Galatians 1Verse 21. And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me, etc. Lest I should, be compelled to inflict punishment on those whom I supposed to have been converted under my ministry. I had rejoiced in them as true converts. I had counted them as among the fruit of my ministry. Now to be compelled to inflict punishment on them as having no religion would mortify me and humble me. The infliction of punishment on members of the church is a sort of punishment to him who inflicts it as well as to him who is punished. Members of the church should walk uprightly, lest they overwhelm the ministry in shame. And that I shall bewail many, etc. If they repented of their sin, he could still rejoice in them. If they continued in their sin, till he came, it would be to him a source of deep lamentation. It is evident from the word "many" here, that the disorders had prevailed very extensively in the church at Corinth. The word rendered "have sinned already" means, "who have sinned before;" and the idea is, that they were old offenders, and that they had not yet repented. The uncleanness. Rom 1:24. And fornication, and lasciviousness, etc. 1Cor 5:1; 1Cor 6:18. This was the sin to which they were particularly exposed in Corinth, as it was the sin for which that corrupt city was distinguished. See the Introduction to the First Epistle. Hence the frequent cautions in these epistles against it; and hence it is not to be wondered at that some of those who had become professing Christians had fallen into it. It may be added, that it is still the sin to which converts from the corruptions and licentiousness of paganism are particularly exposed. (a) "humble me" 2Cor 2:1 (b) "repented of the uncleanness" Rev 2:21 (c) "fornication and lasciviousness" 1Cor 5:1THE EPISTLE of PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE GALATIANS: INTRODUCTION THE SITUATION OF GALATIA, AND THE CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE I.GALATIA was a province of Asia Minor, having Pontus on the east, Bithynia and Paphlagonia north, Cappadocia and Phrygia south, and Phrygia west. See the map prefixed to the Acts of the Apostles. In Tanner's Classical Atlas, however, it extends on the north to the Euxine or Black sea. It was probably about two hundred miles in its greatest extent from east to west, and varied in breadth from twelve to an hundred and fifty miles. It was one of the largest provinces of Asia Minor, and covered an extent of country almost as large as the State of New Jersey. It is probable, however, that the boundaries of Galatia varied at different times as circumstances dictated. It had no natural boundary, except on the north; and of course the limits may have been varied by conquests, or by the will of the Roman emperor, when it was erected into a province. The name Galatia is derived from the word Gaul, and was given to it because it had been conquered by the Gauls, who, having subdued the country, settled in it.--Pausanias, Attic. cap. iv. These were mixed with various Grecian families, and the country was also called Gallograecia.-- Justin, lib. xxiv. 4; xxv. 2; xxvii. 3. This invasion of Asia Minor was made, according to Justin, (lib. xxv. cap. 2,) about the four hundred and seventy-ninth year after the founding of Rome, and, of course, about 272 years before Christ. They invaded Macedonia and Greece; and subsequently invaded Asia Minor, and became an object of terror to all that region. This expedition issued from Gaul, passed over the Rhine, along the Danube, through Noricum, Pannonia, and Moesia, and at its entrance into Germany, carried along with it many of the Tectosages. On their arrival in Thrace, Lutarius took them with him, crossed the Bosphorus, and effected the conquest of Asia Minor.--Liv. lib. xxxviii. c. 16. Such was their number, that Justin says, "they filled all Asia (i.e. all Asia Minor) like swarms of bees. Finally, they became so numerous that no kings of the east could engage in war without an army of Gauls; neither when driven from their kingdom could they flee to any other than to the Gauls. Such was the terror of the name of Gauls, and such the invincible felicity of their arms--et armorurn invicta felicitas erat--that they supposed that in no other way could their own majesty be protected, or being lost, could be recovered, without the aid of Gallic courage. Their being called in by the king of Bithynia for aid, when they had gained the victory, they divided the kingdom with him, and called that region Gallograecia."--Justin, xxv. 2. Under the reign of Augustus Cesar, about 26 years before the birth of Christ, this region was reduced into the form of a Roman colony, and was governed by a proprietor, appointed by the emperor. Their original Gaulish language they retained so late as the fifth century, as appears from the testimony of Jerome, who says that their dialect was nearly the same as that of the Treviri.--Tom. iv. p. 256. ed. Benedict. At the same time, they also spoke the Greek language in common with all the inhabitants of Lesser Asia, and therefore the epistle to them was written in Greek, and was intelligible to them as well as to others. The Galatians, like the inhabitants of the surrounding country, were heathens, and their religion was of a gross and debasing kind. They are said to have worshipped" the mother of the gods," under the name of Agdistis. Callimachus, in his hymns, calls them "a foolish people." And Hillary, himself a Gaul, calls them Gallos indociles--expressions which, says Galmet, may well excuse Paul's addressing them as "foolish," chap. iii. 1. There were few cities to be found among them, with the exception of Ancyra, Tavium, and Pessinus, which carried on some trade. The possessors of Galatia were of three different nations or tribes of Gauls; the Tolistobogi, the Trocmi, and the Tectosagi. There are imperial medals extant, on which these names are found. It is of some importance to bear in mind these distinctions. It is possible that while Peter was making converts in one part or Galatia, the apostle Paul was in another; and that some, claiming authority as from Peter, propagated opinions not conformable to the views of Paul, to correct and expose which was one design of this epistle.--Calmet. The Gauls are mentioned by ancient historians as a tall and valiant people. They went nearly naked. Their arms were only a sword and buckler. The impetuosity of their attack, it is said, was irresistible, and hence they became so formidable, and were usually so victorious. It is not possible to ascertain the number of the inhabitants of Galatia, at the time when the gospel was preached there, or when this epistle was written. In 2 Macc. viii. 20, it is said that Judas Maccabeus, exhorting his followers to fight manfully against the Syrians, referred to several instances of Divine interposition to encourage them" and among others, "he told them of the battle which they had in Babylon with the Galatians; how they came but eight thousand in all to the business, with four thousand Macedonians; and that the Macedonians being perplexed, the eight thousand destroyed an hundred and twenty thousand, because of the help which they had from Heaven, and so received a great booty." But it is not certain that this refers to those who dwelt in Galatia. It may refer to Gauls who at that time had overrun Asia Minor; the Greek word here used, γαλατας, being taken equally for either. It is evident, however, that there was a large population that went under this general name; and it is probable that Galatia was thickly settled at the time when the gospel was preached there. It was in a central part of Asia Minor, then one of the most densely populated parts of the world, and was a region singularly fertile.--Strabo, lib. xii. p. 567, 568, ed. Casaub. Many persons, also, were attracted there for the sake of commerce. That there were many Jews also, in all the provinces of Asia Minor, is apparent not only. from the Acts of the Apostles, but is expressly declared by Josephus, Ant. xvi. 6. II.THE TIME WHEN THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED IN GALATIA THERE is no certain information as to the time when the gospel was first preached in Galatia, or the persons by whom it was done. There is mention, however, of Paul's having preached there several times, and several circumstances lead us to suppose that those churches were established by him, or that he was the first to carry the gospel to thean, or that he and Barnabas together preached the gospel there on the mission on which they were sent from Antioch, Acts xiii. 2, seq. In Acts 16:5,6, it is expressly said that they went "throughout Phrygia and the region Of Galatia." This journey was for the purpose of confirming the churches, and was undertaken at the suggestion of Paul, (Acts 15:36,) with the design of visiting their brethren in every city where they had preached the word of the Lord. It is true, that in the account of the mission of Paul and Barnabas, (Acts 14) it is not expressly said that they went into Galatia; but it is said (Acts 14:5,6,) that when they were in Iconium, an assault was made on them, or a purpose formed to stone them, and that, being apprized of it, they fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, "and unto the region that lieth round about." Pliny, lib. v., c. 27, says, that a part of Lycaonia bordered on Galatia, and contained fourteen cities, of which Iconium was the most celebrated. Phrygia also was contiguous to Galatia, and to Lycaonia, and these circumstances render it probable that when Paul proposed to Barnabas to visit again the churches where they had preached, Galatia was included, and that they had been there betbre this visit referred to in Acts 16:6. It may be, also, that Paul refers to himself in the epistle, (Gal 1:6,) where he says, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that CALLED YOU into the grace of Christ unto another gospel;" and if so, then it is plain that he preached to them first, and founded the churches there. The same thing may be evinced also from the expression in Gal 4:15, where he says, "I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me;" an expression which leads us to suppose that they had formed for him a peculiar attachment, because he had first preached the gospel to them, and that there had existed all the ardour of attachment implied in their first love. It is quite evident, therefore, I think, that the gospel was preached among the Galatians first by Paul, either alone or in company with some other one of the apostles. It is possible, however, as has been intimated above, that Peter also may have preached in one part of Galatia at the time that Paul was preaching in other parts. It is a circumstance also of some importance on this point, that Paul speaks in this epistle in a tone of authority, and with a severity of reproof which he would hardly have used unless he had at first preached there, and had a right to be regarded as the founder of the church, and to address it as its father. In this respect the tone here is quite different, as Mr. Locke has remarked, from what is observable in the epistle to the Romans. Paul had not been at Rome when he addressed the church there by letter, and his language differs materially from that which occurs in the epistles to the Corinthians and Galatians. It was to them the very respectful and mild language of a stranger; here it is respectful, but it is in the authoritative language of a father having a right to reprove. III.THE DATE OF THIS EPISTLE Many have supposed that this was the first epistle which Paul wrote. Tertullian maintained this, (See Lardnet, vol. vi. p. 7. ed. Lond. 1829,) and Epiphanius also. Theodoret and others suppose it was written at Rome, and was conse quently written near the close of the life of Paul, and was one of his last epistles. Lightfoot supposes also that it was written from Rome, and that it was among the first which Paul wrote there. Chrysostom says that this epistle was written before that to the Romans. Lewis Capellus, Witsius, and Wall suppose that it was written from Ephesus after the apostle had been a second time in Galatia. This also was the opinion of Pearson, who places it in the year 57, after the first epistle to the Corinthians, and before Paul left Ephesus. Grotius thought it difficult to assign the date of the epistle, but conjectures that it was written about the same time as that to the Romans. Mill supposes that it was not written until after that to the Romans, probably at Troas, or some other place in Asia, as Paul was going to Jerusalem. He dates the epistle in the year 58. Dr. Benson supposes that it was written at Corinth, when the apostle was first there, and made a long stay of a year and six months. While there, he supposes that Paul received tidings of the instability of the converts in Galatia, and wrote this epistle and sent it by one of his assistants. See these opinions examined in Lardner as quoted above. Lardner himself supposes that it was written from Corinth about the year 52, or the beginning of the year 53. Macknight supposes it was written from Antioch, after the council at Jerusalem, and before Paul and Silas undertook the journey in which they delivered to the churches the decrees which were ordained at Jerusalem, Acts 16:4. Hug, in his Introduction, supposes that it was written at Ephesus in the year 57, and after the I. and II. Thess., and the epistle to Titus had been written. Mr. Locke supposes that Paul established churches in Galatia, in the year 51; and that this epistle was written between that time and the year 57. These opinions are mostly mere conjecture; and amidst such a variety of sentiment, it is evidently impossible to determine exactly at what time it was written. The only mark of time in the epistle itself occurs in Acts 1:6, where the apostle says, "I marvel that ye are so soon ουτωταχεως, removed from him that called you," etc.; where the words "so soon" would lead us to suppose that it was at no distant period after he had been among them. Still it might have been several years. The date assigned to it in the Polyglott Bible (Bagster's) is the year 58. The exact date of the epistle is of very little importance. In regard to the time when it was written the only arguments which seem to me to be of much weight are those advanced by Paley in his Horae Paulinse. "It will hardly be doubted," says he, "but that it was written whilst the dispute concerning the circumcision of Gentile converts was fresh in men"s minds; for even supposing it to have been a forgery, the only credible motive that can be assigned for the forgery, was to bring the name and authority of the apostle, into this controversy. No design can be so insipid, or so unlikely to enter into the thoughts of any man, as to produce an epistle written earnestly and pointedly on one side of a controversy, when the controversy itself was dead, and the question no longer interesting to any class of readers whatever. Now the controversy concerning the circumcision of Gentiles was of such a nature, that, if it arose at all, it must have arisen in the beginning of Christianity." Paley then goes on to show that it was natural that the Jews, and converts from the Jews, should start this question, and agitate it; and that this was much more likely to be insisted on while the temple was standing, and they continued as a nation, and sacrifices were offered, than after their city and temple were destroyed. It is therefore clear that the controversy must have been started, and the epistle written before the invasion of Judea, by Titus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. The internal evidence leads to this conclsion. On the whole, it is probable that the epistle was written somewhere about the year 53, or between that and 57; and was evidently designed to settle an important controversy in the churches of Galatia. The place where it was written, must be, I think, wholly a matter of conjecture. The subscription at the end, that it was written from Rome, is of no authority whatever; and there are no internal circumstances, which, so far as I can see, throw any light on the subject. IV.THE DESIGN OF THE EPISTLE IT is easy to discern from the epistle itself that the following circumstances existed in the churches of Galatia, and that it was written with reference to them. (1.) That they had been at first devotedly attached to the apostle Paul, and had received his commands and instructions with implicit confidence when he was among them, Ga 4:14,15; Comp. Gal 1:6. (2.) That they had been perverted from the doctrine which he taught them soon after he had left them, Acts 1:6 (3.) That this had been done by persons who were of Jewish origin, and who insisted on the observance of the rites of the Jewish religion. (4.) That they claimed to have come directly from Jerusalem, and to have derived their views of religion and their authority from the apostles there. (5.) That they taught that the apostle Paul was inferior to the apostles there; that he had been called more recently into the apostolic office; that the apostles at Jerusalem must be regarded as the source of authority in the Christian church; and that, therefore, the teaching of Paul should yield to that which was derived directly from Jerusalem. (6.) That the laws of Moses were binding, and were necessary in order to justification. That the rite of circumcision especially was of binding obligation; and it is probable (Gal 6:12) that they had prevailed on many of the Galatians to be circumcised, and certain that they had induced them to observe the Jewish festivals, Acts 4:10. (7.) It would seem, also, that they urged that Paul himself had changed his views since he had been among the Galatians, and now maintained the necessity of circumcision, Gal 5:11. Perhaps they alleged this, from the undoubted fact, that Paul, when at Jerusalem, (Acts 21:26) had complied with some of the customs of the Jewish ritual. (8.) That they urged that all the promises of God were made to Abraham, and that whoever would partake of those promnises, must be circumcised as Abraham Was. This Paul answers, Gen 3:7, 4:7. (9.) That in consequence of the promulgation of these views, great dissensions had arisen in the church, and strifes of an unhappy nature existed, greatly contrary to the spirit which should be manifested by those who bore the Christian name. From this description of the state of things in the churches of Galatia, the design of the epistle is apparent, and the scope of the argument will be easily seen. Of this state of things the apostle had been undoubtedly apprized, but whether by letters, or by messengers from the churches there, is not declared. It is not improbable, that some of his friends in the churches there had informed him of it, and he immediately set about a remedy to the evils existing there. 1. The first object, therefore, was to show that he had received his commission as an apostle, directby from God. He had not received it at all from man; he had not even been instructed by the other apostles; he had not acknowledged their superiority; he had not even consulted them. He did not acknowledge, therefore, that the apostles at Jerusalem possessed any superior rank or authority. His commission, though he had not seen the Lord Jesus before he was crucified, he had, nevertheless, derived immediately from him. The doctrine, therefore, which he had taught them, that the Mosaic laws were not binding, and that there was no necessity of being circumcised, was a doctrine which had been derived directly from God. In proof of this, he goes into an extended statement, (Gal 1) of the manner in which he had been called, and of the fact, that he had not consulted with the apostles at Jerusalem, or confessed his inferiority to them; of the fact that when they had become acquainted with the manner in which he preached, they approved his course, (Gal 1:24, 2:1-10;) and of the fact that on one occasion, he had actually been constrained to differ from Peter, the oldest of the apostles, on a point in which he was manifestly wrong, and on one of the very points then under consideration. II. The second great object, therefore, was to show the real nature and design of the law of Moses, and to prove that the peculiar rites of the Mosaic ritual, and especially the rite of circumcision, were not necessary to justification and salvation; and that they who observed that rite, did in fact renounce the Scripture method of justification; make the sacrifice of Christ of no value, and make slaves of themselves. This leads him into a consideration of the true nature of the doctrine of justification, and of the way of salvation by a Redeemer. This point he shows in the following way :-- (1.) By showing that those who lived before Christ, and especially Abraham, were in fact justified, not by obedience to the ritual law of Moses, but by faith in the promises of God, Gal 3:1-18. (2.) By showing that the design of the Mosaic ritual was only temporary, and that it was intended to lead to Christ, Gal 3:19-29; Gal 4:1-8. (3.) In view of this, he reproves the Galatians for having so readily fallen into the observance of these customs, Gal 4:9-21. (4.) This view of the design of the Mosaic law, and of its tendency, he illustrates by an allegory drawn from the case of Hagar, Gal 4:21-31. This whole discourse is succeeded by an affectionate exhortation to the Galatians, to avoid the evils which had been engendered; reproving them for the strifes existing, in consequence of the attempt to introduce the Mosaic rites, and earnestly entreating them to stand firm in the liberty which Christ had vouchsafed to them from the servitude of the Mosaic institutions, chapters 5 and 6. The design of the whole epistle, therefore, is to state and defend the true doctrine of justification, and to show that it did not depend on.the observance of the laws of Moses. In this general purpose, therefore, it accords with the design of the epistle to the Romans. In one respect, however, it differs from the design of that epistle. That was written, to show that man could not be justified by any works of the law, or by conformity to any law, moral or ceremonial; the object of this is, to show that justification cannot be obtained by conformity to the ritual or ceremonial law; or that the observance of the ceremonial law is not necessary to salvation. In this respect, therefore, this epistle is of less general interest than that to the Romans. It is also, in some respects, more difficult. The argument, if I may so express myself, is more Jewish. It is more in the Jewish manner is designed to meet a Jew in his own way, and is, therefore, somewhat more difficult for all to follow. Still it contains great and vital statements on the doctrines of salvation, and, as such, demands the profound and careful attention of all who desire to be saved, and who would know the way of acceptance with God. THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS The main design of Paul, in this chapter, is to show that he had received his call to the apostleship, not from man, but from God. It had been alleged (see the Introduction) that the apostles at Jerusalem possessed the most elevated rank, and the highest authority in the Christian church; that they were to be regarded as the fountains and the judges of the truth; that Paul was inferior to them as an apostle; and that they who inculcated the necessity of circumcision, and the observance of the rites of Moses, were sustained by the authority and the examples of the apostles at Jerusalem. To meet this statement was the design of this first chapter. Paul's grand object was to show that he was not appointed by men; that he had not been commissioned by men; that he had not derived his instructions from men; that he had not even consulted with them; but that he had been commissioned and taught expressly by Jesus Christ; and