant, TTAsro; nt scepe, magnitudinem rei exprimit. ttX. aruv. 
plenitudo, vel certitudo intelligenticE, summa certitude." Rosen- 

* Complete knowledge.'] " sifiyvcvcris, hie ut scepe, est exact'ior 
cognitio." Rosenmuller. 

•' Mijstery of God^ The words " and of the Father, and of 
Christ," which appear in the received text, are wanting in many 
copies and versions of good repute, and are omitted in Gries- 
bach's edition. 

" This mystery," as Peirce observes, " is that mentioned be- 
fore, ch. i. 26, 27. Had he here meant any other, he would cer- 
tainly have told us what it was." Newcome also explains it, of 
" preaching the gospel to the Gentiles." Philalethes neatly 
translates the passage, " that their hearts might be comforted, 
being knit together in love, and in all the precious and full ca- 
pacity of comprehending the mystery of God, in which are hid 
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." " The sense is," 
says Peirce, " that they might all concur in a full and certain 
persuasion and public profession of this doctrine." 

^ In which.] sv co. If the received text is admitted, these 
words are properly translated in whom; i. e. in Christ. " When 
we consider ch. i. 27, and ch. ii. 2, we shall be induced to think 
that the words in the verse before us are very applicable to the 
mystery of God ; that is, to the gospel preached among the Gen- 
tiles. But as the Avords expunged from Griesbach's text may 
well be supplied, it remains doubtful whether mystery, or God, 
or Christ, be the antecedent." Newcome. If in whom be re- 
ferred to Christ, the meaning will be the same : q. d. in the doc- 
trine of Christ, Sec Rosenmuller. 

438 Part I, COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. II. are laid up ' all the treasures of wisdom and know- 

^"••2- ledge. 

The primary object of my solicitude for those 
with whom I have had no personal intercourse is, 
that they may be so firmly united to each other in 
the bonds of Christian affection, that they may be 
proof against every insidious attempt to introduce 
contentions and divisions among them. Thus 
united, they will encourage one another to perse- 
vere in the purity of the faith, notwithstanding the 
unjust censures and unfounded denunciations of 
those who would pervert your minds. And being 
thus united in affection, may they also be united in 
the pursuit of Christian knowledge, and especially 
in the attainment of that most valuable of all know- 
ledge, the complete comprehension of that glorious 
truth, which, though long concealed in the coun- 
sels of the Most High, is now clearly and distinctly 
revealed to mankind ; and which contains in itself 
a rich treasure of all that is most important for man 
to know: namely, that all mankind without distinc- 
tion are admitted by faith into the privileges of the 
gospel, by which life aqd immortality are brought 
to light, 

2, Being as nearly interested for them as if he 
were present with them, he warns them not to be 
misled by the specious harangues of false teachers. 

^ Are laid up."] airoKpv(po,i quum dicit, similitudinem sumit ab 
arcd, in qua pecunice servantur, indidem promendae, tibi opus 
est.'' RosenmuUer. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Skct. H. 2. 439 

but thankfully to abide in the doctrine which they Ch. ii. 
had already learned, ver. 4—7. 

Noiu I say thisy lest any man should deceive you Ver. 4. 
by plausible discourses^, 

I give you this advice, to love one another, to 
understand your principles, and to be true to the 
doctrine of Christ, that you may be upon your guard 
against the specious harangues of fake teachers, 
who would .corrupt your faith. Nothing will so 
effectually counteract their artifices as being well 
jac.qnainted with the grounds and reasons of the 
Christian doctrine. 

For though I be absent in person^ yet in spirit 5. 

/ a?n with you 3, rejoicing at the sight * of your 
order, and the stedfastness of your faith ^ in 

Thoi]gh I am now in chains at Rome, and can- 
npt personally visit you, yet I am with you in spi;- 
rit, rejoicing as much in the account which Epa- 
phras has given me of the decency and good order 
which prevail in your public assemblies, and of 
your faithful firm adherence to the pure doctrine of 

* Plausible discourses.'] TfiSavoKoyia. See Doddridge. " spe^ 
cious doctrines." Wakefield. " persuasive words." Newcome. 
" Ne quis vos spedosa oratione decipiat."' Schleusner. 

' In spirit J] Peirce observes that " as spirit here stands op- 
posed to Jlesh, sv <xapv,i, it is most reasonable to understand it 
of St. Paul's own spirit and not of the holy spirit." 

* Rejoicing at the sightJ] yaapoiv kxi ^Xsttujv, hendiadys. 
Lcetabundus observans rectum quern tenetis ordinem." Rosen- 

* Stedfastness of your faith .•] i. e. in opposition to those who 
submitted to the ceremonial law. Gal. v. 1, 2. See Peirce. 

440 Pakt I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. II. Christ, as if I were actually an eye-witness to every 
thing that passes in. your society. 

Ver. 6. j4s, therefore, ye have received Christ Jesus as 

7. your master ', so walk in him, rooted and built up 

in hirn, and confirming yourselves in the faith 2 ; 

and as ye have been taught, abounding in thanks' 


Since, then, you profess to acknowledge Jesus as 
your master, and to admit no doctrine as of divine 
original but what you receive from him, and as you 
have learned this from your pious instructors, let 
me entreat you to act in character, and to govern 
your conduct solely by a regard to his authority. 
Let Christ be the root upon which you grow, and 
the foundation upon which you build. Acknow- 
ledge and bow to no other authority whatever, but 
firmly adhere to the Christian doctrine. And, as 
you have been taught by those who have given 

' Received, &c.] " As therefore ye received Jesus from me 
to be the Christ, and the Lord." Wakefield. 

"^ Rooted and built up, confirming yourselves^ " Eadem res 
terdicitur. £ppit^M[isyoi radicibus heerentes, £TfoixoSo[ji.8(i£voi in fun- 
damento cedijicati, ergofirmi : (ia^xieit,ivoi,firnu. Firmi etfun- 
dufi et constanter in religione." Rosenmuller. " As ye have 
received from me the plain doctrine of the gospel^ free from the 
specious subtleties of your present teachers^ continue in it. Here 
it is exceedingly evident that by Christ we are to understand the 
doctrine of Christ, or, Christianity. To receive Christ, to walk 
in Christ, to be rooted and built up in Christ, is hvire explained 
by the phrase * established in the faith.' " Dr. Priestley. 

^ Abounding in thanksgiving. 1 The words sv avtv, therein, are 
wanting in the Alexandrine and Ephrem manuscripts, and are 
marked as doubtful by Newcome. The sense is clearer with- 
out them. See Griesbach. Mr. Wakefield for x.aSo;; reads xat 
ws, with the ^thiopic translator ; which seems preferable. 

Pabt I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 3. 44 1 

competent proof of their mission from him, rejoice ^h. ii. 
abundantly in the blessings of the gospel, and in ^'^^- 7- 
the liberty of the Gentile church : and receive these 
invaluable gifts with a grateful heart. 

3. The apostle warns them against those who, 
for their own unworthy purposes, would blend Jew- 
ish ceremonies and the dreams of a false philosophy 
with the doctrine of Christ ; and reminds them, that 
being united to Christ as their head, they are subject 
to no authority but his, ver. 8 — 12. 

Beware lest any man make a prey of you by a 8. 

vai7i deceitful philosophy'^, according to the tradi- 
tions of men ^, according to the shadoivs of this 
world^, and not according to Christ. 

^ Vain deceitful philosophy^ " through philosophy and empty 
deceit." Newcome ; who observes that the words are a hen- 
diadys. The philosophers here alluded to were probably Jew- 
ish believers, who were zealous for the ceremonial law, and who 
added some idle speculations of their own to the doctrines of re- 
velation. This indeed has been the primary source of all the cor- 
ruptions of the Christian religion. It is plain from what the apo- 
stle says of these teachers, that they were plausible and selfish. 
What the erroneous speculations were which they dignified with 
the name of philosophy is uncertain ; perhaps some groundless 
notions concerning the existence, powers, and worship of an- 
gels, and other unintelligible subjects, which the apostle justly 
stigmatizes as false and vain (see ver. 18), and foreign to the 
Christian doctrine. See Peirce's note, and Newcome. 

* Traditions, &c.] Probably the pharisaic traditions, or those 
of other philosophic and perhaps platonizing Jews, such as Philo 
and others. 

^ Shadows of this world .•] so, after Le Clerc and Peirce, and 
upon the authorities they produce, I render ro<%£ia- by which 
are to be understood the Jewish ceremonies, which were types 
and shadows of the doctrine of Christ, which is tlie body or sub- 
stance to which the type rclers. "^toix^ix properly signifies 

442 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 3. 

Ch. II. The reason why I so strenuously insist upon your 
Ver. 8. firm adherence to the purity of the Christian faith 
is, that I am well informed that there are some who 
from interested motives are taking no small pains 
to seduce you from it. Be, then, upon your guard 
against those men who set themselves up as philo- 
sophic teachers of Christianity, and who profess to 
add many refined and subtle speculations to the 
plain word of Christ, Be assured that theirs is a 
vain and false philosophy, the teachers of which have 
nothing in view but to promote their own interest, 
and to make their advantage of your credulity. The 
doctrines they profess are mere human inventions ; 
the rites they would impose are mere Jewish cercr 
monies or pharisaical mummery. At best they are 
the mere types and shadows of a better dispensation, 
and are not in the least degree obligatory upon the 
Gentile convert to the faith of the gospel. In a 
word, the doctrines which they circulate, and the 
servitude which they enjoin, are quite foreign to the 
doctrine of Christ, utterly unauthorized by him, and 
subversive of the freedom of the Gentile church. 
9. For in him resideth substantially * a fulness of 
divine conimunications". 

elements or first principles; and in this sense the word is to be 
understood Gal. iv. 3, 9, where it also expresses the ritual law. 
Most expositors give it the same signification here, and 'it can- 
not be denied that it makes a good sense. The Jewish dispen- 
sation is called the world because its objects and sanctions are 
of a worldly nature. See Peirce on the place, and Locke on 
(Gal. iv. 3. 

> Substantially. 1 ffuj^ariKUS bodily, in opposition, if Mr. 
Peirce's and Le Clerc's interpretation be true, to foix^ia. ska- 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 3. 443 

I do not deny that the rites and ceremonies of ch 

the law were of divine original ; but, as I have just 
observed, they were only shadows, mere rudiments, 
the occupations of children, which must now be laid 
aside since Christ has appeared ; for in him the law 
is fulfilled. He is the body of which the law is the 
shadow ; and in him reside all those communica- 

Ver. 9. 

dows : the manifestations of the divine will, under the law, to 
those under the gospel, were as the shadow to the substance. 

^ Fulness of divine communications.'] ttavTo irXrjpcuiJt^xTYji ^eo- 
fijros. " all the fulness of the godhead." This text is the 
strong hold of what is called the indwelling scheme of the doc- 
trine of the Trinity, of which Dr. Thomas Burnet, Dr. Watts, 
and Dr. Doddridge are the most considerable advocates : the 
latter of whom would translate the text, " in whom the whole 
fulness of deity substantially dwells." See Burnet's Script. Doct. 
of the Trinity, p. 173, 174. But, unless the advocates for this 
hypothesis mean to assert that the substance and conscious- 
ness of the Father is so united with the substance and con- 
sciousness of the created Logos as to become one conscious in- 
telligent agent called the Son, who is distinct both from the un- 
created Father and the created Logos, which is too absurd to 
be maintained, they mean nothing : for in any other sense of 
indwelling, this famous hypothesis is compatible with Arianism, 
and even with perfect Unitarianism ; for it can mean nothing 
more than that God inspired Christ with the knowledge of his 
will, and enabled him to work miracles in confirmation of his 
mission. The apostle's expression lays no foundation for any 
such erroneous conclusion. Eph. iii. 19 the apostle prays that 
they may be filled with all the fulness of God j but who sup- 
poses that the divine substance is intended ? The expression is 
universally understood of divine communications; and such no 
doubt is the sense of ^eorij; in this passage, which no one will 
say is a stronger expression than hsoi' and to argue from the 
word a-ojj^atMUJS is arbitrary in the extreme. " All those 
blessings which proceed from Godhead, and wherewith we are 
filled, dwell in Christ truly and substantially." Peirce. — " Nam 
ipsi insunt omnes thesauri sapientiae divinse revera. ^soTrjros 
non intelUgitur de ipsa natura Dei, tanquam de eo quod habitei 
in aliquo, sed de illo quod sit a Deo profectum, ab eoque originem 
ducat." Kosenmuller. 

444 Pakt I. C O L O S S 1 A N S. Skct. II. 3. 

Ch. II. tions of knowledge and power which are necessary 
^"* ^' either for the instruction or the conviction of man- 

And ye are complete in him ', who is the head 
of all principality and power ^. 

You are the body: Christ is the head ; a junction 
with whom is necessary to form the complete my- 
stical person. And as the body derives from the 


' Ye are complete in him.'] imrArjpujiJi.svoi sv auTcv' q. d. you 
are his TtXrjpcoi/.a, Eph. i. 23, or he is yours ; you are comple- 
ments to each other, as the head and the body make the per- 
fect man ; and from him as the head of vital influence you are 
supplied with all that you want to advance you individually to 
perfect manhood, or to complete your proportion as limbs of 
Christ's mystical body ; for the apostle does not always keep 
the ideas distinct, ver. 10, sv avtcv, " in him ye are filled j" 
ver. 1 1 , ev avtw, " in him ye are circumcised ;" ver. 12, avtuj, 
" with him you are buried}" ibid. " in him you are raised to 

' Who is the head of all principality and power.'] Mr. Locke, 
in his excellent note upon Eph. iii. 10, has made it appear so 
probable that by these expressions the apostle means, the rulers 
and teachers, the priests, scribes and pharisees of the Jewish 
nation, that there can be no reasonable doubt that they are to 
be taken in the same or a similar sense here. Christ is the 
head of all principality and power, of all the rulers and teachers 
of the church, whether under the old dispensation, or the newj 
tinder the law, or under the gospel ; there is no authority but 
from him : his disciples are to receive no doctrine but what is 
taught by his authorized ministers ; and upon no account to 
listen to those who would impose upon them judaical rites. 

It is surprising that learned men, who interpret these expres- 
sions of the superiority of Christ to angelic beings, should not 
be aware how improbable it is that the Divine Being, (who in 
his all-wise administration, is so severely oeconomical in the 
communications of his will, as to reveal nothing but what is of 
the utmost practical necessity, nothing to gratify idle curio- 
sity,) should reveal facts concerning ranks and orders of an- 
gels ; which are at best useless, and in general unintelligible 
to mankind. 

Part I. C O L O S S I A N S. Skct. II. 3. 445 

head all its supplies of vital influence, so you derive ch.ii. 
from Christ all that is necessary to the spiritual life ; ^^'■* '^* 
all that instruction which is requisite to your be- 
coming perfect Christians. You need not look else- 
where : Christ is the head of the apostles, evange- 
lists, prophets, and teachers of the Christian dis- 
pensation : they have no authority but what they 
derive from him. And as to the priests and rabbis 
of the Jewish ceconomy, they are completely super- 
seded, and their authority, so far as you are con- 
cerned, is null and void. 

Imvhom ye were circumcised^, by a circuinci- \\. 

sion not inade ivith hands, by the putting off the 
fleshly body by the circumcision of Christ *. 

And to continue the allegory, the circumcision 

' Ju whom ye were circumcised-] q. d. as constituting Christ's 
mystical body, what was clone by him as necessary to fulfill all 
righteousness, may be considered as done in or by you. As, 
therefore, he was circumcised, you may be considered as cir- 
cumcised in him j not indeed literally, according to the Jewish 
manner, but in a sublime and spiritual sense. Your circum- 
cision consists in having cast off your heathen idolatries and im- 
purities, and having consecrated yourselves to God, 

* By the circumcision of Christ.'] £v tr, itepiroiuv- or, " in the 
circumcision of Christ 3" a repetition of' the first clause not un- 
usual with the apostle. Others understand the clause q. d. in 
the Christian circumcision : i. e. in baptism, which, under the 
Christian dispensation, is substituted for circumcision, by which 
initiatory rite you publicly professed your faith in Christ, and 
renounced all the impurities and idolatrous practices of your 
heathen state. This is a very good sense, and seems to be sup- 
ported by the succeeding words, which allude to the mode of 
baptism. But it is a singular phraseology, and hardly to be pa- 
ralleled in the writings of the apostle. See Whitby, Peirce, &c. 
The fleshly body, or the old man, ch. iii. 9. The received text 
reads, rwv dy^apuuiv, sins of thejlesh, which is wanting in the 
best copies, and dropped by Griesbach. 

446 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 3. 

Ch. II. of Clirist may be considered as the circumcision of 
^'^'' '^* his mystical body, of which you are a part. This 
mystical circumcision means that you have entirely 
laid aside the vanities and impurity of your hea- 
then state, and are now consecrated to God through 
Christ ; and this circumcision is all that is now re- 
quired of those who profess faith in Christ, and who 
submit to the rite of baptism, which may not un- 
aptly be called the Christian circumcision. 
12. Being buried with him in baptism •, in which 
ye were also raised with him through faith in 
the operation ^ of God who raised him from the 

And such was the effect of your solemn renun- 
ciation of heathenism, by the public profession of 
the Christian doctrine, that it may even be consi- 
dered as death to your former state, as Christ died 

' Buried with him in baptism!] This seems to imply that he 
had alluded to baptism as the initiatory rite, the Christian cir- 
cumcision in the preceding verse. In the word buried it is ge- 
nerally admitted that the apostle alludes to the mode of baptism 
by immersion ; but allowing this, it does not prove that immer- 
sion was universal, much less indispensable. See Newcome. 
This allusion is pursued by the apostle more at large, Rora. 
vi. 4, &c., where the apostle represents heathenism as a prior 
state of existence : professing Christianity is death to that state -, 
immersion is burial ; emerging from the baptismal water a re- 
surrection to a new life, similar to the resurrection of Christ j 
and as Christ never dies again, so believers are never to return 
to their old state of heathenism, but like Christ are to conse- 
crate their renovated powers to God. 

' Faith in the operation, &c.] " Evspysias, the mighty working 
of God." Newcome. Observe here, that it is faith in the re- 
surrection of Christ which constitutes a man a Christian, a dis- 
ciple of Christ, one of the Christian community, saved and holy. 
See Rom. x. 9. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 4. 447 

upon the cross ; and your baptismal immersion re- ch, ii. 
sembles his temporary residence in the tomb. But ^'^'"' * 
as he was soon raised to Hfe by the power of God, 
so likewise you emerge from the baptismal water 
into a new and happy state of existence, in conse- 
quence of your assured belief in that wonderful ope- 
ration of divine power by which Jesus rose from the 
dead. So that, in consequence of this resurrection 
with Christ, you have no more to do with heathen- 
ism or Judaism than if you were inhabitants of a 
new world. 

4. The believers at Colossse having become dead 
to their former state of heathen idolatry, and being 
raised to a new and better life, are un^r no obli- 
gation to submit to that yoke of ceremonies which 
their new teachers were desirous of imposing upon 
them, ver. 13 — 15. 

And you who are dead to the trespasses^ and j3. 
to the uncircu7ncision of your flesh, hath God raised 
to life with him * ; having freely forgiven you all 

' Dead to the trespasses, &c.] The received text reads ev 
rois K. t. A. " in trespasses ;" sv however is w^anting in several 
manuscripts : and with Mr. Wakefield I adopt this reading, as 
better suiting the apostle's train of ideas, and confirmed by 
Eph. ii. 1 . By faith in Christ they die to trespasses and circum- 
cision, i. e. to heathenism and to the law ; by immersion they 
are buried with Christ, by emersion they are raised with him to 
a new life under the heavenly dispensation of the gospel. Dr. 
Harwood also omits the particle ev : he renders the clause, 
"you who are now dead to your vices," &c.j and refers to the 
editions of Erasmus, Aldus, Colinseus, Strasburg, and Basil, as 
supporting the same reading. 

* Raised to life with him.'] <ruve^cu<yj(oiYj7e. In the pai'allel 

448 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II, 4. 

Ch. ir. those trespasses; having cancelled the bond ' which 
Ver. 14. ^^^ jj^ |.^g book of ordinances 2 against uSy which 
was contrary to ns, and taken itfroin between us^y 
15. nailing it to the c?^oss^; and having stripped prin- 
cipalities and powers^, he made them a public spec- 
tacle^ leading them in triumph by him 6. 

passage Eph. ii. 6, believers are represented as raised with 
Christ, and sitting with him in heavenly places : that is, ac- 
cording to Mr. Locke, " made partakers of his heavenly king- 
dom 5" or, in other words, put into possession of the privileges 
of the gospel. 

' Cancelled the bond.l This is the proper sense of the word 
-^sipoypxeov. See Peirce and Schleusner. It is a writing from 
the debtor to the creditor, acknowledging the debt. The law of 
Moses was this handwriting 5 by which the Jews were bound 
to observe the law, as the condition of receiving the promise. 
This handwriting was against us, and contrary to us : it was 
the means of preventing the union between Jew and Gentile ; 
it was the wall of partition which separated the holy place from 
the court of the Gentiles. Eph. ii. 14, 15. Newcome thinks 
that the words contrary to us have " the appearance of a mar- 
ginal explanatory note." 

' In the book, &c.] So Mr. Wakefield. " Having entirely 
cancelled and vacated that bill, consisting of such a variety of 
ceremonial articles, which we were liable to discharge." Har- 

' From between ms.] rjpKSV sk {/.scs, he took from between us : 
" a Hebrew change of construction," says Dr. Newcome, " in- 
stead oi apas. See Eph. i. 20, John i. 32." He did not suffer 
this bond to continue between us and the Jews, to separate us 
from one another. Eph. ii. 14, 15, he calls the ceremonial law 
the middle-wall of partition, and the cause of enmity between 
Jews and Gentiles. See Peirce. 

^ Nailing it to the cross."} Grotius observes : " mos est qui- 
husdam in locis, clavis transjlgendi edicta antiquata. Is tunc 
etiam in Asia videtur fuisse, et ad eum alludere Paidus." This 
allusion to the custom of cancelling a bond by driving a nail 
through it is adopted by Hammond, Doddridge, and Newcome, 

* Having stripped principalities and powers.'] txs ap^ocs v.a.i 
ras £^8<r»aj, " these principalities and these powers :" namely, 
those which have been before alluded to ver. 10, and which 

Part I. C O L O S S 1 AN S. Sect. II. 4. 449 

I repeat it, my Christian friends, as a circum- ch. ii. 
stance deserving your utmost attention : you are "* * 
now dead and buried to your former state of hea- 
thenism and alienation from God, and in conse- 
quence of your baptismal profession your connexion 

were there shown to mean the Jewish hierarchy, the priests and 
rulers ; the crucifixion of Christ, which sealed and ratified the 
gospel dispensation, completely divested the teachers and rulers 
of the Jewish dispensation of every species of authority over 
those who were admitted into the community of believers. And 
by the extraordinary success of the gospel, they were in a man- 
ner led in triumph every where, and exhibited as captives whose 
power was now at an end. 

Dr. Harwood's translation is, " having pulled down those re- 
ligious establishments which were supported by the great and 
powerful." But this seems wide of the apostle's meaning. — 
" By the powerful means used to subdue vice, God showed 
openly that he triumphed over evil spirits." Newcome. " God 
hath made us victorious over the formidable spirits of darkness, 
having spoiled these principalities and powers of the trophies 
which they had gained by drawing us into the grand apostasy." 
Doddridge. But what reason is there to suppose that any spirit 
either good or evil is alluded to in this expression ? Mr. Peirce's 
interpretation is very peculiar, viz. " Having taken from good 
angels their authority, he subjected them to Christ, and proposed 
them publicly as an example of cheerful obedience to him, caus- 
ing them to triumph in Christ." Such a hypothesis surely needs 
no confutation : it is indeed wonderful that a man of so much 
talent and learning could indulge himself in these wild reveries, 
or could imagine that a revelation was communicated to man- 
kind to instruct them in the useless tale of a revolution in the 
celestial hierarchy. " Hostes, quos Christus contumeliap pub- 
liccE exposuit, sunt defensores illius chirographi de quo sermofuit, 
legis Mosaicce. Defensio enim hujus legisfuit maximum impe- 
divientum religionis Christiana; propaganda'. Christus autem 
morte sua effecit, ut isti hostes potentissimi, Judceorum principes 
et sacerdotes, nihil amplius valerent." RosenmuUer. 

^ By him .•] i. e. by Christ. God is the agent in view through- 
out the whole context. See Peirce. Dr. Newcome renders it, 
" by the cross," and refers to the ancient versions in the Polyglot 
in confirmation of his interpretation. Origen read ev rw ^uAcy, 
by the tree: i. e. the cross. 

VOL. III. 2 G 

450 Part I. C O L O S S I A N S. Skct . II. 4. 

Ch. II. with idolatry is as completely dissolved as that of a 
Ver. 15, jjgg^j corpse with the living world. Nevertheless, 
God has raised you to a new, and holy, and happy 
life, by the same power by which he raised up Jesus 
from the dead. And as you were before in a state 
of sin and alienation from God, you are now, in 
consequence of your admission into the Christian 
covenant, in a state of reconciliation and forgive- 
ness. And this communication of evangelical bless- 
ings is perfectly gratuitous ; it is the free, unme- 
rited, unsolicited gift of God. And whereas your 
new teachers insinuate that you iiuist submit to the 
yoke of ceremonial institutions : I earnestly advise 
you to give no credit to their insinuations. For God 
has himself cancelled that obsolete bond contained 
in the writings of Moses, which imposed the severe 
conditions of acceptance and reconciliation under 
the former dispensation ; keeping Jews and Gen- 
tiles at an inaccessible distance from each other. 
And as it is common to cancel a covenant by driv- 
ing a nail through the instrument which contains it, 
so the Mosaic covenant may be said to be nailed to 
the cross of Christ, being vacated by that event, 
which ratified the new and liberal dispensation of 
the Messiah ; a dispensation by which all who be- 
lieve are admitted without distinction to all the pri- 
vileges of the family of God. Thus, putting an end 
to the Mosaic covenant, he divested the ministers 
and officers of the Jewish church of all authority to 
impose the yoke of the law upon believers in Christ; 
and by the mission and doctrine of Jesus, by the 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 5. "^^ 1 

power and energy of the spirit with which it is at- Ch. ii. 
tended, and by its triumphant success, he has 
plainly and publicly transferred the authority, which 
was once vested in the Jewish priesthood, to the 
apostles and teachers of the Christian dispensation, 
who alone are now authorized to declare the terms 
of acceptance with God. 

5. Upon these grounds the apostle earnestly dis- 
suades the Colossian Christians from paying any 
regard to the censures of those false teachers who 
would either subject them to the yoke of the cere- 
monial law, or mislead them by plausible but erro- 
neous tenets, repugnant to the doctrine of Christ, 
ver. 16—19. 

Let no one^ therefore ^ call you to account * about \s. 
meat or drink 2, or luith respect to a festival, or a 
new moon, or sabbaths'^, which are a shadow of 17. 
things to come, but the body is Christ's *. 

' Call you to account.'] ju-ij Kpivsrcv. Dr. Macknight argues, 
that as they could not prevent others from judging them, it 
might be more proper to translate the words, " Let no man 
rule you." In the writings of the Jews it is said of their rulers, 
that they judged Israel. The sense, however, is obvious upon 
the common interpretation. See Rom. xiv. 3. " decide for 
you." Philalethes. " Contemnite istajudicia, nee istis diris 
perterream'mi, quas obnuncient, qui sancte servari, hac instituta, 
avohisvelint." Rosenmuller. q. d. regard them not. 

* Meat or drink.'] Macknight observes that there was no law 
which forbade any kind of drink except to the Nazarites : lie 
conjectures, therefore, that abstinence from wine and strong 
drink might be forbidden by tradition to those who aimed at su- 
perior holiness. 

' Sabbaths.'] Nothing can be more explicit than the apostle's 
declai-ation of the entire abolition of the Jewish sabbath, which 

2 G 2 

452 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 5. 

Ch. II. Being thus completely released from all the re- 
v®'"- 17- straints of the ceremonial law, do not voluntarily 

is plainly no more obligatory upon Christians than the institu- 
tion of the passover, or the rite of circumcision. The fourth 
commandment, therefore, is a precept which has no place in the 
Christian law, and ought never to be appealed to as an argu- 
ment for a sabbatical institution. And it behoves those who 
think the observation of a day of sabbatical rest is of such high 
importance under the Christian dispensation, and who are so 
loud in their charges against those who deny, or who, as they 
call it, profane the sabbath, to show what authority they have 
for this imposition. I see none. The old sabbath is expressly 
repealed, and no new one is enjoined in its stead : always, how- 
ever, keeping in mind the very obvious and important distinc- 
tion between the Lord's day as a weekly religious festival, in joy- 
ful commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, in which way 
it has been universally observed from the beginning ; and as a 
day of sabbatical rest from the common employments and inno- 
cent amusements of life, for which there is no precept in the 
New Testament, and no example in the primitive age ; the 
practice of which was universally discountenanced in the pri- 
mitive church, and which, to this day, prevails only in a small 
proportion of the protestant churches in Europe, and among 
thdir descendants in America. In Justin's Dialogue withTry- 
pho, the Jew objects to Christians that, " pretending to excel 
others, they observe no sabbaths:" Justin replies, " The new 
law will have you keep a perpetual sabbath. You, when you 
have passed a day in idleness, think you are religious. The 
Lord our God is not pleased with such things as these. If any 
one is guilty of perjury or fraud, let him reform ; if he be an 
adulterer, let him repent ; and he will then have kept the kind 
of sabbath truly pleasing to God. You see that the elements 
are never idle, and keep no sabbath. There was no need of the 
observation of sabbaths before Moses, neither now is there any 
need of them after Jesus Christ." Justin Martyr's Dialogue with 
Trypho, p. 227, 229, 241, edit. Par. ; Evanson on the Sabbath, 
p. 92, 93. 

The emperor Constantine was the first who established by 
law the sabbatical observation of the Lord's day : but he limited 
this injunction to the inhabitants of towns j a plain proof that 
he did not regard it as a divine command. The emperor Leo in 
the fifth century enjoined universal cessation from labour on the 
first day of the week j but this decree having no force in the 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 5. 453 

resign your Christian liberty. And if any one as- ch. ii. 
suming airs of authority, or setting himself up for ^^^' ^^' 

West, the Council of Orleans in the sixth century abolished all 
restrictions of this nature, as savouring more of Judaism than 
Christianity^ only prohibiting husbandmen from working in the 
field during the time of divine service. The first day of the 
week, therefore, has never been observed with that strictness 
which the decree of Leo requires in any country of Europe but 
our own, and that, only since the reign of Charles II. Evan- 
son's Lett, to Priestley, p. 138—140, 153—155, 

As the law of the country requires suspension from labour on 
the Lord's day, it is the duty of subjects to obey it. But surely 
this sabbatical observation of the day can never be of that high 
moral importance which many apprehend ; otherwise Christ 
and his apostles would never have been so totally silent upon 
the subject. But will-wor.ship was not confined to the apostolic 
age 5 and the censures passed upon those who do not sabbatize 
like others, are as loud and as bitter now as they were seventeen 
hundred years ago. Let those, therefore, who understand their 
Christian emancipation, and who determine to standfast in the 
liberty with which Christ has made them free, while they saitc- 
tify every day as a sabbath, by abstaining from all evil, as ad- 
vised by the holy Martyr, encourage themselves at the same 
time by the exhortation of the apostle, and suffer no man to 
judge them with respect to the sabbath-day. Regard no man's 
censure, of whatever rank, or degree, or pretensions, for not 
receiving as of divine authority, institutions which Christ our 
sole head, who possesses all authority and power in the church, 
hath not required. 

Dr. Priestley, in his note upon this passage, remarks, that 
"the Gentiles were under no obligation to observe the seventh 
day for the purpose of rest, as the Jews were ; but as the apo- 
stles had always been used to ojices of public worship one day 
in the seven, and the propriety and use of the custom was never 
questioned, it cannot be supposed that they would voluntarily 
abandon so useful an institution, or that they would not recom- 
mend it to their disciples." And no doubt it has been the uni- 
form practice from the earliest age of Christianity, and sanc- 
tioned by the apostles, to observe the Lord's day as a religious 
festival ; to consecrate it by ojices of public worship, but not to 
solemnize it as a day of sabbatical rest. Dr. Priestley adds : 
" It is obvious that a day devoted to public worship should not 
be a Any oi worldly business, or of public diversion ; because these 

454 Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 5, 

Ch. 11 a person of extraordinary sanctity, should take upon 
^^' '' himself to condemn you for neglecting the ceremo- 
nial distinctions of clean and unclean in articles of 
food, for not observing the annual festivals of divine 
appointment, paying no religious respect to the 

things, though innocent in themselves, are of so different a na- 
ture from the proper business of the day, that they will be apt 
to interfere with one another." But may it not be asked. How 
much of the day is to be devoted to public worship ? How the 
rest of the day can be better employed than in useful labour or 
innocent amusement ? What can be expected from the mass of 
the people when tliey are forbidden both to work and to play ? 
and finally^ Whether, in fact, there be not more mischief done, 
and more crimes committed, on the first day of the week, than 
on all the other days put together ? 

