« EelmineJätka »
is all in all to them, and in whom they are perfectly complete; so complete, that they can do all things through Christ strengthening them. There of course al} wordly distinctions vanish, which cannot be better expressed than in his own words: “ There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither “ bond nor free, neither male nor female, “ but all are one in Christ Jesus:" not only one life, for indeed that is the case of all mankind however little it is minded, but one spirit influencing their whole conduct.
On this view he gives the finishing evidence of what he had said before, that all who believe in Chrift, Gentiles, as well as natural Jews, are the children of Abraham. They might have been justly enough called and reckoned so; because they believed God as he did: but here is a nearer and more sensible relation, by this their union with Christ, Abraham's one feed; they are strictly and properly his feed, and thence as really heirs of thç promise, as himself was.
1. Now I Say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant though he be lord of
2. But is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father. 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, 5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6. And because ye are fons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a fon; and if a fon, then an þeir of God through Chrif.
T was a matter of
great moment to these Galatians, and all in their situation, to know well what it was that their new teachers were so earnest to draw them in to. The Apostle was deeply concerned about them; he knew the danger: and that they might not run blindfold into the snare, he had told them the true intent and purpose of the law; that it did not, nor was ever designed to answer, any other purpose, but to lead those who were under it to Christ. When that was done, there was no further occasion for it: nor
could it answer any purpose, I mean the law of Moses as it was given to the Jewifh nation; that it could answer no purpose but bad ones, which he had more than hinted in his former discourse, and by and by designed to assert in the strongest terms. He now proceeds to show, in what situation he and his countrymen were while they continued under it.
He had said, and proved, that they were held in close custody, confined, as it were, under a guard, that they could not exceed the bounds set them; a state rather more disagreeable to mankind than open servitude. But that same confinement was greatly for their interest: it was designed to continue but for a time until the feed jould come, by whom all who would accept of that favour were to be translated into the glorious liberty of the fons of God. This very naturally led him to another image, verf. 1. & 2. by which he represents their condition, viz. that of an heir in his childhood and minority. However large the estate may be which he is heir to, yet until the time come that the father has fet for his entering upon the disposal and management of it, he differs nothing from a VOL. III.
servant, as our translators modestly render it: but the Apostle's word denotes a bondfervant, or what we call a Nave. The Nave was secured in food and clothing, such as his master saw fit to allot him: And the richest heir has no more, except what is necessary for his education; and even that he has not at his own 'option, but what his tutors and curators, those whom the management of the inheritance is committed to, are pleased to chuse for him.
Such, he says, was the condition of all who were held under the law: they were in a state of infancy or nonage; and they were held in bondage, with what was equivalent to the drudgery of that state, learning the rudiments or elements of what they understood nothing of; but which yet were to be of use to them in their riper age. I need not add any thing to what I had occasion to observe on the former chapter.
What we have here laid before us concerns the employment, or talk rather, which they who were put under the guardianship of the law had imposed on them: and if we understand it right, we will need no further evidence
of their being what the Apostle calls them, little children, in a state of nonage, as we call it.
Our translation makes but a very dark account of what they were in bondage under. The elements of the world, the Apostle's word, does indeed signify the materials of which any thing is made, before they are put into their due form rand order ; but it signifies likewise what we call the rudiments or ground-work, the elements or fundamental principles of any art or science; and which are commonly taught to make way for the more perfect knowledge of that art or science. And such they must have been: for they were designed to lead to Christ, and that high Itation in him which the child thus kept in bondage was designed for. And such we find all the institutions and ordinances of the law were; wisely framed into a compacted system for answering this purpose; and so necessary, that without some good acquaintance with these, it is hardly possible, I might say
might say altogether impossible, to attain a right understanding of the gospel of Christ, as might easily be shown almost in
instance. The LI 2