ページの画像
PDF

describing this visit we may infer that not a few congregations had been established in Galatia. “He went through the district in order, confirming all the disciples'.” Of the second visit to Galatia even less is known than of the Dangerformer. It would seem however that some unhealthy symp- .."ptoms had already appeared, threatening the purity of the Gospel. At all events certain expressions in the epistle, which are most naturally referred to this visit, imply that cause for uneasiness had even then arisen. He was constrained to address his converts in language of solemn warning”. He charged them to hold accursed any one who perverted the Gospel as he had taught it". Writing to them afterwards, he contrasts the hearty welcome of his first visit with his cold reception on this occasion, attributing their estrangement to the freedom with which he denounced their errors. ‘Have I become your enemy,’ he asks, “because I told you the truth"?’ The epistle was written, as I hope to show, about three or Subsefour years after the second visit, but in the meanwhile St Paul **i. doubtless kept up his intercourse with the Galatian Churches * by messengers or otherwise. A large portion of the intervening time was spent at Ephesus, whence communication with Galatia would be easily maintained. An incidental allusion in the First Epistle to the Corinthians throws light on this subject. It collection there appears that St Paul appealed" to the Churches of Galatia, of alms. as he did also to those of Macedonia and Achaia, to contribute towards the relief of their poorer brethren in Palestine, who were suffering from a severe famine. By communication thus maintained St Paul was made acquainted with the growing corruption of the Galatian Churches from the spread of Judaizing errors. The avidity with which these errors were caught up im-Jewish inplies some previous acquaintance with Jewish history and some ...” habituation to Jewish modes of thought. The same inference

[ocr errors]

may be drawn from the frequent and minute references in the epistle to the Old Testament, assuming no inconsiderable knowledge of the sacred writings on the part of his converts. It has been shown already that there was in Galatia a large population of Jews to whom this influence may be traced". The Apostle had probably selected as centres of his mission those places especially where he would find a sufficient body of Jewish residents to form the nucleus of a Christian Church. It was almost as much a matter of missionary convenience, as of religious obligation, to offer the Gospel ‘to the Jew first and then to the Gentile".' They were the keepers of the sacred archives, and the natural referees in all that related to the history and traditions of the race. To them therefore he must of necessity appeal. In almost every instance where a detailed account is given in the Apostolic history of the foundation of a Church, we find St Paul introducing himself to his fellowcountrymen first, the time the sabbath-day, the place the synagogue, or, where there was no synagogue, the humbler proseucha. Thus in the very act of planting a Christian Church, the Apostle himself planted the germs of bigotry and disaffection. Not however that the Gospel seems to have spread widely among the Jews in Galatia, for St Paul's own language shows that the great mass at least of his converts were Gentiles", and the analogy of other churches points to the same result. But Jewish influences spread far beyond the range of Jewish circles. The dalliance with this ‘foreign superstition,’ which excited the indignation of the short-sighted moralists of Rome, was certainly not less rife in the provinces than in the metropolis. Many a man, who had not cast off his heathen religion, and perhaps had uo intention of casting it off, was yet directly or indirectly acquainted with the customs and creed of the Jews, and possibly had some knowledge of the writings of the lawgiver and the prophets. Still there were doubtless some Jewish converts in the Galatian Church'. These would be a link of communication with the brethren of Palestine, and a conducting medium by which Jewish practices were transmitted to their Gentile fellow-Christians. For whatever reason, the Judaism of the Galatians was Violent much more decided than we find in any other Gentile Church.* The infection was both sudden and virulent. They were checked .." all at once in the gallant race for the prize”. Their gaze was averted by some strange fascination from the proclamation of Christ crucified’. Such are the images under which the Apostle describes their apostasy. It was a Judaism of the sharp Pharisaic type, unclouded or unrelieved by any haze of Essene mysticism, such as prevailed a few years later in the neighbouring Colossian Church. The necessity of circumcision was strict ob. strongly insisted upon'. Great stress was laid on the observ-. ance of ‘days and months and seasons and years". In short, nothing less than submission to the whole ceremonial law seems to have been contemplated by the innovators". At all events, this was the logical consequence of the adoption of the initiatory rite". This position could only be maintained by impugning the St Paul's credit of St Paul. By some means or other his authority must to. be set aside, and an easy method suggested itself. They represented him as no true Apostle. He had not been one of the Lord's personal followers, he had derived his knowledge of the Gospel at second hand. It was therefore to the mother

The Galatian Churches contained a nucleus of Jewish converts,

but were composed chiefly of Gentiles.

therefore, as his epistles are addressed
to the Galatians among others, there

* See above, p. 9 sq.
* Rom. i. 16, ii. 9, 10.

