Probable Churches of Galatia.

Lycaonia',' while he no less distinctly assigns Antioch to Pisidia";
a convincing proof that in the language of the day they were
not regarded as Galatian towns. Lastly, the expression used in
the Acts of St Paul's visit to these parts, “the Phrygian and
Galatian country", shows that the district intended was not
Lycaonia and Pisidia, but some region which might be said
to belong either to Phrygia or Galatia, or the parts of each
contiguous to the other.
It is most probable therefore that we should search for the
Churches of Galatia within narrower limits. In the absence of
all direct testimony, we may conjecture that it was at Ancyra,
now the capital of the Roman province as formerly of the
Gaulish settlement, “the most illustrious metropolis, as it is
styled in formal documents"; at Pessinus, under the shadow
of Mount Dindymus, the cradle of the worship of the great
goddess, and one of the principal commercial towns of the dis-
trict”; at Tavium, at once a strong fortress and a great empo-
rium, situated at the point of convergence of several important
roads"; perhaps also at Juliopolis, the ancient Gordium, for-
merly the capital of Phrygia, almost equidistant from the three
seas, and from its central position a busy mart'; at these,
or some of these places, that St Paul founded the earliest
“Churches of Galatia.’ The ecclesiastical geography of Galatia
two or three centuries later is no safe guide in settling ques-
tions relating to the apostolic age, but it is worth while to

[ocr errors][merged small]

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.

[ocr errors]

journey, and immediately before his long residence in Ephesus'.
The epistle contains allusions, as will be seen, to both visits;
and combining these two sources of information, we arrive at
the following scanty facts.
1. After the Apostolic congress St Paul starting from
Antioch with Silas revisited the churches he had founded in
Syria, Cilicia, and Lycaonia. At Lystra they fell in with Timo-
theus, who also accompanied them on their journey". Hitherto
the Apostle had been travelling over old ground. He now
entered upon a new mission-field, ‘the region of Phrygia and
Galatia”.’ The form of the Greek expression implies that
Phrygia and Galatia here are not to be regarded as separate
districts. The country which was now evangelized might be
called indifferently Phrygia or Galatia. It was in fact the land
originally inhabited by Phrygians, but subsequently occupied
by Gauls: or so far as he travelled beyond the limits of the
Gallic settlement, it was still in the neighbouring parts of
Phrygia that he preached, which might fairly be included
under one general expression".
St Paul does not appear to have had any intention of
preaching the Gospel here". He was perhaps anxious at once
to bear his message to the more important and promising dis-
trict of Proconsular Asia". But he was detained by a return

* 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-
sistent with the expression in the first,
where the two districts are not sepa-
rated. If we retain the received read-
ing, we must suppose that St Paul went
from west to east on the first occasion,
and from east to west on the second.
* Colossae would thus lie beyond the
scene of the Apostle's labours, and the
passage correctly read does not present
even a seeming contradiction to Col.i.4,
6, 7, ii. 1. See on the whole subject
Colossians p. 23 sq.
* I see no reason for departing from
the strictly grammatical interpretation
of Gal. iv. 13, 5t' dadévelay ris capkūs.
* Acts xvi. 6.

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.

His de

Second visit, A.D. 54.

vividly before us the energy and force with which he delivered
his message. He placarded Christ crucified before their eyes",
arresting the gaze of the spiritual loiterer, and riveting it on
this proclamation of his Sovereign. If we picture to ourselves
the Apostle as he appeared before the Galatians, a friendless
outcast, writhing under the tortures of a painful malady, yet
instant in season and out of season, by turns denouncing and
entreating, appealing to the agonies of a crucified Saviour,
perhaps also, as at Lystra, enforcing this appeal by some
striking miracle, we shall be at no loss to conceive how the
fervid temperament of the Gaul might have been aroused,
while yet only the surface of his spiritual consciousness was
ruffled. For the time indeed all seemed to be going on well.
‘Ye were running bravely,’ says the Apostle”, alluding to his
favourite image of the foot-race. But the very eagerness with
which they had embraced the Gospel was in itself a dangerous
symptom. A material so easily moulded soon loses the im-
pression it has taken. The passionate current of their Celtic
blood, which flowed in this direction now, might only too easily
be diverted into a fresh channel by some new religious impulse.
Their reception of the Gospel was not built on a deeply-rooted
conviction of its truth, or a genuine appreciation of its spiritual
This visit to Galatia, we may suppose, was not very pro-
tracted. Having been detained by illness, he would be anxious
to continue his journey as soon as he was convalescent. He
was pressing forward under a higher guidance towards a new
field of missionary labour in the hitherto unexplored continent
of Europe.
2. An interval of nearly three years must have elapsed
before his second visit. He was now on his third missionary
journey; and according to his wont, before entering upon a new
field of labour, his first care was to revisit and ‘confirm’ the
churches he had already founded. This brought him to ‘the
Galatian country and Phrygia.' From the language used in

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »