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And here St. Paul reproveth those, that be sorry that there is so much knowledge of God's word shewed and opened to the simple people as is; it checketh also all them that dissuade the lay people, unlearned, from the hearing of the word of God, from the reading of it, and from the study of it. Virtue cannot be hid, wheresoever it is, but it will be known, although they would it should not be known, that do virtuously, to avoid praise of men, as the faith and charity of these Ephesians came to St. Paul in prison, for the which St. Paul praised them; and virtue shall not lack his praise or reward in this world, or at the least in the world to come.
St. Paul commendeth these Ephesians, not for their goodly temple, nor yet for their noble wor-. shipping of Diana, nor yet for their religious men, called of divers sects, and of divers habits, for their goodly singing in the quire, or their organs, and playing in their churches, or for other goodly ceremonies, nor for their tapers, turches, carved, painted, or gilded images, or for their goodly great bells, or multitude of masses or such-like: but for their faith in Jesus Christ, and their charity to the poor people that have need of help and succour. And Paul commendeth them, not because he would make them proud, but because he would provoke them to go forward, and continue in faith and charity, and increase them every day more and more, and that they should know good works, not to lack his reward with God, in the world to coine.
In this prayer he teacheth us what things we should desire of God in our prayers, that it would please God to give us the spirit of spiritual wisdoin and knowledge, that we might be lightened with all godly knowledge, that we might know how rich is our hope in the thing we hope for, the heavenly inheritance, unto the which Christ hath bought us with
his precious blood shed for us. Of this place we may learn, that we cannot know what is our hope, glory, and inheritance, which we look for after this present lite, except that God shew it to us by his spirit of wisdom and knowledge, and open our eyes, that we may see and perceive it. And to obtain this spirit of God, and that we may every day increase more and inore in this divine knowledge, St. Paul maketh us to pray to God, which alone doth give this spirit. This place maketh against thein that would the ignorant simple people should have no further knowledge of God than is contained in the Paternoster (Lord's prayer), and to be contented with that knowledge, and desire no further, but to leave to high divines the further knowledge in the Scriptures of God. But let such blind guides and ignorant teachers, put away their blindness and ignorance, and leam better knowledge of God, desire it in faith by prayer, by study, by hearing and reading of holy Scriptures, that they may increase in more knowledge, and teach others better to seek for more knowledge, that they may come to the more knowledge of God, and of the celestial kingdom, which things they know better the more knowledge they have in the holy Scriptures of God. Also, St. Paul sheweth here, that faith, charity, knowledge of godly wisdom, may be increased in saints living here in this world, and therefore he exhorteth every man to increase their faith, their charity, their knowledge, in the which he sheweth, that there is no man so good, but that he may be better, and increase in goodness, in the which he exhorteth every one to increase, and every day be better and better.
Ver. 19–23. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us, which lelieve, according to the working of his mighiy power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him up from the dead, and set
him on his right hand, in heavenly things above all rule, power, and might, and domination, and above all that may be named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come ; and hath put all things under his feet, and hath made him above all things, the head of the congregation, which is his body, and the fulness of him, that filleth all in all.
The Apostle goeth forth with his prayer for these Ephesians, and desireth God that they might know by the spirit of wisdom and knowledge of God, that they might know the excellent power of God, which God hath declared mightily, in the raising up his son Jesus Christ from death to life, and made him to sit on his right hand above all heavenly powers. In Christ was shewed the excellent power of God, above all things, which power God will shew to them that believe.
He sheweth here the glory of Christ to be above all the powers, dominions, or potentates in heaven; that we should put our trust in Christ, which will exalt to that place, where he is, all them that believe in him, and think to come there, where Christ is on the right hand of the Father, only by Christ, and not by their own merits or deservings; and to put men in a surety of that thing, Christ himself was exalted from death to life eternal.
The power and the glory of Christ is shewed in that he sitteth on the right hand of the Father in heaven, above all powers, rule, dominion, potentates, and virtues, and above all names that are in this world, or in the world to come; and all things are subjected to him and under his dominion and
power, and he is the head of the congregation, which is his body. Christ is the head, in whom consisteth the perfection of the whole body, and he that maketh in the body, all things perfect.
This place reproveth the bishop of Rome, and all his decrees that make him head of the church of Christ. For the head of the church of Christ is not the bishop of Rome, but Christ, which maketh all things imperfect perfect; and princes and kings in their worldly kingdoms, be as heads of their subjects under Christ, to see that every one be in right order to God's will and pleasure, and that every man in every state and degree, do his duty after his calling. For to the kings, princes, and other superior powers, it becometh every man to be obedient, and from their power can no man exempt any of these subjects, by any profession of men; wherefore, bishops of Rome, exempting religious men from due obedience to their kings and princes, have done against God's law and St. Paul's doctrine (Rom. xii, 1 Pet. ii. Heb. xiii.), which places command all subjects to be obedient unto the high powers, “ for they that resist powers, they resist the ordinance of God; and those that resist the ordinance of God, they take to themselves judgment and damnation." (Rom. xiü.)
Ver. 1-3. And quickened you also, when ye were dead, thirough trespasses and sins, in the which, in time past ye walked according to the course of this world; and after the prince that ruleth in the air, namely, after the spirit which now worketh in the children of unbelief ; among whom we also had our conversation in time past in the lusts of our flesh, and of the mind, and were naturally the children of wrath, even as well as others.
The Apostle compareth the state of these Ephesians, that they were in now, when he wrote this Epistle to them, with the state and condition of life, that they were in, before Christ had called them to faith' by his word preached among them ; that by the remembrance of it, they might be provoked with more gladness and hearty love, to praise and laud God, and give him hearty thanks, that it bath pleased him to call them from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, from sin to justice, from death to life.
He saith, when you knew not Christ, you were dead by trespasses and sins. Behold, what case they be in, that know not Christ and his word. By trespasses and sins he understandeth all manner of vices and sin, whether they be in thought, will, act, or in outward deed ; when they knew not Christ, they were dead by sins; now, they, knowing Christ, do live, and be called from death to the life of grace, and of glory eternal. Before, they walked in vice and in sin ; now, they walk in grace and in virtue. Before, they walked after the manners, lusts, and pleasures of this world, that is to say, after the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and proudness of life (1 John, ii.); now, they walk after the good will of God, and after