Billeder på siden


this here, they are enough to satisfy one, what soveği, "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? therefore must signify the title of sins that are not fit to be named amongst Christians, so that warα ακαθαρσία η 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 opvuz, 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 axadapoia and A 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 fornication, 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 between 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 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 veia, used for licentious intemperance in unlawful and unnatural lusts, is in the New Testament called idolatry, and ovens, an idolater; see 1 Cor. v. 11. Col. iii. 5. Eph. v. 5, as being the sure and undoubted mark of an heathen idolater..


4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not con

venient 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 disobedience.

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,


4 becometh saints: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor pleasantry of discourse of this kind, which are none of them 5 convenient, but rather giving of thanks. 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 6 in the kingdom of Christ 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 (who will not come in, and submit to the 7 law of Christ) to judgment for. Be ye not, therefore, par8 takers with 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


6 One would guess by this, thrt 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 veneral 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.

"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 contexts with


8d 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 Lukei i.



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.

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.



you, 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 acceptable 11 to the Lord. And do not partake in the fruitless works of

darkness; do not go on in the practice of those shameful actions, as if they were indifferent, but rather reprove them. 12 For the things, that the Gentile idolaters do in secret, are

so filthy and abominable, that it is a shame so much as to 13 name them. This you now see, which is an evidence of your being enlightened; for all things, that are discovered to 14 be amiss, are made manifest by the light. Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give the light; for whatsoever shows them to be


9 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 h That by "them," here, are meant the unconverted Gentiles, is so visible, that there needs nothing to be said to justify the interpretation of the word.

13 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 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.


15 See, then, that ye walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise; 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the

Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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, right-chosen course, 16 Securing yourselves, by your prudent carriage, from the inconveniences of those difficult times which threaten them 17 with danger. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understand18 ing what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunken with wine, wherein there is excess'; seek not diversion in the noisy and intemperate jollity of drinking; but, when you are disposed to a cheerful entertainment of one another, let it be with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you are filled with, 19 Singing hymns, and psalms, and spiritual songs among your

selves; this makes real and solid mirth in the heart, and is 20 melody well pleasing to God himself; Giving thanks always, for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father.



16 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 now, 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 manifestly to confirm and give light to. If this be not the sense of "redeeming the time" here, I must own myself ignorant of the precise meaning of the phrase, in this place.

18 St. Paul dehorts them from wine, in a too free use of it, because therein is excess: the Greek word is awr, which may signify luxury or dissoluteness: i. e. that drinking is no friend to continency and chastity, but gives up the reins to lust and uncleanness, the vice he had been warning them against: or arora may signify the intemperance and disorder opposite to that sober and prudent demeanour advised in redeeming the time.


CHAPTER V. 21.-VI. 9.


In this section he gives rules concerning the duties arising from the several relations men stand in one to another, in society: those which he particularly insists on are these three, husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants.


21 Submitting yourselves one to another, in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of

the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.

24 Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;


21 submit yourselves one to another, in the fear of God. 22 As for example, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, or, as being members of the church, you submit your23 selves to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife,

as Christ himself is the head of the church, and it is he, the head, that preserves that his body; so stands it between man 24 and wife. Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ, so 25 let wives be to their husbands, in every thing. And, you

husbands, do you, on your side, love your wives, even as



21 This, though in grammatical construction it be joined to the foregoing discourse, yet I think it ought to be looked on as introductory to what follows in this section, and to be a general rule given to the Ephesians, to submit to those duties which the several relations they stood in to one another required of them.

23 b It is from the head that the body receives its healthy and vigorous constitution of health and life; this St. Paul pronounces here of Christ, as head of the church, that by that parallel which he makes use of, to represent the relation between husband and wife, he may both show the wife the reasonableness of her subjection to her husband, and the duty incumbent on the husband to cherish and preserve his wife, as we see he pursues it in the following verses.

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »