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THE first paragraph of the epistle introduces, according to ancient usage, the name and title or office of the writer, and concludes with a salutation to the persons addressed, and for whom the communication is intended.
(Ephesians 1:1.) Παῦλος , ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ . “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.” The signification of the term ἀπόστολος will be found under chap. Ephesians 4:11. While the genitive Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ is that of possession, and not of ablation, yet naturally, and from its historical significance, it indicates the source, dignity, and functions of the apostolical commission, Acts 27:23. Though, as Harless suggests, the idea of authorization often depends on some following clause, yet the genitive apparently includes it-the idea of authority being involved in such possession. This formal mention of his official relation to Jesus Christ is designed to certify the truth and claims of the following chapters. On similar occasions he sometimes designates himself by a term which has in it an allusion to the special labours which his apostleship involved, for he calls himself “a servant of Jesus Christ,” Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1. See under Colossians 1:1; and especially under Philippians 1:1:-
διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ “by the will of God.” The preposition διά points out the efficient cause. The apostle is fond of recurring to the truth expressed in this clause, 1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1. Sometimes the idea is varied, as κατ᾿ ἐπιταγὴν Θεοῦ , in 1 Timothy 1:1; and to give it intensity other adjuncts are occasionally employed, such as κλητός in Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1. The notion of Alford, hinted at by Bengel in his reference to Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11, that the phrase may have been suggested “by the great subject of which he is about to treat,” is not sustained by analogous instances. It is added by the apostle generally, as the source and the seal of his office, and not inserted as an anticipative thought, prompted by the truth on which his mind was revolving. For his was no daring or impious arrogation of the name and honours of the apostolate; and that “will” according to which Paul became an apostle, had signally and suddenly evinced its origin and power. The great and extraordinary fact of his conversion involved in it both a qualification for the apostleship and a consecration to it- εἰς οὓς ἐγώ σε ἀποστέλλω , Acts 26:17; 1Co 9:1 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8. It was by no deferred or circuitous process that he came at length to learn and believe that God had ordained him as an apostle; but his convictions upon this point were based from the first on his own startled and instructive experience, which, among other elements of self-assurance, included in it the memory of that blinding splendour which enveloped him as he approached Damascus on an errand of cruelty and blood; of the tenderness and majesty of that voice which at once reached and subdued his heart; of the surprising agony which seized and held him till Ananias brought him spiritual relief; and of the subsequent theological tuition which he enjoyed in no earthly school. Galatians 1:11-48.1.12; 1 Timothy 1:11-54.1.13. So that writing to the churches of Galatia, where his apostleship had been underrated if not denied, he says, with peculiar edge and precision, “Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Christ Jesus and God the Father.” Galatians 1:1. This epistle is addressed-
τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ “to the saints that are in Ephesus.” ῞Αγιος , as a characteristic appellation of the Christian church, occurs first in Acts 9:13. The word, rarely used by the Attic writers, who employ the kindred adjective ἁγνός , is allied to ἅζομαι and ἄγαμαι , and signifies one devoted or set apart to God. Porson, Adversaria, p. 139; Buttmann, Lexilogus, sub voce. This radical meaning is clearly seen in the related ἁγιάζω , in such passages as Matthew 23:17; John 10:36; John 17:17. It is not, however, to classic usage that we are to trace the special meaning of ἅγιος in the New Testament, but to its employment in the Septuagint as the Greek representative of the Hebrew קָדוֹשׁ , H7705, Deuteronomy 33:3. This notion of consecration is not, as Robinson seems to intimate, founded on holiness; for persons or things became holy in being set apart to God, and, from this association of ideas, holiness was ascribed to the tabernacle, with its furniture, its worshippers, and its periods of service. The idea of inner sanctity contained in the expressive epithet originates, therefore, in the primary sense of unreserved and exclusive devotement to Jehovah. Nor, on the other hand, can we accede to the opinion of Locke and Harless, that the word has no reference in itself to internal character, for consecration to God not only implied that the best of its kind was both claimed by Him and given to Him, but it also demanded that the hallowed gift be kept free from sacrilegious stain and debasement. So that, by the natural operation of this conservative element, holiness, in the common theological sense of the term, springs from consecration, and the “saints” do acquire personal and internal holiness from their near relation to God; the consciousness of their consecration having an invincible tendency to deepen and sustain spiritual purity within them. When Harless says that the notion of holiness which cannot be disjoined from a Christian ἅγιος , is not got from the word, but from our knowledge of the essence of that Christian community to which such a ἅγιος belongs, he seems to confound source and result; for one may reply that it is the ἅγιοι who, as such, originate the character of the Christian community, and not it which gives a character to them. The appellation ἅγιοι thus exhibits the Christian church in its normal aspect-a community of men self-devoted to God and His service. Nor does it ever seem to lose this meaning, even when used as a general epithet or in a local sense, as in Acts 9:32; Acts 26:10; Romans 15:25. The words τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ , which simply indicate locality, have been already analyzed in the Prolegomena. The saints are further characterized-
καὶ πιστοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ “and believers in Christ Jesus.” These words contain an additional element of description, and the two clauses mark out the same society in two special characteristics. But the meaning of πιστός in this connection must first be determined. There are two classes of interpreters:-1. Such as give the adjective the sense of fidelis, “faithful,” in the modern acceptation of the English term-that is, true to their profession. Such is the view of Grotius, Rosenmüller, Meier, and Stier. But were such a sense adopted, we must suppose the apostle either to make a distinction between two classes of persons who were or had been members of the Ephesian church, or to affirm that all of them were trusty-were, in his judgment, persons of genuine and of untainted integrity. Did he then suppose that all the professed ἅγιοι were faithful? Or among the ἅγιοι did he distinguish and compliment such of them as were blessed with fidelity? The word in itself is not very determinate, though generally in New Testament usage πιστός in the sense of faithful- fidelis -is accompanied by an accusative with ἐπί , or a dative with ἐν , in reference to things over which trust has been exercised, and by the dative when the person is referred to toward whom the faithfulness is cherished. The idea of “faithful to Christ” would have required but the simple dative, as in Hebrews 3:2. We have indeed the phrase in 1 Corinthians 4:17 - ἀγαπητὸν καὶ πιστὸν ἐν κυρίῳ , but there the formula, “in the Lord,” qualifies both adjectives. 2. Some give the term its active sense of “believers,” faithful, in its original and old English meaning, faith-full-full of faith- πιστός being equivalent to πιστεύων , save that the adjective points to conditi on rather than act. Many old interpreters, such as Röell, Cocceius, Vatablus, Crellius, and Calovius, with the majority of modern interpreters, take the word in this signification. For a like use of the word in classical writers-a use common to similar verbal adjectives-see Kühner, § 409, 3. The term πιστός has often this meaning, and is so rendered in our version, John 20:27; Acts 10:45; Acts 16:1; 2 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Timothy 4:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1Ti 4:12 ; 1 Timothy 5:16; 1 Timothy 6:2. It should have been so translated in other places, as Galatians 3:9; Acts 16:15; Titus 1:6. The Syriac version also renders it by the participle מהימנא -believing. Hesychius defines it by εὐπειθής . The phrase is thus a second and appropriate epithet, more distinctive than the preceding, while the article is not repeated. It is a weak supposition of Morus and Macknight, that these words were added merely for the sake of distinction, because the epithet “saints” had but the simple force of a common title in the apostolical letters. Neither do we conceive that the full force and meaning are brought out, if with some, as Beza, Bodius, a-Lapide, Calovius, and Vorstius, we take the καί as epexegetical, and reduce the clause into a mere explanation of the preceding title, as if it stood thus “To the saints in Ephesus, to wit, the believers in Christ Jesus.” For the salient point of their profession was faith in Christ Jesus, belief in the man Jesus as the Messiah, the anointed Saviour, the commissioned and successful deliverer of the world from all the penal effects of the fall. It was its faith specifically and definitely in Christ Jesus that distinguished the church in Ephesus from the fane of Artemis and the synagogue of the sons of Abraham. Πιστός is here followed by ἐν referring to the object in which faith terminates and reposes; εἰς is sometimes employed, but ἐν is found with the noun in this chapter, Ephesians 1:15; Galatians 3:26; Colossians 1:4; see also Mark 1:15. The same usage is found in the Septuagint, Psalms 78:22, Jeremiah 12:6, based perhaps on the Hebrew formula “ הֶאַמִיןב .” Though the verbal adjective be used here in its active sense, it may therefore be followed by this preposition. If, when εἰς is employed, faith is usually represented as going out and leaning on its object, and if ἐπί expresses the additional idea of the trustworthiness of him whom we credit, then ἐν in the formula before us gives prominence to the notion of placid exercise, especially as ἐν is not so closely attached to the adjective as it would be to the verb or participle if it followed either of them. Fritzsche, Comment in Marc., p. 25. The faith of the Ephesian converts rested in Jesus, in calm and permanent repose. It was not a mere extended de pendence placed on Him, but it had convinced itself of His power and love, of His sympathy and merits; it not only knew the strength of His arm, it had also penetrated and felt the throbbing tenderness of His heart-it was therefore in Him. There might have been agitation, anxiety, and terrible perturbation of spirit when the claims of Christ were first presented and brought into sharp conflict with previous convictions and traditionary prepossessions; but the turmoil had subsided into quiescent and immoveable confidence in the Son of God.
But does ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ simply qualify πιστοῖς ? or does it not also qualify ἁγίοις ? Storr renders it- Qui Christo sacri sunt et in eum credunt. ( Opuscula, 2.121.) The phrase “saints in Christ Jesus” occurs in Philippians 1:1, and the meaning is apparent-saints in spiritual fellowship with Christ. In Colossians 1:2 we have “saints and believing brethren in Christ,” where the words in question may not only qualify “saints,” but also describe the essence and circle of the spiritual brotherhood. But we are inclined, with Jerome, Meyer, de Wette, and Ellicott, in opposition to Harless, Meier, and Baumgarten-Crusius, to restrict the words ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ to πιστοῖς . The previous epithet is complete without such an addition, but this second one is not so distinctive without the supplement. The intervention of the words τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ separates the two phrases, and seems to mark them as independent appellations. But though grammatically they may be separate names of the same Christian community, they are essentially and theologically connected. “Nemo fidelis,” says Calvin, “nisi qui sanctus; et nemo rursum sanctus, nisi qui fidelis.” The more powerful and pervading such faith is, the more the whole inner nature is brought under its controlling and assimilating influence; the more deeply and vividly it realizes Christ in authority, example, and proprietary interest in “the church which He has purchased with His own blood,” then the more cordial, entire, and unreserved will be the consecration.
(Ephesians 1:2.) Χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη “Grace to you and peace.” The apostolical salutation is cordial and comprehensive. “Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor, greeting”-Paul to the Ephesians, “grace and peace.” It is far more expressive than the ὑγιαίνειν , χαίρειν , or εὖ πράττειν of the ancient classic formula. The same or similar phraseology occurs in the beginning of most of the epistles. Χάρις , allied to χαίρειν and the Latin gratia, signifies favour, and, especially in the New Testament, divine favour - that goodwill on God's part which not only provides and applies salvation, but blesses, cheers, and assists believers. As a wish expressed for the Ephesian church, it does not denote mercy in its general aspect, but that many-sided favour that comes in the form of hope to saints in despondency, of joy to them in sorrow, of patience to them in suffering, of victory to them under assault, and of final triumph to them in the hour of death. And so the apostle calls it χάριν εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν -grace in order to well-timed assistance. Hebrews 4:16.
Εἰρήνη - Peace, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew שָׁלוֹם , H8934 -a term of familiar and beautiful significance. It includes every blessing-being and wellbeing. It was the formula of ordinary courtesy at meeting and parting. “Peace I leave with you,” said our Lord; but the term was no symbol of cold and formal politeness “not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” John 14:27. The word in this connection denotes that form of spiritual blessing which keeps the heart in a state of happy repose. It is therefore but another phase, or rather it is the result, of the previous χάρις . Stier distinguishes these two blessings, as if they corresponded to the previous epithets ἁγίοις καὶ πιστοῖς , grace being appropriate to the “saints,” as the first basis of their sanctification; and peace to the “faithful,” as the last aim or effect of their confidence in God. But “grace and peace” are often employed in salutations where the two epithets of saints and believers in Christ Jesus do not occur, so that it would be an excess of refinement either to introduce such a distinction in this place, or to say, with the same author, that the two expressions foreshadow the dualism of the epistle-first, the grace of God toward the church, and then its faith toward Him. Nor can we, as Jerome hints, ascribe grace to the Father and peace to the Son as their separate and respective sources. A conscious possession of the divine favour can alone create and sustain mental tranquillity. To use an impressive figure of Scripture, the unsanctified heart resembles “the troubled sea,” in constant uproar and agitation-dark, muddy, and tempestuous; but the storm subsides, for a voice of power has cried, “Peace, be still,” and there is “a great calm:” the lowering clouds are dispelled, and the azure sky smiles on its own reflec tion in the bosom of the quiet and glassy deep. The favour of God and the felt enjoyment of it, the apostle wishes to the members of the Ephesian church in this salutation; yea, grace and peace-
ἀπὸ Θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ Κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The source of these spiritual blessings is now stated. Erasmus, Morus, and some Socinian interpreters, would understand the connection as if κυρίου were governed by πατρός , and not by ἀπό “From God our Father, the Father, too, of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This interpretation would sever Jesus from the bestowment of these blessings, as, in such an exegesis, they are supposed to descend from God, who is our Father, and who is at the same time designated as Christ's Father. This construction is wholly unwarranted. Father and Son are both specified as the sources of grace and peace. Grace and peace are not earth-born blessings; they descend from heaven, from God on His glorious throne, whose high prerogative it is to send down those special influences; and from Christ at His right hand, who has provided these blessed gifts by His sufferings and death-who died to secure, and is exalted to bestow them, and whose constant living sympathy with His people enables Him to appreciate their wants, and prompts Him out of His own fulness to supply them. God is described as our Father- ἡμῶν . Our sonship will be illustrated under Ephesians 1:5. The universal Governor being the parent of believers, who have a common fatherhood in Him, grace and peace are viewed as paternal gifts.
The Saviour is characterized as Lord Jesus Christ; “Lord,” Master, or Proprietor. ῾Ο κύριος is often applied to Jesus in the Pauline writings. It corresponds to the theocratic intimations of a king-a great king-to preside over the spiritual Sion. Psalms 110:1. Gabler, in his New Theological Journal, iv. p. 11, has affirmed, that in the New Testament κύριος , without the article, refers to God, and that ὁ κύριος is the uniform appellation of Christ-a distinction which cannot be maintained, as may be seen by a reference to Romans 15:11; 1 Corinthians 10:26; Hebrews 8:2; for in all those passages the reference is to God, and yet the article is prefixed. Winer, § 19, 1. Like Θεός in many places, it is often used without the article when it refers to Christ. In about two hundred and twenty instances in the writings of Paul, κύριος denotes the Saviour, and in about a hundred instances it is joined to His other names, as in the phrase before us. Perhaps in not more than three places, which are not quotations or based on quotations, does Paul apply κύριος to God. It was a familiar and favourite designation-the exalted Jesus is “Lord of all” “He has made Him both Lord and Christ.” He has won this Lordship by His blood. Philippians 2:8; Philippians 2:11. “He has been exalted,” that every tongue should salute Him as Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:3. While the title may belong to Him as Creator and Preserver, it is especially given Him as the enthroned God-man, for His sceptre controls the universe. The range of that Lordship has infinitude for its extent, and eternity for its duration. The term, as Suicer quaintly remarks, refers not to οὐσία , but to ἐξουσία . And as He is Head of the Church, and “Head over all things to the Church”-its Prop rietor, Organizer, Governor, Guardian, Blesser, and Judge-whose law it obeys, whose ordinances it hallows, whose spirit it cherishes, whose truth it conserves, and whose welcome to glory it anticipates and prepares for; therefore may He, sustaining such a relation to His spiritual kingdom, be so often and so fondly named as Lord. The apostle invokes upon the Ephesians grace and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ, whose supreme administration was designed to secure, and does actually confer, those lordly gifts.
The mention of spiritual blessing fills the susceptible mind of the apostle with ardent gratitude, and incites him to praise. In his writings argument often rises into doxology-logic swells into lyrics. The Divine Source of these glorious gifts, He who gives them so richly and so constantly, is worthy of rapturous homage. They who get all must surely adore Him who gives all. With the third verse begins a sentence which terminates only at the end of the 14th verse, a sentence which enumerates the various and multiplied grounds of praise. These are:-holiness as the result and purpose of God's eternal choice-adoption with its fruits, springing from the good pleasure of His will with the profuse bestowment of grace-all tracing themselves to the Father: pardon of sin by the blood of Christ-the summation of all things in Him-the interest of believers in Him-these in special connection with the Son: and the united privilege of hearing, and trusting, and being sealed, with their possession of the Earnest of future felicity-a sphere of blessing specially belonging to the Holy Ghost. Such are the leading ideas of a magnificent anthem-not bound together in philosophical precision, but each suggesting the other by a law of powerful association. The one truth instinctively gives birth to the other, and the connection is indicated chiefly by a series of participles.
(Ephesians 1:3.) Εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The verb is usually omitted. The adjective in the doxology is placed before the substantive, because being used as a predicate, and representing an abstract quality, the emphasis lies on it. Such is the invariable usage in the Old Testament-not God is blessed, but, from the position of the words-Blessed be God, י Ô רוּךְאֲדֹנָ ¢ ¶ ָבּ . At least thirty times does the formula occur. Psalms 68:19, in the Septuagint being a mistranslation or doubled version of the Hebrew, is only an apparent exception, and the phrase, Romans 9:5, we do not regard as a doxology. In all the passages quoted by Ellicott after Fritzsche-Romans 9:5, as if they were exceptions to this rule, it is εὐλογημένος and not εὐλογητός which is employed, and there is a shade of difference between the participle and the adjective-for while in the Septuagint εὐλογημένος is applied to God, εὐλογητός is never applied to man. Thus in 1Ki 10:9 , 2 Chronicles 9:8, which are parallel passages- γένοιτο being employed in the first instance, and ἔστω in the second; and in Job 1:21, Psalms 112:2, in both of which ὄνομα κυρίου with εἴη occurs, the verbs, as might be expected, are followed immediately by their nominatives. Εὐλογητός in the New Testament is applied only to God-His is perpetual and unchanging blessedness, perpetual and unchanging claim on the homage of His creatures. Εὐλογημένος is used of such as are blessed of God, and on whom blessing is invoked from Him. Matthew 21:9; Luke 1:28. But the blessedness we ascribe to God comes from no foreign source; it is already in Himself, an innate and joyous possession. Paul's epistles usually begin with a similar ascription of praise (2 Corinthians 1:3). But in many cases-the majority of cases-he does not utter a formal ascription: he expresses the fact in such phrases as “I thank,” “We thank,” “We are bound to thank” “God.”
One would think that there is little dubiety in a formula so plain; for Θεός and πατήρ are in apposition, and both govern the following genitive-Blessed be the God of, and the Father of, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Divine Being is both God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet there are many who sever the two nouns-disjoining Θεός from κυρίου -and so render it, Blessed be God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Theodoret, the Peschito, Whitby, and Bodius, with Harless, Meyer, Holzhausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, and Ellicott, are in favour of this opinion. But Jerome, Theophylact, Koppe, Michaelis, Rückert, Stier, Olshausen, and Alford, adhere to the former view, which we are disposed to adopt. The words of themselves would bear either construction, though Olshausen remarks that, to bring out the first opinion, the Greek should run εὐλογητὸς Θεὸς ὁ πατήρ . Theodoret capriciously inserts the adjective ἡμῶν in his note upon Θεός . He represents the apostle as showing- δηλῶν , ὡς ἡμῶν μέν ἐστι Θεός , τοῦ δὲ κυρίου ἡμῶν πατήρ , as if Paul meant to describe the Divine Being as our God and Christ's Father. To say with Meyer that only πατήρ requires a genitive and not Θεός , is mere assertion. The statement of Harless, too, that τε should have been inserted before καί , if Θεός governed κυρίου , appears to us to be wholly groundless, nor do the investigations of Hartung, to which he refers, at all sustain him. Lehre von den Partikeln der Griech. Sprache, vol. 1.125. Compare 1 Peter 2:25. Had the article occurred before πατήρ , this particle might have been necessary; but its omission shows that the relation of Θεός and πατήρ is one of peculiar unity. Distinct and independent prominence is not assigned to each term. Winer, § 19, 3, note. Nor is there any impropriety of thought in joining Θεός with κυρίου -the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Θεὸς μέν , says Theophylact, ὡς σαρκωθέντος , πατὴρ δὲ ὡς θεοῦ λόγου . The diction of the Greek Father, in the last clause, is not strictly correct, for the correlative terms are Father, Son, πατήρ , υἱός : God, Word, Θεός , λόγος . “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ” is a phrase which occurs also in the 17th verse of this chapter. On the cross, in the depth of His agony, the mysterious complaint of Jesus expressed the same relationship, “My God, my God.” “I ascend,” said He to Mary, “to my God and your God.” Revelation 3:12. The phrase is therefore one of scriptural use. As man, Jesus owned Himself to be the servant of God. God's commission He came to execute, God's law He obeyed, and God's will was His constant Guide. As a pious and perfect man He served God, prayed to God, and trusted in God. And God, as God, stands in no distant relation to Christ-He is also His Father. The two characters are blended “God and Father.”-See under Ephesians 1:17. Sonship cannot indeed imply on Christ's part posteriority of existence or derivation of essence, for such a notion is plainly inconsistent with His supreme Divinity. The name seems to mark identity of nature and prerogative, with infinite, eternal, unchanging, and reciprocal love. Since this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ sent Him into the world, prescribed His service of suffering and death, and accepted it as a complete atonement, it is therefore His pr erogative to dispense the blessings so secured-
ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς “who blessed us” “us,” not the apostle simply, as Koppe supposes from the contrast of ὑμεῖς in Ephesians 1:14. The persons blessed are the apostle and the members of that church addressed by him-he and they were alike recipients of divine favour. The εὐλογήσας stands in ideal contrast to the εὐλογητός -God blessed us, and we bless God; but His blessing of us is one of deed, our blessing of Him is only in word. He makes us blessed, we pronounce Him blessed. He confers on us wellbeing, we ascribe to Him wellbeing. Ours is benedicere, His is benefacere. The participle here, as in many places, has virtually a causal significance. Kühner, § 667, a. We bless Him because He has blessed us. As the word expresses that divine beneficence which excites our gratitude, it must in a doxology have its widest significance. The enraptured mind selects in such a case the most powerful and intense term, to express its sense of the divine generosity. As Fergusson in his own Doric says, “The apostle does not propound the causes of salvation warshly, and in a cauldrife manner:”-
ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ “with all spiritual blessing.” ᾿Εν is used in an instrumental sense, and similar phraseology in reference to God occurs in Tob 8:15 , James 3:9. εὐλογία is not verbal wish expressed, but actual blessing conferred. The reader will notice the peculiar collocation of the three allied terms, εὐ λογητός λογήσας λογίᾳ , a repetition not uncommon in the Hebrew Scriptures, and found occasionally among the Greek classics.
The blessings are designated as spiritual, but in what sense? 1. Chrysostom, Grotius, Aretius, Holzhausen, and Macknight suppose that the apostle intends a special and marked contrast between the spiritual blessings of the new dispensation, and the material and temporal blessings of the old economy. Temporal blessings, indeed, were of frequent promise in the Mosaic dispensation-dew of heaven, fatness of the earth, abundance of corn, wine, and oil, peace, longevity, and a flourishing household. It is true that such gifts are not now bestowed as the immediate fruits of Christ's mediation, though, at the same time, godliness has “the promise of the life that now is.” But mere worldly blessings have sunk into their subordinate place. When the sun rises, the stars that sparkled during night are eclipsed by the flood of superior brilliance and disappear, though they still keep their places; so the blessings of this world may now be conferred, and may now be enjoyed by believers, but under the new dispensation their lustre is altogether dimmed and absorbed by those spiritual gifts which are its profuse and distinctive endowments. If there be any reference to the temporal blessings of the Jewish covenant, it can only, as Calvin says, be “tacita antithesis.” 2. Others regard the adjective as referring to the mind or soul of man, such as Erasmus, Estius, Flatt, Wahl, and Wilke; while Koppe, Rückert, and Baumgarten-Crusius express a doubtful acquiescence in this opinion. This interpretation yields a good meaning, inasmuch as these gifts are adapted to our inner or higher nature, and it is upon our spirit that the Holy Ghost operates. But this is not the ruling sense of the epithet in the New Testament. It is, indeed, in a generic sense opposed to σαρκικός in 1 Corinthians 9:11, and in Romans 15:27; while in 1 Corinthians 15:44-46.15.46 it is employed in contrast with ψυχικός -the one term descriptive of an animal body, and the other of a body elevated above animal functions and organization, with which believers shall be clothed at the last day. Similar usage obtains in Ephesians 6:12; 1Pe 2:5 ; 1 Corinthians 10:3; 1 Corinthians 4:3. But in all other passages where, as in this clause, the word is used to qualify Christian men, or Christian blessings, its ruling reference is plainly to the Holy Spirit. Thus-spiritual gifts, Romans 1:11; a special endowment of the Spirit, 1Co 12:1 ; 1 Corinthians 14:1, etc.; spiritual men, that is, men enjoying in an eminent degree the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 14:37; and also in Galatians 6:1; Romans 7:14; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; and in 1 Corinthians 2:13, “spiritual” means produced by or belonging to the Holy Spirit. Therefore the prevailing usage of the New Testament warrants us in saying, that these blessings are termed spiritual from their connection with the Holy Spirit. In this opinion we have the authority of the old Syriac version, which reads דרוח “of the Spirit;” and the concurrence of Cocceius, Harless, de Wette, Olshausen, Meier, Meyer, and Stier. The Pauline usus loquendi is decidedly in its favour.
Πάσῃ “All.” The circle is complete. No needed blessing is wanted-nothing that God has promised, or Christ has secured, or that is indispensable to the symmetry and perfection of the Christian character. And those blessings are all in the hand of the Spirit. Christianity is the dispensation of the Spirit, and as its graces are inwrought by Him, they are all named “spiritual” after Him.
It certainly narrows and weakens the doxology to confine those “blessings” wholly or chiefly to the charismata, or extraordinary gifts of the primitive Church, as Wells and Whitby do. Those gifts were brilliant manifestations of divine power, but they have long since passed away, and are therefore inferior to the permanent graces-faith, hope, and love. They were not given to all, like the ordinary donations of the Holy Ghost. Theodoret, with juster appreciation, long ago said, that in addition to such endowments, ἔδωκε τὴν ἐλπίδα τῆς ἀναστάσεως , τὰς τῆς ἀθανασίας ἐπαγγελίας , τὴν ὑπόσχεσιν τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν , τὸ τῆς υἱοθεσίας ἀξίωμα “the blessings referred to here are, the hope of the resurrection, the promises of immortality, the kingdom of heaven in reversion, and the dignity of adoption.” The blessings are stated by the apostle in the subsequent verses, and neither gifts, tongues, nor prophecy occupy a place in the succinct and glowing enumeration:-
ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ “in the heavenly places, in Christ”-a peculiar idiom, the meaning of which has been greatly disputed. What shall be supplied - πράγμασι or τόποις , things or places? The translation, “In heavenly things,” is supported by Chrysostom, Theodoret, OEcumenius, Luther, Baumgarten-Crusius, Holzhausen, Matthies, and Meier. This view makes the phrase a more definite characterization of the spiritual blessings. But the construction is against it, for the insertion of τοῖς seems to show that it is neither a mere prolonged specification, nor, as in Homberg's view, a mere parallel definition to ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ . The sentence, with such an explanation, even though the article should be supposed to designate a class, appears confused and weakened with somewhat of tautology. Nor can we suppose, with Van Til, that there is simply a designed contrast to the terrestrial blessings of the Old Testament. The other supplement, τόποις , appears preferable, and such is the opinion of the Syriac translator-who renders it simply בשׁמיא , in heaven-of Jerome, Drusius, Beza, Bengel, Rückert, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Meyer, Stier, and Bisping. The phrase occurs four times besides-1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12. In all these places in this one epistle, the idea of locality is expressly implied, and there is no reason why this clause should be an exception. Harless remarks that the adjective, as ἐπί would suggest, has in the Pauline writings a local signification.
