Front Page Titles (by Subject) A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE GALATIANS. - The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul's Epistles)
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE GALATIANS. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 7 (Essays and Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles) 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 7.
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A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE GALATIANS.
THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER.
There is nothing, certainly, of greater encouragement to the peace of the church in general, nor to the direction and edification of all christians in particular, than a right understanding of the holy scripture. This consideration has set so many learned and pious men amongst us, of late years, upon expositions, paraphrases, and notes on the sacred writings, that the author of these hopes the fashion may excuse him from endeavouring to add his mite; believing, that after all that has been done by those great labourers in the harvest, there may be some gleanings left, whereof he presumes he has an instance, chap. iii. ver. 20, and some other places of this epistle to the Galatians, which he looks upon not to be the hardest of St. Paul’s. If he has given a light to any obscure passage, he shall think his pains well employed; if there be nothing else worth notice in him, accept of his good intention.
THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE GALATIANS;
The subject and design of this epistle of St. Paul is much the same with that of his epistle to the Romans, but treated in somewhat a different manner. The business of it is to dehort and hinder the Galatians from bringing themselves under the bondage of the Mosaical law.
St. Paul himself had planted the churches of Galatia, and therefore referring (as he does, chap. i. 8, 9,) to what he had before taught them, does not, in this epistle lay down at large to them the doctrine of the gospel, as he does in that to the Romans, who having been converted to the christian faith by others, he did not know how far they were instructed in all those particulars, which, on the occasion whereon he writ to them, it might be necessary for them to understand: and therefore, writing to the Romans, he sets before them a large and comprehensive view of the chief heads of the christian religion.
He also deals more roundly with his disciples the Galatians than, we may observe, he does with the Romans, to whom he, being a stranger, writes not in so familiar a style, nor in his reproofs and exhortations uses so much the tone of a master, as he does to the Galatians.
St. Paul had converted the Galatians to the faith, and erected several churches among them in the year of our Lord 51; between which, and the year 57, wherein this epistle was writ, the disorders following were got into those churches:
First, Some zealots for the jewish constitution had very near persuaded them out of their christian liberty, and made them willing to submit to circumcision, and all the ritual observances of the jewish church, as necessary under the gospel, chap. i. 7; iii. 3; iv. 9, 10, 21; v. 1, 2, 6, 9, 10.
Secondly, Their dissensions and disputes in this matter had raised great animosities amongst them, to the disturbance of their peace, and the setting them at strife with one another, chap. v. 6, 13—15.
The reforming them in these two points, seems to be the main business of this epistle, wherein he endeavours to establish them in a resolution to stand firm in the freedom of the gospel, which exempts them from the bondage of the Mosaical law: and labours to reduce them to a sincere love and affection one to another; which he concludes with an exhortation to liberality, and general beneficence, especially to their teachers, chap. vi. 6, 10. These being the matters he had in his mind to write to them about, he seems here as if he had done. But, upon mentioning ver. 11, what a long letter he had writ to them with his own hand, the former argument concerning circumcision, which filled and warmed his mind, broke out again into what we find, ver. 12—17, of the sixth chapter.
CHAP. I. 1—5.
The general view of this epistle plainly shows St. Paul’s chief design in it to be, to keep the Galatians from hearkening to those judaizing seducers, who had almost persuaded them to be circumcised. These perverters of the gospel of Christ, as St. Paul himself calls them, ver. 7, had, as may be gathered from ver. 8, and 10, and from chap. v. 11, and other passages of this epistle, made the Galatians believe, that St. Paul himself was for circumcision. Until St. Paul himself had set them right in this matter, and convinced them of the falsehood of this aspersion, it was in vain for him, by other arguments, to attempt the re-establishing the Galatians in the christian liberty, and in that truth which he had preached to them. The removing therefore of this calumny, was his first endeavour: and to that purpose, this introduction, different from what we find in any other of his epistles, is marvellously well adapted. He declares, here at the entrance, very expressly and emphatically, that he was not sent by men on their errands; nay, that Christ, in sending him, did not so much as convey his apostolic power to him by the ministry, or intervention of any man; but that his commission and instructions were all entirely from God, and Christ himself, by immediate revelation. This, of itself, was an argument sufficient to induce them to believe, 1. That what he taught them, when he first preached the gospel to them, was the truth, and that they ought to stick firm to that. 2. That he changed not his doctrine, whatever might be reported of him. He was Christ’s chosen officer, and had no dependence on men’s opinions, nor regard to their authority or favour, in what he preached; and therefore it was not likely he should preach one thing at one time, and another thing at another.
Thus this preface is very proper in this place, to introduce what he is going to say concerning himself, and adds force to his discourse, and the account he gives of himself in the next section.
1Paul an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.)
2And all the brethren, which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia.
3Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
5To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1Paul (an apostle not of men* , to serve their ends, or carry on their designs, nor receiving his call, or commission, by the intervention of any man† , to whom he might be thought to owe any respect or deference upon that account: but immediately from Jesus Christ, and from God the Father, who raised him up from the2 dead); And all the brethren that are with me, unto3 the churches‡ of Galatia: Favour be to you, and peace§ from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might take us out of this present evil world* , according to the5 will and good pleasure of God and our Father, To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
CHAP. I. 6.—II. 21.
We have observed, that St. Paul’s first endeavour in this epistle, was to satisfy the Galatians, that the report spread of him, that he preached circumcision, was false. Until this obstruction, that lay in his way was removed, it was to no purpose for him to go about to dissuade them from circumcision, though that be what he principally aims, in this epistle. To show them, that he promoted not circumcision, he calls their hearkening to those who persuaded them to be circumcised, their being removed from him; and those that so persuaded them, “perverters of the gospel of Christ,” ver. 6, 7. He farther assures them, that the gospel which he preached every-where was that, and that only, which he had received by immediate revelation from Christ, and no contrivance of man, nor did he vary it to please men: that would not consist with his being a servant of Christ, ver. 10. And he expresses such a firm adherence to what he had received from Christ, and had preached to them, that he pronounces an anathema upon himself, ver. 8, 9, or any other man, or angel that should preach any thing else to them. To make out this to have been all along his conduct, he gives an account of himself for many years backwards, even from the time before his conversion. Wherein he shows, that from a zealous persecuting jew he was made a christian, and an apostle, by immediate revelation; and that, having no communication with the apostles, or with the churches of Judea, or any man, for some years, he had nothing to preach, but what he had received by immediate revelation. Nay, when, fourteen years after, he went up to Jerusalem, it was by revelation; and when he there communicated the gospel, which he preached among the gentiles, Peter, James, and John, approved of it, without adding any thing, but admitted him, as their fellow-apostle. So that, in all this, he was guided by nothing but divine revelation, which he inflexibly stuck to so far, that he openly opposed St. Peter for his judaizing at Antioch. All which account of himself tends clearly to show, that St. Paul made not the least step towards complying with the jews, in favour of the law, nor did, out of regard to man, deviate from the doctrine he had received by revelation from God.
All the parts of this section, and the narrative contained in it, manifestly concenter in this, as will more fully appear, as we go through them, and take a closer view of them; which will show us, that the whole is so skilfully managed, and the parts so gently slid into, that it is a strong, but not seemingly laboured justification of himself, from the imputation of preaching up circumcision.
6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him, that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel:
7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For, if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ.
11But I certify to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man.
12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past, in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it.
14And profited in the jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16To reveal his son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen: immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17Neither went I up to Jerusalem, to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem, to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
20Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lye not.
21Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia:
22And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea, which were in Christ.
23But they had heard only, that he, which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24And they glorified God in me.
6I cannot but wonder that you are soon* removed from me† , (who called you into the covenant of grace, which is in Christ) unto another sort of gospel; 7 Which is not owing to any thing else* , but only this, that ye are troubled by a certain sort of men, who would overturn the gospel of Christ by making circumcision, and the keeping of the law, necessary†8 under the gospel. But if even I myself, or an angel from heaven, should preach any thing to you for gospel, different from the gospel I have preached unto9 you, let him be accursed. I say it again to you, if any one, under pretence of the gospel, preach any other thing to you, than what ye have received10 from me, let him be accursed‡ . For can it be doubted of me, after having done and suffered so much for the gospel of Christ, whether I do now§ , at this time of day, make my court to men, or seek the favour* of God? If I had hitherto made it my business to please men, I should not have been the servant of Christ, nor taken up the profession of the11 gospel. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel, which has been every where† preached by me, is not such as is pliant to human interest, or can be accommodated12 to the pleasing of men (For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it by any one, as his scholar;) but it is the pure and ummixed immediate13 revelation of Jesus Christ to me. To satisfy you of this, my behaviour whilst I was of the jewish religion is so well known, that I need not tell you, how excessive violent I was in persecuting the church14 of God, and destroying it all I could; And that being carried on by an extraordinary zeal for the traditions of my forefathers, I out-stripped many15 students of my own age and nation, in judaism. But when it pleased God (who separated* me from my mother’s womb, and by his especial favour called† me to be a christian, and a preacher of the gospel,)16 To reveal his son to me, that I might preach him among the gentiles, I thereupon applied not myself17 to any man,‡ for advice what to do.§ Neither went I up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, to see whether they approved my doctrine, or to have farther instructions from them: but I went immediately∥ unto Arabia, and from 18 thence returned again to Damascus. Then after three years,* I went up to Jerusalem, to see Peter,19 and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, but James, the brother of our20 Lord. These things, that I write to you, I call God to witness, are all true; there is no falsehood in21 them. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria22 and Cilicia. But with the churches of Christ† in Judea, I had had no communication: they had not23 so much as seen my face;‡ Only they had heard, that I, who formerly persecuted the churches of Christ, did now preach the gospel, which I once24 endeavoured to suppress and extirpate. And they glorified God upon my account.
1Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem, with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
2And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel, which I preach among the gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run or had run in vain.
3But neither Titus, who was with me, being a greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
4And that, because of false brethren, unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.
5To whom we gave place by subjection, no not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
6But of these, who seemed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man’s person;) for they, who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing to me.
7But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter, to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles)
9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
10Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
11But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12For, before that certain came from James, he did eat with the gentiles: but, when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13And the other jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all: If thou, being a jew, livest after the manner of gentiles, and not as do the jews, why compellest thou the gentiles to live as do the jews?
