Page images

wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not intangled

2 again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Psul say unto you, If ye be circumcised, Christ will profit you

3 nothing. For 1 testify again to every man that is circum

4 cised, he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified

5 by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by

7 love. Ye did run well; who hath hindered you from

8 obeying the truth? This persuasion cometh not from

9 him thai called you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole

10 lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be no otherwise minded: but he that troubleth

11 you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. But if I,

law, wherewith Christ hath made us—And all believers, free; and be not intangled again with the yoke of legal bondage.

V. J. If ye be circumcised—And seek to be justified thereby, Christ—The Christian institution, will profit you nothing—For you hereby disclaim Christ, and all the blessings which are through faith in him.

V. 3. / testify to every man—Every Gentile, that is circumcised—He thereby makes himself a debtor—Obliges himself, at the peril of his salvation, to da the whole law.

V. 4. Therefore Christ is become of no e ffect to you—Who seek to be justified by the law. Ye are fallen from grace—Ye renounce the new covenant. Ye disclaim the benefit of his gracious dispensation.

V. 5. For we—Who believe in Christ, who are under the gospel dispensation, through the Spirit—Without any of those carnal ordinances, wait for—In sure confidence of attaining, the hope of righteousness—The righteousness we hope for, and full reward of it This righteousness we receive of God through faith; and by faith we shall obtain the reward.

V. 6. For in Christ Jesus—According to the institution which he hath established, according to the tenor of the Christian covenant, neither circumcision—With the most punctual observance of the law, nor uncircumcision— With the most exact heathen morality, availeth any thing—Toward present justification or eternal salvation, but faith—Alone; even that faith which worketh by love—All inward and outward holiness.

V. 7. Ye did run well—In the race of faith. Who hath hindered you—In your course, that ye should not still obey the truth?

V. 8. This your present persuasion cometh not from God, who called you—To his kingdom and glory.

V. 9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump—One troubler, ver. 10, troubles all.

V. 10. Yet / have confidence that—After ye have read this, ye will be no otherwise minded—-Than I am, and ye were. But he that troubleth you—It »eems to have been one person chiefly who endeavoured to seduce them, shall bear his judgment—A heavy burden already hanging over his head.

V. 11. But \f I still preach circumcision—As that troubler seems to have arfirmt d, prohably taking occasion from his having circumcised Timotby, why do I still suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased—The grand reason wby the Jews were so offended at his preaching Christ crucified, and so hitterly persecuted him for it, was, that it implied the abolition of the brethren, still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

12 I wish it: and they shall be cut off that trouble you.

13 Brethren, ye have been called to liberty: only use not this liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve

14 one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, in

15 this, * Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed ye be not consumed one of another. .

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit, and fulfil not the desire

17 of the flesh. For the flesh desireth against the Spirit, but the Spirit desireth against the flesh, (these are contrary to each other,) that ye may. not do the things which

18 ye would. But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not

19 under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest,

* Lev. xix. I8.

law. Yet St. Paul did not condemn the conforming, out of condescension to the weakness of any one, even to the ceremonial law; but he did absolutely condemn those, who taught it as necessary to justification.

V. 12. They shall be cut off —From your communion, cast out of your church, that thus trouble you.

V. 13. Ye have been called to liberty—From sin and misery, as well as from the ceremonial law. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh—Take not occasion from hence to gratify corrupt nature, but by love serve one another —And hereby shew that Christ has made you free.

V. 14. For all the law is fulfilled in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself— Inasmuch as none can do this, without loving God, 1 John iv. 12, and the love of God and man includes all perfection.

V. I5. But if— On the contrary, in consequence of the divisions which those troublers have occasioned among you, ye bite one another—By evil speaking, and devour one another—By railing and clamour, take heed ye be not consumed one of another—By bitterness, strife, and contention, our health and strength, both of body and soul, are consumed, as well as our substance and reputation.

V. 16. I say then—He now explains what he proposed, ver. 13. Walk by the Spirit—Follow his guidance in all things, and fulfil not—In any thing, the desire of the flesh—Of corrupt nature.

