Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE EPISTLE to the GALATIANS - The Epistles of St. Paul, vol. 1 (Jowett trans.)
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THE EPISTLE to the GALATIANS - Saint Paul, The Epistles of St. Paul, vol. 1 (Jowett trans.) 
The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians and Romans. Vol. 1 Translation and Commentary by the late Benjamin Jowett, M.A. (3rd edition, edited and condensed by Lewis Campbell) (London: John Murray, 1894).
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THE EPISTLE to the GALATIANS
1Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him 1.2from the dead;) and all the brethren which are with 1.3me, unto the churches of Galatia; grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord 1.4 Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according 1.5to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1.6I marvel that ye are so soon atransferred// from Him that called you bin// the grace of Christ unto 1.7 another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel 1.8of Christ. But 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. 1.9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have 1.10 received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? c-// if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
1.111 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which 1.12 was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by 1.13the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of 1.14God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my 1.15 fathers. But when it pleased God, who from my mother’s womb separated me, and called me by his 1.16grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not 1.17with flesh and blood: neither went1 I d-// to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into 1.18Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see eCephas,// and 1.19 abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles 1.20saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie 1.21not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and 1.22Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches 1.23of Judæa which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now 1.24preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me. 2Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem 2.2 with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And 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 2.3 any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was 2.4compelled to be circumcised: fbut// because of the false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ 2.5Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:—to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue 2.6 with you. But of those who seemed to be somewhat,—(whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth gnot// man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing 2.7to me: but contrariwise, when they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, 2.8as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter, (for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same hwrought effectually//2.9 in me toward the Gentiles:) and 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 2.10 circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was 2.11forward to do. But when iCephas// was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was 2.12kcondemned.// For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come he withdrew and separated himself, fearing 2.13them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their 2.14dissimulation. But 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, lhow// compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
2.15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of 2.16the Gentiles, knowing 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 2.17 law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, then is Christ the minister of sin. God forbid. 2.18For if I build again the things which I destroyed, 2.19I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 2.20 I 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 2.21me. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
3O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, m-// before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set 3.2 forth crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, 3.3or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the spirit are ye now made perfect by the 3.4 flesh? have ye suffered so many things in vain? if 3.5nindeed it be// in vain. He therefore that ogave// to you the Spirit, and pwrought miracles in you, did// he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3.6Even as Abraham qhad faith in// God, and it was 3.7accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the 3.8 children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In 3.9thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with rthe// faithful Abraham. 3.10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, sthat every one is cursed who// continueth not in all things which are 3.11written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, 3.12it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. tBut// the law is not of faith: but uhe// that doeth them shall 3.13 live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; xforasmuch as// it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on 3.14a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
3.15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, 3.16no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, 3.17 and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say; y-// the covenant that was confirmed before of God z-// the law which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot disannul, that it should make the promise 3.18of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham 3.19 by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 3.20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God 3.21 is one. Is 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 3.22have been 1 by the law. But the scripture hath ashut up// all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus 3.23 Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept bin ward// under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards 3.24be revealed. cSo that// the law was our schoolmaster d-// unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3.25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under 3.26a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God 3.27 by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 3.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are 3.29all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, e—// heirs according to the promise.
4Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of 4.2all; but is under tutors and governors until the time 4.3 appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the 4.4 world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under 4.5the law, to redeem them that were under the law, 4.6that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into four// hearts, crying, Abba, father. 4.7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir gthrough God.//
4.8Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did 4.9service unto them which by nature are no gods. But 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 hto begin//4.10 again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and 4.11months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 4.12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye 4.13 are. Ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how iamid// infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel 4.14unto you at the first, and kyour// temptation which was in my flesh1 . Ye despised not, nor rejected lme// ; but received me as an angel of God, even as 4.15 Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes and have 4.16given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, 4.17because I tell you the truth? They zealously mentreat// you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that 4.18ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously nentreated// always in a good thing, and not only 4.19when I am present with you. Myo-// children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed 4.20in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
4.21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye 4.22not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by 4.23a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman 4.24was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar 4.25 (1pfor this mount Sinai is in Arabia// ), and answereth to Jerusalem which now is (qfor she is// in bondage 4.26with her children). But Jerusalem which is above 4.27is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which 4.28hath an husband. 1rBut ye,// brethren, as Isaac was, 4.29are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born 4.30after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not 4.31 be heir with the son of the freewoman. sWherefore,// brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 5tWith that freedom Christ hath made us free. Stand fast therefore,// and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
5.2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, 5.3 Christ shall profit you nothing. uAnd// I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is 5.4a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the 5.5law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 5.6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
5.7Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye 5.8should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh 5.9not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth 5.10the whole lump. 1xHowbeit// I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his 5.11 judgment, whosoever he be. But I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then yhas// the offence of the cross ceased. 5.12I would zthat they would even make themselves eunuchs// which trouble you.
5.13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not ayour// liberty for an occasion to the 5.14flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love 5.15thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
5.16bNow// I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall 5.17not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; cfor// these are contrary the one to the other: din order that ye may not// do the things that ye would. 5.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the 5.19law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; e-// fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5.20idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, femulation,//5.21wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, 1 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 5.22 kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5.23meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5.24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh 5.25with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, 5.26let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
6 Brethren, 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. 6.2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so gshall ye fulfil//6.3the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth 6.4himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not 6.5in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. 6.6hBut// let him that is taught in the word communicate 6.7unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man 6.8soweth, that shall he also reap. For 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. 6.9iBut// let us not be weary in well doing: 6.10for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
6.11kSee in what large letters// I have written unto you 6.12with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution 6.13 for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 6.14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is 6.15crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 1 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision lis// any thing, nor 6.16uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as mshall// walk according to this rule, peace be on them, 6.17 and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of n-// Jesus.
6.18Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.o-//
ESSAY on the CHARACTER OF ST. PAUL
Οἴδατε δὲ ὅτι δι’ ἀσθένειαν τη̂ς σαρκὸς εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμɩ̂ν τὸ πρότερον, καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμωˆν ἐν τῃ̂ σαρκί μου οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἄγγελον θεονˆ ἐδέξασθέ με, ὡς χριστὸν Ἰησονˆν.—Gal. iv. 13, 14.
The narrative of the Gospel gives no full or perfect likeness of the character of the Apostles. Human beings do not admit of being constructed out of a single feature, nor is imagination able to supply details which are really wanting. St. Peter and St. John, the two Apostles whose names are most prominent in the Gospels and early portion of the Acts, both seem to unite two extremes in the same person; the character of St. John combining gentleness with vehemence, almost with fierceness; while in St. Peter we trace rashness and timidity at once, the spirit of freedom at one period of his life, and of narrowness and exclusiveness at another. He is the first to confess, and the first to deny Christ. Himself the captain of the Apostles, and yet wanting in the qualities necessary to constitute a leader. Such extremes may easily meet in the same person; but we do not possess sufficient knowledge to say how they were really reconciled. Each of the twelve Apostles grew up to the fullness of the stature of the perfect man. Even those who to us are little more than names, had individual features as lively as our own contemporaries. But the mention of their sayings or acts on four or five occasions while they followed the footsteps of the Lord on earth, and then on two or three occasions soon after He was taken from them, then once again at an interval of twelve or fourteen years, is not sufficient to enable us to judge of their whole character. We may distinguish Peter from John, or James from either; but we cannot set them up as a study to be compared with each other.
More features appear of the character of St. Paul, yet not sufficient to give a perfect picture. We should lose the individuality which we have, by seeking to idealize and generalize from some more common type of Christian life. It has not been unusual to describe St. Paul as a man of resolute will, of untiring energy, of logical mind, of classic taste. He has been contrasted with the twelve as the educated with the uneducated, the student of Hebrew and Greek learning, brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, with the fishermen of Galilee ‘mending their nets’ by the lake. Powers of government have been attributed to him such as were required, and in some instances possessed, by the great leaders of the Church in later ages. He is imagined to have spoken with an accuracy hardly to be found in the systems of philosophers. Not of such an one would the Apostle himself ‘have gloried;’ he would not have understood the praises of his commentators. It was not the wisdom of this world which he spoke, but ‘the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery.’ All his life long he felt himself to be one ‘whose strength was perfected in weakness;’ he was aware of the impression of feebleness which his own appearance and discourse made upon his converts; who was sometimes in weakness and fear and trembling before them, ‘having the sentence of death in himself,’ and at other times ‘in power and the Holy Ghost and in much assurance;’ and so far from having one unchanging purpose or insight, that though determined to know one thing only, ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified,’ yet in his manner of teaching he wavers between opposite views or precepts in successive verses. He is ever feeling, if haply he may find them, after the hearts of men. He is carried away by sympathy, at times even for his opponents. He is struggling to describe what is in process of revelation to him. ‘Rude in speech but not in knowledge,’ as he himself says. The life of the Greek language had passed away, and it must have been a matter of effort for him to write in a foreign tongue, perhaps even to write at all; yet he puts together words in his own characteristic way which are full of meaning, though often scattered in confusion over the page. He occasionally lights also on the happiest expressions, stamping old phrases in a new mould, and bringing forth the new out of the treasury of the old. Such are some of the individual traits which he has left in his Epistles; they are traits far more interesting and more like himself than any general image of heroism, or knowledge, or power, or goodness. Whatever other impression he might have made upon us, could we have seen him face to face, there can be little doubt that he would have left the impression of what was remarkable and uncommon.
There are questions which it is interesting to suggest, even when they can never receive a perfect and satisfactory answer. One of these questions may be asked respecting St. Paul: ‘What was the relation in which his former life stood to the great fact of his conversion?’ He himself, in looking back upon the times in which he persecuted the Church of God, thought of them chiefly as an increasing evidence of the mercy of God, which was afterwards extended to him. It seemed so strange to have been what he had been, and to be what he was. Nor does our own conception of him, in relation to his former self, commonly reach beyond this contrast of the old and new man; the persecutor and the preacher of the Gospel; the young man at whose feet the witnesses against Stephen laid down their clothes, and the same Paul disputing against the Grecians, full of visions and revelations of the Lord, on whom in later life came daily the care of all the Churches.
Yet we cannot but admit also the possibility, or rather the probable truth of another point of view. It is not unlikely that the struggle which he describes in the seventh chapter of the Romans is the picture of his own heart in the days when he ‘verily thought that he ought to do many things contrary to Jesus of Nazareth;’ the impression of that earlier state, perhaps the image of the martyr Stephen (Acts xxii. 20), may have remained with him in after-years. For men seem to carry about with them the elements of their former lives; the character or nature which they once were, the circumstance which became a part of them, is not wholly abolished or done away; it remains, ‘even in the regenerate,’ as a sort of insoluble mass or incumbrance which prevents their freedom of action; in very few, or rather in none, can the old habit have perfect flexure to its new use. Everywhere, in the case of our acquaintance, who may have passed through great changes of opinion or conduct, we see from time to time the old nature which is underneath occasionally coming to the surface. Nor is it irreverent to attribute such remembrances of a former self even to inspired persons. If there were any among the contemporaries of St. Paul who had known him in youth and in age, they would have seen similarities which escape us in the character of the Apostle at different periods of his life. The zealot against the Gospel might have seemed to them transfigured into the opponent of the law; they would have found something in common in the Pharisee of the Pharisees, and the man who had a vow on his last journey to Jerusalem; they would perhaps have observed arguments, or quotations, or modes of speech in his writings which had been familiar to them and him in the school of Gamaliel. And when they heard of his conversion, they might have remarked that to one of his temperament only could such an event have happened, and would have noted many superficial resemblances which showed him to be the same man, while the great inward change which had overspread the world was hid from their eyes.
