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- Jesus Christ, whom he fent, will need no
further proof of his being constituted an apostle by God the Father, than that he was so by Jesus Christ. But we are further assured, that all power'in heaven and earth is committed into the hand of Christ, and he is given in a special manner to be the head over all things to his church. So that whatever the Father does there, is done by this his beloved Son, to whom it is given to have life in himfelf, even as himself has it.
We do not find our Apostle any where in this epistle directly telling the Galatians how or when he was constituted an apostle by Jesus Christ. This, we have reason to think, they had been informed of while he was among them, and that he refers to it in what he here says of God raising him from the dead. And if he faw Jesus after his resurrection and afcenfion, when he was set down on the right hand of the majesty on high, glorified with that glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world, he was every way as well qualified to be an apostle and a witness for him as any of them, and had good reason to say, “ he
“ was not a whit behind the very chiefest “ of them;” nay, and that he had a very peculiar pre-eminence, as he had seen him in his glory. And thus he did see him on his way to Damascus, and thereafter when he was sent away from Jerusalem, and expressly commissioned by him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, as we find him declaring, Acts xxii. 17. et. feqq. To which ministry Barnabas and he were afterward solemnly separated by order of the Holy Spirit.
That the Galatians might have no room to imagine, as their new teachers were ready to suggest to them, that Paul was singular in what he wrote to them, he very judiciously joins with himself, verf. 2. the brethren who were with him as of the faine sentiments. Did we know, as no doubt they did, where he was, and who were with him there when he wrote this epistle, we might be better able to judġe of the weight their concurrence was likely to have with them. The word brethren is very comprehensive. It is a title which belongs to all who believe in Jesus Christ; and may well be constructed to intimate
*to them, that the whole church where he then was, were of one mind in these things.
The epistle is directed, not to the church, but the churches of Galatia. The country which went under that name was of no great extent; by which it would seem, either that the Apostle had no notion of national churches, or that they were not then united in that manner. But what is of more moment to be observed is, that though they were corrupted to a great degree, not only in circumstantial points, but even in those which were most fundamental; even such as he calls another go
Spel, and which could not be admitted · without falling from grace, and making
Christ useless ; he still addresses them as churches, calls them brethren, a term yet more tender' and affectionate ; when thoughtless zealots would have lifted up a standard of division, and raised the cry, “Come out from among them.” . .
Hence we may observe, that it is not falling into error by mistake or seduction, but incorrigible obstinacy therein, in opposition to divine evidence laid before them, that extinguishes the Christian character. Vol. III. . c
:: So far from this spirit was our holy A- . postle, that we find him expressing his salutation in the very fame terms he uses to the purest churches, and those where he had nothing to blame; but, on the contrary, whom he gives the highest commendations to : Grace to you, and peace from God the Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord. Whether we consider this as a solemn prayer for them, or rather as an a- . postolical benediction, it carries in it the highest good that can enter into the heart of man to desire. Grace, in the first and most natural meaning of the word, denotes free unmerited favour, entertained and manifested by a superior to one greatly below him, who could have no sort of pretenfions to it: and the higher and more exalted station the superior stands in, and the lower and viler the party is to whom the favour is shown, the greater the grace. In this view, the divine grace must, like its author, be absolutely infinite. The Apostle has given us the nearest prospect we can take of it : “ Where fin abounds, “ grace superabounds ;” and goes greatly beyond it. But the favour or 'grace of God is not like that of man, which often
proves barren and fruitless. It carries in it all the good the creature is capable of receiving; and every gift bears the name of the great original, and is called a favour, or grace; and when peace is joined with grace, they carry in their import every thing that can make the creature happy, and give the highest satisfaction, pleasure, and joy; as we find the oracle given by the Lord to this fame Apostle on a very pressing occasion, states it, 2 Cor. xii. 9. “My grace is sufficient for thee ; “ for my strength is perfected in weak• ness.” : Such is the grace and peace the Apostle here sets before the Galatians; for it is that which comes from God the Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord. He traces it to its original: For “all things are of God,” 2 Cor, v. 18. In him who is love, all grace takes its rise; but it cannot reach finners, such as all Adam's children are, but through Jesus Christ. Where-ever he is overlooked, the view must be incomplete, and the medium of conveying it loft; for the great foundation on which only it stands, and by which we can have any assurance of it, or benefit by it, will