15We who are jews by nature, and not sinners of the gentiles,
16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
1Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem, with Barnabas, and took Titus also with me.2 And I went up by revelation, and there laid before them the gospel which I * preached to the gentiles, but privately to those who were of note and reputation amongst them; lest the pains that I have already taken,† or should take in the gospel, should be in vain.‡3 But though I communicated the gospel which I preached to the gentiles, to the eminent men of the church at Jerusalem, yet neither* Titus who was with4 me, being a greek, was forced to be circumcised: Nor† did I yield any thing, one moment, by way of subjection‡ to the law, to those false brethren, who, by an unwary admittance, were slily crept in, to spy out our liberty from the law, which we have under the gospel: that they might bring us into bondage* to5 the law. But I stood my ground against it, that the6 truth† of the gospel might remain‡ among you. But as for those§ , who were really men∥ of eminency and value, what they were heretofore, it matters not at all to me: God accepts not the person of any man, but communicates the gospel to whom he pleases* , as he has done to me by revelation, without their help; for, in their conference with me, they added nothing to me, they taught me nothing new, nor that Christ had not taught me before, nor had they any thing to7 object against what I preached to the gentiles. But on the contrary, † James, Peter, and John, who were of reputation, and justly esteemed to be pillars, perceiving that the gospel which was to be preached to the gentiles, was committed to me; as that which was to be preached to the Jews was committed to8 Peter; (For he that had wrought powerfully* in Peter, to his executing the office of an apostle to the Jews, had also wrought powerfully in me, in my application9 and apostleship, to the gentiles;) And, knowing† the favour that was bestowed on me, gave me and Barnabas the right hand‡ of fellowship, that we should preach the gospel to the gentiles, and they 10 to the children of Israel. All that they proposed, was, that we should remember to make collections among the gentiles, for the poor christians of Judea, which11 was a thing that of myself I was forward to do. But when Peter came to Antioch, I openly opposed* him12 to his face: for, indeed, he was to be blamed. For he conversed there familiarly with the gentiles, and eat with them, until some jews came thither from James: then he withdrew, and separated from the gentiles, for fear of those who were of the circumcision:13 And the rest of the jews joined also with him in this hypocrisy, insomuch that Barnabas himself was carried away with the stream, and dissembled as14 they did. But when I saw they conformed not their conduct to the truth* of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all: If thou, being a Jew, takest the liberty sometimes to live after the manner of the gentiles, not keeping to those rules which the jews observe, why dost thou constrain the gentiles to conform themselves to the rites and manner of living of the jews?15 We, who are by† nature jews, born under the instruction and guidance of the law, God’s peculiar people, and not of the unclean and profligate race of16 the gentiles, abandoned to sin and death, Knowing that a man cannot be justified by the deeds of the law, but solely by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have put ourselves upon believing on him, and embraced the profession of the gospel, for the attainment of justification by faith in Christ, and not by the works17 of the law: But if we seek to be justified in Christ, even we ourselves also are found unjustified sinners* (for such are all those who are under the law, which admits of no remission or justification:) is Christ, therefore, the minister of sin? Is the dispensation by him, a dispensation of sin, and not of righteousness? Did he come into the world, that those who believe in him, should still remain sinners, i. e. under the guilt of their sins, without the benefit of justification?18 By no means. And yet certain it is, if I,† who quitted the law, to put myself under the gospel, put myself again under the law, I make myself a transgressor; I re-assume again the guilt of all my transgressions; which, by the terms of that covenant19 of works, I cannot be justified from. For by the tenour‡ of the law itself, I, by faith in Christ, am discharged§ from the law, that I might be appropriated∥ to God, and live acceptably to him in his kingdom, which he has now set up under his Son.20 I, a member of Christ’s body, am crucified* with him, but though I am thereby dead to the law, I nevertheless live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, i. e. the life which I now live in the flesh, is upon no other principle, nor under any other law, but that of faith in the Son of God† , who loved me, and gave21 himself for me. And in so doing, I avoid frustrating the grace of God, I accept of the grace‡ and forgiveness of God, as it is offered through faith in Christ, in the gospel: but if I subject myself to the law as still in force under the gospel, I do in effect frustrate grace. For if righteousness be to be had by the law, then Christ died to no purpose, there was no need of it.§
CHAP. III. 1—5.
By the account St. Paul has given of himself in the foregoing section, the galatians being furnished with evidence, sufficient to clear him, in their minds, from the report of his preaching circumcision, he comes now, the way being thus opened, directly to oppose their being circumcised, and subjecting themselves to the law. The first argument he uses, is, that they received the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of miracles, by the gospel, and not by the law.
1O foolish galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2This only would I learn of you: Received ye the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5He, therefore, that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
1O ye foolish galatians, who hath cast a mist before your eyes, that you should not keep to the truth* of the gospel, you to whom the sufferings and death of Christ† upon the cross, hath been by me so lively represented, as if it had been actually done in your sight?2 This is one thing I desire to know of you: Did you receive the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, by the works3 of the law, or by the gospel preached to you? Have you so little understanding, that, having begun in the reception of the spiritual doctrine of the gospel, you hope to be advanced to higher degrees of perfection,4 and to be completed by the law* ? Have you suffered so many things in vain, if at least you will render it in vain, by falling off from the profession of the pure and uncorrupted doctrine of the gospel, and apostatizing5 to judaism? The gifts of the Holy Ghost, that have been conferred upon you, have they not been conferred on you as Christians, professing faith in Jesus Christ, and not as observers of the law? And hath not he† , who hath conveyed these gifts to you, and done miracles amongst you, done it as a preacher and professor of the gospel, the jews, who stick in the law of Moses, being not able, by virtue of that, to do any such thing?
CHAP. III. 6—17.
His next argument against circumcision, and subjection to the law, is, that the children of Abraham, intitled to the inheritance and blessing promised to Abraham and his seed, are so by faith, and not by being under the law, which brings a curse upon those who are under it.
6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness:
7Know ye, therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
9So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the “just shall live by faith.”
12And the law is not of faith: but, “The man that doth them, shall live in them.”
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, “and to seeds,” as of many; but as of one, “and to thy seed,” which is Christ.
17And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
6But to proceed: As Abraham believed in God, and7 it was accounted to him for righteousness; So know ye, that those who are of faith, i. e. who rely upon God, and his promises of grace, and not upon their own performances, they are the children of Abraham, who shall inherit; and this is plain in the scripture.8 For it being in the purpose of God, to justify the gentiles by faith, he gave Abraham a fore-knowledge of the gospel in these words: “* In thee all the9 nations of the earth shall be blessed.” So that they who are of † faith, are blessed with Abraham,10 who believed. But as many as are of the works of the law, are under the ‡ curse: for it is written§ , “Cursed is every one, who remaineth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, 11 to do them.” But that no man is justified by the law, in the sight of God, is evident; “for the just12 shall live by faith* .” But the law says not so, the law gives not life to those who believe† : but the rule of the law is, “He that doth them,13 shall live in them‡ .” Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written§ , “Cursed is every one14 that hangeth on a tree:” That the blessing∥ , promised to Abraham, might come on the gentiles, through Jesus Christ; that we who are Christians might, believing, receive the Spirit that was promised¶ .15 Brethren, this is a known and allowed rule in human affairs, that a promise, or compact, though it be barely a man’s covenant, yet if it be once ratified, so it must stand, nobody can render it void,16 or make any alteration in it. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. God doth not say, “and to seeds* ,” as if he spoke of more seeds than one, that were intitled to the promise upon different accounts; but only of one sort of men, who, upon one sole account, were that seed of Abraham, which was alone meant and concerned in the promise; so that “unto thy seed† ,” designed Christ, and his mystical body‡ , i. e. those, that become17 members of him by faith. This, therefore, I say, that the law, which was not till 430 years after, cannot disannul the covenant that was long before made, and ratified to Christ by God, so as to set aside the promise. For if the right to the inheritance be from the works of the law, it is plain that it is not founded in the promise of Abraham, as certainly it is. For the inheritance was a donation and free gift of God, settled on Abraham and his seed, by promise.
CHAP. III. 18—25.
In answer to this objection, “To what, then, serveth the law?” He shows, that the law was not contrary to the promise: but since all men were guilty of transgression, ver. 22, the law was added, to show the Israelites the fruit and inevitable consequence of their sin, and thereby the necessity of betaking themselves to Christ: but as soon as men have received Christ, they have attained the end of the law, and so are no longer under it. This is a farther argument against circumcision.
18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19Wherefore, then, serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator.
20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one.
21Is the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid! for if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But, after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
18If the blessing and inheritance be settled on Abraham and believers, as a free gift by promise, and19 was not to be obtained by the deeds of the law; To what purpose then was the law? It was added, because the Israelites, the posterity of Abraham, were transgressors* , as well as other men, to show them their sins, and the punishment and death they incurred by them, until Christ should come, who was the seed, into whom both jews and gentiles, ingrafted by believing, become the people of God, and children of Abraham, that seed to which the promise was made. And the law was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator* , whereby it is manifest, that the law could not disannul the promise;20 Because a mediator is a mediator between two parties concerned, but God is but one† of those21 concerned in the promise. If, then, the promised inheritance come not to the seed of Abraham, by the law, is the law opposite, by the curse it denounces against transgressors, to the promises that God made of the blessing to Abraham? No, by no means! For if there had been a law given, which could have put us in a state of life* , certainly22 righteousness should have been by law† . But we find the quite contrary by the scripture, which makes no distinction betwixt jew and gentile, in this respect, but has shut up together all mankind‡ , jews and gentiles, under sin§ and guilt, that the blessing∥ which was promised, to that which is Abraham’s true and intended seed, by faith in Christ,23 might be given to those who believe. But, before Christ, and the doctrine of justification by faith¶ in him, came, we jews were shut up as a company of prisoners together, under the custody and inflexible rigour of the law, unto the coming of the Messiah, when the doctrine of justification by faith**24 in him should be revealed. So that the law, by its severity, served as a schoolmaster to bring us to 25 Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But Christ being come, and with him the doctrine of justification by faith, we are set free from this schoolmaster, there is no longer any need of him.
CHAP. III. 26—29.
As a further argument to dissuade them from circumcision, he tells the galatians, that by faith in Christ, all, whether jews or gentiles, are made the children of God; and so they stood in no need of circumcision.
26For ye are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus.
27For as many of you, as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.
28There is neither jew nor greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
26For ye are* all the children of God, by faith in27 Christ Jesus. For as many of you, as have been28 baptized in Christ, have put on† Christ. There is no distinction of jew or gentile, or bond or free, of male or female. For ye are all one body, making29 up one person in Christ Jesus. And if ye are all one in Christ Jesus,* ye are the true ones, seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the propose.
CHAP. IV. 1—11.
In the first part of this section he further shows, that the law was not against the promise, in that the child is not disinherited, by being under tutors. But the chief design of this section is to show, that though both jews and gentiles were intended to be the children of God, and heirs of the promise by faith in Christ, yet they both of them were left in bondage, the jews to the law, ver. 3, and the gentiles to false gods, ver 8, until Christ in due time came to redeem them both; and, therefore, it was folly in the galatians, being redeemed from one bondage, to go backwards, and put themselves again in a state of bondage, though under a new master.
1Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2But he is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father.
3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his son made of a woman, made under the law;
5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6And, because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God, through Christ.
8Howbeit, then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them, which by nature are no gods.
9But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
1Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a bondman,* though he be2 lord of all; But is under tutors and guardians, until3 the time prefixed by his father. So we† jews, whilst we were children, were in bondage under the law.‡4 But when the time appointed for the coming of the Messias was accomplished, God sent forth his Son,5 made of a woman, and subjected to the law; That he might redeem those who were under the law, and set them free from it, that we, who believe, might be put out of the state of bondmen, into that of sons.6 Into which state of sons, it is evident that you, galatians, who were heretofore gentiles, are put; forasmuch as God hath sent forth his Spirit§ into your 7 hearts, which enables you to cry Abba, Father. So that thou art no longer a bondman, but a son: and if a son, then an heir* of God, or of the promise of8 God, though Christ. But then, i. e. before ye were made the sons of God, by faith in Christ, now under the gospel, ye, not knowing God, were in bondage to9 those, who were in truth no gods. But now, that ye know God, yea rather, that ye are known† and taken into favour by him, how can it be that you, who have been put out of a state of bondage, into the freedom of sons, should go backwards, and be willing to put yourselves under the* weak and beggarly elements†10 of the world into a state of bondage again? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years, in11 compliance with the Mosaical institution. I begin to be afraid of you, and to be in doubt, whether all the pains I have taken about you, to set you at liberty, in the freedom of the gospel, will not prove lost labour.
CHAP. IV. 12—20.
He presses them with the remembrance of the great kindness they had for him, when he was amongst them; and assures them that they have no reason to be alienated from him, though that be it, which the judaizing seducers aim at.
12Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
13Ye know how, through infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
14And my temptation, which was in my flesh, ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me, as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15Where then is the blessedness you spake of; for I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and given them to me.
16And I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
17They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that you might affect them.
18But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.
20I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
12I beseech you, brethren, let you and I be as if we were all one. Think yourselves to be very me; as I, in my own mind, put no difference at all between you and myself; you have done me no manner of13 injury: On the contrary, ye know, that through infirmity of the flesh, I heretofore preached the gospel14 to you. And yet ye despised me not, for the trial I underwent in the flesh* , you treated me not with contempt and scorn: but you received me, as an15 angel of God, yea, as Jesus Christ himself. What benedictions† did you then pour out upon me? For I bear you witness, had it been practicable, you would have pulled out your very eyes, and given them16 me. But is it so, that I am become your enemy‡17 in continuing to tell you the truth? They, who would make you of that mind, show a warmth of affection to you; but it is not well: for their business is to exclude me, that they may get into your affection.18 It is good to be well and warmly affected towards a good man* , at all times, and not barely19 when I am present with you, My little children, for whom I have again the pains of a woman in childbirth, until Christ be formed in you† , i. e. till the true doctrine of christianity be settled in your20 minds. But I would willingly be this very moment with you, and change‡ my discourse, as I should find occasion; for I am at a stand about you, and know not what to think of you.
CHAP. IV. 21.—V. 1.
He exhorts them to stand fast in the liberty, with which Christ hath made them free, showing those, who are so zealous for the law, that, if they mind what they read in the law, they will there find, that the children of the promise, or of the new Jerusalem, were to be free; but the children after the flesh, of the earthly Jerusalem, were to be in bondage, and to be cast out, and not to have the inheritance.
21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free-woman.
23But he, who was of the bond-woman, was born after the flesh: but he of the free-woman was by promise.
24Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26But Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.
27For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not; break forth and cry, that thou travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29But as, then, he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now.
30Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond-woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.
V. 1.Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
21Tell me, you that would so fain be under the law, do you not acquaint yourselves with what is in the law, either by reading* it, or having it read in your assemblies?22For it is there written† , Abraham had two sons, one by a bond-maid the other by a free woman.23 But he that was of the bond-woman, was born according to the flesh, in the ordinary course of nature; but he that was of the free woman, Abraham had by virtue of the promise, after he and his wife were past24 the hopes of another child. These things have an allegorical meaning: for the two women are the two covenants, the one of them delivered from mount Sinai, and is represented by Agar, who produces her25 issue into bondage. (For Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem, that now is, and26 is in bondage with her children.) But the heavenly Jerusalem, which is above, and answers to Sarah, the mother of the promised seed, is free, the mother27 of us all, both jews and gentiles, who believe. For it was of her, that it is written* , “Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not; break out into loud acclamations of joy, thou that hast not the travails of child-birth; for more are the children of the28 desolate, than of her that hath an husband.” And it is we, my brethren, who, as Isaac was, are the29 children of promise. But as, then, Ishmael, who was born in the ordinary course of nature* , persecuted Isaac, who was born by an extraordinary power, from heaven, working miraculously; so is it30 now. But what saith the scripture† ? “Cast out the bond-woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not share the inheritance with31 the son of the free-woman.” So then, brethren, we, who believe in Christ, are not the children of the bond-woman,V. 1. but of the free‡ . Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made you free, and do not put on again a yoke of bondage, by putting yourselves under the law.
CHAP. V. 2—13.
It is evident from ver. 11, that, the better to prevail, with the galatians to be circumcised, it had been reported, that St. Paul himself preached up circumcision. St. Paul, without taking express notice of this calumny, chap. i. 6, and ii. 21, gives an account of his past life, in a large train of particulars, which all concur to make such a character of him, as renders it very incredible, that he should ever declare for the circumcision of the gentile converts, or for their submission to the law. Having thus prepared the minds of the galatians to give him a fair hearing, as a fair man ζηλȣ͂σθαι ἐν ϰαλῷ, he goes on to argue against their subjecting themselves to the law. And having established their freedom from the law, by many strong arguments, he comes here at last openly to take notice of the report which had been raised of him, [that he preached circumcision] and directly confutes it.
1. By positively denouncing to them himself, very solemnly; that they, who suffer themselves to be circumcised, put themselves into a perfect legal state, out of the covenant of grace, and could receive no benefit by Jesus Christ, ver. 2—4.
2. By assuring them, that he, and those that followed him, expected justification only by faith, ver. 5, 6.
3. By telling them, that he had put them in the right way, and that this new persuasion came not from him, that converted them to christianity, ver. 7, 8.
4. By insinuating to them, that they should agree to pass judgment on him, that troubled them with this doctrine, ver. 9, 10.
5. By his being persecuted, for opposing the circumcision of the christians. For this was the great offence, which stuck with the jews, even after their conversion, ver. 11.
6. By wishing those cut off, that trouble them with this doctrine, ver. 12.
This will, I doubt not, by whoever weighs it, be found a very skilful management of the argumentative part of this epistle, which ends here. For, though he begins with sapping the foundation, on which the judaizing seducers seemed to have laid their main stress, viz. the report of his preaching circumcision; yet he reserves the direct and open confutation of it to the end, and so leaves it with them, that it may have the more forcible and lasting impression on their minds.
2Behold; I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3For I testify, again, to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4Christ is become of no effect unto you; whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.
5For we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6For in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith, which worketh by love.
7Ye did run well: who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth?
8This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
9A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
10I 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.
11And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
12I would they were even cut off, which trouble you.
13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty.
2Take notice that I, Paul* , who am falsely reported to preach up circumcision in other places, say unto you, that if you are circumcised, Christ shall be of no advantage3 to you. For I repeat here again, what I have always preached, and solemnly testify to every one, who yields to be circumcised, in compliance with those who say, That now, under the gospel, he cannot be saved† without it, that he is under an obligation to the whole law, and bound to observe and perform4 every tittle of it. Christ is of no use to you, who seek justification by the law: whosoever do so, be ye what ye will, ye are fallen from the covenant of5 grace. But I‡ , and those, who with me are true christians, we, who follow the truth of the gospel, and the doctrine of the Spirit§ of God, have no other6 hope of justification, but by faith in Christ. For in the state of the gospel, under Jesus, the Messiah, it is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, that is of any moment; all that is available is faith alone,7 working by love* . When you first entered into the profession of the gospel, you were in a good way, and went on well: who has put a stop to you, and hindereth you, that you keep no longer to the8 truth of the christian doctrine? This persuasion, that it is necessary for you to be circumcised, cometh not from him† , by whose preaching you were called9 to the profession of the gospel. Remember that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump; the influence of one man‡ entertained among you, may10 mislead you all. I have confidence in you, that, by the help of the Lord, you will be all of this same mind§ with me; and consequently he that troubles you, shall fall under the censure he deserves for it* ,11whoever he be. But as for me, brethren, if I, at last, am become a preacher of circumcision, why am I yet persecuted† ? If it be so, that the gentile converts are to be circumcised, and so subjected to the law, the great offence of the gospel‡ , in relying solely on a crucified Saviour for salvation, is removed.12 But I am of another mind, and wish that they may be cut off, who trouble you about this13 matter, and they shall be cut off. For, brethren, ye have been called by me unto liberty.
CHAP. V. 13—26.
From the mention of liberty, which he tells them they are called to, under the gospel, he takes a rise to caution them in the use of it, and so exhorts them to a spiritual, or true christian life, showing the difference and contrariety between that and a carnal life, or a life after the flesh.
Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14For all the law is fulfilled in one word: even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led by the spirit, ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such-like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they, which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ’s, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Though the gospel, to which you are called, be a state of liberty from the bondage of the law, yet pray take great care you do not mistake that liberty, nor think it affords you an opportunity, in the abuse of it, to satisfy the lust of the flesh, but serve* one14 another in love. For the whole law, concerning our duty to others, is fulfilled in observing this one precept† ; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”15But, if you bite and tear one another, take heed that you be not destroyed and consumed16 by one another. This I say to you, conduct yourselves by the light that is in your minds‡ , and do not give yourselves up to the lusts of the flesh, to17 obey them, in what they put upon you. For the inclinations and desires of the flesh, are contrary to those of the spirit: and the dictates and inclinations of the spirit are contrary to those of the flesh; so that, under these contrary impulses, you do not do18 the things that you purpose to yourselves* . But if you give yourselves up to the conduct of the gospel† ,19 by faith in Christ, ye are not under the law‡ . Now the works of the flesh, as is manifest, are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft* , enmities, quarrels, emulations,21 animosities, strife, seditions, sects, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings† , and such-like: concerning which I forewarn you now, as heretofore I have done, that they, who do such things, shall not inherit22 the kingdom of God. But, on the other side, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, sweetness of disposition, beneficence, faithfulness,23 Meekness, temperance: against these and24 the like there is no law. Now they who belong‡ to Christ, and are his members, have§ crucified the 25 flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof. If our life then (our flesh having been crucified) be, as we profess, by the Spirit, whereby we are alive from that state of sin, we were dead in before, let us regulate our lives and actions by the light and dictates26 of the Spirit. Let us not be led, by an itch of vain-glory, to provoke one another, or to envy one another* .