The gifts of God to man have ever some reference to natural disposition. He who becomes the servant of God does not thereby cease to be himself. Often the transition is greater in appearance than in reality, from the suddenness of its manifestation. There is a kind of rebellion against self and nature and God, which, through the mercy of God to the soul, seems almost necessarily to lead to reaction. Persons have been worse than their fellow-men in outward appearance, and yet there was within them the spirit of a child waiting to return home to their father’s house. A change passes upon them which we may figure to ourselves, not only as the new man taking the place of the old, but as the inner man taking the place of the outer. So complex is human nature, that the very opposite to what we are has often an inexpressible power over us. Contrast is not only a law of association; it is also a principle of action. Many run from one extreme to another, from licentiousness to the ecstasy of religious feeling, from religious feeling back to licentiousness, not without a ‘fearful looking for of judgment.’ If we could trace the hidden workings of good and evil, they would appear far less surprising and more natural than as they are seen by the outward eye. Our spiritual nature is without spring or chasm, but it has a certain play or freedom which leads very often to consequences the opposite of what we expect. It seems in some instances as if the same religious education had tended to contrary results; in one case to a devout life, in another to a reaction against it; sometimes to one form of faith, at other times to another. Many parents have wept to see the early religious training of their children draw them, by a kind of repulsion, to a communion or mode of opinion which is the extreme opposite of that in which they have been brought up. Let them have peace in the thought that it was not always in their power to fulfil the duty in which they seem to themselves to have failed. These latter reflections have but a remote bearing on the character of St. Paul; but they serve to make us think that all spiritual influences, however antagonistic they may appear, have more in common with each other than they have with the temper of the world; and that it is easier to pass from one form of faith to another than from leading the life of all men to either. There is more in common between those who anathematize each other than between either and the spirit of toleration which characterizes the ordinary dealings of man and man, or much more the spirit of Christ, for whom they are alike contending.
Perhaps we shall not be far wrong in concluding, that those who have undergone great religious changes have been of a fervid imaginative cast of mind; looking for more in this world than it was capable of yielding; easily touched by the remembrance of the past, or inspired by some ideal of the future. When with this has been combined a zeal for the good of their fellow-men, they have become the heralds and champions of the religious movements of the world. The change has begun within, but has overflowed without them. ‘When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,’ is the order of nature and of grace. In secret they brood over their own state; weary and profitless their soul fainteth within them. The religion they profess is a religion not of life to them, but of death; they lose their interest in the world, and are cut off from the communion of their fellow-creatures. While they are musing, the fire kindles, and at the last—‘they speak with their tongue.’ Then pours forth irrepressibly the pent-up stream—‘unto all and upon all’ their fellow-men; the intense flame of inward enthusiasm warms and lights up the world. First they are the evidence to others; then, again, others are the evidence to them. All religious leaders cannot be reduced to a single type of character; yet in all, perhaps, two characteristics may be observed; the first, great self-reflection; the second, intense sympathy with other men. They are not the creatures of habit or of circumstances, leading a blind life, unconscious of what they are; their whole effort is to realize their inward nature, and to make it palpable and visible to their fellows. Unlike other men who are confined to the circle of themselves or of their family, their affections are never straitened; they embrace with their love all men who are like-minded with them, almost all men too who are unlike them, in the hope that they may become like.
Such men have generally appeared at favourable conjunctures of circumstances, when the old was about to vanish away, and the new to appear. The world has yearned towards them, and they towards the world. They have uttered what all men were feeling; they have interpreted the age to itself. But for the concurrence of circumstances, they might have been stranded on the solitary shore, they might have died without a follower or convert. But when the world has needed them, and God has intended them for the world, they are endued with power from on high; they use all other men as their instruments, uniting them to themselves.
Often such men have been brought up in the faith which they afterwards oppose, and a part of their power has consisted in their acquaintance with the enemy. They see other men, like themselves formerly, wandering out of the way in the idol’s temple, amid a burdensome ceremonial, with prayers and sacrifices unable to free the soul. They lead them by the way themselves came to the home of Christ. Sometimes they represent the new as the truth of the old; at other times as contrasted with it, as life and death, as good and evil, as Christ and anti-Christ. They relax the force of habit, they melt the pride and fanaticism of the soul. They suggest to others their own doubts, they inspire them with their own hopes, they supply their own motives, they draw men to them with cords of sympathy and bonds of love; they themselves seem a sufficient stay to support the world. Such was Luther at the Reformation; such, in a higher sense, was the Apostle St. Paul.
There have been heroes in the world, and there have been prophets in the world. The first may be divided into two classes; either they have been men of strong will and character, or of great power and range of intellect; in a few instances, combining both. They have been the natural leaders of mankind, compelling others by their acknowledged superiority as rulers and generals; or in the paths of science and philosophy, drawing the world after them by a yet more inevitable necessity. The prophet belongs to another order of beings: he does not master his thoughts; they carry him away. He does not see clearly into the laws of this world or the affairs of this world, but has a light beyond, which reveals them partially in their relation to another. Often he seems to be at once both the weakest and the strongest of men; the first to yield to his own impulses, the mightiest to arouse them in others. Calmness, or reason, or philosophy are not the words which describe the appeals which he makes to the hearts of men. He sways them to and fro rather than governs or controls them. He is a poet, and more than a poet, the inspired teacher of mankind; but the intellectual gifts which he possesses are independent of knowledge, or learning, or capacity; what they are much more akin to is the fire and subtlety of genius. He, too, for a time, has ruled kingdoms and even led armies; ‘an Apostle, not of man, nor by men;’ acting, not by authority or commission of any prince, but by an immediate inspiration from on high, communicating itself to the hearts of men.
Saul of Tarsus is called an Apostle rather than a prophet, because Hebrew prophecy belongs to an age of the world before Christianity. Now that in the Gospel that which is perfect is come, that which is in part is done away. Yet, in a secondary sense, the Apostle St. Paul is also ‘among the prophets.’ He, too, has ‘visions and revelations of the Lord,’ though he has not written them down ‘for our instruction,’ in which he would fain glory because they are not his own. Even to the outward eye he has the signs of a prophet. There is in him the same emotion, the same sympathy, the same ‘strength made perfect in weakness,’ the same absence of human knowledge, the same subtlety in the use of language, the same singleness in the delivery of his message. He speaks more as a man, and less immediately under the impulse of the Spirit of God; more to individuals, and less to the nation at large; he is less of a poet, and more of a teacher or preacher. But these differences do not interfere with the general resemblance. Like Isaiah, he bids us look to ‘the man of sorrows;’ like Ezekiel, he arouses men to a truer sense of the ways of God in his dealings with them; like Jeremiah, he mourns over his countrymen; like all the prophets who have ever been, he is lifted above this world, and is ‘in the Spirit at the day of the Lord.’ (Rev. i. 10.)
Reflections of this kind are suggested by the absence of materials such as throw any light on the early life of St. Paul. All that we know of him before his conversion is summed up in two facts, ‘that the witnesses laid down their clothes with a young man whose name was Saul,’ and that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the few Rabbinical teachers of Greek learning in the city of Jerusalem. We cannot venture to assign to him either the ‘choleric’ or the ‘melancholic’ temperament. [Tholuck.] We are unable to determine what were his natural gifts or capacities; or how far, as we often observe to be the case, the gifts which he had were called out by the mission on which he was sent, or the theatre on which he felt himself placed ‘a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.’ Far more interesting is it to trace the simple feelings with which he himself regarded his former life. ‘Last of all he was seen of me also, who am the least of the Apostles, that am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.’ Yet there was a sense also [in which it is true] that he was excusable, and that this was the reason why the mercy of God extended itself to him. ‘Yet I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.’ And in one passage he dwells on the fact, not only that he had been an Israelite, but more, that after the strictest sect of the Jews’ religion he lived a Pharisee, as though that were an evidence to himself, and should be so to others, that no human power could have changed him; that he was no half Jew, who had never properly known what the law was, but one who had both known and strictly practised it.
We are apt to judge extraordinary men by our own standard; that is to say, we often suppose them to possess, in an extraordinary degree, those qualities which we are conscious of in ourselves or others. This is the easiest way of conceiving their characters, but not the truest. They differ in kind rather than in degree. Even to understand them truly seems to require a power analogous to their own. Their natures are more subtle, and yet more simple, than we readily imagine. No one can read the ninth chapter of the First, or the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, without feeling how different the Apostle St. Paul must have been from good men among ourselves. We marvel how such various traits of character come together in the same individual. He who was ‘full of visions and revelations of the Lord,’ who spake with tongues more than they all, was not ‘mad, but uttered the words of truth and soberness.’ He who was the most enthusiastic of all men, was also the most prudent; the Apostle of freedom, and yet the most moderate. He who was the strongest and most enlightened of all men, was also (would he have himself refrained from saying?) at times the weakest; on whom there came the care of all the Churches, yet seeming also to lose the power of acting in the absence of human sympathy.
Qualities so like and unlike are hard to reconcile; perhaps they have never been united in the same degree in any other human being. The contradiction in part arises not only from the Apostle being an extraordinary man, but from his being a man like ourselves in an extraordinary state. Creation was not to him that fixed order of things which it is to us; rather it was an atmosphere of evil just broken by the light beyond. To us the repose of the scene around contrasts with the turmoil of man’s own spirit; to the Apostle peace was to be sought only from within, half hidden even from the inner man. There was a veil upon the heart itself which had to be removed. He himself seemed to fall asunder at times into two parts, the flesh and the spirit; and the world to be divided into two hemispheres, the one of the rulers of darkness, the other bright with that inward presence which should one day be revealed. In this twilight he lived. What to us is far off both in time and place, if such an expression may be allowed, to him was near and present, separated by a thin film from the world we see, ever ready to break forth and gather into itself the frame of nature. That sense of the invisible which to most men it is so difficult to impart, was like a second nature to St. Paul. He walked by faith, and not by sight; what was strange to him was the life he now led; which in his own often repeated language was death rather than life, the place of shadows and not of realities. The Greek philosophers spoke of a world of phenomena, of true being, of knowledge and opinion; and we know that what they meant by these distinctions is something different from the tenets of any philosophical school of the present day. But not less different is what St. Paul meant by the life hidden with Christ and God, the communion of the Spirit, the possession of the mind of Christ; only that this was not a mere difference of speculation, but of practice also. Could any one say now—‘the life’ not that I live, but that ‘Christ liveth in me’? Such language with St. Paul is no mere phraseology, such as is repeated from habit in prayers, but the original consciousness of the Apostle respecting his own state. Self is banished from him, and has no more place in him, as he goes on his way to fulfil the work of Christ. No figure is too strong to express his humiliation in himself, or his exaltation in Christ.
Could we expect this to be otherwise when we think of the manner of his conversion? Could he have looked upon the world with the same eyes that we do, or heard its many voices with the same ears, who had been caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell? (2 Cor. xii. 1-5.) Must not his life have seemed to him a revelation, an inspiration, an ecstasy? Once and again he had seen the face of Christ, and heard Him speak from heaven. All that followed in the Apostle’s history was the continuation of that first wonder, a stream of light flowing from it, ‘planting eyes’ in his soul, transfiguring him ‘from glory to glory,’ clothing him with the elect ‘in the exceeding glory.’
Yet this glory was not that of the princes of this world, ‘who come to nought;’ it is another image which he gives us of himself;—not the figure on Mars’ hill, in the cartoons of Raphael, nor the orator with noble mien and eloquent gesture before Festus and Agrippa; but the image of one lowly and cast down, whose ‘bodily presence was weak, and speech contemptible;’ of one who must have appeared to the rest of mankind like a visionary, pierced by the thorn in the flesh, ‘waiting for the redemption of the body.’ The saints of the middle ages are in many respects unlike St. Paul, and yet many of them bear a far closer resemblance to him than is to be found in Luther and the Reformers. The points of resemblance which we seem to see in them, are the same withdrawal from the things of earth, the same ecstasy, the same consciousness of the person of Christ. Who would describe Luther by the words ‘crucified with Christ?’ It is in another manner that the Reformer was called upon to war, with weapons earthly as well as spiritual, with a strong right hand and a mighty arm.
There have been those who, although deformed by nature, have worn the expression of a calm and heavenly beauty; in whom the flashing eye has attested the presence of thought in the poor withered and palsied frame. There have been others again, who have passed the greater part of their lives in extreme bodily suffering, who have, nevertheless, directed states or led armies, the keenness of whose intellect has not been dulled nor their natural force of mind abated. There have been those also on whose faces men have gazed ‘as upon the face of an angel,’ while they pierced or stoned them. Of such an one, perhaps, the Apostle himself might have gloried; not of those whom men term great or noble. He who felt the whole creation groaning and travailing together until now was not like the Greek drinking in the life of nature at every pore. He who through Christ was ‘crucified to the world, and the world to him,’ was not in harmony with nature, nor nature with him. The manly form, the erect step, the fullness of life and beauty, could not have gone along with such a consciousness as this, any more than the taste for literature and art could have consisted with the thought, ‘not many wise, not many learned, not many mighty.’ Instead of these we have the visage marred more than the sons of men, ‘the cross of Christ which was to the Greeks foolishness,’ the thorn in the flesh, the marks in the body of the Lord Jesus.
Often the Apostle St. Paul has been described as a person the furthest removed from enthusiasm; incapable of spiritual illusion; by his natural temperament averse to credulity or superstition. By such considerations as these a celebrated author confesses himself to have been converted to the belief in Christianity. And yet, if it is intended to reduce St. Paul to the type of what is termed ‘good sense’ in the present day, it must be admitted that the view which thus describes him is but partially true. Far nearer the truth is that other quaint notion of a modern writer, ‘that St. Paul was the finest gentleman that ever lived;’ for no man had nobler forms of courtesy, or a deeper regard for the feelings of others. But ‘good sense’ is a term not well adapted to express either the individual or the age and country in which he lived. He who wrought miracles, who had handkerchiefs carried to him from the sick, who spake with tongues more than they all, who lived amid visions and revelations of the Lord, who did not appeal to the Gospel as a thing long settled, but himself saw the process of revelation actually going on before his eyes, and communicated it to his fellow-men, could never have been such an one as ourselves. Nor can we pretend to estimate whether, in the modern sense of the term, he was capable of weighing evidence, or how far he would have attempted to sever between the workings of his own mind and the Spirit which was imparted to him.
What has given rise to this conception of the Apostle’s character has been the circumstance, that with what the world terms mysticism and enthusiasm are united a singular prudence and moderation, and a perfect humanity, searching the feelings and knowing the hearts of all men. ‘I became all things to all men that I might win some;’ not only, we may believe, as a sort of accommodation, but as the expression of the natural compassion and love which he felt for them. There is no reason to suppose that the Apostle took any interest in the daily life of men, in the great events which were befalling the Roman Empire, or in the temporal fortunes of the Jewish people. But when they came before him as sinners, lying in darkness and the shadow of God’s wrath, ignorant of the mystery that was being revealed before their eyes, then his love was quickened for them, then they seemed to him as his kindred and brethren; there was no sacrifice too great for him to make; he was willing to die with Christ, yea, even to be accursed from Him that he might ‘save some of them.’
Mysticism, or enthusiasm, or intense benevolence and philanthropy, seem to us, as they commonly are, at variance with worldly prudence and moderation. But in the Apostle these different and contrasted qualities are mingled and harmonized. The mother watching over the life of her child, has all her faculties aroused and stimulated; she knows almost by instinct how to say or do the right thing at the right time; she regards his faults with mingled love and sorrow. So, in the Apostle, we seem to trace a sort of refinement or nicety of feeling, when he is dealing with the souls of men. All his knowledge of mankind shows itself for their sakes; and yet not that knowledge of mankind which comes from without, revealing itself by experience of men and manners, by taking a part in events, by the insensible course of years making us learn from what we have seen and suffered. There is another experience that comes from within, which begins with the knowledge of self, with the consciousness of our own weakness and infirmities; which is continued in love to others and in works of good to them; which grows by singleness and simplicity of heart. Love becomes the interpreter of how men think, and feel, and act; and supplies the place of, or passes into a worldly prudence wiser than, the prudence of this world. Such is the worldly prudence of St. Paul.
Once more; there is in the Apostle, not only prudence and knowledge of the human heart, but a kind of subtlety of moderation, which considers every conceivable case, and balances one with another; in the last resort giving no rule, but allowing all to be superseded by a more general principle. An instance of this subtle moderation is his determination, or rather omission to determine the question of meats and drinks, which he first regards as indifferent, secondly, as depending on men’s own conscience, and this again as limited by the consciences of others, and lastly resolves all these finer precepts into the general principle, ‘Whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ The same qualification of one principle by another recurs again in his rules respecting marriage. First, ‘do not marry unbelievers,’ and ‘let not the wife depart from her husband.’ But if you are married and the unbeliever is willing to remain, then the spirit of the second precept must prevail over the first. Only in an extreme case, where both parties are willing to dissolve the tie, the first principle in turn may again supersede the second. It may be said in the one case, ‘your children are holy;’ in the other, ‘What knowest thou, O wife, if thou shalt save thy husband?’ In a similar spirit he withdraws his censure on the Corinthian offender, lest such an one, criminal as he was, should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. There is a religious aspect of either course of conduct, and either may be right under given circumstances. So the kingdoms of this world admit of being regarded almost as the kingdom of God, in reference to our duties towards their rulers; and yet touching the going to law before unbelievers, we are to think rather of that other kingdom in which we shall judge angels.
The Gospel, it has been often remarked, lays down principles rather than rules. The passages in the Epistles of St. Paul which seem to be exceptions to this statement, are exceptions in appearance rather than in reality. They are relative to the circumstances of those whom he is addressing. He who became ‘all things to all men,’ would have been the last to insist on temporary regulations for his converts being made the rule of Christian life in all ages. His manner of Church government is so unlike a rule or law, that we can hardly imagine how the Apostle, if he could return to earth, would combine the freedom of the Gospel with the requirements of Christianity as an established institution. He is not a bishop administering a regular system, but a person dealing immediately with other persons out of the fullness of his own mind and nature. His writings are like spoken words, temporary, occasional, adapted to other men’s thoughts and feelings, yet not without an eternal meaning. In sending his instructions to the Churches he is ever with them, and seems to follow in his mind’s eye their working and effect; whither his Epistles go he goes in thought, absent, in his own language, ‘in the body, but present in spirit.’ What he says to the Churches, he seems to make them say: what he directs them to do, they are to do in that common spirit in which they are united with him; if they live he lives; time and distance never snap the cord of sympathy. His government of them is a sort of communion with them; a receiving of their feelings and a pouring forth of his own: he is the heart or pulse which beats through the Christian world.
And with this communion of himself and his converts, this care of daily life, there mingles the vision of ‘the great family in heaven and earth,’ ‘the Church which is his body,’ in which the meaner reality is enfolded or wrapt up, ‘sphered in a radiant cloud,’ even in its low estate. The language of the Epistles often exercises an illusion on our minds when thinking of the primitive Church; individuals perhaps there were who truly partook of that light with which the Apostle encircled them; there may have been those in the Churches of Corinth, or Ephesus, or Galatia, who were living on earth the life of heaven. But the ideal which fills the Apostle’s mind has not, necessarily, a corresponding fact in the actual state of his converts. The beloved family of the Apostle, the Church of which such ‘glorious things are told,’ is often in tumult and disorder. His love is constantly a source of pain to him: he watches over them ‘with a godly jealousy,’ and finds them ‘affecting others rather than himself.’ They are always liable to be ‘spoiled’ by some vanity of philosophy, some remembrance of Judaism, which, like an epidemic, carries off whole Churches at once, and seems to exercise a fatal power over them. He is a father harrowed and agonized in his feelings; he loves more and suffers more than other men; he will not think, he cannot help thinking, of the ingratitude and insolence of his children; he tries to believe, he is persuaded, that all is well; he denounces, he forgives; he defends himself, he is ashamed of defending himself; he is the herald of his own deeds when others neglect or injure him; he is ashamed of this too, and retires into himself, to be at peace with Christ and God. So we seem to read the course of the Apostle’s thoughts in more than one passage of his writings, beginning with the heavenly ideal, and descending to the painful realities of actual life, especially at the close of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians — altogether, perhaps, the most characteristic picture of the Apostle’s mind; and in the last words to the Galatians, ‘Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’
Great men (those, at least, who present to us the type of earthly greatness) are sometimes said to possess the power of command, but not the power of entering into the feelings of others. They have no fear of their fellows, they are not affected by their opinions or prejudices, but neither are they always capable of immediately impressing them, or of perceiving the impression which their words or actions make upon them. Often they live in a kind of solitude on which other men do not venture to intrude; putting forth their strength on particular occasions, careless or abstracted about the daily concerns of life. Such was not the greatness of the Apostle St. Paul; not only in the sense in which he says that ‘he could do all things through Christ,’ but in a more earthly and human one, was it true, that his strength was his weakness and his weakness his strength. His dependence on others was also the source of his influence over them. His natural character was the type of that communion of the Spirit which he preached; the meanness of appearance which he attributes to himself, the image of that contrast which the Gospel presents to human greatness. Glorying and humiliation; life and death; a vision of angels strengthening him, the ‘thorn in the flesh’ rebuking him; the greatest tenderness, not without sternness; sorrows above measure, consolations above measure; are some of the contradictions which were reconciled in the same man. It is not a long life of ministerial success on which he is looking back a little before his death, where he says, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ These words are sadly illustrated by another verse of the same Epistle, ‘This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.’ (2 Tim. i. 15.) So when the contrast was at its height, he passed away, rejoicing in persecution also, and ‘filling up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake.’ Many, if not most, of his followers had forsaken him, and there is no certain memorial of the manner of his death.
Let us look once more a little closer at that ‘visage marred’ in his Master’s service, as it appeared about three years before on a well-known scene. A poor aged man, worn by some bodily or mental disorder, who had been often scourged, and bore on his face the traces of indignity and sorrow in every form—such an one, led out of prison between Roman soldiers, probably at times faltering in his utterance, the creature, as he seemed to spectators, of nervous sensibility; yearning, almost with a sort of fondness, to save the souls of those whom he saw around him1 —spoke a few eloquent words in the cause of Christian truth, at which kings were awed, telling the tale of his own conversion with such simple pathos, that after-ages have hardly heard the like.
Such is the image, not which Christian art has delighted to consecrate, but which the Apostle has left in his own writings of himself; an image of true wisdom, and nobleness, and affection, but of a wisdom unlike the wisdom of this world; of a nobleness which must not be transformed into that of the heroes of the world; an affection which seemed to be as strong and as individual towards all mankind, as other men are capable of feeling towards a single person.
ON THE QUOTATIONS from THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE WRITINGS OF ST. PAUL
The New Testament ‘is ever old, and the Old is ever entwined with the New.’ Not only are the types of the Old Testament shadows of good things to come; not only are the narratives of events and lives of persons in Jewish history ‘written for our instruction;’ not only is there a deep-rooted identity of the Old and New Testament in the revelation of one God of perfect justice and truth; not only is ‘the law fulfilled in Christ to all them that believe;’ not only are the spiritual Israel the true people of God, and the taking of Jerusalem a figure of the end of the world: a nearer though more superficial connexion is formed by the volume of the Old Testament itself, which, like some closely-fitting vesture, enfolds the new as well as the old dispensation in its language and imagery, the words themselves, as well as the thoughts contained in them, becoming instinct with a new life, and seeming to interpenetrate with the Gospel.
