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CHAPTER I.

View and Illustration of the Doctrines and Discoveries contained in this Chapter. EFFECTUALLY to silence the false teachers, who endeavoured to seduce the Colossian brethren to Judaism, the apostle began the doctrinal part of this epistle with confuting their leading error; the error for the sake of which all the rest were introduced; namely, that the institutions of Moses, but especially the Levitical sacrifices, were still necessary, because there were no propitiatory sacrifices in the gospel. This false and most destructive doctrine the apostle exploded, by shewing that they who are translated into the kingdom of God's beloved Son, have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin; consequently, that in the gospel dispensation, God hath appointed a propitiatory sacrifice of real efficacy; namely, the sacrifice of the blood of Christ, to which believers can have sure recourse for pardon, and have no need of any other propitiatory sacrifice whatever, ver. 13, 14.-But, lest the Colossians might have been told by the Judaizers, that the pardon of the sins of the whole world, was an effect too great to be ascribed to the once shedding of Christ's blood, the apostle observed, that the atonement made by that one sacrifice, is perfectly sufficient for the taking away the sins of all who believe, because the supereminent dignity of Christ, enhanced the merit of his death.-Christ's dignity the apostle described in a magnificence of language suggested by the grandeur of the subject. He is the image of the invisible God, and the Lord of the whole creation, ver. 15.for he created all things in the heavens, and upon the earth, visible and invisible, ver. 16.-and by him all things are upheld, ver. 17. The apostle having thus described the original dignity of Christ as God's beloved Son, for the purpose of displaying the merit of his death, proceeded to speak of the honour and

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power which he received, in the human nature, as the reward of his death; whereby he hath shewed in a conspicuous light, the folly of those who endeavoured to persuade the Colossians, to prefer the mediation of angels to the mediation of Christ. He is the head of the body, even of the church, and the beginning or author thereof. He is also the first born or Lord of the dead; having died to raise them again to life, ver. 18. This greatness, both in the natural and moral world, he hath received from his Father, that he may unite angels and men in one great community under himself as their head, in order that they may be happy in their subjection to God, and in the society of one another, to all eternity. For, saith the apostle, it pleased the Father, that in him all the fulness of perfection and power should constantly abide, ver. 19.-and through the exercise of his authority and power, by him to unite all things under him as head, having made peace between them by the blood of his cross, ver. 20.-Even the idolatrous Gentiles, notwithstanding their former wickedness, he hath thus united, ver. 21.—in one body with the Jews, in his church, through the death of his Son, to render them holy and unblameable in Christ's sight, at the last day, ver. 22.-To be in that manner presented before Christ, the apostle told the Colossians, would be their happy lot, since they were continuing firm in the faith of the gospel doctrine, which, because of its efficacy to sanctify sinners, was preached to every creature under heaven; of which gospel Paul was made a minister by Christ himself, ver. 23.

But lest his imprisonment, for having preached salvation to the believing Gentiles, equally with the Jews, through the death of Christ, although they did not obey the law of Moses,

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Ver. 1.-1. Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, &c. To convince the Colossians, that all the things contained in this epistle were dictated by the Spirit of God, Paul began it with assuring them, not only that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ, but that he was made an apostle by the will of God the Father; an honour which none of the false teachers could claim.

might have led the Colossians to suspect the truth of his doctrine, the apostle told them, that he rejoiced in the afflictions he was enduring for them; that is, for maintaining their title to salvation; and that these afflictions were expressly appointed to him by Christ, for the purpose of building his body, which is his church, ver. 24.-Of which church, he told them a second time, he was made a minister, or apostle, to build it by fully publishing God's determination to save the believing Gentiles, ver. 25. -Then he informed them, that this determination was a mystery or secret, which, during the Mosaic dispensation, was kept hid both from the Jews and from the Gentiles; but was now discovered to such of the Jews as God thought fit to employ in publishing it to the world, ver 26.-To these preachers, God was pleased to make known by revelation, the greatness of the glory of this mystery concerning the Gentiles; that is, the glorious excellence of that part of his plan which relates to the Gentiles; namely, That Jesus Christ, to them also, is the author of the hope of a glorious resurrection to eternal life, as well as to the Jews, ver. 27.-Him, therefore, all the inspired Christian teachers preach as the only Saviour of the world, exhorting every man to receive him as Saviour, and teaching every man with all wisdom, the true doctrines of religion, that at the day of judgment, they may present every man perfect, both in respect of holiness and pardon, ver. 28.-And to accomplish that glorious end, Paul himself laboured with the utmost vigour in preaching Jesus Christ the hope of glory to believers of all nations, and in defending that doctrine with success, in proportion to the supernatural gifts bestowed upon him as an apostle, ver. 29.

