Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI

EPHESUS was the chief city of that part of Asia, which was a Roman province. Here St. Paul preached for three years, Acts 20:31; and from hence the gospel was spread throughout the whole province, Acts 19:10. At his taking leave of the church there, he forewarned them both of great persecutions from without, and of divers heresies and schisms which would arise among themselves. And accordingly he writes this epistle, nearly resembling that to the Colossians, written about the same time, to establish them in the doctrine he had delivered, to arm them against false teachers, and to build them up in love and holiness, both of heart and conversation.

He begins this, as most of his epistles, with thanksgiving to God for their embracing and adhering to the gospel. He shows the inestimable blessings and advantages they received thereby, as far above all the Jewish privileges, as all the wisdom and philosophy of the heathens. He proves that our Lord is the Head of the whole church; of angels and spirits, the church triumphant, and of Jews and gentiles, now equally members of the church militant. In the three last chapters he exhorts them to various duties, civil and religious, personal and relative, suitable to their Christian character, privileges, assistances, and obligations.

In this epistle we may observe,

 I.  The inscription,........................................ C. i. 1, 2
 II. The doctrine pathetically explained, which contains,
   1. Praise to God for the whole gospel blessing,................. 3-14
      With thanksgiving and prayer for the saints,......... 15-C. ii. 10
   2. A more particular admonition concerning their
        once miserable, but now happy, condition,................. 11-12
      A prayer for their establishment,.................... C. iii. 1-19
      A doxology,................................................ 20, 21
 III. The exhortation,
   1. General: to walk worthy of their calling, agreeably to,
    1.The unity of the Spirit, and the diversity of his gifts, C.iv.1-16
    2.The difference between their former and their present
        state,.................................................... 17-24
   2. Particular
      To avoid,
     1. Lying,....................................................... 25
     2. Anger,................................................... 26, 27
     3. Theft,....................................................... 28
     4. Corrupt communication,................................... 29, 30
     5. Bitterness,.......................................... 31-C. v. 2
     6. Uncleanness,............................................... 3-14
     7. Drunkenness,.............................................. 15-21
        With a commendation of the opposite virtues
      To do their duty, as,
     1. Wives and husbands,....................................... 22-33
     2. Children and parents,................................ C. vi. 1-4
     3. Servants and masters,....................................... 5-9
   3.  Final: to war the spiritual warfare,....................... 10-20
 IV. The conclusion,.............................................. 21-24