This verbal connexion of new and old is not peculiar to Christianity. All nations who have ancient writings have endeavoured to read in them the riddle of the past. The Brahmin, repeating his Vedic hymns, sees them pervaded by a thousand meanings, which have been handed down by tradition: the one of which he is ignorant is that which we perceive to be the true one. Without more reason, and almost with equal disregard or neglect of its natural import, the Jewish Alexandrian and Rabbinical writers analysed the Old Testament; in a similar spirit Gnostics and Neoplatonists cited lines of Homer or Pindar. Not unlike is the way in which the Fathers cite both the Old and New Testament; and the manner in which the writers of the New Testament quote from the Old has more in common with this last than with modern critical interpretations of either. That is to say, the quotations are made almost without reference to the connexion in which they originally occur, and in a different sense from that in which the prophet or psalmist intended them. They are fragments culled out and brought into some new combination; jewels, and precious stones, and corner-stones disposed after a new pattern, to be the ornaments of another temple. It is their place in the new temple, not their relation to the old, which gives them their effect and meaning.
Such tessellated work was after the manner of the age: it was no invention or introduction of the sacred writers. Closely as it is wrought into the New Testament, it belongs to its externals rather than to its true life. All religions which are possessed of sacred books, and many which are without them, have passed through a like secondary stage, although the relation of the earlier to the later form of the same religions may have been quite different from that in which the Gospel stands to the Old Testament. In heathenism, as well as Christianity, language has played a great part in connecting the old and the new. There seem to be times in which human nature yearns towards the past, though it has lost the power of interpreting it. Overlooking the chasm of a thousand years, it seeks to extract from ancient writings food for daily life. The mystery of a former world lies heavy upon it, hardly less than of the future, and it lightens this burden by attributing to ‘them of old time’ the thoughts and feelings of contemporaries. It feels the unity of God and man in all ages, and attempts to prove this unity by reading the same thoughts in every word which has been uttered from the beginning. A new spirit takes possession of the words, and imperceptibly alters them into accordance with itself.
The Gnostic and Alexandrian writings furnish a meeting-point between the past and future in which the present is lost sight of, and ideas supersede facts. But something analogous is observable in the New Testament itself; which may be described also as the confluence of past and future on the ground of the present, the person of Christ and ‘the Church which is his body’ being the centre in which they meet. Some Divine heat or force welds together the old and new. The scattered rays of prophecy are collected in one focus. Language becomes plastic and refashions itself on a new type. Gradually and naturally, as it were a soul entering into a body that had been prepared for it, the new takes the form of the old. The truth and moral power of the Gospel prevent this new formation from resembling the fantastic process of Eastern heresy. The writers of the New Testament use the modes of speech of their contemporaries, but they also ennoble and enlighten them. That traces of their age should appear in them is the necessary condition of their speaking to the men of their age. ‘The water of life’ was not to be strained through the sieve of grammar and logic; nor is it conceivable how a Gospel could have been ‘preached to the poor’ which was founded on a critical interpretation of the Old Testament.
But although the quotations from the Old Testament in the New conform to the manner of the age, and have a superficial similarity with the use of Homer or Pindar in later classical authors, essential differences lie beneath. First, the connexion is not, as in the case of heathen authors, merely accidental; the Old Testament looks forward to the New, as the New Testament looks backward on the Old. Reading the psalmists or prophets, we feel that they were pilgrims and strangers, hoping for more than was on the earth, whose sadness was not yet turned into joy. There are passages in which the Old Testament goes beyond itself, in which it almost seems to renounce itself; ‘lively oracles’ of which it might be said, either in Christian or heathen language, ‘that it speaks not of itself;’ or, that ‘its voice reaches to a thousand years.’ It is otherwise with heathen literature. There is no future to which Homer or Hesiod looked forward; no moral truth beyond themselves which they dimly see. The life of the world was not to awaken in their song. They were poetry only, out of which came statues of gods and heroes. The deeper reverence for the ‘volume of the book’ may be in part the reason why the half-understood words of the Old Testament exercise a greater power over the mind. But the mere application of them is also a new creation. They are not dead and withered fragments of the wisdom of ancient times; the force of the new truth which they express reanimates and reillumines them. Secondly, if we admit that the superficial connexion between the Old and New Testament is arbitrary, or, more properly speaking, after the manner of the age, there is a deeper connexion also which is founded on reason and conscience. The language of the Psalms and prophets is the natural voice of Christian feeling. In the hour of sorrow, or joy, or repentance, or triumph, we turn to the Old Testament quite as readily as to the New. Thirdly, a difference in kind is observable between the use which is made of quotations by the Alexandrian writers and in the New Testament. In the one they are the form of thought; in the other the mode of expression. That is to say, while in the one they exercise an influence on the thought; in the other they are controlled by it, and are but a sort of incrustation on it, or ornament of it; in some cases the illustration or allegory through which it is conveyed. The writings of St. Paul are not the less one in feeling and spirit, because the language in which he continually clothes his thoughts is either avowedly or unconsciously taken from the Old Testament.
It is remarkable that the Old Testament in many places is built up out of its own materials, in the same way as the New out of the Old. Later Psalms repeat the language of earlier ones; successive prophets use the same words and images, and deliver the same precepts. For example, Jeremiah and the later Isaiah both speak of ‘the Lamb led to the slaughter;’ and Jeremiah and Ezekiel alike revoke the old ‘proverb in the house of Israel.’ The Book of Deuteronomy, especially, is full of prophetic elements, either received from or communicated to the later prophets. Instead of the repetition being wearisome or unmeaning, it adds to the depth and power of the words that they are not used for the first time. No happy combination of new language could have imparted to them the weight which they derive from associations of the past. In like manner the portions of the New Testament in which the verbal connexion with the Old is most striking, such as the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, are also those which are most awful and impressive to us. It is a circumstance not always attended to by commentators on the Apocalypse (at any rate by English ones), that this wonderful book is a mosaic of Old Testament thoughts and words, the pieces of which are put together on a new and glorious pattern. A glance at the marginal references is sufficient to show in how subtle a manner they are interlaced. The inspired author is not merely narrating a new vision which he had seen and heard, to be added to the former visions of Ezekiel or Daniel; but he is collecting and bringing together the scattered elements of prophecy and sacred imagery in one last vision or revelation of the day of the Lord. The kingdom of God is not at a distance; it already exists; it has gathered to itself the figures and glories of the Old Testament. Many of the apocryphal writings exhibit signs of the same imitation; they borrow the imagery of the elder prophets. But none of them are inspired with the faith or power which conceives the glorious things that have been said as a living reality.
Perhaps it may be thought paradoxical that the words of the Old Testament should receive a new meaning in the Epistles, and also retain their original power and sacredness; yet in our own use of quotations a similar inconsistency may be observed. For, not only in ancient but in modern times, a certain waywardness is discernible in the application of the words of others. Quotation, with ourselves, is an ingenious device for expressing our meaning in a pointed or forcible manner; it implies also an appeal to an authority. And its point frequently consists in a slight, or even a great, deviation from the sense in which the words quoted were uttered by their author. Its aptness lies in being at once old and new; often in bringing into juxtaposition things so remote, that we should not have imagined they were connected; sometimes in a word rather than in a sentence, or in the substitution of one word for another; nor is its force diminished if it lead to a logical inference not strictly warranted. In like manner the quotations of the New Testament are at once new and old. They unite a kind of authority and antiquity with a new interpretation of the passage quoted. Sometimes the application of them is a sort of argument from their exact rhetorical or even grammatical form. Their connexion often hangs upon a word, and there are passages in which the word on which the connexion turns is itself inserted. There are citations too, which are a composition of more than one passage, in which the spirit is taken from one and the words from another. There are other citations in which a similarity of spirit, rather than of language, is caught up and made use of by the Apostle. There are passages which are altered to suit the meaning given to them; or in which the spirit of the New Testament is substituted for that of the Old; or the spirit of the Old Testament expands into that of the New. Lastly, there are a few passages which have one sense in the Old Testament, and have an entirely different or opposite one in the New. Almost all gradations occur between exact verbal correspondence with the Greek of the LXX and discrepancy in which resemblance is all but lost; between the greatest similarity and difference, even opposition, of spirit in the original passage and its application. The first connexion is nearly always lost sight of; only in Rom. iv. 10 it is referred to generally, and in Rom. xi. 4 imperfectly remembered.
The quotations in the writings of St. Paul may be classified under the following heads:—
i. Passages in which the meaning or the words of the Old Testament are altered, or both; the alterations sometimes arising from a composition of passages; in other instances from an adaptation of the text quoted to its new context. In one case a verse of the Old Testament is repeated with variations in two places. See Rom. xi. 34: 1 Cor. ii. 16.
ii. Passages in which the spirit or the language of the Old Testament is exactly retained, or with no greater variation of words than may be supposed to arise out of difference of texts, and no greater diversity of spirit than necessarily arises from the transfer of any passage in the Old Testament into another connexion in the New. To which may be added—
iii. Passages which contain latent or unacknowledged quotations.
iv. Allegorical passages.
i. (1) An instance in which the meaning of the quotation has been altered, and also in which the new meaning given to it is derived from another passage, occurs in Rom. ii. 24 τὸ γὰρ ὄνομα τονˆ θεονˆ δι’ ὑμα̂ς βλασϕημεɩ̂ται ἐν τοɩ̂ς ἔθνεσιν, where the Apostle is speaking of the scandal caused by the violence and hypocrisy of the Jews. The words are taken from Isa. lii. 5 δι’ ὑμα̂ς διαπαντὸς τὸ ὄνομά μου βλασϕημεɩ̂ται ἐν τοɩ̂ς ἔθνεσι; where, however, they refer not to the sins of the house of Israel, but to their sufferings at the hand of their enemies. The turn which the Apostle has given the passage is gathered from Ezek. xxxvi. 21-23 καὶ ἐϕεισάμην αὐτωˆν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου τὸ ἅγιον, ὃ ἐβεβήλωσαν οἰ̂κος Ἰσραὴλ ἐν τοɩ̂ς ἔθνεσιν οὑ̑ εἰσήλθοσαν ἐκεɩ̂, κ.τ.λ.
A composition of passages occurs also in Rom. xi. 8, which appears to be a union of Isa. vi. 9, 10 and xxix. 10. The twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses of the same chapter also furnish a singular instance of combination. (Isa. lix. 21 καὶ αὕτη αὐτοɩ̂ς ἡ παρ’ ἐμονˆ διαθήκη, to which the clause, ὅταν ἀϕέλωμαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτωˆν, is added from Isa. xxvii. 9.) The play upon the word ἔθνη (nations = Gentiles) is repeated in Rom. iv. 17 (Gen. xvii. 5): Gal. iii. 8 (Gen. xii. 3): Rom. xv. 11 (Ps. cxvi. 1).
(2) Another instance in which the general tone of a quotation is from one passage, and a few words are added from another, is to be found in Rom. ix. 33 ἰδοὺ τίθημι ἐν Σιὼν λίθον προσκόμματος καὶ πέτραν σκανδάλου καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ’ αὐτῳ̑ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται. The greater part of this passage occurs in Isa. xxviii. 16 ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐμβάλλω εἰς τὰ θεμέλια Σιὼν λίθον πολυτελη̂ ἐκλεκτὸν ἀκρογωνιαɩ̂ον, ἔντιμον εἰς τὰ θεμέλια αὐτη̂ς καὶ ὁ πιστεύων οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῃ̂. But the words λίθον προσκόμματος are introduced from Isa. viii. 14. And the remainder of the passage (καὶ . . . καταισχυνθήσεται) is really inconsistent with these words, though both parts are harmonized in Him who is in one sense a stumbling-stone and rock of offence; in another a foundation-stone and chief corner-stone.
(3) A slighter example of alteration occurs 1 Cor. iii. 19, where the Apostle quotes from Ps. xciv. 11 κύριος γινώσκει τοὺ διαλογισμοὺς τωˆν σοϕωˆν ὅτι εἰσὶ μάταιοι. Here the words τωˆν σοϕωˆν are substituted for τωˆν ἀνθρώπων in the LXX, which in this passage agrees with the Hebrew. They are required to connect the quotation in the Epistle with the previous verses. A similar instance of the introduction of a word (πα̂ς) on which the point of an argument turns, occurs in Rom. x. 11 λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραϕή, πα̂ς ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ’ αὐτῳ̑ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται, where the addition is the more remarkable, as the Apostle had quoted the verse without πα̂ς in the preceding passage (ix. 33). The insertion seems to be suggested by the words of Joel which follow.
(4) Another instance of addition and adaptation is furnished by 1 Cor. xiv. 21 ἐν τῳ̑ νόμῳ γέγραπται ὅτι ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις καὶ ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέρων λαλήσω τῳ̑ λαῳ̑ τούτῳ, καὶ οὐδ’ οὕτως εἰσακούσονταί μου, λέγει κύριος. This quotation, which is said to be ‘written in the law’ (comp. John x. 34; xii. 34; xv. 25), is from Isa. xxviii. 11, 12, where the words in the LXX are, διὰ ϕαυλισμὸν χειλέων, διὰ γλώσσης ἑτέρας, ὅτι λαλήσουσι τῳ̑ λαῳ̑ τούτῳ, and in the English translation, ‘with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak unto this people.’ But the last words, οὐδ’ οὕτως εἰσακούσονται, are taken from the following verse, where a clause nearly similar occurs in a different connexion: λέγοντες αὐτοɩ̂ς, τονˆτο τὸ ἀνάπαυμα τῳ̑ πεινωˆντι καὶ τονˆτο τὸ σύντριμμα, καὶ οὐκ ἠθέλησαν ἀκούειν v. 12. The whole is referred by the Apostle to the gift of tongues, which he infers from this passage ‘to be a sign to unbelievers.’
(5) An adaptation, which has led to an alteration of words, occurs in Rom. x. 6-9 ἡ δὲ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη οὕτω λέγει· μὴ εἴπῃς ἐν τῃ̂ καρδίᾳ σου· τίς ἀναβήσεται εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν; τονˆτ’ ἔστι χριστὸν καταγαγεɩ̂ν; ἢ τίς καταβήσεται εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον; τονˆτ’ ἔστι χριστὸν ἐκ νεκρωˆν ἀναγαγεɩ̂ν. ἀλλὰ τί λέγει; ἐγγύς σου τὸ ῥη̂μά ἐστιν, ἐν τῳ̑ στόματί σου καὶ ἐν τῃ̂ καρδίᾳ σου· τονˆτ’ ἔστι τὸ ῥη̂μα τη̂ς πίστεως, ὃ κηρύσσομεν· ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῳ̑ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησονˆν, καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῃ̂ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρωˆν, σωθήσῃ. The introductory formula in this passage, μὴ εἴπῃς ἐν τῃ̂ καρδίᾳ σου, is taken from Deut. viii. 17; the substance of the remainder is abridged from Deut. xxx. 11-14 ὅτι ἡ ἐντολὴ αὕτη ἣν ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαί σοι σήμερον οὐχ ὑπέρογκός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ μακρὰν ἀπό σού ἐστιν· οὐκ ἐν τῳ̑ οὐρανῳ̑ ἄνω ἐστί, λέγων, τίς ἀναβήσεται ἡμɩ̂ν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ λήψεται ἡμɩ̂ν αὐτὴν καὶ ἀκούσαντες αὐτὴν ποιήσομεν; οὐδὲ πέραν τη̂ς θαλάσσης ἐστί, λέγων, τίς διαπεράσει ἡμɩ̂ν εἰς τὸ πέραν τη̂ς θαλάσσης, καὶ λάβῃ ἡμɩ̂ν αὐτήν, καὶ ἀκουστὴν ἡμɩ̂ν ποιήσῃ αὐτήν, καὶ ποιήσομεν; ἐγγύς σού ἐστι τὸ ῥη̂μα σϕόδρα, ἐν τῳ̑ στόματί σου καὶ ἐν τῃ̂ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ταɩ̂ς χερσί σου ποιεɩ̂ν αὐτό. To these verses the Apostle has added what may be termed a running commentary, applying them to Christ. To make the words πέραν τη̂ς θαλάσσης thus applicable, the Apostle has altered them to εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον, a change which we should hesitate to attribute to him, but for the other examples which have been already quoted of similar changes. (Compare also Rom. xi. 8; xii. 19: Eph. iv. 8, quoted from Ps. lxvii. 18: Eph. v. 14. The latter passage, in which as here the name of Christ is introduced, is probably an adaptation of Isa. lx. 1.) He has also omitted ἐν ταɩ̂ς χερσί, which was not suited to his purpose. Considering the frequency of such changes, it would be contrary to the rules of sound criticism to attribute the introduction of the words to a difference of text in the Old Testament.
(6) An example of a new turn given to a passage from the Old Testament occurs in Rom. xi. 2, 3, where the Apostle has put together in one connexion two verses which are disconnected in the original. In the Book of Kings (1 Kings ix. 15-18), the words, ‘I have left to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal,’ are a continuation of the instruction to anoint Jehu and Hazael. But, in the application which the Apostle makes of them, they are quoted as the answer of God to the complaint of Elijah. The misplacement seems to have arisen from the words, ‘I am left alone,’ and the allusion to the worshippers of Baal. Compare Jus. Dial. c. 39, n. 2, 3; 46, n. 18.
(7) The words of 1 Cor. xv. 45 οὕτως καὶ γέγραπται· Ἐγένετο ὁ πρωˆτος ἄνθρωπος Ἀδὰμ εἰς ψυχὴν ζωˆσαν, ὁ ἔσχατος Ἀδὰμ εἰς πνενˆμα ζωοποιονˆν, afford a remarkable instance of discrepancy, both in expression and meaning, from Gen. ii. 7 ἐνεϕύσησεν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτονˆ πνοὴν ζωη̂ς καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζωˆσαν; to the two clauses of which the Apostle appears to have applied a distinction analogous to that which Philo draws (De Legum Alleg. i. 12; De Creat. Mun. 24. 46) between the earthly and the heavenly man (Gen. ii. 7 and i. 27). The words are apparently inconsistent with the twenty-second verse of the same chapter: ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;’ which, in the sense sometimes given them, are also inconsistent with the forty-seventh verse: ‘The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.’ An instructive parallel to both inconsistencies is offered by the application of the expression of Genesis, ‘the image of God,’ not only to the regenerate man and to Christ (Col. iii. 10: 2 Cor. iv. 4), but also to the natural man, or to man in general, without any such allusion, as in 1 Cor. xi. 7. Compare Jas. iii. 9.
(8) A curious instance of a subtle and at the same time strained application of a passage occurs in Gal. iii. 16-19, to which (τῳ̑ σπέρματι) attention has been drawn in the notes. Compare Heb. vii. 1: 1 Tim. ii. 13, 14.
(9) Cases occur in which the words of the Old Testament are quoted in contrast to the Gospel; as, for example, the words of Lev. xviii. 5 ἃ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος, ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοɩ̂ς, repeated in Rom. x. 5: Gal. iii. 12: so Deut. xxvii. 26: in Gal. iii. 10. The first of the two examples affords an instance of a minor peculiarity, viz. disorder introduced into the grammatical construction by quotations.
ii. A good example of the second class of quotations is the passage from Hab. ii. 4 quoted in Rom. i. 17 ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζίσεται; which occurs also in two other places, Heb. x. 38: Gal. iii. 11, which the LXX read, ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται, and the English version translates from the Hebrew, ‘but the just shall live by his faith.’ It is remarkable, that in Rom. i. 17: Gal. iii. 11, the verse should be quoted in the same manner, and that slightly different, either from the LXX or the Hebrew; in Heb. x. 38 it agrees precisely with the LXX. Like the other great text of the Apostle, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,’ which is also repeated three times in the New Testament (Rom. iv. 3: Gal. iii. 6: Jas. ii. 23), it offers an example of the way in which the language of the Old Testament is enlarged and universalized in the New; the particular faith of Abraham or of the Israelite becoming the type of faith as opposed to the law. The wider sphere of Messianic prophecy, which extends the promise of the root of Jesse to the Gentiles (Isa. xi. 10), is also appropriated as of right by St. Paul. Here too the meaning is enlarged, as in the application of the words of Isaiah: ‘I was found of them that sought me not’ (lxv. 1), Rom. x. 20. It is less characteristic of the Apostle, that the predestinarian language of the Old Testament is in some instances transferred by him to the New, as in Rom. ix. 13 after Mal. i. 2, 3 (‘Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated’), and in Rom. ix. 20 after Isa. xxix. 16. Some of the passages which speak of the vanity of human wisdom are taken from the Old Testament (1 Cor. i. 19, 20 after Isa. xxix. 16; xlv. 9).
Other examples of the second class of quotations are such places as the following: ‘Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, and whose sin is pardoned; blessed is the man to whom the Lord doth not impute sin;’ Rom. iv. 7, from Ps. xxxii. 1, 2. ‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me;’ Rom. xv. 3, from Ps. lxix. 9. ‘Who hath believed our report?’ Rom. x. 16, from Isa. liii. 1. ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,’ Ps. xliii. 22, quoted in Rom. viii. 36; in which the instinct of the Apostle has caught the common feeling or spirit of the Old and New Testament, though the texts quoted contain no word which is a symbol of his doctrine.
Passages which might be placed under either head are Rom. x. 13: ‘Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,’ the words of which exactly agree with the LXX, although their original meaning in Mal. i. 2, 3, whence they are taken, has to do, not with the individuals Jacob and Esau, but with the natives of Edom and Israel: the cento of quotations in Rom. iii. descriptive of the wickedness of the Psalmist’s enemies, or of those who were the subjects of the prophetical denunciations, which are transferred by the Apostle to the world in general (compare Justin, Dial. c. 27, n. 6, where several of the quotations occur in the same order); Rom. xii. 20: ‘Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head,’ the words of which are exactly quoted from the LXX (Prov. xxv. 21, 22), though the meaning given to them is ironical; for which reason the succeeding clause, ‘But the Lord shall reward thee,’ which would have destroyed the irony, is omitted.
iii. What may be termed latent or unacknowledged quotations vary in extent from whole verses down to single words; there are instances in which mere resemblances of form may be traced, with no word the same. A remarkable example of an entire verse which is thus quoted is furnished by the application of Prov. xxv. 21, 22 (Rom. xii. 20, ‘Therefore if thine enemy,’ &c.), already referred to. A few words are traceable in Eph. v. 30, also affording a good instance of what may be termed the spiritualization of the natural or physical language of the Old Testament. Gen. ii. 23; xxix. 14 τονˆτο ννˆν ὀστονˆν ἐκ τωˆν ὀστέων μου, καὶ σὰρξ ἐκ τη̂ς σαρκός μου; so of Christians, μέλη ἔσμεν τονˆ σώματος αὐτονˆ, ἐκ τη̂ς σαρκὸς αὐτονˆ καὶ ἐκ τωˆν ὀστέων αὐτονˆ. So 1 Cor. x. 20, after Deut. xxxii. 17: Eph. i. 22 (compare 1 Cor. xv. 27, 28), taken from Ps. viii. 6; and without any change of meaning, Eph. iv. 26, from Ps. iv. 4. In like manner, Eph. ii. 13-17 contains a remembrance of Isa. lvii. 19; Eph. vi. 14, 17 of Isa. lix. 17. A single word, ὁ ὄϕις ἠπάτησέ με Gen. iii. 13 (which is also quoted 2 Cor. xi. 3), has probably left a trace of itself in the personification of sin, Rom. vii. 11 ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐξηπάτησέ με . . . καὶ ἀπέκτεινε. The verses 2 Cor. vi. 9, 11 contain two examples of verbal allusion. The slightest thread is enough to form a connexion. In 2 Cor. xiii. 1 ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων καὶ τριωˆν σταθήσεται πα̂ν ῥη̂μα, the association which leads the Apostle’s mind to the quotation (from Deut. xix. 15: compare Matt. xviii. 16: John viii. 17) seems to be only the word τρεɩ̂ς, arising out of the circumstance that he has mentioned just before that he is coming to them for the third time. 1 Cor. v. 13 offers another example of the use of the language of the LXX (Deut. xxii. 24), in which the Apostle clothes a command to the Church. The verse 1 Cor. xv. 32, ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,’ is taken word for word from Isa. xxii. 13; and in the same chapter the words, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (vers. 55, 56), with almost verbal exactness, from Hos. xiii. 14.
iv. Once more. In a few passages the Apostle, after the manner of his time, has recourse to allegory. These are:—(1) the allegory of the woman who had lost her husband, in Rom. vii. (compare Gal. iv. 1-3, which is supported by Isa. liv. 1); (2) Of the children of Israel in the wilderness, in 1 Cor. x; (3) Of Hagar and Sarah, in Gal. iii; (4) Of the veil on the face of Moses, in 2 Cor. iii; (5) Abraham himself, who is a kind of centre of allegory, the actions of whose life, as well as the promises of God to him, are symbols of the coming dispensation; (6) The history of the patriarchs, and cutting short of the house of Israel, in Rom. ix, x. Of these examples, the first, third, and fourth are what we should term illustrations; while the second, fifth, and sixth have not merely an analogous or metaphorical meaning, but a real inward connexion with the life and state of the first believers.
