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The Epiftle of St. PAUL
OR the chief Obfervations that are to let the Reader into the main Arguinent of this Epiftle, I refer him to the Preface of the Epistle to the Romans. Of those Questions which he there finds to be the Subject of them both, this one is more particularly handled in This Letter against the Jewish Chriftians, viz. Whether Circumcifion and the full Obfervation of the Ceremonial Law of Mofes were necessary to the Salvation of a Chriftian Convert? All I now further obferve is, The fame Factious and Calumniating Spirit of thefe Jewish Zealots of Galatia, with those of Rome and Corinth, the better to infinuate themselves with fome People, they fuggefted St. Paul to B
be, at the Bottom, a Favourer of the Jewish Law; but to others that knew him better, they reprefented the Apostle as one not immediately Commiffioned by Chrift, as Peter, James, and John, &c. were; but to be an Apostle at fecondhand: Thus derogating from the Authority of his Commiffion, and the Certainty of his Doctrine. This will give the Reader the true Spirit of the feveral Expressions which tend to vindicate both his Apostleship, and the Sincerity and Confiftency of St. Paul's Behaviour in the Controverfy handled in this Epiftle; as of Cap. i. 1, 8, 9, 10, &c. to the End; the whole fecond, and the twelve firft Verfes of the fifth Chapters, with the 13th and 17th Ver. of the fixth Chapter: In the two latter of which Chapters are fome Practical Exhortations, defigned chiefly against the Animofities and great Partialities that this Difpute had bred and ripened among them.
pistle was written in or about
of our Lord 58.
This E- The Title* the Apoftle gives himself, levelled against the Suggestions of their Falfe Teachers of the Judaizing Faction. He wondereth at their Relapfe from the true Chriftian Doctrine of Men's being Juftified and Saved by the Chriftian Religion alone, into the Jewish Principle of the Neceffity of the Ceremonial Law: To cure them of which Prejudice is the main Purpose of this Epiftle. His Anfwer to the Infinuations against the Authority of his Commission †, and the Sincerity of his Preaching.
+ See the Preface.
A.D. 58. Pot of men, neinot of men, nei.
Paul, am Paul who am a Chriftian Apoftle, nor by any Favour or ther by man, but by Authority of Men, nor receiving * Jefus Chrift, and
God the Father, my Commiffion by the choice of who raised him from the other Apofles, as Matthias did; but having it from the ex
and exprefs Revelation of Jefus Chrift A. D. 58. himfelf, and God the Father, who raised him from the Dead.
2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia :
3 Grace be to you and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jefus Chrift.
4 Who gave himfelf for our fins, that he might deliver us from this prefent evil world, according to the will of God and
† Acts xxii.
2, 3. Send this Epiftle to the xxvi. Chap. Churches of Galatia, wishing you 14, 15. all Favours and Bleffings from God the Father, and our Lord Jefus Chrift; as do also the Christian Brethren that are with me here at Rome.
4. Wishing you, I fay, the Bleffings of Chrift Jefus, who, according to the merciful and gracious Purpofe of God, and the Predictions of his Prophets, gave himself a Sacrifice for our Sins, to redeem us from the Punishment and Condemnation that is juftly to fall upon the vitious and obftinate Unbelievers || of the present Age.
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel, that ye are fo foon removed from him that called you into the grace of Chrift, unto another gofpel.
5. For which Mercy be he praised and glorified for ever and ever! Amen,
6. He therefore being the only Saviour by whom we obtain Pardon and Redemption, I am amazed to hear you fhould, fo foon after your Converfion, be thus changed in your Belief of this grand Article, and be brought to embrace the Neceffity of obferving the Jewish Ceremonies, as a Chriftian Doctrine; whereas there is no fuch Matter. The Chriftian Religion is the only fufficient Foundation of your Juftification and Happiness.
Ver. 4. From this prefent evil World, or rather
the prefent Age. The Sence being the fame with that of Acts ii. 47. this untoward Generation.
A.D. 58. 7 Which is not another; but there be fome that trouble you, and would pervert the gofpel of Chrift.
7. There can be no other: Nor could you have been perfwaded there was, unless by the fly Infinuations and falfe Suggeftions of defigning Men; whofe Art and Bufinefs is to pervert the Gospel Doctrine, and model your Principles to their own private Interests and ambitious Purposes.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gofpel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accurfed.
8. The better to gain their Ends upon you, thofe Judaizing Teachers would have you believe, that not only Peter and the other Apostles, but I my felf alfo do fometimes preach up the Jewish Law, as abfolutely neceflary along with the Chriftian Faith. So far from it, that I now folemnly pronounce, Were any one Apostle, nay, or (were it poffible) fhould an Angel from Heaven be supposed to preach a thing fo contrary to the Doctrine I at first delivered to you, he ought to Ver. 8, 9. be rejected and called * accursed.
Rom. ix. 3. 1 Cor.xvi.
Ver. 9. Any other Gofpel than that ye have received, wapwaPacers, any thing befide or more than ye have received from the Apoftles: viz. any thing as necessary to Salvation.
turn'd Chriftian*, and suffered fo much as I have done for A.D. 58. the fake of that Profeffion.
II But I certifie
you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man.
12 For 1 neither
received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jefus Chrift.
13 For ye have heard of my converfation in time paft, in the Jews religion, bow that beyond meafure I perfecuted the church of God, and
II, 12. And as to their difparagement of my Apoftolical Commiffion, or my Doctrine, because it may not fuit with their Prejudices or Defigns; be you fully affured, I received my Commiflion from no Man, from no other Apostles, but had both that and the Doctrine I preached to you, from the immediate Revelation of Jefus Christ himself.
13. Nor indeed can you well think fuch a Bigot as I fhould be converted at all, much less turn an Apoftle of his Religion, by any but extraordinary Means. For you must have heard what a raging Zealot for the Jewish Religion I formerly was; and how I perfecuted the Chriftian Faith with uncommon Fury and Cruelty.
Ver. 15. Who feparated me from my Mother's Womb. See Jerem. i. 5.
* Cap. v.
12. & vi. 12.