But among such as hold this view there are some differences of opinion. Jerome, Beza, Bodius, and Rückert would connect the phrase directly with εὐλογήσας ; but the position of the words forbids the exegesis, and the participle must in such a case be taken with a proleptic or future signification. Beza alternates between two interpretations. According to his double view, men may be said to be blessed “in heaven,” either because God the Blesser is in heaven, or because the blessings received are those which are characteristic of heaven-such blessings as are enjoyed by its blessed inhabitants. Calvin, Grotius, and Koppe argue that the term points out the special designation of the spiritual blessings; that they are to be enjoyed in heaven. Grotius says these spiritual blessings place us in heaven “ spe et jure. ” The sweeping view of Calovius comprehends all these interpretations; the spiritual blessings are ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις - ratione et originis, qualitatis, et finis. The opinion of Slichtingius, Zanchius, and Olshausen is almost identical. The latter calls it “the spiritual blessing which is in heaven, and so carries in it a heavenly nature.”
We have seen that the idea of locality is distinctly implied in the phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις . Olshausen is in error when he says that “heavenly places” in Paul's writings signify heaven absolutely, for the phrase sometimes refers to a lower and nearer spiritual sphere of it; “He hath raised us up, and made us sit together with Christ in the heavenly places.” Our session with Christ is surely a present elevation-an honour and happiness even now enjoyed. “We wrestle against principalities, against powers-against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places,” Ephesians 6:12. These dark spirits are not in heaven, for they are exiles from it, and our struggle with them is in the present life. There are, therefore, beyond a doubt, “heavenly places” on earth. Now the gospel, or the Mediatorial reign, is “the kingdom of heaven.” That kingdom or reign of God is “in us,” or among us. Heaven is brought near to man through Christ Jesus. Those spiritual blessings conferred on us create heaven within us, and the scenes of Divine benefaction are “heavenly places;” for wherever the light and love of God's presence are to be enjoyed, there is heaven. If such blessings are the one Spirit's inworking,-that Spirit who in God's name “takes of the things that are Christ's and shows them unto us,”-then His influence diffuses the atmosphere of heaven around us. “Our country is in heaven,” and we enjoy its immunities and prerogatives on earth. We would not vaguely say, with Ernesti, Teller, and Schutze, that the expression simply means the church. True, in the church men are blessed, but the scenes of blessing here depicted represent the church in a special and glorious aspect, as a spot so like heaven, and so replete with the Spirit in the possession and enjoyment of His gifts-so filled with Christ and united to Him-so much of His love pervadin g it, and so much of His glory resting upon it, that it may be called τὰ ἐπουράνια . The phrase may have been suggested, as Stier observes, by the region of Old Testament blessing-Canaan being given to the chosen people of God as the God of Abraham.
The words ἐν Χριστῷ might be viewed as connected with τὰ ἐπουράνια , and their position at the end of the verse might warrant such an exegesis. Christ at once creates and includes heaven. But they are better connected with the preceding participle, and in that connection they do not signify, as Chrysostom and Luther suppose, “through Christ” as an external cause of blessing, but “in Him.” Castalio supposing ἐν to be superfluous, affectedly renders- in rebus Christi coelestibus, and Schoettgen erroneously takes the noun for the dativus commodi-in laudem Christi. The words are reserved to the last with special emphasis. The apostle writes of blessing-spiritual blessing-all spiritual blessing-all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places; but adds at length the one sphere in which they are enjoyed-in Christ-in living union with the personal Redeemer. God blesses us: if the question be, When? the aorist solves it; if it be, With what sort of gifts? the ready answer is, “With all spiritual blessings”- ἐν ; and if it be, Where? the response is, “In the heavenly places”- ἐν ; and if it be, How? the last words show it, “in Christ”- ἐν , the one preposition being used thrice, to point out varied but allied relations. If Christians are blessed, and so blessed with unsparing liberality and universal benefaction in Christ through the Spirit's influence upon them; and if the scenes of such transcendent enjoyment may be named without exaggeration “heavenly places”-may they not deeply and loudly bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? And so the triune operation of the triune God is introduced: the Father who blesses-the Son, in whom those blessings are conferred-and the Spirit, by whose inner work they are enjoyed, and from whom they receive their distinctiv e epithet.
(Ephesians 1:4.) Καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ “According as He chose us in Him.” The adverb καθώς defines the connection of this verse with the preceding. That connection is modal rather than causal; καθώς , like καθότι , may signify sometimes “because,” but the cause specified involves the idea of manner. Καθώς , in classic Greek καθά , is the later form (Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 426), and denotes, as its composition indicates, “according as.” These spiritual blessings are conferred on us, not merely because God chose us, but they are given to us in perfect harmony with His eternal purpose. Their number, variety, adaptation, and fulness, with the shape and the mode of their bestowment, are all in exact unison with God's pretemporal and gracious resolution; they are given after the model of that pure and eternal archetype which was formed in the Divine mind-
ἐξελέξατο .-1 Corinthians 1:27. The action belongs wholly to the past, as the aorist indicates. Krüger, § 53, 5, 1; Scheuerlein, § 32, 2. The idea involved in this word lay at the basis of the old theocracy, and it also pervades the New Testament. The Greek term corresponds to the Hebrew בָּחַר , H1047, of the Old Testament, which is applied so often to God's selection of Abraham's seed to be His peculiar people. Deuteronomy 4:37; Deuteronomy 7:6-5.7.7; Isaiah 41:8; Psalms 33:12; Psalms 47:4, etc. Usteri, Paulin. Lehrbegriff, p. 271. The verb before us, with its cognate forms, is used frequently to indicate the origin of that peculiar relation which believers sustain to God, and it also assigns the reason of that distinction which subsists between them aud the world around them. Whatever the precise nature of this choice may be, the general doctrine is, that the change of relation is not of man's achievement, but of God's, and the aorist points to it as past; that man does not unite himself to God, but that God unites man to Himself, for there is no attractive power in man's heart to collect and gather in upon it those spiritual blessings. But there is not merely this palpable right of initiation on the part of God; there is also the prerogative of sovereign bestowment, as is indicated by the composition of the verb and by the following pronoun, ἡμᾶς “us”-we have; others want. The apostle speaks of himself and his fellow-saints at Ephesus. If God had not chosen them, they would never have chosen God.
Hofmann ( Schriftb. p. 223, etc., 2nd ed. 1857) denies that the verb contains the idea of choice in its theological use. Admitting that it does mean to “choose,” as in Joshua 8:3, and to prefer, as in Genesis 13:11, Luke 10:42, he abjures in this place all notion of selection-they are chosen not out of others, but chosen for a certain end- für etwas. The supposition is ingenious, but it is contrary to the meaning of the compound verb, even in the passages selected by him, as Exodus 18:25, Acts 6:5, in which there is formal selection expressed-judges out of the people by Moses; deacons out from the membership of the early church. The phrase οἱ ἐκλεκτοὶ ἄγγελοι in 1 Timothy 5:21, may, for aught we know, have a meaning quite in harmony with the literal signification, or ἐκλεκτός may bear a secondary sense, based on its primary meaning, such as Hofmann finds in Luke 23:35, and according to a certain reading, in Luke 9:35. But while there is a high destiny set before us, there is a choice of those who are to enjoy it, and this choice in itself, and plainly implying a contrast, the apostle describes by ἐξελέξατο . On the other hand, Ebrard- Christliche Dogmatik, § 560, vol. ii. p. 65, 1851-denies that the end of election, considered as individual eternal happiness, is contained in the verb; for election, according to him, signifies not the choice of individuals, but of a multitude out of the profane world into the church, so that ἐκλεκτός is synonymous with ἅγιος . Election to external privilege is true, but it does not exhaust the purpose: for it would be stopping at the means without realizing the end. Besides, the choice of a multitude is simply the choice of each individual composing it. That multitude may be regarded as a unity by God, but to Him it is a unity of definite elements or members. On the divine side, the elect, whatever their number, are a unity, and are so described- πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέ μοι , John 6:39; πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ , John 17:2 -a totality viewed by Omniscience as one; but on the human side, the elect are the whole company of believers, but thus individualized- πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων -John 6:40:-
᾿Εν αὐτῷ “in Him,” for such is the genuine reading, not ἑαυτῷ , or in ipso, as the Vulgate has it and some commentators take it; nor “to Himself,” as the Ethiopic renders it. The reference is to Christ, but the nature of that reference has been disputed. Chrysostom says, “He by whom He has blessed us, is the same as He by whom He has chosen us;” but afterwards he interprets the words before us thus- διὰ τῆς εἰς αὐτὸν πίστεως , and he capriciously ascribes the elective act to Christ. Many, as a-Lapide, Estius, Bullinger, and Flatt, translate virtually, “on account of Christ.” But the apostolical idea is more definite and profound. ᾿Εν αὐτῷ seems to point out the position of the ἡμᾶς . Believers were looked upon as being in Christ their federal Head, when they were elected. To the prescient eye of God the entire church was embodied in Jesus-was looked upon as “in Him.” The church that was to be appeared to the mind of Him who fills eternity, as already in being, and that ideal being was in Christ. It is true that God Himself is in Christ, and in Christ purposes and performs all that pertains to man's redemption; but the thought here is not that God in Christ has chosen us, but that when He elected us, we were regarded as being in Christ our representative-like as the human race was in Adam, or the Jewish nation in Abraham. We were chosen-
πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου , “before the foundation of the world.”-Similar phraseology occurs in Matthew 13:35; Joh 17:24 ; 1 Peter 1:20. The more usual Pauline expressions are - πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων , 1 Corinthians 2:7; πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων , 2 Timothy 1:9. Καταβολή is also used in the same sense in the classics, and by Philo. Loesner, Observat. p. 338; Passow, sub voce. Chrysostom, alluding to the composition of the noun κατα - βολή , says fancifully, “Beautiful is that word, as if he were pointing to the world cast down from a great height-yes, vast and indescribable is the height of God, so wide the distance between Creator and creature.” The phrase itself declares that this election is no act of time, for time dates from the creation. Prior to the commencement of time were we chosen in Christ. The generic idea, therefore, is what Olshausen calls Zeitlosigkeit, Timelessness, implying of course absolute eternity. The choice is eternal, and it realizes itself or takes effect in that actual separation by which the elect, οἱ ἐκλεκτοί , are brought out of the world into the church, and so become κλητοὶ , ἅγιοι , καὶ πιστοί . Before that world which was to be lost in sin and misery was founded, its guilt and helplessness were present to the mind of God, and His gracious purposes toward it were formed. The prospect of its fall coexisted eternall y with the design of its recovery by Christ-
εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ “in order that we should be holy, and without blame before Him.” Εἶναι is the infinitive of design “that we should be.” Winer, § 44, 1; Colossians 1:22. The two adjectives express the same idea, with a slight shade of variation. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2. The first is inner consecration to God, or holy principle-the positive aspect; the latter refers to its result, the life governed by such a power must be blameless and without reprehension-the negative aspect, as Alford and Ellicott term it. Tittmann, Synonym, p. 21. The pulsation of a holy heart leads to a stainless life, and that is the avowed purpose of our election.
That the words describe a moral condition is affirmed rightly by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Matthies, Meier, Stier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and de Wette. Some, however, such as Koppe, Meyer, von Gerlach, Bisping, and Harless, refer the phrase to that perfect justifying righteousness of believers to which the apostle alludes in Romans 3:21-45.3.22; Romans 5:1, etc., Romans 8:1, etc.; 1 Corinthians 6:11. But the terms found here are different from those used by the apostle in the places quoted, where men are said to be justified, or fully acquitted from guilt, by their interest in the righteousness of Christ. On the other hand, the eternal purpose not only pardons, but also sanctifies, absolves in order to renew, and purifies in order to bestow perfection. It is the uniform teaching of Paul, that holiness is the end of our election, our calling, our pardon and acceptance. The phrase, “holy and without blame,” is never once applied to our complete justification before God; and, indeed, men are not regarded by God as innocent or sinless, for the fact of their sin remains unaltered; but they are treated as righteous-they are absolved from the penal consequences of their apostasy. It is no objection to our interpretation, which gives the words a moral, and not a legal or forensic signification, that men are not perfect in the present state. We would not say apologetically, with Calixtus- Quantum fieri potest, per Dei ipsius gratiam et carnis nostrae infirmitatem. We can admit no modification; for though the purpose begins to take effect here, it is not fully wrought out here, and we would not identify incipient operation with final perfection. The proper view, then, is that perfection is secured for us-that complete restoration to our first purity is provided for us-that He who chose us before time began, and when we were not, saw in us the full and final accomplishment of His gracious purpose. When He elected us-He beheld realized in us His own ideal of restored and redeemed humanity.-See under chap. Ephesians 5:27. Men are chosen in Christ, in order to be holy and without blame. 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Titus 2:14. Jerome says, Hoc est, qui sancti et immaculati ante non fuimus, ut postea essemus. The father vindicates this view, and refutes such objections as Porphyry was wont to advance, by putting the plain question, “Why, if there be no sovereignty, have Britain and the Irish tribes not known Moses and the prophets?” These facts are as appalling as any doctrine, and the fact must be overturned ere the doctrine can be impugned. The last lesson deduced by Jerome is, Concede Deo potentiam sui.
κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ “before Him,” לְפָנָיו . No good end is gained by reading αὑτοῦ , with Harless and Scholz, as the subject is remote. The meaning is, indeed, before Himself, that is, before God. Winer, § 22, 5; note from Bremi; Kühner, § 628. As the middle form of ἐξελέξατο indicates, they were chosen by God for Himself, and they are to be holy and blameless before Him. The reference to God is undoubted, and the phrase denotes the reality or genuineness of the holy and blameless state. God accounts it so. The “elect” are not esteemed righteous “merely before men,” as Theophylact explains. Their piety is not a brilliant hypocrisy. It is regarded as genuine, “before Him” whose glance at once detects and frowns upon the spurious, however plausible the disguise in which it may wrap itself. Such is another or second ground of praise.
The reader may pardon a few digressive illustrations of the momentous doctrine of this verse. It would be a narrow and superficial view of these words to imagine that they are meant to level Jewish pride, and that they describe simply the choice of the Gentiles to religious privilege. The purpose of the election is, that its object should be holy, an end that cannot fail, for they are in Christ; in Him ideally when they were chosen, and also every man in his own order in Him actually, personally, and voluntarily, by faith. Yet the sovereign love of God is strikingly manifested, even in the bestowment of external advantage. Ephesus enjoyed what many a city in Asia Minor wanted. The motive that took Paul to Ephesus, and the wind that sped the bark which carried him, were alike of God's creation. It was not because God chanced to look down from His high throne, and saw the Ephesians bowing so superstitiously before the shrine of Diana, that His heart was moved, and He resolved in His mercy to give them the gospel. Nor was it because its citizens had a deeper relish for virtue and peace than the masses of population around them, that He sent among them the grace of His Spirit. “He is of one mind, and who can turn Him?” Every purpose is eternal, and awaits an evolution in the fulness of the time which is neither antedated nor postponed.
And the same difficulties are involved in this choice to external blessing, as are found in the election of men to personal salvation. The whole procedure lies in the domain of pure sovereignty, and there can therefore be no partiality where none have any claim. The choice of Abraham is the great fact which explains and gives name to the doctrine. Why then should the race of Shem be selected, to the exclusion of Ham and Japheth? Why of all the families in Shem should that of Terah be chosen? and why of all the members of Terah's house should the individual Abraham be marked out, and set apart by God to be the father of a new race? As well impugn the fact as attempt to upset the doctrine. Providence presents similar views of the divine procedure. One is born in Europe with a fair face, and becomes enlightened and happy; another is born in Africa with a sable countenance, and is doomed to slavery and wretchedness. One has his birth from Christian parents, and is trained in virtue from his earlier years; another has but a heritage of shame from his father, and the shadow of the gallows looms over his cradle. One is an heir of genius; another, with some malformation of brain, is an idiot. Some, under the enjoyment of Christian privilege, live and die unimpressed; others, with but scanty opportunities, believe, and grow eminent in piety. Does not more seem really to be done by God externally for the conversion of some who live and die in impenitence, than for many who believe and are saved? And yet the divine prescience and predestination are not incompatible with human responsibility. Man is free, perfectly free, for his moral nature is never strained or violated. We protest, as warmly as Sir William Hamilton, against any form of Calvinism which affirms “that man has no will, agency, or moral personality of his own.” Foreknowledge, which is only an other phase of electing love, no more changes the nature of a future incident, than afterknowledge can affect a historical fact. God's grace fits men for heaven, but men by unbelief prepare themselves for hell. It is not man's non-election, but his continued sin, that leads to His eternal ruin. Nor is action impeded by the certainty of the divine foreknowledge. He who believes that God has appointed the hour of his death, is not fettered by such a faith in the earnest use of every means to prolong his life. And God does not act arbitrarily or capriciously. He has the best of reasons for His procedure, though He does not choose to disclose them to us. Sovereignty is but another name for highest and benignest equity. As Hooker says, “They err who think that of the will of God to do this or that, there is no reason but His will.” Eccles. Pol., lib. i. chap. Ephesians 2:3. The question of the number of the saved is no element of the doctrine we are illustrating. There have, alas! been men, Calvino Calviniores, who have rashly, heartlessly, and unscripturally spoken of the ἐκλεκτοί as a few-a small minority. God forbid. There are many reasons and hints in Scripture leading us to the very opposite conclusion. But, in fine, this is the practical lesson; Christians have no grounds for self-felicitation in their possession of holiness and hope, as if with their own hand they had inscribed their names in the Book of Life. Their possession of “all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” is not self-originated. Its one author is God, and He hath conferred it in harmony with His own eternal purpose regarding them. His is all the work, and His is all the glory. And therefore the apostle rejoices in this eternal election. It is cause of deep and prolonged thankfulness, not of gloom, distrust, or perplexity. The very eternity of design clothes the plan of salvation with a peculiar nobleness. It has its origin in an eternity behin d us. The world was created to be the theatre of redemption. Kindness, the result of momentary impulse, has not and cannot have such claim to gratitude as a beneficence which is the fruit of a matured and predetermined arrangement. The grace which springs from eternal choice must command the deepest homage of our nature, as in this doxology- Εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς Ñ --…καθὼς ἐξελέξατο .
The eternity of the plan suggests another thought, which we may mention without assuming a polemical aspect, or entering into the intricacies of the supra- and sub-lapsarian controversies. It is this-salvation is an original thought and resolution. It is no novel expedient struck out in the fertility of divine ingenuity, after God's first purpose in regard to man had failed through man's apostasy. It is no afterthought, but the embodiment of a design which, foreseeing our ruin, had made preparation for it. Neander, indeed, says the object of the apostle in this place is to show that Christianity was not inferior to Judaism as a new dispensation, but was in truth the more ancient and original, presupposed even by Judaism itself. The election in Christ preceded the election of the Jewish nation in their ancestors. Geschichte der Pflanzung, etc., 2.443. But to represent this as the main object of the apostle is to dethrone the principal idea, and to exalt a mere inferential lesson into its place.
Before proceeding to the words ἐν ἀγάπῃ , we may remark, that the theory which makes foreseen holiness the ground of our election, and not its design, is clearly contrary to the apostolical statement; chosen-in order that we should be holy. So Augustine says that God chose us not quia futuri eramus, sed ut essemus sancti et immaculati. There is no room for the conditional interjection of Grotius, Si et homines faciant, quod debent. The dilemma of those who base predestination upon prescience is: if God foresaw this faith and holiness, then those qualities were either self-created, or were to be bestowed by Himself; if the former, the grace of God is denied; and if the latter, the question turns upon itself-What prompted God to give them the faith and holiness which He foresaw they should possess? The doctrine so clearly taught in this verse was held in its leading element by the ancient church-by the Roman Clement, Ignatius, Hermas, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, before Augustine worked it into a system, and Jerome armed himself on its behalf. It is foreign to our purpose to review the theory of Augustine, the revival of it by Gottschalk, or its reassertion by Calvin and Janssen; nor can we criticise the assault made upon it by Pelagius, or describe the keen antagonism of Calixtus and Julian, followed up in later times by Arminius, Episcopius, Limborch, and Tomline. Suffice it to say, that many who imagine that they have explained away a difficulty by denying one phase of the doctrine, have only achieved the feat of shifting that difficulty into another position. The various modifications of what we reckon the truth contained in the apostolical statement, do not relieve us of the mystery, which belongs as well to simple Theism as to the evangelical system. Dr. Whately has, with characteristic candour, admitted that the difficulty which relates to the character and moral government of God, presses as hard on the Arminian as the Calvinist, and Sir James Mackintosh has shown, with his usual luminous and dispassionate power, how dangerous it is to reason as to the moral consequences which the opponents of this and similar doctrines may impute to them. In short, whether this doctrine be identified with Pagan stoicism or Mahometan fatalism, and be rudely set aside, and the world placed under the inspection of an inert omniscience; or whether it be modified as to its end, and that be declared to be privilege, and not holiness; or as to its foundation, and that be alleged to be not gratuitous and irrespective choice, but foreseen merit and goodness; or as to its subjects, and they be affirmed to be not individuals, but communities; or as to its result, a nd it be reckoned contingent, and not absolute; or whether the idea of election be diluted into mere preferential choice: whichever of these theories be adopted,-and they have been advocated in some of these aspects not only by some of the early Fathers, but by Archbishops Bramhall, Sancroft, King, Lawrence, Sumner, and Whately, and by Milton, Molina, Faber, Nitzsch, Hase, Lange, Copleston, Chandler, Locke, Watson, and many others,-such hypotheses leave the central difficulty still unsolved, and throw us back on the unconditioned and undivided sovereignty of Him “of whom, to whom, and through whom are all things,”-all whose plans and purposes wrought out in the church, and designe d to promote His glory, have been conceived in the vast and incomprehensible solitudes of His own eternity. I can only say, in conclusion, with the martyr Ridley, when he wrote on this high theme to Bradford “In these matters I am so fearful, that I dare not speak further; yea, almost none otherwise than the text does, as it were, lead me by the hand.”
The position of the words ἐν ἀγάπῃ will so far determine their meaning, but that position it is difficult to assign. Much may be said on either side. 1. If the words are kept, as in the Textus Receptus, at the end of the fourth verse, then some would join them to ἐξελέξατο , and others to the adjectives immediately preceding them. That ἐν ἀγάπῃ at the end of the verse should refer to ἐξελέξατο at the beginning, is highly improbable. The construction would be so awkward, that we wonder how OEcumenius, Flacius, Olearius, Bucer, and Flatt could have adopted it. The entire verse would intervene between a reference to the act of election and the motive which is supposed to prompt to it. 2. Others, such as the Vulgate and Coptic, Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Matthies, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Alford, join the words to the adjectives ἅγιοι καὶ ἄμωμοι , as if love were represented as the consummation of Christian virtue. The doctrine itself is a glorious truth-all the Christian graces at length disappear in love, as the flower is lost in the fruit. Those who refer the adjectives to justifying righteousness- justitia imputata -object to this view that it is not Pauline, but that ἐν πίστει would be the words employed. 3. Though we are not hampered by such a false exegesis, we prefer to join ἐν ἀγάπῃ to the following verse, and for these reasons:-Where ἅγιος is used along with ἄμωμος , as in Ephesians 5:27, and even in Colossians 1:22, where a third epithet, ἀνέγκλητος , is also employed, there is no such supplementary phrase as ἐν ἀγάπῃ . Alford tries to get rid of this objection by saying that ἐν ἀγάπῃ refers not to the epithets alone, but to the entire last clause. Yet the plea does not avail him, for his exegesis really makes ἐν ἀγάπῃ a qu alification of the two adjectives. Olshausen appeals to other passages, but the reference cannot be sustained; for in Jude 1:24 the additional phrase ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει qualifies not ἄμωμος , but the entire preceding clause-the presentation of the saved to God. When synonymous epithets are used, a qualifying formula is sometimes added, as in ἀμέμπτους , 1 Thessalonians 3:13, but blameless in what? the adjective is proleptic, and ἐν ἁγιωσύνῃ is added. Koch, Comment. p. 272. The words ἐν εἰρήνῃ occur also in 2 Peter 3:14, in the same clause with ἀμώμητος , but they belong not, as Olshausen supposes, to the adjective; they rather qualify the verb εὑρεθῆναι “found in peace.” If ἐν ἀγάπῃ belonged to the preceding adjectives, we should expect it to follow them immediately; but the words κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ intervene. The construction is not against the Pauline style and usage, as may be seen, chap. Ephesians 3:18, Ephesians 6:18, in which places the emphasis is laid on the preceding phrase. Nor has Alford's other argument more force in it-that the verbs and participles in this paragraph precede these qualifying clauses: for we demur to the correctness of the statement. 1. We interpret the 8th verse differently, and make ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει qualify the following γνωρίσας . 2. The other qualifying clauses following the verbs and participles in this paragraph are of a different nature from this, four of them being introduced by κατά -referring to rule or measurement, and not to motive in itself or its elements. 3. It is more natural, besides, to join the words to the following verse, where adoption is spoken of; for the only source of it is the love of God, and it forms no objection to this view that ἐν ἀγάπῃ precedes the participle. Love is implied in predestination. Di -lectio p raesupponitur E -lectioni, says Thomas Aquinas. And lastly, the spirit of the paragraph is God's dealing towards man in its great and gracious features; and not precisely or definitely the features or elements of man's perfection as secured by Him. The minuter specifications belong to God-His eternal purpose and His realization of it.
The union of ἐν ἀγάπῃ with προορίσας is sanctioned by the old Syriac version, by the fathers Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, and Jerome; by Zanchius, Crocius, Bengel, Koppe, Storr, Rückert, Harless, de Wette, Olshausen, Holzhausen, Stier, Turner, and Ellicott; and by the editors Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, and Tischendorf.
(Ephesians 1:5.) ᾿Εν ἀγάπῃ προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν - “In love having predestinated us for the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself.” Still another or third ground of praise. ᾿Εν ἀγάπῃ , φησί , προορίσας , says Chrysostom, and Jerome renders in charitate praedestinans. Saints enjoy the privilege and heritage of adoption. The source of this blessing is love, and that love, unrestrained and self-originated, has developed its power and attachment “according to the good pleasure of His will.” This verse is, to some extent, only a different phase of the truth contained in the preceding one. The idea of adoption was a favourite one with the apostle-Romans 8:14-45.8.15; Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23; Romans 9:4; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 4:5-48.4.7; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:5-58.12.8, etc. In the Old Testament, piety is denominated by the filial relationship “sons of God.” Genesis 6:2. The theocratic connection of Israel with God is also pictured by the same tender tie. Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 3:19; Hosea 1:10. Υἱοθεσία - Θετὸν υἱὸν ποιεῖσθαι -conveys a similar idea, with this distinction, that the sonship is not a natural but a constituted relationship, for the θετός was quite distinct from the γνήσιος . The idea here is not merely that of sonship, as Usteri imagines, but sonship acquired by adoption. Paulin. Lehrbegriff, p. 194. Whatever blessings were implied or shadowed out in the Israelitish adoption, belong now to Christians. For they possess a likeness to their Father in the lustrous lineaments of His moral character, and they have the enjoyment of His special love, the privilege of near and familiar access, the wholesome and necessary discipline withheld from the bastard or foundling-Hebrews 12:8 -and a rich provision at the same time out of His glorious fulness, for they have an inheritance, as is told in Ephesians 1:11. God and all that God is, God and all that God has, is their boundless and eternal possession-1 Corinthians 3:21-46.3.23 -to be enjoyed in that home whose material glories are only surpassed by its spiritual splendours. Adoption is, therefore, a combined subjective view of the cardinal blessings of justification and sanctification.
