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Colossians 2


 1 For I (1) would ye knew what great (*) fighting I have for your sakes, and for them of Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my (a) person in the flesh,


(1) The taking away of an objection: in that which he visited not the Colossians, nor the Laodiceans, he did it not of any negligence but is so much the more careful for them.

(*) Or, pain and care.
(a) Me present in body.


 2  (2) That (b) their hearts might be comforted, and they knit together in love, and in all riches of the (c) full assurance of understanding, to know the mystery of God, even the Father, and of Christ;


(2) He concludeth shortly the sum of the former doctrine, to wit, that the whole sum of true wisdom and most secret knowledge of God, consisteth in Christ only, and that this is the use of it touching men, that they being knit together in love, rest themselves happily in the knowledge of so great a goodness, until they come fully to enjoy it.
(b) Whom he never saw.
(c) Of that understanding, which bringeth forth certain and undoubted persuasion in our minds.


 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of (d) wisdom and knowledge.


(d) There is no true wisdom without Christ.


 4  (3) And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with (e) enticing words;


(3) A passing over to the treatise following against the corruptions of Christianity.

(e) With a framed kind of talk made to persuade.


 5  (*) For though I be absent in the (♣) flesh, yet am I with you in the (♠) spirit, rejoicing and beholding your (f) order, and your (g) steadfast faith in Christ.


(*) 1 Corinthians 5:3 .

(♣) In body.

(♠) In mind.

(f) The manner of your Ecclesiastical discipline.
(g) Doctrine.


 6 As ye have therefore (h) received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.


(h) So then Christ hangeth not upon men's traditions.


 7 Rooted and built in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.


 8  (4) Beware lest there be any man that (i) spoil you through (*) philosophy, and vain deceit, (5) through the traditions of men, (6) according to the (k) rudiments of the world, (7) and not after Christ.


(4) He bringeth all corruptions to three kinds: The first is that which resteth of vain and curious speculations, and yet beareth a shew of a certain subtil wisdom.
(i) This is a word of war, and it is as much as to drive or carry away a spoil or booty.

(*) Teaching you vain speculations, as worshipping of Angels, of blind ceremonies and beggarly traditions; for now they have none use seeing Christ is come.
(5) The second which is manifestly superstitious and vain, and standeth only upon custom and feigned inspirations.
(6) The third kind was of them which joined the rudiments of the world (that is to say, the ceremonies of the Law) with the Gospel.
(k) Principles and rulers, wherewith God ruled his Church, as it were under a schoolmaster.
(7) A general confutation of all corruptions is this, that which must needs be a false religion, which addeth anything to Christ.


 9  (8) (*) For (l) in him (m) dwelleth (n) all the fullness of the (♣) Godhead (o) (♠) bodily.


(8) A reason: Because only Christ, being God and man, is most perfect, and passeth far above all things, so that whosoever hath him, may require nothing more.

(*) Colossians 1:19; John 1:14 .
(l) By these words, is shewed a distinction of the natures.
(m) This word (Dwelleth) noteth out unto us the joining together of those natures, so that God and Man, is one Christ.
(n) These words set down most perfect Godhead to be in Christ.

(♣) In saying that the Godhead is really in Christ, he sheweth that he is very God; also saying, in him, he declareth two distinct natures, and by this word dwelleth he proveth that it is there forever.
(o) The knitting together of God and man, is substantial and essential.

(♠) Or, essentially.


 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power;


 11  (9) In whom also ye are circumcised with (*) circumcision made without hands, by putting off the (p) sinful body of the flesh, through the circumcision (♣) of Christ,


(9) Now he dealeth perfectly against the third kind, that is to say, against them which urged the Jewish religion: and first of all, he denieth that we have need of the Circumcision of the flesh, seeing that without it we are circumcised within, by the virtue of Christ.

(*) Romans 2:29
(p) These many words are used to shew what the old man is, whom Paul in other places calleth the bodies of sin.

(♣) Made by the Spirit of Christ.


