COMMENTARY OF
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
ON THE EPISTLE OF
ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE
TO THE GALATIANS
CHAPTERS 3 TO 6

CHAPTER III

Verse 1. "O foolish Galatians[2] who did bewitch you, before

whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth, crucified?"

Here he passes to another subject; in the former chapters he had shown himself not to be an Apostle of men, nor by men, nor in want of Apostolic instruction. Now, having established his authority as a teacher, he proceeds to discourse more confidently, and draws a comparison between faith and the Law. At the outset he said, "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing;" (Gal. i: 6.) but here, "O foolish Galatians;" then, his indignation was in its birth, but now, after his refutation of the charges against himself, and his proofs, it bursts forth. Let not his calling them "foolish" surprise you; for it is not a transgression of Christ's command not to call one's brother a fool, but rather a strict observance of it. For it is not said simply, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool," (Mat. v: 22.) but, whosoever shall do so, "without a cause."[1] And who more fittingly than they could so be called, who after so great events, adhered to past things, as if nothing else had ever happened? If on this account Paul is to be called a "reviler," Peter may likewise, on account of Annanias and Sapphira, be called a homicide; but as it would be wildness to do so in that case, much more in this. Moreover it is to be considered, that this vehemence is not used at the beginning, but after these evidences and proofs, which, rather than Paul himself, might now be held to administer the rebuke. For after he had shown that they rejected the faith, and made the death of Christ to be without a purpose, he introduces his reproof, which, even as it is, is less severe than they merited. Observe too how soon he stays his arm; for he adds not, Who has seduced you? who has perverted you? who has been sophistical with you? but, "Who hath cast an envious eye on you?" thus tempering his reprimand with somewhat of praise. For it implies that their previous course had excited jealousy,[2] and that the present occurrence arose from the malignity of a demon, whose breath had blasted their prosperous estate.

And when you hear of jealousy in this place, and in the Gospel, of an evil eye, which means the same, you must not suppose that the glance of the eye has any natural power to injure those who look upon it. For the eye, that is, the organ itself, cannot be evil; but Christ in that place means jealousy by the term. To behold, simply, is the function of the eye, but to behold in an evil manner belongs to a mind depraved within. As through this sense the knowledge of visible objects enters the soul, and as jealousy is for the most part generated by wealth, and wealth and sovereignty and pomp are perceived by the eye, therefore he calls the eye evil; not as beholding merely, but as beholding enviously from some moral depravity. Therefore by the words, "Who hath looked enviously on you," he implies that the persons in question acted, not from concern, not to supply defects, but to mutilate what existed. For envy, far from supplying what is wanting, subtracts from what is complete, and vitiates the whole. And he speaks thus, not as if envy had any power of itself, but meaning, that the teachers of these doctrines did so from envious motives.

Ver. 1. "Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth, crucified."

Yet was He not crucified in Galatia, but at Jerusalem. His reason for saying, " among you,"[3] is to declare the power of faith to see events which are at a distance. He says not, "crucified," but, "openly set forth crucified," signifying that by the eye of faith they saw more distinctly than some who were present as spectators. For many of the latter received no benefit, but the former, who were not eye-witnesses, yet saw it by faith more clearly. These words convey both praise and blame; praise, for their implicit acceptance of the truth; blame, because Him whom they had seen, for their sakes, stripped naked, transfixed, nailed to the cross, spit upon, mocked, fed with vinegar, upbraided by thieves, pierced with a spear; (for all this is implied in the words, "openly set forth, crucified,")[4] Him had they left, and betaken themselves to the Law, unshamed by any of those sufferings. Here observe how Paul, leaving all mention of heaven, earth, and sea, every where preaches the power of Christ, bearing about as he did, and holding up His. cross: for this is the sum of the Divine love. toward us.

Ver 2. "This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?"

As ye do not attend, says he, to long discourses, nor are willing to contemplate the magnitude of this Economy, I am desirous, (seeing your extreme ignorance,) to convince you by concise arguments and a summary method of proof. Before, he had convinced them by what he said to Peter; now, he encounters them entirely with arguments, drawn not from what had occurred elsewhere, but from what had happened among themselves.[5] And his persuasives and proofs are adduced, not merely from what was given them in common with others, but from what was especially conferred on themselves. Therefore he says, "This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith." Ye have received, he says, the Holy Spirit, ye have done many mighty works, ye have effected miracles in raising the dead, in cleansing lepers, in prophesying, in speaking with tongues,--did the LaW confer this great power upon you? was it not rather Faith, seeing that, before, ye could do no such things? Is it not then the height of madness for these who have received such benefits from Faith, to abandon it, and desert back to the Law which can offer you nothing of the same kind?

Ver. 3. "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?"

Here again he seasonably interposes a rebuke; time, he says, should have brought improvement; but, so far from advancing, ye have even retrograded. Those who start from small beginnings make progress to higher things; ye, who began with the high, have relapsed to the low. Even had your outset been carnal, your advance should have been spiritual, but now, after starting from things spiritual, ye have ended your journey in that which is carnal; for to work miracles is spiritual, but to be circumcised is carnal. And after miracles ye have passed to circumcision, after having apprehended the truth ye have fallen back to types, after gazing on the sun ye seek a candle, after having strong meat ye run for milk. He says, "made perfect,"[1] which means not "initiated" merely, but "sacrificed," signifying that their teachers took and slew them like animals, while they resigned themselves to suffer what those teachers pleased. As if some captain, or distinguished man, after a thousand victories and trophies, were to subject himself to infamy as a deserter, and offer his body to be branded at the will of others.

Ver. 4. "Did ye suffer so many things in vain?[2] if it be indeed in vain."

This remark is far more piercing than the former, for the remembrance of their miracles would not be so powerful as the exhibition of their contests and endurance of sufferings for Christ's sake. All that you have endured, says he, these men would strip you of, and would rob you of your crown. Then, lest he should dismay and unnerve, he proceeds not to a formal judgment, but subjoins, "if it be indeed in vain;" if you have but a mind to shake off drowsiness and recover yourselves, he says, it is not in vain. Where then be those who would cut off repentance[3]? Here were men who had received the Spirit, worked miracles, become confessors, encountered a thousand perils and persecutions for Christ's sake, and after so many achievements had fallen from grace; nevertheless he says, if ye have the purpose, ye may recover yourselves.

Ver. 5. "He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"

Have ye been vouchsafed, he says, so great a gift, and achieved such wonders, because ye observed the Law, or because ye adhered to Faith? plainly on account of Faith. Seeing that they played this argument to and fro, that apart from the Law, Faith had no force, he proves the contrary, viz., that if the Commandments be added, Faith no longer avails; for Faith then has efficacy when things from the Law are not added to it. "Ye who would be justified by the Law, ye are fallen away from grace:" (Gal. v: 4.) This he says later, when his language has grown bolder, employing the vantage-ground by. that time gained; meanwhile while gaining it, he argues from their past experience. For it was when ye obeyed Faith, he says, not the Law, that ye received the Spirit and wrought miracles.

And here, as the Law was the subject of discuss;on, he moots another special point of controversy, and very opportunely and with much cogency introduces a notice of Abraham.

Ver. 6. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. "

Even the miracles done by themselves, he says, declare the power of Faith, but I shall attempt if you will suffer me to draw my proofs from ancient narratives also. Then, as they made great account of the Patriarch, he brings his example forward, and shows that he too was justified by Faith.[4] And if he who was before grace, was justified by Faith, although plentiful in works, much more we. For what loss was it to him, not being under the Law? None, for his faith sufficed unto righteousness. The Law did not then exist, he says, neither does it now exist, any more than then. In disproving the need of the Law, he introduces one who was justified before the Law, lest an objection should also be made to him; for as then it was not yet given, so now, having been given, it was abrogated. And as they made much of their descent from Abraham, and feared lest, abandoning the Law, they should be considered strangers to his kin; Paul removes this fear by turning their argument against themselves, and proves that faith is especially concerned in connecting them with Abraham. He draws out this argument more at length in the Epistle to the Romans; however he urges it also here in, the words,

Ver. 7. "Know therefore, that they which be of faith, the same are sons of Abraham."

Which he proves by ancient testimony thus:

Ver. 8. "And the Scripture,[1] foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel Beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed."

If then those were Abraham's sons, not, who were related to him by blood, but who follow his faith, for this is the meaning of the words, "In thee all the nations," it is plain that the heathen are brought into kindred with him.

Hereby too is proved another important point. It perplexed them that the Law was the older, and Faith afterwards. Now he removes this notion by showing that Faith was anterior to the Law; as is evident from Abraham's case, who was justified before the giving of the Law. He shows too that late events fell out according to prophecy; "The Scripture," says he, "fore-seeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand unto Abraham." Attend to this point. He Himself who gave the Law, had decreed, before He gave it, that the heathen should be justified by Faith. And he says not "revealed," but, "preached the Gospel," to signify that the patriarch was in joy at this method of justification, and in great desire for its accomplishment.

Further, they were possessed with another apprehension; it was written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the Law, to do them." (Deut. xxvii: 26.) And this he removes, with great skill and prudence, turning their argument against themselves, and showing that those who relinquish the Law are not only not cursed, but blessed; and they who keep it, not only not blessed but cursed. They said that he who kept not the Law was cursed, but he proves that he who kept it was cursed, and he who kept it not, blessed. Again, they said that he who adhered . to Faith alone was cursed, but he shows that he who adhered to Faith alone, is blessed. And how does he prove all this? for it is no common thing which we have promised; wherefore it is necessary to give close attention to what follows. He had already shown this, by referring to the words spoken to the Patriarch, "In thee shall all nations be blessed," (Gen. xii: 4.) at a time, that is, when Faith existed, not the Law; so he adds by way of conclusion,

Ver. 9. "So then they which be of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham."[2]

Then, that they might not turn round, and object that, true it was Abraham was justified by Faith, for the Law was not then given, but what instance would be found of Faith justifying after the delivery of the Law? he addresses himself to this, and proves more than they required: namely, not only that Faith was justifying, but that the Law brought its adherents under a curse. To be sure of this, listen to the very words of the Apostle.

Ver. 10. "For[3] as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse."

