RPM, Volume 18, Number 38, September 11 to September 17, 2016

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament
Explanatory and Practical
Part 71

By Albert Barnes

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 1

Ephesians Chapter 4

Analysis of the Chapter

THIS chapter is the commencement of the practical part of the epistle, and is made up, like the remaining chapters, of various exhortations. It is in accordance with the usual habit of Paul to conduct an argument in his epistles, and, then to enforce various practical duties, either growing out of the argument which he had maintained, or, more commonly, adapted to some particular state of things in the church to which he wrote. The points of exhortation in this chapter are, in general, the following:—

I. An exhortation to unity, Eph 4:1-6. He entreats them to walk worthy of their vocation, Eph 4:1; shows them how it could be done, or what he meant; and that, in order to that, they should show meekness and kindness, Eph 4:2 and particularly exhorts them to unity, Eph 4:3 for they had one God, one Saviour, one baptism, one religion, Eph 4:4-6.

II. He shows them that God had made ample provision for his people, that they might be sound in the faith, and in unity of life and of doctrine, and need not be driven about with every wind of opinion, Eph 4:7-16. He assures them that to every Christian is given grace in the Redeemer adapted to his circumstances, Eph 4:7; that the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven to obtain gifts for his people, Eph 4:8-10; that he had given apostles, prophets, and evangelists, for the very purpose of imparting instruction, and confirming them in the faith of the gospel, Eph 4:11,12; that this was in order that they might attain to the highest elevation in Christian knowledge and piety, Eph 4:13; and particularly that they might not be driven to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, Eph 4:14-16.

III. Having these arrangements made for their knowledge and piety, he exhorts them not to live as the heathen around them lived, but to show that they were under a better influence, Eph 4:17-24. Their understanding was darkened, and they were alienated from the life of God, or true religion, Eph 4:18; they were past feeling, and were given over to every form of sensuality, Eph 4:19. The Ephesians, however, had been taught a different thing, Eph 4:20,21; and the apostle exhorts them to lay aside everything pertaining to their former course of life, and to become wholly conformed to the principles of the new man, Eph 4:22-24.

IV. He exhorts them to perform particular Christian duties, and to put away certain evils, of which they and all others were in danger, Eph 4:25. In particular, he entreats them to avoid lying, Eph 4:25; anger, Eph 4:26; theft, Eph 4:28; corrupt and corrupting conversation, Eph 4:29; grieving the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30;) bitterness, evil-speaking, and malice, Eph 4:31; and entreats them to manifest, in their intercourse with each other, a spirit of kindness and forgiveness, Eph 4:32.

Verse 1. I therefore. In view of the great and glorious truths which God has revealed, and of the grace which he has manifested towards you who are Gentiles. See the previous chapters. The sense of the word "therefore"—oun—in this place, is, "Such being your exalted privileges; since God has done so much for you; since he has revealed for you such a glorious system; since he has bestowed on you the honour of calling you into his kingdom, and making you partakers of his mercy, I entreat you to live in accordance with these elevated privileges, and to show your sense of his goodness by devoting your all to his service." The force of the word "I" they would all feel. It was the appeal and exhortation of the founder of their church—of their spiritual father—of one who had endured much for them, and who was now in bonds on account of his devotion to the welfare of the Gentile world.

The prisoner of the Lord. Marg., in. It means, that he was now a prisoner, or in confinement in the cause of the Lord; and he regarded himself as having been made a prisoner because the Lord had so willed and ordered it. He did not feel particularly that he was the prisoner of Nero; he was bound and kept because the Lord willed it, and because it was in his service. See Barnes "Eph 3:1".

Beseech you that ye walk worthy. That you live as becomes those who have been called in this manner into the kingdom of God. The word walk is often used to denote life, conduct, etc. See Barnes "Ro 4:12" See Barnes "Ro 6:4" See Barnes "2 Co 5:7".

Of the vocation. Of the calling—thv klhsewv. This word properly means a call, or an invitation—as to a banquet. Hence it means that Divine invitation or calling by which Christians are introduced into the privileges of the gospel. The word is translated calling in Ro 11:29; 1 Co 1:26; 7:20; Eph 1:18; 4:1,4; Php 3:14; 2 Th 1:11; 2 Ti 1:9; Heb 3:1; 2 Pe 1:10. It does not elsewhere occur. The sense of the word, and the agency employed in calling us, are well expressed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: "Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel." This calling or vocation is through the agency of the Holy Spirit, and is his appropriate work on the human heart. It consists essentially in influencing the mind to turn to God, or to enter into his kingdom. It is the exertion of so much influence on the mind as is necessary to secure the turning of the sinner to God. In this all Christians are agreed, though there have been almost endless disputes about the actual influence exerted, and the mode in which the Spirit acts on the mind. Some suppose it is by "moral suasion;" some by physical power; some by an act of creation; some by inclining the mind to exert its proper powers in right way, and to turn to God. What is the precise agency employed perhaps we are not to expect to be able to decide. See Joh 3:8. The great, the essential point is held, if it be maintained that it is by the agency of the Holy Spirit that the result is secured—and this I suppose to be held by all evangelical Christians. But though it is by the agency of the Holy Spirit, we are not to suppose that it is without the employment of means. It is not literally like the act of creation. It is preceded and attended with means adapted to the end; means which are almost as various as the individuals who are called into the kingdom of God. Among those means are the following.

(1.) Preaching. Probably more are called into the kingdom by this means than any other. It is "God's great ordinance for the salvation of men." It is eminently fitted for it. The pulpit has higher advantages for acting on the mind than any other means of affecting men. The truths that are dispensed; the sacredness of the place; the peace and quietness of the sanctuary; and the appeals to the reason, the conscience, and the heart—all are fitted to affect men, and to bring them to reflection. The Spirit makes use of the word preached, but in a great variety of ways. Sometimes many are impressed simultaneously; sometimes the same truth affects one mind, while others are unmoved; and sometimes truth reaches the heart of a sinner which he has heard a hundred times before, without being interested. The Spirit acts with sovereign power, and by laws which have never yet been traced out.

(2.) The events of Providence are used to call men into his kingdom. God appeals to men by laying them on a bed of pain, or by requiring them to follow a friend in the still and mournful procession to the grave. They feel that they must die, and they are led to ask the question whether they are prepared. Much fewer are affected in this way than we should suppose would be the case; but still there are many, in the aggregate, who can trace their hope of heaven to a fit of sickness, or to the death of a friend.

(3.) Conversation is one of the means by which sinners are called into the kingdom of God. In some states of mind, where the Spirit has prepared the soul like mellow ground prepared for the seed, a few moments' conversation, or a single remark, will do more to arrest the attention than much preaching.

(4.) Reading is often the means of calling men into the kingdom. The Bible is the great means—and if we can get men to read that, we have very cheering indications that they will be converted. The profligate Earl of Rochester was awakened and led to the Saviour by reading a chapter in Isaiah. And who can estimate the number of those who have been converted by reading Baxter's Call to the Unconverted; Alleine's Alarm; the Dairy-man's Daughter; or the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain? He does good who places a good book in the way of a sinner. That mother or sister is doing good, and making the conversion of a son or brother probable, who puts a Bible in his chest when he goes to sea, or in his trunk when he goes on a journey. Never should a son be allowed to go from home without one. The time will come when, far away from home, he will read it he will read it when his mind is pensive and tender, and the Spirit may bear the truth to his heart for his conversion.

(5.) The Spirit calls men into the kingdom of Christ by presiding over and directing, in some unseen manner, their own reflections, or the operations of their own minds. In some way, unknown to us, he turns the thoughts to the past life; recalls forgotten deeds and plans; makes long past sins rise to remembrance; and overwhelms the mind with conscious guilt from the memory of crime, he holds this power over the soul; and it is among the most mighty and mysterious of all the influences that he has on the heart. Sometimes—a man can hardly tell how—the mind will be pensive, sad, melancholy; then conscious of guilt; then alarmed at the future. Often, by sudden transitions, it will be changed from the gay to the grave, and from the pleasant to the sad; and often, unexpectedly to himself, and by associations which he cannot trace out, the sinner will find himself reflecting on death, judgment, and eternity. It is the Spirit of God that leads the mind along. It is not by force; not by the violation of its laws, but in accordance with those laws, that the mind is thus led along to the eternal world. In such ways, and by such means, are men "called" into the kingdom of God. To "walk worthy of that calling," is to live as becomes a Christian, an heir of glory; to live as Christ did. It is,

(1.) to bear our religion with us to all places, companies, employments. Not merely to be a Christian on the Sabbath, and at the communion-table, and in our own land; but every day, and everywhere, and in any land where we may be placed. We are to live religion, and not merely to profess it. We are to be Christians in the counting-room, as well as in the closet; on the farm, as well as at the communion-table; among strangers, and in a foreign land, as well as in our own country and in the sanctuary.

(2.) It is to do nothing inconsistent with the most elevated Christian character. In temper, feeling, plan, we are to give expression to no emotion, and use no language, and perform no deed, that shall be inconsistent with the most elevated Christian character.

(3.) It is to do right always: to be just to all; to tell the simple truth; to defraud no one; to maintain a correct standard of morals; to be known to be honest. There is a correct standard of character and conduct; and a Christian should be a man so living, that we may always know exactly where to find him. He should so live, that we shall have no doubts that, however others may act, we shall find him to be the unflinching advocate of temperance, chastity, honesty, and of every good work—of every plan that is really fitted to alleviate human woe, and benefit a dying world.

(4.) It is to live as one should who expects soon to be in heaven. Such a man will feel that the earth not his home; that he is a stranger and a pilgrim here; that riches, honours, and pleasures are of comparatively little importance; that he ought to watch and pray, and that he ought to be holy. A man who feels that he may die at any moment will watch and pray. A man who realizes that to-morrow he may be in heaven will feel that he ought to be holy. He who begins a day on earth, feeling that at its close he may be among the angels of God, and the spirits of just men made perfect; that before its close he may have seen the Saviour glorified, and the burning throne of God, will feel the importance of living a holy life, and of being wholly devoted to the service of God. Pure should be the eyes that are soon to look on the throne of God; pure the hands that are soon to strike the harps of praise in heaven; pure the feet that are to walk the "golden streets above."

{1} "prisoner of" "in

{*} "of" "on account of"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 2

Verse 2. With all lowliness. Humility. See Barnes "Ac 20:19, where the same Greek word is used. Compare, also, the following places, where the same Greek word occurs: Php 2:3, "in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves;" Col 2:18, "in a voluntary humility;" Col 2:23; 3:12; 1 Pe 5:5.

The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The idea is, that humility of mind becomes those who are "called," (Eph 4:1, and that we walk worthy of that calling when we evince it.

And meekness. See Barnes "Mt 5:5".

Meekness relates to the manner in which we receive injuries. We are to bear them patiently, and not to retaliate, or seek revenge. The meaning here is, that we adorn the gospel when we show its power in enabling us to bear injuries without anger or a desire of revenge, or with a mild and forgiving spirit. See 2 Co 10:1; Gal 5:23; 6:1

2 Ti 2:25; Tit 3:2; where the same Greek word occurs.

With longsuffering, etc. Bearing patiently with the foibles, faults, and infirmities of others. See Barnes "1 Co 13:4".

The virtue here required is that which is to be manifested in our manner of receiving the provocations which we meet with from our brethren. No virtue, perhaps, is more frequently demanded in our intercourse with others. We do not go far with any fellow-traveller on the journey of life before we find there is great occasion for its exercise. He has a temperament different from our own. He may be sanguine, or choleric, or melancholy; while we may be just the reverse, lie has peculiarities of taste, and habits, and disposition, which differ much from ours. He has his own plans and purposes of life, and his own way and time of doing things. He may be naturally irritable, or he may have been so trained that his modes of speech and conduct differ much from ours. Neighbours have occasion to remark this in their neighbours; friends in their friends; kindred in their kindred; one church-member in another. A husband and wife—such is the imperfection of human nature-can find enough in each other to embitter life if they choose to magnify imperfections and to become irritated at trifles; and there is no friendship that may not be marred in this way, if we will allow it. Hence, if we would have life move on smoothly, we must learn to bear and forbear. We must indulge the friend that we love in the little peculiarities of saying and doing things which may be important to him, but which may be of little moment to us. Like children, we must suffer each one to build his playhouse in his own way, and not quarrel with him because he does not think our way the best. All usefulness, and all comfort, may be prevented by an unkind, a sour, a crabbed temper of mind—a mind that can bear with no difference of opinion or temperament. A spirit of fault-finding; all unsatisfied temper; a constant irritability; little inequalities in the look, the temper, or the manner; a brow cloudy and dissatisfied—your husband or your wife cannot tell why—will more than neutralize all the good you can do, and render life anything but a blessing. It is in such gentle and quiet virtues as meekness and forbearance that the happiness and usefulness of life consist, far more than in brilliant eloquence, in splendid talent, or illustrious deeds that shall send the name to future times. It is the bubbling spring which flows gently; the little rivulet which glides through the meadow, and which runs along day and night by the farm-house, that is useful, rather than the swollen flood or the roaring cataract. Niagara excites our wonder; and we stand amazed at the power and greatness of God there, as he "pours it from his hollow hand." But one Niagara is enough for a continent or a world; while that same world needs thousands and tens of thousands of silver fountains, and gently-flowing rivulets, that shall water every farm, and every meadow, and every garden, and that shall flow on, every day and every night, with their gentle and quiet beauty. So with the acts of our lives. It is not by great deeds only, like those of Howard —not by great sufferings only, like those of the martyrs—that good is to be done; it is by the daily and quiet virtues of life—the Christian temper, the meek forbearance, the spirit of forgiveness in the husband, the wife, the father, the mother, the brother, the sister, the friend, the neighbour—that good is to be done; and in this all may be useful.

{a} "lowliness" Mt 11:29

{*} "lowliness" "humbleness of mind"

{+} "forbearing" "bearing with"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 3

Verse 3. The unity of the Spirit. A united spirit, or oneness of spirit. This does not refer to the fact that there is one Holy Spirit; but it refers to unity of affection, of confidence, of love. It means that Christians should be united in temper and affection, and not be split up in factions and parties. It may be implied here, as is undoubtedly true, that such a unity would be produced only by the Holy Spirit; and that, as there was but one Spirit which had acted on their hearts to renew them, they ought to evince the same feelings and views. There was occasion among the Ephesians for this exhortation; for they were composed of Jews and Gentiles, and there might be danger of divisions and strifes, as there had been in other churches. There is always occasion for such an exhortation; for

(1.) unity of feeling is eminently desirable to honour the gospel, See Barnes "Joh 17:21" and

(2.) there is always danger of discord where men are brought together in one society. There are so many different tastes and habits; there is such a variety of intellect and feeling; the modes of education have been so various, and the temperament may be so different, that there is constant danger of division. Hence the subject is so often dwelt on in the scriptures, See Barnes "1 Co 2:1, seq. and hence there is so much need of caution and of care in the churches.

In the bond of peace. This was to be by the cultivation of that peaceful temper which binds all together. The American Indians usually spoke of peace as a "chain of friendship" which was to be kept bright. The meaning here is, that they should be bound or united together in the sentiments and affections of peace. It is not mere external unity; it is not a mere unity of creed; it is not a mere unity in the forms of public worship; it is such as the Holy Spirit produces in the hearts of Christians, when he fills them all with the same love, and joy, and peace in believing. The following verses contain the reasons for this.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 4

Verse 4. There is one body. One church—for so the word body meats here—denoting the body of Christ. See Barnes "Ro 12:5".

Comp. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

The meaning here is, that as there is really but one church on earth, there ought to be unity. The church is, at present, divided into many denominations. It has different forms of worship, and different rites and ceremonies. It embraces those of different complexions and ranks in life, and it cannot be denied that there are often unhappy contentions and jealousies in different parts of that church. Still, there is but one —"one holy, catholic (i.e., universal) church;" and that church should feel that it is one. Christ did not come to redeem and save different churches, and to give them a different place in heaven. He did not come to save the Episcopal communion merely, or the Presbyterian or the Methodist communions only; nor did he leave the world to fit up for them different mansions in heaven. He did not come to save merely the black man, or the red, or the white man; nor did he leave the world to set up for them separate mansions in the skies. He came that he might collect into one community a multitude of every complexion, and from every land, and unite them in one great brotherhood on earth, and ultimately assemble them in the same heaven. The church is one. Every sincere Christian is a brother in that church, and has an equal right with all others to its privileges. Being one by the design of the Saviour, they should be one in feeling; and every Christian, no matter what his rank, should be ready to hail every other Christian as a fellow-heft of heaven.

One Spirit. The Holy Spirit. There is one and the self-same Spirit that dwells in the church. The same Spirit has awakened all; enlightened all; convicted all; converted all. Wherever they may be, and whoever, yet there has been substantially the same work of the Spirit on the heart of every Christian. There are circumstantial differences arising from diversities of temperament, disposition, and education; there may be a difference in the depth and power of his operations on the soul; there may be a difference in the degree of conviction for sin and in the evidence of conversion, but still there are the same operations on the heart essentially, produced by the same Spirit. See Barnes "1 Co 12:6-11".

All the gifts of prayer, and of preaching; all the zeal, the ardour, the love, the self-denial in the church, are produced by the same Spirit. There should be, therefore, unity. The church is united in the agency by which it is saved; it should be united in the feelings which influence its members.

Even as ye are called. See Barnes "Eph 4:1"

The sense is, "There is one body and one spirit, in like manner as there is one hope resulting from your calling." The same notion of oneness is found in relation to each of these things.

