15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
15. Videte igitur, quomodo exacte ambuletis; non tanquam insipientes,
sed tanquam sapientes:
16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
16. Redimentes tempus, quoniam dies mali sunt.
17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will
of the Lord is.
17. Quare ne sitis imprudentes, sed intelligentes, quae sit voluntas
18. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled
with the Spirit;
18. Et ne inebriemini vino, in quo inest lascivia, sed impleamini
19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
19. Vobis ipsis loquentes psalmis et hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus,
canentes et psallentes in corde vestro, Domino;
20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
20. Gratias agentes semper de omnibus, in nomine Domini nostri Iesu
Christi, Deo et Patri.
15. See then. If believers must not neglect to drive away the
darkness of others by their own brightness, how much less ought they to
be blind as to their own conduct in life? What darkness shall conceal those
on whom Christ, the Sun of righteousness, has arisen? Placed, as it were,
in a crowded theater, they ought to live under the eye of God and of angels.
Let them stand in awe of these witnesses, though they may be concealed
from the view of all mortals. Dismissing the metaphor of darkness and light,
he enjoins them to regulate their life circumspectly as wise men,
who have been educated by the Lord in the school of true wisdom. Our understanding
must shew itself by taking God for our guide and instructor, to teach us
his own will.
16. Redeeming the time. By a consideration of the time he enforces
his exhortation. The days are evil. Everything around us tends to corrupt
and mislead; so that it is difficult for godly persons, who walk among
so many thorns, to escape unhurt. Such corruption having infected the age,
the devil appears to have obtained tyrannical sway; so that time cannot
be dedicated to God without being in some way redeemed. And what shall
be the price of its redemption? To withdraw from the endless variety of
allurements which would easily lead us astray; to rid ourselves from the
cares and pleasures of the world; and, in a word, to abandon every hinderance.
Let us be eager to recover it in every possible way, and let the numerous
offenses and arduous toil, which many are in the habit of alleging as an
apology for indolence, serve rather to awaken our vigilance.
17. Wherefore be ye not unwise. He whose
“delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates in it day and
will triumph over every obstacle which Satan can oppose to his progress.
Whence comes it that some wander, others fall, others strike against a
rock, others go away, — but because we allow ourselves to be gradually
blinded by Satan, and lose sight of the will of God, which we ought constantly
to remember? And observe, that Paul defines wisdom to be, understanding
what the will of the Lord is.
“How shall a young man,” says David, “direct his way? By attending to
thy word, O Lord.” (Psalm 119:9.)
He speaks of youths, but it is the same wisdom which belongs to old
18. And be not drunk with wine. When he enjoins them not to be
drunk, he forbids excessive and immoderate drinking of every description.
“Be not intemperate in drinking.”
In which is lasciviousness. The Greek word ajswti>a, which is
translated “lasciviousness,” points out the evils which arise from drunkenness.
I understand by it all that is implied in a wanton and dissolute life;
for to translate it luxury, would quite enfeeble the sense. The meaning
therefore is, that drunkards throw off quickly every restraint of modesty
or shame; that where wine reigns, profligacy naturally follows; and consequently,
that all who have any regard to moderation or decency ought to avoid and
The children of this world are accustomed to indulge in deep drinking
as an excitement to mirth. Such carnal excitement is contrasted with that
holy joy of which the Spirit of God is the Author, and which produces entirely
opposite effects. To what does drunkenness lead? To unbounded licentiousness,
— to unbridled, indecent merriment. And to what does spiritual joy lead,
when it is most strongly excited?
19. To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly
pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,”
(Romans 14:17;) and the exhortation, be ye filled, (Ephesians 5.18,) alludes
to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. Speaking to themselves,
is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly
or alone; for he immediately adds, singing in your hearts; as if he had
said, “Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do,
but from the heart.” What may be the exact difference between psalms and
hymns, or between hymns and songs, it is not easy to determine, though
a few remarks on this subject shall be offered on a future occasion.
The appellation spiritual, given to these songs, is strikingly appropriate;
for the songs most frequently used are almost always on trifling subjects,
and very far from being chaste.
20. Giving thanks always. He means that this is a pleasure which
ought never to lose its relish; that this is an exercise of which we ought
never to weary. Innumerable benefits which we receive from God yield fresh
cause of joy and thanksgiving. At the same time, he reminds believers that
it will argue ungodly and disgraceful sloth, if they shall not always give
thanks, — if their whole life shall not be spent in the study and exercise
of praising God.