Chapter I

1 By the will of God - Not by any merit of my own. To the saints who are at Ephesus - And in all the adjacent places. For this epistle is not directed to the Ephesians only, but likewise to all the other churches of Asia.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us - God's blessing us is his bestowing all spiritual and heavenly blessings upon us. Our blessing God is the paying him our solemn and grateful acknowledgments, both on account of his own essential blessedness, and of the blessings which he bestows upon us. He is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, as man and Mediator: he is his Father, primarily, with respect to his divine nature, as his only begotten Son; and, secondarily, with respect to his human nature, as that is personally united to the divine. With all spiritual blessings in heavenly things - With all manner of spiritual blessings, which are heavenly in their nature, original, and tendency, and shall be completed in heaven: far different from the external privileges of the Jews, and the earthly blessings they expected from the Messiah.
4 As he hath chosen us - Both Jews and gentiles, whom he foreknew as believing in Christ, 1Pet 1:2.
5 Having predestinated us to the adoption of sons - Having foreordained that all who afterwards believed should enjoy the dignity of being sons of God, and joint - heirs with Christ. According to the good pleasure of his will - According to his free, fixed, unalterable purpose to confer this blessing on all those who should believe in Christ, and those only.
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace - His glorious, free love without any desert on our part.
7 By whom we - Who believe. Have - From the moment we believe. Redemption - From the guilt and power of sin. Through his blood - Through what he hath done and suffered for us. According to the riches of his grace - According to the abundant overflowings of his free mercy and favour.
8 In all wisdom - Manifested by God in the whole scheme of our salvation. And prudence - Which be hath wrought in us, that we may know and do all his acceptable and perfect will.
9 Having made known to us - By his word and by his Spirit. The mystery of his will - The gracious scheme of salvation by faith, which depends on his own sovereign will alone. This was but darkly discovered under the law; is now totally hid from unbelievers; and has heights and depths which surpass all the knowledge even of true believers.
10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times - In this last administration of God's fullest grace, which took place when the time appointed was fully come. He might gather together into one in Christ - Might recapitulate, re - unite, and place in order again under Christ, their common Head. All things which are in heaven, and on earth - All angels and men, whether living or dead, in the Lord.
11 Through whom we - Jews. Also have obtained an inheritance - The glorious inheritance of the heavenly Canaan, to which, when believers, we were predestinated according to the purpose of him that worketh all things after the counsel of his own will - The unalterable decree, "He that believeth shall be delivered;" which will is not an arbitrary will, but flowing from the rectitude of his nature, else, what security would there be that it would be his will to keep his word even with the elect?
12 That we - Jews. Who first believed - Before the gentiles. So did some of them in every place. Here is another branch of the true gospel predestination: he that believes is not only elected to salvation, (if he endures to the end,) but is fore - appointed of God to walk in holiness, to the praise of his glory.
13 In whom ye - Gentiles. Likewise believed, after ye had heard the gospel - Which God made the means of your salvation; in whom after ye had believed - Probably some time after their first believing. Ye were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise - Holy both in his nature and in his operations, and promised to all the children of God. The sealing seems to imply,
  1. A full impression of the image of God on their souls.
  2. A full assurance of receiving all the promises, whether relating to time or eternity.
14 Who, thus sealing us, is an earnest - Both a pledge and a foretaste of our inheritance. Till the redemption of the purchased possession - Till the church, which he has purchased with his own blood, shall be fully delivered from all sin and sorrow, and advanced to everlasting glory. To the praise of his glory - Of his glorious wisdom, power, and mercy.
15 Since I heard of your faith and love - That is, of their perseverance and increase therein.
16 I cease not - In all my solemn addresses to God. To give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers - So he did of all the churches, Col 1:9.
17 That the Father of that infinite glory which shines in the face of Christ, from whom also we receive the glorious inheritance, Eph 1:18, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation - The same who is the Spirit of promise is also, in the progress of the faithful, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; making them wise unto salvation, and revealing to them the deep things of God. He is here speaking of that wisdom and revelation which are common to all real Christians.
18 The eyes of your understanding - It is with these alone that we discern the things of God. Being first opened, and then enlightened - - By his Spirit. That ye may know what is the hope of his calling - That ye may experimentally and delightfully know what are the blessings which God has called you to hope for by his word and his Spirit. And what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints - What an immense treasure of blessedness he hath provided as an inheritance for holy souls.
19 And what the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe - Both in quickening our dead souls, and preserving them in spiritual life. According to the power which he exerted in Christ, raising him from the dead - By the very same almighty power whereby he raised Christ; for no less would suffice.
20 And he hath seated him at his own right hand - That is, he hath exalted him in his human nature, as a recompence for his sufferings, to a quiet, everlasting possession of all possible blessedness, majesty, and glory.
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion - That is, God hath invested him with uncontrollable authority over all demons in hell, all angels in heaven, and all the princes and potentates on earth. And every name that is named - We know the king is above all, though we cannot name all the officers of his court. So we know that Christ is above all, though we are not able to name all his subjects. Not only in this world, but also in that which is to come - The world to come is so styled, not because it does not yet exist, but because it is not yet visible. Principalities and powers are named now; but those also who are not even named in this world, but shall be revealed in the world to come, are all subject to Christ.
22 And he hath given him to be head over all things to the church - An head both of guidance and government, and likewise of life and influence, to the whole and every member of it. All these stand in the nearest union with him, and have as continual and effectual a communication of activity, growth, and strength from him, as the natural body from its head.
23 The fulness of him that filleth all in all - It is hard to say in what sense this can be spoken of the church; but the sense is easy and natural, if we refer it to Christ, who is the fulness of the Father.

