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1: Children, obey your parents - In all things lawful. The will
of the parent is a law to the child. In the Lord - For his sake.
For this is right - Manifestly just and reasonable.
2: Honour - That is, love, reverence, obey, assist, in all things.
The mother is particularly mentioned, as being more liable to be slighted
than the father. Which is the first commandment with a promise - For the
promise implied in the second commandment does not belong to the keeping
that command in particular, but the whole law.(Ex 20:12)
3: That thou mayest live long upon the earth - This is usually
fulfilled to eminently dutiful children; and he who lives long and well
has a long seed - time for the eternal harvest. But this promise, in the
Christian dispensation, is to be understood chiefly in a more exalted and
4: And, ye fathers - Mothers are included; but fathers are named, as
being more apt to be stern and severe. Provoke not your children to
wrath - Do not needlessly fret or exasperate them.
But bring them up - With all tenderness and mildness. In the instruction
and discipline of the Lord - Both in Christian knowledge and practice.
5: Your masters according to the flesh - According to the present
state of things: afterward the servant is free from his master.
With fear and trembling - A proverbial expression, implying the utmost
care and diligence. In singleness of heart - With a single eye to the
providence and will of God.
6: Not with eye - service - Serving them better when under their eye
than at other times. But doing the will of God from the heart - Doing
whatever you do, as the will of God, and with your might.
7: Unto the Lord, and not to men - That is, rather than to men; and
by making every action of common life a sacrifice to God; having an eye
to him in all things, even as if there were no other master.
8: He shall receive the same - That is, a full and adequate
recompence for it.
9: Do the same things to them - That is, act toward them from the
same principle. Forbearing threatening - Behaving with gentleness and
humanity, not in a harsh or domineering way.
10: Brethren - This is the only place in this epistle where he uses
this compellation. Soldiers frequently use it to each other in the field.
Be strong - Nothing less will suffice for such a fight: to be weak, and
remain so, is the way to perish. In the power of his might - A very
uncommon expression, plainly denoting what great assistance we need
as if his might would not do, it must be the powerful exertion of his
11: Put on the whole armour of God - The Greek word means
a complete suit of armour. Believers are said to put on the
girdle, breastplate, shoes; to take the shield of faith, and
sword of the Spirit. The whole armour - As if the armour would
scarce do, it must be the whole armour. This is repeated,
ver.(13), because of the strength and subtilty of our adversaries,
and because of an "evil day" of sore trial being at hand.
12: For our wrestling is not only, not chiefly, against flesh
and blood - Weak men, or fleshly appetites. But against principalities,
against powers - The mighty princes of all the infernal legions. And great
is their power, and that likewise of those legions whom they command.
Against the rulers of the world - Perhaps these principalities and
powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness.
But there are other evil spirits who range abroad, to whom the provinces of
the world are committed. Of the darkness - This is chiefly spiritual
darkness. Of this age - Which prevails during the present state of things.
Against wicked spirits - Who continually oppose faith, love, holiness,
either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry
malice, envy, anger, hatred. In heavenly places - Which were once their
abode, and which they still aspire to, as far as they are permitted.
13: In the evil day - The war is perpetual; but the fight
is one day less, another more, violent. The evil day is either
at the approach of death, or in life; may be longer or shorter
and admits of numberless varieties. And having done all, to
stand - That ye may still keep on your armour, still stand upon
your guard, still watch and pray; and thus ye will be enabled
to endure unto the end, and stand with joy before the face of
the Son of Man.
14: Having your loins girt about - That ye may be ready for every
motion. With truth - Not only with the truths of the gospel, but with
"truth in the inward parts;" for without this all our knowledge of divine
truth will prove but a poor girdle "in the evil day." So our Lord is
described, (Isa 11:5). And as a girded man is always ready to go on, so
this seems to intimate an obedient heart, a ready will. Our Lord adds to
the loins girded, the lights burning, (Lu 12:35); showing that watching
and ready obedience are the inseparable companions of faith and love.
And having on the breastplate of righteousness - The righteousness of a
spotless purity, in which Christ will present us faultless before God,
through the merit of his own blood. With this breastplate our Lord is
described, (Isa 59:17). In the breast is the seat of conscience, which
is guarded by righteousness. No armour for the back is mentioned. We are
always to face our enemies.
15: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel - Let this
be always ready to direct and confirm you in every step. This part of
the armour, for the feet, is needful, considering what a journey we have
to go; what a race to run. Our feet must be so shod, that our footsteps
slip not. To order our life and conversation aright, we are prepared by
the gospel blessing, the peace and love of God ruling in the heart,(Col 3:14,15). By this only can we tread the rough ways, surmount our
difficulties, and hold out to the end.
16: Above or over all - As a sort of universal covering to every
other part of the armour itself, continually exercise a strong and
lively faith. This you may use as a shield, which will quench
all the fiery darts, the furious temptations, violent and sudden
injections of the devil.
17: And take for an helmet the hope of salvation - (1Thes 5:8).
The head is that part which is most carefully to be defended. One stroke
here may prove fatal. The armour for this is the hope of salvation.
The lowest degree of this hope is a confidence that God will work the whole
work of faith in us; the highest is a full assurance of future glory, added
to the experimental knowledge of pardoning love. Armed with this helmet,
the hope of the joy set before him, Christ "endured the cross, and despised
the shame," (Heb 12:2).
And the sword of the Spirit, the word of God - This Satan cannot withstand,
when it is edged and wielded by faith. Till now our armour has been only
defensive. But we are to attack Satan, as well as secure ourselves; the
shield in one hand, and the sword in the other. Whoever fights with the
powers of hell will need both. He that is covered with armour from head
to foot, and neglects this, will be foiled after all. This whole description
shows us how great a thing it is to be a Christian. The want of any one
thing makes him incomplete. Though he has his loins girt with truth,
righteousness for a breastplate, his feet shod with the preparation of the
gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the
Spirit; yet one thing he wants after all. What is that? It follows,
18: Praying always - At all times, and on every occasion, in midst of
all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing.
By the Spirit - Through the influence of the Holy Spirit. With all
prayer - With all sort of prayer, public, private, mental, vocal.
Some are careful in respect of one kind of prayer, and negligent in others.
If we would have the petitions we ask, let us use all. Some there are who
use only mental prayer or ejaculations, and think they are in a state of
grace, and use a way of worship, far superior to any other: but such only
fancy themselves to be above what is really above them; it requiring far
more grace to be enabled to pour out a fervent and continued prayer, than
to offer up mental aspirations. And supplication - Repeating and urging
our prayer, as Christ did in the garden. And watching - Inwardly attending
on God, to know his will, to gain power to do it, and to attain to the
blessings we desire. With all perseverance - Continuing to the end in this
holy exercise. And supplication for all the saints - Wrestling in fervent,
continued intercession for others, especially for the faithful, that they
may do all the will of God, and be steadfast to the end. Perhaps we receive
few answers to prayer, because we do not intercede enough for others.
19: By the opening my mouth - Removing every inward and every outward
20: An ambassador in bonds - The ambassadors of men usually appear
in great pomp. How differently does the ambassador of Christ appear!
21: Ye also - As well as others.
22: That he might comfort your hearts - By relating the supports
I find from God, and the success of the gospel.
23: Peace - This verse recapitulates the whole epistle.
24: In sincerity - Or in incorruption; without corrupting his genuine
gospel, without any mixture of corrupt affections. And that with
continuance, till grace issue in glory.