In one hope of your calling. In one hope resulting from your being called into his kingdom. On the meaning of the word hope, See Barnes "Eph 2:12".

The meaning here is, that Christians have the same hope, and they should therefore be one. They are looking forward to the same heaven; they hope for the same happiness beyond the grave. It is not as on earth among the people of the world, where there is a variety of hopes—where one hopes for pleasure, and another for honour, and another for gain; but there is the prospect of the same inexhaustible joy. This hope is fitted to promote union. There is no rivalry—for there is enough for all. Hope on earth does not always produce union and harmony. Two men hope to obtain the same office; two students hope to obtain the same honour in college; two rivals hope to obtain the same hand in marriage—and the consequence is jealousy, contention, and strife. The reason is, that but one can obtain the object. Not so with the crown of life—with the rewards of heaven. All may obtain that crown; all may share those rewards. How can Christians contend in an angry manner with each other, when the hope of dwelling in the same heaven swells their bosoms and animates their hearts?

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 5

Verse 5. One Lord. This evidently refers to the Lord Jesus. The "Spirit" is mentioned in the previous verse; the Father in the verse following. On the application of the word "Lord" to the Saviour, See Barnes "Ac 1:24".

The argument here is, that there ought to be unity among Christians, because they have one Lord and Saviour. They have not different Saviours adapted to different classes; not one for the Jew, and another for the Greek; not one for the rich, and another for the poor; not one for the bond, and another for the free. There is but one. He belongs in common to all as their Saviour; and he has a right to rule over one as much as over another. There is no better way of promoting unity among Christians than by reminding them that they have the same Saviour. And when jealousies and heart-burnings arise; or when they are disposed to contend about trifles; when they magnify un important matters until they are in danger of rending the church asunder, let them feel that they have one Lord and Saviour, and they will lay aside their contentions, and be one again. Let two men, who have never seen each other before, meet in a distant land, and feel that they have the same Redeemer, and their hearts will mingle into one. They are not aliens, but friends. A cord of sympathy is struck more tender than that which binds them to country or home; and though of different nations, complexions, or habits, they will feel that they are one. Why should contentions ever arise between those who have the same Redeemer?

One faith. The same belief. That is, either the belief of the same doctrines, or faith of the same nature in the heart. The word may be taken in either sense. I see no reason why it should not include both here, or be used in the widest sense. If so used, it means that Christians should be united because they hold the same great doctrines; and, also, because they have the same confidence in the Redeemer in their hearts. They hold the same system as distinguished from Judaism, Paganism, Mohammedanism, Deism; and they should, therefore, be one. They have the same trust in Christ, as a living, practical principle— and they should, therefore, be one. They may differ in other attachments; in temperament; in pursuit; in professions in life; but they have a common faith, and they should be ONE.

One baptism. This does not affirm that there is one mode of baptism, but it refers to the thing itself. They are all baptized in the name of the same Father, Saviour, Sanctifier. They have all in this manner been consecrated unto God, and devoted to his service. Whether by immersion, or by pouring, or by sprinkling, they have all been baptized with water; whether it is done in adult years, or in infancy, the same solemn act has been performed on all—the act of consecration to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This passage cannot be adduced to prove that only one mode of baptism is lawful, unless it can be shown that the thing referred to here was the mode and not the thing itself; and unless it can be proved that Paul meant to build his argument for the unity of Christians on the fact that the same form was used in their baptism. But this is evidently not the point of his argument. The argument is, that there was really but one baptism—not that there was but one mode of baptism. I could not use this argument in this form—"Christians should be one because they have been all baptized by sprinkling;" and yet the argument would be just as forcible as to use it in this form— "Christians should be one because they have all been baptized by immersion." There is one baptism, not one mode of baptism; and no man has a right to assume that there can be but one mode, and then apply this passage to that. The essential thing in the argument before us is, that there has been a consecration to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by the application of water. Thus understood, the argument is one that will be felt by all who have been devoted to God by baptism. They have taken the same vows upon them. They have consecrated themselves to the same God. They have made the same solemn profession of religion. Water has been applied to one and all as the emblem of the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit; and having been thus initiated in a solemn manner into the same profession of religion, they should be one.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 6

Verse 6. One God. The same God; therefore there should be unity. Were there many gods to be worshipped, there could be no more hope of unity than there is among the worshippers of Mammon and Bacchus, and the various other idols that men set up. Men who have different pursuits, and different objects of supreme affection, can be expected to have no union. Men who worship many gods, cannot hope to be united. Their affections are directed to different objects, and there is no harmony or sympathy of feeling. But where there is one supreme object of attachment, there may be expected to be unity. The children of a family that are devoted to a parent will be united among themselves; and the fact, that all Christians have the same great object of worship, should constitute a strong bond of union among themselves—a chain always kept bright.

The Father of all. One God who is the Father of all; that is, who is a common Father to all who believe. That this refers to the Father, in contradistinction from the Son and the Holy Spirit, seems evident. The Spirit and the Son are mentioned in the previous verses. But the fact, that the "Father of all" is mentioned as "God," does not prove that the Spirit and the Son are not also endowed with Divine attributes. That question is to be determined by the attributes ascribed to the Son and the Holy Spirit in other places. All sincere Christians worship one God, and but one. But they suppose that this one God subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, united in a mysterious manner, and constituting THE one God, and that there is no other God. That the Father is Divine they all hold, as Paul affirms here; that the Son and the Holy Spirit are also Divine they also hold. See Barnes "Joh 1:1" See Barnes "Heb 1:1" See Barnes "Php 2:6" See Barnes "Ro 9:5".

The meaning here is, that God is the common Father of all his people—of the rich and the poor; the bond and the free; the learned and the unlearned. He is no respecter of persons. Nothing would tend more to overcome the prejudices of colour, rank, and wealth, than to feel that we all have one Father; and that we are all equally the objects of his favour. Comp. See Barnes "Ac 17:26".

Who is above all. Who is supreme; who presides over all things.

And through all. He pervades universal nature, and his agency is seen everywhere.

And in you all. There is no one in whose heart he does not dwell. You are his temple; and he abides in you. See Eph 2:22. See Barnes "1 Co 6:19".

The argument here is, that as the same God dwelt in every heart, they ought to be one. See this argument beautifully expressed in the Saviour's prayer, Joh 17:21. Comp. Joh 14:23.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 7

Verse 7. But unto every one of us. Every Christian.

Is given grace. The favour of God; meaning here, that God had bestowed upon each sincere Christian the means of living as he ought to do, and had in his gospel made ample provision that they might walk worthy of their vocation. What are the endowments thus given the apostle states in the following verses. The grace referred to here, most probably, means the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, or his operations on the heart in connexion with the use of the means which God has appointed.

According to the measure of the gift of Christ. Grace is bestowed upon all true Christians, and all have enough to enable them to live a life of holiness. Yet we are taught here,

(1.) that it is a gift. It is bestowed on us. It is not what is originated by ourselves.

(2.) It is by a certain measure. It is not unlisted, and without rule. There is a wise adaptation; an imparting it by a certain rule. The same grace is not given to all, but to all is given enough to enable them to live as they ought to live.

(3.) That measure is the gift of Christ, or what is given in Christ. It comes through him. It is what he has purchased; what he has obtained by his merits. All have enough for the purposes for which God has called them into his kingdom; but there are not the same endowments conferred on all. Some have grace given them to qualify them for the ministry; some to be apostles; some to be martyrs; some to make them eminent as public benefactors. All this has been obtained by Christ; and one should not complain that another has more distinguished endowments than he has. See Barnes "Ro 12:3" See Barnes "Joh 1:16.

{a} "of the gift" Ro 12:3

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 8

Verse 8. Wherefore he saith. The word "he" is not in the original; and it may mean "the Scripture saith," or "God saith." The point of the argument here is, that Christ, when he ascended to heaven, obtained certain gifts for men, and that those gifts are bestowed upon his people in accordance with this. To prove that, he adduces this passage from Ps 68:18. Much perplexity has been felt in regard to the principle on which Paul quotes this Psalm, and applies it to the ascension of the Redeemer. The Psalm seems to have been composed on the occasion of removing the ark of the covenant from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion, 2 Sa 6:1, seq. It is a song of triumph, celebrating the victories of, JEHOVAH, and particularly the victories which had been achieved when the ark was at the head of the army. It appears to have no relation to the Messiah; nor would it probably occur to any one, on reading it, that it referred to his ascension, unless it had been so quoted by the apostle. Great difficulty has been felt, therefore, in determining on what principle Paul applied it to the ascension of the Redeemer. Some have supposed that the Psalm had a primary reference to the Messiah; some that it referred to him in only a secondary sense; some that it is applied to him by way of "accommodation;" and some that he merely uses the words as adapted to express him idea, as a man adopts words which are familiar to him, and which will express his thoughts, though not meaning to say that the words had any such reference originally. Storr supposes that the words were used by the Ephesian Christians in their hymns, and that Paul quoted them as containing a sentiment which was admitted among them. This is possible; but it is mere conjecture. It has been also supposed that the tabernacle was a type of Christ; and that the whole Psalm, therefore, having original reference to the tabernacle, might be applied to Christ as the antitype. But this both conjectural and fanciful. On the various modes adopted to account for the difficulty, the reader may consult Rosenmuller, in loc. To me it seems plain that the Psalm had original reference to the bringing up the ark to Mount Zion, and is a triumphal song. In the song or psalm, the poet shows why God was to be praised—on account of his greatness, and his benignity to men, Eph 4:1-6. He then recounts the doings of God in former times—particularly his conducting his people through the wilderness, and the fact that his enemies were discomfited before him, Eph 4:7-12. All this refers to the God, the symbols of whose presence were on the tabernacle, and accompanying the ark. He then speaks of the various fortunes that had befallen the ark of the covenant. It had lain among the pots, Eph 4:13, yet it had formerly been white as snow when God scattered kings by it, Eph 4:14. He then speaks of the hill of God—the Mount Zion to which the ark was about to be removed, and says that it is an "high hill"—" high as the hills of Bashan," the hill where God desired to dwell for ever, Eph 4:16. God is then introduced as ascending that hill, encompassed with thousands of angels, as in Mount Sinai; and the poet says that, in doing it, he had triumphed over his enemies, and had led captivity captive, Eph 4:18. The fact that the ark of God thus ascended the hill of Zion, the place of rest; that it was to remain there as its permanent abode, no more to be carried about at the head of armies, was the proof of its triumph. It had made everything captive; it had subdued every foe; and its ascent there would be the means of obtaining invaluable gifts for men. Mercy and truth would go forth from that mountain; and the true religion would spread abroad, even to the rebellious, as the results of the triumph of God, whose symbol was over the tabernacle and the ark. The placing the ark there was the proof of permanent victory, and would be connected with most important benefits to men. The "ascending on high," therefore, in the Psalm, refers, as it seems to me, to the ascent of the symbol of the Divine Presence accompanying the ark on Mount Zion, or to the placing it "on high" above all its foes. The remainder of the Psalm corresponds with this view. This ascent of the ark on Mount Zion; this evidence of its triumph over all the foes of God; this permanent residence of the ark there; and this fact that its being established there would be followed with the bestowment of invaluable gifts to men, might be regarded as a BEAUTIFUL EMBLEM Of the ascension of the Redeemer to heaven. There were strong points of resemblance. He also ascended on high. His ascent was the proof of victory over his foes. He went there for a permanent abode. And his ascension was connected with the bestowment of important blessings to men. It is as such emblematic language, I suppose, that the apostle makes the quotation. It did not originally refer to this; but the events were so similar in many points that the one would suggest the other, and the same language would describe both. It was language familiar to the apostle; language that would aptly express his thoughts, and language that was not improbably applied to the ascension of the Redeemer by Christians at that time. The phrase, therefore, "he saith"—legei-or "it saith," or "the Scripture saith," means, "it is said;" or, "this language will properly express the fact under consideration, to wit, that there is grace given to each one of us, or that the means are furnished by the Redeemer for us to lead holy lives."

When he ascended up on high. To heaven. The Psalm is, "Thou hast ascended on high." Comp. Eph 1:20,21.

He led captivity captive. The meaning of this in the Psalm is, that he triumphed over his foes. The margin is, "a multitude of captives." But this, I think, is not quite the idea. It is language derived from a conqueror, who not only makes captives, but who makes captives of those who were then prisoners, and who conducts them as a part of his triumphal procession. He not only subdues his enemy, but he leads his captives in triumph. The allusion is to the public triumphs of conquerors, especially as celebrated among the Romans, in which captives were led in chains, (Tacitus, Ann. xii. 38,) and to the custom in such triumphs of distributing presents among the soldiers. Comp. also Jud 5:30, where it appears that this was also an early custom in other nations. Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. When Christ ascended to heaven, he triumphed over all his foes. It was a complete victory over the malice of the great enemy of God, and over those who had sought his life. But he did more. He rescued those who were the captives of Satan, and led them in triumph. Man was held by Satan as a prisoner. His chains were around him. Christ rescued the captive prisoner, and designed to make him a part of his triumphal procession into heaven, that thus the victory might be complete—triumphing not only over the great foe himself, but swelling his procession with the attending hosts of those who had been the captives of Satan, now rescued and redeemed.

And gave gifts unto men. Such as he specifies in Eph 4:11.

{a} "When he ascended" Ps 68:18

{1} "captivity captive" "a multitude of captives"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 9

Verse 9. Now that he ascended. That is, it is affirmed in the Psalm that he ascended—"Thou hast ascended on high." This implies that there must have been a previous descent; or, as applicable to the Messiah, "it is a truth that he previously descended." It is by no means certain that Paul meant to say that the word "ascended" demonstrated that there must have been a previous descent; but he probably means, that in the case of Christ there was, in fact, a descent into the lower parts of the earth first. The language here used will appropriately express his decent to earth.

Into the lower parts of the earth. To the lowest state of humiliation. This seems to be the fair meaning of the words. Heaven stands opposed to earth. One is above; the other is beneath. From the one, Christ descended to the other; and he came not only to the earth, but he stooped to the most humble condition of humanity here. See Php 2:6-8. Comp. See Barnes "Isa 44:23".

Some have understood this of the grave; others of the region of departed spirits; but these interpretations do not seem to be necessary. It is the earth itself that stands in contrast with the heavens; and the idea is, that the Redeemer descended from his lofty eminence in heaven, and became a man of humble rank and condition. Comp. Ps 139:15.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 10

Verse 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended. The same Redeemer came down from God, and returned to him. It was not a different being, but the same.

Far above all heavens. See Barnes "Eph 1:20-23".

Comp. Heb 7:26. He is gone above the visible heavens, and has ascended into the highest abodes of bliss. See Barnes "2 Co 12:2".

That he might fill all things. Marg., fulfil. The meaning is, "that he might fill all things by his influence", and direct and overrule all by his wisdom and power." Doddridge. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

{2} "fill all things" Eph 1:23.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And he gave some, apostles. He gave some to be apostles. The object here is to show that he has made ample provision for the extension and edification of his church. On the meaning of the word apostles, and on their appointment by the Saviour, See Barnes "Mt 10:1".

And some, prophets, he appointed some to be prophets. See Barnes "Ro 12:6" See Barnes "1 Co 12:28" See Barnes "1 Co 14:1".

And some, evangelists. See Barnes "Ac 21:8".

Comp. 2 Ti 4:5. The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. What was the precise office of the evangelist in the primitive church it is now impossible to determine. The evangelist may have been one whose main business was preaching, and who was not particularly engaged in the government of the church. The word properly means, "a messenger of good tidings;" and Robinson (Lex.) supposes that it denotes a minister of the gospel who was not located in any place, but who travelled as a missionary to preach the gospel, and to found churches. The word is so used now by many Christians; but it cannot be proved that it is so used in the New Testament. An explanation of the words which here occur may be found in Neander on the Primitive Church, in the Biblical Repository, vol. iv. p. 268, seq. The office was distinct from that of the pastor, the teacher, and the prophet; and was manifestly an office in which preaching was the main thing.

And some, pastors. Literally, shepherds—poimenav. Comp. Mt 9:36; 25:32; 26:31; Mr 6:34; 14:27; Lu 2:8,16,18,20; Joh 10:2, Joh 10:11,12,14,16, where it is rendered shepherd, and shepherds; also Heb 13:20; 1 Pe 2:25. In Mt 26:31 Mr 6:27; Heb 13:20; 1 Pe 2:25, it is applied to the Lord Jesus as the great Shepherd of the flock—the church. It is rendered pastors only in the place before us. The word is given to ministers of the gospel with obvious propriety, and with great beauty. They are to exercise the same watchfulness and care over the people of their charge which a shepherd does over his flock. See Barnes "Joh 21:15" See Barnes "Joh 21:16".

The meaning here is, that Christ exercised a special care for his church by appointing pastors who would watch over it as a shepherd does over his flock.

And teachers. See Barnes "Ro 12:7".

{b} "he gave some" "1 Co 12:28"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 12

Verse 12. For the perfecting of the saints. On the meaning of the word here rendered perfecting—katartismon—See Barnes "2 Co 13:9".

It properly refers to the restoring of anything to its place; then putting in order, making complete, etc. Here it means that these various officers were appointed in order that everything in the church might be well arranged, or put into its proper place; or that the church might be complete. It is that Christians may have every possible advantage for becoming complete in love, and knowledge, and order.

