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a mention of his bonds, be subscribes his salutation with his own hand.
Vers. 17. Arid say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou
hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil il.
The Apostle adds a new command about admonishing Archippus, to shew himself watchful and diligent in the discharge of his ministry.
Say to Archippus.] Some think this Archippus was only a deacon in the Church of Colosse; conjecturing it perhaps from hence, that in this place he is ordered to fulfil the ministry, Thu diaxoviav, which he had received. But this is weak: For the words διακονος and διακονια are oftentimes taken for any service in the Gospel, so that the office of the Apostleship itself is called διακονια; I magnify mine office την dianoriav, Rom. xi. 13. Thou shalt be a good minister, Kanos dianovos, of Jesus Christ, 1 Tim. iv. 6. Whereof I was made a minister, dianovos, Ephes. iii. 7. That, therefore, is more true which Jerome writes in Epist. ad Philem. namely, that this Archippus was either a bishop or at least a teacher in the Church of Colosse. But now in the absence of Epaphras (who was his colleague in this evangelical office) he must labour the more diligently therein, that he might supply the place of both. But he (it is very likely) on the contrary began to grow languid in his duty, and therefore needed admonishing. Hence the Apostle wrote, Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry, &c. Hence we may observe,
]. That even good ministers sometimes grow indifferent to their duty, and need a spur.
2. If private admonition does not suffice, they must be rebuked, by the whole Church, or by some public person in the name of the whole Church.
Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.] The Apostle would have Archip
pus to be adınonished carefully to weigh the following three things.
1. What he had received; the ministry] i. e. The Gospel ministry, than which nothing is more sublime, nothing more useful ; and therefore there is nothing to be handled more faithfully and diligently. So the whole company of the Apostles judged, Acts vi. 4, We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
2. From whom he had received this ministry ; In the Lord] i. e. by the Lord, as the Greek Scholia expound it. Therefore by the authority of Christ, who called him to this office, he would have this Archippus to be excited to discharge it diligently and faithfully. For if Christ himself laid this office upon ministers, doubtless he will both look for and require an account of the administration of the office from them. Ive is unlo me, says the Apostle, 1 Cor. ix. 16, 17, if I preuch not the Gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward ; but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is entrusted to me.
3. For what end he had received this ministry ; That he might fulfil il.] This, therefore, ought always to be the care of ministers, not so much to obtain honour, as to execute the labour of the mivistry ; not so much that he might be dignified with that honourable office, as that he might fulfil its duties. So Paul also admonished his son Timothy, 2 Tim. iv. 5, Do the work of an Evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. But what is it to fulfil the ministry? It is to do all those things which devolve upon a minister, and which conduce to the salvation of men and the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ. Of this kind are all those things which are enumerated by the Apostle in the same Chapter [to Timothy], Preach the word, be instant in season, (ut of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, and the like. These are the things about which Archippus was to be admonished.
Hence observe, It is necessary for the minister who desires rightly to discharge his duty, often and seriously to consider, what ministry he has received, by whom it was imposed and committed to him, and lastly, what end Christ had in entrusting him with it.
bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
In this last verse of this Epistle, the Apostle does three things. 1. He shews that he himself had written his usual salutation with his own hand. 2. He introduces a mention of his bonds, which he inserts by way of parenthesis. 3. He adds the salutation of his own hand, which he had just mentioned.
The salulation by the hand of me Paul.] That is, In order that you may understand that this Epistle, although written by my amanuensis, is yet genuine, and dictated by me, I affix at the end my usual salutation written with my own hand, which you very well know. This was done prudently by the Apostle in his Epistles, lest any one at any time should obtrude a forged Epistle upon the Church in his name; which he himself intimated 2 Thess. iii. 17, where he says, that this salutation written with his own hand, is the token in every Epistle, namely, a sign whereby fictitious epistles could be known from true and genuine ones. The Greek Scholia do not seem rightly to have explained what Paul intended by this salutation, which is the token in every Epistle. For they say that he subscribed with his own hand, tó, 'Aonášovou únãs. am Tė, *Eppwode. 'n TI TOLÕUTOV ; I salute you ; Farewell; or such like. But it is manifest, the Apostle calls a salutation, that prayer for grace which he subjoins in the same place ; So I write, says he, The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c. And thus also in this place by salutation he understands that last word, Grace be with you, as Theodoret, Chrysostom, and Ambrose have rightly noted.
But before he subscribed that salutation, by a parenthesis as it were, on a sudden he introduces a mention of his bonds : Remember, says he, my bonds.] This perhaps
he deferred to the end of the Epistle, with the idea that thereby he should fix it deeper in their minds. And he would have them to bear in mind his bonds on four accounts;
1. That from hence they might derive an example of patience and Christian fortitude, if the like thing should happen to vex and afflict them for the profession of the Gospel. For who would refuse to suffer for the Gospel, when he called to mind, that this celebrated Apostle for the profession of it, had passed great part of his life in bonds ?
2. That they might hence take occasion to pray for such a man oppressed with such miseries and griefs. For nothing is more bitter to the afflicted, than for them to suspect that all men cast off all concern for them ; nothing on the other hand is more desirable, than that they should understand that other persons have at least a remembrance of their afflictions, and desire from their hearts their deliverance.
3. That they might hence conjecture, how the Gospel should be esteemed ; on account of which the Apostle peither refused to undergo ignominy, nor imprisonment, nor death itself. Doubtless it was a great treasure, to retain which all other things were renounced with a ready and willing mind.
4. That from hence a care should be revived within them of comforting and assisting the Apostle by all those duties of Christian Charity which we are bound by the command of Christ to exhibit towards our afflicted brethren. And these are the reasons on account of which we ought always to reinember those who suffer persecution for righteousness' sake. Now let us come to the salutation.
Grace be with you.] This is that salutation always subscribed with the Apostle's own hand to his Epistles, as it respects the sense, although not always in the same words. Neither is it wonderful if this most brave setter-forth of Divine grace, wished this prayer for saving grace to be the mark of his Epistles, whence they might distinguish the genuine from spurious ones. For that he might shew the
sum of our salvation to depend upon the grace of God alone, he was wont to begin his Epistles with this same prayer, as well as to conclude them by it, as if fortifying the fuithful on every side by the wall of Divine grace, as says Chrysostom. Now by grace he understands the paternal favour of God accepting us in Christ the Mediator, and all spiritual blessings which are used to flow to us from this favour of God. Therefore, in this single word grace is contained that great fund of blessings which are promised to believers and exhibited in the Gospel,
That last word Amen, is derived, as is known, from the Hebrew word Aman, which in Hiphil signifies to believe ; in Niphal signifies to be firm, stable, faithful. It is therefore a particle of confirmation and certification ; and when it is altached to a pruyer, it is as it were its seul, as Jerome observes. By this word, then, the Apostle shews the certain persuasion of his heart, that God would hear this his prayer, and bestow his grace abundantly upon them. Thus it behoves us to repose a sure faith in God, as often as we seek any thing from him, especially when we desire to obtain the gifts of saving grace; which, by seeking faithfully from God the Father for his Son's sake, shall be bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit copiously and freely,