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grace (0) according (p) to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8. Wherefore (q) he saith, "When "he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts "unto men." 9. (Now (r), that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11. And he gave (s) some, apostles (t); and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12. for (u) the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edify
(o) v. 7. "Grace," i. e. "some of the "extraordinary powers."
(p) "According to the measure, &c." e. as our Saviour thinks fit to confer "them." In 1 Cor. xii. 11. (after mentioning the different powers conferred,) he says, "but all these worketh that one "and the self same spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will;" and in Rom. xii. 3. he cautions every one not "to think of himself more highly than he "ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man "the measure of faith."
(q) v.8. "He saith," i. e. "it is said," to introduce the quotation from Ps. lxviii. The passage there is, "Thou art gone up on high, thou hast led captivity "captive, and received gifts for men."
(r) v. 9. 10. "Now, &c. The object of these verses seems to be to reconcile those on whom the lowest gifts were conferred, by bringing to their recollection that our Saviour, who had been so greatly exalted, and had ascended up on high, had however first submitted to the degradation of descending into the lower parts of the earth; and if that submission was not too low for him, it could be no degradation to any of his followers to execute the lowest of his commissions. In Philip. ii. 6. (ante, 102.) he notices our Saviour's
ing (a) of the body (y) of Christ: 13. till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a (z) perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14. that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15. but, speaking the truth in love, may grow (a) up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16. from whom the whole (6) body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every (c)
humiliation, to press upon the Philippian converts the duty of lowliness of mind to advance the common cause.
(s) v. 11. "Gave," i. e. " made, con"ferred the gift which made."
(t) "Some apostles," i. e. "some to be "apostles, some to be prophets, &c."
(u) v. 12. "For the perfecting, &c." i. e. "to make the converts perfect, to advance "the work of the ministry, to build up the "body of Christianity:" this was the general object; and he wishes to convince them that the different gifts were bestowed on the different receivers for the same end, the advancement of the gospel, not for any private purposes, nor to be made topics of jealousy or discord.
(x)" Edifying," i. e. "building up." (y)" The body of Christ," i. e. "the "Church."
(2) v. 13. "A perfect man." So as to form a complete body of full growth: in opposition to the imperfection of mere children in the gospel, who are noticed in
(a) v. 15. "Grow up, &c." i. e. “ad"vance beyond a state of childhood."
(b) v. 16. "The whole body," i. e. "the "whole Christian church."
(c) "Every joint, &c." As the joints in the body, when they perform their offices, make the body perfect, so will the body of Christianity be perfect if each member performs his allotted duty. The members on whom the different gifts are
joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in (d) the mea sure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying (e) of itself in love.
The Gospel. John xv. 1. (g)
I AM the true vine, and my "Father is the husbandman. "2. Every branch in me that "beareth not fruit he taketh (h) "away and every branch that "beareth fruit, he (i) purgeth it, "that it may bring forth more "fruit. 3. Now ye are (k) clean through the word which I have "spoken unto you. 4. Abide (1) "in me, and I (7) in you. As "the branch cannot bear fruit of
conferred, are to the body of Christianity what the joints are to the natural body. In 1 Cor. xii. he enlarges upon the same idea, by reminding them that in the body there are many members, each having its peculiar office, and that the very lowest are as much members of the body as the very best.
(d) "In the measure, &c." " each part 'working effectually in what is allotted "to it." See v. 7.
(e) "Edifying," i. e. "building up, ἀικοδομής.
(g) Part of our Saviour's discourse at the last supper.
(h) v. 2. "He taketh away." This corresponds with what John the Baptist taught, (Matt. iii. 10.) "Now also the axe "is laid unto the root of the trees: there"fore every tree that bringeth not forth "good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into "the fire." So Matt. vii. 19. post, So our Saviour pressed strongly the necessity of good works. In his sermon on the mount, he says, (Matt. v. 16.) "Let "your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify "your Father which is in heaven." So the parable of the talents, (Matt. xxv. 15.) and the judgment on the barren fig-tree, (Matt. xxi. 19.) are founded upon the necessity of good works. Indeed, where religion does its perfect work, by purifying the heart, making us like-minded with our Saviour, infusing into our breasts humility, forbearance, forgiveness of injuries,
"itself, except it abide in the "vine, no more can ye, except
ye abide in me. 5. I am the "vine, ye are the branches: he "that abideth in me, and I in
him, the same bringeth forth "much fruit: for without me ye "can do nothing. 6. If a man "abide not in me, he is (m) "cast forth as a branch, and is "withered; and men gather them, "and cast them into the fire, and
they are burned. 7. If ye abide "in me, and my words abide in "you, ye shall (n) ask what ye "will, and it shall be done unto you. 8. Herein is my Father glorified, that (o) ye bear much
perfect love to man, and perfect reverence for God, good works cannot but follow : the fruit from such a tree must be good. See Matt. xii. 33. St. Paul, in his directions to Titus, (ch. iii. 8.) says, "This is a "faithful saying, and these things I will "that thou affirm constantly, that they "which have believed in God might be "careful to maintain good works." See post, 160. note on Jam. i. 22.
