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15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

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15. But, speaking the truth. Having already said that we ought not to be children, destitute of reason and judgment, he now enjoins us to grow up in the truth. 145145     “ ᾿Αληθεύοντες does not seem properly to denote so much ‘speaking the truth,’ as ‘embracing and adhering to it;’ and, to render the Christian perfect, he must add to this regard to truth, love, or universal affection and benevolence. It was a noble saying of Pythagoras, agreeable to this sentiment of our apostle, ‘These are the two loveliest gifts of the gods to men, τό τε ἀληθεύειν καὶ τὸ εὐεργετεῖν, to embrace the truth, and be beneficent.’ AElian. 1. 12, c. 58.)” — Chandler. Though we have not arrived at man’s estate, we ought at least, as we have already said, to be advanced children. The truth of God ought to have such a firm hold of us, that all the contrivances and attacks of Satan shall not draw us from our course; and yet, as we have not hitherto attained full and complete strength, we must make progress until death.

He points out the design of this progress, that Christ may be the head, “that in all things he may have the pre-eminence,” (Colossians 1:18,) and that in him alone we may grow in vigor or in stature. Again, we see that no man is excepted; all are enjoined to be subject, and to take their own places in the body.

What aspect then does Popery present, but that of a crooked, deformed person? Is not the whole symmetry of the church destroyed, when one man, acting in opposition to the head, refuses to be reckoned one of the members? The Papists deny this, and allege that the Pope is nothing more than a ministerial head. But such cavils do them no service. The tyranny of their idol must be acknowledged to be altogether inconsistent with that order which Paul here recommends. In a word, a healthful condition of the church requires that Christ alone “must increase,” and all others “must decrease.” (John 3:30.) Whatever increase we obtain must be regulated in such a manner, that we shall remain in our own place, and contribute to exalt the head.

When he bids us give heed to the truth in love, he uses the preposition in, (ἐν,) like the corresponding Hebrew preposition ב, (beth,) as signifying with, — speaking the truth With love 146146     “ ᾿Αλγθεύοντες ἐν ἀγάπη, means much more than ‘speaking the truth in love;’ it signifies thinking, feeling, acting under the influence of ‘the truth, which worketh by love.’” — Brown. If each individual, instead of attending exclusively to his own concerns, shall desire mutual intercourse, there will be agreeable and general progress. Such, the Apostle assures us, must be the nature of this harmony, that men shall not be suffered to forget the claims of truth, or, disregarding them, to frame an agreement according to their own views. This proves the wickedness of the Papists, who lay aside the word of God, and labor to force our compliance with their decisions.




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