For the work of the ministry. All these are engaged in the work of the ministry, though in different departments. Together they constituted THE ministry by which Christ meant to establish and edify the church. All these offices had an existence at that time, and all were proper; though it is clear that they were not all designed to be permanent. The apostolic office was of course to cease with the death of those who were the witnesses of the life and doctrines of Jesus, See Barnes "1 Co 9:1; the office of prophets was to cease with the cessation of inspiration; and, in like manner, it is possible that the office of teacher or evangelist might be suspended, as circumstances might demand. But is it not clear, from this, that Christ did not appoint merely three orders of clergy to be permanent in the church? Here are five orders enumerated, and in 1 Co 12:28 there are eight mentioned; and how can it be demonstrated that the Saviour intended that there should be three only, and that they should be permanent? The presumption is rather that he meant that there should be but one permanent order of ministers, though the departments of their labour might be varied according to circumstances, and though there might be helpers, as occasion should demand founding churches among the heathen, and in instructing and governing them there, there is need of reviving nearly all the offices of teacher, helper, evangelist, etc., which Paul has enumerated as actually existing in his time.

For the edifying. For building it up; that is, in the knowledge of the truth, and in piety. See Barnes "Ro 14:19".

The body of Christ. The church. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

{*} "edifying" "Edification"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Till we all come. Till all Christians arrive at a state of complete unity, and to entire perfection.

In the unity of the faith, marg. into. The meaning is, till we all hold the same truths, and the same confidence in the Son of God. See Barnes "Joh 17:21-23".

And of the knowledge of the Son of God. That they might attain to the same practical acquaintance with the Son of God, and might thus come to the maturity of Christian piety. See Barnes "Eph 3:19".

Unto a perfect man. Unto a complete man. This figure is obvious. The apostle compares their condition then to a state of childhood. The perfect man here refers to the man grown up—the man of mature life. He says that Christ had appointed pastors and teachers that the infant church might be conducted to maturity, or become strong—like a man. He does not refer to the doctrine of sinless perfection, but to the state of manhood as compared with that of childhood—-a state of strength, vigour, wisdom, when the full growth should be attained. See 1 Co 14:20.

Unto the measure of the stature. Marg., or, age. The word stature expresses the idea. It refers to the growth of a man. The stature to be attained to was that of Christ. He was the standard—not in size, not in age, but in moral character. The measure to be reached was Christ; or we are to grow till we become like him.

Of the fulness of Christ. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

The phrase, "the measure of the fulness," means, probably, the "full measure "—by a form of construction that is common in the Hebrew writings, where two nouns are so used that one is to be rendered as an adjective— as trees of greatness—meaning great trees. Here it means, that they should so advance in piety and knowledge as to become wholly like him.

{1} "in the unity" "into"

{a} "of the faith" Col 2:2

{b} "perfect man" Jas 1:6

{2} "stature" "age"

{+} "Christ" "Full stature of Christ"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 14

Verse 14. That we henceforth be no more children. In some respects Christians are to be like children. They are to be docile, gentle, mild, and free from ambition, pride, and haughtiness. See Barnes "Mt 18:2" See Barnes "Mt 18:3".

But children have other characteristics besides simplicity and docility. They are often changeable, Mt 11:17; they are credulous, and are influenced easily by others, and led astray. In these respects, Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be no longer children, but urges them to put on the characteristics of manhood; and especially to put on the firmness in religious opinion which became maturity of life.

Tossed to and fro. kludwnizomenoi. This word is taken from waves or billows that are constantly tossed about—in all ages an image of instability of character and purpose.

And carried about with every wind of doctrine. With no firmness; no settled course; no helm. The idea is that of a vessel on the restless ocean, that is tossed about with every varying wind, and that has no settled line of sailing. So many persons are in regard to religious doctrines. They have no fixed views and principles. They hold no doctrines that are settled in their minds by careful and patient examination; and the consequence is, that they yield to every new opinion, and submit to the guidance of every new teacher. The doctrine taught here is, that we should have settled religious opinions. We should carefully examine what is truth, and having found it, should adhere to it, and not yield on the coming of every new teacher. We should not, indeed, close our minds against conviction. We should be open to argument, and be willing to follow the truth wherever it will lead us. But this state of mind is not inconsistent with having settled opinions, and with being firm in holding them until we are convinced that we are wrong. No man can be useful who has not settled principles. No one who has not such principles can inspire confidence or be happy; and the first aim of every young convert should be to acquire settled views of the truth, and to become firmly grounded in the doctrines of the gospel.

By the sleight of men. The cunning, skill, trickery of men. The word used here—kubeia-is from a word kubov meaning a cube, a die, and properly means a game at dice. Hence it means game, gambling; and then anything that turns out by mere chance or hap-hazardous a game at dice does. It may possibly also denote the trick or fraud that is sometimes used in such games; but it seems rather to denote a man's forming his religious opinions by the throw of a die; or, in other words, it describes a man whose opinions seem to be the result of mere chance. Anything like casting a die, or like opening the Bible at random to determine a point of duty or doctrine may come under the description of the apostle here, and would all be opposed to the true mode, that by calm examination of the Bible, and by prayer. A man who forms his religious principles by chance, can unform them in the same way; and he who has determined his faith by one cast of the die, will be likely to throw them into another form by another. The phrase, "the sleight of men," therefore, I would render, "by the mere chance of men, or as you may happen to find men, one holding this opinion, and the next that, and allowing yourself to be influenced by them without any settled principles."

Cunning craftiness. Deceit, trick, art. See 2 Co 12:16; Lu 20:23; 1 Co 3:19. See Barnes "2 Co 4:2" See Barnes "2 Co 11:3".

Whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Literally, "Unto the method of deceit;" that is, in the usual way of deceit. Doddridge, "In every method of deceit." This is the true idea. The meaning is, that men would use plausible pretences, and would, if possible, deceive the professed friends of Christ. Against such we should be on our guard; and not by their arts should our opinions be formed, but by the word of God.

{c} "carried about" Jas 1:6

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 15

Verse 15. But speaking the truth in love. Marg., being sincere. The translation in the text is correct—literally, truthing in love —alhyeuontev. Two things are here to be noted:

(1.) The truth is to be spoken—the simple, unvarnished truth. This is the way to avoid error, and this is the way to preserve others from error. In opposition to all trick, and art, and cunning, and fraud, and deception, Christians are to speak the simple truth, and nothing but the truth. Every statement which they make should be unvarnished truth; every promise which they make should be true; every representation which they make of the sentiments of others should be simple truth. Truth is the representation of things as they are; and there is no virtue that is more valuable in a Christian than the love of simple truth.

(2.) The second thing is, that the truth should be spoken in love. There are other ways of speaking truth. It is sometimes spoken in a harsh, crabbed, sour manner, which does nothing but disgust and offend. When we state truth to others, it should be with love to their souls, and with a sincere desire to do them good. When we admonish a brother of his faults, it should not be in a harsh and unfeeling manner, but in love. Where a minister pronounces the awful truth of God about depravity, death, the judgment, and future woe, it should be in love. It should not be done in a harsh and repulsive manner; it should not be done as if he rejoiced that men were in danger of hell, or as if he would like to pass the final sentence; it should not be with indifference, or in a tone of superiority. And in like manner, if we go to convince one who is in error, we should approach him in love. We should not dogmatize, or denounce, or deal out anathemas. Such things only repel. He has done about half his work in convincing another of error, who has first convinced him that he LOVES him; and if he does not do that, he may argue to the hour of his death, and make no progress in convincing him.

May grow up into him. Into Christ; that is, to the stature of a complete man in him.

Which is the head. See Barnes "Eph 1:22" See Barnes "1 Co 11:3".

{1} "speaking the truth" "being sincere"

{a} "in love" 2 Co 4:2

{b} "even Christ" Col 1:16,19

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 16

Verse 16. From whom the whole body. The church, compared with the human body. The idea is, that as the head in the human frame conveys vital influences, rigour, motion, etc., to every part of the body, so Christ is the source of life, and rigour, and energy, and increase, to the church. The sense is, "The whole human body is admirably arranged for growth and rigour. Every member and joint contributes to its healthful and harmonious action. One part lends rigour and beauty to another, so that the whole is finely proportioned and admirably sustained. All depend on the head with reference to the most important functions of life, and all derive their rigour from that. So it is in the church. It is as well arranged for growth and rigour as the body is. It is as beautifully organized in its various members and officers as the body is. Everything is designed to be in its proper place, and nothing by the Divine arrangement is wanting, in its organization, to its perfection. Its officers and its members are, in their places, what the various parts of the body are with reference to the human frame. The church depends on Christ, as the head, to sustain, invigorate, and guide it, as the body is dependant on the head." See this figure carried out to greater length in 1 Co 12:12-26.

Fitly joined together. The body, whose members are properly united so as to produce the most beauty and rigour. Each member is in the best place, and is properly united to the other members. Let any one read Paley's Natural Theology, or any work on anatomy, and he will find innumerable instances of the truth of this remark; not only in the proper adjustment and placing of the members, but in the manner in which it is united to the other parts of the body. The foot, for instance, is in its proper place—it should not be where the head or the hand is. The eye is in its proper place—it should not be in the knee or the heel, The mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the lungs, the heart, are in their proper places—no other places would answer the purpose so well. The brain is in its proper place—-anywhere else in the body, it would be subject to compressions and injuries which would soon destroy life. And these parts are as admirably united to the other parts of the body as they axe admirably located. Let any one examine, for instance, the tendons, nerves, muscles, and bones, by which the foot is secured to the body, and by which easy and graceful motion is obtained, and he will be satisfied of the wisdom by which the body is "joined together." How far the knowledge of the apostle extended on this point we have not the means of ascertaining; but all the investigations of anatomists only serve to give increased beauty and force to the general terms which he uses here. All that he says here of the human frame is strictly accurate, and is such language as may be used by an anatomist now. The word which is here used (sunarmologew) means, properly, to sew together; to fit together; to unite; to make one. It is applied often to musicians, who produce harmony of various parts of music. Passow. The idea of harmony, or appropriate union, is that in the word.

And compacted. Sumbibazomenon. Tindal renders this, "knit together in every joint." The word properly means, to make to come together; to join or knit together. It means here that the different parts of the body are united and sustained in this manner.

By that which every joint supplieth. Literally, "through every joint of supply;" that is, which affords or ministers mutual aid. The word joint here—afh—(from aptw to fit)—means anything which binds, fastens, secures; and does not refer to the joint in the sense in which we commonly use it, as denoting the articulation of the limbs, or the joining of two or more bones; but rather that which unites or fastens together the different parts of the frame—the blood-vessels, cords, tendons, and muscles. The meaning is, that every such means of connecting one part of the body with another ministers nourishment, and that thus the body is sustained. One part is dependant on another; one part derives nourishment from another; and thus all become mutually useful as contributing to the support and harmony of the whole. Thus it furnishes an illustration of the connexion in the members of the church, and of the aid which one can render to another.

According to the effectual working Gr., "According to the energy in the measure of each one part." Tindal, "According to the operation as every part has its measure." The meaning is, that each part contributes to the production of the whole result, or labours for this. This is in proportion to the "measure" of each" part; that is, in proportion to its power, every part labours to produce the great result, No one is idle; none is useless. But none are overtaxed or overworked. The support demanded and furnished by every part is in exact proportion to its strength. This is a beautiful account of the anatomy of the human frame.

(1.) Nothing is useless. Every part contributes to the general result— the health, and beauty, and rigour of the system. Not a muscle is useless; not a nerve, not an artery, not a vein. All are employed, and all have an important place, and all contribute something to the health and beauty of the whole. So numerous are the blood-vessels, that you cannot perforate the skin anywhere without piercing one; so numerous are the pores of the skin, that a gram of sand will cover thousands of them; so minute the ramifications of the nerves, that wherever the point of a needle penetrates, we feel it; and so numerous the absorbents, that millions of them are employed in taking up the chyme of the food, and conveying it to the veins. And yet all are employed—all are useful—all minister life and strength to the whole.

(2.) None are overtaxed. They all work according to the "measure" of their strength. Nothing is required of the minutest nerve or blood-vessel which it is not fitted to perform, and it will work on for years without exhaustion or decay. So of the church. There is no member so obscure and feeble that he may not contribute something to the welfare of the whole; and no one is required to labour beyond his strength in order to secure the great object. Each one in his place, and labouring as he should there, will contribute to the general strength and welfare; out of his place—like nerves and arteries out of their place, and crossing and recrossing others—he will only embarrass the whole, and disarrange the harmony of the system.

Maketh increase of the body. The body grows in this manner.

Unto the edifying of itself. To building itself up—that is, it grows up to a complete stature.

In love. In mutual harmony. This refers to the body. The meaning is, that it seems to be made on the principle of love. There is no jar, no collision, no disturbance of one part with another. A great number of parts, composed of different substances, and with different functions— bones, and nerves, and muscles, and blood-vessels—are united in one, and live together without collision; and so it should be in the church. Learn hence,

(1.) that no member of the church need be useless, any more than a minute nerve or blood-vessel in the body need be useless. No matter how obscure the individual may be, he may contribute to the harmony and rigour of the whole.

(2.) Every member of the church should contribute something to the prosperity of the whole. He should no more be idle and unemployed than a nerve or a blood-vessel should be in the human system. What would be the effect if the minutest nerves and arteries of the body should refuse so perform their office? Languor, disease, and death. So it is in the church. The obscurest member may do something to destroy the healthful action of the church, and to make its piety languish and die.

(3.) There should be union in the church. It is made up of materials which differ much from each other, as the body is made up of bones, and nerves, and muscles. Yet, in the body these are united; and so it should be in the church. There need be no more jarring in the church than in the body; and a jar in the church produces the same effect as would be produced in the body if the nerves and muscles should resist the action of each other, or as if one should be out of its place, and impede the healthful functions of the other.

(4.) Every member in the church should keep his place, just as every bone, and nerve, and muscle in the human frame should. Every member of the body should be in its right position; the heart, the lungs, the eye, the tongue, should occupy their right place; and every nerve in the system should be laid down just where it is designed to be. If so, all is well. If not so, all is deformity, or disorder; just as it often is in the church.

{c} "the whole body fitly" Joh 15:5

{*} "measure" "according to the due operation"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 17

Verse 17. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord. I bear witness in the name of the Lord Jesus, or ministering by his authority. The object of this is to exhort them to walk worthy of their high calling, and to adorn the doctrine of the Saviour. With this view, he reminds them of what they were before they were converted, and of the manner in which the heathen around them lived.

That ye henceforth walk not. That you do not henceforth live—the Christian life being often in the Scriptures compared to a journey.

As other Gentiles walk. This shows that probably the mass of converts in the church at Ephesus were from among the heathen, and Paul regarded them as Gentile converts. Or it may be that he here addressed himself more particularly to that portion of the church, as especially needing his admonition and care.

In the vanity of their mind. In the way of folly, or in mental folly. What he means by this he specifies in the following verses. The word "vanity," in the Scriptures, means more than mere emptiness. It denotes moral wrong, being applied usually to those who worshipped vain idols, and then those who were alienated from the true God.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 18

Verse 18. Having the understanding darkened. That is, because they were alienated from the true God, and particularly because of "the blindness of their hearts." The apostle does not say that this was a "judicial" darkening of the understanding; or that they might not have perceived the truth; or that they had no ability to understand it. He speaks of a simple and well-known fact—a fact that is seen now as well as then—that the understanding becomes darkened by indulgence in sin. A man who is intemperate has no just views of the government of the appetites. A man who is unchaste has no perception of the loveliness of purity. A man who is avaricious or covetous has no just views of the beauty of benevolence. A man who indulges in low vices will weaken his mental powers, and render himself incapable of intellectual effort. Indulgence in vice destroys the intellect as well as the body, and unfits a man to appreciate the truth of a proposition in morals, or in mathematics, or the beauty of a poem, as well as the truth and beauty of religion. Nothing is more obvious than that indulgence in sin weakens the mental powers, and renders them unfit for high intellectual effort. This is seen all over the heathen world now— in the stolid, stupid mind; the perverted moral sense; the incapacity for profound or protracted mental effort, as really as it was among the heathens to whom Paul preached. The missionary who goes among the heathen has almost to create an intellect as well as a conscience, before the gospel will make an impression. It is seen, too, in all the intellect of the bar, the senate, the pulpit, and the medical profession, that is ruined by intemperance, and in the intellect of multitudes of young men wasted by licentiousness and drunkenness. I know that under the influence of ambition and stimulating drinks the intellect may seem to put forth unnatural efforts, and to glow with an intensity nowhere else seen; but it soon burns out—and the wastes of such an intellect become soon like the hardened scoriae of the volcano, or the cinders of the over-heated furnace. Learn hence, that if a man wishes to be blessed with a clear understanding, he should be a good man; he who wishes a mind well balanced and clear, should fear and love God; and had Christianity done no other good on earth than to elevate the intellect of mankind, it would have been the richest blessing which has ever been vouchsafed to the race. It follows, too, that as man has debased his understanding by sin, it is needful to make an exertion to elevate it again; and hence a large part of the efforts to save men must consist in patient instruction. Hence the necessity of schools at missionary stations.

Being alienated. See Barnes "Eph 2:12".

From the life of God. From a life like that of God, or a life of which he is the source and author. The meaning is, that they lived a life which was unlike God, or which he' could not approve. Of the truth of this, in regard to the heathen every- where, there can be no doubt. See Barnes "Ro 1:20" and Ro 1:21-23.

Through the ignorance that is in them. The ignorance of the true God, and of what constituted virtue. See Barnes "Ro 1:20" and Ro 1:21-23.

Because of the blindness of their heart. Marg., hardness. Hardness is a better word. It is a better translation of the Greek; and it better accords with the design of the apostle. Here the reason is stated why they lived and acted as they did, and why the understanding was blinded. It is not that God has enfeebled the human intellect by a judicial sentence on account of the sin of Adam, and made it incapable of perceiving the truth; it is not that there is any deficiency or incapacity of natural powers; it is not that the truths of religion are so exalted that man has no natural ability to understand them, for they may be as well understood as any other truths, See Barnes "1 Co 2:14".

The simple reason is, "the hardness of THE HEART." That is the solution given by an inspired apostle, and that is enough. A man who has a blind and hard heart sees no beauty in truth, and feels not its force, and is insensible to all its appeals. Learn then,

(1.) that men are to blame for the blindness of their understanding. Whatever proceeds from a wicked heart they are responsible for. But for mere inferiority of intellect they would not be to blame.

(2.) They are under obligation to repent and love God. If it was required of them to enlarge their intellects, or create additional faculties of mind, they could not be bound to do it. But where the whole thing required is to have a better heart, they may be held responsible.

(3.) The way to elevate the understandings of mankind is to purify the heart. The approach must be made through the affections. Let the man feel right towards God, and they will soon think right; let the heart be pure, and the understanding will be clear.

{a} "darkened" Ac 26:18

{1} "blindness" "hardness"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Who being past feeling. Wholly hardened in sin. There is a total want of all emotion on moral subjects. This is an accurate description of the state of a sinner. He has no feeling, no emotion. He often gives an intellectual assent to the truth, but it is without emotion of any kind: the heart is insensible as the hard rock.

Have given themselves over. They have done it voluntarily. In Ro 1:24, it is said that "God gave them up." There is no inconsistency. Whatever was the agency of God in it, they preferred it. See Barnes "Ro 1:21".

Unto lasciviousness. See Barnes "Ro 1:24, Ro 1:25-26.

{b} "given themselves" Ro 1:24,25

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 20

Verse 20. But ye have not so learned Christ. You have been taught a different thing by Christ; you have been taught that his religion requires you to abandon such a coarse of life.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 21

Verse 21. If so be that ye have heard him. If you have listened attentively to his instructions, and learned the true nature of his religion. There may be a slight and delicate doubt implied here whether they had attentively listened to his instructions. Doddridge, however, renders it, "Seeing ye have heard him." See Barnes "Eph 3:2".

And have been taught by him. By his Spirit, or by the ministers whom he had appointed.

As the truth is in Jesus. If you have learned the true nature of his religion as he himself taught it. What the truth was which the Lord Jesus thought, or what his principles implied, the apostle proceeds to state in the following verses.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 22

Verse 22. That ye put off. That you lay aside, or renounce. The manner in which the apostle states these duties renders it not improbable that there had been some instruction among them of a contrary character, and that it is possible there had been some teachers there who had not enforced, as they should have done, the duties of practical religion.

Concerning the former conversation. The word conversation here means conduct—as it commonly does in the Bible. See Barnes "2 Co 1:12".

The meaning here is, "With respect to your former conduct or habits of life, lay aside all that pertained to a corrupt and fallen nature. You are not to lay everything aside that formerly pertained to you. Your dress, and manners, and modes of speech and intercourse, might have been in many respects correct. But everything that proceeded from sin; every habit, and custom, and mode of speech and of conduct that, was the result of depravity, is to be laid aside. The peculiar characteristics of an unconverted man you are to put off, and are to assume those which are the proper fruits of a renewed heart."

The old man. See Barnes "Ro 6:6".

Which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. The meaning is,

(1.) that the unrenewed man is not under the direction of reason and sound sense, but is controlled by his passions and desires. The word lusts has a more limited signification with us than the original word. That word we now confine to one class of sensual appetites; but the original word denotes any passion or propermiry of the heart. It may include avarice, ambition, the love of pleasure or of gratification in any way; and the meaning here is, that the heart is by nature under the control of such desires.

(2.) Those passions are deceitful. They lead us astray. They plunge us into ruin. All the passions and pleasures of the world are illusive. They promise more than they perform; and they leave their deluded votaries to disappointment, and to tears. Nothing is more "deceitful" than the promised pleasures of this world; and all who yield to them find at last that they "flatter but to betray."

{c} "concerning" Col 3:8,9

{a} "which is corrupt" Ro 6:6

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 23

Verse 23. And be renewed. That is, it is necessary that a man who has been following these should become a new man. See Barnes "Joh 3:3, seq. Comp. See Barnes "2 Co 4:16".

The word here used—ananeow—does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament; but it has the same meaning as the word used in 2 Co 4:16, and Col 3:10. It means to make new, and is descriptive of the work of regeneration. This was addressed to the church, and to those whom Paul regarded as Christians; and we may learn from this,

(1.) That it is necessary that man should be renewed in order to be saved.

(2.) That it is proper to exhort Christians to be renewed. They need renovated strength every day.

(3.) That it is a matter of obligation to be renewed. Men are bound thus to be renovated. And

(4.) that they have sufficient natural ability to change from the condition of the old to that of the new man, or they could not be exhorted to it.

In the spirit of your mind. In your temper; your heart; your nature.

{b} "in the spirit" Ro 12:2

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 24

Verse 24. And that ye put on the new man. The new man refers to the renovated nature. This is called, in other places, the "new creature, or the new creation," See Barnes "2 Co 5:17, and refers to the condition after the heart is changed. The change is so great, that there is no impropriety in speaking of one who has experienced it as "a new man." He has new feelings, principles, and desires. He has laid aside his old principles and practices, and, in everything that pertains to moral character, he is new. His body is indeed the same; the intellectual structure of his mind the same; but there has been a change in his principles and feelings which make him, in all the great purposes of life, a new being. Learn, that regeneration is not a trifling change. It is not a mere change of relations, or of the outward condition. It is not merely being brought from the world into the church, and being baptized, though by the most holy hands; it is much more. None of these things would make proper the declaration, "he is a new man." Regeneration by the Spirit of God does.

After God. kata yeon. In respect to God. The idea is, evidently, that man is so renewed as to become like God, or the Divine image is restored to the soul. In the parallel passage in Colossians Col 3:10 the idea is expressed more fully—"renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Man, by regeneration, is restored to the lost image of God. Comp. Ge 1:26.

Is created. A word that is often used to denote the new birth, from its strong resemblance to the first act of creation. See it explained See Barnes "2 Co 5:17".

In righteousness. That is, the renewed man is made to resemble God in righteousness. This proves that man, when he was made, was righteous; or that righteousness constituted a part of the image of God in which he was created. The object of the work of redemption is to restore to man the lost image of God, or to bring him back to the condition in which he was before he fell.

And true holiness. Marg., as in Greek, holiness of truth— standing in contrast with "lusts of deceit" (Greek) in Eph 4:22. Holiness properly refers to purity towards God, and righteousness to integrity towards men; but it is not certain that this distinction is observed here. The general idea is, that the renovated man is made an upright and a pious man; and that therefore he should avoid the vices which are practised by the heathen, and which the apostle proceeds to specify. This phrase also proves that, when man was created, he was a holy being.

{c} "in righteousness" Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10

{1} "true holiness" "holiness of truth"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Wherefore putting away lying. It may seem strange that the apostle should seriously exhort Christians to put away lying, implying that they were in the habit of indulging in falsehood. But we are to remember,

(1.) that lying is the universal vice of the heathen world. Among the ancient heathen, as among the moderns, it was almost universally practised. It has been remarked by a distinguished jurist who had spent much time in India, that he would not believe a Hindoo on his oath. The same testimony is borne, by almost all the missionaries, of the character of heathens everywhere. No confidence can be placed in their statements; and, where there is the slightest temptation to falsehood, they practise it without remorse.

(2.) The Ephesians had been recently converted, and were, to a great extent, ignorant of the requirements of the gospel. A conscience has to be created when heathens are converted, and it is long before they see the evils of many things which appear to us to be palpably wrong.

(3.) The effects of former habits abide long, often, after a man is converted. He who has been in the habit of profane swearing finds it difficult to avoid it; and he who has been all his life practising deception will find himself tempted to practise it still. It was for reasons such as these, probably, that the apostle exhorted the Ephesians to put away lying, and to speak the truth only. Nor is the exhortation now inappropriate to Christians; and there are many classes to whom it would now be proper—such as the following:

(1.) He who is in the habit of concealing the defects of an article in trade, or of commending it for more than its real value— let him put away lying.

(2.) He, or she, who instructs a servant to say that they are not at home, when they are at home; or that they are sick, when they are not sick; or that they are engaged, when they are not engaged— let them put away lying.

(3.) He that is in the habit of giving a colouring to his narratives; of conveying a false impression by the introduction or the suppression of circumstances that are important to the right understanding of an account—let him put away lying.

(4.) He that is at no pains to ascertain the exact truth in regard to any facts that may affect his neighbour; that catches up flying rumours without investigating them, and that circulates them as undoubted truth, though they may seriously affect the character and peace of another—let him put away lying.

(5.) He that is in the habit of making promises only to disregard them— let him put away lying. The community is full of falsehoods of that kind, and they are not all confined to the people of the world. Nothing is more important in a community than simple truth—and yet it is to be feared that nothing is more habitually disregarded. No professing Christian can do any good who has not an unimpeachable character for integrity and truth—and yet who can lay his hand on his breast and say before God that he is, in all cases, a man that speaks the simple and unvarnished TRUTH?

For we are members one of another. We belong to one body—the church —which is the body of Christ. See Barnes "Ro 5:12".

The idea is, that falsehood tends to loosen the bonds of brotherhood. In the human body harmony is observed. The eye never deceives the hand, nor the hand the foot, nor the heart the lungs. The whole move harmoniously as if the one could put the utmost confidence in the other—and falsehood in the church is as ruinous to its interests as it would be to the body if one member was perpetually practising a deception on another.

{d} "with his neighbor" Zec 8:16

{e} "are members" Ro 12:5

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 26

Verse 26. Be ye angry, and sin not. It has been remarked that the direction here is conformable to the usage of the Pythagoreans, who were bound, when there were any differences among them, to furnish some token of reconciliation before the sun set. Burder, in Ros.Alt, u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. It is implied here,

(1.) that there may be anger without sin; and

(2.) that there is special danger, in all cases where there is anger, that it will be accompanied with sin. Anger is a passion too common to need any description. It is an excitement or agitation of mind, of more or less violence, produced by the reception of a real or supposed injury, and attended commonly with a desire or purpose of revenge. The desire of revenge, however, is not essential to the existence of the passion, though it is probably always attended with a disposition to express displeasure, to chide, rebuke, or punish. Comp. Mr 3:5. To a great extent the sudden excitement on the reception of an injury is involuntary, and consequently innocent. Anger is excited when a horse kicks us; when a serpent hisses; when we dash our foot against a stone; and so when a man raises his hand to strike us. The object or final cause of implanting this passion in the mind of man, is to rouse him to an immediate defence of himself when suddenly attacked, and before his reason would have time to suggest the proper means of defence. It prompts at once to self-protection; and when that is done its proper office ceases. If persevered in, it becomes sinful malignity, or revenge —always wrong. Anger may be excited against a thing as well as a person; as well against an act as a man. We are suddenly excited by a wrong thing without any malignancy against the man; we may wish to rebuke or chide that, without injuring him. Anger is sinful in the following circumstances:

(1.) When it is excited without any sufficient cause—when we are in no danger, and do not need it for a protection. We should be safe without it.

(2.) When it transcends the cause, if any cause really exists. All that is beyond the necessity of immediate self-protection is apart from its design, and is wrong.

(3.) When it is against the person rather than the offence. The object is not to injure another; it is to protect ourselves.

(4.) When it is attended with the desire of revenge. That is always wrong, Ro 12:17,19.

(5.) When it is cherished and heightened by reflection. And

(6.) when there is an unforgiving spirit; a determination to exact the utmost satisfaction for the injury which has been done. If men were perfectly holy, that sudden arousing of the mind in danger, or on the reception of an injury, which would serve to prompt us to save ourselves from danger, would exist, and would be an important principle of our nature as it is now, it is violent; excessive; incontrollable; persevered in—and is almost always wrong. If men were holy, this excitement of the mind would obey the first injunctions of reason, and be wholly under its control; as it is now, it seldom obeys reason at all—and is wholly wrong. Moreover, if all men were holy; if there were none disposed to do an injury, it would exist only in the form of a sudden arousing of the mind against immediate danger—which would all be fight. Now, it is excited not only in view of physical dangers, but in view of the wrongs done by others—and hence it terminates on the person, and not the thing, and becomes often wholly evil.

Let not the sun go down. Do not cherish anger. Do not sleep upon it. Do not harbour a purpose of revenge; do not cherish ill-will against another. When the sun sets on a man's anger, he may be sure it is wrong. The meaning of the whole of this verse then is, "If you be angry, which may be the case, and which may be unavoidable, see that the sudden excitement does not become sin. Do not let it overleap its proper bounds; do not cherish it; do not let it remain in your bosom even to the setting of the sun. Though the sun be sinking in the west, let not the passion linger in the bosom, but let his last rays find you always peaceful and calm.

{f} "not the sun" Ec 7:9

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 27

Verse 27. Neither give place to the devil. This has respect probably to the exhortation in the former verse. "Do not yield to the suggestions and temptations of Satan, who would take every opportunity to persuade you to cherish unkind and angry feelings, and to keep up a spirit of resentment among brethren." Many of our feelings, when we suppose we are merely defending our rights, and securing what is our own, are produced by the temptations of the devil. The heart is deceitful; and seldom more deceitful in any case than when a man is attempting to vindicate himself from injuries done to his person and reputation. The devil is always busy when we are angry, and in some way, if possible, will lead us into sin; and the best way to avoid his wiles is to curb the temper, and restrain even sudden anger. No man sins by restraining his anger; no man is certain that he will not who indulges it for a moment.

{a} "place" Jas 4:7

{*} "place" "advantage"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 28

Verse 28. Let him that stole steal no more. Theft, like lying, was, and is, almost a universal vice among the heathen. The practice of pilfering prevails in probably every pagan community, and no property is safe which is not guarded, or so locked up as to be inaccessible. Hence as the Christian converts at Ephesus had been long addicted to it, there was danger that they would fall into it again; and hence the necessity of special cautions on that head. We are not to suppose that pilfering was a common vice in the church; but the cautions on this point proceed on the principle that where a man has been long in the habit of a particular sin, he is in great danger of falling into it again. Hence we caution the man who has been intemperate against the least indulgence in intoxicating drinks; we exhort him not to touch that which would be so strong a temptation to him. The object of the apostle was to show that the gospel requires holy living in all its friends, and to entreat Christians at Ephesus in a special manner to avoid the vices of the surrounding heathen.

But rather let him labour. Let him seek the means of living in an honest manner, by his own industry, rather than by wronging others.

Working with his hands. Pursuing some honest employment. Paul was not ashamed to labour with "his own hands," 1 Co 4:12; and no man is dishonoured by labour. God made man for toil, Ge 2:15; and employment is essential to the happiness of the race. No man, who is able to support himself, has a right to depend on others. See Barnes "Ro 12:11".

That he may have to give to him that needeth. Marg., distribute. Not merely that he may have the means of support, but that he may have it in his power to aid others. The reason and propriety of this is obvious. The human race is one great brotherhood. A considerable part cannot labour to support themselves. They are too old, or too young; or they are crippled or feeble, or laid on beds of sickness. If others do not divide with them the avails of their labours, they will perish. We are required to labour in order that we may have the privilege of contributing to their comfort. Learn from this verse,

(1.) that every Christian should have some calling, business, or profession, by which he may support himself. The Saviour was a carpenter; Paul a tentmaker; and no man is disgraced by being able to build a house, or to construct a tent.

(2.) Christianity promotes industry. It is rare that an idle man becomes a Christian; but if he does, religion makes him industrious just in proportion as it has influence over his mind. To talk of a lazy Christian is about the same as to talk of burning water or freezing fire.

(3.) Christians should have some useful and honest employment. They should work "that which is good." They should not pursue an employment which will necessarily injure others. No man has a right to place a nuisance under the window of his neighbour; nor has he any more right to pursue an employment that shall lead his neighbour into sin, or ruin him. An honest employment benefits everybody. A good farmer is a benefit to his neighbourhood and country; and a good shoemaker, blacksmith, weaver, cabinet-maker, watchmaker, machinist, is a blessing to the community. He injures no one; he benefits all. How is it with the distiller, and the vender of alcoholic drinks? He benefits no one; he injures everybody. Every quart of intoxicating drink that is taken from his house does evil somewhere—evil, and only evil, and that continually. No one is made better, or richer; no one is made more moral or industrious; no one is helped on the way to heaven by it. Thousands are helped on the way to hell by it, who are already in the path; and thousands are induced to walk in the way to death who, but for that distillery, store, or tavern, might have walked in the way to heaven. Is this, then, "working that WHICH IS GOOD ?" Would Paul have done it? Would Jesus do it? Strange, that by a professing Christian it was ever done! See a striking instance of the way in which the Ephesian Christians acted when they were first converted, in Ac 19:19. See Barnes "Ac 19:19".

(4.) The main business of a Christian is not to make money, and to become rich. It is that he may have the means of benefiting others. Beyond what he needs for himself, his poor, and sick, and aged, and afflicted brother and friend has a claim on his earnings—and they should be liberally bestowed.

(5.) We should labour in order that we may have the means of doing good to others. It should be just as much a matter of plan and purpose to do this, as it is to labour in order to buy a goat, or to build a house, or to live comfortably, or to have the means of a decent burial. Yet how few are those who have any such end in view, or who pursue their daily toil definitely, that they may have something to give away. The world will be soon converted when all Christians make that the purpose See Barnes "Ro 12:11".

{b} "labour" Ac 20:35

{1} "give" "distribute"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Let no corrupt communication proceed. See Barnes "1 Co 15:33".

The word rendered "corrupt" saprov means bad, decayed, rotten, and is applied to putrid vegetables or animal substances. Then it is applied to a tree is of a useless character, that produces no good fruit, Mt 7:17. Then it is used in a moral sense, as our word "corrupt" is, to denote that which is depraved, evil, contaminating, and may denote here anything that is obscene, offensive, or that tends to corrupt others. The importance of this admonition will be appreciated when it is remembered,

(1.) that such obscene and filthy conversation prevailed everywhere, and does still among the heathen. So general is this, that at almost every missionary station it has been found that the common conversation is so corrupt and defiling, that missionaries have felt it necessary to send their children home to be educated, in order to secure them from the contaminating influence of those around them.

(2.) Those who have had the misfortune to be familiar with the common conversation of the lower classes in any community, and especially with the conversation of young men, will see the importance of this admonition. Scarcely anything can be conceived more corrupt or corrupting than that which often prevails among young men—and even young men in the academies and colleges of this land.

(3.) Its importance will be seen from the influence of such corrupt communications. "The passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it!" the expression of such a thought deepens the pollution on the soul, and corrupts others. It is like retaining an offensive carcase above ground, to pollute the air, and to diffuse pestilence and death, which should at once be buried out of sight. A Christian should be pure in his conversation. His Master was pure. His God is pure. The heaven to which he goes is pure. The religion which he professes is pure. NEVER should he indulge himself in an obscene allusion; never should retail anecdotes of all obscene character, or smile when they are retailed by others. Never should he indulge in a jest having a double meaning; never should he listen to a song of this character. If those with whom he associates have not sufficient respect for themselves and him to abstain from such corrupt and corrupting allusions, he should at once leave them.

But that which is good to the use of edifying. Marg., to edify profitably. Greek, "to useful edification;" that is, adapted to instruct, counsel, and comfort others; to promote their intelligence and purity. Speech is an invaluable gift; a blessing of inestimable worth. We may so speak as always to do good to others. We may give them some information which they have not; impart some consolation which they need; elicit some truth by friendly discussion which we did not know before, or recall by friendly admonition those who are in danger of going astray. He who talks for the mere sake of talking will say many foolish things; he whose great aim in life is to benefit others will not be likely to say that which he will have occasion to regret. Mt 12:36; Ec 5:2; Pr 10:19; Jas 1:19.

{c} "communication" Col 4:6

{*} "edifying" "edification"

{+} "grace" "benefit"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 30

Verse 30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God. This is addressed to Christians, and it proves that it is possible for them to grieve the Holy Spirit. The word here used—lupeite, means, properly, to afflict with sorrow; to make sad or sorrowful. It is rendered, to make sorry, or sorrowful, Mt 14:9; 17:23; 18:31; 19:22; 26:22,37 Mr 14:19; Joh 16:20; 2 Co 2:2; 6:10; 7:8,9,11; 1 Th 4:13.

It is rendered grieved, Mr 10:22; Joh 21:17; Ro 14:15; 2 Co 2:4,5; Eph 4:30; and once, "in heaviness," 1 Pe 1:6. The verb does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The common meaning is, to treat others so as to cause grief. We are not to suppose that the Holy Spirit literally endures grief, or pain, at the conduct of men. The language is such as is fitted to describe what men endure, and is applied to him to denote that kind of conduct which is fitted to cause grief; and the meaning here is, "do not pursue such a course as is fitted, in its own nature, to pain the benevolent heart of a holy being. Do not act towards the Holy Spirit in a manner which would produce pain in the bosom of a friend who loves you. There is a course of conduct which will drive that Spirit from the mind as if he were grieved and pained—as a course of ingratitude and sin would pain the heart of an earthly friend, and cause him to leave you." If asked what that conduct is, we may reply,

(1.) Open and gross sins. They are particularly referred to here; and the meaning of Paul is, that theft, falsehood, anger, and kindred vices, would grieve the Holy Spirit, and cause him to depart.

(2.) Anger, in all its forms. Nothing is more fitted to drive away all serious and tender impressions from the mind than the indulgence of anger.

(3.) Licentious thoughts and desires. The Spirit of God is pure, and he dwells not in a soul that is filled with corrupt imaginings.

(4.) Ingratitude. We feel ingratitude more than almost anything else; and why should we suppose that the Holy Spirit would not feel it also?

(5.) Neglect. The Spirit of God is grieved by that. Often he prompts us to pray; he disposes the mind to seriousness, to the perusal of the Bible, to tenderness and penitence. We neglect those favoured moments of our piety, and lose those happy seasons for becoming like God.

(6.) Resistance. Christians often resist the Holy Ghost. He would lead them to be dead to the world; yet they drive on their plans of gain. He would teach them the folly of fashion and vanity; yet they deck themselves in the gayest apparel. He would keep them from the splendid party, the theatre, and the ballroom; yet they go there. All that is needful for a Christian to do, in order to be eminent in piety, is to yield to the gentle influences which would draw him to prayer and to heaven.

Whereby ye are sealed. See Barnes "2 Co 1:22".

Unto the day of redemption. See Barnes "Eph 1:14".

{a} "grieve not" Isa 63:10

{b} "unto the day" Eph 1:13,14

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Let all bitterness. See Barnes "Eph 4:2".

And wrath. The word here does not differ essentially from anger.

Anger See Barnes "Eph 4:26".

All cherished, unreasonable anger. And clamour. Noise, disorder, high words; such as men use in a brawl, or when they are excited. Christians are to be calm and serious. Harsh contentions and strifes; hoarse brawls and tumults, are to be unknown among them.

And evil speaking. Slander, backbiting, angry expressions, tale-bearing, reproaches, etc.

With all malice. Rather, "with all evil"—kakia. Every kind and sort of evil is to be put away, and you are to manifest only that which is good.

{c} "and wrath" Col 3:8

{d} "be put away" Tit 3:2

EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 32

Verse 32. And be ye kind one to another. Benignant, mild, courteous, polite—crhstoi. 1 Pe 3:8. Christianity produces true courteousness, or politeness. It does not make one rough, crabbed, sour; nor does it dispose its followers to violate the proper rules of social intercourse. The secret of true politeness is benevolence, or a desire to make others happy; and a Christian should be the most polite of men. There is no religion in a sour, misanthropic temper; none in rudeness, stiffness, and repulsiveness; none in violating the rules of good-breeding. There is a hollow-hearted politeness, indeed, which the Christian is not to aim at or copy. His politeness is to be based on kindness, Col 3:12. His courtesy is to be the result of love, good-will, and a desire of the happiness of all others; and this will prompt to the kind of conduct that will render his intercourse with others agreeable and profitable.

Tenderhearted. Having a heart disposed to pity and compassion, and especially disposed to show kindness to the faults of erring brethren, for so the connexion demands.

Forgiving one another. See Barnes "Mt 6:12".

As God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. As God, on account of what Christ has suffered and done, has pardoned you. He has done it

(1.) freely—without merit on our part—when we were confessedly in the wrong.

(2.) Fully; he has forgiven every offence.

(3.) Liberally; he has forgiven many offences, for our sins have been innumerable. This is to be the rule which we are to observe in forgiving others. We are to do it freely, fully, liberally. The forgiveness is to be entire, cordial, constant. We are not to rake up old offences, and charge them again upon them; we are to treat them as though they had not offended, for so God treats us. Learn,

(1.) that the forgiveness of an offending brother is a DUTY which we are not at liberty to neglect.

(2.) The peace and happiness of the church depend on it. All are liable to offend their brethren, as all are liable to offend God; all need forgiveness of one another, as we all need it of God.

(3.) There is no danger of carrying it too far. Let the rule be observed—"As God has forgiven you, so do you forgive others." Let a man recollect his own sins and follies; let him look over his life, and see how often he has offended God; let him remember that all has been forgiven; and then, fresh with this feeling, let him go and meet an offending brother, and say, "My brother, I forgive you. I do it frankly, fully, wholly. So Christ has forgiven me; so I forgive you. The offence shall be no more remembered. It shall not be referred to in our intercourse to harrow up your feelings; it shall not diminish my love for you; it shall not prevent my uniting with you in doing good. Christ treats me, a poor sinner, as a friend; and so I will treat you."

{e} "one another" Mr 11:25,26

Ephesians Chapter 5

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 1

This chapter is a continuation of the practical exhortations commenced in chapter 4. It comprises the following points, or subjects:—

1. The exhortation to be followers of God, and to walk in love, Eph 5:1,2.

2. The duty of avoiding the impure practices of the surrounding heathen, and of wholly breaking off from the vices in which even they themselves had indulged, before their conversion to Christianity, Eph 5:3-17.

3. The apostle cautions them particularly against the use of wine, and the revelry which attends its use; and exhorts them rather to engage in the exercises to which the Holy Spirit would prompt them, and to the services of praise and thanksgiving, Eph 5:15-20.

4. He exhorts them to mutual subjection; and particularly enjoins on wives the duty of being subject to their husbands, Eph 5:21-24.

5. The chapter closes with a statement of the duty of husbands to love their wives, illustrated by that which Christ showed for the church, Eph 5:25-33.

Verse 1. Be ye therefore followers of God. Gr., "Be imitators— mimhtai—of God." The idea is not that they were to be the friends of God, or numbered among his followers, but that they were to imitate him in the particular thing under consideration. The word "therefore"—oun—connects this with the previous chapter, where he had been exhorting them to kindness, and to a spirit of forgiveness, and he here entreats them to imitate God, who was always kind and ready to forgive. Comp. Mt 5:44-47. As he forgives us, (Eph 4:32) we should be ready to forgive others; as he has borne with our faults, we should bear with theirs; as he is ever ready to hear our cry when we ask for mercy, we should be ready to hear others when they desire to be forgiven; and as he is never weary with doing us good, we should never be weary in benefiting them.

As dear children. The meaning is, "as those children which are beloved follow the example of a father, so we, who are beloved of God, should follow his example." What a simple rule this is! And how much contention and strife would be avoided if it were followed! If every Christian who is angry, unforgiving, and unkind, would just ask himself the question, "How does God treat me?" it would save all the trouble and heart-burning which ever exists in the church.

{*} "followers" "imitators"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 2

Verse 2. And walk in love. That is, let your lives be characterized by love; let that be evinced in all your deportment and conversation. See Barnes "Joh 13:34".

As Christ also hath loved us. We are to evince the same love for one another which he has done for us. He showed his love by giving himself to die for us, and we should evince similar love to one another, 1 Jo 3:16.

And hath given himself for us. This is evidently added by the apostle to show what he meant by saying that Christ loved us, and what we ought to do to evince our love for each other. The strength of his love was so great that he was willing to give himself up to death on our account; our love for our brethren should be such that we would be willing to do the same thing for them, 1 Jo 3:16.

An offering. The word here used—prosforan—means, properly, that which is offered to God—in any way, or whatever it may be. It is, however, in the Scriptures, commonly used to denote an offering without blood—a thank-offering—and thus is distinguished from a sacrifice, or a bloody oblation. The word occurs only in Ac 21:26; 24:17; Ro 15:16; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:5,8,10,14,18.

It means here that he regarded himself as an offering to God.

And a sacrifice, yusian. Christ is here expressly called a Sacrifice—the usual word in the Scriptures to denote a proper sacrifice. A sacrifice was an offering made to God by killing an animal and burning it on an altar, designed to make atonement for sin. It always implied the killing of the animal as an acknowledgment of the sinner that he deserved to die. It was the giving up of life, which was supposed to reside in the blood, (See Barnes "Ro 3:25,) and hence it was necessary that blood should be shed. Christ was such a sacrifice; and his love was shown in his being willing that his blood should be shed to save men.

For a sweet-smelling savour. See Barnes "2 Co 2:15, where the word savour is explained. The meaning here is, that the offering which Christ made of himself to God was like the grateful and pleasant smell of incense, that is, it was acceptable to him. It was an exhibition of benevolence with which he was pleased, and it gave him the opportunity of evincing his own benevolence in the salvation of men. The meaning of this in the connexion here is, that the offering which Christ made was one of love. So, says Paul, do you love one another. Christ sacrificed himself by love, and that sacrifice was acceptable to God. So do you show love one to another. Sacrifice everything which opposes it, and it will be acceptable to God. He will approve all which is designed to promote love, as he approved the sacrifice which was made, under the influence of love, by his Son.

{a} "as Christ" Joh 13:34

{b} "sweet-smelling savour" Le 1:9

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 3

Verse 3. But fornication. A common vice among the heathen then as it is now, and one into which they were in special danger of falling. See Barnes "Ro 1:29" See Barnes "1 Co 6:18".

And all uncleanness. Impurity of life. See Barnes "Ro 1:24". Comp. Ro 6:9; Gal 5:19; Eph 4:19; Col 3:5.

Or covetousness. The connexion in which this word is found is remarkable. It is associated with the lowest and most debasing vices, and this, as well as those vices, was not once to be named among them. What was Paul's estimate, then, of covetousness? He considered it as an odious and abominable vice; a vice to be regarded in the same light as the most gross sin, and as wholly to be abhorred by all who bore the Christian name. See Eph 5:5. The covetous man, according to Paul, is to be ranked with the sensual, and with idolaters, (Eph 5:5,) and with those who are entirely excluded from the kingdom of God. Is this the estimate in which the vice is held now? Is it the view which professing Christians take of it? Do we not feel that there is a great difference between a covetous man and a man of impure and licentious life? Why is this? Because

(1.) it is so common;

(2.) because it is found among those who make pretensions to refinement and even religion;

(3.) because it is not so easy to define what is covetousness, as it is to define impurity of life; and

(4.) because the public conscience is seared, and the mind blinded to the low and groveling character of the sin. Yet is not the view of Paul the right view? Who is a covetous man? A man who, in the pursuit of gold, neglects his soul, his intellect, and his heart. A man who, in this insatiable pursuit, is regardless of justice, truth, charity, faith, prayer, peace, comfort, usefulness, conscience; and who shall say that there is any vice more debasing or degrading than this? The time may come, therefore, when the covetous man will be regarded as deserving the same rank in the public estimation with the most vicious, and when TO COVET will be considered as much opposed to the spirit of the gospel as any of the vices here named. When that time shall come, the world's conversion will probably be not a distant event.

Let it not be once named among you. That is, let it not exist; let there be no occasion for mentioning such a thing among you; let it be wholly unknown. This cannot mean that it is wrong to mention these vices for the purpose of rebuking them, or cautioning those in danger of committing them—for Paul himself in this manner mentions them here, and frequently elsewhere—but that they should not exist among them.

As becometh saints. As befits the character of Christians, who are regarded as holy. Literally, "as becometh holy ones"—agioiv.

{c} "and all uncleanness" 1 Co 6:18; 1 Th 4:3

{d} "among you" Eph 5:12

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 4

Verse 4. Neither filthiness. That is, obscene or indecent conversation. Literally, that which is shameful, or deformed— aiscrothv. The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament.

Nor foolish talking. This word—mwrologia—does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means that kind of talk which is insipid, senseless, stupid, foolish; which is not fitted to instruct, edify, profit—the idle chit-chat which is so common in the world. The meaning is, that Christians should aim to have their conversation sensible, serious, sincere remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment," Mt 12:36.

Nor jesting. eutrapelia. This word occurs also nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, that which is well-turned, (eu well, and trepw—to turn;) and then that which is sportive, refined, courteous; and then urbanity, humour, wit; and then jesting, levity—which is evidently the meaning here. The apostle would not forbid courteousness, or refinement of manners, (comp. 1 Pe 3:8;) and the reference, therefore, must be to that which is light and trifling in conversation; to that which is known among us as jesting. It may be observed,

(1.) that courteousness is not forbidden in the Scriptures, but is positively required, 1 Pe 3:8.

(2.) Cheerfulness is not forbidden—for if anything can make cheerful, it is the hope of heaven.

(3.) Pleasantry cannot be forbidden. I mean that quiet and gentle humour that arises from good-nature, and that makes one good-natured in spite of himself. Such are many of the poems of Cowper, and many of the essays of Addison in the "Spectator"— benevolent humour which disposes us to smile, but not to be malignant; to be good-natured, but not to inspire levity. But levity and jesting, though often manifested by ministers and other Christians, are as inconsistent with true dignity as with the gospel. Where were they seen in the conversation of the Redeemer? Where in the writings of Paul?

Which are not convenient. That is, which are not fit or proper; which do not become the character of Christians. See Barnes "Ro 1:28".

Christians should be grave and serious, though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake, and that the world has too. They are redeemed—not to make sport; purchased with precious blood—for other purposes than to make men laugh. They are soon to be in heaven—and a man who has any impressive sense of that will habitually feel that he has muck else to do than to make men laugh. The true course of life is midway between moroseness and levity; sourness and lightness; harshness and jesting. Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, bland, courteous, but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things, but pleasant, affable, and benignant. Think not a smile sinful; but think not levity and jesting harmless.

But rather giving of thanks. Thanks to God, or praises, are more becoming Christians than jesting. The idea here seems to be, that such employment would be far more appropriate to the character of Christians, than idle, trifling, and indelicate conversation. Instead, therefore, of meeting together for low wit and jesting; for singing songs, and for the vulgar discourse which often attends such "gatherings" of friends, Paul would have them come together for the purpose of praising God, and engaging in his service. Men are social in their nature; and if they do not assemble for good purposes, they will for bad ones. It is much more appropriate to the character of Christians to come together to sing praises to God, than to sing songs; to pray, than to jest; to converse of the things of redemption, than to tell anecdotes; and to devote the time to a contemplation of the world to come, than to trifles and nonsense.

