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Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Era, 62.
the Errors of the Judaizers, who not only preached the Rome. Mosaic Law; but also the Opinions of the Heathen,
and the doctrines of Plato, concerning the agency of angels in human affairs, and the honour which is on that account due to them, are expressly condemned by the apostle in this epistle. As the Jewish teachers artfully suited their arguments to the opinions and characters of those they addressed, they might have pressed on the minds of the Colossians, to prove the ministry of angels, that angels conducted the Israelites into Canaan, and that the law of Moses was given by their ministry. To those who were tinctured with the Platonic philosophy, they affirmed that it was arrogance in sinners to worship God without some mediator, and therefore they exhorted them to offer up their prayers to God through the mediation of angels, which was more acceptable to him than the mediation of Christ; who could not be supposed to have the same power with God as the angels, who were employed by him in the government of the world; and as the Heathens and Jews were particularly attached to propitiatory sacrifices, we may conjecture, although not mentioned by the apostle, that these false teachers, since there were no sacrifices appointed by the Gospel, taught that the Jewish sacrifices and purifications were to be continued as the means of justification. The whole scope of the apostle's letter is to show the folly and vanity of these errors, by establishing the contrary truths. Lardner remarks, that in the epistle which John wrote, by the command of our Lord, to the Church of the Laodiceans, traces of the same errors may be found, which the false teachers endeavoured to disseminate throughout Phrygia. For example, to shew that angels are not superior to Christ in dignity and power, and that they are not to be worshipped, he asserts his own power as governor of the world, in nearly the same words as St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians. (Rev. iii. xiv. Coloss. i. 18.) See also the condemnation of the false teachers, who were puffed up with their pretended knowledge, and a corruption of the law of Moses, Coloss. ii. 18. Rev. iii. 17; and whereas St. Paul said to the Colossians, chap. ii. 10. "Ye are made complete by him, who is at the head of all government and power," Christ said to the Loadiceans, Rev. iii. 18. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire," &c. &c. Although the worship of angels was repressed for a time by the apostle's Epistle to the Colossians, it afterwards prevailed among them to such a degree, that the council which met at Laodicea, the capital of Phrygia, found it necessary to condemn that idolatry by their thirty-fifth canon, as Theodoret informs us, in his note on Coloss. ii. 18. which thus stands: "Christians ought not to leave the Church of God, and go and name angels, or gather assemblies. If, therefore, any one is found to practise this secret idolatry, let him be anathema, because he has left our Lord Jesus Christ,. the Son of God, and has turned to idolatry." This council is supposed to have been held A.D. 363. Its last two canons declared what sacred books were to be publicly read in the Churches.
From the similarity in the doctrine and phraseology of this epistle to that of the Ephesians, many have considered it as an epitome of the former; yet, though there is a great similarity, which may give us reason to suppose the apostle considered the two Churches in some things nearly in the same state, the Epistle to the Colossians relates to corruptions which are not even hinted at in the other epistle.
ST. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE COLOSSIANS.
Oriental, or Essenian Philosophers, concerning the Wor-
St. Paul begins his Epistle by assuring the Colossians that
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which
The general agreement of expression and sentiment between these two epistles, and their having been forwarded by the same messenger, (Eph. vi. 21. Coloss. iv. 7.) have induced many to suppose they were written at the same time. In their arrangement I have been guided by Dr. Lardner, who considers this argument as not decisive, because Tychicus may have been sent twice from Rome into Asia by the apostle, with letters, during a confinement of two years; and because other reasons may have induced him to have written the same things to these Churches. He considers, as has been already observed, that as Timothy, who was joined with St. Paul in the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, is not united with him in his Epistle to the Ephesians, he had left Rome, and did not return to that city till after the Epistle to the Ephesians had been written.
Epaphras, who was sent by the Colossians to comfort the apostle by the assurances of their affectionate regard under his imprisonment, and to bring them back word how matters went with him, became so obnoxious to the Roman magistrates, that he was imprisoned by them, (Philemon, 23.) on account of his exertions in the cause of the Gospel; on this account Tychicus and Onesimus, whom the apostle had converted and sent back to Colosse, were made the bearers of this epistle.
are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God Rome. our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints;
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow-ser-
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ; 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
$ 2. COLOSS. i. 15-23.
To prove to them the Efficacy of Christ's Death in obtaining
THE GREATNESS AND MERCY OF CHRIST.
divine and human Nature, he may have the Pre-eminence Rome.
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist:
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence :
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell:
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled,
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight;
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.
Julian Period, 4775.
§ 3. COLOSS. i. 24, to the end, and chap. ii. 1–7.
Vulgar Æra, St. Paul, as the Minister of Christ to the Gentiles, assures them that he rejoices in his Sufferings, according to the Dispensation of the Gospel, which God gave to him for their benefit; that he might accomplish the Purpose of God, as predicted by his Prophets-Even the Mystery of Redemption through Faith to the Gentiles, which has been hid for many Generations; but is now made fully manifest; which is Christ dwelling in them, giving through his Blood pardon for Sins, and through his Spirit the Hope of their Glorification-Whom we preach, warning every Man of their Sin and Danger, and instructing them in all spiritual Wisdom-For which end he labours, striving with all his might-As a Proof of which he wishes them to know the Persecutions and Sufferings to which he has been exposed for preaching the Gospel to the Gentile Church-to all the believing Gentiles-that knit together in Love, and in the full Assurance of the Riches of Christianity, they may acknowledge the Mystery of God through Christ, in the Salvation of both Jews and Gentiles-in whom and in his Gospel are hid all the Treasures of Divine Wisdom and Knowledge-But this I say, that no Man may deceive you with the Sophistry or enticing Words of Human Philosophy for though in the Body I am absent, yet through the Spirit I am with you-rejoicing, and beholding your regular Order and Discipline, and your stedfast Faith -Since then ye have embraced the Gospel of Christ, and acknowledged him as your Lord and Saviour, continue to walk in his Faith-that ye may be rooted in him-building all your Hopes of Pardon and Salvation on him, and established in the Purity of his Faith, according as ye have been instructed in it, ye may abound more and more in its Fruits, with Thanksgiving to God for having called you to be a partaker of its Blessings.
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church;
25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages, and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles ; which is Christ in you the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching