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Jewish constitution, which was nothing in comparison of the great and glorious design of the Gospel, taking notice of their standing firm in the faith he had taught them, and thanking God for it; he here, in this, prays God that he would enlighten the minds of the Ephesian converts, to see fully the great things that were actually done for them, and the glorious estate they were in under the Gospel, of which in this section he gives such a draught, as in every part of it shows that in the kingdom of Christ they are set far above the Mosaical rites, and enjoy the spiritual and incomprehensible benefits of it, not by the tenure of a few outward ceremonies, but by their faith alone in Jesus Christ, to whom they are united, and of whom they are members, who is exalted to the top of all dignity, dominion, and power, and they with him, their head.

TEXT. 15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and

love unto all the saints,

PARAPHRASE. 15 Wherefore I also, here in my confinement, having heard a


15 2'Aκούσας την καθ' υμάς πίςιν εν τω Κυρίω Ιησού, «“Wherefore I also after I heard

of your faith in the Lord Jesus.” St. Paul's hearing of their faith, here meutioned, cannot signify his being informed, that they had received the Gospel, and believed in Christ; this would have looked impertinent for him to have told them, since he himself had converted them, and had lived a long time amongst them, as has been already observed. We must, therefore, seek another reason of his mentioning his hearing of their faith, which must siguify something else, than his being barely acquainted that they were Christians; and this we may find in these words, chap. iii. 13, “ Wherefore I desire that ye faint not, at my tribulations for you." He, as apostle of the Gentiles, had alone preached up freedom from the law, which the other apostles, who had not that province (see Gal. ii. 9) in their converting the Jews, seem to have said nothing of, as is plain from Acts xxi. 20, 21. It was upon account of his preaching, that the Christian converts were not under any subjection to the observances of the law, and that the law was abolished, by the death of Christ, that he was seized at Jerusalem, and sent as a criminal to Rome to be tried for his life ; where he was now a pri. soner. He being therefore afraid that the Ephesians, and other convert Gentiles, seeing him thus under persecution, in hold, and in danger of death, upon the score of his being the preacher, and zealous propagator and minister of this great article of the Christian faith, which seemed to have its rise and defence wholly from him, might give it up, and not stand firm in the faith which he had taught them, was rejoiced, when in his confinement he heard, that they persisted stedfast in that faith, aud in their love to all the saints, i. e. as well the convert Gentiles, that did not, as those Jews, that did, conform to the Jewish rites. This I take to be the meaning of his hearing of their faith, here mentioned; aud conformably hereunto, chap. vi. 19, 20, he desires their prayers, “ that he may with boldness preach the mystery of the Gospel, of which he is the aimbassador in

NOTE. bonds.” This mystery of the Gospel, it is plain from chap. i. 9, &c. and chap. iii. 3—7, and other places, was God's gracious purpose of taking the Gentiles, as Gentiles, to be his people, under the Gospel. St. Paul, whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, writ to two other churches, that at Philippi, and that at Colosse: to the Colossians, chap.i. 4, he uses, almost verbatim, the same expression that he does here," having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love, which ye have to all the saints;" he gives thanks to God, for their knowing and sticking to the grace of God in truth, which had been taught them by Epaphras, who had informed St. Paul of this, and their affection to him, whereupon he expresses his great concern, that they should continue in that faith, and not be drawn away to Judaizing, which may be seen from ver. 14, of this chapter, to the end of the second. So that “the bearing of their faith," which he says, both to the Ephesians and Colossians, is not his being told that they were Christians, but their continuing in the faith they were converted to and instructed in, viz. That they became the people of God, and were admitted into his kingdom, only by faith in Christ, withont submitting to the Mosaical institution, and legal observances, which was the thing he was afraid they should be drawn to, either through any despondency in themselves, or importunity of others, now that he was removed from them, and in bonds, and thereby give up that truth and freedom of the Gospel which he had preached to them.