Προορίσας -The signification of the verb is, “to mark out beforehand,” and it is the act of God. We were marked out for adoption- πρό ; not before others, but before time. The πρό does not of itself express this, but the spirit of the context would lead to this conclusion. The general idea is the same as that involved in ἐξελέξατο , though there is a specific distinction. The end preappointed- πρό , is implied in the one; the mass out of which choice is made- ἐκ , is glanced at by the other. In the first case, the Divine mind is supposed to look forward to the glorious destiny to which believers are set apart; in the second case, it looks down upon the undeserving stock out of which it chose them. Προορίσας may indicate an action prior to ἐξελέξατο “Having foreappointed us to the adoption of children, He chose us in Christ Jesus.” Donaldson, § 574; Winer, § 45, 1. Homberg- Parerga, p. 286-thus paraphrases, Postquam nos praedestinavit adoptandos, elegit etiam nos, ut simus sancti. But as the action both of verb and participle belongs to God, we would rather take the participle as synchronous with the verb. Bernhardy, p. 383. For though the order of the Divine decrees is a subject too high for us, as we can neither grasp infinitude nor span eternity, yet we may say that there is oneness and not succession of thought in God's mind, simultaneous idea and not consecutive arrangement. See Martensen's Christliche Dogmatik, §§ 207, 208, 209; Kiel, 1855. The doctrine taught is, that our reception of the blessings, prerogatives, and prospects implied in adoption, is not of our own merit, but is wholly of God. The returning prodigal does not win his way back into the paternal mansion. This purpose to accept us existed ere the fact of our apostasy had manifested itself , and being without epoch of origin, it comes not within the limits of chronology. It pre-existed time. It is strange to find the German psychology attempting to revive out of these words Origen's dream of the pre-existence of souls. Surely it forgets that He whose mind comprises beginning and end, “calls things that are not, as though they were.”
διὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ -not simply for Christ's sake, but by means of His mediation, since but for Him the family had never been constituted. God's Son is the “first-born” of the vast household, and fraternal relation to Him is filial relation to God.
εἰς αὐτόν “to Himself.” It matters not much whether the reading be αὐτόν or αὑτόν . The former, coming so closely after διὰ I. X., is certainly preferable, while the latter reading has at least the merit of settling the reference. Griesbach, Knapp, and Scholz, following Beza, Stephens, and Mill, have αὑτόν . Other editors, such as Erasmus, Wetstein, Lachmann, and Tischendorf, prefer αὐτόν , and they are supported by Harless, Olshausen, and Meyer. The reference of the word, however, is plainly to God. Τὸ δὲ εἰς αὐτὸν , τὸν πατέρα λέγει -Theodoret. Some, indeed, refer the pronoun to Christ. The scholastic interpreters, Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, did this, and they have been followed by Vorstius, Bullinger, a-Lapide, and Goodwin, who, however, as his manner is, combines both the views; “the Holy Ghost,” he adds, “intended both.” But these expositors are more or less paraphrastic and wide of the truth. Others, referring it to God, give it the signification of a dative, such as Calvin, Beza, and Calixtus, and join the words with προορίσας , and find in the formula this idea, that the cause of our adoption lies only in God, that predestination is not caused by any motive or power foreign to Himself- extra seipsum. But this exegesis is a capricious and unwarranted construction of εἰς with its accusative. Others, again, take it as a dativus commodi for ἑαυτῷ , as Grotius, Koppe, Holzhausen, and Meier: “God has made us His own children,” a meaning which does not bring out the full force of the word. Not very different is the explanation of Rückert, who makes it equivalent to αὐτοῦ in the genitive “He has predestined us to His own adoption.” The apostle does not use the preposition where a simple dative or genitive woul d have sufficed. Others, retaining the undoubted meaning of the accusative, would render it in various ways. Piscator translates- Ad gloriam gratiae suae. Theophylact, with OEcumenius, explains, τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνάγουσαν -adoption leading to Him. Olshausen's notion is not dissimilar. De Wette renders simply für ihn; that is, for Him whose glory is the ultimate end of the great work of redemption. Theodore of Mopsuestia thus expounds it, ἵνα αὐτοῦ υἱοὶ λεγοίμεθά τε καὶ χρηματίζωμεν . Something of the truth lies in all those modes of explanation, with the exception of the view of Calvin, and those who think with him. Εἰς occurs twice in the verse, first pointing out the nearer object of προορίσας , and then the relation of the spiritual adoption to God. In such a case as the last, εἰς indicates a relation different from the simple dative, and one often found in the theology of the apostle. Winer, § 49, a, c ( δ ), § 31, 5. Adoption has its medium in Christ: but it has its ultimate enjoyment and blessing in God. Himself is our Father-HIS household we enter-HIS welcome we are saluted with-HIS name and dignity we wear-HIS image we possess-HIS discipline we receive-and HIS home, secured and prepared for us, we hope for ever to dwell in. To HIMSELF we are adopted. The origin of this privilege and distinction is the Divine love. That love was not originated by us, nor is it an essential feeling on the part of God, for it has been exercised-
κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ “according to the good pleasure of His will.” Κατά , as usual, denotes rule or measure. Winer, § 49, d ( a). Εὐδοκία , according to Jerome a word coined by the Seventy, rebus novis nova verba fingentes, has two meanings; that of will-it seems good to me- voluntas liberrima “mere good pleasure;” and that of benevolence or goodwill. The former meaning is held by Chrysostom ( τὸ σφοδρὸν θέλημα ), by Grotius, Calvin, Flatt, Rückert, de Wette, Ellicott, and Stier, with the Vulgate and Syriac. The notion of “goodwill,” or benignant purpose, is advocated by Drusius, Beza, Bodius, Röell, Harless, Olshausen, and Baumgarten-Crusius. Such is its prevailing acceptation in the Septuagint, as representing the Hebrew רָצוֹן , H8356. The translators gave this rendering on purpose and with discrimination, for when רָצוֹן , H8356, signifies will or decree, as it sometimes does, they render it by θέλημα . Compare Psalms 51:19; Psalms 89:18; Psalms 105:4, with Esther 1:8; Psalms 29:5; Psalms 40:8; Daniel 8:4; Daniel 11:3; Daniel 11:16, etc. The Seventy render the proper name תִרְַָצה (Delight), Song of Solomon 6:4, by εὐδοκία , Symmachus by εὐδοκητή . In the New Testament the meaning is not different. Luke 2:14; Romans 10:1; Philippians 1:15; Philippians 2:13. Matthew 11:26, and the parallel passage, Luke 10:21, may admit of the other meaning, and yet, as Harless suggests, the context, with its verb ἠγαλλιάσατο , seems to support the more common signification. Fritzsche, ad Rom. 2.369, note. Ellicott virtually gives up his decision, by admitting that “goodness is necessarily involved;” and the philological and contextual arguments of Hodge for the first view are utterly inconclusive. We agree with de Wette that the reference in εὐδοκία is to be sought, not in the προωρισμένοι , but in προορίσας ; but it defines His will as being something more than a mere decree resting on sovereignty, and there is on this account all the more reason why praise is due, for the clause is still connected with εὐλογητός . OEcumenius well defines it, ἡ ἐπ᾿ εὐεργεσίᾳ βούλησις . Theodoret says, that the Sacred Scripture understands by εὐδοκία ,- τὸ ἀγαθὸν τοῦ Θ . θέλημα . The θέλημα -not an Attic term (Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 7)-in itself simple purpose, has in it an element of εὐδοκία . Benignity characterizes His unbiassed will.
And the proof of this statement is plain to a demonstration. For though adoption among men usually results from childlessness, and because no son has a seat on their hearth, they bring home the orphaned wanderer, no motive of this kind has place with God. His heart rejoices over myriads of His unfallen progeny, and His glory would not have been unseen, nor His praises unsung, though this fallen world had sunk into endless and hopeless perdition. Again, while men adopt a child not merely because they like it, but because they think it likeable in features or in temper, there was nothing in us to excite God's love, nay there was everything to quench it in such a ruined and self-ruined creature. So plain is it, that if God love and adopt us, that love has no assignable reason save “the good pleasure of His will.” In endeavouring to show that the occurrence of κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν after ἐν ἀγάπῃ is no tautology, Olshausen says, that ἀγάπη refers to the proper essence of God, and that εὐδοκία brings out the prominent benevolence of the individual act of His will. The opinion of Harless is similar, that ἀγάπη is the general emotion, and that its special expression as the result of will is contained in εὐδοκία . Perhaps the apostle's meaning is, that while adoption is the correlative fruit of love, purpose, special and benign, has its peculiar and appropriate sphere of action in predestination- προορίσας - κατά . There is “ will,” for if God love sinners so as to make them sons, it is not because His nature necessitates it, but because He wills it. Yet this will clothes itself, not in bare decree, but “ in good pleasure,” and such good pleasure is seen deepening into love in their actual inbringing. The idea of this clause is therefore quite different from that of the last clause of Ephesians 5:11.
(Ephesians 1:6.) Εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ “To the praise of the glory of His grace.” Εἰς occurs thrice in the sentence-first pointing out the object of predestination-then, in immediate sequence, marking the connection of the adopted with God-and now designating the final end of the process-relations objective, personal, and teleological, different indeed, yet closely united. Δόξης has not the article, being defined by the following genitive, which with its pronoun is that of possession. Winer, § 19, 2, b; Madvig, § 10, 2. This verse describes not the mere result, but the final purpose, of God's προορισμός . The proximate end is man's salvation, but the ultimate purpose is God's own glory, the manifestation of His moral excellence. 2 Corinthians 1:20; Philippians 1:11; Philippians 2:11. It was natural in an ascription of praise to introduce this idea, the apostle's offering of praise- εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεός -being at that moment a realization of this very purpose, and therefore acceptable to Him. Some critical editors read αὑτοῦ , but without valid reason.
The reduction of the phrase to a Hebraism is a feeble exegesis. That reduction has been attempted in two ways. Some, like Grotius and Estius, resolve it into εἰς ἔπαινον ἔνδοξον -to the glorious praise of His grace. Others, as Beza, Koppe, Winer, Holzhausen, and Meier, construe it as χάρις ἔνδοξος . But it is not generally His glorious grace, but this one special element of that grace which is to be praised. Winer, § 30, 3, 1; Bernhardy, p. 53. Χάρις is favour, Divine favour, proving that man has not only no merit, but that, in spite of demerit, he is saved and blessed by God. (See under chap. Ephesians 2:5-49.2.8.) Its glory is its fulness, freeness, and condescension. It shrinks from no sacrifice, averts itself from no species or amount of guilt, enriches its objects with the choicest favours, and confers upon them the noblest honours. It has effected what it purposed-stooping to the depths, it has raised us to the heights of filial dignity. Still further: this grace, with its characteristic glory, is a property in God's nature which could never have been displayed but for the introduction of sin, and God's design to save sinners. This, then, was His great and ultimate end, that the glory of His grace should be seen and praised, that this element of His character should be exhibited in its peculiar splendour, for without it all conceptions of the Divine nature must have been limited and unworthy. And as this grace lay in His heart, and as its exhibition springs from choice, and not from essential obligation, it is praised by the church, which receives it, and by the universe, which admires it. Therefore to reveal Himself fully, to display His full-orbed glory, was an end worthy of God. The idea of Stier, that the words have a subjective refer ence, is far-fetched, as if the apostle had said that we are predestined to be ourselves the praise of His glory. All that is good in this interpretation is really comprised in the view already given.
ἐν ᾗ , or ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς .-The former reading has in its favour D, E, F, G, K, L. The Vulgate and Syriac cannot be adduced as decided authorities, as they have often characteristic modes of translation in such places. For ἧς we have the two old MSS. A and B, and Chrysostom's first quotation of the clause. Authorities are pretty nearly balanced, and editors and critics are therefore divided-Tischendorf and Ellicott being for the first, Lachmann and Alford for the second-but the meaning is not affected whichever reading be adopted. While ἐν ᾗ is well supported, ἧς would seem to be quite in harmony with Pauline usage, and is the more difficult of the two readings, tempting a copyist on that account to alter it. It stands so by attraction, Bernhardy, p. 299; Winer, § 24, 1; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 1:4; see also under Ephesians 1:8. Two classes of meanings have been assigned to the verb:-
1. That of Chrysostom, and the Greek fathers, who usually follow him, Theodoret, Theophylact, and OEcumenius; also of many of the Catholic interpreters, and of Beza, Luther, Calvin, Piscator, Olshausen, Holzhausen, Passavant, and the English version. The verb is supposed by them to refer to the personal or subjective result of grace, which is to give men acceptance with God- gratos et acceptos reddidit. Men filled with gratia are gratiosi in the eye of God. Luther renders angenehm gemacht, as in our version, “made accepted.” Chrysostom's philological argument is, the apostle does not say ἧς ἐχαρίσατο ἀλλ᾿ ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς , that is, the apostle does not say, “which He has graciously given,” but “with which He has made us gracious.” He further explains the term by καὶ ἐπεράστους ἐποιήσεν “He has made us objects of His love;” and He employs this striking and beautiful figure “It is as if one were to take a leper, wasted with malady and disease, with age, destitution, and hunger, and were to change him all at once into a lovely youth, surpassing all men in beauty, shedding a bright lustre from his cheeks, and eclipsing the solar beam with the glances of his eyes, and then were to set him in the flower of his age and clothe him in purple, and with a diadem, and all the vestments of royalty. Thus has God arrayed and adorned our soul, and made it an object of beauty, delight, and love.” But the notion conveyed in this figure appears to us to be foreign to the meaning of the term. The word occurs, indeed, with a similar meaning in the Septuagint, Sir 18:17 , where ἀνὴρ κεχαριτωμένος is a man full of grace and blandness; and the same book, Sir 9:8 , according to Codex A and Clement's quotation, has the same participle, as if it were synonymous with εὔμορφος -comely, well-shaped. Opera, p. 257; Coloniae, 1688. Such a sense, however, is not in harmony with the formation of the verb or the usage of the New Testament. Yet Möhler, in his Symbolik, § 13, 14, uses the clause as an argument for the justitia inhaerens of the Romish Church.
2. The verb χαριτόω , a word of the later Greek, signifies, according to the analogy of its formation-to grace, to bestow grace upon. So some of the older commentators, as Cocceius, Röell, and most modern ones. Verbs in όω signify to give action or existence to the thing or quality specified by the correlate noun, have what Kühner appropriately calls eine factitive Bedeutung, § 368. Thus, πυρόω - I set on fire, θανατόω -I put to death, that is, I give action to πῦρ and θάνατος . Buttmann, § 119. Χαριτόω will thus indicate the communication or bestowment of the χάρις . The grace spoken of is God's, and that grace is liberally conferred upon us. To maintain the alliteration it may be rendered, The grace with which He graced us, or the favour with which He favoured us. The Vulgate has gratificavit, and the Syriac דָשׁפָע -which He has poured out. Χάρις has an objective meaning here, as it usually has in the Pauline writings, and κεχαριτωμένη , applied to the Virgin (Luke 1:28, Valcknaer, ap. Luke 1:28), signifies favoured of God, the selected recipient of His peculiar grace. Test. xii. Patr. p. 698. The use of a noun with its correlate verb is not uncommon. Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:19-49.1.20; Ephesians 2:4; Ephesians 4:1; Donaldson, § 466; Winer, § 24, 1. The spirit of the declaration is-To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He so liberally conferred upon us-the aorist referring to past indefinite time and not to present condition. The liberal bestowment of that grace is its crown and glory. It was with no stinted hand that God gave it, as the following context abundantly shows. This glory of grace which is to be lauded is not its innate and inoperative greatness, but its communicated amount. The financial prosperity of a people is not in useless and treasured bullion, but the coined metal in actual circulation. The value is not in the jewel as it lies in the depth of the mine, in the midst of unconscious darkness, but as it is cut, polished, and sparkling in the royal diadem. So it is not grace as a latent attribute, but grace in profuse donation, and effecting its high and holy purpose; it is not grace gazed at in God's heart, but grace felt in ours, felt in rich variety and continuous reception-it is “the grace with which He graced us,” that is to be praised for its glory. And it is poured out-
ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ “in the Beloved.” Some MSS., such as D†, E, F, G, add υἱῷ αὐτοῦ , an evident gloss followed by the Vulgate and Latin fathers. The Syriac adds the pronoun, in his Beloved-. חָבִיבֶה . The reference is undoubtedly to Christ. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-62.4.11; or Colossians 1:13 - ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ . Jesus is the object of the Father's love-eternal, boundless, and immutable; and “in Him” as the one living sphere, not for His sake only, men are enriched with grace. But what suggested such an epithet here? 1. The apostle had said, “In love having predestinated us to the adoption of children.” We, as adopted children, are indeed loved, but there is another, the Son, the own beloved Son. It was not, therefore, affection craving indulgence, or eager for an object on which to expend itself, that led to our adoption. There was no void in His bosom, the loved One lay in it. 2. The mediatorial representative of fallen humanity is the object of special affection on the part of God, and in Him men are also loved by God. Bengel suggests that the χάρις we enjoy is different from this ἀγάπη . Still the apostle affirms, that we share in love as well as grace. 3. The following verse tells us that redemption comes to us διὰ τοῦ αἵματος -by His blood, for the Beloved One is the sacrifice. What love, therefore, on the Father's part to deliver Him up-what praise to the glory of His grace-and what claim has Jesus to be the loved One also of His church, when His self-sacrificing love for them has proved and sustained its fervour in the agonies of a violent and vicarious death! For the next thought is-
(Ephesians 1:7.) ᾿Εν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ “In whom we have redemption by his His blood.” The apostle now specifies some fruits of that grace-illustrates ἐχαρίτωσεν . From a recital of past acts of God toward us, he comes now to our present blessing. Redemption stands out to his mind as the deliverance-so unique in its nature and so well known, that it has the article prefixed. It is enshrined in solitary eminence. The idea fills the Old Testament, for the blessing which the Levitical ritual embodied and symbolized was redemption-deliverance from evil by means of sacrifice. Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 17:11. Blood was the medium of expiation and of exemption from penalty. Umbreit, Der Brief an die Römer ausgelegt, p. 261: Gotha, 1856. ᾿Απολύτρωσις , as its origin intimates, signifies deliverance by the payment of a price or ransom- λύτρον . It has been said that the idea of ransom is sometimes dropped, and that the word denotes merely rescue. We question this, at least in the New Testament; certainly not in Romans 8:23, for the redemption of the body is, equally with that of the soul, the result of Christ's ransom-work. Even in Hebrews 11:35, and in Luke 21:28, we might say that the notion of ransom is not altogether sunk, though it be of secondary moment; in the one case it is apostasy, in the other the destruction of the Jewish state, which is the ideal price. We have the simple noun in Luke 1:68; Luke 2:38, Hebrews 9:12; and λυτροῦν in Luke 24:21, Titus 2:14. The human race need deliverance, and they cannot, either by price or by conquest, effect their own liberation, for the penal evil which sin has entailed upon them fetters and subdues them. But redemption is not an immediate act of sovereign prerogative; it is represented as the result of a process which involved and necessitated the death of Christ. The means of de liverance, or the price paid, was the blood of Christ- διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ ; as in Acts 20:28, where we have περιεποιήσατο , and 1 Corinthians 6:20, where we have, under a different aspect, ἠγοράσθητε , and similarly in Galatians 3:13. Blood is the material of expiation. The death of Jesus was one of blood, for it was a violent death; and that blood-the blood of a sinless man, on whom the Divine law had no claim, and could have none-was poured out as a vicarious offering. The atonement was indispensable to remission of sin-it was τὸ λύτρον -the price of infinite value. Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 9:22. The law of God must be maintained in its purity ere guilty man can be pardoned. The universal Governor glorifies His law, and by the same act enables Himself to forgive its transgressors. The nexus we may not be able to discover fully, but we believe, in opposition to the view of Schleiermacher, Coleridge, and others, that the death of Christ has governmental relations, has an influence on our salvation totally different in nature and sphere of operation, from its subjective power in subduing the heart by the love which it presents, and the thrilling motives which it brings to bear upon it. See Reuss, Hist. de la Théologie Chrétienne au Siècle A postolique, tome ii. p. 182.
ἐν ᾧ “in whom;” not as Koppe, Flatt, and others would have it, “on account of whom.” The διά points to the instrumental connection which the death of Christ has with our redemption, but ἐν to the method in which that redemption becomes ours. Romans 3:24. Διά regards the means of provision, ἐν the mode of reception-in Christ the Beloved, in loving, confiding union with Him as the one sphere-a thought vitally pervading the paragraph and the entire epistle. For how can we have safety if we are out of the Saviour? Romans 8:1; Romans 8:33.
The apostle places the forgiveness of sins in apposition with redemption, not as its only element, but as a blessing immediate, characteristic, and prominent-
τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων “the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14. Παράπτωμα -falling aside, offence, differs from ἁμαρτία , not exactly, as Jerome affirms, that the first term means the lapse toward sin, and the second the completed act in itself, for παράπτωμα is expressly applied by Paul in Romans 10:15, etc., to the first sin of the first man-that offence of which ἁμαρτία , or a sinful state, is the sad and universal result. The word, therefore, signifies here that series and succession of individual sinful acts with which every man is chargeable, or the actual and numerous results and manifestations of our sinful condition. ῎Αφεσις -sometimes standing by itself, but generally with ἁμαρτίων -is release from something which binds, from the chain which fetters-Luke 4:19 -or the debt or tribute which oppresses. Esther 2:18. It frees from the ὀφείλημα -from debt, as at the year of jubilee. Leviticus 25:31; Leviticus 27:24. It is, therefore, the remission of that which is due to us on account of offences, so that our liability to punishment is cancelled. It is surely wrong in Alford to make ἄφεσιν coextensive with ἀπολύτρωσιν . In the New Testament the noun does not signify “all riddance from the practice and consequences of our transgression,” but definitely and specially remission of the penalty. Mark 3:29; Acts 2:38 (the gift of the Spirit there succeeding that of forgiveness); Acts 13:38-44.13.39; Acts 26:18; Hebrews 10:18. But ἀπολύτρωσις is much wider, being not only man's deliverance from all evil-from sin, Satan, and death-but his entrance into all the good which a redeeming God has provided-peace, joy, and life-a title to heaven and preparation for it. The ἄφεσις of this verse is not, therefore, “equipollent” with ἀπολύτρωσις , but the following paragraph is; for the ἀπολύτρωσις contains the series of blessings described in it, and among them forgiveness of sins has a first and prominent place. ῎Αφεσις differs from πάρεσις (Romans 3:25), for the latter is praetermission, not remission; the suspension of the penalty, or the forbearing to inflict it, but not its entire abrogation. Fritzsche, Ad Rom., vol. i. p. 199; Trench On Synon., § 33. But the blessing here is remission. And it is full, all past sin being blotted out, and provision being made that future guilt shall also be remitted. Permanent dwelling in Christ ( ἐν ᾧ ) secures continued forgiveness. That forgiveness also is free, because it is the result of His sacrifice- διὰ αἵματος ; and it is irreversible, since it is God that justifies, and who shall impeach His equity? or shall He revoke His own sentence of absolution?
And the apostle says, ἔχομεν -in the present time; not like εὐλογῄσας , ἐξελέξατο , προορίσας , ἐχαρίτωσεν -descriptive of past acts of God. The meaning is not-We have got it, and now possess it as a distinct and perfect blessing, but we are getting it-are in continuous possession of it. We are ever needing, and so are ever having it, for we are still “in Him,” and the merit of His blood is unexhausted. Forgiveness is not a blessing complete at any point of time in our human existence, and therefore we are still receiving it. See under Colossians 1:14.
But those παραπτώματα are many and wanton-not only numerous, but provoking, so that forgiveness, to reach us, must be patient and ample, and the apostle characterizes its measure as being-
κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ “according to the riches of His grace.” With Rückert, Lachmann, and Tischendorf, on the authority of A, B, D†, F, G, we prefer the neuter τὸ πλοῦτος , a form which occurs, according to the best MSS., in Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 2:2; Winer, § 9, 2, 2. Πλοῦτος is what Paley calls one of the “cant” words of the apostle, that is, one of the favourite terms which he often introduces “riches of goodness,” “riches of glory,” “riches of full assurance,” “riches of wisdom,” etc. It serves no purpose to resolve the formula into a Hebraism, so that it might be rendered “His rich grace,” or “His gracious riches,” for the genitive is that of possession connected with its pronoun. Winer, § 30, 3, 1. The classic Greeks use a similar construction of two substantives. The αὐτοῦ evidently refers to God, and some MSS. read αὑτοῦ . Χάρις -see under Ephesians 2:8. The spirit of the clause may be thus illustrated:-The favour of man toward offenders is soon exhausted, and according to its penury, it soon wearies of forgiving. But God's grace has unbounded liberality. Much is expended; many sinners of all lands, ages, and crimes are pardoned, fully pardoned, often pardoned, and frankly pardoned, but infinite wealth of grace remains behind. It is also to be remarked, that χάρις and αἷμα are really not opposed. Atonement is not in antagonism with grace. For the opulence of His grace is seen not only in its innumerable forms and varieties of operation among men, but also in the unasked and unmerited provision of such an atonement, so perfect and glorious in its relation to God and man, as the blood of the “Beloved One.”
(Ephesians 1:8.) ῟Ης ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς ἡμᾶς . “Which He has made to abound toward us.” ῟Ης is the result of attraction. If it stand for ἧν , then the verb will have a transitive signification “Which He hath made, or caused to abound.” But if ἧς stand for the dative, as Calvin, Camerarius, and Schmid suppose, the meaning is that of our version “In which He has abounded toward us.” Winer, § 24, 1. But the New Testament affords no example of such an attraction, though this be the usual signification of the verb. The Vulgate, taking it for a nominative, falsely reads quae superabundavit in nobis; and Piscator's exegesis is wholly arbitrary, copiose se effudit. It is, however, natural to suppose that there is no change in the ruling nominative. Attraction seldom takes place except when the relative should stand in the accusative (Kühner, § 787, Anmerk 4; Jelf, § 822), so that, with the more modern interpreters, we take ἧς as the substitute of the accusative, and prefer the transitive sense of the verb. Such a Hiphil signification belongs to the word in 1Th 3:12 ; 2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:8. The relative does not denote the mode of abundance, but the matter of it. It has been suggested-Ellicott, p. 164-that, as verba faciendi, like περισσεύω , may have an appended accusative elicited from the verb, “make an abundance of,” so the principle of attraction need not be applied to ἧς . Beza gives it, qua redundavit. The riches of His grace are not given us in pinched exactness, or limited and scanty measurement-where sin abounds, grace superabounds, Romans 5:20. God knows that He cannot exhaust the wealth of His grace, and therefore He lavishes it with unstinted generosity upon us. Theophylact explains the clause thus: ἀφθόνως ἐξέχεεν “He ha th poured it upon us unsparingly.” And the apostle, having spoken of forgiveness as an immediate blessing, adds-
ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει “in all wisdom and prudence.” The preliminary question refers to the position of this clause. Should it be joined to the preceding ἐπερίσσευσεν , or does it belong to the following verse, and qualify the participle γνωρίσας ? If it stand in connection with the foregoing verb, it may be variously interpreted. Four forms of exegesis have been proposed:-
1. Calvin, Balduin, and Beza understand the phrase as a general name for the gospel, and their meaning is, that the vocation of men, by the perfectly wise plan of the gospel, is to be ascribed to grace as really as is their election.
2. Others understand it as referring to the gifts of wisdom and prudence which accompany the reception of divine forgiveness. So Aretius, Calixtus, Wolf, Bengel, Morus, Flatt, Meyer, Meier, Matthies, Bisping, Baumgarten-Crusius, and virtually Harless “According to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us, along with the gifts of wisdom and prudence.” Or as Ellicott says “It may mark out the sphere and element in which the περίσσευσεν is evinced and realized.” But the clause so interpreted may be either logically connected with ἐπερίσσευσεν or γνωρίσας , and may mean either “He hath abounded toward us,” and one proof and result of such abundance is the bestowment of these graces; or He hath made us wise and prudent, because He hath made known to us the mystery of His will. Thus OEcumenius, who joins the words with the following verse- σοφοὺς καὶ φρονίμους ποιήσας οὕτως ἐγνώρισεν τὸ μυστήριον . If we preferred this exegesis, we should adopt the latter modification, which some of these critics also espouse, namely, that the wisdom and prudence are neither the proof nor the sphere of grace abounding toward us, but are the effects of God's disclosure of the mystery of His will.
3. Some, again, refer the words to God, as if they were descriptive of the manner in which He has caused His grace to abound toward us. God in all wisdom and prudence has made all grace to abound toward us. So Castalio, Rückert, de Wette, Grotius (in one of his explanations), Baumgarten-Crusius, and Alford-a connection which Ellicott stigmatizes “as in the highest degree unsatisfactory.”
4. The opinion of Olshausen, endorsed by Stier, is quite arbitrary and peculiar “that we should walk in all wisdom and prudence;” a paraphrase which would indicate an unwonted and fatal elasticity in the apostle's diction.
We propose to join the words with the participle, γνωρίσας “Having in all wisdom and prudence made known to us the mystery of His will.” The construction is similar to that vindicated in Ephesians 1:5, with regard to ἐν ἀγάπῃ , and is not unusual in the Pauline writings. The idea is homogeneous, if the words are thus connected. Wisdom and prudence have no natural connection with the abounding of grace. Grace in its wealth or profusion does not suggest the notions of wisdom and prudence. The two circles of thought are not concentric in any of the hypotheses we have referred to. For if the words “in all wisdom and prudence” be referred to God, as descriptive of His mode of operation, they are scarcely in harmony with the leading idea of the verse; at least there would be a want of consecutive unity. For it is not so much His wisdom as His love, not so much His intelligence as His generosity, which marks and glorifies the method of His procedure. The same remarks equally apply to the theory which looks upon the clause in dispute as a formal description of the scheme of the gospel.
Nor, if the words be referred to gifts of “wisdom and prudence,” conferred along with grace, or be regarded as the sphere of its operation, is the harmony any better preserved. Wisdom and prudence are not the ideas you would expect to find in such a connection. But, on the other hand, “wisdom and prudence” are essentially connected with the disclosure of a mystery. A mystery is not to be flung abroad without due discrimination. The revealer of it wisely selects his audience, and prudently chooses the proper time, place, and method for his disclosure. To make it known to minds not prepared to receive it, to flash it upon his attendants in full force and without previous and gradual training, might defeat the very purpose which the initiator has in view. The qualities referred to are therefore indispensable requisites to the publication of a mystery.
An objection, however, is stated against this exegesis by Harless, and the objection is also adopted by Meyer, Matthies, and Olshausen. Harless boldly affirms that φρόνησις cannot be predicted of God. It is true that this intellectual quality is not ascribed to God in the New Testament, the word occurring only in another place. But in the Septuagint, on which the linguistic usage of the New Testament is based, it is applied to God as Creator (Proverbs 3:19), and in a similar passage, Jeremiah 10:12; and the Divine attribute of wisdom personified in Proverbs 8:14, exclaims, ἐμὴ φρόνησις “intelligence is mine.” Why should φρόνησις be less applicable than γνῶσις to God? Prudence, indeed, in its common acceptation, can scarcely be ascribed to the Omniscient. Still, if God in any action displays those qualities which in a man might be called prudence, then such a property may be ascribed to him in perfect analogy with the common anthropomorphism of Scripture. But φρόνησις may not signify prudence in its usual acceptation. It is the action of the φρήν or mind. Wisdom is often ascribed to God, and φρόνησις is the action of His wise mind-its intuitive formation of purposes and resolutions in His infinite wisdom. To refer φρόνησις always to practical discretion, as Estius, Bengel, and Krebs do, is unwarranted. Σοφία is not simply and always scientia theoretica, nor φρόνησις scientia practica. The words are so explained, indeed, by Cicero- φρόνησις , quae est rerum expetendarum fugiendarumque scientia. De Offic. 1.43. In the passages adduced by Krebs and Loesner from Josephus and Philo, the word does not certainly be ar out Cicero's definition, but in some of them rather signifies insight, or perspicacity. In the classics it often denotes that practical wisdom which is indispensable to civil government. The term occurs only in another place in the New Testament, Luke 1:17, where it is rendered “the wisdom of the just,” and where it certainly does not refer to prudence. It stands in the Septuagint as the representative of no less than nine different Hebrew words. That it is referred to God in the Seventy, shows that it may be predicated of Him in the New Testament. Σοφία is the attribute of wisdom, and φρόνησις is its special aspect, or the sphere of operation in which it developes itself. Thus, in Proverbs 10:23, ἡ δὲ σοφία ἀνδρὶ τίκτει φρόνησιν . Compare also in Septuagint 1 Kings 4:29; Daniel 2:21; Joseph. Antiq. 2.5, 7, 8:7, 5. It is not so much the result of wisdom, as a peculiar phase of its action. Intellectual action under the guidance of σοφία is φρόνησις -intelligence. Beza's view is not very different from this. The word, therefore, may signify in this clause that sagacity which an initiator manifests in the disclosure of a mystery-a quality which, after the manner of men, is ascribed to God.
It is objected, again, that the adjective πάσῃ , added to σοφ . καὶ φρόν ., forbids the application of the terms to God. Meyer admits that φρόνησις may be applied to God, but denies that πᾶσα φρόνησις can be so applied. We can say of God, Harless remarks, “in Him is all wisdom, but not He has done this or that in all wisdom.” Olshausen homologates the statement, his argument being, that God possesses all attributes absolutely. De Wette, who, however, joins the words to the preceding clause, but applies them to God, answers, that the Divine wisdom, in reaching its end by every serviceable means, appears not as absolute, but only as relative, and he explains the clause, in aller dazu dienlicher Weisheit und Einsicht. But what hinders that the word should be rendered “in all,” which though it may be literally “every kind,” yet virtually signifies highest, or absolute wisdom and discretion? Harless again withstands this, and says, es bezeichnet nie die Intension sondern nur die Extension. Let the following examples suffice for our purpose:-Matthew 28:18, πᾶσα ἐξουσία -all power-absolute power; Acts 5:23, the prison was shut, ἐν πάσῃ ἀσφαλείᾳ “with all safety,” in their opinion, with absolute security; 1 Timothy 1:15, πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος -worthy of all or of absolute credit and welcome; and in many other places. Nor is this sense unknown to the classics: πάντ᾿ ἐπιστήμης -absolute knowledge; πᾶσα ἀνάγκη -utmost or absolute necessity; ἐς πᾶν κακοῦ -into extreme distress; εἰς πάντα κίνδυνον -into extreme danger; εἰ ς πᾶσαν ἀπορίαν -to the utmost embarrassment. So that in πᾶς the idea of intension is at least inferentially bound up with that of extension. Such appear to us sufficient reasons for connecting the words with γνωρίσας , and regarding them as qualifying it, or defining the method in which the mystery has been disclosed.
But among those who connect the words with γνωρίσας , there are some forms of interpretation adopted which may be noticed and set aside. The first is that of Chrysostom, who, in one of his expositions, refers the “wisdom and prudence” to the mystery, as if they were descriptive of its qualities: τοῦτο γὰρ ἐστι τὸ μυστήριον τὸ πάσης σοφίας τε γέμον καὶ φρονήσεως “for this mystery is marked by its fulness of wisdom and prudence.” He is followed by Koppe, who, as is common with him, suggests this metaphrase: τὸ μυστήριον σοφώτατον καὶ φρονιμώτατον . These interpretations are not warranted by the syntax. Reverting, then, to the view we have already stated, we are of opinion that the words qualify γνωρίσας . For this purpose there is no need that they be placed after it. The participle is at the same time intimately connected with the verb ἐπερίσσευσεν . It contains one of the elements of the χάρις , which God has made to abound. His having made known of His goodwill this higher aspect of Christ's work, is ascribed to that grace which, in this way and for this purpose, He hath caused to abound towards us. It is also one of the elements of ἀπολύτρωσις , and one of the fruits of that death which secured it. This connection is approved by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Jerome, Homberg, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koppe, Semler, and Holzhausen, by the editors Griesbach and Scholz, and by Conybeare. The verses are left undivided by Lachmann and Tischendorf.
(Ephesians 1:9.) Γνωρίσας ἡμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ “Having in all wisdom and prudence made known to us the mystery of His will.” Γνωρίσας stands to ἐπερίσσευσεν much in the same way as προορίσας did to ἐξελέξατο . Bernhardy, p. 383. And so in Ephesians 3:10, when the apostle speaks of God unveiling a great mystery, he adds that by such a disclosure His “manifold wisdom” is made known to the principalities and powers. The essential idea of μυστήριον , whatever may be the application, is, something into the knowledge of which one must be initiated, ere he comprehend it. In such a passage as this, it is not something unknowable, but something unknown till fitting disclosure has been made of it; something long hid, but at length discovered to us by God, and therefore a matter of pure revelation. The mystery itself is unfolded in the following verse. It is not the gospel or salvation generally, but a special purpose of God in reference to His universe. And it is called the mystery of “His will”- τοῦ θελήματος -the genitive being either subjective, because it has its origin in His own inscrutable purpose; or rather, the genitive being that of object, because His will is its theme-
κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ “according to His good pleasure.” Εὐδοκία has been already explained under Ephesians 1:5. Though the mystery be His will, yet in His benevolent regards He has disclosed it. We preferred in the previous edition joining the phrase with the following clause and verse, but the similar use of κατά and its model clause in Ephesians 1:5 induces us, with Meyer, Rückert, and Olshausen, to connect it with γνωρίσας :-
ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὑτῷ “which He purposed in Himself.” The verb occurs only in two other places, Romans 1:13; Romans 3:25 -and there may be here a quasi-temporal sense in προ . The meaning implied in the reflexive form αὑτῷ , which Hahn rightly prints in opposition to Tischendorf and Lachmann, is correct. Luther and Bengel refer it to Christ, but the recurrence of the proper name in the next clause forbids such a reference in the pronoun here. The purpose takes effect in Christ, but it is conceived in God's own heart. “In Himself” He formed this design, for He is surrounded by no co-ordinate wisdom “With whom took He counsel?” This and the next verse are intimately connected. Some, such as Bengel, suppose the verb ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι to be connected with γνωρίσας , and others unite it with προέθετο , but it stands out as the object to which the whole previous verse points, and of which it is an explanation.
(Ephesians 1:10.) Εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν “In reference to the dispensation of the fulness of the times.” Winer, § 49, a, c ( δ ). The article is absent before οἰκονομίαν , as the term is so well defined by the following genitives. Winer, § 19, 2, b. Εἰς does not signify “until,” as Bullinger, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Bucer, Zanchius, and Grotius have supposed; as if the sense were-that the mystery had been kept concealed until this dispensation was introduced. This gives an emphasis and intensity of meaning to προέθετο , which the word cannot well bear. Nor can εἰς be rightly taken for ἐν , as is done by Jerome, Pelagius, Anselm, Beza, Piscator, and the Vulgate, for the meaning would be vague and diluted. Εἰς is “in reference to.” Οἰκονομία signifies house-arrangement, or dispensation, and is rendered by Theophylact, διοίκησις , κατάστασις . The word in the New Testament occurs in Luke 16:2-42.16.4, in the general sense of stewardship, either the administration itself or the office, and the corresponding noun, οἰκονόμος , is found in the same chapter, and in Romans 16:23. Schweigh. Lex. Polyb. p. 403. Οἰκονομία is also used with special reference to the gospel, and sometimes describes it as an arrangement or dispensation under charge of the apostles as its “stewards.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-46.4.2; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10. Luther, led away by this idea, and by the “dispensatio” of the Vulgate, refers the term to preaching, and to the disclosure of the mystery- dass es geprediget würde. The noun does not signify specifically and of itself, the dispensation of grace, though the context leaves us in no doubt that such is the allusion here; but it characterizes it as an arrangement organized and secured in all its parts. Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:9; 1 Timothy 1:4. It is not made up of a series of disconnected truths and events, but it is a compact and symmetrical system of perfect harmony in all its reciprocal bearings and adaptations. The adjustment is exact, so that each truth shines and is shone upon; each fact is a cause and a consequent, is like a link in a chain, which holds and is held. It is a plan of infinite wisdom, where nothing is out of place, or happens either within or beyond its time.
And the scheme is characterized as being τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν -the genitive having its characterizing sense. Scheuerlein, § 16, 3. Into the sense of πλήρωμα we shall inquire at some length under the last verse of this chapter. The phrase marks the period of the dispensation. It cannot be the genitive of object- administratio eorum quae restant temporum, as Storr supposes, taking πλήρωμα in an active sense; nor can we say with Koppe, that there is any reference to extrema tempora -the last day; nor with Baumgarten-Crusius, that the time specified is the remaining duration of the world. Harless gives, perhaps too narrowly, an exegetical sense to the words, as if they explained what was meant by the economy, to wit, a period when the mystery might be safely revealed-making the genitive that of identity. Nor can we suppose, with Stier, that these “times are parallel to the economy, and of equal duration,” that they comprehend die ganze Zeitdauer dieser Anstalt “for it developes and completes itself through adjusted times and periods.” This view is adopted and eulogized by Alford. It seems to us, however, to be putting more into the words than of themselves they will bear. The genitive καιρῶν presents a temporal idea, and πληρώματος may be that of characterization. Winer, § 30, 2; or as in Jude, κρίσις μεγάλης ἡμέρας . It is an economy characterized by the fulness of the times-that is, introduced at the fulness of the times. The passages adduced by Alford are not at all analogous, for they have different contextual relations, and all of them want the element of thought contained in πλήρωμα . True, there are under the gospel καιροὶ ἐθνῶν , Luke 16:24; καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως , Acts 3:19; καιροῖς ἰδίοις , 1 Timothy 2:6 -each of these phrases having a special and absolute reference. But πλήρωμα is relative, and implies a period which gradually, and in course of ages, has become filled up; and as the coming of Christ was preceded both by expectancy and preparation-so we have τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων (1 Corinthians 10:11), ἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν (Hebrews 1:1), in the New Testament; and again and again in the Old Testament, “the latter days” “days to come:” therefore the phrase here may define the economy by its marked temporal characteristic, as being full-timed and right-timed. Our view may be thus expressed: The time prior to the dispensation is at length filled up, for we take πλήρωμα in its passive sense. The πλήρωμα is regarded as a vast receptacle into which centuries and millenniums had been falling, but it was now filled. Thus, Herodotus 3.22, ζώης πλήρωμα μακρότατον -the longest fulness of life-the sense of the clause being, The longest period for a person to live is eighty years. Schott, in Ep. ad Galatas, chap. Ephesians 4:4, p. 488; Winer, ibid.; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:24; John 7:8; Galatians 4:4; also in Septuagint, Genesis 25:24; Genesis 29:21; Daniel 10:3. It is not τοῦ χρόνου , as in Galatians 4:4 -in which past time is regarded as a unity-but τῶν καιρῶν , time being imaged under successive periods. Theodoret has somewhat vaguely- τὸν ὁρισθέντα παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ καιρόν . This is one aspect, and that of Calovius- dispensatio propria plenitudini temporis -is another aspect, both of which seem to be comprehended in the phrase. The economy commenced at a period which implies that the times destined to precede it were filled up. Two ideas seem to be contained. 1. It marks God's time-the time prearranged and set apart by Him; a time which can neither be anticipated nor delayed. 2. It specifies the best time in the world's history for the occurrence to take place. Being God's time, it must be the best time. The epoch is marked by God in His own calendar, and years roll on till their complement is numbered, while the opportuneness of the period in the world's annals proves and ratifies divine wisdom and foresight. That fulness of the time in which the economy was founded, is the precise period, for the Lord has appointed it; and the best period, for the age was ripe for the event. We cannot, however, with Usteri, place the entire emphasis of the phrase on this latter idea. Paulin. Lehrbegriff, p. 81. The Grecian arms extended the Hellenic tongue, and prepared the nations for receiving the oracles of the New Testament in a language so rich and so exact, so powerful in description and delicate in shades of expression. Roman ambition had also welded the various states of the civilised world into one mighty kingdom, so that the heralds of the cross might not be impeded in their progress by the jealousy of rival states, but might move freely on their mission under the protection of one general sovereignty. Awakened longing had been created over the East, and in the West the old superstitions had lost their hold on thinking minds. The apostle utters this thought virtually in 1 Corinthians 1:21. The world was allowed full time to discover by prolonged experiment the insufficiency of its own wisdom to instruct and save it. It was sighing deeply for deliverance, and in the maturity of this crisis there suddenly appeared in Judaea “the Desire of all nations.” The Hebrew seer who looked forward to it, regarded it as the “latter day” or “last time;” the nations who were forewarned of it were in fevered anticipation of its advent, for it was to them, as Cappell says, complementum prophetarum, and, as Beza paraphrases, “ tempus tam diu expectatum. ” But we, “on whom the ends of the world have come,” look back upon it, and feel it to be a period which took its rise after the former cycles had fulfilled their course, and all preparations for it had been duly completed. We do not deny to Alford that what characterized the introduction of the economy characterizes all its epochs, and that this may be implied in the remarkable phrase. But in the third chapter the apostle unfolds a portion of the mystery, and as if in reference to this phrase, he says of it “Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men;” to wit, it was first revealed in the fulness of the times. The mystery of this full-timed dispensation is now described-
ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ “to gather together all things in Christ.” The infinitive does not need the article, being explanatory in its nature. Winer, § 44, 2; Madvig, § 144. The signification of the verb has been variously understood. 1. Some give it the sense of renew, as Suidas in his Lexicon. Theodoret explains it by μεταβάλλειν , and refers to this change- τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἡ φύσις ἀνίσταται καὶ τὴν ἀφθαρσίαν ἐνδύεται . Tertullian renders it- ad initium reciprocare -( De Monogam. 5), and the Syriac and Vulgate correspond. And this was a general opinion in the ancient church. Augustine, Enchiridion, 62; Op. vol. vi. p. 377, ed. 1837. The Gothic has aftra usfulljan, again to fill up. It would, however, be difficult to vindicate such an exposition on philological grounds. 2. It has been supposed to signify to collect again under one head- κεφάλαιον , or κεφαλή . Such is the general critical opinion of Chrysostom, OEcumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, H. Stephens, Piscator, Calovius, Bengel, Matthies, Meier, de Wette, Olshausen, and Stier. “What,” asks Chrysostom, “is the meaning of the word ἀνακεφ .? It is, to knit together, συνάψαι . It has another signification-To set over one and all the same Head, Christ, according to the flesh- μίαν κεφαλὴν ἐπιθεῖναι .” Beza insists against this meaning, that the word comes from κεφάλαιον , not from κεφαλή . Besides, the Headship of Christ is not formally introduced till the 22nd verse. The meaning of ἀνα in composition must not be overlooked. Though it have only a faint signification, as compound words abound in the later age of a language, it does not quite lose that significance. It signifies here, apparently, “again”-as if there now existe d, under the God-man as Redeemer, that state of things which had, prior to the introduction of evil, originally existed under the Logos, the Creator and Governor. 3. The word is supposed to signify, as in our version, “to gather together in one;” so Beza, Meyer, Baumgarten-Crusius, Harless, and others. Romans 13:9. The summing up of the data, rerum repetitio et congregatio, was called, as Quintilian avers, ἀνακεφαλαίωσις . De Instit. Orator. 6.1. The simple verb is found with such a meaning in Thucydides, 6:91, 8:53; and compounded with σύν it occurs in Polybius 3.3, 1. Xen. Cyr. 8.1, 15. Such a summation appears to Grotius and Hammond under the figure of the reunion of a dispersed army, but Jerome and Cameron view it as the addition of arithmetical sums. This third meaning is the most natural-there is a re-collection of all things in Christ as Centre, and the immediate relation of this re-gathering to God Himself is expressed by the middle voice. The objects of this re-union are-
τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς “the things in heaven and the things on earth.” This is a mode of expression designed to be general, as the employment of the neuter indicates. Some few MSS. supply the particle τέ after the τά of the first clause, and B, D, E, L, read ἐπί for ἐν in the same clause, a reading which cannot be sustained. Critical opinions on the meaning of the phrase are very varied. According to Morus, it denotes God and man; according to Schoettgen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ernesti, Macknight, Schleusner, and Koppe-Jews and Gentiles; according to Beza, Piscator, Bodius, Rollock, Moldenhauer, Flatt, and Peile-the spirits of good men, especially under the Old Testament and the present church; and according to the great majority, the phrase signifies the union of spirits in heaven, angels or otherwise, with men on earth. So the Schohum preserved by Matthiae- ἀνακεφαλαίωσιν καλεῖ - τὴν εἰς μίαν κεφαλὴν ἕνωσιν , ὡς τῶν ἀγγέλων διὰ Χριστοῦ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις συναφθέντων . With these interpretations we agree, so far as they contain truth. But they have the truth in fragments, like broken pieces of a mirror. We take the τὰ πάντα here to be co-equal in extent of meaning with the phrase, Colossians 1:16, “By Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him.” These τὰ πάντα are said in Ephesians 1:20 to be reconciled to Him. See under Colossians 1:20. The phrase “things in heaven” denotes the higher and more distant spheres of creation, and these, along with “things on earth,” may comprehend the universe- τὰ πάντα including, according to Meyer, all things and beings, while Harless gives the words the general sens e of the universe. So do von Gerlach, Olshausen, and Stier. The neuter has a generalizing meaning. Winer, § 27, 5; Poppo, Thucydides, 1.104. It cannot be supposed to be used for the masculine, as no masculine is implied in the verse. Hodge limits τὰ πάντα to the church in heaven and earth-because, he says, the union effected is by the redemption of Christ. This “union,” as he names it, is indeed a result of redemption; but the gathering together described here is a consequence above and beyond human salvation-a consequence connected with it, but held out apart from it as a mystery disclosed according to His good pleasure. The sense is weakened altogether by the notion of Turner, that the infinitive may express a divine intention which may yet be thwarted. The idea seems then to be that heaven and earth are now united under one government. Christ as Creator was rightfully the Governor of all things, and till the introduction of sin, that government was one and undivided. But rebellion produced disorder, the unity of the kingdom was broken. Earth was morally severed from heaven, and from the worlds which retained their pristine integrity. But Jesus has effected a blessed change, for an amnesty has been proclaimed to earth. Man is reconciled to God, and all who bear God's image are reconciled to man. Angels are “ministering spirits” to him, and all holy intelligences delight in him. Not only has harmony been restored to the universe, and the rupture occasioned by sin repaired, but beings still in rebellion are placed under Christ's control, as well as the unconscious elements and spheres of nature. This summation is seen in the form of government; Jesus is universal Regent. Not only do angels and the unfallen universe worship the same Governor with the redeemed, but all things and beings are under the same administration. The anthem to God and the Lamb begins with saints, is taken up by angels, and re-echoed by the wide c reation. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 5:14.
The death of Jesus is described in this paragraph both in its primary and ultimate results. First, by it “we have redemption-the forgiveness of sins.” And, secondly, by the same event, the universe is gathered together in Christ. The language, by its very terms, denotes far more than the union of the church in Him. Now the revelation of this great truth, as to the ultimate effect of Christ's mediation, is called a “mystery.” Man could not have discovered it-the knowledge of it was not essential to his salvation. But it has been disclosed with peculiar wisdom and delicacy. It was not revealed in former times, when it could not have been appreciated; nay, it was not published till the means of it were visibly realized, till Jesus died and rose again, and on the right hand of God assumed this harmonizing presidency.
Since the days of Origen, the advocates of the doctrine of universal restoration have sought a proof-text in this passage. But restoration is not predicated-it is simply re-summation. Unredeemed humanity, though doomed to everlasting punishment, and fallen spirits for whom everlasting fire is prepared, may be comprised in this summation-subjugated even against their will. But the punishment of the impenitent affects not the unity of Christ's government. Evil has lost its power of creating disorder, for it is punished, confined, and held as a very feeble thing in the grasp of the Almighty Avenger. In fine, it is going beyond the record to deduce from this passage a proof of the doctrine of the confirmation of angels by the death of Christ- ut perpetuum statum retineant. Such are the words of Calvin. Were such a doctrine contained or clearly revealed in Scripture, we might imagine that the new relation of angels to Christ the Mediator might exercise such an influence over them as to preclude the possibility of their apostasy; or that their pure and susceptible spirits were so deeply struck with the malignity of sin as exhibited in the blood of the Son of God, that the sensation and recoil produced by the awful spectacle for ever operate as an infallible preservative.
And this re-capitulation of all things is declared a second time to be in Christ- ἐν αὐτῷ -a solemn and emphatic reassertion, Kühner, § 632. His mediative work has secured it, and His mediatorial person is the one centre of the universe. As the stone dropped into the lake creates those widening and concentric circles, which ultimately reach the farthest shore, so the deed done on Calvary has sent its undulations through the distant spheres and realms of God's great empire. But ἐν αὐτῷ is the connecting link also with the following verse. Kühner, § 632. See also Colossians 1:19-51.1.20.
(Ephesians 1:11.) ᾿Εν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν . For ἐκληρώθημεν some read ἐκλήθημεν , supported by A, D, E, F, G, and the vetus Itala. Lachmann, following Griesbach, prefers the latter; but Tischendorf rightly advocates the former reading, on what we reckon preponderant authority. Still is the connection marked as usual, “in Christ,” and by the ever-recurring formula ἐν ᾧ . ᾿Εκληρώθημεν has its foundation in the usage of the Old Testament, in the theocratic inheritance- נַחֲלָה , H5709, as in Deuteronomy 4:20, and in numerous other places. The κλῆρος , κληρονόμος , and κληρονομία are also familiar epithets in the apostolical writings. The inheritance was the characteristic blessing of the theocratic charter, and it associated itself with all the popular religious feelings and hopes. The ideas which some attach to the term, but which refer not to this source and idiom, are therefore to be rejected. 1. The notion of Koppe, and of the lexicographers Wahl, Bretschneider, and Wilke, is peculiar. According to them, it denotes simply to obtain, and the object obtained is, or, “it has kindly happened to us,” that we should be to the praise of His glory. The passages selected by Elsner ( Observ. Sacrae, p. 204) out of AElian and Alciphron, are foreign to the purpose, for the verb is there regularly construed with the accusative of the object, and it is not from classic usage that the apostolic term has been taken. 2. Nor is another common interpretation much better supported, according to which the verb signifies to “obtain by lot”-the opinion of Chrysostom and his Greek imitators, and of the Vulgate, Augustine, Ambrosiaster, Aquinas, Erasmus, Estius, and a - Lapide. Chrysostom explains the word thus- κλήρου γενομένου ἡμᾶς ἐξελέξατο . Still this explanation does not come up to our idea of the Pauline κλῆρος , which refers not to the manner of our getting the possession, but to the possession itself-not to the lot, but to the allotment. 3. Bengel, Flatt, Holzhausen, Bisping, de Wette, and Stier take it, that we have become the κλῆρος -the peculiar people of God. This, no doubt, yields a good sense. The Jews are also called by this name-the noun, however, being employed as the epithet, and not the verb as affirming the condition. Besides, the κλῆρος in Colossians 1:12, and in Ephesians 1:18, is not our subjective condition, as this exegesis implies, but our objective possession in which we participate, and in the hope of which we now rejoice. 4. So that with Valla, with Luther, Calvin, and Beza among the reformers, and with Wolf, Rosenmüller, Harless, Matthies, Meyer, Scholz, and Meier, we take the passive verb to signify “we have been brought into possession”- zum Erbtheil gekommen -as Luther has it. In whom we have been enfeoffed, in whom we have had it allotted to us. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29; Deuteronomy 32:9. The verb may certainly bear this meaning; κληρόω “I assign an inheritance to some one;” in the passive “I have an inheritance assigned to me,” as verbs which in the active govern the genitive or dative of a person have it as a nominative in the passive. Winer, § 39; Bernhardy, p. 341; Romans 3:2; Galatians 2:7; Galatians 4:20. We see no force in Stier's objection that such a meaning should be followed by εἰς τὸ ἔχειν ἡμᾶς , whereas it is followed by εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς , for the inheritance is got that the inheritors may be, in the mode of their introduction to it and their enjoyment of it, to the praise of His glory. The καί might, if connected with the unexpressed pronoun, signify “indeed;” but it may be better to connect it with the verb “in whom we have also obtained an inheritance.” Hartung, Kap. Ephesians 2:7; Devarius-Klotz, p. 636; Matthiae, § 620. That which is spiritual and imperishable is not, like money, the symbol of wealth, but it is something which one feels to be his own-an inheritance. It is not exhausted with the using, and it comes to us not as a hereditary possession. “Corruption runs in the blood, grace does not.” It is God's gift to the believers in Christ, conferred on them in harmony with His own eternal purpose. The nominative to the verb, indicated by “we,” does not refer specially to Jewish Christians in this verse, as even Harless supposes; far less does it denote the apostles, or ministers of religion, as Barnes imagines. The writer, under the term “we,” simply speaks primarily of himself and the saints and faithful in the Ephesian church, as being-
προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὑτοῦ “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.” The general significance of these terms has been already given under previous verses. βουλή and θέλημα are here connected “the counsel of His will.” The correspondent verbs, βούλομαι and ἐθέλω , are distinguished by Buttmann thus: the latter is the more general expression, containing the idea that the purpose formed lies within the power of the person who formed it ( Lexilogus, p. 35); while Tittmann adds, that θέλημα is an expression of will, but βουλή has in it the further idea of propension or inclination. De Synon. p. 124. But the distinction is vague. The words occur with marked distinction in 1 Samuel 18:0; for in Ephesians 1:22, θέλει ἐν signifies “he has pleasure in;” while in Eph 1:25, βούλεται ἐν denotes desire consequent upon a previous resolution. Compare also 2 Samuel 24:3; 1 Chronicles 28:4. Θέλημα , therefore, is will, the result of desire- voluntas; βουλή is counsel, the result of a formal decision- propositum. Donaldson's New Cratylus, §§ 463, 464. Here βουλή is the ratified expression of will-the decision to which His will has come. The Divine mind is not in a state of indifference, it has exercised θέλημα -will; and that will is not a lethargic velleity, for it has formed a defined purpose, βουλή , which it determines to carry out. His desire and His decrees are not at variance, but every resolution embodies His unthwarted pleasure. This divine fore-resolve is universal in its sweep “He worketh all things after the counsel of His own wi ll.” The plan of the universe lies in the omniscient mind, and all events are in harmony with it. Power in unison with infinite wisdom and independent and undeviating purpose, is seen alike whether He create a seraph or form a gnat-fashion a world or round a grain of sand-prescribe the orbit of a planet or the gyration of an atom. The extinction of a world and the fall of a sparrow are equally the result of a free pre-arrangement. Our “inheritance” in Christ springs not from merit, nor is it an accidental gift bestowed from casual motive or in fortuitous circumstances, but it comes from God's fore-appointment, conceived in the same independence and sovereignty which guide and control the universe.
(Ephesians 1:12.) Εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ , τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ “That we should be to the praise of His glory-we who have before hoped in Christ.”
The critical opinions on this verse, and on its connection with the preceding one, are very contradictory. Meyer and Ellicott join it to ἐκληρώθημεν “we have been brought into the inheritance, in order that we should be to the praise of His glory.” Others, as Calovius, Flatt, and Harless, take εἰς ἔπ . as the final cause of the predestination, and read thus, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Harless would render- die wir vorher bestimmt waren u.s.w., diejenigen zu seyn zum Ruhme seiner Herrlichkeit, die schon vorher auf Christus hofften -thus making this forehope the blessing to which they were predestinated. But the blessings to which men are predestinated are not pre-Messianic, but actual Christian blessings. Besides, such a construction is needlessly involved, and in Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:14 the blessings which believers enjoy are specified, and the phrase “to the praise of His glory” follows as a general conclusion. Εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης is therefore not the proximate purpose, but the ultimate result.
The main struggle has been to determine who are meant by the ἡμᾶς τοὺς προηλπικότας . Koppe, followed by Holzhausen, understands the apostle to use the style royal, and to mean himself. The majority of commentators suppose the words to denote the believing Jews, so called, in the opinion of Beza, Grotius, Estius, Bodius, Bengel, Flatt, Olshausen, and Stier, because their faith in Christ preceded in point of time that of the Gentiles. This exegesis admits of various modifications. The hope of the Jews in Christ preceded that of the Gentiles, either, as Harless imagines, because they had heard of Him earlier; or, as Rosenmüller, Meyer, Olshausen, Chandler, and others affirm, because they possessed the Old Testament prophecies, and so had the hope of Him before He came into the world. But it may be replied, that this sudden change of meaning in ἡμεῖς , so different from all the preceding verses, is a gratuitous assumption; for the “we” and the “us” in the preceding context denote the community of believers with whom the apostle identifies himself, and why should he so sharply and abruptly contract the signification, and confine it to himself and his believing countrymen? There is no hint that such particularization is intended, and there is nothing to point out the Jews as its object. Were this the idea, that the Christian Jews were distinguished from the Gentiles by the forehope of a Messiah, as the great object of their nation's anticipations and desires, then we might have expected that the phrase would have been προηλπικότες εἰς τὸν Χριστόν . Nor do we apprehend that there is anything in the participle to limit its meaning to the Hebrew portion of the church. The πρό may not signify before or earlier in comparison with others, but, as de Wette maintains, it may simply mean “already”-prior to the time at which the apostle writes. Many confirmatory examples occur: Ephesians 3:3, καθὼς προέγραψα -as I have already written; Colossians 1:5, ἐλπίδα ἣν προηκούσατε -the hope of which ye have already heard; Acts 26:5, προγινώσκοντες -who have already known; Galatians 5:21, ἃ προλέγω -which I have already told you; Romans 3:25, τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων - of sins already committed; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, ἀλλὰ προπαθόντες - but having already suffered; and so in many other cases. The preposition indeed has often a more distinctive meaning, but there is thus no necessity caused by the words of the clause to refer it to Jews. The use of ὑμεῖς in the following verse might be said to be a direct transition, natural in writing a letter, when the composer of it passes from general to more special allusions and circumstances. The verb ἐλπίζω also is used in reference to the Gentiles, Matthew 12:21, Romans 15:12; and it might here denote that species of trust which gives the mind a firm persuasion that all promises and expectations shall be fully realized. But while these difficulties stand in the way, still, on a careful review of the passage, we are rather inclined from the pointed nature of the context to refer the ἡμᾶς to believing Jews. The participle may certainly bear the meaning of having hoped beforehand-that is, before the object of that hope appeared; or it may mean before in comparison with others, Acts 20:13. Thus the ὑμεῖς of the following verse forms a sharp contrast to the expressed ἡμᾶς and the τοὺς προηλπικότας , which is a limiting predication, with emphasis upon it, as indicated by its position and by the specifying article. Donaldson, § 492. So understood, the claim describes the privilege of believing Jews in contrast with Gentiles. Lightfoot on Luke, Luke 2:34. The article τῆς before δόξης is omitted by many MSS., and is justly cancelled by Tischendorf and Lachmann. The clause itself has been explained under Ephesians 1:6.
(Ephesians 1:13.) ᾿Εν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς . This clause is variously construed. Morus harshly renders ἐν ᾧ “therefore,” making it to correspond to the Hebrew בַּאֲשֶׁר . Meyer, Peile, and Alford supply the verb of existence “in whom are ye.” But this appears tame in contrast with the other significant verbs of the paragraph. Far better, if a verb is to be supplied to the clause at all, either to take ἠλπίκατε , with Beza, Calvin, and Estius; or ἐκληρώθητε , with Zanchius, a-Lapide, Bodius, Koppe, Meier, Harless, and Olshausen. But the clause presents only one compacted sentence “In whom also ye, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom (I repeat) ye, having believed, were sealed.” ᾿Εν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς refers to the verb ἐσφραγίσθητε -in Christ ye too have been sealed; and the second ἐν ᾧ καί resumes and intensifies the declaration, for it refers to Christ, as Harless, Olshausen, and Stier rightly think, and not-as Piscator, Grotius, and Rosenmüller affirm-to λόγος , or-as Castalio, Calvin, Beza, and Meyer aver-to εὐαγγέλιον . The apostle, in assuring the Gentile converts that their interest in Christ, though more recent, was not less secure than that of believing Jews, first of all turns to their initial privilege as having heard the gospel, and then he cannot but refer to their faith; and this second reference, so important, suspends the construction for a moment. The apostle describes their privilege-
ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας “having heard the word of the truth.” The aorist has its proper meaning, though rendered “having heard,” and points to the period when their privilege commenced. The genitive is that of contents or substance. Scheuerlein, § 12, 1. This clause describes the revealed system of mercy. That word has truth, absolute truth, for its essence. There is no occasion to suppose any allusion to the types of the Old Testament, with Chrysostom, or to the lying vanities and ambiguous oracles of Heathendom, with Baumgarten-Crusius and a-Lapide. The idea was familiar to the mind of Paul, Romans 1:18; Romans 2:8; Colossians 1:5 - ἡ ἀληθεία ; 2 Thessalonians 2:12. This special truth is adapted to man's spiritual state. It is a truth that there is a God, but the truth that this God is the Saviour; a truth that God is benevolent, but the truth that grace is in His heart toward sinners; a truth that there is a future world, but the truth that heaven is the home of the redeemed. The gospel is wholly truth, and that very truth which is indispensable to a guilty world. And it comes as a word, by special oral revelation, for it is not gleaned and gathered: there is a kind and faithful oracle.
It is further characterized as τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμῶν “the gospel of your salvation.” But what is the precise form of the genitive? We cannot regard it, with Harless, as merely a peculiar form of apposition; nor can we make it, with other critics, the gospel which secures your salvation. Romans 1:16. For the occurrence of ἀκούσαντες , as explaining their relation to the gospel, would suggest the explanation-the gospel which reveals salvation, because it contains it. Bernhardy, p. 161; Winer, § 30, 2, b. The gospel is good news, and that good news is our salvation-the best of all news to a sinful and dying world. Salvation makes safe from all the elements of that penalty which their sin brought down upon transgressors, and possession to the inheritance of the highest good-the enjoyment of the Divine favour, and the possession of the Divine image. This truthful and cheering revelation they had heard, and that at two several periods, from the lips of the apostle himself. Having heard the gospel, they believed it: “Faith cometh by hearing.” They heard so as that they believed, for they had heard with candour, docility, and attention. While others might criticise the terms of the message, or scoff at it, they believed it, they took it for what it professed to be. They gave it credit, received its statements as truths, and felt its blessings to be realities.
ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες “in whom also having believed.” The pronoun has Χριστός for its antecedent, and it is in close connection with the verb. The verb πιστεύω is found with ἐν in Mark 1:15, but not in the writings of the apostle. The aorist marks a time antecedent to the following verb. They not only heard, but they also believed the word of truth.
ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ Πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ “ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” The dative is that of instrument, and the position of τῷ ἁγίῳ gives a signal solemnity to the epithet. This Divine Being is termed Πνεῦμα , not on account of His essence, since the whole Godhead is Spirit, but because of His relation to the universe as its Life, and to the believing soul as its Quickener. And He is the HOLY Spirit, not as if the sanctity of His character were more brilliant than that of Father and Son, but because of His economic function as the Sanctifier. The genitive ἐπαγγελίας is supposed by Chrysostom, Calvin, Beza, and the early church, to have an active sense, and to mean the Spirit who confirms the promise. Better is the idea which makes the genitive denote quality, as in the Syriac version-the Spirit which was promised. The genitive is almost that of ablation, as Theophylact in his first explanation gives it- ὅτι ἐξ ἐπαγγελίας ἐδόθη . The Spirit is a prominent and pervading promise in the Old Testament. Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10. The Spirit was also the leading promise which Christ left to His disciples, as recorded in John, referred to in Acts 1:4-44.1.8, and in Galatians 3:14. See Luke 24:49. The fact is, that up to the period of our Lord's ascension, the Spirit stood to the church in the relation and attitude of a promised gift. John 7:39. “Holy Ghost was not yet” in plenary possession and enjoyment, “because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The same truth was taught by the apostle at Ephesus. Acts 19:2. Paul said to certain disciples there who had been baptized into John's baptism, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed? And they said unto him, We did not so much as hear whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Surely such ig norance referred not to the person of the Holy Ghost, for these men were Jews; but the reply seems to be, “We did not hear whether His promised outpouring has been vouchsafed.” And when they were rebaptized, the blessing came upon them. To a church where such a scene occurred, where men had waited for the Spirit, and felt that His descent did not follow John's baptism-for it was the prerogative of the Messiah to baptize with the Holy Ghost-no wonder that Paul designates this Divine Agent by the name of the Spirit of promise. And though the church now possess Him, still, in reference to enlarged operation and reviving energy, He is the Spirit of promise.
By this Spirit they were sealed. 2 Corinthians 1:22. The sealing followed the believing, and is not coincident with it, as Harless argues. This sealing is a peculiar work of the Spirit. 2 Timothy 2:19. Various ideas may be contained in the general figure. It seems to have, in fact, both an objective and a subjective reference. There are the seal, the sealer, and the sealed. The Holy Ghost is the seal, God the sealer. Σφραγὶς βασιλικὴ εἰκών ἐστι -the Divine image in the possession of the Spirit is impressed on the heart, and the conscious enjoyment of it assures the believer of perfection and glory-Romans 8:16 -or, as Theodore of Mopsuestia says, τὴν βεβαίωσιν ἐδέξασθε . He who seals feels a special interest in what is so sealed-it is marked out as His: “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” He recognizes His own image. So Chrysostom- καθάπερ γὰρ εἴ τις τοὺς λαχόντας αὐτῷ δήλους ποιήσειεν , just as if one were to make manifest such as have fallen to his lot. The notion of Theophylact is similar. But the idea that the sealing proves our security to others, or is meant to do so, is foreign to the meaning. That seal unbroken remains a token of safety. Revelation 7:3. Whatever bears God's image will be safely carried home to His bosom. The sealed ones feel the assurance of this within themselves. That there may be an allusion in the phrase to the miraculous gifts of the early ages, is not to be entirely denied, though certainly all who possessed those charismata were not converted men. Baptism was named “a seal” in early times, σφραγίς - signaculum. Greg. Naz. Or. xl. De Bapt.; Tertull. Apol. xxi. The reason of the name is obvious, but there is no allusion to it here. Augusti, Handb. der Christ. Archaeologie, vol. ii. p. 315, 16.
(Ephesians 1:14.) ῞Ος ἐστιν ἀῤῥαβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμῶν “Who is the earnest of our inheritance.” The reading ὅ is found in A, B, F, G, L, but appears to be a correction. The relative does not agree with its antecedent in gender, not that, as Bloomfield imagines, such a change is any argument in favour of the personality of the πνεῦμα , for it only assumes the gender of the following definitive predicate. So Mark 15:16; Gal 3:16 ; 1 Timothy 3:13, etc. Winer, § 24, 3; Kühner, § 786, 3; Madvig, § 98. From not perceiving this idiom, some refer to Christ as the antecedent. ᾿Αῤῥαβών -earnest, is but the Oriental עֵרָבוֹן , H6860 in Greek letters. 2Co 1:22 ; 2 Corinthians 5:5. The earnest is not, properly speaking, a mere pledge, pignus, as the Vulgate has it. The pledge is restored when the contract has been performed, but the earnest is a portion of the purchase money. Isidore, lib. 5.25; Gaius, 3.139; Suicer, sub voce. The master gives the servant a small coin when the paction is agreed on, and this handgelt, or earnest, πρόδομα , as Hesychius defines it, is the token that the whole sum stipulated for will be given when the term of service expires. The earnest is not withdrawn, but is supplemented at the appointed period, for it is only, as Chrysostom explains it, μέρος τοῦ παντός . Irenaeus also says “ Quod et pignus dixit Apostolus, hoc est partem ejus honoris qui a Deo nobis promissus est, in epistola quae ad Ephesios est. ”- Adv. Haeres. lib. v. cap. 11. The inheritance, κληρονομία , is that glorious blessing which awaits us, which is in reserve for us, and held by Christ in our name-that inheritance in which we have been enfeoffed (Ephesians 1:11), and which belonged to the υἱοθεσία ; and ἡμῶν is resumed, for it belonged alike to believing Jew and Gentile.
The enjoyment of the earnest is a proof that the soul has been brought by faith into union with God. It has said to the Lord, “Thou art my Lord.” This covenant of “God's peace” is ratified by the earnest given. The earnest is less than the future inheritance, a mere fraction of it- ex decem solidis centum solidorum millia, as Jerome illustrates. The work of God's Spirit is never to be undervalued, yet it is only a small thing in relation to future blessedness. That knowledge which the Spirit implants is but limited-the dawn, faint in itself, and struggling with the gloom of departing night, compared to the broad effulgence of mid-day. The holiness He creates is still imperfect, and is surrounded and often oppressed with remaining infirmities in “this body of death,” and the happiness He infuses is often like gleams of sunshine on a “dark and cloudy day,” faint, few, and evanescent. But the earnest, though it differ in degree, is the same in kind with the prospective inheritance. The earnest is not withdrawn, nor a totally new circle of possessions substituted. Heaven is but an addition to present enjoyments. Knowledge in heaven is but a development of what is enjoyed on earth; its holiness is but the purity of time elevated and perfected; and its happiness is no new fountain opened in the sanctified bosom, but only the expansion and refinement of those susceptibilities which were first awakened on earth by confidence in the Divine Redeemer. The “earnest,” in short, is the “inheritance” in miniature, and it is also a pledge that the inheritance shall be ultimately and fully enjoyed. God will not resile from His promise, the Spirit conferred will perfect the enterprise. To give believers a foretasting, and then withhold the full enjoyment, would be a fearful torture. The prelibation will be followed by the banquet. As an earnest of the inheritance, the Holy Ghost is its pledge and foretaste, giving to believers the incipient experience of what it is, and imparting the blissful assurance of its ultimate and undisturbed possession. And all this-
εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως , εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ “till the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” “The expression is idiomatic and somewhat difficult.” 1. Some suppose περιποίησις to mean salus, conservatio, deliverance and life. The allied verb sometimes signifies in the Septuagint “to save alive,” and so Whitby renders the phrase “the redemption of life,” and Bretschneider, redemptio qua vitae aeternae servamur. Wetstein, Bengel, and Bos have virtually the same explanation. Holzhausen justifies this criticism at some length, and resolves the clause εἰς ἀπολ . καὶ περιποίησιν . 2. Others take the noun in the sense of possession. In 2 Chronicles 14:13, the noun seems to signify “a remnant preserved,” καὶ ἔπεσον Αἰθίοπες ὥστε μὴ εἶναι ἐν αὐτοῖς περιποίησιν . 3. Some connect the two substantives as cause and effect. Luther renders zu unserer Erlösung, dass wir sein Eigenthum würden -to our redemption, that we should be His possession. In this view Luther was preceded by Theodoret and Pelagius, and has been followed by Homberg and von Gerlach. Bucer has redemptio qua contingat certa vitae possessio. But with an active sense the noun, as may be seen under Ephesians 1:7, is followed by a genitive. 4. Vatablus, Koppe, and Wahl give the noun a participial rendering-the redemption which has been secured or purchased for us. Koppe also gives it another turn, “which we have already possessed,” in allusion to Ephesians 1:7. Ephesians 1:5. Others change this aspect, and give it this rendering, ad obtinendam redemptionem. Beza translates, dum in libertatem vindicemur -a rendering which would require the words to be reversed. 6. Another party, H. Stephanus, Bugenhagen, Calovius, and Matthies, preceded by Ambrosiaster and Augustine, who seem to have understood it in the same sense, take the word in the general sense of possession- haereditas acquisita. But the inheritance needs not to be redeemed; the redemption certainly applies to us, and not to the blessedness prepared for us. 7. The verb denotes to acquire for oneself: Genesis 36:6; Genesis 31:18; Proverbs 7:4; Isaiah 43:21, λαός μου ὃν περιεποιησάμην ; Acts 20:28, ἐκκλησία , ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου ; 1 Timothy 3:13, βαθμὸν ἑαυτοῖς καλὸν περιποιοῦνται . Similar instances occur in the Apocrypha, and the same meaning is found in the classics. Didymus defines it, περιπ . γὰρ κατ᾿ ἐξαίρετον ἐν περιουσίᾳ καὶ κτήματι λελογισμένον , that is περιπ ., which is emphatically reckoned as portion of our substance and possession. Theophylact explains the words by the same terms, and OEcumenius defines it by itself, περιπ . ἡμᾶς καλεῖ διὰ τὸ περιποιήσασθαι ἡμᾶς τὸν θεόν . In this way the noun is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, εἰς περιπ . σωτηρίας ; 2 Thessalonians 2:14, εἰς περιπ . δόξης ; Hebrews 10:39, εἰς περιπ . ψυχῆς . In all these cases there is the idea of acquisition for oneself, and the noun followed by a genitive has an active significance, which it cannot have here, and Meyer's connection with αὐτοῦ is strained. The idea of life, vitality, or safety, found in the term so often when it stands in the Old Testament as the representative of חַיָּה , H2651, and on which some exegetes lay such stress, is evidently a secondary use. The central idea is to preserve for oneself, and as life is the most valuable of possessions, so the word was employed κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν -to preserve it. The great majority of critics understand περιποίησις in the abstract-the possession, i.e. the people possessed- περιποιηθέντες . As a collective noun to denote a body of people, περιτομή is employed in Philippians 3:3, and so ἐκλογή stands in Romans 11:7 for οἱ ἐκλεκτοί . The word thus corresponds to the Hebrew סְגֻלָּה , H6035, often rendered by a similar term- περιούσιος . Compare Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18; Isaiah 43:21; or Malachi 3:17, ἔσονταί μοι εἰς περιποίησιν . The περιποίησις in the Old Testament refers not to any possession held by the people, but to the people themselves held in possession by God. Titus 2:14; and λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν , 1 Peter 2:9. The collective people of God are His περιποίησις -the body of the faithful whom He has taken to be His κλῆρος . They are His by the blood paid for their ransom. Οἵτινες , says Theophylact, ἐσμὲν περιποίησις καὶ κλῆσις καὶ περιουσία θεοῦ . And the redemption which is here referred to, is their complete and final deliverance from all evil. The people who form the “possession” become God's by redemption, and shall fully realize themselves as God's when that redemption shall be completed.
Olshausen, Meyer, and Stier understand εἰς to denote the final cause “for the redemption of the purchased possession.” Still in this case “for” would have virtually a subtemporal sense. De Wette and Rückert render it “until;” Ephesians 4:30. Whether the words be joined with ἐσφραγίσθητε or with the immediately preceding clause, it matters not, for the meaning is much the same. The sealing and earnest are alike intermediate, and point to a future result- εἰς implying a future purpose and period, when both shall be superseded. The earnest is enjoyed up till the inheritance be received, when it is absorbed in its fulness. The idea is common in the Old Testament, as showing the relation which the ancient Israel bore to God as His “inheritance”-His, and His by a special tie, for He had redeemed them out of Egypt. Triune divine operation is again developed;-the Father seals believers, and His glory is the last end; in the Son are they sealed, and their redemption is His work; while the Spirit “which proceedeth” from the Father, and is sent by the Son-is the Seal and the Earnest.
And this ἀπολύτρωσις is our absolute redemption, as Chrysostom terms it. Wilke understands by ἀπολύτρωσις -the liberation of the minor on his majority, comparing this passage with one somewhat similar in Galatians. But ἀπολύτρωσις seems, in the apostle's idea of it, to be a long process, including not a single and solitary blessing, but a complete series of spiritual gifts, beginning with the pardon of sin, and stretching on to the ultimate bestowment of perfection and felicity, for it rescues and blesses our entire humanity. In Jesus “we are having redemption;” and pardon, enlightenment, and inheritance, with the Spirit as the signet and the earnest, are but its present elements, given us partially and by instalments in the meanwhile: for though it begin when sin is forgiven, yet it terminates only when we are put in possession of that totality of blessing which our Lord's obedience and death have secured. Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 1:30. “We have redemption” so soon as we believe; we are ever having it so long as we are on earth; and when Jesus comes again to finish the economy of grace, we shall have it in its full and final completion. Thus the redemption in Ephesians 1:7 is incipient, and in Ephesians 1:14 is final-the first and last stages of the same ἀπολύτρωσις .
And all issues εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ “to the praise of His glory”-His grace having now done its work. As in Ephesians 1:5 th and 6 th, εἰς with the proximate end is followed by εἰς with the ultimate purpose. The περιποίησις “the LORD'S OWN,” “the Holy Catholic Church” in heaven, praises Him with rapturous emotion, for His glory is seen and felt in every blessing and hope, and this perpetual and universal consciousness of redemption is ever jubilant in its anthems and halleluiahs. See under Ephesians 1:6.
The period of redemption expires with the παρουσία . No more is redemption to be offered, for the human race has run its cycle; and no more is it to be partially enjoyed, for the redeemed are to be clothed with perfection: so that the period of perfection in blessing harmonizes with that of perfection in numbers. As long as the process of redemption is incomplete, the collection of recipients is incomplete too. The church receives its complement in extent at the very same epoch at which it is crowned with fulness of purity and blessedness. “May it please Thee of Thy gracious goodness shortly to accomplish the number of Thy elect, and to hasten Thy kingdom,” is an appropriate petition on the part of all saints.
(Ephesians 1:15.) This verse begins a new section. After praise comes prayer. The apostle having given thanks to God for the Ephesian converts, offers a fervent and comprehensive prayer on their behalf, that they may enjoy a deeper insight, so as to know the hope of His calling, the riches of His future glory, and His transcendent vivifying and exalting power, as seen in the resurrection and glorification of Christ.
Διὰ τοῦτο “Wherefore,” not, as Grotius says, and in which saying he is joined by Rückert and Matthies, “because we are bound to thank God for benefits,” for the words have a wider retrospective connection than merely with the last clause of the preceding paragraph. Nor, on the other hand, is it natural, with Chrysostom, OEcumenius, and Harless, to give them a reference to the whole previous section. It is better, with Theophylact and Meyer, to join them to the 13th and 14th verses. For in these verses the apostle turns to the believing Ephesians, and, directly addressing them, describes briefly the process of their salvation, and then, and for that reason, prays for them. The prayer is not for “us,” but for “you,” and for you, because ye heard and believed, and were sealed.
Κἀγώ , rendered “I also.” But such a translation suggests the idea of others, tacitly and mentally alluded to, besides the apostle. Who then can be referred to in the word “also”? Is it, “Others thank God for you, so do I”? or is it, “Ye thank God yourselves, I do it also for you”? thus, as Meyer says, ( zusammenwirkt)-he co-operates with them. These suppositions seem foreign to the context, since there is no allusion to any others beside the writer, nor is there any reference to the Ephesians as praying or giving thanks for themselves. Καί may be merely continuative, as it often is in the New Testament; it may merely mark transition to another topic; or it may indicate the transition from the second person to the first. Stuart, § 185. Κἀγώ may signify “indeed,” quidem; or it may have the first of those meanings in the Pauline diction. Compare Acts 26:29; Romans 3:7; 1 Corinthians 7:8; 1 Corinthians 7:40; 1Co 10:33 ; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:16; Galatians 4:12; Philippians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. The word would thus mean “Wherefore I indeed”-the apostle who first preached to you, and who has never ceased to yearn over you-
ἀκούσας τὴν καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς πίστιν ἐν τῷ Κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ “having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus.” It is wrong to argue from this expression, with Olshausen and de Wette, that the apostle had no personal knowledge of the persons whom he addressed. This was an early surmise, for it is referred to by Theodoret. Some, says he, have supposed that the apostle wrote to the Ephesians, ὡς μηδέπω θεασάμενος αὐτούς . As we have seen in the Introduction, those who wish to regard this epistle as a circular letter, lay stress on the same term. But some years had elapsed since the apostle had visited Ephesus, and seen the Ephesian church, and might he not therefore refer to reports of their Christian stedfastness which had reached him? Nay, his use of the aorist may signify that such intelligence had been repeatedly brought to him. Kühner, § 442, 1; Buttmann, § 137, 8, Obs. 5. But this f requentive sense, however, is denied to aorists in the New Testament. Winer, § 40, 5, b, 1. The verb παύομαι , connected with this aorist, is in the present tense, as if the apostle meant to say, that such tidings from Ephesus were so satisfactory, that he could not cease to thank God for them. His thanksgiving was never allowed to flag, for it sprang from information as to the state of the church in Ephesus, and especially of what the apostle emphatically names-
τὴν καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς πίστιν . The expression is peculiar. Winer, § 22, 7, renders it fidem quae ad vos pertinet, but in such a version the phrase expresses no other than the common form of the pronoun- ὑμετέρα πίστις . Harless and Rückert translate, den Glauben bei euch “the faith which is among you;” Rückert holding that a species of local meaning is implied in the idiom, and Harless maintaining that if the adjective pronoun had been used, the subjective view of their faith would have been given-faith as theirs; whereas by this idiom, their faith in its objective aspect is depicted-faith as it exists among them. Though this mode of expressing relation came to be common in later Greek, as Meyer has shown, still we are inclined to think that there was something emphatic in the form. Bernhardy, p. 241. Acts 17:28, τινες τῶν καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς ποιητῶν “certain of the poets among you”-some of your poets, not ours - not Jewish or Christian bards, but Greek ones, whom ye claim and recognize as your national minstrels. Acts 18:15, the Roman proconsul says, “If it be a question of your law,” νόμου τοῦ καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς -your law; the law that obtains among you, not the Roman law-your Jewish law, to which you cling, and the possession and observance of which mark and characterize you as a people. So in Acts 26:3 - τῶν κατὰ ᾿Ιουδαίους ἐθῶν -customs among Jews - specially Jewish; the very thing under discussion, and spoken of by one who had been educated at Rome. The ordinary phrase, ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν , is used seventeen times, and this form seems to denote not simply possession, as the genitive ὑμῶν or pronoun ὑμετέρα would imply, but also characteristic possession. It is that faith which not only is among you, but which you claim and recognize as your peculiar possessi on-that faith which gave them the appellation of πιστοί in the first verse, and which is said in Ephesians 1:13 to have secured for them the sealing influences of the Holy Spirit. At all events, the instance adduced by Ellicott and Alford as against us, is not parallel. The phrase “your law,” John 8:17, τῷ νόμῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ , is not parallel to Acts 18:15, for the first was spoken by a Jew to Jews-it was His law as well as theirs (Galatians 4:4); but not so in the case of the Roman deputy in Achaia. It seems foreign to the phrase to bring out of it, as Alford does after Stier, “the possibility of some not having this faith.” He had named them πιστοί already, and will κατά with the partitive meaning imply that some might not have this faith? That faith reposed-
ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ . The usage and meaning of κύριος are fully referred to under Ephesians 1:2. Such a characteristic faith was in Christ. Winzer indeed proposes to connect ὑμᾶς with this clause- fidem, quoe, vobis Domino Jesu veluti insitis, inest. The position of the words excludes such a connection. Their faith lay immoveable in Jesus, and the same idea, expressed by ἐν , is very frequent in the preceding verses. See under Ephesians 1:1. Πίστις followed by ἐν is not common; yet εἰς , πρός , ἐπί occur often in such connection in the Septuagint; Psalms 78:22; Jeremiah 12:6; Galatians 3:26; Col 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:13; 2Ti 1:13 ; 2 Timothy 3:15. See under the first verse. The πίστις , so well defined by καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς , and so closely allied to κύριος , needs not the article after it, and the want of the article indicates the unity of conception. The article is similarly omitted in Galatians 3:26, and in Colossians 1:4; Winer, § 20, 2. That faith wrought by love-
καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους “and your love to all the saints.” Some MSS. such as A, B, etc., omit τὴν ἀγάπην , and Lachmann, true to his critical principles, leaves them out in his edition. But the omission is an evident blunder. The Syriac version, older than any of these MSS., has the words, and without them no sense could be made of the verse. Chrysostom also reads the words, and says that the apostle always knits and combines faith and love, a glorious pair- θαυμαστήν τινα ξυνωρίδα :-
ἅγιος is explained under Ephesians 1:1. Faith and love are often associated by the apostle. Colossians 1:4; Phm 1:5 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:3. The article is repeated after ἀγάπην , because the relation expressed by εἰς is not so intimate as that denoted by ἐν , because it has not the well-understood foundation of πίστις , and it may also signalize the difference of allusion- ἀγάπη , not to Christ, but- τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους . This conception, therefore, has not the unity of the preceding: it is love, but love further defined by a special object “to all the saints.” It is not philanthropy-love of man as man-but the love of the brethren, yea, “ all ” the brethren “the household of faith.” Community of faith begets community of feeling, and this brother-love is an instinctive emotion, as well as an earnest obligation. In that spiritual temple which the Spirit is rearing in the sanctified bosom, faith and love are the Jachin and Boaz, the twin pillars that grace and support the structure.
(Ephesians 1:16.) Οὐ παύομαι εὐχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν “I cease not giving thanks for you.” ῾Υπέρ is thus used, Ephesians 5:20; 1 Timothy 2:1. Εὐχαριστεῖν , in the sense of “to give thanks,” belongs to the later Greek, for, prior to the age of Polybius, it signified to please or to gratify. Phryn. ed. Lobeck, p. 18. Instead of a participle the infinitive is sometimes employed, but there is a difference of meaning. The participle expresses an action which already exists, and this form of construction prevails in the New Testament. “As one giving thanks for you I cease not.” The infinitive εὐχαριστεῖν would mean, “I cease not from a supposed period to give thanks.” Winer, § 45, 4; Stuart, § 167; Scheuerlein, § 45, 5; Hermann, Ad Viger. p. 771; Bernhardy, p. 477. The Gothic version of Ulphilas has preserved the peculiar point of the expression “unsveibands aviliudo,”- non-cessans gratias dico. The apostle, though he had visited them, does not felicitate himself on his pastoral success among them, but gives thanks on this account to God, for His grace had changed them, and had sustained them in their Christian profession.
μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιούμενος ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου “making mention of you in my prayers.” Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-52.1.3. Some MSS., as A, B, and D, omit ὑμῶν , and it is rejected by Lachmann; but there is no good reason for its exclusion, for it may have been omitted because of the previous ὑμῶν so close upon it, for A and B have the same omission in 1 Thessalonians 1:2. F and G place the pronoun after the participle. The terms εὐχαριστῶν and μνείαν ποιούμενος are not to be identified. The apostle gave thanks, and his thanks ended in prayer. As he blessed God for what they had enjoyed, he implored that they should enjoy more. He thanked for their faith and hope, and he prayed as he glanced into the future. And he made special mention of the Ephesian church; ποιούμενος in the middle voice implying “for himself”- ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου . The preposition has a temporal meaning with a sub-local reference. Bernhardy, p. 246; Winer, § 47, g, d; Stallbaum's Plato, de Rep. p. 460. He did it as his usual work and pleasure, and perhaps the language implies that he made formal mention of them whenever and wherever he prayed. He yearned over them as his children in Christ, and he bore their names on his heart before the Lord in fervent, repeated, and effectual intercession.
(Ephesians 1:17.) ῞Ινα ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ δῴη “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ would give.” Making mention of you in my prayers, offering this prayer for you, that the God, etc. His prayer for them had this special petition-that. ῞Ινα is thus used with the optative, and that telically to denote the object of desire, the blessing wished for. Bernhardy, p. 407. We see no reason to agree with Harless, Olshausen, Winer, Robinson, Rückert, and others, in denying the proper telic use of ἵνα in such a connection, or after verbs of entreaty. Ellicott also gives it a sub-final meaning-the purport of the prayer being blended with the purpose. Winer, § 41, b, 1. On the other hand, to deny with Fritzsche the ecbatic sense of ἵνα , is an extreme quite opposed to many passages of the New Testament, and as wrong as to give it too often this softened meaning. Harless says, that the optative is here used for distinctness, because a verb expressing desire is omitted. But the final cause of entreaty is “in order that” something may be given. The object of the apostle's prayer was, that God would give the Ephesians the spirit of wisdom. He prayed for this end-this final purpose was present to his mind; he prayed with this avowed intent- ἵνα . Ellicott's statement is after all but a truism: if a man tell you to what end he prays, he surely tells you the substance of his prayers. Disclosure of the purpose must express the purport, and ἵνα , pointing out the first, also of necessity introduces the last. But the ἵνα in such an idiom contains in itself the idea of previous desire, and the optative is used, not as if there were any doubt in the apostle's mind that his prayer might not be granted, or as if the answer might be only a probable result, but that God's giving the object prayed for would be the hoped-for realization of the intention which he had, when he began to offer the petitions which he was still continuing. Jelf, § 807, γ ; Devarius-Klotz, p. 622. Had the wish that God would confer blessing begun merely when the apostle wrote the words, had the whole aim of the prayer been regarded as future to that point of time, the subjunctive would have been used. Δῴη is a later form for δοίη . Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, pp. 345, 346; Sturz, De dialecto Alexandrino, p. 52. Lachmann, however, reads δώῃ in the Ionic subjunctive form, but without sufficient ground. The Divine Being to whom Paul presented intercessory prayer for the Ephesians, is referred to under two peculiar and unusual epithets-
῾Ο Θεὸς τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is elsewhere called the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but only in this place, simply, “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The language has needlessly startled many commentators, and obliged them to make defence against Arian critics. Suicer, sub voce. The dangerous liberties taken with the words in the capricious use of hyperbaton and parenthesis by Menochius, Vatablus, Estius, and a-Lapide, do not gain the end which they were intended to serve. It is with some of them “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of glory,” or “the God (of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father) of glory.” The criticism of Theodoret is more rational, though not strictly correct, for he thus distinguishes the two divine appellations in reference to Christ,- Θεὸν μὲν ὡς ἀνθρώπου , πατέρα δὲ ὡς Θεοῦ . The reader will find an explanation of the phrase under the first clause of the 3rd verse. The exposition of Harless is somewhat loose. His explanation is-the God by whom Christ was sent to earth, from whom He received attestation in word and deed, and to whom He at length returned. But more special ideas are included-1. To be His God is to be the object of His worship-my God is the divinity whom I adore. As a man Jesus worshipped God, often prayed to Him, often consulted Him, enjoyed His presence, and complained on the cross of His desertion, saying “My God, my God.” 2. The language implies that God blessed Him-my God is He who blesses me. Genesis 28:21. He prepared for Him His body, sustained His physical life, bestowed upon Him the Spirit, protected Him from danger, “gave His angels charge concerning Him,” raised Him from the dead, and exalted Him to glory. 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1Co 15:27 ; 1 Peter 1:21. Especially, as Harless intimates, did He as Messiah co me from God and do the will of God, and He is now enjoying the reward of God. Possessed Himself of supreme divinity, He subordinated Himself to God, in order by such an economy to work out the glorious design of man's salvation. The immanent distinctions of the one Godhead are illustrated in their nature and necessity from the scheme of redemption. And the reason why Paul refers to God in this relation to Jesus is, that having sent His Son and qualified and commissioned Him, having accepted from Him that atonement of infinite value, and having in proof of this acceptance raised Him to His own right hand, it is now His divine function and prerogative to award the blessings of the mediatorial reign to humble and believing suppliants.
At the same time we cannot fully acquiesce in many interpretations of the Nicene Creed, even as illustrated by Petavius, and adopted by such acute defenders as Cudworth and Bull. To admit the divinity of the Son, and yet to deny Him to be αὐτόθεος as well as the Father, seems to us really to modify and impugn the Saviour's Godhead by a self-contradictory assertion. We cannot but regard self-existence as essential to divinity. Bishop Bull says, however “ Pater solus naturam illam a se habet. ” The Creed of Nice declares, “We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the Essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one Essence with the Father.” These sentiments have been the faith of the church in every age, but they have been in many instances explained by unjustifiable imagery and language, often taken in the earlier centuries from the Platonic ontology, and drawn in later times from material sources. The arguments against what is called the eternal sonship, by Röell, Drew, Moses Stuart, Adam Clarke, and others, are, with all their show of argument, without foundation in Scripture, for a sonship in the Divine nature appears to be plainly taught and implied in it. But a sonship which affirms the Divine nature of the Son to be derived from the Father, makes that Son only δεύτερος Θεός -a secondary Deity. Not only is the Son ὁμοούσιος τῷ πατρί -of the same essence with the Father, but He is also αὐτόθεος -God in and from Himself. Sonship appears to refer not to essence, but to existence-not to being in itself, but to being in its relat ions, and does not characterize nature so much as personality. But such difference of position is not inequality of essence, and when rightly understood will be found as remote from the calumnious imputation of Tritheism, as from the heresy of Modalism or Sabellianism.
ὁ Πατὴρ τῆς δόξης “the Father of glory”-is a unique phrase, having no real parallel in Scripture. It has some resemblance to the following phrases “King of glory” in Psalms 24:7; “Lord of glory,” 1 Corinthians 2:8; “God of glory,” Psalms 29:3, quoted in Acts 7:2; Πατὴρ τῶν φώτων , James 1:17; ὁ Πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν , 2 Corinthians 1:3; and χερουβὶμ δόξης , Hebrews 9:5. Δόξης is the genitive of characterizing quality. Winer, § 30, 2. The notion of Theodoret is, that δόξα signifies the Divine nature of Christ, and many of the Fathers held a similar view. Athanasius remarks on this passage, that the apostle distinguishes the economy- καὶ δόξαν μὲν τὸν μονογενῆ καλεῖ , referring to the phrase in John 1:14, “the glory of the only-begotten of the Father”-an idea also repeated by Alford. Theophylact quotes Gregory of Nazianzus as giving the same view- καὶ Θεὸν καὶ Πατέρα ; Χριστοῦ μὲν ἤγουν τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου , Θεὸν· τῆς δὲ δόξης , ἤγουν τῆς θεότητος , Πατέρα . Cyril also ( De Adoratione, lib. xi.), Jerome, and Bengel adopt the same hypothesis. Suicer, Thesaurus, 1.944, 5. These views are strained and moulded by polemical feelings, and the use of δόξα in reference to Jesus in other parts of the New Testament will not warrant such a meaning here. While this special and personal application is without ground on the one hand, it is a vague and pointless exegesis on the other, which resolves the phrase into Πατὴρ ἔνδοξος . De Wette renders-The Father with whom glory is ever present; referring to the last clause of Ephesians 1:18 -the glory of the inheritance. Others find in πατήρ the sense of origination-source of glory- auctor, fons. So Erasmus, Fesselius, a-Lapide, Grotius, and Olshausen, though with varying applications of the general exegesis. This explanation is at least admissible. Did we, with some, regard δόξα as the immanent or essential glory of God, it would be impossible. Such glory is coeval with the Divine nature, the Essence and Effulgence are coeternal. Or did we, with others, regard δόξα as meaning glorious gifts conferred upon us, then such a notion would not be in harmony with the context. That Πατήρ may signify originator is plain, though Harless expressly denies it. What is Πατὴρ τῶν πνευμάτων but their Creator? (Hebrews 12:9); or Πατὴρ τῶν φώτων (James 1:17) but their Producer? or Πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν (2 Corinthians 1:3) but their Originator? Harless refers the δόξα very much to the epithets of the following verses, while Stier and Alford virtually maintain an allusion to the God-man, in whom God's glory is revealed, by whom it dwells in humanity, and in whom all His people are glorified. On the other hand, and more in harmony with the course of thought, δόξα appears to us to be that glory so often already referred to, and throwing its radiance over this paragraph. Men are elected, predestinated, sanctified, and adopted- εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης ; enlightened, enfeoffed in an inheritance according to eternal purpose- εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ ; and they hear, believe, are sealed, and enjoy the earnest of the Spirit- εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ . The three preceding paragraphs are thus each wound up with a declaration of the final result and purpose-the glory of God. And now, when the apostle refers to God, what more natural than to ascribe to Him that glory which is His own chief end, and His own prime harvest in man's redemption? Here stand, as repeated and leading ideas, Ephesians 1:6, δόξης -ver. 12, δόξης -ver. 14, δόξης ; so that in Ephesians 1:17 He is saluted with the title, Πατὴρ τῆς δόξης . This glory is not His essential glory as Jehovah, but the glory which He has gathered for Himself as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. The clause is in close union with the preceding one. This Saviour-God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, is in this very character the possessor and thus the exhibiter of glory. It is then wholly- πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον , as OEcumenius says, that such a title as this is given to God, that is, because of the contextual allusions, but not simply because the gifts prayed for are manifestations of this glory, as Olshausen supposes; nor merely, as Cocceius and Meyer argue, because He will do that in answer to prayer which serves to promote His own glory.
The gift prayed for is-that He would give “you”- ὑμῖν - πνεῦμα σοφίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Though πνεῦμα wants the article, there is no reason, with Middleton, Chandler, Crellius, and Locke, to deny its reference to the Holy Spirit, and to make it signify “a wise disposition,” for the word came to be regarded very much as a proper name. Thus, Matthew 12:28, ἐν πνεύματι Θεοῦ “by the Spirit of God;” Romans 1:4, κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ; 1 Peter 1:2, ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος ; and in Mark 1:8; Luke 1:15; Luke 1:35; Luke 1:41; Luke 1:67. The reference in these cases is plainly to the Holy Spirit, in some peculiar phases and manifestations of His divine influence. The canon of Middleton is not borne out by usage. On Greek Art., pp. 125, 126. The genitives are not wholly those of possession, but perhaps also of character. Romans 8:2; Rom 8:15 ; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:7. The Ephesians had possessed the Spirit as an earnest and seal, and now the apostle implores His influence in other modes of it to descend upon them. This “revelation” is His mode of operation, and the enlightened eye is the fruit of His presence. Indeed, Chrysostom and Theodoret use σοφία πνευματική -spiritual wisdom-in explanation of πνεῦμα σοφίας , but Chrysostom distinctly acknowledges the influence of the Spirit. Theophylact plainly specifies the gift of the Divine Spirit, “That He may supply you with spiritual gifts, so that by the Spirit you may be enlightened- ὥστε διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος φωτισθῆναι .” The Reformers supposed that the Spirit of grace and revelation is taken for the grace itself, as Calvin explains- spiritus sapientiae et revelationis pro ipsa gratia capitur. We prefer a clear and formal reference to the Holy Spirit-the gift of God through Christ. Σοφία and ἀποκάλυψις are intimately joined, but not, as Meyer thinks, by the union of a general and special idea. Nor can we, with Olshausen, refer the words to the ancient charismata, and make ἀποκάλυψις mean the capacity for receiving revelation, or for being a prophet. These supernatural endowments cannot be alluded to, because the apostle prays for the bestowment of wisdom and revelation to enable the Ephesians to know those blessings in the knowledge of which every Christian is interested, and which all Christians through all time receive in a greater or less degree from the Holy Ghost.
The Ephesians had already enjoyed spiritual blessings, and they had been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Now the apostle prays that they may enjoy Him as a Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Σοφία is wisdom, higher intelligence, rising at length into the “riches of the full assurance of understanding.” It is connected with ἀποκάλυψις , for the Spirit of wisdom is the Spirit of revelation, and by such revelation that wisdom is imparted. The oracles of the New Testament had not then been collected, and therefore truth in its higher aspects might be imparted or extraordinarily revealed by the Holy Ghost. Such generally is the view also of Harless, σοφία , however, being, according to him, the subjective condition, and ἀποκάλυψις the objective medium. The clause is no hendiadys. It resembles Romans 1:5, “This grace and apostleship,” that is, grace, and the form in which the grace was given-that of the apostolate; Romans 11:29, “The gifts and calling of God,” that is, the gifts and the medium of their conferment-the Divine calling. Here we have the gift of wisdom along with the mode of its bestowment-revelation. We cannot say, with Ellicott, that σοφία is the general and ἀποκάλυψις the more special gift, for the last term carries in it the notion of mode as well as result-insight communicated so as to impart wisdom. Nor can we see how it is illogical to mention the gift, and then refer to the vehicle of its bestowment.
And still all spiritual truth is His revelation. The Bible is His gift, and it is only when the prayerful study of the Bible is blessed by spiritual influence that wisdom is acquired. Solemn invocation of the Holy Spirit must precede, and His presence accompany, all faithful interpretation of the word of God. As we contemplate the holiness and veracity of its Author, the grace and truth of all His statements, and the benevolent purpose of His revelation, the heart will be softened into that pure sensibility which the Holy Ghost delights in, as of old the strains of music in the schools of the prophets soothed and prepared the rapt spirit of the seer for the illapse of his supernatural visitant. Earthly passions and turbulent emotions must be repressed, for the “dew” descends not amidst the storm; the conflicting sensations of a false and ungodly heart forbid His presence, as the “dove” alights not amidst the tossings of the earthquake. The serenity resulting from “that peace which passeth all understanding,” not only draws down the Spirit of God, not only imparts a freer scope to the intellectual powers, a purer atmosphere to the spiritual vision, and a new relish to the pursuits of biblical study, but also refines and strengthens those faculties which unite in discovering, perceiving, and feeling the truths and beauties of inspiration.
ἐν ἐπιγνώσει αὐτοῦ . The αὐτοῦ refers to God, and not to Christ, as Calvin, Beza, Bodius, Calovius, Flatt, and Baumgarten suppose. ᾿Εν does not signify εἰς -in reference to, or in order to, as Jerome, Anselm, Luther, a-Lapide, Grotius, Bengel, and von Gerlach erroneously argue. The spirit of this exegesis may be seen in the note of Piscator “ Ut eum in dies magis magisque cognoscatis. ” Such an unusual meaning is unnecessary. The versions, “through” the knowledge of God, as Rollock renders, or “along with” it, as Hodge makes it, are foreign to the context. Tyndale cuts the knot by translating “That he myght geve vnto you the Sprete of wisdom, and open to you the knowledge of him silfe.” Meyer, Harless, and Matthies suppose that ἐν marks out the sphere of operation- die Geistige Thätigkeits-Sphäre. Connecting the words especially with ἀποκαλύψεως , we suppose them, while they formally denote the sphere, virtually to indicate the material of the revelation. In the last view they are taken by Homberg, Rückert, and Stier. If the knowledge of God be the sphere in which the Spirit of revelation operates, it is that He may deepen or widen it-in our possession of it. In what aspect is the Spirit prayed for? It is as a Spirit of wisdom. How is this wisdom communicated by Him? By revelation. What is the central sphere, and the characteristic type, of this revelation? It is the knowledge of God, not agnitio, as the Vulgate has it, and Beza and Bodius expound it, but cognitio -not the acknowledgment, but the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God stands out objectively to us as the first and best of the sciences; and when the Spirit imparts it, and gives the mind a subjective or experimental acquaintance with it, that mind has genuine wisdom. ᾿Επίγνωσις Θεοῦ is the science, and σοφία is the result induced by the Spirit of revelation. The preposition ἐπί , in ἐπί γνωσις , contains probably the idea of the “ additional ” as the image of intensive. Such a preposition sometimes loses its full original force in composition, but it would be wrong to say with Olshausen, that here such a meaning is wholly obliterated. Tittmann, De Synonymis, etc., p. 217; Wilke, Appendix, p. 560. ᾿Επίγνωσις is not ascribed to God in the New Testament, neither could it with propriety. His knowledge admits of no improvement either in accuracy or extent. Phavorinus defines the term ἡ μετὰ τὴν πρώτην γνῶσιν τοῦ πράγματος κατὰ δύναμιν παντελὴς κατανόησις . The simple verb and its compound are used with beautiful distinction in 1 Corinthians 13:12, ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους , τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι . That knowledge of God in which the Spirit of revelation works, and which He thereby imparts, is a fuller and juster comprehension of the Divine Being than they had already enjoyed. The subsequent verses show that this additional knowledge of God concerns not the works of His creation, which is but the “time vesture” of the Eternal, but the grace and the purposes of His heart, His possession and exhibition of love and power, His rich array of blessings which are kept in reserve for His people, and that pecul iar influence which He exercises over them in giving them spiritual and permanent vitality. Harless says that ἐπίγνωσις signifies the knowledge of experience, because δύναμις stands as its object. This view, however, is defective, for δύναμις is not the only object-there is also the “inheritance,” which is future, and therefore so far external to believers.
Some, however, join the clause with the following verse “ In the knowledge of Him the eyes of your heart being enlightened.” Thus construe Chrysostom, Theophylact, Zachariae, Olshausen, Lachmann, and Hahn. Such a construction is warped and unnatural. Olshausen's reason is connected with his notion that σοφία and ἀποκάλυψις are charismata or extraordinary gifts, and could not be followed up and explained by such a phrase as the “knowledge of God.” But the verb φωτίζω is nowhere accompanied by ἐν ; in Revelation 18:1 it is followed by ἐκ . The Syriac renders, “And would enlighten the eyes of your hearts to know what is,” etc.
(Ephesians 1:18.) Πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν “The eyes of your heart having been enlightened;” that is, by the gifts or process just described. Καρδίας is now generally preferred to διανοίας , as it has preponderant authority, such as MSS. A, B, D, E, F, G, etc., with the Syriac, Coptic, and Vulgate, etc. Thus, too, Clemens Romanus- οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ τῆς καρδίας . Ep. ad Corinth. § 36. Various forms of construction have been proposed. 1. Some understand the clause to be the accusative governed by δῴη . The words are so taken by Zanchius, Matthies, Rückert, Meier, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Stier, and Turner. This construction, however, seems awkward. Bengel remarks that the presence of the article before ὀφθαλμούς is against such a construction. For the eyes were, not precisely a portion of the gift, but only the enlightenment of them; whereas, according to this construction, if τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς be governed by δῴη , both the eyes and their illumination would be described as alike the Divine donation. This, however, is not the apostle's meaning. The eyes of the heart needed both a quicker perception and a purer medium in order to distinguish those glorious objects which were presented to them. The words, as placed by the apostle, are different from a prayer for “enlightened eyes;” and the clause is not parallel with those of the preceding verse, but describes the result. 2. Πεφωτισμένους may be supposed to agree by anticipation with the following ὑμᾶς “that you, enlightened as to the eyes of your heart.” 3. Ellicott takes it as a lax construction of the participle πεφωτισμένους referring to ὑμῖν , with τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς as the accusative of limiting reference. But in a broken construction the participle usually reverts to the nominative. See Buttmann, Gram. der Neutest. Sprach. § 145, 4. 6. 7. The clause may be a species of accusative absolute “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened,” and it expresses the result of the gift of the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Such is the view of Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Küttner, and Koppe. Kühner, § 682; Bernhardy, p. 133. But we cannot adopt the hint of Heinsius, that the participle has εἶναι understood, and that the formula is then equivalent to φωτίζεσθαι . Exercit. Sac. p. 459. The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the centre of spiritual as it is physically of animal life. Delitzsch, System der Bibl. Psychol. § 12; Beck, Umriss der Bib. Seelenlehre, § 26. The verb φωτίζω , used in such a relation, has a deep ethical meaning. Light and life seem to be associated in it-as, on the other hand, darkness and death are in Hebrew modes of conception. Thus Psalms 13:3; Psalms 36:9; John 1:4; John 8:12. The light that falls upon the eyes of the heart is the light of spiritual life-there being appreciation as well as perception, experience along with apprehension. Suicer, sub voce φῶς . Matthew 13:15; Mark 6:52; John 12:40. The figure is common too among classical writers. If the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God be conferred, then the scales fall from the moral vision, and the cloudy haze that hovers around it melts away. It is as if a man were taken during night to a lofty eminence shrouded in vapour and darkness, but morning breaks, the sun rises, the mist disparts, rolls into curling wreaths and disappears, and the bright landscape unfolds itself. Such is the result, and the design, is that they may obtain a view of three special truths. And first-
εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς , τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ “that ye may know what is the hope of His calling”-the infinitive of aim with εἰς and the article, Winer, § 44, 6; and the genitive being that of origin or possession-the hope associated with or the hope springing out of His calling. Κλῆσις is a favourite Pauline word. It describes Christian privilege in its inner power and source, for the “calling” is that Divine summons or invitation to men which ensures compliance with itself. The term seems to have originated in the historical fact of Abraham's call, and the fact gives name and illustration to the spiritual doctrine. It is His calling-man's calling is often slighted, but God's is “effectual calling.” The κλῆσις is the incipient realization of the ἐκλογή . Calovius and Goodwin take ἐλπίς wrongly as the ground of hope. Zanchius, Calovius, Flatt, Meyer, Harless, and Baumgarten-Crusius maintain it to be the subjective hope which His calling creates, but the reference seems rather to be to the object of that hope-the inheritance of the following clause. ᾿Ελπίς is τὸ ἐλπιζόμενον - res sperata, in the opinion of Meier, Olshausen, and Stier; but of course the knowledge of the thing hoped for sustains the emotion of hope, so that the two ideas are closely allied. The apostle seems to refer rather to what the hope embraces, than either to its basis or to its character. Colossians 1:5; Titus 2:13. It needs no special grace to know the emotion of hope within us; it can be gauged in its depth, and analyzed in its character; but it does need special enlightenment to comprehend in their reality and glory what are the objects hoped for in connection with God's calling. We give τίς its ordinary meaning, “what”-not making it mean qualis vel cujusnam natur ae, with Harless; nor quanta, ποταπή , with Baumgarten-Crusius and Stier. That it may occasionally bear such a sense we deny not; but the simple signification is enough in the clause before us, though indeed it involves the others. What, then, is the hope of His calling? Abraham's calling had hope, and not immediate possession attached to it, for not he, but his seed, were to inherit in future years. Salvation is partially enjoyed by “the called” on earth, but much of it is in reserve for them in heaven. Therefore all that lies over for us creates hope, and this rich reversion is here connected, not with our election-the reality of which prior to our calling we knew not-but with the calling itself, and the conscious response of the heart to the influence of the truth and the Spirit. The apostle also specifies a second design-
καὶ τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις “and what the wealth of the glory of His inheritance among the saints.” The καί is omitted by some MSS., such as A, B, D†, K, G, and by Lachmann; but it is found in D 3 , E, K, L, and is rightly retained by Tischendorf. The repetition of καί in the next verse might have led to its omission. Τίς is repeated to bring out the emphatic thought. “The riches of the glory of His inheritance” is a phrase to be resolved neither, with some, into the rich glory of the inheritance, nor the riches of the glorious inheritance. The words represent, as they stand, distinct but connected ideas. It was the riches of His grace in Ephesians 1:7 -the norm according to which blessing is enjoyed now; here it is the riches of glory to be enjoyed in the future, the genitives being those of possession. Κληρονομία has been already explained under Ephesians 1:11, in connection with the verb ἐκληρώθημεν .
The phrase ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις is attended with some difficulty. 1. Winer and others insert the verb ἐστι , and suppose it to signify “which is in the possession of the saints.” The strain of the context forbids the exegesis-it is future, and not present blessing, which the apostle refers to. 2. It is taken by Homberg and Calovius in the neuter gender as a local epithet “in the holy places.” Such an idea is not found in the epistles, and is not of Pauline usage. 3. Others assume the meaning of “for,” “prepared for the saints,” such as Vatablus, Bullinger, and Baumgarten; but this gives an unwarranted meaning to the preposition ἐν . 4. Stier understands the words with special reference to his own interpretation of Ephesians 1:11, which he renders “in whom we have become God's inheritance”-so that God's inheritance is the saints; and as they form it, it possesses a peculiar glory. But the inheritance, as we understand it, is something external to the saints-something yet to be fully enjoyed by them, and of which in the interval the Holy Spirit is declared to be the earnest. 5. The better opinion, then, is, with Rückert, Harless, Winzer, Meier, Olshausen, Ellicott, and Alford, to take ἐν in the sense of “among,” “among the saints.” Job 42:15. Of Job's daughter it is said, their father gave them κληρονομίαν ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς “among their brethren.” So Acts 20:32, κληρονομίαν ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις “inheritance among the sanctified.” Also Acts 26:18. Perhaps the full formula may be seen in Numbers 18:23, ἐν μέσῳ υἱῶν ᾿Ισραὴλ κληρονομίαν . There seems no need to supply ἐστιν , as is done by Ellicott after Meyer-nor does the article need to be repeated. ῞Αγιος has been explained under the first verse, and means here, those possessed of completed holiness, or as Cameron- τοὺς τετελειωμένους . Myrothecium, p. 248. The inheritance is meant for the possession of the saints. It is their common property. And the consecrated ones are not merely, as Baumgarten-Crusius says, those of the former dispensation who first were called “holy,” though saints alone enjoy the gift. It is “His,” and they are His. The possession of holiness is the prerequisite for heaven. Such a character is in harmony with the pursuits, enjoyments, and scenes of the celestial world. Saints have now the incipient heritage, but not in its full fruition. It is not here presented to us as a rich blessing of Christ's present kingdom; but it is the blessing in prospect. The two clauses are thus nearly related. The prayer is, that the Ephesians might first know the reality of the future blessing; and, secondly, might comprehend its character. What, then, are the riches of its glory? There is the “glory” of the inheritance itself, and that glory is not a mere gilding-glitter without value; for there are also “the riches” of the glory. There is glory, for the inheritance in its subjective aspect is the perfection of the “saints.” But there are also “riches of glory,” for that perfection is complete in the sweep and circle of its enjoyments, and is not restricted to one portion of our nature-the mind being filled with truth, and the heart ruled in all its pulsations by undivided love. There is “glory,” in that the inheritance is God's, and they who receive it shall hold fellowship with Him; but there are in addition “riches of glory,” inasmuch as this fellowship is uninterrupted, the harmony of thought and emotion never disturbed, and the face of God never eclipsed, but shedding a new lustre on the image of Himself reflected in every bosom. There is “glory,” in that the inherit ance yields satisfaction, for a perfect spirit in perfect communion with God must be a happy spirit; but there are likewise “riches of glory,” since that blessedness is unchanging, has no pause and no end; all, both in scene and society, being in unison with it, while it excites the purest susceptibilities, and occupies the noblest powers of our nature, giving us eternity for our lifetime and infinitude for our home.
The third thing which the apostle wished them to know, was the nature of that power which God had exerted upon them in their conversion. The calling of God had glorious hopes attached to it or rising out of it. The wealthy inheritance lay before them, and the apostle wished them to know how or by what spiritual change they had been brought into these peculiar privileges, and how they were to be sustained till their hopes were realized. Not only had they been the objects of God's affection, as is told them in the first paragraph-but also, and especially, of God's power. Infinite love prompted into operation omnipotent strength. And that power is exercised in a certain normal direction, for it works on believers as it wrought in Christ, and, as the apostle shows in the second chapter, it does to them what it did to their great Prototype. The same kind of power manifested in the resurrection and glorification of Jesus, is exhibited in the quickening of sinners from death. The 20th verse of this chapter is illustrated by the 6th of the following chapter, and all between is a virtual digression, or suspension of the principal idea in the analogy. The power which the apostle wishes them to comprehend was the power which quickened Jesus, and had in like manner quickened them; which raised Jesus, and had in the same way raised them; which had elevated Jesus to God's right hand in the heavenly places, and had also raised them with Christ, and made them sit with Christ in the heavenly places. Such is the general idea. He says-
(Ephesians 1:19.) Καὶ τί τὸ ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.” 2 Corinthians 13:4. The apostle writes τίς . . . τίς . . . τί -repeating the adjective in his emphatic and distinct enumeration. Εἰς ἡμᾶς “in the direction of us”-is most naturally connected with δυνάμεως , and not with an understood ἐστι -power exercised upon us believers. Winer, § 49, c, δ . The greatness of that power is not to be measured; it is “exceeding,” for it stretches beyond the compass of human calculation. It is the power of giving life to the dead in trespasses and sins-a prerogative alone of Him who is “Life.” Compounds with ὑπέρ are great favourites with the apostle, and this word is used by him alone. Speaking of those who are to enjoy the future glorious inheritance, he calls them absolutely οἱ ἅγιοι , but those on whom rests this power in the meantime are only οἱ πιστεύοντες ; and while in recording his prayer he naturally says “you,” he now as naturally includes himself- ἡμᾶς .
The connection of this with the following clause is important- κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν . Some join the words with the immediately preceding πιστεύοντας -an exegesis followed by Chrysostom, Meier, Matthies, and Hodge. On the other hand, the words are joined to δυνάμεως by OEcumenius, in one of his explanations, by Calvin, Olshausen, Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, and Stier. The last appears to be preferable. It is indeed true, that in consequence of God's mighty power men believe. See under Colossians 2:12. But the adoption of such a meaning, advocated also by Crellius, Griesbach, and Junkheim, would be almost tantamount to making the apostle say-that they might know the greatness of His power on them who believe in virtue of His power. Some of the older divines adopted this view as a mode of defence against Arminian or Pelagian views of human ability, and as a proof of the necessity and the invincibility of Divine grace. But κατά rarely signifies “in virtue of,” and even then the idea of conformity is implied. Certainly the weak faith of man is not in conformity with the mighty power of God. Nor can κατά point out the object of faith in such a construction as this, and it never occurs with πιστεύω to denote the cause of faith. Besides, and especially, it is not to show either the origin or measure of faith that the apostle writes, but to illustrate the power of God in them who already believe. Κατά , therefore, signifies “after the model of.” It points out how the power to us-ward operates; κατά -after the model of that power which operated in Christ.
It weakens the point of the apostle's argument to take the clause followed by κατά merely as an amplification, as Chrysostom, Calvin, Calixtus, Estius, Grotius, Meier, and Winzer have done. It is not the apostle's design to illustrate the mere ὑπερβάλλον -the mere vastness of the power, but to define its nature and mode of operation. Nor can we agree with Harless, after Ambrosiaster, Bucer, and Zanchius, in making this clause and those which follow it belong equally to the ἐλπίς and κληρονομία , and in regarding the paragraph as a general illustration of the nature of the hope, and the wealth and glory of the inheritance. Thus Ambrosiaster:- Exemplum salutis credentium et gloriae in resurrectione Salvatoris consistere profitetur, ut ex ea cognoscant fideles quid eis promissum est. This explanation is too vague, for ἐνέργεια and the allied words are connected with δύναμις naturally, but not with the hopes or the inheritance. The exegesis of Harless would imply, that the blessings described in the paragraph are future blessings, whereas, as himself virtually admits, they are blessings already enjoyed by Christians (Ephesians 2:6). Ellicott errs in the same way when he says, that the reference is “ primarily to the power of God, which shall hereafter quicken us even as it did Christ.” What he calls primary the context places as secondary, for it is present power which is causing itself to be felt on present believers. The order of thought is not, the hope-then the inheritance-and then the power which shall confer it; but, the hope-the inheritance-and the power which sustains and prepares us for its possession. Meyer's notion is similar to Ellicott's.
Nor does κατά , as in the opinion of Koppe and Holzhausen, signify mere similitude. For if the resurrection of Jesus be the normal exhibition of Divine power, the implication is, that other similar exhibitions are pledged to Christ's people. That power has operated, κατά -after the model of that energy which God wrought in Christ. OEcumenius has the right idea to some extent when he compares the two acts- τὸ ἀναστῆναι ἡμᾶς τοῦ ψυχικοῦ θανάτου καὶ τὸ ἀναστῆναι τοῦ σωματικοῦ τὸν Χριστόν . The objection of Matthies that, had the apostle meant to show the correspondence between the power exerted on us and that on Christ in His resurrection, he would have said ἐν ὑμῖν , as he has said ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ , is without founda tion, because the power put forth on Christ was an act long past and perfect, whereas the power put forth on believers is of present and continuous operation, and a stream of that divine influence is ever coming- εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας . This use of the article and participle, instead of a simple adjective, is emphatic in its nature. The participial meaning is brought into prominence “on us who are believing,” on us in the act or condition of exercising faith. Nor is the objection of de Wette more consistent. It is illogical, he affirms, to speak of applying a norm or scale to exceeding greatness. But the apostle does not use a scale to mete out and measure the exceeding greatness of God's power, he merely presents a striking example to enable us to know something of its mode of operation. The sacred writer illustrates his meaning by the presentation of a fact, and that meaning will be best brought out after we have examined the phraseology. For God puts forth that power-
κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ “according to the working of the force of His might.” To suppose that the apostle used these three terms without distinction, and for no other purpose than to give intensity of idea by the mere accumulation of synonyms, would indeed be a slovenly exegesis. Nor is it better to reduce the phrase to a Hebraism, connecting τοῦ κράτους , as Peile proposes, with ἐνέργειαν , as if it were equivalent to τὴν κρατοῦσαν ; or, on the other hand, resolving it either into κράτος ἰσχυρόν , or ἰσχὺς κρατερά , as is recommended by Koppe and the lexicographers Bretschneider, Robinson, and Wahl. ᾿Ισχύς , connected with ἴσχω , another form of ἔχω , is-power in possession, ability, or latent power, strength which one has, but which he may or may not put forth. Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; 2 Peter 2:11. Κράτος , from κράς , the head, is that power excited into action - might. Luke 1:51; Acts 19:20; Hebrews 2:14. ᾿Ισχύς , viewed or evinced in relation to result, is κράτος . Hence it is used with the verb ποιεῖν . The words occur together, Ephesians 6:10; Isaiah 40:26; Daniel 4:27; Sophocles, Phil. 594. ᾿Ενέργεια , as its composition implies, is power in actual operation. ᾿Ισχύς , to take a familiar illustration, is the power lodged in the arm, κράτος is that arm stretched out or uplifted with conscious aim, while ἐνέργεια is the same arm at actual work, accomplishing the designed result. Calvin compares them thus: ἰσχύς - radix; κράτος - arbor; ἐνέργεια - fructus. The connection of words similarly allied is not uncommon. Lobeck, Paralipomena, Diss. viii. § 13, p. 534 The language is meant to exalt our ideas of Divine power. That might exercised upon believers is not only great, but exceeding great, and therefore the apostle pauses to describe it slowly and analytically; first in actual operation- ἐνέργεια ; then he looks beyond that working and sees the motive power- κράτος ; and still beneath this he discerns the original unexhausted might- ἰσχύς . The use of so many terms arises from a desire to survey the power of God in all its phases; for the spectacle is so magnificent, that the apostle lingers to admire and contemplate it. Epithet is not heaped on epithet at random, but for a specific object. The mental emotion of the writer is anxious to embody itself in words, and, after all its efforts, it laments the poverty of exhausted language. The apostle now specifies one mode of operation-
(Ephesians 1:20.) ῝Ην ἐνήργησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ , ἐγείρας αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν “Which He wrought in Christ, having raised Him from the dead”-in Christ our Head and Representative, ἐν denoting the substratum, or ground, or range, as Winer calls it, on or in which the action takes effect, § 48, a, 3. The use of a verb with its correlate noun has been noticed already, chap. Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:6. In such cases there is some intensification of meaning. Bernhardy, p. 106. The participle is contemporaneous with the verb. That manifestation of power is now described in its results, to wit, in the resurrection and glorification of Christ. He raised Him from the dead. It was the work of the Father-having sent His Son, and having received the atonement from Him-to demonstrate its perfection, and His own acceptance of it, by calling Jesus from the grave.
In the meantime, we may briefly illustrate this third section of the apostle's prayer “that ye may know the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of the might of His power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead.” Our general view has been already indicated. The specimen and pledge of that power displayed in quickening us, is Christ's resurrection. Now, 1. It is transcendent power - ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος . The body of Jesus was not only lifeless, but its organization had been partially destroyed. The spear had pierced the pericardium, and blood and water-blood fast resolving itself into serum and crassamentum, issued immediately from the gash. To restore the organization and to give life, not as the result of convalescence, but immediate and perfect life, was a sublime act of omnipotence. To vivify a dead heart is not less wonderful, and the life originally given is the life restored. But created effort is unequal to the enterprise. The vision of Ezekiel is on this point full of meaning. The valley lay before the mind's eye of the prophet, full of bones, dry and bleached, not only without muscle and integument, but the very form of the skeleton had disappeared. Its vertebrae and limbs had been separated, and the mass was lying in confusion. The seer uttered the oracle of life, and at once there was a shaking-the various pieces and organs came together - “bone to his bone.” The osseous framework was restored in its integrity, nay, sinew and flesh came upon it, and “the skin covered them above.” But there was no breath in them. The organization was complete, but the vital power-the direct gift of God-was absent. The prophet invoked the “breath of Jehovah.” It descended and enveloped the host, and at the first throb of their heart they started to their feet, “an exceeding great army.& rd quo; The restoration of spiritual life to the dead soul results immediately from the working of the might of His power. Conviction, impression, penitence, and reformation, may be to some extent produced by human prophesying; but life comes as God's own gift-a Divine operation of the power of His might, analogous to the act of our Lord's resurrection.
2. It is power already experienced by believers-power- εἰς “to us-ward.” They had felt it in prior time. It is not some mighty influence to be enjoyed by them in some future scene of being, or, as Chandler and others suppose, at the resurrection. “You did He quicken,” raise up, and enthrone with Christ.
3. It is resurrectionary power-power displayed in restoring life, for it has its glorious prototype in the resurrection of Jesus. Divine power restored physical life to Jesus, and that same power restored spiritual life to those who “were dead in trespasses and sins.” The context shows plainly that this is the meaning of the reference, for the subject is resumed at Ephesians 1:5 of the succeeding chapter. There was spiritual life once in man-in his great progenitor; but it left him and he died; and the great purpose of the gospel is to unite him to God, and to give back to him, through union with “Christ our life,” this life which he originally enjoyed. See chap. Ephesians 2:5-49.2.6.
4. The resurrection of Jesus is in this respect not merely a specimen or illustration-it is also a pledge. Some regard it as a mere comparison. Morus defines κατά merely- simili modo. Koppe says the power in us is non minor “not less” than that in Christ; and Grotius looks upon it as a proof of God's ability- quod factum apparet, id iterum fieri potest. Chrysostom, on the first verse of the next chapter, says- ὅτι τοῦ νεκροὺς ἀνιστᾷν τὸ ψυχὴν νενεκρωμένην ἰάσασθαι πολλῷ μεῖζόν ἐστι “to heal a dead soul is a far greater thing than to raise the dead.” But when God raised His Son-the representative of redeemed humanity-the deed itself was not only an illustration of the mode, but also a pledge of the fact, that all His constituents should be quickened, and should have this higher life restored to them. For the man Jesus died, that men who were dead might live, and the revivification of His dead body was at once a proof that the enterprise had been accomplished, and a pledge that all united to Him should live in spirit, and live at length like Himself in an entire and glorified humanity. The nobler life of soul, and the reunion of that quickened spirit with a spiritualized body, are covenanted blessings. Olshausen makes the general resurrection of believers from the dead the prinicipal reference of the passage. But this, as we have seen, is a mistaken view. Still, as this new life cannot be fully matured in the present body, for its powers are cramped and its enjoyments curtailed, so it follows that a frame suited to it will be prepared for it, in which all its faculties and susceptibilities will be completely and for ever developed and perfected. Present spiritual life and future resurrection are therefore both involved. He raised Him-
καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις “and He set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.” Lachmann reads καθίσας , after A, B, and some other MSS., but the common reading is the best sustained, and the other has the plausibility of an emendation, like the reading ἐνήργηκεν in the previous clause. This recurrence to the aorist forms, therefore, an anacolouthon or inconsequent construction. These anacoloutha only occur when the mind, in its fervour and hurry, overlooks the formal nexus of grammatical arrangement, or when the writer wishes to lay emphasis on special ideas or turns of thought. Winer, § 63, 2, b. The transition is sometimes marked by δέ . In similar cases it appears as if the writer wished to indicate a change in the train of illustration, his immediate purpose being served. John 5:44 - λαμβάνοντες - καὶ οὐ ζητεῖτε ; 2 John 1:2 - τὴν μένουσαν - καὶ ἔσται . So in the present passage. The sense is complete- ἐγείρας αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ; the principal, essential, and prominent idea illustrative of Divine power is brought out. But, changing the construction as if to indicate this, the apostle adds, not καὶ καθίσας , but ἐκάθισεν -his mind fondly carrying out the associated truths. The chief object of the apostle is to show the nature of that power which God has exercised upon believers. It is power which operates after the model of that which He wrought in Christ. Power was manifested in Christ's resurrection, visibly and impressively, but not in the same form in His glorification. Might is seen in the one and honour in the other. In the sixth verse of the following chapter the principal thought is that of revivification or spiritual resurrection, though the other idea of glorification is also annexed; but it is still a minor idea, for though we are spiritually br ought into a new life as really as Christ was physically quickened, yet we are not ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις , in the very same sense as Christ personally is, but only as being in Him-members of the body of which He is the ever-living and glorified Head.
The verb ἐκάθισεν has a hiphil signification, and like some other verbs of pregnant meaning, seems here as if to contain its object in itself. It is not therefore followed by a formal accusative. So the corresponding Hebrew verb, לְהוֹשִׁיבַ , wants the personal pronoun as its accusative in 1 Samuel 2:8.
ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ “at His own right hand.” Mark 16:19 Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2. The language refers us to Psalms 110:0.
ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις . The phrase has been explained under Ephesians 1:3. Lachmann reads- ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς , without any eminent authority. We cannot say with Matthies, and Hunnius quoted and approved by Harless, that the expression has a special reference to things and not to places, and denotes the status coelestis. For the idea of place does not necessarily imply local and limited conceptions of the Divine essence. Our Master taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven.” The distressed mind instinctively looks upward to the throne of God. The phrase τὰ ἐπουράνια does not signify heaven in its special and ordinary sense, but the heavenly provinces. In the highest province Jesus is at the right hand of God, and in the lowest province of the same region the church is located, as we have seen under Ephesians 1:3, and shall see again under Ephesians 2:5-49.2.6.
Jesus was not only raised from the dead, but placed at the Father's “right hand.” Three ideas, at least, are included in the formula, as explained in Scripture. 1. It is the place of honour. Jesus is above all created dignities, whatever their position and rank. Ephesians 1:21.
2. It is the place of power. He sits “on the right hand of power.” Matthew 26:64. “All things are under His feet.” He wields a sceptre of universal sovereignty. Ephesians 1:22.
3. It is the place of happiness-happiness possessed, and happiness communicated. “At Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalms 16:11. The crowned Jesus possesses all the joy which was once set before Him. But His humanity, though glorified, is not deified-is not endowed with any of the essential attributes of divinity. Whatever the other results of the ἕνωσις καθ᾿ ὑπόστασιν , or the communicatio idiomatum, may be, we believe that the inferior nature of Jesus remains a distinct, perfect, and unmixed humanity. The Θεάνθρωπος is in heaven, was seen in heaven, “from whence we look for Him,” and the saints are to be caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Augustine says well ( Ep. 57)- Cavendum est, ne ita divinitatem adstruamus hominis, ut veritatem corporis auferamus.
(Ephesians 1:21.) ῾Υπεράνω πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ κυριότητος “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and lordship.” The clauses to the end of the chapter explain and illustrate, as we have now hinted, the session at the right hand of God. These various appellations are used as the abstract for the concrete, as if for sweeping significance. The highest position in creation is yet beneath Christ. Some of the beings that occupy those stations have specific and appropriate names, but not only above these, but above every conceivable office and being, Jesus is immeasurably exalted. There is no exception; He has no equal and no superior, not simply among those with whose titles we are so far acquainted, but in the wide universe there is no name so high as His, and among all its spheres, there is no renown that matches His. These principalities stand around and beneath the throne, but Jesus sits at its right hand. It is a strange whim of Schoettgen, on the one hand, to refer these names to the Jewish hierarchy, and of van Til, on the other hand, to regard them as descriptive of heathen dignities.
To attempt to define these terms would serve little purpose, and those definitions given by the pseudo-Dionysius, and others even of the more sober and intelligent Greek fathers, are but truisms. For example: ἀρχαί are defined by Dionysius- ὡς ἐκείνην τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀναφαίνουσαι ; δυνάμεις are pronounced by Theodoret- ὡς πληροῦν τὰ κελευόμενα δυνάμενοι ; and the κυριότητες are stated by Phavorinus to be- δυνάμεις ἅγιαι λειτουργικαὶ κυρίου . The first two of these four terms are used of human magistracy, Titus 3:1; in this epistle, of the hostile powers of darkness, Ephesians 6:12; of the celestial hierarchy, in Ephesians 3:10; and they are spoken of as distinct from angels, in Romans 8:38, and 1 Peter 3:22. Jesus is described as at the right hand of the Father- ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις , and perhaps the beings referred to under these four designations are the loftiest and most dignified in heaven. To restrict the word solely to angels, with Meyer, or good angels, with Ellicott, might be too narrow; and it would be too vague, with Erasmus, Zachariae, Rosenmüller, and Olshausen, to refer it to any kind of dignity or honour. These dignities and honours are at least heavenly in their position, and belong, though perhaps not exclusively, to the creatures who, from their office, are termed angels. To say that He who is at the right hand is raised above human dignitaries, would be pointless and meaningless; and to affirm that He occupies a station superior to any on which a fiend may sit in lurid majesty, would not be a fitting illustration of His exalted merit and proportionate reward. Yet both are really included. Human princedoms and hellish potentates must hold a position beneath the powers and principalities of heaven, above which the Son of God is so loftily exalted.
