Ephesians 5:14: To Whom Is the Exhortation Addressed?

The fourth ζήτημα/question that I proposed in § 1 is, Whether the speech here is directed to the regenerate and believing alone; or to the unregenerate, who, in a natural state after the fall, yet lie insensible in their errors and sins in the sleep of spiritual death? An answer to this question is almost able to be returned from those things that have already been set forth in § 11 for the illustration of the oracle of Isaiah, Isaiah 60:1-3.  That the twofold or repeated admonition of Paul is to be referred to the same class of men, by whom it was to be turned into practice, I think to be sufficiently evident, because the address is made under only one name, ὁ καθεύδων, thou that sleepest, to which καθεύδοντι/sleeper it is commanded, ἔγειρε καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, awake and arise from the dead.  Moreover, one may observe that a twofold metaphorical expression occurs here, whereby, if we wish to speak properly, the Apostle will exhort to conversion and repentance:  it is well-known that grand duty of the sinner eager for salvation is wont to be set forth in diverse metaphorical expression, borrowed from natural matters quite diverse.  But, that Repentance and Conversion are either first, or second and daily:  that hence this same duty in the same words is wont to be imposed both on natural men, hitherto destitute of all spiritual life, faith, and practice of good works, who require a change of their entire state and life; and on regenerate believers, but either fallen again into a great sin, or, because of the indwelling remnants of native corruption and the flesh, still often, indeed daily, stumbling and tottering, who hence always have a need to put off and cast away the relics of the old man:  novices have learned from the first principles of theological training.  Thus in particular both sleep and death are common emblems in the Sacred Books, both of the natural state of misery after the fall, comparing Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; Matthew 8:22; Ephesians 2:1; and of spiritual torpor and carnal security in the regenerate, through which these are yet made like unto ψυχικοῖς/sensual men externally, comparing Song of Solomon 5:2; Matthew 25:5; Revelation 3:1:  just as sleep elsewhere comes figuratively for the natural death of the body, comparing John 11:11, 13; 1 Corinthians 11:30, and is able to be used metaphorically in various respects, either for the cessation of natural life simply (see ÆLIAN’S[1] Variam Historiam, book II, chapter XXXV, Ὁ Γοργίας ἔφη· Ἤδη με ὁ ὕπνος ἄρχεται παρακατατίθεσθαι τῷ ἀδελφῷ, Gorgias[2] said, Just now sleep is going to deliver me up to his brother, SCHEFFER[3] everywhere), or for the welcome peace and refreshment that believers enjoy in death, or for the want of spiritual life and motion and the errors arising thereupon:  and both sleep and death are able to be taken in a spiritual sense more or less intensively, either of a total lack of life and activity, or of the remainders of native corruption and of the very tenuous indications of spiritual life, but through which one, himself ἡμιθανὴς/half-dead and quite similar to the dead, escapes.  Moreover, in the same manner the situation holds with the duties that will be prescribed to the sleeping and the dead of this sort, Awake and rise from the dead; in which words the Apostle summarily requires that sleepers, with torpor shaken off, show themselves living and eager in fulfilling every good work in a manner agreeable to the welcome day that had begun to dawn upon them; an admonition of which sort again is able to be directed both to natural men and to regenerate and believing men according to the style of Sacred Scripture, each of whom according to that is bound to comport himself in a manner in keeping with his spiritual state, comparing 2 Timothy 2:26; John 5:25 in comparison with John 11:43; Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Romans 6:13; Revelation 3:2.  But I think that now the Apostolic use of this prophetic admonition in our text, which appeared to have been established skillfully and in a manner agreeable to the argument of the Isaianic prophecy in § 11, implies of itself that men, hitherto altogether destitute of spiritual life and devoid of faith and every truly good work, understand the same thing to be said to them in the fullest sense and with the utmost emphasis; but that at the same time true believers, spiritual men, hence learn to walk worthily of their state and vocation, and gather just how disgraceful it is for them to return to their former state of spiritual sleep and death; and so they shake off all torpor and sloth, watch against the weakness and slowness of the flesh, and proceed in subjugating the remnants of native corruption, and in exercising whatever spiritual operations pleasing to God with the greatest alacrity.  Neither on that account does any inane tautology, unworthy of the sacred Writer, obtain here, although the twofold admonition be referred to the same subjects, each in their own way, and exhort to one great duty in the totality of the matter.  But the Apostle thus makes use of synonymy or exergasia, a figure well-known to Rhetoricians, and common and a favorite to all the best writers; so that this admonition might sound so much more gravely and eloquently, and under a twofold, diverse metaphor there might depict more elegantly and vividly their miserable native and former state, from which he wishes to turn each one, and their holy and fitting duty, which he is eager to inculcate concerning the same.  That to this matter the force of the words קוּם/arise and ἐγείρεσθαι/arise furnished amply opportunity, which are used of the rousing and aring from sleep and death equally, has already been treated in § 11.  And that by the emblem of sleep conjoined with the state of death there is no lessening of the magnitude of native corruption, of the impotence of man in the state of the fall to accomplish spiritual good, and of the divine power requisite for the conversion of man, TRIGLAND warns against the Remonstrants, Antapologia, chapter XXXI, page 432a; but, as these things are signified by the emblem of death and of resurrection and vivification from that by the Spirit; so he observes that the emblem of sleep especially makes for the detestable idleness of man to be converted.  CHRYSOSTOM, in Epistolam ad Ephesios, homily XVIII, page 128, tome II, the edition of Montfaucon:  Διὸ λέγει, ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός· καθεύδοντα καὶ νεκρὸν, τὸν ἐν ἁμαρτίαις φησί· καὶ γὰρ δυσωδίας πνεῖ, ὡς ὁ νεκρὸς, καὶ ἀνενεργητός ἐστιν, ὡς ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ οὐδὲν ὁρᾷ, ὡς ἐκεῖνος, ἀλλ᾽ ὀνειρώττει καὶ φαντάζεται. Ἀλλ᾽ οὐ περὶ τῶν ἀπίστων τοῦτο μόνον φασί· πολλοὶ γὰρ τῶν πιστῶν, οὐδὲν ἧττον τῶν ἀπίστων τῆς κακίας ἔχονται· εἰσὶ δὲ, οἱ καὶ πολλῷ μᾶλλον. διὸ καὶ πρὸς τούτους ἀναγκαῖον εἰπεῖν, ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light: By the sleeper and the dead, he means the man that is in sin; for he both exhales foul odors like the dead, and is inactive like one that is asleep, and like him he sees nothing, but is dreaming and forming illusions.  But he is not saying this of unbelievers only, for many believers, no less than unbelievers, are held fast by wickedness; indeed, some far more. Therefore, to these also it is necessary to exclaim, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