that when the apostles at Jerusalem had become acquainted with him, and with his views and plans of labour, long after he had begun to preach, they had fully concurred with him. This argument comprises the following parts:-- I. The solemn declaration that he was not commissioned by men, and that he was not, in any sense, an apostle of man, together with the general salutation to the churches in Galatia, Gal 1:1-5. II. The expression of his astonishment that the Galatians had so soon forsaken his instructions, and embraced another gospel; and a solemn declaration that whoever preached another gospel was to be held accursed, Gal 1:6-10. Twice he anathematizes those who attempt to declare any other way of justification than that which consisted in faith in Christ, and says that it was no gospel at all. It was to be held as a great and fixed principle, that there was but one way of salvation; and no matter who attempted to preach any other, he was to be held accursed. III. To show, therefore, that he was not appointed by men, and that he had not received his instruction from men, but that he had preached the truth directly revealed to him by God, and that which was therefore immutable and eternal, he goes into a statement of the manner in which he was called into the ministry, and made acquainted with the gospel, vets. Gal 1:11-24. (a) He affirms that he was not taught it by man, but by the express revelation of Jesus Christ, Gal 1:11,12. (b) He refers to his former well-known life, and his zeal in the Jewish religion; showing how much he had been formerly opposed to the gospel, Gal 1:13,14. (c) He says that he had been separated, by the Divine purpose, from his mother's womb, to be a preacher of the gospel; and that when he was called to the ministry, he had no conference with any human being, as to what he was to preach; he did not go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were older apostles, but he retired far from them into Arabia, and thence again returned to Damascus, Gal 1:15-17. (d) After three years, he says, he did indeed go to Jerusalem; but he remained there but fifteen days, and saw none of the apostles but Peter and James, Gal 1:18,19. His views of the gospel were formed before that; and that he did not submit implicitly to Peter, and learn of him, he shows in chapter 2, where, he says, he "withstood him to the face." (e) After that, he says, he departed into the regions of Cilicia, in Asia Minor, and had no opportunity of conference with the churches which were in Judea. Yet they heard that he who had been formerly a persecutor had become a preacher, and they glorified God for it, Gal 1:20-24. Of course, he had had no opportunity of deriving his views of religion from them; he had been in no sense dependent on them; but, so far as they were acquainted with his views, they concurred in them. The sum of the argument, therefore, in this chapter is, that when Paul went into Cilicia and the adjacent regions, he had never seen but two of the apostles, and that but for a short time; he had never seen the apostles together, and he had never received any instructions from them. His views of the gospel, which he had imparted to the Galatians, he had derived directly from God. **** Due to space limitations, See Notes on Verses 1 and 2 combined in Notes for Galatians Chapter 1, verse 2.******** **Due to the length of Introductory Material to Chapter, Notes for Verses 1 and 2 have been combined in notes for Verse 2.** Verse 1. Paul, an apostle. Rom 1:1. This is the usual form in which he commences his epistles; and it was of special importance to commence this epistle in this manner, because it was one design to vindicate his apostleship, or to show that he had received his commission directly from the Lord jesus. Not of men. "Not from απ, men." That is, he was not from any body of men, or commissioned by men. The word apostle means sent; and Paul means to say, that he was not sent to execute any purpose of men, or commissioned by them. His was a higher calling--a, calling of God, and he had been sent directly by him. Of course, he means to exclude here all classes of men as having had anything to do in sending him forth; and especially he means to affirm, that he had not been sent out by the body of apostles at Jerusalem. This, it will be remembered, (see the Introduction,) was one of the charges of those who had perverted the Galatians from the faith which Paul had preached to them. Neither by man. "Neither by or through δι the instrumentality of any man." Here he designs to exclude all men from having had any agency in his appointment to the apostolic office. He was neither sent out from any body of men to execute their purposes, nor did he receive his commission, authority, or ordination, through the medium of any man. A minister of the gospel now receives his call from God, but he is ordained or set apart to his office by man. Matthias, the apostle chosen in the place of Judas, (Acts 1:17,) received his call from God, but it was by the vote of the body of the apostles. Timothy was also called of God, but he was appointed to his office by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, 1Timm 4:14. But Paul here says that he received no such commission as that from the apostles. They were not the means or the medium of ordaining him to his work. He had, indeed, together with Barnabas, been set apart at Antioch by the brethren there, (Acts 13:1-3,) for a special mission in Asia Minor; but this was not an appointment to the apostleship. He had been restored to sight after the miraculous blindness produced by seeing the Lord Jesus on the way to Damascus, by the laying on of the hands of Ananias, and had received important instruction from him, (Acts 9:17;) but his commission as an apostle had been received directly from the Lord Jesus, without any intervening medium, or any form of human authority, Acts 9:15, 22:17-21, 1Cor 9:1. But by Jesus Christ. That is, directly by Christ. He had been called by him, and commissioned by him, and sent by him, to engage in the work of the gospel. And God the Father. These words were omitted by Marcion, because, says Jerome, he held that Christ raised himself from the dead. But there is no authority for omitting them. The sense is, that he had the highest possible authority for the office of an apostle; he had been called to it by God himself, who had raised up the Redeemer. It is remarkable here, that Paul associates Jesus Christ and God the Father as having called and commissioned him. We may ask here, of one who should deny the Divinity of Christ, how Paul could mention him as being equal with God in the work of commissioning him? We may further ask, how could he say that he had not received his, call to this office from a man, if Jesus Christ was a mere man? That he was called by Christ he expressly says, and strenuously maintains it as a point of great importance. And yet the very point and drift of his argument is to show that he was not called by man. How could this be if Christ was a mere man? Who raised him from the dead. Acts 2:24, Acts 2:32. It is not quite clear why Paul introduces this circumstance here. It may have been (1) because his mind was full of it, and he wished on all occasions to make that fact prominent; (2) because this was the distinguishing feature of the Christian religion, that the Lord Jesus had been raised up from the dead; and he wished, in the outset, to present the superiority of that religion which had brought life and immortality to light; and (3) because he wished to show that he had received his commission from that same God who had raised up Jesus, and who was, therefore, the Author of the true religion. His commission was from the Source of life and lights; the God of the living and the dead; the God who was the Author of the glorious scheme which revealed life and immortality. (*) "of men" "from men" (a) "Jesus Christ" Acts 9:6,15 (b) "who raised" Acts 2:24 ======================================================================= Verse 2. And all the brethren which are with me. It was usual for Paul to associate with him the ministers of the gospel, or other Christians who were with him, in expressing friendly salutations to the churches to which he wrote, or as uniting with him, and concurring in the sentiments which he expressed. Though Paul claimed to be inspired, yet it would do much to conciliate favour for what he advanced, if others also concurred with what he said, and especially if they were known, to the churches to which the epistles were written. Sometimes the names of others were associated with his in the epistle. 1Cor 1:1; Php 1:1 Col 1:1; 1Thes 1:1. As we do not know where this epistle was written, of course we are ignorant who the "brethren" were who are here referred to. They may have been ministers with Paul, or they may have been the private members of the churches. Commentators have been much divided in opinion on the subject; but all is conjecture. It is obviously impossible to determine. Unto the churches. How many churches there were in Galatia is unknown. There were several cities in Galatia, as Ancyria, Tavia, Pessinus, etc. It is not improbable that a church had been established in each of the cities, and as they were not far distant from each other, and the people had the same general character and habits, it is not improbable that they had fallen into the same errors. Hence the epistle is directed to them in common. (a) "Galatia" Acts 16:6, 18:23 Verse 3. Grace be to you, etc. This is the usual apostolic salutation, imploring for them the blessing of God. Rom 1:7. (b) "Grace" Rom 1:7 Verse 4. Who gave himself for our sins. The reason why Paul so soon introduces this important doctrine, and makes it here so prominent, probably is, that this was the cardinal doctrine of the Christian religion, the great truth which was ever to be kept before the mind, and because this truth had been in fact lost sight of by them. They had embraced doctrines which tended to obscure it, or to make it void. They had been led into error by the Judaizing teachers, who held that it was necessary to be circumcised, and to conform to the whole Jewish ritual. Yet the tendency of all this was to obscure the doctrines of the gospel, and particularly the great truth that men can be justified only by faith in the blood of Jesus, Gal 5:4. Comp. Gal 1:6,7. Paul, therefore, wished to make this prominent--the very starting point in their religion; a truth never to be forgotten, that Christ gave himself for their sins, that he might deliver them from all the bad influences of this world, and from all the false systems of religion engendered in this world. The expression "who gave" τουδοντος is one that often occurs in relation to the work of the Redeemer, where it is represented as a gift, either on the part of God, or on the part of Christ himself. Jn 3:16. Comp. Jn 4:10, Rom 4:25, 2Cor 9:15, Gal 2:20, Eph 5:25, Tit 2:14. This passage proves, (1.) that it was wholly voluntary on the part of the Lord Jesus. No one compelled him to come; no one could compel him. It is not too much to say, that God could not, and would not, COMPEL any innocent and holy being to undertake the great work of the atonement, and endure the bitter sorrows which were necessary to redeem man. God will compel the guilty to suffer, but he never will compel the innocent to endure sorrows, even in behalf of others. The whole work of redemption must be voluntary, or it could not be performed. (2.) It evinced great benevolence on the part of the Redeemer. He did not come to take upon himself unknown and unsurveyed woes. He did not go to work in the dark. He knew what was to be done. He knew just what sorrows were to be endured--how long, how keen, how awful. And yet, knowing this, he came resolved and prepared to endure all those woes, and to drink the bitter cup to the dregs. (3.) If there had not been this benevolence in his bosom, man must have perished for ever. He could not have saved himself; and he had no power or right to compel another to suffer in his behalf; and even God would not lay this mighty burden on any other, unless he was entirely willing to endure it. How much, then, do we owe to the Lord Jesus; and how entirely should we devote our lives to him who loved us, and gave himself for us! The word himself is rendered, by the Syriac, his life, (Naphshe) and this is in fact the sense of the Greek, that he gave his life for our sins, or that he died in our stead. He gave his life up to toil, tears, privation, sorrow, and death, that he might redeem us. The phrase, "for our sins," υπερτωναμαρτιωνημων, means the same as on account of; meaning, that the cause or reason why he gave himself to death was our sins; that is, he died because we are sinners, and because we could be saved only by his giving himself up to death. Many Mss., instead of υπερ, here read περι, ,but the sense is not materially varied. The Syriac translates it, "who gave himself instead of," by a word denoting that there was a substitution of the Redeemer in our place. The sense is, that the Lord Jesus became a vicarious offering, and died in the stead of sinners. It is not possible to express this idea more distinctly and unambiguously than Paul has done in this passage. Sin was the procuring cause of his death; to make expiation for sin was the design of his coming; and sin is pardoned and removed only by his substituted suffering. That he might deliver us. The word here used εξεληται, properly means, to pluck out, to tear out; to take out from a number, to select; then to rescue or deliver. This is the sense here. He came and gave himself that he might rescue or deliver us from this present evil world. It does not mean to take away by death, or to remove to another world, but that he might effect a separation between us and what the apostle calls here, "this present evil world." The grand purpose was to rescue sinners from the dominion of this world, and separate them unto God. This present evil world. See Jn 17:15,16. Locke supposes that by this phrase is intended the Jewish institutions, or the Mosaical age, in contradistinction from the age of the Messiah. Bloomfield supposes that it means "the present state of being, this life, filled as it is with calamity, sin, and sorrow; or, rather, the sin itself, and the misery consequent upon it." Rosenmuller understands by it, "the men of this age, Jews, who reject the Messiah; and Pagans, who are devoted to idolatry and crime." The word rendered world, αιων, means properly age, an indefinitely long period of time; then eternity, for ever. It then comes to mean the world, either present or future; and then the present world, as it is, with its cares, temptations, and desires; the idea of evil, physical and moral, being everywhere implied, (Robinson, Lex.,) Mt 13:22, Lk 16:8; Lk 20:34, Rom 12:2. Here it means the world as it is, without religion; a world of bad passions, false opinions, corrupt desires; a world full of ambition, and of the love of pleasure and of gold; a world where God is not loved or obeyed; a world where men are regardless of right, and truth, and duty; where they live for themselves, and not for God; in short, that great community, which in the Scriptures is called THE WORLD, in contradistinction from the kingdom of God. That world, that evil world, is full of sin; and the object of the Redeemer was to deliver us from that; that is, to effect a separation between his followers and that. It follows, therefore, that his followers constitute a peculiar community, not governed by the prevailing maxims, or influenced by the peculiar feelings of the people of this world. And it follows, also, that if there is not in fact such a separation, then the purpose of the Redeemer's death, in regard to us, has not been effected, and we are still a part of that great and ungodly community, the world. According to the will of God, etc. Not by the will of man, or by his wisdom, but in accordance with the will of God. It was his purpose that the Lord Jesus should thus give himself; and his doing it was in accordance with his will, and was pleasing in his sight. The whole plan originated in the Divine purpose, and has been executed in accordance with the Divine will. If in accordance with his will, it is good, and is worthy of universal acceptation: (c) "gave himself" Jn 10:17,18, Tit 2:14 (d) "deliver us" Jn 17:14 (e) "evil world" 1Jn 2:16 (f) "according" Rom 8:27 Verse 5. To whom be glory, etc. Let him have all the praise and honour of the plan and its execution. It is not uncommon for Paul to introduce an ascription of praise in the midst of an argument. Rom 1:25. It results from the strong desire which he had that all the glory should be given to God, and showed that he believed that all blessings had their origin in him, and that he should be always acknowledged. Verse 6. I marvel. I wonder. It is remarked by Luther, (Com. in loco,) that Paul here uses as mild a word as possible. He does not employ the language of severe reproof, but he expresses his astonishment that the thing should have occurred. He was deeply affected and amazed that such a thing could have happened. They had cordially embraced the gospel; they had manifested the tenderest attachment for him; they had given themselves to God; and yet, in a very short time, they had been led wholly astray, and had embraced opinions which tended wholly to pervert and destroy the gospel. They had shown an instability and inconstancy of character which was to him perfectly surprising. That ye are so soon. This proves that the epistle was written not long after the gospel was first preached to them. According to the general supposition, it could not have been more than from two to five years. Had it been a long and gradual decline; had they been destitute for years of the privileges of the gospel; or had they had time to forget him who had first preached to them, it would not have been a matter of surprise. But when it occurred in a few months; when their once ardent love for Paul, and their confidence in him had so soon vanished, or their affections become alienated, and when they had so soon embraced opinions tending to set the whole gospel aside, it could not but excite his wonder. Learn hence that men, professedly pious, and apparently ardently attached to the gospel, may become soon perverted in their views, and alienated from those who had called them into the gospel, and whom they professed tenderly to love. The ardour of the affections becomes cool, and some artful, and zealous, and plausible teachers of error seduce the mind, corrupt the heart, and alienate the affections. Where there is the ardour of the first love to God, there is also an effort soon made by the adversary to turn away the heart from him; and young converts are commonly soon attacked in some plausible manner, and by art and arguments adapted to turn away their minds from the truth, and to alienate the affections from God. So soon removed. This also, Luther remarks, is a mild and gentle term. It implies that foreign influence had been used to turn away their minds from the truth. The word here used μετατιθεσθε means, to transpose, put in another place; and then, to go over from one party to another. Their affections had become transferred to other doctrines than those which they had at first embraced, and they had moved off from the only true foundation, to one which would give them no support. From him, that called you. There has been great difference of opinion in regard to the sense of this passage. Some have supposed that it refers to God; others to Christ; others to Paul himself. Either supposition makes good sense, and conveys an idea not contrary to the Scriptures in other places. Doddridge, Chandler, Clarke, Macknight, Locke, and some others, refer it to Paul; Rosenmuller, Koppe, and others, suppose it refers to God; and others refer it to the Redeemer. The Syriac renders it thus: "I marvel that ye are so soon turned away from that Messiah (Christ) who has called you," etc. It is not possible, perhaps, to determine the true sense. It does not seem to me to refer to Paul, as the main object of the epistle is not to show that they had removed from him, but from the gospel--a far more grievous offence; and it seems to me that it is to be referred to God. The reasons are, (1.) that he who had called them, is said to have called them "into the grace of Christ," which would be hardly said of Christ himself; and (2) that the work of calling men is usually, in the Scriptures, attributed to God, 1Thes 2:12, 5:24, 2Thes 2:14, 2Ti 1:9. Into the grace of Christ. Locke renders this, "into the covenant of grace which is by Christ." Doddridge understands it of the method of salvation which is by or through the grace of Christ. There is no doubt that it refers to the plan of salvation which is by Christ, or in Christ; and the main idea is, that the scheme of salvation which they had embraced under his instruction,, was one which contemplated salvation only by the grace or favour of Christ; and that from that they had been removed to another scheme, essentially different, where the grace of Christ was made useless and void. It is Paul's object to show that the true plan makes Christ the great and prominent object; and that the plan which they had embraced was, in this respect, wholly different. Unto another gospel. A gospel which destroys the grace of Christ; which proclaims salvation on other terms than simple dependence on the merits of the Lord Jesus; and which has introduced the Jewish rites and ceremonies as essential, in order to obtain salvation. The apostle calls that scheme the gospel, because it pretended to be: it was preached by those who claimed to be preachers of the gospel; who alleged that they had come direct from the apostles at Jerusalem, and who pretended to declare the method of salvation. It claimed to be the gospel, and yet it was essentially unlike the plan which he had preached as constituting the gospel. That which he preached, inculcated the entire dependence of the sinner on the merits and grace of Christ; that system had introduced dependence on the observance of the rites of the Mosaic system as necessary to salvation. (*) "marvel" "wonder" Verse 7. Which is not another. There is also a great variety of views in regard to the meaning of this expression. Tindal translates it, "Which is nothing else, but there be some that trouble you." Locke, "Which is not owing to anything else, but only this, that ye are troubled with a certain sort of men who would overturn the gospel of Christ." But Rosenmuller, Koppe, Bloomfield, and others, give a different view; and according to them the sense is, "Which, however, is not another gospel, nor indeed the gospel at all, or true," etc. According to this, the design was to state that what they taught had none of the elements or characteristics of the gospel. It was a different system, and one which taught an entirely different method of justification before God. It seems to me that this is the true sense of the passage, and that Paul means to teach them that the system, though it was called the gospel, was essentially different from that which he had taught, and which consisted in simple reliance on Christ for salvation. The system which they taught was, in fact, the Mosaic system--the Jewish mode, depending on the rites and ceremonies of religion--and which, therefore, did not deserve to be called the gospel. It would load them again with burdensome rites, and with cumbrous institutions, from which it was the great purpose of the gospel to relieve them. But there be some that trouble you. Though this is most manifestly another system, and not the gospel at all, yet there are some persons who are capable of giving trouble, and of unsettling your minds, by making it plausible. They pretend that they have come direct from the apostles at Jerusalem; that they have received their