Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;Ephesians 5:1-2. Therefore — Because you are forgiven by God, and have been so much loved; (Ephesians 4:32;) be ye followers — Μιμηται, imitators, of God — In loving and forgiving; as dear — Αγαπητα, beloved, children — Whom he hath not only forgiven after many and great offences, but hath taken into his peculiar favour, adopted into his family, constituted his heirs, and joint heirs with his beloved Son, and inspired with blessed and lively hopes of unspeakable glory and felicity for ever. O! how much more honourable and more happy it is to be an imitator of God, than of Homer, Virgil, Alexander the Great, or any other human being, however renowned for learning, prowess, or achievements! And walk in love — Toward one another and toward all men, as well as toward God. Let your whole conduct toward others proceed from love as its principle, be governed by love as its rule, and be directed to, and terminate in love, as its end. As Christ also hath loved us — In such an astonishing manner, and to such an inconceivable degree, and hath so demonstrated his love, as to give himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God — To atone for our transgressions, and render our salvation consistent with the divine perfections. Some divines have thought that in these expressions both the peace-offerings and the sin-offerings enjoined in the law of Moses are alluded to, the truths shadowed forth by both being attained by true believers through the sacrifice of Christ, which both expiated sin, or removed condemnation and wrath, and obtained for them the divine favour, with all the blessings consequent thereon. But it does not seem that any great stress can be laid on this distinction, as the word προσφεροω, translated to offer, with the noun derived from it, rendered offering, is used in a multitude of places in the LXX., for presenting any victim before God; as it is likewise in the New Testament, (Matthew 5:23-24,) for bringing a gift and offering it on the altar. Of a sweet-smelling savour — Or fragrant odour; an epithet given to the sin-offering, (Leviticus 4:31,) and to the burnt-offering, (Genesis 8:21,) to denote the acceptableness of such oblations to God, when offered by upright worshippers in the way he had appointed. For in the warm eastern climes nothing is more refreshing to mankind than fragrant odours. The sacrifice of Christ, however, as is here implied, was far more acceptable and pleasing to God than any of the victims or perfumes which had been offered of old, whether on the brazen or golden altar of the Jewish tabernacle or temple. Indeed, their sacrifices and perfumes were only acceptable as being emblematical of the offering of his body once for all, and of his continual intercessions for us before the throne of the Majesty on high. And it is a pleasing and encouraging consideration, that through these all our sincere prayers and praises, and our acts of pious and charitable liberality, beneficence, and goodness, come up before God as a grateful memorial, and draw down upon us a most valuable blessing. With regard to the exhortation to mutual love here given, it is justly observed by Macknight, that “Christ’s love in dying for us, is” [as on many other accounts, so on this] “a strong reason for our loving one another; because, if we do not love one another, we are destitute of that disposition which rendered Christ so acceptable to his Father; and have no right to be called his disciples, or to share in the inheritance of his children.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Ephesians 5:3-4. But fornication, &c. — But any impure love, and any vice flowing therefrom, or connected therewith; let it not be once named — Or heard of; among you — Except with detestation. Keep at the utmost distance from it; as becometh saints — Who are conscious of the sanctity of your name and profession, and dread the thoughts of debasing it; for certainly it is reasonable and proper that they who are separated from the world, and dedicated to God, should shun all such mention of these things, as may any way encourage and countenance the practice of them. Neither filthiness — Wanton, lewd, lascivious speeches; nor foolish talking — Tittle-tattle, talking of the weather, fashions, meat, and drink, and such vain discourse as betrays folly and indiscretion, and has no tendency to edify; nor jesting — Ευτραπελια, wittiness, facetiousness, or such artfully turned discourse as is only calculated to produce mirth and laughter. Such turns of wit were esteemed by the heathen a sort of virtue: but how frequently every thing of this kind quenches the Spirit, those who are of a tender conscience know. Which things are not convenient — Or proper for a Christian, as neither increasing his faith nor holiness, and are therefore utterly unsuitable to his profession. But rather giving of thanks — Rather abound in the language of thanksgiving and devotion, to which you are under so many and such strong obligations, and which will yield a pleasure much more sublime and satisfactory than any animal indulgences or delights. Observe, reader, the deliverances which God hath wrought out for us, and the benefits which he hath conferred on us in the course of his providence, the great blessings of redemption and salvation from sin and misery procured for us, and the gift of eternal life consequent thereon, with whatever is necessary to prepare us for these blessings, are powerful considerations why we should be frequent and fervent in praise and thanksgiving.
