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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.(Ps 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, (Ps 139:15); the grave, (Ps 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 (Eph 4:14-16), 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
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, (Ro 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
23: The spirit of your mind - The very ground of your heart.
24: The new man - Universal holiness. After - In the very image of
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
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.