Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

to Europe (Acts xvi. 8); but in 2 Corinthians we find allusion made a visit he had paid to Troas on his way to Macedonia, when “a door was opened unto (him) in the Lord,” for the preaching of the Gospel ; 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13: “Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and when a door was opened unto me in the Lord, I had no relief for my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother : but taking my leave of them, I went forth into Macedonia.”

That this visit to Troas was previous to that in Acts xx. 6, above referred to, is proved by its connection with the apostle's expected meeting with Titus, which, as we learn from 2 Cor. vii. 5-7, actually took place in Macedonia before the apostle's visit to Greece, which preceded his last journey to Jerusalem—“For even when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side ; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless he that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted in you, while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more.”

(5) Acts xvi.II-xviii. 18 : “Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace, and the day following to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia ;

After these things he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. ... And Paul, having tarried after this yet many days, took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila ; having shorn his head in Cenchreæ: for he had a vow.”

In this narrative of the only missionary tour that Paul had made in Europe previous to his writing 2 Corinthians, it appears that Corinth had been the farthest limit to which his travels and labours extended. In remarkable harmony with this is the language of 2 Cor. x. 14-16 : “For we stretch not ourselves overmuch, as though we reached not unto you : for we came even as far as unto you in the gospel of Christ : not glorying beyond our measure, that is, in other men's labours ; but having hope that, as your faith groweth, we shall be magnified in you according to our province unto further abundance, so as to preach the gospel even unto the parts beyond you, and not to glory in another's province in regard of things ready to our hand.”

CHAPTER XII.

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE GALATIANS."

1. Authorship. This is another epistle whose genuineness is scarcely disputed. Its main topic—the relation of Christians to the ceremonial law of the Jews—would lead us to fix its composition at a period anterior to the destruction of Jerusalem, when the question was practically set at rest.

Its character and style are inconsistent with the idea of forgery. (1) The picture which it gives of the state of the Galatian Church is too life-like, and the play of feeling it exhibits on the part of the apostle is too subtle for the inventive power of an age so little skilled in that kind of fiction. (2) Its representation of facts, as regards the relations of Paul with the other apostles, is too candid to have been got up in the interests of Church unity, and, on the other hand, it is too free in its expressions to have been framed in the interests of any known party in the Church.2 (3) A comparison of the personal and historical allusions in the epistle with statements in the

1 “It is not a mere flourish of theological rhetoric to ask, “Who could have acted that passionate emotion which brings to light so many traits of character both in the apostle and in the Church, which is interwoven by so many threads with the apostolical age, which is most natural if real, and all but inconceivable if due to the imagination of a forger ?"" - Jowett on Galatians, p. 351.

2 “The Gnostic, who wished to advance his antipathy to Judaism under cover of St. Paul's name, would have avoided any expression of deference to

the Apostles of the Circumcision. The Ebionite would have shrunk with loathing from any seeming depreciation of the cherished customs or the acknowledged leaders of his race—as the tone of the author of the Clementines shows. The Catholic writer, forging with a view to 'conciliation,' would be more unlikely than either to invent such a narrative, anxious as he would be to avoid any appearance of conflict between the two great teachers of the Church."-Lightfoot on Galatians, p. 98.

Book of Acts and some of the other epistles ascribed to Paul, shows a substantial harmony, along with an occasional diversity that betokens independence — the epistle furnishing details of many incidents in Paul's life that are only mentioned in a general way by the author of the Book of Acts. (4) There is in several respects a strong resemblance between this epistle and those to the Corthinthians and the Romans (p. 136).

With regard to external evidence there are the usual echoes and reflections in the Apostolic Fathers and in the apologists and other theological writers of the first two centuries;2 while many direct quotations ‘are to be found in the writings of the Fathers about the end of the second century,3 The epistle is also included in the Muratorian Canon and Versions of the second century.

1(1) Cf. i. 15-18 and Acts ix. 19-26– referring to Paul's occupation after his conversion, before he went up to Jerusalem. Besides other points of difference, the epistle mentions a visit to Arabia, of which there is no hint in Acts. In this connection, Paley justly observes, “If the narrative in the Acts had been made up from the epistle, it is impossible that this journey should have been passed over in silence; if the epistle had been composed out of what the author had read of St. Paul's history in the Acts, it is unaccountable that it should have been inserted."

(2) Cf. i. 18, 19 and Acts ix. 26-30, xxii. 18,-with reference to Paul's brief visit to Jerusalem some three years after his conversion.

(3) Cf. ii. 1-10 and Acts xv. 1-21,-with reference to Paul's visit to Jerusalem in connection with the apostolic council, the two narratives varying so much, that many have fallen into the mistake of supposing that they refer to two different occasions.