Chapter II

1 And he hath quickened you - In the nineteenth and twentieth verses of the preceding chapter, St. Paul spoke of God's working in them by the same almighty power whereby he raised Christ from the dead. On the mention of this he, in the fulness of his heart, runs into a flow of thought concerning the glory of Christ's exaltation in the three following verses. He here resumes the thread of his discourse. Who were dead - Not only diseased, but dead; absolutely void of all spiritual life; and as incapable of quickening yourselves, as persons literally dead. In trespasses and sins - Sins seem to be spoken chiefly of the gentiles, who knew not God; trespasses, of the Jews, who had his law, and yet regarded it not, Eph 2:5. The latter herein obeyed the flesh; the former, the prince of the power of the air.
2 According to the course of this world - The word translated course properly means a long series of times, wherein one corrupt age follows another. According to the prince of the power of the air - The effect of which power all may perceive, though all do not understand the cause of it: a power unspeakably penetrating and widely diffused; but yet, as to its baneful influences, beneath the orb of believers. The evil spirits are united under one head, the seat of whose dominion is in the air. Here he sometimes raises storms, sometimes makes visionary representations, and is continually roving to and fro. The spirit that now worketh - With mighty power; and so he did, and doth in all ages. In the sons of disobedience - In all who do not believe and obey the gospel.
3 Among whom we - Jews. Also, formerly had our conversation: doing the will of the flesh - In gross, brutal sins. And of the mind - By spiritual, diabolical wickedness. In the former clause, flesh denotes the whole evil nature; in the latter, the body opposed to the soul. And were by nature - That is, in our natural state. Children of wrath - Having the wrath of God abiding on us, even as the gentiles. This expression, by nature, occurs also, Gal 4:8; Rom 2:14; and thrice in the eleventh chapter. Rom 11:24 But in none of these places does it signify, by custom, or practice, or customary practice, as a late writer affirms. Nor can it mean so here For this would make the apostle guilty of gross tautology, their customary sinning having been expressed already, in the former part of the verse. But all these passages agree in expressing what belongs to the nature of the persons spoken of.
4 Mercy removes misery: love confers salvation.
5 He hath quickened us together with Christ - In conformity to him, and by virtue of our union with him. By grace ye are saved - Grace is both the beginning and end. The apostle speaks indifferently either in the first or second person; the Jews and gentiles being in the same circumstance, both by nature and by grace. This text lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves. Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the backwardness of mankind to receive it, yet knowing the absolute necessity of its being received, again asserts the very same truth, Eph 2:8, in the very same words.
6 And hath raised us up together - Both Jews and gentiles already in spirit; and ere long our bodies too will be raised. And made us all sit together in heavenly places - This is spoken by way of anticipation. Believers are not yet possessed of their seats in heaven; but each of them has a place prepared for him.
7 The ages to come - That is, all succeeding ages.
8 By grace ye are saved through faith - Grace, without any respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift. Faith, with an empty hand, and without any pretence to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing. And this is not of yourselves - This refers to the whole preceding clause, That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God.
9 Not by works - Neither this faith nor this salvation is owing to any works you ever did, will, or can do.
10 For we are his workmanship - Which proves both that salvation is by faith, and that faith is the gift of God. Created unto good works - That afterwards we might give ourselves to them. Which God had before preprepared - The occasions of them: so we must still ascribe the whole to God. That we might walk in them - Though not be justified by them.
11 Wherefore remember - Such a remembrance strengthens faith, and increases gratitude. That ye being formerly gentiles in the flesh - Neither circumcised in body nor in spirit. Who were accordingly called the uncircumcision - By way of reproach. By that which is called the circumcision - By those who call themselves the circumcised, and think this a proof that they are the people of God; and who indeed have that outward circumcision which is performed by hands in the flesh.
12 Were at that time without Christ - Having no faith in, or knowledge of, him. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel - Both as to their temporal privileges and spiritual blessings. And strangers to the covenants of promise - The great promise in both the Jewish and Christian covenant was the Messiah. Having no hope - Because they had no promise whereon to ground their hope. And being without God - Wholly ignorant of the true God, and so in effect atheists. Such in truth are, more or less, all men, in all ages, till they know God by the teaching of his own Spirit. In the world - The wide, vain world, wherein ye wandered up and down, unholy and unhappy.
13 Far off - From God and his people. Nigh - Intimately united to both.
14 For he is our peace - Not only as he purchased it, but as he is the very bond and centre of union. He who hath made both - Jews and gentiles, one church. The apostle describes,
  1. The conjunction of the gentiles with Israel, Eph 2:14,15. And,
  2. The conjunction of both with God, Eph 2:15 - 18.
Each description is subdivided into two parts. And the former part of the one, concerning abolishing the enmity, answers the former part of the other; the latter part of the one, concerning the evangelical decrees, the latter part of the other. And hath broken down the middle wall of partition - Alluding to that wall of old, which separated the court of Israel from the court of the gentiles. Such a wall was the ceremonial law, which Christ had now taken away.
15 Having abolished by his suffering in the flesh the cause of enmity between the Jews and gentiles, even the law of ceremonial commandments, through his decrees - Which offer mercy to all; see Col 2:14. That he might form the two - Jew and gentile. Into one new man - one mystical body.
16 In one body - One church. Having slain - By his own death on the cross. The enmity - Which had been between sinners and God.
17 And he came - After his resurrection. And preached peace - By his ministers and his Spirit. To you - Gentiles. That were afar off - At the utmost distance from God. And to them that were nigh - To the Jews, who were comparatively nigh, being his visible church.
18 For through him, we both - Jews and gentiles. Have access - Liberty of approaching, by the guidance and aid of one Spirit to God as our Father. Christ, the Spirit, and the Father, the three - one God, stand frequently in the same order.
19 Therefore ye are no longer strangers, but citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem; no longer foreigners, but received into the very family of God.
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets - As the foundation sustains the building, so the word of God, declared by the apostles and prophets, sustains the faith of all believers. God laid the foundation by them; but Christ himself is the chief corner - stone of the foundation. Elsewhere he is termed the foundation itself, 1Cor 3:11.
21 On whom all the building fitly framed together - The whole fabric of the universal church rises up like a great pile of living materials. Into an holy temple in the Lord - Dedicated to Christ, and inhabited by him, in which he displays his presence, and is worshipped and glorified. What is the temple of Diana of the Ephesians, whom ye formerly worshipped, to this?