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Ephesians 5:5-7. For this ye know — Of this ye cannot be ignorant, favoured as you have been with the light of the gospel, that no whoremonger, &c., hath any inheritance — Here or hereafter; in the kingdom of Christ or of God — That is, purchased by Christ, and bestowed by God. The reason why the apostle, in this and his other epistles, condemned fornication and every sort of uncleanness in such an express manner, was because the heathen avowedly practised these vices even in their temples as acts of worship, which they thought rendered them acceptable to their gods. But how different from such practices is the conduct enjoined in the gospel, which teaches that they who continue in such abominations, shall for ever be excluded from the presence and glory of God. Nor covetous man — That is, the man whose chief desire and care is to increase his wealth, either that he may spend it on the gratification of his lusts, or may hoard it up; who is an idolater — As placing that love, delight, and confidence in riches, which ought to be placed in God alone; or because he sets up something else, whatever may be the object of his covetous desires, and something comparatively very base and contemptible, in the place of God, as if it could be the ground of his dependance, and the source of his happiness. Let no man deceive you with vain words — Or sophistical arguments, as if you might live in the commission of such sins, and yet find mercy with God, or escape punishment. For because of these and the like things, cometh the wrath of God — And the dreadful effects thereof, on the children of disobedience — Even on the Gentiles, though not favoured with the light and aids which you have, demonstrating to you the infinite evil of all such practices, and affording you sufficient power to avoid them. Now, if even heathens are punished for such practices, much less can we suppose that professing Christians, who have so much greater advantages for practising purity and virtue in all their branches, and are under such strong and peculiar engagements so to do, shall escape with impunity if they pursue a similar line of conduct. Be not ye therefore partakers with them — In these abominations, if ye would not finally partake in that dreadful punishment which they are bringing on themselves thereby.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:Ephesians 5:8-10. For ye were sometimes — That is, once; darkness — In a state of total blindness and ignorance, without any light of instruction without, or divine grace within, and therefore had some excuse for living such unrighteous and profane lives: but now ye are light in the Lord — Enlightened by the divine word and Spirit, and brought to the saving knowledge of God and Christ, and of divine things in general; and consequently such vicious practices as you formerly pursued would be utterly inexcusable in you now. You are now under an indispensable obligation to walk as children of light — That is, in a manner suitable to your present knowledge. For, &c. — As if he had said, Such walking is the proper, natural result of your illumination and spiritual condition; the fruit of the Spirit is in — Consists in; all goodness, righteousness, and truth — That is, the Spirit works these graces in those persons in whom he dwells, graces quite opposite to the sins spoken of Ephesians 4:25, &c. By goodness we are to understand an inclination and endeavour to perform all good offices to our fellow-creatures, especially to the children of God: by righteousness, justice, and fair dealing toward all men: and by truth, freedom from hypocrisy, dissimulation, guile, and deceit. Some MSS., together with the Syriac and Vulgate versions, read here, But the fruit of the light, &c., which Estius, Grotius, Mill, and Bengelius, think the true reading, because there is no mention made of the Spirit, either in what goes before, or in what follows. The common reading they suppose hath been taken from Galatians 5:22. Proving — Δοκιμαζοντες, making trial of, proving by experience, or approving; what is acceptable — Ευαρεστον, well-pleasing; to the Lord — And how happy they are who in all things are governed by his will.
