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8Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ,

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8. To me, who am the least. He labors to exhibit himself, and everything that belongs to him, in as humiliating a light as possible, in order that the grace of God may be the more highly exalted. But this acknowledgment had the additional effect of anticipating the objections which his adversaries might bring against him. “Who is this man that God should have raised him above all his brethren? What superior excellence did he possess that he should be chosen in preference to all the others?” All such comparisons of personal worth are set aside by the confession, that he was the least of all the saints.

This is no hypocritical declaration. Most men are ready enough to make professions of feigned humility, while their minds are swelled with pride, and in words to acknowledge themselves inferior to every one else, while they wish to be regarded with the highest esteem, and think themselves entitled to the highest honor. Paul is perfectly sincere in admitting his unworthiness; nay, at other times he speaks of himself in far more degrading language.

“For I am the least of the apostles, and am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
(1 Corinthians 15:9.)

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief
(1 Timothy 1:15.)

But let us observe, that, when he speaks of himself as the meanest of all, he confines his attention to what he was in himself, apart from the grace of God. As if he had said, that his own worthlessness did not prevent him from being appointed, while others were passed by, to be the apostle of the Gentiles. The grace of God given to me is the expression used by him, to intimate that it was a peculiar gift, as compared with what had been bestowed on others. Not that he alone had been elected to discharge that office, but that he held the highest rank among “the teachers of the Gentiles,” — a title which he employs on another occasion as peculiar to himself.

“I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not,) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
(1 Timothy 2:7.)

By the unsearchable riches of Christ are meant the astonishing and boundless treasures of grace, which God had suddenly and unexpectedly bestowed on the Gentiles. The Ephesians are thus reminded how eagerly the gospel ought to be embraced, and how highly it ought to be esteemed. This subject has been treated in the Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 1:15, 16; 2:7, 9.) And certainly, while Paul held the office of apostleship in common with others, it was an honor peculiar to himself to be appointed apostle of the Gentiles.




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