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Julian Pe- seek to please men ? for if I yet pleased men, I should Thessaloriod, 4762. not be the servant of Christ.
pica. Vulgarfra, 51.
sion, denied his apostleship; and, in support of their denial,
We may therefore believe, that immediately after the council,
This argument, bowover, does not prove that the epistle was necessarily written, as the loarned author supposes, at Antioch, though it might be written not long after the council.
Macknight's second reason is taken from the inscription of the epistle, in which it is said, that all the brethren who were with St. Paul joined him in writing it. For as the only view which any of the brethren could join the apostle in writing to the Galatians, was to attest the facts which he advanced in the first and second chapters, for proving his apostleship, the brethren who joined him in writing it must have been such as knew the truth of these facts. Wherefore they could be neither the brethren of Corinth, nor of Ephesus, nor of Rome, nor of Truas, nor of any other Gentile city, where this epistle has been dated, except Antioch. As little could they be the brethren who accompanied the apostle in his travels among the Gentiles, as Hammond conjectures. For none of them, except Silas, had any notice of the facts advanced in this epistle, but what they received from the apostle himself; so that their testimony was in reality, the apostle's own testimony. The only brethren who could bear effoctual testimony to these things, were those who lived in Judea and its neighbourhood, particularly the brethren of Antioch, who, by their intercourse with those of Jerusalem, must have known what happened to St. Paul there, as fully as they knew what happened to him in their own city, where he had resided often and long. I therefore havo no doubt that the Epistle to the Galatians was written from Antioch, and that the brethren who joined St. Paul in writing it, were the brethren there, whose testimony merited the highest credit. For, among them were varions prophets and teachers, whose names are mentioned, Acts xiii. 1. with others of respectable characters, whosc place of residence, early conversion, eminent station in the Church, and intercourse with the brethren in Jerusalem, gave them an opportunity of knowing St. Paul's manner of life before bis conversion. His being made an apostle by Christ himself-his being acknowledged as an apostle by his brethren in Jerusalem -his teaching uniformly that men are saved by faith, without obedience to the law of Moses-his having strenuously main. tained that doctrine in the hearing of the Church at Antioch his having publicly reproved St. Peter for seeming to depart from it, by refusing to eat with the converted Gentiles; and that on being reproved by St. Paul, St. Peter acknowledged his miscon
St. Paul, in Answer to the False Teachers, asserts he re. 31.
duct, by making no reply. All these things the brethren ofAntioch
Dr. Macknight, however, has omitted to observe that the cir-
Dr. Macknight's third argument for the early date is derived from the omission by St. Paul of his usual command, that the persons to whom he wrote should remember the poor. This is evidently an unsafe mode of reasoning.
When the apostle wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, he had heard of the defection of some of them from the true doctrine of the Gospel. This defection he represents as having happened soon after they were converted, Gal. i. 6. "I wonder that ye are so soon removed from him who called you into the grace of Christ.” But if the Epistle to the Galatians was written either from Rome, during the apostle's first confinement there; or from Corinth, during his eighteen months abode in that city; or from Ephesus, wbere he abode three years; or from Troas, in bis way to Jerusalem with the collections, the defection of the Galatians must have bappened a considerable time after their conversion, on the supposition that they were first called when Paul and Barnabas went into their country from Lycaonia. Wherefore if the apostle's expression," I wonder that ye are so soon removed,” is proper; the Epistle to the Galatians could not be written later than the interval between the council of Jerusalem and the apostle's second journey into the Gentile countries with Silas, when they delivered to the Churches the decrees of the council.
These arguments seem to prove, that the Epistle to the Galatians was written soon after the council of Jerusalem: the exact time seems, however, to be more satisfactorily ascertained by Michaelis, who has assigned it to some part of this second apostolical journey, before St. Paul came to Berea, where the brethren appear to have left him. St. Paul's first visit to the Galatians was not long after the council which had been held in Jerusalem, as appears from Acts xvi. 4, 5, 6. “And as they (namely, Paul and Silas), went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, which were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem : and so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in numbers daily. Now when they had gone through Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia," &c. &c. From this passage we see that St. Paul preached the Gospel in Galatia ; for the probibi. tion was confined to the Roman proconsular province of Asia, to which Galatia is here opposed. This is further confirmed by Acts xviji. 23. where St. Luke relates, that St. Paul again visited Galatia, strengthening his disciples, so that converts must have have been made on his first visit (kk). Now let us follow St. Paul on his first journey from Galatia to Berea, in
ceived his Apostleship from God, and relates his Conver- Thessaloriod, 4762. sion, Commission, and General History. Vulgar Æra,
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
Macedonia, where he seems to havo arrived in the same year,
When he left the Galatians he was accompanied by several
When he was no longer in safety here, he left Galatia, he left
Consequently this Epistle must bave been written before St.
Again, St. Paul in the two first chapters, gives the Galatians a general review of his life and conduct from his conversion to apostolic council in Jerusalem, and at the farthest at his return to Antioch. Here he breaks off his narrative. It is probable, therefore, that from that time to the time of his writing to the Galatians, nothing remarkable had happened except their conversion. Lastly, the supposition that St. Paul wrote to the Galatians at the period which I have assigned, accounts more easily than any other for St. Paul's mentioning to the Galatians, that he had not obliged Titus to undergo the rite of circumcision, namely, because he had obliged Timothy to submit to it immediately before his first visit to the Galatians; and St. Paul's adversaries had appealed, perhaps, to this in support of their doctrine, that the Levitical law should be retained.
The particular year of the Christian era (continucs Mi. chaelis), in which the Epistle to the Galatians was written, it is difficult to determine with precision, though we are cspecially interested in the date of this Epistle, because it appears from chap. iv. 10. that the Galatians were on the point of celebrating the Jewish Sabbatical year, and in that of their seduction by the Jewish zealots, of leaving their lands uncultivated for a wbole
Julian Pe- 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I Thessaloriod, 4762.
nica. 170, taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Vulgar Æra, 51.
year, though the law of Moses on this article could not possibly
Wbat Michaelis conjectured (says Dr. Hales), but was not
To understand the desigo of this Epistle, we must take into consideration certain opinions wbich were prevalent in the apostolic age.
The Jews believed that God demanded implicit obedience to the law of Moses-that this obedience would justify them, or place them, with respect to God, in the same situation in which they would bave been, if they had not transgressed ; and it had the power of obtaining for them also eternal life. They thought that man was not so fallen, but that he was of himself able to obcy the law, and thus fulfil the conditions on which eternal life was promised. These opinions were so blended in the minds of the Jews, with undoubted trutbs, that it would have been diffi. cult to have answered them satisfactorily, unless by divine inspiration. The apostle, however, proves by irrefragable arguments, both here, in his Epistle to the Galatians, and in his Epistle to the Romans--that the justification of man could not be accomplished by his own obedience. It was ulterly impossible that man could fully and satisfactorily obey the demands of a law, which was designed rather to convince men of sin, and enforce upon them the conviction that sometbing more was necessary to obtain the favour of God, and that the ceremonies of their Levitical law were only typical of some better and more perfect salvation : the law was as a servant, leading them as children from the painfulness and bondage of school, to the glo. rious liberty of the sons of God and beirs of heaven.
In opposition to this Judaizing heresy, St. Paul addresses the Galatians, and endeavours to convince them, by a masterly strain of argument, that the doctrine of salvation by faith alone is the doctrine of Scripture. After having established his apos. tolic commission against the attacks of the false teachers, he asserts, that as the law has no power to give life, it is useless to compel the Gentiles, or the Christian converts, to conform to the full observance of the ceremonial law. He assures them no flesh shall be justified by the law, but by the faith of Christ Jesus, for if righteousness come by the law, tben Christ shall be dead in vain; and he proves the superiority of the new covenant, by referring to those gifts they had received from the Holy Spirit since their admission into the Christian dispensation.
He further assures them, that the Christian covenant was founded on the promise given to Abraham and to his seed, which was made and confirmed by God in Christ, four hundred and thirty years before the law; therefore it was not possible that the law should disannul or make the promiso, of a redeeming Saviour of Isaac's line of nope effect. If, then, the Gospel was
Julian Pe 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past Thessaloriod, 4762.
nica. VulgarÆra, preached before unto Abraham, and we through bim (and not 51.
through the law are to be blessed), we must inquire into tbat.
Macknight remarks on this subject, referring to the Epistle
It will excite surprise among those who are interested in theological studies, that I have made little or no use of the labours of two writers, who of late years havo paid great attention to these Epistles-Mr. Belsham, and Dr. Semler of Halle. My reasons shall be briefly given.