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own children. If any should ask, What is that to us now, when there are no such parties, nor any tenets favouring circumcision, or the observation of any Jewish rites or customs ? it needs only to be considered, what it was that made them of such a dangerous tendency, viz. that the laying such weight on these observances misrepresented Christ and his falvation, as at best but imperfect, until it was eked out by other things, and thus, by building their faith and hope in God on these supplements to the gospel, drew off their dependence on Christ, the only foundation which God has laid. He must therefore be a very superficial observer, who does not find the Apostle's reasoning every way as strong, against every attempt to found our acceptance with God on our own obedience to any law whatsoever, except the obedience of faith to that great fundamental law, the commandment which God has given to believe in his blefsed Son, and to love one another : for so the Apostle expressly tells us, That" in “ Christ Jesus, neither circumcision avail“eth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but " faith, which worketh by love." What
foever is not of faith, which stands not on that foundation which faith builds on, is fin: for it is a transgression of the great fundamental commandment, the law of faith, and what our Lord himself has declared, John vi. 29. to be “the 5 work of God.”
Chapter i. 1.-5. 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 Jefus Christ, 4. Who gave himself for our fins, that he might deliver us from this present en vil world, according to the will of God, and our Father : 5. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
T Here is a remarkable peculiarity in
Paul's manner of addressing his e-; pistles, which is not to be found in those of the other apostles. James assumes no title but that of “a servant of God, and “ of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Which word, in the original language, does not denote a hired, but a bond fervant, one who was
B 2 absolutely
absolutely his master's property, and had no right to dispose of himself. John, in his first epistle, mentions neither his name nor title, but enters, as it were, abruptly on his subject; and, in the other two, designs himself only, The elder, or aged; the title, it would seem, by which he was distinguished among those to whom he wrote. Jude assumes the designation of a servant of the Lord, only to distinguish himself from another of the same name, he styles himself likewise, The brother of
James. Peter only joins the title of A· posile singly with that of a servant of God. And they needed no more, as their apostolic authority was beyond dispute. But Paul was none of those who received their commission before their Lord left this lower world; neither was he chosen by lot, as Matthias was ; which made it in some measure needful to vouch his authority as an apostle, That he was so by the will of God. I need not observe the peculiar fignificancy of that word, as it imports something, not only greatly more than a divine permission, or even what is brought about in the course of ordinary providence ; it is the same thing as the express appointment and authoritative or
der of that God whose apostle he was : and that office could not be undertaken without a commission from him who sent him.
But in the address of this epistle, there is something peculiarly fingular, and wisely suited to the case of those to whom he wrote ; and particularly to obviate the malicious suggestions of their new teachers, by which they attempted to destroy, or at least to weaken, his apostolical authority. Christ had left the world several years before Paul had ceased to perfecute those who acknowledged him; and from this they might very plausibly infer, that whatever ministerial powers he was invested with, must have been, as we say, at second hand, and conveyed to him by those whom the Lord himself had appointed his apostles, and witnesses of his resurrection. Two things appear necessary by Peter's speech, Acts i. 15. &c. to qualify any one for that office: ift, That he had attended Jesus from the beginning; and, 2dly, That he had seen him ascend up into heaven after his resurrection : and as Paul had neither of these advantages, it might have been objected, that he could not be an a
postle commissioned by Christ personally; but at most was only a sort of minister or deputy of the true apostles.
In the address of his epistle, he directly obviates these exceptions in their fullest ftrength. He asserts his apostleship by assuming the title; and, at the same time, refuses any dependence whatever upon any of mankind, apostles, or others. He had not, he says, his commislion from men, as one sent by them to preach the gospel; nay, nor so much as by their interposition or ministry, even fupposing they had acted by divine order, as when he and Barnabas were directed to be feparated unto the work to which Christ had called them. And this he instructs with great evidence, by the account he gives of himself in this and the following chapters.
But that he was really an apostle, and had as good a title to that character as any of the rest, he proves, by this sure em vidence, That he had his commission and powers directly and immediately from Jesus Christ, and from God the Father, who raised him from the dead. Those who know and consider the union and essential con-nection between the only true God and