Chapter III

1 For this cause - That ye may be so "built together," I am a prisoner for you gentiles - For your advantage, and for asserting your right to these blessings. This it was which so enraged the Jews against him.
2 The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf - That is, the commission to dispense the gracious gospel; to you gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.
3 The mystery - Of salvation by Christ alone, and that both to Jews and gentiles. As I wrote before - Namely, Eph 1:9,10; the very words of which passage he here repeats.
5 Which in other - In former, ages was not so clearly or fully made known to the sons of men - To any man, no, not to Ezekiel, so often styled, "son of man;" nor to any of the ancient prophets. Those here spoken of are New Testament prophets.
6 That the gentiles are joint - heirs - Of God. And of the same body - Under Christ the head. And joint - partakers of his promise - The communion of the Holy Ghost.
7 According to the gift of the grace of God - That is, the apostle - ship which he hath graciously given me, and which he hath qualified me for. By the effectual working of his power - In me and by me.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given - Here are the noblest strains of eloquence to paint the exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ.
9 What is the fellowship of the mystery - What those mysterious blessings are whereof all believers jointly partake. Which was, in a great measure, hidden from eternity by God, who, to make way for the free exercise of his love, created all things - This is the foundation of all his dispensations.
10 That the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church - By what is done in the church, which is the theatre of the divine wisdom.
12 By whom we have free access - Such as those petitioners have, who are introduced to the royal presence by some distinguished favourite. And boldness - Unrestrained liberty of speech, such as children use in addressing an indulgent father, when, without fear of offending, they disclose all their wants, and make known all their requests.
13 The not fainting is your glory.
15 Of whom - The Father. The whole family of angels in heaven, saints in paradise, and believers on earth is named. Being the "children of God," (a more honourable title than "children of Abraham,") and depending on him as the Father of the family.
16 The riches of his glory - The immense fulness of his glorious wisdom, power, and mercy. The inner man - The soul.
17 Dwell - That is, constantly and sensibly abide.
18 That being rooted and grounded - That is, deeply fixed and firmly established, in love. Ye may comprehend - So far as an human mind is capable. What is the breadth of the love of Christ - Embracing all mankind. And length - From everlasting to everlasting. And depth - Not to be fathomed by any creature. And height - Not to be reached by any enemy.
19 And to know - But the apostle corrects himself, and immediately observes, it cannot be fully known. This only we know, that the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge. That ye may be filled - Which is the sum of all. With all the fulness of God - With all his light, love, wisdom, holiness, power, and glory. A perfection far beyond a bare freedom from sin.
20 Now to him - This doxology is admirably adapted to strengthen our faith, that we may not stagger at the great things the apostle has been praying for, as if they were too much for God to give, or for us to expect from him. That is able - Here is a most beautiful gradation. When he has given us exceeding, yea, abundant blessings, still we may ask for more. And he is able to do it. But we may think of more than we have asked. He is able to do this also. Yea, and above all this. Above all we ask - Above all we can think. Nay, exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can either ask or think.
21 In the church - On earth and in heaven.

