« PreviousContinue »
32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
V. 1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love; as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour.
all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiv
ing one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath V. 1 forgiven you. Therefore, as becomes children, that are beloved and cherished by God, propose him as an 2 example to yourselves, to be imitated; And let love conduct and influence your whole conversation, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and an acceptable sacrifice to God.
day of redemption, i. e. at the resurrection, when you shall be put in the actual possession of a place in his kingdom, among those who are his, whereof the Spirit is now an earnest: see note, chap. i. 14.
2 "Of a sweet-smelling savour," was, in scripture phrase, such a sacrifice as God accepted, and was pleased with; see Gen. viii. 21.
CHAP. V. 3-20.
THE next sort of sins he dehorts them from are those of intemperance, especially those of uncleanness, which were so familiar and so unrestrained among the heathens.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named amongst you, as becometh saints:
But fornication and all uncleanness, or exorbitant desires. in venereal matters, let it not be once named amongst
a The word in the greek is whovia, which properly signifies covetous pess, or an intemperate, ungoverned love of riches; but the chaste style of the scripture makes use of it to express the letting loose of the desires to irregular, venereal pleasures, beyond what was fit and right. This one can hardly avoid being convinced of, if one considers how it stands joined with these sorts of sins, in those many places, which Dr. Hammond mentions, in his note, on Rom. i. 29, and chap. iv. 19, of this epistle, and ver. 5, of this chap. 5, compared with this here, they are enough to satisfy one, what λovia, "covetousness," means here; but if that should fail, these words, "let it "not be once named amongst you, as becometh saints," which are subjoined to covetousness, put it past doubt; for what indecency, or misbecomingness is it, among christians, to name covetousness? via therefore must signify the title of sins, that are not fit to be named amongst christians, so that wão ἀκαθαρσία ἢ πλεονεξία seem not here to be used definitively, for several sorts of sins, but as two names of the same thing, explaining one another; and so this verse will give us a true notion of the word wopvela, in the New Testament, the want whereof, and taking it to mean fornication, in our english acceptation of that word, as standing for one distinct species of uncleanness, in the natural mixture of an unmarried couple, seems to me to have perplexed the meaning of several texts of scripture; whereas, taken in that large sense, in which axαbapoia and Treoveía seem here to expound it, the obscurity, which follows, from the usual notion of fornication applied to it, will be removed. Some men have been forward to conclude from the apostle's letter to the convert gentiles of Antioch, Acts xv. 28, wherein they find fornication joined with two or three other actions, that simple fornication, as they call it, was not much distant, if at all, from an indifferent action, whereby, I think, they very much confounded the meaning of the text. The jews that were converted to the gospel, could by no means admit, that those of the gentiles, who retained any of their ancient idolatry, though they professed faith in Christ, could by any means be received by them, into the communion of the gospel, as the people of God, under the Messiah; and so far they were in the right, to make sure of it, that they had fully renounced idolatry; the generality insisted on it, that they should be circumcised, and so, by submitting to the observances of the law, give the same proof, that proselytes were wont to do, that they were perfectly clear from all remains of idolatry. This the apostles thought more than was necessary; but eating of things sacrificed to idols, and blood, whether let out of the animal, or contained in it, being strangled; and forni cation, in the large sense of the word, as it is put for all sorts of uncleanness ;. being the presumed marks of idolatry to the jews, they forbid the convert gentiles, thereby to avoid the offence of the jews, and prevent a separation be tween the professors of the gospel, upon this account. This, therefore, was not given to the convert gentiles, by the apostles of circumcision, as a standing rule of morality, required by the gospel; if that had been the design, it must have contained a great many other particulars; what laws of morality they
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for, because of these things, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedi
4 you, as becometh saints: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor pleasantry of discourse of this kind, which are none of them convenient, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you are thoroughly instructed in, and acquainted with, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor lewd, lascivious libertine, in such matters, who is in truth an idolater, shall have any part in the kingdom of Christ, 6 and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain, empty talk; these things in themselves are highly offensive to God, and are that which he will bring the heathen world
were under, as subjects of Jesus Christ, they doubted not but St. Paul, their apostle, taught and inculcated to them: all that they instructed them in here, was necessary for them to do, so as to be admitted into one fellowship and communion with the converts of the jewish nation, who would certainly avoid them, if they found that they made no scruple of those things, but practised any of them. That fornication, or all sorts of uncleanness, were the consequence and concomitants of idolatry, we see, Rom. i. 29, and, it is known, were favoured by the heathen worship: and therefore the practice of those sins is every-where set down, as the characteristical, heathen, mark of the idolatrous gentiles, from which abominations the jews, both by their law, profession, and general practice, were strangers; and this was one of those things, wherein chiefly God severed his people from the idolatrous nations, as may be seen, Lev. xviii. 20, &c. And hence I think that whovia, used for licentious intemperance in unlawful and unnatural lusts, is in the New Testament called idolatry, and Asoréxles, an idolater; see 1 Cor. v. 11, Col. iii. 5, Eph, v. 5. as being a sure and undoubted mark of an heathen idolater.
