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pensation which was confirmed by the gifts of the spirit: for, according to the true principles of Christianity, circumcision is of no more avail than uncircumcision, but only that faith in the promises of God which produces love and obedience.
You Galatians made a good beginning, why did you not proceed in the same manner, and hold to the pure truth? This must have come from the persuasion of others, and not from me who called you to the knowledge of the gospel. But in you is verified the proverb which says, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Your Judaizing teachers, though few in number, have infected many of you. But notwithstanding present appearances, I am persuaded you will, on reflection, revert to your former better sentiments and conduct, and that the persons who have been the cause of your disaffection will suffer for it. If you have heard that I myself preach conformity to the law to any of my
Gentile converts, you have been misinformed. If I did, I should not have been exposed as I have been, and yet am, to the persecution of these Judaizers. So much mischief has been done in Christian churches by the Judaizers, that I cannot help wishing that you had no connexion with them, but that they were expelled from all the Christian societies.
V. 13. Having represented the gospel as a dispensation of liberty, the apostle here cautions the Galatians against the abuse of it, and to consider themselves as under the strongest obligation to the practice of all virtue.*
15. This is an excellent caution against the abuse of the liberty, which he had exhorted them to assert.
16–21. Here the apostle passes from one sense of a word to another, which, though shewing ingenuity, is in danger of misleading the reader. He had before characterized the gospel by the appellation of the spirit, and the law by that of the flesh, as an inferior dispensation. From this he now takes occasion to exhort his readers to avoid what is commonly called the susts of the flesh, or the vices to which men are subject. These he enumerates, and among them, such as were apt to occasion divisions in churches, † and the animosity consequent upon them.
22,4 23. In opposition to those vices which he ascribes to the principle of flesh, he strongly recoinmends the opposite virtues which he refers to the spirit, or the genuine fruits of the gospel.
• See Locke.
+ Heresies; ver. 20. “ Mot que ne signifie pas les opinions, mais les divisions." Le Clerc. Sce Hallett, (of Schism and Heresy,) IIl. pp. 358, &c.; Foster to Stebbing, 1735, p. 17;, Doddridge.
1 Faith, rather fidelity. See Doddridge,
24. Here we have another figure of speech, which approaches to a play upon words, so frequent with this apostle. In imitation of Christ being crucified, he sometimes represents Christians as crucified, dead and buried, with him, and also as rising again with him. Here he represents not himself, but his sins, as crucified with Christ.
25. That is, if we make profession of a religion which was confirmed by the Spirit of God, let us live according to the principles of it. But in this the apostle uses the term spirit in two different senses.
26. Here he alludes to the state of the Galatian churches distracted with their divisions, and the animosities arising from them.
PARAPHRASE. My brethren, though you have been called to liberty, remember, that it is only a freedom from an obligation to the Jewish ceremonial law, and not from the practice of virtue. Do not then abuse it, but consider yourselves as servants to one another, and with the greatest good-will, whenever it is in your power, do to one another every kind office. This is agreeable to the tenor of the law itself, which you so much affect ; for all the moral and most valuable part of it is comprehended in this one precept, thou shali love thy neighbour as thyself. Take care, then, lest, by your divisions and mutual animosity, you do not act the reverse of this precept, and so far from befriending, injure one another.
I have compared the gospel to the spirit, in opposition to the law, which, as an inferior principle, I termed the flesh. See then that you live according to the spirit, and avoid what are usually called the sins of the flesh, or the vices that men in this life are subject to; for there are in every man two opposite principles, one of good, and the other of evil, which may be denominated the spirit and the flesh. From this opposition of contrary inclinations (to make myself an example of what I wish to enforce) I cannot always do that which I most approve. If
you live accord. ing to this spirit, you will not be subject to the condemning power of the law. The works of the flesh, which are opposite to those of the spirit, are well known, viz. such as adultery, fornication, and other vices, against which I have
frequently warned you, assuring you that they who are ad. dicted to them, cannot obtain the kingdom of God promised in the gospel. On the contrary, the fruits of the spirit, by which I exhort you to act, are the opposite virtues-love, peaceableness, &c., which, if you practise, the law will never hurt you. But if you be real Christians, you are free from all the above-mentioned vices; for, as Christ was crucified, we also may be said to have crucified our Justs and vices. If, then, we pretend to be Christians, and to have the Spirit of God, let us have all the genuine fruits of the spirit, and especially be on our guard against that ambition, which is so conspicuous in your Judaizing teachers, and which leads to envy and every evil work. .
VI. The apostle concludes his epistle with moral instructions of a miscellaneous nature, and after this reverts to his exhortations about Judaizing.
1. Let those who boast of their spiritual attainments, or their having the gifts of the spirit, exert themselves the most in their endeavours to reclaim the vicious, and in every
other respect to do kind offices to their brethren.
3. Here he alludes to the Judaizing teachers, who undervalued him, and boasted of their superior knowledge.
4.* That is, let every person consider how far his conduct is right in itself, and not how much it is better than that of others.
8. The apostle makes use of the terms corruption and life in a correspondence to the nature of those principles of flesh and spirit, the flesh being liable to corruption, and spirit, or breath, being the principle, or life.
11. It was not usual with the apostle to write whole epistles with his own band, but only to sign them. Perhaps, being a Jew, he did not write the Greek character well. But it is more truly rendered, with what large or awkward letterst I have written, not being used to write the Greek character.
12. He here again reverts to the conduct of the Judaizing teachers, apprizing the Galatians of the true motives of their conduct in preaching the observance of the law. By this means they were thought more favourably of by the zealous
Rejoicing, rather glorying. See ver. 13; Locke. Another. “ His neighbour: TOV ŠTepov: alluding, I apprehend, to himself; as tig the certain person, points out some opponent easily understood, no doubt, by the Galatians." Wakefield.
+ “Qualibus literis." Vulg. See Locke ; Lardner, VI. pp. 311-914; XI. p. 358; Doddridge. “You see in what large letters I have written, (what follows, particularly to be noted,) As MANY As, &c." Heinsius in Bowyer.
Jews, who were at that time the only persecutors of the Christians.
17.* Let no person undervalue me, as if I was not an apostle ; for my persecutions are a sufficient evidence of this. 18. The phrase with your spirit, is equivalent to with
уои, which is more usual with this apostle in the same connexion, as he generally concludes his epistles with Grace be witle
PARAPHRASE. If any member of your church be guilty of any offence, let those who are most distinguished for their spiritual gifts, and of course bave the greatest influence, admonish, and restore him, but without harshness, considering that they themselves are not exempt from failings. In all respects feel for, and do all kind offices to one another; for this was particularly enjoined by Christ on all his disciples, when he said, (John xiii. 35,] “ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
If any man think more highly of himself than he ought to do, he deceiveth himself. But in order to judge rightly of our dispositions and conduct, we must not be content with comparing ourselves with others, whom we may think our inferiors, but examine ourselves by the standard of truth and right; our conformity to which is the only solid ground of self-approbation: for, at the last day, every man will be judged in this manner.
Such is the duty of your teachers. Let those who are instructed by them minister to their wants, giving temporal things for spiritual ones : but, above all things, give the strietest attention to your moral conduct; for, however men
The marks. “ S. Paul entend les marques du fouët, qu'il avoit reçu plusieurs fois pour Jesus Christ, (2 Cor. xi. 23-25). Les idolâtres se faisoient des marques, qu'ils nommoient aussi stigmates, par lesquelles on congoissuit à quelle Divinité ils étoient particulièrement consacrés. C'est à quoi S. Paul fait allusion. V. Apoc. xiii. 16." Le Clerc. Mr. Wakefield says, “' The Romans were accustomed to mark their slaves with a hot iron on the forehead, or some other part of the body; and to this practice the apostle Paul alludes, who frequently styles himself the slave of Jesus Christ. Compare also Rev. ix. 4, xiv. 9." See Dio. Chrysostom's Essays, translated, 1800, p. 251, Note on the expression "stigmatized with the brand of slavery." Xenophon (on the State of Athens) says, “ Our slaves are burnt with the public mark of the state, with severe penalties to be inflicted upon all that buy or sell them.” Moyle's Works, III. p. 23. See Potter's Antiq. (Ch. ii.) II. pp. 7, 8; Blackwall, (S. C.) II. pp. 66-68.
When Bastwicke Burton and Prynne, were sentenced “ to lose their ears in the Palace-Yard," Sir John Finch, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, “ added to this censure—Mr. Pryone to be stigmatized in the cheeks, with two letters (S. and L.), for a seditious libeller.” A Briefe Relation, &c. 1637, 4to. p. 15.
may deceive themselves, or others, God is not to be imposed upon; and according to men's conduct here will they be rewarded, or punished, hereafter. They who indulge in the lusts of the flesh must expect that corruption to which flesh is subject; but they who live according to the precepts of the gospel, which was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, shall inherit that eternal life which the gospel promises.
But we must persevere in well-doing if we expect any future reward. Let us, then, take every opportunity of shewing our good will to all men, but especially to our Christian brethren.
Before I conclude this epistle, which is wholly written with my own hand, and sadly written, I must again observe, that your haughty Jewish teachers are desirous of having you circumcised, lest they should be exposed to persecution from the more zealous Jews, who are all the enemies we now have. But, notwithstanding their zeal for the law, they are far from strictly observing it, but wish to have the credit of making you proselytes to their opinions. Such is not the foundation of my boasting. I glory in that very circumstance which exposes our religion to the contempt of the world, the doctrine of a crucified Saviour. By this, to resume my former allusion, the world is crucified to me, and I to the world, my happiness being wholly independent of it, or of the opinion the world may entertain of me, or my doctrine. According to the great maxim of the gospel, nothing external to a man, no consideration of his being circumcised, or uncircumcised, will avail him at all in the sight of God, but only a change of heart and life. To those who hold with me in this opinion I pray that God may grant all happiness, together with all who, in the true and proper sense, are the sons of Abraham. But do not from this time listen to any objections to me, your father in Christ. That I am a true apostle is evidenced, if by nothing else, by the persecutions to which I am continually exposed on that account. May you have all the blessings of the gospel.
After Paul had written his epistle to the Galatians, (which was A. D. 52,) from Corinth, where he had continued two years in his second apostolical journey, he returned to Jerusalem by way of Ephesus, and thence he went to Antioch, where he staid about a year. From this city he set out on