Galatians 6 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Galatians 6
Pulpit Commentary
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Verse 1. - Brethren, if (or, although) a man be overtaken in a fault (ἀδελφοί ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ ἄνθρωπος ἔν τινι παραπτέματι); brethren, if even a man hath been overtaken in some trespass. "Brethren;" the compellation so introduced betokens a somewhat pathetic urgency: el. above, Galatians 3:15; Galatians 4:31; Galatians 5:11. But Philippians 3:13, 17 suffice to show that its occurrence at the beginning of a sentence does not necessarily indicate the commencement of a new section of discourse - to which notion we, perhaps. owe the division of chapters here made. In fact, this paragraph is most closely connected with the preceding; the apostle's object being to point out that not even a moral delinquency into which a brother has fallen should lead us to indulge ourselves in any feeling of superiority in dealing with him, or to vaunt even to our own selves (see ver. 4) our greater consistency. In short, he is enforcing by a strong instance the exhortation in ver. 26, "Let us not be vain-glorious." "If even a man hath been overtaken." The apostle supposes the case as one which might very well present itself; the form of expression (ἐὰν, not εἰ), however, not pointing to such a case having already occurred. How possible the supposed case was, was plain enough from the enumeration of the "works of the flesh" above given, so many and so multiform. Some critics have embarrassed themselves by supposing that the καὶ ("even") must, Of course, emphasize the first succeeding word προληφθῇ, "hath been overtaken." But it may just as probably be meant to emphasize the whole clause, "a man hath been overtaken in some trespass." This is proved by a number of other instances: thus: Luke 11:8, "if (καὶ) even he will not give them unto him because he is a friend;" 1 Corinthians 7:21. "but if even thou art able to become free;" 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Corinthians 11:6. The verb προλαμβάνω occurs besides in the New Testament in Mark 14:8, "she hath come beforehand to anoint ['or, 'she hath anticipated the anointing of "my body;" and 1 Corinthians 11:21, "taketh before other his own supper." A more helpful illustration, however, is furnished by Wisd. 17:17, where, speaking of the horrible darkness falling quite suddenly upon the Egyptians, the writer says, "Whether he were husbandman or shepherd or labourer in the field, he was overtaken and endured (προληφθεὶς ἔμενεν) the ill-avoidable necessity;" the πρὸ in the compound verb meaning before he could help himself in any way. So here, προληφθ῀ι means be surprised, overtaken, before he' is well aware what it really is that he is doing. "Surprised;" but by whom or what? Not by a person detecting the offender in the very act; as if it were equivalent to καταληφθῇ ἐπαυτοφώρῳ (John 8:4); for the apostle is not at all concerned with the evidence for the delinquency, which is the important consideration in John 8:4, but simply with the fact. Rather, overtaken by the force of temptation; as the verb "taken" is used with "temptation" in 1 Corinthians 10:13; hence the words which follow," lest thou also be tempted." The writer thus commends the delinquent to sympathetic commiseration. But there is no palliation indicated by the word "fault" or "trespass." Not once in the fifteen other passages in the New Testament in which the noun παράπτωμα occurs is there any token of such palliation being intended. The petition, "forgive us our trespasses," is sufficient to exemplify this statement. The trespass may be nothing less than one of the works of the flesh before specified. The preposition ἐν - "in," not "by" - points to the unhappy condition in which the delinquent is supposed to be, out of which it is the business of Christian charity to extricate him. Compare the expressions, "die in your sins;" "dead in trespasses;" and the imagery of a "snare of the devil," in 2 Timothy 2:26. Ye which are spiritual, restore such a one (ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοὶ καταρτίζετε τὸν τοιοῦτον). The apostle intimates that the business of recovering a fallen brother is one which those Christians are not qualified to undertake who, by reason of the strong tincture of the flesh still existing in their moral character, may themselves be justly styled "carnal" (comp. 1 Corinthians 3. D. Putting as it were such persons on one side, the apostle summons to the work those in whom the Spirit hath gained so marked an ascendancy that, compared with the generality of Christians, they may be classed as "spiritual." It was incumbent on such (he says) not to stand aloof, as if it were not their concern, or as ff the delinquent were to be treated as an enemy or outcast (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:15), far less to indulge themselves in taking pleasure in his inconsistency as illustrating their own spirituality, but to come forward to his assistance. Others, who might justly feel less qualified to act in the case themselves, might, however, take from the apostle's direction the hint that at least they should lend their sympathy to the work of their more capable brethren, desire and pray for their erring brother's recovery, and not exult over his fault. The verb καταρτίζειν, "to make a thing fit, even, just that which it properly should be," is used in Matthew 4:21 of repairing nets; 1 Corinthians 1:10 of a Christian community restored to its proper condition of unanimity; 1 Thessalonians 3:10 of making good any lacking of faith. It is used also (Liddel; and Scott) of setting a broken limb. But there is nothing to show that the apostle has any one particular image of disorder in view. The present tense of the imperative seems to mean, "apply yourselves to restore him;" the actual achievement (καταρτίσατε) may not be in their power, In the spirit of meekness (ἐν πνεύματι πρᾳότητος); in a spirit of meekness. We have the same phrase in 1 Corinthians 4:21, "Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?' The term "spirit" seems as it were to hover between the sense of the Holy Spirit and of that particular condition of our own spirit which is produced by his influence (compare "spirit of adoption," Romans 8:15). But the latter seems here the one more immediately intended. It is not identical, however, with the phrase, "meek spirit," which we have in 1 Peter 3:4. The meekness or tenderness meant is that of one who, humbly conscious of human infirmity in general, his own infirmity included, is prepared to be very considerate and gentle towards the ignorant and those out of the way; loth to use the "rod." Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (σκοπῶν σεαυτόν μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρασθῇς); looking to thine own self, lest thou also be tempted. The change from the plural to the singular makes the warning more impressive and searching. The verb σκοπεῖν in the New Testament always denotes looking intently: sometimes on something to be guarded against, as Luke 11:35 and Romans 16:17; at other times, at something to be aimed at or imitated (2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 2:4; Philippians 3:17). The former is meant here. The Christian is to be on his guard against his own weak and corrupt nature; lest he withhold help, or adequate help; lest in helping he get betrayed into the sin of Pharisaic self-righteousness - the sin of harshness, censoriousness. The clause is to be viewed in conjunction with the thought of the unceasing conflict between the flesh and the Spirit mentioned in ch. 5:17. "Tempted," so as to fall (1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 6:13).
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Verse 2. - Bear ye one another's burdens (ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε); carry ye, or, be ready to carry, the heavy loads of one another. The position of ἀλλήλων gives it especial prominence; as it stands here it seems pregnant with the exhortation, look not every man only at his own griefs, but at the griefs also of others" (cf. Philippians 2:4). The word βάρος, weight, points to an excessive weight, such as it is a toil to carry. Matthew 20:12, "who have borne the burden (βαστάσασι το, βάρος) and heat of the day." So in Acts 15:28. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, "weight of glory," the phrase, suggested by the double sense of the Hebrew word kabhod, indicates the enormous greatness of the future glory. The supposition that the apostle was glancing at the burden of Mosaical observances, superseded as a matter for care on our part by the burdens of our brethren, seems far-fetched. These "heavy loads" are those which a man brings upon himself by acts of transgression: such as an uneasy conscience; difficulties in his domestic, social, or Church relations; pecuniary embarrassments; or other. But the precept seems to go beyond the requirements of the particular case of a peccant brother which has suggested it, and to take in all the needs, spiritual or secular, which we are subject to. (For βαστάζειν of carrying a toilsome burden, comp. Matthew 8:17; John 19:17; Acts 15:10.) And so fulfil the law of Christ (καὶ ὅτως ἀναπληρώσατε [or, ἀναπληρώσετε] τὸν νόμον τοῦ Ξριστοῦ); and so fulfil (or, ye shall fulfil) the law of Christ. The sense comes to much the same, whether in the Greek we read the future indicative or the aorist imperative. If the imperative be retained, it yet adds no new element of precept to the foregoing; the clause so read prescribes the fulfilment of Christ's law in the particular form of bearing one another's burdens. If we read the future, the clause affirms that in so doing we shall fulfil his law; which in the other case is implied. Many have supposed the word "law" to be here used for a specific commandment; as for example Christ's new commandment that we should love one another, So St. James (it. 8) writes of the "royal law." St. Paul, however, never uses the term in this sense in his own writing, though in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16), the plural "laws" occurs in citation from Jeremiah. It seems better to take it of the whole moral institution of Christ, whether conveyed in distinct precept or in his example and spirit of action. Compare with the present passage the advice which St. Paul gives the "strong" (Romans 15:1-4), that they should bear (βαστάζειν, as here, "carry") the infirmities of the weak, and not wish to please themselves; after Christ's pattern set forth in prophetical Scripture, of old time written in order to instruct us how we should act. It has been often observed that the phrase, "the law of Christ," was selected with allusion to the stir now being made among the Galatians respecting the Law of Moses. "Satisfy ye the requirements of the Law - not of Moses which some are prating about, but the law of Christ, a more perfect law than that other, and more our proper con-corn." Possibly the words τοῦ Ξριστοῦ were added as a pointed surprise of style - παρ ὑπόνοιαν, as the scholiasts on Aristophanes are wont to express it - "and thus fulfil the law - of Christ!"
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Verse 3. - For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (εἰ γὰρ δοκεῖ τις εϊναί τι μηδὲν ὤν φρεεναπατᾷ ἑαυτόν [Receptus, ἑαυτὸν φρεναπατᾷ; for if a man is nothing and thinketh himself to be something, he is deceiving his own soul. The conjunction "for" points back to the practical direction just given to the "spiritual;" meaning that for those who wished to be, and also perhaps to be thought to be, fulfilling Christ's law, this was the behaviour which they were to carry out, and without which their claim was mere self-delusion. The phrase, δοκεῖ εϊναί τι μηδὲν ὤν, is well illustrated by the passage cited by critics from Plato's 'Apologia,' p. 41, E: Ἐὰν δοκῶσί τι εϊναι μηδὲν ὄντες ὀνειδίζετε αὐτοῖς... ὅτι,... οἴονταί τι εϊναι ὄντες οὐδενὸς ἄξιοι "Something" is, by a common meiosis, put for "something considerable" (cf. Galatians 2:6). The especial form of eminence, the claim to which is here referred to, is eminence in spirituality and consistency as a servant of Christ. Possibly the apostle has in his eye certain individuals among the Galatians that he had heard of, who, professing much, were, however, self-complacently bitter and contemptuous towards brethren who had gone wrong in moral conduct or who differed from themselves in the disputes then rife in those Churches. The phrase, μηδὲν ὤν, "being nothing," is a part of the hypothesis relative to the individual case spoken of, not a statement putting forth the aphorism that no one is really anything. The passage quoted above from Plato shows, that in the latter case we should have had οὐδὲν and not μηδέν. Some men, by the grace of God, are "something;" but these persons only fancy themselves to be so. Whether any man is really "something" or not is determined by his practical conduct - his "work" as the apostle expresses it in the next verse. The verb φρεναπατᾷν occurs in the New Testament only here, though we have the substantive φρεναπάτης, deceivers, in Titus 1:10. St. James (James 1:26) speaks of a man "deceiving his heart ' in seemingly just the same sense. In both passages it appears to be meant that a man palms off upon his own mind fancies as if they were just apprehensions of real facts; in both also these fancies are but illusive notions of one's own religious character - here, as being "spiritual;" in James, as being "religious" or "devout" (θρῆσκος) - the activity of practical benevolence being in both cases wanting; for "the bridling not his tongue" in ver. 26 is proved by the contrasted behaviour spoken of in the next verse to refer to those sins of the tongue which are implicitly condemned in vers. 19-21.
But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Verse 4. - But let every man prove his own work (τὸ δὲ ἔργον ἑαυτοπῦ δοκιμαζέτω ἕκαστος); but his own work let each man bringing to the proof. "His own work;" his own actual conduct. Both "work" and "his own" are weighted with emphasis; "work," as practical behaviour contrasted with professions or self-illusions (comp. 1 Peter 1:17, "Who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work"); "his own," as contrasted with these others with whom one is comparing himself to find matter for self-commendation. "Be bringing to the proof;" that is, testing his actual life by the touchstone of God's law, especially of "Christ's law," with the honest purpose of bringing it into accordance therewith. In other words, "Let each man be endeavouring in a spirit of self-watch-fulness to walk orderly according to the Spirit." This notion of practical self-improving attaches to the verb δοκιμάζω ("prove" or" examine") also in Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 11:28; Ephesians 3:10. And then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone (καὶ τότε εἰς ἑαυτὸν μόνον τὸ καύχημα ἕξει); and then in regard to himself alone shall he have whereof to glory. The preposition εἰς is used as in Matthew 14:31, Αἰς τί ἐδίστασας; "What didst thou look at that thou didst doubt?" Acts 2:25, "concerning him;" Ephesians 5:32; Romans 4:20; Romans 13:14; Romans 16:19. It depends upon the whole phrase, "shall have his ground of glorying," and not upon the word rendered "ground of glorying" alone. The distinction which ordinarily obtains between verbals of the form of πρᾶγμα and those of the form of πρᾶξις appears to hold good also in respect to καύχημα and καύχησις. Compare the use of καύχησις in 2 Corinthians 7:4 and James 4:16, with that of καύχημα in Romans 4:2, ἔχει καύχημα, "hath whereof to glory;" 1 Corinthians 9:16, οὐκ ἔστι μοι καύχημα, "I have nothing to glory of." In 1 Corinthians 5:6, οὐ καλὸν τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν, the substantive seems to mean "boast," that is, what is said in boasting, as distinguished from καύχησις, the action of uttering a beast. The verb καυχῶμαι, with its derivatives - a favourite term with St. Paul - often appears to mean "rejoicing" rather than" boasting" (cf. Romans 5:2; Hebrews 3:6); but it seems desirable as a rule to render it by "glorying," with the understanding that the writer has frequently the joyous state of feeling more prominently in his view than the utterance of self-gratulation. What the apostle meant by "having one's ground of glorying in regard to one's own self alone," is well illustrated by what he says respecting himself in 2 Corinthians 1:12, "Our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward." he had been himself in the habit of testing his conduct and spirit by the standard of Christ's law; and this was the fruit. And not in another (καὶ οὐκ εἰς τὸν ἕτερον); and not in regard to that neighbour of his. The article probably points to that neighbour with whom he has been comparing himself; and so, perhaps, also in Romans 2:1. But it may be simply "his neighbour;" "the man who is other than himself;" as it is in 1 Corinthians 6:1 and 1 Cor 10:24, in neither of which passages has any particular "other person" been before referred to.
For every man shall bear his own burden.
Verse 5. - For every man shall bear his own burden (ἕκαστος γὰρ τὸ ἴδιον φορτίον βαστάσει); for each man shall carry his own pack. A man's business is with his own pack; and all depends upon his carrying that, not putting it down. This "pack" (φορτίον) is the whole of the duties for the discharge of which each man is responsible. It is thus that the image is employed by our Lord (Matthew 11:30), "My yoke is easy, and my pack is light." So also in Matthew 23:4, "For they tie up packs heavy and hard to carry, and lay them upon men's shoulders." The phrase, τὸ ἴδιον φορτίον, "the pack which is individually his own," implies that men's responsibilities vary, each one having such as are peculiar to himself. This "pack" is to be carefully distinguished from the "heavy loads" (βάρη) of ver. 2, Our Christian obligations Christ makes, to them who serve him well, light; but our burdens of remorse, shame, grief, loss, which are of our own wilful procuring, these may be, must needs be, heavy. One part of our "pack" of obligation is to help each other in bearing these "heavy loads;" and we shall find our joy and crown of glorying in doing so; not only in the approval of our own consciences and in the consciousness of Christ's approval, but also in the manifold refreshments of mutual Christian sympathy. On the other hand, our Christian responsibilities, including these of mutual sympathy and succour, we must not attempt to evade. One man is able to do more for others than another man can; the truly "spiritual" man, for example, can do that which others may not even attempt to touch: each one has his own part and duty. And Christ's mot d'ordre to all his workmen, or possibly the apostle means to all his soldiers, is this: "Every man carry his own pack!" The future tense of the verb "shall carry" does not point to some future time, but to the absoluteness of the law for all time; as in Galatians 2:16 (see Winer, 'Gram. N. T.,' § 40, p. 251, 6th edit.). The varying turn given to the same general image of carrying burdens in ver. 2 and here is quite in St. Paul's manner. Compare, for example, in 2 Corinthians 3. the varying turn given to the images of "epistle" and "veil."
Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Verse 6. - Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things (κοινωνείτω δὲ ὁ κατηχούμενος τὸν λόγον τῷ κατηχοῦντι ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς); let him that is receiving instruction in the Word share with him that instructeth in all good things. The Authorized Version appears to have exercised sound discretion in leaving the particle δὲ untranslated. It is, in fact, here merely a conjunction of transition: not in any degree adversative; for the exhortation to liberality towards our teachers is perfectly germane to the preceding topics of carrying one another's loads, and so carrying our own pack. The verb κατηχεῖν, etymologically "to fill with sound," thence signifies "to din a thing into another person's mind with inculcation or constant repetition," in which sense it occurs in Acts 21:21, 24, of the persistent repetition of a slanderous report. So early as in Hippocrates (Liddell and Scott) the verbal substantive κατήχησις is used for "instruction;" and the verb, though not occurring in Attic writers, seems to have continued in use in other dialects, to reappear at length in the Common Dialect of Greek. Accordingly, it is found in the sense of "instruct" in Luke 1:4; Acts 18:25; Romans 2:18; 1 Corinthians 14:19. It does not denote instruction by question and answer in particular, but simply the inculcating of knowledge. Recently as the Galatian Churches had been founded, it appears from this passage that there were already persons among them whose particular business it was to give religious instruction to their fellow-Christians; so much their business, that they were on this ground entitled to receive from those they taught liberal help in temporal things. Such persons were doubtless included among the "elders" whom Paul and Barnabas appointed in the several Churches which they planted (Acts 14:23). It is noticeable, further, that the order of men alone singled out as entitled to such secular assistance is characterized as a teaching order; so characterized, per-hops, because teaching religious truth was the most prominent and characteristic of their functions. In his First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:17), written, probably, some years later, "the elders who labour in Word and teaching (διδασκαλία)" are particularized as those among the "presiding elders" who are the "most especially" entitled to liberal payment; the form of expression, however, implying that elders whose function lay in other duties than that of teaching were likewise entitled to liberal consideration. The teaching elders would require, more than other Church officers, leisure from worldly avocations for the study of God's Word and his truth, and for the actual discharge of their especial work in private as well as in public (comp. Acts 6:4; Acts 20:20). The direction here given would apply, as to the case of resident teachers, so also to that of persons who travelled about in the dissemination of the faith; as we learn from 1 Corinthians 9:4-14; 2 Corinthians 11:7-12. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13 the apostle commends to the "high estimation" of the disciples "those who laboured among them, and were ever them in the Lord, and admonished them (κοπιῶντας προι'σταμένους νουθετοῦντας); The expression "the Word" is used without any further qualification to designate the Christian doctrine, as in Mark 2:2; Mark 4:14; Acts 8:4; Acts 11:19; Philippians 1:14. So the Christian religion is styled "the Way" in Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9. "Share;' the verb κοινωνεῖν and its derivatives are frequently used with reference to that kind of "fellowship" or "partnership" which is evinced by our liberally sharing with the object of it in our worldly means. If we "count a minister our partner (κοινενόν)," as St. Paul writes to Philemon (ver. 17), we shall not begrudge him frank and generous help in any direction. Thus Romans 12:13, "Communicating to the necessities of saints," is properly "sharing with them in generous sympathy." So Philippians 4:14, "had fellowship with (συγκοιήσαντες) my affliction" points to liberal temporal assistance. Similarly, generous sympathy embodied in money gifts is styled "communion," or "partnership," in Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Philippians 1:5; Hebrews 13:16; as also κοινωνικός, "ready to communicate," expresses one ready to show such sympathy, in 1 Timothy 6:18. The apostle regards, and would have others regard, such offices of kindness with a fine delicate feeling, not as giving as if from a higher level of condition, but as sharing with brothers, with whom all things are held in common. Chrysostom and others consider the word to point to an interchange or barter of goods, spiritual and temporal, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:11. "In all good things;" in all good things of this life which he himself possesses. "Good things" as in Luke 12:18, 19 ("my goods"); Luke 16:25; the preposition "in," as in Matthew 23:30, "partakers in the blood of the prophets." The exact import of this clause, which has been variously interpreted, is best appreciated by our taking account of the warmth of indignant feeling with which the apostle is writing. This clearly transpires both from the words, "be not deceived," and from the assurance, "God is not mocked." The apostle had evidently in his eye a certain course of conduct which he indignantly denounces as a "sneering at God." This feeling prompts him to accentuate his exhortation addressed to the cold-hearted, niggardly Christians whom he has in view, by adding this clause, which is in effect, "in every possible way;" namely, by giving them respect and good will as well as maintenance. To no other Church does he address such direct admonition respecting the liberal treatment of its teachers, though, perhaps, indirect admonition may be detected in 1 Corinthians 9:7-11. No doubt the news he had just heard from Galatia made him feel the necessity of dealing with them roundly on this point.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Verse 7. - Be not deceived (μὴ πλανᾶσθε). So 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33. Let nothing lead you astray from the conviction, that in the conformity of your real aims and actual practice with the dictates of God's Spirit, and in that alone, can you hope for eternal life. God is not mocked (Qeo\ ou) mukthri/zetai); God is not derided. The verb μυκτηρίζειν, to writhe the nostrils (μυκτῆρας) at one in scorn, to sneer at him, occurs frequently in the Septuagint, rendering different Hebrew words, which denote disdain; as naatz ("despise"), Proverbs 1:30; bazah ("despise"), Proverbs 15:20; la'ag, "laugh (in derision)," Psalm 80:6. St. Luke uses it in his Gospel twice (Luke 16:14; Luke 23:35), where it is rendered "deride," "scoff at." It is, in effect, a "derision" of God when we meet his requirements of real piety and of practical obedience by the presentation of lip-professions and outward shows of religiousness. But the derision will not last long; it cannot hold good, Whatever in our hypocrisy we may pretend, or even after a fashion believe, as to ourselves, the eternal principles of Divine government are sure to work out their accomplishment. Bishop Lightfoot, founding upon the use of the verb μυκτηρίζειν in Greek authors on rhetoric - with whom it denotes a kind of fine irony, in which a feeling of contempt is thinly veiled by a polite show of respect - proposes to apply this sense here; and it would well suit the tenor of the passage; but as employed by so Hellenistic a writer as St. Paul it appears safer to interpret the verb simply In the light thrown upon it by the usage of the Septuagint. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (ο{ γὰρ ἐὰν σπείρῃ ἄνθρωπος τοῦτο καὶ θερίσει). The word σπείρῃ may be either an aorist, as in Ephesians 6:8," whatsoever good thing each one doeth (ποιήσῃ);" or a present. The latter seems to agree better with the ὁ σπείρω of the next verse, and the more pointedly directs attention to one's present immediate behaviour. The reaping-time is either the future life or its starting-point in the" day of the Lord" which determines its future complexion, as in Romans 2:5-16; 2 Corinthians 5:10. The axiom here stated holds good, no doubt, in much that befalls us in the present life, as is forcibly evinced by the late Fred. Robertson's sermon on this text; but this application of it hardly lies in the apostle's present field of view. All human activity is here recited under this image of "sowing," with reference to the consequences which in the day of retribution will infallibly accrue from every part of it. In 2 Corinthians 9:6, however ("He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly," etc.), the idea is applied to pecuniary gifts. Such an application seems to possess a peculiar propriety, founded on the benefits that the giving of money - which, viewed as gold, silver, or copper coins is in itself a dry and useless thing - would be the means of effecting (see vers. 12-15 of the same chapter). But this does not warrant our limiting the application of the word here to the bestowment of money gifts, though this in the context furnishes the occasion for its introduction; the next verse proves the wider application which the apostle's mind is making of it, not, however, losing sight (vers. 9, 10) of this specific reference. "Whatsoever he is sowing, that shall he reap;" the quality of the harvest (its quantity does not seem from the next verse to be particularly thought of, as in 2 Corinthians 9:6) is determined by the quality of the seed sown. In the form of expression, the deed which is done is said to be itself received back - received back, that is, in its corresponding reward or punishment. In a similar manner the apostle expresses himself in Ephesians 6:8, "Whatsoever good thing each man doeth, this shall he receive again (κομιεῖται) from the Lord." So of evil doings in Colossians 3:25, "He that doeth wrong shall receive again the wrong which he did;" and of both good and bad in 2 Corinthians 5:10. These last-cited passages, together with others which will readily occur to the reader, appear to contemplate a reference to be made in the day of judgment to each several action, with an award assigned to each; which view is likewise presented by such utterances of Christ himself as we read in Matthew 10:42; Matthew 25:35, 36, 42, 43. On the other hand, in the passage now before us, the "eternal life," and probably also the "corruption" mentioned in ver. 8, seem to point to the general award, of life or of destruction, which each man shall receive, founded on the review of his whole behaviour (see Revelation 20:12, 15). This is a somewhat different view of the future retribution from the former. Considering such passages in the light of moral exhortation, we are reminded that in each several action we are taking a step towards either a happy or a disastrous end - a step which, if pursued onward in the same direction, will infallibly conduct us to either that happy or that disastrous end. In regard to the relation between the two somewhat differing views of the future retribution above stated, when considered as subjects of speculative inquiry, a few observations may not be out of place here. We need find no difficulty at all in this diversity of representation so far as relates to the good actions of those who shall then be accepted or to the evil actions of those who shall be rejected. But a difficulty does seem to present itself with respect to the evil deeds done, if not before yet after their conversion, by the ultimately accepted, and also with respect to the good deeds done by the ultimately lost. Will the righteous receive the award of their evil deeds? Will the lost receive the award of their good deeds? For there is no righteous man who hath not sinned; as also neither is there an unrighteous man whose life does not show good and laudable actions. A reference to the actual experience of souls in this life suggests, not indeed a complete solution of the difficulty which the nature of the case probably makes impossible to us at devise, but a consideration which helps to lessen our sense of it. It is this . in Christians who have a well-grounded consciousness of perfect reconciliation with God, assured to them even by the seal of the Spirit of adoption, this happy consciousness is, however, perfectly compatible with a vivid remembrance of wrong things done in the past. And this remembrance is perpetually suggestive of sentiments of self-loathing - self-loathing the more bitter in proportion as the soul, by its growing purification through the Spirit, is enabled the more truly to estimate the evil character of those evil deeds. This is exemplified by St. Paul's wailing recollection, near the very end of his course, of those heinous sins of his, committed long years before, against Christ and his Church (1 Timothy 1:15). Now, we cannot conceive of a continuous existence of the soul apart from a continued remembrance of its past experiences. The redeemed, then, in their perfected state after the resurrection, can never become oblivions of those foul blots in their spiritual history; the recollection of them can never cease at once to abase them in their own consciousness and to glorify the grace which has redeemed them. The Divine Spirit itself will still, we may believe, quicken these remembrances; and the infinite benefactions of God, in that state of felicity experienced, will be still heaping fresh coals of fire upon their heads. Their felicity will be no offspring of blindness or misconception in reference to the past; on the contrary, they will know the truth in respect to their own lives in respect to every part of them, with a clearness unattainable in the present state; but they will know the truth too in respect to the intensity of the Divine love. God's love, it is true, cannot shed the light of approval upon those dark spots of their earthly history; cannot shed upon them those felicitating beams of "Well done, good and faithful servant," which will most assuredly flow down upon the acceptable portions of their conduct; that love itself cannot deal with his servants otherwise than according to truth. But the love of God will be clearly seen, cancelling, for Christ's sake, the penal consequences which but for Christ those several wickednesses would have incurred: in those very instances of sinfulness magnifying in each saved one's consciousness the infinite benignity of his Father, which loved him even then, in those very hours of his extremest ill-deserving. If these speculations appear not unreasonable, then they will serve to explain in what way the sinful doings even of those finally accepted will, however, not fail of receiving their award; the award will be there, both in that sense of loss - loss of Divine commendation, which will necessarily accompany the recollection of them; and also in the sense of their debt of punishment, though cancelled. Be we sure our sin will find us out.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Verse 8. - For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (o%ti o( spei/rwn ei) th\n sa/rka e(autou = e)k th = sarko\ qeri/sei fqora/n); for he that soweth unto his own flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. "Fort" the causal force of the particle ὅτι, properly "because," is here greatly attenuated, being employed to introduce a sentence commending to acceptance the foregoing one, simply by a detailed exposition of particulars illustrating its meaning. This is the case also in 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Ephesians 2:18; Philippians 4:16. In regard to the connection of this first half of the eighth verse with the preceding context, we must take note of the sternly monitory tone which marks ver. 7. This shows that in the sentence, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," the apostle has more immediately in view the terrible harvest to be reaped by those who acted as if they thought that God might be overreached. We may infer from this that this first clause of ver. 8 is mainly the thought which up to here the writer had it on his mind to inculcate - the "corruption" which a man would reap from a life of self-indulgence. But, after completing the statement of this thought, his tone forthwith changes; the frown clearing away from his countenance, he adds, to the threatening admonition of the first clause, the cheering promise of the second, while a more genial tone marks his further remarks on the subject in vers. 9 and 10. The second limb of the verse thus appears introduced in the same way as the second does in Romans 8:13; and in both cases with the conjunction δέ. "Sowing unto his own flesh." Many critics render, "into his own flesh," as if, with a shifting of the image, which is certainly not uncommon with St. Paul, the flesh were now the ground into which the seed is cast. This relation, however, to the verb "sow" (see Alford and Ellicott) is in the New Testament expressed differently, by ἐν, in, or by ἐπί, upon; while εἰς in Matthew 13:22 denotes "among." It is more obvious to take εἰς as "unto," "denoting the immediate object of the action, that to which it tends, that in which it terminates" (Webster and Wilkinson, 'Commentary'). This way of construing suits better in the phrase, εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα, which follows. Applying the image of sowing generally, the apostle in ver. 7 speaks of the quality of the sowing (not precisely the quality of the seed) as determining the quality of the harvest; and here, of one kind of sowing being "unto the flesh," the other "unto the Spirit." "He that soweth unto his own flesh;" that is, he whose general action in life is referred to his own personal gratification in his lower nature - to his own profit, pleasure, honour. The addition of ἑαυτοῦ ("his own") has a marked reference to the topic which led to this general statement: the apostle has in his view a man's gratifying his own merely worldly inclinations, to the disregard of the well-being, even the physical well-being, of other men. To sow unto the flesh of our brethren, in one sense, namely, for the promotion of their physical well-being, would bear a different aspect from sowing unto oar own flesh. "Shall from the flesh reap corruption." This by some commentators has been interpreted thus: In the harvest of That Day, nought will be found with him of all those things on which his heart has been set - nought save, at the best, mere rottenness, disappointment, and illusion. This would be analogous to the moral with which our Lord pointed his parable of the rich fool, to whom God said, "Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" "So is he," added Christ, "that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:20, 21). The word φθορά, corruption, involves at least as much as this; but this view alone would furnish an inadequate antitheten to "eternal life," as also it gives less force to the word itself than it appears from its ordinary use to convey. One essential element of this verbal noun φθορὰ is the notion of decay, or the condition of being impaired, spoilt, wasted away (cf. Colossians 2:20; Romans 8:21), It is used of corruption in our moral nature in 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:12, 19; as φθείρω and διαφθείρω are likewise applied in 2 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 6:5. But the clear presentment of its sense, when connected as it is here with "flesh," is afforded by its antithesis, with respect to the "body" or "flesh," to ἀφθαρσία in 1 Corinthians 15:42, "It is sown in corruption., it is raised in incorruption," and ibid., 1 Corinthians 15:50," Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption;" and by the opposed adjectives "corruptible" and "incorruptible ' (φθαρτός and ἄφθαρτος) in 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54, as well as by the use of διαφθορὰ of the rotting away of a dead body, in Acts 2:27, 31; Acts 13:34-37. That the apostle uses the word "corruption" with a direct reference to "flesh," and therefore as alluding to or rather expressing a certain qualification of the flesh's condition, is shown by his inserting the words, ἐκ τῆς σαρκός, "of the flesh." Strictly speaking those words are not necessary for the completeness of the sentence. To all appearance they are added aetiologically, to make prominent the thought that what is sown unto the flesh may be expected to issue in corruption, because corruption is the natural end of flesh itself. For an analogous reason, "of the Spirit" is inserted in the antithetic statement; the Spirit being essentially not only living, but vivific. The words, then, seem to mean this' "shall from the flesh reap that corruption which the flesh, un-quickened by the Spirit of God [for comp. Romans 8:11], must itself issue in." In endeavouring more exactly to determine the sense of these words, it is well in the first instance to confine our view to the conceptions relative to this subject presented by St. Paul. In reviewing these, we observe that St. Paul never predicates ἀφθαρσία ("incorruption," "incorruptible-ness") of the future bodily condition of "those who perish (οἱ ἀπολλύμενοι)." On the contrary, in 1 Corinthians 15:42-54 he clearly restricts this conception of bodily being to the case of those whose body shall be assimilated to that of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, as indeed it is only to them that the entire discourse (vers. 20-58) relates. So again in Philippians 3:21, the "fashioning anew of the body of our humiliation into conformity with the body of his glory" is evidently limited to those whoso end is not "perdition (ἀπώλεια)." Again, in 2 Corinthians 5:1 the "house not made with hands, eternal," appears to be an exclusive designation of the resurrection-body of the accepted believer. Once more, in Romans 2:7 the words, "to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and incorruption (ἀφθαρσίαν)," imply that incorruption is an attribute exclusively pertaining to the happiness after which true Christians aspire. All that we meet with elsewhere in St. Paul's writings fits in perfectly with his holding the view that, while "there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust," as he stated to Felix (Acts 24:15) - a resurrection surely he meant in the body - the bodies of the accepted alone wilt be incorruptible, the bodies of the lost being, for all that appears in his teaching, left in some sense subject to corruption. In what way the apostle in his own mind connected this conception, of in-corruption being a quality exclusively pertaining to the future condition of the just. with that of the "eternal destruction (αἰώνιος ὄλεθρος)" awaiting them who know not God (2 Thessalonians 1:9), we shall, perhaps, do wisely in not attempting to determine. We can, it is true, imagine ways of conjoining the two notions; 'but it will be best not to positively affirm that this or that that was St. Paul's manner of viewing the subject. Possibly the Spirit had not revealed this to him. if so, he might feel it incumbent upon him to forbear from giving forth definite statements on matters not really disclosed to his view, and, therefore, not intended to form a part of revealed truth. This, however, should not keep us back from accepting what appears to be the only probable view of the sense of the present passage, namely, that they who live a life of selfishness and carnal self-indulgence will reap the final award of having a body with flesh, in some most real and important sense, subject to corruption. The consideration that the apostle is thinking of the awards of the day of judgment, at once meets the objection that corruption is predicable of the Christian's body also. It is obvious to reply that, though the body of a believer is sown in corruption even as the body of an unrighteous man, it is revealed to us that it will be raised in incorruption; which it is nowhere said that the body of him who dies in his sins will be. As applied to objects lying on the other side of the veil which parts the spiritual world from that visible world whence all our images of thought are derived, this term "corruption" must be understood as describing a condition of bodily being, not necessarily identical with, but very conceivably only in some respects analogous to, that which it describes in relation to a corpse in our present state. The resurrection stale, with all that pertains to it, inscrutably blending, as the story, of the forty days commencing with Christ s resurrection exemplifies, spiritual phenomena with corporeal, is one which we are wholly unable to understand or to realize. This may be thought a very superfluous observation. But it is not so. The attempts intellectually to realize the events which we are hereafter to witness and to be the subjects of, and the dogmatic affirmations relating to them, made, not merely in past ages, but in the very present, render it necessary that we should distinctly keep this truth in view. The physical theory of that future state, and the eventual history which is to be evolved in it, we not merely do not know, but are absolutely incapable of forecasting. We dare not say one syllable about them beyond what is distinctly told us; and what is told us, we are to remember, is through the very nature of the case no other than images, presented in a dark dim mirror, which shows them so obscurely, that to our intellective perception they seem riddles rather than revelations: Ἄρτι γὰρ βλέπομεν δἰ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, (1 Corinthians 13:12). It is, in fact, not our intellect, but our moral sense, that the revelations of the future state are designed to inform. Next, looking out from the field of purely Pauline doctrine upon the teaching presented in other parts of the New Testament, we are reminded at once of that awful and repeated word of our Lord concerning the "Gehenna of fire" - "where their worm (σκώληξ) dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48). It is known that, before our Lord appeared upon earth, this conception of Gehenna, the terms of which beyond question were borrowed from the closing verses of Isaiah, had already become current in the eschatological views of the Jews. This is evidenced by Judith 16:17; Ecclus. 7:17. This imagery our Lord adopted, recognizing, it should seem, in this portion of rabbinical teaching a just evolution of ideas which had been presented in the inspired volumes of the Old Testament - a development of them which we may fairly attribute to the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit promised to God's restored people, as e.g, in Ezekiel 36:24-28. We cannot doubt that the "worm" which our Lord spoke of means the worm which preys upon rotting flesh. The image, therefore, exactly accords with the word "corruption" as interpreted above. Whether the apostle glanced at that discourse of Christ, or was even aware of it, is uncertain; but that he both knew of it and even inferred from it in using this word "corruption," is by no means unlikely. One other reference to "corruption" as the future doom of at least certain of the lost, is found in 2 Peter 2:12, which, according to the now approved reading of the Greek text, runs thus: "But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed - shall in their destroying be destroyed [or, 'in their corruption shall even rot away'] (ἐν τῇ φθορᾷ αὐτῶν καὶ φθαρήσονται)." Possibly the word φθορά, taken as "corruption," points here to moral corruption; but the verb φθαρήσονται may very well point to the miserable doom of rotting away by which they shall judicially perish, moral corruption working physical corruption. But the exact sense is doubtful. With the clause before us we must group Romans 8:13, "If ye live after the flesh, ye are certain to die;" whilst the sentence which follows, "But if by the Spirit ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall live," answers to the closing sentence of the present verse; as also does "death" as "the wages of sin," balanced against the "eternal life" which is "the gift of God," in Romans 6:25. The contrasted thoughts in Philippians 3:19, 20 likewise closely touch those here presented to us. But he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (ὁ δὲ σπείρων εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος θερίσει ζωὴν αἰώνιον); but he that soweth unto the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life eternal. That is, he that expends thought, time, effort, money, upon the furthering, in himself and in others, of the fruits of the Spirit, shall receive, from that Holy Spirit to whose guidance dwelling within him he resigns himself, that quickening of his whole being, body, soul, and spirit, for an everlasting existence in glory, which it is the proper work of that Divine Agent to effect. For the latter clause, comp. Romans 8:11, "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you [as the guiding, animating influence in your lives], he that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit dwelling within you;" in which passage the aetiologleal clause, "by reason of his Spirit dwelling in you," corresponds exactly with the aetiological clause, "of the Spirit," in the words before us. The two verses which follow show that one specific form of sowing unto the Spirit which the apostle has definitely in view, while enforcing the general idea, is that of Christian beneficence. How closely the practice of Christian beneficence was in the apostle's mind, in conformity with Christ's own teaching (Matthew 25. etc.), connected with the securing of the future blissful immortality, is markedly shown in 1 Timothy 6:18, 19; - not the less so if we adopt the now approved reading, ἵνα ἐκιλάβωνται τοῦ ὄντως ζωῆς, "that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed."
