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THE ARGUMENT OF THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO
In this Epistle, the Apostle St. Paul sheveth the abundant goodness of God the Father to all men, how he hath created and made all men, and all things necessary for them, chosen and elected them to eternal life and glory, and to be heirs of the celestial kingdom, only of his mere inercy and grace, and not of the works, merits, or deservings of any man, or of any saint in heayen, or in earth, but by Jesus Christ only, by whom he hath restored man again to life, which, by the sin of Adam, lost the favour of Alinighty God, life, and the celestial kingdom, to the which he was created and made, but by Christ was restored again to the favour of God, to life, and to heaven. All men, both Jews and Gentiles, have their sins clearly forgiven for Christ's sake alone, and be made dear beloved and holy in the sight of the Father, and right heirs of the heavenly inheritance, through faith in Christ Jesus, which faith is received by the word of God preached unto them.
Secondly, the Apostle teacheth what all men be of themselves, of their own nature, might, and power, surely nothing else but the children of the ire, wrath, and indignation of God, children of darkness, of sin, of death, and of hell. And what they are made by Christ again, that is, that they be made dear beloved to God, children of love, of life, of justice, and of eternal salvation, and that only by the mercy and grace of God, and not of the merits of man, but by the merits of Christ alone.
Thirdly, here is shewed how both the Jews and the Gentiles be made at one with God the Father, and amongst themselves, by Christ that suffered death, to make them at one. Also, what is their office, now justified through grace, by faith in Christ Jesus, that is, to forsake their old life, and to walk in a new life, not to be idle, but to do good, to do good works, not such as man thinketh good, but such as God hath appointed to be done in holy Scripture, that men should walk in, and to go from one good work to another, to flee all inanner of vice and sin, if not for the love of God, yet for fear of the plague of God.
Fourthly, here is declared the offices and duties of divers states of men, as of those that be married, of children to their parents, of servants to their masters, of every one's duty to another in their states of living, as you may read in the 5th and 6th chapters of this Epistle; where it is sheivn plainly the office of the wife to the husband, and of the husband to the wife. Let the wife look on her duty to her husband, learn, know, and do it. Also, let the man look on his duty, and how he should order himself towards his wife, and how he should intreat her, that both of them knowing their duty, according to God's law, may more willingly and gladly do that thing, that God requireth of them, and they to please God better, and live in more peace, unity, concord, and quietness.
Also, the children may here learn their duty, and wherefore that it becoineth them to be obedient to their parents, because it is God's. commandment and the will of God, that children should obey their parents. And also what is the duty of servants to their masters, and of masters to their servants, every one to look on his duty, and do it gladly and willingly, for in so doing they do serve God.
Finally, here is shewn the armour of Christian men, to fight against the devil and his temptations. Last of all, the Apostle desireth these Ephesians to pray for him, commending to them Tychicus, by whoin he sent this Epistle to these Ephesians.
THE EPISTLE OF St. PAUL TO the EPHESIANS.
Ver. 1. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the wilt
of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus;
and to them that believe on Jesus Christ : Ver. 2. Grace le with you, and peace from God, our
Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
St. Paul out of prison; wrote this Epistle to these Ephesians, whom he first saluteth with a Christian salutation, and after the salutation, he sheweth the causes wherefore he wrote his Epistle: St. Paul in his Epistles, useth one Christian salutation, of the which, we Christians may learn how we should one salute and greet another; and what things we ought one to desire and wish to another: In this salutation is written the name of him that writeth the Epistle, and the name of them to whom it was written. In the beginning, St. Paul setteth his own name, that they might know this Epistle to be written of Paul; that this Epistle might be better loved and more esteemed amongst the Ephesians, when they should know the Apostle Paul to have written this Epistle to them ; who they knew surely, would write nothing to them, but that should be both for their comfort and profit of their souls, and also to the glory of God. What man was St. Paul before he was converted and turned to the faith of Christ Jesu; it is written in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts, ix. xxii. and Phil. iii.), where it is evident, that he was
a persecutor of Christ's church ; but of a persecutor, God made him to be a defender and a sure pillar of Christ's Gospel. Which thing God wrought not for the merits of Paul, but of his mere mercy: and goodness, that we should despair of no man, as long as he liveth, but God may call him again to his grace and favour, and of an evil man, may make him a good man, as he made Paul, of a persecutor of Christ's church, a faithful preacher and a defender of the Gospel of Christ, that we should glorify God, which maketh good men of the evil, and faithful preachers of Christ's Gospel of persecutors. Example in Paul.
But if sinners will be made good men of evil men, they must follow Paul, they may not tarry nor continue in their naughty life, but leave it, be sorry for it, desire mercy and pardon of God, follow God when he calleth to amendment of life; to trust in the mercy of God, that God will be merciful to all penitent sinners that will trust in his mercy, that do believe faithfully that Christ came to save sinners, of the which I am one. And to be ready to do the will of God, what his pleasure is, without all fear of loss of goods of the world, of honours or dignities, or of this present life, after the example of Paul. (Acts, ix.) And so to walk all our lifetime to God's pleasure, in our calling.
“ An Apostle of Jesus Christ." Paul was an Apostle, not of men, but of Christ Jesus; he was sent not to be a man-pleaser, but to please God, of whom he was sent : not to please men, but God, to preach the will and pleasure of God and not of man, except the will of man be according to the will of God. And as he was sent of God, to preach his will and pleasure, and not the pleasure of man, nor to sing to men, placebo,” and commendation, so he did; he preached God's will boldly, without