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TEXT.

6 That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and

partakers of his promise, in Christ, by the Gospel : 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of

God, given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

PARAPHRASE.

6 prophets, by the Spirit, viz. That the Gentiles should be fel

low-heirs, be united into one body, and partake of his pro

mise 8 in Christ, jointly with the Jews", in the time of the 7 Gospel ; Of which doctrine I, in particular, was made the

minister k, according to the free and gracious gift of God, given

i

NOTES. 6 6 The promise here intended, is the promise of the Spirit, see Gal. iii. 14,

which was not given to any but to the people and children of God; and, there. fore, the Gentiles received not the Spirit till they became the people of God, by faith in Christ, in the times of the Gospel.

Though the Jews are not expressly named here ; yet it is plain, from the foregoing chapter, ver. 11, &c. that it is of the union of the Gentiles with the Jews, and making with them one body of God's people, equally sharing in all the privileges and benefits of the Gospel, that he is here speaking, the same which he teaches, Gal. iii. 26–29.

Add to evayyenbou signifies, here, “in the time of the Gospel", as di' áxpobucías signifies, in the “time of uucircumcision,” Rom. iv. 11: see note on Rom. vii. 5. The same thing being intended here which, chap. i. 10, is thus expressed : “ that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, i. e. in the time of the Gospel,

all things might be gathered together, or united, in Christ, or by Christ." 7 k Though he does not, in express words, deny others to be made ministers

of it, for it neither suited his modesty, nor the respect he had for the other apostles, so to do; yet his expression here will be found strongly to imply it, especially if we read and consider well the two following verses ; for this was a vecessary instruction to one, who was sent to convert the Gentiles, though those who were sent to their brethren the Jews were not appointed to promulgate it. This one apostle of the Gentiles, by the success of his preaching to the Gentiles, the attestation of miracles, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, joined to what Peter had done, by special direction, in the case of Cornelius, would be enough, in its due season, to convince the other apostles of this truth, as we may see it did, Acts xv. and Gal. ii. 6–9. And of what consequence, and how much St. Paul thought the preaching of this doctrine his peculiar business, we may see, by what he says, chap. vi. 19, 20; where any one may see, by the different treatment he received from the rest of the apostles, being in bonds upon that account, that his preaching herein differed from theirs, and he was thereupon, as he tells us himself, treated, “as an evil-doer,” 2 Tim. ii. 9. The history whereof we have, Acts sxi. 17, &c. as we have elsewhere observed. And it is, upon the account of his preaching this doctrine, and displaying to the world this concealed truth, which he calls every where a hidden mystery, that he gives, to what he had preached, the distinguishing title of, “my Gospel," Rom, xvi. 25, which he is concerned that God should establish them in, that being the chief design of his epistle to the Romans, as here to the Ephesians. The insisting so much on this, that it was the special favour and commission of God to him, in particular, to preach this doctrine, of God's purpose of calling the Gentiles to the

TEXT. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given,

that I should preach, among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches

of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery

which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who

created all things by Jesus Christ : 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers, in heavenly

places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

I say,

PARAPHRASE. unto me, by the effectual working of his power, in his so 8 wonderful converting the Gentiles by my preaching '; Unto

me, I who am less than the least of all saints, is this

favour given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the 9 unsearchable riches of Christ ": And make all men perceive,

how this mystery comes now to be communicated to the world, which has been concealed from all past ages, lying hid

in the secret purpose of God, who frames and manages this 10 whole new creation, by Jesus Christ P: To the intent that

NOTES. word, was not out of vanity, or boasting, but was here of great use to his present purpose, as carrying a strong reason with it, why the Ephesians should rather believe him, to whom, as their apostle, it was made manifest, and committed to be preached, than the Jews, from whom it had been coucealed, and was kept as a mystery, and was in itself aves y víaçov, inscrutable by men, though of the best natural parts and endowments. 1 This seems to be the energy of the power of God, which he here speaks of, as appears by what he says of St. Peter, and of himself, Gal. ii. 8, 'O svepricas Πέτρα εις άπος ολην της περιτομής, ενήργησε και εμοί είς τα έθνη, “ He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty, or wrought effectually in me," as ivegyeza is here translated, of which his very great modesty could not hinder him from speaking thus, 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10, “I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God: but, by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me;" a passage very suitable to what he says, in this and the next

verse.

8 mi. e. That abundant treasure of mercy, grace, and favour, laid up in Jesus

Christ, not only to the Jews, but to the whole heathen world, which was beyond

the reach of human sagacity to discover, and could be known only by revelation. 9 n“ All men," i. e. men of all sorts and nations, Gentiles as well as Jews.

• Tís ý xorrwvío, “what is the communication," i, e. that they may hare a light from me, to see and look into the reason and ground of the discovery or communication of this mystery to them vow by Jesus Christ, who is now exhi. bited to the world, into whose hands God has put the management of this whole dispensation. P To open our way to a right sense of these words, tã Tà aávia xllcayli 8à 'loscũ, it will be necessary,

in the first place, to consider the terms of it, and how they are used by St. Paul.

NOTE. 1, As to xlicarlı, “created,” it is to be acknowledged, that it is the word used in sacred Scripture, to express creation, in the scriptural sense of creation, i. e. making out of nothing; yet that it is not always used in that sense, by St. Paul, is visible from the 15th verse of the foregoing chapter, where our translators have rightly rendered xzion, “make," and it would contain a manifest absurdity

to render it there, create, in the theological sense of the word, create. 2, It is to be observed, that St. Paul often chooses to speak of the work of

redemption by Christ as a creation. Whether it were, because this was the chief end of the creation, or whether it were because there was no less seen of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, in this, than in the first creation, and the chavge of lost and revolted man, from beiug dead in sins, to newness of life, was as great, and by as great a power as at first making out of nothing; or whether it was because the ayxxepadaiwors, under Jesus Christ the head, mentioned chap. i. 10, was a restitution of the creation to its primitive state and order, which, Acts iii. 21, is called dromalaciosws wávlw, “the restitution of all things,” which was begun with the preaching of St. John the Baptist, (who was the Elias that restored all things, Matth. xvii. 11, i. e, opened the kingdom of heaven to believers of all nations, Luke svi. 16,) and is completed in Christ's coming with his saints, in the glory of his father, at the last day. But, whether some, or all, of these conjectures, which I have mentioned, be the reason of it, this is certain, that St. Paul speaks of the work of redemption under the name of creation. So 2 Cor. v. 17, “If any one be in Christ, (xabun xllois,) he is a new creature, or it is a new creation." And Gal. vi. 15, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircunicision, but xahun xiícıs, the new creation. It is then to be considered, of which creation Tàwária ullgayli, “who created all things,” is here to be understood. The business St. Paul is upon, in this place, is to show that God's purpose, of taking in the Gentiles to be his people under the Gospel, was a mystery, unknown iu former ages, and now, under the kingdom of the Messiah, committed to him, to be preached to the world. This is so manifestly the desigu of St. Paul here, that nobody can mistake it. Now if the creation of the material world, of this visible frame, of sun, moon, and stars, and heavenly bodies that are over us, and of the earth we inhabit, hath no immediate relation, as certainly it hath not, to this mystery, this design of God's, lo call the Gentiles into the kingdom of his Son, it is to make St. Paul a very loose writer and weaker arguer, in the middle of a discourse, which he seems to lay much stress on, and to press earnestly on the Ephesians (for he urges it more than once) to bring in things not at all to his purpose, and of no use to the business in hand. We cannot, therefore, avoid taking the creation, and things created here, to be those of the new creation, viz. those of which the kingdom of Christ, wbich was this new creation, was to be made up, and in that sense tà wurla xlícas le did '19, 0oũ Xposo, “who created all things by Jesus Christ,” is a reason to show why God kept his purpose, of making the Gentiles meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints, or, as he expresseth it chap. ii. 10, that they “should be his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” concealed from former ages, viz. because this new creation was in Christ Jesus, and so proper to be preached and published when he was come, which is strongly confirmed by the words of the following verse, viz. “that now, in its due time, by this new piece of workmanship of his, viz. the church, might be made known the manifold wisdom of God.”. This taking in the Gentiles into the kingdom of his Sou, and after that the re-assuming again of the Jews, who had been rejected, St. Paul looks on as so great an instance and display of the wisdom of God, that it makes him cry out, Rom. xi. 33, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !"

PARAPHRASE.

now, under the Gospel, the manifold wisdom of God, in the ordering and management of his heavenly kingdom, might be made known to principalities and powers by the church ?,

NOTE.