(i) "Purgeth it," nadaípe, i. e. "assists "it, increases its disposition to bear." So our Saviour says, (Matt. xiii. 12. and Matt. XXV. 29.) "Whosoever hath, to him shall "be given, and he shall have more abun"dance." God will not be wanting to us, if we are not wanting to ourselves; if we do our utmost to advance our good propensities, and correct our bad ones, he will promote our exertions; "Ask, and it "shall be given you."
(k) v.3. "Clean," i. e. "purged,” xaðapoí, according to verse 2.
(4) v. 4. "I, &c." i. e. "I will." If you will adhere to me, I will adhere to you. (m) v. 6. "Cast forth, &c." i. e. "rejected, "as fit for nothing but the fire."
(n) v. 7. "Ask, &c." So Matt. xxi. 22. "All things whatsoever ye ask in "prayer, believing, ye shall receive;" and John xvi. 23. "whatsoever ye shall ask "the Father in my name, he will give it "you."
(o) v. 8. "That ye bear," i. e. " in your "bearing
"fruit; so shall ye be my ples. 9. As the Father hath "loved me, so have I loved you: "continue ye in my love. 10. If "ye keep my commandments, ye "shall abide in my love; even as "I have kept my Father's com"mandments, and abide in his "love. 11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Third Sunday after Easter.
ALMIGHTY God, who shewest to them, that be in error, the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion,
(p) v. 11. "Strangers and pilgrims," "considering heaven as your home, and "this world a state of trial and pilgrim
"age." So Hebr. xiii. 14., "here we "have no continuing city, but we seek "one to come." In Col. iii. 2, 3. (ante, 136.) St. Paul recommends the converts to "set their affections on things above, "not on things on the earth," for this reason, "for ye are dead, and your life is "hid with Christ in God."
(q)" Fleshly lusts." The apostles were very zealous in restraining the converts from these sins, and condemned them in the strongest language.
(r) v. 12. "They speak against you," i. e. "You are spoken against.'
(s) Your good works, &c." Good works are recommended in other passages with the same view, that from the good conduct of those who profess the true religion, glory may be given to God. See ante, 37. note on Philipp. iv. 5.
(t) "Glorify," i. e. "have occasion to "glorify, from seeing what he shall do for 66 your deliverance.'
(u) "Day of visitation," i. e. (probably) the destruction of Jerusalem, one of the times referred to by the expression "the
The Epistle. 1 Peter ii. 11. DEARLY beloved, I beseech you as strangers (p) and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly (q) lusts, which war against the soul; 12. having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they (r) speak against you as evil doers, they may by your (s) good works which they shall behold, glorify (t) God in the day (u) of visitation. 13. Submit (x) yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the (y) King, as supreme; 14. or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him (2) for
(x) v. 13. "Submit, &c." The apostles not only recommend submission to the civil power, but add an additional motive, "for the Lord's sake," i. e. "as part of your duty to God." Thus, (Rom. xiii. 1.) St. Paul says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers: for there "is no power but of God: the powers "that be are ordained of God. Whosoever "therefore resisteth the power, resisteth "the ordinance of God." So he directs Titus, (Tit. iii. 1.) "Put them in mind to "be subject to principalities and powers, "to obey magistrates, &c." The direction too of our Saviour, (Matt. xxii. 21.) "Render unto Cæsar the things that are "Cæsar's," may be considered an injunction from him, the highest of all authorities, to submit to the powers of civil government. See ante, 67. note on Rom. xiii. 1.
(y) "The king," i. e. (perhaps) "the "Roman emperor." See Middl. 133.
(z) v. 14. "Him," i. e. " the king, or emperor:" the submission is to be to the king, as supreme; and to governors, as being the king's ministers.
the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16. as (a) free, and (b) not using your liberty for a cloak (c) of maliciousness, but as (d) the servants of God. 17. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the
The Gospel, John xvi. 16. JESUS said to his disciples, "A "little while (e), and ye shall not "see me and again, A little "while, and ye shall see me; "because I go to the Father." 17. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What
(a) v. 16. "Free," "under" (what is called, Jam. i. 25.) "the perfect law of "liberty."
(b) "And not," i. e. "and yet not."
(c) "Cloak of maliciousness," i. e. “a cover or pretence either for resisting or "disregarding earthly institutions, gover"nors and laws, or for committing any sin." (d)" But as the servants, &c.' i. e. not abusing your freedom to ill purposes, but acting in all respects as God's servants.
(e) v. 16. "A little while, &c." Our Saviour probably here alludes to the three approaching events, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. "A little while "and ye shall not see me," because I shall be put to death," and again a little while "and ye shall see me," because I shall rise again, to go to my Father, and shall see you on my way. This conversation occurred at the last supper, when St. John was next to our Saviour; he is therefore recording what he himself heard.
(f) v. 18. "We cannot tell, &c." It appears from many passages, that they did not understand until after the resurrection that he was to suffer and rise again. See ante, 143. note on Luke xxiv. 45. ante, 83. note on Luke xviii. 34. and post, 158. note on John xvi. 6.
(g) v. 20." Ye shall weep, &c." If (as is probable) they had not foreseen he was to suffer, but expected his would be a tem
is this that he saith unto us, “A "little while, and ye shall not "see me and again, A little "while, and ye shall see me: and, "Because I go to the Father?" 18. They said therefore, "What is "this that he saith, A little while? "We cannot (f) tell what he "saith." 19. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, "Do "ye inquire among yourselves of "that I said, A little while, and "ye shall not see me and again, "A little while, and ye shall see "me? 20. Verily, verily, I say "unto you, That ye (g) shall
weep and lament, but (h) the "world shall rejoice: and ye shall "be sorrowful, but your sorrow "shall be turned (i) into joy.
poral kingdom, his crucifixion and death would destroy all their hopes, and naturally involve them in great distress.
(h) "The world," i. e. my opposers:" this shall be their time of triumph. In Luke xxii. 53. when he was apprehended, he said, "This is your hour, and the power "of darkness."
(i) "Turned into joy." How speedily and effectually was this prophecy fulfilled? What must they have felt when they saw him so repeatedly after his resurrection, as to be certain that he had indeed risen, and when that conviction was put beyond all doubt by the gifts they received of the Holy Ghost. The effect it produced in their conduct was what might have been expected. After commenting upon the grounds we have from the apostolical accounts for being satisfied of the resurrection, Bp. Porteus, (2 Lect. 317.) writes thus: "But besides the positive proof of "this fact, there is a presumptive one of a most forcible nature, to which I have never yet seen any answer, and am of "opinion that none can be given. The proof I allude to is that which is drawn "from the astonishing change which took "place in the language and the conduct "of the apostles, immediately after the
period when they affirmed that Jesus "had risen from the dead. From being "timorous, and dejected, and discouraged
“ 21. A woman (k) when she is in | Philip and Saint James, we may "travail hath sorrow, because her steadfastly walk in the way that "hour is come: but as soon as leadeth to eternal life, through "she is delivered of the child, she the same thy Son Jesus Christ our "remembereth no more the an- Lord. Amen. "guish, for joy that a man is born "into the world. 22. And ye now "therefore have sorrow: but I "will see you (1) again, and your "heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man (m) taketh from 66 you."
Saint Philip and Saint James's Day.
O ALMIGHTY God, whom truly to know is everlasting life; Grant us perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life; that following the steps of thy holy Apostles, Saint
"at the death of their Master, they sud"denly became courageous, undaunted, "and intrepid; and they boldly preached "that very Jesus, whom before they had "deserted in his greatest distress. This "observation will apply in some degree to "all the apostles: but with regard to St. "Peter more particularly it holds with
peculiar force." He then contrasts with great effect Peter's timidity before the crucifixion, with that instance of his courage afterwards recorded in Acts iv. It may be observed too, that this courage and intrepidity of the apostles was not temporary, but lasted for their lives, and that from the opposition and persecutions they experienced, it was put severely to the test. See ante, 28. note on Rom. xiii. 11. and ante, 148, note (c).
(k) v. 21. "A woman, &c." he puts this as a parallel case: as the woman's subsequent joy makes her think nothing of the pain she endured, so shall it be with you. (1) v. 22. " Again," i. e. "on his resur
(m) "Taketh," i. e. " can take." It will be above the control and attacks of man.
(n) v. 1. "James," supposed to have been the son of Cleophas, and brother of Jude the apostle. He was crucified for professing Christianity, A. D. 63. James
The Epistle. James i. 1. JAMES (n) a servant of God and of the Lord (0) Jesus Christ to (p) the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when fall into divers (q) temptations; 3. knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her (r) perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5. If any of you lack (s) wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing (t)
the apostle, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was put to death by Herod (Acts xii. 2.) long before the supposed time of writing this Epistle.
(0) "And of the Lord Jesus Christ;" so that he is here associated with God: and James describes himself as the servant of both. The rendering, perhaps, might be "of him who is both God and Lord, Jesus “ Christ.” Ιάκωβος Θες καὶ Κυρίε Ιησῦ Χρις5 δύλος.
(p)" The twelve tribes," this Epistle is called General, (or Catholic, which is the same as general,) because it was addressed generally to all Jewish converts.
(q) v. 2. "Temptations." i. e. "Trials, "attempts to draw you off from your faith, "persecutions."
(r) v. 4. "Have her perfect work," i. e. "Succeed; come off victorious; triumph." (s) v. 5. "Lack wisdom," i. e. (perhaps) "knows not in a particular instance how "he ought to act, what God would have " him do." In Philip. iii. 15. St. Paul says, "If in any thing ye be otherwise "minded," (meaning, probably, differ), "God shall reveal even this unto you," i. e. "shall shew you what is right."
(t) v. 6. "Nothing wavering," i. e. (probably) "firmly fixed to do whatever God "shall suggest."