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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. He enlivened you, when you were dead. These words, he enlivened or restored to life, are necessary to express the literal sense and construction, as appears from the following fifth verse. By what is here translated offences, are commonly understood trespasses less grievous than by the word sins. Wi. — God hath quickened you, or restored you to life; these words, expressed in v. 5, are understood in this: in some editions they are expressed. V.
Ver. 2. According to the course of this world, (i.e. the customs of this wicked corrupt world) according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit, &c. meaning the devils, who are permitted to exercise their power upon the earth, or in the air. See Jo. xii. 10. xiv. 30. xvi. 11. Wi. — Secundum sæculum mundi hujus: according to the custom of this world. You were dead to the eyes of God, but you live in the eyes of the world: and how do you live? according to the maxims of the world, in idolatry, in crime, in corruption of manners. Corrumpi et corrumpere sæculum est. Tacitus. Calmet.
Ver. 3. Among whom, &c. S. Jerom (p. 3) refers it to trespasses or sins. — Were by nature; not by nature according to the state of man's first creation in paradise, but by nature infected with original sin by the fall of our first parents. — Even as the rest; that is, all mankind. Wi.
Ver. 4, &c. But God . . . hath raised us up together, both Gentiles and Jews, to life in Christ, remitting our sins by faith in him, and by the grace of our merciful Redeemer, by his pure mercy, not by any works of ours, nor merely by the works of the former law. — Hath made us in a condition to sit together in heavenly places, to be hereafter crowned in heaven. Wi.
Ver. 5. Quickened us together in Christ. Faith, baptism, and grace, are pledges of our future resurrection and glorification in heaven. Our present conversion is also a kind of resurrection. The time is come, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live. S. Aug. upon S. John, No. 7.
Ver. 8. Faith is the beginning, foundation, and root of justification, and the first of all other virtues, without which it is impossible to please God. B.
Ver. 9. Not of works, as of our own growth, or from ourselves: but as from the grace of God. Ch.
Ver. 10. For we are his workmanship, not only as to our body and soul, but by a new creation in Christ Jesus, with a new heart by his grace. Wi. — S. Paul now compares our conversion to creation, to shew that we had been called and justified without preceding merit. In the same manner as the things which God has drawn out of nothing, cannot glory as if they had contributed any thing to their existence. S. Jerom. hic.
Ver. 11-12. Be mindful that as for you, who were Gentiles, who were called an uncircumcised people by the circumcised Jews, that you were without Christ, without the hopes or expectation of the Messias, alienated from the conversation of those who were God's elect people, and from the promises particularly made to them, that the Messias should be of their race: without God in this world, i.e. without the knowledge and the worship of God. But now by Christ, by believing in him, you who seemed to be afar off, are made near by his blood, (v. 13) by him who died for all; for he hath brought peace to all men, breaking down by his incarnation and death that wall of partition, that enmity betwixt the Jews and Gentiles, making them but one; abolishing that former law, of so many ordinances, precepts, and ceremonies, by decrees, (which may signify by his divine decrees; or rather, as S. Jerom expounds it by the Greek, abolishing the old law and its precepts by the precepts and doctrine of the new law) that he might reconcile to God both the Jews and Gentiles, that now they might be one mystical body, to wit, the Church of Christ, of which he is the head. Remember then that you are no longer strangers and foreigners, as you were when the Jews were the only elect people of God: now, by faith and hope, you are fellow-citizens with the saints and with all the elect people of God: you are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, (v. 20) who, by their prophecies concerning the Messias, and by their teaching and preaching of the gospel, are as it were subordinate foundation-stones under Christ, the chief founder and the chief corner-stone of his Church; in whom you also (Christians, at Ephesus, and all the faithful) are built up together, (v. 22) as parts of a spiritual edifice or temple, where God inhabits. Wi.
Ver. 14. Christ destroyed the enmity which, like a wall of separation, stood between Jew and Gentile, and united them into one people. He did this in his flesh, by his own blood, or the sacrifice he made of his flesh on the cross. Calmet.
Ver. 19. You are no longer strangers with regard to God and his holy alliance. You are no longer travellers and vagabonds, without a God, as you were before your conversion; not knowing to whom you belonged, nor finding in paganism either solid foundation or truth, neither hopes for this nor consolation for future life. But now you are become citizens of the same city as the saints, and domestics of the house of God. Calmet.
Ver. 20. The Church is in this place said to be built upon the apostles and prophets; why not then upon S. Peter?