10 9 There be two things in this verse that to me make it hard to determine

the precise sense of it, the first is, what is meant by apgais and icuolais, terms that sometimes, in sacred Scripture, signify temporal magistrates, and so our Saviour uses them, Luke xii. 11, and St. Paul, Tit. iii. 1. Sometimes for those who are vested with any power, whether men or angels, so I Cor. xv. 24. Sometimes for evil angels; so they are understood, chap. vi. 12. Sometimes they are understood of good angels, so Cul. i. 16. Now to which of these to determine the seuse here, I confess myself not sufficiently enlightened. Indeed, év toīs étoupavions, in the things of his heavenly kingdom, would do something towards it, were it andoubtedly certain whether those words were, in construction, to be joined to åpxcãs and icovolas, or to copia ; i. e. whether we are to understand it of principalities and powers in the kingdom of heaven, or of the wisdom of God in the ordering of that kingdom: if the first of these, then it is evident they would signify the heavenly host of good angels employed in the guard and promotion of the kingdom of Christ. But the knowledge, spoken of here as communicated to these principalities and powers, being only in consequence of St. Paul's preaching, it is not easy to conceive that the revelatiou and commission given to St. Paul, for the declaring the mystery of God's purpose to take the Gentiles into the church, was to the intent the angels, either good or bad, should be instructed in this great and important truth, wherein the wisdom of God so much showed itself, and that they should have no knowledge of it before nor otherwise. This is so great a dificulty, that it seems strongly to per. suade that the principalities and powers, here mentioned, are of this world; but against this there lies this obvious objection, that the magistrates of the heatben world did not much concern themselves in what St. Paul preached, nor, upon his declaring that the Gentiles under the Messiah were to be taken in to be the people of God, did in effect gather from the church, thus constituted, any arguments of the wisdom of God. If therefore I may venture my conjecture, for I dare not be positive in a place that I confess myself not fully to understand, I should take this to be the meaning of it. The high priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, who are the rulers of the Jewish nation, and alone pretend to any authority in these matters, deny the converted heathens to be the people of God, because they neglect the law and circumcision, and those other rites, whereby God has appointed those who are his people to be separated from the rest of the world, and made holy to himself. And so far most of the couverted Jews agree with them, that they will not allow the converted Gentiles to be members and subjects of the kingdom of the Messiah without being circumcised, and subinitting to the laws and ceremonies of the Jews, as the only religion and way of worship wherein they can be allowed to be God's people, or be accepted by him. Now, says St. Paul, God, of his special grace, has commissioned me to preach to the world, that his hidden purpose of taking the Gentiles into the kingdom of his Son, that so, by the church consisting of members who are God's people without being circumcised, or observing the other Mosaical rites, might, which the Jews could by no means conceive, now he made known and declared, to the leaders and chief of that nation, the manifold wisdom of God, which is not, as the Jews imagine, tied up to their owu way, but can bring about his purposes by sundry manners, and in ways that they thought not of. This seems suitable to the apostle's meaning here; for though the Jews were not hereby converted, yet, when urged by the

TEXT. 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus

our Lord : 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith

of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you,

which is your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus

Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

PARAPHRASE. 11 According to that predisposition of the ages, or several dis12 pensations, which he made in Christ Jesus our Lord; By

whom we have boldness and access to God the Father, with 13 confidence, by faith in him. Wherefore my desire is, that

ye be not dismayed by my present affliction, which I suffer

for your sake, and is in truth a glory to you, that ought to 14 raise your hearts and strengthen your resolutions. Upon this

account, I bend my knees in prayer to the Father of our 15 Lord Jesus Christ', From whom the whole family, or lineage,

NOTES. converted Gentiles, it served to stop their mouths, and thereby to coufirin the Gentiles in the liberty of the Gospel. And thus by the church, to whom St. Paul says, Col. i. 24, and ii. 2, God would now have made it manifest by his preaching, is this mystery made known to principalities and powers, i. e. the rulers and teachers of the Jewish nation, the saints, who were apprized of it by St. Paul's preaching, urging, and manifesting it to them. And to this sense of this passage, these two words, sūr, “now," and waumeixidos, “manifold," seem wholly accommodated, i.e. Now that the uncircumcised Gentiles believe in Christ, and are, by baptism, admitted into the church, the wisdom of God is made known to the Jews, not to be tied up to one invariable way and form, as they persuade themselves ; but displays itself in sundry manners, as he thinks

fit. 11 Whether by aiūros, “ ages," here, the several dispensations mankind was under,

from first to last, or whether the two great dispensations of the law and the Gospel (for that alwres are used, in the sacred Scripture, to denote these, I think an attentive reader cannot doubt) be here meant, this seems visibly the sense of the place, that all these dispensations, in the several ages of the church, were all, by the pre-ordination of God's purpose, regulated and constituted in Christ Jesus our Lord; that is, with regard to Christ, who was designed and appointed Lord and head over all; which seems to me to answer tà warla xlicanı 8cà 'Incol

Xp1507,“ who created all things by Jesus Christ,” ver. 9. 12 • nisis attē, “ Faith of him," the genitive case of the object, as well as of the

agent, is so frequent iu sacred Scripture, that there needs nothing to be said of 14 < « The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," set down, as it is in the beginning of

this verse, joined to the design of the apostle in this place, makes me think that the sense of it is so plainly that which I have given of it, that I do not see any difficulty can be made about it. In the foregoing chapter, ver. 19, he tells the

ir.

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