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follow and be given to-, beginning in the first Verse with a general Exhortation to these Ephesians, and in them to all Christians, to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they were cail'd. Where by the Vocation wherewith they were caltd, is meant the Christian Profestion, by which they were cail'd out of their former Heathen State to a State of Christianity-, that is, to become Christians, and to embrace the Christian Faith, reveal'd to them by the Gospel.
To walk worthy of this Vocation, is to lead holy Lives suitable to the Commands and Obligations it lays upon us. So St. Peter expounds it, That as he which hath caltd us is holy, so we should be holy in all manner of Conversation j because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy: 1 Pet. 1. 1 J, 16. From this general Exhortation vhe proceeds to some of those particular Graces, which we pray may always prevent and follow us, to wit, that our good Works may be done,
ist, With all Lowliness; that is, with a humble and lowly Opinion of our selves, free from all Pride, Vanity, and Loftiness of Spirit.
zdly, With all Meekness ; that is, with all Mildness and Gentleness of behaviour towards others, free from all Passion, Prejudice, or Partiality.
idly. , With Long-suffering; that is, with a patient bearing of lesler Wrongs and Injuries, free from sudden Rage or Thoughts of Revenge.
qthly, With forbearing one another in Love; that is, bearing with the Infirmities, and hiding the Indiscretions of each other, free from all Censuring, Detraction^ and Backbiting. These are some of the principal Graces and Verrues, that answer and adorn our Christian Profession; and they that live in the practice of them, may be truly laid to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they are caWd.
But the chiefest Vertue here prescrib'd and insisted on for that purpose, is the living together in Unity and Peace, as becometh good Christians and good Subjects. To this we are directed in the next words, Endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. The Unity of the Spirit is that to which we are cail'd, and by which we are united by the Holy Spirit. 'Tis often express'd and illustrated in Scripture by the Union that is between the Body and the Soul 5 that as all the Members of the natural Body are join'd together and united by one Soul, so all the Members of Christ's mystical Body the Church are united and ani-* K. . mated mated by one Spirit, call'd therefore the Unity of the Spirit. And this is to he kept in the Bond of Peace , that is, py One Fellowship, Discipline, and Communion, which served to ioin all the Parts and Members of Christ's Body, as a Bond is wont to rye and fastest things together. So that the Sense of the Exhortation is, ihat. all Christians should labour to live peaceably together in the Unity of the Church, without Dissension and Separation, and to preserve the Bond of Charity arid Christian Communion, with which the Holy Spirit hath joiri'd all Christians together; This is here and in sundry other places of Scripture strictly charg'd and press'd upon us, as a gbdd means to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith we are caWd: for Unity an J Peace will recommend our Profession to its greatest Enemies, whereas Discord and Dissension mightily expose and disparage it 5 and therefore the former are to be kept intire and inviolate, and the latter to be sliun'd and avoided by all good Christians.
For this reason, our Saviour's last Prayer in the behalf of his Disciples, was, That they all might he one, as he and his Father were one, that the World might believe that God had sent him: which they will sooner doj By seeing his Followers live in Ldve arid Unity together, than by observing them to clash and separate from one another. And therefore St. Paul earnestly press'd the Philippians, to stand fast in one Spirit, with one Mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel 1 Phil. 1. 27. And here he gives the seme Charge to the Ephesiansi to keep the'Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace,
But the better to enforce this Unity upon therri and usfj the Apostle here adds many weighty Arguments to engage its to the Ldve arid Practice of it- , and these take up the remaining part of this Day's Epistle. Asj . ,
1st, He tells ds in the next Verse, that there is bit on* Body: meariing, that there is but onfc Christian Catholicfc Church, which is in Scripture frequently call'd the Body of Christ; For as we have many Members in one Body (faith the Apostle) and all the Members have not the same Office, so we being many are one Body in Christy Rom. 12. 4,5. Tho there be many Congregations rrieeting in several places for the Convenience of Worship and Disciplines yet the Church of Christ is but one all the World over. It was at first cdnfisl'd to Judea, the Jews having & Partition-Wall to separate and distinguish ,them front all othet Nations:
Bbz who' who were excluded from the Privileges of the Temple but 'tis. since enlarg'd to all the World, the Gospel being prder'd to be preach'd to all. Nations, who may now fye the Salvation of Gad. . .... * . . •'.
Now this Addition hath made the Body bigger, but not multiply'd it into more i for'tis still one and.the fame Body, tho grown and extended into larger Dimensions: as a Person is the fame when arriv'd, to t,he Stature of a Man, as he was under the lesser Dimensions of Childhood or Youth. So that the Members, of the Church be;ing jqin'd by the fame Worship, Discipline, aM.,Commun^n, which are as it were the Nerves and Sinews to hold them together, make up but one mystical Body of Christ, as the several Parts and Members join'd together make up but one natural Body.
Neither do the distant Places of meeting break the lenity of the Church, whilst they all join in one Communion, no more than the different Situation and Offices of the several Members do destroy the Unity of the. natural Body. Indeed, all the Members of Christ's Church should, if it might be, meet in one place, that with one Mind and one Mouth they might all glorify God together: but that being impossible, by reason of the distance cjf. Habitations and Countries, care is to be taken, that they join in what they may, viz.. in the Doctrine, Discipline, and Communion of the Church ., and that will unite them into one mystical Body, and make them what the Apostle here and elsewhere affirms, to be all one in Christ Jesus,, .
