Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The eyes of your understanding.—The true reading is of your heart, for which the words “of your understanding” have been substituted, so as to yield a simpler and easier expression. The heart is similarly spoken of in relation to spiritual perception in Romans 1:21; 1Corinthians 2:9; 1Corinthians 4:5; it signifies the inner man in his entirety; and the phrase here used seems to convey the all-important truth, that for the knowledge of God all the faculties of understanding, conscience, and affection must be called into energy by the gift of the light of God.

That ye may know.—The knowledge which St. Paul here desires for the Ephesians, in accordance with the whole tone of this Epistle, is a knowledge of heavenly things, only experienced in part upon earth—with an experience, however, sufficient to be an earnest of the hereafter. The succession of ideas follows the order of conversion—first, “calling;” then acceptance to “inheritance;” lastly, “inward working of divine power” in the accepted. To each the conception of looking onward is attached; to the “calling” “hope,” to the “inheritance” “glory,” to the “power” the exaltation of Christ (and of us with Him; see Ephesians 2:6) to the right hand of God.

The hope of his calling.—(See Ephesians 4:4.) That is, probably, “the thing hoped for,” because promised, at our calling (as in Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5; Titus 2:3; Hebrews 6:18; and perhaps 1Timothy 1:1), for the other objects of knowledge with which it is here joined are certainly objective or external to ourselves. This hope is of the perfection of all, which we are called to enjoy really, but imperfectly, here.

The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.—Comp. Colossians 1:27, “the riches of the glory of this mystery . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The inheritance of God is the unity with Christ, in which lies the earnest and hope of glory. “Among the saints” is best connected with the word “inheritance,” showing that our personal inheritance of Christ gives us a place in the kingdom of heaven here and hereafter.

EPHESIANS

THE HOPE OF THE CALLING

Ephesians 1:18A man’s prayers for others are a very fair thermometer of his own religious condition. What he asks for them will largely indicate what he thinks best for himself; and how he asks it will show the firmness of his own faith and the fervour of his own feeling. There is nothing colder than the intercession of a cold Christian; and, on the other hand, in no part of the fervid Apostle Paul’s writings do his words come more winged and fast, or his spirit glow with greater fervour of affection and holy desire than in his petitions for his friends.

In that great prayer, of which my text forms a part, we have his response to the good news that had reached him of the steadfastness in faith and abundance in love of these Ephesian Christians. As the best expression of his glad love he asks for them the knowledge of three things, of which my text is the first, and the other two are the ‘riches of the glory of the inheritance’ and ‘the exceeding greatness of God’s power.’

Now if we take the ‘hope’ in my text, as is often done, as meaning the thing hoped for, there seems to be but a shadowy difference between the first and the second of these subjects of the apostolic petition. Whereas, if we take it as meaning, not the object on which the emotion is fixed, but the emotion itself, then all the three stand in a natural gradation and connection. We have, first, the Christian emotion; then the object upon which it is fixed; ‘the glory of the inheritance’; then the power by which the latter is brought and the former is realised. We shall consider the second and third of these petitions in following sermons. For the present I confine myself to this first, the Apostle’s great desire for Christians who had already made considerable progress in the Christian life, ‘that they may know,’ by experiencing it, ‘what is the hope of His calling.’

I. Now the first thought that these words suggest to me is this, that the Christian hope is based upon the facts of Christian experience.

What does the Apostle mean by naming it ‘the hope of his calling’? He means this, that the great act of the divine mercy revealed to us in the Gospel, by which God summons and invites men to Himself, will naturally produce in those who have yielded to it a hope of immortal and perfect life. Because God has called men, therefore the man who has yielded to the call may legitimately, and must, if he is to do his duty, cherish such a hope. It is clear enough that this is so, inasmuch as, unless there be a heaven of completeness for us who have yielded to the summons and obeyed the invitation of God in His Gospel, His whole procedure is enigmatical and bewildering. The fact of the call is inexplicable; the cost of it is no less so. It was not worth while for God to make the world unless with respect to another which was to follow. It is still less worth His while to redeem the world if the results of that redemption, as they are exhibited here and now, and as they are capable of being exhibited in this present condition of things, are all that are to flow from it. It was not worth Christ’s while to die, it was not worth God’s while to send His Son, there was no sense or consistency in that great voice that echoes from heaven, calling us to love and serve Him, unless, beyond the jangling contradictions, and imperfect attainments, and foiled aspirations, and fragmentary faith, and broken services of earth, there be a region of completeness where all that was tendency here shall have become effect; and all that was but in germ here, and sorely frostbitten by the ungenial climate, and shrivelled by the foul vapours in the atmosphere, shall blossom and burgeon into eternal life. The Christian life, as it is to-day, in its attainments and imperfections, is at once the witness of the reality of the power that has produced it, and clamantly calls for a sphere and environment in which that power shall be able to produce the effects which it is capable of producing.

God is ‘not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent.’ Men begin grand designs which never get further than the paper that they are drawn on; or they build a porch, and then they are bankrupt, or change their minds, or die, and the palace remains unrealised, and all that pass by mock and say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ But God’s designs are certain of accomplishment. Unless we are to be reduced to a state of utter intellectual bewilderment and confusion, and forgo our belief in His veracity and resources to execute His designs, the design that lies in the calling must needs lead on to the realm of perfectness. If we consider the agent by which it is effected, even the risen Christ; if we consider the cost at which it was accomplished, even the death on the Cross, the mission of His Son, and His assumption of the limitations of an incarnate life; if we consider the manifest potencies of the power that He has brought into operation in the present Christian life; and if we consider, side by side with these, the stark, staring contradictions and as manifest inevitable limitations of the effects of that power, His calling carries in its depths the assurance that what He means shall be done, that Jesus Christ has not died in vain, that He has not ascended to fill a solitary throne, but is the Firstfruits of a great harvest; and that we shall one day be all that it is in the gospel of our salvation to make us, unhindered by the limitations and unthwarted by the antagonisms of this poor human life of ours. Unless there be a heaven in which all desires shall be satisfied, all evils removed, all good perfected, all ragged trees made symmetrical and full-grown, and all souls that love Him radiant with His own perfect image, then the light that seemed a light from heaven is the most delusive of all the marsh-fires of earth, and nothing in the illusions of sense or of men’s cunning is so cruel or so tragic as the calling that seemed to be the voice of God, and summoned us to a heaven which was only a dream.

II. And so, secondly, notice how this hope of our text is in some sense the very topstone of the Christian life.

Paul has heard, concerning these people in Ephesus, of their faith and love. And because he has heard of these, therefore he brings this prayer. These two-the faith which apprehends the manifestation of God in Jesus Christ, and the love which that faith produces in the heart that accepts the revelation of the infinite love-are crowned by, and are imperfect without, and naturally lead on to the brightness of this great hope, Faith-the reliance of the spirit upon the veracity of the revealing God-gives hope its contents; for the Christian hope is not spun out of your own imaginations, nor is it the mere making objective in a future life of the unfulfilled desires of this disappointing present, but it is the recognition by the trusting spirit of the great and starry truths that are flashed upon it by the Word of God. Faith draws back the curtain, and Hope gazes into the supernal abysses. My hope, if it be anything else than the veriest will-o’-the-wisp and delusion, is the answer of my heart to the revealed truth of God.

Similarly the love which flows from faith not only necessarily leads on to the expectation of union being perfected with the object of its warm affection, but also so works upon the heart and character as that the false and seducing loves which draw away, like some sluice upon a river, the current of life from its true channel, are all sanctified and no more hinder hope. Loving, we hope for that which, unless we loved, would not draw desires nor yield foretastes of sweetness which, like perfumed oil, feed the pure flame of hope.

The triad of Christian graces is completed by Hope. Without her fair presence something is wanting to the completeness of her elder sisters. The great Campanile at Florence, though it be inlaid with glowing marbles, and fair sculptures, and perfect in its beauty, wants the gilded, skyward-pointing pinnacle of its topmost pyramid; and so it stands incomplete. And thus faith and love need for their crowning and completion the topmost grace that looks up to the sky, and is sure of a mansion there.

Brethren, our Christianity is wofully imperfect unless faith and love find their acme, their outstretching completion, in this Christian hope. Do you seek to complete your faith and love by a living hope full of immortality?

III. Thirdly, notice how this hope is an all-important element in the Christian life.

The Apostle asks for it as the best thing that can befall these Ephesian Christians, as the one thing that they need to make them strong and good and blessed. There are many other aspects of desire for them which appear in other parts of this letter. But here all Christian progress is regarded as being held in solution and included in vigorous hope.

Why is the activity of hope thus important for Christian life? Because it stimulates effort, calms sorrows, takes the fascination out of temptations, supplies a new aim for life and a new measure for the things of time and sense.

If we lived, as we ought to live, in the habitual apprehension of the great future awaiting all real Christians, would it not change the whole aspect of life? The world is very big when it is looked at from any point upon its surface; but suppose it could be looked at from the central sun, how large would it appear then? We can shift our station in like fashion, and then we get the true measure at once of the insignificance and of the greatness of life. This world means nothing worthy, except as an introduction to another. Not that thereby there will follow in any wise man contempt for the present, for the very same reference to the future which dwarfs the greatnesses and dwindles the sorrows, and almost extinguishes the dazzling lights of this present, does also lift it to its true significance and importance. It is the vestibule of that future, and that future is conditioned throughout by the results of the few years that we live here. An apprenticeship may be a very poor matter, looked at in itself; and the boy may say What is the use of my working at all these trivial things? but, since it is apprenticeship, it is worth while to attend to every trifle in its course, for attention to them will affect the standing of the man all his days.

Here and now we are getting ready for the great workshop yonder; learning the trick of the tools, and how to use our fingers and our powers, and, when the schooling is done, we shall be set to nobler work, and receive ample wages for the years here. Because that great ‘to-morrow will be as this day’ of earthly life, ‘and much more abundant,’ therefore it is no trifle to work amongst the trifles; and nothing is small which may tell on our condition yonder. The least deflection from the straight line, however acute may be the angle which the divergent lines enclose at the starting, and however small may seem to be the deviation from parallelism, will, if prolonged to infinity, have room between the two for all the stars, and the distance between them will be that the one is in heaven and the other is in hell. And so it is a great thing to live amongst the little things, and life gains its true significance when we dwarf and magnify it by linking it with the world to come.

If we only kept that hope bright before us, how little discomforts and sorrows and troubles would matter! Life would become ‘a solemn scorn of ills.’ It does not matter much what kind of cabin accommodation we have if we are only going a short voyage; the main thing is to make the port. If we, as Christian people, cherish, as we ought to do, this great hope, then we shall be able to control, and not to despise but to exalt this fleeting and transient scene, because it is linked inseparably with the life that is to come.

IV. Lastly, this hope needs enlightened eyes.

The Apostle prays that God may give to these Ephesians ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,’ and then he adds, as the result of that gift, the desire that the Ephesian believers may have ‘the eyes of their hearts enlightened.’ That is a remarkable expression. It does not mean, as an English reader might suppose it to mean, that the affections are the agents by which this knowledge reaches us; but ‘heart’ is here used, as it often is in Scripture, as a general expression for the whole inward life, and all that the Apostle means is that, by the gift of the Divine Spirit of wisdom, a man’s inner nature may be so touched as to be capable of perceiving and grasping the ‘hope of the calling.’

Observe, too, the language, ‘that ye may know the hope.’ How can you know a hope? How do you know any kind of feeling? By having it. The only way of knowing what is the hope is to hope, and this is only possible by dint of these eyes of the understanding being enlightened. For our inward nature, as we have it, and as we use it, without the touch of that Divine Spirit, is so engrossed with this present that the far-off blessedness to which my text refers has no chance of entering there. No man can look at something beside him with one eye, and at something half a mile off with the other. You have to focus the eye according to the object; and he who is gazing upon the near is thereby made blind to that which is afar off. If we go crawling along the low levels with our eyes upon the dust, then of course we cannot see the crown above.

We need more than the historical revelation of the light in order to enlighten the inward nature. There is many a man here now who knows all about the immortality that is brought to light by Jesus Christ just as well as the Christian man whose soul is full of the hope of it, and who yet, for all his knowledge, does not know the hope, because he has not felt it. You have to get further than to the acceptance intellectually of the historical facts of a risen and ascended Saviour before there can be, in your heart, any vital hope of immortality. The inward eye must be cleared and strengthened, cross lights must be shut out so that we may direct the single eye of our hearts towards the great objects which alone are worthy of its fixed contemplation. And we cannot do that without a divine help, that Spirit of wisdom which will fill our hearts if we ask for it, which will fix our affections, which will clear our eyesight, which will withdraw it from seeing vanity as well as give it reality to see.

But we must observe the conditions. Since this clearness of hope comes not merely from the acceptance as a truth of the fact of Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension, but comes through the gift of that Divine Spirit, then to have it you must ask for it. Christian people, do you ask for it? Do you ever pray-I do not mean in words, but in real desire-that God would help you to keep steadily before you that great future to which we are all going so fast? If you do you will get the answer. Seek for that Spirit; use it, and do not resist its touches. Do not fix your gaze on the world when God is trying to draw you to fix it upon Himself. Think more about Jesus Christ, more about God’s high calling, live nearer to Him, and try more honestly, more earnestly, more prayerfully, more habitually, even amidst all the troubles and difficulties and trivialities of each day, to cultivate that great faculty of joyful and assured hope.

Surely God did not endue us with the power of hoping that we might fling it all away on trivial, transient things. We are all far too short-sighted; our fault is not that we do not hope, but that we hope for such near things, for such small things, like the old mariners who had no compass nor sextant, and were obliged to creep timidly along the coasts, and steer from headland to headland. But we ought to launch boldly out into mid-ocean, knowing that we have before us that star that cannot guide us amiss. Do not set your hopes on the things that perish, for if you do, hopes fulfilled and hopes disappointed will be equally bitter in your mouths. And you older people who, like myself, are drawing near the end of your days, and have little else left to hope for in this world, do you see to it that your anticipations extend ‘above the ruinable skies.’ There is an object beyond experience, above imagination, without example, for which the creation wants a comparison, we an apprehension, and the Word of God itself a sufficient revelation. ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be.’ God hath called us to His eternal kingdom and glory; let us seek to walk in the light of the ‘hope of His calling.’

EPHESIANS



GOD’S INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS


Ephesians 1:18The misery of Hope is that it so often owes its materials to the strength of our desires or to the activity of our imagination. But when mere wishes or fancies spin the thread, Hope cannot weave a lasting fabric. And so one of the old prophets, in speaking of the delusive hopes of man, says that they are like ‘spiders’ webs,’ and ‘shall not become garments.’ Paul, then, having been asking for these Ephesian Christians that they might have hopes lofty and worthy, and such as God’s summons to them would inspire, passes on to ask that they might have the material out of which they could weave such hope, namely, a sure and clear knowledge of the future blessings. The language in which he describes that future is remarkable-’the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.’ He calls it God’s inheritance, not as meaning that God is the Inheritor, but the Giver. He speaks of it as ‘in the saints,’ meaning that, just as the land of Canaan was distributed amongst tribes and families, and each man got his own little plot, so that broad land is parted out amongst those who are ‘partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’

And so my text suggests to me three points to which I seek to call your attention. First, the inheritance; second, the heirs; and third, the heirs’ present knowledge of their future possession.

I. First, then, note the inheritance.

Now we must discharge from the word some of its ordinary associations. There is no reference to the thought of succession in it, as the mere English reader is accustomed to think-to whom inheritance means possession by the death of another. The idea is simply that of possession. The figure which underlies the word is, of course, that of the ancient partition of the land of Canaan amongst the tribes, but we must go a great deal deeper than that in order to understand its whole sweep and fulness of meaning.

What is the portion for a soul? God. God is Heaven, and Heaven is God. No interpretation of ‘the inheritance,’ however it may run into cheap and vulgar sensuous descriptions of a future glory, has come within sight of the meaning of the word, unless it has grasped this as the central thought: ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.’ Only God can be the portion of a human spirit. And none else can fill the narrowest and the smallest of man’s needs.

So, then, if there were realised all the accumulated changes of progress in blessedness, and the withdrawal of all external causes of disquiet and weariness and weeping, still the heart would hunger and be empty of its true possession unless God Himself had flowed into it. It were but a poor advancement and the gain of a loss, if yearnings were made immortal, and the aching vacuity, which haunts every soul that is parted from God, were cursed with immortality. It would be so, if it be not true that the inheritance is nothing less than the fuller possession of God Himself.

And how do men possess God? How do we possess one another, here and now? By precisely the same way, only indefinitely expanded and exalted, do we possess Him here, and shall we possess Him hereafter. Heart to heart is joined by love which is mutual and interpenetrating possession; where ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ become blended, like the several portions of the one ray of white light, in the blessed word ‘ours.’ Contemplation makes us possessors of God. Assimilation to His character makes us own and have Him. They who love and gaze, and are being changed by still degrees into His likeness, possess Him. This is the central idea of man’s future destiny and highest blessedness, a union with God closer and more intimate in degree, but yet essentially the same in kind, as is here possible amidst the shows and vanities and wearinesses of this mortal life. ‘His servants shall serve Him, and see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.’ Obedience, contemplation, transformation, these are the hands by which we here lay hold on God; and they in the heavens grasp Him just as we here on earth may do. The ‘inheritance’ is God Himself.

Surely that is in accordance with the whole teaching of Scripture, and is but the expansion of plain words which tell us that we ‘are heirs of God.’ If that be so, then all the other subsidiary blessings which have been, to the sore detriment of Christian anticipation and of Christian life in a hundred ways, elevated into disproportionate importance, fall into their right places, and are more when they are looked upon as secondary than when they are looked upon as primary.

Ah, brethren! neither the sensuous metaphors which, in accommodation to our weakness, Scripture has used to paint that future so that we may, in some measure, comprehend it, nor the translation of these, in so far as they refer to circumstances and externals, are enough for us. It is blessed to know that ‘there shall be no night there’-blessed to grasp all those sweet negatives which contradict the miseries of the world, and to think of no sin, no curse, no tears, no sighing nor sorrow, neither any more pain, ‘because the former things have passed away.’ It is sweet and ennobling to think that, when we are discharged of the load of this cumbrous flesh, we shall be much more ourselves, and able to see where now is but darkness, and to feel where now is but vacancy. It is blessed to think of the recognising of lost and loved ones. But all these blessednesses, heaped together, as it seems to me, would become sickeningly the same if prolonged through eternity, unless we had God for our very own. Eternal is an awful word, even when the noun that goes with it is blessedness. And I know not how even the redeemed could be saved, as the long ages rolled on, from the oppression of monotony, and the feeling, ‘I would not live always,’ unless God was ‘the strength of their hearts, and their portion for ever.’ We must rise above everything that merely applies to changes in our own natures and in our relations to the external universe, and to other orders of creatures; and grasp, as the hidden sweetness that lies in the calyx of the gorgeous flower, the possession of God Himself as the rapture of our joy and the heaven of our heaven.

And if that be so, then these accumulated words with which the Apostle, in his fiery, impetuous way, tries to set forth the greatness of what he is speaking about, receive a loftier meaning than they otherwise would have.

‘The riches of the glory of His inheritance’-now that word ‘riches,’ or ‘wealth,’ is a favourite of Paul’s; and in this single letter occurs, if I count rightly, five times. In addition to our text, it is used twice in connection with God’s grace, ‘the riches of His grace’ once in connection with Jesus, ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’; and once in a similar connection to, though with a different application from, our text, ‘the riches of His glory.’ Always, you see, it is applied to something that is special and properly divine. And here, therefore, it applies, not to the abundance of any creatural good, however exuberant and inexhaustible the store of it may be, but simply and solely to that unwearying energy, that self-feeding and ever-burning and never-decaying light, which is God. Of Him alone it can be said that work does not exhaust, nor Being tend to its own extinction, nor expenditure of resources to their diminution. The guarantee for eternal blessedness is the ‘riches’ of the eternal God, and so we may be sure that no time can exhaust, nor any expenditure empty, either His storehouse or our wealth.

And again, the ‘glory’ is not the lustrous light, however dazzling to our feeble eyes that may be, of any creature that reflects the light of God, but it is the far-flashing and never-dying radiance of His own manifestation of Himself to the hearts and souls of them that love Him. And so the ‘inheritance is incorruptible and undefiled, and fadeth not away’; not merely by reason of the communicated will of God operating upon creatures whom He preserves untarnished by corruption, and ungnawed by decay, but because He Himself is the ‘inheritance,’ and on Him time hath no power. On His wealth all His creatures may hang for ever; and it shall be as it was in the sweet parable of the miracle of old, the fragments that remain will be more than when the meal began. ‘The riches of the glory of His inheritance.’

II. Now notice, secondly, the heirs.

The words of my text receive, perhaps, their best commentary and explanation in those words which the writer of them heard, on the Damascus road, when the voice from heaven spoke to him about men ‘obtaining an inheritance among them that are sanctified.’ It almost sounds like an echo of that long past, but never-to-be-forgotten voice, when our Apostle writes as he does in our text.

Now what does he mean by ‘saints’? Who are these amongst whom the broad acres of that infinite prairie are to be parted out? The word has attracted to itself contemptuous meanings and ascetical meanings, and meanings which really deny the true democracy of Christianity and the equality of all believers in the sight of God. But its scriptural use has none of these narrowing and confusing associations adhering to it, nor does it even directly and at first mean, as we generally take it to mean, pure men, holy in the sense of clean and righteous. But something goes before that phase of meaning, and it is this-a saint is a man separated and set apart for God, as His property. That is the true meaning of the word. It is its meaning as it is applied to the vessels of the Temple, the priests, the services, and the altar. It is its meaning, only with the necessary substitution of spirit for body, as it is applied in the New Testament as a designation co-extensive with that of believers.

