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the latter seem to have been most numerous. It

appears from the contents of this Epistle, that, not long after the Galatians had embraced Christianity, a certain judaising teacher or false apostle had either crept in or risen up among them, who, to advance bis own doctrine, questioned Saint Paul's apostolical authority, insinuating that Peter and the apostles of the circumcision were superior to him, and consequently much more to be regarded. It was further insinuated that they never preached against the circumcision of Gentile converts ; but that it was a doctrine peculiar to Paul, who was only an apostle of men, and had not such extraordinary powers and illumination as bad been conferred on the other apostles. The false teacher seems even to have intimated, that Saint Paul did himself, secretly, and at some times, preach the necessity of circumcision to the Gentile converts ; though generally, and at other times, he insisted on the contrary. In short, the false apostle was desirous that all the Gentile Christians should submit themselves to circumcision, and consequently oblige themselves to observe the whole law of Moses, as if the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone were insufficient to justify and save them. And so successful was this teacher in propagating this error, that some of the Galatians actually submitted to be circumcised. (Gal. v. 2–12.) From the expression of Saint Paul in Gal. v. 9, 10., it is probable that this disturbance in the Galatian churches was made by one judaising teacher only, and not by several zealots, as some commentators have supposed ; and, from what is said in vi. 12, 13., it appears that he was a man of immoral character, who acted not from any religious views or motives, but from vain-glory and fear ; that he might conciliate the favour of the Jews by increasing the number of proselytes, and so escape the persecutions raised by the unbelieving Jews against Saint Paul, and those who adhered to his doctrines.

IV. Such were the circumstances that occasioned Saint Paul to write this Epistle with his own hand (Gal. vi. 11.), contrary to his usual practice of dictating his letters. Accordingly, its scope is, 10 assert bis apostolical character and authority, and the doctrine which he taught, and to confirm the Galatian churches in the faith of Christ, especially with respect to the important point of justification by faith alone ; to expose the errors which had been disseminated among them, by demonstrating to them the true nature and use of the moral and ceremonial law; and to revive those principles of Christianity which lie had taught when he first preached the Gospel to them.

V. The Epistle to the Galatians, therefore, consists of three parts, viz. Part I. The introduction. (. 1-5.) Part II. The treatise or discussion of the subjects which had occasion

ed this Epistle ; in which Sect. I. is a vindication of Saint Paul's apostolical doctrine and

authority, and shows that he was neither a missionary from the church at Jerusalem, nor a disciple of the apostles, but an immediate apostle of Christ himself, by divine revelation ; cour sequently that lie was iu no respect inferior to Saint Peter him. seti: (1.6-4. i.)

Sect. 2. The apostle disputes against the advocates for circumci

sion and the observance of the law of Moses, and shows, Di. That justification is by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Mosaic

law. (iii. 1-18.). D ii. That the design of God in giving the law was, not to justify but to con

vince of sin, as well as to restrain from the commission of it; and that being intended only for a temporary institution, instead of vacating the promise, it was designed to be subservient to it, by showing the necessity of a betler righteousness than that of the law, and so to lead convinced souls to Christ ; that, being justified by faith in him, they might obtain the benefit of the promise. (iii. 19–24.) Such being the end and design of the law, the apostle infers from it, that now, under the Gospel, we are freed from the law (2529.); and illustrates his inference by God's treatment of the Jewish church, which he put under the law, as a father puts a minor under a guardian. (iv. I

-7.) Sect. 3. shows the great weakness and folly of the Galatians in

going about to subject themselves to the law, and that by submitting to circumcision they became subject to the whole law, and would forfeit the benefits of the covenant of grace. (iv. 8

31. v. 1-9.) SECT. 4. contains various instructions and exhortations for Chris

tian behaviour, and particularly concerning a right use of their

Christian freedom. (v. 10—26. vi. 1-10.) Part III. The conclusion, which is a summary of the topics discussed

in this Epistle, terminates with an apostolic benediction. (vi. 1118.)

VI. Although the subject discussed in the Epistle to the Galatians is the same that is treated in the Epistle to the Romans, viz. the doctrine of justification by faith alone, yet the two Epistles differ materially in this respect. The Epistle to the Galatians (which was first written) was designed to prove against the Jews, that men are justified by faith without the works of the law of Moses," which required perfect obedience to all its precepts, moral and ceremonial, under the penalty of the curse, from which the atonements, and purifications prescribed by Moses had no power to deliver the sinner. On the contrary, in his Epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul treats of justification on a more enlarged plan ; his design being to prove against both Jews and Gentiles, that neither the one nor the other can be justified meritoriously by performing works of law, — that is, the works enjoined by the law of God, which is written on men's hearts; but that all must be justified gratuitously by faith through the obedience of Christ. The two Epistles, therefore, taken together, form a complete proof, that justification is not to be obtained meritoriously, either by works of morality, or by rites and ceremonies, though of divine appointment: but that it is a free gift, proceeding entirely from the mercy of God, , to those who are qualified by faith to receive it.?

This Epistle is written with great energy and force of language, and at the same time affords a fine instance of Saint Paul's skill in managing an argument. The chief objection, which the advocate or advocates for the Mosaic law had urged against him, was, that he preached circumcision. In the beginning of the Epistle he overturns

1 Compare, among other passages, Gal. iii. 2, 3. 5. iv. 21. v. 1--4.
2 Dr. Macknight's Preface to the Epistle to the Galatians, sect. 3.


this slander by a statement of facts, without taking any express notice of it; but at the end he fully refutes it, that he might leave a strong and lasting impression upon their minds.

Though the erroneous doctrines of the judaising teacher and his followers, as well as the calumnies which they spread for the purpose of discrediting him as an apostle, doubtless occasioned great uneasiness of mind to him and to the faithful in that age, and did considerable injury among the Galatians, at least for some time : yet, ultimately, these evils have proved of no small service to the church in general. For, by obliging the apostle to produce the evidences of his apostleship, and to relate the history of his life, especially after his conversion, we have obtained the fullest assurance that he really was an apostle, called to be an apostle by Jesus Christ himself, and acknowledged to be such by those who were apostles before him: consequently, we are assured, that our faith in the doctrines of the Gospel as taught by him (and it is he who has taught the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel most fully) is not built on the credit of men, but on the authority of the Spirit of God, by whom Saint Paul was inspired in the whole of the doctrine which he has delivered to the world.

As this letter was directed to the churches of Galatia, Dr. Macknight is of opinion that it was to be read publicly in them all. He thinks that it was in the first instance sent by Titus to the brethren in Ancyra, the chief city of Galatia, with an order to them to communicate it to the other churches, in the same manner as the first Epistle to the Thessalonians was appointed to be read to all the brethren in that city, and in the province of Macedonia.

On the undesigned coincidences between this Epistle and the Acts of the Apostles, see Dr. Paley's Horæ Paulinæ, pp. 152–207.



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I. Account of the church at Ephesus. — II. Genuineness and authen

ticity of this Epistle, which was addressed to the Ephesians, and not to the church at Laodicea. III. Date. - IV. Occasion and scope.

-- V. Synopsis of its contents. - VI. Observations on its style. 1. CHRISTIANITY was first planted in this city by Saint Paul, about A. D. 54, when he reasoned with the Jews in their synagogues for the space of three months ; he did not however continue long there at that time, but hastened to keep the feast at Jerusalem, promising to return again to his hearers. (Acts xviii. 19–21.) Accordingly he came to Ephesus early the following year (Acts xix. 1. et seq.), and preached the word with such success, and performed such extraordinary miracles among them, that a numerous church was formed there, chiefly composed of Gentile converts ; whose piety and zeal were so remarkable, ihat many of them, in abhorrence of the curious

1 Dr. Macknight's Preface to the Epistle to the Galatians, sect. 3.

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arts which they had used, burnt their magical books, to a great value. (xix. 19.) And such was the apostle's concern for their spiritual welfare, that he did not leave them until A. D. 56, when he had been about three years among them. (xx. 31.) After this he spent some time in Macedonia and Achaia, and on his return to Jerusalem (a. D. 57) he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church to meet him at Miletus. There he took an affectionate leave of them, as one that should see them no more ; appealing to them with what fidelity he had discharged his ministry among them, and exhorting them to “take heed unto themselves, and unto the Aock” committed to their care, lest they should be corrupted by seducing teachers who would arise among them, and artfully endeavour to pervert them. (xx. 17–38.)

II. The apostle Paul is universally admitted to be the author of the Epistle to the Ephesians. It is expressly cited as his production by Ignatius, who has not fewer than seven distinct allusions to it; and as he was contemporary with Saint Paul, his testimony alone is sufficient to determine its genuineness. This Epistle is likewise alluded to by Polycarp, and is cited by name by Irenæus,* Clement of Alexdria, Tertullian, Origen, and by all subsequent writers without exception. Most of the antient manuscripts, and all the antient versions, have the words sv E sow, “ at Ephesus,” in the first verse of this Episte, which is an evident proof that the Epistle was written to the Ephesians. But Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, Vitringa, Venema, Benson, Paley, and other learned men, have doubted or denied that this Epistle was written to the Ephesians, and have argued that it must have been written to the Laodiceans. They rest this opinion, first, on the assertion of Marcion, a heretic of the second century, who affirmed the same thing, but his testimony is of no weight; for Marcion altered and interpolated the writings of the New Testament, to make them favourable to his sentiments, and upon this very account he is censured by Tertullian (A. D. 200), as setting up an interpolation of his own with regard to the Epistle in question, in opposition to the true testimony of the church. They further appeal to a passage in Basil's second book against Eunomius, in which he thus cites Eph. i. 1. "And writing to the Ephesians, as truly united to him who is' through knowledge, he called them in a peculiar sense such who are,' saying ; 'to the saints who are' (or even to the faithful in Christ Jesus. For so those before us have transmitted it, and we have found it in antient copies."9 From the concluding sentence of this quotation it is inferred that certain manuscripts, which Basil had

p. 368.

I Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 70.; 4to. vol. i.


316. 2 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 78.; 4to. vol. i. p. 320. 3 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 95. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 330. 4 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 163.; 4to. vol. i. 5 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 223 ; 4to. vol. i. p. 401. 6 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 263, 264.; 4to. vol. i. P.

423. ? Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 472. 4to. vol. i. p. 535. 8 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 263, 264. ; 4to. vol. i. p.

423. 9 See the original passage in Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. p. 401. ; 4to. vol il. p. 466.; or in Michaelis, vol. iv. pp. 142–146.

seen, omitted the words sv Emeow, " at Ephesus.” Michaelis

, however, has shown at considerable length, that the omission of the word oudov“ who are” was the subject of Basil's implied censure, as being hostile to the inference he wished to deduce, and not the cmission of the words sv Epsow. And, as this father, in another passage of his writings, expressly cites the Epistle to the Ephesians without any hesitation, it is evident that in his time (the latter part of the fourth century) this Epistle was not considered as being addressed to the Laodiceans.

Thirdly, it is contended that there are no allusions in this Epistle to St. Paul's having resided among the persons to whom it is addressed; and that the expressions in Eph. i. 15. iii. 2. and iv. 21. appear to be more suitable to persons whom he had never seen (which was the case of the Christians to Laodicea), than to the Ephesians, among whom he had resided about three years. (Acts xx. 31.) But these passages admit of easy and satisfactory interpretations, which directly refute this hypothesis. It will be recollected that four or five years had elapsed since Saint Paul had quitted Ephesus; he might therefore with great propriety express (in i. 15.) his complacency on hearing that they continued steadfast in the faith, notwithstanding the various temptations to which they were exposed. Again, the expression in iii. 2. (srye nxouoase any oixovoulav) which many translate and understand to mean, if ye have heard of the dispensation, - more correctly means, since ye have heard the dispensation of the grace of God, which had been made known to them by Saint Paul himself. Consequently this verse affords no countenance to the hypothesis above mentioned. The same remark applies to iv. 21., where a similar construction occurs, which ought in like manner to be rendered, since indeed ye have heard him, &c. But most stress has been laid upon the direction given by Saint Paul in Col. iv. 16. — that the Colossians should " cause the Epistle which he wrote to them to be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that they should likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea ;" — which it is contended) affords a plain proof that the Epistle, in our copies inscribed to the Ephesians, must be that which is intended in Col. iv. 16., and consequently was originally written to the Laodiceans. But this conclusion does not necessarily follow: for it is highly probable (as Rosenmüller has remarked) that by " the Epistle from LaodiceaSaint Paul meant a letter addressed to him by the church of Laodicea, in answer to which he wrote the letter addressed to the Colossians (as being the larger church), desiring that they would send it to the Laodiceans, and get a copy of the Epistle which the latter had sent to St. Paul, in order that the Colossians might better understand his reply.?

Michaelis and Haenlein, after Archbishop Usher and Bengel, get rid of all the difficulties attending this question, by supposing the


i Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. p. 104.; 4to. vol. ii. p. 467.

2 Rosenmüller and Koppe, in their respective Prolegomena to the Epistle to the Ephesians.

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