17 This therefore I say - He returns thither where he
begun, Eph 4:1. And testify in the Lord - In the name and by the authority
of the Lord Jesus. In the vanity of their mind - Having lost the knowledge
of the true God, Rom 1:21. This is the root of all evil walking.
18 Having their understanding darkened, through the ignorance
that is in them - So that they are totally void of the light of God, neither
have they any knowledge of his will. Being alienated from the life of God
- Utter strangers to the divine, the spiritual life. Through the hardness
of their hearts - Callous and senseless. And where there is no sense, there
can be no life.
19 Who being past feeling - The original word is peculiarly significant.
It properly means, past feeling pain. Pain urges the sick to seek a remedy,
which, where there is no pain, is little thought of. Have given themselves
up - Freely, of their own accord. Lasciviousness is but one branch of uncleanness,
which implies impurity of every kind.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ - That is, ye cannot act
thus, now ye know him, since you know the Christian dispensation allows
of no sin.
21 Seeing ye have heard him - Teaching you inwardly by his Spirit.
As the truth is in Jesus - According to his own gospel.
22 The old man - That is, the whole body of sin. All sinful desires
are deceitful; promising the happiness which they cannot give.
23 The spirit of your mind - The very ground of your heart.
24 The new man - Universal holiness. After - In the very image
25 Wherefore - Seeing ye are thus created anew, walk accordingly,
in every particular. For we are members one of another - To which intimate
union all deceit is quite repugnant.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not - That is, if ye are angry, take heed
ye sin not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the
sinner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin. And
how hardly do we avoid it. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath - Reprove
your brother, and be reconciled immediately. Lose not one day. A clear,
express command. Reader, do you keep it?
27 Neither give place to the devil - By any delay.
28 But rather let him labour - Lest idleness lead him to steal
again. And whoever has sinned in any kind ought the more zealously to practise
the opposite virtue. That he may have to give - And so be no longer a burden
and nuisance, but a blessing, to his neighbours.
29 But that which is good - Profitable to the speaker and hearers.
To the use of edifying - To forward them in repentance, faith, or holiness.
That it may minister grace - Be a means of conveying more grace into their
hearts. Hence we learn, what discourse is corrupt, as it were stinking
in the nostrils of God; namely, all that is not profitable, not edifying,
not apt to minister grace to the hearers.
30 Grieve not the Holy Spirit - By any disobedience. Particularly
by corrupt discourse; or by any of the following sins. Do not force him
to withdraw from you, as a friend does whom you grieve by unkind behaviour.
The day of redemption - That is, the day of judgment, in which our redemption
will be completed.
31 Let all bitterness - The height of settled anger, opposite
to kindness, ver.32. And wrath - Lasting displeasure toward the ignorant,
and them that are out of the way, opposite to tenderheartedness. And anger
- The very first risings of disgust at those that injure you, opposite
to forgiving one another. And clamour - Or bawling. "I am not angry," says
one; "but it is my way to speak so." Then unlearn that way: it is the way
to hell. And evil speaking - Be it in ever so mild and soft a tone, or
with ever such professions of kindness. Here is a beautiful retrogradation,
beginning with the highest, and descending to the lowest, degree of the
want of love.
32 As God, showing himself kind and tenderhearted in the highest
degree, hath forgiven you.