This, however, is not the question. The sabbatical observa- 
tion of the Lord's day is by this learned writer, and by many 
others, placed upon the ground of expedience alone. And if it 
be expedient, let it be observed ; but in the name of all that is 
sacred, let not expedients of human device be substituted as in- 
junctions oi divine authority. The plain question is : Whether 
the sabbatical observation of the Lord's day is enjoined by di- 
vine authority ? If it be, let the order be shown, and it shall be 
obeyed. In the New Testament I see the Jewish sabbath plainly 
abrogated ; I see no new sabbatical institution appointed in its 
place ; and I know that the primitive church explicitly disavowed 
any such institution. I conclude, therefore, that Christ, our 
only Master, saw no necessity for appointing an institution, 
without which, as many now think, the Christian religion could 
not exist. In whose judgement may we most safely confide ? 

How, then, it may be asked, is the Lord's day to be observed ? 
Answer : Let a reasonable proportion of it be devoted to Chris- 
tian worship and instruction ; and let the remainder be spent in 
useful employment or innocent amusement. — They who thus 
keep the Lord's day, need not regard any man's judgement con-- 
cerning sabbaths. 

* The body is ChriH's.'] " As the body stands opposed to the 
shadow, it must signify the reality, truth, or substance. See 
ver. 9. This body or substance is of Christ . that is, belongs 
to him, is his, is only to be found or sought in him, and not in 
the law." Peirce. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Smct. II. 5. 455 

day of the new moon, and e\'en making no distinc- ch. ii. 
tion between sabbaths, and other days, regard them ^^''' ^'^' 
not. The gospel knows no such distinction. Under 
the new dispensation all meats are pure, all days 
are equal. These ceremonial distinctions were in- 
deed well adapted to the infant state and puerile 
conceptions of the Jewish church ; and were in- 
tended to prefigure that improved and liberal state 
of things which was to take place under the Chris- 
tian dispensation, which is the manhood and ma- 
turity of religion ; and is the substance, of which 
the rites of Moses were merely the shadows. We 
are taught by Christ that all the creatures of God 
are good, and consequently that one species of food 
will not recommend us to God more than another ; 
also that every day is to be devoted to the service of 
God, and therefore that no one day, either in the 
week, the month, or the year, is more holy than an- 
other. And if any persons presume to teach a dif- 
ferent doctrine, and to condemn your conduct, let 
them know that, acknowledging no master but 
Christ, you equally disregard their authority, and 
despise their censures. 

Ijei 710 one defraud you of your prized, ^y ^f- 18. 

fecting humility hi the worship of angels^, ifi- 

" Defraud you, &c.] So Newcome. Mr. Peirce translates 
■Kara^a.t&V£rw, condemn. The word is used in both senses. 
See Schleusner. 

* Affecting humility, &c.] " S'sXwv," says Archbishop New- 
come, " seems equivalent to ^^eXijrijf, shXovri^s, ' a voluntaiy 
in humility,' as in the margin of the bible." Literally it may 
be rendered " a volunteer in humility in the worship of angels." 


456 Pakt I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 5. 

Ch. II. truding into those things which he hath not seen ' ; 

Ver. 19. rashly puffed up by his carnal mindly and not ad- 
hering firmly to the head^, from which the whole 
body being supplied and compacted by connecting 
joints, increaseth with a very large increase *. 

I have cautioned you against some who would 
infringe your liberty by bringing you under the yoke 

It alludes to those who, from pretended humility, applied to 
angels as mediators to render their prayers acceptable to God. 
That the Jews regarded the angels vas mediators, is evident from 
Tobit, ch. xii. and from a passage in Philo quoted by Peirce. — 
It seems highly probable that the apostle here refers to the £s- 
sencs, a sect of the Jews who practised great austerities, and 
who boasted that they knew and preserved with great care the 
names of angels. See Joseph. De Bell. Jiid. 1. ii. c. 7. § 12., and 
Aldrich's note. Vide Peirce in loc. 

' Intruding into, &c.] " Ingrediens in ea." Bos. See also 
Eisner, that the word signifies " immiscere se, ingerere, rebus 
non ad se pertinentibus''' Newcome. " boldly prying into, and 
dictating about, matters which he knows nothing of." Peirce. 

' Carnal mind^ " And this he is led to by his Jewish tem- 
per." Peirce ; who observes, " that this is the sense in which 
the apostle often uses the words crap^ and aapy.iKos, and refers 
to Gal. iii. 3, 2 Cor. xi. 18. See Locke. Phil. iii. 3, 4 -, Heb. vii. 
16, ix. 10. 

' The " Christ. The expression has a reference to ver. 
10." Newcome. " xparsiv riva,, sectari aliquem, eique tenacis- 
sime inliarere." Rosenmuller. 

* With a very large increase."] " In the original, ' with the 
increase of God,' a well known form of the Hebrew superlative 
degree." Harwood. " Upon the whole, the thing which the 
apostle cautions against is the worshiping of angels : the pre- 
tence by which this was endeavoured to be ushered in was, that 
this was most agreeable to humility : what St. Paul says of their 
intruding into things they had not seen, their being puffed up 
by a fleshly mind, and not holding the head, is his censure upon 
their conduct ; and when he says, ' Let no man judge or con- 
demn you in this respect,' he means that the Colossians should 
not be moved with, or at all regard, any such judgement. Com- 
pare ver. 10." Peirce. 

Part I, COLOSSIANS. Skct, II. 5. 457 

of the ceremonial law ; but there are others against ch. n. 
whose doctrines and practices I must enter a still ^^^' ^^' 
stronger protest. They are so radically inconsistent 
with the essential doctrines of Christ, that to em- 
brace them would be to renounce the profession, 
and with it the rewards, of Christianity. Guard 
strictly, then, against the plausible insinuations of 
those teachers who, making loud pretensions to su- 
perior humility, and representing it as unpardonable 
pride in sinful man to address his supplications im- 
mediately to a holy God, inculcate the worship of 
angels as mediators to intercede with God for us. 
This doctrine and the teachers of it are reprehensi- 
ble in the highest degree. It is an arrogant in- 
trusion into things which are not revealed, and of 
which, therefore, it is impossible that these pre- 
tended teachers can have the least knowledge. And, 
while they boast of their humility, they are in fact 
conceited to a high degree with this groundless no- 
tion, which they vainly regard as a profound phi- 
losophical speculation annexed to the doctrine of 
Moses. But the most important consideration of 
all is, that by this doctrine they entirely separate 
themselves from Christ, the only mediator between 
God and man, the only head and law-giver of the 
church, which is his mystical body, vitally united 
to him, and which lives, and grows, and thrives, 
only as it derives from him the nourishment of pure 
and unsophisticated truth. If, therefore, under any 
pretence whatever, you become worshipers of sup- 
posed invisible and created spirits, you are no longer 

458 Pakt I. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. II. C, 

Ch. II. the disciples of Christ, nor true and accepted inem- 
^''' ■ bers of his visible church. 

6. The apostle, addressing himself particularly 
to those converts who were disposed to submit to 
the yoke of the ceremonial law, argues strongly 
against their subjecting themselves to a ritual to 
which they were by profession dead, ver. 20 — 23. 
20. Seeing ' that ye are dead ivith Christ froiii the 
rudiments 2 of the worlds why, as though living in 
the worldly are ye imposing upon yourselves'^ or- 

' Seeing^ " si for siys- see ch. iii. 1 ." Wakefield, Harvvood. 
The apostle alludes to ver. 12 and 13. 

* Rudiments,'] or, shadows ; r&J%£Jtt.'v, i. e. from the Jewish 
ritual ; see ver. 8 : q. d. you have renounced all expectation of 
being benefited by the observation of rites and ceremonies. 
Mr. Peirce thinks this paragraph is addressed to the Jewish 
converts only, for they alone were attached to Jevv^ish riies, 
and were dead by profession to Jewish ordinances, under which 
the Gentile converts, whom through the epistle he continually 
praises for their stedfastness in the faith (see ch. i. 4, G, 7 , ii. 5, 
6, 7) had never lived. But the apostle seems to represent the 
heathen converts as dead by profession, not only to their hea- 
then idolatrous state, but to all ex])ectation of benefit from any 
other system than Christianity ; and though the majority of hea- 
then converts might be stedfast in their adherence to the faith, 
yet some might, and probably did, incline to listen to their ju- 
daizing teachers ; and no doubt it was chiefly to obviate the im- 
pression made by them, and to preserve purity of faith in the 
heathen converts, that the apostle wrote this and its concomi- 
tant epistles to the Ephesians and Philippians. At any rate, the 
advice is addressed to those who were disposed to impose Jew- 
ish rites upon themselves or others. 

' In the world.'] " under the Jewish dispensation, ver. 8." 

■• Imposing upon yourselves.'] See Wakefield and Macknight. 
" Why do ye still dogmatize ? i. e. require compliance ♦vith the 
inj'uictions of the law ?" Peirce. 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect, II. 6. 459 

dinances {eat not s, taste not, touch not^ all ivhich ch. ii. 
meats ^ are made to be consumed by the use o^'Ver.21,22. 
them), according to the commandments and the doc- 
trines of men 7 ; which, having^ indeed a pretence of 23. 
wisdom^ in will-worship^^, and humility of 7nind, 

^ Eat not.l ^r, d^r,. Mr. Wakefield refers to 2 17, 
as a passage in which the word bears the same sense. Dr. Har- 
wood confirms it by passages from Diogenes Laertius and Op- 
pian, and Schleusner by the authority of Xenophon and Homer. 
Dr. Doddridge observes, " that the quick succession of these 
precepts, without any copulatives between, happily expresses 
the eagerness with which the seducing teachers inculcated those 
things." Kypke and others observe a climax in the apostle's 
words, " do not eat, do not taste, do not touch." 

" All which meats.] In this interpretation of the clause 
I agree with Peirce, Newcome, RosenmuUer, and others, 
" Setisus est, hi omnes cibi, tantiim ahest ut polluant vescentem, 
lit potius ipso usu pereant, et conjicinntur." RosenmuUer. " All 
these things are to be consumed by a temperate use of them." 
Peirce. aito-x^pfjcrsi is wanting in the .<Ethiopic, and omitted 
by Wakefield. " It denotes the use of such things as are con- 
sumed in using, in opposition to the use of such as are not 
consumed ; viz. houses, land," &c. Bowyer. 

' Doctrines of me«.] The Jev^ish sectaries, the Pharisees, 
Esscnes, &c. carried their traditional precepts far beyond the 
rigour of the written law. To these the apostle appears to al- 
lude, rather than to the Pythagorean precepts, as Macknight 
supposes ; or to the worship of angels, which is Peirce's opi- 
nion, and in which Newcome follows him. Perhaps he includes 
all th'j extravagances of the Essene opinions, " Fidetur Pau- 
lus non shnpliciter contra Judceos, Mosis legem defendentes dis- 
putare, adeo contemptim de opinionibus eorum loquitur; sed, 
contra Judeeos magnum vanarum opinionum copiam, ad Mosis 
legem, adsciscentes." RosenmuUer. 

^ Which, having, &c.] This verse is obscure ; but by the 
punctuation suggested by Peirce and others, the sense is made 
plain. Include in a parenthesis from Koyov to (rw[ia.TOs, and 
place a comma after nvi, supplying the adversative particle aXha, 
before itpos. " Which precepts, thoi'.gh pretending to wisdom, 
are not in any estimation, but serve to satisfy the flesh." See 
Peirce, Newcome, Griesbach, and Barrington apud Bowyer. 

^ Pretence of wisdom.'] Xoyor amongst many other senses 

460 Part I. COLOSSIANS, Sect. II. 6. 

Ch. II. and corporal severity, are in no estimation ', but 
Vcr. 'i'i. ggjyg ^Q fj^g gratification of the flesh 2. 

Let me speak freely to those among you who are 
disposed to submit to that yoke of useless rites 
which the Jewish sectaries endeavour to impose. 
Remember, my brethren, that by your baptismal 
profession you are dead, not only to a state of hea- 
thenism, but of Judaism also ; and that you have 
no more concern with the ritual law than a dead 
man with the living world. Why, then, do you dis- 
grace the gospel by acting as if you were living 
under the Jewish polity, and subject to all the bur- 
densorne rites, not only of Moses, but of the Jewish 
sectaries ? Why do you impose upon yourselves 
and others harsh restrictions concerning different 
kinds of food ? do not eat this, do not taste that, 
do not touch the other ? Be assured that the 
gospel pronounces all the creatures of God to be 
equally good, equally lawful ; and its generous spirit 

of this word, Schleusner gives the following, which he supports 
by authorities from Chrysostom, Sophocles, and Dionysiiis of 
Halicarnassus : " Species apparens, et externa aliciijus rti, quce 
rei ipsi et veritati opponifur." The Essenes, who are here pro- 
bably alluded to, pretended to be adepts in a superior and sub- 
lime philosophy. See Peirce, and Prideaux's Connexion, part ii. 
book V, p. 343 — ^361. 8vo. Also Joseph. Jntiq. 1. xviii. 2. De 
Bell. Jud. ii. 7. 

^^Will-worship.'] wor-ship of angels ; compare ver. 18. 

' In no estimation.'] " sk sv riiji,ri rivi' riiJ,-i^ signifies both ho- 
nour and profit." Peirce. 

• Gratification of the fleshy " Gratifying persons of a fleshly 
or Jewish disposition, ver. 18." Peirce. The word fiesh, in the 
apostle's writings, is continually used for the law, in opposition 
to spirit, wliich signifies the gospel. See Kom. viii. 4 — 8, 

Part I. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 7. 4G1 

disdains to prescribe any rules concerning articles ch. ii. 
of diet and daily consumption, but those of ternpe- ^^''* ^^* 
ranee and gratitude. Nor indeed did the law of 
Moses itself extend to those biu'densome restrictions 
which the Jewish sectaries now prescribe. They 
are mere human inventions and impositions, of no 
authority whatever, even in respect to Jews, much 
less with regard to Christians. They are indeed 
proposed to you under the specious form of a sub- 
lime philosophy, of a superior wisdom ; which 
enjoins a purity and perfection of worship beyond 
what the law of God itself requires; which pro- 
motes humility and self-abasement ; and which re- 
commends itself to God by voluntary austerities, 
and severe corporal abstinences and penances. But 
all this voluntary service and mortification is irra-* 
tional and unauthorized. It is of no account in 
the sight of God, and of no practical or moral use 
to the misguided man who submits to it. And it 
is but too true that many who make the loudest 
pretensions to mortification and humility, and 
who are most rigorous in ceremonial services, are 
prompted to it by spiritual pride, and an absurd 
opinion that, by such practices, they shall attain a 
peculiar share of the divine favour, while they neg- 
lect the proper duties of life. 

7. As risen with Christ to a new life, the apo- Ch. in. 
stle exhorts them to act up to the free and liberal 
spirit of the gospel, in full assurance of an ultimate 
and everlasting reward, ch. iii. ver. 1 — 4. 

462 Part 1. COLOSSIANS. Skct. II. 7. 

Ch. III. Seemg ^ therefore^ that ye have been raised ttp 

^^^' ^' with Christ, seek those thiiigs which are ahove^, 

where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God^. 

2. tSet your minds * on things above, not on those on 

the earth. 

As by your baptismal immersion you are dead 
and buried to the heathen and the Jewish state, 
and to all their laws and rules ; so by your return 
from that ordinance you are figuratively raised with 
Christ to another life, you are introduced by your 
profession of Christianity into a new world ; you 
are become members of that holy community of 
which Jesus is the exalted chief ; you are introduced 
into new connexions, new privileges, and new ex- 

' Seeing, &c.] Compare cli. ii. 20. As dead, they were to 
renounce all expectation from rites of the law : as raised to life, 
they were to act conformably to the principles and expectations 
of the gospel. See ch. ii. 12. 

* Things whicli are above^ Calvin justly understands this of 
the sublimer parts of Christianity, as opposed to Jewish cere- 
monies and rudiments of the world. See Doddridge on the text. 
It is plain that the apostle, by things above, means that superior 
state into which we are introduced by Christ, i. e. the gospel 

5 PFhere Christ, &c.] This expression has misled expositors 
to imagine that the apostle is here alluding to a local heaven. 
Whereas the expression, sitting at the right hand of God, can 
mean nothing more than advancement to great dignity in the 
church, of which Christ is appointed by God to be Lord and 

* Set ijoiir minds, &c.] (ppovsirs, an advance upon ^r^rsiTs in 
the preceding verse. Things on earth: " such poor matters as 
meats and drinks." Peirce. This ingenious expositor perceived 
that " things on earth" signified the " requisitions of the law ;" 
but it does not appear to have occurred to him that its opposite, 
" things above," must therefore signify " the precepts and the 
spirit of the gospel." 

Part 1. COLOSSIANS. Sncr. II. 7. 463 

Ch. III. 

Ver. 2. 

pectations, and are subject to new laws. You are, 
in a manner, translated from earth to heaven. Let 
your whole conduct, therefore, be worthy of your 
exalted situation; and behave in all respects as 
becomes members of that community over which 
Christ is appointed by God to exercise supreme au- 
thority. Let me press it upon you to practise and 
to devote yourselves wholly to the moral duties of 
your Christian profession, and to pay no attention 
whatsoever to Jewish rites. To you they are as 
insignificant and worthless as the toys of earth to 
an inhabitant of heaven. 