Chapter IV

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord - Imprisoned for his sake and for your sakes; for the sake of the gospel which he had preached amongst them. This was therefore a powerful motive to them to comfort him under it by their obedience.
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit - That mutual union and harmony, which is a fruit of the Spirit. The bond of peace is love.
4 There is one body - The universal church, all believers throughout the world. One Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father - The ever - blessed Trinity. One hope - Of heaven.
5 One outward baptism.
6 One God and Father of all - That believe. Who is above all - Presiding over all his children, operating through them all by Christ, and dwelling in all by his Spirit.
7 According to the measure of the gift of Christ - According as Christ is pleased to give to each.
8 Wherefore he saith - That is, in reference to which God saith by David, Having ascended on high, he led captivity captive - He triumphed over all his enemies, Satan, sin, and death, which had before enslaved all the world: alluding to the custom of ancient conquerors, who led those they had conquered in chains after them. And, as they also used to give donatives to the people, at their return from victory, so he gave gifts to men - Both the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. Psa 68:18.
9 Now this expression, He ascended, what is it, but that he descended - That is, does it not imply, that he descended first? Certainly it does, on the supposition of his being God. Otherwise it would not: since all the saints will ascend to heaven, though none of them descended thence. Into the lower parts of the earth - So the womb is called, Psa 139:15; the grave, Psa 63:9.
10 He that descended - That thus amazingly humbled himself. Is the same that ascended - That was so highly exalted. That he might fill all things - The whole church, with his Spirit, presence, and operations.
11 And, among other his free gifts, he gave some apostles - His chief ministers and special witnesses, as having seen him after his resurrection, and received their commission immediately from him. And same prophets, and some evangelists - A prophet testifies of things to come; an evangelist of things past: and that chiefly by preaching the gospel before or after any of the apostles. All these were extraordinary officers. The ordinary were. Some pastors - Watching over their several flocks. And some teachers - Whether of the same or a lower order, to assist them, as occasion might require.
12 In this verse is noted the office of ministers; in the next, the aim of the saints; in the 14th, 15th, 16th, the way of growing in grace. And each of these has three parts, standing in the same order. For the perfecting the saints - The completing them both in number and their various gifts and graces. To the work of the ministry - The serving God and his church in their various ministrations. To the edifying of the body of Christ - The building up this his mystical body in faith, love, holiness.
13 Till we all - And every one of us. Come to the unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God - To both an exact agreement in the Christian doctrine, and an experimental knowledge of Christ as the Son of God. To a perfect man - To a state of spiritual manhood both in understanding and strength. To the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ - To that maturity of age and spiritual stature wherein we shall be filled with Christ, so that he will be all in all.
14 Fluctuating to and fro - From within, even when there is no wind. And carried about with every wind - From without; when we are assaulted by others, who are unstable as the wind. By the sleight of men - By their "cogging the dice;" so the original word implies.
15 Into him - Into his image and Spirit, and into a full union with him.
16 From whom the whole mystical body fitly joined together - All the parts being fitted for and adapted to each other, and most exactly harmonizing with the whole. And compacted - Knit and cemented together with the utmost firmness. Maketh increase by that which every joint supplieth - Or by the mutual help of every joint. According to the effectual working in the measure of every member - According as every member in its measure effectually works for the support and growth of the whole. A beautiful allusion to the human body, composed of different joints and members, knit together by various ligaments, and furnished with vessels of communication from the head to every part.
17 This therefore I say - He returns thither where he begun, Eph 4:1. And testify in the Lord - In the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus. In the vanity of their mind - Having lost the knowledge of the true God, Rom 1:21. This is the root of all evil walking.
18 Having their understanding darkened, through the ignorance that is in them - So that they are totally void of the light of God, neither have they any knowledge of his will. Being alienated from the life of God - Utter strangers to the divine, the spiritual life. Through the hardness of their hearts - Callous and senseless. And where there is no sense, there can be no life.
19 Who being past feeling - The original word is peculiarly significant. It properly means, past feeling pain. Pain urges the sick to seek a remedy, which, where there is no pain, is little thought of. Have given themselves up - Freely, of their own accord. Lasciviousness is but one branch of uncleanness, which implies impurity of every kind.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ - That is, ye cannot act thus, now ye know him, since you know the Christian dispensation allows of no sin.
21 Seeing ye have heard him - Teaching you inwardly by his Spirit. As the truth is in Jesus - According to his own gospel.
22 The old man - That is, the whole body of sin. All sinful desires are deceitful; promising the happiness which they cannot give.
23 The spirit of your mind - The very ground of your heart.
24 The new man - Universal holiness. After - In the very image of God.
25 Wherefore - Seeing ye are thus created anew, walk accordingly, in every particular. For we are members one of another - To which intimate union all deceit is quite repugnant.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not - That is, if ye are angry, take heed ye sin not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the sinner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin. And how hardly do we avoid it. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath - Reprove your brother, and be reconciled immediately. Lose not one day. A clear, express command. Reader, do you keep it?
27 Neither give place to the devil - By any delay.
28 But rather let him labour - Lest idleness lead him to steal again. And whoever has sinned in any kind ought the more zealously to practise the opposite virtue. That he may have to give - And so be no longer a burden and nuisance, but a blessing, to his neighbours.
29 But that which is good - Profitable to the speaker and hearers. To the use of edifying - To forward them in repentance, faith, or holiness. That it may minister grace - Be a means of conveying more grace into their hearts. Hence we learn, what discourse is corrupt, as it were stinking in the nostrils of God; namely, all that is not profitable, not edifying, not apt to minister grace to the hearers.
30 Grieve not the Holy Spirit - By any disobedience. Particularly by corrupt discourse; or by any of the following sins. Do not force him to withdraw from you, as a friend does whom you grieve by unkind behaviour. The day of redemption - That is, the day of judgment, in which our redemption will be completed.
31 Let all bitterness - The height of settled anger, opposite to kindness, ver.32. And wrath - Lasting displeasure toward the ignorant, and them that are out of the way, opposite to tenderheartedness. And anger - The very first risings of disgust at those that injure you, opposite to forgiving one another. And clamour - Or bawling. "I am not angry," says one; "but it is my way to speak so." Then unlearn that way: it is the way to hell. And evil speaking - Be it in ever so mild and soft a tone, or with ever such professions of kindness. Here is a beautiful retrogradation, beginning with the highest, and descending to the lowest, degree of the want of love.
32 As God, showing himself kind and tenderhearted in the highest degree, hath forgiven you.