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Verse 9. - And let us not be weary in well-doing (τὸ δὲ καλὸν ποιοῦντες μὴ ἐγκακῶμεν [Textus Receptus, ἐκκακῶμεν]); but in doing that which is good, let us not flag. That is, some sow unto their own flesh, some unto the Spirit; let us be of those who do that which is commendable; and not that only; let us do it with an unflagging spirit. Such seems to be the swaying of thought in the sentence; hence the position of the participial phrase before the verb: the participle is not a mere qualification of the verb, as it is in the rendering, "Let us not be weary in well-doing," and as it is in 2 Thessalonians 3:13; but, with an implied exhortation that such should be the case, it supposes that we are of the better class, and founds upon the supposition the exhortation not to flag. "That which is commendable (τὸ καλόν)" recites, not works of beneficence only, but every species of moral excellence, comprising in brief the enumeration given in Philippians 4:8, all of which is included in "sowing unto the Spirit," The verb ἐγκακεῖν occurs in five other places of the New Testament - Luke 18:1; 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16; Ephesians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:13. In every one of these six passages some of the manuscripts present the variant reading of ἐκκακεῖν, which in all is adopted in the Textus Receptus, but is in all replaced with the general consent of recent editors by ἐγκακεῖν. It is, indeed, questioned whether ἐκκακεῖν is ever used by any Greek author. The difference in meaning is material: ἐγκακεῖν is to be bad in doing a thing; while ἐκκακεῖν, would probably mean to be so bad at a course of action as to leave it off altogether. In the first four of the above-cited passages it is tendered in the Authorized Version by "faint;" whilst in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 and here it is rendered "be weary," that is, "flag." In all the notion of flagging appears the most suitable, and in 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16 necessary. In the present passage the course of thought requires us to understand it as not so strong a word as ἐκλύεσθαι. Critics point attention to the play of phrase in connecting the expression, doing that which is commendable or good, with the verb denoting being bad at doing it. So in 2 Thessalonians 3:13, μὴ ἐγκακήσητε καλοποιοῦντες. The epigrammatic combination would seem to have been a favourite one with St. Paul, occurring as it does in two letters written several years apart. Such playfulness is not foreign to his style. The use of the first person plural may be merely cohortative, as above in Galatians 5:24. But it may also he a real self-exhortation as well. In the long, long, weary, arduous conflict which St. Paul was waging throughout his Christian career, the flesh must often have felt weak, and have required the application of this goad. And this tone of personal feeling may, perhaps, be further discerned in the use of the phrase, "in due season;" the blessed reaping of joy may seem to us at times long in coming; but God's time for its coming will be the best time; let us, therefore, be resigned to wait for that. This seems to be the tone of the καιροῖς ἰδίοις, "in its own times," of 1 Timothy 6:15. For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (καιρῷ γὰρ ἰδίῳ θερίσομεν μὴ ἐκλυόμενοι). for at its own season we shall reap, if we faint not. Καιρὸς ἴδιος is the season assigned to an event in the counsels of God; as in 2 Thessalonians 2:6, ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ καῖρῳ, "in his season," of the revelation of the "man of lawlessness." Καιροῖς ἰδίοις is used in 1 Timothy 6:15 with reference, as here, to the day of judgment; and in 1 Timothy 2:6 and Titus 1:3, of the manifestation of the gospel. In every case the phrase appears to intimate that the season appointed by God, though not what man might have anticipated or wished, was, however, to be acquiesced in as wisest and best (see last note). The reaping is the same as that referred to in the previous two verses. "If we faint not." The verb ἐκλύεσθαι in Matthew 15:32 and Mark 8:2 is to faint physically from exhaustion. In Hebrews 12:3, 5 it is used of succumbing, giving in, morally; not merely feeling weak, but in consequence of weakness giving up all further effort. In this latter sense it occurs in the Septuagint of Joshua 18:3 and in 1 Macc. 9:8. And this last is its meaning here. It expresses more than the flagging of spirit before mentioned; for that would not forfeit the reward of past achievement, unless it led to the actual relinquishment of further endeavour; this last would forfeit it (comp. Revelation 3:11 and 2 John 1:8). Taking it thus, there is no occasion for understanding this phrase, "not fainting," as several of the Greek commentators do, including apparently Chrysostom, as if it meant thus: "We shall reap without any fear of fainting or becoming weary any more;" which surely, as Alford observes, gives a vapid turn to the sentence.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Verse 10. - As we have therefore opportunity (ἄρα οϋν ὡς καιρὸν ἔχιμεν); so then, while (or, as) we have a season for so doing. Ἄρα οϋν: this combination of particles is frequently found in St. Paul's writings, being so far as appears (cf. Winer, 'Gram. N.T.,' § 53, 8a) peculiar to him (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Romans 5:18; Romans 7:3, 25; Romans 8:12; Romans 9:16, 18; Romans 14:12, 19; Ephesians 2:19). In every instance it marks a certain pause after a statement of premisses; in several, following a citation from the Old Testament; the writer, after waiting, so to speak, for the reader duly to Lake into his mind what has been already said, proceeds to draw his inference. The ἄρα seems to point backward to the premisses; the οϋν to introduce the inference. "Well, then," or "so, then," appears a fairly equivalent rendering. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and Romans 14:19 ἄρα οϋν introduces a cohortative verb, as here; in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, an imperative. The words Which follow seem to be commonly understood as meaning "whenever opportunity offers." But this fails short of recognizing the solemn consideration of the proprieties of the present sowing-time, which the previous context prepares us to expect to find here; the term "season," as Meyer remarks, having its proper reference already fixed by the antithetical season of reaping referred to in ver. 9. Moreover, instead of for, would not the apostle, if he had meant "whenever," have used the intensified form καθώς? Chrysostom gives the sense well thus: "As it is not always in our power to sow, so neither is it to show mercy; when we have been borne hence, though we may desire it a thousand times, we shall be able to effect nothing." Indeed it is questionable whether the sense now pleaded for is not that which was intended by the rendering in the Authorized Version. The particle ώς probably means "while," as it does in Luke 12:58 and in John 12:35, 36, where it should replace the ἕως of the Textus Receptus; but this needs not to be insisted upon. Anyway, we are reminded of the uncertain tenure by which we hold the season for doing that which, if done, will have so blessed a consequence. Let us do good unto all men (ἐργαζώμεθα τὸ ἀγαθὸν πρὸς πάντας); let us be workers of that which is good towards all men. The verbs ἐργάζομαι and ποιῶ appear used inter-changeably in Colossians 3:23 and 3 John 1:5; but the former seems to suggest, more vividly than the other, either the concrete action, the ἔργον, which is wrought; or else the part enacted by the agent as being a worker of such or such a description - as if, here, it were "let us be benefactors." The adjective "good" (ἀγαθός) is often, perhaps most commonly, used to designate what is morally excellent in general; thus, e.g., in Romans 2:10, "the worker of that which is go,d" is contrasted with "the worker-out of that which is evil," as a description of a man's moral character in general. But on the other hand, this adjective frequently takes the sense of "benevolent," "beneficent;" as e.g. in Matthew 20:15, "Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" 1 Peter 2:18, "masters, not only the good and gentle, but also the froward;" Titus 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:18; Romans 12:21. In the remarkable contrast between the righteous man and the good man in Romans 5:7 (see Dr. Gifford's note on the passage, 'Speaker's Commentary,' p. 123), the latter term appears distinctly intended in the conception of virtuousness to make especially prominent the idea of beneficence. Naturally, this sense attaches to it, when it describes an action done to another, as the opposite to the "working ill to one's neighbour," mentioned in Romans 13:10; "good" in such a relation, denoting what is beneficent in effect, denotes what is also benevolent in intention (see 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Indeed, that the present clause points to works of beneficence" is made certain by that which is added, "and especially," etc.; for our behaviour should be in no greater degree marked by general moral excellence in dealing with one class of men than in dealing with any others; though one particular branch of virtuous action may be called into varying degrees of activity in different relations of human intercourse. "Towards all men;" πρός, towards, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 6:9. The spirit of universal philanthropy which the apostle inculcates here as in other passages, as e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:15, is one which flows naturally from the proper influence upon the mind of the great facts stated in 1 Timothy 2:3-7, as also it was a spirit which in a most eminent degree animated the apostle's own life. Witness that noble outburst of universal benevolence which we read of in Acts 26:29. Such an escape from bigotry and particularism was quite novel to the Gentile world, and scarcely heard of in the Jewish, though beautifully pointed forward to in the teaching of the Book of Jonah (see Introduction to the Book of Jonah, in 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 6. p. 576). Espescially unto them who are of the household of faith (μάλιστα δὲ πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως); but especially towards them that are of the household of faith. The adjective οἰκεῖος occurs in the New Testament only in St. Paul's Epistles - twice besides here, namely, in Ephesians 2:19, "fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household (οἰκεῖοι)of God;" and in 1 Timothy 5:8, "if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household (οἰκείων)." In the last-cited passage, the adjective, denoting as it plainly is meant to do, a closer relation than "his own (ἰδίων)" must mean members of his household or family; and we can hardly err in supposing that in Ephesians 2:19 likewise the phrase, οἰκεῖοι τοῦ Θεοῦ denotes those whom God has admitted into his family as children. So the word also signifies in the Septuagint of Isaiah 3:5; Isaiah 58:7; and Revelation 18:6, 12, 13. It is, therefore, an unnecessary dilution of its force here to render it, "those who belong to the faith," though such a rendering of it might be justified if found in an ordinary Greek author. The meaning of τῆς πίστεως is illustrated by the strong personification used before by the apostle in Galatians 3:23, 25, "before faith came;" "shut up for the faith which was yet to be revealed;" "now that faith is come." The apostle surely here is not thinking of "the Christian doctrine," but of that principle of believing acceptance of God's promises which he has been insisting upon all through the Epistle. This principle, again personified, is here the patron or guardian of God's people afore-time under a pedagogue: "of the household of faith," not "of the faith." The apostle is thinking of those who sympathized with the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ without legal observances; and very possibly is glancing in particular at the teachers under whose care the apostle had left the Galatian Churches. At first, we may believe, the Galatian Churchmen, in the fervour of their affection to the apostle himself, had been willing enough to help those teachers in every way. But when relaxing their hold upon the fundamental principles of the gospel, they had also declined in their affectionate maintenance of the teachers who upheld those doctrines. He now commends these, belonging to faith's own household, to their especial regard (comp. Philippians 3:17). "Especially;" this qualification in an intensified form of the precept of universal beneficence, is the outcome of no cold calculation of relative duties, but of fervent love towards those who are truly brethren in Christ. That to these an especial affection is due above all others is a sentiment commended and inculcated in almost all St. Paul's Epistles; as it is also by St. Peter, as e.g. in 1 Peter 1:22, etc.; and again by St. John. With all, "love of brethren (φιλαδελφία)" is a different sentiment from that sentiment of charity which is due to all fellow-men; that is, it is an intensified form of this latter, exalted into a peculiar tenderness of regard by the admixture of higher relations than those which antecedently connect true Christians with all members of the human family. Christ has himself (Matthew 25:31-46) taught his disciples that he deems a peculiar regard to be due from them to those "his brethren" who at that day shall be on his right hand; meaning, evidently, by "these my brethren," not suffering men, women, or children as such, but sufferers peculiarly belonging to himself (comp. Matthew 10:42; Matthew 18:5, 6). Thus we see that, after all, there is a particularism properly characteristic of Christian sentiment; only, not such a particularism as a Gentile, and too often a Jew likewise, would have formulated thus: "Thou shalt love thine own people and hate the alien;" but one which may be formulated thus: "Thou shalt love every man, but especially thy fellow-believer in Christ." The reader will, perhaps, scarcely need to be reminded of Keble's exquisite piece on the Second Sunday after Trinity in the 'Christian Year.'
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
Verse 11. - Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand (ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί); see with what large pieces of writing (or, with what large letters) I have written (or, I write) unto you with mine own hand. There can be hardly any doubt that the rendering "ye see" of the Authorized Version, supposing, as it seems to do, that this is meant as an indicative, must be wrong (cf. John 4:29; 1 John 3:1). The ἴδετε of the Textus Receptus in Philippians 1:30 is replaced by recent editors with one consent by εἴδετε. Each one of the four next Greek words, πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα, has been subjected to a variety of interprerations. What appears to the present writer the most probable view he must explain as briefly as he is able. The interrogative πηλίκος means "how great," as in Zechariah 2:2 (Septuagint); Hebrews 7:4. Accordingly, πόσα καὶ πηλίκα in Polyb., 1:2, 8 (cited in Liddell and Scott's 'Lexicon') means "how many and how large." Many, as e.g. Chrysostom, have supposed that the word includes a reference to clumsiness, ungainliness, as attaching to the apostle's handwriting ("with what big letters!'). But no example of the word being used in this sense of "ungainliness" has been adduced; and it seems safer not to import into its rendering this additional shade of meaning. The dative ὑμῖν Bishop Lightfoot proposes to connect closely with πληίκοις as μοὶ and σοὶ are often used in familiar style, with the sense mark you! But there is no instance of this use of the dative pronoun in the Greek Testament (see Winer, 'Gram. N. T.,' § 22, 7, Anna. 2, p. 140); and here surely it more naturally connects itself with ἔγραψαψ. It is not uncommon with St. Paul to insert some word or words between a substantive and its adjective or dependent genitive, as here between πηλίκοις and γράμμασιν (see Galatians 2:9; Galatians 3:15; Philippians 4:15, etc.). In the instances now cited there appears no more logical occasion for such a seeming disarrangement of the words than there does here. The verb ἔγραψα is used with no objective accusative following, as in Romans 15:15; 1 Peter 5:12; the substantive γράμμασιν being in the dative, because the apostle is referring merely to the form of the medium of communication, and not to the substance of the communication itself. The rendering of the Authorized Version, "how large a letter I have written," cannot be defended as a literal translation, though it may be allowed on one view of the passage to give the sense rightly. But though the plural noun γράμματα, in ordinary Greek, like literae in Latin, sometimes occurs in the sense of a single epistle or letter, it is never so used by St. Paul, who always employs the word ἐπιστολὴ to express this notion, which he does no less than seventeen times. In Acts 28:21 it is rendered "letters," in the plural number; being properly "communications in writing." The noun γράμμα was the word ordinarily employed in Greek to designate a letter of the alphabet. It also denotes "a writing," as when in the plural we read in John 5:47, "if ye believe not his writings," and in 2 Timothy 3:15," the sacred writings," or Scriptures. In Luke 16:6, 7 "take thy bill" is literally, "take thy writings" (γράμματα being the now accepted reading in the Greek text). In 2 Corinthians 3:7, "the ministration of death in writings," the word probably refers to the ten commandments, each forming one writing; though it may mean "in characters of writing." In ordinary Greek it sometimes denotes a passage of a treatise or book (Liddell and Scott, under the word, 2:4). Next

(1) the verb ἔγραψα ("I have written") may be understood, as in Romans 15:15, "I have written the more boldly unto you," etc., with reference to the entire letter, now nearly complete, as it lies before him. In that case the apostle's words may be rendered, "See, with what long writings [or, 'pieces of writing'] I have written unto you with mine own hand." Through some cause or other, we know not what the cause was, writing with his own hand was not a welcome employment to him; so far unwelcome that he generally devolved the actual penning of his letters upon an amanuensis, merely authenticating each letter as his own by a postscript added in his own hand (see 2 Thessalonians 3. fin.). Perhaps Philemon forms the only' exception (see ver. 19), apart from this letter to the Galatians. We may, therefore, imagine the apostle as painfully and laboriously penning one portion after another of the Epistle; often pausing weariedly in the work as he came to the end of each γράμμα, that is, to the end of each section of his argument, each seeming to him a long and toilsome effort. And now at last he exclaims," Look, what long, laborious performances of handwriting I have achieved in writing to you! And from that learn how deeply I am concerned on your behalf, and how grave your present spiritual peril appears to me to be!" Ordinarily it was only a brief "piece of writing" that he wrote with his own hand; here, long pieces, added one after another with painful effort. Or

(2) the verb "I have written" may be referred to what the apostle is now beginning to pen, not merely because the epistolary style of the ancients, Greek and Roman, was wont to place the writer of a letter in the temporal standing-point of its recipient, as when Cicero dates his letters scribebam Id., etc., but because under some circumstances it is natural that the writer should thus refer himself to the view of his correspondent. Thus in Philemon 1:19, "I Paul have written it (ἔγραψα) with mine own hand, I will repay it." It would be quite obvious to ourselves to express our meaning in the same manner. So far, then, as such considerations reach, it appears quite supposable that the apostle, having employed an amanuensis as usual as far as the end of ver. 10, then himself took up the pen for the customary addition of an authenticating postscript; and that, for the purpose of adding especial emphasis to the postscript which he here thought advisable to add, he made his handwriting most unusually large, and that it is to this emphatic style of penmanship that he here draws attention. Many modern critics have acquiesced in this explanation; and if γράμμασιν means "letters," that is, characters of the writing, it seems the most probable; for it does not seem likely that the whole Epistle was written in letters of an extraordinary size; while, if the characters were those of his ordinary style of penmanship, the remark would be too trivial to come from him. The present writer inclines to the former method of interpretation.
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Verse 12. - As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh (ὅσοι θελουσιν εὐπροσωπῆσαι ἐν σαρκί); all those who wish to make a fair show in the flesh. In this verse and the next the apostle singles out for especial animadversion certain Christians, Galatian Christians no doubt, who were actuated by the aim of standing fair with the religious world of Judaism. They were Gentile Christians and not Jews; this appears from their not themselves wishing to keep the Law; for if they had been Jews, the external observance of the Law, being natural to them from their infancy, would have been with them a matter of course: St. Paul himself would probably not have urged them to relinquish it. The verb εὐπροσωπεῖν is not found by the critics in any earlier Greek writer, though the adjective εὐπρόσωπος, fair-faced, is used of "specious" answers in Herodotus (7:168), and "specious words" conjoined with "fables" in Demosthenes ('De Corinthians,' p. 277). Aristophanes uses the word σεμνοπροσωπεῖν ('Nub.,' 362) to "carry a solemn and worshipful face." The notion of falsity, plainly hinted by εὐπροσωπῆσαι, reminds us, Bishop Lightfoot observes, of our Lord's words respecting whited sepulchres, which "outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly," etc. (Matthew 23:27). Compare the use of πρόσωπον, face, in 2 Corinthians 5:12, "glory in appearance, and not in heart." As the aorist of verbs denoting a certain state frequently expresses an entrance upon such a state (see ζήσω above, Galatians 2:19 and note), it probably is intimated that the persons referred to were conscious that their "outward appearance" was hitherto not acceptable to Jewish minds, but that they now were desirous of making it so. Time had been when they did not care so much about it. "In the flesh." This word "flesh" not unfrequently designates men's condition as unmodified by the Spirit of God; as when the apostle speaks of "being in the flesh" (Romans 7:5; Romans 8:8, 9): thence also circumstances or relations pertaining to this unspiritual condition, as in Philippians 3:3, 4; where the apostle speaks of "having confidence in the flesh," and goes on, in vers. 5, 6, to enumerate some of those circumstances or relations. Thus, again, in Ephesians 2:11, "ye, the Gentiles in the flesh," that is, who in that state of things in which men lived before the spiritual economy intervened, were the "uncircumcision (ἀκροβυσρία)," while the Jews were the "circumcision." But as the distinction between these two classes was signalized by an external corporeal mark, the apostle in that passage immediately after uses the expression, "in the flesh," in a varied sense, with reference to this latter, "that which is called circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands." With similar variation of meaning the word "flesh" is used here. The Christians spoken of, losing sight of the cross of Christ and the Spirit's work, were becoming possessed by feelings belonging to the old "carnal" relations between Jews and Gentiles, and so were making it their ambition to figure with advantage in the eyes of the circumcision, as well as to escape their enmity. And then, as in the passage just referred to (Ephesians 2:11), the apostle passes from this sense of the phrase, "in the flesh," to another relating to corporeal flesh; for this he does in the next verse, in the words, "that they may glory in your flesh." They constrain you to be circumcised (οϋτοι ἀναγκάζουσιν ὑμᾶς περιτέμνεσθαι); these compel you to be circumcised. "Compel;" the same verb as was used above (Galatians 2:14) of St. Peter's attitude towards the Gentile believers at Antioch. As here applied, it means "advise," "urge," argue for it as right and necessary for salvation, insist upon it as a condition of friendship. "These;" not, perhaps, meaning "these only," "none but these;" it appears enough to suppose that the apostle, from definite information which he had received, was persuaded that some of those who took the lead in urging onward the Judaizing movement were led to join in it by the cowardly motives here described. With indignant scorn, he says," As surely as a man wants to stand well with the world, so surely will he be found with these circumcisers."Only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ (μόνον ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ μὴ διώκωνται [Textus Receptus, μόνον ἵνα μὴ τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ διώκωνται]); only that they may not by means of the cross of Christ suffer persecution. "Only that;" that is, for no other reason than that. The μὴ is thrust out of its proper position in the sentence (which is that assigned to it in the Textus Receptus) by the fervent of the writer's feelings. To himself the cross of Christ seemed the centre of all glory and blessedness; to be connected with it he would be well pleased to suffer martyrdom; but these men could be well content to shelve it out of sight, and, in fact, were doing so; and what for? because the Jews did not like it, and they did not wish to get into trouble by offending them! A grand disdain prompts the apostle, at the cost of impairing the smooth run of the sentence, to (as it were) balance against each other the "cross of Christ" and "not being persecuted." The construction of the dative to express "by means of," that by which a certain result is brought about, is not very common; but we have it in Romans 11:20, τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ ἐξεκλάσθησαν and ibid., 30, ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπιστίᾳ: 2 Corinthians 2:12, τῷ μὴ εὑρεῖν. Our attention is in this passage again drawn to the manner in which the Jews regarded "the word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18), as that "word" was unfolded by St. Paul and received by his disciples among the Gentiles. The great point of offence (σκάνδαλον) in the apostle's teaching respecting it lay in his presenting its pollution in the view of the Law, as inferring the abrogation of the ceremonial institute itself. On this account the Jews could not abide him nor those who attached themselves to him as their teacher, though in a degree able to put up with Christians not anti-Judaists. To the Galatians he had presented "Christ crucified" (Galatians 3:1) as he saw him to be, and they had accepted the doctrine. But now some, at least, of them were beginning to feel uneasy at observing how the Jews in their neighbourhood regarded Paul and those who attached themselves closely to Paul. Had not the Jews (they felt) high claims to consideration? Were they not the original depositaries of the oracles of God? Was not their religion venerable for its antiquity, magnificent in its temple and ritual, and in origin Divine? To these new converts from the gross spiritual darkness and degradation of heathenism, some of them, perhaps, drawn from it originally by the teaching of non-Christian Jews, the adherents to the ancient faith would naturally appear entitled to high respect - respect which they themselves were also not backward in claiming (see Romans 2:19, 20). When the personal influence exercised upon their minds by the holy love and fervour of the apostle had through his absence begun to wane, they also, we may imagine, began to get disheartened, by feeling that their Christian discipleship was viewed with disfavour by their Jewish neighbours, by reason of its Pauline complexion; that on this account the Jews looked upon themselves, though worshippers of the same God, as unworthy of notice; nay, were even disposed to point them out to the surrounding heathens, only too willing to follow up the hint, as proper objects of contempt and ill usage (see for illustration, Acts 13; Acts 14:22; Acts 17; Acts 18; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). And herewith we have to bear in mind also that Judaism was in Roman jurisprudence treated as a tolerated religion (religio licita); and that, as long as Christians were regarded as belonging to a sect or branch of Judaism, they might seem to be entitled, in the eyes of Roman law, to the same toleration as the Jews themselves enjoyed. But if the Jews cast them off or disowned them they might forfeit such immunity, and become liable to be treated, not only by mobs, but by the Roman law itself, as offenders. The persons, then, here censured by the apostle may be supposed to have pursued the course they did with the idea that, by making themselves acceptable to the Jews through the adoption to a limited extent of Jewish ceremonies, and especially through the acceptance in their own person and the urging upon others of circumcision, they would relieve themselves of "the offence of the cross" (ch. 5:4). Without ceasing to be Christians, they would wipe themselves clear of the odium which with the Jews attached to Paul and those who held with Paul. Such seems to be the situation to which St. Paul's words allude. Bishop Lightfoot interprets it somewhat differently.
For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Verse 13. - For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the Law (οὐδὲ γὰρ οἱ περιτεμνόμενοι αὐτοὶ νόμον φυλάσσουσιν); for neither do they who are being circumcised themselves keep the Law; or, for not even. they who are being circumcised, themselves keep the Law. It is doubtful whether the οὐδὲ accentuates the main idea of the clause (see note on Galatians 1:12), or only the single term, "they who are being circumcised," as in John 7:5 it accentuates "his brethren." "For;" pointing back to the words," only that," "for no other reason than that," of the previous verse. The apostle means, it is from no zeal for the Law itself that they do what they do, for they are at no pains to keep the Law; but only with the object of currying favour with the Jews. The present participle περιτευνόμενοι is the reading more generally accepted, though the perfect περιτετμημένοι has a competing amount of documentary authentication. The perfect is so much the easier reading to understand ("not even those who have actually been circumcised") as to be much more likely to be a correction displacing περιτεμνόμενοι than the converse hypothesis of the latter being a correction of the other borrowed from ver. 3. "They who are being circumcised" may be understood of a party, including those who first set the movement ageing, who were one after another undergoing the rite. Another turn is given to this participial phrase, as meaning "who are eager for circumcision," "who are all for being circumcised, the circumcision party." Bishop Lightfoot is in favour of this view, referring to "the apt quotation" from an apocryphal book, in which the phrase appears used in this very sense (see his note). It is a sense grammatically difficult to sustain from the usage of the New Testament; for ὁ διώκων of Galatians 1:23, which has been cited on its behalf, does not bear it out. But the passion of scorn with which the apostle writes make the supposed strain upon strict grammatical propriety not altogether improbable. "Themselves;" this is inserted with allusion to the zeal shown by those men, both the first promoters and those drawn in by them, in urging upon others the observance, not indeed of the whole Law, but of certain of its prescriptions. The verb φυλάσσω is used similarly in Romans 2:26; Acts 21:24. The sense seems founded upon the notion of watching the Law to see what it requires, as one is endeavouring to carry it out. The article is wanting before νόμον, though specifically denoting the Law of Moses, as in Romans 2:25, 27, and often. But desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh (ἀλλὰ θέλουσιν ὑμᾶς περιτέμνεσθαι ἵνα ἐν τῇ ὑμετέρᾳ σαρκὶ καυχήσωνται); but they desire you to receive circumcision, that in your flesh they may have whereof to glory. The conjunction ἀλλὰ is used in its proper original sense, "instead of that." All that they want is that in their intercourse with the Jews they may have your circumcision to refer to as evidence of the high respect which they and you as influenced by them have for the Law. "See! so far from trampling upon the Law, we and these our brethren too are adopting the very badge of the servants of the Law." The word "flesh" is in this clause used in its strictly literal signification. The account which the apostle here gives of the motives actuating this particular section of Judaizing reactionaries was no doubt grounded on specific information which he had just received. But such information, both in respect to its general probability and to its grave importance, was doubtless corroborated to his own mind by large experience which he had had elsewhere among the Gentile Churches of the behaviour of unsteady and imperfectly instructed Gentile converts. In almost every important place where Gentiles were won to the faith, there were previously existing communities of Jews (Acts 15:21); and contact with these must have given rise to an endless diversity of relations both of attraction and of repulsion. Everywhere, from the very first, the contact of Christianity with Judaism gave birth to varying phases of Judaico-Christian-ism such as afterwards developed into monstrous forms of error. It was no new thing with the apostle that he should find himself called upon to check, on the part of weak or insincere brethren, a tendency to draw towards Judaism at the cost of not merely unseemly but even fundamentally fatal compliances. The peril was always very near, and had to be constantly watched and guarded against.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Verse 14. - But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (ἐμοὶ δὲ μὴ γένοιτο καυχᾶσθαι εἰ μὴ ἐν but as for me, God forbid, etc. For the construction of the dative ἐμοὶ with γένοιτο, Alford cites Acts 20:16, Οπως μὴ γένητα αὐτῷ χρονοτριβῆσαι, and Meyer Xenophon, 'Cyrop.' 6:3. 11, Ω Ζεῦ μέγιστε λαβεῖν μοι γένοιτο αὐτόν. But neither passage matches the tone of abhorrence which attaches to the phrase, μὴ γένοιτο, on which see note on Galatians 2:17. Here only in the New Testament does it form a syntactical part of a sentence. But in the Septuagint this construction is of repeated occurrence, following the Hebrew construction of chali'lah with a dative and an infinitive verb with min. Thus Genesis 44:7, Μὴ γένοιτο τοῖς παισί σου ποιῆσαι κ.τ.λ..; id., 17. So Joshua 24:16. The pronoun ἐμοὶ is strongly emphasized both in this first clause of the verse and in that which follows. The apostle is vividly contrasting his own feeling and behaviour in relation to the cross of Christ with those of the leaders of the circumcision party whom he has been denouncing. They would fain put the cross as far as possible out of sight, not to offend the Jews they were so anxious to conciliate - that "obnoxious object" (σκάνδαλον, 1 Corinthians 1:25) itself, as well as the inferences which the apostle taught them to draw from it in relation to the ceremonial law: their καύχημα, that whereof they would glory, should be in preference the mutilated flesh of their misled Galatian brethren; his boast, rejoicing, glory, was, and God helping him should ever be, the cross of Christ - that, and that alone. It quite emasculates the energy of his utterance to paraphrase "the cross" as being "the doctrine of the cross or of Christ's atonement." Rather, it is the cross itself which rivets his admiring view; sneered at by Gentile, abhorred by Jew, but to his eye resplendent with a multiplicity of truths radiating from it to his soul of infinite preciousness. Among those truths, one group, which to us is apt to appear of but small interest, was to the apostle's heart and conscience productive of profoundest relief. In former days he had experienced the burden and the chafing or benumbing effect of the Law, both as a ceremonial institute and as a "letter" of merely imperative command. It was the cross which released him, as from the guilt and servitude of sin, so also from all the worry and distress of bondage to ceremonial prescriptions. And this group of truths, as well as those relating to man's reconciliation with God, he felt it to be his mission, even perhaps his own most especial mission, boldly and frankly to proclaim; not only to rejoice in them on his own behalf, but to hold them forth to the view of others, as replete with blessing to all mankind; to glorify and vaunt them. His motive at present in thus vehemently protesting his own rejoicing in the cross of Christ was doubtless to rouse into fresh activity the slumbering sympathy with those feelings which had probably in some degree once animated his Galatian converts. Therefore it is that he writes, "the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," instead of "the cross of my Lord," which it would else have been in this case natural to him to say, as he does in Philippians 3:8, "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," and according to the tone of Galatians 2:20 of this Epistle. This "our" hints to the Galatians that they have as much reason as he has to glory in the cross as redeeming God's people alike from sin and from the Law. By whom (or, whereby) the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (δἰ οῦ ἑμοὶ κόσμος ἐσταύρωται, κἀγώ κόσμῳ [Receptus, τῷ κόσμῳ]); through which the world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. The omission of τῷ before κόσμῳ, which is now generally agreed in, adds to the terseness of the sentence. The article is wanting before κόσμος elsewhere, as 2 Corinthians 5:19; Philippians 2:15; Colossians 2:20; 1 Timothy 3:16. The construing of the passage which takes the relative οῦ as reciting "our Lord Jesus Christ," loses sight of the image which is now the one most prominent to the apostle's view: this surely is not Christ himself, but his cross; as in 1 Corinthians 2:2 the apostle determines the more general term, "Jesus Christ," by the more specific one, "and him crucified." The reference of the relative is to be determined, here as often elsewhere, not by the mere propinquity of words in the sentence, but by the nearness of objects to the writer's mind at the moment. In language of singular intensity the apostle bespeaks the all-involving transformation which, through the cross of Christ, his own life had undergone. The world, he says, had become to him a thing crucified: not only a dead thing, ceasing to interest or attract him, but also a vile, accursed thing, something he loathed and despised. And conversely, he himself had become a crucified thing unto the world; not only had he ceased to present to the world ought that could interest or attract it, but also become to it a thing scorned and abhorred; as he says 1 Corinthians 4:13, "We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things." The whole context of those words in the Corinthians (vers. 9-13) is here compressed into the single clause, "I have been crucified unto the world." "The world;" the term denotes unregenerate mankind taken in connection with that entire system of habits of life and of feeling in which man, as un-quickened by the Spirit of God, finds his sphere and home. As the apostle is speaking of his own personal experience, we must understand him as referring in particular to all those circumstances of civil, social, and religious being which had once surrounded him, the honoured Jew and Pharisee. These he enumerates at length in Philippians 3:5, 6. To these we might add, though it would, perhaps, have hardly occurred to Paul's own mind to add it, the ordinary possession of worldly comforts and immunity from want and suffering. All, he proceeds in that passage to say, he had "forfeited" (ἐζημιώθην Philippians 3:8). Nor did he look back upon his loss with regret: "I do count them as dung (σκύβαλα)." This twofold description, "I forfeited all things," and "I do count them all as dung," is here summarized in the phrase, "the world is a crucified object to me." The world, further, thus described as crucified to him, included in particular the entire system of Jewish ceremonialism, so far as it existed apart from the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God. The "natural man (ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος)" sets great store by religious ceremonialism; it is to him, in fact, his religion. The apostle has himself felt it to be so. But his sentiment now is the very opposite: he accounts it a dead, lifeless thing; nay, even loathsome and abhorred, whenever in the smallest degree placed even by a Christian Jew in the category of Christianly obedience. That he did regard such religious ceremonialism as belonging to the "world," from which as in Christ he had become dissevered, is plain, both from Galatians 4:3, "in bondage under the rudiments of the world," and from Colossians 2:20, "why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourself to ordinances, Handle not," etc. That this particular ingredient in the whole system recited as "the world" was at this moment present to the apostle's mind, appears from his singling out circumcision for mention in the next verse. While, however, this was a part of the "crucified world" just now prominent to his view, this term comprised to his consciousness much beside; namely, the entire mass of ungodliness and vice which appertains to "the course, or age, of this world" (αἰὼν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, Ephesians 2:2), from which αἰὼν, the Christian is by the daily transforming of his character to be removed (Romans 12:2). (See above, Galatians 1:4, and note.) "Through which;" in various ways was the cress of Christ the means of effecting this mutual crucifixion between the apostle and the world. It is apparent, from the whole tenor of his Epistles, that Christ crucified, as manifesting both Christ's love to sinful men in general, and to his own self in particular, "the chief of sinners," and likewise the love of God his Father, wrought with so mighty an attraction upon his whole soul - intellect, conscience, affections - that all other objects which were only not connected with this one lost to him their whole zest and interest, while all other objects which clashed with the moral and spiritual influence of this became absolutely distasteful and repulsive. And, on the other hand, the world at large met the man who was animated with this absorbing devotion to God as manifested in a crucified Christ, with just that estrangedness and aversion which might have been anticipated. The influence exercised by the cross in crucifying the world and the apostle to each other was intensified by the especial bearing which, in the apostle's view, the cross had towards Jewish ceremonialism (see Galatians 2:19, 20, and notes). The vivid, intense manner in which the apostle proclaimed such sentiments alienated from him the adherents and champions of Judaism, and made him of all Christians the one who was to them the most obnoxious. And how this affected his standing, even in the Gentile world, there have been above repeated occasions for noting.