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He also deals more roundly with his disciples the Galatians than, we may observe, he does with the Romans, to whom he, being a stranger, writes not in so familiar a style, nor in his reproofs and exhortations uses so much the tone of a master, as he does to the Galatians.

St. Paul had converted the Galatians to the faith, and erected several churches among them, in the year of our Lord 51 ; between which and the year 57, wherein this epistle was writ, the disorders following were got into those churches :

First, Some zealots for the Jewish constitution had very near persuaded them out of their Christian liberty, and made them willing to submit to circumcision, and all the ritual observances of the Jewish church, as necessary under the Gospel, chap. i. 7. iii. 3. iv. 9, 10, 21. v. 1, 2, 6, 9, 10.

Secondly, Their dissensions and disputes in this matter had raised great animosities amongst them, to the disturbance of their peace, and the setting them at strife with one another, chap. v. 6, 13–15.

The reforming them in these two points seems to be the main business of this epistle, wherein he endeavours to establish them in a resolution to stand firm in the freedom of the Gospel, which exempts them from the bondage of the Mosaical law: and labours to reduce them to a sincere love and affection one to another; which he concludes with an exhortation to liberality and general beneficence, especially to their teachers, chap. vi. 6, 10. These being the matters he had in his mind to write to them about, he seems here as if he had done. But, upon mentioning, ver. 11, what a long letter he had writ to them with his own hand, the former argument concerning circumcision, which filled and warmed his mind, broke out again into what we find, ver. 12-17, of the sixth chapter.




The general view of this epistle plainly shows St. Paul's chief
design in it to be, to keep the Galatians from hearkening to those
Judaizing seducers, who had almost persuaded them to be circum-
cised. These perverters of the Gospel of Christ, as St. Paul himself
calls them, ver. 7, had, as may be gathered from ver. 8 and 10,
and from chap. v. 11, and other passages of this epistle, made the
Galatians believe, that St. Paul himself was for circumcision.
Until St. Paul himself had set them right in this matter, and con-
vinced them of the falsehood of this aspersion, it was in vain for
him, by other arguments, to attempt the re-establishing the
Galatians in the Christian liberty, and in that truth which he had
preached to them. The removing, therefore, of this calumny
was his first endeavour : and to that purpose, this introduction,
different from what we find in any other of his epistles, is marvel-
lously well adapted. He declares, here at the entrance, very
expressly and emphatically, that he was not sent by men on their
errands; nay, that Christ, in sending him, did not so much as
convey his apostolic power to him by the ministry or intervention
of any man; but that his commission and instructions were all
entirely from God, and Christ himself, by immediate revelation.
This, of itself, was an argument sufficient to induce them to be-
lieve, 1. That what he taught them, when he first preached the
Gospel to them, was the truth, and that they ought to stick firm
to that. 2. That he changed not his doctrine, whatever might be
reported of him. He was Christ's chosen officer, and had no
dependence on men's opinions, nor regard to their authority or
favour, in what he preached; and therefore it was not likely he
should preach one thing at one time, and another thing at another.

Thus this preface is very proper in this place, to introduce what
he is going to say concerning himself, and adds force to his dis-
course, and the account he gives of himself in the next section.

TEXT. 1 Paul, an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ,

and God the Father, who raised him from the dead ;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our

Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this

present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father : 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

PARAPHRASE. 1 Paul (an apostle not of men“, to serve their ends, or carry

on their designs, nor receiving his call, or commission, by the intervention of any man", to whom he might be thought to owe any respect or deference upon that account; but immedi

ately from Jesus Christ, and from God the Father, who raised 2 him up from the dead); And all the brethren that are with me, 3 unto the churches of Galatia: Favour be to you, and peace" 4 from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who

gave himself for our sins, that he might take us out of this pre

sent evil world, according to the will and good pleasure of God 5 and our Father, To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

NOTES. 1 * Oůx ár' år@cutwr, “not of men," i. e. not sent by men at their pleasure, or by

their authority; not instructed by men what to say or do, as we see Timothy and Titus were, when sent by St. Paul; and Judas and Silas, sent by the church of Jerusalem. boudè i' &v@ponou, “nor by man," i. e. his choice and separation to his ministry and apostleship was so wholly an act of God and Christ, that there was no intervention of any thing done by any man in the case, as there was in the election of Matthias. All this we may see explained at large, ver. 10-12, and ver. 16,

17, and chap. ii. 6—9. 2 -“ Churches of Galatia." This was an evident seal of his apostleship to the