How does a man belong to God?

We asked a minute or two ago how God belonged to men. The answer to the converse question is almost identical. A man belongs to God by the affection of his heart, by the submission of his will, by the reference of his actions to Him; and he who thus belongs to God, in the same act in which he gives himself to God, receives God as his possession. The thing must be reciprocal. ‘All mine is Thine’; and God answers, ‘And all Mine is thine.’ He ever meets our ‘O Lord, I yield myself to Thee,’ with His ‘And My child, I give Myself to thee.’ It is so in regard of our earthly loves. It is so in regard of our relations to Him. And that being the case, purity, which is generally taken by careless readers as being the main idea of sanctity, will follow this self-surrender, which is the basis of all goodness, everywhere and always.

If that be true, and I do not think it can be effectively denied, then the next step is a very plain one, and that is that for the perfect possession of God, which is heaven, the same thing is needed in its perfection which is required for the partial possession of Him that makes the Christian life of earth. And just as here we get Him for ours in proportion as we give up ourselves to be His, so yonder the inheritance belongs, and can only belong to, ‘the saints.’ So, then, one can see that there is nothing arbitrary in this limitation of a possession, which in its very nature cannot go beyond the bounds which are thus marked out for it. If heaven were the vulgar thing that some of you think it, if that future life were desirable simply because you escaped from some external punishment and got all sorts of outward blessings and joys, felicities and advantages, hung round the neck, or pinned upon the breast, as they do to successful fighters, why then, of course, there might be partiality in the distribution of the decorations. But if that possession hinges upon our yielding ourselves to Him, then there is not an arbitrary link in the whole chain. Faith is set forth as the condition of heaven, because faith is the means of union with Christ, by and from whom alone we draw the motives for self-surrender and the power for sanctity. You cannot have heaven unless you have God. That is step number one. You cannot have God unless you have ‘holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ That is step number two. You cannot have holiness without faith. That is step number three. ‘An inheritance among them that are sanctified’; and then there is added, ‘by faith which is in Me.’

It is clear, too, what a fatal delusion some of us are under who think that we shall, and fancy that we should like to, as we say, ‘go to heaven when we die.’ Why, heaven is here, round about you, a present heaven in the imitation of God, in the practice of righteousness, in the cultivation of dependence upon Him, in the yielding of yourselves up to Him. Heaven is here, and by your own choice you stop outside of it. There must be a correspondence between environment and nature for blessedness. ‘The mind is its own place,’ as the great Puritan poet taught us, ‘and makes a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.’ Fishes die on the shore, and the man that drew them out dies in the water. Gills cannot breathe where lungs are useful, and lungs cannot, where gills come into play. If you have not here and now the holiness which knits you to God, and gives you possession of Him, you would not like ‘heaven,’ if it were possible to carry you to that place, in so far as it is a place. It is rather strange, if you hope to go to heaven when you die, that you should be very unwilling to spend a little time in it whilst you are alive, and that you should expect blessedness then from that presence of God which brings you no blessedness now.

III. Lastly, we have here the heirs’ present knowledge of their future blessedness.

The Apostle asks that these men may know a thing that clearly seems unknowable. It is an impossible petition, we might be ready to say, because it is clear enough that there can be no true knowledge of the conditions and details of that future life. The dark mountains that lie between us and it hide their secret well, and few or no stray beams have reached us. An unborn babe, or a chrysalis in a hole in the ground or in a chink of a tree, might think as wisely about its future condition as we can do about that life beyond. There can be no knowledge until there is experience.

What, then, does Paul mean by framing such a petition as this? The answer is found in noticing that the knowledge which he is imploring here is a consequence of a previous knowledge. For, in a former verse, he prays that these men may have ‘the spirit of wisdom in the knowledge of God’; and when they have got the knowledge of God he thinks that they will have got the knowledge of ‘the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.’ Now, turn that into other words, and it is just this, that the knowledge of God, which comes by faith and love here, is in kind so identical with the fullest and loftiest riches of the knowledge of Him hereafter, that, if we have the one, we are not without the other. The one is in germ, the other, no doubt, full blown; the one is the twinkling of the rushlight, as it were, the other is the blaze of the sunshine. The two states of being are so correspondent that from the one we draw our clearest knowledge of the other. There are telescopes, in using which you do not look up when you want to see the stars, but down on to a reflecting mirror, and there you see them. Such a reflecting mirror, though it be sometimes muddied and dimmed and always very small, are the experiences of the Christian soul here.

So, dear friends, if we want to know as much as may be known of the blessedness of heaven, let us seek to possess as much as may be possessed of the knowledge and love of God on earth. Then we shall know the centre, at any rate; and that is light, though the circumference may be very dark. Much will remain obscure. That is of very small consequence to Hope, which does not need information half so much as it needs assurance. Like some flower in the cranny of the rock, it can spread a broad bright blossom on little soil, if only it be firmly rooted.

The path for us all is plain. Come to Jesus Christ as sinful men, and take what He has given, who has given Himself for us. Touched by His love, let us love Him back again, and yield ourselves to Him, and He will give Himself to us. They who can say, ‘O Lord! I am Thine,’ are sure to hear from heaven, ‘I am thine.’ And they who possess, in being possessed by, God Himself, do not need to die in order to go to heaven, but are at least doorkeepers in the house of the Lord now, and stand where they can see into the inner sanctuary which they will one day tread. A life of faith brings Heaven to us, and thereby gives us the surest and the clearest knowledge of what we shall be, and have, when we are brought to heaven.Ephesians 1:18-21. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened — That is, I pray that God would do this for you by the discoveries of his gospel, and the operation of his grace. Observe, reader, it is by the eyes of the understanding alone that we discern the things of God; and in order hereto these eyes must first be opened, and then enlightened, by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, spoken of in the former verse. That ye may know what is the hope of his calling — That ye may know, experimentally and delightfully, what are the blessings which God, by his word and Spirit, has called you to hope for. For hope seems to be put here chiefly for the objects of hope, as it is likewise Colossians 1:5; Titus 2:13. The apostle, however, may also include the grounds of this hope; with which, in order to their further establishment, the apostle wished them to be more fully acquainted. And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in his saints — How great the blessings of his grace are, conferred on his saints here, and what an immense treasure of blessedness and glory he hath provided for them hereafter. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward, who cordially believe — Both in raising our souls from the death of sin, and preserving them in spiritual life; influencing our hearts in such a manner as effectually to conquer all our prejudices against Christianity, and against true religion in every form, and so as to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus; according to the working of his mighty power — Greek, κατα την ενεργειαν του κρατους της ισχους αυτου, expressions, the strong emphasis and admirable force of which, as Bishop Pearson has observed, are scarcely to be paralleled in any author, and are superior to what our language can reach. Doddridge renders them, according to the energy of the power of his might, a translation which, however, falls very short of the original. See also Blackwall’s Sacred Classics, vol. 1. p. 307. Which he wrought in Christ — By the same almighty power whereby he raised Christ from the dead, for no less would suffice; and set him at his own right hand — That is, he hath exalted him in his human nature, as a recompense for his sufferings, to the quiet, everlasting possession of all possible blessedness, majesty, and glory. Far above all principality and power, and might and dominion — That is, God hath invested him with uncontrollable authority over all demons in hell, and angels in heaven, and all the princes and potentates on earth; and every name that is named — Name is here, by a usual figure, put for the person who possesses the authority signified by that name. We know the king is above all, though we cannot name all the officers of his court: so we know that Christ is above all, though we are not able to name all his subjects; not only in this world, but also in that which is to come — The invisible world, in which the potentates mentioned in the former part of the verse rule, is called the world to come, not because it does not yet exist, but because it is to come to us, not being yet visible. We may observe here, that of the four different names given to good angels in this verse, the two first αρχαι, principalities, and εξουσιαι, powers, are given to evil angels, (Ephesians 6:12,) and to men, Luke 12:11. From this we learn, that there are different orders and degrees of government and subordination among good and bad angels in the invisible world, as among men in the visible world. It is observed by Chandler, that αρχη, the first word, signifies empire of the largest extent, being used by Greek writers to denote the empire of Alexander, after he had conquered the East, and the empire of the Romans; and that κυριοτης, the last word in the verse, signifies the lowest degree of power, power of the smallest extent. So that although we do not know precisely what kind or degree of power is marked by these different names, when applied to good and bad angels, yet we perceive the meaning in general to be, that to our Lord, in his human nature, are subjected the highest, the intermediate, and the lowest orders of beings in the universe; having power, whether among angels or men. According to this view of Christ’s dominion, he is placed above every created nature, however excellent it may be. See Macknight, and Colossians 1:16.1:15-23 God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom. Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke, though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do we not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.The eyes of your understanding being enlightened - The construction here in the Greek is, probably, "that he may give you (δώη dōē, Ephesians 1:17) the Spirit of wisdom, etc. - eyes of the understanding enlightened," etc. Or the phrase, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened," may be in the accusative absolute, which Koppe and Bloomfield prefer. The phrase, "the eyes of the understanding," is a figure that is common in all languages. Thus, Philo says, "What the eye is to the body, that is the mind to the soul;" compare Matthew 6:22. The eye is the instrument by which we see; and in like manner the understanding is that by which we perceive truth. The idea here is, that Paul not only wished their "hearts" to be right, but he wished their "understanding" to be right also. Religion has much to do in enlightening the mind. Indeed, its effect there is not less striking and decisive than it is on the heart. The understanding has been blinded by sin. The views which people entertain of themselves and of God are narrow and wrong. The understanding is enfeebled and perverted by the practice of sin. It is limited in its operations by the necessity of the case, and by the impossibility of fully comprehending the great truths which pertain to the divine administration. One of the first effects of true religion is on the understanding. It enlarges its views of truth; gives it more exalted conceptions of God; corrects its errors; raises it up toward the great Fountain of love. And nowhere is the effect of the true religion more apparent than in shedding light on the intellect of the world, and restoring the weak and perverted mind to a just view of the proportion of things, and to the true knowledge of God.

That ye may know what is the hope of his calling - What is the full import of that hope to which he has called and invited you by his Spirit and his promises. The meaning here is, that it would be an inestimable privilege to be made fully acquainted with the benefits of the Christian hope, and to be permitted to understand fully what Christians have a right to expect in the world of glory. This is the first thing which the apostle desires they should fully understand,

And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance - This is the second thing which Paul wishes them to understand. There is a force in this language which can be found perhaps nowhere else than in the writings of Paul. His mind is full, and language is burdened and borne down under the weight of his thoughts; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:17. On the word "riches" used here, see the notes at Ephesians 1:7. The phrase "riches of glory" means "glorious wealth;" or, as we would say, "how rich and glorious!" The meaning is, that there is an abundance - an infinitude of wealth. It is not such a possession as man may be heir to in this world, which is always limited from the necessity of the case, and which cannot be enjoyed long; it is infinite and inexhaustible; compare notes, Romans 2:4. The "inheritance" hero referred to is eternal life. notes, Romans 8:17.

In the saints - Among the saints. note, 1 Corinthians 1:2.

18. understanding—The oldest manuscripts, versions, and Fathers, read "heart." Compare the contrary state of unbelieving, the heart being in fault (Eph 4:18; Mt 13:15). Translate, "Having the eyes of your heart enlightened" (Eph 5:14; Mt 4:16). The first effect of the Spirit moving in the new creation, as in the original physical creation (Ge 1:3; 2Co 4:6). So Theophilus to Autolycus (1.3), "the ears of the heart." Where spiritual light is, there is life (Joh 1:4). The heart is "the core of life" [Harless], and the fountain of the thoughts; whence "the heart" in Scripture includes the mind, as well as the inclination. Its "eye," or inward vision, both receives and contemplates the light (Mt 6:22, 23). The eye is the symbol of intelligence (Eze 1:18).

the hope of his calling—the hope appertaining to His having called you; or, to the calling wherewith He has called you.

and—omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions.

riches of the glory—(Col 1:27).

his inheritance in the saints—The inheritance which he has in store in the case of the saints. I prefer explaining, "The inheritance which He has in his saints." (See on [2363]Eph 1:11; De 32:9).

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, viz. by that

spirit of revelation: and so this clause explains the former. What the eye is to the body, that the understanding is to the soul. He prays for a further degree of illumination for them.

That ye may know what is the hope of his calling; either:

1. The object of hope, the thing hoped for, as Colossians 1:5 Galatians 5:5; and then the meaning is, what it is to the hope of which God hath called you by the gospel. Or:

2. The grace of hope: q.d. That ye may know how great, and sure, and well grounded that hope is, which by the gospel is wrought in you.

And what the riches of the glory; the glorious riches, or the abundant glory; riches of glory, and riches of grace, Ephesians 1:7, and riches of glory, Romans 6:23.

Of his; because he is the Father of it: he gives this glory as the Father of glory. As men give inheritances suitable to their estates, so God, as the God of glory, and Father of glory, gives a glorious inheritance.

Inheritance; heaven, called an inheritance both in respect of believers’ title to it by virtue of their adoption, being heirs of God; and in respect of the perpetuity of their enjoying it, on which account it is called an eternal inheritance, Hebrews 9:15.

In the saints; or, among the saints, those, namely, that are perfect, who alone are possessed of the inheritance, which saints on earth have only in hope. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened,.... By the Spirit of God already, to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin; the insufficiency of their own righteousness; the beauty, glory, fulness, and suitableness of Christ, as a Saviour; the excellency, truth, and usefulness of the doctrines of the Gospel; in which their understandings were before dark, but now had light into them: wherefore these words are not to be considered as part of the apostle's petitions, but rather as what was taken for granted by him; and are to be put into a parenthesis, and the following words to be joined in connection with the preceding verse; unless it should be thought, that the apostle prays for greater illuminations, and for more spiritual light, and that the eyes of their understandings might be more and more enlightened; the phrase, , , "the eye of the understanding", is Rabbinical, and often to be met with in Jewish writings (f); the Alexandrian copy, and several others, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, "the eyes of your heart"; and to, , "the eyes of the hearts, or minds", is a phrase used by the Jewish writers (g):

that ye may know what is the hope of his calling; by which is meant, the effectual calling of the saints; which is not a call to an office, or a call merely by the external ministry of the word; but which is internal, special, powerful, high, and heavenly: and this is the calling of God, of which he is the author; who calls with an holy calling, unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus; and which is without repentance: and the hope of this calling, is either eternal happiness, which is the thing hoped for; or Christ, who is the ground and foundation of it; or the grace of hope, which is exercised on both; or all three: for hope of eternal glory, as it is founded on Christ, may be said to be the hope of the calling of God, because it is wrought in the soul at the time of the effectual calling, and what saints are then called to the exercise of; and calling grace, is an encouragement to hope for eternal life; since whom God calls, he justifies and glorifies: and now the apostle prays, that these saints who were called by the grace of God, might know more of Christ, the foundation of their hope; and what that is they are hoping for, and more and more what it is to hope for the same, upon the view of Christ's person, blood, and righteousness:

and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; the saints themselves are the Lord's portion, and the lot of his inheritance, in whom he is, and will be abundantly glorified; but here it rather seems to design the heavenly inheritance before spoken of, of which the Spirit is the earnest; and this is the Lord's, it is of his preparing, and it is his gift, and a very rich and glorious inheritance it is: hence it is not only signified by mansions, and everlasting habitations, by an house, and by a city, but by a kingdom; the riches of grace are preparatory to it, and the riches of glory are comprised in it; and this is in, or among the saints, who only have a right unto it, and a meetness for it; and what this inheritance is, with the riches and glory of it, will not be fully known in this life; and indeed but little of it is known; so that such a petition as this is always proper and pertinent.

(f) Zohar in Deut. fol. 119. 3. Jetzirah, p. 22. 78. Ed. Rittangel. R. Levi ben Gersom in Gen. fol. 14. 3. & Philo de opificio Dei, p. 15. (g) Bechinat Olam, p. 260.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the {y} hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

(y) What blessings they are which he calls you to hope for, whom he calls to Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 1:18. Πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς κ.τ.λ.] is usually (as also by Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Holzhausen, Harless, Winzer, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel, Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 272 [E. T. 317]) taken as appositional, and made dependent on δῴη ὑμῖν; in which case it has been rightly observed that the translation should not be, with Luther: enlightened eyes, but, on account of the article: He may give to you the eyes enlightened, etc. But (1) in general an enlightened understanding is not proper to be set forth as in apposition to the Holy Spirit, but rather as the effect of the same. (2) The conception that God gives to them their eyes (which as such they already have) in the condition of enlightenment, as πεφωτισμένους, remains in any case an awkward one; inasmuch as we should have to transform the giving, which was still a proper and actual giving in Ephesians 1:17 zeugmatically into the notion of making at Ephesians 1:18 (Flatt, following Heinsius, quite arbitrarily supplies εἶναι), in order to remove the incongruity caused by the presence of the article. Bengel, with his fine insight, aptly remarks: “Quodsi ὀφθαλμούς esset sine articulo, posset in sensu abstracto sumi (enlightened eyes) et cum det construi.” Hence, with Beza, Bengel, Koppe, Bleek, πεφωτισμ. is to be taken as the so-called accusative absolute, such as, from a mingling in the conception of two sorts of construction, is to be met with often also in classical writers—and that without repeating the subject (ὑμᾶς) in the accusative (in opposition to Buttmann)—instead of another case which would be required in strict accordance with the construction, particularly instead of the dative (ὕπεστί μοι θράσος ἁδυπνόνων κλύουσαν ἀρτίως ὀνειράτων, Soph. El. 479 f.; Plat. Lach. p. 186 D; Thuc. v. 79. 1); and thus Beza’s proposal to read πεφωτισμένοις was entirely uncalled for. Comp. Acts 26:3. See, generally, Brunck, ad Soph. l.c.; Jacobs, ad Athen. p. 97; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 176 D, and ad Rep. pp. 386 B, 500 C, 586 E; Kühner and Krüger, ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 1; Nägelsb. on Iliad, ed. 3, p. 181. Accordingly, πεφωτισμ. relates to ὑμῖν, and τοὺς ὀφθ. is the accusative of more precise definition: enlightened in respect of the eyes of your heart, i.e. so that ye are then enlightened, etc., with which is expressed the result of the communication of the Spirit prayed for (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Php 3:21; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 897 f.; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 690).

τοὺς ὀφθαλμ. τῆς καρδ. ὑμ.] figurative designation of the understanding (Plat. Pol. vii. p. 533 D: τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα, Soph. p. 254 A; comp. Ovid. Met. xv. 64, and see Grotius and Wetstein), which is enlightened, when man discerns the divine truth. The opposite: Romans 1:21; Romans 11:8; Romans 11:10. The reference of the enlightenment to knowledge is necessarily given by ὀφθαλμούς, and should not have been regarded as one-sided (in opposition to Harless); and the power of the new life is not here included under the πεφωτισμ., since it is not the heart in general, but the eyes of the heart that are set forth as enlightened, consequently the organ of cognition. Comp. Clem. ad Cor. 1.Eph 19: ἐμβλέψομεν τοῖς ὄμμασι τῆς ψυχῆς εἰς τὸ μακρόθυμον αὐτοῦ βούλημα; and 1.Eph 36: ἠνεῴχθησαν ἡμῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ τῆς καρδίας.

καρδία] does not merely denote, according to the popular biblical usage, the faculty of emotion and desire (Olshausen, Opusc. p. 159; Stirm in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 53), but is the concrete expression for the central seat of the psychicopneumatic personality, consequently embracing together all the agencies (thinking, willing, feeling) in the exercise of which man has the consciousness of his personal inward experience; in which case the context must suggest what side of the self-conscious inner activity of life (here, the cognitive) is in particular to be thought of. Comp. Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 4:12; Php 4:7; 2 Peter 1:19; and see, on the activity of the heart in thinking and cognition, Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 248 f., as also Krumm, de notionib. psychol. Paul. p. 50.[114]

εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς] aim of ΠΕΦΩΤΙΣΜ. Κ.Τ.Λ.: in order that ye may know what (quanta) is the hope of His calling, i.e. what a great and glorious hope is given to the man, whom God has called to the kingdom of the Messiah, by means of that calling (τῆς κλήσ. is genitive of the efficient cause). ἘΛΠΊς, accordingly, is not here, any more than elsewhere (Romans 8:24; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5, al.), res specrata, as the majority, including Meier and Olshausen, take it. Observe also here the three main elements in the subjective state of Christians: faith, and love, and hope (Ephesians 1:15; Ephesians 1:18); in presence of faith and love the enlightenment by the Holy Spirit is to make the glory of hope more and more known; for the πολίτευμα of Christians is in heaven (Php 3:20), whither their whole thoughts and efforts are directed. Faith, with the love which accompanies it, remains the centre of Christianity; but hope withal encourages and animates by holding before them the constant object of their aim. Comp. Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18 ff.; 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff.; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 13:12 f.; Galatians 6:9; Php 3:12 ff.; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 3:1 ff. This in opposition to Weiss, who here finds hope brought into prominence, “quite after the Petrine manner,” as the centre of Christianity (Petrin. Lehrbegr. p. 427).

καὶ τίς ὁ πλοῦτος κ.τ.λ.] this is now the object of the hope. The repetition of τίς, as well as the ΚΑῚ ΤΊςΚΑῚ ΤΊ, has rhetorical emphasis (comp. Romans 11:34 f.); and, in Ὁ ΠΛΟῦΤΟς Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς Τῆς ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑς ΑὐΤΟῦ, what a copious and grand accumulation, mirroring, as it were, the weightiness of the thing itself! which is not to be weakened by adjectival resolution of the genitives. Comp. Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 4:17. ΔΌΞΑ, glory, is the essential characteristic of the Messianic salvation to be received from God as an inheritance at the Parousia (Romans 8:17); and how great the rich fulness of this glory is, the readers are called to realize. ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις does not mean: in the Holiest of all (Hebrews 9:12), as Homberg and Calovius conjectured, for this is not suggested by the context; but: among the saints (Numbers 18:23; Job 42:15; Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18); for the community of believers (these are the ἅγιοι, Ephesians 1:1; Ephesians 1:4), inasmuch as they are to be the subjects of the Messianic bliss, is the sphere, outside of which this ΠΛΟῦΤΟς Κ.Τ.Λ. will not be found. Comp. Ὁ ΚΛῆΡΟς ΤῶΝ ἉΓΊΩΝ, Colossians 1:12. It is connected with the ἘΣΤΊ to be mentally supplied after ΤΊς, so that we have to translate, as is required by the article before ΠΛΟῦΤΟς: what, i.e. how great and exceeding, is the riches, etc., among the saints. Harless objects that Paul must have written ὁ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις, and that ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς receives unduly the main stress. But the construction ΤΊς ἘΣΤΙΝ Ὁ ΠΛΟῦΤΟς ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς is in fact logically quite correct, and ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς would have of necessity the main emphasis only if it stood after ΤΊς. Usually (as by Rückert, Harless, Winzer, Olshausen, but not by Koppe and de Wette) ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς is regarded as an appendage to Τῆς ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜ. ΑὐΤΟῦ: “the inheritance given by God among the saints,” in connection with which Rückert, quite at variance with N.T. usage, explains ΟἹ ἍΓΙΟΙ of the “collective body of morally good beings in the other world.” But since Ἡ ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ ΘΕΟῦ is completely and formally defined by this very ΘΕΟῦ (ΑὐΤΟῦ), and does not first receive its completeness by means of ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς (see, on the contrary, Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7), this more precisely defining addition must have been attached by means of Τῆς, and passages like Romans 9:3; 1 Timothy 6:17Ephesians 1:18. πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν: the eyes of your understanding (heart) being enlightened. For the διανοίας of the TR, which is very poorly attested, καρδίας is to be read (with LTTrWHRV) on the authority of the best MSS., representing the different families ([96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] [102], etc.). The ὑμῶν is to be retained, though it is omitted by [103] 17, etc., and is bracketed by WH. The syntax of the sentence is difficult, but is best taken (with AV, Bez., Beng., Bleek, Mey., etc.) as an acc. absol. The existence, indeed, of the acc. absol. in the NT is still doubted by some good grammarians (Winer, Blass, etc.), and alleged cases are disposed of as anacoloutha. But such a construction, though of much rarer occurrence than the gen. absol., was not unknown to classical Greek (cf. Jelf, Gr. Gram., ii., p. 406), even where there was no repetition of the subject (cf. Mey., in loc.), and there appear to be at least a few instances of it in the NT, e.g., certainly in Acts 26:3 (admitted by Buttm., Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 347). and probably in Romans 8:3, etc. The syntax is otherwise explained here (e.g., by Harl., Stier, etc.) as a case of apposition, the ὀφθαλμούς continuing the πνεῦμα, as if = “that He may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation—enlightened eyes,” an explanation in the highest degree awkward and next to impossible in view of the τούς. The presence of the article before ὀφθαλμούς and its absence before πεφωτισμένους point to a case of tertiary predicate (Buttm.), so that the sense would rather be “give unto you the Spirit—to wit, eyes enlightened”. Others (Ell., etc.) account for it as an instance of lax construction and abnormal case (by no means rare in the NT), the πεφωτισμένους standing for πεφωτισμένοις and the τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς being the defining acc. = “that he may give unto you—being enlightened as to the eyes of your heart” (Ell., etc.). Only in biblical and ecclesiastical Greek is φωτίζω used of the inward enlightenment which means a spiritual, saving knowledge of the things of God; cf. φωτισθέντες as applied to those who had become Christians (Hebrews 6:4; Hebrews 10:32), and the subsequent use of the same term to describe the “baptised” in early Christian literature. The unusual figure of speech, “the eyes of your heart,” is peculiarly appropriate here. The gift in question is the special gift of knowledge or insight, hence the figure of the eyes. The knowledge is a spiritual knowledge; hence “the eyes of the heart,” καρδία being the “inner man,” the seat and centre of the mental and spiritual life, with special reference at times to the faculty of intelligence (Matthew 13:15; John 12:40; Acts 28:27; Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 4:12, etc.).—εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς: that ye may know. The object of the enlightenment, viz., knowledge, a fuller knowledge of certain things now specified.—τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπίς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ: what is the hope of his calling. The τίς is to be taken in its proper sense, not “how great” nor “of what kind,” but “what”—what the hope really and essentially is. The κλῆσις αὐτοῦ is the call of which God is the author, and that is an effectual call. In the Gospels the κλητό are contrasted with the ἐκλεκτοί, the “chosen” being the select few of the “called” (Matthew 22:14). In the Epistles the “called of God” are always those to whom the call has come with effect, who have listened to it and been made believers. The κλήσεως is best taken as the gen. of efficient cause (Mey., Ell., etc.)—the hope effected, wrought by the call. Hence the ἐλπίς is not the object hoped for (a sense which it has occasionally in the NT, e.g., Titus 2:13; Colossians 1:5; probably also Galatians 5:5; Hebrews 6:18), but the attitude of mind, the subjective hope, the assured Christian expectation.—καὶ τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ: [and] what the riches of the glory of his inheritance. The best critics (LTTrWHRV) omit the καί of the RV, the diplomatic evidence ([104] [105] [106] [107] [108], etc.) being decidedly against it, although it has the support of [109] [110] [111] [112] as well as certain Versions and Fathers. It does not follow from this omission, however, that we have not three distinct things mentioned in the three clauses, or that the second and third, which refer to the inheritance and the power, are only co-ordinate with the first, specifying two things relating to the ἐλπίς (so Haupt). The κληρονομία is not the inheritance which God has in us (a sense which the word seems never to have in the NT), but the inheritance which God gives to us and which is the object of our hope. The αὐτοῦ is the gen. of origin. The magnificence of this inheritance, the perfected blessedness of the Consummation, is expressed by a series of terms setting it forth in respect of the glory belonging to it and the riches pertaining to that glory, and these as qualities for the better knowledge of which a new illumination of the Spirit is desired. The δόξης and the κληρονομίας are genitives of possession or of characteristic quality.—ἐν τοῖς ἀγίοις: in the saints. How is this to be connected? Many (Harl., Rück., Olsh., Alf., etc.) attach it immediately to κληρονομίας = “the inheritance given by God among the saints,” or, as Alf. paraphrases it, “His inheritance in, whose example and fulness and embodying is in, the saints”. This would have been a more reasonable interpretation if the κληρονομίας had been followed by τῆς; in the absence of the article it would suit better if the κληρονομία could be taken as meaning God’s inheritance in us. It is best on the whole to regard the ἐν τοῖς ἀγίοις as related to the idea of the clause as a whole and as expressing the sphere within which (ἐν = among) these riches of the glory of the inheritance are known and realised. The κληρονομία is the future inheritance, which is ours at present only in foretaste. The “saints” are the whole community of those set apart to God in Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18), and that community contemplated specially in its future completeness. This is the seat of the inheritance, or the circle within which alone it is to be found in its riches and glory.