Chapter V

1 Be ye therefore followers - Imitators. Of God - In forgiving and loving. O how much more honourable and more happy, to be an imitator of God, than of Homer, Virgil, or Alexander the Great!
3 But let not any impure love be even named or heard of among you - Keep at the utmost distance from it, as becometh saints.
4 Nor foolish talking - Tittle tattle, talking of nothing, the weather, fashions, meat and drink. Or jesting - The word properly means, wittiness, facetiousness, esteemed by the heathens an half - virtue. But how frequently even this quenches the Spirit, those who are tender of conscience know. Which are not convenient - For a Christian; as neither increasing his faith nor holiness.
6 Because of these things - As innocent as the heathens esteem them, and as those dealers in vain words would persuade you to think them.
8 Ye were once darkness - Total blindness and ignorance. Walk as children of light - Suitably to your present knowledge.
9 The fruit of the light - Opposite to " the unfruitful works of darkness," Eph 4:11. Is in - That is, consists in. Goodness and righteousness and truth - Opposite to the sins spoken of, Eph 4:25,&c.
11 Reprove them - To avoid them is not enough.
12 In secret - As flying the light.
13 But all things which are reproved, are thereby dragged out into the light, and made manifest - Shown in their proper colours, by the light. For whatsoever doth make manifest is light - That is, for nothing but light, yea, light from heaven, can make anything manifest.
14 Wherefore he - God. Saith - In the general tenor of his word, to all who are still in darkness. Awake thou that steepest - In ignorance of God and thyself; in stupid insensibility. And arise from the dead - From the death of sin. And Christ shall give thee light - Knowledge, holiness, happiness.
15 Circumspectly - Exactly, with the utmost accuracy, getting to the highest pitch of every point of holiness. Not as fools - Who think not where they are going, or do not make the best of their way.
16 With all possible care redeeming the time - Saving all you can for the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the hands of sin and Satan; out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly business; the more diligently, because the present are evil days, days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.
17 What the will of the Lord is - In every time, place, and circumstance.
18 Wherein is excess - That is, which leads to debauchery of every kind. But be ye filled with the Spirit - In all his graces, who gives a more noble pleasure than wine can do.
19 Speaking to each other - By the Spirit. In the Psalms - Of David. And hymns - Of praise. And spiritual songs - On any divine subject. By there being no inspired songs, peculiarly adapted to the Christian dispensation, as there were to the Jewish, it is evident that the promise of the Holy Ghost to believers, in the last days, was by his larger effusion to supply the lack of it. Singing with your hearts - As well as your voice. To the Lord - Jesus, who searcheth the heart.
20 Giving thanks - At all times and places. And for all things - Prosperous or adverse, since al] work together for good. In the name of, or through, our Lord Jesus Christ - By whom we receive all good things.
22 In the following directions concerning relative duties, the inferiors are all along placed before the superiors, because the general proposition is concerning submission; and inferiors ought to do their duty, whatever their superiors do. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands - Unless where God forbids. Otherwise, in all indifferent things, the will of the husband is a law to the wife. As unto the Lord - The obedience a wife pays to her husband is at the same time paid to Christ himself; he being head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church.
23 The head - The governor, guide, and guardian of the wife. And he is the Saviour of the body - The church, from all sin and misery.
24 In everything - Which is not contrary to any command of God.
25 Even as Christ loved the church - Here is the true model of conjugal affection. With this kind of affection, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives.
26 That he might sanctify it through the word - The ordinary channel of all blessings. Having cleansed it - From the guilt and power of sin. By the washing of water - In baptism; if, with "the outward and visible sign," we receive the "inward and spiritual grace."
27 That he might present it - Even in this world. To himself - As his spouse. A glorious church - All glorious within. Not having spot - Of impurity from any sin. Or wrinkle - Of deformity from any decay.
28 As their own bodies - That is, as themselves. He that loveth his wife loveth himself - Which is not a sin, but an indisputable duty.
29 His own flesh - That is, himself. Nourisheth and cherisheth - That is, feeds and clothes it.
30 For we - The reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes the church is, that close connexion between them which is here expressed in the words of Moses, originally spoken concerning Eve. Are members - Are as intimately united to Christ, in a spiritual sense, as if we were literally "flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone."
31 For this cause - Because of this intimate union. Gen 2:24.

Chapter VI

1 Children, obey your parents - In all things lawful. The will of the parent is a law to the child. In the Lord - For his sake. For this is right - Manifestly just and reasonable.
2 Honour - That is, love, reverence, obey, assist, in all things. The mother is particularly mentioned, as being more liable to be slighted than the father. Which is the first commandment with a promise - For the promise implied in the second commandment does not belong to the keeping that command in particular, but the whole law. Ex 20:12
3 That thou mayest live long upon the earth - This is usually fulfilled to eminently dutiful children; and he who lives long and well has a long seed - time for the eternal harvest. But this promise, in the Christian dispensation, is to be understood chiefly in a more exalted and Spiritual sense.
4 And, ye fathers - Mothers are included; but fathers are named, as being more apt to be stern and severe. Provoke not your children to wrath - Do not needlessly fret or exasperate them. But bring them up - With all tenderness and mildness. In the instruction and discipline of the Lord - Both in Christian knowledge and practice.
5 Your masters according to the flesh - According to the present state of things: afterward the servant is free from his master. With fear and trembling - A proverbial expression, implying the utmost care and diligence. In singleness of heart - With a single eye to the providence and will of God.
6 Not with eye - service - Serving them better when under their eye than at other times. But doing the will of God from the heart - Doing whatever you do, as the will of God, and with your might.
7 Unto the Lord, and not to men - That is, rather than to men; and by making every action of common life a sacrifice to God; having an eye to him in all things, even as if there were no other master.
8 He shall receive the same - That is, a full and adequate recompence for it.
9 Do the same things to them - That is, act toward them from the same principle. Forbearing threatening - Behaving with gentleness and humanity, not in a harsh or domineering way.
10 Brethren - This is the only place in this epistle where he uses this compellation. Soldiers frequently use it to each other in the field. Be strong - Nothing less will suffice for such a fight: to be weak, and remain so, is the way to perish. In the power of his might - A very uncommon expression, plainly denoting what great assistance we need as if his might would not do, it must be the powerful exertion of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God - The Greek word means a complete suit of armour. Believers are said to put on the girdle, breastplate, shoes; to take the shield of faith, and sword of the Spirit. The whole armour - As if the armour would scarce do, it must be the whole armour. This is repeated, ver.13, because of the strength and subtilty of our adversaries, and because of an "evil day" of sore trial being at hand.
12 For our wrestling is not only, not chiefly, against flesh and blood - Weak men, or fleshly appetites. But against principalities, against powers - The mighty princes of all the infernal legions. And great is their power, and that likewise of those legions whom they command. Against the rulers of the world - Perhaps these principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness. But there are other evil spirits who range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed. Of the darkness - This is chiefly spiritual darkness. Of this age - Which prevails during the present state of things. Against wicked spirits - Who continually oppose faith, love, holiness, either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry malice, envy, anger, hatred. In heavenly places - Which were once their abode, and which they still aspire to, as far as they are permitted.
13 In the evil day - The war is perpetual; but the fight is one day less, another more, violent. The evil day is either at the approach of death, or in life; may be longer or shorter and admits of numberless varieties. And having done all, to stand - That ye may still keep on your armour, still stand upon your guard, still watch and pray; and thus ye will be enabled to endure unto the end, and stand with joy before the face of the Son of Man.
