« AnteriorContinua »
grace (y) according (2) to the || and some, evangelists; and some,
measure of the gift of Christ. pastors and teachers; for (d) the 8. Wherefore (a) he saith, " When perfecting of the saints, for the
66 he ascended up on high, he led work of the ministry, for the edi
“ captivity captive, and gave gifts fying (e) of the body of Christ : 9. unto men.” (Now (6), that he till we all come in the unity of
ascended, what is it but that the faith, and of the knowledge
he also descended first into the of the Son of God, unto a (f) per10. lower parts of the earth ? He fect man, unto the measure of the
that descended is the same stature of the fulness of Christ : also that ascended up far above that we henceforth be no more!
all heavens, that he might fill children, tossed to and fro, and 11. all things.). And he gave some, carried about with every wind of
apostles (c); and some, prophets; doctrine, by the sleight of men,
overvaluing those persons on whom the higher gifts of the spirit were conferred, or undervaluing those who had the lower gifts. The same topic occurs Rom. xii. 3. &c. ante 53. and i Cor. xii. post. The argument here is, the gifts are not acquired by the merit of the person on whom they are conferred, but bestowed by Christ as may best advance the interests of Christianity, and that they are all conferred to promote the general cause, not to aggrandize any
individuals. He introduces it by recommending lowliness, &c. and desiring them " to keep the unity of “the spirit in the bond of peace.” “ The
unity of the spirit" may mean its one
obje&, to advance Christianity: 0.7.
(y) “ Grace," i.e. some of the extraordinary powers.
According to the measure," &c. i.e. as our Saviour thinks proper to distribute them. The powers therefore are conferred, not acquired. In 1 Cor. xii. 11. after mentioning the different powers conferred, he says,
" but all ar these worketh that one and the self
same spirit, dividing to every man se“ verally as he will ;” and in Rom. xii. 3. he cautions every one “ not to think of “ himself more highly than he ought to “ 'think, but to think soberly, according “ as God bath dealt to every man the mea.
sure of faith, which means the same as here, that it is God or his Holy Spirit
which allots to each what he thinks fit. v.8. (a) “ He saith.” This expression
probably means only “it is said,'' to introduce the quotation, which is from Ps. lxviii. 18. The passage there is, “ Thou art gone up on high, thou hast
“ led captivity captive, and received gifts “ for men." The passage is perhaps referred to for no other reason but be. cause it speaks of gifts, and gave the opportunity of noticing our Saviour's humiliation.
« Now," &c. The object of these verses seems to be to reconcile those on whom the lowest gifts were conferred, by bringing to their recollection that our Saviour, who had been so greatly exalted, and had ascended up on high, &c. had however first submitted to the degradation of descending into the lower parts of the earth; and if that submission was not too low for him, it could be no de gradation to any of his followers to execute the lowest of his commissions. In Philip. ii. 6. (ante 93.) he notices our Saviour's humiliation, to press upon
the Philippian converts the duty of lowliness of mind, &c. to advance the common cause.
(c) “ Some apostles," i.e. some to be apostles, some to be prophets, &c.
(d) “ For the perfecting," &c. This was the general object, to make the com. verts perfect, to advance the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christianity: he wishes to convince them that the different gifts are bestowed on the different receivers for the same end, the advancement of the gospel, not to be made topics of jealousy, discord, &c.
(e) “Edifying," i. e. building up:
(f).“ A perfect man.” So as to form °. a complete body of full growth: in opposition to the imperfection of mere children in the gospel, who are noticed in verse 14.
and cunning craftiness, whereby " Father is the husbandman. 15. they lie in wait to deceive; but, “ Every branch in me that 2.
speaking the truth in love, may “ beareth not fruit (K) he taketh
which is the head, even Christ : " beareth fruit, he (1) purgeth it, 16. from whom the whole body fitly " that it may bring forth more
joined together, and compacted “ fruit. Now ye are (m) clean 3. by that which every (b) joint sup- “ through the word which I plieth, according to the effectual “ have spoken unto you. Abide 4. working in (i) the measure of
« in me, and I (n) in you.
As every part, maketh increase of " the branch cannot bear fruit the body unto the edifying of “ of itself, except it abide in the itself in love.
« vine; no more can ye, except
ye abide in me. I am the 5. The Gospel. John xv. I. “ vine, ye are the branches : he I am the true vine, and my " that abideth in me, and I in
(8) “ Grow up," &c. i. e, advance beyond a state of childhood.
(6) « Every joint,” &c. As the joints in the body, when they are perfect and perform their offices, make the body compact and perfect, so will the body of Christianity be perfect if each member performs the duty allotted him. The members on whom the different gifts are conferred, are to the body of Christianity what the joints are to the natural body. In 1 Cor. xii. he enlarges upon the same idea, by reminding them that in the body there are many members, each of which has its peculiar office, and that the very lowest are as much members of the body
as the very best.
gift allotted to each, every part working
gift, as mentioned in verse 7.
