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again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. My little children, whom I have once begotten unto Christ, by the Gospel; and of whom, as being now relapsed to Judaism, I am now in travail again, till I have recovered you to that sincere faith and perfect liberty in Christ, which ye once had; I desire to be personally present with you, now, that I might frame and alter my speech with you, according as I should see occasion; one while reproving, another while encouraging you; one while applauding you, and another while bemoaning and bewailing your danger; for, indeed I am in much doubt of you.
IV. 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Tell me, ye, that have so much desire to fall back and to be under the bondage of the Law, if ye have such a mind to Moses, do but hear what Moses hath told you.
IV. 22. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
For, it is written, you know, in him, that Abraham had two sons, the one, Ishmael, by his bondwoman Hagar, the other, Isaac, by his true wife, Sarah.
IV. 23. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Abraham was indeed the natural father to them both; but, as for Ishmael, who was the bondwoman's son, he had nothing but nature in him as he was conceived in an ordinary manner, so, he had nothing but mere flesh, derived from Abraham; but Isaac, that was the son of Sarah, the freewoman, and lawful wife of Abraham, was both extraordinarily conceived upon the promise made by the angel, and was the son of Abraham's faith, to and in whom the promise of blessing made to Abraham was accomplished.
IV. 24. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
Which, as it is a true history, so it is an allegory also of spiritual things: for these two mothers resemble and express the two Covenants; Sarah, the Covenant of Grace; and Hagar, the Covenant of Works: this Hagar then bringeth forth children to bondage.
IV. 25. For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Which same thing is also typed forth unto us by Sinai and Jerusalem: for this Hagar is a figure of mount Sinai in Arabia (out of the bounds of the promised land) where the law was given; and representeth the present Jerusalem, as it now
stands, under the bondage of the Law, to which she and her children have subjected themselves.
IV. 26. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
But the Spiritual Jerusalem, which is the Church of the New Testament, gathered by the heavenly grace of God, is free from all these slaveries of the Ceremonial Law; which Church is the mother of us all, and communicateth therefore her freedom unto us.
IV. 27. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, &c. See Isaiah liv. 1.
IV. 28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Now brethren, we Christians are, as Isaac was, the sons of the freewoman; and those, to whom the promise of blessing is both made and performed.
IV. 29. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
But, as then, Ishmael, which was the merely natural son of Abraham, persecuted Isaac, that was born above the power of nature by the wonderful work of God, and also renewed by the Spirit of God; even so it is now: the sons of the bondwoman, those, that will needs be slaves to the Law, persecute and oppose those free Christians, which know themselves exempted therefrom.
IV. 30. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Nevertheless, even as Sarah said to Abraham, Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for, &c. even so hath God determined concerning the Jewish Synagogue and their abettors which stand for the Law, that he will cast them off, and bereave them of all the privileges of his Church and the inheritance of children.
IV. 31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
So then, brethren, we see how to account ourselves: we are not children of Hagar the bondwoman, that we should be under the Law; but, of Sarah the freewoman, that we should be under grace.
V. 1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Stand fast, therefore, in that spiritual liberty from the Law of Ceremonies, wherewith Christ hath made you free; and be not again drawn into a willing bondage and servitude unto them.
V. 2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
There is more in this your yieldance to these rites, than ye are aware of: behold, I Paul say unto you, that if now, after ye have been informed so fully in the truth of the Gospel, ye be circumcised, as in obedience to the Law, Christ shall profit you nothing: ye do, what in you lieth, frustrate the death of your Saviour.
V. 3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
For, I testify again to every man, that, whosoever is circumcised doth, by this sign, profess himself, and so becomes, bound to keep the whole Law, and every rite thereof: for circumcision is a badge of Judaism; and whosoever yieldeth thereunto makes himself liable to all those manifold and burdensome observations of the Law.
V. 4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
It is a fearful, but most sure word; Whosoever of you seek to be justified by the Law, hath renounced the benefit of grace, and Christ is become of no effect unto him; forasmuch as the purpose of Christ's coming, and all his active and passive obedience, was to free us from the Law, and to justify and acquit us from our sins.
V. 5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For we, who are renewed by the Spirit of God, are, by the same Spirit, taught to expect full Justification, from Faith in Christ, and not from the Works of the Law.
V. 6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
For in Jesus Christ, and his Kingdom the Church, neither is any man the more respected for his circumcision, nor less regarded for his uncircumcision; but every man is accepted of God, according to that measure of true Faith, which he hath in him: I mean not an idle and dead belief, but a lively and operative Faith; such an one as worketh by love.
V. 7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Ye went on very forwardly and commendably, in the course of Christianity: who did stand in your way, and stop those good proceedings of your obedience to the truth of the Gospel?
V. 8. This persuasion cometh not out of him that calleth
Surely, this persuasion of retracting you cometh not from God, who called you forward into this good way; but it comes from Satan, and his wicked instruments, your false teachers.
V. 9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
But take heed, brethren, a little false doctrine may infect and poison your whole profession.
V. 10. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that you will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
And I am confident in you, through the goodness of God working in you, that ye will not be transported thus lightly with erroneous doctrine; but that ye will continue constant unto that truth, wherein ye have been informed: But whosoever he be, that hath thus troubled the peace of the Church, and laboured to seduce you, shall be sure to feel the just judgment of God upon him, for so great a sin.
V. 11. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
And, whereas the false teachers have suggested to you, that I myself am a favourer of circumcision, and preach the lawfulness and expediency of it; they wrong both you and me, in this mis-information: for, if I do preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then that scandal and slander of the Cross, which the adversaries cast upon us (in teaching that by Christ crucified, and not by the Works of the Law, men are justified) is utterly at an end, and all is peace between the Jews and us.
V. 12. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
I would to God, these injurious and vehement urgers of circumcision and other Jewish rites, were utterly cut off; that the Church of Christ might be at peace.
V. 13. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For, brethren, ye have been, by virtue of your Christian profession, called into a liberty and freedom from legal observations only, make ye a good use of this freedom; and do not so demean yourselves, as if ye thought that ye were hereby let loose to all inordinateness and licentious courses; but so serve one another by love, as that ye have care of the edification of each other in godliness.
V. 15. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that be not consumed one of another.
But, if ye fall foul upon each other by secret hostilities, and labour to undo the fame and good report of each other, and worry and tear each other with factious oppositions, take heed lest ye be the authors of each other's endless confusion.
V. 16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Walk ye and live, according to the information and guidance
of the Holy Spirit of God; and ye shall not be carried away with the vain and sinful lusts of the flesh.
V. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: &c.
For there is a continual enmity betwixt the flesh, which is our corrupted nature, and the Spirit, whereby we are regenerated; so as the flesh lusteth, &c.
V. 18. But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
But if ye be led by the Spirit of God, ye are not under the bondage of the Law; but do, out of your free love unto God, yield cheerful obedience to him.
V. 19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, &c.
Now the works of our corrupted and depraved nature are manifest, &c.
V. 24. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
And they, that are Christ's, have so far crucified this corrupt nature, with the affections and lusts thereof, as that, howsoever they have some remainders of life in them; yet, they have not so much vigour, as to reign and rule in them.
V. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
If then, we be persuaded, that the Spirit of God is in us, and that we have a true spiritual life in him, let us also walk, so, as may become the guidance and direction of the same Spirit.
VI. 1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one.
Brethren, if a man, through weakness, be overtaken with some sin, ye, that are regenerate persons, and know what our nature is, restore such an one.
VI. 2. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Bear ye mutually the burdens of each others' infirmities: we all have our load; it must be our care and desire, to ease each other in the bearing of them: and so, in loving each other, we shall fulfil the law of Christ.
VI. 3. For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Let no man stand upon the points of his own skill, righteousness, perfection: for, if a man think himself to be something, when indeed he is nothing, his overweening befools him.
VI. 4. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Let every man try and examine his own actions, by the rule of God's word; and then shall he, finding them sincere and