For ye have died^, and your life is treasured 3. 

up^ with Christ in God. When Christ, who is 4. 

your life, shall be rnanifested, then ye also shall 
be manifested with him in glory. 

* Ye have died.'] See Gal. ii. 20, where the same thought oc- 
curs. Christians are dead to all expectations from the world, 
and from the law ; yet they possess a life with Christ j thev are 
raised with him to a life of holiness, and to the hope of immor- 
tal life. This life is treasured up in God ; secure in his purpose 
and promise. It is also concealed ; for the blessings promised 
are not known to the world, nor even to believers themselves. 
But the time will come when the divine purpose shall be made 
manifest. Christ, their life, the preacher of life, whose resurrec- 
tion is the proof and jjledge of theirs, and who is their living 
head, whose life is inseparably connected with theirs, shall ap- 
pear to fulfill his glorious mission, and then they shall be pub- 
licly manifested as the heirs of immortal happiness. 

^ Treasured up.] " laid up in store with Christ in God: as 
in a -store-room, ready for future use. vtsK^vTrrat is equivalent 
to rs^rjo-xvpirai. See Col. ii. 3; Matt. xiii. 44; 2 Tim. i. 12. 
Hence light is thrown upon Luke xx. 38, Matt. vi. 1." Wake- 
field. Newcome observes, that " KSKpvTrroci, ver. 3, is opposed 
to (pxvspwh, ver. 4 ; and is explained by it q. d. as Christ is 
invisibly with God, so your life is with God, concealed, depo- 
sited, or treasured up with him, to be bestowed on you in his 


Part 1. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 7. 

Ch. III. And why, my brethren, am I so much in earnest 

Ver. 4. . . ' 

in urging you to neglect ceremonial services, and 
to confine your attention to the moral duties of the 
gospel ? It is because you have no concern what- 
ever with the Jewish institutes. You are, by the 
profession of Christianity, become dead to all ex- 
pectation of benefit by a ritual service. Neverthe- 
less you live : you have entered upon a new and 
glorious life ; a life of holiness, and faith, and virtue 
here, preparatory for, and introductory to, a life of 
happiness hereafter. This life is treasured up in 
God, in his purposes, his councils, and his pro- 
mises ; it is at present concealed ; it does not yet 
appear what we shall be. And though you will 
shortly moulder in the dust, you will still live with 
Christ, your instructor, your fore-runner, and your 
pledge of immortality. His renewed life is the se- 
curity for yours. Nor shall this great distinction 
remain for ever veiled in obscurity. When the ap- 
pointed season arrives, Christ, your Redeemer from 
the grave, shall appear in his own and his Father's 
glory, to raise the dead and to judge the world. 
Then shall you be publicly acknowledged by him as 
his faithful and approved disciples, and be admitted 
to share with him in his glorious and everlasting 

good time." " The life of the Christian," says Dr. Doddridge, 
" is here represented as an invaluable jewel, and under a dou- 
ble security, secure as the abode of Christ with the Father, or, 
as the fidelity and immutobility of the Father himself could 
make it." ver. 4. your life : this is the reading of the Ephrem 
and other MSS. The received text reads tj/xwv, our. 

Part II. COLOSSIANS. Sect. I. 46/ 


The apostle in the practical part ob' the Ch. in. 


the duties which christians owe to each 

upon the conduct which ought to BE OB- 
SERVED TO UNBELIEVERS. Ch. ill. 5 iv. 6. 


The APOSTLE presses the duty of self- government ^ 
and the indispensable necessity of utterly for- 
saking the vices of their fomner heathen state. 
Ch. iii. 5—7. 

Put to death ', therefore, your members ^ which Ver. 6. 
were iqion the earth 2, fornication, impurity, dis- 

' Tut to death!] So Macknight, Mortify is always used in 
a figurative sense, and does not convey the apostle's idea. The 
heathen self\s, supposed to be dead by the profession of Chris- 
tianity ; if, however, there should be in any of its members any 
remains of life, they are to be resolutely put to death. By this 
the apostle means, that if any of those disorderly passions, 
those impure affections, which were not only tolerated but en- 
couraged by heathen idolatry, and to which the Colossians 
themselves had been addicted in their unconverted state, re- 
mained in their hearts, they must resolutely resist and exter- 
minate them, as absolutely inconsistent with the spirit of 

* Which were upon the earth .] i. e. which belonged to you 

VOL. III. 2 H 

406 Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. 1. 

ch. HI. orderly passion, evil desire^ and exorbitant lewd- 
■ *^' 7}€ss, which is idolatry ^ 

I have said that, by the profession of Christianity, 
you are become new creatures, and have entered into 
a new world. Your former persons, your heathen 
selves, are dead. It is, however, possible that some 
parts or limbs of this former self may not be quite 
eactinct, but may still possess life and motion. If 
this be the case, I strictly charge you to put them 
to death without delay and without reserve. The 
meaning of this allegory, I doubt not, you well un- 
derstand. The impure abominable rites of heathen- 
ism were intended and calculated to inflame the pas- 
sions. The most odious debaucheries often consti- 
tuted a part of idolatrous worship. These crimes 
are strictly prohibited by the Christian law ; all ten- 
dency to them nmst be guarded against with the 
utmost vigilance and resolution : and all irregular 
affections must be completely suppressed. 

6. For which the anger of God is coming upon the 

7. sons of disobediefice 2 ; in which ye also formerly 
ivalked when ye lived among them. 

in your heathen state. You are now raised to life with Christ, 
and elevated with him to an upper region. See ver. \,2. 

' Exorbitant lewdness, which is idolatrtj .'j -irXsoys^ia- that this 
word is used in the writings of the apostle for those abominable 
impurities to which the heathen were so notoriously addicted, 
is sufficiently proved by Mr. Locke, after Dr. Hammond, in his 
note upon Eph. iv. 19, which is quoted at length by Peirce. 
Mr Wakefield translates it " inordinate desire." It is called 
idolatry, as being authorized and countenanced by the rites and 
practices of idolatrous nations. The infamous state of the Gen- 
tile world in this respect is well known, and is strongly and justly 
represented by the apostle, Rom. i. 

* Sons of disobedience .] i. e. the heathen, who were disobe- 

Part II. COLOSSIANS, Skct. II. 1. 467 

These criminal excesses are highly offensive in Ch. in. 
the sight of God, and he will in due time manifest ^'' 
his displeasure by overturning the heathen idolatry 
from its foundations. But if he is justly incensed 
against the uninstructed and unconverted heathen 
on this account, how much more offensive must 
such conduct be in professing Christians ! Nor 
will you think my caution useless, when you recol- 
lect that many of you, while in your heathen state, 
were as culpable in these respects as others. 


The apostle insists upon the duties which be- 
lievers owe to each other. Ch. iii. 8 — 17. 

1 . He cautions them against giving way to in- 
temperate passion ; and to abstain from falsehood 
and deceit, ver. 8 — 1 1 . 

But noWy do ye also lay aside all these : anger, 
animosity y malice^ eviUspeaking^ reproachfuhvords^ 
from your mouth. 

dient, not only to the gospel revelation, but to the light and 
law of nature, Rom. i. 20 — 28. The anger of God, which is 
here denounced, may signify the calamities which were impend- 
ing over the Roman empire ; but more probably the utter ck- 
termination of the then prevailing system of heathen supersti- 
tion, by the success of the Christian religion. 

' Reproachful words^ ai<ry^p:tMyia.v. Dr. Whitby observes, 
from Hesychius, Phavorinus, and Julius Pollux, that the word 
is used in this sense ; which also best suits the connexion. It 


468 Part II. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 1. 

Ch. III. As it is your duty to maintain the strictest go- 
Ver. 8. vei-niYient over your appetites and passions, so like- 
wise you are required to set a guard upon your tem- 
pers. You are not to imagine, as the heathen do, 
that you are at liberty to indulge implacable animo- 
sity, resentment, and rage, for every offence, and 
to give vent to your angry and malignant passions 
in calumnious and reproachful language. Such a 
conduct as this would be a disgrace to your pro- 
9, Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the 
10. old 7nan J with his practices , and have put on the 
new man ; who is renewed in knowledge according 
to the image of his creator^. 

Let no consideration induce you to utter a wilful 
falsehood with an intention to deceive and injure 
others. How innocent soever such conduct may 
be deemed among ignorant heathen, it is utterly in- 
admissible among professing Christians. Remem- 
ber, you are dead to your old heathen state, and by 

is generally rendered _^Z<% talking or conversation, and is un- 
derstood as a prohibition of all licentious discourse. See Eph. 
iv. 29. 

' The old man, &c.] i. e. your heathen state, your former 
self, with his deeds, and particularly the habit of lying. Many 
of the philosophers thought lying lawful when it was profitable. 
See Leland on the Necessity of the Christian Revelation, vol. ii. 
p. 219, 220. 

* The new man, &c.] Your Christian state ; your new self. 
New in all respects : particularly as to the knowledge of right 
and wrong. According to the image of his creator: i. e. Jesus 
Christ. See Col. i. IG. Believers by the new creation are 
formed after the image of Christ their creator, as man was ori- 
ginally formed after the image of God in the natural creatior». 
Gen. i. 26, 27. 

Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. II. 1 . 469 

embracing the doctrine of Christ you are become ch. ik. 
new persons, living in a new state, possessing new ^*^'"' ^^" 
apprehensions and feelings, subject to new laws, and 
influenced by new views and hopes. You are created 
anew by Jesus Christ, and you bear the stamp and 
image of your Creator. And particularly you resem- 
ble him in knowledge, and in the power of discri- 
minating justly between right and wrong, so as not 
to be in danger of confounding good and evil like 
your heathen neighbours ; who are involved in the 
most pernicious errors upon moral subjects. You, 
I say, are of that new creation, 

TVherem there is neither Greek nor Jew, circum- \ I, 
vision nor uncircicmcision, barbarian, Scythian, 
slave nox free-man, but Christ is all and in all'^. 

In this new state into which you are introduced 
by the gospel, all ceremonial and civil distinctions 
are overlooked. The believing Gentile is as accept^ 
able to God as the believing Jew ; the barbarian has 
the same title to the privileges of the gospel as the 

' Christ is all, and in all7\ Christy i. e. a resemblance to 
Christ, is all, i. e. is the only thing attended to : in all, i. e. in 
all believers, of whatsoever rank, profession, or country. The 
only qualification necessary for a participation of the blessings 
of the gospel is Christ, abelief of his doctrine, and a conformity 
to his image. All other distinctions, whether ceremonial or civil, 
are in this view of no use. Hence we see how very frivolous 
and inconclusive the argument is which is drawn from this text 
to prove that Christ is truly God : viz. that he is here called all 
and in all ; and that the same words are applied to God, 1 Cor. 
XV. 28, that God may be all in all. The expressions in the two 
passages are used in senses widely different. The same mode 
of reasoning would prove Adam to be God ; for he was the Fa- 
ther of all mankind, and so likewise is God, 

470 Part IL C O L O S S 1 A N S. Sect. II. 2. 

Ch. III. polite, and the Christian slave as the Christian free- 
^'* * man. In a word, the only circumstance of any im- 
portance in this new state into which believers are 
introduced is, their resemblance to Christ in all the 
excellencies of his character. In proportion as they 
bear his i.Tiage, they are entitled to participate in 
liis glory. 

2. The apostle earnestly recommends the prac- 
tice of various social virtues, and particularly the 
exercise of a gentle and forgiving spirit, ver. 12 
— lo. 

12, Put on ', therefore^ as chosen, holy, and beloved 
of God^, the tender est pity 3, kindness •*, humility 

13. of mind, meekness, long-suffering, {hearing with 
each other, and freely forgiving each other if any 

' Put on, &c.] The heathen man, the formerself, being dead, 
his garments also were to be laid aside, viz. anger, wrath, &c. 
ver. 8, 9 J i. e. the vices of the heathen state. And the new man, 
the Christian self, the image of Christ, being assumed, a be- 
coming dress must be put on with it, such as pity, kindness, 
and the other virtues of the Christian character ; which are all 
to be made fast with the girdle of love. Gal. iii. 27. 

^ Chosen, &c.] These are epithets which express their pre- 
sent privileged and Christian state as distinguished from their 
former state of heathenism when they were excluded from the 
privileges of God's professing people. They were chosen by God 
from the rest of the heathen world ; they were hobj, as being 
separated from the rest of mankind by their profession of Chris- 
tianity : they were beloved, as being favoured with peculiar pri- 
vileges. See Taylor's Key to the Romans. 

^ Tenderest pity.'] In the Greek, " bowels of pity." See 

* Kindness.'] ^pY/S-otT^ra " properly signifies," says Dr. 
Macknight, " that sweetness of disposition which leads men 
to comply with the innocent inclinations of others, and to speak 
to them courteouslv." 

Part If. COLOSSIANS. Sect. II. 2. 471 

one have a complaint against another, even as the ch. ii. 
Lord freely forgave^ you, so also do ye,) and over ver. 14. 
all these put on love, which is the band of perfec- 
tion^, • 

In your new created state, if you all bear the 
image of Christ in profession and spirit, you are all 
equally dear to God, whatever your previous local, 
civil, or ceremonial distinctions may have been; and 
you are all equally entitled to those high and ho- 
nourable epithets which were once limited to the 
chosen descendants of Abraham. But in your new 
state you must also wear a new dress : instead of 
clothing yourselves in robes of anger, resentment, 
and revenge, when any injury has been received, or 

* The Lord freely forgave^ The Alexandrine and Clermont 
manuscripts, and the Italic and Vulgate versions, read Kucioj 
instead of Xpig-og. God is said to have freely forgiven the sins 
of their heathen state, by having gratuitously admitted them to 
a participation of the privileges of the gospel, upon the profes- 
sion of their faith in Christ. This, in the apostle's language, is 
being justified freely by his grace, Rom.iii. 24. This seems to 
indicate, that Christians are not to wait till overtures of recon- 
ciliation are made by the offending party ; but, though justly 
offended, to be the first in proposing offers of peace. 

" Over all these, &c.] Love is the Christian's girdle. See 
Macknight. TsXsioi are perfect Christians; believers eminent 
in knowledge and virtue : see 1 Cor. ii. 65 P2ph. iv. 13 ; Col. i. 
28, iv. 12 : TsXeiorr^i , therefore, is that which constitutes per- 
fection, viz. the virtues of the Christian character. Love is the 
band of these virtues : it comprehends the;n all. When love 
exists, no other social virtue will be wanting. Love is the ful- 
filling of the law. Rom.xiii. 10. The Clermont and some other 
copies read Bvorrjfos. Love is the band of unity ; it is this which 
preserves harmony and union among the difl^rent members of 
the Christian church. SeeSchleusner and Griesbach. This sense 
docs not seem quite so well to stiit the connexion, v^here love is 
represented as the girdle of the Christian dress, binding toge- 
ther the various articles of which it is composed. 

472 Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. 11. 2. 

Ch. III. apprehended, you must, as the chosen servants of 
Ver. 4. Qq(J^ p^it Q^ ii^Q garments of pity, of kindness, of 
forbearance and forgiveness; bearing with each 
others infirmities and imperfections. And even 
where offence has been wantonly given, you ought 
to be ready to forgive the penitent offender without 
always waiting for complete compensation for the 
injury received: in this respect imitating the great 
example of God himself, who has gratuitously, and 
without any solicitation on your part, overlooked 
the sins of your heathen state, and imparted to you 
the inestimable blessings of the gospel. Let this 
illustrious instance of divine mercy be the model 
of your conduct. And finally, let the social virtues 
be bound to your heart by the cincture of love; of 
love, which comprehends in itself all social duty, 
and is the great bond of union among the disciples 
of Christ, 
1 5. And let the peace of Christ •, u?ito which ye have 
been called in one body^ preside 2 in your hearts ; 
and be thankful. 

Let that peace which you enjoy as members of 

■ Peace of Christ.^ Xpiss. Such is the reading of the Alex- 
andrine and other approved copies, which is adopted by Gries- 
bach^ Newcome, and Wakefield. The peace of Christ is that 
state of peace with God and with each other into which we have 
been introduced by Christ. See Eph, ii. 14 — 16. This peace is 
accomplished by uniting all believers in one body, of which 
Chi'ist is the head. Eph. iv. 4. 

* Preside in your hearts.'] (Spa'Savw is, to assign the prize to 
the concpieror in the games ; and in general, to preside or rule. 
The apostle's advice is, that they should act by their fellow^ 
Christians consistently with that state of harmony and concord 
into which they have been introduced by Christ. 

Pakt II. C O L O S S I a N S. Sect. II. 3. 473 

Christ's mystical body, peace with God, and recon- ch. ill. 
ciliation to each other, animate you to live at peace ^'^' 
one with another, and to love each other. Let mu- 
tual love and harmony be the great prize of your 
holy and Christian ambition : and maintain a 
thankful spirit for the blessings which you enjoy 
by the gospel revelation. 