 12  (10) In that ye are (*) (q) buried with (r) him through baptism, (11) in whom ye are also raised up together through the faith (♣) of the operation of (s) God, which raised him from the dead.


(10) The taking away of an objection: we need not so much as the eternal sign which our fathers had, seeing that our baptism is a most effectual pledge and witness, of that inward restoring and renewing.

(*) Romans 6:4; Ephesians 1:19 .
(q) Look at Romans 6:4 .
(r) So then all the force of the matter cometh not from the very deed done, that is to say, it is not the dipping of us into the water by a Minister that maketh us to be buried with Christ, as the Papists say, that even for the very act's sake, we become verily Christians, but it cometh from the virtue of Christ, for the Apostle addeth the resurrection of Christ and faith.
(11) One end of Baptism is the death and burial of the old man, and that by the mighty power of God only, whose virtue we lay hold on by faith, in the death and resurrection of Christ.

(♣) In believing that God by his power raised up Christ, whereof we have a sure token in our baptism.
(s) Through faith which cometh from God.


 13  (*) (12) And you which were dead in sins, (13) and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, forgiving (♣) you all your trespasses,


(*) Ephesians 2:1 .

(12) Another end of Baptism is, that we which were dead in sin, might obtain free remission of sins and eternal life, through faith in Christ who died for us.
(13) A new argument which lieth in these few words, and it is thus: Uncircumcision was no hindrance to you, why you being justified in Christ should not obtain life therefore you need not circumcision to the argument of salvation.

(♣) Or, us all our.


 14  (14) And putting out the (*) (t) (♣) (♠) handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, he even took it out of the way, and fastened it upon the cross,


(14) He speaketh now more generally against the whole service of the Law, and sheweth by two reasons that it is abolished: First, to what purpose should he that hath obtained remission of all his sins in Christ require those helps of the Law? Secondly, because that if a man do rightly consider those rites, he shall find that they were so many testimonies of our guiltiness, whereby we manifestly witnessed as it were by our own handwriting that we deserved damnation. Therefore did Christ put out that handwriting by his coming, and fastening it to the cross, triumphed over all our enemies, were they never so mighty. Therefore to what end and purpose should we now use those ceremonies, as though we were still guilty of sin, and subject to the tyranny of our enemies.

(*) Ephesians 2:15 .
(t) Abolishing the rites and ceremonies.

(♣) Or, obligation.

(♠) The ceremonies, and rites were as it were a public profession, and handwriting of the miserable state of mankind; for circumcision did declare our natural pollution; the purifyings, and washings signified the filth of sin; the sacrifices testified that we were guilty of death, which were all taken away by Christís death.


 15 And hath (*) spoiled the (u) Principalities, and Powers, and hath (x) made a shew of them openly, and hath triumphed over them in the (y) same cross.


(*) As Satan and his Angels from whom he hath taken all power.

(u) Satan and his angels.
(x) As a conqueror made by a shew of those captives, and put them to shame.
(y) The cross was as a chariot of triumph. No conqueror could have triumphed so gloriously in his chariot, as Christ did upon the cross.


 16  (15) Let no man therefore condemn you in meat and drink, or in respect of a (*) holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days,


(15) The conclusion: wherein also he nameth certain kinds as the difference of days and meats, and proveth it by a new argument that we are not bound unto them, to wit, because those things were shadows of Christ to come but we possess him now exhibited unto us.

(*) Or, distinction, as to make difference between days.


 17 Which are but a shadow of things to come; but the (z) body is in Christ.


(z) The body as a thing of substance and pith, he setteth against shadows.


 18  (16) (*) Let no man (♣) at his pleasure (♠) bear rule over you by (a) humbleness of mind, and worshipping of Angels, (17) advancing himself in those things which he never saw, (18) (b) rashly puffed up with his fleshly mind,


(16) He disputeth against the first kind of corruptions, and setteth down the worshipping of Angels for an example: which kind of false religion he confuteth, first, this way; because that they which being in such a worship, attribute that unto themselves which is proper only to God, to wit, authority to bind men's consciences with religion although they seem to bring in these things by humbleness of mind.

(*) Matthew 24:4 .

(♣) Meaning that the hypocrites led them at their pleasure into all superstition and error.

(♠) Or, defraud you of your prize.
(a) By a foolish humbleness of mind; for otherwise humbleness is a virtue. For these Angel worshippers blamed such of pride, as would go straight to God, and use no other under means besides Christ.
(17) Secondly, because they rashly thrust upon them for oracles, those things which they neither saw nor heard, but devised of themselves.
(18) Thirdly, because these things have no other ground, whereupon they are built, but only the opinion of men, which please themselves without all measures in their own duties.
(b) Without reason.


 19  (19) And holdeth not the (c) head, whereof all the body furnished and knit together by joints and bands, increaseth with the increasing of (d) God.


(19) The fourth argument, which is of great weight, because they spoil Christ of his dignity, who only is sufficient both to nourish, and also to increase his whole body.
(c) Christ.
(d) With the increasing which cometh from God.


 20  (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the ordinances of the world, why, (e) as though ye lived in the world, are ye burdened with traditions?


(20) Now last of all he fighteth against the second kind of corruptions, that is to say, against mere superstitions, invented of men, which partly deceive the simplicity of some with their craftiness, and partly with very foolish superstitions and to be laughed at; as when godliness, remission of sins, or any such like virtue is put in some certain kind of meat and such like things, which the inventors of such rites themselves understand not, because indeed it is not. And he useth an argument taken of comparison. If by the death of Christ who establisheth a new covenant with his blood, you be delivered from those external rites wherewith it pleased the Lord to prepare the world, as it were by certain rudiments to that full knowledge of true religion, why would ye be burdened with traditions. I wrote not what, as though ye were citizens of this world, that is to say, as though ye depended upon this life, and earthly things? Now this is the cause why before verse eight he followed another order than he doeth in the confutation, because he sheweth thereby what degrees false religions came into the world, to wit, beginning first by curious speculations of the wise after which in process of time succeeded gross superstition, against which mischiefs the Lord set at length that service of the Law, which some abused in like sort; but in the confutation he began with the abolishing of the Law service, that he might shew by comparison, that those false services ought much more to be taken away.
(e) As though your felicity stood in these earthly things, and the kingdom of God were not rather spiritual.


 21  (21) As, Touch not, Taste not, Handle not.


(21) An imitation in the person of these superstitious men, rightly expressing their nature and use of speech.


 22  (22) Which all (*) perish with the using, (23) and are after the commandments and doctrines of men.


(22) Another argument: The spiritual and inward kingdom of God cannot consist in these outward things, and such as perish with the using.

(*) And appertain nothing to the kingdom of God.
(23) The third argument: Because God is not the author of these traditions, and therefore they do not bind the conscience.


 23  (24) Which things have indeed a shew of (f) wisdom, in (g) (*) voluntary religion and humbleness of mind, and in (h) not sparing the body, which are things of no value, since they pertain to the (i) filling of the (♣) flesh.


(24) The taking away of an objection. These things have a goodly shew, because men by this means, seem to worship God with a good mind and humble themselves, and neglect the body, which the most part of men curiously pamper up and cherish; but yet notwithstanding the things themselves are of no value, for so much as they pertain not to the things that are spiritual and everlasting, but to the nourishment of the flesh.
(f) Which seem indeed to be some exquisite thing, and so wise devices as though they came from heaven.
(g) Hence sprang the works of supererogation, as the Papists term them, that is to say, needless works, as though men performed more than is commanded them, which was the beginning and the very ground whereupon Monk's merits were brought in.

(*) Such as men have chosen according to their own fantasy.
(h) A lively description of Monkery.
(i) Seeing they stand in meat and drink, wherein which the kingdom of God doeth not stand.

(♣) They pinch and defraud their body to shew themselves greater hypocrites.



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