To the same purpose he writes to the Philippians, chap. i. 3—5, telling them that he gave “ thanks to God," ini chon uvelę aútūv, upon every mention was made of them, upon every account he received of their continuing in the fellowship and profession of the Gospel, as it had been taught them by him, without changing, or wavering at all, which is the same with“ hearing of their faith," and that thereupon he prays, amongst other thivgs, chiefly that they might be kept from Judaizing, as appears, ver. 27, 28, where the thing, he desired to hear of them, was, “ that they stood firm in one spirit, and one mind, jointly contending for the faith of the Gospel, in nothing startled by those who are opposers;" so the words are, and not “ their adversaries." Now there was no party, at that time, who were in opposition to the Gospel which St. Paul preached, and with whom the convert Gentiles had any dispute, but those who were for keeping up circumcision, and the Jewish rites, under the Gospel. These were they, whom St. Paul apprehended, alone, as likely to affright the convert Gentiles, and make them start out of the way from the Gospel, which is the proper import of wlupóuerol. Though this passage clearly enough indicates what it was, that he was, and should always be, glad to hear of them; yet he more plainly shows his apprehension of danger to them to be from the contenders for Judaism, in the express warning he gives them against that sort of men, chap. iii. 2, 3. So that this hearing, which he mentions, is the hearing of these three churches persisting firmly in the faith of the Gospel, which he had taught them, without being drawn at all towards Judaizing. It was that, for which St. Paul gave thanks, and it may reasonably be presumed, that, if he had writ to any other churches of converted Gentiles, whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, upon the like carriage of theirs, something of the same kind would have been said to them. So that the great business of these three epistles, written during his being a prisoner at Rome, was to explain the nature of the kingdom of God under the Messiah, from which the Gentiles were now no longer shut out, by the ordinances of the law; and confirm the churches in the belief of it. St. Paul, being chosen and sent by God, to preach the Gospel of the Gentiles, had, in all his preaching, set forth the largeness and freedom of the kingdom of God, now laid open to the Gentiles, by taking away the wall of partition, that kept them out. This made the Jews his enemies; and upon this account they had seized him, and he was now a prisoner at Rome. Fearing that the Gentiles might be wrought upon to submit to the law, now that he was thus removed, or suffering for the Gospel, he tells these three churches, that he rejoices at their standing TEXT. 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my

prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may

give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge

of him : 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may

know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the

glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who

believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

PARAPHRASE. of the continuance of your faith in Christ Jesus, and your love 16 to all the saints ), Cease not to give thanks for you, making 17 mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord

Jesus Christ, the Father of glory', would endow your spirits

with wisdom and revelation, whereby you may know him; 18 And enlighten the eyes of your understandings, that you may

see what hopes his calling you to be Christians carries with it,

and what an abundant glory it is to the saints to become his 19 people, and the lot of his inheritance; And what an exceed

NOTES. firm in the faith, and thereupon writes to them to explain and confirm to them the kingdom of God under the Messiah, into which all men now had an entrance, by faith in Christ, without any regard to the terms whereby the Jews were formerly admitted. The setting forth the largeness and free admittance into this kingdom, which was so much for the glory of God, and so much showed his mercy and bounty to mankind, that he makes it as it were a new creation, is, I say, plainly the business of the three epistles, which tend all visibly to the same thing, that any one, that reads them, cannot mistake the apostle's meaning,

they giving such a clear light one to another. 15 b“ All the saints.” One finds in the very reading of these words, that the

word [all] is emphatical here, and put in for some particular reason. I can, I confess, see no other but this, viz. That they were not by the Judaizers in the least drawn away from their esteem and love of those who were not circumcised, nor observed the Jewish rites; which was a proof to him, that they stood firm in

the faith and freedom of the Gospel, which he had instructed them in. 17 « “ Father of glory;" an Hebrew expression, which cannot well be changed,

since it signifies his being glorious himself, being the fountain from wbeuce all glory is derived, and to whom all glory is to be given. In all which senses it may be taken here, where there is nothing that appropriates it, in peculiar, to any of them. d « Wisdom,” is visibly used here for a right conception and understanding of the Gospel. See note, ver. 8. €“ Revelation," is used by St. Paul, not always for immediate inspiration, but as it is meant here, and in most other places, for such truths, which could not have been found out by human reason, but had their first discovery from revelation, though men afterwards come to the knowledge of those truths by reading them in the sacred Scripture, where they are set down for their information.

TEXT. 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and

set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

PARAPHRASE. 20 ing great power he has employed upon us who believe ; A

power corresponding to that mighty power, which he exerted in the raising Christ from the dead, and in setting him next to himself, over all things relating to his heavenly kingdoms;

