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Pag. 261. lin. 5. from the foot, for which read whereby Pag. 336. lin. 6. from the top, for early read earthly Pag. 362. lin. 8. from the top, for purified read justified
OT HE writing before us is an e
pistle directed by the Apostle 1 Paul to the churches of Galatia.
Those who know any thing of that kind of writing, will not expect the methodical exactness of an accurate treatise, much less the formality of a scholastic difputant. The writer who understands his business, will never indeed lose fight of the point he has in view, nor omit any thing that is necessary or proper for attaining his purpose : but, at the same time, he will lay the materials toge-, ther in such an easy natural way, that every new thought shall appear to be fuggested by what went before, until the whole plan be finished ; each part throwing light upon another, and all of them inaking one consistent piece. Vol. III. .A
The epistle we are now entering upon will be found an absolute masterpiece in this way of writing, by all who understand it, and can enter into the writer's views. But to do this to purpose, one must be well acquainted, both with the character of the writer, and of thofe to whom he wrote, their mutual connections and relations, and what had formerly passed between them in their intercourse one with another.
The author is so well known, that it will be needless to spend words on his character ; especially when the epistle itself presents us with as much as we have any occasion for. Besides his natural genius, which appears to have been one of the greatest, and the best education the world then afforded, he was peculiarly honoured by the supernatural instruction of him who is perfect in understanding, and by the personal appearance of the glorious Son of God, often repeated in the most friendly and familiar manner : he was endued with the most extraordinary measures of that divine Spirit, which leads
into all truth; and received from Christ ' a special commission to carry the know
ledge of his name to the Heathen nations, who had been for many ages without God and without hope in the world: in confequence whereof, he had brought the Galatians, to whom this epistle is addressed, to the knowledge of God, and of eternal life in his son Jesus Christ,
It will be of little moment to our prefent purpose, to know, that these Galatians were originally of the ancient Gauls, or to inquire how they came to settle in the Lesser Afia. It is sufficient to know, that they were Heathens, and involved in the grofsest ignorance and idolatry, like their neighbouring nations, until the Apostle came among them, and taught them. His instructions, we find by what himself says, they received with great readiness and pleasure, and under his direction were formed into societies for worship; which, by a word long appropriated to these religious societies, are called churches; and churches of Christ, because of their special relation to him, on whom all their knowledge, and hopes of eternal life, are founded. This, it is easy to see, must have given him a peculiar interest in them as his fpiritual children, and something
even more than a paternal tenderness for them, and authority over them, as one commissioned by God himself, and his blessed Son Jesus Christ, to whom they owed all they were, or possessed in a present world, and all they had to hope for in the world to come. And hence arises the very different manner of this epistle from that to the Romans; though, in both, the subjects are very nearly the fame. He writes to the Romans more at large, and opens more distinctly the particular heads of that gospel' he was intrusted with, as they were strangers to him, and he a stranger to them, and treats them with great softness and regard. But to the Galatians, he contents himself with short hints and allusions to what himself had taught them; and treats thein with another fort of freedom, even the authority of a master, or rather of a careful father, anxious about his beloved children,
And there was great reason, as appears by the immediate occasion of his writing. The Jewish nation had been, from the days of their father Abraham, separated by God as his peculiar people, and witnelies for him to the rest of the world,