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figure of speech which, they say, this Apostle was extremely fond of. I will not easily believe, that a man of his good sense, and directed as he was by the dia vine Spirit, would play with words, as affected rhetoricians do, to tickle the ears of their audience. Sure I am there is no such thing here; but a plain declaration of an important truth, in the fittest and most proper terms. When he had said, they now knew God, had he said no more they might have been heedless enough to overlook the way in which they came by that knowledge, and value themselves on the attainment, as our wise men do now; who tell us, that by the mere dint of their extraordinary penetration, and what they call the light of nature, they are able to discover, not only the being, but all the powers and perfections of God, with such exact certainty, that they can tell, with the utmost assurance, what becomes him, and what doth not, nay, what he may and must do, and what he may not. .
The Apostle was of the same mind with his divine master, " that no man knoweth “ the Father, but the Son, and he to “ whom he will manifest him.” He had
manifested manifested him to these Galatians, by that gospel which he sent them by Paul's hands. To him therefore belonged all the honour: for had he not distinguished them by that unmerited or rather sovereign grace, they had been still funk in the fame ignorance and idolatry in which so many nations were left, who yet in all manner of natural abilities, and all the improvement , the learning of these times could give them, were greatly above what they could pretend to. For when the world, with all their wisdom, could not make out the knowledge of God, it pleased God, by a method which they reckoned foolishness, viz. the preaching of Christ and his cross, to give the most ignorant infinitely fairer and fuller views than ever philosopher could reach, with all his reasoning powers. . But it was not bare speculative knowledge the Apostle meant, either on God's fide, or the Christians. In this view, God knows all men, and all things alike; for nothing can be hid from his all-comprehending understanding. But for this fort of knowledge, there is another word commonly used in the language the Apostle wrote in. The word he here uses carries
fuch suitable affection as has a native tendency to produce its proper effects; and is but faintly expressed by acknowledgement, the word commonly used in our language. And thus, when the Apostle says of the believing Galatians, that they knew God the lowest meaning is, that they knew him so as to be convinced that he was really such a God as he had declared, and Ahown himself to be in Christ Jesus; and to own and acknowledge him accordingly; which cannot be done without a dutiful submission to him in all the dependence and confidence of love. This was enough to have founded a rebuke, even sharper than that which the Apostle gives them. But when he carries it up to their being distinguishingly known of God, this naturally would lead them on to all the evidences he had given of his peculiar love and favour in Christ Jesus; to all that he had done, and all that he had promised to do, for them, either on this side, or beyond the grave.
In this view they could not miss to find themselves provided, not only above their most extended wishes, but infinitely above what imagination itself could carry them: You. III. PP
“For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, “nor hath it ever entered into the heart “ of man to conceive, what God hath pre“ pared for them that love him;" for such are provided in all the fullness of God. Thus his question comes with redoubled force, How turn you again to these weak and beggarly elements, to which you deJire again to be in bondage? Every word has its weight. A bondage it certainly was; and that is a state which no man will chuse but on absolute neceffity. And there was no necessity in their case: so farfrom it, that they had every thing which creatures in their situation were capable of receiving. How absurd then must it have been, to turn back to what was at best but the rudiments, to what they they had now attained; and such too as could be of no manner of use to them? for they were weak, fo weak that they conld not at all profit those who bestowed all their labour on them, Heb. xiii. 9.; and so poor and beggarly, that they had nothing at all to give either one way or another : for after all the drudgery employed about them, the poor men were left nothing better; and it had been well, if they had not been made worse, as the A
poftle shows afterward they were to a very dangerous degree.
In this view of his reasoning, I think we may find room for a word he uses, and which our translators have seen fit to leave out as superfluous, viz. avwber. This word is commonly used in the same sense with Tadov, to signify again ; and did it admit of no other meaning, it would indeed be superfluous as it stands in this passage. But there is another well-known sense of the word, viz. from above, or from any high place or station, which perfectly suits the place he has set it in; and gives both additional strength and beauty to his question, as these Galatians could not descend to that base servitude, without coming down from the height God had raised them to. .
The reason the Apostle gives for his apprehensions about them, vers. 11. and which he carries so far as to be afraid that he had bestowed all the pains he had taken about them to no purpoje, deserves the very serious attention of every Christian. It was, vers. 10. that they observed days and months, and times and years. If they were the Jewish observances he has here in his eye, (for perhaps they retained fome of their old Heathenish ones, which they
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