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soever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things: 9 The things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, these do: and the God of peace shall be with you, 30 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also
11 careful; but ye wanted opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever
12 state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound, every where and in every thing I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry,
13 both to abound and to want. I can do all things through
14 Christ strengthening me. Nevertheless, ye have done well, that ye did communicate to me in my affliction.
15 And ye know likewise, O Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me in respect of giving and
16 receiving, but you only. For even in Thessalonica ye
particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty, the latter the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter, the second word the second, and so on; true—In speech; honest—In actions; just—With regard to others; pure—With regard to yourselves: Lovely—And what more lovely than truth? of good report—As is honesty, even where it is not practised. If there be any virtue—And all virtues are contained in justice, if there be any praise—In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour: think on these things—That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others.
V. 9. The things which ye have learned—As catechumens, and received—By continual instructions, and heard and seen—In my life and conversation, these do, and the God of peace shall be with you—Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the fountain of peace.
V. 1 a. I rejoiced greatly—St. Paul was no stoic; he had strong passions, but all devoted to God; that your care of me hath flourished again—As a tree blossoms after the winter. Ye wanted opportunity—Either ye had not plenty yourselves, or you wanted a proper messenger.
V. 11. I have learned—From God; he only can teach this: in every thing therewith to be content—Joyfully and thankfully patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a beautiful gradation in the expressions: I have learned: I know: I am instructed: lean.
V. 12. I know how to be abased—Having scarce what is needful for my body; and to abound—Having wherewith to relieve others also.. Presently after the order of the words is inverted, to imitate his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to scarcity. I am instructed— Literally, I am initiated into that mystery, unknown to all but Christians, both to be full and to be hungry—For one day, both to abound and to want—For a longer season.
V. 13. I can do all things —Even fulfil all the will of God. V. 15. In the beginning of the gospel—When it was first preached at Philippi, in respect of giving—On your part, and receiving—On mine,
17 sent once and again to my necessities. Not that I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
IS But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received of Epaphroditus the things which came from you, an odour of a sweet smell, an acceptable sacrifice,
19 well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory through Christ
20 Jesus. Now unto our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who
22 are with me salute you. All the saints salute you, chiefly
23 they that are of Cesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
V. It. Not that I desire—For my own sake, the very gift which I receive of you.
V. 18. An odour of meet smell—More pleasing to God, than the sweetest perfumes to men.
V. 19. All your need—As he has mine, according to his riches in glory—Ta his abundant, eternal glory.
ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE Colossian8j
COLOSSE Tras a city of the Greater Phrygia, Set ftr from Laodicea and Hierapolis. Though he preached in many parts of Phrygia, yet he never had been at that city. It had received the gospel by the preaching of Epaphras, who was with St.Paul when he wrote this epistle.
It seems, the Colossians were now in danger of being seduced by those, who strove to blend Judaism, and heathen superstitions, with Christianity: pretending that God, because of his great majesty, was not to be approached but by the mediation of angels; and that there were certain rites and ceremonies, -chiefly borrowed from the law, whereby these angels may be made our friends.
In opposition to them, the apostle, 1. Commends the knowledge of Christ, as more excellent than all other, and so entire and perfect, that no other knowledge was necessary for a Christian. He, 2. shews, That Christ is above all angels, who are only his servants; and that being reconciled to God through him, We have free access to him in all our necessities.
THI8 EPIsTlE CONTAIN8,
I. The inscription, C. i. 1, s. H. The Doctrine, wherein the Apostle pathetically explains the Mystery of Christ,
By Thaaksgiving for the Colossians, 3—8.
By Prayers for them, 9 —23. With it Declaration of his Affection, 24—39, C. ii. 1—3. III. The Exhortation,
1. General, wherein he excites them to perseverance, and
warns them not to be deceived, 4—3.
Describes again the Mystery of Christ, in Order, 9—15.
1. From Christ the Head, 16—ip.
'2. From his Death, 20—23.
3. From his Exaltation, C. iii. 1—4. I. Particular,
1. To avoid several vices, 5-^9.
2. To practise several Virtues, 10, 11.
Especially to love one another, I3—15
And study the Scriptures, 16, 17.
3. To the relative Duties of Wives and Husbands, 18, 19.
Children and Parents, Servants and Masters, 3O, 31.
B3—as, C. ir. 1.
9. Final, to Prayer, 9-^4.
To Spiritual Wisdom, 5, 6.
tr. The Conclusion, 7—^1%.
