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Probable Churches of Galatia.
Lycaonia',' while he no less distinctly assigns Antioch to Pisidia";
observe that these are among the earliest episcopal sees on record in this country". In Galatia the Gospel would find itself in conflict with two distinct types of worship, which then divided the allegiance of civilised heathendom. At Pessinus the service of Cybele, the most widely revered of all pagan deities, represented, perhaps more adequately than any other service, the genuine spirit of the old popular religion. At Ancyra the pile dedicated to the divinities of Augustus and Rome was one of the earliest and most striking embodiments of the new political worship which imperial statecraft had devised to secure the respect of its subject peoples. We should gladly have learnt Silence of how the great Apostle advocated the cause of the truth against ;. either form of error. Our curiosity however is here disappointed.* It is strange that while we have more or less acquaintance with all the other important Churches of St Paul's founding, with Corinth and Ephesus, with Philippi and Thessalonica, not a single name of a person or place, scarcely a single incident of any kind, connected with the Apostle's preaching in Galatia, should be preserved in either the history or the epistle. The reticence of the Apostle himself indeed may be partly accounted for by the circumstances of the Galatian Church. The same delicacy, which has concealed from us the name of the Corinthian offender, may have led him to avoid all special allusions in addressing a community to which he wrote in a strain of the severest censure. Yet even the slight knowledge we do possess of the early Galatian Church is gathered from the epistle, with scarcely any aid from the history. Can it be that the historian gladly drew a veil over the infancy of a Church which swerved so soon and so widely from the purity of the Gospel? St Luke mentions two visits to Galatia, but beyond the bare Two visits fact he adds nothing to our knowledge. The first occasion was to Galatia. during the Apostle's second missionary journey, probably in the year 51 or 52*. The second visit took place a few years later, perhaps in the year 54, in the course of his third missionary * Le Quien Oriens Christ. 1. p. 456 sq. * Acts xvi. 6.
journey, and immediately before his long residence in Ephesus'.
* Acts xviii. 23.
* Acts xv. 4o—xvi. 5.
* Acts xvi. 6 6tfiXbov 33 thy opvYlav kal [rov] Taxarikhv xúpav. The second rhy of the received reading ought to be omitted with the best Mss, in which case ppuytav becomes an adjective. This variety of reading has escaped the notice of commentators, though it solves more than one difficulty. On the occasion of the second visit the words are (xviii. 23), 6tepxöuevos kaffe:fis rhy Taxarikov xúpav kai ppuytav. The general direction of St Paul's route on both occasions was rather westward than eastward, and this is expressed in the second passage by naming Ga
latia before Phrygia, but it is quite con-
of his old malady, “the thorn in the flesh, the messenger of St Paul's Satan sent to buffet him', some sharp and violent attack, it #; od would appear, which humiliated him and prostrated his physical on strength. To this the Galatians owed their knowledge of Christ. Though a homeless stricken wanderer might seem but a feeble advocate of a cause so momentous, yet it was the divine order that in the preaching of the Gospel strength should be made perfect in weakness. The zeal of the preacher and the enthusiasm of the hearers triumphed over all impediments. “They did not despise nor loathe the temptation in his flesh. They received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. They would have plucked out their very eyes, if they could, and have given them to him”. Such was the impression left on his heart by their first affectionate welcome, painfully embittered by contrast with their later apostasy. It can scarcely have been any predisposing religious sym-Attitude of pathy which attracted them so powerfully, though so transi- *...* ently, to the Gospel. They may indeed have held the doctrine * of the immortality of the soul, which is said to have formed part of the Druidical teaching in European Gaul". It is possible too that there lingered, even in Galatia, the old Celtic conviction, so cruelly expressed in their barbarous sacrifices, that only by man's blood can man be redeemed". But with these doubtful exceptions, the Gospel, as a message of mercy and a spiritual faith, stood in direct contrast to the gross and material religions in which the race had been nurtured, whether the cruel ritualism of their old Celtic creed, or the frightful orgies of their adopted worship of the mother of the gods. Yet though the whole spirit of Christianity was so alien to their habits of thought, we may well imagine how the fervour of the Apostle's preaching may have fired their religious enthusiasm. The very image under which he describes his work brings * 2 Cor. xii. 7. * Bell. Gall. vi. 16 “Pro vita homi* Gal. iv. 14, 15. nis nisi hominis vita reddatur, non * They believed also in its transmi- posse aliter deorum immortalium nu
gration. See Caesar Bell. Gall. vi. 14, men placari arbitrantur.” Diod. Sic. v. 28.
Earnestmess of the Apostle's preaching.
Second visit, A.D. 54.
vividly before us the energy and force with which he delivered