WRITTEN FROM CORINTH, OR EPHESUS, A. D. 53.
I wonder that ye are so soon removed from him who called you into the favour of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another; but some there are who trouble you, and wish to pervert the glad tidings of the Christ.*[App. No. LXXVII.] But even if we, or a messenger from heaven, should declare a gospel to you, contrary to the gosepl we have delivered to you, let him be accursed. and now, do I make men my friends, or God? or do I seek to please men? If indeed I sitll pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Now I certify you, brethren, concerning the gospel which was declared by me, that is is not according to men. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, except by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Ye have heard certainly, of my behaviour formerly in Judaism; that I exceedingly persecuted the congregation of God, and laid it waste: and made progress in Judaism, above many of the same age with myself in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when God who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his favour, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, that I mgiht declare the good news concerning him to the Gentiles; immediately I did not consult flesh and blood: neither did I go up to Jerusalem, to them who were apostles before me; but I went away into Arabia, and again returned to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But I saw no other of the apostles, except James the Lord's brother. Now the things I write to you, behold, before God, assuredly I do not falsely affirm. After that I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia: and I was personally unknown to the congregations of Judea which are in Christ. But only they heard, that he who formerly persecuted us, is now proclaiming the glad tidings of that belief which formerly he destroyed. And they glorified God on my account.
II. Then, within fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, with Barnabas, taking with me Titus also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them the gospel which I proclaimed to the Gentiles; but privately to them who were of reputation, lest perhaps I should run, or had run in vain. However, neither Titus, who was with me, though a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised, opn account even of the secretly introduced false brethren, (who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have by Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage;) nor did we give place by subjection, not even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.*[App. No. LXXVIII.] Besides, from them who were of reputation [I received nothing:] (whatever they were formerly, is no matter to me: God accepteth not the persons of men. For to me, they who were of reputation communicated nothing.) But, on the contrary, perceiving that I was entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter was with that of the circumcision, (for he who had communicated power to Peter for the mission to the circumcision, communicated power also to me for the nations;) and knowing the favour which was bestowed on me, James, and Cephas, and John, who were thought to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiels, but they to the circumcision. Only desiring that we would remember the poor; which very thing I also made haste to do. MOreover, when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him personally, becasue he was to be blamed. For before certain persons came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, being afraid of them of the circumcision. And the other Jews also dissembled with him, insomuch, that even Barnabas was carried away with them by their dissimulation. But when I saw that they did not walk rightly according to the turth of thet gospel, I said to Peter before them all, if thou, being a Jew, livedst after the manner of the Gentiles, and not after the manner of the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to Judaize? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that man is not jsutified by works of law, but only through the faith of Jesus Christ; even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we may be justified by the faith of Chrsit, and not by works of law. For by works of law no flesh shall be justified. But if seeking to be justified by Christ, even we ourselves are found sinners, will Christ be the minister of sin? By no means. For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I constitute myself a transgressor. Besides, I through law have died by law, so that I must live by God. I am crucified together with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: For the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith which is of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the favour of God. For if righteousness is through law, then certainly Christ hath died in vain.
III. O inconsiderate Galatians! who hath deceived you, not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ crucified was evidently represented among you? This only would I learn from you, on account of the works of the law received ye the Spirit? or on account of the obedience of faith? Are ye so inconsiderate, that having begun in the Spirit, ye now make yourselves perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? Surely indeed it is in vain.
4. He, then, who supplied to you the Spirit, and wrought miracles among you, did he these on account of the works of the law, or on account of the obedience of faith? Seeing Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness, know ye certainly, that they who are of faith, the same are the sons of Abraham. For the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, announced the gospel before to Abraham, saying, "Surely in thee all the nations shall be blessed." Wherefore they who are of faith, are blessed with believing Abraham. But as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, "Accursed is every one who continueth not in all the things which are writtten in the book of the law to do them." Besides, that by law no one is justified before God is manifest: "For the just by faith shall live." Also, the law is not of faith. But he who doth these things, shall live by them. Christ hath bought us off from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us: for it is written, "Accursed is every one who is hanged on a tree:") that the blessing of Abraham might come on the nations through Christ Jesus; and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: no one setteth aside, or altereth a ratified covenant, though but of a man. Now, to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He doth not say, And in seeds, as concerning many, but as concerning one person, "And in thy seed," who is Christ. Wherefore this I affirm, that the covenant which was afore ratified by God concerning Christ, the law, which was made four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, so as to abolish the promise.
Besides, if the inheritance be by law, it is no longer by promise. But God bestowed it freely on Abraham by promise.
JEW.--Why then was the law added?
APOSTLE.--It was added on account of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom it was promised; being ordained by messengers, in the hand of a mediator; and this mediator was not of one party; but God is one party.
JEW.--Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?
APOSTLE.--By no means. For if there had been a law given, which was able to make alive, certainly righteousness would have been by law. But the scripture hath shut up together all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them who believe. Wherefore, before faith came, we were kept in durance udner law, shut up together unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law hath been our pedagogue [to bring us] to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But faith being come, we are no longer under the pedagogue. For ye are all the sons of God through the faith [published] by Christ Jesus. Besides, as many of you as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ. In Christ Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bondman nor freeman, there is neither male or female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, certainly ye are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
IV. Now I say, as long as the heir is a minor,*[App. No. LXXIX.] he differeth nothing from a bondman, although he be lord of all. For he is under tutors and stewards, until the time before appointed of his father. So also we, whilst we were minors, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might buy off those under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, [straight line] Father. So that thou art no more a bondman, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. However then indeed, not knowing God, ye served as slaves those who are not gods by nature. But now, having acknowledged God, or rather, being acknowledged of God, why turn ye back again to the weak and poor elements, to which again from me first ye incline to be in bondage? Ye carefully observe days, and moons, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, lest, perhaps, I have laboured in vain among you. Brethren, I pray you, be as I am: for I am as ye are. Ye have injured me in nothing. Ye know indeed, that in weakness of the flesh, I declared the gospel to y ou at first. Yet that trial of mine which was in my flesh, ye did not despise, neither did ye reject me; but received me as a messenger of God, nay, as Christ Jesus. What then was your happiness! for I bear you witness, that if possible, plucking out your eyes, ye would have given them to me. So that I am become your enemy, when I speak truth to you! They love you ardently, not honourably; for they wish to exclude us, that ye may love them ardently. But it is honourable to be ardently in love with a good man at all times, and not merely when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I again travail in birth till Christ be formed in you; I could wish, indeed, to be present with you now, and to change my speech; for I am exceedingly in doubt concerning you. Tell me, ye who wish to be under the law, why do ye not understand the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons; one by the bondmaid, and one by the free woman. But he verily, who was of the bondmaid, was begotten according to the flesh; but he who was the the free woman, through the promise. Which things are allegorized; for these women are the two covenants: the one, verily, from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children into bondage, which is Hagar, (for the name Hagar, denotes Mount Sinai in Arabia) and she answereth to the present Jerusalem, and is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem above is the free woman, who is the mother of us all.*[Instead of 'all,' which Griesbach has rejected as spurious, supply Gentiles, and the meaning is more plain and forcible.] For it is writtten, "Rejoice, O barren woman who didst not bring forth! break out and cry, thou who travailest not in birth; for more are the children of the deserted , than of her who had the husband of the dserted." We, therefore, brethren, after the manner of Isaac, are children by promise. But even as then, he who was begotten according to the flesh, persecuted him who was begotten according to the Spirit, so also now. But what saith the scripture? "Cast out the bondmaid and her son; for the son of the bondmaid shall not inherit with the son of the free woman."
31. Well then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondmaid, but of the free woman. Stand fast, therefore, in the freedom wherewith Christ hath freed us, and be not again held fast in the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul, say to you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify, moreover, to every circumcised person, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Ye are loosed from Christ, who are justified by the law; ye are fallen from his favour. But we through the Spirit, look for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith strongly working by love. Ye did run well; who put a stop to you, that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not from him who called you. A little leaven leaventh the whole mass. I am persuaded concerning you by the Lord, that ye will think nothing differently from me: but he who troubleth you, shall bar punishment, whosoever he be. But I, brethren, if I now proclaim circumcision, why am I now persecuted? certainly the offence of the cross is abolished. I wish they were even discarded who subvert you. Now ye, brethren, have been called into liberty; only use not this liberty for an occasion to the flesh; but through love, assiduously serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled by one precept, even by this; "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." But if ye bite and devour one another, have a care; lest ye be consumed by one another. I command then, walk by the Spirit, and so ye willn ot fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that the things which ye incline, these ye cannot do. But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under law. Now, the works of the flesh are manifest; which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery,enmities, strifes, emulations, wrath, brawlings, factions, sets, envyings, murders, drunknenesses, revellings, and such like; concerning which I foretel you now, as I also have foretold, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance, against such things there is no law. Besides, they who are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the passions and lusts. Since we live in the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not be vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
VI. Also, brethren, if a man be surprised into any fault, ye, the spiritual men, set such a one right again in the spirit of meekness; taking a view of thyself, lest even thou be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if any one think himself to be something, being nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one try his own work, and then he shall have boasting in himself alone, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. Now let him who is instructed in the word, communicate of all good things to the instructor. Do not deceive yourselves; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that also he shall reap. Therefore he who soweth into his own flesh, shall from the flesh reap corruption: but he who soweth into the spirit, shall from the Spirit reap life everlasting. Wherefore let us not flag in well doing, for in the proper season we shall reap, if we faint not. Well then, while we have opportunity, let us work good to all, but especially to them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written to you with my own hand. As many as wish to appear fair by the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised, only that theymay not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For not even do the circumcised themselves keep the law, but they wish you to be circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. But let it never happen to me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Now as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God. Henceforth let no one give me trouble; for I bear the marks*[The scars of wounds in his Master's cause.] of the Lord Jesus in my body. The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.