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Verse 15. - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (οὔτε γὰρ περιτομή τι ἔστιν οὔτε ἀκροβυστία ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις); for neither is circumcision anything, nor un-circumcision, but a new creature (or, creation). The reading of the Textus Receptus, followed in our Authorized Version, is this: ἐν γὰρ Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε ἀκροβυστία ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις. But by almost all recent editors this reading is replaced by the one given above. That ἔστιν is the true reading, and not ἰσχύει, all are agreed in thinking; ἰσχύει being regarded as a correction imported from Galatians 5:6. The evidence for the rejection of ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, which is found in all the uncial manuscripts except the Vatican, is by no means equally decisive. The presence of those words in Galatians 5:6, where they are very suitable to the context, has with great probability been supposed to explain their being also found here, being introduced, like ἰσχύει from the former passage, by the copyists; but here the qualification made by them is not so certainly required. The apostle felt it to be not merely true relatively, that is, for those "in Christ Jesus," but, since Christ died on a cross, true absolutely, that for salvation neither circumcision was aught, nor uncircumcision, but only a new creature. For the discussion of the terms of the aphorism as here stated, as compared with its form in Galatians 5:6 and in 1 Corinthians 7:19, the reader is referred to the notes on Galatians 5:6. The words καινὴ κτίσις may mean either "a new creature," or "a new act of creation making a man a new creature." It is hardly admissible to take κτὶσις as "creation" in a collective sense, as in Romans 8:19; though this may, perhaps, be its meaning in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man is in Christ, there is a new creation," that is (perhaps), he finds himself, as it were, in a new heaven and a new earth. Christians as such are elsewhere described by the apostle as the product of God's creative hand; thus in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship (ποίημα), created (κτισθέντες) in Christ Jesus for good works." As "begotten again" (1 Peter 1:23, ἀναγεγεννημένοι), or "born anew" (John 3:3, γεννηθέντες ἄνωθεν), subjects of a "regeneration" (παλιγγενεσία, Titus 3:5), they must, of course, be the products of a new act of creation. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-18 the sentence, "If any man is in Christ, there is a new creation," or "he is a new creature," lies embedded in a passage which describes in language of remarkable intenseness the transforming influence of Christ's death, wherever by faith it has been fully grasped. That passage, occurring as it does in an Epistle written nearly at the same time as the Epistle to the Galatians, leaves no doubt as to the ideas which in the apostle's mind cluster round the term" new creation," mentioned, here too as in effect there, in close connection with the cross of Christ, his sole supreme glory. It points to the state of a sinner consciously reconciled to God by the death of Christ, and finding himself thus translated into the midst of new perceptions, new joys, new habits of life. new expectations. "The old things are passed away" - guilt, the overmastering power of sin, laborious effort after goodness frustrated after all and ineffectual, the servile routine of a dead unquickening ceremonialism: "behold, all things are become new, and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself through Christ." The phrase, "a new creature," appears to have been used by the Jews to describe the change resulting in the case of a heathen becoming a proselyte. That was no doubt a great change; but far greater seemed to the apostle to be the transformation in the case of one translated from the bondage and darkness of the "letter" into the "newness of the Spirit" (Romans 7:6). lie had himself experienced how marvellously great as well as how blessed the transition was; and he has described it in glowing terms also in Ephesians 1:17-2:10. In the present passage the particle "for" seems to point back, not exclusively to ver. 14, but to the general tenor of the whole passage in vers. 12-14, as rebuking that great ado about circumcision which the innovators referred to were making in the Galatian Churches, thereby diverting the minds of those that listened to them from the Christian's true business. This sense of the particle may seem somewhat loose; but it suits well the rapid, decisive, summarizing strain with which the apostle is now closing up his letter. The supreme concern, he means, for every one who wishes to be a member of God's kingdom is that he shall realize in his own experience the "new creation;" alike in the freedom and joy of adoption which appertains thereto (ch. 4.), and also in that walking of the Spirit which includes the crucifixion of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-25). On this point we may compare Ephesians 4:23, 21 and Romans 12:2.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Verse 16. - And as many as walk according to this rule (καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν); and as many as shall be walking by this rule. The word κανών, properly a workman's rule, according to Liddell and Scott, but according to Bishop Lightfoot, who, refers to Dr. Westcott, 'On the Canon,' App. A, the carpenter's or surveyor's line by which a direction is taken, is used in 2 Corinthians 10:13, 15, 16 of the measurements and delimitation of districts; here, with reference apparently to a surveyor's measuring-line, as marking out a path or road. So that τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχεῖν means "walking on orderly" (see note on στοιχεῖν, Galatians 5:25) in the line marked out by what has now been said. The future tense appears to point forward to what should be the case among the Galatians when the letter now going to them should have had time to do its work. But what in the preceding context does the apostle refer to as supplying "this rule"? Many think that he points to the aphorism in ver. 15, affirming the utter indifferency of circumcision or uncircumcision, and the all-importance of a "new creature;" in which case the stress would lie mainly upon the latter point, the "new all-importance of a creature," which was of perpetual interest, rather than on the indiffereney of circumcision which in itself was a matter of but passing concern. It may be fairly questioned, however, whether the apostle does not rather point to the description which in ver. 14 he has given of the manner in which he himself regarded the cross of Christ, as a pattern to the Galatian Churchmen of the manner in which they also should be affected by it. It was customary with the apostle to present himself to his converts as the model to which they should conform themselves. Thus he commends the Thessalonians for that on their conversion they proved themselves imitators of him (1 Thessalonians 1:6). When discoursing to the Corinthians of his manifold afflictions and of his self-humbling, men-loving demeanour under them all, he besought them to be imitators of him (1 Corinthians 4:9-16), which entreaty he renews with a similar reference in 1 Corinthians 9:1. So he exhorts the Philippians to unite with one another in imitating him, and to fix their regards upon such as walked as they had him and those with him for a pattern (Philippians 3:17), and again repeats to them (Philippians 4:9), "Those things which ye, moreover, learned, and received, and heard, and saw in me, do," - all which clauses refer to his own character and doings as seen by themselves or as reported to them by others (see Alford, in loc.). This purpose, of propounding his sentiments and course of action as a model for the guidance of his converts, no doubt underlies very many of those passages in which he so frankly and (we might but for this be tempted to think) so sell:approvingly dilates upon them. In those days we must remember there was no "Canon "of New Testament Scripture which might serve for the guidance of the newly gained converts from heathenism; for practical guidance in the Christian life, besides the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15-17), they had, perforce, to be referred partly to their own moral sense, partly to the inward teachings of the Holy Spirit, and partly, and this to a very important extent, to the living examples of eminently Spirit-taught men. This purpose, of propounding himself as an example, evidently underlay the writing of ver. 14; and it is the consciousness that it was so that now leads him to use the phrase, "by this rule," in reference, as seems most probable, to that very description of his own life. It is noticeable that, after having exhorted the Philippians to do all the things which they had seen and known him to do, he adds (Philippians 4:9). "And the God of peace shall be with you;" just as he here says, "As many as shall be walking orderly by this rule, peace upon them, and mercy!" We are now brought into a position to see clearly the force of the conjunction "and," with which he introduces this verse. It connects it closely with ver. 14. "I myself glory in the cross of Christ, and to that cross have sacrificed all I held dear; and for all that shall be found walking in that same path - upon them shall rest my hearty sympathy and my pastoral benediction." It is further deserving of notice that in Philippians 3, when presenting himself to the Philippians as their examplar, the apostle speaks of "many" - no doubt with inclusive reference to those Judaizing advocates of circumcision whose circumcision he scornfully styles a concision - as being "the enemies of the cross of Christ." This was written some years after the Epistle to the Galatians; but it shows that it was a common experience with the apostle to find among the Gentile Churches two classes in particular of Christians: one, consisting of his own adherents and followers in the spirit and life of the gospel; another, of those who (either because as born Jews or Gentile Judaizers, they eschewed the pollution of the cross and its aspect towards the ceremonial Law, or because they were Gentiles, ashamed before their countrymen of trusting in a Jew who had been crucified), were fain to the utmost of their power to thrust the crucifixion of Christ out of sight - "the enemies of the cross of Christ?" Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (εἰρήνη ἐπ αὐτούς καὶ ἔλεος καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ Θεοῦ). The suppletion of "be" in the Authorized Version, in preference to "shall be" or "is," is borne out by the fact that the language of benediction, both in the greeting at the beginning of the Epistles and in their close, ordinarily omits the copula verb, which in such cases must be what is here supplied. We may compare in particular Ephesians 6:24, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness," not only as similar in construction, requiring the like suppletion of "be," but also as another instance in which the apostle pronounces his pastoral benediction with a certain limitation, specifying those only who sincerely love Jesus Christ. The limitation in these two cases only implied is in 1 Corinthians 16:22 converted into a distinctly expressed anathema upon those who do not love Christ. The present passage makes the implied limitation without even that measure of stern precision which would have been marked by his writing ἐπὶ τούτους ("upon these") instead of ἐπ αὐτούς ("upon them"). It seems as if he would fain allure back to the gospel blessing those of his readers who might feel themselves as not now coming within its range. Perhaps in the addition of the words, "and mercy," we may detect a sympathizing sense in the mind of the apostle of the mental suffering, which those in Galatia sincerely devoted to the crucified Christ had and would still have to encounter, in contending for the truth of the gospel against fellow Churchmen of their own. They would probably be no mere hard-minded controversialists, but humble, loving believers, to whom the mercy of God would be very dear. The apostle adds it to his greeting only in writing to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2), distinguished apparently for the affectionateness and feminine-heartedness of his character. In Titus 1:4 the addition is not genuine. The words, "and upon the Israel of God," seem to be an echo of the "peace upon Israel (εἰρήνη ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραήλ)," which, in the Septuagint, closes the hundred and twenty-fifth and hundred and twenty-eighth psalms. The addition of the words, "of God," seems intended pointedly to distinguish the "Israel" which the apostle has m view from that which boasted itself as being Israel while it was not, and also from the false brethren (ψευδαδελφοί, Galatians 2:4) in the Christian Church, who were for linking themselves with the false Israel. The addition is not merely honorific, as in the expression, "the Church of God" (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 10:32; 11:22; 15:9), but distinctive as well - that which alone God views and loves as "Israel" - to wit, the entire body of real believers in Christ, who, as portrayed in this Epistle, are "children of promise after the fashion of Isaac" (Galatians 4:28), Abraham's seed and heirs of the promise" (Galatians 3:29), and the children of "the upper Jerusalem, which is our mother" (Galatians 4:26). Of that portion of the true Israel which dwelt in Galatia (see 1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:10), those who, like the apostle, consecrated themselves to Christ as crucified, were the guiding and characterizing element; and therefore his blessing shed upon these spreads itself also upon those connected with them. That the apostle is even here still regardful of others among the Galatians, who were themselves" shifting away from the gospel" and were drawing others away too (Galatians 1:6, 7), is shown by the next verse.
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Verse 17. - From henceforth (τοῦ λοιποῦ). This genitive form is found, in the New Testament, only here and in Ephesians 6:10, where the Textus Receptus reads τὸ λοιπόν. As being less ambiguous, it is chosen in preference to τὸ λοιπόν, because this latter word is also used in the sense "finally," as in Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:8, as well as for "henceforth," as in Matthew 26:45; Hebrews 10:13. The meaning of τοῦ λοιποῦ is illustrated by Aristophanes, 'Pax.,' 1050, "You shall never dine henceforth (τοῦ λοιποῦ) any more in the Prytaneum;" and Herod., 3:15. Let no man trouble me (κόπους μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέτω). The phrase, κόπους πραέχειν, "cause trouble, or annoyance," occurs also in Matthew 26:10; Luke 11:7; Luke 18:5. Obviously the apostle refers to such trouble as was now accruing to him from the endeavours of the Judaizing party to pervert his Galatian disciples. On him fell the "anxiety of all the Churches" (2 Corinthians 11:28). In any of his Gentile Churches, the defeat of the work of the gospel by Judaizing perversion was a "worry" which touched him to the very quick. There is nothing to warrant the supposition that he alludes to assaults made in particular upon his apostolical authority, such as he had often occasion to deal with, as, for example, at Corinth. None such have been referred to in this Epistle, though he has found occasion to complain of the alienated affections of his converts. For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus (ἐγὼ γὰρ τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ [Receptus, τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησου] ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω); I am one who bear branded on my body the flesh-marks of Jesus. The ἐγὼ is inserted with emphasis. Being such as he here describes himself, he had a claim upon his brethren to be spared unnecessary annoyance. The Greek word stigma here employed denotes a mark on the flesh, either by puncture, its proper sense, with a hot, sharp instrument, very often with hot needles (see Prudentius's lines quoted by Grotius in his note on the χάραγμα, mark, in Revelation 13:16), or more summarily by simply branding without puncture. It served sometimes as a mark of permanent ownership, as upon horses or cattle (Liddell and Scott, sub verb. στίζω). In respect to slaves, it was not considered humane to brand them, except for punishment, or as security in particular cases against running away. Hence στιγματίας, brandling, designated a scoundrel or a runaway slave; as Aristophanes, 'Lys.,' 331; 'Av.,' 760. Others besides slaves were sometimes branded in ignominious punishment: Aristophanes, 'Ran.,' 1507; Herod., 7:233. Thus we have in Æschines (38, 26), ἐστιγμένος αὐτομόλος, "a branded deserter." Vegetius (quoted by Facciolati, sub verb. stigma), writing three hundred years later, states ('Do Re Milit.,' 1:8; 2:5) that, in the Roman army, raw recruits had to be proved fit for service before they were allowed to have the tattoo put upon them. After due trial, they were "punc-turis in cute punctis milites scripti et matriculis inserti." But this testimony does not establish the fact of such usage prevailing in the Roman army in St. Paul's time; though it is quite supposable that then, as now, soldiers might sometimes tattoo on their arm or hand the name of a favourite general. Instances are cited of consecration to a particular god being signalized by stigma. Herodotus, writing five hundred years before, says of a certain temple of Heracles, on the Egyptian coast, that if a servant, belonging to any man whatever, took sanctuary in it, and put upon himself sacred stigmata, giving himself to the god, no one could touch him (2:113). In 3Macc. 2:29 mention is made of a "mark of Dionysus" ivy leaf being, by means of fire, put upon the body of Jews in Egypt in the time of Ptolemy Philopator; but this would seem to have been intended rather as a barbarous indignity, because especially abhorrent to their religious feelings, than as an actual consecration of them to Dionysus as his "slaves." But that it was in some cases employed to signalize a "sacred slave" is attested by Philo, 'De Mon.,' 2. p. 221, M; and Lucian, 'De Dea Syr.,' § 59, as cited by Bishop Lightfoot, who remarks that "such a practice could not have been unknown in a country which was the home of the worship of Cybele." An example more familiar to the apostle's mind might, perhaps, be cited from Isaiah 44:5 (Septuagint), ἐπιγράψει χειρὶ αὐτοῦ Τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐμί, "shall write upon his hand, I am God's," which rendering Gesenius ('Thes.,' in verb. kathabh) consents to accept. But if this rendering be the right one, it may yet be doubted whether it means writing by puncture; for γράμματα στικτὰ appear in Leviticus 19:28 to be forbidden; unless, indeed, the prohibition be taken to refer to idolatrous tattoos only. But even thus the use of such in idol-worships has a further confirmation. It appears, however, to be a strong objection to our supposing the apostle to be here alluding to either the stigmata of consecration or those of other ownership, that such would infer no more suffering than would attend simple tattooing; whereas it is plain that the apostle alludes to marks which evidenced the undergoing of inflictions of extraordinary severity. The word stigma had passed into Roman usage, being employed both in a literal sense and also in a figurative one of a "stigma," as we also speak, cast upon a person's character as by a poet's lampoon. Thus Martial ('Epigr.,' 12:62) writes, "Frons haec stigmate non meo notanda," "This forehead to be marked with a stigma not of my affixing," where the word frons indicates a close adherence to the original notion of a slave's forehead branded. Suetonius ('Caes.,' 73), "Catullum, a quo sibi versiculis de Mamurra perpetua stigmata imposita non dissimulaverat, satisfacientem eodem die adhibnit coenae." Reviewing the evidence now adduced as to the manner in which the term was used, we observe that the words "brandling" and "branded" (στιγματίας and ἐστιγμένος) were used to describe a person made infamous to open view by brand-marks put upon his person. It was natural that the word stigma would thus acquire the sense of a mark of patent infamy left upon a man's person by some corporal abuse which he had been subjected to, without any other qualifying idea. Now, it appears most probable that it is in this sense that the apostle here uses the word. The term points to those scars, seams, perhaps long-continuing sores, which the long course of ever-recurring hardships and ill usage, through which he had passed, must have left upon him - patent evidence to all who looked upon him of the manner in which his fellow-men regarded and treated him; this only, apart from any qualifying idea, whether of ownership, or of military allegiance, or of religious consecration. It is in this general sense that Chrysostom appears to have read the clause; and this general sense satisfies all the requirements of the context. A strong light is thrown upon this matter by what the apostle, near about this same time, wrote to the Corinthians, in 2 Corinthians 11:22-27. The passage, as indeed does the whole Epistle, with much also of the frmer Epistle addressed to the same Church, betokens a strong feeling at this particular time resting on his mind, of the grievous, countless, hardships which marked his career - a feeling, very supposably, just then freshened by some very painful experiences recently gone through, from the effects of which his bodily form was still suffering. "In stripes above measure,... in deaths oft. Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep." Such are some particulars which he specifies; and the enumeration is very suggestive with reference to our present point. Could he have undergone that "stoning" at Lystra, after which he was dragged out of the city as dead to be left to lie without burial, and have carried away no enduring disfigurement? Whether any marks would be likely to remain upon him from the five Jewish whippings, we cannot tell; but we may be assured that the three floggings inflicted with the cruel vitis of the Roman soldiery must have scarred his flesh with seams of permanent disfigurement. Perhaps while he wrote, sores remaining from some one of those eight punishments were making themselves painfully felt. These judicial inflictions, however, severe as some of them may have been, were nevertheless regulated by law and custom. There were m all probability other, much more barbarous and altogether unregulated, violences, which came often upon him from the brutality of mobs, from the assaults of "robbers," from accidents in shipwreck. It could not fail but that his person presented, wherever he went, conspicuously to view, tokens that he was one wont to be both regarded and dealt with as if he were, no doubt deservedly, a wretched outcast; in his own forcible, most deeply pathetic phrase, περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόμου πάντων περίψημα "as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things" (1 Corinthians 4:13). The apostle's enemies taunted him with the contrast which subsisted between the solemnity and power - would-be power they meant - of his letters, and the meanness and feebleness of his personal appearance and his personal address (2 Corinthians 10:1, 10). His personal presence may, originally and by natural make, not have been calculated to bespeak respect. But whatever disadvantages he lay under originally, must, beyond all question, have been vastly aggravated by the bodily hard ships to which he had been subjected. These must have left effects (this, perhaps, being the "stake in the flesh" which be groaned under - "Satan's messenger to buffet him," the fruits, certainly, of Satan's working in the hearts of godless men) which he felt to be not only fraught with personal humiliation in whatever intercourse he held with his fellow-men, but also likely greatly to mar his efficiency in his ministerial work. The only consolation remaining to him was that, in the utter extinction of all self-love, he rejoiced to know that Christ's grace had, in this enhanced feebleness of his instrument, the clearer field wherein to manifest its own Divine potency (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10). "The flesh-marks of Jesus." This may be understood as meaning that they were incurred in Jesus' service. In part it may be so taken; but the relation expressed by this genitive appears to go deeper than that. The apostle means, the marks which disfigured the body of Jesus as now reproduced in his body. The genitive is used in just the same way as it is in the strikingly similar clause in 2 Corinthians 4:10, "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus (παντότε τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν σῶ σώματι περιφέροντες), where ' ἡ νεκρωσις τοῦ Ἰησοῦ means apparently "the deadness or corpse-condition of Jesus" (compare the use of the Greek noun in Romans 4:19); the state of Jesus' νενεκρωμένον σῶμα, while yet hanging a corpse on the cross. By s strong hyperbole, prompted by the intense feeling then on his mind of his own bodily sufferings and the almost ever-present imminency of death (comp. vers. 7-12 of the same chapter), the apostle, in those words, refers to "Jesus' corpse-condition" as reproduced in his own bodily condition, adding the expression of his assured conviction that all was to this end - that "the life also of Jesus," that is, the life which Jesus himself lives, should be all the more clearly manifested by what he was working in the world, in and through a body apparently so death-bound as the apostle's was. The use of the phrase, thus interpreted, coheres well with the feeling which, in the writing of this Epistle, was very near to his soul, of his being "crucified along with Christ." The phrase, then, glances at those swollen, livid, blood-flecked, wales and bruises (τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ, 1 Peter 2:24:) which the Roman scourging that immediately preceded his being handed over for crucifixion must have left on his sacred flesh - no part spared - the entire frame pervaded alike with disfigurement and with torture. To the body of his adorable Lord at that hour - to the human consciousness of every thoughtful spectator, defaced, shorn by the dis-honouring whip of the dignity properly connate with a human body, and made utterly vile (for this should seem to have been the symbolical meaning and intent of that customary preliminary of crucifixion) - and, at length on the cross, presenting to open view those brand-marks of degradedness, the apostle feels his own body to be, in the treatment it had received and the condition to which it had been reduced, in no small measure assimilated. Not only was he in spirit joined unto his Lord and one spirit with him; but in body likewise was he (so to speak) joined unto his Lord, and one body with him; being deeply "taught" in the lesson of what was meant by being "a sharer of his sufferings, while day by day becoming more conformed to the fashion of his death" (Philippians 3:10); clothed with Christ in this sense also; clothed with the Crucified One. The verb βαστάζω, as here introduced, may be distinguished from the περιφέροντες of 2 Corinthians 4:10, by presenting the notion of one's carrying something in thought separable from one's self, instead of being (so to speak) commingled with one's own being. "I am carrying, and can offer to your view, the brand-marks of Jesus." Chrysostom catches this view, perhaps carrying it out somewhat far, in his animated comment, "He saith not, 'I have,' but I carry;' like a man priding himself on a trophy and ensigns of a king." The use of the same verb in Acts 9:15, "to bear my Name before the Gentiles and kings," clearly illustrates its import here. This closing verse is withal no piteous appeal for commiserating sympathy. The tone of "from henceforth," betokening the feeling of one who has made up his mind not to be trifled with, precludes the notion of his mood being one of mere self-pity and tenderness. Far more does the apostle hereby make claim to share with his Lord in that mingled sentiment of reverence and deferential, sympathetic compliance, which the disciple of Christ might be expected to entertain towards his Lord, crucified for him; such a sentiment as would prompt him to lighten, if he might, his burden and pain, to take part in his enterprise, to help forward his designs. Those brand-marks would cry out in loud protest against a fellow-disciple's antipathy, tergiversation, or disesteem.
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Verse 18. - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen (ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν ἀδελφοί Ἀμήν); the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. "The grace of Jesus Christ" denotes his Saviour's loving-kindness, not only effectual in making a guilty soul acceptable to God through his atonement, but also in purifying it from sin, enduring it with spiritual strength, and securing its final salvation. The pre-eatery imperative "be," which, of course, is to be supplied, clothes a friendly wish in the pious form of a prayer. "With," the μετὰ which, in the Septuagint, represents the Hebrew 'im, meaning "present to help," is illustrated by Genesis 21:22; Ruth 2:4; Judges 6:12; Matthew 1:23; 28:90; John 3:2; John 16:32. "With your spirit," here, as in Philippians 4:23; Philemon 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:22, replaces the "with you," which is the form in which the farewell greeting is commonly couched; as in 1 Corinthians 16:23; Ephesians 6:24, etc. There is no polemical reference whatever in the substitution; rather it is an affectionate amplification or intensification of the kindly wish or blessing, the outcome of affectionate yearning, after the stern rebukes which he had felt himself compelled to address to them. It expresses his desire that Christ's grace might be very near to them - near to the most intimate and most controlling part of their nature. The singular "spirit" is conjoined with the plural pronoun "your," as in Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19 ("your body"); 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "your spirit and soul and body." The word "brethren" is added last of all, as it were in caressing affectionateness, as in Philemon 1:7. The final "Amen" seals the true earnestness and the devotional spirit of the benediction.

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