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would feem, that he took him on a particular view, and to answer the purpose which we find him afterwards adduced for. Which, by the way, carries in it something more than a presumption, that this journey could not be prior to his first journey, along with Barnabas, into the Leffer Afia. Nor do we find any of the Gentiles, as Titus certainly was, converted to Christianity before that time; except Cornelius and his friends, whom Peter admitted, and by doing so opened the kingdom of heaven among the Gentiles. But the prosecution of that great design was left to Paul, as their apostle.
What he adds here, verf, 2. of his going up by revelation, has been made an argument to prove, that it must have been fome other journey that he speaks of in this place; as we are expressly told, Acts XV. that he and Barnabas were sent upon this question. But it concludes nothing, fince there can be no inconsistency between the two. Besides, neither does the Apostle say, whether the revelation was made to himself personally, or to the church of Antioch. It will readily be allowed to have been a very proper measure, which
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common prudence might have directed them to. But it was not the custom of those times, to enter upon any meafure of inoment, without asking and receiving the direction of the Spirit; which answers ed the same purpose with that inquiring of the Lord which we find so often mentioned in the Old Testament. It seems, nevertheless, that the Apostle meant to say, that the revelation he speaks of was made to himself; and that he was thereby directed by his master, to go and support what he had said in his contention with the Judaizing teachers at Antioch, and afsert the freedom of the Christian churches from that yoke of bondage which neither the Jews, then in being, nor their fathers; were able to bear
But after all, it is a matter of mere chronological nicety, as it concerns us very little, when we are sure of the facts, to know the precise time when they happened. What in a special manner belongs to us, is, to consider the facts which happened on this occasion, and how they answer the Apostle's present purpose. We Thall have occasion afterwards to fee, that the business of circumcision, and what was
necessarily connected with it, was no such circumstantial affair as superficial observers might imagine it; and that it was not for nothing that great Apostle was so wary on this point.
Before we can go any further, it will be proper to observe, that there were two distinct questions in agitation at that time: Whether the Christian natural Jews were ftill bound to observe the ritual part of the law given by Moses ? and, Whether the Gentile converts were likewise bound to be circumcised, and observe the same. rules and manner of worship? For as to the moral part of that law, and the duties injoined by it, there never was any difpute. The whole of the Mosaic law, as it was given to that nation, when they were feparated from all the other people of the earth, stood, as appears by the preface to it, upon their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and their being put in possession of the land of Canaan, by the free gift and immediate hand of Jehovah, their God; and obedience to it was the condition on which they possessed that land. This was so peculiar to them, that no other nation or people had, or could have, any concern in it.
The natural Jews were indulged in their zeal for this law, probably as long as they continued to possess the land; and accordingly great care was taken to avoid offending them, as appears by the decision of the grand dispute, Acts xv. in what is commonly called the council at Jerusalem; and especially by Paul's circumcising Timothy. But he and his fellow-apostles being well apprised, that all the ritual part of that law was typical and figurative, a sensible representation of spiritual and heavenly things, as they are set in a clear light in the gospel of Christ, opposed with all their might the construction the carnal Jews made of it, by putting eternal life upon the observance of it, directly contrary to the grace of the gospel, and the fpiritual worship under the ministry of the Great High Priest over the house of God. In this view, the outward circumcision became the concision, Phil. iii. 2. and the true circumcision was that of the heart. .
But the other fet of duties, such as men owe to God and to one another, injoined likewise by the law of Moses, are of another nature, and stand upon a more du
rable and unchangeable foundation. They are founded originally in the very law of creation; and when. sin entered, and mankind were reduced by it to the most defperate condition, a set of new duties were founded, and the old greatly strengthened, by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, held forth to a perishing world in the promised seed of the woman. i '. From this we may be able distinctly to perceive the meaning of the word law, as the Apostle uses it in this, and indeed in all his other epistles. What he had im-'. mediately and directly to do with, was the ritual part, commonly called the cè remonial law, in which the Gentile Chri-, stians had no concern. But as this stood fo closely connected with the moral part, and the whole was abused beyond its plain intention, (which never was, to give right to eternal life by obedience to it, and doing as it was there written), the apostles found themselves obliged to oppose the whole, when taken in this false and wrong construction, and on the same grounds to set aside every law which men might frame to themselves for answering the fame purposes, of recommending them to