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492

ORIGIN OF THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.

Jalian Pe

the Errors of the Judaizers, who not only preached the Rome. riod, 4775.

Mosaic Law ; but also the Opinions of the Heathen,
Vulgargra,

and the doctrines of Plato, concerning the agency of angels in
human affairs, and the honour which is on that account due to
them, are expressly condemned by the apostle in this epistle.
As the Jewish teachers artfully suited their arguments to the
opinions and characters of those they addressed, they might
bave pressed on the minds of the Colossians, to prove the mi-
nistry of angels, that angels conducted the Israelites into Ca.
naan, and that the law of Moses was given by their ministry.
To those who were tinctured with the Platonic philosophy, they
affirmed that it was arrogance in sinóers to worship God with-
out some mediator, and therefore they exhorted them to offer.
up their prayers to God through the mediation of angels, which
was more acceptable to him than the mediation of Christ; who
could not be supposed to have the same power with God as the
angels, who were oployed by him in the government of the
world; and as the Heathens and Jews were particularly attached
to propitiatory sacrifices, we may conjecture, although not men-
tioned by the apostle, that these false teachers, since there were
no sacrifices appointed by the Gospel, taught that the Jewish
sacrifices and purifications were to be continued as the means
of justification. The whole scope of the apostle's letter is to
show the folly and vanity of these errors, by establishing the
contrary truths. Lardner remarks, that in the epistle which
John wrote, by the command of our Lord, to the Church of the
Laodiceans, traces of the same errors may be found, which the
false teachers endeavoured to disseminate throughout Phrygia.
For example, to shew that angels are not superior to Christ in
dignity and power, and that they are not to be worshipped, he
asserts his own power as governor of the world, in nearly the
same words as St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians. (Rev.
iii. xiv. Coloss. i. 18.) See also the condemnation of the false
teachers, who were puffed up with their pretended kuowledge,
and a corruption of the law of Moses, Coloss. ii. 18. Rev. iii.
17; and whereas St. Paul said to the Colossians, chap. ii. 10.
“ Ye are made complete by him, who is at the head of all go-
veroment and power,” Christ said to the Loadiceans, Rev. iii.
18. “ I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, &c. &c.
Altbough the worship of angels was repressed for a time by the
apostle's Epistle to the Colossians, it afterwards provailed
among them to such a degree, that the council which met at
Laodicea, the capital of Phrygia, found it necessary to condemn
that idolatry by their thirty-fifth canon, as Theodoret informs
us, in his note on Coloss. ii. 18. wbich thus stands: “ Cbris.
tians ought not to leave the Church of God, and go and name
angels, or gather assemblies. If, therefore, any one is found to
practise this secret idolatry, let him be anathema, because he
has left our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and has turned
to idolatry.” This council is supposed to have been held A.D.
363. Its last two canons declared what sacred books were to be
publicly read in the Churches.

From the similarity in the doctrine and phraseology of this
epistle to that of the Ephesians, many have considered it as an
epitome of the former ; yet, though there is a great similarity,
which may give us reason to suppose the apostle considered the
two Churches in some things nearly in the same state, the
Epistle to the Colossians relates to corruptions which are not
even hinted at in the olher epistle.

Julian Pe Oriental, or Essenian Philosophers, concerning the Wor. Rome. riod, 4775. ship of Angels, on Account of their supposed

Agency in
Vulgar Æra,
62.

Human Affairs, and the Necessity of abstaining from
Animal Food.

$ 1. COLOSS. i. 1-14.
St. Paul begins his Epistle by assuring the Colossians that

he was appointed an Apostle of Christ by the Will of God
- The Salutation of Paul and Timothy who do not cease
praying, that the Colossians may be filled with a perfect
Knowledge of divine Things, comprehending the spiritual
Wisdom of God, fruitful in every good Work, increasing in
Experience of the Knonledge of God's Love and Truth;
spiritually strengthened according to his glorious Power
so that they may be able to bear all Things with the great-
est Patience and Long-suffering, and even with Joy, feel-
ing that by so doing they please God-giving Thanks to
God, who of his own free Mercy, by the sanctifying In-
fluences of his Spirit, has qualified them to be partakers of
the spiritual Inheritance prepared for those who dwell in
the light of the Gospel-who has delivered them from the
power of Sin and Ignorance, and hath translated us from
the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light,
governed by his dear Son--who has paid down the Price
of Redemption in his own Blood, even the Remission of
Sins.

I Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God,
and Timotheus our brother,

2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which

The general agreement of expression and sertiment between these two epistles, and their having been forwarded by the same messenger, (Eph. vi. 21. Coloss. iv. 7.) have induced many to suppose they were written at the same time. In their arrangement I have been guided by Dr. Lardner, who considers this argument as not decisive, because Tychicus may have been sent twice from Rome into Asia by the apostle, with letters, during a confinement of two ycars; and because other reasons may bave induced him to have written the same things to these Churches. He considers, as has been already observed, that as Timotby, who was joined with St. Paul in the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, is not united with him in his Epistle to the Ephesians, he had left Rome, and did not return to that city till after the Epistle to the Ephesians bad been written,

Epaphras, who was sent by the Colossians to comfort the apostle by the assurances of their affectionate regard under bis imprisonment, and to bring thein back word how matters went with him, became so obnoxious to the Roman magistrates, that he was imprisoned by them, (Philemon, 23.) on account of his exertions in the cause of the Gospel; on this account Tychicus and Onesimus, whom the apostle' had converted and sent back to Colosse, were made the bearers of this epistle.

