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33 Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. VI. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first commandment with promise)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
33 contain a very mystical sense in them, I mean in reference to Christ and the church. But laying that aside, their literal sense lays hold on you, and therefore do you husbands, every one of you in particular, so love his wife, as his own self, VI. 1 and let the wife reverence her husband. Children, obey
your parents, performing it as required thereunto by our Lord Jesus Christ; for this is right and conformable to that com2 mand, Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first com3 mand with promise) That it may be well with thee, and thou 4 mayest be long-lived upon the earth. And on the other side,
inconsistent to any one who more minds the order and grammatical construction of St. Paul's words, written-down, than the thoughts that possessed his mind when he was writing. It is plain the apostle 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 church were one but this latter, being a truth of the greater consequence of the two, he was as intent on settling that upon their minds, though it were but an incident, as the other which was the argument he was upon; and therefore, having said, ver. 29, that "every one nourisheth and cherisheth his own flesh, as Christ doth the church," it was natural to subjoin the reason there, viz. because "we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones:" a proposition he took as much care to have believed, as that it was the duty of husbands to love their wives; which doctrine, of Christ and the church being one, when he had so strongly asserted, in the words of Adam concerning Eve, Gen. ii. 23, which he, in his concise way of expressing himself, understands both of the wife and of the church, he goes on with the words in Gen. ii. 24, which makes their being one flesh the reason why a man was more strictly to be united to his wife than to his parents, or any other relation.
32 It is plain, by ver. 30, here, and the application therein of these words, Gen. ii. 23, to Christ and the church, that the apostles understood several passages in the Old Testament, in reference to Christ and the Gospel, which evangelical or spiritual sense was not understood, until, by the assistance of the Spirit of God, the apostles so explained and revealed it. This is that, which St. Paul, as we see he does here, calls mystery. He that has a mind to have a true notion of this matter, let him carefully read 1 Cor. ii., where St. Paul very particularly explains this matter.
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with-eye service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men : 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him.
ye fathers, do not, by the austerity of your carriage, despise and discontent your children, but bring them up, under such a method of discipline, and give them such instruction, as is 5 suitable to the Gospel. Ye that are bondmen, be obedient to those who are your masters, according to the constitution of human affairs, with great respect and subjection, and with that sincerity of heart which should be used to Christ him6 self: Not with service only in those outward actions that come under their observation; aiming at no more but the pleasing of men; but, as the servants of Christ, doing what God requires of you, from your very hearts; In this with good-will paying your duty to the Lord, and not unto men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any one doth to another, he shall be considered and rewarded for it by God, whether he 9 be bond or free. And, ye masters, have the like regard and readiness to do good to your bond-slaves, forbearing the roughness even of unnecessary menaces, knowing that even you yourselves have a Master in heaven above, who will call you, as well as them, to an impartial account for your carriage one to another, for he is no respecter of persons.
CHAPTER VI. 10-20.
He concludes this epistle with a general exhortation to them
12" Principalities and powers" are put here, it is visible, for those revolted
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto, with all perseverance and supplication for all saints,
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.
15 righteousness; And your feet shod with a readiness to walk in the way of the Gospel of peace, which you have well studied 16 and considered. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherein
you may receive, and so render ineffectual all the fiery darts 17 of the wicked one, i. e. the devil. Take also the hopes of
salvation for an helmet; and the sword of the Spirit, which 18 is the word of God: Praying, at all seasons, with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit, attending and watching hereunto, with all perseverance, and supplication, for all the 19 saints; And for me, in particular, that I may, with freedom and plainness of speech, preach the word, to the manifesting and laying open that part of the Gospel that concerns the calling of the Gentiles, which has hitherto, as a mystery, lain 20 concealed, and not been at all understood. But I, as an ambassador, am sent to make known to the world, and am now in prison, upon that very account: but let your prayers be, that, in the discharge of this my commission, I may speak plainly and boldly, as an ambassador from God ought to speak.
17 In this foregoing allegory, St. Paul providing armour for his Christian soldier,
to arm him at all points, there is no need curiously to explain, wherein the peculiar correspondence between those virtues and those pieces of armour consisted, it being plain enough what the apostle means, and wherewith he would have believers be armed for their warfare.
CHAPTER VI. 21-24.
21 But that
also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love, with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, Amen.
21 Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister of the Lord, in the work of the Gospel, shall acquaint you how matters stand with me, and how I do, and give you a parti22 cular account how all things stand here. I have sent him, on purpose, to you, that you might know the state of our affairs, 23 and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love, with faith, from God the Father, and the 24 Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those that love our Lord Jesus Christ with sincerity a.
24 a 'Ev aptapcía, "in sincerity," so our translation; the Greek word significs, "in incorruption." St. Paul closes all his epistles with this benediction, "grace be with you ;" but this here is so peculiar a way of expressing himself, that it may give us some reason to inquire what thoughts suggested it. It has been remarked more than once, that the main business of his epistle is that which fills his mind, and guides his pen, in his whole discourse. In this to the Ephesians he sets forth the Gospel, as a dispensation so much, in every thing, superior to the law; that it was to debase, corrupt, and destroy the Gospel, to join circumcision and the observance of the law, as necessary to it. Having writ this epistle to this end, he here in the close, having the same thought still upon his mind, pronounces favour on all those that love the Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption, i. e. without the mixing or joining any with him, in the work of our salvation, that may render the Gospel useless and ineffectual. For thus he says, Gal. v. 2, "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." This I submit to the consideration of the judicious reader.