{e} "which are not convenient" Ro 1:28

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 5

Verse 5. For this ye know. Be assured of this. The object here is, to deter from indulgence in those vices by the solemn assurance that no one who committed them could possibly be saved.

Nor unclean person. No one of corrupt and licentious life can be saved. See Re 22:15.

Nor covetous man, who is an idolater. That is, he bestows on money the affections due to God. See Col 3:5. To worship money is as real idolatry as to worship a block of stone. If this be so, what an idolatrous world is this! How many idolaters are there in professedly Christian lands! How many, it is to be feared, in the church itself! And since every covetous man is certainly to be excluded from the kingdom of God, how anxious should we be to examine our hearts, and to know whether this sin may not lie at our door!

Hath any inheritance, etc. Such an one shall never enter heaven. This settles the inquiry about the final destiny of a large portion of the world; and this solemn sentence our conscience and all our views of heaven approve. Let us learn hence,

(1.) that heaven will be pure.

(2.) That it will be a desirable place—for who would wish to live always with the licentious and the impure?

(3.) It is right to reprove these vices, and to preach against them. Shall we not be allowed to preach against those sins which will certainly exclude men from heaven?

(4.) A large part of the world is exposed to the wrath of God. What numbers are covetous! What multitudes are licentious! In how many places is licentiousness openly and unblushingly practised! In how many more places in secret! And in how many more is the heart polluted, while the external conduct is moral; the soul corrupt , while the individual moves in respectable society!

(5.) What a world of shame will hell be! How dishonourable and disgraceful to be damned for ever, and to linger on in eternal fires, because the man was TOO POLLUTED to be admitted into pure society! Here, perhaps, he moved in fashionable life, and was rich, and honoured, and flattered; there he will be sent down to hell because his whole soul was corrupt, and because God would not suffer heaven to be contaminated by his presence!

(6.) What a doom awaits the covetous man! He, like the sensualist, is to be excluded from the kingdom of God. And what is to be his doom? Will he have a place apart from the common damned—a golden palace and a bed of down in hell? No. It will be no small part of his aggravation that he will be doomed to spend an eternity with those in comparison with whom on earth, perhaps, he thought himself to be pure as an angel of light.

(7.) With this multitude of the licentious mad the covetous, will sink to hell all who are not renewed and sanctified. What a prospect for the gay, the fashionable, the moral, the amiable, and the lovely, who have no religion! For all the impenitent and the unbelieving, there is but one home in eternity. Hell is less terrible from its penal fires and its smoke of torment, than from its being made up of the profane, the sensual, and the vile; and its supremest horrors arise from its being the place where shall be gathered all the corrupt and unholy dwellers in a fallen world; all who are so impure that they cannot be admitted into heaven. Why, then, will the refined, the moral, and the amiable not be persuaded to seek the society of a pure heaven? to be prepared for the world where holy beings dwell?

{a} "no whoremonger" Heb 13:4; Re 22:15

{*} "whoremonger" "fornicator"

{b} "an idolator" Col 3:5

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 6

Verse 6. Let no man deceive you. Let no one, by artful plans, persuade you that there will be no danger from practising these vices. We may suppose that they would be under strong temptations to mingle in the gay and festive scenes where these vices were not frowned on, or where they were practised; or that they might be tempted to commit them by some of the plausible arguments which were then used for theft indulgence. Many of their friends may have been in these circles; and they would endeavour to convince them that such were the customs which had been long practised, and that there could be no harm still in theft indulgence. Not a few philosophers endeavoured, as is well known, to defend some of these practices, and even practised them themselves. See Barnes "Ro 1:1"

and following. It required, therefore, all the authority of an apostle to convince them, that however plausible were the arguments in defence of them, they certainly exposed those who practised them to the wrath of God.

For because of these things cometh the wrath of God. See Barnes "Ro 1:18" See Barnes "Ro 2:8" See Barnes "Ro 2:9".

Upon the children of disobedience. See Barnes "Mt 1:1" See Barnes "Ro 2:8".

{c} "with vain words" Jer 29:8,9

{1} "disobedience" "unbelief"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 7

Verse 7. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. Since these things displease God, and expose to his wrath, avoid them.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 8

Verse 8. For ye were sometimes darkness. See Barnes "Eph 2:11, See Barnes "Eph 2:12" See Barnes "1 Co 6:11".

The meaning here is, that they were themselves formerly sunk in the same ignorance, and practised the same abominations.

But now are ye light in the Lord. Light is the emblem of happiness, knowledge, holiness. The meaning is, that they had been enlightened by the Lord to see the evil of these practices, and that they ought, therefore, to forsake them.

Walk as children of light. See Barnes "Mt 1:1, on the use of the word son or children. The meaning here is, that they should live as became those who had been enlightened to see the evil of sin, and the beauty of virtue and religion. Comp. Joh 12:36, where the same phrase occurs.

{d} "ye were sometimes" Eph 2:11,12

{e} "in the lord" 1 Th 5:5

{f} "of light" Joh 12:36

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 9

Verse 9. For the fruit of the Spirit. That is, since the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, produces goodness, righteousness, and truth, see that you exhibit these in your lives, and thus show that you are the children of light. On the fruits of the Spirit, See Barnes "Gal 5:22,23".

Is in all goodness. Is seen in producing all kinds of goodness. He who is not good is not a Christian.

{g} "of the Spirit" Gal 5:22 EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. That is, "Walk as children of light, Eph 5:8, thus showing what is acceptable to the Lord." Rosenmuller supposes that the participle is used here instead of the imperative. The meaning is, that by so living you will make a fair trial of what is acceptable to the Lord. The result on your happiness, in this life and the next, will be such as to show that such a course is pleasing in his sight. Dr. Chandler, however, renders it as meaning that by this course they would show that they discerned and approved of what was acceptable to the Lord. See Barnes "Ro 12:2, where a similar form of expression occurs.

{h} "what is acceptable" Ro 12:2

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And have no fellowship. See the sentiment here expressed fully explained See Barnes "2 Co 6:14" and following.

The unfruitful works. The deeds of darkness that produce no benefit to the body or the soul. The word unfruitful is here used in contrast with the "fruit of the Spirit," Eph 5:9.

But rather reprove them. By your life, your conversation, and all your influence. This is the business of Christians. Their lives should be a standing rebuke of a sinful world, and they should be ever ready to express their disapprobation of its wickedness in every form.

{a} "with the unfruitful works" 1 Co 5:9,11

{b} "reprove them" 1 Ti 5:20

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 12

Verse 12. For it is a shame even to speak, etc. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 1:24" also Ro 1:25-32. It is still a shame to speak of the practices of the heathen. Missionaries tell us that they cannot describe the images on the car of Juggernaut, or tell us what is done in the idol temples. All over the world the same thing is true. The cheek of modesty and virtue would be suffused with shame at the very mention of what is done by the worshippers of idols; and the same is true of what is done by multitudes in Christian lands, who are not worshippers of idols. Their deeds cannot be described in the circles of the refined and the delicate; they cannot be told in the presence of mothers and sisters. Is there not emphasis here in the words, "even to SPEAK of those things?" If the apostle would not allow, them to name those things, or to speak of them, is it wise or safe for Christians now to be familiar with the accounts of those practices of pollution, and for ministers to portray them in the pulpit, and for the friends of "moral reform" to describe them before the world? The very naming of those abominations often produces improper associations in the mind; the description creates polluting images before the imagination; the exhibition of pictures, even for the purpose of condemning them, defiles the soul. There are some vices which, from the corruptions of the human heart, cannot be safely described; and it is to be feared that, under the plea of faithfulness, many have done evil by exciting improper feelings, where they should only have alluded to the crime, and then spoken in thunder. Paul did not describe these vices, he denounced them; he did not dwell upon them long enough for the imagination to find employment, and to corrupt the soul. He mentioned the vice, and then he mentioned the wrath of God; he alluded to the sin, and then he spoke of the exclusion from heaven. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 6:18.

Which are done of them in secret. Many have supposed that there is an allusion here to the "mysteries" which were celebrated in Greece, usually at night, and far from the public eye. Many of these were indeed impure and abominable, but there is no necessity for supposing that there is such an allusion here. The reference may be to the vices which were secretly practised then as now; the abominations which flee from the eye of day, and which are performed far from the public gaze.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 13

Verse 13. But all things that are reproved. Marg., discovered. The word here used properly means proved, demonstrated, reproved, or convicted, See Barnes "Joh 16:8" but it seems here to be used in the sense of disclosed, or discovered. The sense is, that its true nature is demonstrated; that is, it is made known.

Are made manifest by the light. The sense is, "Light is the means of seeing what things are. We discern their form, nature, appearance by it. So it is with the gospel—-the light of the world. It enables us to see the true nature of actions. They are done in darkness, and are like objects in the dark. Their form and nature cannot then be known; but, when the light shines, we see what they are." Comp. See Barnes "Joh 3:20, See Barnes "Joh 3:21".

For whatsoever doth make manifest is light. "Anything which will show the real form and nature of an object deserves to be called light." Of the truth of this no one can doubt. The meaning in this connexion is, that that system which discloses the true nature of what is done by the heathen deserves to be considered as light; and that the gospel, which does this, should be regarded as a system of light and truth. It discloses the odiousness and vileness, and it stands thus in strong contrast with all the false and abominable systems which have upheld or produced those vices.

{1} "reproved" "discovered"

{c} "by the light" Joh 3:20,21

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Wherefore he saith. Marg., or it. dio legei. The meaning may be, either that the Lord says, or the Scripture. Much difficulty has been experienced in endeavouring to ascertain where this is said. It is agreed on all hands that it is not found, in so many words, in the Old Testament. Some have supposed that the allusion is to Isa 26:19, "Thy dead men shall live—awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs," etc. But the objections to this are obvious and conclusive.

(1.) This is not a quotation of that place, nor has it a resemblance to it, except in the word" awake."

(2.) The passage in Isaiah refers to a different matter, and has a different sense altogether. See Barnes "Isa 26:19".

To make it refer to those to whom the gospel comes is most forced and unnatural. Others have supposed that the reference is to Isa 60:1-3, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come," etc. But the objection to this is not less decisive.

(1.) It is not a quotation of that passage, and the resemblance is very remote, if it can be seen at all.

(2.) That is addressed to the church, calling on her to let her light shine; this, to awake and arise from the dead, with the assurance that Christ would give them light. The exhortation here is to Christians, to avoid the vices of the heathen around them; the exhortation in Isaiah is to the church, to rejoice and exult in view of the fact that the day of triumph had come, and that the heathen were to be converted, and to come in multitudes and devote themselves to God. In the design of the two passages there is no resemblance. Some have supposed that the words are taken from some book among the Hebrews which is now lost. Epiphanius supposed that it was a quotation from a prophecy of Elijah; Syncellus and Euthalius, from some writing of Jeremiah; Hippolytus, from the writing of some now unknown prophet. Jerome supposed it was taken from some apocryphal writings. Grotius supposes that it refers to the word light Eph 5:13, and that the sense is, "That light says; that is, that a man who is pervaded by that light, let him so say to another." Heumann, and after him Storr, Michaelis, and Jenning, (Jewish Ant. ii. 252,) suppose that the reference is to a song or hymn that was sung by the early Christians, beginning in this manner, and that the meaning is, "Wherefore, as it is said in the hymns which we sing,

'Awake, thou that sleepest;
Arise from the dead;
Christ shall give thee light.'"

Others have supposed that there is an allusion to a sentiment which prevailed among the Jews, respecting the significancy of blowing the trumpet on the first day of the month, or the feast of the new moon. Maimonides conjectures that that call of the trumpet, especially in the month Tisri, in which the great day of atonement occurred, was designed to signify a special call to repentance; meaning, "You who sleep, arouse from your slumbers; search and try yourselves; think on your Creator; repent, and attend to the salvation of the soul." Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. But all this is evidently conjecture. I see no evidence that Paul meant to make a quotation at all. Why may we not suppose that he speaks as an inspired man, and that he means to say, simply, that God now gives this command, or that God now speaks in this way? The sense then would be, "Be separate from sinners. Come out from among the heathen. Do not mingle with their abominations; do not name them. You are the children of light; and God says to you, Awake from false security, rouse from the death of sin, and Christ shall enlighten you." Whatever be the origin of the sentiment in this verse, it is worthy of inspiration, and accords with all that is elsewhere said in the Scriptures.

Awake thou that sleepest. Arouse from a state of slumber and false security. Sleep and death are striking representations of the state in which men are by nature. In sleep we are, though living, insensible to any danger that may be near; we are unconscious of what may be going on around us; we hear not the voice of our friends; we see not the beauty of the grove or the landscape; we are forgetful of our real character and condition. So with the sinner. It is as if his faculties were locked in a deep slumber. He hears not when God calls; he has no sense of danger; he is insensible to the beauties and glories of the heavenly world; he is forgetful of his true character and condition. To see all this, he must be first awakened; and hence this solemn command is addressed to man. He must rouse from this condition, or he cannot be saved. But can he awaken himself? Is it not the work of God to awaken a sinner? Can he rouse himself to a sense of his condition and danger? How do we do in other things? The man that is sleeping on the verge of a dangerous precipice we would approach, and say, "Awake, you are in danger." The child that is sleeping quietly in its bed, while the flames are bursting into the room, we would rouse, and say, "Awake, or you will perish." Why not use the same language to the sinner slumbering on the verge of ruin, in a deep sleep, while the flames of wrath are kindling around him? We have no difficulty in calling on sleepers elsewhere to awake when in danger; how can we have any difficulty when speaking to the sinner?

And arise from the dead. The state of the sinner is often compared to death. See Barnes "Eph 2:1".

Men are by nature dead in sins; yet they must rouse from this condition, or they will perish. How singular, it may be said, to call upon the dead to rise! How could they raise themselves up? Yet God speaks thus to men, and commands them to rise from the death of sin. Learn then,

(1.) that men are not dead in sin in any such sense that they are not moral agents, or responsible.

(2.) That they are not dead in any such sense that they have no power of any kind.

(3.) That it is right to call on sinners to arouse from their condition, and live.

(4.) That they must put forth their efforts as if they were to Begin the work themselves, without waiting for God to do it for them. They are to awake; they are to arise. It is not God who is to awake; it is not Christ who is to arise. It is the sinner who is to awake from his slumber, and arise from the state of death; nor is he to wait for God to do the work for him.

And Christ shall give thee light. Christ is the light of the world. See Barnes "Joh 1:4, See Barnes "Joh 1:9" See Barnes "Joh 8:12" See Barnes "Heb 1:3".

The idea here is, that if they will use all the powers with which God has endowed them, and arouse from their spiritual slumber, and make an appropriate effort for salvation, then they may expect that Christ will shine upon them, and bless them in their efforts. This is just the promise that we need, and it is all that we need. All that man can ask is, that if he will make efforts to be saved, God will bless those efforts, so that they shah not be in vain. Faculties of mind have been given us to be employed in securing our salvation; and if we will employ them as they were intended to be employed, we may look for the Divine aid; if not, we cannot expect it. "God helps those who help themselves;" and they who will make no effort for their salvation must perish, as they who will make no effort to provide food must starve. This command was indeed addressed at first to Christians; but it involves a principle which is applicable to all. Indeed, the language here is rather descriptive of the condition of impenitent sinners than of Christians. In a far more important sense they are "asleep," and are "dead;" and with the more earnestness, therefore, should they be entreated to awake, and to rise from the dead, that Christ may give them light.

{2} "he saith" "it"

{d} "Awake" Isa 60:1

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 15

Verse 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly. Carefully, anxiously, solicitous lest you fall into sin. The word rendered "circumspectly" —akribwv—means, diligently; and the idea here is, that they were to take special pains to guard against the temptations around them, and to live as they ought to.

Not as fools, but as wise. Not as the people of this world live, indulging in foolish pleasures and desires, but as those who have been taught to understand heavenly wisdom, and who have been made truly wise.

{a} "circumspectly" Col 4:5

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Redeeming the time. The word here rendered redeeming, means, to purchase; to buy up from the possession or power of any one; and then to redeem, to set free—as from service or bondage. See Barnes "Gal 3:13".

Here it means, to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes. Because the days are evil. Because the times in which you live are evil. There are many allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin. Such were those that would tempt them to go to places of sinful indulgence and revelry, where their time would be wasted, and worse than wasted. As these temptations abounded, they ought therefore to be more especially on their guard against a sinful and unprofitable waste of time. This exhortation may be addressed to all, and is applicable to all periods. The sentiment is, that we ought to be solicitous to improve our time to some useful purpose, because there are, in an evil world, so many temptations to waste it. Time is given us for most valuable purposes. There are things enough to be done to occupy it all, and no one need have it hang heavy on his hands. He that has a soul to be saved from eternal death need not have one idle moment. He that has a heaven to win has enough to do to occupy all his time. Man has just enough given him to accomplish all the purposes which God designs, and God has not given him more than enough. They redeem their time who employ it

(1.) in gaining useful knowledge;

(2.) in doing good to others;

(3.) in employing it for the purpose of an honest livelihood for themselves and families;

(4.) in prayer and self-examination, to make the heart better;

(5.) in seeking salvation, and in endeavouring to do the will of God. They are to redeem time from all that would waste and destroy it—like recovering marshes and fens to make them rich meadows and vineyards. There is time enough wasted by each sinner to secure the salvation of the soul; time enough wasted to do all that is needful to be done to spread religion around the world, and to save the race. We should still endeavour to redeem our time for the same reasons which are suggested by the apostle—because the days are evil. There are evil influences abroad; allurements and vices that would waste time, and from which we should endeavour to rescue it. There are evil influences tending to waste time

(1.) in the allurements to pleasure and amusement in every place, and especially in cities;

(2.) in the temptations to novel-reading, consuming the precious hours of probation to no valuable purpose;

(3.) in the temptations of ambition, most of the time spent for which is wholly thrown away, for few gain the prize, and when gained, it is all a bauble, not worth the effort;

(4.) in dissipation—for who can estimate the amount of valuable tune that is worse than thrown away in the places of revelry and dissipation?

(5.) in wild and visionary plans—temptations to which abound in all lands, and pre-eminently in our own;

(6.) and in luxurious indulgence—in dressing, and eating, and drinking.

{b} "days are evil" Ps 37:19

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Be ye not unwise. Be not fools in the employment of your time, and in you manner of life. Show true wisdom by endeavouring to understand what the will of the Lord is, and then doing it.

{*} "unwise" "inconsiderate"

{c} "the will" Joh 7:17

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 18

Verse 18. And be not drunk with wine. A danger to which they were exposed, and a vice to which those around them were much addicted. See Barnes "Lu 21:34".

It is not improbable that in this verse there is an allusion to the orgies of Bacchus, or to the festivals celebrated in honour of that heathen god. He was "the god of wine," and, during those festivals, men and women regarded it as an acceptable act of worship to become intoxicated, and with wild songs and cries to run through streets, and fields, and vineyards. To these things the apostle opposes psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, as much more appropriate modes of devotion, and would have the Christian worship stand out in strong contrast with the wild and dissolute habits of the heathen. Plato says, that while those abominable ceremonies in the worship of Bacchus continued, it was difficult to find in all Attica a single sober man. Rosenmuller, Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. On the subject of wine, and the wines used by the ancients, See Barnes "Joh 2:10, See Barnes "Joh 2:11".

We may learn from this verse,

(1.) that it was not uncommon in those times to become intoxicated on wine; and,

(2.) that it was positively forbidden. All intoxication is prohibited in the Scriptures—no matter by what means it is produced. There is, in fact, but one thing that produces intoxication. It is alcohol—the poisonous substance produced by fermentation. This substance is neither created nor changed, increased nor diminished, by distillation. It exists in the cider, the beer, and the wine, after they are fermented, and the whole process of distillation consists in driving it off by heat, and collecting it in a concentrated form, and so that it may be preserved. But distilling does not make it, nor change it. Alcohol is precisely the same thing in the wine that it is in the brandy after it is distilled; in the cider or the beer that it is in the whisky or the rum; and why is it right to become intoxicated on it in one form rather than another? Since therefore there is danger of intoxication in the use of wine, as well as in the use of ardent spirits, why should we not abstain from one as well as the other? How can a man prove that it is right for him to drink alcohol in the form of wine, and that it is wrong for me to drink it in the form of brandy or rum?

Wherein is excess. There has been much difference of opinion about the word here rendered excess—aswtia. It occurs only in two other places in the New Testament, where it is rendered riot, Tit 1:6 1 Pe 4:4. The adjective occurs once, Lu 15:13, where it is rendered riotous. The word (derived, according to Passow, from a, and swzw to save, deliver means that which is unsafe; not to be recovered; lost beyond recovery; then that which is abandoned to sensuality and lust; dissoluteness, debauchery, revelry. The meaning here is, that all this follows the use of wine. Is it proper, then, for Christians to be in the habit of drinking it? "Wine is so frequently the cause of this, by the ungrateful abuse of the bounty of Providence in giving it, that the enormity is represented, by a very strong and beautiful figure, as contamed in the very liquor." Doddridge.

But be filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit. How much more appropriate to Christians than to be filled with the spirit of intoxication and revelry! Let Christians, when about to indulge in a glass of wine, think of this admonition. Let them remember that their bodies should be the temple of the Holy Ghost, rather than a receptacle for intoxicating drinks. Was any man ever made a better Christian by the use of wine? Was any minister ever better fitted to counsel an anxious sinner, or to pray, or to preach the gospel, by the use of intoxicating drinks? Let the history of wine-drinking and inteperate clergymen answer.

{d} "drunk with wine" Lu 21:34

{+} "excess" "dissoluteness"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Speaking to yourselves. Speaking among yourselves, that is, endeavouring to edify one another, and to promote purity of heart by songs of praise. This has the force of a command, and it is a matter of obligation on Christians. From the beginning, praise was an important part of public worship, and is designed to be to the end of the world. See Barnes "1 Co 14:16".

Nothing is more clear than that it was practised by the Saviour himself and the apostles, Mt 26:30, and by the primitive church, as well as by the great body of Christians in all ages.

In psalms. The Psalms of David were sung by the Jews at the temple, and by the early Christians, See Barnes "Mt 26:30, and the singing of those Psalms has constituted a delightful part of public worship in all ages. They speak the language of devotion at all times, and a large part of them are as well fitted to the services of the sanctuary now as they were when first composed.

And hymns. It is not easy to determine precisely what is the difference in the meaning of the words here used, or to designate the kind of compositions which were used in the early churches. A hymn is properly a song or ode in honour of God. Among the heathen it was a song in honour of some deity. With us now it denotes a short poem, composed for religious service, and sung in praise to God. Such brief poems were common among the heathen, and it was natural that Christians should early introduce and adopt them. Whether any of them were composed by the apostles it is impossible now to determine, though the presumption is very strong that, if they had been, they would have been preserved with as much care as their epistles, or as the Psalms. One thing is proved clearly by this passage, that there were other compositions used in the praise of God than the Psalms of David; and if it was right then to make use of such compositions, it is now. They were not merely "psalms" that were sung, but there were hymns and odes

Spiritual songs. Spiritual odes—wdaiv. Odes or songs relating to spiritual things in contradistinction from those which were sung in places of festivity and revelry. An ode is properly a short poem or song adapted to be set to music, or to be sung; a lyric poem. In what way these were sung it is now vain to conjecture. Whether with or without instrumental accompaniment; whether by a choir or by the assembly; whether by an individual only, or whether they were by responses, it is not possible to decide from anything in the New Testament. It is probable that it would be done in the most simple manner possible. Yet, as music constituted so important a part of the worship of the temple, it is evident that the early Christians would be by no means indifferent to the nature of the music which they had in their churches. And as it was so important a part of the worship of the heathen gods, and contributed so much to maintain the influence of heathenism, it is not unlikely that the early Christians would feel the importance of making their music attractive, and of making it tributary to the support of religion. If there is attractive music at the banquet and in the theatre, contributing to the maintenance of amusements where God is forgotten, assuredly the music of the sanctuary should not be such as to disgust those of pure and refined taste.

Singing. Adontev. The prevailing character of music in the worship of God should be vocal. If instruments are employed. they should be so subordinate that the service maybe characterized as singing.

And making melody. Melody is an agreeable succession of sounds; a succession so regulated and modulated as to please the ear. It differs from harmony, inasmuch as melody is an agreeable succession of sounds by a single voice; harmony consists in the accordance of different sounds. It is not certain, however, that the apostle here had reference to what is properly called melody. The word which he uses—qallw means to touch, twitch, pluck as the hair, the beard; and then to twitch a string—to twang it —as the string of a bow, and then the string of an instrument of music. It is most frequently used in the sense of touching or playing a lyre, or a harp; and then it denotes to make music in general, to sing—perhaps usually with the idea of being accompanied with a lyre or harp. It is used, in the New Testament, only in Ro 15:9; 1 Co 14:15, where it is translated sing; in Jas 5:13, where it is rendered sing psalms, and in the place before us. The idea here is that of singing in the heart, or praising God from the heart. The psalms, and hymns, and songs were to be sung so that the heart should be engaged, and not so as to be mere music, or a mere external performance. On the phrase "in the heart," See Barnes "1 Co 14:15".

To the Lord. In praise of the Lord, or addressed to him. Singing, as here meant, is a direct and solemn act of worship, and should be considered such as really as prayer. In singing we should regard ourselves as speaking directly to God, and the words, therefore, should be spoken with a solemnity and awe becoming such a direct address to the great JEHOVAH. So Pliny says of the early Christians, Carmenque Christo quasi Dee dicere secure invieem—" and they sang among themselves hymns to Christ as God." If this be the true nature and design of public psalmody, then it follows

(1.) that all should regard it as an act of solemn worship in which they should engage—in heart at least, if they cannot themselves sing.

(2.) Public psalmody should not be entrusted wholly to the light and gay —to the trifling and careless part of a congregation.

(3.) They who conduct this part of public worship ought to be pious. The leader ought to be a Christian; and they who join in it ought also to give their hearts to the Redeemer. Perhaps it would not be proper to say absolutely that no one who is not a professor of religion should take part in the exercises of a choir in a church; but there can be no error in saying that such persons ought to give themselves to Christ, and to sing from the heart. Their voices would be none the less sweet; their music no less pure and beautiful; nor could their own pleasure in the service be lessened. A choir of sweet singers in a church— united in the same praises here—ought to be prepared to join in the same praises around the throne of God.

{a} "psalms" Col 3:16

{b} "singing" Ps 147:7

{c} "heart" Ps 57:7,8 EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Giving thanks always. This is probably designed to be connected with the preceding verse, and to denote that the proper subject of psalms and hymns is thanksgiving and praise. This is indeed always the main design, and should be so regarded; and this part of worship should be so conducted as to keep up in the heart a lively sense of the mercy and goodness of God.

For all things. uper pantwn for all things, or all persons. Dr. Barrow supposes that the meaning here is, that they were to give thanks for all persons, and to regard themselves as under obligations to give thanks for the mercies bestowed upon the human race, in accordance with the idea expressed in the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church, "We, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men." This idea is beautiful; and it accords with the requirements of the Scriptures elsewhere. 1 Ti 2:1, "I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." Such is the duty of Christians; and I see no departure from the fair meaning of the words here, in supposing that the apostle may have designed to express such an idea. The sense, according to this, would be, that we are to praise God for his general mercy to mankind; for all the happiness which mortals are permitted to enjoy; for the love of God to mankind in creation, in providence, and in redemption—just as a grateful child will give thanks for all the kindness shown to his brothers and sisters. One obvious effect of this would be to overcome selfishness, and to make us rejoice in the happiness of others as well as in our own. Another effect would be to make us feel a deeper interest in the condition of our fellow-creatures. Another would be to elevate and enlarge our conceptions of the goodness or God—directing the mind to all the favours which he has bestowed on the race. Man has much for which to be grateful; and the duty of acknowledging the mercy of God to the race should not be forgotten. We are often prone so to magnify our calamities, and to contemplate the woes of the race, that we overlook the occasions for gratitude; and we should, therefore, look upon the mercies which we enjoy as well as the miseries which we endure, that our hearts may be right. He who looks only on his trials will soon find his mind soured and complaining; he who endeavours to find how many occasions for gratitude he has, will soon find the burden of his sorrows alleviated, and his mind tranquil and calm. Yet, if the words here are to be taken as in our translation, "for all things," they are full of force and beauty. At the close of life, and in heaven, we shall see occasion to bless God for all his dealings with us. We shall see that we have not suffered one pang too much, or been required to perform one duty too severe. We shall see that all our afflictions, as well as our mercies, were designed for our good, and were needful for us. Why, then, should we not bless God in the furnace, as well as in the palace; on a bed of pain, as well as on a bed of down; in want, as well as when sitting down at the splendid banquet? God knows what is best for us; and the way in which he leads us, mysterious though it seem to be now, will yet be seen to have been full of goodness and mercy.

Unto God and the Father. Or, "to God, even the Father." It cannot mean to God as distinguished from the Father, or first to God and then to the Father, as if the Father were distinct from God. The meaning is, that thanks are to be given specially to God the Father—the great Author of all mercies, and the Source of all blessings.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is, through his mediation, or trusting in him. See Barnes "Joh 14:13".

The meaning is, that we are always to approach God through the mediation of the Lord Jesus. When we ask for mercy, it is to be on his account, or through his merits; when we plead for strength and grace to support us in trial, it is to be in dependence on him; and when we give thanks, it is to be through him, and because it is through his intervention that we receive all blessings, and by his merits that even the gratitude of beings so sinful as we are can be accepted.

{d} "thanks always" Isa 63:7

{*} "Father" "even the Father"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Submitting yourselves one to another. Maintaining due subordination in the various relations of life. This general principle of religion the apostle proceeds now to illustrate in reference to wives, Eph 5:22-24; to children, Eph 6:1-3; and to servants, Eph 6:5-8. At the same time that he enforces this duty of submission, however, he enjoins on others to use their authority in a proper manner, and gives solemn injunctions that there should be no abuse of power. Particularly he enjoins on husbands the duty of loving their wives with all tenderness, Eph 5:25-33; on fathers, the duty of treating their children so that they might easily obey them, Eph 6:4; and on masters, the duty of treating their servants with kindness, remembering that they have a Master also in heaven, Eph 6:9. The general meaning here is, that Christianity does not break up the relations of life, and produce disorder, lawlessness, and insubordination; but that it will confirm every proper authority, and make every just yoke lighter. Infidelity is always disorganizing; Christianity never.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands. On this passage, See Barnes "1 Co 11:3, also 1 Co 11:4-9. The duty of the submission of the wife to her husband is everywhere enjoined in the Scriptures. See 1 Pe 3:1; Col 3:18; Tit 2:5.

While Christianity designed to elevate the character of the wife, and to make her a fit companion of an intelligent and pious husband, it did not intend to destroy all subordination and authority. Man, by the fact that he was first created; that the woman was taken from him; that he is better qualified for ruling than she is, is evidently designed to be at the head of the little community that constitutes a family. In many other things woman may be his equal; in loveliness, and grace, and beauty, and tenderness, and gentleness, she is far his superior; but these are not the qualities adapted for government. Their place is in another sphere; and there, man should be as cautious about invading her prerogative, or abridging her liberty, as she should be about invading the prerogative that belongs to him. In every family there should be a head—some one who is to be looked up to as the counsellor and the ruler; some one to whom all should be subordinate. God has given that prerogative to man; and no family prospers where that arrangement is violated. Within proper metes and limits, therefore, it is the duty of the wife to obey, or to submit herself to her husband. Those limits are such as the following:

1. In domestic arrangements, the husband is to be regarded as the head of the family; and he has a right to direct as to the style of living, the expenses of the family, the clothing, etc.

2. In regard to the laws which are to regulate the family, he is the head. It is his to say what is to be done; in what way the children are to employ themselves, and to give directions in regard to their education, etc.

3. In business matters, the wife is to submit to the husband. She may counsel with him, if he chooses; but the affairs of business and property are under his control, and must be left at his disposal.

4. In everything, except that which relates to conscience and religion, he has authority. But there his authority ceases. He has no right to require her to commit an act of dishonesty, to connive at wrong-doing, to visit a place of amusement which her conscience tells her is wrong, nor has he a right to interfere with the proper discharge of her religious duties. He has no right to forbid her to go to church at the proper and usual time, or to make a profession of religion when she pleases. He has no right to forbid her endeavouring to exercise a religious influence over her children, or to endeavour to lead them to God. She is bound to obey God, rather than any man, See Barnes "Ac 4:19" and when even a husband interferes in such cases, and attempts to control her, he steps beyond his proper bounds, and invades the prerogative of God, and his authority ceases to be binding. It ought to be said, however, that in order to justify her acting independently in such a case, the following things are proper:

(1.) It should be really a case of conscience—a case where the Lord has plainly required her to do what she proposes to do—and not a mere matter of whim, fancy, or caprice.

(2.) When a husband makes opposition to the course which a wife wishes to pursue in religious duties, it should lead her to re-examine the matter, to pray much over it, and to see whether she cannot, with a good conscience, comply with his wishes.

(3.) If she is convinced that she is right, she should still endeavour to see whether it is not possible to win him to her views, and to persuade him to accord with her, see 1 Pe 3:1. It is possible that, if she does right, he may be persuaded to do right also.

(4.) If she is constrained, however, to differ from him, it should be with mildness and gentleness. There should be no reproach, and no contention. She should simply state her reasons, and leave the event to God.

(5.) She should, after this, be a better wife, and put forth more and more effort to make her husband and family happy. She should show that the effect of her religion has been to make her love her husband and children more; to make her more and more attentive to her domestic duties, and more and more kind in affliction. By a life of pure religion, she should aim to secure what she could not by her entreaties—his consent that she should live as she thinks she ought to, and walk to heaven in the path in which she believes that her Lord calls her. While, however, it is to be conceded that the husband has authority over the wife, and a right to command in all cases that do not pertain to the conscience, it should be remarked,

(1.) that his command should be reasonable and proper.

(2.) He has no right to require anything wrong, or contrary to the will of God.

(3.) WHERE COMMANDS BEGIN in this relation, HAPPINESS USUALLY ENDS; and the moment a husband requires a wife to do anything, it is usually a signal of departing or departed affection and peace. When there are proper feelings in both parties in this relation, there will be no occasion either to command or to obey. There should be such mutual love and confidence, that the known wish of the husband should be a law to the wife; and that the known desires of the wife should be the rule which he would approve. A perfect government is that where the known wish of the lawgiver is a sufficient rule to the subject. Such is the government of heaven; and a family on earth should approximate as nearly as possible to that.

As unto the Lord. As you would to the Lord, because the Lord requires it, and has given to the husband this authority.

{a} "submit" 1 Pe 3:1; Col 3:18

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 23

Verse 23. For the husband is the head of the wife. See Barnes "1 Co 11:3".

As Christ is the head of the church. As Christ rules over the church, and has a right to direct and control it.

