THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.
THIS Epistle St. Paul wrote during his first imprisonment at Rome, the subject matter of which, and of the Epistle to the Ephesians, is nearly the same; and the same expressions occur in many places, in both of them, especially in those moral exhortations which make so considerable a part of them; for, these exhortations being no less needful to one church than to the other, and the Apostle having the same duties to enforce, it would have been useless to have considerably varied the expressions. The difference between these two pious Epistles is, that, in that to the Ephesians, St. Paul had chiefly the main subject in view; which was, to treat of the Church itself, and of God's favours bestowed upon his faithful saints: whereas in this to the Colossians, his particular aim is, to oppose those false teachers, who were for re-establishing the usages of the ceremonial law; and who, following the Platonic philosophy, held, that the angels, being of a spiritual nature, occupied, in some sort, a middle place between God, who is an infinite Spirit, and man, who is made of spiritandmatter:and,refiningthereuponintheirreveries,theyconsideredtheangels as a kind of MEDIATORS between God and us, to connect us, in some degree, with him; a doctrine which St. Paul condemns, in the second chapter of this Epistle, as criminal rashness. This ought to have taught all Christian ministers, in all ages of the church, not to be wise above that which is written, but to study attentively what is written, in order to keep close, as Isaiah directs, to the law and to the testimony. Isaiah 8:20.