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commodity, given or promised of God to the Israelites, that they had or professed. Here he taketh his similitude of ancestry, that have privileges and great commodities granted to them, which the citizens have, enjoy, and possess. Strangers and foreigners have no part of these commodities, that the citizens have. This privilege, of the which is spoken here, is the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven, which was promised to the faithful, that kept God's commandments, as well of the Gentiles, as of the Jews, although the Gentiles could not challenge it by any title given to them as yet, when the Gospel was hid from them.
And were strangers from the testament of promise ; as who should say, The promises of life everlasting were strange to you; you knew not that they pertained to you, you could claim nothing of the life, nor inheritance in heaven.
Also, you were without hope of life to come, and wanting God in the world ; not that they wanted God, or thought there was no God, but that they believed not in the true God, and thought the God: of heaven, not to be their God, a gentle, meek, good, and merciful God, their Saviour and Redeemer: without all hope of life to come in the other world. This was the state of these Ephesians, before the Gospel was preached to them by the Apostles, and by others, after Christ's incarnation.
In that, the Apostle speaketh of the circumcision of the flesh, to whom the name of Preputians was odious, the Apostle sheweth two manner of circumcisions : one is in the flesh, another is in the spirit, or in the heart. All the Jews were circumcised in the flesh, but not circumcised in the heart: for there were many unfaithful Jews, rebels to God, murmuring against him, disobedient to his commandinents ; ithich, although they were crucified in the flesh, not circumcised: but Christ took away this contention, and shewed that circumcision was not of necessity to the salvation of the soul.
Christ hath taken away the law, as touching the ceremonial and judicial laws. Yea, and the moral law also, that it shall be done no more for fear, servile and bound fear, as in time past : but that it shall be kept for love only to God. Christ hath taken away the law as touching the ceremonials and judicials, that it is not now necessary to keep them, but that health may be without them; nor yet are they to be kept under pain of damnation of the soul. For life everlasting may be without circumcision and other such-like ceremonial and judicial laws, which be abrogated and taken away, that it is in a man's liberty to keep them or not keep them. It is no virtue to keep them, nor sin to omit them. And contrary, it is no sin to do them, except any should have like opinion in them, as the Jews had, that they think they must needs keep them, or else they cannot be saved. To think they be justified by the keeping of such ceremonial and judicial laws, and shall obtain by the means of them, forgiveness of sin and eternal life; in that opinion to keep these laws is sin, after the Gospel, preached by Christ and his Apostles. As touching moral precepts, Christ hath not taken them away, but that they shall not be done for fear of the law, for fear of hell, and the punishment thereof, but for the love of God, with all glaclness of heart.
That of twain, he might create one new man in. himself. For what end and purpose Christ abrogated the ceremonial and judicial laws, he sheweth ; that is, that he shonld make of two people, one people eterual to hiin, that the one should not contemn the other, as the Jews contemned the Gentiles before, and the Gentiles the Jews; but that they should
agree in one God, Christ Jesus, the Saviour of all, and in the true worship, and faith, by the which, both the Jews and the Gentiles should be saved and justified before God, and not through any observances of the law; that all men should know the life and health of man, not to be in circumcision outward, in ceremonies, in sacrifices, in invention and religion, or merits of men, nor in the worship of idols, nor : in superstitiousness of man's religion ; but alone in Christ, that no man should rejoice in any other but in the Lord, and in the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal. vi.). So Christ hath reconciled the Jews and the Gentiles, taking from them both, part of their pleasure ; from the Jews, circumcision, ceremonial and judicial laws; from the Gentiles, idolatry and lechery; in the which things, both parts had great pleasure. So, Christ hath reconciled the Jews and the Gentiles, in that he took away the hatred, and the cause of their hatred. So I think amongst us, now shall hatred cease, and we shall all be made one, since the cause of our hatred is now taken away by the King's ma-, jesty's commandment. The hatred that was amongst us, for the most part was for the worshipping of stocks, stones, blocks painted and gilded ; now, these be taken away, I suppose a great part of our hatred to cease, and charity to increase to the glory of God, and the profit of many.
How Christ hath reconciled us sinners to the fa. vour of the Father again, here is shewed ; that was by the cross, that is to say, by Christ, a full sacrifice, and a sufficient oblation for all the sins of the world. By the which oblation of Christ's body once offered up for all sinners, all were made perfectly reconciled, bad forgiveness of sins, and were made beloved to God the Father, and heirs of his kingdoin by Christ, that died on the cross for our redemption, salvation, justification, and life eternal.
And came and preached peace in the Gospel to you, that were far off; that is, Christ preached peace and quietness in the hearts of the Gentiles, which were counted far from the peace, favour, and love of God. And this peace was wrought by the outward preaching of the Gospel, and the inward working of the Iloly Ghost. So was peace brought both to the Jews and tò the Gentiles, through Christ, and by no other means than by his death of the cross,
If Christ hath taken away these things, that were of necessity cominanded of God to be kept, because they were no more profitable for the people: how much more should no man marvel now, it some justitutions and religions of men be now taken away by God's word, which be not profitable to men, nor yet to the glory of God; which do cause much false trust, superstitiousness, erroneous opinions, false judgments, backward judgments, idolatry, and hinder the true honour of God, and faith in Christ Jesu, and have made men to put their trust of health and salvation in other than in Christ; and so brought men to death and damnation, from the which damnation to deliver us, Christ suffered death on the cross, and brought to all believers and keepers of God's commandinents, life everlasting in all joy and bliss.
Ver. 18. For by him we both have entrance, in one Spirit, unto the Father.
Of these things that go before, St. Paul now sheweth plainly, that by Christ only, the way to the Father of heaven is made open to all men, both to the Jews and Gentiles : and that the Gentiles be as well of the household of God as the Jews, and made heirs of the kingdom of God by Christ; and the way to the Father open to the Gentiles as to the Jews, and that by Christ.
In that, the
to all men by Christ, and by none other, St. Paul reproveth those that would men should go and desire saints departed to pray
for them; that by the intercession of saints departed, men night come to the Father without Christ. Methink, it is foolishness to leave the way to the Father of heaven, appointed and assigned us in the Scripture, and to seek another way not spoken of in the Scripture. Since it is so, that we be uncertain, whether that saints departed be in that state, that they will or can be means for us to the Father or no: whether they hear us calling to them or no; whether they know our necessity or no; whether they be heard of the Father and obtain their purpose, or no. Of these things we have no certainty by the Scripture; wherefore, I think it meet in this behalf to be content with teachings of the holy Scripture, which teacheth all necessary truths for man's salvation, and not to seek another way to the Father than the Scripture teacheth. St. Paul saith here, that the way to the Father is made open to all men, not by Peter, Paul, John, or James, Mary, or Magdalen, but by Christ, who is the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. ii.). St, Paul saith, there is but one mediator between us and the Father. We make many
without the Scripture. How do we and St. Paul agree? How do light and darkness agree? Furthermore, I see as yet no cause nor necessity, that should make us to go to the saints departed, and desire them to be mediators and means to the Father tor us, since there is no commandment in the Scripque, no example of holy men left us to follow, no promise made to us that we shall be heard of these saints, or that we shall obtain our request the sooner, by the intercession of these saints departed, who mwe cal on and desire to pray for us.