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Ver. 14.

himself, which was a proof of great sincerity. this. Wherefore he adds, "that they may glory In his other Epistles he himself only dictated, in your flesh," as if they had disciples, and were another wrote, as is plain from the Epistle to teachers. And what is the proof of this?"For the Romans, for at its close it is said, "I Ter- not even they themselves," he says, "keep the tius, who write the Epistle, salute you;" (Rom. Law; even if they did keep it, they would xvi: 22.) but in this instance he wrote the incur grave censure, but now their very purpose whole himself. And this he did by necessity, is corrupt. not from affection merely, but in order to remove "But far be it from me to glory, an injurious suspicion. Being charged with save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." acts wherein he had no part, and being reported Truly this symbol is thought despicable; but it to preach Circumcision yet to pretend to preach is so in the world's reckoning, and among men ; it not, he was compelled to write the Epistle in Heaven and among the faithful it is the highwith his own hand, thus laying up beforehand a est glory. Poverty too is despicable, but it is written testimony. By the expression "what our boast; and to be cheaply thought of by the sized," he appears to me to signify, not the public is a matter of laughter to them, but we magnitude, but, the misshapen appearance of are elated by it. So.too is the Cross our boast. the letters, as if he had said, "Although not well He does not say, "I boast not," nor, "I will skilled in writing, I have been compelled to not boast," but, "Far be it from me that I write with my own hand to stop the mouth of should," as if he abominated it as absurd, and these traducers." invoked the aid of God in order to his success Ver. 12, 13. "As many as desire to make a therein. And what is the boast of the Cross? fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be cir- That Christ for my sake took on Him the form cumcised; only that they may not be persecuted of a slave, and bore His sufferings for me the for the cross of Christ. For not even they who slave, the enemy, the unfeeling one; yea He so receive circumcision do themselves keep the loved me as to give Himself up to a curse for Law; but they desire to have you circumcised, me. What can be comparable to this! If serthat they may glory in your flesh.” vants who only receive praise from their masters, to whom they are akin by nature, are elated thereby, how must we not boast when the Master who is very God is not ashamed of the Cross which was endured for us. Let us then not be ashamed of His unspeakable tenderness; He was not ashamed of being crucified for thy sake, and wilt thou be ashamed to confess His infinite solicitude? It is as if a prisoner who had not been ashamed of his King, should, after that King had come to the prison and himself loosed the chains, become ashamed of him on that account. Yet this would be the height of madness, for this very fact would be an especial ground for boasting.

Here he shows that they suffered this, not willingly but of necessity, and affords them an opportunity of retreat, almost speaking in their defence, and exhorting them to abandon their teachers with all speed. What is the meaning of "to make a fair show in the flesh?" it means, to be esteemed by men. As they were reviled by the Jews for deserting the customs of their fathers, they desire, says he, to injure you, that they may not have this charged against them, but vindicate themselves by means of your flesh. His object here is to show that they did not so act from respect to God; it is as if he said, This procedure is not founded in piety, all this is done through human ambition; in order that the unbelievers may be gratified by the mutilation of the faithful, they choose to offend God that they may please men; for this is the meaning of, "to make a fair show in the flesh." Then, as a proof that for another reason too they are unpardonable, he again convinces them that, not only in order to please others, but for their own vain glory, 3 they had enjoined ["The word used, nikos, denotes size not irregularity. Nor is it probable that Paul who was educated at Jerusalem and Tarsus, unskillful in writing Greek. The boldness of the handwriting


the great centre of Jewish and Greek learning, was ignorant and answers to the force of the Apostle's convictions."-Lightfoot.G. A.J

2["Certain men have an 'object' in displaying their zeal for carnal ordinances. They hope thereby to save themselves from persecution for professing the cross of Christ."-Lightfoot.-G. A.), "["They advocate circumcision and yet they themselves neglect the ordinances of the Law. They could not face the obloquy to which their abandonment of the Mosaic Law would expose them. So they tried to keep on good terms with their unconverted fellowJews by imposing circumcision on the Gentile converts also thus getting the credit of zeal for the law."-Lightfoot.-G. A.]

Ver. 14. 66 Through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world." What he here calls the world is not the heaven nor the earth, but the affairs of life, the praise of men, retinues, glory, wealth, and all such things as have a show of splendor. To me these things are dead. Such an one it behooves a Christian to be, and always to use this language. Nor was he content with the former putting to death, but added another, saying, and I unto the world," thus implying a double putting to death, and saying, They are dead to me, and I to them, neither can they captivate and overcome me, for they are dead once for all,

["For myself, on the other hand, far be it from me, etc.: By way of contrast to the boasting of the pseudo-apostles, Paul now presents his own ground of boasting, namely, the crucifixion of Christ, by whose crucifixion is produced the result that no fellowship of life longer exists between him and the world: it is dead for him and he is dead for it."-Mever.-Alter pro mortuo habet alterum. (Schott.)-G. A.]

nor can I desire them, for I too am dead to them. Nothing can be more blessed than this putting to death, for it is the foundation of the blessed life.

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Ver. 15, 16. For neither is circumcision any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Observe the power of the Cross, to what a pitch it hath raised him! not only hath it put to death for him all mundane affairs, but hath set him far above the Old Dispensation. What can be comparable to this power? for the Cross hath persuaded him, who was willing to be slain and to slay others for the sake of circumcision, to leave it on a level with uncircumcision, and to seek for things strange and marvellous and above the heavens. This our rule of life he calls "a new creature," both on account of what is past, and of what is to come; of what is past, because our soul, which had grown old with the oldness of sin, hath been all at once renewed by baptism, as if it had been created again.1 Wherefore we require a new and heavenly rule of life. And of things to come, because both the heaven and the earth, and all the creation, shall with our bodies be translated into incorruption. Tell me not then, he says, of circumcision, which now availeth nothing; (for how shall it appear, when all things have undergone such a change?) but seek the new things of grace. For they who pursue these things shall enjoy peace and amity, and may properly be called by the name of "Israel." While they who hold contrary sentiments, although they be descended from him (Israel) and bear his appellation, have yet fallen away from all these things, both the relationship and the name itself. But it is in their power to be true Israelites, who keep this rule, who desist from the old ways, and follow after grace.

Ver. 17. trouble me."

"From henceforth let no man

This he says not as though he were wearied or overpowered; he who chose to do and suffer all for his disciples' sake; he who said, "Be instant in season, out of season;" (2 Tim. iv: 2.) he who said, "If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil;" (2 Tim. ii: 25, 26.) how shall he now become relaxed and fall back? Wherefore does he say this? it is to gird up their slothful mind, and to impress them with deeper fear, and to ratify the laws enacted by

1 ["It is a matter of indifference whether one is circumcised or uncircumcised; and the only matter of importance is that one should be created anew, transferred into a new spiritual condition of life."-Meyer.-G. A.]

himself, and to restrain their perpetual fluctuations.2

Ver. 17. "For I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus."

He says not, "I have," but, "I bear," like a man priding himself on trophies and royal ensigns. Although on a second thought it seems a disgrace, yet does this man vaunt of his wounds, and like military standard-bearers, so does he exult in bearing about these wounds. And why does he say this?" More clearly by those wounds than by any argument, than by any language, do I vindicate myself," says he. For these wounds utter a voice louder than a trumpet against my opponents, and against those who say that I play the hypocrite in my teaching, and speak what may please men. For no one who saw a soldier retiring from the battle bathed in blood and with a thousand wounds, would dare to accuse him of cowardice and treachery, seeing that he bears on his body the proofs of his valor, and so ought ye, he says, to judge of me. And if any one desire to hear my defence, and to learn my sentiments, let him consider my wounds, which afford a stronger proof than these words and letters. At the outset of his Epistle he evinced his sincerity by the suddenness of his conversion, at its close he proves it by the perils which attended his conversion. That it might not be objected that he had changed his course with upright intentions, but that he had not continued in the same purpose, he produces his trials, his dangers, his stripes as witnesses that he had so continued.

Then having clearly justified himself in every particular, and proved that he had spoken nothing from anger or malevolence, but had preserved his affection towards them unimpaired, he again establishes this same point by concluding his discourse with a prayer teeming with a thousand blessings, in these words;

Ver. 18. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen."

By this last word he hath sealed all that preceded it. He says not merely, "with you," as elsewhere, but, "with your spirit," thus withdrawing them from carnal 3 things, and displaying throughout the beneficence of God, and reminding them of the grace which they enjoyed, whereby he was able to recall them from all their judaizing errors. For to have received the Spirit came not of the poverty of the Law, but of the righteousness which is by Faith, and to

["Lightfoot similarly, but more clearly; "Paul closes the epistle as he began it, with an uncompromising assertion of his authority: Henceforth let no man question my authority; let no man thwart or annoy me. Jesus is my Master and his brand is stamped on my body. I bear this badge of an honorable servitude."-G. A.]

[So also Lightfoot, who says, "with your spirit" is probably in reference to the carnal religion of the Galatians, but this cannot be pressed because the same form of benediction occurs in Philem, 25; 2 Tim. iv: 22. Meyer denies there is any such allusion at all G. A.]

preserve it when obtained came not from Circumcision but from Grace. On this account he concluded his exhoration with a prayer, reminding them of grace and the Spirit, and at the same time addressing them as brethren, and supplicating God that they might continue to enjoy these blessings, thus providing for them a twofold security. For both prayer and teaching, tended to the same thing and together became to them as a double wall. For teaching, reminding them of what benefits they enjoyed, the rather kept them in the doctrine of the

Church; and prayer, invoking grace, and exhorting to an enduring constancy, permitted not the Spirit to depart from them. And He abiding in them, all the error of such doctrines as they held was shaken off like dust.1

1 [Dr. Schaff strikingly says: "The last sentence of this polemic Epistle is a benediction and the last word is a word of affection, 'brethren.' (The word adeλpoí stands last in the true text, as the Rev. Version has it.) It takes the sting out of the severity. Thus of grace-free sovereign grace, justifying sanctifying grace, and concludes this Epistle so full of polemic fire and zeal, yet more full full of forgiving love even to ungrateful pupils; an Epistle for the time and an Epistle for all times."-Popular Commentary, in loco.-G. A.]








EPHESUS is the metropolis of Asia. It was dedicated to Diana, whom especially they worshipped there as their great goddess. Indeed so great was the superstition of her worshippers, that when her temple was burnt, they would not so much as divulge the name of the man who burnt it.

The blessed John the Evangelist spent the chief part of his time there: he was there when he was banished,1 and there he died. It was there too that Paul left Timothy, as he says in writing to him," As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus. (1 Tim. 1: 3.)

Most of the philosophers also, those more particularly who flourished in Asia, were there; and even Pythagoras himself is said to have come from thence; perhaps because Samos, whence he really came, is an island of Ionia.2 It was the resort also of the disciples of Parmenides, and Zeno, and Democritus, and you may see a number of philosophers there even to the present day.

These facts I mention, not merely as such, but with a view of showing that Paul would

[The Apocalypse already implies that he stood at the head of the churches of Asia Minor. Rev. 14, 9, 11, 20. Chs, 2 and 3. This is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of antiquity. The most probable view is that he was exiled to Patmos under Nero, wrote the Apocalypse soon after Nero's death, 68 or 69 A. D., returned to Ephesus and died there after 98 A. D.-Schaff, Ch. Hist. I. p. 424, 429.-G. A.]

[Of which Ephesus was one of the cities. G.A.]

needs take great pains and trouble in writing to these Ephesians. He is said indeed to have entrusted them, as being persons already wellinstructed, with his profoundest conceptions; and the Epistle itself is full of sublime thoughts and doctrines.3

He wrote the Epistle from Rome, and, as he himself informs us, in bonds. "Pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains." (Eph. vi: 19.) It abounds with sentiments of overwhelming loftiness and grandeur. Thoughts which he scarcely so much as utters any where else, he here plainly declares ; as when he says, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God." (Eph. iii: 10.) And again; "He raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in heavenly places. (Eph. ii: 6.) And again; "Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellowpartakers of the promise in Christ.' (Eph. iii: 5.)