This corresponds with what John the Baptist taught Matt. iii. 10. “ Now also the ax is laid “ unto the root of the trees; therefore
every tree that bringeth not forth good “ fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the “ fire.” So Matt. vii
. 19. post, and when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, “ Bring forth fruits meet for “ (i.e. corresponding with) repentance," Matt. ii. 8. So our Saviour pressed strongly the necessity of good works. In his sermon on the mount he
Matt. v. 16. “Let your light so shine before men, ""' that they may see your good works,
“ and glorify your Father which is in “ heaven.” So the parable of the talents, Matt. xxv. 15. and the judgment on the barren fig-tree, Matt. xxi. 19. is founded upon the necessity of good works. Indeed, where religion does its perfect work, by purifying the heart, making us like-minded with our Saviour, infusing into our breasts humility, for. bearance, forgiveness of injuries, perfect love to man, and perfect reverence for God, good works cannot but follow : the fruit from such a tree must be good. See Matt. xii. 33. St. Paul, in his directions to Titus, ch. ii.8. says, “ This “ is a faithful saying, and these things “ I will that thou affirm constantly, that
they which have believed in God
might be careful to maintain good “ works.” See post 148. note on Jam.
(1) “ Purgeth it," i. e. assists it, in- v. 2. creases its disposition to bear. So our Saviour says, Matt, xiii. 12. and Matt. XXV. 29.
" Whosoever hath, to him “ shall be given, and he shall have
more abundance." God will not be wanting to us, if we are not wanting to ourselves ; if we do our utmost to advance our good propensities, and correct our bad ones, he will promote our exertions ; “ Ask, and it shall be given you."
(m) “ Clean," perhaps purged, ac. v.3. cording to verse 2.
(n) « And I in you," i. e. and I will v.4. abide in you ; it is in your power to retain me.
“ him, the same bringeth forth Third Sunday after Easter.
ye abide in me, and my words fellowship of Christ's religion, ut “ abide in you, ye shall (9) ask that they may eschew those things ca
“ what ye will, and it shall be that are contrary to their profes8. “ done unto you. Herein is my sion, and follow all such things as
“ Father (r) glorified, that ye are agreeable to the same, throughi:
DEARLY beloved, I beseech you “ If ye keep my commandments, as strangers (s) and pilgrims, ab
ye shall abide in my love; stain from fleshly (1) lusts, which
even as I have kept my Father's war against the soul; having your " commandments, and abide in conversation honest among
the “ his love. These things have Gentiles : that whereas they speak “ I spoken unto you, that my against you as evil doers, they – joy might remain in you, may by your (u) good works
, “ and that your joy might be which they shall behold, glorify 66 full.”
God in the day (x) of visitation.
(0) “ Without me," &c. i.e. as the branch can bear nothing without the
tree, so can you bear nothing without v. 6.
() “ Cast forth,” &c. i. e. as branch cast forth from the tree withereth, and is of no use but for fire, and is ac. cordingly picked up and burnt, so if you abide not in me, you will be useless and destroyed.
(9) “ Ask," &c. So Matt. xxi. 22.
All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, “ believing, ye shall receive;" and John
“ whatsoever ye shall ask the " Father in my name, he will give it
(r) “Glorified." The good works of men, when done from religious motives, advance God's glory. See the passage supra, from Matt. v. 16. on verse 2. The song of the angels at our Saviour's birth, "Glory to God in the highest,'' imply that the religion our Saviour came to establish would increase the reverence from man to God. In Ps. I. 23. “ whoso
" offereth me thanks and praise
be honoureth me." (s) “ Strangers and pilgrims," considering heaven as your home, and this world a state of trial and pilgrimage
. So Hebr. xiii. 14.
« here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to
come.” În Col. iii. 2, 3. (ante 127.) St. Paul recommends the converts to “ set their affections on things above, not
on things on the earth,” for this reason, “ for ye are dead, and your life is “ hid with Christ in God."
(1) “Fleshly lusts." The apostles were very zealous in restraining the con, verts from these sins, and condemned them in the strongest language.
(u) “ Your good works," &c. Good . works are recommended in other passages with the same view, that from the good conduct of those who profess the true religion, glory may be given to God. See ante 33. note on Philipp. iv. 5.