3. The apostle further recommends a cheerful, 
thankful, pious spirit as the best evidence of an 
intimate knowledge of the gospel, ver. \6y 17. 

Let the doctrine of Christ dwell in you richly^. 16. 

TVith all ivisdojii teaching and admonishing your- 
selves'^ by psalms, and hymns, and spiritual odes ^ ; 
singing with thankfulness^ in your hearts to GodT. 

Study the instructions of Christ with attention 
suited to their importance ; and make yourselves 
very familiar, both with the precepts and the doc- 
trines of Christianity. And in this view you will 
find it of great advantage to commit to memory 
psalms and hymns and other pious poetical com- 
positions which are easily remembered and recol- 

^ Richly.'] I follow the punctuation of Griesbach and Mac- 

* Yourselves.'] savtss. So Wakefield. " one another." 
Newcome. " yourselves and others." Macknight. 

* Psalms, &c,] It is not easy to distinguish the different 
kinds of poems to which the apostle alludes. See Eph. v. 1 9. 
Dr. Macknight says that njSat, odes, are poems which were com- 
posed to be sung with a lyre or other musical instrument. 

" With thankfulness.] ev ^apiri. See Wakefield and New- 
come. 17} iCor. XV.57; 2Cor.ii. 14. 

' To God.] &SU}. This is the reading of the most apjn'oved 
manuscripts and versions. Sec Gricsbuch and Newcome. 

474 Part II. C O L O S S 1 A N S. Sect, II. 3. 

Ch. III. lected, and which convey important truths in im- 
Ver. 16. pressive language. These impressions will also be 
more permanent and useful, if the repetition of the 
words is accompanied with music vocal or instru- 
mental. Only let me remind you, that when you 
sing you must exercise devout affections ; and par- 
ticularly, a grateful spirit, without which the most 
sublime language accompanied with the most ex- 
quisite harmony would be nothing more than a con- 
temptible jargon of unmeaning sounds. 
1 7, And whatsoever ye say or do ^ do all in the name 
of tJesus Christ"; giving thanks to God, even the 
Father t through him. 

To conclude : I earnestly press it upon you, in 
every state and circumstance of life to act agreeably 
to your Christian profession ; in obedience to the 
authority, and in conformity to the example, of 
your master Jesus : and, like his, let your whole 
lives be a continued act of devotion, and an unin- 
terrupted expression of gratitude to God. 

' Say or do ;] this is Mr. Wakefield's version. 

■^ Jesus Cfmst.'] Such is the reading of most of the ancient 
copies. The received text reads, " Lord Jesus." See Gries- 
bach. " Let your whole minds be occupied by Cliristian 

.sentiments. Let your great object be to recommend the prin- 
ciples of your religion to others, by acting upon them your- 
selves ; and always consider yourselves as under the greatest 
obligation lo God for this invaluable gift." Dr. Priestley. 

Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Skct. III. 1. 4/5 


The apostle briefly insists upon relative duties. Ch. iv. 
Ch.'iii. 18— iv. i. 

1. He urges the duties of the conjugal relation, 
ver. 18, 19. 

Wives y be subject^ to your husbands, as it is Jit Ver. 18. 
in the Lord^. Husbands, love your ivives, and be 19. 
not bitter toward them. 

Let Christian wives yield that deference to their 
unbelieving husbands which the laws and customs 
of society require : for such conduct is higlily agree- 
able to the principles of the Christian religion, which, 
whatever change it may introduce into men's moral 
state, makes no alteration in their civil relations. 
And let Christian husbands behave kindly and ten- 
derly to their unbelieving wives; and not think 
themselves authorized to deal harshly with them 

^ Wives, he subject, &c.] Dr. Chandler has satisfactorily 
shown that the precepts concerning relative duties Eph. v. 22 
et seq. evidently relate to persons of different religions ; and as 
these are a brief recapitulation of the same advices, there can 
be no doubt that they relate to persons in the same circum- 
stances. The apostle might not think it necessary to insist 
more particularly upon the subject, as he directs the Colossians 
to send for and to read the other epistle in the church. See 
ver. 16. 

* It is Jit in the Lord.'] " In the Lord. Among those who 
are Christians." Ncwcome. 

47G Part II. C L O S S I A N S. Skct. III. 2. 

Ch, III. because they have not yet embraced the faith of 

2. He states the duties of children and parents, 
ver. 20, 21. 
Ver. 20. Children^ obey your parents in all things ' ; foi^ 
21. this is acceptable in the Lord'^. Fathers, do not 
irritate 3 your children, lest they be discouraged. 

Let not the believing children of unbelieving pa- 
rents imagine that the profession of Christianity re- 
leases them from the obligation of filial duty ; but 
let them be assured that they are then acting a part 
most acceptable to God and most suitable to their 
Christian profession, when they yield that entire 
subjection to paternal authority which the esta- 
blished order of society requires, and even excel 
others in filial duty, where the superior obligations 
of religion do not interfere. 

And let not believing parents animadvert with 
too much severity upon the errors and the faults 
of their unconverted children, lest young persons 
often and harshly reproved, and despairing of com- 
ing up to that high standard of perfection which 
the parent has established, should be tempted to 

' In all things.'] Christianity does not diminish that autho- 
rity which the laws and customs of the country have placed in 
the hands of the parent. An exception, however, must be made 
to those precepts which are plainly repugnant to the laws of 

^ Acceptable in the Lord."] ev Kvpiio is the true reading. See 
ver. 18, and Griesbach. 

^ Irritate.'} irapopyi^sts is the reading of the most authentic 
copies. See Griesbach. 

Part II. COLOSSIANS, Sect. III. 3. 477 

throw off every restraint, and to abandon them- ch. ill. 
selves to vice and ruin. 

3. He insists more particularly upon the duties 
of servants and masters, ver. 22 — iv. 1 . 

Bond-servants^ obey your earthly masters^ in Ver. 22. 
all things ; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, 
but with simplicity of heart revering the Loi^d^: 
and ivhatsoeverye are employed in, perform it from 23. 
the soul ^ as to the Lord, and not to inen ; knowing 24. 
that from the Lord ye will receive the reward of 
the inheritance, for Christ indeed is the master 
\uhom ye are serving 7. Moreover, he that doeth 25. 

^ Earthly masters.'] In the original, " masters according to 
the flesh." " temporal xneLsters." Dr. Harwood. The apostle 
is evidently addressing himself to the Christian servants, or ra- 
ther slaves, of unbelievinj-j masters ; who probably might believe, 
and by their false teachers be told, that being emancipated from 
all former connexions by faith in Christ, they were no further 
bound to obey their masters than while they were under their 
immediate inspection and in danger of punishment for neglect 
of duty ; but that they were at perfect liberty to neglect their 
master's service if they could do it with impunity. The apostle 
teaches them tliat the profession of Christianity relaxed no civil 
obligations ; that obedience to their masters was a duty they 
owed to Christ ; and that, however unjust or oppressive the 
conduct of their masters might be, it was their duty to be faith- 
ful and active in their service, whether under their master's 
eye, or not, and to look for their reward in a future life. See 
Eph. vi. 5 — 8, and Chandler's notes. 

* Revering the Lord.'] rov Kvpiov is the true reading : the 
received text reads " God." See Griesbach. Simplicity of heart 
in the preceding clause is opposed to that double-dealing for 
which slaves were remarkable. 

" From the soul] See Wakefield, ejt ^v^ij?. Comp. Eph. 
vi. 6. 

' For Christ indeed, &c.] This is Mr. Wakefield's version, 
and expresses accurately the true meaning of the apostle. 

478 Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. III. 3. 

Ch. III. ivrong shall suffer for the wrong which he hath 
Ver. 25. ^qjiq . djid there is no respect of persons '. 

I must be a little more particular in my advice 
to Christian slaves, who, having been regenerated 
into that new creation in which in a moral view 
there is no distinction but what arises from real 
worth, may be inclined to believe, and are indeed 
by their false teachers instructed, that they are re- 
leased from all obligation to serve heathen mas- 
ters ; and that they are in duty bound to do no- 
thing more than what they are compelled to do 
under their master's eye. Let me assure you, that 
these principles are very remote from the spirit of 
the gospel ; which enforces all civil duties by new 
and most efficacious motives. 

Instead, therefore, of neglecting the service of 
your heathen masters, I call upon you to obey 
them with alacrity in all their lawful commands : 
and that not only when their eye is upon you, and 
from a desire to recommend yourselves to them, 
but perform your work honestly as a Christian duty, 
and from regard to the authority of Christ. Do all 
that is required of you, and do it cheerfully ; as if 
you were working, not for an earthly master, but 
for Christ himself. In a word, always consider 
yourselves as the servants of Christ ; and whatever 
you are ordered to do, do it with the same alert- 
ness and zeal as if Christ had given you the com- 

' No respect of persons^ This observation is applied to the 
conduct of masters Eph. vi. 9. 

Ch. IV. 
Ver. 1. 

Part 11. COLOSSIANS. Sect. Ill, 3. 47D 

mand. For he is your true master; and whether ch. in. 
your heathen masters reward you or not, he will ^^'"" ^^* 
give you ample recompense for your fidelity, and 
will admit you to the relation and privileges of chil- 
cren in the great family of which he is the head. 
But on the contrary, if any one neglects his proper 
duty, and under any pretence whatever does injury 
to another, he shall certainly suffer condign punish- 
ment from his impartial judge ; whether he be a 
believer or an unbeliever, a master or a slave. 

Masters, give unto your bond-servants what is 
Just and equitable % knowing that ye also have a 
master i?i heaven. 

Christian masters, see to it that ye do not treat 
your heathen slaves as if they were not entitled to 
common humanity and common justice. Require 
nothing from them but what is reasonable, and give 
them the encouragement and recompense which is 
their due. Remember that you are by profession 
the servants of Christ ; and though he is now in- 
visible, he will another day appear in judgement, 
and as you have acted by your slaves and depend- 
ants, so you may justly expect to be treated by your 
Master when he comes. 

* Just and equitable.'] ro SiKouov, kxi trjv Krorrjra. Comp. 9. ra, avrx iroisits, do the same things. 

480 Part II. COLOSSIANS. Sect. IV. L 


Ch. IV. The apostle recommends piety and devotion to* 
wards God, and prudence in their conduct to- 
wards their heathen neighbours. Ch. iv. 2—6. 

I . The apostle recommends prayer and thanks- 
giving, and desires an interest in their intercessions, 
ver. 2 — 4. 
Vor. 2. Persevere in prayer ', and luatch therein with 
3. thanksgiving ; praying at the same time for us 
also, that God would open to us a door of utter^ 
ance", to declare the mystery of Christ, for which 

' Persevere in prayer, &c.] From the connexion in which 
this exhortation is introduced, Mr. Peirce argues that the apo- 
stle had a particular reference to the perilous circumstances of 
Christians at that time. This observation is corroborated by 
comparing this passage with its parallel, Eph. vi. 18 — 20. 
" The duty of prayer," says Dr. Priestley, " is constantly urged 
upon Christians : and to have God continually in our thoughts, 
in which state of mind it will be impossible not to address our- 
selves to him in thanksgiving and petition, is the great object 
of all the means of religion. When we have attained to this 
habitual devotion, so that, as the Psalmist says, (iod shall be in 
all our thoughts, we shall be prepared for all the events of life, 
and secure against all temptations to sin. And without this 
habitual devotion, or constant regard to the presence and go- 
vernment of God in all our actions, all the prescribed means of 
religion signify nothing." 

* A door of utterance i] ^vpav Tn Xoys, a door for the word. 
Wakefield and Macknight. i. e. a favourable opportunity of 
preaching the gospel with success ; and that he would remove 
every obstruction out of the way. The former signification best 

Part II. COLOSSIANS. Sect. IV. 1. 481 

indeed I am in bonds^, that I may make it mani- cii. IV. 
/est hy speaking as I ought 4. 

You are in the midst of dangers, and surrounded 
by temptations, either to corrupt the doctrine or to 
desert the profession of Christianity ; pray, there- 
fore, to be preserved from apostasy, and as your 
dangers are incessant, let your prayers be constant; 
and amidst the business and avocations of life, 
watch for and embrace every favourable opportu- 
nity for this purpose. And let your prayers for 
perseverance be joined with devout thanksgivings 
for the blessings and privileges of the gospel. 

And in your prayers, as a testimony of affection, 
remember me, and pray for me that God would 
grant me an opportunity to preach the gospel, and 

agrees with the corresponding passage Eph. vi. 19. q. d. " a 
large opportunity of declaring the mystery of the gospel to the 
Gentiles, and their equal participation of its privileges with the 
Jews." Newcome. 

" It is very observable," says Dr. Priestley, " that all the 
apostle wished for from the prayers of his friends was, his having 
a more open field for preaching the gospel. This appears to have 
been his only great object : to life or death he seems to have 
been indifferent. Could such a man as this, whose epistles are 
so much the language of nature, be an impostor, carrying on 
some artful design, the object of which must have been his in- 
terest or fame ? They know nothing of human nature, or the 
natural expressions of human sentiments, who can suspect any 
such thing." 

' The mystery of Christ, &c.] This mystery was the ad- 
mission of the Gentiles into the church, Eph. iii. 8, 9. For 
preaching this doctrine the apostle was arrested at Jerusalem, 
and sent a prisoner to Rome. 

* Speaking as I ought.'] So Wakefield. Gr. " as it behoves 
me to speak." " that I may declare it as plainly and fully 
as it becomes me to do, who have been so peculiarly intrusted 
with the revelation of it, and a commission to preach it." Peirce. 

VOL. III. 2 r 

482 PabtII, COLOSSIANS. Sect. IV. 2. 

Ch. IV. to make known that gracious purpose which was so 
^^'■' ^' long concealed in the counsels of heaven, that the 
Gentiles should be admitted to the privileges of the 
chosen people. A glorious discovery, for bearing 
testimony to which I am now in bonds. But so 
far am I from being discouraged by persecution, 
that I request your prayers to be united with those 
of other churches for my release for no other pur- 
pose, but that I may be more at liberty to publish 
the joyful tidings with a zeal and activity worthy of 
the cause, and of the unspeakable obligation I am 
under to him by whose mercy I was selected and 
commissioned for this important embassy. 

2. The apostle recommends prudence in conduct 
and conversation towards their unbelieving neigh- 
bours, ver. 5t d. 

6. Behave wisely towards those that are without ' ; 

6. thus gaining time^. Let your conversation be al- 
ways courteous^, seaso7ied with discretion^, that ye 
may know how ye ought to answer every one ^. 

* Those that are without -.I i.e. " the unconverted heathen." 

* Gaining time.'] See Dan. ii. 8, LXX. Eph. v. 15, 16. 
'^ gaining as much as you can, prolonging your own tranquil- 
lity, and the opportunity of spreading the gospel." Peirce. 

' Courteous.] sv %apjrt. " well-pleasing, mild, becoming, 
good, making you gracious to and favoured by your hearers." 
Newcome. See Peirce on ch. iii. 17. 

^ Discretion.] In the original, salt. Mr. Peirce observes, that 
" salt is put for wisdom both in sacred and profane authors." 

* That ye maij know, &c.] Mr. Peirce supposes that the apo- 
stle here has particular respect to the heathen magistrates, who 
had it in their power to call them in question for their religion. 


Paut II. C O L O S S I A N S. Sect. IV. 2. 483 

Be prudent in your conduct towards your hea- ch. iv. 
then neighbours ; and do not by any impropriety of ^'' ' 
behaviour, and particularly by acting as though, by 
the profession of Christianity, you were released 
from the obligation of social duties, give any un- 
necessary offence. Your principles are themselves 
sufficiently obnoxious ; and let your conduct be ever 
so correct and benevolent, they will probably, some 
time or other, expose you to persecution ; but cir- 
ctimspection and an inoffensive behaviour will delay 
the storm, and prolong the season of security and 

Do not excite prejudice by unguarded and unbe- 
coming language. Be courteous, be discreet : ob- 
serve the characters and manners of those with 
whom you associate ; and, without sacrificing your 
principles, or your integrity, endeavour so to adapt 
your conversation to your company, that none 
may be disgusted, and that, if possible, all may be 
pleased, instructed, and edified. 

See 1 Pet. iii. 15. But it does not seem necessary to limit 
the apostle's advice to this case. Mr. M'^akefield's version is, 
" knowing the proper answer for every person." " This," says 
Dr. Priestley, " is an admonition to avoid whatever is offensive, 
and to study whatever is civil and agreeable in conversation ; 
and also that address which will qualify a man to defend his 
principles, whether they be attacked by argument or ridicule. 
Good sense is never employed to more advantage than in this 
way. And to persons who see much of the world, there is con- 
tinual occasion for it." 

