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Ephesians 5:15-20

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 Domini.

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 Spiritu.

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, 160160     “In μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι ἀλλ ᾿ ὡς σοφοὶ we have an antithetical parallelism, (such as is found in the Classical as well as the Scriptural writers,) where, for emphasis’ sake, a proposition is expressed both affirmatively and negatively, as in John 1:20, ὡμολόγησε καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, ‘he confessed and denied not.’ By ἄσοφοι, and σοφοὶ are meant the persons just before denoted by κότος and φῶς, and, a little after, termed ἄφρονες and συνίεντες, by a frequent Hebrew idiom, whereby Wisdom stands for Virtue, and Folly for Vice” — Bloomfield. 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 night,”
(Psalm 1:2,)

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 men.

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 161161     “The antecedent to is not οἴνος, but the entire clause — ‘in which vicious inebriety there is profligacy.’ The term, if it be derived from α privative and σώζω, is the picture of a sad result. The adjective ἄσωτος is used by the classics to signify one who is, as we say, ‘past redemption.’ The adverb ἀσώτὠς is used of the conduct of the prodigal son in the far country. (Luke 15:13.)” — Eadie. is lasciviousness. The Greek word ἀσωτία, 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 abhor drunkenness.

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? 162162     “This is a pleasant kind of drunkenness, which stimulates you, not to wanton dances or foolish songs, by which the Gentiles render homage to their deities, but to psalms, to hymns, to spiritual songs, by which you rejoice, and sing, and offer praise to the Lord, not with indecent roaring, as is the custom of drunk people, but inwardly in your minds and hearts.” — Erasmus.

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, (ver. 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. 163163     See Calvin Commentary on Philippians, Colossians, etc., page217. 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.


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