What the distinction of the words among themselves is, and what degrees of celestial heraldry they describe, it is impossible for us to define. We are obliged to say, with Chrysostom, that the names are to us ἄσημα καὶ οὐ γνωριζόμενα ; and, with Augustine- dicant, qui possunt, si tamen possunt probare quod dicunt; ego me ista ignorare confiteor. Hofmann denies that the words indicate any gradations of angelic rank, but only indicate the manifoldness of which their relation to God and to the world is capable. This may be true so far, but the relation so held may indicate of itself the rank of him who holds it. Schriftb. vol. i. p. 347. The four terms form neither climax nor anticlimax; the two first of them here are the two last in Colossians 1:16, and the last term here, κυριότητες , stands second in the twin epistle. The first and last have special reference to government, princedom, or lordship, and the intervening two may refer more to prerogative and command. And they may be thus connected: Whoever possesses the ἀρχή enjoys and displays ἐξουσία ; and whoever is invested with the δύναμις , wields it in his appointed κυριότης . Speculations on the angelic world, its number, rank, and gradations, were frequent in the earlier centuries. Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus set the example, but the pseudo-Dionysius mustered the whole angelic band under his review, and arranged them in trinary divisions:-
I. Θρόνοι , Χερουβίμ , Σεραφίμ .
II. Κυριότητες , ᾿Εξουσίαι , Δυνάμεις .
III. ᾿Αρχαί , ᾿Αρχάγγελοι , ῎Αγγελοι .
The Jewish theology also held that there were different ranks of angels, and amused itself with many fantastic reveries as to their power and position. All that we know is, that there is foundation for the main idea-that there is no dull and sating uniformity among the inhabitants of heaven-that order and freedom are not inconsistent with gradation of rank-that there are glory and a higher glory-power and a nobler power-rank and a loftier rank, to be witnessed in the mighty scale. As there are orbs of dazzling radiance amidst the paler and humbler stars of the sky, so there are bright and majestic chieftains among the hosts of God, nearer God in position, and liker God in majesty, possessing and reflecting more of the Divine splendour, than their lustrous brethren around them. But above all Jesus is enthroned-the highest position in the universe is His. The seraph who adores and burns nearest the eternal throne is only proximus Huic -
“ Longo sed proximus intervallo. ”
ὑπεράνω “over above;” not reigning over, as Bengel has it, but simply in a position high above them. The majority of cases where the word is used in the Septuagint would seem to show that it may intensify the idea of the simple ἄνω . We cannot agree with Ellicott's denial of this. It is true that compounds are numerous in Alexandrian Greek, and cease from use to have all their force; yet in the Septuagint the passages referred to and others, from the spirit of them or the suggested contrast to the position of the observer, point to a full sense of the compound term. Deuteronomy 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:1; Ezekiel 1:25; Ezekiel 10:19; Ezekiel 11:22.
The second clause expands and rivets the idea of the first, and corresponds, as Stier well remarks, to the οὔτε τις κτίσις ἑτέρα , in Romans 8:39. For the apostle subjoins-
καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένου “and every name that is named.” Καί introduces a final and comprehensive assertion, “and in a word” (Ellicott)- et omnino. Fritzsche on Matt., p. 786. Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Meier, and Bloomfield, take ὄνομα here as a name or title of honour, referring to Philippians 2:9; John 12:28; Act 4:12 ; 2 Timothy 2:19; and to the verb in Romans 15:20. To this we see no great objection, especially in such a context. But as the following participle has its usual meaning, ὄνομα may be taken in its common signification-an exegesis certainly preferable to that of Morus, Harless, and Rückert, who qualify it by its position, and make it denote every name of such a kind as those just rehearsed. To show the height of Christ's exaltation, the apostle affirms that He sits above all
“Thrones, dominations, princedoms, kingdoms, powers;”
but to enlarge the sweep of his statement he now adds-and also above every name of being or of rank that the universe contains. Bodius, Meyer, and de Wette say- πᾶν ὄνομα is simply for πᾶν ; Beza renders- quicquid existit. OEcumenius makes it equivalent to πᾶν ῥητὸν καὶ ὀνομαστόν -which is preferable.
οὐ μόνον ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ , ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι “not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” This clause does not belong to the preceding ἐκάθισεν , as Calvin, Beza, Bodius, Koppe, Holzhausen, Küttner, and Burton suppose; for they regard it as expressing the permanency of Christ's dominion. The intervening sentences show that this exegesis is unfounded, and that the words must be construed with ὀνομαζομένου “every name named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” What, then, is meant by αἰὼν οὗτος and αἰὼν μέλλων ? The phrase cannot have its Jewish acceptation-the period before Messiah and the period of Messiah, as Cocceius and others hold. The. plain meaning is-the present life and the life to come, with the attached idea of the region where each life is respectively spent-earth and heaven, but without any marked ethical reference. “The future,” as Olshausen remarks, “is in the phrase opposed to the present.” Over all the beings we can name now, or shall ever be able to name, Jesus is exalted-over all that God has brought, or will bring, into existence. Whether, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Bengel suppose from this verse, we shall have our knowledge of the celestial powers extended, is a question which it does not directly solve. Lest, however, there should be any imagined exception to Christ's supremacy, or any possible limitation of it-any power or principality anywhere left uncompared or out of view, the apostle says, Jesus is exalted not only above such of them as men now and on earth are in the habit of familiarly naming, but also above every name of existence or rank in every sphere and section of the universe. Nihil est, says Ca lvin, tam sublime aut excellens quocunque nomine censeatur, quod non subjectum sit Christi majestati. There seems to be no immediate polemical reference in this extraordinary paragraph. Not only is there exaltation, but there is also authority-
(Ephesians 1:22.) Καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ “And put all things under His feet.” The allusion is clearly to the language of the 8th Psalm. In the 110th Psalm the enemies of Messiah are specially referred to, and their subjugation is pictured out by their being declared to be His footstool. The allusion is not, however, in this clause, to enemies defeated and humbled, as Grotius, Rosenmüller, Holzhausen, and Olshausen, to some extent, suppose. The apostle is describing the authority of the Saviour by this peculiar figure. It is no repetition of the idea in the preceding verse. That exhibits His honour, but this proclaims His imperial prerogative. Hebrews 2:8. The πάντα not only contains what has been specified, but leaves nothing excluded. The brow once crowned with thorns now wears the diadem of universal sovereignty; and that hand, once nailed to the cross, now holds in it the sceptre of unlimited dominion. He who lay in the tomb has ascended the throne of unbounded empire. Jesus, the brother-man, is Lord of all: He has had all things put under His feet-the true apotheosis of humanity. This quotation from the Psalms Theodoret names τὴν προφητικὴν μαρτυρίαν , for this old Hebrew ode plainly refers to man's original dignity and supremacy - to the race viewed in unfallen Adam (Genesis 1:26-1.1.28); but it also, as interpreted in Hebrews 2:6-58.2.7, as plainly refers to the Second Adam, or to humanity restored and elevated in Him-in Christ as its Representative and Crown.
καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκε κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ “and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church.” There is no reason for changing the ordinary meaning of ἔδωκε , and rendering it “appointed”- ἔθηκε -as is suggested by Calvin, Beza, Harless, Meier, and Olshausen. In chap. Ephesians 4:11 we have the same verb. His occupancy of this exalted position is a Divine benefaction to the church; His appointment is the result of love, which gives with wise and willing generosity. Nay more, and with emphasis- καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκε “and Him He gave.” The natural meaning of ἔδωκε is thus sustained by the prefixing of the pronoun, and it governs the dative, ἐκκλησίᾳ , after it. This repetition of the pronoun intensifies the idea, and its position in this clause is emphatic “and Him, so exalted and invested, so rich in glory and power-even Him and none other, has He given as Head.”
The most difficult phrase is κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα . The Vulgate merely evades the difficulty by its translation- supra omnem ecclesiam. The Syriac rendering is preferable: “Him who is over all hath He given to be Head,” transposing the order of the words, a rendering followed by Chrysostom- τὸν ὄντα ὑπὲρ πάντα Χριστόν ; and the same idea is adopted by Erasmus, Camerarius, Estius, and a-Lapide. The position of the words shows that ὑπὲρ πάντα qualifies κεφαλήν . But in what sense? Not-
1. In the vague sense of “special.” ᾿Επὶ πᾶσι -in “preference to all,” as it is explained by Bodius and Baumgarten. Bodius thus paraphrases- Super omnia, nempe caetera superius enumerata, hoc est, prae aliis omnibus creaturis. Nor-
2. In the general sense of “Supreme Head,” as is advocated by Beza, Rückert, Meier, Baumgarten-Crusius, Olshausen, Conybeare, Bisping, and de Wette. This exegesis gives ὑπέρ the sense of “above,” as the highest head is the Head above all other heads. Koppe resolves it by ὑπερέχουσα πάντων “overtopping all;” but no comparison of this nature seems to be in the apostle's mind. Olshausen says, the apostles and prophets were also in a certain sense heads of the church, while Christ was- κεφαλὴ ὑπὲρ πάντα . But the πάντα has no such implied contrast in itself, and it naturally turns our attention to the previous verses, where the principalities and powers are not only pronounced to be inferior to Christ, but are affirmed to be under His special jurisdiction.
3. The words may mean “He gave Him as Head over all things to the church,” or “He gave Him who is Head over all things to be Head to the church.” The former of these renderings is expressed by Harless, Alford, and Ellicott in his second edition, the latter by Stier and Meyer. The difference is not very material. Meyer supposes that by a figure of speech called Brachyology, a second κεφαλή is understood. Matthiae, § 634; Kühner, § 852; Jelf, § 893. But there is no need of this shift-and the first exegesis is preferable (Madvig, § 24, a); the noun being a species of what Donaldson calls “tertiary predicates”-§ 489. New Cratylus, § 302. Christ is already declared by the apostle to be above all in position and power, ὑπὲρ πάντα ; but besides, He is by the Father's gift κεφαλή to the church. The πάντα are not connected with Him as their κεφαλή , their relation to Him being merely denoted by ὑπέρ ; but the church claims Him as its Head, yea, claims as its Head Him who is over all. Were the ὑπέρ to be taken in the active sense of superintendence, the genitive would be employed, as Harless intimates; but it denotes here, above or beyond all in honour and prerogative, for ὑπέρ in the New Testament with the accusative, has always this tropical meaning. Matthew 10:24; Luke 16:8; Acts 26:13; Philippians 2:9; Philemon 1:16. The signification, therefore, is-This glorious Being, above all angelic essences, and having the universe at His feet, is, by Divine generosity, Head to the church, for the πάντα refers not to members of the church, as Jerome and Wahl argue and as Harless favours, but to things beyond the church, being equivalent to πάντα in the preceding clauses; nor is the word to be restricted to good angels, as Theophylact and OEcumenius seem to suppose.
The noun ἐκκλησία is the name of the holy and believing community under the New Testament. Its meaning is obvious-the one company- קָהָל , H7736, who have been called or summoned together to salvation. The church here spoken of is specially the church on earth, which stands in need of protection, though the church in heaven be equally related to Jesus, and equally enjoy the blessings of His Headship. Jerome, Nösselt, Koppe, and Rosenmüller extend it to all good beings-an extension not warranted by the name or the context. The dative is not, as de Wette takes it, a dativus commodi, nor is it connected with the κεφαλήν immediately preceding as its complement, but it belongs naturally to the verb ἔδωκεν . The relation of Christ to the church is not that of austere government, or lofty and distant patronage. He is not to it merely ὑπὲρ πάντα -a glorious being to contemplate and worship, but He is its Head, in a near, tender, necessary, and indissoluble relation. And that Head is at the same time “Head over all.” His intelligence, His love, and His power, therefore, secure to the church that the πάντα will “work together for good.” Under His “over all” Headship, everything that happens benefits His people - discoveries in science, inventions in art, and revolutions in government-all that is prosperous and all that is adverse. The history of the church is a proof extending through eighteen centuries; a proof so often tested, and by such opposite processes, as to gather irresistible strength with its age; a proof varied, ramified, prolonged, and unique, that the exalted Jesus is Head over all things to the church. And the idea contained in this appellation is carried out to its correlative complement in the following verse, and in these remarkable words-
(Ephesians 1:23.) ῞Ητις ἐστὶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ “which indeed is His body.” ῞Ητις - welche ja, as it is rendered by de Wette. Kühner, § 781, 4, 5. Of this meaning of ὅστις there are many examples in the New Testament, though it has also other significations. “Head over all things to the church, which in truth is His body.” The mode of expression is not uncommon. Chap. Ephesians 2:16, Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16, Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:30; 1 Corinthians 12:15; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15, etc. Head and body are correlative, and are organically connected. The body is no dull lump of clay, no loose coherence of hostile particles; but bone, nerve, and vessel give it distinctive form, proportion, and adaptation. The church is not a fortuitous collection of believers, but a society, shaped, prepared, and life-endowed, to correspond to its Head. The Head is one, and though the corporeal members are many, yet all is marked out and “curiously wrought” with symmetry and grace to serve the one design; there being organization, and not merely juxtaposition. There is first a connection of life: if the head be dissevered, the body dies. The life of the church springs from its union to Christ by the Spirit, and if any member or community be separated from Christ, it dies. There is also a connection of mind: the purposes of the head are wrought out by the corporeal organs-the tongue that speaks, or the foot that moves. The church should have no purpose but Christ's glory, and no work but the performance of His commands. There is at the same time a connection of power: the organs have no faculty of self-motion, but move as they are directed by the governing principle within. The corpse lies stiff and motionless. Energy to do good, to move forward in spiritual contest and victory, and to exhibit aggressive influence against evil, is all derived from union with Christ. There is, in fine, a connection of sympathy. T he pain or disorder of the smallest nerve or fibre vibrates to the Head, and there it is felt. Jesus has not only cognizance of us, but He has a fellow-feeling with us in all our infirmities and trials. And the members of the body are at the same time reciprocally connected, and placed in living affinity, so that mutual sympathy, unity of action, co-operation, and support are anticipated and provided for. No organ is superfluous, and none can defy or challenge its fellow. Similar fulness and adjustment reign in the church. See under Ephesians 4:15-49.4.16. Not only is the church His body, but also-
τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι πληρουμένου “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”
1. The term πλήρωμα is in apposition to σῶμα , and is not governed by ἔδωκε , as is the strange view of Homberg, Castalio, and Erasmus, who says- τὸ πλήρωμα videtur accusandi casu legendum, ut referatur ad Christum. Meier holds a similar view, making the words ἥτις ἐστὶ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ a parenthesis, and supposing that πλήρωμα stands in apposition to αὐτόν . This arrangement not only does violence to the natural and obvious syntax, but, as Olshausen well observes, God cannot make Christ to be the πλήρωμα , for Christ possesses the fulness of the Godhead, not through an act of the Father's will, but by the necessity of His nature. Bengel regards πλήρωμα as neither referring to the church, nor as governed by ἔδωκε . It stands, in his opinion, as a species of accusative absolute, like μαρτύριον in 1 Timothy 2:6, and forms an epiphonema-a quod erat demonstrandum. The violence resorted to in such an exegesis is not less objectionable than that seen in the opposite opinion of Storr, who imagines that it signifies that “which is in God abundantly,” and that it is employed as a species of nominative in apposition to ὁ Θεὸς πλούσιος , Ephesians 2:4.
2. Many understand the noun in the general sense of multitude- copia, coetus numerosus, making πλήρωμα equivalent to πλῆθος . Such is the view which Storr calls probable, and it is that of Wetstein, Koppe, Küttner, Wahl, and even Fritzsche. Hesychius and Phavorinus define πλήρωμα by πλῆθος , and Schoettgen renders, Multitudo cui Christus praeest. This notion is plainly unwarranted by the philology of the term. Πλῆθος has always a reference to abundance, but such an idea is only secondary in πλήρωμα -fulness being merely a relative term, in application either to a basket (Mark 8:20), or to the globe (Psalms 24:1), and its quantity is determined by the subject. What meaning in such a case would be borne by the homogeneous πληρουμένου ? Besides, the idea of unity in σῶμα would ill correspond with that of multiplicity given to πλήρωμα . Cameron and Bos render πλήρωμα “the full body,” plenitudo illa quae est in corpore -a meaning which the simple word cannot bear, and which is borrowed from Ephesians 4:16, where other terms are joined with the substantives.
3. Some refer the use of the term to the familiar employment of the שְׁכִינָה -the divine glory, or visible manifestation of God, which some, such as Harless, identify with πλήρωμα . But the church cannot stand in such a relation to God-the Shechinah is the highest personal manifestation of His own infinite fulness, the glory of which is reflected by the church, as shone the face of Moses when even a few straggling rays of the divine radiance fell upon it.
4. Allied to this last view is the more general one of those who regard the πλήρωμα in the light of a temple in which the glory of God resides, and who refer it in this sense to the church. Michaelis and Bretschneider espouse this notion, the latter of whom paraphrases πλήρωμα - quasi templum, in quo habitat, quod occupat et regit, ut anima corpus. The idea of Harless, found originally in Hackspann, is very similar. “As,” says he, “the apostle employs the same term to denote the church, which he uses to represent the richness of that glory which dwells in God and Christ, and emanates from them, so the church may be called ‘the fulness of Christ,’ not because it is the glory which dwells in Him, but because it is the glory which He makes to dwell in her as in everything else. It is the glory not of One, who without it suffers want, but of One who fills all- das All -in all places-‘The whole earth is full of His glory.’ In fact, ‘the church’ is the glory of Christ, because He is united to it alone as the head with its body.” This is also the view of von Gerlach: “the church is His fulness- seine Herrlichkeit, that is, His glory. All His Divine perfections are manifest in it. It is His visible appearance upon the earth.” This exegesis, however, gives the word a peculiar conventional meaning, not warranted by its derivation, but drawn from expressions in Colossians which have no affinity with the place under review; and such a sense, moreover, is so recondite and technical, that we can scarce suppose the apostle to give it to the word without previous warning or peculiar hint and allusion. No traces of hostility to Gnosticism and its technical κένωμα and πλήρωμα are found in the context, and there is no ground for such a conjecture on the part of Trollope, Burton, and Conybeare. The fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ- σωματικῶς , says the apostle in a letter which formally opposes a false philosophy. Colossians 2:9. Here he says, on the other hand, the church is Christ's body, His fulness. Passing by those forms of interpretation which are not supported either by analogy or by the nature of the context, we proceed to such as have higher ground of probability.
The grammatical theory in the case of verbal nouns is, that those ending in μός embody the intransitive notion of the verb, while those in σις have an active, and those in μα have a passive sense, or express the result of the transitive idea contained in the verb. Kühner, § 370. The theory, however, is often modified by usage. According to it-and in this case it is verified by many examples- πλήρωμα will be equivalent to τὸ πεπληρωμένον -the thing filled, just as πρᾶγμα is τὸ πεπραγμένον -the thing done; or the word may be taken in an abstract sense, as κλάσμα -not the thing broken, but the fragment itself. Thus the meaning may pass to that by which the effect is produced, and this is virtually the so-called active sense of such nouns; not, as Alford observes, “an active sense properly at all, but a logical transference from the effect to that which exemplifies the effect.” In fact, those aspects of active and passive meanings depend on the view assumed-whether one thinks first of the container, and then of the contained, or the reverse. Thus, Psalms 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26, ἡ γῆ καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς “the earth and its fulness.” So the noun is used of the inhabitants of a city, as its complement of population; of the manning of a ship; the armed crew in the Trojan horse; and the animals in Noah's ark. In such examples the idea is scarcely that of complement, but rather the city, ark, and ship are represented as in a state of fulness. What they contain is not regarded as filling them up- πλήρωσις , but they are looked upon simply as being already filled up.
The great question has been, whether πλήρωμα has an active or a passive sense. Critics are divided. Harless affirms, with Bähr, that the word is used only in an active sense, while Baumgarten-Crusius as stoutly maintains on the other side, that the noun occurs with only a passive signification. The truth seems to lie between the two extremes. The word sometimes occurs in the so-called active sense, denoting that which fills up (Matthew 9:16), where πλήρωμα is equivalent to ἐπίβλημα -the piece of new cloth designed to fill up the rent. Mark 2:21. But it is often used in a passive sense to denote fulness-the state of fulness: Mark 8:20, Πόσων σπυρίδων πληρώματα “the fulnesses of how many baskets” “how many filled baskets of fragments?” So Romans 13:10, πλήρωμα νόμου “fulfilment or full obedience of the law.” The idea of amplitude is sometimes involved, as Romans 15:29, ἐν πληρώματι εὐλογίας “in the fulness of the blessing;” and in Romans 11:25, πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν “the fulness of the Gentiles,” where it is opposed to ἀπὸ μέρους , and in the 12th verse is contrasted with ἥττημα . As applied to time (Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10), it signifies that the time prior to the appointed epoch is regarded as filled up, and therefore full. See under Ephesians 1:10.
1. An active signification, however, is preferred by Chrysostom, OEcumenius, Ambrosiaster, Theophylact, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Calvin, Beza, Rollock, Zanchius, Hammond, Crocius, Zegerus, Calovius, Estius, Bodius, Passavant, Richter, von Gerlach, Bisping, and Hofmann. The words of Chrysostom are “The head is in a manner filled up by the body, because the body is composed of all its parts, and needs every one of them. It is by all indeed that His body is filled up. Then the head is filled up, then is the body made perfect, where we all together are knit to one another and united.” The notion involved in this exegesis, which is also beautifully illustrated by Du Bosc in his French sermons on this epistle, is the following: The church is His body; without that body the head feels itself incomplete-the body is its complement. The idea is a striking, but a fallacious one. It is not in accordance with the prevailing usage of πλήρωμα in the New Testament, and it stretches th e figure to an undue extent. Besides, where πλήρωμα has such an active sense, it is followed by the genitive of what it fills up, as πληρώματα κλασμάτων . How, then, would it read here-the filling up of Him who fills all in all? But if He fill all in all already, what addition can be made to this infinitude? Or, if the participle be passive-the filling up of Him who is filled as to all in all; then, if He be already filled, no other supplement is required. We are not warranted to use language as to the person of Christ, as if either absolute or relative imperfection marked it. According to this hypothesis also, that mystical body will be gradually growing, and will not be complete until the second coming. Moreover, in other parts of the New Testament, the word, when used in a religious sense, expresses not any fulness which passes from us to Christ, but, as we shall see in the next paragraph, that fulness which passes from Christ to us. We need scarcely allude to the view of Rückert, that πλήρωμα is the means by which the πληροῦν is to be realized, or by which Christ fulfils all things-the means of His fulfilling the great destiny which has devolved upon Him of restoring the world to God. But τὰ πάντα cannot be restricted to the Divine plan of that redemption, which the church is Christ's means of working out, neither can πλήρωμα signify means of fulfilment, nor does the verse contain any hint of universal restoration. Bitterly does Stier say, “We venture to wish in truth and in love, that such an interpreter might learn to read the writing ere he interpret it.”
2. The word, we apprehend, is rightly taken in a passive sense-that which is filled up. This is the view of Theodoret, Cocceius, Grotius, Röell, Wolf, Flatt, Cramer, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Matthies, de Wette, Meyer, Holzhausen, Stier, Alford, and Ellicott. This exegesis is certainly more in unison with the formation, and general use of the term in the New Testament, and with the present context. So πλήρωμα is employed, Lucian, Rerum Hist. 2.37, ᾿Απὸ δύο πληρωμάτων ἐμάχοντο -they fought from two filled vessels; and so, 38- πέντε γὰρ εἶχον πληρώματα -the ship being named πλήρωμα from its full equipment. So the church is named πλήρωμα , or fulness, because it holds or contains the fulness of Christ. It is the filled-up receptacle of spiritual blessing, from Him, and thus it is His πλήρωμα , for He ascended- ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα . Again, Colossians 2:10 - καί ἐστε ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι “in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are filled,”-ye have become His πλήρωμα or fulness. John 1:16 “Of His fulness have all we received, and so we become His fulness.” Believers are filled with all the fulness of God-that fulness which dwells in Him, Ephesians 3:19.
The τοῦ which follows πλήρωμα I refer to Jesus; not to God, as do Theodoret, Koppe, Winer, Wetstein, Meier, Alford, Turner, and Stier. It is Jesus, the Head, who is spoken of; the church is His body, and the next clause stands in apposition “which is also His fulness”-
τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου . Τά is not found in the Textus Receptus, but on the testimony of A, B, D, E, F, G, J, K-the majority of minuscules, etc., and the Greek fathers, it is rightly received into the text. Many take πληρουμένου as a passive, such as Chrysostom, Jerome, Anselm, Wetstein, Winer, and Holzhausen. So the Vulgate reads adimpletur. Estius has a similar explanation, and also Bisping, who finds it a proof-text for the dogma of the merit of the saints. The exegesis of these critics almost necessitated such a view of the participle. The idea of Beza, adopted by Dickson, is better, viz., that the phrase is added to show that Jesus does not stand in need of this supplement- ut qui efficiat omnia in omnibus reverâ. If the participle be taken as a passive form, the words τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσι present a solecistic difficulty, and we are therefore inclined, with the majority of interpreters, to regard the participle as of the middle voice. Winer, § 38, 6. Similar usage occurs in Xenophon, Plato, and Pollux. The force of the middle voice is “who fills for himself,” all in all. The Gothic version has usfulljandins “filling;” and the Syriac also has the active. Holzhausen capriciously makes the phrase equivalent to das Ewige -the Eternal, that is, Christ carries in Himself the fulness of eternal blessings. Both nouns- πάντα and πᾶσι -seem to be neuter, and are therefore to be taken in their broadest significance “who fills the universe with all blessings.” In Colossians 1:16, τὰ πάντα is used as the appellation of the universe which the Son of God has created. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9. It narrows the sense of the idiom to give πᾶσι a masculine signification, and confine it, with Grotius, Matthies, and Stier, to members of the church-His body; or, with Michaelis, to give it the sense of “in all places;” or, with Harless and de Wette, to translate it “in different ways and forms;” or, with Cramer, to interpret it as meaning, that religious blessings are no longer nationally restricted, but may be enjoyed by all! The preposition is instrumental, Ephesians 5:18. Winer, § 48, a, 3, d. The true meaning is “in all things,” as Fritzsche rightly maintains. Comment. in Romans 11:12. The idiom occurs, 1 Corinthians 15:28; 2Co 11:6 ; 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:9. Macknight, preceded by Whitby, takes πάντα as a masculine “who fills all his members with all blessings.” But why should the adjective dwindle in meaning? Why should τὰ πάντα be less comprehensive here than the repeated indefinite πάντα of the preceding verse? On the one hand the verse speaks nothing for the ubiquity of Christ's body, nor does it bear such a reference to Gnostic philosophy and nomenclature as betokens a post-apostolical origin, as Baur conjectures. Ebrard, Christ. Dogmatik, ii. p. 139; Martensen, ibid. § 176, etc. But see also Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, vol. ii. § 45; Schmid, Die Dogmatik der Evang. Luth. Kirche, §§ 31, 32, 33.
The church, then, is the πλήρωμα -the glorious receptacle of such spiritual blessings. And as these are bestowed in no scanty or shrivelled dimensions-for the church is filled, so loaded and enriched, that it becomes fulness itself-and as that fulness is so vitally connected with its origin, it is lovingly and truly named “the fulness of Christ.” The storehouse, “filled with the finest of the wheat,” is the farmer's fulness. The blessings which constitute this fulness, and warrant such a name to the church-for they fill it to overflowing, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over”-are those detailed in the previous verses of the chapter. “All spiritual blessings,” the Divine purpose realizing itself in perfect holiness; filial character and prerogative; redemption rooting itself in the pardon of sin; grace exhibited richly and without reserve; the sealing and earnest of the Spirit till the inheritance be fully enjoyed-the results of the apostle's prayer-Divine illumination; the knowledge and hope of future blessedness, and of the depth and vastness of that Divine power by which the new life is given and sustained, union to Jesus as the Body with the Head, the source of vitality and protection-all these benefactions, conferred upon the church and enjoyed by it, constitute it a filled church, and being so filled by Christ, it is aptly and emphatically called-HIS FULNESS.
And the exalted goodness of the Mediator is not confined to filling the church. His benign influence extends through the universe- τὰ πάντα , as gathered together in Him. As all ranks of unfallen beings are beneath Him, they receive their means of happiness from Him; and as all things are beneath His feet, they share in the results of His Mediatorial reign. The Head of the church is at the same time Lord of the universe. While He fills the church fully with those blessings which have been won for it and are adapted to it, He also fills the universe with all such gifts as are appropriate to its welfare-gifts which it is now His exalted prerogative to bestow.
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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 1". Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany