Home / Bible Commentaries / John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians/ Ephesians
John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians
THE apostle resumes the thought which he had broken off in Ephesians 2:20. He wished the Ephesian saints to know what was the exceeding greatness of God's power toward those who believe-a species of power exemplified and pledged in the resurrection of Jesus. That power, he virtually intimates, you have experienced, for he who gave life to Jesus gave life to you, when you were dead in trespasses and sins.
(Ephesians 2:1.) καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις—“And you being dead in trespasses and sins.” We do not connect the words grammatically with Ephesians 2:20, and we hold it to be a loose interpretation which Calvin, Hyperius, Bloomfield, and Peile express, when they say that this verse is a special exemplification of the general act of Divine grace expressed in the last clause of the former chapter. The connection, as we have stated it, is more precise and definite, for it is the resumption of a previous train of thought. The verb which governs ὑμᾶς is not ὑπέταξεν, nor ἐπλήρωσε mentally supplied, nor the πληρουμένου of the preceding verse, as is supposed by Calovius, Cramer, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Chandler, for “filling” and death are not homogeneous ideas. The governing verb is συνεζωοποίησε in Ephesians 2:5, as Jerome and OEcumenius rightly affirm, though the former blames Paul for a loose construction there-conjunctionem vero causalem arbitramur, aut ab indoctis scriptoribus additam, et vitium inolevisse paulatim, aut ab ipso Paulo, qui erat imperitus sermone sed non scientia, superflue usurpatam. The thought is again interrupted between Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:4, as it had been between the previous Ephesians 2:20 and Ephesians 2:1 of this chapter. The apostle's mind was eminently suggestive, influenced by powerful laws of mental association, and prone to interpolate subsidiary ideas-but he resumes by δέ in Ephesians 2:4. Bengel, Lachmann, and Harless separate the two chapters only by a comma, but the sense is complete at the termination of the first chapter, and the καί-giving emphasis, however, to the following ὑμᾶς-continues the discourse, signifying not “even,” but simply “and.”
The MSS. B, D, E, F, G, etc., the Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, and Latin versions, with Jerome, Theodoret, and Ambrosiaster, place ὑμῶν at the end of the verse. Lachmann has received it into the text, so has Tischendorf in his seventh edition, with Hahn and Meyer. A has ἑαυτῶν, showing emendation at work. It is long since attempts were made to show a distinction between παραπτώματα and ἁμαρτίαι. Augustine, in his twentieth question on Leviticus, says-Potest etiam videri illud esse delictum, quod imprudenter, illud peccatum quod ab sciente committitur. Jerome says that the former is-quasi initia peccatorum, and the latter-cum quid opere consummatum pervenit ad finem. These definitions are visionary and unsupported. On the other hand, Olshausen regards παραπτώματα as denoting sinful actions, and ἁμαρτίαι as indicating more the sinful movements of the soul in inclinations and words. Meier, again, supposes the words to be synonymous, but yet to be distinguished-wie Handlung und Zustand-as action and condition. The opinion of Baumgarten-Crusius is akin. Bengel imagines that the first term had an emphatic reference to Jewish, and the last term to Gentile transgressions-an opinion in which Stier virtually concurs; while Matthies characterizes παραπτώματα as spiritual errors and obscurations, and ἁμαρτίαι as moral sins and faults. Tittmann says that the first substantive refers to sin as if rashly committed, and is therefore a milder term than ἁμαρτίαι, which denotes a willing act. De Synonymis, etc., p. 45. Lastly, Harless gives it as his view, that παράπτωμα denotes the concrete lapse-the act, while the term ἁμαρτίαι, as the forcible plural of an abstract noun, signifies the manifestations of sin, without distinguishing whether it be in word, deed, or any ot her form. Crocius, Calovius, Flatt, Meyer, and Rückert regard the two words as synonymous. ( παράπτωμα has been explained under Ephesians 1:7.) Perhaps while the first term refers to violations of God's law as separate and repeated acts, the last, as de Wette supposes, may represent all kinds of sin, all forms and developments of a sinful nature. Thus παραπτώματα, under the image of “falling,” may carry an allusion to the desires of the flesh, open, gross, and palpable, while ἁμαρτίαι, under the image “missing the mark,” may designate more the desires of the mind, sins of thought and idea, of purpose and inclination. Müller, Lehre von der Sünde, vol. i. p. 118; Buttmann, Lexil. p. 79, ed. Fishlake; Fritsche, in Romans 5:12. The two words in close connection must denote sin of every species, form, and manifestation, of intent as well as act, of resolve as well as execution, of inner meditation as well as outer result. In Psalms 19:13-14, there is apparently a contrast between the terms-the last being the stronger term- παραπτώματα τίς συνήσει, and then καθαρισθήσομαι ἀπὸ ἁμαρτίας μεγάλης. The article before each of the nouns has, according to Olshausen and Stier, this force-Sins, “which you are conscious of having committed.” We prefer this emphasis-Sins, which are well known to have characterized your unconverted state.
In the corresponding passage in Colossians 2:13, ἐν precedes the substantives, and denotes the state or condition of death. Compare also, for the use and omission of ἐν in a similar clause, Ephesians 2:15 with Colossians 2:14. Though that preposition be wanting here, the meaning, in our apprehension, is not very different, as indeed is indicated by the phraseology of Ephesians 2:2—“in which ye walked.” The “trespasses and sins” do not merely indicate the cause of death, as Zanchius, Meier, Ellicott, and Harless maintain, but they are descriptive also of the state of death. They represent not simply the instrument, but at the same time the condition of death. The dative may signify sphere. Winer, 31, 6; Donaldson, § 456. The very illustration used by Alford, “sick in a fever,” represents a condition, while it points to a cause. Sin has killed men, and they remain in that dead state, which is a criminal one- ἔγκλημα ἔχει, as adds Chrysostom. Quite foreign to the meaning of the context is the opinion of Cajetan and Barrington, who would render the phrase neither dead by nor dead in trespasses and sins, but dead to trespasses and sins. Appeals to clauses and modes of expression in the Epistle to the Romans are out of place here, the object of illustration being so different in the two epistles. Such a sense, moreover, would not harmonize with the vivification described in Ephesians 2:5.
The participle ὄντας points to their previous state-that state in which they were when God quickened them-and is repeated emphatically in Ephesians 2:5. The adjective νεκρός is usually and rightly taken in a spiritual sense. 1. But Meyer contends for a physical sense, as if it were equivalent to certo morituri, and Bretschneider vaguely renders it by morti obnoxii. This exegesis not only does violence to the terms, but it is plainly contradicted by the past tense of the verb- συνεζωοποίησε. The life was in the meantime enjoyed, and the death was already past. (The reader may consult what is said under Ephesians 1:19.) Meyer's opinion is modified in his last edition, and he speaks now of eternal death-der ewige Tod. But this is not the apostle's meaning, for he refers to a past, not a future death. 2. Some, such as Koppe and Rosenmüller, give the words a mere figurative meaning; wretched, miserable-miseri, infelices. Such an idea is indeed involved in the word, but the exegesis does not express the full meaning, does not exhaust the term. The term, it is true, was often employed both by the rabbinical and classical writers in a sense similar to its use before us. But the biblical phrase is more expressive than the מֵתִים of the Jewish doctors, or the satirical epithets of Pythagorean or Platonic preceptors. Without putting any polemical pressure on the phrase, we may regard it as spiritual death, not liability to death, but actual death- νέκρωσις ψυχική, as Theophylact terms it. The epithet implies: 1. Previous life, for death is but the cessation of life. The Spirit of life fled from Adam's disobedient heart, and it died in being severed from God. 2. It implies insensibility. The dead, which are as insusceptible as their kindred clay, can be neither wooed nor won back to existence. The beauties of holiness do not attract man in his spiritual insensibility, nor do the miseries of hell deter him. God's love, Christ's sufferings, earnest conjurations by all that is tender and by all that is terrible, do not affect him. Alas! there are myriads of examples. 3. It implies inability. The corpse cannot raise itself from the tomb and come back to the scenes and society of the living world. The peal of the last trump alone can start it from its dark and dreamless sleep. Inability characterizes fallen man. νεκροί, says Photius, ὅσον πρὸς ἐνέργειαν ἀγαθοῦ τινος. And this is not natural but moral inability, such inability as not only is no palliation, but even forms the very aggravation of his crime. He cannot, simply because he will not, and therefore he is justly responsible. Such being man's natural state, the apostle characterizes it by one awful and terrific appellation—“being dead in trespasses and sins.”
(Ephesians 2:2.) ᾿εν αἷς ποτὲ περιεπατήσατε—“In which ye once walked.” This use of the verb originated in the similar employment of the Hebrew הָלַךְ, H2143, especially in its hithpahel conjugation, in which it denotes “course of life.” The αἷς agrees in gender with the nearest antecedent- ἁμαρτίαις, but refers, at the same time, to both substantives. Kühner, § 786, 2; Matthiae, § 441, 2, c. The ἐν marks out the sphere or walk which they usually and continually trod, for in this sleep of death there is a strange somnambulism. Colossians 3:7. The figure in περιπατεῖν has been supposed to disappear and leave only the general sense of vivere, as Fritzsche maintains on Romans 13:13, yet the idea of something more than mere existence seems to be preserved. It is life, not in itself, but in its manifestations. Thus living and walking are placed in logical connection- πνεύματι περιπατεῖτε is different plainly from ζῶμεν πνεύματι. Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25. Though there was spiritual death, there was yet activity in a circuit of sin, for physical incapacity and intellectual energy were not impaired. Yea, “the dead,” unconscious of their spiritual mortality, often place up, as their motto of a lower life—“Dum vivimus vivamus.” But this sad period of death-walking was past- ποτέ. Their previous conduct is next described as being-
κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου—“according to the course of this world”- κατά, as usual, expressing conformity. Semler, Beausobre, Brucker, Michaelis, and Baur (Paulus, p. 433) take the αἰών as a Gnostic term, and as all but identical with the Being described in the following clauses-the evil genius of the world. Such a sense is non-biblical and very unlikely, yea rather, impossible. Others, such as Estius, Koppe, and Flatt, regard αἰών and κόσμος as synonymous, and understand the phrase as a species of pleonasm. The translation of the Syriac is alliterative- עלמיותה דעלמאהנא —“the worldliness of this world,” or the “secularity of this seculum.” But the αἰών defines some quality, element, or character of the κόσμος. It is a rash and useless disturbance of the phraseology which Rückert on the one hand suggests - κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τούτον τοῦ κοσμοῦ; or which is proposed by Bretschneider on the other- ὁ κόσμος τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, meaning-homines pravi, ut nunc sunt. αἰών sometimes signifies in the New Testament—“this or the present time”-certain aspects underlying it. Galatians 1:4. Anselm and Beza would render it simply—“the men of the present generation;” but in the connection before us it seems to denote mores, vivendi ratio-not simply, however, external manifestations of character, but, as Harless argues, the inner principle which regulates it-Weltleben in geistiger, ethischer Beziehung—“world-life in a spiritual, ethical relation.” It is its “course,” viewed not so much as composed of a series of superficial manifestations, but in the moving principles which give it shape and distinction. It is, in short, nearly tantamount to what is called in popu lar modern phrase, “the spirit of the age”- τὴν παροῦσαν ζωήν, as Theodoret explains it. The word has not essentially, and in itself, a bad sense, though the context plainly and frequently gives it one. κόσμος, especially as here, and followed by οὗτος, means the world as fallen away from God-unholy and opposed to God. John 12:31; John 18:36; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 4:3. None of the terms has a bad meaning in or by itself; nor does the apostle here add any epithet to point out their wickedness. But this use of the simple words shows his opinion of the world, and he condemns it by his simple mention of it, while the demonstrative οὗτος confines the special reference to the time then current. The meaning therefore is, that the Ephesians, in the period of their irregeneracy, had lived, not generally like other men of unholy heart, but specifically like the contemporaneous world around them, and in the practice of such vices and follies as gave hue and character to their own era. They did not pursue indulgences fashionable at a former epoch, but now obsolete and forgotten. Theirs were not the idolatries and impurities of other centuries. No; they lived as the age on all sides of them lived-in its popular and universal errors and delusions; they walked in entire conformity to the reigning sins of the times.
The world and the church are now tacitly brought into contrast as antagonistic societies; and as the church has its own exalted and glorious Head, so the world is under the control of an active and powerful master, thus characterized-
κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος—“According to the prince of the power of the air”- κατά being emphatically repeated. The prince of darkness is not only called ἄρχων, but ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, 2 Corinthians 4:4; and his ἐξουσία is mentioned Acts 26:18. Again, he is styled ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11. His principality is spoiled, Colossians 2:15, and Jesus came to destroy his works. 1 John 3:8. Believers are freed from his power. 1 John 5:18; Colossians 1:13. The language here is unusual, and therefore difficult of apprehension, and the modes of explanation are numerous, as might be expected.
Flatt is inclined to take ἐξουσίας in apposition with ἄρχοντα-qui est princeps, or, as Clarius and Rosenmüller render it-princeps potentissimus. There is no occasion to resort to this syntactic violence. ᾿εξουσία does not seem to signify simply “might,” as Chrysostom, Jerome, Theodoret, and Theophylact hold; but it is rather a term describing the empire of spirits over whom Satan presides-spirits, so called, either as possessed of power, as Rückert and Harless think, or rather, because they collectively form the principality of Satan, as Zanchius and Baumgarten-Crusius imagine-a meaning which nouns similarly formed, as δουλεία, συμμαχία, frequently have. Bernhardy, p. 47. Such passages as Luke 22:53 and Colossians 1:13 show that the opinion which joins both views is justified by biblical usage.
᾿αήρ does not denote that which the ἐξουσία commands or controls, as Erasmus, Beza, Flacius, and Piscator suppose, but it points out the seat or place of dominion; not, however, in the sense of Robinson, von Gerlach, Barnes, and Doddridge. Holzhausen propounds the novel interpretation, that the apostle understands by the “power of the air”-die heidnische Götterwelt, “the heathen world of gods.” That ἀήρ of itself should signify darkness, is an opinion which cannot be sustained. Heinsius, Estius, Storr, Flatt, Matthies, Bisping, and Hodge identify the term with σκότος, in Ephesians 2:12 of the 6th chapter, or in Colossians 1:13. The passages adduced from the ancient writers, such as Homer, Hesiod, and Plutarch, in support of this rendering, can scarcely be appealed to for the usage of the term in the days of the apostle. The word in a feminine form signified fog or haze, and is derived from ἄω, ἄημι—“I breathe or blow,” and is used in opposition to αἰθήρ—“the clear upper air;” and it has been conjectured that the original meaning of the term may have suggested its use to the apostle in the clause before us.
But more specially, 1. Some of the Greek fathers take the genitive as a noun of quality—“prince of the aërial powers”- ἀσώματοι δυνάμεις. Thus Chrysostom- τοῦτο πάλιν φησὶ ὅτι τὸν ὑπουράνιον ἔχει τόπον, καὶ πνεύματα πάλιν ἀέρια αἱ ἀσώματοι δυνάμεις εἰσὶν αὐτοῦ ἐνεργοῦντος—“Again he says this, that Satan possesses the sub-celestial places, and again, that the bodiless powers are aërial spirits under his operation.” OEcumenius quaintly reasons of this mysterious ἄρχων, “that his ἀρχή is under heaven, and not above it; and if under heaven, it must be either on earth or in the air. Being a spirit, it is in the air, for they have an aërial nature.” With more exactness, Cajetan describes this host as having subtile corpus nostris sensibus ignotum, corpus simplex ac incorruptibile. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, refers also to the ἀερίων πνευμάτων. The opinion of Harless is much the same as that of Olshausen—“These evil powers are certainly not earthly, and as certainly they are not heavenly,” and they are therefore named by an epithet which defines neither the one nor the other quality. This is substantially the interpretation of OEcumenius, of Hahn, and of Hofmann, Schriftb. p. 455. The interpretation of Moses Stuart is virtually identical, and the notion of Stier is not altogether different, but it is somewhat mystically expressed. The view of a-Lapide and Calixtus, that those “aërial” imps could and did raise storms and hurricanes, is as puerile on the one side, as that of Calvin and Beza is vaguely figurative on the other-that man is in as great and constant danger from those fiends, as if they actually inhabited the air. Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus take “air” by a metonymy as meaning earth and air together, or the earth surrounded by the air-an opinion connected with the reading of F, G- ἀέρος τούτου-and of the Vulgate, aëris hujus. Others, not satisfied with these fanciful opinions, give the epithet “aërial” a figurative signification. So Rieger alleges, that the power of these evil spirits resembles that of the atmosphere - swift, mighty, and invisible. Cocceius also takes the term metaphorically, as if it described that darkness, blindness, and danger on “slippery places,” which Satan inflicts on wicked men. Bucer says indeed, that the apostle describes the air as the habitation of fallen and wicked spirits-ex peculiari revelatione. But, 2. There are others who argue, that the apostle borrowed the notion either from the Pythagorean or Gnostic demonology. Wetstein affirms - Paulus ita loquitur, ex principiis philosophiae Pythagoreae, quibus illi ad quos scribit imbuti erant. The Pythagorean philosophy, it is true, had opinions not unlike that supposed to be expressed by the apostle. Plutarch says- ὕπαιθρον ἀέρα καὶ τὸν ὑπουράνιον ὄντα καὶ θεῶν καὶ δαιμόνων μεστόν. Diogenes Laertius records, that according to Pythagoras, the air was full of spirits- πάντα τὸν ἀέρα ψυχῶν ἔμπλεον. Apuleius, Maximus Tyrius, Manilius, Chalcidius, and others, make similar avowals, as may be found at length in the quotations adduced by Wetstein, Elsner, and Dougtaeus. The same sentiments are also found in Philo, in his treatises De Gigantibus and De Plantatione.Nay, Augustine held that the demons were penally confined to the air-damnatum ad aërem tanquam ad carcerem. Comment. on Psalms 143. And Boyd (Bodius), as if dreaming of a Scottish fairy-land, thinks that the devil got the principality of the air from its connection with us, who live partly on earth and partly in air, and that his relation to sinful man is seen in his union with that element which is so essential to human life. But is it at all likely that the inspired apostle gave currency to the tenets of a vain philosophy-to the dreams and delusions of fantastic speculation? Besides, there is no polemical tendency in this epistle, and there was no motive to such doctrinal accommodation. Gnosticism is always refuted, not flattered, by the apostle of the Gentiles. 3. Others, again, such as Meyer and Conybeare, suppose that the language of the rabbinical schools is here employed. Harless has carefully shown the falsity of such a hypothesis. A passage in Rabbi Bechai, in Penta. p. 90, has been often quoted, but the Rabbi says—“The demons which excite dreams dwell in the air, but those which tempt to evil inhabit the depths of the sea,” whereas these submarine fiends are the very class which the apostle terms the principality of the air.Some of the other quotations adduced from the same sources are based upon the idea that angels are furnished with wings, with which, of course, they flutter in the atmosphere, as they approach, or leave, or hasten through our world. Sciendum, says the Munus Novum, as quoted hy Drusius, a terrâ usque ad expansum omnia plena esse turmis et praefectis, omnesque stare et volitare in aëre. These notions are so puerile, that the apostle could not for a moment have made them the basis of his language. The other six places in which ἀήρ occurs throw no light on this passage, as it is there used in its ordinary physical acceptation.
In none of these various opinions can we fully acquiesce. That the physical atmosphere is in any sense the abode of demons, or is in any way allied to their essential nature, appears to us to be a strange statement. When fiends move from place to place, they need not make the atmosphere the chief medium of transition, for many of the subtler fluids of nature are not restricted to such a conductor, but penetrate the harder forms of matter as an ordinary pathway. There is certainly no scriptural hint that demons are either compelled to confinement in the air as a prison, or that they have chosen it as a congenial abode, either in harmony with their own nature, or as a spot adapted to ambush and attack upon men, into whose spirit they may creep with as much secrecy and subtlety as a poisonous miasma steals into their lungs during their necessary and unguarded respiration. We think, therefore, that the ἀήρ and κόσμος must correspond in relation. Just as there is an atmosphere round the physical globe, so an ἀήρ envelopes this κόσμος. Now, the κόσμος is a spiritual world-the region of sinful desires-the sphere in which live and move all the ungodly. We often use similar phraseology when we say “the gay world,” “the musical world,” “the literary world,” or “the religious world;” and each of these expressive phrases is easily understood. So the κόσμος of the New Testament is opposed to God, for it hates Christianity; the believer does not belong to it, for it is crucified to him and he to it. That same world may be an ideal sphere, comprehending all that is sinful in thought and pursuit-a region on the actual physical globe, but without geographical boundary-all that out-field which lies beyond the living church of Christ. A nd, like the material globe, this world of death-walkers has its own atmosphere, corresponding to it in character-an atmosphere in which it breathes and moves. All that animates it, gives it community of sentiment, contributes to sustain its life in death, and enables it to breathe and be, may be termed its atmosphere. Such an air or atmosphere belting a death-world, whose inhabitants are νεκροὶ τοῖς παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις, is really Satan's seat. His chosen abode is the dark nebulous zone which canopies such a region of spiritual mortality, close upon its inhabitants, ever near and ever active, unseen and yet real, unfelt and yet mighty, giving to the κόσμος that “form and pressure”-that αἰών-which the apostle here describes as its characteristic element. If this interpretation be reckoned too ingenious-and interpretations are generally false in proportion to their ingenuity-then we can only say, that either the apostle used current language which did not convey error, as Satan is called Beelzebub without reference to the meaning of the term—“Lord of flies;” or that he meant to convey the idea of what Ellicott calls “near propinquity,” for air is nigh the earth; or that he embodies in the clause some allusions which he may have more fully explained during his abode at Ephesus.