[Coleridge calls it "the divinest composition of man." Alford: "The greatest and most heavenly work of one whose very imagination is peopled with things in the heavens." Grotius: “Equaling the sublimity of its thoughts with words more sublime than any human language ever possessed."-Quoted in Schaff, Ch. Hist. I. p. 781.-G. A.]



"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of

God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. "

OBSERVE, he applies the word "through" to the Father. But what then? Shall we say that He is inferior? Surely not.


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He is here alluding to the blessings of the Jews; for that was blessing also, but it was not "The spiritual blessing. For how did it run? Lord bless thee, He will bless the fruit of thy "To the saints, "saith he, "which are at body;" (Deut. vii: 13.) and "He will bless Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. " thy going out and thy coming in." (Deut. Observe that he calls saints, men with wives, xxviii: 4.) But here it is not thus, but how? and children, and domestics. For that these "With every spiritual blessing." And what are they whom he calls by this name is plain lackest thou yet? Thou art made immortal, from the end of the Epistle, as, when he says, thou art made free, thou art made a son, thou Wives, be in subjection unto your own hus-art made righteous, thou art made a brother, bands." (Eph. v :. 22. ) And again," Child-thou art made a fellow-heir, thou reignest with ren, obey your parents: "(Eph. vi: 1.) and, Christ, thou art glorified with Christ; all "Servants, be obedient to your masters. (Eph. things are freely given thee. "How," saith vi: 5.) Think how great is the indolence that he, "shall He not also with Him freely give us possesses us now, how rare is any thing like vir- all things?" (Rom. viii: 32.) Thy First-fruits tue now and how great the abundance of virtu- is adored by Angels, by the Cherubim, by the ous men must have been then, when even secu- Seraphim! What lackest thou yet? "With lar men could be called "saints and faithful. " every spiritual blessing." There is nothing "Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, carnal here. Accordingly He excluded all and the Lord Jesus Christ. "Grace" is his those former blessings, when He said, "In the word; and he calls God, "Father; "since this world ye have tribulation," (John xvi: 33.) to name is a sure token of that gift of grace. And lead us on to these. For as they who poshow so? Hear what he saith elsewhere; "Be- sessed carnal things were unable to hear of spircause ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of itual things, so they who aim at spiritual things His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." cannot attain to them unless they first stand (Gal. iv: 6.) aloof from carnal things.

"And from the Lord Jesus Christ." Because for us men Christ was born, and appeared in the flesh.

Ver. 3. "Blessed2 be the God," he saith, "and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Observe; The God of Him that was Incarnate. And though thou wilt not, The Father of God the Word.

1 [At Ephesus, Chrysostom's text has these words (év 'Edéo) and he betrays no knowledge of any copies which omitted them. But they are omitted by Aleph B. by some MSS., consulted by Basil, and apparently by Origen's text, for he interprets Tols Ovσw (those who are) absolutely, as he would not have done had he read ἐν Ἐφέσῳ. The Revisers insert the words but with a marginal note. Westcott and Hort bracket them. See their discussion of the point in Appendix (vol. II. of Greek Text), p. 123. For a full discussion see Meyer's Introduction to Ephesians, Sec. 1, where he earnestly defends "the right of these words to a place in the text."-G. A.] 2 [Compare Rom. ix: 5; 2 Cor. i:3; Luke i : 68; 1 Peter i: 3.G. A.J [Meyer holds that the genitive Tou Kupiov, etc. does not limit Θεός, but only πατήρ : “Blessed be God who at same time is Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." So also Ellicott.-G. A.]

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What again is "spiritual blessing in the heavenly places?" It is not upon earth, he means, as was the case with the Jews. "Ye shall eat the good of the land." (Isa. i: 19.) "Unto a land flowing with milk and honey.' (Ex. iii: 8.) "The Lord shall bless thy land." (Deut. vii: 13.) Here we have nothing of this sort, but what have we? "If a man love Me, he will keep My word, and I and My Father Will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (Jo. xiv: 23.) "Every one therefore which heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man which built his house upon the rock, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon the rock."

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