Imatges de pÓgina


16 And that he might reconcile both unto God, in one body, by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby :

17 And came and preached peace to you, which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For, through him, we both have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father.

19 Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the houshold of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.

21 In whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom you, also, are builded together, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit.


16 between them; And might reconcile them both to God, being thus united into one body, in him, by the cross, whereby he destroyed that enmity, or incompatibility, that was between them, by nailing to his cross the law 17 of ordinances, that kept them at a distance: And, being come, preached the good tidings of peace to you gentiles that were far off from the kingdom of heaven, and to the jews, that were near, and in the very precincts of 18 it. For it is by him, that we, both jews and gentiles,

have access to the Father, by one and the same Spirit. 19 Therefore ye, ephesians, though heretofore gentiles, now believers in Christ, you are no more strangers and foreigners, but without any more a-do fellow-citizens of 20 the saints, and domestics of God's own family: Built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, 21 whereof Jesus Christ is the corner-stone: In whom all

the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy 22 temple in the Lord: In which even the gentiles", also


God, which he had now put into the hands of his Son, they were no longer the people of God; and, therefore, all those of the jewish nation, who, after that, would return to their allegiance, had need of reconciliation, to be re-admitted into the kingdom of God, as part of his people, who were now received into peace and covenant with him, upon other terms, and under other laws, than being the posterity of Jacob, or observers of the law of Moses.

22 The sense of which allegory I take to be this: it is plain, from the at VOL. VIII.

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are built up, together with the believing jews, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit.


testation of the apostles and prophets, that the gentiles, who believe in Christ, are thereby made members of his kingdom, united together, under him, their head, into such a well-framed body, wherein each person has his proper place, rank, and function to which he is fitted, that God will accept and delight in them as his people, and live amongst them, as in a well-framed building, dedicated and set apart to him, whereof the gentiles make a part, and without any difference put between you, are framed in equality, and promiscuously with the believing jews, by the Spirit of God, to be one people, amongst whom he will dwell, and be their God, and they shall be his people.


CHAP. III. 1—21.


THIS section gives a great light to those foregoing, and more clearly opens the design of this epistle: for here St. Paul, in plain words, tells them it is for preaching this doc trine, that was a mystery till now, being hid from former ages, viz. that the gentiles should be co-heirs with the be lieving jews, and, making one body, or people, with them, should be equally partakers of the promises, under the Messiah, of which mystery he, by particular favour and appointment, was ordained the preacher. Whereupon he exhorts them not to be dismayed, or flinch, in the least, from the belief, or profession of this truth, upon his being persecuted and in bonds upon that account. For his suffering for it, who was the preacher and propagator of it, was so far from being a just discouragement to them, for standing firmly in the belief of it, that it ought to be to them a glory, and a confirmation of this eminent truth of the gospel, which he peculiarly taught; and thereupon he tells them, he makes it his prayer to God, that they might be strengthened herein, and be able to comprehend the largeness of the love of God

in Christ, not confined to the jewish nation and constitution, as the jews conceited; but far surpassing the thoughts of those who, presuming themselves knowing, would confine it to such only, who were members of the jewish church, and observers of their ceremonies.


1 FOR this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you gentiles:

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward;

3 How that, by revelation, he made known unto me the mystery, (as I wrote afore in few words.


1 FOR my preaching of this, I Paul am a prisoner, upon account of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the sake and 2 service of you gentiles: Which you cannot doubt of, since ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which was given to me, in reference to you gentiles: 3 How that, by special revelation, he made known unto me, in particular, the mystery, (as I hinted to you above,


1 a See Col. iv. 3, 2 Tim. ii. 9, 10.

b See Phil. i. 7, Col. i. 24.

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2 Eys, is sometimes an affirmative particle, and signifies in greek the same that siquidem does in Latin, and so the sense requires it to be understood here; for it could not be supposed but the ephesians, amongst whom St. Paul had lived so long, must have heard, that he was, by express commission from God, made apostle of the gentiles, and, by immediate revelation, instructed in the doctrine he was to teach them; whereof this, of their admittance into the kingdom of God purely by faith in Christ, without circumcision, and other legal observances, was one great and necessary point, whereof St. Paul was so little shy, that we see the world rung of it, Acts xxi. 28. And if his preaching and writing were of a piece, as we need not doubt, this mystery of God's purpose to the gentiles, which was coinmunicated to him by revelation, and we hear of so often in his epistles, was not concealed from them he preached to.

3 Though St. Peter was, by a vision from God, sent to Cornelius, a gentile, Acts x. yet we do not find, that this purpose, of God's calling the gentiles to be his people, equally with the jews, without any regard to circumcision or the mosaical rites, was revealed to him, or to any other of the apostles, as a doctrine, which they were to preach and publish to the world: neither, indeed, was it needful, that should be any part of their commission, who were apostles only of the circumcision, to mix that, in their message to the jews, which should make them stop their ears and refuse to hearken to the other parts of the gospel, which they were more concerned to know and be instructed in.

See Col. i. 26.


4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets, by the Spirit;

6 That the gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise, in Christ, by the gospel:

7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me, by the effectual working of his



4 viz. chap. i. 9. By the bare reading whereof ye may be assured of my knowledge in this formerly concealed and 5 unknown part of the gospel of Christ':) Which in former ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets, by the Spirit, 6 viz. That the gentiles should be fellow heirs, be united into one body, and partake of his promise in Christ, 7 jointly with the jews, in the time of the gospel; Of



4f One may be ready to ask, "to what purpose is this, which this parenthesis ❝contains here, concerning himself?" And, indeed, without having an eye on the design of this epistle, it is pretty hard to give an account of it; but, that being carried in view, there is nothing plainer, nor more pertinent and persuasive than this here; for what can be of more force to make them stand firm to the doctrine which he had taught them, of their being exempt from circumcision, and the observances of the law? If you have heard, and I assure you in my "epistle, that this mystery of the gospel was revealed in a particular manner, to "me from heaven: the very reading of this is enough to satisfy you, that I am "well instructed in that truth, and that you may safely depend upon what I "have taught you, concerning this point, notwithstanding I am in prison for it, "which is a thing you ought to glory in, since I suffer for a truth, wherein you "are so nearly concerned;" see chap. vi. 19.

6% The promise here intended, is the promise of the Spirit; see Gal. iii. 14, which was not given to any, but to the people and children of God; and, therefore, the gentiles received not the Spirit, till they became the people of God, by faith in Christ, in the times of the gospel.

h Though the jews are not expressly named here; yet it is plain, from the foregoing chapter, ver. 11, &c. that it is of the union of the gentiles with the jews, and making with them one body of God's people, equally sharing in all the privileges and benefits of the gospel, that he is here speaking, the same which he teaches, Gal. iii. 26-29.

1 AIR TË EvaysEXly signifies, here, " in the time of the gospel,” as di áxçeCurias signifies, in the time of uncircumcision," Rom. iv. 11, see note on Rom. vii. 5. The same thing being intended here, which, chap. i. 10, is thus expressed: "that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, i. e. in the time of


8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace


which doctrine I, in particular, was made the minister *, according to the free and gracious gift of God, given unto me, by the effectual working of his power, in his so won8 derful converting the gentiles by my preaching'; Unto


"the gospel, all things might be gathered together, or united, in Christ, or by "Christ.

7 Though he does not, in express words, deny others to be made ministers of it, for it neither suited his modesty, nor the respect he had for the other apostles, so to do; yet his expression here will be found strongly to imply it, especially if we read and consider well the two following verses; for this was a necessary instruction to one, who was sent to convert the gentiles, though those, who were sent to their brethren the jews, were not appointed to promulgate it. This one apostle of the gentiles, by the success of his preaching to the gentiles, the attestation of miracles, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, joined to what Peter had done, by special direction, in the case of Cornelius, would be enough, in its due season, to convince the other apostles of this truth, as we may see it did, Acts xv. and Gal. ii. 6-9. And of what consequence, and how much St. Paul thought the preaching of this doctrine his peculiar business, we may see, by what he says, chap. vi. 19, 20, where any one may see, by the different treatment he received from the rest of the apostles, being in bonds upon that account, that his preaching herein differed from their's, and he was thereupon, as he tells us himself, treated "as an evil-doer," 2 Tim. ii. 9. The history whereof we have, Acts xxi. 17, &c. as we have elsewhere observed. And it is upon the account of his preaching this doctrine, and displaying to the world this concealed truth, which he calls every-where a hidden mystery, that he gives, to what he had preached, the distinguishing title of, "my gospel," Rom. xvi. 25, which he is concerned, that God should establish them in, that being the chief design of his epistle to the romans, as here to the ephesians. The insisting so much on this, that it was the special favour and commission of God to him, in particular, to preach this doctrine, of God's purpose of calling the gentiles to the word, was not out of vanity, or boasting, but was here of great use to his present purpose, as carrying a strong reason with it, why the ephesians should rather believe him, to whom, as their apostle, it was made manifest, and committed to be preached, than the jews, from whom it had been concealed, and was kept as a mystery, and was in itself aixíasov, inscrutable by men, though of the best natural parts and endowments.

This seems to be the energy of the power of God, which he here speaks of, as appears by what he says of St. Peter, and of himself, Gal. ii. 8, O spynoas Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποςολην τῆς περιλομῆς, ενήργησε καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, “ He that wrought "effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was "mighty, or wrought effectually in me," as igy is here translated, of which his very great modesty could not hinder him from speaking thus, 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10, "I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God: but, by the grace of God, I am what "I am, and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God that

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