In their trespasses and sins they walked- κατά—“according to” the prince of the power of the air. This preposition used in reference to a person, as here, signifies “according to the will,” or “conformably to the example.” This dark princedom is further identified as-
τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας—“of the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience.” The connection with the preceding clause is somewhat difficult of explanation. Flatt supposes it, though it is in the genitive, to be in apposition to the accusative ἄρχοντα. So, apparently, Ambrosiaster, who has the translation-spiritum. Bullinger cuts the knot by rendering-qui est spiritus, and so Luther by his-nämlich nach dem Geist. Others, as Piscator, Crocius, Rückert, and de Wette, suppose a deviation from the right construction in the use of the genitive for the accusative. Some, again, take πνεύματος in a collective sense, as Vatablus, Grotius, Estius, and Holzhausen. Governed by ἄρχοντα, the meaning would then be—“the prince of that spirit-world,” the members of which work in the children of disobedience. Winer, § 67, 3. Meier and Ellicott take πνεύματος as governed by ἄρχοντα, and they understand by πνεῦμα that spirit or disposition which reigns in worldly and ungodly men, of which Satan may be considered the master. Meyer, adopting the same construction, defines πνεῦμα as a principle emanating from Satan as its lord, and working in men. Harless, Olshausen, Matthies, and Stier take the word in apposition with ἐξουσίας, and governed by ἄρχοντα, and suppose it to mean that influence which Satan exercises over the disobedient; or, as Harless names it-wirksame teuflische Versuchung—“actual devilish temptation;” or, as Stier characterizes it-eine verfinsternde tödtende Inspiration—“a darkening and killing inspiration.” But how does this view harmonize with the phraseology? Surely an influence, or principle, or inspiration is not exactly in unison w ith ἄρχων. We cannot well say-prince of an influence or disposition. We would therefore take πνεύματος in apposition with ἐξουσίας, but refer it to the essential nature of the ἐξουσία. It is a spiritual kingdom which the devil governs, an empire of spirits over which he presides. And the singular is used with emphasis. The entire objective ἐξουσία, no matter what are its numbers and varied ranks, acts as one spirit on the children of disobedience, is thought of as one spirit, in perfect unity of operation and purpose with its malignant ἄρχων. Nay, the prince and all his powers are so combined, so identified in essence and aim, that to a terrified and enslaved world they stand out as one πνεῦμα. In Luke 4:33 occurs the phrase- πνεῦμα δαιμονίου ἀκαθάρτου. This “spirit” is in its subjective form called τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου. 1 Corinthians 2:12. And it is a busy spirit-world- τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος.
᾿απείθεια is not specially unbelief of the gospel, as Luther, Bengel, Scholz, and Harless suppose, but disobedience, as the Syriac renders it. It characterizes the world not as in direct antagonism to the gospel, but as it is by nature-hostile to the will and government of God, and daringly and wantonly violating that law which is written in their hearts. Deuteronomy 9:23-24; Hebrews 4:6. The phrase υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας is a species of Hebraism, and is found Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6, etc. Compare Romans 2:16, and Fritzsche's remarks on it. The idiom shows the close relation and dependence of the two substantives. As its “children,” they have their inner being and its sustenance from “disobedience;” or, as Winer says, they are “those in whom disobedience has become a predominant and second nature,” § 34, 3, b, 2. The adverb νῦν denotes “at the present time”-the spirit which at the present moment is working in the disobedient. Meier, not Meyer as Olshausen quotes, gives the adverb this peculiar but faulty reference—“The spirit which yet reigns, though the gospel be powerfully counter-working it;” and Olshausen as baselessly supposes it to mark that the working of the devil is restricted, in contrast to the eternal working of the Holy Ghost. The νῦν appears to stand in contrast to the ποτέ—“Ye, the readers of this epistle, were once in such a condition, and those whom you left behind when you became the children of God, are in the same condition still.” There is, accordingly, no reason to render the word nunc maxime, as if, as Stier argues, there was more than usual energy on the part of Satan. As little ground have Rückert and Holzhausen to suppose, that the clause denotes some extraordinary manifestation of evil influence. The verse is but a vivid description of the usual c ondition of the unconverted and disobedient world. The world and the church are thus marked in distinct and telling contrast. The church has its head- κεφαλή; the world has its- ἄρχων. That Head is a man, allied by blood to the community over which He presides; that other prince is an unembodied spirit-an alien as well as a usurper. The one so blesses the church that it becomes His “fulness,” the other sheds darkness and distress all around Him. The one has His Spirit dwelling in the church, leading it to holiness; the other, himself the darkest, most malignant, and unlovely being in the universe, exercises a subtile and debasing influence over the minds of his vassals, who are “children of disobedience.” Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4. The apostle honestly describes their former spiritual state, for he adds-including himself- συντάττει καὶ ἑαυτόν-as Theodoret says-
(Ephesians 2:3.) ᾿εν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε ἐν—“Among whom also we all had our conversation once in . . .” The οἷς does not refer to παραπτώμασι, as is supposed by the paraphrase of the Syriac version, and as is imagined by Jerome, Estius, Cocceius, Koppe, Baumgarten, and Stier; but it agrees with υἱοῖς, as is argued by de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Meyer, Harless, Meier, Matthies, and Rückert. The first ἐν refers to persons, “among whom” as a portion of them; and the second, in immediate connection with the verb, to things. It appears altogether too refined to suppose, with Stier, that in Ephesians 2:2, and in connection with the ἁμαρτίαι of Ephesians 2:1, the apostle refers to the heathen world, and that in this verse, and in connection with παράπτωμα, he characterizes the Jewish world. Least of all can the change from “you” to “we” vindicate such a meaning. We wait till the apostle, in a subsequent verse, makes the distinction himself. The ἡμεῖς πάντες is-we all, Jew and Gentile alike. See also Romans 4:16; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18. There is not in this section such a characteristic definition of sins, as should warrant us to refer the one verse to Jews, and the other to Gentiles. We cannot accede to such a view, though it is advocated by Harless and Olshausen, and almost all the modern commentators, with the exception of de Wette; advocated, too, in former times by no less names than Pelagius and Calvin, Zanchius and Grotius, Clarius and Bengel. As much ground is there for Hammond's strange idea, that the Christians of Rome are here described. Nor is there in the verse any feature of criminality, such as should lead us to say that the apostle classes himself among these sinners, simply, as some would have it, by a common figure of speech. There is nothing here of which the apostle does not accuse himself in other places. 1 Timothy 1:13.
ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε. 2 Corinthians 1:12; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:15. This has much the same meaning with the similar terms of the preceding verse, perhaps with the additional idea of greater attachment to the scene or haunt; speciosius quam ambulare, says Bengel. All we-all of us-Jew and Gentile, were once so distinguished. For we walked-
ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν—“in the lusts of our flesh.” This clause marks out the sphere of activity. σάρξ signifies man's fallen and corrupted nature, in its antagonism to the Spirit of God, and it probably has received such a name because of its servitude to what is material and sensuous. Not that we at all espouse the notion that sin has no other origin than sensuousness, or that it is but the predominance of sensuous impulse over the intellect and will. This theory, befriended in some of its aspects by Kant and Schleiermacher, has been overthrown with able argument by Müller; and the reply of de Wette, who had also adopted it, is a failure as a defence. But though σάρξ, in apostolic language, include the will, and have a meaning which neither σῶμα nor κρέας has, the question still recurs, How has our whole nature come to be represented by a term which truly and properly denotes only one part of it? Delitzsch, Bib. Psychologie, p. 325. σάρξ does sometimes stand in opposition to the human πνεῦμα, as 1 Corinthians 5:5, Colossians 2:5; but in such places its meaning is restricted by the antithesis. Genesis 6:3. If what properly signifies a portion of our nature come to signify the whole of it under a certain aspect, there must be some connection. What is material, as σάρξ naturally is, may represent what is external and so far unspiritual; while what is non-spiritual is sinful, as being opposed to the Spirit of God. See Ebrard, Christliche Dogmatik, § 323, vol. i. p. 463; Messner, Die Lehre der Apostel, p. 207. ᾿επιθυμία in such a connection, has a stigma upon it, for it represents desires or appetites which are irregular and sinful - such inclinations as are formed and pursued by unregenerate humanity. The spiritual life is dead, and therefore the σάρξ is unchecked in all i ts impulses and desires. And the apostle adds-
ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν—“doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts.” The principal differences of interpretation respect the word διανοιῶν, which has a good sense in the classics. The exegesis of the Greek fathers is too vague. Chrysostom sums up the meaning by saying - τουτέστιν, οὐδὲν πνευματικὸν φρονοῦντες. Stier denies that by σαρκός and διανοιῶν different species of sin are indicated, but adds that the last term refers to reasons or arguments-denkerei-which check or guide the flesh in its sinful propensities. The view of Bengel is coincident. This interpretation does not bring out the distinction between the two terms-a distinction which the article before each seems to intimate. The exegesis of Flatt is his usual hendiadys: “flesh and thoughts” stands for fleshly thoughts; or, as Crellius also latinizes it-cogitationes carnales. Some understand by the terms “depraved fancies,” as Hase; others, like Olshausen, “sinful thoughts, which have no sensual lust for their basis;” and others, like Harless, “unresolute, shifting thoughts, which determine the will.” Rückert and Meier make it “immoral thoughts.” διάνοιαι in the plural is found only here, and in the singular it stands often in the Septuagint for the Hebrew לֵב, H4213. In the plural, as if for διανοήματα, it apparently denotes thoughts or sentiments, ideal fancies and resolves. See Numbers 15:39 ; Isaiah 55:9. σάρξ in the first clause may signify humanity as it is fallen and debased by sin; while here the meaning is more defined and restricted to our fleshly nature. The general “conversation” of disobedient men may be said to be “in the lusts of the flesh,” but when their positive activity is described- ποιοῦντες, and when these ἐπιθυμίαι become actually θελήματα-when inclinations become resolves, a distinction at once arises, and sins of a grosser are marked out from those of a more spiritual nature. Such is the view of Jerome. The “desires of the flesh” are those grosser gratifications of appetite which are palpable and easily recognized; and the “desires of the thoughts,” those mental trespasses which may or may not be connected with sensuous indulgences. Matthew 15:19; Luke 11:17. Our Lord has exposed such “thoughts” as violations of the Divine law. The σάρξ is one, all its appetences are like; but the word διάνοιαι is plural, for it describes what is complex and multiform. See σοφίαι, Aristoph. Ranae, 5.688; and Sapientiae, Cicero, Tusc. 2.18. Thought follows thought, as the shadows flit across the field on a cloudy summer day. Men may scorn intemperance as a degrading vice, and shun it, and yet cherish within them pride high as Lucifer's, and wrath foul and fierce as Tophet. Under the single head of σάρξ (Galatians 5:19-20) the apostle includes both classes of sins—“hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,” as well as “adultery, fornication, murder, drunkenness, and revellings.” The historian Polybius describes men sinning, as many of them, διὰ τὴν ἀλογιστίαν-from want of thought, as διὰ τὴν φύσιν, by nature. Lib. xvii. cap. viii. apud Raphel. But there is an awful and additional clause-
καὶ ἦμεν τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς - “and we were by nature children of wrath.” This common reading is retained by Tischendorf, followed by Rückert. Lachmann, however, after A, D, E, F, G, J, has φύσει τέκνα ὀργῆς. But there appears no good ground for departing from the order of the Textus Receptus, the changed order wearing the aspect of an emendation. ᾿οργή is not simply “punishment,” but that just indignation which embodies itself in punishment. The word is often so used in the New Testament. τέκνα ὀργῆς resembles the previous υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας, but implying, as Alford says, “closer relation.” That phrase does not denote, liable to disobedience, but involved in it; and therefore τέκνα ὀργῆς does not signify-liable to wrath, but actually under it. Thus, Deuteronomy 25:2, בּןהַכָּוֹת à - ִa son of stripes-not liable to be scourged, but actually scourged. The idiom, then, does not mean “worthy of wrath,” as the Greek fathers, when they render it ὀργῆς ἄξιοι, and as Grotius, Koppe, Baumgarten, and others have understood it; but it describes a present and actual condition. The awful wrath of God is upon sinners, for sin is so contrary to His nature and law, that His pure anger is kindled against it. Nor is this ὀργή to be explained away after the example of the early Fathers, as if it were simply chastisement, κόλασις-not judicial infliction, but benignant castigation; for as Alford well says-then the phrase would, from its nature, imply that they had been “actually punished.” ᾿οργή is God's holy anger against sin, which leads Him justly to punish it. Romans 1:18. But God's manifestation of wrath is not inconsistent with His manifestation of love; for, to repeat the oft-quoted w ords of Lactantius - Si Deus non irascitur impiis et injustis, nec pios justosque diligit.
The apostle says further, τέκνα φύσει—“children by nature;” the dative, as Madvig says, defining “the side, aspect, regard, or property on and in which the predicate shows itself,” § 40. See also Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 688; Kühner, 585, Anmerk 1. φύσις—“nature”-in such an idiom, signifies what is essential as opposed to what is accidental, what is innate in contrast with what is acquired; as Harless puts the antithesis-das Gewordene im Gegensatz zum Gemachten. This is its general sense, whatever its specific application. Thus- φαρμάκου φύσις is the nature of a drug, its colour, growth, and potency. φύσις τοῦ αἰγύπτου is the nature of the land of Egypt-a phrase referring to no artificial peculiarity, but to results which follow from its physical conformation. It stands opposed to νόμος or ἀνάγκη, as marking what is spontaneous, in contrast to what is enjoined or is inevitable. Thus Plato, De Leg. lib. x.-Some say that the gods are οὐ φύσει ἀλλὰ τισὶ νόμοις. Again, the noun is often used in the dative, or in the accusative with κατά or παρά in descriptions of condition or action, and then its signification is still the same: φύσει τυφλός—“blind by nature,” not by disease; τὸν φύσει δοῦλον—“the slave by nature,” that is, from birth, and not by subjugation; οἱ φύσει πολέμιοι—“warriors by nature,” by constitutional tendency, and not by force of circumstances. And so in such phrases as, κατὰ φύσιν—“agree ably to nature,” not simply to education or habit; παρὰ φύσιν-contrary not to mere conventional propriety, but to general or ordinary instinctive development; thus- ὁ κατὰ φύσιν υἱός—“the natural,” not the adopted “son.” The usage is similar in the Hellenistic writers. Wisdom of Solomon 7:20, φύσεις ζώων—“the natures of animals,” not the habits induced by training. φύσει πάντες εἰσὶν φίλαυτοι—“all are by nature,” not by training, “self-lovers.” φύσει πονηρὸς ὤν.—“being evil by nature,” and not simply by education. So also in the same author-of the constitutional clemency of the Pharisees- φύσει ἐπιεικῶς ἔχουσιν. Likewise in Philo, εἰρηναῖοι φύσει—“peaceful by nature,” not from compulsion; and in many other places, some of which have been collected by Loesner. The usage of the New Testament is not different. Save in James 3:7 and 2 Peter 1:4, where the word has a signification peculiar to these passages, the meaning is the same with that which we have traced through classical and Hellenistic literature. If the term characterize the branches of a tree, those which it produces are contrasted with such as are engrafted (Romans 11:21-24); if it describe action or character, it marks its harmony with or its opposition to instinctive feeling or sense of obligation (Romans 1:26; Romans 2:14; 1 Corinthians 11:14); if it point out nationality, it is that of descent or blood. Romans 2:27; Galatians 2:15. See Fritzsche on the references to Romans. And when the apostle (Galatians 4:8) speaks of idols as being φύσει “not Gods,” he means that idols become objects of worsh ip from no inherent claim or quality, but simply by “art and man's device.” And so “we are children of wrath,” not accidentally, not by a fortuitous combination of circumstances, not even by individual sin and actual transgression, but “by nature”-by an exposure which preceded personal disobedience, and was not first created by it; an exposure which is inherent, hereditary, and common to all the race by the very condition of its present existence, for they are “so born” children of wrath. For φύσις does not refer to developed character, but to its hidden and instinctive sources. We are therefore not atomically, but organically children of wrath; not each simply by personal guilt, but the entire race as a whole; not on account of nature, but by nature. Wholly contrary, therefore, to usage and philology is the translation of the Syriac מליאית -plene; that of Theophylact, OEcumenius, and Cyril, ἀληθῶς or γνησίως—“really” or “truly;” that of Julian, prorsus, and that even of Suidas—“a constant and very bad disposition and long and evil habits”- ἀλλὰ τὴν ἔμμονον καὶ κακίστην διάθεσιν καὶ χρονίαν καὶ πονηρὰν συνήθειαν, for on the contrary, φύσις and συνήθεια are placed by the Greek ethical writers in contrast. Harless adduces apt quotations from Plutarch and Aristotle. Pelagius, as may be expected, thus guards his exegesis-Nos paternae traditionis consuetudo possederat, ut omnes ad damnationem nasci VIDEREMUR. Erasmus, Bengel, Koppe, Morus, Flatt, de Wette, Reiche, and others, take the word as descriptive of the state of the Ephesian converts prior to their conversion, or, as Bengel phrases it-citra gratiam Dei in Christo. But, as Meyer observes, the status naturalis is depicted in the whole description, and not mere ly by φύσει. Such an interpretation is also unsatisfactory, for it leaves untouched the real meaning of the word under dispute. That the term may signify that second nature which springs from habit, we deny not. Natura had such a sense among the Latins-quod consuetudo in naturam vertit-but in many places where it may bear this meaning, it still implies that the habit is in accordance with original inclination, that the disposition or character has its origin in innate tendencies and impulses. When Le Clerc says that the word, when applied to a nation, signifies indoles gentis, he only begs the question; for that indoles or φύσις in the quotations adduced by him, and by Wetstein and Koppe, from Isocrates, the so-called Demetrius Phalereus, Polyaenus, Jamblichus, Cicero, and Sallust, is not something adventitious, but constitutional-an element of character which, though matured by discipline, sprang originally from connate peculiarities. The same may be said of Meyer's interpretation-durch Entwickelung natürlicher Disposition—“through the development of natural disposition;” for if that disposition was natural, its very germs must have been in us at our birth, and what is that but innate depravity? And yet he argues that φύσις cannot refer to original sin, because the church doctrine on that subject is not the doctrine of Paul, and one reason why Koppe will not take even the interpretation of Le Clerc is, that it necessarily leads to the doctrine of original sin. Grotius, Meyer, de Wette, and Usteri (Paulin. Lehrbegriff, p. 30) object that the word cannot refer to original depravity, because it is only of actual sin that the apostle speaks in the preceding clauses. S o little has Grotius gone into the spirit of the passage, that he says-that it cannot refer to original sin, as the preceding verses show, in which vices are described from which many of the ancients were free-a quibus multi veterum fuere immunes. Usteri is disposed to cancel φύσει altogether, and Reiche (Comment. Criticus, 1859) dilutes it to a habitus naturalis connatus quasi, p. 147. See also Episcopius, Instit. 2.5, 2; Limborch, Thelog. Christ. 3.4, 17, p. 193; Amstelaedami, 1686. We may reply with Olshausen, that in this clause actual sins are naturally pointed out in their ultimate foundation—“in the inborn sinfulness of each individual by his connection with Adam.” Besides, the apostle means to say that by natural condition, as well as by actual personal guilt, men are children of wrath. Had he written καὶ ὄντες, as following out of the idea of ποιοῦντες, there might have been a plea against our view of innate depravity—“fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and being, or so being, children of wrath.” But the apostle says, καὶ ἦμεν—“and we were,” at a point of time prior to that indicated in ποιοῦντες. This exegesis is also supported by the following clause-
ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί—“as also are the rest of mankind;” not Gentiles simply, nor the remainder of the unbelieving Jews, as is held by Stier and Bisping. Turner apparently imputes our exegesis, which is simply and plainly grammatical, to want of candour and to a desire to support a “preconceived doctrinal theory.”
Having described the character of unregenerate men, the apostle adverts to their previous condition. We and the entire human family are by nature children of wrath, even as Crellius himself is obliged to paraphrase it-velut haereditario jure. Those who hold that ἡμεῖς refers to the Jews injure their interpretation, and Harless and Olshausen unnecessarily suppose that the apostle contrasts the natural state of the Jews with their condition as the called of God, though they do not, like Hofmann, join φύσει to ὀργῆς, as if the allusion were to the Jews, and the meaning were-objects of God's love as the children of Abraham, but of His anger as children of Adam. Schriftb. i. p. 564. Thus Estius opposes filii naturâ to filii adoptione; and Holzhausen's idea is-that they were children of wrath “which rises from the ungodly natural life.” To get such a meaning the article must be repeated, as Harless says- τῆς φύσει ὀργῆς; or as Meyer, τῆς τῇ φύσει, or, ἐκ τῆς φύσεως ὀργῆς. We do not imagine, with many commentators, that φύσει stands in contrast with χάριτι. The former denotes a condition, and cannot well be contrasted with an act or operation of God. Death by or in sin, walk in lust, vassalage to Satan, indulgence of the disorderly appetites of a corrupted nature, and the fulfilling of the desires of the flesh and of the mind-these form a visible and complex unity of crime, palpable and terrific. But that is not all; there is something deeper still; even by nature, and prior to actual transgression, we were “the children of wrath.” The apostle had just referred to the σάρξ-feeble and depraved humanity, and knowing that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and that the taint and corruption are thus hereditary, he adds, “and w e were by nature,” through our very birth, “children of wrath;” that is, we have not become so by any process of development. Thus also Müller (Die Lehre von der Sünde, ii. p. 378) says—“that they, that is, Christians, from among the Jews as well as others, had been objects of Divine punitive justice”-nach ihrer natürlichen angebornen Beschaffenheit Gegenstände; and Lechler also calls man's natural condition-eine angeborne Zorneskindschaft d. h. eine angeborne Verderbniss der Menschennatur. Das Apost. und das nachap. Zeitalter, etc., p. 107. Barnes and Stuart deny, indeed, that the use of this term can prove what is usually called the doctrine of original sin. It is true that the apostle does not speak of Adam and his sin, nor does he describe the germs and incipient workings of depravity. It is not a formal theological assertion, for φύσει is unemphatic in position; but what is more convincing, it is an incidental allusion-as if no proof were needed of the awful truth. How and when sin commences is not the present question. Still the term surely means, that in consequence of some element of relation or character, an element inborn and not infused, men are exposed to the Divine wrath. The clause does not, as these critics hold, simply mean that men in an unconverted state are obnoxious to punishment, but that men, apart from all that is extrinsic and accidental, all that time or circumstance may create or modify, are “children of wrath.” As Calvin says-Hoc uno verbo quasi fulmine totus homo quantus-quantus est prosternitur. It would be, at the same time, wholly contrary to Scripture and reason to maintain, with Flacius, that sin is a part of the very essence and substance of our nature. The language of this clause does not imply it. Sin is a foreign element & --; an accident - whatever be the depth of human depravity.