instructions from them, and that they preach the true gospel as they teach it. They pretend that Paul was called into the office of an apostle after them; that he had never seen the Lord Jesus; that he had derived his information only from others; and thus they are able to present a plausible argument, and to unsettle the minds of the Galatians. And would pervert. That is, the tendency of their doctrine is wholly to turn away, μεταστρεψαι, to destroy, or render useless the gospel of Christ. It would lead, to the denial of the necessity of dependence on the merits of the Lord Jesus for salvation, and would substitute dependence on rites and ceremonies. This does not of necessity mean that such was the design of their teaching, for they might have been in the main honest; but that such was the tendency and result of their teaching. It would lead men to rely on the Mosaic rites for salvation. (b) "which is not another" 2Cor 11:4 (c) "pervert" Acts 15:1,24, 2Cor 2:17, Gal 5:10,12 Verse 8. But though we. That is, we the apostles. Probably he refers particularly to himself, as the plural is often used by Paul when speaking of himself. He alludes here, possibly, to a charge which was brought against him by the false teachers in Galatia, that he had changed his views since he came among them, and now preached differently from what he did then. See the Introduction. They endeavoured probably to fortify their own opinions in regard to the obligations of the Mosaic law, by affirming, that though Paul when he was among them had maintained that the observance of the law was not necessary to salvation, yet that he had changed his views, and now held the same doctrine on the subject which they did. What they relied on in support of this opinion is unknown. It is certain, however, that Paul did, on some occasions, (Acts 21:21-26,) comply with the Jewish rites; and it is not improbable that they were acquainted with that fact, and interpreted it as proving that he had changed his sentiments on the subject. At all events, it would make their allegation plausible that Paul was now in favour of the observance of the Jewish rites, and that if he had ever taught differently, he must new have changed his opinion. Paul, therefore, begins the discussion by denying this in the most solemn manner. He affirms that the gospel which he had at first preached to them was the true gospel. It contained the great doctrines of salvation. It was to be regarded by them as a fixed and settled point, that there was no other way of salvation but by the merits of the Saviour. No matter who taught anything else; no matter though it be alleged that he had changed his mind; no matter even though he should preach another gospel; and no matter though an angel from heaven should declare any other mode of salvation, it was to be held as a fixed and settled position, that the true gospel had been preached to them at first. We are not to suppose that Paul admitted that he had changed his mind, or that the inferences of the false teachers there were well-founded; but we are to understand this as affirming, in the most solemn manner, that the true gospel, and the only method of salvation, had been preached among them at first. Or an angel from heaven. This is a very strong rhetorical mode of expression. It is not to be supposed that an angel from heaven would preach any other than the true gospel. But Paul wishes to put the strongest possible case, and to affirm, in the strongest manner possible, that the true gospel had been preached to them. The great system of salvation had been taught; and no other was to be admitted--no matter who preached it, no matter what the character or rank of the preacher, and no matter with what imposing claims he came. It follows from this, that the mere rank, character, talent, eloquence, or piety of a preacher, does not of necessity give his doctrine a claim to our belief, or prove that his gospel is true. Great talents maybe prostituted; and great sanctity of manner, and even holiness of character, may be in error; and no matter what may be the rank, and talents, and eloquence, and piety of the preacher, if he does not accord with the gospel which was first preached, he is to be held accursed. Preach any other gospel, etc. Gal 1:6. Any gospel that differs from that which was first preached to you; any system of doctrines which goes to deny the necessity of simple dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Let him be accursed. Greek, αναθεμα, (anathema.) On the meaning of this word, 1Cor 12:3; 1Cor 16:22. It is not improperly here rendered "accursed," or "devoted to destruction." The object of Paul is to express the greatest possible abhorrence of any other doctrine than that which he had himself preached. So great was his detestation of it, that, says Luther, "he casteth out very flames of fire; and his zeal is so fervent, that he beginneth almost to curse the angels." It follows from this, (1.) that any other doctrine than that which is proclaimed in the Bible on the subject of justification, is to be rejected and treated with abhorrence, no matter what the.rank, talent, or eloquence of him who defends it. (2.) That we are not to patronize or countenance such preachers. No matter what their zeal, or their apparent sincerity, or their apparent sanctity, or their apparent success, or their real boldness in rebuking vice, we are to withdraw from them. "Cease, my son," said Solomon, "to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge," Prov 19:27. Especially are we to withdraw wholly from that instruction which goes to deny the great doctrines of salvation--that pure gospel which the Lord Jesus and the apostle taught. If Paul would regard even an angel as doomed to destruction, and as held accursed, should he preach any other doctrine, assuredly ice should not be found to lend our countenance to it, nor should we patronize it by attending on such a ministry. Who would desire to attend on the ministry of even an angel, if he was to be held accursed? How much less the ministry of a man preaching the same doctrine! It does not follow from this, however, that we are to treat others with severity of language, or with the language of cursing. They must answer to God. We are to withdraw from their teaching; we are to regard the doctrines with abhorrence; and we are not to lend our countenance to them. To their own Master they stand or fall; but what must be the doom of a teacher whom an inspired man has said should be regarded as "ACCURSED!" It may be added, how responsible is the ministerial office! How fearful the account which the ministers of religion must render! How much prayer, and study, and effort are needed that they may be able to understand the true gospel, and that they may not be led into error, or lead others into error! Verse 9. As we said before. That is, in the previous verse. It is equivalent to saying, "As I have just said." See 2Cor 7:3. It cannot be supposed that he had said this when he was with them, as it cannot be believed that he then anticipated that his doctrines would be perverted, and that another gospel would be preached to them. The sentiment of Gal 1:8 is here repeated on account of its importance. It is common in the Scriptures, as indeed it is everywhere else, to repeat a declaration in order to deepen the impression of its importance and its truth. Paul would not be misunderstood on this point. He would leave no doubt as to his meaning. He would not have it supposed that he had uttered the sentiment in Gal 1:8 8 hastily; and he therefore repeats it with emphasis. Than that ye have received. In the previous verse it is, "that which we have preached." By this change in the phraseology he designs, probably, to remind them that they had once solemnly professed to embrace that system. It had not only been preached to them, it had been embraced by them. The teachers of the new system, therefore, were really in opposition to the once avowed sentiments of the Galatians; to what they knew to be true. They were not only to be held accursed, therefore, because Paul so declared, but because they preached what the Galatians themselves knew to be false, or what was contrary to that which they had themselves professed to be true. (b) "other gospel" De 4:2, Rev 22:18 Verse 10. For do I now persuade men, or God? The word "now" αρτι is used here, evidently, to express a contrast between his present and his former purpose of life. Before his conversion to Christianity, he impliedly admits, that it was his object to conciliate the favour of men; that he derived his authority from them, Acts 9:1,2; that he endeavoured to act so as to please them and gain their good esteem. But now he says, this was not his object. He had a higher aim. It was to please God, and to conciliate his favour. The object of this verse is obscure; but it seems to me to be connected with what follows, and to be designed to introduce that by showing that he had not now received his commission from men, but had received it from God. Perhaps there may be an allusion to an implied allegation in regard to him. It may have been alleged, (see Notes on the previous verses,) that even he had changed his mind, and was now himself an observer of the laws of Moses. To this perhaps he replies, by this question, that such conduct would not have been inconsistent, in his view, when it was his main purpose to please men, and when he derived his commission from them; but that now he had a higher aim. His purpose was to please God; and he was not aiming in any way to gratify men. The word which is rendered "persuade" here, πειθω, has been very variously interpreted. Tindal renders it, "Seek now the favour of men or of God?" Doddridge, "Do I now solicit the favour of men or of God ?" This also is the interpretation of Grotius, Hammond, Elsner, Koppe, Rosenmuller, Bloomfield, etc., and is undoubtedly the true explanation. The word properly means to persuade, or to convince, Acts 18:4; Acts 28:23; 2Cor 5:11. But it also means, to bring over to kind feelings, to conciliate, to pacify, to quiet. Sept., 1Sam 24:8 2 Mac. iv. 25; Acts 12:20, 1Jn 3:19. By the question here, Paul means to say, that his great object was now to please God. He desired his favour rather than the favour of man. He acted with reference to his will. He derived his authority from him, and not from the sanhedrim or any earthly council. And the purpose of all this is to say, that he had not received his commission to preach from man, but had received it directly from God. Or do I seek to please men? It is not my aim or purpose to please men, and to conciliate their favour. Comp. 1Thes 2:4. For if I yet pleased men. If I made it my aim to please men; if this was the regulating principle of my conduct. The word "yet" here ετι, has reference to his former purpose. It implies that this had once been his aim. But he says, if he had pursued that purpose to please men, if this had continued to be the aim of his life, he would not now have been a servant of Christ. He had been constrained to abandon that purpose, in order that he might be a servant of Christ; and the sentiment is, that in order that a man may become a Christian, it is necessary for him to abandon the purpose of pleasing men as the rule of his life. It may be implied also, that if in fact a man makes it his aim to please men, or if this is the purpose for which he lives and acts, and if he shapes his conduct with reference to that, he cannot be a Christian or a servant of Christ. A Christian must act from higher motives than those, and he who aims supremely at the favour of his fellow-men has full evidence that he is not a Christian. A friend of Christ must do his duty, and must regulate his conduct by the will of God, whether men are pleased with it or not. And it may be further implied, that the life and deportment of a sincere Christian will not please men. It is not that which they love. A holy, humble, spiritual life they do not love. It is true, indeed, that their consciences tell them that such a life is right; that they are often constrained to speak well of the life of Christians, and to commend it; it is true that they are constrained to respect a man who is a sincere Christian, and that they often repose confidence in such a man; and it is true also that they often speak with respect of them when they are dead; but the life of an humble, devoted, and zealous Christian they do not love. It is contrary to their views of life. And especially if a Christian so lives and acts as to reprove them either by his words or by his life; or if a Christian makes his religion so prominent as to interfere with their pursuits or pleasures, they do not love it. It follows from this, (1.) that a Christian is not to expect to please men. He must not be disappointed, therefore, if he does not. His Master did not please the world; and it is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master. (2.) A professing Christian, and especially a minister, should be alarmed when the world flatters and caresses him. He should fear either (a) that he is not living as he ought to, and that sinners love him because he is so much like them, and keeps them in countenance; or (b) that they mean to make him betray his religion and become conformed to them. It is a great point gained for the gay world, when it can, by its caresses and attentions, get a Christian to forsake a prayer-meeting for a party, or surrender his deep spirituality to engage in some political project. "Woe unto you," said the Redeemer, "when all men speak well of you," Lk 6:26. (3.) One of the main differences between Christians and the world is, that others aim to please men; the Christian aims to please God. And this is a great difference. (4.) It follows that if men would become Christians, they must cease to make it their object to please men. They must be willing to be met with contempt and a frown; they must be willing to be persecuted and despised; they must be willing to lay aside all hope of the praise and the flattery of men, and be content with an honest effort to please God. (5.) True Christians must differ from the world. Their aims, feelings, purposes must be unlike the world. They are to be a peculiar people; and they should be willing to be esteemed such. It does not follow, however, that a true Christian should not desire the good esteem of the world, or that he should be indifferent to an honourable reputation, (1Timm 3:7;) nor does it follow that a consistent Christian will not often command the respect of the world. In times of trial, the world will repose confidence in Christians; when any work of benevolence is to be done, the world will instinctively look to Christians; and notwithstanding, sinners will not love religion, yet they will secretly feel assured that some of the brightest ornaments of society are Christians, and that they have a claim to the confidence and esteem of their fellow-men. The servant of Christ. A Christian. (c) "to please men" 2Cor 12:19, 1Thes 2:4 (d) "be the servant of Christ" Jas 4:4 Verse 11. But I certify you. I make known to you; or, I declare to you. See 1Cor 15:1. Doubtless this had been known to them before, but he now assures them of it, and goes into an extended illustration to show them that he had not received his authority from man to preach the gospel. To state and prove this is the main design of this chapter. Is not after man. Greek, not according to man. See Gal 1:1. That is, he was not appointed by man, nor had he any human instructor to make known to him what the gospel was. He had neither received it from man, nor had it been debased or adulterated by any human admixtures. He had received it directly from the Lord Jesus. (*) "certify" "declare to" Verse 12. For I neither received it of man. This is very probably said in reply to his opponents, who had maintained that Paul had derived his knowledge of the gospel from other men, as he had not been personally known to the Lord Jesus, or been of the number of those whom he called to be his apostles. In reply to this, he says, that he did not receive his gospel in any way from man. Neither was I taught it. That is, by man. He was not taught it by any written account of it, or by the instruction of man in any way. The only plausible objection to this statement which could be urged would be the fact that Paul had an interview with Ananias Acts 9:17 before his baptism, and that he would probably receive instructions from him. But to this it may be replied, (1.) that there is no evidence that Ananias went into an explanation of the nature of the Christian religion in his interview with Paul; (2.) Paul had before this been taught what Christianity was by his interview with the Lord Jesus on the way to Damascus, Acts 9:5, 26:14-18; (3.) the purpose for which Ananias was sent to him in Damascus was that he might receive his sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts 9:17. Whatever instructions he may have received through Ananias, it is still true that his call was directly from the Lord Jesus, and his information of the nature of Christianity from his revelation. But by the revelation of Jesus Christ. On his way to Damascus, and subsequently in the temple, Acts 22:17-21. Doubtless he received communications at various times from the Lord Jesus with regard to the nature of the gospel and his duty, The sense here is, that he was not indebted to men for his knowledge of the gospel, but had derived it entirely from the Saviour. (a) "I neither received" 1Cor 15:1-3 (b) "revelation" Eph 3:3 Verse 13. For ye have heard of my conversation. My conduct, my mode of life, my deportment. 2Cor 1:12. Probably Paul had himself made them acquainted with the events of his early years. The reason why he refers to this is to show them that he had not derived his knowledge of the Christian religion from any instruction which he had received in his early years, or any acquaintance which he had formed with the apostles, he had at first been decidedly opposed to the Lord Jesus, and had been converted only by his wonderful grace. In the Jews' religion. In the belief and practice of Judaism; that is, as it was understood in the time when he was educated. It was not merely in the religion of Moses, but it was in that religion as understood and practised by the Jews in his time, when opposition to Christianity constituted a very material part of it. In that religion Paul proceeds to show that he had been more distinguished than most persons of his time. How that beyond measure. In the highest possible degree; beyond all limits or bounds; exceedingly. The phrase which Paul here uses, καθυπερβολην by hyperbole, is one which he frequently employs to denote anything that is excessive, or that cannot be expressed by ordinary language. See the Greek in Rom 7:13, 1Cor 12:31, 2Cor 1:8, 4:7,17. I persecuted the church. See @Ac 8:3 9:1. And wasted it. Destroyed it. The word which is here used means, properly, to waste or destroy, as when a city or country is ravaged by an army or by wild beasts. His purpose was to utterly to root out and destroy the Christian religion. (++) "beyond measure" "exceedingly" (c) "church of God" Acts 8:1,3, 9:1,2, 26:9 (&) "wasted it" "laid it waste" Verse 14. And profited. Made advances and attainments. He made advances not only in the knowledge of the Jewish religion, but also he surpassed others in his zeal in defending its interests, he had had better advantages than most of his countrymen; and by his great zeal and characteristic ardour, he had been able to make higher attainments than most others had done. Above many my equals. Marg. equals in years. This is the true sense of the original. It means that he surpassed those of the same age with himself. Possibly there may be a reference here to those of the same age who attended with him on the instructions of Gamaliel. Being more exceedingly zealous. More studious of; more ardently attached to them; more anxious to distinguish himself in attainments in the religion in which he was brought up. All this is fully sustained by all that we know of the character of Paul, as at all times a man of singular and eminent zeal in all that he undertook. Of the traditions of my fathers. Of the traditions of the Jews. Mt 15:2. A large part of the doctrines of the Pharisees depended on mere tradition; and Paul doubtless made this a special matter of study, and was particularly tenacious in regard to it. It was to be learned, from the very nature of it, only by oral teaching, as there is no evidence that it was then recorded. Subsequently these traditions were recorded in the Mishna, and are found in the Jewish writings. But in the time of Paul they were to be learned as they were handed down from one to another; and hence the utmost diligence was requisite to obtain a knowledge of them. Paul does not here say that he was zealous then for the practice of the new religion, nor for the study of the Bible. His object in going to Jerusalem, and studying at the feet of Gamaliel, was doubtless to obtain a knowledge of the traditions of the sect of the Pharisees. Had he been studying the Bible all that time, he would have kept from the fiery zeal which he evinced in persecuting the church, and would, if he had studied it right, have been saved from much trouble of conscience afterwards. (|) "profited" "Made a proficiency" (1) "my equals" "equals in years" (d) "being more exceedingly zealous" Acts 22:3, Php 3:6 (e) "traditions" Mk 7:5-13 Verse 15. But when it pleased God. Paul traced all his hopes of eternal life, and all the good influences which had ever borne upon his mind, to God. Who separated me, etc. That is, who destined me; or who purposed from my very birth that I should be a preacher and an apostle. The meaning is, that God had in his secret purposes set him apart to be an apostle. It does not mean that he had actually called him in his infancy to the work, for this was not so, but that he designed him to be an important instrument in his hands in spreading the true religion. Jeremiah Jer 1:5 was thus set apart, and John the Baptist was thus early designated, for the work which they afterwards performed. It follows from this, (1.) that God often, if not always, has purposes in regard to men from their very birth. He designs them for some important field of labour, and endows them at their creation with talents adapted to that. (2.) It does not follow that because a young man has gone far astray; and has become even a blasphemer and a persecutor, that God has not destined him to some important and holy work in his service. How many men have been called, like Paul, and Newton, and Bunyan, and Augustine, from a life of sin to the service of God. (3.) God is often training up men in a remarkable manner for future usefulness. His eye is upon them, and he watches over them, until the time comes for their conversion, His providence was concerned in the education and training of Paul. It was by the Divine intention with reference to his future work that he had so many opportunities of education, and was so well acquainted with the "traditions" of that religion which he was yet to demonstrate to be unfounded and false, he gave him the opportunity to cultivate his mind, and prepare to grapple with the Jew in argument, and show him how unfounded were his hopes. So it is often now. He gives to a young man an opportunity of a finished education. Perhaps he suffers him to fall into the snares of infidelity, and to become familiar with the arguments of skeptics, that he may thus be better prepared to meet their sophisms, and to enter into their feelings, His eye is upon them in their wanderings, and they are suffered often to wander far; to range the fields of science; to become distinguished as scholars, as Paul was; until the time comes for their conversion, and then, in accordance with the purpose which set them apart from the world, God converts them, and consecrates all