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CHAP. iv. 8. - 18. 8. Howbeit, then when ye knew not.God, ye did fer.
vice unto them which by nature are no gods. 9. But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turno ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10. Te observé days, and months, and times, and years. 11. I am afraid of you, left I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I am as ye are : ye have not injured me at all. 13. re know how through infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14. And my temptation which was in my flejo ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15. Where is then the blessedness you spake of? for I bear
you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? 17. They Zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that you might affe&t them. 18. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
T" HE Apostle having said what he
I thought proper for convincing the Galatians of the absurdity of the new doctrine which they were in such danger of being seduced by, and plainly demonstrated that the gospel of Christ had done what
was absolutely impossible for the law to do, and indeed done all, by bringing them to Chrift, and by him as near to God as any creature could be, proceeds now to apply the principles he had laid down to their particular case. But being aware, that the Gentiles who seem to have been the great majority of these churches, might say, they never were in bondage to the law of Moses, and that however the Jews might find themselves obliged to Christ for their deliverance from the bondage and curse of it, they could owe him nothing on that score, he tells them, that they were under a greatly worse bondage than they. The bondage of the Jews was but like that of a schoolmaster or governor; and all for their good, to lead them to that only way by which they could come to the poffeffion of the inheritance. Whereas they did not so much as know God; and were held in bondage or did service to those who by nature were no gods, but had the name given them; and were put in the place of the only true God, by ignorant and mistaken men. They were without Christ, strangers to the promise, and therefore without hope, and without God in the world ; and, to say all in
one word, dead in trespasses and fins: For thus he describes the Ephesian Gentiles, Eph.ii.; and though he is not so particular with regard to the Galatians, yet the general charge comprehends the whole.
They served those which were no gods. The word the Apostle uses here is never applied to a hired servant, or any person but such as are bond-llaves, and absolutely their master's property. He does not fay, they were formally flaves to those things which they served as gods; because many of them had no existence, but were the mere creatures of fancy; and such as had a real being, the sun, moon, and the fabric of the heavens, were incapable of claiming any service of them; and as little were they capable of doing them any good. But by the accounts we have of their services in the Old-Testament history, and other good authors, the bondage must have been terrible, that could drive them into such acts of barbarity, as we find were practised in what they called their religious worship. And so numberless were their washings, purifications as they called them, facrifices, and other sites and ceremonies, in their wor
ship of their different imaginary gods, that their service was rather more burdenfome under their superstition, than that of the Jews to the true God..
It cannot escape any one's observation, who has at all reflected on it, that there is a very remarkable similarity in the fundamentals of the Jewish, and Heathen worship, though the last was miserably corrupted by the superstitious additions made by men who had a turn to serve by them, as the Christian religion itself has been, in spite of the glaring light which Shines forth in the record we have in our hands. Reason could never suggest, that their sacrifices and purifications were proper, much less necessary means for putting away sin. Their philofophers and wife men condemned them as much as they durst. But they kept their ground in spite of all that reason had to say against them; an argument the strongest that can be in such a case, that they must have been originally established by a very high, and even a divine authority. And such authority they were believed to have had, when men had lost the knowledge of their true author.
; Thence we may be in case to make a good account of what might seem strange in the charge the Apostle brings against the Gentiles, that they desired again to be in bondage to what he calls weak and beggarly elements or rudiments. It was the rites of the law of Moses they were
tempted to submit to: these they had i never been subject to; and therefore could
not, in propriety of language it might be thought, be said to return to them again: . But they had been long accustomed
to a set of rites of the same kind, and held as much in bondage under them as the Jews were. So long as they knew no better, and were ignorant of the true God, and what they had either to hope or fear from him, something may be said for them: God winked at those times of ignorance: but now that they knew the truth, better things might be very justly expected of them. They knew God, or rather were known of him." • There is a great bustle made among some modern commentators · about a thing they call a Paronomasea, where the fame word, by the change of a letter or fyllable, is repeated in different senses ; a