A few general results of an examination of the quotations from the Old Testament in St. Paul’s Epistles may be summed as follows:—
1. The number of direct quotations in which reference is made to the original is about eighty-seven, of which about fifty-three are found in the Epistle to the Romans, fifteen in 1 Corinthians, six in 2 Corinthians, ten in Galatians, two in Ephesians, one in 1 Timothy. Of these nearly half show a precise verbal agreement with the LXX; while, of the remaining passages, at least two thirds exhibit a degree of verbal similarity which can only be accounted for by an acquaintance with the LXX. Minuter traces of the Old Testament language are far more numerous.
2. None of these passages offer any certain proof that the Apostle was acquainted with the Hebrew text1 . That he must have been so can hardly be doubted; yet it seems improbable that he could have had a familiar knowledge of the original without straying into parallelisms with the Hebrew, in those passages in which it varies from the LXX. His acquaintance with the Hebrew was probably of such a kind as we might acquire of a version of the Scriptures not in the vernacular. No Englishman incidentally quoting the English version from memory would adapt it to the Greek, though he might very probably adapt the Greek to the English. The inference is, that the Greek and not the Hebrew text must have been to the Apostle what the English version is to ourselves.
3. While many of these quotations are introduced, as we have already seen, without any acknowledgement in the New Testament, a few others, as for example, Rom. xii. 19: 1 Cor. xv. 45, are hardly, if at all, discernible in the text of the Old. The familiarity with the Old Testament which has led to the first of these two phenomena is probably also the cause of the second. As the words suggest themselves unconsciously, so the spirit without the words occasionally comes into the Apostle’s mind; or the language and spirit of different passages blend in one.
4. There is no evidence that the Apostle remembered the verbal connexion in which any of the passages quoted by him originally occurred. He isolates them wholly from their context; he reasons from them as he might from statements of his own, ‘going off upon a word,’ as it has been called, in one instance almost upon a letter (Gal. iii. 16), drawing inferences which in strict logic can hardly be allowed, often extending the meaning of words beyond their first and natural sense. There is nothing to distinguish his use of quotations from that of his age, except greater power and life; he clings more than his contemporaries to the spirit and less to the letter, his inaccuracy about the latter arising in some instances from his feeling for the spirit.
5. There is no reason to think that the Apostle ever quotes from apocryphal writings, nor could it be gathered from the language of his Epistles that he was acquainted with the works of classical authors. Similarities are found with apocryphal writings; but they are all explainable on the supposition of a common source. Three or four verses from Greek poets also occur in the Acts and Epistles; these, however, are common and proverbial expressions, which the Apostle might very well have known without having been read in the works of Aratus, Epimenides, Euripides, or Menander.
6. Vestiges of Old Testament language are so numerous, as to admit of an argument from their occurrence to the genuineness of the Epistles. If the same interpenetration of new and old phraseology occurs in the Epistle to the Ephesians that we find in the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and the Galatians, here is considerable reason for supposing that they are writings of the same author, or at any rate of the same date. A new argument from coincidence arises, for no one would imagine that it could have occurred to a forger of a later age to imitate the manner in which St. Paul used the language of the LXX. The argument is only suggested; it requires careful consideration to enable an estimate to be formed of its exact value. It certainly applies, however, with some force, to the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which there are very few traces of direct citation, but many of verbal resemblances.
7. The study of the quotations from the Old Testament draws attention to the knowledge which the Apostle must have had of the Greek Scriptures. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the minuteness of this acquaintance. In the greater number of quotations he is verbally accurate. Hence, we may also infer that it is not from want of memory that he disregards the connexion. His writings teem with the phraseology of the Psalms and the Prophets. They suggest his thoughts, they are his weapons of controversy, they supply him with words and expressions as well as with a ‘form of truth.’ The Greek Old Testament Scriptures are not only sacred books to him, they are also his language and literature. What are often termed the Hebraisms of the Apostle are, for the most part, if not always, Hellenisms; that is to say, Hebraisms contracted through the influence of the LXX.
Lastly, It may be asked whether St. Paul regarded these texts of Scripture as prophecies or accommodations, as illustrations or arguments, as types or figures of speech, as designed or undesigned coincidences? The answer is, that such distinctions had no place in his mind; to attribute them to him is a logical anachronism. He did not say to himself: This was designed, that undesigned; this is an illustration, that an argument. He adopted what appeared to his own mind a natural form of expression, what he conceived would convey his meaning to others. His own language and that of the psalmists and prophets are bound together by him in various ways:
(1) Often (as we have already seen) whole verses of the Old Testament are latent in the Epistle, without note or sign.
(2) In other passages they are preceded by καθὼς γέγραπται: τί λέγει ἡ γραϕή; λέγει ἡ γραϕή: καθάπερ Μωσνˆς λέγει. David, Isaiah, Elijah, Hosea, are also cited by name.
(3) A stronger formula is found in Gal. iii. 8 προϊδονˆσα δὲ ἡ γραϕή, and one more emphatic still in 1 Cor. x. 11 τανˆτα δὲ πάντα τυπικωˆς συνέβαινον ἐκείνοις, ἐγράϕη δὲ πρὸς νουθεσίαν ἡμωˆν, εἰς οὓς τὰ τέλη τωˆν αἰώνων κατήντηκε.
[1 ]Reading Γνωρίζω δέ
[1 ]Reading ἀπη̂λθον
[k]to be blamed.
[m]add that ye should not obey the truth
[n]it be yet
[p]worketh miracles among you, doeth
[s]Cursed is every one that
[z]add in Christ
[1 ]Reading ἐκ νόμου
[b]omit in ward
[d]add to bring us
[g]of God through Christ
[h]omit to begin
[1 ]Punctuating after ἐν τῃ̂ σαρκί μου.
[1 ]Reading τὸ γὰρ Σινα̂ ὄρος ἐστίν
[p]for this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia
[1 ]Reading ὑμεɩ̂ς . . . ἐστέ
[t]Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free
[1 ]Reading ἐγω δέ
[z]they were even cut off
[d]so that ye cannot
[1 ]Reading [ϕόνοι]
[k]Ye see how large a letter
[1 ]Reading ἐν γὰρ χριστῳ̑ Ἰησονˆ οὔτε
[n]add the Lord
[o]Unto the Galatians written from Rome.
[1.]The Epistle to the Galatians is the only one among St. Paul’s Epistles, in which he omits all words of compliment or friendship in the opening verses. In other Epistles he begins with commendation, and passes on to reproof when he has gained a hold on the affections of those whom he is addressing. Thus, in the case of the Corinthian Church, though they had grave faults, and ought rather to have mourned for the sin of the incestuous person, and their many divisions and profaneness in celebration of the Lord’s Supper, he introduces himself to them with words of conciliation: ‘I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in every thing ye are enriched by him in all utterance and in all knowledge;’ and so passes on to his censure. But in the Epistle to the Galatians he adopts a different course, either because it was more natural to his own feelings, or the actual state of the Church was worse or more likely to be roused by the severity of his tone.
[4.]ὅπως ἐξέληται ἡμα̂ς ἐκ τονˆ αἰωˆνος τονˆ ἐνεστωˆτος πονηρονˆ, that he may take us out of this evil world present.] These words contain an allusion to the Jewish distinction of αἰὼν ἐνεστώς, or αἰὼν οὑ̑τος, and the αἰὼν μέλλων, the times before and after the inauguration of Messiah’s kingdom. But their meaning may be said to vary as the thing signified by them assumes to the believer a more inward or outward nature, is more past or present. The αἰὼν ἐνεστώς is the world around him, from which the Christian withdraws into communion with God, from which he shall be delivered finally in the world of glory. It is called evil, in the same spirit in which the Apostle says in the Epistle to the Romans, that ‘the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now;’ also as it is the scene of the believer’s trials and persecutions, in which he is waiting, too, for the redemption of the body.
[7.]ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο, which is not another.] Either, (1) which turning aside is nothing else but certain troublers seeking to pervert the Gospel of Christ; or, (2) which Gospel is not another Gospel (for there cannot be two Gospels), but only certain troublers who pervert it; ἄλλο being unemphatic in the first way of taking the words, emphatic in the second. The last is the more probable explanation.
[10.]εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον, if I yet pleased men.] The Apostle does not mean that before his conversion, or at any other time in his life, ‘he had been a pleaser of men.’ The expression, which is not free from difficulty, is most probably to be taken in a general sense; ‘If at this time, after all that has happened to me, I am, or were still, a pleaser of men, I could not be the servant of God.’ Comp. Matt. vi. 24: ‘No man can serve two masters;’ and for the use of ἔτι, v. 11.
[12.]Revelation is distinguished from ordinary moral and spiritual influences by its suddenness. It is an anticipation of moral truth and of the course of experience. No reason can be given why amid Canaanitish and Egyptian idolatries, a belief in the unity of God should have sunk into the hearts of men. No reason can be given why truth and justice should have been Divine attributes ages before philosophy became conscious of a moral principle. No reason can be given why our Saviour, Himself living amid the rites of the Temple worship, should yet have taught a religion purely spiritual, which was a contradiction of the maxims of the Scribes and Pharisees, and an inversion of the common religious notions of mankind to the end of time.
[15.]ἀϕορίσας, who separated] has a double meaning: first, a literal and physical one; secondly, that of which this is the figure—a spiritual one: ‘Who took me out of my mother’s womb, and separated me; or whose separation of me at my birth was the image of my separation unto himself.’ ἐκ refers to time. Compare Jer. i. 5: ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations;’ and Is. xliv. 2; also note on Rom. i. 1.
[19.]The arguments in favour of the position that James the brother of our Lord is the same with James the son of Alpheus the Apostle (not including the words of 1 Cor. xv. 7: ‘He was seen of James, then of all the Apostles,’ which are equally ambiguous with the present passage) may be summed up as follows:—
[2. 2.]τοɩ̂ς δοκονˆσιν, to them of reputation,] is used absolutely, as sometimes in classical Greek, ‘to the men of influence, reputation.’ There is a degree of irony in the application of the term to the Apostles, who, as St. Paul is about to describe, added nothing to what he had told them. The irony is heightened by the altered form of expression in ver. 6 οἱ δοκονˆντες εἰ̂ναί τι, but is lost again in the new turn given to it at ver. 9, οἱ δοκονˆντες στνˆλοι εἰ̂ναι, the last words marking that he truly recognized the dignity of the other Apostles as heads of the Church at Jerusalem. Compare, as illustrative of the feeling, 2 Cor. xi. 5; xii. 11 οἱ ὑπερλίαν ἀπόστολοι.
[3–5.]As it is certain that copies existed in the second and third centuries in which the negation in ver. 5 was omitted, the question of the reading cannot be absolutely determined by the weight of MS. authority which is in favour of their insertion. On the one hand, it may be urged that the omission has arisen from the desire to improve the structure of the sentence, which is thus rendered more regular; perhaps, also, the example of Timothy may have led to the inference that the Apostle would have done in one case as he did in the other, and that Titus was circumcised as Timothy was circumcised; a meaning which is more easily obtained if the words οἱ̑ς οὐδέ are omitted. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to maintain the opposite thesis, that the [erroneous omission] of the words is improbable, because it runs counter to the spirit of the passage. The feeling which makes us unwilling to believe that St. Paul yielded a question of principle at a critical moment, would have prevented Fathers and early transcribers from altering the text in such a manner as to render this interpretation of the Apostle’s acts possible. And, therefore, it may be argued that the reading which raises the suspicion is probably not the altered but the genuine one. So the canon ‘difficilioris lectionis’ may be arrayed on either side. Nor will any other argument place either reading beyond doubt.
[6.]ὁποɩ̂οί ποτε ἡ̑σαν.] Some degree of feeling is indicated in these words, as in the similar expression, v. 10 ὅστις ἂν ᾐ̑, and 2 Cor. xi. 5 οἱ ὑπερλίαν ἀπόστολοι. The Apostle is afraid lest the expression οἱ δοκονˆντες may be interpreted to mean that he gave way to their authority; he therefore hastens to add, that they were as he was in the sight of God; he will not speak of them slightingly, but he wishes it to be remembered that God is no respecter of persons (comp. Rom. ii. 11: 1 Cor. iv. 3), and that as a fact. whatever their dignity and authority might be, those great men left him to himself.
[9.]ἵνα . . . περιτομήν, that . . . circumcision.] How is this division of labour to be understood? Not, if we may judge from the Acts, as though it were intended that Paul should confine himself to the Gentiles, and Peter to the circumcision; for in every place Paul first preached to the Jews, and in nearly every place the Judaizers followed in his track. It may mean either that St. Paul was not ‘to intrude on other men’s labours;’ or that one Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, leaving open the question of circumcision, and another to the Jews, enforcing or encouraging the practice. The sense in which the agreement was made may have been determined, either by the character of the Church, whether composed chiefly of Jewish or heathen Christians; or by its situation, whether in Palestine or elsewhere, or by the Gospel having been preached at a particular place by St. Paul, or by one of the Twelve. That, independently of his own labours, St. Paul found the faith of Christ growing up around him, and the preaching of others coming into contact with his own, is implied in Rom. xv. 20: 2 Cor. x. 13. We can hardly suppose that, in the fluctuating state of the Church, the agreement could have been strictly acted upon, especially in Churches like Antioch and Corinth, in which both parties must have met.
[10.]It is a presumption of the still unbroken unity of the Church, that the Jewish Christians were willing to receive, or the Gentiles to give alms. This presumption is further strengthened by the manner in which the obligation to contribute is viewed, both in the Epistles to the Romans and the Corinthians, Rom. xv. 27: ‘They thought it good, and their debtors they are; for if the Gentiles have participated with them in their spiritual things, they ought also to participate with them in temporal things.’ Compare 1 Cor. xvi. 1; ix. 1.
[12.]The obvious meaning of this verse is, that Peter acted under the influence of certain that came from James. In most controversies the followers are less scrupulous than the leaders; in this case it is impossible for us to determine what was the degree of these persons’ connexion with the brother of the Lord, or how far they were responsible for the conduct of the Galatian teachers. The words, however, imply that they were actually sent by James. It must be remembered that in Acts xxi. 18 James advises Paul to propitiate ‘the multitude zealous for the law,’ by performing a vow in the temple. His conduct on the present occasion, whether reconcilable or not with what is related of him in Acts xv, is perfectly in accordance with the narrative just alluded to, as well as with the ecclesiastical tradition respecting him.
[15–21.]These words are the substance of a conversation between the two Apostles, of which one side only is narrated, and which soon passes off into the general subject of the Epistle. Verse 14 is the answer of St. Paul to Peter; what follows is more like the Apostle musing or arguing with himself, with an indirect reference to the Galatians. Compare John iii, where the discourses of Christ with Nicodemus, and of John the Baptist, appear in the same way to mingle imperceptibly with the thoughts of the Evangelist; also Rom. iii. 1-8: 1 Cor. xi. 25.
[17–20.]But if seeking to be justified in Christ, we, too, are found sinners as well as the Gentiles; that is, in other words, if we too fall back under the power of the law, Christ becomes the cause of this we make Him the minister of that law which is the strength of sin,’ which ‘reviving, we die.’ Not so, it were absurd to think it. It is we, not he, who are the ministers of sin; we make ourselves transgressors by imposing upon ourselves a law which makes us transgress. We build up what we pulled down. The law was but the negation of itself, the means to its own extinction, and the creation of a new life in us. But now the law that was dead is made alive again.
[20.]The words which follow afford a good example of the manner in which the language of identity, or communion with Christ, passes into that of substitution. First, we are said to die or live with Christ. Then the phrase receives a further development;—not only we live or die with Christ, but Christ lives or dies in us.—First, we are one with Christ, and then Christ is put in our place. So far we are using the same language with the Apostle. At the next stage a difference appears. We begin with figures of speech—sacrifice, ransom, lamb of God; and go on with logical determinations—finite, infinite, satisfaction, necessity in the nature of things. St. Paul also begins with figures of speech—life, death, the flesh; but passes on to the inward experience of the life of faith, and the consciousness of Christ dwelling in us.
[3. 2.]ἐναρξάμενοι πνεύματι, having begun, &c.] Taking up the words of the two previous verses, ἀνόητοι, πνενˆμα, as his manner is, the Apostle adds: ‘Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now ending in the flesh?’ The opposition is not between holinessand uncleanness, or good and evil generally; but between the Gospel and the law. σάρξ is used in a figure as the symbol of what is outward and visible; also as the seat of the desires which the law stirs into sinful action (Rom. vii. 7, 8). It is applied to the Mosaic dispensation: (1) in the general sense of ‘external;’ (2) as propagated by fleshly descent; (3) as sealed by the mark of circumcision in the flesh.
[4.]τοσανˆτα ἐπάθετε εἰκη̂;] (1) ‘Did ye suffer all those persecutions in vain?’ or (2) ‘Had you all those experiences in vain?’ The latter is more agreeable to the context and to the general spirit of St. Paul’s teaching, as well as to the few facts which we know about the Galatian Church, in which probably as yet no persecution had occurred. Even were this otherwise, it is unlike the noble style of the Apostle to say: ‘Have you thrown away the fruits of all those persecutions?’ The Apostle adds a qualification: εἴ γε καὶ εἰκη̂, ‘Have you had all these experiences in vain? if, indeed, which I cannot bear to think, it be in vain;’ not ‘if it be only and not worse than in vain,’ which gives a good sense, but is not expressed in the words.
[8.]The words of the quotation, as they occur in the LXX (Gen. xii. 3), are εὐλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πα̂σαι αἱ ϕυλαὶ τη̂ς γη̂ς,—πάντα τὰ ἔθνη being introduced from the repetition of the same promise in Gen. xviii. 18. The promise to Abraham is interpreted by the Apostle as a declaration of the Gospel of the Gentiles. ἐν σοί means ‘in thee;’—that is, ‘in thee as their type,’ or ‘in thy faith.’ In the original passage it has the sense, ‘by thee;’—that is, the form of their blessing shall be, by thy name. ‘The Lord bless thee, as he blessed Abraham and his descendants.’ ἔθνη has also received a change of meaning, referring in Genesis to the nations of the world in general; but here (compare ver. 14) confined by St. Paul to the heathen, who are to be saved by faith. The general meaning is as follows:—‘It was not a mere accident that it was said, In thee shall all the Gentiles be blessed; but because Abraham was justified by faith, as the Gentiles were to be justified by faith.’
[13.]χριστὸς ἡμα̂ς ἐξηγόρασεν.] A further proof that we cannot be justified by the law is, that the curse of the law is what Christ redeemed us from. We were like captives, and Christ paid the penalty for us.
[15.]Ἀδελϕοί, Brethren.] The Apostle continues to soften his tone.
[17.]μετὰ τετρακόσια καὶ τριάκοντα ἔτη, four hundred and thirty years after.] The law, which was given so long after, could not do away with the promise.
[19.]The first impression on reading this verse is, that the Apostle meant to say that the law was added to restrain men from transgressions, in the interval of time between the promise and the coming of Christ. According to this view, the law would be regarded as the principle of order in the world, designed to keep men from utterly corrupting themselves, and giving them a moral preparation for the revelation which was to follow. Such a view may be thought to derive confirmation from ver. 24: ‘The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ;’ it agrees with our own ideas of the purposes of law in general, and of the relation of the Mosaic law to the Gospel (comp. Heb. vii. 19) in particular. Yet the words themselves are indefinite, and the comparison of other passages in the Epistles, such as Rom. vii. 7-25; iii. 20; iv. 15; v. 20: 1 Cor. xv. 56, would lead us to expect a different tone of thought respecting the law. On this, above all other subjects, it is necessary to remember the axiom, ‘non nisi ex ipso Paulo Paulum potes interpretari.’ And the characteristic mode of thought and speech in the passages just referred to would incline us to suppose that the Apostle’s meaning probably was, not that the law was added to restrain transgressions; but that the law was added to produce transgressions, or at least to give men that consciousness of sin which makes sin to be what it is, ‘for where there is no law there is no transgression,’ and ‘the strength of sin is the law.’ The law, it must be remembered, is not with St. Paul an element or principle of good; but an abstract good. It is not the law of the land which punishes crime; but an ideal law, the very characteristic of which is, that it cannot be realized in action. It would attribute too much power to the law to suppose that it could restrain men from sin. Then it would not be far from ‘a law that might give life.’ ‘By the deeds of the law,’ as the Apostle says in the Epistle to the Romans, ‘shall no flesh be justified, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.’ In other words justification is the very opposite of that knowledge of sin which is by the law. In the language of the Epistle to the Romans (v. 20), it might be said that the law was added to the covenant ‘that transgression might abound;’ the other side of this doctrine being given in the latter part of the same verse, ‘that grace might yet more abound.’
[21.]The powerlessness of the law was the actual fact; in modern language, it had become effete; it belonged to a different state of the world; nothing human or spiritual remained of it. The Apostle, who carried back justification by faith to Abraham, went on to compare also the notion of the law which he gathered from his own age, with its first idea and origin. It was a sort of riddle to him, in the meshes of which he seems to struggle, how the law could be powerless; the law could be the occasion, the strength, and almost the cause of sin, and yet bear the stamp of Divine authority. In some sense he is assured that it is holy, just, and good; its very perfection involving its imperfection or negative nature; the conviction of sin which it wrought being the way to a new life.
[23.]The condition of the Jew and Gentile in reference to the Gospel, may be figured by the image of men within and without a prison; the first with the shining of a candle to give them light, the second wandering in darkness over the whole earth. The sun arises upon both; to the latter disclosing an endless prospect, while the former, with their candle grown dim before the coming day, are still within the curtains of their tabernacle. No longer shut up under the law, they are afraid to come out and look upon the light of heaven. The world is all before them, if they did but know it, and every part full of the Divine presence.
[27.]The figure of putting on Christ has a reference, first, to the robe in which the newly-baptized person was arrayed on coming up out of the water, and recalls also an idiomatic expression in later Greek, of ‘putting on another’ to signify close and intimate friendship with him. See on Rom. xiii. 14. In this latter passage, St. Paul exhorts believers ‘to put on Christ;’ here he implies that they have already attained in baptism the state which is thus described. In one sense the believer is regenerate; in another, not. His whole life is anticipated in the beginning, and still he may be exhorted to begin. Compare Col. iii. 9, 10: ‘Putting off the old man with his actions; and putting on the new man which is renewed unto knowledge in the image of him that created him.’