This is what he lays down, before proving it ; and what is the proof? it is from the Law itself:--

Ver. 10, 11. "For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the Law to do them. Now that no man is justified by the Law is evident."

For all have sinned, and are under the curse. However he does not say this yet, lest he should seem to lay it down of himself, but here again establishes his point by a text which concisely states both points; that no man has fulfilled the Law, (wherefore they are under the curse,) and, that Faith justifies. What then is the text? It is in the book of the prophet Habakkuk, "The just shall live by faith," (Hab. ii: 4.) which not only establishes the righteousness that is of Faith, but also that there is no salvation through the Law. As no one, he says, kept the Law, but all were under the curse, on account of transgression, an easy way was provided, that from Faith, which is in itself a strong proof that no man can be justified by the Law. For the prophet says not, "The just shall live by the Law," but," by faith:"

Ver. 12. "And the Law is not of faith; but He that doeth them shall live in them."

For the Law requires not only Faith but works also, but grace saves and justifies by Faith. (Eph. ii: 8.)

You see how he proves that they are under the curse who cleave to the Law, because it is impossible to fulfill it; next, how comes Faith to have this justifying power? for to this doctrine he already stood pledged, and now maintains it with great force of argument. The Law being too weak to lead man to righteousness, an effectual remedy was provided in Faith, which is the means of rendering that possible which was "impossible by the Law." (Rom. viii: 3.) Now as the Scripture says, "the just shall live by faith," thus repudiating salvation by the Law, and moreover as Abraham was justified by Faith, it is evident that its efficacy is very great. And it is also clear, that he who abides not by the Law is cursed, and that he who keeps to Faith is just. But, you may ask me, how I prove that this curse is not still of force? Abraham lived before the Law, but we, who once were subject to the yoke of bondage, have made ourselves liable to the curse; and who shall release us therefrom? Observe his ready answer to this; his former remark was sufficient; for, if a man be once justified, and has died to the Law and embraced a novel life, how can such a one be subject to the curse? however, this is not enough for him, so he begins with a fresh argument, as follows:--

Ver. 13. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."[1]

In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in the things that are written in the book of the Law." (Deut. xxvii: 26.) To this curse, I say, people were subject, for no man had continued in, or was a keeper of, the whole Law; but Christ exchanged this curse for the other, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." As then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the Law, is cursed, and as it was necessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be free from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took opon Him such another, and thereby relieved us from the curse. It was like an innocent man's undertaking to die for another sentenced to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. For, "He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth." (Isa. liii: 9; 1 Peter ii: 22.) And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon Himself the curse, He delivered them from it.

Ver. 14. "That upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham."

How on the Gentiles? It is said, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed:" (Gen. xxii: 18; xxvi: 4.) that is to say, in Christ. If this were said of the Jews, how would it be reasonable that they who were themselves subject to the curse, on account of transgression, should become the authors of a blessing to others? an accursed person cannot impart to others that blessing of which he is himself deprived. Plainly then it all refers to Christ who was the Seed of Abraham, and through whom the Gentiles are blessed. And thus the promise of the Spirit is added, as Paul himself declares, "that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."[2] As the grace of the Spirit could not possibly descend on the graceless and offending, they are first blessed the curse having been removed; then being justified by faith, they draw unto themselves the grace of the Spirit. Thus the Cross removed the curse, Faith brought in righteousness, righteousness drew on the grace of the Spirit.

Ver. 15. "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed, no one maketh it void or addeth thereto."

"To speak after the manner of men" means to use human examples.[3] Having founded his argument on the Scriptures, on the miracles wrought among themselves, on the sufferings of Christ, and on the Patriarch, he proceeds to common usages; and this he does invariably, in order to sweeten his discourse, and render it more acceptable and intelligible to the duller sort. Thus he argues with the Corinthians, "Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not the fruit thereof?" (1 Cor. ix: 7.) and again with the Hebrews, "For a testament is of force where there hath been death; for doth it ever avail while he that made it liveth?" ( Heb. ix: 17. ) One may find him dwelling with pleasure on such arguments. In the Old Testament God does the same thing in many instances, as, "Cab a woman forget her sucking child?" (Isa. xlix: 15.) and again, "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?" (Isa. xlv: 9.) and in Hosea, He represents a husband set at nought by his wife. (Hos. ii: 5, f.) This use of human examples frequently occurs in types also, as when the prophet takes the girdle, (Jer. xiii 1-9.) and goes down to the potter's house (Jer. xviii: 1-6.) The meaning of the present example is, that Faith is more ancient than the Law, which is later and only temporary, and delivered in order to pave the way for Faith. Hence he says, "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men;" above he had called them "foolish," now he calls them "brethren," at once chiding and encouraging them. "Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed." If a man, says he, makes a covenant, does any one dare to come afterwards and overturn it, or subjoin aught to it? for this is the meaning of "or addeth thereto." Much less then when God makes a covenant; and with whom did God make a covenant?

Ver. 16, 17, 18. "Now to Abraham were the promises spoken and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds,[1] as of many; but as of One, And to thy seed, which is Christ.[2] Now this I say, A covenant, confirmed before hand by God the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance is of the Law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by promise."

Thus God made a covenant with Abraham, promising that in his seed the blessing should come upon the heathen; and this blessing the Law cannot turn aside. As this example was not in all respects appropriate to the matter in hand, he introduces it thus, "I speak after the manner of men," that nothing might be deduced from it derogatory to the majesty of God. But let us go to the bottom of this illustration. It was promised Abraham that by his seed the heathen should be blessed; and his seed according to the flesh is Christ; four hundred and thirty years after came the Law; now, if the Law bestows the blessings even life and righteousness, that promise is annulled. And so while no one annuls a man's covenant, the covenant of God after four hundred and thirty years is annulled; for if not that covenant but another instead of it bestows what is promised, then is it set aside, which is most unreasonable.

Ver. 19. "What then is the Law? it was added because of transgressions."

This remark again is not superfluous; observe too how he glances round at every thing, as if he had an hundred eyes. Having exalted Faith, and proved its eider claims, that the Law may not be considered superfluous, he sets right this side of the doctrine also, and proves that the Law was not given without a view, but altogether profitably. "Because of transgressions;" that is to say, that the Jews might not be let live carelessly, and plunge into the depth of wickedness,[3] but that the Law might be placed upon them as a bridle, guiding, regulating, and checking them from transgressing, if not all, at least some of the commandments. Not slight then was the advantage of the Law; but for how long?

Ver. 19. "Till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made."

This is said of Christ; if then it was given until His advent, why do you protract it beyond its natural period?

Ver. 19. "And it was ordained through Angels by the hand of a Mediator."

He either calls the priests Angels, or he declares that the Angels themselves ministered to the delivery of the Law. By Mediator here he means Christ,[4] and shows that He was before it, and Himself the Giver of it.

Ver. 20. "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one."[5]

What can the heretics[6] say to this? for as, according to them, the expression "the Only True God" excludes the Son from being true God, so here the phrase "God is One," excludes Him from being God in any sense. But if, although the Father is called "One God," the Son is nevertheless God, it is very plain that though the Father is called "Very God," the Son is very God likewise. Now a mediator, says he, is between two parties; of whom then is Christ the Mediator? plainly of God and of men. Observe, he says, that Christ also gave the Law; what therefore it was His to give, it is His to annul.

Ver. 21. "Is the Law then against the promises of God?"

For if the blessing is given in the seed of Abraham, but the Law brings in the curse, it must be contrary to the promises. This objection he meets, first, by a protest, in the words,

Ver. 21. "God forbid:" And next he brings his proof;

Ver. 21. "For if there had been a law given which could make alive. verily righteousness would have been of the Law."

His meaning is as follows; If we had our hope of life in the Law, and our salvation depended on it, the objection might be valid. But if it save you, by means of Faith, though it brings you under the curse, you suffer nothing from it, gain no harm, in that Faith comes and sets all right. Had the promise been by the Law, you had reasonably feared lest, separating from the Law, you should separate from righteousness, but if it was given in order to shut up all, that is, to convince all and expose their individual sins, far from excluding you from the promises, it now aids you in obtaining them. This is shown by the words,

Ver. 22. "Howbeit the scripture[1] hath shut up all things trader sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."

As the Jews were not even conscious of their own sins, and in consequence did not even desire remission; the Law was given to probe their wounds, that they might long for a physician. And the word "shut up" means "convinced" and conviction held them in fear. You see then it is not only not against, but was given for the promises. Had it arrogated to itself the work and the authority, the objection would stand; but if its drift is something else, and it acted for that, how is it against the promises of God? Had the Law not been given, all would have been wrecked upon wickedness, and there would have been no Jews to listen to Christ; but now being given, it has effected two things ; it has schooled its followers in a certain degree of virtue, and has pressed on them the knowledge of their own sins. And this especially made them more zealous to seek the Son, for those who disbelieved, disbelieved from having no sense of their own sins, as Paul shows; "For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the rightousness of God." (Rom. x: 3.)

Ver. 23. "But before faith came, we were kept inward under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."

Here he clearly puts forward what I have stated: for the expressions "we were kept" and "shut up," signify nothing else than the security given by the commandments of the Law; which like a fortress fenced them round with fear and a life conformable to itself, and so preserved them unto Faith.

Ver. 24. "So that the Law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

Now the Tutor is not opposed to the Preceptor, but cooperates with him, ridding the youth from all vice, and having all leisure to fit him for receiving instructions from his Preceptor. But when the youth's habits are formed, then the Tutor leaves him, as Paul says.

Ver. 25, 26. "But now that faith is come which leads to perfect manhood we are no longer under a tutor[2]. For ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

The Law then, as it was our tutor, and we were kept shut up under it, is not the adversary but the fellow-worker of grace; but if when grace is come, it continues to hold us down, it becomes an adversary; for if it confines those who ought to go forward to grace, then it is the destruction of our salvation. If a candle which gave light by night, kept us, when it became day, from the sun, it would not only not benefit, it would injure us; and so doth the Law, if it stands between us and greater benefits. Those then are the greatest traducers of the Law, who still keep it, just as the tutor makes a youth ridiculous, by retaining him with himself, when time calls for his departure. Hence Paul says, "But after faith is come, we are no longer under a tutor." We are then no longer under a tutor, "for ye are all sons of God." Wonderful! see how mighty is the power of Faith, and how he unfolds as he proceeds! Before, he showed that it made them sons of the Patriarch, "Know therefore," says he, "that they which be of faith, the same are sons of Abraham;" now he proves that they are sons of God also, "For ye are all," says he, "sons of God through faith, which is in Christ Jesus;" by Faith, not by the Law. Then, when he has said this great and wonderful thing, he names also the mode of their adoption,

Ver. 27. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ."