'i I 'i 

484 Part U. C O L O S S I a N S. Conclusion. 


Ch. iV. The apostle expresses his solicitude that the 
Colossian Christians should be informed of his 
present situation, for which purpose he sends 
Tychicus to visit them. He closes his epistle 
ivith salutations and a benediction. Ch. iv. 

1 . The apostle refers the Colossians to Tychicus 
and Onesimus for a complete account of his affairs, 
ver. 7 — 9. 
Ver. 7. Tychicus •, that beloved brother and faithful mi- 
nister, and vi\^ fellow -servant in the Lord, will 

8. make known to you all things concerning me ; whom 
I have sent to you for this very purpose, that ye 
might kjiow our situation^, and that he might com- 

9. fort yotir hearts : together tvith Onesimus, that 

' Tychicus.'] Tychicus was one of the Christian evangelists 
who accompanied the apostle in his travels, and who now mi- 
nistered to him in his imprisonment. He and Onesimus were 
commissioned by the apostle to carry his epistles to the Ephe- 
sians or Laodiceans, vi. 21, 22, to the Colossians, and to Phi- 
lemon ; and to communicate all the intelligence respecting him- 
self and his affairs at Rome, which his friends m.ight be desirous 
to hear. In the Lord, i. e. " under our common Lord, in the 
church of Christ." Newcome. 

' That ye might know, &c.] Iva yvwte ra. irspi T^fLwv. This is 
the reading of the Alexandrine and other manuscripts, and li- 
terally coincides with Eph. vi. 22. It is marked as of good au- 
thority by Griesbach, and adopted by Dr, Harwood. 

Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 485 

faithful and beloved brother^ ivho is one ofyou^, Oh. jv. 
they luill inform you concerning all affairs here. " ^* 

Iknow, my brethren, that you are under great 
solicitude on my account, and perhaps you appre- 
hend my situation to be more inconvenient and ha- 
zardous than it really is. To alleviate your anxiety, 
therefore, and to comfort your spirits, I have sent 
Tychicus, my beloved fellow-Christian, and my 
faithful fellow-labourer in the gospel ministry, to 
represent to you the exact state in which I am. 
That you may know that, though a prisoner for the 
cause of truth, I am neither discouraged, nor inac- 
tive, nor useless ; and that I am not without hope 
of obtaining a speedy release. And with Tychicus 
I have sent Onesimus, whom you know as your 
countryman, and whom I have now the satisfaction 
to announce to you as your Christian brother ; of 
whose sincerity and faithfulness I have had much 
experience, and who is dear to me, and will, 1 trust, 
be so to you in the bonds of Christian affection. 
These two excellent men will give you the most sa- 
tisfactory information concerning me, and the affairs 
of the believers at Rome. 

^Onesimus — one of you.'] He was the fugitive slave of Phile- 
mon, an inhabitant of Colossae 3 he had been converted to Chris- 
tianity by the apostle at Rome, and was now sent back to his 
master with a letter of recommendation from the apostle. The 
apostle, no doubt, ordered Onesimus first to deliver his epistle 
to Philemon, and presumed upon the success of his interces- 
sion, before he would allow him to join with Tychicus in deli- 
vering the epistle to the Colossians. 

Indeed the epistle to Philemon is so connected with that to 
the Colossians, that I have taken the liberty of transposing that 
short epistle and annexing it us an appendix to the otjaev. . 

436 Part II. C O L S S I A N S. Conclusion. 

Ch. IV. 2. The apostle sends the salutations of his com- 
panions and fellow-labourers, some of whom were 
also his fellow-sufferers at Rome, ver. 10 — 14. 

Ver. 10. Aristarchus ', my fellow -prisoner y and Mark^, 
the nephew of Barnabas^, concerning whom y0 
have received instructions^ (f he come unto you en- 
1 1 . tertain him, ) and Jesus called Justus *, salute you. 
These are the only persons who^ being of the cir- 
cumcisiojiy have been my fellow-labourers in the 
kingdom of God, and have been a comfort to me. 

Of these eminent persons, my friends and fellow- 
labourers who send their salutations to you, one is 
Aristarchus, to whose merit you are probably no 
strangers, who has been the companion of my jour- 
neys, and of my dangers, both in Thessalonica and 
Judea, and who is now my fellow-prisoner at Rome. 
Another of them is Mark, (the near relation of my 
first beloved associate Barnabas,) whose timid con^ 

' Aristarchus, 7ny fellow -prisoner.'] He was a Macedonian of 
Thessalonica, Acts xix. 29, xx. 24, but a Jew by descent. He 
went with St. Paul into Asia, and was seized by the mob at 
Ephesus. He afterwards accompanied the apostle to Rome, 
Acts xxvii. 2, where he was his fellow-labourer, (Philem. 24,) 
and perhaps his fellow-prisoner. See note on ver. 10. 

^ Mark.l This evangelist, though he had formerly deserted 
the apostle. Acts xiii. 13, and for that reason had been rejected 
by him as an associate. Acts xv. 38 ; yet was now perfectly re- 
conciled to him, and held in high estimation by him. See Phi- 
lem. ver. 24, 2 Tim. iv. 11. 

^ Nephew of Barnabas.'] avs^ios' " cousin." Wakefield. — 
" sister's son," in the Public Version, &c. " Aut patrueles, aut 
amitini, aut consobrini. His tribus vocibus Grceca ilia vox in 
Glossis vertitur." RosenmuUer. 

* Jesus called Justus.] This name had -probably been given 
him at Rome, as sounding less uncouth to a Roman ear than 
his proper Hebrew name Jesus. 

Part il. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 487 

duct produced a temporary separation between us, Ch. iv. 
but who has long since resumed his courage and ^^' ' 
zeal in the cause of truth, and is now one of my 
most active supporters and best friends. He is soon 
setting off from hence upon an important mission ; 
if he should come to Colossse in his way, receive 
and entertain him with the respect due to his cha- 
racter and office. To the honour of these two en- 
lightened and liberal-minded persons, together with 
that of Justus, who desires that his name may be 
united in the salutation with theirs, be it known 
that, though they are Jews by descent, and strict 
observers of the law themselves, they are far from 
being desirous to impose the yoke upon Gentile be- 
lievers. Being well instructed in the liberal genius 
and spirit of Christianity, they have cheerfully co- 
operated with me in preaching the gospel to the 
heathen, and have comforted and encouraged me 
in all my difficulties. And to say the truth, they 
are the only Jewish believers in this place from 
whom I have derived any assistance, or any conso- 
lation ; such is the violence of prejudice against me 
for teaching fully and clearly the liberty of the Gen- 
tiles from the yoke of the ceremonial law. 

JSpaphras^y who is one of you, a servant of 12. 

* Epaphras, one of you.'] He appears to have been a citizen 
of Colossse, and to have instructed them in the doctrine of 
Christ J also from him the apostle received a favourable account 
of the stat« of the church in that city. See Col. i. 6 — 8. In 
the epistle to Philemon, ver. 23, he is mentioned as the fellow- 
prisoner of the apostle, and Aristarchus not. The ^Ethiopic ver- 
sion omits the words " my fellow-prisoner,'* verse 10, to which 

488 Paut II. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 

Ch. IV. Christ, saluteth you, always earnestly striving for 

Ver. 12. y^y^ -^^ j^'g prayers, that ye may stand perfect and 

13. complete in the whole ivill of GodK For I bear 

him witness that he has a great concern "^ for you, 

and for those in Laodicea, and in Hierapolis, 

Epaphras also sends his salutations to you. You 
know him well as a faithful servant of Christ, by 
whom many of you were converted to the Christian 
faith ; who diligently and succes.sfully performed 
the office of a teacher among you when divine Pro- 
vidence restrained me from making you a visit, and 
employed my labours elsewhere. From hiui I have 
lately received the acceptable tidings of your sted- 
fastness and improvement ; and his zeal and assi- 
duity, even in this place, have endangered his per- 
sonal safety. Though he cannot personally address 
you, he still bears you upon his mind, and he ear- 
nestly prays for you and for the neighbouring 
churches in which his labours have been employed, 
that as you are at present so well informed and so 
eminently distinguished in faith and virtue, you 
may firmly adhere to the principles in which you 

Mill accedes. See Bovvyer. Perhaps that clause should be in- 
troduced after Epaphras in this place ; for it seems extraordi- 
nary that, if Epaphras was in prison, the apostle should not 
mention it to the Colossians. 

' Whole Will of God^ Peirce observes, that " he has here a 
respect more especially to that part of the will of God which 
was so much upon his heart, their maintaining their Christian 
liberty, and not submitting to Jewish ordinances." 

- GreMt concern.'\ Griesbach, upon the authority of the Alex-^ 
andrine and other manuscripts, reads TtoKvv ttovov, great concern, 
instead of tcoXw ^r,Kov, great zeal, which is the reading of the 
received text. See Newcome. 

Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 489 

have been instructed, and not suffer yourselves to Ch. iv. 
be corrupted by the artifices of seducing teachers, ^^^* ^' 
either in doctrine or in practice. 

Luke"^ the physician, and beloved brother , and H. 
Demas'^y salute you. 

These my brethren and fellow-labourers, who 
have accompanied me in my missionary journeys, 
and one of whom has been my faithful companion, 
my kind friend, during the whole of my long and 
perilous confinement here, desire me to assure you 
of their affectionate regards. 

3. The apostle sends salutations to Laodicea; 
directs that both his epistles be read in both the 
churches, and gives a solemn charge to Archippus, 
ver. 15-- 17. 

^ Luke.'] It is generally allowed that the person here men- 
tioned is Luke the evangelist and historian, and the associate 
of Paul in his travels and his labours. From comparing this 
w^ith ver. 1 1, vs^here the apostle says that he had no fellow-la- 
bourer of the circumcision, but those whom he had named. 
Lord Barrington concludes that Luke was a proselyte of the 
Gate before he was converted to Christianity ; and Dr. Dod- 
dridge thinks it may be fairly concluded that he was not a Jew. 

^ DemasJ] If we admit with Dr. Lardner, vthat appears 
highly probable, that the second epistle to Timothy was writ- 
ten not long after the apostle's arrival at Rome, it will follow 
that Demas, whom the apostle in that epistle accuses of desert- 
ing him and of going off to Thessalonica, had, like Mark, re- 
covered his courage, returned to Rome, and been received 
into favour J and had, with the rest of the brethren, united in 
sending his salutations to Philemon and the Colossians in those 
epistles, which were written a short time before the apostle's 
release. See 2 Tim. iv. 9, 10; Philem. ver. 22, 24. It appears 
from the passage in the epistle to Timothy, that Titus was one 
who deserted the apostle upon that occasion^ leaving him with 

400 Part II. COLOSSIANS. Conclusion. 

Ch. IV. Salute the brethren that are at Laodicea, and 

Ver. 16. ]\Tj^jj2p/iQs i^ ^jid iJiq church which assembleth in his 

J 6. house. And when this epistle has been read among 

you, cause it to be read also in tfie chureh of the 

LaodiceanSy and that ye also read that which ye 

will receive ^'owi Laodicea'^. 

Convey my salutations and kind wishes to the 
Christians of Laodicea, and particularly to Nym- 

Luke only for his companion. Nor does it appear that Titus 
ever returned. Can this be the reason why Luke never men- 
tions the name of Titus in his history ? It is observable that 
Demas withdrew toThessalonica, where the distinguished piety 
and fortitude of the believers, and their marked atiection to the 
apostle, so much extolled by him in his epistles to the Thessa- 
lonians, would be very likely to bring the fugitive to himself, 
to rouse his courage, to rekindle his affection, and to induce 
him to return to the apostle. 

' Nymphas.'] Of this excellent person, who probably lived 
at Laodicea, we know nothing but what is here hinted to his 
honour ; that, being probably like Philemon a person of pro- 
perty, he allowed the Christians at Laodicea to assemble for 
social worship in his house, as Plvilemon did those at Colossae, 
Philem. ver. 2. 

• From Laodicea ,•] not, as some suppose, an epistle written 
by the Laodiceans, but an epistle written by Paul to the Chris- 
tians at Laodicea, which the Colossians would receive from 
them, rr^v sn AaoJixsia?, that of the Laodiceans. " that written 
to them by me." Wakefield 5 who refers to Luke viii. 27. See 
Bowyer, Grotius, Knatchbull, and Newcome. This epistle is 
by many supposed to be lost ; but it seems highly probable that 
the epistle which is now inscribed to the Ephesians is the letter 
referred to by the apostle, and that it was originally sent to the 
Laodiceans. There can be no doubt that this epistle was writ- 
ten and sent at the same time with that to the Colossians ; the 
train of thought and the phraseology are the same in both ; 
they are excellent commentaries upon each other, and in order 
to be under-stood should be read in connexion with each otlier. 
Compare Col. i. 2G with Eph. iii. 9 ; Col. ii. 13 with Eph. ii. 
1, &c. J Col. iii. 1 1 with Eph. i. 10, &c. ; Col. iii. 18, 19 with 
Eph. V. 22—33. See Dofldridge's excellent note upon this text. 


pb^s, th?it e^c^l^nt m^u^ who, in a season <?f exir eh, iv. 
gency aud peril, permits tlie disciples to assemble ^'^''- ^• 
for religious worship at his house. 

Let the epistle whieh I have written, and which 
I now send, be read with great seriousness and at- 
tention before the whole congregation o-f helievers 
at Colossse; and when you have finished it, send it 
forward to Laodicea, that it may be read to the con- 
gregation of believers there. I have writteji another 
letter to that church, which I send by the same mes- 
sengers who are the bearers of this to you. They 
are upon the same subject ; and, when attentively 
compared together, they will greatly elucidate each 
other. Borrow, therefore, that letter from the church 
of Laodicea, and let it be read to the believers atCo- 
lossae. Both societies will be better instructed, edi- 
fied, and comforted, by this mutual commimication 
of what I have written to each. 

^nd say to Archippus"^, See that thou f ally 17. 

discharge that mirdstry in the Lord, which thou 
hast received. 

Archippus, who, in consideration of his mature 
age and eminent wisdom, has been chosen and ap- 
proved as the regular instructor and officiating mi- 
nister of the church at Colossae, is no doubt duly 

' Archippus^ This eminent person, who was probably the 
officiating minister of the church at Colossae, is mentioned in 
terms of such high respect in the epistle to Philemon (ver. 2), 
that it is not at all probable that the apostle intended, as some 
have imagined, by this advice, obliquely to insinuate that Ar- 
chippus had been negligent in the discharge of his ofl^cial du- 
ties. See Macknight, 

492 Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 

Ch. IV. apprized of the importance of the office, and of the 
^'' '* nature of the duties that are incumbent upon him. 
It may, however, tend to make a useful impression 
upon his mind, and to excite and encourage his 
zeal, if you will give him a solemn charge in my 
name, that he studiously fulfill, to the best of his 
abilities, the duties of his sacred office, without 
fear, and without disguise; animated by a tender 
concern for the welfare of his fellow- creatures, and 
• by the awful expectation of the great account. 

4. The epistle concludes with the apostle's ge- 
neral salutation and benediction, written with his 
own hand, ver. 18, 19. 
18. The salutation of mo., Paul, with my own hand. 
Remember these my bonds ' . Favour be luith you 2. 

To this letter, written by the hand of a friend, 
and to these good wishes, I here subscribe my name 

' Remember these my bonds. 1 Mvy)u.ov£verE ^s rcvv 0£a-[x.wv. 
Remember these bonds of mme." Wakefield. The apostle, 
writing the salutation with his own hand to authenticate the 
epistle, 2 Tliess. iii. 17, casts his eye upon the chain by which 
his hand was bound to that of the soldier by whom he was kept 
in the custodia militari, and gracefully alludes to it in the close 
of his epistle, itt order to leave a deep impression of the fact 
upon the minds of the Christians at Colossae, and to excite their 
zeal in adherence to and in the defence of those rights and pri- 
vileges for which he was then suffering. See Eph. vi. 20, Acts 
xxviii. 16. A similar beautiful allusion to his chain is found in 
his speech to king Agrippa, Acts xxvi. 29. 

' Favour be with you^ " the favour of God." Nevrcome. 
Or perhaps of Christ, meaning the blessings of the gospel. 
See Phil. iv. 23. The most ancient manuscripts omit the word 
Jmen, and likewise the postscript ; which, however, truly re- 
lates that the epistle to the Colossians was written from Rome 
by Tychicus and Onesimus. 

Part II. C O L O S S I A N S. Conclusion. 


with my own hand, as a testimony to its genuine- Ch. iv. 
ness and authenticity, and that you may not be im- 
posed upon by spurious productions passing under 
my name. I write to you with a chain upon my 
wrist. Do not you, my friends, forget it, nor the 
cause of this confinement. It was for preaching 
up boldly the liberties of the Gentile church. Va- 
lue, then, and improve your privileges as you ought; 
and may the blessing of God be with you ! Fare- 





Philemon was an inhabitant of Colossae ' . He 
appears to have been a man of property and distinc- 
tion, from the hospitality which he exercised and 
which the apostle here commends, and from the re- 
spectful manner in which the apostle addresses him. 
He had been converted to the Christian religion by 
the apostle himself (ver. 19) 2, but in what manner. 

