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I HAD intended to write an introduction to this noble Epistle, embodying an historical account of the literature connected with it, from the apostolic age till the present time, and had even collected some of the materials necessary for such a purpose, but then the thought arose in my mind, Would such a work tend more to the glory of God, or to show forth your own learning and research ? Is it necessary for the exposition of the Epistle ? Would it repay the toil, and above all, would it interest the Christian reader? In seeking, as in the presence of the Lord, to answer these questions, I came to the resolution to abandon the idea of an historical introduction. I was anxious, also, to make the book as cheap as possible, that it might come into a wider circle of readers. As to the work itself, I have little to say. That it has cost me much labour and extensive reading, I am most willing to confess. In composing it I had with me, and around me, the principal literary helps, both of ancient and modern times. I have used them all freely, and I think I may say, the reader will find in this commentary almost every thing of importance contained in the Greek, Latin, English, and German languages, on the criticism of our Epistle. My aim was not, however, to give quotations, and fill my pages with the names of celebrated authors (which is the easiest part of osition), but to weave my own studies, and the studies of others, the literature of the East and the West, of the Latins and the Greeks, of the English and the Germans, into one harmonious tissue of heavenly grace and beauty, one yet various, harmonious as the light, yet manifold as the bow in the cloud, I have omitted no point of criticism, and yet criticism is not the great object of the book. No, my object is to open up the infinite fulness of our living Head to all weary souls, and unfold, as far as I see them, the glories of the God-Man, in whom, and for whom, I live, and move, and have my being. The Epistle is admitted to be one of the richest, fullest, and noblest in the Bible; and all its treasures of wisdom and knowledge, of exhortation and love, of duty and faith, of the hopes of human nature, and the mysteries of God, are valuable only as they centre in, and flow from the living person of the Son of God, the Head of the Church, and of the whole creation, to whom it is the purpose of God's Spirit to draw us, and in whom alone we find satisfaction and repose. I have opened up very fully the believer's standing in the Christ, and the hopes and duties which naturally flow from it, and in doing so I have rendered, I believe, a good service to the present generation of the Church, who are more occupied than they ought to be with material interests, and worldly pleasures. Assurance of salvation is nearly banished from our Churches, the doctrine of Christ's Headship only faintly asserted, the hope of the coming and 'kingdom of the Redeemer is darkened, and, generally speaking, our Christianity is not that happy, unhesitating, victorious power of God in the soul, which in the days of the apostles and our martyred fathers, shed over the believing Church such brightness and glory. The cure for all this is our realized standing in the risen Head. We died in His death, we rose with Him from the grave, and now, as believers, we are seated with Him in the heavenly places. We look not up from earth to heaven, but, according to our Epistle, we look down from heaven to the earth. We are in Christ, and from His heavenly throne we contemplate the vanities of this passing world. I confess it, then, one main design of this work is to enable thee to realize more clearly thy relations to the Lord and Redeemer of His Church. For this end I have felt the Epistle very helpful to myself in taking me out of the shallows of modern experience and theological commonplaces, into the deep, pure ocean of Divine grace
and love. May God make it a blessing to many! And now to the Lord and Saviour of His Church, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”—EPHESIANS I. 1-6. We are now commencing one of the richest of the Epistles—one in which the Holy Spirit unfolds much of the purpose
and love of God to the children of men. We are here permitted to drink from the fountainhead and refresh our souls from the waters of life. The author is God; the writer is a servant and an apostle of God; the subject is salvation; the persons interested are the whole human race; and as to utterance and lofty eloquence, there is no composition known to man, in the Bible or out of it, containing more ennobling doctrines and moralities, more earnestness, variety, and sublimity, than the Epistle to the Ephesians. The Church of Christ has always felt it to be a peculiar treasure, and it would be easy to cite many testimonies to that effect, both from the writers of