Imatges de pÓgina

No: VII.

I now proceed to state the conformity which exists between the argument of this epistle and the history of its reputed author. It is enough for this purpose to observe, that , the object of the epistle, that is, of the argumentative part of it, was to place the Gentile convert upon a parițy of situation with the Jewish, in respect of his religious condition, and his rank in the divine favour. The epistle supports this point by a variety of arguments ; such as,

that no man of either description was justified by the works of the law-for this plain reason, that no man had performed them; that it became therefore necessary to appoint another medium or condition of justification, in which new medium the Jewish peculiarity was merged and lost; that Abraham's own justification was anterior to the law, and independent of it; that the Jewish converts were to consider the law as now dead, and themselves as married to another; that what the law in truth could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God had done by sending his Son: that God had rejected the unbelieving Jews, and had substituted in their place a society of be

lievers in Christ, collected indifferently from Jews and Gentiles. Soon after the writing of this epistle, St. Paul, agreeably to the intention intimated in the epistle itself, took his journey to Jerusalem. The day after he arrived there, he was introduced to the church. What passed at this interview is thus related, Acts, xxi. 19: “ When he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry: and, when they heard it, they glorified the Lord : and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe ; and they are all zealous of the law; and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying, that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs." St. Paul disclaimed the charge ; but there must have been something to have leal to it. Now it is only to suppose that St. Paul openly professed the principles which the epistle contains ; that, in the course of his ministry, he had uttered the sentiments which he is here made to write ; and the matter is accounted for. Concerning the accusation which public rumour had brought against him to Jerusalem, I will not say that it was just; but I will say, that if he was the author of the epistle before us, and if his preaching was consistent with his writing, it was extremely natural : for though it be not a necessary, surely it is an easy inference, that if the Gentile convert, who did not observe the law of Moses, held as advantageous a situation in his religious interests as the Jewish convert who did, there could be no strong reason for observing that law at all. The remonstrance therefore of the church of Jerusalem, and the report which occasioned it, were founded in no very violent misconstruction of the apostle's doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly what I should have expected the author of this epistle to have met with. I am entitled therefore to argue that a separate narrative of effects experienced by St. Paul, similar to what a person might be expected to experience, who held the doctrines advanced in this epistle, forms a proof that he did hold these doctrines; and that the epistle bearing his name, in which such doctrines are laid down, actually proceeded from him.


This number is supplemental to the former. I propose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical circumstances under which the epistle was written; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to contrivé.

I. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the Epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia ; at Rome he had never been. Observe now a difference in his manner of treating of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epiștle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority; “ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called

into the


of Christ, unto another Gospel.” Gal. i. 6. you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me, is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Ch. i. 11, 12. “I am a fraid, lest

“ I certify

I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. iv. 11, 12.“ I desire to be present with you now, for I stand in doubt of you." iv. 20. “ Behold, I, Paul, say unto you, that, if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” v. 2. “This persuasion cometh not of him that called you.” v. 8. This is the style in which he accosts the Galatians. In the epistle to the converts of Rome, where his authority was not established, nor his person known, he puts the same points entirely upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader; and, as the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, I forbear adducing separate extracts. I repeat therefore, that we have pointed out a distinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation in which the author stood to his different correspondents.

Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is the following:

2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous at Rome, and probably formed a principal part amongst the new converts ; so much so, that the Christians seem to have been known at Rome rather as a denomination of Jews, than as any thing else. In an epistle conse

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