[96] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[97] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[98] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[99] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[100] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[101] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[102] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[103] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[104] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[105] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[106] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[107] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[108] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[109] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[110] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[111] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[112] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.18. The eyes, &c.] The Gr. grammar here is free, and difficult to analyse. We may explain it either, “[that He may grant you to be] enlightened in your eyes,” or, “[grant] your eyes enlightenment.” But the meaning is unmistakable, and well conveyed in A. V. For the metaphor, cp. Psalm 119:18; Matthew 13:15; John 12:40; Acts 26:18; Revelation 3:18; and see esp. 2 Corinthians 3:12 to 2 Corinthians 4:6.—The thought of Ephesians 1:17 is now illustrated and developed in detail.

understanding] Read, heart. The MS. and other documentary evidence is conclusive. The word is highly significant, when we remember that “heart” in Scripture includes affections without excluding intelligence. (See further on Ephesians 3:17.) The illumination is to be of that deep and subtle kind which, in the light of supreme truth, will shew the affections and will their supreme objects and attractions.

that ye may know] as the immediate effect of the illumination. Observe, they “knew” these things already. The experience in view is novel not in kind but in degree.

what] in its true essence, its “quiddity.”

the hope of his calling] The eternal Prospect opened by, and connected with, the Effectual Call of Divine grace; “that blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), resurrection-glory with the Lord. See, among the wealth of references, Psalm 16:9; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:15; Romans 8:24; Colossians 1:5; Colossians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 3:2-3.

His calling:—the Voice of Divine Grace, prevailing upon the will. This is the ruling meaning of “call,” “calling,” &c. in the Epistles; while in the Gospels it means no more necessarily than the audible invitations of the Gospel; see e.g. Matthew 22:14. Abp Leighton, on 1 Peter 2:9, writes of the inner call: “It is an operative word, that effects what it bids. God calls man; He works with him indeed as a reasonable creature; but sure He likewise works as Himself, as an almighty Creator. His call … doth, in a way known to Himself, twine and wind the heart which way He pleaseth.” See esp. 1 Corinthians 1:24; and Romans 8:28; Romans 11:29.

riches] See note on Ephesians 1:7. There the “wealth” was “of grace,” here it is “of glory.” The two are of one piece, developments of one process. In this whole passage the main reference is to the eternal prospect, the life of the glorified. Cp. Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10; Romans 5:2; Romans 8:17-23; Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Php 3:21, &c.—See below on Ephesians 3:16 for another reference of this same phrase.

his inheritance] The same word as in Ephesians 1:14, where it is “our inheritance”. It is the same thing from another aspect. There, the saints’ “inheritance” of heavenly glory is before us; here, the state of the glorified as the “inheritance” of the King of glory. The O. T. often describes Israel as Jehovah’s “inheritance;” “the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance,” Psalm 33:12.—In such a phrase the special thought of “heir-ship” is not to be pressed; nor do the original words, Gr. or Heb., insist upon it. That thought is always ready, wherever context favours (as e. g. Romans 8:17); but the word may import no more than actual possession, however acquired. The Heb. word constantly means “possession,” merely, and is so rendered in A. V.

in the saints] “Amongst them;” manifested in their heavenly life. The Gr. leaves us free to connect these words with either “riches of glory,” or “inheritance”; and we advocate the latter, as the far more natural construction. A fair paraphrase will be, “What is the wealth of the glory of the New Israel in the eternal Canaan, as it will be manifested in the saints”.

The saints:”—see note on Ephesians 1:1. The ref. here is to the “all saints” of the heavenly state. Not that the word “saint” is limited to them; on the contrary, the N. T. habitually uses it of Christians in this life. It is context here (as in 1 Thessalonians 3:13) which lifts it to the sphere of glory.Ephesians 1:18. Πεφωτισμένους, enlightened) The accusative absolute, as Acts 26:3, when the eyes of your understanding (heart) shall have been enlightened. The article τοὺς, with ὀφθαλμοὺς, presupposes that the eyes are already present [inasmuch as being no longer in the darkness of unbelief]; and does not allow that they can be considered as about to be given now or hereafter, as if for the first time. But if ὀφθαλμοὺς were without the article, it might be taken in an abstract sense, and construed with may give.—τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας, the eyes of the heart) Comp. Ephesians 4:18; Matthew 13:15. The heart is that by which we perceive matters so important, ch. Ephesians 3:17. So Theophilus speaks of the ears of the heart, 50:1 to Autol. 100:3; add the note on Chrysost. de Sacerd., p. 429: and plainly the eyes of the heart. Smyrn. ep. concerning Polycarp, § 2. [καρδίας,[16] a remarkable reading.—Not. Crit.]—τίςΤΊςΤΊ, What—what—what [Ephesians 1:19]) Comp. the following verse. Three remarkable points of time, in regard to the future, the present, comp. Ephesians 3:6, and the past.—τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ, of His calling) The calling by which He called you. In the saints follows, as the apostle often names together the called and saints.

[16] Rec. Text, without any of the oldest authorities, reads διανοίας, of the understanding. But ABD(Δ)Gfg Vulg. read καρδίας.—ED.Verse 18. - That having the eyes of your heart enlightened. "The eyes of your heart" is an unusual expression, but it denotes that to see things clearly there is needed, not merely lumen siccum, but lumen madidum (to borrow terms of Lord Bacon), not merely intellectual clearness, but moral susceptibility and warmth - a movement of the heart as well as the head (compare the opposite state, "blindness of the heart," Ephesians 4:18). Ye may know what is the hope of his calling; the hope which he calls you to cherish. The glory which he invites you to look forward to, when Christ shall come again, how sure it is and how excellent! How infinitely it surpasses all earthly glory! How it at once ravishes and satisfies the heart! And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. If the saints form God's heritage (see ver. 11), it may be asked Where are the riches of God's glory in them? But it is not necessary to take the ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις so literally. It may be rendered, "in reference to the saints." The riches of the glory of his inheritance in reference to the saints is the riches of the glory of their privileges as the Lord's heritage, or people; that is, their privileges are glorious. But this glory is not limp, limited - it is wonderfully rich, full, abundant. God gives liberally - gives as a King, gives glory to all Christ's people. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4); "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them." The difference between this glory and ether glory is, human glory is often unjustly accorded, it passes away with wonderful quickness; but this glory is real and everlasting. "When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." The eyes of your understanding being enlightened (πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν)

Rev., eyes of your heart. Lit., being enlightened as to the eyes of your heart; enlightened being joined with you (Ephesians 1:17) by a somewhat irregular construction: may give unto you being enlightened. For a similar construction see Acts 15:22. The phrase eyes of the heart occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Plato has eye of the soul (ψυχῆς, "Sophist," 254). Ovid, speaking of Pythagoras, says: "With his mind he approached the gods, though far removed in heaven, and what nature denied to human sight, he drew forth with the eyes of his heart" ("Metamorphoses," xv., 62-64). Heart is not merely the seat of emotion, as in popular usage, but of thought and will. See on Romans 1:21. The particular aspect in which its activity is viewed, perception or cognition, is determined by what follows, "that ye may know," etc.

Hope of His calling

Hope, not, as sometimes, the thing hoped for, but the sentiment or principle of hope which God's calling inspires.

The riches of the glory of His inheritance

Ellicott remarks that this is a noble accumulation of genitives, "setting forth the inheritance on the side of its glory, and the glory on the side of its riches." Glory is the essential characteristic of salvation, and this glory is richly abounding. His inheritance: which is His, and His gift.

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