CHAP. VI. 1—5.
He here exhorts the stronger to gentleness and meekness towards the weak.
1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
4But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5For every man shall bear his own burden.
1Brethren, if a man, by frailty or surprise, fall into a fault, do you, who are eminent in the church for knowledge, practice, and gifts,* raise him up again, and set him right, with gentleness and meekness, considering that you yourselves are not out of the reach2 of temptations. Bear with one another’s infirmities, and help to support each other under your burdens,†3 and so fulfil the law of Christ.‡ For if any one be conceited of himself, as if he were something, a man of weight, fit to prescribe to others, when indeed he is4 not, he deceiveth himself. But let him take care that what he himself doth be right, and such as will bear the test, and then he will have matter of glorying§5 in himself, and not in another. For every one shall be accountable only for his own actions.
CHAP. VI. 6—10.
St. Paul having laid some restraint upon the authority and forwardness of the teachers, and leading men amongst them, who were, as it seems, more ready to impose on the galatians what they should not, than to help them forward in the practice of gospel-obedience; he here takes care of them, in respect of their maintenance, and exhorts the galatians to liberality towards them, and, in general, towards all men, especially christians.
6Let him, that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
6Let him, that is taught the doctrine of the gospel, freely communicate the good things of this world to7 him that teaches him. Be not deceived, God will not be mocked; for, as a man soweth,* so also shall8 he reap. He, that lays out the stock of good things he has, only for the satisfaction of his own bodily necessities, conveniences, or pleasures, shall, at the harvest, find the fruit and product of such husbandry to be corruption and perishing.† But he, that lays out his worldly substance, according to the rules dictated by the Spirit of God in the gospel, shall, of9 the Spirit, reap life everlasting. In doing thus, what is good and right, let us not wax weary; for in due season, when the time of harvest comes, we shall reap, if we continue on to do good, and flag not.10 Therefore, as we have opportunities, let us do good unto all men, especially to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, i. e. the christian religion.
CHAP. VI. 11—18.
One may see what lay upon St. Paul’s mind, in writing to the galatians, by what he inculcates to them here, even after he had finished his letter. The like we have in the last chapter to the romans. He here winds up all with admonitions to the galatians, of a different end and aim they had, to get the galatians circumcised, from what he had in preaching the gospel.
11You see how large a letter I have written unto you, with mine own hand,
12As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13For neither they themselves, who are circumcised, keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15For, in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Unto the galatians, written from Rome.
11You see how long a letter I have writ to you with12 my own hand* . They, who are willing to carry it so fairly in the ritual part of the law† , and to make ostentation of their compliance therein, constrain you to be circumcised, only to avoid persecution, for owning their dependence for salvation solely on a crucified Messiah, and not on the observance of the law.13 For even they themselves, who are circumcised, do not keep the law. But they will have you to be circumcised, that this mark in your flesh may afford them matter of glorying, and of recommending themselves14 to the good opinion of the jews‡ . But as for me, whatever may be said of me§ , God forbid that I should glory in any thing, but in having Jesus Christ, who was crucified, for my sole Lord and Master, whom I am to obey and depend on; which I so entirely do, without regard to any thing else, that I am wholly dead to the world, and the world dead to me, and it has no more influence on me, than15 if it were not. For, as to the obtaining a share in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the privileges and advantages of it, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, such outward differences in the flesh, avail any thing, but the new creation, wherein by a thorough change a man is disposed to righteousness, and16 true holiness, in good works* . And on all those, who walk by this rule, viz. that it is the new creation alone, and not circumcision, that availeth under the gospel, peace and mercy shall be on them, they being that Israel, which are truly the people of God† .17 From henceforth, let no man give me trouble by questions, or doubt whether I preach circumcision or no. It is true, I am circumcised. But yet the marks I now bear in my body, are the marks of Jesus Christ, that I am his. The marks of the stripes, which I have received from the jews, and which I still bear in my body for preaching Jesus Christ, are18 an evidence that I am not for circumcision. “Brethren, the favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Amen.
[* ]1 Οὐϰ ἀπ’ ἀνθρώπων “not of men,” i. e. not sent by men at their pleasure, or by their authority; not instructed by men what to say or do, as we see Timothy and Titus were, when sent by St. Paul; and Judas and Silas, sent by the church of Jerusalem.
[† ]Οὐδὲ δἰ ἀνθρώπȣ, “nor by man,” i. e. his choice and separation to his ministry and apostleship was so wholly an act of God and Christ, that there was no intervention of any thing done by any man in the case, as there was in the election of Matthias. All this we may see explained at large, ver. 10—12, and ver. 16, 17, and chap. ii. 6—9.
[‡ ]2 “Churches of Galatia.” This was an evident seal of his apostleship to the Gentiles; since, in no bigger a country than Galatia, a small province of the lesser Asia, he had, in no long stay among them, planted several distinct churches.
[§ ]3 “Peace.” The wishing of peace, in the scripture-language, is the wishing of all manner of good.
[* ]4 Ὄπως ἐξέληαι ἡμᾶς ἐϰ τȣ͂ ἐνεϛῶτος αἰῶνος ϖονηρ. “That he might take us out of this present evil world,” or age; so the Greek words signify. Whereby it cannot be thought, that St. Paul meant, that christians were to be immediately removed into the other world. Therefore ἐνεϛὼς αἰὼν must signify something else, than present world, in the ordinary import of those words in English. Αἰὼν ȣ͂̔τος, 1 Cor. ii. 6, 8, and in other places, plainly signifies the Jewish nation, under the Mosaical constitution; and it suits very well with the apostle’s design in this epistle, that it should do so here. God has, in this world, but one kingdom, and one people. The nation of the jews were the kingdom and people of God, whilst the law stood. And this kingdom of God, under the Mosaical constitution, was called αἰὼν ȣ͂̔τος, this age, or as it is commonly translated, this world, to which αἰὼν ἐνεϛὼς, the present world, or age, here answers. But the kingdom of God, which was to be under the Messiah, wherein the economy and constitution of the Jewish church, and the nation itself, that, in opposition to Christ, adhered to it, was to be laid aside, is in the new testament called αἰὼν μέλλων, the world, or age to come; so that “Christ’s taking them out of the present world” may, without any violence to the words, be understood to signify his setting them free from the Mosaical constitution. This is suitable to the design of this epistle, and what St. Paul has declared in many other places. See Col. ii. 14—17, and 20, which agrees to this place, and Rom. vii. 4, 6. This law is said to be contrary to us, Col. ii. 14, and to “work wrath,” Rom. iv. 15, and St. Paul speaks very diminishingly of the ritual parts of it in many places: but yet if all this may not be thought sufficient to justify the applying of the epithet ϖονηρȣ͂, evil to it; that scruple will be removed if we take ἐνεϛὼς αἰὼν, “this present world,” here, for the Jewish constitution and nation together; in which sense it may very well be called “evil;” though the apostle, out of his wonted tenderness to his nation, forbears to name them openly, and uses a doubtful expression, which might comprehend the heathen world also; though he chiefly pointed at the Jews.
[* ]6 “So soon.” The first place we find Galatia mentioned, is Acts xvi. 6. And therefore St. Paul may be supposed to have planted these churches there, in his journey mentioned, Acts xvi. which was anno Domini 51. He visited them again, after he had been at Jerusalem, Acts xviii. 21—53. 54. From thence he returned to Ephesus, and staid there about two years, during which time this epistle was writ: so that, counting from his last visit, this letter was writ to them within two or three years from the time he was last with them, and had left them confirmed in the doctrine he had taught them; and therefore he might with reason wonder at their forsaking him so soon, and that gospel he had converted them to.
[† ]“From him that called you.” These words plainly point out himself; but then one might wonder how St. Paul came to use them; since it would have sounded better to have said, “Removed from the gospel I preached to you, to another gospel, than removed from me that preached to you, to another gospel.” But if it be remembered, that St. Paul’s design here, is to vindicate himself from the aspersion cast on him, that he preached circumcision, nothing could be more suitable to that purpose, than this way of expressing himself.
[* ]7 Ὃ ȣ̓ϰ ἔϛιν ἂλλο I take to signify “which is not any thing else.” The words themselves, the context, and the business the apostle is upon here, do all concur to give these words the sense I have taken them in. For, 1, If [Editor: illegible character] had referred to εὐαγελιον, it would have been more natural to have kept to the word ἕτερον, and not have changed it into ἄλλο. 2. It can scarce be supposed, by any one who reads what St. Paul says, in the following words of this verse, and the two adjoining; and also chap. iii. 4, and ver. ii. 4 and 7, that St. Paul should tell them, that what he would keep them from, “is not another gospel.” 3. It is suitable to St. Paul’s design here, to tell them, that to their being removed to “another gospel,” nobody else had contributed, but it was wholly owing to those judaizing seducers.
[† ]See Acts xv. 1, 5, 23, 24.
[‡ ]9 “Accursed.” Though we may look upon the repetition of the anathema here, to be for the adding of force to what he says, yet we may observe, that by joining himself with an angel, in the foregoing verse, he does as good as tell them, that he is not guilty of what deserves it, by skilfully insinuating to the galatians, that they might as well suspect an angel might preach to them a gospel different from his, i. e. a false gospel, as that he himself should: and then, in this verse, lays the anathema, wholly and solely, upon the judaizing seducers.
[§ ]10 Ἄρȣ̓ι, “now,” and ἔτι, “yet,” cannot be understood without a reference to something in St. Paul’s past life; what that was, which he had particularly then in his mind, we may see by the account he gives of himself, in what immediately follows, viz. that before his conversion he was employed by men, in their designs, and made it his business to please them, as may be seen, Acts ix. 1, 2. But when God called him, he received his commission and instructions from him alone, and set immediately about it, without consulting any man whatsoever, preaching that, and that only, which he had received from Christ. So that it would be senseless folly in him, and no less than the forsaking his Master, Jesus Christ, if he should now, as was reported of him, mix any thing of men’s with the pure doctrine of the Gospel, which he had received immediately by revelation from Jesus Christ, to please the jews, after he had so long preached only that; and had, to avoid all appearance or pretence to the contrary, so carefully shunned all communication with the churches of Judea; and had not, until a good while after, and that very sparingly, conversed with any, and those but a few, of the apostles themselves, some of whom he openly reproved for their judaizing. Thus the narrative, subjoined to this verse, explains the “now,” and “yet,” in it, and all tends to the same purpose.