(*) “ Day of visitation," i.e. pro ♡ bably that great day so often referred
13. Submit () yourselves to every “ not see me: and again, A little
ordinance of man for the Lord's 66 while, and ye shall see me; be
sake: whether it be to the King, cause I go to the Father." ! 14. as supreme; or unto governors,
Then said some of his disciples 17. as unto them that are sent by among themselves, What is this him (z) for the punishment of that he saith unto us, “ A little
evil doers, and for the praise of while, and ye shall not see me: 115. them that do well. For so is the “ and again, A little while, and
will of God, that with well doing " ye shall see me: and, Because
ye may put to silence the igno- “ I go to the Father ?” They 18. 16. rance of foolish men: as (a) free, said therefore, “What is this that
and (6) not using your liberty for " he saith, A little while? We
a cloak (c) of maliciousness, but cannot (f) tell what he saith.” i 17. as (d) the servants of God. Ho- Now Jesus knew that they were 19. nour all men. Love the brother
desirous to ask him, and said hood. Fear God. Honour the unto them, “Do ye inquire King.
among yourselves of that I
" said, A little while, and ye
6 shall not see me: and again,
“ me? Verily, verily, I say unto 20.
to, as “the day” or coming of the
destruction and vengeance.
not only recommend submission to the
“ God." 'According to Rom. xiii. 3,
4. 6. “ Rulers are God's ministers.” 7.16.
(a) "Free," “under" (what is called,
Jam. i. 25.) “ the perfect law of li.
(6) • And not," i. e. and yet not.
ich “ Cloke of maliciousness,” i.e. as 0. 16. a cover or pretence either for resisting or disregarding earthly institutions, governors, laws, &c. or for committing any sin.
(d) • But as the servants," &c. i. e. v. 16. not to abuse their freedom to ill purposes, but to act in all respects as God's servants,
(e) “ A little while,” &c. Our Sa- v. 16. viour probably here alludes to the three great approaching events of his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. “ A “ little while and ye shall not see me,” because I shall be put to death, " and
again a little while and ye shall see
me," because 1 shall rise again, and shall see you in my passage to my father. This conversation occurred at the last supper, when St. John was next to our Saviour; he is therefore recording what he himself heard.
(f) “ We cannot tell,” &c. It ap- v. 18. pears from many passages, that they did not understand until after the resurrection that he was to suffer and rise again. See ante 133. note on Luke xxiv. 45. and see ante 77. note on Luke xviii.
3+ and post 147. note on John xvi. 6.
66 from you.
you, That ye (g) shall weep
your joy no man (m) taketh “ and lament, but (h) the world “ shall rejoice: and ye shall be
“ sorrowful, but your sorrow
“ woman (k) when she is in tra-
O Almighty God, whom truly " she is delivered of the child, to know is everlasting life; Grant 66 she remembereth no more the us perfectly to know thy Sam “ anguish, for joy that a man is Jesus Christ to be the
the 22. “ born into the world. And ye truth, and the life; that follow.
now therefore have sorrow : ing the steps of thy holy Apostles, “ but I will see (1) you again, Saint Philip and Saint James, we " and your heart shall rejoice, may stedfastly walk in the way
(8) “Ye shall weep," &c. When our Saviour was apprehended, the disciples all forsook him and Aed, Matt. xxvi. 56. and as they had not foreseen that he was to suffer, &c. and expected that his was to be a temporal kingdom, it would of course give them great distress to find all their hopes blasted, and the person to whom they looked up removed from them, as they might suppose, for ever.
(6) « The world," i.e. my opposers: this shall be their time of triumph. In Luke xxii. 53. when he was apprehended, he said, “ This is your hour, " and the power of darkness.”
(i) “Turned into joy." How speedily and effectually was this prophecy ful. filled ? What transport and delight must they have felt when they saw him so repeatedly after his resurrection, as to be certain that he had indeed risen, and when that conviction was put beyond all possibility of doubt by the gift of the Holy Ghost, which enabled them to speak languages they liad never learnt, to cure diseases, and perform other miraculous works? The effect it produced in their conduct was what might have been expected. After commenting upon the grounds we have from the apostolical accourts for being satisfied of the resur. rection, Bp. Porteus, in 2 Lect. 317. writes thus : “ But besides the positive “ proof of this fact, there is a pre“ sumptive one of a most forcible nature, “ to which I have never yet seen any “ answer, and am of opinion that none “ can be given. The proof I allude to
" is that which is drawn from the asto“ nishing change which took place in “ the language and the conduct of the
apostles, immediately after the period “ when they affirmed that Jesus had “ risen from the dead. From being,
as we have seen, timorous and dejected, " and discouraged at the death of their “ Master, they suddenly became cou“ rageous, undaunted, and intrepid; and “ they boldly preached that very Jesus “ whom before they had deserted in his
greatest distress This observation “ will apply in some degree to all the
apostles : but with regard to St. “ Peter more particularly it holds with
peculiar force." He then contrasts with great force Peter's timidity before the crucifixion, with that instance of his courage of which we have an account in Acts iv. It may be observed too, that this courage and intrepidity of the apostles was not temporary, but lasted for their lives, and that from the opposition and persecutions they ex. perienced, it was put very severely to the test. See ante 25, note on Rom.
(d) "A woman," &c. he puts this as ? :1. a parallel case: as the woman's subse. quent joy makes her think nothing of the pain she endured, so shall it be with you.
(1) “ Again," i. e, on his Resurrec- $ 13. tion.
(m) “ No man taketh," i. e. can take. It will be above the control, attacks, &c.