(4) In ii. 11-14 we have an account of a collision between Peter and Paul, of which there is no trace in Acts.

(5) In iv. 13, 14, there is mention of "an infirmity of the flesh" with which the apostle was afflicted, but to which there is no allusion in Acts, although it is referred to in a somewhat different but equally natural connection in 2 Cor.

(6) In vi. 1: “Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted,” Paley finds a singular harmony of spirit with 2 Cor. ii. 6-8, where the apostle deprecates too great severity in dealing with a certain notorious offender.

(7) In vi. II: “See with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand," he finds a mark of independence betokening genuineness, when compared with Rom. xvi. 22 : I Tertius, who write the epistle, salute you in the Lord," and the similar expression " the salutation of me Paul with mine own hand,” at the end of 1 Corinthians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians. But the force of this argument is somewhat weakened by Philemon, ver. 19: I Paul write it with mine own hand, I will repay it "-which is not noticed by Paley.

While there are a number of apparent discrepancies between this epistle and the Book of Acts which we are unable to explain, they are not such as to justify any doubt as to the Pauline authorship of the epistle.

2 Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Marcion, Justin, Athenagoras, Ophites (quoted by Hippolytus), Tatian, &c.

3 Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.

xii. 7-9.

2. The Readers. “ Unto the churches of Galatia."1 In the time of the apostle, Galatia might either be understood to refer to the recently created Roman province of that name in Asia Minor, or be used in the older and more popular sense, to designate a broad strip of country in that province, about two hundred miles long, running from south-west to north-east. It is to the inhabitants of Galatia in this latter sense that the epistle has usually been understood to be addressed. The district was peopled by a mixed race of Phrygians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, and Jews, who had successively obtained a footing in it by different means and with varying degrees of success. Of these elements of the population it was the Celtic invaders from Western Europe that had made their influence most strongly felt. They found their way into the country in the third century B.C.; and, after them and the Greek immigrants who were there before them, the country was called Gallo-Græcia. So deep and lasting was their influence, that even in the end of the fourth century A.D. Jerome was able to trace a strong resemblance between the language of Galatia and that spoken on the banks of the Moselle and the Rhine; and modern travellers have been struck with the fair hair and blue eyes that mark an affinity between the pastoral tribes of Galatia and the peasantry of Western France.

Confirmation of the view that it was to the inhabitants of Galatia proper that this epistle was addressed has been found in the enthusiasm, as well as the fickleness and love of novelty, which have been characteristic of the Gauls both in Europe and Asia, and which left their mark on the early history of the Galatian Church.2 Traces have also

This is the only epistle of St. you in the grace of Christ unto a differPaul that is not addressed to a single ent gospel. iii. 1-3: “O foolish Galachurch, or a single person — except tians, who did bewitch you, before Ephesians which is to be regarded as a whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set circular-letter (p. 181).

forth crucified? This only would I 2 i. 6: “I'marvel that ye are so learn from you, Received ye the Spirit quickly removing from him that called by the works of the law, or by the hear

1 i. 2.

been discerned of the superstition, drunkenness, avarice, vanity, irascibility, and strife that sometimes impair the charm of the Celtic character.1

According to this theory, Paul's preaching of the Gospel in Galatia was due to his detention in that country on his way to the more promising field of proconsular Asia, caused by an attack of the painful and humiliating malady to which he was liable-probably an aggravated form of ophthalmia. This visit to Galatia, which took place in the course of his second missionary journey, about 51 A.D., is alluded to in the Book of Acts in the most general terms ;3 but from some passages in this epistle, it would appear that his faithful and energetic preaching of Christ crucified had excited great enthusiasm and affection. A second visit to Galatia is recorded in the Book of Acts,5

xii. 7-10:

ing of faith? Are ye so foolish ? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?" iv. 13-16: “Ye did me no wrong: but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time (TÒ Tpótepov): and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected ; but ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where then is that gratulation of yourselves ? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So then am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

v. 7:

Ye were running well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” 1 v. 15:

“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."

19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like : the which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they which practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” “Let us not be vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. vi. 3-6:

For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let each man

prove his own work, and then shall he
have his glorying in regard of himself
alone, and not of his neighbour. For
each man shall bear his own burden.
But let him that is taught in the word
communicate unto him that teacheth in
all good things."
2 iv. 13-16 (quoted above). Cf. 2 Cor.

And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelationswherefore, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch. Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee : for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasurein weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

3 Acts xvi. 6: “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Ghost to speak the word in Asia.”

4 See page 127, note 2.
5 Acts xviii. 23:

And having spent some time there (i.e. at Antioch), he departed, and went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, stablishing all the disciples.”

26:

[ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »