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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, "foreseeing 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.


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."
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 justi-
fying after the delivery of the Law? he addresses
himself to this, and proves more than they
required: namely, not only that Faith was justi-
fying, but that the Law brought its adherents
under a curse. To be sure of this, listen to
the very words of the Apostle.

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"For3 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, II. "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 Further, they were possessed with another says, kept the Law, but all were under the curse, apprehension; it was written, "Cursed is every on account of transgression, an easy way was one that continueth not in all things that are provided, that from Faith, which is in itself a written in the book of the Law, to do them." strong proof that no man can be justified by the (Deut. xxvii: 26.) And this he removes, with | Law. For the prophet says not, "The just great skill and prudence, turning their argument shall live by the Law," but," by faith: 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

["The Scripture personified. The only case in N. T. where the personification of Scripture goes beyond Aéyet or einev," etc. -Lightfoot.-G. A.]

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.)

other than believers are sons of Abraham, Paul now shows further 2 ["After having pointed out from Scripture v. 6 and 7, that none from Scripture that none other than believers have a share in Abraham's blessing, i. e., are justified."-Meyer.-G. A.]

["Having shown by postive proof that justification is of faith, he adds the negative argument derived from the impossibility of main

taining its opposite, namely, justification by Law. This negative argument is twofold:

First, it is impossible to fulfill the requirements of the law and non fulfillment lays us under a curse (Ver. 10); Secondly, supposing the fulfilment.possible, still the spirit of the Law is antagonistic to faith, which is elsewhere spoken of as the source of life. (Ver. 11 and 12)."-Lightfoot.-G. A.]

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

["A parenthetic justification from Deut. xxi: 23 of the startling expression just used. The passage refers to those criminals who, after being stoned, were hung upon a stake, but were not permitted to remain over night lest the holy land should be desecrated. Our Saviour fulfilled the legal curse by hanging dead on the cross. This is one of the strongest passages for the doctrine of a vicarious atonement. The vicarious efficacy lies not so much in the preposition, vzép,' 'for,' as in the whole sentence."-Schaff

-G. A.]

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."

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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, "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" (Isa. xlix: 15.) and again,

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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. "What then is the Law? it was

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Ver. 19. added because of transgressions.' This remark again is not superfluous; ob

["A difficulty arises here from the stress which Paul lays on the singular of the word 'seed,' which is a collective noun in Heb. and Greek, and includes the whole posterity. But it is not a question of grammar but of spiritual meaning. The promise refers to Christ par excellence, and to all those and only those who are truly members of His body, united to Him by a living faith. If all the single descendants of Abraham were meant, the children of Hagar and Keturah and subsequently of Esau and his descendants, would have to be included."-Schaff.-G. A.].

"[Not as a single individual but as Head of the church which is His body, Eph. 1:23. The key to the passage is in ver. 28 and 29: 'Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.'"-Schaff.-G. A.]

serve too how he glances round at every thing, as if he had an hundred eyes. Having exalted Faith, and proved its elder 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?

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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, and shows that He was before it, and Himself the Giver of it.

Ver. 20.


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"Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one." 5 What can the heretics 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. 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.

["This interpretation of Chrysostom must be rejected on lexical

grounds. The law was in order to bring sin to light and make it appear in its true character and thus by a knowledge of the disease prepare its cure."-Ellicott and Schaff-G. A.] expositors (Basil and Theodoret excepted) could have so generally "We may reasonably wonder," says Ellicott, "how the early coincided in the perplexing view of Origen that the Mediator here Moses, Deut. v: 5."-G. A.] mentioned was Christ. On the contrary it is plain that it was

["This verse is counted the most difficult passage in the New

Testament, and has given rise to about 300 interpretations."

That of Lightfoot seems to satisfy the context, and is thus forcibly put by him: "The law is of the nature of a contract between two parties. God on the one hand and the Jewish people on the other. It is valid only so long as both parties fulfil the terms of contract. It is therefore contingent and not absolute. Unlike the law the promise is absolute and unconditional. It depends on the sole decree of God. There are not two contracting parties. There is nothing of the nature of a stipulation. The giver is everything and the recipient nothing."-Com. in loco.-G. A.]

The heretics refered to are the Anomoans, who held Arianism in its most developed form, against whom S. Chrysostom has written Homilies. For the particular objection answered in the text, vid. also Basil, in Eunom, iv. p. 294. Athan. Or in Arian, iii. 9. Greg. Naz. Orat. 36, p. 586.

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 hath shut up all things under 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;

"The Law then though differing widely from the promise is not antagonistic to it, does not interfere with it. On the contrary, we might imagine such a law as would justify and give life. This was not the effect of the law of Moses, however; on the contrary (AA) the Scripture (that, namely, about the curse, v. 10:) testiSes that the Law condemned all alike, yet not finally and irrevocably but only as leading the way for the dispensation of faith." -Lightfoot. Meyer takes a different view of v. 21: "For if it had been opposed to the promises, the Law must have been in a position to procure life and if this were so, then would righteousness actually be from the Law, which according to the Scripture cannot be so (ver. 22)."-G. A.]

"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 tutor2. 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

"["The pædagogus or tutor, frequently a superior slave, was entrusted with the moral supervision of the child. Thus his office was quite distinct from that of the didáσxados; so the word "Schoolmaster" conveys a wrong idea. As well in his inferior rank as in his recognized duty of enforcing discipline, this person was a fit emblem of the Mosaic law. There is a very complete illustration of the use which Paul makes of the metaphor in Plato (Lysis, p. 208 C).”—Lightfoot.-G. A.]

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

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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 Archan-
gel, but of the Lord of all, yea displays in his
own person the Christ.

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VERSE 1-3.

adoption of sons."

"But I say, that so long as the heir is a child, he differ- | were under the Law, that we might receive the eth 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."

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 word "child" in this place denotes not the curse of the Law, and promotion to sonage but understanding; meaning that God had ship. Fitly does he say, that we might "receive," from the beginning designed for us these gifts,[be paid,]" implying that it was due; for but, as we yet continued childish, He let us be the promise was of old time made for these under the elements of the world, that is, objects to Abraham, as the Apostle has himself new moons and sabbaths, for these days are shown at great length. And how does it appear regulated by the course of sun and moon.2 If that we have become sons? he has told us one then also now they bring you under law they mode, in that we have put on Christ who is the do nothing else but lead you backward now in Son; and now he mentions another, in that we the time of your perfect age and maturity. And have received the Spirit of adoption. 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


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


["This reference of vos to mental immaturity is quite in opposition to the context.-Meyer. "The heir in his nonage represents the Jewish people and the state of the world before Christ."-Schaff. So Meyer: "The Anpovóμos výnos represents the Christians as a body regarded in their earlier pre-Christian condition."-G. A.]

[This interpretation is rejected by Schaff, Meyer, Ellicott, Lightfoot et al. Schaff says: "Elements' here represents the religion before Christ as an elementary religion full of external rites and ceremonies. # * Comp. v: 10, for a specimen."-G. A.]

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

[So Schaff: "Verse 16 must here be kept in view where Christ is declared to be the seed of Abraham. Union with Christ constitutes the true spiritual descent from Abraham and secures the inher itance of all the Messianic blessings by promise as against inheritance by law." Pop. Com. in loc.-G. A.]

"["The proposition here (áró) simply means to receive from or at the hands of anyone."-Meyer.-But Lightfoot holds that amo λάβωμεν cannot be the same as λάβωμεν, the simple verb.-G. A.)

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