« PreviousContinue »
PARAPHRASE and COMMENT
Upon all the
Epistles and Gospels,
Used throughout the Year.
The First Sunday after the Epiphany.
grant that they may both perceive and know what Coloff. i. 9. things they ought to do, and also may have Grace and Power Phil. ii. 13. faithfully to fulfil the same through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hebr. xiii. 216 Amen.
The E PISIL E.
PARAP H RASE,
fice, boly, acceptable unto God, wbich is your ride exceeding great, as the fonable Service.
former p rt of this E
pistle hath thewed (in making all Men capable of Salvation by the Righteousness of Faith, delivering us from the Rigour and Bondage of the Law, and admitting Gentiles, as well as Jews, to be partakers of the Gospel-Covenant) let me conjure you, by this Goodness, to offer and dedicate to God, your Persons, a living (instead of the formerly dead) Sacrifice, a pure, and holy, (as those were without blemith) and acceptable (for its own fake, which those were not.) For This will be an Oblation of rational, as those were of brute and irrational Creatares ; and proceeds upon rational Motives.
2. The manner of do 2. And be not conformed to this World, but be ye ing this, must be by re- transformed, by tbe renewing of your minds, that ye may nouncing the finful Af- prove wbat is tbat good, and acceptable, and perfe&t fections and Customs of Will of God. the Men of this World; and being changed into new Men, by pure and spiritual Affections; that so ye may discern, and delight in, and practise those Precepts of substantial and complete Holinels, enjoined by the Gospel. And in order hereunto,
3. I (by virtue of that 3. For I say, through the Grace given unto me, to Authority reposed in every man that is among you, not to think of himself me, as the Apostle of more bighly than be ougbe to think, but to ibink sobera Christ) do admonith ly, according, as God bath dealt to every man tbe meaeach of you, not to set jure of Faith. too high a Value upon himielf, nor to despise others; but to be content with that Part and Station, which the Providence of God, and the Gifts vouchfated him, have allotted to his share.
4. For, as it is in the 4. For as we have many Members in one Bedy, Natural, fo is it like and all Members bave not ibe Same Office; wise in the Mystical Body.
5. There the Mem 5. So we being many, are one Body in Cbris, and bers are many, but uni- every one Members one of anorber. ted under one Head, and mutually related to each other : Here again, the Persons are many, but all united in Chrift. And, though some be higher and some lower, some more and some less active and honourable ; yet still this difference of Place and Office does not hinder the mutual Relation that there is, and the mutual Help and Utefulness that there ought to be, even between those, that are most diftant, in either of the respects abovementioned.
THE Church, when appointing this Portion of fed Apostle, that wrote it. He, in the foregoing Chapters, had vindicated, explained, and given due Honour to, the Wisdom and the Mercies of God, manifested in the glorious Privileges and universal Extent of the Gospel Dispensation. He now proceeds to shew, what the Effect of these Considerations ought to be, upon the Minds and Lives, of all who have embraced it. The Church, in like manner, from celebrating the Goodness of that God, in the
Conversion of, and Manifestation of his Son and his Truth to, the Gentiles ; makes it her next Care; to press the same practical Doctrine, and to insinuate the absolute Necessity of walking worthy of the
Ephes. iv. i; Vocation wherewith we are called. I beseech you therefore, Brethren, by the Mercies of God, &c.
That the abounding of Holiness, and Virtue, and every good Word and Work in us, ought to be the Fruit of our clearer Knowledge ; and, that the Mera cies of God, exhibited to Christians are, a Motive, not only proper and natural, but fufficiently strong for that purpose, hath, I hope, been, plain
Epift. for Epiphi ly and largely enough, demonstrated in a late Discourse. The Chapter now before us, is designed to specify the particular good Qualities, they are expected to produce. Which the Apostle hath here so artfully illustrated, that it may very well be looked upon as a perfect, though so short, a Body of Christian Morality. The explaining and urging these several Duties, as they deserve, is an Attempt at present impracticable, and by no means conlistent with the Bounds, that ought to be set to Meditations of this kind. But in regard St. Paul reminds us of One Confideration, from whence an Obligation follows to every one (I think) of the Virtues here enjoined: I will make it my endeavour fo to infift upon
That, as at least to answer the end, though I do not industriously treat of every Part, of the Chapter.
This method I the rather chuse, because, in other parts of the New Testament, we find the same Argument so frequently and solemnly insisted on, as to prove the Weight of it. And that done, upon such Occasions, and to such Purposes, as seem abundantly to justify the Confequences, I am about to draw from it. This will appear to any, who shall diligently compare this Twelfth to the Romans, with that of the
I Cor. xii. Epher. iv.
first Epistle to the Corinthians, and the fourth to the Ephesians. Which Passages
I shall, as I find occasion, call in to my Asistance, for the better illustrating and enforcing that which I am now taking in hand.
The Foundation then of my Discourses, upon the Epistles for This, and the Two following Sundays, Thall be laid in those Words at the fourth and fiftb Verses : For as we have many Members in one Body, and all Members have not the same Office ; so we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and every one Members one of another. That these Words have a Retrospect to, and are a Reason for, the Duties that went before ; is plain by the Connexion of the fourth with the third Verse, and the Division of the Epistle of the Day, which they close up. That they are manifestly the Ground of those that follow, is clear from the Beginning of the sixth Verse ; and may be yet more so, from the Reason of the Thing.
Now the Improvement I design to make of this Paffage, will fall under the two following Heads.
First, The Nature of this Union, and mutual Relation declared here.
Secondly, The Obligations arising from thence, upon the Parties so united and related.
1. First, The Nature of this Union, and mutual Relation declared here, will be best discerned, by the several Passages of Scripture, making mention of it. The principal whereof, besides that we are now treat
ing of, are these that follow : As the BoI Cor. xii. 12, dy is one, and bath many Members, and
all the Members of that one Body, being many, are one Body ; so also is Christ : for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jewis or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made
to drink into one Spirit. For the Body is