It belongs not to the province of interpretation to enter into any illustration of the doctrine expressed or implied in the clause under review. The origin of evil is an inscrutable mystery, and has afforded matter of subtle speculation from Plato down to Kant and Schelling, while, in the interval, Aquinas bent his keen vision upon the problem, and felt his gaze dazzled and blunted. Ideas of the actual nature of sin naturally modify our conceptions of its moral character, as may be seen in the theories which have been entertained from those of Manichaean dualism and mystic pre-existence, to those of privation, sensuousness, antagonism, impreventibility, and the subtle distinction between formal and real liberty developed in the hypothesis of Müller. While admitting the scriptural account of the introduction of sin, many have shaped their views of it from the connection in which they place it in reference to Divine foreknowledge, and so have sprung up the Supralapsarian and Sublapsarian hypotheses. Attempts to form a perfect scheme of Theodicy, or a full vindication of the Divinity, have occupied many other minds than that of Leibnitz. The relation of the race to its Progenitor has bee n viewed in various lights, and analogies physical, political, and metaphysical, with theories of Creationism and Traducianism, have been employed in illustration, from the days of Augustine and Pelagius to those of Erasmus and Luther, Calvin and Arminius, Taylor and President Edwards. Questions about the origin of evil, transmission of depravity, imputation of guilt, federal or representative position on the part of Adam, and physical and spiritual death as elements of the curse, have given rise to long and laboured argumentation, because men have looked at them from very different standpoints, and have been influenced in their treatment of the problem by their philosophical conceptions of the Divine character, the nature of sin, and that moral freedom and power which belong to responsible humanity. The modus may be and is among “the deep things of God,” but the res is palpable; for experience confirms the Divine testimony that we are by nature “children of wrath,” per generationem, not per imitationem.
(Ephesians 2:4.) ῾ο δὲ θεὸς, πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει—“But God, being rich in mercy.” The apostle resumes the thought started in Ephesians 2:1. The δέ not only intimates this, but shows also that the thought about to be expressed is in contrast with that which occupies the immediately preceding verses. The fact of God's mercy succeeds a description of man's guilt and misery, and the transition from the one to the other is indicated by the particle δέ. Hartung, vol. i. p. 173; Jelf, § 767. Jerome rashly condemns the use of δέ; but Bodius stigmatizes the patristic critic as judging-nimis profecto audacter et hypercritice. ῎ελεος signifies “mercy,” and is a term stronger and more practical than οἰκτιρμός. It is not mere emotion, but emotion creating actual assistance-sympathy leading to succour. The participle ὤν does not seem to have here a causal significance, as such an idea is expressed by the following διά. And in this mercy God is rich. It has no scanty foothold in His bosom, for it fills it. Though mercy has been expended by God for six millenniums, and myriads of myriads have been partakers of it, it is still an unexhausted mine of wealth-
διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην αὐτοῦ, ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς—“on account of His great love with which He loved us.” The former clause describes the general source of blessing; this marks out a direct and special manifestation, and is in immediate connection with the following verb. On the use of a verb with its cognate noun carrying with it an intensity of meaning, the reader may turn to Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:20; Winer, § 32, 2; Kühner, § 547. The ἡμᾶς are Paul and his contemporary believers, and, of course, all possessing similar faith. That love is πολλή-great indeed; for a great God is its possessor, and great sinners are its objects. The adjective probably marks the quality of intensity; indeed, while its generic meaning remains, its specific allusion depends upon its adjuncts. The idea of frequency may thus be included, as it seems to be in some uses of the word-number being its radical meaning. πολλὴ ἀγάπη, therefore, is love, the intensity of which has been shown in the fervour and frequency of its developments. See under Ephesians 1:5. And what can be higher proof than this-
(Ephesians 2:5.) καὶ ὄντας ἡμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν—“Us being even dead in trespasses.” The καί does more than mark the connection. It does not, however, signify “also,” as Meier supposes—“us, too, along with you;” nor, as Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, and Holzhausen think, does it merely show the connection of the ὑμᾶς of Ephesians 2:1 with this ἡμᾶς of Ephesians 2:5. Nor does it mean “yet,” “although,” as Koppe takes it. In this view, to give any good sense, it must be joined to the preceding verb—“He loved us, even though we were dead in sins.” But such a construction destroys the unity of meaning. With Meyer and Harless, we prefer joining the καί to the participle ὄντας, and making it signify “indeed,” or when we “were truly” dead in sins. Hartung, vol. i. p. 132. See chap. Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:15.
συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ χριστῷ—“quickened together with Christ.” Some MSS. and texts have the preposition ἐν before τῷ χριστῷ, but for this there is no authority, as the dative is governed by the συν- in composition with the verb. The σύν is repeated before the dative in Colossians 2:13. The entire passage, and the aorist form of the three verbs, show that this vivification is a past, and not a future blessing. It is a life enjoyed already, not one merely secured to us by our ideal resurrection with Christ. The remark of Jerome is foreign to the purpose, that the aorist is used with reference to the Divine prescience-id quod futurum est, quasi factum esse jam dixerit. We have already exhibited the validity of our objection under Ephesians 1:19. Theodoret's interpretation is out of place,- ἐκείνου γὰρ ἀναστάντος, καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐλπίζομεν ἀναστήσεσθαι. Meyer's view has been already rejected under the 1st verse of this chapter; for as the death there described is not a physical death to come upon us, but a death already experienced, so this is not a physical resurrection to be enjoyed at some distant epoch, but one in which, even now, we who were dead have participated. Therefore, with the majority of interpreters, we hold that it is spiritual life to which the apostle refers. The exegesis of Harless, found also in the old Scottish commentator Dickson, though it be cleverly maintained, is too refined, and is not in accordance with the literal and sincere appeal of the apostle to present Christian experience, for in his opinion, life, resurrection, and glorification are said to be ours, not because we actually enjoy them, but because Jesus has experienced them, and they are ours in Him, or ours because they are His. Olshausen advocates a similar view, though not so broadly. Slichtingius and Crellius suppose that the verb refers to the jus, not the ipsum factum; and it is of necessity the theory of all who, like Rollock and Bodius, maintain that the resurrection and enthronement described are specially connected with the body and its final ascension and blessedness. The interpretation of Chrysostom- εἰ γὰρ ἡ ἀπαρχὴ ζῇ, καὶ ἡμεῖς—“if the first-fruits live, so do we,” does not wholly bring out the meaning. Theophylact's exposition, which is shared in by Augustine and Erasmus, is more acute. God raised up Christ, ἐκεῖνον ἐνεργείᾳ-Him in fact, but us δυνάμει νῦν-potentially now, but afterwards in fact also. Harless compares the language with that in Romans 8:30, which Meyer also quotes, where the verbs are all aorists, and where the last verb refers to future but certain glory. But the apostle in that verse describes, by the aorists, God's normal method of procedure viewed as from the past-the call, justification, and glorification being contained in a past predestination, and regarded as coincident with it. The apostle is not appealing to the Roman Christians, and saying, “God has called and glorified you;” he is only describing God's general and invariable method of procedure in man's salvation. But here he speaks to the Ephesian converts, and tells them that God quickened them, raised them up, and gave them a seat with Jesus. He is not unfolding principles of divine government; but analyzing human experience, and verifying that analysis by an appeal to living consciousness. Were no more intended by the words than Harless imagines, then they would be quite as true of Christians still unborn as they were of Ephesian believers at that time in existence, since all who shall believe to the end of time were spiritually comprised in the risen Saviour. Nay more, the sentiment would be true of men in an unconverted state who were afterwards to believe. But here the apostle speaks of union with Jesus not only as a realized fact, but of its blessed and personal results. The death was a personal state, and the life corresponds in character. It is not a theoretic abstraction, but as really an individual blessing as the death was an individual curse. The life and resurrection spoken of are now possessed, and their connection with Christ seems to be of the following nature. When God quickened and raised Christ, this process, as we have seen, was the example and pledge of our spiritual vivification. When He was raised physically, all His people were ideally raised in Him; and in consequence of this connection with Him, they are, through faith, actually quickened and raised, Ephesians 1:19-20. The object of the apostle, however, is not merely to affirm that spiritual life and resurrection have been secured by such a connection with Jesus, but that, having been so provided, they are also really possessed. The writer tells the Ephesians that they had been dead, and he assures them that life in connection with Christ had been given them, and not merely through Christ potentially secured for them, and reserved for a full but future enjoyment. The verb συνεκάθισεν, on which Olshausen and Harless lay stress as supporting their view, does not, as we shall see, at all support their exegesis. In a word, the apostle appears to intimate not only that the mediatorial person of Jesus had a peculiar and all-comprehending relation to His whole people, so that, as Olshausen says, “Christ is the real type for every form of life among them,” but that the Ephesian believers possessed really and now these blessings, which had their origin and symbol in Jesus, the Saviour and Representative. And therefore the notion of Beza and Bloomfield, that συν- in the verb glances at a union of Jew and Gentile, is as wide of the truth on the one side, as is on the other the opinion that it means “after the example of”-the opinion of Anselm, Marloratus, Koppe, Grotius, a-Lapide, and Rosenmüller. See on κατά in Ephesians 1:19. Calvin limits the possession too much to objective happiness and glory laid up for us in Christ. The language of Crocius is better-nos excitatos esse in Christo, ut in capite membra; idque non potentia, non spe, sed actu et re ipsa.
Now, the life given corresponds in nature to the death suffered. It is therefore spiritual life, such as is needed for man's dead spirit. The soul restored to the divine favour lives again, and its new pulsations are vigorous and healthful. As every form of life is full of conscious enjoyment, this too has its higher gladness; truth, peace, thankfulness, and hope swelling the bosom, while it displays its vital powers in sanctified activity: for all its functions are the gift of the Vivifier, and they are dedicated to His service. That life may be feeble at first, but “the sincere milk of the word” is imbibed, and the expected maturity is at length reached. Its first moment may not indeed be registered in the consciousness, as it may be awakened within us by a varying process, in harmony with the quickness or the slowness of mental perception, and the dulness or the delicacy of the moral temperament. The sun rises in our latitude preceded by a long twilight, which gradually brightens into morning; but within the tropics he ascends at once above the horizon with sudden and exuberant glory. (For an illustration of God's power in giving this life, the reader may consult under Ephesians 2:19-20 of the previous chapter.) Then follows the interjected thought-
χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι—“by grace have ye been saved.” The δέ or γάρ found in some MSS. is a clumsy addition, and οὗ, the genitive of the relative pronoun, occurring in D†, E, F, G ( οὗ τῇ χάριτι, or οὗ χάριτι), and plainly followed by the Vulgate and Ambrosiaster, is rejected alike by Lachmann and Tischendorf. The grace referred to is that of God, not of Christ-as Beza supposes. The thought is suddenly and briefly thrown in, as it rose to the apostle's mind, for it is a natural suggestion; and so powerfully did it fill and move his soul, that he suddenly writes it, but continues the illustration, and then fondly returns to it in Ephesians 2:8. This mental association shows how closely Paul connected life with safety-how mercy and love, uniting us to Christ, and vivifying us with Him, are elements of this grace, and how this union with Jesus and the life springing from it are identical with salvation. But he proceeds-
(Ephesians 2:6.) καὶ συνήγειρεν—“And raised us up with.” The meaning of συν- is of course the same as in the preceding συνεζωοποίησε. Believers are not only quickened, but they are also raised up; they not only receive life, but they experience a resurrection. The dead, on being quickened, do not lie in their graves; they come forth, cast from them the cerements of mortality, and re-enter the haunts of living humanity. Jesus rose on being vivified, and left His sepulchre with the grave-clothes in it. His people enjoy the activities as well as the elements of vitality, for they are raised out of the spiritual death-world, and are not found “the living among the dead.” It is a violation of the harmony of sense to understand the first verb of spiritual life, and the second of physical resurrection, or the hope of it, as do Menochius, Bodius, Estius, and Grotius. Still more-
καὶ συνεκάθισεν—“and seated us together with.” This verb is to be understood in a spiritual sense as well as the two preceding ones. It is the spirit which is quickened, raised, and co-enthroned with Christ. And the place of honour and dignity is-
ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This idiom has been already considered both under Ephesians 2:3 and Ephesians 2:20 of the 1st chapter. It does not denote heaven proper, but is the ideal locality of the church on the earth, as “the kingdom of heaven”-above the world in its sphere of occupation and enjoyment. The addition of ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ occurs also Ephesians 1:3; and in both places the epithet τὰ ἐπουράνια points out the exalted position of the church. Union to Christ brings us into them. His glory is their bright canopy, and His presence diffuses joy and hope. The ἐν before χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ has perplexed commentators, for συν- is also in composition with the verb, and would have been supposed to govern these nouns, had not ἐν been expressed. But ἐν again, as frequently in the previous portion of the epistle, defines the sphere, and refers to the three aorists-so anxious is the apostle to show that union to Christ is the one source of spiritual honour and enjoyment. This spiritual enthronement with Jesus is not more difficult to comprehend than our “royal priesthood.” The loose interpretations of it by Koppe and Rosenmüller rob it of its point and beauty. Nor is the mere “arousing of the heavenly consciousness” all that is meant, as Olshausen supposes. Indeed, Rückert, Meier, Matthies, and Conybeare are nearer the truth. Our view is simply as follows-Our life, resurrection, and enthronement follow one another, as in the actual history of the great Prototype. But this “sitting with Jesus” is as spiritual as the life, and it indicates the calmness and dignity of the new existence. The quickened soul is not merely made aware that in Christ, as containing it and all similar souls, it is enlivened, and raised up, and elevated, but along with th is it enjoys individually a conscious life, resurrection, and session with Jesus. It feels these blessings in itself, and through its union with Him. It lives, and it is conscious of this life; it has been raised, and it is aware of its change of spiritual position. It is more than Augustine allows-Nondum in nobis, sed jam in Illo-for it feels itself in the meantime sitting with Jesus, not solely because of its relation to Him in His representative character, but because of its own joyous and personal possession of royal elevation, purity, and honour. “He hath made us kings.” Revelation 1:6. What is more peculiar to the spirit in this series of present and beatific gifts, shall at length be shared in by the entire humanity. The body shall be quickened, raised, and glorified, and the redeemed man shall, in the fulness of his nature, enjoy the happiness of heaven. The divine purpose is-
(Ephesians 2:7.) ῞ινα ἐνδείξηται ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις—“In order that He might show forth in the ages which are coming”- ἵνα indicating design. The meaning of this verse depends on the sense attached to the last word. Harless, Meyer, Olshausen, de Wette, and Bisping, take them as descriptive of the future world. Thus Theophylact also- νῦν μὲν γὰρ πολλοὶ ἀπιστοῦσιν, ἐν δὲ τῷ μέλλοντι αἰῶνι πάντες γνώσονται τί ἡμῖν ἐχαρίσατο, ὁρῶντες ἐν ἀφάτῳ δόξῃ τοὺς ἁγίους; the idea being that the blessings of life, resurrection, and elevation with Christ now bestowed upon believers, may be hidden in the meantime, but that in the kingdom of glory they shall be seen in their peculiar lustre and pre-eminence. Thus Wycliffe also—“in the worldlis above comying.” But the language of this verse is too full and peculiar to have only in it this general thought. Why should the greatness of the grace that quickened and elevated such sinners as these Ephesians, not be displayed till the realms of glory be reached? Or might not God intend in their salvation at that early age to show to coming ages, as vicious as they, what were the riches of His grace? The verb ἐνδείξηται, which in the New Testament is always used in the middle voice, means to show for oneself-for His own glory. Jelf, § 363, 1. Still, the language of the verse suggests the idea of sample or specimen. Paul, who classes himself with the Ephesians in the ἡμᾶς, makes this use of his own conversion. 1 Timothy 1:16. The peculiar plural phrase αἰῶνες, with the participle ἐπερχόμενοι, denotes “coming or impending ages.” Luke 21:26; Luke 21:37; James 5:1. The αἰών is an age or period of time, and these αἰῶνες form a series of such ages, which were to commence immediately. These ages began at the period of the apostle's writing, and are still rolling on till the second advent. The salvation of such men as these Ephesians at that early period of Christianity, was intended by God to stand out as a choice monument to succeeding generations of “the exceeding riches of His grace”-
τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ. The neuter form is preferred by Tischendorf and Lachmann on the authority of A, B, D1, F, G. Gersdorf, Beiträge, p. 282; Winer, § 9, 2, note 2. The participle ὑπερβάλλον has been already explained Ephesians 1:19. The conversion of the Ephesians was a manifestation of the grace of God-of its riches, of its over-flowing riches. That was not restricted grace-grace to a few, or grace to the more deserving, or grace to the milder forms of apostasy. No; it has proved its wealth in the salvation of such sinners as are delineated in the melancholy picture of the preceding verses. Nay, it is couched-
ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Four terms are already employed by the apostle to exhibit the source of salvation- ἔλεος, ἀγάπη, χάρις, χρηστότης-conveying the same blessed truth in different aspects. The first respects our misery; the second defines the co-essential form of this- ἔλεος; the third characterizes its free outgoing, and the last points to its palpable and experienced embodiment. Trench, Syn. p. 192. Winer suggests that ἐφ᾿ ἡμᾶς is connected with ὑπερβάλλον, § 20, 2, b. But the structure of the sentence forbids altogether such a connection, and the construction proposed by Homberg and Koppe is as violent- τῆς χάριτος καὶ χρηστότητος, supplying ὄντας also to the phrase ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ. The noun χρηστότης may be followed itself by ἐπί, as in Romans 11:22, or as when the adjective occurs, Luke 6:35. We do not understand, with Olshausen, that ἐν χρηστότητι is a closer definition of the more general χάρις. Nor is there any need of a metonymy, and of taking the term to denote a benefit or the result of a kindness. This kindness is true generosity, for it contains saving grace. It is not common providential kindness, but special “kindness in Christ Jesus,” no article being inserted to show the closeness of the connection, and the preposition ἐν again, as so often before, marking Christ Jesus as the only sphere of blessing. See under Ephesians 1:16. There is an evident alliteration in χάρις, χρηστότης, χριστός. The kindness of God in Christ Jesus is a phrase expressive of the manner in which grace operates. His grace is in His goodness. Grace may be shown among men in a very ungracious way, but God's grace clothes itself in kindness, a s well in the time as in the mode of its bestowment. What kindness in sending His grace so early to Ephesus, and in converting such men as now formed its church! O, He is so kind in giving grace, and such grace, to so many men, and of such spiritual demerit and degradation; so kind as not only to forgive sin, but even to forget it (Hebrews 8:12); so kind, in short, as not only by His grace to quicken us, but in the riches of His grace to raise us up, and in its exceeding riches to enthrone us in the heavenly places in Christ! And all the grace in this kindness shown in the first century is a lesson even to the nineteenth century. What God did then, He can do now and will do now; and one reason why He did it then was, to teach the men of the present age His ability and desire to repeat in them the same blessed process of salvation and life.
(Ephesians 2:8.) τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως—“For by grace ye have been saved, through your faith.” The particle γάρ explains why the apostle has said that the exceeding riches of God's grace are shown forth in man's salvation, and glances back to the interjectional clause at the end of Ephesians 2:5. Salvation must display grace, for it is wholly of grace. The dative χάριτι, on which from its position the emphasis lies, expresses the source of our salvation, and the genitive πίστεως with διά denotes its subjective means or instrument. Salvation is of grace by faith-the one being the efficient, the other the modal cause; the former the origin, the latter the method, of its operation. The grace of God which exists without us, takes its place as an active principle within us, being introduced into the heart and kept there by the connecting or conducting instrumentality of faith.
χάρις—“favour,” is opposed to necessity on the part of God, and to merit on the part of man. God was under no obligation to save man, for His law might have taken its natural course, and the penalty menaced and deserved might have been fully inflicted. Grace springs from His sovereign will, not from His essential nature. It is not an attribute which must always manifest itself, but a prerogative that may either be exercised or held in abeyance. Salvation is an abnormal process, and “grace is no more grace” if it is of necessary exhibition. Grace is also opposed to merit on man's part. Had he any title, salvation would be “of debt.” The two following verses are meant to state and prove that salvation is not and cannot be of human merit. In short, the human race had no plea with God, but God's justice had a high and holy claim on them. The conditions of the first economy had been violated, and the guilty transgressor had only to anticipate the infliction of the penalty which he had so wantonly incurred. The failure of the first covenant did not either naturally or necessarily lead to a new experiment. While man had no right to expect, God was under no necessity to provide salvation. It is “by grace.”
But this grace does not operate immediately and universally. Its medium is faith - διὰ τῆς πίστεως. The two nouns “grace” and “faith” have each the article, as they express ideas which are at once familiar, distinctive, and monadic in their nature; the article before χάριτι, referring us at the same time to the anarthrous term at the close of the fifth verse, and that before πίστεως, giving it a subjective reference, is best rendered, as Alford says, by a possessive. Lachmann, after B, D1, F, G, omits the second article, but the majority of MSS. are in its favour. It is the uniform doctrine of the New Testament, that no man is saved against his will; and his desire to be saved is proved by his belief of the Divine testimony. Salvation by grace is not arbitrarily attached to faith by the mere sovereign dictate of the Most High, for man's willing acceptance of salvation is essential to his possession of it, and the operation of faith is just the sinner's appreciation of the Divine mercy, and his acquiescence in the goodness and wisdom of the plan of recovery, followed by a cordial appropriation of its needed and adapted blessings, or, as Augustine tersely and quaintly phrases it-Qui creavit te sine te, non salvabit te sine te. Justification by faith alone, is simply pardon enjoyed on the one condition of taking it.