[1] Claudius Ælianus (c. 175-c. 235) was a Roman rhetorician and teacher.

[2] Gorgias (c. 485-c. 380 BC) was a Greek Sophist of Leontini, Sicily.

[3] Johannes Schefferus (1621-1679) was a Swedish humanist.  Schefferus produced notes on some portions of Ælian’s Variæ Historiæ.

Chapter II:47: Critique of the Roman Catholic Position on the Authority of the Fathers, Part 3

To the Objections of the Papists our AUTHOR responds in the best possible manner, at whose nervous and exceedingly concise strictures all their devices readily vanish.

1.  For example, they argue: What infallible Norm and Criterion of true Interpretation the Scripture itself sets forth and commends to us, the same without doubt is to be acknowledged and received: but it sets forth or commends to us the sayings and writings of the Ancients, or Fathers:  Therefore.  But we deny the Minor in the sense controverted:  neither is this proven by Job 8:8, and similar passages alleged by them.

From 1 Corinthians 14:32, 33, only a seemly subordination is evident, which the Apostle wills for good reason to obtain in the Church among men living at the same time:  while he ascribed to no one of those men judging a Judgment normative, authentical, supreme, and infallible:  but the spirit of those prophesying is willing to be tested by the sole norm and Lydian stone of the Word of God, by comparison with 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11; thus 1 John 4:1.

2.  When they allege Reasons in addition, and say, for example, that the Fathers are not members of the parties in today’s Controversies; We Respond, It is not sufficient that a Judge not be a member of the parties, for thus children playing in the street could most frequently be constituted as Judges to settle disputes: accurate knowledge of the controverted cause is additionally required; which is wanting in the Fathers in today’s various controversies, whence those paying less attention often also spoke with more imprudence than they would have done after the quarrel concerning such a cause was brought forward.

In order to enervate the Objections of the Papists in this cause, see also the Writers cited on § 46; HEINRICH ALTING, Theologia Elenctica nova, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, pages 82-84; TURRETIN, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XXI, § 11-18.

On § 46, 47, in addition consult VOETIUS’ Disputations I and II de Patribus seu Ecclesiæ antiquæ Doctoribus, Disputationum theologicarum, volume I, pages 75-106.

Chapter II:36: Opponents of Bible Reading: the Gnosimachi

The principal opponents are:

The Ancients following the Gnosimachi,[1] concerning whom JOHN OF DAMASCUS, de Hæresibus, opera, page m. 585, says, “The Gnosimachi are those that are opposed to the inquiry and knowledge of the Christians, to such an extent that they say that vain and unnecessary is the labor of those that seek any Knowledge out of the divine writings.  Neither does God require anything from the Christian, except noble and good actions.  And so it is better for one to follow their own intention with a simple and untutored heart, say they, than to expend much care in learning doctrines and sentences.”

[1] It is doubtful that the Gnosimachi were actually a well-defined sect, but they stood in opposition to the Gnostics, that is, they were doctrinally indifferent, and believed that true religion consists of a good life.

Chapter II:24: Socinian and Remonstrant Denial of the Necessity of Divine Illumination for Saving Understanding

The Socinians deny this, among whom Ostorodus, Institutionibus, chapter I, pages 3, 4, writes, “they err grievously and dangerously, who think think that the Sacred Scripture is in no way able to effect faith and obedience in men without the internal illumination and special revelation of the Holy Spirit; and that man is no otherwise able to have any use regarding salvation from the Scripture read or heard.”  And in chapter XXXIV de libero Arbitrio, page 285, § 3, “Whence it appears in what a dangerous error the Evangelicals abide, especially the Calvinists, etc., who think this, that men have no help from the hearing of the external Word of God, unless the Holy Spirit teaches them internally in a peculiar and hidden manner, and works faith and obedience in them”:  consult ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, pages 39-41, chapter IV, de Scriptura Sacra, § 1-4.

The Remonstrants understand things similarly, for example, in their Confessione, chapter I, § 14, “Such is the clarity and perspicuity of the Sacred Books (say they), especially ideas necessary to be understood for eternal salvation, that all Readers, not only the learned, but also the unlearned (indeed, furnished with common sense and judgment), are able to follow their meaning sufficiently:  only let them not allow themselves to be blinded by prejudice, vain confidence, or other depraved affections; but let them search this Scripture piously and painstakingly, etc.”  Add the words of Episcopius, harsh enough, Disputationibus Theologicis, part I, Disputation III, § 1-9, and part III, Disputation III, § 1-3, opera, tome 2, part 2, compared with TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 4, page 636a.  Nevertheless, sometimes our Adversaries, either teasing with words, or compelled by the force of truth, also speak of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and its use for the understanding of the Scriptures; as it is done in Catechesi Racoviensis “de Scriptura Sacra”, chapter III, question 3, pages 16, 17, upon which place consult ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, § 1, page 39, § 2, page 40, § 10, page 43.  You also may find that JAMES ARMINIUS, in Disputationibus Theologicis publicis, thesis XI, § 8, has a sounder understanding at this point than his followers.

Chapter II:24: The Clarity of Scripture, considered generally

Furthermore, Sacred Scripture delivers the substance of Religion Perspicuously.  So that we might demonstrate this Perspicuity, it is to be observed:

1.  In general,

α. That that does not so much have regard unto the Things related, as unto the Manner of relating.  For Scripture treats the sublimest mysteries of salvation, even those that far transcend human capacity; but the Spirit in marvelous συνκαταβάσει/condescension sets forth the same in the Scriptures in so Perspicuous a manner that, although the proposed Matter in all its fullness often flees the sight fo the mind, yet the pious mind pursues the Word clearly setting forth that matter, and thence learns to understand the matter itself, which has been related, as far as understanding is required for salvation.  Thus clearly and perspicuously the Scripture reveals τὸ ὅτι, the fact, of mysteries, for example, the Trinity, the eternal Generation of the Son, etc., which is necessary for us to know and to believe for salvation:  but τὸ πῶς, τὸ διότι, the how and wherefore, lie hidden to us, and one is not required to know this for salvation.

β. We observe that nevertheless the Degrees of Perspicuity vary in the Sacred Scripture;

1.  In various Passages and parts of Scripture, of which variegated style of Scriptures AUGUSTINE teaches us that there is manifest use, both in book II de Doctrina Christiana, chapter VI, opera, tome 3, part I, column 17, “ Therefore, the Holy Spirit magnificently and profitably has modified the holy Scriptures in such a way that by the plainer passage He might meet need, but by the more obscure remove contempt”; and in Sermon XI or LXXI de Verbis Domini, chapter VII, opera, tome 5, column 272, “In all the abundance of the holy Scriptures, we are fed by the plain passages, exercised by the obscure:  in the former hunger is banished, in the latter contempt.”

2.  In various Matters; thus prophetical matters are often of a more profound research, which God has left for our diligent investigation and for the exercise of our faith, and the Church’s necessary understanding of which He nevertheless does not exclude. Dogmatic matters are more perspicuous, especially those that are absolutely necessary for salvation; not in such a way that no industry is needful for the understanding of these things:  to such an extent that with the help of legitimate means they are able to be understood from the Scriptures by individual believers unto salvation:  so that common people are not to be kept from the reading of Scripture as harmful and dangerous to them, nor is it necessary to depend the tradition and pronouncement of the Church.

Chapter II:23: Resolution of Apparent Contradictions, Part 2

3.  With our AUTHOR we say that God with good reason willed that there be Diversity in the Scripture, α. both so that all suspicion of hidden collusion in writing might be banished; which in a striking manner is thus removed by the Evangelists, who otherwise would have most easily fallen into the same: consult § 6 of this Chapter: β. and so that we might have exercise for our industry and faith.

4.  If in the ways already proposed in the case of ἐναντιοφανέσι, apparent contradictions, a clear Reconciliation is not soon found, we further observe with our AUTHOR that it is not necessary in the Reconciliation of texts that we assert Positively that thus the matter stands, or assert Proofs, which on account the want of history or other requisites often is not able to be done: but it suffices, if we conjecture that the matter is able to stand in this or that way.

Chapter II:21: The Principal Subject Matter of Scripture

A consideration of the Object or Argument of the Scriptures now follows, and of the Mode in which that is delivered in Scripture.

The Argument of Scripture is true Religion, which is the Right Manner of coming to know and of worshipping/serving God for the salvation of man as sinner and the glory of God, as we shall see in Chapter III.  Now, that this is delivered in the Scripture both dogmatically, and habitually, as our AUTHOR says in his Compendio, is proven by these passages:  1.  Psalm 19:7, in which there is discussion of the Scripture as converting to the Worship of God and instilling true wisdom, which is found in the Knowledge of God.  2.  John 5:39, in which the Scriptures are presented as relating the way of arriving at eternal life, which is true Religion, specifically through the testimony which they gave concerning Christ, the knowledge and faith of whom is principally required in true Religion.  3.  2 Timothy 3:15-17:  in which it is asserted of the Scriptures that they are able σοφίσαι εἰς σωτηρίαν, to make wise unto salvation, which is the scope/goal of Religion; now, the means tending to this are faith upon Christ Jesus, the knowledge of God, and the practice of all good works, whither Scripture leads man by means of διδασκαλίαν/teaching, ἔλεγχον/elenctics, παιδείαν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, training in righteousness, rendering the man of God ἐξηρτισμένον, thoroughly furnished, for every good work.

And to this principal Argument of Scripture are to be referred and subordinated all the other things that are delivered in the Scriptures, α. Things Natural, for in these the manifold glory of God, worthy to be known and worshipped, shines forth, as was already seen in § 13 of Chapter I, and to this are able to be directed the most pious Contemplationes Mundi of the Most Distinguished NIEUWENTYT, and similar works.  β. Things Historical, which according to the manifold works of God unfold the things allotted to the Church.  γ. Things Chronological, from which the fullness of the times is able to be learned.  δ. Things Topographical, which set up the successive seats of the Church for our contemplation, and together with Things Chronological are the lights and eyes of Sacred History, and contribute much to the confirmation of the same.  ε. Likewise Things Genealogical, which relate the succession of the holy people in the promise land, and prove from ancestry that Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah.  And whatever least things thus have their uses, or perhaps formerly also had more:  and, if perhaps not all things related in the Scriptures are equally necessary, the goodness of God is to be acknowledged, which desired to consult not only our necessity, but also our abundance and delight.

Chapter II:19: The Apocrypha, Part 8

But neither do the ψευδεπίγραφοι/pseudepigraphical Apostolic Constitutions and Canons agree with the opinion of the Papists:  while the Constitutions in a review of the Sacred Books omit the Apocryphal Books, consult GERHARD’S Confessionem Catholicam, tome 2, book II, special part I, article I, chapter I, page 32; and Apostolic Canon LXXXV with Judith numbers not two, but three, Books of the Maccabees among the Canonical Books; it does not have Tobit; it omits either the Book of Wisdom or Ecclesiasticus, and places the other outside of the Canon, when after the survey of the Canon of the Old Testament it adds,  ἔξωθεν δὲ, but besides these it is commended to you, that your young people learn τὴν σοφίαν τοῦ πολυμαθοῦς Σιράχ, the wisdom of the learned Sirach.  Indeed, that the Greek Church today does not esteem the Apocryphal Books, received by the Papists into the Canon, as Canonical, is observed by JAKOB ELSNER’S nieuwste Beschzyving van de Grieksche Christenen in Turkyen, chapter V, § 15, pages 174-176.

On the Exceptions of the Papists against this our Argument, 1.  That at that time, when the Fathers agreeing with us lived, the Canon had not yet been defined by the public judgment of the Church.  2.  That the Fathers that exclude those controverted Books from the Canon speak of the Canon of the Hebrews, not of the Christians:  see GERHARD’S Confessionem Catholicam, tome 2, book II, special part I, article I, chapter I, pages 23, 24.

BINGHAM,[1] Originibus ecclesiasticis, book XIV, chapter III, § 15, 16, volume 6, pages 91-97, observes that the Books today called Apocryphal were formerly read in some Churches, but not in all:  and in some Churches under the title of Canonical Scripture, with this term taken in a somewhat broader sense.

On § 19, consult also STEPHANUS GAUSSENUS’ Theses Theologicas inaugurales de Verbo Dei, thesis 81, pages 460-462.

[1] Joseph Bingham (1668-1723) was an Anglican churchman and theologian.  In his great work, Origines Ecclesiasticæ, he endeavored to provide a definitive treatment of the ancient rites and customs of the Church.

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