NEW TRANSLATION.

CHAP. I. 1 Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ 1 by the will of God, and Timothy OUR brother, 2

COMMENTARY.

CHAP. I. 1 Paul, made an apostle of Jesus Christ by the appointment of God, (see Galat. chap. i. Illust.) and Timothy, who, though not an apostle, is our brother in the ministry,

2 And Timothy our brother. Timothy's early piety, his excellent endowments, his approved faithfulness, and his affectionate labours in the gospel with the apostle, well known to most, if not to all the Gentile churches, rendering him highly worthy of their regard, Paul allowed him to join in writing several of the letters which he addressed to these churches: Not however to add any thing to his own authority, but rather to add to Timothy's

2 Τοις εν Κολοσσαις ἁγιοις και πιςοις αδελφοις εν Χριςῳ χαρις ύμιν και ειρηαπο Θεου πατρὸς ἡμῶν, και Κυρίου Ιησου Χριςου.

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2 To the saints and faith

ful brethren in Christ, which are at Colosse: grace

be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you;

your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye

have to all the saints;

4 Since we heard of 4 Ακουσαντες την πιςιν ὅμων εν Χρίζῳ Ιησου, και την αγαπην την εις παντας τους ἁγιους, 5 Δια την ελπιδα την αποκειμενην ὑμιν εν τοις ουρανοις, ἣν προηκουσατε εν τῷ λόγω της αληθειας του ευαγγελιου,

τω

6 Which is come unto

you, as it is in all the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of

6 Του παροντος εις ύμας, καθως και εν παντι τῷ κοσμῳ, και εςι καρποφορουμενον, καθώς και εν ὑμῖν, αφ' ἧς

ii, and knew the grace of ἡμερας ηκουσατε και επέγνωτε

God in truth.

την χαριν του Θεου εν αληθειᾳ.

3 Ευχαριζουμεν τῷ Θεῷ και πατρι του Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ιησου Χριςου, παντοτε περι ὑμων προσευχομενοι

5 For the hope which

is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard be

fore in the word of the

truth of the gospel;

influence; for which purpose also he calls him here, his brother, rather than his son. See Pref. to 1 Thess. sect. 2. about the middle.

Ver. 2.—1. And faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse. If the apostle had called the Colossians saints, in a moral sense, there would have been no occasion to have added to their character the appellation of faithful brethren. Saints, means, all in Colosse who made an outward profession of believing the gospel: and faithful brethren, denotes those who to that profession, joined a suitable practice--This epistle, therefore, was addressed to the whole community of Christians at Colosse, and more especially to such of them as were sincere in their profession, as Christians.

2. From God our Father : that is, the Father of us who believe. According to Estius, God is called the Father of believers, to mark the high dignity to which they are raised by having the same Father with Jesus Christ, ver. 3. Also to shew that believers are the especial objects of God's love.

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2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are at Colosse. May virtuous dispositions be to you, and happiness temporal and eternal (see Rom. i. 7. notes 3, 4.) from God the Father of Jews and Gentiles, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom God dispenses these blessings to mankind.

3 We Paul and Timothy, give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for your faith and love. This we do always when we pray for you;

4 Having heard by Epaphras, (chap. i. 7.-9. iv. 12.) of the firmness of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the warmth of the love which ye bear to all who profess the Christian religion. See Ephes. i. 15. note 2.

5 Whom ye willingly relieve in ́ their distresses, with your worldly goods, Through the hope of far better goods which are laid up for you in the heavens of which hope, ye have formerly heard in the true preaching of the gospel by me. See Pref. sect. 1.

6 Which gospel subsists among you, as it does likewise in the most celebrated Gentile nations, and is bringing forth the good fruit of faith and love, even as it does among you, from the day ye heard and embraced the gospel of God, as preached by me

in truth.

Ver. 4.-1. Having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus. The apostle did not mean his having heard of the conversion of the Colossians, but of their persevering in the belief of the great doctrine of the gospel, that men are saved by faith without obedience to the law of Moses. See Pref. sect. 1. paragr. 3. Now, as some had been seduced by the false teachers from this true faith, Pref. sect. 2. paragr. 4. the apostle does not speak of the whole

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