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TEXT. 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus
Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved.
PARAPHRASE. 5 believers, of what nation soever; Having predetermined
to take us gentiles, by Jesus Christ, to be his sons and 6 people, according to the good pleasure of his will'. To
the end that the gentiles too might praise him for his grace and mercy to them, and all mankind magnify his glory for his abundant goodness to them, by receiving them freely into the kingdom of the Messiah, to be his people again, in a state of peace with him", barely for the sake!
NOTES. 53 It was not by the observances of the law, but by faith alone in Jesus Christ, that God pre-determined to take the gentiles into the state of sonship, or adoption. This was another particular for which St. Paul blesses God, in the name of the gentiles: the consideration whereof was fit to raise the ephesians thoughts above the law, and keep them firm in adherence to the liberty of the gospel.
'Yuclesia, “ adoption," or "sonship," belonged only to the jews, before the coming of the Messiah, Rom. ix. 4. For after the nations of the earth had revolted from God, their Lord and Maker, and become servants and worshippers of the devil, God abandoned them to the vassalage they had chosen, and owned none of them for his, but the israelites, whom he had adopted to be his". children and people. See Exod. iv. 22, Jer. xxxi. 9, Luke i. 54. Which adoption is expressed to Abraham in these words, Gen. xvii. 7, " I will be a “ Gou to thee, and to thy seed after thee;" and to the israelites, Exod. vi. 7, “ I will take you to me for a people, and I will be your God;" and so Ley. xxvi. 19, “ I will walk amongst you, and be your God, and ye shall be my “ people :" and so we see that those whom, Exod. iv, he calls his sons, he calls, in several other places, his people, as standing both, when spoken nationally, for one and the same thing.
i “According to the good pleasure of his will:" spoken here in the same sense with what is said Rom. ix. 18, 23, 24. God, under the law, took the nation of Israel to be his people, without any merit in them; and so it is of his mere good pleasure, that he even then purposed to enlarge his kingdom, under the gospel, by admitting all, that of all the nations whatsoever would come in and subinit themselves, not to the law of Moses, but to the rule and dominion of his son
Jesus Christ; and this, as he says in the next words, “ for the praise of the glory - of his grace."
6 k See chap. ii. 12–14, Acts xv. 14, &c.
! I do not think, that any thing of greater force can be imagined, to raise the minds of the ephesians, above the jewish rituals, and keep them steady in the 'freedom of the gospel, than what St. Paul says here, viz. that Gou, before the
foundation of the world, freely determined within himself to admit the gentiles into his kingdom, to be his people, for the manifestation of his free grace, all the
TEXT. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and pru.
dence, *9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to
- his goud pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself:
PARAPHRASE. 7 of him, that is his beloved : In whom we have redemp
tion by his blood, viz. the forgiveness of transgressions, 8 according to the greatness of his grace and favour, Which he has overflowed in towards us, in bestowing on us so full a knowledge and comprehension of the extent and
design of the gospel", and prudence to comply with it, as 9 it becomes youo; In that he hath made known to you the
good pleasure of his will and purpose, which was a mys
NOTES. world over, that all nations might glorify him: and this for the sake of his son Jesus Christ, who was his beloved, and was so chiefly regarded in all this; and therefore it was to mistake, or pervert, the end of the gospel, and debase this glorious dispensation, to make it subservient to the jewish ritual, or to suppose that the law of Moses was to support, or to be supported, by the kingdom of the Messiah, which was to be of a larger extent, and settled upon another foundation, whereof the mosaical institution was but a narrow, faint, and typical representation.
7m“ We” does as plainly here stand for the gentile converts, as it is mani. fest it does in the parallel place, Col. ii 13, 14.
8. That by aeon copic St. Paul means a comprehension of the revealed will of God in the gospel, more particularly the mystery of God's purpose of calling the gentiles, and taking out of them a people and inheritance to himself in his kingdom, under the Messiah, may be perceived by reading and comparing chap. j. 8, Col. i. 9, 10, 28, and ii. 2, 3, which verses, read with attention to the con. text, plainly show what St. Paul means here.
. That this is the meaning of this verse, I refer my reader to Col. i. 9, 10.
9 p I cannot think that God's purpose of calling the gentiles, so often termed a mystery, and so emphatically declared to be concealed trom ages, and particularly revealed to himself; and as we find, in this epistle, where it is so called by St. Paul five times, and four times in that to the colossians; is by chance, or without some particular reason. The question was “whether the converted “ gentiles should hearken to the jews, who would persuade them it was neces« sary for them to submit to circumcision and the law, or to St. Paul, who had " taught them otherwise.” Now there could be nothing of more force to de stroy the authority of the jews, in the case, than the showing them, that the jews knew nothing of the matter, that it was a perfect mystery to them, concealed from their knowledge, and made manifest in God's good tiine, at the coining of the Messiah, and most particularly discovered to St. Paul, by immediate revela. tion, to be communicated by him to the gentiles; who, therefore, had reason to
TEXT. 10 That, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might ga
ther together in one all things, in Christ, both which are in hea.
ven, and which are on earth, even in bior: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predesti.
PARAPHRASE. 10 tery, that he hath purposed in himselfs, Until the com
ing of the due time of that dispensation, wherein he hath
predetermined to reduce all things again, both in heaven 11 and earth, under one head' in Christ; In whom we be
NOTES. stick firm to this great truth, and not to be led away from the gospel, which he bad taught them.
ç See chap. iii. 9.
10 s 'Avarepuna cocobaco, properly signifies to recapitulate, or recollect, and put together the heads of a discourse. But, since this cannot possibly be the meaning of this word here, we must search for the meaning, which St. Paul gives it here, in the doctrine of the gospel, and not in the propriety of the greek.
1. It is plain in sacred scripture, that Christ had first the rule and supremacy over all, and was head over all. See Col. i. 15—17, Heb. i. 8.
%. There are also manifest indications in scripture, that a principal angel, with great numbers of angels, his followers, joining with him, revolted from this king. dom God, and, standing out in rebellion, erected to themselves a kingdom of their own in opposition to the kingdom of God, Luke x. 17-20, and had all the heathen world vassals and subjects of that their kingdom, Luke iv. 5–8, Matt, xi. 20—30, John xii. 31, and xiv. 30, and xvi. 11, Eph. vi. 12, Col. i. 18, Rom. i. 18, &c. Acts xxvi. 18, &c.
3. That Christ recovered this kingdom, and was re-instated in the supremacy and headship, in the fulness of tiine (when he came to destroy the kingdom of darkness, as St. Paul calls it here) at his death and resurrection. Hence, just before his suffering, he says, John xii. 31, “ Now is the judgment of this world: “ now shall the prince of this world be cast out." From whence may be seen the force of Christ's argument, Mait. xij. 28, “If I cast out devils by the Spirit a of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you:" for the jews acknowkedge that the Spirit of God, which had been withdrawn from them, was not to be given out again, until the coming of the Messiah, under whom the kingdom of God was to be erected. See also Luke X. 18, 19,
4. What was the state of his power and dominion, from the defection of the angels, and setting up the kingdom of darkness, until his being re-instated in the fulness of time, their is little revealed in sacred scripture, as not so much pertaining to the recovery of men from their apostacy, and re-instating them in the kingdom of God. It is true, God gathered to himself a people, and set up a kingdom bere on earth, which he inaintained in the little nation of the jews till the setting up the kingdom of his Son, Acts i. 3, and ii. 36, which was to take place, as God's only kingdom here on earth, for the future. At the head of this, which is called the church, he sets Jesus Christ his son: but that is not all, for he, having by his death and resurrection conquered Satan, John xii. Si, and xvi. 11, Col. ii. 15, Heb. ii. 14, Eph. iv. 8, has all power given him in hea. ven and earth, and is made thic head over all things for the church, (Matt. xxviii. 18, and xi. 27, John üi. 35, and xiii. 3, Eph. i. 20-22, Heb. i. ---,
TEXT. nated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things, after the counsel of his own will:
PARAPHRASE. came his possession' and the lot of his inheritance, be
NOTES. and ii. 9, 1 Cor. xv. 25, 27, Phil. ii. 8-11, Col. ii. 10, Heb. X. 12, 13, Acts ii. 33, and v. 31. In both which places it should be translated “to the right “ hand of God.") Which re-instating him again, in the supreme power, and restoring him, after the conquest of the devil, to that complete headship, which he had over all things, being now revealed under the gospel, as may be seen, in the text here quoted, and in other places; I leave to the reader to judge, whether St. Paul might not, probably, have an eye to that, in this verse, and in his use of the word ανακεφαλαιώσασθαι. But to search thoroughly into this matter (which I have not in my small reading, found any where sufficiently taken notice of) would require a treatise.
It may suffice at present to take notice that this exaltation of his is expressed, Phil. ii. 9, 10, by all things in heaven and earth bowing the knee, at his name; which we may see farther explained, Rev. v. 13. Which acknowledgment of his honour and power was that, perhaps, which the proud angel that fell, refusing, thereupon sebelled.
If our translators have rendered the sense of avexepalaibocold right, by “ gather together into one," it will give countenance to those, who are inclined to understand, by “things in heaven and things on earth," the jewish and gentile world: for of them St. John plainly says, John xi. 52, “ That Jesus should “ die, not for the nation of the jews only, but that also ouraydon els ér, he 66 should gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad," i.e. the gentiles, that were to believe, and were, by faith, to become the children of God; whereof Christ himself speaks thus, John X. 16, “ Other sheep “ I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and
they shall hear “ my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.' This is the gathering together into one that our Saviour speaks of, and is that which very well suits with the apostle's design here, where he says in express words, that Christ makes tà ánpótipa šv, makes both jews and gentiles one, Eph. ii. 14. Now, that St. Paul' should use heaven and earth, for jews and gentiles, will not be thought so very strange, if we consider that Daniel himself expresses the nation of the jews by the name of heaven, Dan. viii
. 10. Nor does he want an example of it, in our Saviour himself, who, Luke xxi. 26, by“ powers of hea"ven," plainly signifies the great men of the jewish nation; nor is this the only place, in this epistle of St. Paul to the ephesians, which will bear this interpretation of heaven and earth: he who shall read the fifteen first verses of chap in. and carefully weigh the expressions, and observe the drift of the apostle in them, will not find that he does manifest violence to St. Paul's sense, if he understands by " the family in heaven and earth," ver. 15, the united body of christians, made up of jews and gentiles, living still promiscuously among those two sorts of people, who continued in their unbelief. However, this interpretation I am not positive in; but offer it as a matter of inquiry, to such who think an impartial search into the true meaning of the sacred scripture the best employment of all the time they have.
11 . So the greek word ixArpámples will signify, if taken, as I think it may, in the passive voice, i.e. we gentiles, who were formerly in the possession of the devil, are now, by Christ, brought into the kingdom, dominion, and possession
TEXT. 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
PARAPHRASE. ing predetermined thereunto, according to the purpose
of him, who never fails to bring to pass what he hath 19 purposed within himself': That we of the gentiles, who
first through Christ entertained hope", might bring praise
NOTES. of God again. This sense seems very well to agree with the design of the place, viz. that the gentile world had now, in Christ,
a way opened for their returning into the possession of God, under their proper head, Jesus Christ. To which suit the words that follow, “that we, who first among the gentiles," entertained terms of reconciliation by Christ,“ might be to the praise of his glory," i.e. so that we of the gentiles who first believed, did, as it were, open a new scene of praise and glory to God, by being restored to be his people, and become again a part of his possession ; a thing not before understood, nor looked for. See Acts xi. 18, and xv. 3, 14–19. The apostle's design bere being to satisfy the eplaesians, that the gentiles were, by faith in Christ, restored to all the privileges of the people of God, as far forth as the jews themselves. See chap. ii. 11-22, particularly ver. 19, as to ixarpúbnjees, it may, I humbly conceive, do no violence to the place to suggest this sense, we became the inheritance," instead of “ we have obtained an inheritance;” that being the way, where it God speaks of his people, the israelites, of whom he says, Deut. xxxii. 9, .* The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." See also Deut. iv. 20, 1 Kings viii. 51, and other places. And the inheritance, which the gentiles were to obtain, was to be obtained, we see Col. i. 12, 13, by their being translated out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ. So that take it either way, that “ we have obtained an inheritance," or “ we “ are become his people and inheritance;" it in effect amounts to the same thing, and so I leave it to the reader.
ii.e. God had purposed, even before the taking of the israelites to be his people, to take in ihe gentiles, by faith in Christ, to be his people again: and what he purposes he will do, without asking the counsel, or consent of any one; and therefore you may be sure of this your inheritance, whether the jews consent to it or no.
12 * It was a part of the character of the gentiles to be without hope ; see chap. ii. 12. But, when they received the gospel of Jesus Christ, they then ceased to be aliens from the common-wealth of Israel, and became the people of God, and had hope, as well as the jews; or as St. Paul expresses it, in the .name of the converted ronians, Rom. v. 2, “ We rejoice in hope of the glory
of God." This is another evidence that quãc, “we," here, stands for the gentile converts. That the jews were not without hope, or without God in the world, appears from that very text, Eph. ii. 12, where the gentiles are set apart under a discriminating description, properly belonging to thein: the sacred scripture no where speaks of the hebrew nation, that people of God, as without God, or withoat hope; the contrary appears every-where. See Rom. ii. 17, and xi. 1, 2, Acts xxiv. 15, and xxvi. 6, 7, and xxviii. 20. And therefore the apostle might well say, that those of the gentiles, who first entertained hopes in Christ, were “ to the praise of the glory of God.". All mankind having thereby, now, a new and greater subject of praising and glorifying God, for this great and une