[* ]Πείθω, translated “persuade,” is sometimes used for making application to any one to obtain his good-will, or friendship: and hence, Acts xii. 20, ωείσαντες Βλάϛον is translated “having made Blastus their friend:” the sense is here the same which, 1 Thess. ii. 4. he expresses in these words, ȣ̓χ ὡς ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσϰοντες ἀλλὰ τῷ Θεῷ, “not as pleasing men but, God.”
[† ]11 Τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ’ ἐμȣ͂, “which has been preached by me:” this being spoken indefinitely, must be understood in general, every where, and so is the import of the forgoing verse.
[* ]15 “Separated.” This may be understood by Jer. i. 5.
[† ]“Called.” The history of this call, see Acts ix. 1, &c.
[‡ ]16 “Flesh and blood,” is used for man, see Eph. vi. 12.
[§ ]“For advice;” this, and what he says in the following verse, is to evidence to the galatians the full assurance he had of the truth and perfection of the gospel, which he had received from Christ, by immediate revelation; and how little he was disposed to have any regard to the pleasing of men in preaching it, that he did not so much as communicate, or advise, with any of the apostles about it, to see whether they approved of it.
[∥ ]17 Εὐθέως, immediately, though placed just before ȣ̓ and ϖροσανεθέμην, “I conferred not;” yet it is plain, by the sense and design of St. Paul here, that it principally relates to, “I went into Arabia;” his departure into Arabia, presently upon his conversion, before he had consulted with any body, being made use of, to show that the gospel he had received by immediate revelation from Jesus Christ, was complete, and sufficiently instructed and enabled him to be a preacher and an apostle to the gentiles, without borrowing any thing from any man, in order thereunto; no not with any of the apostles, no one of whom he saw, until three years after.
[* ]18 “Three years,” i. e. from his conversion.
[† ]22 “In Christ,” i. e. believing in Christ, see Rom. xvi. 7.
[‡ ]This, which he so particularly takes notice of, does nothing to the proving, that he was a true apostle; but serves very well to show, that, in what he preached, he had no communication with those of his own nation, nor took any care to please the Jews.
[* ]2 “I communicated.” The conference he had in private with the chief of the church of Jerusalem, concerning the gospel which he preached among the Gentiles, seems not to have been barely concerning the doctrine of their being free from the law of Moses, that had been openly and hotly disputed at Antioch, and was known to be the business they came about to Jerusalem; but it is probable, it was to explain to them the whole doctrine he had received by revelation, by the fulness and perfection whereof, (for it is said, ver. 6, that, in that conference, they added nothing to it) and by the miracles he had done in confirmation of it, (see ver. 8.) they might see and own what he preached, to be the truth, and him to be one of themselves, both by commission and doctrine, as indeed they did; αὐτοῖς, “them,” signifies those at Jerusalem; ϰατ’ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοϰȣ͂σι, are exegetical, and show the particular manner and persons, import “nempe privatim, eminentioribus.” It was enough to his purpose to be owned by those of greatest authority, and so we see he was, by James, Peter, and John, ver. 9, and therefore it was safest and best to give an account of the gospel he preached, in private to them, and not publicly to the whole church.
[† ]“Running,” St. Paul uses for taking pains in the gospel. See Phil. ii. 16. A metaphor, I suppose, taken from the Olympic games, to express his utmost endeavours to prevail in the propagating the gospel.
[‡ ]“In vain:” He seems here to give two reasons why, at last, after 14 years, he communicated to the chief of the apostles at Jerusalem, the gospel that he preached to the gentiles, when, as he shows to the galatians, he had formerly declined all communication with the convert jews. 1. He seems to intimate, that he did it by revelation. 2. He gives another reason, viz. That, if he had not communicated, as he did, with the leading men there, and satisfied them of his doctrine and mission, his opposers might unsettle the churches he had, or should plant, by urging, that the apostles knew not what it was that he preached, nor had ever owned it for the gospel, or him for an apostle. Of the readiness of the judaizing seducers, to take any such advantage against him, he had lately an example in the church of Corinth.
[* ]3 ȣ̓ϰ ἠναγϰάσθη is rightly translated, “was not compelled,” a plain evidence to the galatians, that the circumcising of the convert gentiles, was no part of the gospel which he laid before these men of note, as what he preached to the gentiles. For if it had, Titus must have been circumcised; for no part of his gospel was blamed, or altered by them, ver. 6. Of what other use his mentioning this, of Titus here can be, but to show to the galatians, that what he preached, contained nothing of circumcising the convert gentiles, it is hard to find. If it were to show that the other apostles, and church at Jerusalem, dispensed with circumcision, and other ritual observances of the Mosaical law, that was needless; for that was sufficiently declared by their decree, Acts xv. which was made and communicated to the churches, before this epistle was writ, as may be seen, Acts xvi. 4, much less was this of Titus of any force, to prove that St. Paul was a true apostle, if that were what he was here labouring to justify. But considering his aim here, to be the clearing himself from a report, that he preached up circumcision, there could be nothing more to his purpose, than this instance of Titus, whom, uncircumcised as he was, he took with him to Jerusalem; uncircumcised he kept with him there, and uncircumcised he took back with him, when he returned. This was a strong and pertinent instance to persuade the galatians that the report of his preaching circumcision was a mere aspersion.
[† ]4 Οὐδὲ, “Neither,” in the third verse, according to propriety of speech, ought to have a “nor,” to answer it, which is the ȣ̓δὲ, “nor,” here; which, so taken, answers the propriety of the Greek, and very much clears the sense; ȣ̓δὲ Τίτος ἠναγϰάσθη, ȣ̓δὲ ϖρὸς ὤραν εἴξαμεν, “Neither was Titus compelled, nor did we yield to them a moment.”
[‡ ]Τῆ ὑποταγῆ, “by subjection.” The point those false brethren contended for, was, That the law of Moses was to be kept, see Acts xv. 5. St. Paul, who, on other occasions, was so complaisant, that to the jews he became as a jew, to those under the law, as under the law (see 1 Cor. ix. 19—22), yet when subjection to the law was claimed, as due in any case, he would not yield the least matter; this I take to be his meaning of ȣ̓δὲ εἴξαμεν τῆ ὑποταγῆ for, where compliance was desired of him, upon the account of expedience, and not of subjection to the law, we do not find it stiff and inflexible, as may be seen, Acts xxi. 18—26, which was after the writing of this epistle.
[* ]“Bondage,” What this bondage was, see Acts xv. 1, 5, 10.
[† ]“The truth of the gospel.” By it he means here, the doctrine of freedom from the law; and so he calls it again, ver. 14, and chap. iii. 1, and iv. 16.
[‡ ]“Might remain among you.” Here he tells the reason himself, why he yielded not to those judaizing false brethren: it was, that the true doctrine, which he had preached to the gentiles, of their freedom from the law, might stand firm. A convincing argument to the galatians, that he preached not circumcision.
[§ ]6 He that considers the beginning of this verse, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοϰȣ́ντων, with regard to the Διὰ δὲ τȣ̀ς ψευδαδέλϕȣς, in the beginning of the fourth verse, will easily be induced, by the Greek idiom, to conclude, that the author, by these beginnings, intimates a plain distinction of the matter separately treated of, in what follows each of them, viz. what passed between the false brethren, and him, contained in ver. 4 and 5, and what passed between the chief of the brethren and him, contained ver. 6—10. And therefore, some (and I think with reason), introduce this verse with these words: “Thus we have behaved ourselves towards the false brethren; but,” &c.
[∥ ]7 Τῶν δοϰȣ́ντων εἶναι τι, our translation renders, “who seemed to be somewhat” which however it may answer the words, yet to an English ear it carries a diminishing and ironical sense, contrary to the meaning of the apostle, who speaks here of those, for whom he had a real esteem, and were truly of the first rank; for it is plain, by what follows, that he means Peter, James, and John. Besides, οἱ δοϰȣ͂ντες, being taken in a good sense, ver. 2, andtranslated, “those of reputation,” the same expression should have been kept in rendering ver. 6 and 9, where the same term occurs again three times, and may be presumed in the same sense that it was at first used in ver. 2.
[* ]Every body sees that there is something to be supplied to make up the sense; most commentators, that I have seen, add these words, “I learned nothing:” but then, that enervates the reason that follows, “for in conference they added nothing to me,” giving the same thing as a reason for itself, and making St. Paul talk thus; “I learnt nothing of them, for they taught me nothing.” But it is very good reasoning, and suited to his purpose, that it was nothing at all to him how much those great men were formerly in Christ’s favour: this hindered not but that God, who was no respecter of persons, might reveal the gospel to him also, as it was evident he had done, and that in its full perfection; for those great men, the most eminent of the apostles, had nothing to add to it, or except against it. This was proper to persuade the galatians, that he had no-where, in his preaching, receded from that doctrine of freedom from the law, which he had preached to them, and was satisfied it was the truth, even before he had conferred with these apostles. The bare supplying of οἱ, in the beginning of the verse, takes away the necessity of any such addition. Examples of the like ellipses we have, Matt. xxvii. 9, where we read ἀπὸ ὑιῶν, for οἱ ἀπὸ ὑιῶν; and John xvi. 17. ἐϰ τῶν μαθητῶν, for οἱ ἐϰ τῶν μαθητῶν; and so here, taking ἀπὸ τῶν δοϰȣ́ντων, to be for οἱ ἀπὸ τῶν δοϰȣ́ντων, all the difficulty is removed: and St. Paul having in the foregoing verse ended the narrative of his deportment towards the false brethren, he here begins an account of what passed between him and the chief of the apostles.
[† ]Peter, James, and John, who, it is manifest, by ver. 9, are the persons here spoken of, seem, of all the apostles, to have been most in esteem and favour with their master, during his conversation with them on earth. See Mark v. 37, and ix. 2, and xiv. 33. “But yet that,” says St. Paul, “is of no moment now to me. The gospel, which I preach,and which God, who is no respecter of persons, has been pleased to commit to me by immediate revelation, is not the less true, nor is there any reason for me to recede from it, in a tittle; for these men of the first rank could find nothing to add, alter, or gainsay in it.” This is suitable to St. Paul’s design here, to let the galatians see, that as he, in his carriage, had never favoured circumcision; so neither had he any reason, by preaching circumcision, to forsake the doctrine of liberty from the law, which he had preached to them as a part of that gospel, which he had received by revelation.
[* ]8 Ενεργήσας, “working in,” may be understood here to signify, both the operation of the spirit upon the mind of St. Peter and St. Paul, in sending them, the one to the jews, the other to the gentiles: and also the Holy Ghost bestowed on them, whereby they were enabled to do miracles for the confirmation of their doctrine. In neither of which St. Paul, as he shows, was inferior, and so had as authentic a seal of his mission and doctrine.
[† ]9 Καὶ, “and,” copulates γνόντες, “knowing,” in this verse, with ἰδόντες, “seeing,” ver. 7, and makes both of them to agree with the nominative case to the verb ἒδωϰαν, “gave,” which is no other but James, Cephas, and John, and so justifies my transferring those names to ver. 7, for the more easy construction and understanding of the text, though St. Paul defers the naming of them, until he is, as it were against his will, forced to it, before the end of his discourse.
[‡ ]The giving “the right hand,” was a symbol amongst the jews, as well as other nations, of accord, admitting men into fellowship.
[* ]11 “I opposed him.” From this opposition to St. Peter, which they suppose to be before the council at Jerusalem, some would have it that this epistle to the galatians was writ before that council; as if what was done before the council, could not be mentioned in a letter writ after the council. They also contend, that this journey, mentioned here by St. Paul, was not that wherein he and Barnabas went up to that council to Jerusalem, but that mentioned Acts xi. 30, but this, with as little ground as the former. The strongest reason they bring is, that if this journey had been to the council, and this letter after that council, St. Paul would not certainly have omitted to have mentioned to the galatians that decree. To which I answer, 1. The mention of it was superfluous; for they had it already, see Acts xvi. 4. 2. The mention of it was impertinent to the design of St. Paul’s narrative here. For it is plain, that his aim, in what he relates of himself, and his past actions, is to show, that having received the gospel from Christ, by immediate revelation, he had all along preached that, and nothing but that, every-where; so that he could not be supposed to have preached circumcision, or by his carriage to have shown any subjection to the law; all the whole narrative following, being to make good what he says, ch. i. 11, “That the gospel which he preached, was not accommodated to the humouring of men; nor did he seek to please the jews (who were the men here meant) in what he taught.” Taking this to be his aim, we shall find the whole account he gives of himself, from that ver. 11, of ch. i. to the end of this second, to be very clear and easy, and very proper to invalidate the report of his preaching circumcision.
[* ]14 Αλήθεια τȣ͂ εὐαγγελίȣ, “the truth of the gospel,” is put here for that freedom from the law of Moses, which was a part of the true doctrine of the gospel. For it was in nothing else, but their undue and timorous observing some of the mosaical rites, that St. Paul here blames St. Peter, and the other judaizing converts at Antioch. In this sense he uses the word “truth,” all along through this epistle, as ch. ii. 5, 14, and iii. 1, and v. 7, insisting on it, that this doctrine of freedom from the law, was the true gospel.
[† ]15 Φύσει Ἰȣ̓δαῖοι “jews by nature.” What the jews thought of themselves in contradistinction to the gentiles, see Rom. ii. 17, 23.
[* ]17 “Sinners.” Those who are under the law, having once transgressed, remain always sinners, unalterably so, in the eye of the law, which excludes all from justification. The apostle, in this place, argues thus: “We jews, who are by birth God’s holy people, and not as the profligate gentiles, abandoned to all manner of pollution and uncleanness, not being nevertheless able to attain righteousness by the deeds of the law, have believed in Christ, that we might be justified by faith in him. But if even we, who have betaken ourselves to Christ for justification, are ourselves found to be unjustified sinners, liable still to wrath, as also under the law, to which we subject ourselves; what deliverance have we from sin by Christ? None at all: we are as much concluded under sin and guilt, as if we did not believe in him. So that by joining him and the law together for justification, we shut ourselves out from justification, which cannot be had under the law, and make Christ the minister of sin, and not of justification, which God forbid.”
[† ]18 Whether this be part of what St. Paul said to St. Peter, or whether it be addressed to the galatians, St. Paul, by speaking in his own name, plainly declares, that if he sets up the law again, he must necessarily be an offender: whereby he strongly insinuates to the galatians, that he was no promoter of circumcision, especially when what he says, chap. v. 2—4, is added to it.
[‡ ]19 “By the tenour of the law itself.” See Rom. iii. 21, Gal. iii. 24, 25, and iv. 21, &c.
[§ ]Being discharged from the law, St. Paul expresses by “dead to the law;” compare Rom. vi. 14, with vii. 4.
[∥ ]“Live to God.” What St. Paul says here, seems to imply, that living under the law, was to live not acceptably to God; a strange doctrine certainly to the jews, and yet it was true now, under the gospel, for God having put his kingdom in this world wholly under his Son, when he raised him from the dead, all who, after that, would be his people in his kingdom, were to live by no other law, but the gospel, which was now the law of his kingdom. And hence we see God cast off the jews; because sticking to their old constitution, they would not have this man reign over them: so that what St. Paul says here, is in effect this: “By believing in Christ, I am discharged from the mosaical law, that I may wholly conform myself to the rule of the gospel, which is now the law, which must be owned and observed by all those, who, as God’s people, will live acceptably to him.” This, I think, is visibly his meaning, though the accustoming himself to antitheses, may possibly be the reason why, after having said, “I am dead to the law,” he expresses his putting himself under the gospel, by living to God.
[* ]20 “Crucified with Christ;” see this explained, Rom. vii. 4, and vi. 2—14.
[† ]i. e. The whole management of myself is conformable to the doctrine of the gospel, of jutisfication in Christ alone, and not by the deeds of the law. This, and the former verse, seem to be spoken in opposition to St. Peter’s owning a subjection to the law of Moses, by his walking, mentioned, ver. 14.
[‡ ]21 “Grace of God;” see chap. i. 6, 7, to which this seems here opposed.
[§ ]“In vain,” read this explained in St. Paul’s own words, chap. v. 3—6.
[* ]1 “Obey the truth,” i. e. stand fast in the liberty of the gospel; truth being used in this epistle, as we have already noted, chap. ii. 14, for the doctrine of being free from the law, which St. Paul had delivered to them. The reason whereof he gives, chap. v. 3—5.
[† ]St. Paul mentions nothing to them here but Christ crucified, as knowing that, when formerly he had preached Christ crucified to them, he had shown them, that, by Christ’s death on the cross, believers were set free from the law, and the covenant of works was removed, to make way for that of grace. This we may find him inculcating to his other gentile converts. See Eph. ii. 15, 16. Col. ii. 14, 20. And accordingly he tells the galatians, chap. v. 2, 4, that if, by circumcision, they put themselves under the law, they were fallen from grace, and Christ should profit them nothing at all: things, which they are supposed to understand, at his writing to them.
[* ]3 It is a way of writing very familiar to St. Paul, in opposing the law and the gospel, to call the law Flesh, and the gospel Spirit. The reason whereof is very plain to any one conversant in his epistles.
[† ]5 “He.” The person meant here by ὁ ἐπιχορηγῶη, “he that ministereth,” and chap. i. 6, by ὁ ϰαλέσας, “he that called,” is plainly St. Paul himself, though, out of modesty, he declines naming himself.
[* ]Gen. xiii. 3.
[† ]9, 10 “Of faith,” and “of the works of the law;” spoken of two races of men, the one as the genuine posterity of Abraham, heirs of the promise, the other not.
[‡ ]“Blessed,” and “under the curse.” Here again there is another division, viz. into the blessed, and those under the curse, whereby is meant such as are in a state of life, or acceptance with God; or such as are exposed to his wrath, and to death, see Deut. xxx. 19.
[§ ]10 “Written,” Deut. xxvii. 26.
[* ]11 Hab. ii. 4.
[† ]12 See Acts xiii. 39.
[‡ ]Lev. xviii. 5.
[§ ]13 Deut. xii. 21, 23.
[∥ ]14 “Blessing:” “That blessing,” ver. 8, 9, 14. “Justification,” ver. 11. “Righteousness,” ver. 21. “Life,” ver. 11, 12, 21. “Inheritance,” ver. 18. “Being the children of God,” ver. 26, are in effect all the same, on the one side: And the “curse,” ver. 13, the direct contrary, on the other side; so plain is St. Paul’s discourse here, that no-body, who reads it with the least attention, will be in any doubt about it.
[¶ ]“Promised.” St. Paul’s argument to convince the galatians, that they ought not to be circumcised, or submit to the law, from their having received the spirit from him, upon their having received the gospel, which he preached to them, ver. 2 and 5, stands thus: The blessing promised to Abraham, and to his seed, was wholly upon the account of faith, ver. 7. There were not different seeds, who should inherit the promise; the one by the works of the law, and the other by faith. For there was but “one seed, which was Christ,” ver. 16, and those who should claim in, and under him, by faith. Among those there was no distinction of jew and gentile. They, and they only, who believed, were all one and the same true seed of Abraham, and “heirs according to the promise,” ver. 28, 29. And therefore the promise, made to the people of God, of giving them the spirit under the gospel, was performed only to those who believed in Christ; a clear evidence, that it was not by putting themselves under the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, that “they were the people of God, and heirs of the promise.”
[* ]16 “And to seeds:” By seeds, St. Paul here visibly means the δι ἐϰ ϖίϛεως, “those of faith,” and the δι ἐξ ἒργων νόμȣ, “those of the works of the law,” spoken of above, ver. 9, 10, as two distinct seeds, or descendants claiming from Abraham.
[† ]“And to thy seed;” See Gen. xii. 7. repeated again in the following chapters.
[‡ ]“Mystical body;” see ver. 27.
[* ]19 That this is the meaning of, “because of transgressions,” the following part of this section shows, wherein St. Paul argues to this purpose: the jews were sinners as well as other men, ver. 22. The law denouncing death to all sinners, could save none, ver. 21, but was thereby useful to bring men to Christ, that they might be justified by faith, ver. 24. See ch. ii. 15, 16.
[* ]Mediator. See Deut. v. 5. Lev. xxvi. 46. Where it is said, the law was made between God and the children of Israel, by the hand of Moses.
[† ]20 But God is one: To understand this verse, we must carry in our minds what St. Paul is here doing, and that from ver. 17, is manifest, that he is proving that the law could not disannul the promise; and he does it upon this known rule, that a covenant, or promise, once ratified, cannot be altered, or disannulled, by any other, but by both the parties concerned. Now, says he, God is but one of the parties concerned in the promise; the gentiles and israelites together made up the other, ver. 14. But Moses, at the giving of the law, was a mediator only between the israelites and God; and, therefore, could not transact any thing to the disannulling the promise, which was between God, and the israelites and gentiles together, because God was but one of the parties to that covenant; the other, which was the gentiles, as well as israelites, Moses appeared, or transacted, not for. And so what was done at mount Sinai, by the mediation of Moses, could not affect a covenant made between parties whereof only one was there. How necessary it was for St. Paul to add this, we shall see, if we consider, that without it his argument of 430 years distance would have been deficient, and hardly conclusive. For if both the parties concerned in the promise had transacted by Moses the mediator, (as they might if none but the nation of the israelites had been concerned in the promise made by God to Abraham) they might, by mutual consent, have altered, or set aside, the former promise, as well four hundred years, as four days after. That which hindered it, was, that at Moses’s mediation, on mount Sinai, God, who was but one of the parties to the promise, was present; but the other party, Abraham’s seed, consisting of israelites and gentiles together, was not there; Moses transacted for the nation of the israelites alone: the other nations were not concerned in the covenant made at mount Sinai, as they were in the promise made to Abraham and his seed; which, therefore, could not be disannulled without their consent. For that both the promise to Abraham and his seed, and the covenant with Israel at mount Sinai, was national, is in itself evident.
[* ]21 Ζωοποιῆσαι, “Put into a state of life.” The Greek word signifies to make alive. St. Paul considers all men here, as in a mortal state; and to be put out of that mortal state, into a state of life, he calls being made alive. This, he says, the law could not do, because it could not confer righteousness.
[† ]Ἔϰ νόμȣ, by law, i. e. by works, or obedience to that law, which tended towards righteousness, as well as the promise, but was not able to reach, or confer it. See Rom. viii. 3, i. e. frail men were not able to attain righteousness by an exact conformity of their actions to the law of righteousness.
[‡ ]22 Τὰ ϖάνα, All, is used here for all men. The apostle, Rom. iii. 9, and 19, expresses the same thing by ϖάνας, all men; and ϖᾶς ὁ ϰόσμος, all the world. But speaking in the text here of the jews, in particular, he says, We, meaning those of his own nation, as is evident from ver. 24, 25.
[§ ]Under sin, i. e. rank them all together, as one guilty race of sinners: see this proved, Rom. iii. 9. i. 18, &c. To the same purpose of putting both jews and gentiles into one state, St. Paul uses συνέϰλεισε ϖάνας, “hath shut them up all together,” Rom. xi. 32.
[∥ ]The thing promised in this chapter, sometimes called Blessing, ver. 9, 14; sometimes Inheritance, ver. 18; sometimes Justification, ver. 11, 24; sometimes Righteousness, ver. 21; and sometimes Life, ver. 11, 21.
[¶ ]23 By faith, see ver. 14.
[** ]Justification by faith, see ver. 24.
[* ]26 All, i. e. both jews and gentiles.
[† ]27 Put on Christ. This, which, at first sight, may seem a very bold metaphor, if we consider what St. Paul has said, ver. 16, and 26, is admirably adapted to express his thoughts in a few words, and has a great grace in it. He says, ver. 16, that “the seed to which the promise was made, was but one, and that one was Christ.” And ver. 26, he declares, “that by faith in Christ, they all became the sons of God.” To lead them into an easy conception how this is done, he here tells them, that, by taking on them the profession of the gospel, they have, as it were, put on Christ; so that to God, now looking on them, there appears nothing but Christ. They are, as it were, covered all over with him, as a man is with the cloaths he hath put on. And hence he says, in the next verse, that “they are all one in Christ Jesus,” as if there were but that one person.
[* ]29 The Clermont copy reads εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς ἐἶς ἐϛὲ ἐν Χριϛῷ Ἱησȣ͂, “And if ye are one in Christ Jesus,” more suitable as it seems, to the apostle’s argument. For, ver. 28, he says, “They are all one in Christ Jesus;” from whence the inference in the following words of the Clermont copy, is natural: “And if ye be one in Christ Jesus, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise.”
[* ]1 Bondman; so δοῦλος signifies; and unless it be so translated, ver 7, 8, Bondage; ver. 3, 7, will scarce be understood by an English reader; but St. Paul’s sense will be lost to one, who, by Servant, understands not one in a state of bondage.
[† ]3 We. It is plain, St. Paul speaks here in the name of the jews, or jewish church, which, though God’s peculiar people, yet was to pass its nonage (so St. Paul calls it) under the restraint and tutorage of the law, and not to receive the possession of the promised inheritance until Christ came.
[‡ ]The law, he calls here ϛοιχεῖα τȣ͂ ϰόσμȣ, “Elements, or rudiments of the world.” Because the observances and discipline of the law, which had restraint and bondage enough in it, led them not beyond the things of this world, into the possession, or state, of their spiritual and heavenly inheritance.
[§ ]6 The same argument, of proving their sonship from their having the Spirit, St. Paul uses to the Romans, Rom. viii. 16. And he that will read 2 Cor. iv. 17.—v. 6, and Eph. i. 11—14, will find, that the Spirit is looked on, as the seal and assurance of the inheritance of life, to those “who have received the adoption of sons,” as St. Paul speaks here, ver. 5. The force of the argument seems to lie in this, that as he, that has the spirit of a man in him, has an evidence that he is the son of a man, so he, that hath the Spirit of God, has thereby an assurance that he is the Son of God. Conformable hereunto the opinion of the jews was, that the Spirit of God was given to none but themselves, they alone being the people or children of God; for God calls the people of Israel his sons, Exod. iv. 22, 23. And hence, we see, that when, to the astonishment of the jews, the Spirit was given to the gentiles, the jews no longer doubted, that the inheritance of eternal life was also conferred on the gentiles. Compare Acts x. 44—48, with Acts xi. 15—18.
[* ]7 St. Paul from the galatians having received the Spirit, (as appears chap. iii. 2,) argues, that they are the sons of God without the law; and consequently heirs of the promise, without the law; for, says he, ver. 1—6, the jews themselves were fain to be redeemed from the bondage of the law, by Jesus Christ, that, as sons, they might attain to the inheritance. But you, galatians, says he, have, by the Spirit that is given you by the ministry of the gospel, an evidence that God is your Father; and, being sons, are free from the bondage of the law, and heirs without it. The same sort of reasoning St. Paul uses to the Romans, ch. viii. 14—17.
[† ]9 Known. It has been before observed, how apt St. Paul is to repeat his words, though something varied in their signification. We have here another instance of it: having said, “Ye have known God,” he subjoins, “or rather are known of him,” in the Hebrew latitude of the word known; in which language, it sometimes signifies knowing, with choice and approbation. See Amos iii. 2. 1 Cor. viii. 3.
[* ]The law is here called weak, because it was not able to deliver a man from bondage and death, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, Rom. viii. 1—3. And it is called beggarly, because it kept men in the poor estate of pupils, from the full possession and enjoyment of the inheritance, ver. 1—3.
[† ]The apostle makes it matter of astonishment, how they, who had been in bondage to false gods, having been once set free, could endure the thoughts of parting with their liberty, and of returning into any sort of bondage again, even under the mean and beggarly rudiments of the Mosaical institution, which was not able to make them sons, and instal them in the inheritance. For St. Paul, ver. 7. expressly opposes bondage to sonship; so that all, who are not in the state of sons, are in the state of bondage. Πάλιν, again, cannot here refer to ϛοίχεια, elements, which the galatians had never been under hitherto, but to bondage, which he tells them, ver. 8, they had been in to false gods.
[* ]14 What this weakness, and trial in the flesh, was, since it has not pleased the apostle to mention it, is impossible for us to know: but may be remarked here, as an instance, once for all, of that unavoidable obscurity of some passages, in epistolary writings, without any fault in the author. For some things, necessary to the understanding of what is writ, are usually of course and justly omitted, because already known to him the letter is writ to, and it would be sometimes ungraceful, oftentimes superfluous, particularly to mention them.
[† ]15 The context makes this sense of the words so necessary and visible, that it is to be wondered how any one could overlook it.
[‡ ]16 Your enemy. See chap. i. 6.
[* ]18 That by ϰαλῷ here, he means a person and himself, the scope of the context evinces. In the six preceding verses he speaks only of himself, and the change of their affection to him, since he left them. There is no other thing mentioned, as peculiarly deserving their affection, to which the rule given in this verse could refer. He had said, ver. 17, ζηλȣ͂σιν ὑμᾶς, “they affect you;” and ἵνα αὐȣ̀ς ζηλȣ͂τε, “that you might affect them;” this is only of persons, and therefore ζηλȣ͂σθαι ἐν ϰαλῷ, which immediately follows, may be best understood of a person; else the following part of the verse, though joined by the copulative ϰαὶ, and, will make but a disjointed sense with the preceding. But there can be nothing plainer, nor more coherent than this, which seems to be St. Paul’s sense here: “You were very affectionate to me, when I was with you. You are since estranged from me; it is the artifice of the seducers, that have cooled you to me. But if I am the good man you took me to be, you will do well to continue the warmth of your affection to me, when I am absent, and not to be well affected towards me, only when I am present among you.” Though this be his meaning, yet the way he has taken to express it, is much more elegant, modest, and graceful. Let any one read the original, and see whether it be not so.
[† ]19 If this verse be taken for an intire sentence by itself, it will be a parenthesis, and that not the most necessary, or congruous, that is to be found in St. Paul’s epistles; or δὲ, but, must be left out, as we see it is in our translation. But if τεϰνία μȣ͂, “my little children,” be joined, by apposition, to ὑμᾶς, you, the last word of the foregoing verse, and so the two verses 18 and 19, be read as one sentence, ver. 20, with δὲ, but, in it, follows very naturally. But, as we now read it in our English bible, δὲ, but, is forced to be left out, and ver. 20, stands alone by itself, without any connexion with what goes before, or follows.
[‡ ]20 Ἀλλάξαι φωνὴν, “to change the voice,” seems to signify the speaking higher or lower; changing the tone of the voice, suitably to the matter one delivers, v. g. whether it be advice, or commendation, or reproof, &c. For each of these have their distinct voices. St. Paul wishes himself with them, that he might accommodate himself to their present condition and circumstances, which he confesses himself to be ignorant of, and in doubt about.
[* ]21 The vulgar has, after some greek manuscripts, Read.
[† ]22 Written there, viz. Gen. xvi. 15, and xxi. 1. The term, Law, in the foregoing verse, comprehends the five books of Moses.
[* ]Written, viz. Isaiah liv. 1.
[* ]29 ‘Ο ϰαὰ σάϱϰα γεννηθεὶς, “born after the flesh;” and τὸν ϰαὰ ϖνεῦμα, “born of the Spirit.” These expressions have, in their original brevity, with regard to the whole view, wherein St. Paul uses them, an admirable beauty and force, which cannot be retained in a paraphrase.
[† ]30 Scripture, viz. Gen. xxi. 10.
[‡ ]31 The apostle, by this allegorical history, shows the galatians, that they who are sons of Agar, i. e. under the law given at mount Sinai, are in bondage, and intended to be cast out, the inheritance being designed for those only, who are the free-born sons of God, under the spiritual covenant of the gospel. And thereupon he exhorts them, in the following words, to preserve themselves in that state of freedom.
[* ]2 Ἰδὲ, ἐγὼ Παῦλος, “Behold, I Paul,” I the same Paul, who am reported to preach circumcision, μαρύρομαι δὲ ϖάλιν ϖανὶ ἀνθρώπω, v. 3, witness again, continue my testimony, to every man, to you and all men. This so emphatical way of speaking may very well be understood to have regard to what he takes notice, ver. 11, to be cast upon him, viz. his preaching circumcision, and is a very significant vindication of himself.
[† ]3 “Cannot be saved.” This was the ground upon which the jews and judaizing christians urged circumcision. See Acts xv. 1.
[‡ ]5 “We.” It is evident from the context, that St. Paul here means himself. But We is a more graceful way of speaking than I; though he be vindicating himself alone from the imputation of setting up circumcision.
[§ ]4 “Spirit.” The law and the gospel opposed, under the titles of Flesh and Spirit, we may see, chap. iii. 3, of this epistle. The same opposition it stands in here to the law, in the foregoing verse, points out the same signification.
[* ]6 “Which worketh by love.” This is added to express the animosities which were amongst them, probably raised by this question about circumcision. See ver. 11—15.
[† ]8 This expression of “him that calleth, or calleth you,” he used before, chap. i. 6, and, in both places, means himself, and here declares, that this ϖεισμονὴ (whether taken for persuasion, or for subjection, as it may be in St. Paul’s style, considering ϖείθεσθαι, in the end of the foregoing verse (came not from him, for he called them to liberty from the law, and not subjection to it; see ver. 13. “You were going on well, in the liberty of the gospel; who stopped you? I, you may be sure, had no hand in it; I, you know, called you to liberty, and not to subjection to the law, and therefore you can, by no means, suppose that I should preach up circumcision.” Thus St. Paul argues here.
[‡ ]9 By this and the next verse, it looks as if all this disorder arose from one man.
[§ ]10 “Will not be otherwise minded,” will beware of this leaven, so as not to be put into a ferment, nor shaken in your liberty, which you ought to stand fast in; and to secure it, I doubt not (such confidence I have in you) will with one accord cast out him that troubles you. For, as for me, you may be sure I am not for circumcision, in that the jews continue to persecute me. This is evidently his meaning, though not spoken out, but managed warily, with a very skilful and moving insinuation. For, as he says of himself, chap. iv. 20, he knew not, at that distance, what temper they were in.
[* ]Κρῖμα. Judgment, seems here to mean expulsion by a church-censure; see ver. 12. We shall be the more inclined to this, if we consider that the apostle uses the same argument of “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” 1 Cor. v. 6, where he would persuade the corinthians to purge out the fornicator.
[† ]11 Persecution. The persecution St. Paul was still under, was a convincing argument that he was not for circumcision, and subjection to the law; for it was from the jews, upon that account, that, at this time, rose all the persecution, which the christians suffered; as may be seen through all the history of the Acts. Nor are there wanting clear footsteps of it, in several places of this epistle, besides this here, as chap. iii. 4. and vi. 12.
[‡ ]12 Offence of the cross, see chap. vi. 12—14.
[* ]13 Δυλεύεε, serve, has a greater force in the greek, than our english word, serve, does in the common acceptation of it express. For it signifies the opposite to ἐλευθερία, freedom. And so the apostle elegantly informs them, that though by the gospel they are called to a state of liberty from the law; yet they were still as much bound and subjected to their brethren, in all the offices and duties of love and good-will, as if, in that respect, they were their vassals and bondmen.
[† ]14 Lev. xix. 18.
[‡ ]16 That which he here, and in the next verse, calls spirit, he calls, Rom. vii. 22, the inward man; ver. 23, the law of the mind; ver. 25, the mind.
[* ]17 Do not; so it is in the greek, and ours is the only translation that I know which renders it cannot.
[† ]18 The reason of this assertion we may find, Rom. viii. 14, viz. Because, “they who are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God,” and so heirs, and free without the law, as he argues here, chap. iii. and iv.
[‡ ]This is plainly the sense of the apostle, who teaches all along in the former part of this epistle, and also that to the Romans, that those, who put themselves under the gospel, are not under the law: the question, then, that remains, is only about the phrase, “led by the Spirit.” And as to that, it is easy to observe how natural it is for St. Paul, having in the foregoing verses more than once mentioned the Spirit, to continue the same word, though somewhat varied in the sense. In St. Paul’s phraseology, as the irregularities of appetite, and the dictates of right reason, are opposed under the titles of Flesh and Spirit, as we have seen: so the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace, law, and gospel, are opposed under the titles of Flesh and Spirit. 2 Cor. iii. 6, 8, he calls the gospel Spirit; and Rom. vii. 5, in the flesh, signifies in the legal state. But we need go no further than chap. iii. 3, of this very epistle, to see the law and the gospel opposed by St. Paul, under the titles of Flesh and Spirit. The reason of thus using the word Spirit, is very apparent in the doctrine of the New Testament, which teaches, that those who receive Christ by faith, with him receive his Spirit, and its assistance against the flesh; see Rom. viii. 9—11. Accordingly, for the attaining salvation, St. Paul joins together belief of the truth, and sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. ii. 13. And so Spirit, here, may be taken for “the Spirit of their minds,” but renewed and strengthened by the Spirit of God; see Eph. iii. 16, and iv. 23.
[* ]20 Φαρμαϰεία signifies witchcraft, or poisoning.
[† ]21 Κῶμοι, Revellings, were, amongst the greeks, disorderly spending of the night in feasting, with a licentious indulging to wine, good cheer, music, dancing, &c.
[‡ ]24 Οἱ τȣ͂ Χριϛȣ͂, “Those who are of Christ,” are the same “with those who are led by the Spirit,” ver. 18, and are opposed to “those who live after the flesh,” Rom. viii. 13, where it is said, conformably to what we find here, “they, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body.”
[§ ]“Crucified the flesh.” That principle in us, from whence spring vicious inclinations and actions, is, as we have observed above, called sometimes the Flesh, sometimes the Old Man. The subduing and mortifying of this evil principle, so that the force and power, wherewith it used to rule in us, is extinguished, the apostle, by a very engaging accommodation to the death of our Saviour, calls “Crucifying the old man,” Rom. vi. 6. Crucifying the flesh, here. “Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, Col. ii. 11. Putting off the old man, Eph. iv. 22. Col. iii. 8, 9. It is also called, Mortifying the members which are on earth, Col. iii. 5. Mortifying the deeds of the body,” Rom. viii. 13.
[* ]26 Whether the vain-glory and envying, here, were about their spiritual gifts, a fault which the corinthians were guilty of, as we may see at large, 1 Cor. xii. 13, 14, or upon any other occasion, and so contained in ver. 26, of this chapter; I shall not curiously examine: either way, the sense of the words will be much the same, and accordingly this verse must end the 5th, or begin the 6th chapter.
[* ]1 Πνευμαιϰοὶ, Spiritual, in 1 Cor. iii. 1, and xii. 1, taken together, has this sense.
[† ]2 See a parallel exhortation, 1 Thess. v. 14, which will give light to this, as also Rom. xv. 1.
[‡ ]See John xiii. 34, 35, and xiv. 2. There were some among them very zealous for the observation of the law of Moses: St. Paul, here, puts them in mind of a law which they were under, and were obliged to observe, viz. “the law of Christ.” And he shows them how to do it, viz. by helping to bear one another’s burdens, and not increasing their burdens, by the observances of the levitical law. Though the gospel contain the law of the kingdom of Christ, yet I do not remember that St. Paul any where calls it “the law of Christ,” but in this place; where he mentions it, in opposition to those, who thought a law so necessary, that they would retain that of Moses, under the gospel.
[§ ]4 Καύχημα, I think, should have been translated here, Glorying, as Καυχήσωναι is, ver. 13, the apostle, in both places, meaning the same thing, viz. glorying in another, in having brought him to circumcision, and other ritual observances of the mosaical law. For thus St. Paul seems to me to discourse, in this section: “Brethren, there be some among you, that would bring others under the ritual observances of the mosaical law, a yoke, which was too heavy for us and our fathers to hear. They would do much better to ease the burdens of the weak; this is suitable to the law of Christ, which they are under, and is the law, which they ought strictly to obey. If they think, because of their spiritual gifts, that they have power to prescribe in such matters, I tell them that they have not, but do deceive themselves. Let them rather take care of their own particular actions, that they be right, and such as they ought to be. This will give them matter of glorying in themselves, and not vainly in others, as they do, when they prevail with them to be circumcised. For every man shall be answerable for his own actions.” Let the reader judge, whether this does not seem to be St. Paul’s view here, and suit with his way of writing.
[* ]7 Soweth. A metaphor used by St. Paul, for men’s laying out their worldly goods. See 2 Cor. ix. 6, &c.
[† ]8 Rom. viii. 13, and ii. 12.
[* ]11 St. Paul mentions the “writing with his own hand,” as an argument of his great concern for them in the case. For it was not usual for him to write his epistles with his own hand, but to dictate them to others, who writ them from his mouth. See Rom. xvi. 22. 1 Cor. xvi. 21.
[† ]12 “In the flesh,” i. e. in the ritual observances of the law, which Heb. ix. 10, are called διϰαιώμαα σαρϰος.
[‡ ]13 See chap. v. 11.
[§ ]14 See chap. v. 11.
[* ]15 See Eph. ii. 10, and iv. 21.
[† ]16 St. Paul having, in the foregoing verse, asserted, that it is the new creation alone, that puts men into the kingdom of Christ, and into the possession of the privileges thereof, this verse may be understood also, as assertory, rather than as a prayer, unless there were a verb that expressed it; especially considering, that he writes his epistle to encourage them to refuse circumcision. To which end, the assuring them, that those, who do so, shall have peace and mercy from God, is of more force than to tell them, that he prays that they may have peace and mercy. And, for the same reason, I understand “the Israel of God” to be the same with “those, who walk by this rule,” though joined with them, by the copulative ϰαὶ, and; no very unusual way of speaking.