14 Having your loins girt about - That ye may be ready for every motion. With truth - Not only with the truths of the gospel, but with "truth in the inward parts;" for without this all our knowledge of divine truth will prove but a poor girdle "in the evil day." So our Lord is described, Isa 11:5. And as a girded man is always ready to go on, so this seems to intimate an obedient heart, a ready will. Our Lord adds to the loins girded, the lights burning, Lu 12:35; showing that watching and ready obedience are the inseparable companions of faith and love. And having on the breastplate of righteousness - The righteousness of a spotless purity, in which Christ will present us faultless before God, through the merit of his own blood. With this breastplate our Lord is described, Isa 59:17. In the breast is the seat of conscience, which is guarded by righteousness. No armour for the back is mentioned. We are always to face our enemies.
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel - Let this be always ready to direct and confirm you in every step. This part of the armour, for the feet, is needful, considering what a journey we have to go; what a race to run. Our feet must be so shod, that our footsteps slip not. To order our life and conversation aright, we are prepared by the gospel blessing, the peace and love of God ruling in the heart, Col 3:14,15. By this only can we tread the rough ways, surmount our difficulties, and hold out to the end.
16 Above or over all - As a sort of universal covering to every other part of the armour itself, continually exercise a strong and lively faith. This you may use as a shield, which will quench all the fiery darts, the furious temptations, violent and sudden injections of the devil.
17 And take for an helmet the hope of salvation - 1Thes 5:8. The head is that part which is most carefully to be defended. One stroke here may prove fatal. The armour for this is the hope of salvation. The lowest degree of this hope is a confidence that God will work the whole work of faith in us; the highest is a full assurance of future glory, added to the experimental knowledge of pardoning love. Armed with this helmet, the hope of the joy set before him, Christ "endured the cross, and despised the shame," Heb 12:2. And the sword of the Spirit, the word of God - This Satan cannot withstand, when it is edged and wielded by faith. Till now our armour has been only defensive. But we are to attack Satan, as well as secure ourselves; the shield in one hand, and the sword in the other. Whoever fights with the powers of hell will need both. He that is covered with armour from head to foot, and neglects this, will be foiled after all. This whole description shows us how great a thing it is to be a Christian. The want of any one thing makes him incomplete. Though he has his loins girt with truth, righteousness for a breastplate, his feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit; yet one thing he wants after all. What is that? It follows,
18 Praying always - At all times, and on every occasion, in midst of all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing. By the Spirit - Through the influence of the Holy Spirit. With all prayer - With all sort of prayer, public, private, mental, vocal. Some are careful in respect of one kind of prayer, and negligent in others. If we would have the petitions we ask, let us use all. Some there are who use only mental prayer or ejaculations, and think they are in a state of grace, and use a way of worship, far superior to any other: but such only fancy themselves to be above what is really above them; it requiring far more grace to be enabled to pour out a fervent and continued prayer, than to offer up mental aspirations. And supplication - Repeating and urging our prayer, as Christ did in the garden. And watching - Inwardly attending on God, to know his will, to gain power to do it, and to attain to the blessings we desire. With all perseverance - Continuing to the end in this holy exercise. And supplication for all the saints - Wrestling in fervent, continued intercession for others, especially for the faithful, that they may do all the will of God, and be steadfast to the end. Perhaps we receive few answers to prayer, because we do not intercede enough for others.
19 By the opening my mouth - Removing every inward and every outward hinderance.
20 An ambassador in bonds - The ambassadors of men usually appear in great pomp. How differently does the ambassador of Christ appear!
21 Ye also - As well as others.
22 That he might comfort your hearts - By relating the supports I find from God, and the success of the gospel.
23 Peace - This verse recapitulates the whole epistle.
24 In sincerity - Or in incorruption; without corrupting his genuine gospel, without any mixture of corrupt affections. And that with continuance, till grace issue in glory.

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