Why does he not say, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have been born of God?" for this was what directly went to prove that they were sons;--because he states it in a much more awful point of view; If Christ be the Son of God, and thou hast put on Him, thou who hast the Son within thee, and art fashioned after His pattern, hast been brought into one kindred and nature with Him.

Ver. 28. "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female: for ye all are one in Christ Jesus."

See what an insatiable soul! for having said, "We are all made children of God through Faith," he does not stop there, but tries to find something more exact, which may serve to convey a still closer oneness with Christ. Having said, "ye have put on Christ," even this does not suffice Him, but by way of penetrating more deeply into this union, he comments on it thus: "Ye are all One in Christ Jesus," that is, ye have all one form and one mould, even Christ's. What can be more awful than these words! He that was a Greek, or Jew, or bond-man yesterday, carries about with him the form, not of an Angel or Archangel, but of the Lord of all, yea displays in his own person the Christ.

Ver. 29. "And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise."

Here, you observe, he proves what he had before stated concerning the seed of Abraham,--that to him and to his seed the promises were given.[3]

CHAPTER IV

Verses 1--3. "But I say, that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bond-servant, though he is lord of all; but is under guardians and stewards, until the term appointed of the father. So we also when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world.".

The word "child" in this place denotes not age but understanding;[1] meaning that God had from the beginning designed for us these gifts, but, as we yet continued childish, He let us be under the elements of the world, that is, new moons and sabbaths, for these days are regulated by the course of sun and moon.[2] If then also now they bring you under law they do nothing else but lead you backward now in the time of your perfect age and maturity. And see what is the consequence of observing days; the Lord, the Master of the house, the Sovereign Ruler, is thereby reduced to the rank of a servant.

Ver. 4, 5. "But when the fulness of the time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, under the Law that he might redeem them which were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

Here he states two objects and effects of the Incarnation, deliverance from evil and supply of good, things which none could compass but Christ. They are these; deliverance from the curse of the Law, and promotion to sonship. Fitly does he say, that we might "receive," "[be paid,]" implying that it was due;[4] for the promise was of old time made for these objects to Abraham, as the Apostle has himself shown at great length. And how does it appear that we have become sons? he has told us one mode, in that we have put on Christ who is the Son; and now he mentions another, in that we have received the Spirit of adoption.

Ver. 6, 7. "And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that thou art no longer a bond-servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Had not we been first made sons, we could not have called Him Father. If then grace hath made us freemen instead of slaves, men instead of children, heirs and sons instead of aliens, is it not utter absurdity and stupidity to desert this grace, and to turn away backwards?

Ver. 8, 9. "Howbeit at that time not knowing God, ye were bondage to them which buy nature are no gods.[1] But now, that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known of God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again."

Here turning to the Gentile believers he says that it is an idolatry, this rigid observance of days, and now incurs a severe punishment. To enforce this, and inspire them with a deeper anxiety, he calls the elements "not by nature Gods." And his meaning is,--Then indeed, as being benighted and bewildered, ye lay grovelling upon the earth, but now that ye have known God or rather are known of Him, how great and bitter will be the chastisement ye draw upon you, if, after such a treatment, ye relapse into the same disease. It was not by your own pains that ye found out God, but while ye continued in error, He drew you to Himself. He says "weak and beggarly rudiments," in that they avail nothing towards the good things held out to us.

Ver. 10. "Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years." Hence is plain that their teachers were preaching to them not only circumscision, but also the feast-days and new-moons.

Ver. 11. "I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain."

Observe the tender compassion of the Apostle; they were shaken and he trembles and fears. And hence he has put it so as thoroughly to shame them, "I have bestowed labor upon you," saying, as it were, make not vain the labors which have cost me sweat and pain. By saying "I fear," and subjoining the word "lest," he both inspires alarm, and encourages good hope. He says not "I have labored in vain," but "lest," which is as much as to say, the wreck has not happened, but I see the storm big with it; so I am in fear, yet not in despair; ye have the power to set all right, and to return into your former calm. Then, as it were stretching out a hand to them thus tempest-tost,[2] he brings himself into the midst, saying,

Ver. 12. "I beseech you, brethren, be as I am; for I am as you are."

This is addressed to his Jewish disciples, and he brings his own example forward, to induce them thereby to abandon their old customs. Though you had none other for a pattern, he says, to look at me only would have sufficed for such a change, and for your taking courage. Therefore gaze on me; I too was[3] once in your state of mind, especially so; I had a burning zeal for the Law; yet afterwards I feared not to abandon the Law, to withdraw from that rule of life. And this ye know full well how obstinately I clung hold of Judiaism, and how with yet greater force I let it go. He does well to place this last in order: for most men, though they are given a thousand reasons, and those just ones, are more readily influenced by that which is like their own case, and more firmly hold to that which they see done by others.

Ver. 12. "Ye did me no wrong."

Observe how he again addresses them by a title of honor, which was a reminder moreover of the doctrine of grace. Having chid them seriously, and brought things together from all quarters, and shown their violations of the Law, and hit them on many sides, he gives in and conciliates them speaking more tenderly. For as to do nothing but conciliate causes negligence, so to be constantly talked at with sharpness sours a man; so that it is proper to observe due proportion everywhere. See then how he excuses to them what he has said, and shows that it proceeded not simply because he did not like them, but from anxiety. After giving them a deep cut, he pours in this encouragement like oil; and, showing that his words were not words of hate or enmity, he reminds them of the love which they had evinced toward him, mixing his self-vindication with praises.Therefore he says, "ye did me no wrong."

Ver. 13, 14. "But ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you the first time. And that which was a temptation in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected."

Not to have injured one is indeed no great thing, for no man whatever would choose to hurt wantonly and without object to annoy another who had never injured him. But for you, not only have ye not injured me, but ye have shown me great and inexpressible kindness, and it is impossible that one who has been treated with such attention should speak thus from any malevolent motive. My language then cannot be caused by ill-will; it follows, that it proceeds from affection and solicitude.[1] "Ye did me no wrong; ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you." What can be gentler than this holy soul, what sweeter, or more affectionate! And the words he had already used, arose not from an unreasoning anger, nor from a passionate emotion, but from much solicitude. And why do I say, ye have not injured me? Rather have ye evinced a great and sincere regard for me. For "ye know," he says, "that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you; and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected." What does he mean? While I preached to you, I was driven about, I was scourged, I suffered a thousand deaths, yet ye thought no scorn of me; for this is meant by that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected."[2] Observe his spiritual skill; in the midst of his self-vindication, he again appeals to their feelings by showing what he had suffered for their sakes. This however, says he, did not at all offend you, nor did ye reject me on account of my sufferings and persecutions; or, as he now calls them, his infirmity and temptation.

Ver. 14. "But ye received me as an Angel of God."

Was it not then absurd in them to receive him as an Angel of God, when he was persecuted and driven about, and then not to receive him when pressing on them what was fitting?

Ver. 15, 16. "Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes, and given them to me. So then am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"

Here he shows perplexity and amazement, and desires to learn of themselves the reason of their change. Who, says he, hath deceived you, and caused a difference in your disposition towards me? Are ye not the same who attended and ministered to me, counting me more precious than your own eyes? what then has happened? whence this dislike? whence this suspicion? Is it because I have told you the truth? You ought on this very account to pay me increased honor and attention; instead of which "I am become your enemy, because I tell you the truth,"--for I can find no other reason but this. Observe too what humbleness of mind appears in his defence of himself; he proves not by his conduct to them, but by theirs to him that his language could not possibly have proceeded from unkind feeling. For he says not; How is it supposable that one, who has been scourged and driven about, and ill-treated a thousand things for your sakes, should now have schemes against you? But he argues from what they had reason to boast of, saying, How can one who has been honored by you, and received as an Angel, repay you by conduct the very opposite?

Ver. 17. "They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out that ye may seek them."

It is a wholesome emulation[3] which leads to an imitation of virtue, but an evil one, which seduces from virtue him who is in the right path. And this is the object of those persons, who would deprive you of perfect knowledge,[4] and impart to you that which is mutilated and spurious, and this for no other purpose than that they may occupy the rank of teachers, and degrade you, who now stand higher than themselves, to the position of disciples. For this is the meaning of the words "that ye may seek them." But I, says he, desire the reverse, that ye may become a model for them, and a pattern of a higher perfection: a thing which actually happened when I was present with you. Wherefore he adds,

Ver. 18. "But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you."

Here he hints that his absence had been the cause of this, and that the true blessing was for disciples to hold right opinions not only in the presence but also in the absence of their master. But as they had not arrived at this point of perfection, he makes every effort to place them there.

Ver. 19. "My little children,[5] of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you. "

Observe his perplexity and perturbation, "Brethren, I beseech you:" "My little children, of whom I am again in travail:" He resembles a mother trembling for her children. "Until Christ be formed in you." Behold his paternal tenderness, behold this despondency worthy of an Apostle. Observe what a wail he utters, far more piercing than of a woman in travail;--Ye have defaced the likeness, ye have destroyed the kinship, ye have changed the form, ye need another regeneration and refashioning;[1] nevertheless I call you children, abortions and monsters though ye be. However, he does not express himself in this way, but spares them, unwilling to strike, and to inflict wound upon wound. Wise physicians do not cure those who have fallen into a long sickness all at once, but little by little, lest they should faint and die. And so is it with this blessed man; for these pangs were more severe in proportion as the force of his affection was stronger. And the offense was of no trivial kind. And as I have ever said and ever will say, even a slight fault mars the appearance and distorts the figure of the whole.

"Ver. 20. "Yea, I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my voice."