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NOTES. 19 €“ Us," here, and “ you," chap. ii. 1, and “ us,” chap. ii. 5, it is plain signify

the same, who being dead, partook of the energy of that great power that raised Christ from the dead, i. e. the convert Gentiles; and all those glorious things he, in ver. 18—23, intimates to them, by praying they may see them, he here in this 19th verse tells is bestowed on them, as believers, and not as obserrers

of the Mosaical law. 20 8 'Ev toīs incuparious, “ in heavenly places,” says our translation, and so ver. 3;

but possibly the marginal reading, “ things,” will be thought the better, if we compare ver 22. He set him at his right hand, i, e. transferred on him his power ; in émouparlois, in his heavenly kingdom; that is to say, set him at the head of his heavenly kingdom, see ver. 22. This kingdom, in the Gospel, is called indifferently, Bacineix Occ, “ the kingdom of God;” and Bacoinsia tie osparūv, “ the kingdom of heaven.” God had before a kingdom and people in this world, viz. that kingdom which he erected to himself of the Jews, selected aud brought back to himself, out of the apostatized mass of revolted and rebellious mankind : with this his people he dwelt, among them he had his habitation, and ruled as their in a peculiar kingdom; and, therefore, we see that our Saviour calls the Jews, Matth. viii. 12,“ the children of the kingdom.” But that kingdoni, though God's, was not the Bacideix Tun ovpavās, “the kingdom of heaven," that came with Christ : See Matth. jii. 2, and x. 7. That was but ériyeros, “ of the earth,” compared to this étoupávios, “ heavenly kingdom,” which was to be erected under Jesus Christ; and, with that sort of di. stinction, our Saviour seems to speak and use those words éniyeva, “ earthly," and étoupáno,“ heavenly,” John iii. 12. In his discourse there, with Nicodemus, be tells him, “ unless a man were born again, he could not see the king. dom of God." This being born again, stuck with Nicodemus, which Christ reproaches him with, since, being a teacher in Israel, he understood not that which belonged to the Jewish constitution, wherein to be baptized, for admittance into that kingdom, was called and counted to be born again; and therefore says, if, having spoken unto you étiyera, things relating to your own earthly constitution, you comprehend me not, how shall you receive what I say, if I speak to you, tà étoupáva, heavenly things, i. e. of that kingdom, which is purely heavenly? And according to this, St. Paul's words here, Epli. i. 10, tà mis try tois cúpavoīs xad sà en tis yñs, (which occur again, chap, iii. 15. Col. i. 16, 20,) may perhaps not upfitly be interpreted “ of the spiritual, heavenly kingdom of God:” and that also of the more earthly one of the Jews, whose rites and positive institutions St. Paul calls “ elements of the world," Gal. ir. 3. Col. ji. 8, which were both, at the coming of the Messiah, consolidated into one, and together re-established under one head, Christ Jesus. The whole drift of this, and the two following chapters, being to declare the union of the Jews and Gentiles into one body, under Christ, the head of the heavenly kingdom. And he that sedately compares Eph. ii. 16, with Col. i. 20, (in both which places it is evident the apostle speaks of the same thing, riz. God's reeon.

TEXT. 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and

every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that

which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the

head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. II. 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins ;

PARAPHRASE. 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and domi

nion", and any other, either man or angel, of greater dignity and excellency, that we may come to be acquainted with, or

hear the names of, either in this world, or the world to 22 come: And hath put all things in subjection to him; and him,

invested with a power over all things, he hath constituted head 23 of the church, which is his body, which is completed by

him alone, from whom comes all, that gives any thing of excellency and perfection to any of the members of the church: where to be a Jew or a Greek, circumcised or uncircumcised, a barbarian or a Scythian, a slave or a freeman, matters not; but to be united to him, to partake of his in

fluence and spirit, is all in all. II. ; Andk you, also being dead in trespasses and sins, In which

NOTES. ciling of both Jews and Gentiles, by the cross of Christ) will scarce be able to avoid thinking, that “things in heaven, and things on earth,” signify the people

of the one and the other of these kingdoms. 21 b These abstract names are frequently used in the New Testament, according

to the style of the eastern languages, for those vested with power and dominion, &c. and that not only here on earth, among men, but in heaven, among superior heings : 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 out of this text, when wáons necessarily includes them; for that men in power are one sort of dexad and é govoías, in a Scripture-sense, our Saviour's own words show, Luke xii. 11, and xx.2. 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 kingdom of the Messiah : it is not to be supposed, that here, 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, as that of Jesus

Christ, to submit themselves to. And this the next words do farther enforce. 23 i Møpwua, " fulness,” here, is taken in a passive sense, for a thing to be filled,

or completed, as appears by the following words, “ of him that filleth all in all,” i. e. it is Christ the head, who perfecteth the church, by supplying and furnishing all things to all the members, to make them what they are, and ought to be, in

that body. See chap. v. 18. Col, ii. 10, and iii. 10, 11. 1 * Kal, “ and,” gives us here the thread of St. Paul's discourse, which is im

possible to be understood without seeing the train of it: without that view, it

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