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to the Epistle to the Colossians. from the Simplicity of the Gospel, either by Pagan Philosophy, or Jewish Tradition, reminding them of the Obligation their Baptism laid them under of submitting to Christ, as the only Lawgiver and Head of his Church; who had totally abolished the Ceremonial Law, and discharged them from any father Regard to it. Ver. 8,–19. And since upon embracing Christianity, they were to consider themselves as dead with Respect to any other religious Profession, he shews the Absurdity of being still subject to the Appointments of the Mosaic Law; and cautions them against those corrupt Additions to Christianity, which some were attempting to introduce, especially by Rigors and Superstitions of their own devising. And as the most effectual Means for their Security, he exhorts them, as they were rifen with Christ, to keep their Thoughts fixed on him, as their Lord and Life, and on that better World whither he was ascended, and to which they had the Prospect of being admitted. Ver. 20, to the End. Chap. iii. 1,-4.

-From this glorious Hope, the Apojile presses them to guard against every Degree of Uncleanness, Malice, Coveteousness, Falsehood, and whatever was inconsistent with the Purity of that new Dispensation into which they were entered; and exhorts them to abound in the Practice of Meekness, Forbearance, Humility and Love, and to accustom themselves to those devout Exercises and Evangelical Views, which would have the most direct Tendency to improve the Christian Temper. Ver. 53--17.

After these general Precepts, the Apostle proceeds to recommend to the Colossians, such a Care in discharging the Duties correspondent to the several Relations of Life, as would be most honourable to their Christian Profession, and particularly enumerates those of Husbands and Wives, Parents and Children, Masters and Servants. And to assist them in the Performance of these Duties, he exhorts them to be constant in Prayer, and for the Credit of their Religion, advises them to maintain a prudent obliging Behaviour to their Gentile Brethren. Ver. 18, to the End Chap. iv. 1,-46.

The Apostle closes his Epistle with recommending to them Tychicus and Onefimus, of whom he speaks in very honourable Terms, and to whom he refers them for a more particular Account of the State of the Church at Rome : And having inserted Salutations from Aristarchus, Epaphras, their Minister, (who was then with Paul,) and others, he gives Directions for reading his Epistle at Laodicea, addresses a solemn Admonition to Archippus, and concludes with his Salutation, wrote with his own Hand, Ver. 7, to the End.

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The Apostle begins bis Epistle to the Colossians, with

declaring his Thankfulness to GOD for calling them into his Church, and his Defire in general, that they might receive an Abundance of Divine Grace, to enable them to walk worthy of so great a. Privilege.

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Col. I. I---14:

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Col. I. 1.

COL. I. 1. PAUL an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the Will

Paul (a), who have the Honour to be Sect. 1.an Apostle of Jesus Christ, not having in

1. truded myself into the Office, but being Col. I. 1.called to it by the Will of GOD, who was

pleased (a) Paul.] It may be as proper here as elsewhere to observe, that many Criticks have thought this Greek Name was taken by the Apofle, instead of that of Saul, tho' it had been the Name of the first Jewish King, who was also a Benjamite, (which might be a farther Recommendation of it in this Instance,) out of special Regard to · the Gentiles, to whose Service he was so peculiarly devoted.

(6) Holyy

296

Paul salutes the Colossians, and blesses GOD Sect. 1. pleased to display the Sovereignty of his of God, and Timotheus

Grace, in chusing me, one of the greatest our Brother, Col. I. 1. of Sinners, to so high and holy an Office,

do now join with Timotby, a faithful Bro

ther, and Fellow-labourer in the Gospel 2 Ministry in sending this Epistle to the 2 To the Saints and holy and faithful Brethren (6), in Chrift, which are atColosse : Grace

faithful Brethren in Chrift, who are resident at Colosse, and the adjacent be unto you, and Peace Places; heartily wishing Grace unto you, from God our Father, and and Peace from GOD our Father, and the the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus Christ, through whom he owns that Relation to us, and sends down upon us the Blessings of Providence and Grace.

I 3

may say it in my own Name, and that 3 We give Thanks to of dear Brother Timothy, though not Lord Jesus Christ, praying.

GOD, and the Father of our my personally acquainted with you, that we do always for you : unfeignedly give Thanks to the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrif (c) -upon your Account, and that we are always praying for you ; very frequently making express Mention of you before the Throne of divine Grace, and habitually wishing your Advancement in Religion, and your eternal Salvation. Having beard with un-' ..4 Since we beard of speakable Pleasure, of your fincere Faith in your Faith in Christ Jesus,

Chrif

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4

and

(6) Holy and faithful Brethren.] I cannot think they are called holy and faithful here, only or chiefly on Account of their adhering to the Purity of the Christian Faith, in Opposition to those that urged the Necessity of observing the Jewish Law. This was indeed one Instance of their Fidelity, but I think it greatly impoverishes and debases the Sense of such an extensive Phrase, to reduce it within such

within such narrow Bounds. Many Scores of Criticisms in some modern Commentators of Reputation are liable to the same Exception, but I rather chuse to leave it to the Reader's Observation than stay to point out every Example of it. As the Epifle is inscribed to a Society by Profefsion separated from the World and consecrated to God, it was reasonably to be. hoped, in the Judgment of Charity, that most of them answered that Profeflion, which sufliciently justifies such an Address.

(c) To the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift, &c.] Some would render it, to GOD even the Father, which would be much more tolerable than our Translation, to GOD and the Father, as if they were different Persons. But it may seem that the prefixing the Article only to GOD, to @w nav mäles, not merely warrants but demands this Rendering. Franckius has a good Observation here, which illustrates the Beauty of many Scriptures. The Order that would seem most artificial is transposed to make the Sense plainer. It is not having heard of your Faith, I blefs GOD; but vice versa. The fame Observation may be applied to Ver. 99-11.

(d) For

For having called them into his Church. .

297 and of the Love which ye Christ Jesus our Lord, and active, generous Sect. 1. have to all the Saints;

Love towards all the Saints, who are Par-
takers with you in that holy Calling, which Col. I. 4.

God hath given us by him, whether they be 5 For the Hope which is Jews or Gentiles.

On this Account we 5
laid up for you in Heaven, offer our Prayers to God, and we are bļessing
whereof ye heard before in him for the better Hope (d), which is laid
the Word of the Truth of
the Gospel :

up for you in the Heavens, and which will
in due Time be accomplished, of which ye
kave heard before to such happy Purpose,
in the true and infallible Word of the Gospel,

which was preached among you in all its
6 Which is come unto genuine Purity and Integrity : Of that 6
you, as it is in all the Gospel, which hath now through the sin-
World, and bringeth forth
Fruit, as it doth also in gular Goodness of God to the Gentiles,
since the Day ye heard of it, whom he seemed so long to have neglected,
and knew the Grace of appeared unto you, even as in all the World (e);
God in Truth.

being intended for an universal Religion.

And accordingly it proceeds in its Progress, and bringeth forth substantial Fruit elsewhere, as also lit bath done] among you, from the Day in which

ye

have heard and known the Grace of GOD, in that saving Word of

solid Truth (f) and everlasting Life, which 7. As ye also learned of hath been sent unto you. As

ye

have Epaphras our dear Fellow- also learnt it from Epaphras, our beloved Felfaithful Minister of Chrift;“ low. fervant in the Work of the Lord, who

is the faithful Minister of Christ for your

Sakes, whom he has appointed to labour 8 Who also declared unto among you, and to preside over you. us your Love in the Spirit. bath also manifested to us your Christian Love

in

you,

7

Who 8

(d) For the Hope, &c.] There is an Ambiguity in the Connection of this Clause; it may either signify, that the Apostle gives Thanks for this their Hope, supposing the 4th Verse to come in as a Parenthesis ; or it may more directly refer to the immediately preceding Words, and intimate that a Partnership in this blessed Hope cemented the Hearts of these good Men. In either Sense the Connection is instructive, but I prefer the former as more natural.

(e) In all the World.] In all the Provinces of the Roman Empire, as the Phrase often signifies, and it may no Doubt be put for many or most of them.

(f) The Grace of GOD in Truth.] Some understand Truth as expresive of SubStance, in Opposition to the comparative Shadows of the Mofaick Law,

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