And thus “ye have been saved;” not-ye will be finally saved; not-ye are brought into a state in which salvation is possible, or put into a condition in which you might “work and win” for yourselves, but-ye are actually saved. The words denote a present state, and not merely “an established process.” Green's Gram. of New Test. 317. Thus Tyndale translates—“By grace ye are made safe thorowe faith.” The context shows the truth of this interpretation, and that the verb denotes a terminated action. If men have been spiritually dead, and if they now enjoy spiritual life, then surely they are saved. So soon as a man is out of danger, he is safe or “saved.” Salvation is a present blessing, though it may not be fully realized. The man who has escaped from the wreck, and has been taken into the lifeboat, is from that moment a saved man. Even though he scarce feel his safety or be relieved from his tremor, he is still a saved man; yea, though the angry winds may howl around him, and though hours may elapse ere he set his feet on the firm land. The apostle adds more precisely and fully-
καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν—“and that not of yourselves”- ἐκ, as it often does, referring to source or cause. Winer, § 47, b. The pronoun τοῦτο does not grammatically agree with πίστεως, the nearest preceding noun, and this discrepancy has originated various interpretations. The words καὶ τοῦτο are rendered “and indeed” by Wahl, Rückert, and Matthies. This emphatic sense belongs to the word in certain connections. Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philippians 1:28. The plural is also similarly used. 1 Corinthians 6:8; Hebrews 11:12; Matthiae, § 470, 6. The meaning of the idiom may here be—“Ay, and this” is not of yourselves. But what is the point of reference?
Many refer it directly to πίστις—“And this faith is not of yourselves.” Such is the interpretation of the fathers Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Jerome. Chrysostom says- οὐδὲ ἡ πίστις ἐξ ἡμῶν, εἰ γὰρ οὐκ ἦλθεν, εἰ γὰρ μὴ ἐκάλεσε, πῶς ἠδυνάμεθα πιστεῦσαι. Jerome thus explains-Et haec ipsa fides non est ex vobis, sed ex eo qui vocavit vos. The same view is taken by Erasmus, Beza, Crocius, Cocceius, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, and Hodge. Bloomfield says that “all the Calvinistic commentators hold this view,” and yet Calvin himself was an exception. There are several objections to this, not as a point of doctrine, but of exegesis. 1. If the apostle meant to refer to faith- πίστις, why change the gender? why not write καὶ αὕτη? To say, with some, that faith is viewed in the abstract as τὸ πιστεύειν, does not, as we shall see, relieve us of the difficulty. 2. Granting that καὶ τοῦτο is an idiomatic expression, and that its gender is not to be strictly taken into account, still the question recurs, What is the precise reference of δῶρον? 3. Again, πίστις does not seem to be the immediate reference, as the following verse indicates. You may say—“And this faith is not of yourselves: it is God's gift;” but you cannot say—“And this faith is not of yourselves, but it is God's gift; not of works, lest any man should boast.” You would thus be obliged, without any cause, to change the reference in Ephesians 2:9, for you may declare that salvation is not of works, but cannot with propriety say that faith is not of works. The phrase οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων must have salvation, and not faith, as its reference. The words from καὶ τοῦτο to the end of the verse may be read parenthetically—“By grace are ye saved, through faith (and t hat not of yourselves: it is the gift of God), not of works;” that is, “By grace ye are saved, through faith,” “not of works.” Even with this understanding of the paragraph, the difficulty still remains, and the idea of such a parenthesis cannot be well entertained, for the ἐξ ὑμῶν corresponds to the ἐξ ἔργων. Baumgarten-Crusius argues that the allusion is to πίστις, because the word δῶρον proves that the reference must be to something internal-auf Innerliches. But is not salvation as internal as faith? So that we adopt the opinion of Calvin, Zachariae, Rückert, Harless, Matthies, Meyer, Scholz, de Wette, Stier, Alford, and Ellicott, who make καὶ τοῦτο refer to ἐστε σεσωσμένοι—“and this state of safety is not of yourselves.” This exegesis is presented in a modified form by Theophylact, Zanchius, Holzhausen, Chandler, and Macknight, who refer καὶ τοῦτο to the entire clause—“this salvation by faith is not of yourselves.” Theophylact says- οὐ τὴν πίστιν λέγει δῶρον θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὸ διὰ πίστεως σωθῆναι, τοῦτο δῶρον ἐστι θεοῦ. But some of the difficulties of the first method of interpretation attach to this. The καὶ τοῦτο refers to the idea contained in the verb, and presents that idea in an abstract form. At the same time, as Ellicott shrewdly remarks, “the clause καὶ τοῦτο, etc., was suggested by the mention of the subjective medium- πίστις, which might be thought to imply some independent action on the part of the subject.” This condition of safety is not of yourselves-is not of your own origination or procurement, though it be of your reception. It did not spring from you, nor did you suggest it to God; but-
θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον—“God's is the gift.” God's gift is the gift-the genitive θεοῦ being the emphatic predicate in opposition to ὑμῶν. Bernhardy, p. 315. Lachmann and Harless place this clause in a parenthesis. The only objection against the general view of the passage which we have taken is, that it is somewhat tautological. The apostle says—“By grace ye are saved,” and then—“It is the gift of God;” the same idea being virtually repeated. True so far, but the insertion of the contrasted οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν suggested the repetition. And there is really no tautology. In chap. Ephesians 3:7 occur the words- κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ … χάρις being the thing given, and δωρεάν pointing out its mode of bestowment. Men are saved by grace- τῇ χάριτι; and that salvation which has its origin in grace is not won from God, nor is it wrung from Him; “His is the gift.” Look at salvation in its origin-it is “by grace.” Look at it in its reception-it is “through faith.” Look at it in its manner of conferment-it is a “gift.” For faith, though an indispensable instrument, does not merit salvation as a reward; and grace operating only through faith, does not suit itself to congruous worth, nor single it out as its sole recipient. Salvation, in its broadest sense, is God's gift. While, then, καὶ τοῦτο seems to refer to the idea contained in the participle only, it would seem that in θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον there is allusion to the entire clause-God's is the whole gift. The complex idea of the verse is compressed into this brief ejaculation. The three clauses, as Meyer has remarked, form a species of asyndeton-that is, the connecting particles are omitted, and the style acquires greater liveliness and force. Dissen, Exc. ii. ad Pind. p. 273; Stallbaum, Plato-Crit. p. 144.
Griesbach places in a parenthesis the entire clause from καὶ τοῦτο to ἐξ ἔργων, connecting the words ἵνα μὴ τις καυχήσηται with διὰ τῆς πίστεως, but the words οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων have an immediate connection with the ἵνα-a connection which cannot be set aside. Matthies again joins οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων to the foregoing clause—“and that not of yourselves; the gift of God is not of works.” Such an arrangement is artificial and inexact. The apostle now presents the truth in a negative contrast-
(Ephesians 2:9.) οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων—“Not of works”-the explanation of οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν. The apostle uses διά with the article before πιστεως in the previous verse, but here ἐξ without the article before ἔργων-the former referring to the subjective instrument, or causa apprehendens; the latter to the source, and excluding works of every kind and character. ᾿εκ again refers to source or cause. Schweighaüser, Lex. Herodot. p. 192. Salvation is by grace, and therefore not of us; it is through faith, and therefore not of works; it is God's gift, and therefore not of man's origination. Such works belong not to fallen and condemned humanity. It has not, and by no possibility can it have any of them, for it has failed to render prescribed obedience; and though it should now or from this time be perfect in action, such conformity could only suffice for present acceptance. How, then, shall it atone for former delinquencies? The first duty of a sinner is faith, and what merit can there be where there is no confidence in God? “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” The theory that represents God as having for Christ's sake lowered the terms of His law so as to accept of sincere endeavours for perfect obedience, is surely inconsistent in its commixture of merit and grace. For if God dispense with the claims of His law now, why not for ever-if to one point, why not altogether-if to one class of creatures, why not to all? On such a theory, the moral bonds of the universe would be dissolved. The distinction made by Thomas Aquinas between meritum ex congruo and meritum ex condigno, was too subtle to be popularly apprehended, and it did not arrest the Pelagian tendencies of the mediaeval church.
ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται—“lest any one should boast.” According to the just view of Rückert, Harless, Meyer, and Stier, the conjunction marks design, or is telic; according to others, such as Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen, Macknight, Chandler, and Bloomfield, it indicates result—“so as that no one may boast.” So also Theophylact- τὸ, γὰρ, ἵνα, οὐκ αἰτιολογικόν ἐστι, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τῆς ἀποβάσεως τοῦ πράγματος; that is, the ἵνα is not causal, but eventual in its meaning. Koppe suggests as an alternative to give the words an imperative sense—“Not of works: beware then of boasting.” Stier proposes that the ἵνα be viewed from a human standpoint, and as indicative of the writer's own purpose; as if the apostle had said—“Not of works, I repeat it, lest any one should boast.” This exegesis is certainly original, as its author has indeed mentioned; but it is as certainly unnatural and far-fetched. Macknight has argued that ἵνα cannot have its telic force, for it would represent God as appointing our salvation to be by faith, merely to prevent men's boasting, “which certainly is an end unworthy of God in so great an affair;” but this is not a full view of the matter, for the apostle does not characterize the prevention of boasting as God's only end, but as one of His purposes. For what would boasting imply? Would it not imply fancied merit, independence of God, and that self-deification which is the very essence of sin? A pure and perfect creature has nothing to boast of; for what has he that he has not received? “Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” When God purposes to preclude boasting, or even the possibility of it, He resolves to effect His design in this one way, by filling the mind with such emotions as shall infallibly banish it. He furnishes the re deemed spirit with humility and gratitude-such humility as ever induces man to confess his emptiness, and such gratitude as ever impels him to ascribe every blessing to the one source of Divine generosity. We see no reason, therefore, to withhold from ἵνα its natural and primary sense, especially as in the mind and theology of the apostle, event is so often viewed in unison with its source, and result is traced to its original design, in the Divine idea and motive. And truly boasting is effectually stopped. For if man be guilty, and being unable to win a pardon, simply receive it; if, being dead, he get life only as a Divine endowment; if favour, and nothing but favour, have originated his safety, and the only possible act on his part be that of reception; if what he has be but a gift to him in his weak and meritless state-then surely nothing can be further from him than boasting, for he will glorify God for all, 1 Corinthians 1:29-31. Ambrosiaster truly remarks-haec superbia omni peccato nocentior omni genere est elationis insanior. And further, salvation cannot be of ourselves or of works-
(Ephesians 2:10.) αὐτοῦ γὰρ ἐσμεν ποίημα—“For we are His workmanship.” The γάρ has its common meaning. It renders the reason for the statement in the two previous verses. It does not signifiy “yet,” as Macknight has it. Others carelessly overlook it altogether. Nor can we accede to the opinion of Theophylact, Photius, and Bloomfield, that this verse is introduced to prevent misconception, as if the meaning were—“Salvation is not of works,” yet do them we must, “for we are His workmanship.” This notion does not tally with the simple reasoning of the apostle, and helps itself out by an unwarranted assumption. Rückert and Meier join this verse in thought to the last clause of the preceding one—“No man who works can boast, for the man himself is God's workmanship.” But the apostle has affirmed that salvation is not of works, so that such works are not supposed to exist at all; and therefore there is no ground for boasting. Nor can we, with Harless, view the verse as connected simply with the phrase- θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον. We regard it, with Meyer, as designed to prove and illustrate the great truth of the 9th verse, that salvation is not of works. “By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves-not of works, for we are His workmanship.” Hooker, vol. 2.601; Oxford, 1841.
But the terms may be first explained. The apostle changes from the second to the first person without any other apparent reason than the varied momentary impulse one yields to in writing a letter. The noun ποίημα, as the following clause shows, plainly refers to the spiritual re-formation of believers, and it is as plainly contrary to the course of thought to give it a physical reference, as did Gregory of Nazianzus, Tertullian, Basil, Photius, and Jerome. The same opinion, modified by including also the notion of spiritual creation, is followed by Pelagius, Erasmus, Bullinger, Rückert, and Matthies. The process of workmanship is next pointed out-
κτισθέντες ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“created in Christ Jesus.” This added phrase explains and bounds the meaning of ποίημα. The reference here is to the καινὴ κτίσις (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), and the form of expression carries us back to many portions of the Hebrew prophets, and to the use of בָּרָא, H1343, in Psalms 51:10, and in Psalms 102:18 (Schoettgen, Horae Hebraicae, i. p. 328). See also Ephesians 2:15 of this chapter. Chrysostom adds, with peculiar and appropriate emphasis- ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος, εἰς τὸ εἶναι παρήχθημεν. Again is it ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ, for Christ Jesus is ever the sphere of creation, or, through their vital union with Him, men are formed anew, and the spiritual change that passes over them has its best emblem and most expressive name in the physical creation, when out of chaos sprang light, harmony, beauty, and life. The object of this spiritual creation in Christ is declared to be-
ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς—“in order to,” or “for good works.” This meaning of ἐπί may be seen in Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:7. Winer, § 48, c; Kühner, § 612, 3, c; Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 474. Palairet, in his Observat. Sac. in loc., has given several good examples of ἐπί with such a sense. Our entire renovation, while it is of God in its origin, and in Christ as its medium, has good works for its object.
Now, as already intimated, we understand this verse as a proof that salvation is not of works. For, 1. The statement that salvation is of works involves an anachronism. Works, in order to procure salvation, must precede it, but the good works described by the apostle come after it, for they only appear after a man is in Christ, believes and lives. 2. The statement that salvation is of works involves the fallacy of mistaking the effect for the cause. Good works are not the cause of salvation; they are only the result of it. Salvation causes them; they do not cause it. This workmanship of God-this creation in Christ Jesus-is their true source, implying a previous salvation. Thus runs the well-known confessional formula-Bona opera non praecedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum. The law says—“Do this and live;” but the gospel says—“Live and do this.” 3. And even such good works can have in them no saving merit, for we are His workmanship. Talia non nos efficimus, says Bugenhagen, sed Spiritus Dei in nobis; or, as Augustine puts it-ipso in nobis et per nos operante, merita tua nusquam jactes, quia et ipsa tua merita Dei dona sunt. Comment. in Psalms 144. The power and the desire to perform good works are alike from God, for they are only fruits and manifestations of Divine grace in man; and as they are not self-produced, they cannot entitle us to reward. Such, we apprehend, is the apostle's argument. Salvation is not ἐξ ἔργων; yet it is ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς—“in order to good works”-the fruits of salvation and acceptance with God, proofs of holy obedience, tokens of the possession of Christ's image, elements of the imitation of Christ's example, and the indices of that holiness which adorns the new creation, and “without which no man can see the Lord.” Peter Lombard says well-Sola bona opera dicenda sunt , quae fiunt per dilectionem Dei. But there can be no productive love of God where there is no faith in His Son, and where that faith does exist, salvation is already possessed. The disputes on this point at the period of the Reformation were truly lamentable; Solifidians and Synergists battled with mischievous fury: Major arguing that salvation was dependent on good works, and Amsdorf reprobating them as prejudicial to it; while Agricola maintained the Antinomian absurdity, that the law itself was abolished, and no longer claimed obedience from believers. And these “good” works are no novelty nor accident-
οἷς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν—“which God before prepared that we should walk in them.” The interpretation of this sentence depends upon the opinion formed as to the regimen of the pronoun οἷς.
1. Some, taking the word as a dative, render—“To which God hath afore ordained us, in order that we should walk in them.” Such is the view of Luther, Semler, Zachariae, Morus, Flatt, Meier, Bretschneider, and virtually of Fritzsche, Alt, and Wahl. But the omission of the pronoun ἡμᾶς is fatal to this opinion. The idea, too, which in such a connection is here expressed by a dative, is usually expressed by the accusative with εἰς. Romans 9:23; 2 Timothy 2:21; Revelation 9:7.
2. Valla, Erasmus, Er. Schmidt, and Rückert give οἷς a personal reference, as if it stood for ὅσοις ἡμῶν—“among whom God before prepared us.”-But the antecedent ἡμεῖς is too remote, and the οἷς appears to agree in gender with ἐν αὐτοῖς.
3. Bengel, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Baumgarten-Crusius take the phrase as a kind of Hebraism, or as a special idiom, in which, along with the relative pronoun, there is also repeated the personal pronoun and the preposition- אֲשֶׁרבָּם - ἐν οἷς ἵνα περιπατήσωμεν ἐν αὐτοῖς, προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός. But this exegesis is about as intricate as the original clause.
4. The large body of interpreters take the οἷς for ἅ by attraction. Winer, § 24, 1. This opinion is simple, the change of case by attraction is common, and a similar use of ἵνα is found in John 5:36. So the Vulgate-Quae praeparavit.
5. Acting upon a hint of Bengel's, Stier suggests that the verb may be taken in a neuter or intransitive sense, as the simple verb thus occurs in 2 Chronicles 1:4, and in Luke 9:52. Could this exegesis be fully justified, we should be inclined to adopt it—“For which God has made previous preparation, that we should walk in them.” The fourth opinion supposes the preparation to belong to the works also, but in a more direct form-the works being prepared for our performance of them. In this last view, the preparation refers more to the persons-preparation to enable them to walk in the works. The fourth interpretation is the best grammatically, and the meaning of the phrase, “which God has before prepared,” seems to be—“in order that we should walk in those works,” they have been prescribed, defined, and adapted to us.
It is wrong to ignore the προ in προητοίμασεν, as is done by Flatt and Baumgarten-Crusius. Wisdom of Solomon 9:8; Philo, De Opif. § 25. Nor can we, with Augustine, de Wette, and Harless, give the verb the same meaning as προορίζειν, or assign it, with Koppe and Rosenmüller, the sense of velle, or jubere; Harless saying that it is used of things as the verb last referred to is used of persons, but without sufficient proof; and Olshausen supposing that the two verbs differ thus-that προετοιμάζειν refers to a working of the Divine eternal will which is occupied more with details. Perhaps the difference is more accurately brought out in this way:- προορίζειν marks appointment or destination, in which the end is primarily kept in view, while in προετοιμάζειν the means by which the end is secured are specially regarded as of Divine arrangement, the προ referring to a period anterior to that implied in κτισθέντες. We could not walk in these works unless they had been prepared for us. And, therefore, by prearranging the works in their sphere, character, and suitability, and also by preordaining the law which commands, the inducement or appliances which impel, and the creation in Christ which qualifies and empowers us, God hath shown it to be His purpose that “we should walk in them.” Tersely does Bengel say, ambularemus, non salvaremur aut viveremus. These good works, though they do not secure salvation, are by God's eternal purpose essentially connected with it, and are not a mere offshoot accidentally united to it. Nor are they only joined to it correctionally, as if to counteract the abuses of the doctrine that it is not of works. The figure in the verb περιπατήσωμεν is a Hebraism occurring also in Ephesians 2:2. See under it. Titus 2:14; Titus 3:8. Though in such works there be no merit, yet faith shows it s genuineness by them. In direct antagonism to the Pauline theology is the strange remark of Whitby—“that these works of righteousness God hath prepared us to walk in, are conditions requisite to make faith saving.” The same view in substance has been elaborately maintained by Bishop Bull in his Harmonia Apostolica. Works, vol. iii. ed. Oxford, 1827. Nor is the expression less unphilosophical. Works cannot impart any element to faith, as they are not of the same nature with it. The saving power of faith consists in its acceptance and continued possession of God's salvation. Works only prove that the faith we have is a saving faith. And while Christians are to abound in works, such works are merely demonstrative, not in any sense supplemental in their nature. καὶ ἐκτίσθης οὐκ ἵνα ἀργῇς, ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα ἐργαζῃ (Theophylact). But the Council of Trent-Sess. vi. cap. 16-declares “that the Lord's goodness to all men is so great that He will have the things which are His own gifts to be their merits”-ut eorum velit esse merita quae sunt ipsius dona. See Hare, Mission of the Comforter, 1.359.
(Ephesians 2:11.) The second part of the epistle now commences, in a strain of animated address to the Gentile portion of the church of Christ in Ephesus, bidding them remember what they had been, and realize what by the mediation of Christ they had now become-
διὸ μνημονεύετε—“Wherefore remember.” The reference has a further aspect than to the preceding verse- διό commencing the paragraph, as in Romans 2:1, and in this epistle, Ephesians 3:13, Ephesians 4:25; though in some other places it winds up a paragraph, as in 2 Corinthians 12:10; Galatians 4:31. These things being so, and such being the blessings now enjoyed by them, lest any feeling of self-satisfaction should spring up within them, they were not to forget their previous state and character. This exercise of memory would deepen their humility, elevate their ideas of Divine grace, and incite them to ardent and continued thankfulness. The apostle honestly refers them to their previous Gentilism. Remember-
ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκὶ—“that ye, once Gentiles in the flesh.” ῎οντες is understood by some, and ἦτε by others; but of such a supplement there is no absolute need-the construction being repeated emphatically afterwards. The article τά before ἔθνη signifies a class, and it is omitted before ἐν σαρκί to indicate the closeness of idea. ῎εθνη- גּוֹיִם -has a special meaning attached to it. Not only were they foreigners, but they were ignorant and irreligious. Matthew 18:17. If ἔθνη simply signified non-Israelites, then they were so still, for Christianity does not obliterate difference of race; but the word denotes men without religious privilege, and in this sense they were ποτέ-once-heathen. But their ethnical state no longer existed. Some render ἐν σαρκί—“by natural descent,” as Bucer, Grotius, Estius, Stolz, and Kistmacher. This meaning is a good one, but the last clause of the verse points to a more distinct contrast. Ambrosiaster, Zanchius, Crocius, Wolf, and Holzhausen take the term in its theological sense, as if it signified corrupted nature; but κατὰ σάρκα would have been in that case the more appropriate idiom. Jerome supposes the phrase to stand in opposition to an implied ἐν πνεύματι. But the verse itself decides the meaning, as Drusius, Calvin, Beza, Rollock, Bengel, Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, Meyer, de Wette, and Stier rightly suppose. Natural Israel was so- ἐν σαρκί; the Gentiles were also so- ἐν σαρκί. Colossians 2:13. Both phrases have, therefore, the same meaning, and denote neither physical descent nor corrupted nature, but simply and literally “in flesh.” The absence of the “seal” in their flesh proved them to be Gentiles, as the presence of it showed the Jews to be the seed of Abraham. If ἐν σαρκί denoted natural descent, then the fact of it could not be changed. Heathens, and born so, they must be so still, but they had ceased to be heathen on their introduction into the kingdom of God. The world beyond them, whose flesh had been unmarked, was on that account looked down upon by the Jews, and characterized as τὰ ἔθνη. The apostle now explains his meaning more fully-
οἱ λεγόμενοι ᾿ακροβυστία—“who are called the Uncircumcision.” The noun ἀκροβυστία is, according to Fritzsche (on Romans 2:26), an Alexandrian corruption for ἀκροποσθία. This term has all the force of a proper name, and no article precedes it. Middleton, Greek Art. p. 43. It was, on the part of the Jews, the collective designation of the heathen world, and it sigmatized it as beyond the pale of religious privilege Genesis 34:14; Leviticus 19:23; Judges 14:3; 1 Samuel 14:6; Isaiah 52:1; Ezekiel 28:10. And the Gentiles were so named- עָרֵל, H6888-
ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς—“by the so-called Circumcision”-this last also a collective epithet. This was the national distinction on which the Jews flattered themselves. Other Abrahamic tribes, indeed, were circumcised, but the special promise was—“In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” The next words- ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου—“hand-made in the flesh,” as a tertiary predicate, do not belong to λεγομένης. “In the flesh made by hands” was no portion of their boasted name, but the phrase is added by the apostle, and the Syriac rightly renders it- ואִיתֶה עבֹד אִידָיֹאבבֶסרֹא —“and it is a work of the hands in the flesh.” He cannot, as Harless and Olshausen remark, be supposed to undervalue the right of circumcision, for it was signum sanctitatis. Indeed, his object in the next verses is to show, that the deplorable condition of the Gentiles was owing to their want of such blessings as were enjoyed by the chosen seed. Still, the apostle, by the words now referred to, seems to intimate that in itself the rite is nothing-that it is only a symbol of purity, a mere chirurgical process, which did not and could not secure for them eternal life. Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 5:6; Philip. Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 2:11; Colossians 3:11. The word is used in a good sense in Acts 10:45; Acts 11:2; Romans 15:8; Galatians 2:7-9; Colossians 4:11; Titus 1:10. The apostle alludes mentally to the “true circumcision” made without hands, which is not “outward in the flesh,” and which alone is of genuine and permanent value. Remember-
(Ephesians 2:12.) ῞οτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ χωρὶς χριστοῦ—“That at that same time ye were without Christ.” The preposition ἐν is of doubtful authority, and is rejected by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Kühner, § 569; Winer, § 31, 9, b. External authority, such as that of A, B, D1, F, G, is against it, though the Pauline usage, as found in Romans 3:26; Romans 11:5, 1 Corinthians 11:23, 2 Corinthians 8:13, etc., seems to be in its favour. The reference in the phrase—“at that time,” is to the period of previous Gentilism. The conjunction ὅτι resumes the thought with which the preceding verse started, and τῷ καιρῷ points back to ποτέ. The verb ἦτε, as de Wette suggests, and as Lachmann points, may be connected with the participle ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι—“that at that time, being without Christ, ye were excluded from theocratic privileges.” Ellicott and Alford call this construction harsh, and make ἐν χριστῷ a predicate. We will not contend for the construction, but we do not see such harshness in it. In this syntactic arrangement, χωρὶς χριστοῦ would give the reason why they were aliens from the Hebrew commonwealth. χωρὶς χριστοῦ corresponds to ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ in Ephesians 2:13. But in what sense was the Gentile world without Christ? According to Anselm, Calovius, Flatt, and Baumgarten-Crusius, the phrase means—“without the knowledge of Christ.” Olshausen, Matthies, and Rückert connect with the words the idea of the actual manifestation and energy of the Son of God, who dwelt among the ancient people prior to His incarnation. Koppe, Meyer, and Meier give this thought prominence in their interpretation—“without any connection with Christ,”-an exegesis, in an enlarged form, adopted by Stier. De Wette rightly gives it—“without the promise of Christ,” and in this he has followed Calvin, Bucer, Bullinger, and Grotius. Harless takes it as a phrase concentrating in its two words the fuller exposition of itself given in the remaining clauses of the verse. Now it is to be borne in mind, that the apostle's object is to describe the wretched state of Gentilism, especially in contrast with Hebrew theocratic privilege. The Jewish nation had Christ in some sense in which the Gentiles had Him not. It had the Messiah-not Jesus indeed-but the Christ in promise. He was the great subject-the one glowing, pervading promise of their inspired oracles. But the Gentiles were “without Christ.” No such hopes or promises were made known to them. No such predictions were given to them, so that they were in contrast to the chosen seed—“without Christ.” The rites, blessings, commonwealth, and covenants of old Israel had their origin in this promise of Messiah. On the other hand, the Gentiles being without Messiah, were of necessity destitute of such theocratic blessings and institutions. Such seems to be the contrast intended by the apostle. In this verse he says- χωρὶς χριστοῦ, as χριστός was the official designation embalmed in promise; but he says in Ephesians 2:13 - ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ, for the Messiah had appeared and had actually become Jesus.
ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ ᾿ισραήλ—“being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” The first thing to be examined is, what is meant by the πολιτεία τοῦ ᾿ισραήλ. The conversatio (referring, it may be, to citizen-life) of the Vulgate, Jerome, Theophylact, Vatablus, and Estius, is not to be thought of. As Israel was the theocratic appellation of the people, the πολιτεία is so far defined in its meaning. It does not signify mere political right, as Grotius and Rosenmüller secularize it; nor does it denote citizenship, or the right of citizenship, as Luther, Erasmus, Bullinger, Beza, and Michaelis understand it. Though Aristotle defines the word- τῶν τὴν πόλιν οἰκούντων τάξις τις, yet it often denotes the state or commonwealth itself, especially when followed, as here, by a possessive or synonymous genitive containing the people's name. Polit. 3.1; Xenophon, Memorabilia, 2.1, 13; 2 Maccabees 4:11; 2 Maccabees 8:17, etc. “The commonwealth of Israel” is that government framed by God, in which religion and polity were so conjoined, that piety and loyalty were synonymous, and to fear God and honour the king were the same obligation. The nation was, at the same time, the only church of God, and the archives of the country were also the records of its faith. Civil and sacred were not distinguished; municipal immunity was identical with religious privilege; and a spiritual meaning was attached to dress and diet, as well as to altar and temple. And this entire arrangement had its origin and its form in the grand national characteristic-the promise of Messiah. The Gentiles had not the Messiah, and therefore were not included in such a commonwealth. This negation is expressed by the strong term ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι. Ephesians 4:18; Colossians 1:21; Ezekiel 14:7; Hosea 9:10; Homberg, Parerga, p. 291; Krebs, Observat. p. 32 6. The contrast is συμπολῖται in the 19th verse. The verb itself is used by Josephus to denote a sentence of expatriation or outlawry. Antiq. 11.4. May not the term imply a previous condition or privilege, from which there has been subsequent exclusion? Harless and Stier, led by Bengel in his note on Ephesians 4:18, hold this view. Historically, this interpretation cannot be maintained indeed, as the Gentiles never were united with the actual theocracy. But if the term πολιτεία be used in an ideal sense, as Rückert thinks, meaning eine wahrhaft göttliche Regierung—“a true Divine government”-then the exegesis may be adopted. Olshausen finds this notion in the form of the word itself, for the heathen are not simply ἀλλότριοι but ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι-men who had been excluded from the Hebrew commonwealth. Chrysostom notices the word, and ascribes to it πολλὴ ἔμφασις. National distinction did not, indeed, exist in patriarchal times, but by the formation of the theocracy the other races of men were formally abalienated from Israel, and no doubt their own vices and idolatry justified their exclusion. And therefore they were destitute of religious privilege, knowledge of God, modes of accepted worship, enjoyment of Divine patronage and protection, oracle and prophet, priest and sacrifice. And still more awful-
καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας—“and strangers from the covenants of the promise”-covenants having the promise as their distinctive possession, and characterized by it. The collocation of the words forbids the exegesis of Anselm, Ambrosiaster, a-Lapide, Estius, Wetstein, and Granville Penn, who join the two last terms to the following clause—“having no hope of the promise.” The term διαθῆκαι is used in the plural, not to show that there were distinct covenants, but to indicate covenants often renewed with the chosen people-the Mosaic covenant being a re-ratification of the Abrahamic. Romans 9:4. It is erroneous, then, either to say, with Elsner and Wolf, that the plural merely stands for the singular; or to affirm that the two tables of the law are referred to; or to suppose, with Harless and Olshausen, that the covenant made with the Jewish people by Moses is alone the point of allusion. The covenant founded with Abraham, their great progenitor, and repeated to his children and their offspring, was at length solemnly confirmed at Mount Sinai. That νομοθεσία succeeds διαθῆκαι in Romans 9:4, is no argument against the idea that there was a covenant in the Mosaic law. Stier restricts the covenants to those made with the fathers, and denies that the transactions at Mount Sinai were of the nature of a covenant. But the covenant was bound up in the Sinaitic code, and ratified by the blood of sacrifice, when Moses formally sprinkled “the book and all the people.” The covenant was made with Abraham, Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18; with Isaac, Genesis 26:3; with Jacob, Genesis 28:13; with the people, Exodus 24:8; and with David, 2 Samuel 7:12. See also Jeremiah 31:31-34; Malachi 3:1; Romans 11:27. The use of the plural was common. Sirach 44:11; Wisdom of Solomon 18:22; 2 Maccabees 8:15. And when we look to this covenant in its numerous repetitions, we are at no loss to understand what is meant by “the promise”-the article being prefixed. The central promise here marked out by the article was the Messiah, and blessing by Him. That promise gave to these covenants all their beauty, appropriateness, and power. “Covenants of the promise” are therefore covenants containing that signal and specific announcement of an incarnate and triumphant Redeemer. To such covenants the heathen were strangers- ξένοι. This adjective is followed by a genitive, not as one of quality, but as one of negative possession. Bernhardy, p. 171. Or see Matthiae, § 337; Scheuerlein, § 18, 3, a. Thus Sophocles, OEdip. Tyr. 219- ξένος τοῦ λόγου. This second clause represents the effect of the condition noted in the former clause-not only gives a more special view of it, as Harless too restrictedly says, but it also depicts the result. Being aliens from the theocracy, they were, eo ipso, strangers to its glorious covenants and their unique promise. The various readings in the MSS. are futile efforts to solve apparent difficulties. Another feature was-
ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες—“not having hope.” The subjective negative particle μή, so often employed with a participle, shows the dependence of this clause on those preceding it. Winer, § 55, 5; Kühner, § 715; Hartung, vol. ii. pp. 105-130; Gayler. It is an erroneous and excessive restriction to confine this hope to that of the resurrection, as is done by Theophylact, from a slight resemblance to 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Neither can we limit it to eternal blessing, with Bullinger, Grotius, and Meier; nor to promised good, with Estius; nor to the redemption, with Harless. ᾿ελπίς, having the emphasis from its position and without the article, has the wide and usual significance which belongs to it in the Pauline epistles. Thus Wycliffe—“not having hope of biheest.” The Ephesians had no hope of any blessing which cheers and comforts, no hope of any good either to satisfy them here, or to yield them eternal happiness. They had hope of nothing a sinner should hope for, of nothing a fallen and guilty spirit writhes to get a glimpse of, of nothing which the “Israel of God” so confidently expected. Their future was a night without a star.
καὶ ἄθεοι—“and without God”-not “atheists” in the modern sense of the term, for they held some belief in a superior power; nor yet antitheists, for many were “feeling after the Lord,” and their religion, even in its polytheism, was proof of an instinctive devotion. The word is indeed used of such as denied the gods of the state, by Cicero and by Plato-De Nat. Deor. 1.23; Opera, vol. ii. p. 311, ed. Bekker, Lond.; but it is also employed by the Greek tragedians as an epithet of impious, or, as we might say, “godless” men. It occurs also in the sense “without God's help,” as in Sophocles, OEdipus Tyrannus, 661:
᾿επεὶ ἄθεος ἄφιλος ὅ, τι πύματον
᾿ολοίμαν . . .
“Since I wish to die godless, friendless,” etc.
Perhaps the apostle uses the term in this last sense-not so much without belief in God, as without any help from Him. Though the apostle has proved the grovelling absurdity of polytheism and idolatry, and that the Gentiles sacrificed to demons and not to God, he never brands such blind worshippers as atheists. Acts 17:23; Romans 1:20-25; 1 Corinthians 10:20. Theodoret understands by the phrase ἔρημοι θεογνωσίας—“devoid of the knowledge of God;” and the apostle himself uses the phrase οὐκ εἰδότες θεόν, Galatians 4:8. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:5; 2 John 1:9. The Gentile world were without God to counsel, befriend, guide, bless, and save them. In this sense they were godless, having no one to cry to, to trust in, to love, praise, and serve; whereas Jehovah, in His glory, unity, spirituality, condescension, wisdom, power, and grace, was ever present to the thinking mind and the pious heart in the Israelitish theocracy, and the idea of God combined itself with daily duty as well as with solemn and Sabbatic service.
ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ—“in the world.” The connection of this clause has been variously understood. Koppe refers it to the entire verse; and the view of Calovius is similar. Such an interpretation is a mere nihility, and utters no additional idea. Storr (Opuscula Academica, iii. p. 304) paraphrases-In his terris versabamini; and Flatt renders—“Ye were occupied with earthly things, and had mere earthly hopes.” OEcumenius, Matthies, and Meier understand the clause-of an ungodly life. Olshausen and Stier explain—“in this wicked world in which we have so pressing need of a sure hope, and of a firm hold on the living God.” Rückert wanders far away in his ingenuity—“In the world, of which the earth is a part, and which is under God's government, ye lived without God, separated from God.” Bloomfield takes the phrase as an aggravation of their offence—“to live in a world made by God, and yet not to know Him.” But we are inclined to take ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ as a separate epithet, and we would not regard it simply as-inter caeteros homines pravos. According to Stier and Passavant, these terms crown the description with the blackness of darkness—“the sin of sins, death in death,” and they regard it as in apposition with ἐν σαρκί. Schutze intensifies it by his translation-in perditorum hominum sentinâ. With Harless and Calovius, we regard ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ as standing in contrast to the πολιτεία. The κόσμος is the entire region beyond the πολιτεία, and, as such, is dark, hostile, and under Satan's dominion, and, as the next verse mentions, it is “far off.” The phrase then may not qualify the clause immediately before it, but refer to the whole description, and mark out the sad position of ancient Heathendom, Ephesians 2:2. And all their miser y sprang from their being “without Christ.” Being Christless, they are described in regular gradation as being churchless, hopeless, godless, and homeless.
(Ephesians 2:13.) νυνὶ δὲ, ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“But now, in Christ Jesus.” The apostle now reverses the picture, and exhibits a fresh and glowing contrast. νυνί is in contrast to ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ. The present stands in opposition to the past- δέ. ᾿εν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ is also the joyous contrast to the previous dark and melancholy χωρὶς χριστοῦ. Once apart from Messiah, from the very idea and hope of Him, they were now in Him-in Him, not only as Messiah, but as Messiah embodied in the actual Jesus of Nazareth. And the phrase stands to this entire verse as χωρὶς χριστοῦ does to the verse in which it occurs. It states adverbially the prime ground or reason of the subsequent declaration. But “now in Christ Jesus,” that is, ye being in Christ Jesus; though there is no reason to espouse the opinion of Luther, Calvin, Harless, and Stier, and supply ὄντες to supplement the construction. We understand the apostle thus: But now-through your union to Christ Jesus-
ὑμεῖς οἵ ποτε ὄντες μακρὰν, ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθητε—“ye, who sometime were far off, became nigh.” Lachmann reads- ἐγενήθητε ἐγγύς, but without sufficient authority. The adverbs, μακράν and ἐγγύς, had a literal and geographical meaning under the old dispensation. Isaiah 57:19; Daniel 9:7; Acts 2:39. The presence of Jehovah was enjoyed in His temple, and that temple was in the heart of Judaea, but the extra-Palestinian nations were “far off” from it, and this actual measurement of space naturally became the symbol of moral distance. Israel was near, but non-Israel was remote, and would have remained so but for Jesus. His advent and death changed the scene, and destroyed the wide interval, as the apostle shows in the subsequent verses. They who had been “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” were now incorporated into the spiritual community, were partakers of “a better covenant established on better promises,” were filled with “good hope through grace,” knew God, or rather “were known of God,” and were no longer “in the world,” but of the “household of God.” The Gentile Christians enjoyed spiritually all that was characteristic of the Hebrew theocracy. As the “true circumcision,” they were “near,” spiritually as near as the Israelites whom a few steps brought to the temple, altar, and Shechinah. The apostle, having described the position of the Ephesian convert s as being in Christ Jesus, next alludes to the means by which this nearness was secured, and the previous distance changed into blessed propinquity-
ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ χριστοῦ—“in the blood of Christ.” Compare Ephesians 1:7, where διά is employed with a difference of view. The proper name, more emphatic than the simple pronoun, is repeated. The preposition ἐν is sometimes used instrumentally. Winer, § 48, a, d. Still, in such a usage, the power to produce the effect is supposed to dwell in the cause. That power which has changed farness into nearness, resides in the blood of Christ, or as Alford says, but not very precisely—“the blood is the symbol of a faith in which your nearness to God consists.” Their being in Jesus was, moreover, the reason why the blood of Christ had produced such an effect on them. How it does so is explained in the next verses. The apostle's object is to show that by the death of Christ the exclusiveness of the theocracy was abolished, that Jew and Gentile, by the abrogation of the Mosaic law, are placed on the same level, and that both, in the blood of Christ, are reconciled to God.
The following passage is magnificent in style as well as idea. No wonder that the pious taste of Bengel has written-Ipso verborum tenore et quasi rhythmo canticum imitatur:-
(Ephesians 2:14.) αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν—“For He is our peace.” γάρ introduces the reason of the previous statement. There is peculiar force in the αὐτός. It is not simply “He,” but “He Himself”—“He truly,” or “He and none other.” Winer, § 22, 4, b. The ἡμῶν cannot, as Locke supposes, refer to converted Gentiles, but to Jew and Gentile alike. In its widest sense, as this paragraph teaches, “Christ is the peace,” and not merely the peacemaker; the Author of it, for He “makes both one,” and “reconciles them to God;” the Basis of it, for He has “abolished the enmity in His flesh,” and “by His cross;” the Medium of it, for “through Him we both have access to the Father;” and the Proclaimer of it, for “He came and preached peace.” For such reasons Paul may have used the abstract personified form- εἰρήνη. “He Himself,” says Olshausen, followed by Stier, “in His essence is peace.” Yet we question if this be the apostolic idea, for the apostle illustrates in the following verses, not the essence, but the operations of Christ. This peace is now stated by the inspired writer to be peace between Jew and Gentile viewed as antagonist races, and peace between them both united and God. The first receives fullest illustration, as it fell more immediately within the scope of the apostle's design. Gentiles are no longer formally excluded from religious privilege and blessing, and Jewish monopoly is for ever overthrown. And it is Christ-
ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἕν—“who made both one.” The participle is modal in sense, and τὰ ἀμφότερα are clearly the two races, Jew and Gentile, and not, as Stier and others maintain, man and God also. The words are the abstract neuter (Winer, § 27, 5), and in keeping also is the following adjective ἕν. Jew and Gentile are not changed in race, nor amalgamated in blood, but they are “one” in point of privilege and position toward God. The figure employed by Chrysostom is very striking:—“He does not mean that He has elevated us to that high dignity of theirs, but He has raised both us and them to one still higher. . . . I will give you an illustration. Let us imagine that there are two statues, one of silver and the other of lead, and then that both shall be melted down, and the two shall come out gold. So thus He has made the two one.” And this harmony is effected in the following way-
καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας—“and broke down the middle wall of partition”-paries intergerinus. καί is explanatory of the foregoing clause, and precedes a description of the mode in which “both were made one.” Winer, § 53, 3, obs.We see no reason to take the genitive- τοῦ φραγμοῦ-as that of apposition; nor could we, with Piscator, change the clause into τὸν φραγμὸν τοῦ μεσοτοίχου. It is, as de Wette calls it, the genitive of subject or possession-the middle wall which belonged to the fence or was an essential part of it. Donaldson, 454, aa. φραγμός does not, however, signify “partition;” it rather denotes inclosure. The Mosaic law was often named by the Rabbins a hedge- סְיָגּ . Buxtorf, Lex. Talmud. sub voce. What allusion the apostle had in μεσότοιχον has been much disputed. Dismissing the opinion of Wagenseil, that it refers to the vail hung up before a royal or a bridal chamber; and that of Gronovius, that it signifies such partitions as in a large city, inhabited by persons of different nations, divide their respective boundaries, very much as the Jewish Ghetto is walled off in European capitals-we may mention the popular view of many interpreters, that the allusion is to the wall or parapet which in Herod's temple severed the court of the Jews from that of the Gentiles. The Jewish historian records that on this wall was inscribed the prohibition- μὴ δεῖν ἀλλόφυλον ἐντὸς τοῦ ἁγίου παρεῖναι. Joseph. Antiq. 15.11; Bellum Jud. 5.2. Such is the idea of Anselm, Wetstein, Holzhausen, Bengel, and Olshausen. Tyndale translates—“The wall that was a stop bitwene vs.” The notion is quite plausible, but nothing more; for, 1. There is no proof that such a wall ever received this appellation. 2. That wall described by Josephus was an unauthorized fence or separation. There was another wall that separated even the Jewish worshippers from the court of the priests. 3. Nor could the heathen party in the Ephesian church be supposed to be conversant with the plan of the sacred fane in Jerusalem. 4. And the allusion must have been very inapposite, because at the time the epistle was written, that wall was still standing, and was not broken down till eight years afterwards. So that, with many expositors, we are inclined to think that the apostle used a graphic and intelligible figure, without special allusion to any part of the architecture of the temple, unless perhaps to the vail. But such a primary allusion to the vail as Alford supposes is not in harmony at all with the course of thought, for it was not a bar between Jew and Gentile, but equally one between them both and God, and could not be identified with the enmity of race which sprang from the ceremonial law, as described in the next verse. Any social usage, national peculiarity, or religious exclusiveness, which hedges round one race and shuts out all others from its fellowship, may be called a “middle wall of partition;” and such was the Mosaic law. λύσας—“Having pulled down,” is a term quite in unison with the figure. John 2:19. Having pulled down-
(Ephesians 2:15.) τὴν ἔχθραν—“To wit, the enmity.” These words might be governed by λύσας without incongruity, as Wetstein has abundantly shown. And perhaps we may say with Stier, they are so; for if they be taken as governed by καταργήσας, as in our version and that of Luther, the sentence is intricate and confused. τὴν ἔχθραν—“the enmity,” proverbial and well known, is in apposition to μεσότοιχον; “having broken down what formed the wall of separation, to wit, the hatred.” This ἔχθρα is not in any direct or prominent sense hatred toward God, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, and Harless suppose, for it is not the apostle's present design to speak of this enmity. His object is to show first how Jew and Gentile are reconciled. Some again, like Photius and Cocceius, imagine that hatred between Jew and Gentile, and also hatred of man to God, are contained in the word. This hypothesis only complicates the apostle's argument, which is marked by precision and simplicity. The arguments advanced by Ellicott in defence of this hypothesis are not satisfactory; for the phrases—“who hath made both one,” “wall of partition,” “law of commandments,” or Mosaic code-plainly refer to the position of Jew and Gentile, and reconciliation with God is afterwards and formally introduced. At the same time, the idea of enmity towards God could not be absent from the apostle's mind, for this enmity of race had its origin and tincture from enmity towards God. Nor can we accede to the interpretation of Theodoret, Calvin, Bucer, Grotius, Meier, Holzhausen, Olshausen, and Conybeare, who understand by the ἔχθρα the ceremonial law, as the ground of the enmity between Jew and Gentile. The objection of Stier, however, that to represent law as the cause of enmity is saying too much, as it leaves nothing for the o ther factor the flesh-is, as Turner says, not very forcible. We prefer, with Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Rückert, and Meyer, to take the term in its plain significance, as the contrast of εἰρήνη, and as denoting the actual, existing enmity of Israel and non-Israel-an enmity of which the ceremonial law was the virtual but innocent occasion. It was this hatred which rose like a party wall, and kept both races at a distance. Deep hostility lay in their bosoms; the Jew looked down with supercilious contempt upon the Gentile, and the Gentile reciprocated and scowled upon the Jew as a haughty and heartless bigot. Ample evidence is afforded of this mutual alienation. Insolent scorn of the Gentiles breaks out in many parts of the New Testament (Acts 11:3; Acts 22:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:15), while the pages of classic literature show how fully the feeling was repaid. This rancour formed of necessity a middle wall of partition, but Jesus, who is our peace, hath broken it down. The next sentence gives the requisite explanation-
ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας—“having abolished in His flesh the law of commandments in ordinances.” The course of thought runs thus: Christ is our peace. Then there follows first a statement of the fact, Jew and Gentile are made one; the mode of operation is next described, for He has quenched their mutual hatred, and He has done this in the only effectual way, by removing its cause-the Mosaic law. The words- ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ cannot refer to ἔχθρα, as the clause is pointed by Lachmann, as Chrysostom and Ambrose quote, and as Bugenhagen and Schulthess argue, giving σάρξ the sense of kinsfolk-hatred existing among his own people; or as Cocceius, who adopts that view of the connection, renders-donec appareret in carne. Such a construction would require the insertion of the article τήν. σάρξ cannot bear such a meaning here, and the enmity, moreover, was not confined to the Jews; it was not all on their side. Nor can we, with Theodoret, OEcumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Rückert, and Matthies, join the phrase to λύσας, as it is more natural, and in better harmony with the course of thought, to annex them to καταργήσας, as explanatory of the means or manner of the abolition. This last opinion is that of Harless, Olshausen, Meier, Meyer, and de Wette. σάρξ is Christ's humanity, but n ot that humanity specially in its Jewish blood and lineage, as Hofmann contends-as if because He died as a Jew, His death secured that participation in His kingdom did not depend on Israelitism. καταργήσας means “having made void”—“having superseded.” Romans 3:31.
