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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
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.