* Gal. iv. 8 “Then not knowing
God, ye did service to them which by
nature are no gods.’ See also Gal. iii.
29, v. 2, vi. 12, and the notes on i. 14
év to yévet uov, ii. 5 trpès Vuás. It has
been assumed that St Peter, as the
Apostle of the Circumcision, must have
written to Jewish Christians, and that

was a large number of converts from Judaism in the Churches of Galatia. His own language however shows that he is writing chiefly to Gentiles (1 Pet.ii. 9, 10) and that therefore the Staatropä of the opening salutation is the spiritual dispersion. Comp. 1 Pet. ii. 1 1, I2.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Church of Jerusalem that all questions must be referred, to the great Apostles of the Circumcision especially, the ‘pillars of the Church, to James in the forefront as the Lord's brother, to Peter who had received a special commission from his Master, to John the most intimate of His personal friends'. This disparaging criticism of his opponents St Paul has in view from first to last in the Epistle to the Galatians. He commences by asserting in the strongest terms his immediate divine commission as an Apostle ‘not of men neither by man”, and this assertion he emphatically reiterates". He gives in the body of the letter a minute historical account of his intercourse with the Apostles of the Circumcision, showing his entire independence of them". He closes, as he had begun, with a defence of his office and commission. “Henceforth,’ he exclaims indignantly, “let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus".' He felt that there was a heartless mockery in the denial of his Apostleship, when he had been marked as the servant of Christ for ever by the cruel brand of persecution. But the attacks of his enemies did not stop here. They charged him with inconsistency in his own conduct. He too, it was represented, had been known to preach that circumcision which he so strenuously opposed". It was convenient to him, they insinuated, to repudiate his convictions now, in order to ingratiate himself with the Gentiles'. There must have been doubtless many passages in the life of one who held it a sacred duty to become all things to all men, especially to become as a Jew to the Jews", to which bigoted or unscrupulous adversaries might give this colour. Such for instance was the circumcision of Timothy”; such again was the sanction given to Jewish usages during his last visit to Jerusalem, when at the instigation of James he defrayed the expenses of those who had taken Nazarite vows”. To concessions like these, I imagine, continued throughout his life, and not, as some have thought, to any earlier stage of the Apostle's teaching, when his Christian education was not yet matured, and some remnants of Judaism still hung about him (for of such a stage there is no evidence), are we to look for the grounds on which his opponents charged him with inconsistency. The instigators of this rebellion against St Paul's autho-These errity and teaching seem not to have been Galatian residents. ... His leading antagonists were most probably emissaries from * the mother Church of Jerusalem, either abusing a commission actually received from the Apostles of the Circumcision, or assuming an authority which had never been conferred upon them. The parallel case of the Corinthian Church, where communications between the Judaic party and the Christians of Palestine are more clearly traced, suggests this solution, and it is confirmed by the Epistle to the Galatians itself. When St Paul refers to the dissimulation at Antioch occasioned by the arrival of “certain who came from James‘, we can scarcely resist the impression that he is holding up the mirror of the past to the Galatians, and that there was sufficient resemblance between the two cases to point the application. Moreover, the vague allusions to these opponents scattered through the epistle seem to apply rather to disturbances caused by a small and compact body of foreign intruders, than to errors springing up silently and spontaneously within the Galatian Church itself. They are the tares sown designedly by the enemy in the night time, and not the weeds which grow up promiscuously as the natural product of the soil. ‘A little leaven leaveneth the

His defence.

He is charged with inconsistency.

* The participles rois Sokočaw (ii. 2), tàv Šokoúvrww elval ru, ol āokoúvres (ii. 6), ol āokoúvres artoot elva, (ii. 9), ought probably to be translated as presents, referring to the exclusive importance which the Judaizers in Galatia attached to the Apostles of the Circumcision. See the notes.

* Gal. i. 1.

* Gal. i. 11, 12.

* Gal. i. 15—ii. 21.

* Gal. vi. 17.

* Gal. v. 11. See Lechler Apost. u. Nachapost. Zeitalter (ed. 2), p. 384. The case of Titus (Gal. ii. 3), however we explain it, seems to be introduced in order to meet this charge.

7 See the notes on Gal. i. 10, “Do I now persuade men?’ ‘Do I seek to please men 2° and on ii. 3, v. 2, 11.

* I Cor. ix. 20, 22. * Acts xxi. 20–26. * Acts xvi. 3. * Gal. ii. 12.

« 前へ次へ »