The phrase τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι is a graphic description of the ceremonial law. But the meaning and connection of ἐν δόγμασι have been disputed:-I. It has been regarded as the means by which the law has been abolished, to wit, “by doctrines”-Christian doctrines or precepts. Such is the reading of the Arabic and Vulgate, the Syriac being doubtful; and such is the view of Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Estius, Zeger, a-Lapide, Bengel, Holzhausen, Scholz, and Fritzsche-Disser. ad 2 Cor. p. 168. Winer in his third edition proposed this view, but renounced it in the fourth. Thus Chrysostom says- δόγματα γὰρ καλεῖ τὴν πίστιν. Theodoret and Theophylact as usual follow him, while OEcumenius vindicates the use of the word as applied to Christ's teaching, by quoting from the Sermon on the Mount such phrases as “I say unto you,” these being proofs of authoritative diction, and warranting the truth propounded to be called δόγμα. To this theory there are insuperable objections-1. The participle in this case would have two connected words introduced alike by ἐν. 2. The sense given to δόγμα is wholly unbiblical. δόγμα is equivalent to the participial form- τὸ δεδογμένον, and has its apparent origin in the common phrase which prefaced a proclamation or statute- ἔδοξε τῷ λαῷ καὶ τῇ βουλῇ. In the New Testament it signifies decree, and is applied, Luke 2:1, to the edict of Caesar, and in Acts 17:7 it occurs with a similar reference. But not only does it signify imperial statute, it is also the name given to the decrees of the ecclesiastical council in Jerusalem. Acts 16:4. It is found, too, in the parallel passage in Colossians 2:14. In the Septuagint its meaning is the same; and in the sense first quoted, that of royal mandate, it is frequently used in the boo k of Daniel. To give the term here the meaning of Christian doctrine or precept, is to annex a signification which it did not bear till long after the age of the apostles. It is finical and out of place on the part of Grotius to suppose that Paul used a philosophical term to describe the tuition of the great Teacher, because he might be writing to persons skilled in the idiom of philosophical speech. 3. It is not the testimony of Scripture that Jesus by His teaching abolished the ceremonial law, but the uniform declaration is, that the shadowy economy was abrogated in His death. 4. The phrase ἐν δόγμασι is too general to have in itself such a direct meaning, and αὐτοῦ, or some distinctive appendage, must have been added, did the words bear the sense we are attempting to refute.
II. Harless, Olshausen, and von Gerlach connect ἐν δόγμασι with καταργήσας, but in a different way. They understand ἐν δόγμασι as describing one peculiar phase of the Mosaic law, in which phase Jesus abolished it. The phrase is supposed by them to represent the commanding aspect of the law, and so far as these δόγματα are concerned, the law has been abrogated. “Having abolished as to its ordinances-Satzungen-the law of commandments,” that is, the law of commandments is still in force, but its δόγματα are set aside. In this view those scholars were preceded by Crellius-non de tota lege sed ejus parte quae dogmata continebat. Von Gerlach understands the “condemning power” of the law to be abolished. But it is rather of the Levitical than of the moral law that the apostle is speaking. But, surely, to show us that δόγματα is a part of the νόμος, the article τοῖς should have been prefixed, or an adjective should have been added. Besides, the spirit of the apostle's doctrine is, that the entire law is abrogated, and not a mere section of it. The whole Mosaic institute was fulfilled in the death of Jesus. Hofmann's idea, somewhat similar-that Christ has put an end to δόγματα, statutes, Satzungen-is, as Meyer says, contradicted by many parts of the New Testament. Romans 3:27; Galatians 6:2. Nay, out of it might be developed an antinomian theory. Galatians 3:18; Colossians 2:14.
III. The correct junction of the phrase ἐν δόγμασι is with νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν. Had it referred to νόμος alone, one would have expected the article to be repeated- νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν τὸν ἐν δόγμασι. This is in general the view of Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Rollock, Bodius, Crocius, and Zanchius in former times, and in more recent times of Theile, Tholuck, Rückert, Meier, de Wette, Meyer, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Matthies. Winer, § 31, 10, note 1. The ceremonial institute is named νόμος, as it was a code sanctioned by supreme legislative authority. But, as a code, it comprised a prodigious number of minute, varied, and formal regulations or prescriptions- ἐντολαί, the genitive being that of contents; while the phrase ἐν δόγμασι defines the nature of these ἐντολαί, for they were δόγματα-issued under Divine sanction, and resting on the immediate will of God; and they had constant reference to health, business, and pleasure, as well as to Divine service. They were ordonnances-proclamations in the name of God. In an especial sense, the ceremonial institute seemed good to God- δοκεῖ, and it became a δόγμα. It was not a moral law, having its origin and basis in the Divine nature, and therefore unchanged and unchangeable, binding the loftiest creatures and most distant worlds; but a positive law, having its foundation simply in the Divine will, established for a period among one people, and then, its purpose being served among them, to be set aside. Viewed as an organic whole, the Mosaic institute was νόμος-a law; analyzed and looked upon in its separate constituents, it was νόμος ἐντολῶν; and when these ἐντολαί are inspected in their essence and authority, they are found to be δόγματα-to be obeyed, b ecause the Divine Dictator was pleased to enjoin them. The article, therefore, is not prefixed to δόγμασι, which is descriptive of the form and authority of those statutory regulations, the phrase representing one connected idea. Winer, § 20, 2. The ἐν is not to be taken for σύν, as Heinsius and Flatt take it, nor can it signify propter, as Morus renders it. Now, this legal apparatus was abolished “in His flesh,” that is, in His incarnate state, especially by the death which in that state He endured. The language of Ambrosiaster is appropriate-legem quae data erat Judaeis in circumcisione et in neomeniis et in escis et in sacrificiis et in sabbatis evacuavit. By the abrogation of the Mosaic institute, the ἔχθρα was destroyed, and the party wall, which separated Palestine from the great outfield of the world, laid low. Difference of race no longer exists, and Abrahamic distinction is lost in the wider and earlier Adamic descent.
The apostle now states more fully the purpose of the abrogation of the old law-
ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαυτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον—“that He might create the two in Himself into one new man.” This clause is no mere repetition of the preceding declaration—“Who hath made both one.” It is more special and distinctive in its description. The two races are personified, and they are formed not into one man, but into one new man. καινὸς ἄνθρωπος is found elsewhere as an epithet descriptive of spiritual change, as in Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10. The phrase is very different from the novus homo of the Latins, and therefore Wetstein's learned array of quotations from Roman authors is wholly useless. And the idea of moral renovation is not to be so wholly excluded here as some critics argue. One new man-both races being now enabled to realize the true end of humanity; Gentile and Jew not so joined that old privilege is merely divided among them. The Gentile is not elevated to the position of the Jew-a position which he might have obtained by becoming a proselyte under the law; but Jew and Gentile together are both raised to a higher platform than the circumcision ever enjoyed. The Jew profits by the repeal of the law, as well as the Gentile. Now he needs to provide no sacrifice, for the One victim has bled; the fires of the altar may be smothered, for the Lamb of God has been offered; the priest, throwing off his sacred vestments, may retire to weep over a torn vail and shattered temple, for Jesus has passed through the heaven “into the presence of God for us;” the water of the “brazen sea” may be poured out, for believers enjoy the washing of regeneration; and the lamps of the golden candelabrum have flickered and died, for the church enjoys the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual blessing in itself, and not merely pictured in type, is possessed by the Jew as well as the Ge ntile. The Jew gains by the abolition of a law that so restricted him to time, place, and typical ceremony in the worship of God. As unity of privilege distinguishes both races, and that alike, they are formed into one man, and as that unity and privilege are to both a novelty, they are shaped into one new man. And this metamorphosis is effected ἐν ἑαυτῷ (A, B, F have αὐτῷ)-not δἰ ἑαυτόν, as OEcumenius has it; nor per doctrinam suam, as Grotius paraphrases it; nor is the phrase synonymous with “in His flesh.” It signifies in union with Himself, or, as Chrysostom illustrates—“laying one hand on the Jew and the other on the Gentile, and Himself being in the midst.” This harmony of race is effected by the union of both with Christ; that is to say, the unconverted Jew and the unbelieving Gentile may be, and are, at enmity still, but when they are united to Christ, they both feel the high and novel place which His abrogation of the law has secured for them. Both are elevated to loftier and purer privilege than the old theocracy could ever have conferred.
ποιῶν εἰρήνην—“making peace.” This εἰρήνη must be the peace described-peace with Jew and Gentile; not, as Harless holds, “peace with God,” nor, as Chrysostom takes it, with Alford and Ellicott, “peace with God and with one another”- πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους, for peace with God is in the order of thought, the formal theme of the next verse, although both results spring together from the same work of Christ. The present participle, referring back to αὐτός, is used, because it does not, like the aorist in the next clause, express a reason for the result contained in the κτίσῃ, but it is contemporaneous with it. The participle covers the entire process-abolition of enmity, abrogation of law, and creation of the new person; for in the whole of it Jesus is “making peace.” Scheuerlein, § 31, 2, a. There is yet a higher aim-
(Ephesians 2:16.) καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ θεῷ—“And that He might reconcile the twain in one body to God.” This verse indicates another and separate purpose of the annulment of the law. Not only are Jew and Gentile to be incorporated, but both are to be united to God. This idea is not, as Olshausen intimates, virtually identical with that of the preceding clause. It is a thought specifically different, and yet closely united. Indeed, the idea of the preceding clause to some extent presupposes it. The two acts, mutual union and Divine reconciliation, are contemporaneous.
The principal difference of opinion regards the phrase- ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι; viz. whether it refer to united Jew and Gentile, or to the one humanity of Christ. The latter opinion is held by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Beza, Crocius, Bengel, Rückert, Harless, Matthies, and Hofmann, Schriftb. 2.379; but it is untenable. For, 1. The order of the words would indicate another meaning- τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι—“the two in one body,” the very truth which the apostle had been illustrating and enforcing. He views the union as effected-does not now say τοὺς δύο, but names the united races-the twain in one body. The εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος is viewed as ἓν σῶμα. Photius explains it- διὰ μὲν τοῦ ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι, τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἐμφαίνει καταλλαγήν. 2. If the phrase refer to Christ's humanity, then the words must be understood of that humanity offered as an oblation. The meaning would be much the same as that of διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ, and the same idea would be again and again repeated in the paragraph. But, 3. Why should Christ's body be called His one body? why attach such an epithet to His single humanity? and we should have expected an αὐτοῦ to have specified the possessor of the body, even though the idea should be—“one body”-they in Him enjoying fellowship with God. It appears better, then, to adopt the other exegesis, and to take the phrase as meaning Jew and Gentile incorporated. Such is the view of OEcumenius, Pelagius, Anselm, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Meier, Meyer, Olshausen, de Wette, and Baumgarten-Crusius. Besides what we have said in its favour, this idea is in harmony with the context, and with what is advanced in the next chapter. 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Colossians 3:15. In the apostle's idiom the phrase is confined to the church; for the church in the preceding chapter is affirmed to be His body. In that body there is no schism, and though it is made up of two different races, it is yet but one body. So that the ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι of this verse is in agreement with ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι of the 18th verse.
The action is defined by the verb ἀποκαταλλάξῃ. The double compound is found only in Colossians 1:20-21. The ἀπό in composition with the verb may either signify “again,” as Passow, Harless, Olshausen, and Ellicott affirm, which is perhaps doubtful; or it may strengthen the original signification, as seen in such words as ἀπεργάζομαι, ἀποθνήσκω, ἀπέχω. Much has been written on the difference between διαλλάσσω and καταλλάσσω. Verbs compounded with διά have often a mutuality of signification, but they cease in many instances to bear such a distinction. καταλλάσσω is not practically different from διαλλάσσω, and so Passow holds (sub voce) that καταλλάσσω in the middle voice signifies-sich unter einander versöhnen—“to effect a mutual reconciliation” The radical idea is to cause enmity to cease-to make up friendship again; but the mode, time, and form of reconciliation must be learned from the context. The meaning of the apostle is not that Jew and Gentile have been reconciled into one body by the cross. Such, indeed, is the view of OEcumenius, Photius, Anselm, Calvin, a-Lapide, and Grotius, but it gives the ἐν the sense of εἰς, and takes away the full force of the dative- τῷ θεῷ, making it mean-ut Deo serviant. But τῷ θεῷ, as in other passages where the words occur, defines the person with whom the reconciliation has been secured, while ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι describes the result of a contemporaneous but minor unity between the two races. Winer, § 50, 5. It is probable, however, that ἐν and εἰς were originally one- ἐνς, like μείς- μέν. Donaldson's New Cratylus, § 170.
Reconciliation to God is not the removal in the first instance of man's enmity toward God, but Jesus reconciles us to God by turning away the Divine anger from us. As, in 1 Samuel 29:4, David was supposed to “reconcile himself” to his master by doing some feat to secure his favour, so Jesus reconciles us to God by the propitiation which He presented to God, and through which He is enabled even as a righteous God to justify the ungodly. This statement is proved by the phrase- διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ-for the cross has reconciliation to God for its immediate object. Restoration to the Divine favour is the primary and peculiar work of the great High Priest, “who offered Himself without spot to God.” A sacrifice had always reference to the guilt of the offerer, and it averted that penalty which a righteous governor might justly inflict. Another proof of our position is found in Ephesians 2:18, in which the result of this peace is declared to be “access to the Father,” which has been created by the blood of the atonement. True, indeed, God is love, but the provision of an atonement is the glorious expression of it. And His government must be upheld in its majesty; for the pardon, without any peculiar provision, of all who break a law, is tantamount to its repeal. The fact of an atonement seems to prove its own necessity. God has shown infinite love to the sinner, and infinite hatred to his sin, in the sufferings of the cross, so that we tremble at His severity, while we are in the arms of His mercy. The justice of the great Lawgiver is of unchanging claim and perpetuity. The reader will find in Dr. Owen's dissertation on “Divine Justice” many striking remarks on the theory that sin might be pardoned by a mere act of grace on God's part, apart from any satisfaction to His justice-a theory vindicated even by Samuel Rutherford and Mr. Prol ocutor Twisse. Jew and Gentile are thus reconciled to God, and the same act which gives them social unity, confers upon them oneness with God, for the abrogation of the ceremonial law was in itself the glorification of the moral law, in the presentation of a perfect obedience to it, and in the endurance of its penalty.
ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ—“having slain the enmity in it.” The enmity referred to has been variously understood. But ἔχθρα cannot exist on God's part, for what He feels toward sin is ὀργή. That it signifies human enmity towards God, is the opinion of many, while others connect with this idea also hatred between Jew and Gentile. But if our view of the nature of reconciliation be correct, and we agree with Meyer, Olshausen, and de Wette, this last can hardly be meant. It is not of man's hatred the apostle speaks, but of God propitiated. Besides, the participle ἀποκτείνας describes an action which precedes that of its verb ἀποκαταλλάξῃ—“and that, having slain the enmity, He might reconcile both in one body to God.” Bernhardy, p. 382. The occurrence of the word ἔχθρα here is one of Alford's principal arguments for giving it the extended sense of enmity toward God, as well as enmity between the two races. But the argument will not hold, for - 1. The slaying of the enmity being an act prior to the reconciliation, refers to the sentiments of the preceding verses-the enmity between Jew and Gentile. 2. The word ἔχθρα has special reference to the phrase- ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι—“and having slain the enmity between them, He might reconcile them both in one body unto God.” 3. The stress lies on τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι-the twain are in one body as they are in the act of being reconciled-the previous enmity between them being subdued. 4. The idea of union between the races fills the apostle's mind, as is plain from the first half of the following chapter-that is, by the abrogation of the Levitical law the Gentiles come into a new relationship and new privileges. These the apostle dwells on and glories in.
The Vulgate renders ἐν αὐτῷ-in semet ipso, and Luther-in sich selbst, with which the reading ἐν ἑαυτῷ coincides, and which is naturally vindicated by such exegetes as Bengel, Semler, Hofmann, and others, who refer to σώματι as the antecedent, and understand by σῶμα Christ's humanity. But the more natural interpretation is to refer the pronoun to τοῦ σταυροῦ. The Syriac reads—“and by His cross has slain the enmity.” The word ἀποκτείνας, as Grotius suggests, seems to have been employed because the cross referred to was an instrument of death. The cross which slew Jesus slew this hostility; His death was the death of that animosity which rose up between Israel and non-Israel like a wall of separation.
(Ephesians 2:17.) καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐαγγελίσατο εἰρήνην—“And having come He preached peace.” “Peace,” in this clause, is to be taken in its widest acceptation; that peace which had just been described-peace between Jew and Gentile, and peace between both and God. It is an error in Chrysostom to restrict it to peace with God, and in Meyer, de Wette, and Olshausen apparently, to confine it to peace between the two races. The clause plainly carries us back to Ephesians 2:14—“for He Himself is our peace,” and the apostle then proceeds to explain the two kinds of peace. The following verse also proves our view. “For,” says the apostle, “we both have access to the Father.” And that peace was good tidings, as the verb implies. The middle voice was used also by the earlier writers. Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 266. καί does not simply indicate that this clause follows in idea the announcement- αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, as if the intervening verses were parenthetical in their nature. For these intermediate verses expound the starting proposition, and the verse before us continues the illustration. Peace was first secured, and then peace was proclaimed. The publication of the peace is ascribed to Jesus equally with its procurement- καὶ ελθών. The notion of Raphelius, Grotius, Koppe, and others, that these words are superfluous, is altogether an inaccurate and negligent exegesis. The “coming” referred to is plainly not to be restricted to His personal manifestation in flesh, as Chrysostom, Anselm, Estius, Holzhausen, Matthies, and Harless argue, for here it is an event posterior to the crucifixion; as it is a coming to proclaim what the death on the cross had secured. Nor can we, with Rückert and Bengel, restrict the coming to the resurrection of Jesus. As little can we hold the sense realized in our Lord's personal preaching, as is the hypothesis of Beza and Calovius, for “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision only.” He illustrated this truth to the Syrophenician woman, and His instructions during His life to His apostles were—“Go not into the way of the Gentiles.” We would not confine the “coming,” with Olshausen and Meyer, to His advent by the Spirit; nor, with Calvin, identify it wholly with the mission of the apostles, for both these are included. Christ brought peace to the Ephesian Christians by means of this Spirit in the apostles-qui facit per alium, facit per se. The preaching of the apostles having the truth of Christ for its theme, the commission of Christ for its authority, and the Spirit of Christ for its seal and crowning distinction, may surely in its doctrines and triumphs be ascribed to the exalted Lord and King of the church, the one origin and sole dispenser of “PEACE.” The apostle felt that his gifts and graces were of Christ's bestowment-that all his opportunities and successes were the results of Christ's presence and power-that his whole message was from Christ and about Him-that not only was the peace which he announced secured in Christ's mediation and death, but that also his very journeys to proclaim it were prompted and shaped by Him; and therefore all being Christ's, from the inspiration that moved his heart to the secret and irresistible influence that prescribed his missionary tours; his whole work in its every element being so truly identified with Christ-he humbly retired into the shade, that Christ might have all the glory: and therefore he writes—“and He came and preached peace to you.” This interpretation appears to us more direct and harmonious than that of Harless, who regards this verse as a parallel to Ephesians 2:14, as if the meaning were—“Christ is peace ‘in deed’ (Ephesians 2:14), and also ‘in word’” (Ephesians 2:17). T his would be an anti-climax, for surely the creation of peace was a greater work than its disclosure. And then the two ideas are not parallel. In the former case, Jesus personally and immediately secured peace; in the latter case it was only mediately, and by others, that he proclaimed it. Harless, indeed, regards ἐλθών generally as denoting Christ's appearance upon earth, as in John 1:9; John 1:11; John 3:19, etc. Our objection to such a view is, that Christ's appearance on earth was as necessary to the making of peace as to its proclamation, and more so, as is implied in the phrases—“in His flesh,” and “by the cross,” nay, “those who were nigh,” or those who heard Christ in person, are placed last in the enumeration. Jesus, too, had left the earth ere this peace was formally published by His heralds. Moreover, the coming is plainly marked as posterior to the effecting of peace. As the preaching to the Ephesians is here as distinctly ascribed to Jesus as the coming, both must be understood in a similar way. Similar phraseology is found in Acts 26:23; John 10:16. And the peace was preached-
ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν καὶ εἰρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς—“to you who were far off, and peace to them who were nigh.” The dative is governed by the previous verb, and the second εἰρήνην has, on the authority of A, B, E, F, G, and of several versions and fathers, been received by Lachmann and Tischendorf into the text. Isaiah 57:19. The repetition is emphatic. Romans 3:31; Romans 8:15; 2 Corinthians 2:16. The idea contained in μακράν has been already explained under Ephesians 2:13. The Gentiles are here placed first; the apostle of the Gentiles magnified his office. Though those “who were nigh” were the first who heard the proclamation based on the commission—“beginning at Jerusalem,” yet those “who were afar off” are mentioned first, as they had so deep an interest in the tidings, and as the invitation of Gentiles into the church-a theme the apostle delighted in, proving, as it did, the abolition of class privileges, and the commencement of an unrestricted economy-was the result and proof of the truths illustrated in this paragraph.
(Ephesians 2:18.) ῞οτι δἰ αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ἀμφότεροι—“For by Him we both have access”-access specially theirs, as the article intimates. The ὅτι does not mark the contents of the message of peace, as Morus, Baumgarten, Koppe, and Flatt imagine; nor yet its essence, as Rückert maintains: but it points out its proof and result. Peace has been made, and has also been proclaimed, for, as the effect of it, and as the demonstration of its reality—“by Him we both have access.” Calvin well explains it-probatio est ab effectu. προσαγωγή, formed with the Attic reduplication from ἄγω, is “introduction,” entrance into the Divine presence-an allusion, according to some, to approach into the presence of a king by the medium of a προσαγωγεύς-sequester (Bos, Obscrvat. p. 149); according to others, to the entrance of the priest into the presence of God. Herodotus, 2:58. Romans 5:2; and see under Ephesians 3:12. Whichever of these allusions be adopted, or whether the word be used in its proper signification, the meaning is apparent, the word being used probably in its original and transitive sense-not access secured, but introduction enjoyed, and which we are having, that is, have and keep. It is something more than θύρα, John 10:9. Free approach to God is the result of reconciliation. 1 Peter 3:18. Those who were “far off” can now draw “nigh.” The Divine Being is not clothed in thunder-no barrier stands between Him and us, for all legal obstacles are removed; so that the soul which feels peace with God can come into His sacred presence without shrinking or tremor. It approaches by Christ- δἰ αὐτοῦ; and the emphasis from their position lies on these words. Our frail humanity realizes His humanity, and by Him enters into the presence of Jehovah. John 11:5-6. Thus Chrysostom says- οὐκ εἶπεν πρόσοδον ἀλλὰ προσαγωγήν, οὐ γὰρ ἀφ᾿ ἑαυτῶν προσήλθομεν, ἀλλ᾿ ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ προσήχθημεν. And this access is-
πρὸς τὸν πατέρα—“unto the Father;” πρός-into His presence. Christians do not approach some dark and spectral phantom, nor a grim and terrible avenger. It is not Jehovah in the awful attitude of Judge and Governor, but Jehovah as Father-who has a father's heart to compassionate and a father's hand to bestow. And His paternity is no abstraction. He is Christ's Father and our Father. Nay more, and especially, this privilege is enjoyed by Jew and Gentile alike: οἱ ἀμφότεροι-the twain have it. It belonged to the theocracy in one form of it, when the high priest, the representative of the people, passed beyond the vail and sprinkled the mercy-seat. But now the most distant Gentile who is in Christ really and continuously enjoys that august spiritual privilege, which the one man of the one family of the one tribe of the one nation, on the one day of the year, only typically and periodically possessed. We have seen the οἱ ἀμφότεροι forming ἓν σῶμα (Ephesians 2:16)-now they are having access to the Father-
ἐν ἑνι πνεύματι—“in one Spirit.” The collocation οἱ ἀμφότεροιÑ --… ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι again brings out solemnly and emphatically the leading thought in the passage. The ἐν is not to be identified with διά, as Chrysostom and Theophylact hint; as if the apostle meant to say, by Him and by the Spirit we approach. The πνεῦμα is not “disposition,” nor is ἓν πνεῦμα only “unanimity,” and so synonymous with ὁμοθυμαδόν, as is the baseless view of Anselm, Homberg, Zachariae, Meier, and Baumgarten-Crusius. That the words refer to the Holy Spirit, is the correct opinion of OEcumenius, Cocceius, Bodius, Meyer, Harless, de Wette, and Stier. The Spirit that dwells in the one body is the one Divine Spirit (Ephesians 4:4)—“one and the self-same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:11. The one Holy Ghost inhabits the church, and in Him and by Christ believers have access to God. He prompts them to approach, “helpeth their infirmities,” deepens their consciousness of sonship as they come to the Father, nay, “makes intercession for them,” imparts such intenseness to their aspirations that they cannot be formed into language, but escape from the surcharged bosom in unutterable groanings- στεναγμοῖς ἀλαλήτοις. Romans 8:26. As again and again in previous sections, the Triune relation is brought out: we are having access- πρός-unto the Father, whom we worship as we gaze upon His tenderness and majesty; and this- διά-by Jesus, through whom we approach in confidence His Father and our Father; but also- ἐν-in the Spirit, who fills and lifts the heart, and is closely united with Father and Son.
The need of a προσαγωγεύς has been extensively felt by our sinful race. And yet, after the Man-God has been revealed-He of the double nature-whom the Divine Sovereign appointed and man confides in, there are philosophers who deify themselves, and depose the one Mediator. M. Cousin, in the preface to his Fragm. Philos., says, for example, in eulogizing the reason as a higher power than the understanding:-La raison est le médiateur nécessaire entre Dieu et l'homme, ce λόγος de Pythagore et de Platon, ce Verbe fait chair qui sert d'interprète à Dieu et de précepteur de l'homme. But we have a Mediator, not our own “reason” even absolute and transcendental; for it strays and wavers and quakes, as Moses on Sinai, and cannot reassure itself; and we have a λόγος, not la raison, but One “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”-One who reveals God unerringly, for He lay in His Father's bosom-One who instructs men perfectly, for “grace has been poured into His lips,” as He stoops to the senses and speaks to the heart of humanity.
(Ephesians 2:19.) ῎αρα οὖν οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι—“Now therefore, ye are no longer strangers and sojourners.” The first two words are a favourite idiom of the apostle. Romans 5:18; Romans 7:3; Romans 7:25; Romans 8:12, etc.; Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:6. The formula ἄρα οὖν is not used in Attic Greek, save in the case of the interrogative ἆρα. Hermann, Vigerus, 292. The particle ἄρα marks progress in the argument, as if equivalent to καὶ ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνου. Thucyd. 6.89; Donaldson's New Cratylus, § 192. The particle οὖν-allied to the substantive verb, and not to αὐτός as Hartung wrongly supposes-has a stronger ratiocinative force than ἄρα (Klotz-Devar. 2.717), and occurs far more frequently; and the combined use of both introduces a conclusion based on previous reasoning, equivalent to “these things being so,” or the well-known Ciceronian formula-quae cum ita sint. A double image is, or two pairs of figures are, employed by the writer-the one referring to civil franchise, and the other to domestic privilege. ξένοι—“strangers”-they had been so while the old theocracy stood, the Jews being the children, but they miserable outcasts. Once, too, they were πάροικοι, literally “by-dwellers,” men who sojourn in a house without the rights of the resident family. This is the only instance in which the apostle uses the term, but it occurs Acts 7:6; Acts 7:29; also in many places in the Septuagint, as the representative of the Hebrew גֵּר, H1731, and also of תּוֹשָׁב, H9369. The two words are found together many times, as in Leviticus 25, etc. It is natural here to view the οἰκεῖοι of the last clause as the contrast of πάροικοι, so that the significations of the word usually given are too vague to sustain this antithesis. In Leviticus 22:10, the noun denotes an inmate of the family, but without its domestic rights; πάροικος ἱερέως there signifies a guest with the priest, and stands along with ἢ μισθωτός-or a hired servant. Sirach 29:26. The priest's guest, though living in his house, was not to eat the holy things. May not the word bear such a meaning in this place, especially as we are pointed to it by the spiritual antagonism of οἰκεῖοι? De Wette will not allow it, and says that Koppe, Bengel, Flatt, Harless, and Olshausen unrichtig erklären. His idea is, that the two terms ξένοι and πάροικοι express generally the thought nicht-bürger—“non-citizens.” Ellicott and Alford hold a similar view, regarding πάροικος as the same with μέτοικος, its classic equivalent-a form which occurs only once in the Septuagint. But it is natural to suppose that the apostle used it in the Septuagint sense-that most familiar to him. The pair of terms in the two clauses suggests also a double contrast. That there is any allusion in the epithet πάροικοι to the equivocal relation of proselytes, such as is contended for by Anselm, Whitby, Calixtus, Baumgarten, and Baumgarten-Crusius, is out of the question; for if the proselytes feared God, they could not be described as are those Ephesian Gentiles in the context. The theocracy excluded all but Israel from its pale-the world beyond it were foreigners. Under the idea of its being God's house, it arrogated to itself a spiritual supremacy over all the nations, and so the heathen were regarded as simple sojourners on God's world. But this character of tolerated aliens no longer marked out the Gentile converts in Ephesus. No longer were they strangers to be frowned on, or foreigners to be excluded from domestic privileges; they were now naturalized-
ἀλλ᾿ ἐστὲ συνπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων—“but fellow-citizens with the saints.” The spelling συνπολῖται, instead of συμπολῖται, has the authority of A, B1, C, D, E, F, G. Instead of the simple ἀλλά of the Received Text, the best MSS., such as A, B, C, D1, G, warrant the reading ἀλλ᾿ ἐστε, which has been adopted by the editors Hahn, Lachmann, and Tischendorf. It gives a vivid solemnity to the contrast: the mind of the apostle dwells on the blessed and present reality of their spiritual state, which he is about to depict. συνπολίτης, a word occurring both in AElian, Var. Hist. 3, 44, and Josephus, Antiq. 19, 2, 2, belongs chiefly, however, like other similar compound words, to the later and inferior Greek. Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 172, says, with characteristic affectation- πολίτης λέγε, μὴ συμπολίτης. In the declining period of a language, when its first freshness is gone, and its simple terms are not felt in their original power, compound words are brought into use without any proportionate increase of sense. These ἅγιοι are God's people; and there is no occasion to add, with Calvin-et cum ipsis angelis. The reader may turn to the first verse of the epistle for the meaning of ἅγιος. The & l dquo;saints” are not the Jews as a race, as is supposed by Vorstius, Hammond, Morus, Bengel, and Adam Clarke; nor yet only contemporary Christians, as Harless and Meyer argue; nor yet simply saints of the Old Testament, as OEcumenius and Theodoret describe the alliance. Chrysostom exclaims- ῾ορᾶς ὅτι οὐχ ἁπλῶς τῶν ᾿ιουδαιὼν ἀλλὰ τῶν ἁγίων καὶ μεγάλων ἐκείνων ἀνδρῶν τῶν περὶ ᾿αβραὰμ καὶ ΄ωϋσῆν καὶ ᾿ηλίαν εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν πόλιν ἀπεγράφημεν. These ἅγιοι are viewed as forming a πόλις-a spiritual organization. It was so under the old law-it is so still; for the theocracy is only fully realized under Christianity. To take an illustration from Athenian citizenship-they live no longer, as foreigners did in many Greek states, in the πανδοκεῖον, nor as the μέτοικοι at Athens are they degraded by the symbolical ὑδριοφορία, but they possess the coveted ἰσοτέλεια. With all, then, who belong to this πολιτεία, Christians are now fellow-citizens. They are under that form of government which specially belongs to the saints. These are, therefore, not saints of any time or any class, but saints of all times and all lands, of which the community then existing was the living representative; and in this commonwealth they were now enfranchised. Their names are engraven on the same civic roll with all whom “the Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people.” It is as if they who had dwelt “in the waste and howling wilderness,” scattered, defenceless, and in melancholy isolation, had been transplanted not only into Palestine, but had been appointed to domiciles on Mount Zion, and were located in the metropolis not to admire its architecture, or gaze upon its battlements, or envy the tribes who had come up to worship in the city which is “compact together;” but to claim its municipal immunities, experience its protection, obey its laws, live and love in its happy society, and hold communion with its glorious Founder and Guardian.
καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ—“and of the household of God.” The church is often likened to a family or house. Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:2; Hebrews 3:5-6; 1 Peter 4:17. When Harless thinks that Christians receive this designation, because they are stones in the house, the conclusion is not only a needless anticipation of the figure in the following verse, but is also contrary to the usual meaning of the term, and destructive of the contrast between the terms οἰκεῖοι and πάροικοι. True, as Ellicott says under Galatians 6:10, οἰκεῖος is often used with abstract nouns, as οἰκεῖοι φιλοσοφίας, etc., and in such cases the idea proper of family is dropped. But the contrasts in this paragraph are too vivid to allow any dilution of the term. These οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ are God's family; they form His household. They are not guests-here to-day and away to-morrow; treated with courtesy, but still kept without the hallowed circle of domestic sociality, and strangers as well to the paternal protection as to the brotherly harmony which the family enjoys. The members of that “house which is the church of the living God,” can call the οἰκοδεσπότης their father; for they are “begotten of God,” and they have access to Him, enjoy His love, and hold daily and delightful fellowship not only with Him, but with one another-as “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”
(Ephesians 2:20.) ᾿εποικοδομηθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν—“built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” The preposition ἐπί in composition is not, as Koppe affirms, without additional meaning, nor can it, as in Theophylact's exegesis, have the sense of “again;” but it gives prominence to the idea of the foundation on which the structure rests. Not the form or purpose, but the basis of the building, was the special thought in the writer's mind-superaedificati, as in the Vulgate. 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 2:7. This architectural allusion is a change of figure, or rather, it is the employment of a term in a double meaning. “House” has a similar twofold signification with us, as the “House of Bourbon” or “House of Stuart”-phrases in which the word is employed in a secondary and emphatic signification. We speak too of such houses being “built up” by the wisdom or valour of their founders. In such cases, as Alford says, there is a transition from a political and social to a material image. Having described the believers as οἰκεῖοι, the apostle enlarges the metaphor, by explaining on what the οἶκος rests, what its symmetry is, and what its glorious purpose. That “house” is composed of the οἰκεῖοι, and each of them is a living stone, resting on the one foundation.
What the writer means by ἀποστόλων is plain; but what is meant by the subjoined προφητῶν? With every wish, arising from the usage of quotation, to refer the term to the inspired messengers of the Old Testament, we feel that the force of evidence precludes us. The Greek fathers and critics, along with Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Calovius, Estius, Baumgarten, Michaelis, Rückert, Bisping, and Barnes, hold the view which we are obliged to abandon. Ambrosiaster also explains-hoc est, supra Novum et Vetus Testamentum collocati. Tertullian says that Marcion, believing the reference to be to prophets of the Old Testament, expunged the words et prophetarum. Contra Marc. 5.17; Opera, vol. ii. p. 326, ed. Oehler. The apostle often refers to the prophets of the Old Testament; but in such places as Romans 1:2 the reference is at once recognized. We prefer, then, with the great body of interpreters, to understand “the prophets” of the New Testament. Our reasons are these-
1. The apostles are placed before the prophets, whereas, in point of time and position, the prime place should be assigned to the prophets. Estius says that the two classes are ranged dignitatis habita ratione, as the apostles had seen and heard Christ, enjoyed more endowments than the old prophets, and were immediately instrumental in founding these early churches. Did the phrase occur nowhere else, these ingenious arguments might be of some weight; though still, if the church be regarded as an edifice, the prophets laid the foundation earlier than the apostles, and should have been mentioned first in order. The dignity of Moses, Samuel, David, and Isaiah, under the old dispensation, was not behind that of the apostolical college. The ruddy tints of the morning, ere the sun rises, are as fresh and glowing as the softened splendours of the evening, after he has set. And the argument that the apostles are named first because they personally founded the churches, is precisely the reason why we believe that prophets of an earlier time, and living under a different economy, are not meant at all.
2. Other portions of this epistle are explanatory of the apostle's meaning. In Ephesians 3:5 he speaks of a mystery, “which was in other ages not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit”- τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀποστόλοις αὐτοῦ καὶ προφήταις. In this declaration, the prophets are plainly perceived to be the inspired contemporaries of the apostles, enjoying similar revelations of truth from the same Spirit. What more natural than to suppose, that the apostle means the same persons by the very same names in a previous section! This opinion is the more likely, when we consider that the mystery declared to “apostles and prophets” is the union of Jew and Gentile. Again, Ephesians 4:11, “And He gave some apostles, and some prophets”- τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας. So that the prophets are a special class of functionaries, and rank next to the apostles, personally instrumental as they were in founding and building up the churches. Why may not the allusion be to them in this verse, as they are twice named in combination by the writer in the same epistle? The presumption is, that in the three places the same high officebearers are described.
3. We deny not the relation of the prophets of the Old Testament to the church of the New Testament. They preceded, the apostles followed, and Jesus was in the midst. But in writing to persons who had been Gentiles, who were strangers to the Hebrew oracles, and had enjoyed none of their prophetic intimations-persons whose faith in Christ rested not on old prediction realized in Him, but on apostolic proclamation of His obedience and death-a reference to the seers of the Hebrew nation would not have been very intelligible and appropriate. To Jews with whom the apostle had “reasoned out of the Scripture,” and whom he thus had convinced that Jesus was the Christ, the reference would have been natural and stirring; but not so in an address to the Gentile portion of a church situated in the city of Diana.
The prophets of the New Testament were a class of sufficient importance and rank to be designated along with the apostles. The passages quoted from this epistle show this. And there are many other references. Acts 19:6; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 13:8; the greater portion of the 14th chapter; and 1 Thessalonians 5:20. These passages prove that the office was next in order and dignity to the apostolate. The prophets spoke from immediate revelation—“with demonstration of the Spirit and with power;” and prior to the completion of the canon they stood to those early churches in such a relation as the written oracles stand to us. They were the oral law and testimony, and their work was not simply a disclosure of future events. (For illustration of the office of New Testament prophets, see under Ephesians 4:11.)
4. Had the apostle meant to distinguish the prophets of the Old Testament as a separate class, the article would probably have preceded the noun. Winer, § 19, 4; Kühner, § 493, 9; Matthiae, § 268, Anm. i.; Middleton, p. 65, ed. Rose. Comp. Matthew 3:7; Matthew 15:1; Luke 14:3, in which places different classes of men, but leagued together, are described. See also Colossians 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 3:1. Not that, as Harless, Rückert, Hofmann (Schriftb. vol. ii. p. 103), and Stier seem to say, apostles and prophets are identical-or that apostles were also prophets, as being men inspired. The want of the article clearly shows that both classes of office-bearers are viewed in one category as one in duty and object-one incorporated band. This combination of function and labour shows, that these “prophets” were those of the church of the New Testament.
The relation in which apostles and prophets stood to the church is defined by the words ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ. The preposition describes the building as resting on the foundation with the idea of close proximity. Kühner, 612, 1, α, β; Bernhardy, p. 249-the dative signifying “absolute superposition.” Donaldson, Gr. Gram. § 483, b. The stones are represented not as in the act of being brought, but as already laid, and so the dative is employed rather than the accusative, which occurs in 1 Corinthians 3:12.
But what is the exact relation indicated by the genitive- τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν? It has been supposed to mean, 1. The foundation on which the apostles themselves have built - the apostles' and prophets' foundation-the genitive being that of possession. Such is the view of Anselm, Bucer, Aretius, Cocceius, Piscator, Alford, and Beza, the last of whom thus paraphrases it-Supra Christum qui est apostolicae et propheticae structurae fundamentum. But the object of the apostle is not to show the identity of the foundation on which the Ephesian church rested with that of prophets and apostles, and Christ is here represented, not as the foundation, but as the chief corner-stone. Thus, as Ellicott says, this exegesis tacitly mixes up θεμέλιος and the ἀκρογωνιαῖος.