V. 17. For the Jlesh desireth against the Spirit—Nature desires what is quite contrary to the Spirit of God. But the Spirit against the flesh.—But the Holy Spirit, on his part, opposes your evil nature: (these are contrary to each other —The flesh and the Spirit; there can be no agreement between them,) that ye may not do the things which ye would—That being thus strengthened by the Spirit, ye may not fulfil the desire of the flesh, as otherwise ye would do.

V. 18. But if ye are led by the Spirit—Of liberty and love, into all holiness, ye are not under the law—Not under the curse or bondage of it, not under the guilt or the power of sin.

V. 19. Now the works of the flesh—By which that inward principle is discovered, are manifest—Plain and undeniable. Works are mentioned in the plural, because they are distinct from, and often inconsistent with, each otbrfBut the fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in the singular, ver. 22, as being «H consistent and connected together, which are these—He enumerates those works of the flesh, to which the Galatians were most inclined; and those parts of the fruit of the Spirit, of which they stood in the greatest need. Lasciviouswhich are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasc?80 viousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, enmities, contentions, 21 emulations, wraths, strifes, divisions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell you before, (as I have also told you in time past,) that they who practise such things, shall not inherit the 92 kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, 23 Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. 84 And they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with

25 its affections and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us

26 also walk by the Spirit. Be not desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

. CHAP. VI. I. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in

ness—The Greek word means any thing, inward or outward, that is contrary to chastity, and yet short of actual uncleauness.

V. 20. Idolatry, witchcraft—.That this means witchcraft, strictly speaking, (not poisoning,) appears from its being joined with the worship of devil-godsand not with murder. This is frequently and solemnly forbidden in the Old Testament. To deny, therefore, that there is, or ever was, any such thing, is, by plain consequence, to deny the authority both of the Old and New Testament. Divisions—In domestic or civil matters, heresies—Are divisions in religious communities.

V. 3t. Retellings—Luxurious entertainments. Some of the works here mentioned, are wrought principally, if not entirely, in the mind. And yet they are called, works of the flesh. Hence it is clear, the apostle does not, by the flesh, mean the body, or sensual appetites and inclinations only, bat the corruption of human nature, as it spreads through all the powers of the soul, as well as the members of the body: of which I tell you before—Before the event; I forewarn you.

V. M. Love—The root of all the rest: gentleness—Toward all men; ignorant and wicked men in particular; goodness—The Greek word means, all that is benign, soft, winning, tender, either in temper or behaviour.

V. 33. Meekness—Holding all the affections and passions in even balance.

V. 24. And they that are Christs— True believers in him, have thus crucified the flesh— Nailed it, as it were, to a cross, whence it has no power to break loose, but is continually weaker and weaker; with its affections and desires— All its evil passions, appetites, and inclinations.

V. 25. If we live by the Spirit—If we are indeed raised from the dead, and are alive to God, by the operation of his Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit—Let us follow his guidance, in all our tempers, thoughts, words, and actions.

V. 26. Be not desirous of vain-glory—Of the praise or esteem of men. They who do not carefully and closely follow the Spirit, easily slide into this: the natural effects of which are, provoking to envy them that are beneath us, and envying them that are above us.

CHAP.VI. Ver. 1. Brethren,if a man be overtaken in any fault—BysuVprise, '^norance, or stress of temptation, ye who are spiritual—Who continue to live aiH walk by the Spirit, restore such a one—By reproof, instruction, sr exhortation Every one who can, ought to help therein: only in the spirit of meekness. Tnis n essential to a spiritual man. And in this lies the whole force of the cure. Considering thyself—-The plural is beautifully changed into the? singular. Let each take heed to himself: lest thou also be tempted—Temptany fault, ye who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be S tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil

3 the law of Christ. For if any one think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceived himself.

4 But let every one try his own work, and then shall he

ti have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For

6 every one shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word, impart to him that teacheth in all

7 good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for

8 whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh, reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit

9 reap life everlasting. But let us not be weary in welldoing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good unto

atinn easily and swiftly passes from one to another; especially if a man endeavours to cure another, without preserving his own meekness.

V. 3. Bear ye one another's burdens—Sympatize with and assist each other, in all your weaknesses, grievances, trials; and so fulfil the law of Christ—The law of Christ, (an uncommon expression,) is the law of love: this our Lord peculiarly recommends; this he makes the distinguishing mark of his disciples.

V. 3. If any one think himself to be something—Above his brethren; or, by any strength of his own; when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself—He alone will bear their burdens, who knows himself to be nothing.

V. 4. But let every man try his own work—Narrowly examine all he is, and all he doth: and then he shall have rejoicing in himself—He will find in himself matter of rejoicing, if his works are right before God; and not in another— Not in glorying over others.

V. 5. For every one shall bear his own burden—In that day; shall give an account of himself to God.

V. 6. Let him that is taught, impart to him that teacheth, all such temporal good things as he stands in need of.

V. 7. God is not mocked—Although they attempt to mock him, who think to reap otherwise than they sow.

V. 8. For he that now soweth to thefiesh—That follows the desires of corrupt nature, shall hereafter of the flesh—Out of this very seed, reap corruption— Death everlasting: but he that soweth to the Spirit—That follows his guidance Hi all his tempers and conversation, shall of the Spirit—By the free grace and power of God, reap life everlasting.

V. 9. But let us not be weary of well doing—Let as persevere in sowing to the Spirit; for in due season—When the harvest is come, we shall reap, if we faint not.

V. 10. Therefore as we have opportunity—At whatever time or place, and in whatever manner we can. The opportunity in general is, our life-time; but there'are also many particular opportunities. Satan is quickened in doing hurt, by the shortness of the time, Rev. xii. 12. By the same consideration) let us be quickened in doing good. Let us do good—in every possible kind, and in every possible degree, unto all men—Neighbours or strangers, good or evil, friends or enemies: but especially to them who are of the household of faith —For all believers are but one family.

all men; but especially to them who are of the housholct of faith.

11 Ye see how large a letter I have written to you with

12 my own hand. As many as desire to make a fair appearance in the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised: only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of

13 Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised^

14 that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me, and I unto the

15 world. For neither circumcision is any thing, nor uncir

16 cumcision, but a new creation. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From henceforth let none trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits Amen.

V. 11. Ye see how large a letter—St. Paul had not yet written a larger to any church, I have written with my own hand—He generally wrote by an amanuensis.

V. 12. As many as desire to make a fair appearance in theflesh—To preserve a fair character, these constrain you—Both by their example and importunity, to be circumcised—Not so much from a principle of conscience, as lest they should suffer persecution—From the unbelieving Jews, for the cross of Christ— For maintaining, that faith in a crucified Saviour, is alone sufficient for justification.

V. 13. For neither they themselves keep the whole law—So far are they from a real zeal for it. But yet they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh—That they may boast of you as their proselytes, and make a merit of this with the other Jews.

V. 14. But God forbid that I should glory—Should boast of any thing I have, am, or do; or rely on any thing for my acceptance with God, but what Christ hath done and suffered for me; by means of which the world is crucified to me—All the things and persons in it are to me as nothing: and I unto the world—I am dead to all worldly pursuits, cares, desires, and enjoyments.

V. 15. For neither circumcision is any thing, nor uncircumcision—Neither of these is of any account, but a new creation—Whereby all things in us become new.

V- 16. And as many as walk according to this rule—1. Glorying only in the cross of Christ; 2. Being crucified to the world; 3. Created anew: peace and mercy be on them, and upon the Israel—That is, the church, of God— Which consists of all those, and those only, of every nation and kindred, who walk by this rule.

V. 17. From henceforth let none trouble me—By quarrels and disputes, for I bear—And affliction should not be added to the afflicted; in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus—The scars, marks, and brands of my sufferings for him.

« PreviousContinue »