Observe his warmth, his inability to refrain himself, and to conceal these his feelings; such is the nature of love; nor is he satisfied with words, but desires to be present with them, and so, as he says, to change his voice, that is, to change to lamentation, to shed tears, to turn every thing into mourning. For he could not by letter show his tears or cries of grief, and therefore he ardently desires to be present with them.

Ver. 20. "For I am perplexed about you." I know not, says he, what to say, or what to think. How is it, that ye who by dangers, which ye endured for the faith's sake, and by miracles, which ye performed through faith, had ascended to the highest heaven, should suddenly be brought to such a depth of degradation as to be drawn aside to circumcision or sabbaths, and should rely wholly upon Judaizers? Hence in the beginning he says, "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing," and here, "I am perplexed about you," as if he said, What am I to speak? What am I to utter? What am I to think? I am bitterly perplexed. And so he must needs weep, as the prophets do when in perplexity; for not only admonition but mourning also is a form in which solicitous attention is often manifested. And what he said in his speech to those at Miletus, "By the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one ... with tears," he says here also, "and to change my voice. "(Acts xx: 31. ) When we find ourselves overcome by perplexity and helplessness which come contrary to expectation, we are driven to tears; and so Paul admonished them sharply, and endeavored to shame them, then in turn soothed them, and lastly he wept. And this weeping is not only a reproof but a blandishment; it does not exasperate like reproof, nor relax like indulgent treatment, but is a mixed remedy, and of great efficacy in the way of exhortation. Having thus softened and powerfully engaged their hearts by his tears, he again advances to the contest,[2] and lays down a larger propostion, proving that the Law itself was opposed to its being kept. Before, he produced the example of Abraham, but now (what is more cogent) he brings forward the Law itself enjoining them not to keep itself, but to leave off. So that, says he, you must abandon the Law, if you would obey it, for this is its own wish: this however he does not say expressly, but enforces it in another mode, mixing up with it an account of facts.

Ver. 21. "Tell me," he says, "ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law?"[3]

He says rightly, "ye that desire," for the matter was not one of a proper and orderly succession of things but of their own unseasonable contentiousness. It is the Book of Creation which he here calls the Law, which name he often gives to the whole Old Testament.

Ver. 22. "For it is written, (Gen. xv: 16.) that Abraham had two sons, one by the hand-maid and the other by the freewoman."

He returns again to Abraham, not in the way of repetition, but, inasmuch as the Patriarch's fame was great among the Jews, to show that the types had their origin from thence, and that present events were pictured aforetime in him. Having previously shown that the Galatians were sons of Abraham, now, in that the Patriarch's sons were not of equal dignity, one being by a bondwoman, the other by a free-woman, he shows that they were not only his sons, but sons in the same sense as he that was freeborn and noble. Such is the power of Faith.

Ver. 23. "Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise."

What is the meaning of "after the flesh?" Having said that Faith united us to Abraham, and it having seemed incredible to his hearers, that those who were not begotten by Abraham should be called his sons, he proves that this paradox had actually happened long ago; for that Isaac, born not according to the order of nature, nor the law of marriage, nor the power of the flesh, was yet truly his own son. He was the issue of bodies that were dead, and of a womb that was dead; his conception was not by the flesh, nor his birth by the seed, for the womb was dead both through age and barrenhess, but the Word of God fashioned Him. Not so in the case of the bondman; He came by virtue of the laws of nature, and after the manner of marriage. Nevertheless, he that was not according to the flesh was more honorable than he that was born after the flesh. Therefore let it not disturb you that ye are not born after the flesh; for from the very reason that ye are not so born, are ye most of all Abraham's kindred. The being born after the flesh renders one not more honorable, but less so, for a birth not after the flesh is more marvellous and more spiritual. And this is plain from the case of those who were born of old time; Ishmael, for instance, who was born according to the flesh, was not only a bondman, but was cast out of his father's house; but Isaac, who was born according to the promise, being a true son and free, was lord of all.

Ver. 24. "Which things contain an allegory."[1]

Contrary to usage, he calls a type an allegory; his meaning is as follows; this history not only declares that which appears on the face of it, but announces somewhat farther, whence it is called an allegory. And what hath it announced? no less than all the things now present.

Ver. 24. "For these women" he says, "are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar."

"These: "who? the mothers of those children, Sarah and Hagar; and what are they? Two covenants, two laws. As the names of the women were given in the history, he abides by this designation of the two races, showing how much follows from the very names. How from the names?

Ver. 25. "Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia:"

The bond-woman was called Hagar, and "Hagar" is the word for Mount Sinai in the language of that country."[2] So that it is necessary that all who are born of the Old Covenant should be bondmen, for that mountain where the Old Covenant was delivered hath a name in common with the bondwoman. And it includes Jerusalem, for this is the meaning of,

Ver. 25. "And answereth to Jerusalem that now is."

That is, it borders on, and is contiguous to it.[3]

Ver. 25. "For she is in bondage with her children."

What follows from hence? Not only that she was in bondage and brought forth bondmen, but that this Covenant is so too, whereof the bondwoman was a type. For Jerusalem is adjacent to the mountain of the same name with the bondwoman, and in this mountain the Covenant was delivered. Now where is the type of Sarah?

Ver. 26. "But Jerusalem that is above is free."

Those therefore, who are born of her are not bondmen. Thus the type of the Jerusalem below was Hagar, as is plain from the mountain being so called; but of that which is above is the Church. Nevertheless he is not content with these types, but adds the testimony of Isaiah to what he has spoken. Having said that Jerusalem which is above "is our Mother," and having given that name to the Church, he cites the suffrage of the Prophet in his favor,

Ver. 27. "Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not, break forth and cry, thou that travailest not, for more are the children of the desolate than of her which hath the husband." (Isa. liv: I. )

Who is this who before was "barren," and "desolate?" Clearly it is the Church of the Gentiles,[4] that was before deprived of the knowledge of God? Who, "she which hath the husband?" plainly the Synagogue. Yet the barren woman surpassed her in the number of her children, for the other embraces one nation, but the children of the Church have filled the country of the Greeks and of the Barbarians, the earth and sea, the whole habitable world. Observe how Sarah by acts, and the Prophet by words, have described the events about to befal us. Observe too, that he whom Isaiah called barren, Paul hath proved to have many children, which also happened typically in the case of Sarah. For she too, although barren, became the mother of a numerous progeny. This however does not suffice Paul, but he carefully follows out the mode whereby the barren woman became a mother, that in this particular likewise the type might harmonize with the truth. Wherefore he adds,

Ver. 28. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise."

It is not merely that the Church was barren like Sarah, or became a mother of many children like her, but she bore them in the way Sarah did. As it was not nature but the promise of God which rendered Sarah a mother, [for the word of God which said, "At the time appointed I will return unto thee, and Sarah shall have a son," (Gen. xviii: 14.) this entered into the womb and formed the babe;] so also in our regeneration it is not nature, but the Words of God spoken by the Priest,[1] (the faithful know them,) which in the Bath of water as in a sort of womb, form and regenerate him who is baptized.

Wherefore if we are sons of the barren woman, then are we free. But what kind of freedom, it might be objected, is this, when the Jews seize and scourge the believers, and those who have this pretence of liberty are persecuted? for these things then occurred, in the persecution of the faithful. Neither let this disturb you, he replies, this also is anticipated in the type, for Isaac, who was free, was persecuted by Ishmael the bondman. Wherefore he adds,

Ver. 29, 30. "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Howbeit what saith the Scripture? (Gen. xxi: 10.) Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman."

What! does all this consolation consist in showing that freemen are persecuted by bond-men? By no means, he says, I do not stop here, listen to what follows, and then, if you be not pusillanimous under persecution, you will be sufficiently comforted. And what is it that follows? "Cast out the son of the handmaid, for he shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman." Behold the reward of tyranny for a season, and of reckleness out of season! the son is cast out of his father's house, and becomes, together with his mother, an exile and a wanderer. And consider too the wisdom of the remark; for he says not that he was cast forth merely because he persecuted, but that he should not be heir. For this punishment was not exacted from him on account of his temporary persecution, (for that would have been of little moment, and nothing to the point,) but he was not suffered to participate in the inheritance provided for the son. And this proves that, putting the persecution aside, this very thing had been typified from the beginning, and did not originate in the persecution, but in the purpose of God. Nor does he say, "the son of Abraham shall not be heir," but, "the son of the handmaid," distinguishing him by his inferior descent. Now Sarah was barren, and so is the Gentile Church;[2] observe how the type is preserved in every particular, as the former, through all the by-gone years, conceived not, and in extreme old age became a mother, so the latter, when the fulness of time is come, brings forth. And this the prophets have proclaimed, saying, "Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for more are the children of the desolate than of her which hath the husband." And hereby they intend the Church; for she knew not God, but as soon as she knew Him, she surpassed the fruitful synagogue.[3]

Ver. 31. "Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid but of the freewoman."

He turns and discusses this on all sides, desiring to prove that what had taken place was no novelty, but had been before typified many ages ago. How then can it be otherwise than absurd for those who had been set apart so long and who had obtained freedom, willingly to subject themselves to the yoke of bondage?

Next he states another inducement to them to abide in his doctrine.

CHAPTER V

Verse 1. "With freedom did Christ set us free;stand fast therefore.[1]."

Have ye wrought your own deliverance, that ye run back again to the dominion ye were under before? It is Another who hath redeemed you, it is Another who hath paid the ransom for you. Observe in how many ways he leads them away from the error of Judaism; by showing, first, that it was the extreme of folly for those, who had become free instead of slaves, to desire to become slaves instead of free; secondly, that they would be convicted of neglect and ingratitude to their Benefactor, in despising Him who had delivered, and loving him who had enslaved them; thirdly, that it was impossible. For Another having once for all redeemed all of us from it, the Law ceases to have any sway. By the word,"stand fast," he indicates their vacillation.

Ver. 1. "And be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage."

By the word "yoke" he signifies to them the burdensomeness of such a course, and by the word "again" he points out their utter senselessness. Had ye never experienced this burden, ye would not have deserved so severe a censure, but for you who by trial have learnt how irksome this yoke is, again to subject yourself to it, is justly unpardonable.

Ver. 2. "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing."

Lo, what a threat! reasonably then did he anathematize even angels. How then shall Christ profit them nothing? for he has not supported this by argument, but only declared it, the credence due to his authority, compensating, as it were, for all subsequent proof• Wherefore he sets out by saying, "Behold, I Paul say unto you," which is the expression of one who has confidence in what he asserts. We will subjoin what we can ourselves as to how Christ shall profit nothing them who are circumcised.

He that is circumcised is circumcised for fear of the Law, and he no tears the Law, distrusts the power of grace, and he who distrusts can receive no benefit from that which is distrusted. Or again thus, he that is circumcised makes the Law of force; but thus considering it to be of force and yet transgressing it in the greater part while keeping it in the lesser, he puts himself again under the curse. But how can he be saved who submits himself to the curse, and repels the liberty which is of Faith? If one may say what seems a paradox, such an one believes neither Christ nor the Law, but stands between them, desiring to benefit both by one and the other, whereas he will reap fruit from neither. Having said that Christ shall profit them nothing, he lays down the proof[2] of it shortly and sententiously, thus:

Ver. 3. "Yea, I testify again[3] to every man that receiveth circumcision that he is a debtor to do the whole Law."

That you may not suppose that this is spoken from ill-will[4], I say not to you alone, he says, but to every one who receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law. The parts of the Law are linked one to the other. As he who from being free has enrolled himself as a slave, no longer does what he pleases, but is bound by all the laws of slavery, so in the case of the Law, if you take upon you a small portion of it, and submit to the yoke, you draw down upon yourself its whole domination. And so it is in a worldly inheritance: he who touches no part of it, is free from all matters which are consequent on the heirship to the deceased, but if he takes a small portion, though not the whole, yet by that part he has rendered himself liable for every thing. And this occurs in the Law, not only in the way I have mentioned, but in another also, for Legal observances are linked together. For example; Circumcision has sacrifice connected with it, and the observance of days; sacrifice again has the observance both of day and of place; place has the details of endless purifications; purifications involve a perfect swarm of manifold observances. For it is unlawful for the unclean to sacrifice, to enter the holy shrines, to do any other such act. Thus the Law introduces many things even by the one commandment. If then thou art circumcised, but not on the eighth day, or on the eighth day, but no sacrifice is offered, or a sacrifice is offered, but not in the prescribed place, or in the prescribed place, but not the accustomed objects, or if the accustomed objects, but thou be unclean, or if clean yet not purified by proper rules, every thing is frustrated. Wherefore[1] he says, "that he is a debtor to the the whole Law." Fulfil not a part, but the whole, if the Law is of force; but if it be not of force, not even a part.

Ver. 4. "Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the Law; ye are fallen away from grace."

Having established his point, he at length declares their danger of the severest punishment. When a man recurs to the Law, which cannot save him, and falls from grace, what remains but an inexorable retribution, the Law being powerless, and grace rejecting him?

Thus having aggravated their alarm, and disquieted their mind, and shown them all the shipwreck they were about to suffer, he opens to them the haven of grace which was near at hand. This is ever his wont, and he shows that in this quarter salvation is easy and secure, subjoining the words,

Ver. 5. "For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness."[2]

We need none of those legal observances, he says; faith suffices to obtain for us the Spirit, and by Him righteousness, and many and great benefits.

Ver. 6. "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;[3] but faith working through love."

Observe the great boldness with which he now encounters them; Let him that hath put on Christ, he says, no longer be careful about such matters. Having before said that Circumcision was hurtful, how is it that he now considers it indifferent? It is indifferent as to those who bad it previously to the Faith, but not as to those who are circumcised after the Faith was given. Observe too the view in which he places it, by setting it by the side of Uncircumcision; it is Faith that makes the difference. As in the selection of wrestlers, whether they be hook-nosed or flat-nosed, black or white, is of no importance in their trial, it is only necessary to seek that they be strong and skilful; so all these bodily accidents do not injure one who is to be enrolled under the New Covenant, nor does their presence assist him.

What is the meaning of "working through love?"[4] Here he gives them a hard blow, by showing that this error had crept in because the love of Christ had not been rooted within them. For to believe is not all that is required, but also to abide in love. It is as if he had said, Had ye loved Christ as ye ought, ye would not have deserted to bondage, nor abandoned Him who redeemed you, nor treated with contumely Him who gave you freedom. Here he also hints at those who have plotted against them, implying that they would not have dared to do so, had they felt affection towards them. He wishes too by these words to correct their course of life.

Ver. 7. "Ye were running well; who did hinder you?[5]

This is not an interrogation, but an expression of doubt and sorrow. How hath such a course been cut short? who hath been able to do this? ye who were superior to all and in the rank of teachers, have not even continued in the position of disciples. What has happened? who could do this? these are rather the words of one who is exclaiming and lamenting, as he said before, "Who did bewitch you?" (Gal. iii: 1.)

Ver. 8. "This persuasion came not of him that calleth you."

He who called you, called you not to such fluctuations, he did not lay down a Law, that you should judaize. Then, that no one might object, "Why do you thus magnify and aggravate the matter by your words; one commandment only of the Law have we kept, and yet you make this great outcry?" hear how he terrifies them, not by things present but future in these words:

Ver. 7. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." And thus this slight error, he says, if not corrected, will have power (as the leaven has with the lump) to lead you into complete Judaism.

Ver. 10. "I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded."

He does not say, "ye are not minded," but, "ye will not be minded;" that is, you will be set right. And how does he know this? he says not "I know," but "I trust in God, and invoking His aid in order to your correction, I am in hopes;" and he says, not merely, "I have confidence in the Lord," but, "I have confidence towards you in the Lord." Every where he connects complaint with his praises; here it is as if he had said, I know my disciples, I know your readiness to be set right. I have good hopes, partly because of the Lord who suffers nothing, however trival, to perish, partly because of you who are quickly to recover yourselves. At the same time he exhorts them to use diligence on their own parts, it not being possible to obtain aid from God, if our own efforts are not contributed.

Ver. 10. "But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."

Not only by words of encouragement, but by uttering a curse or a prophecy against their teachers, he applies to them an incentive. And observe that he never mentions the name of these plotters, that they might not become more shameless. His meaning is as follows. Not because "ye will be none otherwise minded," are the authors of your seduction relieved from punishment. They shall be punished; for it is not proper that the good conduct of the one should become an encouragement to the evil disposition of the other. This is said that they might not make a second attempt upon others. And he says not merely, "he that troubleth," but, "whosoever he be," in the way of aggravation.

Ver. 11. "But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?"

Observe how clearly he exonerates himself from the charge,[1] that in every place he judaized and played the hypocrite in his preaching. Of this he calls them as witnesses; for ye know, he says, that my command to abandon the Law was made the pretext for persecuting me. "If I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? for this is the only charge which they of the Jewish descent have to bring against me. Had I permitted them to receive the Faith, still retaining the customs of their fathers, neither believers nor unbelievers would have laid snares for me, seeing that none of their own usages were disturbed. What then! did he not preach circumcision? did he not circumcise Timothy? Truly he did. How then can he say, "I preach it not?" Here observe his accuracy; he says not, "I do not perform circumcision," but, "I preach it not," that is, I do not bid men so to believe. Do not therefore consider it any confirmation of your doctrine, for though I circumdised, I did not preach circumcision.

Ver. 11. "Then hath the stumbling block of the cross been done away."

That is, if this which ye assert be true, the obstacle, the hindrance, is removed; for not even the Cross was so great an offence to the Jews, as the doctrine that their father's customs ought not to be obeyed. When they brought Stephen before the council, they said not that this man adores the Crucified, but that he speaks "against this holy place and the Law." (Acts vi: 13.) And it was of this they accused Jesus, that He broke the Law. Wherefore Paul says, If Circumcision be conceded, the strife you are involved in is appeased; hereafter no enmity to the Cross and our preaching remains. But why do they bring this charge against us, while waiting day after day to murder us? it is because I brought an uncircumcised man into the Temple (Acts xxi: 29. ) that they fell upon me. Am I then, he says, so senseless, after giving up the point of Circumcision, vainly and idly to expose myself to such injuries, and to place such a stumbling-block before the Cross? For ye observe, that they attack us for nothing with such vehemence as about Circumcision. Am I then so senseless as to suffer affliction for nothing at all, and to give offence to others? He calls it the offence of the Cross, because it was enjoined by the doctrine of the Cross; and it was this which principally offended the Jews, and hindered their reception of the Cross, namely, the command to abandon the usages of their fathers.

Ver. 12. "I would that they which unsettle you, would even cut themselves off."

Observe how bitterly he speaks here against their deceivers.[2] At the outset he directed his charge against those who were deceived, and called them foolish, once and again. Now, having sufficiently corrected and instructed them, he turns to their deceivers. And you should remark his wisdom in the manner in which he admonishes and chastens the former as his own children, and as capable of receiving correction, but their deceivers he cuts off, as aliens and incurably depraved. And this he does, partly, when he says, "he shall bear his judgment whosoever he be;" partly when he utters the imprecation against them, "I would that they which unsettle you would even cut themselves off." And he says well "that unsettle you." For they had compelled them to abandon their own fatherland, their liberty, and their heavenly kindred, and to seek an alien and foreign one; they had cast them out of Jerusalem which is above and free, and compelled them to wander forth as captives and emigrants. On this account he curses them; and his meaning is as follows, For them I have no concern, "A man that is heretical after the first and second admonition refuse." ( Tit. iii: 10 ) If they will, let them not only be circumcised, but mutilated. Where then are those who dare to mutilate themselves[1]; seeing that they draw down the Apostolic curse, and accuse the workmanship of God, and take part with the Manichees? For the latter call the body a treacherous thing, and from the evil principle; and the former by their acts give countenance to these wretched doctrines, cutting off the member as being hostile and treacherous. Ought they not much rather to put out the eyes, for it is through the eyes that desire enters the soul? But in truth neither the eye nor any other part of us is to blame, but the depraved will only. But if you will not allow this, why do you not mutilate the tongue for blasphemy, the hands for rapine, the feet for their evil courses, in short, the whole body? For the ear enchanted by the sound of a flute hath often enervated the soul; and the perception of a sweet perfume by the nostrils hath bewitched the mind, and made it frantic for pleasure. Yet this would be extreme wickedness and satanic madness. The evil spirit, ever delighting in slaughter, hath seduced them to crush the instrument, as if its Maker had erred, whereas it was only necessary to correct the unruly passion of the soul. How then does it happen, one may say, that when the body is pampered, lust is inflamed? Observe here too that it is the sin of the soul, for to pamper the flesh is not an act of the flesh but of the soul, for if the soul choose to mortify it, it would possess absolute power over it. But what you do is just the same as if one seeing a man lighting a fire, and heaping on fuel, and setting fire to a house, were to blame the fire, instead of him who kindled it, because it had caught this heap of fuel, and risen to a great height. Yet the blame would attach not to the fire but to the one who kindled it; for it was given for the purpose of dressing food, affording light, and other like ministries, not for burning houses. In like manner desire is implanted for the rearing of families and the ensuring of life, not for adultery, or fornication, or lasciviousness; that a man may become a father, not an adulterer; a lawful husband, not a seducer; leaving heirs after him, not doing damage to another man's. For adultery arises not from nature, but from wantonness against nature, which prescribes the use not the misuse. These remarks I have not made at random, but as a prelude to a dispute, as skirmishing against those who assert that the workmanship of God is evil, and who neglecting the sloth of the soul, madly inveigh against the body, and traduce our flesh, whereof Paul afterwards discourses, accusing not the flesh, but devilish thoughts.

Ver. 13. "For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh."

Henceforward he appears to digress[2] into a moral discourse, but in a new manner, which does not occur in any other of his Epistles. For all of them are divided into two parts, and in the first he discusses doctrine, in the last the rule of life, but here, after having entered upon the moral discourse, he again unites with it the doctrinal part. For this passage has reference to doctrine in the controversy with the Manichees.[3] What is the meaning of, "Use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh?" Christ hath delivered us, he says, from the yoke of bondage, He hath left us free to act as we will, not that we may use our liberty for evil, but that we may have ground for receiving a higher reward, advancing to a higher philosophy. Lest any one should suspect, from his calling the Law over and over again a yoke of bondage, and a bringing on of the curse, that his object in enjoining an abandonment of the Law, was that one might live lawlessly, he corrects this notion, and states his object to be, not that our course of life might be lawless, but that our philosophy might surpass the Law. For the bonds of the Law are broken, and I say this not that our standard may be lowered, but that it may be exalted. For both he who commits fornication, and he who leads a virgin life, pass the bounds of the Law, but not in the same direction; the one is led away to the worse, the other is elevated to the better; the one transgresses the Law, the other transcends it. Thus Paul says that Christ hath removed the yoke from you, not that ye may prance and kick, but that though without the yoke ye may proceed at a well-measured pace. And next he shows the mode whereby this may be readily eftected; and what is this mode? he says,

Ver. 13. "But through love be servants one to another."[1]

Here again he hints that strife and party-spirit, love of rule and presumptousness, had been the causes of their error, for the desire of rule is the mother of heresies. By saying, "Be servants one to another," he shows that the evil had arisen from this presumptuous and arrogant spirit, and therefore he applies a corresponding remedy. As your divisions arose from your desire to domineer over each other, "serve one another;" thus will ye be reconciled again. However, he does not openly express their fault, but he openly tells them its corrective, that through this they may become aware of that; as if one were not to tell an immodest person of his immodesty, but were continually to exhort him to chastity. He that loves his neighbor as he ought, declines not to be servant to him more humbly than any servant. As fire, brought into contact with wax, easily softens it, so does the warmth of love dissolve all arrogance and presumption more powerfully than fire. Wherefore he says not, "love one another," merely, but, "be servants one to another," thus signifying the intensity of the affection. When the yoke of the Law was taken off them that they might not caper off and away another was laid on, that of love, stronger than the former, yet far lighter and pleasanter; and, to point out the way to obey it, he adds;

Ver. 14. "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Seeing that they made so much of the Law, he says, "If you you wish to fulfill it, do not be circumcised, for it is fulfilled not in circumcision but in love." Observe how he cannot forget his grief, but constantly touches upon what troubled him, even when launched into his moral discourse.

Ver. 15. "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."

That he may not distress them, he does not assert this, though he knew it was the case,[2] but mentions it ambiguously. For he does not say, "Inasmuch as ye bite one another," nor again does he assert, in the clause following, that they shall be consumed by each other; but "take heed that ye be not consumed one of another," and this is the language of apprehension and warning, not of condemnation. And the words which he uses are expressly significant; he says not merely, "ye bite," which one might do in a passion, but also "ye devour," which implies a bearing of malice. To bite is to satisfy the feeling of anger, but to devour is a proof of the most savage ferocity. The biting and devouring he speaks of are not bodily, but of a much more cruel kind; for it is not such an injury to taste the flesh of man, as to fix one's fangs in his soul. In proportion as the soul is more precious than the body, is damage to it more serious. "Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." For those who commit injury and lay plots, do so in order to destroy others; therefore he says, Take heed that this evil fall not on your own heads. For strife and dissensions are the ruin and destruction as well of those who admit as of those who introduce them, and eats out every thing worse than a moth does.

Ver. 16. "But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Here he points out another[3] path which makes duty easy, and secures what had been said, a path whereby love is generated, and which is fenced in by love. For nothing, nothing I say, renders us so susceptible of love, as to be spiritual, and nothing is such an inducement to the Spirit to abide in us, as the strength of love. Therefore he says, "Walk by the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh:" having spoken of the cause of the disease, he likewise mentions the remedy which confers health. And what is this, what is the destruction of the evils we have spoken of, but the life in the Spirit? hence he says, "Walk by the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Ver. 17. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary the one to the other: that ye may not do the things that ye would."

Here some make the charge that the Apostle has divided man into two parts, and that he states the essence of which he is compounded to be conflicting with itself, and that the body has a contest with the soul. But this is not so, most certainly; for by "the flesh," he does not mean the body; if he did, what would be the sense of the clause immediately following, "for it lusteth," he says, "against the Spirit?" yet the body moves not, but is moved, is not an agent, but is acted upon. How then does it lust, for lust belongs to the soul not to the body, for in another place it is said, "My soul longeth," (Ps. lxxx iv: 2.) and, "Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee," (1 Sam. xx: 4.) and, "Walk not according to the desires of thy heart," and, "So panteth my soul." (Ps. xlii: I.) Wherefore then does Paul say, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit?" he is wont to call the flesh, not the natural body but the depraved will, as where he says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit," (Rom. viii: 8, 9.) and again, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." What then? Is the flesh to be destroyed? was not he who thus spoke clothed with flesh? such doctrines are not of the flesh, but from the Devil, for "he was a murderer from the beginning." (John viii: 44.) What then is his meaning? it is the earthly mind, slothful and careless, that he here calls the flesh, and this is not an accusation of the body, but a charge against the slothful soul. The flesh is an instrument, and no one feels aversion and hatred to an instrument, but to him who abuses it. For it is not the iron instrument but the murderer, whom we hate and punish. But it may be said that the very calling of the faults of the soul by the name of the flesh is in itself an accusation of the body. And I admit that the flesh is inferior to the soul, yet it too is good, for that which is inferior to what is good may itself be good, but evil is not inferior to good, but opposed to it. Now if you are able to prove to me that evil originates from the body, you are at liberty to accuse it; but if your endeavor is to turn its name into a charge against it, you ought to accuse the soul likewise. For he that is deprived of the truth is called "the natural man." (1 Cor. xx: 14.)[1] and the race of demons "the spirits of wickedness." (Eph. vi: 12.)

Again, the Scripture is wont to give the name of the Flesh to the Mysteries of the Eucharist, and to the whole Church, calling them the Body of Christ. (Col. i: 24.) Nay, to induce you to give the name of blessings to the things of which the flesh is the medium, you have only to imagine the extinction of the senses, and you will find the soul deprived of all discernment, and ignorant of what it before knew. For if the power of God is since "the creation of the world clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made," (Rom. i: 20.) how could we see them without eyes? and if "faith cometh of hearing," (Rom. x: 17.) how shall we hear without ears? and preaching depends on making circuits wherein the tongue and feet are employed. "For how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Rom. x: 15.) In the same way writing is performed by means of the hands. Do you not see that the ministry of the flesh produces for us a thousand benefits? In his expression, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit," he means two mental states. For these are opposed to each other, namely virtue and vice, not the soul and the body. Were the two latter so opposed they would be destructive of one another, as fire of water, and darkness of light. But if the soul cares for the body, and takes great forethought on its account, and suffers a thousand things in order not to leave it, and resists being separated from it, and if the body too ministers to the soul, and conveys to it much knowledge, and is adapted to its operations, how can they be contrary, and conflicting with each other? For my part, I perceive by their acts that they are not only not contrary but closely accordant and attached one to another. It is not therefore of these that he speaks as opposed to each other, but he refers to the contest of bad and good principles. (Compare Rom. vii: 23.) To will and not to will belongs to the soul; wherefore he says, "these are contrary the one to the other," that you may not suffer the soul to proceed in its evil desires. For he speaks this like a Master and Teacher in a threatening way.

Ver. 18. "But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law."[2]

If it be asked in what way are these two connected, I answer, closely and plainly; for he that hath the Spirit as he ought, quenches thereby every evil desire, and he that is released from these needs no help from the Law, but is exalted far above its precepts. He who is never angry, what need has he to hear the command, Thou shalt not kill? He who never casts unchaste looks, what need hath he of the admonition, Thou shalt not commit adultery? Who would discourse about the fruits of wickedness with him who had plucked up the root itself? for anger is the root of murder, and of adultery the inquisitive gazing into faces. Hence he says, "If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law;" wherein he appears to me to have pronounced a high and striking eulogy of the Law, if, at least, the Law stood, according to its power, in the place of the Spirit before the Spirit's coming upon us. But we are not on that account obliged to continue apart with our schoolmaster. Then we were justly subject to the Law, that by fear we might chasten our lusts, the Spirit not being manifested; but now that grace is given, which not only commands us to abstain from them, but both quenches them, and leads us to a higher rule of life, what more need is there of the Law? He who has attained an exalted excellence from an inner impulse, has no occasion for a schoolmaster, nor does any one, if he is a philosopher, require a grammarian. Why then do ye so degrade yourselves, as now to listen to the Law, having previously given yourselves to the Spirit?