' Of ColosscE.'] This is apparent from Colossians iv. 9, where 
it is said of Onesimus the slave of Philemon, that he was of that 
city. Archippus, who is included in the salutation to Philemon 
(ver. 2), was also a minister of the gospel at Colossae, Col. iv. 
17. These evidently undesigned coincidences, as Dr. Paley 
well observes, Hor. Paul. 290, 369, strongly support the ge- 
nuineness of the two epistles. Theodoret in the fifth century 
says that Philemon's house was still remaining at Colossae. 

^ Converted by the apostle himself.'] Dr. Benson infers from 


or at what time and place, does not appear. As 
Paul had not visited Colossse, Philemon had per- 
haps attended his ministry during his long resi- 
dence at Ephesus. 

Onesimus was the slave of Philemon. Having 
deserted ' his master, he had fled to Rome ; where, 
having happily met with the apostle, and been con- 
verted by him, he had become a sincere and con- 
scientious Christian. For some time after his con- 
version, the apostle appears to have retained him in 
his service; but after having had sufficient proof of 
his fidelity and good conduct, though his services 
were very acceptable and useful to him, he thought 
it right to send him back to Philemon, with a let- 
ter of recommendation and intercession for his par- 
don. Tychicus upon this occasion accompanied 
Onesimus, and they were both charged with the 
Epistle to the Colossians " ; after the delivery of 
which Tychicus was perhaps directed 3 to go on 

ver. 5, where the apostle only speaks of having heard of Phile- 
mon's faith, that he had never seen him ; but the expression 
ver. 19, " thou ovvest to me try own self," is so very emphati- 
cal, that it must surely allude to his having been ccjnvcrted by 
the apostle, who might afterwards have heard of his perseve- 
rance and his benevolence. 

' Deserted, &c.] Some infer from ver. 18 that he had also 
robbed his master : but this is not certain. See Macknight's 
Preface to the epistle. 

« Both charged.'] See Col. iv. 7—9. 

^ Tychicus was directed.'] Eph. vi, 21, where Tychicus only 
is mentioned. Colossae lay about twenty-eight miles north- 
east of Laodicea. Probably Onesimus was directed to deliver 
his letter first, and having obtained forgiveness from Philemon, 
he would then be authorized to join Tychicus in delivering the 
lettej- to the church at Colossae. The apostle vrould scarcely 


with that which was addressed to the Laodlceans, 
and which is commonly called the Epistle to the 
Ephesians *. 

This Epistle, the genuineness of which is un- 
questionable, is a private letter ^ from the apostle 

have thought it expedient to make a runaway slave the bearer 
of a letter to the church of which his master was a member, till 
after a reconciliation had taken place. Perhaps the more pro- 
bable supposition may be, thatTychicus sent Onesimus forward 
with the letter to Philemon, while he remained at Laodicea to 
deliver his letter there; after which he went forward to Co- 
lossae and joined Onesimus, who had been previously recon- 
ciled to Philemon, in delivering the apostle's letter to the church 
at Colossae. 

* Commonbj called, &c.] See the Preface to the Epistle to 
the Ephesians, 

* A private letter,'] which the apostle probably never in- 
tended nor expected to be preserved ; any more than St. John 
intended that his letters to Gaius and to the elect lady should 
be regarded as inspired writings. It is sufficient for the credit 
of these epistles that they are genuine productions of the apo- 
stles, and that they contain many valuable sentiments and ad- 
vices. Whether these epistles are canonical or not, is a verbal 
controversy. If " canonical " means ijispired, neither these nor 
any other of the apostolic writings are so. The apostles always 
possessed a complete knowledge of the gospel revelation, and 
whatever they say or write upon this subject is of the highest 
authority; but there is no reason to suppose that they were in- 
spired to deliver every discourse, or to indite every epistle. If 
no epistles are to be deemed canonical but those which are ad- 
dressed to Christian churches, the epistle to Philemon is not 
canonical ; but if the question is simply this. Whether this epi- 
stle ought to be received as of equal authority with the other 
genuine writings of the apostle ? there can be no hesitation in 
answering in the affirmative. See Benson's Hist, of the FJpistle, 
sect. ii. 

" There is not much," says Dr. Priestley, " of what may be 
called apostolic dignity in this epistle, no article of Christian 
doctrine being discussed in it ; yet it has great propriety and 
beauty as a private letter; and it clearly shows the apostle to 

VOL. III. . 2 K 



to bis friend upon a particular occasion ; and it is 
written with the spirit of a Christian, the authority 
of an apostle, the politeness of a gentleman, and 
the affection of a friend. It would be puerile to 
suppose that such a letter as this was dictated by 
any other inspiration than that of philanthropy and 
friendship. The apostle probably wrote many such ; 

have been no wild enthusiast, but one vA^o was well acquainted 
with mankind, and with human nature, and who governed him- 
self by that knowh-dge. It therefore shows us that inattention 
to these things is no recommendation of a Christian." 

Dr. Benson very ingeniously specifies the following doctrines 
and yirecepts of Christianity, as expressed or insinuated in this 
epistle: V. g. 1. In a religious view all Christians are upon a 
level : Onesimus the slave, upon becoming a Christian, is the 
apostle's dear son and Philemon's brother. 2. Christianity 
makes no alteration in men's civil aflairs : by Christian bap- 
tism a slave did not become a freedman. 3. Servants, i. e. 
slaves, should not be taken or detained from their own masters, 
without their masters' consent. 4. We should love and do good 
to all men : we should not contemn persons of low estate. The 
apostle has here set an example of benevolence, condescension, 
and Christian charity, which it behoves us to follow. 5. We 
should not utterly despair of those who are wicked, but use our 
best endeavours to reclaim them. 6. Restitution is due where 
an injury is done. 7. We should be gi-ateful to our benefac- 
tors. 8. We should forgive the penitent and be heartily recon- 
ciled to them. 9. The apostle's example teaches us to do all 
we can to make up quarrels and differences, and to reconcile 
those who are at variance. 1 0. A wise man chooses sometimes 
to address in a .soft and obliging manner, even in cases where 
there is authority to command. II. The bishops and pastors 
of the Christian church, and all teachers of religion, have here 
the most glorious example set before them to induce them to 
have a most tender regard to the souls of men of all ranks and 
conditions. 12 Here is a most glorious proof of the good ef- 
fect of Christianity, where it is rightly understood and sincerely 
embraced, it transforms a worthless slave into a pious, vir- 
tuous, amiable, and useful man." Benson's History of the Fint 
Planting of the Christian Religion, book iii. ch. x. sect. 10. 


which, however they might be valued by the per- 
sons to whom they were inscribed, have long since 
been lost ; but which no doubt all breathed the 
same spirit of piety, benevolence, and wisdom. 

I. The apostle begins his epistle with express- 
ing his good wishes for Philemon, his family, and 
friends, ver. 1 — 3. 

II. He declares his great satisfaction in the 
tidings which he had received of the faith and the 
benevolence of his friend, and of his kindness to 
Christian strangers, ver. 4 — 7. 

III. Waving his authority as an apostle, he urges 
him, upon the. ground of personal friendship, and 
of the affection and regard due to him as the im- 
prisoned ambassador of Christ, to receive Onesimus 
again into his family, and to forgive him his great 
offence, ver. 8 — 12. 

IV. Desirous as he was to retain Onesimus at 
Rome, he regarded himself as bound in honour and 
justice to send him back to his lawful master; 
hoping that Philemon would no longer treat him 
as a slave, but as a Christian brother, and as the 
apostle's friend, ver. 13 — 17. 

V. He promises to pay whatever Philemon had 
lost by Onesimus's dishonesty or misconduct ; and 
expresses his firm confidence in the ready compli- 
ance of his friend, ver. 18 — 2 1 . 

VI. The apostle concludes the epistle with ex- 
pressing his hope that he should soon be at liberty 
to make him a visit, and with the usual salutations 
and benediction, ver. 22 — 25. 

2 K 2 


We have no account of the success of this ear- 
nest and powerful intercession in behalf of a fugi- 
tive slave ; but there can be no reasonable doubt 
that Philemon would be eager to testify his vene- 
ration and gratitude to the apostle by a compliance 
with his desires to their utmost extent. 

This epistle is supposed to have been written 
A.D. 62, a little before the close of the apostle's first 


/ have annexed this short but eloquent epistle as 
a sort of Appendix to the Epistle to the Colossiajis, 
the tivo epistles having been written at the same 
time^ and conveyed by the same person to the same 
place; and being mutually illustrative of each 
other. These reasons I hope will be accepted as 
a sufficient apology for the transposition. 


1. IHE apostle introduces his epistle with ex- 
pressions of good-will to Philemon and his family, 
and to other Christian friends, ver. 1 — 3. 

Paul a prisoner^ of Jesus Christ, and Twio- ^^^- '• 
thy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother 
and fellow -labourer 2, and to our beloved sister Ap- 
p'la 3, and to Archippus our fellow -soldier, and to 

' A prisoner.'] Archbishop Newcome observes, that Ssctijaos 
is a reading better supported than SaXog or ociroroXos, and pre- 
ferable on account of its delicacy. Dr. Benson in his note enu- 
merates the various modes of introduction to the epistles of 
Paul, and shows the propriety of each. 

* Fellow -labourer.'] Some have inferred, from this expres- 
sion, that Philemon was a bishop or minister of the Christian 
church at Colossee. Tliis is not improbable, though Archippus 
was undoubtedly such. Col. iv. 17 5 for it is certain that several 
elders or bishops were sometimes appointed to one church. See 
Acts XX. 17, 28. Dr. Benson, however, justly observes, that 
there is no necessity of drawing this conclusion : for, whoever 
contributed any way towards helping forward the gospel, are 
called the apostle's helpers and fellow-labourers, whether men 
or women. See ver. 24; Rom. xvi. 3, 9, 21. 

^ Appia.] Gr. " Apphia." Dr. Benson observes that this is 
a Roman name, and that Paul writes it after the Hebrew man- 
ner. Appia is asserted by Chrysostom and Theodoret to have 
been the wife of Philemon ; which^ as she is mentioned next to 

i02 PHILEMON. 1. 

Ver. 3. the church in thy house \ favour be to you and 
peace from God our Father, and from the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

1 Paul, who am not only a teacher of the gospel 
but a sufferer for it, and who have now been some 
years a prisoner for having preached the doctrine of 
Christ to the Gentiles, and Timothy the faithful and 
affectionate companion of my labours and suffer- 
ings, unite in our friendly salutations to Philemon 
our dear Christian brother and fellow-labourer in 
the same honourable cause, and to his faithful con- 
sort Appia our beloved sister in Christ, and to Ar- 
chippus, who has voluntarily accepted the impor- 
tant office of a Christian minister, and is ready to 
share with us in all the difficulties, conflicts and 
dangers of this arduous service ; and to all the other 
Christian friends, whether members of your family 
or otherwise, who occasionally or statedly assemble 
for religious worship and instruction under your 
hospitable roof: May the favour of God our com- 
mon Father, and the unspeakable blessings of the 
gospel of Jesus Christ our common master, abide 

Philemon and before Archippus, is not improbable. Many ma- 
nuscripts of the best authority read sister instead of beloved ; 
and some of the ancient versions read both. 

' The church in thy house.'] It is doubted whether this means 
the family and friends of Philemon only, or whether the body of 
Christians at Colossae, assembled for Christian worship at Phi- 
lemon's house. The former is the general ophiion, and it may 
be true ; but Dr. Benson's argument, that the apostle upon 
other occasions where he salutes the church in a particular 
house, afterwards sends salutations to individuals, docs not dc^ 
cisively prove it. See Rom.xvi.5, I Cor. xvi. 19. 

PHILEMON. 2. 503 

with and enrich you all! We cannot form a bet- ver. 3. 
ter wish for you, nor give you a stronger testimony 
of our Christian affection. 

2. The apostle expresses his great satisfaction in 
the faith and benevolence of his friend, and in his 
kind sympathy with the suffering brethren, of which 
he had received the most favourable accounts, ver. 

/ tliank my God% continually making mention 4. 

of thee in my prayers, {having heard^ of thy faith 5. 

towards the Lord Jesus, and of thy love to all the 
saints, ) that the faith of which 'thou partakest may 6. 

operate^ in the acknowledgement of every thing 


« / ihank my God, &c.] Mr. Wakefield makes the 
struction clearer by transposing the clauses of the fourth and 
fifth verses. His version is, " 1 thank my God for the accounts 
which I receive of thy firm belief in the Lord Jesus, and thy love 
towards all the saints, making mention of thee always in my 
prayers, that thy fellowship in the faith," &c. I adopt the sug- 
gestion of Bowyer and Newcome, including the fifth verse m a 

"^^^'^Ha^ng heard, ^e.] It has been before observed, that the 
expression " having heard " does not necessarily nnply that the 
anostle had never seen Philemon. Six manuscripts, and the 
sVriac version, read faith and love. See Mill and Newcome. 
There can be no doubt that the apostle meant, and perhaps dic- 
tated, the same or similar words which occur Eph. i. la, J^ol. i. 
3 4- which were written nearly at the same time. 1 he ex- 
pression might be varied by the mistake of an early transcriber. 
In the origintil, as in the common version, it stands taus : 
" Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the 
Lord Jesus, and toward all saints." r , c -.i i 

^ May operate.-] " that thy partaking of the faith may be- 
come effectual, in the knowledge of every good thing which is 
among us as concerning Christ Jesus : i.e. in givmg thee know- 
ledge and experience of every good thing which God bestows 

504 PHILEMON. 2. 

Vcr. 7. good that is among us concerning Christ Jesus. 
For we are greatly rejoiced and comforted on ac- 
count of thy love, because the bowels * of the saints 
have been 7'efreshed by thee, brother. 

I have heard much from Epaphras your fellow- 
citizen, who is now with me, and from others, of 
your faith in Christ, of your firm adherence to the 
pure doctrine of Christianity, and of that which is 
indeed the necessary consequence of true faith, your 
kindness to all who bear the Christian name. I 
continually bless God on these accounts ; and I 
earnestly pray that the vigour of your faith may 
discover itself more and more in your zeal for good 
works, and in your increasing knowledge of the un- 
speakable blessings which we derive from the gospel 
of Christ. And truly, my dear brother, I am de- 
lighted to hear with vi^hat tender sympathy you have 
behaved to your afflicted and suffering brethren, and 
how much their broken spirits have been soothed, 
and cheered, and comforted, by your seasonable ad- 

upon us as Christians." Newcome. Similar to this is Mr. 
Wakefield's version : " that thy fellowship in the faith may have 
its effect in an acknowledgement of every thing good in Christ 

The best copies read ^V<v, us, for JjOtjv, jjou ; which the Pri- 
mate proj)Cvly notices, every good thing among us, i. e. us be- 
lievcrSj concerning Christ. 

" Optans ut fides quam nobiscum hab^s communem, magis ma- 
gisque se manifestet {per opera bona) tuque cognoscas magni- 
tiidinem beneficiorum, quce debemus Christo. sv sitiyvuxrsi, una 
cum cog7iitione." RosenmuUer. 

' Bowels :] i. e. affections. Col. iii. 8. " the minds of the saints 
are soothed in thee." Wakefield. " Multorum pauperum 
Christiunorum aniinos recreusti dum ex opibus tuiscorum necessi- 
tatibus tempesHve subvcnires." RosenmuUer. 

PHILEMON. 3. 505 

vice and benevolent aid. Tlie very report of your ver. 7. 
extraordinary kindness to the persecuted and impo- 
verished brethren, cheers my spirit even in prison. 

3. Waving his authority as an apostle, he urges 
Philemon, upon the ground of affection and the 
tender respect due to his character, to receive his 
penitent slave into his house again, ver. 8 — 12. 

Therefore^ though I might use great freedom in 8. 

Christ to enjoin thee ^ what is Jit, I rather , for 9. 

affectioTfis sake^, intrcat, being such avi one as 
Paul the ambassador *, and now, even the prisoner 

' To enjoin i/iee.] Mark the delicacy of the apostle's ad- 
dress : waving his authority as an apostle of Christ, he rather 
chooses to appeal to his friend's affection, to his benevolence, 
to his tender respect to the suffering ambassador of Christ. Nor 
does he mention Onesimus's name till after he has described him 
in the most endearing characters ; and then recommends him 
to be received into Philemon's house as if he had been the apo- 
stle's own darling son. Nothing can be conceived more delicate, 
tender, and appropriate, than the apostle's language upon this 

^ For affection'' s sake^ Literally, " for love's sake." " be- 
cause of my love." Newcome. — " because of my love for thee." 
Wakefield. " by that love which thou bearest to the saints and 
to me." Macknight. Perhaps the apostle included both : q. d. 
because of our mutual affection to each other. 