Gentiles; since, in no bigger a country than Galatia, a small province of the

lesser Asia, he had, in no long stay among them, planted several distinct churches. 3 €“ Peace.” The wishing of peace, in the Scripture-language, is the wishing of

all manner of good. 4 “Οπως εξέλησαι ημάς εκ του εγεςώτος αιώνος τονηρού. «That he might take us

out of this present evil word,” or age; so the Greek words signify. Whereby it cannot be thought that St. Paul meant, that Christians were to be immediately removed into the other world. Therefore eveçùs aiày must signify something else than present world, in the ordinary import of those words in English. Aiùy oltos, 1 Cor. ii. 6, 8, and in other places, plainly signifies the Jewish nation, under the Mosaical constitution ; and it suits very well with the apostle's design in this epistle, that it should do so here. God has, in this world, but one kingdom, and one people. The nation of the Jews were the kingdom and people of God, whilst the law stood. And this kingdom of God, under the Mosaical constitution, was called aiùv OÚtos, this age, or as it is commonly translated, this world, to which aiùs éveças, the present world, or age, here

answers. But the kingdom of God, which was to be under the Messiah, wherein
the economy and constitution of the Jewish church, and the nation itself, that,
in opposition to Christ, adhered to it, was to be laid aside, is in the New Testa-
ment called aiùs ménawy, the world, or age to come; so that “ Christ's taking
them out of the present world" may, without any violence to the words, be un-
derstood to signify his setting them free from the Mosaical constitution. This
is suitable to the design of this epistle, and what St. Paul has declared in many
other places. See Col. ii. 14—17, and 20, which agrees to this place, and
Rom. vii. 4, 6. This law is said to be contrary to us, Col. ii. 14, and to
“ work wrath,” Rom. iv. 15, and St. Paul speaks very diminishingly of the
ritual parts of it in many places : but yet if all this may not be thought sufficient
to justify the applying of the epithet wompoũ, evil, to it; that scruple will be re-
moved if we take eveçus aids, “this present world,” here, for the Jewish con-
stitution and nation together; in which sepse it may very well be called “evil;"
though the apostle, out of his wonted tenderness to his nation, forbears to name
them openly, and uses a doubtful expression, which might comprehend the
heathen world also; though he chiefly pointed at the Jews.


CHAPTER I. 6.-II. 21.


We have observed, that St. Paul's first endeavour, in this
epistle, was to satisfy the Galatians, that the report spread of him,
that he preached circumcision, was false. Until this obstruction
that lay in his way was removed, it was to no purpose for him to
go about to dissuade them from circumcision, though that be what
he principally aims, in this epistle. To show them, that he pro-
moted not circumcision, he calls their hearkening to those who
persuaded them to be circumcised, their being removed from him;
and those that so persuaded them, “ perverters of the Gospel of
Christ,” ver. 6, 7. He farther assures them, that the Gospel
which he preached every where was that, and that only, which he
had received by immediate revelation from Christ, and no con-
trivance of man, nor did he vary it to please men: that would not
consist with his being a servant of Christ, ver. 10. And he ex-
presses such a firm adherence to what he had received from Christ,
and had preached to them, that he pronounces an anathema upon
himself, ver. 8, 9, or any other man or angel that should preach
any thing else to them. To make out this to have been all along
his conduct, he gives an account of himself, for many years back-
wards, even from the time before his conversion. Wherein he

shows, that from a zealous persecuting Jew he was made a Christian, and an apostle, by immediate revelation; and that, having no communication with the apostles, or with the churches of Judea, or any man, for some years, he had nothing to preach, but what he had received by immediate revelation. Nay, when, fourteen years after, he went up to Jerusalem, it was by revelation; and when he there communicated the Gospel, which he preached among the Gentiles, Peter, James, and John, approved of it, without adding any thing, but admitted him as their fellow-apostle. So that, in all this, he was guided by nothing but divine revelation, which he inflexibly stuck to so far, that he openly opposed St. Peter for his Judaizing at Antioch. All which account of himself tends clearly to show, that St. Paul made not the least step towards complying with the Jews, in favour of the law, nor did, out of regard to man, deviate from the doctrine he had received by revelation from God.

All the parts of this section, and the narrative contained in it, manifestly concenter in this, as will more fully appear, as we 'go through them, and take a closer view of them ; which will show us, that the whole is so skilfully managed, and the parts so gently slid into, that it is a strong, but not seemingly laboured justification of himself, from the imputation of preaching up circumcision.

TEXT. 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him, that called you into

the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel:

PARAPHRASE. 6 I cannot but wonder that you are so soon a removed from

me”, (who called you into the covenant of grace, which is

NOTES. 6 “ So soon." The first place we find Galatia mentioned, is Acts xvi. 6. And

therefore St. Paul may be supposed to have planted these churches there, in his journey mentioned Acts xvi. wbich was anno Domini bl. He visited them again, after he had been at Jerusalem, Acts xviii. 21-23, A. D. 54. From thence he returned to Ephesus, and staid there about two years, during which time this epistle was writ; so that, counting from his last visit, this letter was writ to them within two or three years from the time he was last with them, and had left them confirmed in the doctrine he had taught them; and therefore he might with reason wonder at their forsaking him so soon, and that Gospel he had converted them to. b.“ For him that called you.” These words plainly point out himself; but then oue might wonder how St. Paul came to use them; since it would have souvded better to have said, “Removed from the Gospel I preached to you, to another Gospel, than removed from me that preached to you, to another Gospel." But if it be remembered, that St. Paul's design here, is to vindicate himself from the aspersiou cast on him, that he preached circumcision, nothing could be more suitable to that purpose than this way of expressing himself.

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