494

EFFECTS OF CHRIST'S ATONEMENT-CHAP. XIV.

Julian Pe. are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God Rome. riod, 4775. Vulgar Æra,

our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 02.

8 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.

4. Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of
the love which ye

have to all the saints;
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the
gospel ;

6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world ;
and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the
day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ ;

8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God :

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness ;

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son;

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins.

§ 2. COLOSS. i. 15-23.
To prove to them the Efficacy of Christ's Death in obtaining

pardon for the Sins of Man, the Apostle describes the
Divinity and supereminent Dignity of Christ, who was the
Image or counterpart of the Invisible God; the Creator
and Cause of all Things that had a beginning, visible and
invisible; who created every Thing both

by and for himself;
he existed before the Creation of all created Things;
and must have been therefore the true and self-existing
God; and as his Power created all Things, so does
it also preserve themfor as from him all being was de-
rived, so also by him must it subsistand he is the Head
of the Church, which he considers his spiritual Body-
By his Incarnation he is the First Cause, or beginning of
the Church, and the first who rose from the Dead in a
glorified Human Form--that in all Things, both in his

Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar&ra, 62.

divine and human Nature, he may have the Pre-eminence Romc.
--For it pleased the Father that in him all the Majesty,
Power, and Mercy of the Godhead should be made ma-
nifest, or dwell, and having by the blood of his Cross
made
peace

between God and Man, and by this means
broken down the Wall of Partition between Jews and
Gentiles, he has reconciled them to himself, with all
things in Heaven and Earth, whether they be Men'or
Angels, forming them into one holy and spiritual Society

And the Gentiles, who were once alienated from God,
and by their Works proved the enmity of their Minds to-
wards him, he hath now reconciled through the Death of his
human Body, that he may present them holy and blame-
less, free from all Accusation in his sight, at the Day of
Judgmentwhich he will surely do if they continue
grounded in the Faith of Jesus Christ, and settled in his
Doctrines ; not moved away by false Teaehers from the
blessed Hopes and Promises of the Gospel ; which has
been preached both to Jew and Gentile; of which St.
Paul was appointed a Minister.
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born
of every creature :

16 For by him were all things created, that are in
heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers :
all things were created by him, and for him :

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist:

18 And he is the head of the body, the church ; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead ; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence :

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell :

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

21 And you, that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath be reconciled,

22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight;

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven ; whereof I Paul am made a minister.

496

ST. PAUL REJOICES IN SUFFERINGS-CHAP. XIV.

Julian Pe. $ 3. Coloss. i. 24, to the end, and chap. ii. 1-7. Rome.
riod, 4775.
Valgarðra, St. Paul, as the Minister of Christ to the Gentiles, assures
62.

them that he rejoices in his Sufferings, according to the
Dispensation of the Gospel, which God gave to him for
their benefit ; that he might accomplish the Purpose of
God, as predicted by his Prophets-Even the Mystery
of Redemption through Faith to the Gentiles, which has
been hid for many Generations ; but is now made fully
manifest; which is Christ dwelling in them, giving through
his Blood pardon for Sins, and through his Spirit the
Hope of their Glorification-Whom we preach, warning
every Man of their Sin and Danger, and instructing them
in all spiritual Wisdom-For which end he labours, striving
with all his might-As a Proof of which he wishes them to
know the Persecutions and Sufferings to which he has been
exposed for preaching the Gospel to the GentileChurch-o
all the believing Gentiles--that knit together in Love, and
in the full Assurance of the Riches of Christianity, they
may acknowledge the Mystery of God through Christ, in
the Salvation of both Jews and Gentilesin whom and in
his Gospel are hid all the Treasures of Divine Wisdom
and Knowledge-But this I say, that no Man may deceive
you with the Sophistry or enticing Words of Human
Philosophy-for though in the Body I am absent, yet
through the Spirit I am with yourejoicing, and beholding
your regular Order and Discipline, and your stedfast Faith
-Since then ye have embraced the Gospel of Christ, and
acknowledged him as your Lord and Saviour, continue to
walk in his Faith-that ye may be rooted in him-build-
ing all your Hopes of Pardon and Salvation on him, and
established in the Purity of his Faith, according as ye
have been instructed in it, ye may abound more and more
in its Fruits, with Thanksgiving to God for having called
you to be a partaker of its Blessings.
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill

that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my
flesh for his body's sake, which is the church ;

25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages, and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints :

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles ; which is Christ in you the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching

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