* Paul the ambassador.'] Ilau?.os Trpstr^vtrjs. The apostle was 
called a young man when Stephen was stoned, about a.d. 36, 
Acts vii. 58. He could not well be less than thirty, considering 
the commissions with which he was charged : see Acts ix. 1, 2. 
If, therefore, this epistle were written a.d. 62, the apostle would 
be about fifty-six or fifty-seven ; and could not with propriety 
call himself aged. Dr. Benson observes, that the apostle upon 
no other occasion alludes to his advanced years, but frequently 
to his character as an ambassador of Christ in bonds, and parti- 
cularly in the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, written 
nearly at the same time witii this to Philemon. Eph. vi. 20. He 

506 PHILEMON. 3. 

Ver. 10, oftlesus Christ. I intreat thee in behalf of a son 
of ■niine\ whom I have begotten during these my 

U. bonds, Onesimus ; who was lately of 7io valued to 
thee, but will noiu be of great value to thee, even 

12. as he has been to me 3. fVhom I have sent back : 

admlis that the proper word for ambassador is TTpscr^svTyjs, but 
he remarks that the LXX. have used vrpf ^furijf for an ambassa- 
dor, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31, and that it is so used 2 Mace. xi. 34 ; 
and if it is contended thr.t these instances are slips of the pen, 
he desires that the same allowance may be made in the present 
case. The Doctor adds that Theophylact read irpsa^svrr];. 

Dr. Bentley maintains, not only that the adversative particle 
0£ requires itpstx'Qiuryig as opposed to Sstr/xfoj , but that it is highly 
probable that the original reading was itaKxi, instead of flau- 
Xo;, which would properly correspond with vvvi h, so that the 
proper translation would be, " for affection's sake 1 intreat 
thee : being one who, having long been an ambassador, am 
now even a prisoner of Jesus Christ." See Bowyer. These 
conjectures are very plausible, though not supported by the au- 
thority of manuscripts or versions. Dr. Priestley says, " that 
Paul could not, at this time, have been much more than fifty- 
four or fifty-five years old ; but through his incessant labours 
he might be infirm." But there is not the slightest reason for 
this supposition. Paul never complains or alludes to the infir- 
mities of age ; and what man of (ifty-four or fifty-five ever speaks 
of himself as the aged? Unsupported as the conjecture is by 
authorities, I think that, from the connexion, it is almost im- 
possible to doubt that the apostle speaks of himself as " Paul 
the ambassador," and not " Paul the aged" 

' A son of mine, &c.] " This, which is the order of the ori- 
ginal," Dr. Doddridge observes, "keeps the mind in an agree- 
able suspense, and has a fine effect^ which every reader of taste 
will quickly perceive." 

"^ Lately of no value, &c.] So Mr Wakefield. Observe in 
what gentle language the apostle speaks of the fault of Onesi- 
mus, that he might not irritate the feelings of Philemon. See 
Benson and Macknight. Doddridge remarks, that " Paul evi- 
dently refers to the etymology of the M'ord Onesimus, which sig- 
nifies profitable" This is more evident in ver. 20, where he 
alludes to his name. 

^ Even as he has been, &c.] Macknight translates the words. 

PHILEMON. 3. 507 

do thou, therefore, receive him as my own beloved Ver. 12. 
son 4. 

I have a favour, to request; vv^hich, indeed, as an 
apostle of Christ, I should be fully authorized to 
enjoin as a duty ; but, knowing your .regard for me, 
I would rather solicit it as an act of kindness, of 
kindness to myself personally; a gratification which 
you will not refuse to your friend under the pecu- 
liar circumstances in which he writes to you, having 
long been employed by Jesus Christ our common 
Lord as his ambassador to the heathen world, and 
having now, as you well know, for some years suf- 
fered a tedious confinement for his sake. Ilelying, 
therefore, upon your friendship and sympathy, I 
prefer my request in behalf of a dear convert of 
jiiine, my own son in the faith of Jesus, whom I 
have brought over to the profession and practice of 
the Christian religion since I have been a prisoner 
at Rome ; and who, by his virtuous conduct and 
kind attentions, has endeared himself to me beyond 
expression, as if he were my own child. And this 
is no other than Onesimus, your fugitive slave; 
from whom, of late, you have derived little satis- 
faction and little profit, but who, I trust, will here- 

" but now will be very profitable to thee, even as to me." See 

* My beloved son .•] literally, " ' my own bowels,' i. e. my 
son, a part of me." Macknight. Dr. Benson remarks, that 
" there are many passages in the classics in which children 
are called the bowels of their parents," and refers to Le Clerc 
and Pricseus upon the text. He observes how the apostle rises , 
in his e.xpressions ; ver. 10, he calls Onesimus his son, here his 
bowtlSy i. e. his beloved .son j and ver. 1 7, his very self. 


Ver. 1 2. after redeem his character, and prove a most vakiable 
assistant to you, as he has indeed been to me, ever 
since his conversion. By my advice and direction 
he is returned to you ; receive him, my dear friend, 
into your family again, and admit him into your 
house with the same readiness, with the same ten- 
derness, with which you would entertain a favourite 
son of mine, if I had sent him to visit you. 

4. Desirous as he was to have retained Onesi- 
mus, the apostle, nevertheless, felt himself bound 
in justice to send him back to his master, confident 
that he would be treated by him in the kindest man- 
ner, ver. 13 — 17. 

13. / was indeed desirous to keep him with me^ that 
he might, i?i thy stead, have ministered to me in 

14. these bonds for the gospel. But without thy con- 
sent I would do nothing, that thy goodness might 
not be, as it were, from constraint, but voluntary. 

15. For perhaps he therefore was separated ' from thee 
for a short ti?ne, that thou mightest receive him 

IG. back for ever". N^o longer as a slave, but above a 

' Was separated^ Dr. Benson remarks, that " the apostle 
here uses a soft expression, which seems to ascribe the separa- 
tion of Onesimus from his master to the over-ruling providence 
of God fur the accomplishment of his great and good purposes", 
as the bondage of Joseph is represented. Gen. xlv. 5. 

- For ever .•] i. e. totlie end of life. " This," says Dr. Benson, 
" is one instance in v-'hich the phrase /or ever must stand for a 
finite or indefinite duration, and there are other instances in 
scripture. The apostle probably alludes to the case of the He- 
brew servant, who voluntarily consented to serve his master for 
life, Exod. xxi. 2, 6 ; Deut. xv. 17. See also Lev, xxv. 46." 
" Awviw possumus vertcre, semper^ perpetuo ; lit sensus sit, ut 

PHILEMON. 4. 509 

slave, as a brother beloved very much by me, but Vcr. 15. 
hoiv much more by thee, both as a man and as a 
believer in the Lord^. IJ\ therefore, thou regard 17- 
me as a friend*, receive him as myself 

The services of Onesimus were so very useful to 
me, that I should have been glad to have retained 
him with me to have performed those offices of kind- 
ness and sympathy for me in my imprisonment, 
which your tender friendship would have been eager 
to have performed had you been present with me ; 
and which I am fully persuaded that you would 
have been well pleased that Onesimus should have 
remained to have executed in your stead. Never- 
theless, as I had no opportunity of obtaining your 
consent, I would not keep him without it, lest it 
should be suspected by those who knew not the li- 
berality of your spirit, that I detained your servant 
against your will. 

eum retineas perpetuo, serviim bonum, tibiqite utilem; quce sen- 
tentia prceferenda esse v'ulctur." RosenmuUer. 

Observe, that the apostle does not order Philemon to set his 
slave at liberty j nor did Onesimus's conversion emancipate him 
from the yoke, Christianity makes no alteration in the civil 
states of men. See 1 Cor. vii. 20, and Mr. Locke's note 5 also 
Benson in loc. 

^ As a man, &c.] In the original it is " in the flesh, and in 
the Lord." Mr. Wakefield's version is, " as a man, and a.s 
a Christian;" which is undoubtedly the true meaning of the 
vi'ords. Nevertheless, as the word Christian was in use in the 
apostolic age, and yet the apostle never adopts it, but con- 
stantly uses in lieu of it o» sv Kvpioi, or £•/ Xpis'uj, cr some equi- 
valent phrase, I think it not proper to use the word Christian 
in translating his writings, but rather to adopt his own phrase, 
supplying the words that are understood. 

^ Friend.'] KOivwvoi' a joint partaker with him in the blessings 
of the gospel. See Doddridge and Benson. 

510 PHILEMON. 5. 

Ver. 17. And perhaps the intention of divine Providence 
in this temporary separation might be, that your 
fugitive slave, being in this interval converted to the 
Christian faith, might be restored to you to be a 
comfort, and to be useful to you as long as you 
live. Not indeed in the capacity of a slave, but in 
the nobler character of a friend, a brother, a fellow- 
Christian, very dear to me, who am his spiritual 
father, and who have been greatly benefited by his 
services ; and still more dear to you, who have known 
him longer, who will feel a peculiar interest in the 
conversion of the penitent fugitive, and who will, 
for a much longer period, enjoy the benefit of his 
faithful and tender attentions. As a slave, you will 
be pleased with his dutiful behaviour ; as a Chris- 
tian, you will acknowledge and love him as a bro- 
ther. If, then, you love me, treat Onesimus with 
kindness ; receive him as my representative and 
harbinger, and entertain him as myself. 

5. The apostle promises to make good whatever 
loss Philemon might have sustained from Onesi- 
mus ; and continues to urge his suit in full confi- 
dence of success, ver. 18 — 2 1 . 
IS. But if he have done thee any wrong 1, or owe 

' Any wrong.'] Some have inferred from this expression that 
Onesimus had robbed his master 5 but of this fact there is no 
proof. The apostle means to obviate every possible objection 
to the re-admission of Onesimus ; and therefore offers to pay- 
whatever might be due to Philemon, whether from the loss of 
his slave's service, or on any other account. " Qu(e Paulus hue 
unque scripierat plena c;/'a?ii humanitatis ; reliqua plenissima sunt 

PHILEMON. 5. 511 

thee any thing, charge it to my account. I, Paul, Ver. 19. 
have written ^ it with my own hand, I will repay 
it ; not to say unto thee, that thou oivest even thine 
own self to me. Yea, brother, let me enjoy this 20. 

satisfaction"^ from thee in the hord; gratify ijiy 
tender feelings'^ in Christ. In full assurance of 2\. 
thy compliance, I have thus ivritten to thee, know- 
ing that thou wilt do even more than I ask. 

urbanitatis. E< r< x. r. X. non ad vhmm resecanda, eleganter po- 
this etfacete dicta esscquum mufua inter Paulum et Phileriionem 
officia, turn sequentia satis declarant." RosenmuUer, 

• 1, Paul, have icritten it.] This is a promissory note, which 
the apostle writes with his own hand. " Dubituri potest, scrip- 
seritne Apostolus totam lianc epistolam manu propria, an hanc 
tantum ejus particulam. Uteris forte, ut Hieromjmus conjiciebat, 
majuscuUs, quod oninino augeret facetam orationis urhardiatem, 
quam. nemo non agnoscat in eleganti quce sequitur prcsieritione ; 
Iva 1X7) K r. A." RosenmuUer. The learned writer thinks that the 
apostle means to be facetious ; but is not the subject too grave 
to admit of that supposition ? It must, however, be allowed 
that the apostle, in the next verse, puns upon Onesimus's 
name. " It is not certain," says Dr. Priestley, " that Onesi- 
mus had robbed his master of any thing. All that Paul alludes 
to might be the loss of his service for so long a time as he had 
been absent from him." 

^ Let me enjoj/ this saiisfaction .•] or, let me be benefited by 
thee. ovaiaYjV, an allusion to the name of Onesimus : q. d. Be 
you an Onesimus to me. In the Lord ; q. d. let me enjoy 
that Christian satisfaction in you in this particular, which you 
will derive from the pious and dutiful services of Onesimus as 
long as you live. " Fac ut hunc fructum percipiam ex te, 
ut homine Chrlstiano. Paulus fortassis alludere voluit ad One- 
simi nomen ; nam Paronomasice usus non abhorret a sfilo Pau- 
lino." RosenmuUer. 

* Gratify my fedings.'] Gr. " refresh my bowels." — " re- 
fresh my feelings." Wakefield. Zn C/ins^.- This is the read- 
ing best supported. The received text reads " in the Lord." 
See Benson. 

The allusion in the expression refresh or soothe my bowels, is 
not to the relief of hunger; but to tlic gratification of the kind 

512 PHILEMON. 6. 

Ver. 21. Let it not be any objection to tbe pardon of One- 
simus that he is in your debt, or that he has injured 
you in any shape, either by dishonesty or neglect. 
Set this to my account. I, Paul, poor and prisoner 
as I am, will undertake to satisfy every just and 
legal claim, though Onesimus should not have it 
in his power to do so. This hand- writing of mine 
shall be your warrant for the demand. Nor, if you 
choose to urge it, will I bar your claim by remind- 
ing you of the far greater obligation you are your- 
self under to me, who have been the means of re- 
deeming you from a much heavier bondage, and 
saving you from a severer condemnation. Yes, my 
dear Christian brother, waving all considerations 
of this kind, let me prevail upon you to gratify my 
most earnest wishes, in a case which so loudly ap- 
peals to your humanity and Christian benevolence. 
And I am confident that I shall not solicit in vain ; 
for I know so well your genei-ous spirit, that I am 
persuaded your kindness to Onesimus will even ex- 
ceed what I request on his account. 

6. The epistle closes with the expression of the 
apostle's hope that he should soon have it in his 
power to make his friend a visit, and with the cus- 
tomary salutations and benediction, ver. 22 — 25. 
22. --41 the same time also prepai'e me a lodging ', 

and tender aifections. " Mentem meam, metuentem ne quid 
acerhius in eum consulas, tranquillam redde. Proprie, ad quie- 
tem redige viscera mea." RosenmuUer. 
' Prepare me a lodging.'] Dr. Doddridge remarks, that " Theo- 

PHILEMON. 6. 513 

for I hope that through your prayei's I shall be Ver. 22. 
mei'cifully restored to you. Epaphras'^ my Jellow- 23. 
captive 171 Christ JesuSy Mark^, Aristarchus, De- 24. 
mas, Luke, my felloiv-labourerSy salute thee : the 25. 
favour of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all*. 
I entertain great hopes that your prayers, in con- 
currence with my own, and those of other Christian 
churches, will obtain the blessing of a speedy release 
from my present confinement : in which event I 
propose soon to make you a visit, to take up my 
residence at your hospitable mansion, and to thank 
you in person for your attention to this letter. Let 
an apartment be prepared for me, as you know not 

doret justly observes, that Paul's mentioning his purpose of 
coming to lodge with Philemon quickly, would naturally add 
greater weight to his interposition in favour of Onesimus." 

' Epaphras.'] Grotius and Brenius think that Epaphras is an 
abbreviation of Epaphroditus, Phil. ii. 25, iv. 18 ; and Dr. Ben- 
son allows that the epistle to the Philippians was written after 
this to Philemon, because he there says that he trusted he 
should come to them quickly, Phil, ii. 24 ; which is an expres- 
sion which he does not use to Philemon. Epaphras is mentioned 
in the epistle to the Colossians, i, 7, iv. 12, 13, Dr. Benson 
thinks he was a different person from Epaphroditus, He is 
called by Paul his fellow-captive {a-vvaixt^ocKwtos) , and he 
might have been in custody at Rome some time before j but 
Benson assigns plausible reasons for supposing that he was not 
a prisoner when this letter was written. He also observes, 
that " by calling Epaphras his fellow-captive, the apostle a fifth 
time put Philemon in mind of his bonds," See ver, 9, 10, 13. 

' Mark, &c.] These are the same persons, with the exception 
of Justus, who were mentioned in the salutations at the close of 
the epistle to the Colossians, ch. iv. 

* You all.] In the original " your spirit:" the pronoun is 
plural, which indicates that the salutation extends to Philemon 
and his friends. Your spirit : i. e. yourselves. The word 
Jmen and the postscript are wanting in the best copies, 

VOL. III. 2 L, 

^14 PHILEMON. 6, 

Ver. 25. how sooti I may be with you. Epaphras, whom you 
know as a highly respected minister of Christ, and 
my fellow-captive in this holy war, sends his affec- 
tionate salutations to you. Mark and Aristarchus, 
Demas and Luke, the two former, countrymen of 
my own and observers of the law ; the two latter, 
converts from the heathen world, all of them har- 
moniously co-operating with me in preaching the 
gospel to the Gentiles ; unite in transmitting to you 
their friendly salutations. With theirs, accept my 
own best wishes for you and for your friends; that 
you may continue to possess in its purity, and to 
experience in its power, the inestimable blessings 
of the gospel of our great master Jesus Christ, the 
rich, unsolicited, efficacious gift of God for the re- 
covery and restoration of an apostate world. 




\^ ?,\^g?sSpau,theApostie 

\ Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Lrbrary ^