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.Ephesians 5:11-12. And have no fellowship — No society, no participation with wicked men in the unfruitful works of darkness — Works which bring no advantage, but mischief, (Romans 6:23,) and called works of darkness, because they usually proceed from ignorance, Acts 3:17; are contrary to the light of the word, John 3:20; are usually committed in the dark, 1 Thessalonians 5:7; and bring those who live and die in the commission of them to utter and eternal darkness, Matthew 25:30; but rather reprove them — Show your disapprobation of them by seasonable and suitable reproof, (Leviticus 19:17; Matthew 18:15,) and especially by the holiness of your conversation. Observe, reader, to avoid such things is not sufficient. For it is a shame even to speak of those things — Except in the way of reproof; which are done of them in secret — That is, says Dr. Whitby, “in their mysteries, which therefore were styled απορρητα μυστηρια, (mysteries not to be spoken of,) none being permitted to divulge them upon pain of death. Hence even the word μυστηριον (mystery) hath its name, say grammarians, from μυειν το στομα, to stop the mouth. The Eleusinian mysteries were performed in the night, agreeably to the deeds of darkness committed in them; so were the Bacchanalia; and they were both full of detestable iniquity; and upon that account, says Livy, “were banished out of the Roman senate and Italy.” These quotations, with many others which might be added to them, plainly prove, as Dr. Doddridge observes, that if the lower sort of mysteries among the heathens were first intended, as some have supposed, to impress the minds of the people with the belief of future rewards and punishments, and the higher sort of them to instruct persons of more reflection and penetration than the rest, in the knowledge of the true God, and the other great principles of natural religion, they were, long before the apostle’s time, greatly corrupted, and degraded to the most detestable purposes. Monsieur Saurin thinks there is a sarcasm in this verse, as if the apostle said, “The heathens call these things απορρητα, things not to be spoken of; true, they are properly so; things not too sacred, but too infamous to be mentioned.”
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Ephesians 5:13-14. But all things that are reproved — Or, discovered, or confuted, as ελεγχομενα may be properly rendered; are made manifest — Have their iniquity laid open to the actors themselves, as well as to others; by the light — Of divine truth; or, as Whitby interprets the clause, “being discovered by the light, they are made manifest.” For whatsoever doth make any thing of a moral or immoral nature manifest, is light — That is, nothing can make any thing in men’s spirit or conduct manifest but light, yea, light from heaven; “and therefore the gospel well deserves that name, as teaching those who are instructed in it to judge rightly concerning the moral nature of actions, and inculcating such general principles, as will be of use to them in every particular case that can possibly arise.” Wherefore he saith — Namely, God, in the general tenor of his word, to all who are still in darkness; Awake thou that sleepest — In ignorance of God, of thyself, and of his will concerning thee, and in a state of stupid insensibility respecting invisible and eternal things; and arise from the dead — From thy state of spiritual death, a state of alienation from the life of God here, and obnoxiousness to eternal death hereafter. See on Ephesians 2:5. And Christ shall give thee light — Spiritual and divine light, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, and happiness, the light of grace and glory.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Ephesians 5:15-17. See then — That you may be fit to reprove sin in others; that ye — Yourselves, upon whom the light of Christ already shines; walk circumspectly — Ακριβως, accurately, with the utmost exactness; making his will, as made known to you in his word, your rule, and his glory your end, in all your actions, cares, labours, and pursuits; taking the most attentive heed to every step, and conducting yourselves, not as fools, who have no understanding of their duty or interest, and who consider not what they are doing, in what way they are proceeding forward, or where it will terminate; but as wise men — Who know the worth of their immortal souls, the snares that are or will be laid to entangle them, by their subtle and powerful enemies, the many pressing dangers they have to avoid, and the important ends they have to secure. Redeeming the time — With all possible care, εξαγοραζομενοι, buying it up, as it were, as a most precious commodity, (though held cheap by many,) out of the hands of sin and Satan, of sloth, ease, pleasure, and worldly business, which may be done at the expense of a little self-denial, watchfulness, zeal, and diligence, which will be amply recompensed in time and in eternity; or endeavouring to recover and buy back, (as the word may signify,) as far as possible, what has been lost, by diligently making use of what remains, especially in embracing every opportunity of receiving and doing good, and studying to improve every one to the best purposes: and this the rather, because the days are evil — Days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness; so that being surrounded on every side with bad examples, we are in danger of being corrupted, and are at the same time exposed to various persecutions and perils, and know not how soon we may be deprived of our liberty or lives. Wherefore — Since the times are so evil, and the danger so great; be ye not unwise — Ignorant of your duty and true interest, negligent of the concerns of your immortal souls, and inconsiderate as you formerly were; but understanding what the will of the Lord is — In every time, place, and circumstance.
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Ephesians 5:18-21. And be not drunk with wine — As the heathen are when they celebrate the feasts of Bacchus, their god of wine; wherein is excess — Which is the source of all manner of extravagance, and leads to debauchery of every kind. The original word ασωτια, here rendered excess, signifies entire dissoluteness of mind and manners, and such a course of life as is void of counsel and prudent intention, like the behaviour of persons who are continually drunk. While the above-mentioned Bacchanalia continued, men and women made it a point of religion to intoxicate themselves, and ran about the streets, fields, and vineyards, singing and shouting in a wild and tumultuous manner; in opposition to which extravagant vociferations, singing praises to God is with great propriety recommended. Plato tells us, that there was hardly a sober person to be found in the whole Attican territories during the continuance of these detestable feasts. But be ye filled with the Spirit — In all his graces, which gives a joy unspeakably more delightful, exhilarating, and permanent, than that which is produced by the fumes of wine. The antithesis is beautiful. The lewd votaries of Bacchus fill themselves with wine; but be ye filled with the Spirit. In which precept there is this remarkable propriety, that our Lord had represented the influences of the Spirit, (which he invited all who thirsted for them, to come to him and receive,) under the emblem of rivers of living water, which he commanded believers to drink plentifully, John 7:37-39. Speaking to yourselves — That is, to one another, by the Spirit, for your mutual edification; in psalms — Of David, and hymns — Of praise; and spiritual songs — On any divine subject; of this latter kind were the songs of Elisabeth, of Mary, and of Zecharias, recorded by Luke 1:42; Luke 1:46; Luke 1:67. By there being no inspired songs, peculiarly adapted to the Christian dispensation, as there were to the Jewish. it is evident that the promise of the Holy Ghost to believers in the last days, was, by his larger effusion, to supply this want. Singing and making melody — Which will be as acceptable and pleasing to God as music is to us; in your heart — As well as your voice, your affections going along with your words, without which no external melody, be it ever so exact and harmonious, can be pleasing to his ear; to the Lord — Jesus, who searcheth the heart; giving thanks always — At all times and places; for all things — Prosperous or adverse, for all things work together for good to them that love God; in the name — Or through the mediation; of our Lord Jesus Christ — By whom we receive all good things. Submitting yourselves — Υποτασσομενοι, being subject, one to another — Performing those mutual duties to each other, which belong to you according to your several places and stations. As if he had said, While you are careful, as above directed, in the duties of praise and piety to God, be not negligent in those which you owe to your fellow-creatures, but perform them punctually in all the various relations in which you stand to each other; in the fear of God — Properly influenced thereby, and evidencing to all around you that you truly fear and obey him.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.Ephesians 5:22-24. In the following directions concerning relative duties, the inferiors are all along placed before the superiors, because the general proposition is concerning submission: and inferiors ought to do their duty, whatever their superiors do. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands — Unless where God forbids. Otherwise, in all indifferent things, the will of the husband is a law to the wife: as unto the Lord — As owning Christ’s authority in your husbands, whose image they bear, 1 Corinthians 11:7. The obedience a wife pays to her husband, is at the same time paid to Christ himself. For the husband is the head of the wife — Under Christ; is her governor, guide, and guardian; as Christ is the head of the church — As if he had said, God will have some resemblance of Christ’s authority over the church exhibited in the husband’s authority over his wife. See on Ephesians 1:22. And he is the Saviour of the body — Of the church, his mystical body, from all sin and misery. As if he had said, As Christ’s authority is exercised over his church to defend it from evil, and supply it with all good, so should the husband’s power over his wife be employed to protect her from injuries, and provide comfortably for her according to his ability. Therefore as the church — That is, that part of the church which is truly regenerate; is subject unto Christ — And with cheerful willingness submits to his authority; so let the wives be to their own husbands — To whom they have promised obedience; in every thing — Which is lawful, which is not contrary to any command of God.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;Ephesians 5:25. The apostle now proceeds to speak of the duty of husbands to their wives, the principal of which consists in their loving them, without which they would abuse their power to tyranny and oppression. But how are they to love them? The apostle says, as Christ loved the church — Namely, with a love that is sincere, pure, ardent, constant, and persevering, and notwithstanding the imperfections and failures that they are chargeable with. The true model this of conjugal affection! with this kind of love, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives. Christ loved the church, and gave himself a ransom for it, when it was in a state of slavery and misery; and husbands, if called to it by God, should lay down their lives for their wives. Observe, reader, as the church’s subjection to Christ is proposed as an example to wives, so the love of Christ to his church is proposed as a pattern to husbands: and while such examples are offered to the imitation of both, and so much is required of each of them, neither has reason to complain of the divine injunction. The love which God requires from the husband toward his wife, compensates for that subjection which he demands from her to her husband: and the prescribed subjection of the wife is an abundant return for that love of the husband which God hath made her due. In what follows we are told that the end for which Christ loved the church, was that he might make her holy and save her; therefore, if husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, they must endeavour to promote their faith and piety, must strive to make them wise and holy.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,Ephesians 5:26-27. That he might sanctify and cleanse it — Might remove the guilt, power, and pollution of sin; with the washing of water — In baptism, as the sign of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, which can only renew, sanctify, and cleanse the soul. See 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; Titus 3:5. By the word — The ordinary channel by which justifying, regenerating, and sanctifying grace is communicated; (John 15:3; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; John 17:17;) and by which we are made perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Timothy 3:17. That he might present it to himself — That being purified, renewed, and adorned, as a bride prepared for her husband, he might place it in his own immediate presence; a glorious church — Perfectly holy, happy, and pleasing in his sight; not having spot — Of impurity from any remains of sin, or wrinkle — Of deformity from any decay, or any such thing — Any thing which could be called a defect; the perfection of the bodies of the saints, as well as that of their souls, being included in this description: but that it should be holy and without blemish — Or without blame; and he might survey it completely pure, beautiful, and resplendent, in that great day, when the whole number of the elect shall be gathered together, and the marriage of the Lamb shall be celebrated amidst the acclamations of the heavenly legions, to whose blissful world his bride shall be conducted in triumph. “How bright an idea,” says Dr. Doddridge, “does this give us of the grand plan and design of Christianity: namely, to bring all the millions of which the church consists, to such a state of perfect virtue and glory, that when the penetrating eye of Christ, its great and holy bridegroom, shall survey it, there shall not be one spot, or wrinkle, or any thing like it, in the least to impair its beauty, or offend his sight! Where is such a scheme of thought to be found in the world, but in the New Testament, and those who have been taught by it?”
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.Ephesians 5:28-32. But to return to the subject from which this pleasing digression has led us: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies — That is, as themselves, or a part of themselves; the bond of marriage making the husband and his wife one, and establishing an inseparable community of interests between them; so that the husband is to love his wife with the same sincerity and ardency of affection wherewith he loves himself. “The husband,” says Macknight, “whose love leads him, after Christ’s example, not only to protect and cherish his wife, by giving her the necessaries and conveniences of life, but also to cleanse her; that is, to form her mind, and assist her in making progress in virtue, really loves himself, and promotes his own happiness in the best manner. For his wife, being thus loved and cared for, will be strengthened for performing her duty; and her mind being improved, her conversation will give him the greater pleasure. Withal, having a high esteem for her husband, she will submit to the hardships of her inferior station with cheerfulness.” No man — In his senses; ever yet hated his own flesh — Whatever its infirmities or imperfections were; but nourisheth and cherisheth it — Feeds and clothes it; nay, and not only provides for its sustenance, but for its comfortable accommodation; even as the Lord nourishes and cherishes the church — Supplying it with all things that may conduce to its welfare and happiness, sympathizing with it in its infirmities, looking upon it as one with himself. For — He can say of his church what Adam said of Eve, when just taken out of his side, (Genesis 2:23,) This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. In other words, the reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, is that close connection which subsists between him and her, his people being as intimately united to him, as if they were literally flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. For this cause — Because the woman is of the man’s flesh, and of his bones; shall a man leave his father and mother — To whom he was before united by the closest ties; and shall be joined unto his wife — Inseparably, till death shall part them; and they — Though originally and naturally two persons; shall — For the future; be one flesh — Shall be considered as one person, or as one soul in two bodies. This is a great mystery — A truth long unknown; and now, when in some measure discovered, is a matter worthy of much admiration. In the Vulgate version, this clause is translated, Sacramentum hoc magnum est, This is a great sacrament. And it is the sole foundation on which the Papists have set up marriage as a sacrament. But I speak concerning Christ and the church — That is, In saying this, you will easily perceive I speak not of the union between a man and his wife, but of that between Christ and the church: for that the eternal Son of God should unite himself to a society of degenerate and mortal men, should love them with an affection exceeding that which is to be found among the most intimate human relations, and should even regard them as making a part of himself, because of the intimacy with which they are joined to him in a community of spirit and of interest, can certainly never be sufficiently admired.
This seems to be the sense of the passage. Dr. Macknight, however, following Dr. Alix, Dr. Whitby, and several others, thinks that the apostle calls the formation of Eve from Adam’s body, his marriage with her, and the intimate union established between them by that marriage, a great mystery, because it contained an important emblematical meaning concerning the regeneration of believers, and their union with Christ, which [meaning] hitherto had been kept secret, but which he had discovered by applying Adam’s words concerning Eve, to Christ and his church; insinuating, by this application, “1st, That the formation of Eve, of a rib taken out of Adam’s body, was a figure of the regeneration of believers, by the breaking of Christ’s body, mentioned Ephesians 5:25. 2d, That Adam’s love to Eve, on account of her being formed of his body, was a figure of Christ’s love to believers, because they are become his body, Ephesians 5:30. 3d, That Adam’s marriage with Eve was a figure of the eternal union of Christ with believers in heaven, mentioned Ephesians 5:27. In giving this emblematical representation of these ancient facts, the apostle has not exceeded the bounds of probability. In the first age, neither the art of writing, nor any permanent method of conveying instruction being invented, it was necessary to make such striking actions and events as could not easily be forgotten, emblems of the instruction intended to be perpetuated. On this supposition, Adam, in whom the human race began, was a natural image of Christ, in whom the human race was to be restored; and his deep sleep, the opening of his side, and the formation of Eve of a rib taken out of his side, were fit emblems of Christ’s death, of the opening of his side on the cross, and of the regeneration of believers by his death. The love which Adam expressed toward Eve, and his union with her by marriage, were lively images of Christ’s love to believers, and of his eternal union with them in one society after their resurrection. And Eve herself, who was formed of a rib taken from Adam’s side, was a natural image of believers, who are regenerated, both in their bodies and in their minds, by the breaking of Christ’s side on the cross. Thus the circumstances which accompanied the formation of Eve, being fit emblems of the formation of the church, we may suppose they were brought to pass to prefigure that great event; and by prefiguring it, to show that it was decreed of God from the very beginning!” For a further elucidation of the subject, the reader must be referred to the above- mentioned commentator. We may add here, however, that Origen seems to have had some notion of the relation this passage had to Adam and Eve, when he says, “If any man deride us for using the example of Adam and Eve, when we treat of the knowledge of Christ, let him consider these words, This is a great mystery.” Tertullian also frequently alludes to the same thing, saying, “This is a great sacrament: Carnaliter in Adam, spiritualiter in Christo, propter spirituales nuptias Christi et ecclesiæ: carnally in Adam, spiritually in Christ, by reason of the spiritual marriage between him and his church.”
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.Ephesians 5:33. Nevertheless — As if he said, But though there be such a mystical sense in the marriage of Adam and Eve, or in the union subsisting between a man and his wife; though it be a striking emblem of the union between Christ and his church, yet the plain, literal sense especially now concerns you. Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself — That is, with a sincere, peculiar, cordial, and prevailing affection, like that which he bears to himself: and let the wife see that she reverence her husband — That she entertain a high esteem for him, be desirous of pleasing him in all things lawful, reasonable, and proper, and fear to give him unnecessarily any just offence in any thing, persuaded that it is the will of God, and the law of the relation in which she stands to him, that she should thus conduct herself toward him.