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4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us

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4. But God, who is rich in mercy. 122122     “That is, exceedingly bountiful and liberal in the exercise of mercy. And in this metaphorical sense, the words ‘rich’ and ‘riches’ are used by the best writers. Lucian speaks of πλοῦτος φιλοσοφίας, ‘the riches of philosophy.’ The Roman orator frequently speaks of the ‘riches of the mind,’ by which he means those excellencies of understanding and virtue which are the peculiar ornaments and riches of it. De Orat. I. So the apostle means here the infinite benignity of the Divine Nature, and his unchangeable disposition to be merciful.” — Chandler. Now follows the second member of the sentence, the substance of which is, that God had delivered the Ephesians from the destruction to which they were formerly liable; but the words which he employs are different. God, who is rich in mercy, hath quickened you together with Christ. The meaning is, that, there is no other life than that which is breathed into us by Christ: so that we begin to live only when we are ingrafted into him, and enjoy the same life with himself. This enables us to see what the apostle formerly meant by death, for that death and this resurrection are brought into contrast. To be made partakers of the life of the Son of God, — to be quickened by one Spirit, is an inestimable privilege.

On this ground he praises the mercy of God, meaning by its riches, that it had been poured out in a singularly large and abundant manner. The whole of our salvation is here ascribed to the mercy of God. But he presently adds, for his great love wherewith he loved us. 123123     “‘Loving with love,’ increaseth the emphasis and force of the expression. Cicero hath an expression exactly parallel: ‘Cura ut me ames amore illo tuo singulari.’ — Ep. Fam. ‘Be sure you love me with your singular and peculiar love.’ An allowed beauty in a profane author should not be censured as a tautology in a sacred one.” — Chandler. This is a still more express declaration, that all was owing to undeserved goodness; for he declares that God was moved by this single consideration. “Herein,” says John, “is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. — We love him because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:10,19.)




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