Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

66

Christ says in another place, "No one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him." (Luke x: 22.) You observe that the Father reveals the Son, and the Son the Father; so it is as to Their glory, the Son glorifies the Father, and the Father the Son; "glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee," and, as I have glorified Thee." (John xvii: 1, 4.) But why does he say, "to reveal His Son in me," and not "to me?" it is to signify, that he had not only been instructed in the faith by words, but that he was richly endowed with the Spirit; that the revelation had enlightened his whole soul, and that he had Christ speaking within him.1 "That I might preach Him among the Gentiles." For not only his faith, but his election to the Apostolic office proceeded from God. The object, says he, of His thus specially revealing Himself to me, was not only that I might myself behold Him, but that I might also manifest Him to others. And he says not merely, "others," but, "that I might preach Him among the Gentiles," thus touching beforehand on that great ground of his defence which lay in the respective characters of the disciples; for it was necessary to preach differently to the Jews and to the heathen.

Let

This then let us do; for it is not the right course to weigh the mere words, nor examine the language by itself, as many errors will be the consequence, but to attend to the intention of the writer. And unless we pursue this method in our own discourses, and examine into the mind of the speaker, we shall make many enemies, and every thing will be thrown into disorder. Nor is this confined to words, but the same result will follow, if this rule is not observed in actions. For surgeons often cut and break certain of the bones; so do robbers; yet it would be miserable indeed not to be able to distinguish one from the other. Again, homicides and martyrs, when tortured, suffer the same pangs, yet is the difference between them great. Unless we attend to this rule, we shall not be able to discriminate in these matters; but shall call Elijah and Samuel and Phineas homicides, and Abraham a son-slayer; that is, if we go about to scrutinize the bare facts, without taking into account the intention of the agents. us then inquire into the intention of Paul in thus writing, let us consider his scope, and general deportment towards the Apostles, that we may arrive at his present meaning. Neither formerly, nor in this case, did he speak with a view of disparaging the Apostles or of extolling himself, (how so? when he included himself under his anathema?) but always in order to guard the integrity of the Gospel. Since the troublers of the Church said that they ought to obey the Apostles who suffered these observances, and not Paul who forbade them, and hence the Judaizing heresy had gradually crept in, it was necessary for him manfully to resist them, from a desire of repressing the arrogance of those who These words weighed by themselves seem to improperly exalted themselves, and not of speakbreath an arrogant spirit, and to be foreign to ing ill of the Apostles. And therefore he says, the Apostolic temper. For to give one's suffrage "I conferred not with flesh and blood; " for it for one's self, and to admit no man to share would have been extremely absurd for one who one's counsel, is a sign of folly. It is said, had been taught by God, afterwards to refer "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? himself to men. For it is right that he who there is more hope of a fool than of him;" learns from men should in turn take men as his (Prov. xxvi: 12.) and, "Woe unto them that counsellors. But he to whom that divine and are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their blessed voice had been vouchsafed, and who own sight!" (Isa. v: 21.) and Paul himself in had been fully instructed by Him that possesses another place, "Be not wise in your own con- all the treasures of wisdom, wherefore should he ceits." (Rom. xii: 16.) Surely one who had been afterwards confer with men? It were meet that thus taught, and had thus admonished others, he should teach, not be taught by them. would not fall into such an error, even were he Therefore he thus spoke, not arrogantly, but to an ordinary man; much less then Paul himself. exhibit the dignity of his own commission. Nevertheless, as I said, this expression nakedly Neither went I up," says he, "to Jerusalem considered may easily prove a snare and offence to them which were Apostles before me." Beto many hearers. But if the cause of it is sub- cause they were continually repeating that the joined, all will applaud and admire the speaker. Apostles were before him, and were called ["Ev uoi means 'in my mind,' in my consciousness.' 2 Cor. before him, he says, "I went not up to them." iv: 6," in opposition to Lightfoot who says, "In me' means, as Had it been needful for him to communicate the context shows, not a revelation made inwardly to himself, but through him to others."-G. A.] with them, He, who revealed to him his com

Immediately I conferred not with flesh and

blood."

Here he alludes to the Apostles, naming them after their physical nature; however, that he may have meant to include all mankind, I shall not deny.2

Ver. 17. "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before me."

[Flesh and blood" is twice used elsewhere (Mat. 16: 17 and

66

Eph. 6:12,) to denote" weak human nature," "feeble man."-G. A mission, would have given him this injunction.

not of his successes, nor of whom or of how
many he instructed. Yet such was his zeal
immediately on his baptism, that he confounded
the Jews, and so exasperated them, that they
and the Greeks lay in wait for him with a view
to kill him. This would not have been the
case, had he not greatly added to the numbers
of the faithful; since they were vanquished in
doctrine, they had recourse to murder, which
was a manifest sign of Paul's superiority. But
Christ suffered him not to be put to death, pre-
serving him for his mission. Of these successes,
however, he says nothing, and so in all his dis-
courses, his motive is not ambition, nor to be
honored more highly than the Apostles, nor
because he is mortified at being lightly esteemed,
but it is a fear lest any detriment should accrue
to his mission. For he calls himself, "one born
out of due time," and, "the first of sinners,”
and "the last of the Apostles," and, "not
meet to be called an Apostle." And this he
said, who had labored more than all of them;
which is real humility; for he who, conscious
of no excellence, speaks humbly of himself, is
candid but not humble; but to say so after such
trophies, is to be practised in self-control.
Ver. 17. "And again I returned unto Damas-

Is it true, however, that he did not go up
thither ? nay, he went up, and not merely so,
but in order to learn somewhat of them. When a
question arose on our present subject in the city
of Antioch, in the Church which had from the
beginning shown so much zeal, and it was dis-
cussed whether the Gentile believers ought to be
circumcised, or were under no necessity to undergo
the rite, this very Paul himself and Silas2 went
up. How is it then that he says, I went not up,
nor conferred? First, because he went not up
of his own accord, but was sent by others;
next, because he came not to learn, but to bring
others over. For he was from the first of that
opinion, which the Apostles subsequently rati-
fied, that circumcision was unnecessary. But when
these persons deemed him unworthy of credit and
applied to those at Jerusalem he went up not to
be farther instructed, but to convince the gain-
sayers that those at Jerusalem agreed with him.
Thus he perceived from the first the fitting line
of conduct, and needed no teacher, but, pri-
marily and before any discussion, maintained
without wavering what the Apostles, after much
discussion, (Acts xv: 2,7.) subsequently ratified.
This Luke shows by his own account, that Paul
argued much at length with them on this subject.
before he went to Jerusalem. But since the breth-cus.'
ren chose to be informed on this subject, by those
at Jerusalem, he went up on their own account,
not on his own. And his expression, "I went
not up," signifies that he neither went at the
outset of his teaching, nor for the purpose of
being instructed. Both are implied by the
phrase, "Immediately I conferred not with flesh
and blood." He says not, "I conferred," merely,
but, “immediately; " and his subsequent jour-
ney was not to gain any additional instruction.
Ver. 17. "But I went away into Arabia."
Behold a fervent soul! he longed to occupy
regions not yet tilled, but lying in a wild state.
Had he remained with the Apostles, as he had
nothing to learn, his preaching would have
been straitened, for it behooved them to spread
the word every where. Thus this blessed man,
fervent in spirit, straightway undertook to teach
wild barbarians,3 choosing a life full of battle
and labor. Having said, "I went into Arabia,"
he adds, "and again I returned unto Damas-
cus." Here observe his humility; he speaks

[Paul here simply means he did not go to Jerusalem before he

began preaching.-G. A.]

Of those who were sent with St. Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem, Barnabas is the only one named in Acts xv: 2, and it would rather seem from Ver. 22, that Silas was then at Jerusalem, and did

not accompany St. Paul till his return from thence.

[This journey is to be looked upon not as having for its object a quiet preparation,but as a first experiment of extraneous ministry." -Meyer. Farrar, Life and Work of Paul. Ch. xi. takes the opposite view and says. "No one, I think, who reads this passage attentively can deny that it gives the impression of an intentional retirement from human intercourse." So also Schaff, who says it was a sort of substitute for the three years intercourse with Jesus enjoyed by the other Apostles. Ap. Ch. 236.-G. A.]

But what great things did he not probably achieve in this city? for he tells us that the governor under Aretas the king set guards about the whole of it, hoping to entrap this blessed man. Which is a proof of the strongest kind that he was violently persecuted by the Jews. Here, however, he says nothing of this, but mentioning his arrival and departure is silent concerning the events which there occurred, nor would he have mentioned them in the place I have referred to, (2 Cor. xi: 32.) had not circumstances required their narration.

Ver. 18. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas."

What can be more lowly than such a soul? After such successes, wanting nothing of Peter, not even his assent, but being of equal dignity with him, (for at present I will say no more,) he comes to him as his elder and superior. And the only object of this journey was to visit Peter; thus he pays due respect to the Apostles, and esteems himself not only not their better but not their equal. Which is plain from this journey, for Paul was induced to visit Peter by the same feeling from which many of our brethren sojourn with holy men: or rather by a humbler feeling for they do so for their own benefit, but this blessed man, not for his own instruction or correction, but merely for the sake of

[First visit to Jerusalem, Acts ix: 26. For a reconciliation of the two accounts of this visit see Handy Com, on Gal. Excursus A (by Sanday).—G.A.]

beholding and honoring Peter by his presence. appellation, and called him the son of CleoHe says, "to visit Peter;" he does not say to phas, as the Evangelist does. 3 But as he consee, (¿ôɛiv,) but to visit and survey, (atopijoat,) sidered that he had a share in the august titles a word which those, who seek to become of the Apostles, he exalts himself by honoring acquainted with great and splendid cities, apply James; and this he does by calling him "the to themselves. Worthy of such trouble did he Lord's brother," although he was not by birth consider the very sight of Peter; and this His brother, but only so reputed. Yet this did appears from the Acts of the Apostles also. not deter him from giving the title; and in (Acts xxi: 17,18 etc.) For on his arrival at Jeru- many other instances he displays towards all salem, on another occasion, after having con- the Apostles that noble disposition, which verted many Gentiles, and, with labors far sur- beseemed him. passing the rest, reformed and brought to Christ Pamphylia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, and all nations in that quarter of the world, he first addresses himself with great humility to James, as to his elder and superior. Next he submits to his counsel, and that counsel contrary to this Epistle. "Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them which have believed; therefore shave thy head, and purify thyself." (Acts xxi: 20 f.) Accordingly he shaved his head, and observed all the Jewish ceremonies; for where the Gospel was not affected, he was the humblest of all men. But where by such humility he saw any injured, he gave up that undue exercise of it, for that was no longer to be humble but to outrage and destroy the disciples.

Ver. 18. "And tarried with him fifteen days." To take a journey on account of him was a mark of respect; but to remain so many days, of friendship and the most earnest affection.1 Ver. 19. "But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James," the Lord's brother."

Ver. 20. Now touching the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." Observe throughout the transparent humility of this holy soul; his earnestness in his own vindication is as great as if he had to render an account of his deeds, and was pleading for his life in a court of justice.

Ver. 21. "Then I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.”

After his interview with Peter, he resumes his preaching and the task which lay before him, avoiding Judæa, both because of his mission being to the Gentiles, and of his unwillingness to "build upon another man's foundation." Wherefore there was not even a chance meeting, as appears from what follows.

Ver. 22, 23. "And I was still unknown by face unto the Churches of Judæa; but they only heard say, he that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc."

What modesty in thus again mentioning the facts of his persecuting and laying waste the See what great friends he was with Peter Church, and in thus making infamous his especially; on his account he left his home, former life, while he passes over the illustrious and with him he tarried. This I frequently deeds he was about to achieve! He might have repeat, and desire you to remember, that no told, had he wished it, all his successes, but he one, when he hears what this Apostle seems mentions none of these and stepping with one to have spoken against Peter, may conceive a word over a vast expanse, he says merely, “I suspicion of him. He premises this, that when came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;" he says, "I resisted Peter," no one may sup-and, "they had heard, that he, which once perpose that these words imply enmity and contention; for he honored and loved his person more than all and took this journey for his sake only, not for any of the others. "But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James." "I saw him merely, I did not learn from him," he means. But observe how honorably he menVer. 24. "And they glorified God in me.” tions him, he says not "James" merely, but See here again how accurately he observes adds this illustrious title, so free ishe from all the rule of his humility; he says not, they envy. Had he only wished to point out whom admired me, they applauded or were astonished he meant, he might have shown this by another at me, but ascribes all to Divine grace by the

1

[And yet it was not long enough to have allowed his receiving

his doctrine and Gospel from Peter. Besides he had already been preaching three years.-G. A]

"Thus this James is distinguished from the circle of the twelve (1 Cor. xv. 8.) to which Peter belonged but included in the number of Apostles in the wider sense, which explains the merely supplementary mention of this Apostle."-Meyer.

secuted us, now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc." The purpose of the words, "I was unknown to the Churches of Judæa," is to show, that so far from preaching to them the necessity of circumcision, he was not known to them even by sight.

words, "they glorified God in me.”

[Compare John xix: 25 with Matt. xxvii: 56. But see Lightfoot's learned and exhaustive essay on "The Brethren of the Lord, Com. on Gal. pp. 88-127, and Schaff, Church History, I, 272-275.-G.A.] [Compare Acts ix: 30, where Luke says the brethren took Paul to Caesarea, and thence despatched him to Tarsus (in Cilicia.-G. A.]

CHAPTER II.

VERSE I-2.

"Then after the space of fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. And I went up by revelation."

His first journey was owing to his desire to visit Peter, his second, he says, arose from a revelation of the Spirit.

Ver. 2. "And I laid before them the Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running or had run,

in vain."

What is this, O Paul! thou who neither at the beginning nor after three years wouldest confer with the Apostles, dost thou now confer with them, after fourteen years are past, lest thou shouldest be running in vain? Better would it have been to have done so at first, than after so many years; and why didst thou run at all, if not satisfied that thou wert not running in vain? Who would be so senseless as to preach for so many years, without being sure that his preaching was true? And what enhances the difficulty is, that he says he went up by revelation; this difficulty, however, will afford a solution of the former one. Had he gone up of his own accord, it would have been most unreasonable, nor is it possible that this blessed soul should have fallen into such folly; for it is himself who says, "I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air." (1 Cor. ix: 26.) If therefore he runs, "not uncertainly," how can he say, "lest I should be running, or had run, in vain?" It is evident from this, that if he had gone up without a revelation, he would have committed an act of folly. But the actual case involved no such absurdity; who shall dare

1 ["The Acts mention five such journeys after his conversion :

(1.)-ix: 23 (Comp. Gal. i: 18.) (2.)-xi: 30; xii: 25. (3.)-xv: 2, the journey to the Apostolic Council, A. D. 50 or 51. (4).-x viii :22, the journey in 54. (5.)- xxi: 15 (Comp. Ro. 15: 25 ff.) the last journey when he was made a pardoner and sent to Caesarea in 58. The first of these journeys cannot be meant on account of Gal. i: 18. The second is excluded by the chronoligical date of Gal, ii : 1, for as it took place during the famine of Palestine in the year of Herod's death, A. D 44, it would put the commission of Paul back to the year 30, which is much too early. There is no good reason why Paul should have mentioned this second journey. The fifth journey cannot be meant for it took place after the composition of Epistle to Galatians and after dispersion of Apostles. Nor can we think of the fourth journey which was transient, nor was Barnabas with him on that journey, Acts xv: 39. So the journey here mentioned is the same as that of Acts xv: 2. This took place 50 or 51, i. e., fourteen years after his conversion, 37.-Schaff in Pop. Com. -G. A.]

14

[ocr errors]

to still harbor this suspicion, when it was the grace of the Spirit which drew him? On this account he added the words "by revelation,' lest, before the question was solved, he should be condemned of folly; well knowing that it was no human occurrence, but a deep Divine Providence concerning the present and future. What then is the reason of this journey of his? As when he went up before from Antioch to Jerusalem, it was not for his own sake, (for he saw clearly that his duty was simply to obey the doctrines of Christ,) but from a desire to reconcile the contentious; so now his object was the complete satisfaction of his accusers, not any wish of his own to learn that he had not run in vain. They conceived that Peter and John, of whom they thought more highly than of Paul, differed from him in that he ommitted circumcision in his preaching, while the former allowed it, and they believed that in this he acted unlawfully, and was running in vain. I went up, says he, and communicated unto them my Gospel, not that I might learn aught myself, (as appears more clearly further on,) but that I might convince these suspicious persons that I do not run in vain. The Spirit forseeing this contention had provided that he should go up and make this communication.

Wherefore he says that he went up by revelation, 2 and, taking Barnabas and Titus as witnesses of his preaching, communicated to them the Gospel which he preached to the Gentiles, that is, with the omission of circumcision. "But privately before them who were of reWhat means pute.' "privately?" Rather, he who wishes to reform doctrines held in common, proposes them, not privately, but before all in common; but Paul did this privately, for his object was, not to learn or reform any thing, but to cut off the grounds of those who would fain deceive. All at Jerusalem were offended, if the law was transgressed, or the use of circum"Thou seest, cision forbidden; as James says, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them which have believed; and they

"["In St. Luke's narrative (Acts xv: 2.) he is said to have been sent by the Church at Antioch. The revelation either prompted or confirmed the decision of the Church."-Lightfoot.-G. A.]

are informed of thee, that thou teachest to for- authoritatively given butan indulgence to their insake the law." (Acts xxi: 20, et seq.) Since continence; as he says, "for your incontinency." then they were offended he did not condescend to Would you know Paul's sentence in this matter? come forward publicly and declare what his hear his words, "I would that all men were even preaching was, but he conferred privately with as I myself," (1 Cor. vii: 7.) in continence. And those who were of reputation before Barnabas so here, the Apostles made this concession, not as and Titus, that they might credibly testify to vindicating the law, but as condescending to the his accusers, that the Apostles found no dis- infirmities of Judaism. Had they been vindicacrepancy in his preaching, but confirmed it. ting the law, they would not have preached to the The expression, "those that were of repute," Jews in one way, and to the Gentiles in another. (tois doxovσt») does not impugn the reality of their Had the observance been necessary for unbegreatness; for he says of himself, "And I also lievers, then indeed it would plainly have likeseem (dox) to have the Spirit of God," there-wise been necessary for all the faithful. But by by not denying the fact, but stating it modestly. And here the phrase implies his own assent to the common opinion.

Ver. 3. "But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, 2 was compelled to be circumcised."

their decision not to harass the Gentiles on this point, they showed that they permitted it by way of condescension to the Jews. Whereas the purpose of the false brethren was to cast them out of grace, and reduce them under the yoke of slavery again. This is the first differWhat means, "being a Greek?" Of Greek ence, and a very wide one. The second is, extraction, and not circumcised; for not only that the Apostles so acted in Judæa, where the did I so preach but Titus so acted, nor did the Law was in force, but the false brethren, every Apostles compel him to be circumcised. A where, for all the Galatians were influenced by plain proof this that the Apostles did not con-them. Whence it appears that their intention demn Paul's doctrine or his practice. Nay was, not to build up, but entirely to pull down more, even the urgent representations of the the Gospel, and that the thing was permitted adverse party, who were aware of these facts, by the Apostles on one ground and zealously did not oblige the Apostles to enjoin circumcis- practiced by the false brethren on another. ion, as appears by his own words,"Who came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage."

Ver. 4.

"And that because of the false brethren, privily brought in."

Ver. 4.

Here arises a very important question, Who He points out their hostility by calling them were these false brethren? 3 If the Apostles spies; for the sole object of a spy is to obtain permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, why are for himself facilities of devastation and destructhose who enjoined it, in acccordance with the tion, by becoming acquainted with his adverApostolic sentence, to be called false brethren? sary's position. And this is what those did, First; because there is a difference between who wished to bring the disciples back to their commanding an act to be done, and allowing it old servitude. Hence too appears how very after it is done. He who enjoins an act, does contrary their purpose was to that of the Aposit with zeal as necessary, and of primary impor- tles; the latter made concessions that they tance; but he who, without himself command- might gradually extricate them from their serviing it, alloweth another to do it who wisnes tude, but the former plotted to subject them to yields not from a sense of its being necessary one more severe. Therefore they looked round but in order to subserve some purpose. We and observed accurately and made themselves have a similar instance, in Paul's Epistle busybodies to find out who were uncircumcised; to the Corinthians, in his command to as Paul says, "they came in privily to spy out husbands and wives to come together again. To which, that he might not be thought to be legislating for them, he subjoins, "But this I say by way of permission, not of commandment." (1 Cor. vii: 5.) For this was not a judgment

1 [That is, that Barnabas and Titus as witnesses of the proceed

ings might testify to the Judaizing teachers everywhere, &c.-G.A.
2[Being a Greek :”' Lightfoot says this is a "causal" partici-
pial clause giving the "reason" why Titus was not circumcised;
because he was a Greek and not a Jew or part Jew as Timothy was.
Schaff makes it a "concessive" clause; although he was a Greek,
that is, a heathen. Farrar in Life and Work of Paul(2336)claims
that Titus was circumcised but not compelled to be. This how-
ever cannot be held in view of the context and the position of the
words in the sentence.-G. A.]

["These were formerly Pharisees (Acts xv: 5.) and were still so in spirit although they professed Christianity and were baptized." Schaff in Pop. Com.-G. A.]

our liberty," thus pointing out their machinations not only by the term "spies," but by this expression of a furtive entrance and creeping in.

Ver. 5.

"To whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour."4 Observe the force and emphasis of the phrase; he says not, "by argument," but, "by subjection, "for their object was not to teach good doctrine, but to subjugate and enslave them.

4 ["Had we consented to the suggestion to circumcise Titus, we should thereby have yielded to the false brethren standing in the background, who declared the circumcision of Gentile Christians to be necessary (Acts xv: 5.); but this did not at all take place."Meyer.-G. A.]

« AnteriorContinuar »