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Bishop, that we find him confining his charge to the circumcision, and resigning all the rest of the world to Paul. But the latter has been so happy as never to have had any so far injurious to his true character, as to profefs themfelves his fuccessors upon any such authority ; though he was in no respect inferior to the other. Peter indeed made use of the keys of the kingdom given him by his master, to 0pen the gate to the Gentiles; but Paul had the honour of gathering them in.
Chap. ii. 11. - 21. 11. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood
him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12. For before that certain came from James, he did eaf with the Gentiles : but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him ; infomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly, laccording to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a few, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ? 15. We who are Jews by nature, and not finners of the Gentiles, 16. 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
W E have, in this part of the epistle,
V a very remarkable piece of history, which, had it turned on the other side, would have been trumpeted about as a decisive proof of Peter's absolute fovereignty, not only over the lay part, and
inferior clergy, as they call them, but o' ver the apostles themselves. As it stands, it presents us with a striking evidence of Peter's weakness, and Paul's great integrity, courage, and resolution, on this particular occasion. He did not, as I am afraid most would have done, out of pretended modesty, and regard to the character of fo great an apostle, hush over the thing in fi
lence; nor did he (as many do) say nothing in the party's presence, but rate him foundly when out of his hearing: No; he withstood the great apostle to his face, and in such a manner too, as could hardly miss to carry conviction to him, that he was really to be blamed.
The time when this happened cannot be certainly known, nor is it of any moment, when the fact is certain. Paul and Barnabas were both at Antioch before they went up to and after they returned from the meeting at Jerusalem. Before the meeting, the disputes about the neceffity of circumcifion were very hot. Had Peter come at that time, very probably the journey might have been prevented; at least it must have been taken notice of then. But he appears there as much a stranger to the question as any of the rest, It is most probable, therefore, that it happened during the time that Paul continued at Antioch, before he set out on his second journey, when Barnabas and he parted from one another.
But however that may be, Peter conversed with the Gentile Christians there precisely on the same terms as if they had
been natural born Jews. But when fome came from Jerusalem, where all the Christian converts were still, and many years after continued to be, very zealous for the law of Moses, Peter, upon the very plausible motive of avoiding the offence he was jealous these strangers might take at that fort of freedom, withdrew himself, and would no more eat with the Gentiles. His example, as bad ones commonly do, had very bad effects. The Jews, and even Barnabas himself, separated themselves along with him; though they well knew there was no manner of ground for so doing, but humouring a set of obstinately mistaken people.
The least evil that was in this was, that they walked not uprightly, and with that plain sincerity the gospel of Christ requires. They dissembled, or, in the true fense of the Apostle's word, they played the hypocrite, affecting to appear what really they were not. But this, which in them was only affected on that occasion, brought in yet a greater evil: it led thefe mistaken zealots to think, that Peter and Barnabas, with the rest, were really of the fame mind with themselves; which must
of course have hardened and confirmed them in their error, and thus encouraged a party, which occafioned great confusions in the churches, as it was doing in the churches of Galatia when this epistle was written.
In this light it is evident the Apostle considered that part of Peter's conduct. It was not barely eating or not eating, but the principles from which these different practices proceeded, that he had in view, as appears from what he said on that occasion. The Jewish converts, at bottom, could ill bear that the nations should be brought upon a level with them. They could not get it refused," that God had granted to " the Gentiles repentance unto life,” But then they held, that, in order to reap any benefit from it, they must receive the law of Moses. The noble stand Paul made on this occasion against this pernicious principle, was enough to put the whispers the Galatians had been deluded with out of countenance: that, so far from giving any encouragement to it, either by his preaching or practice, he had, from the commencement of his apostleship, steadily and refolutely defended the liberty of the