Ver. 19, 20, 21. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest,[1] which are these; fornication,[2] uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wrath, factions, divisions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I forewarn you even as I did forewarn you, that they which practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Answer me now, thou that accusest thine own flesh, and supposest that this is said of it as of an enemy and adversary. Let it be allowed that adultery and fornication proceed, as you assert, from the flesh; yet hatred, variance, emulations, strife, heresies, and witchcraft, these arise merely from a depraved moral choice. And so it is with the others also, for how can they belong to the flesh? you observe that he is not here speaking of the flesh, but of earthly thoughts, which trail upon the ground. Wherefore also he alarms them by saying, that "they which practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." If these things belonged to nature and not to a bad moral choice, his expression, "they practice," is inappropriate, it should be, "they suffer." And why should they be cast out of the kingdom, for rewards and punishments relate not to what proceeds from nature but from choice?

Ver. 22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace."

He says not, "the work of the Spirit," but, "the fruit of the Spirit." Is the soul, however, superfluous? the flesh and the Spirit are mentioned, but where is the soul? is he discoursing of beings without a soul? for if the things of the flesh be evil, and those of the Spirit good, the soul must be superfluous. By no means, for the mastery of the passions belongs to her, and concerns her; and being placed amid vice and virtue, if she has used the body fitly, she has wrought it to be spiritual, but if she separate from the Spirit and give herself up to evil desires, she makes herself more earthly. You observe throughout that his discourse does not relate to the substance of the flesh, but to the moral choice, which is or is not vicious. And why does he say, "the fruit[3] of the Spirit?" it is because evil works originate in ourselves alone, and therefore he calls them "works," but good works require not only our diligence but God's loving kindness. He places first the root of these good things, and then proceeds to recount them, in these words, "Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." For who would lay any command on him who hath all things within himself, and who hath love for the finished mistress of philosophy? As horses, who are docile and do every thing of their own accord, need not the lash, so neither does the soul, which by the Spirit hath attained to excellence, need the admonitions of the Law. Here too he completely and strikingly casts out the Law, not as bad, but as inferior to the philosophy given by the Spirit.

Ver. 24. "And they that are of Christ Jesus[4] have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof."

That they might not object, "And who is such a man as this?" he points out by their works those who have attained to this perfection, here again giving the name of the "flesh" to evil actions. He does not mean that they had destroyed their flesh, otherwise how were they going to live? for that which is crucified is dead and inoperative, but he indicates the perfect rule of life. For the desires, although they are troublesome, rage in vain. Since then such is the power of the Spirit, let us live therein and be content therewith, as he adds himself,

Ver. 25. "If we live[5] by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk," --being governed by His laws. For this is the force of the words "let us walk," that is, let us be content with the power of the Spirit, and seek no help from the Law. Then, signifying that those who would fain have introduced circumcision were actuated by ambitious motives, he says,

Ver. 26. "Let us not be vainglorious,"[6] which is the cause of all evils, "provoking[7] one another" to contentions and strife, "envying one another," for from vainglory comes envy and from envy all these countless evils.

CHAPTER VI

Verse 1. "Brethren,[1] even if a man be overtaken in any trespass."[2]

Forasmuch as under cover of a rebuke they gratified their private feelings, and professing to do so for faults which had been committed, were advancing their own ambition, he says, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken." He said not if a man commit but if he be "overtaken" that is, if he be carried away.[3]

"Ye which are spiritual[4] restore such a one,"

He says not "chastise nor "judge, but "set right." Nor does he stop here, but in order to show that it behoved them to be very gentle towards those who had lost their footing, he subjoins,

"In a spirit of meekness."

He says not, "in meekness," but, "in a spirit of meekness," signifying thereby that this is acceptable to the Spirit, and that to be able to administer correction with mildness is a spiritual gift. Then, to prevent the one being unduly exalted by having to correct the other, puts him under the same fear, saying,

"Looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

For as rich men convey contributions to the indigent, that in case they should be themselves involved in poverty they may receive the same bounty, so ought we also to do. And therefore he states this cogent reason, in these words, "looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted." He apologizes for the offender, first, by saying "if ye be overtaken;" next, by employing a term indicative of great infirmity [5]; lastly, by the words "lest thou also be tempted," thus arraigning the malice of the devil rather than the remissness of the soul.

Ver. 2. "Bear ye one another's burdens."

It being impossible for man to be without failings, he exhorts them not to scrutinize severely the offences of others, but even to bear their failings, that their own may in turn be borne by others. As, in the building of a house, all the stones hold not the same position, but one is fitted for a corner but not for the foundations, another for the foundations, and not for the corner so too is it in the body of the Church. The same thing holds in the frame of our own flesh; notwithstanding which, the one member bears with the other, and we do not require every thing from each, but what each contributes in common constitutes both the body and the building.

Ver. 2. "And so fulfil the law of Christ." He says not "fulfil," but, "complete [6] ;" that is, make it up all of you in common? by the things wherein ye bear with one another. For example, this man is irascible, thou art dull-tempered; bear therefore with his vehemence that he in turn may bear with thy sluggishness; and thus neither will he transgress, being supported by thee, nor wilt thou offend in the points where thy defects lie, because of thy brother's forbearing with thee. So do ye by reaching forth a hand one to another when about to fall, fulfil the Law in common, each completing what is wanting in his neighbor by his own endurance. But if ye do not thus, but each of you will investigate the faults of his neighbor, nothing will ever be performed by you as it ought. For as in the case of the body, if one were to exact the same function from every member of it, the body could never consist, so must there be great strife among brethren if we were to require all things from all.

Ver. 3. "For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."

Here again he reflects on their arrogance. He that thinks himself to be something is nothing, and exhibits at the outset a proof of his worthlessness by such a disposition.

Ver. 4. "But let each man prove his own work."

Here he shows that we ought to be scrutinizers of our lives, and this not lightly, but carefully to weigh our actions ; as for example, if thou hast performed a good deed, consider whether it was not from vain glory, or through necessity, or malevolence, or with hypocrisy, or from some other human motive. For as gold appears to be bright before it is placed in the furnace, but when committed to the fire, is closely proved, and all that is spurious is separated from what is genuine, so too our works, if closely examined, will be distinctly made manifest, and we shall perceive that we have exposed ourselves to much censure.

Ver. 4. "And then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone and not of his neighbor."

This he says, not as laying down a rule, but in the way of concession; and his meaning is this,[1]--Boasting is senseless, but if thou wilt boast, boast not against thy neighbor, as the Pharisee did. For he that is so instructed will speedily give up boasting altogether; and therefore he concedes a part that he may gradually extirpate the whole. He that is wont to boast with reference to himself only, and not against others, will soon reform this failing also. For he that does not consider himself better than others, for this is the meaning of "not in regard of his neighbor, but becomes elated by examining himself by himself, will afterwards cease to be so. And that you may be sure this is what he desires to establish, observe how he checks him by fear, saying above, "let every man prove his own work," and adding here,

Ver. 5. "For each man shall bear his own burden."

He appears to state a reason prohibitory of boasting against another; but at the same time he corrects the boaster, to that he may no more entertain high thoughts of himself by bringing to his remembrance his own errors, and pressing upon his conscience the idea of a burden, and of being heavily laden.[2]

Ver. 6. "But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."

Here he proceeds to discourse concerning Teachers, to the effect that they ought to be tended with great assiduity by their disciples. Now what is the reason that Christ so commanded? For this law, "that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel," (1 Cor. ix: 14.) is laid down in the New Testament; and likewise in the Old, (Num. xxxi: 47; xxxv; 1-8.) many revenues accrued to the Levites from the people; what is the reason, I say, that He so ordained? Was it not for the sake of laying a foundation beforehand of lowliness and love? For inasmuch as the dignity of a teacher oftentimes elates him who possesses it, He, in order to repress his spirit, hath imposed on him the necessity of requiring aid at the hands of his disciples. And to these in turn he hath given[3] means of cultivating kindly feelings, by training them, through the kindness required of them to their Teacher, in gentleness towards others also. By this means no slight affection is generated on both sides. Were not the cause of this what I have stated it to be, why should He, who fed the dull-minded Jews with manna, have reduced the Apostles to the necessity of asking for aid? Is it not manifest He aimed at the great benefits of humility and love, and that those who were under teaching might not be ashamed of Teachers who were in appearance despicable? To ask for aid bears the semblance of disgrace, but it ceased to be so, when their Teachers with all boldness urged their claim, so that their disciples derived from hence no small benefit, taught hereby to despise all appearances. Wherefore he says, "But[4] let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things," that is, let him show to him all generosity; this he implies by the words, "in all good things." Let the disciple, says he, keep nothing to himself, but have every thing in common, for what he receives is better than what he gives,--as much better as heavenly are better than earthly things. This he expresses in another place," If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" (1 Cor. ix: II. ) Wherefore he gives the procedure the name of a "communication," showing that an interchange takes place. Hereby too love is greatly fostered and confirmed. If the teacher asks merely for competency, he does not by receiving it derogate from his own dignity. For this is praiseworthy, so assiduously to apply to the Word, as to require the aid of others, and to be in manifold poverty, and to be regardless of all the means of subsistence. But if he exceed the due measure, he injures his dignity, not by mere receiving, but by receiving too much. Then, lest the vice of the Teacher should render the disciple more remiss in this matter, and he should frequently pass him by, though poor, on account of his conduct, he proceeds to say,

Ver. 9. "And let us not be weary in well doing."[1]

And here he points out the difference between ambition of this kind, and in temporal affairs, by saying, "Be not deceived[2]; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life." As in the case of seeds, one who sows pulse cannot reap corn, for what is sown and what is reaped must both be of one kind, so is it in actions, he that plants in the flesh, wantonness, drunkenness, or inordinate desire, shall reap the fruits of these things. And what are these fruits? Punishment, retribution, shame, derision, destruction. For of sumptuous tables and viands the end is no other than destruction; for they both perish themselves, and destroy the body too. But the fruit of the Spirit is of a nature not similar but contrary in all respects to these. For consider I hast thou sown alms-giving? the treasures of heaven and eternal glory await thee: hast thou sown temperance? honor and reward, and the applause of Angels, and a crown from the Judge await thee.