their talents and attainments to his service. (4.) We should never despair of a young man who has wandered far from God. If he has risen high in attainments; if his whole aim is ambition; or if he has become an infidel, still we are not to despair of him. It is possible still that God "separated" that talent to his service from the very birth, and that he means yet to call it all to his service, how easy it was to convert Saul of Tarsus when the proper period arrived. So it is of the now unconverted and unconsecrated, but cultivated talent among the young men of our land. Far as they may have wandered from God and virtue, yet much of that talent has been devoted to him in baptism, and by parental purposes and prayers; and, it may be--as is morally certain from the history of the past--that much of it is consecrated also by the Divine purpose and intention for the noble cause of virtue and pure religion. In that now apparently wasted talent; in that learning now apparently devoted to other aims and ends, there is much that will yet adorn the cause of virtue and religion; and how fervently should we pray that it may be "called" by the grace of God, and actually devoted to his service. And called me by his grace. On the way to Damascus. It was special grace, because he was then engaged in bitterly opposing him and his cause. (f) "pleased God" Isa 49:1, Jer 1:5, Acts 13:2, 22:14,15, Rom 1:1 Verse 16. To reveal his Son in me. This is to be regarded as connected with the first part of Gal 1:15: "When it pleased God to reveal his Son in me," i.e., on the way to Damascus. The phrase evidently means, to make me acquainted with the Lord Jesus, or to reveal his Son to me. Comp. the Greek in Mt 10:32, for a similar expression. The revelation here referred to was the miraculous manifestation which was made to Paul on his way to Damascus. Compare 2Cor 4:6. That revelation was in order to convince him that he was the Messiah; to acquaint him with his nature, rank, and claims; and to qualify him to be a preacher to the heathen. That I might preach him. In order that I might so preach him; or with a view to my being appointed to this work. This was the leading purpose for which Paul was converted, Acts 9:15, 22:21. The heathen. The Gentiles; the portion of the world that was not Jewish, or that was destitute of the true religion. Immediately. Koppe supposes that this is to be connected with, "I went into Arabia," Gal 1:17. Rosenmuller supposes it means, "Immediately I consented." Dr. Wells and Locke suppose that it refers to the fact that he immediately went to Arabia. But this seems to me to be an unnatural construction. The words are too remote from each other to allow of it. The evident sense is, that he was at once decided. He did not take time to deliberate whether he should or should not become a Christian. He made up his mind at once, and on the spot. He did not consult with any one; he did not ask advice of any one; he did not wait to be instructed by any one. He was convinced by the vision in an overpowering manner that Jesus was the Messiah, and he yielded at once. The main idea is, that there was no delay, no consultation, no deferring it, that he might see and consult with his friends, or with the friends of Christianity. The object for which he dwells on this is to show that he did not receive his views of the gospel from man. I conferred not. I did not lay the case προσανεθεμην before any man; I did not confer with any one. Flesh and blood. Any human being: for so the phrase properly signifies. Mt 16:17. This does not mean here that Paul did not consult his own ease and happiness; that he was regardless of the sufferings which he might be called to endure; that he was willing to suffer, and was not careful to make provision for his own comforts which was true in itself; but that he did not lay the case before any man, or any body of men, for instruction or advice, he acted promptly and decisively, he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, Acts 26:19 but resolved at once to obey. Many suppose that this passage means that Paul did not take counsel of the evil passions and suggestions of his own heart, or of the feelings which would have prompted him to lead a life of ambition, or a life under the influence of corrupt desires. But however true this was in fact, no such thing is intended here. It means simply that he did not take counsel of any human being, he resolved at once to follow the command of the Saviour, and at once to obey him. The passage shows, (1.) that when the Lord Jesus calls us to follow him, we should promptly and decidedly obey. (2.) We should not delay even to take counsel of earthly friends, or wait for human advice, or consult their wishes, but should at once resolve to follow the Lord Jesus. Most persons, when they are awakened to see their guilt, and their minds are impressed on the subject of religion, are prone to defer it; to resolve to think of it at some future time; or to engage in some other business before they become Christians; or, at least, they wish to finish what they have on hand before they yield to God. Had Paul pursued this course, he would probably never have become a Christian. It follows, therefore, (3.) that when the Lord Jesus calls us, we should at once abandon any course of life, however pleasant, or any plan of ambition, however brilliant, or any scheme of gain, however promising, in order that we may follow him. What a brilliant career of ambition did Paul abandon! and how promptly and decidedly did he do it! tie did not pause or hesitate a moment; but, brilliant as were his prospects, he at once forsook all--paused in mid-career in his ambition--and, without consulting a human being, at once gave his heart to God. Such a course should be pursued by all. Such a promptness and decision will prepare one to become an eminent Christian, and to be eminently useful. (a) "reveal his Son" 2Cor 4:6 (*) "in me" "to me" (b) "that I might" Acts 9:15 (c) "not with flesh and blood" 2Cor 5:16 Verse 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem. That is, I did not go there at once. I did not go to consult with the apostles there, or to be instructed by them in regard to the nature of the Christian religion. The design of this statement is to show that in no sense did he derive his commission from man. To them which were apostles before me. This implies that Paul then regarded himself to be an apostle. They were, he admits, apostles before he was; but he felt also that he had original authority with them, and he did not go to them to receive instruction, or to derive his commission from them. Several of the apostles remained in Jerusalem for a considerable time after the ascension of the Lord Jesus, and it was regarded as the principal place of authority. See Acts 15. But I went into Arabia. Arabia was south of Damascus, and at no great distance. The line indeed between Arabia Deserts and Syria is not very definitely marked, but it is generally agreed that Arabia extends to a considerable distance into the great Syrian desert. To what part of Arabia, and for what purpose Paul went, is wholly unknown. Nothing is known of the circumstances of this journey; nor is the time which he spent there known. It is known, indeed, Gal 1:18, that he did not go to Jerusalem until three years after his conversion; but how large a part of this time was spent in Damascus we have no means of ascertaining. It is probable that Paul was engaged during these three years in preaching the gospel in Damascus and the adjacent regions, and in Arabia. Comp. Acts 9:20,22,27. The account of this journey into Arabia is wholly omitted by Luke in the Acts of the apostles; and this fact, as has been remarked by Paley, (Horae Paulinae, chap. v. No. 2,) demonstrates that the Acts and this epistle were not written by the same author, or that the one is independent of the other; because, "if the Acts of the Apostles had been a forged history, made up from the epistle, it is impossible that this journey should have been passed over in silence; if the epistle had been composed out of what the author had read of St. Paul's history in the Acts, it is unaccountable that it should have been inserted." As to the reason why Luke omitted to mention the journey into Arabia, nothing is known. Various conjectures have been entertained, but they are mere conjectures. It is sufficient to say, that Luke has by no means recorded all that Paul or the other apostles did, nor has he pretended to do it. He has given the leading events in the public labours of Paul; and it is not at all improbable that he has omitted not a few short excursions made by him for the purpose of preaching the gospel. The journey into Arabia, probably, did not furnish any incidents in regard to the success of the gospel there which required particular record by the sacred historian; nor has Paul himself referred to it for any such reason, or intimated that it furnished any incidents or any facts that required particularly the notice of the historian. He has mentioned it for a different purpose altogether--to show that he did not receive his commission from the apostles, and that he did not go at once to consult them. He went directly the other way. As Luke, in the Acts, had no occasion to illustrate this, as he had no occasion to refer to this argument, it did not fall in with his design to mention the fact. Nor is it-known why Paul went into Arabia. Bloomfield supposes that it was in order to recover his health after the calamity which he suffered on the way to Damascus. But everything in regard to this is mere conjecture. I should rather think it was more in accordance with the general character of Paul that he made this short excursion for the purpose of preaching the gospel. And returned again unto Damascus. He did not go to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles after his visit to Arabia, but returned again to the place where he was converted, and preached there, showing that he had not derived his commission from the other apostles. Verse 18. Then after three years. Probably three years after his departure from Jerusalem to Damascus, not after his return to Arabia. So most commentators have understood it. Went up to Jerusalem. More correctly, as in the margin, returned. To see Peter. Peter was the oldest and most distinguished of the apostles. In Gal 2:9, he, with James and John, is called a pillar. But why Paul went particularly to see him is not known. It was probably, however, from the celebrity and distinction which he knew Peter had among the apostles that he wished to become particularly acquainted with him. The word which is here rendered to see, ιστορησαι is by no means that which is commonly employed to denote that idea. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and properly means, to ascertain by personal inquiry and examination, and then to narrate, as an historian was accustomed to do, whence our word history. The notion of personally seeing and examining is one that belongs essentially to the word, and the idea here is that of seeing or visiting Peter in order to a personal acquaintance. And abode with him fifteen days. Probably, says Bloomfield, including three Lord's days. Why he departed then is unknown. Beza supposes that it was on account of the plots of the Grecians against him, and their intention to destroy him, Acts 9:29; but this is not assigned by Paul himself as a reason. It is probable that the purpose of his visit to Peter would be accomplished in that time, and he would not spend more time than was necessary with him. It is clear that in the short space of two weeks he could not have been very extensively taught by Peter the nature of the Christian religion, and probably the time is mentioned here to show that he had not been under the teaching of the apostles. (a) "Then after three years" Acts 9:26 (1) "I went" "returned" Verse 19. Save James the Lord's brother. That the James here referred to was an apostle is clear. The whole construction of the sentence demands this supposition. In the list of the apostles in Mt 10:2,3, two of this name are mentioned, James the son of Zebedee and brother of John, and James the son of Alphaeus. From the Acts of the Apostles it is clear that there were two of this name in Jerusalem. Of these, James the brother of John was slain by Herod, Acts 12:2 and the other continued to reside in Jerusalem, Acts 15:13, 21:13. This latter James was called James the Less, Mk 15:40 to distinguish him from the other James, probably because he was the younger. It is probable that this was the James referred to here, as it is evident from the Acts of the Apostles that he was a prominent man among the apostles in Jerusalem. Commentators have not been agreed as to what is meant by his being the brother of the Lord Jesus. Doddridge understands it as meaning that he was "the near kinsman" or cousin-german to Jesus; for he was, says he, the son of Alphaeus and Mary, the sister of the virgin; and if there were but two of this name, this opinion is undoubtedly correct. In the Apostolical Constitutions (see Rosenmuller) three of this name are mentioned as apostles or eminent men in Jerusalem; and hence many have supposed that one of them was the son of Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus. It is said Mt 13:55 that the brothers of Jesus were James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas; and it is remarkable that three of the apostles bear the same names --James the son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas, Jn 14:22. It is indeed possible, as Bloomfield remarks, that three brothers of our Lord and three of his apostles might bear the same names, and yet be different persons; but such a coincidence would be very remarkable, and not easily explained. But if it were not so, then the James here was the son of Alphaeus, and consequently a cousin of the Lord Jesus. The word brother may, according to Scripture usage, be understood as denoting a near kinsman. See Schleusner (Lex. 2) on the word αδελφος. After all, however, it is not quite certain who is intended. Some have supposed that neither of the apostles of the name of James is intended, but another James who was the son of Mary the mother of Jesus. See Koppe, in loc. But it is clear, I think, that one of the apostles is intended. Why James is particularly mentioned here is unknown. As, however, he was a prominent man in Jerusalem, Paul would naturally seek his acquaintance. It is possible that the other apostles were absent from Jerusalem during the fifteen days when he was there. (*) "save" "except" (b) "James the Lord's brother" Mk 6:3 Verse 20. Behold, before God, I lie not. This is an oath, or a solemn appeal to God. See Note, Rom 9:1. The design of this oath here is to prevent all suspicion of falsehood. It may seem to be remarkable that Paul should make this solemn appeal to God in this argument, and in the narrative of a plain fact, when his statement could hardly be called in question by any one. But we may remark, (1.) that the oath here refers not only to the fact that he was with Peter and James but fifteen days, but to the entire group of facts to which he had referred in this chapter. "The things which I write unto you." It included, therefore, the narrative about his conversion, and the direct revelation which he had from the Lord Jesus. (2.) There were no witnesses which he could appeal to in this case, and he could therefore only appeal to God. It was probably not practicable for him to appeal to Peter or James, as neither of them were in Galatia, and a considerable part of the transactions here referred to occurred where there were no witnesses. It pertained to the direct revelation of truth from the Lord Jesus. The only way, therefore, was for Paul to appeal directly to God for the truth of what he said. (3.) The importance of the truth here affirmed was such as to justify this solemn appeal to God. It was an extraordinary and miraculous revelation of the truth by Jesus Christ himself. He received information of the truth of Christianity from no human being. He had consulted no one in regard to its nature. That fact was so extraordinary, and it was so remarkable that the system thus communicated to him should harmonize so entirely with that taught by the other apostles with whom he had had no intercourse, that it was not improper to appeal to God in this solemn manner. It was, therefore, no trifling matter in which Paul appealed to God; and a solemn appeal of the same nature, and in the same circumstances, can never be improper. Verse 21. Afterwards I came, etc. In this account he has omitted a circumstance recorded by Luke, Acts 9:29 of the controversy which he had with the Grecians or Hellenists, It was not material to the purpose which he has here in view, which is to state that he was not indebted to the apostles for his knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity. He therefore merely states that he left Jerusalem soon after he went there, and travelled to other places. The regions of Syria. Syria was between Jerusalem and Cilicia. Antioch was the capital of Syria, and in that city and the adjacent places he spent considerable time. Comp. Acts 15:23,41. Cilicia. This was a province of Asia Minor, of which Tarsus, the native place of Paul, was the capital. Acts 6:9. (c) "I came" Acts 9:30 Verse 22. And was unknown by face, etc. Paul had visited Jerusalem only, and he had formed no acquaintance with any of the churches in the other parts of Judea. He regarded himself at the first as called to preach particularly to the Gentiles, and he did not remain even to form an acquaintance with the Christians in Judea. The churches of Judea. Those which were out of Jerusalem. Even at the early period of the conversion of Paul, there were doubtless many churches in various parts of the land. Which were in Christ. United to Christ; or which were Christian churches. The design of mentioning this is to show that he had not derived his views of the gospel from any of them. He had neither been instructed by the apostles, nor was he indebted to the Christians in Judea for his knowledge of the Christian religion. (d) "churches of Judea" 1Thes 2:14 But they had heard only, etc. They had not seen me; but the remarkable fact of my conversions had been reported to them. It was a fact that they could hardly be concealed. Acts 26:26. (a) "heard only" Acts 9:13,26, 1Timm 1:13-16 Verse 24. And they glorified God in me. They praised God on my account. They regarded me as a true convert and a sincere Christian; and they praised God that he had converted such a persecutor, and had made him a preacher of the gospel. The design for which this is mentioned is to show that though he was personally unknown to them, and had not derived his views of the gospel from them, yet that he had their entire confidence. They regarded him as a convert and an apostle, and they were disposed to praise God for his conversion. This fact would do much to conciliate the favour of the Galatians, by showing them that he had the confidence of the churches in the very-land where the gospel was first planted, and which was regarded as the source of ecclesiastical authority. In view of this we may remark, (1.) that it is the duty of Christians kindly and affectionately to receive among their number those who have been converted from a career of persecution or of sin in any form. And it is always done by true Christians. It is easy to forgive a man who has been actively engaged in persecuting the church, or a man who has been profane, intemperate, dishonest, or licentious, if he becomes a true penitent, and confesses and forsakes his sins. No matter what his life has been; no matter how abandoned, sensual, or devilish; if he manifests true sorrow, and gives evidence of a change of heart, he is cordially received into any church, and welcomed as a fellow-labourer in the cause which he once destroyed. Here, at least, is one place where forgiveness is cordial and perfect. his former life is not remembered, except to praise God for his grace in recovering a sinner from such a course; the evils that he has done are forgotten; and he is henceforward regarded as entitled to all the privileges and immunities of a member of the household of faith. There is not on earth an infuriated persecutor or blasphemer who would not be cordially welcomed to any Christian church on the evidence of his repentance; not a man so debased and vile, that the most pure, and elevated, and learned, and wealthy Christians would not rejoice to sit down with him at the same communion table, on the evidence of his conversion to God. (2.) We should "glorify" or praise God for all such instances of conversion. We should do it because (a) of the abstraction of the talents of the persecutor from the cause of evil. Paul could have done, and would have done, immense service to the enemies of Christianity, if he had pursued the career which he had commenced. But when he was converted, all that bad influence ceased. So when an infidel or a profligate man is converted now. (b) Because now his talents will be consecrated to a better service. They will be employed in the cause of truth and salvation. All the power of the matured and educated talent will now be devoted to the interests of religion; and it is a fact for which we should thank God, that he often takes educated talent, and commanding influence, and an established reputation for ability, learning, and zeal, and devotes it to his own service. (c) Because there will be a change of destiny; because the enemy of the Redeemer will now be saved. The moment when Saul of Tarsus was converted, was the moment which determined a change in his eternal destiny. Before, he was in the broad way to hell; henceforward he walked in the path of life and salvation. Thus we should always rejoice over a sinner returning from the error of his ways; and should praise God that he who was in danger of eternal ruin is now an heir of glory. Christians are not jealous in regard to the numbers who shall enter heaven. They feel that there is "room" for all; that the feast is ample for all; and they rejoice when any can be induced to come with them and partake of the happiness of heaven. (3.) We may still glorify and praise God for the grace manifested in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. What does not the world owe to him! What do we not owe to him! No man did as much in establishing the Christian religion as he did; no one among the apostles was the means of converting and saving so many souls; no one has left so many and so valuable writings for the edification of the church. To him we owe the invaluable epistles--so full of truth, and eloquence, and promises, and consolations--on which we are commenting; and to him the church owes, under God, some of its most elevated and ennobling views of the nature of Christian doctrine and duty. After the lapse, therefore, of eighteen hundred years, we should not cease to glorify God for the conversion of this wonderful man; and should feel that we have cause of thankfulness that he changed the infuriated persecutor to a holy and devoted apostle. (4.) Let us remember that God has the same power now. There is not a persecutor whom he could not convert with the same ease with which he changed Saul of Tarsus. There is not a vile and sensual man that he could not make pure; not a dishonest man that his grace could not make honest; not a blasphemer that he could not teach to venerate his name; not a lost and abandoned sinner that he cannot receive to himself. Let us, then, without ceasing cry unto him, that his grace may be continually manifested in reclaiming such sinners from the error of their ways, and bringing them to the knowledge of the truth, and to a consecration of their lives to his service. (b) "glorified God" Acts 21:19,20
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