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EPISTLE OF SAINT PAUL
PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, 2 and Timothy our brother, to the holy and faithful bre
thren in Christ that are at Colossé : favour be unto you,
and peace, from God our Father.* 3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord 4 Jesus Christ, (praying always for you, since we heard of 5 your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love to all the
saints,) because 'of the hope which is laid up for you
in heaven, of which ye have heard before in the true 6 doctrinet of the gospelt; which is come to you, as it is
in all the world also ; and bringeth forth fruit, and in
creaseth; even as it doth among you since the day ye 7 heard of it, and knew the favour of God in truth; as ye
have learned (also] from Epaphras our beloved fellow8 servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who hath declared also to us your love in your spirit.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to ask that ye may be filled with
* and from the Lord Jesus Christ, R. T. + Or. word of truth, N. m.
| as it bringeth forth fruit and increaseth in all the world also, even as among you, MSS. N, m.
the knowledge of God's will, in all spiritual wisdom and 10 understanding ; that ye may walk in a manner worthy of
the Lord so as to please* him in all things, being fruit
ful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge 11 of God; strengthened with all might, according to his
glorious power, unto all patience and endurance with 12 joyfulness; and giving thanks to the Father, that hath
made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints 13 in lightt: and that hath delivered us from the power of
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his 14 beloved Sont: by whom we have redemption|l, even the 15 forgiveness of our sins; and who is the image of the in16 visible God, the first-born of the whole creation** : for
by him all things were createdtt that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all
* Gr. to all pleasing, N. m.
redemption through his blood, R. T. 9 an image, a first-born, Wakefield. ** N. m. every creature, N. The apostle explains his meaning, ver. 18.
Ht That the apostle does not here intend the creation of natural substances is evident; for, 1st, He does not say that by him were created heaven and earth, but things in heaven, and things on earth : 2dly, He does not, in descending into detail, specify things themselves, viz. celestial and terrestrial substances, but merely states of things, viz. thrones, dominions, etc. which are only ranks and orders of beings in the rational and moral world : 3dly, It is plain from comparing ver. 15 and ver, 18, that Christ is called the first-born of the whole creation, because he is the first who was raised from the dead to an immortal life: 4thly, The creation of natural objects, the heaven, the carth and sea, and all things therein, when they are plainly and unequivocally mentioned, is uniformly and invariably ascribed to the Father, both in the Old Testament and the New. Hence it follows, that the creation, which the apostle here ascribes to Christ, expresses that great change which was introduced into the moral world, and particularly into the relative situation of Jews and gentiles, by the dispensation of the gospel. This is often called creation, or the new creation, and is usually ascribed to Jesus Christ; who was the great prophet and messenger of the new covenant. See Eph. i. 10; jl. 10-15; j. 9; iv. 24; Col. iii. 10; 2 Cor. v. 17. This great change the apostle here describes under the symbol of a revolution, introduced by Christ amongst certain ranks and orders of beings, by whom, according to the Jewish demonology, borrowed from the Oriental philosophy, the affairs of states and individuals were superintended and governed. Seo Mr. Lindsey's Sequel, p. 477, and Wetstein in loc:
17 these * things were created by him, and for him : and
he is before all things, and by him all these * things 18 subsist : and he is the head of his body, the church : who
is the chieft, the first-born from the dead, that in all 19 things he might be the first t. For it hath pleased the 20 Father to inhabit all fulness by him ll; and, having
made peace through his blood shed on the cross, that by him he would reconcile all things to himself: by him, I
say, whether they be things on earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you that were formerly aliens tt, and enemies in your 22 mind, by wicked works, yet he hath now reconciled by
his fleshly body, through his death, to present you holy, 23 and spotless, and irreproachable in his sight; if ye con
tinue grounded and steadfast in the faith, and not moved away from the hope given by the gospel ft which ye have heard, and which hath been preached to every creature that is under heaven; of which I Paul have been made a
minister. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and in my turn
fill up that which in my flesh remaineth behind of my
afflictions because of Christ, for the sake of his body, 25 which is the church : of which church I have been made
a minister, according to the dispensation of God which
hath been given me toward you, that I may fully preach 26 the word of God, even the mystery which hath been hid
den from ages and from generations, but now hath been
• all things, N. See Wakefield.
t beginning, N. See N. m. Or, have the first place, N. m. 8 See Peirce, and Lindsey's Ans. to Robinson, p. 45. The church is the fulness, or the completion of the body of Christ, Eph. i. 23, which God inhabits by his spirit communicated by Christ, Eph. ii. 22. The Primate adopts the public version of this text, " that in him all fulness should dwell.”
that is, gentiles or Jews, who were first reconciled to one another, and then to God, by Christ. See Eph. i. 10, and Mr. Locke's note, also Eph. ii. 14--16, and Mr. Peirce's note upon this text.
# In their heathen state they were ceremonially and morally sinners. They are now ceremonially reconciled, i.e. brought to the profession of christianity that they may be morally purified.
# Gr. hope of the gospel, N. m.
27 made manifest to his saints : to whom God hath been
willing to make known what are the glorious riches of
this mystery among the gentiles; which mystery is Christ 28 among you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, ad
monishing every man, and teaching [eyery man,] with
all wisdom ; that we may present every man perfect in, 29 Christ*: for which I labour also, and contend according CH. to his working which worketh in me mightily. For I
would that ye knew what earnest care I have for you,
and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not 2 seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be com
forted, they being knit together in love, and to all riches
of the full assurance of their understanding, to the know3 ledge of the mystery of Godf; in which are hidden all 4 the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now I say this,
lest any man should deceive you by persuasive words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet I am with you
in my spirit, rejoicing, and beholding your order, and 6 the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have there.
fore received Christ Jesus the Lord, 80 walk in him ; 7 rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith,
as ye have been taught, abounding (therein) in thanks
giving 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and
empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, accord
ing to the elements of the world, and not according to 9 Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the deity 10 bodily: and ye are filled through him, who is the head,
* Christ Jesus, R. T.
of God the Father and of Christ, R. T. The manuscripts vary: Griesbach omits the words in Italics. The Primate admits them, but with his usual mark of doubtful authenticity.
9 Godhead, N. Compare Eph. iii, 19, where Christians are said to be filled with all the fulness of God. “The scholastic word godhead," says Mr. Lindsey, "is rejected, because to common readers it countenances the strange notion of a God consisting of three persons." Lindsey's Second Address, p. 283, 284. “ All those blessings which proceed from the Godhead, and wherewith we are filled, dwell in Christ, truly and substantially." Peirce in loc.
11 of all principality and power : through whom ye have
been circumcised also with a circumcision not made by
hands, by putting off the fleshly body* through the cir12 cumcision of Christ ; having been buried with him in
baptism, in which ye were raised also with him, through
faith in the mighty working of God, who raised him from 13 the dead. And to you, being dead in your sins, and in
the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath God given life to
gether with Christ, having freely pardoned all ourt tres14 passes ; having blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances
which was against us, which was contrary to us, and 15 taken it out of the way, and nailed it to the cross : and,
having spoiled principalities and powerst, he made a shew of them openly, and triumphed over them by the
cross. 16 Let no man therefore condemn you for your use of
meats or drinks, or in respect of a feast, or new-moon, or 17 sabbath : which are a shadow of things to come ; but the 18 body is of Christ. Let no man defraud you of your prize,
in a voluntary humility of mind and worship of angels,
intruding into those things which he hath not seen, rash19 ly puffed up by his fleshly mind. And not holding fast
the head, from whom all the body, supplied and connected by joints and bands, increaseth with the increase
of Godll. 20 119 ye have died with Christ from the elements of
the world, why, as though living in the world, are 21 ye subject to ordinances ; (such as, “ Do not touch 22 things, nor taste, nor handle ;" all which things are to be
consumed by the use of them ;) according to the com
. the body of the sins of the flesh, R. T. + all your trespasses, R. T.
# By his death he put an end to the Mosaic Institution, and superseded the Levitical priesthood and all the splendid offices and rites of the temple service. See Schleusier in verb. Asxn, and Rosenmuller in loc, 1 Or, with a great increase N. m.
q If therefore, R. T.