2. In the phrase—“foundation of the apostles and prophets”-the genitive has been thought to be that of apposition, that is, these apostles and prophets are themselves the foundation. Winer, § 59, 8, a. Such is the opinion of Chrysostom and his imitators, Theophylact and OEcumenius, of a-Lapide, Estius, Zanchius, Morus, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Meier, von Gerlach, Turner, Hofmann, and Olshausen. θεμέλιος ὑποκείνται, says Theophylact, οἱ προφῆται καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι, ὑμεῖς δὲ τὴν λοιπὴν οἰκοδομὴν ἀναπληρώσατε. This view is supposed to be confirmed by a passage in the Apocalypse (Revelation 21:14)—“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” But these foundations belong to a wall, a symbol of defence, not to the great Christian temple; and unless Judas be regarded as deposed, and Matthias as prematurely chosen and never divinely sanctioned, Paul, the founder of the Ephesian church, cannot be reckoned among these twelve. It does not matter for the interpretation whether θεμελίῳ be masculine or neuter, nor is the argument of Hofmann (Schriftb. vol. ii. sec. part, p. 101) of any avail, that as the last clause has a personal reference this must have the same. In one sense the apostles, in their personal teaching and labours, may be reckoned the foundation; but should such a sense be adopted here, Christ would be brought into comparison with them. Hofmann (l.c.) gets out of this objection by taking the following αὐτοῦ as referring to θεμελίῳ—“Jesus Christ being its chief corner-stone”-that is, if He is the corner-stone of the foundation, the language prevents Him being regarded as primus inter pares. But, as we shall see, the exegesis is not tenable. The whole passage, however, gives Jesus peculiar prominence, and the apostle never weari es of extolling His dignity and glory. Still, there is nothing doctrinally wrong in this interpretation, for, personally, prophets and apostles are but living stones in the temple, the next tier above the “corner-stone;” but officially they were not the foundation-they rather laid it. And therefore-
3. The phrase—“foundation of the apostles and prophets,” means the foundation laid by them, the genitive being subjective, or that of originating agency-der thätigen Person oder Kraft. Scheuerlein, § 17, 1; Winer, § 30, 1; Hartung, Casus, p. 12. Such is the exegesis of Ambrosiaster, Bullinger, Bodius, Calvin, Calovius, Piscator, Calixtus, Wolf, Baumgarten, Musculus, Röell, Zanchius, Grotius, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Harless, Matthies, Meyer, Holzhausen, and Ellicott. The apostles and prophets laid the foundation broad and deep in their official labours. In speaking of the foundation in other epistles, the apostle never conceives of himself as being that foundation, but only as laying it. He stands, in his own idea, as external to it. Referring to his masonic operations, he designates himself “a wise master-builder,” and adds—“Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Similar phraseology occurs in Romans 15:20. In this laying of the foundation, apostles and prophets were alike employed, when they preached Jesus and organized into communities such as received their message. The foundation alluded to here is εἰρήνη-not so much Christ in person, as Christ “our peace”-a gospel, therefore, having no restrictive peculiarity of blood or lineage, and by accepting which men come into union with God. And no other foundation can suffice. When philosophical speculation or critical erudition, political affinity or human enactment, supplants it, the structure topples and is about to fall. The opinions of Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Wesley, Knox, or Erskine (and these were all “pillars”), are not the foundation; nor are the edicts and creeds of Trent, Augsburg, Dort, or Westminster Such writings may originate sectional distinctions, and give peculiar shape to column or portico, shaft or capital, on the gr eat edifice, but they can never be substituted for the one foundation. Yea and further-
ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου αὐτοῦ ᾿ιησοῦ χριστοῦ—“Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone.” A and B, with the Vulgate, Gothic, and Coptic, reverse the position of the proper names, and their authority is followed by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Alford; but the majority of uncial MSS. are in favour of the present reading. The pronoun is, by Bengel, Cramer, Koppe, and Holzhausen, referred to the preceding θεμέλιον—“Jesus Christ being its chief corner-stone.” That the translation of our English version may be maintained, it is not necessary, as these critics affirm, that the article should precede the proper name. Fritzsche, Comment. in Matthew 3:4; Luke 10:42; John 4:44. It is, besides, not of the foundation, but of the temple that He is the chief corner-stone. The αὐτοῦ contrasts Christ with apostles and prophets. They lay the foundation, but Jesus Himself in person is the chief corner-stone- ὄντος, “being all the while”- ἀκρογωνιαίου-scilicet- λίθου. The reference in the apostle's mind seems to be to Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Jeremiah 51:26. These passages suggested the figure which occurs also in Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4-6. There are two different Hebrew phrases- ראשׁפִּ ˜ ָנּה׃¢ - ֹ κεφαλὴ τῆς γωνίας (Psalms 118:22), whereas in Isaiah 28:16 the words are אֶבֶןפִּנָּה, rendered by the Seventy- λίθον ἀκρογωνιαῖον . The first expression certainly denotes not the copestone, nor yet the head or point where two walls meet, but the most prominent stone in the corner. In the latter phrase the reference is to a stone specially employed at the angle or junction of two walls, to connect them, as well as to bear their weight. In the first formula, allusion is made more to the position than to the purpose of the block. In Jeremiah 51:26, the corner-stone and the foundations seem to be distinguished. The corner-stone, placed at the angle of the building, seems to have been reckoned in Oriental architecture of more importance than the foundation-stone. The foundation-stones, θεμέλιοι-plural, were first laid, and indicated the plan of the structure; but the corner-stone-that is, the foundation-stone placed at the corner-required peculiar size and strength. In short, the “chief corner-stone” is that principal foundation which was carefully laid at the angle of the building, and on which the connected walls rested. From its position and design it was styled “the head of the corner.” While the apostles and prophets generally placed the foundation, the primary stone-on which, in Hebrew idea or image, the structure mainly rests, and by which its unity is upheld-was Jesus Christ. Without this its walls would not have been connected, but there must have been a fissure. As Theodoret, Menochius, Estius, and Holzhausen think, there may be a reference to Jew and Gentile united on the one rock. The laying of the foundation prepares for the setting down of the corner-stone, which connects and concentrates upon itself the weight of the building. That man, “Jesus,” who was “Christ,” the divinely - appointed, qualified, and accepted Saviour, unites and sustains the church. Saving knowledge is the apprehension of that truth about Him which Himself has announced-saving faith is dependence on the atoning work which He has done-hope rests in His intercession-the sanctifying Spirit is His gift-the unity of the church has its spiritual centre in Him-its government is from Him as its King-and its safety is in Him its exalted Protector. Whether, therefore, we regard creed or practice, worship or discipline, faith or government, union or extension, is He not in His truth, His b lood, His power, His legislation, and His presence to His church, “Himself the chief corner-stone”? In short, He is “the Alpha and the Omega,” and combined at the same time with every evangelical theme. Should we describe the glories of creation, He is Creator; or enlarge on the wisdom and benignity of Providence, He is Preserver and Ruler. Is the Divine Law the theme of exposition?-He not only enacted it, but exemplified its precepts and endured its penalty. Are we summoned to speak of death?-He has “abolished it;” or if we wander among the tombs, He lay in the sepulchre and rose from it “the first-fruits of them that sleep.” If ministers preach, Christ crucified is their text; and if churches “grow in grace,” such holiness is conformity to the life of their Lord. He is, moreover, “all in all” in the entire circuit of the operations of the Spirit, who applies His truth to the mind, sprinkles His blood on the heart, and seals the inner man with His blessed image.
(Ephesians 2:21.) ᾿εν ᾧ πᾶσα οἰκοδομὴ συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει—“In whom the whole building, being fitly framed together, is growing.” The relative agrees with the nearest substantive, ᾿ιησοῦ χριστοῦ-not with τῷ θεμελίῳ, as is the opinion of Holzhausen; nor with ἀκρογωνιαίου, and meaning “on which,” as is asserted by Theophylact, Luther, Beza, Koppe, and Scholz. Nor can the words signify “through whom,” as is held by Castalio, Vatablus, Menochius, Morus, and Flatt. “In whom,” that is, in Christ Jesus; the building being fitly framed together in Him. Its unity and symmetry are originated and maintained in Him. The article ἡ before πᾶσα in A and C, and in the Textus Receptus, appears to be spurious; it is not found in B, D, E, F, G, I, K, and is rejected by the latest editors, Lachmann and Tischendorf. Middleton and Trollope, for mere grammatical reasons, affirm that πᾶσα ἡ is the right reading. Reiche says-Paulum scripsisse πᾶσα ἡ οἰκοδομή cum articulo nullus dubito, and he ascribes the omission to the homoioteleuton- οἰκοδομ ή ἡ. Comment. Crit. p. 149; Gotting. 1859. Hofmann, l.c., renders, “all which is built”-was gebaut wird. Must, then, πᾶσα οἰκοδομή be rendered “every building,” as is the opinion of Chrysostom, Beza, Zanchius, and Meyer, or as Wycliffe renders—“eche bildynge,” and Tyndale—“every bildynge”? We think not:-For, 1. The object of the apostle is to describe the one temple, which has its foundation laid by apostles and prophets. It is of this one structure, so founded, so united, so raised, and consisting of such materials-for in it the Ephesians were inbuilt-that he speaks. 2. In the later Greek as in the earlier, πᾶς, without the article, sometimes bore the sense of “whole.” Bernhardy, p. 323; Gersdorf, p. 376; Scott and Liddell, Pape, Passow, sub voce. So in the New Testament, Matthew 2:3; Luke 4:13; Acts 7:22; or Acts 2:36 - πᾶς οἶκος ᾿ισραήλ-phraseology based upon the usage of the Septuagint, 1 Samuel 7:2-3; Nehemiah 4:16; Colossians 1:15. If, as Ellicott says, these examples are not in point, as being proper names or abstract substantives, they at least show the transition from an earlier and stricter to a laxer and later use, in which other nouns besides proper names and very familiar or monadic terms may dispense with the articles. Winer, § 18, 4, § 19. So in Josephus, Antiq. 4.5, 1- ποταμὸς διὰ πάσης ἐρήμου ῥέων—“a river flowing through the whole desert;” Thucydides, 2:43- πᾶσα γῆ and also in 38- ἐκ πάσης γῆς; Iliad, 24.407- πᾶσαν ἀληθείην; Hesiod, Op. et Dies, 510- πᾶσα ὕλη; Theog. 874- χθὼν πᾶσα. Also- διὰ πάσης νυκτός; Passow, sub voce; Thiersch, De Penta. versione Alexandrina, p. 121, in which are some examples, though perhaps not all of them strictly analogous. The Syriac has כֻלֶהבֶניֹנֹא —“the whole building.”
οἰκοδομή, a term of the later Greek, as is shown by Lobeck in his Parerga to the Eclogae of Phrynichus, signifies properly “the art or process of building,” and is originally equivalent to οἰκοδόμησις, but has also the same meaning as οἰκοδόμημα-pp. 421, 487, 490. The structure named has not yet been completed, and πᾶσα οἰκοδομή signifies the entire structure-the structure in every part of it. The edifice in course of erection, being fitly framed together in all its parts, groweth into a holy temple. Such is the opinion of Chrysostom, which Harless sets aside without sufficient evidence. For of what is the “growth” specified? Is the structure complete, and is the growth supposed to be not of it as an edifice in itself, but of its purpose—“into a holy temple”? Does the edifice wax in size, or only grow in destination and object? If you suppose the latter, then you also suppose that the living stones are placed in the temple before its design is realized; or that these stones are themselves changed after they are laid in their places. The growth, therefore, belongs to the edifice itself. It increases in size and height. Even in its unfinished state, the purpose of the fabric may be detected; and when it is completed, that purpose, apparent at every stage of its progress, shall be manifest, fully and for ever—“a holy temple in the Lord.”
The present participle συναρμολογουμένη, is a rare term occurring only once more, in Ephesians 4:16 - συναρμόζειν being the classic form-and denotes “being jointed together,” or composed of parts fitted closely to each other. The whole structure is compact and firm; not loose and ill-arranged masonry, which is as unstable in itself as it is offensive to the eye. But every stone is in its place, and fits its place. In this mutual adaptation there is no useless projection, no unsightly chasm. Neither excrescence nor defect mars the beauty of the structure—“in Christ” it is fitly framed together. There is no superfluous doctrine, and no forgotten precept; grace does not clash with statute or service; promises “are yea and amen in Him;” pardon, peace, purity, and hope are linked into one another, because they are closely united to Him; and the members of the true church are so firmly allied, that the gifts and graces of one are supplementary to the gifts and graces of another. No qualification is lost, and none can be dispensed with. One's ingenuity devises what another's activity works out. While conquests are made in distant climes, “she that tarries at home divides the spoil.” The huge walls built round the Peiraeus by the Athenians under Themistocles, are described by the historian as composed of large stones, square-hewn, and built together, being fixed to one another, on the outside, with iron and lead. But such cumbrous ligatures do not disfigure those spiritual walls; for that magnetic influence which binds all the living stones to the chief Corner-stone, cements them, at the same t ime and by the same power, to one another in cordial sympathy and reciprocal coherence and support. As Fergusson says—“By taking band with Christ the foundation, they are fastened one to another.”
αὔξει is for the more usual αὐξάνει. It occurs Colossians 2:19, and also in the Greek poets. The present marks actual growth certainly, and may describe normal condition. Even in its immature state, and with so much that is undeveloped, one may admire its beauty of outline, and its graceful form and proportions. Vast augmentations may be certainly anticipated; but its increase does not destroy its adaptations, for it grows as “being fitly framed together.” A structure not firm and compact, is in the greater danger of falling the higher it is carried; and “if it topple on our heads, what matters it whether we are crushed by a Corinthian or a Doric ruin?” But this fabric, with walls of more than Cyclopean or Pelasgian strength and vastness, secures its own continuous and illimitable elevation and increase. The design of the edifice is next stated-
εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον ἐν κυρίῳ-groweth—“into a holy temple in the Lord.” It was a temple-a sacred edifice. The words ἐν κυρίῳ belong to ἅγιον, or rather to ναὸν ἅγιον; not, as OEcumenius, Grotius, Baumgarten, Zachariae, Wolf, and Meyer suppose, to αὔξει; for these critics, with the exception of the last, give ἐν the sense of διά-it groweth “by means of” the Lord. Nor does κύριος refer to God, as Michaelis, Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Baumgarten-Crusius suppose, but, as in Pauline usage, to Christ. (See chap. Ephesians 1:2-3.) Neither are we, with Beza, Koppe, Macknight, and others, to rob the ἐν of its own significance, making the phrase ἐν κυρίῳ equivalent to a dative, and joining it with ναόν; nor, with Drusius and a-Lapide, to give it the meaning of a genitive. These are rash and ungrammatical modes of interpretation. It has no holiness but from the Lord, neither is it a temple but from its connection with Him. For the meaning of ἅγιος, see Ephesians 1:1. The signification of the simple dative—“a temple dedicated to the Lord,” cannot be admitted for another reason-that Jesus is represented as the chief corner-stone, and cannot be also depicted as the God of the temple, or its officiating priest. But the chief corner-stone, solid and massive, gives firmness and sanctity to the structure. The term ναός is apparently used of individual believers (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16. Compare 1 Peter 2:3-4), and its peculiar and specific meaning is given in the next clause, by the words κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ—“habitation of God;” for ναός, from ναίω, like the Latin aedes, is the dwelling of the Divinity. Exodus 25:8; Exodus 25:22; 1 Kings 6:12-13; 1 Corinthians 6:19. The illustration of the word is naturally postponed to the following verse.
(Ephesians 2:22.) ᾿εν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσθε—“In which also you are built together.” To translate καὶ ὑμεῖς by “you even” may be too broad, but some comparison is involved. Some refer ἐν ᾧ to κυρίῳ, “in whom.” Such is the opinion of Olshausen, Harless, de Wette, Meyer, Stier, Alford, and Ellicott. Others, like Zanchius, Grotius, and Koppe, go back with needless travel to ἀκρογωνιαίου for an antecedent. We prefer, with Calixtus, Rosenmüller, Baumgarten, and Matthies, taking ναὸν ἅγιον ἐν κυρίῳ as the antecedent. If it be said, on the one hand, that ἐν ᾧ usually in such connections refers to Christ, then it may be said, on the other hand, that to be built in or into a temple keeps the figure homogeneous. The entire structure compacted in Jesus groweth into a temple, “in which ye also are built” as living stones. The ὑμεῖς may specially refer to the Gentile Christians, as they are peculiarly addressed and reminded of their privileges, for this verse is the conclusion of the paragraph which began with the congratulation—“Ye are no more strangers and foreigners.”
The intense signification of magis magisque which Bucer gives to the συν- in composition with the συνοικοδομεῖσθε, is wholly unwarranted, save by this implication, that the placing of those stones from the Ephesian quarry on the rising structure added considerably to its size. Nor can we, with Calvin and Meier, look upon the verb as an imperative; for the entire previous context is a recital of privilege, and the same form of syntactic connection is maintained throughout. The idea that seems to be entertained by Harless and Grotius is-As the whole building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord, so ye, individually or socially, are built up in like manner for a habitation of God in the Spirit. This opinion destroys as well the unity of the figure as the connection of the verses. It is one temple which the apostle describes, and he concludes his delineation by telling the Ephesians that they formed part of its living materials and masonry. In 1 Esdras 5:68, συνοικοδομήσομεν ὑμῖν means—“we will build along with you.” The dative is, however, in that clause formally expressed, while in the passage before us no other party is referred to. The ὑμεῖς of this verse are the ὑμεῖς of Ephesians 2:19. The συν- may not, therefore, expressly denote “along with others,” but rather—“Ye are built together in mutual contact or union among yourselves, or rather with all built in along with you.” The verb is thus of similar reference with συναρμολογουμένη. The stones of that building are not thrown together without choice or order, but they adhere with a happy and unchanging union. Christians who have personal knowledge of one another have a closer intimacy, and so they are not wantonly separated in this structure, but, like the Ephesian church, are “built together.”
εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν πνεύματι—“for an habitation of God in the Spirit.” We regard these words as explanatory of the ναὸς ἅγιος of the preceding verse, to the explanation of which the reader may turn. We cannot, with Harless, refer them to individual Christians, for such an idea mars the unity and completeness of the figure. As Stier remarks, too, all the nouns are in the singular, and refer to one structure. The purpose of the holy temple is defined. It is, as we have seen from several portions of the Old Testament, the dwelling of God. “This is my rest”—“here will I stay.” Now Jehovah dwelt in His temple for two purposes:-1. To instruct His people by His oracles and cheer them with His presence. “God is in the midst of her”—“Shine forth, Thou that dwellest between the cherubim”—“I will meet thee, and I will commune with thee.” Moses brought the causes of the people “before the Lord.” God inhabits this spiritual fane for spiritual ends-to teach and prompt, to guide and bless, to lead and comfort. His presence diffuses a light and joy, of which the lustre of the Shechinah was only a faint reflection and emblem. 2. Jehovah dwelt in the temple to accept the services of His people. The offerings were presented in the courts of the house to the God of the house. “Spiritual sacrifices” are still laid on the altar to God, and the odour of such oblations is a “sweet savour,” rising with fresh and undispersed perfume to Him who is enshrined in His sanctuary.
Three interpretations have been proposed of the concluding words- ἐν πνεύματι. 1. Some, such as Chrysostom, Rückert, Olshausen, and Holzhausen, as also Erasmus, Homberg, Koppe, Flatt, and others, give the words an adjectival sense, as if they merely meant “spiritually,” and characterized this edifice, in contrast with the Jewish temple “made with hands.” But such an exposition is baseless. There is no contrast intended between a material and a spiritual temple, nor is there anything implying it. Nor could the two words, placed as they are by the apostle, naturally bear such a signification. That the article is not necessary to give the words a personal reference, as some, such as Rückert, affirm, is plain from many similar passages, as may be seen in our remarks on Ephesians 1:17, and in the following paragraph.
2. Some join ἐν πνεύματι to the verb συνοικοδομεῖσθε, and then the words denote—“built together by means of the Spirit.” This is the view of Theophylact, OEcumenius, Meyer, and Hodge. Calvin combines both this and the preceding interpretation. To such an exegesis we might object, with Harless, that it is strange that words of such importance, denoting the medium of erection, should be found in the paragraph as a species of afterthought. Harless indeed adds, that πνεῦμα, denoting the Spirit objectively, should have the article. But surely the article is not required any more than with the ἐν κυρίῳ of the preceding verse. The reader may turn for proof to this epistle, Ephesians 3:5, Ephesians 6:18; and Matthew 22:43; Romans 8:4; 1 Corinthians 14:2; Galatians 4:29; Galatians 5:5; in all which places the Holy Ghost is referred to, and the noun wants the article. See under Ephesians 1:17. Where the Holy Spirit in distinct and external personality is spoken of, or His influences are regarded as coming from without, the noun has the article; but in many places where He is conceived of in His subjective operations, the article is either inserted or omitted. It is omitted Matthew 1:18-20; Matthew 3:11, and inserted Luke 2:27; Luke 4:1; Luke 4:14. Perhaps the idea of Divine power exerted ab extra is intended in these last passages. When the epithet ἅγιον is employed, the article is sometimes used and sometimes not, though the cases of omission are rather more frequent. But no possible difference of meaning can in many places be detected. Harless instances 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13, compared with Ephesians 2:10, in which last verse the Spirit is conceived of as God's, and has the article. In the phrases in which the Spirit's relation to the Father is kept in view, the article is used. But revelation is as clearly ascribed to the Spirit in this epistle, Ephesians 3:5, as in 1 Corinthians 2:10, and yet in the former place it has no article. The article, without difference of view, is employed and rejected in contiguous verses. Acts 8:17-19; Acts 19:2; Acts 19:6; John 3:5-6. The cases of insertion in these quotations may be accounted for on other and mere grammatical principles. Fritzsche, ad Romans 8:4.
3. The third interpretation is that supported virtually by Stier, de Wette, and Matthies. God dwells in this temple, as in individual believers, “by or in His Spirit.” Christians are the temple of God, because the Spirit of God dwelleth in them. 1 Corinthians 3:16. What is true of them separately is also true of them collectively-they are the residence of God in the Spirit. ᾿εν πνεύματι defines the mode of inhabitation. That temple, from its connection with the Spirit-inasmuch as the Spirit has fashioned, quickened, and laid its living stones, and dwells within them-is “a habitation of God.” The God who resides in the church is the enlightening, purifying, elevating, comforting Spirit. The apostle's own definition of the formula is—“Ye are ἐν πνεύματι-in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Romans 8:9. And thus again, as often before, the Trinity or the triune relation of God to His people is brought out. The Father dwells in the Spirit in that temple of which the Son is the chief corner-stone. The church is one, holy and Divine; it rests on Christ-is possessed by God-filled with the Spirit-and is ever increasing.
Monday, March 27th, 2017
the Fourth Week of Lent
Search This Commentary