2/j/, 'Tis farther faid, that as there is bus one Body, so there is one Spirit to animate and enliven it. Tho the evil Spirits are many, and wicked Men are haunted by Legions . of them, yet the good Spirit of God, by which good Men are acted, is but one. This is to the Church,as the Soul is to the Body, the Life, Vigour, and Activity of it: and as one Body can have but one Soul to quicken it, so the mystical Body of Christ hath but one Spirit to animate and actuate it. This is the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace, which we are bid to keep to and preserve, by loving and living peaceably in one Fellowship and Communion with one another ., that as one Soul actuates all the Members of the Body, and thereby keeps a Harmony and Sympathy with every Part, so this one Spirit influences all the Members of the Church to preserve the Bond of mutual Love and Peace with each other: which is a good Argu
meht to persuade Christians to unite in their Desires and Devotion. To which end we are here minded, l- J5(y, That we are all calf d into one Hope of our Calling; meaning, that tho there are different Callings as to the Affairs of this World, suitable to the different Wants and Necessities of human Life,, yet the Calling or Profession of 'Christianity is but one, sored to Ibe Nature and Necessities of the Soul. And tho Men may have different Desires and Designs in relation to this Life, yet they are all call'd into one Hope of their Christian Calling, towirj.a future and eternal Life. And this is another good Motive to preserve Unity, and prevent Divisions ., for all Christians having ,the fame Work to do, and expecting the fame Wages when done, having all the fame spiritual Wants here, and hoping For the fame Reward hereafter, 'tis absurd to differ and fall out in the way to it, and highly reasonable that we should Join hand in hand together for the mutual Aid and Assistance of oneariother : especially considering, that there is nothing but perfect Unity and Harmony in Heaven, to which we are all making; there is no Discord or Diffen~sion there - , 'and if ever we hope to arrive thither, we mult 'fitted for it by Peace and Love with eich other. For the Happiness of that Place consists much in these things, and if we are not dispos'd to them here, we are not qualify'd to be receiv'd into them hereafter; and therefore we must lay aside all Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Heresies, and the like, which are the Dispositions bf Hell- , and follow Peace, Love, Amity, Humility, and Concord, which are the Qualifications that can alone prepare us for Heaven.
';,4(y, To persuade to this Unity, the Apostle farther tells OS, that there is but one God; meaning,- that there is but one supreme Head and Governour of the Christian Church, even Christ, the sole Author and Founder of it. He hath hot subjected it to many Masters to lord it over God's Heritage, nor made his Church a Monster of many Heads, to expose it to Disorder and Divisions ., but to us there is but one Lord, who hath subjected it to himself, and united it into a spiritual Society under subordinate Rukrs and Teachers of his own appointing : for he gave firji Apostles, fe'cpndarily Prophets, then Pastors and. Teachers, for the perfecting of the Satnts for the Work ,ds' the Ministry, and edifyirg the Body of tShr.tst. After which he comnlissiony the Apofi\6s to senci others, as he had sent them, to teach and go
B b 3 vern vern his Church, willing them to watch over their particular Flocks, of which the Holy Ghost had made them Overseers; and likewise laying a Charge on all Christians, to obey them that had the Rule over them in the Lords because they watch for their Souls. So that the Apostle's affirming there is but one Lord, signifies, that as the Church is one, so there is but one Discipline or Government erected in it qnder Christ the Head, and the Bishops and Pastors as his subordinate Officers. And to live in Obedience to them, is
Jo preserve the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace; mt to cast off or depart from this Discipline, is to create Schisms in the Church, and to raise Rebellion against the Authority of Christ. In short, the Argument taken from pne Lord is very strong for the Union and good Agreement of all that are subjected to him, to live by his Laws as so many menial Servants in one Family, and not to fall oat about any Rule or Government among themselves.
5/y, To keep this Unity of the Spirit in the Bond qf Peace, the Apostle farther adds, that there is "but one Faith y meaning, that all the great and necessary Points, of Religion are summ'd up for us in one Creed, which we all profess to believe, and are riequir'd to hold sast: And this Unity of Faith is a sufficient Foundation for a Unity of Heart and Mind ^ for since we agree in the main, why should we differ about small matters? and whilst we hold the Head, which is Christ, and the Foundation, which is the Christian Faith, no heedless Questions or nice Disputes should break the Peace'arid Unity of the Church. To preserve ^irhich, he tells us^
6fy, That there is but one Baptism j that is, there is but one Door of Entrance into the Christian Church, by which we are all' admitted to the Benefits and Privileges of it; and 'tis by this DoOr too that we must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: for bur Saviour hath told us more than, once, that except a Man be born again of Water and the Holy Ghosts he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; John 3.3, 5. And a$ there is but one" Baptism tq receive us afl into the Churchy so there is but one Communion to confirm us in it, arid to convey to us the Mercies and Benefits of it: for we being many (faith the Apostle) are one Bread, and are all Partakers 'if that one Bread j 1 Cor. 10.17. And elsewhere' the fame Apoftje puts Both these together, faying, By one Spirit are we all baptized into one Eody\ and art ajl made to driitk into one Spirits j Cor. 12! 13. Seeing