6 One would guess by this, that as there were jews who would persuade them, that it was necessary for all christians to be circumcised, and observe the law of Moses; so there were others, who retained so much of their ancient heathenism, as to endeavour to make them believe, that those venereal abominations and uncleannesses, were no other, than what the gentiles esteemed them, barely indifferent actions, not offensive to God, or inconsistent with his worship, but only a part of the peculiar and positive ceremonial law of the jews, whereby they distinguished themselves from other people, and thought themselves holier than the rest of the world, as they did, by their distinction of food, into clean and unclean, these actions being, in themselves, as indifferent as those meats, which the apostle confutes in the following words.
7 Be not ye, therefore, partakers with them.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
(who will not come in, and submit to the law of Christ) 7 to judgment for. Be ye not, therefore, partakers with 3 them. For ye were heretofore, in your gentile state, perfectly in the dark, but now, by believing in Christ, and receiving the gospel, light and knowledge is given to you, 9 walk as those who are in a state of light (For the fruit of
the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth') 10 Practising that which, upon examination, you find ac11 ceptable to the Lord. And do not partake in the fruit
less works of darkness; do not go on in the practice of those shameful actions, as if they were indifferent, but 12 rather reprove them. For the things, that the gentile idolaters do in secret, are so filthy and abominable,
"Children of disobedience," here, and chap. ii. 2, and Col. iii. 6, are plainly the gentiles, who refused to come in, and submit themselves to the gospel, as will appear to any one, who will read these places and the context with at
8 St. Paul, to express the great darkness the gentiles were in, calls them darkness itself.
Which is thus expressed, Col. i. 12, 13, "Giving thanks to the Father, "who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in "light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us "into the kingdom of his dear Son." The kingdom of Satan, over the gentile world, was a kingdom of darkness: see Eph. vi. 12. And so we see Jesus is pronounced by Simeon, "a light to lighten the gentiles," see Luke ii. 32.
9 f This parenthesis serves to give us the literal sense of all, that is here required by the apostle, in this allegorical discourse of light.
11 g These deeds of the unconverted heathen, who remained in the kingdom of darkness are thus expressed by St. Paul, Rom. vi. 21, "What fruit had you "then, in those things, whereof you are now ashamed, for the end of those things " is death?"
12 That by them," here, are meant the unconverted gentiles, is so
13 But all things, that are reproved, are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See, then, that ye walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise; 16 Redeeming the time; because the days are evil.
13 that it is a shame so much as to name them. This you now see, which is an evidence of your being enlightened; for all things, that are discovered to be amiss, are made 14 manifest by the light'. Wherefore he saith, Awake
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light; for whatsoever shows them to be 15 such, is light. Since, then, you are in the light, make use of your eyes to walk exactly in the right way, not as fools, rambling at adventures, but as wise, in a steady, 16 right-chosen course, Securing yourselves by your pru
visible, that there needs nothing to be said to justify the interpretation of the word.
13 i See John iii. 20. The apostle's argument here, to keep the ephesian converts from being misled by those, that would persuade them, that the gentile impurities were indifferent actions, was to show them, that they were now better enlightened; to which purpose, ver. 5, he tells them that they know, that no such person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, or of God. This he tells them, ver. 8, &c. was light, which they had received from the gospel, which, before their conversion, they knew nothing of, but were in perfect darkness and ignorance of it, but now they were better instructed, and saw the difference, which was a sign of light; and, therefore, they should follow that light, which they had received from Christ, who had raised them from among the gentiles, (who were so far dead, as to be wholly insensible of the evil course and state they were in) and had given them light, and a prospect into a future state, and the way to attain everlasting happiness.
16k St. Paul here intimates, ver. 6, that the unconverted heathens, they lived among, would be forward to tempt them to their former, lewd, dissolute lives; but to keep them from any approaches that way, that they have light by the gospel, to know that such actions are provoking to God, and will find the effects of his wrath in the judgments of the world to come. All those pollutions, so familiar among the gentiles, he exhorts them carefully to avoid; but yet to take care, by their prudent carriage to the gentiles they lived amongst, to give them no offence, that so they might escape the danger and trouble, that might otherwise arise to them, from the intemperance and violence of those heathen idolaters, whose shameful lives the christian practice could not but reprove. This seems to be the meaning of "redeeming the time" here, which Col. iv. 5, the other place where it occurs, seems so manifest toyl confirm and give light to. If this be not the sense of "redeeming the time”