CHAP. I. 1. PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by
2 the will of God, and Timotheus a brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse, grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord
4 Jesus Christ, (praying always for you, Hearing of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love to all the saints,)
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which ye heard before in the word of truth, of the gospel,
6 Which is come to you, as also it is in all the world, and hringelh forth fruit, as it hath done likewise among you, from the day ye heard it, and knew the grace of God in
1 truth: As ye likewise learned of Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ for
8 you: Who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this cause, from the day we heard it, we do not cease to pray also for you, and to desire that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual
10 understanding; That ye may walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and
11 increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all
. CHAP. I. Ver. 2. The saints—This word expresses their union with God, and brethren —This, their union with their fellow-Christians.
V. 3. II"e give thaaks—There is a near resemblance between this epistle, and those to the Ephesians and Philippians.
. V. 5. Ye heard before—^l wrote to you; in the word of truth, of the gospel— The true gospel preached to you.
V. G. It hringtth forth fruit in all the world—That is, in every place where it is preached; ye knew the grace of God in truth—Truly experienced the gracious power of God.
V. 7. Our fellow-servant—Of Paul and Timotheus.
V. 8. Your love in the Spirit—Your love, wrought in you by the Spirit. . V. 9. We pray for you—This was mentioned in general, vcr. 3, but now more particularly; that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will—Of his revealed will; in all wisdom—With all the wisdom from above; and spiritual understanding—To discern by that light, whatever agrees with or differs front his will.
. V. la. That knowing his whole will, ye may walk worthy of the Lord, unit all well pleasing—So as actually to please him in all things: daily increasing in the living, experimental knowledge of God our Father, Saviour, Sanctifier.
V. 11. Strengthened unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness— This is the highest point: Not only to know, to do, to suffer, the whole will of God; but to suffer it to the end, not barely ,with patience, but with thankful
12 patience and loBff-suffering with joyfulness: Giving' thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to
13 partake of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath
14 translated us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgive
15 ness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the
16 first begotten of every creature. For through him were created all things, that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible; whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were
17 created by him and for him. And he is before all things*
18 and by him all things consist, And he is the head of his body the church; who is the beginning, the first-begotten from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-,
V. 18. Who, by justifying and sanctifying us, hath made us meet for glory.
V. IS. Power detains reluctant captives. A kingdom cherishes willing subjects: His beloved Son—This is treated of in the 15th and following verses.
V. 14. In whom we have redemption—This is treated of from the middle of the I8th verse. The voluntary passion of our Lord, appeased the Father's wrath, obtained pardon and acceptance for us, and consequently dissolved the dominion and power which Satan had over us through our sins. So that forgiveness is the beginning of redemption, as the resurrection is the completion of it.
V. is. Who is—By describing the glory of Christ, and his pre-eminence over the highest angels, the apostle here lays a foundation for the reproof of all worshippers of angels: the image of the invisible God—Whom none can represent but his only-begotten Son; in his divine nature, the invisible image, in his human, the visible image of the Father; the first begotten of every creature —That is, begotten before every creature; subsisting before all worlds, before all time, from all eternity.
V. 16. For—This explains the latter part of the preceding verse; through, implies something prior to the particles by and for; so denoting the beginning, the progress^ and the end: Him—This word, frequently repeated, signifies his supreme majesty, and excludes every creature: were created all things, that are in heaven—'And heaven itself. But the inhabitants are named, because more noble than the house; Invisible—The several species of which ar* subjoined. Thrones are superior to dominions, principalities to powers. Perhaps the two latter may express their office, with regard to other creatures; the two former may refer to God, who makcth them his chariots, and, as it were, rideth upon their wings.
V. 17. And he is before all things—It is not said, He urns: He is from everlasting to everlasting. And by him all things consist—The original expression not only implies, that he sustains all things in being, but more directly, All things were and are compacted in him into one system. He is the cement, as well as support of the universe. And is he less than the supreme God?
V. 18. And—From the whole, he now descends to the most eminent part, the church. He is the head of the church—Universal. The supreme and only head, both of influence and of government, to the whole body of believers: Who is—The repetition of the expression, (see ver. 15,) points out the entrance on a new paragraph; the beginning —Absolutely, the eternal, the first-begotten from the dead—From whose resurrection flows all the life, spiritual and eternal, of all his brethren; that in all things—Whether of natuvs Or grace, he might have the pre eminence. Who ca.il sound this depth?