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made their first attack upon him, as we had occasion to observe before on the Apostle's vindication, chap. i. & ii. And thus he might very pertinently fay, that all the zeal they put on for the Galatians, was but an attempt to exclude him, and fecure the affections of the Galatians to themfelves. This is so much to the purpose the Apostle had in view, and comes in so naturally on what he had been saying of the very great affection the Galatians had shown to him, that some of the most już dicious interpreters have been determined to chuse the second reading, us instead of you.
But, after all, whatever it might have been to the Galatians, it is of very little moment to us which of the two readings should stand in this text, unless it be to put us upon our guard against those who lie in. wait to deceive, and to set a mark upon those who make no fcruple to attack the: characters of men as good, if not bet* ter than themselves, when they stand in their way; a practice generally disclaimed, but, alas! as generally practised. The Apostle's decision on the case before him is a good one, and will hold in every other case: Rr2
k is good to be zealously affecled in a good thing, or in what is good ; this takes in both men and things; and, leaving the Apostle's word, as he has placed it, undetermined to either, makes it altogether unnecessary to enter into the reasons which have induced some very learned men to think that Paul here, in a very elegant manner, fets himself before the Galatians as the good man toward whom they were to be zealously affected. But the Apostle, they should have observed, changes the phrase he had used, when speaking of persons; and instead of zealously affecting them, he says, it is good to be zealoufly affected in good; which takes in the whole subject their zeal is to be employed in, What he adds of being so always, and not only when he was present with them, has been thought to point directly to Paul's person, whom they had poured so many blessings on when present. But on comparing Phil. ii. 12. it will appear, that this expression is as applicable to the whole duties of Christianity, as to this or any other particular. The Apostle had no ends of his own to serve by bespeaking their affection; and as the case then stood,
. . , the
the cause of Christ and his were the same;
And happy were it for the Christian
postle cautioning these Galatians against, chap. 5. verf. 15. biting and devouring one another; all which would be avoided were it confined to what is good, whether persons or things.
Chap. iv. 19. — 31. 19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth as
gain, until Christ be formed in you. 20., I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice, for I stand in doubt of you. 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22. For it is written, that Abraham had two fons ;
the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free-woman. '. 23. But he who was of the bond-woman, was born
after the fleso: but he of the free-woman was by promise. 24. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants ; the one from the mount Sinai; which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth
to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with ;" her children. 26. But Jerusalem which is above is · free, which is the mother of us all. 27. For it is
written, Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not s break forth and cry, thou that travailest not : for the desolate hath many more children than sbe which hath an husband. 28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29. But as then he that was born after the flesh, perfecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Call out the bond-woman and her son ; for the fon of the bond
woman' shall not be heir with the son of the free-wo-
THE Apostle being about returning
to the main subject of this epistle, and having some very home things yet to fay upon it, wisely prepares them for it: first, by recalling, as we have seen, to their remembrance the happy time when he first preached Christ to them, which he concludes with the most pathetic intimation of his very great love to them; and next by a very entertaining, as well as instructive, application of the hi-.'
story of Abraham's two sons, Ifaac and · Ishmael, to the case he was writing upon.
He finishes the very affecting view he was putting them in mind of, with one of the strongest expressions that could be made of his great concern for their welfare, and the ardency of his affection to them, verf. 18.; which one cannot let pass without observing the strong contrast between the Jewish zealots, and himself. They were very busy about them, and in all appearance affected with the greatest warmth pf zeal for their falvation, but with no