Verse 24. "Grace be with all them" - May the Divine favour, and all the benedictions flowing from it, be with all them who love our Lord Jesus Christ, who has so loved us as to give his life to redeem ours, and to save us unto life eternal.
"In sincerity." - en afqarsia? In incorruptibility. Those who show the genuineness of their love, by walking before him in holiness of life. Many profess to love our Lord Jesus who are corrupt in all their ways; on these the grace or favour of God cannot rest; they profess to know him, but in works deny him. Such can neither expect favour here, nor hereafter.
Amen.] This is wanting in ABFG, and some others. It is, however, more likely to be a genuine subscription here than most others of its kind. The apostle might have sealed his most earnest wish by this word, which means not so much, so be it! or may it be so! but rather implies the faithfulness of him who had given the promises, and whose prerogative it was to give effect to the prayers which his own Spirit had inspired.
The principal subscriptions to this epistle are the following: To the Ephesians. The Epistle to the Ephesians is finished. To the Ephesians, written from Rome. To the Ephesians, written from Rome by Tychicus.
(This is the subscription which we have followed; and it is that of the larger number of modern MSS. and editions.) The Epistle to the Ephesians, written from Rome, and sent by Tychicus - SYRIAC. To the Ephesians.
- AETHIOPIC. VULGATE, no subscription. The end of this epistle, which was written from Rome by Tychicus. Praise be to God for ever. Amen.
- ARABIC. Written at Rome, and sent by Tychicus.
- COPTIC. The SAHIDIC is defective. The Epistle to the Ephesians is ended, which was written at Rome by Tychicus.
- Philoxenian SYRIAC.
We have had already occasion to observe that the subscriptions to the sacred books were not written by the authors themselves, but were added in a much later age, and generally by unskilful hands. They are consequently not much to be depended on, and never should be quoted as a part of the Divine oracles.
1. IT may be supposed that on the principal subject of this concluding chapter, the armour of God, I should have been much more diffuse. I answer, my constant aim is just to say enough, and no more, on any point.
Whether I attain this, in general, or not, I can still say it is what I have desired. As to the Christian armour, it does not appear to me that the apostle has couched such a profusion of mystical meaning in it as to require a huge volume to explain. I believe the Ephesians did not understand it so; nor did the primitive Church of God. Men of rich imaginations may write large volumes on such subjects; but when they come to be fairly examined, they will be found not to be explanations of the text, on which they professedly treat, but immense bodies of divinity, in which the peculiar creed of the writer, both with respect to doctrine and discipline, is amply set forth. Mr. Gurnal's Christian armour contains a great many excellences; but surely it does not require such a volume to explain the five verses of this chapter, in which the apostle speaks of the spiritual armour. The grand design of the apostle was to show that truth, righteousness, obedience to the Gospel, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, a well grounded hope of salvation, a thorough knowledge of the word of God, and a continual dependence on and application to him by prayer, were essentially necessary to every soul who desired to walk uprightly in this life, and finally to attain everlasting blessedness. This is the obvious meaning of the apostle; in this sense it was understood by the Ephesians, and by the primitive Church; we may amplify it as we please.
2. In two or three places, in the preceding notes, I have referred to a piece on a very remarkable rule relative to the Greek article, to be introduced at the end. From the labours of several learned men this subject has acquired considerable importance, and has excited no small interest among Biblical critics. The late benevolent, learned, and excellent Mr. Granville Sharp was, I believe, the first who brought this subject fairly before the public; he was followed by the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, a learned and intelligent clergyman of the Established Church.
The Rev. Dr. Middleton, late bishop of Calcutta, has presented the subject in all its force and excellence, fortified by innumerable proofs, and a great variety of critical disquisition. The principal design of these writers was to exhibit a new and substantial mode of proving the Divinity of our Lord and saviour. Their works are before the public, and within the reach of all who are capable of judging of this mode of proof.
The piece which I now subjoin is the result of the researches of one of my literary friends, H. S. Boyd, Esq., author of Translations from Chrysostom, &c., who has read the Greek writers, both sacred and profane, with peculiar attention; and has collected a vast number of additional examples, both from prose and poetic writers, for the confirmation and illustration of the rule in question, and in support of the great doctrine of the Godhead of Christ.
The critical reader, who has entered into this subject, will be glad to see such a number of pointed examples brought within his reach, which at once serve the purpose both of philology and divinity. The learned author has transmitted them to me for the purpose of insertion in this place; but want of room has obliged me to omit several of his quotations. (1) (1) Since Dr. Clarke wrote this paragraph, the Essay on the Greek Article has undergone a careful revision by the author, and several additions have been made to it, which will, it is hoped, be valuable to the critical reader. It is now introduced in a separate form from the Commentary.
- THE PUBLISHERS I would not wish the reader to suppose that these are the only proofs of the grand doctrine of the Godhead of Christ; they are not: the Holy Scripture, in its plain, obvious meaning, independently of such criticism, affords the most luminous and convincing proofs of the doctrine in question; but this is no sufficient reason that we should reject any additional light which may come to us in the way of Divine Providence.
Finished the correction for a new edition, Dec. 15th, 1831.