Ver. 9, 10. "And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. So then as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, especially toward them that are of the household of faith."

Lest any one should suppose that their Teachers were to be cared for and supported, but that others might be neglected, he makes his discourse general, and opens the door of this charitable zeal to all; nay, he carries it to such a height, as to command us to show mercy both to Jews and Greeks, in the proper gradation indeed, but still to show mercy. And what is this gradation? it consists in bestowing greater care upon the faithful. His endeavor here is the same as in his other Epistles; he discourses not merely of showing mercy, but of doing it with zeal and perseverance, for the expressions of "sowing" and of "not fainting" imply this. Then, having exacted a great work, he places its reward close at hand, and makes mention of a new and wondrous harvest. Among husbandmen, not only the sower but also the reaper endures much labor, having to struggle with drought and dust and grievous toil, but in this case none of these exist, as he shows by the words, "for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." By this means he stimulates and draws them on; and he also urges and presses them forward by another motive, saying, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good." As it is not always in our power to sow, so neither is it to show mercy; for when we have been carried hence, though we may desire it a thousand times, we shall be able to effect nothing more. To this argument of ours the Ten Virgins (Mat. xxv: I ff) bear witness, who although they wished it a thousand times, yet were shut out from the bridegroom, because they brought with them no bountiful charity. And so does the rich man who neglected Lazarus (Luke xvi: 19.) for he, being destitute of this succor, although he wept and made many entreaties, won no compassion from the Patriarch, or any one else, but continued destitute of all forgiveness, and tormented with perpetual fire. Therefore he says, "as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men," hereby especially also setting them free from the narrow-mindedness of the Jews. For the whole of their benevolence was confined to their own race, but the rule of life which Grace gives invites both land and sea to the board of charity, only it shows a greater care for its own household.

Ver. 11, 12. "See with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised."

Observe what grief posesses his blessed soul. As those who are oppressed with some sorrow, who have lost one of their own kindred, and suffered an unexpected calamity, rest neither by night nor day, because their grief besieges their soul, so the blessed Paul, after a short moral discourse, returns again to that former subject which chiefly disturbed his mind, saying as follows: "see with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand." By this he signifies that he had written the whole letter[3] himself, which was a proof of great sincerity. In his other Epistles he himself only dictated, another wrote, as is plain from the Epistle to the Romans, for at its close it is said, "I Tertius, who write the Epistle, salute you;" (Rom. xvi: 22.) but in this instance he wrote the whole himself. And this he did by necessity, not from affection merely, but in order to remove an injurious suspicion. Being charged with acts wherein he had no part, and being reported to preach Circumcision yet to pretend to preach it not, he was compelled to write the Epistle with his own hand, thus laying up beforehand a written testimony. By the expression "what sized," he appears to me to signify, not the magnitude, but, the misshapen appearance[1] of the letters, as if he had said, "Although not well skilled in writing, I have been compelled to write with my own hand to stop the mouth of these traducers."

Ver. 12, 13. "As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the Law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh."

Here he shows that they suffered this, not willingly but of necessity, and affords them an opportunity of retreat, almost speaking in their defence, and exhorting them to abandon their teachers with all speed. What is the meaning of "to make a fair show in the flesh?" it means, to be esteemed by men. As they were reviled by the Jews for deserting the customs of their fathers, they desire, says he, to injure you, that they may not have this charged against them, but vindicate themselves by means of your flesh.[2] His object here is to show that they did not so act from respect to God; it is as if he said, This procedure is not founded in piety, all this is done through human ambition; in order that the unbelievers may be gratified by the mutilation of the faithful, they choose to offend God that they may please men; for this is the meaning of, "to make a fair show in the flesh." Then, as a proof that for another reason too they are unpardonable, he again convinces them that, not only in order to please others, but for their own vain glory,[3] they had enjoined this. Wherefore he adds, "that they may glory in your flesh," as if they had disciples, and were teachers. And what is the proof of this? "For not even they themselves," he says, "keep the Law;" even if they did keep it, they would incur grave censure, but now their very purpose is corrupt.

Ver. 14. "But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Truly this symbol is thought despicable; but it is so in the world's reckoning, and among men; in Heaven and among the faithful it is the highest glory. Poverty too is despicable, but it is our boast; and to be cheaply thought of by the public is a matter of laughter to them, but we are elated by it. So too is the Cross our boast. He does not say, "I boast not," nor, "I will not boast," but, "Far be it from me that I should," as if he abominated it as absurd, and invoked the aid of God in order to his success therein. And what is the boast of the Cross? That Christ for my sake took on Him the form of a slave, and bore His sufferings for me the slave, the enemy, the unfeeling one; yea He so loved me as to give Himself up to a curse for me. What can be comparable to this! If servants who only receive praise from their masters, to whom they are akin by nature, are elated thereby, how must we not boast when the Master who is very God is not ashamed of the Cross which was endured for us. Let us then not be ashamed of His unspeakable tenderness; He was not ashamed of being crucified for thy sake, and wilt thou be ashamed to confess His infinite solicitude? It is as if a prisoner who had not been ashamed of his King, should, after that King had come to the prison and himself loosed the chains, become ashamed of him on that account. Yet this would be the height of madness, for this very fact would be an especial ground for boasting.

Ver. 14. "Through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world."[4]

What he here calls the world is not the heaven nor the earth, but the affairs of life, the praise of men, retinues, glory, wealth, and all such things as have a show of splendor. To me these things are dead. Such an one it behooves a Christian to be, and always to use this language. Nor was he content with the former putting to death, but added another, saying, "and I unto the world," thus implying a double putting to death, and saying, They are dead to me, and I to them, neither can they captivate and overcome me, for they are dead once for all, nor can I desire them, for I too am dead to them. Nothing can be more blessed than this putting to death, for it is the foundation of the blessed life.

Ver. 15, 16. "For neither is circumcision any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Observe the power of the Cross, to what a pitch it hath raised him! not only hath it put to death for him all mundane affairs, but hath set him far above the Old Dispensation. What can be comparable to this power? for the Cross hath persuaded him, who was willing to be slain and to slay others for the sake of circumcision, to leave it on a level with uncircumcision, and to seek for things strange and marvellous and above the heavens. This our rule of life he calls "a new creature," both on account of what is past, and of what is to come; of what is past, because our soul, which had grown old with the oldness of sin, hath been all at once renewed by baptism, as if it had been created again.[1] Wherefore we require a new and heavenly rule of life. And of things to come, because both the heaven and the earth, and all the creation, shall with our bodies be translated into incorruption. Tell me not then, he says, of circumcision, which now availeth nothing ; (for how shall it appear, when all things have undergone such a change?) but seek the new things of grace. For they who pursue these things shall enjoy peace and amity, and may properly be called by the name of" Israel." While they who hold contrary sentiments, although they be descended from him (Israel) and bear his appellation, have yet fallen away from all these things, both the relationship and the name itself. But it is in their power to be true Israelites, who keep this rule, who desist from the old ways, and follow after grace.

Ver. 17. "From henceforth let no man trouble me."

This he says not as though he were wearied or overpowered; he who chose to do and suffer all for his disciples' sake; he who said, "Be instant in season, out of season;" (2 Tim. iv: 2.) he who said, "If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil;" (2 Tim. ii: 25, 26.) how shall he now become relaxed and fall back? Wherefore does he say this? it is to gird up their slothful mind, and to impress them with deeper fear, and to ratify the laws enacted by himself, and to restrain their perpetual fluctuations.[2]

Ver. 17. "For I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus."

He says not, "I have," but, "I bear," like a man priding himself on trophies and royal ensigns. Although on a second thought it seems a disgrace, yet does this man vaunt of his wounds, and like military standard-bearers, so does he exult in bearing about these wounds. And why does he say this? "More clearly by those wounds than by any argument, than by any language, do I vindicate myself," says he. For these wounds utter a voice louder than a trumpet against my opponents, and against those who say that I play the hypocrite in my teaching, and speak what may please men. For no one who saw a soldier retiring from the battle bathed in blood and with a thousand wounds, would dare to accuse him of cowardice and treachery, seeing that he bears on his body the proofs of his valor, and so ought ye, he says, to judge of me. And if any one desire to hear my defence, and to learn my sentiments, let him consider my wounds, which afford a stronger proof than these words and letters. At the outset of his Epistle he evinced his sincerity by the suddenness of his conversion, at its close he proves it by the perils which attended his conversion. That it might not be objected that he had changed his course with upright intentions, but that he had not continued in the same purpose, he produces his trials, his dangers, his stripes as witnesses that he had so continued.

Then having clearly justified himself in every particular, and proved that he had spoken nothing from anger or malevolence, but had preserved his affection towards them unimpaired, he again establishes this same point by concluding his discourse with a prayer teeming with a thousand blessings, in these words;

Ver. 18. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen."

By this last word he hath sealed all that preceded it. He says not merely, "with you," as elsewhere, but, "with your spirit," thus withdrawing them from carnal[3] things, and displaying throughout the beneficence of God, and reminding them of the grace which they enjoyed, whereby he was able to recall them from all their judaizing errors. For to have received the Spirit came not of the poverty of the Law, but of the righteousness which is by Faith, and to preserve it when obtained came not from Circumcision but from Grace. On this account he concluded his exhoration with a prayer, reminding them of grace and the Spirit, and at the same time addressing them as brethren, and supplicating God that they might continue to enjoy these blessings, thus providing for them a twofold security. For both prayer and teaching, tended to the same thing and together became to them as a double wall. For teaching, reminding them of what benefits they enjoyed, the rather kept them in the doctrine of the Church; and prayer, invoking grace, and exhorting to an enduring constancy, permitted not the Spirit to depart from them. And He abiding in them, all the error of such doctrines as they held was shaken off like dust.[1]

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