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Verse 14

Wherefore he saith - It is a matter of doubt and controversy whence this saying is derived. Some think it taken from Isaiah 26:19 ; : Thy dead men shall live; with my dead body shall they arise; Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, etc. Others think that it is taken from Isaiah 60:1-3 ; : Arise, shine; for thy light is come, etc. But these passages neither give the words nor the meaning of the apostle. Epiphanius supposed them to be taken from an ancient prophecy of Elijah, long since lost: Syncellus and Euthalius think they were taken from an apocryphal work attributed to Jeremiah the prophet: others, that they made part of a hymn then used in the Christian Church; for that there were, in the apostle's time, hymns and spiritual songs, as well as psalms, we learn from himself, in Ephesians 5:19 , and from Colossians 3:16 . The hymn is supposed to have begun thus: -

Εγειραι ὁ καθευδων,π

Και αναστα εκ των νεκρων,π

Επιφαυσει σοι ὁ Χριστος.

Awake, O thou who sleepest,

And from the dead arise thou,

And Christ shall shine upon thee.

See Rosenmuller, Wolf, and others. But it seems more natural to understand the words he saith as referring to the light, i.e. the Gospel, mentioned Ephesians 5:13 . And the διο λεγει should be translated, Wherefore It saith, Awake thou, etc. that is: This is the general, the strong, commanding voice of the Gospel in every part - Receive instruction; leave thy sins, which are leading thee to perdition; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will enlighten and save thee.

As a man asleep neither knows nor does any thing that can be called good or useful, so the Gentiles and all others, while without the knowledge of Christianity, had not only no proper knowledge of vice and virtue, but they had no correct notion of the true God.

As the dead can perform no function of life, so the Gentiles and the unconverted were incapable of performing any thing worthy either of life or being. But though they were asleep - in a state of complete spiritual torpor, yet they might be awoke by the voice of the Gospel; and though dead to all goodness, and to every function of the spiritual life, yet, as their animal life was whole in them, and perception and reason were still left, they were capable of hearing the Gospel, and under that influence which always accompanies it when faithfully preached, they could discern its excellency, and find it to be the power of God to their salvation. And they are addressed by the apostle as possessing this capacity; and, on their using it properly, have the promise that Christ shall enlighten them.

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