And he is the saviour of the body. That is, of the church, represented as his body. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

The idea here seems to be, that as Christ gave himself to save his body, the church; as he practised self-denial, and made it an object of intense solicitude to preserve that church, so ought the husband to manifest a similar solicitude to make his wife happy, and to save her from want, affliction, and pain. He ought to regard himself as her natural protector; as bound to anticipate and provide for her wants; as under obligation to comfort her in trial, even as Christ does the church. What a beautiful illustration of the spirit which a husband should manifest is the care which Christ has shown for his "bride," the church, See Barnes "Eph 5:25" also Eph 5:26-29.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 24

Verse 24. In every thing. In everything which is not contrary to the will of God. See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Husbands, love your wives. The duty of the wife is to obey; the right of the husband is to command. But the apostle would guard against the abuse of that right by enjoining the manifestation of such a spirit on the husband as would secure obedience on the part of the wife. He proceeds, therefore, to show that the husband, in all his intercourse with the wife, should manifest the same spirit which the Lord Jesus did towards the church; or, in other words, he holds up the conduct of the Redeemer towards the church as the model for a husband to imitate. If a husband wished a rule that would be short, simple, clear, and efficacious, about the manner in which he should regard and treat his wife, he could not find a better one than that here suggested.

Even as Christ loved the Church. This was the strongest love that has ever been evinced in this world. It follows, that a husband is in no danger of loving his wife too much, provided she be not loved more than God. We are to make the love which Christ had for the church the model.

And gave himself for it. Gave himself to die to redeem it. The meaning here is, that husbands are to imitate the Redeemer in this respect. As he gave himself to suffer on the cross to save the church, so we are to be willing to deny ourselves and to bear toil and trial, that we may promote the happiness of the wife. It is the duty of the husband to toil for her support; to provide for her wants; to deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness; to go before her in danger; to defend her if she is in peril; and to be ready to die to save her. Why should he not be? If they are shipwrecked, and there is a single plank on which safety can be secured, should he not be willing to place her on that, and see her safe at all hazards to himself? But there may be more implied in this than that a man is to toil, and even to lay down his life for the welfare of his wife. Christ laid down his life to save the church; and a husband should feel that it should be one great object of his life to promote the salvation of his wife. He is bound so to live as not to interfere with her salvation, but so as to promote it in every way possible. He is to furnish her all the facilities that she may need, to enable her to attend on the worship of God; and to throw no obstacles in her way. He is to set her the example; to counsel her if she needs counsel; and to make the path of salvation as easy for her as possible. If a husband has the spirit and self-denial of the Saviour, he will regard no sacrifice too great if he may promote the salvation of his family.

{*} "gave himself" "gave up himself"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 26

Verse 26. That he might sanctify. The great object of the Redeemer was to purify and save the church. The meaning here is, that a husband is to manifest similar love towards his wife, and a similar desire that she should be prepared to "walk before him in white."

And cleanse it with the washing of water. In all this there is an allusion, doubtless, to the various methods of purifying and cleansing those who were about to be married, and who were to be united to monarchs as their brides. In some instances this previous preparation continued for twelve months. The means of purification were various, but consisted usually in the use of costly unguents. See Es 2:12—"Six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of women." Comp. Ps 45:13,14; Eze 16:7-14.

As such a virgin was purified and prepared for her husband by washing and by anointing, so the church is to be prepared for Christ. It is to be made pure and holy. Outwardly there is to be the application of water—the symbol of purity; and within there is to be holiness of heart. See Barnes "2 Co 11:2, where Paul says of the Corinthians, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."

By the word. There has been much diversity of opinion respecting the meaning of this. Probably the sense of the expression is, that all this was to be accomplished by the instrumentality of the truth —the word of God. By that truth they were to be sanctified, Joh 17:17; and in accordance with that the whole work, from the commencement to the dose, was to be accomplished. It was not by external ceremonies, and not by any miraculous power on the heart, but by the faithful application of truth to the heart.

{a} "of water" Tit 3:5

present it to himself. In the last day, when he shall receive the church as his spouse to heaven, Re 21:9. Perhaps the word prepare would better express the sense here than present—that he may prepare it for himself as a holy church. Tindal renders it, "to make it unto himself."

A glorious Church. A church full of honour, splendour, beauty. The idea of shining, or of being bright, would convey the sense here. Probably there is still here an allusion to a bride "adorned for her husband," Re 21:2; Ps 45:9-14; and the idea is, that the church will be worthy of the love of the Bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented.

Not having spot. Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity—still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish.

Or wrinkle. In the rigour and beauty of youth; like a bride in whom here is no wrinkle of age.

Or any such thing. Nothing to deform, disfigure, or offend. To this beautiful illustration of the final glory of the church, the apostle was led by the mention of the relation of the husband and the wife. It shows

(1.) the tendency of the thoughts of Paul. He delighted to allow the associations in his mind, no matter what the subject was, to draw him along to the Redeemer.

(2.) The passage here shows us what the church will yet be. There will be a period in its history when there shall not be any imperfection; when there shall be neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing. In heaven all will be pure. On earth we are preparing for that world of purity; and it cannot be denied that here there is much that is imperfect and impure. But in that future world, where the church shall be presented to Christ, clothed in the robes of salvation, there shall not be one unholy member, one deceiver or hypocrite, one covetous or avaricious man, one that shall pain the hearts of the friends of purity by an unholy life. And in all the millions that shall be gathered there out of every land, and people, and tongue, and age, there shall be no envy malice, backbiting, pride, vanity, worldliness; there shall be no annoying and vexing conflict in the heart with evil passions, "nor any such thing." How different from the church as it is now; and how we should pant for that blessed world!

{b} "it to himself" Jude 1:24

{c} "or wrinkles" So 4:7

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 28

Verse 28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. Because they are one flesh, Eph 5:31. This is the subject on which Paul had been speaking, and from which he had been diverted by the allusion to the glorified church. The doctrine here is, that a husband should have the same care for the comfort of his wife which he has. for himself. He should regard her as one with himself; and as he protects his own body from cold and hunger, and, when sick and suffering, endeavours to restore it to health, so he should regard and treat her.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

(1.) Because she is one with him, and their interests are identified.

(2.) Because, by this, he really promotes his own welfare, as much as he does when he takes care of his own body. A man's kindness to his wife will be more than repaid by the happiness which she imparts; and all the real solicitude which he shows to make her happy, will come to more than it costs. If a man wishes to pro- mote his own happiness in the most effectual way, he had better begin by showing kindness to his wife.

{*} "men" "husbands"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 29

Verse 29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh. This is urged as an argument why a man should love his wife, and show kindness to her. As no man disregards the happiness of his own body, or himself, so he should show equal care to promote the happiness of his wife. A sentiment similar to this is found in the classic writers. Thus Curtius (lib. vii ) says, Corporibus nostris quea utique non odimus—" We do not hate those things that pertain to our own bodies." So Seneca, (Epis. 14,) Fateor insitam nobis esse corporia nostri charitatem—" I confess that there is implanted in us the love of our own body." The word nourishment here means, properly, to bring up, as, e.g., children. The sense here is, that he provides for it, and guards it from exposure and want. The word cherisheth yalpei means, properly, to warm; and may mean here that he defends it from cold by clothing—and the two expressions denote mat he provides food and raiment for the body. So he is to do for his wife; and in like manner the Lord Jesus regards the church, and ministers to its spiritual necessities. But this should not be spiritualized too far. The general idea is all that we want—that Christ has a tender concern for the wants of the church, as a man has for his own body, and that the husband should show a similar regard for his wife.

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 30

Verse 30. For we are members of his body. Of the body of Christ. See Barnes "1 Co 11:3" See Barnes "1 Co 12:27" See Barnes "Joh 15:1" also Joh 15:2-6; See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

The idea here is, that there is a close and intimate union between the Christian and the Saviour—a union so intimate that they may be spoken of as one.

Of his flesh, and of his bones. There is an allusion here evidently to the language which Adam used respecting Eve, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh," Ge 2:23. It is language which is employed to denote the closeness of the marriage relation, and which Paul applies to the connexion between Christ and his people. Of course, it cannot be understood literally. It is not true, literally, that our bones are a part of the bones of Christ, or our flesh of his flesh; nor should language ever be used that would imply a miraculous union. It is not a physical union, but a union of attachment, of feeling, of love. If we avoid the notion of a physical union, however, it is scarcely possible to use too strong language in describing the union of believers with the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures make use of language which is stronger than that employed to describe any other connexion; and there is no union of affection so powerful as that which binds the Christian to the Saviour. So strong is it, that he is willing for it to forsake father, mother, and home; to leave his country, and to abandon his possessions; to go to distant lands, and dwell among barbarians, to make the Redeemer known; or to go to the cross or the stake from simple love to the Saviour. Account for it as men may, there has been manifested on earth nowhere else so strong an attachment as that which binds the Christian to the cross. It is stronger love than that which a man has for his own flesh and bones; for it makes him willing that his flesh should be consumed by fire, or his bones broken on the wheel, rather than deny him. Can the infidel account for this strength of attachment on any other principle than that it has a Divine origin ?

{d} "of his body" 1 Co 12:27

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 31

Verse 31. For this cause. anti toutou. This verse is a quotation from Ge 2:24, and contains the account of the institution of marriage. The meaning of the phrase rendered "for this cause," is, "answerably to this;" or corresponding to this—that is, to what Paul had just said of the union of believers and the Redeemer. On the meaning of this verse, See Barnes "Mt 19:6".

There is no evidence that the marriage connexion was originally designed to symbolize or typify this union, but it may be used to illustrate that connexion, and to show the strength of the attachment be- tween the Redeemer and his people. The comparison should be confined, however, strictly to the use made of it in the New Testament.

{a} "shall a man leave" Ge 2:24

{*} "unto" "cleave to"

{b} "shall be one flesh" 1 Co 6:16

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 32

Verse 32. This is a great mystery. The Latin Vulgate translates this, sacramenturn hoc magnum est—" this is a great sacrament"—and this is the proof, I suppose, and the only proof adduced by the Papists, that marriage is a sacrament. But the original here conveys no such idea. The word mystery—musthrion—means something which is concealed, hidden, before unknown; something into which one must be initiated or instructed before he can understand it. It does not mean that it is incomprehensible when it is disclosed, but that hitherto it, has been kept secret. When disclosed it may be as intelligible as any other truth. See the word explained See Barnes "Eph 1:9".

Here it means, simply, that there was much about the union of the Redeemer with his people resembling the marriage connexion, which was not obvious, except to those who were instructed; which was obscure to those who were not initiated; which they did not understand who had not been taught. It does not mean that no one could understand it, but that it pertained to the class of truths into which it was necessary for one to be initiated in order to comprehend them. The truth that was so great a mystery was, that the eternal Son of God should form such an union with men; that he should take them into a connexion with himself, implying all ardour of attachment, and a strength of affection, superior to even that which exists in the marriage relation. This was a great and profound truth, to understand which it was necessary to receive instruction. No one would have understood it without a revelation; no one understands it now except they who are taught of God.

But I speak concerning Christ and the Church. This, it seems to me, is an explicit disclaimer of any intention to be understood as affirming that the marriage contract was designed to be a type of the union of the Redeemer and his people. The apostle says expressly, that his remarks do not refer to marriage at all when he speaks of the mystery. They refer solely to the union of the Redeemer and his people. How strange and unwarranted, therefore, are all the comments of expositors on this passage designed to explain marriage as a mysterious type of the union of Christ and the church! If men would allow the apostle to speak for himself, and not force on him sentiments which he expressly disclaims, the world would be saved from such insipid allegories as Macknight and others have derived from this passage. The Bible is a book of sense; and the time will come, it is hoped, when, freed from all such allegorizing expositions, it will commend itself to the good sense of mankind. Marriage is an important, a holy, a noble, a pure institution, altogether worthy of God; but it does not thence follow that marriage was designed to be a type of the union between Christ and the church, and it is certain that the apostle Paul meant to teach no such thing.

{+} "mystery" "secret"

EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 33

Verse 33. Nevertheless. The apostle here resumes the subject which he had been discussing in Eph 5:21-29, and says that it was the duty of every man to love his wife as he did himself. This was the main topic, from which he had been directed by the discussion respecting the love which the Redeemer had shown for his church.

And the wife see that she reverence her husband. The word "see" is supplied by our translators. The meaning is, that it was the especial duty of the wife to show respect for her husband as the head of the family, and as set over her in the Lord. See Barnes "Eph 5:22, See Barnes "Eph 5:23".

The word rendered reverence, is that which usually denotes fearfobhtai. She is to fear, i.e., to honour, respect, obey the will of her husband. It is, of course, not implied that it is not also her duty to love her husband, but that there should be no usurping of authority; no disregard of the arrangement which God has made; and that order and peace should be secured in a family by regarding the husband as the source of law.

From what is here said of the duties of husband and wife we may remark:—

(1.) That the happiness of society depends on just views of the marriage relation. It is true the world over, that the views which prevail in regard to this relation, determine everything in reference to all other relations of life, and to all other sources of enjoyment.

(2.) God designed that woman should occupy a subordinate, though an important place in the relations of social life. This arrangement is never disregarded without evils which cannot be corrected until the original intention is secured. No imaginary good that can come out of the violation of the original design; no benefits which females, individual or associated, can confer on mankind by disregarding this arrangement, can be a compensation for the evil that is done, nor can the evil be remedied unless woman occupies the place which God designed she should fill. There nothing else can supply her place; and when she is absent from that situation—no matter what good she may be doing elsewhere —there is a silent evil reigning, which can be removed only by her return. It is not hers to fight battles, or to command armies and navies, or to control kingdoms, or to make laws. Nor is it hers to go forward as a public leader even in enterprises of benevolence, or in associations designed to act on the public mind. Her empire is the domestic circle; her first influence is there; and in connexion with that, in such scenes as she can engage in without trenching on the prerogative of man, or neglecting the duty which she owes to her own family.

(3.) It is not best that there should be the open exercise of authority in a family. When commands begin in the relation of husband and wife, happiness flies; and the moment a husband is disposed to COMMAND his wife, or is under a necessity of doing it that moment he may bid adieu to domestic peace and joy.

(4.) A wife, therefore, should never give her husband occasion to command her to do anything, or to forbid anything. His known wish, except in cases of conscience, should be law to her. The moment she can ascertain what his will is, that moment ought to settle her mind as to what is to be done.

(5.) A husband should never wish or expect anything that it may not be perfectly proper for a wife to render. He, too, should consult her wishes; and when he understands what they are, he should regard what she prefers as the very thing which he would command. The known wish and preference of a wife, unless there be something wrong in it, should be allowed to influence his mind, and be that which he directs in the family.

(6.) There is no danger that a husband will love a wife too much, provided his love be subordinate to the love of God. The command is, to love her as Christ loved the church. What love has ever been like that? How can a husband exceed it? What did not Christ endure to redeem the church? So should a husband be willing to deny himself to promote the happiness of his wife; to watch by her in sickness, and, if need be, to peril health and life to promote her welfare. Doing this, he will not go beyond what Christ did for the church. He should remember that she has a special claim of justice on him. For him she has left her father's home, forsaken the friends of her youth, endowed him with whatever property she may have, sunk her name in his, confided her honour, her character, and her happiness, to his virtue; and the least that he can do for her is to love her, and strive to make her happy. This was what she asked when she consented to become his; and a husband's love is what she still asks to sustain and cheer her in the trials of life. If she has not this, whither shall she go for comfort?

(7.) We may see, then, the guilt of those husbands who withhold their affections from their wives, and forsake those to whom they had solemnly pledged themselves at the altar; those who neglect to provide for their wants, or to minister to them in sickness; and those who become the victims of intemperance, and leave their wives to tears. There is much, much guilt of this kind on earth. There are many, many broken vows. There are many, many hearts made to bleed. There is many a pure and virtuous woman, who was once the object of tender affection, now, by no fault of hers, forsaken, abused, broken-hearted, by the brutal conduct of a husband.

(8.) Wives should manifest such a character as to be worthy of love. They owe this to their husbands. They demand the confidence and affection of man; and they should show that they are worthy of that confidence and affection. It is not possible to love that which is unlovely, nor to force affection where it is undeserved; and, as a wife expects that a husband will love her more than he does any other earthly being, it is but right that she should evince such a spirit as shall make that proper. A wife may easily alienate the affections of her partner in life. If she is irritable and fault-finding; if none of his ways please her; if she takes no interest in his plans, and in what he does; if she forsakes her home when she should be there, and seeks happiness abroad; or, if at home, she never greets him with a smile; if she is wasteful of his earnings, and extravagant in her habits, it will be impossible to prevent the effects of such a course of life on his mind. And when a wife perceives the slightest evidence of alienated affection in her husband, she should inquire at once whether she has not given occasion for it, and exhibited such a spirit as tended inevitably to produce such a result.

(9.) To secure mutual love, therefore, it is necessary that there should be mutual kindness, and mutual loveliness of character. Whatever is seen to be offensive or painful should be at once abandoned. All the little peculiarities of temper and modes of speech that are observed to give pain should be forsaken; and while one party should endeavour to tolerate them, and not to be offended, the other should make it a matter of conscience to remove them.

(10.) The great secret of conjugal happiness is in the cultivation of a proper temper. It is not so much in the great and trying scenes of life that the strength of virtue is tested; it is in the events that are constantly occurring; the manifestation of kindness in the things that are happening every moment; the gentleness that flows along every day, like the stream that winds through the meadow and around the farm-house, noiseless but useful, diffusing fertility by day and by night. Great deeds rarely occur. The happiness of life depends little on them, but mainly on the little acts of kindness in life. We need them everywhere; we need them always. And eminently in the marriage relation there is need of gentleness and love, returning each morning, beaming in the eye, and dwelling in the heart through the livelong day.

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