Page images
PDF
EPUB

his preaching was consistent with his writing, it was extremely natural; for, though it be not a necessary, surely it is an easy inference, that if the Gentile convert, who did not observe the law of Mofes, held as advantageous a situation in his religious interests as the Jewish convert who did, there could be no strong reafon for obferving that law at all. The remonstrance therefore of the church of Jerusalem, and the report which occasioned it, were founded in no very violent misconstruction of the apostle's doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly what I should have expected the author of this epistle to have met with. I am entitled therefore to argue that a separate narrative of effects experienced by St. Paul, fimilar to what a person might be expected to experience, who held the doctrines advanced in this epistle, forms a proof that he did hold these doctrines; and that the epistle bearing his naine, in which such doctrines are laid down, actually proceeded from him.

No.

mer.

No. VIII.
This number is supplemental to the for-

I propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circumstances under which the epistle was written ; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to con

trive.

1. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia; at Rome he had never been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epistle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority: “ I marvel that ye

are so foon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another

gospel.” Gal. i. 6. “ I certify you, bre“thren, that the gospel which was preached of

me, is not after man; for I neither re“ceivedit of man, neither was I taughtit but

“ by by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (ch. i. ver. 11, 12).“Iam afraiðlest I have bestowed

upon you labour in vain” (iv. 11, 12). " I desire to be present with you now, for “ I stand in doubt of you” (iv.20).“Behold,

Paul, say unto you, that, if ye be circum“cised, Christ shall profit you nothing” (ch. v. 2).“ This persuasion cometh not of him “that called you" (ch.v.8). This is the style in which he accosts the Galatiaus. In the epistle to the converts of Rome, where his authority was not established, nor his person known, he puts the same point entirely upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader; and, as the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, I forbear 'adducing feparate extracts. I repeat therefore that we have pointed out a distinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation in which the author stood to his different correspondents.

Another adaptation, and somewhat of the fame kind, is the following:

2. The Jews we know were very numerous at Rome, and probably formed a principal part among the new converts ; so much

fo,

[ocr errors]

fo, that the Christians seem to have been known at Rome rather as a denomination of Jews, than as anything else. In an epiftle confequently to the Roman believers, the point to be endeavoured after by St. Paul was, toreconcile che Jewishconverts tothe opinion, that the Gentiles were admitted by God to a parity of religious situation with themselves, and that, without their being boundby the law of Moses. The Gentile converts would

probably accede to this opinion very readily. In this epistle, therefore, though directed to the Roman church in general, it is in truth a Jew writing to Jews. Accordingly you will take notice, that as often as his argument leads him to fay any thing derogatory from the Jewish institution, he constantly follows it by a foftening clause. Having (ii. 28, 29) pronounced, not much perhaps to the satisfactioa of the native Jews, “ that he is not a Jew “ which is one outwardly, neither that cir“cumcifion which is outward in the flesh; he adds immediately " what advantage then " hath the Jew, or what profit is there in cir" cumcision? muchevery way." Havinginthe

66 do

third chapter, ver. 28, brought his argument to this formalconclusion, “thata manis justi“ fied by faith, without the deeds of the “ law,” he presently subjoins, ver. 31, wethen makevoid the law through faith?God “ forbid; yea, we establish the law.” In the seventh chapter, when in the sixth verse he had advanced the bold affertion, that “now we “ are delivered from the law, that being dead 6 wherein we were held;" in the very next verse he comes in with this healing question, “What shall we say then? Isthe law fin? God “ forbid; nay, I had not known sin but by the “ law.” Having in the following wordsinfinuated, or rather more than insinuated, the inefficacy ofthe Jewifh law, viii. 3,“forwhat " the law could not do, in that it was weak " through the flesh, God fending his own Son “ in the likeness of finful flesh, and for fin, “ condemned fin in the fleth ;” after a digression indeed, but that sort of a digression which he could never resist, a rapturous contemplation of his Christian hope, and which occupies the latter part of this chapter ; we find him in the next, as if sensible that he

had

2

« EelmineJätka »