[28.]It has been often asked whether Christianity has altered the condition of women and slaves; and the answer sometimes given is, that no positive precepts are found in the New Testament forbidding that subjection of either, which seemed natural to the ancient world. Some have even thought that the spirit of the Gospel tended rather to slavery than to freedom, in enjoining the forgiveness of injury and discouraging the desire to be free. It is true that no class or sex is encouraged by Christianity to claim its rights; yet not the less surely in the lapse of centuries did the Gospel mould the institutions of mankind. It was a leaven which was hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. Of the world and the Roman empire, and the institutions of ancient times, no less than of the Jewish religion, the words of Christ hold good: ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.’ And with reference to the present verse, it could not but be a consequence of regarding men and women, bond and free, as one and alike in the presence of God, that their spiritual freedom became also an external and actual one.
[4. 3.]The expression, ‘principles of the world,’ is ideal, and it is impossible to say precisely what the Apostle meant by it, any more than what he meant by ‘rulers of the darkness of this world.’ As to ourselves, so to St. Paul, the world means that portion of evil, or of mankind, with which we come most nearly into contact, and which is most directly opposed to us, as well as all the world which is unknown to us, and which we comprise in the imaginary limit of an abstract term. The heathen world was to him its first and most natural meaning, but the evil of the heathen world was also the figure of the Jewish, just as the Jewish law was a figure of the law written in the heart of the Gentile. Hence the transition was easy from the Gentile to the Jew. By a similar transposition of language, we speak of ‘the world’ in modern times finding a place in the hearts of religious men, or of Christianity being infected with a worldly spirit, the force of which consists in using against the professing Christian the term which he uses against others; just as St. Paul, here writing to professing Jews, applies to Judaism the language which was ever in the Jew’s mouth against the rest of mankind.
[4.]ὅτε δὲ ἠ̂λθε τὸ πλήρωμα τονˆ χρόνου, but when the fulness of time was come.] Shall we say that great events arise from antecedents, or without them; in the fullness of time, or out of due time? by sudden crises, or with long purpose and preparation? It is impossible for us to view the great changes of the world under any of these aspects exclusively. The spread of the Roman empire, the fall of the Jewish nation, the decline of the heathen religions—Jewish prophecy, Greek philosophy, these are the natural links which connect the Gospel with the actual state of mankind, the causes, humanly speaking, of its propagation, and the soil in which it grew. But there is something besides of which no account can be given. The external circumstances or conditions of events do not explain history any more than life. Why the Gospel came into the world in a particular form, or at a particular time, is a question which is not reached by any analysis of this sort.
[10.]Ye observe sabbath days, and new moons, and times for feasts, and sabbatical years. That is to say, ye observe all the requirements of the Jewish law. Compare Col. ii. 16: ‘Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.’
[12.]The Apostle changes his tone. His old affection for the Galatians revives, and he implores them to consider that he is not speaking of any personal wrongs of his own. He is touched by the memory of their attachment to him while he was yet with them. ‘I know how weak and feeble I was, how much reason there was for you to despise me; but you did the opposite, you received me as an angel of God. Your affection for me was indeed extravagant; there was nothing which you would not have done for me.’
[13.]δι’ ἀσθένειαν τη̂ς σαρκός, through weakness of the flesh.] In explaining these words, we have to choose between Greek usage and the sense required by the context. Adhering to the ordinary meaning of διά with the accusative, we should translate, ‘Ye know that it was on account of an illness that I preached to you at first.’ There would be no want of courtesy in this, if we only lay the stress on the latter part of the sentence. ‘You saw that it was a mere accident that made me preach to you, yet you showed no want of care or tenderness to me.’ Yet it seems hardly likely that the Apostle would have spoken of mere illness, in the succeeding verse, as ‘your temptation in my flesh.’ Illness would create sympathy, not, as he seems to imply in the words ἐξουθενήσατε and ἐξεπτύσατε, ridicule and disgust. There is no intimation in the Acts of the Apostles of any peculiar occasion leading him to preach the Gospel in Galatia; nor in an illness, which hindered his journey, a likely or natural one.
[15.]μακαρισμός,] not ‘blessedness;’ but, as in Rom. iv. 9, the attribution of blessedness. So here the declaration of how blessed you were — the state described also in Gal. iii. 2.
[25.]τὸ γὰρ Σινα̂ ὄρος ἐστὶν ἐν τῃ̂ Ἀραβίᾳ, for Sinai is a mountain in Arabia.] The MS. authority and later editors are nearly divided about the admission of the word Ἄγαρ in this verse. The insertion, however, does little towards supplying the connexion of the 25th and 24th verses; as the old explanations, that Hagar is the Arabic word for a rock, or the Arabic name of mount Sinai (whether we suppose it probable or otherwise, that St. Paul would have quoted Arabic words in writing to the Galatians), are destitute of foundation. On better authority it is stated that there was a town Hagar close to the mountain, the name of which may have been given to Sinai itself; of this latter fact, however, no proof is adduced.
[31.]So in language old yet new, ‘in the oldness of the letter itself,’ the Apostle tells of the freedom of the Gospel. The child of promise is the figure of the kingdom of heaven which is persecuted on earth, yet in the highest sense free, and the mother of all mankind. The persecutor is the fleshly heir, the image of the covenant of mount Sinai, who is now cast out and not suffered to inherit with the child of promise. The law and the Gospel cannot dwell together; the Gospel must drive out the law.
[5. 3.]In other passages, the Apostle exhorts men to overlook lesser points of difference, such as the eating of meat or herbs, the observance of days, the eating of meats offered to idols; Rom. xiv: 1 Cor. viii. In such cases, the double rule of faith and charity should operate; it is quite consistent to be free from scruples ourselves, and yet to be tender to those of others. But there are cases in which it is equally important to yield nothing, because the very least concession implies everything. The principle expressed in the words, ‘I will eat no meat as long as the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend,’ has to be balanced and modified by the other principle, ‘I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.’ And the Spirit of both must be at last regulated by the words which follow:—‘Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.’
[6.]δι’ ἀγάπης, by love.] There is no trace in the writings of St. Paul of the opposition of faith and love which is found in Luther. Such an opposition did not exist in the language of Christ and His Apostles. It came from the schools; Luther was driven to adopt it by the exigencies of controversy. At some point or other it was necessary to draw a line between the Catholic and Reformed doctrine of justification. Was it to include works as well as faith? but, if not, was love to be a coefficient in the work of justification? Luther felt this difficulty, and tried to preserve the doctrine from the alloy of self-righteousness and external acts by the formula of ‘faith only.’
[11.]Similar covert answers to other charges occur in the Epistles to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. ix. 1, 7: 2 Cor. x. 7.) At Corinth, too, he seems to have been accused, amid many other calumnies, of not ‘being of Christ’ in that special sense in which his opponents claimed to be so. Had we that other Epistle which the Church at Corinth addressed to the Apostle, it would furnish a remarkable commentary on the two Epistles to the Corinthians. Had we the other side of the controversy with the Galatians, the obscurity which rests on several passages of the Epistle would probably be removed.
[18.]The key to this verse is again given by Rom. vii. The state which the Apostle has been describing is that which he there explains the state of those under the law. From doing the things they would not men are delivered by the guidance of the Spirit—‘the law of the Spirit of life makes them free from the law of sin and death.’ The law, sin, death, the struggle of the Spirit against the flesh—all express different aspects of the same condition of human nature, the last extremity of misery and variance with self. From this old man he who is in the Spirit is already free.
[22.]χαρά, joy.] Cp. Rom. xii. 15 χαίρειν μετὰ χαιρόντων. Joy or light-heartedness is, in itself, a Christian duty; it may be regarded as a higher degree of peace, not unconnected with that ‘glorying in the Lord’ of which the Apostle elsewhere speaks. Gal. vi. 14: 2 Cor. xii, xiii, &c.
[6. 1.]ὑμεɩ̂ς οἱ πνευματικοί,] ‘Ye who are spiritual,’ opposed to σαρκικοί. Ye who know the truths of the Gospel, and are freed from the law, and live in communion with God and Christ. Spirituality may be described as the unity of moral virtues in God and Christ; it implies a nature in harmony with other men; in harmony with self; judging all men, and judged of no man; above, and also on a level with them. It is not absolutely without parts; like moral virtue in Aristotelian ethics, it admits an idea at least of separation into the several Christian graces, each of which implies the whole, as in this passage it is particularized as ‘the spirit of meekness.’
[6.]The obscurity of the precept seems to arise from the delicacy with which the Apostle has stated it. The same thought is in his mind as in the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians; but in writing to a hostile or alienated communion he does not express himself with equal clearness. Compare 1 Cor. xvi. 3: 2 Cor. viii. 4; also Phil. iv. 17; and for an instance of obscurity arising from a similar cause, 1 Thess. iv. 4, 5. That the duty of making the contribution was urged by him about this time on the Galatian Church, we know from 1 Cor. xvi. 1: ‘As I have given order to the churches of Galatia so do ye.’
[11.]This curious verse has received several interpretations:—that of the English translation, ‘Ye see how large a letter I have written to you with my own hand;’ to which it is truly objected that the Greek requires πηλίκα γράμματα ἔγραψα; it may be further added, though the objection is of less weight, that the word γράμματα is not elsewhere used by St. Paul in the sense of a letter. Chrysostom and other Fathers refer the expression to the ill-formed characters which St. Paul had written with his own hand, to attest the genuineness of the Epistle. Such an explanation appears not improbable, although that of Jerome is yet more likely, who takes the aorist for a present. ‘See you with what large letters I write with my own hand.’ This explanation is put in its most probable point of view, if we suppose the remainder of the Epistle, which stands in no immediate connexion with what has preceded, but is a recapitulation of the whole, to be also written with the Apostle’s own hand. He has taken up the pen, and subjoins in a few emphatic sentences the substance of what he had previously dictated. That it was not his usual custom to write himself may be inferred from Rom. xvi. 22, and from the words of 2 Thess. iii. 17: ‘The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand, which is the sign in every Epistle; so I write.’
[13.]The precise point of the accusation we do not know; its general truth is witnessed to by the Church in all ages. Inconsistency rather than consistency is natural to man. He is apt to look with one eye upon this life, even when the other is turned towards God. He finds it hard to be true to himself when the influences of party or interest draw him in different directions. Never, perhaps, since the Gospel came into the world has there been any controversy in which zeal has not at times shaken hands with expediency, or in which some degree of fanaticism has not mingled with some degree of insanity or imposture.
[14.]κόσμος, world.] Cp. above στοιχεɩ̂α τονˆ κόσμου. The reciprocity of the expression is characteristic of the Apostle (comp. 1 Cor. xiii. 12); it implies the completeness of the separation, as we might say, ‘He is nothing to me, and I am nothing to him.’
[17.]τὰ στίγματα, the marks.] The feeling of this verse is anger passing into sorrow. The Apostle rightly thinks that the sufferings which he had endured should give him a kind of sacredness in their eyes. The expression, ‘I bear in my body the marks of Jesus,’ is of the same kind as ‘I am crucified with Christ,’ Rom. vi. 6: Gal. ii. 20; or ‘I fill up what is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh,’ Col. i. 24. Having recently suffered persecution, he felt that this was a new link which bound him to his Lord. The marks which he saw in his flesh, reminded him of the wounds of Christ, perhaps suggesting also the thought that he was His branded slave. There have been those in later ages of the Church, who have by a self-imposed penance borne the marks of the Lord Jesus. In the wellknown story of St. Francis of Assisi there is a trace of the influence of these words.
[1 ]Gal. ii. 20; iv. 14; vi. 17: 1 Cor. xv. 32: 2 Cor. i. 9; vi. 12; x. 10; xi. 23-27; xii. 7-10: Philem. ver. 9.
[1 ]Compare Rom. ix. 7; x. 15: 1 Cor. ii. 9, as the best instances on the other side; they do not, however, disprove the truth of the remark.