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TEXT. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly, above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages, world without end. Amen.
PARAPHRASE. ing us to the knowledge of Christ: that you may be filled with that knowledge, and all other gifts, with God's plenty, or to that degree of fulness, which is suitable to
his purpose of munificence and bounty towards you?. 20 Now to him that worketh in us, by a power“, whereby
he is able to do, exceedingly beyond all that we can ask 21 or think; Unto him be glory in the church by Christ
Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
NOTES. 2 Eis são só whópwua rom Oto, “ to all the fulness of God;" the fulness of God is such fulness, as God is wont to bestow, i.e. wherein there is nothing wanting to any one, but every one is filled to the utmost of his capacity. This I take to be the meaning of εις το πλήρωμα του Θεού, and then σαν απλήρωμα τηay. be understood to show, that it is not a fulness of one thing, and an emptiness of another ; but it is a fulness of all those gifts, which any one shall need, and may be useful to him, or the church. · 20 · What power that is, see chap. i. 19, 20.
CHAP. IV. 1-16.
St. Paul baving concluded the special part of his epistle, with the foregoing chapter, he comes in this, as his manner is, to practical exhortations. He begins with unity, love, and concord, which he presses upon them, upon a consideration that he makes use of, in more of his epistles than one, i.e. their being all members of one and the same body, whereof Christ is the head.
TEXT. i I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that
ye walk worthy of the vocation, wherewith ye are called.
one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit, in the bond of
peace. 4 There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one
hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism. 6 One God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and
in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure
of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led capti
vity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he also descended
first, into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended, is the same also, that ascended up, far above
all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
I THEREFORE, who am in bonds, upon account of
the gospel, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling, 2 wherewith ye are called, With lowliness and meekness,
with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love; 3 Taking care to preserve the unity of the spirit, in the bond 4 of peace; Considering yourselves as being one body, en
livened and acted by one spirit, as also was your calling, 5 in one hope: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and father of you all, who is above all, in the 7 midst amongst you all, and in every one of you. And to
every one of us is made a free donation, according to that
proportion of gifts, which Christ has allotted to every one. 8 Wherefore the Psalmist saith", "When he ascended up
on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto 9
(Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he 10 descended first, into the lower parts of the earth? He,
that descended, is the same also, that ascended above all
3 * Psal. lxviij. 18.
TEXT. 11 And he gave some, apostles : and some, prophets : and some,
evangelists : and some, pastors and teacbers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for
the edifying of the body of Christ : 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ : 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and
carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:
heavens, that there, receiving the fulness of power, he 11 might be able to fill all his members o.) And therefore,
he alone, framing the constitution of his new government, by his own power, and according to such a model, and such rules as he thought best, making some apos
tles, others evangelists, and others pastors and teachers; 12 Putting thus together, in a fit order and frame, the sea
veral members of his new collected people, that each,
iv its proper place and function, might contribute to the 13 whole, and help to build up the body of Christ: Till all
cementing together, in one faith, and knowledge of the Son of God, to the full state of a grown man, according
to the measure of that stature, which is to make up the 14 fulness of Christ: That we should be no longer children,
NOTE. 9, 10 b St. Paul's argumentation, in these two verses, is skilfully adapted to the main design of his epistle. The convert gentiles were attacked by the unconverted jews, who were declared enemies to the thoughts of a Messiah that died : St. Paul, to enervate that objection of theirs, proves by the passage out of the Psalms, ver. 8, that he must die and be buried. Besides the unbelieving jews, several of them, that were converted to the gospel, or at least professed to be so, attacked the gentile converts, on another side, persuading them, that they could not be admitted to be the people of God into the kingdom of the Messiah, nor receive any advantage by him, unless they were circumcised, and put themselves wholly under the jewish constitution. He had said a great deal, in the three first chapters, to free them from this perplexity, but yet takes occasion here to offer them a new argument, by telling them, that Christ, the same Jesus that died, and was laid in his grave, was exalted to the right hand of God, above all the heayens, in the highest state of dignity and power, that he himself, being filled with the fulness of God, believers, who were all his members, might receive immediately from him, their head, a fulness of gifts and graces, upon no other terms, but barely as they were his members,
TEXT. 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him, in all
things, which is the bead, even Christ : 16 From whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and com
pacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working, in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
PARAPHRASE. tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of
doctrine, by men versed in the sleights of cheating, and 15 their cunning artifices, laid in train to deceive: But be
ing steady in true and unfeigned love, should grow up
into a firm union, in all things, with Christ, who is the 16 head : From whom the whole body, fitly framed toge
ther, and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper force and function of each particular part, makes an increase of the whole body, building itself up in love, or a mutual concern of the parts
NOTE. 16 e The sum of all that St. Paul says, in this figurative discourse, is, that christians, all as members of one body, whereof Christ is the head, should, each in his proper place, according to the gifts bestowed upon him, labour with concern and good-will, for the good and increase of the whole, till it be grown up to that fulness, which is to complete it, in Christ Jesus. This is, in short, the sense of the exhortation, contained in this section, which carries a strong insinuation with it, especially if we take in the rest of the admonitions, to the end of the epistle, that the mosaical observances, were no part of the business, or character, of a christian; but were wholly to be neglected and declined, by the subjects of Christ's kingdom.
CHAP. IV. 17-24.
In this section, the apostle exhorts them wholly to forsake their former conversation, which they had passed their lives in, whilst they were gentiles, and to take up that, which be
came them, and was proper to them, now they were christians. Here we may see the heathen and christian state and conversation described, and set in opposition one to the other.
TEXT. 17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth
walk, not as other gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life
of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lascivis,
ousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 90 But ye have not so learned Christ;
PARAPHRASE. 17 This I såy, therefore, and testify to you, from the Lord,
that ye henceforth walk not as the unconverted gentiles 18 walk, in the vanity of their minds'. Having their un
derstandings darkened, being alienated from that rule and course of life, which they own and observe, who are the professed subjects and servants of the true God,
through the ignorance that is in them, because of the 19 blindness of their hearts; Who, being past feeling, have
given themselves over to lasciviousness, to the commit
ting of all uncleanness, even beyond the bounds of na20 tural desires But
that have been instructed in
NOTES. 17 a This “vanity of mind,” if we look into Rom. i. 21, &c. we shall find to be the apostatising of the gentiles from the true God to idolatry; and, in consequence of that, to all that profligate way of living, which followed thereupon, and is there described by St. Paul.
18 b This “alienation," was from owning subjection to the true God, and the observance of those laws, which he had given, to those of mankind, that continued and professed to be his people; see chap. ii. 12.
19 < Tlacovežia, "covetousness," in the common acceptation of the word, is the letting loose our desires to that which, by the law of justice, we have no right to. But St. Paul, in some of his epistles, uses it for intemperate and exorbi. tant desires of carnal pleasures, not confined within the bounds of nature. He that will compare with this verse here chap. v. 3, Col. iii. 5, 1 Thess. iv. 6, 1 Cor. v. 10, in, and will consider the context, will find reason to take it here, in the sense I have given of it, or else it will be very hard to understand these texts of scripture. In the same sense the learned Dr. Hammond understands wront Eide, Rom. i. 29, which, though perhaps the greek idiom will scarce justify, yet the apostle's style will, who often uses greek terms in the full latitude of the hebrew. words, which they are usually put for in translating, though, in the greek use of them, they have nothing at all of that signification, particularly the hicbiew word